They Write The Books – Alyssa Kelso

Time for ‘They Write the Books!’ which I *totally* used to do…and then fell off doing for a while…and am now BACK AT IT because getting the word out about new authors and books is awesome. Who knows? You may find your next favorite read 🙂

Today I’ve got Alyssa Kelso and her book, Dreaming of Fire.

First, a little Q and A to spice things up:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a wife and mother, the two best callings in my life. I love healing crystals and my essential oils. I am a fan of art of all forms, though I personally practice painting and photography. I crave Italian food on the daily, and I may or may not be marking my calendar down for the final season of Game of Thrones. Anyone else??

How did you get into writing?

I actually hated anything to do with writing and reading as a kid. But after I read, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, my life changed. Not only did I want to read more but I wanted to write more, too. So, my parents bought me a journal when I was in the 5th grade. It had Harry Potter on the cover and a popup flashlight in the spine. I have been writing ever since.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

I was fifteen and daydreaming in math class. My thought was, “I wonder what it would be like to actually fall in love with the man of my dreams…” Then more thoughts came and I imagined writing a story about a girl who literally fell in love with a man she saw in her dreams.

Who are your favorite authors?

J.K. Rowling, Ellen Hopkins, Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

Harry Potter, always.

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

My late sister, Brianne. Brianne was stillborn, but I have felt immensely influenced by her spirit my whole life. I would absolutely love to thank her for looking out for me, and tell her how much I love her.

Excerpt From Dreaming of Fire – Now On Amazon:

A chilling chant fills the forest. The sound is so frightening, even the trees quake with fear.

“HiyaKay, HiyaKay, ite, ite. HiyaKay, HiyaKay, ite, ite.”

The words weave through my mind, catching hold of snatches of English and shaping themselves into words I can understand: Night King, Night King, rise, rise. Night King, Night King, rise, rise. Brianne blows out several more angel kisses, and they float toward the sky, illuminating the uppermost branches of the trees.  Terror courses through me as I spot the demons of my nightmares sitting and hanging amongst the trees’ shivering limbs. Their gruesome features come in various forms—scaly skin, beady eyes, claws, wings, horns, fangs, gruesome gashes, or spiked faces. Some have no faces at all.  

“Nightmares,” Brianne breathes. Setting her jaw, she lifts her wand and sends a ball of light toward me. The ball expands until it surrounds me in a white haze. “Don’t be afraid, Sienna. These miscreants love fear.”


Alyssa lives in Utah with her husband, daughter, and their fur baby. She has started her own collection of healing crystals and besides writing; she loves to express herself creatively through painting and photography.

You can connect with Alyssa on Goodreads, as well as these platforms-


Twitter: @Alyssakelso21

Facebook: @allthingsalyssakelso

Instagram: @allthingsalyssakelso

They Write the Books Continued: Gabriella Messina

Due to some awesome advances in technology, I was able to gather Gabriella’s Q&A for you. So, as the final day of (me participating in) Fall Fantasy Conclave is here, let’s end it with some good ol’ juicy details from Bloodline’s author, Gabriella Messina:



Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Gabriella Messina… I’m the author of Bloodline, a paranormal fantasy novel, and the Kate Gardener Mysteries series, which I’ve dubbed “semi-cozy mysteries”. I’m also a writer of blog posts, articles, and other freelance writing assignments… my “day job” if you will. I’m a mom to an active five-year-old and if I’m not writing, I’m probably walking or playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. LOL

How did you get into writing?

I used to make up “movies” when I was a kid… Jotting down the titles of stories, casting them, putting music to them… but writing was never something I really thought about until after I left college. I had gone for Theater, but after a very disappointing sophomore year, in which I kept getting passed-over for parts, stuck in the back doing tech and construction work, I just got fed-up… Really, my thinking was that I couldn’t do it, that I’d been kidding myself about being able to perform, so why waste the money, you know? So I took a break and traveled. And it was while I was in Florida that I had two breakthroughs… the first with a wonderful acting teacher in a workshop who not only showed me that I could act, but that I was good (I did a monologue as Jackie Kennedy and she actually cried at my performance). The second breakthrough was when I started teaching myself to write screenplays. My mystery series featuring the character Kate Gardener was born during this time. Once I saw that I could create these great worlds and flesh them out, and that other people enjoyed them, initially in my family and then among friends and peers… Then I began to look at it as more than just a whim.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

My first novel, Bloodline, was born as my original screenplay “The Devil Inside”, which I wrote back on 2005. Oddly enough, the origins of the story were in a reviewing of The Lost Boys and a listening to a lot of Def Leppard. I started thinking about a werewolf movie that the two Coreys might be in… Over time things changed… In its earliest incarnations, Sam Karolyi was a guy, Vincent was just “Krem” (and may have been a vampire), and the story was set in LA. Then a peer reviewer said something in a critique that sent the whole story in a new direction. He said that the script had a lot of good elements, but needed something to set it apart, and that maybe Sam should be a girl. And that set me on a new path with the story. Sam became a girl, “Krem” became Vincent, Ivan morphed from wise old friend to cantankerous grandfather, and the whole story shifted to the East Coast, to New York City.

Kate Gardener Mysteries also began their lives as screenplays, or more accurately teleplays, as it was created to be a television show. The idea sprang to life about a year after I took a trip to London. I started jotting down possibilities for characters and plots for a series… And the series went through a number of changes, too… At one time, I was going to set the “show” in London 1893! But eventually I settled into the current time and format.

Who are your favorite authors?

Anne Rice… She has essentially built an entire 30+ year career off a handful of vampires and their world, and she still is able to continue building that world, book after book, all while branching out into other genres with equal success. Plus she’s a really cool person, you know? Answers questions, talks to fans… She’s really, well REAL.

I’m also a big fan of Joss Whedon. He writes great female characters that are flawed, funny, and fierce and feminine. And his style is kind of iconic now.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

Audition by Michael Shurtleff… Even if you have no interest in acting or public speaking, the stories he tells in this book and the tips that he gives for being prepared and approaching an audition can be applied in so many different ways in your life, whether you’re going for a job interview or doing a live broadcast. Sheesh!

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

My late grandfather… Just to have the chance to sit and eat spaghetti and meatballs with him one more time.


Thanks for sharing, Gabriella! And for joining me here for the first (hopefully annual) Fall Fantasy Conclave.

And to all my authors: Chrishaun Keller-Hanna, J.L.Hendricks, and Gabriella Messina– it was a pleasure hosting you! Good luck in all your endeavors and may your sales hit a record high!

Fall Fantasy Conclave Welcomes: They Write the Books: Garbiella Messina

Thursday already, guys. THURSDAY. Has the week been flying for you too? Friday is around the corner, but before we can get there, two things:

1.) I see you all of you promoting one another for the Fall Fantasy Conclave, and I have to say, it is *AWESOME* to watch! Just knowing how you Indies are supporting and encouraging each other they way you are makes me proud to be one.

2. Help me welcome my third and final Author I have the pleasure of promoting during this week long  promotion-support fest: Gabriella Messina!

Gabriella is the author of the Kate Gardener Mysteries series and Bloodline, a contemporary fantasy shifter novel:


Unfortunately, due to a little technical difficulty, we’re flipping things around a bit. Instead of the Q&A first, we’ll be taking a look inside Bloodline, as that was the attachment I was able to open. 😉



“Nice shot.” The Hooded Man’s voice was surprising: rich yet with a touch of softness to the timbre. Sam watched him walk to Franco’s body. The Hooded Man crouched for a moment, looked steadily at the body. 

“I’ll call… for help.” Geez, is that my voice?  The Hooded Man didn’t respond and Sam started to wonder if he’d even heard her. Sam reached into her pocket for… the phone.  The phone that got tossed. Shit! 

“There’s only one way to help him now.” The Hooded Man stood up, raised his weapon and aimed it at Franco’s abdomen. He fired, the bullet blasting into his body just below the sternum.  Sam quickly raised up the gun and trained it on him. “Put the gun down!” 

The Hooded Man glanced toward her briefly but seemed untroubled by her clipped order. Franco whimpered a final time and was still.  “Any minute now.” 

Sam kept the gun aimed at him as she looked at Franco’s body. The skin color had changed, taking on a silvery sheen. Sam closed her eyes, opened them. The body seemed to be moving, a subtle gelatinlike shudder. Beads of the silvery sheen rolled off the body like sweat, soaking into the ground below. 

He’s… it’s melting. The fuckin’ body is MELTING. Sam backed away and leaned against a nearby tree, the gun lowered at her side.  The Hooded Man continued to watch the body until nothing remained but a darkened patch where the body had been. He holstered his weapon and pushed back the sweatshirt hood, ran a hand through his wavy black hair, causing longish pieces on the top of his head to stand at odd angles. He looked to be in his early thirties, but a kind of dark maturity gave him an air of timelessness.

 His eyes were dark, a rich coffee brown that nearly verged on black, with heavy black eyebrows rising above them. She’d been a little over-generous in her height estimation; with the hood back, he was tall, but his wiry build gave him an illusion of greater height.  He watched Sam for a moment before he stepped away from the melting site and joined her by the tree. “You all right?” 

Sam was silent, staring at the spot where Franco, or whatever he had become, had melted away.  The Hooded Man watched her a moment more, then reached into his pocket, pulled out a piece of soft white cloth. He reached over, dabbing at the blood that had trickled down her neck from the cut Franco had made. He dabbed once, twice; as he reached to dab a third time, Sam shivered slightly, grabbed his hand. 

She watched his face relax a bit as he released the cloth into her hand. “That was a little close, wasn’t it?” His voice had a bit of an accent, maybe Irish or something. That wasn’t going to help her concentration.  Sam blotted at her neck, glared at the handsome man in front of her.

“Close, yeah, thanks. What was that?” 

The Hooded Man glanced at the melting scene then looked back at Sam. “Some poor bastard infected with LV.” 

Sam stopped blotting. “LV?” 

“Lycanthropic Virus.” 

Sam gave him a blank look. “I’m sorry, I left my medical encyclopedia in my other coat. What does that mean exactly?” 

“A virus which causes Lycanthropy.” 

“Lycanthropy, I see.” Sam moved away from the tree, began to make big circles as she scanned the ground searching for her phone. She stopped suddenly. “Wait a minute. Is that, like, werewolves?” 

“Like, yeah. What are you looking for?” 

“My phone.” She groaned, resumed her search. “Werewolves, huh?

Not to antagonize the crazy person or anything, but when was the last time you had a CAT scan?” 

Her phone appeared in front of her face. Sam looked up at the Hooded Man, took the phone from him. “Six months ago.” He raised his other hand; Sam’s Lorcin pistol hung before her eyes.  Sam hesitated a second, then took her gun, tossing him a small smile in thanks. “Uh-huh, well, you need another one.” 

She started walking away from the scene and toward the low-level noise and movement of Broadway. The Hooded Man followed her.  “You know, after what just happened, after what you just saw, I would think you’d be more open-minded than this.” 

“I’m a New Yorker, I was born open-minded.” Sam picked up her pace, keeping it steady and brisk as she reached Broadway and started up the street. 

“So, what happened to Sick Boy?” 


“The kid who robbed the store, who was hit by the bus.” 

Sam stopped suddenly. The Hooded Man had walked on a few steps before he noticed that she had stopped. He backtracked to stand in front of her.  Sam looked at him warily, placed her hand near the gun in her pocket. “You. You were there, by the vendor. The man in black. Who are you?” 

“Vincent Kremer, at your service.” He bowed slightly at the waist, adding a flourish with his right hand then smiled.  He has a nice smile, nice everything actually… oh, what the hell, Sam? You’re just one big hormone anymore…

Shook her head, banishing the thoughts away and focusing in again on Vincent where he stood on the sidewalk. She frowned. “Why were you there? Were you following that kid? Oh, wait, let me guess… He was a werewolf.” 

Vincent grinned. “You’re catching on.” 

“Good Lord.” Sam rolled her eyes and marched past him, continuing up Broadway. Vincent hurried to catch up to her, talking all the way. 

“Jekyll and Hyde. The beast within realized. The virus enables the physical transformation; drugs eliminate the ability to control it. Result – a short, violent life spent preying upon the homeless, the sick, the weak, spreading the evil as they go. A physical manifestation of everything dark that lurks within.” He paused, seemingly for breath, as they neared St. Paul’s and Vesey Street.

“You know, that bastard had been running around for two days. Gutted a junkie in the Bowery the other night.” 

Sam stopped walking, her gaze fixed on the sidewalk ahead of her. “The Bowery, huh? Now that’s funny.” 

Vincent frowned, puzzled, “Why would that be funny?” 

Sam looked up at him, a matching frown on her own face. “Because someone was spotted leaving the scene that night. A man like a shadow.” She paused, letting it sink in, looking him up and down.

“A man in black.” 

 “Oh.” Vincent looked down at his clothing. “I suppose my wardrobe is a bit incriminating, then.” 

Sam nodded, started walking again. “A bit. Now, I’m torn between hauling your ass in on murder charges, or my personal favorite, me walking this way and you not following me. So -” 

Sam turned to look back at him, but Vincent was gone. What the hell, c’mon with the disappearing people! 

Sam noticed something laying on the ground behind her. It was just about in the spot where Vincent would have been standing if he hadn’t high-tailed it out of there. Sam wondered what did it… the threat to haul him in or that she encouraged him to go away. 

Sam bent to pick up the small piece of folded cardboard. A matchbook, plain and white, half the matches gone. She opened it and despite her tiredness, the aches and pains setting in already from the altercation with Franco-thing, the fear and anger and loneliness she felt right now with Ivan locked away in the hospital… despite all that, she smiled. 

Written on the inside of the matchbook cover were the initials VK and his cell number.


Thanks for sharing, Gabriella!

Come back tomorrow for a *possible* Q&A (technology pending) or check out some of Gabriella’s other works, like the Kate Gardener Mysteries series:

The Memory of Trees (Kate Gardener mysteries Book 1) by [Messina, Gabriella]

On a crisp September morning, a jogger stumbles upon an horrific scene in a London park…

When forensic photographer Kate Gardener steps in for her injured supervisor, the brash American ex-pat finds herself at the scene of a truly brutal murder. The naked, castrated body of a young pharmacist has been found at the edge of Regent’s Park.

Get it here

De Profundis (Kate Gardener Mysteries Book 2) by [Messina, Gabriella]

As faithful parishioners gather for Vespers on All Saints Day, a beloved priest is bludgeoned to death in the church sacristy…

Though he is no stranger to controversy, the priest’s death sends shockwaves through the community. Allegations from the past come to light when a young seminarian, the victim of sexual abuse, is found hiding on the church property, his clothing covered with blood.
Forensic photographer Kate Gardener has her doubts about the young man’s guilt, and her hunches are seldom wrong. The twists and turns of this complicated and controversial case throw Kate into the path of the members of a notorious dining club…. and a very handsome young architect. Romantic entanglements must take a backseat to the case, however, as the investigation intensifies and the inquest into the death of Neville Crane looms.

Together with Detective Sergeant Richard Pierce, Jimi Khan, and the rest of the team, Kate must overcome her fears and face the ghosts of her past in the race to piece the clues together and catch a brutal murderer before he strikes again.

Get it here

Thanks again for sharing, Gabriella, and for participating in the Fall Fantasy Conclave!

They Write the Books Continued – J.L.Hendricks

Welcome back for Day 4 of Fall Fantasy Conclave and our featured author, J.L.Hendricks. Yesterday, you got to learn a little about our Indie friend, but today, you get to read some of her stuff!

Let’s take a peek into Worlds Away:

Worlds Away: Sci-fi Alien Romance (Alpha Alien Abduction Tale Book 1) by [Hendricks, J.L.]


My heart was still pumping an hour later, and my adrenaline seemed to be burning out. I was exhausted just sitting there holding tight to the laser gun as well as to the couch every time our ship was hit. I wanted to say that I could hear the laser cannons fire, or whatever they called them on this ship. But I knew it must be my imagination creating the sounds in order to keep track of the fighting somehow.

However, I really did hear some of the torpedoes going back and forth. It was a weird sound, almost like Superman flying super-fast through a tunnel and taking all sound with him through that tunnel. Then it was super quiet for less than half a second which was always followed by a loud bang and then the ship would jerk one way or another. At least there was a warning sound before the torpedoes hit. They packed the most punch.

The next hit, well, it was almost what killed us. The ship started to tilt, like it had lost its stabilizers or something, but we must have gotten a good hit on them as well because another hit didn’t come for a while. I could feel us limping along. Since we were slanted, Lisa and I had to hold on tight to the couch. I had never been so happy to see furniture tied to the ground before. Some of the knickknacks and loose items like chairs and pillows were flying around as we tried to get away from the enemy ship.

We turned and headed to something, at the time I didn’t know what. But at least we weren’t getting shot at any more. It seemed like days before we made it to the planet. The only reason I knew we were at the planet is because Venay called me, again.

“Venay, I am fine. No need to worry about me.”

“Thank the moons! But I am calling to warn you, this next bit is going to get very difficult. There should be a place in the quarters you are in where you can strap yourself to a fold down chair on the wall. Find that and get your butt in it now. We are going to try landing this ship on the planet before the enemy can catch up to us. But with the damage, re-entry is going to make for a very bumpy flight. Can you do that?”

“Yes, I can. Thank you Venay.”

 He grunted and then hung up. “Lisa is there a set of fold down emergency chairs that we can lock ourselves in? You know, like the jump seats on a commercial flight?”

“Yes, in the back bedroom. There are two seats there. What’s going on?”

“Has Rotna called you yet?”

“Yes, he tried once but was told to focus on his task, not his mate.” Her cheeks actually turned a shade of pink. I wondered when they were planning their ceremony.

“Glad to know he is fine.”

“Why do we need to do this? Is the ship getting worse?” Lisa asked, with wide eyes.

“Yes, we are approaching the planet and going to attempt to land before the enemy ship can catch us. The re-entry is going to be tough.” We made it to the back room and found the seats. There were a few things that had blocked our way, but we moved them without much issue.

It was a good thing Venay called to warn me, because we weren’t even buckled in when I felt the ship jerking and shaking like an amusement park ride about to go off the rails.

My teeth hurt so bad within just the first two minutes, I thought they might all be cracked, first from the chattering they were doing with the way we jumbled around and then from the pressure I put on my mouth to stay closed. Somewhere along the way I had bit my tongue and it hurt.

I couldn’t say how long it took for us to get through the atmosphere, but it felt like forever. I could tell when we made it because we started to smooth out and the ship wasn’t jerking so badly. The loud noise that almost made me deaf had also quieted down, now it was more like a ball whistling through the air. Although, my head was pounding and my body ached from all of the jostling and clenching. I don’t think I have ever held on to anything as tightly as those restraints, ever!

“Lisa, you ok?”

“Did we make it?” She looked around the room wide eyed and I could see she had been crying. Her face was streaked with the paths her tears left. But I couldn’t blame her. I was pretty scared myself and if I hadn’t survived five years on the streets I would have probably been crying as well.

“So far. I don’t think we have landed yet. So stay seated until we are told we can move. I have a feeling we are going to feel the landing as well.”

The ship was still tilted and the seats were very uncomfortable, we were slanted to the left so the belts that made up the restraints were digging into my left side. It felt like one of those carnival rides where you went around in circles but you were hanging on one side and the ride seat was digging into your entire side. Like that, but worse.

“Lisa, tell me about the plans you and Rotna have made for your wedding. When do you want it to take place?” She looked like she might get hysterical any moment. Her eyes were all over the place and she was having trouble breathing. But she didn’t look injured, unless the belts did something internally.

“Huh? What? Oh, yea, wedding. Ummm, we spoke about it last night. We agreed that we wanted it to happen as soon as we could get some time on the Commander’s schedule. Do you think he will have time tomorrow?” She was dazed, I wasn’t sure she understood what was happening. How could she if she was thinking Venay could marry them tomorrow, after crash landing on a planet while in a firefight with a pretty heavily armed enemy ship?

“Lisa, do you know what just happened?” I wished at that moment I could get out of my seat, but I knew there was no way it would be safe until after we made landing.

“Yes, we are landing on a planet.”

“Because we just got our butts kicked in a firefight with an enemy ship. There won’t be time to get married, not at least for a while. I couldn’t even tell you how long it will take to fix our ship. Or if the Zateelians will come for us. Lisa, I need you to focus. Can you do that?” Her eyes were still glazed over and her mouth was hanging open. She kept moving her head like she was listening to some music somewhere.

Just then I got a communication from Venay, “Paris, are you ok?”

“Yes, both Lisa and I are ok. She might have some internal injuries, but I think she is ok. However, she appears to be in shock. How much longer before we land?”

“We came in too fast, so I have to keep her flying as long as possible to slow down, which means we won’t be close to the settlement here. But they will come for us and help us soon. Stay in your seats. Don’t move until I tell you, ok?”

“Of course, I am betting we will feel it when we land?”

“Yes, I am afraid you will. And Paris, don’t say anything, but Rotna is hurt, badly. Lisa might know. If he called her before he went unconscious then she knows. But don’t say anything until we land and you can check her out. Ok?”

“Ok, thank you. Um, any news about the enemy ship? Are they following us?”

He sighed and I knew it was bad, “Yes, they are heavily damaged, but they did make it through. However, they are not very close to us. They will have to crash land as well so we should have some time before they come looking for us or the settlement. I just hope that they aren’t able to crash very close to the settlement.”

“Thank you for being honest with me. You have no idea how much that means to me. I still have the gun Cazon gave me. Once we land, where should I take Lisa?”

“Stay where you are. I will let you know where to go once we land. Please don’t try to leave your room until you hear from me. The ship will be unstable and I still have no idea where the Zateelians will land.”

“Right, oh then I guess you better get back to work. And Venay, thank you for checking in on me so much. I know you have a huge responsibility with the entire ship.”

“You’re welcome Paris, see you soon.”

That man, or alien, was stealing my heart without even trying. All he had to do was show me love and attention and my stupid heart was falling for him. But I still can’t get over the slave issue. I don’t want to fall completely for him and then end up accepting slavery. It isn’t right. However, my heart won’t stop falling for him. I am truly afraid that I will end up head over heels in love with this great big warrior before this is all over with.

The ship started to lurch and leaned to the left and then to the right. We had begun the crash, I say begun because it took so long for it to finish. There was no way this ship was going to survive intact after this crash. We bumped up and then down and we even spun a bit. My stomach was not happy. It was a gurgling mess and I had never been so happy to have a mostly empty stomach before. It had to have been at least four or five hours since I ate breakfast, so not much in my stomach to worry about.

The noise was so loud and harsh that my ears started to ring. It sounded like the ship might be breaking apart. We were being jerked so harshly that I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke up in a couple of pieces. Just then the ship jumped up, the reason I knew we jumped up was because my stomach was all over the place, like in a roller coaster ride where when you get to the top of the highest point in the track and then go over the cliff and start to go down, you lose your stomach. Well, that was what it was like. We bounced up high, and then all of a sudden we dropped like a roller coaster ride.

When we hit the ground my whole body jarred and my teeth clicked together so harshly, I knew I had cracked a tooth this time. Thankfully I kept my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth so I didn’t bite it again.

My head was throbbing, not just an ache, but an actual throb. I could feel my pulse through my head and it was going a mile a minute. I couldn’t feel my body at first, and I didn’t know exactly what happened, like in a car accident, it all happens so fast. But my seat had come loose from the wall and I was on top of the bed in a very uncomfortable position with the seat on my back. I tried to roll to my side but it took me a couple of tries.

Once I was on my side I looked around the room. Even though most of the furniture was locked down, it looked like a tornado ripped through here. The dresser had come undone and was right next to the bed I was on. Anything that had been loose, was spread all over the room. From my angle I couldn’t see Lisa, and I didn’t hear her either.

My hands hurt so badly from holding on so tightly to the straps that it was an effort to get my hands to open. I had to stretch them out a bit before I tried to undo the straps. Once they were undone, I fell to my stomach on the edge of the bed.

“Lisa? Lisa you ok?” I called out but got no response.

I hoped she was alright. The first thing I needed to do was get up and stretch my tightly constricted muscles. They had tightened up and some locked in place while I was being thrown about like a rag doll during the crash. I wanted nothing more than to have Venay come and get me and hold me. But that couldn’t happen anytime soon. He had the entire ship to think about. And besides, chances were pretty good that our ship had broken apart. I had no idea how long it would take him to get here, or even if he could.

After about a minute or two of stretching on the bed, everything seemed to work fine, no broken bones at least. So I stood up and I looked over towards the wall were my seat had been and Lisa’s seat was barely hanging on. She appeared to be passed out, at least that was what I was going with. Her eyes were closed, not open with a vacant stare, so I assumed she was still alive. Living on the streets you come across quite a few dead bodies. The one thing they all had in common, was the vacant stare in their eyes. Sure a few died in their sleep and their eyes were closed, but most didn’t. That stare is what you remember for the rest of your life. Not how nice or how mean that person was, just how they looked when you found them dead.

“Lisa, answer me if you can.” I climbed over a few things to make my way to her.

I felt her neck for a pulse. It was weak, but there. Then I started to feel her body for broken bones. Her arms and legs seemed alright. But there was a place on her stomach that worried me. It was where the seatbelt was digging in and I lifted her shirt to see a huge bruise already forming. I didn’t know what that meant, but pretty sure she had some internal damage.

I looked around for something soft to put below her. She was going to fall off that seat once I unlocked her restraints. I didn’t want her falling on the ground.

There really wasn’t anything, so I grabbed the bedding and pulled hard. The seat I was in was pretty heavy and still atop the bed so I had to work hard to get the sheets and blankets off. Then I found the pillows on the other side of the room and put them all below her. I slowly undid her buckles. My hands were still quite sore from holding onto my belts.

Before I undid the last buckle, I reached around her chest to try to hold her a bit before she fell like a lump to the ground. I wasn’t very strong so once I got that last belt, we both fell, but I cushioned her fall a with my own body. “Lisa, are you awake?” I asked as I move the hair from her face.

I whispered in her ear, “Lisa, Rotna is alive but he needs you. Please wake up, I can’t carry you.”

I dragged her closer to the dresser so that I could hold her head in my lap while I leaded back against it.

She wasn’t awake, but at least she was alive. I sat there thinking about what I should do when I heard a beep in my ear. It was an incoming communication! “Venay, is that you? Are you ok?”

“Yes sweetheart, I am fine. How are you? Are you hurt?” I could hear the relief in his voice as it went lower and softer.

“Oh thank the stars! I am ok, a bit sore and a few scrapes but I am fine. Lisa is another story. She is alive, but passed out and injured. I don’t know what to do for her.”

“There should be a med kit somewhere in her quarters, most warriors keep them in their bathrooms. Check there or the kitchen, but please be careful. We have stopped but I don’t know if the ship will stay steady or not. She broke up as we crashed.”

“I figured as much, how long before you can get to me?”


A BIG thanks to J.L.Hendricks for stopping by and sharing some of her work!!

Tomorrow and Friday, help me welcome Gabrielle Messina as the third featured author for Fall Fantasy Conclave!


Welcome back for Day 2 of Fall Fantasy Conclave and our featured author, Chrishaun Keller-Hanna. Yesterday you got to learn a little about our Indie friend, but today, you get to read some of her stuff! Excited yet? You should be.

First, we’ll sneak a peek inside Tales of Allazar: Black, Gold & Sage:

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The moss finally detached itself from the tree on Josi’s shoulder in a high screech. Josi reached up her arm then stretched it out until her palm was on the tree. There was no more sound from the moss. She pulled her hand from the tree. The moss fell in two pieces at Sage’s feet.

The dead moss didn’t bother Sage. The cold and efficient movement, developed through years of training and fieldwork was what gave Sage pause. It reminded her that she was in the presence of the former members of the Culling—named in part because they came from the culling of the child population, named in part because they were expendable. Culling because they were no longer Praina, but instead just tools.

Sage wondered, as Josi took her first steps into the brush, if she had that same cold look on humans and humaniforms—then snapped out of it. The crunch under Josi’s feet seemed to echo through the air.

“A Silent Step spell would make this simple,” Josi gritted her teeth but didn’t look back. “How could they see us when everything around us is using magiera? “

One of the hunters yelled into the forest.

“Come out my doves!” Shots echoed through the woods.

“We won’t hurt you! Those shots are not for you—we promised the House of Praina we would return you alive.”

The daffodils went a little brighter and waved their beams toward the racket, exposing a female figure. She turned toward the light, and the runners froze against one fir, just outside the illuminated circle. The eyes of the figure glowed and she lifted a glowing palm. A blast of magiera went from her palm to the flowers at Sage’s feet.

Sage could feel the young boy trembling. The moss flinched as well.

Get it here!

Next, we’re looking into Allazar’s the Coursers: Daughter of the Flood:

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Magiera is the universal measure of power in Allazar. There’s nothing worth doing that you can’t do without it. What kind and the amount you have determines everything from House you’re a member of to what type of job you have.

If you’re powerful and have it to spare, you siphon off a bit here and there for future use. Part of that the Legate Power Authority takes to power the House’s comms and our lights. They ration how much we can use and what we can have in our homes in exchange, so a tower going down is a problem. Lights out can mean you’re out of work and out of magiera.

The thing is that the magiera that’s siphoned off can only be absorbed by folks of the same house. So that 5000 milliliters of Praina’s finest was useless to me as power, but Mel…

She slashed the perentie with a whip made up of golden light, cutting through the lizard’s thick skin. It swung backward and swept Mel’s feet. She hopped over it as if she was dancing and swung another whip. It hopped back and spit a green liquid at her chest. She threw up a mag-shield just in time, but the lizard launched forward and plowed right into her.

I grabbed the MilamUp, slammed it and somehow managed to get more in my mouth than on my face and chest and fished out the card from my jacket. I placed the card in my mouth and crunched down. The Deveron magiera on the card pulsed through my body, and all that gold mageira shot out of my mouth, hovering. Mageria can sense when a body is draining and jumped straight to Mel.

Her body glowed and she shot out the magiera from her mouth, cutting a hole through the lizard.

We both sat there a moment in water, perentie puke and blood soup with a touch of MilamUp.

Get it here!


A BIG thanks to Chrishaun Keller-Hanna for stopping by and sharing some of her work!!

Tomorrow and Wednesday, help me welcome JL Hendricks as the second featured author for Fall Fantasy Conclave!

Fall Fantasy Conclave Welcomes: They Write The Books – Chrishaun Keller-Hanna

You might’ve noticed I started that Author Spotlight with a different heading. First –  congratulations! Your eyesight is in tact. Second, this week marks the first (hopefully annual) Fall Fantasy Conclave, a week -long promotion event for Indie Authors by Indie Authors. So what does that mean? It means all the cool kids threw their name in a basket and drew three people to promote and three people who would promote them. Sounds cool, eh?

So who are my lovely authors? Glad you asked. This week you’ll get to meet Chrishaun Keller-Hanna, JL Hendricks and Gabriellea Messina.


Since today marks the first day of Fall Fantasy Conclave, and of introducing my three wonderful authors, I’m happy to hand the mic over and welcome Chrishaun Keller-Hanna with a little Q&A to get started 🙂

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Chrishaun Keller-Hanna and I am a Story Mother of the Allazar Universe. This magicpunk world is much like our own, but fueled by mageira and full of fast cars, monsters, air ships, and a gladiator fight or two.

I have been writing for the last 3 years and started publishing June of this year. As one of the co-hosts of the Self-Publishing Podcast, I shared the stories of other writers to encourage you on your writing journey. I also help writers build the own universes with Creator of Worlds, my worldbuilding service through the WriterShip.

I love video games, reading, movies and writing one word at a time.

How did you get into writing?

I have been writing since I was a kid, writing my own comics and short stories. I wrote RPG modules in the 90’s and then I stopped when my then husband destroyed all my manuscripts and hard drives. 7 years and a new husband later, I decided that it was time to write in the now stable self publishing arena and I don’t regret a moment of it!

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Both stories in this series were based on contests through podcasts! Sage’s story (Tales of Allazar) was based on a contest by where I had to write a story about “Charlie going to get milk”. I asked myself “What would a milk run look like in Allazar, especially since dairy was considered a luxury item?” and “What event would prompt someone to make a run for it?” I create a story where a woman has smuggled child assassins to freedom (“Black, Gold, & Sage”). When she gets a bullet in her gut for the trouble, she must relay on her young ward, Charlie to “get milk” (gangsters) and pull the Hunters away into a trap (Spilt Milk).

Duke’s story (Daughter of the Flood) was based on an episode of the SPRT where the hosts were trying to write to market and the requirements were:

  • Mystery
  • Female protagonist
  • The body was in a basement after a flood
  • The male MC was investigating the death

So how does this fit in the Allazar Universe? What if the Duke was there to steal an item (the House of Deveron are pirates, after all) found the body and found out that the deceased had arranged the same thing? Then I thought “What if the soul of the deceased thought that Duke was that person?” That’s how I can up with the Coursers, a team that hunts down tokens that the lead the dead back to the land of the living.

Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen King, Erma Bombeck, Janet Evonovich

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

I would recommend “Different Seasons” by Stephen King. King is a master of the novella and his non-horror writing is even better than his horror in my view. If you don’t believe me, then perhaps it would help to point out that the movies “Stand by Me” & “The Shawshank Redemption” are based on two stories in this collection.

*BONUS* What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

I want to have a meal with the cocaine addict Stephen King and just talk about the “monster in the corner” that fueled his writing during that time.


So… what were those books again? Those things Chrishaun was talking about in her interview? Oh yeah!

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Charlie has one job – watch smuggler Sage Allecoure’s back as she returns from the Black Forest. So when a pack of Hunters ambush Sage inside the city and leaves her with a hole in her gut, he’s able get her to safety. But now her life in his hands – as well as the Hunter’s tracer bullet.

Tales of Allazar are the extraordinary stories of ordinary people that inhabit this magicpunk fantasy world. Magiera fuels the tech; monsters lurk in the city, and the plants might eat you if you aren’t careful. From the bright lights of Praina to the pristine marble streets of Etherian, millions of people live, die, and make their fortunes here.


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Find it here

Allazar – a beautiful and dangerous world filled with magiera (partial magic that gives life and sentience to all flora and fauna), human, humaniforms, and monsters great and small.

Tales of Allazar: Black, Gold, and Sage, is the story of the assassins with a changed hearts, fighting for what matters most.

Black – the Black Forest, a forbidding land where every plant and animal can kill – the place that stands between a cruel life and freedom.

Gold – the House of Praina, the former home of the Josi, Fenta, and Monty Toren – full magic humans raised to be assassins, a fate no child should face.

Sage – Sage Allecoure, the Toren’s only hope to navigate through the dangers of the Forest and the Hunters on their heels to safety. Will she be up to the task?

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Find it here

Allazar – a beautiful and dangerous world filled with magiera (partial magic that gives life and sentience to all flora and fauna), human, humaniforms, and monsters great and small.

The Coursers – The dead do not want to stay dead in Allazar. To make sure that this condition isn’t permanent, they infuse their magiera into an object that will lead them out of the Ether and back into the world of the living.

Daughter of the Flood – I stumbled into the world of the Coursers when Carmo Tobin hired me to go out in a raging storm to ste- I mean “retrieve”- a family dagger from her home and found her mother Cameron floating facedown in her basement.

A few fights with spitting lizards, an encounter with a ghost and tying up Trent followed… how do I get out of this?


Thanks for hanging with us, Chrishaun!

And for all you of out there–be sure to drop by tomorrow to read some sneak peeks of Allazar’s The Coursers: Daughter of the Flood and Tales of Allazar: Black, Gold & Sage.

Til tomorrow 🙂

They Write the Books – Edward Aubry

One of the cool things about posting reviews (when a certain someone actually remembers to do them) is that every so often, the author will reach out to you Cool, right? Well, this happened to me a few months ago, after posting a review of his awesome book, Unhappenings.

I’m happy (and you should be too) to welcome author Edward Aubry in today’s Author Spotlight!

Tell us a little about yourself.

For much of my adult life I was a math teacher who dreamed of being a novelist. Of late I am a novelist who teaches math to support my family (still not making those millions in royalties, at least not yet). My bachelor’s degree was in music. That, the math and the writing allow to me to model for my students the fact that no one has to be exactly one thing. My first novel was released in 2010, and I am currently writing my sixth, with plans for many more.

How did you get into writing?

Seventh and eighth grade English class. I happened to have a teacher who pushed all the right buttons to spur an interest in writing fiction, as well as some fantastic starter tips for how not to suck at it. She actually told me at the end of eighth grade I was one of the worst student writers she had ever seen when I started her class, and by the end of those two years I was one of the best. She gets full credit for that transformation as far as I am concerned.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Unhappenings was originally two different time travel stories I was working on separately. One of them had to do with the central idea that every trip through time permanently changes some aspect of the past. That was partly a reaction to The Time Traveler’s Wife, which is a beautiful book, but has consequence-free time travel, in the sense that the past can never be changed. The traveler simply becomes part of events that have already happened. I wanted to push that idea as far as possible in the opposite direction. The other story was about someone using time travel not for great heroics or power, but for a simple, petty and purely selfish reason, and the catastrophic consequences that would have. Eventually I realized they were the same story from two different angles.

Who are your favorite authors?

Neil Gaiman. Lois McMaster Bujold. Dan Simmons. Mark Twain. Kurt Vonnegut. Stephen King.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

Not fair! Okay, Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Apart from the fact I was absolutely consumed by it when I read it, it hits a multitude of completely different tropes and genres, and does so seamlessly in the context of a single collective novel. It’s a masterpiece of story-telling, and a great place for any aspiring writer to start in their quest for models to follow.

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

I’m sure this is because his passing is still very fresh, but it would have to be David Bowie. I want to know what someone so phenomenally talented at pushing boundaries is like when he’s at home. While I don’t operate on anything near his level, my goal when writing my novels has always been akin to the way he approached music. Aim for the unexpected, invent new genres, perfect, move on, do not rehash. It would be utter conceit to say I do those things, but I want to, and he did. Oh, my, he did.

Thanks for stopping by, Edward! And thanks for an awesome read 😉


Edward Aubry

Edward Aubry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, with a degree in music composition. Improbably, this preceded a career as a teacher of high school mathematics and creative writing.

Over the last few years, he has gradually transitioned from being a teacher who writes novels on the side to a novelist who teaches to support his family. He is also a poet, his sole published work in that form being the sixteen stanza “The History of Mathematics.”
He now lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and three spectacular daughters, where he fills his non-teaching hours spinning tales of time-travel, wise-cracking pixies, and an assortment of other impossible things.

They Write the Books: Lori MacLaughlin

(I haven’t posted in a while ((besides IWSG)) and it’s not because I’m dead or depressed or stuck in a Walking Dead marathon – I’m writing. I don’t know what I’m writing or why, but it’s coming out of me like good looks and charm, so I’ve got to catch it while I can. More on this later.)

With that out of the way, I’m very pleased to welcome author Lori MacLaughlin, who has recently released the her second book, Trouble By Any Other Name, sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble.

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road in steppe receding into the distance

road in steppe receding into the distance


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a lifelong Vermonter (northeastern USA for readers outside the States) with two wonderful teens. My parents instilled in me a love of reading, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to go from reading stories to creating my own. I grew up on a dairy farm and used to spend a lot of time running around in the woods, imagining I saw fairies and dreaming up swashbuckling adventures. The most fun things I’ve done so far, not related to writing, are flying a sail plane, driving the length and breadth of Great Britain seeking out castles and ruins, and going to Disney World.

How did you get into writing?

My mother is responsible for that. I was not long out of high school when she first suggested I write down some of the stories in my head. I thought, okay, why not try it? I had no idea how much fun it would be to make my stories come alive with words. When I’m on a roll, it’s nirvana.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

I’ve always been a tomboy, and when I was younger, I enjoyed doing what would be considered more boyish things like driving tractors and doing farm work. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I was caught in a dress. A girly princess I was not.

So the main character I created for my stories was a lot like me. More ranger or pirate than princess, handy with a sword and able to take care of herself. I wanted to be the one doing the rescuing, not the one who needed to be rescued. I created stories where she could do just that. I made up adventures for her that I would like to have that fit into the maps I’d drawn of my imaginary world.

Who are your favorite authors?

Hmmm… for fantasy authors I’d have to say J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Ursula K. LeGuin, Patricia A. McKillip, and Cornelia Funke… to name a few.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is heroic fantasy at its best.

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

I would choose J.R.R. Tolkien. I would love to talk with him about his maps and how he created Middle Earth.

Thank you, Lori for being here with us! And congratulations on the release!


Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids’ shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she’s not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.


You can find her here:



Buy Links


Barnes & Noble



They Write the Books – Taryn Tyler

Today we’re talking with Taryn Tyler, author of Snow Roses,  a grim re-telling of Snow White:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a fantasy writer and literature enthusiast. I love tea and wine, myth, metaphysics, poetry, and nature. I probably have a clinical addiction to hats.

How did you get into writing?

I think I was about thirteen when I thought I was getting too old to play dress up and dolls and started writing the stories in my head down instead of acting them out. (Totally not true by the way. You’re never too old to play dress up. When you grow up it’s just called cosplay or theatre) My friends and I started publishing a monthly “newsletter” with each other’s stories in it which turned weekly within a year and the stories became longer and longer until they were sagas presented in serial format. I drafted my first novel that way. Not that I would ever show anyone the work I did when I was fifteen!

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Most of my stories are based off of folklore or fairy tales because I believe that legends and mythology hold the most concentrated manifestation of the universal story of mankind. (Translation: I like old stories 🙂 )

I decided to write SNOW ROSES when I was reading the Grimm’s story of Snow White and Rose Red and decided I didn’t really like the ending. I wanted to re-imagine it with some of the darker elements of fairy tales from before the Grimm brothers and give Snow and Rose the ending they deserved.

Who are your favorite authors?

Lloyd Alexander, Patricia McKillip, C.S. Lewis, Terry Pratchett, Shakespeare, and John Keats.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

Oooh. That’s hard.

Mara’s Tales by Gary D. Schmidt. It’s the saddest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

I would love to share a meal with mythologist Joseph Campbell if he were still alive. I would have so many questions for him about the mono-myth and archetypes and what myths I should read next.

Taryn Tyler

Connect with Taryn!


Taryn Tyler on FB

on Goodreads



They Write the Books – Lidy Wilks

Today is my stop on Lidy Wilk’s Can You Catch my Flow? blog tour! Lidy writes poetry and her debut chapbook is available now. 🙂

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Lidy was kind enough to answer some questions (see Q &A below), but the first, most important question I like to throw at authors:

Why do you write? What motivates and inspires you?

I write poetry to laugh, reflect and to say all the things I’m unable to say. Sometimes it’s a line, an event, a news source, an image or a sound that prompts and inspires a poem. And allows me to discover a little more about the differing views of myself and of others.

Take for example, “Baby Rhapsody”, a poem featured in my poetry chapbook. At first glance, it’s a humorous poem but it brings to light the dichotomy about raising a family. By focusing on the opposing views and reactions of husband and wife about the new baby.

In the poem, the husband can only think of the hospital, diapers and formula, daycare costs, etc. He’s more concerned with the cost of living which will now be higher with an extra mouth to feed. The wife is overjoyed to have another child and sees only the advantages. Their first child will be an older sibling which will improve his interpersonal relationships. And teach him responsibility.

The wife also hopes to have a girl while the husband wishes for a boy. Because we all have heard it before, the claim to get a shot gun once daddy to be finds out he’s having a girl.  The Kevin Hart Hyundai 2016 Super Bowl commercial even capitalizes on how fathers are extra protective with their daughters. And if you haven’t seen it already, here’s the link.

By the end of the poem, the husband gets his wish. And funnily, yet not unexpected, the wife wants to try again for that baby girl she wants. Yet the underlying issues of the poem is never resolved. After all, the cost to raise a child, one child, today is a quarter million. So is it wrong for the husband to care more about money than the new life coming into the world? Is it wrong of the mother to disregard the cost of raising a child? And should the gender of the baby really matter, as long as they’re healthy, have ten fingers and ten toes?

What are your thoughts on this complex question of having a baby proposed in “Baby Rhapsody”? Does it matter to have a boy or a girl? Or should being financially ready be an important factor in starting a family?

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~Q & A Interview ~


Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I like to read and write fantasies and poetry. I got my first book worm bug before the first grade when I discovered and devoured Little Women and Moby Dick for the first time. And I’ve been a goner ever since. Despite my love of stories, reading and writing it, it took many detours to get here today. Publishing my book, submitting my writing to literary journals and magazines and drafting manuscripts to submit to literary agents.  Only thing missing is a fully stocked cabinet of chocolate.

How did you get into writing?

I started writing because I also wanted to write amazing stories and poetry like I’ve read. I was a fan of Edgar Allen Poe, Fear Street and loved Halloween when I was younger. So my first foray into writing were horror greeting cards. After that, I handmade and illustrated a series of fairy tales about twin princesses who’d run away from the castle in search of adventure.

How did you come up with the idea for your chapbook?

At first, I wanted to do a short poetry collection showing the change of my poetic style. But a different theme evolved after gathering, reading and sorting through which poems to include or take out. “Can You Catch My Flow?” features poetry of the changes that happen in life while growing up. From the poem “Arrival of the Monarch” to “Got to Give it Up” you’re taken from adolescence to adulthood. From the feelings of social anxiety, peer pressure and dating. To the independence and freedom of being a young adult. And finally to settling down, establishing a home.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Louisa May Alcott, Ray Bradbury and JK Rowling. I also love the poetry of Thomas Hardy, William Butler Yeats, Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes, Rita Dove and Rumi. Ray Bradbury for his lyrical power with words. JK Rowling for her ability to make you believe in magic again. Thomas Hardy and William Butler Yeats because I’m a sucker for allusions. Sylvia Plath’s courage in not hiding who she was in her poetry. Langston Hughes for his use of simple words that evoked powerful emotions. The theme of womanhood explored in Rita Dove’s poetry. And Rumi’s poems of love and inner reflection.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

As a book lover, I couldn’t fathom choosing one book to recommend. Really, it’s just too hard for me. Can I recommend mine? Just kidding. If I have to recommend one book, then: A Stranger in the Kingdom by Howard Frank Mosher, Forever by Judy Blume, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Dracula, all 7 Harry Potter books, Her Human Costume by Cynthia Marie Hoffman, the Fullmetal Alchemist graphic novels, Immortal Rain by Kaori Ozaki, Kanata Kara/From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa, Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa…

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

Definitely JK Rowling and not just because she’s the author of my favorite book series. But because she first wrote the books during a very difficult time in her life. Yet she never gave up and gave the world one of the greatest fantasies about love and magic. And I’m not talking about spells like wingardium leviosa or expelliarmus. I’m talking about the magic of friendship, loyalty and working together for the greater good.

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Interested in a signed copy? Click here!

Lidy’s also hosting another giveaway of prizes. Click here to check them out!


Thanks for stopping by, Lidy! And good luck with your chapbook!