Friday, January 29, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Shannon Peel

Shannon Peel

Tell me about you, Shannon.

Shannon Peel is a marketer and author living in South Surrey with her two teenagers, one of whom keeps her on her toes with adventures in bad decision making. She leads a boring existence living and working in a 10x10 cell called an apartment. She has made a couple of interesting friends at work, both of whom no one else can see. Life of an author is fraught with hazards, just this morning she burnt her tongue on a hot cup of coffee. You can find her tweeting at @thirteennovel or stalking people on Facebook at 

Yes Thirteen is spelled wrong and no she did not do that on purpose – This is why writers need editors. If you hurry you will probably find her complaining about the lack of a coffee boy and lack of a day job.

Tell me about your current Book:

When foreign soldiers invade the Vancouver area, a 13-year-old anti-establishmentarian must figure out how to get to his dad’s apartment, or else lose him forever.

Think the movie Red Dawn meets reality and hints at 1984 for future books in the series.

What are you working on now?  

Book 2. At least I am supposed to be working on the sequal, however, I seem to be distracted by promoting book 1, social media, looking for that coffee boy and day job I mentioned earlier. Oh yeah and we can’t forget bailing my son out every once in awhile all the while taking my daughter shopping to try and get her out of her solitary confinement cell called a bedroom.

What is your favorite beverage while you write? 

Coffee – is there anything else? I do own a lot of David’s Tea flavours, still, Coffee is numero uno in my world. Just need that damn coffee boy to make it for me and bring me a nice hot steaming mug every morning.

What is your favorite Website?

At the moment it seems to be linkedin, Monster, Indeed, as I try to find a marketing gig to pay the bills. Really if I had to pick something other than the obvious… Netflix. I don’t own a TV and I can’t afford the movies. Have you seen the price of a theatre ticket lately? Wowzers…. No wonder all the single men just want you to come over to watch Netflix and Chill… =O  Oh where have the gentlemen gone?


•    Email:
•    Amazon:  Shannon Peel
•    Blog:
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•    Website:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Steven King on Short Stories

I am putting together a collection of short stories.

--I encourage everyone to write them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quotes of the Week

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
—Joseph Brodsky

Boys think girls are like books, if the cover doesn't catch their eye they won't bother to read what's inside.
—M. Monroe

If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches of the same tree.
—W. B. Yeats

I'll give you the whole secret of short story writing. Here it is. Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2.
—O. Henry

The ideal way to write is as if oneself and one's readers were already dead.
—Nadine Gordimer

The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.
—Arthur Miller

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.
—G.K. Chesterton

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten

The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone's neurosis.
—William Stryon

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Read This Week: Blackout

Blackout by Connie Willis

Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.

--I really enjoyed this book. I am planning a time travel book and like the various angles on the sub-genre.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Mary Sullivan Esseff

Tell me about you, Mary.

Mary Sullivan Esseff
Mary Sullivan Esseff is the author of the Rebecca Butler & Khalil Khoury Novel Series including: The Butterfly & The Snail (Volume 1), which won a top prize in the 2012 Transformational Authors Writers’ Contest, Wedding Tales, Book One: Love's Journey (Volume 2) and Wedding Tales, Book Two: Honeymoon Caper.

Laughter and enjoying life is an intrinsic part of Mary’s being. Her stories can make you laugh or bring tears to your eyes. She has been able to draw on her tenacious wit and rare humor even when difficulties arise in her life. When she had breast cancer, she invited friends to attend her April 1st hair-razing party, either wearing a hat or with a shaved head—well, no one actually arrived with a shaved head. During her year of treatment, she published an on-line e-journal, Amazing Grace, Notes From a Breast Cancer Survivor.

Mary is always searching for what is good, true and lovely. Always fair in making decisions, her husband says, “If you need a judge, ask Mary.” A problem-solver, Mary sees the whole picture, focuses on the real issues. Her characters exhibit many of these same qualities. Her husband Peter's Lebanese culture has inspired her series of "Khalil Khoury" stories, including, Love Made Visible, published in the anthology Three Naked Ladies Playing Cellos.

Mary and her husband, Dr. Peter J. Esseff, are co-founders of a training company, Educational Systems for the Future® that offers workshops and instructional materials to enable Fortune 500 employees to become professional trainers. Since 1969, they have co-authored a series of Guaranteed Learning® books, conducted workshops to teach trainers how to be professional trainers, and written hundreds of instructional modules for Fortune 500 companies all over the globe.

In 2005, Mary was honored by her Alma Mater, Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA, to be a Charter Member of the Libris Society, which exemplifies one or more of the qualities celebrated in the College's motto Fides-Caritas-Scientia (Faith-Charity-Knowledge).
Besides reading and writing, Mary loves to create websites. She produced their training sites (, and and art ( sites. She also loves to travel and has visited countries all over the world for business and pleasure, most recently traveling to Lebanon where Peter’s family gathered for a fabulous wedding—and to give her fodder for future stories. Mary and Peter have three children and three grandchildren and live in Tampa, FL. 

Tell me about your current Book: 

Wedding Tales, Book Two: Honeymoon Caper
During their honeymoon in Nassau, newlyweds Rebecca and Khalil Khoury go for a peaceful outing on a Sunfish sailboat. The wind suddenly grabs the sail and whips the boom around knocking Rebecca into the water. Afraid to get separated from the boat, Rebecca grabs onto the rope used to tie the boat to the dock.

Without Rebecca’s weight, the wind filled the sail and the Sunfish skimmed through the aqua sea pulling the waterlogged young woman behind it. “Let go of the rope,” Khalil yelled into the wind. Rebecca’s answer was an emphatic shake of the head—NO! When Khalil maneuvered closer to the shore, Rebecca felt secure enough to let go and swim ashore. However the current pulled her in the opposite direction until she was beyond the hotel-lined coastline and almost on top of the dangerous waters the natives referred to as the ‘Marauding Pirates’ Cove’.  As if pulled in by Blackbeard himself, Rebecca finally swirled into a cave of tranquil waters.

Unable to touch bottom, she swam to the ridge of rocks that lined the cave’s interior. She stepped on a boulder worn smooth by the centuries of tides that played over the rocks. Knowing she didn’t have the strength to swim against the formidable tide, Rebecca climbed the rocks and began to explore the cave looking for another way out. At various intervals, sunshine streamed in through the cracks in the rocks overhead. Maybe there was an escape route through the rooftop. A glint on the side wall caught Rebecca’s eye. She made her way to the shining object. It was the clasp of a small pouch, which was thin enough to fit in a man’s inside suit pocket. The pouch’s gold clasp had a small ancient-looking key lock. This lock was the same size as the lock on a diary or small jewelry box. Rebecca tried to open it. Of course, it was locked.

Rebecca was sure this was not something a shipload of marauding pirates left behind. However, it could have washed into the cave last August or September when Hurricane Betsy hit the Caribbean. The storm cost the Bahamas fourteen million dollars and left one dead. Maybe someone had been looking for it all this time. She
slipped the pouch into her pocket and inched her way toward the outer chambers. She heard voices speaking in German, but from their tone, knew they were not there to rescue her. Hiding in the shadows, she was able to understand enough of their German to learn they were talking about missing a smuggling pickup due to the storm up north. Were these the smugglers she had read about in the town’s newspaper? Waiting a long time after they left, she finally found the secret entrance to the cave. She pushed it open tenuously, but then hurried to the main road to get a cab back to the hotel to share all she had learned with Khalil. They would open this found object pulled from the wall of the cave. Maybe he could make sense of it of it all.

Khalil opened the package and to their dismay found a handful of exquisite colored diamonds. From their size and color they knew they had to be worth over a million dollars. What were they doing jammed into the wall of a cave? Who were the men in the cave? What did they become involved in on this first day of their honeymoon?

What are you working on now? 

I’m starting my next Rebecca-Khalil book that will interweave their life in current time (1966-1972) with their Lebanese and German ancestors who were introduced in the two Wedding Tales Books. Their stories take place in the first third of the twentieth century. Rebecca will put on her sleuthing hat again and solve another mystery.

What is your favorite beverage while you write? 

I drink only water and herbal tea.

What is your favorite Website? 

I don’t have one particular one that I love, rather I have different genres that I like to visit for research. For example, I build my own websites, convert my books into eBooks, develop instructional materials for clients, and a lot of other technical things. Since I’m all self-taught in this area, I am always searching for how to write particular kinds of code, etc. Since I travel, I love Google Maps so I can plot out my trip ahead of time and figure out where all the restaurants and activities are within the area. I also have an art website ( and love researching the different artists whose works we carry. Although these aren’t websites, I love the various connector apps such as Facetime, Skype and Messages that allow me to connect with my daughter, Sr. Rosemary, in Rome.


Blog:    Beyond the Top of the Mountain
Facebook:    MarySullivanEsseff
Twitter:    @esfinc1

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Audio books with ACX

I love audio books. I will do all my novels as audio books. is a great resource. Here is a good 41 minute overview.

--There is no reason not to have another revenue stream.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Quotes of the Week

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.
—Anne Lamott

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us then ten-thousand truths.
—Alexander Pushkin

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.
—Charles Dickens

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer.
—Steve Martin

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.
—Truman Capote

Only a generation of readers will spawn a generation of writers.
—Steven Spielberg

Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room and doing it.
—William Goldman

Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard.
—David McCullough

Monday, January 18, 2016

Reading this week: Cyberstorm

This week I read Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather.

From Amazon: CyberStorm depicts, in realistic and sometimes terrifying detail, what a full scale cyber attack against present-day New York City might look like from the perspective of one family trying to survive it.

It was OK. I guess I know too much about cyber, guns and survivalism to have enjoyed it more. I found the protagonist to be kind of weak.

Plus the guy that was the survivalist made so many rookie mistakes he had me shaking my head.

All and all it kept me interested.

--20th Century Fox has purchased the movie rights. I will go see it if it becomes a movie!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

RIP Alan Rickman

--Alan Rickman has brought a lot of pleasure into my life. Rest in Peace.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Tony Leslie Duxbury

Tell me about yourself, Tony.

Tony Leslie Duxbury
What to say? I'm more of an accidental writer than anything else. Unlike most of the other writers I read about, I never had a burning passion to write. Probably, because I never thought I had anything interesting to say. At one time I thought it would be great to be a journalist, just because it sounded interesting. Since my teens I was an avid reader and a few times read such dreadful stuff that I wondered if I could do better, but never did anything about it. In my younger days I didn't have the confidence to even think about it.

Art was the first passion in my life, but that was pushed aside by the second: Travel. I had the urge to visit different and exotic places. After living all my life in the north London suburbs anywhere else was considered exotic! On my first trip I went to France. ( I headed for the French Riviera in hopes of becoming a gigolo, but for some reason that didn't work out.) I accidentally ended up in Spain and after that Germany. By that time I was hooked on traveling. I took any crap work to finance my next trip.That was the pattern of my life for many years.

To cut a long story short: By  the early 80s it was becoming increasingly more difficult to find work to finance my trips, so I decided to get a qualification that I could take with me. That's how I entered Higher Education and studied for a degree. The choice was: Staying on the dole or going back to school. During my gap year I had the opportunity to start off a student exchange program in Guatemala C.A. I had previously visited Guatemala and had loved the place, but didn't stay long as I was running out of money. Anyway, while there a malicious god decided to play with me and a local latina stole my heart. (she still won't give it back!) I returned to England to finish my degree, which wasn't worth toilet paper by this time and resolved to get  back to Guatemala as soon as possible. It was when I graduated that I sat down and tried to write.

The idea of writing came from the encouragement of others. After writing six pages of my first novel I suffered acute writer's block, but I took those pages with me when I returned to Guatemala. There, for some reason, I was able to continue writing it. By the time I had finished it, I was hooked on the idea of creating stories and have continued to write. I went on to write  another five  and at the moment I'm on my seventh. So far, only one has been published. 

Tell me about your current Book:

When he is the victim of forced time travel, Jojo Smith must do something to resolve the issue of his return to his own time and planet, because the arrogant magician that caused his problem isn't listening to his pleas to be sent home or else be trapped on a medieval world for the rest of his life.

Ever wonder what it would be like to suddenly wake up and find yourself on another world? Especially on a world that was only in the medieval stage of development. How would you feel? Happy with the unexpected adventure or terrified and shitting bricks? What would go through your mind? You can find out by reading the Adventures of Jojo Smith and see how he dealt with the situation. Warning: this novel is only for those that have the imagination to see themselves in the same situation. If you don't take yourself too seriously you'll enjoy this medieval romp.

What are you working on now?

I am trying to ready my second novel for publication and avoid making all the mistakes I made with the first one.

What is your favorite beverage while you write?

I tried lots of alcohol and it worked brilliantly. The words really flowed, but I couldn't understand a word I'd written the next day. That is, if I hadn't accidentally deleted it! Now, I stick to coffee and tea. It's not as much fun, but at least I can read what I have written.


Amazon: Adventures of Jojo Smith

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quotes of the week

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.
—Dr. Seuss

Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.
—Lisa See

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Ideas—the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper...
—Mark Twain

I rewrote the ending to Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.

Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
—George Orwell

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
—Albert Einstein

If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.
—Natalie Goldberg

You must write for yourself above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.
—Gustave Flaubert

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reading this Week: Rocket Ship Galieo

This week I re-read another classic, Rocket Ship Galileo.

I was really young when I read this. I was maybe 13 years old. It was funny reading it again when I am 56.

This was written in 1947 and was filled with the post WWII optimism regarding space travel. It was one of his books written for the young adult science fiction market.

I love how naive it is. It also shows that he completely missed the fall of the educational system in the US.
It also still had Nazi's as the villains!

I have also been working this week on my collection of short stories and read a couple of other collections:

     Philip K. Dick
     Neil Gaiman

--Keep reading!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: S. L. Bynum

S. L. Bynum

Tell me about yourself, S.L.?

I started writing when I was twelve, and I’m now 26. “Grim Crush” is my first novel, and I just released a second one titled “Dreamvision”. I consider myself a kid-at-heart because I love playing games (board, video) and I like chocolate chip cookies! I also love dancing and warm weather.

Tell me about your current Book:

When she falls in love with a human boy, a grim reaper named Xia must protect him from the Angel of Death, or else his soul will be at risk.

Xia is a seventeen-year-old grim reaper who enjoys doing things her own way. She thinks nothing can be better than having her own scythe and helping the souls of the dead enter purgatory. That is, until she meets Shilah, a Native American boy her age. For some reason, Shilah can see her, while other humans can’t. One of the Rule of Reaping is to never show yourself to the living, but Xia can’t help that Shilah can see her. As she pretends to be human to get close to him, she finds herself falling for him, which breaks another Rule that says reapers can’t get emotionally involved with the living. When she can no longer keep her lie, she tells Shilah what she is and he accepts it, for he has fallen for her too. Just when things seem to be going good for them, Xia’s boss and father, the Angel of Death, realizes she’s been breaking Rules, and now Shilah’s soul is in danger. Xia becomes determined to save Shilah, but can she do it without putting the balance of life and death at risk?

What are you working on now? 

The sequel to Grim Crush!

What is your favorite beverage while you write? 


What is your favorite Website? I’m kind of a music buff, and you can listen to entire albums on this site!

•    Email:
•    Amazon: Grim Crush
•    Facebook:
•    Twitter:

Thanks for participating!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

This is about video but it also works perfectly for novels.

--Orson Wells was kick-ass with scifi!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Quotes of the Week

I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.
—Cheryl Strayed

An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.

To be alive at all is to have scars.
—John Steinbeck

There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.
—Doris Lessing

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.
—William Faulkner

Good writers define reality: bad ones merely restate it.
—Edward Albee

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.
—Orson Welles

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Images that habe Inspired my Writing

This is one of the images that inspired my short story Oklahoma Salvage.

--Even the hat.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Read This Week: The Sunrise Lands

I really enjoyed this book.

Rudi MacKenzie has grown up knowing that he will one day assume leadership over the survivors of the technological disaster known as the Change. But a prophecy made at his birth spoke of an even greater destiny?a destiny that is about to be fulfilled. A mysterious traveler from Nantucket, long rumored to be the source of the Change, arrives on a mission to bring Rudi back with him. And between him and his destiny lies the the cult of a madman determined to stop him?

--This is the beginning of a series. Should Keep me busy for a while.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Shorts Collection

Coming in 2016
This week I was working on my short story collection for the Solstice 31 Saga that I will be publishing this summer or fall.

I have the first five shorts done and available for free via the links to the right.

All these stories give a little more dimension to the complex universe I have created.

Anyway, I was formatting the book using a few of the more advanced features like hot-linked-table-of-contents. I was also selecting the cover art and formatting the books interior.

In a classic jug head move, I accidentally published the thing. It speaks to how easy the publishing interface works if you just click the wrong link it happens!

For about an hour you could have purchased it on Amazon. I have since stopped it but an important lesson was learned.

Do not rush. This is not an emergency. 

I love the fact that in Indie publishing I am the one that is in control. I just have to always remember that I am the one that is driving this bus! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Martin Wilsey
I don't do resolutions. They are too vague. I call mine goals.

I make personal, professional and other goals on January first and put them in a time capsule in the form of a calendar reminder that pops up on December 31st.

The reminder surprised me this year. I did really great on my goals except for the weight goal. Nuff said on that.

My writing goals this year are bigger than last:
  • Publish three more books.
  • Write 10 more short stories.
  • Write a screenplay.
  • Organize and launch Tannhauser Press. 
--I hope you have a great 2016!

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Roxanne Bland

Tell me about yourself, Roxanne.

When I was a child, I discovered wonderful and strange new worlds through my local public libraries and bookstores. I think it was then that I decided I wanted to write for a living. Even so, it took me decades to realize it, despite having won a story competition when I was ten. I mean, I wrote stories, but they were for my eyes only. Later, I submitted a few mysteries here and there, but they were rejected. Pfft—so much for that. So I’m an attorney by day, and a writer by night. I’ve two books under my belt now, and of course, I’m itching to write more, more, more…

I much prefer being a writer to an attorney. Reality is so highly overrated. 

Tell me about your current project.

Temporarily exiled to a foreign land, when priestess Moreva Tehi falls in love with the chief of his village, she must concoct a plan to outwit her goddess lest she be executed for breaking her most sacred vows.

In the service of the Goddess…

The stubborn, spoiled, favored granddaughter of the Devi goddess Astoreth, Moreva Tehi has neglected to perform her sacred duty and now she must be punished for her transgression.  Temporarily banished from Temple life, she is dispatched to Mjor—a backwater village in the Syren Perritory—to assume the roles of custodian of the landing beacon as well as the spiritual leader and commander of Astoreth’s garrison stationed there. In this perilous place of wild beasts, outmoded technologies, and harsh seasonal change, a fragile peace exists between the distrustful hakoi and the hated Devi, held together by an iron-clad Protocol—whose laws, if broken, could lead to war.

She will discover an ally in the kindly village healer Hyme and a dangerous adversary in Kepten Yose, her subordinate. But the gravest threat to Tehi’s future is the Mjoran chief, the charismatic, golden-haired Laerd Teger, whose elusiveness and cool disdain the Moreva finds both infuriating and fascinating.  For it is he who will impel her to break her most sacred vows and seek out the dark secrets of her gods and her world, setting them both on a course that can only lead to damnation and death.


Amazon Page: The Moreva of Astoreth 
Author Page: Roxanne-Bland

Current Activity: 

Aside from promoting the Moreva of Astoreth, I’m continuing a WIP about a werewolf, a vampire and a mage whose individual powers are unexpectedly lost and/or mixed within each other after a spell the three had tried to cast had gone wrong. Now each has to regain his/her powers before they are found out and all hell breaks loose in the city.

What is your favorite beverage while writing:

Favorite beverage while writing: It rotates between Diet Coke, hot tea (especially in the winter), and water.

Favorite website: 

It changes. Right now, it’s The Indie View, a website dedicated to helping indie writers find reviewers for their works. Great site.