feature friday

Feature Friday: Mari Hamill


Today I am featuring Mari Hamill, author of Werewolf Nights.

Mari Hamill is a comic book retailer, an avid reader, and a movie fan who loves being immersed in fantasy. Currently, Mari is working on her next novel. The first thing she plans to do once the lock down ends will be going to the movies.

Why did you choose indie publishing?

I was eager for my novel to find readers who would enjoy it. I spent a lot of time researching and writing my manuscript and couldn’t wait to put it out there.

What inspired you to write? And why did you begin writing in the first place?

Most of my academic career consisted of reading and writing. Once I graduated, I felt that I needed to continue that path. Writing soothes me. I feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing each chapter. Also, I like to document people and scenarios that don’t really belong in any history books. I like to write those details that don’t really matter but kind of make a difference.

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

J.K. Rowling! Her worlds are very complex and unique. I binge read her Harry Potter series and moved on to her detective series. She’s a truly remarkable talent.

What is your writing routine like?

I like writing when there’s no one around. It allows me to block distractions and dive into my fantasy world.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

If you have something to say, go for it! Your story might bring joy or insight to a reader out there!


Follow Mari Hamill

Books

Threatened by financial ruin, widowed bakery owner Catherine Mercy leads a solitary life with more interest in reading about werewolf lore than in finding a man. Her one true love disappeared after high school and her now deceased husband kept her trapped in the house claiming that a werewolf might hunt her down one day, just as her grandmother repeatedly warned her. When Hollywood interrupts the town’s monotony by shooting a werewolf movie on location, Catherine’s best friend Anne pushes her to audition. Already in her thirties, Catherine feels ridiculous trying to become an actress, but lands the leading role.

Catherine’s daily routine turns into a hair-raising adventure as fame begins to surveil her wanderings and she falls for her sexy costar Greg Byron despite this actor’s neon warning sign that flashes conceited womanizer. He’s also smitten by her, but just when they are about to find happiness, a wolf bites him.

While Greg’s features turn lupine, Catherine discovers a resemblance between the movie script and her family’s history. Frightened, Catherine recruits werewolf expert Steve to figure out if the movie’s werewolf legend is real and if Wolfern, the werewolf her grandmother dreaded, has finally come for her. If so, Greg will turn into a werewolf. Only undoing Greg’s curse and destroying Wolfern before the next full moon can save their love and their lives.

Mari Hamill blends fantasy, intrigue, and passion to create a chilling, unique story.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

feature friday

Feature Friday: Author Esther T. Jones


Today I am honored to feature Esther T. Jones, Author of Tedenbarr of Have Lath and Thorunn. You can read my review of Tedenbarr of Have Lath here, and be on the look out of my comprehensive ARC review of Thorunn prior to its release date of May 20th!

Esther been creating stories since she was a kid, and really started writing them down when she was about 10. In her teen years she got serious about learning the craft, and hasn’t stopped since, going on to publish her debut novel Tedenbarr of Have Lath as well as her newest novel, Thorunn, coming out on 20th. Outside of writing, Esther loves gardening, cosplay, and music (as she is a flutist and pianist).

Why did you choose indie publishing?

Creative control! It’s fantastic working with editors and beta readers, but ultimately (unlike traditional publishing), it’s up to me to decide what I want to include or cut from the final product, and I love that.

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

I still really love the Redwall series, because of the rich descriptions, the nuanced characters, and the ability Brian Jacques’ works have to take you to a completely different world. Recently though, I’ve been loving everything by Jeff Wheeler, and I’m currently enjoying his “Harbinger” series.

What is your writing routine like?

I don’t really have one right now, haha. I’ve just started working on a new WIP (a portal fantasy about a lost princess), and I’m just aiming to get in around 1000-2000 words a week. When I’ve got the first draft down I’ve probably be a little more methodical about it, but since I’m a pantser, I need to have ample time to think about my story between writing sessions so that the words can flow when I sit down to type.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Please, please read books, of all genres and types! It’s the most important part of being able to write well.

Do you want to give a shout out to anyone in particular?

I want to say thanks so much to my amazing cover artist Don Jones, who was awesome during the whole process. The cover for Thorunn turned out beautifully!

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler to get us excited for Thorunn?

At one point, Kenton’s best friend Bo finds himself hurtling off a mountain on a makeshift hang-glider, trying to escape from the murderous, pterodactyl-like Chsaa-Rhee before they can stab his eyes out.

Thorunn is available for pre-order now! Check it out!


Follow Esther T. Jones

Books

Adventure! Treachery! Danger on the High Seas! After months of forced servitude aboard a cargo ship en route from the Kingdom of the West, all Tedenbarr wants is to return to his beloved home. But when a brutal pirate attack leaves Tedenbarr stranded on the far shores of the Eastern Kingdom, Tedenbarr must embark on an arduous and harrowing journey from East to West with only his wit, and will to survive against the many trials that beset him along the way. Faced with danger from land and sea, foreigner and country-kin, Tedenbarr’s travels promise to take him through perilous, lonely mountains, across vast, thirsty deserts, and into the very heart of a city poised on the brink of civil war. Only time will tell if Tedenbarr can succeed in his quest to return to Have Lath, and finally reunite with his friends, family and the woman he left behind. 

Thorunn

Nine years ago, Skytown soldiers brutally murdered Kenton’s family. Now those same men aim to return and destroy Kenton’s hard-won, idyllic life amongst the peaceful shifter people of the Hinnom Forest.

Meanwhile, Laine Riven–dragged from Earth to Thorunn against his will–is stuck navigating an unfamiliar school, his jerk of an uncle, and the rising threat posed by the Outpost Terrorist.

When their paths clash amidst tragedy and betrayal, Kenton realises he and his best friend Bo may have rushed headlong into a situation too impossible to fix.

Time is running out as frix season closes in, and their only shot at victory hinges on outrunning the seasoned bounty hunters, savage creatures, and unpredictably violent weather trying to kill them every step of the way.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

feature friday

Feature Friday: Author Naomi Kelly


Today I am featuring Naomi Kelly, author of Trial by Obsidian and Meraki: A Syren Story.

Naomi Kelly is a young Irish Indie author who released her debut novel, Trial by Obsidian, last year. She has recently released their second novel, Meraki: A Syren Story on May 1st. She writes YA Fantasy with romance subplots, inspired by all the fantastic books she has read over the years. Her writing style is very character-centric, which leads to writing in the first person. She loves diving deep into the feelings and thoughts of her characters and really put herself in their shoes to figure out what they would be going through.

What inspired you to write?

Sometimes when I would read a really good book that I couldn’t stop thinking about, I would start thinking about where I would imagine the characters going next. This gradually developed to me drafting my own plot lines and characters which eventually lead to me writing my first book, Trial by Obsdian.

What are some of your current projects?

I have a few ideas in the pipeline, I think all Indie authors are prone to having multiple “works in progress” at once. I’m hoping to grow my first book with a sequel, and I’d love to write a collection of short stories that revolve around the side characters from my books. For now, I’m just enjoying Meraki‘s release.

Why did you start writing?

I actually started writing in my early teen years as a part of my counselling sessions. I found it really hard to explain how I was feeling, and I was advised to write a couple of pages a day. Sometimes I showed my work, other times I just ripped up the pages, but just getting the words out of my head and into the real world helped me immensely.

Who do you hope to inspire with your writing?

I’d hope to inspire the young adult readers with my writing because they are in the age group my main characters usually tend to be in. In the first book of the trilogy, Kanna is 14 to 15 years old. If you strip away the fantasy and adventure aspects, she goes through the same things that a 14- to 15-year-old teenager goes through in the real world. She’s insecure, unsure of herself, has trust issues, is self-conscious, and a whole lot more. Long story short, she’s not perfect. It’s okay to have flaws and be vulnerable, because realistically there is not a person out there who doesn’t have them, and I think it’s an important thing to see.

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

Sarah J Maas and Amanda Bouchet would be two of my favourite authors for the same reason. They both manage to create these large fantasy worlds that are navigated by relatable female characters. (And they both have a brilliant ability to write steamy romance which never hurt anybody!)

If you could apologize to one of your characters, what would you say?

Dear Wren of Meraki; A Syren Story.

I’m sorry that you had to go through a lot of heartache and pain, but I ensure you there was a point to it all. By going through it you finally learnt how strong and capable you are, and I think you would agree that you came out a better person than you started. (Also I gave you a lot of good things too so I’m not so big baddie!) Love always, Your creator and friend, Naomi.

How do you normally begin a writing session?

I normally begin a writing session with a mug of tea, and I’ll read over what I did the previous day. Apparently, it’s a writing sin to edit as you go, but I find recapping my work really helps me get back into the scene and if I can catch a few typos along the way- even better! When working on a project, I try to do it every day. There will always be days you are too busy, but I do believe you can make time no matter what. Often, I’ll write a quick sentence or idea as a text to myself whilst out and about. Writing isn’t always just typing, and if you need a work break, then editing, reading, drawing out characters, maps, title ideas are all useful ways to keep the momentum going.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Not everyone is going to love your work. No matter how perfect you think your plot is, or how amazing your characters are, someone, somewhere will dislike it. So don’t worry about trying to impress that one person, because you’ll never be able to, but that’s okay. Write what you want to read.

Follow Naomi Kelly

Books

Trial by Obsidian

The poverty-stricken southern lands of Deshure have kept Juniper Obsidian hidden all her life. Her concealed identity kept her safe. Until now. The northern lands of Sinlara are home to the Chambers. Here rules are enforced and wars are waged, but since the end of the War fifteen years ago things have been quiet. That is until they get their hands on Juniper. [Read More]

Meraki: A Syren Story

Her song is a gift bestowed by the gods; so why does it feel like a curse?

Seventeen-year-old Wren thinks she has just swum away from the greatest threat in the sea. That’s until she finds herself being hauled upon a warlord’s boat. With her life at the mercy of a young, temperamental King, Wren must decide who is her ultimate enemy. [Read More]


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

feature friday

Feature Friday: Author Kaitlyn Legaspi


For my first ever Feature Friday, I have the opportunity to feature a student at my Alma Mater, Kaitlyn Legaspi, a student at the University of Florida. Today she is launching the final book in her Dark Irregular Trilogy, so why don’t you find out more about her and her path to publication below!

Kaitlyn Legaspi is the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy Dark Irregular. Writing passionately on a daily basis, she is publishing the third book in the series…today, May 1st! She plans to add more to her repertoire in the near future. Kaitlyn is entering her junior year as a business undergraduate student at the University of Florida, in addition to writing. Kaitlyn enjoys singing, studying in the nearby boba tea shop, and reading whatever has catches her interest.

Why did you choose to Indie Publish?

I chose to indie publish because compared to when I had traditionally published with a small publishing company, I have a lot more freedom when it comes to how much I can spend on certain services such as editing and getting a book cover, and I can keep track of everything and how much time and money is spent on certain things. I like the control I have over it. It’s a lot of work, but I definitely believe it’s worth it.

What are some of your current projects?

Currently, I am working with a really close friend of mine, editing the first book of a new series I’m hoping to put out within a year. In addition to that, I am also writing my first YA romance novel featuring two different first-person perspectives. It’s not something I have done before, and it is difficult to do, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Why did you start writing?

At first, I started writing because I thought it was a super fun thing to do, and it really is. When I was in middle school, I was in an online writing community where we’d post a chapter on our own threads as often as we wanted. We’d read each other’s stuff and comment how much we liked it, and it was such a supportive community.

Who do you hope to inspire with your writing?

I’d hope to inspire the young adult readers with my writing because they are in the age group my main characters usually tend to be in. In the first book of the trilogy, Kanna is 14 to 15 years old. If you strip away the fantasy and adventure aspects, she goes through the same things that a 14- to 15-year-old teenager goes through in the real world. She’s insecure, unsure of herself, has trust issues, is self-conscious, and a whole lot more. Long story short, she’s not perfect. It’s okay to have flaws and be vulnerable, because realistically there is not a person out there who doesn’t have them, and I think it’s an important thing to see.

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

My favorite author is Eoin Colfer, and the Artemis Fowl series is my favorite. I love his writing because he’s able to insert humor into his books seamlessly, even in the most serious of situations. He has the humor I wish I had, because I can’t make a good joke to save my life.

If you could apologize to one of your characters, what would you say?

Hey, Kanna, my beloved first main character, I want to apologize to you for a lot of mean things I’ve done. I’ve nearly killed you maybe ten times, probably more, throughout the entire trilogy. You basically lose your memories twice, and I almost have you lose them a third time. You were bullied a lot as a child, which led you to have plenty of trust issues that most likely played a part in preventing some good friendships before you met Kenneth and Neel. I’m sorry for all of that, and I hope the ending of Gray Heart is enough to make it up to you.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Always be open to criticism. It’s what helps the stories we want to put out to the world become better. It’s what makes our work ready to be published. There’s a reason why people go through multiple edits before they even think about publishing their book. Now, with that being said, there is a difference between constructive criticism and an attack. If someone has read your book in the early stages and their negative comments aren’t the least bit objective and have no solid base for why they’re being made, ignore them. That’s not necessarily going to help you. That’s going to hurt you.

Kaitlyn also wanted to give the following shout out…

Shout out to @primo_paints for his amazing character art and helping me out with the last two book covers of the trilogy! I love your work, and it’s been a joy working with you!

Follow Kaitlyn Legaspi

Books

A world consists of two planes of existence. There is the world of the living, where humans, elves, and every whole-spirited creature breathe. Then there is the Void, where demons and beings made of pure darkness, shadows, live.

Almost fifteen years ago, these shadows brought the deaths of the Kingdom of Sylenia’s beloved king and queen and the disappearance of their newborn baby. In the present day, the kingdom remains in the capable hands of a young queen, her major generals, and their knights but is constantly threatened by the growing number of shadows that enter the living world.

A secluded young orphan named Kanna is one of the new apprentices that have been chosen to be trained for the purpose of defeating these shadows. Suddenly called upon to become a knight’s understudy, she is escorted to the palace by two older apprentices. Along the way, she is attacked by the shadows, much to the apprentices’, knights’, and even the major generals’ confusion.

While Kanna is figuring out why the shadows are targeting her, something else occupies her mind. Every time she is knocked unconscious by a shadow, she has familiar visions about a little boy she vaguely recognizes. Kanna eventually finds the boy that keeps appearing in her dreams. However, she meets him as a price due to the presence of a darker, more powerful entity: the Dark Irregular.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

News

Feature Friday – Indie Authors Wanted! CLOSED

UPDATE: RESPONSES ARE CLOSED AS OF APRIL 27TH, 2020

Hey Indie Authors!

Do you want the opportunity to be interviewed and featured on my website? Well I am currently taking applications for interested parties!

What do you have to do? EASY! Fill out the form below! If I’m interested in interviewing you, I’ll shoot you an email with further details.

This is a new venture I’m taking part in, so I have no clue if it will work…but here we go.

Book Review

Maple Street – Book Review


Rating: ★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

You’ll never notice Maple Street, but it’s there, like any road you might drive on during the day or at night. It’s filled with monsters, witches, ghosts and mummies…all the creatures from your dreams (or your nightmares).

But the creatures of Maple Street aren’t out to hurt you; no, they’re just like you and me, with neighbors, lives, and adventures behold. 

Written like an informative newspaper article, with a Twilight-zone like feel to it, A.M. Dorhauer takes us down Maple Street in a story fit for Halloween. You’ll meet each of the neighbors, and come away feeling more bewitched. Dorhauer’s descriptions are lovely, leaving a luscious image in your mind of Maple Street. In fact, next time you’re out and about, you may even look for Maple Street yourself – I know I did!

It’s a fast read which leaves you with a warm feeling, like warm pumpkin pie. Definitely a good read for anyone looking to get into the spooky spirit. 

What’s it about? 

Halloween isn’t at all what you’ve read in stories. As it turns out, witches aren’t warty old women (for 2/3rds of the day), and werewolves don’t need the full moon to hunt. Vampires hoard their treasures worse than any dragon, and mummies see more than most as they stalk the woods at night. For the first time, humans are allowed a glimpse into this world, and the true essence of not just the holiday, but the creatures we think we know. Enter the street where Halloween lives every day and see for yourself what lies beyond. And who knows? You may find friends waiting for you.

[Author/Book Recommendation Form]

Book Review

The Queen of Cups – Book Review

The Queen of Cups by Ren Basel

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)

The Queen of Cups is a heartwarming short adventure about Theo and their travels to the Oracle and through a death-defying ordeal. Although the protagonist is a neurodivergent non-binary individual, it is not the focus of the tale, choosing instead to looking at the journey ahead and Theo’s adventure. 

Ren’s writing is lovely and well put together for a first-time publication. The world they develop is clearly thought through. The Oracle’s position in it all, despite the story being short, is clearly defined, as well as some aspects of the beliefs and magic. Within the story, Ren identifies Theo’s quirks and passions. Truthfully, the entire tale is beautiful.

Yet, despite the beauty of the work, I can only give it 3 out 5 stars. Why? Frankly, it comes down to the length. Short stories as a whole are difficult, and this one needed at least another couple thousand words to flesh out Theo’s perilous journey – “for the journey is long and the ocean’s tests are many”. For a story whose description ends on such a tempting tale, the fact that Theo does not embark on their quest until more than halfway through the story is disheartening. Adding a bit more to the journey may have fleshed out my support of Theo through their arduous trek.

That being said, the future of this author is promising. The world they created in this tale gives a lot of promise, and with writing so lovely how can there not be a bright future ahead? 

What’s it about? 

A mysterious woman known only as The Oracle resides on the seashore, blessing ships and telling fortunes for those who can pay her price. For new-made ship captain Theo Marinos, the price is higher than it first seems.

If Theo has any hope of surviving their ship’s first voyage, they must trust not just in The Oracle, but in themself–for the journey is long, and the ocean’s tests are many. 


[Author/Book Recommendation Form]

Book Review

Dragonsong – Book Review


Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

Dragonsong by Audrey Rose B. is a wonderful short story that encompasses fate and love, traditionally seen in Fantasy stories. In the time I spent with Rynn and Elanthia, I grew attached to their plights and their budding romance, rooting for them to kiss and fly off into the sunset together. 
The world is magical and full of creativity; the dragons’ intelligence put me in awe, the fairies made me laugh, and the worldbuilding warmed my heart. As I read it, and I mean this as a full compliment, I saw it playing out as an animated Disney moving of a princess and her heroine going off on a grand adventure.
The ending is expected, like a Disney movie, but that does not take away from this tale’s wonder! It’s well written and leaves me craving for more. I hope to see more from this author in the future – and if it revisits Rynn and Elanthia, I wouldn’t complain. 
Initially, I was going to rate this story 4 out 5 stars, but a day later, I still can’t get it out of my head…so I am happy to rate it 5 out of 5 stars! 
Please, if you have an hour, go check out Dragonsong and be whisked away on an adventure!

What’s it about? 

A light fantasy short story by Audrey Rose B. featuring dragons, adventure and romance.

When a mysterious girl falls from the sky and lands on a dragon rider’s mount, the two strangers must rely on each other despite their differences and the burgeoning political conflict between their homes.
Book Review

Stellar Eclipse: Cloudless Rain – Book Review


Stellar Eclipse: Cloudless Rain by Avalon Roselin

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

Truthfully, I’ll be frank: I went into Cloudless Rain not sure if I would like it. Usually from the get-go, stories with a mix of human and non-human creatures make me wary (let’s disregard sci-fi with aliens though – that’s a different way of looking at things altogether). But elements of a murder mystery and found family certainly caught my attention, and for that, I am so glad I picked this one up!

Avalon writes a compelling, heartwarming tale with unique and diverse characters. I felt connected to all four of the main characters: Eureka, Baltan, Azzie, and Lleuwellyn all have my heart. I was even intrigued by the mysterious Selkess who pulled on the strings of the plot. 

Other than catching the bad guy, I wanted them all to reach their goals! I wanted Baltan to come to terms with himself, for Eureka to accept himself, for Azzie to find his family, and for Lleuwellyn to accept his place. The realism of their goals, and the emotions the group shares, only compliments Avalon as a writer. 

The story itself is a fast and enjoyable read! I only wish there was more!

So for that, I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel. 

What’s it about? 

Murder is no unusual phenomenon in Marina Delta, a fact former investigators Baltan and Eureka know all too well. But when Eureka brings home a wounded child bearing the mark of an infamous serial killer they put behind bars fifteen years ago, it’s clear that this is no ordinary crime.
Baltan thought his days as a detective were done, and taking on the case will mean dealing with a demon they both would rather leave behind. However, with a bloodthirsty cult mobilizing again, a child with no past in their custody, and only days to stop the most devastating tragedy of their time, taking action is their only choice.
Caught between family, duty, life, and death, Baltan and Eureka will have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice—and who they’re willing to sacrifice for.


[Author/Book Recommendation Form]

Book Review

Tedenbarr of Have Lath – Book Review

Tedenbarr of Have Lath by Esther T. Jones

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Tedenbarr of Have Lath introduces a uniquely complex world that has many elements of well thought out world building and an array of different characters. While the story itself is a rather traditional hero’s journey, it keeps you rooting for the protagonist to return home to his beloved, as is his driving quality.

That being said, Tedenbarr is a sleeve-type of a protagonist: you put him on to see the world through his eyes, but because of that, you miss many other deeper and more interesting aspects to the entire story. I finished the book wishing to know more about many of the minor characters: Mikael, Tiana, Chester, and Lach to name a few.

The author has put a lot of thought into this world though and it is a shame it is all contained to one book. Some stories might not need multiple books, but I think this story with its multiple cultures, a long list of characters, and multi-tiered subplots would have thrived on multiple books. It would have given me, as a reader, a chance to really get to know Tedenbarr, as well as his friends and their struggles, and paint a bigger picture other than Teddy’s quest home.

Esther Jones is a fantastic writer though, and for a first novel, her prose is elegant and paints lovely pictures of the world as a whole. I do hope to see more of Aistes, Linkwood forest, and the world.

Needless to say, Tedenbarr of Have Lath is an outline of what might come in the future. I do hope to see this world again in later novels.

What’s it about? 

Adventure! Treachery! Danger on the High Seas!

After months of forced servitude aboard a cargo ship en route from the Kingdom of the West, all Tedenbarr wants is to return to his beloved home.

But when a brutal pirate attack leaves Tedenbarr stranded on the far shores of the Eastern Kingdom, Tedenbarr must embark on an arduous and harrowing journey from East to West with only his wit, and will to survive against the many trials that beset him along the way.

Faced with danger from land and sea, foreigner and country-kin, Tedenbarr’s travels promise to take him through perilous, lonely mountains, across vast, thirsty deserts, and into the very heart of a city poised on the brink of civil war.

Only time will tell if Tedenbarr can succeed in his quest to return to Have Lath, and finally reunite with his friends, family and the woman he left behind.


[Author/Book Recommendation Form]