Saturday 28 August 2021

Shelly O'Connell

Author Name: Shelly O'Connell 
Book Featured Today: Finding Your Flirt
Where Can You Find Her? : Website , Facebook
Top Writing Tip:  My top tip for new writers is write about what is pushing you to write. People will have lots of opinions on what you write, that's okay. Write it anyway in the way that feels right to you.

Hi Shelly, thanks for taking the time to share with us!

When did you realize you were Pagan?

When I was a young child I was most often in nature. I found connection and communion there. At twelve I told my mother that I was not being confirmed in the Christian Church where I had just finished confirmation classes because it was not what I believed. It would be many years before I could articulate my beliefs. I met and worked with Native Americans during my thirties and discovered that their concepts struck a chord within me. Yes, to me all of life held a spirit, even stones. I also began researching different Goddesses around that time. Then I met and joined a circle that lifted these concepts, practices, and beliefs in a similar yet different way.

When and why did you beginning writing? 

I began writing when my adult daughter challenged me to write for NaNoWriMo's November challenge. I wrote a book of fiction and feel head over heels in love with writing.

What life experiences led to this book? 

My background has been in crisis intervention where much of what I did in my work was to challenge the limits that patriarchy places upon women and to work to have accountability for toxic masculinity. This book came about when I was at a women's conference with a friend. She wanted to practice flirting in a way that felt safe and fun for her. She asked me to help her because I am a master flirt. During the weekend she and other women commented on men's responses to me and said that I ought to give classes on flirting. All of those women were single and did not want to be, however they were missing the cues sent to them by men or other women. In many ways they were shut down to the present moment, and awareness of themselves and others. I came home and started writing the book. It reframes flirting as play, deconstructs the bullshit limits placed on women by the patriarchy about flirting and empowers them to claim the gifts of play. 

Tell us a bit about your book. 

Finding Your Flirt is a book designed to give women some information and exercises to help them let go of the limits around flirting that patriarchy places on them and to reclaim play in their lives. It shows women that they determine when, how and for what purpose they engage in flirting. I use examples from my own life and my relationship of thirty-five plus years and examples of other women's real-life journeys in the book.

Are you a fast or slow writer? 

I have been both a fast writer during NaNoWriMo's November challenge and a slow writer. I put down Finding Your Flirt for three years before I finished it. Life took different turns that kept me busy in other areas. The thing I have learned is that everything has its time and that includes my book.

Is this your first published piece or have you been published before?

This is my first published self-help book. I have self-published a short story book titled, Lessons of the Sea Witch.

What is your experience with publishing vs. self publishing? 

I am both published by a small press and self-published. It is easier to have your book published by a publisher because they know things that you may not when self-publishing. Self-publishing is tedious and time consuming for me. It does get your book out there but there are things that you may not know to include.

Tell us a bit about the community you are building through social media and your blog. 

The community I am building through my social media and my blog is one of women who have found freedom to be and behave as they choose with joy, delight, fun and play.

Who encourages and inspires you? 

I am encouraged and inspired by everyday people who are both true to themselves and who find a way to keep moving forward after life knocks them down.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? 

I go to nature when I need to recharge. Walking out on the land, wading in a stream, or soaking up the sunshine at the beach always restores me. I often journey to nature to receive guidance, signs, and inspiration.

If you could go anywhere in the world for a writing retreat, where would you go? 

If I could go anywhere in the world, I would like to go to Ireland for a writing retreat. That land has been calling to me for some time now. I'd like to answer that call.

What are your future plans for writing? 

My future plans for writing are to write what calls me and pushes on me. In fiction I found that the characters prod me to keep giving them voice and life and that makes me want to write more.


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse of your passion and process! We wish you the best of luck with this book and hope it helps many people making their way through these kinds of social interactions.

Monday 16 December 2019

Helen JR Bruce

Author Name: Helen JR Bruce
Book Featured Today: Heat of the Hunt
Where Can You Find Her? Facebook, Tumblr
Top Writing Tip: If I were to pick just one top tip, it would have to be stick with it. Writing is an important and magical  process which will sometimes not suffer to be rushed. Before I began writing 'Heat of the Hunt' I had been researching folklore and mythology for many years, and the process of writing the book itself took ten years from idea to print. Don't be afraid to leave a manuscript and then return to it with fresh ideas. Change everything if you need to. Delete huge sections (after having saved a backup elsewhere) and rewrite them. Rewrite them again. Read what you have written out loud and feel the rhythm of the words in your mouth. If the words don't flow, then keep sculpting the text until they do.

Hi Helen, thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing ever since I can remember. When I was a child I would write and illustrate paper books that contained creepy stories and far too much blood. Later, I completed a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Westminster, and after that I felt equipped with the tools to take my writing more seriously. As for the why, I might as well try to explain why I breathe. I think that if I didn't get the creativity out somehow, whether through literature or art, then I think my mind might explode with the sheer pressure of inspiration. I'm grateful for it, but it can be a real pain when you're trying to get to sleep at night!

When did you realise that you were pagan?
The realisation that I was ready to commit to a pagan path was a slow one in coming. If I look back to my childhood, I might conclude that it was inevitable, but nonetheless it has only been in the last few years that I have felt confident labeling myself as such publicly. Through my teenage years I dabbled in Wicca, but never quite felt fully at home with it. It was only in later years, as I studied Shamanism and Druidry, and linked these practices to the folklore that I had always been so fascinated by, that I truly felt I had found my place.

How did the topic of your book come to you?
My first experience of the Wild Hunt was in the Visitor Centre in Princetown, Dartmoor. They had a display which included local myths and legends, and the description of the Wild Hunt was accompanied by a rather old picture of a man in traditional hunting attire surrounded by people dressed as hounds. It was from a local amateur theatre production, and it was strangely fascinating. From that day I embarked on what became a ten year quest to research and understand the phenomenon that is the Wild Hunt. I sifted through stories which had been tainted by Christianity and depicted the master of the Wild Hunt as the Devil. Slowly, a more ancient and important archetype began to emerge, and I encountered the master of the Wild Hunt as Odin, Arawn and Gwyn ap Nudd. In these original tales he is a psychopomp who guides souls to the Otherworld, heralding the 'dead' time of winter that allows life to be renewed.

What are the life experiences that have led to this book?
I recall once referring to myself as a 'mythic adventurer', which does sound rather mad. But the more I think about it, the more I feel it is the best way to sum up my attitude to life and the world around me. I am blessed to see beyond the mundane, and can be stopped in my tracks by the sight of mist through the branches or sunlight on the water. The land, and the stories attached to it, present themselves to me as one entity, and to know either of them requires the knowledge of both. Similarly, my perception of the spiritual is balanced with an understanding of the practical. I have worked as a Park Ranger, a farmer and a teacher. Each of these employments have been a great privilege, and they have taught me both the sacred life cycle of animals and the deep importance of human empathy and interaction.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.
Heat of the Hunt is about friendship, loyalty and questioning how you see the world. Sceptical Gemma follows Adrian, her best friend, to Dartmoor after he has a dream in which the spirit of a child asks for help. But as the stories of the wild land around them unfold, Gemma quickly discovers that Adrian's obsession with the supernatural is the least of her concerns. When he mysteriously disappears she must overcome her doubt and fear and trust the only being who can help; the mysterious master of the Wild Hunt. Of course, Gabriel the Huntmaster has his own agenda, as he has been guarding Gemma's family line for generations and believes Gemma to be his lost love finally reborn. Inspired by British folklore, 'Heat of the Hunt' weaves ancient stories with new meanings while retaining the deep and vital connection of our myths with the land.

Have you ever met one of your characters in real life?
This is a very strange tale to tell, but I will tell it to you nonetheless. I was walking on Dartmoor with my friend and my dog. It was a grey day, which suits Dartmoor perfectly. The clouds scudded ragged and low across the tors, and in the branches of hawthorn and stunted oak crows called to each other. We decided to explore Wistmans Wood, which in folklore is the dwelling place of the Wild Hunt. I was in a sombre and thoughtful mood, so I decided to venture deeper into the woods on my own. In the heart of the forest, I sat on a moss covered boulder and admitted to my despair. Many things were going wrong in my life at the time. I offered to make a deal with the Huntsman. I was half joking. But just as soon as I had said the words, there was the sound of a hunting horn echoing through the trees and my friend and the dog were frantically searching for me. It felt like a meeting, and I've been keeping my bargain ever since.  

Do we see some of you in your book?
Having read my answer to the previous question, it is probably clear that the answer is yes; although perhaps in a less direct way. There is no one character which is 'me', but every character does share at least one trait or motivation with me. This goes back to the idea of writing what you know, and to portray actions effectively you do need to understand the depth, drive and emotions behind them. Characters come across as feeling real and relatable when you invest them with real fragments of yourself that readers can respond to. This applies to both the heroes and villains, and even the rather wicked necromancer in Heat of the Hunt has a back story that allows you to understand why he behaves as he does. 

Do you plan your stories before you begin?
My writing usually deals with the collision of the mythic realm with the real world, which means that I need to do a lot of research into real places and the folklore attached to them. Every location in Heat of the Hunt, with the exception of the Hound Grave, is a real place which a reader can visit. What's more, if they were to ask a local about the folklore which I weave into my writing, then I am sure they would get a first hand account! I gather all of my research into a notebook and then I plot out a skeleton story arc. This means that, at any point in my writing, I always know where I need to get to next. This doesn't mean that unplanned things don't happen though! The fascinating thing about really well fleshed out characters is that you can put them in a situation and see what they do, and what they do isn't always what you want them to! In this case, I rework the story around them and let it follow the natural path of their choices, as forcing the actions of a character to further your plot plans can come across as jarring and unbelievable. 

Who encourages/inspires you?
There are a number of authors who inspire me; most notable is Terry Pratchett, who blazed an important track in mixing fantasy, folklore and satire. His ability to retain some humour, even when dealing with dark topics, is a talent which I aspire to. Raymond E. Feist also did excellent work in presenting the collision of reality and non-ordinary reality in his book Faerie Tale. This liminal space, within which the mundane and mythical collide, is the territory which fascinates me and I explore this landscape in my writing.

Is this your first published piece, or have you had work published before?
I have had articles and poems published here and there before, but this is my first full length book to be in print. It felt particularly satisfying to also paint the cover art myself, as this gave me a sense of having truly completed the full journey with the story.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of the process?
In my usual style, I am a slight enigma in this respect. I have a great relationship with my publisher and printer, who provide standard printing for self publication, but are also a registered publisher in their own right. This means that my book bears their logo, they do some promotion for me and they also deal with any other publisher or agent inquiries. I'm lucky to get this support, as it means that even though I am responsible for the financial outlay involved with the printing, I am not then completely on my own afterwards. Even with this good fortune, the process is certainly not for the faint-hearted and requires great determination in the face of all manner of unexpected obstacles. But seeing your work in physical form is certainly worth it; hopefully giving you some energy for the next great trial of promotion.

Do you ever suffer from writers block and if so, how do you overcome it?
This is something that I don't often suffer from. In fact I usually get the opposite, which is so many stories clamouring to get out of my head and be written down that I can't hope to keep up with them. I do, however, have times when I feel that my writing isn't flowing well or isn't up to my usual standard. In this situation, I would do the same as what I would recommend for writers block, and it's simply to keep writing. If you're serious about forcing you way through the block then keep putting words down, for hours if needed. Write anything. Write a different story or a poem or a conversation that you might have with someone about your frustrations. Eventually, this will begin to flow, and you will be able to go back to your original project with much greater ease. As an aside, this advice is given under the assumption that you have fully researched/imagined your world, characters and events, and that you have at least a skeleton plot arc to follow. If you simply don't know where you're going, return to planning until you do know.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?
I'm tempted to say Dartmoor, as of course my book is set there and I find the wild, desolate landscape to be full of folklore and inspiration. But, here in Britain, we are very lucky to be brimming with sacred sites and ancient landscapes which are steeped in stories. The thick, golden light of Cornwall and the deep, restless sea are also a wonder to me. Wales has a wealth of mythology, as well as a lush green landscape that the mind can get lost in. Plus my current home, of Somerset, has splendid folktales focused around Glastonbury Tor and many other sacred sites. We also have our very own black dog apparition; the Gurt Dog, which, in contrast to many other spectral black dogs, is seen as benevolent.

What are your future plans for writing?
This year I am focusing on the follow on from Heat of the Hunt which is called Lie of the Land. There will certainly also be a third book, tentatively titled Truth of the Tale and potentially others, depending on what the characters demand. Alongside this, I will be writing for a number of magazines and working on a set of steampunk short stories and modern retellings of myths as side projects.


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with the rest of this trilogy, as well as your articles and short stories!

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Avery Daniels

Author Name: Avery Daniels
Book Featured Today: Nailed: Resort to Murder Mystery II
Where Can You Find Her? Newsletter, Website, Facebook, BookBub, Goodreads
Top Writing Tip: Learn the craft, find a good editor to work with, and attend writer’s conferences.  The first two will take you far and serve you well while the third helps you network with other writers, because writing is so solitary.   

Hi Avery, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing?  
I began getting serious about novel structure and all the elements of the writing craft about twenty-five years ago.  I began with a suspense thriller that was slowly developed as I learned.  I stopped work on the book and developed the Resort to Murder Mystery series that I have published now (two book in the series so far).  That initial suspense thriller has been revamped and after losing the electronic file and starting over, I am now editing the draft to get it published.   Why I began writing is simply I have to get these stories out of my head.

When did you realise that you were Pagan?  
Wow, I’ll try to make this short.  I went through a particularly nasty marriage.  My abusive ex and the church we attended were hard-core Religious Right.  I attended their bible institute, taught Sunday School in the church, wrote for the monthly newsletter, and even volunteered as a secretary.  In the course of my coming to the decision I couldn’t live in the abuse any longer, I had to break from that faith and worldview. It was part of the abuse to keep me tied to a “covenant of marriage”, no matter how destructive.   

I turned to Native American spirituality because my mother had told me I was Native American on my dad’s side.  I felt like I was coming home the more I learned about an earth-based path.  Since then I have incorporated Wicca with the Native American path and feel much more self-accepting and centered. I am grateful everyday to be walking my current path.

What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?
I am an avid mystery/thriller reader and have puttered with writing a novel since high school.  I also grew up with a five-star resort in my hometown and would occasionally get to attend events at this resort.  I’ve attended LPGA tournaments on the pro-golf course, eaten at the restaurants for special occasions, and fed the ducks at the man-made lake, so using these experiences in addition to that particular resort as a base for the home resort in the novel was natural. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot. 
In Nailed, Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will. 

Julienne LaMere gets to attend a resort management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado mountains.  What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.

In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken.  As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship.  Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

How did the topic of your novels come to you?  
For the fiction, I started with the image in my mind of a huge ice sculpture of a swordfish as the murder weapon spearing a person and the rest came to me as I went.  The second book, Nailed was two fold.  I wanted to use a resort in the Colorado mountains and I decided on a nail gun for the murder weapon and I developed the rest from there.

Have you ever met one of your characters in real life?  
Oh yes, but in the sense that I borrow a gesture here or a life experience there.  A few of the victims began as mean people I’ve come across and developed from there. 

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?  
I have published before. I did an expose of the Religious Right after my experiences.  Then I turned to fiction and wrote Iced and now Nailed in the Resort to Murder Mystery series.  I am plotting the third of that series, which will be Spiked.  The suspense thriller I am editing is a combination of Conspiracy Theory meets Ghost Whisperer.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?
I am self published and it can be scary in some aspects, but empowering in others.  Thus far I am enjoying the process and hope to make a living at self-published writing. 

Tell us a little about the community you’re building through your blog and social media.  
I have a newsletter mailing list and I have begun a street team.  Both are growing.  The newsletter subscribers I try to give special offers (the prologue to the suspense thriller book that won’t be included in the novel) and give them some insight into the process.  The street team is my helpers to get the word out.  The street team will help me with a FaceBook Book Launch party in a couple of weeks.  

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?  
Reviews are crucial to getting a book momentum in sales.  Yes, I read them.  It is good to have a few less enthusiastic reviews so people believe they are real and not just all your family and friends.  Some people don’t know how to be constructive in their reviews and can hurt, though.

What, or who, do you enjoy reading?  
I enjoy mysteries and thrillers, espionage/intrigue, urban fantasy, fantasy, and occasional sci-fi.  Historical mysteries and intrigue are my favourites like novels by Anna Lee Huber, Andrea Penrose, Kate Parker, D.M. Quincy, Victoria Thompson, Susan Ellia MacNeal, and CS Harris.  I also enjoy paranormal mysteries/urban fantasy novels like Deborah Blake, Illona Andrews, Juliet Blackwell, Patricia Briggs, and Jim Butcher.  There are soooo many.

Who encourages/inspires you?  
I have three writing friends who encourage me.  I am inspired every time a self-published author is making their dreams come true with writing or a little known writer makes it big. 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?  
France or England, and Scotland.  Julienne, the main character in Resort to Murder Mystery series is aching to travel and she got that from me.  I want to see more of Europe.  There is a crime writers annual convention in Scotland called Bloody Scotland that I am saving up to attend.

What are your future plans for writing?  
I am editing the long-time-coming suspense thriller,The Society, plotting the third Resort to Murder Mystery series novel, Spiked, and debating on another series (either urban fantasy or lite paranormal mystery.) 


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with your other novels in the Resort to Murder Mystery series and your other projects!

Wednesday 7 March 2018

S. R. Hollands

Author Name: S.R. Hollands
Best Known Work: A Faerie’s Tale
Where Can You Find Him: Facebook, Amazon
Top Tip for Writers: Just keep writing.  Get it written down and worry about the content afterwards.  Edit it as much as possible and get some feedback from other people.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I began writing in the early nineties – I suddenly felt the need. I started out trying to write a historical novel set in early Roman Britain, based on real events. Looking back at it now, it was rubbish! Just as well I never finished it… I also entered a few competitions and had some good successes, so I carried on writing – mainly for my own pleasure. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan? 

I think I first realised I was pagan back in the mid-eighties when I read Marion Bradley’s The Mists Of Avalon. That book just seemed to resonate with me… 

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

I have always loved the concept of faeries. A voice at the back of my head kept on telling me to write a modern day faerie tale and so I eventually gave in to it. When I started, the only idea I had was of a young, fae woman trapped in the modern human world and unable to return home unassisted. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot. 

The story is about a young Fae woman called Willow. She is thrown out of the Fae world of Eyedore by her uncle Flint, and is found by a group of modern day teenagers. They look after her, and eventually assist Willow in getting home and reclaiming her stolen heritage from her uncle. Willow’s uncle Flint is a dark magician and wants to use his magical skills to take over the family wealth and lands. Book II will be a prequel to book I, and will answer some questions as to why Flint is so twisted and it will hint at some of the mysterious links between Willow and other characters. The final book completes the story and ties up all the loose ends. 

Do you plan your stories before you begin? 
No. I usually start with a basic idea and see what comes out.

How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer? 

My first book took me three years to write. Book II is now at the editing stage and is so far, two years in. I also have book three completed in the first draft. I only write in my spare time so it’s a slow process.

Who encourages/inspires you? 

Reading other fantasy books always helps. I also use music to set my mood and give me ideas. One of my main inspirational people is American violinist Lindsey Stirling. I have been following her music since 2013 and have watched her career really take off. It has all been her own hard work as the music industry never took her seriously. She is a very motivational person and regularly encourages people to ‘follow their dream’ It worked for her and so whenever I feel like giving up, I always remember Lindsey and her musical journey. I owe her big time. 

What, or who, do you enjoy reading? 

I love reading books by Robin Hobb, Terry Goodkind, and Peter James. Robin and Terry are just amazing fantasy authors and the worlds they create are really believable. I love the crime books of Peter James because the plots are always full of twists and turns and pretty unpredictable.

Where do you go to recharge? 

For me, the best place to recharge is in the woods. I love being amongst the trees and taking in the woodland smells. I always find woodland calming – and who knows? I might even meet a faerie.

If you could pick one book you wish you had written, what would it be?

The Mists Of Avalon by Marion Bradley.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before? 

A Faerie’s Tale is my first published piece, but I am now working on books II & III of the trilogy. I’m hoping to publish book II later this year. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process? 

I am self-published. I used Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle platforms and it seems to have worked for me. I just need to reach a wider audience now.

What are your future plans for writing? 

To complete books II & III of The Eyedore Trilogy and then work on a book of short stories based around witches, faeries, ghosts etc.


Thank you again for sharing your passion and process! We wish you all the best with this novel, and the rest of the trilogy!

Friday 2 March 2018

Cricket Song

Author Name: Cricket Song (Sheri Breault Kreitner)
Best Known Works: A Witch's Voice
Where Can You Find Her? Lunar Wisdom, Facebook
Top Writing Tip: Write for yourself not for others; if you like your story there will be others who enjoy it as well. 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing short stories in elementary school as part of assignments given to me by my teacher, but enjoyed the process so much that I continued to do so for personal pleasure. I kept journals and filled notebooks with fictional stories. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan?
I have always had a strong connection to The Source of All-There-Is, but was raised as a Roman Catholic, but I never stopped questioning. Through my life experiences, I discovered other religions and spiritual practices and felt that all roads ultimately lead to the same destination. It wasn’t until around 2002 that I stumbled upon Witchcraft, magick, and paganism that I realized these were the concepts that made the most sense to me and were aligned with my own beliefs. Once I leaped into study and practice I never turned back.

How did the topic of your book(s) come to you? 

Most of the stories are personal in nature though have been provided within a fictional setting. Some of the characters are direct reflections of me while others are just pieces of the person I am and live shadows of my own life experiences. 

What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I have always loved words since elementary school and often wrote fiction as well as poetry and over the last few years within my practice, I would offer spontaneous words of devotion during my rituals and sabbat celebrations. This book is the product of such work and has been one of love.

Do we see some of you in your book?

Most definitely there are parts of me and my life experiences in everything I write, whether it is a short story, a poem, or a full-length novel. I don’t think I am able to write something that doesn’t reflect a part of me. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

This particular book, A Witch’s Voice is a collection of pagan / witchy/spiritual poetry with some of the poems being illustrated by Nakita Melo (who is also pagan). 

Do you plan your stories before you begin?

I usually have a rough plot line; major things I want to occur within the story, but nothing detailed; those fall into place as the characters reveal themselves and live the story.

How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer?

Since I am self-published, I have the luxury to set my own deadlines and change them if need be, which many times the need is there to adjust my own deadlines. I homeschool my daughter and run a small business so writing isn’t the only thing I do and often times it isn’t the primary focus of my day so I tend to take time to write my books. My first book took about five years and the others each about a year or two. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I am self-published. My first novel, The Prodigal Son I published in May 2016. It was a story I had been writing for years during a very challenging time in my life. The next book I published was a workbook for a spiritual program a created in February 2017, followed by the first volume of a paranormal/supernatural story titled Secrets of Syn published July of the same year, which brings me to this new publication, A Witch’s Voice released March 2018. The experience has been interesting and very rewarding. Being self-published presents many obstacles, but I am supported by family and friends, which makes it worthwhile. 

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?

I appreciate reviews and I do read them even if they are not favorable. I feel that it makes me a better writer and allows me to get a feel for what people enjoy reading and what they don’t, though I don’t take everything to heart, or rather, I do my best not to. 

Who encourages/inspires you?

Many individual encourage and inspire me; family, friends, acquaintances, other authors, artists, actors, musicians, spiritual leaders … people. People who have a passion for what it is they do and who allow that passion to shine through their words and the things they manifest.

What are your future plans for writing?
I am currently working on another novel, the working title of which is The Claiming of Parker Green, which is a Lovecraftian styled horror. 
Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your work and your process! We wish you the best of luck with your next novel and your future work!

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Carolyn Balbi

Author Name: Carolyn Balbi
Best Known WorkPsychic Witch
Where Can You Find Her? Facebook, Website
Top Writing Tip: The only tip I can offer is this – do not force yourself to write.  I know a lot of authors say the opposite, that you should try to write every day.  But, if I’m not feeling it – I don’t do it.  The work is compromised.  When I feel it and I am in the mood to get in that space, ready to work and lay down those words…they flow and I won’t stop.  That’s when inspiration takes over and what you write is so on point; it’s beautiful!

Hi Carolyn, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I began writing at a young age.  I have journals that span from age 7 to now.  I have always loved writing short stories and poetry.  Words seduce me.

When did you realize you were Pagan? 

I realized I was Pagan at age 18, but I’ve always felt witchy.  Out of all of my siblings, I am the only one who never received communion or confirmation.  In fact, the religion teacher basically told my Mother that I was a disruption in class because I, “asked too many questions.”  As a child, I played mostly in nature and mainly alone, I was a bit of an introvert and liked being alone in the quiet.  I enjoyed watching my father work in the garden and I would gather herbs, put them in small jars and pour olive oil on top.  I saw the magick in everything, anything that seemed mundane in the world can and would be magick. To me this was real, not just imagination; fairies, unicorns, elves, witches, trees that spoke to me and being psychic opened me up to so much more, that it only sparked my curiosity. Looking back, I think I have always been a witch in many lifetimes.  I had met my first witch at 18 and she brought me to my first coven meeting – it was there that I knew I was home.

What are your main life experiences that have led to this book? 

I was born and raised on LI, New York and came from a large family of seven.  I had a wonderful childhood – I was very lucky.  I come from a long line of psychics and witches, on both sides of the family; you can read about that in more detail in my book!  My father was raised Catholic but my mother was the spiritualist, so it was all very hush hush.  When my mom passed, I vowed I would write a book about our abilities and our connection to witchcraft.  I wasn’t in the broom closet about it, but my mother was and I just felt pulled to share my experiences regarding my psychic ability and my devotion to witchcraft.  It has truly shaped who I am today.

Is this your first published piece, or have you had work published before? 

This is my first published piece, but I working on my second now.

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience with the process? 

I am self-published.  Came very close to being published with Llewellyn but it never manifested.  It didn’t deter me from publishing because I knew I had to, regardless if it was successful or not.  I am proud to say that it is doing well and continues to sell.

Tell us a bit about your story. 

My book discusses my life as a child psychic and how I dealt with it, good and bad.  It also discusses how I got into witchcraft while guiding the reader on how to unlock their own psychic ability while using witchcraft.  It has lesson plans to follow within each chapter, spell work, what steps are needed to find balance in one’s spiritual path and my own personal stories regarding angels, ghosts, spirit and my spiritual gifts.

How did this topic come to you? 

Since I was a child, I was psychic and my earliest memory of my ability was age 2!  Witchcraft helped me to understand my abilities more and even amplified them.  Putting my own experiences, but adding lessons within the book for others to learn while integrating the craft, seemed like a great topic.

Do we see some of you in your book?
Oh absolutely!  Perhaps too much.  It is very personal and holds a special place in my heart.  There are a lot of experiences based on the earlier part of my life, up until I left NY to come to FL.  I wrote it in my mid-thirties and I am now 45.  By the next book, I will have garnered more experiences and new material to write!

Do you suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?
When I suffer from writer’s block, I do anything else that is creative to get the juices flowing.  I’m also an artist – so I will do artwork, or crafting.  I used to make gemstone jewelry and still do sometimes.  But, once I get creative with anything, I bring myself back to my computer and try again!  It always works for me.

Who encourages/inspires you? 
In all honesty, I kind of carve my own path.  My biggest inspiration is my son though.  He encourages me to be the best and try in all that I do.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?
Nature and anywhere there is silence.  I need to ground usually, but all the elements in nature balance me. Earth, Air, Fire, Water.  So, for Earth – you may find me in my garden, for Air - standing outside on a cliff by the sea, Fire – sitting at a fire pit on the beach staring at the flames, Water – the beach or maybe just soaking in the tub.  

What or who do you enjoy reading?
I have my own metaphysical library so some of the greats are among my collection.  Books on esoteric knowledge, spell work, divination tools, chakras, auras, Native American, Kabbalah, crystals, herbs, oils, candle magick, magick in general, psychic work, etc.  There’s a list and I can’t really say I have a favorite author.  They are all wonderful.  My two favorite books are Reflections on the Art of Living, by Joseph Campbell and as far as fiction, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  My favorite pagan work is The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

If you could pick one book you wished you had written, what would it have been?
I would have written Mists of Avalon,  that was on the NY Times best sellers list for months!

What are your future plans for writing? 
I’m working on my second book now and it’s going very well.  My goal is to get at least 1 bestseller!  Either way, I’ll keep writing.  We need more metaphysical writers out there, so when I see new writers cropping up – it makes me happy!  It’s the same thrill I get when a witchy shop opens up.  We need to keep moving forward. 


Thank you, Carolyn, for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your experience! We wish you the best of luck with this book and your future work!

Tuesday 20 February 2018


Author Name: A.Hanson
Best Known Works:  A Dream of Unknowing
Where Can You Find Him? Amazon, Tumblr
Top Writing Tip: My top tip would be my own mantra: don’t stop. Writing can be mind-numbing, exhausting and sometimes soul destroying (especially when you get negative feedback). The trick is to write for yourself and not worry about what other people think.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I started writing poetry as a teenager and it just developed from there. The reasons why, I am not sure. Perhaps because I wasn’t really able to articulate what I saw and felt to myself, so it needed writing down, rearranging and made real in the world, for me to be able to make sense of it. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan? 

In my 20’s I came back to the UK and went to live on the Isle of Mull. There I tried to research as much as I could about Celtic paganism and spirituality and realised many aspects were in tune with my own personal beliefs. I met some folks from Findhorn, made pagan friends, and together with a person who became very important to me spent a lot of time over that two year period camped out on wild beaches or on hilltops ‘looking for that little bit more’. 

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I was born in the UK but because of my father’s job, I grew up in the Middle-East, Africa, India and the Caribbean. I was always interested in writing and began writing poetry at an early age. This developed into wanting to tell stories that, a bit like poetry, offered more than just a good yarn.  

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

A Dream of Unknowing is my first published work. However, when I was living in India I published a collection of poetry which was read by about six people (I had to buy the other 94 copies from the publisher at cost to keep him happy) so doesn’t really count. Hopefully, sales will be a bit better this time.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters, and plot. 

A Dream of Unknowing is basically four separate tales detailing events that took place in and around the villages of Osikovce, where I now live, and Konkusova Dolina in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia over a 400 years period. My stories are reworkings of older tales from the region, and bits of legend that I have stitched together to suit the purpose of the book. The region where the book is set has a long history of paganism/witchcraft which still exists to this day; and the essence of my book is about how this traditional paganism, rather than the reinvented paganism, survives to this day. The title story, the first of the four, is said to be a parable and there were quite a few people in Osikovce who did not want it written down or published.  

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

I moved to the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia about 9 years ago and the rest...well, it’s in the book. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

Self-published. A couple of smaller publishing houses offered me a contract, but they always wanted me to subsidise the process. If I had the money I probably would have taken them up on the offer, but as I don’t...

Who encourages/inspires you? 

My eldest son is nine years old and loves listening to old stories. We are fortunate to live next to a beautiful forest and on long walks, we tell each other tales of what might be happening just around the next bend or over the brow of the next hill. He is my greatest inspiration in all things, not just writing. 

Where do you go when you need to recharge? 

About a fifteen-minute walk from my house there is an old abandoned spring called Marta’s Well. This place features quite prominently in one of the tales but is not nearly so…disturbing. The spring is dry now, but it’s still has a cool dampness about it which still makes you think of it as a watery place. There are thick ferns, violets and beautiful mosses all over the old stonework. During the summer it’s one of the best places I know to while away the day.

What are your future plans for writing?

My next book, The Fall of Petarov, is almost finished. This is a more personal look at my time in the Carpathians, how I came about the stories in A Dream of Unknowing, and how the book itself got written. It’s not a biography, but more like a fictionalised telling of what I’ve been up to in Osikovce. The events, people, and places are real, but I’ve added a bit of padding to make it more readable. It also looks at some of the traditions, rituals and pagan goings-on that happen here. 


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with this book and your future work!