An interview on Pat McDermott’s blog, Across the Plains of Shining Books today. (What a great name for a blog! and great questions)
So, after much quiet, the howl returns…
As I said in a post longer ago than I thought it was, I’ve been living in the real world these last many months.
But I’d done a year or more inside my imaginary city, the setting for the Silver Nights Trilogy.
I’m ready to publish the second and third instalments now.
Leading the Pack is out on Pre-order as of today!
you can get it for just 99c until publication on March 15th from Amazon….
and Unleashing the Pack will be edited soon and the cover is nearly done…
It was a pleasure to return to the characters, but working on the two novels in tandem was a struggle while I was immersed in them, and I hope I’ve done justice to my original vision of the werewolf story.
The question I feel I have to answer, before anyone even reads part two, is, “why go back?”
Because I didn’t need to.
The first book, Leaving the Pack, didn’t have an open ending. It was a stand-alone novel.
But I couldn’t leave it alone.
I had to go back and expand on the idea.
So I hope I’ve done the right thing. I hope I’ve not made a mess of the story.
One thing I hate is when writers and moviemakers go back just for the sake of it.
One of my favourite movies is Highlander, and I’ve seen it many times. I hate the sequels. I hate the series. Stupid films that made a mess of a great original story.
I’m watching Lonesome Dove, after having read the book, and now I have discovered there are sequels and prequels, but I’m wary about even going there, given some comments I’ve read.
Why mess with such perfect stories? Why corrupt the vision?
If you go back, you have to have a reason, a need, something else to say.
In my case, I wanted to explain the werewolves from different angles. Firstly, from the viewpoint of a new generation. Paul’s pack, in Leaving the Pack, is a disciplined machine. Paul has complete control (mostly) of his power. But is such camaraderie innate in a race so apt to violence? What is it like to feel such potency for the first time. I wanted to explore the line between being the alpha and what I called the leash – does power necessarily come with responsibility or vice versa?
Secondly, how do werewolves adapt to a new millennium? The twenty-first century is a world that such an ancient tribe as my werewolves would have trouble confronting, in terms of our more open, permissive and public society. How can you remain hidden in plain sight with so many cameras watching? The world is changing rapidly for us; imagine for a race who live so much longer. And at the same time, if they can embrace the future, then so can any other culture.
My follow Tirgearr author J.D. Martins is on blog tour this week with his new erotic romance novella, One Night in Boston.
At each stop there’s a chance to win one of his previous novellas, One Night in Madrid and One Night in Pamplona.
Yesterday he wrote about writing characters of different races and interracial couples on Lily Harlem’s blog, and today he’s writing about where characters come from in my City Nights stories on Muffy Wilson’s page.
I’ll post the links to the other locations later in the week. Happy reading!
- Today I’m delighted to be able to welcome a fellow Tirgearr Publishing Author, Christy Jackson Nicholas, author of Legacy of Hunger and the upcoming Legacy of Truth. She’s a bit of an expert on Ireland, having penned a travel guide – she’d know how to find Ballyboy Beach, I’m sure.
- Tell us a bit more about yourself, Christy. Where are you from?
That’s not an easy answer. I was conceived in England, born in Denmark, lived in Dearborn, Michigan until I was 8, and then south Florida until about 15 years ago. Since then I’ve lived in north Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I guess I’m a bit of a gypsy at heart!
- Tell us about the setting of your book. Why did that place speak to you?
The book, Legacy of Hunger, is set in 1846. The main characters start out in Pennsylvania, and then travel to Ireland in the midst of the Great Hunger, commonly referred to as the Potato Famine. Ireland is my soul’s home, my ‘anam bhaile’. The first time I visited, almost 20 years ago, I felt immediately at home. I’ve been five times now, and will retire there some day. The magic of the land and the people have something integral within them that I must share with others. The novel is set in several of my favorite places – Ardara, in County Donegal, Achill Island, and Kenmare in County Cork.
- What do you like least about writing?
The editing process, hands down. I love planning portion, and writing the first draft. I hate the part that comes after – endless editing, changing, shifting, improving, refining. I think because it’s more of an organic process to me than writing it is. I am very methodical in my writing – plan everything out, write scene by scene in order, etc. I can change my plan as I go along, and I frequently do, but still push on bit by bit. After that, it’s all rather nebulous.
- Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal library.
I love fantasy and science fiction, so Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Diana Gabaldon, are all big favorites. I love historical fiction as well – Sharon Kay Penman, Elizabeth Chadwick, Edward Rutherfurd.
- What inspired you to write in the first place?
Actually, finding my father after searching for him for fifteen years inspired me. He never knew I existed, and when I finally found him, he and my mother got together and got married for the first time. I knew that had to be a love story – so I wrote my first novel. It was addicting.
- Was there much research involved?
A lot more than I thought there would be! Since the novel is set in 1846, there are many small things that I simply didn’t know, such as what sort of foods would the locals be eating other than potatoes? How would one travel from Pittsburgh to New York, since the railroads weren’t that far west? Or across the ocean – the first steam ships were just being used at that point. I found myself writing about the funicular train and boat system on the Juniata River in Pennsylvania, near Hollidaysburg and Johnstown. After the book was finished, I then got a new job and moved to that area, completely by coincidence.
- Tell us about your next project.
I’ve already written the first drafts of two more books, prequels to Legacy of Hunger. There will be a trilogy, if all goes well! Legacy of Truth and Legacy of Luck.
- It’s great to see that the first of those is well on track. Thanks for coming by, Christy.
Grandmamma’s brooch haunted Valentia’s dreams.
Even as she relaxed at afternoon tea with her mother, the lace doily reminded her of the delicate intertwining design of the brooch. That, in turn, reminded her of the task she had resolved her mind upon.
She was tired of always settling for the smallest bits of whatever was good in life. Perhaps it was time to take larger chunks.
Valentia’s corset pinched as she leaned towards the tea tray, reaching for a large cake on the upper tier.
“Control yourself, Valentia, or you’ll end up looking like one of those Pittsburgh steel workers.” Majesta McDowell was always aware of the proprieties. From the servant’s area, one of the maids sniggered.
With an unladylike grimace at her mother, Valentia reached for a much smaller piece when she heard shouts. This wasn’t the normal sound of a foreman yelling at his workers.
This was panic.
Several other patrons stood to look out the plate glass window of the café. Though she was tall for a woman, all Valentia could see were the backs of strangers, and an occasional glimpse of someone running in the street.
Then there came a sharp crack, followed by a muffled explosion. Clouds of dust billowed, and Valentia fought her rising dread.
People in the café jammed the door, trying to escape.
Valentia, her mother, and their maids, Sarah and Maggie, pushed out of the stifling building. Panicked voices screamed amid crashes, all from a street not far away, in the direction of the Monongahela House Hotel.
Which was where they had been staying.
Her mind raced in panic, her stomach was a solid knot. Trying to make sense of the chaos, she looked the maids and her mother. She was transfixed, staring at the looming threat.
A threatening column of black, oily smoke billowed from the riverside, a searing blanket of menace. The smell of burning wood filled the air.
A church bell tolled. She must quell her terror and take charge.
“Mother, this way!” Valentia tugged on her mother’s arm to break the spell she was under, and pulled her away from the hotel.
My name is Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon. I do many things, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing and photography. In real life I’m a CPA, but having grown up with art and around me (my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected me, as it were. I love to draw and to create things. It’s more of an obsession than a hobby. I like looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or a fragrant blossom, a dramatic seaside. I then wish to take a picture or create a piece of jewelry to share this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus I write. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. I do local art and craft shows, as well as sending my art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.
Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing JD Martins, fellow author at Tirgearr Publishing and man after my own heart because he has also pledged to donate 10% of royalties from his first published book to WWW the World Wildlife Fund.
Thanks for coming by, JD and answering some of my probing questions.
No problem, David. Thanks for having me by – but can you keep the double entendres to a minimum?
Yes, of course, sorry about that. Is it easier to write a novella rather than a novel?
Not so much as you’d expect, to be honest. Everyone has their own favourite size, I suppose, but there’s not really that much difference between a 25k novella and a 70k novel when it comes down to figuring out the characters and their back-story. Every romance has to have at least two main characters, with their motivations and story arc and that’s where most of the work is, for me. I find I need to cut down pretty savagely to fit a story into the shorter format – especially if half the time the characters are having sex, or thinking about it.
So, then, why write erotic romance?
This is my first story, and I did this because I heard about the City Nights Series that Tirgearr were making and I decided to try my hand at it. It was the first time I wrote anything for a specific reason other than just for my own pleasure.
Tell us what inspired the story.
I used to live in Madrid back in the early two thousands – the noughties, they’re sometimes called. I spent my fair share of time in bars there. I had written a short story about looking for people you know when you go to bars and if you were in a place where nobody knew you, meeting someone from your former life, and whether that would be a good thing or not. I decided to turn my story into an erotic romance, taking the story a few paces further along from where it had originally trodden.
So it was pretty much done, then – you just added the steamy parts?
Not quite. It was hard going, actually. I went through about ten or twelve rewrites and drafts before it was accepted, then a few more afterwards with my editor, Lucy Felthouse, who was great.
I couldn’t agree more about that. So it’s not all that easy to write erotica as it would seem?
Not for me at least! I’ve heard some say that it’s easy to distinguish a male and female writer of erotica, because the woman will put in 80-90% emotion and 10-20% physical. So it stands to reason that in general readers of the same gender will want to read that proportion. Since it’s also generally true that women make up 80-90% of erotica readers, my challenge as a male writer is to put that extra 50% in that I wouldn’t normally think necessary. The other major difficulty is avoiding repetition when basically describing something so common and quotidian in such great detail. Everyone already knows what happens during sex. That’s really hard. It’s similar to writing poetry than prose in that sense: always looking for new ways of saying the same thing. And it took me as long to write 25k of prose, as it would have 25k of poetry.
Why do you think readers want to read erotica so much nowadays?
Several reasons, I suppose, though I must say I’m no authority on the matter – I’m fairly new to writing, if not to sex. In one sense it seems a bit unnecessary. We don’t write about how we eat chocolate croissants in such great detail, or how a person gets dressed or washes the dishes, and yet we stop the story to concentrate on how the characters have sex, or even masturbate.
Because we can, is the first answer. It’s great that finally we can be – more or less – comfortable with our sexuality again. I say again because I believe the two hundred years or so of prudishness that we are vigorously shaking off now are an anomaly in our history. People used to live in much closer quarters and shared experiences of bodily functions. The Marquis de Sade was writing about stuff much stronger than anything we have in 50 Shades of Grey or anything I’d have the guts to write – I can’t see that leap being made from somewhere so prudish as our own time, or definitely not 50 years ago.
The second reason is because we want to know how others are doing it. I know how to drive a car and eat a chocolate croissant perfectly well, thanks very much, but I could always use a new idea for how to pleasure my partner, or myself. Even though it’s an everyday activity, we don’t actually all do it the same way. We aren’t even sure what others to at all, because we don’t usually talk about it. And when we do exchange information, we can be quite surprised by the differences between couples. This divide can be wide: I know some who only have oral sex – specifically fellatio – on rare, and usually special, occasions, while others have a quick oral sex session when they’re not feeling energetic enough to do the “full” thing. Reading about ways others have sex is therefore much more interesting than reading about how someone eats their cornflakes.
Additionally, we’re a bit like budgerigars in a way (and I’m more an authority of budgies/parakeets than of erotic novellas in a way) – we like to get it on when we see others getting it on! So it’s much more stimulating to read about sex than it would make me want to break out the Cadbury’s milk tray if I read about someone licking the inside out of her chocolate croissant…
The last reason is that it doesn’t matter – if that’s what the readers want, then we give them what they want. After all, if we go with the percentages again, most men won’t read my novella. But they will go watch an action film with a shit-load of blood and guts. In the old days the baddies got shot and they fell off the horse, and we didn’t worry too much about them after that. But now that we can – because we have the special effects and because the powers that be are men and they like that shit, so it’s ok to put it in PG 13 movies – we do indeed look very closely at what the bullet does and how much blood there is and how much damage it does, and then, because we are all now fairly familiar with what damage a bullet does, we have dreamed up lots of different ways to kill someone and put them in books or on the big screen. Well, if women want to read about the ins and outs of the old in and out, then who are we to do anything but satisfy their consumer whims?
True. So, any plans for more satisfaction of whims?
I have submitted a synopsis of a novella set in Pamplona – another town I’ve lived in, and have been asked to submit the rest of the story, which I am working on. I have a couple of other cities I’ve spent time in that I’d like to write about, though I’m not sure if I have the energy for so much sex all at once. I might have to space them out.
Well, I look forward to hearing about your next book. As you know, I live in Pamplona, so I’ll have to read it to make sure you’ve got the city right. I won’t opine on the saucy parts, though, lest I show my ignorance! Thanks for visiting today, JD!
Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
You can check out JD’s facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/JDMartinsauthor and read his bio at
And of course get his book for any device at: http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-madrid.htm
Or straight from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk at these two links:
I’m delighted to have with me today author Tegon Maus, author of science fiction novels The Eve Project Series and Bob, his latest release. He’s on a blog tour until the 5th of December, talking about Bob, and there’s a great giveaway which you can enter with this link:
Take it away, Tegon…
Genetics… who knew ??
My father was born and raised in Hawaii, coming state side at the tender age of 19. Now, you would think that with a DNA pedigree like that I would be a bronze God of phenomenal stature, square shouldered, long wavy hair, rippling with muscle, endowed with the natural ability to swim like a dolphin… unfortunately as it turns out, my mother was born and raised in Oklahoma. So as you might well imagine, I was in the wrong line the day they handed out the bronze God genes.
Growing up, because I had a good many Polynesian relatives that where always at my parents house, I was exposed to a very large variety of exotic foods. Seaweed, urchins, squid, abalone and all manner of shelled and swimming creatures made their way to our table to float in a myriad of delectable sauces.
That said I am clearly a meat and potato kind of a guy… I blame my mother.
As fate would have it my wife, Dearheart, was also born in Oklahoma and brought here to Southern California, just as I was, at a very young age. Logic would suggest that two people brought up within a few miles of one another would have many of the same taste were food was concerned… I was in the wrong line on that day as well.
My wife and I have been together for 45 years. What I didn’t know then was a young bride’s ability in the kitchen is strongly linked with her relationship to her mother. In the house my wife grew up in she and her siblings knew dinner was almost ready when her mother asked, at the top of her lungs… “Where’s my car keys?”
In the beginning, we ate a lot of cinnamon toast in bed, watched tv and ordered pizza; life was loose, free, and clothing was always optional. Once we discovered we were pregnant everything changed; cinnamon toast became a thing of the past. We were determined to be good people.
In an effort to be a good mother, not to mention to gain higher favor with mine, Dearheart spent the next three years trying to recreate my culinary past. To that end, she gave us food poisoning several times and set fire to the stove… twice and suddenly pizza with cinnamon toast wasn’t so bad after all.
Like I said… I’m a meat and potato kind of guy… I blame my mother.
Excerpt #3 **********************
“Bob?” I began, pointing toward the dark, stooped figure of Fred threading his way through the underbrush.
“Is Fred’s way… live to close too nuclear plant. What Bob going to do?” he said, holding up both hands in defeat.
I had no idea what to say to that.
Bob, following Fred’s lead, pulled a black ski mask over his face, before handing me a baseball cap.
“What’s this?” I asked totally expecting a ski mask, turning the cap over in my hands.
“Beginner’s hat. Maybe, next time, for you,” he smirked.
I’d been ribbed before, and I can take it almost as good as I can give it but this… from Bob? Damn aggravating.
I tripped along in the dark, getting my feet tangled on every stick, every root, every obstacle that stuck up out of the ground as I trailed behind him.
He, unlike Fred, seemed to be more than comfortable in the woods as well as the dark. Fred walked slightly ahead, darting from tree to tree as if hiding himself from some unseen observer.
Bob and I simply stood in place, waiting for him to wave us on as he dashed to the next tree or rock outcropping.
After what seemed like forever and more scratches and bruises than I had acquired in a lifetime, we found the house.
Fred, his back pressed against a sizable rock as if he were keeping it in place, held his position a dozen yards ahead of us. He waved frantically, signaling for us to get down and we obeyed.
A moment later headlights swept over where we had stood. The sound of tires grinding through the dirt filled the air.
“Shit,” I breathed to myself. I hadn’t expected this to be easy. It never had been in the past, but with Bob and Fred leading the way, we were screwed.
Fred scampered to his next position, waving us on to the rock he had just left behind when he felt the coast was clear.
It took us another fifteen minutes to cross the distance from where we first saw the house to physically touching the building.
I had to admit, my heart pounded hard in my chest, certain we were about to be caught as Fred pulled himself up to peer into a window.
“Clear,” Fred whispered and we crept around the corner.
There were no cars, no trucks, no men with guns to be seen anywhere. Fred had hit it on the mark. For all outward appearances no one was home.
We continued to follow Fred as he made his way to a back door. Slowly, silently, he eased himself onto the porch kneeling before the door, slipping a hand into his shirt pocket.
Removing two small, shiny tools from its folds, he went to work on the knob.
Faster than I could say “is belt” Fred worked the lock, turning the knob. The door opened slightly.
We held a collective breath, waiting for the sound of an alarm.
“Clear,” Fred whispered softly as he allowed the door to open fully. Crouched, almost on all fours, he scooted inside, closing the door behind him.
Unfathomable amounts of time seemed to slip by with each heartbeat as Bob and I stood outside in the dark and waited.
My anxiety, a mere seed in the pit of my stomach, had begun to run away with me. My palms grew sweaty.
“Is nice,” Bob offered, leaning against the building, pushing both hands into his pockets.
“What?” I asked with disbelief.
“Is nice. Bob always busy… go here, go there. Wife always – when take wife to dinner? When go to opera? When take wife to see sister? When have time for wife? When Bob take out trash?”
“We just broke and entered. We can go to jail for this.”
“Is nice, out with friends. That’s all Bob say.”
Before I could formulate an answer the door eased opened again.
“We’re alone,” Fred said.
Bob and I slipped in, closing the door behind us. We now stood in the mud room off the kitchen.
No more than six by five it held a built-in bench on one of the paneled walls, with a coat rack filling the opposite. The oversized tile floor continued throughout the kitchen as well.
The dim glow of a night light traced the edges of the granite topped cabinets and dining table. On the opposite side of the room was an opening to the hallway.
My attention was drawn by the sound of someone going through one of the cabinets.
“Fred,” I whispered hoarsely, looking about the room for him.
“Da,” he responded, popping up from under one of the cabinets, a large frying pan and matching lid in his hands.
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked angrily.
He began to speak in Russian as Bob patted him down, removing a stainless steel sauce pan from under his shirt.
Bob said nothing beyond a couple of quick snaps of his fingers before pointing to me.
Fred’s arms went limp again as his hands went to his pocket, retrieving a fifty, handing it reluctantly to me.
“You should be ashamed,” I admonished, happily snapping the money right out of his hand.
We moved through the kitchen to the hall and to the door that someone had used to spy on us.
At that moment, the sound of a toilet flushing reached us from somewhere upstairs.
Like little kids, all three of us dove for the door, rushing inside. On the other side the floor vanished, becoming little more than a small landing with stairs trailing into the darkness.
The first time I heard it, I thought nothing of it at all… nothing. I’ve been in the newspaper game for more than twenty-seven years and that kind of experience gave a guy an edge but even that didn’t prepare me.
I’d been beaten, shot at, even stabbed a couple of times over the years but I always got the story… always. But this one… this one was big… too big perhaps… Maybe we were ready, maybe not. Either way, it wasn’t my call.
None of which filled me with the fear, the trepidation… the anguish of five little words that still haunted me today…
“Is okay. I have cousin.”
I was raised pretty much the same as everyone else… devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends I could conjure. Not that I wasn’t friendly, I just wasn’t “people orientated”. Maybe I lived in my head way more than I should have, maybe not. I liked machines more than people, at least I did until I met my wife.
The first thing I can remember writing was for her. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was about… something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married me shortly after that. I spent a good number of years after inventing games and prototypes for a variety of ideas before I got back to writing.
It wasn’t a deliberate conscious thought, it was more of a stepping stone. My wife and I had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. “Be as detailed as you can,” we were told.
I was thrilled. If there is one thing I enjoy it’s making people believe me and I like to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an outright lie mine you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn’t be sure if it were true or not. When I write, I always write with the effort of “it could happen” very much in mind and nothing, I guarantee you, nothing, makes me happier.
This is the cover of my second novel, published 19th September 2014 – I don’t want to reveal too much about what the plot is – best to just follow the path and see where it ends up…
You can read some of the reviews on the Tirgearr page, or here on this website: