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Today's Author Spotlight is author Eric Leland! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 1st 2021 Goodreads Can you ...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Eric Leland!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: February 1st 2021

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

In 1969, somewhere over South Vietnam, Captain Brandon Doran sits aboard an unmarked aircraft on final approach to a Top-Secret military base. A shadowy government operative offers a deal: in exchange for erasing Brandon's tarnished military record, he must ensure the recon team, to which he is about to be assigned, follows orders. Easy enough. Or so Brandon thinks. 

Sergeant First Class John Nicholas, Captain Brandon, and the elite Recon Team New York venture deep into North Vietnam to rescue Recon Team Florida, which has gone missing near a remote village in the north. John expects heavy resistance, but intercepted radio traffic suggests something near that village has spooked even the hardened North Vietnamese Army. Soon after New York's midnight insertion behind enemy lines, John finds out what. Confronted in the night by a merciless demon, John reacts the way any soldier would: he shoots it. But John discovers, far too late, pulling the trigger is the worst mistake he can make. 

Flung headlong into atrocity and supernatural chaos, New York's surviving members discover an unexpected ally in Jaran, a young novice in the old magic of her ancestors. She is the only defense New York has against this powerful evil, but her magic requires a cruel price. Now, with a ruthless NVA hunter-killer team on New York's trail, and an ancient evil lurking in the shadows, the few remaining survivors learn their escape demands brutal payment. To survive, New York must become as inhuman as their demonic pursuer.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.

I want to provide veterans with fiction that entertains, but also lets them know someone else out there knows how they feel when they stare at the ceiling at night..

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

Military readers, from Vietnam veterans to Iraq/Afghanistan have told me they have all met guys like John and Brandon during their careers. 

In your opinion what makes a good story?

I’ll never turn down a chance to shout the names of Amy Hempel, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy. The Bluest Eye (Morrison) and Blood Meridian (McCarthy) are two of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. And it’s just a joy to watch what Amy Hempel does with language.

What led you to start writing?

After reading the Red Wedding scene from A Storm of Swords, and throwing the book against the wall, I wanted to learn how GRRM played with my emotions so I could do it to others. Inhuman isn’t my first novel, but it’s the first novel I wrote after I figured out how story works.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

I have a tragic little transgressive romance begging me to play catch with it, but from the messages I’m receiving it’s fairly obvious my readers want to see what’s next for the survivors of Inhuman. I suppose I can only blame myself. If you write an epilogue like that it’s probably best not to keep people waiting. Oops. So, books two and three of Inhuman are loosely plotted and I’m starting in on those.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

"(X) is my favorite character. Kill (them).”—Advice from my editor. 
So when you get there, don’t blame me. Thanks for having me and thanks to anyone who reads and reviews Inhuman.   



Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.



Eric, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!

Today's Author Spotlight is author Peter Topside! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: April 13th 2021 Links:  Amazon  | ...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Peter Topside!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: April 13th 2021

It's been fifteen years since the vampire Blackheart was defeated, leaving Meadowsville desolate and broken.

Alexandra has returned to take over her father's church but is struggling to find her true purpose. Torn by her shaky loyalty to Christian Reed-the unstable town antihero who vanquished Blackheart years ago-and increasing efforts at seduction and manipulation from Blackheart himself, she is forced to face all her deepest traumas and insecurities.

As the town's only hope, Alexandra must gather her strength and transcend her terror in order to battle these adversities-or risk losing the very soul of Meadowsville.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

In the first book of the Preternatural trilogy, readers are introduced to the town of Meadowsville, the home of the most popular urban myth, Mr. Smith. This vicious, vampire-like entity rules over this booming town by any means necessary, slaughtering its citizens, and upholding a long-standing tradition. Several residents form an unlikely alliance to combat the common threat of this dangerous monster and embark on an undertaking that will change each of them and their town forever.

Set fifteen years after the vampire Blackheart was defeated, Meadowsville is left desolate and broken. Alexandra has returned to take over her father’s church but is struggling to find her true purpose. Torn by her shaky loyalty to Christian Reed—the unstable town antihero who vanquished Blackheart years ago—and increasing efforts at seduction and manipulation from Blackheart himself, she is forced to face her deepest traumas and insecurities. As the town’s only hope, Alexandra must gather her strength to transcend her terror. Will she defeat adversity or will her failure lose the very soul of Meadowsville?

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

I have always had a passion for writing and publishing my stories has been a lifelong goal. I spent my entire life being a fan of horror, and through my own personal experiences, developed characters and a story that were a really unique blend.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

I have a strong connection with all of my characters. I originally started off with the basic premise, and then wrote down emotions and developed characters based off those feelings. I wanted to be genuine in how these people would react under the, sometimes very difficult and extreme, circumstances of the story. And the only way that I could do that, is to experience it all myself and/or watch others around me closely over long periods. Once I got my characters established and put in the same story together, the books practically wrote themselves. I worked very hard to make sure they felt organic and not forced.


What is something about the genre that annoys you?

I have never read a book like Preternatural. Each book, while strongly linked to one another, has its own specific tone and story. I’ve read many horror books and felt that they sometimes become too complicated and overdetailed, and you lose track of the characters and plot. That was something I worked hard to avoid. So my books are easy reads, and can either be read ‘surface-level’ for the basic story and be purely entertainment, or they can be analyzed and picked apart to see the deeper themes, patterns, and other dynamics happening on each page.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

I hope that my readers walk away thinking to themselves, “Wow, that was an interesting experience.”  And honestly, I am just thrilled to have people read something that I’ve worked so long and hard to achieve. The trilogy is very much a definitive horror story, but I hope it inspires people to combat their fears, insecurities, and traumas, and ultimately, never losing hope in themselves.   


My pen name is Peter Topside. I am an accomplished chef and baker, movie fanatic, a proud father and husband, and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist by trade.

I had a rough upbringing, which bestowed many traumas on me, that remained in place for a long time. I spent years struggling with crippling anxiety and depression, but once I got to my lowest point, I made the difficult decision to fight for better mental health. I traveled to a lot of dark corners of my mind, confronting the deepest and scariest aspects of my PTSD, over many years, but I was able to make it through successfully. Throughout my recovery process, I was able to funnel all of the energy, thoughts and feelings into my writing. My books are the culmination of my own personal, life-changing journey.



Peter, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews and Happy Book Birthday to Preternatural:Evolution!


Publication date: April 13th 2021


This fast-paced adventure is a must-read for horror aficionados and lovers of all things that are scary, gruesome and thought-provoking.

Welcome to Meadowsville, the home of the most popular urban myth, Mr. Smith. This viscous, vampire-like entity rules over this booming town by any means necessary, slaughtering its citizens, and upholding a long-standing tradition. Follow several residents as they form an unlikely alliance to combat the common threat of this dangerous monster and embark on an undertaking that will change each of them and their town forever.

Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Gaby Triana! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 17th 2021 Links:  Am...


Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Gaby Triana!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: February 17th 2021


The Craft meets The Shining in this slow-burn Florida gothic horror.

As the only daughter in her Cuban-American home, 18-year-old Valentina Callejas has been raised to do what her Catholic grandmother and mother say to do. But Valentina feels a different pull--an affinity with nature, a desire to read tarot cards and study the occult. After ditching her church's retreat and fighting with her family, Valentina flees her Miami home and ends up five hours away at Macy's house, a sister she's never met until now.

When a mysterious wolf leads Valentina to nearby abandoned Sunlake Springs Resort, she meets the "clairs," young psychics drawn to the hotel's haunted history. They've been waiting for her, they say, to open a magical entryway to the spirit world. But Valentina's sensitive hands tell a different story--of anguished spirits, menacing cracks, and hooded ghosts of Florida's hateful past. Even the local legend, the beautiful Lady of the Lake, all hint to the hotel's sinister history. To protect her new friends from the horrors awaiting them on the other side, Valentina must use her growing powers and decide, once and for all, if she's the witch she was always meant to be.


Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

I'd always wanted to write a story set in a haunted hotel. In fact, my first ever completed novel is a middle-grade story called FREDDIE AND THE BILTMORE GHOST, set in the famous Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables, FL. It was never published, but it's the book that got me started in fiction writing. The hotel in MOON CHILD, The Sunlake Springs, is loosely based on the Biltmore. Also, for three years, I kept having visions of an opening scene of a book where a Catholic girl would hide her witchcraft away from her strict grandmother and decided last summer that I had to write it next.


When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

Valentina presented herself to me long before I wrote the book, as I said. She was always a witch in the broom closet, and I always knew that would be the basis for her character. Aspects of her personality and story developed later, of course, and some, like her suppressed rage, ended up becoming an important theme of the novel.


Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

Besides Valentina, I loved her older sister, Macy. I felt it was really important for Vale to have one person in her life that she could trust, who wouldn't lie to her and would always be there for her, even if she was new in her life. At times, we're not sure if to trust Macy, but that's not because of anything she did. It's because we're experiencing life through Vale's eyes, and Vale doesn't know who to trust.


What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?

In my Haunted Florida series, it's plot a little more than character. In MOON CHILD, I decided early on, it was going to be character all the way. If the plot ended up weak as a result, I'd be okay with that, because this story had always been, since the beginning, about a Catholic Latina's struggle with her hidden identity, and that's what the focus needed to be.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

I was shocked to discover how much of this book was about me in many ways. Valentina are not copies of each other, but aspects of her personality are, such as all the anger she was holding back. That was like therapy for me.


What books or authors influenced your own writing?

I've always been a fan of Stephen King, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Lois Duncan. Nowadays I don't try and write like anyone else, but these folks definitely influenced my writing.


Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?

I do read them, because I'm curious to see what people liked or didn't like. Also, because I like to see when people are happy with what I've given them. It's the reason I write--to entertain. Bad reviews don't affect me, though. I just shrug and move on.


What led you to start writing?

I've been writing my entire life. My ENTIRE life. :)


What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

I love gothic horror because of its moodiness and atmospheric quality. I love old Hollywood black and white 30s movies, I love the notion of abandoned castles, and violins playing in the middle of the night from somewhere behind a hidden passageway. I'm intrigued by secrets and by veneers covering something dark and rotten underneath."


What are you currently reading?

Right now I'm reading Christina Henry's The Mermaid, part of her series of dark retellings of classic fairy tales, although this one isn't about The Little Mermaid, as it sounds. It's about PT Barnum's famous Feejee Mermaid scandal. I just finished reading her other book, The Lost Boy, her take on the origin story of Captain Hook in Peter Pan.


A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

I actually can't listen to any music while writing. I have a lyrical brain as well as a musical one after years of playing violin, and I can't listen to any kind of phrasing without wanting to hum or sing along when I'm supposed to be crafting a novel. It just doesn't work.


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

One day, you're going to be co-writing YouTubers Sam and Colby's book PARADISE ISLAND based on their creepy trip to Kauai, and it's going to be fun as hell.


What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?

Young Frankenstein is one of my October classic favorites. I also love Dirty Dancing as a guilty pleasure. It's feminist, sexy, the dancing is great, and the soundtrack is the sound of my high school years. Moana is another favorite. The characters, the music, the grandmother's spirit as a stingray, omg I can't. It's a perfect movie.


Which animal would you say is your spirit animal and why?

A cat. They're cool and aloof, warm and loving to a few select people, loyal if you're loyal to them, and they give silent, deadly looks. When nobody is looking, they're total goofballs.


Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

Oh, haunted mansion without even question. My husband proposed to me at the Haunted Mansion in Disney World, I convert my house to a haunted mansion every October, and I throw badass Halloween parties.


What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

Everyone tells you "write from your heart." I'm going to give you a little bit of weird advice here: Yes, write from your heart, but to a certain extent. If you want to make it as a commercial writer and live off your writing, you also have to learn what readers want. You'll be writing for them more than for yourself. Learn everything about the genre you're writing in, listen to what the readers want, read reviews for other authors, and create a product that only YOU can give. Writing for ONLY yourself yields books that no one but you want to read. There has to be a balance. :)




GABY TRIANA is the bestselling author of 17 novels for teens and adults, including the Haunted Florida series (Island of Bones, River of Ghosts, City of Spells), Wake the Hollow, Cakespell, Summer of Yesterday (a tribute novel to Walt Disney World's River Country), and Paradise Island: A Sam and Colby Story. She's a short story contributor in Don't Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute Anthology to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a flash fiction contributor in Weird Tales Magazine, and the host of a horror-based YouTube channel called The Witch Haunt. Published with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Permuted Press, & Entangled, Gaby writes about witchy powers, ghosts, haunted places, and abandoned locations and has ghostwritten over 50 novels for bestselling authors. Her books have won IRA Teen Choice, ALA Best Paperback, and Hispanic Magazine's Good Reads Awards. She lives in Miami with her family and is at work on her next novel.


Visit her at www.GabyTriana.com
FB: @GabyTriana.author
Twitter: @GabyTriana
IG: @GabyTriana
YT: The Witch Haunt

Gaby, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!


Be sure to check out Moon Child on February 17th!




Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Matthew R. Davis! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 29th 2021 Links...



Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Matthew R. Davis!
Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: February 29th 2021
Links: Amazon 


THE MAN

Jonny Trotter has spent the last fifteen years running from tragic memories of the country town where he grew up-but the black envelopes pushed under his door won't let him forget, and now that his father has died, he can run no more.

THE TOWN

Returning to Waterwich for the funeral and wake with his partner Sloane, Jonny must confront old resentments, his estranged best friends Brendan and Coralie, a strange, veiled woman the locals call the White Widow...and the mystery surrounding the fate of his first lover, Jessica Grzelak.

THE GIRL

A morbid and reckless city girl banished to the country to live with her aunt, Jessica loved to push the limits and explore the shadows-and no one has seen her since the night of her high school formal, the night she and Jonny went looking for the Chapel.

THE CHAPEL

Rumoured to be found in the woods outside Waterwich, mentioned in playground rhymes about local lovebirds Billy and Poppy and their killing spree in 1964, the Chapel is said to be an ancient, sacred place that can only be entered by lovers-a test that can only be passed if their bond is pure and true.

THE TRUTH

Before he can move on to a future with Sloane, Jonny must first face the terrible truth of his past-and if he can't bring it out into the light at last, it might just pull him and everything he loves down into the dark, forever.


What's your latest release? 


MIDNIGHT IN THE CHAPEL OF LOVE, my first novel, published by JournalStone.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


I often describe it as a contemporary rural gothic mystery horror, which is a bit of a mouthful but covers most of the bases! The basic synopsis sounds fairly straightforward, even hackneyed - man returns to the country town he's been avoiding for years and must face up to his tragic past - but there's a lot more going on in this story, both above and below the surface. There's a cave out in the woods called the Chapel where lovers may test the strength and purity of their bond, which provides the narrative with a centre as well as a shot of cosmic awe. And it's a very Australian story, which may be of interest to international readers not used to such things. No spoilers, but I'll tell you this up front: there are no kangaroos.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

A drive between town and city, a Something for Kate song called "The Fireball at the End of Everything", my own conflicted feelings about the place where I grew up, the mysterious and ineffable atmosphere of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, the mistakes I'd made in relationships and the ones I was yet to make...

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


The characters grew along with the story and changed to suit the narrative. For example, the main character's partner was initially a blonde white woman called Stephanie - a tip of the hat to Something for Kate and their bassist Stephanie Ashworth - but she didn't feel like an actual person so much as a conscious reference. I felt my way around in the darkness until I hit upon elements that I felt worked for the story: her name became Sloane, which felt right; she became a Chinese-Australian woman with a Polish-descended father, which fits neatly with some of the book's themes; she became an acquisitions manager for a local press, which allowed her an avid reader's perspective on the plot - she pushes Jonny to get closure on fifteen years of mystery and pain because she knows nothing else makes narrative sense! That last was something that found its way into the work as I wrote it, along with a number of other little details that add up to make Sloane Nowak a person I feel I really know and admire. Jonny Trotter, on the other hand, felt more like a cypher when I began writing as he didn't seem to have many distinctive characteristics, but he filled out and grew more real as I lived through him. I guess that makes sense as I have an intuitive understanding of the male experience, and indeed, the novel is in some ways an examination of Australian masculinity - the good, the bad, and the toxic. I find that interesting as I generally prefer to write female characters, and though there are strong and well-observed women at the heart of this tale, it is very much the story of a man.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?


Character focus is very important to me when writing a novel, and on that level, my work carries the same weight as literary fiction - but I'm often disappointed by lit-fic's apparent disdain for solid, interesting plots. I try to ensure that my plots are watertight before I sit down to write the manuscript, that they start, continue, and end somewhere meaningful. And while I have a good idea of the characters when I begin writing, they accrue layers and details as I go that make them feel more real. So both elements are paramount to me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?


I think the most interesting thing I learned came after. I put all this effort into writing a man whose insecurity and dishonesty damages his relationships and has far-reaching consequences... and then, without understanding it, I went and became that man myself. That particular irony was hard to swallow.

What books or authors influenced your own writing?


There are so many! I am the net result of all my reading, so hopefully the influence of thousands of other authors, filtered through my own perspective and experience, becomes something entirely unique. That said, it's impossible to ignore the influence of Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell, though I sometimes spot lines or techniques that remind me of other favourites.

What attracted you to the genre you write in?


If we narrow my genre down to just horror, which is at the heart of everything I do: I think that horror, despite its outlandish trappings, trades in truths other genres won't touch - not just in spite of its irrationality, but BECAUSE of it. I believe that good, thoughtful horror comes closest to depicting and examining the many-faceted, complicated, and confusing nature of humanity. Also, I like blood, boobs, and spooky shit.

What are you currently reading?


I just finished AMERICAN HIPPO by Sarah Gailey and I've started THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones. I'm also working my way through the MONSTRESS graphic novels by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?


I don't write to music these days - too distracting - but I always, ALWAYS have songs looping in my head, and the ones playing as I wrote this novel were dictated by the chapter titles, which took their names from songs by acts mentioned in the story. I appended a playlist to the back of the book so readers can check out the songs and artists in question - The Cure and Joy Division, Deftones and Silverchair, Chelsea Wolfe and Diamanda Galas... Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Godflesh, Something for Kate. And there are plenty of artists namechecked in the book who don't get chapter titles, because music is how I relate to people and the world - it moves through literally everything I do.

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


"Keep going, kid. You're on the right track."

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?


I've been leaning hard on RICK AND MORTY lately to unwind, and DOCTOR WHO is always close to my heart. I don't like to rewatch movies too much in case the shine wears off, but the Cornetto Trilogy - SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, and THE WORLD'S END - is something that repays repeat watches and is endlessly amusing whilst still delivering genuine pathos and great writing.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?


At the risk of jinxing myself, I'm preparing to write a creepy, heartfelt novel manuscript about derelict places, those who explore them, and the people who fall through the cracks. I've spent a lot of time wandering through abandoned ruins with my favourite photographer, and it's all going to pay off in grand style once I unpick the plot knots holding me back from starting on this one...

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


My modest but informative blog is at matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com and you can find me on Facebook. I don't have the time, inclination, or talent at creating pithy bites of information to bother with other social media right now!

I’m an author and musician (plus sometime editor, visual artist, scriptwriter, composer, and all-round Renaissance man) based in Adelaide, South Australia.

I write dark fiction, horror for the most part, though I take an eclectic angle to all things. My approach to writing is character-focused, broad-minded, and averse to standard tropes. I cut my fangs on authors such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Richard Laymon, Anne Rice, Dan Simmons, Tanith Lee and Poppy Z. Brite, and these days I’m also drawn to folks like Alan Moore, Laird Barron, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Karl Edward Wagner, Joe Hill, China Miéville, Tom Piccirilli, Venero Armanno, Kaaron Warren, Joel Lane, Dennis Lehane, Livia Llewellyn, and Angela Slatter (to name just a few). So if you’re looking for a list of influences, there’s a place to start.

I’ve had around sixty short stories and poems published around the world thus far. The first story I recall writing came at the age of seven, a three-line opus about decapitating an invading horde of giant chickens; at thirteen, I won an all-ages writing contest and had my entry, a vaguely blasphemous sci-fi potboiler called 1″Time and the Bible”, published in Port Pirie newspaper The Recorder. I’ve always written, but for many years it came second to trying to establish a career in music; I didn’t begin submitting my work for publication until 2010, which is also when my first story appeared in print — the fittingly titled “Debutante”.

I won two categories in the 2019 Australian Shadows Awards: Best Short Story (“Steadfast Shadowsong”) and the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction (“Supermassive Black Mass”). My work has been shortlisted two other times for the Paul Haines Award (“The Heart of the Mission”, 2016; “This Impossible Gift”, 2017), twice for Best Novella in the Aurealis Awards (“Andromeda Ascends”, 2018; “Supermassive Black Mass”, 2019), and once for Best Horror Short Story in the Aurealis Awards (“Pilgrimage”, 2019). I also served as a reader and judge for the Horror Novels and Novellas categories of the 2016 and 2017 Aurealis Awards — acting as Panel Convenor the second year — a Novels judge for the 2018 and 2019 Australian Shadows Awards, and an Edited Works judge for the 2019 Shadows.

My first collection of short stories, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, was released by Things in the Well on January 31, 2020. My first novel, Midnight in the Chapel of Love, will be released by JournalStone Publishing on January 29, 2021.

I’ve performed spoken word shows with punk poets Paroxysm Press, including three Adelaide Fringe gigs, and with the SA Writers Centre — the latter in the West Terrace Cemetery. I attended MAPS Film School in 2010 and since then I have been sporadically involved in short films and live videos as a scriptwriter, director, editor, producer, composer, grip, and (gasp!) actor. My most recent film work has been as an extra in a number of club scenes for Dick Dale’s forthcoming splatterpunk feature Ribspreader.

I play bass and other instruments, sing, write songs, edit videos, create album sleeves, and do all sorts of other things in the progressive/alternative rock/metal bands Blood Red Renaissance (on hiatus since 2013) and icecocoon. I’ve so far played on seven albums, three EPs, and seven singles. I’ve gigged extensively with numerous bands and one-offs, including two interstate tours with BRR and one with Priority Orange.

I currently live in Somerton Park.

Matthew, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!




Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Loren Rhoads! Read on for the full interview.


Today's Author Spotlight is horror author Loren Rhoads!

Read on for the full interview.

Today's Author Spotlight is Gene Kendall, paranormal fiction author!  Read on for the full interview.


Today's Author Spotlight is Gene Kendall, paranormal fiction author! 

Read on for the full interview.

Today's Author Spotlight is Richard Thomas, dark fiction and short story author!  Read on for the full interview.


Today's Author Spotlight is Richard Thomas, dark fiction and short story author! 

Read on for the full interview.

What's your latest release?  Love is Dead(ly) Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work?  Brad Burns has a big pro...


What's your latest release? 


Love is Dead(ly)



Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 



Brad Burns has a big problem.

Not his crippling credit card debt.

Not his ex-wife, and current business partner, who still blames him for the messy break-up of their marriage.

Not his lovable but spiky personality, that keeps him alive, but alone.

No, Brad’s big issue is that he sees dead people. And those dead people are starting to fight back.

Brad is a paranormal investigator who uses his powers to shepherd the lost souls of the newly-departed to the light on the other side. In return for a fee. Naturally.

But when a case goes badly wrong, Brad finds himself the prisoner of those he’d usually be hunting. Can he use his unique talents to save not only his own skin, but all of humanity?

Because Brad Burns is the Paranormal Desperado. And he’ll be damned if he’ll let a bunch of pesky ghosts get in between him and those he loves.

Although maybe “damned” is tempting fate a bit too much...

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


The earliest genesis of the story comes from the writing prompt where you write a conversation between two characters, with absolutely no forethought. You write no surrounding prose and work out no backstory beforehand—just write the conversation. The characters reveal themselves as you write their dialogue.

The opening conversation in the novel is, after many edits, that writing prompt. While writing the conversation, I had to decide if this Brad Burns really could talk to dead people or if he was running a con on this man. It seemed like a far more interesting story if Brad truly could do these things, so by default, he became a psychic and not a con artist.

I’d also watched something about the making of Ghostbusters around this time that revealed Dan Aykroyd demanded a scene featuring his character being, ah, “spectrally seduced” remain in the film, even though the rest of that sequence had been cut and it really makes no sense in the finished movie. Aykroyd’s firm in his view of ghosts as seductresses, so he refused to cut this. This was likely in my head when creating the corner of the afterlife Brad visits.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


I discovered the characters while writing the story, then returned to earlier chapters to make necessary edits to make the cast consistent.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


They're all my favorite and least favorite at certain times when writing. Sandra is probably the character I'd most like to spend time with in real life.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?


Always character.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?


I enjoy reading reviews. Bad reviews are fine, but reviews that outright state things that aren't true about the material are always bewildering.

What led you to start writing?


I was often bored as a kid, terrible at sports and likely perceived as slightly odd by my classmates. Reading was probably less of an “escape” and more of a way to kill the time. Summers were spent at the library, where I consumed Choose Your Own Adventure and Encyclopedia Brown books. My father also grew up reading compulsively, and made sure I was familiar with writers like Mark Twain. Comic books were an early obsession, once I realized many of the cartoons I watched also had comic versions.

At around the age of 9, I began to craft my own stories, sometimes just in my head and other times on lined notebook paper. Even from an early age, I was intrigued by ideas like story structure, studying when a novel paused for a chapter break, or those mini-cliffhangers on TV shows before the commercials. I would incorporate these concepts into my imaginary Transformers stories, always careful to obey the rules I’d set for myself.

What's one of your favorite words?


Rigmarole 

What are you currently reading?


I gave up today on a "Prime Reads" or whatever Amazon calls those free books you get with a Prime subscription. Allegedly a thriller, but the lead character spoke like she was live-Tweeting the events and I just couldn't take it any longer.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?


Well, the title of my novel was inspired by a song. "(You're) So Deadly" from the band Self.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?


Fast food references. Can't explain it.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


@NBX_Tweets on Twitter. And review copies are available here.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?


I hope everyone checks out Love is Dead(ly) and leaves a review. I'd love to read your thoughts!

Gene Kendall has lived many places, but is usually surrounded by more deer than people. His work explores drama, music, and pop culture with wit and no small amount of sympathy for the losers and also-rans. He’s drawn to protagonists that say the wrong thing, actively resist their character arc, and possibly save the day by accident.

Currently, Gene’s contributing to CBR.com’s “Comics Should Be Good” blog, and you can find him on some horrific website called Twitter.



Do you love fantasy based on folktales?  Georgina Jeffrey, today's Author Spotlight, might have just the book you need!


Do you love fantasy based on folktales? 


Georgina Jeffrey, today's Author Spotlight, might have just the book you need!


Today's Author Spotlight is Christopher D. Ochs, author of YA Urban Fantasy/Horror  Read on for the full interview. What's your la...


Today's Author Spotlight is Christopher D. Ochs, author of YA Urban Fantasy/Horror 

Read on for the full interview.




What's your latest release? 


MY FRIEND JACKSON, a YA Urban Fantasy/Horror, is available for pre-ordering Kindle on
September 15, and available in print on October 1.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


MY FRIEND JACKSON centers on Jasmine Price, an inner-city teen who suffers daily psychological, cyber, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her new school's queen bees. When the rivalry and jealousy reach a fever pitch, a deadly force intervenes.



Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


I was doing research on girl bullying for a short story "Book Worm" in the Bethlehem Writers Group's 5th anthology "Once Upon A Time." I picked up Rosalind Wiseman's "Queen Bees & Wannabes," thinking I'd read one or two chapters to bone up on the bare minimum. I found her work so riveting, that I devoured the entire book. I knew I had to write a much larger story incorporating the subject.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


I knew what the 'Monster' had to be. Its place of origin and its mythology guided the development of the 'Mentor' and Jasmine characters. That trio drove the creation and crafting of everything else.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about
yourself, etc.) while writing?


Because the story revolves around several women of color, I hired a Diversity/Sensitivity Editor. It was during that same period that the tragedies of Breonna Taylor's and George Floyd's deaths occurred. Even after our work was done, I engaged in long conversations with her about racism, both outright and systemic. I will always remember her comment about dealing with racism on a daily basis -- "It's
exhausting." I may never fully understand her experiences or those of any person of color, but I'm trying to learn.

What books or authors influenced your own writing?


H.P. Lovecraft rattled my soul down to its roots, and I admired Kurt Vonnegut's wry observations on the human condition.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?


That is a long and involved story. Maybe when I do a full interview.

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I was psychically scarred as a child by the original Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits television series. And I loved it!

What's one of your favorite words?


Schadenfreude!

What are you currently reading?


"The Heroes" by Joe Abercrombie. I need to up my game when writing hand-to-hand fight scenes for the next "Pindlebryth" novel.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there any songs you had on
repeat?


I require silence. I cannot write while music plays. I am a classically trained organist and composer, and as a result, I cannot merely listen to music. I am drawn into it -- analyzing it, cringing when I hear a misplayed or off-key note, singing along with it, stealing riffs, or just plain rockin' out.

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


Don't take criticism, rejections, or bad reviews personally. 
But don't ignore them either. Learn from them if you can.
Grow a thick skin.

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale
creatures?


My home is one block away from an ancient Iroquois walking trail. I've already had several friendly visits from the forces and spirits that linger along that route. But I'd give a firm "No!" on the fairytale creatures. I've studied Grimm and Perrault. Those faerie critters are right bastards.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

You can also like/follow me on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?


A pinch of itching powder, and a shot of laughing gas?


Christopher D. Ochs’s foray into writing began in 2014 with his epic fantasy Pindlebryth of Lenland: The Five Artifacts. He combined his knack for telling stories in the Lehigh Valley Storytellers Guild with his writing style to craft If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep, a collection of the mirthful macabre.

His short stories have been published in several anthologies: GLVWG Writes Stuff, Write Here Write Now, The Write Connections, and Rewriting the Past, by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group; along with Untethered, Finalist in Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion, and Once Upon a Time, by the Bethlehem Writers Group; and last but not least, Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity by Firebringer Press.

Chris has too many interests outside of writing for his own damn good. With previous careers in physics, mathematics, electrical engineering and software, and his incessant dabbling as a CGI artist, classical organist, voice talent on radio, DVD, audiobook, podcast and the Voice of OTAKON, it's a wonder he can remember to pay the dog and feed his bills. Wait, what?


Christopher, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!


Today's Author Spotlight is Madison Wheatley, author of paranormal thriller Ambrosia!  Read on for the full interview.


Today's Author Spotlight is Madison Wheatley, author of paranormal thriller Ambrosia! 

Read on for the full interview.

Today on Cats Luv Coffee is J.D. Sanderson, science fiction writer and author of a new anthology uniquely influenced by 1950s radio.  Read ...


Today on Cats Luv Coffee is J.D. Sanderson, science fiction writer and author of a new anthology uniquely influenced by 1950s radio.  Read on for the full interview!


Today's guest on Cats Luv Coffee is Kerry E.B. Black! Kerry is a horror, supernatural thriller, and fantasy author. Her latest work is ...


Today's guest on Cats Luv Coffee is Kerry E.B. Black! Kerry is a horror, supernatural thriller, and fantasy author. Her latest work is a short story anthology of one of my favorite things—reimagined fairy tales. 

Read on for the full interview!

I'd like to welcome supernatural horror author Spencer Hamilton, author of The Fear, to Cats Luv Coffee today!  Read on for the full int...


I'd like to welcome supernatural horror author Spencer Hamilton, author of The Fear, to Cats Luv Coffee today!  Read on for the full interview!

I'd like to welcome horror author Pamela Morris to Cats Luv Coffee today!  I love what she has to say about gatekeeping in the horror co...


I'd like to welcome horror author Pamela Morris to Cats Luv Coffee today!  I love what she has to say about gatekeeping in the horror community. Read on for the full interview!