My Monday guest, Hilary Mortz, author of rock ‘n roll science fiction

This week I am delighted to welcome Hilary Mortz. According to her Amazon bio, Hilary is a middle aged rock fangirl who should have grown out of it all a long long time ago. She lives in Cyprus during the summer where she runs a tattoo parlour with her husband, the artist Paul Mortz. She winters in Yorkshire and America. Sounds like a perfect life to me!

hilz hat

How would you describe yourself as a colour, Hilz?

I think I would be leopard skin (that’s a colour, right?) – cos I’m a little bit cheesy rock’n’roll and a little bit retro. 🙂

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

I’m a creature of the night, Siobhan.  If you think the morning’s the best part of the day, you haven’t got much of a social life.

Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds or is your preference for something else?

Just my Kindle for a few minutes, then I sleep like the dead.

What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all-time favourite song?

It’s no secret that I am partial to a bit of heavy rock.  I am very fickle about favourite songs, but I suppose my all-time favourite is ‘Blackbird’ by Alter Bridge, the combination of Mark Tremonti’s award winning guitar solo and Myles Kennedy’s voice is stunning.  A lot of heavy rockers have ‘Blackbird’ tattoos in tribute to the song.  I am a morbid so-and-so and one of my favourite daydreams is choosing my funeral song, so I suppose that would be it.  It’s on YouTube if you want to check it out.

I’ve listened to it and it’s really powerful. If your life were a movie, would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?

Probably a comedy, according to my mates.  Can I have Helena Bonham Carter to play ‘me’? (You can tell I think about this sort of stuff a lot, can’t you?)

Aw! Let’s talk about your writing now, Hilz.

It’s taken me a long time to get the confidence to publish anything; there’s so many awesome writers out there I didn’t think I was worthy.

I’m sure that’s not the case. Tell us, where do you get your ideas from?

Probably from the times when I am lucky enough to get ‘Access All Areas’ at my favourite rock gigs.  Also, I’m really old – I can remember the 1970s and I suppose there’s a lot of subject matter stored away in the dusty recesses of my subconscious.

How did you come to incorporate science fiction into your books?

I honestly don’t know where the science-fiction element comes from – but somehow it just does, but I try not to take it too seriously.  Reign me in if I ever attend a ‘Harvesters’ Convention in Idaho or somewhere.

Would you like to write a different genre?

I would quite like to ‘dabble’ in historical fiction, but it would probably end up like a Channel 5 soap opera in my hands!

Ha! What’s your favourite part of writing?

Like most other authors, when it just ‘comes’ onto the page without me having to try.

And what’s your least favourite part?

I love it all – the research, editing, everything.

Which of your characters is your particular favourite?

In the Rockline Trilogy most people like ‘Geordie Selwyn’ the best – and I have to admit he is pretty loveable – but I adore the evil ‘Ruby Nathen’, who is the ultimate rock-star WAG Queen Bitch.  I’m also really fond of Fraser, the wily Airedale Terrier.

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Awesome! How do you handle writer’s block?

I go to a gig or on holiday and get some new ideas.

Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight onto the computer?

I write my chapters long-hand then revise them out of all recognition on my lap-top.

Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?

No.  That would be boring for me.

Is location important in your books? Which geographical locations are your favourite?

Location is very important to me.  I like writing about 1970’s Tyneside and New York City.

Do you like to read the genre that you write?

I am writing the books I would like to read.

If you could see one of your novels turned into a Hollywood film, who would you like to see play the lead roles?

Another one I have been fantasing about! I would love Sting to play Geordie Selwyn or perhaps Jimmy Nail.  I think Catherine Zeta-Jones would make a great Ruby Nathen. Hilz 2

Do you have a special writing place? Tell us about it!

Probably my tattoo studio in Cyprus.  I like writing with the moans and whimpers of grown men echoing in my lugholes.

Hehe! What are you working on now?

I am researching my fourth novel at the moment.  Again, it is music based but some of the action will take place in Cyprus, with a back story stretching back to Tyneside in the 1970s.

Tell us about your most recent release!  

I have just released ‘Nevada Mind The Bollix, Part Two’ – the final part of the Rockline Trilogy. 

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As you might guess from the title, it is about some old punk rockers in Las Vegas, but it is also a bit of a roller-coaster travelling from 1970s London and New York and 1980s L.A.  Like Appetite For Corruption, the first book in the trilogy, it is a tongue in cheek black comedy, but scratch the surface and you will find a darker vein of sadness and fear and, I like to think, a classic love story or two.

It sounds amazing. Please let us have your social media and book links!

You can find me on Facebook at

On Twitter, I’m @hilzmortz


Nevada Mind The Bollix Part Two:

My Monday guest, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jo Raven

Today, I am delighted to welcome Jo Raven. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jo is best known for her series Inked Brotherhood and Damage Control. She writes edgy New Adult romance with sexy bad boys and strong-willed heroines. She writes about MMA fighters and tattoo artists, dark pasts that bleed into the present, loyalty and raw emotion. Add to that breathtaking suspense, super-hot sex scenes and a happy ending, and you have a Jo Raven original story. 

Jo Raven Logo NEW

How would you describe yourself as a colour, Jo?

I am a deep blue. That’s how I perceive myself. I am quiet and withdrawn most of the time, happier alone, working on my projects. I can have fun, too, of course, and lighten up, but mostly… yep. Deep, dark and mysterious. That’s me 🙂


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

I am definitely NOT a morning person, so I guess I am a night owl… Of sorts. I need lots of sleep. Minimum eight hours per night, but ten hours are ideal. So… I am a night owl if I can sleep late and long hours… if this makes sense, lol. Otherwise I am just a zombie looking for brains.

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

I love tortured characters – therefore I have taken it upon myself to torture them. I am especially fond of torturing my male characters (because I love them more? I guess), and I am known as a wicked author. However, rest assured that by the end of the book they always get their happy ending. I promise. Also rest assured my wicked mind knows no bounds and I have folders and folders of stories to tell…

Fab! If you could morph into any creature what would it be?

A cat. I love cats. Grew up with them, and they are so mysterious and cuddly and cute… So human-like somehow.

I love cats too. Let’s talk about your writing now. Have you ever thought about writing a different genre?

Fantasy. I just love fantasy and the paranormal. Angels and demons and elves and dragons. I was always a fan, since I was little. I read Tolkien and Goodkind and Eddings, and some of my favorite books and films are fantasy.

What is your favourite part of writing?

The first draft, when the ideas flow and something emerges that you didn’t ever see coming. The excitement of watching a character form and a relationship build, of realizing that the plot is coming together and will work out in the end. That’s what I love.

And your least favourite part?

Editing and proofreading. There is a good feeling in it, too, of course – that of fixing holes and polishing something you’ve created, smoothing out wrinkles and sharp edges, letting the story shine. But there’s no doubt that it’s much less exciting for me that the act of creating the story.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I don’t get writer’s block. Early on I realized that writer’s block basically means “I don’t know what happens next”. So I outline. I do rough outlines, sketchy ones, not detailed. And if I hit a block, I sit back, grab my notebook and start outlining the next chapters and scenes. As soon as I know what the next scenes will be about, I can start writing again.

That’s a good tactic. What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?

Right now I am outlining the next book in my Damage Control series – Book 5: OCEAN. Ocean is a bit of a mystery. Readers so far seem intrigued by him because a) he has blue hair 😉 and b) he won’t say what his secret is, except that his brother has something to do with it. Ocean is a tattoo artist at Damage Control (which is the name of the tattoo shop in the series). Be prepared for angst, drama, hot sex and a happy ending! 🙂

Shane FINAL (1)

Sounds amazing! Tell us about your most recent release, please!

SHANE (Damage Control #4) has just been released! All my series are composed of stand-alone novels (which can be read in sequence, but also on their own). They evolve around a group of young men, the tattoo shop where they gather and the girls they love.

SHANE is a dark and quiet character, very intense, brooding and sexy. His mom died when he was fifteen and her loss struck him deeply. He got involved in drugs and street fights, then went to prison for something he didn’t do and that was hell.

This is the story of him fighting his demons with the help of a girl who loves him – Cassie – and rising from the ashes. I think it’s a powerful book, if I say so myself. It made me think of all the ways we fight to be who we are and who we want to be. 

Young couple of lovers kissing on black background

Closeup of young naked guy with sexy strong muscular beautiful body in leather jacket with hood standing in studio black and white, vertical picture


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My Monday guest, Michael Selden, author of children’s fiction and science fiction

Today I am delighted to welcome Michael Selden. Michael has lived or worked all over the world at one time or another and spent almost 30 years as a physicist doing research and development, both for science and for specific applications. He wound up returning to the Pikes Peak region of Colorado, where he went to high school, to write books. He lives in Woodland Park at an 8500 ft. elevation. All sorts of animals visit his house every day, from squirrels to deer, to bears and foxes and raccoons.


Tell us a bit more about yourself, please, Michael.

I’ve always been a reader but also interested in science, even as a child. I studied for and worked as a physicist and program manager, but could have easily decided to take a literature degree, since I took most of the classes in that area needed for a degree. I try to bring a combination of imagination and a solid grounding in science to my more speculative books. I call it ‘rational speculative fiction’, although I don’t limit my writing to any one genre.

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

I am a night owl and always have been, even as an infant. I am generally up until 3 or 4 a.m. and do most of my writing late at night. I kept these hours even when I was in high school, which is why I was only half awake during classes.

Ha! What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to all sorts of different types of music, classical, rock (from different decades), pop, film soundtracks, whatever suits my mood at the time. I usually have music on in the background as I write. I’ve created certain playlists that seem to work well—they set the right mood without disrupting my thinking.

If your life were a movie would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?

Everything as a combination. I don’t like to let myself get overly comfortable. Even as a physicist I always sought out the most challenging projects, trying not to repeat the things I’d done before.

Fab! Let’s talk about your books. When did you start writing?

I started writing around the age of twelve. I’d read quite a lot and found myself embellishing the stories and dialogs in my head as I was reading. I like to create things: ideas, characters, and worlds. Writing lets you do that without bound.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Most just come to me unexpectedly, while walking, or, sometimes, just sitting and thinking. A couple of book ideas came to me in dreams. I remember the important ones.

What is your favourite part of writing?

Creating the story, the characters, and the world. But writing is an art form that also plays on emotion as well as intellect, so setting the tone and imbuing scenes with emotional content is also fun to do. I might even start with the tone and a theme and expand from there (as I did with The Boy Who Ran), or I might create a complete world with a history, geology, economy, and new sciences, as I did with The Balance.

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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 write in layers, creating some scenes in detail and some that are skeletons, but contain the important content. Some chapters are little more than bullets (ideas captured in a list of words or sentences) and then I go back and add detail, texture, and colour to all of the scenes, iteratively, although many times—when writing very fast—it’s more like watching a movie and just writing down what I see.

Do you have a special writing place?

No. I’ve written everywhere: hotel rooms, cafes, outside on a bench . ..

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two things: 1) turning The Boy Who Ran into an audio book (my first attempt at this) and 2) the science fiction novel, I AM. This later has a complicated story and several threads, one of which is the end of the world from a comet, although it may not be the most important thread. It shares at least one theme with 2001 A Space Odyssey. I took the title from Descartes Je pense , donc je suis (I think, therefore I am), which becomes clear in one of the early chapters.

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It sounds amazing. Tell us about your most recently released book, please, Michael.

The Balance, a dystopian / science fiction novel written for a young adult (and older) audience came out last June. I actually wrote the draft in 2011, but revised it many times and set it aside just as many. It took until 2015 to release it. I AM should be out in the late spring or in summer. I plan to travel to Provence, France this spring as a part of the research for what will be my fourth book: Disobedience (Title inspired by John Milton’s work). I may release it from there.

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Please let us have your social media and book links!

I’ve posted excerpts from each book, including I AM, on my web site:

My Facebook page for writing is:

My Amazon page is

Thank you for joining me and my readers today, Michael, and all the best with your writing!

Thanks for having me, Siobhan.