Tripfiction: an awesome site for authors and readers

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Last week, I blogged about Yonndr, a site where readers can search for books set in their travel destinations – or for books set in their favorite places in general! The post was a hit and many among my author friends went on the site to submit their books. I did too, goes without saying. Yonndr have been wonderful and listed my books quickly and impeccably. Today I am back to inform you about Tripfiction, another site that’s based on this awesome concept.

Tripfiction

 

Tripfiction allows refined searches, for example for the Greek island of Corfu, you can refine the search for the village of Kavos. This site also provides the option to add a review!

Anyway, I’m busy today creating new artwork to promote my Corfu-based romance, The Ebb. So I’ll leave you with this little sample that makes me chuckle. Why? The smiling Brit floating in the sparkling Ionian waters is my hubby, Andy. Ah – happy times, and I really can’t wait for my next Corfu holiday.

Happiness2

The process of making the images today is making me all dreamy about Corfu, so I’d better run before I bore you! I expect you have things to do, anyway, like submit (or look for) books on Tripfiction!

Have a wonderful, prosperous day!

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Interview with James Collins

Today, I’m pleased to welcome James Collins, an author who makes his home on the small Greek island of Symi. James has recently realized the dream that all authors seem to share: he’s been involved in a movie based on his own work! Join me as I ask him a few questions to find out more.

front-cover

An ancient curse? Desperation in the economic crisis? What is causing the suicides of so many adults and children on this small Greek island? When Chris Trelawney arrives on the island to take away his late father’s belongings, he finds that he has been left little more than a mystery. Was his father mad at the time of his death, or did he actually believe that he had awakened a powerful evil? An ancient evil that now stalks the islanders, growing stronger by the day…

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A collection of writings that present an honest and often humorous account of two Ex-pat’s experiences of living on Symi, a small Greek island. This book also contains extracts from the symidream website and the complete guide ‘How to move to a Greek island or other place in the sun.’ “Even if you are not thinking of moving abroad this little collection will entertain and inform.”

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jason create space cover front

A mysterious iron chest arrived on the island of Symi, Greece in 1882 and was immediately hidden for its own safety. 121 years later and Jason is working as a holiday rep for SARGO holidays. When his grandmother turns up as one of his guests she brings with her a locked cigarette case, left to Jason by his recently departed grandfather and given to him on Symi in 1944. The case is opened and reveals a piece of music, but the music is not what it seems and Jason and his small group of pensioners soon realise that they have stumbled on a secret that has been kept hidden on Symi all these years. A secret both dangerous and valuable. Jason and the Sargonauts is a contemporary comedy adventure full of fun and mystery, ‘A comic, camp and musical romp.’

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Hello James and welcome to my blog!

Thank you, Effrosyni! It’s great to be here.

I must say, your thriller, The Judas Inheritance, sounds absolutely intriguing! And now, it’s been turned into a movie, right?

Thank you. Yes, the film is titled “The Thirteen”. It’s 99% finished and we’re now waiting for the backers to watch a copy. Then, they’ll find a distributor for us, fingers crossed (*smiles and crosses fingers*)

Good luck, James, and well done! What has inspired you to write this story?

The Judas Inheritance was inspired by two things. First, I was approached by 1066 Productions, a British film company, to come up with a story for a low-budget, indie movie. It’s a film-world fact that horror sells best, so they were looking for a good horror story but also for something that could easily and cheaply be filmed with a small cast and an incredibly low budget of £20,000.

Photography by Neil Gosling

Secondly, I have always been fascinated and enchanted by the ruined houses on Symi, left abandoned during the depression and after the World Wars. And so, I decided to write a story set on an unnamed Greek island that combined history and these dark, sad ruins.

The Judas Inheritance (later filmed as ‘the Thirteenth’) grew from that. It takes a solid ‘horror’ premise along the lines of ‘The Omen’ where historical and Biblical myths collide with the present day in the form of cursed pieces of silver, 30 of them, naturally. This curse becomes the reason for the abandoned village (and, later, spreads to become the cause of the state of the Greek economy, to give the story some wider relevance), and the ruins play a large part in the background and action.

Wow, sounds riveting! What was the first thing you ever wrote and how old were you then?

I was nearly 12 years old when the Moorgate tube crash happened in London, England. We were asked, in an English class, to write a story based on this horrific event. I know, not what you’d normally be asked to use for inspiration when at that age. I wrote a story about archaeologists exploring a pyramid that then collapsed about them. I remember this story not because it was horrible, but because I was asked to re-write it again in my best handwriting so it could be presented to the school. Hours of laborious handwriting later and I had what I would now call a reasonable second draft. The story didn’t put me on the road to writing horror (I have only written two horror novels) but it taught me valuable lessons: let your imagination flow, don’t be scared to shock, and above all, re-write until it’s written right. (Poor use of English is intended there.)

What other writing have you done? Anything else published?

I have written four full-length stage musicals (book, music and lyrics) that were staged in Brighton, England. Two of them won Arts Council Awards, one of them was also shown in London and elsewhere. I have written revues and cabaret songs, choral pieces for local choirs and other artists and incidental music for theatre companies.

You said the magic word – Brighton! And, very impressive background, I must say!

Thank you, Effrosyni.

How many books have you published?

Nine self-published books so far . . . Three are about life on Symi, Greece. (‘Symi 85600’ is a compilation of emails, letters and posts reflecting my first five years here; ‘Carry on up the Kali Strata’ is the second and contains articles, a short story and photos; and ‘Village View’ is a collection of edited blog posts through 2013, again with photos by my partner, Neil Gosling.

Two are horror stories, two are thrillers and two are comedies. One of the comedies, ‘Jason and the Sargonauts’, is also set on Symi.

I am shortly to publish a new body-swap comedy (through RC Publications, our own small indie endeavor), and am working on another comedy about Greece’s first gay civil partnership. This is called ‘Shocking the Donkeys,’ and it is taken from a screenplay I wrote a few years ago.

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).

As usual, for me, I have several projects on the go and being worked up, even if only in my head and notebooks.

Soon we shall bring out ‘Remotely,’ a gay/straight body-swap comedy set in a small seaside town in the UK. This is all about the brainless state of British ‘reality’ and ‘talent’ show TV, but mainly about how solid friendships can be made, lost and made again through miscommunication. As with a lot of my comedy, it’s slightly camp, a little bit gay and has something to do with theatre.

Meanwhile… A few years ago I co-wrote the screenplay for ‘Shocking The Donkeys’ which was about a gay civil partnership taking place in Greece. It’s not based on the actual civil partnerships that took place on Tilos and resulted in the arrest of various people involved, it’s more about what would happen if a small Greek island (very traditional) found itself hosting a gay civil partnership between one of its own and a man from America. Civil partnerships in Greece are now legal but still cause an amount of uproar – hopefully that will be satirized in the book version which I am slowly putting together.

But also… I am working on a mystery thriller, and taking a course in scriptwriting. I shall be heading for my annual writing retreat on Tilos in June to work on this mystery, or ‘Donkeys’, or something else. So, several projects all at one time!

You keep yourself busy, that’s for sure! What genres do you read mostly, and what are you reading now?

I prefer to read autobiographies and history books but also delve into literature as much as possible. I know every writer should either be writing or reading and I am, but I am not always reading other novelists’ work. Books about writing are on the shelves, as are books about screenplay writing and the use of the English Language. Right at the moment I am reading an English history book in print version, and Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Return of the Native’ on my Kindle. The Kindle also houses a collection of books about true crimes, mysteries and Jack the Ripper. (I know!) Funnily enough I read very little comedy, which is the thing I most enjoy writing.

But then when you live on a Greek island, comedy is all around.

Oh sure! Anywhere in Greece, I believe! Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

I have been writing an almost daily blog at www.symidream.com for about the last nine years. It is about our life on Symi and my writing. Some days it’s fun and satirical, other days it’s informative (I hope), other days its publicizing my books, or those by others that I have enjoyed, but always it’s about what I see going on around me on this small, Greek island.

It’s quite popular now, and I have loyal readers who tune in each day to catch up on my writing, film and Symi news, or to get what some call their ‘Symi fix.’ We also have a very popular deaf rescue cat called Jack, also known as The Alarm Cat due to his early morning alarm calls; he’s proved very popular and has his own following on the blog.

James Collins2012/11/25 09:38:33

As well as the blog posts and photos each day, there are links to our old Symi Dream, site that carries articles on Symi history, travel to the island, books about, and films filmed on Symi and other things related to the island and ex-pat life in Greece.

What do you enjoy the most as an indie author that you imagine you wouldn’t if you were traditionally published? If you had a choice would you still go indie?

I most enjoy the freedom that publishing through a small indie arrangement brings. Having worked in collaborative arts such as theatre, I find the freedom to write alone and for fun the biggest draw for me. However, I appreciate the importance of having someone else edit and work with me to make each book the best it can be. And yes, it would be great to have a large publishing house pick up one of my books and take care of it and sell it, but as for the publicity trail, the book signings, the interviews and all that would go with it… That’s not really for me. I am happy where I am.

So, at the moment, I can’t see me aiming for traditional publishing though I have tried many times in the past. What I really need is a secretary to handle submissions and rejection letters, not because I can’t cope with the rejections and not because I am lazy – sorry, not just because I am lazy – but because it takes up so much time and energy; resources that can be better spent on my creative writing. I admire authors such as Anne Zouroudi (Bloomsbury’s Greek Detective novels, and a friend of mine) for their persistence in not only their writing routine, but in their bashing away at publishers until their work was (quite rightly) accepted.

I understand you’ve brought some more stills from the filming to show us today. And if you’d like to tell my readers more, or to mention the cast, this would be great! I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to see and hear more.

Thank you, Effrosyni. The film was filmed in its entirety on Symi. Local businesses helped out, local people were involved as actors and extras. Starring in the film are British actors, Richard Syms (‘Gangs of New York’, ‘The Iron Lady’), Kurtis Stacey, an actor best known for his role in the British soap drama ‘Emmerdale’, Rebecca Grant, a West End, film and TV actress, and Wookie Mayer, a very popular and successful German actress who also has a house on Symi.

The cast and crew team were made up of people from Greece, England, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Wales, Afghanistan, Scotland, America, Canada, Ireland – and a local goat. A truly multinational effort.

Photography by Neil Gosling

Starring in the film are British actors, Richard Syms (‘Gangs of New York’, ‘The Iron Lady’), Kurtis Stacey, an actor best known for his role in the British soap drama ‘Emmerdale’, Rebecca Grant, a West End, film and TV actress, and Wookie Mayer, a very popular and successful German actress who also has a house on Symi.

The cast and crew team were made up of people from Greece, England, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Wales, Afghanistan, Scotland, America, Canada, Ireland – and a local goat. A truly multinational effort.

Thank you for being here today, James, and good luck with all your exciting projects.

Thanks a lot, Effrosyni, for letting me present my work on your site!

 

James 2013

James is a British born writer who now lives on Symi, Greece. Having worked in musical theatre and cabaret in the UK, he moved into writing novels and travel books in 2002 when he moved to Greece. Since then he has indie-published three books about living in Greece charting his experience as an ex-pat, and six novels one of which has been adapted for film. James is also a composer, pianist and screenplay writer.

Daily blog about our life on Symi: www.symidream.com

Links to James’ books etc.: www.symidream.com/james

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jamescollinsauthor/

Neil Gosling Photography: https://www.facebook.com/NeilGoslingPhotography/?fref=ts

James Collins discusses The Thirteen, a #horror movie based on his book #ASMSG @symidream Click To Tweet
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Find novels set in your travel destination on Yonndr

reading beach summer

Are you an avid reader? A writer? Or both? Doesn’t matter. Whatever you are, this tip is bound to get you directly to Yonndr looking for books!

Yonndr is a book site with a difference. It won’t list any books, but only the ones based on your selected LOCATION. Say, what? Yes.

Think about it. You’re off to Corfu, Greece for the first time and wondering what books there are out there set on the island. Now, with Yonndr, the perfect reads for you are all in one place. Yonndr doesn’t sell books, but you’ll find on there the links to Amazon.

If you’re an indie author, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve searched various travel destinations and could only find a couple of indie books I recognized. On the contrary, I identified plenty of traditionally published books on there. I wonder if this little gem of a site is a shared secret among the trad publishing world but still waiting to be explored by our fabulous indie universe. So, what are you waiting for? Get there first to add your books, why don’t you?

I just added my books (set on Corfu and Athens in Greece, as well as Brighton, England). Now, it’s your turn!

Get to Yonndr now and don’t forget to spread the word!

Many thanks to my wonderful friend and supporter, Tina Tomlinson, for giving me this tip. You rock, girl!

In this post, I recommend Tripfiction, another site where you can search for books by location! Here, you can even add reviews!

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Interview with Peter John

Today, I’m pleased to welcome paranormal author, Peter John, for a chat. If you love ghost stories, you’re in for a treat. An awesome collection of chilling tales by the Indie Collaboration (Peter John’s brainchild) is currently FREE on Amazon! Check out these samples of his work:

Dead Medium New Cover Art50

“The Strangest Things Happen When You’re Dead.” – May Elizabeth Trump.

The deathly silence is about to be broken. She disliked the company of others and death did little to warm her spirit. She had led an independent life and she faced death in much the same way. She was finally alone, finally free from the mindless babble of others, at least that’s what she thought. May Elizabeth Trump was the rarest of spirits and she was none too happy about it either. She was a dead medium, a ghost who can speak with the living, and her services were to become in great demand. Flung into the limelight and smothered with unwanted attention, May soon discovers that it’s not only ghosts with long awaited messages that have taken an interest in her. Something dark was lurking in the shadows, stalking her. Even the dead are not left to rest in peace…

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talesfromdarkplaces

A selection of chilling stories from some of the best indie authors on the market. We dare you to venture into these pages of spine chilling tales and stories of ghosts and goblins. Freely donated by the authors themselves, these dark passages are a great example of their various, unique styles and imaginations. This is the first of a series of topical collections brought to you by The Indie Collaboration.

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wrapped up

A collection of 35 poems spanning subjects such as homelessness, public transport and kitchen utensils. This poetry collection swings between being both humorous and thought provoking. Illustrated by Christopher Raven.

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Hello Peter and welcome to my blog!

Hello Effrosyni! Thank you for inviting me.

What has inspired you to write Dead Medium: Not Your Average Ghost Story?

Over the years, my mother visited many psychics and mediums in a never-ending search for answers from beyond the grave. I grew up listening to her as she recounted her experiences and have even been privy to some of the tape recorded sessions. Several years ago, on probably the first and last time I accompanied her to the home of a psychic, I found myself pondering the whole concept of a medium. It occurred to me that such a person was merely a bridge between two worlds and it shouldn’t matter on which side of the river they stood; it wasn’t necessary for a medium to be alive.

I love the concept! What was the first thing you ever wrote and how old were you then?

My earliest written work, as I remember it, was a short story called ‘Thinking Crash’. It was a monologue of the thoughts, emotions and fears of a person trapped in a car directly after a major accident. I was 14 years old at the time. I wrote this story for GCSE English and was graded A. Sadly the only copy has been swallowed up by the education system never to be seen again. It was handwritten and I never had the opportunity to make a copy. I have often considered rewriting this story but I don’t believe I could capture the intensity I gave it at the time. I  now prefer to regard my introduction into creative writing a lost work.

What other writing have you done? Anything else published?

I am a founding member of The Indie Collaboration, a group of international authors who have produced several short story anthologies. I have contributed to many of these publications with either short stories or poetry.

Well done, what a wonderful idea! Which are your favorite authors, and what do you love about them?

My favorite authors are Piers Anthony and Terry Pratchett. Their books are written with unfettered imaginations; anything is possible.

Choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us which actor and actress you’d cast to play them in a film adaptation.

My book Dead Medium is available on Audible and I had to answer the same question during its production. May Trump was based on Maggie Smith, Margaret was Miriam Margolyes, Barbara was Maureen Lipman, Victoria was Julie Walters, and Deborah was Thora Hird.

Oh, so many delightful actresses – I am hooked! Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

The Trump Diary Blog

I have a blog called The Trump Diary where you will find, among other things, an ongoing prequel diary about May Elizabeth Trump’s life before Dead Medium.

What do you enjoy the most as an indie author that you imagine you wouldn’t if you were traditionally published? If you had a choice would you still go indie?

I spent a year under contract with a small publisher when Dead Medium was first released and I couldn’t wait for that contract to expire. I had no control over my book and the publisher seemed to do very little to promote it. I am much happier now as an independent author and would never sign up with another small publisher. However, if a large publisher offered to put my book on the shelf of my local Waterstones I would be a fool not to consider it.

I fully agree with you, Peter. Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what kind?

I don’t listen to music while I write, I much prefer silence. However, I have found transpiration through music. I imagined that the Squirrel Nut Zippers song, “Hell”, was playing in the background throughout chapter 18.

 Thank you for this chat, Peter. It was a pleasure.

For me too, Effrosyni. Thank you for introducing me to your readers.

Peter John

I was born in Bromley, Kent back in the early seventies. I spent most of my childhood riding bikes, playing tag and kicking tin cans around the street, unless there was an actual football to hand. At the age of fourteen I had a milestone experience. Prior to that I had never shown the slightest interest in writing, if I remember rightly I wanted to be an astronaut, but then I got put into detention one afternoon. I had failed to bring in my homework assignment and the teacher had punished me by forcing me to write a short story during the lunch time break. While all the other boys kicked tin cans around the playground, I was sat in a room on my own with a sandwich, a carton of Kia-Ora and an exercise book. I picked at the sandwich while staring at the blank pages in front of me and then it happened. All of a sudden a story formed in my head and I almost instinctively threw in down on the paper. 45 minutes passed in what felt like seconds and the short story which I had called ‘Thinking Crash’ was spread throughout the exercise book in my scruffy, barely coherent handwriting. I had never fallen into a story like that before, where my hand was struggling to keep up with my brain and I didn’t look up once from the pages until I heard the lunch bell ring. Ever since that day I have been hooked. I could have been circling the earth in a tin can and eating my dinner out of a tube if it wasn’t for that one stint in detention; I still like to consider it as a lucky escape.

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Website: http://deadmediumpeterjohn.webs.com

Blog: http://thetrumpdiary.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AttemptedAuthor

Facebook: https://facebook.com/DeadMediumbyPeterJohn

 

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Interview with Luke Christodoulou

Today, I’m pleased to welcome Luke Christodoulou, a mystery author from Cyprus who sets his murder stories in enchanting Greek islands. Let’s meet him, shall we? But first, let’s check out his Cycladic-blue, stunning covers!

 

theolympuskiller

Over the picturesque Greek Islands, bodies are piling up fast. Bodies tortured, mutilated and strangely connected to ancient Greek mythology. Hellenic Police Captain COSTA PAPACOSTA is called in to assist young, top of her year, foul mouth, food loving Cretan, Lieutenant IOLI CARA in solving their most complex case yet, while facing his own demons after the tragic loss of his daughter. The OLYMPUS KILLER, as the tabloids refer to him by, is a cunning, sadistic murderer with a haunting past. A past revealed to us through his mother’s story set in Dayton, USA.
Will the two officers catch the murderer in time or will the Olympus Killer have his revenge?

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thechurchmurders

Hellenic Police Captain COSTA PAPACOSTA and Lieutenant IOLI CARA are back, faced with four brutal cases all strangely connected to the Greek church. A reporter investigating the existence of a Gospel written by Jesus himself is found stabbed to death on the island of Salamina while a lawyer and a young girl have gone missing. In Santorini, the most beautiful of all Greek islands, bodies are piling up fast. Murder after murder, our officers are left puzzled. All the clues are there, but who is the killer?

The Ionian islands. Seven islands, seven bodies. Suicides or foul play? Ioli’s lack of faith is tested by a boy experiencing stigmata on the island of Kefallonia. Could his marks be for real? Time is against the two investigators and lives are on the line…

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deathofabride

Of all the plans a bride makes in anticipation for her wedding day, dying is definitely not one of them. The Zampetaki mansion, on the remote island of Gadvos, welcomes dozens of guests for the grand wedding of Cassandra Zampetaki and Homer Cara. It’s a wedding that will never take place. The bride’s lifeless body is found, brutally murdered, on the morning of the wedding. Planned to look like an open-and-shut case, the mastermind behind it all did not figure on Hellenic Police Captain Costa Papacosta and Lieutenant Ioli Cara to be among the guests. A storm rages outside and no one is able to leave the island. In a battle against time, the dynamic investigating duo must solve this intense case before the guilty party can depart from the island. Everyone is a suspect and no one is safe. Join in on the thrilling mystery and try to solve the crime. The clues are all there…

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Hello Luke and welcome to my blog!

Hi, Fros! It’s great to be here!

What has inspired you to write the Greek Island Mysteries?

Island hopping

The crazy voices in my head would be the honest answer. Since childhood, I’ve always loved creating stories and characters. This combined with my passion for mysteries and my love for Greece created the Greek Island Mysteries book series. Life itself inspires me. So complex, so scary and beautiful, all bundled up in one. People-watching is a great hobby of mine and witnessing various behaviors helps me create my characters and make them more believable.

What was the first thing you ever wrote and how old were you then?

I doubt it was the first, but it is the first that I have memories of. It was a science-fiction piece. I must have been around nine at the time, so excuse me for including superheroes traveling into space and meeting various alien races in a search for a magical portal that would allow them to travel back in time and save Earth. Yes, I was ‘that’ kind of kid.

Hey! Sounds like a great story! Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?

Besides the obvious – reading and writing – I am a huge movie fan. I love nothing more than to get lost into a good film. To escape reality for a while and enjoy some great acting and effects. Cooking is a great pastime for me, though time is not always available. I cook an amazingly delicious octopus (or so I have been told) marinated in red wine, if you’re are interested.

Always interested in octopus! Yum!

(*chuckles*) Other specialties of mine include salmon, roast pork and anything I can pair up with pasta. Gardening is gaining more and more of my time, as my daughter really enjoys it and it is something we can do together.

Oh that’s nice. What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).

Me in Santorini (book 2 setting)

Luke in Santorini’s capital, Fira.

At the moment, I am deep into my Greek Island Mystery world and writing the fourth member of my deadly series. I have a working title, but nothing certain yet. It will be mostly set in Folegandros (a less-famous Santorini, though with nothing to envy in terms of view) and upon a cruise ship (which gives me the freedom to describe various island locations). My two main characters return, having to face, once again, complex murder cases where nothing is as it seems. Fans of the series will also get answers about Costas’ cancer and be treated to a pregnant Ioli.

Which are your favorite authors, and what do you love about them?

By far, Agatha Christie. She was so ahead of her time and created many things that today are considered clichés in murder/mystery books. I nearly cried when a review board compared my book, Death of a Bride, to her work. ‘An Agatha Christie tale set in the 21st century,’ it read. I love how she left clues all over the book and how at the end it all made sense, unlike many books today that end with an unbelievable twist that is too hard to swallow. I guess, some authors aim for shock value or strive too hard to stand out. Other authors I enjoy reading include James Patterson, Lynda LePlante, Stephen King and Mark Twain.

I agree. A clever mystery plot completes the jigsaw puzzle in the end without cheating… Choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us which actor and actress you’d cast to play them in a film adaptation.

Though he’s shorter than my character, I would love to have Tom Hanks play the main lead, Costa Papacosta. Robert Downey Jr would also be an incredible choice. As for Ioli, it would have to be a Greek or at least a Latin actress to truly do the character justice. Someone like Marie Agveropoulos.

Being an author involves a lot of sitting around. What do you do for exercise?

exploring the Greek Islands

Exercise? What’s this? Jokes aside, I really should work out more. I try to eat healthy or at least to not eat too much, but I haven’t set foot in a gym for over six years and going for a walk or a bike ride are not high on my priority list.

I feel you… Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what kind?

I need complete silence to write. I talk to myself too much during the process of creating a new book. Music is a distraction. Though, I listen to music all day. In the car, during my ‘relax’ hour or just have the radio playing in the house.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Immortality. As a non-believer in life after death, the amazingly short time we have scares me. I guess, writing about death so much is my catharsis. I wish I could live forever and just keep writing and enjoying this magical planet we call home.

What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?

My children. My crazy bundle of joy that I call my daughter and my little cute monkey boy offer the most joy in life. I am grateful for having met my wife and for all the colour she has brought into my grey existence. I think we all have to wake up and be grateful for another day to live, to breathe, to strive for happiness in all the little things that make us tick.

That’s a wonderful answer, Luke. Thank you very much for introducing us to your work today.

Thank you for the opportunity to do that, Fros!

 

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Luke Christodoulou is an English teacher (MA Applied Linguistics – University of Birmingham), a poet and an author. He is also a coffee-movie-book-Nutella lover. His first book, THE OLYMPUS KILLER (#1 BESTSELLER – Thrillers), was released in April, 2014. The book was voted Book Of The Month for May on Goodreads (Psychological Thrillers). The book continued to be a fan favorite on Goodreads and was voted BOTM for June in the group Nothing Better Than Reading. In October, it was BOTM in the group Ebook Miner, proving it was one of the most talked-about thrillers of 2014. The second stand-alone thriller from the series, THE CHURCH MURDERS, was released April, 2015 to critical and fan acclaim. The third stand-alone thriller, DEATH OF A BRIDE, is available now! Luke is currently working on the fourth book from his planned Greek Island Mysteries book series.

He has, also, ventured into children’s book land and released 24 MODERNIZED AESOP FABLES, retelling old stories with new elements and settings. The book also features sections for parents which include discussions, questions, games and activities. He resides in Limassol, Cyprus with his wife and daughter. Hobbies include traveling the Greek Islands discovering new food and possible murder sites for his stories.

Amazon page  US   UK

Website: http://greekislandmysteries.webs.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Greek-Island-Mysteries-712190782134816/?ref=bookmarks

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/luke.christodoulouauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OlympusKiller

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Book Review: An Octopus in my Ouzo by Jennifer Barclay

anoctopusinmouzo

I am Greek and always interested in the way my country and its culture are perceived by foreign visitors. As a result, over the years, I’ve read many memoirs by British writers about the Greek experience. Octopus in my Ouzo is now one of my favorites. I’ve never read anything set on Tilos before, or on any other among the remote islands of Greece for that matter. The insights I’ve gained from this book are precious to me. I’ve been hearing all my life about the difficulties the native islanders face in places like Tilos but never had I imagined the magnitude of the hardship involved in all facets of their life – be it, when someone needs medical attention, or their car needs servicing or even when they crave, like we all do, a specific kind of food or delicacy. At some point in the book, the author’s partner picks up a chocolate bar from town to treat her – things that are trivial for the rest of us, but for them they must make a significant difference in their every day lives. I was particularly impressed to read that – a precious detail in the book. Reading this memoir made me sympathize with the adorable Greek people portrayed in the book, and especially with the author who, being an outsider, kept experiencing one culture shock after another. I am married to a Brit and I know a thing or two about culture shock. I sympathized throughout with the author and her partner for this reason. The one element in the story-telling that resonated with me the most, was the upset the author experienced over and over again on a certain aspect of her life there. I won’t say more on that as I hate spoilers as much as the next person, but I’ll say I’ve also experienced this kind of upset. Reading about it meant I could feel the author’s pain. It was the most palpable feeling conveyed among all the ones rising in me as I read this book, and that’s saying a lot because the descriptions by this author are phenomenal, and the intense feelings just kept coming! Her accounts of the scary, adverse weather during winter were chilling, and the beauty that surrounded her became real in my heart, causing it to swell from time to time. Jennifer Barclay has a unique gift in experiencing love and beauty and sharing it with the world. She certainly touched me through the pages. An unforgettable read! I also think she’s a bit of a superwoman, living fearlessly all alone in the wilderness – something I could never do, although I fully understand the merits of such a monastic, solitary existence. The delicious recipes she shares in the book by combining fresh, wholesome local ingredients were an extra bonus!

 

My rating:

5-stars

An unforgettable read full of love and beauty

 

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Are you a Greek lover? Do you enjoy memoirs set in Greece? Look no further. This one is among the very best I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it!

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Check out my interview with Jennifer Barclay on this blog!

 

5 stars - An unforgettable read! #Greece #memoir #ASMSG @JenBarclayBooks Click To Tweet

 

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Interview with Darcia Helle

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Darcia Helle, author of wonderful stories of thrill and suspense. I’ve read her paranormal novel, Into the Light, and simply devoured it. Review to follow soon. For now, let’s meet the terrific lady behind it!

 

intothelight

Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can’t manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own. Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there. Max and Joe team up to find Max’s killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other’s lives in ways they never expected.

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eliscoming

Eli’s dark legacy holds murder as his rite of passage. They say his ability is a gift. He calls it a curse. A life of violence and heartache leaves him with nothing left to fight for. Or so he thinks.

Amanda steals his heart, but love makes him vulnerable. He must give her up or accept who he is and fight. Will he risk stepping into the darkness that could consume him?

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NoJusticedh

For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he’s good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals.

Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now. When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiance to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.

“NO JUSTICE” IS PERMAFREE!

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Hello Darcia and welcome to my blog!

Thank you, Fros, I’m excited to be here.

What has inspired you to write the Michael Sykora Novels?

The character of Michael Sykora came about during a conversation I was having with my husband. I think our discussion started out on the topic of the death penalty, and then moved into vengeance killing. I asked my husband what he would do if someone tortured and killed me (yes, we have some odd conversations.) As he was talking, Michael Sykora’s character quite literally popped into my head, complete with a story to tell.

Originally, I’d planned for a stand-alone novel. Turning it into a series hadn’t even occurred to me. Halfway through writing that first novel, I realized I had way too much going on. Michael Sykora has a complex history and a variety of directions in which to go. At that point, I decided he was a series character. I rewrote No Justice, the first book, with a narrower plot, and put some of the extra content into Beyond Salvation, the second book. Killing Instinct is the third book. I’m now working on number four. Each book is designed so that it can be read as a stand-alone, so readers aren’t obligated to read in a specific order.

It sounds like a fabulous series. What was the first thing you ever wrote and how old were you then?

The first thing I remember writing is a ghost story and picture book. I think I was five years old. It was on blank white paper, with a cover and title, and my mother let me staple the pages together.

Tell us a little about your other published books.

I’ve written 10 novels, one short story collection of my own, and I am part of an ongoing collection of short story anthologies inspired by photographs. All of my books fall somewhere within the suspense genre, including romantic suspense, psychological suspense, supernatural suspense, and suspense/thrillers.

Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?

I am as obsessed with music as I am with books. I have a vast, eclectic music collection, with sounds for my every mood. I’ve recently become a regular contributor to the Rock And Roll blog with Maria Haskins and Maria Savva, which is the perfect outlet for sharing my obsession.

Due to the progression of late-stage Lyme disease, with pretty severe neurological complications, I am mostly housebound these days. The activities that I choose to occupy my time are more restricted than I’d like. But I keep myself entertained with books, music, three dogs, one cat, and an incredibly tolerant husband.

I’m sorry to hear that, Darcia, but I’m glad you have a lovely set up for entertainment at home, and a husband to take care of you.

Thank you, Fros.

Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

On my website, readers will find information about all of my novels and short story collections, along with excerpts and audio samples. The ‘Things of Interest’ page offers a variety of material I’ve written, such as true crime articles, information about my writing process, personal essays, and a few short stories.

On my blog, I post all of my book reviews. I read 100+ books per year, so that alone is about half the content. I host a few book tours per month, typically including giveaways. I feature new releases by authors whose work I read and enjoy, and spotlights for books by a variety of authors. And I post my own random, personal ramblings.

Being an author involves a lot of sitting around. What do you do for exercise?

I consecutively lift my tea mug throughout the day, alternating hands in order to evenly distribute the muscle development. I used to get a lot more exercise, chasing my cat when she brought lizards inside the house to torment. She’s now a senior citizen, and we’re both too tired for that sort of theatrics. I do still walk my dogs, which also allows me to practice my agility while hopping over tangled leashes.

(*laughs*) What lovely pets! What were your most and least favorite subjects in school?

In general, I found school too restrictive. For instance, I love history, but I hated most of my history classes because “learning” amounted to memorizing dates and assorted lists. I wanted to delve into the guts of it all. Overall, English was always my favorite class. I hated earth science, because there was no way I was cutting open a frog.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in life the hard way?

Is there an easy way to learn a life lesson? Everything of value I’ve learned has come by way of at least some emotional and/or physical discomfort. The most important thing I’ve learned, and perhaps the hardest lesson I will ever learn, is to listen to the stories of older people in your life. I mean really listen. Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Let them tell their favorite stories over and over. You don’t realize how much those stories matter until it’s too late to ask to hear them.

How right you are, Darcia. Thank you for being here with us today. It’s been a treat for me!

Thanks a lot, Fros, for introducing me to your readers.

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Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny.

Suspense, random blood spatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind.

Amazon page: http://amzn.to/1Xf39Kr

Website: http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com

Blog: http://www.quietfurybooks.com/blog

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/DarciaHelle

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/quietfurybooks

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FREE & BARGAIN BOOKS – Friday, May 6

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FREE & BARGAIN BOOKS

Double check prices on Amazon before downloading

MollieLF

Mollie arrives in Atlanta as a mail-order bride to start a new life with the attractive but irascible Dr. Avinger. A haunted man who prefers animals to people, Nick Avinger has driven away more than one assistant, as well as his latest fiancée. Mollie Winters might just fill both bills, if only he didn’t want her so much. And if only he didn’t fear how much he would hurt her…

Victorian romance $2.99  $0.99

(offer ends May 9)

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NovusCM

Being a teenager is hard enough, and even more so when the path of your  life is predetermined, and you’re not even human… Cayden was given life as a Cresecren and expected to live out his days with the dysfunctional human family he was assigned to serve. One fateful night, however, landed him in Gavaron, the home of maimed, elderly, or defiant Cresecren. Having survived a deadly attack, he sets off on a perilous journey in search of refuge and the truth…

Ideal for Hunger Games and Divergent fans!

$3.99  $1.99

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doubleduplic

Potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. As if proving her innocence isn’t enough, her deceased Nez Perce grandmother visits her in dreams…

Mystical / Murder mystery  FREE!

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When Sofia falls in love, a mourning spirit begins to haunt her…

CORFU, GREECE  1987
On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier in England and a woman dressed in black begins to haunt her…

Sweet romance    $2.99   $0.99

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savendeception

Sadie Owens has been slowly dying inside. When she is offered the chance to spend six months in Thalassic City – the government’s shiny new city under the sea – she jumps at the unexpected lifeline. There she meets and falls in love with the mysterious Logan; the captivating boy with ocean-blue eyes. But he isn’t all he appears to be….

The X-Files meets Twilight

Young adult / Aliens    FREE!

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HomecomingDouglmch

It only takes a second to change a life…

Louis Satriani, a successful architect, has the perfect life – or so he thought, until he finds out his partner is having an affair. Distraught, he embarks on a journey that will take him through the landscapes of Greece and into a family’s hidden past…

Women’s fiction / romance

$2.99  $0.99  May 7 – 14

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harddaysknight

Luc Larue knows how it looks when the sexy cop and her partner respond to a silent alarm at the grocery where he stopped for a six-pack. His job with KPI requires certain…attire and equipment. The tall, dark and deadly looking mercenary Delilah Burke confronts at the robbery scene is sexy as sin, but is he a hero or a con? When trouble arrives from his past will she believe the evidence or trust her heart?

Romantic Suspense / Military Romance

FREE!

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MMJAYEFV

Trish Swan is living her dream, having escaped chilly Boston to write her novel on a sunny, Greek island. When she captures a cop on video roughing up a man, she tells the authorities and he loses his job. Next, life throws her a curve ball she least expects. The hot Greek she meets at a bar isn’t just a cocky bad boy in need of a little love. He’s a shipping heir wrongfully accused. By her.

Greek island romance  $0.99

 recommended1

Read and recommended by Effrosyni!

Adjust the romance heat level to your liking! Clean or spicy?

Clean – Visit Amazon  US   UK

Spicy – Visit Amazon  US   UK

 

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Book Review: Fate Captured by MM Jaye

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Although this book is the first installment in MM Jay’s Greek Tycoons series, it is a standalone read. There is no cliffhanger and the ending is a perfect Happily Ever After. I loved the sexual tension between Trish and Markos. When Markos becomes the victim of a brutal attack, Trish saves his life and winds up having a private moment with him in hospital where they’ve been taken for treatment. It all seems hopeful between them, except Trish has a guilty secret. When Markos finds out, he gets understandably angry and their relations go south from there. Still, their love is strong and after each of them has resolved their own family issues, life binds them together once more. This book is a page-turner. I finished it in just a couple of sittings and can very well say I devoured it. The setting was fantastic, and I experienced life in a stunning Greek island with all my senses. The romance between the protagonists was intense, and very down to earth; it was all very human, very natural, the characters well fleshed out. A host of minor characters are introduced in this book, some of them mentioned repeatedly. I hope the next books in the series will introduce readers to their stories too. Personally, I can’t wait!

My rating:

5 stars

An intense romance in a stunning setting!

 

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Do you enjoy romances with guilty secrets? How about escaping to a Greek island with your next read? Choose this one and you’ll be glad you did!

There are two versions to choose from!

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Spicy – Visit Amazon  US   UK

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Interview with Christian Kallias

Today, I’m pleased to welcome scifi author Christian Kallias. Christian is half-Greek and lives in Switzerland. He writes fabulous space operas and makes his own covers. Check out these beauties!

FREE!

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“That ending! I’ll only say that I did not see it coming and I can’t wait for the next one! Read this book! Kallias does not disappoint.” ~ Van Warren 

When the evil Obsidian Empire delivers a deathblow against the Star Alliance, hot-headed fighter pilot Lieutenant Chase Athanatos leads a few survivors to a remote planet called Earth. The Obsidian Empire is hot on their trail, and now the Alliance and the planet itself are facing the danger of total annihilation…

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universeinfltboftheend

Ten thousand years ago, the Furies nearly exterminated all life in the universe, but thankfully, a coalition of worlds led by the Olympians defeated them.

Or so everyone thought… Now they’re back and a new reign of terror has begun.

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ryonnaswrath

Can be read as a standalone!

“Although Initially I read Ryonna’s Trials through my Kindle Unlimited, I decided to buy it anyway… Worth reading. A solid 4.0 out of 5 stars.” –Bill Anderson (Top 500 reviewer) 

Ryonna, the Droxian who helped Chase and Sarah in their fight against the Zarlack forces threatening Earth, embarks on a mission to rescue her abducted son, Ronan. 

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BANNER ALL BOOKS

Hello Christian and welcome to my blog!

Thank you for inviting me, Fros!

What has inspired you to write the Universe in Flames series?

I’ve always been drawn to storytelling but it wasn’t until not long ago that I realized words would be the best medium for me to create stories. In the past I’ve worked on many projects, video games, a manga/comic crossover and other things until I realized, after a burnout in 2014, that the best way to tell my stories was through books. So late 2014 I finished a book I had started more than 10 years ago, and I quickly finished it. In June 2015 I went the self-publishing route and I’ve been writing almost daily since then. Many things inspired the series really, first and foremost the Wing Commander games in the 90s, but also Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Babylon 5 and Dragon Ball Z & Saint Seiya.

What other writing have you done? Anything else published?

I have reviewed a lot (hundreds) of metal music albums on a website my brother and I created back in 2000,  www.metalreviews.com. At first my English was really poor and it hurts my eyes reading my older reviews. But over time I got better at it, and I think it was extremely helpful for me to review all these years as I got a better grasp at the English language along the way and it has facilitated the transition to writing novels.

Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?

I love movies and TV shows, and while I have much less time to indulge in them lately it’s still one of the few things I enjoy doing. I also love to draw. Since I have been doing traditional and digital art for more than 20 years I also used these abilities to make my own art covers for my books. I also enjoy playing video games even though I seldom have time lately. Now that most of the work on the latest book is done, I think I will take a little time and try to finish Legend of Grimrock 2 (an old school RPG that has a very nostalgic factor, as it reminds me of games like Eye of the Beholder that I loved playing when I was a teenager, but with today’s awesome graphics). I’m also looking forward to Virtual Reality games involving space combat; I have tried Elite Dangerous on my Oculus Rift devkit but I can’t wait for Star Citizen, which was created by Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame, my all-time favorite games and probably the reason I wrote Universe in Flames in the first place.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters, or do any of them have traits you wish you had?

I think many of my characters have one or more facets of my personality embedded into them one way or another. I also give them traits I wish I had, yes. On an emotional level a lot of what I write is rooted into my own psyche, sometimes I don’t even realize it until I re-read the book and see it more clearly. The position I put my main characters in often reflects things I have had to deal with in the past or even things I deal with at the moment.

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).

I’ve recently published the fourth book in the Universe in Flames series, The Beginning of the End, and have now started writing the next volume.

Well done! What genres do you read mostly, and what are you reading now?

My favorite genre is, hands down, Science Fiction. I also enjoy Heroic Fantasy but I haven’t read many of these since the time I read the Elric books from Michael Moorcock. I haven’t even finished the full cycle, I think I still have one or two books to read. These days I read a few books on how to improve my writing as well as books on how to publish successfully as an indie author. I’ve also started Darkspace from Jasper T. Scott last week.

Choose a male and a female character from your book and tell us which actor and actress you’d cast to play them in a film adaptation.

Chase Athanatos & Sarah Kepler. It’s an interesting question and I would have to say finding which actor to cast for a movie adaptation isn’t really that easy. For Sarah I could see Scarlet Johansson playing her role. For Chase I would have more difficulty singling out a specific actor. A non-exhaustive short list would be: Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, Freddie Prinze Jr., Travis Fimmel, John Cusack or Shane West.

What do you enjoy the most as an indie author that you imagine you wouldn’t if you were traditionally published? If you had a choice would you still go indie?

I absolutely love the freedom that going indie has provided me. I am very much a control freak when it comes to my stories. I’m not sure how I would react if I was told to remove a character or a scene from one of my books if I had gone the traditional route. I love that I can control every aspect of what I publish from beginning to end. That is not to say that being an indie writer is a dream every day of the week. There is a lot of work that needs to be done outside of writing, such as maintaining a social media presence or building a platform that takes a lot of time – time that I often wished could be spent writing more. It’s still a very interesting journey but I never imagined when I finished writing my first book how much time I would have to invest in these other tasks. But to answer the second part of the question: Yes, definitely, I would still go indie. That’s not to say I wouldn’t accept a traditional deal if one came my way, but I haven’t even tried that route yet. I like having 100% creative freedom, doing my own covers and not having anyone tell me what I should change. I do listen to my readers though, and sometimes I make corrections on my books when they point out something that can be improved.

Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what kind?

Yes, about ninety percent of the time. I think it helps me focus on my task. Suffering with adult ADHD, I’ve noticed that listening to music while I write allows my brain to not get distracted by other external stimuli and helps me gets focused for hours on end. I listen to metal music. It’s a very large category so I can listen to very calm hard-rock or much more aggressive melodic death metal. I usually whip up a huge playlist of 100+ songs and put that in the background when I write. Metal has always been part of my life and I even use metal band names for some of the ships in my books. When I was done with the first draft of my first book, Earth – Last Sanctuary, I contacted bands I knew (Axxis, Iron Fire, Far Beyond, Euphoreon etc) to ask them if it would be okay to use their band names as names for my battleships in the series. I really wonder if any reader has picked up on that. My previous work reviewing these bands’ albums on www.metalreviews.com made it a very simple process; I was thrilled that they all looked forward for me to use their band names.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Why can’t have I more than one?

Be my guest! (*chuckles*)

(*laughs*) I think flying would be the main one but I would love to be able to cast fireballs as well. It’s a tie between these two, but I could probably whip up in no time at all a list of twenty plus abilities I’d like to have. I never like to restrict myself to one of anything in life really – with the exception of love partners (*laughs*). Kinda goes against my personality. I am someone who can get bored quite easily and I tend to always look for something new to do, to learn, to experience. I definitely struggle with routine of any shape or form, but then again that may be tied with ADHD and how my brain works.

I understand you have brought some pet photos to show us today!

Yes! I brought photos of my hamsters and cat. Here are two of my three hamsters, Obiwan and Screech.

How cuddly! And this cutie? Oh look at those fangs!

Yes, even though her name is Daisy, I’ve nicknamed her Vampirella because of the long fangs.

Adorable! Thank you for this wonderful chat, Christian.

Thank you for introducing me to your readers, Fros!

 

ChrisPrayerBeforeWar

Photo by Valentina Kallias

Christian Kallias was born in Geneva, Switzerland. As a teenager, he was forever imagining stories, enjoying video games and creating various art projects. His novels reflect many of his favorite things, like Wing Commander, Star Wars, Star Trek and Babylon 5. Christian’s utopian aspirations for a better world where humanity shines and evolves towards a higher level of civilization, often find their way into his stories. As his surname suggests, he has Greek roots and often dreams of life in Greece. The rest of the time, he plots space operas and fantasy stories at home in Switzerland. He lives with three hamsters, Patate, Obiwan and Screech, and a cat, Daisy, who has prominent fangs and is nicknamed Vampirella.

Visit Christian’s Amazon page  US   UK

http://www.facebook.com/christiankallias

http://www.twitter.com/kalliasx

 

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