Saturday, August 29, 2020

Some of the best words literally ever

 I have, I admit, made use of most of these in my work. They are so glorious! And, yeah, a fair few make it into everyday speech too ... I mean, come on, how can you not use at least 'thingamajig' and 'whatchamacallit'? 

How many people do you see?


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Writer's Wednesday: An Interview with Michael W. Huard

 Welcome to the second weekly interview in row. This week we're chatting to Michael W. Huard, aka Mike!

Let's begin with who Mike is:

Michael W. Huard is a Sci-fi and Fantasy author who has lived his whole life in Maine. He loves the 4 seasons, the trees, and beauty of the state. Writing is a passion of his, the great escape, and telling a story is most wonderful in his eyes.

Hi, Mike, and thanks for being here. Love the author pic, btw! Let's get to it ...

Every writer feels the pull of a story and yet the why and when is different for all. What was your proverbial light-bulb moment? In other words, what sat you down to start writing for the first time?

As a teenager I started playing a table-top role-playing game called Dungeons & Dragons. I became a game master and was the one who played out a story-line at the table and people were really enjoying my tales.

Through the years it was easy to play and get the things out that entertained me. But as I got older and older, the time needed to gather everyone up became less and less. So finally, I took to writing. I knew it was my calling the moment my first book was published.

Tell us a bit about your process. Do you have a schedule? Do you plan or are you a seat-of-my-pants writer?

Every day I work hard in both my genres. My series are Dystopian Sci-Fi & Fantasy, and Gothic Horror & Fantasy. I write, promote, edit, format, and visualize where each are heading for the future.

My kind of reading genres! Now that the world has changed due to a pandemic, how has your writing changed?

As of late I have had more time to write and focus on all aspects of my series. I thrive in the quiet morning hours.

I'm more of a night owl, myself :) Many writers in the present either write far more or find themselves unable to write. Have you experienced one or the other in this life-altering time we now live in?

I have been writing like a mad man!

Awesome! That means we'll be seeing more from you soon ... On a more personal front, which four words would you use to describe yourself?

I believe in myself!

Great use of your four words! Which four words would you use to describe your work?

Creative escape for all!

Often personal fame and prominence for your work go together, but frequently authors prefer remaining in the background while hoping their work will assume the limelight. Is this true for you, or don’t you mind a bit of fame?

I would love my books to become movies, ha ha!!!!

So ... no problem there!!! Give us an overview of your books to date, and know that we love to read excerpts. Share with us your favourite bit of writing from you latest book.

My first series The Mystical Slayers is a science fiction tale that takes place in the 31st century. It tells the story of a brave sisterhood of women fighting for freedom in a not so beautiful America.

My latest series is called Gothic Legends, which tells the tale of an ancient vampire, Count Rothchild. He who yearns for love, but finds only blood.

I’m very excited to be wrapping up book 3 in this vampire series.

Excerpt from “FOE OF MANKIND”

Count Drakko Del Rothchild stepped forward and lowered himself into the water, going fully under. When he came back up, he swung his long, dark hair back from his face and announced with vigor, “I feel reborn.”


Having read all about Drakko, I concur - that explains the man to the T! Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!).

That’s top-secret information, ha ha. Actually, I am returning to my Sci-Fi Series and working on a 6 novella series featuring the Mystical Slayers.

Now for fun, let’s ask about the favourite things we all like to read about …

Favourite book: Dracula

Favourite movie: The Postman

Favourite TV series: The Witcher at the moment!

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite food: Taco’s

Favourite drink: Water

Favourite pet: I once had a cat named Ty!

Favourite place: A view of the ocean in Maine

Favourite place to write: Home

Favourite season: Fall

Favourite pastime (other than writing!): Martial Arts

Oooo, LOVE The Postman! And thoroughly enjoyed The Witcher :) And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?

Bruce Lee, and I’d ask him how he found such great passion for life?

I remember watching his movies years ago and thinking he has so much energy :) Thanks for chatting to us, Mike, and good luck with Foe of Mankind!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Reviews, reviews ...

From The LORE Series site: What follows is two reviews for The Kinfire Tree audiobook and one for Lore of Arcana: Omnibus Edition, and every review counts, even when it’s 3 stars

Audio links in the ARCANA page

Click on the Omnibus cover in the sidebar!

Our Lanterns Glow - Print Edition

 Less than a week to go before Our Lanterns Glow launches! The ebook version is currently on pre-order for $1.29 (£0.99) but if you can't wait, do order a print copy today (only $6.99).

This has been a labour of love for me and I am proud of this book, for it ticks all my boxes.. It isn't merely inspirational, it's also thought provoking. Short as it is, it's a quick read, but it's also the kind of book one will feel the need to browse through repeatedly. As it states in the Introduction:

I do hope you take the plunge!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Update re audiobooks

 Given the changes last week - books being approved and so forth - here's an updated graphic of my audiobooks.

Ancient Terra

Book 3 is coming along, if slowly!
Once all four books are completed, an omnibus edition will go live :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Writer's Wednesday: An Interview with Wade Peterson

Wade and I connected recently and he has motivated me to resurrect Writer's Wednesday here on my Writing World, the mid-week interview. Thanks for that, Wade!

Let's kick off with who Wade is:

Wade Peterson has been writing stories all his life but didn't realize it until recently. He's poured a lifetime of playing tabletop role-playing games, listening to 80s and 90s hair metal, electrical engineering misadventures, and collecting dog-eared fantasy & science fiction novels into his current series, Badlands Born. Wade has lived and worked across much of the United States and lives in Dallas, Texas. 

Wade's first book is Badlands Born (reviewed on Writing World HERE!):

She tried to take the easy way out. But life after death is killer…

Jasmine Shaw believed being dead would solve all her problems. But instead of reconnecting with her deceased twin brother, she wakes up in a grim desert afterlife where zombies want to munch on her brains. And no sooner does she escape that fate than shes pursued by an indestructible psycho samurai.

Harried and terrified, Jasmine teams up with an Eighties glam-rocker wannabe to navigate the unforgiving landscape. But with a horde of flesh-eaters and the katana-wielding nutjob hot on their heels, all roads seem to lead to ruin.

Will Jasmine find her sibling at the passage to Heaven, or will she be skewered by a warriors blade?

Badlands Born is the first book in the gritty post-apocalyptic Badlands Born fantasy series. If you like complex heroines, gruesome ghouls, and Eighties Easter eggs, youll love Wade Petersons page-turning tale.

Badlands Born

And now we speak to the man himself ...

Hi, Wade, and welcome!

Every writer feels the pull of a story and yet the why and when is different for all. What was your proverbial light-bulb moment? In other words, what sat you down to start writing for the first time?

I was reading a media tie-in book for the Rifts tabletop role-playing game and nearly threw the book at the wall half-way through. I was so disgusted that of all the stories possible in such rich and complex game world, the author went with something plain and forgettable. In that moment of frustration and supreme arrogance I remember thinking "I could write something better than this." A few months later I was devouring books on writing and workshopping my short stories with other writers in town.

So many of us follow the adage 'write what you want to read'! 

Tell us a bit about your process. Do you have a schedule? Do you plan or are you a seat-of-my-pants writer?

I have the most mental energy in the morning so I write until lunchtime and get everything else done in the afternoon. After dinner I'll write some more, or else read. I'm very much a planner and I outline all my stories, bookmark images, and map out my setting so I don't get lost and confused along the way. Once I start the draft, it's a by-seat-of-your-pants experience. I would say my outline sets the story's guide rails and waypoints but it's vague enough that I can surprise myself with something that arrives organically.

Now that the world has changed due to a pandemic, how has your writing changed?

Pre-pandemic, I always had the house to myself but now my wife and kids working and taking classes at home I've had to deal with a few more distractions. On the flip side, having everyone around and knowing I only have X-number of distraction-free periods each day keeps me from procrastinating and these past few months have been some of my most productive.

The pandemic hasn't changed my current book in progress, but it might affect the next one. It would be nice to say these are unprecedented times but the more I see the range of reactions to Covid-19, it seems like we're no different than humans dealing with other pandemics like Spanish Flu, Cholera, or the Black Death. For all the advances we've made in medicine and building a modern, rational society we're still just as flawed and biased as our ancestors. 

Many writers in the present either write far more or find themselves unable to write. Have you experienced one or the other in this life-altering time we now live in?

I'm writing far more than usual, partly because my family is now around to see me if I slack off, but also because it's great escapism. Plus, as the author, I have control over what happens. Good can triumph over evil, cleverness can overcome brute strength, and hope is never lost no matter how desperate times might seem. It beats the hell out of reading variations on the same headlines every day.

Ain't that the truth! Fiction has certainly helped us cope in these times, whether as reader or writer, or watching a show on Netflix and others :)

On a more personal front, which four words would you use to describe yourself?

Funny, thoughtful, quiet, strong.

Which four words would you use to describe your work?

Fantastical, humorous, gritty, human.

Often personal fame and prominence for your work go together, but frequently authors prefer remaining in the background while hoping their work will assume the limelight. Is this true for you, or dont you mind a bit of fame?

That's an interesting question. Since I don't write under a pen name, I'm stuck with whatever fame or infamy my work attracts. Would I mind fame? When I think about famous authors these days it's usually because they've said something awful and social media is out with their torches and pitchforks. I'd like to think I could handle fame well, but I suspect I'd make a hash of it somewhere along the way and be on the receiving end of something similar. Doesn't sound like fun, but on the other hand, it always makes my day when someone sends a note saying they appreciated my book. I admit that little ego stroke is nice, so I'll risk it.

Give us an overview of your books to date, and know that we love to read excerpts. Share with us your favourite bit of writing from your latest book.

The Badlands Born series is my love letter to the 1980s. It starts with our hero Jasmine waking up in an afterlife created by her long-dead 17-year-old brother, who loved nothing more than MTV and B-movies. He created the perfect world for himself and abandoned it when things began breaking down and turning it into his personal hell. Jasmine doesn't know if she's tough enough to find her brother but she embarks on a road trip through hell anyway, dodging zombies, cannibals, and motorcycle samurai.

In this passage, Jasmine has just escaped her captors and freed her friend Helgo, a shaman-engineer in charge of keeping the airship Caliphate of the Clouds's zombie-powered engines running. She'll need his help freeing her other friend Cally before they can leave for good.


Jasmine’s vision cleared to see Helgo stepping away, a dark-stained hammer in his hands, the guard’s head cracked and leaking blood.
    “Nice of you to drop in, girl,” Helgo said.
    “Captivity hasn’t improved your sense of humor.”
    “Or yours.” He nodded to the guard and grinned his black-toothed grin. “Thank you again. Seems I owe you two lives now.”
    “You can start by helping me find Cally.”
    “We should leave. The Caliphate is on fire.”
    “I know. I’m the one that started it.”
    “I’m not surprised.”
    “We can leave once we get Cally out of the hareem.”
    “Is that all, sneaking a girl out of the holy-of-holies?” He blew out a short laugh. “Then we better make some help.” He moved toward the guard’s body and began straightening it out. “Go bring me that toolbox and then give me a hand with this one. We don’t have much time.”
    Helgo dipped his finger in engine grease and painted glyphs and sigils on the overseer’s body. He hummed a song in the back of his throat as he worked, waving Jasmine to silence when she was about to ask what he was doing. After humming three songs, both Helgo and the corpse were covered in greasy tattoos. He grunted as he rose and looked about.
    “What do you need?” Jasmine said.
    “Need a wire about yea thick,” Helgo said, making a circle with his thumb and forefinger.
    Jasmine cast about the room and found a cable running between a console and one of the machine’s outer pods. She held it up, and Helgo shook his head.
    “Bigger. That’s a baby python. I need its mother.”
    Jasmine went farther inside the machinery and found a larger cable. She stood and gasped as she caught a glimpse inside the pod. Beneath the translucent glass lay a thin, blackened body. The hair looked like patchwork, frazzled in one place, down to smooth scalp in others. Then it hit her: a deader. She was in an engine room, surrounded by deaders.
    “Any luck?” Helgo called out.
    “There’s one the size of my wrist,” she said.
    “That’ll do. Hang on, I’m coming back with some cutters,” Helgo said.
    He shuffled toward her, careful not to rub his grease marks against the pod frames.
    “They’re all deaders, aren’t they?”
    “Sure are. They’re powering the Caliphate, and keeping it aloft, but they’re overtaxed. They’ll burn out before long, and then the Caliphate becomes a gilded rock.”
    He twisted a brass plug where the cable met the pod and pulled it free. He measured out about ten feet and snipped it with the cutters.
    “So what are you doing?”
    “If we’re going to get your friend out of the harem, we’ll need a weapon. I can’t get these deaders decoupled without blowing us all the hell up, so I need an alternative. Here.” He handed her the cable’s plug end and shuffled back toward the overseer’s body, stuffing the cable’s severed end into the dead man’s mouth.
    Jasmine wrinkled her nose at the plug. “We’re not…”
    “Jump-starting a corpse? Nah. Just plug that in when I give the nod.”
    Helgo started humming again, a sickening upbeat song that tickled at Jasmine’s memory. A song some girl had played over and over again at her birthday party and they were all supposed to learn a choreographed routine that went along with it. Jasmine had never quite gotten the hang of it and always seemed a step behind no matter how many times the birthday girl made her repeat it.
    Helgo nodded, and Jasmine plugged the cable into the socket, still trying to remember what the name of the damned song was. She jumped as a blue-white light shot from the corpse’s mouth with a sharp crack. The cable skittered along the floor, showering sparks as it bounced. The body convulsed in seizures while Helgo clapped and hopped from foot to foot. The convulsions intensified as Helgo clapped faster until the body jerked its torso upright. The head turned and tracked Helgo’s cavorting form with unseeing eyes. Helgo’s clapping changed to syncopated triplets, and the overseer’s body rocked forward and rose to its feet.
    Helgo stopped and let his arms go limp. Jasmine unplugged the cable and blinked blue and green after images from her eyes. The overseer stood still, staring ahead. Jasmine caught her breath, then rounded on Helgo.
    “I thought you said—”
    Helgo shrugged. “I lied. Do you want to take more time arguing about it or get off this tub?”
    Jasmine stared at him for a moment, then said, “Fine.” She pointed a finger in his face. “But don’t do it again.”
    “Okay,” he said, though it sounded like another lie. “The harem should be this way.” Jasmine walked toward the bulkhead door, but Helgo stopped her. “Let him go first,” he said, pointing to the former overseer. “They won’t stop us if they think he’s in charge, and he’ll take the first few bullets if they get suspicious.”
    “Okay,” Jasmine said. “What was that song you just hummed?”
    Helgo grinned his black-toothed grin. “‘Goody Two-Shoes,’ Adam Ant.”
    “Of course. I hated that song.”
    “Me too. But with deaders, there’s no accounting for taste.”

Both amusing and riveting! Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!).

I'm working on Book 3 of Badlands Born (working title: Enter the Samurai). It takes place several years after the events in book 2 and follows the exploits of everyone's favorite (mostly) reformed psychotic samurai, the Blood Weeper, as he escapes from a prison camp and searches for the last godling avatar, Prime. But the Blood Weeper isn't what he once was since the Twins left and every injury or rage-fueled rampage might be the one that erases him from existence. To save the day, he'll have to choose between his legend and his fractured soul.

I like to flavor each Badlands Born book's fantasy with other genre influences. Badlands Born pays homage to post-apocalyptic movies of the 1980s, while Badlands Cursed borrows from sci-fi dystopian movies like Logans Run and Clockwork Orange. Enter the Samurai will put a western spin on the environment and fans of spaghetti westerns or Kurosawa films might pick out an Easter egg or two along with the others I planted for everyone who read books 1 and 2.  Enter the Samurai closes out the storylines from the first books and lights a powder keg that explodes in book 4.

Now for fun, lets ask about the favourite things we all like to read about …

 Favourite book: Player of Games, by Ian M. Banks

Favourite movie: Star Wars (aka Episode IV)

Favourite TV series: Babylon 5

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite food: Texas-style barbecued beef ribs

Favourite drink: Black coffee in the morning, Cabernet in the evening

Favourite pet: Cats

Favourite place: Grand Teton National Park, USA

Favourite place to write: at home, in my office, music blasting.

Favourite season: Fall

Favourite pastime (other than writing!): Cooking

We have a fair few in common :)

Lets laugh together! Will you share with us your most embarrassing moment?

I was in the student section of a college football game and while celebrating a touchdown, accidentally launched my plastic souvenir cup right into my buddy's face. The cup slipped from my hand at speed and we both thought I broke his nose (thank goodness I didn't). Bad enough, but everyone around me noticed it and started pointing and chanting "Asshole...Asshole..." It spread across the whole student section and soon 8,000 of my fellow undergrads and grad students were pointing and cursing me out for the longest 30 seconds of my life. Witnesses say I turned lobster-red and shrunk five inches.

On the flipside, which moment do you regard as your most inspirational?

I was waiting at the bus stop with my daughter one morning and a flock of sparrows took flight.  This wasn't usually remarkable, but I happened to pick out one bird and watch as it darted and twisted through the air in response to the others around it. At the same time, the whole mass shimmered and turned on itself in the morning light like dancing smoke and I had the thought "This is all guided by instinct honed over millions of years." The birds were just reacting but what emerged was a both beautiful and intelligent; it raised the hairs on my arms and has stuck with me ever since. It was a moment where the complex was simple and the simple, complex. There's a metaphor in there that gives me hope I'll never lose a sense of wonder about the world even as I learn more about how it is put together.

Beautiful ... raised the hairs on my arms just reading this. 

And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?

Anthony Bourdain. He wrote about food, culture, and humanity like nobody else. If you haven't read Kitchen Confidential, I highly recommend it as a starter, followed by his collection of essays and short stories in The Nasty Bits. Here's a guy who had an old-school punk rock attitude towards haute cuisine and wasn't afraid to show you its less glamorous underbelly and make you appreciate it all the more. It seemed to me he knew how to live, which made it all the more confusing when he died by suicide. I'd like to know what he believed made life worth living all those years until the one day it didn't.

What changed? Surrounded by friends, why didn't he reach out? What might have changed his mind? If he could answer, maybe we could prevent the next senseless death, and the one after that. I think his passing reminded me be in the moment when listening to friends and loved ones, and be as supportive as I can even if I don't have all the answers.  

One of my favourite people, too, and I hear you; most reading this will hear it also.  

Thank you, Wade, for taking the time to do this. We appreciate it. Here's to all success in your writing world!

Badlands Cursed is next, folks ...

Head on over to Wade's website to discover more!

I am a Fighter!


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Lanterns on Instagram

Here's a lovely post from my cover designer, and all appreciation to Cayla for sharing!!

I am on Instagram, of course :) Here's my the link to my profile, but be warned, there are mostly pictures of Ireland on there!

Now on pre-order $1.29 (£0.99)
FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Monday, August 17, 2020

Our Lanterns Glow: Finding Light in 2020

This book is close to my heart. All my books are, but this one especially. Our Lanterns Glow is my contribution towards finding a path through a pandemic's chaos, and even if no one reads it, for me it has been cathartic. It is ranking on Amazon, though, so I'm guessing someone wants to read it!

Our Lanterns Glow isn't a standard inspirational book; for this, I tweaked. Instead of using sayings from our real world motivators, I turned to my published work, my fiction. If you have read any of my books, you will know most of them have excerpts heading chapters, sometimes inspirational, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes humorous, and sometimes dark, too. For Our Lanterns Glow I chose both inspirational and thought-provoking, and included excerpts from the various narratives also.

Extracts are from Lore of Arcana, Lore of Reaume, Lore of Sanctum, TINSAL, Latticework, Ilfin of Arc, and Ancient Terra.

Currently on pre-order for $1.29, I believe much of what is contained within will offer both insight and aid to the reader and seeker. Our Lanterns Glow will deliver on 31 August, so not too long a wait!


The year is 2020

 We have seen fires in Australia, locust plagues in Africa, both flooding and drought elsewhere, and riots and marches, too, but all pales in comparison to what 2020 is really about. A global pandemic.

 We have endured lockdown and it appears it will befall us more than once as this virus runs its course. We no longer live with any kind of certainty. We need to cope with the reality, which includes the virus itself, the loss of loved ones and economic devastation, if only by staying as positive as is possible.

 Understanding who we are and who we can be, if we take care to be honest with ourselves, is the first step to dealing with the progress of utter change and helps us forge a path through the chaos.

 Therefore, this book.

 Our Lanterns Glow is a deliberate choice of title. We are, each of us, lanterns in the darkness. We shine, and we hoist our lanterns for others to find their way. We can trim the wick of our lamps to brighten our inner selves, and will thus shed the resultant glow ever outwards.

 Based on fictional insights, for fiction has helped us in these trying times, Our Lanterns Glow isn’t a cure all, it is about insight and the inspiration we need to move forward. We have everything to gain in trying something new, something different …

Exclusive to Amazon:


Yippee! Listen to FingerNale Tales!

Andy Barker, the narrator for FingerNale Tales has this to say about the process: 'My latest edition, FingerNale Tales, I really enjoyed doing, and I enjoyed the writing.' In a private message, he revealed that number 10 (At the End) is his favourite and the one he loved putting voice to the most! And number 3 (The Mountains Burn) is second favourite :)

So, yippee, it's now available as an audiobook!!!


Audible US Audible UK Audible FR Audible DE

Only £3.69

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Monday, August 3, 2020


Thanks for visiting!


Review: Badlands Born by Wade Peterson

Badlands BornBadlands Born by Wade Peterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story is an unexpected surprise. While I expected a rough ride for the characters, the apocalyptic scenes drove the tale into the kind of horrifying adventure one cannot put down. Once I started, I couldn’t stop, had to read until I finished it. I particularly liked the use of music as a device to escape – highly imaginative and another surprise …

There’s scene near the end (Jasmine and the Caliph) that made my hair stand on end (I won’t give it away here) and it sets the tone for what must come next in Badlands Cursed – know you will want to read further!

Well worth your time. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews