Guest Post Battling in All Her Finery

Guest Post

Now more than ever, the world needs women role models.

As I wrote in the introduction to Battling in All Her Finery: Historical Accounts of Otherworldly Women Leaders, when I was growing up in the 80s, there was a dearth of female characters in the popular media that my siblings and I consumed (largely cartoons). If I was lucky, the cartoons we watched had one female character, and she might get an action figure. The “girl” shows (which my brother didn’t want to watch) often had better representation, but they weren’t necessarily the things I wanted to watch.

In recent years, this has changed, with more and more significant female characters in cartoons, TV shows, movies, and written media. It’s much easier for young girls of today, even those who like “boy” things, to find a female role model in the media they consume. But that doesn’t change the fact that more is still needed.

We wanted Battling in All Her Finery to provide stories about women role models in the form of leaders of all kinds. While we have stories about queens, princesses, and generals, we also have stories about CEOs, musicians, and more. And these characters show readers that women rule, literally and figuratively.

If you’re looking for a book in which women rule, and which can provide many female role models for people of all ages and genders, check out Battling in All Her Finery. The stories are appropriate for nearly all readers, and spans fantasy, science fiction, alternate history, and other forms of speculative fiction.

About the Book

Battling in All Her Finery: Historical Accounts of Otherworldly Women Leaders

“I am a woman between worlds. Civilian and military. Seamstress and soldier. The Grande Armée I serve stands between tradition and merit. France itself between republic and monarchy. I stand between comfort and a wall of iron. Between progress and the world of dragons. Between grief and freedom.”
–Blake Jessop, “Cuirassiere”

No one understands leadership like those who have led. Mad Scientist Journal has brought together twenty-one tales of otherworldly women leaders. Some are born to power, while others find the spark of power within themselves. Their leadership crosses the boundaries between the military and political world, while also making stops in music, the boardroom, and civil movements.

Included in this collection are stories from Elisa A. Bonnin, L. Chan, Nathan Crowder, Lin Darrow, A. J. Fitzwater, G. Scott Huggins, Patrick Hurley, Blake Jessop, Alisha A. Knaff, Aimee Kuzenski, Christine Lucas, Matt Moran, Mathew Murakami, Jennifer R. Povey, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Frances Sharp, D. A. Xiaolin Spires, Leora Spitzer, Priya Sridhar, Tais Teng, and Shirley Vogel. Includes art by Rhaega Ailani, Errow Collins, A. Jones, Leigh Legler, Justine McGreevy, and Ariel Alian Wilson.


About the Authors

Elisa A. Bonnin

Elisa Bonnin was born in the Philippines, where she lived until the age of sixteen. Growing up, she enjoyed reading fantasy, writing, and going to the beach. Now, Elisa is a graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, studying oceanography. She still enjoys reading and writing, and can be found working on pieces of creative fiction from time to time.

L. Chan

L. Chan hails from Singapore, where he alternates being walked by his dog and writing speculative fiction after work. His work has appeared in places like Liminal Stories, Arsenika, Podcastle, and The Dark. He tweets occasionally @lchanwrites.

Nathan Crowder

Classically trained pianist Nathan Crowder wishes he was cool enough to have been in a prog rock band. He has an abiding love for music and desert thunderstorms. Creator and curator of the superhero universe of Cobalt City, he lives in the wilds of North Seattle, surviving on a diet of coffee and irony. His career is managed by his black cat Shiva in exchange for room and kibble.

Lin Darrow

Lin is a professional Victorianist by day and a noir writer by night. She’s written several short works, both prose and comic, for anthologies such as Valor 2, Tabula Idem, Planetside, QueerScifi’s Renewal anthology, Malaise: A Horror Anthology, and others. Her first novel, Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust, is an adventure story that marries magic, noir, casino heists, and queer romance, and was published by Less Than Three Press in July of 2018. She currently writes the Hiveworks webcomic Shaderunners, a queer 1920s adventure/romance comic about bottled colour and bootleggers, at

A. J. Fitzwater

A. J. Fitzwater is a meat-suit wearing dragon living between the cracks of Christchurch, New Zealand. Their work has appeared in venues of repute such as Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer Magazine, Glittership, and many more. They sit on their pointy golden horde of two Sir Julius Vogel Awards. And they emerged triumphant from the trial by word-fire of Clarion 2014.

G. Scott Huggins

G. Scott Huggins grew up in the American Midwest and has lived there all his life, except for interludes in Germany and Russia. He is responsible for securing America’s future by teaching its past to high school students, many of whom learn things before going to college. He loves to read high fantasy, space opera, and parodies of the same. He wants to be a hybrid of G.K. Chesterton and Terry Pratchett when he counteracts the effects of having grown up. You can read his ramblings and rants at The Logoccentric Orbit and you can follow him on Facebook.

Patrick Hurley

Patrick Hurley lives, writes, and edits in Seattle. He’s had fiction published in Galaxy’s Edge, Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, Flame Tree Publishing’s Murder Mayhem anthology, Hy Bender’s forthcoming anthology Ghosts on Drugs, Myriad Paradigm’s Mindy Candy anthology, Abyss & Apex, Penumbra, Big Pulp, and The Drabblecast. In 2017, he attended the Taos Toolbox Writer’s Workshop taught by Nancy Kress and Walter Jon Williams. He is a member of SFWA and Codex.

Blake Jessop

Blake Jessop is a Canadian author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror stories with a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Adelaide. He was the lead English translator of Colette Debelle’s recently uncovered memoirs. You can read more of his speculative fiction in Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers from World Weaver Press, or follow him on Twitter @everydayjisei.

Alisha A. Knaff

Alisha A. Knaff lives in Seattle with her cats, Hal and Odin. After inventing the time machine, she was president of the Jane Austen Fan Club from 1800-1806, and helped stop the Martian Invasion of 3003. One of her favorite hobbies is feeding pigeons with Nikola Tesla. Her novel, School of Sight, is available with Razorgirl Press, and you can find out more about her and her writing at

Aimee Kuzenski

Aimee Kuzenski is the woman your martial arts teacher warned you about. Her cat was not born hairless; Aimee once shaved her with a single knife stroke and the fur was too scared to grow back. A graduate of the Viable Paradise writer’s workshop, Aimee has also narrated audiobooks for indie authors and for the SFF short fiction podcast PodCastle. Aimee lives in Minnesota with her girlfriend and not enough Filipino weapons. You can find more information about Aimee’s work at her website,

Christine Lucas

Christine Lucas lives in Greece with her husband and a horde of spoiled animals. A retired Air Force officer and mostly self-taught in English, she has had her work appear in several print and online magazines, including Daily Science Fiction, Cast of Wonders, Pseudopod/Artemis Rising 4, and Nature: Futures. She was a finalist for the 2017 WSFA award and is currently working on her first novel. Visit her at:

Matt Moran

Matt Moran doesn’t talk about himself in public that much, but in private he plays guitar, collects and paints models, cooks, and bakes. As a freelancer, he translates French and writes games, articles, and stories in English. Amongst many other things he has survived a hernia, crucifixion, and being thrown head-first from a horse. He likes sitcoms, sci-fi, spies, and fantasy, and is delighted his fiancée loves him nonetheless.

Mathew Murakami

Mathew Murakami is a writer, gamer, and technology consultant living in Washington State. He has worked as a technical writer, editor, car salesperson, caterer, temp bartender, overnight hotel desk person, landscaper, sandwich artist, and fake job maker-upper (but only once). When he is not writing–and sometimes when he is–he enjoys tea and puns.

Jennifer R. Povey

Jennifer R. Povey is in her early forties, and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role-playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog, and written RPG supplements for several companies. She is currently working on an urban fantasy series, Lost Guardians.

Jennifer Lee Rossman

Jennifer Lee Rossman is a disabled science fiction geek who knows the right words can do magic. She hopes she used the right words in Anachronism, her debut novella available from Kristell Ink, a imprint of Grimbold Books. She blogs at and tweets @JenLRossman.

Frances Sharp

Frances Sharp is a biracial writer from Houston, Texas, who is extremely proud of her Mexican heritage, diverse upbringing, and the Astros. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughters, who she is also very proud of.

D. A. Xiaolin Spires

D.A. Xiaolin Spires counts stars and sand, residing currently in Hawaiʻi. She practices eskrima/arnis/kali (Filipino martial arts)–and, like Carmel, owns a tenegre sword, but (un?)fortunately, her weaponry doesn’t weep. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in publications such as Clarkesworld, Analog, Nature: Futures, Grievous Angel, Fireside, Terraform, Reckoning, Galaxy’s Edge, Issues in Earth Science, LONTAR, Andromeda Spaceways (Year’s Best issue), Mithila Review, Star*line, Liminality, ETTT, Outlook Springs, Polu Texni, and Story Seed Vault; as well as anthologies of the strange and delightful: Sharp & Sugar Tooth, Broad Knowledge, Future Visions, and Ride the Star Wind. Website: Twitter: @spireswriter

Leora Spitzer

Leora Spitzer is a queer Jewish bibliophile living in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Urban Studies and a minor in Drama. Leora likes waterfalls, feminism, stuffed animals, economic justice, and learning about badass historical women.

Priya Sridhar

A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years and counting. One of her stories made the Top Ten Amazon Kindle Download list, and Alban Lake published her works Carousel and Neo-Mecha Mayhem. Priya lives in Miami, Florida, with her family.

Tais Teng

Tais Teng is a Dutch writer, illustrator, and sculptor. In his own language, he has written everything from radio-plays to hefty fantasy trilogies. He just finished his first English science fiction novel Phaedera: Alastor 824, set in the universe of Jack Vance, which will be published by Spatterlight Press. His greatest wish is a Star Wars laser cannon to carve mountains or the lesser Jupiter moons. He owns no cats or even a pet boa constrictor, but has to do with a wife and three kids. For his writing go to, for his art to

Shirley Vogel

Shirley Vogel is a new author from St. Charles, MO. In fact, at 68 years young, this is her first published work–joining several other published writers in her family. She likes reading mysteries, staying active with bicycling and walking, and loves drinking wine.



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Exclusive Character Interview The McKenzie Files


Hi everyone. while our McKenzie Files Book blog tour is going on I thought that it would be a great time to sit down and have a brief chat with our three main characters. Kelly Lytton, seated at the left. Colin McKenzie in the middle. And Diane Christy at the right. This should be exciting. So let’s get started.

BKN: Guys. Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to come sit down with me.
Colin: My pleasure.
Kelly: Not a problem.
Diane: It’s great to be here. Hi everybody.
BKN: That’s good to hear. So guys. What have you been up to lately?
Colin: We’ve been keeping ourselves pretty busy. What with the war going on and whatever the Brelac and their allies might cook up for us.
BKN: I see. And just how is the war going between the Brelac and the humans on the United protectorate?
Colin: Right now things aren’t looking too bright.
Kelly: That’s putting it mildly.
Diane: Don’t listen to these guys. We’re holding our own right now. But it’s only a matter of time before we turn things around and kick the Brelac back to where they came from.
Colin: Diane tends to be a little more optimistic about the war, while Kelly is more realistic.
Diane: Try pessimistic. Or maybe even a bit defeatist.
BKN: I see. Tell me. How do you guys deal with being super heroes?
Colin: It’s not really a big deal for us. The government tries downplay the whole super hero thing with us. They don’t want a full blown publicity frenzy surrounding us.
BKN: But some people do know that you’re super powered beings working with the government and law enforcement. How do you deal with people on an everyday basis?
Diane: We don’t have a lot of idiots getting into our faces with cameras, if that’s what you mean. We actually do a good job of blending in with normal humans.
Kelly: Yeah. Until somebody pisses you off.
Diane: Oh. You mean like now?
BKN: I notice that there’s a bit of friction within your group. Does this interfere with how you function in the field?
Diane: No.
Colin: Yes.
Kelly: Yes.
BKN: Which of you is the more aggressive member of the team?
Colin: Diane.
Kelly: You mean violent? Diane
Diane: Wait. Hold up. I’m not exactly a beast here. Yeah. In combat I do cut loose a little bit. But other than that I’m a softy.
Colin: You? A softy? Not after that road rage incident you had last week.
Diane: The other driver started it. And it was nothing, really. Just a little spat between me and the other driver.
Kelly : You picked the guys car up and threw it into the Alleghenny river five miles away.
Diane: Did I mention that he started it?
BKN: Moving on. Who is the worst enemy that you guys have faced so far?
Diane: That rotten bitch, Deevor. Oooooo, how I just hate her.
Colin: I’d say that it’s a toss up between Deevor and Succubus.
Kelly: I’d have to go with Inferno from the Enforcers. That freak creeped me the hell out.
Diane: Yeah, kid. That’s because he had the hots for you.
Kelly: He did not. And stop calling me kid.
Colin: Don’t start, you two.
BKN: Colin. How do you deal with being the leader of this merry little group?
Colin: If you mean how do I deal with keeping these two from killing each other while the bad guys are trying to kill us while maintaining my sanity, just barely.
BKN: So what do you guys like to do in your leisure time when you’re not dealing with bad guys?
Diane: I like to go out shopping, movies, hang out with my girlfriends, work out.
Colin: I usually like to read. Maybe watch a little TV.
Diane: Boring.
Kelly: I’m heavily into virtual gaming. That’s how I spend most of my time.
Diane: Boring.
Kelly: Boring? Excuse me. But shopping for dresses isn’t exactly my idea of the perfect day off.
BKN: So, Colin, Diane. There’s been a lot of speculation about a deeper relationship between you two. Care to elaborate on that?
Colin: I don’t know how the hell that rumor got started. But that’s all it is. A crazy internet rumor.
Diane: Sounds like you’re uneasy dealing with the issue. As always.
Colin: I’m not uneasy.
Kelly: Your voice does sound a little uneasy.
Colin: I’m not uneasy. Can we just drop it?
BKN: Final question. What’s in store for you guys in the future?
Colin: God only knows. We still have to deal with Succubus and Vendetta. And the Brelac.
Diane: Plenty of ass kicking. Count on it.
Kelly: Dude. In our lives every day is an adventure. As long as we don’t get killed in the process.
BKN: And that’s it for our exclusive interview with Colin, Diane, And Kelly. Look for their adventures in the pages of the McKenzie Files sci fi series.


About the Book

Title: The McKenzie Files

Author: Barry K. Nelson

Genre: Science-Fiction

The United Protectorate is under attack by the Brelac, a bloodthirsty reptilian alien race bent on destroying humanity. A dark alliance between the Brelac and the Vendetta, a separatist organization, looms over the Protectorate. The Brelac’s onslaught brings forth the creation of the genetically engineered humanoid weapons called Reploids. Reploids are identical copies of real humans captured, killed, cloned, embedded with powerful psionic abilities, and programmed to serve the Brelac. They are untraceable and blend into human society so believably, the Reploids themselves do not know they are clones.

Colin McKenzie, part of a military team sent to a remote planet to investigate and capture a downed Brelac ship, turns on his commanding officer in an attempt to protect a shipwrecked band of Brelac soldiers. But he is captured and reprogrammed – along with two other arrested Reploids – to serve the government they were originally created to destroy.

The balance is upset when a weapon powerful enough to bring the Protectorate to its knees is about to be unleashed – and the Protectorate’s only hope of stopping it is the three Reploids.

Author Bio

A Pennsylvania native, Barry K. Nelson has attended college and has worked at a variety of jobs, including retail and the corporate environment. Barry enjoys reading and gardening and is a fan of science fiction and horror movies, Marvel comic collecting, and the X-box gaming.

Barry has written several short stories, and his first book in the science fiction series, The McKenzie Files, followed by the sequels, Assassination Anxiety, Obliteration, and Maximum Deevor.

Barry is a member of Ning and Goodreads, can be found on Facebook, and can also be reached through Dreaming Big Publications..



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Guest Post: Common Mistakes Writers Make that Prevent Readers from Getting to the End

I would like to thank Sophia Anderson for writing the below post for my blog. It’s an interesting, thought-provoking piece, and I highly recommend all authors read it. I’ll leave the floor to Sophia now.

Common Mistakes Writers Make that Prevent Readers from Getting to the End

It’s no doubt that writers are afraid of writing a story that won’t be read by anyone. Have you ever bought a book from a bookshop that you thought it would be interesting to read but you ended up throwing it away? Maybe once, twice or severally; perhaps you were attracted by the headline and you got inspired by the introduction, but while you perused a number of pages, you came to realize the book was not that interesting as you thought.

Now, what could have caused you to drop the book? What mistakes did you come across in the book that made withdraw?

As an author, you need to make readers get interested to read every sentence, topic, chapter and page of your book. There are common reasons that can prevent your readers from getting to the end. Let’s make it clear. Continue reading!

  • Complex or informal language

The language you use when writing a book is of great importance. Neither should it be too easy to appear informal, nor should it be too difficult to the extent of making readers fail to apprehend. You want the reader to understand what the book is all about and so, you need to avoid taking the reader back to the dictionary every now and then to search for a word you used in every sentence. This can sometimes piss off readers. So, understand your readers and tailor your language to them.

  • Poor development

The second reason why readers are not making it to the end is the fact that your plot of a story isn’t dynamic. Do your readers have to peruse twenty pages before they can find the main character of the story? Or do you fancy describing landscapes and scenes specifying every little detail because you think it reproduces the broad picture and thus making your readers go through several pages which could have been much shorter? To avoid this mistake, you need to make what is important known by a reader before they can go too deep into your book and do not go to extremes with what’s not that much essential.

  • Unprofessional editing

Yes! It is true authors are aware that good and professional editing is crucial when it comes to writing a story but do you give this stage the ample time and effort it deserves? Of course, no! In fact, many authors are rushing to have their book printed so that they can get their first loyal readers.

Stanley Spike, the founder, and owner of Best Essays states that “Good and professional editing can get your book more readership, inspire your readers, and make it more easy to understand and interesting to read. Once you are done with writing it, edit it and get a second or a third eye to go through it since they can spot an error you may have skipped during your first reading.”

  • Lazy authoring

You can use clichés, metaphors, and descriptive phrases as much as they add value to your story. All these three make like 30 percent of the whole book. But you must avoid being too lazy in your writing. Note that a well-written story will attract a huge readership, especially when you use clear and easy to understand language. Additionally, readers want to read a story that will stimulate their senses and don’t overload their brain.

  • Shopworn plots

Sometimes as an author, you may use distinct scenes to define moods, characters and if possible, relationships that you already know and which you have picked from other books written by other authors. If the plot of your story has been used repeatedly by other authors, chances are that readers already know what to expect in every chapter of yours. To prevent yourself from doing this, play with your scenes in your mind; keep the readers wanting to know what will follow next.

  • Lengthy paragraphs

A book with lengthy paragraphs can be tiresome to read. Most often authors think that including long description scenes will keep the reader glued to their story, but this is not the case. Your 10-sentence paragraph is the reason why readers get tired when reading your book and click away. Keep off from monotonous sentences. Ensure to use short sentences and short paragraphs for the sake of good comprehension.

  • Dubious structure

A good structure rocks when it comes to writing a story. To make the reader flow along with your story, you need to make all events follow an organized flow. In fact, the best way to achieve this is to make an outline of all the chapters of your story. Avoid going forth and back when mentioning different episodes in order not to puzzle your reader.

  • Unrealistic story

When you put too many exaggerations, unclear ideas, and uncertainties, you kill the reader’s morale in reading your story. No reader would want to read a story that is too unrealistic. A realistic story that suits your plot is more appealing and more interesting to the reader. Ensure your story suits the time and place.

Final thoughts

Every scene in your story should aim at making it flow forward and arouse the reader’s interest. Once you include something that does not suit in your story, the readers will be off-put and will definitely take a chance with another book.

Back to you; what are the reasons that make you close a book and look for a better one? Could you share them right below here?

About the Author

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on learning, writing, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development. Meet Sophia at @Sophia7Anderson.

Guest Post How To Write A “Magnetic” Book Summary

Guest Post by Brandon Stanley

Your summary should be a much simplified version of the book. Writing a book summary is an excellent way of revising what you understood from reading the book. Surely, as any other type of paper, you need some help getting the hang of writing this one, too. Fortunately, we have here a list of 10 excellent tips that will help you write a brilliant summary for the book you are reading.

Take Notes WHILE Reading

Get in your reading space and take a notebook with you. The space where you read your book should be free of distractions and prepared for you to do some careful reading.

Take notes while reading, not after you are done. This will help you record the things you read without any confusions, and reduce the workload for later.

‘’The summary is explaining how the reader understood the book by using his own choice of words. It is not a piece that requires poetic language or extraordinary skills, but serves to show that the reader read and understood the book.’’ – explains Frank Buffy, content writer at

Get a Specific Notebook for the Characters and Numbers

It is actually best to keep different notebooks or papers for separate things, but the key part is to have writing space specifically for the characters, and another for the details such as numbers. You must record these things correctly, since mistaking a name of a character is one of the worst things you can do in a book summary.

Keep a running list of all characters mentioned in the book, and write down some reminders of their characteristics and actions next to the names. This will help a lot in the writing process.

Use Separate Sections to Break Down the Book

Take the book in front of you and break it into sections. If the deadline is tight, you need no more than three separate sections. This should be very easy, because you have the beginning of the story, its plot, and the ending.

Each of your sections will have a goal and a theme. For example, the beginning section will introduce the characters and establish the story setting. The second section will discuss the plot or problem in the book, and the end should resolve these problems or discuss the key idea.

Identify the Key Idea of the Author

The book has some main idea in it, so it is time to find out which is it and write it in the book summary. What lesson is the book trying to teach you (since this is an academic task, this is surely a book that contains a lesson)?

Is it something related to the main character and his actions? Is it a lesson in the form of examples that prove a certain point?

Find this idea and identify it in writing.

Check the Requirements

You should have a list of requirements for the book summary. Read them several times before you start writing to make sure you don’t make a mistake.

Begin by Discussing the Characters and the Main Idea

It is now time to get serious! Start by introducing and describing the characters (the notes you took will come very handy here). This only takes a couple of sentences, and can be a great introduction.

Once you are done introducing the characters, it is time to mention the main idea.

Finish Off by Restating the Key Idea

You are now done with the introduction and have discussed the plot, so all that is left is the conclusion. In most cases, students struggle with this part the most.

With a book summary, it is very simple. Just finish the summary by stating the lesson of the book, or at least what you believe it is. You already know this part, because you checked it in step 4.

Do not Include Your Personal Opinion

A book summary should be neutral. This is not a judgement or praise of a book, but a summary of its story. Make sure none of your writing speaks of your feelings when you were reading the book, and do not discuss whether you agree with the author or not.

Revise, Proofread and Share Your Work

Revise and proofread to check and fix any mistakes. Make sure everything is spelled and referenced correctly. Sometimes it is helpful to share your work with others, and ask them to read over your work.

Get Help

Asking others to check your writing is help, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help during the writing process, either. Discuss the main idea or characters with others to clear up things. It is not embarrassing to ask for some help!

If you did all these steps, you have a magnetic book summary in your hands. Good luck!

Author Bio

Brandon Stanley is a professional independent journalist. He is interested in writing articles concerning writer’s techniques. Apart from that, Brandon loves traveling and playing the piano.  Follow him on Facebook and Twitter


Great Tips and Tricks for Every Writer by Jennifer Scott

Great Tips & Tricks for Every Writer to Remember

The art of writing is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you can be in full flow where the words simply roll of the tongue onto the paper, and you feel more inspired than you’ve ever done before. Other times, it’s difficult to even find the simplest ways to start a sentence.

Today, we’ll explore some of the best tips and tricks that cover all aspects of writing, helping you to be the best you can be!

Know Your Reader

Whether you’re writing the next Harry Potter series, a fitness-related recipe book or a blog, it’s important for you to define who your reader is going to be.

As soon as you know who your readers will be, whether it’s teenagers, millennials, over 50’s, backpackers, or whoever, many aspects of writing become easy.

This includes things like style, the language you’re going to use, the format of your writing. With this aspect of writing in your mind, it will be so much easier to direct your writing in the direction you want it to go.

Practice Your Craft

If you were planning on running a marathon, the best way to prepare for it is by exercising and practising the run many times before. The same goes for writing. If you don’t practice writing, your skills won’t improve.

Let’s imagine you’re a columnist in a newspaper that doesn’t mean that you’re restricted to just writing columns. Instead, practice story writing or poetry. You’ll be able to expand your knowledge of writing, and you may even be able to pick up new styles.

Proofreading & Perfecting Your Work

Perfecting your work is such an important part of writing. Even if you have finished your piece, by taking the time to go through your work while paying attention to the details, you’re not just getting your work ready for publishing.

You’ll also be able to pick up on things like grammar, punctuation and sentence structure, all of which will help to improve the readability of your writing. Every writer understands that this is not the easiest or the most enjoyable part of writing. Instead, you can make this process easier by using online tools and resources, such as Best Australian Writers.

Create a Writing Environment

You may try and write in a coffee shop, a café, a restaurant, at home in your kitchen, your bedroom or in your garden. Wherever you plan to write, set up a dedicated space for writing to take place.

This will help you to create a writer’s mindset whenever you enter that zone. Try to make it free from distractions and attention-grabbing devices, such as televisions or large public crowds.

Sally W. Ho, a content manager for Top Canadian Writers, shares her experience;

“Whether you’re sat at a desk or in your comfort zone, having a writing space is the best way to enhance your skills. I, personally, love to sit on my balcony with a cup of tea. This way, my city blurs in background noise which I find ideal for writing.”

Use Academic Writing Services

Despite writing being a very lonesome task most of the time, that doesn’t mean that you’re online. There is a tonne of online writing communities and websites that are there to help you, such as academic writing services.

These websites are perfect for connecting with other like-minded writers as well as giving you the option to use content writing services. For example, if you’re not sure how to write your blurb, upload your book and have it written by a professional writer or your behalf.

Be Free from Judgements

Just because you wanted to churn out your novel in a month, it doesn’t mean that you will. It’s good to have a plan, but this plan needs to flexible. If the next bestseller is in your head and it takes three years to produce, that doesn’t matter, just as long as you’re happy with the final product.

Always remain positive and free from judgements about yourself and your talents. Every writer comes across blocks every now and then. Writing will very quickly become a negative experience if you handle these blocks in the wrong way.

Guest Post by Dane Cobain

This is a guest post written by author Dane Cobain.

Eleven Easy Author Blog Post Ideas

Blogging is a lot of fun, and many authors find it hugely rewarding. But it can also be a pain in the backside when you’re busy working on a new release and you’re out of ideas for things to write about.

Luckily, even when it feels like you’ve covered everything there are plenty of things for you to write about. Here are eleven of my favourites.

Interview yourself
Draft up a list of questions that you’d like to ask your favourite author, and then ask yourself those same questions. If you draft up a Q&A post and write a short intro and outro, you’ve got yourself a blog post. You can even deliberately ask questions that you want to answer so that you can release information to your followers.

Interview a character
Sometimes it’s best to let your characters do the talking. A character interview follows much the same format as a regular interview, except that you – as the author and the characters’ creator – get to respond to the questions in a different ‘voice’, potentially revealing backstory in a way that’s not otherwise possible.

Write about your writing
Be sure to post regular updates to keep your followers up to date with what you’re working on. This can include the word counts of your works in progress, the estimated release dates of upcoming releases, and information about any physical events that you’ll be appearing at.

Post a bonus scene
If you have any bonus material that didn’t make it into a book, posting it on your website can be a great way of stopping it from going to waste. If not, you can still consider posting excerpts of your books to drum up excitement and to give readers a free sample before they make a purchase.

Run a competition
Running a competition on your blog can have a dramatic effect on the number of visits that your site receives, and combining this tactic with tools like Rafflecopter can help to boost your social media following at the same time. Gift vouchers make a good prize and tend to pick up plenty of entries, but if money is tight then you can still give away e-copies of your published works.

Post a teaser
Readers love to see what you’re working on, so it can be a good idea to share a teaser from your current work in progress. This also has the advantage of opening your work up to reader feedback, which you can use to improve it before it goes through proper editing.

Review a book
By sharing your take on the books that you read, you can catch the eyes of mainstream authors by talking about their work while inviting readers to come and see what you’re into. Bonus points if you share your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!

Introduce your workspace
Take a few photos of your office or workspace and share them with a blog post that talks about why you chose to set it up like that. Be sure to include fun facts about your writing that you haven’t mentioned elsewhere and to take individual photographs of any particular points of interest.

A day in the life
Share a post that takes your readers through a typical day in your life as an author. Be sure to include the times that you do things, such as editing in the morning, working on a new novel in the afternoon and catching up with emails in the evening.

Do a little travel writing
Next time you take a holiday or a short trip for work, keep notes about where you go and what you do and turn it into a blog post on your return. Share photos and videos if you have them, and tag any relevant businesses and organisations when you share the link.

Just write
Sometimes the best work comes from just letting yourself go and jotting down whatever comes to mind. Using this stream-of-consciousness approach to write a blog post tends to either work well or not at all, but even if you don’t end up publishing it, at least it’ll get you thinking and start the words flowing.

Your Turn
What do you do when you can’t think of what to blog about? Do you have any tips of your own to share with us? Let us know what you think!

About the author

This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that specialises in building websites for authors to help them to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books.

Guest Post Child of the Night Guild

I’m hosting a guest post today for the release of “Child of the Night Guild” by Andy Peloquin. I’ll leave the word to Andy now, who talks about his process for clean manuscripts.

My Process for Clean Manuscripts

In my (few) years of writing and submitting manuscripts to editors, I’ve had most of them tell me, “This is one of the cleanest manuscripts I’ve seen.” I attribute that to the incredibly thorough editing process I subject my books to before they’re ever turned into the publisher.

The first step is sending the book off to alpha readers, people who read the first draft and give me feedback on the “broad strokes” of the story, characters, plot, plot twists, etc. I give alpha readers six weeks to read, and during that time I’m working on another project. That way, when I come back to the manuscript, it’s like I’m approaching it with fresh eyes.

As I work on improving the book according to the alpha reader suggestions and feedback, I go over every sentence with painstaking care to make it as perfect as I can. I often end up rewriting large portions of the book to flesh out details, tighten up mistakes I made in the first draft, and basically cleaning everything up. My goal is to make it as perfect as possible by the time I send it off to beta readers.

Beta readers will go through it and offer feedback on the story at large, but they’ll also look at the nitty gritty: show vs. tell, passive vs. active, character elements, sentence structure, grammar, flow, and all the rest. That’s another six weeks dedicated to another project while the beta readers get out their red pens and slice and dice.

After the beta reading phase, I go over the manuscript and make changes according to their suggestions. I DON’T read each sentence over, but I simply edit the mistakes and make the changes they recommend. It’s a much quicker phase, allowing me to get to the next stage faster.

The next, most important stage is also the last one before submitting the work to the editors. I print out the book and read it on paper. I find that the words that looked good on the computer screen often don’t read as well on paper. So this final phase helps me to really focus on the flaws that come out as I’m reading the “final” version.

After I find all the mistakes on paper, I give the manuscript one more pass to correct everything. Once I’m sure it’s done and I’ve corrected all the mistakes, it’s off to the editor (where it goes through 2 additional rounds of editing before formatting and publication).

Yes, this is a long, drawn-out process that takes me far longer than a writer who goes through fewer rounds of self-editing. We’re talking a total of 8-9 months of time, with around 5-6 months of solid work invested in writing, rewriting, and editing. But it leads to cleaner manuscripts with fewer errors and better all-round quality of writing. I know my readers appreciate my perfectionism!

About the Book

Title: Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

Author: Andy Peloquin

Publication Date: Jan 17, 2017

Paperback Price:

Digital Price: 2.99

Pages: 401


Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

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Author Bio

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.
Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs

Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale

Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride

Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it

Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi

Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones


“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates —

“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

“From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!” — Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

“Oh the carnage! Fantastic bloodthirsty carnage! The fight scenes in this book were fast-paced, detailed and thrilling. I love a good sword fight and there is plenty of that here.” — Ami L. Hart

“One could get lost in this novel for its twisting plots, seemingly endless imagination, dark yet irresistible characters, or the mind-numbing paradox of its simultaneously dark and romantic world. One could follow the long and winding road of the dusky, fierce protagonist and fight tooth and nail not to sympathize with him. One could dance in the dizzying, intricate circles of Peloquin’s neo-mythology, or even basque in the black sunlight of a well-crafted gothic novel that both entertains and enlightens.” — Jesse G. Christiansen

Book Excerpt

We’ve been at this for hours! When will he let us rest? Mind numb from hunger and fatigue, Viola placed one weary foot in front of the other. Blood dripped from cuts in her hands, arms, and forehead.

Master Velvet refused to let up. “Your past is gone, your families forgotten. You have no names, no identities. You are nothing more than a number until it is deemed fit to give you a name.”

The children called out as one, “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Everything you are, everything you will be, you owe to the Night Guild. We are your masters, your creators, your gods.” The tirade had repeated for endless hours, but Master Velvet never seemed to have enough.

“Yes, Master Velvet!”

Master Velvet’s voice cracked like a carter’s whip. “Disobedience will be punished harshly. Obedience will be rewarded well. Learn this and you will flourish in the Night Guild.”

Viola’s legs wobbled, her shoulders ached, and her arms shook from exertion. “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Forget everything you know. Forget life outside this room. You eat, sleep, and shit at my command.”

“Yes, Master Velvet!” Viola’s voice cracked from thirst and fatigue. She wanted to lie down, to close her eyes, to sleep.

Master Velvet snarled in her ear. “You live and die at the pleasure of the Night Guild. You belong to the Guild mind, body, and soul. What are you?”

“We are tyros, Master Velvet.”

He crouched beside her. “And what are tyros?”

“Lower than dirt, Master Velvet!”

A satisfied smile spread across his face. “Empty your buckets and set them on the floor beside the barrels. Double speed, my drudges.”

Viola tried to move faster, but her feet refused. By the time she reached the barrel at the far end of the room, only one other child remained. The boy, barely taller than her, had yet to empty his bucket. He strained to lift his heavy load. His hands trembled uncontrollably—a permanent condition that made even eating and drinking difficult. Water splashed down his tunic, turning the dirt to mud.

Emptying her pail, Viola dropped to the sodden ground with a half-sob, half-groan of relief.

“Get up, tyros!” Master Velvet would not let them rest.

Tears of exhaustion and frustration streaming, she climbed to her feet. Though her back protested, she forced herself straight when Master Velvet approached.

Stand tall, no matter what. Mama’s words echoed in her thoughts. I’m trying, Mama, but I’m so tired!

“Chow time, my drudges. You’ll find that table over there loaded with delights to fill your little bellies. Eat. You have done well.”

Someone had piled the table high with fruits, sweetmeats, and treats. She’d been too exhausted to notice. The scent of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, and pastries wafted toward her. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation.

Master Velvet placed a hand on her shoulder. “Not you, Seven. You were the first to fail, so an example must be made.”

“B-But…” Viola couldn’t put up more than a weak protest.

“Off with you, Seven. To your bunk and reflect on your weakness.” His dark eyes held no kindness. “Pray to the Watcher for strength to survive.”

“Y-Yes, Master Velvet.” She turned away to hide her tears.

“Perhaps you’ll try harder tomorrow, Seven.” He spoke without a trace of compassion or pity in his voice. “If you want to have any hope of survival here in the Night Guild, this will be the last time you fail.”

Hunger gnawed at Viola’s belly, but it could not outweigh the bone-deep weariness. She forced herself not to look at the other children, to block out the sounds of their eating. Feet leaden, she turned to the tunnel that led to their sleeping quarters.

Tears flowed in earnest once she reached the darkness of the passage. Sobs of anger, desperation, and frustration washed over her, shaking her body like a leaf in a whirlwind.

Slamming the door shut behind her, she threw herself onto her bunk and buried her head in the thin pillow. She didn’t care that her clothes were soaking wet or that she hadn’t had any water to drink for hours. She wouldn’t allow any of the others to see her cry.

Bright Lady, hear me and protect me in my hour of need. Her parched throat refused to form the words.

The prayer had comforted her in the past, but now it felt empty. The hunger, exhaustion, and thirst remained. Minutes ticked by in silence. Nothing happened.

She balled her fists and swallowed the ache in her belly. Down here, she was all alone. The Bright Lady can’t hear me.

Why would she? The goddess of healing hadn’t heard when she’d prayed for Mama and baby Rose. The gods were far away, if they cared at all. Mama was gone and Papa had left her here. In this place, she was the only one she could count on. She had to be strong, just as she had been after Mama died.

I will get through another day. Just one more.

Guest Post The Machine Society

I’m hosting a guest post today by author Mike Brooks, sharing five writing tips. Thanks for visiting!

Guest Post: My Top 5 Writing Tips

jhp57485c0e0d757Turn the internal critic into an internal supervisor
A lot of writers seem to like to beat themselves up. I’ve done it myself. Why are we so unkind to ourselves?! ‘I haven’t written enough – what I’ve written isn’t good enough – I’ll never write as well as such and such!’
These kinds of thoughts can no doubt assail any writer from time to time, but I want to suggest that this sort of internal critic is not particularly useful. Instead, try and turn the internal critic – a kind of internal enemy – into an internal supervisor, who is able to critique but also encourage. This is a technique I try to use generally in life – it can be applied to writing and most other things too.
For example, instead of thinking, ‘I’ve got writer’s block – I’ll never write again!’ how about, ‘The words aren’t flowing at the moment – but this has happened before and I know it doesn’t last forever.’ This is about being kind to ourselves.
Sadly, there is no fast track to improving our craft. But rather than feeling tempted to despair and criticise ourselves, we can tell tell ourselves we’re putting in the hours so we know there is more stuff on the way and at least some of it will be good.
Find your unique writing zone
My ideal writing zone is to have days of free time at my disposal – take a week off by myself – then I know that each day I will be able to fit in one or two long sessions of writing, which guarantees 12,000 or more words in a week – heaven!
I realise this is quite a luxury – and this is why my novel took nearly six years to write.
Failing this, organising a weekend by cancelling all appointments and switching off my phone also works well.
By contrast, when I’m editing, I like to print out sheets of paper and work at it while sitting on a train or on the Tube – it doesn’t matter if it’s noisy and busy.
But this is just what works for me. The trick, I think, is to find your own best writing place and style – then make it happen.
Do courses or join a writing group
I’ve been writing for years, whether professionally as a reporter/editor or creatively and, while sadly I’m not a best-selling novelist, I had somehow acquired the idea that I must be pretty good.
Then, recently, a friend asked me to write his memoirs – something I hadn’t done before – and I had to admit that I didn’t know how to approach it. I could guess, but it would be just that: guesswork.
The fact is, with the many styles and genres of writing – journalism, academic writing, novels, memoirs, essays – few if anyone has good grasp on them all. A simple solution is to do a course.
When I started the memoir writing course, I admit I felt a little huffy: ‘What can you show me? I’m so experienced!’ And yet, the course was a revelation. Turns out that writing a memoir is not dissimilar to novel writing – you spent time in the moment with the protagonist, describing the scene, drawing on the senses, using ‘show don’t tell’ and including dialogue. I was amazed and inspired.
The fact is, whenever I do a course – or join a writer’s group – I always learn something new.
Speak with your own voice
For many years, I think I held myself back by trying to be what I thought a writer should be, rather than being myself.
I imagined I should be writing profound life-changing literature. But the truth was, I didn’t read much of what passes for high brow literature; I preferred short comic novels or sci-fi or quirky left-field fiction. You could say that, in writing terms, there was a mismatch between my ideal self and my real self.
Then I was inspired by the work of Philip K Dick. Not specifically by his writing – although I like it, especially the ideas he conveys – but by the fact that he wrote so much. Just have a look at his bibliography – it’s vast!
I had a light bulb moment. Rather than thinking I had to slave away trying to be the next Tolstoy, I thought: I’m just going to churn something out like PKD did! This might not be the most noble approach to writing, but it set me free.
I thought: I’m just going to start and keep writing and see what comes out. No longer feeling a need to check that every sentence was Tolstoyesque (is that a word?) I simply wrote from the heart. I thought: I don’t know what’s going to come out – but it will be mine alone and I can be proud of it regardless; I can only be me!
Dare to go on a journey – dare to be challenged and surprised
From my experience – whatever I’m writing – it’s working best when I get myself into a place where I’m completely alone with the laptop and the words. I allow myself to focus, to pay attention, to sink into the work. In this place, characters in a novel might suddenly say something I’m not expecting. The characters take on their own life. I feel like I’m ‘in the zone’. It’s intense, and I can generally only maintain it for two hours at a time.
What’s happening? My belief is that when we write we are accessing our unconscious in a powerful way. The unconscious is always there, but writing seems to be a way of drawing out hidden parts of our psyche.
For example, I had this insight. I knew the main protagonist in my novel was a cipher for my own wishes and struggles in life; but then I realised the whole cast of characters represented different parts of me: the goody-goody, the selfish one, the brave one, the angry one, the vulnerable one, the noble one. When we allow ourselves to open up to ourselves, we open up a conduit to the unconscious, and we might be surprised – and perhaps challenged or delighted – by what comes out. I believe this approach to writing can also be cathartic and therapeutic.

About the Book

Mike Brooks’ debut novel is an adventure story set in a dystopian future in which our taste for branding, consumerism and artificial reality is boundless. In /The Machine Society/, he weaves together psychological insight, philosophical reflection and spiritual inquiry to give us a novel that is both a deep satire on modern life and a rich metaphor for our longing to find inner peace. Dean Rogers lives in the Perimeter of New London, holding down a soul-destroying job, surrounded by people who have lost the will to communicate. He is afraid his debts will spiral out of control, resulting in him being cast out of the city, outside of the Security Wall. Meanwhile, in the Better Life Complex, New London’s rich elite live in plastic luxury, unaware of the sinister secrets that underpin their world. /The Machine Society/ is an original and intelligent sci-fi thriller, and a heartfelt rally cry for the soul’s liberation.

Author Bio

4688Mike Brooks was born in Edinburgh, grew up in south Manchester, and now lives in London.
After completing a psychology degree at the University of Central Lancashire, he trained as a journalist and went on to work for various newspapers and publications in Manchester, Yorkshire and London. He is currently the editor and communications manager for an international development agency.

His first outing in fiction was the satirical comic book The Big Holy One, published by HarperCollins, which poked fun at religious extremism, thereby delighting non-conformists and enraging fundamentalists.

His taste for quirky off-beat literature continued with the publication of Al McNac’s Almanac, a spoof 19th century almanac, which contained elements of steam punk before the term had been coined. Next came a number of short story projects.

In recent years, Brooks has turned his attention to novel writing, with a particular focus on futuristic fiction as vehicle through which to critique our modern world and life as we know it. His debut novel is in part the fruition of a life-long passion for exploring spiritual, philosophical and psychological ideas. The ultimate questions, he says, are ‘What is life all about?’ and ‘Why is advertising so annoying?’.
When not writing, Mike Brooks is an amateur musician and a professionally-trained psychotherapist.

Mike Brooks Website


Guest Post The Image Yoga: Holistic Guide to a Flawless Self-Image

Please welcome author Libelle Royce to my blog, who talks about beauty today.

Guest Post: Beauty – A myth, a perception or is beauty the beast?

“He fell into despair and lost all hope…for who could learn how to love a beast ~ The Beauty and the Beast”

I remember reading the very popular fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve “The Beauty and the Beast! It is a classic tale describing how we make most of our choices based on visual appeal rather than instinctive wisdom. Even though the beast turned into a handsome prince in the end, still if it were to me I wouldn’t have ended it the same way. I wouldn’t have catered to the mass appeal by beautifying my protagonist just to sell it. That’s the upside, commercialization is extracting in today’s world too. They make people think that anyone can look beautiful rather than assuring them that they already are!

The highest form of service is to uplift someone’s state of mind”

So many philosophers have defined their own versions of beauty and I admire each one of them for braving against the norms. I really hope, bit by bit we all resolve to change the definition of physical beauty which I feel is the greatest curse to the mankind and banish body shaming that is spreading like an epidemic. Especially the most vulnerable and impressionable of all, acutely affected by this are young children who witness this prejudice every single day and lose their self-esteem to the ruling pseudo mandates of the society.

Here is my definition of beauty that is truly heartfelt and hope it changes at least one opinion out there…

Beauty is in the unbiased adoptive nature of darkness that makes everything obscure and incomprehensible. Beast is in the discriminating nature of light that illuminates everything only to be judged later. Beauty (light) is the beast; Beast (dark) is the beauty!”

Beauty is in the ‘Acceptance’ and beast is in the ‘Prejudice’! I sincerely wish that the generations to come learn more about appreciating each other and unconditionally accepting their nascent selves rather than becoming a hollow versions of the ones propagating this morbid prejudice on the first place!

Best Wishes,

Libelle Royce

About the Book

imageyogaTitle: The Image Yoga: Holistic Guide to a Flawless Self-Image

Author: Libelle Royce

Genre: Personal Development and Self-Help

 Do you know your Soul color or your dominant Chakra? Do you know your body type well enough to be mindful of this knowledge while shopping for clothes? Do you know that to heal your personal image, you first need to heal that closet of yours? Have you ever wondered that there is a certain pattern in everyone’s clothing style and fashion propensities that is closely centred around various fashion archetypes. Do you know your fashion totem, a constant reminder of your true nature that has the power to shift your mood instantly for better well-being? To know all these answers get hold this personal grooming and style development handbook. The Image Yoga is an earnest attempt to help the reader find their true inner self and make wiser fashion choices. It is really unfortunate when most of the women simply follow what is in trend without knowing whether or not it resonates with their inner persona, image, character or fashion archetype. This book marks the journey of your Image transformation with the help of five basic Image boosting techniques listed as Image Asanas, a unique (never been written before) and holistic approach, that would not only help you look good but most importantly make you feel good as well. The book uses guided visualization technique which is an ancient yogic tool that helps the yogi bring their inner most aspirations and essence to the surface from the sub-conscious with astonishing answers, they never knew existed within themselves.

Author Bio

imageyogaauthorLibelle Royce (pseudonym for Deepti Prashanth), is an Image Consultant and Wellness Coach by profession living in New Delhi, India. She aspires to help women of varying age groups boost their self-image and self-confidence with her words. She loves writing about spirituality and motivational Zen philosophies. She is an active blogger who is married and has a son. She loves travelling and is a huge fan of Deepak Chopra’s writing.






Writer’s Blog

Guest Post Lament of the Fallen-

Bucelarii 2 SmallI’m hosting a guest post today by Andy Peloquin, author of The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen. The book also launches today. Congratulations! I’ll leave the word to Andy Peloquin now.

The Challenges of Writing an Anti-Hero

Writing heroes and villains is something I find fairly simple. Each hero has to have a few flaws to make them human, and each villain has to have something good or noble to make them more interesting. But an anti-hero, a character who is neither good nor bad, hero nor villain, that is a challenge I find absolutely fascinating!

What is an anti-hero? Wikipedia defines an anti-hero as a character “who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, or morality”. They may have heroic and villainous tendencies, but they cannot be qualified as either good or bad.

Take a look at one of the most famous anti-heroes: the Punisher. The Punisher does horrible things–he kills people by the dozen. Yet look at WHO he kills (mobsters, gangsters, drug lords, criminals). He faces off against Marvel’s heroes as much as he fights the villains. His actions are too dark and depraved to be accepted as an Avenger or a “hero”, yet the villains fear him more than they fear Captain America or Wolverine.

Writing an anti-hero is like walking on the edge of a sword. If you’re not careful, you could step off and slip into the realm of heroism or villainy too easily. A good anti-hero does the right thing, usually for the wrong reason or in the wrong way. But there’s an element of heroism about him that makes him relatable.

But to write a good anti-hero, the heroic traits (nobility, sacrifice, courage, etc.) can’t be overdone. There has to be just enough about him to make him sympathetic to the reader, yet not so much that he slips into becoming a true “hero”. An inexperienced writer may convert their anti-hero into a proper hero, but a true anti-hero will never have the sense of morality or convictions to be a hero.

And yet, they cannot slide into the realm of villainy either. Readers want to empathize with the anti-hero, which means they can’t ever go truly “bad”. Their actions always have to lean just on the right side of “good”. Too far to the “bad”, and you risk losing the audience’s empathy for the character.

That, for me, is the most challenging–and thrilling–part of writing The Last Bucelarii series. The main character (the Hunter) is a half-demon assassin, one who begins firmly on the “villainous” side of the line. Yet, quickly you see that there is something heroic and noble about him, which puts him just on the heroic side of things. Throughout the course of the book (and through the series), he will make decisions that send him into the realm of villainy, but he always has to return just enough to the heroic side to make him a character to root for rather than despise. THAT is the true challenge of writing an anti-hero, and one I enjoy every moment!

About the Book

Title: The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

Author: Andy Peloquin

Official Launch Date: August 19th, 2016

Publication Date: July 21, 2016

Paperback Price: 15.99

Digital Price: 3.99

Pages: 340

ISBN: 1535388668

The Hunter of Voramis is no more.

Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.

When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.

Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

Author Bio

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website ( is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

He can also be found on his social media pages, such as:



10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs

Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale

Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride

Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it

Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi

Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones


“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates —

“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

“From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!” — Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

“Oh the carnage! Fantastic bloodthirsty carnage! The fight scenes in this book were fast-paced, detailed and thrilling. I love a good sword fight and there is plenty of that here.” — Ami L. Hart

“One could get lost in this novel for its twisting plots, seemingly endless imagination, dark yet irresistible characters, or the mind-numbing paradox of its simultaneously dark and romantic world. One could follow the long and winding road of the dusky, fierce protagonist and fight tooth and nail not to sympathize with him. One could dance in the dizzying, intricate circles of Peloquin’s neo-mythology, or even basque in the black sunlight of a well-crafted gothic novel that both entertains and enlightens.” — Jesse G. Christiansen


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