Lynne North Blog

Fantasy Author

Crimson Cloak Publishing Authors – Jess and Keith Flaherty

In this interview we meet authors Jess and Keith Flaherty.

1) Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

Jess & Keith: We are certainly hoping to write as a career one day soon, but for now we both work at other things as well.

Keith: I’m a general manager and chef for a little country store in southern Vermont. As to the second part of that question … Yes and no. There are aspects of the job that I like a lot, and I really like who I work for, but my ultimate goal is to be able to work with Jess and write full time.

Jess: Outside of writing and editing, I’m a special education teacher. On the one hand, that’s great because it’s important work and I’m good at it. I also get to do a lot of project based learning and since I am a passionate science nerd that means fun stuff like dropping things off the roof and making enormous messes, which is always fun, classroom or not. But, on the other hand, my real passion is writing. It has been for most of my life. I look forward to a time when writing and working with Keith is my day job.

2) Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

Keith:  I’ve only been writing seriously for about two and a half or three years.

Jess:  I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I wrote pretty seriously in college for a while, then I got out of the habit, sort of lost the spark. When Keith and I started writing together a couple of years ago, I found that passion for words again. I’ve always said, “I’m a writer,” but it feels a lot more real when I can hand people a copy of our book!

Keith:  I love the telling of the story. I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons when I was younger, and I think that’s where it started. Whether I was the DM and leading other people through a story or playing a character myself, I loved the creation of it, the details, watching in unfold.

Jess:  I like meeting the characters, figuring out who they are and how they’ll react to events, seeing them grow. I like to joke when I go to my desk that I’m going to go hang out with my imaginary friends, but in a way it’s not a joke at all. Our characters are, after a fashion, some of the best friends I have ever had or will ever have.

3) Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

Jess & Keith: We really enjoy writing fantasy and are pretty caught up in the paranormal fantasy universe we’ve created for our series The Arbitratus that just launched with our book Always Darkest.

Keith: Fantasy in some way, shape, or form has always been my favorite thing to read, regardless of the subgenre involved. It’s an escape, to a degree, a place where you can leave the world you know behind for a while. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that.

Jess: I’ve also been a fantasy fan my whole life. The first book I remember reading on my own was The Hobbit and no matter what else I’m doing, what phases I’m going through, I always come back to fantasy. I’m particularly excited about dark and urban fantasy because it takes the mundane things of the world we live in and makes them something new.

Keith and Jess: We also really enjoy the research involved in good paranormal fantasy. It’s tremendously important. We can get a little obsessive. There’s no name, no symbol, no mythology in our books and stories that doesn’t have some grounding in real history, mythology, or art. We take creative license with all of those things certainly, but for us that grounding in the real world is so important because our story is contemporary, and features mythological and historical characters, so it has to ring true, to feel familiar.

4) As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?

Keith & Jess: Best thing? When Always Darkest came out, definitely!

Keith: Not much is up there with your wedding day or holding your firstborn in your arms for the first time, but publishing a book makes the top five, for sure.

Jess: Definitely publishing the book was the greatest thing so far! There was a lot of singing and dancing around the house on my end. That can randomly happen anyway, but this was a particularly joyous bout of it. And I don’t think that will diminish over the course of my career. We’ve had a few short stories come out since and it’s the same feeling of elation.

Keith and Jess: In terms of what we’d like to see happen, we’d love to see the series come out on film. So many books that appeal to young people have done it and been done well, gotten people excited about reading. It would be great to see our characters, our story play a part in that. It would be wonderful to be part of a faithful adaptation that brings fans even further into our world in the wonderful and surprising ways that only film can.

One of the most interesting questions we’ve been asked around that is whether we had actors in mind when we were writing it.

Keith: The one character we talked about an actor in conjunction with as we developed him was our character Cain. He’s ancient and full of secret knowledge and magic, and we just liked the idea of him not coming across that way. We wanted sort of an affable cowboy who’s a lot smarter than he lets on. Woody Harrelson kept coming up as we wrote Cain.

Jess: I had a moment where an actor sort of leapt off the screen at me as one of our characters, after we had finished the first draft. We were taking a night off from revising and just watching a movie. We’re both X-men fans, and First Class was available On-Demand so we rented it. Neither of us were overly familiar with the cast. The minute the audience is introduced to Alex Summers – Havok, my jaw absolutely dropped. Other than his eye color, Lucas Till, who I had never heard of before seeing him in First Class, looked so much like I pictured our character Ben it was almost scary. I’ve become a bit of a fan as the result of that.

5) How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?

Keith and Jess: We absolutely love meeting and talking to our readers in person.

As much as possible, we try to reply to our fans individually and personally, just as quickly as we can. That’s one of the wonderful things about social media. A reader doesn’t have to travel or stand in line or find an event we’re doing to talk to us about our stories. A tweet, Facebook message or post, an email, and we can have a conversation.


6) Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

Our first novel Always Darkest, which is the first in The Arbitratus Trilogy, came out on June 21, 2017. More than anything else, Always Darkest is the story of a regular guy … well he used to be a regular guy, but sometimes life just takes a sharp turn somewhere along the line. Most good guys set out to become heroes. Ben is just looking to survive the afterlife. Sure, he’s in Hell, but that beats oblivion. Unfortunately, no matter what he does, he always seems to be on the higher-ups’ radar. Vacationing on Earth, he befriends Chris, a scholar cursed with immortality. They discover a prophecy and it’s subject, Mal; a young woman with a remarkable family tree. Mal is drawn into this dangerous conflict against her will, but isn’t interested in going quietly. Ben finds himself with a woman he never should have fallen for, looking for redemption in the middle of an otherworldly war that could tear apart the fabric of the universe. Slippery ancient gods, as well as angels and their fallen siblings try to force Mal to their side. With a small band of allies, Mal tries to shake free of the prophecy and end Hell’s hold on Ben. They just want a future and for someone to help them find it. Good or evil? Her choice could change the world. If that sounds like your kind of story you can find it in paperback or ebook on Amazon.com or direct from Crimson Cloak Publishing.

Link to book on Amazon

Link to Facebook Page

Link to Twitter Page

 

Many thanks for such thorough replies to my questions Jess and Keith. I wish you every success with your fascinating series!

Crimson Cloak Publishing Author – W.H. Matlack

In my ongoing series of posts about Crimson Cloak Publishing authors, today we meet William Matlack.

1) Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

 I write full time now, but I don’t rely totally on royalties to make my living. It’s been estimated (no I don’t know the source, but it sounds quite reasonable) that only five percent of published writers make enough in royalties to support themselves. I figure that at least one percent of that group is named Steven King. Oh, and that same ratio works for actors, artists, and anyone else in the entertainment field.

 2) Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

 With a degree in Journalism, I’ve always written professionally. Once I retired, all I had to do was shift my writing to the publishing side. It’s all about me, now, and that makes it more fun.

 3) Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme?  If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

 I’m a very prolific writer in that I like to show versatility. My published material ranges from humorous short stories, emotional short stories, satirical short stories, a line of graphic stories, full-length mystery novels and, most recently, graphical children’s books in conjunction with a couple of artists. I know I could sell more if I came up with a serial character like a Bosch or something, but I get a little bored with that.

 I’d like to write a truly frightening ghost story, but that genre seems to be way over-written. I just can’t come up with a unique approach.

4) As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?

 Getting accepted by my first publisher was WAY exciting, but then being invited to publish a short story in one of Crimson Cloak’s anthologies was even more exciting, because I hadn’t solicited that. It came from my modest reputation as a short story writer and the many short stories I had already published.

I guess, like most writers, the most exciting thing would be to have one of my books or short stories produced as a movie.

 5) How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?

As a writer, I love meeting people who have enjoyed my work. I’m certainly better at writing than  promoting myself, but both are necessary, and both should be equally as rewarding. The best thing about the promotional side is that I’m promoting my works, not something done by someone else.

 6) Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

I’ve completed five full-length mystery novels, most of them with a paranormal twist, over twenty short stories (most of them somewhat autobiographical), a line of comic books, and one children’s book with two others in art production.

 Most of my work may be seen on Amazon at: http://goo.gl/jloZ8w

 

Great replies, William! Thank you for taking part. Best of luck with your future work.

Here is a link to William’s book published by Crimson Cloak Publishing!

http://myBook.to/grandmaexplains

Crimson Cloak Publishing Author – Ali Lawati

1) Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

My writing is inspired by life experiences. I’m an own voices author and can certainly see the attraction to working as a full time writer but for me that would be a bit bland.

2) Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

Funny you should bring this up (Laugh’s). I didn’t discover the writer within till one evening, when an event set me on the path to storytelling, and you can learn all about it on my website. www.alawati.com.

3) Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

Although, I love writing for children as I find it very fulfilling. It kinda allows me to relive my own childhood. But, I also enjoy writing for adults, and am presently revising a contemporary, romantic thriller set in an exotic location.

4) As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?

The most exciting thing that has happened thus far as a writer is to land a traditional publishing deal with CCP, after relentlessly querying for three long years, which entailed self – doubt, determination and reinvention. I guess landing a book deal sort of validates the whole struggle to publication. My book was a bestseller for 3 weeks in its category. That was pretty amazing too!!!

But most importantly when strangers upon recognizing me in a random place take the time to appreciate my book or those wonderful human beings, who take time to leave a review has to be right up there in the most exciting things.

As to your question about what could be a future experience that would up the excitement. Well, landing a good literary agent would be awesome!

5) How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?

I enjoy interactions with present and potential readers and like the marketing side of the whole experience. Having said that, I would like to be in the supporting section and strongly believe that marketing is an art and like storytelling is my art. I would prefer to leave marketing to those who are experts in that art.

6) Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

I love chatting about my book. But let me share some things those that have purchased “The Greatest Race” had to say.
“Great visual writing.”
“You do setting and character development very well, which is the hardest to do.” “My son really loved Gul and we read it in one sitting.”
“Mr. Lawati, I just couldn’t put it down.”

Gul, a young Afghan Tortoise in Yosemite Park, who impulsively accepts a challenge to race from the Cottontail Clan of rabbits. The rabbits, who are distant cousins of the hares, have been twitching for a rematch ever since the legendary race where the tortoise outsmarted the hare. Set in the harsh yet rich landscape of Yosemite, this fun to read adventure story teaches children about collaboration and fostering relationships while raising awareness about illegal poaching.
One cold winter day in Yosemite, Baba Meerza, an afghan tortoise elder taken from his home in Margalla National Park in Pakistan along with his Horsfieldii Clan by poachers, tells the forest younglings a story about a young tortoise named Gul, who is unaware that his clan’s survival in Yosemite Park depends on the outcome of the race. He accepts the challenge for a rematch with Big Ears, the fastest Cottontail rabbit. Little do the tortoises know that the challenge is a well laid out plan by Bushy, the leader of the Cottontails, to get rid of the Horsfieldii clan once and for all.
This story has a double narrative structure, a story within a story and has an underlying message, that there are no losers but only winners. Additionally, this story for ages 7 to 12 and aims to help children deal with transitions in a positive way by using Gul as a role model when he adapts to change and overcomes challenges in a positive manner.

Currently The Greatest Race is available on Amazon and other major retailers in print and ebook formats, as well as on Crimson Cloak Publishing’s home page.

Go to the book on Amazon
Ali’s author page on Crimson Cloak Publishing’s website

 

I enjoyed reading your replies, Ali. Best of luck with your writing career!

Crimson Cloak Publishing Author – Rick Stepp-Bolling

  • Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

I retired from my teaching career seven years ago, so, yes, I’m a full time writer, editor, and golfer. Before retirement, I had very little time to write and spent most of my time editing my students’ writing i.e. grading papers.

  • Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

Ever since I started writing poems and putting them in my never-to-be-girlfriend’s locker in high school, I knew I wanted to write either as a career or, at least, related to my career. As an English Literature major in college, I knew what good writing was all about, but trying to achieve that level of creativity was, and is, a work in progress.

  • Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

I love writing in different genres because it expands your thinking. I began writing poetry, a short and precise style of writing requiring a manipulation of language quite different from fiction and nonfiction. As a child, I grew up with DC Comics, Greek and Norse Mythology, and Tom Swift books, so fantasy and science fiction were already a part of my background. Later, I moved to Tolkien, Herbert, Asimov, and LeGuin. It was easy for me to write in that genre because I had already lived on Middle Earth, Dune, and Earth Sea islands. Because of my background in English Lit, I also was familiar with fiction writing, poetry and drama, so I had some background in those genres. I’ve also dabbled in memoir writing although unless I sell a million copies of something, I doubt anyone would be too curious about my life.

  • As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?

Wow, the best thing that’s happened to me. That’s difficult. Publishing my first poem, winning back to back Aquarium of the Pacific poetry contests, completing my first novel, publishing my first novel…these all qualify, so it’s difficult to choose a best. Two of the most humbling experiences include reading a poem I wrote for my daughter’s wedding and being asked to officiate a wedding because the couple wanted to be married by a poet. The most exciting thing that could happen would be having one of my novels made into a movie (just wishful thinking).

  • Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

I have three books currently published (none being made into a movie): SMOKE AND MIRRORS, a collection of poems available at Amazon, AUTOCIDE, a collection of strange and bizarre short stories available at Amazon, and PATCH MAN, a fantasy/science fiction novel published by Crimson Cloak and available through Crimson Cloak and Amazon.

http://main.crimsoncloakpublishing.com/rick-stepp-bolling.html

A prophecy declares a small child will decide the victory between two countries paralyzed by war…

An old man sells magical patches on the ruined streets of Hagra-Dis when a small, one-armed girl begs him to fix her doll. An Imperial missile blast kills the little girl, Meesha, but Var patches her back to life, and they flee marauding storm troopers.

Imperial High Command unleashes Ulan, a formidable assassin and mystic who chases the Patch Man and his ragged band of followers through a labyrinth peopled with powerful beings and monsters. Both the pursued and pursuers find themselves in life or death situations when they encounter the Greeter, a mysterious being who controls the entrance to parallel worlds populating the labyrinth. It is in these domains they discover clues to end the war—with little Meesha as the secret key to ultimate victory and peace.

Link to book on Amazon

 

Thanks for your great replies, Rick, and best of luck with your books!

Crimson Cloak Publishing Author – Ayesha Marfani

1)      Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

I write just for the pleasure of writing. To me it is not a career not a part time job. It is just my passion.

 

2)      Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

No, I never dreamt of becoming an author nor did I ever think of it. I was in deep pain at the time I started writing and was struggling with life. Pain gave words to the inside stories and this phase of transformation made me an author.

 

3)      Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

I write in different genres; picture book, fantasy, science fiction and non-fiction. I also want to try my hand at thrillers.

 

4)      As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?

 

The best thing that happened to me are the comments I receive from my devoted readers. Some say I am a Muslimah version of Enid Blyton and some say I write about good virtues that are so rare. I want to be the second Roald Dahl of children’s literature.

5)      How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?

Honestly I hate promotion. It is as tiring as the writing part is refreshing. Book signings ring good to me, yet I haven’t done one yet.

 

6)      Could you tell us something about your published book(s), and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

‘Tales from the Treasure Chest’ was released in July 2017 by Crimson Cloak Publishing Link to books on Amazon

 

Synopsis:

Twins from Exhortation Valley:

Some people wish to have everything in life, and this is what Sara wanted – just everything in life. Some people always envy what others have. They see themselves in the reflection of other people.  Saira envied what her twin had and ignored her blessings. Fate took the twins to Exhortation Valley to make them realize what happens when we get everything in life and lose the blessings that we already have.

A Peculiar and Rackety child:

Abdul Jalil is a boy eager to try out different things. He sets out to experience everything. Things go well until he deviates from his mission in life and he ends up in a mess. Trying to find a way out, at last he finds that in life ‘being human is being everything.’

An amazing family’s holiday adventure:

This family arranges a holiday game with a difference.  Stepping into the shoes of their parents, the children’s role-playing game opens their eyes to the difficulties of being a parent.

 

‘In the light of Seerah’ will soon be released by Fehm-e-deen.

 

‘I am full truth, I am half truth, I am all lie’ will be released by Crimson Cloak Publishing.

 

Link to Author page on Crimson Cloak Publishing’s website

 

Best of luck with your writing and your books, Ayesha!

New place to buy The Chalice of Jupiter!

Delighted to say that my role-play gamebook, The Chalice of Jupiter, is now also available to buy from St Albans Museums! This is a fantastic Roman site to visit should you be in the area or on holiday nearby.

www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk

If you decide to brave this Crimson Cloak Quest you will find yourself in the ancient Roman city of Veradum. Amidst the ruins and dangers that await you, you are seeking the priceless Chalice of Jupiter; but many others have tried to find this precious treasure before you. Indeed, many have died trying. You begin your quest with little to help you, but if you make your choices with care you might be the lucky one. You will face many strong adversaries, determined to end your quest almost before it begins. You need to roll your dice well to ensure you embark on your quest with as much Vigour, Agility and Psi as possible. During your adventure, you will need every bit of all three to achieve your goal, believe me. Will you find the Chalice of Jupiter when so many before you have failed? Indeed, will you even survive? Are you brave enough to embark on this quest? Decide now, because once you begin there will be no turning back …

Wonderful book review!

I am delighted to announce another great review for ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, this time from Book Angels. This has been submitted as a 5 star review on Amazon.

This review is from: Be Careful What You Wish For (Kindle Edition)
WOW where do I start?
First I was given a copy for a honest review.

While this is more of a children/young adult book I enjoyed it. I am now 30 and loved it now I even had my 8 year old read it and she was obsessed with it.

Finn is a young Leprechaun with an adventurous heart who reminds me of my youngest child whom is very adventurous lol.
Finn finds himself in a mess and needs to get out of this jam can he do it and still be the same adventurous Leprechaun he always was or will it ruin him for good?
No sooner Finn gets out of one jam he gets himself into another seems to be the story of poor Finns life. (My youngest and Finn must be twins!)

This book everyone will love and enjoy. All ages if you have a weekend to just kick back and enjoy a good adventure I would highly recommend this amazing book! (Lucky charms would be a great snack.)

5 stars all the way around. Myself, my daughter and another reviewer on my team all agree this would be the perfect book to end your summer vacation no matter your age.

Be Careful What You Wish For Book Review by Beach Bound Books

Review by Stacie Theis
Be Careful What You Wish For is an exciting tale that takes readers on a eventful adventure with a naive little leprechaun that learns the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Finn is a leprechaun that longs for adventure, but when he is kidnapped by a travelling circus and made to perform in a freak show, he realizes his seemingly boring life wasn’t so bad after all.

Well written and filled with vivid detail, Be Careful What You Wish For is certain to become a favorite among middle grade readers. The fast paced action will easily capture their attention and keep them hooked until they learn Finn’s fate in the final pages.

I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Click here to read full article.

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