Nine Questions with… Jaimie M. Engle

Today I have the pleasure of an interview with Jaimie M. Engle, author of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. For those of you unfamiliar with Jaimie, let’s take a few moments to get to know her. Welcome Jaimie, why don’t you take a few moments to introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you…

Bio PicI have been writing since I was seven, and still have all the stories I wrote in crayon. I knew at an early age I wanted to be a published author, and finally reached this milestone thirty years later. In the meantime, I became a wife and mother of two ridiculously crazy boys, ran a body shop, modeled bikinis, danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show, and even managed a hip-hop band.

Tell us about your writing process?

I generally begin with an idea, be it a dream, a snippet of dialogue, a setting. From there, I may have the end in mind, or the climax to build toward, but usually that is all I’ve got when I get started. The story speaks to me and I feel more like I’m dictating than anything else. Most of the time, my cliffhangers surprise the hell out of me, so I’m certain the reader won’t see the plot twist coming either. My goal is 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday, which should produce a finished novel within 3-4 months. After I make it through the first 2 or 3 chapters, I DO NOT go back and read anything in my story until I get to the “the end” and I wait at least a month after that to let the story simmer.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

At this time, I’m gonna say no. I love middle grade and YA speculative fiction. It’s what I read, and it’s what I write.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

  • The Bible, because it showed me the influence of the written word.
  • Alice in Wonderland, because it showed me anything can happen inside my imagination.
  • Harry Potter, because it showed me the importance of character development.
  • The Hunger Games, because it showed me the depth and power of voice.
  • The poetry of Shel Silverstein, because it taught me pacing, cadence, and word choice.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

My first novel is titled Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. When I was writing it, I thought the young Logan Lerman was a perfect fit. Of course, by the time my book becomes a movie, he’ll be taking his kids or grandkids to see it!

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Remind myself to breathe, than thank God for his favor, because that would be the only way my books would get on that list. I’m just not that good. J

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Yes. I avoid cleaning my house and cooking dinner in a timely fashion. I don’t drink, quit smoking in February (yeah me!) and I drink coffee on a regular basis, writing or not.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Besides managing my family and home, I offer a critique service for aspiring authors. I love helping people out, and have been told I’m quite good at it, so I began editing manuscripts about a year ago. I also volunteer at the elementary school’s after school writing program, which I absolutely love! I get to work one-on-one with kids who love to write, teaching them tools I wish I had at their age. Lastly, I teach essay, creative, and SAT prep writing to several homeschooled students, groups, and even college level students. Combined, these jobs give me the opportunity to work at home, makes some extra cash, and still be available for my kids (oh, and have time to work on my own books).

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

I’m currently shopping a YA supernatural fantasy novel, so I’ll keep that one hush-hush until I sell it (Lord willing!) But I’m currently 14 chapters into a MG horror story: Stephen King meets Tim Burton. I’ll share the first few lines of that one, since it’s not sitting with agents at this time:

The cab door closes behind me with a hiss, like hydraulics lowering a coffin into the ground. I stare ahead, at the quaint, two-story house bordered by a white picket fence, with flower boxes hanging off the upstairs windows filled with petunias and daffodils and buttercups.

Flowers for my grave, the new house, my coffin.

Slowly, I cross the cobblestone drive to the fence, my meager belongings wedged inside the duffle bag and suitcase I carry. Loose sand crunches between the stones as I grind my teeth. Humid air from the bay slaps me across the face as if to say, “Welcome home, Ashton.”


Yeah, right.

Thank you Jaimie for sharing that with us! Now let’s take a quick look at Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light…

cover with correct colorsClifton Chase couldn’t possibly know the mysterious arrow he finds in his closet will lead him to the year 1485. Two princes need his help, but why? Carrying the Arrow of Light, a weapon forged from the Tree of Knowledge itself, Clifton is led on a journey to face fire-breathing dragons, kidnapping by merpeople, and a final battle, which will end the War of the Roses and the reign of a tyrant king. Will Clifton discover his purpose on time and save the day? Or has the arrow chosen the wrong boy?

Sounds great doesn’t it? Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon!

Thank you Jaimie for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date with what Jaimie is doing, you can find her on her website, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also read the first six chapters, and download free coloring pictures, crossword puzzles, & word searches at her website.

Oh and as a special treat, here’s the book trailer!


Nine Questions with… Killion Slade

Today I am very pleased to feature an interview with Killion Slade, author of the new novel Exsanguinate. For those of you unfamiliar with Killion Slade, let’s take a few moments to get everyone acquainted!

KillionSladeKillion Slade is a married writing team who met in the virtual realms of Second Life and virtually enjoy everything. Members of the Horror Writers Association and the Paranormal Romance Guild, they storyboard their characters inside Second Life as their avatars reveal their stories. Tucked away in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Northern Montana, they stay busy chasing kids, corralling horses and cats, and enjoying the harvest from their garden. They spend time working on becoming self-sufficient in the shite ever hits the fan. To learn more about Killion Slade, please visit, Facebook, or on their Amazon Author Page.

Welcome Killion! Tell us about your writing process?

Together we plan out a full outline on the book and then structure the chapters into screenplay scenes.  Often times the characters will reveal goodies we had not considered, and they’ll take us down an unexpected tangent. We listen when they talk.  When they’re not talking – we ignore them and work with someone else until they are ready to reveal… and that is usually when I’m in the shower or washing dishes!  We like to brainstorm together, talk through the impacts, would that character truly [act or say] in a certain instance.  We always refer back to the book’s bible to keep characteristics, traits, and dossiers straight.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

We would love to attempt a sci-fi or high fantasy book sometime.  In our book, Exsanguinate, we get to dabble in many genres.  Horror, romance, sci-fi technology, paranormal, and fantasy.  It is truly a cross genre type of book.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

For Mr. Slade, it would be The Wheel of Time series from Robert Jordan and the Myth series from Robert Aspirin.  For Mrs. Slade, it would be from the Rachel Morgan series of The Hollows by Kim Harrison, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and the humorist books from Molly Harper.  Then of course, we cannot discount the myriad of horror writers from the well-established to the amazingly talented indies.  We love them all!

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

This is such a fun question!  We actually have a Pinterest board for our characters and enjoy thinking about who could be in our cast.  Our heroine would played by Amy Adams or Emma Watson and our hero would be played by David Boreanaz, Joe Manganiello, or Jason Momoa.

Nice choices! What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Take a screen shot and send it to my mom.  Pour myself a mimosa and start the outline on the next book!

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I used to turn to whiskey to allow the creep factor to seep into my words and crawl out onto the page, but I soon realized that the more I drank, the more I had to edit.  Hence, the reason you were given a bottle of Jack Daniels in your challenge 😉

I wondered where that came from! Though I do believe my character made good use of it J What do you do when you’re not writing?

Preparing for the apocalypse.  Raising a daughter to be a lady, and enjoying the second life we have made for ourselves in Montana.  This usually includes brainstorming for the next story lulling around in our heads.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

From Exsanguinate – World of Blood Series – Book One

The pain gave clue it might be time to pray for death – that would be easier than remaining alive. My eyelids, heavy as cast-iron skillets, made it difficult to see through the haze. Prying them open revealed intense, bright light bouncing off shiny surfaces, forcing me to close them once again. When I found the courage to peek, the penetrating, painful light made it difficult to focus. My hand ventured out to help me understand my surroundings. I discovered warm skin at my fingertips.

“Cheyenne? I’m here, baby. It’s ok-kay. You’re in the hospital. Everything is g-gonna be just fine.”

I followed the welcome sound of my father’s voice, managing to focus enough to see his swollen, tear-streaked face. His lips trembled as he bent forward and kissed my forehead. His stutter and affection hinted he had terrible news or I was dead. Considering the amount of pain I was in, I would have preferred the latter.

Oh! Sounds fantastic! Thank you Killion (both of you) for taking the time to answer my questions! Now lets’ take a deeper look into Exsanguinate

Exsanguinate_CoverA Halloween scream night theme park adventure for software gaming developer Cheyenne O’Cuinn reveals a hidden supernatural reality she never dreamed existed. Recovering from a vicious attack and her sisters’ abductions, Cheyenne must rescue her sisters from vampiric kidnappers before they’re used to breed warmongering dhampirs.

Betrayal lurks in every corner. Cheyenne must evade attackers by unconventional means through her online role-play game. She must navigate through virtual, tortuous clues and mailed body parts, which cross over from her virtuality into reality. Can a team of dragons, vampires, and werewolves come together to help her? Who can she trust? Will the help from her virtual lover become compromised when he learns of her new immortal existence and crush the fragile love they share?

Amidst an impending vampire apocalypse, Cheyenne finds herself both in conflict for survival and for her heart. Will her immortal self derail any hope of solving the multiplying puzzles before time runs out to save her sisters, herself and her humanity?

There’s also a trailer for you to watch!!

Nine Questions with… Soleil Berlin

Today on the FlipSide, we have author Soleil Berlin answering the burning questions you all want to know. For those of you unfamiliar with Soleil, let’s take a few moments to get everyone acquainted…

Soleil Berlin was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Since she was a teenager, she has been an avid reader of romance novels. She enjoys writing novels that keep readers interested until the very end.

What is your writing process?

I begin by writing my ideas in a notebook, then I create an outline for the book.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I strictly enjoy writing about interracial romance.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Five books that influenced me as an interracial romance author are The Color of Trouble by Dyanne Davis, Shades of Desire by Monica White, The Color of Love by Sandra Kitt, The Taming of Jessi Rose by Beverly Jenkins and Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey. These novels influenced me because it was refreshing to read romance novels featuring interracial romance.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I would cast Thandie Newton at the leading lady and Henry Cavill as the leading man.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

I would call my mom.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

(Editor’s Note: Author chose not to answer this question)

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I am not writing, I enjoy wine tasting, traveling, visiting friends and spending time with my family.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

(Editor’s Note: Author chose not to answer this question)

Thank you Soleil for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Soleil, you can find her on her Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, or her Website.

Now let’s take a sneak peek into Enslaved to Love: Return to Me

Enslaved to Love Return to Me CoverThey say forbidden love is the best kind, but it is definitely not the easiest or safest. A chance acquaintance, finds Josephine increasingly attracted to a man that is about to get married. Flashback to the 1800s in England, the time when black people were servants and nothing more, being called slaves had just been made illegal but there was no difference in the treatment. Life as a servant was very hard and cold for Josephine until she met Andrew; the son of her new owner. He made life bearable for her by offering her his kindness. That kindness quickly turned into love and as much as Josephine tried to resist it; her heart was not in agreement with her head. Could their love thrive in a world where black and white should never mix? Would their love withstand the test of time? How will they find their way back to rekindle their love? Return to me…

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Nine Questions with… Clara Lee

Today I’m pleased to present an interview with Clara Lee, author of The Cupcake Theory. For those of you that don’t know Clara yet, let’s take a few moments and get to know her…

Clara LeeMy name is Clara Lee. I am an Author, Coach, Speaker, Model, and Business Consultant! I was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Northern California. I am a graduate of Boston University. I am passionate to help and inspire people in overcoming hardships, self-confidence, and relationships! I live in Los Angeles, Calif., with my puppy Blueberry. My philosophy in life is that all things must transcend from within and that true beauty can only come from within. I was inspired of this idea at 19 years old when I temporarily lost my eye sight due to glaucoma. After overcoming this hardship, I have dedicated myself to sharing my messages and philosophy to the world through my various passions as entertainer, consultant and coach.

Welcome Clara, tell us about your writing process?

My writing process starts from observation, learning, epiphany and realization! Then follows extensive thinking, organizing my thoughts, research, connecting with experts and other wise people/mentors. Most of my writing process begins at little coffee and tea shops or in everyday places! I like to jot down ideas on anything ‘writable’ from coffee shop napkins to coffee cups and shoe boxes to notebooks whenever an idea or an inspiration comes to mind – I write them all down! Sometimes you don’t necessarily need a notebook and a pen to start writing and get inspired!

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

Hmm… outside of self-help and personal development, I would say Fantasy/Sci-fi!!!

Oh, that’s very interesting! You’ll have to come back when you write that fantasy/sci-fi tome you’ve got hiding inside you! What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

For those who want to fly, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Present, The Gift of Imperfection, Leadership and Self Deception.

All of these books are inspirational, and they touch upon the idea of individualism and embracement of who you are and what makes you. These books encourage you to also acknowledge your flaws and transform them into something empowering and serving.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Well, if I woke up in bed?  I would ask my puppy Blueberry to paw tap me and lick my face to make sure I am awake and not dreaming. Then if it’s really happening, I would roll around my bed (seriously!)… After I calm down a bit, call all my loved ones, contributors in the book and thank each of them. After that? Brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed then run out of my house and distribute 100 books around the neighborhoods of Los Angeles for three straight days.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Hmm excessively eating dried mangos or eating a whole pint of almond butter while writing.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Play with Blueberry, connect with loved ones, get inspired/think, yoga, dine, dance, model, consult, and coach!!

Coach models and actors, young and older professionals on image, self-confidence, and relationships. Speak at seminars and workshops for non-profits, corporations, and other organizations. Work on my business and provide corporate consulting for top companies.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

Still in development J please stay tuned!

Such a tease!! Oh well, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with The Cupcake Theory…

The Cupcake Theory Cover“THE CUPCAKE THEORY” is a powerful and encouraging book of wisdom, by Korean-American author, entertainer, consultant, and entrepreneur Clara Lee, that will empower and help women understand how they can best flourish in romantic relationships. Through using a charming analogy of the relationship between the cake and the frosting of cupcakes, the book reinforces concepts of balancing one’s own self-awareness and needs with the desire for fulfilling romantic relationships.

“It doesn’t matter how great and lavish your frosting is… because that is not what makes you who you are,” explains Lee, regarding her theory. “What makes you who you are, is you—the cupcake without all the decorations and glitz. Be whole. Be solid. Be beautiful. BE YOU!”

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Get your SIGNED copy from!

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Nine Questions with… Shenoa Carroll-Bradd

Today I have the pleasure of presenting an interview with Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, author of a great many things. I’ll let Shenoa tell you all a little bit about herself…

ShenoaHello! I’m Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, writer, dreamer, and snark expert extraordinaire. I grew up in Southern California, moved to Texas for a decade, and now I’m back, living near the San Bernardino Mountains. It’s been a fantastic writing year for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to share my little nightmares with you.

Currently out:

“The Minstrel Angel” available for download on

“Rings and Waves” in Locothology 2013: Tales of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Due later this year:

“Spectrum” in Song Stories: Dark Side of the Moon

“Pool Closed” in Fear: Of the Water

“Red Hot Mama” in Tales of the Undead-Hell Whore vol. 3

“Have You Seen Her” in Dying to Live

“Emancipation” in The Urban Eddur

“Secrets of the Seven Symphonies Circus” in Daylight Dims

“Demon’s Drink Free” in The Last Diner

“Rose’s Wilting” in Monster Hunter: Blood Trails

“Welcome” in Spirits of St. Louis: Missouri Ghost Tales

“Beheld” in Ignite

Due in 2014:

“Aldini’s Tether” in Raus! Untoten! vol. 4

Next year, I plan to focus more on longer works, and will try to finish up several of my fantasy novels-in-progress.

To keep up with my progress, please visit my blog at, join my fan page at or say “Hi” on twitter @ShenoaSays

Awesome news Shenoa! Tell us about your writing process?

I don’t have much of an official writing process, certainly not a set schedule. I write whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, whether it’s in the car or in the middle of dinner.

When inspiration is being coy, I tend to write the first draft in broad strokes, like I’m telling someone a story. On the second draft, I write the scenes in order of interest to me, so that the clearest sections materialize first and the rest of the story follows. For the third draft, I read through and flesh it out further, making sure the seams are covered and everything flows as it should.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I’m a big Ray Bradbury fan, and would love to get better at writing science fiction. The few sci-fi pieces I’ve written so far have yet to find a home.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King both helped with my writing focus and motivation, as well as some of the more nuts-and-bolts mechanics of good writing.

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill – This short story collection really inspired me to try harder and put more faith in my writing. Joe Hill’s stories are exactly what I’d like mine to be someday.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce – This is one of the first fantasy books I ever read, and I loved how vibrant and lovable the characters were, and how fierce the female main character was. This was the book that made me want to become an author.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle – absolutely beautiful, heartbreaking and magical. I always recommend this book to fantasy lovers, and would be thrilled if I could write with ¼ of Beagle’s verve.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

For my fantasy novelette “The Minstrel Angel”, I would cast Colin Morgan (or Benedict Cumberbatch) as the titular angel, Iain Glen as Captain Harmon Barrett, and Charles Dance as The Magician.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Hah! I would scream, probably tear up a little, then call my mother. And, likely do an embarrassing victory dance in the kitchen.

There is nothing wrong with a victory dance! Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

What an interesting question! I do prefer to write with a drink at hand, as it loosens me up and quiets my inner critic. Other than that, I have a couple rings I like to wear as I write, because the sparkle as I type is like a silent cheerleading squad.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m probably binge-watching shows on Netflix, baking, crocheting, or playing role-playing games with friends.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

This is the opening of last year’s NaNoWriMo project, “The Shadows of Chateau Vrai”, a prequel to this year’s “Parchment Girl”:

Deep underground, a metal man sat at a table hewn from the rough, dark stone of the cavern walls. Long crystals hung from the roof of the cave, casting everything in a milky blue glow. The metal man shone like polished moonlight. He paged through an unbound manuscript, spending no more than a few seconds on each page, his glass eyes flying back and forth over the carefully scribed lines.

Footsteps approached down the earthen hall, and the metal man carefully closed the manuscript. He folded his hands and bowed his head, as if in sleep.  

A slight man stepped through the cave wall, the glamour he had set up in place of an actual door. The stone pattern flickered as he passed, and seemed to solidify again behind him. The man stood only as tall as a child, but had long white hair gathered in a delicate braid, banded in silver, and a beard the same color.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Shenoa! Now let’s take a look at The Minstrel Angel

Minstrel AngelThe forces of mankind face certain defeat as a demon army closes in, but when they capture an intriguing, inhuman spy, his dark powers may prove to be just what they need to turn the tide.

Clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon!

Nine Questions with… Is Looking for New Blood!

As October draws to a close and the Coffin Hop kicks off as the whirlwind of Horror goodness for 8 days, I will be looking for more authors to participate in my ‘Nine Questions with…’ interview series.

The interviews are posted here every Wednesday on a first back, first posted basis. Hits average from 100 to 250 unique looks for each post with some being a little more popular than others.

If you are interested in participating, feel free to send me an email at JulianneMSnow (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the questions!

~ Julianne

Nine Questions with… Aspen deLainey

Today I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming Aspen deLainey, author of Love ‘n Lies to the FlipSide. Welcome Aspen, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

AspenDeLaineyI live in the Foothills of Alberta with hubby darlin’ and two of my four children, a dog, a lovebird and a glowering of semi-feral cats. You can find me at dawn on some mornings watching wildlife strip my vegetable garden. But I wouldn’t trade country living for all the beans on the stalk.

I think I might have been born with the Muse as my fairy godmother because story ideas pellet me daily; some days hourly. One of my earliest memories is writing a story for my younger brother, in crayon on a picture book, receiving my first critical review moments later, in the form of a spanking. Never deterred, I continued to make up stories, finally letting a few escape my clutches in 2010.

The Evermore Chronicles developed its concept while I worked in the seniors’ medical field. One sweet old lady, a patient’s wife, confided to me she wished she’d been born a fairy so she wouldn’t have to get old and useless. That brought oodles of questions to mind about paranormal beings having medical problems in life? What happens to aging Vampires, Wizards, Trolls and the like? Who would have the experience, the knowledge to treat them? Can you imagine? The questions begged to be looked into. Any of course, immortalized.

Tell us about your writing process?

I seem to get story ideas pelted at me when I’m minding my own business, watching people, listening to music or a TV show.  I think about it off and on for a day or two. If I dream about it then I know I’ve got a good idea, so I write enough of the story down to get my subconscious involved. Once I get a bit some flavour to the story idea, I write down the beginning and the end. My first idea of those – not written in stone. I develop a character, write down bits of info about her/him, get to know them. They need a birthday, approximately. They need a body type, an age, hair color, eye colour. I have to be able to see my characters, hear them, know them well.

So, yes I’m a part time plotter, definitely using quilting in my story, but mostly I write by the seat of my pants. I’ve been known to protest, very late at night, that I have to finish a scene ‘cause I want to know how it ends.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I’d love to write a believable murder thriller. I read and read books in that genre, but I haven’t the cold-blooded mindset to pen my own yet. The stories I try seem a little too friendly so far.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Goddess, that’s a hard one. I read and reread Zelaney’s Zen and the Art of Writing weekly, mainly to get my fingers in motion. That whole ‘I’ll dream a bit more about the story, make it better’ procrastination ploy I think lots of writers fall into.

I fell in love with fantasy stories when I found Andre Norton’s Witch World series. Lately Jim Butcher’s Dresden series and Anne Bishop’s Black Jewel series intrigued me enough to try writing a more playful, looser style that I believe/hope makes Leticia, in Love ‘n Lies feel like a neighbour you just don’t know well. Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series helped me see other creatures having human-like behaviours. And, believe it or not, I like to read Mark Twain for hints on timing.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

Leticia would be excellent played by Molly Quinn who plays Alexis Castle in the TV show Castle.

I think Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob in Twilight, or Zachary Quinto who plays Spock in the new Star Trek movies would make a decent Justin.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Probably I’d immediately go back to bed, sure I’m dreaming. When I woke up the next time, I’d ask my family to confirm that information. Then I’d panic, run around gibbering. I’d make sure hubby darlin’ saw the Best Sellers List. I’d phone my mother and email everyone I know to brag.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I am a horrible person. I smoke cigarettes. If I’m stuck in a scene I grab a smoke and walk outside. A glass or a bottle of wine helps me over the intense parts. Has to be pretty bad to get me to drink more than a single glass as I don’t write well – my fingers forget where the proper keys are – when I’ve had too much to drink.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m a reader. I always have more than one book on the go. I love surfing the Net. And I live in the country, so I like to take my dog on long walks. In the spring I’ll walk for miles to this pond I know. I watch the swans come in, nest and raise their little ones. Not too close though. Swans are mean about their territory. They are faster than you expect and can hit hard enough to leave big bruises.

If I’m sitting watching TV I like to keep my hands busy, so I crochet, knit, embroider, quilt and sketch.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress. If you’d rather not share, we can insert the first 9 nines of the book you have just published.

I’m writing Howling Hearts at the moment. It’s another of the Evermore series.

Ah Goddess, don’t fail me now, Rand prayed.

Adrenaline spiked through her body lending her the strength to fight the slide she felt through the steering wheel. She braked. One tire caught traction, swinging her vehicle closer to an edge Rand sensed but no longer saw.

“No!” she shouted. “Don’t you dare!” Her knuckles whitened as she tightened her grip, forcing her strength and will into the battle for control of her steering wheel.

A touch of gravel under a second tire, and Rand goosed the gas, straightened the wheel in what she hoped was road-direction.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. I love to listen to people, watch them interact as I make up stories concerning the who, what, and when about them. I often get ideas from phrases in songs or shows and news on TV. The Evermore series actually conceptualized during my stint working with seniors. I wondered what might happen to supernatural beings when they got sick or old. And any time I wonder about things my mind makes up a story to explain the workings for me.

Thank you Aspen for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up-to-date on Aspen’s writing and the Evermore Chronicles of which Love ‘n Lies is a part of, you can follow her on her blog or on Twitter.

Now let’s take a peek into Love ‘n Lies

LoveNLies_AspendeLainey_Final_coverGaining weight is a human problem. At least that’s what Leticia always thought. But when this vivacious vampire wakes from her year-long slumber and discovers that her formerly svelte frame has retained a few extra pounds, it becomes apparent that something has gone amiss.

A girl just can’t wander around the Calgary Stampede in clothes that don’t fit! So she sets about the task of shopping and working out a low-cal diet of humans she can live on. When her friends notice how depressed she is, one of them suggests she adopt a tomcat named Justin to keep her company. Little does she know that she would fall madly in love with her new kitty. The moment she does, the spell cast over Justin is broken and he takes his true form – a long, tall, dark haired man with an insatiable sex drive. Letty is more tempted than she ever thought possible and can’t keep her hands off him anymore than he can keep his off of her.

After taking him back to her childhood home, Evermore, to consult with the head wizard Silvius, she soon discovers the Warlock who cast the spell over Justin isn’t letting him go so easily.

Throw in a nasty twin sister who’ll do anything to get her hands on what Letty has, including Justin’s more than hot body, and you end up with Love… ‘n Lies!

If you would like to pick up a copy, they can be found online at:

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, India




Nine Questions with… Aiden Truss

Today I’m pleased to feature an interview with Aiden Truss, author of Gape. Welcome Aiden, why don’t you take a moment to introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

AidenI’m a forty one year-old geek who still thinks that he’s twenty-one. Despite never having grown up, I’ve now been married for twenty four years and have two sons who have grown up against all odds to be strangely well adjusted.

I spend my time flitting between high and low culture: I hold an MA in Cultural and

Critical Studies and can often be seen stalking the galleries and museums of London, but I also like watching WWE, listening to heavy metal music, collecting comic books and playing classic video games. This confuses many, who seem to think people should be either high or low-brow in their interests, but I enjoy the confusion.

In terms of appearance, I’ve been told that I look like a bouncer or a builder and have had people laugh at the suggestion that I might have an artistic side.  I’m always glad to confound their expectations.

I grew up in South London but now live in Kent, England. Gape is the second novel that I’ve written but the first that I’ve attempted to have published. I’m also working on a collection of short stories, a novel about growing up as a geek, and I’ve written a few thousand words of the sequel to Gape. I have to admit though, that I’m scared to commit to it fully in case no-one reads the first book!

Tell us about your writing process?

Like many writers, I keep a notebook to jot down ideas, names, chapter headings and book titles. If someone says something interesting in conversation then it goes into the book. If I’m people-watching and notice a particular trait or affectation then it all goes in the book.

When I actually have an idea for a story, then I sit down in front of my laptop and just go for it. I then refer to my notebook if I need a character name or an idea for something. I also use it to keep a track on characters and minor plot details. I don’t plot anything out in advance – I can’t work that way.

I procrastinate and find diversions like everyone else, but force myself to write 2,000 words a day when I’m really going for it. I have no routine as such and might start at 7.30am and finish at lunchtime or I might go all day writing very little and then have a sudden spurt of creativity around midnight and not get to bed ‘til 3am.

I don’t know if this all counts as a process or just describes someone who is very disorganised and lackadaisical…

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I love science fiction, but I’m not sure that I’m scientifically clued-in enough to write anything really convincing. I’ve tried short stories, but am not confident enough to go for anything really lengthy. The best writers in the genre all have a weight of intellect behind their work I don’t possess.

If you had asked me about working in a different medium, then that would be easy: I’d love to see Gape as a graphic novel or a comic book series. I’d be more excited about that than if someone was to offer to make a film of it.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

First would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Other than Dracula, this is probably my most read book. When I was younger I’d read it from cover to cover and then go back to the beginning and start again. I was a Dahl fan in general – he had such a dark view of childhood that was delightful.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula would be the second. It scared me out of my wits when I first read it when I was around 11 years old. I’ve read it over and again and have about nine or ten different versions of the book in various covers and editions. My favourite is Leonard Wolf’s The Annotated Dracula.

Third would be George Orwell’s 1984. I can’t say that it has influenced my writing so much as it opened my eye to the power of language and how it shapes our perception of the world. That much of what scared Orwell has now come to pass is regrettable, but at least we were forewarned.

I was never a big Tolkien fan, but I remember someone lending me Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. This really turned me on to fantasy novels in a big way. I know that purists see it as a derivative work which draws on all the usual fantasy tropes and archetypes, but it was so exciting to read at the time.

Finally, if I had to choose, I’d cheat and go for a trilogy, Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle: Taliesin, Merlin, and Arthur. I’ve read a lot of Arthurian fiction but these books put them all in the shade – including Mallory’s Mort d’Arthur. Taliesin was the first book that I can remember that actually moved me to tears.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I was asked this before and I suggested Ben Whishaw as Priest and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Rose – both actors that I really like. I didn’t think about who might play Astolath, but after a bit of rumination, I quite like the idea of Kane of WWE fame playing the arch demon. I think he’d have the required ‘presence’ to carry it off.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Turn around and go back to sleep again. After all, I probably wouldn’t have to work again for a while!

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Only caffeine. I don’t need any more distractions!

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot and generally have two or three books on the go at the same time. Other than that, I go to quite a few gigs, I collect horror movies and memorabilia and comic books. I’m also a dyed-in –the-wool gamer and have about twenty different consoles and handhelds – much to my wife’s disdain!

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

He was awake but just not ready to move.

The thought of movement and of actually facing the full onslaught of the day agitated the tiny butterflies living in his stomach and so he just lay there staring at the insides of his eyelids. He listened to the soft hiss of the machine next to his bed which was feeding air to his breathing mask. Beside him, his wife slept. She stirred slightly as if aware of his discomfort but not waking to fully share it. With a titanic effort he sat up, reached for the off button and pulled the mask from his face.  It was no use trying to avoid the inevitability of the day. The bedside alarm would soon shatter the calm anyway and the house would be full of voices and activity. Better to try to grab a coffee in peace before having to show a brave face his family, let alone to the world beyond his front door.

Where do you find your inspiration?

In the works of other writers.

Now let’s take a quick look at Gape

Gape_Front_Cover_Only_FinalWhen Rose woke up in her favourite shop doorway, she was resigned to yet another day of hunger, struggle and abuse. This was life on the streets after all.

What she wasn’t prepared for was a visit from a demon, an invitation back to his temporally insubstantial sanctuary, and forced to take sides in a battle involving most of the denizens of hell. Oh, and a boat trip down the river Thames.

After a disappointing start to the day, things were about to get a bit more interesting…

If you’re interested in picking up a copy, Gape can be found in both digital and print versions.




Thank you Aiden for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date on Gape and Aiden’s writing, you can find him on his website or Facebook Fan Page.

Blog Tour: Sometimes in Dreams by G.L. Helm

Today I welcome author G.L. Helm to the FlipSide. For those of you unfamiliar with G.l., he’s just released his new contemporary romance called Sometimes in Dreams. Now let’s get everyone acquainted. Welcome G.L., why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you.

Gary_HelmOK then.  Greetings blog travelers. My name is Gary, though I write under the name G. Lloyd Helm. The reason I do that makes sense to me, but mostly not to anyone else so I am not gonna try to explain.  I am a classic ne’er-do-well scribbler who lives at sufferance from my remarkably patient wife.  I went to college and got my Bachelor’s degree in History which was training for seeing the world with frightening accuracy, but not for making me useful anywhere.  Consequently I have held a few different jobs down the years while continuing my literary ways, including dish washer, Taxi driver, department store clerk, mail handler, brick layer, ditch digger, house builder and house tear-er downer, but most importantly I have been house husband and father to my two sons. They were the bane of my existence when I was trying to write when they were young but I miss them terribly now they are grown and off on their own adventures.

Tell us about your writing process?

I am always puzzled when people ask me what my “writing process” is. I sit myself down in front of the computer and try to tell the story that has been buzzing around in my head for days or sometimes weeks or even years. Some days that story just rolls right out. Most days it has to be dragged kicking and screaming from my psyche and thrown onto the page which makes writing difficult for me, but I caught the literary disease a long time ago and I can’t seem to shake it so I just keep sitting down in front of the computer. When I am working good I manage to write at least a little everyday, or at least I try to fool myself into that belief. Sometimes though the process is sitting down and writing the word THE followed by a long pause before I finish the sentence with “HELL WITH IT.” And go for a walk.  Still, I have managed to write several books and reams of short stories so I guess the method sort of works.

Is there a genre other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I would like to write mysteries where the hardened private eye with a heart of gold solves murders that no one else can solve, or mysteries like John D. McDonald wrote. I’d like to create a new Travis McGee but I probably won’t. I write in the fantasy genre but my fantasies are not like everyone else’s. The only magic in anything I write is the magic of the moment. I create people who have power thrust upon them though most of the time they don’t want anything but to be left alone. Now that isn’t true in my book SOMETIMES IN DREAMS. It is pretty much a romance set in the fantasy world of Venice Italy, but it is fantasy cum tragedy.

Interesting. I have an idea for a murder mystery but I’m not sure I could make it engaging enough… What are the five books that have influenced you most and why?

I read voraciously and across boundaries. The only thing necessary to make a book interesting to me is that it have words in a line, but having said that I’ll try to narrow it down a little. Hang on cause this may shock and worry you, but the book that has most influenced my writing and my life is the Bible. I’ve read it cover to cover several times, believe some of it, disbelieve some of it, practice some of it’s lessons and pointedly do not practice some of its teachings. The stories in it are so good. They are so human. The good guys aren’t always good and the bad guys are sometimes bad at the behest of good intentions. Next I would say THE GRAPES OF WRATH, because my people were some of the Okies that came to California in the second wave that happened after WWII so I really identify with the Joads.  Then would come any of the novels by Robert Heinlein. THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. I like his independent characters who seem law abiding until it doesn’t suit their purposes anymore. Next would be Ray Bradbury’s stories, especially THE ILLUSTRATED MAN. His mind had so many dark fascinating alleys and his words were so magical that I was just sucked in from the first.  I’m down to the fifth book and I’m stuck because there are so many.  Hemingway’s THE SUN ALSO RISES because I know about Spain, since I lived there for three years.  Kurt Vonnegut’s CAT’S CRADLE and SLAUGHTER HOUSE FIVE.  But understand that any of these is interchangeable and they rise or fall in the list depending on my mood.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main character?

I must say straight out that I don’t know. I know the people in the books as themselves. I would have to leave it to someone else to decide who could play them.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers list?

If I woke to find SOMETIMES IN DREAMS on the NY Times Best Seller list the first thing I would probably do is cry with relief. I have struggled so hard and so long that such recognition would lift me to the heavens. The next thing would probably be to buy a full page ad in the Times that said “THANKS TO MICHELE Who believed. My epitaph will no doubt read HE MARRIED WELL.”

Do you have any vices you turn to while you are writing?

Don’t really have any vices anymore. I quit smoking twenty plus years ago and have never been much of a drinker. I like a beer now and again, but I have to be careful with that now because I am diabetic. I like naked women so I sometimes chase down pictures of same on the internet.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

See the above answer about pictures of naked women which tells you what I do when I’m not writing. And, as I also said above, I read voraciously. I also tend to just mind dump in front of the TV sometimes.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work in progress.

First nine lines—first paragraph actually—of what I am working on… it’s called


“I started out to be a minister.  That’s what I went to college to do.  Learn how to preach the gospel.  Learn about God and his will and how I fit into same.  The first part was a bust.  I didn’t make it to the ministry and I thank God everyday that I didn’t because I’m pretty sure I didn’t belong there.  The second part, the learn about God part – we’ll see how that works out as I go along.  I’m really torn about God.  I’m of several minds about the creator stretching from profound faith to atheism, to thinking that he is some writer of sadistic comedy existing in some other dimension.  I’ll have to wait until they pat me in the face with a shovel to really find out if I have learned anything about the creator of course, but that is still part of what I am working on in this life.”

Of course none of that is written in stone. It has already been changed a half dozen times and will probably be changed another half dozen before I finally quit fiddling with it.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration?  Beats me.  I think it comes from still being a little boy who likes to play pretend in my heart of hearts.  A lot of my stories are really just wish fulfillment.  Isaac Asimov told me that he wrote because he liked the worlds he created better than he liked the real world. I can’t say that. A lot of the worlds I create are not wonderfully nice places but they are my worlds and I feel responsible for the creatures in them which makes me like God in those worlds which sorta inspires me to find gentler ways of dealing with my creatures. So I guess in a way we are back at the first question. I have found inspiration in the Bible. I mean one of my books WORLD WITHOUT END is a plain rip off of the Rebellion in heaven and other New Testament ideas so… yeah, put that down. “He is inspired by the Bible.” Makes me sound much classier than I actually am.

Thank you Gary for taking the time to answer all of my questions. Now let’s take a look at Sometimes in Dreams

SometimesInDreams_FrontCover_FullSizeDaniel Pentland is a broken man; torn between the two women in his life. He is tormented by guilt over his love affair with a beautiful English girl he met while living in Italy, and the loyal devotion of his wife, Amanda.

Two years after the tragic death of his lover Kit, he is continually haunted by her memory. Across the sands of the Mojave Desert, her voice calls out to him, pulling at his heart and his memories.

Each night as Daniel wakes screaming and fighting against the phantom of Kit’s killer, his wife does her best to soothe his pain and help him overcome his grief.

Sometimes in Dreams is a story of redemption through a love that simply refuses to die.

Purchase Links:





Book Tour: North Dark by Lane Kareska

Today I have the pleasure of presenting an interview with Lane Kareska, the author of the recently released North Dark. I’ve worked closely with Lane on this project for Sirens Call Publications and am thrilled to see it come into fruition. So let’s take a moment and introduce you all to him…

LaneKareska_AuthorPhotoLane was born in Houston, studied writing at Columbia College Chicago and his MFA is from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he was awarded a Fellowship to live and write in Ireland. He traveled Europe and South America to research his graduate thesis. Lane teaches creative writing and work in technology and new media. His fiction has shown up in Berkeley Fiction Review, Sheepshead Review, Flashquake and elsewhere.

Lane is deeply addicted to comic books, thrillers in all forms, and the most lethal Chicago cuisine.

Welcome Lane. Tell us about your writing process?

My writing process is basically writing a painfully appalling first draft, and then trusting that through the next hundred or so drafts, the true story will emerge.

It really is an iterative process. I’m not sure how many “drafts” North Dark went through but I know the number was crazy high. I basically locked myself away, put my head down, and hacked away at it for a winter. Writing is one thing, but rewriting is where the knives come out. A high draft volume is critical. My feeling is that anyone who has ever produced a perfect first draft is probably either divine or a liar.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

The majority of my favorite books are actually spy novels; however, it’s not necessarily the spying that engages me. More often than not, what grabs me in spy novels is a combination of the travel, the propulsive motion of the plot, and the sex and action.

My graduate thesis was a spy novel and I’m actively researching and working in that genre. North Dark is not, in any real sense, a spy novel. However, there is common blood: the rogue protagonist, the driving momentum, the swift and concussive nature of the violence, and maybe even the dry gray moral center. But I dunno. When I think of North Dark and its genre, the conclusion I always come to is Dark Fantasy—which is to say people get hurt with bladed weapons.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuinn is a phenomenal novel that can be read at almost any age. That’s a book I’ll always have on my shelf and I expect to learn something different from it every time I return to it. In addition to being a deeply instructional fantasy text, it’s also an exceedingly proficient hero’s journey. It’s one of those books that could be stripped of all the cool stuff—the dragons, the invented history, the naming systems—and you’d still have an exact and perfect template of a hero’s journey, because of that, it is a book that would speak to almost anyone, from anywhere, from anytime.

Doctor No by Ian Fleming was the fifth book featuring the character James Bond and it’s also probably the most outlandish. Bond fights a man-eating squid at the end. This novel in particular is probably the best example of the difference between Spy Fiction and what’s called Spy-Fi. Bourne would be Spy Fiction, Our Man Flint would be Spy Fi. Doctor No is rife with absurd action, exotic locales, barely clothed women, it’s an utter blast. Pure fun.

Dune by Frank Herbert was a book I had to force myself to read, but I was very glad I did. It’s similar to A Wizard of Earthsea in some respects, but a key difference is that Herbert is never content to suggest or imply anything in his world-building. He follows every line of thought, every stream of invention and explores thoroughly the universe he has envisioned. My style is probably starker than that, veering toward minimal, however, Dune inspired me to try to explore the world of North Dark as comprehensively as a sociologist would a new culture. Very little of that content is in the text directly, but it’s encoded in the spirit of the book, it supports the narrative, and hopefully its presence is felt, and the world of North Dark is more persuasive for it.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck reads like a thriller, disguised as a parable, and it clocks in at, what, less than 200 pages? This is the book that I think of when I consider the term “novella.” If it were any longer—if it was overstuffed—the tension would probably just erode. But as it’s written, it’s swift, totally engaging, and in the end, fist-to-the-nose concussive.

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, this isn’t a book necessarily, but a comic book crossover event from the mid-1990s that just utterly blew my mind. It’s collected now in a series of trade paperbacks, I think over four volumes, and I can’t say if it still stands up, but when I read it as a kid, it was like I was discovering Star Wars for the first time. Age of Apocalypse reimagines the entire history of the Marvel Universe as an apocalyptic wasteland in which Charles Xavier never formed the X-Men. The results are unpleasant: Africa is an irradiated black hole, Manhattan is a devastated blight-kingdom, and all of the character motives and relationships are reshuffled in sometimes disturbing ways. That was my first introduction into Post-Apocalyptic fiction.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

The main character of North Dark is a young man named Two Crows who—and this is the truth—I think has more in common physically with Jack Skellington than any actor I can think of. He’s a wiry, resilient guy who takes more than a few beatings throughout the story and by the end he’s a vastly different Two Crows than the one we meet at the beginning. He takes some beatings, but he gives as good as he gets.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Check my bank account.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I drink a lot of liquids, listen to a lot of music, I talk to myself. The act of writing is itself a little vice-like: it’s private, weird, best done at night, in the dark, alone.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

My favorite things in the world are reading, writing and traveling. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. And also, for me, those activities are cooperative; they feed into one another. Reading and travel are symbiotic, and the more I do of either, the more I want to write.

And now here are the first 9 lines of North Dark:

Treesplitter sees that his sons neither hear nor understand him, so he waves his whipping torch and they all spread out to search the ice caves. His sons are capable, not useless. His gloved hand clenches the stalk of the torch as he enters the ribbed blue socket of a nameless tunnel he played in many times as a child and teenager. The windhowl shuts off as he passes into the low slung shaft. The light of his torch flaps on the icerimed ceiling and walls. Once he is far enough within to no longer feel the sharp scrape of wind on his face, he throws back his foxfur hood, searches the ground for footprints in the frost, and sees none. That does not mean he is in no danger. That does not mean the fugitive is not just ahead of him, hiding in the dark, blade drawn. Treesplitter grips his sharpest knife and advances quietly.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired by place probably more than anything. When I was writing my graduate thesis, I got to travel Europe and those six months were at least as beneficial to me personally as any one year spent in the classroom.

Walking around a city—especially a new city—is about the most inspirational thing I can do. I’m lucky now because I live in a part of Chicago that’s really conducive to walking around. After work, I walk to my bar, walk to the library or a café to write, walk back home to write some more, take another walk to figure out whatever problem I’m having with the writing, then walk back home. Writing is pretty sedentary, so it’s good to move and get some blood in your brain. But the larger issue of inspiration is, for me, deeply associated with place. The setting of North Dark is a frozen wasteland, a horrific tundra in the grips of a second Iron Age, and that is very much reflective of the place where it was written: Northwest Indiana during a long, cold winter. It’s a landscape that pretty neatly mirrors the world of North Dark; shuttered industrial compounds, thick expanses of woods, waves frozen in heaps on the shoreline. A lot of that—I suppose all of that—was inspiration that made its way into the book.

Now let’s take a look at the book – North Dark

NorthDark_Cover_FinalSet in a lonesome and barbarous failed state, North Dark is the story of a lone man traveling by dogsled across a frozen wasteland in pursuit of the fugitive who destroyed his family.

Haunted by predators both physical and spectral, the musher’s journey takes him across a deadened tundra, tortured cities and the remains of civilizations long-lapsed into madness. All the while, his enemy slides in and out of striking distance, always one step ahead, always one act of violence away.

Should you decide you’d like to pick up a copy, they can be found here:

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Brazil, Japan, India

Thank you Lane for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Lane, you can find him on Twitter.