Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Deborah Jay and her Hot #NewRelease – The Prince’s Heir

Welcome to my last Q & A post for 2021. I know I have been sparse this year with Q & A features due to my world turning upside down, but  I couldn’t end off the year without sharing the news here from one of my oldest blogging friends, Deborah Jay, who has just released Book 4 in her 5 Kingdoms series – The Prince’s Heir.

About Deborah Jay:

Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training, and judging, competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE

PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, released December 14th 2021.

Blurb:

Read the gripping conclusion to The Five Kingdoms series…

King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.

As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.

When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.

Excerpt from Prince’s Heir

“Risada,” said Marten in a tone that sent ice crawling down her spine. “There’s something we didn’t tell you last year. We thought it would never be an issue once we’d destroyed Charin’s Cult.”

The king paused, pursing his lips. Blood pounded through Risada’s head, filling the silence. She felt nauseous. What had they kept from her, and why?

Marten drew a deep breath, then continued. “You know they wanted our child. What you don’t know is that things came to a head when you returned with Halson. Charin wanted a child of the royal bloodline, and it seems Hal’s would have satisfied Him as much as mine.”

Risada gripped the back of a nearby chair, clinging to that spot of reality in a world turned hazy.

Halson! Charin wanted her son!

A fierce rush of protectiveness blasted through her. She would die before she allowed that to happen. Staring into Marten’s eyes, she saw the same intent reflected there. Of course, he and Betha had been willing to sacrifice themselves before, and now he feared Betha might be forced to make that call again.

“We won’t let it come to that; I promise.” She took one of his hands and squeezed it, but he shrugged and disengaged his grip.

“Sadly, that’s not something you can promise. Not where Charin’s involved. I’ve faced Him, remember? I was lucky to survive, and I don’t give much for my chances if it comes to a rerun.”

“Marten.” Risada employed the same tone she used when Halson was being difficult. “You’re not alone in this. You will never be alone to deal with such an attack again; that I can promise.

Let’s get to know more about Deb’s writing and dressage life in our Q & A session:

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

Nine so far, plus novellas and short stories. Two non-fiction books on horse training (my day job), one SF (not published), five epic fantasy (one not published) and one urban fantasy. The unpublished books were where I cut my writer’s teeth, learning about plot, pace, and technique. One day I’d love to revisit them, but with so many other projects on the go, who knows if I’ll find the time?

My favorite book will always be the last one I finished. If you are anything like me, as we write more books our style changes, develops and (hopefully) improves. I am still proud as punch of my first published novel – THE PRINCE’S MAN – which in the early days before self-publishing, netted me two agents and a slew of positive feedback from the Big Six (as they were in those days) publishers, although no contract. Now, I’m really happy it didn’t sell – I would never have been allowed to write the sequels the way they’ve turned out, and I wouldn’t have control of my own career.

D.G. – You’ve certainly come a long way my busy friend. And yes, you are spot on, the more books we write, of course, our styles change as we learn new things. How many of us would like to go back and rewrite all our published books? Lol 🙂

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

As a hybrid author – both traditionally and indie published – I can definitely say the latter is far and away my preferred route. Not only do I get to write what I want, when I want, I also earn a markedly higher percentage of the income from my indie published books (70% from Amazon, 60% from some other platforms, paid each month) than I do from my trad published books (10% from my publisher, paid annually).

Sure, traditional publishers can get you into bricks-and-mortar stores, but that’s far less important since Covid struck, closing so many, or forcing them to sell online. Publishers also have extremely limited funds available for marketing, and contracted authors are expected to do most of the grunt work themselves – marketing, networking, selling in person, etc. – so I’d rather put my efforts into my indie books for a higher return.

D.G. – My sentiments exactly Deb. And I’ve heard same thoughts from a few different authors who left trad to take control of their own books. 🙂

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

I don’t know about a passion, I just always assumed I would write. It seemed the natural progression – read other people’s stuff, then write your own.

As a child, comics took my interest, and my earlier attempts at writing were accompanied by awful illustrations (I’m no artist). When my mother died a couple of years ago, in amongst her papers (she was also a writer) I found what must be my earliest attempt, aged about 6 – ‘The travels of Sammy Snail – Scotland here I come’. Weirdly prophetic, as at that time I had never been to Scotland, nor had any of my family, and yet that’s precisely where I now live.

After that, came ‘The Adventures of Galloper’, another illustrated comic book, and then ‘Samantha the Adventurous Poodle’, a novel which failed at chapter 3 because it had no plot!

D.G. – What a gorgeous find! I know you have tons on your plate and agenda, but wouldn’t it be fun if you revised and published her work in a children’s book someday, authored by both of you? Food for thought. 🙂

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

While this week’s release brings to a conclusion the main story of one set of characters, I still have plenty of other tales to tell about them. One of the best aspects of self-publishing is the option to publish books of any size. I already wrote one short story that fits in between books #1 & #2, with another underway. I plan to write a set of them, with the ultimate goal of gathering them into a book of their own.

I have also plotted out and started a novella, telling the back story of a minor character who grew to become a major force in books #3 & 4. In addition, years ago, I wrote the novel that takes place before this set, so I plan on going back and rewriting that to a publishable standard too.

Beyond that, I have a rough outline for the next sequence of books, featuring the next generation. I’ve set up a lot of worldbuilding ready for them to walk right into, so, although the over-arching plot appears to end in book #4, it has a lot further to go – I’m thinking maybe 10 books in all?

Next up is putting together a boxset of books #1 – #4, and start editing for audiobook production – something I still have to dip my toe in. I also have one novel and a short story published in an urban fantasy series, with 6 chapters of the next book already done and just waiting for me to pick it up again.

Finally (as if that lot wasn’t enough!), I am currently writing a commissioned non-fiction book on horse training to go with the two already published, and sketching out two new in-person presentations now we are allowed to do such things again.

I’m certainly never short of stuff to do!

D.G. – You’re a machine girl! I hate to add to your plate, but I was hoping you would come out with a sequel to Desprite Measures with your Cassie character. 🙂

Do you edit and proofread your own work solely or do you hire an editor?

Neither!

I’m really fortunate to have worked with an awesome writer’s group for many years – thirty, to be precise! Members have come and gone, but the core has remained. New members have to put in an audition piece, so we can assess the standard of their writing. If we feel they aren’t ready to join us yet we point them towards where they can find more basic help to develop.

The group consists of (almost) exclusively published authors – some short fiction writers, some novelists. We do include a uni student, reading creative writing (what else?), but fundamentally we all write professional pieces that sell. We used to meet in person once a month, now we do it on Zoom, which means a couple of former members who moved away have rejoined.

One of the best aspects is that between us we cover a wide range of professions and interests, such as a medical doctor, a computer programmer, a travel writer, and a stand-up comic! Between the lot of us, we’re pretty darned good at the whole gamut of editing. And knowing we will all be on the receiving end at some point, we’ve become well practiced at constructive critiquing – the best sort of group.

D.G. – Sounds like a great plan and a wonderful and eclectic bunch of writers! 🙂

What was the inspiration behind the series you’ve just completed?

I was always frustrated that the super-spy, James Bond, was never allowed (until now!) to develop as a character. Enter my leading man, Rustam Chalice – a shallow, womanizing, spy. During THE PRINCE’S MAN, alongside the action and politics, everything he thought he knew is challenged and proven to be false, bringing about profound changes to his life, which continues to develop through the entire series.

I chose a fantasy setting partly because of my love for Lord of the Rings, but also because of the incredible scope available to my imagination. I can do whatever I want with the world (provided it’s consistent and makes sense), which allows me to put my characters through a crucible unlike anything they would experience in a real-world setting.

Out of these two things came tagline for the series: Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.

D.G. – Brilliant concept! 🙂

It was a pleasure having you over today Deb. I wish you much success with your new release, and no doubts the Prince’s Man fans for this series are anxiously awaiting this new release.

Connect with Deborah:

Newsletter sign up and FREE short story: http://eepurl.com/bPZcmT

https://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: https://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

©DGKaye2021

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Lauren Scott – #NewRelease – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose

Welcome to my Q & A for September. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring my friend and author, Lauren Scott and her beautiful new book – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose. Lauren writes beautiful poetry and short story memoirs. I’ve been following her blog for a few years now and as Lauren has recently released her newest book, she’s on blog tour now, so I thought I’d jump in on her booklaunch tour with doing a little Q & A here with her. Enjoy!

 

 

Lauren Scott

 

About Lauren:

 

Lauren has authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015). In the last couple of years, she began exploring memories from her past, penning them into short memoirs. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Matthew, and their lovable canine, Copper; they have two adult children. Family has been an aspect of life she has always held dear. From her experiences over three decades: raising a family, grieving through loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and the many backpacking and camping adventures, her writing takes a magical path of its own.

 

The marvelous wild world that surrounds her: the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds never disappoint in providing inspiration. Recent backpacking trips with Matthew along the California coast and Sierra Nevada have stirred up thoughts to write about love, lost friendship, family, and the possibility that anything can happen. Hikes along the Paper Mill Creek remind her that life is fragile. From trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, Lauren is marveled at how the world is interconnected and that every living thing matters. She is a poet, short memoir writer, and nature lover who hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.

 

 

Welcome

 

 

Let’s get into a little Q & A and get to know more about Lauren!

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

 

Inspiration is derived from a simple walk around the neighborhood with my dog: flowers blooming in springtime, bees buzzing in the distance, clouds forming art in the sky, or a subtle touch of a breeze. Family is most important to me, so I write about the love of my life, my husband of 32 years, who I met in a comical manner. My parents who have since passed away have been the fodder for poetry and short memoirs – losing one parent is difficult enough, but both is beyond surreal. It’s like the family foundation slipped into a sink hole. I find inspiration from my son and daughter who have turned out to be compassionate, amazing adults, and how it took some getting used to when my husband and I became empty nesters.

 

I write about loss and grief – the importance of letting those tears flow – but also the necessity of occasionally giving freedom to your silly self. Camping and backpacking have played an integral part of our life, so living in the wilderness near a sparkling freshwater lake encourages a plethora of thoughts eager to be written. Hiking five miles further up the mountain to a lake filled with lily pads is like entering a fairyland inspiring a new level of ideas for my muse.

 

When work on my memoir began, my mind transported to the past: recalling formative childhood years, finding forever love, becoming a mother, and taking on challenges that I never would have attempted before. I strive to convey the value of slowing down and reveling in surrounding beauty, feeling gratitude, meeting a challenge head-on, and living in the here and now. We’re only gifted one ride around the sun, so why not make it the best possible ride?!

 

DG: Even your response here is beautiful prose Lauren. Yes, writing about truth in life is all about the moments we take in and how we interpret them. 🙂

 

 

What are your writing goals for this year?

 

I had set a writing goal to publish my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose which was released in early September. What a feeling of accomplishment, especially because my first two books were collections of poetry. More than Coffee speaks of memories from the past written in freeform poetry and in short memoirs. The process took longer than I anticipated, and I thought the editing would never end. Eventually, the point of confidence that every comma and verb was written correctly was finally achieved. I am thrilled to check that box off, but in the process, I was able to relive many wonderful moments from my childhood into my adulting. When loved ones have passed on, it is the gathering of fond memories that sustain us and bring them to life.

 

DG: I’m glad you accomplished what you set out to do Lauren. I know how life can get in the way of our good intentions. Writing memoir is certainly reliving the moments. 🙂

 

 

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

 

As I inched closer to the finish line with More than Coffee, the wheels in my mind started turning again, and I wondered what will come next? I have written more than a dozen new poems I would love to see in print, but those may have to wait. I recently pulled a children’s book idea from my archived computer files. This book or a possible series commenced over two decades ago. And then life happened, raising children took precedence, and that idea became complacent in the archives. I feel now is the right time to breathe some life into this project. However, I don’t know the first thing about writing a children’s book. For now, though, I’m enjoying the ride on Cloud 9 from the release of my new book and the positive feedback I’ve received, along with the generous support from wonderful blogging friends. Once this ride slows down, the children’s book research will begin, and I’ll see where it takes me.

 

DG: That sounds fantastic Lauren. I could definitely see you as a children’s writer. That will be a wonderful project to dive into no doubt!

 

 

Do you have any advice you can share for new writers?

 

My advice is to simply write! Don’t think too hard! Years ago, I allowed intimidation to prevent me from pursuing my writing passion – intimidation from not holding that BA or MFA in Creative Writing. However, several years ago, I attended English classes required for an associate degree at our local community college (baby steps to a bachelor’s degree), and I’m proud to say that I aced those classes. I loved the writing and the experience. But what halted me on that path to a two-year degree was the requirement to take other classes that might not interest me, then to spend time doing that homework. Instead, my son nudged me into starting a blog. I slowly began to share my writing, feeling a little timid in the beginning. At the same time, I followed many talented authors. Before I knew it, WordPress transformed into an online classroom. I learned about various formats of poetry. I read compelling fiction with authentic dialogue. I laughed and let the tears fall when reading memoirs. I delighted in immersing myself into charming children’s books.

 

Thus, I made another choice, pouring my heart and soul into writing for my blog, a wonderful platform to engage with other like-minded bloggers. Regardless of age, learning is infinite, as well as growing in one’s craft. Maybe I’ll step foot on a college campus again? Whether that happens or not, I’ll continue to read, letting myself be drawn into fantastic tales of fantasy, mystery, and romance. I’ll feel the myriad of emotions when reading beautiful poetry, gaining more knowledge along the journey. And when inspiration moves me, I will write. So, follow your writing passion regardless of credentials or age.

 

DG: I’d say that is the best advice for new writers afraid to take the plunge. Oh yes, it can be so intimidating when we first begin. But the blog gives us our own platform to experiment with our writing and a great audience to inspire us to keep writing. It’s all about community for us writers. 🙂

 

 

Books by Lauren Scott

 

Lauren Shares an Excerpt from her story – Ascent

 

When we reached the top and I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side of the dome, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, drank some water, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I was relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and sat on a log for a time-out. I was so overwhelmed that the tears found freedom. I didn’t fight them. I cried for the loss of Dad. I cried for having completed this hike that I didn’t think I was capable of. I would’ve backed out graciously had I known the details.

 

After a few minutes, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water, a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.

 

I hope you all enjoyed getting to know a bit about Lauren, her writing and her new book. Visit Lauren at her blog and at her Amazon author page to discover some of her other books.

 

Visit Lauren:

 

BLOG: https://baydreamerwrites.com/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08NCRH4MK

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye, Featuring #Thriller Author, Leyla Cardena

Welcome back to my author interview series – Q & A with D.G. Kaye. It’s been quite a turbulent year for me, but as I’m slowly getting back to regular program blogging I wanted to bring back my Q & A series. And to kick off the series, I am thrilled to have over my lovely Swiss author and friend, Leyla Cardena. Leyla recently released her newest thriller book – Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, and today we’re going to get to know a little about Leyla, her writing, and her books.

 

Leyla Cardena author

About Leyla:

Leyla Cardena was born on the 2nd of August 1990 in Geneva, Switzerland. Since her childhood, she became fascinated by all creative mediums such as cinema, writing and theater plays, which drove her to write since the age of eleven. At 23, after night school in the domain of Swiss law and working as a corporate assistant, she followed her dream to become an author and wrote her first novel in French titled “Karmicalement Vôtre”, published in France in 2013. She then, in 2019, published her second novel written in English “Becoming Insane”, and its sequel “Existing Creatures, Living Dragons” in July 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Underneath the earth, John Crane’s bones are cracking and his flesh is burning. His memories are at present as alive as his body, a body, preparing itself for metamorphosis and freedom. In the black box of Jack Vain’s mind, his belongings explode, his past life is an illusion, and ultimately, is a tower destructed by his unfulfilled desires. The recurring nightmare, the hand on Dr. Brooke Ashley’s thigh, is now a warning sign against danger, an appropriation that leads her instinct into the right directions. The djinn that Hassan Maroun met, is the little and magical voice that makes him wonder if the current events can be clearly and scientifically explained.

The creature from John and Jack’s dreams and fantasies, is the master of their evolution. Will the two childhood friends be able to accept their transformation in order to make the investigation advance?

 

 

Let’s get to know more about Leyla!

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

 

I believe that book ideas can grow from anywhere at any time. For creators, I suppose they come from subjects they are passionate about, the same applies for me. For Becoming Insane and its sequel, Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, my ideas came from my personal experience with panic attacks and OCD which I suffered from for a period. It came during a time where I chose to leave my job behind (and a lot of other things) to start new and become an author. The issue of taking a risk without any guarantees, while also not taking any and feeling suffocated is the first main theme in Becoming Insane. The creativity that my main characters, Jack Vain and John Crane possess, becomes during their adulthood the unfulfilled and hungry creature that haunts and stalks them. The need to create comes back with a vengeance. Also, for those two novels, psychology is a very important subject. Probably because I have a great passion for it and did my best to convey my own emotional experience and a scientific point of view in the books. In other words, I would be reading books about psychology like the DSM when I was a teenager instead of doing my math! For the novels, it’s important to understand that what my main characters are going through, and what happens to them in a “horror and fantasy” way, is interpreted through a Jungian lens. The reason for that is Jung’s works which revolve around archetypes, mythology, and their interpretation, gives the novels the fantasy and fairy tale atmosphere which breaks reality. I thought it fitted well with my characters, who are creative.

 

D.G, – Sounds fascinating Leyla. I love psychological thrillers and looking forward to reading both your books. 😘

 

 

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

 

Always, however, it came first by simply wanting, then needing to create a story by using my toys when I was a child. To the point where my parents would go crazy because I would ask for so many dolls and plushies and whatever I could find that I could use as a character for the story I had invented. As I was only a very young kid my stories were still very basic, with a main character, usually a woman that had to go on a quest of some sort to save someone or the world. Or a more fairy tale-historical kind of story about a character climbing up the social ladder and becoming a leader. Also, some science-fiction when I felt like it. A child’s imagination has no limits! But I adored preparing the set before playing out my story. The first story I ever wrote was when I was about nine years old which I never finished. It was a very simple one about a young ballerina (because I used to do ballet and returned to it a few years ago) who witnesses some ghostly apparitions of another ballet dancer and must discover the secret behind her disappearance. Nothing original I’m afraid!

 

D.G. – You were certainly gifted the creative bug as a child Leyla. No surprise you became a writer. Maybe you should consider going back and rewriting that ballerina story? 😘

 

 

What would you like to see change to make the world better?

 

I’m extremely sensitive to children’s causes and cannot point out enough how much education is important. I unfortunately had to witness some degree of violence when I was very young, and then quickly was on my own to take responsibility of my own life when I was only sixteen. To the point where I could relate to a lot of the characters in Dickens’ books. That’s why I always say that every century and generation will have their Oliver Twists and David Copperfields. I cannot insist enough on how it’s important, and in some places urgent, to not only give knowledge, but understanding and love. And of course, a good and stable family structure so that the child can be emotionally fulfilled and feel good about himself/herself before diving into the adult world. Yes, I’m very sensitive to that. It’s always good to remember that we are not just raising children, but future adults, and that no matter the hardships and the struggles, to make sure that they have enough self-confidence to follow their dreams and avoid bad situations. The subject of childhood is immensely present in my two novels so yes, children, education and having people around them to help them grow and possess good health (physical and mental) is one of the things that can (or should) evolve for a better world. I suppose it will seem strange coming from me, as I’m not a mom and still haven’t considered becoming one.

 

D.G. – I’m with you on your thinking about children. I particularly liked, “we are not just raising children, but future adults” so much truth! It sounds like we both lived ‘interesting’ and colorful’ lives as children. 😘

 

 

Does anything you watch on TV prompt ideas for your own writing?

 

I haven’t watched TV in years! Except maybe for the daily news. I watch everything on Youtube and for movies I watch them on Netflix. There are a lot of subjects I’m passionate about that I explore by watching a documentary, then reading a book about the subject I chose to get more details and information about it. The subjects I usually enjoy discovering are (apart from psychology as mentioned above) history, true crime, nature, mythology, and its relationship with theology. There are so many things to learn about, and as I’m a curious person by nature I just can’t stop. I think it comes from my background. I come from a family with many origins, my father is Moroccan, and my mom is half British and half Catalan. My grandmother (on my mother’s side) is half Swedish too. So, I would be transported into different worlds and scenery just by being read a story to by my parents. It’s extremely enriching and makes a child open minded about different cultures while also spotting the similarities we share in storytelling. Music is also one of my greatest inspirations. I love all kinds of music, as it helps me visualize scenes and characters before translating all of it into words.

 

D.G. – What a fascinating mix of ethnicity in your bloodline Leyla. And good for you for not watching TV, lol. Seems we enjoy reading same subjects too! 😘

 

 

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

 

I’m currently working on a series of novels entitled “God, Men and Beasts”. We’re still in the thriller/horror genre, but the theme is about survival. Survival in society paralleled with survival in the wild. In Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, my main character John Crane, introduces the first chapter of God, Men and Beasts as his own work as a writer. This new series is about a journalist that must write articles about crime or court cases involving different people that are mysteriously linked to each other. Even though they live in different countries, have different lives, and have lived in different ages and decades, they share something between them that the journalist will discover later (I’m not telling what it is). These future novels are heavily influenced by the geographical location of the characters. For example, if I take England or the north of France, the story happening in this specific location will have a European fairy tale kind of atmosphere, in which the dark woods play a big role, and will represent the mystery, magic and horror of the story. You can also add in an air from the Arthurian legends. However, while Becoming Insane and its sequel Existing Creatures, Living Dragons talks about childhood, inspiration, imagination and even fantasy and how to implement them in our lives and not forget them, God, Men and Beasts is about reigniting our senses and instincts. Talks a lot about different species of animals and our relationship to them, what they used to represent before (which was power, freedom and a specific quality depending on the culture) and now. I’ve been diving into a lot of documentaries about animals, animal behaviorism and animism, which came before paganism and its different mythologies. I’m also continuing a story that is an homage to a Swiss artist that I admire a lot. But I won’t tell you who it is until the book is published!

 

D.G. – Wow, you have so much on the go! Good for you. All subject matter sounds fascinating to me. I love that your stories all encompass the element of human nature despite that there may be horror or fantasy with their themes. I wish you lots of success! 😘

 

 

Leyla is treating us to an excerpt of her book, Existing Creatures, Living Dragons

 

CHAPTER 8
Laughing Dragons

 

Too much pain, for too long. Worse thing is, it’s for free for everyone. Even if John knew that he wasn’t alone feeling such, and that there were far worse tragedies in the world, the suffering wouldn’t disappear, and now, it became physical, as he could feel each inch of his body itching and then burning every time his skin would peel off, revealing his red flesh exposed to the air. He cried, putting his two hands on his face, realizing that there wasn’t any skin left there either. He screamed, nearly fainted, hoped he would never have to see his face in a mirror again. The pain was constant, and sometimes came in violent shots to different parts of his body. But he knew that the suffering hadn’t climb to a climax yet, and that he could still do something to avoid it. In order to do that, he gazed around, crawling on all fours like an animal, staring at the grass, the trees and the earth, searching for any tool sharp enough, so that he could get rid of the pain, and eventually, himself.

 

“Help me!” John screamed. Only desperation was left in him as he could not find the tool that would release him, he suddenly felt another kind of physical pain in which he could feel something inside his back trying to get out, it wasn’t a beast, a creature, just something that was part of him…which frightened him even more. He crawled again far from the cabin where the hobo had sheltered him, he then found a dead tree with a hole in the ground beneath it, he ran to it.

 

“The pain will kill me before I cut it away!” John mumbled, tears streaming down the flesh of his face.

 

When he wished to dig the hole deeper, he saw that his hands, skinned, had long dark nails at the tip of his fingers, and had now become claws, which helped him dig the hole further into the ground.

 

“I’ll die inside of there. Like that no one, Mom, Robert, nor Jack will see me like this…” he thought to himself. When he felt that he hadndug deep enough, he inserted himself inside the earth with some agility that was left in him, which surprised him for just this onemsecond in which he didn’t think of his suffering. Once inside, he continued his journey into the depths, and breathed the air of nature.

 

“No one must see me…” John didn’t understand that it was his pain that was repugnant, not him. He would have given anything to disappear. Which was happening, but not as he wanted.

 

“Why do you think you can control death?” It is the most painful thing everyone has to go through.” said the voice of the creature inside John’s mind.

 

“I’ll wait to die in here…and while doing that, I’ll pray, and remember the best of my life…” John answered.

 

The suffering, the beast that devoured every centimetre of John’s body, the cancer, the virus, began its works, and inside the earth, underneath the dead tree, no one could guess, that a metamorphosis was taking place. It was by remembering what John considered the best times of his life that he could comfort himself inside his earthy refuge, like a story to be written, he made the effort of remembering each detail of the beginning until the ending, even though his brain would inadvertently follow the logical path of the story, even if it wasn’t a happy ending. It was an evening in which he and Jack were heading to Martha’s ballet repetitions to pick her up, as they would then have a drink together for Jack to introduce his best friend. They entered the corridor giving into the classroom, sitting down on the benches where several other people (probably friends and parents) were gazing at the dancers.

 

“Here she is!” Jack exclaimed trying not to be heard by others to John, pointing his finger towards a young and pretty Martha, standing on the dancefloor with the other dancers, waiting for the choreographer’s instructions.

 

“She’s beautiful!” John answered.

 

“Isn’t she? She looks like Audrey Hepburn…” Jack added joyously and proudly, hearts in his eyes and his mind on cloud nine.

 

Thirty minutes passed where the two friends stayed to watch the dancers prepare for their next representation, which was, as John recognized by the music playing on the piano, Swan Lake. Their main professor shouted, interrupted the dancers, made them do it all over again until each little detail was done at the utmost perfection, giving the pianist, that John had looked to for a couple of seconds, a bad time, having to stop and begin again. While Jack was beginning to be impatient for the repetition to finish, John continued to gaze at the frustrated pianist, staring at him with full admiration for his talent at the piano, and his handsome face. Elegant and classy brown hair combed back, golden skin and the most beautiful hands John ever saw…the hands of an artist. John guessed the pianist must have been in his late twenties, which agreed with him, as he was now twenty-five. He was so taken by the beauty of the musician that he could not even realize that the repetitions were finished, and that Martha was advancing towards them. She embraced Jack and said:

 

“I’ve got some wonderful news darling!”

 

“Really? What is it?” Jack asked unable to come back from her wonderful kiss.

 

“I’ll tell you later once we get out of there. I’ll just go and change.”

 

While they embraced again, John stared at what the pianist was doing. He was now talking to the choreographer while putting away his partitions, talking about the dancers and certain changes in the group. He got up, revealed his wonderful body, put his partitions in his suitcase, walked in front of John, said “Hello” rapidly, and vanished from the classroom, leaving John desperately lovestruck, and unable to say a word to anyone until he got a drink in his system at the restaurant.

 

“I was chosen to be the princess in Swan Lake!” Martha exclaimed happily. They raised their glasses when hearing the excellent news. John, who had previously introduced himself, asked by mere curiosity:

 

“What happened to the other dancer?”

 

“Well, I don’t know if you saw during the repetition, but she continued making the same mistake for her entrance so…they decided to have me play the Swan Princess!”

 

“Oh…” John could only say, as he realized that he hadn’t listened to what happened during the repetition as his attention had been fully taken by the pianist.

 

“I told you she’s the best dancer!” Jack added proud and in love.

 

It was one of the best evenings. An evening of joy, laughter, drinks, good food and love. Maybe even for John. They left the restaurant at 11 pm and dropped Martha to her parent’s place by using Jack’s car. They got out in front of a big residence, where John left the two lovers to say goodbye while smoking a cigarette near the car. Jack came back with a big smile on his face, and most importantly, hope for the future in his eyes and attitude.

 

“I’m so glad you got to meet her!” Jack exclaimed while lighting up a cigarette.

 

“Me too. She’s respectful, elegant, has a good vocabulary. She’s great,” John answered.

 

“If only I had my apartment now! If only I lived alone! I wouldn’t have to end my evenings with like this!”

 

“Listen don’t be too eager for that. The contrary is fine, she’ll have more confidence in you! And I find that romantic not to have to hit the sheets at the first date.”

 

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Q & A with Leyla Cardena, and the excerpt. I hope you will check out her books!

 

Find Leyla on Social Media:

 

Blog: Blog | Leyla (leylacardena.com)

Twitter: Leyla Cardena (@CardenaLeyla) / Twitter

Instagram: Leyla Cardena (@leylacardena) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook Page: Leyla Cardena – Becoming Insane | Facebook

Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com: Leyla Cardena: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring MJ Mallon and #NewRelease – Lockdown Innit

Welcome to my March edition of Q & A time where today I’m featuring another Fey Sister, friend and author, Marjorie Mallon.  I recently published a review for Marje’s lastest release – Lockdown Innit, and today Marje will share her journey to writing her latest book in prose and poetry here in her second book she felt compelled to write about how Lockdown has affected her personal world.

 

Marjorie Mallon author

 

About Marje:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

On the 17th of November I was born, in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit.) My early childhood was spent in Hong Kong. During my teen years, my parents returned to my father’s birthplace, Edinburgh, where I spent many happy years. As a teenager, I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters have almost flown the nest, but often return with a cheery smile to greet me.

During the day, I work in an international sixth form with students from around the world. I’m the meet and greet lady who welcomes them to their new college and issues them with late slips when they don’t get to their lessons on time!

I write YA fantasy, paranormal, horror/supernatural short stories, flash fiction and short form poetry. More recently, I have produced and compiled an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown. Following on from this, in February 2021 I will be releasing Lockdown Innit, poems about absurdity which will be available in kindle and shortly after release in paperback.

I’ve been blogging for many moons at my blog home Kyrosmagica, which means Crystal Magic. From time to time I write articles celebrating the spiritual realm, inspiration and my love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

My eclectic blog shares my three loves: reading, writing, and creativity. I adore reading and have written over 150 reviews on my blog: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

 

 

Blurb:

Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!

 

Lovely to have you over today Marje. Let’s get down to some Q & A!

 

 

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

Normally, my book ideas grow from a massive surge of creative energy that I
experience upon wakening. I grab my notepad by my bed and jot down ideas before they vanish! These notes become my initial story idea. From that point, I develop the concept and see how it develops and perhaps transforms.

D.G. – Have to laugh Marje, I do the same – notebooks everywhere, because we never know when inspiration strikes – and forgotten shortly after, lol.

 

Do events in your daily life inspire your writing ideas?

When I started writing daily life events didn’t inspire my writing as much as they do now. I’m more aware of current affairs, the world around me, how this pandemic has affected people. So, yes, events in my daily life have taken centre stage for the moment and pushed my fantasy writing aside for a while. I’ve written two books inspired by our struggles during this time, the first This Is Lockdown is a compilation of my personal diaries, poetry and flash fiction plus 28 contributions on the topic of ‘isolation’ from the perspective of authors, bloggers and creatives, including your good self, Debby. These contributed pieces include poetry and flash fiction pieces from different parts of the world. The anthology has an international feel, with thoughts not just from the UK, Ireland, Scotland, but from Italy, Australia, USA and Zimbabwe too. Working on the anthology was a wonderful way to connect with the writing community, to bring us together and lift our spirits in a shared goal at this time.

D.G. – I loved that book too Marje, and thrilled to be part of what will undoubtedly become a piece of history in years to come.

 

What are your writing goals for this year?

I expect that my latest release, a collection of poems about the absurd experiences
I’ve encountered during the pandemic: Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity,
might be the last Covid19 related book that I release. The muse will decide! There are eighteen poems in the collection on all manner of subjects, some absurd serious, some light-hearted absurd. Themes such as: jogging, disregard for others safety, face masks carelessly thrown away, poems written to family members, genuine fears and some pure humorous like Lockdown Breeze, Swan’s Confusion, Horses Like Statues and This Face.Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity releases February 26th.

For the poem: This Face, the image was kindly created by fellow poet and author
Sarah Northwood who is starting to introduce graphic skills to her repertoire:
https://www.sarahnorthwood-author.com/

 

Pink face

 

This Face

Here’s my face, I’m in the pink,
A shade lighter here and there,
Black glasses, hint of eyebrows,
Smile of lipstick, small detail of nose,
Black border for my chin and hair.
Sweet perfection, not a hair out of place!
Sweet perfection, without any disgrace!
Could that really be me in there?
I didn’t even brush my hair!
Or wipe the gunk off my specs,
Those eyebrows, freshly tweeked,
My hair bobbed, cut to perfection.
Which angel darling created this?

© M J Mallon

Sarah Northwood’s image also graces my paperback cover, (which I designed
myself,) to be released shortly after the kindle.

Lockdown Innit cover

 

My writing goals in 2021 are to complete my YA fantasy – The Curse of Time #2
Golden Healer, my poetry and photography collection Do What You Love, and to
work on an autumn inspired book for release around Halloween, with my Spiritual
Sisters: Debby, Colleen, Adele and Sally. I’m so excited about all my projects, 2021 is going to be some year!

D.G. – I love your determination to plow through this pandemic and not lose your writing mojo like many of us writers have endured. And thrilled to be part of the upcoming ‘Sisters’ book too. ❤

 

What is the most intrinsic part of being a writer?

That’s an interesting question, one I am pondering about… Perhaps, its akin to being reborn again. For me, my experience has been like that to a degree. My younger self was lacking confidence, unsure who I was supposed to be. Since becoming a writer, I triggered that imaginative spark in my creative brain, embraced fulfillment and became a little crazy – in a good way! Maybe, writers experience the world on a muchdeeper and more profound level and once we do we can’t return to the person we used to be.

D.G. – Experiences do change us Marje. And no, we will not be going back to the world we knew. Let’s hope we’ll all make it a better world.

 

Do you watch TV? If so what is your favorite show and why?

I tend to be fairly juvenile in my choice of TV! My eldest daughter and I have been
watching episode after episode of the American comedy-drama television series,
Gilmore Girls which I love. The mother daughter vibe is fabulous as is the
wickedness of the grandmother. I’m always so jealous of Lorelei’s (the mum’s) lovely fashion sense. She is the coolest mum out there! She’s kind of wacky, (which I relate to,) speaks so fast (like she’s got an abundance of thoughts whizzing in her brain,) and loves her daughter Rory (I’m so close to my daughters and family too.) The characters are all so wonderfully relatable and the series is addictive.

D.G. – I am so not surprised you connect with that show Marje. I’ve only ever watched a few episodes – long ago when it was on primetime. But no surprise coming from a YA writer. 🙂

 

Connect with Marje: Links and Social Media

Authors Website::  https://mjmallon.com

Visit my Author Amazon Page for all my books:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

MJ Mallon books

 

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Goodreads::  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

 

©DGKaye2021

bitmo live laugh love

 

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Canadian Author, Allan Hudson

Welcome to my Q & A. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring a fellow Canadian, friend and author – Allan Hudson. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Allan’s writing, he’s a multi-genred author, and I’m currently reading one of his short story books – A Box of Memories, which offers a variety of themed stories from fiction to the odd sci-fi, with one common thread – Allan is a wonderful writer of description. His characters are are richly descript, and take you right into the moment. Allan also hosts his blog – the Southbranch Scribbler, and features author promotion interviews too!

 

Today I have a double feature with Allan’s Book 1 of his Detective Jo Naylor series (female protagonist) – Shattered Figurine, a murder, mystery, adventure. And Allan has recently launched Book 2 in the series – Shattered Lives, and he’s sharing excerpts of both his books here today along with a bit about himself in our Q & A portion.

 

Allan Hudson

 

About Allan:

Allan Hudson was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. Growing up in South Branch he was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a school teacher. He lives in Cocagne with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, travel and uses the many experiences as ideas for his writing. When not at the keyboard, he continues to enjoy woodworking, glass work and furniture restoration. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers: In the Abyss – received honourable mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition. He has stories published on commuterlit.com, The Golden Ratio and his blog – South BranchScribbler.
www.southbranchscribbler.ca

 

 

Blurb:

Detective Josephine Naylor receives an email telling her where to find the last body. The messenger tells her “only you can stop this madness”. Discovering a shattered figurine on the corpse, she’s overwhelmed by the possibility it might be the one she sold in a yard sale. If so, she knows who the killer could be. She prays that she’s wrong.

 

Excerpt for Shattered Figurine

 

This regrettable murder left no doubt in Jo’s mind that the killer is the same person, based on the method of execution. Forensics had confirmed as much with the second body. That murder had brought forth the criminal psychologists to create a profile that would tell them what type of individual might commit such a crime. The scene before her is, therefore, extremely important, so she stands well away. She is still able to discern an unusual shape upon the victim’s forehead, which, once uncovered from its icy envelope, will likely prove to be a piece of broken crystal similar to those found in the same spot on the pale dead skin of the two other bodies.

Jo is standing at the edge of a wide field shadowed by alders and tall spruces that front the extended forest behind her. The rising sun is just cresting the pointed tops. The body is lying parallel to the tree line at the rim of the pasture. It’s early December. The night fog turned solid as the temperature dropped below freezing, cloaking everything in stark white.Jo is startled from her contemplation of the scene by the sensation that someone is watching her. She turns toward the open field, scanning the perimeter of the woods. Nothing moves; not even a breeze disturbs the black-and-white scene. A rise in the field blocks her view to the road and her car, but she would have heard a vehicle approach. The silence is intense, nature seeming to mourn the young girl’s death. Jo would definitely hear the crunching of frost under someone’s boots.

 

Review for Shattered Figurine by author Anita Dawes.

The opening chapter presents the detective, Jo Naylor, with a very important question. One she didn’t really want to answer but knows she must.

The next chapter, one year later, hits you square in the face with full on complicated and violent action as we discover what this story is all about.

Shattered Figurines is a surprisingly unusual detective story in that it doesn’t follow the usual plotline for this genre and the characters aren’t run of the mill either. The author has captured a very real element in both the story and the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I love a good detective mystery story and Shattered Figurines is one of the best I have read this year. I shall be first in the queue when the author writes another one in this series.

 

I hope that whet your appetites. Now, let’s get to know more about Allan!

 

 

“Thank you so much Debby.”

 

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill intoyour book characters?

I’ve never felt any of my own personal traits would be of interest to my readers as I live a sedate life and I love writing action and adventure stories. My stories, perhaps, reflect how I might like to see myself, a hero, fearless, not afraid of what might be around the corner. Bold enough to take that first step into the unknown. I’m normally cautious about such things but not my adventure characters. They take all the chances at what needs to be done.

I do, however, use characteristics from people I know, their goodness, their kindness, their mannerisms, their good looks or sex appeal. And no, I’m not naming any names.

Personal experience on the other hand is something I rely on. I’ve always considered it to be much easier to embellish a couple of paragraphs or sentences or a full page with something I, or an acquaintance, may have encountered. An example is in two of my short stories of young boys, I myself had a wagon and used it to collect returnables on the side of the road when I was young and was the basis for the beginning of the story. In the second story, I did accidently start
a fire which got out of control one time. In another, a camping trip with two friends is based loosely on a similar outing with my brothers-in-law. It’s much easier.

D.G. – I love that you also add characters who do things you’d aspire to do. And I have to say, when I read the wagon stories, I thought to myself, hmm, did Allan do this? Lol. 🙂

 

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

I absolutely love the concept of self-publishing. When I wrote my first story, I did so with zero knowledge of what came next. This was at a time that self-publishing began to find its rightful place in the printing business and was no longer being regarded as vanity publishing. Here I was with my story, gone over a dozen times, rewritten and still wondering what it needed. I started searching on the internet. Please bear in mind that I was fifty-six years old when I started writing. Although, looking back now, it’s not old but I was wondering would I have enough time to write all the stories I wanted to.

I love books and I ached to hold one of my own in my hands. Writing was (and still is) a tremendous hobby.

There was so much information available and as a naive writer, I was drawn at the websites that offered to publish my book. But it was for a hefty fee of course, with no promises. I read comments of rejection slips, waiting for months to hear back from agents or publishers and if anything was accepted it would be months, maybe a year or more before my story would see print. My head was spinning. Then someone directed me to self-publishing. Wow. What a concept.

I knew immediately, this was how I would go forward. I followed wise advice to hire professionals for editing, covers and formatting. Yes, I had to bear the expense but it was worth it. I didn’t have to wait. There are multiple, free platforms to market your books. Get a website, tell everyone you can.

What a ride it has been and I’ve never looked back. I don’t think there is anything a traditional publisher can offer me that I don’t already have.

D.G. – My story was similar to yours Allan, so I knew it was my job to learn the biz too to get my books out. Look at us pioneers! 🙂

 

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I remember an assignment in high school where we had to write a story in English class. I don’t recall the story or how well I did but I do remember how much I enjoyed doing it. The English teacher chose my story to read to the class and offered suggestions to make it better. The urge to write has always been there. I was taught to read at a very young age by my mother who was a school teacher. I imagined telling stories must be so gratifying.

As a young adult, I attended a creative writing class and once more, the instructor used one of my stories to be read to the class. I felt I was onto something with her encouragement but never seemed to have the time to write. Moving forward to my early fifties, I discovered author Bryce Courtenay and fell in love with his novels. Reading his biography, I found out he only started writing in his fifties and I sent him a letter telling him how much I enjoyed his work and I was considering writing something. I expect it was one of his assistants who replied but nonetheless, it was a letter of encouragement and tips. I haven’t looked back since.

D.G. – Isn’t it funny that the slightest bit of encouragement can lift and propel us to go after what we want. And know you are not alone. I know many of us in our community didn’t begin serious writing and publishing til that 50 mark!

 

What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?

The most rewarding discovery in the beginning of my blog, and it remains the same, is meeting like-minded authors. Such as yourself, Debby. Offering their fellow writers an opportunity to share their dreams and writing with a new audience. The encouragement is fantastic. Many of us are in the same situation, blogging, meeting bloggers, introducing creative minds to our followers. It’s the best way to reach out to new readers. By offering the same vehicle to other authors, searching for new platforms. I’ve meet so many great writers struggling to get their stories to market. I’ve read much of their work. Different genres, different voices. I’m a firm believer that we learn to write by reading as much as possible.

As an author, there is nothing better than learning to blog, in my opinion. It opens so many doors.

D.G. – I couldn’t agree with you more Allan. And thank you for the compliment. 🙂 And very true how we always learn from reading more books!

 

If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?

I think it would be a thrill of a lifetime to have a novel adapted for the big screen. To see your name in the credits and the title of your book that inspired the drama.

I would choose my second novel, Wall of War. It was so much fun to write. Before I started writing, a story set in Peru, a discovery on Incan gold, floated in my mind continuously. It was the story I wanted to write at first but I didn’t. Here’s the silly reason why. I began to outline the story just as Clive Cussler’s story Inca Gold became known to me. It was published in 1994 but I only discovered it in 2013 when I started to write. I hadn’t read it but the idea that a famous author wrote about Inca gold and I wanted to write a story on the same subject matter, I changed direction, worried that people might think I plagiarized the story. Dumb, of course. I read Cussler’s novel and it was nothing like the story I wanted to tell. Just a naïve beginner’s fear.

I am fascinated by the Inca, their stonework, their working of metals, so sophisticated and precise. Wall of War starts with a startling discovery which lies dormant for fifty years. When the secret is re-discovered, trouble begins. An accidental death causes one of my characters to flee with enemies in hot pursuit for the gold. He reaches out to a man he grew up with but not related to. Drake Alexander goes on the hunt for his friend. It takes place in Peru, through the Sacred Valley, in Cuzco and near Machu Pichu. Rock climbers. Despicable enemies. It has all the ingredients for a suspenseful and entertaining movie.

D.G. – That does sound fascinating Allan. And goes to show that we shouldn’t be afraid to explore our passions because, other than plagiarism, each writer has their own unique voice and style of expressing a story that may have been told 1000 times. 🙂

 

Now for our Double Feature with Allan’s New Release!

 

Since the time of the booking of this interview with Allan, he has recently released Book 2 – Shattered Lives, so I’m happy to feature the book and blurb here today.

 

 

Blurb:

Jo Naylor is on the run. Wanted back in Canada for questioning regarding her father’s suicide. She has no intention of returning. With a new identity, she takes up temporary residence in a foreign country. She may not be a detective any longer but once a cop, always a cop. A distraught woman pleads with Naylor to find her daughter. Should she help? She doesn’t know anyone in Thailand, doesn’t know the geography but that doesn’t stop Naylor from sticking her nose where it shouldn’t be. Naylor and her new sidekick, an orphaned girl, join up with a local PI. There’s more than a missing child at stake.

 

First Review:

Top review from the United States

by MJ LaBeff

Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2021

 

Excerpt from Shattered Lives.

 

Coming out of the bank, a little girl scampers from the front window she’s obviously been staring into. Stopping at the end of the mall ten storefronts away, she disappears. But she soon peeks around the wall at Jo by furtively moving one eye and a few dirty strands of hair. Jo’s skin flushes with a pang of sympathy for her.

Jo remembers when she first saw her. She was going through the dumpster beside a restaurant and was shooed away by one of the staff. Jo followed her to find her huddled inside an abandoned and damaged cement pipe jumbled with others at a construction yard. Crawling through a fence in the back, Jo approached the ruins and singled out the girl’s dwelling among the other populated forgotten structures. The main theme was casual cardboard. The smell was the worse, something between urine and unwashed bodies. When Jo moved the ragged curtain open, the girl shinnied to the back, eyes displaying fear. Kneeling at the entrance, Jo’s smile brightened up the dim space. She talked patiently with soothing words to the girl but got no response. Jo figured she didn’t understand English. Beckoning for the girl to follow, Jo’s soft smile spoke of comfort. She led her back to the same restaurant, motioning for her to wait on a bench outside the door. She purchased a boxed meal and presented it to the little girl. Jo sat on one end of the bench watching the little girl wolf down the meal. She then wrapped the paper and cardboard together and placed it in a bin. Bowing, the first slight smile graced the girl’s lips. Then she turned and ran.

 

Thanks to Allan for coming over today and sharing a bit about himself and his books. I hope you’ve all enjoyed getting to know about Allan and will check out his books!

 

Look for Allan on Social Sites:

 

www.southbranchscribbler.com

Allan Hudson Author | Facebook

Allan Hudson (@hudson_allan) / Twitter

 

©DGKaye2021

bitmo live laugh love

 

 

 

Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Vashti Quiroz-Vega and #NewRelease – Rise of Gadreel

Welcome back to my first Q and A for the 2021 season. I’m thrilled to be featuring friend and author, Vashti Q Vega today for a little Q & A and some insights about her riveting new book, The Rise of Gadreel, which I recently devoured and reviewed for my first Sunday Book Review of 2021. Vashti’s book is the 3rd in this engrossing fantasy angel series of good versus evil.

 

No thanks to Amazon for NOT displaying my review on their dot com page as usual, as they seem to treat us Canadians like lepers. But I really did put it up on Amazon too, as well as on Goodreads. But onwards, now that I got that out of my system, let’s get to know more about Vashti and her beautiful book!

 

Vashti Q Vega

 

About Vashti Quiroz-Vega:

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

 

 

 

Blurb:

In The Fall of Lilith, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega took readers inside the gates of heaven for a front-row seat to Lucifer’s rebellion. In Son of the Serpent, she introduced Dracúl, tormented offspring of fallen angels. Now, in The Rise of Gadreel, Quiroz-Vega is back with the next chapter in her Fantasy Angels saga—a gripping tale of hope and redemption set against the fiery backdrop of a demon’s insatiable thirst for power and revenge.

Lilith is gone, suffering the torments of the damned in hell. Satan, once known as Lucifer, endures endless agony in an earthly prison. Yet their foul legacy lives on, spread by a corrupted priesthood that uses the blackest magic to fan the flames of evil and hate throughout the world.

The former angel Gadreel, who fought and fell alongside Lilith and Lucifer, only to join Dracúl in his fight against them, is weary of war. Repenting of past sins, she wants nothing more than to be left in peace. But when a new threat to humankind arises, Gadreel is given the chance she has prayed for—the chance to earn God’s forgiveness.

Now, with the aid of Dracúl and a trio of uncanny allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel must find the courage to confront her past and forge a new future for herself . . . and the world.

 

First Review:

D.L. Finn

Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2021

Verified Purchase

 

Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?

Yes. All my books have messages in them: “there are always
consequences to evil deeds” is a predominant message in my Fantasy
Angels series. There are also messages of good and evil, physical and
internal suffering, deception, revenge, hope, and redemption in my
stories. I don’t believe in sugarcoating evil people or their acts. I
understand that good people do bad things at times, but sometimes a
person is just evil and enjoys doing bad things. I enjoy making that
distinction.

D.G. – As one who has read almost all your books, I can verify those messages threaded in them.

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Sally Cronin #Booklaunch – Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries

Welcome to the last – but not least, edition of my Q & A for 2020. I’ve been saving this spot for quite some time now for one of our most starred bloggers and author of our community – Sally Cronin. Yes, Sally has worked diligently to get her #NewRelease out – Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, before this year ended, and this spot was awaiting her visit. So without further ado, I’m beyond thrilled to be featuring one of my dearest friends and author who knows how to touch hearts with her words – Sally Cronin. Today we’re going to learn a little more about Sally in some Q & A, and get a glimpse into her new release, which I will be featuring my review for this Sunday on my Sunday Book Review, so stay tuned!

 

Sally Cronin Author

 

About Sally Cronin

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another thirteen books since then on health and also fiction, including five collections of short stories. My latest book is a collection of verse and speculative short stories titled Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet

I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sally Cronin's Books

Visit Sally’s Amazon Page!

 

New Release Fresh Off the Presses!

 

Blurb:

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

 

Review:

D. W. Peach

Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2020

 

Anyone who knows Sally’s writing knows how her stories and words tug at our heartstrings – that is of course, if she isn’t writing a health and wellness article which she is also known for her expert advice in the world of natural healing, among many other topics, as Sally is often quite the Jill of many trades! So let us dive into more wonders from the indelible Sally Cronin.

 

 

 

Thank you so much Debby for inviting me over today and some great questions.

 

Thank you Sal, let’s get this party started!

 

What is your favorite social media network as an author, and why do you find it effective?

I keep an eye on my blog stats regularly to identify where the traffic is coming from, and the biggest referrer by a huge margin is WordPress Reader. This is followed by Facebook and then Twitter. I also have a LinkedIn account but it is not in the running as far as referrals. I am not on Instagram or any other platform, as I don’t have the time to deal with any more. It already takes at least three hours throughout the day to respond and promote on the ones I do maintain (you know all about that and must spend longer), so I spend the time available on platforms that offer the best referral rate.

At the moment, I would be hard pressed to call any of my social media my favourite, as they have all undergone facelifts this year, and have the appearance of being injected with too much Botox, filler and have lost their character in the form of their functionality.

They are however necessary for bloggers and authors to get themselves out there. From that perspective I would say that Twitter has the biggest reach as far as potential readership is concerned. It can become very time consuming keeping up to date, but it has to be worked like a muscle to keep it functioning and effective when promoting your own books or other authors.

Despite my misgivings about the Disneyland format of Facebook, and its draconian Bots, who you have come across Debby, I would miss friends and family who I keep in touch there, some going back nearly ten years. I also find the groups very useful for specific posts, particularly when sharing book related links.

These days the majority of authors are also undertaking their own book marketing. It is tough enough as it is, without having some online presence. As a book promoter I notice the difference in the level of response to posts for authors who are not on Twitter in particular, and if I was to recommend one platform that would be it.

D.G. – I would certainly take that as expert advice Sal, because as you know, we tend to travel in same circles. Thanks for the kudos, and yes, sharing and promoting is time consuming, but something that comes naturally to both you and I. We learn the ins and outs and circumvent where appropriate, lol. You know I’m 1000% with you on the Facebook front – so not my fav, but where the writers hang out, and a place to keep connections with readers and the people in our lives.

 

What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?

I have never taken for granted the special nature of the blogging community, and the relationships I have formed over the last seven years. This includes you Debby and the level of support that you offer to so many of us, including today’s Q&A.

This last nine months it has become clear how special the connection and support the community provides is for us all. Especially for authors who have struggled to launch their books without doing book fairs, readings and other events. The blogging community has stepped up, and it has made an enormous difference.

WordPress is another platform that is determined to give us a futuristic interface, but whilst I don’t like the new block editor, as it does not fit my needs, I still believe it is the most effective blogging platform available. I doubt that I would have sold a quarter of the books I have without fellow bloggers who are also my readers. If every author who blogs did an analysis of where their sales came from, I am sure that like my statistics, they come from bloggers or their support in promoting our books to their own readership in combination with Twitter and Facebook.

D.G. – Thanks for the kudos Sal, but you are the rockstar! And as usual, I agree with you on all you said from Facebook interaction to our blogs. In fact, I’ve read quite a few bloggers posting on how their best audience comes from blogging. I have to agree. What would we be without community? Like the old saying goes – ‘It takes a village’. And our community is blessed to have you. ❤

 

What would you like to see change to make the world better?

Oh my Debby, how much time have you got lol? I would say that I have a long list of small changes in mind that taken as a whole might just make the world a better place. At the heart of it is the fundamental necessity to communicate. People are shouting, at each other, over each other and about each other. And nobody appears to be listening to anyone. It happens in families, in communities and in countries. The shouting needs to stop and we need to sit down calmly and agree that history cannot be changed, but the present and future can. Everyone has an agenda and we have become a ‘MeMe’ and ‘MeToo’ culture. All we are going to end up doing is going around in circles, and without the leadership at the top showing an example of how these changes can be accomplished, things will remain the same. There has to be a shift in the language we use with each other so that it becomes ingrained.

‘What changes do WE need to make?’

 ‘How can WE work together to make sure WE ALL have a better future?’

Going back to the question about how I have benefited as an author from blogging, there is no doubt I have also benefited as a person. I have met so many people from around the world who go out of their way to help, counsel and support their fellow bloggers, irrespective of culture, religion or race.  If we can do this and maintain positive communication, collaborations and courtesy, the surely those in the wider world can too.

The last nine months have been unbelievably tough for most sectors of the populations in our individual countries, and for many the isolation would have been unbearable without this blogging community, and I for one am very grateful to be a part of it.

D.G. – Amen to all you said Sal. Our online community and friends have definitely helped to maintain my sanity! And you have spoken the words I mumble to my hubby daily – the world has grown to greed by the higher ups and big corporations. Wherever they can take more from us they will – cost of living, food, taxes and more. It’s time THE WORLD relearns compassion! ❤

 

Sally is sharing an excerpt with us from one of my favorite stories:

 

The Date

 

Elsie Windsor was just about to sit down to eat her sausages, mash and baked beans for her supper, when the phone on the wall by the kitchen door rang. She counted to ten, but when the ringing didn’t stop, she pushed herself upright and crossed the tiled floor to grab the receiver off the hook, betting it was another scammer. ‘Who is it?’ she barked down the line. She counted to three as the silence was a sure sign it was some automated solicitation call.

‘Hello Mrs. Windsor.’ That stopped her in her tracks, and she decided against using her favourite swear word and slamming the phone down just yet.

‘It might be,’ she said hesitantly.

‘My name is Antonio Carlucci and I am your date for Saturday night.’

‘I beg your pardon, but you are no such thing young man,’ highly indignant Elsie firmly put the caller in his place.

‘I assure you Mrs Windsor I am, you won me in last Saturday’s tombola at the church fair.’ She had to admit this Antonio did have a rather pleasant voice.

‘Young man, I am 95 years old and have not dated since 1945 when I met my late husband Frank, and I certainly am not going to start again now.’ She tried to remember back to last weekend when she had gone to the church fete with Ethel, her best friend. . .

D.G. Says: Get this book and find out how ‘the date’ went – I think it’s my favorite story! 💕

~ ~ ~

 

Thanks so much Debby for being such a wonderful friend to us all and for such a lovely boost to get the new collection of stories on its way… 💜💜

 

It was my absolute pleasure to have you and your lovely new book over here today Sally. You never disappoint and I loved, loved your book! ❣

 

Visit Sally on Social Links:

You can connect to me on the blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine 

Twitter: @sgc58 – 

Facebook: Sally Cronin –

LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

©DGKaye2020

bitmo live laugh love

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Author Liesbet Collaert and ‘Plunge’

Welcome to December Q & A. Today I’m excited to be featuring friend and new published author with her brand new book – Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary. Liesbet is literally ‘a world traveler’. She currently travels on land around the America’s with her husband and dog, but Liesbet has traveled for many years to many places, including a few years at ocean and seas on a boat(s). Can you only imagine the stories Liesbet has to tell?

Well I can because I’ve almost finished reading her book, and I’m just going to say that I love it, because I’ll be writing a review soon. So today we’re going to get some insights about Liesbet’s life of travel and how she managed to write and publish a book in her traveling life – often without internet.

 

Author Liesbet Collaert

 

About Liesbet:

Liesbet Collaert is a bilingual freelance writer, translator, editor, and photographer from Belgium who has been writing and traveling her entire life. Her work is published internationally in anthologies and magazines, including Cruising World, Blue Water Sailing, Ocean Navigator, Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, Islands, Yachting World, Sailing Today, All At Sea, Caribbean Compass, and Zeilen. She also created walking tours for Marigot and Philipsburg in St. Martin.

The author has been interviewed about her alternative lifestyle by Multihull Sailor, Modern Day Nomads, Ocean Navigator, The Wayward Home, The Professional Hobo, and Grey Globetrotters among others. She contributed to extensive cruising surveys for All At Sea and Caribbean Compass and became an assistant-editor for Caribbean Compass in January 2019.

Liesbet loves animals, nature, and the promise of adventure. A nomad since 2003, she calls herself a world citizen and currently lives “on the road” in North America with her husband and rescue dog. Find her stories and photos at http://www.itsirie.com and http://www.roamingabout.com. Plunge is her first book.

 

Plunge

Get this book here on Amazon #NewRelease

 

Blurb:

Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir, as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.

Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.

Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.

Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?

###

Have you ever wondered how life could be if you had made different choices? If you didn’t marry early, commit to a large loan for the house, focus on your career, start a family?

Maybe you’re just curious about how a person thinking outside the box manages? A person without boundaries, striving to be flexible, happy, and free. What you are about to read is how one such person follows her dreams, no, her intuition, and how she survives her naivety, life altering twists, and a relationship in close quarters.

Plunge is a story of what happens when you go with the flow, when you have a bright idea – or thought you had one – and ride the waves of the unknown. Ready to hop aboard and delve in?

 

Let’s ‘ride the waves’ a bit now with Liesbet and get to know more details

 

 

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think there was much of a realization, but more of an “easing into” writing for me. It came naturally. As a child in Belgium, I enjoyed writing, which was done in cursive, in the form of letters to friends and essays at school. In fourth grade, one of our daily assignments was to create a journal. Half of the page in this notebook was filled with words, the other half with a drawing that accompanied the text. This journaling task was my favorite part of the day and I picked up the writing portion again when I was a teenager. Ever since I was fourteen, I’ve written a daily diary!

As I traveled throughout my twenties, I stated: “One day I will write a book.” But who hasn’t said that at some point in their lives? I wrote weekly travel reports to family and friends, first by hand, then via group emails. After a year-long RV journey in Mexico and Central America, I actually started drafting my first book. But, three months after that trip, we dove into the next adventure, and those plans were shelved. No time! New experiences to document!

In 2007, when we changed gears from overland travel to sailing the world, I started blogging. For eight years, I kept up my http://www.itsirie.com blog about our cruising journey in the Caribbean and the Pacific. During that time, I published articles in magazines and I could finally call myself a writer!

I guess, at some point, I had aspirations to be become a travel writer, but I quickly realized this would take away pleasure from writing and from traveling. It’s hard work, there’s a deadline and a format, your travels have a purpose other than enrichment or excitement. In my opinion, both should be done independently to produce the best results and find the most enjoyment and focus.

D.G. – Love your story about slowly becoming a blossoming writer. And I agree with you, writing about travels is exciting and a great way to document your life, but travel writing specifically, is another ballgame altogether.

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

So far, I’ve only written one book. Like my articles, blog posts, and diary entries, the writing grows from personal experiences. I lead a very full, exciting, and adventurous life, by choice, and have the urge to share a lot of it – from mishaps, to amazing encounters, to tips, thoughts, and opinions. My book, a travel memoir, is written differently, however. It’s enveloped in a personal style I love to incorporate and I believe my voice – in the present – differs from other narratives.

I have an infinite amount of story and book ideas, because we never sit still to digest any of it. And, that’s a problem… Writing and working from the road – or the water – is difficult, because the lifestyle itself is challenging and exhausting. So, the combination travel + write poses issues in my daily life. Which do I pick? Do I keep exploring or do I stop (temporarily) and turn those explorations in a book?

D.G. – The inspiration will come when it’s ready. For now, you are doing all the legwork by living the experiences you can store up and discover where it will lead you next.

 

Do you agree with the general consensus that writers are loners?

I’ve heard and noticed often that writers are introverts. Yet, there are exceptions. People like you and me, for example. We enjoy social contact, interactions, and being out and about. I’m not a total extrovert either (I don’t like to be overstimulated, overwhelmed, or part of a massive crowd), but have personality traits from both categories. I’m a toughie to put in any kind of box!

I LOVE to be on my own. It’s when I’m most productive and self-confident; a theme I touch upon in my travel memoir, Plunge. I strive when I am by myself and can schedule my entire day around my own needs. Or not plan at all, which is more likely. I cherish my me time and feel that’s when I am truly and totally free. Does that make me a loner? Let’s just say that a balance of hermit-life and small social gatherings would make me a happy camper.

D.G. – Touche my friend. Yes, we are very similar in these traits. I love being in social environments, but I treasure my alone and writing time just as much. Writing is a solitary sport for the most part, which I’m sure attributes to the assumption that all writers are introverts. We aren’t. 🙂

 

Do you believe in ‘writer’s block’? If so, how do you deal with it?

I do believe in “writer’s block” and that it happens when an author is either pressured to create or spending too much time staring at a screen. I have never suffered from it, but I think it is similar to your brain being tired of … language. English is not my native tongue and I sometimes get fed up with it – I’m proficient in it, so I think, dream, talk, write, … am constantly consumed by it – when my head explodes after days of being immersed in the language, say when I’m completing a book. The result is that I don’t find the right words when trying to explain something or sentences escape my mouth that sounded different in my mind. I think “writer’s block” is similar – where you’re stuck and frustrated by a lack of cohesiveness.

Why am I not familiar with “writer’s block?” Because of my lifestyle, it is impossible for me to sit at a desk (camper table) days on end. I have lots of distractions within our surroundings, daily errands, need to walk our dog, and living 24/7 in a 75sq foot space. I crave for more writing time! On top of that, as I mentioned before, I have heaps of ideas, some of which are jotted down somewhere on my computer. So, even if I get stuck with a piece of writing, my mind and files can always produce a fresh start on something else.

D.G – I wholeheartedly agree with you, especially your point about writer’s block occurring from pressure we put on ourselves, and deadlines.

 

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

I’m glad I can answer that question now. Meaning, I have self-published a book!

Because Plunge is my first book, I wanted to do it “right.” In my mind, that meant going the traditional route. Despite knowing myself and how important it is for me – as a perfectionist (ha!) – to “control” everything, be able to make adjustments, and decide the smallest details. I went all the way to reach this goal/dream/illusion: finding a Big Five publisher. Double ha! And, you’ve guessed it… No such luck. An extensive book proposal that took two months to compose, 140 personalized agent inquiries, 25 niche publisher submissions, and a year later… I went the other route.

Self-publishing is MUCH more time-consuming, complicated, exhausting, and expensive than I ever thought. If someone goes through the hassle of learning tools, researching approaches, buying ISBN- numbers, hiring an editor and cover artist, diving into the ropes of Amazon and other distributors, and so on and so on, he/she better writes more than one book! I honestly feel that after a second
book, all this extra knowledge, determination, and time commitment just might be worth it.

Of course, also knowing me, I don’t have any regrets. I had to go through these steps, experiences, and learning curves to realize what my best route was. And, now I know: self-publishing gives an author the most flexibility and control and it’s faster! I’m sure I read that somewhere before plunging into it myself, but, hey, trial and error is how I roll.

D.G. – Lol, and I’m sure I too mentioned this to you a time or two. Great summation!

 

What inspired you to write Plunge?

After sailing, working, and living on a small catamaran for eight years and going through heaps of emotional and physical challenges, more than the average cruiser, I felt inspired to recreate an account of some of those experiences and thoughts. It was important to me to write this travel memoir in the present tense, to invite the reader along for the ride. As the title of my book indicates, I’m not much of a planner and take things as they come. In order to rightly pull the reader into that mindset, I needed to stick to the “here and now,” although I managed to incorporate foreshadowing and flashbacks. In Plunge, you are immersed in my lifestyle and mind – and what a rollercoaster journey it is!

D.G. – I can honestly say, yes I am emmersed! And after everything you’ve been through and explored, you most certainly should have been documenting and sharing with the world. I will also note, I love your voice and delivery in your book. You write in a similar style that I write my books in – engaging and conversational.

 

 

Excerpt from the prologue of Plunge

 

“We’re putting this boat up for sale the moment we arrive in French Polynesia, so those islands better be the highlight of the South Pacific!” Mark barks at me before scrambling towards the autopilot.

His expression reflects the grim circumstances around us. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change them. Our sailboat is bouncing and jerking and pitching, lunging left, right, up, down, forward, backward, and everything in between.

Holding on, I gasp and shout back, “You’re kidding! I’m not ready to sell the boat yet, after all we’ve been through to get here!”

He glares at me with non-negotiable fury. Blood gushes down his forehead.

I swallow hard as half-digested crackers threaten to escape. It’s difficult to care about him when he’s this angry.

His head hurts. My stomach churns. He’s ready to give up, now, forever – to quit this lifestyle I have come to love.

Our roller coaster ride plummets into the lowest of troughs, and I hover over the foaming crests of the infinite ocean. I’d rather vomit than let his attitude drag me deeper into this depression – and I do. I look up to catch my breath and watch the horizon dance relentlessly. Deep blue, lined with white, morphs into sky blue, curved above, then below me.

I barf again.

You have to be tough to cross oceans on a small boat. These days, it’s tough to be tough. That ever-important sense of freedom I strive for tastes salty and feels confined. In the name of love and adventure, I pull my weight as a sailor. Albeit with a pale face that matches the color of our sails. And that guy I’ve been with, through sickness and health, frustrations and despair, peace and madness, anger and passion? He increasingly makes me unhappy, crushing my dreams, belittling my choices. Maybe he should get off this boat when we finally make landfall.”

 

Review:

Jacqui Murray

Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2020

Liesbet Collaert’s debut memoir, Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary, is one of those books I couldn’t wait to read. Who hasn’t wanted to be a wanderer, go wherever life led them, bravely face new adventures with courage and aplomb, make new friends in dozens of countries, and conquer crises as though it were easy. Me, I think ‘wandering’ is part of man’s DNA. There’s a reason we are the only species that inhabits every corner of the planet. The issue: Most of us think living requires settling down.

Liesbet didn’t–think it or do it.

She is that rare individual not afraid to explore any new country whether she speaks the language or not, no matter that she knows no one who lives there (because she’ll just make new friends). In Plunge!, we see just the sailing part of her nomadic life (in a sailboat and then a catamaran) and mostly in the Americas.

“We trust our lives and future to Irie [her catamaran]. She’s our home, our transportation, our safe haven, our irritation, our support, our biggest curse, and our greatest treasure.”

“We wake up with the sun, work in the morning, and snorkel, walk, or read in the afternoon. Then, we jump in the clear ocean to take a bath; we get wet, wash up with shampoo, and lower ourselves again to rinse off. We use our sun shower for a final freshwater rinse in the cockpit.”

“We rise early in frigid temperatures, take the wheel, test the autopilot, follow day marks and buoys, look at charts, check our depth, observe the chart plotter, and shiver non-stop. We pay attention to the route, take photos, get in line for bridge openings, and stick to a schedule of eight to ten hours on the go.”

Liesbet visits countless countries, discusses their immigration, their maritime laws, their culture of folks who sail fulltime. Liesbet and her friends are likable and interesting, the story unusual, and the settings authentic.

But as much as it is a travel story and an adventure, Plunge is a love story. Liesbet starts with a wonderful man and finds one even better but their shared life is not without problems. Of course there are problems! They live together on a small boat 24/7/365. They face issues on a daily basis most couples wouldn’t in a lifetime. They sail multiple oceans, enter numerous countries, even cross the Equator (where I found out there is little/no wind). If you don’t follow her blog, Roaming About, you’ll want to. There, I found out that she wrote this debut novel (did I say it is #1 in the Amazon category Sailing) on the road, often between Internet services.

To give a sense of the book, I wanted to quote some of my favorite lines. That list got long. I tried to shorten it which proved an exercise in futility:

“Freedom to do what I want, go where I please, and be myself, no matter what, has always been more important to me than security, comfort, routine, and keeping up appearances.”

“Most people follow a distinct path, set by social norms, dictated by society. I become antsy staying in a familiar area for months, following certain habits. It’s too restrictive.”

“…plans are written in sand at low tide.”

“…enjoy this plunge into my less than ordinary thirties.”

“Ever since I chose travel over stuff, at age 17, people have wondered whether I’m rich. I’m not. And I never will be.”

“Anything salty on a boat means trouble in the long run. It will always suck moisture from the air, acquiring a permanent state of dampness.”

See what I mean?

For anyone who’s wanted to take the road less traveled, who wondered what was in the other side of a hill, who is happy with any answer when they flip a coin, this book is for you. I read it because of my lifelong desire to do that. By the time I’d finished, I felt like I had.

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Well that was some review, author’s dream! Congrats to you Liesbet and welcome to authordom!
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Find Liesbet on Social Media:
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©DGKaye2020
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