Guest Post -Writing Sex Scenes That Won’t Make Your Readers Cringe!

The ever wonderful Em Taylor has taken over Vorax Lector today, and of course I had to ask her to write about what she knows best! Em writes some of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read, and I’ve always wondered how she manges to do it without it leaving me feeling embarrassed to have read it. So here she is, to tell us how to write sex scenes without them ending up cringeworthy.

When you write romance books and admit it to people, you usually get asked two questions. The order of those questions is immaterial. “Oooh what’s it like writing all that sex?” and “Oooh just like Fifty shades of Grey?” I’ll deal with the second question first because it’s the easiest. NO! NOT LIKE FIFTY SHADES OF GREY! NOT REMOTELY LIKE IT. My inner goddess has now flounced out the door at the very thought. And frankly, the inner goddess is about all I know about all I know about that book, except that in a moment of weakness I allowed my niece to convince me to watch the film and I feel like I should hand back my right to vote after watching it. There’s no BDSM in my books but for heaven’s sake, if you’re going to put BDSM in your book, do some research.

Right, I’m off my soapbox and the inner goddess is back in the room.  So actually the best and most salient piece of advice I’m going to give you is this… if you don’t find it sexy, don’t write it. If you’re turned on, get I written down. The reason I don’t write BDSM is because the idea of pain does nothing for me. In my mind, if you’re in pain, you should stop what is causing the pain or you should see a doctor. Pain is not pleasurable. But that’s just me. For many people pain is the ultimate pleasure and if that’s the case for you, more power to your elbow. Get stuck in there and get writing some BDSM. Write things that you’ve done or contemplated doing. You’ll know the things you definitely can’t write down. There was a guy who had a fetish for his car and used to have sex with it. If that’s you, you probably want to miss that out. Take care with inanimate objects. Some may be okay but others… let’s just say, if you wouldn’t admit using them to your best friend or other half, probably you shouldn’t write about them.

My first short story which was published under the name Krystal Brookes was accepted by a publisher called Pink Petal Books. I was so worried that a real editor was going to edit it. I held this real editor in such high esteem I hovered over the friend button on Facebook for five minutes before I hit it thinking she’d wonder why a minion such as me thought I could ever be her friend. She’s now one of my best friends. But I was so worried about her reading one scene in particular where the heroine gets herself off by rubbing herself against the hero’s cock. Something I have always found very erotic but I had no idea because it’s not something I had ever discussed. When I got my manuscript back there were two words in the comments. “Very hot.” I was happy. So write what turns you on personally.

Write words that you’re comfortable with. It took me a long time to get comfortable with the words cock and pussy. They’re quite American words and I still will not use pussy in a Regency novel. It’s so gauche. I may use cock if it is the man’s head or the woman is trying to shock the man. In a contemporary novel I use them. It’s kind of the only words that Americans like and they’re the main audience. Wee-wee and lady garden just aren’t going to cut it. So make sure it fits the genre but also make sure you can tolerate it. Mix it up but try to avoid clichés. A friend and I have a running joke about whether I should use the phrase “moist gash” in a book. If you ever read the words “moist gash” in one of my novels, you know I lost a hefty bet and it was either that or pay £10,000 and I didn’t have the cash. Try to describe feelings more than body parts. But it’s difficult and I’m just as bad as everyone else for sometimes slipping into the sex manual type of sex scene.

Read lots of sex scenes and see which ones you like and dislike. It will give you a clue as to how you want to play it. There are so many different styles and just like everything else in life, what turns on one person will be the ultimate turn-off for another.

Most of all enjoy it. And if you have to slip away to your bunk for half an hour, you’ve probably done the job right.


Discovered Review & Author Interview

Discovered - Cover

Edinburgh is a city that’s slow to change. Which is why in 2061, Professor Lachlan Mackenzie still lives there. He hasn’t changed in the 1000 years since he and his shipmates abandoned ship, forsaken by the Vampyras millions of light years away and left to fend for themselves, feeding off the blood of humans.


Lachlan is drawn to sexy psychologist Kate the moment he steps into her office. He wants to protect her and help her overcome her PTSD. Ignoring the warning signs of his growing attraction he agrees to be her cabin mate on the journey to the new colony on Mars. But when Kate discovers him feeding on bagged blood, all hell breaks loose. Has he been set up by the Vampyr council leader? Will Kate ever forgive his lies? And how does he explain what he is to his long lost daughter who he meets on their journey?

As Kate starts to trust, outside forces threaten to rip them apart. Will Lachlan lose the only woman he’s ever truly bonded with?

I’ve known Em for what seems like forever, she is one of my closest friends, one of my favourite authors, and the person who continually kicks my ass when I’m procrastinating!

I remember Em talking about this amazing idea she had – (let me set the scene for you: Glasgow Fort Starbucks, I’m wearing a huge floppy hat, Em and I are drinking steaming coffee and there’s a folder sitting on the table with a picture of the gorgeous Grigoris Drakakis staring up at me.) –  Em was super excited about this new book she was going to write… about vampires. (I think I might have been silently judging her at the time, sorry Em).

But! Em proved me (and my silent judgement) so very wrong. She wrote Discovered, and I was in love (and it wasn’t just beacause Lachlan is *dreamy*).

Discovered is such a fantastic read – it’s funny, it’s touching, it’s exciting, it’s interesting. In fact, it is everything I could possibly want in a book! This is far removed from the usual stuff Em writes, and she’s done an absolutely magnificent job of it.

I’m really looking forward to the next installment in the series!

I give Discovered top marks – and I recommend it to anyone who loves Sci-Fi, Vampyrs and smart writing.

Be warned: it does contain sex, so I’d advise against it if you’re not into that. (I love it).

And now, to the fun part!

Author Photo - Em Taylor

What do you do when you are not writing?

Well that depends. I do a lot of social media. I spend a lot of time on Facebook in particular. I crew at film and TV conventions so sometimes I get to meet famous people though quite often it’s more looking after attendees. But that’s always fun too. With Amazon currently trying to reduce and reduce authors royalties I have to work to make ends meet. I knit and I’m about to start my own Etsy store. So I knot partly to make money and partly just because I like it.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I’m mostly a pantser but I do have a general idea where I’m going. That said, with Discovered, I did use an outline and I have most of an outline ready for the sequel. Usually it’s not written down though.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? 

Ugh, I hate marketing. There is no right way or wrong way to market and if I had the key, I’d be giving £162 million to charity like JK Rowling, rather than sitting wondering if I can afford to go out for coffee. I mainly use Facebook. A photo and a quote and info about the book being on Kindle unlimited and available on Amazon.

I also use Kindle countdown deals and free days but they don’t have the same impact they used to have. The best thing seems to be buying a Bookbub promotion but they’re selective and it’s expensive. I’ve never done it. The next best thing is a Bargain Booksy. Though again your book has to be on promotion. I use Twitter and I’ve tried Tumblr but don’t find that effective. I do find face to face interactions useful. And blog tours like this can be useful. It just depends. Sometimes you’re lucky and your book takes off.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

To be honest, I’m loving working with the alien vampyrs at the moment. I think they are my babies. I can’t wait to write the second book. I’d also like to write books set in the second two decades of the twentieth century – Downton Abbey Era, as it were. Having written Regency I’d love to go to another very decadent era. Even though the war was going on and it wasn’t decadent for some, the rich didn’t put up with much hardship, though they lost their sons too, as peers were not exempt from conscription.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I think all criticism is hard to take. To be honest I think the hardest to take is that which seems unjustified. When you get a one-star review because your book is “filled with disgusting sex that Georgette Heyer would be appalled by,” you’re left wondering why they didn’t buy a Georgette Heyer novel. Or why they didn’t read the disclaimer that said the book had sex in it. Someone saying they knew me on Facebook and they had expected me to be wittier and that I was too reserved & hadn’t really been myself, was probably the worst though. That said, that was criticism I was able to take and learn from so while it hurt, it was worthwhile and I needed to hear it so that reviewer did me a favour.

Two compliments stick out in my mind as my favourites. One was when someone said of An American Cowboy in Scotland that they could tell I had actually been to Scotland. A big compliment indeed for a Scot born and raised in Scotland and who has always lived here. And secondly one of the early reviews of Discovered said that fans of Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series would like Discovered. I LOVE Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t be an aspiring writer. Be a writer. Stop messing around and just do it. Sitting in cafes on your iPad being all tortured and interesting won’t get you a book deal. Put your stuff on WattPad. Better still get it edited and get it on Amazon.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I promise I will get more books out soon.

In 5 words, please describe your ‘Romance Writing Style’

Umm, what style? Ha ha!

Do you pick up something from your ‘to be read’ stack?

No. I tend to listen to audio books but I’m skint so I may be returning to my bookcase which is filled with books and my kindle with has loads of unread books in it.

When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?

Last time I was in a book store it was to buy Christmas presents. I’m seldom in book stores because there are so few of them. I was actually looking for The List of the Lost by Morrissey – How embarrassing is that? It was for my sister. She’s a big Morrissey fan. It won the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award. It was described in the Guardian as “unpolished turd of a book, the stale excrement of Morrissey’s imagination.” But my sister likes Morrissey so she got it as part of her present. Anyway, I normally head for the best seller’s bit of the book store which is just wrong. I should go and look for the people who are not selling.

MFH Blog Tour: Discovered by Em Taylor

Discovered Banner


TITLE – Discovered
SERIES (& book #) – The Forsaken Blood Series #1
AUTHOR – Em Taylor
GENRE – Vampire Romance/ Science Fiction Romance/ Futuristic Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 4th December 2015
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 98,000 words
COVER ARTIST – Veronica Fernandez Munoz and Em Taylor

**NOTE – Book can be read as standalone

Discovered - CoverBOOK SYNOPSIS

Edinburgh is a city that’s slow to change. Which is why in 2061, Professor Lachlan Mackenzie still lives there. He hasn’t changed in the 1000 years since he and his shipmates abandoned ship, forsaken by the Vampyras millions of light years away and left to fend for themselves, feeding off the blood of humans.

Lachlan is drawn to sexy psychologist Kate the moment he steps into her office. He wants to protect her and help her overcome her PTSD. Ignoring the warning signs of his growing attraction he agrees to be her cabin mate on the journey to the new colony on Mars. But when Kate discovers him feeding on bagged blood, all hell breaks loose. Has he been set up by the Vampyr council leader? Will Kate ever forgive his lies? And how does he explain what he is to his long lost daughter who he meets on their journey?

As Kate starts to trust, outside forces threaten to rip them apart. Will Lachlan lose the only woman he’s ever truly bonded with?

Discovered - Teaser 1BUY & TBR LINKS






Discovered - Teaser 2


He forced himself to move his lips across her cheek, peppering light pecks down her jawline as she tangled her fingers in his hair and whispered his name.

Suddenly she started to struggle. “Lachlan, your teeth.”

“What about them?” he asked, pinning her back to the bed and tugging at the shoulder of her white tennis dress. It moved down to her elbow easily, and he revealed the cup of a white lacy bra. His cock jerked and his heart beat speeded up. Soon, very soon his lips would be around the dusky areola he could see just beneath the material.

“Are they in or out?”

He lifted himself slightly off Kate pulling the other side of the dress down, unconcerned with whatever was bothering her.

“My canines are in for now. Why?” Another perfectly-shaped and perfectly-sized breast. “Lift your hips.” She did as she was bid, and he slipped the sexy little tennis dress off, reminding himself he needed to ask Meg to send some hydrogen peroxide.

“I still have blood on me.”

Lachlan leaned on his elbow and surveyed her, cocking an eyebrow. “You do indeed.”
There was a line of dried blood running from just below her collarbone, under the cup of her bra, and probably pooling just under her breast. He touched it lightly with an index finger, tracing it as far as the edge if her bra. “That…my darling Kate, is every male Vampyr’s wet dream.”

He pressed his tongue to the edge of the lace, and Kate sighed, her eyelids fluttering closed.

“What if your teeth pop out again and you bite me by accident?” she asked as she arched her back, reaching for the touch of his tongue. He chuckled against her breast.

“Did your mother never teach you it’s rude to disturb a man when he’s eating, Katie?

Author Photo - Em TaylorAUTHOR BIO

Em was born and brought up in the Central Belt of Scotland and still lives there. She was told as a child she had an over active imagination–as if that is a bad thing. She’s traded her dreams of owning her own island, just like George in the Famous Five to hoping to meet her own Mr Darcy one day. But her imagination remains the same.




18ct White Gold Plated Swarovski Crystal Black Pearl Necklace and Earrings, Red silk scarf and signed paperback copy of Discovered

Giveaway Image


This event has been organized & hosted by

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Hot New Release: Reining Men by Em Petrova


Reining Men

There’s no escaping ranch policy—anything to please a lady…

The Boot Knockers Ranch, Book 3

The Boot Knockers Ranch caters to women in all ways. And now rookie Paul is officially part of the team. He’s had six months to hone his skills with the ladies and prides himself on being a prime catch.

Jack would agree. He can’t get the rugged cowboy out of his system. He wants Paul in his bed more than anything, but his best friend has always been resistant to relations with other men. Jack’s instinct says different, but he values Paul’s friendship too highly to push it.

Then Jack takes on beautiful new client Lissy Lofton and finds himself falling hard for the confident show jumper. He’s not the only one. Lissy has caught Paul’s attention, and the attraction is mutual.

But now Jack has a problem. Lissy’s sexual appetite is so ravenous, he doubts he can last the week without backup. Which presents an irresistible opportunity to invite Paul into their bed—where the incandescent heat brings all their walls tumbling down.

Warning: Contains two smoking-hot cowboys whose drive to please the same woman spurs a desire to please each other.


“This lower lip is as ripe as a juicy peach. And this upper one”—he dragged his thumb over the rounded edges—“is a man’s wet dream.”

His dirty words spiked her desire. She wrapped her fingers around his strong wrist. Wide, sprinkled with light hairs, warm from the sun. Damn, she wanted to touch his every inch. For a week, Jack was hers to worship.

And she planned to take total advantage and make the big fee worth it.

His lashes lowered over smoldering eyes the color of sea glass. As a child she’d gathered the remnants from the beach and kept them in a little wooden box her parents had given her. What had happened to that collection?

Who cared? Now she had a new kind of sea glass to admire.

Jack tipped closer until the brim of his hat bumped her forehead. With a warm chuckle, he nudged it up. “Hat on or off, Lissy?”

Her mind bounced around the question. What did she want her first kiss to be like? He was allowing her to choose her path. Her heart swelled with the knowledge of her own power.

On,” she whispered, her voice a stranger’s.

He angled his head, nose brushing hers. She filled her lungs with his scent—leather, man, hay. All the things she adored clinging to one perfect cowboy.

Where to buy:




Pushin’ Buttons book 1




Body Language book 2




Em Petrova lives in Backwoods, Pennsylvania, where she raises four kids and a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff. Her dream is to buy an old pickup and travel small-town USA meeting people and hearing their stories. Her heroes are hardworkingin bed and outand she is known for panty-scorching erotic romance.







Preying on Time – Review & Interview

In case you aren’t aware of this already, I am a huge fan of author Rebecca Clare Smith. We met many years ago through Twitter, and she soon became one of my favourite bloggers. Her flash fiction was something I looked forward to every week, and her entries for writing challenges I created were always superb. When I met Rebecca she was working hard on writing her novels, and today she has released two novels – both of separate series – and is currently in the process of editing another.


I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when she told me she’d finally released Preying on Time. Having been a fan of Rebecca’s writing, I knew that she wouldn’t disappoint me, but I did not expect to finish reading Preying on Time in just one sitting! I could not put the book down.

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Preying on Time drags us into a dark, and frankly terrifying, future where nothing is as it should be. The world is full of seers, necromancers, werewolves and more. From the first page to the last it’s excitement and nervousness and intrigue. I never wanted to put the book down because I just had to know what was going to happen next.

I can’t begin to praise this novel enough, Rebecca’s writing style is utterly unique, and she draws the reader in with it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in dystopian futures and magical creatures. Five out five!

And, of course, what’s a review without a word or three from the author? Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Ms Rebecca Clare Smith!

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Rebecca! First of all, tea and cat cuddles please. How are you?

I’m okay for the most part. A little weary, but aren’t we all? Always a pleasure to talk to you, though. And, by the way, the cats are just fine.

What are you doing right now?

I’m enjoying the view of my new illuminating kettle (because tea!) and eating biscuits with one of my furry boys. Soon I’ll be back to writing, though. Tea breaks are just essential.

I’ve been reading your writing for, like, forever. What made you want to write?

There isn’t just one thing that kick started me and it was crowd funded either. I’m so funny. Not. No, writing was never one of those things where I had some kind of whimsical day where it clicked and a story idea appeared. Writing is just living. Living is just writing. I can’t do without it and if I’m forced to it usually incurs low periods during which I am listless, unfriendly and unlikely to open the curtains. So I can’t say that anything made me want to write. I just do. Like breathing.

Where and when do you do your best writing?

At night. Unequivocally, at night is when I do my best writing. Especially if it’s raining. I’m not entirely sure why those specific things help me get into the zone, but they do. It’s my thing like other writers need whiskey or a library corner or whatever I need darkness and rain. Cheery. I don’t really have a where, though. This is mostly because I can’t afford a where. At the moment it has to be the sofa because I have no garden and our only desk space is taken by my other half’s monster computer that is probably too clever and gadgetified for me to touch. It’s also not red. And I like red things. My laptop is red.

Do you listen to music? What kind of music do you listen to while writing? Do the cats sing along to it?

The cats don’t sing along to the music. I’m not sure they really sing at all, to be honest. Mostly they make choked miaows when it’s close to feeding time because they’ve never really got the hang of being cats. They are mini peoples with fur and tails who like to climb in the fridge, drink from the washing up bowl and attack the mattress until they’re let out at 4am every night. I’m not a cat (unless you ask my other half who thinks I’m turning into one), but I do like to listen to music whilst I write. The type usually depends on the mood of the piece. Breaking Cadence was usually a mixture of Birdy and The XX whilst Preying On Time was totally and completely the ‘Lungs’ album by Florence + The Machine.

Preying on Time is rather magical (haha) what inspired the tale?

I think I was listening to Howl, actually, by Florence + The Machine at the time that I came up with the idea, which pretty much suits the book down to the ground and is why I used it in the background of my book trailer for Preying On Time. I’d been reading a few books with necromancer types around then too, such as No Humans Involved and Lirael.

I knew that I wanted to write a necromancer story. Ideas had been slowly forming about their different abilities, which I’d been scribbling down in my little black writer’s book every chance I got. When I thought of these powers combined together Violet came suddenly and fully formed, but what story could I put her in? Certainly nothing I was writing at the time. Then I was sitting on the bus one day, a journey to university for a course I wasn’t sure why I was doing, and the idea of time travel in a supernatural mutant future struck and Preying On Time led from there.

Are any of the characters based on people you know?

In Preying On Time? No. I wish I could be exciting and say there were some, but if there are then it’s been unwittingly done.

I think I’m love with Specs. Who’s your favourite character?

Ha ha. Specs is awesome, but sadly not my favourite. Without question, Violet is my favourite, but that might be because she displays a lot of my stubborn side. She’s a character that can be both easy and really difficult to write. It’s like she has a blocker for certain characters, too. If they aren’t to do with her case or her family then she doesn’t need to understand their motives or bother with their feelings. As somebody who finds it hard not to overanalyse other people and the way they react to me, I guess it’s kind of refreshing to create somebody like that.

Who was the most unruly character to write?

Logan! Of course, Logan. He’s hot headed and stubborn and clearly still on the cusp of being a teenager in his head. He’s what the literary world describes as new adult. And in the sequel, Logan has a lot to learn.

Who did you enjoy writing most?

I enjoyed writing Violet most, obviously, but the most fun was with Rhiel. I can’t help but enjoy writing really angry, villainous characters. I’m pretty sure he’s going to appear further ahead in the series, but not in Baying For Blood.

Tell us about the sequel ‘Baying for Blood’?

Firstly, I’m loving it. Summer stalled its progress, yet I’m so close now that I can taste it. I switched the point of view in this one because it felt better written from first person so you can really get inside the character’s heads. And we’re not just following Violet. The chapters move between her and Logan as he’s discovering just how hard it is to be a werewolf, especially as he’s been accused of murder!

And just to make it worse, the murderer is a werewolf serial killer of necromancers. Who’s better to find the beast behind the attacks than a necromancer like Violet? However, nothing is as simple as that. Can Violet find the killer before he strikes again or will she become his latest victim? And will Logan be proved innocent or is he the mindless beast the police believe?

When can we expect it?

I am hoping to release it before Christmas 2014, but that means a lot of scurrying around and finishing off first.

Tell us about the self publishing process?

Well first I write it. Then I edit the hell out of it so it’s much better for human consumption. After that we get started on the cover, usually. This involves me inundating one poor lady at Katarr Kanticles Press with what is usually a million images that ‘might look cool’ together. After she’s probably screamed at the screen a zillion times, she sends me some versions and we tweak them here and there until it’s more like what I had in mind. Then she gets to line read too and tell me if I’ve missed any typos or such. After that it’s formatting and away we go!

What’s your superpower?

Invisibility. Not really, though, which is sad. It’s probably partly why I made necromancers able to become invisible, at least to living beings.

What are your favourite books?

What a rubbish question. Joking aside, though, I don’t know how you expect me to answer. I have lots of favourites. Like parents don’t have a favourite child… do they? I hope not. I guess if I had to name some then it would be Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series. It’s one of those where I literally couldn’t stop myself from reading into the night and waaaaay on past dawn. Oh well. Who needs sleep?

Who inspires you?

Life inspires me. Everything and anything I see gets mentally noted in some sort of story warehouse in my head and sometimes I wheel it out and go, hey there let’s try you today. Mostly I get ideas from dreams, though. A dream is where Breaking Cadence started amongst many snatches of other tales.

Describe your writing style in one sentence?

My writing style is a bit quirky with some stop starts and a flourish of description here and there. I think.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever written?

Hmm… I write a lot of weird things, as you know. I suppose early pieces from when I was much younger and hadn’t really honed my craft would be the weirdest. A lot of them had no real plot and were written basically because I had a lot of free time on my own.

And lastly, if you could be anywhere in the universe right now, where would you be?

Probably in my own little housey (that we own instead of rent) with Mr Bear, our two cats and a raven that looks like a writing desk for company.

Thanks so much for joining me on Vorax Lector – is there anything else you wanna tell our readers?

Stay in school kids! No. Not really. Nothing as cliché as that. I just hope you guys decide to take a hit on my books and enjoy them if you do. And also, thanks muchly to you for this interview and the amazing review!

Where to find Rebecca:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads

Buy Rebecca’s books on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords

Interview: Paul Cuddihy

Hello my lovelies!

Sorry I haven’t been around in a while, it’s been a bit of a crazy year! I’m still reading, and I’m still talking to my favourite authors. If you follow me on Goodreads, you’ll know that a couple of months ago I read ‘Land Beyond the Wave’ by Paul Cuddihy. It’s the third, and final, installment of what I know as the Costello Trilogy. It was a fantastic read, and I loved every second of it. I suggest you read it. You won’t regret it, I promise. 

Now, apart from this amazing trilogy, Paul has recently written a new book called ‘Read All About It’. I haven’t had a chance to read it myself, yet, but I will soon! Paul took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the Costellos and his new book!


Paul, it’s wonderful to have you back on the blog again, how have you been?

I’m good and absolutely delighted that you’ve asked me back! You’ve said such nice things about my previous books which I really appreciate, so I’m happy to get another opportunity to talk to you about my books. 

What have you been doing since we last spoke?

I’ve just been writing away. I wrote the final part of what I now call my ‘Costello Trilogy’ – Land Beyond The Wave – which was published in late 2012. Then I headed out on a library tour to promote it, accompanied by my guitar – just to give everyone a song when they got fed up with me talking. Last year, I also started a reading project – basically trying to read more books throughout 2013 – and ended up writing about that, while I also finished writing another novel, although after I’d put the manuscript away for a couple of months and then re-read it, I realised it still needs  a lot of editing!

‘Land Beyond the Wave’ is set during prohibition era New York. What was it like writing about it?

The previous two books in the trilogy – Saints and Sinners and The Hunted – were both set in Scotland and Ireland, so I wanted to set the third part somewhere different. And New York seemed to be the perfect setting – there was a big Irish immigrant population, there were a lot of gangs and, as you say, there was prohibition. It was really enjoyable doing research into the city – which I think is a wonderful place to visit – and then writing about it. And when I went to New York last year, the bus that took us from the airport to the city stopped right across the road from the church that is mentioned in Land Beyond The Wave. Serendipity! 

Do you think you’ll ever write about the Costellos again?

I haven’t any plans to do any more books about them. For one thing, it would mean it’s no longer a Costello Trilogy. I also wanted to write something different from historical fiction. So the novel I wrote last year and which I’m now going through again with several red pens because I keep running out of red ink is a contemporary romantic drama. I may finish editing it and realise I should have just stuck to historical fiction!

Now, tell us all about the new book?

It’s called ‘Read All About It: My Year of Falling In Love With Literature Again’, and it charts my attempts to read more books in 2013, how I came to read certain books, what I thought of them, as well as other things that were going on in my life and in literature. It’s also my first attempt at self-publishing. I always had it in mind to do that, partly because I wasn’t sure I’d get a publisher interested but also because of some frustrations I had with my previous experiences of traditional publishing. So the book is available on Amazon as a paperback through CreateSpace and an ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing – both Amazon companies. And I have to admit that I found the whole publishing experience to be an exhilarating one. The end product looks superb – I’ll let others judge the content!

What inspired ‘Read All About It’?

At the start of 2013, I made a resolution to read more books. I realised I wasn’t reading enough, and taking Stephen King’s advice to heart – ‘If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot’ – I thought I should do just that. At first I was just reading books and keeping a note of them so I’d remember what I’d read. Then my daughter had a university assignment to keep a reading diary, and after looking through that, it gave me the idea to start writing about what I was reading. It just snowballed from there. I showed the first few chapters to a couple of writer friends, who both gave me some positive feedback, so I just kept reading and writing, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Why should we read it?

It’s a book about books! What’s not to love about that? I’d like to think it would appeal to anyone who likes reading and I hope that my genuine love for books comes across in Read All About It. And it might also give you some ideas for other books to read.

And finally, how is my dear Glasgow? (I haven’t seen it in a while!)

Glasgow is (generally) wet but wonderful. It is my favourite place in the world. Writing ‘Read All About It’ last year, which included talking about some of the places I visited, merely confirmed that home is where the heart is. In saying that, I’m still envious of all you lucky young people who get the opportunity to live and work abroad, which I’m sure is also a great experience.

You can buy Read All About It here


Interview With Jeffrey Hollar

Hey  Jeff! As you already know, I’m a pretty big fan of yours so it is an absolute honour to have your presence gracing my humble blog. First things first, how are you?

Given the vagaries of life and the innate stress of just being me, I suppose as well as can be expected. But seriously, life is going very well on nearly all fronts and I am (mostly) enjoying the ride.

How long have you been writing, and what made you start writing?

I suppose I have been writing, in one form or another, since early childhood. Though there have been significant portions of my life where I haven’t written much of anything, I have been actively writing again for just short of two years.

What’s your writing process?

Given that I write around a full-time job, family matters and whatever other impediments Life chooses to toss in my path, the simple answer is that I don’t have a process. I write what I can, when I can.

Keldane – where did the little guy come from?

Keldane began as a character in a flash fiction story of, I believe, 150 words. Lisa Stull, briefly, sponsored a flash fiction challenge wherein the winner from the previous week got to provide the prompt for the next week. My wife, Lisa, came up with a prompt of “frogs, cats & vampire bats” and from that came the first appearance of Keldane.

What made you decide to publish the (frankly brilliant) collection?

Like so much of my flash fiction, humble beginnings have often had the potential to be much more involved works and Keldane proved to be the first. I mentioned playing with writing in different genres and so further installments of Keldane appeared from time to time. I moved on to other distractions and gave Keldane no further attention until I became a member of the Visionary Press Cooperative. We are a coalition of writers, editors, cover artists, etc all working for the common profit and good. Blaze McRob, one of the founders of the co-op, thought it wise for us to diversify our book offerings and I brought up that I had a YA fantasy serial on tap. The rest, as they say, is history.

Is Keldane based on anyone you know?

Keldane is me. Keldane is you. Keldane is every kid who ever found himself placed under the burden of great expectations with little, if any, idea how to measure up to them. He is that inner child inside all of us that wants to be the best but often finds himself falling a bit short of the mark.

I feel like there may be a little bit of you in Kelimbor, and maybe in the gleeful Barnabas too – am I wrong?

There is a little bit of me in each and every character I write. It behoves a writer to write what they know and since I have known myself now since a very early age, I instill a healthy dose of me into almost all of my characters.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I’m exceptionally greedy and would want more than one. In descending order, I suppose I’d want probably invulnerability, exceptional strength and then flight. That list is subject to change, of course.

If you could be anyone for a day (or ten) who would you be, and what would you do?

I spent so many years trying to be someone…anyone besides me before I finally got to the point of being satisfied with being me. After all that process involved, I think I’ll just keep mucking along as myself.

Who are your current favourite bloggers?

Wow. There are just so many, many wonderful bloggers out there that trying to single out any small slice of them would do a great injustice to myself and to them. In a pinch, I’ve always liked my wife, Lisa’s, blog.

And finally, before I say thank you – when can I expect my Hanover & Kent collection?!

As always, I have far more oars in the water than boat to go with them. That being said, I have one project leading the pack right now that should be in the can very shortly and then it’s on to H&K.

Find Jeff here:


Twitter: @klingorengi

Bio: I was born and raised in Lima, Ohio (nothing like Glee) and left at the age of 18 for the US Army. As a Russian linguist, I traveled all over the world and had a lot of really cool, if classified, experiences. When I left the Army, I kicked around St Louis for a dozen years or so doing anything you can imagine to keep the wolf at bay. In 2007 a series of unfortunate circumstances led me to return to my birthplace where I met my wife, Lisa. I was doing security at the store she worked at and one thing just led to another.