Interview: Author Caroline Gill

Please welcome Author Caroline Gill to THE KATY today!

author's faceHey, Katy, thanks for having me here. A little about myself: I grew up in Coronado, California for the better part of my childhood, surrounded by the ocean on one side and the San Diego Bay on the other. Half of the peninsula is a navy base, so the military has always been around me. As a Navy kid, I felt like I was a part of something bigger. I spent most of middle school reading a book at the beach. And most of high school, reading a book while walking all over the small island. I graduated from UCLA and then from NIU. I live in the redwoods of northern California with my husband, five kids and two tortoises. My days are full.

Find Author Caroline Gill online!


How did you decide to become an author?

I lived in the library after school, spending summers racing through children’s books which led into fantasy novels. I inhaled Anne McCaffery, Robin Hobb, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury. I’ve fallen in love and traveled the world over and over, reading thousands of lives in fantasy and science fiction. I wrote at first in my journals, and then nine years ago, I had a vivid dream. Waking, i wrote for two hours outlining my first novel.

Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

Certainly, Tolkien, Rowling, CS Lewis inspired me to explore new worlds. So did movies like the Lottery, the Sound of Music, the Hunger Games, and True Grit.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I am a big believer in quality. The Internet, Apple and Amazon have changed the way we read, and the amount of writers who can now reach an audience. I published indie because we can.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I generally write a character’s opening based on a dream or a vivid image and then plot the rest of the main points and character intersects.

What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

The chaos of the world around us. I think we all see it, the way our lives are interwoven, the way it could all fall apart. That is part of the fascination, “What would I do…?”

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group has been hands down the most supportive and wonderful group of readers and authors. Through my participation in the anthology Prep For Doom, I met so many talented, wise, and generous people. Those authors were the first I really was able to share my writings with, the first to answer questions when publishing confused me, and the first to be my friends.

How did the idea of flies come to you for your debut novel, “Flying Away?”

I was rocking a child to sleep. It was a beautiful afternoon, no sounds anywhere except right above me in the air: a fly hoovered. And he did not stop. Instead of landing and grooming, he flew in the air above me in some kind of invisible pattern. I wondered what the insect could possibly be doing. And then I realized. Hidden Magic.

Flying Away cover reveal2

Your cover is beautiful! You created it yourself, correct? Are you traditionally an artist as well as an author?

Thank you, so much.Yes, I did create it, drawing each element and composing them together. I am self-taught using photoshop and a wacom tablet. I use each layer of photoshop the same way a traditional printer does. I have always loved drawing women and I feel really lucky that Iolani turned out so perfectly.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

There is a great deal of myself as a child in Lani, a sense of stubborness, a brutal honesty. For sure the characters I have in Flying Away are parts of people I know. Many in fact, I have met in the online world. Sometimes a few interactions in text or chat really distills a personality. One character, Ginny, is based on a friend of mine who is currently fighting cancer. She was in the middle of chemo when I wrote her character into the story. Goodness should be remembered.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

I can’t watch horror. Suspense? Yes. Thrillers? Yes. But not horror. The images, corny though they are, stay in my dreams like black ink on a white sheet.


Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Revise. Share. Edit. Cry. Revise. Publish.

Write every day, even a few sentences. Those are yours. No one can take that from you.Even if my kids have made a fort in the front room and spilled popcorn everywhere, I still have my words, safely tucked away. My own personal pile of ideas and characters that I treasure. Little by little, you can move a mountain.

I made the mistake of publishing a novel in 2012 without hiring an editor. And I had to take it down. You need outside eyes on your baby. Trust someone to help you make your words shine.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Flying Blind, book two of Malcolm and Lani’s story, is in edits and Flying Free, the final book is finished and is on its way. I am madly working on their covers and preparing for a wild year.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am incredibly grateful Katy, to you for your support and listening ear. You always go above and beyond to help others and it makes a difference. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and for all you have done over the last year.

Thanks for joining me today, Caroline! I enjoyed interviewing you and wish you the best as you continue your journey as an author.


Interview with Author Christina L Rozelle

Please welcome Author Christina L Rozelle to THE KATY today!

Check out my review for Soultakers here!


Author Christina L Rozelle! Woo!

Thank you so much for having me, Katy! My name is Christina and I write stories. I’m also mother to a toddler, a teen, and two middles, as well as a Chihuahua from hell. I love chocolate, blueberry Redbull, Daryl Dixon, clouds, and storms, and am entirely obsessed with end-of-the-world scenarios.

Here are my main social media links. (I have a ton, so the rest are listed at the end of the interview)

“The Treemakers” on Amazon:

“The Treemakers” on Audible:

Amazon Author Page:
“The Rozelle Army” Mailing List:


Facebook Profile:

Facebook Author Page:

Twitter: @CLRozelle

Instagram: christina.l.rozelle


How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I started writing poetry when I was 14, and from that point on I knew I wanted to write. But it wasn’t until I saw how enthralled my eleven-year-old was with “The Hunger Games” that my intrigue with YA Fiction was sparked. Before then I had never thought of myself as someone who’d one day write a novel. I was terrible at finishing things. I was a short story, poetry, and prose kind of girl. But my daughter and I started toying with plotlines and scenarios, characters (a group in particular known as shadow animal people… *giggle*), and the bonding this created between us was an amazing experience. I sat down and started writing . . . something. Haha

That story went down in flames fast, but another—“The Butterfly Prophecy”—was born. I finished that dystopian scifi in nine months, and although it wasn’t publishable, many of the themes and some of the characters and settings were transplanted into my third novel, “The Treemakers.” (Emerson and Ms. Ruby were two of my faves from “The Butterfly Prophecy” who were transplanted.)

About halfway through “The Butterfly Prophecy,” my daughter twisted my arm and made me read “The Hunger Games.” I devoured that series in two weeks, and that’s when I knew for a fact—I wanted to write some badass YA Fiction.


Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I finally decided to give up my search for an agent and self-publish The Treemakers last year. I tried a small pub for a couple months recently and decided I prefer doing my own thing. I love the independence, the confidence, and the control being an indie gives me over my own work, my writing career, and my future.

But if someone from the Big Five offers me a ton of money, hell…

*Packs kids and bags*

*Ditches Indie*

Are you a plotter or a panster? 

I once was a complete pantser. I just wrote and hoped it went somewhere good. LOL

I plot now, but considering I’m about to dive into the third book in my series, and my plots tend to be super complex, I kind of have to plot to make sure all loose ends are tied up. But if while writing the story wants to go in a direction that wasn’t plotted, I follow it where it leads me. Those dark alleyways and side roads, I’ve found, are often where the best scenes are hiding.

Interesting factoid about The Treemakers: When writing it for the second time after scrapping the first 100k word story, I had this kind of dark, but still mainly innocent idea of what I wanted it to be when I rewrote it. But it kept wanting to veer off into super dark territory that made me uncomfortable and nervous at first. In hindsight, I see that those are some of my best, most heart-wrenching scenes and the story wouldn’t be complete without them. I was so worried about what others would think at first, but eventually I just said “f*** it. This is the story that wants to be written and I need to honor that . . . And actually, I really don’t have much of a choice if I want to be a happy writer.”

That’s when I learned to walk the fine line between plotting and pantsing.


What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

The light in the dark, the mystery, the adventure, the coming together of strangers to become unlikely families, and so much more . . . When society crumbles, the ‘weak’ can become strong, while the ‘strong’ can collapse. Everyday people become heroes. Our slate is wiped clean and we are all on an even playing field of sorts. Now we get to see who we really are. When faced with the bare bones reality of survival of the fittest, people change. They are pushed to the limits, to the edge. We get to see if we will fall . . . or fly.

This concept fascinates me. As does the idea of a still world. Everything stops, crashes down, dies. And the strong will rise again to recreate the new world. What will it be like? What will we do? Will we survive? Will the world be a better place? Or will it become a hell like none we could ever even imagine? These questions have spawned a thousand amazing stories.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

I love BOD. It’s honestly the best group on Facebook. I love the camaraderie, the bond we share because of our fascination with all things end-of-days. And zombies. Let’s not forget those guys. 😉

BOD is a place where lovers of the genre, both readers and writers, can hang out and talk dystopia and post-apoc with others who “get it.” And we aren’t being spammed with constant sales posts, so… fist bump to Cheer, ER, and Angie for their superior admin ninja skillz. Love those ladies!

Oh, and their release parties are amazing. And free! Though, IMHO, they should charge because they’re outta this world fun and fab. ❤

May I ask where the inspiration came from to write The Treemakers? It’s such a unique and interesting storyline. 

On October 24, 2013, the Treemakers came to be during a perfect storm of various muses. My children and I lived in a bad neighborhood near these gigantic powerline towers, and I’d always think how they looked like mechanical trees. We had just ended another terrible summer (we live in Texas) where the kids stayed inside to play most days (bad neighborhood, plus heat) so the idea started brewing that summer. These orphan kids were in my head, and they were responsible for building these mechanical trees. They couldn’t go outside because of the bad air and the heat. The world was destroyed. Their lives were full of misery and despair, but they had each other, and their love for one another would pull them through….

In my house during that time we hung pictures of different paradises everywhere, to remind us that there was a better life somewhere, waiting for us. We’d get there one day, but first we had to weather the storm, push through the darkness of poverty and other obstacles to find the light. This was the emotional inspiration for the story, I think.

As far as the characters directly: my Nana was an orphan who was a mother figure to her twin baby sisters, and later she became a foster parent at the orphanage she grew up in. We’d go visit on Thanksgiving and I remember being fascinated with these orphan girls, inspired and in awe of my Nana’s ability to love so much, to feed and care for 10-20 girls on a daily basis, and do so with grace, strength, and nurturing.

And The Treemakers were born…

Another interesting factoid: The first edition cover of The Treemakers was actually a slightly modified version of an original painting by my Nana. (You can win a copy of it, or other cool prizes in my Rafflecopter here:

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

As with all of my characters, they just kind of hop into my head and say “okay, it’s my turn now.” So far I’ve only based one character off of an actual person, but I can’t tell you who it is because it’s a character from book two, which some of you have yet to read. 😉

I think my characters are a montage of everyone I’ve ever met in my life. Different qualities, traits, quirks, looks, habits, etc., originated from someone, somewhere in my life, but they flesh into their very own special beings in my head, becoming their own unique selves.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch? 

I’ve always had a hard time with anything historical. For me, it’s a snooze-fest. I prefer speculative/future/scifi/fantasy because the possibilities are endless and my imagination can run wild. I’m honestly quite hard to appease, as far as books are concerned. The books I like most are well-written in first person present, and yank me into the story by my heartstrings against my will. If a story does this, I don’t care what genre it is.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

#1. Go to that place inside you which scares you the most, set up a little desk for your laptop, and write your heart out from there. Write things that scare you. Make yourself laugh, cry, get angry—whatever. Just make sure you are feeling whatever you’re writing. If you aren’t feeling anything the reader won’t either.

#2. Get an amazing editor. I hear all the time “I can’t afford one.” And to those of you I say “How bad do you want this thing?” If you want to be a successful author you HAVE TO HAVE AN EDITOR. Sure, there may be what others perceive as exceptions to this rule. Maybe they are very clean and superior word-slingers. But I promise you they’d be twice as successful if they had an editor who helped them polish their writing and cultivate their craft.

#3. Quit making excuses. If you love something you make time for it, and you make a way for it.

P.S. Kimberly Grenfell (my editor) is amazing. Her prices are beyond reasonable and she’ll work with you on payment plans, if needed. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without her. No doubt in my mind about that. Here’s her FB link. Feel free to shoot her a friend request and a message. She’s super sweet, too.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I’ll be busting my butt on the third and final book in the Treemakers Trilogy for the next year. Other than that, though, I’m constantly taking notes for new stories. So far I have 16 files on my computer of stories spanning a wide variety of speculative fiction—and other—genres. What will I write next?? I haven’t quite decided yet. Guess you’ll have to stick around and find out!

Pink eye skull ASITDP

Anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank everyone who is reading this, and those who have read my work and shown their love and encouragement by sharing and reviewing, and saying such beautiful, uplifting things. Knowing people enjoy reading what I write means the world to me, and helps to push me forward every day.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Christina! 

Thank YOU for inviting me to be here, Katy! I appreciate it so much, you’re a sweetheart, and I love that you are such a supporter of the indie author community.

More links:


The Treemakers on ifList:


A Spark in the Dark Blog:

A Spark in the Dark Facebook Page:

The Fansite of Christina L. Rozelle:




BOD ZOMBIE BLOG CRAWL INTERVIEW: Authors Heath Stallcup and JJ Beal


Please welcome Authors Heath and Jessie Stallcup(JJ BEAL) to THE KATY blog today!


heathstallcupHeath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California and relocated to Tupelo, Oklahoma in his tween years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, SC and Bangor, WA shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University where he obtained BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with his local Sheriff’s Office. He still lives in the small township of Tupelo, Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. He steals time to write between household duties, going to ballgames, being a grandfather to five and being the pet of numerous animals that have taken over his home. Visit him on or for news of his upcoming releases.



jessiestallcupJJ Beal was born and raised in Oklahoma. Having attained BS degrees in Business and Education and a Masters in Library Science, she has served over ten years as an educator. She still lives in southeastern Oklahoma with her family of seven children and five grandchildren. She steals time to write between household duties, going to ballgames, being a grandmother and being the pet of numerous animals that have taken over her home.




How did you decide to become an author?

Heath: Well for me, it was always something I wanted to do but never really took seriously. I started and never finished probably 75 or more ‘great American novel’ projects before my first ‘finished’ work was ever done. I put quotes around finished because it was the first book in the Monster Squad series and the series isn’t done.

Jessie: I’ve always been an avid reader. It’s my escape. Others use television or movies, video games or whatnot. For me, reading was a gift and I enjoyed the gift whenever I could.

After Heath started writing, our girls asked him to be in a story. He had an idea but it didn’t sit well with them. They are avid zombie fans so I thought, I’ll give it a go. Possibly the only people to read it will be my girls and Heath. I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the reviews it has gotten. I’m sure that once I can put more time into writing and follow up with the sequel, I’ll see even more reviews.

Any books, movies, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

Heath: Wow, umm. No, I can’t say that I was inspired by any of that…at least, not in the beginning. What inspired me to write was my missus. She basically challenged me to do it, then teased me relentlessly until I started the project, but like all the others, I walked away from it. It was probably 9 months later that I stumbled upon the file on my computer and re-read it. I thought… “Hmm, this has potential.” And went back to work on it.

Jessie: I think my girls inspired me the most. I know Heath provided a lot of tips and hints and was always very supportive of my effort, but it was for my girls. I really wish my mom could have read it. I think she would have really enjoyed the story.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Heath: I started with a small press out of Oregon. They really got the ball rolling for me. In the beginning, Mark Tufo gave me a LOT of helpful suggestions, but I was so intimidated by the whole process that when I was offered a shot to go with a small press, I jumped on it. I did eventually break away and go full indie. That was more of a financial decision than anything. I know that the stuff I learned from the publishers was invaluable and I still call them with questions every now and then, but I made connections in the world and there are really a lot of good people out there willing to help, share knowledge, even teach you how to do things. Now that I am indie though, I still find myself calling on Mark and Tracy Tufo pretty regularly. Tracy is a marketing genius.

Jessie: I went full indie simply because Heath had paved the way for us. He knew what needed to be done by the time my manuscript was finished and he had all the right connections. I pretty much handed it over to him and let him run with it. I’m glad he had those connections, too because if I had been left to my own devices, I really don’t know if I would have seen it through.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Heath: Definitely a seat of the pants writer. When I break ground on something new, I know the beginning and the ending. Whatever happens in the middle is just as surprising to me as it is to the readers.

Jessie: I’m kind of a hybrid. I have an idea in my head and I know that I want my characters to be at a certain point in the story by a certain depth into the book. I don’t write it down and plot, but I have it in my head. If the lead characters are going to be at Point A in the first third of the book, the rest of the action and dialogue has to match in order for them to reach that point. I still allow the story to develop its own twists and turns along the way, but I have to maintain momentum and remain on pace.

What draws you to writing about zombies in particular (along with other supernatural beings)?

Heath: In the Monster Squad series, there are very few zombie outbreaks and the few that do occur are quickly quashed. I knew that my girls were nuts about zombies so for Caldera I decided to delve into that world for them.  All they had really been exposed to were the slow, shambling Romero type zombies. I wanted to give them something different. The rage-virus fueled zombie. True, they’re still technically human, but ravenous cannibals that never tire. Which, by the way, are the scariest zombie to me. In a Romero Z outbreak, I think my slow, out of shape self might stand a chance. But with FAST zombies?
Nope…I’d be zombie chow.

Jessie: I’d been a fan of zombie stories for some time and noticed a certain lack of Young Adult Zombie stories. Using teens as the lead characters, cut out most of the profanity, innuendos of drugs or sex and the unnecessary violence. Trying to pen a YA zombie story was challenging, but from the reviews LTZ has gotten, I think I’m at least headed in the right direction.

What do you see as a future?

Heath: More writing. I want to branch off into other genres and have actually broken ground on a political thriller that I hope will measure up. I have some very informed and well trusted betas that will let me know if I’ve achieved the mark or not.

Jessie: Just finding time to write would be nice. It seems that even when I do find a few moments, there’s always something else that needs to be done. I actually wanted to hold off on publishing LTZ until I had the sequel penned or at least a major portion of it done. Heath wouldn’t let me. He insisted that we get it out and let people start reading it now.

Are zombies a possibility?

Heath: If you ask my girls, not only is it possible, but it’s how the world will actually end.
As for me? Well, yes. I think it’s a possibility. Either through some natural procedure or man-made chemical warfare or…whatever you want to call it. Especially the rage virus type. I think that’s a lot closer to being the zombies we would see than anything.

Jessie: I remember as a young girl watching the Serpent and the Rainbow. That movie scared me more than anything I had ever seen. Do I think it’s possible? Wasn’t that movie based on a true life story? So, you tell me.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know?

Heath: In my Monster Squad series, most all of the characters are based off somebody I used to know. In Caldera, I did the same thing. I took real people, changed their name, put them into the situation and wrote it. I think it makes it easier to keep your characters separate from each other if you have someone to fall back to…someone they are based on.

Jessie: My story actually is centered around my twin girls and their friends. It was a lot easier to write their stories because I let them each display the traits they already have.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie?

Heath: Wow…um…The Walking Dead is a good one to fall back on.
Mark Tufo, Shawn Chesser, John O’Brien, Joe McKinney, all excellent writers. Those are just the ones off the top of my head. There are others, but I couldn’t begin to list them all.

Jessie: Walking Dead, definitely. We DVR it and can’t wait until we hit the 20 minute mark so we can jump through the commercials. Every episode we swear that there’s less ‘show’ and more commercials. It’s one of the few shows that all of my kids watch. My girls claim that it’s a training video for surviving the ZomPoc!

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Heath: Write what you care about. Don’t try to write to the whims of others. If you write about something that YOU care about, that quality will shine through and you’ll have a better finished product. “If you build it, they will come.” That premise holds true with writing, too. If you produce a quality product, they will find it. Then they will tell others about it.
If you just pump out blah after blah because it’s the ‘in’ thing to write about, it will feel like every other cookie cutter production out there and people will dismiss you.

Jessie: If it’s something you really want to do, don’t let others talk you out of it. Surround yourself with positive people who will help inspire you and uplift your efforts. I’ve heard expressions like, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” To me that means, if you really want it, create the time, create the habit, create the story. Give it your best shot. You’ll never know what you could achieve if you don’t try.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Heath: I’ll soon be releasing Monster Squad 8 – Specters. It closes out the second saga in the Monster Squad series. I’m also working on a political thriller and I have either the first in a new series or I may just let it be a stand alone book about a Vampire Hunter. Of course, I’m working on the sequel to Caldera. And a King-ish type story about a fellow who can see the sins of others. It’s getting a bit darker than I am usually comfortable with, but, I might tone it down a bit.

Jessie: Oh heavens…I have started the sequel to Lions & Tigers & Zombies, but with my work schedule, it will have to wait until after the holidays before I can put any real effort into it. Being the music director for Pre-K through 12 and with the Christmas season quickly approaching, I have no time to spare.

Please tell us about your donation to the giveaway!

Heath: I figured an autographed copy of Caldera would be fitting.

Jessie: I’m offering up an e-book copy of LTZ to a winner in the Continental US.

We are excited to hear about it! Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

Heath: I’m going to be that grumpy old man who sits on his porch and yells at kids to ‘Stay off my lawn!”
Actually…I’m that every day. The only difference with Halloween is, as they’re running away, I’ll throw candy at them instead of rocks.

Jessie: I don’t dress up for Halloween any more. I have more fun taking the grandbabies around to Trick or Treat.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Heath and Jessie!

Heath: Thanks for having us.
Thank you!


Check out my main post for the band of dystopian zombie blog crawl HERE (including the giveaway)!

Please welcome Author P Mark DeBryan to THE KATY blog today!

Picture1Hello all, I have always been a bit of a vagabond. Born in Washington, raised in California. I joined the Coast Guard after high school. During my Coast Guard career I was an Admiral’s driver in San Francisco, a deckhand on a 378’ cutter in the Bering Sea, and an Aviation Electrician in North Carolina, Texas and Southern Florida.  After I left the Coast Guard I worked security, first guarding MX nuclear missiles, then at a nuclear power plant in California. Eventually I went to college in Wisconsin, only to drop out after meeting my future wife. I went on to finish college at 36 and own a Miracle Ear franchise. I went into publishing for a short time before becoming an Information Systems Specialist. I currently split my time between West (by God) Virginia and Surfside Beach, SC.

Find author p mark debryan online


His website

His blog


How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I have always been a voracious reader, and once I read Stephen King’s “The Stand” I was hooked on post-apocalyptic genre. I read everything I could get my hands on. Back when King’s book came out there wasn’t a lot of it, so I exhausted most of what I could find. Just recently I began reading some Dystopian and Zombie Apocalypse books and found an author I really liked. John O’Brien wrote a series that really gripped me and I friended him on Facebook. Sometime later he ran a contest of sorts. He asked his fans to write a short story in his world… long story short (story haha) he chose my story “In For A Dollar In For A Dime” to publish along with three other fan stories and a bunch of his own in his book “Untold Stories”. He then graciously allowed me to take the short story and expand it to a full length novel. That was the birth of Family Reunion and that’s how I became an author.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I am self-published, but that is kind of deceiving. Very few people do it all by themselves. John gave me my start, and one of the other fan authors has since become a good friend and awesome editor and writer in her own right. That would be Sara Jones who runs Torchbearer Editing Services. There are many others that had a hand in bringing Family Reunion to fruition, but technically I am self-published.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I would have to say I am a little of both. I start out with a plan and then the characters jump in and drag me around by the seat of my pants.


What draws you to writing about zombies or the apocalypse in particular?

As I said earlier, it was a combination of several different circumstances that led me to write in this genre. My love of reading, Stephen King, and eventually John O’Brien was the impetus that got me going. I think the Zombies, or in my case “Freaks”, and the apocalypse are not the main focus of the story. They are something the characters have to deal with and that lend to the book’s excitement and tension, but hope and human relationships are really what any good story is about.

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

Anything is possible. As a species we are always thinking of ways to destroy ourselves… lol.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

Write what you know, is what I was told. So, yes I draw heavily from my past and that of those around me. If you read the book and still wonder, give me a call.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? Which one and why?

Wow, do you have about a month? We could go on and on… O’Brien, McKinney, Christy, Rosamilia, Chesser, Tufo, are all authors in the genre that I love and that doesn’t even start to crack the file on books for me. Movies have all fallen in the so-so category except for the classic, Night of the living Dead, has to be at the top of almost everybody’s list. World War Z was good, but after the book it kind of left me wishing they could have followed the story closer. I am always a reader verses a watcher.

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Sit down and write! Get it from your head and onto the paper, or computer. (backupbackupbackup). Then find a competent editor. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it is imperative! It will cost you, but there are so many badly edited books out there today that no one will read past the second page if it is full of typos and grammatical errors. Have several people (not related) read it and give you their opinions. Don’t give up! Writing is fun, but being an author is work.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I have been working full time on promoting Family Reunion since it released, but I have already started a second book to follow on with the same characters… the ones that made it.

Please tell us about your donation to the giveaway! We are excited to hear about it.

Well, there are several things that I plan on adding to the pot of goodies. To start with, a signed copy of Family Reunion with a signed bookmark. Both of which were designed by Justin McCormick and how about an 11×17 signed poster that is a reproduction of the book’s cover, with a copy of the ebook?


Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

A writer… lol! I have a book signing on All Hallows Eve. I might go as a character from the book, haven’t decided, but carrying an AR-15 around might not be a great idea.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Author P Mark DeBryan!

No, thank you! It has been my pleasure.


If you missed my BIG ZOMBIE CRAWL giveaway post click here!

Today, we welcome Author Emily Shore to THE KATY!

Author Bio:

bestheadshotEmily Shore has enjoyed writing books since she was very young. With time, her passion only increased and drew her to earn a B.A. in Creative Writing from Metro State University. Since graduating in ’09, she’s penned seventeen books. She is represented by Allison Singer of ZSH Literary out of New York and Boston for her anti-sex trafficking dystopia due to ship out to publishers soon! Emily writes full time and is a stay-at-home mother to precious toddler, Emmy. In her free time, she enjoys baking, acrylic painting, interior decorating, scrapbooking, campaigning against sex trafficking, and spending time with all her gorgeous nieces!



CHeck out Emily’s post for the BOD ZOmbie Crawl ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE, complete with amazing giveaway!


How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I don’t think I really chose. Ever since I learned to read, I started to write. I never could write short stories very well. From the beginning, it was always long fiction. From Boxcar and Nancy Drew type books to epic fantasies (i.e. thank you, Lord of the Rings) in high school to paranormal series in college, I have always felt drawn to long fiction and specifically the YA market. When working at Barnes and Noble, my favorite thing to do was recommend books for teenagers and tell them about my books. I love connecting with YA audiences and influencing the next generation, particularly females, to be stronger and more empowered.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I actually was a victim of self publishing once upon a time. Years ago, I signed with a marketing agent who I believed was a professionally literary agent. Turns out he only did the literary agent gig on the side. After pressuring me into self publishing two of my beloved paranormal works and having a failed turn around, I ended my contract, removed my books as quickly as I could, and rewrote one from scratch. It is all the more improved from that re-write, and I took the few reviews I received from it to better the work. It was a lesson on my journey as a writer, and I’m glad it happened since I started focusing on my anti-trafficking dystopia, The Menagerie, which is now signed with Zachary Shuster and Harmsworth.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Depends on the book. I’ve written seventeen of them after all. One I researched plot outlines in depth and spent hours at a coffee shop until I’d hashed out the entire plot. Others, I begin with an idea and go with the flow like my Greek mythology meets Modern Day inspired by a fanart picture online or my Sci Fi/Alternate Universe novel crafted from a dream sequence.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

I think most of my characters have bits and pieces of me in them. Some more than others. The Menagerie book has a good amount of ‘me’ in my main character. My Roseblood, vampire book’s MC is very much based off of me and my family and those in my inner circle. Only a couple characters I’ve written aren’t like me at all.

What draws you to writing Dystopian literature?

Initially, I got my feet very wet with dystopia during the Hunger Games craze. My first dystopia was a total flop in my opinion (though it has since become seed ground for a new idea). My second dystopia became The Menagerie, but that has been a work in progress for the past five years. It has gone through a fierce evolution but all has revolved around one question: What would the world look like if prostitution were legalized across the board? That gave birth to a host of images – ones involving museums where girls are displayed as living art. And The Menagerie’s world came to life from those images.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

I love this group. I came upon it by happenstance. I enjoy the support authors give each other. I found one of my all time favorite indie authors through this group, and I can’t imagine my reading life without her *cough Lauren Taylor cough* It’s encouraging to see all the work that goes into this group with the many posts and threads and little contests. And of course sharing photos and quizzes is always a plus.

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

I tend to see terrorism domination more of a likely scenario, possibly a police state, or even a new Civil War based off racism, but I don’t experiment in those when it comes to writing. They terrify me. I’ve written three zombie series, but I don’t dabble too much in current events leading to an apocalypse.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? Which one and why?

Favorite zombie book: The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I love Carrie Ryan’s symbolic-style writing, the vividness of her world, and the coming of age struggle of her characters. Favorite movie: The Returned. Probably the most creative zombie film I’ve ever seen-based in a dystopia type of society as well!

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Get involved in contests as much as you can. If you can’t afford to hire an editor (like me), then enter as many Twitter pitch contests as possible where editors and agents are prowling to find new authors. This is how I was chosen by my fabulous freelance editor, Kate Angelella formerly of Simon and Schuster, who selected me from 2000 other candidates for The Menagerie, and I will always be indebted to her. Trust me, editors know what they’re talking about! Their input is priceless, more valuable than gold! I can’t imagine my book without my editor’s experienced hand.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Just be on the lookout for Menagerie news and any upcoming book deals because we are sending out to publishers soon! And Rick Richter’s name will be attached to the project. He represented some little known titles oh *scratches head* trying to remember…oh that’s right! The Mortal Instruments Series, The Uglies, and The Spiderwick Chronicles to name a few. He also happens to be the former President of Simon and Schuster, so it’s pretty doggone amazing that he’s reading my book and offering his support!

Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

Actually, my family doesn’t do Halloween, we just spend the evening away from the house going on a family date. But if I were to dress up, my husband and I would go as Westley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride. Or I’d go alone as Rapunzel, my favorite Disney Princess.

Thank you for stopping by THE KATY today, Emily!


z crawl schedule

Zombie Crawl 2 – Blog Party

October 22 – 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don’t miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 – Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 23 – Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)

OCTOBER 24 – Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)

OCTOBER 25 – Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)

OCTOBER 26 – Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (blog)

OCTOBER 29 – Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)

OCTOBER 31 – Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!

Author Spotlight with Ann Christy

Please join me in welcoming Ann Christy for the author spotlight on THE KATY today!

Ann is an awesome writer of such novels as Strikers, The Between Life and Death Series, and many short stories in many wonderful anthologies.

(Check out a few of my reviews of Ann’s books here!)

Thank you for joining me today, Ann!

annchristyAUTHOR BIO

Ann Christy is a recently retired Navy Commander and secret science-fiction writer. She lives by the sea under the benevolent rule of her canine overlords and assorted family members. You can find her running about the house in her pajamas and taking great glee in creating terrible situations for her characters to find their way out of…or not.

Stalker Links

Find Ann Christy on FacebookTwitter, her Website, and sign up for her VIP List (Free stories for VIPs!).


silo49What point in your life did the dream of being an author pop into your head? Any inspirational people or books that helped you take that first step?

I’ll be honest, it never did. I had never once considered this as a profession before I actually put that first cover on that first book. Seriously. I was a scientist and a naval officer and that’s who I was. Hugh’s first tiny volume of WOOL changed that. I wrote the Silo 49 series set in his world without knowing anything at all about writing. But it’s like all the other things people warn you about that will get you addicted…I was hooked from the first bite. Now, instead of working like crazy at my former profession, I spent up to 16 hours a day writing and I rarely take a day off and I love it. It’s the hardest and most awesome job I never thought I’d have.

What are the pros and cons about being an Indie published author?

inbetweenerThe list of pros is far longer than the list of cons, so I’ll start there. Freedom is first on that list because it’s a factor in every single part of the writing/publishing process. From finding that story in your head to advertising long after the book is out, all of it is *more* possible…or possible at all…when the author is Indie.

I’m free to publish on my schedule and work on the projects I want to. I adore my editor and he is my choice. The cover artists I work with are my choice, not a publisher’s. I keep all my money! I advertise and put on specials in terms of pricing as I want to and I don’t have to beg anyone to do it for me. I make sure my VIP list can buy every new release at $0.99 for the first few days after release and no publisher would go for that. Really, the list is endless.

Cons? Well, I suppose the main one is that I’m not in physical bookstores. While I could probably work very hard to get a few copies into bookstores on my own, it’s a labor intensive process that takes time away from writing and publishing, so I have to pick and choose my battles when it comes to time. The only other con I can think of is that there are still a whole lot of people who see me as a wannabe because I haven’t signed away all my potential profit by signing on the dotted line.

The truth is, I was offered contracts twice. I turned down both. The terms were egregious and none of the books I’ve published since those offers were made would have been published. *Not one book.* Primarily because of non-compete and first-refusal clauses. When you look at it from that perspective, it’s very hard to understand why anyone like me…solidly midlist because I’ve not yet had any breakout hits (::weeps silently::)…would ever sign a contract like the ones we’re traditionally offered.

What is your favorite experience as an author so far?

perprFrom the perspective of being a writer, it would be publishing that first book. It was amazing to click on Amazon and then see my book come up. I squealed.

From a public response point of view, it’s a tie. The first was being asked for my autograph for the first time. True, it was awkward because I was in Wegman’s near DC and was standing at the meat counter, but even though I was a bit flustered, I was also secretly delighted. The other was getting that first piece of reader email telling me how much they liked the book. I freaked in happiness. I still have it. I’m going to save it forever!

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Pantser! But that’s sort of not a good description because I have a really good memory, so the story is laid out in my head and I write it from that. So, I pants from the outside looking in, but often it’s from a well-thought out plot already in my head.

The downside of doing it that way is that there is often a great deal of cutting involved in my editing process because something that takes one second in my head might actually drag on for a bit on the page. I’m trying to be more methodical because it’s more efficient, but I don’t want to lose what’s working for me either.

I loved your Between Life and Death series, which had such an interesting and unique take on the zombie apocalypse. How did you come up with that awesome and terrible world?

futurechrScience! (Use a teen titan voice there.) I’m a huge zombie fan and always have been, but as a working scientist in more than one field, it bothered me a great deal when there was never any logic involved in how it happened. I know how viruses and bacteria will work in terms of spread and no, it won’t happen like “that.”

While I enjoyed many of those books and could rattle off a list as long as my arm of books I loved, I wanted to feel that sense of looming terror while reading because it could happen or something. (Not that I want it to, but part of that tension comes from that feeling.) Suddenly, after reading some papers on nanotech in the course of regular life, I had a sort of bingo moment.

A lot of research followed that included many papers and reports on current research and testing, but in the end, I thought I had something that resonated with our technological trends in a way that might enhance that sensation for the reader. It’s still a huge stretch, but there is workability there. After the science part, it was all just my naturally diabolical nature having a good time romping through the wasteland.

strikersAnother of my favorites Is Strikers. The main character, Karas, is a tough girl in a brutal dystopian society. Is Karas (or any other of your characters actually) created after yourself or someone you know?

Not really, but always. There is strength and resilience everywhere you look in the world, and I think I take something of everyone I’ve ever met and put them into my characters. In particular, I’ve known thousands of sailors in my life, and almost every single one of them is a tower of strength. That gives me a whole lot of material to work with.

How did you get involved with Samuel Perelta’s amazing anthologies? I loved your story, Vindicia, which was set in The In-Betweener world.

I was right there at the beginning and had a story in the very first volume, The Robot Chronicles. I think it sort of Zchronhappened by him saying something about putting together an anthology and asking if I felt like being in it. No one knew the Chronicles series was going to be a juggernaut that raised the bar for anthologies. If I would have known that, I probably wouldn’t have been asked to be in it. 😉 Just kidding. Well, hmm, maybe I shouldn’t think too much about that now that I come to think of it.

Since then, I’ve been in a few of them and will be in the upcoming Time Chronicles and Doomsday Chronicles. My story for Doomsday is called A Mother So Beautiful and I love that story. It’s just freaking creepy. Sam was very enthused about it after reading the draft and that made me do the happy dance.

If you had to spend a week in any fictional world (yours or otherwise), which one would you pick and why?

No way would I want to go into one of mine! Are you kidding? Those places are way too dangerous. I’d be dead in a heartbeat. If I had to pick one, I’d pick something nice and relaxing and far into the future so I could get a peek at the future I won’t live to see. ::pause:: I just went to look through my bookshelves and pretty much every world has far too much craptasticness in it, so I’ll just stay here.

Can you give us a hint for future projects? 😀

cea57-thebookofsamHints, eh? Well, I had to push back Strikers: The Eastlands because of reader response and requests for “origins” stories for characters in the Between Life and Death world. So, The Book of Sam is coming out at the end of October since he got the most email. I really liked writing that book and I feel so bad for Sam. Such a nice guy.

Once I’m done with the wrap-up and launch of that, I’ve got my stories for the Chronicles to polish off, plus more to write for another anthology. Then it’s back to work on Eastlands and possibly another Between Life and Death Origins book, this one with my personal working title: Savannah Slays. I’m not sure what the real title will be, but that’s my own fun one.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

I say this all the time and it’s probably the biggest lesson I learned. Once we put words down with the intention of publishing them, we’re no longer objective about them. A good editor is an absolute must. If that’s not at all possible due to finances, then get as many other eyes as you can on it. Also, use the four views method to find errors and improve writing.

Four Views Method:
1) Regular read-through in your word processing program. Edit there.

2) Have the program read it to you using text-to-speech. Word can do this very well. Edit again.

3) Read it on kindle like a regular book. (This one you might have to do more than once, but put it in Kindle format and read it like a regular book.) Highlight what you don’t like plus errors, then edit again.

4) Print it out and read it aloud to yourself in a room. This is seriously important. Our brains process words on a page slightly differently than we do on a screen. We’re less efficient at it and that means you’ll see things you didn’t see before. Also, our brains translate written words to verbal utterances in a radically different way than simply reading silently, so you’ll be amazed at the things you find when you do it like this. Not just errors, but awkward phrasing, habitual words, sentences that don’t work…etc.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I absolutely love books, movies, and pretty much everything entertainment, (which includes cute animal videos), so find me on Facebook or what-not and let’s be friends! I also love Goodreads as a reader, though I’m very quiet on there because I’m now an author, so if you’re also a Goodreader, hit me up as a friend so I can find more great books to read too. I’m a habitual shelf-peruser and I find loads of books that way.

Thank you for joining me today, Ann! It was great to have a chance to chat with you.

And you, as always, are awesome, Katy!


Visit to check out their second annual Zombie Blog Crawl, which begins TODAY! My crawl day is this coming Sunday (October 25th), so stay tuned for my own (amazing) giveaway.

Author Spotlight: Casey Hays!

Please welcome Author Casey Hays to THE KATY today!

Thank you so much for having me. I’m blessed to be here!headshot

Casey Hays lives in New Mexico with her husband of 25 years and their two children. A former high school English teacher turned author, she loves Young Adult Fiction as well as supernatural, fantasy sci-fi, and dystopia–all with a twist of romance. She is the author of three works: The Cadence, a YA supernatural romance, and Arrow’s Flight, a YA dystopian sci-fi series: Breeder (Book 1) and The Archer (Book 2). Look for Master (Book 3) scheduled for release in the next few months.

Find Casey on social media!

Find out more about Casey Hays on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and her website!


How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

Honestly, I’ve always been a writer. My very first ideas were penned on pieces of legal pad paper folded in half, hole-punched, and tied with rubber bands. At age nine, my mom bought me a journal. I used it to write my first and very silly, unprofessional novel. It never went anywhere, but my dreams soared. During my school days, I entered every possible writing contest I could find–even won a few awards. But my third grade teacher, Mrs. Gadry, was my greatest inspiration with what she called, The Squiggle Book. Every day after my assignments were done, I’d take that spiral notebook up to her desk. She’d draw a “squiggle” and I’d take it back to my seat and finish it with some magnificent little art of my own. And then, the best part, I’d write a story about my drawing. It was the highlight of my day. I knew that year that I wanted to be a author more than anything else. I wanted to share the stories clamoring inside my head looking for a creative way out.

breederAre you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

Initially, I had a small time indie publisher. When they closed their doors, I just didn’t care to go to the trouble of looking for another one. They’d taught me so much about the business that I decided I’d take a stab at self-publishing. I’m not adverse to working with a publisher again someday, but honestly, right now? I’ve enjoyed being the one to make all the calls. It’s just me and my sidekick editor, Anna Faulk. It’s kind of nice.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Panster all the way! I let my characters tell their stories, and I don’t interfere with outlines or any agendas. I mean, I don’t want to disrespect them! 😉

What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

There’s something about the atmosphere of a Dystopian novel that appeals to me as a reader and a writer. It’s rugged and harsh and full of uncertainty and a bittersweet-ness for what’s been lost. But at the same time, it reeks of hope. Dystopian novels make me want to love longer and sing louder and fight harder against injustice. I hear my kind of music in between the pages of the best written ones, and what can I say… I love my kind of music.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

They are the best! The fans are wonderful; the moderators have become my good friends. There’s never been a more supportive, active, involved, fun FB group in the history of Facebook.

archerHow would you react to the fact that the stars you were born under choose your fate? Would you fight it with everything you had or go with the flow?

That’s a tough one. I suppose it would depend on whether I felt comfortable with the life I’d been given. If injustice or cruelty to others were involved. I would fight with my last breath. But sometimes, we can learn to live with what we’ve been handed and be content. As a Christian, who believes in a God who is sovereign and knows every one of my days, past, present, and future, it’s hard to answer that question.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

I’d have to say, for the most part, no. If we are talking about my main female characters, they are never like me. They’re always better. They’re always what I would want to be rather than who I am. I admire the qualities depicted in them greatly… qualities I myself don’t possess. I don’t think I’ll ever write a character who represents me. That’s too personal… and it’s scary to put yourself out there for the world to see as it is. I’ll never write an autobiography! LOL

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

I don’t like erotica at all. I don’t even know who Christian Grey is… haha! I’m not big on westerns or gory, bloody movies. I do love a good horror, as long as it’s not too demonic. To much satanic or dark spiritual stuff creeps me out. And of course, good love stories and chic flicks are always welcome. I also have a real love for historical fiction and an admiration of authors of that genre. That’s a lot of work to research and write a historical fact-based fictional novel. I love epics, and Bollywood movies… with the subtitles… are the BOMB!

Your son did the wonderful cover art for your novels. Would you mind sharing how you both decided to use his skills on your cover?

When I was working on the edits for Breeder, my son took a trip with me to meet with my publisher. While I was conferencing with her, he waited in another room, doodling. At the end of our meeting, he had finished a rough sketch of what became the inspiration for the first draft cover of The Archer. I showed it to my publisher then and there; she loved it and asked if he would be interested in drawing the cover for Breeder. He said yes, and the rest is history. It was a little spontaneous doodling that turned into a big deal!

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Listen to the voices in your imagination and put their stories to paper. Don’t force an idea that isn’t working. Don’t rush to publication just to have a book on the market; instead take the time to take pride in the quality of writing you hope to achieve. The hardest piece of advice I can give is to know what kind of a writer you are. Not everyone is a novelist. There are so many forms of writing to choose from. Find the one that fits.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Of course, I’m stoked about Master the final book in my Arrow’s Flight series. I’d hoped for a November release, but we’re just playing it by ear now. We want it to be PERFECT. I have many other novels in the works, including a sci-fi fantasy based on the legend of the Phoenix, another Dystopian novel that I’m very excited about called The Dragonfly Lullabies, and my very first modern day contemporary adult novel based on the lives of David and Bathsheba. I just hope I stay in good health and live long enough to get it all done. I’ll leave that in the hands of God.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to say that it’s been such a joy to know you. I greatly appreciate your support of my writing, and I am so humbled at being featured on your blog. I wish you the very best for its success. And good luck with your writing career!

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Casey! I loved having you and I can’t wait to check out the final book in the Arrow’s Flight series and the new series you mentioned!

STAY TUNED! There will be a giveaway announcement in the next few weeks! It’s going to be AWESOME, Dystopian, and Zombie-riffic! Casey hays is donating some wonderful items that you won’t want to miss!

Author interview with Francis H. Powell

Please welcome Author Francis H. Powell to THE KATY today!


For KatyWhat better way to put all my angst into short stories. Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time, until I was 17. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated, despite losing contact with him. I had a stint living in Austria, where I began writing. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris, that my writing began to truly evolve. I discovered a magazine called Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to traveling. It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark. I began writing more and more short stories, some published on the internet. A bit later my anthology Flight of Destiny slowly evolved, published April 2015, by Savant publishing.


TWITTERPinterestGOODREADS, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, and his website.

How did decide you to become an author? Any books, movie, or people who inspired you to pursue your dream?

Firstly I should say, I do and have done many creative activities. I went to Art School, where I did painting. I have done a lot of music and have done concerts and Arts Events. I have made videos/short films. I have always had it in the back of my mind to get a book published. I met a writer called Rupert Thompson, when I was at my first Art School. He was writing his first book “Dreams of Leaving” and I was very impressed by this book and his work. Much later in my life I moved to a remote village in Austria. It was not far from Vienna, but a very oppressive and strange environment. I thought I should try writing a book. I launched into it…nothing came of it. I do many creative activities, painting as well as writing music. Writing lay dormant, put to one side. Then later, living in Paris at this point in time, via an advert, I made contact with a man called Alan Clark, who had a literary magazine called “Rat Mort” (dead rat). I submitted four short stories for this magazine, encouraged by Alan, I began to write more and more short stories, and developed a style…I guess if I compare these stories to earlier efforts at writing…there has been a huge development…I am sure my early attempts were imaginative but raw.

Are you self published or signed by a publisher? Why did you decide to go this route?

I am with an American publisher. Not knowing anything about book publishing…it seemed a logical choice;

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Maybe more of the latter. Ideas can pop into my head at any time. Once the ideas are there for a short story, I have to work out the evolution of the story.

What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a memorable short story? Why do you enjoy writing short stories vs. novels?

Grabbing the reader’s attention from the first sentence, keeping them engaged right up to the last sentence. I like to use a very rich vocabulary. I like to establish characters very quickly; giving the reader immediate clues about the kind of personality, character they have…

Bug-eyes was destined to a life of toil. As his mother, Lady Harriet Lombard, remarked gruffly when holding her swaddled firstborn, “He has disproportionate eyes,” adding tersely, “the child’s abnormal.” As she handed the squalling reject back to the doctor, she decreed, “Drop it down the well for all I care.”

(from Bugeyes, a story about somebody with unfortunately large eyes)

Maggot was enraged and banged his fist on the table! Knives, forks, spoons and plates flew into the air, tossing food everywhere. Up to this point, the banquet had been cordial, even good-humored. Necessary pleasantries and toasts had been exchanged. But as soon as the serious negotiations had begun, indeed when money was brought into the equation, everything quickly went wrong.

(from “Maggot” a story about an oaf, who sells his daughter to pay off his circus debts)

I really like the format of short stories. I read Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl and this book really stayed with me. I like the way the stories end with a dramatic twist. In a short story there is one defining mood. My stories are dark, surreal, but at the same time they are a bit satirical and witty.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

The knives will be out for me…but I am afraid I am not one for slushy romantic stuff, nor kinky suggestive sex. As to films, I am not really into Westerns or War Films. I like many styles of films, one of my all-time favorite films is One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

My characters are often freaks, eccentrics, oddballs and outsiders. I have always felt a bit of an outsider. I write about the underdog who rises up. I identify with the underdogs of this world. I like people who fight back for their rights and who rise to a challenge.

Do you have ADVICE FOR aspiring writers?

Stick at it, don’t get pushed by the wayside. Keep developing your style.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I am working with a brilliant musician, writing songs that are based on my short stories. It is a very interesting collaboration. It is an exciting project.

Anything else you’d like to add?

There is also the Flight of Destiny youtube channel. This features tracks/music based on my book, authors talking about their work, as well as a character called Lord Lupine, who reads “Bugeyes”…it’s rather Monty Python-like…

Thanks for having me on your website.

Be sure and check out the links at the top of the page to visit Francis online! Thanks again, Francis!

Author interview with C.L. Hernandez!

Please welcome Author Cindy Lou Hernandez to THE KATY today!

1508391_10201596244481167_188250944_nC. L. Hernandez is the author of the series The Complicated Life of Deegie Tibbs (Winlock Press), and the novel The Curious Case of the Tuscan Plague Doctor (Barking Rain Press) which will be released in 2016. She also writes the self-published series Horror Story Six-Packs (Cobwebs, vol. 1, and A Half-Dozen Horrors, vol. 2) She has stories featured in the anthologies Happy Little Horrors: Freakshow, Dead Harvest: A Collection of Dark Tales, and Deathmongers: Where the Light Dies. She lives in California’s Central Valley, and her life is a constant work in progress.

Find Author C.L. Hernandez online!

WebsiteTwitterFacebook Author page, or Email:

How did decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I decided to become an author after I became disabled and was no longer able to work at a “real job.” I suddenly had all this time on my hands, and since I’d already been writing for years as a hobby, I figured I’d give it a shot. As for being inspired, I’ll give credit to the people who told me I’d never make it. I hate it when someone tells me “You can’t,” or “You’ll never,” or “You shouldn’t.”


Tell us about Winlock Press. How did you get signed by them?

Winlock Press is awesome! Monique Happy (manager) goes out of her way to make her authors feel comfortable, valued, and important. She does an amazing job. I got signed when I submitted the first book in The Complicated Life of Deegie Tibbs series.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a little of both, I guess. Sometimes I’ll write out a complicated outline with plots and sub-plots, then wind up tossing it aside and just letting the characters do what they want.


What draws you to writingabout witches as in “The Complicated Life of DeEGie Tibbs” series?

Witches have always fascinated me, and since I’ve studied Earth magic, gem and mineral magic, and magical herbalism, writing about witches just comes naturally to me. I like the versatility of the fictional witch character. You can give them just about any power, have them perform the most outlandish spells, and it’s okay, because—hey, they’re witches!

If you could use magic to change one thing, what would it be?

I would magically reprogram the minds of all humans so that they would focus on healing and renewing our broken planet rather than continuing to destroy it. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

I can’t stand romance novels/movies! Those novels with the flowy-haired woman and the bare-chested hero on the cover? Barf. I guess it’s because I’ve never been much of a girly-girl. I’d rather have my books and movies full of guts and blood and horrifying creatures. My favorite genre is horror fiction, but I also enjoy mystery and crime novels and documentaries on history and nature.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

There is a little bit of me in almost every leading character I create, particularly Deegie Tibbs. Deegie doesn’t really fit in, but she doesn’t really care, either. She has a disability that makes her unique, and she’s a bit misunderstood. That’s me in a nutshell. If I need a villainous character, I just think of one of my ex-husbands. (laughs)

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Develop your own voice; don’t try to emulate another author, because eventually someone WILL notice. I’ve seen this happen a couple of times. Be honest. Don’t get involved in social media drama. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t be insulted when someone points out your flaws. Read every day. And never give up. Never.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I’ve started working on a new novel called Zuri. It’s a werewolf novel—with a twist. (sorry, no spoilers) I’m also working on another of my short horror story six-packs, which I self-publish. This one will have a zombie theme, also with a twist. (I like twists) I will be participating in Blood Moon Rising 2, which is an online event that promises to be tons of horrific fun, and I have another novel coming out in January 2016 with another publisher. This one’s about a ghostly plague doctor who torments a lovely young antiques dealer.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for the interview!

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Cindy!

You’re welcome!

You can buy C.L. Hernandez’s books on Amazon! 

Final Bite Sized Interview with Author Adri Lemke!

20557_226379216726_5235424_nThis week on THE KATY, I am helping celebrate the release of the anthology “Bite Sized Offerings,” which many authors wrote to help pay for a little girl’s medical bills. Tomorrow, Saturday (9/5) from 12PM- 10PM CST, is the “Bite Sized Offerings” release party on Facebook! Join the event here! In preparation for this awesome party for such a wonderful cause, I am interviewing several authors from the anthology. (Check out the other interviews here)

You can buy “Bite Sized Offerings” here on Amazon!

Today’s author for my Bite Sized Interview is author Adri Lemke.

You can find out more about Adri on her website, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter.

How did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

I had a friend in high school who enjoyed writing kind of goofy stories and he wanted me to try writing something. I wrote a few pages and didn’t look at it again until college. When I opened the file, I decided I wanted to continue working on it. I spent most of my free time during my freshman year working on it. Secret Power is the first full-length novel I wrote and I am currently working on some editing and rewriting to get it good enough to publish.

Any people, books, or movies that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I find inspiration all over the place. Nothing really specific, but my family and my best friend Amber have been behind me through everything so far. So far I can’t make a living on it, but I am still dedicated to following my dream of one day being a full time author.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I mostly fly by the seat of my pants. I have tried planning, but once I get to the writing part, the story chooses its own direction.

How did you start writing dystopian?

The first dystopian story I started because I was asked by Joseph Cautilli to co-author a book with him. I’m always willing to try writing new things, and I had fun with it. For my solo work, Zero (my contribution to Bite-Sized Offerings) is the only one that would qualify as dystopian. Most of my other stories fall into paranormal/suspense (Earthshaker Series) or mystery (Fear).

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

BOD is a great group. I love the writing prompts that help me get my writing juices flowing. They are also a great way to stretch my abilities and write things I probably wouldn’t otherwise try.

Are you self published?

Yes, so far all of my books are self-published.

Why did you choose to go this route?

I like keeping control of my work. I did originally try to go the traditional publishing route and got a couple nibbles on Tracker (Earthshaker Series book 1) but ultimately my parents helped to convince me to go the self-publishing route to get my work out there for people to find.

Can you tell me about any of your recent projects?

Right now I am working on Oblivion: Earthshaker Series book 4. Oblivion follows directly after the cliffhanger ending in book 3 and pushes Jason and his friends to new limits.

How did you get involved with “Bite Sized Offerings?”

I was contacted by Sara Jones who mentioned the project and that it was meant to help Mysti with the medical bills for her kids. After everything Mysti has done to help market my books it was a no-brainer to join in and help in whatever way I could.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the anthology?

I wrote the story Zero and will be involved in the release party. The majority of the work was done by many other people.

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

I am a WELS Christian. Besides the technology zombies who already exist, I don’t think it is a likely scenario. 😉 My belief is that at an unknown time Jesus will return and Judgement Day will happen.

Do you have a favorite zombie book, movie, or show?

Quite honestly, before I joined Bite-Sized Offerings I was never into Zombies. I thought they were kind of silly. (Still do, to some extent, but I find them more enjoyable now). I did try watching The Walking Dead and only managed the first episode. I may give it another try at some point to see if I can enjoy it more.

Thank you for joining me today, Adri!

Tonight is the release party for “Bite Sized Offerings!” I hope to see you there (link at the top of this post)!

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