❤ Release Blitz ❤ The Submission of Theodora by Siobhan Daiko ❤ @FCourtesans

“The Submission of Theodora” is out today.

Title: The Submission Of Theodora
Author: Siobhan Daiko 
Genre: Erotic Romance 
It’s not every day a girl gets to meet the most powerful man in the world – but it’s not every girl that’s deemed useful. I’ve been deemed useful to the heir apparent to the Roman Emperor!
My skin prickles with awareness of him. 
His hips form a perfect V; his chest seems forged from iron. 
I long to touch him. 
I long to be possessed by him. 
I long to lose all sense of Theodora and be lost in Justinian. 
Crazy, impetuous, domineering Justinian. With each word he speaks, I drift deeper into the maelstrom of his mind.
They tell me he has unusual tastes. They tell me I must surrender to him. “But as a former courtesan  it’s usually been me in charge.”
But when his true plans for me reveal themselves…

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My Monday Guest, James Milson, storyteller of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” series

Today, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome James Milson to my blog. Jim and I met last year on Twitter. He’s a lovely man and I’m honoured to count him among my online friends. Tell us about yourself, Jim!

Well-seasoned, but not yet grizzled. That’s me. The father of four grown children, after a career in business management I am retired on disability with more new parts than a corner hardware store, and create One-of-a-Kind Artist Collector Teddy Bears, Raggedy Dolls and Rustic Sea Glass and Natural Stone Pendant Jewelry for my online store on eBay– Old Glory Bears and Raggedy Dolls. When not making things, I write stories for children and the young at heart, primarily “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” short story series, and toss in a little poetry now and then just for fun on days when I seem to be a bit more mental than usual. I am an Eagle Scout, former Scout leader, and love the outdoors, wilderness and nature. I started working 30-40 hours a week in a music store teaching guitar, banjo, bass and others at age 14, put myself thru college teaching music and working in bands, have accumulated a small guitar collection over the years and still bother them a bit in spare time, along with trying to perfect the art of artisan bread baking. Always up for a road trip and adventure, and old enough to know better but still young enough not to really care. It’s always a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

What a great philosophy of life! Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

Full disclosure. The gravatar image here and on most of my sites and pages is not really me. Readers should probably know that, to avoid any confusion. It’s a Panda Bear named “Sun Tzu Too”. He is handsewn, and I made him from German Mohair a few years ago. Being a somewhat mellow fellow, he likes to lie about in a field of wildflowers finding shapes in the clouds and contemplating the nature of things. He graciously allows me to use his image because he is very kind, generous and, quite frankly, much better looking than me.

James Milson

Aw, I’m sure that’s not true. If you could morph into any creature what would it be? 

Unquestionably, a bear.

If you don’t mind me asking, why a bear?

Well, if I could transform into a bear I would be able to hopefully keep pace more easily chasing after my friend Little Red Bear. Lagging behind and always scurrying to catch up, I have worn out three pairs of good Writing Boots traipsing over mountains, thru creeks and streams, followed by one holler after another recording and documenting his adventures for the stories. A wolf might be faster, but probably run the risk of scaring away most of the smaller story characters. And I am a little too leery of heights to consider being a bird. So yeah – a bear, please. A fast one. And good looking, if you can manage it. Hope I’m not being too pushy.

I prefer teddy bears to real ones. Hope that’s ok. What kind of music do you listen to, Jim? Do you have an all-time favourite song?

When writing Little Red Bear adventures, if listening to anything at all, it is quiet nature sounds. Birds singing, the buzz and whirr of insects and tree frogs at night, the call of Whip-poor-wills, streams babbling and leaves rustling in the breeze. Whichever fits the writing as it all helps set the mood and place me mentally in the wilderness for the story. Most music for me is distracting from the flow of thoughts while I write. When in the workroom making teddy bears and such, it could be Classical, Bluegrass, Country, Classic Rock, New Age, Southern Rock, Metal, the Blues, Pop Tunes or just about anything depending on the mood. It gets especially loud sometimes with Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones. And a lot of Smooth Jazz. No particular all-time favourite song or artist. A good many all tied for first. 

I’m the same as you. I can’t write with music playing. And I love Jazz. On a different note, if your life were a movie, would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination? 

Hard to tell. It’s not quite finished yet and don’t really know what the Author has in mind. Might want to check back later. So far, there have been mixed periods and elements of action/adventure, comedy, and drama, with a disturbing hint of Greek tragedy tossed in that has me a little concerned. But hopefully, there’s a lot more yet to come. Personally, I’m rooting strongly for a surprise plot twist and heroic ending!

Talking of heroic endings, when did you start writing?

In the fourth grade, our teacher Mrs. Drew leaned a painting against the chalkboard with no other direction and gave us an hour to begin writing a story about it, then to be completed as homework. The painting was a country scene, with a family on a wagon going down a dirt road. Simple enough but I was inspired! A few days later, she read my story to the class, the only one she read, and posted it on the wall for Open House for all the parents to see. When she returned the story later, she told me that she knew that I would be a writer someday, and kept reinforcing that confidence thru the year. My interest in writing began with that story, and has always served as a reminder of how important our words and actions are to guide and shape impressionable young minds. I do not remember the names of many teachers from years ago. I will always remember Mrs. Drew because she believed in me. 

She sounds like a great teacher. Where do you get your ideas from?

First off, I do not consider myself an “author” as much as an old-fashioned “storyteller.” For me, there is a difference, and ideas for stories come from everywhere, all the time. I have enough ideas and story notes to write for three more lifetimes and the list keeps growing. Often, a story character’s name or the title for a story will pop into my head, frequently waking me up around 5am, and that is all I need to get started. Since the initial fourth grade writing assignment, I have always seemed to have the ability to come up with a story for almost any photo or picture, so still am constantly inspired by those. Show me a picture and I will write you a story. Or, I can see someone or a family sitting in a restaurant and write a story about them. Ideas and inspiration are everywhere when we are open to them. That being said, I take no credit for my writing or ideas, feeling that I am just the scribe putting it all down for others. I never try to force my plan, ego or ideas into a story, rather simply letting the story that wants to be told unfold. I try to open my mind, then listen, and the words and stories just seem to flow thru my fingers on to the keyboard. Which explains why I am a pantser and not a plotter, having little idea where things are going story-wise once started. An opening sentence goes on the page and we’re off and running. It all just comes from somewhere and I go with it, with me just the vehicle to deliver the message. Herman Melville put it well in “Moby Dick” – “Is Ahab, Ahab?  Is it I, God, or who that lifts this arm?”  The words flow and I put them on paper. Well, the laptop, specifically. I can no longer read my own writing. Getting older, I now seem to think in English and write in hieroglyphics. I haven’t found a pill or herbal tea for that yet.

 How did you come to write your Little Red Bear stories?

I try to write stories that are entertaining, meaningful and somewhat educational for both children and adults. I care deeply for nature, wildlife, and the environment, because if we remove any, then humans follow right along out the door behind them. And that’s troubling because I have become somewhat fond of humans over the years. I also care deeply for children, for theirs is the future. What children care about now they will hopefully be more inclined to care for in the future, so I try to help that caring along a bit. Everything is connected. I work to introduce that theme while trying to generate a love, interest and appreciation for nature and the outdoors, along with positive values like kindness, respect for others, helping others in need, and more into the stories, hopefully in a fun and entertaining way so reading is enjoyable while also getting the messages across. But it is more difficult now, as kids these days are more advanced than my generation growing up on “Howdy Doody” and “The Mickey Mouse Club”, and can smell an object lesson or story moral coming a mile away so you have to sneak it up on them. And with tweens, that is harder than trying to sneak dawn past a rooster. I take the messages in my writing and the responsibility for them very seriously, but never myself. As I said, I’m just a guy at a keyboard taking dictation from a bear in my head telling his stories. Who in the Universe is telling Little Red Bear the stories, I have no idea. Red talks. I type. It’s a job. But hopefully the world is a little better place when we’re all finished someday.

I hope so too. How long does it take you to create a story on average?

Here’s the deal with that – it’s complicated. Writing short stories, I sit down at a blank screen with a story title or character name in mind, and once the first sentence is put down it could be non-stop from there, start to finish, stopping only for restroom breaks and refreshments. That is just how it works for me. So a “story” can be written in a day or so. And for standalone stories like “Haystack Harry”, “Susie’s Bear” and others on my Blog, add a day or two of editing and reflection and that’s it. So a week, tops. But for the Little Red Bear stories assembled into a collection of adventures, once I select six or seven stories, the real work then is sitting down and weaving them into a coherent group, so that the characters, action and messages flow seamlessly and believably from the very first page thru to the last. The Little Red Bear collections are more similar to a novel in that way, comprised of different short stories, seemingly unrelated, but not. For me, that assembly process can take several months as new ideas and themes emerge along the way, thereby necessitating more revisions and edits, sometimes to the point of almost starting a story over to make it fit and work with the whole. Complicated.

Fascinating. What are you working on now, Jim? Would you like to share anything about it?

I have just finished a standalone short story for a children’s charity anthology primarily aimed at children, about a delightful little girl with displays of madness in all its forms; that it is okay to be different and how to handle feelings of anger. The next collection of Red’s stories, “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The Second Holler Over!” is underway, also. I have about a dozen stories titled and in process on the list and will need to choose which six or seven fit nicely together for the next collection and which to hold over for later. That’s the hard part, because I want everyone to be able to read them all right now. Then the involved process of stitching them all together begins. The next collection will introduce some additional new, recurring characters, including a strong, female character based loosely on Calamity Jane who may be the most fun writing I have ever done. I literally am laughing out loud writing her character and action, and truly hope that transfers to the page for readers. The most challenging part is trying to keep her dialogue clean and ‘G’ rated for young readers! She has a real potty mouth but is a hoot and I cannot wait to introduce her to everyone. But that’s all you get for now. Red won’t let me say anymore.

I can’t wait to meet her. She sounds fab. Tell us about your recent release! 

Little Red Bear

 “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” was released in June, and so far being very well received. Some reviews have likened it to Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows and the Beatrix Potter tales, and adults are enjoying the stories very much for themselves, reading ahead to finish and then going back again to read it to their children and grandchildren. So that’s pretty cool. At this stage of my life, it’s never about the money here. The online store helps pay the bills and the writing is for fun. If the books make one person smile or teach a positive lesson to a child along the way, we’ve done our job. Little Red Bear and I celebrate each five star review with a pizza. I get one slice because I am perpetually on a diet and he gets the rest. He’s a bear. It seems to work okay for him. Where do you even measure a waistline on a bear? He eats and eats, puts gobs of gooey honey on everything and never shows it. Maybe I’m a little envious. Another good reason to transform into a bear, I suppose.

Hahaha! That would cover a multitude of sins. How can readers find you? Do you have a web page, Facebook page or any buy links?

You betcha! “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” is available on Amazon in Kindle and Print versions. And several stories, poems and other fun things are always on my Blog as Free Reads just for fun. I am always busy creating new Collector Teddy Bears and items and adding them to the eBay store.  And I am on Facebook and Twitter to happily connect there, too. Here are some links.  And thank you for inviting Little Red Bear and me in for a visit. We invite everyone to stop by and visit us anytime! 





TWITTER→ @JimMilson

Thanks for stopping by, Jim. It’s been a real joy chatting with you.

Thanks for having me, Siobhan.


My Monday Guest, Jenny Blackhurst, author of debut novel “How I Lost You”- an amazing psychological thriller

Today, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome the lovely Jenny Blackhurst to my blog. Jen and I met a couple of years ago on the peer review site YouWriteOn and it has been a real joy to follow her progress ever since. I was thrilled for her when she was signed to an agent and even more so when Headline published her debut novel.

Jen has a Masters degree in Psychology and, when she isn’t writing, she works as the Fire Safety Systems Administrator for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.  


It’s fab to host you here today, Jen. Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?

I’d love to have a choice! I have a one year old and a four year old so unfortunately sleep is a distant memory for me, but if I had the choice I would be a midnight candle burner – it reminds me of my student days where assignments were started at 5pm the night before they were due.

Ha! Tell me something you would like your readers to know about you.

I’m a massive nerd and very proud of it. I love spreadsheets and formulas, new notebooks and organisation apps and above all…Doctor Who.

Yay! Another “nerdy and proud of it” person. If you could morph into any creature what would it be?

A cat. I don’t particularly like cats (!) but they undoubtedly have the best lives. And they are cleverer than they make out. It’s not that they can’t be trained to sit – they just refuse to bow to mere humans.

I’m a complete cat slave, and mine purrs me to sleep at night. At bedtime, do you like “relaxing so you can sleep sounds” or do you prefer white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?

Right now I could sleep at the side of the motorway! When I was a student and my head was too full of exam anxiety to sleep I’d listen to Harry Potter, narrated by Stephen Fry. His voice is so hypnotic it would chill me out enough to sleep in no time.

I remember those days. What kind of music do you listen to, Jen? Do you have an all-time favourite song?

I have quite eclectic tastes when it comes to music – my iPod will skip between Miley Cyrus and Jessie J, Paramore, Wiz Khalifa, L’il Wayne and then back to Jess Glynne. With some added Junglebook and Chu Chu Ua thrown in. I don’t have one favourite but certain songs remind me of certain moments in my life – Lonestar, Amazed and Stevie Wonder I just called to say I love you, as well as Bryan Adams Everything I do and anything from Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album.

Great choice. Now let’s move on to your books. When did you start writing?

When I was about 11 – it was a teenage series to rival Sweet Valley High! I started it with a friend and I think we had some good ideas but I never managed to get past a few chapters.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Anything that happens around me. It always starts with a ‘What if?’ and I’m constantly listening in on people’s conversations (sorry work colleagues) and watching the news. Inspiration is everywhere.

What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?

All of it! I think you get to a certain stage where you’re convinced it’s awful but it’s too late to turn back and you just have to tell yourself this happens to everyone – just finish the damn book and sort it out in round two.

What is your favourite part?

I love the planning stage, that’s the bit before the self-doubt creeps in and you are convinced that this is THE idea of a lifetime. You can go crazy with spreadsheets and mind maps (I did say I was a nerd) and you create people and worlds and you know you have a bestseller on your hands. Then you sit down to write and your carriage is a pumpkin and your butler is a mouse.

Ha! Tell me, what is your least favourite part of the process?

About 30,000 words in. Before that the blank page is full of opportunity, after that barrier the end is in sight but around 30 – 40,000 words is horrid. I don’t mind edits as much as some people I know but finding time to get the words onto the page in the first place is tough at the moment.

It must be with a baby to look after. Would you ever consider a joint project?

Yes, I’d love to! I’m not sure how good I’d be at it, I can’t understand how joint writers aren’t constantly changing the other one’s work but I love the idea of writing being a less lonely business and having someone to hammer around ideas with when you’ve got a niggly plot point. Mark and Louise (Edwards and Voss) manage it so well I’d be very tempted after seeing their work.

How do you handle a writer’s block?

I get out my trusty paper and pen. Writing longhand for me is a wonderful cure for when the words are clogged. It’s like I’m taking away the barrier between me and the words, my fingers are so much closer to my work and the words flow out of the pen onto the paper so quickly that it’s impossible to feel blocked.

Great! Are you a sit down and play it by ear kind of writer, or do you need a structured guideline, or maybe a little of both?

With my first novel I completely pantsed it. No outline, just me and a computer. It took so much editing and tweaking, went through about thirty drafts before I submitted it, and was a lot of work. This time I have an outline which I have deviated from but I try and revisit it every 10k or so the work out where the story is going. It’s not fool-proof, there are still plot twists that surprise and delight me but I have more of a sense of structure and hopefully there will be less work at the editing stage.

What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?

My next novel is another psychological thriller called Before I Let You In. That’s all you’re getting for now!

Hahaha! How can readers find you, Jen? Do you have a Facebook  page or any buy links?

I certainly do:

Facebook Page

And you can buy my debut How I Lost You here.

I’m also on Twitter as @JennyBlackhurst and I love to talk books so come tweet me!

Fab. It’s been a joy to chat with you today, Jen. I wish you every success with your next novel. I loved How I Lost You and can’t wait.


Thanks for having me, Siobhan. 

My Monday Guest, Tom Winton, author of emotion-packed novels.

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome the lovely Tom Winton to my blog today. Tom and I met several years ago on the peer review site YouWriteOn and have been friends ever since. Tom has done everything from pounding spikes on a rowdy railroad gang in the Colorado Rockies to driving a taxicab in some of New York City’s most dangerous neighbourhoods. He’s also been a Manhattan sales executive, a ditch digger/pipe installer in Florida, a house painter on Long Island, a go-for in Maine, an entrepreneur and a host of other things. Along with his wife and their Jack Russell Terrier, Ginger, he now lives a more toned down life somewhere in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He has always been a free spirit–doing what he wanted, when he wanted. As a result of his adventuresome nature, he’s lived a life of erratic twists and turns. And that is what today gives him a bottomless well of experiences to draw from when he sits down to write novels.

Tom on deck

Listed several times as one of Amazon’s top 100 “Most Popular Authors” in both Mystery/Suspense/Thrillers and Literary Fiction, all of Tom Winton’s full-length novels have been bestsellers.

Tom Winton 4 pics

It’s great to have you here, Tom. How would you describe yourself as a colour?

I’m a chameleon, Siobhan. I can be any colour in the spectrum, and I can also change with very little warning. One night I might be a bright cheery red—the life of any party. The next morning something could set me off and I quickly become the darkest, most forlorn shade of grey. But believe me, since I’m an emotional person all that changing makes for a very colourful life.   

Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?

I’m definitely a morning person. I absolutely love watching the sun come up. The way I see it, nothing in this world can sooth the soul and fill it with hope the way that first rosy glow on the Eastern horizon does. Afternoons? I’m not much for them, particularly during hot weather.    

Tell me something you would like your readers to know about you.

I’d like my readers to know that writing a novel is an extremely difficult process for me. I’m what I call a “grinder” and I usually move along very slowly. I don’t look to pump out a new book every three months like some authors do. Instead I try to get only my most creative ideas on paper and do my best to fill them with emotion. I want my readers to feel my words, not just read them.

That’s fab, Tom. What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all-time favourite song?

For the most part I’ve always been into what they now call “classic” Rock ‘n Roll. While coming of age in New York, I probably spent a thousand nights in clubs and discos. As for my all-time favourite songs, four I can think of off the top of my head are Gimme Shelter and Sympathy for the Devil by the Stones, Maggie May by Rod Stewart, and Take it Easy by the Eagles. I love dancing to them all, too.    

I love the Eagles and dancing as well. 🙂 When writing, where do you get your ideas from?

I believe an author can only draw his or her ideas from three sources—experiences they’ve lived out, experiences they’ve heard about, and whatever useful ideas they can cull from their conscious and subconscious minds. Many of my best ideas—the ones I call “platinum” ideas, come to me when my mind is clear and I’m trying to fall asleep. Almost as if they’re being “delivered” to me, they seemingly come from out of nowhere and pop up in my mind. That’s why I always have a pen and little notebook at my bedside.

Good tactic! How did you come to write your genera of choice?

I’m a self-admitted genre-jumper. Although I believe that an author will make more sales if they stick to just one genre, but I don’t do that. If I’m totally convinced that I have a worthwhile story in my head, and that I’ll be able to go the distance writing it, I simply sit down and write it. Genre shcmenre, I don’t worry about such things. I’m just grateful to get a good story idea when I do.    

What is your favourite part of writing?

My favourite part of writing is doing the second and third drafts. By the time I work on those, I only have to polish words and embellish characters and scenes. The heavy creativity is most necessary when writing the first draft, and that is far and away the most difficult part for me.  

What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?

I’m not sure of the title yet, but I might call it something like Trailing Steinbeck and Charley. It’s about a man who, like John Steinbeck did in 1960, sets out in a camper to rediscover America and its people. Also like the Nobel Laureate’s was, my main character’s health is failing, and that makes the trip both risky and a race against the clock. What genre would this one fall into? you might ask. I’d have to say it’s a bouillabaisse of Suspense, Adventure, and Romance with a slight literary edge.    

Sounds great! Do you have a new book coming out soon or recently released? Tell us about it.

My most recent release, a suspenseful romance entitled Forever Three, was released earlier this year. The stand-alone sequel to one of my bestselling novels Beyond Nostalgia, it’s the story of a man who, for 22 years, has lived with the soul-wrenching misfortune of loving two women.   

Forever Three

How can we find you, Tom? Do you have a web page, Facebook page or any buy links?

I most certainly do.

Author Website

Facebook Page

Amazon Author Page


Thanks so much for answering my questions, Tom. It’s been a joy to host you on my blog. All the best with your writing!

Thank you, Siobhan.

My Monday guest, Mandy Jackson Beverly, author of “A Secret Muse”

Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome the lovely Mandy Jackson Beverly to my blog.

Mandy-Small (1)

Mandy and I met through our fantastic editor, John Hudspith, and have been friends for a few months. She lives in Ojai, California, with her husband, Brian Beverly, a crossed-eyed cat, Luna, a dog named Cash and, sometimes, her sons, Angus and Jack. Her bio is fascinating, and you can read more about Mandy here. A Secret Muse, Mandy’s debut novel, has just been published and it looks fascinating. Here’s the blurb:

UCLA art professor Coco Rhodes knows little about her family’s association with the ancient clandestine organization The Allegiance and wants to keep it that way. She dislikes secrets—they’re a painful reminder of her childhood experiences that were erased as a result of her parents’ tragic deaths when she was four years old.

After a brutal attempt on her life, and the arrival of a birthday letter from her dead mother, Coco demands explanations from her brother, Christopher, a high-powered D.C. lawyer and member of the Allegiance.

Christopher guides Coco to her birthplace, Italy, insisting she’ll find her answers there. Enter the enigmatic Gabriel, a powerful warlock with a vampire father, and the ethereal Prudence, keeper of the Allegiance.

When a close friend is murdered, Coco’s life takes a dark turn. With only a faded portrait torn from a lost sketchbook, and one of her mother’s unfinished paintings, Coco unravels clues from her past, in the hope of saving those she loves.


Tell us, Mandy, at bedtime do you prefer “relaxing so you can sleep sounds” or white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?

I’m a light sleeper and average about 4 hours each night. I need peace and quiet so I wear earplugs every night—they block out the dog snoring, the cat running around like a mad woman, the coyote’s yapping, and the occasional wild animal realizing it’s about to become another’s dinner.

Snap! I wear earplugs at night too. I need peace and quiet for sleeping but love loud rock music at other times. What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all-time favourite song?

I studied classical music at university and hold a place in my heart for this genre. Having said that, there really isn’t a genre that I dislike—but I’m definitely one who loves to buy a song here and there on iTunes, rather than a whole album. Music plays a big part in my writing, as evident in A Secret Muse.

When writing, where do you get your ideas from?

Everyday life, mostly, and for the past twenty-five years I’ve kept a dream journal. I’ve come to accept that nightly dreams reveal so much—I just needed to learn how to listen. During my life I’ve dabbled in many different jobs, travelled, and surrounded myself with people from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. This makes for a vast and irresistible palette of characters and situations to pull from for creating stories.

What’s your favourite part of writing?

I enjoy every aspect of the writing process, from researching historic figures and eras, interviewing people who specialise in a specific area, and getting to know my characters to see where they end up taking me…it’s a scrumptious smorgasbord for my heart and mind. The editing process is fun too, that’s when it really takes shape.

How do you handle a writer’s block?

I used to fight it, but now I’ve come to accept it for what it is—time for some TLC. In the warm months, I swim everyday—there’s something about gliding through water that frees up my mind and allows ideas to enter. I walk early in the mornings and this is therapeutic too, but meeting with a friend for coffee, and getting out of the house works well when I’m stuck. Plus, I love coffee 🙂

I’m a coffee-addict too. Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight onto the computer?

I carry journals everywhere so that I can jot ideas or phrases down and use them later. I have about five journals full of ‘stuff’ for A Secret Muse, and these range from entire chapters to character traits. But I do love my Mac! My iPhone is great for snapping a quick shot of something that inspires me—anything from old and twisted tree trunks, to a smiling face. Painting is another source of inspiration—I paint my characters.

That’s amazing! When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?

I create a basic storyline and put it together on a storyboard, this is a trait left over from working in the film industry, I guess. I’m visual so I need to ‘see’ the story before I write it. But no matter how well I think I’ve planned, my characters often go on tangents and drag me along for the journey. This is evident in my writing room—one side is the storyboard, another my paints and canvases etc., another my library, and in the middle is my Mac and assorted journals. And somewhere amongst this mess is my cat, Luna.

Generally speaking, is your work based on real life experience?

A Secret Muse, has an undercurrent of good versus evil, light and dark, these attributes are around us all constantly, either in our own world or the greater collective. So, yes, what I write is, in some form or another, taken from real life experience. I can think of quite a few ‘dark’ characters that dwell in our everyday existence, I just give them a mythological title.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on A Secret Muse, book two, however, because I also enjoy writing non-fiction, I take breaks to write blog posts for the Huffington Post and Tasmanian Times. Writing non-fiction reminds me of what’s going on in the real world, and in a strange way I find that by ignoring my characters for a bit, they start plotting together in my sub-conscious until their whispers become screams in my head. At that time, I’m forced to listen while they tell me where they want to go next. Sounds a little odd, I guess, but I’m sure this is somewhat ordinary to many writers. Funny to think that I’m figuring out ways to outwit my characters…time for a swim, I guess!

So interesting, Mandy. I’ve got A Secret Muse on my TBR list and can’t wait to read it. How do we find you? Please let us have your stalk links!

With pleasure:





Buy Link

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Mandy. I wish you every success with A Secret Muse and your future books.

Thanks for having me, Siobhan. I enjoyed the interview 🙂