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.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Interview with Ben Reeder, author of The Demon's Apprentice.

So my latest review is on Ben Reeder's novel 'The Demon's Apprentice'; first installment of a Young Adult series about Chance Fortunato, a younge warlock striving to leave his past behind and claim the bright future he so richly deserves. 
What was it that inspired the story of Chance Fortunato?
Chance’s story, like many I find myself working on recently, is a combination of elements that were completely separate in my head to start with. I had read lots of stories about wizards that had already completed their training, and I wasn’t quite satisfied with how the Harry Potter books treated the actual study of magick, so I wanted to tell the story of an apprentice from the beginning. What he learns, and what it means to be a wizard. But I never could get the character right, and the story just never gelled.
Chance himself came about during a brainstorming exercise for a roleplaying game. The idea was to create a teen character in a mystical setting with a dark secret or a compelling backstory. I ended up with the kid who could win the “sucks to be you” award hands down. From there, the story almost wrote itself, once I combined the two major elements.

I noticed that this is set in Missouri, which is where you live. Are there any other similarities between Chance and yourself? Is he based on yourself or are a few similarities as far as it goes?
Chance really has only a few similarities to me. Mostly, the places where we are alike are his dry, sarcastic wit, and his moral compass, though his steers a little off of true sometimes. Truth be told, Chance is a lot stronger in some ways than I am. He’s the kind of kid I wish I could have been at fifteen. I’ve known more than a few people who have been badly abused in a variety of ways, and the best parts of his personality are more of a tribute to their courage and resilience than anything of mine.

The law firm that contacts Chance, Sammael and Berith, ring similar to the firm Wolfram and Hart from the Angel television series, which I found very pleasing. Did they inspire S&B or is it pure happenstance?
It’s a backwards sort of inspiration. The truth is I created the character associated with them first, then needed a firm for him to work for. A couple of my beta readers wanted me to do something similar, but the truth was, Wolfram and Hart is a play on words (wolf, ram and hart) and I wanted something a little more direct. Hence the names Sammael and Berith, the two major demons who run the firm.  The firm, however, is mostly window dressing for Kyle. He’s playing a deeper game here, and he will have a larger role to play in later stories.
I can't wait to see just what that role will involve!

What made you chose this particular audience?
Actually, Chance chose my audience for me, because of his age. Once you put a teen as the main character, your audience becomes young adult almost by default. That led to a lot of soul searching, because of the nature of the story, and some of the issues that some of the characters have to deal with. I realized very quickly, though, that the world is not rated PG. The things my characters are facing are problems kids of all ages have always had to face. And in reading some of the young adult fiction that is out there, I found myself in good company. That made me a lot more comfortable writing in this genre, even if I was playing in the darker end of the pool. In the end, young adults deal with the same issues as their older counterparts, sometimes, even better.
Quite a good point, there. People do underestimate the strength of teens. 

I still have a few questions left teasingly unanswered. Please tell me that you are planning a sequel.
Just one sequel?  The Demon’s Apprentice is the first in a series. I’m already halfway through the second installment, and I have the next four in various stages of development. The second story, tentatively titled “Page of Swords” should give those who have read the first book a clue to what the second one deals with. A later story will feature Kyle (don’t want to give too much away to those who haven’t read the first book) reaping the return on the “investment” he made in this one. Obviously, future stories will also deal with Chance’s and Shade’s rather complicated relationship as well.
I'm doing a little happy dance in my seat at this news!

Do you have any other projects in the works?
I have several ideas lurking about in my mind, including a dystopian story with both sci-fi and urban fantasy elements combined, and an old high fantasy world that has been lurking about in my mind for years. For now, though, the Chance Fortunato series is my primary focus.
I understand, don't want to take the focus away from such an interesting story.

Now how about you? What would be your favourite genre to read for pleasure?
I enjoy urban fantasy the most, though I do wander into YA urban fantasy as well. What can I say, I write what I know.
Well, that makes sense. A fair statement.

Do you have an author that you find inspiring or particularly interesting?
Actually, I have two that fall into both categories. Jim Butcher was the writer who most inspired me to write for publishing. For a long time, I didn’t have much confidence in my writer’s voice. Then I picked up Dead Beat, the seventh Dresden Files book, and heard a voice that resonated with mine. I remember thinking as I read it that there was an audience for this voice, so there had to be an audience for mine. I started The Demon’s Apprentice not long after that.
The other author who really inspires me is HP Mallory, who I had the pleasure of meeting through Online Writer’s Workshop a few years ago. We were both in about the same place at the time as writers, both with manuscripts we were shopping to agents, both getting the occasional request for a partial and both with a growing pile of rejection letters in our inbox. We exchanged critiques for a while, and I have to say, my writing benefitted from the experience. She also showed me how to keep track of my queries and agent info with a single spreadsheet. Unfortunately, I lost track of her when she moved back to the US from England, and the next time I ran across her, less than two years later, she had turned the manuscript I had seen into a self-published bestseller on Kindle, had three other books out in two series, and had gotten a contract for one of those series from a major publisher. She is living proof for me of the power of persistence and believing in yourself.
Just brilliant inspirational figures. Well done to HP Mallory; I think a lot of inspiring authors could take a page or two from her book, so to speak!
How long have you been writing? Have you always had a passion for it?
I’ve been writing stories for other people to read since high school. When I was a kid, people used to say I had a very active imagination. Sometimes, they said it like it was a bad thing. My mom used to say I should write down some of the things I made up, even as my father told me to “get my head out of Star Wars”. Fortunately, both sides of the family encouraged me to keep writing, and I was so passionate about it that I kept my notebooks with all my writing in them in my locker at school because my dad would throw them out if he found them. As long as I can remember, my bookshelves have been filled with notebooks with half completed stories and character sketches.
Glad to hear that you never gave up. There's nothing wrong with an active imagination. I'm sure J R R Tolkien would have had doubtors of his own, and yet look at his works now. One never should give up what feels right; they should never give up on a dream.

What advice would you give for those aspiring authors out there?
That’s a question I’ve given a lot of thought to. It comes down to three things. Practice, Persist and Read.
Write often, and don’t be afraid to write badly. Experiment, color outside the lines sometimes, and most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Turn your internal editor off sometimes, and remember that not everything you write is going to be perfect, or even good. Just remember that it isn’t a failure, it’s just eliminating something that doesn’t work.
Never give up on your dream, not even in the face of rejection. The difference between a frustrated writer and a published author is one more query letter in your outbox than rejection letters in your inbox. It’s a finished novel, a completed work, and it’s refusing to quit when everyone else tells you that you should. It’s staying home to write for a couple of extra hours instead of going to the movies, or making sure the kids are taken care of, then sitting in front of the keyboard instead of the television.
Finally, a writer can only write what they know. Read, read, read! Some writers tell me that they don’t want to change or dilute their voice with outside influences. In my personal opinion, they are hampering their own talent. We learn to talk by listening to other people. Your writer’s voice is no different. As you read, both fiction and non-fiction, your knowledge grows, YOU grow, and your writing only gets better. The more you read, the better you write, I think.
I’m glad you gave me the opportunity to share with your readers. I’d like to remind everyone that a portion of my sales are being donated to the A21 Campaign, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to ending human trafficking in the 21st century.  One of the main themes of my stories is being an everyday Hero, and this is one way my readers can be heroes for someone who really needs it. To us, it may be just a book, but to them, it’s a shot at a new life.
My website is, and I’m on twitter as TheOneTrueBen
Very sage advice, definately something to be kept in mind. 
Also a very good cause, and good on you for getting involved. 
Thank you very much, Ben, this has been a wonderful read, and very intereting interview!
The Demon's Apprentice is available on, and Barnes & Noble as both a Nook book and paperback. Don't forget to check out my review and comment, as 1 lucky winner will win a copy of 'The Demon's Apprentice'!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Review of The Demon's Apprentice, by Ben Reeder

After a little break to rejuvenate my mind, I return to my reviews with Ben Reeder’s novel The Demon’s Apprentice; an intriguing paranormal novel, perfect to return to.
Curiosity is piqued from word one, growing as events occur. Who exactly is this Chance, other than a being warlock; what is he doing for this Master; why doesn’t he try to escape? Emotions towards Chance vary between pity for his lot in life and animosity towards what could be a villain in disguise; more often than not, however, pity for Chance is predominant.
Reeder paints a clear picture of the scenery, and his writing from Chance’s perspective really made me feel like I was in the warlock’s head. His escape shows his cunning, his pent up rage and his own power. The tension is blatant, anxiety clear.
As the story progressed I was drawn in, quickly losing track of time. Ben has woven emotions deftly, and painted scenes so vivid, I could almost feel the cool of the night air, see the lights of the Night City.
While Chance settles in to his new home with his mother and younger sister, unknown to him until now, his guilt at his actions becomes apparent. He quickly shows that he is a decent person, despite actions he was forced to perform while he was a slave. This observation is confirmed as the story unfolds.
A few pokes at other popular fiction pieces bring in a humorous touch, and appeal suitably to the television-keen minds of most young adults. The Demon’s Apprentice doesn’t lack a surprise, that’s for sure, which develops depth to this story that a lot don’t have.
As the story culminates, striving to reach the all important climax, Reeder superbly builds tension and anticipation, and I found myself on the edge of my seat, biting my lip. A satisfying end, The Demon’s Apprentice definitely leaves room for a sequel, which I highly anticipate.
All the details throughout the story are vivid; helping to create a wonderful read perfect for young adults, or for those after a less complicated yet thrilling read. Don’t read on an empty stomach, however, as Chance chomps down on enough to feed several people in one sitting. This was such a vivid scene, that my own stomach growled in envy!
I look forward to hearing more from Mr Ben Reeder!