Robert Ottone ~ Author Interview

Robert P. Ottone delights in the creepy. He is an author, teacher, and cigar enthusiast from East Islip, NY.

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out HIS book below!

(Click on the cover image to order your copy)

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Her Infernal Name & Other NightmaresA Goodreads “Best of Horror 2020” Selection

From waking fears to heart-breaking nightmares, this collection of short fiction is a glimpse into the terrors we face every day from the mind of Robert P. Ottone.

In “The Arborist,” a woman hears the mysterious call of the forest.

Five friends exploring an archipelago find themselves set upon by the island’s hungry inhabitants in “The Monitors.”

A young woman confronts the mystery of her infertility in “Kelly Watch the Stars.”

These works are joined by the title novella, Her Infernal Name, about the cruel intersection of desire and desperation, and many other stories crafted in the hopes of keeping you up at night.


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D.M. Barr ~ Author Interview

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire!

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out HER LATEST book below!

(Click on the cover image to order your copy)

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SAVING GRACE“A psychological thriller with more than enough twists, turns, and misdirection to keep even the most jaded reader turning pages all night long.” –Lori Robbins, author of the Silver Falchion Award-winning novel, Lesson Plan for Murder

Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself—she will write herself out of danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband’s scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?

With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace’s own, Saving Grace is, at its core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.


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K.M. Smith ~ Author Interview

For Kristy Smith, writing is her passion and writing about vampires gets her blood flowin’. Growing up in Michigan and spending time in several parts of the world has provided her with unique perspectives and innumerable opportunities for storytelling.

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Check out K.M.’s book below!

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(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.)

Turning Point – Adam is the resident vampire in a small college town in Michigan. It’s the same scenario every night: wander campus, snag a co-ed for dinner, get home before dawn. Rinse. Repeat–until an irresistible new professor appears. From the shadows, he follows her every footstep, lurking, until he witnesses a tragic accident. As life drains from the object of his desire, he is faced with an impossible choice: Should he intervene or not?

22 years later, Alice Peterson is well on her way to graduating from college. Her life and goals are set, and her future is bright. But Alice meets Adam and a tempestuous wind portends a different fate. Thrust into a world she thought to be fictitious, Alice must rely on wit, cunning and newfound powers if she hopes to survive. Adam will do what he must to keep Alice from learning too much about her past, including the unthinkable.

No good deed goes unpunished as familial bonds are pushed to their limit and new relationships are tested. Filled with action and bloodlust-fueled drama, read on to unlock the mystery when Alice reaches her Turning Point.


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Kassandra Flamouri ~ Author Interview

Kassandra Flamouri holds a degree in Music from the Sunderman Conservatory of Gettysburg College, which she uses to moonlight as a folk musician while juggling writing, teaching, and earning a second degree.

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.)

The Chalice and the Crown – Driven, talented, and determined to live up to her family’s fame, Sasha Nikolayeva is ballet’s crown princess. But just when Sasha lands her most prestigious role yet, she falls prey to a host of disturbing neurological symptoms that threaten to end her career and her very life. As her mind and body deteriorate, Sasha spirals into a nightmare world where beauty and cruelty exist in the same breath and villains rule from the shadows.

In the glittering, sharp-edged City of Roses, Sasha is no princess. She’s a thrall, a slave. Thousands like her suffer in cursed silence while citizens enjoy the splendor of the City, blissfully unaware that their servants are anything more than living dolls enchanted to do their bidding. But the City’s slavers know the truth, and they are always watching. One misstep could cost Sasha her life—or her soul.

Even as she endures the violence and indignity of captivity, Sasha can’t help being drawn to the beauty of her nightmare world and the underground rebels who offer her friendship, shelter, even love. Before Sasha can break her chains for good, she’ll need to choose between the life waiting for her at home and the countless lives she could save if she stays. To choose a nightmare over her real life, her future, would be madness…but maybe a little madness is just what it takes to change the fate of a city built on lies.


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Douglas Ford ~ Author Interview

Douglas Ford is the author of the recent collection of weird fiction, Ape in the Ring. His short stories have appeared in such venues as Dark Moon Digest, Tales to Terrify, Weird City, as well as The Best Hardcore Horror, Volumes 3 and 4.

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out HIs book below!

(Click on the cover image(s) to order your copy)

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APE IN THE RING – From the author of The Reattachment comes a frightening and twisted collection of stories that demonstrates Douglas Ford’s imagination at its best.

In these stories, a woman uncovers the buried memory of how she once disappeared inside the house of a murderer; a father waits and waits for his son to come out of a playground structure, unprepared for what finally does emerge; a group of foster children play an unconventional form of divination while protecting a secret together; the closet of a hotel room hides an unspeakable voyeur; and in the title story, a carnival offers ritualized combat with something that may or not be an ape.

Douglas Ford wields language like a sinister surgeon with a night-black scalpel. These stories cut down to the bone, exposing the darkness that lies just beneath the surface of our everyday world. This collection is a midnight carnival of dark wonders, terrifying and fascinating in equal measure.
–Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author, Tim Waggoner

Ape in the Ring and Other Tales of the Macabre and Uncanny is a must have collection for every horror library. Douglas Ford crafts stories that are disturbing, dripping with atmosphere, and claustrophobically frightening. You will be thinking about this book long after you have set it down.
-Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author, Owl Goingback


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Kelly S. Marsden ~ Author Interview

Kelly Marsden is a Yorkshire author who writes fantasy stories. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013 and she now has several successful series under her belt.

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out KELLY’s 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.)

With Midwinter just around the corner, Mark’s Nanna decides that it is time he learnt more about his family heritage. Learning witchcraft shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Balancing school, magic, and the distractions of the gorgeous new guy, should make this a very interesting winter.


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Liane Carmen ~ Author Interview

Meet Liane Carmen, author of the Investigation Duo Series. Like most authors, Liane hopes that her readers will vouch for her if her Google search history ever comes into question!

LIKE – SUBSCRIBE – AND COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ‘WHERE THE TRUTH HIDES’ BY LIANE CARMEN!!!

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out LIANE’S bookS 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.)

Buried secrets can be deadly.

Becky Morgan has a life most women would envy until a car accident lands her in the hospital. She insists she’s fine, but it quickly becomes clear she’s changed. She’s forgetful, paranoid, short-tempered. Her husband wants to write off her change in personality to the IVF hormones she’s taking in an attempt to get pregnant.

Becky’s best friend, Jules Dalton, is a gorgeous, single woman, with a habit of sabotaging relationships. When Jules loses the man who could have been “the one,” she confronts the realization that being adopted at birth is contributing to her trust issues. She’s obsessed with finding out why she was given up and turns to DNA testing in hopes her matches will lead to her birth parents.

As Jules dives into her DNA results, Becky’s life soon becomes one she doesn’t recognize. Those closest to her are accusing her of things she simply can’t explain or remember. She’s terrified of losing everything: her career, her marriage, and her dream of becoming a mother.

Desperate to put the pieces of her shattered life back together, Becky needs her best friend more than ever. What she doesn’t realize is that Jules knows something that could explain everything away.

Becky has a dark past she’s unaware of. A darkness that’s coming for her.

It could also get her killed.

As a young girl, Donna Thomas tragically lost her mother and sibling. Her wealthy father has been emotionally absent ever since. As an adult, he refused to help, insisting she had to find her own way in life. When he dies, Donna’s convinced this is her chance to get what she deserves. After all, there is no other family.

But then his will deals her an unexpected blow. The estate is to be shared, not only with a mysterious stranger, but also a half-sister Donna didn’t know existed. It’s bad enough she has to share her father’s money, but his last words stipulate she doesn’t get a penny of her inheritance until she locates her half-sister.

Angry and bitter, Donna turns to Becky and Jules who’ve just opened the doors of their new detective agency. Having solved family mysteries of their own, they’re now ready to help others. As they follow the trail Donna’s father left behind, it becomes clear someone else is on the hunt as well. One accidental death in their path could be coincidental, but when it looks like the mystery beneficiary has been murdered, they don’t know who to trust.

As Becky and Jules scramble to find the connection behind Donna’s father and the murdered stranger, they worry time is running out. If they want to find Donna’s half-sister alive, they had better find her fast, because someone else seems to be one sinister step ahead of them—they want what’s theirs, and they’re prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way.


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5 Things Publishing Taught Me

5 Things Publishing Taught Me

By Kassandra Flamouri

1. Cover Your Costs!

When I self-published my first book, I was sure there was an audience for a Greek/English bilingual collection of short stories. There are huge Greek-American communities all across the country and thousands of students young and old trooping off to church for Greek School every week. Surely, I thought, some of them would be interested in quality stories to supplement their language learning! I was sort of right. I sold more books than might be expected for such a niche genre debut from an unknown author, but it wasn’t nearly enough to cover the costs I’d incurred by using a professional translator. I don’t regret it—my Greek definitely isn’t up to that level, and it was worth it for my family in Greece to be able to read my work—but I definitely learned from the experience. When the time came to publish my first novel, I ran a pre-order campaign through Kickstarter to make sure that my audience was at least big enough to cover my publishing costs. To my delight, my Kickstarter was successfully funded, and I was able to publish without putting myself further in the red.

2. Know your weaknesses!

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to learn new things, but it pays to be realistic about what you can and can’t do (like, say, learn Photoshop in less than a month). I’m not saying not to try new things, but definitely don’t put all your eggs in a basket that might break. Do your homework and try out new skills far in advance of when you’ll actually need them so that you can decide what’s worth a little educational investment and what’s not. Once those decisions are made, you can save up for the tasks that will require a professional.

3. Know your strengths!

Conversely, it also pays—or maybe saves—to know what you can do yourself. For instance, I could have done my own line editing for my first book and saved myself a pretty penny. I know some of you are probably gasping or rolling your eyes at my arrogance, but it’s true. I know this not only because I’ve been teaching grammar for close to ten years but because the editor I hired ended up bringing me on to her own staff as an editor just a few months after working on my collection. For my novel, I relied on my own skills and that of my eagle-eyed grammar nerd of a mother, and I have zero regrets (and a lot more money in the bank). I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t hire an editor. I’m saying you shouldn’t hire an editor just because all those articles and tweets and posts say you aren’t a credible author if you don’t. Similarly, if you’re a trained artist, why shouldn’t you do your own cover art? If you know you’re a damned good designer, why shouldn’t you design your own cover? Of course, in an ideal world an experienced professional is almost always going to be preferable to even a highly skilled amateur, but we don’t live in an ideal world where everyone has the money to hire professionals for everything. Most of us will have to make choices about where we spend our money, and by being realistic about both our weaknesses and our strengths, we can make those choices wisely.   

4. Remember that no one can please everyone, but be prepared to grow!

It makes me proud (and relieved) that not a single reviewer has yet tried to diss my writing or editing technique. Many, in fact, make a point of praising the writing itself…which is how I make it through the reviews that critique everything else. Especially hurtful the ones that crap all over my protagonist. Of course I rail internally against those reviews and vent to my CP’s about how a character can’t show any growth if they’re already perfect and how (shocker) teenagers don’t always react like mature adults and how my precious protagonist is UNDER A LOT OF PRESSURE, OKAY?! But then I calm down and remember that, if I’ve done my job, characters are like real people. Just like not everyone is going to like me as a person, not everyone is going to like my characters, and that’s okay. Instead, I pay attention to the reviews that have real critiques to offer. After looking for patterns in reviews across my different books, I have a better understanding of my weaknesses and know what I need to work on in my next book.

5. Come prepared to work, because this sh*t is hard!

Guest post written by Author Kassandra Flamouri

Check out her books by clicking HERE!


5 Tools to Offset Self-Publishing Costs

5 Tools to Offset Self-Publishing Costs

By Kassandra Flamouri

1. Kickstarter

This one is huge.  When my publisher went under, I wanted to self-publish—but I didn’t want to invest a bunch of money on a book no one wanted to read (a mistake I’d made once already with a bilingual short story collection). So I ran a pre-order campaign on Kickstarter to make sure I at least had enough people interested to cover my publishing costs. I ended up getting nearly twice the amount I was asking for and was able to cover basic publishing costs like an ISBN number, IngramSpark publishing fee, cover design tools, and a month-long NetGalley listing.

A word of warning, however: When you set a goal for a Kickstarter campaign, make sure you factor in the costs of fulfilling rewards. When I set up my campaign, I assumed that most people would want the digital version of my book and that my shipping costs wouldn’t be that bad. I was wrong—nearly everyone wanted a paperback. So instead of $15.00 for each paperback reward, I was really only getting around $3 after printing and shipping. Luckily, I got way more pledges than I expected and was able to cover the costs and meet my profit goal, but it was by a surprisingly slim margin. The bottom line: You’re going to need more money than you think, so don’t be shy about asking for it.

2. Fiverr

Fiverr is a great resource if used (judiciously) to supplement your own work and skills, but it can’t replace them. You can’t pay someone twenty bucks and expect them to pour their heart and soul and creativity into your project. But if you have a solid creative vision and just need someone with the technical skills to make it happen, Fiverr can be a great place to find that someone. My attempt at hiring someone from Fiverr for a full-service cover design was a disaster, but when I tried coming up with my own idea and hiring someone to clean up my sketch and render it digitally, the results were fantastic.

3. Bookbrush

Bookbrush is kind of like Canva but specifically for books. You can make some pretty cool mockups and ads and download up to fifteen for free. You can also try out the cover design tools, though you’ll have to pay for a subscription in order to download or save covers. I did the subscription version ($99 for the year) and used the artwork I’d commissioned from Fiverr to design a cover I absolutely adore. The only warning I have for this service is that I ended up having to pay someone about $15 (yay Fiverr!) to tweak the formatting to make the print version work for KDP and IngramSpark. To be fair, though, the issues could very well have arisen from my own mistakes. And the e-book cover was a breeze!

4. Reedsy

Formatting a manuscript for print is a NIGHTMARE (I mean, if you’re like me and don’t have professional InDesign skills or the money to pay someone with professional InDesign skills). I have done it successfully using Microsoft Word, but it took forever and the results, though pretty darn good, were still not quite perfect. The only reason I suffered through it was the fact that the book required more customization than Reedsy could offer (poems, stories, two alphabets, oh my). When the time came to publish my novel in all its straightforward formatting glory, I just couldn’t face the thought of wrestling with Word again. What took me weeks (months? It’s all kind of a blur, now) with Word took about three minutes with Reedsy. You just select the trim size and make a few stylistic decisions and voila! It can format your work for digital distribution, too, and delivers both an EPUB and a MOBI version of your e-book. All formats include a note giving credit to Reedsy for the typesetting, of course, but that’s a tiny price to pay, especially when it saves you weeks of work or hundreds of dollars (or both).

5. Books Go Social

To be honest, I do have some reservations and caveats for this recommendation. The service is mostly geared toward marketing books through promotional packages that include four to eight weeks of tweets, with an optional month-long NetGalley listing OR three months of email promotions. I took advantage of a sale and also got a $75 ad budget. Unfortunately, the ads had a minimal impact, but I’m not sure it’s any fault of theirs, necessarily (see Where to Spend Your Advertising Budget by Glenn Miller).  At the end of the day, the $90 I spent to was mostly worth it just for the NetGalley listing, as the cheapest option through NetGalley itself is a whopping $450. Be warned, though, that Books Go Social’s execution can be a bit haphazard. If you do go this route, stay on top of them and make sure you give explicit instructions for the timing and content of whatever promotional materials you choose. I think this can be a great tool, but proceed with caution and, as dear Professor Moody would say, CONSTANT VIGILANCE. In the future I will probably give Xpresso Book Tours’ package a try. It’s a bit cheaper at $65 for a month long NetGalley listing, though it comes with a waiting list and no promotional tweets.

Guest post written by Author Kassandra Flamouri

Check out her books by clicking HERE!

CLICK HERE to sign up for her FREE WORKSHOP: GRAMMAR FOR WRITERS


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.


The Time Is Write: How Making Time to Write Each Day Helps Keep Me Grounded

The Time Is Write: How Making Time to Write Each Day Helps Keep Me Grounded (Guest post by Desiree Villena)

Lately, time seems to have lost all its usual meaning. When everything is done at home, the divide between work and leisure becomes hazy — one long, delirious blur without our typical routines to divide the days. This can make it hard to maintain momentum in your writing, especially when you feel a million competing voices in your head telling you all the things you should be doing: working harder, spending time with family, reading more, sleeping more…

I, too, often struggle with how to balance my creative projects with personal and professional demands. But though structure may have vanished, there’s still the same number of hours in a day. I’ve found that carving out dedicated writing time, even if it’s just a little bit every day, helps me regain a sense of meaning — I can’t control what goes on in the world outside, but I can control what happens in my stories.

Whether you’re writing a book that you hope to publish soon or crafting tales purely for your own enjoyment, writing for even a small portion of each day can do wonders for your artistic and emotional health. Here, I outline my approach to balancing writing with my other commitments, and delve into how working on my stories keeps me from feeling overwhelmed in the chaos.

Making use of small moments

Maybe you’ve already got a consistent writing schedule that keeps you on track — but for most of us, that’s a hard thing to establish! Building a reliable writing routine has been something that plagues even the most dedicated of authors. Personally, I’ve never quite been able to commit to a strict writing routine. While sometimes I wish I could make myself write at the same time every day or hit concrete targets, life is too unpredictable, and I’ve come to realize different writing tips work for different people!

Especially when you have a full-time job, a family, or other obligations that require your time and mental energy, dedicating hours of each day simply to write can feel like an unrealistic luxury. So my philosophy is to allow myself flexibility to write when I can, taking advantage of small pockets of time. Morning runs can occasionally serve as great brainstorming sessions, and gaps between meetings can be a great time to start outlining my next chapter. I even find myself jotting down ideas while watching TV or doing chores — inspiration can strike at strange times.

Writing does not have to be a 9-to-5 job or a non-stop marathon. Everyone writes at their own pace, and little chunks of time can quickly add up to great progress. Breaking up your day with short bursts of creativity can also help replenish your energy, giving you something to look forward to throughout the day.

Keeping my vision in sight

Dedicating at least small bits of each day to writing also gives me a sense of purpose as an author. Every day, I’m asking myself to treat writing seriously, and reminding myself why I write in the first place: while it can be challenging, especially when I’m struggling with a difficult passage or trying to edit, it is also an immense joy to bring characters to life on the page.

Keeping in mind my larger vision for each project also gives me something concrete to work toward — thinking about what this short story might look like when it’s complete, or where this character arc goes. Imagining my future readers once my work is published also helps give me a sense of purpose as I try to write stories that resonate. I ask myself questions like How would I describe this book? Why does it matter to me? Keeping sight of what I’m trying to write and why I’m writing serves as a potent reminder of why my work matters, even in confusing times.

Turning each day into a non-zero day

My philosophy of writing is dedicated to the idea of the “non-zero day”: doing something each and every day to advance toward my goal, even if it’s a tiny step forward. Progress is progress, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to tackle a challenge like “finish a story” or “edit a draft” — setting small, achievable, goals is a great way to keep myself motivated.

I aim to do a little something every day to stay grounded in my writing habits. Even if I’m not adding a single sentence to my work in progress, I can find other ways to still develop my craft: doing research, sketching out character backstory, or reading other books for inspiration. If you’re stuck on a book you’re writing, you might spend time looking at comparable titles, thinking about how’ll market your finished work to your audience, or developing your author website — granting each day a sense of purpose.

Giving myself freedom to explore

Even with all my strategies for maintaining inspiration, writer’s block inevitably hits sometimes. When this happens, I often find it helpful to allow myself to use “imperfect words” and freewrite without filtering.

The goal of freewriting is to write unhindered by self-consciousness or the expectation that a story has to be immediately polished. I go wherever my mind takes me. That means, if I feel inspired to take a total detour from my current project by starting a story in a new genre or embodying a silly new character, I let myself go for it! Sometimes using a creative writing prompt or taking part in a writing challenge also helps me regain that spark of imagination.

I never want to lose sight of the passion that urges me to write in the first place. That’s why my approach to my writing is to make it a funhabit — like a daily treat, not a job or chore. When I feel overwhelmed by what today might hold or wonder what tomorrow might look like, writing grounds me in the present moment — harnessing the emotion and noise of the world and making today count.

Lately I have been especially grateful for each sentence I put on the page. Even as we lose our sense of time, we do not lose our sense of purpose: words have immense power, and will always make themselves heard.

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best publishing resources. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories — and occasionally giving writerly advice! She looks forward to writing in coffee shops and libraries again soon.