Author Interview – Sean Robins

My interview this week is with first time author Sean Robins.
Sean’s debut novel, The Crimson Deathbringer has been doing quite well since its release in early May.
Thanks, Sean, for being my guest this week.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

Dick Sands the Boy Captain by Jules Verne. I was 8 years old at the time. That book opened up a new world for me and turned me into the bookworm I have been ever since.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I’d always wanted to be a writer. This is literally a childhood dream, one of those you give up when you grow up. In fourth and fifth grade I used to write short comedy stories that the teachers led me read out for the rest of the students at school.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

My favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is probably how I ended up writing in a first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone as he does. The fact that my MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental though.

4. Where do your ideas come from?

This needs some background information: I have got purely obsessional OCD. What this means is a thought enters my mind—usually something negative—and doesn’t leave. I end up having to think about it 5000 times a day, and once this starts, my life is ruined for a week, two weeks, a month, or six months. I’d tried a lot of different ways to get rid of this problem: therapy, medication, meditation… Nothing ever worked, until I read an article that said the people who had this problem had an overly active imagination, and it would help if they channeled it into something productive, like writing.

I had the story of The Crimson Deathbringer in my mind for years (even started writing it and stopped a few times). When I read that article, I was going through a tough time in my marriage (fighting with your wife is no fun, even for sane people), and my mind had gone into its life-destroying over-drive, so I told myself, “Well, you’ve tried everything else, let’s give this a shot.” And then a miracle happened.

My mind put the same energy it used to put into producing BS and making my life miserable into coming up with stories. Ideas would come to me fast and furious, and I had to stop whatever I was doing several times a day to write them down. I’ve been OCD-free since then (I know, I sound like a recovering alcoholic). When TCD (cool, eh?) was finished, it took my out-of-control brain half a day to plan my second novel, which is about a nerdy scientist and a sexy female mercenary who use a time machine to defeat an alien invasion.

5. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

Does stand-up comedy count as talent? 🙂

6. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

Any Star Trek novel/movie you can think of.

7. When you create characters are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

People I know. You know the Ukrainian girl in The Crimson Deathbringer? My wife, who is also Ukrainian, says, “You thiefed (!!) my life story.”

8. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

No. It’s normally the other way around.

9. How do you come up with titles for your books?

I was torn between “Winterfell”, “Tarq’s Gambit” and “The Crimson Deathbringer”. I chose the last one because it sounded cool. 🙂

A Little More Personal

10. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

Kiev, Ukraine. That city is heaven on Earth.

11. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

I have a day job: I am a college/university level English teacher. When I am not working or writing, I spend my time watching movies, reading or swimming.


“Who am I? I am Spiderman.”

Well, not really, but this should tell you all you need to know about me and my writing style.I’m a huge Marvel (plus Game of Thrones, Star Trek AND Star Wars) fan, which shows since my novel is loaded with pop culture references. If you are a sci-fi fan you will enjoy them tremendously. I even went full Deadpool in my first draft and broke the fourth wall multiple times, until my editor told it was distracting and kept taking her out of the moment. Shame. Those fourth-wall breaks were hilarious. Still, I can guarantee a few laugh-out-loud moments. Case in point: The “good” aliens in my novel are a race of pranksters, whose main goal in life is pulling other people’s legs (They have four legs, hence the slight change in the idiom).


The Akakies, a technologically advanced species also known as the “Galaxy’s Pranksters”, are under attack by the Xortaags, a military race bent on conquering the universe. But Tarq, the Akakies’ chief strategist and legendary prankster, has a plan. Meanwhile on Earth, Jim – a wise-cracking, movie-quoting, OCD-suffering fighter pilot with an infuriating ability to take nothing seriously – is about to propose to his girlfriend Liz, when his childhood friend Kurt abruptly shows up at his house, covered in blood. Soon after, their lives are set on a crash course with a galactic war that threatens the very existence of the human race.
Can our heroes save humanity from the wrath of an overwhelming enemy?

Sean’s Links

Book link:
Twitter: @seanrobins300
Author Website:


Release Day

Catching Butterflies, Book 2 of The Escape Series, officially releases today and is available on Amazon.

Start this series with award winning Book 1, Playing in the Rain.

Follow A2 as she slowly wakes from drug- induced hypnosis. Not only does she not know where she is, but she has no idea who she is. All she knows for certain is she needs to escape, but how?

Continue the journey in Book 2, Catching Butterflies.

Author Interview – Caitlyn Fournier

My interview this week is with Author Caitlyn Fournier.

Your answer to question 12 is pretty weird, and I don’t think I could sleep in the dark after that either. If you haven’t already included that in a book yet, it is great material. And I do not think it is weird in the least that you don’t like editing.

Thank you, Caitlyn, for being my interview guest.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I was reading Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs, I actually read it in Grade 4, and it was the book that had shown me that I didn’t have to just write fanfiction; that I could just create my own stories and make them however I wanted.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I believe that I was probably 12 years old when I first started to fiddle around with the idea of writing, and just doing small fanfiction stories that I just kept to myself.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

My favourite authors are Rick Riordan and Patricia Briggs.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

My favourite thing about writing is the creating of the characters and the scenes, but my least favourite part is the editing. I should like editing but I just don’t, its weird I know.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Music, movies, other books, nature, sketches (mine or other people), nightmares (dreams are too mainstream), and certain kinds of quotes or poetry.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I also do a bit of painting, sketching, and jewellery making.

7. When you create characters are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

I would love to say that I’ve made them up but that would be completely untrue as I do get parts of my characters personalities from the people that I’m around and that I interact with.

8. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

This is scary but yeah, it’s happened, freaks me out every time.

9. How do you come up with titles for your books?

I prefer short titles that are punchy, or have some kind of meaning in regards to the book. If its longer than three words to me that’s too long.

10. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I currently have three books in the works, one is a comic book that I’m working on with an artist that is set to be launching this fall. I have book two of the Life Mate Trials series currently in the works, set to be launched after the comic book (the comic book is based on the first book in this series). The Life Mate Trials series is about an albino boy who has a chance encounter with a 200 year old vampire boy that looks that same age as he does, but are they really just friends? The third book is a very long mini series that I’m hoping to have done before August, this one is a gay crime romance that is based around the same two main characters for each of the short stories (that are mainly in chronological order except for one).

11. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

Sadly no, however, I will be entering a contest on Amazon soon for an eBook award so wish me luck ❤

A Little More Personal

12. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

Yes, but it might sound super weird so I might just sum it up quickly. When I was really young, I thought that there was someone standing in the middle of my room but when I flicked the lights on no one was there. It took me years before I was able to sleep with the lights off again.

13. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I am superstitious to some degree, I mean I have a black cat so not too superstitious, and I don’t really have any good luck rituals I just kind of go with the flow and try my hardest.

14. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Grilled Octopus, not horrible just kind of burnt tasting.

15. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I’ve been to Greece and it was beautiful there, I’d love to go back, or maybe try somewhere new like Scotland or Ireland.

16. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

I’m usually at work, helping my mother, or sleeping.

17. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Yes, I met William Shatner at Fanexpo a few years ago.

Caitlyn’s Links

The Sweet Smell of … Cat Poop?

No. It is not sweet. There is nothing ‘sweet’ about it. But, when your 2-year-old cat has had major surgery… well that smell made me feel a whole lot better today.

Let me tell you the story of Ivy. A cute and fuzzy kitten we found in our garage back in May 2017. We have no idea how she came to be in our garage and she hadn’t been there long, maybe a day or so, but we were happy to have found her. We saved her life. With coyotes, wolves, foxes, fishers, and any other predators who think a kitten would make a nice snack, living around our house—yeah, we saved her.

It wasn’t long before Ivy captured all of our hearts. Our dog, Bailey’s maternal instincts turned out to be stronger than her prey drive and she “mothered” and played with the little kitten.

The only one in the family that took a little bit of time to warm up to the new addition was Sophie, our other grey cat.

But soon they all became great friends.

Being a stray, I hadn’t quite decided if Ivy would be an indoor cat or indoor/outdoor. I was worried about her being outside. But a year later that decision was made for me.

In early June 2018, Ivy began drooling—a lot. I called the vet on-call (it was after hours) and he told me she may just be nauseous. That night her drooling increased. She was not well. The next morning I made the decision to take her to our vet. So I packed her up and off we went.

After some blood work it was determined that Ivy had injested something poisoneous (to this day we have no idea what). She would have to stay overnight on an IV to flush it out of her system. She was much better the next day but had to take a liver support supplement for about two weeks after. I decided then that she would remain indoors. If she could get into that much trouble inside, she’d never survive outside.

Flash forward to end of May this year. Ivy wasn’t “hoovering” her food like she normally does and only eating about half of it. She also didn’t seem to be pooping as much (I know because our other cat, Sophie, is an indoor/outdoor cat and goes outside mostly.) Anyway, at around the same time I had found what was left of a leather cord (the type for jewelery). I was suspiscious as Ivy does have a penchant for eating things that are not food.

Then a few days later, she vomitted, and refused her food. I knew this couldn’t mean anything good. On June 3, Ivy went to the vet and after some x-rays it was found that she had a blockage in her stomach, and she required surgery.

The blockage turned out to be a massive hairball, all twisted and intertwined with food.

Ivy came home the following day with a 4″ incision, a cone, antibiotics, pain meds, and instructions that if she didn’t poop or pee within the next 24 hours I was to let the vet know. Well she peed within an hour of coming home, but the other… nope wasn’t happening. I began to worry.

On Wednesday I called the vet to let her know what was happening. She said that if she didn’t go by Friday, I could bring her in and they would take x-rays to see what was going on. Of course my over-active imagination led to many horrible things each with a terrible outcome.

This morning, I called the vet on my way to work and made her appointment for 2:00. Luckily, I was able to take the afternoon off as a holiday and at 11:30 left for the 50 minute drive home.

In the 11th hour, I walked into the room where Ivy was convalescing. She looked up at me with her big green eyes, and they seemed much happier than when I’d left her that morning. And then there was an odour. I immediatly went to the litter box. Hallelujah!!!!

She still has a ways to go before her recovery is complete as we are not even finished with the first week. But I really do think she is on the mend and for that I am grateful.

Author Interview – Laurie Woodward

My guest this week is fantasy author and teacher, Laurie Woodward.

Laurie is also an award winning peace consultant and blogger with a focus on anti-bullying.

Thank you, Laurie, for sharing a little bit about yourself with me and your readers.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I read Walden when I was sixteen and was enraptured by the idea of isolating one’s self in a deliberate way to get the most from every moment.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

When I was ten, I wrote my first poem, a love limerick to a boy I had a crush on. Even though throwing that note at him during recess while he was playing basketball ended in disaster with his buds teasing him and him yelling, “Never talk to me again!” I was so proud of that poem I kept writing and studying.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

I love Dean Koontz, Lois Lowry, Jodi Picoult, and Catherine Ryan Hyde all for their love of humanity. My favorite book of all time is Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land because it represents the utopian dream of peace, I wish we were working towards in the real world.

4. Where do your ideas come from?

All kinds of things inspire me. Dreams. Things I read. A shape in the clouds. The idea behind Forest Secrets began when I was traveling in Alaska. I remember looking out the window at each of the trees and thinking how each was unique, almost human, as if the trees were morphing form. I began The Artania Chronicles when our government started putting so much emphasis on test scores in schools. It felt like overnight that creativity was being replaced by rote learning. As teachers were told to do less art, music, and other creative endeavours, it felt like we were squelching a beautiful part of children, their creative selves.

To me, that creativity is magical. Thus, in Artania, every time a child sketches, paints, or sculpts, it births a beautiful part of children, their creative selves. But when people turn away from their true selves it gives rise to these monsters, I call Shadow Swine whose purpose is stop all creation.

5. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I am a talented dancer. I minored in dance in college and performed in both jazz and modern

productions. Because I’m often very goofy on the dance floor, I have the ability to make people around me relax and let go. I also have the gift of compassion, which makes me a good teacher. I can put myself in my students’ shoes and deliver instruction that’s fun, meaningful, and comprehensible. I like to get silly with my class and am known as the goofy teacher on campus.

6. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I am currently finishing up the fourth book in my Artania Chronicles series. When a mystical art-created land is in danger it’s up to an unlikely trio of kids to save it. Once they enter this magical place, Alex, Bartholomew and Gwen join gods, goddesses, and painted beings in a battle against an evil race bent on annihilating all art. But it won’t be easy as only the true art will keep Artania safe. In this fourth novel, the Impressionist Republic is under attack and my young heroes are trying to battle it. But things are not going well. The Shadow Swine have a new power and the heroes keep popping in and out of Artania at the most inconvenient times; in the middle of a fight, while fighting a raging fire, or when chatting with that cute girl.

A Little More Personal

7. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I am superstitious and here’s why:

I was a young mother raising two kids the best I could. It was a Saturday and I had promised to take them to see The Incredibles matinee. But as usual, I tried to do too much and was running late. I strapped both of them into their seats, revved up the old Volvo, and stepped on the gas.

We were halfway down the long drive when, boom. Thud.

I slammed on the brakes.

“What was that, Mommy?” Jess asked.

Heart pounding, I got out of the car and looked under. There lay our black cat, Cuzie, matted fur around her sweet head.

I started to tear up.

“Do something,” Nick, who had jumped out of the car, ordered, a desperate plea in his voice.

Gently I scooped up the gentlest cat we’d ever had, placed her in Jess’s lap and started racing for the local vet. Both kids crooned to Cuzie telling her it would be okay in one breath, chastising my stupid driving with the next.

With shaking hands, I carried her into the office calling, “I hit my cat! She’s hurt. Help me.”

The receptionist immediately ushered us into an exam room and within seconds the vet was there. He placed Cuzie on the table and began to probe gently with his fingers. The kids and I stood by, stiff bodied, barely breathing.

After about five minutes he declared that Cuzie was fine but should have quiet place to rest. “And keep an eye out. If you notice any change, call me,” he said caressing Cuzie’s ears.

Back home we placed her bed in a little nook near the back door, gave her water and a soft blanket, and stroked her back. She mewed and snuggled down to go to sleep.

It was still early so we headed to the theater. Even got there on time.

To this day, my question remains. Was Friday the 13th bad luck for us because we hit Cuzie? Or did a black cat crossing our path on that fateful day counteract bad fortune, saving her life.

8. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

I am a fifth-grade teacher to 25 wonderful kids. Monday-Friday from 7:45-2:10 I am privileged to share time with them. I coach our school’s Battle of Books team, a group who read from a preselected list and participate in Jeopardy-like competitions. I also am our school’s Student Council advisor in charge of spirit days, anti-bullying campaigns, and organizing our yearly talent show.

After work I love going to the gym. I take dance classes and grin ear to ear as I lift weights or work-out on one of the machines. On the weekends I love hiking the trails around our beautiful Central Coast, dancing to live music, and working in my garden. (After I’ve done my writing of course.)

9. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

As a child I went to summer camp on Catalina Island and shared a cabin with the actress Jodi Foster. She was brilliant even then and I remember being awed by her mature vocabulary and poise.

Overview of Laurie Woodward

I believe there is a magical part inside all of us, our creative side, that when nurtured, births amazing things. Films. Paintings. Stories. I’ve seen both children and adults light up when creating. An educator, I am the author of the fantasy series: The Artania Chronicles,and Forest Secrets, which I perform in the video series, Laurie Reads. Artania I: The Pharaoh’s Cry and Artania II: The Kidnapped Smile and Artania III: Dragon Sky are currently available with Artania IV slated to be released this summer. I also cowrote of Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, I am now an award-winning peace consultant and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. More about my work can be found on my website or on my publisher’s website

Social Media Links

Amazon Link to books

Website and Blog




Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Illumination

OK, so I know it’s Sunday but I haven’t had a chance to post until now.

This week the challenge is to post pictures depicting illumination – sunrises, sunsets, moonlit sky, anythig that shows illumination. And if you want to join in click here.

Here are my choices for illumination. Enjoy!

A sunbeam illuminating the forest floor.

Sunset illuminating the creek.

Early morning sunrise illuminating clouds.

Sunlight illuminating the ice on a tree after an ice storm.

Carved pumpkins illuminating the night at Pumpkinferno 2018 at Upper Canada Village.

More awesome pumpkin carvings.

Headlights illuminating a snowy road.

Friendly Friday

Author Interview – Andi Lawrencovna

I am happy to have Andi Lawrencovna as my guest this week.

Andi is a fantasy author with several published books. She also enjoys re-telling Fairy Tales.

Thank you, Andi, for participating in my interview.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

Well, when I was a kid, I absolutely HATED reading. My mother thought I was never going to do well in school because of it so she was always putting me into reading programs that I, again, HATED! We were on a family vacation, and she made me go to the airport bookstore and get a book. I didn’t want to, but to “shut her up,” I was young, lol, I grabbed “Jedi Apprentice” book. The series was by Jude Watson. I grabbed that book, took it on the plane with me, and from Colorado to Cleveland, didn’t put it down. At 10:00PM when we landed, I made my mom take me to the Cleveland airport bookstore so I could pick up the next book in the series, and I haven’t stopped reading since. It wasn’t that it was an “amazing” literary book, but it was the first book that was MY choice to read, and it was entertaining and engrossing and as a kid, given the power to make that choice, I think that’s part of why it meant so much to me. Knowing that not all books had to be literary novels like we were reading in school, that they all held worth to the individual, that was the best thing I could learn as a kid.

2. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Are…definitely “are.” My absolute favorites would have to be Anne Bishop (The Black Jewels Trilogy); Sara Douglass (The Wayfarer Redemption); and Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel’s Legacy series).

3. Where do your ideas come from?

Dreams. I have wonderfully, vividly, terrifyingly amazing dreams. Sometimes they’re stories I’m working on, sometimes they’re just so weird that stories come from them. Sometimes they just leave me with feelings which fuel my writing, but for me, dreams are where I draw my ideas from.

4. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

So like, I’m not going to become one of the sacrifices and so forth in that book right? Because I’d pick The Black Jewels series…any of the books in it. I’m in. Totally.

5. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

Lately I’ve been working on retellings of fairy tales. My first series/book was about Cinderella. My second was about Beauty and the Beast. And currently I’m super excited because I’m working on, with a HUGE “ish” to that, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, before he became Rumpelstiltskin and who all influenced him into being the creature we know today. I’m pretty sure Ursula and Maleficent play roles in his development, but you’ll just have to wait to see how that all plays out…it’s epic though, even if I do say so myself!

A Little More Personal

6. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?
I would like to learn to sail. I love being out on the water and out on boats, but I think learning to sail would be just amazing, so that’s one thing I would really like to learn to do.

7. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

Well, when I was still in school, we had a professor who always referred to the students by “Mr./Ms.” and their last name. Now, my first name isn’t necessarily…the most…feminine. And maybe it can be confused for a boy’s name every-now-and-then… So, when my professor called on me, he said “Mr.” instead of “Ms.” and was very surprised to learn that the student he was calling on was a woman and not a man. To be fair, he never called on me again for the rest of the semester so, all’s good that ends well in my opinion…lol.

8. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

Don’t freak out, but Crystal Lake…yes, that one from the movie. To be fair, it’s very nice now and there is no sign of any serial killers being there… My family have cabins up in the Adirondacks and they are honestly some of the most beautiful places I have every been, and so being there, especially with family, that’s probably my favorite place to be for vacation.

9. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

…definitely not binge-watching Netflix! Totally unproductive!!!!

Okay, I’m binge-watching Netflix. Or crafting. I really enjoy making bracelets and jewelry and so forth. I mean, not “sellable” stuff, but fun stuff that is nice to look like. I’m a little bit of a craft hoarder, but the first step is admitting you have a problem…I just really like beads…

10. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Define the word “met” for me? Like, I had a conversation with them? Or I got an autograph and moved on, with them? I’ve met a few famous people over my years, from the standpoint of “in passing” if you will. I was at the Cleveland Comic Con one year and Michael Rooker, who was Merl on The Walking Dead, walked past me and my sister. My sister didn’t recognize him, but I did, so I count it! When I was a baby, my dad told me I was “punched” (jokingly tapped) by, I think, Mike Tyson…? I might get that one wrong. I don’t actually remember it, but apparently, I took the “hit” like a champ, so I’m going to count it!

Andi’s Links


Newsletter Sign Up: Amazon Author Page:


Facebook Fan Page:







Book Links

Charming (Complete Series)

Charming (Book 1)

The Captain (Book 2)

The Prince (Book 3)

The Dragon’s Sacrifice

The Dragon’s Storm

The First Ball

Out of the Woods


Once Upon a Yuletide

The Pastry Prince

So Sweet

A Thief in the Night