#ArmchairBEA – Day 1 -Introductions!


Design by Amber of Shelf Notes

What is the name you prefer to use?

I’ve been known as “Nordie” since the late 1980s – it’s a little known character in a little known episode of Dr Who, not long before it was put on hiatus. I generally go by that online, so it’s what I prefer

How long have you been a book blogger?

I started writing reviews back in 2012, but started in earnest in 2013, where I was writing and publishing reviews on a semi regular basis.

Have you participated in ABEA before?

I believe this is my third! Yay!


If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song you choose? (You can include more than one if you want :D)

Reflects my bookshelf? Oooerr! Perhaps “Flight of the bumblebee” which is how I dart between books every time I have to decide what I’m going to read next? Followed perhaps by “don’t you want me baby?” by the Human League

How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? (#ABEAShelfie)

Currently my bookshelf is ordered by theme (India, Classics etc), and now that more books have come in than gone out, the catch all of “random, where ever”.  Previously they have been ordered by height

What book are you most excited for on your TBR? What are you most intimidated by?

I am most excited by the book that came into my position last – hahaha! I’ve got so many good books to read – new Neil Gaiman books, the Terry Pratchett/Stephen Baxter series, the new Jenni Fagan….

I am most intimidated by the Ken Follett books that I seem to have amassed, since most of them seem to have come in at around 900+ pages. No Way are they going to fit in the handbag for the commute!

If you could choose three characters to have lunch with, who would they be and why?

Have been watching the Inspector Montalbano tv programs, and have started reading the books too. Both versions have him eating some very nice Sicilian food (in the show his table is always set lovely for someone who generally eats alone).

The same goes for Benjamin Crocker from The WineMaker Detective series, who not only appreciates food, but would know what wine to go with it (and follow up with a nice cigar – I don’t smoke but I like the smell!).

So that’s 2 out of 3 for “Eat, Drink and be Merry”…..for the Merry…..? Don’t know to be honest. Someone who wont get too heavy, but will enjoy their food and keep the conversation and laughter going. Possibly Stan Lee? I know he’s a real person, but he’s also had his life immortalised in a comic book – for someone who’s been around that long and seen so many things, he must have tales to tell


Author Spotlight: Heide Goode and Iain M Grant (Clovenhoof series)


Heide Goode Iain GrantLong time readers of this blog know that there are a number of authors I regularly read for, several of whom are based in and around my home city of Birmingham. I met Heide and Iain a few years ago at an author event, and have read several of their books before (links provided below). They have a new book out called Beezelbelle, which is the fifth in the Clovenhoof series and is due out 14th April 2016.  I managed to catch up with them recently to do an interview and here’s how it went!

Hi, so introduce yourself/yourselves

I’m Heide Goody, co-author of the Clovenhoof series. I have a day job in IT, which is more fun than it sounds. In fact, there’s lots of raw material in the office workplace for comedy writers.

And I’m Iain Grant, the other half of the writing team. Like many writers, I actually spent much of my early career as a teacher, not a writer. Although I’ve been writing properly (‘properly’ as opposed to the ‘improper’ writing I did before) for over twenty years, it’s probably only in the last year or so I feel confident enough to answer the question, “And what do you do?” with the word, “Writing.”

How did you meet? (or How did you meet your co-writer?)

We met through the Birmingham Writers Group – www.birminghamwriters.org/ – and started writing together about a year after we met. I think the big attracting force between us was our mutual capacity for ridiculous flights of fancy and working with larger-than-life characters. I didn’t expect our working partnership to last long enough to complete one novel together, let alone a fifth book in the series.

Tell us about your current story. What’s it about and where can we get it? How does it fit in with your other work?

The fifthbeezlebelle book in the Clovenhoof series, Beelzebelle, comes out in April 2016. It continues the story of Jeremy Clovenhoof – Satan trapped on earth after being forcibly retired by the powers that be. After we wrote Pigeonwings (book 2), I said to Heide, “In the next one, Clovenhoof should have a baby.” Actually, giving a baby to Satan isn’t as immediately hilarious as one might think and there are a number of dark questions it raises, so we struggled to find a way to get it to work.


In the megodsquadantime, we wrote books 3 and 4 (Godsquad and Hellzapoppin) which followed the clovenhoof #4various adventures of heavenly saints, Welsh monks and scheming demons. After the release of those, we had a real hankering to return to Jeremy Clovenhoof himself and we were ready to put our Satan-with-a-baby plans into action.

[Editor: Click through to read my reviews of Beelzebelle, Godsquad and Hellzapoppin’]


Have you got anything else in the pipeline?

We’ve just started another two novels, and there’s another one which is being edited at the moment. These are all comedy, but we’re exploring some different stories. Anyone concerned that we’re abandoning Clovenhoof shouldn’t worry though, we have also got some new short stories that will be out later in the year.

We hope that people will take to them with the same enthusiasm that they did with the Clovenhoof books. Maybe that will lead us to one or two new series. If not, we’ll have another Clovenhoof novel written and out before anyone gets withdrawal symptoms.

How did you start writing? Why do you continue?

Like many people, I believe that writing is a disease. It’s the only way to get all these ideas out of my head and unleash them on the world. I think we’d write if we had no audience at all. We write because we love.

Of course, what’s fantastic is that we now have all these readers who have taken to our books and who really love them. I think one of our major motivations now is keeping those people happy, engaging with them on social media and at public events and even getting them involved in the creative process.

For example, the nine most central characters in the book we’re writing at the moment are all names of members of THE Book Club (a 3000+ strong Facebook community) who volunteered themselves for this dubious honour and who have been throwing lots of great comedy ideas our way.

How does working as a team, rather than a single author work? Work independent of each other until the end or meet regularly?

We meet regularly to do planning work, but we never write together. The internet, and the wonderful software that makes file sharing so easy are fantastically useful.

The way that we develop things is as follows:

We toy with an idea. Actually we might toy with lots of ideas, and when we say toy we mean that quite literally, we’re big fans of index card games.

Once we have chosen the idea, we do some character development. We might use index cards again, you can get some memorable quirks by combining traits that might seem unlikely.

Once we get started on plotting, we can shape what the chapters might be, at a very high level. We have ideas documents to capture ideas and jokes as we go.

For the actual process or writing, we will each take a chapter and write a synopsis for it. After that, we swap, and write the text of the chapter, based on the synopsis. Then we swap back again for editing, to smooth out the style.

Is there anyone you’d like to work with?

We love working with anyone! We sometimes run workshops, based around the games that we use ourselves. It’s wonderful to see people leave the workshop with ideas that they intend to go and write.

Traditional Publishing or self publishing? Would you recommend it to someone else?

We have self-published up until now. It suits us very well as we love to be in control. We have our favourite editors and artists and we can decide exactly how the books should be presented. Having said that, it’s quite a lot of work, so people who want to self-publish need to be prepared for that. We do all publicity ourselves, and if selling yourself is not something that comes naturally to you then it can be quite daunting.

Where can we find you on the internet?

Our website is www.pigeonparkpress.com where you can sign up for a newsletter if you’re interested, and we have a Facebook page too.


In Summary:

So thanks to Heide and Iain for their books and the interview. Links to where you can buy their books are in the text above (alternative sellers are available!), and the books can be brought in both ebook and paper format.


Author Spotlight: Simon Fairbanks

SimonI first met Simon at a local Spoken word Event in Birmingham, England in September 2014. After some conversation about reading, writing and blogging, we agreed on an interview.

Hi, so introduce yourself

Hello, I am Simon Fairbanks, a writer living in the West Midlands (in the middle of England). I have written a large number of short stories since joining the Birmingham Writers’ Group three years ago and I published my first novel in March.

Tell us about your current story. What’s it about and where can we get it?

My novel is a fantasy called The Sheriff and it would appeal to fans of His Dark Materials. It takes place in a world called Nephos, set on top of the clouds above our own world. The magical creatures fled to Nephos three hundred years ago because of the persecution they suffered at the hands of non-magical people. Now, the magical races live across the clouds in peace and a team of Sheriffs keep an eye on them to make sure the peace continues.

The Sheriff is a small taste of this world. It focuses on Sheriff Denebola who encounters a village being tormented by a winged demon. Denebola does not believe in demons so he investigates. However, he soon discovers that the demon is not the only shadow cast over the village. There are lots of twists and turns, not to mention some humour and heartbreak.

The Sheriff is available for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Apple devices and in paperback. [Editor: I have a copy of the book, and will be doing a review in due course – keep an eye out for it!]

Why and how did you write The Sheriff?

I had written short stories for two years and thought it was time to graduate to novel writing. Short stories are like running on a treadmill. They are a great way to build your ability but you need to run a marathon if you want to win a medal. The Sheriff was my marathon.the sheriff

I was inspired by lots of local writers, particularly Katharine D’Souza and Andrew Killeen. I attended their talks at Book To The Future, a festival organised by the University of Birmingham in October, and they gave me the motivation to write a novel.

Happily, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) began one week after the festival and I accepted the challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I reached the target with just ten minutes to spare! It was a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to aspiring novelists.

Have you got anything else in the pipeline?

I have almost finished my short story collection, Breadcrumbs, which contains a mixture of horrors,

fantasies and fairy tales. It also contains a novella that returns to the world of Nephos and features Sheriff Denebola. I hope to release the collection next month. You can see some early artwork on my Facebook page.

I am also one of the ten co-writers of Circ, a collaborative novel which was written as a result of the Ten To One writing competition. Each of the writers wrote from the perspective of one character and a writer was voted out each month based on the chapters that they wrote. It was essentially the writing equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing!

circCirc is a hard novel to summarise but it follows a misfit of characters and their interactions with an old Romanian with a mysterious past, all taking place in Skegness! My character is a clown called Mungo. Joey with an equally dark past. The novel is being launched at the Library of Birmingham on Friday 28th November and you can purchase tickets now.  [Editor: I have a copy of this book to review too – keep an eye out around the 28th November to find out what I think!]

How do you write? What are the tools of your trade?

I write my stories on a laptop using Microsoft Word and store them safely on Dropbox.

However, my wife recently bought me a series of super-cool moleskine notebooks, with themed covers such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Lego! I now sketch out story ideas on the train. Bizarrely, paper and pen works really well for hammering out ideas. Sometimes whole reams of dialogue and description come flowing out of my pen, uninterrupted. This makes it so much easier when you eventually get to the laptop. There is nothing worse than staring at a bright white, vacuous screen for half an hour, waiting for the right words to come along.

Who are your writing heroes?

I am in awe of Stephen King and Terry Pratchett for their sheer prolificacy of high quality writing. They write one book a year (sometimes two) and they are always worth a read.

However, I particularly admire Philip Pullman for writing His Dark Materials, my favourite book of all time. He has a knack for conveying very complicated adult themes to young readers without ever losing focus on story, character or adventure. His writing style is brilliant: simple and clear but full of great language and dialogue.

What is your favourite kind of character?

I enjoy reading about lovable, well-meaning underdogs who become unlikely heroes. There are many examples of this in popular literature. Some of my favourites are Lee Scoresby in His Dark Materials, Jon Snow and Tyrion in A Game of Thrones, Merry and Pippin in The Lord of the Rings, Sam Vimes in Discworld and Eddie Dean in The Dark Tower.

Traditional Publishing or self publishing? Would you recommend it to someone else?

I wrote The Sheriff with a clear intention to self-publish. I hated the idea of working really hard on a novel, creating something I was proud of, only to then leave it stored on my hard drive for years, whilst I desperately searched for an agent and a publisher that might not even want it.

Self-publishing was quick, simple and free. My novel is now available in multiple formats on various sites, gathering reviews, and I even make a little money. I believe it is the way forward for first-time novelists.

All self-publishers hope for a traditional book deal one day. That seems to be the only way for overnight fame and fortune because publishers have the right connections to get you a review in The Guardian. But for now, I am happy to spend some time developing my craft and building up my number of titles.

If you had any advice to give to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Firstly, write. Quite simply, if you don’t write, you cannot be a writer so find time to write stories.

Secondly, start small. Don’t launch into writing a seven-book epic to fill the void left by Harry Potter. Write a short story, then another, then a few more. Keep practising and training and flexing that creative muscle.

Thirdly, and most importantly, find a writers’ group. You cannot write alone. Writing can be hard and lonely and most people don’t understand the appeal. You need peers to give you motivation and feedback and empathy. Without the Birmingham Writers’ Group, I would never have rediscovered the joys of writing fiction. Their support has been priceless.

Where can we find you on the internet?

My website is www.simonfairbanks.com and it features a blog with writing advice and book reviews. I am also available on Twitter and Facebook.

If you would like to stay in touch then you can sign up for my infrequent newsletter.

Mini #Bloggiesta July 2014 round up

bloggiestaIt was only a brief foray in Bloggiesta, and a very short “to do list” but this is what I achieved:

  • I decided that none of my google alerts were useful in the way they are, so deleted the lot! They were hitting my email inbox and were being deleted without being read – what’s the point of that? Dont know if I’ll do any more, it seems I’m not the only one who cant get them to work for them.
  • I went through the pictures (“media”) in my wordpress storage area, deleted duplicates, deleted a duplicate post, and renamed some of the badly named ones. There are still some that are unattached to posts but am expecting to write the posts at some point
  • Deleted a load of draft post stubs, as they were littering up my space and it was getting unmanageable to find the posts I needed to write
  • I finished off one post that was nearly ready and made it ready for schedule later
  • I went through some of my Google+ communities and decided to leave a few. I’ve never posted to them, and in looking at some of the posts from other contributors….let’s just say they’re not the type of people I need to hang around. Let’s face it – I’m a blogging snob, I would just spend all my time getting angry rather than feel supported.
  • In the UK, several publishers are doing a twitter conversation called #bookadayuk. I occasionally take part on twitter but the following month’s daily topics are posted up around now. I’ve taken those prompts and have stored them away – they just *might* prompt me to write some of post in some shape or form.

I didnt take part in any of the mini challenges for this time, but there are plenty of suggestions over at the site, so I have to remember to check them out!

Author Interview: Dan Levinson

I’ve recently been in touch with Dan Levinson, who has a new book out called “Fires of Man”. He has kindly agreed to an interview, and I hope you find the following interesting.



Hi, so introduce yourself

Hey there, thanks for having me.

I’m Dan Levinson, an NY-based science fiction and fantasy writer. Over the years I’ve dabbled in acting, screenwriting, and writing for the stage, among other things. Writing novels was my childhood dream, so I’m thrilled to be sharing my work with the world.

Tell us about your current story. What’s it about and where can we get it?

I’m here today to talk about my novel Fires of Man, which is the first entry in the five book Psionic Earth series.

In brief, Fires of Man takes place in a modern-day world where certain people have begun to exhibit extraordinary psionic powers—powers that allow them to manipulate reality and energy with their minds. These powers are kept a secret from the general population, and are used by two neighboring nations to wage a covert war for dominance, which is about to reach a dangerous tipping point. The story is delivered via the POVs of characters on both sides of the conflict—an assassin, new recruits, veteran soldiers, and an archaeologist—as Calchis puts into motion a plan that will decimate Orion’s psionic forces.

My elevator pitch for the book is: “X-Men meets Full Metal Jacket.”

Fires of Man is currently available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  You can also find it on Goodreads here.

Have you got anything else in the pipeline?

Book 2 of Psionic Earth, titled Shadows Collide, is with my editors at Jolly Fish Press, and I’m currently writing the first draft of book 3, tentatively called Prophet Rising.

I’m also in the process of planning out a brand new dark fantasy saga. I’ll be doing the actual writing, but I’m working closely with a friend to develop the world, characters, and plot. I won’t say too much, but I’ll say that there’s plenty of action, magic, violence, and a heavy presence of necromancy (expect lots of undead!).

You done any other work?

Fires of Man is my fiction debut. My comedy screenplay Dental School scored some small accolades on the contest circuit, and my collaboration on the musical Bathory with my brother, lyricist/composer David Levinson, was a finalist for the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009.

How did you start writing? Why do you continue?

I started writing when I was very young—under double digits. I became enamored with video game RPGs when I was a child, and the first writing I did was a sequel to the Super Nintendo game Final Fantasy II. When I continued to show interest in writing, I was then mentored by my great aunt, Herma Werner, who co-wrote numerous romance novels with her writing partner Joyce under the name Eve Gladstone.

I continue to write because it’s what I love to do above all else, but also because I feel that I must. I have too many stories inside of me that need telling, and if I don’t get them out I fear I’ll explode.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Anywhere and everywhere that there are stories to be found. Movies, television, comics, video games, and, of course, great books. Stories are the fuel that fire my imagination. They inspire ideas, evoke interesting concepts and characters. We all know that bit of wisdom from Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun.” I often feel like I take in other stories, digest them, and then use them as the energy, the building blocks, to tell my own tales.

Is there anyone you’d like to work with?

I would say Stephen King, but at this point in my career I think I’d feel far too intimidated to do anything but gape in awe at that master of storytellers. One day, I hope!

Traditional Publishing or self publishing? Would you recommend it to someone else?

I’ve gone the traditional—albeit, indie—publishing route, which I find to be an interesting middle ground between the major publishing houses and self-publishing. On the one hand, you have the support of a real publisher, with editors, designers, publicists, everything you need. On the other, the budget and marketing isn’t quite as expansive as would be with a large house, and it’s every bit as integral for indie authors as it is for self-published authors to establish a strong social media presence to help in those efforts.

All in all, I would highly recommend indie publishing. A big advantage is that indie publishers will continue to push your book as part of their catalogue over the months and years following its release. I’ve heard many a tale of authors signed by big publishers who, after a short while of their novel not performing as well as hoped, will find their marketing pushed to the back burner as the publisher makes way for the next round of releases.

Just make sure you do your research. Check out the covers of any indie publisher’s releases to make sure they’re professional and eye-catching. Talk to their authors on social media if you can, to see how they’ve been treated.

Where can we find you on the internet?

You can find me on Twitter and Facebook:


As well as at my site/blog:


Drop me a line any time! I’d be happy to hear from you.

Author Interview: Melanie Kerr

Hi, so introduce yourself

Hi, I’m Melanie Kerr and aside from being a writer, I am a mother of 2 young boys, a lawyer and a definite Anglophile. In university I studied melaniekerrlinguistics, English and theatre before coming to law. I live in Edmonton, in Canada, where I dream of England’s green hills and stone cottages, and force my friends to drink out of china tea cups and eat cucumber sandwiches.

Tell us about your current story. What’s it about and where can we get it?

Follies Past is a Prequel to Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. In that book, everything hinges on a letter which Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth – a letter setting forth all his dealings with Mr. Wickham. This history at the heart of Follies Past. The novel begins at Pemberley, at Christmas, almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice. It follows young Georgiana Darcy to London, to Ramsgate and to the brink of a perilous elopement.

It is written in the language of the period, and employs as many techniques and conventions as I could identify to make it feel like a real extension of Austen’s work, which is what I would want to read as a long-time Austen fan.

Follies Past is available in eBook and paperback from Amazon. In Edmonton, you can pick up a copy at Cally’s Teas on Whyte Ave.

Have you got anything else in the pipeline?

I am cooking a few stories in my mind, but nothing that has materialized into actual sentences yet. I would like to write some more Jane Austen prequels, as they so enjoyable to write and this one received a very positive response. I might take on Sense and Sensibility next, but it won’t come out for a while.

How did you start writing? Why do you continue?

Two years ago, I was given a book, called How to Write a Sentence [by Stanley Fish – here] and in it the author proposes that, as a painter should love paint itself, so a writer must love sentences. I realized when I read this that I must be a writer. A well-made sentence thrills me with its beauty as much as any masterpiece in any other medium. Once I took on a large writing project, I could not get enough of it.

I am a working mother. I have no time to write a novel, yet miraculously I have done so. People always ask me when I wrote it. I answer that I am a junkie, and a junkie will always find a way. I will sell my soul for a few hours with my word processor.

For many years I wanted to be an actress, but like so many before me, I gave up and wrote the LSAT. Now, I find myself contemplating the other cliché – of quitting a lucrative legal practice to pursue my dream of being a writer. It may be that I was only able to write my book because I was not supposed to be doing it. I have children to raise, a house to keep and work to do, yet I have begged, borrowed and stolen every moment I could in order to create this piece of art. If my book is successful and I am able to devote myself full time to writing, maybe I will not be so driven, but find myself procrastinating from writing by cleaning the house and spending time with my kids. I hope I get the chance to find out.


Where do you get your inspiration?

One of the great things about Jane Austen’s storytelling is the way she ties everything up into a deeply satisfying ending. We all want the books to go on and on, but extending the characters and the plot after the final chapter felt to me like interfering with that perfect ending. And it would all have to be speculative. Nobody knows what happens after the close of a book, but Jane Austen herself tells us what happened before Pride and Prejudice.

I thought if I extended the story backwards in time, I would be able to explore more of her world, spend more time with her characters and create the experience I longed for as a reader, but without offending anyone’s ideas about what might have happened. Everyone ends up exactly as they are at the start of P&P. Also, I love the history of things. I love the depth that a prequel can give to an original story, not that P&P needs anything from me, but just to expand on the back-story, to delve into the history, felt really exciting.

The book also contains a story of its own, to create the arc and structure of a Jane Austen novel, the kind of plot that I, myself, like to read. Because everyone knows how the Wickham and Georgiana story ends, I have woven it with another story with some mystery and drama to keep the pages turning.

Is there anyone you’d like to work with?

I have many times said that I would love to have my work adapted for the screen. I am a huge fan of period dramas. I will watch pretty much anything with costumes. Of course, I would have Andrew Davies write the screenplay for Follies Past. There are a myriad English actors I would love to get the chance even just to meet. To work with any of them would be the dream of a lifetime. I could go on and on, but just off the top of my head, I would say Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Emily Watson, Julie Walters, Hugh Laurie (who will always be Prince George to me), Anna Chancellor, Matthew McFadyen and so, so many more.

Traditional Publishing or self publishing? Would you recommend it to someone else?

I chose to do self-publishing because the publishing side of things really appealed to me. I had a lot of ideas, and I wanted to have a go at it myself. I made my own trailers, with actors and costumes, and that was a lot of fun. I organized my own book launch and have been doing my own promotion, with some help from a hired publicist. I have been able to get quite a few reviews from book bloggers, and from a certain perspective have been doing quite well. The book has been very well received. On the other hand, I have not been able to get any coverage from traditional media, and getting distribution in actual stores means contacting each store individually and setting up a consignment sales arrangement. Essentially, there is a lot of work to do, and given that I am new to this game, I am figuring it all out as I go, and at each step realizing I could have done it much better.

Self-publishing is rewarding, because everything I achieve, I have achieved myself. And I don’t have to split the profits with anyone. But I also have 2 small children, and a legal career to keep on top of, so it feels overwhelming sometimes. In a way, I am glad I have done it myself this time, but I will probably look for a traditional publisher the next time around. I will know first-hand how much work they are putting into my book, and appreciate what they are able to do for me that I couldn’t do on my own. Also, I will have had some experience myself and some understanding of the business, and be that much more confident and informed in our working relationship.

Where can we find you on the internet?

This is a list of links for all the places where people can find Follies Past:

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Follies-Past-Prequel-Pride-Prejudice-ebook/dp/B00GD76KJY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401700812&sr=1-1&keywords=follies+past

Createspace link (order paperback of Follies Past): https://www.createspace.com/4524790

Youtube (watch book trailers): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIn1Mil6l-w4f3pPD9wm6WA

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18993650-follies-past

Website/Blog: http://www.folliespast.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/folliespast

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/folliespast

Author Spotlight: Merry Farmer

I recently read and reviewed “In your Arms” by Merry Farmer, and agreed to include a highlight post on the woman behind the book.

In Your Arms is the third full-length novel in Merry Farmer’s sweeping, engaging, and extremely historically accurate Montana Romance series. Never one to shy away from difficult or controversial topics while still imbuing her tales with more than a dash of romance and steam, Merry depicts a tale of love, trust, and stubborness against the backdrop of the turn-of-the-century American frontier.

“[In Your Arms is] a book that intelligently tackles racial tensions of post-Civil War era…a highly engaging romance between two fiery-spirited individuals…I highly recommend this book to all fans of historical romance.” –Mary Chen, Amazon reviewer

About Merry Farmer

Merry FarmerMerry Farmer lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn’t have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always having something to write about. Today she walks along the cutting edge of Indie Publishing, writing Historical Romance and Women’s Sci-Fi. She is also passionate about blogging, knitting, and cricket and is working towards becoming an internationally certified cricket scorer.

Merry Farmer can be found on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Amazon Author Page.

Get In Your Arms on Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Add In Your Arms to your Goodreads to-read shelf!



Author Interview: Rival Gates

Rival GatesI’ve been recently talking to Rival, the author of “Quest for the Red Sapphire” and he has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about himself and his books.
Hi, please introduce yourself.

My name is Rival Gates and I am a writer of books in the Fantasy Genre. The first book in my series called “The Sapphire Chronicles” is “Quest for the Red Sapphire”. Its sequel, “Sapphire Crucible” is due out later this year.
You recently published “Quest for the Red Sapphire” – tell us about it

Former General Linvin Grithinshield is summoned home from the Goblin Wars after his father’s disappearance to run the family trading empire. Soon his mother is murdered and he is on the run with a price on his head. As a faceless enemy pursues him he must seek out the mythical Red Sapphire. In the proper hands it could take up the cause of many unable to fight for themselves. In the wrong hands he fears the worst. Together with his wise uncle and intolerable cousins, Linvin strikes out to find the all-powerful gem. In a world with enemies from without and within, he must fight his way through the dragons in the sky and cutthroats all around to fulfil his destiny or die in the  attempt.

What would you like readers to take away from this story?

This is really a story of self-actualization. Linvin must grow as the story progresses to become worthy of the power he seeks.

He has tremendous ability but is headstrong and often lets his temper cloud his judgment. When he fails, the party fails. When he succeeds, the party moves forward. Linvin is the leader of the group but everyone starts out looking to his uncle for guidance. Only by using his teachings and thinking before acting can he achieve the status he needs to win over the party and earn their esteem. He must learn patience and tolerance in order to get everyone on the same page and working together. Sometimes even those with great skills must take a look at them and fix the flaws so glaring to outsiders. It is the path to growth and respect.

This is the first in a series – what are your plans for the remaining books?

At this time there are eight books planned in the series. Volume 2, “Sapphire Crucible will be out in 2014 and I expect the next book to come a year from now.

What has been your favourite part of the writing [and publishing] process?

For me the best part is putting the story down on a storyboard before I ever write a word. Then I can look and
find important scenes I have left out and change the order of events to make it flow better. From there I can develop each scene in my mind and then join them together with the appropriate dialog and events.

Would you recommend writing and publishing (either self publishing or through a formal publisher) to anyone else? Why?

My mother once told me that writing was the same as painting with words. I am no painter. (The fact that I took music in high school instead of art proved that.) I would never try to be a painter because that is not where my skill lies. Writing is fun and relaxing to me. I could not imagine life without being able to write. The scariest part of writing is sharing it with the world. There will be a great many people out there who dislike your work. Sometimes you need to grow and make changes, like Linvin. Other times you just need a different set of eyes reading your work. If you have the skill and determination, go for it! Think about this when you are rejected. My father once named a list of great writers and he asked me what they had in common. I answered that they were all famous for their work. He responded that their fame ensured that their work and their names would live forever. Think about that. Even long after you are gone your work can captivate and influence people. That is an amazing thought.

How can readers get hold of the books?

They can find them on the various Amazon sites and from my blog:




Solstice Publishing

One of the independent bookshops stocking my books is The Bookworm Bookstore- Omaha, NE

How can readers get in touch with you?

There is an email link on my website.


I am also on these sites:
Goodreads entry for Red Sapphire

Meet the Author: Meet Authors Heide Goody, Iain Grant, co-authors of “Clovenhoof”

jq bookwormers group

The Time

 Thursday, January 23, 2014  7 for 7:30 pm

The Place

Loki Wine, 36 Great Western Arcade, B2 5UH

The Meeting

Meet The Author are to meet Heide Goody and Iain Grant, are co-authors of ‘Clovenhoof’, the Satan-in-suburbia comic novel.

Charged with gross incompetence, Satan is fired from his job as Prince of Hell and exiled to that most terrible of places: English suburbia. Forced to live as a human under the name of Jeremy Clovenhoof, the dark lord not only has to contend with the fact that no one recognises him or gives him the credit he deserves but also has to put up with the bookish wargamer next door and the voracious man-eater upstairs.

Heaven, Hell and the city of Birmingham collide in a story that features murder, heavy metal, cannibalism, armed robbers, devious old ladies, Satanists who live with their mums, gentlemen of limited stature, dead vicars, petty archangels, flamethrowers, sex dolls, a blood-soaked school assembly and way too much alcohol.

Heide Goody

Heide’s first solo novel, ‘Million Dollar Dress’, was published by Pigeon Park Press in early 2013.

Heide lives in North Warwickshire with her husband and children.

Iain Grant

Iain’s horror stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies (Dark Tales, Song of the Satyrs, Absent Willow Review, Volume Magazine). His short story, ‘Six of the Best’ appeared in the Tindal St Press anthology, ‘Roads Ahead’, and was praised by the Guardian newspaper.

His first solo novel, ‘A Gateway Made of Bone‘, was published by Pigeon Park Press in early 2013.