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Saturday, April 21, 2012


Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

His first published fiction is “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s adventure story. All royalties from sales of this story go to Children at Risk, an Ottawa-based charity that supports families of children with autism spectrum disorders. 

He has also published a short story for free download as an e-pub, Dark Clouds, which is also available in e-book format.

The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.

He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. You can read more of Scott’s writing at

Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

What is the main premise of this book?

The Dark Age, eastern Europe: the earth has decided to rid itself of humanity with earthquakes, volcanoes and new plagues. Civilizations, even the mighty Roman Empire, crumble under the pressure of barbarian waves that are fleeing worse terrors.

Rejected by his own people, pursued by a dragon, young Javor heads for Constantinople, the centre of civilization, looking for answers to the puzzle of his great-grandfather’s dagger and the murder of his family.

On the ancient, crumbling Roman highway across haunted, deserted Dacia, Javor rescues the beautiful Danisa from a human sacrifice. He cannot help falling in love with her. But Danisa has her own plans, and when she is kidnapped again, Javor has to wonder: what is the connection between his dagger, his lover and his enemies?

How long did it take you to write it? 

From conception to completion, probably about 9 years, but there were long hiatuses (haiti?) in there.

Who’s your favorite character in it?

Javor, the MC, of course; but beside him, I like Vorona, the village shaman, who is a character I will reuse in other, unrelated books.

When reading, do you prefer eBook or paperback?

I find ebooks easier to read. When I read on my iPad, I don't need glasses and I don't have to worry about there being enough light on the bus. However, I loathe to bring my iPad to the beach. With a paperback, I don't worry about getting sand into it.

What projects are you currently working on?

There are a couple of writing challenges and so on that I'm contributing to, including Lyn Midnight's Grim 5, an anthology of stories about the end of the word. My next WIP is a novelized memoir of my father-in-law's escape from a German POW camp in Ukraine during the second world war. Following that, I want to finish a story for children aged 6 to 12, called The Last Tiger, about the last free Siberian tiger.

What is something that surprised you about being an author?

How I have more ideas than time to write them.

Who designed this cover?

Lisa Damerst, also known as Lisa Street, a talented graphic designer and author from Florida.

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?

Never wear them, so no.

What are your pet peeves? 

The way Microsoft Word randomly changes my formatting.

What’s your favorite beverage?


So do you like to cook? 

Occasionally. I prefer to cook in the same way that I write: I want to get all the ingredients and implements I need together, organized, and I like to do it myself, without help.

Do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?

I usually eat cereal and coffee, in front of my computer, answering emails and setting up tweets.

What is something you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

Travel coffee mug.

Do you sleep in or get up early?

Get up early.

Which do you use most for writing on, laptop or desktop?

I prefer the desktop, but the iPad with the bluetooth keyboard-case is mobile. I have been experimenting using it for mobile blogging, with mixed results.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I prefer to do my writing on my desktop computer in my office, after I've tidied it up. Doesn't happen very often, though. Still, a wide, clean desktop, my notes on one side, cup of coffee on the other, music playing and words flowing through my fingertips to the screen—that's ideal.

What are your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad? 

Any review is better than no review. The best are those by reviewer that actually get it—like Elie Stokes, who figured out the MC's disability, or others who noted the historical research that went into the book. To tell the truth, the only bad reviews I have received are from an author whose book I did not review well. All the other reviews have been very positive, for which I am very grateful.

Where can readers find this book?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview with Author Zoe Saadia on her newest book release, The Young Jaguar, which is the second in a series.

Zoe Saadia is an author of The Cahokian and At Road’s End, novels of pre-Columbian Americas.

Having researched various pre-contact cultures of this continent for more than a decade, she is convinced that it’s a shame that such a large part of history was completely overlooked, by historical fiction most of all.

Both Americas had an extremely rich, diverse, fascinating history long before this continent was discovered by other civilizations. So her professional motto is set. America has never been discovered. It has in her novels.


Having read the first book of this series, I was really interested in reading further. I've been waiting for the release of the second in the series, which I have now read.  I have to tell you Zoe, to me it was even more spellbinding than the first.  I love your writing style, and the manner in which you weave clearly defined characters into history.  I get lost in your books, and I love that feeling.  I can never put them down without reading straight through.  That's how hard the plot and your writing style grips me.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers to your readers, but can YOU offer them some juicy details without divulging too much to them?

Oh, certainly
While ‘At Road’s End’, the first book in my Pre-Aztec Series, deals with the Southwest and the fall of Anasazi, in ‘The Young Jaguar’ the action shifts to Mesoamerica, to the great pyramids, sprawling city-states and the warlike Aztecs and Tepanecs.
The old Emperor is dead and his heirs are struggling for succession. The capital is in turmoil, with both main characters from the first book, Tecpatl and Sakuna, caught in the middle of this storm, each battling against the odds in their different ways. There is much action and quite a lot of tension, this time among the luxury the capital of the Great Empire offers.

I absolutely loved the way you threw them into the mix, in both At Roads end as well as The Young Jaguar.  The way you incorporated them into the plot in the second book was brilliant, Zoe.


How long did it take you to write it?

Well, actually this story gripped me so much, I had it done in an embarrassingly short time. It just wouldn’t let me go, forcing me to work all sorts of hours, day and night.
‘The Young Jaguar’ was written in about a month (but then, of course, it took twice as long to go through all the edits and proofreading).
And just as I was about to sigh with relief, intending to take this well-deserved rest, the third book in the series had grabbed my throat and I was back in the frenzy, having a difficult time to tell the real world from the ancient one.
So actually now I do have all four books of these Pre-Aztec Series finished, with the third one, ‘The Jaguar Warrior’, almost ready to get published too.  

Can you tell the readers about the names of some of the new characters that you're introducing into the series with the second book?

Oh, the Aztecs’ language is a tricky one. My method of using words from the language of people I’m writing about did not work with Mesoamerica as well as with North America. I needed to pick words that would sound appealing to American ear and most of the meaningful words in Nahuatl (the Aztec language) were completely tongue-breaking.
So I had to settle for less-meaningful, but nicely sounding words.
Therefore, this time, in addition to Tecpatl (‘Flint Knife’ in Nahuatl (Aztec) language) and Sakuna (‘Squirrel’ in Hopi language), there is Atolli - a pretty main character and Tecuani (‘Jaguar’ in Nahuatl).
But, because the story develops in the great Empire, with the slave trade forming a formidable part of it, there are quite a few Mayan names, and even a girl from the ‘wild’ parts of the Mexican Valley named Mino (‘Fox’ in Otomi language).

Who’s your favorite character in it?

I very much like the young hothead named Atolli, who is developing nicely through the entire series.
Tecpatl is also my favorite, of course.
Sakuna is nice, but the slave girl Mino is more fascinating by far.

When reading, do you prefer eBook or paperback?

Well, I loved to curl on the sofa with the good heavy paperback since I was a kid. My mom tried to take me out of this curling-in-cozy-corners-habit, worrying that I would ruin my eyes. She never succeeded.
But where she had failed, Kindle had an upper hand. Since I got it, I never touch the books adorning our living room, but sitting straight and reading. Somehow ebooks reading don’t go with curling on the sofa. Or maybe it’s just me, but sure enough I prefer ebooks now. 

What projects are you currently working on?

Having just finished with those pre-Aztec series, I’m taking a break for a few weeks. I want to move back to North America. The trilogy on the Iroquois is beckoning. But I have to get rid of anything Aztec-related so it won’t influence my writing anymore.
Therefore, it’s a few-weeks-break (not that there is not enough to do with all the editing of the fourth book of the current series and the promoting of the existing ones)

What one word describes how you feel when you write?


Who designed this cover?

My husband. He is very talented and he paints beautifully. The problem is, he doesn’t like painting and graphics as much as he did, so it takes an effort to force him into designing my covers.
What are your pet peeves?

School system.

What’s your favorite beverage?


So do you like to cook?

No!!! I’m horrible in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite ice cream?


Do you normally eat breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?

Skip it, big time. And the rest of the meals too. Since becoming a full-time writer, I never get time to eat properly. Or to sleep for that matter.

What is something you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

My Kindle?

Do you sleep in or get up early?

I get up early, even if I don’t have too. It’s terribly inconvenient, but I can’t help it. I was always like that, up with the birds, when the rest of the world is still having a great time under warm blankets. I hate it :D
Which do you use most for writing on, laptop or desktop?

Laptop. It allows me to work anywhere I land. Having kids in the house, you can really give up on the luxury of a desktop, can’t you?

What are your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad?

I think reviews are important, but this is a tricky matter. I suppose the average reader would not bother going back to Amazon in order to write a review, which leaves us with critics and writers only.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if the review is honest or not, either way, for the good and for the bad. It’s difficult to say if the person, who wrote it, has no agenda other than sharing his/hers thoughts. Like with any other information on the internet, one has to read through reviews carefully. 

List 3 books you’ve just recently read and would recommend?

I just finished the second book in ‘Allie’s Wars’ Series, of J.C. Andrijeski. A wonderful read that kept me on edge for two weeks without letting go.

Before that I had a great time reading ‘The Schliemann Legacy’ by D.A. Graystone. A great thriller that managed to toss me all over the world with the best of the international agents and killers.

Then it was your ‘Blind Veil’, Michael Lorde. The best conspiracy I ever happened to run into, this novel managed to keep me on edge for a long time and I still complain about the necessity to wait for the sequel. 
I am so glad you enjoyed it, Zoe.  I will be releasing that second Blind Veil book later this year, so you won’t have to wait much longer for that one.  

As far as your book, if it was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters? 

I have a problem answering this one, as all my stories are happening in pre-Columbian Americas, so it might be difficult to find so many native-looking actors.
I suppose I would have to borrow a few guys from ‘Apocalypto’ of Mel Gibson (a great movie, btw).

Thank you so much for this interview, Zoe.  Can you tell me where readers can purchase your books?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Interview with Elise Stokes, Author of the Cassidy Jones YA Series.

Elise Stokes lives in Washington State, with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence. The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula and Cassidy Jones and Vulcan's Gift are the first two books in the series.

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula:

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced. 

After exploring her newfound abilities, Cassidy learns that the geneticist, Professor Serena Phillips, is missing and that foul play is suspected. Terrified that her physical changes and Professor Phillips' disappearance are somehow connected, Cassidy decides to keep her strange transformation a secret. That is, until she meets the professor's brilliant and mysterious fifteen-year-old son, Emery. An unlikely duo, they set out to find Emery's mother, who is key in explaining Cassidy's newly acquired superpowers.

Their lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous, action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything - including murder — to reach his own ambitious goals.

Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift:

Two months after being infected with a strange retrovirus, Cassidy Jones continues to live a double life while she struggles to master her newly gained superpowers. High school has become the only normal thing left in her life—except for tall, dark, and handsome Emery Phillips, who shadows her every move, making sure she doesn’t reveal her secret. Then an overnight sleepover at Catamount Mountain Zoo takes a menacing turn, putting everything at risk.

Who’s your favorite character in Cassidy Jones Adventures?

That’s like asking which of my kids is my favorite (None, for the record). Cassidy and I are a lot alike. This wasn’t intentional, though. It just sort of happened. So I do like her, which is good. I have a soft spot for the boys, Emery Phillips and Jared Wells. Readers haven’t had a chance to get to know Jared yet, but they will in the third book. Hopefully they’ll be as conflicted over him and Emery as Cassidy and I are.J Jason Crenshaw, Cassidy’s 25-year-old bum neighbor who decided he never wanted to grow up, is a character I really love. Jason is horrid and my work in progress. I have big plans for him.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m writing Book 3, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant. It’s been a blast breathing life into characters I’ve been thinking about for the last two years.

What one word describes how you feel when you write? 


Who designed your covers?

Kelly Carter with Mad Spider Studio. It was a good day when I came across her online. Needless to say, Kelly is very talented.  

What’s an early childhood memory? 

My earliest memory is age 2 in Fort Knox, Kentucky, prior to my dad’s deployment to Vietnam. I remember walking into our home that had seemed like a mansion to find it completely empty and my mom becoming very upset about this. I interpreted her anger to be with “the army” for taking all of our stuff. In actuality her frustration was with the movers for not leaving requested items behind. She, my sister (@deevinehammer on Twitter), and I were moving back to California while my dad served in Vietnam. That night we slept on cots in our “big” empty living room, where I fumed about our predicament and at the army that had even cleaned me out of all my dresses. My closet was the first place I headed when we discovered we’d been robbed. Empty and was I livid!

Do you ever write in your PJs?

If it were up to me, I would live in my PJs. As it is, I live in workout clothes and sometimes even fix my hair. But, yes, when I don’t have to drive anyone to school at a God-awful hour, I’m writing in my PJs.

So do you like to cook? 

I can cook, but I hate to, which likely accounts for all my cooking disasters. My attempts are half-hearted, at best. What skill I did have went downhill when I began writing. Luckily, my husband has some cooking chops. I accepted the fact long ago that it won’t be my stellar meals our kids will have fond memories of, but they will remember my cookies. I’m a kick-ass baker, but baking isn’t anything like cooking.

What’s your favorite quote?

I have so many! I usually quote Winston Churchill (I’m positive if I had ever met the man I would have fallen madly in love). However, this time I’ll share a quote that sums up an attitude I strive to have:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
–Thomas Edison

List 3 books you’ve just recently read and would recommend?

Black Beast and LOST by R.S. Guthrie, The Bones Of The Earth by Scott Bury, Red Mojo Mama by Kathy Lynn Hall, and Enemy In Blue by Derek Blass. Currently I’m reading a great sci-fi for middle grade, Noah Of Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease. I know. That’s more than three.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

This question produced a fun conversation with my kids. I picture Cassidy with Dakota Fanning cuteness, so we thought her little sister Elle Fanning with hair dyed red like “Amy Pond’s from Doctor Who” would make the perfect Cassidy. When I thought up my villain Arthur King Junior, I imagined him resembling Stanley Tucci before he took on a look of his own, but Tucci would still work as King. We decided a dark haired Chloe Grace Moretz would be a great Miriam Cohen, Cassidy’s vivacious friend. Emery and Jared stumped us. One of my daughters suggested Taylor Lautner for Emery. My eight-year-old son’s response: “The werewolf?! If Emery takes off his shirt, no way am I watching Cassidy Jones: The Movie!” 

 Where can I purchase the books:
Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula-

Cassidy Jones and the Vulcan's Gift-