Indie Author Friday -John W. Howell #IndieAuthors #thriller #suspense

It’s Friday!!!  And I’m so happy to have my friend, John W. Howell, here for Indie Author Friday.  His blog keeps me entertained daily with writerly things, views of his neighborhood, and weekly stories, and his thriller/suspense series with unlikely hero John J. Cannon is not only compelling, it can kick up the heart rate a few notches.  I have to mention his penguin wearing the sombrero question has one of the best answers I’ve seen yet.

The John Cannon Trilogy begins in Port Aransas where San Francisco lawyer John J. Cannon decided to go after taking a live of absence form his firm. He bought a boat he named My GRL with the idea of giving the charter boat business a try. He was unaware that a group of terrorists already targeted his boat to be used on a mission to destroy a symbol of America. He woke up in the hospital to learn he was found unconscious next to the body of the woman who sold him the boat and to further complicate things he was laying on the gun that killed her. This is the beginning of John’s involvement with the terrorists and continues through the three books with each episode more exciting than the last. John finally comes to realize that he is the only one that can put an end to the mayhem but he must do it alone. Each book is a separate story but the characters remain the same.

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

When I decided to become a writer I took a class that among other famous authors was taught by Elmore Leonard. During the course of the instruction you were given time to meet one on one with one of the authors and talk about your work. My author who will remain nameless loved my work but was very critical of the dialog tags which I included as part of the descriptions. You know, the old “he said over his shoulder while turning to walk out the door.” This author pretty much told me to drop that crap and keep tags to a minimum. “He said, she said” were the ones to use if the speaker was not clear to the reader. I have since dedicated two days a week to dialog on my blog that has no tags at all. I do this to attempt to tell a story with only dialog.

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

I wish I had known that even though you have a publisher, the work of editing your manuscript should be given to a qualified professional. I was so happy to get a contract with a publisher since it looked like I would not have to pay for editorial, formatting, or other production expenses. Unfortunately, the editor did not take the time to review changes that were made after the first edit and so a number of mistakes made it into the final. It took over six months to get the mistakes corrected since I did not have the ability to do the corrections myself.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I received a note from an older lady who had read my first book. She explained that my book gave her many hours of pleasure and thanked me for writing it. It so happened I was at a book signing and the lady’s daughter who had given her the book came in and handed me the note. She explained that her mother was not well and she found my book a pleasant distraction from her problems. She had the book with her and asked that I inscribe it. I read the note and my eyes filled with tears. I was so taken with the fact that my words gave a person a break from their challenges the thought almost overwhelmed me. I wrote a thank you for blessing me with her words and the wish for happiness. I also said she had a pretty terrific daughter.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

My wife an I watch an hour of TV a day. After dinner and after some reading or e-mail time we sit and scroll through the DVR list. We record all our favorite shows so we can fast forward through the commercials. This leaves us about fifteen minutes for local news and weather. The last show we saw as of this writing was Blindspot. It could have been NCIS, The Blacklist, NCIS LA, This Is Us, Criminal Minds, Bull, Fixer Upper, Chopped, The Middle, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones or the Property Brothers.

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

“Excuse me Senior. Do you know the way to San Jose?” He is here asking directions so that he can make his way back to the South Pole. Apparently, he lost his job in Washington when the new administration declared that all residents of the South Pole needed to go back to their homeland and apply for a proper visa. The only other city that he knew in the US besides Washington was San Jose since he was a big fan of Dionne Warrick. He figured San Jose was near Los Angles which was close to Mexico and would get him on the underground express to South America. Once there he planned to work his way to the North Pole on a boat. He thought he could convince the boat captain that if put in charge of procuring fish the crew would never go hungry. All this was explained after the one question, “why the sombrero?”

Book you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

I think I would want a book titled something like “How to Survive on a Desert Island.” Failing the availability of that title I guess I would have to opt for a big fat ole book that I could read and reread without getting bored. Canterbury Tales comes to mind. (Might even take an eternity to understand it)

Bio john-resized

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016.  All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

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Indie Author Friday – Staci Troilo #indieauthors #romance #suspense


Although I haven’t read either of these novels (yet), I just finished the first book in Staci’s Cathedral Lake series a couple of weeks ago, and can tell you that if romantic suspense is your thing – you need to be reading her books.  And she gets bonus points for being into superheroes.


In the heart of Pittsburgh awaits a secret half a millennium in the making.

After her father’s brutal murder, Franki discovers she and her three sisters are the only surviving, secret legacy of the Medici. The same people who brutally murdered her father now target her and her family for assassination. Unprepared to battle an unknown enemy, she finds her safety depends on the Medici Protectorate, the warriors who guarded her bloodline for centuries, but who failed to protect her father.

Gianni, Franki’s protector, blows his first meeting with her, but knows he must garner the trust of not only Franki, but also her sisters. Without that, he fails too, and that is unacceptable—not only to him but also to the Medici Protectorate. His troubles grow larger, for as he assumes his new role, he also undergoes inexplicable, explosive physical changes… transformations he can’t control. One of those is his uncontainable desire for Franki.

Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and Franki struggles to trust Gianni. When her life is on the line, Gianni will have to conquer both her fears and his own personal demons to rescue her in time.

Bleeding Heart Universal Purchase Link:


Three decades. Two continents. One secret that could cost him everything.

Too. Many. Secrets… and Vinnie Falco is buried in them. He works undercover day and night to keep watch over Jo Notaro, whose fiery temperament matches her boundless energy and unparalleled beauty. Jo is unable to withstand the endless scrutiny and constant surveillance, so when Vinnie’s ever-watchful gaze lingers too long, she can feel his touch—and she doesn’t know if she loathes it or loves it.

Vinnie’s job to watch Jo goes much deeper. He’s a vice president of an international corporation, a front for a secret organization—the Medici Protectorate—which continues a tradition going back nearly 500 years to guard the Medici line. Jo and her sisters are the descendants of the Medici and someone wants them dead. But Vinnie has another secret he’s desperately trying to hide. A secret that could push Jo too far away for even him to save her.

Mind Control Universal Purchase Link:

What are your favorite books in your genre?

I write in multiple genres, but I always seem to prefer a romantic element, so I’ll go with romance and say my favorite books are anything by Nora Roberts, Catherine Anderson, and J.R. Ward.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

If we’re talking about Mind Control (or any novel in the Medici Protectorate series), I’m going to have to go with Mike. It’s not because he’s the villain; he’s one of the good guys. It’s because he’s so rigid and formal. He also comes off as superior, whether he truly believes that or not is anyone’s guess, though. And he’s distant. I’m a very emotionally-driven person. I thrive on close relationships, and I have trouble trusting people who are closed off or who keep their distance. So, I’d say Mike and I would clash. Or at the very least, we’d have a strained and distant relationship.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I know they say you shouldn’t read your reviews because you’ll get caught up on every word and agonize over every nuance. But I can’t help it. I read the reviews I get. I’ve heard a lot of lovely things about my writing, and I treasure those comments (and always will). But the comments that mean the most to me are from fans who say they loved the work so much, they’re eagerly awaiting the next release or the people who say they read a sample chapter and liked it so much they downloaded the whole book and read it cover to cover in under twenty-four hours. Those are the people I know I’ve touched in some way, and that warms my heart.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

The Flash. I’m addicted to superheroes right now.

Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

Has to be Batman. I’m sure he has a Bat-Gadget in his utility belt that can counteract spider webs.

If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?

Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. I know she’s not a superhero, but she and I both love to read. Besides, I have to give it up to a heroine who can see past appearances to what’s inside a person. Vision like that is pretty heroic.


Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was a young girl. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit

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Indie Author Friday – Mae Clair #thriller #indieauthors #suspense


I’m so excited Mae Clair is back visiting with me today!  I think Mae and I could spend a relaxing evening binging something on Netflix or getting caught up with Gotham on the DVR while Raven and Bond (our black cats) watch birds out on my screened porch.  If you haven’t read her eerie, supernatural Point Pleasant Series, you’d better get started, because A Desolate Hour, the final book of the series, releases July 18, 2017.  I’ve got my copy pre-ordered – do you?


Where secrets make their home…

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive….

Universal Purchase Link (All Booksellers)

How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

I had to delve into social media, something I shunned before (I didn’t even have a Facebook page). Venturing online has made a marked difference in my reach, and I’ve made so many great friends along the way. Publishing also meant I had to transition from having a hobby to launching a business. I love to write and would continue to do so even if I didn’t earn a penny, but now I have a whole new set of rules to follow.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Recently, I saw a comment by another author who said she saw “bestseller headlines” in my future. She’s read a number of my books, and to see that comment posted in a forum (unrelated to me) pretty much blew me away. I hope it’s true, but even if the cards don’t fall that way, I was flattered and appreciative. A goose bump moment!

What do you do to get book reviews?

Not nearly enough. This is one area in which I sorely lack. And it’s become harder since Amazon has moved to the “verified purchase” review platform. I sell a number of books locally (through book signings) and I rarely ever ask for reviews. I need to get better at doing that. As an author, I make an effort to review every book I’ve read. As long as I can provide a 3-star rating or higher, I post reviews within 1-2 days of finishing a book.

Fortunately, my publisher makes my work available on NetGalley pre-release, so that has been a help.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I tend to DVR stuff and then try to catch up with episodes when I have time. Right now I’ve got a backlog of Gotham, Lethal Weapon and an old TV western called The Rifleman. When Once Upon a Time returns from winter hiatus the beginning of March, I’ll watch it in “real time.” It’s the only show I make sure I’m around to see when it airs.

If you were a box of cereal, which one would you be?

Quisp, because it reminds my childhood and it has a whimsical connection to UFOs.

How would your best friend describe you?

Introverted! Most people see me as being an extrovert, but those who know me well realize the opposite is true. When I’m required to be “on” in social situations, it takes me a full day to recover.

Author Bio

Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her latest release.

Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions. Look for Mae on her website at

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:



Twitter (@MaeClair1)


Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page



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Story Empire

Indie Author Friday – D. Lieber #IndieAuthor #scifi #fantasy #romance


Welcome to Indie Author Friday with today’s featured author, D. Lieber and her book, Conjuring Zephyr!  In just a few lines, she crafts quite an intriguing tale about a penguin in a sombrero – make sure to read below.


Retreating underground to escape a devastating ice age, humans build a new society. When magic is discovered and harnessed for survival, the citizens of Terrenus establish theories and principles of how to use it.

Kai Stephenson is determined to prove magical principles aren’t set in stone. Having lost her younger brother in a tragic accident, she will ensure such accidents never harm anyone else. She enrolls at the most elite university to gain the knowledge she needs to achieve her goal. Overconfident that living as a boy at an all-boys university will only be a minor inconvenience, Kai is convinced her classmates will never discover that she’s a woman. After all, women aren’t capable of higher forms of magic, and her boyish figure certainly doesn’t hurt her disguise.

Hiding her true identity becomes a problem when her new friends start to awaken her repressed sexuality.

What are your favorite books in your genre?

As far as fantasy romance goes, I love everything by Anne Bishop. I also enjoy the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would encourage myself to let go and let my imagination fly. I was always a very serious person. I didn’t really loosen up until I went to college. I was too uptight and self conscious to let my mind wander into unknown and fanciful worlds that hadn’t been neatly created by professional authors. Taking that leap into the mysterious void has made my life much more fascinating and vivid.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from my readers. I’m so glad when my stories bring joy to others. I think the comment I’m most proud of was when a grown man said I’d made him blush. I wear that like a badge of honor.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I just watched the 2004 version of the Phantom of the Opera. The music is so enchanting, though of course I love the book as well. When I visited Paris, I went to the oldest English language bookstore in the city and that was the book I purchased.

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

“Excuse me. Have you seen a grumpy looking albatross?”

After a long pause, I reply. “I’m sorry. I haven’t.”

The penguin looks frustrated and turns to leave.

“Why are you looking for him?” I ask, before he can waddle out the door.

He sighs as if I’m wasting his time. “Because he’s a bandit who stole the prized squid of Scotia.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Can I ask you one more question?”

“Fine, but make it quick.”

“Why are you wearing a sombrero?”

He squints his beady eyes, trying to discern my meaning. “Why aren’t you wearing a sombrero?”

Book you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

I’d want a book about how to survive on a desert island, because I’d be toast otherwise. I would also want The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s my favorite, and it takes a while to read.

Author Bio

D. writes stories she wants to read. Her love of the worlds of fiction led her to earn aunnamed-2 Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.

When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, crafting, watching anime, Korean television or old movies. She may also be getting her geek on while planning her next steampunk cosplay with friends.

She lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John), retired guide dog (Samwise) and cat (Yin).

Social Media


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Barnes and Noble:

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Signed copy on Etsy:



Indie Author Friday – Nabila Fairuz #IndieAuthors #YoungAdult


Who doesn’t love a good pirate story, right?  Today’s featured indie author is Nabila Fairuz with her book, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar.


The youngest of three siblings, Shelly’s childhood tragically ended when her family disappeared under cryptic circumstances. Shelly and her sister embark on an epic journey to find them, only to face more hardship.

Witnessing the death of her only sister hardened Shelly more, and she was left with facing the bleak reality of continuing the mission alone. It affected her deeper than she imagined, and fueled her every move. It made her become the pirate captain whose name would eventually be feared everywhere. She gathered a crew and despite all odds always managed to come unscathed from any of her crazy exploits.

Along the way, she bumps into her brother who is now charged with arresting her, reconciles with her father who is hiding his own secrets, and frees her mother from the clutches of a power hungry Admiral of the English Navy. Will the fearless Captain Shelly Manhar manage to evade the hangman’s noose, or be forever lost in Davy Jones’ Locker?

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

The most constructive criticism that I received in my writing career was given to me by my publicist, and it goes (more or less) as follows: “Get a better editor.”

Needless to say, editing is not one of my stronger points and I need ALL the help that I can get.

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

I’d wish I’d known what a tremendous amount of marketing I’d have to do. Writing the book is probably only a quarter of the actual work. Getting it recognized by people takes up about 80 percent of the time, and even then, it seems to me that it is never enough! I wish I had known that sooner.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to never give up. I can’t tell you the number of times I had come so close to giving up writing and not finishing my manuscript. Now that I actually hold my book in my hands, I bask in the pure joy of my creation. I just wish I had not been so negative about my writing in the early stages.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Firefly, and the movie sequel of the series, Serenity. I can watch that series over and over.

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

“Noot, noot, amigos!”

(I am guilty of occasionally enjoying watching Pingu. There, I said it.)

 How would your best friend describe you?

Makes really horrible and lame puns. Beware.

Author Bio

Nabila Fairuz is an upcoming writer making a debut in the world of fiction. Born innabila Dhaka, Bangladesh, she moved to Ottawa, Canada in 2009. Nabila has a deep passion for reading, and this habit was developed at a very early age. It grew in her an intense urge to venture into the field of writing. She has written a number of poems, stories and articles, and maintains her blog, My Own Little Corner, to keep her writing habits going strong.

Social Media
Facebook author page:
Instagram: n_fairuzr

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Indie Author Friday – Christopher D. Schmitz #IndieAuthors #fantasy


It’s Friday!  Indie Author Friday, to be more specific, and Christopher D. Schmitz is here today with his fantasy books, unusual question from a fan, and excellent taste in Netflix.



After merging with her copy from an alternate reality, college student Claire Jones is thrust into a setting beyond imagine and must fight alongside Zabe, her self-appointed, inter-dimensional guardian. Together they must stop an evil warlock from shattering the laws of existence who, above all else, seeks Claire’s blood as the key to controlling the all-powerful Tesseract. If the evil one gets a drop of her blood he can rip a hole in time and space and summon his dark nega-god into existence.

Buy Links

Wolf of the Tesseract
Dekker’s Dozen: The Last Watchmen
The Kakos Realm: Grinden Proselyte (Volume 1)
The Kakos Realm: Rise of the Dragon Impervious Book 2

The book I’m currently pitching hardest is my paranomal YA adventure, Wolf of the Tesseract. Following WotT coming out with Black Rose Writing, I’ve written two new books and I’m in prewriting for the sequel: Through the Darque Gates of Koth. I also have the second novel in my fantasy series coming out in a few weeks (Rise of the Dragon Impervious.) Readers can get that the first novel for free by signing up for my mailing list on my main website. I’ve also had good feedback from my sci-fi Dekker’s Dozen: The Last Watchmen which is similar in feel to Firefly and Dark Matter, but with a steampunk-time-traveling twist. Plus zombies… in space. There might also be a clockwork ninja. All of my books (plus ten others) are on Amazon or on my personal website.

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

Kill the passive voice.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I had someone email to ask if a supporting character (Jackie from Wolf of the Tesseract) was based on a real person–if so could I pass on her information? Reader would very much like to ask her out on a date.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I took up writing short fiction exclusively for several years so that I worked on starting the story, evolving a plot, editing, killing babies, finishing the story, and dropping the mic. It also helped to learn to write succinctly and ramble less–writing shorter sentences for space reasons began to teach me how to write varied lengths and write with rhythms to move the pace and story rather than just impart communication.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

I play the great highland bagpipes.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I watched the entire Gravity Falls series–it’s almost a perfect cartoon touching on great themes and paranormal elements similar to Stranger Things (which might be my favorite show). But I would have ended it slightly different… as I watched it with my teenage children I noted that the ending was good, but I would’ve left Stan Pines as a vegetable and had his brother take him across the world on a sailboat while becoming his caretaker to reinforce the seriousness of his noble sacrifice. (Then my daughter said, “No–you would’ve killed everyone.” She has read most of my library and she might be right. I don’t always play nice with my characters.)

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

I often feel a little bit like Boromir from Lord of the Rings. I wish I was Aragorn, but I know the real me… at least I’m not Sméagol.

Author Bio

Christopher Schmitz has a growing platform and is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. He has a Master’s degree and attends regular conferences and workshops. In addition to a human day-job he also writes for his local newspaper and has produced pieces for online youth resources. He lives in Minnesota with his family, occasionally competes in pro BBQ competitions, and drinks unsafe amounts of espresso.

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Indie Author Friday – Matt Doyle #IndieAuthors #scifi #LGBT


Today Matt Doyle drops by for Indie Author Friday!  Matt brings several books to share with us and is busy working on sequels.  After reading about his talents and hobbies, I’d love to have Matt at my house for Halloween – we’d be the hit of the neighborhood!  Guess I’d better get extra candy.

The Spark Form Chronicles

WICK (The Spark Form Chronicles, #1)

#1 – WICK

How do you define a life?

With overblown visuals, stunning entrances and bloody battles played out in real time by holograms, Spark Forming has become far more than a simple card game. Drawing in fans from across the Colonies, no other sporting event creates a bigger buzz than the annual two-day tournament to crown a new Spark Form World Champion. Yet the scramble for the title is not the only source of conflict this year, and for some competitor’s the real battles will take place away from the TV cameras.

What defines a person’s life and dives them to keep moving forward? When a game grows to reflect a society struggling to hang on, are some lives more valid than others? Can an AI ever truly be alive?

Find out in Matt Doyle’s genre bending Slice of Life / Science Fiction series, The Spark Form Chronicles.

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon:

CARNIVAL (The Spark Form Chronicles, #2)


As day two of the tournament begins, the top four competitors are readying themselves for the battles that lay ahead. But will their toughest battles take place in the arena, or will they be forced to focus on goals other than the championship?

With Carnival’s existence hanging in the balance, how hard each player is willing to fight has never been more important …

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon:

GIFTS (The Spark Form Chronicles, #3)

#3 – GIFTS

The Forty-Third Annual Spark Form World Championships have been and gone, and John Forrester is still coming to terms with the effects of both the tournament itself and the weeks that followed.

Having almost had his career cut short by his own decisions, John has found a way to adapt and is set to make his return to active competition just before Christmas. But will being forced to change the way he plays cause him to fall apart, or will the support of his holographic companion, Carnival, be enough to steer him back onto the path towards glory? And what of Carnival herself? Has her continued interaction with Lana De La Cruz and her team changed her, or is she simply moving closer to being acknowledged as a living being? Oh, and then there’s the small matter of Christmas gifts …

Set six months after the conclusion of WICK and CARNIVAL, GIFTS continues the story of John Forrester and the living hologram, Carnival, as they learn how the world has changed for each of them.

As a bonus, this book also includes the rules to the card game played by John Forrester and his fellow competitors.

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon:


Teller Tales

#1 – Basille

Twelve-year- old Simon Teller is an avid gamer, loves obscure rock music and, much as he’s loathe to admit it, finds his Dad’s favourite 90’s action heroes to be far cooler than the modern teen characters that he’s supposed to admire. He is also very, very bored.

All that changes when Simon meets a six-foot- tall fennec fox named Xera, and her teenage friend, Carrie Lowry. Together with his unusual new companions, he is thrown into a world of exciting games that he can play while leaving his body behind to deal with all the things that he hates, like school and creepy local homeless girls. But the games are more sinister than they seem, and Xera’s people view humans as toys to play with and push until they break.

Simon may yet wish that he could go back to being bored … if he can survive long enough to get home.

Kindle and paperback editions available on Amazon:

Also available from the publisher, Black Rose Writing:

The Cassie Tam Files

#1 – Addict

New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options … For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money.

All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems. When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case. Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

Coming soon. Keep checking Ninestar Press ( and MDM ( for a release date.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Seeing where the characters take me. You see, I used to come up with story ideas and build the characters with no goal other than to fill specific roles in said tale. Since starting on The Spark Form Chronicles, I’ve been letting the characters come to me. It sounds odd, but they’re essentially these living, breathing people in my head now, and while I have an idea where I want to go with each book, they kinda lead the way themselves. The journey from A to B via X, Y and Z is a wonderful experience, especially when you don’t really know where X, Y and Z are.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’m a bit broader in the stories that I tell now. For a long time, everything I wrote was essentially a Lovecraft pastiche. And not always a good pastiche either. It wasn’t until I started trying new things that I began to grow as a writer. Initially, that meant a few short stories started emerging that were a fair bit removed from my early work, albeit still in the horror genre. I experimented a bit more then when I started writing a webcomic, and eventually, the idea for The Spark Form Chronicles came about. That one’s a complete genre-bender. It’s a Sci-Fi tale at heart, but there’s so much more to it than that; it’s got a wrestling influence, there’s a bit of anime influenced card gaming, a large cast of varied characters, a longer, over-arching plot, it’s a big geeky, a bit furry, a bit philosophical, a bit romantic … I even threw in some poetry. In all, it became an amalgamation of so many things in my life, and it remains a satisfying series to work in to this day. To that end, there are currently three books available from that run: WICK, CARNIVAL, and GIFTS.

At the same time though, I didn’t want to just stick to doing the one thing. While The Spark Form Chronicles is aimed at an older audience, I’ve always been a fan of literature for younger readers too. Neil Gaiman and Derek Landy do such a good job of weaving strange and entertaining stories for that audience, and I wanted to see if I could do the same. The result of that was the Teller Tales series. Moving back into the horror genre with a touch of fantasy thrown in, I wrote the first book, Basille, pretty quickly and started shipping it around to agents and publishers. That was when Black Rose Writing offered me a contract. Basille was released in January 2017, and both the second and third books only need one more run-through before I decide what to do with them. A lot of that will come down to how well Basille does with BRW of course, but we shall see.

After I wrote those three, I had an idea for something a little different again, and started working on a crime noir novel with a cyberpunk setting. The book is currently titled Addict and was picked up by the LGBT publishing house, Ninestar Press, after I pitched it on the Twitter Pitch Event, PitMad. The book is currently going through editing and cover design, and will be available later this year. I’ve started work on the follow-up too!

So yeah, in all, I guess that my biggest evolution has come with finding my own voice and being willing to take more risks in order to tell the stories that I want to tell, rather than simply emulating other people.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

I like to talk to fans of my work whenever I can, so I tend to keep myself fairly active online when time allows. As a result, I get to hear a lot about what my readers think. It sounds daft, but the thing that surprised me most with this was how many people really enjoy what I’ve been releasing. There have been a few people who’ve said that WICK and CARNIVAL made them fans and that they’ll happily buy anything that I put out. That is so, so gratifying as an artist, because it means that I’m doing something right and reaching the right audience. I know it’s not a specific quote or anything, but those moments stick with me and remind me why I love doing this.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

I do have a few, or so I’m told. In general, I try to live to the idea that if you want to try something, you should. What that’s meant is that, over the years, I’ve had a pretty varied life.

I’d say that my most unusual two would be these though:

I actually spent around ten years in the professional wrestling industry. Way back in 2001, I started training at NWA-UK Hammerlock, and I worked my first show in 2002. After that, I spent a fair few years there, and got to meet one of my favourite workers of all time, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. All the time I was at Hammerlock, I carried out several different tasks, including wrestling on shows, ring announcing, and helping train new trainees. Unfortunately though, I got injured during a training session and, rather than take time off, made a point of honouring my booking a few nights later. The result of that was that I ended up with a back injury that saw me taking a bit more time off than I would have liked. By the time I was ready to come back, the school I was training at had moved and I couldn’t make it to the new one. That was OK though, because there were a few more places local to me that I could join up with. When a long-term colleague was starting up a new promotion, I offered my services and ended up with a number of jobs again. I was, first and foremost, still a wrestler. I helped out at the training school again, and also became the head booker (picking the matches and so on) for the first year and a half of the company’s existence. In the end though, a lot of things happened that resulted in me making the decision to call it a day. I ran my retirement show myself and ended up with a packed house to end my career in front of. My final match was not my best, but the crowd loved it, and I had a good send off. Though I haven’t been active for a while, I do still get the odd question from old trainees though, so I’m obviously well remembered. I also have the pleasure of seeing people that I’ve worked and trained with making big waves now, so that’s fantastic.

My other unusual hobby is cosplay. Over the last few years, I’ve made a number of different costumes, some from scratch and others by modifying pre-existing items. My most successful one by far was a fursuit of Renamon from an anime called Digimon Tamers. My sewing machine broke and I had to hand-stitch the entire thing, but it was so worth it! The sheer number of photos I was asked for at the convention I wore it to was phenomenal, and I still bring the costume out now for Halloween. It’s wonderful to see how happy the Trick or Treaters are when I answer the door in the thing. Outside that one, I’ve done a few other well received ones including a partial fursuit of Rouge the Bat from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and one of Celty from the anime, Durarara! Yes, I’m aware that the costumes listed are all female characters. In all honesty, they just seem to go down better. Oh, that and the female characters tend to have better outfits, at least in my eyes.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Hmm … I don’t actually have a Netflix account, and I don’t tend to watch too much regular TV these days. There have been exceptions over the years, such as Sons of Anarchy and Westworld, but very few shows appeal that much. Instead, I’ve been making use of my Crunchyroll account to watch a ton of anime and some Asian dramas. The last couple of things that I watched would have been Flying Witch (a relaxing anime about a witch in training) and GTO (a live-action comedy about a former gangster turned unorthodox high school teacher). Oh, and I’ve been checking out some of the content on the Halo Channel. I only got into the games recently, so there’s a lot of world-lore to catch up on!

A penguin walks through the door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

Like most penguins, he would say, “Narp, Narp!” As to the reason that he’s here, it’s because I’ve been trying to convince Pingu to visit for years, and my house just happens to be on the way back from his holidays. Or it is if he takes a major and unnecessary detour anyway. But hey, it’s worth it to discuss that ‘The Thing re-enacted by Pingu’ video.

Author Bio

Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England. His house is inhabited by a wide Displaying img_20161031_075127.jpgvariety of people and animals including (at time of typing) his partner, his three kids, a dog, a cat, a snake, two Syrian hamsters, a rabbit, a selection of teas and a handful of wild windows.

He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain varying degrees of success in a great number of fields. This has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler (both working shows under the ring name Tad, and working backstage booking and running several successful shows in his local area), completing a range of cosplay projects and scripting the webcomic ‘Tales of the Winterborn’. These days, he can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.