Friday with Friends: Embracing Change – M.J. Mallon

Thank you for inviting me to your blog Meeting the Authors for a Friday with Friends chat Camilla, it is such a delight to be here again.

I have a new release, or should I say rerelease!

My debut novel has been re-released with Next Chapter Publishing, Bloodstone The Curse of Time #1. This YA Fantasy novel is primarily prose but each chapter starts with a short poem, so there are masses of poems!

Good grief, it has been an interesting and somewhat daunting experience relinquishing control of my book to someone else – especially as I’m republishing a version and if you are a control freak like I am… there are obstacles, difficulties and invaluable lessons to be learnt.

Metadata, title changes these all effect your novel and make the process much more complicated. But I am hoping that the initial niggles will be overcome and it will be worthwhile.

Change is challenging but sometimes you have to embrace change to move forward.

At least with the second novel in the Curse of Time series I won’t have this problem as Golden Healer will be all new, starting from scratch! Yeah. Good news I’ve just heard: Bloodstone is to be in the Ingram Catalogue with access to bookstores. And Next Chapter have also revamped their cover design process for these editions, with full sleeve covers that will look great on a shelf and attract the eye of potential customers.

I’m thrilled to announce I am also a contributing author in a new release coming out soon (Pandemic inspired,) with a winning poem contribution entitled Hope is and a short piece of writing about my thoughts about the pandemic. This is to be published by Chantelle Atkins, more about that soon…

With regard to Bloodstone, I have all sorts of plans, at the moment I am arranging an impromptu launch with the lovely author community.

I’ve managed to link the old reviews on Goodreads but sadly can’t do that with Amazon due to the title change and metadata issues which means I have lost over twenty precious reviews on Amazon on the original version! Ouch. All is not lost, some lovely friends are going to re-review.

So, if anyone can help, re- reviews and new reviews gratefully received for the new version!

Thank you, lovely peeps.

Blurb

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

Next Chapter Publishing – YA fantasy The Curse of Time series:

Bloodstone – The Curse of Time Book 1
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
UK Book Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodstone-Curse-Time-Book-1-
ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/
US Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/Bloodstone-M-J-Mallon-ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/
Universal book Link: http://mybook.to/bstmm
And the 2nd in the series coming soon: Golden Healer – The Curse of Time Book 2

Excerpt – Bloodstone – (The Curse of Time Book 1)

Sometimes notes can jar,
Music’s unexpected tunes,
Blended harmonies,
Driving out the sadness vibes,
Sweet silent stringed perfection.

The next day, after my memorable visit to the Crystal Cottage, I felt supercharged, buzzing with energy, ready for my pre-arranged band session with my friends. The crystals had triggered my creative energies. Today, I had music on my mind. Things were looking up, and meeting Leanne had given me hope that life could only get better.

My mobile rang just before I had intended to set off. I couldn’t believe it, it was
Ryder. I hadn’t heard a word from him since our last meeting. He surprised and
perplexed me by asking if he could join our band session. How could he have known our practice was today? I hadn’t mentioned it to him, yet he seemed to know about it. I couldn’t stop debating how odd this revelation felt. In the end, I agreed he could join us.

The prospect of seeing Ryder again thrilled me. Nevertheless, I wondered if this was the best time to get together. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about him, but I wasn’t too keen on him meeting them now. He’d somehow taken the choice right out of my hands.

My mind journeyed back to the day I’d first encountered him. Ryder had appeared down a pathway that my mum had warned me not to travel on. My first experience with him had been swift, and he had disappeared just as fast. Then, there was that weird experience with the portrait of my dad turning into the haunting image of Ryder. I sensed danger. There was something different about him compared to other boys, eerie almost, but I couldn’t decide whether to trust him or to stay away from him. The threat from those other boys and their intentions that day had vanished with his unexpected but welcome arrival, and yet my concerns suggested he’d been shadowing me, following
me for some reason.

To see MJ Mallon’s previous interview on MTA, go here:

Meet the Author: Mr. Sagittarius by M J Mallon

More about MJ Mallon:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of writing began inspired by their vivid storytelling. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery, heart-warming smile to greet her.

MJ’s writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. he has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and later she wrote a spin off poetry collection, Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic,) where she celebrates the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

MJ’s motto is…

To always do what you Love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even if it appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.

Her favourite genre to write is …

Fantasy/magical realism because life would be dull unless it is sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Her eclectic blog shares her love of reading, reviewing books, writing, and photography: https://mjmallon.com/

Articles:
https://issuu.com/electricpress/docs/epnovember2020
https://lightboxoriginals.com/difficult-times/
https://lightboxoriginals.com/lollipop-leaves/
https://spillwords.com/the-magic-of-the-dragonfly/
https://sachablack.co.uk/2018/04/08/prologues/

Connect with MJ Mallon:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon
#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
Spiritual Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/5SpiritualSisters

Kyrosmagica Publishing (MJ’s Imprint)

Pandemic Poetry: Lockdown Innit
https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius
http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

An anthology: This Is Lockdown
Kindle: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Shorter version – Paperback: mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

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Meet the Author: Wolfe Trap by Matt Cost

Today we travel to Brunswick, Maine to chat with Matt Cost about how a video store, Fidel Castro, teaching history, jazz music, the Cuban Revolution, great advice, Jukebox Hero, and a blind pony come together as part of Matt’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Over the years, I have owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, and a gym. I have also taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable.

I live in Brunswick, Maine, with my wife, Harper. We have four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate Lab and a basset hound round out the mix. I now spend my days at the computer, writing.

In which genre do you write?

I write histories and mysteries. Historical fiction and mystery.

How many published books do you have?

6. Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War; At Every Hazard, I am Cuba; Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, Mainely Power, Mainely Fear, Mainely Money, Wolfe Trap. I am under contract for Love in a Time of Hate, Mind Trap, Mainely Angst, and Mouse Trap.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I had an inkling I wanted to be a writer when I was eight, but this did not ignite into flame until my senior year in college when a Latin American History teacher got me excited to write a book about Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. It was his sheer passion for the subject that burst me into flames.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

My desk is in a corner of the living room, and I write with headphones on listening to jazz music. My wife and four kids and three dogs could be having a party behind me, and I wouldn’t know it.

What are you currently reading?

Celestine by Kevin St. Jarre

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

A story in the paper about a mother who was wiping the residue from her heroin bag on her infant daughter’s gums to get her to stop crying. While in the short term it worked, the end result was not good. This is the premise for Wolfe Trap.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Travel. I’ve been to Cuba, Iceland, Russia, and all over Europe to name a few places.

What songs hit you with a wave of nostalgia every time you hear them?

Jukebox Hero by Foreigner

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Robert B. Parker. Where did Spenser come from?

What’s a great piece of advice you’ve received lately?

Write true to yourself.

Share an interesting or funny story from your childhood.

When I was seven, I owned a blind pony. He used to get spooked by chickens and other sounds when I rode him. One day, startled, he took off running and I was unable to rein him in. We rode straight into a swimming pool. No ponies or young boys were injured in this incident.

You can have anyone fictional as your imaginary friend, who do you choose and why?

Spenser. I like his amusing, affectionate, but no-nonsense style.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently writing the first draft of the fourth book in my Clay Wolfe/Port Essex series. The first book, Wolfe Trap, came out June 23rd.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Wolfe Trap is about heroin being smuggled through lobster traps in a coastal Maine town. When a woman comes into the office of PI Clay Wolfe to hire him to uncover who sold the drugs that killed her grandbaby, he has no idea of the storm that is going to follow. The book is filled with a colorful setting and flamboyant characters. The plot twists its way through the underbelly of Port Essex, from hardworking fishermen to wealthy summer residents. The end is as shocking as the beginning and will leave the reader rapt within the pages.

It was great having you be a part of MTA, Matt. Wishing all the best and much success with your writing! – Camilla

More About Matt:

Matt Cost, from Brunswick, Maine, in the U.S., is the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of the Mainely Mystery series. The first book, Mainely Power, was selected as the Maine Humanities Council Read ME fiction book of 2020. This was followed by Mainely Fear and Mainely Money.

I Am Cuba: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution was his first traditionally published novel in March of 2020. A second historical, Love in a Time of Hate, will be published in August of 2021.

Wolfe Trap was the first in the Clay Wolfe Port Essex Trap series. Mind Trap, will be published in October of 2021, and Mouse Trap will follow in April of 2022.

Over the years, Cost has owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, and a gym. He has also taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable.

Cost now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate Lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing.

Where to find the book:

Wolfe Trap on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wolfe-Trap-Clay-Essex-Mystery/dp/1645991695/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=wolfe+trap&qid=1624628273&sr=8-2

Connect with Matt:

Website: https://www.mattcost.net

Twitter: @MattCost8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matt.cost.3/

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: Star Crossed by Barbara Dee

Star Crossed by Barbara Dee

Started reading this last night. Read for most of today until I’d read all 277 pages. Felt good to lounge and read a full book in nearly one sitting, reading most of it outside on the deck. It’s been a beautiful day.

Lovely book, too! There’s nothing like a story you don’t want to stop reading. This is one I bought to read before passing to Lillian and Thomas. It wasn’t in the library’s digital collection for checking out. First time I’ve bought a brand new book in a really long time, and also first time in many years I’ve been able to buy a brand new book.

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Meet the Author: The Search for Summer by Chantelle Atkins

Today we travel to Dorset, England to chat with Chantelle Atkins about how creative writing clubs, Watership Down, gardening, people watching, dog walking, co-writing, and listening to music come together as part of Chantelle’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Chantelle, I’m a mother of four from Dorset, England. As well as being a writer, I run a community interest company called Chasing Driftwood Writing Group. We provide creative writing clubs for children and adults, as well as events, projects, online courses and workshops! My hobbies include gardening, reading, listening to music and walking my beautiful dogs.

In which genre do you write?

I write in both adult and young adult and in a multiple of genres. Dystopian, post-apocalyptic, family drama, mystery, crime, and psychological thriller, but I’d say the most common theme with all of my books is that they are all very character driven.

How many published books do you have?

I have thirteen! Five are standalones and the rest comprise a trilogy and a five-part series.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

When I read Watership Down around the age of 10, I became so deeply immersed in the world the author had created, so in love with the characters and so addicted to reading, it just made me want to write too. I wanted part of that escapism, to be in control of characters and their lives, to create a world and direct it – it just seemed like pure magic to me and it still does.

I started writing my own animal-based stories around that time, all influenced heavily by Watership Down! I made front covers for them and write back cover blurbs. From there, it became a true addiction. As I grew older and got into different genres, they would then influence my own writing. SE Hinton was another huge influence on me as was Stephen King.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

My most recent book was the final book in a trilogy. It’s called The Holds End trilogy and in order the books are A Song For Bill Robinson, Emily’s Baby and The Search For Summer. A Song For Bill Robinson was based on a book I wrote but never finished when I was 16 years old. I found it in an old suitcase when I was sorting stuff out one day and just knew I had to finally finish it. It was all hand-written and I even found a notebook full of character bios, scene ideas and so on. It was just all there waiting for me to pick up again. So, I rewrote it and it then evolved into a trilogy! I do recall that I originally got the idea for the first book after watching the film The Commitments when I was 16. It inspired me to write a story about a grumpy and uncommunicative teenage boy who had a huge talent for singing. The unsolved murder storyline was new to me when I picked it up again!

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

There are so many things that are enjoyable and magical about writing, but if I had to pick just one it would be that because of writing I am never, ever lonely and never, ever bored. It’s impossible to be lonely or bored with a head full of ideas and characters, old and new. It’s impossible to be alone when these people are always with me. That’s a pretty nice way to feel.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

This is a tricky question because although I love all my characters very, very much, I have given them very difficult and complex lives I’m not sure I would want to live! However, if I had to pick one, I think it would be Bill Robinson from the Holds End books as I am envious of his singing talent and I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar, so I would get his gifts if I became him for a day. I would write songs, play the guitar and sing for an audience!

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I would have to say being a quiet introvert who enjoys people watching has been very useful. I’ve always been one of those people who lingers around the edges, who shies away from noise and crowds, and I used to be ashamed of this. When I was a kid, people were always accusing me of being too quiet. I’d think, if I only you knew how noisy it is in my head! But the whole time I was watching and listening and noticing body language, tones of voice, facial expressions and all the things people say without actually saying it. I’d notice interactions between people, conflict, jealousies, passions and more and all of this has been invaluable for writing!

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on two projects at the moment. One is a YA post-apocalyptic 4-book series. I’ve written the first two books and I’m currently doing some edits on them before I start book three. I won’t publish them until the whole series is complete. It’s set in the village I live in and is about how a group of kids survive after a series of viruses wipe out the entire adult population. It’s about the natural world fighting back and the kids having to learn the new rules to survive it! I am also working on a YA trilogy with another author. I never imagined I would co-write books with a fellow author but my business partner, author Sim Sansford suggested it and we are in the middle of writing the third book in the trilogy. It has been so much fun! We each write a different character and send it back and forth, swapping messages as we go about what happens next. It has been a very raw and organic and fast-paced experience and I’ve loved it. It’s basically about a strange little town and two teens who discover they have superpowers. Not a genre I’ve written in before but it’s brilliant fun!

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Search For Summer the final book in the gritty Holds Ends series ties up the storylines set up in book one – an unsolved murder and a neighbourhood feud collide with a self-destructive teenage boy’s singing ambitions! There is a love triangle storyline too and plenty of family drama. It also has a very good soundtrack!

It was great to have you on MTA, Chantelle! Wishing you all the best and much success with future books, and the co-writing book. Sounds great! – Camilla

The Search For Summer

When Bill’s desire for the truth pushed Charlie into an impossible decision, he lashed out in horrifying fashion, stealing baby Gabriel and leaving Bill for dead.

Panic-stricken Charlie is now on the run with his three-day-old son. His hiding place reveals a mystery that will drive him further across the country.

Summer was involved with the set-up that pushed Charlie over the edge and she was there when he stole the baby…but where is she now?

As his band The Rebel Anthem attract a manager and a possible record deal, Bill has a lot on his mind. He cannot accept that Summer would run away and fears his own behaviour may have played a part in her disappearance.

In this dramatic climax to the YA trilogy, previous actions and decisions have consequences for all, while Bill and his friends must find Summer and baby Gabriel and finally bring a killer to justice.

Where to find the book:

Available in ebook and paperback on Amazon and other platforms

Connect with Chantelle:

https://www.instagram.com/chantelleatkinswriter/

https://www.facebook.com/chantelleatkinswriter

Website: https://chantelleatkins.com/

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: The phone booth at the edge of the world by Laura Imai Messina

The phone booth at the edge of the world by Laura Imai Messina

Absolutely beautiful and moving story inspired by Japan’s real-life wind phone. I enjoyed getting to know the characters as they moved through grief, forming solid friendships along the way. I am deeply moved by the idea of the wind phone, and how folks have chosen to use it to help process loss and grief. Incredibly heartwarming.

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Book Shelf: The Sensaurum and The Lexis by Richard Dee

The Sensaurum and The Lexis by Richard Dee

Another I stepped out of my comfort zone to read. I’ve not read in the steampunk genre. I found the story incredibly interesting, enjoying the element of mystery. It was an action-packed journey getting to know the characters and The Orphan Detectives, following them as they keep Norlandia safe. Enjoyed it!!

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Meet the Author: Con Me Once by J.L. Delozier

Today we travel to Pennsylvania to chat with J.L. Delozier about how Asimov’s magazine, medicine, rescue cats, a Roswell Award, an accordion, Autumn, a nun, a chunky sweater, speaking to the dead, and a cozy cottage come together as part of Delozier’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

By day, I’m an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Penn State. I live in Pennsylvania with my Whovian husband and three rescue cats. By night, I’ve written five suspense novels and several short stories. My 2016 debut thriller, Type & Cross, was nominated for a “Best First Novel” award by the International Thriller Writers organization. Storm Shelter and Blood Type X completed the trilogy. My fourth novel, Con Me Once, published in 2020. My short fiction has won a Roswell Award and appeared in Artemis Journal, Thriller Magazine, Retreats from Oblivion, and the anthologies, Noirville: Tales from the Dark Side and Writers Crushing COVID-19.

In which genre do you write?

Thrillers, mysteries, crime, noir…and a touch of sci-fi and paranormal!

How many published books do you have?

Four – the Persephone Smith thriller trilogy and a stand-alone heist novel, Con Me Once. A fifth, The Photo Thief, is done and awaiting a publisher.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I’ve loved to write since childhood. I submitted my first story, handwritten in pencil on lined school paper, to Asimov’s magazine while still in junior high school. I was a huge fan of the “Year’s Best” anthologies. Later, I took a creative writing elective at Penn State and was hooked. To this day, my favorites works are my short stories. Click HERE to read “Dirge in D Minor,” which was posted on the Hollywood National Organization of Women’s website after it won a Roswell Award.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

After I get an idea, I sit down and write the beginning (a few paragraphs) and the end. Then comes the hard part—filling in the murky middle.

What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn, without a doubt. I’m a true Wednesday’s child. I love the melancholy of it – the shorter days, the chill in the air, the children moping about return to school. Hot tea, a warm fire, a chunky sweater – I could live in that weather year-round.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

Three year ago, I was out to lunch with a friend when I heard the someone chattering on the radio about “photo thieves” – young men from the 1920s who were hired by big-city newspapers to break into homes where there had been a murder and steal family photos to run with the news article. I wondered how this would psychologically affect these young men, my creepy murder-mystery, The Photo Thief, was born. I’m seeking an agent for it now.

Can you play a musical instrument?

I briefly took accordion lessons. I play – badly. It’s an Italian-American rule that every family have either a priest or a nun and an accordion player. I didn’t want to be a nun.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

In The Photo Thief, Cassie McConnell claims to speak to the dead via their vintage, black-and-white photographs that hang on her mansion’s walls. I’d like to have that skill.

If mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one-way ticket there? Why or why not?

Absolutely. At the age of five, I proclaimed I wanted to be an “Astro-nomer.” I considered that all through high school before finally deciding on medicine. I’ve always had my head in the stars and am a huge classic sci-fi – films, television, and literature – fan.

What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you while working at your current or a previous job?

Got an hour? After almost thirty years in medicine, I’ve seen and heard it all. I could never—NEVER—pick just one.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

If I could blink my eyes and travel through time and space for a perfect solo date, I’d find myself in one of two locations: Either I’d be snuggled in an Irish knit sweater while standing somewhere in the British Isles on a craggy, windswept cliff overlooking the ocean on a grey day. A charming, cozy cottage complete with huge dog and a lap cat await my return (does that still count as a solo date?) OR I’d be walking the cobblestone streets of Florence, Italy, poking around tiny boutiques and stopping for an espresso and biscotti at a quaint café. (Reality check – I’ve never done either of those things. Life goals.)

What are you currently working on?

I just finished the aforementioned The Photo Thief and am mentally outlining a sequel, while trying to land the perfect agent.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Con Me Once was published last year. After the dark, 2016-2019 Persephone Smith trilogy (about a manmade viral pandemic which starts in China and chooses its victims based on blood type, natch) I needed something a little lighter. Con Me Once is still gritty, but at heart it’s a fun, geeky, Ocean’s 11-type heist novel complete with wannabe superheroes, the mob, and everything in between. Even Elvis makes an appearance.

It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA, and to learn more about you and your books. Wishing you all the best, with much success! – Camilla

Blurb

Three superhero wannabes. One femme fatale. Millions in mob cash. This con is on.

Where to find the book: Everywhere books are sold

Connect with J.L. Delozier:

jldelozier.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jldelozierMD/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jldelozier

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/J.-L.-Delozier/e/B01CDMOZEE

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15012818.J_L_Delozier

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

My son wanted me to read this. In the past I just didn’t feel the time or urge to read books he or his sister suggested. I’ve shifted now and have a growing collection of books they suggest. I can see why he likes this book so much. He’s read and reread it many times. I can’t remember if I read it when I was his age. I read many Beverly Clearly books, just can’t remember them all. I enjoyed learning about Leigh and experiencing the emotions he had throughout the book. I really like how the book is written as a collection of letters. Thanks, Thomas. I surely enjoyed it.

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Book Shelf: Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai

I loved this beautiful story of a twelve-year-old who comes to know that home is not what she always thought it to be. I enjoyed learning about Mai’s roots along with her. Heartwarming and sweet. Just lovely.

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Meet the Author: Chasing Shadows by Steven Smith

Today we travel to Stotfold in Bedfordshire to chat with Steven Smith about how LEGOs, book reviews, Jack the Ripper, gaming, Discworld, Elton John, coffee shops, winter, an out of control roller coaster ride, an electric guitar, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show come together as part of Steven’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I am Steven, or Steve – either works for me! I live in a little town called Stotfold in Bedfordshire. It’s about an hour by train from London. I live with my wife Vanessa and my tuxedo cat Rey.

When things are a little more normal I love to travel and get out with my camera, too. I’m also an avid video gamer, armchair athlete and absolute Lego fanatic.

In which genre do you write?

My debut novel Chasing Shadows falls into steampunk – an alternate history set in a Victorianesque world where everything is steam-powered and electricity did not expand quite as it did. I have also written a number of short stories in a wide range of styles and genres.

How many published books do you have?

At the moment, just Chasing Shadows. Its sequel As the Crow Flies is well underway. I am also considering releasing a collection of short stories when I get the chance to write a few more.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Hmmm, now this is a tough question. Back in primary school, I remember doing something the teachers called “Extended Stories”. Everyone spent the lesson just writing anything we wanted. This carried on throughout the year. I loved those sessions. But then exams, needing a career, all that kind of thing waylaid my writing.

I’ve always been an avid book reader, so in March 2015 I started a blog where I review books, interview authors and take part in a range of other bookish features. In 2017 I decided the time was right to try and write a novel of my own. I set out to write a fictional account of the infamous Jack the Ripper – who he was and how he managed to evade arrest. It didn’t work out though – I became exhausted by the level of research to get the historical facts accurate, and it faded into nothingness.

I dabbled with some short stories after that until, in late 2019, an idea struck me. To begin with, it was just as the concept for a character, closely followed by another. Then I had some ideas for adventures they might find themselves in. And that was it, the early ideas for Chasing Shadows was formed.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I do love my home office space. It’s filled with all manner of things that are so homely to me. My wife and I have a range of similar interests, so we’ve made this space very much our own. There are signed Discworld prints and special framed stamp display pieces themed around Harry Potter and Elton John. There are framed signed comic books, a display cabinet brimming with video game paraphernalia, another bursting at the gunwales with Lego. That’s a habit of mine that has spread beyond the cabinet and throughout the house! Then, on the wall immediately behind the desk is a huge The Nightmare Before Christmas poster, my most beloved film. It really is a little slice of nerdvana for me.

Aside from there, I love writing in coffee shops. I can people watch and get inspiration for characters and events from what I see and hear. I’ve even done a spot of writing on the terrace of a wonderful cafe in the town of Riva, sat on the shore of the beautiful Lake Garda!

What are you currently reading?

Right now I am test-reading the first draft of a novel by author and good friend Richard Dee. It’s something a little different genre-wise from him, and I have to say I am absolutely loving it!

What is your favorite season and why?

Winter, without a shadow of a doubt. I am not built for the hot days of summer. I love nothing more than a cold, crisp, bright winter day. Blue sky, biting cold, your breath a freezing fog out in front of you. I love it! Plus, I am a massive Christmas fan, so it’s a no brainer for me. Indulgent food, festive music, cheesy films and an overabundance of decorations. It always fills me with joy!

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

The honest answer is that I am not really sure. I’ve always loved steampunk. It’s utterly fascinating to me – the inventions, the vehicles, the outfits, the airships. I love it all. As far as Chasing Shadows, well it was a series of disconnected ideas that hit me. First, it was an idea for a character, my leading man. Then there was the beginnings of another main character. Then I saw a few events. Nothing too large, just an underlying theme as such.

The connective tissue needed to hold the bare bones together wasn’t planned. Much of the book wasn’t planned. I only learned what came next after I had written it. The whole process was a frenetic, out of control rollercoaster ride that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Now this one is easy, especially as it’s indelibly inked into my right bicep. That would have to be Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was six years old when it came out back in 1993. I saw it then and was transfixed. The creepy world of Halloweentown and its denizens, the wonderful vibrance of Christmastown, Burton’s bizarre story and the incredible score and songwriting of Danny Elfman. All of these things have been forever imprinted on my mind, and guarantee I will watch that film multipe times a year. And yes, I do know it almost word for word.

If you pressed me for a second choice, that’d have to be The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Another weird, wonderful, riotous sing along movie.

Can you play a musical instrument? If not, which instrument would you like to be able to play?

I actually own an electric guitar – a stunning piece bought for me for Christmas by my wife. I haven’t played it nearly as much as I’d like. I want to learn it though. I used to be able to play real simple chords like the basic riff from Wonderwall by Oasis. I’d love to learn some more though. I am a huge rock music fan – Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Kiss, AC/DC, Foo Fighters. That would be a definite goal to play a few of their songs one day.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Reading is an obvious answer for this one. I am also a massive video game freak. I lose hours at a time to a good game. Travelling is another passion of mine. I dabble with photography, I love playing around with the camera and trying out different things. And then there is Lego. It’s one of my biggest hobbies. I find the process of following the instructions and seeing the set come together really therapeutic.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Wow, now there’s a killer of a question. How do I pick just one? First up there would have to be the authors Terry Pratchett and Stephen King. They are two of my very favourite authors. Then there would have to be a few musicians in there, more likely whole bands – I just don’t think I could pick one.

Fantasy people, now that is interesting. I think I’d love to meet both Roland Deschain and Randal Flagg from The Dark Tower series. I love the series of books and these two characters are so deep, there is a lot to them that I’d love to uncover. Without sounding too narcissistic I’d also love to meet my own leading man, Edison Crow. I know he came from my mind, but there is so much about him I’d like to get to know over a coffee.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I can do it. That I can actually start the process and see it all the way through to the end and hold my book in my hand. That’s something else. Early on, I’d have been happy to reach 30 or 40,000 words. To make it to a complete novel, weighing in at over 78,000 words is a pretty incredible feeling!

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

I tried planning the story as I went along, but it just didn’t work out for me. I found it easiest to just write and see where the story took me. I loved this approach. It meant I got to discover the story much like the readers do! I only knew what was happening in the fractions of a second before I typed the words out. I know many people love to plan things meticulously, but my mind is too disorganised and chaotic for that, it just doesn’t work for me.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I don’t in the traditional sense. I’ve started keeping a movie journal though. I am a film lover, but I am also aware there are a lot of films that always appear on ‘top movies to watch before you die’ lists that I’ve somehow not seen. I am using this as a way to motivate me to watch some of those films.

How do you prepare yourself to discuss your book?

With the UK having not long come out of COVID restrictions, I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to do anything like this. I hope to, though. And if I do, Obviously I would prepare a choice chapter or two to read. Beyond that, I feel passionate about my book, so I would just like to get that across to those listening.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

American History X. My team at work has started doing a movie club – someone recommends a film and everyone watches it ready to discuss the following week. It’s a great way to start watching films I might not have seen otherwise. And I have to say I really enjoyed it – fantastic visuals, deep story, tragic finale. A great film.

What are you currently working on?

I have a few things on the go right now. After finishing my first draft of Chasing Shadows, I dove headfirst into the sequel – As the Crow Flies. On the side, I am also working on a short story set in the same world. It’s following a young Edison Crow and Selah, just after they meet. Ideas are swirling for yet another short in that world, but in no way related to these characters.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book is my debut novel, Chasing Shadows. It’s a steampunk novel with action and adventure along the way. It follows the roguish airship captain Edison Crow, his childhood friend and second in command Selah, and a ragtag crew of the most loyal rogues a captain could hope for. Seeking a big payday, Crow hopes to put his childhood as a street orphan firmly behind him. A series of unfortunate incidents and nearly failed jobs land the crew in the heart of a mystery with potentially dire consequences.

It was great having you be a part of MTA! I thoroughly enjoyed your interview, Steven. My mind is also disorganized and chaotic. I’ve only written nonfiction and poetry to date, but should I write a fiction, what you describe is how it will have to be for me, too! Wishing you all the best, with much success!! – Camilla

Blurb:

As captain of the airship Arcos, Edison Crow and his childhood partner in crime, Selah, lead their crew in search of a big payday. When it comes to the pursuit of wealth, nothing is out of the question for this band of charming rogues. Smuggling. Theft. Embezzlement. It’s all part of a daring game.

But all is not smooth sailing when you’re a high profile thief with a target on your back. A job gone wrong will thrust Edison, Selah and those aboard the Arcos upon a journey straight to the heart of the shady United Republic of the High Commission in pursuit of the truth.

Troubled by his own personal demons, Edison must navigate dark skies if he hopes to gain answers. Will it be enough to help the infamous Captain Crow clear his and his crew’s names? Or will he end up Chasing Shadows?

Where to find the book:

It’s available on Amazon for Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and in Paperback. I also offer personalised paperbacks directly from myself – just pop me an email to discuss!

Connect with Steven:

https://authorstevensmith.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStevenSmith
https://twitter.com/ATCFpublishing
https://www.instagram.com/stevensmithauthor/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21297044.Steven_Smith

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