Monday, April 30, 2018

Mark O'Neill

Check out this awesome interview with Mark. O'Neill!

Tell me a little bit about yourself:

My name is Mark O'Neill, I am 43 years old, married, and originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. I am now living in Würzburg, Germany and have been here since 2001, with my wife Monika and our dog Schlumpf. As well as a novelist, I am also a freelance writer for hire and work for various international clients.

What first inspired you to start writing?

I have been writing since I knew how to pick up a pen and start writing. I have always lived inside my imagination. I was that kind of child. Shy, withdrawn, and day-dreaming. What inspired me to start writing my current fiction series, Department 89, was author Mark Dawson and his writing groups.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

An absolute, unapologetic pantser. Plotting is, for me, something that spoils all the fun of writing. Being a pantser, you never know what is coming next and that is the fun of the whole thing. Yes it makes writing a book more difficult but for me, that is just something I have to accept being a pantser. Writing this way, my books have gone off in weird tangents that I don't think would have happened otherwise.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

As I said, I was inspired by author Mark Dawson and he writes a British spy series with a character called John Milton. I realised I could write something similar, but since I am here in Germany, I would change it to a German spy series, a fictional top secret department called Department 89 (think Mission Impossible - deniable if caught, that sort of thing). I would also flip it so instead of a macho male spy (who needs another one of THOSE?), I would make the lead spy character a female agent instead. I have had women calling themselves feminists thanking me for the character, as well as others saying it is a refreshing change seeing German spies saving the world for once, instead of the CIA or MI6 all the time.

What book have you read that has most influenced your life and writing?

THAT'S a tough question because I have been reading longer than I have been writing, and read about 50-ish books a year. Fiction-wise, I guess, it would be people like Daniel Silva, Mark Dawson, Robert Ludlum, Ian Fleming, Clive Cussler, Jack Higgins, Steve Berry, and John Connolly. I am also a diehard fan of the Sherlock Holmes books and I re-read them at least once a year.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?

Writing more spy thrillers, hopefully getting them translated into multiple languages, getting the audiobooks done, and starting some new series. Hopefully a crime series.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

In Department 89, it has to be Wolfgang Schmitz, the second-in-command. He never takes life seriously, tells bad jokes, likes to wear nice clothes (which are always wrecked in every book!), so he comes across as a bit of an idiot sometimes. But when the shit hits the fan, you can be guaranteed he will be there by your side and you can depend on him with your life. I like to think that describes me perfectly.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?

Mark Dawson's SPF -
Jane Friedman, whom I admire enormously.
Joanna Penn (an indie writer whom I hope to have the same success someday)

What do you love most about the writing process?

The unpredictability of it all. Not knowing where the story is going next.
Doing something I know I'm good at.
Creating new characters and new worlds.

If you could spend time as a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Wolfgang Schmitz. What would I do? Try on nice designer suits and tell bad jokes.

What are some tips you can give other aspiring writers?

Never give up. If you get a rejection, say "their loss, not mine", toss it in the trash, and keep writing. Don't ignore your fans either. If someone writes to you, write back.

What are you working on now?

The next Department 89 book. The working title is "The Avenging Angel". Provisional release date is the end of May.

Can you share an excerpt with us from one of your novels/projects?

Your readers can download the first book for free here -

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?

If you sign up for my mailing list at, you will get three D89 books free of charge.
About the Author:

Mark is a 40-something Scotsman, now living the expatriate lifestyle in Würzburg, Germany. He has been writing in one form or another for the past 30 years. However, he is now an independently published fiction writer, currently working on the Department 89 espionage novels starring the female spy Captain Sophie Decker, protecting the German state.
The first D89 book, "The Renegade Spy" was downloaded more than 4,000 times in the first 4 weeks. Plots have been outlined for up to 20 Department 89 novels.The first book, "The Renegade Spy" has received rave reviews, with one reviewer comparing Sophie Decker to the female version of Bruce Willis's character, John McClaine, in the Die Hard movies. However, Decker scoffs at such comparisons, as she thinks she can easily beat McClaine in a hand-wrestle. You can visit Mark at his website and sign up for his mailing list at
Author Links:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Boy of Blood

 Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing
Series: Girl of Glass Genre: YA Dystopia Release Date: April 10, 2018

After Nightland’s vicious attack on the domes, the safety and perfection of the world within the glass has been contaminated. Desperate to rebuild, outsiders are allowed into the domes to help, breaking the cardinal rule: outsiders and Domers must always be separated. But the city is in shambles, crumbling into chaos without the Vampers of Nightland to keep order, and one name is carried on the wind: Nola.

Clinging to Jeremy, Nola struggles to find a way to exist in the domes, turning her back on all she learned in the city. But when one of the outsiders brings the dark secrets of the domes to light, the line between survival and murder blurs against the spectre of the dying world.

Can Nola follow the dark path laid out by the Domes? Will the dangers of the night become her new sanctuary?


BOY OF BLOOD by Megan O’Russell
Excerpt from Chapter Ten
“Then the domes have to survive. We were built to protect the future of mankind. And that’s what we’ll do, no matter what it takes.”
The captain’s words hung heavy in the air.
“Why are you telling me this?” Nola asked, wanting to flee Captain Ridgeway’s heavy gaze. It felt like he was searching her, trying to find some piece of information that would help the domes survive. But even if she hadn’t sworn to Jeremy that she would lie, there was nothing she knew that could save them from a wolf pack. “Isn’t this the sort of thing the Outer Guard always try to hide from the rest of us?” She pressed on after a long moment of silence.
“It is,” he said plainly, “but for some reason you, Magnolia Kent, seem to be mired deeper in this bloody muck than the rest of us. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when blood and death come for someone once, they’ll come back again. And again. The bloodthirsty don’t forget.”
The captain’s words rang over her like a judge delivering a death sentence. She had played with darkness. Now she was condemned to it.
“They’ll keep coming for me till they kill me.” The words came so naturally, so simply, it felt like she had always known.
“They’ll kill you, you’ll kill them. You can’t get away from a monster that has your scent. And Emanuel isn’t dead, at least not as far as we can tell. The storm that’s brewing carries one word on the wind: Nola.”

Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received its world premier in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.   

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kari Holloway

I'm so excited to introduce to you all today Kari Holloway

Tell me a little more about yourself:

My name is Kari Holloway, and I am from Leesburg, Ga. I'm a multi-genre author with works in romance (Laughing P series), paranormal (Devil's Playground), Fantasy (Beneath the Masks), speculative (Gunpowder and Wool featured in A Haunting of Words), creative nonfiction (Catch Up in A Contract of Words), Non-fiction (A New Writer's Guide to Microsoft Word), and more. In my free time, I enjoy playing games such as Hearthstone, Pokemon Go, and Monster Hunter World.
Laughing P ( Devil's Playground ( Beneath the Masks ( A Haunting of Words ( A Contract of Words ( New Writer's Guide (
When you write, do you listen to music or do you prefer silence?

If I'm writing, I don't mind the t.v. being on, but I don't listen to music. If I'm formatting for other authors, I don't mind music. Fozzy, Rag N' Bone Man, and country music in general are my usual playlist for that.
If you could live in any literary world, what would it be and why?

Kim Harrison's Hollows series (also known as the Rachel Morgan series). One of the best in terms of balance between fantasy, paranormal, and equality.
What five things do you do to prepare yourself to start writing?

Wrangle my kids in bed. With two kids under 6, writing while they are awake is like being in a traffic jam. The moment I think I can write even a paragraph, they bring it to a halt. Love them to pieces, but all writing takes place after 8pm unless I have my AlphaNeo with me.
What brought you to the world of writing?

I can't remember a time that i haven't wrote something. In July of 2015, I saw an advertisement on FB for a writing contest. I knew I wouldn't submit, but I sat down and wrote around 5k words. I thought I was done, but the story demanded to be told. That story turned out to be Cracked But Never Broken. I had written the first five chapters, and the rest is history. 
What book has most influenced your writing?

All books influence my writing. I don't think it's possible to read a book and it not have some sort of impact.
Are you a morning writer, afternoon writer, or an evening writer? Does the time of day you write impact your writing?

I can write anytime of day, but with kids, evening is "go time."
What is your writing process?

I pants it. I have a general idea of what I want (maybe) and I start at chapter 1 and work linear down the line of "what ifs." After a couple of rounds with a draft, I send it to the next stage which could be betas or it could go directly to the editor.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Not letting marketing take over. It's a dual edge sword. Need marketing to make money to fund next book, but need to write next book to keep fans happy. Too much one way or the other, and the progression gets halted.
What do you love most about writing?

I can become anyone. For those few pages, I can live whatever life I want. 
Do you have any tips for other aspiring authors?

Write the draft first then ask if this scene or this sentence or this name works. If you aren't writing, then nothing is getting done.
What are you currently working on now?
I am working on my October's release. It is a continuation of the celestial maiden's tale from Japan.

Kyle is a comic book store owner. Carissa is a high school music teacher who plays the violin. Everything is going according to plan until Grandpa gives Kyle a nearly impossible task. Return the maiden's robe to the woman he stole it from over 50 years ago... to a woman that is dead.
My next two releases in the Devil's Playground series are with the editor. Mark of Cain and the Howling King are books 3 and 4 and both will be released this year. In Mark of Cain, Alex finds herself across the veil in the land of magic with her former mentor. What starts out as a simple hunt and exterminate mission become much more complicated when the signs of a cain appear. In the Howling King, Alex, Mira, and Ronin go to Bozeman Montana for a routine paper-pushing job at the request of the council. With her thoughts occupied by things that happened in Mark of Cain, Alex jeopardizes her team and must reap the price.
Can you share an excerpt with us from one of your novels/projects? From current WIP:

 Kyle couldn’t believe he let Evan talk him into this. If walking around the mall wasn’t annoying enough with the copy and paste stores and heat-lamped warmed Chinese food, he carried the maiden’s scarf in hand, raising it near the women he passed without looking like a stalker or worse… crazy.
“That one?” Evan nudged him and pointed to a lady in heels too tall to be reasonably comfortable emerging from one of the big chain stores with bags in hand.
He sighed. “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” He snatched the scarf off the fountain’s edge and hurried after the lady, weaving around the grey-haired women in jogging gear who lapped the interior of the mall for exercise and squeezed past a gaggle of kids skipping school.
He adjusted the scarf so he could see, passing within an elbow’s push from her. The scarf ruffled, and his heart skipped a beat. Her? As quick as it had fluttered, it stopped—no longer trapped in the momentum of his stride. He shook his head and veered off toward the next fountain, trying to make it seem natural despite the few places a grown man would be caught on this side of the mall.
“Maybe the next one? There’s only about two million women left in the state that we haven’t checked.” Evan opened the pretzel bag and tore off a piece before shoving it in mustard.
“That was your great idea?” Kyle’s brow knitted, and his gaze narrowed. Heat began to rise up his neck. “We’ve spent all day doing this instead of me working at the store for this?” He couldn’t believe it.
Evan’s pitch had seemed reasonable at the time but hearing the end game left Kyle flabbergasted.
“Oh, don’t give me that. You would have found any excuse not to clean the office. Besides, we don’t even know if that scarf actually works. It hasn’t so much as hoovered, glowed, or pulsed … has it?” Evan cocked his head to the side and shoved another piece of pretzel into his mouth.
Kyle shook his head. He nudged Evan and pointed to the bag. Taking the bag, he tore off a piece of pretzel. “I’ve taken this by every fabric shop in town. They can’t even find anything close to it. And I do mean every fabric shop.” He ate the pretzel piece and reached for another.
Evan shrugged. “I got nothing. You could always forget it. Toss it up to the ramblings of an old man.”
Kyle didn’t want to say it, but he’d been thinking the same since Gramps brought it up.
About the Author:

Kari Holloway is an American writer who grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. She dabbles in southern romances filled with iconic components of sexy cowboys and firefighters, explored the unexplained in her paranormal series, found her way to the battlefields of the Civil War, and to love's first kiss under the weeping willow through various anthologies. 
Unsure of what her future holds, Kari enjoys writing what captures her attention in the evenings. During the day, she chases her kids around, laughing at their sassy ways and the depths of their curiosity.
Her motto in life: Show the world the best version of you, for our actions of today make tomorrow.
For more information about Kari Holloway and her work, check out her website at You can also find her on Tumblr (, Facebook (, or Youtube (