Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Tag

Monday’s Friend: Pete Sutton

Today I am pleased to welcome fellow KGHH author Pete Sutton to the blog. I’ve known Pete since my live action role playing days, some years ago now, and it’s good to have him here to chat about writing.

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

PS: Not sure I’ve ever felt ‘destined’ to be a writer to be honest. I had a vague – “I’d like to write one day” feeling although my storytelling urge was being satisfied by writing for a roleplaying game. I volunteered at Bristol Festival of Literature in 2012 and met a whole bunch of writers and sat in on many writing workshops and thought – “I can do that”. I didn’t do anything about it though until the roleplaying company and I parted ways. I went to a book launch of “Writing without a parachute” by Barbara Turner-Vesselago. Chatting to her at the launch I said something along the lines of “I’d like to write someday,” and she asked, “why don’t you then?” I realised that there was no good reason not to. I sold my first story a couple of months later.

SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?

PS: Everything I read, every TV program and film I watch influences me in small ways. I’d say that writer-wise my biggest influences are Jeff & Ann VanderMeer. Not on the writing itself, although Jeff’s Wonderbook is a great how to write manual, but more by what writing they have brought to my attention in their amazing anthologies and via Jeff’s blog.

Writing wise I’ve been compared to Gaiman and Carver which is very flattering as well as Chesterton  (who is in turn a big influence on Gaiman). I’d also say that John Fowles has influenced some of my short stories.

SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

PS: You don’t need permission to write. Anyone can do it.

SJT: Tell us about your latest release.

PS: The last book I had out was Sick City Syndrome which I call an architectural fantasy. The book opens with Susan, our protagonist, about to talk to her dead fiancé via a medium assigned as a grief counsellor. She discovers that all is not as it seems with his death and resolves to investigate why he died, That’s been available since September last year.

I’ve just handed in the developmental edit on my next novel SEVEN DEADLY SWORDS, which is a historical fantasy. I’ve also got a few short stories coming out – latest is Ash and Darkness in Between the Tracks which is full on horror.

SJT: Have you ever been inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?

PS: I don’t think any character is truly entirely created by imagination only. All characters are amalgams of real people.

SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

PS: I read. A lot (80 odd books read so far this year). I’m also kept busy organising Bristol Festival of Literature, Bristol HorrorCon, BristolCon and my writing group.

SJT: What’s next for you, writing-wise?

PS: I’m currently working on another novel for KGHH provisionally titled “The Certainty of Dust” the protagonist of which is a guitarist/singer in a band and again, like in Sick City Syndrome, the world is like ours but different.


Pete Sutton is the author of two books: A Tiding of Magpies –  a collection of ‘deliciously dark tales’  – and Sick City Syndrome –  an urban fantasy set in Bristol where he lives.  He is currently working on a second novel, a historical fantasy set during the crusades,  which will be released by Grimbold books.

You can find him all over social media or worrying about events he’s organised at the Bristol Festival of Literature, Bristol HorrorCon and BtristolCon.

On Twitter he’s @suttope and his website is .


Monday’s Friend: Adam Lawrence

This week I’m pleased to have debut author and fellow Kensington Gore writer Adam Lawrence as my guest on the blog. Adam is also a keen gamer and a fellow Resident Evil fan. Welcome, Adam!

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

AL: When I was little I always enjoyed creating my own versions of monsters and characters that I liked. For instance, I liked Top Trumps but I didn’t like the subjects so I created my own with my own characters and stories. That grew into wanting to make my own comics, but I guess I find typing a lot faster than drawing now! I get very passionate about the stories I enjoy, but often find there’s things missing or things I feel could have been improved on. My stories and ideas are a product of their inspirations.

SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?

AL: I think he’s reliably cited as almost every writer’s influence but the first person I’d say would be Stephen King. The variety in his ideas I find pretty amazing but I also enjoy hearing about his struggles as a writer, especially the most negative of them.

magic boxSJT: Tell us about THE MAGIC BOX, your debut novel.

AL: The story is about Felicity and Tremayne, two shop workers in a supermarket who have no idea where their lives are going – until they find a witch living in the woods. The witch, Alexia introduces them to the world of magic – a world that has been hidden for thousands of years. Naturally a witch with so many years behind her has secrets and one of those secrets begins to threaten the safety of the world – and it falls to two unprepared and out of their depth shelf stackers to save it.

SJT: What inspired you to write this novel?

AL: I have always enjoyed the little characters – the ones that are plainly average or horribly flawed in their own way, usually floating to the side of the story and not taking centre stage. The idea was to have the world in peril and saved by two people that were distinctly average – to show that even the most ordinary of people can be extraordinary when they need to be.

SJT: What’s next for you, writing-wise?

AL: Oh, lots. I have one completed horror story called ‘Sleepwalker’ that needs editing and tidying up and another called ‘Evil Never Dies’ that is five chapters off completion. Also I started writing out four new stories to play around with so I have a lot of things to be focussing on! Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew but time will tell. I think the only way to improve is to push yourself so that’s what I’m aiming for.

SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

AL: I’m a big fan of gaming, so I’m often playing Resident Evil to get my horror fix but lately I’m running about in Overwatch the most. I also follow Formula One a lot and try to catch as many of the races as I can – that always stops me writing. I also enjoy drawing, which can be both fun and stressful but it can help a lot to visualise ideas I have.

Adam LawrenceAuthor bio:

Adam Lawrence lives in Croydon and is a keen artist and writer. He particularly enjoys writing horror, fantasy and sci-fi, and loves gaming. He’s also a huge fan of sushi.

Adam’s first novel THE MAGIC BOX is available in print and Kindle format from Amazon (UK and US). Learn more about him and his writing by following him on Twitter.

Monday’s Friend: Susan A Royal

We’ve got something a bit different on the blog today. This week’s guest is not an author, but a character. Xander is the protagonist of Susan A Royal’s new novel XANDER’s TANGLED WEB, and I am interviewing him today. Susan and I are doing a blog swap and she’s interviewing Shara Summers on her blog today, so hop on over to there once you’re finished here!

SJT: Tell us a bit about yourself, Xander. Where do you come from?

xanders tangled web-Small (2)X: My wife, Suse, and I are both descended from a race of little people called Mipins. While she’s a pretty little thing, I’m not much to look at, that’s for sure. Honestly, I don’t know what she sees in me. I tend to squint a lot when I’m pondering over things. She says it makes me look like there’s a woolly caterpillar crossing my forehead.

I’ve lived in Battington my whole life. It’s located in Seren Valley in the Kingdom of Regal, cradled on three sides by the Heliotrope Mountains and to the south by the Azure Sea. The picturesque township boasts fine buildings of red or blue brick and streets paved with smooth stones, bordered on either side with willow trees.

However, it’s best known for its marketplace. People came from far and wide to shop for the merchandise offered. Sellers of exotic spices and exquisite cloth do business next to apothecaries and goldsmiths. Food courts offer tasty delights like funnel cakes or hot sausage on a stick while actors’ troupes entertain with impromptu performances.

SJT: What do you do for a living?

X: For the past year I’ve been trying my hand at farming. Without much success I might add. Before that I was constable for the township of Battington, a job I dearly loved. That is until Cymon, the mayor, and I had some differences which led to a parting of the ways. That’s how I got into farming…and found out it wasn’t for me.

A few days ago I rod into town for supplies, and along came Cymon with an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s only temporary, but he wants me to investigate Princess Mena’s disappearance. At double my former wages. With any luck I should be able to locate her, collect my wages along with the reward, and be home before harvest. Easy peasy…

SJT: What’s your favourite food and drink?

X: I’m fond of ale, particularly the ale at Ardley’s tavern. And it’s a good thing, because the food he offers is enough to turn even the strongest man’s stomach. Then again I’m biased. When it comes to cooking, no one can hold a candle to my Suse. She could boil shoe leather and it would taste like roast. A good thing too. She hasn’t had much to work with lately.

SJT: I gather you are currently seeking a member of royalty.

X: As I said, I’ve been hired to investigate Princess Mena’s disappearance. She vanished without a trace from the Marketplace a few nights ago. The whole town is in an uproar. King Leander has called for an early curfew and there is talk about postponing the Spring Festival.

SJT: Battington’s marketplace seems an unlikely place for a princess to be hanging about. What was she doing there?

X: My thoughts exactly.  According to everyone I’ve spoken to, she went to see Mercury, the apothecary. Not just for some ordinary, run of the mill spell, either. She wanted a love potion. That complicates things.

SJT: Do you think the gypsies have anything to do with her disappearance?

X: When Emil’s bunch is in the vicinity, they tend to get the blame for any sign of trouble. While they’re no doubt responsible for things like freshly baked pies vanishing from the windowsill, a missing chicken or clothing off the line, they’re generally harmless. They are a secretive bunch, though.

SJT: When you’re not out investigating, what do you like to do to relax?

X: I’ve always loved making rounds, seeing Battington’s streets are safe and secure for its inhabitants. Especially on a crisp night with the moon shining down out of a clear sky, its light bright enough to cast shadows. While the town is sleeping, I can relax and unwind.

SJT: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Xander. Now I’d better let you get back to your investigations.


When Princess Mena vanishes without a trace, Xander must deal with gypsies, love potions and half-truths before unraveling the mystery.

After a late night visit to Battington’s marketplace, Princess Mena vanishes without a trace. Merchants are frantic, because King Leander has called for a curfew and postponed the Spring Festival until further notice. Certain his former constable is the man for the job, the mayor hires Xander to investigate, hoping he can solve the mystery in a hurry so things can go back to normal.

But Xander’s not so sure that’s possible, because there’s romance involved, and he knows when that happens folks who are normally very sensible seem to lose all reason. In addition to sorting out truths, half-truths and outright lies, he must deal with gypsies, love potions and an illegal moonshine operation before he gets to the bottom of things.

Author bio:

Bio photo (2)Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan shares a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town with a ghost who likes to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar.

Mother to three children and their spouses, she has five grandchildren who are all unique and very special. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century.  She learned about growing up during the depression from her father and experienced being a teenager in WWII through her mother’s eyes.

Susan loves taking her readers through all kinds of exciting adventures. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On. They are time travel adventures about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Xander’s Tangled Web is a YA fantasy with romance. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N.

Want to know more? Visit or for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.

Learn more about Susan’s books here:

Xander’s Tangled Web (fantasy, mystery)
In My Own Shadow (fantasy, adventure, romance)

Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago book trailer

All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads.


Monday’s Friend: Susan A Royal

Fellow Muse author Susan A Royal and I are having a reciprocal blog swap today – she’s on my blog talking about the endlessly fascinating topic of time travel, and I’m on hers talking about the many hats that I wear, in and out of my writing life.

Welcome, Susan! Good to have you back.

Not long ago (2)Time Travel
By Susan A Royal

The idea of being able to travel through time has always fascinated me. In a way I guess you could say I am a time traveller. Every book I read transports me into another world. Some of them actually exist and some are only fantasy, but that doesn’t matter.

When I’m immersed in a good story, it becomes as real as anything around me. I can cross the sands of ancient Egypt, attend a jousting tournament in England in the Middle Ages, take in the countryside in 17th century Scotland (get a load of those kilts!!), see what it’s like to live during World War II, live in the south during the Civil War era or ride a stagecoach across the American west. I can travel to another world and see dragons, trolls, dwarves, fairies and other beasts or other dimensions where magic is real. I can visit alternate realities and see what my life might be like if history had been different.

One of my favorite time travel stories of all times is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. Claire Randall is a 20th century woman sent back through time to 17th century Scotland. She must learn to cope in a world far different from her own. Ultimately she chooses it over her own time, because of the man she loves and cannot forget. After wishing someone would make a movie of it for years, the series finally debuted on STARZ, and I dearly love the words that flash across the screen on the trailer: What if your future…was the past.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to talk to someone like Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain in the flesh? Get up close and personal with them. Find out what they were really like. To have the chance to meet them or even listen to them speak, instead of seeing them through someone else’s eyes. Form your own opinions.

FromNowOn_200x300 (2)Or what if you could go back and see your parents or grandparents when they were your age. Look at them from a totally different viewpoint. What would they be like? Would you find things in common with them?  What if you had the chance to visit a younger you? A you that hasn’t made the mistakes or learned the lessons you’ve learned. Would you try to change your past?

You have to admit the idea is intriguing. How would you cope? Could you live without electronics or indoor plumbing? What would society be like? It’s fascinating to think of what it would be like. And who knows?  You might decide you actually prefer it to living in the present.  It’s a thought…


Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan makes her home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town. She shares it with a ghost who likes to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar.

She is married and the mother of six (she counts her children’s spouses as her own) and five grandchildren who are all unique and very special. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. Her father told her about growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and she experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes.

inmyownshadow200x300[1] (2)When Susan isn’t writing, she works as a secretary in education and does her best to keep up with her grandchildren. Music and painting are two of her passions. She is a firm believer in getting what you want without breaking the bank. She loves to bargain shop anywhere there’s a sale and began repurposing long before it was popular. She paints, crafts and sews. Her office/craft/sewing room is littered with her latest projects.

Susan loves to take her readers through all kinds of adventures with liberal doses of romance. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On. They are time travel adventures with romance about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. You can also find Odin’s Spear, one of her short stories featured in a Quests, Curses, and Vengeance anthology, Martinus Publishing, available on Amazon.

Want to know more? Visit or for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.

Susan Royal photoSusan’s Books

Xander’s Tangled Web (fantasy, mystery)
(Due out in Fall, 2015)

In My Own Shadow (fantasy, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago book trailer (

All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

Monday’s Friend: Mary-Jean Harris

Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow MuseItUp author Mary-Jean Harris to my blog.

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

MJH: I can’t think of any specific time, but I have loved to write ever since I was in elementary school. In high school, I started to write novels, and I realized that I wanted to continue to write even if it wasn’t my full-time job. I wouldn’t want to be a full-time writer (currently I am a student in theoretical physics and philosophy, and hope to pursue a career in that area), but I always want to write on the side, and in this way, what I do as a career can give inspiration for my writing.

 SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?

MJH: Mary Stewart, David Farland, and Tolkien are all some of my favourite authors, and have influenced a lot of my work. All of them write beautifully, and the plots and characters of their novels are crafted really well. I also include a lot of things from philosophy I’ve read, especially ancient philosophy and esoteric traditions.

 SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

MJH: Be inspired. Most writers say you just have to sit and force yourself to write, which is definitely true, but I find that you can’t get real inspiration by just forcing yourself through it. You have to dream about your story, look up in the clouds (literally!) and let your imagination take you on an adventure. I think if you love to write and you have fun with it, then anyone can write good stories, because if you love to do it, you’ll find the time and make it work, just as we find the time to do things like eating and sleeping because if we didn’t, we’d be miserable (or dead!).

 SJT: Have you ever been inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?

MJH: Yes, I do that a lot actually. I don’t put people in that I know really well, because I want to create a new character for them, and it’s harder to do when you already know how they “should” behave. So what I do is “snatch” people I don’t know really well or just see on a walk or something, and make them into a character in my book. I basically just use how they look and a few general observations to make a character out of them. I find it difficult to imagine a character’s face unless I have something to base it off of, so using someone in real life is helpful for this.

 SJT: When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?

MJH: I’m a mix of both. When I wrote Aizai the Forgotten, I started it out without any knowledge of where it was going to go. In fact, I thought it would just be a short story, something fun to do after I had finished writing a long novel (that wasn’t published). But it grew and grew, and I eventually realized that this was going to be a novel, so then I went and planned some of it. Though even with some planning, I modify things a lot as I write. I make up new plans and don’t fit in some of my original ones because the events and the characters lead me elsewhere. For short stories though, I try to plan them more so that I can keep them to a reasonable length. Though it’s fun to sometimes just start writing and see where it goes without any planning whatsoever!

 azaitheforgotten333x500SJT: Tell us about your latest release.

MJH: I’ve recently released Aizai the Forgotten, which is my first published novel. It’s the first novel in The Soul Wanderers series. Aizai is a young adult historical fantasy novel that takes place in the seventeenth-century, following the adventures of a boy named Wolfdon who tries to discover magic and the lost realm of Aizai, and in doing so, plays an important role in the land of Aizai that he couldn’t imagine was possible.

 SJT: Any other writing projects in the works?

MJH: I’m writing the sequel to Aizai, which takes up where the first book left off. This is slightly different to the first book in that there is an extra point of view character, as well as different time periods (the seventeenth century in Spain and the twelfth century in Scotland). This involves much more research, but since it is fantasy, most of my books are only loosely historical, so I make up a lot of things myself.

 SJT: You are inspired by images. Do you already have an idea of an image in your head when you search for images to fit the character, or do you create characters around images that inspire you?

MJH: I usually base characters on pictures of people, or people I know only partially. Though when it comes to images of things within my novels, such as the scenes or special magical devices, I usually make them up as I go along, adding little neat elements to them as I’m writing along. It’s as much a discovery for me as for the characters going through the story!

 SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 MJH: School! At least during the year. It’s quite busy because I am now doing physics and philosophy at Carleton University. I really enjoy it, and am hoping to do something in particle physics and cosmology when I’m finished. I also enjoy travelling, especially to places with ancient buildings like castles and with places I can go hiking and exploring. Someday I hope to live in the country or (ideally!) on an island in Scotland. I’ve been to the Isle of Skye last summer and it was beautiful there and very remote. The perfect place for a writer, actually.

SJT: Thank you for being my guest today, Mary-Jean!

Learn more about Mary-Jean and her writing at her blog The Soul Wanderers.

Her book AIZAI THE FORGOTTEN is available to buy from the MuseItup book store.


Monday’s Friend: Suzanne de Montigny

Today I am pleased to welcome fellow Muse author Suzanne de Montigny to the blog.

SJT:  What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

SONY DSCSdM:  Get followers for your FB page, twitter, Google+, and Goodreads now. Don’t wait until the last minute. You need to have those people know you have a book coming out.

SJT:  Who would you cite as your influences?

SdM:  Well, it’s hard to say, really. I guess Lucie Maude Montgomery and Kit Pearson.

SJT:  Your biography says your writing career was born out of a passion for unicorns. What is it about unicorns that draws you to them?

SdM:  Well, my writing career didn’t really come from my unicorns other than that my first project was an extension of my childhood unicorn story. It was actually my father’s death that filled me with a tremendous need to write. And I’ve simply never stopped. I love writing. It takes me away. I love living in the worlds I create. As to why I’m drawn to unicorns? I loved horses as a child and loved to write about them.

SJT:  It was while you were a teacher that you discovered that you had a knack for telling stories to children. Have you ever put any of your former pupils in any of your stories?

SdM:  No, not really. However, I have named a lot of characters after children I have known. For example, one of my girl unicorns was named after a little girl my son had a crush on in grade one. Two other girl characters were named after my nieces in Australia.

SJT:  Tell us about your latest release.

SdM:  I am just putting the finishing touches on my second Shadow of the Unicorn novel. This one is called The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Deception. It happens sixty years after the first one, when the Legacy of Azaria has been twisted about by a corrupt leader. When Ulysees and Teo rebel against him, they travel down an old trail where they’re discovered by humans. Hence the fun begins. The nice part about this book is that they find Darius the seer again, plus there is another cataclysmic event that happens.

SJT:  What’s the next writing project in the works for you?

SdM:  As soon as I’m done with this, I’m going to rehash my teen novel, A Town Bewitched about a child prodigy in classical violin growing up in the small town of Hope. When a red-headed fiddler bewitches the town with her mysterious Celtic music, only Kira knows who’s been vandalising the town leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card. I recently received the wonderful news that this manuscript won first prize in the Chanticleer competetition, so I’m looking forward to submitting it.

theshadowoftheunicorn200x300 (2)new


Suzanne de Montigny is the author of the award winning Middle Grade novel, The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy.


A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.

Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young, clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change to their world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. But nothing compares to the danger when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley, and their leader discovers the healing power in the unicorns’ horns. Greedy and ruthless, Ishmael will stop at nothing in his pursuit of wealth – even the complete extinction of the herd. Azaria must find a way to outsmart Ishmael before it’s too late.


MuseItUp Publishing
Barnes and Noble

Monday’s Friend: Janie Franz

Today I am pleased to welcome fellow MUI author Janie Franz to the blog. Take it away, Janie!

By Janie Franz

The Bowdancer 200x300Thank you for inviting me to appear on your blog, Sara-Jayne. As I pondered what to write about, I thought of a blog I did recently for a special feature on JQ Rose’s blog called Seeds of Inspiration. She asked writers to talk about what inspired them to become writers. I had toyed with an idea of either writing about how I became a multi-published author or what inspired my flagship series, The Bowdancer Saga. As I wrote, my life story spilled out. But I never talked about what inspired The Bowdancer. That’s what I’ll write about.

Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, I stretched out on my dining room floor and drifted into meditation in the middle of the day. I just opened myself to see what happened. I’d been doing visual mediation, some guided, some not. As I relaxed, a landscape appeared. It was night and I saw this petite female figure shooting a flaming arrow across the night sky. I knew her instantly. Her title—the Bowdancer. And her dilemma, her angst.

Nothing else appeared in the few seconds of that flash of insight. When I was alert and aware again, grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled down what I’d seen.

The Bowdancer incubated for a few years. I finally wrote a brief sketch of a story, reworked it, and even tried to market it to a couple of magazines. One hated it. One loved it but the magazine couldn’t find room for it. It went back into a drawer.

In the late 90s when I was in college to finish a degree in anthropology, I pulled it out once again for a writing workshop I took as part of an English concentration. It was well received even though I broke every rule my instructor set up.

Again the story went back into a drawer. I pulled it out one final time to pitch to Breathless Press in 2009 during a pitch session for the Muse Online Writers Conference. They picked it up, published it December of that year, and then released two new books in that series.

In 2010, I pitched new books to MuseItUp Publishing, including three more books in the ongoing Bowdancer Saga. This year, the entire saga will be under one publishing roof. They will join the two published books in my Ruins trilogy, a couple of non-formula contemporary romances, and a creepy little horror story—to make eleven books published by MuseItUp Publishing.

I never realized how significant that one meditation would become. The Bowdancer, a novelette, sparked five other books. And I have ideas for four more that I hope to write eventually (as well as a time-warp novel that may be more than one book and a paranormal series).

You never know where inspiration will come from.

Author Bio

Janie [800x600]Janie Franz comes from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. Honed by the frigid Northern Plains and the high desert of New Mexico, as well as a degree in anthropology, her writing skill and curiosity generated thousands of feature and cover articles over a vast range of topics for more than a hundred regional, national, and international publications.

She co-wrote two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox (The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book), and self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!

She is a professional speaker and occasionally still reviews books, CDs, and concerts. Previously, she ran her own online music publication, Refrain Magazine, and was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor.

The Wayfarer’s Road: Book 2 of The Bowdancer Saga

Healer Jan-nell and her precocious daughter meet a handsome wandering bard, carrying secrets and the hope of belonging.

The Bowdancer Saga continues in The Wayfarer’s Road. Healer Jan-nell, now a woman traveling alone with her precocious young daughter on the Wayfarer’s Road, meets a handsome wandering bard. But he is carrying his own secrets along with the priceless chance at hope for her and her child to belong.


The stranger stepped a bit further into the room and pulled back the wet hood of her sodden, brown cloak, revealing a delicate, fair face. A thick chestnut braid curved across one suede-covered shoulder like a docile snake.

“It is the changing moon,” her soft voice answered. She untied the laces of her cloak and pulled the cloth free from her other shoulder, revealing the black curls of a three-year-old child against her thigh-length tunic. The girl’s little arms wrapped protectively around the woman’s brown leggings.

WayfayersRoad200x300The traveler shook the water from her cloak and asked, “Might I have a dry bed, sir?”

The innkeeper’s eyes narrowed. “We be not offering beds to women alone. This be a respectable place.”

“I am not alone,” the woman answered, smoothing the child’s curls from off her face. “Would you deny a child a dry blanket?”

The innkeeper frowned. “Good woman, if that indeed be what you are, it is not seemly to be housed here without your man.”

“I take care of myself,” she said and struck her great staff against the floor for emphasis, ignoring the customers’ mumbled responses.

Buy Links

MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore:

Find the first book in the Bowdancer series at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Monday’s Friend: Christina Weigand

Today I am interviewing MUI author Christina Weigand to the blog, in reciprocation for the visit she allowed me to pay to her own blog earlier this year.  Welcome, Christina.

SJT:  All writers are readers.  Who are your influences?

CW:  God, my faith. Other writers like Bryan Davis, Wayne Thomas Baston, Donita K. Paul, Darlene Reilley, Mariana Thorn and Sarah Jayne Carr to name a few.

SJT:  What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

CW:  If it is your passion then keep on writing. Don’t let others convince you that you’re not good enough or that you should be doing something else. Write because you want to write, because that’s what you do. Don’t write to become rich and don’t write what everyone else says you should be writing. Writing what your heart and soul lead you to write.

SJT:  Tell us about your latest release.

Sanctuary of Nine Dragons (1)CW:  Joachim banishes Brandan to prison island of Hyogo. His infant son, Prince Airyn disappears from his cradle. A chain of events is set in motion that will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parents against children as Brandan and Joachim struggle for control of their sanity and their very lives.

With Brandan declared dead and his son missing Joachim sinks into despair and anger, where those close to him fear he may never return.

Is Brandan really dead and if he is, who is manipulating the Mantion and enemies of Crato?

Can Maeve save her country and her husband from the tentacles of evil pervading the land?

SJT:  Have you ever been inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?

CW:  That’s hard to answer.  I don’t set out to put a particular person or people in my books. But, being a person myself I can’t help but be influenced by the people that come into my life. So I am sure that someone might see themselves in one of my books but it was never my intention to put them there.

SJT:  When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?

CW:  Seat-of-the-pantser.

 SJT:  What are you writing at the moment?

CW:  I have a couple of projects in the pipeline and I have been waiting for one to jump to the head of the pack. The story that seems to be in the lead  will contain dragons and continue to explore young people’s faith or lack of it as a young man will confront the trials of life and have to decide what to believe.


Christina Weigand is a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania, returning there after a short sabbatical in Washington. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing, she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, or with the church theater group, volunteering at her daughter’s school helping the children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.

Find Christina on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook, or visit her blog.

Monday’s Friend: James Crofoot

Today I am interviewing fellow MUI author James Crofoot on the blog. Welcome, James.

James CrofootSJT:  What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

JC:  Don’t get discouraged with rejections letters. You’ll get a few before you get that first contract. AND learn from the ones that give you a critique, some will. Read them and listen to the constructive ones. Work on the mistakes. How bad do you want it?


JC:  My newest release is about Thomas coming to terms with the magic he knows. Although he still thinks it evil and unnatural, he’s got Christina to willingly play his conscience.

SJT:  Your new book is classified as a YA fantasy.  Do you write other genres also (ie adult, non-fantasy?)

JC:  Yes, I write more contemporary as well, I’ve a few out as we speak.

SJT:  Why fantasy?  What’s the attraction for you?

JC:  My first love, when quite young, was history. From there it went to Mythology, Greek and Norse. The two just kind of mixed when I started plying RPGs. I always loved feudal period history so swords and sorcery wasn’t a big step.

SJT:  Your website says you’ve travelled extensively.  Any favourite places?

JC:  Wow, someone actually has seen my site? Haha. I loved Alaska, but the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen was at sea. There was this one night when I was in the Navy, I had to take the trash to the fantail, the back of the ship, to throw it over. After, instead of going right back below, I walked to the forecastle, the front most part of the ship, and looked straight up. With a clear night, hundreds of mile from the nearest land and city lights, the Milky Way stood out as a band of white stretching from horizon to horizon. I just stood there and took in every star. More than I could begin to count.

SJT:  Which of those little cultural differences have struck you most in dealing with locals in different places?

JC:  I’ve found the people are really the same no matter where you go. If you get away from the tourist traps and take the time to get to know the people there, a smile will be answered with a smile.

SJT:  When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?

JC:  I would really have to say somewhere in between. I jot down scribbles a lot, brainstorming I was taught to call it. Just general things, some dialogue maybe. I get the story in my head then do some research perhaps, Then I write, but sometimes the thing just flows from my mind onto the paper, almost as if there’s nothing in between.

SJT:  What are you working on right now?

The Continuing Journeys of a Different Necromancer 200x300JC:  I have two pieces in the works as of now. I had planned to get away from The Necromancer series but my sister and a reviewer of my first book talked me into doing one more to make it a Trilogy. I think it’s going to be my best yet. I’m constantly learning new ways to put the words down and what to look for in writing. As I said first off – You have to pay attention to some of that constructive criticism.

SJT:  Thank you, James, for being my guest today!

Author Bio.

Now a published author, James has two books available from MuseItUp publishing and a story on an online magazine SilverBlade. His books are also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Above all else, he hopes you enjoy his work.

Learn more about James by visiting his website.

BristolCon 2013

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This year will see my first attendance at BristolCon, a one-day convention organised by the Bristol Fantasy & SF Society, in its fifth year.

This year’s event takes place on 26 October, and now that the programme has been officially released I am pleased to be able to announce my programme items.  I am going to be quite busy for this one.

I am kicking off at 10:00 am with a panel on innovative deaths.  Lots of scope there for interesting discussion, I am sure.  Between now and then I shall be trying to come up with new and gruesome ways of killing people.  All in the name of research, of course.

At 2:00 pm there will be a mass signing for all authors present, and an opportunity to sell books, and I will be pitching up there with copies of SOUL SCREAMS.  I’ll also be happy to sign anything that contains one of my stories, and I’m putting this out as a challenge to try and find who’s got the oldest publication.  Has anyone out there got an old copy of PEEPING TOM with my story in?  Or, to go even further back, the October 1989 issue of FEAR?  If anyone brings me one of these to sign I’ll give them a free copy of one of my books.

At 4:00 pm I am moderating my first panel – on the pros and cons of small press publishing.  I am really excited about this, as I think it’s a perfect topic for me to be moderating, and there are lots of discussion points on this subject to put to the panel.

There are many other fabulous items on the very full programme, and if you are able to get to Bristol for the day do consider coming along – there aren’t too many Cons that you can do in their entirety in a day, and the membership for this one is a mere £20.  A bargain for the price.

Britain’s most established genre Cons are BFS FantasyCon and EasterCon, but it’s reassuring to see a rise in the number of smaller Cons that start out as small local gatherings and gradually get bigger every year.  The UK may be too small to compete with the US for the number of Cons, but there’s no doubt that the number of SF/Fantasy/Horror fans in this country is on the rise.  And where fans gather, Cons will happen.  The only down side is there are now so many fantastic Cons, I have to decide each year which ones I’m going to do.  I have neither the leave allocation nor the finances to do all of them.  I wish I could.

If you make it to BristolCon, do seek me out – it would be great to see you (if nothing else, as a reassurance that people do actually read this blog).  In the meantime however, I must dash.  I’ve got to go and think up some intelligent questions to ask my panel.