My Bookshelf

Friday, 28 November 2014

A Killer Interview with Cat Connor.

Meet the wonderful, and rather scary Thriller author Cat Connor, from New Zealand.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Cat Connor. A Cantabrian who’s lived most of her life as a northerner. Makes it a bit hard when the Crusaders play the Hurricanes but apart from that it’s not too bad. I share my office with a retired racing greyhound called Romeo who likes to be as close to me as possible at all times. Luckily he likes Bon Jovi and doesn’t mind that I’m rather noisy when I’m working.

I’m a member of The New Zealand Society of Authors and International Thriller Writers.

What bought you to the world of writing?
A pen, notebook, and a desire to kill without doing time. A winning combination.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?
Cat Among the Wolves. It’s a good story. Very few people have ever read it because it was where I cut my writing teeth. Kinda toying with re-writing in first person and maybe, just maybe, doing something with it – like show it to my publishers or rip it apart and serialize it (which just came to me now as an actual possibility …).

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs?
Contemporary FBI thrillers that occasionally border on horror or techno and sometimes have an element of romance. As long as the need is entertainment, then yeah, I guess so.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one? Tell us about it?
I can’t make that choice. It’s like choosing a favorite child.
The 6th book in the series I’m writing was released in June and also, the first book in the series was re-released with a brand new cover and fresh edit. So, I suppose, politically it would be best to talk about the first book, Killerbyte and the sixth book, Databyte.

Killerbyte (Book one of the Byte series):

A killer with a penchant for inventive and macabre deaths challenges an FBI agent with an equally unusual imagination and sense of humor.

SA Ellie Conway works serial crime cases. When someone tries to kill her, it becomes obvious it’s linked to her after-hours pursuits in cyberspace. Matter become complicated when her assailant is found dead in the trunk of her car.

Despite a plethora of crime scenes, no evidence can be found to identify a motive or perpetrator. The death toll rises and eventually includes those close to her. A chance remark provides the first real clue to unraveling the killer’s twisted goals.

Databyte (Book six of the Byte series):

When information becomes misinformation, how much of what you see should you believe?

Wanted for a murder she didn’t commit and on the run from the FBI and Metro, Supervisory, Special Agent Ellie Conway has to protect an actor with close ties to Delta A from a serious threat as well as trying to clear her name.

Unwittingly, whilst staying off the grid, Ellie stumbles upon a syndicate which has alarming connections to her daughter’s death – and which abducts her team, with the intent of killing them and Ellie.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Depends on how many interruptions I get or how much I let myself become distracted.
Normal for me is 3-6 months for a ‘first draft’ but in saying that there is no such thing as a first draft in my world.
I write it once - beginning to end.
I read.
Detail is added (because I’m more focused on getting the story out in the initial writing phase than on the detail of certain scenes and there is a certain amount of laziness involved too) and if there is anything I need to run past experts in any given field this is when I do that.
I read.
Loose ends are checked to make sure they are tied up (or at least the ones I want to be tied up are – I found handcuffs are pretty good although these days I prefer plasticuffs to the metal variety).
The book is then sent to a few trusted readers who (hopefully) will point out any missing words and inconsistencies to scenes/story line/plot. Once I’ve collated all the comments I give it another tweak and send it to my editor at my publishers to see if she likes it.
That’s about when the panic sets in.

Do you plot or not, if so why?
No. I just write and trust my gut – it’s pretty good at steering the ship so I let it.

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you do both?
I write predominately first person. It’s scarier that way, for everyone.

How do you edit your work? Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?
See above comments about writing a first draft.
I don’t think anyone is capable of editing their own work successfully. Writers are too close to the action to be able to do that. Editing is done by my editor at Rebel. She’s fantastic and loves Ellie and Delta as much as I do.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?
Anyone who can read (and think). People who like TV shows like Criminal Minds, Person of Interest, and The Blacklist are probably going to enjoy my books. People who read Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, James Houston Turner, and Jeffrey Deaver will also more than likely enjoy my books.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher
I’m published by Rebel ePublishers, USA – I’ve been with Rebel since early 2009 and the 7th book in the Byte series, Eraserbyte, will be out mid-2015.
I’ve also self-published a few short story collections, a novella, and a poetry book over the last two years.

How do you promote your writing?
I’ve been known to do a few interviews.
I am pretty active on Twitter and Facebook but tend to use those as social media not an avenue to smack people over the head with an agenda. It’s a lot more fun talking to people than screaming “Buy my books” every few minutes and annoying everyone.

Where can we buy your books?
Worldwide from pretty much any online retailer in both paperback and eFormats.

Who are your favourite authors?
Alexandre Dumas, Ian Fleming, Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, Barry Eisler, James Houston Turner, Tom Clancy … yes there is a pattern.

Twitter @catconnor

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Author Interview - Meet Catherine Byrne

A huge welcome to Catherine Byrne, it has been an exciting time swapping author interviews.  Anyway back to Catherine and our chat.

Hi Catherine, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I've always enjoyed writing and painting. My professional life however, took a very different path.  I first studied Glass engraving with Caithness Glass where I worked for fourteen years.  During that time I also worked as a foster parent.  After the birth of my youngest child, I changed direction, studying and becoming a Chiropodist with my own private practice.  At the same time I did all administration work for my husband's two businesses, and this continued  until his death in 2005.  However I still maintained my love of writing, and have had several short stories published in woman's magazines.  My main ambition is to write novels, and I have now retired in order to write full time.

I have three children all grown up now.  I belong to two writers' groups and attend  a writing class. Well, there's always some thing new to learn isn't there?

What brought you to the world of writing?
I have always wanted to be a writer, and began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue, and later as a teenager graduated to poetry. 

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?
My very first book was a murder mystery, great idea but is full of mistakes and is still languishing in a drawer.

My first publishable novel was "Follow The Dove." Since I was born on the now deserted island of Stroma, my fellow writers encouraged me to write something about my homeland.  It was a message from a lady in Canada who was doing her genealogy that gave me the idea. She told me the sad tale of her grandparents who had emigrated from that island, and I had my characters

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs? 
My main interest was crime, yet my desire to write something incorporating the history of my homeland prompted a trilogy. I have built up a base of loyal fans who constantly demand another.  It took me a long time to write my first novel, there may be things I'd change now, but I still love it!

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one? Tell us about it? 
Starting with "Follow the Dove," yes. Most of the things that happen to Isa and Davie are based on factual stories passed down from my grandparents, of course I make them all happen in the space of five years!

Fifteen years of age, Isa Muirison loves her life working for the floating shops of Orkney at the turn of the 20th century. But her happy family life is thrown into turmoil by her father’s decision to immigrate to Canada, her sister’s illness and her own love for Davie, a penniless whisky runner.
Despite her family’s opposition, she follows Davie to his tiny island home where she is met by the fierce hostility of his mother and his childhood sweetheart, Chrissie.
Alone among strangers, Isa’s unrelenting determination gains acceptance and popularity in the close knit community. 
But no one could have foreseen the tragedy that rips the heart out of that community and shatters Isa’s security. 
Meanwhile, Chrissie has found solace in the arms of Davie’s violent brother Jack, only to discover a darkness in his soul she could never have imagined.  Events are set in motion over which the two women have no control.
Will either of them ever find peace?  And in whose arms will Davie find solace?

"Follow the Dove," won second prize in the Association of Scottish Writers general novel competition in 2009

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

I tend to edit as I go along, so my first draft takes about nine months. I am growing quicker with every novel.

Do you plot or not, if so why?

I tend to know the beginning and the end. Getting from one to the other and keeping the momentum is the hard part. I don't write a forward plan, but allow my characters to do the work.

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you do both?

Up until now I've written only in the third person.

How do you edit your work? Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?

I edit as I write. I have tried to just write in order to get the bones of the story, but I can't help myself and edit each chapter as I go. That way I eventually get to the end.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?

I write what I feel.  I have never thought out a market plan, but I assumed women who like family sagas would be my main readers. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of young people and even men who have become fans.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher

With "Follow the Dove," I received very positive reactions from agents and publishers, however, although they showed some interest, they mostly spoke with one voice, 'this genre is not in vogue at the moment.'

Wanting my mother to see my book in print, I went ahead and self-published with Matador. Sadly my mother did not live to see the finished book. Since then I have always self-published. I like being totally in control of my own work. The only problem is the marketing side.

How do you promote your writing? 
This is where I have problems. I advertise my paperbacks and do book signings in my local area, find outlets and offer sale or return and I have sold a lot that way. For ebooks I use the internet.

Where can we buy your books?

For paperbacks, any bookstore, online or high street, will order them for you, Alternatively go straight to

Who are your favourite authors? 
There are so many. Ken Follett, Barbara Erskine, Mary Higgins-Clark I could go on forever. I also support Indie authors by buying books that appeal to me. I have a kindle full of titles yet to be read.


Do you have any more information you’d like to share with us?

I am at present working on a contemporary novel set in the Scottish Highlands and inspired by a photograph of my granddaughter and an eagle. Haven't yet got a title, but I would like to dip my toe in the supernatural. Thank you very much for agreeing to interview me.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Journey Continues - NaNoWrioMo

What a month I have had,  At the beginning I was meant to have a Virtual Book Fair, only to be let down by the company.  The same weekend National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) started and I took the plunge.

For me the challenge was to write 50,000 words for one draft, rather than bouncing around different books.  Well I'm pleased to say I did, and I am still writing it.  Been a prolific write the word count was easy, however the staying on one topic wasn't, especially when I was suddenly given dates for the Virtual Book Fair, for last weekend.  It was a whitewash, very few people came to chat, though I did have some company thanks to my friends.  The promise of 10 - 20 people just didn't happen. This put me off track with NaNo, though luckily I'd already hit my word count.

I have no idea of the title yet, It started off as "Renegade Jones," now it is "Patrice, The Dark Lord." Neither really fit properly. Yes, I have a book mock up of a book cover, though I'm not sure it will be used, or if something different will eventuate.

The novel is book 6 in my GIB series.  It is about a man who think's he is a double agent, not realising there is much more to his life then he ever knew.  Jones rides a Harley and keeps a keen eye on Maggie Carrington, who is important to his other boss Mr Patrice, a dark dangerous shadowy person who's more powerful than even his twin brother realises.

The twists and turns, with a slightly paranormal issue makes this book totally different from all my others.  

It involves most of the characters, joining three together in a way which surprises them all.  I am looking forward to finishing the writing and getting it published in the new year.  

First I have to get "Mascosta's Dreamgirl," (Bk 5) and "Girlie and the War of the Wasps," out before christmas.

Next week I will be holding my first Book Sale at Rotorua Library, selling my own books and maybe some of my clients books as well.  During that week one of my clients Captain B M Commons has  a book launch, so the excitement mounts as christmas draws closer.

Don't forget to support your Indie-Authors, there are some great writers out there.

LATE NOTE.....Book Title is now  "Jones the Reluctant Hero."

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Interview with Author Mel Martin

Let me introduce you to the lovely Mel Martin from England.  A poet and social history author who was a delight to interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Mel Martin. I am a mother of three, almost grown up children. I live in Colchester in Essex, UK, though I am originally from Dudley in the Midlands, UK.  I work in a local high school helping kids to reach their potential.  I see this as more of a calling than a job.  I have a passion for history, particularly family and social history and love all things nature.  I also make homemade cards and research family history for others.

What bought you to the world of writing?

I have always wanted to write but have never had the confidence to do so. I had learning needs when at school and struggled with basic literacy skills and grew up thinking I was never going to be good enough.  I love the English language and the use of techniques such as metaphors and similes.  I have written  my poems down for years and some time ago decided I may share over the great resource of the internet, people who read them said I should try to publish so with the help of a friend (also a writer), a girl I grew up with, I sent off my first book to be published.  This was for me rather than for anyone else.  It was at this point I realised people wanted to buy and read my poetry.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?

The first book I wrote was called “My Poetry Corner” and was published on 1st April 2014.  I still love this book it will always be dear to me as it was almost a platform for everything that has come since.

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs?

I have written 5 small volumes of poems, these have been a considerable help to others and I know that some carry them with them when they take a journey or a few days away.  I have also written a book on short stories passed down through the family and a novel (in Black Country dialect) based on someone I discovered in my family tree. Both of these have received a lot of interest, mainly because some of my characters are remembered by others and also because they could be stories about anyone else’s  family.  I have also written 2 research books, which I put together for families to preserve their heritage and continue their legacy.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one?  Tell us about it?

Yes, I love all of my books but the one closest to my heart has to be “The Black Sheep” – the story is set in the heart of the Black Country in Victorian England. It is essentially the life of William Loundes and young man seemingly disowned by his family and left to take life’s journey alone. The reader is drawn in the question of who the Black Sheep is and what they have done to make them so. The book leaves a lot of questions for the reader to think on and helps them consider what legacy they may leave behind in life.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

When I wrote the Black Sheep it took about 6 months for me to draft and to get it right.  It took some time longer to do the justice I felt my character deserved.

Do you plot or not, if so why?

Yes, although it was reasonably easy in the case of the Black Sheep as I had the story of his life mapped out before me through research it was just a case of getting everything to flow fluently.

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you do both?

I tend to write in the third person as I tell a story from my characters viewpoint.

How do you edit your work?  Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?

I tend to edit my work as I go along and then at the end also.  I write about persons who have lived before,so write and re-write and then re-write again till I feel its how they would have wanted it.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?

I try to write books that would appeal to people of all ages. A lot of my market audience for my novel has been family and persons local to where the book is set, whereas, my poems have a wider audience.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher

I self-publish which gives me a greater freedom of expression. I edit my books myself though occasionally I will ask someone to look them over if I am not completely satisfied.

How do you promote your writing?

I generally use the internet to promote my books I have recently set up a blog and am working on that to show others my work; I also make good use of the facebook community.

Where can we buy your books?.

All of my books are available through

Who are your favourite authors?

Charles Dickens, The Brontes, Jane Austin, Lucy Maud Montgomery and contemporary writers such as Ruth Calder Murphy, Anne Murray and Meg Hutchinson

Thank you Mel for letting us get to know you better, good luck with your books.


Do you have any more information you’d like to share with us?

I would like you to take a look at my links and enjoy my journey. Thank you.



Saturday, 8 November 2014

Author Interview with Trish Jackson

Hello everyone.  Welcome to my second interview with American Author, Trish Jackson.  A lady who certainly has stories to tell.

Trish, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi Claire, it's wonderful to be featured on your blog.  I grew up in Zimbabwe (it was called Rhodesia then), and moved to the US in 1990 with my husband and three wonderful children.

What bought you to the world of writing?

My mother is a published writer and she always encouraged me to write.  From time to time I submitted my stories to publishers, but that was in the days when publishers were the muckety muck and writers were the lowest of the low until they had proven themselves, and rejections were the norm.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?

My first book, 'Way Out of Line' was published by a print-on-demand publisher before the Internet became part of our everyday lives.  They didn't offer any help with editing, and more recently, when my second book was accepted by Uncial Press, I realized what a huge difference a good editor can make.  My seven-year contract with my first publisher had expired at the time, and I submitted the manuscript to my new editor, Jude, who made exponential changes and whipped it into something so much better than the version I first sold.

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs?

I write romantic suspense/thrillers and romantic comedy.  They all take place in country settings, and I always feature animals in them, which is fun.  I also work hard to make them extra emotional.  My readers are down to earth, outdoorsy animal lovers -- not the type who want to read about jet-setting millionaires fast cars, and glitzy places.

Well that certainly shows you know your readers.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one?  Tell us about it?

My romantic comedy, 'Backwoods Boogie' is about to be released on November 14th.  It's the third book in my Redneck P.I. Mystery Series, about Twila Taunton, who is proud to be a redneck, her tangled love life, and the cases she solves as a private investigator in small town USA, together with her Harley-riding, hard-drinking Great Aunt Essie and her dog, Scratch. In 'Backwoods Boogie' she is determined to get the British tea shop owner off a trumped-up murder charge.  She brings in computer hacker and farter of note, Gasser Cunha to access certain computer information.  In the course of her investigation, she discovers an illegal puppy mill, where a bunch of dogs are being abused.  She calls on her long-distance lover, Harland to help rescue them.  I am an animal advocate, and although the book is written in fun, it carries a series message about animal abuse.  This series is such a blast to write, and I often find myself chuckling at the quirky characters and new bizarre scenarios.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

My first draft usually takes about three to four months.

Do you plot or not, if so why?

I don't plot.  I get an idea and I just start writing.  If I get stuck, I go for a long walk and think it out, and usually I can continue when I get back to my computer.  I've tried to plot, but I don't seem to be able to follow the plot.  The only thing I do write down is the timeline, because it's so easy to forget the sequence of events.

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you do both?

I have written in both.  I like to include as much emotion in my stories as possible, and it's a lot easier to do so in 1st person.

How do you edit your work?  Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?

Once the first draft is complete, I leave it for at least two months and start working on another book.  When I get back to the first book, it's no longer fresh in my mind and I am more easily able to see the flaws in it.  Then I start fleshing it out.  I am blessed with wonderful editors who have taught me more than I could have learned about writing in two years of college.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?

Romance and thriller readers enjoy my serious books, but they are a little too harsh for some of my romantic comedy readers, so I have two similar but distinct markets.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher

I have two publishers, and the only gripe I have about them is that it takes a long time for them to get my books published, so I am at a crossroads where I might self-publish my next novel.

How do you promote your writing?

Promotion is the most difficult part about writing.  Most of us don't want to be bothered with marketing, but we have to, and I try to make myself spend 50% of my time marketing and 50% writing.  I also have a four-day-week job, so I have to take that into account.

Where can we buy your books?

My books are available on Amazon at the link below in both electronic and print formats, and if you prefer print books, you can get them here in New Zealand --

Who are your favourite authors?
James Patterson, John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Anne Rice, Janet Evanovich, Catherine Coulter, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel. I could go on.

Do you have any more information you’d like to share with us?

My other series, the Zodiac Series is seriously scary and sexy romantic suspense. Each primary character or heroine belongs to a different star sign in this series, and exhibits the typical traits associated with her sign.  Capricorn Cravings was the first, and the second book in this series, Aquarius Addiction will be released in January 2015.  I have just completed the third one, Virgo's Variant and it has been accepted by the Kindle Scout program, whereby readers get to review the first 5000 words, and nominate the books they like.  If the book gets enough nominations to be published by Amazon, the readers who voted get a free copy.  Here's the link to my book, which goes live on November 7th.

I also offer free downloads of short stories on my website.


Trish Jackson grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, Africa, which sparked a love of adventure and suspense. She moved to the U.S. in 1990 and currently lives on 81/2 acres in Florida.
Trish writes provocative and poignant romantic thrillers/suspense and politically incorrect romantic comedy, focusing on animals, astrology, and the passions, dreams, and tragedies in the lives of country folk in small towns.

She loves country living, horse riding, chocolate and all animals.                                                                   

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Author Interviews. Meet Marguerite Maddan

I’d like you to meet Marguerite Madden, an author whose's books cover different genre’s

I'm a 39 year old married, mother of 2 (6 if you count fur babies), and I'm a type A personality. Well, I used to be. A bout with cancer took care of that for me last year, and I've been trying to figure out what to do with myself now.

Marguerite self-published her first eBook in April 2012 through Smashwords. 

“Once Upon a Western Way,” is a romantic fantasy written while she was still at high school. In September this year it was released in print through CreateSpace.  During this time her books “Keeping a Backyard Horse,” and “My Butterfly Cancer,” were also released in print.

Marguerite’s sole purpose with her novels, is to entertain, however, “Backyard Horse,” was inspired by years of living around (supposed) horse people and watching their animals suffer from neglect.

I love to read, and have some medical background, but I noticed in the “horse care” section of the book store, books were huge and overly detailed. So I wrote a book about the simplest way to care for a horse without spending a fortune but keeping the health of the animal in mind. And it's narrated by my horse (who's on the cover) and laced with her anecdotes.

My Butterfly Cancer, is my cancer memoir. It was intended to inspire anyone who has to make a major comeback, like I did, and goes into some detail about self-publishing.

All Marguerite’s books can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and they're currently Kindle exclusives, they'll be back on Smashwords soon.

Marguerite presently has two novels in progress. The first is “Triple Heist,” A crime novel involving Allison, head of security for the Federal Reserve Bank, and her plan to rob the facility of millions.  “Fang and Claw,” is a crime/paranormal intended to be Book One of the Undead Unit series.  Lacey is a detective with the Dallas police department.  She's also a vampire.  In a world where supernatural creatures are, if not socially accepted, at least tolerated.  Lacey’s put in charge of a squad put together to deal with special circumstances of crimes committed involving the Undead (vampires, werewolves, zombies, and more). She is partnered with a Wolf, whose ancestors were responsible for decimating her coven of origin.  Can they work together?

Marguerite uses all types of social media to help promote her books.  She has even had retweet contests where she give away a free book to the winner!

Hopefully this interview exchange will rock!

If you wish to participate please view Marguerite’s blog for Interview questions.

Marguerite is a member of GoodReads, Shelfari, and Scribophile.

You can find Marguerite Madden on
Twitter @naddya81975
Website and Amazon author page are in her email signature.
You can also find her on Reddit and LinkedIn. These book links will redirect to the correct Amazon store from anywhere in the world.
My Butterfly Cancer
Keeping a Backyard Horse
Once Upon a Western Way