Monday, 31 October 2011

Interview with Louis Bertrand Shalako, author of The Shape Shifters

As the year draws to a close, so too do my reviews and interviews. With only 7 remaining before I take some time off to concentrate on my own writing, I welcome on of the last authors to grace my blog for a while. Welcome, Louis!
 What inspired The Shape Shifters?

I had this idea that we are all shape-shifters. Every seven years, every cell in our body is renewed, and it is clearly our identity that persists while our body changes. Our identity changes over time as well. And yet we really can’t escape who we are, which is imprinted upon us from a very early age. Even when other people have other ideas of who we should be, our identity is something we cling to without even really being able to define it. We are born as little babies, under ten pounds in most cases, and then we grow up to be young and strong, and then we slowly collapse into ourselves in old age.

Are any of the characters based on someone real?

The characters are based on real personality types, and some of the situations have happened to real people in real life. 

What type of process to you have to get in to the writing zone?

The first thing is to have an idea. To attempt to write in this genre, it had to be some different take or slant, not just on the story, but on the genre. Once I have an idea of the major characters, the story starts to unfold. It’s a question of, ‘What would happen if?” This question doesn’t always involve plot. What is it that makes a fantasy? As a writer, how rational was the choice of having a few talking animals in the story? Most authors spend a lot of time not writing, but daydreaming and visualizing. What doesn’t really work or turn our crank doesn’t make it in. I often have scenes that I would have liked to include, but would just be a sidebar and so I don’t even write it up.

Was this an easy story to write?

This was a fairly easy book to do because I was having fun every time I sat down to write, and by the time I wrote ‘Shape-Shifters,’ I knew I could complete a book. Once you realize that, the most obvious question is, ‘How good is it going to be?” If the question is about motivation, a certain amount of competitiveness in my own character led me to work at it. This book probably took three months of writing every day. While circumstances ensure that a writer will miss a day from time to time, the project mentality takes over and we want to see how it all turns out. So the writer has much in common with the reader in that sense. Back when I had a real job, I liked completing things as much as the next guy. In construction, it’s the only way to get paid. A life of unskilled manual labour puts writing into perspective. Put in the man-hours and you got yourself a book.

Do you have any other projects in the works we can look forward to?

Yes. My new novel is detective fiction with no fantasy elements. It’s called, ‘Redemption: An Inspector Maintenon Mystery.’ It’s based on a character I created in the short story, ‘The Handbag’s Tale.’ That story was written to a length of 12,000 words so that I could submit it to a major magazine, who rejected the story. Yet the short length imposed limitations that could only be addressed in a longer story—and I like the Inspector. I plan on a December 1 release, assuming I can create a good marketing image for it.

How about previous works to keep an eye out for?

That’s a good question, because ‘Shape-Shifters’ is my only fantasy. But the parody WW I memoir ‘Heaven Is Too Far Away’ seems to be doing well for an unknown author. All of my first novels were comedies, if that’s any help. But I’m taking the novel craft more seriously now, and that’s with reader’s expectations in mind. It’s a question of how long I plan on being around.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are your hobbies?

I read a lot when I can. I like the outdoors and take a lot of landscape photos. In summer I cycle, swim and sit by a campfire thinking weird thoughts whenever possible.

What genre do you enjoy to read for pleasure?

I enjoy history, books on aviation, and science fiction, and oddly enough, the kind of plot-less literary fiction that takes me to a different time and place without causing any real angst. I like westerns and detective stories, and maybe not so much of the airport-type novels.

Do you have any hints or advice for aspiring writers?

Be prepared to suffer, be prepared to work, but also be prepared to succeed.  

Fantastic piece of advice there.
Louis, thank you very much for this opporunity, it's been wonderful.All the best in the future and I look forward to having you back one day soon!
Louis has been extremely generous providing 25 copies of The Shape Shifters to readers. It is also available to buy on and Barnes & Noble. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Review of The Shape-Shifters by Louis Bertrand Shalako

For anyone who knows me, I have a large soft spot for all fantasy type characters, and shape shifters are towards the top of my list of favourites. So naturally, I was quite eager to get in to this read. I was not disappointed as action began from the first word. Intrigue was weaved as scenes were set, but just enough to introduce characters, rather than give too much away. Louis laces magic in to the story with each word, even though the supernatural isn’t immediately apparent.
As each character has their story told, I must admit I got a little confused, but their tales were believable and it didn’t take long for everything to tie in together. Changes between nicknames and surnames for the four hunters made their scenes hard to keep track of at times.
There is a sweet yet dark feeling of reality to this story that keeps the pages turning. This is a book I would most assuredly read again.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sleeping Love - Released November 4 2011

Sara Curran-Ross returns with another wonderful tale, Sleeping Love. Released November 4th 2011, I will be making this my first review of 2012, and I can tell you now, I can not wait!!

Historian Sabrina Michaels lost her memory ten years ago after waking up in a London hospital badly beaten.  When she travels to a French chateau owned by handsome wealthy businessman Raoul Valoire to research his famous ancestor, he lays claim to her as his wife.
Afraid of confronting her past, Sabrina attempts to leave the chateau but finds that her husband is more than determined to have his wife back in his arms and in his bed.  He is prepared to hold her  prisoner until she uncovers her true identity and remembers her love for him.
Sabrina embarks on a journey into her own past in the hopes of uncovering what caused her to disappear from the chateau without a trace the night of her birthday party and the man who was responsible for her attack.  She only hopes it is not the husband she is falling in love with all over again.

Nothing appeared safe or trustworthy.  Leaving would give her some control back until she could decide what to do.  Surely, Raoul would understand that.  Frantically, she headed for the door and reached out for the handle with a shaking hand when she stopped dead, hearing the cracking whip of Raoul’s reprimand across the air.

‘Sabrina.  Where are you going?’

Sabrina turned sharply tilting her chin defiantly at him.

‘You can’t stop me leaving,’ she threatened.  ‘I will call the police.’

He gave a laugh and began walking towards her.

‘It will do you no good,’ he told her softly.  ‘They know that you are home and that your memory loss may have made you unstable.  They are more than likely to advise hospital care if I can’t keep you under control than help you leave.’

He unfolded the piece of paper he held in his hand and offered it to her.

‘Your signature on our wedding certificate will prove that this is not some elaborate hoax.  You belong to me, Sabrina and I am not letting you walk out of that door again.’

She glanced at the certificate and the signature that he pointed to.  It was definitely her writing.  Blind panic filled her mind.  She didn’t know what to do.  What if Raoul had been the man who had beaten her so badly she’d lost her memory?  What if he really was the man who had put her in the hospital seven years ago?  Perhaps she had tried to leave him then and he’d become violent.  Too many questions.  She had to get out.

‘Do what the hell you want but I am still leaving and there is nothing you can do,’ she shouted wasting no more time in turning the door handle.

But to her dismay she was not to get very far.  Raoul leaned over and raised his hand above her head slamming the door shut hard.  Sabrina gave a yelp of fear and turned around to face him, finding her back pressed against the door with no means of escape.  Raoul’s dark eyes looked down at her threateningly.  He closed the distance between them, sweeping his arm around her waist when she made a gesture to duck out from under the cage of his arm.  He pushed her back against the door once more and restrained her there.

‘I am going to keep you here even if I have to tie you down.  I want to know why you walked out on my life.  We were in love.  I have spent years wondering what happened.  I never once thought you were dead.  Did you leave me for another man?  Your absence has tormented me.’ 

Raoul’s tone grew more intense with anger leaving Sabrina trembling.  ‘The police believed you were murdered and I was their main suspect.  They even dragged the lake in the grounds looking for your body.  The only thing that stopped them from charging me with your murder was the lack of a body.  I want answers and you are going to give them to me, darling wife.  So yes you will stay and yes I will make you a prisoner if I have to.’

About Sara
Sara lives in the UK, in leafy suburbia with her husband, daughter and dog.

She was training to be a Legal Executive once upon a time until she saw sense and went to university.  She graduated in 2002 with a History BA (Hons) degree after giving birth to a daughter in 1999 in the middle of it all.  Ever a glutton for punishment, Sara returned to university at the end of 2007 and in 2008 graduated again with a History MA.
Sara has been writing since her teenage years and has now made it her full time focus.  Her latest project is the Swords series, a dark victorian vampire romance saga inspired by the Tarot.  The first book, Knight Of Swords is now available from Hellfire Publishing and the second, Ace Of Swords will be available later in 2011.
Other books include The Organ Grinder and The Devil You Know. Preview chapters are available are available on the Books page above.

The Organ Grinder is a fast paced thriller.  It explores the relationship between the media and the military in Afghanistan and the sensitive subject of selling stolen human organs for transplant in the face of a worldwide shortage.

The Devil You Know is a sexy thriller set in Paris and not for the faint hearted!
You can let Sara know what you think of the books via the Contact page, email her at, or follow her blog at
Happy reading!
(Taken from Sara's site

Friday, 21 October 2011

Talon, Flight for Life

Gisela continues the story of Matica and Talon, ever faithful to her style and message in this, the third installment in her Talon series. So far, we have been with Matica as she rescued a condor egg from poachers, raising the condor chick she names Talon, while his parents Tamo and Tima watch in approval, and this is just in the first book. The second book sees dreams come to life as the relationship and understanding between Matica and Talon grows ever deeper. In Flight for Life, we follow the unlikely duo as poachers return and Matica continues to struggle with her self-esteem due to her disability. Her continuing acceptance from the South American Indians in the surrounding villages and cities gives her pride and reason to hold her head high, however, as they stand in awe of her relationship with the endangered condors. Some may view it as far stretched; but the beauty of hope and positivity is what makes this such a wonderful series. It is a perfect way to teach children and young adults that no matter how different we are, we can all make a difference and that whatever life throws at us, we should never let it get us down but rather take it in stride and keep our heads held high, just like Matica.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Review and Interview with Screen-Writer Josepsh Chastain

A Sinner’s Bible
Screenplay by Joseph Chastain

Although I don’t normally review screenplays, I read this as a favor and had to say something about it.
A Sinner’s Bible reads quite easily for a screenplay and Joseph sets the story up quite well. The lead role, Steve, is a young man trying to juggle school and a job to help his mother, Rachel support them both. Life isn’t easy for them with his alcoholic father living elsewhere, trying to get his own life sorted out.
Of course there’s a love interest, in the lovely, but lost Ivy. As with everything else in life, it is far from perfect. Friends who don’t understand only seem to make Steve feel worse. As he runs away to try and start a new life all his own he finds out that running solves nothing; in fact it often makes a bigger mess.
As everyone around him lives their own lives, unconcerned with how he is coping, Steve is on an emotional downward spiral. When he is admitted to hospital for self-harm and his secret comes out everyone reacts differently. Friends reject him, his mother tries to reach out and his father, barely able to take care of himself, shows no interest.
This is a tragic, gritty story that portrays a darker side of life no one likes to admit to knowing. It is well written, with a believable plot and life-like twists, some of them quite cruel. A Sinner’s Bible is a no-gloss story to make us appreciate the good in life all the more. In the footsteps of American Beauty, I look forward to seeing this on the screen. 

This week I stray from my reviews and interview screen-writer Joseph Chastain about his newest screen-play, A Sinner's Bible.
Joseph, can you please tell the readers a little bit about the plot?

The plot revolves around a troubled young man and his relationships with his concerned, yet powerless mother, his estranged father and a girl he hopes to make his girlfriend. Little does he know the objects of his affection has sexual identity issues. The main conflict however, is character vs. self as he cuts himself to relieve himself of his pain. This is a simplistic version of the plot, as there are a ton of little intricacies in the story. 

What inspired A Sinner's Bible? Is it based on a particular event or person?

Portions of the script are autobiographical. I was a self injurer for a good portion of my life. Steve (the main character) is based on me. The rest of the characters are composites of other people in my life. The minor  character of Nova is loosely based on my friend Kendra. 

What messages in particular are you trying to pass on from this?

I have several themes, but one of the most prominent is recovering from the scars of your past. Another one is about poverty and it's effect on  those that suffer from it.

Have you begun to market this, started looking for directors or producers?

I have talked to a few producers, and will be shooting a trailer for the film in the near future. 

Is there anyone in particular you would love to have working on this, be it a particular directer, producer or any actors?

I would prefer to direct the film myself. If not me I would love a director in the spirit of Gregg Araki direct.

I like the idea of Steve being played by Lou Taylor Pucci, Ivy (the girlfriend) being played by Christina Ricci, but am flexible as far as the possible budget and what actors I would be able to afford.  If I do not direct I will likely have no say in casting.

What goes in to the process of turning a screen play in to a movie?

This could be a book withing itself! Finding funding is the hardest part, and can take several years. There is also the option of selling your screenplay, which can also take a long time. Most producers do not turn "spec" scripts (scripts that are usually the writers idea) into films. Most of the time writers are hired by producers to write one of their or their partners' ideas or to rewrite an already existing script.

This isn't your first screen-play. Would you mind talking about other past and current projects?

I've written a few screenplays that are set in California's Inland Empire. Sinner's Bible is the first of what I call my "Inland Empire trilogy" also involving a script (Boomerang Kids) about a pyromaniac and Bi-polar woman (Nova from Sinner's Bible) who fall in love as the pyromaniac is planning to murder his uncle. The third in the trilogy is a Gothic love story (Joshua's Eyes) about a vampire who falls in love with a human despite this love being forbidden by vampire kind. The vampire desperately looks for a way to turn human and finds it through the creator of the universe. 

I've also written in several other genres. Another screenplay I've co-written is Called the Mexican project about a famous actor who is revealed to be an undocumented immigrant and is deported.

Do you write screenplays to convey certain messages such as personal issues that are considered taboo?

Many of my screenplays deal with mental illness. Being Bi-polar myself I have a special connection to stories about the mentally ill. I also am intrigued by character studies, so I deal with personal issues in virtually all my scripts.

Alienation also is a pet theme of mine, as I feel most of the human race feels alienated at some points. 

How about future projects?

I am currently working with a very gifted composer to co-write a musical version of Joshua's Eyes. Our first two songs turned out to composed very beautifully. I also am working on a graphic novel loosely based on the Orpheus myth. I have so many ideas for screenplays I'll never be able to write them all.

Being a novelist myself I'm curious about the process of writing a screen-play. What goes in to writing a screen-play?

Although I have written some prose (Including some chapters of a novelization of A Sinner's Bible and feel they have some similar processes, screenplays are more visually based and the descriptions are more succinct. You also do not write anything in them that the audience cannot see or hear.  

Of course personal processes are all different depending on the writer. I tend to write the first scenes, the last scenes and fill in the middle. 

What made you choose screen-writing over "conventional" writing?

I am a movie fanatic. Although I also love to read novels, movies have been a big part of my life. I love acting and directing as well as writing. Screenwriting is much easier to me than other forms because I understand the mechanics of movies more than that of novels. I do intend to write at least a few novels in my life though. 

Thank you very much for your time, it was a thrill to read the screen-play and an extremely interesting interview. I sure can't wait to see this on film, and the best of luck! Or, as is said in the industry, "break a leg"!

Thank you Casey. Best of luck to you as well, and to any other aspiring writers reading this interview.

For anyone interested in being involved in any way with the production of this script, please contact me at and I shall pass your details on to Joseph himself!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Review of Knight of Swords, by Sara Curran-Ross

After weeks of waiting, I finally began on The Knight of Swords with much anticipation. Despite the range of genres I review, the paranormal will always be a personal favorite and after reading Sara’s The Devil You Know I knew I was in for a good read. I was far from disappointed.
Sara has a way with words, with the ability to weave a spell of language around me as I read. I can see the images clearly, as though a film is playing in my mind, a private viewing of the tales she tells.
I noticed one little editing error but it failed to detract from the pull of the story.
Tension is expertly built, emotions raw, action scenes vivid and extremely credible. Knight of Swords is a most enthralling start to what promises to be a wonderfully addictive literary masterpiece! So much so, I do believe that Sara challenges Anne Bishop for the spot of my personal favorite author.
Vampirism is a hot topic for books lately and Sara’s Swords series is set to rival all established series with its fantastic descriptions and storylines. With a delightful and acceptable twist to the nature of vampires along with an enjoyable, if somewhat cruel history of them in this story, Sara does well to paint an endearing picture of her race of Vampires.
A story that sings to the blood and one I drank in with a lust for words.

Monday, 3 October 2011

About the Talon Series by Gisela Sedlemayer

Nine-year-old blond Matica lives in a remote little village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved here with her Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents when she was five years old. Ever since she could remember she faced cruel rejection because of her growth handicap. She is trapped in a body the size of a two year old. Because of that the local Indians wouldn’t accept her into their community or allow her to play with their children. Under the watchful eyes of her parents who understand her, lonely Matica explores the plateau for entertainment.
With patience and a sense of adventure she befriended a pair of condors and named them Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love developed between them.
Having an egg, Tamo and Tima try to fight off a couple of poachers but they succeed in stealing their egg from its ledge. Eventually Tamo drives them away but the poachers leave the egg between some boulders on the plateau. Being unable to bring it back to the ledge, Tamo and Time make it clear to Matica to take care of the egg, so she does.
Exactly on Matica’s tenth birthday, the condor fledgling ‘Talon’ hatches. The book then describes in detail how Matica helps Talon grow into the majestic bird he was meant to be.
Two months after confidently flying, the most unbelievably amazing thing happens. What Matica had dreamed of ever since she first befriended the condors, actually unfolds. That changes her life so completely that she can now see a positive side to her handicap. The Indians then fully accept the new Matica into their community.
This is the beginning of a time of incredible adventures with Talon and Matica, which is carried on in subsequent Talon books.
Now the second manuscript TALON, ON THE WING
and the third manuscript TALON, FLIEGHT FOR LIFE
is finish and professionally edited. I am looking for an publisher right now.
And now i am working on the fourth manuscript TALON, HUNTING THE HUNTER.
Hope it will be finish by the end of the year.

Read interviews and about Gisela herself by clicking here (opens new window to her site)

Friday, 30 September 2011

Review of Talon, On The Wing by Gisela Sedlemayer

The second installment of the Talon series by Gisela starts quite strong, with clear imagery of Matica flying on her beloved Condor friend, Talon.
The sweetness of the first book is not lost, and On The Wing never steers from the messages from the first. The passion that Gisela feels passes through the pages; it is clear that she wants no one to forget her dream for everyone to be accepted, and that no one forgets there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not to forget the obvious care for the environment, of course!

Although this is yet to be picked up by a publisher, it deserves recognition for the time and effort spent on continuing this sweet tale of a young girl and her Condor friends. I wish the best for Gigi in the search for a publisher, not only for this but also the third installment, which I shall be reviewing in a couple weeks.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Review of Talon, Come Fly With Me, by Gisela Sedlemayer

Nine-year-old blond Matica lives in a remote little village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved here with her Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents when she was five years old. Ever since she could remember she faced cruel rejection because of her growth handicap. She is trapped in a body the size of a two year old. Because of that the local Indians wouldn’t accept her into their community or allow her to play with their children. Under the watchful eyes of her parents who understand her, lonely Matica explores the plateau for entertainment.
With patience and a sense of adventure she befriended a pair of condors and named them Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love developed between them.
Having an egg, Tamo and Tima try to fight off a couple of poachers but they succeed in stealing their egg from its ledge. Eventually Tamo drives them away but the poachers leave the egg between some boulders on the plateau. Being unable to bring it back to the ledge, Tamo and Time make it clear to Matica to take care of the egg, so she does.
Exactly on Matica’s tenth birthday, the condor fledgling ‘Talon’ hatches. The book then describes in detail how Matica helps Talon grow into the majestic bird he was meant to be.
Two months after confidently flying, the most unbelievably amazing thing happens. What Matica had dreamed of ever since she first befriended the condors, actually unfolds. That changes her life so completely that she can now see a positive side to her handicap. The Indians then fully accept the new Matica into their community.
This is the beginning of a time of incredible adventures with Talon and Matica, which is carried on in subsequent Talon books.” -

A fast-paced, sweet story, I was pleased to delve in to something so easy to read. The short, numerous chapters aided in making this such a breeze.
The information about Peru and the condors makes it clear that Gisela did quite a bit of research before beginning this story, which is fantastic. This is quite a remarkable way to educate young adults and children about this majestic and endangered bird species, and the country they live in. In my honest opinion, there needs to be more books of this nature to keep education interesting, especially in the technology-addicted society of today. This is a book I’m highly considering buying for when my own daughter is a couple years older.
The emotions during this story are clear in every word, and it brought tears to my eyes a few times. As Matica is finally accepted by the village, she is finally able to really spread her own metaphorical wings, and shows children that with the right determination, anyone can achieve anything.
Gisela paints a wonderful word picture, and as the condor chick, Talon, hatches and grows, I felt every drop of joy and nerves that Matica felt. This may be aimed at young adults and children, but it is an enjoyable read regardless of age. This is a definate “claws” up!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #9

Six Sentence Sunday is here again, and we're still at the crime scene, shortly after Nala is rescued by handsome detective, Jason...

Turning to Nala, he noticed the back-up patrol pulling in to the alley. His deputy led her attacker to the car, trying to keep him away from Nala. After a quick call to the station, they had discovered this man was wanted for a number of muggings and attacks on young women in the area. He had been dubbed the Mile End Mugger, as his territory seemed to be the Mile End area. Trying to draw her attention, Jason decided to ask a few questions about this delicate young woman.
“Nala, dear, is there anyone I can call to come pick you up?"

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Interview with Lee Chambers, Author of The Pineville Heist

A few days late due to internet issues, this weeks interview is with Lee Chambers, author of The Pineville Heist, a novel written from a screenplay. Please enjoy!

I noticed that this was originally a screenplay; what made you decide to turn it in to a novel?
I love the story and because it takes a lot of time and money to get an independent film made I decided to share the story in book form first. The general public doesn't read screenplays. It's just a blueprint to build a film and most of the emotional and descriptive stuff isn't included. Drafting the screenplay into a novel allowed me to explore the setting and characters in more detail. Also, it becomes a nice companion piece when we start making the film. It will give actors more insight into what the heart of each character is all about.

What is difficult making it in to a novel, or was it easier since you already had the story there on paper?
While I developed the core story and characters on my own, I drafted the script with my writing partner Todd Gordon. We invested tons of time into crafted a solid story. From there I took on the book version myself, but followed the screenplay very closely. It took a while to switch gears to a different style of writing. I get some criticism from some, but my conversational style really hits home with the young adult audiences I write for.

Has the screenplay made its way, or in the process to getting on film?
Again, moviemaking is a long haul process. While I have directed tons of shorts with great success, I am now asking investors to trust me with millions of dollars to make the feature. It takes time to make connections and build this up. If all goes well it will be shooting in the summer of 2012.

If you could cast anyone you wanted for any of the characters, who would be your cast?
That's a heavy question. Of course I have a wish list but I think it would be premature to state publicly. I do like Booboo Stewart from the Twilight saga for the lead and met him recently in LA. But so many factors are at play. Financing, schedules and then...we are months and months away from rolling film... We will have to wait and see who ends up playing the rolls. It was cool to see some Pineville Heist book fans making dream cast YouTube videos. My readers are passionate. I met with a casting director recently and she was impressed with the proposed cast (by the way I never encouraged or asked anyone to post the videos... As fans, they just did).

What inspired this story?
The 17 year old star of The Pineville Heist hides under a canoe and catches a murder and then makes away with a bag of bank money. When I was a kid I remember playing hide and seek and being under a canoe. I could only see feet and hear voices... One of key turning points in the book springs from that real experience. After that... It's all creative writing.

Are there any characters based on someone in real life?
Not really... But the character traits, from strengths to faults, exist in all of us. Readers look for ways to connect to the characters and I think that's what really drives the action and the story. Not just my book, but any book.

How different is writing a screen play compared to a conventional novel?
Its like night and day. Screenplays have a structure and rules that don't exist in novels. For example, you can't feature anything in a screenplay that we can't see or hear. That means you can't express characters thoughts.

Is there anything in particular that inspires you? What is your creative process?
My problem is I have too many creative ideas! Lol Everything inspires me. I travel a lot and see stories in locations, situations and people. I have never lost that child-like ability to play and create.

How about yourself, what can you tell us about yourself?
I teach filmmaking at a College in Canada, but used to live in England an Los Angeles. I love working with young talent and listen to hundreds and hundreds of story ideas for short films each year. There are always a few gems. Hmmm, what else? Oh, I just spent two months in Australia directing two short films and enjoying the countryside at the family vineyard south of Perth. Loved it!

What can we expect from you in the future?
I have more screenplays on the go and will probably novelize them too. I really enjoyed the process. I like sharing and entertaining and for anyone that gives The Pineville Heist a go I hope you enjoy it too... Either way let me know!

Like most of my interviews, Lee has offered a copy for giveaway. The Pineville Heist is also for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook and Waterstones!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #8

The weeks are flying by, and we're at the time: Six Sentence Sunday. We return to Jason looking after Nala while the paramedics check her out...

“Aside from a few bruises and a nasty shock, she’ll be alright, Sergeant. All she needs now is to go home, stay warm and get some rest. I’d suggest she go to hospital for observation, but…” He looked pointedly at the other paramedic grinning at Jason.
            Jason ducked his head and grinned. He was, after all, known amongst even the fire department and paramedics for his chivalry.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Review of The Pineville Heist, by Lee Chambers

A book written from a screenplay; not an order I’m used to, but I anticipated what lay within these pages. 

Sure enough, the scenes were clearly set and a lot of story was told within the first chapter, certainly enough to let the story flow without having to jump back and explain what was going on. Derek Stevens is painted as a typical business tycoon, getting rich from the hard work of others. His son, Aaron, is a bit of a mystery early on; it’s clear he has every material possession he could wish for, and yet he seems to be quite level headed. The animosity he feels towards his father, and what Derek does serves to confirm this observation. 

The further I delved in to this tale, the more I was enthralled; plot twists kept me hanging, and as events described on the blurb played out, I found I had no chance to resist. It didn’t take long for the drama to begin, and I was caught like a fly in a spider’s web; a web weaved from a fantastic story.

The Pineville Heist is an excellent example of no one being quite who they say they are. We all have our secrets, some bigger than others, and they make us who we are. This goes to show that you can’t always trust who you want to, and we must all take care with our hearts and our lives.

A terrific tale, I would most definitely watch this on the big screen, despite it being intended for the Young Adult audience.

Check out the teaser clip on YouTube!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


After a few giveaways on my own blog, I've just won a book from the blog of fellow writer Sam Crescent (except she's been published, I'm still working on my books). I've won a copy of  Daisy Dunn's paranormal book The Portal! *happy dance* Now I know how all the winners from my blog feel!
Thanks Sam, and big thanks to Daisy!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Interview with Allan Leverone, author of The Lonely Mile

This week, I'm pleased to welcome Allan Leverone, author of the gripping book The Lonely Mile! Welcome, Allan!

Thank you for having me, Casey, and for giving me the opportunity to connect with your readers!

Thrilled to have you! So let's start with a standard question; What inspired The Lonely Mile?
When I was in college, I had a drive of nearly a thousand miles to get back and forth to school. Most of the time, I made this drive with a friend, and we would go straight through, stopping only for gas and coffee at some of the many roadside service plazas dotting the Interstate highway system. The thing that struck me most visiting these rest areas was how isolated most of them were and how easy it would be for someone to wreak havoc at one if he so intended.

That memory stayed with me for years, and when I began writing thrillers in earnest, I drew upon the notion of an amoral sociopath using those isolated service plazas as a staging point for kidnapping young women. After that, it was simply a question of asking, “What if?” What if a man happened to witness such a kidnapping? What if he stepped in and broke it up, in the process thrusting his own family into the sights of a brutal kidnapper/murderer? The story just sort of took off from there.
We've all heard of incidents like that, sad enough. It makes for a brilliant story, though, and serves as a reminder to always be careful!

Are any characters based on yourself or anyone else?
Not intentionally. My bad guy, Martin Krall, is a compilation of a number of sadistic American sociopathic killers, including Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. I suppose Bill Ferguson is probably closest to me; all I had to do was consider what my reactions would be if one of my own children had been taken, God forbid. It’s a little unsettling to think about, considering the types of characters I write about, but I suppose there’s a little of me in all of them.
We all like to think that we'd be brave in the face of adversity, especially when it concerns our children. We can only hope that we never have to face situations like that.
It reads like a movie or television show, was that your intention?
I had a lot of people make the same observation about my first thriller, FINAL VECTOR, as well as about THE LONELY MILE. The books weren’t written with TV or movies in mind—although I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to a TV or film interpretation of either of them—but when I write, I have scenes playing in my mind, kind of like internal movies, and I simply describe what I see, so that might explain why they read so visually.
It does make for an interesting style, and is very successful with drawing in the reader!

Would you consider putting this in to screenplay form to approach movie or television producers? Absolutely, although without an agent, approaching TV or movie producers would be a little bit like spitting into the wind. All things in good time, though. If I were to be approached, I would definitely consider any legitimate offers.
This is definately a movie I would watch on the big screen! I shall keep my fingers crossed for you.

How long did this take to write, and what sort of process would you go through to get in to the zone?
The first draft of the manuscript probably took me two months to write, but once it was complete, there was still a lot of work to be done. The way I write is to get the story down on the page (I suppose “into the computer” would be a better way to describe it) without worrying too much about phrasing, characterization, or any of the thousand other things that make for an entertaining book. Once I get that first draft down, then I go back and begin the process of self-editing and rewriting.

That’s a really good question about getting into the zone. I like to get between 1500 and 2000 words a day done on the first draft when I’m writing a book. Some days it’s easy, the words just flow like magic, and every one of them seems perfect. Other days it’s a complete struggle, and formulating a single decent sentence feel damned near impossible. Those are the days it’s most important to keep working and fight through the difficulties. There’s an old writer’s saying that I firmly believe in—“You can’t edit a blank page.”
A sage piece of advice there. I know the struggle of a bad day well, having had many of them myself! 
I find the way you write out a story quite interesting; and  quite practical.

Do you have any other projects in the works? How about past projects, or is this your first? 
I always like to have a couple of projects going at once. I just submitted my next thriller to StoneHouse Ink, publishers of THE LONELY MILE. It’s a paranormal suspense novel titled PASKAGANKEE, and I’m hard at work on the followup, tentatively titled REVENANT, right now. Additionally, my horror novella, DARKNESS FALLS, was released September 1 in limited edition collectible hardcover form by Delirium Books, and the ebook version of the novella will be available September 20. A second Delirium Books horror novella, titled HEARTLESS, will be coming in January.
Aren't you a busy little bee, then? Keep up the good work, and good luck with the new projects!

Are there any authors that inspire you, or whose books you read for pleasure?
I’m inspired by a number of incredibly talented authors, including Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Sophie Littlefield, Harlan Coben, StoneHouse Ink’s own Vincent Zandri, and probably a thousand other wonderful writers. I’m first and foremost a reader, a lover of the thriller and horror genres, and am in awe of the talents of many of my peers.
The range of talent out there is astounding indeed. There's especially nothing like being able to discuss your work with one of your favourite authors!

How about outside of writing, what are your hobbies?
Aside from writing, I work a full-time job of forty hours a week and have a family, with a wonderful wife, three children and one beautiful granddaughter, so free time is hard to find. But I’ve always been a sports fanatic; I love baseball and football, and am always happy watching a game.
Sounds like a well balanced life, and quite a full one at that!

Do you have any advice for those dreamers out there, striving to make their dreams reality?
My advice would be to follow that dream but be realistic about it. I wasted decades thinking about writing but never actually sitting down and doing it. Once I began seriously pursuing that dream, I began to realize just how much work was actually involved. Follow your dream but understand it’s probably going to be harder than you realize—stick to it, take it one day at a time, keep working, and eventually you will accomplish what you’re striving for.
Brilliant advice! I know a few people who could learn from that, myself included!

Thank you, again, Allan, for this opportunity. It has been an honour to review your book and have you on here. I wish you all the best for your future endeavours and look forward to hearing from you again!
For those interested, Allan has kindly offered a copy of THE LONELY MILE to 1 lucky winner, so get those comments in, everyone, and best of luck to all. 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday #7

As those who have been following my blog know, I've recently being posting Six Sentences from my latest WIP, an erotic romance. I've decided to post all erotic content on a different blog, The Naughty Pages of The Phoenix, so if you want to read more about Krissy and her handsome stranger, then by all means, follow the above link. On this blog, I shall return to Nala and Jason. Read on...

“Well, Nala Garcia,” Jason softly spoke as he gently pulled her closer to him and wrapped a warm blanket around her shoulders, “let’s go make sure you are ok.” He gently led her to the ambulance that had already arrived, as his deputy hauled her attacker to his feet and moved him out of Nala’s line of sight.
Jason sat Nala down on the step of the ambulance, and started to back away to give the paramedics room, when she whimpered, and reached out for him. Now that she accepted his comfort, she didn’t want him too far; he was her anchor. Without him, she was afraid this would all be revealed as a dream, and she’d return to being pressed against the wall, fearing for her safety. Jason swiftly returned to her side, grasping her small, trembling hands in his large, warm ones, surprising her by how soft they were.

Reiew of The Lonely Mile by Allan Leverone

A dark, sinister scene captivates from the first few words. A woman is kidnapped, the perpetrator's actions paint him to be a delusional psychopath, one moment abusing her in some form or another, the next whispering sweet nothings to her. Her confusion and distress is abundantly clear, and contagious. It doesn’t take long for the sinister stranger to explain some things, which sparked my interest further. As the author delves in to the mind of the now named kidnapper, Martin Krall, I was drawn in deeper. We may deny it, but the human psyche is drawn to the macabre, as we try to understand and know all that we can. Being in the mind of Krall is an interesting experience, since most books choose to be in the mind of the victim, inspiring sympathy and pity, appealing to the better side of humanity. This new approach is darkly fresh, and a welcome change.

Krall soon goes on the prowl for another victim, and it’s then that we meet Bill, a hardware store owner transporting money in between his two stores. His involvement is soon to be discovered.

With each new character introduced, the plot thickens, kindling a desire to find out more about each new player, be it a victim, a villain, or a possible hero. Emotions are stacked on a teetering pile as the new victim is spotted, and the conflict boils over to brilliant showdown.

Leverone pokes fun at typical movie lines allocated to officers and other characters, which provides a comical relief that takes the edge off, and builds the hero’s personality to a relatable, everyday-man. In fact, all the characters are fairly normal making this a highly believable and appealing read.

This is a gripping story from start to finish as the plot thickens and horrific events occur, each drawing me in more than the last, until the final killer twist. Shockingly brilliant, this is one book that kidnapped my interest and held it hostage until the very last page!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Guestblog by Ben Reeder

So I'm hosting my first guestblog. I'm not sure exactly how to introduce it, so I'll keep it simple. The subject: Witches and Wicca. The blogger: Ben Reeder, author of The Demon's Apprentice, which I recently reviewed. You'll also find an interview with Ben on my blog regarding his writing. 
Well, enough from me,let us get to this guestblog, shall we? 

Witches: The new sparkly vampires.
So, one of my granddaughters came over the other day and told me about “The Secret Circle”, a new show about witches on TV.  A little research shows it is based on a novel series…no, wait, let me clarify: a young adult fantasy romance series, of the same name. Wow, that’s a lot of genres to fit into one book. According to the ads, the main character is an ancestral witch. So, my granddaughter had questions, because, well, Pawpaw Ben has been a witch since before she was born.
Now, she’s a smart girl, and she knows the difference between fantasy & reality. Her questions weren’t “Why don’t you have cool powers like they do on the show?” No, she was asking “Do you have to be related to a witch to be a witch?” This, of course, got me to thinking about the price of mainstream acceptance for my religion.
When I first started walking the path of a wiccan, in 1987, wicca was only just beginning to emerge from the shadows. There were only a handful of books about the Craft and even fewer places where you could buy them. I spent a year and a day learning to visualize and meditate, learning about the power of symbols, the four elements, the wheel of the year and their meanings. When an older SCA friend found one of my pentacles, I remember being so embarrassed because she was so disappointed in me. I even had to answer questions about my religious/political leanings from the Air Force at the time. Of course, given what I did, that was routine, and it only took a little bit to clear up the misunderstandings. Still, I’ve been told by people that I had no right to be wearing my pentacle, and that freedom of religion didn’t extend to cults or Satanism.
Now, I can go into Barnes & Noble and find literally twenty yards of books on the subject. A multitude of books, films and TV shows about the witchy side of my religion have come out over the past two decades, some more entertaining than accurate, some less so on both counts. One of them is mine. Like all things that are now accepted in the mainstream, there is a lot of information that is either missing or completely inaccurate.  So, I still have to field some interesting questions sometimes.
To be clear on some common misconceptions:
No, we don’t worship the Devil. We don’t even believe in him, because he’s part of the Christian pantheon.
No, we don’t sacrifice animals. We revere life in all its forms. It doesn’t mean we’re all vegetarians or vegans, but it does mean we don’t kill helpless critters as part of our worship.
You don’t have to be an ancestral or hereditary witch to be a Wiccan. It doesn’t make you any stronger or more powerful any more than having a grandfather who was a carpenter makes you a better carpenter. It just makes some people think that it does.
Yes, we DO cast spells, but the ones in the movies look way cooler. Our magick tends to be more subtle, and it requires that we do some of the work ourselves. Personally, I prefer the mystery anyway.
No, we do NOT cast love spells, nor do we curse or hex anyone. Love spells are, in my opinion, an attempt at emotional rape, and every person who has asked me to do a love spell was not willing to let me make them fall in love with the person of MY choosing. No idea why. Those kinds of spells are against the code of ethics we practice, which comes down to harm none. Doing bad stuff also brings more crap into your life, which sort of negates any short term profit you might get from it. Karma is like a boomerang, it always comes back, only karma brings friends along for the ride. So whatever you throw out there, you get more of the same back.
We don’t proselytize. For a pagan, finding this path feels like coming home. There are no converts here, only people who went seeking and found what they were looking for.
Here is what we do, in a nutshell:
We believe that the Divine is both male and female, so we revere the Goddess as much, as the God.
We celebrate the Wheel of the Year, the seasons of life.
We try to put out the kind of energy we want to get back.
We laugh at movies that make us out to be more than what we are, and we don’t like movies that make us out to be worse than we truly are. And we seldom agree completely on which are which, because like anyone else, we’re all unique, and see things differently.
So, there are pros and cons to being a wiccan today. While it is more accepted, there are just as many misconceptions about who we are, what we do and what we are capable of. Fortunately, those questions have changed. Where once a Wiccan had to defend their faith, now we spend more time educating people about it.
I’ll take that trade any day of the week.