Why I Chose to Start a Fiction Podcast as an Author

Why I Chose to Start a Fiction Podcast as an Author by Alyanna Poe

As an indie horror author, I’m always looking for new ways to promote my work. Having watched the first season of Only Murders in the Building, it got me thinking. There are people that listen to true crime podcasts so thoroughly that they have maps, notes, and theories about the cases they listen to. Only problem is, I’ve got no connections to get details about cases, but I do have a head full of stories.

This birthed the idea of the Indicted Fiction Podcast. I thought, “True crime but make it fiction.” I didn’t want to use the same format as a true crime podcast because who wants to listen to a fake case? Not to mention, the idea allowed for many mistakes. I couldn’t imagine writing a fake crime and investigation just to have a listener tell me it’s not possible and the whole case is clearly a sham. So came the audio diary idea. 

Season one of Indicted Fiction is called “Adam’s Murder.” Can you guess what it’s about? Each episode of the podcast is a chapter of the book I wrote under the same name, and once the last podcast episode airs, the book will be published. Abigail Drummer must work through her grief as she investigates the murder of her brother, keeping an audio diary as she points a finger at everyone she knows. I play the character I wrote, Abigail Drummer. While planning out the idea, I figured an audio diary format leaves me so much creative space. Listeners have told me that she has a quirky awkwardness about her youth and that she’s very relatable and emotional. I’ve never taken an acting or voice over class, and I think the only reason I’m able to convey this emotion is because I wrote the story and it’s so close to me. In 2020 I lost my own brother. In Adam’s Murder I worked through a lot of grief and feelings of guilt, and narrating that work only amplified my emotions. I think in episode three you can actually hear me crying. 

The benefit of narrating your own story is that you understand where to emphasize the words, where to show emotion, and how your character sounds. Abby is awkward. She’s introverted and so unsure about the world around her. Sure, a voice actor would be able to convey this, but I think my listeners/readers are not only making a connection to Abby but also to me. 

Another great benefit is, I was able to do this on a budget, and I can promote this podcast in places I could never promote my books because it’s free. Listeners get a taste of my writing and then can check out my other books or buy the book once it’s published. Not to mention, the podcast is sort of acting as a book launch, building excitement for the publication of the book.

So far, despite having a mic that’s not great and a set up that would make any voice actor cringe, I’ve gotten great feedback. Every week people are excited for a new episode, and I’m so proud of myself for having spread myself into new territory as an author. 

I think any writer could benefit from a fiction podcast. Whether you do a short story per week, add sound effects, or narrate from third person, it’s all doable. 

For anyone interested, Indicted Fiction: Adam’s Murder is available to read on my blog and to listen to on my website, YouTube, and Spotify. And if all goes well, season two of Indicted Fiction will be available to my patrons on Patreon only and will follow a serial killer in prison telling her stories of murder and why she did it.


Author Alyanna Poe: an author from Northern California with a knack for horror. Poe has been writing since a young age and self-published her first horror novel at eighteen years old. Many ask what her real name is, only to be surprised that she is a born Poe with relations to the great Edgar Allan Poe. She frequently posts interviews with small businesses and authors like herself, short fiction, and articles about writing and marketing to her website authoralyannapoe.com

Check out The Case of Adams Murder: Episode 1


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Mirror of Emotions by Ali Ashhar

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Mirror of Emotions is a melange of every phase that life encounters you with. This book shall take you on the erratic path on this journey of life and readers can expect an exhilarated persona of themselves disentangling the complexities they keep battling with during different phases of life. 

Ali Ashhar is poet and content writer currently residing in Kanpur, India. He is the award-winning author of poetry collection, Mirror of Emotions. He has co-authored three international anthologies. He also contributes his poems and articles to literary journals and newspapers. His works have been published in Eve Poetry Magazine, Indian Periodical, Indian Review, My Voice Canada and Good Morning Kashmir. 

Life becomes more of 

what you hold inside

rather than what transpired outside. 

~ Poem by Ali Ashhar


The Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Series

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No Way Home

A Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Book 1

by Christy Cooper-Burnett

Genre: Time Travel, SciFi, Historical Fantasy

2020 California Author Project Winner – Adult Fiction

2020 PenCraft Award Winner – Science Fiction

“An action-packed time-travel adventure that will leave you thirsting for the sequel.” Sublime Book Review

“A brilliant and thought-provoking book that readers who love tales of time travel will find fascinating.” Authors Reading

Christine Stewart is a regular woman just doing her job when she gets stranded in history. When she gets up for the day, her plan is simple: go to work, travel back in time to the year 1867 in Oklahoma to deport a cyber-criminal, then head back to her time in 2070 Los Angeles and get ready to go on vacation with her son, Michael.

Then the system goes down and she-and dozens of other transporters around the world-are stranded in the past with minimal training and no supplies.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any more dangerous, she is cast further back in time and thousands of miles away.

As her goals shift from simply getting home to something much more dire to all of humanity, Christine must step outside of herself, work as part of a team, and ultimately make the choice between what it easy and what is right. Even if it costs her everything-including her one chance of ever getting home.

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Finding Home

A Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Book 2

An exiled prisoner. A desperate woman. A time travel agent willing to break the rules.

Malcolm Aldred is starting over in 1868, Oklahoma. There’s just one problem—he’s an exiled prisoner from 2070.

In 2071, Los Angeles, housewife Hannah Cole is desperate to escape her abusive husband, and begs Cyber Criminal Enforcement Agent Christine Stewart to send her somewhere, anywhere, in history. When Christine agrees to send Hannah to 1868, neither woman has any idea the events that sets in motion.

Malcolm and Hannah adapt to pioneer life in an untamed world full of danger and unimaginable hardships, but falling for each other was never part of the plan. When a deadly hunter tracks Hannah to 1868, fate intervenes and catapults her back to Colonial America, threatening to destroy their future before it ever begins.

Can Christine save Hannah in time or will they both be lost to history forever?

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Escaping Home

A Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure Book 3

United States, 2072

With the country under the threat of war, a group of time-traveling government agents devise a risky plan to keep their families safe. But transporting hundreds of years to the past and blending in may prove much more dangerous than they expected.

Cyber Criminal Enforcement Agent Christine Stewart has been to the past before and thinks she knows what to expect. She couldn’t be more wrong.

Life in the eighteenth century is anything but ideal, especially when they learn a rogue agent with plans to strike it rich follows them back in time. Armed with a modern-day weapon, the agent may disrupt the timeline in the most disastrous way and alter history as they know it.

Now they’re refugees in their own homeland, and how they proceed will determine their fate. Will they crash and burn in their race to stop the defector before it’s too late?

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Christy Cooper-Burnett is an award-winning author based in California with a degree in Administration of Justice. After retiring early from the new home construction industry, she now divides her time between northern and southern California.

She has one grown son who inspired her to write her award-winning debut novel, No Way Home. She began her writing career later in life, but once she started she couldn’t stop. Her work focuses on creating relatable stories and characters that transcend genres and encourage readers to imagine what they would do if thrown into the unique, imaginative situations her protagonists end up in.

Christy’s debut novel, No Way Home, was the recipient of the 2020 California Author Project award in the Adult Fiction category, the 2020 PenCraft Award in the Science Fiction category, a 2021 Literary Titan Gold Medal Award and a finalist position in the 2021 International Book Awards, Science Fiction category. Her second novel, Finding Home released June 17, 2021, and early praise has already garnered several five-star reviews and her second Literary Titan Gold Medal Award. The third book in the Christine Stewart Time Travel Adventure series, Escaping Home, is an Indies Today recommended read and is set to launch on November 18, 2021.

You can learn more about Christy, subscribe to her mailing list for news and book deals or contact

her at www.christycooperburnett.com.

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell us something about yourself and how you became an author?

I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. My mother and grandmother were avid readers, and my grandmother was also an editor. Despite my lifelong love of books, I didn’t consider writing until I was in my late 50’s. I had a dream about a woman trapped in the past and in my dream, I was typing the story on my grandmother’s old typewriter. The dream stayed with me into the following day, and I mentioned it to my son. He thought it sounded like a great story and suggested I write a book based on the plot. I had never considered writing, but with his encouragement I started to put together an outline. I wrote on my lunch hours at work, and on weekends. When I had a story put together, I knew I should have a professional editor give it a once over. My friends were eager to read it, and I wanted to have the best version of it to give them. The editor I used was a former acquisitions editor for a publisher and told me it ticked all the boxes, and in her previous position she would have picked up my story. She encouraged me to send it out to small presses who accepted unsolicited manuscripts. No one was more surprised than me when I received four offers for the book. I eventually signed with a small publisher in Texas, Black Rose Writing. I have since published two more books in the series with them and just signed a contract for the first book in a new series, due out next September.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I signed my first contract with Black Rose Writing. It was a surreal moment for me, and one that will stay with me forever. It was the best feeling in the world to know that my book was entertaining enough for a publisher to take a chance on with an unknown author.

Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?

Since my books are part of a trilogy with the same characters, all of them! After three books with these characters, I feel I know them so well, I can imagine all of them translating to the screen.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in No Way Home, Finding Home and Escaping Home?

The protagonist, Christine Stewart was the most crucial for me. She is a regular, forty-something woman just doing her job when extraordinary circumstances turn her world upside down. She is somewhat anti-social by nature, so having to make connections to stay alive goes against every cell in her being. But she knows in order to get home and see her son again, she will do whatever it takes. By the end of No Way Home, she has evolved. It remains a daily struggle for her, but she tries to make a change for the better. She found a best friend for the first time since she was a young girl and learns to put someone else first. Christine has a need to try to save everyone, but in the final installment of the series, Escaping Home, she comes full circle and gets her happy ending. Just not in a way she ever expected.

What can we expect form you in the future?

I’ve just signed a contract for a new book which will be out next September. It is another time travel series, packed with adventure and action. Without giving away too much, here is a little teaser.

They always say, “Be careful what you wish for.”

I wish I had been careful.

I could’ve easily sold my time travel technology for billons and walked away. Instead, I chose to take the elite on vacations deep into the past, to a time and place of their choice.

But when a big-time motion picture company hired me, I sold my soul.

What was supposed to be a few days in the nineteenth century with two of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities goes horribly awry. Now America’s hottest starlet is dead, and Jack the Ripper is on the loose in modern-day America.

And it’s all my fault.

I was foolish enough to let the most ruthless serial killer in history slip out of the past. Am I smart enough to send him packing?

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Wo would that be and why?

Actually, Tom McCaffrey, the best-selling author of The Claire Trilogy (The Wise Ass, An Alien Appeal, Kissing My Ass Goodbye) is a dear friend of mine. I have access to his brain and pick it often. Not only is he a very talented writer, but he is one of the funniest people I know, and an all-around good guy. Every writer needs a “Tom”.

Without A World by Kristen Illarmo #giveaway

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Without a World (Kirasu Rising Book 1) by Kristen Illarmo

Genre: YA Science Fiction

A dying planet. A mythical new world.

Miranda struggles through each day in the Trash Lands, scraping for food and water, wishing she could blend into the sea of ash. The best part of her day is working a meaningless job in a place where people pretend she doesn’t exist.

Dismayed to learn her mother was right, Earth will get sucked into a black hole, Miranda must trust in skills she never knew she had to get to a place she refused to believe existed.

But when they learn the black hole is no natural phenomenon, Miranda can’t turn her back on the suffering of Earth, and saving it could cost more than she ever knew.

Add to Goodreads * Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo

Kristen Illarmo is a young adult, science fiction author driven to write stories with strong female characters in the backdrop of crumbling societies. She proudly calls New Orleans home, a fact that may only change if the perfect beach town reveals itself.

When she’s not toiling to improve efficiency in local government in her day job, she’s writing about dark possible futures and thinking about the importance of the choices we make. The prequel to Without A World, Behind the Red Door, is available now at kristenillarmo.com.

Join her monthly newsletter to grab the prequel to Without A World for free, get author updates, and access other free books from emerging authors at kristenillarmo.com.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

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How to find time to write as a parent?

I started writing Without A World in 2017 when my son was four, and my daughter was seven. I finished it in the summer of 2021, there were breaks and even other books written, but it certainly wasn’t fast.

It has gotten easier as they have gotten older, but it’s still hard since I also have a full-time job. I knew there was no way I could follow Stephen King’s advice and complete a first draft in three months, so I gave myself permission to work at a much slower pace. However, the other side of that coin is that I produce better work when I write consistently. That means I have to push myself to find snatches of time throughout the week to write.

I can’t write every day, and I make a point not to beat myself up about that, but I need to write at least 4 days a week to complete a competent draft. I have ambitions to be one of those people who wakes up at 5 am and writes for an hour or more before work. But waking up early makes me so cranky that I have never made it past the ambition. Instead, I aim to put the kids to bed by 8:30 and start writing right away.

Rather than watching the clock, I stick to the goal of writing a 1,500-word scene. I might not be able to bang out that many words before my brain turns to mush and my eyes start closing on their own, but I can usually get close, and even a start of a scene is better than nothing. Writing with kids and a full-time job is no picnic, but the small starts are what will keep you going.

Have 15 minutes? Start the scene. I also always leave a few lines about what should come next, so I don’t have to start with a blank page when I next pick it up. 

Laurisa White Reyes ~ Author Interview

Laurisa is the author of the SCBWI Spark Award winning novel The Storytellers and the Spark Honor recipient Petals. She is also the Senior Editor at Skyrocket Press and an English instructor at College of the Canyons in Southern California.

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out HER book below!

(Click on the cover images to order your copy)

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.)

SAND AND SHADOW by Laurisa White Reyes

even survivors.

One monster.

Nowhere to hide.

Mission Specialist Adán Fuentes awakes from cryo-hibernation to discover that most of his fellow crewmates are dead and the shuttle Carpathia is not where it’s supposed to be. Surrounded by a vast barren landscape, he and the other survivors wonder how they can accomplish their mission, to establish a home for future colonists.

When an unseen creature attacks them, the Carpathia’s crew must turn their attention to surviving and solving the true purpose behind their mission.

Inspired by the 50’s sci-fi flick Forbidden Planet, Sand and Shadow plumbs the depths of the human psyche and the power of its influence. As the Carpathia’s crew’s secrets and flaws are revealed, readers may find themselves compelled to examine their own dark places.

★Winner of the Houston Writer’s House Competition★

Buy Sand and Shadow now and experience this exhilarating new horror tale for yourself!

Follow her on Social Media here:

Meet Author Lea Falls

Author Interview w/ Lea Falls!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

My head has always been full of stories. I feel like I process the world through storytelling. As a kid, I used to sit in front of this beautiful porcelain doll my grandma owned. It was bigger than me back then. I just sat there for hours, thinking up stories about her, and honestly, I don’t think that ever really changed. My heart always belonged to stories and performing. As a teenager, I joined my first acting group. I loved being on stage, but I also wanted to tell my own tales, so I channeled my 2009 vampire craze into writing a play about a lone hunter at a vampire banquet, where they recounted the ways they influenced history. We performed it at our local theatre and it was so much fun. Later in college, when I studied acting, improv theatre changed the way I look at stories. My friend and I founded a long-form improv group and we performed full-length plays that were made up on the spot. It taught me what elements any good story needed and how to feel when a scene is working or requires a change. In an improv group, everyone has a specialty, and I was the “fixer”, the one that ran on stage when the story was getting off track or details weren’t connecting properly. I became really good at spotting plotholes and adding the right kinds of conflict to keep us going. I don’t think I’d be the writer I am today without improv.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I absolutely adore lemons. I need lemon juice on most savory things I eat and I love drinking it straight without diluting it. I’ve even infected my wife with this quirk. Now she’s the one who eats a bite of dinner and says “Needs more lemon”.

What are some of your pet peeves?

 I feel like this is more of a full-grown elephant peeve, but I can’t stand people talking during movies or TV shows. It’s okay if they do that on their own, but if I’m there, please please please, pause the dang film! The moment two people talk at once, I just can’t hear anything anymore and it overwhelms me immediately. I also have a slight snob streak, so I tend to be the “Respect the art!!” type.

Where were you born/grew up at?

 I was born in the Rhineland of Germany, an hour away from Cologne. It’s a beautiful area with fortresses and mountains. When I brought my wife there two decades later, she loved it for its fairytale-esque nature.

Then, right before I turned ten, we moved to the North Sea. Our house was just a thirty-minute walk from the water, which was lovely, although I didnÄt go as often as I wished I had. Both places were small towns, and while they have their perks, I was very eager to explore the big city, when I moved to San Francisco at eighteen. I’m a city lady at heart!

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

I’m not that scared of dying, to be honest. I have so many plans, so it’d be quite frustrating not to be able to execute them, but I wouldn’t want to try to squeeze them all in one day. I’m most scared of what I’d leave behind. So I would choose to spend the day with my wife, maybe in a favorite cafe of ours, writing a lot of letters to my loved ones, something they can hold on to. Then, when I felt like I’ve written an adequate amount, I’d want to briefly outline as many of my book ideas as possible and hand all of those over to my wife. She obviously wouldn’t have to write them all, but she’s a fantastic writer, and this way at least some of my stories would still get birthed. Then, at the end of the day, I’d like to dress up in an extravagant gown and see a Broadway show.

What kind of world ruler would you be?

 A stressed one. I have no interest in going into politics. I don’t think I could handle disagreements over things that are so obvious to me, and I don’t know how I’d deal with the slow speed of change, especially when people’s livelihoods are at stake. I have so much respect for people like Cori Bush and AOC, who throw themselves into the fight every single day, but I don’t think my temperament could handle it.

If I were, however, a world leader, I’d want to establish some kind of compassion/self-reflection/anti-propaganda course or test for everyone in my cabinet, and I’d want my advisors to be as diverse as possible, because that’s what democracy should be about, in opinion. It should represent everyone. I’d also start by having a reckoning with our history because reflecting on where we’ve come from, the mistakes we’ve made, the darkness we don’t want to repeat is an important part of self-growth and I believe it’s required for societal growth as well. So I do have a lot of ideas on what I’d want to implement, but I’m not confident I could convince people to listen. I’m better suited for the arts.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

This is How You Lose the Time War, A Little Princess, Fragile Wings, Les Miserables, Into the Drowning Deep, The Gilded Ones, Less, Kindred (in no particular order except for the first one)

What book do you think everyone should read?

 Kindred!! Octavia Butler’s writing is fantastic, gripping, and so important. It’s such a great exploration of how the time you live in shapes you.

How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first short story in elementary school, but I barely remember it. Apparently, it was about an elvish princess trying to get rid of a wall, or something like that? Clearly, that was my character Ally Verdain in the making! At age 11, I wrote my first screenplay and I remember absolutely loving it. It felt wonderful to get lost in the storytelling. In it, a princess gets swapped at birth and grows up with a sweet peasant family until the truth is revealed. Then she fights to reclaim her throne. I’m proud of the story, though I did think that if you want to write a dramatic scene, you just have to use a lot of exclamation marks!!!!

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

Usually, two characters come to me first. I’m very relationship-oriented when I write. It doesn’t have to be romantic–my current project is about platonic love–but there’s always some strong connection that draws me to a story. After that, characters come to me while writing. So far, my first drafts have been very messy and explorative. But I usually sense when a newly appeared character is going to hijack the story. In my current project, a guy walked in, spoke once, and I immediately knew he’d be important. I hadn’t planned for a specific love interest but that’s exactly what he is now. It’s an exciting part of the journey to discover who you’ll meet along the way.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

 That depends on the project, but I usually research as I go. GODDESS OF LIMBO took a lot of research–everything from names to cultures to idiosyncrasies of a specific time period. When I’m on a roll with a scene, I usually write “BLOB” or “insert description here” and then come back to it. But sometimes it’s too vital an aspect of the chapter, so I end up researching details every few lines. It can be a bit cumbersome but it often leads me down really interesting paths. Then there’s another kind of research that I do outside of the writing process. No matter what story I’m working on, I’m always trying to learn more about writing diversity, about people and what makes them tick, about harmful tropes we keep including into stories. I’m by no means perfect, but I think it’s important to keep widening your worldview if you want to improve your stories.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, absolutely, I see myself as an actor/writer, though I had to put the acting part on hold for a bit due to the pandemic and chronic illness. I’m also hoping to get into audiobook narration next year. I took some classes on it in college and am excited to narrate GODDESS OF LIMBO once I have the right equipment. I have very ambitious goals for my writing career and am ultimately hoping to work as a hybrid author, both traditionally and independently published.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

Oof, it’s complicated! I think it’s wonderful that indie publishing is becoming more and more of a feasible option. It allows for more freedom and diversity in publishing. At the same time, it’s a lot of work, and I think long-term I’d prefer to spend more time writing than handling the business aspects of it. The traditional publishing market is, however, slightly broken. So many traditionally published authors aren’t earning a living wage off their books and while not one specific area is to blame, there has to be a better way than artists not making money off their art. We can do better than that! I also think there’s an unfair focus on social media when it comes to publishing as well. Everyone tells authors they have to build their author platform and yes, it is much easier for writers with huge platforms to become bestsellers, but other forms of marketing are equally if not more important. As a bit of an introvert who struggles with social media, it can feel like you’re doomed from the getgo. But the more research I do, the less that seems true. So there’s a lot of misinformation out there, both in the indie and the traditional market. Overall though, I’m happy that more books than ever are being published and read. That is wonderful for the world.

What are you passionate about these days?

Accessibility. As terrible as the pandemic is, it’s shown us the many possibilities on how to make everything more accessible to disabled and chronically ill folks. I hope we will carry these realizations forward and not try to return to a less accessible world once some of us can go back to “normalcy”. I, myself, have learned a lot on how to make content more inclusive in the past year, but also know there’s still so much to learn. It’s exciting to see that platforms are slowly catching up–subtitles are becoming more available, and work from home is an option for many. It’s also a subject dear to the heart for both my wife and me. She’s narcoleptic, which she handles well when accommodations are given. A few extra five-minute breaks are all it takes, but she’d gotten laid off for it before when she’d been doing stellar work, and it’s just not fair. I have several conditions that require accommodations as well, and oh my goodness, does proper care make a difference! For example, nowadays everything is so digital, but because of chronic migraines, I can’t look at screens for too long. There are red filters for which I’m incredibly grateful for, but still, it’s not enough. A few months ago, however, I bought a Neo2 Alphasmart electronic typewriter from… I don’t know, the 90s? And it’s amazing! I’m writing my response currently on it because there is no blue light involved. It has completely changed my life as a writer, and it seems so easy. If we were able to make electronic devices like this thirty years ago, why can’t we do it now? I’m hopeful that one day there’ll be screens using this kind of technology.

I’m passionate about this topic because the more we educate ourselves and each other, the more everyone can be included. An inclusive society enriches us all.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

The must-have answer, of course, is reading. For years, I only did it sporadically, but this year, I’ve finally been able to squeeze daily reading back into my schedule. Apart from that, I love Dungeons & Dragons, and tabletop RPG games in general. My wife and I are currently running a two-person gay pirate adventure game and that’s a lot of fun. My character started out as a cook, but she quickly learned how to kick booty. My friends and I are also big fans of playing Among us. I used to be a lousy alien impostor, but I’m finally getting better. My best friend can still tell immediately if I’m the impostor. He says my voice changes. It’s hopeless. I just gotta murder him quickly!

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

I hate limited word counts… that’s five words, right? Okay, okay, I’ll give it an honest try. Ambitious, bubbly, curious storyteller dork. There we go 🙂

Do you have a favorite movie?

One of my absolute favorites is “Cloud Atlas”, and I don’t think it’s surprising if you look at my preferred way of telling stories. This movie is almost spiritual to me! I love how the characters’ lives of different ages are all interconnected and affect each other. I get goosebumps just thinking about it and the score is so beautiful! It’s also very romantic, and I love a good star-crossed sweethearts story.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

 I don’t know if it counts as a full pilgrimage, but my wife and I loved walking through London when we lived there, and most of the characters and plotlines of GODDESS OF LIMBO were birthed on those walks. The old architecture was perfect for envisioning grand fantasy tales. There is one building in particular near Waterloo station that has a lovely round tower with a circular room on the highest floor. We called that one our “Bored Reginald” tower, because the jester, and loved one of a protagonist, lives in a similar tower room in the palace. I still go on long walks to kickstart my imagination.

What inspired you to write this book?

GODDESS OF LIMBO guided me out of a tough time. I’ll always be grateful for the spark of inspiration that led to where I am now.

I’ve always been an actor/writer, but I focused on acting first. After I finished college, I ended up in a difficult financial spot, couldn’t get any roles because of my accent, and struggled with chronic illness. I felt completely creatively depleted. That’s when my wife started a Dungeons & Dragons game for my friends and me. I fell in love with both my character and her love interest. The storytelling of the game rekindled my imagination and I ended up writing “fanfiction” about my character and her girlfriend. My wife and I created a whole canon outside of the game and kept adding characters to it. We basically came up with a world of our own and played improv scenes set in it every evening after work. Every bathroom break at work turned into me typing out little scenes for the characters and before I knew it, we’d created an epic, intricate fantasy world. Then, when I was sick one day, I decided to write the origin story of my character’s dad. That is now chapter five of GODDESS OF LIMBO. I dove into the love interest’s mother–Ally–next, and suddenly the parents became the true story.

The first draft barely resembles the book now. My Dungeons & Dragons character and her love interest will only be children in the overall series. In the end, it wasn’t their story.

It took me five months to realize that what I was writing might become a book, and another year to truly commit to becoming an author.

I’ve always wanted to be an author, but I thought I couldn’t pursue it until I was in my fifties. I thought I had to establish my acting career first. Writing one book seemed like an impossible journey to me. Now I don’ want to stop. I love this series, but I’m excited about all the other stories I plan to tell as well. I was so lost when the first inspiration for GODDESS OF LIMBO came to me. I don’t want to know where I’d be if I hadn’t followed it.

What can we expect from you in the future?

The Forgotten Splinters Chronicles is currently planned as a five-book series, although the next part will be a prequel novella that takes place right after the prologue. It’s still in the drafting phase, but I’d like it to stand on its own, so people can read it before or after GODDESS OF LIMBO.

In terms of other novels–I have about thirty-five stories on my “to be written” pile right now and it’s steadily growing. While I really enjoy writing fantasy, I’d like to branch out into other genres as well. One of my current projects is a contemporary coming-of-age story about two queer runaway kids growing up on the streets of San Francisco. It’s in the second draft stage now. After that, I’m not sure which one I’ll choose from my idea pile. The close contesters are a space mermaid Sci-Fi, an underwater fantasy romance, and a pirate adventure. 2022, however, will be dedicated entirely to GODDESS OF LIMBO’s sequel. I’ve already written a few chapters for it..

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in GODDESS OF LIMBO?

I have a large cast of characters as their stories are all interconnected, so when people ask me to talk about my protagonist, I’m tempted to give a dozen ted talks. But seeing as occasional restrain is a virtue, let’s just touch on three of the main ones.

Ally, or the elvish Princess Alexandra Verdain, has endured many hardships–the Council stripping her power exiled her grandmothers, her mother died during Ally’s mysterious birth and her father disappeared when she was ten, she was married off as a child to a ruthless magic-bearer, and her nation ridicules and infantilizes her because of her schizoaffective disorder. Despite all that, she’s brilliant, snarky, endlessly curious, and undeterred once she’s set her mind on something. She’s had a long-term affair with her court jester and cares about Elfentum’s future, even if it doesn’t care about her.

Captain Subira Se’azana is still trying to understand who she truly is. She grew up in a noble family in Fi’Teri, deeply religious and set to advance in court, but she ran away to Virisunder as a child and became the mentee of Ally’s grandmother who runs a military academy. When we meet Subira, she’s on the cusp of change–in a war declared lost that she’s determined to win, pregnant and in love with a man who only noticed her after she saved his life, and torn between the military career that gives her purpose and dreams of becoming a dancer and having a loving family, unlike the one she came from. She’s a serious person with a sharp-edged wit, strong on the battlefield but uncertain in her private life.

And lastly, let’s talk about Vana Ackerman. She’s a feisty farm girl that lived through famines and wars and is sick of her town’s ruthless nobility. Even as a six-year-old, she talks about revolution, and by the time she’s sixteen, she’s known around town for her rebel band The Spirit and the Enforcer. The Spirit is her best friend Jules and when we met her, they’ve just broken up, because she’s realized she’s gay. Nevertheless, they plan to take down their nation together. Unfortunately, the beautiful teenage daughter of the local duke gets in their way. Vana has a big heart and a strong sense of justice, but she tends to jump the gun and hasn’t fully understood what the reality of revolution entails.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

 I came up with character names in three different ways. Some were named by my wife, back when we first explored their storylines in D&D and improv scenes. My favorite of those is Vana, because it’s not actually a real name, but she thought it was and I loved it, so we’ve kept it. Other names were inspired by real people in history. General Makeda, Ally’s grandmother and principal of the most prestigious military academy, was named after an Ethiopian queen. She’s from Fi’Teri, which is loosely inspired by Ethiopian culture. The last and most common way I found names was by searching baby name suggestions from cultures most closely aligned to the fictional nation the character is from. Sachihiro, for example, is a Mayan name meaning “broad happiness”. He’s from Tribu La’am, which is inspired by Mesoamerica.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing GODDESS OF LIMBO has been an incredible journey. There are so many moments I treasure from the first four-day mini-vacation I took to focus on writing to the coffee-fueled everyday hustle of finishing the second draft on a deadline. It truly taught me how to write a book, how to become an author, and how to wholeheartedly embrace my imagination.

One of the aspects I’ve enjoyed the most from the very beginning was the jester’s tricks and his dialogue. He always has a turn of phrase or a silly pun on his lips, and despite his overall tragic character, he’s a joy to write.

I also love Martín’s chapters, because his internal monologues are the funniest to write. They’re less fun to edit because I need to delete a lot of his profanity.

Every POV character has its own perks though. Ally’s chapters always require me to pull up “Physics for kids” sites to try and understand the way she’s thinking, so progress is slow, but I also love it because her perception of life differs from mine. Sachihiro, on the other hand, perceives things similarly to me (even though his personality is very different from mine) so his thoughts tend to flow nicely. I love writing Subira for the fierce fight scenes, and Vana for her big ideas and grand speeches on justice. So really, every character has its own perks and I shall dearly miss writing the ones that didn’t survive the first book…

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

Coming up with the title GODDESS OF LIMBO was a long and chaotic journey. It’s funny, because nowadays I don’t struggle with titles at all. I already have the sequel name and am really excited to share it.

But for the longest time, GODDESS OF LIMBO was just “The Frieda Kilburn Saga”. Frieda Kilburn was the D&D character that inspired everything. For some odd reason, I named her Frieda after Friedrich Nietzche–something about her moral view of the world? I have no idea! And Kilburn after the London neighborhood my train passed through on the way to work. She briefly appears in GODDESS OF LIMBO, but it’s no longer her story. Nevertheless, I kept the name until the first draft was done and I had to come up with something better to submit it for a workshop. Limbo, the realm of lost things, had already become an important part of the story, so I named it “Whispers from limbo”. Half a year later, I decided it wasn’t snappy enough, so I changed it to “Limbo calls”. A demon plot that becomes important in the sequel played a much bigger part in the initial drafts, so I thought it might fit. I still didn’t love it. When I finished the full rewrite, I realized that despite the interweaving narratives, at its core, it’s the story of the goddess Alames–Goddess of Limbo.

My wife and I have an inside joke that Alames isn’t actually the goddess of limbo and it’s referring to a different goddess, but you’ll have to read the book to decide that for your own…

Who designed your book covers?

Franzi Haase from coverdungeon.com, @coverdungeonrabbit on Instagram! I’m so grateful I found her. She was a joy to work with and took my vague ideas to create this gorgeous cover. It’s exactly how I wanted it to be! I can’t wait to work with her again for future covers. Picking a cover artist was one of the scariest parts of the publishing process. So scary, that for a while I considered designing it myself, but I couldn’t do it justice. Then I saw Franzi’s work on Instagram and fell in love with it!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Yes, I absolutely would. Writing is such an intimate reflection of our insides and even though I’m deeply proud of this book, I have grown a lot since finishing the final draft and there are a few nuances I wish I’d put more thought into. I want to be clear, I don’t regret anything. If I wouldn’t love my book wholeheartedly, I wouldn’t be putting it out there. Honestly, I don’t think I could, because it’s scary enough to send it to hundreds of reviewers, promising them they’ll enjoy it, when truly, you have no idea. Every time I reread GODDESS OF LIMBO, it makes me incredibly happy. But it also deals with a lot of sensitive topics and there’s one nuance, in particular, I wish I could add. I have a lot of different cultures in this book, but there’s one subculture that we’ve only met one character from and that character is a darker shade of morally grey. From the beginning, I’ve planned to introduce a place full of those people in the third book, and most of them will be positive, good-hearted characters. But they aren’t in this book… So every now and then I get a small panic attack over potentially implying something I hadn’t intended. That’s probably a common issue among epic fantasy writers who juggle so many cultures, especially if diversity and representation are important to them. They’re vital to me. But we live in a society full of marginalization and I personally am constantly unlearning the subconscious biases I grew up with. I think as we evolve as people, our writing will become better and better. Even though I wish every book I write could be 100% perfect in my eyes, I realize that will never be possible, and that’s okay.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

This is a fun question for me and I’m going to be shameless about it. I’m an actor as well as a writer. I have a degree in film acting and so does my wife. I absolutely want to play Alames. Get the blue stage makeup–I’m ready! My wife wants to play the magical engineer Zazil and I think she’d be great at it. My best friend Nick also needs to play a role but we’re not certain which one yet. Maybe the casting director gets to have a say after all.

As to more known actors–I think Cara Delevigne would make a great Ally, especially after seeing her in Carnival Row, and I’d be honored if the amazing Lupita Nyong’o would play Subira. I’d also love for the actors’ identities to line up with the characters’ to a certain degree. Martín, for example, would have to be played by a Latino trans man, or I’d be upset. I would definitely want to make sure there’s no whitewashing happening either. So to conclude, I have a lot of opinions on acting 😉

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

This is a tricky question. So many moments are dear to me and then there are the ones I strongly connect with personal memories of writing them.

One of my favorite chapters is the Hard Rime River chapter. I love the setting, and it caught me completely off guard when I wrote it. The way it came together changed the whole trajectory of the book. I got so excited about the chapter that when I first presented it to my beta readers, they had no idea what was going on. I’ve rewritten it several times since and learned that me loving a part probably means I skipped the “make sure your readers get what’s happening” aspect. I tend to get lost in those moments.

My favorite part, truly, is the ending though. I’m so happy with how it all turned out. Writing beginnings is tough for me but I love stringing everything together. The moment everything fully connects feels so special. It makes me excited for the sequel because those connections have already been established now.

As to character journeys, I’m the proudest of Richard’s. Admittedly, it’s the one I’m most nervous about too because it deals with several delicate and painful topics, but I think it ends in a beautifully cathartic place. He has, perhaps, the most character development throughout the first book.

Finally, there are about four jokes I absolutely adore. When I find something funny, it never fails to crack me up. My wife still sends me a silly gif from two years ago and I can’t stop laughing at it. So those four jokes are absolutely wonderful to return to.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Oh goodness, most of them! But I also feel like I already have. I know so much about them, have spent hours imagining details that will never make it into the books. Character work is my favorite part, both in acting and writing. In our daily life, we always have some sort of mask on. Even when you’re very close with someone, you won’t know their thoughts, won’t know how they see life. All of that is possible when getting to know a character. They’re all flawed, yet I’m incredibly protective of all of them because I feel like I understand them better than I understand most real people. I need to note here that I’m talking about the point of view characters, not the villains. I do not under any circumstances want to spend a day with Prince Josef.

But if I could choose one of them to manifest into reality for a day, I’d probably want to do an improv show with the court jester Bored Reginald. He’s a grand illusionist and could whip up a fantastic set. I think our creative visions would align pretty well and rehearsing with him would be a blast. If I get more than one day, we’ll go on tour!

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

 I’m leaning toward the second one, but I feel like characters have such a mind of their own, they come out of some idea cloud. That’s probably an eccentric view on it, but itÄs how I experience it every time I write. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about book ideas like they’re these spirits of muses that come to writers, insisting to be born. I like that idea. I also think stories reflect paths our collective unconscious has taken. Sure, it’s all fiction, but in a way, it’s also all true. We find ourselves in characters, in their struggles, their lessons. I wouldn’t claim all that magic stems from my imagination alone.

I definitely don’t base characters off of people I know. I admit, I took inspiration for the physical description of two villains from people I knew, but that’s it. My best friend insists he sees a lot of Ally in me, but I can’t even do simple math and am much more of a pacifist than she is, so I don’t see it.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

They absolutely hijack the story. I wouldn’t even call it hijacking. They’re the ones steering the train, owning the railroad, creating the schedule. I just hop on and see where we’re going. I might think we’re cruising through Scotland only to look out the window and find myself in a jungle.

An example of that is my character, Robert. In the early drafts, when I was just learning the story, he was a royal guard, and that’s it. In the first real draft, I gave him a love interest and a whole unrelated side quest. Then, in my big rewrite, he talked to Ally for the first time and their chemistry was irresistible. It was entirely unexpected and changed everything. Suddenly he became a new romantic interest for Ally, and without spoiling anything, the ending couldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Robert’s change of direction. The whole series changed because of his influence and I’m glad for it.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Yes! My short story EMILY’S HEIRS will be published in Hansen House Books’ queer SFF anthology ELIXIR: Stories of Hope and Healing in January 2022. I’m very excited to be part of this incredible project! My story is about a lesbian autistic girl and her intersex best friend breaking into a futuristic fertility clinic to stop irreversible eugenics.

I’m also working on a contemporary coming-of-age story called A FEW SPOTS PAST THE SUN about two queer runaway foster kids growing up on the streets of San Francisco. The first draft is written, but it’s an incredibly rough mess, so I’m working my way through that right now. My plan is to become a hybrid author, so I’m hoping to traditionally publish that story.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

I was staring at this question blankly and decided to ask my wife. She said “blood”, which was unhelpful. Let me see… daffodils, old parchment, and cinnamon. There we go!

What did you edit out of this book?

About two other books worth! Ally’s firstborn daughter, Josefine, who she wasn’t allowed to care for or even see much, had five whole chapters. She only appears briefly in one Ally chapter now. Richard also had a second son named Elvor, who truly was just an unpleasant fellow. I didn’t even enjoy writing him that much, but he was part of the very first idea dump, so he got three chapters of questionable content in the first draft. I deleted his character completely in the rewrite. Dillon, Ally’s first personal guard, had a huge arc as well, and so did the jester’s assistant Cleo. Both of them disappeared almost completely. Vana was originally an adult and married to a duchess named Marella. They fought Josefine, riding a demon, together on a grand battlefield. It was epic and also utter nonsense in the context of the actual story. The goddess Alames used to appear to Zazil in a strange vision and declare her the chosen one for a minor subplot. I had just finished a venti vanilla latte and thought it was my best writing ever! I’m going to post the original outline on my Patreon soon. It’s hilarious to me how little it has to do with GODDESS OF LIMBO’s actual plot.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why? I would absolutely love to take a class from the authors of THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR. Amal et-Mohtar and Max Gladestone’s storytelling moved me more than I thought possible. They told a grand epic within the pages of a novella. I’m absolutely in awe of their talent and would love to write a story like that someday. My imagination tends to think in epic spans as well, hence I started with a five-book epic fantasy series. But to condense that grand of a picture into the pure essence of it– Amazing! I’d love to learn how to do that. 

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Meet Author Kerry Evelyn!

Kerry Evelyn is a native of the Massachusetts SouthCoast. She loves God, books of all kinds, traveling, taking selfies, sweet drinks, boy bands, and escaping into her imagination, where every child is happy and healthy, every house has a library, and her hubby wears coattails and a top hat 24/7.She is an instructor, mentor, and speaker, author of the Crane’s Cove series, small town romance set in Downeast Maine a Guest Author for the Cat’s Paw Cove Romance world, and several short stories.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

How long have you been writing?

All my life! I started writing novels in October of 2015. I was challenged to write and finish a book. I didn’t finish that first one, but the second one, Love on the Edge published in December 2017, and I haven’t stopped since!

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

I do! I read pretty much everything except horror and erotica. I also write widely—my imagination is all over the place, and I keep the stories fresh and interesting by writing them differently. But almost all of my books connect to each other.

Advice you would give new authors?

  • Read dozens of books in the genre you want to write so you can get a feel for the structure and nuances. Readers have expectations, and if your romance doesn’t have a happily-every-after, or you kill off a pet or child, or you miss certain story beats, it’s going to feel off to the reader. We are wired for story, and the brain science of it is fascinating. I recommend Story Genius by Lisa Cron. She breaks it down and explains it. So fascinating!
  • Join a professional writer’s group. Plug into a writing community, preferably in your genre, and learn from people who are at the various stages you will be hitting on your way to your goals.
  • Take a LOT of writing classes. Books are great, but you need live instruction and critical feedback from people who know what they’re doing. Ask questions, be brave and share your work for feedback—you’ll learn a lot!
  • Attend reader and writer conferences. Meet people, network, and spend time with the authors who are where you want to be.
  • NEVER ask for free advice or to pick someone’s brain, UNLESS you have already established a friendship. Our time and hard-earned knowledge is valuable. We want to give back, but we’re selective because we repeat the same things over and over and only a fraction of prospective authors ever listen. Most authors charge consulting fees. Ask about that. I suggest reading one of the author’s books before starting a conversation, unless you want to hire the author, then just book and appointment.
  • Have thick skin. Don’t take criticism personally. We all start out as immature writes, and we get better with time.
  • Remember, not everyone is your audience. The trick is to find the right audience for your story. When you do, magic happens, and the love fest begins (from both sides)!

 What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Reading too many how-to books. Every writer’s process is different. I suggest experimenting with processes that interest you on short stories. Then, when you find a groove, write a longer story. The short, if it relates to the novel, can be used as a reader magnet to build your newsletter list prior to your book’s publication. Then, you’ll have hundreds or thousands of potential buyers on release day!

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Big revisions! If I have to delete or move something I am attached to, I put if off as long as I can.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Start sooner and save EVERYTHING! Do not quit that writing class before the last assignment just because you’re moving out of state. Push though and FINISH. And don’t wait 13 years to get back to it!

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders?

Writing guys can be hard. I have to put myself in their heads – and that can be a scary place, haha!!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Depending on the length, 2-3 months for the first draft. Then 2-3 more months of critique partners, beta readers and editors before it’s ready to be published.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, and no. I do get stuck. The fix is knowing your characters. If you know what’s going to harm them or trip them up, send that thing their way. They’ll keep busy for awhile trying to work it out!

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always been a hockey fan.  No Sweet 16 party for me – I dragged my friends to a hockey game! Several of the players were friends of mine, and I loved to watch them play. When I moved to Florida, I couldn’t find anyone to go to games with me. It was such a bummer! A couple years ago, I decided to write a short romance story, Love on the Ice, and during my research I discovered hockey romance was thing! I read a Kat Mizera book and was hooked! That story went on to become finalist in the Florida Writers Association’s Royal Palm Literary Awards and is my bestseller to date. It was time to make it into a series!

What can we expect from you in the future?

I read wide, and I write wide! This fall, look for How to Binge Write Your Novel from Writers’ Atelier Books and The Believer’s Journal for Everyday Faith from Orange Blossom Publishing. This holiday season I’ll release the next Palmer City Voltage Book, Christmas on Ice. A Voltage novella, Breaking the Ice, will be featured in the Late to Love, a Charity Anthology next February. All proceeds go to support my friend Teri, who helps run the Space Coast Book Lovers conference every summer, on her breast cancer journey. Twenty-five authors who know and love her are getting together for this one. You don’t want to miss it!

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

So many! My characters are constantly making appearances in others’ books!

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Cruising on Ice? How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

My daughter has been asking me for years why I haven’t written a cheer story. We both love the sport, and Taylor has been in my head for a long time. As has Kingston—he was a side character in Love on the Ice, and I developed him completely when I wrote that story. I thought the two of them would be good together, as more than friends, and it was time to write their book. Since cheer comp season ends around the time of the hockey playoffs, I knew it would have to take place over the summer. The idea to put them on a cruise ship came to me when I was planning one of our family cruises. Their room has the layout our family had on the Disney Dream, and I pulled my favorite things from other ships, like the ice rink.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

They just popped into my head! Poof! I rarely have trouble naming characters. They come to me with names and backstories all the time!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Everything! It was so fun to bring these two characters to life on a cruise vacation! It made for some many romantic moments, and I also really love writing hockey scenes.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

It was originally On the Edge. My characters were dealing with PTSD and staying at resort called the Cliff Walk in Downeast, Maine. A main scene takes place near the edge of a cliff. I loved that “edge” represented many things in the story. However, that title didn’t hint at the genre. While at an industry conference in July 2017, I mentioned that to my favorite Regency author, Anabelle Bryant, and she suggested simply adding Love to the title. So, Love on the Edge it became!

Who designed your book covers?

Chris Kridler of SkyDiary Productions did my Palmer City Voltage covers. Aren’t they gorgeous?

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope! I love every word I wrote in Cruising on Ice! The freedom of publishing it myself come s with hiring an editing team that helps my vision come to life instead of trying to fit it to what’s trending in the market. Also, I love my ensemble cast! If I’d have pubbed it traditionally, I’m sure many of my side characters would have been cut.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I learned how much I didn’t know about hockey! I had the sport down but the contracts and expansion draft minutia – yeeesh! Luckily, I have some superfan friends and dear friend in the Florida Panthers organization who helped me get it all right. My Panther guy was especially helpful with the epilogue scene logistics, and when I sent him the finished version, he loved it!  it was an awesome moment for me

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the leads?

Oh, gosh—great question! I’m not sure, but I’d definitely want actors who could skate and fly in cheer stunts!

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Please leave a review! Reviews let authors know what you loved, what you didn’t, how to improve, if you identified with a character, and the impact it had on you. No need to summarize—we just want to know how it made you feel. The quantity of reviews helps us sell more books, and your words help us keep writing, even on the hardest days.

How did you come up with name of this book?

I wanted “ice” to be in the title to keep the branding consistent. The original title was Love Off the Ice to mirror the prequel Love on the Ice, but I changed it as I developed the series.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

Oh gosh…so many favorite parts! The game show, where Kingston and Taylor feel that warm and fuzzy shift…their first kiss…the epilogue…yeah, definitely the epilogue!

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would love to have a VIP pass to the arena to watch Kingston play! I could sit with Taylor and the Wags (wives and girlfriends) and cheer my heart out!

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Entirely from my own imagination! However, I did pull some traits and memories from hockey players and cheerleaders I’ve known over the years. I was a cheerleader in high school, and when our hockey team advanced to the state championship, we rode on the bus with them. I will never forget the stench riding home with that equipment! My daughter did all-star cheer for several years, and we spent a lot of time watching all the teams practice and perform. Two of her tumbling coaches were on the 2019 USA cheer team, and several cheered in college. They were amazing and inspirational. One of my friends makes cheer bows, and she was especially helpful with developing Taylor’s business.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Oh no—no matter how much I plot and plan, they do what they please, and I love being surprised!

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Just one! The first book I started back in 2015 was a World War 2 historical. I entered it into a contest and scored super high, but I got stuck on a few plot points that weren’t realistic. I do plan to go back to it someday, when the time is right.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

Ocean Breeze! But I also have a very cool set of wax melts called Fresh Ice that smells like a rink!

What did you edit out of this book?

A lot of backstory and description! If you have any questions about anything, blame my editors for making me cut it! Haha, just kidding! Without them, the pacing of the book would have been much slower. I love how they guide me in the sculpting and polishing of my stories!

Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

I would love to chat with Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. She made a living as a writer a century ago, and wrote what she referred to as “bread and butter” stories to pay the bills. I can’t seem to find the discipline to write anything I’m not excited about, and would love to know how she did it, and did it so well.

What are your favorite hockey teams?

My favorite teams are the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and my hometown Orlando Solar Bears!

Do you have a favorite hockey player?

Don’t laugh, but my assistant asked that question recently, and I named off 15 players! Here they are, in ABC order by last name: Noel Acciari, Ray Bourque, Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde, Wayne Gretzky, Spencer Knight, David Krejci, Nikita Kucherov, Pat Maroon, Cam Neely, Bobby Orr, David Pastrnak, Brayden Point, Luc Robitaille, and Tyler Seguin.

How did you choose your pen name?

My grandmother, Evelyn, was my best friend and greatest encourager. She died while I was writing my first book. Now our names are linked together on books, swag, social media; everywhere! I miss her so much.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I’ve been an avid reader since I borrowed Boy Crazy Stacy from my friend Kate in fourth grade! I’ve always been a writer; at three years old I wrote letters to my nana in heaven. By middle school, Zelda inspired me to draw my own fairyland maps and write stories about the characters who lived there. In high school, I wrote a children’s book and wrote for the school paper, and was co-editor for a year. I wrote feature articles for my college’s newspaper, and when I graduated, I wrote children’s stories for the kids in my elementary school classes. I was always the one to offer to write the newsletter in the groups I belonged to. But it wasn’t until 2015 I decided to give writing a novel a go. I always wanted to, but I lacked the skills and confidence to do it. When I was challenged to put on my big-girl pants and butt-kickin’ boots and do it already, I decided to take some classes and give it a try. Six years later, I’ve published eight novels and over a dozen short stories. I pinch myself daily.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I put ketchup on my mac-n-cheese. I really love the tomatoey sweetness on melted cheddar. It’s not so weird, I think – lost of people put ketchup on cheeseburgers, haha!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who drive in the rain without their lights on. It’s the only way to see a white car in a snowstorm and a silver car in a steamy Florida summer deluge!

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in Dartmouth, on the SouthCoast of Massachusetts. It’s a charming college town on Buzzards Bay, halfway between Providence Rhode Island Cape Cod. It’s got everything – farms, a state park, beautiful beaches, a mall, and Padanaram, a gorgeous historical village right on the water. Across the peninsula is Clark’s Cove and the city of New Bedford where I lived and taught elementary school for a couple years. The Covewalk, “floating” lighthouse, and coastal geography partially inspired my fictional town of Crane’s Cove.

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

If I was healthy, I’d take everyone I knew to Disney World and spend the day soaking in all the magic, until the last firework fizzled out. If I was bed-ridden, I’d want to be on a balcony overlooking the ocean, with my family and friends holding my hands and praying over me, and drift off to the peaceful sounds of the waves.

What kind of world ruler would you be?

I’m a Hufflepuff, so I’d need a second-in-command to keep me from ruling with my emotions, which would end in disaster.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like to just sit. With a book, with a drink, with a person, with my laptop or notebook, etc. Just sit and enjoy the peace of being content.

How to find time to write as a parent?

Every year has been different! At first, I’d write while my kids were napping or after they went to bed. Then, while they were at school. Now I’m the study hall monitor at their school, and I get a lot of writing done while I’m watching the kids!

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Takes the road less traveled! I never do anything status quo. I felt Dumbledore’s words when he spoke about choosing what is right versus what is easy.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve been writing my whole life. I had work published in high school publications and wrote for the school newspaper and became co-editor-in-chief my junior-senior year. I always thought I would go into journalism, but it was too heart-wrenching for me. I wrote feature articles for my college paper, and took a children’s writing course when I graduated. Teaching elementary school gave me a ton of opportunities to make up stories and curriculum, and for a while it was enough. In 2015, after being challenged at a conference, I decided to finally write that novel I’d always aspired to create.

Do you have a favorite movie?

Depends on the day! My top two are The Sound of Music and Gone with the Wind!

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

Oh, any of them! They’re all such feel-good stories. But I think Love on the Edge would do the best in the theaters. The added element of suspense combined with my characters’ emotional wounds and kickass determination to get the bag guy would translate awesomely to film!

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

Every place I travel to is a literary pilgrimage! If it’s not a place I’ve already written, I treat it as a future setting. I read all the things, visit all the things that interest me, and make note of everything I love about it for possible future reference.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Definitely a swan! My grandmother, Evelyn loved swans. They’re beautiful, full of grace, and mate for life. Perfect for a romance novelist!

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Includes: $25 Amazon gift card, cheer bow, sea-themed journal, Sea World shell ornament, bottle of seashells, anchor-shaped soap, mermaid magnet, Seaworld playing cards, Dream Big ornament, Orlando Solar Bears towel, Happy Planner notebook, desk hockey game, Bolts trading card, Take a Shot! glass, Palmer City Voltage puck and magnet, NHL Fresh Ice wax melts, and an I Love Hockey sticker.

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Meet Authors Dana Bowen and Chloe Brogan

Dana and Chloe grew up in rural Ohio, and sparked a close friendship in the summer of 2019. When the Pandemic hit in 2020 they saw it as an opportunity to be adventurous. As two young moms, they spent months finding creative outlets through baking and art, but they were running out of things to do. So, when Dana came to Chloe one Friday over coffee and suggested they write a book — it seemed like the next logical step in their endeavors to use their time at home to pursue something they’d always dreamed of doing. The two discovered quickly that they made a great pair, and the story spun itself together almost overnight. The pair plan to keep up the momentum as Indie Authors, exploring all subgenres of romance in their coming stories.

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

Chloe and I became friends back in 2019. Our husbands were friends, and after some poking and prodding from my husband we went over to their house one night to play boardgames. Then maybe a week or so later, Chloe and I got to talking, and ended up having coffee together. And that was about it. Since then we weathered a pandemic together, and a whole year of homeschooling our kids. I’ve been eternally grateful for her friendship over the last few years.

Back in December of 2020 I was actually spending an afternoon with my cousin and she and I got to talking about my old habits of writing terribly cringy short stories. After she and I talked, I got to thinking and googling how to write a book. It seemed like a crazy idea, but it had been months of staying inside due to Covid and I felt like I was losing grip on the things that brought me joy to do. After having small children, most of my hobbies had gone out the window.

I remember it was a Friday afternoon in December, and I walked into Chloe’s house, plopped down on her couch and told her that I wanted to write a book– and I wanted her to help me. I’m very aware of the fact Chloe thought I was a little nuts, but she jumped on board with me almost immediately.

I think that night she and I wrote the first 3 Chapters together, and we had an outline for the first 6. Somewhere in the mess of things about a month later we realized we actually might have a story coming together. After a conversation we had about how far we were going to take this whole writing thing we actually got down to business. We created an actual concrete outline and a character bible. We started talking to people about our ideas, and let some of our friends and family read our first draft. It didn’t fully sink in what was happening though until we found our editor, and actually started shaping our story into something real.

I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of working with Chloe on this, and I can’t wait to bring the rest of our works out into the open here soon.

Advice for New Authors?

As a new Author myself? Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. It’s something my Mother tells me all the time. It’s one of the reasons superman movies don’t sell well. Perfection is impossible. Making sure everything is perfect is impossible. We love flaws the human race loves to be validated. We might have one typo but it doesn’t ruin the message of our whole book. We will do better, grow, and learn and so will you.

Chasing Catherine, our protagonist is running from perfection and the lies that surround it. Perfect is impossible but Good is real raw and obtainable. I think for our antagonist Marcus that his fatal flaw is he and everything around him has to be perfect. Don’t fall into that trap or that book you wrote will never get published and you will pick at it on and off for years telling yourself you’ll publish when it’s perfect. Which it will never be perfect and so it will never be published. Take the leap go with the good.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

D: I’ve always had a love for reading and writing–and with Covid kind of messing up everything I thought I wanted from the next few years of my life–it seemed like a solid logical thing to try. After holding a physical copy of Chloe and my book, I am sure it was the right thing to do.

C: I’ve always loved to write. I’ve always been a creative person. I get hit by imposter syndrome a lot and I feel like somehow I’m tricking everyone into liking me and my art. Which logically makes no sense but it’s such a real feeling. I wanted to write and leave my mark but was too scared. When Dana came to me and said hey “I wrote this will you read it” and it was a couple pages I wanted to do for her what I was scared to do for myself and supported her. Then when we started on chapter to she trusted me to write some and then believed in me and pushed me.

So long story short I’ve always wanted to and without Dana I wouldn’t have. I held our book for the first time a few days ago. While that uglly imposter syndrome tried to creep on me I know what we wrote was good and that it was the right decision and I can’t wait to do more.

A day in the life of the author?

D: I don’t think I’m quite at the point of considering myself an author. I don’t spend days and days writing at a time. My ‘Author Life’ looks a lot like me taking care of my kids and doing chores, then standing in the shower 15 minutes longer than I should have to type out the random idea I had for a book on my phone.

C: Are we author technically but financially we can’t make it our whole lives yet. So most days I spend homeschooling kids or wiping butts and then once the kids are asleep I blast some Lo-Fi hip hop and start writing.

Describe your writing style.

D: I don’t really know. Modern, descriptive, and slightly romantic.

C: I think my writing style can be very casual and I lean more towards comedy. I wonder if you all can pick who’s who from our book.

What makes a good story?

D: Passion. I don’t mean passion like romance specifically, I mean as an author you have to have some sort of passion for what you’re doing. You can have good ideas, but if you don’t feel a certain way about your setting, characters, or story, you won’t have a good story.

C:{Uh insert cheesy thing here} To be honest no matter what, to have a Good story you need a certain level of talent. My grandpa always said there some people who tell you “I got this bag from Kroger” then there are people you say “So you’re not going to believe this I was in Kroger today and they were out of tofu so I strolled around and from the corner of my eye I caught this beautiful man so I walked his way pretended I was shopping for book bags too and so I bought this book bag to get a guys number.”

What are they currently reading?

D: I’m currently reading two books. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and A Week to be Wicked, by Tessa Dare.

C: I’ll be Gone in The Dark by Michelle McNamara and The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn. Honestly life is stranger than fiction for me.

What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

D: I really like having a plan laid out before doing too much. I like making sure my characters are in order, and I like to have a general idea in place before diving too deep.

C: I will lay out something real basic then just word vomit.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

D: Mental Illness. Lol

C: Digging deep. I love writing the levity and comedy scenes, but I wrote a few scenes from Catherine’s point of view and had to face some of my own struggles while writing it and avoided writing the scene.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

D: I think in Chasing Catherine I got everything I wanted the book to be. In some ways I know that we didn’t do things quite like everyone expected, but Chloe and I knew what we wanted.

C: I think we deliver what we want. We don’t have a following yet so for now we get to be raw and write for us. Who knows if we get famous maybe we have to be more conscious of what readers want but now it’s raw and real.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

D: I would push my younger self to be fearless when writing a lot sooner. I think everything happens for a reason, and I don’t think I’d have published my book before now anyway. But I wish I wouldn’t have quieted this love for writing for so long. I told myself it was an impossible feat, but it turns out putting your work out there is way more possible than I let myself believe for a long time.

C: I agree with Dana. I think this book was meant to be our first book. I had a teacher who just didn’t like me. I excelled in language arts in school but she brow beat me into not believing in myself. I just want to show young Chloe we didn’t and we shouldn’t believe that teacher.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders?

D: Chasing Catherine is a single POV, so we didn’t run into too many issues with that. But I have noticed in other things I’m working on, it’s hard to balance what people really think and do with what we can perceive from an outside view. But I’m not sure that’s a matter of gender. I think it’s when trying to write from any POV that isn’t your own. It’s just a lot of experimenting to figure out what feels right,

C: I 100% agree with Dana, it’s not so much gender but that person in particular may respond differently. We were working on a scene where someone is comforting Nathan. She felt that the should hug and do this or that. Nathan is raised catholic and physical touch would not be appropriate for him to be touched by a femme character or anyone because that’s not how within his culture he would associate in that way with a nonromantic partner who’s not family.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

D: Alone it’s appearing to take me much longer. But together I think Chloe and I finished the first and second draft of this one and editing process in about 6 months.

C: For this book it was about 6 months. My solo project has taken me longer but our main focus has been this so that’s to be expected.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

D: Oh for sure. Lack of inspiration can be infuriating. Honestly it’s part of why I was so glad Chloe and I could do this together. Because there were nights where my brain just wouldn’t work and I could text her and tell her I was tapping out for the night, and Chloe would pick up where I left off without missing a beat.

C: I think mental health is a big player in writers block. So of course writers block is real. I’m really glad we were able to tag team this book and tag out if we needed.

What book do you think everyone should read?

D: I think everyone should read George Orwell’s 1984, and anything by Ted Dekker.

C: I think The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, it’s just a favorite of mine.

How long have you been writing?

D: creatively and for myself I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I started writing poetry and short stories in elementary school, and was always filling notebooks with book ideas. But this is my first actual work that I’ve published.

C: Dana and I have similar writing stories a lot privately to keep to ourselves. My love of reading really pushed that creative side of me. Without Dana I don’t think I would’ve ever had the courage to actually get something published.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

D: In my experience so far, characters seem to come as needed. Whether it’s during the initial outline process where you’re deciding what’s going to happen in the book; or when you’re in the midst of a draft and decide you need things said that a certain person needs to say. We didn’t originally give Nathan’s family a ton of depth, but after writing the first draft it became apparent we needed them for Nathan’s backstory to have real depth.

C: I think our character came to us as we needed when we started writing all we had was Darby (What Dana OG named Catherine) Then Darby became Catherine and the man in the distance became Nathan.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

D: Aside from the initial googling I did on how to write up a Character bible and a book outline, I didn’t do much research. We kept things pretty familiar–drawing a lot of scenery and dialogue from what we knew.

C:Most of our research was done during, to make sure we had some accuracy.

Do you see writing as a career?

D: I honestly really want it to be a career. I have more stories to tell!

C: I would love if we really were able to keep doing this. I love every second of it and want this to be my life forever.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

D: I think that the ease behind self publishing is both fantastic and horrible. I think everyone has a story to tell, and everyone should get to have their voice, but as a self-published author it is incredibly hard to make it. Big publishing firms are looking for the next Harry Potter or Fifty Shades of Grey, and it’s really hard as a small author to compete with huge companies.

C:I think self publishing is a gift and a curse. We can get our story out with out paying an arm and a leg for an agent but it’s impossible to compete with the reach of a publishing company.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

D: I love reading. But I am a genre jumper. I don’t have just one I love. As a kid I read mostly classics. I loved Treasure Island, and Romeo and Juliet. As a teen I read a lot of fantasy, and YA books. As an adult I love romance, mystery/thriller, and true crime.

C:I have loved reading forever, its been a safe haven for me as long as I can remember. Growing up poor books gave me the things I could never have. I love all genres honestly I currently mostly read biographies.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

D: My poor ADHD brain doesn’t know what it wants, I do best with minimal distractions, but if it’s too quiet my mind wanders.

C: I think being a parent means silence isn’t even an option.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

D: Currently I’m working on the second book for this series, a shorter Novella type story with Amber, and a few other things.

C: Currently I have few projects going dana has a few projects we have a few together.

Pen or type writer or computer?

D: For a long time I always wrote on pen and paper. But for ease while trying to write professionally, and with another person it makes the most sense to share a google doc with Chloe.

C:I use to prefer pen and paper but I’ve become quite fond of typing on the computer through this process.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

D: I have two. Eleanor from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. To this day that whole book is a favorite, and should be on everyone’s reading list. And as a kid I idolized Arya from the The Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini. They are both amazing female characters. 

C: I’ve mostly been reading biographies and nonfiction. To pull back from my brain of characters I love a lot fall under the John green Manic Pixie girl like Alaska from Looking For Alaska.

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Convince us why you feel your book Chasing Catherine is a must-read.

I think there is actually a lot to say for this, more than just a rapid fire interview question. We have a very deep connection to this book. When we started out to write this story, it was a bit of a joke. We started writing with all of the classic tropes in mind. Girl meets boy, boy fixes all of her problems, and they live happily ever after.

But something that has been so treasured through this writing experience is how many other forms of love come in this novel. I remember sitting with Chloe sometime after we had really gotten into writing our second draft, and we were trying to think of a name for the book. We dug through a laundry list pile of book names that we either randomly generated or took from key words in the book. But none of them seemed to truly fit with what we wanted to express.

When we spent some time looking through the themes of our book, it became quickly obvious that we had so much more in between the pages than just steamy romance. While steamy romance is amazing and so much fun to write, we really wanted to drive home what it looks like to experience loving relationships with family and friends as well. I think true, loving platonic relationships aren’t showcased enough in literature as it is. And true passion for someone can extend farther than stolen kisses and bedroom eyes. We all love a good whirlwind romance, but my true love for our story lies in Catherine’s relationship with Cici, Amber, and Meghan.

People experience all kinds of love throughout their lives. Familial love, friendly love, and romantic love. Catherine is lifted by the people around her for the first time in her life. It’s an incredibly healing experience to bear your soul to people and have them love you unconditionally. And sometimes it’s those people around you that help you learn to love yourself. A great deal can be said for pursuing your own life, thoughts, and dreams with the support of the important people around you. It was so important by the end of our story that we showed Catherine choosing to chase herself for probably the first time in her life.

I think our book is a must read because of those things. I want people to see the healing that comes from being supported, and I want people to see that even when you’re faced with hard things, toxic people, and your own self doubt. There are people around you that will hold you up. There are people around you who will always help you succeed, and be the support you need. You just have to be willing to ask for help and look around. The world isn’t hopeless.

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Ashlea Thompson ~ Author Interview

Ashlea Thompson is an avid reader and a lover of Atlanta Braves Baseball and Crimson Tide Football.  She is also a member of the Alabama Writer’s Cooperative. “Steel Hearts” is her debut novella. 

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Check out HER book below!

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STEEL HEARTS by Ashlea Thompson

Lottie Mae Haywood is living her best life doing what she loves. Art. When she meets Jake Samford, she believes she has found the one to spend the rest of her life with. When he is not the man she thought, she returns home to Thomasville, AL. With a new love interest and things going well, her sister brings home Jake. Things take a turn, and Lottie has a decision to make. Will she make the right one?

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Building a Surprise Family by Anna J. Stewart #giveaway

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Building a Surprise Family (Butterfly Harbor Stories Book 10) by Anna J. Stewart

Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance

An instant family…Is life-changing!

Pregnant construction supervisor Jo Bertoletti doesn’t need anyone’s help…or another heartbreak. So she’s putting handsome, kindhearted firefighter Ozzy Lakeman firmly into the friend zone. After all, she’s just passing through Butterfly Harbor, and her life is too complicated for a summer romance. But Ozzy feels an immediate connection. Can he convince the woman of his dreams to take a chance on building a forever family with him?

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USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to sexy romances for Harlequin and ARC Manor’s Caezik Romance. Her sweet Heartwarming books include the Butterfly Harbor series as well as the ongoing Blackwell saga. She also writes the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and contributes to the bestselling Coltons. A former Golden Heart, Daphne, and National Reader’s Choice finalist, Anna loves writing big community stories where family found is always the theme. Since her first published novella with Harlequin in 2014, Anna has released more than forty novels and novellas and hopes to branch out even more thanks to Caezik Romance. Anna lives in Northern California where (at the best times) she loves going to the movies, attending fan conventions, and heading to Disneyland, her favorite place on earth. When she’s not writing, she is usually binge-watching her newest TV addiction, re-watching her all-time favorite show, Supernatural, and wrangling two monstrous cats named Rosie and Sherlock.  You can read more about Anna at her website, www.AuthorAnnaStewart.com.

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I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Building a Surprise Family by Anna J. Stewart.