Monday, March 31, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Vera Nazarian

Welcome to another Monday... er. Blog Ring of Power time! So grab a coffee, take a few much needed sips to start the day and check out this week's guest. 
Don't forget to check out the rest of Vera's interview with the rest of the hosts:

Part 1 @ Terri
Part 2 @ T.W.
Part 3 @ You're looking at it.
Part 4 @ Sandra
Part 5 @ Vicki

VERA NAZARIAN is a two-time Nebula Award Nominee, award-winning artist, member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and a writer with a penchant for moral fables and stories of intense wonder, true love, and intricacy.

She is the author of critically acclaimed novels Dreams of the Compass Rose and Lords of Rainbow, as well as the outrageous parodies Mansfield Park and Mummies and Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons, and most recently, Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret in her humorous and surprisingly romantic Supernatural Jane Austen Series, and the epic Renaissance fantasy Cobweb Bride Trilogy.

After many years in Los Angeles, Vera lives in a small town in Vermont, and uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art.

Her official author website is

Section #3: The Creative Process
·         BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

VN: I am going to admit to something less than glamorous. I get the best ideas from the stupidest things. Things like idiotic TV commercials. Spots on the wall. Cable news. Something I hear at the supermarket. Woozy dreams. Tree branches swaying. A cat butt. Really!  It’s all fodder for the imagination.  My latest wild idea source? Someone spilled a bunch of water on the red carpet during the recent academy awards, and I had a wacky dream about it the next day that provided a major book subplot for my current project, the YA dystopia series The Atlantis Grail. See? I told you, dumb things are the best idea factories!

·         BRoP:  Do you have a specific writing style?

VN: I am probably best known for an old-fashioned, stodgy, literary-historical “purple prose” style with much descriptive imagery and rich detail that has its influence from the Russian classics tradition where long sentences, complex clauses and poetical visual images are ingrained into you from an early age. I savor slow pacing and enjoy pulling the reader deep into a world that drowns and overwhelms and then packs an emotional wallop. I am the anti-Hemingway. However, I am also capable of a snarky and chatty modern style.

·        BRoP:  How do you deal with writer’s block?

VN: Now that I finally understand what it is, I work through writers block and past it. There are two kinds of writers block—the kind where you simply have not thought far enough along the storyline, and have not determined the best logical course of action for the characters—and the second kind where you’ve taken a wrong turn and written yourself into a corner. In case of the former, my solution is to write a few sentences of an outline for the next scene or two, to give myself a road map, and then to take a day off (if the deadline permits) and just relax and let the hind brain simmer and cook up the solution. And for the latter kind of block, I grit my teeth and howl at the moon, and then toss out the most recent parts that are wrong or out of character and rewrite the scene or chapter in a new direction. Admittedly the second kind of block hardly ever happens to me any more. And that’s a good thing ‘cause I hate thowing good prose away. I am not one to “kill my darlings,” but to reuse them in other places and other works.

·        BRoP:  How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

VN: It is perfectly organic and unformulaic. I let my characters react however it feels right for their personality. They frequently take me into very unexpected directions, which make the stories far more interesting, both for me as a writer experiencing the story for the first time, and for the reader.

·        BRoP:  Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

VN: I used to be a pantser for many years, writing myself into a wild jungle of the imagination, never knowing the next twist or turn, but lately I jot down a very barebone and changeable outline of major plot points. Still a pantser, but a more organized one, and it definitley helps keep the writers block away. Plus, I usually know the ending, so it gives me an end goal to aim for as I “pant away.”

Author Links

Facebook page:

Goodreads author page:


Amazon Author Page:

Smashwords Author Page:


The world is broken... A dark Goddess rises. A mortal maiden must stop her.

COBWEB FOREST (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book Three) is the third and final book of the intricate epic fantasy flavored by Renaissance history and the romantic myth of Persephone, about death's ultimatum to the world.

CobwebForest-Mockup1Percy Ayren, ordinary girl from the small village of Oarclaven, and now Death's Champion, has delivered the Cobweb Bride to Lord Death--or so she thinks!

But nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Percy and Beltain Chidair, the valiant and honorable Black Knight, discover that even more is at stake than anyone could have imagined, when ancient gods enter the fray.

It is now a season of winter darkness. Gods rise and walk the earth in unrelieved desire, and the Longest Night is without end...

Meanwhile, landmarks continue to disappear throughout the realm. The cruel Sovereign's dead armies of the Trovadii clad in the colors of pomegranate and blood march north... As the mad Duke Hoarfrost continues to lay siege to the city of Letheburg, it is up to Claere Liguon, the Emperor's dead daughter and the passionate Vlau Fiomarre who killed her, to take a stand against the enemy.

But Percy still has a difficult task to do, the greatest task of all... For in the end the Cobweb Bride awaits, together with the final answer.

At last all the occult mysteries are revealed in this stunning conclusion to the Cobweb Bride trilogy.

Book Links





Apple iTunes:


Is your book in print, ebook or both?

Ebook, Trade Hardcover, and Trade Paperback.

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: J. Kathleen Cheney

397820_462385903841844_861599594_n-2Welcome to the Blog Ring of Power! Today's guest is J. Kathleen Cheney.
She is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist.
Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist.  Her novel, “The Golden City” came out from Penguin in 2013.  The sequel, “The Seat of Magic” will come out July, 2014.
Her website can be found at

Don’t miss the rest of Kathleen’s BRoP interview:
BRoP Logo Revised-1Part 1 @ Terri
Part 2 @ T.W.
Part 3 @ you are here
Part 4 @ Sandra
Part 5 @ Vicki

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

JKC: I've always been a fairly 'organic' writer in terms of characters and story lines. I try to let them be what they need to be. Yes, that sounds like a 'writer' answer, but it's true

BRoP: Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

JKC:  I outline, then write and fall off the outline, so I re-outline. And then I finish and outline again and revise according to that outline. 

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

JKC:  My husband reads everything, of course, although that's pretty much it these days. When I have a particular passage that I'm struggling with, I will ask one or two members of one of my groups to read that, but I don't send out entire novels any more. 

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

JKC:  Too much. The last several years almost everything I've written has been Historical Fantasy, which means that you have to dive into the setting and try to get everything right. I do internet research, book research, and if I can go to the location, I do. (My husband was kind enough to use our first vacation in five years for me to visit Portugal and Spain back in 2012.) 

BRoP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

JKC:  I think that, for me, the most challenging part is the action. Not because I don't know how to do it, but because that's what I find most boring as a reader. No, seriously. I skip over fight scenes when I'm reading, skip chase scenes, skip action scenes. I'm all about the dialog.

Is your book in print, ebook or both? Both
Author Links
The_Golden_City_Cover-2THE GOLDEN CITY: For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores….
When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.
Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.
Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone….

COMING JULY 2014 — Magical beings have been banned from the Golden City for decades, though many live there in secret. Now humans and nonhumans alike are in danger as evil stalks the streets, growing more powerful with every kill….
THE SEAT OF MAGIC: It’s been two weeks since Oriana Paredes was banished from the Golden City. Police consultant Duilio Ferreira, who himself has a talent he must keep secret, can’t escape the feeling that, though she’s supposedly returned home to her people, Oriana is in danger.
Adding to Duilio’s concerns is a string of recent murders in the city. Three victims have already been found, each without a mark upon her body. When a selkie under his brother’s protection goes missing, Duilio fears the killer is also targeting nonhuman prey.
To protect Oriana and uncover the truth, Duilio will have to risk revealing his own identity, put his trust in some unlikely allies, and consult a rare and malevolent text known as The Seat of Magic….

Book Links 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Matthew Cox

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- after="" and="" deliberate="" fiction="" happens="" intellectual="" it.="" life="" nature="" o:p="" of="" questions="" reality="" science="" that="" the="" what="">

He is also fond of cats.


Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future

Section #4: About Your Current Work

BRoP:  Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

MC: Division Zero, my debut novel, tells the story of Kirsten Wren and her exploits with the psionic branch of the police force. Set in 2418, the world has been reshaped by an event known as the Corporate War. After several decades of conflict, the population of North America has migrated into massive contiguous cities that span both coasts to avoid the aftereffects of chemical weapons, military genetic mutations, and out of control gangs.

Kirsten, the main character, is a psionic cop with the ability to see (and harm) spirits and other denizens of the astral realm. As rare as her talents are, they get her put on the Investigative Operations team (similar to detectives) of Division Zero and she gets handed all cases involving paranormal entities.

The story follows her as she pursues a killer who is using human-like androids known as dolls as murder weapons. While attempting to put a stop to these killings, she tries to come to terms with childhood abuse at the hands of a mother that thought psionics were the Devil’s work.

It is being released on March 7 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press. It will initially be available on Amazon, paperback and Ebook. It may be available through Barnes & Noble if they decide to carry it. 

BRoP: Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

MC: I have seen mysteries, I have seen cyberpunk fiction, I’ve seen paranormal fiction. I can’t recall seeing all three elements combined. (Not saying it hasn’t happened, just that I haven’t run across it yet. I did not set out to really do anything more than the story I had in my mind. One of the people at CQ dubbed this a “Cyberpunk Paranormal Mystery” if it were to have a genre.

Division Zero is a mixture of psionic and paranormal (ghosts) elements in a sci fi cyberpunk world wrapped around a crime drama – with generous helpings of character-driven narrative.

BRoP:  What was the hardest part of writing this book?

MC: Keeping it under 100k words.

BRoP:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

MC: My favorite chapter is probably either the Asylum fight (chapter 2) because of the vivid imagery involved; or the chapter where she finally overcomes her mother’s influence on her life – it was a poignant emotional moment that still gets me misty eyed every time I proofread over it.

BRoP: Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

MC: I learned a lot writing this. It was on this project that I finally understood what passive voice was (thank you James Wymore), as well as figured out how to spot filler.

 BRoP: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

MC: In the fifteen minutes I've sat here staring at this question, I can’t think of anything. The story, as it is now, is a little different than it was when I started. I had originally intended for one of the characters to be a bit of a mystery (in the sense of Deckard from Blade runner), and sprinkled liberal clues as well as some red herrings throughout to answer the question.

However, upon reaching the publisher, I was told that the book would work better if I clearly revealed this nuance about 75% of the way through. I did so, and I do think that it resulted in a stronger story. I decided to do the ‘reveal’ chapter in a subtle, emotional, way rather than a big, explosive way – and I am fond of the depth of emotion it lends to both characters involved. It also gave me a chance to develop a side plot for the second book in the series here.

BRoP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

MC: Question anyone who claims to know the wants and desires of a higher power. Humanity will never miss an opportunity to use superstition and fear as tools to control people.

BRoP: Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

MC: The publisher asked for some preliminary ideas from me, what kind of mood I wanted to evoke with it. The final design came from their cover artist, though I had a surprising amount of influence. (To Alex: I hope I wasn’t a pain.)

(Don't mind me. My jaw is on the floor for this cover! So epic.)

Cox Division Zero CoverMost cops get to deal with living criminals, but Agent Kirsten Wren is not most cops.

A gifted psionic with a troubled past, Kirsten possesses a rare combination of abilities that give her a powerful weapon against spirits. In 2418, rampant violence and corporate warfare have left no shortage of angry wraiths in West City. Most exist as little more than fleeting shadows and eerie whispers in the darkness.

Kirsten is shunned by a society that does not understand psionics, feared by those who know what she can do, and alone in a city of millions. Every so often, when a wraith gathers enough strength to become a threat to the living, these same people rely on her to stop it.

Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.

She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.

Author contact information: 

Book links:

This is part four of a five-part interview. Be sure to check out the other BRoP sites for the rest of the interview: 

Part 2 @ Terri Bruce

Part 3 @ T.W. Fendley
Part 4 @ *waves*

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Robert Gray

Today, Robert is here to tell us a bit about himself and his latest book, Evie Hallow and the Book of Shivers, the third book in his Evie Hallows series. Feel free to leave a comment or ask Robert a question below. When you're done here, pop on over to the other BRoP sites to read the rest of the interview.
Part 1 @ Terri
Part 2 @ T.W.
Part 3 @ Emily
Part 4 @ Sandra
Part 5 @ Vicki

Robert Gray is a writer.  If that job description doesn't impress you, how about fantasy writer?  Too general?  Well, he doesn't get insulted if you call him a horror writer.  If horror's not your thing, then scratch out horror and replace it with suspense.  And for the kiddies, you can slap on a YA or MG in front of that title.

Gray lives in Bushkill, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

Section #3: The Creative Process

  1. Where do you get your story ideas?
RG: I write until the idea finds its way to the page.

  1. How do you deal with writer’s block?
RG: I try attacking my WIP from a different angle.  Sometimes it means writing a few extra thousand words that don't make it to the second draft, but it almost always helps me get back on track.

  1. How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
RG: I develop characters that I would enjoy spending time with, and then I let those characters drive the plot.  The only formula I use is Problem = Solution + Bigger Problem.

  1. Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?
RG: I’m a panster, though I like to toss down a few signpost scenes here and there to keep me somewhat on track. 

  1. Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?
RG: I used a critique group early on, not so much anymore.  Beta readers, though, are essential for me.  I usually have at least two people read my book before I send it off into the wild.

So far, Eve's summer vacation has been uneventful, but when her grandparents—traveling all the way from the monster world known as Gravesville—appear at her doorstep, she learns that the URNS Director has gone missing. Worse, a new director, bent on destroying humans, has taken over URNS. Eve and her family are no longer safe in the human world, and as they race to escape this new threat, Eve stumbles into a trap, which forces her back to Gravesville along with her family and friends. But once there, everything goes adorably wrong, and her best chance to get out of this mess is to seek out The Book of Shivers and the elusive author Sedrick Creach—the only creature who knows the secrets of the Nightmare Books. Unfortunately for Eve, searching for Sedrick and the next book in the series will reveal uncomfortable details about her own murky past. Once again, Eve and her friends find themselves on an incredible adventure—one that involves underground battles with bloodthirsty creatures, a lightning-fueled train, and some unexpected new allies. Hilarious and bone-chilling, this third book continues the story of an unlikely hero trying to save not one, but two worlds … This time around, though, Eve's not sure she can even save herself.

Is your book in print, ebook or both?  Both, though the ebook is currently only available at Amazon.

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: KT Bryski

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Don't forget to look over the rest of the interview:
Part 1 @ Terri
Part 2 @ T.W.
Part 3 @ *waves* here is where you are. 
Part 4 @ Sandra
Part 5 @ Vicki

K.T. Bryski is a Candian author and podcaster. She made her podcasting and publishing debut with Hapax, an apocalyptic fantasy with Dragon Moon Press (2012). Select playwriting credits include scripts for Black Creek Pioneer Village (2011) and East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon: a Children’s Opera (Canadian Children’s Opera Company, 2014). She recently received her Hon. B.A. in History from the University of Toronto, and she is currently at work on her next novel. Visit her at 

Author Contact Info
Blog - Facebook Page: The Group Page of K.T.Bryski’s Writing - Goodreads Page: K.T. Bryski,  - Twitter: @ktbryski

Section 3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

KT: From everywhere and anywhere. Music is particularly good at triggering emotions that spark stories. Random “what if” thoughts sometimes come to me while I’m washing dishes or riding my bike. History has also proven a rich source of ideas.

BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block?

KT: When I get writer’s block, it’s usually my subconscious telling me that something in the story isn't working. So I break it down: what about this story turns me off, and why? It can take a long time to figure out what’s wrong, but when I do, it’s such a sense of relief! In the interim, I have to get away from the keyboard. Getting out of the house and getting my body moving is essential.

BRoP: How do you develop plots and characters?

KT: Both plots and characters usually start as a lightning flash: a single image or feeling that sticks in my mind. From there, it’s asking lots and lots of questions of myself. Every answer results in even more questions.  As I play this back-and-forth game, details start to gel and accumulate. Do this long enough, and you’ve got a plot and/or character on your hands.

BRoP: Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?

KT: I consider myself a loose outliner. I can’t just dive into a story with no plan, but I don’t plot each scene to the minutest details either. It’s kind of like having a roadmap: I know my starting and my destination, several major landmarks along the way, and a rough idea of the route in between. That approach gives me the structure I need to feel comfortable, but also allows space for intuitive leaps and diversions.

BRoP: Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?

KT: I use beta readers. I love my beta readers. They spot things that I won’t, because they’re engaging with the story as readers, whereas I’ll always be partly in the mindset of “author.”
Some of my beta readers are brilliant at analyzing character; others, picking sentences apart. Their strengths are all different than mine. If they’re kind enough to lend me their time, I’m happy to learn from them!

The Apocalypse has come, and in seven days the world will be no more.

Only the Hapax, the Word which began the universe, can recreate the world and avert the Apocalypse, but that Word has been lost. Brother Gaelin finds his faith crumbling as he is forced to shelter two fugitives from the Magistatiem, the college of magi which has been divorced from the Ecclesiat monks for centuries.
As time slips away, the monks and magi must do more than just heal the ancient rift that divides them—they must trust in the very Being who drove them apart.

Buy/Book Links

Hapax is available in print, e-book, and podcast forms. 

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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