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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Guest Post from author of the recent memoir: Shining Brightly by Howard Brown


by Howard Brown


GENRE:  Memoir






In Shining Brightly, Silicon Valley pioneer, cancer survivor and interfaith peacemaker Howard Brown shares keys to resilience for successful entrepreneurs, patient advocates and community leaders. He shows us how to reach out through our families, our communities and around the world to form truly supportive connections and friendships. From Howard’s career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, to his conquering metastatic stage IV cancer twice, to his compassionate outreach as a peacemaker, to his love of sports—this ultimately is not one man’s story. Shining Brightly is a story shared by countless men and women—and may wind up changing your life as well. With each true story he tells in the pages, Howard invites readers to picture how they might join him in shining more light in our world.






    Basketball is a lot more than just a game to me. Basketball is a cerebral sport, a community sport, a sport of relationships, respect, chemistry and teamwork. Each time I have been knocked down by a physical disability, a surgery or a chemo series, one of the goals that gets me out of the bed each morning is getting back onto the court as a milestone in the healing of my mind, body and soul. I’ve had a chemo port installed, neuropathy, chronic diarrhea and the fogginess that I call chemo brain—and I’ve played through all of that. I don’t know too many stage IV cancer patients who’ve kept playing before, during and after treatment.


    It’s hard playing full-court basketball several times a week with all that running, zigging and zagging. It’s even risky. I sometimes worry that a hard hit to the chest might disturb my chemo port. This is simply a part of my healing journey. The blueprint to my own survivorship. Basketball was the light that got me through some of the darkest periods of my life. And that’s the story behind that little photo caption that keeps bouncing around the internet: “I, Howard Brown, Stage IV Colon Cancer and now No Evidence of Disease (NED), celebrate survivorship by going to my happy place: the basketball court!” No, I’m not trying to convince you that you have go out and shoot hoops. Maybe some people will be prompted to get out on the court again after reading this chapter. Most won’t. The whole point of this chapter is to tell you about my “happy place.” We each need to find at least one of those for ourselves. My happy place is anywhere I’m playing with my hoops with my boyz. What’s your happy place?



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Howard Brown is an author, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, interfaith peacemaker, two-time stage IV cancer survivor and healthcare advocate. For more than three decades, Howard’s business innovations, leadership principles, mentoring and his resilience in beating cancer against long odds have made him a sought-after speaker and consultant for businesses, nonprofits, congregations, and community groups. In his business career, Howard was a pioneer in helping to launch a series of technology startups before he co-founded two social networks that were the first to connect religious communities around the world. He served his alma matter—Babson College, ranked by US News as the nation’s top college for entrepreneurship—as a trustee and president of Babson’s worldwide alumni network. His hard-earned wisdom about resilience after beating cancer twice has led him to become a nationally known patient advocate and “cancer whisperer” to many families. Visit Howard at ShiningBrightly.com to learn more about his ongoing work and contact him. Through that website, you also will find resources to help you shine brightly in your own corner of the world. Howard, his wife Lisa and daughter Emily currently reside in Michigan.




Link to buy:

On Amazon

And enter the giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


I asked our author to speak about the process of writing a non fiction memoir.

    My new memoir, Shining Brightly, began as one napkin in a Bob Evan’s restaurant in mid-Michigan during the first luncheon meeting with my editor David Crumm. It was a long lunch and David asked me to simply start telling him “the stories you want to include in this book.”

So, I rattled along, jumping from one memorable experience to another, as David jotted on that napkin. Then, David neatly transferred those notes into more than a dozen single-line story prompts on one page of a legal pad.


   We worked this way because David’s professional background has been many decades as a journalist, coupled with his training over the years in fiction. That’s how he became the founding Editor of Front Edge Publishing in 2007.


   I brought to our lunch table the instincts of a lifelong entrepreneur from my days in Silicon Valley startups to my career in developing social media platforms.

    As we met that first time, David and I both knew that the biggest challenge in writing a book is enticing readers to make it through the first page, then the first chapter and then to keep them going until they reach the end and will recommend the book to others.

    From the start, we were aiming at a best seller. We both understood that this memoir had to develop recurring characters, build suspense, offer some comic relief, reveal some startling stories that people would want to share with others, and move readers with both dialogue and narrative—all the classic tools of good fiction.

    Another exercise we used was a two-hour storyboarding session with David and Celeste Dykas, another editor from David’s publishing house. Celeste hosted this session in the sunroom at her home with comfortable chairs and snacks.

    Each of us had 50 sheets of blank 8 by 11 paper, plus a Sharpee marker.

    David tossed out the one question that afternoon: “If a movie is made of your life, Howard, what scenes would have to be in the final cut of the film?”

    I began: “Oh, we’ve got to include the moment I met my little brother Ian for the first time through Jewish Big Brothers. What happened that day led to such a dramatic result. That part of this story is a Lifetime movie in itself.”

    And: “We’ve got to include my romance with my wife Lisa because that unfolded like a Hallmark movie from the moment we met to our wedding along the Pacific.”

    And: “We’ve got to include how I flew to England to sell George Michael on this new software company for popular music that we were launching. That story has suspense and star power.”

That afternoon, as I told my stories, each one of us could nominate a scene that simply had to be included in the movie of my life. When one of us felt so moved, we wrote a phrase to recall that scene on a sheet of paper and tossed it into a growing pile on the floor between our chairs.

Then, toward the end of the session, we organized all those papers on the floor like a movie storyboard. We were making the first “director’s cut” of my life story.

    That’s how we built the framework for this memoir. All the research and interviews that followed were based on the goals we set in those first sessions.

    So, techniques borrowed from the writing of great fiction—or we might also say the crafting of great feature films—became the pathway toward developing my memoir.

    My mission and the mission of this book has always been to encourage others to shine their light, and share their hope, with others to make this world a little better place.

    That won’t happen unless they actually read the book.

    If they buy a copy, then I know I’ve done my part because I trust this story to inspire readers. Like a good novel, readers will find this book hard to put down.

    And the only remaining question now is:

    So, who will play me in the movie version?

    I’m thinking Kevin Costner or Pierce Brosnan.

    Who knows? Maybe their people can talk to my people about a movie deal.


 Thank you for reading Jerry's Circumlocution where I promote independent authors, toss out a few reviews, wax eloquent occasionally on writing, or shamelessly self promote. 

Speaking of which, if you haven't picked up one of our featured author's works please do so. If so, and looking for more to read, please consider one of mine! And on behalf of all Indie authors including the one highlighted here, we live off of good reviews. Please consider dropping one to help them (and me) out! 

Freckles: The Dark Wizard  Middle Grade Fantasy

Simon is bullied. He also just discovered he is the only kid in school who can conjure a dragon.


 Dystopian Western

Pitch knows three things. This is not his America, someone is trying to hunt him, and he is very good with a gun.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Ack Ack Girl by Chris Karlsen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Chris Karlsen will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Love and War

A country under attack and the story of one woman’s fight to protect England and her heart.

1941. The German war machine has crushed all of Europe-only England holds fast. To force a surrender, the German Luftwaffe bombs cities and villages the length of the country. As the battle rages, Britain is in desperate need to put more pilots in the air.

To free up more men a new unit is formed: The Ack Ack Girls. These special teams of courageous women will now fight in the anti-aircraft stations. Determined to be part of the effort, Ava Armstrong, volunteers for one of the special teams.

Her unit just happens to be located near an RAF airfield teaming with pilots. Sparks fly, and not just from artillery, when Ava crosses paths with Chris Fairfield, a handsome and cocky pilot stationed there. But nothing is easy in time of war, not even love.

Read an Excerpt

London-October 1940

Ava’s blood froze in her veins at the growing roar, or so it felt. Her heart pounded in her ears. The hammering hardly noticeable against the raw fear that filled her as the air raid siren wailed.

Which direction were the planes coming from?

In the basement everyone sat on the floor, their backs pressed to the wall. No one spoke. Everyone held hands. In the flickering lamplight, Penny had grasped Ava’s.

And they waited.

The first explosion sounded from across the river, many blocks away. Ava closed her eyes and whispered, “Thank you.” A wave of guilt hit her. Part of the city was destroyed. Londoners were dying while she gave thanks. But she was grateful.

The ack-ack-ack sound of the anti-aircraft rounds cut the air and joined the warning wail.

Closer now, another barrage of anti-aircraft bursts rang out as the deep rumble from the German planes came their way. Ava and the Gordon family instinctively tightened their grips on each other’s hands.

“Miss us, please miss, please miss...” Ava repeated.

The roar of the Messerschmitts was overhead now. The bombers growled like gigantic, angry bears. Grandma Gordon fingered the imaginary beads of a rosary as she recited a Hail Mary.

At the first whistle of falling bombs, Ava pulled Peaches to her and cradled the trembling dog. Without thinking, she curled her legs up, buried her head between them, and covered her head with her arms.

The worst thunder clap times a million, that’s how Ava remembered the noise just before the bricks crashed around her. It sounded like the end of the world.

In a way it was.

About the Author:

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.

I’m currently working on the Bloodstone Series, which is historical suspense with romantic elements. I’m also writing a world war two romance series, The Love and War series.

My past series include my historical/time travel romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters.

Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and two wild and crazy rescue dogs.


buy links:

Barnes and Noble
YouTube video


My Review:

I would recommend this book for anyone who (1) loves history, especially military history and WWII, (2) anyone who enjoys historical fiction, (3) someone who thrives off the story of the untold hero. I enjoyed seeing the librarian become a female military participant. I was not aware of the Ack-Ack girls so the vivid descriptions and details rose from the read as a character in and of itself around the plot and romance in the story. On occasion the narrative gives more attention to communicating researched details of the Ack-Ack girls and their world than moving plot which might trouble some. For me, the historical portion captured me as much as the narrative and I enjoyed the great amount of research the author did to provide the scene and setting.   

 Thank you for reading Jerry's Circumlocution where I promote independent authors, toss out a few reviews, wax eloquent occasionally on writing, or shamelessly self promote. 

Speaking of which, if you haven't picked up one of our featured author's works please do so. If so, and looking for more to read, please consider one of mine! And on behalf of all Indie authors including the one highlighted here, we live off of good reviews. Please consider dropping one to help them (and me) out! 

Freckles: The Dark Wizard  Middle Grade Fantasy

Simon is bullied. He also just discovered he is the only kid in school who can conjure a dragon.


 Dystopian Western

Pitch knows three things. This is not his America, someone is trying to hunt him, and he is very good with a gun.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotoins. The Literary Lobbyist will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In Improbable MD, Dr. Derek J. Robinson traces his unlikely journey from fishing on the bayous of Louisiana, to an ER and helicopter flight physician in Chicago, to leadership in some of the US’ largest health care organizations.

The grandson of a sharecropper and son of a single mother, Derek grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Shreveport, LA. A graduate of the city’s public schools, he saw first-hand the difference that access to quality education and health care made within his own family. He shares how his dream of being a doctor became a reality, despite the odds, and why he believes mentoring and investing in young people is vital to the health of our nation.

Robinson takes the reader inside the ER, where he has treated victims of gun violence and shares how spilt-second clinical decisions and the trust of his patients, shaped his appreciation for being a doctor, But, even with many years of training, he exposes how it feels to reach the limits of what he can offer patients and even shares the pain and lessons he has learned from the illness and loss of family members. Beyond the walls of the ER, Dr. Robinson explains how we became a business leader in health care and influential voice in boardrooms.

Through sharing his inspirations and tribulations, Dr. Robinson inspires readers to push beyond both self-doubt and external obstacles to pursue their dreams. In telling his story, he shares the roles that faith, friendship, love, and fatherhood have played in his life, and he hopes to motivate readers to chart their own journeys to successful and fulfilling lives.

About the Author:
Derek J. Robinson is a board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine. He is vice president and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a division of Health Care Service Corporation – the nation’s largest non-investor owned health insurance company. In this role, he leads the care management operations division and serves as the company’s primary health care expert.

Dr. Robinson continues to provide clinical care to patients in the ER at the University of Illinois Chicago where he is a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine. His unique perspective on the complexities of healthcare, including his past service as a health care federal regulator, have enabled him to influence the transformation of health care for Americans. He has been featured on WTTW, WMAQ, WLS-TV, BNC, and other news outlets discussing important health care issues and social topics.

A native of Shreveport, LA. Dr. Robinson resides in Chicago, IL with his wife and two sons. When he is not working, he enjoys swimming, cycling, fishing, and spending time outdoors. For more on Derek Robinson and his memoir Improbable MD visit: http://www.DrDerekRobinson.com



 Thank you for reading Jerry's Circumlocution where I promote independent authors, toss out a few reviews, wax eloquent occasionally on writing, or shamelessly self promote. 

Speaking of which, if you haven't picked up one of our featured author's works please do so. If so, and looking for more to read, please consider one of mine! And on behalf of all Indie authors including the one highlighted here, we live off of good reviews. Please consider dropping one to help them (and me) out! 

Freckles: The Dark Wizard  Middle Grade Fantasy

Simon is bullied. He also just discovered he is the only kid in school who can conjure a dragon.


 Dystopian Western

Pitch knows three things. This is not his America, someone is trying to hunt him, and he is very good with a gun.

Or keep an eye out for these other titles!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Locksmith's War


Locksmith's War

The Locksmith Trilogy Book Three

by Paul Briggs




GENRE: YA Sci-fi (Young Adult, Science Fiction_






For Lachlan Smith, learning the secret of the apocalypse was the easy part.


Ever since Locksmith found the portal to the future, he has been wondering who or what was responsible for the empty, uninhabited world he found.


Now he knows—and now he has to fight them.


He thought he had fifteen years in which to prevent the extinction of the human species.


Now, he has only hours.


When the portal is stolen by a cabal of dangerous fanatics, his mother and many of his friends are trapped on the other side. Now the enemy is after him, and the only way to thwart their genocidal plan is to retake the portal and hold it—at both ends.


With very little time left, a handful of allies who don't trust each other, almost no chance of success and the survival of humanity itself at stake… Locksmith is going to war.






Then a shot rang out


Then a shot rang out. Chips of wood fell around her.


Crouching lower, Erin could see where the bullet had gone through the door and the opposite wall. A few seconds ago it would have done the same thing, in spite of her torso being in the way.


And it was too late to pretend she was already dead or wounded, so it was time to get out of the way. She fired back through the door — scary how much easier it was to do that when you couldn’t see who you were shooting at — and then ran for the hall.


Erin turned… and froze in place, one foot poised a few inches above the first stair. The stairs were pieces of wood, neither soundproof nor (as she’d just seen) bulletproof. The moment she set foot on them, the guys directly underneath would know exactly where to shoot, and she would have only the vaguest idea of where to shoot back. There was no way she could make it to the top of the stairs alive.


Oh… and Luther was going to run into the same problem coming down the stairs. Or maybe not. If the portal was indestructible, he could use it as a shield — put it facedown on the stairs and sort of surf on it. On second thought, no. If they fired through the stairs and the bullet went through the portal, it might hit Lock. Luther would have to put it on the stairs face up and stand on the edges.


Either way, Erin had no idea how she was supposed to explain to Luther that his survival now depended on his ability to replicate a stunt from a Lord of the Rings movie.





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


In addition to writing books, Paul Briggs has worked as a newspaper editor, court reporter's assistant, and audio transcriber. In his spare time (when he has any) he sometimes performs in community theater, most recently taking on the roles of Bottom, Petruchio, Macbeth, Rosalind, and Richard III in a Shakespeare compilation. An Eastern Shore native who grew up in Chestertown, Maryland, Paul earned a BA in English from Washington College and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland – College Park.


He is the author of several short plays, including the award-winning The Worst Super Power Ever and The Picture of Health.  He is also writing the sequel to his 2018 science fiction novel Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise, which vividly imagines the dislocations that follow when the Arctic Sea ice finally melts and the Chesapeake Bay is drowned by the effects of climate change.









Amazon Author Page



Amazon Buy Link: 







One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.


Please use this rafflecopter code on your post:






Sunday, September 4, 2022

The Mermaid and the Unicorns Review

See Blog Post Here


The Mermaid and the Unicorns

by L.T. Getty




GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure






Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.


Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.




NOTE: The book is only $0.99.







"You'll see lots as you travel from place to place," Daphne told the small dolphin. "Come, your mother won't forgive me if I let you roam from the pod."


Why hurry? Echor asked as he swam, spinning around different plants and sponges that grew along the rocks, before focusing in on a vibrant snail. It was not a very old reef, though it was well inhabited by many vividly-colored, small fish. The young dolphin seemed to take pleasure in disturbing them and watching them scurry into their small hiding crevices and among the anemones. You're so lucky that you get to stay in your town all the time. This part of the sea is so beautiful!


"I think it would be neat to see so much of the ocean," Daphne said, thinking of her small town of Thranda. Unlike the dolphins, who often travelled long distances in a single day, most merfolk lived in towns unless they left their communities to hunt or travel to another community. She had known members of his family since she was a little mermaid, and only got to see them a few times a year when they passed through her home to feed in a nearby bay. She heard a series of warnings behind her—the other dolphins had detected something with their echolocation. Unless it was something exceptionally large, they should have been safe within the pod, but Echor was very young. "Echor, let's return to your family." The young dolphin had wandered off while Daphne had turned her head, chasing a seal that had left her bob, trying to swim away from Echor.


"Echor!" Daphne called, swimming after him. She caught up to him, then looked over her shoulder as she heard a familiar sound. An orca! Daphne suppressed a shudder. It was large, but far enough away for her to find a hiding space. Still, killer whales almost always travelled in groups. The killer whale dove when he spotted her. She knew the others would want to help, but they were no match for an orca. He swam quickly towards her and Echor. Daphne knew she would be hard pressed to out-swim the large creature.


Hide! the orca told her.


Daphne then saw the immense shadow and wooden keel of a ship following the orca. The killer whale dove deep, though the water was too clear and shallow to truly hide his massive form. A harpoon followed him, missed, and was quickly pulled back to the surface by a rope. Another harpoon plunged into the water, and then another. The rough waters churned green and grey in the ship's wake, and Echor's warning chatter only told her that there was another human vessel. It came from Daphne's left, and it dragged a net behind it.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:


L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.


Amazon (American)


Amazon (Canadian)








Barnes and Noble



Author's Blog







L.T. Getty will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.






It is really two stories, Story one is the tale (tail?) of a mermaid named Daphne. There are glimpses of her life talking with dolphins or cutting hair or sneaking out after dinner to an inactive volcano. As adventurers often do, she gets into trouble and must go ashore (without a tail) to interact with humans. It has echoes of The Little Mermaid from Disney. In my experience this is a great thing. Younger readers love reading well known tropes. It is why there are so many successful series that retell the same story over and over. The first section gives a tween reader an easy entry point.

The second portion sets a quest for a unicorn horn. And, as we learn, unicorns only appear when they want to be seen. Daphne must quest to find one and then confront a wizard very bent on obtaining one himself. In the end, as Siona says, "be careful, Daphne. You are no longer as other mermaids." 

Overall, this is a good book for the tween reader. Elements of fantasy, some well-traveled roads, and some unique twists to keep it interesting. The writing style is simple and clean and accessible to most middle grade readers. I was given a copy as part of a blog tour. The review and opinions are my own.


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to LT. Getty. LT Getty has written the book, The Mermaid and the Unicorns.

First, let me thank you for joining me. I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.


Author Blog:









Buy Links:

Amazon (American)


Amazon (Canadian)








Barnes and Noble




Web site (and any other links you’d like included: Facebook, Twitter, buy pages, etc.):

Title of book we’re promoting:


The Mermaid and the Unicorns

That is great. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?


I was a creative kid from an early age and I wanted to control the way the story went. I shamelessly ripped off bits of stories I liked, but we were the Happy Meal Generation so it was normal to get a toy with the latest movie and a lot of cartoons were commercials for the toys they were selling. I was drawn towards adventure stories and tales of the unknown or exploring places very different than what I knew. I mostly wrote for myself at the beginning, because the sorts of books I enjoyed weren’t always marketed to me.

What led me to writing this particular novel was that my niece was a fledgling reader, and I wanted her to know she has the option to read whatever she wants, or write something if she chooses to, as opposed to what’s an approved market trend.

Bio (tell in first person) and answer question, “What led you to start writing?”

Select which questions below you would like to answer. It is really up to you, though I would encourage a minimum of 4-5. Feel free to do all or some.

Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?


Inspiration comes from everywhere, including where you don’t expect it. When I wrote Tower of Obsidian, I was inspired by playing Shadow of the Colossus on the playstation. That novel, however, did require an absolute ton of research on Ireland and vikings, but I didn’t have to for this one, but I don’t deny I er… stole ideas from other sources.

I live in the Manitoba Praries, but I am not a Horse Girl by any stretch. I do enjoy riding when I have the opportunity, and I’ll be honest I was seriously contemplating an acreage before I bought my current house, but work keeps me busy and I knew that would be a serious commitment. I grew up with a lot of horses, magical and mundane in media, from My Little Pony to She-Ra, and I really wanted to one day tell a story about unicorns. I’ve got a few other projects on the go, but I would like to do a novel featuring a Pegasus sometime soon. I don’t know exactly if there’s a single idea that triggered the story, I think it was the idea of someone forcing a girl to hunt a unicorn, because of the lore associated that Unicorns are drawn towards maidens/innocence.


What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?

I enjoy working out and being active. I enjoy mountain biking and kayaking (usually – haven’t been out on the water so far this year, grrrr) as well as painting and listening to documentaries. I did kendo some time ago and it helped me learn swordplay– I’d love to get back into martial arts when I have more time – but I think I’m mostly a proficient archer. I don’t practice as often as I should, but I think that’s one of the reasons that archers appear so often in my books.


What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

Try to write a story and finish it. Send it into the wild and then write another one. Repeat. Don’t get bummed out, just do your best.

Odds are it’ll be rejected and by the time you get to the fifth project, odds are your craft will have improved and if you’re like me, you’ll want to rewrite something you did earlier because you know that the idea was good, but the skill level wasn’t there.

Odds are, you have good taste but unless you have been writing in some other capacity for some time, your skill level won’t be where you wanted it to be to tell that particular story. It’s easy to get hung up and compare yourself to everyone else, but the best way to improve that skill level is to write and edit that writing.


What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?

In grade 9, my teacher told me that I need to be able to understand my opponent in a debate, because I need to attack what they believe not what I am projecting that they believe. I love stories that feature unreliable narrators, and villains you can understand. Not sympathize with, but understand; that way their motivations are realistic. If I can understand what the person who disagree with me believes in, I can undermind their argument.

This way, I’m really able to get into a character’s head, and not just the main or viewpoint character, either.

Now, a real trick in a debate is to understand a debate and still project what your opponent wants in an unflattering light, but that’s a whole other topic.

Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?

I’m a full time paramedic. More than full time, actually. I used to just write after school, or write when I found time, but between school and work it was when I could find it. Now I usually bring a notebook with me to work, and I work when we have down time. At home, I generally make a plan and hollow out time for writing.

What does literary success look like to you?

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but basically that I created a project and didn’t compromise the integrity of the idea. For me, I wanted to write a story that I would have loved as a child. What stories did I like? Let’s ignore the Edgar Rice Burroughs and be a little more child friendly: The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (read the entire series!). The Song of the Lioness Quartette by Tamora Pierce.

Please tell us about your current release.

The Mermaid and the Unicorns is an older middle grade fantasy adventure aimed at readers around the ages of 10-12.Clearly, some younger readers would be able to read it a little earlier, it has some scary parts but I didn’t want to go very dark.

The story is about a young teenage mermaid who finds herself beached and turned human, and told that in order to go home, she needs to get a unicorn horn. Ultimately the story is about doing the right thing even if it seems that it’s not in your best interest to do so.

Can you read / provide us with a small excerpt? (Optional – under 200 words)

"What song are you going to sing?" One of the other girls working the bakery asked another once the customer's area of the bakery was clean.

"Siren's Lament," Esperanza said. "Are you competing?"

"Nope. I don't like performing. Gonna enter my gooseberry pie in the real contest. My big sister Paula is planning on playing her spoons. She's going to perform Go Ahead and Slap Him, Sally, but I think she should do Pass the Lumberjack's Hat Around. Espy, you're good at singing. Which do you think would be better?"

"Uh, neither," Esperanza said. "We're supposed to be singing beautiful tales of generations gone past, not silly songs and goofy shanties. If Paula wants to throw her chances away at winning the contest..."

Daphne hadn't thought of what song to perform, and so while doing that, she missed the other girl saying she just likes music she can dance to.

"What's Pass the Lumberjack's Hat Around?" she asked Esperanza once the other girl got called to go work the front.

"Possibly the worst song in existence," Esperanza said. "You know how sometimes songs don't make sense? At all?"

"Yeah," Daphne said. "But sometimes, people don't understand the hidden meaning..."

Esperanza arched an eyebrow, cleared her throat, then began to tap her foot before singing,


"Throw the mouses in the skittle

Round and Round a hey diddle-diddle!

Rubes be dark and ducks do quack,

Shall My Lady Love turn back?"


Daphne tried not to laugh. "You just made that up."

"It gets better," Esperanza said, still tapping.


"Round the goose to my captain's ball,

The goat's favourite clover is a free-for-all!

Dirty socks all about the town,

Pass the lumberjack's hat around!"


     Esperanza stopped tapping and made a face. "Fortunately, you need a half-gallon jug filled a third to blow, three people playing the spoons, and two violins to get an idea what it's supposed to sound like. It's also supposed to have a cowbell and a really loud drum, but most people just clang on whatever they find."


What exciting story are you working on next?

I am currently writing a not-quite sequel about the Puppeteers that appeared in this story. I thought it was a little scary and should be cut, but my niece loved it and now wants a duology about the story of the people who were turned into puppets. I follow mostly new characters, but Daphne, Esperanza, and Sean all make a cameo.

I have also signed a the next book in my sword and sorcery series, Rogue Healer, entitled Magus’ Gambit with Champagne Books, and we’re looking at an April release on that title.


Who are your favorite authors?

I think CS Lewis is brilliant – not just his fiction but his non-fiction as well. My favorite of his novels is, “Til we Have Face: A myth retold” which is a retelling of Psyche and Cupid from Psyche’s sister POV.

If you were to ask me, “What’s a good science fiction novel I may not have heard of?” I’d tell you to read “Wildseed” by Octavia E. Butler.



What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I do like to read a lot of small/indie authors, so how about I plug “Shards of Law” by LE Derekson?


What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Hiring a good editor. I wanted to do it earlier but I got talked out of it because people were all over the place with the cost, and to be honest I wasn’t ready until I took the plunge anyway. I found that I had a bit of a rocky road working with editors with Champagne Books, so I figured what I needed was more practice.

What is your writer’s kryptonite?

For me it was worrying if my work was good enough or if everyone would like it.

I learned that not every book is for everyone – and it’s okay if someone doesn’t like my book. It’s not okay for me to not edit and make it as good as I’d like it, but quality doesn’t indicate whether or not someone will like something. There’s brilliantly written books that aren’t for me, and I know when I’m reading the literary equivalent of junk food.

I think the problem stemmed from that I started writing at a young age and people were often very dismissive or thought that I wanted to go for something I wasn’t aiming for. It’s honestly pretty frustrating finding the right mix of supportive and constructive criticism, so it was a bit of a process for me to rebuild my confidence. The other thing I was worried about was employers being concerned I was a writer, so I had to keep my first book on the down low until I was secure in my profession. Feel free to disagree, but I have had to take education off my resume in order to get jobs I was over-qualified for in the past.


What part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?

I took courses and for the most part got decent feedback, so I think learning to write well is difficult for most people. We all speak and think we are communicating clearly, but sometimes we’re kind of ignorant as to how we come across, and especially with the written word you don’t have the benefit of having a brilliant narrator emphasizing words. As said above, learning to work with an editor was also tricky because I’m almost always communicating by email, so there’s a fine line in arguing when it seems like you’re whining when you just really want to make a point.

Honestly, marketing remains one of my biggest challenges. I am a creative person and can easily think outside the box, but marketing seems like you have to be the same as everyone else and throwing out your product to an oversaturated market and most people, if they read, tend to read the same books as everyone else. I think that’s normal though: Most of us watch movies and see the blockbusters; but I’ve seen some fantastic films no one’s heard about and I wonder how and why but, I think that’s the case with almost everything.


Are you involved in any writer groups?

Not a group, no. I find that trying to make a novel that pleases people who don’t like your genre is counter-productive. I have a beta reader, and he and another local writer sell our books together at farmers markets and comic cons in Winnipeg.

For The Mermaid and the Unicorns I gave a rougher draft to my niece and sister and took their feedback. My aunt offered to edit it for me; for the most part her feedback was that I should change the title and make it more appealing to a male audience; I understood her feedback (this is a quest book not a princess one) but I told her I’d do that with other projects.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

I try not to sweat the small stuff, so if you read any of my books and don’t like it: still feel free to leave an online review if you want to. As a general rule I do not respond in any way to reviews, unless everyone agrees about something (let’s say, Lorelei was a little too much as a villain and literally everything else was more threatening than her) then maybe on my own blog I’ll talk about my choices, but your opinion is your opinion.

One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

Add your links here again


Amazon (American)


Amazon (Canadian)








Barnes and Noble



Author of Freckles: The Dark Wizard

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