Showing posts with label Author Spotlight. Show all posts

Today's Author Spotlight is author April A. Taylor! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: August 3rd, 2021 Amazon |  Goodre...


Today's Author Spotlight is author April A. Taylor!

Read on for the full interview.





Publication date: August 3rd, 2021


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


Evil Eye is a classic slasher with a modern twist. 


Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


Evil Eye was inspired by three things: I Call Upon Thee by Ania Ahlborn and the movies Halloween (1978) and Crawl (2019). 

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


For the most part, I knew who the characters were and would be. There were a few surprises, though.

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



My first published novel went through so many rewrites that I almost ruined it. Now, as long as the story works, I go with it. 

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


I read professional reviews and the first 10 or so fan reviews. After that, I let it be whatever it's going to be. As far as good and bad reviews, I don't tend to look at them like that. As long as the person actually read the book, their feedback is valid, at least for them. 

What led you to start writing?


I've been writing since grade school. I don't remember there being any one thing that led me to writing. It simply felt natural, like breathing air. 

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


I've been a fan of the horror genre ever since I saw Michael Jackson's Thriller video at the age of six. I write in other genres sometimes, but I always end up putting in at least a hint of horror. 

What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?


My favorite word is blustery. Unfortunately, it hasn't fit into most of my books.
 

What are you currently reading?


Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth 

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


I love watching horror movies. Everything from Midsommar to Halloween (
1978) is fair game!

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


Haunted mansion! 

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



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


You don't have to write every single day to be a good author. In fact, taking time off is a critical part of the writing process. 

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


I do! Isnashi is a creature feature set in the Brazilian rainforest. 




April A. Taylor is an award-winning, multi-genre author. Her latest novel, Evil Eye: A Slasher Story, introduces readers to characters they'll love to root for, along with two they can hate. Her previous horror books include Sinkhole and The Haunting of Cabin Green. April has also written the Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries Series, the thriller Corvo Hollows, and the Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales Series. She's a proud member of the Horror Writers Association. Visit her online at aprilataylor.net.  



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

Today's Author Spotlight is author Jon O'Bergh! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: June 14th, 2021 Amazon |  Goodrea...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Jon O'Bergh!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: June 14th, 2021


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


Weaving together supernatural legends from Ireland, Nigeria, and China, Shockadelica follows two friends who must confront their own fears while fighting an evil, existential threat. With a dash of humor and horror, the story explores prejudice, conspiracy theories, and things that aren't what they appear to be. Two horror podcasters—drag artist Kendall Akande and best friend Jenna Chen—share a passion for art, fashion, and horror. When they learn their Victorian-era apartment building might be haunted, they see an opportunity for an entertaining podcast episode. But as they investigate further with the help of their quirky neighbors, they uncover something far more sinister.
 

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


All manner of things in the horror universe inspired the story. The title is borrowed from Prince's song "Shockadelica." Gemma Files' novel "Experimental Film" gave me the idea for the Toronto setting and inclusion of folk horror. The way Grady Hendrix opened each chapter of "We Sold Our Souls" with a media excerpt influenced my structure. Books in the Freezer gave me the concept of two horror podcasters. Rue Morgue magazine gave me the idea for a character whose arms are covered with tattoos of serial killers.
 

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


It's a combination of both, and some start out more concrete than others. Take the characters in Shockadelica, for example. I knew Rooney would be the type of person who is enmeshed in a world of lies. She adopts different personas as easily as she changes outfits and makes a living with fake testimonials. That was clearly laid out when I started, and little changed as I wrote. Jenna, on the other hand, started with less detailed traits. I just knew she would be unconventional and fearless. The details then developed organically through the process of writing out the scenes, especially her anxiety about her grandmother's dementia and her jealousy when Kendall begins hanging out more with Lilith.

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


I strongly identified with Kendall. He has a lot of empathy toward others. Even though he doesn't tolerate BS and is self-assured, he still suffers moments of self-doubt. His past hangs over him. Society's judgmental prejudices hang over him. Panic attacks and nightmares bedevil him. You think you've escaped those things, but they periodically emerge like the monster under the bed and try to drag you down. I really identify with that.

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


How can you choose? Character is what motivates a reader to be interested in a story, but plot is what gives the story meaning.

In your opinion what makes a good story?


Complex characters--because people are complex. A certain amount of ambiguity--because that corresponds to our experience of the world. That's why writers like Paul Tremblay appeal to me so much. I like to imagine what a character would do in real life, without falling back on cliches or implausible actions.

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


I do, because sometimes I learn useful things from what reviewers write, even if my story didn't strongly appeal to them. Tweeting and linking to reviews also helps promote the work. I've never come across someone who is a "bad" reviewer. Often it boils down to a matter of taste, because not everything is going to appeal to everybody. I have encountered a couple of instances where a reviewer misjudged or misrepresented something. I don't worry about that if it's one item in passing, but an entire review filled with misrepresentations would constitute a bad review.

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


I've always been interested in horror. Fear is such a primal emotion, and it can motivate you to make positive changes or to lash out at the world. I'm interested in how people process fear differently, and I infuse that into my characters. I also appreciate how horror often reflects cultural anxieties, or anxieties about death and the body.

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


Perhaps because I'm also a musician, I find music distracting while I'm trying to write. But I love to link music with my stories. Shockadelica includes a musician named the Bone Man who writes dark songs. His album of horror-themed songs is available at Spotify, iTunes, and the usual places. In between writing bouts, I would listen to these songs. The lyrics often amplify themes from the novel, in songs like "The Beast Within," "Frankenstein Monster," and "Box of Bones."

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


My husband and I like to watch things over and over, and we quote lines to each other all the time. I never tire of watching "The Muse." Albert Brooks, who also wrote and directed the movie, plays a beleaguered screenwriter who has lost his edge and engages the services of a mythic Greek muse played by Sharon Stone. The film's sense of humor is so perfect, mildly skewering Hollywood gullibility and pretensions. For something with a touch of horror, I like the filmed stage version of "Sweeney Todd." It manages to blend humor, horror, and pathos. The closing song makes the hairs stand up on my arm.

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


A black cat. I grew up with black cats. They're often misunderstood and maligned, which I can appreciate as a gay man!
 

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


A cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures. I would be too scared to live in a haunted house. It would be fun to visit, maybe spend one night, but my state of mind would be much better in a cottage. Ghosts and supernatural creatures both make an appearance in Shockadelica, and after experiencing both, I think Kendall would agree with me.

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


I'm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jon_obergh.

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

Support bloggers like Cats Luv Coffee. Subscribe, follow, re-tweet, share with friends. We need them!



Jon O’Bergh is an author and musician who appreciates a good scare. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at Irvine. A fan of ghost stories and horror movies, O’Bergh came up with the idea for his first novel, The Shatter Point, after watching a documentary about extreme haunts. He has published five books and released over a dozen albums in a variety of styles. His supernatural short stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines. After many years living in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he now resides with his husband in Toronto.



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

Today's Author Spotlight is author Payne Schanski! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: March 16th, 2021 Amazon |  Goodre...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Payne Schanski!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: March 16th, 2021


For fifteen-year-old JB, life couldn't get much worse.

He's been grounded for six months after making a huge mistake that's ruined his reputation, and now his life consists of going to school and coming straight home: no more basketball games or adventures with his friends. The word "fun" seems to have been erased from his life, and he's lost all hope-that is, until he hears about a legendary abandoned house in a secluded area called Five Mile Creek, buried deep within the forests of Northern Michigan. The house is known by the locals to be haunted. Curious and fearless, JB rallies an unpredictable group of misfits to make a journey to the house one cold February night-even though he knows he's on the brink of making the same life-altering mistake again. However, what the amateur ghost hunters encounter is far from anything they could have imagined, and all of them are there for reasons of their own, and with a lot at stake. For JB, solving this mystery means facing the decisions that continue to haunt his soul.

Containing echoes of classic '80s films such as Stand by Me and The Breakfast Club, The Ghost of Five Mile Creek is, at its heart, an unflinching and authentic take on growing up. While wrestling with the always brewing inner storm of adolescence, the characters-all on the edge of adulthood, with childhood's idealism slipping from their respective grasps-crave greater answers about the mysteries of life and death, and about who they are as they form their own identities and images. At the heart of this funny, insightful, and profound book are several core questions: Should we allow our pasts to haunt us? Can the harsh reality of death bring any clarity on how we wish to live our lives? And lastly, are all mistakes truly "mistakes," or do they hold something deeper than shame?...


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

'Ghost' is my first YA novel, and at its heart, I consider it just a true and authentic take on a fifteen-year-old boy trying to navigate high school--figuring out who he is and who he wants to be. JB has been punished for an entire school year for some mistakes he made over the summer, but when he hears some of his classmates talking about this legendary 'haunted' house and planning an excursion to it, he can't help himself from wanting to go.

Along the way, I wanted JB to face a bit of a reckoning with the decisions he made to put him in his current predicament. I made sure to put him in position to face people from his past one-on-one and see whether he's grown at all (along with one from his future--though he doesn't know that yet).

The odd crew is out trying to unravel the mysteries behind the abandoned house, but at a certain point in the night, their interactions with each other become more important, and the 'ghost' takes a bit of a backseat. In many ways, I consider it something of a cross between "The Breakfast Club" and "Stand By Me" for that reason.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

Part of it is from my own experiences growing up in Northern Michigan; another large part is from my years working with middle school and high school students in a youth enrichment program.

Observing adolescence when you're not the one going through it is endlessly interesting--for instance, the fragile social dynamics, the constant swirl of rumors and how hard it can be to sort out the truth. One thing that I think is universal at that age is making countless mistakes, but ultimately just wanting to do well, find your place, and make someone proud of you.

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

Jennie, because she starts off as such a side character, but becomes more and more influential as the night goes on. She is little bit older than the boys and in a different social orbit than them. She's able to get away with certain things too, which puts them in awe of her to an extent early on. Jennie turns out to be a far different person than the main character expects, and I think readers will enjoy building both respect and sympathy for her as the story progresses.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

Most of my best ideas come while I'm shooting hoops by myself. The quiet repetition and peace of just playing a game that I love for no reason besides enjoyment turns that act into a creative space for me. You'll even see that aspect hit the page as basketball is a happy place that the character JB adopts as well and where he feels most calm and at home.

What are you currently reading?

I'm currently rereading 'Down and Out In Paris and London' by George Orwell, whle waiting on a fresh Amazon book order to arrive. Haven't been able to start any of these yet, but here is the upcoming list:
The Great Santini, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Burmese Days

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

Not with this book necessarily, but definitely for the next two that I've been working on. I would go for a week or two at a time, just playing the same five or six songs while I wrote, to the point where those artists even have an influence on how the story itself develops.

Artists I had on repeat at various times: Suede, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, J. Cole, M83, Oasis, Mariah Carey, The Stone Roses, probably others that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

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

Despite the contents of 'The Ghost of Five Mile Creek', I'd still probably go with the fairytale creatures--not the evil ones though.

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

Yes, I have an Instagram account that's still very much in its infancy. I'll post about books that I'm currently reading, things that I'm writing, share (brag about...?) little victories along the way, show things that inspire me or my work. Readers are definitely encouraged to interact with me; I'm always excited to give book recommendations to people based on their personalities and interests.

Follow me @payneschanski_writer and introduce yourself!

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

I have two more books in the JB series that are on their way. 'Ghost' has a strange position in that I wrote it first, but it's actually the middle book of a three part series. I wasn't necessarily trying to be 'experimental' or doing some sort of Star Wars style chronology... it was just the first plot that I was able to fully form so I ran with it!


Payne Schanski has worked as an educator, coach, and mentor for middle school and high school students over the past decade. Working closely with these students has meant revisiting the fears, insecurities, and mistakes that make adolescence the turbulent learning experience that it is. These observations, as well as the author’s own experiences growing up in Northern Michigan, inspired him to write The Ghost of Five Mile Creek, his debut novel. The Ghost of Five Mile Creek is the middle book of a three-part series, along with the soon-to-be released Blue Houses on the Peninsula and Redemption Summer. His other writing includes humor pieces featured at 'The Toast' and 'Slackjaw' and as a Detroit Lions blogger for 'SideLion Report'. After eight years living in Boston, Schanski recently moved back to Northern Michigan with his wife, Cathy AuGuste Schanski. He enjoys playing tennis and basketball in his free time. 


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

Today's Author Spotlight is author Kelsey Sather ! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: March 8th, 2021 Amazon |  Goodrea...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Kelsey Sather !

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: March 8th, 2021

Over millennia, across the seven seterras of Aligaea, twelve women—the Anima—develop powers akin to apex predators. Along with their bestial strength and speed, they inherit the Task to restore ecological Order to the world. Yet fulfilling the Task seems improbable as the Imperium spreads a plague of ecocide and despotism across the land, ushering in the apocalypse with its infectious Disorder.

Stout and smart Freda Johansson leaves behind a promising career, love, and community to seek the red-capped mushroom capable of turning her into the final Anima. Whether it's plant magic or free will guiding her from emerald forests to austere peaks, she doesn't care. She only needs to find the mushroom before the Imperial Forces can seal the catastrophic fate of the planet.

The sacred balance of Life depends on the birth of the Anima—but even then, she must choose to own her powers as both woman and wild beast.


Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


The idea for the Ancient Language of the Earth trilogy began as a question. I was pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Humanities, and my course work involved a lot of depressing research about the ecological crisis we find ourselves in. I often wondered how, and why, humans became disconnected from the natural world that sustains us. One night, I wrote in my journal, what would it feel like to live fully, truly, as a human animal? The concept of the Anima grew from there.

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


As many fiction authors will attest to, the process of creating characters is mysterious and organic. My characters reveal themselves to me at their leisure, and I’ll spend hours free-writing in an effort to get to know them better. It’s not unlike a relationship with a new friend: it takes time to understand a person, and even then, the person will continue to surprise us decades later. I connect most with Elle and Freda, as I’ve spent the most time with them. .

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


I connect most with Elle and Freda, as I’ve spent the most time with them. Elle is like a beloved little 
sister to me, while I consider Freda an inner mentor.

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


Such a great question! I studied nonfiction (environmental writing) in school, and while I’ve always loved reading fiction, especially fantasy, Birth of the Anima is my first project as a fiction writer. I was surprised to learn how mysterious and organic the fiction writing process proves to be. Characters become real people, and they constantly surprise me in making their own decisions, despite my efforts to “control” the story.

What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?


I love nouns that lend themselves to verbs and adjectives through the qualities that noun exhibits. My favorite example of such a word is squirrel.


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


Woofta. So many things, but mainly: practice patience and faith. Show up consistently, hone your craft with intention, and let go of the need for external validation. Or as Deepak Chopra said, “If you focus on success, you’ll have stress. But if you pursue excellence, success will be guaranteed.”

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


My website and newsletter are the best way to stay up to date on my upcoming releases: https://kelseyksather.com/

I also love interacting with readers on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelseyksather/

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?


I don’t have a favorite, but there is a line from the first version of Birth of the Anima that survived eight years of ruthless editing. It reads, “Elle took the long way to work.” It’s a simple sentence, nothing special on a surface-level, but its meaning runs deep in Elle’s story. Elle resists her inner power, and in so doing, she prolongs engaging with her life’s true work.

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


Yes! I'm currently writing Book Two in the Ancient Language of the Earth trilogy.

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


My hope is that readers discover, or rather rediscover, their kinship with ‘other,’ both human and non, and feel deeply compelled to help create a just and ecologically sound world. Thank you for featuring me and helping me spread that message!


KELSEY K. SATHER lives in Montana. Her stories explore the complexities of human-nature interconnections. While an author of nonfiction essays for over a decade, fantasy remains her first and true love. She received an MA in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah. At the University of Montana, she received the Davidson Honors College Scholar Distinction in Creative Writing and Environmental Studies. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found in the mountains.

Connect with Kelsey K. Sather on her website and Instagram.

Birth of the Anima is available at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

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

Today's Author Spotlight is author Brett Salter! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: July 19th, 2020 Amazon |  Goodreads...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Brett Salter!

Read on for the full interview.

Publication date: July 19th, 2020

What’s REALLY hiding in the forests of the Pacific Northwest? Could it be The Tyrant King’s army of Darkbrands? Could it be more of Mr. Jones’s liaisons? Or could it be the solution to the problem vexing our favorite heroes? Whatever mystery it is, you can guarantee the boys from Georgia are sure to find themselves deep in the thick of it.


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

I would say “The Battle For Verdana” is my best work so far. By this time in the series, we’ve collected all the main characters and gotten to know their quirks and abilities pretty well. Also, the secrets and powers of the Talismans are really beginning to unravel for the reader. Plus, there is a massive battle scene (duh, it’s in the name of the book), and the end leaves the reader on the biggest cliffhanger yet.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

My mother actually dared me to write the first book as it was an idea I had a few years before the publication regarding the two main characters and the plot of the first book. From there, I liked writing so much that I just kept going. Now, I have 11 of the 12 proposed books "done" (Large air quotes there)

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

Yeah, so in the beginning, I based my characters off me. Just me. I’ve known myself for a long time, and it was a small cast, so it was easy. That was therapeutic, for sure. But as the books continued and my characters grew in number, I found inspiration in outside sources such as close family and friends. I would not call it therapeutic, but I WOULD call it amusing to paint these extremely caricatured heroes with touches of the people I love. Most of my characters are just too dang goofy to be based on real people though.

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

I would say my favorite character to write is Julian Rider. He’s a blast because he is totally snarky and sarcastic, but at the same time, he’s very loyal to his cause. Much like me…smiley face. Plus, his favorite word is “dude”. Also, much like me. There might be a pattern there…

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

That's a great question. Unfortunately, they both kinda go hand in hand, don't they? You must have an engrossing plot to develop your characters. And what is a highly developed character with no plot or adventure to embark on? But, I would say I tend to lean more towards plot since I am better at world building than character development.

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

I learned that when I have unlimited free time, I can knock out the barebones version of a book in my series in about 1 week.  The editing process is much slower though.  Man, is it tedious??!!


In your opinion what makes a good story?


I like action in my stories. My series is full of that in spades; and suspense. I find that action keeps a reader's attention better than any other writing device. At least, it does for me.

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


>
It hasn't. LOL. I still write just as frantically and bizarrely as ever. Basically, I try to make each book better than the previous by adding characters, lore, and bigger scenes to the plot. I HAVE found that most of the sarcasm of my youth has lessened over the years. Having kids helped that change as well.


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


Of course I do! It's great to see what others think of your work. I think constructive criticism is the best kind of help there is. I hope you like it too!

What led you to start writing?


I write for a couple reasons. 1. I feel like there is something in me that needs to “create”. I try EVERY day to “create” something which scratches that itch. In my past, I’ve been a musician and a poet. Those were great outlets for allowing that creativity bug to escape, but unfortunately, I found those to be more like fleeting diversions. Writing a book is a project that keeps the creativity pouring out for months at a time. Not that writing music and poetry is easy. It most definitely isn’t! I believe musicians and poets follow the same creative yens that authors do. I just feel like writing a series of books, creating palpable characters, and keeping all the details juggled properly is a larger-scale project with more channels for creative output.

2. I write to inspire others. I remember being a kid and reading things like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Xanth Series and being awestruck and engaged to no end. I want that! I want to inspire others to embrace that creativity gene and nurture it. I tell my kids all the time to practice being creative. Take some time to draw a battle scene of dragons or a kaleidoscope of butterflies! Construct a folded-up, 8-page comic book about a superhero you invented. Make up a dance and share it with you friends so you don’t look like the only weirdo doing it. Use the rainy days to read about new places and explore that part of your brain that dies a little each time you stare at your screens. Egon Spengler famously said, “print is dead”, but it’s not. It’s just evolved. We have more ways to share our stories now than ever. And I just want to be part of that amazing assembly.

Do you have any writing superstitions?


Nope. Not any I can think of (rubs lucky rabbit's foot aggressively). Yeah! None.


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


I am a huge anime fan. And when I was younger, I read every fantasy novel I could find. So, I put the two together for my writing. This genre fits what I am trying to do perfectly.

What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?


As I mentioned before....."Dude".  I can't help it.  It's just falls out of my mouth on the regular.  
In writing, I love using words to describe a vocal intonation when a person talks instead of just saying "said" or "declared".  I like to use synesthetic words like "sang" or "harmonized" to touch multiple sense of the reader.  It's for engagement, I think.  

>What are you currently reading?


"The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut.  (I know!)

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


I made a Spotify playlist a while back of all the best Punk Rock I grew up with.  There's about 28 hours worth of tunes on that playlist, so, it keeps me entertained.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start promoting waaaaaaaaaaaaaay earlier!  And hire an editor if you can't get picked up by a publisher.

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


The entire MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).  I cannot get enough of it!  And if I want to "use my brain", anything by David Lynch.

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


Rhino.  They're fat and lazy, but when they need to get something done, they do it with alacrity and a thundering shake of the plains!

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


Cottage with fairytale creatures for sure.  As long as there are no Nocturns (bad guys from my series).  Those things are living nightmares, dude!

What is something about the genre that annoys you?

There's not enough words in the English language that are synonyms for "attack"....or "dark"......or "magical".  Or "thesaurus".

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?


I LOVE to give my characters interesting quirks.  It's definitely a huge spotlight of my writing style.  For instance, I have a character that always talks in threes.  And a character that quotes lyrics most of the time when talking.  Or my favorite, a character that speaks in haikus. (He doesn't talk much.  It's tough to write in haikus, dude!)

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


Ask me anything.  I'm an open book....get it?

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

I love EVERY time my character Mr. Jones makes some crazy, wild exclamation using mythological name drops like, "By the rancid stench of the Bonncon!"  Or something just as looney tunes as that.

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


Use your influences.  That way what you love will come out in your writing.  If you like stories about ghosts, write stories about ghosts.  If you watch TV shows about unsolved crimes, make your series about unsolved mysteries.  If the coolest thing you can imagine is a boy that can secretly transform into a dragon and go on quests with a knight-in-training.....um.  Read my books!!!  And THEN go write about them.

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


Yes.  I can!  In fact, I plan on releasing the 5th book of my proposed 12 by winter of this year!  It needs and edit or two….or three or four.  And it needs some cover art, but it should be out this year.  I can give you a little hint.  Remember when I mentioned the cliffhanger at the end of the 4th book?  Well, that DOES get resolved, but the 5th book opens so much more trouble for our heroes in the form Darkbrand threats.  Plus, we get a ton of reveals regarding the “big bad’s” plans, more Talismans, and we maybe, possibly, definitely get to visit a new dragon den???

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


I just want to add that I am genuinely appreciative of anyone who reads/has read my books.  You guys inspire me to keep at it.  You are what makes me feel cool for being kind of a big dork.  I hope that if you like my book or ANY book you read, you share it with someone else.  Opening doors for others will never get old, and it will ALWAYS be chivalrous.  Just remember to hold your Talisman tight and keep a wary eye out for portals.  Peace out!
My background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration I found as a kid when I read Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss. In my formative years, I joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty. As an adult (?) I took on a dare and wrote the first book in my Talisman Series. I loved the feeling it gave me and the idea of inspiring others so much that I kept writing until I had an entire series.

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

Today's Author Spotlight is author Glenn Maynard! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: December 30th 2020 Goodreads Lizzi...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Glenn Maynard!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: December 30th 2020

Lizzie Borden took an axe...

And so goes the song depicting the 1892 axe murders of her father and step-mother. Research indicates that a killer gene could be passed down through generations of family members, and evidence begins with Lizzie’s ancestor who murdered his mother in 1673. Chatroom with a View opens with a bone-chilling episode, and what’s left of Troy Cullen’s dysfunctional family keeps him even further from the normal integration with society. Troy’s life further unravels when his ex-girlfriend, Veronica, announces that she is pregnant. Troy loses control and plots to do unto others as they have done unto him. When Veronica digs into his family’s past, she exposes this killer gene; she must try to balance her obsession for a family with shielding herself and their baby from evil. But Troy has his own agenda, resulting in an epic showdown.


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

Chatroom With A View is a story about a third generation battling against the possible existence of a murder gene with the fourth generation on the way. Once the family secret gets out, it's a race against time when Troy's ex-girlfriend returns, claiming to be pregnant with his child. Her mission is to change Troy, but his mission is to remove her from his life. This rollercoaster storyline is a thriller to the end.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

I wanted to write a story about a Social Media group moderator who lures his victims back to his house and keeps them hostage. The plot underwent major reconstruction during the writing process. I finalized the synopsis with three generation of chatrooms. Troy's grandfather would hold neighborhood gatherings in a log cabin on his property. Then his father did the same thing when he took over the property. It was their chatroom. Troy's chatroom was during the computer age, but he still had access to the chatroom on his property, and he had a score to settle. I was writing with Stephen King in mind, and the more I wrote, the darker the story became. It started out with horror but evolved into a thriller early on.

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

The main character sketches are completed before I begin writing, but their personalities develop as I write, and additional characters emerge as well. So many twists and turns developed that the end result looked considerably different than I had envisioned. Sometimes in life, things don't play out exactly as you plan, and the writing process is no different.

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

My favorite character to write was Veronica because she was insane but extremely entertaining because she didn't have any idea that there was anything wrong with her. She was the crazy ex-girlfriend who takes on a new life in this novel and really brings it to life. Her mental health plays a big part and her interactions with herself in the mirror for me were comedy gold. 

In your opinion what makes a good story?

Many of Stephen King's books influenced me in the writing of this novel because sometimes he is a sick and twisted man. He has a knack for getting really dark, and I dared to follow that formula.

What led you to start writing?

Ever since I remember, whenever something sad and tragic occurred, I would release my grief by writing it down in a notebook. Occasionally I would write about good things or funny things. Then I became an English major in college and took Shakespeare classes with deeply complex poetry. I began writing funny poems as a way to make poetry easier to understand in a rebellious, interesting way. After college, I embarked on a one-year journey through the 48 continental states of America in an RV. It gave me experience and my writing career officially began. I was a travel correspondent for two newspapers and amassed twenty articles, eventually turning my notes into a memoir entitled, Strapped Into An American Dream.



Glenn Maynard has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Connecticut, and a degree in Communications. After spending 4 years living in Denver, Colorado, he returned home to Connecticut and now resides in Wethersfield. He has a son named Andrew. He was a travel correspondent for three newspapers while traveling through the United States, Canada and Mexico during his one-year journey. He had a total of twenty newspaper articles published. His story was captured on the evening newscast upon his return. Currently, he is preparing to publish his fifth book, Chatroom with a View.


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

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.