June 2016 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: June 2016 (Page 1 of 2)


Author Interview with Clarissa Johal

Instead of doing a book review, I’m bringing an interview with Clarissa Johal, author of some pretty intriguing-looking books…



Hey, Clarissa, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Clarissa Johal and I write paranormal and dark fantasy novels. That sounds like a confession, doesn’t it? I just released Poppy, which makes my sixth novel. My husband and I have been married for 23 years and we have two daughters. Before I wrote full-time, I worked as a veterinary technician and zoo keeper assistant.


So, what have you written?

In the order of release; Pradee, my one YA fantasy, Between, Struck, Voices, The Island and Poppy, which are all paranormal novels for adults. I’ve also written a play, several short-stories, and numerous magazine articles and non-fiction pieces.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Poppy was beyond difficult. She’s a mortician, and with that came a ton of research. I researched mortician job duties, the chemicals and machines they used, read mortician blogs (yes, they exist), and interviewed a local mortician about what it was like to work at a funeral home. I even watched YouTube videos on embalming procedures (I don’t recommend watching those, they’re quite graphic). I came face-to-face with my mortality and it was quite depressing. There were times I had to set my research aside in order to breathe. The story and characters weren’t depressing, but the research was kicking my butt. To complicate matters, a dear friend of mine passed away during the final editing phase. I had to take a break because the subject matter was too close to home. That said, Poppy is one of the most upbeat characters I’ve ever written—even in the face of peril. Like many morticians, she views her job as “the last help” she can offer the newly departed. Kudos to her, and kudos to the profession. I couldn’t do it.


Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Poppy (the main character from my latest release Poppy) is a mortician who speaks to the dead. You can only imagine how complicated that gets.


What do you think makes a good story?

Sympathetic antagonists and flawed protagonists. My antagonists are never evil for the sake of being evil. They have back-stories and I hope readers feel ‘slightly’ sympathetic to their plight. As far as my protagonists – they make bad decisions because people make bad decisions. It’s what humans do.


What are you working on at the minute?

I’m currently working on my seventh book, a dark fantasy titled Whispers in the Wood. I can’t tell you any more because my characters don’t like it when I do that. Once my draft is finished, I’ll post a blurb on my website.


Where do your ideas come from?

My characters usually come to me through dreams. They tell me what to write, not vice versa, as odd as that sounds. I keep a pen beside the bed for when I wake in the middle of the night. I’ll write on my arms and legs because it’s convenient, and then transfer my notes to paper in the morning. Once I have all my notes, I’ll write the first draft from beginning to end. After that, I do my research and gazillion edits.


How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It takes me a year. I write five days a week from 8-3pm, and then from 9-midnight, after my family goes to bed. I usually take a week to go “on location” in order to get a feel for the book itself. For The Island, I took a boat to a remote island off the coast of Canada and spent the week alone, writing and hiking.


Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I like Neil Gaiman, Robert Holdstock, Gerald Brom, Graham Joyce, Amanda Stevens, Simone St. James, Keith Donohue, and Melissa Marr. I also read a lot of world mythology and folktales.


What do you think of “trailers” for books?

I used to think book trailers were a weird concept. Why would someone watch a movie about a book? A month ago, however, I decided to give it a try. I found myself hooked on the media form. There’s an art to it, right down to the music. I’ve made two so far (Struck and Poppy) and plan to make one for each book. My YouTube Channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoddfPN3W_Id7nAtN1HWIwA


What is your favourite film and why?

Big Trouble in Little China because I’m a geek. As far as my genre goes, The Woman in Black, The Others and Crimson Peak are right up my alley.


Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

I would love to meet Charlie Chaplin. I think he was brilliant, and have all his films.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to spend time with my husband and two daughters. I’ve been dancing for 20 years (ballet, modern, tap and jazz) and keep up with that. My latest passion is trapeze. I’ve been taking trapeze classes for about a year with the goal of becoming good enough to perform. It’s very similar to ballet, but in the air. What’s not to love about that? I also run a special needs pet-sitting business and volunteer at the SPCA. I love anime, photography, running and fencing…I have lots of hobbies!


Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

“Why are you so weird?” “Stop posting photos of your cat.” You know, standard stuff.  Kidding. I love interacting with my readers and hear from them quite a bit. The main question I’m asked is if I’ve ever seen a ghost. Yes, I have. And yes, my cat is damn handsome and he knows it. 😉


Author Bio

Clarissa Johal is the bestselling author of paranormal novels, Poppy, The Island, Voices, Struck and Between. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing, taking pictures of gargoyles, or swinging from a trapeze. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.


Find Clarissa Online:

Author Website






Amazon Author Page





Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: WordPress Templates

What is the best way for an author to share his/her creative writing with the world? Obviously publishing it in a book, audiobook, anthology, or comic book is the #1 method, but that’s just one element of the author’s “platform”. Social media also plays a large role in your ability to share your writing with the world, but I believe an author’s most important tool is their website.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are PACKED with links, images, and content, so it’s hard for people to see your content, links, and images through all the “dross”. But if you can get them to your website (using interesting and relevant content), you have them all to yourself. Your website is the place to showcase yourself to the world, and it’s the most valuable tool at your disposal.

Be warned: a crappy, poorly-designed, and hard-to-navigate website is as much a “turn-off” as a crappy book cover, a novel filled with plot holes and cardboard cutout characters, and a plethora of typos and grammar mistakes. A beautiful, streamlined, user-friendly website is like a well-crafted novel: it increases your chances of “hooking” readers.

To that end, I highly recommend WordPress.


I’m not going to get into all the technical aspects of WordPress, but suffice it to say that WordPress is a content management system that’s designed to make it easy for YOU to set up your website the way you want it.

WordPress has thousands of amazing themes, many of which are completely free to use:

These free themes are all amazing for setting up websites that is as simple or complex as you want.

Of course, the premium templates are much more versatile and user-friendly, but they come with a price tag (some upwards of $100). I will say that the premium templates are worth buying when the time comes, but it’s usually best to start with a simple theme.

With WordPress, you don’t need much in the way of tech savvy. WordPress is designed to be VERY user-friendly, and it’s simple to set up your site by uploading your theme, customizing it, and adding pages/posts/widgets as desired.

Want to get started? Here are a few great how-to guides to setting up a WordPress website from scratch:


The Importance of a Good Opening Line

Over the (few) years of my writing career, I’ve had something hammered home in my brain: “Always have a good opening line.”

The opening line of the book is the “welcome to my world” that will hook your readers–or not. A good opening line will immediately make your readers want to find out more. A lame opening line won’t necessarily cause readers to turn away from your book, but it doesn’t instantly hook them. Anything that doesn’t arrest your reader’s attention RIGHT OFF THE BAT gives them a chance they’ll say, “Meh” and close the book.

Here are a few GREAT opening lines:

Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851) (classic!)

A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. —Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

Whatever you may think of the rest of these stories, you can’t help but admit that these are AMAZING opening lines.

I’ve tried to make my opening lines as “catchy” as possible:

Eyes the color of night watched Lord Damuria plunge to the forest floor. — The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer.

I left my city in ashes. — The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen — coming soon

Fire and agony filled the Hunter’s world.  — The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

The Hunter danced on empty air. — The Last Bucelarii (Book 4): Anamnesis (working title)

Viola huddled in darkness, shivering, arms wrapped around her knees. Sobs and whimpers echoed in the close, stale air. — Child of the Night Guild (secret side project)

These lines are all meant to “hook” readers and intrigue them enough that they’ll want to find out more.

Unfortunately, this is something a lot of writers are failing to do these days. For example, here is the opening line from an (indie) book I recently read:

The medical examiner’s shoes reverberated on the metal floors of the operating room as he walked back to the gurney and stood over the patient.

Not much more than setting there. Why do the shoes, metal floors, or gurney matter? Yes, the patient could be infected with a virus, or the operating room could be on a spaceship. But none of the truly fascinating details of the story or even setting are presented in this opening line.

Later in the same paragraph, it says, “She (the dead body in the gurney) would have almost looked attractive, Jasper thought to himself, had it not been for the pale, grayish tint that had overtaken her skin and the deep Y-shaped incision that the surgeon was cutting into her chest.”

Imagine if the author had started the book with something along the lines of “Though he hated to admit it, Jasper couldn’t help but find himself attracted to the dead woman on his gurney.” Now THAT would have made for an intriguing (WEIRD) opening.

That opening line really has to sink its teeth into you in order to make you keep reading. A good opening line can set the tone for the rest of the book, but a bad opening line can make you cringe. I know which I prefer!


Happy Unbirthday, Forever Girl: A Victorian Celebration for an historical fantasy

It’s Book Review Wednesday, but I’m doing something a bit different: I’m doing a guest post from the amazing Ash Krafton. Take it away!

Ash: Thank you for hosting me on your blog!

As much as we romanticize Victorian times, life was much different back then—and not always in a good way. Due to sickness and undeveloped medical treatments, many children never had the opportunity to grow up. It is no wonder that birthdays were enthusiastically celebrated—each new year in a child’s life was truly a blessing. A birthday was another year’s victory over Death.

And Death was a huge preoccupation for Senza Fyne, the young Victorian woman whose dark tale is spun in THE HEARTBEAT THIEF. Her seventeenth birthday marked her debut into society…but it did not leave the fear of early death behind. Now of an age to marry, Senza’s mother constantly reminded her that she needed to find her mate before her beauty withered and faded, before her chances of an advantageous marriage was lost.
Senza didn’t want to be set out like wares at a market. She wanted a love-match—but that was one luxury a girl of even her station could not afford. She was trapped in a losing game, each passing day another hand won by Death.
Until she met Mr. Knell, the mysterious man who promised her an escape from all of her worries.
When Senza Fyne makes her dark deal with Mr. Knell, she is freed from the ravages of time and death, and her gives her a special present, a locket in which she must store heartbeats. “A gift on your Unbirthing day,” he said.
And when more than one hundred fifty years, that day was the only day that she remembered. Unbirthdays were remarkable things.

Throughout her long life, Senza forgot to celebrate her actual birthday. Perhaps immortality lessens the importance of another year’s victory over death.
Whom would she have invited, when the loves of family and childhood friends had faded into the past? The world had become a sea of nameless faces, images flickering on a distant screen. Everyone around her would wilt like flowers in late summer, grown brittle in autumn’s chilling wind, and disappear beneath the final snows of eternal winter.
Were there a cake served, a light fluffy delicate creation of sweetness and fruit and frosting, would someone have baked traditional trinkets into it? Would her slice hold the lucky coin? Or would she find a thimble, the harbinger of a life spent alone, unmarried?
And what gift would Knell give her, when he had already stolen her life? His locket hung heavy with memory, with regret, with the pilfered beats of men and women who each lived out their lives in natural order.
No. Mark the day, she would. Remember it, she was thus compelled. But no party. No celebration. Celebrations were for the living.

How dreary! Sometimes my heart aches for Senza Fyne, who, much like the narrator of Poe’s “The Raven” is constantly seeking companionship and release from loneliness. The tapping on her chamber door always yields an empty hall. No one there, and an eternity of it.
Let us give Senza a respite from her fate, and remember her book’s birthday—and therefore her Unbirthday—with a much lighter heart. I, for one, will raise a cup of tea and have a slice of cake and cheer the day I “met” one of my all-time favorite characters: Senza Fyne, the Forever Girl, Death’s Immortal Beloved, the Heartbeat Thief.

This week until June 26th, THE HEARTBEAT THIEF ebook will be $0.99!

Find it at any of these retailers:

About the author: Ash Krafton

Ash Krafton writes New Adult speculative fiction under the pen name AJ Krafton. In addition to THE HEARTBEAT THIEF, Ash is also the author of a growing list of poetry, short stories, and urban fantasy novels.
Currently, she’s working on a new series, THE DEMON WHISPERER. First book, CHARM CITY, can be found on Wattpad.com where you can read it free. Find it here: CHARM CITY on Wattpad.com
Find more to love at www.ashkrafton.com

Follow Ash at:


Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Poynter

For today’s creative writing resources post, I’m bringing something that’s not just good for authors, but also for journalists, creative writers, bloggers, and just about EVERYONE else who engages in creative writing.

Poynter is a website aimed at journalists. It provides news articles, training courses, and even job resources to help journalists learn more about the industry overall. I have no idea how good the courses are, but they’re worth considering if you intend to be a journalist.

Source: journalism.missouri.edu

However, the Tips and Tricks section is where I want to direct your attention. It’s filled with gems aimed at better news articles:

But it’s also filled with resources to help novelists, authors, poets, and anyone else who engages in storytelling:

The hundreds of articles on the site are worth reading, and they can help to improve your writing in many ways. For those who want to polish up on the art of being an awesome author, these blog posts are definitely a good resource!

Blog Tour: Love Claimed by Mary Crawford

Donda has seen more than her fair share of tragedy. Between the assaults she suffered as a child, her eating disorder, and addictions she feels like she’s the last person who should get a second chance.
Jaxon has spent years trying to move past his own inner demons. His ex-wife was a junkie who let their young daughter die rather than miss a score. Though he has committed his career to saving lives, he can’t shake the feeling he should have done more back then. When the single mother and doctor finally meet, it seems like fate. A car accident turns a shared glance into a chance at happiness neither one expected or believes they deserve.

Love Claimed by Mary Crawford cover

Becoming a teenaged matchmaker extraordinaire, Donda’s son, Gabriel, is convinced the two are perfect for each other, but they aren’t so sure.

Can the pair get past their troubled histories, self-doubt, and bad experiences to find love at last?

Interview with Mary Crawford

What were you like at school?

I was the quintessential kid in the front row who always had a hand up in the air to answer all the questions. If there was a stereotypical nerd around, it was me.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? 

I would say that the one thing the all the main characters have in common is that they are not the typical perfect characters you  may be used to reading about if you haven’t read a romance novel in a while. They struggle with real life issues like disabilities, body image issues, age and racism.

What genre are your books?

My books are contemporary romance novels and new adult novels. They tend  to run on the clean  and wholesome side.

What draws you to this genre?

All the advice that  I’ve ever seen on writing instructed me to write what I know. Before becoming a writer, I used to read seven hundred books a year. The vast majority of  those books were contemporary romance novels.Put quite simply, I write what I know.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Halle Berry, of course.

Why do you write? 

I became a writer because I was tired of not being able to see characters that looked like me in fiction. Disability is often dismissed or downplayed in novels. Characters are often  portrayed as bitter, angry or helpless. If they are ever to find love, they must be healed by two-thirds of the way through the book. I set out to change those stereotypes.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I had someone who believed that I could do it. That small thing was incredibly powerful. I did not want her to be wrong.

Where do your ideas come from?

Although my family is convinced that all of my novels are about them, I really do make up my characters. The exception to this rule will be my upcoming novel Love Is More Than Skin Deep (A Hidden Hearts Novel #4) which will tackle the topic of skin cancer and is loosely based on the story of Judy Noble Cloud. She has graciously given me permission to fictionalize her story to bring awareness to the topic of the dangers of sun exposure and tanning beds and she is  helping me with the project.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The most difficult thing about writing is that you’re in charge of what happens. You as the author are responsible for the fate of your characters. That’s a big responsibility there are lots of options in the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine which is the best path to take.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

The Hidden Beauty Series started with my first novel Until the Stars Fall from the Sky (which everyone can read for free), and just flowed naturally from there. It started with  the follow-up stories featuring the best friends of the main characters and grew from there. Love Claimed is the sixth novel in the series. I have at least four more planned.



Mary Crawford is a Civil Rights Attorney from Oregon who has been an avid bookworm since discovering books by Judy Blume in the sixth grade. Ms. Crawford writes contemporary romance novels with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authormarycrawford

Website:  MaryCrawfordAuthor.com

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/MaryCrawfordAut


Visit the other blogs on this tour to find out more. There is an author interview, new teasers, and several book reviews.

Blog tour Blogs:

Lavern Winters: Peachy’s Insights –  https://peachysinsights.wordpress.com/

Rainne Atkins: Just Books – http://rainnes.blogspot.co.uk/

Kristin Bowers: I don’t Get Sundays  – www.idontgetsundays.blogspot.com

Paul White: Ramblings from a Writers Mind – https://ramblingsfromawritersmind.wordpress.com/

Jessica Wren:  Jessica Wren Fiction – jessicawrenfiction.com

Sahara Foley:  Readers’ Junction –  saharafoley.com

Mistral Dawn:  Mistral Dawns Musings – http://mistralkdawn.blogspot.com/p/interviews-on-my-blog.html


Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Google Calendar

“How is a calendar an important resource for creative writing?” you may ask. To quote the great G.R.R. Martin:

“Oh, my sweet summer child.”

Google Calendar is pretty much the same as any other calendar on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. However, what makes it my best friend is the fact that it sends notifications to my Gmail. I always have my Gmail window open, so I receive those emails instantly. It’s the best way to ensure I NEVER forget about anything again.

Here are just a few of the notifications I’ve set for the next month or so:

June 13th: Pit2Pub — This is a Twitter pitching event (find it here) similar to PitMad and PitDark. Basically, it’s a chance for me to showcase my work on Twitter to publishers and agents. Definitely an opportunity a writer like me wants to take advantage of!

June 14th: Write Email List about Book 2 release — Seeing as I’m setting up the release of the second book in The Last Bucelarii series, I need this reminder to send out the email to everyone who will be participating in the book launch. I definitely want to do it well in advance of the August launch date, hence the reminder to do it this week.

June 17th: Send out Email Newsletter — This is an important monthly task, one I usually forget to do. Thankfully, with the notification set on the 17th of every month, I can stop worrying about whether or not I did it.

June 22nd: Attend La Jolla Writers’ Conference? — This is a San Diego-based writer’s conference that takes place near the end of the year. I’ve marked this down so I can remember to research it and make the decision of whether or not to go.

June 29th: Pay for a BookBub promo for Blade of the Destroyer — I plan to run a freebie for Blade of the Destroyer on the weekend that I launch Book 2. If I run a promo with BookBub, it can seriously improve the visibility of Book 2. By doing the research/submission now, I can guarantee a BookBub spot!

July 1st: Back Up Writing — Every two weeks, I have this notification to remind me to upload my work to my Google Drive. My greatest fear is that my computer will crash and I will lose all the work I’ve done. Hence, this bi-weekly reminder.

See how handy it can be? All I have to do is add these reminders to the calendar and never worry about them again. I’ll get the notification in my email, and I will do them when the time comes. A VERY handy resource indeed!




Which Fig Do You Choose?

The other day, I ran into this AMAZING Sylvia Plath quote, from the book The Bell Jar:

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.

One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Mind. Blown! Such a simple way to describe the choices we make in our lives.


It’s amazing how many choices are made for us as a result of our circumstances. Perhaps our parents’ professions push us to make a certain career choice while in high school/college, and our education leads us down one path. By the time we’re in our 30s, 40s, and 50s, we’ve gone so far down that specific path that there’s no turning back. A lot of the choices were made for us, and yet we had the chance to make choices for ourselves. Often, we ended up NOT making choices, simply because–like the figs–there were so many to choose from.

All those figs look so good, and they each have their own unique attraction. We stare at them all, wishing we could choose them all. But we can’t. We have to pluck one fig, and that’s the ONLY one we get.

“What if I choose the wrong one?” A question all of us ponder at some point in our lives. More often than not, we make a choice that could be “wrong”. All we can do is learn from the choice, adjust our course, and try to make the “right” choice next time.

But worse than making the wrong choice is making no choice at all! If you try to cling to too many “figs”, they will all wrinkle, go black, and fall to the ground at your feet.

To paraphrase another Sylvia Plath quote:

“You can never read all the books you want. You can never be all the people you want and love all the lives you want. You can never train yourself in all the skills you want.”

That means you have to make a choice. Why not make it sooner rather than later? Look at all the figs on the tree and decide which one is the one you want most of all. Once you’ve made the choice, never look back!

HE cover web

Book Review: Hidden Elements by Michael Bolan

It’s Book Review Wednesday, and I’m pleased as punch to bring you the Book 2 in the Devil’s Bible Series. The first book, Sons of Brabant, was one of the very first books I gave a 5-star rating to, and the second book in the series is a worthy successor indeed!

Hidden Elements

It is 1646 and the Thirty Years’ War is raging. While Europe teeters on the brink of annihilation, the mysterious cabal known only as The Rapture enters the final apocalyptic stage of their plan to bring about the Second Coming of Christ.

HE cover web

Only the Sons of Brabant, and their bawdy Irish allies, have the skill and daring to stop them. But first, the companions part ways, each seeking a piece of the puzzle that has set Europe aflame. For they must gather and destroy the Seals of the Devil’s Bible before the Rapture can unleash their cataclysmic force. Whoever holds the Seals controls the future of the planet…

Can Willem, Isabella and Leo put an end to their brother’s madness, or will Reinald achieve his perverted goal, destroying mankind in the process?

My Review: 4.5 Stars

One of the things I loved about the first book was the fact that it was mostly military fiction, with the emphasis on the military tactics used in the skirmishes/battles of the Sons of Brabant. In this book, there is just one or two small battles, so the story was missing the military element that made the first book so enjoyable.

There is a bit more romantic drama than the first book. There is nothing wrong with it, but I just felt that some of it detracted from the awesome action of the story. It could have focused on the sibling relationship without introducing a love interest for the female protagonist. For many readers, it will be something they enjoy A LOT, but those scenes lost my interest.

As for the rest, the story was AWESOME. It went from military fiction to more of a classic fantasy adventure–a search for the Four Seals that was incredibly creative. The story was very well-written and absolutely enjoyable. The added characters of the Irish Fianna warriors made it so much better, as it gave us more people to focus on than the three siblings. On the flip side, it did detract from what I thought was the core element of the book: the relationship between the two brothers and their sister.

Action scenes: awesome. Historic elements: awesome. Intellectual/philosophical discussions: awesome. Character development: good. Description of settings and locations: awesome.

All in all, an EXCELLENT book!

Here’s a Taste:

The noise woke the entire household. Part wail, part bellow, it was a bestial sound, a sound of searing agony. It echoed for several long minutes through the long corridors of the luxurious manor house, more palace than hunting lodge, until servant and master alike were left cowering, convinced that the End of Days was truly upon them. Such was the fear engendered by the screams that not a soul moved to investigate their source.

The hellish noise disappeared as suddenly as it had started and Reinald, Duke of Brabant, opened his eyes to find that he hadn’t been transported to some nether hell; his chamber was exactly as it had been when he had retired the previous evening. Staggering to his feet, he lifted the water basin from the nightstand and upended it over his head. The cool water helped bring him back to his senses and he stood up, shaking his long chestnut hair back out of his eyes.

He did not stop to dress, but rushed out into the corridor in his underclothes, pausing only to grab his pistol and beltknife. The ornately-panelled hallway was silent, thick carpets soft under his feet as he ran towards Janssens’ room. Thinking that such a noise could only be divinely, or infernally, inspired, the God-touched priest was likely involved. His frantic pounding on the door was met with silence, so with a strength born of desperation, he kicked open the door and rushed into the cleric’s chambers.

The room was a mess, as if a wild beast had been loosed. Furniture was scratched and broken, lamps lay toppled, their oil seeping into the expensive carpets. The bedsheets were strewn across the floor. On the bed, Corneille Janssens lay flat on his back, unmoving, his mouth frozen in a deathly rictus. His eyes stared fixatedly towards the ceiling, or rather they would have done, had they still been in his head. Instead, his eye sockets were two pools of blood, rivulets of which trickled down the cleric’s cheeks onto the bed. Reinald stopped still, stunned by the violence of the scene.

As he moved closer to the prone visionary, he fell to his knees and retched the meagre contents of his stomach. For clutched firmly in each of the cleric’s bloodied hands was an unseeing eyeball.

About the Author:

It took Michael Bolan over two decades of running in the corporate ratrace to realise that all he actually did was tell stories.

There was no Damascene revelation for Bolan which caused him to pen his first work of fiction, “The Sons of Brabant”. An avid reader, he simply felt that he could do as good a job as many of the authors he read and decided to put his money where his mouth was.

Living and working in many countries left him with smatterings of a dozen languages and their stories, and his love for history focused his ideas on the Thirty Years War, the most destructive conflict that the continent has ever seen.

Now living in Prague (for the second time), Michael brings alive the twisted alleys of the 17th century and recreates the brooding darkness of a fractured Europe, where no-one was entirely sure who was fighting whom.

Michael writes while liberally soused in gin, a testament to Franz de le Boë, who was mixing oil of juniper with neat spirit while the thirty Years War raged around him.

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Elements-Book-Devils-Bible-ebook/dp/B017G6WPJO

Read Michael’s thoughts on his website: www.michaelbolan.org

Connect with him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Michael-Bolan-1492561597687012/

Tweet at him: @michaelbolan225



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Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Emotion Thesaurus

One of my greatest challenges in creative writing is finding new and unique ways to express things that EVERY other writer is trying to communicate. Every character in our books has emotions, and there are only so many ways to express those emotions right?

For example, let’s say the Hunter (from The Last Bucelarii series) is angry–which he often is. There are only so many ways to express his anger:

  • Frown
  • Clenched jaw or fists
  • Rush of blood
  • Heat rising
  • Nostrils flaring
  • Cracking knuckles
  • Shouting
  • and so on…

But, if the Hunter gets mad a few dozen times per book (which he does–anger issues, anyone?), these descriptors are going to get very old very quickly. So how can I find more clever and original ways to describe the emotions?

Enter the Emotion Thesaurus!

This glorious work, created by Angela Ackerman of Writers Helping Writers, is chock-a-block full of body language, visual cues, visceral reactions, and words to describe the emotions your characters are feeling. It is a literal A to Z of every possible emotion and tips on how to write them without sounding boring and repetitive.

Here’s the book description:

“One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each.

Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them.

This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project. ”

I paid a $4.99 for the book, and it’s been sitting on my iPad Kindle app for a week or so. I’ve already referred to it a half-dozen times in my writing, and I have no doubt I’ll use it VERY often as I continue to write my characters.

Sure, some of the emotions may never arise as I write the character of the Hunter. His emotional immaturity means his range of feelings and emotions are pretty limited (part of what makes him human–well, HALF human). But, as I write many more books with many more characters, I have no doubt I will get to tap into all 75 of the emotions listed in the pages.

Worth the $5? ABSOLUTELY!

Find the book on Amazon and buy it now. It will help you to be a better writer when it comes to emotions.

Bonus: The Emotions Amplifiers book (find it on Amazon) is FREE for Kindle. This book explains the 15 states (i.e.; boredom, pain, hunger, illness, etc.) that can amplify the emotions of your characters. Definitely a handy addition the Emotions Thesaurus!

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