Interview with an Author #1 Robert J. Crane @robertjcrane

It seems that being on holiday agrees with me – I mean, look how many blog posts I’ve done this week!! Anyhow, sat here i the sunshine, with an ice cold cider to hand, (in case I get too warm, you understand), I am immensely excited, privileged and proud to be posting this particular entry to my blog… an interview with Robert J Crane.  Huge thanks to Robert, who doesn’t usually do interviews.  Sit back, and enjoy!


  1. When did you first start writing fully developed stories?

If by fully developed you mean “completed” I’d have to say when I was 30. I had tons of outlines for earlier stuff, probably half a hundred novels I’d started and never finished, and a few short stories in college, but I never wrote a novel to completion until Defender, which was my first (and the first I published).


  1. Which of your series are you most proud of, and why?

Gosh, I really try not to play favorites. I’ve always thought of my books/series kind of like my kids, and while each of them is different, every one of them has a special place in my heart or I wouldn’t have published them. I love all three of them thus far, and each allows me a totally different playground world to step into, so…


  1. Where does your inspiration come from?

There’s a really great webcomic called “The Oatmeal” where one of the strips delves into creating. In it, the guy has an offhand joke about how creativity is like diarrhea: it “spews uncontrollably when you need it least.” I think that’s kind of true; most writers I talk to don’t really know exactly where their ideas come from. A lot of them brew at a subconscious level for a while before they pop out, and they may not even be fully formed when they do show up.

That said, anytime I’ve sat down in front of a blank screen and removed all distractions, I tend to find I can come up with some stuff that’s worthy of a few pages in a book.


  1. Best & worst thing about being an indie author

Wow, I have to narrow it down to just one? LOL. Best thing about being an indie author at my stage of the game is just about everything – total freedom and control is probably the biggest. I can go on vacation for six weeks and write if I want to. I can pick which books I want to write next and no one can tell me differently.

Worst thing? That infinitesimally small percentage of readers (I would place it at less than 0.00001%) that are just difficult people. It’s kind of like retail, except I can walk away from my email and not answer them if they’re flagrantly insulting. Some unfortunate clerk at a store doesn’t have that option.


  1. Best & worst thing about interacting with fans on social media

Best thing? There’s a more direct path for fan love to make its way to creators. When I was first starting out, I was totally in it for the fan approbation. Way before I was making money or a living, I would get an email or a review here or there from someone who’d read my books telling me how much they liked it, and that could keep me going for a month.

The worst thing is probably the flip side of the best – it’s now much easier for the negativity to flow to you as a creator. Not everyone is going to like what I do, and I’m fine with that – now. It can be really tough for a beginning author, especially when they’re taking those first steps, to get hit by criticism. The funny thing is, it’s almost never personal (see again about that 0.00001%) but we take it personally. Reviewers are just expressing their opinion that the book didn’t connect with them.

Still hurts, though. Doesn’t everyone want to be loved by the whole world? Maybe it’s just us sensitive artists.


  1. What are the first 10 books on your to read list?

Uhrm…let me look. I realized recently because I’ve been busy the first few months of the year I haven’t read much lately, and to my surprise the last two books I have read were light, frothy romantic comedies. Which is not exactly my usual genre, and is telling me maybe I should break out of the rut I’m in by reading more from that genre.

(In no particular order):

The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

The Blight of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler

Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler

Sacrificed in Shadow by SM Reine

A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin

Secret Life by Bria Quinlan

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish! by Douglas Adams

Stirred by JA Konrath


  1. Favourite console game and why?

Gah! That’s a tough one to narrow down. Probably the one I’ve spent the most time with this year was Final Fantasy X’s HD Remaster. But I’ve also spent a goodly amount of time with Titanfall and inFamous: Second Son in 2014.


  1. Star Trek (any series – please state which) or Star Wars (original trilogy obviously)

I’m a huge fan of both, but if forced to choose, I pick Star Trek: The Next Generation because it was my first love. I could totally wax rhapsodic on how amazing Han Solo was as a character to me (what a fantastic rogue!) or how Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s shift to more serialized storytelling made a huge mark on the way I thought about how to write, but…since you kept the question all simple…


  1. Who is your favourite sci-fi/fantasy character and why?

There are so many good ones, but I’d probably go with Aragorn. He’s just such classic good guy.


10.  Which place in the world would you most like to visit?

London, on April 24th, 2015. Which I may do. Because Avengers: Age of Ultron will be releasing there first on that very day, about two weeks before the U.S. gets it. It works out well, though, because I’ve been wanting to go back to the UK since I was there last April.


11.  Most played albums on your ipod/generic music player?

 I tend to listen to the Marvel film soundtracks as I’m writing, so Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier have all been getting a lot of play lately. Nothing with lyrics, because it mucks with my ability to generate words as I’m writing.


12.   So, I’ve heard you don’t do release dates….?

 Oh, you’ve heard that, have you? You might be the only one. But yeah, I don’t do release dates because it’d require me to build in six months or so of guaranteed lead time to make sure I didn’t miss them. Instead, I just release books when they’re ready. 


Authors you may have missed #2 SM Reine @smreine

I start with a confession of sorts.  I’m STILL on holiday!  (though we fly back home tomorrow… boo!).  So this blog is being written in the shadow of Blackcomb Mountain; the sun is out, the sky is very blue, and I’m not skiing because I dropped something on my foot and it is interesting shades of purple and black at the moment!

Anyhow, enough about me!  This is the second in my series of attempts to get you hooked on authors whose books I adore.  The first one was about Robert J Crane.  Did you read it?  No?  Well maybe when you’ve done with this one, you can have a quick peek OK?

So, SM Reine…. she is by no means an unknown indie author.  She is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author – and for good reason.  

As is often the way, I came across Sara’s books by accident – a gentle nudge in her direction from my ereader.  As the books I was looking at were free, as is often the case, I thought… “why not??”  I downloaded the first book in the Seasons of the Moon series.  Instantly hooked.  Downloaded the next one, and really, just kept going!

There are several series for you to chose from.  Seasons of the Moon (4 books); The Cain Chronicles (6 books), The Descent series (7 books); The Ascension series (5 books so far); Preternatural Affairs (2 books so far) & the newest one (which has a few more sexy shennanigans in it) The Tarot Witches (1 books so far).  I could set out the reading order here, but Sara does it much better (and with a flow chart!) on her website

Imagine if you will, a story with a fully formed set of characters and locations right here in the regular world.  Then add Hell; and Eden; and Heaven; oh,and another location too, but I don’t want to give everything away…. add in Angels, demons, witches; humans; and an assorted cast of other creatures and beings and you may begin to get a teeny idea of just how vast this world is that she has created.  

The depth of the story lines and the nature of the interweaving is jaw dropping.  Every now and then, I’ll be reading one of the books and have a lightbulb moment, when that book explains something which may have been a bit unclear from another story (for me anyway).  

Elise Kavanagh and Rylie Gresham are both kick ass heroines in their own way.  Do I wish things worked out differently for them (read the books, you’ll see what I mean)… of course.  And James…. well, I trust that Sara will resolve his …. issues…..

I can’t do blurbs or explain any more.  I just won’t do it justice.  I will just have to suggest that you try her books for yourself.  I have a werewolf/demon problem.  SM Reine enables it.  ‘Nuff said.

Click on a book link…. I dare you!

Sara can be reached on twitter (@smreine) or on Facebook (


Tarot Witches #1 is only available as part of a box set at the moment, but will be released as a standalone in the future.  The box set is DEFINITELY for adults only due to the mature subject matter!

Book Reviews – The Ink Series @BellaRoccaforte

So, my peeps (do I even have peeps?? Moving on….) here I am, sat in an actual coffee shop whilst on holiday, writing another blog.  That makes me a proper blogger, right?  Right??

Well, I’m feeling good about it, so let’s crack on shall we??  I came across Bella entirely by accident, when I was commenting on another author friend’s facebook page.  I think I may have used the word “chuffed”.  That piqued her interest in me, and mine in Bella.  So I downloaded the first book…. followed shortly thereafter by the second one.  Now I am (im)patiently awaiting the release for ink: Abstraction, which Bella’s website ( reliably informs me is approximately 24 days, 16 hours and 5 minutes away. It’s her countdown, not mine… but it helps!!!

Right, Ink: Fine Lines and Ink: Vanishing Point.  Here’s the blurb for each

INK: Fine Lines by Bella Roccaforte

Shay Baynes is a wanted woman: by the police for a double murder, by two rival suitors, and by the evil specter that haunts her dreams and soon her waking hours. 

It’s Shay’s twenty-second birthday and she’s finally in charge of her life. She’s out on her own and about to hit it big with a new comic series. But the ink isn’t dry on her breakout first issue when it all starts to unravel. Not even Shay’s twisted imagination can predict what will happen when the fine line between reality and nightmare is crossed. 


INK: Vanishing Point

Shay Baynes is being put through her paces. 
She’s under the threat of multiple murder charges, is being stalked by one of her fans and the Specter is getting closer to owning her. 

Shay makes the decision to go it on her own and get away from everyone smothering her only to find out that the murder charges are the least of her worries. Now she’s fighting to stay alive trying to get out of the cruel haunted playground the specter has created for her. 


That’s the blurb….but what’s the reality?  Well, I really didn’t know what to expect when I started the first book.  but there is no time for hanging around, you really are launched straight into the action.  I don’t want to set out too much more of the story, for fear of spoilers (which I really do try to avoid) but as a story premise, it was very different from anything I’ve read before.  Now that’s not to say I’ve read everything; clearly not; but it was refreshing.

I do struggle to get my head around the Shay/Aidan/Eli triangle, but that’s a minor niggle really, as the whole relationship is well written.  Shay doesn’t strike me as a shrinking violet, yet all the men in her life (save McNab) seem to treat her as such.  And what’s going on with her dad??  Secrets and lies, people!  I’m really hoping for lots of answers in the next book, and I’m also hoping for a full on scary ass ride!!!

So, onto the review mark.  Well, this is a joint marking, and I think that the second book was better than the first.  So, as an average, I reckon this is a clear B+.  Nice one Bella!

For those of you unsure about diving in, Book 1 is permafree.  So, really, what do you have to lose?  And if you,like me, wanted to know what happened next, I’ve put the link for book 2 below as well!  Oh,and because i REALLY like you all, i’ve even put the link for the prequel (which I haven’t yet read) No need for any thanks….

You can find Bella on twitter (@BellaRoccaforte) or on Facebook (

Connecting readers with books