Category Archives: Author Highlight

Interview: M.T. Wilson

Exciting times! I’m part of a collection of international writers. We have our fourth (count them: 1, 2, 3, 4) anthology being released in two weeks.

This is a collection of fairy tale retellings and adaptations. One of the authors is M.T. Wilson.

M. T. Wilson recently graduated from university, where she studied English Literature with Creative Writing, and now works in marketing. It has been her dream for many years to see her writing published, and she intends to never lose sight of that goal. Although she has branched out into science fiction and experimental literary fiction, her first love was fantasy. Her current main project is a young adult science fiction trilogy, which she hopes to publish in the next few years.

More importantly, you can stalk her on twitter or Facebook. Her website is here.

M.T. has added a retelling of The Glass Coffin (link to an audio version of the Grimm’s story) to the anthology.

Hey, M.T., what inspired you to write this fairytale?


When I decided to take part in the anthology, I knew it didn’t want to retell one of the ‘big’ fairy tales that everyone’s heard of. I wanted to take the opportunity to read some other fairy tales and find something different. After reading The Glass Coffin by the Brothers Grimm, I was captivated by the concept and wanted to take the imagery of the story and apply it to a retelling that twisted the story and made the glass coffin into a different kind of prison.

I agree. I like to see the lesser known fairy tales brought to life. Do you read many original fairy tales?


I haven’t read many original fairy tales and don’t think I could claim to have a favourite, so I’m going to not so subtly avoid answering this question…

Totally, allowed. Was it difficult working with The Glass Coffin in an anthology setting?


Keeping it short! I very rarely write short stories. I much prefer writing novels and building something sustained that I can add lots of layers to. I always find short stories so hard because I get into the story and characters and want to stay with them and could easily get carried away and end up writing a whole novel.

So will you stay with these characters? Or is there another fairytale that you’d like to work on?


I think Beauty and the Beast is an interesting one. There are a lot of ways you could re-tell it, depending how you wanted to depict the ‘beastly’ element, as you could take that concept into lots of different directions, not just physical beastlyness.

But would you still make it a traditional fairytale with the classic happily ever after (HEA) ending? I kind of prefer the non-happily ever after. How about you?


It depends on the story. If a HEA is well crafted and provides a satisfying ending, yes I like it. If it just makes me roll my eyes I find them disappointing endings. But neither do I like an ending which is total disaster and the heroes have failed. Bittersweet endings are probably my favourite, because there is some happiness there but they are more realistic than a totally Happily Ever After.

Does that mean if you had to pick a favorite fairy tale adaption that it wouldn’t be the standard Disney HEA versions?


This is a tough question! When I was a kid I really liked Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, but these days Tangled is one of my favourite Disney movies ever. I also love the Into the Woods film as a mash up of fairy tales.

Fair enough. Ok. So we’ve been part of the Just-Us League for a number of years. Is your main career writing?


No, I work in marketing for the local museums, parks and cemeteries in a nearby town.

Yet, I know you are working on multiple projects. How do you approach your writing?


Plotter all the way. I find if I don’t plan I end up with a half-finished rambling mess of a novel which I will never finished because it’s gone off in such a tangent it feels like I’ll never be able to pull it back from the brink. I at least like to have an idea of where the story is going, the main plot beats and where it’s going to end before I start writing.

What’s the biggest challenge for your writing?


I’ve always found characters and dialogue hard. Plots and settings tend to come to me pretty easily, but I really have to work at my characters to make them really come alive on the page in the way they’re alive in my head!

And what happens when you’ve gone off on a tangent or the characters have tripped you up and the writing stops? What then?


Usually I move on to a different project for a while. I don’t like to sit and force out ideas. Ideas usually come to me randomly, so I just like to bide my time. Things I might try are watching movies or reading books in my genre to stir up some ideas.

I take it that you keep multiple stories going.  Then what projects are you working on?


For the last few years I’ve been working on a young adult science fiction trilogy. I’m in the process of re-drafting the first book and will hopefully be sending that out to agents in the next year or so.

Agents! That’s scary. Do you have strong supports behind your writing journey?


My mum. Whenever I feel doubt about whether I’ll reach my dreams, she’s always there to tell me never to give up.

Speaking of dreams, is there an author that you admire and would like to meet?


J.K.Rowling. I know I know, it’s such an obvious answer that it’s practically a cliché. But I really admire how she faced so many rejections but wrote something that has become such a big part of our culture, unlike any other story world or series of books. I’d just be curious to meet her.

Fair enough. She has made a great success out of her writing. I share that dream.

Ok. Last question: what’s your spirit animal?


A cat. Because I like sleeping and cuddles.

Awesome. Thanks for being on a guest on my blog.

If you want to know more about M.T. Wilson, check out her social media (herehere, and here).

Coming soon, check out the anthology: Of Legend and Lore



Author Highlight: H.T. Lyon

I have another new author lined up. This is part of a series of author interviews. Please check out H.T. Lyon’s website and Twitter.

How much research do you do?

That depends. For hard science fiction I do a lot. If I am trying to describe what life could be like in the near future as we (hopefully) colonise our solar system, then I want it to ring true.

There’s a lot of information available and I learned some amazing stuff. What is most interesting and challenging is when I learn something that invalidates an assumption in my story. Then there’s a little burst of creativity as I work around this. Sometimes I learn amazing stuff that I had never thought of. The immensely abrasive and damaging nature of moon dust came as a surprise and something I needed to take into account. Doing that enriches the story though. For smaller works, I’m less likely to research. Accuracy is less important than the message.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

I do believe that the cover is important. Books are like any other purchase we make. We judge them against other purchases of a similar type. In indie publishing circles, the cover along with the keyword and blurb is probably one of the biggest marketing tools. And for most genres, covers have a look and feel that readers expect. If the cover is too amateurish or has errors, it’s a massive turn off. In fact from what I understand, if you only have the money for one thing, put it into the cover! The web is a visual medium and unless your book takes off on Twitter or something, it will heavily rely on the cover the drag readers in.

How are you publishing this book and why?

I am committed to self-publishing simply because I want to retain the control of my work. That’s very important to me as I am writing to prompt readers to think about the world they live in and I want to make sure that the questions I raise stay strong and aren’t diluted by someone else in the publishing process. A second reason to self-publish is because I don’t want to spend the time and emotional energy going through the traditional publishing process. I prefer to sink that time into more writing. I simply don’t need the validation of having work traditionally published. I have a day job and I’m good at it, I get all the validation I need from that.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

I don’t think I would use a PR agency. Not unless my work really took off. I’d much rather self-market to get a reasonable fan base and work from there. There seems to be a lot of luck in the writing business and, honestly, I don’t think it would pay off. Certainly it would have a lesser return per dollar than a good cover designer or a competent editor.

What advice would you give young readers who want to become authors?

I would say, get started. Write anything. If you like a television series, then write fan fiction but whatever you do get going. The biggest problem is fear of failure because your writing sucks. The secret is that your first draft will always suck and once you learn that, it’s all ok from there. When you do start, get support for your hobby from other writers and NOT from friends and family. Writing is a long process and non-writers don’t understand that drafts are very rough documents.


H.T. Lyon is a aspiring writer of science fiction. A futurist with a keen interest in where our society is heading, he focuses most of his attention on stories that examine the direction our society is taking or that shows where we could end up. Optimistic by nature, he believes that one day we will look to settle the Solar System as we outgrow our planet and some of his stories examine how this could look. Currently, he has a number of novels underway and some short stories. His aim is to get one of these up and published before the end of the year around the other commitments that exist in his life.

Anthology from the JL

I have a story coming up in the JL Anthology.

June 17.

Between Heroes and Villains 3D large.png

What is the difference between a hero and a villain?

A hero should always use their power for good: a detective devotes his life to chasing gifted villains; a girl uses her frost powers to rescue her father; a weary sidekick faces her childhood nemesis; and a young man must protect his loved ones against a tyrannical authority.

But having unique gifts means facing tough decisions: a doctor must choose between saving his reputation or his patient; a young woman saves a drowning man and finds herself in danger as a result; a student discovers the consequences of choice; and a wannabe hero takes on a supervillain hoping she’ll be invited to the hero’s league.

And the line between good and evil is oftentimes blurred: a self-made hero crosses that line to save the world; a lovesick henchman blindly follows his master’s orders; a mentor attempts to prevent a pupil from being drawn to villainy; a superpowered military team questions their orders despite the inevitable consequences.

Follow these men and women as they set out to save themselves, and the world, from the great evils around them.


Author Highlight: Dawn Chapman

April is here again. It’s my birthday month, and I’m celebrating with an author interview.

Dawn BookDawn Chapman is the author of The Secret King Series and Director of TSK Productions Ltd.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

It’s almost full time, even with a full time job. I work 7-3pm in the day as my paying job at the moment, and then from 4pm till 9pm I’m working on TSK’s projects.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

Write what you want to. Don’t always try and please others. Get some beta readers you can trust and work had to keep them. If one person says something is wrong you can ignore it, but if 5 people say it… then think about what they’re saying.

Where is your favorite place to write?

A caravan site in Devon. 🙂 I’ve just come back from a weeks holiday there, the other half goes fishing, and I get to create in peace. Love it.

How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write?

I would much prefer to write early, but if I’m off, I write all day. Sometimes 16 hours a day.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’ve done both, as part of NaNoWriMo. In fact TSK’s first novel was on the fly. I hadn’t planned anything, and one of my TSK fans for the series, said ‘why don’t you try writing their story before they get to Earth’ and that was it, I thought why not, and I wrote my first 50k in the 30 days. The following 84k I wrote up till my birthday on the 13th december, and the rewriting took TSK’s first book to 103k.

Dawn 1

Dawn Chapman has been creating sci fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13 episode Sci Fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.

In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who’s encouraged her away from fast paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.

Where TSK came from.

The Secret King began its journey in 2007 when I broke my hand. I had a dream and that dream became a feature script. I wanted to learn and find likeminded people, so I joined an online writing community, this is where I met one of TSK’s partners Steven Kogan and from that first rough draft of a feature film I began to plot a TV series. I asked Steven if he would like to write inside my world and he accepted, together we penned 13 episodes, and became fast friends over the next few years.

In 2010 I started entering competitions and discovering NaNoWriMo was where I found my second partner, Jaime Bengzon, who also came on board with TSK’s TV series as a character designer. In 2016 we made it official and formed TSK Productions, with the dream of novels, novellas, comics and animation in our sights.

To date the TSK team is 14 strong, and growing. And we just released our first two audioshorts from the series by the talented Holly Adams! –


Visit Dawn on her personal blog – — and —


Check out TSK on the following:

Websites –

Production Website –

Main TSK Website –


Twitter –

Production –



Facebook –

TSK Productions Ltd –

The Secret King Fan Page –


Author Highlight: Corinne Morier

Coming up next in my author interviews is an author from one of my critique and feedback groups. She published her story Mother’s Gift appears in the anthology From the Stories of Old with my own short story Kris and Krampus.

CORINNE MORIER is a bibliophile-turned-writer with a penchant for writing stories that make readers think. In her free time, she enjoys blogging, playing video games, and swimming. Her motto is “Haters gonna hate and potatoes gonna potate.” You can keep up with her latest by following her blog at or following her on Twitter at @cmauthor.

So Corinne, we met through a writing group called Just-Us League. What drew you to the group?beautiful-mermaids-1-free-wallpaper

I first connected with another member of the group, Elise Edmonds, and when she found out I was writing a mermaid novel, she recommended to Kristen, the leader, that I should join, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. And yet even though my entire reason for being friends with them in the first place is because Kristen has to read my mermaid novel, she’s not reading it. I like to say that I joined because of the mermaid novel that Kristen isn’t reading. xD

During your journey as a writer, is there anything you have learned that you would pass on to me and other beginning writers?

Ooh, so many things. I think I’ll keep it succinct and choose two specific ones. One, take your writing seriously. If it’s a hobby, then you just write whenever you have time. But if you want to make a career out of it, write every single day. No questions. Writers write. I have a 9-5 (well, technically, 8-4) job that keeps me really busy and on my feet all day long. I get home and I’m hella tired. But guess what I do when I get home? I change out of my work clothes, brew myself a cup of coffee, and sit my butt down at the computer and write, no matter how tired I am.

Another thing I’d like to share is just general advice. A lot of times in fiction writing books and on websites, other writers will tout rules at you: “Don’t ever use adverbs.” “First person POV doesn’t work.” “Never use a semicolon in dialogue.” But if you try and follow all these rules, you’ll never figure out what’s right for you, because these rules aren’t actually rules at all, just arbitrary guidelines. My favorite saying is “Rules that dictate how to write a novel exist, but no one knows what they are.” So define your own rules and discover your own style as you go.


There seem to be many debates on the best way to approach writing. One of them is the great plotting/pantsing debate. What’s your opinion on this topic?

My opinion is that you have to figure out whatever works best for you. Some people love creating detailed outlines for their novels before sitting down to write. Others prefer “pantsing” (a term used in writing communities to describe someone who sets out to write a novel without knowing how it will end). I find that a mixture of the two works for me. Although I used to let plotting my novels fall by the wayside and just let the story go where it felt right, nowadays I’m more in the middle. I like to write a general one or two sentence summary per chapter of what happens during that chapter. For example “The prince and his father stop for the night, and his father reveals that he fears death.” so that I have a general idea of what will happen during that chapter. And it works a lot better for me than it used to. But then I go off of that one-sentence summary and write the chapter, and sometimes it goes in a different direction from what I had imagined. Like, the major plot-related event during the chapter stays the same, but maybe the way it happens is different. So there isn’t one hard and fast rule of “plotting vs. pantsing.” It’s Plotting is simply a tool, and writers can either use the tool or not, because sometimes a tool just isn’t right for a project.

What’s your current project(s)?

Right now I just finished a round of beta reviews on what I thought was book one of a fantasy trilogy, but those evil, lovely little betas suggested that the story is so complex that it could easily be multiple books. So now book one is getting split into three separate books, and my trilogy has become a quintet. I’m currently working on what is the new book one in this series, which is about a young Prince who loses his father unexpectedly and must finish what his father started, which is to ensure the safety of all his people before they are completely destroyed.

When/where can I look forward to reading your stories?

At this point, the book is still in its first draft. I’m posting it to Scribophile as I write, so Louise, you specifically can read it there, but for anyone else: I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by May of this year and then get it beta-read, professionally edited, etc. after that. I would love to have it finished in time for Christmas, but to be safe, I’m going to say early 2018–March, perhaps.
For more tidbits on Corinne Morier, check her out at:

On her Blog

@ Twitter

Posting on Facebook

Performing on Youtube

Building a library through Goodreads


Author Highlight: J.R. Creaden

I’m headed into the new year, and here’s another new author to follow.

JR 1
J.R. Creaden

I’d like to start with a question about you. What is your favorite movie and why?

I have a favorite movie in every genre, so I don’t know where to begin! My favorite science fiction movie is Serenity, because the characters are rich and well-spoken, and the world is complex and challenging. It isn’t only the film itself that I love, but the story behind the film as well—fans coming together to beg Firefly creators and actors to make the movie.
My all-time favorite children’s film is Disney’s Sword in the Stone. The music, the magic, the iconic voices—I watch it at least once a year with my family.

What are you currently working on and what is it about?

I’m currently working on a YA scifi series; the first book is A New Morse Code. It’s about time travel, the ethics of change, and the power of creativity. The story began on a storyboard I built with my children and grew from there. They wanted: robots, aliens, time travel, a space academy, weird planets, and amazing tech; basically, a cross between Dr. Who, Star Trek, and Harry Potter.

ANMC is set in the 31st century of Earth, a thousand years after space travel became common and humans have allied with other species. One time ship is stranded far from Earth in a region of “dead space”—where all life has long been extinct. The ship’s crew must revive the region to find their way home. I aim to please!

JR Book What goals do you have in mind for Contact Files after publishing?

I want to see this story on a screen so badly that I’ll watch anything that comes close to these ideas. Best case scenario for Contact Files would be its adoption by Star Trek franchise. Worst case is I pitch this locally in Atlanta and follow where that leads, even if it means hiring other writers to see the series through to its end faster. I have nine more books in this series, and I could see the first book alone becoming two seasons. What excites me about transforming the story for screen would be the inclusion of other parallel story lines, voices we don’t hear firsthand until late in the series.

Will you use a PR agency when you publish?

I’d have to, whatever route I go. I’m notorious for sticking my foot in my mouth or word vomiting at strangers. For now, my PR consists of my husband reading over my shoulder and saying, “Don’t send that. Seriously, just close the tab and walk away.”

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Never give in to brain worms. Brain worms might be your family’s opinion of artists, your high school lit teacher’s opinions on “what makes a good story,” or even your inner critic saying, “You’re not smart enough, dedicated enough, talented enough, ambitious enough to write this story.” Don’t let these critics stop you from doing anything you love, and, if you don’t love it, maybe you should stop. Yes, writing is competitive, and it may be foolhardy to expect your story to be a bestseller, but you can’t compete without finishing, and you can’t know you won’t be successful unless you’ve tried.




JR 3JR began her authorial career as a child disgruntled with song lyrics. After some early success with poetry and essays, she spent decades distracted by songwriting and academia until her story dreams became too interesting to keep to myself. A Major Shift, JR’s first novel (rife with first-time novelist problems to solve), may permanently be “under revision,” but her current YA scifi project will soon be ready for public consumption or vivisection. Her goal is to share stories that inspire readers to embrace cultural diversity, the promise of science, and the value of humor and imagination to build a future that’s more Star Trek and less 1984. When she’s not writing, JR enjoys exchanging “your mama” jokes with her children, floating in lakes, and slaying virtual dragons.

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Visit J.R. Creaden online at:

her website: Ever Forward With JR Creaden

Facebook: J.R. Creaden

Twitter: JessCreaden


Author Highlight: Heather Hayden

My featured author this month is Heather Hayden, and her book Upgrade will be released soon.

Because I am excited about the upcoming book, let’s start with the questions.

Your current WIP is called Upgrade. Could you share a bit about it?

Upgrade is the sequel to Augment, a YA science fiction I published in March 2015. The sequel has been long coming, but I’m pleased with how it’s turned out—it’s currently in the last stages of revision. Upgrade continues the adventures of Viki, a teenage girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI who likes to use an avatar of a cat. Here’s the (still rough/in-progress) back cover blurb:

In this sequel to Augment, sixteen-year-old Viki’s uneventful summer ends when she and her AI friend Halle are contacted by a rogue AI called Talbot. A surprise visit from an old adversary soon casts suspicion on the rogue and its intentions, and Viki and Halle find themselves caught up in another investigation—this time, as the investigators.

Viki struggles to balance the investigation, homework, and her social life—the latter renewed by a blossoming friendship with a recent transfer student, Darnell. Meanwhile, Halle is torn between helping a fellow AI and stopping a potentially dangerous fugitive. Several cyborgs are missing from the military laboratory. Talbot denies having anything to do with the theft, but Halle isn’t sure whether to trust the other AI. After all, Talbot was developed to control the cyborgs.

As accusations fly, Halle and Viki search for the truth about Talbot—and in the process, uncover something surprising about Darnell. The truth could destroy Viki’s new friendship and place the entire world in grave danger.

For those who haven’t read Augment, could you tell us something about Viki and Halle? Why does Viki love running so much? Why does Halle choose a cat form, instead of something else?

When she was young, Viki was in a bad accident (it’s never explained exactly what) and she gets implants—two in her legs and one in her brain. It took years of physical therapy before she could run again, so being able to do so reminds her of all the freedom she has now.

Halle likes cats. It admires them for their independence and intelligence. (If Viki’s family was okay with it, the AI would probably adopt several, but unfortunately her mother is allergic to furry animals.) When it was inspired by game avatars to start using one for interacting with Viki, Halle chose the form of a cat. Its coat color does change, usually depending on Halle’s mood, and sometimes just for fun.

You’ve created an in-depth world with a very sophisticated AI. I like how Halle has her own human type personality yet stays detached such as not accepting a gender. Tell me about your process. How do you brainstorm story ideas?

Sometimes I’ll bounce ideas back and forth with my sister—she’s a great sounding board and we can frequently solve a lot of plot holes during a walk. Most of the time, though, an idea just comes to me and I sit down and write it. Inspiration can come from pretty much anywhere—a song, a conversation, a line in a book or movie. I just have to be sure to write the idea down before it flits away again.

So what happens if the idea comes in a dream or while you are driving? Do you wait until you get home and have a computer handy, do you pull out notebooks, do you dictate to your phone? How do you end up writing the ideas down?

Although we have a couple of typewriters floating around, I don’t use them frequently. They’re fun and look cool but you have to type everything up again afterwards! So 99.99% of my writing happens on my laptop, where I keep everything organized and have the internet on hand to look something up if need be (unless, of course, I’m somewhere without internet. Too bad the Cloud from the Augment series doesn’t exist!)

I do have Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I’ve used a few times, but dictation is frustrating when I have to remember to tell it punctuation and it keeps misunderstanding me. And I also write a bit longhand, usually when I don’t have access to a computer and need to get something down before I forget it. My wrists have issues and long periods of longhand make my right one hurt a lot, so I try to avoid that. Keyboards don’t seem to bother me, thankfully!

I personally like the feel of writing a story out longhand. There is something comforting about the motion of writing. When you do write longhand, what’s your favorite kind of pen or pencil to use?

I have a lovely blue ballpoint pen my grandfather made me, which is my current favorite. Someday I’d love to use a fountain pen, though, or even a quill pen, because they look stylish.


KODAK Digital Still Camera

Though a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.