Tag: new release

Zombie nerd writes, too!

Ask author Sayword Eller about Dr. Who or The Walking Dead and you’re in for a conversation. The self-proclaimed “zombie nerd” just released her second book, Shadows, choosing to publish it herself rather than go the traditional road. Here’s what she has to say about it…

What inspired you to write this book?

I have to be honest and say I don’t remember. I began writing this book so long ago I can’t think of a particular thing that inspired me. Of course, I don’t typically work by inspiration, if that makes sense. I feel like I have a number of stories to tell and they step forward at random, wave at me, and say, “Hey, I’m ready.”

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m mostly boring. Lol. I’ve been married since I was seventeen and have spent the last eighteen years raising my children, making my marriage work, and writing when I can. I graduated from High Point University (shout out to my history peeps!) with my BA and attempted an MA. Maybe I’ll finish that later… I’m an uber zombie nerd. I watch the Walking Dead religiously (as you know) and no matter where I go I always ask myself, what would you do if a zombie apocalypse broke out right now? I told you, NERD! I’m also a ghost fanatic. I believe in them and I love to read about them. So why wouldn’t I write a book about one, right? I won’t even go into my Doctor Who obsession!

You have such an unusual name. Can you tell us how it came to be?


Author Sayword Eller

In 1978, I am assuming just before I was born, my parents watched a mini-series with Elizabeth Montgomery and Hal Holbrook entitled The Awakening Land. Based on a trilogy of novels by Conrad Richter (The Trees, The Fields, and The Town), it is the story of a woman, Sayward Luckett, and how she (and her family) survived in the wilds of, and established a town in, the Ohio wilderness. My parents (mom, don’t kill me for this) misspelled my name on my birth certificate, but this is my namesake. I’ve watched it twice (very good!) and have the first book in the trilogy (on my to-read list). Sayward Luckett was a strong woman and I am extremely proud to bear her name (even if it is spelled differently).

If the book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the leads?

Amy Adams for Victoria, definitely, and Owen Wilson. He’s rumpled and adorable. I think He would make a great Marc.

Tell us about self publishing and why you went that route.

Another bout of honesty here. I just don’t have the patience (or the time) to do all the research that you have to do to get into a traditional house. I’ve gotten so many rejections for Shadows and (more honesty) I just can’t write a decent query letter to save my life! So what do you do when you can’t “sell yourself”? I chose to self-publish. It’s more difficult. I don’t have a lot of money for marketing and, working 50 hours a week, I don’t have a lot of time, but at least it is out there and available for those that may come across my FB post or my Twitter feed.

Any writing habits?

Write when you can! I’ve had serious writers block this year and am just coming out of it. I began a blog when I was in grad school, prompting365.com, in order to keep myself connected to fiction. The idea is to write a story every day from a one-word prompt. I haven’t added one for months and am no where near 365, but I’m feeling a little creative lately, so it is quite possible that I will be adding new stories soon! When I’m not blocked I typically write on the weekends. Work keeps me pretty busy through the week!

Now that it’s published, is there anything you want to change?

I’m sure that I will find typos (hopefully not too many!), but I don’t think there is anything that I would change about it at this point. It is the story I wanted to tell and I am proud of it. Maybe there is one thing. I would change it from an obscure book to a bestseller! Then again, it’s early yet!

From the back cover of Shadows:  All Victoria Gray wants is a little normalcy in her life. With her relocation to North Carolina, and her blossoming relationship with the very handsome Marc Peterson, she hopes to move on from the pain of her past, but that isn’t likely to happen with a sullen dead girl hanging around. Reluctantly Victoria begins to awaken to the fact that she has developed the ability to communicate with the dead, and it shadowscover-081113-frontdoesn’t take her long to figure out that the girl haunting her is running out of time. As the pieces begin to fall into place Victoria uncovers long-buried secrets that someone wants kept no matter the cost. Will she be able to free the specter from her prison of purgatory? Or will the shadows make certain that she suffers the same fate?

Find out more about Sayword at her website saybeller, or connect through Facebook or Twitter

You can purchase Shadows at Amazon.com

Glitz and glamour and a lot of dirt!

A big welcome to Canadian crime novelist Luke Murphy. Luke’s debut novel, Dead Man’s Hand, is soaring up the charts and it’s a pleasure to have him join me today.

Here’s what others are saying about Dead Man’s Hand:

“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”

—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

“Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man’s Hand is a fast, gritty ride.”

—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]

Wow! I can’t wait for the interview so let’s get started.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I always say I write because I can’t sing or dance (LOL). Writing isn’t my full time job, I would have starved long ago if it was.

I’m an elementary school teacher, I tutor Math and English part time and I’m a husband and father (three young children, all girls, 5, 3 and 2 months…ouch!!). So as you can see, I only write when I find time.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Actually it happened by accident. Growing up I never thought much about writing, but I was an avid reader. The only time I ever wrote was when my teachers at school made me. I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.

It was the winter of 2000, my second year of professional hockey, and I was playing in Oklahoma City. After sustaining a season ending eye injury (one of the scariest moments of my life), I found myself with time on his hands.

My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, was attending a French college in Montreal. She received an English assignment to write a short story, and asked me for some help.

I loved the experience—creating vivid characters and generating a wire-taut plot. I sat down at my roommate’s computer and began typing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it I had completed my first manuscript.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing.

Thirteen years later, I still write for pleasure—and I still love it! The fact that I am being published is a bonus.

I made the decision to write a book with the intention of publication in 2005. I enjoyed writing so much as a hobby, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published and making it available for friends, family, and readers around the world to enjoy.

I`m not one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2006, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of the novel.

I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible work.

My years of hard work finally paid off. With my dream still in mind and my manuscript ready, I hired the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency to represent DEAD MAN`S HAND.

I signed a publishing deal with Imajin Books in May, 2012.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I was always an avid reader. My first books were the Hardy Boys titles, so they are the reason I love mysteries. As an adult, some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Greg Iles, so naturally I write what I love to read – mystery/suspense/thriller novels. “Kiss the Girls” by James Patterson was the first adult crime-book I ever read, and I fell in love with the genres. DEAD MAN`S HAND has been compared to Patterson books, which to me is an honour. Maybe in style (short chapters, a quick read), as I have read many of his books.

Where do you get your ideas?

Plot: I get my ideas from stories I hear about, whether through reading (newspapers, magazines, etc.), what I hear (radio) or what I see (TV, movies, internet, etc.). The plot is completely fictional. I wouldn`t say that one thing or person influences my writing, but a variety of my life experiences all have led to my passion in the written word. There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies. Dead Man’s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.

Setting: I usually set my stories in cities I`ve visited and fell in love with. Las Vegas was the perfect backdrop for this story, glitz and glamour as well as an untapped underground.

Characters: I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional rollercoaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine was. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I have never suffered from writers block, or I should say that I have never been affected by it. Since writing is not my full time job (I’m a teacher, tutor, husband and father), it’s more of a hobby for me. If I’m ever sitting at the computer and drawing a blank, I just get up, shut off the computer, and walk away…live to fight another day. If the next day the same thing happens, then I walk away again. For this reason, I never give myself deadlines or WIP challenges.

Can you tell us about your challenges as a writer?

For me, the most difficult thing about writing has nothing to do with actual writing (ideas, flow, writer`s block, etc.), but it`s finding the time.

Between teaching and tutoring, with three small children and a wife at home, finding the time to sit down at a computer and have serious, quality writing time is almost impossible.

But I love my girls and spending quality time for them is a great feeling. I wouldn’t give up my games of ring-around-the-rosie and duck-duck-goose for anything in the world. It just puts writing my next novel behind a bit.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

DEAD MAN’S HAND is my only published work to date, and I have been getting exceptional reviews. It took me over six years from writing the first word to seeing it in print, so I spent a lot of time with it.

But my first manuscript is my baby. It was what drew me to writing, what ignited the passionate fire in me to write. It also brought my wife and I closer together (we were just dating at the time and she helped me a little).

I never intended to publish my first manuscript, it was part of practicing to hone my craft. But since my first novel has been getting such good reviews, for book #2, I’ve pulled my first manuscript out of the drawer and am currently revising it for possible publication.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Definitely the protagonist from DEAD MAN’S HAND, Calvin Watters.

Many people have asked if I can make any real connections to the main character in my novel. The answer, as for my connection…no, I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. The plot is completely fictional. Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional rollercoaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine was. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.

Calvin Watters faces racial prejudice with calmness similar to that of Walter Mosley’s character Easy Rawlins. But Watters’ past as an athlete and enforcer will remind other readers of (Jack) Reacher of the Lee Childs series. The Stuart Woods novel Choke, about a tennis player who, like Watters, suffered greatly from a dramatic loss that was a failure of his psyche, is also an inspiration for Dead Man’s Hand.

When thinking about creating the main character for my story, I wanted someone “REAL”. Someone readers could relate to. Although it is a work of fiction, my goal was to create a character who readers could make a real connection with.

Physically, keeping in mind Watters’ past as an NCAA football standout and his current occupation as a Vegas debt-collector, I thought “intimidating”, and put together a mix of characteristics that make Watters appear scary (dreadlocks and patchy facial hair), but also able to blend in with those of the social elite. Although he is in astounding physical condition, handsome and well-toned, he does have a physical disability that limits his capabilities.

He’s proud, confident bordering on cocky, mean and tough, but I also gave him a softer side that readers, especially women, will be more comfortable rooting for. After his humiliating downfall he is stuck at the bottom for a while, but trying hard to work his way back up.

He has weaknesses and he has made poor choices. He has regrets, but Watters has the opportunity to redeem himself. Not everyone gets a second chance in life, and he realizes how fortunate he is.

Calvin Watters is definitely worth rooting for.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’ve been very fortunate so far to have mainly only positive reviews of DEAD MAN’S HAND. There have only been a handful of 2 or 3 star reviews, and even those were more positive than negative.

As for “best compliment”, the review blurbs I’ve received from other authors, especially bestselling authors, has been thrilling. My favorites, because of who they are from, were the reviews I received from NY Times Bestselling authors Thomas Perry and William Martin:

“Luke Murphy’s Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” —Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new voice to the ranks of mystery-thriller authors. So welcome Luke Murphy, who delivers plenty of both in his debut novel, Dead Man’s Hand. Give it an evening and you may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.” —William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Get a part-time job to pay the bills (haha). Just kidding. Honestly, for anyone who wants to be a writer, you need to have three things: patience, determination and thick skin. You can`t let anyone or anything get in the way of your ultimate goal. You will hear a lot of “no`s”, but it only takes one “yes”. The writing industry is a slow-moving machine, and you need to wait it out. Never quit or give up on your dreams.

That’s some great advice, Luke. Thanks for dropping by today. IMG_5365

More about Luke: Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug. He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

More about Dead Man’s Hand:

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

Against his superiors and better judgement, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Luke’s website

Luke’s Facebook page

Connect with Luke on Twitter

Buy it at Amazon!

Guest post at Inkwell Inspirations

What book made me want to become a writer? Find out at Inkwell Inspirations

Inkwell Inspirations

The big head and poopy diapers

The Rising was released Friday. I changed poopy diapers. It was an all day event. Not the diapers, the release. Well, ok, maybe the diapers, too.

I had a “cyber” release day party on Facebook and it was a blast. Lots of fun. Lots of cyber pats-on-the-back. Less humble authors may have gotten a big head with all the attention. But I know my place in the grand scheme of things. This week brought several reminders.

Like Paisley asking me where I was going to work when I grow up.


My darling Emma. She calls it like she sees it.

Or this little conversation with Emma…

Emma: Grandma, how many more books are you going to write before I’m twenty? (she’ll be 8 in November)

Grandma (me):  I don’t know. I hope a bunch.

Emma:  Probably not a whole whole bunch because you may be real old by then and already dead.

Or this from Aiden (said with a sour look on his face): Poop.


Nothing stands between Ava and snack time

Or from Ava…I was tickled to see a picture of my book in a shipping box on Facebook so I called to Ava to come look…her response was something along the line of, “Uh-huh. Can I have a snack now?”

Again from Aiden: Poop.

And Ivy: Me go poop.

Sigh. What can I say? They keep me humble.

What keeps you humble?



Review for The Rising

The RisingThe Rising by Lynn Chandler-Willis is a novel that wakes you at night, gets under your skin, and holds you captive until the end. A mystery like no other, the voices ring as true and intimate as any I’ve read lately. It’s the kind of mystery I want to read: gripping with flawed characters who pull at your heart, a storyline as unpredictable as it is engaging, the settings so authentic, you’d swear you were there. As this story unfolded, I rooted for Ellie from the beginning. By the end, I nearly cheered out loud. A real winner, this is Willis at her best.”

Pamela King Cable, Author of Southern Fried Women, Televenge, and The Sanctum


Thursday’s Child chases the whole…

A big welcome to author Clare Revell! Clare’s latest novel, Thursday’s Child, (Pelican Book Group) released Friday, July 5th and with the recent tragedy involving the nineteen firefighters in Arizona, her book couldn’t be more timely.

From Clare: Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. From soldiers to sailors to firefighters and police officers. From pastors to teachers to fathers.

And now, from her Monday’s Child series comes the latest installment— Thursday’s Child.

Monday’s Child must hide for protection,

Tuesday’s Child tenders direction

Wednesday’s Child grieves for his soul

Thursday’s Child chases the whole

Friday’s Child is a man obsessed

Saturday’s Child might be possessed

And Sunday’s Child on life’s seas is tossed

Awaiting the Lifeboat that rescues the lost.

Meet Jared Harkin. Firefighter. Husband. Father. A man with a deeply troubled personal life, yet still puts his life on the line every day to save others.    Clarecover

Thursday’s Child chases the whole…

Broken…with bits missing. That’s how Niamh (pronounced Neeve), senior prosecutor for the CPS, feels when she wakes in a hospital severely injured with no knowledge of what happened–for the past ten years. A tall man in a firefighters uniform claims he’s her husband. While he’s everything she’s ever dreamed of in a man and more, she doesn’t know him. And if he was so important why can’t she remember? Was there something so terrible, so painful in her marriage, her mind has suppressed it?

First on the scene at a horrific accident, Jared Harkin is devastated to find his wife one of the injured. He’s already lost a child, can he live through this? Niamh survives the crash, but awakens with ten years missing and no memories of their life together. Determined to help her remember the past and their love, he sets about wooing her all over again. But are some things best forgotten?

As Niamh struggles to remember, the investigation into the accident reveals foul play. Did her recent caseload have anything to do with the attempt on her life? Or was it someone closer to her? As bit and pieces of memory return, the attacker strikes again. Can she piece together the whole of her past before it’s too late?

An exert from Thursday’s Child…

Jared shouldered the gear. “Don’t mention it.” He headed towards the smashed vehicles, the oil and petrol from shattered engines and tanks, mixing with the rain water. Other firefighters started running out hose having considered the high risk of fire. He could hear them talking and equipment buzzing, the normal sounds of a shout mixing with what he knew he had to do.

He got closer to the red car. The woman lay slumped over the steering wheel, black hair stained red with blood. He looked at Steve. “Did you bring the trauma care kit?”


“Go get it. That way we can start treating her until the paramedics arrive.”

Steve nodded and ran back to the fire engine. Jared smiled and then moved closer to the car. Though the teeming rain he could make out the start of the number plate in the tangled wreckage. ROO. The rest of the plate was torn off.

It’s the same as Niamh’s. Don’t be silly. There are probably a thousand red cars that start ROO, if not more than that.

He got closer and suddenly the Station Manager, Brad Peters was there, blocking his path. “Jared…”

Jared looked at him. The look on the Guv’s face said it all. Oh, God, no, please… “Guv?”

“I’m sorry. It’s Niamh.”

Nausea and sheer panic filled him. Dropping the equipment to the ground, Jared moved as if in fire or lime. Everything slowed down, voices and sounds echoing. He shook off the arm that held him, his whole being determined to get to her, his eyes fixed on the wreck. Somewhere in that tortured and twisted hunk of metal was his wife.



To purchase Thursday’s Child, go to: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/thursdays-child

To celebrate the release of Thursday’s Child, we’re giving away two print copies and two e-book copies! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. All names will go into a hat and the winners drawn randomly on July 12th. Good luck!

About Clare Revell:

Clare lives in a small town in England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, and her three children. Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated clarepicfrom rewriting fairy stories through fanfiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children’s stories. When she’s not writing, reading, sewing or keeping house or doing the many piles of laundry her children manage to make, she’s working part time in the breakfast club at one of the local schools. She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of three registrars.



She can be found at: http://www.revell124.plus.com/clarerevell/  https://www.facebook.com/ClareRevellAuthorhttps://twitter.com/ClareRevell

Other titles by Clare Revell: Season For Miracles, Saving Christmas, Cassie’s Wedding Dress, Time’s Arrow, Kisses From Heaven, After The Fire, An Aussie Christmas Angel, Monday’s Child, Tuesday’s Child, Wednesday’s Child, and Thursday’s Child.


Now we’re talking!


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