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An Interview with Author Carol Holland March

Carol Holland March is a writing instructor and coach, a visionary fiction author of novels and short stories, and a nonfiction writer whose work focuses on finding the inner path to hope and healing. Her newest nonfiction releases are When Spirit Whispers: A Journey of Awakening (a 2022 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award Winner) and its companion workbook, When Spirit Whispers: A self-guided journal for accessing your intuitive wisdom. You’ll find Carol on her website at CarolHollandMarch.com and on her Amazon author page.


Who did you write the books for, and what do you hope readers will take away from them?
I wrote When Spirit Whispers and the accompanying workbook to talk about healing from trauma. About how looking inward and writing helped me overcome the effects of the early childhood trauma that had so affected my life. This inner focus helped me overcome the “people pleasing” syndrome and fear that my creative work was not good enough. I had blamed myself for being a writer who did not write and a person who did not live up to her potential, but focusing inward led me to the resources I needed to pull myself out of anxiety, depression, and a deep-rooted lack of confidence.

To those who are creative but can’t produce their work, and to those who know something is missing, but aren’t sure what, my book shows how I asked for help from my creative center and received it! I hope my nonfiction books will help others realize how addiction, lack of confidence, and many of the so-called “neurotic” disorders are coping mechanisms developed to overcome the effects of trauma. I want to tell everyone who suffers this way THAT IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT. Change is possible. Healing is possible. And creative work will build the bridge to a new way of living.

Tell us how the books came together.
In 2017, after my second cancer diagnosis, I put away the novel I was working on to devote my time to telling my story. I thought it would help others to understand the healing journey of a creative person who was so blocked by resistance that she could not offer her work to the public for most of her life. I began work on the nonfiction book after my cancer treatment was complete in 2018. I had plenty of ideas and tons of material, but encountered huge resistance in producing a coherent narrative. I started and stopped, re-organized, changed perspective—the same time-wasting things I did with my first novel. My decades-long practice of journaling saved me from despair. Gradually, I worked through the blocks, which were largely based on a deep belief that whatever I said or did would be wrong. That’s not true, but it was the message I had internalized from my programming.

My novels (The Dreamwalkers of Larreta trilogy) had come out in 2016-2017, and I continued to write and publish short stories, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I took all those ideas for nonfiction and shaped them into a book. After I clarified my intention to finish Whispers, the writing took about a year. I had collected quotes and prompts without a particular purpose in mind, and halfway through Whispers I added a workbook of questions, prompts, and suggestions for anyone to use journaling as a healing tool. Since I teach Writing for Healing, and how to open to the creative impulse, it seemed a natural addition. After doing my own edits, I went through another two rounds of editing and proofing and published the books at the end of 2021.

What makes these books unique in the self-help/spiritual healing market?
Whispers is my recounting of a personal journey. It offers the hints and clues I followed as I searched for answers to the universal questions: who am I, and what in the world am I doing? I don’t offer a program, recommend any system of thought or healing practice. I believe we all can tap into our inner wisdom and learn what is appropriate for us. My first meditation teachers offered no ideology, only techniques designed to help students develop clear communication with their own highest knowledge. It worked for me, and I appreciated being taught to learn for myself rather than accepting external rules and traditions. In the book, I use my experiences with people, animals, and places to illustrate how spirit, always whispering, led me back to myself.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
When Spirit Whispers is a memoir of sorts. I wrote about my early experiences with my Wise Inner Guide and how that led me to the teachers and systems of thought that were right for me. The book does not cover all my experiences—that would take volumes—but I hoped to choose events that would point the way to anyone interested in the healing journey. I tell of what I’ve learned and of the places where I found spiritual guidance. What was most difficult about the writing was choosing the incidents and subjects from among a lifetime of experiences. Honing it down, finding what I hoped were the most significant elements. And using language that would resonate with others.

Do you have a favorite quote from When Spirit Whispers you’d like to share?
“In that land of red rocks and crashing silence, my connection to the earth flared into life. I sensed the web of energy connecting people and rocks and sand, cactus and juniper and mountain lions. We all breathed air. We all needed water. I was not so different from the ancient people who had walked this way. I was still connected to them, to the rocky cliffs and to the big-horned sheep who danced along their edges. This desert seemed more real to me than any city.”

What was the most rewarding aspect of putting this project together?
As with all my books, the most rewarding aspect is finishing! Writing through the tough parts, overcoming resistance, and making the book as good as I could manage. I have received some wonderful feedback from readers that it was useful to them, which is the best result I could hope for.

When you tackle a nonfiction project, do you think of it as storytelling?
I believe everything is a story, including the way we see our culture and the decisions we make in our lives. One of the great benefits of writing was to change my story from that of a woman victimized by circumstance, to one who has agency, takes responsibility, and does not blame others for the events of her life.

Besides nonfiction, you write novels and short stories you call “visionary fiction.” What do you mean by that term?
I read fantasy and magical realism, and when I looked for a term for what I write, visionary fiction fit best. I am interested in characters who are influenced by unseen forces, the world “behind the veil.” My characters strive to discover who they are in the larger sense. I write about life on other planets, interpenetrating planes of existence, and an earth that is imbued with magic. My characters live more than one lifetime. Often, they remember the world from which they came. Since childhood, I have perceived more than meets the eye, so it’s natural to me to write about it.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I am still writing short stories. One is coming out this year in New Myths magazine, and JMS Press will publish one of my novelette length stories in March. I am almost finished with the first draft of another nonfiction book with a working title of Open the Door to Your Creative Self. When that’s finished, I plan to write a novel that’s been haunting me for years. I have the characters and an outline, and I’m itching to have more time for it.


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




An Interview with Lynn Barker

Lynn Barker is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, script doctor, and screenplay consultant. Her writing credits include scripts for the 1980s reboot of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as articles in American Cinematographer and Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America West. Her latest work is Futurus Rex, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy adventure novel co-authored with the late Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana. You’ll find Lynn on Facebook, IMDb.com, and her Amazon author page.


What is your elevator pitch for Futurus Rex?
There is a legend that King Arthur is not dead but only sleeping. He will awaken when Britain most needs him to lead a rebellion. Arthur wakes in a far future post-holocaust time, and the only one of his beloved knights to survive the long sleep with him is his nephew the traitorous Modred.

How did the book come together?
In the late 1980s, artist/writer/animator Budd Lewis brought to me and my longtime friend Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana his version of King Arthur’s return which he had originally wanted to release as a graphic novel. We were both intrigued and the three of us worked together to write a screenplay that was probably before its time in many ways. After Budd’s death in 2014, Dorothy and I crafted the outline for a novel adapted from our screenplay. Dorothy wrote a portion of it, I wrote a section, we traded and “edited” each other. Both got busy on other things and, when she died at the end of 2019, I started to finish the short novel still having to match her writing style, adding material etc. all while working as an entertainment journalist. I finished in the summer of 2022. The cover design is art by Budd Lewis. (For more of his cool art for his original graphic novel concept, go to the Photos tab on the book’s Facebook page.)

Tell us about your main characters and why you chose them to carry the story.
Well, there are a lot of them. Of course, we had to have Arthur awaken along with Modred. If you’ve got Arthur, you need his mentor/teacher Merlin in the mix. Now, who do they interact with in a far future British dystopia? We wanted a strong, interesting female lead to equal Arthur in bravado, brains and leadership potential but she appears on the surface to just be a popular, talented troubadour (or songsayer in our jargon) and Aliena was created. We needed a “bad guy” who, in this case, is a female techno-mage—we call them techno-wizards but only a few people are aware that their “wizardry” is mostly left-over science from before a great war—so Grand Wizard Karayahn and her army of mutants filled that bill.

Whew…we’ve also got a band of renegade highwaymen called the Foresters led by Connery Beige, a hot Robin Hood type who may or may not join the good guys in a rebellion against Karayahn. We added three beings from The Enchantment, a well-hidden land of the Fae (elves, fairies, trolls and other magical creatures) whose vast powers Karayahn covets and who also may or may not join a rebellion against her.

Lastly, I have to mention Enchantment resident Yaustis, a thween who appears on the outside to be a large dragon only with feathers and tiny wings instead of scales. He’s very intelligent and is instrumental in helping drive the story.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for the book?
Two things: Bringing a far future, post massive-war Britain to life without letting that setting (or too much backstory) rule our narrative and secondly, introducing The Enchantment using only a few characters who make only a couple of visits back inside after coming out as “scouts” to see who has been trying to “pick their locks” so to speak and enter without an invitation.  Note: This is a fast-moving Sci-Fi/Fantasy action adventure so we needed to concentrate on that. I will be writing a sequel because I learned that many readers wanted more story that would at least partially take them inside The Enchantment, etc.

What is the main setting and how does it impact the story and the characters?
We are in far future, post devastating-war Britain mostly around the London area and environs. There are ruins of our current 21st Century civilization: crumbled skyscrapers, wrecked museums and pieces of buildings and malls, and what is left of the underground everywhere. This impacts Arthur especially since he recognizes nothing of his realm. There is a debris belt circling the moon, etc. Even though Merlin assures him that he is in his kingdom, this contributes to his feeling like a complete stranger in a strange land and doubting his ability to aid the rebels. Aliena, Connery Beige, etc. are used to living in a semi-wasteland under awful conditions under a despotic ruler but they are sick of it and want their freedom.

What roles did you and Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana play in developing the story?
I covered this a bit in a previous answer, but after basing the screenplay on much of the character and story work of Budd Lewis, Dorothy and I re-worked it a bit for the novel. After her death, I continued to flesh out characters and story as needed. Until her death, we were equal partners in this. Our writing styles are quite similar although she wrote a less detailed style than I would do alone. I had to match her style for Futurus Rex but I won’t have to do that in the sequel which will be loosely based on notes we made for a possible continuing story.

How did you choose the title for the book?
It was always Budd’s title and we liked it…future king Futurus Rex. Worked for us.

What was the most rewarding aspect of putting this project together?
Continuing and finishing work that Budd and Dorothy always wanted to “get out there.” After just too long a wait to hear from some major publishers and getting encouraged by some then finally getting a rejection for various (never the same) reasons, I decided to self-publish. It had already been almost three years after Dorothy’s death and it was time.

How did your experience as a scriptwriter help you with writing Futurus Rex?
It both helps and hurts. For example, I’m great at writing exciting action sequences from doing so as a teleplay and screenplay writer. I also know how to not get bogged down with pages and pages of talking-heads dialogue or endless backstory that doesn’t move the story (or character development) forward. So did Dorothy. That is why Futurus Rex is a short, fast-moving action-adventure novel. However, I find that there are a lot of readers who love long talking-heads chapters and tons and tons of backstory and vast description of every crumbled ruin Arthur passes. You can’t please all the readers all of the time. However, on my own for the sequel, there will be more of that kind of thing without letting it become pointless. Thus, the sequel will be longer.

What do many beginning writers misunderstand about telling a story?
There is a ton! One of the things they must learn is to be a team player. You can’t let every word you write become precious to you.  Publishers, editors and (in the film/television/streaming world) producers and story editors WILL touch your golden words or ask you to change things—and they will sometimes have some stupid reasons. You have to decide where your lines for battle are and when to comply…or also how to defend your point of view with grace and make a convincing argument.

Looking back to the beginning of your writing career, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Not to be intimidated by any negative reactions to my writing (whether screenplay, teleplay or prose) but to learn from them and discard those that simply aren’t relevant. Also, to consider the source and motivations of those making negative comments just as you consider the motivations of those who butter you up with too many positive accolades that aren’t sincere.

What is the best encouragement or advice you’ve received in your writing journey?
You can do it. You’ve got the talent. Write something every day.

What writing projects are you working on now?
After a bit more marketing work with a PR person for Futurus Rex, I’m starting on the sequel before the end of January. Then, I have another supernatural/horror/film noir-ish novel I started that I want to get back to.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
The novel is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as e-books and paperbacks.


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




2022 New Releases for SWW Authors #4

Rachel Bate, Barbara J. Genovese, Larry Kilham, Tammy Lough, and Kathy Louise Schuit represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2022. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for 2023 interviews or updates for many of these authors.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2022 releases is included at the end of this post.


Tierra Day (Mascot Kids, October 2022) by Rachel Bate. Litter is everywhere! What can Tierra and her critter friends do to help solve this problem? Find out what glorious solution Eli Eagle shares with his friends about all the pollution! Tierra Day, as with all of Rachel’s books, inspires children to collaborate with nature and each other with respect, compassion, and kindness. She collaborated with the illustrator (her sister Rebecca Jacob) to create engaging, colorful pictures that coincide beautifully with the story.

Look for all of Rachel’s books on Amazon. For links to other retailers, go to her author page on SouthWest Writers.


George Leaves the Lights ON: the importance of being earnest about conservation (November 2022) by Barbara J. Genovese. George leaves lights on wherever he goes. His parents worry that he’ll blow power grids up and down both Coasts. Maybe to even Madrid and Bombay and far Timbuktu! As the electric bills rise, George’s Mom begins to have terrible dreams. From nightmares of what life would be like without light, she comes up with ideas for conservation. As do her other children. But George keeps leaving the lights on. Until the day he turns 12. On that day George finally figures out which light it’s important to leave ON.

You’ll find George Leaves the Lights ON on Amazon.


Curiosity & Hope: Explorations for a Better World (December 2022) by Larry Kilham. Larry shares his adventures in industrializing Saudi Arabia, multimedia publishing, tracking Russian submarines, planning new towns, selling machinery in Latin America, and founding two high-tech companies. His boyhood curiosity in electronics began a process of discovery and education that led to a remarkable and happy life. New generations may gain insights from his experience, particularly if they are oriented towards new discovery, technology, and ecology. There is plenty of interest here for parents and educators. The story is told in an easy style as a continuous adventure and is illustrated with many photos.

Visit Larry on his website at LarryKilham.net and go to his Amazon author page for all of his books.


Lacey’s Lessons of Love (For the Love of Lacey Book 1, Cottage Porch Books, September 2022) by Tammy Lough. Will Lacey fancy the muscle-ripped cowboy of her dreams more than hot possum stew on a frigid winter night? Will Brandon’s seductive lips meet up with the object of his desire? The year is 1873 and the Wild Wild West is wide open … the ideal setting for the hellcat tomboy, Lacey Autumn Kendall, who doesn’t want no stinking man. At least yet. Sparks fly when Brandon Lee Chandler meets Lacey — the two are oil and vinegar swirling in a dizzying sizzle of sexual tension. Get ready to devour mayhem in this delightful romp that unfolds in book one of For the Love of Lacey series.

Learn more about Tammy on her website at TammyLough.com. Find all of her books on her Amazon author page.


Dance Cat (October 2022), words and pictures by Kathy Louise Schuit.

At the BEST Dance School, everyday, we dance our best in every way. Because we have practiced doing our best, we’re always ready for what happens NEXT!

You’ll find Kathy on her website at OpenWithDesign.com. Dance Cat is available on Amazon.


SWW Author Interviews: 2022 Releases

E. Joe Brown
A Cowboy’s Destiny (Artemesia Publishing, August 2022)

Chuck Greaves
The Chimera Club (Tallow Lane Books, May 2022)

Melody Groves
Trail to Tin Town (Five Star Publishing, June 2022)
Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw (Two Dot Publishing, August 2022)

Joyce Hertzoff
Winds of Change (August 2022)

Ed Lehner
Grandpa’s Horse and Other Tales (AIA Publishing, March 2022)

Cassie Sanchez
Embracing the Darkness (October 2022)

Avraham “Avi” Shama
Cyberwars — David Knight Goes To Moscow (3rd Coast Books, May 2022)


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




2022 New Releases for SWW Authors #3

Joseph Badal, Fil A. Chavez, Charlene Bell Dietz, Lynn Ellen Doxon, and Katayoun Medhat represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2022. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for 2023 interviews or updates for many of these authors.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2022 releases is included at the end of this post.


Everything to Lose (Lassiter/Martinez Case Files Book 4, Suspense Publishing, September 2022) by Joseph Badal. The thriller pits New Mexico homicide detectives Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez against a duo of mass murderers terrorizing Albuquerque, New Mexico…and then their arch-nemesis, Lisa French, targets the detectives for murder. Inspired by actual events, Everything to Lose is an edge-of-the-seat thriller built on a foundation of characters from previous books in the series, including Lisa French, a psychopathic murderer in her own right.

For all of Joe’s books, go to his Amazon author page.


Unused Towels (August 2022) by Fil A. Chavez. The book reveals how one person was guided by God to share why life is worth staying alive. A collection of refreshingly honest, real-life stories, Unused Towels describes inspiring, thought-provoking incidents in the author’s life…some will bring laughter, some will evoke tears, others will elicit deep thinking. Some of the narratives in this book touch on deeply serious topics since one focus of the book is to shed light on suicidal depression. The author offers encouraging thoughts from his own personal experience, especially to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The book contains humorous, uplifting, and entertaining stories that emphasize how great and loving God is.

You’ll find Unused Towels on Amazon.


The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor: Margaret Brent Pre-Colonial Maryland 1638-1648 (Quill Mark Press, September 2022) by Charlene Bell Dietz. Move over Susan B. Anthony. There’s an unsung woman asking for the vote 224 years before you. In 1638, Lady Margaret Brent, Catholic spinster in Protestant England, headstrong and subversive, teaches Catholic women reading, mathematics, and Latin. If the king’s men uncover her seditious deeds, she’ll face the gallows. Margaret Brent flees to the New World where she transitions from a privileged life to one of privations. There she faces the truth of life in Maryland and determines to fight injustice by being a voice in court for others. The American Bar Association each year honors five deserving women attorneys with their prestigious Margaret Brent Award.

Visit Charlene on her website at InkyDanceStudios.com. The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop.


Ninety Day Wonder (Becoming the Greatest Generation Book 1, Artemesia Publishing, September 2022) by Lynn Ellen Doxon. Gene Sinclair’s life’s goal was to become a medical doctor, to get away from the tedium of teaching high school chemistry. But as World War II looms, Sinclair is drafted and sent to the ninety-day Officer’s Training School. Commissioned as an antiaircraft artillery officer, Sinclair struggles to come to grips with his duty as an officer and to Sarah Gale, the new love of his life, as she joins the WAACs. The war separates the young lovers when Sinclair’s unit is shipped to Australia. There he continues training to fight the Japanese and adapt to the challenges of jungle warfare. Sent for specialized training in Darwin, Sinclair experiences the harsh reality of war during a Japanese air raid on the city.

Ninety Day Wonder is for sale on Amazon. Go to Lynn’s author page at Artemesia Publishing for links to other retailers.


Flyover Country (Leapfrog Press, September 2022) by Katayoun Medhat. The Mesa, eyrie of the ancient Pueblan ancestors, casts its shadow over small-town Milagro, where old-time ranchers and thrusting incomers converge in the common cause of profiteering from the land. Charged with mediating a seemingly innocuous dispute about a slain miniature horse, K is caught in the titanic, merciless clash between Old and New West. To make matters worse, Robbie Begay may be turning from friend to foe commodifying sacred traditions for the benefit of cultural tourism. As his heroes morph into villains and his villains stay villains, K’s customary position between a rock and a hard place suddenly becomes much more precarious.

You’ll find Katayoun on her website at KatayounMedhat.com. Look for Flyover Country at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


SWW Author Interviews: 2022 Releases

E. Joe Brown
A Cowboy’s Destiny (Artemesia Publishing, August 2022)

Chuck Greaves
The Chimera Club (Tallow Lane Books, May 2022)

Melody Groves
Trail to Tin Town (Five Star Publishing, June 2022)
Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw (Two Dot Publishing, August 2022)

Joyce Hertzoff
Winds of Change (August 2022)

Ed Lehner
Grandpa’s Horse and Other Tales (AIA Publishing, March 2022)

Cassie Sanchez
Embracing the Darkness (October 2022)

Avraham “Avi” Shama
Cyberwars — David Knight Goes To Moscow (3rd Coast Books, May 2022)


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




2022 New Releases for SWW Authors #2

Sue Houser, Evelyn Neil, Pamela Nowak, Angus Robb, and Edith Tarbescu represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2022. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for 2023 interviews or updates for many of these authors.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2022 releases is included at the end of this post.


Amelia and the Magic Ponies (Irie Books, August 2022) by Sue Houser. Los Caballitos has come to town! Amelia gets in line to ride the carousel, but when a thunderstorm blows in, the wooden ponies are hurriedly stashed in an old barn—and forgotten. The following year, Amelia goes in search of the enchanting little merry-go-round. Can she convince her grandfather to restore the damaged horses? This book, written for 4-8 years old, parallels the story of Tio Vivo, an antique carousel found abandoned in Peñasco, New Mexico and restored by the Lions Club of Taos. This charming carousel continues to take children on magical rides during Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana in Taos, New Mexico.

Visit Sue on her website at SueHouser.com and go to her Amazon author page for all of her books.


Dancing to the End of Our Rainbow (March 2022) by Evelyn Neil. Married following a three-month courtship, soul-mates Don and Evelyn dance off to begin a fifty-eight-year adventure of traveling both the high road and the low road. Constant companions, they build a successful business while imparting strong ethical values to their two sons and each of their four grandchildren. This tale of devotion and hard work follows the couple on their heart-wrenching journey through uncharted territory while coping with Don’s unwelcome health diagnosis and slow physical decline.  When they reach the end of their rainbow, Evelyn is left to grapple with the day-to-day challenges of widowhood and to wonder who she is without Don. With resilience and determination, she strives to accept what has happened and to reinvent her life.

Dancing to the End of Our Rainbow is available on Amazon.


Necessary Deceptions: The Women of Wyatt Earp (Five Star Publishing, February 2022) by Pamela Nowak. Deception defined Wyatt Earp and the two women who were married to him longest. Their stories remained elusive, buried by the legend that emerged around Wyatt. Mattie Blaylock lived with him during the years when prostitution and corruption ran their lives, clinging to the lies she told herself and fighting to remain her own woman. Josephine Marcus deceived others her entire life, hiding her less-than-desirable past and opening doors to the role she craved. When Josie met Wyatt, it was easy enough to reinvent him as well. The myth that emerged from her fabrications created a history that destroyed Mattie and left Josie struggling to keep her stories straight.

You’ll find Pam on her website at PamilaNowak.com. Look for Necessary Deceptions at Barnes & Noble and her Amazon author page.


African Indaba (August 2022) by Angus Robb. Rory Mackenzie, son of a Scots refugee and a Boer mother, achieves manhood during political and cultural upheaval on the Dark Continent, all the while under the threat of Chola, a deadly bull elephant. As a child, he watches the beast slay his grandfather, and as a youth sees his father meet the same fate, but both times Chola mysteriously spares Rory’s life. Perhaps the natives are right: The monster has mtagate, magical powers enabling him to tell the difference between friend and foe. Spanning decades before, during, and after World War II, the tale unfolds during the dying years of colonial domination in Africa. At its core this is the story of a boy and a rogue beast, each fighting for his place in a vicious world, but neither craving to kill the other for it.

Visit Angus at RMKPublications.com. You’ll find African Indaba on Amazon.


Beyond Brooklyn: A memoir (August 2022) by Edith Tarbescu. “In Beyond Brooklyn Edith Tarbescu tells her own story, but many readers will also recognize themselves in her compelling life-scenes and mini-play scripts. The daughter of immigrant Jews, transplanted with her New York roots largely intact first to Connecticut and then to New Mexico, Tarbescu keeps sane by making witty habitats out of words. Every visitor to her constructs is in for a treat.” — Ann Z. Leventhal, author of Life-Lines, Among the Survivors and The Makings of a Nobody.

Visit Edith at EdithTarbescu.com and go to Amazon for Beyond Brooklyn.


SWW Author Interviews: 2022 Releases

E. Joe Brown
A Cowboy’s Destiny (Artemesia Publishing, August 2022)

Chuck Greaves
The Chimera Club (Tallow Lane Books, May 2022)

Melody Groves
Trail to Tin Town (Five Star Publishing, June 2022)
Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw (Two Dot Publishing, August 2022)

Joyce Hertzoff
Winds of Change (August 2022)

Ed Lehner
Grandpa’s Horse and Other Tales (AIA Publishing, March 2022)

Cassie Sanchez
Embracing the Darkness (October 2022)

Avraham “Avi” Shama
Cyberwars — David Knight Goes To Moscow (3rd Coast Books, May 2022)


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




2022 New Releases for SWW Authors #1

Lynn Barker, Robert D. Kidera, Carol H. March, Karen Meadows, and Lynne Sturtevant represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2022. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for 2023 interviews or updates for many of these authors.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2022 releases is included at the end of this post.


Futurus Rex (July 2022) by Lynn Barker. In this dark future, the denizens of outposts along primitive trading routes struggle to survive and grow under medieval conditions and the harsh rule of Techno-wizards. One popular young songsayer, Aliena, is encouraged to lead a band of misfits against the oppressors but she feels far from qualified. She needs a strong battle leader and the man awakened in a cave is destined to be that person for he is Arthur, the once and future king. As legend has it, he, along with his faithful knights who rest beside him, will come forth to save his kingdom in its hour of greatest need. Unfortunately, the only one of his beloved knights to survive the long sleep is…the traitorous Modred. Co-written with Star Trek icon Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana.

You’ll find Lynn on IMDb.com and Amazon.


Robert D. Kidera, Tony Hillerman Award Winner and author of the Gabe McKenna Mystery series, brings readers a new thriller in 2022: CHANDLER IS DEAD. An unbalanced killer-for-hire stops during a driving rain to pick up a naked, drugged-out teenage girl hitchhiking on a desolate two-lane highway outside a Colorado ghost town at 3:27 a.m. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? If you’re a fan of Richard Stark/Donald Westlake’s Parker novels, you’ll love this one.

Visit Bob on his Black Range Publishing website, listen to his Black Range Pub podcast, and look for all of his releases on his Amazon author page.


When Spirit Whispers: A Journey of Awakening (January 2022) by Carol H. March is a 2022 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award Winner. Do you struggle with important decisions? Feel depressed or anxious? Get overwhelmed, with no time to create the life you want? To recover, heal, and thrive, say hello to the one who knows you best. Your Wise Inner Guide can lead you to your natural, creative self. It knows your fears, challenges, and your heart’s desire. It can show you how to create a life of meaning and purpose at any age. When Spirit Whispers: A self-guided journal for accessing your intuitive wisdom — the companion workbook — is also available. Inspirational quotes, questions for reflection, and writing prompts invite you to develop an active relationship with your Wise Inner Guide who will lead you to your inner Creative Self.

Find When Spirit Whispers and the self-guided journal on Amazon.


It’s a Tango, Not a War: Dancing with Type 1 Diabetes (May 2022) by Karen Meadows. Are you dancing with your diabetes? Most of us are not. We have been told to go to war with diabetes! But It’s a Tango, Not a War is a book about partnering with T1D (or any kind of diabetes). Do you know what to do to stay well? Do you think you can do it? Do you want to? This book offers humor, empathy and practical recommendations for finding your own way with diabetes and living more easily, even joyfully. Discover current medical guidelines embedded in inspiring stories of how others have met diabetes challenges and triumphed. Think about new routines for living well with what some consider a curse.

You’ll find Karen on KarenMeadowsDiabetes.com. Look for It’s a Tango, Not a War on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


The Ghost of Walker’s Gap (The Off-Kilter Chronicles Book 2) (April 2022) by Lynne Sturtevant. Visiting homemaker Ginger Stewart doesn’t believe in ghosts — until the spirit of a dead artist materializes in her backseat. New to Walker’s Gap, the most haunted town in West Virginia, Ginger soon discovers ghosts aren’t the only ones disturbing the peace. A mining company wants to strip the surrounding hills of their riches. But they’re searching for treasure in the wrong place. Something much more valuable than coal is hidden beneath the historic town’s brick streets. Ginger teams up with Birdy, an elderly woman with Appalachian magic running through her veins, and Ronnie, an expert in mountain legends and folklore. Can they discover the secret of Walker’s Gap and put its troubled spirits to rest before greed consumes them all?

Visit Lynne on her website LynneSturtevant.com. For all of her books, go to her Amazon author page.


SWW Author Interviews: 2022 Releases

E. Joe Brown
A Cowboy’s Destiny (Artemesia Publishing, August 2022)

Ed Lehner
Grandpa’s Horse and Other Tales (AIA Publishing, March 2022)

Chuck Greaves
The Chimera Club (Tallow Lane Books, May 2022)

Melody Groves
Trail to Tin Town (Five Star Publishing, June 2022)
Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw (Two Dot Publishing, August 2022)

Joyce Hertzoff
Winds of Change (August 2022)

Cassie Sanchez
Embracing the Darkness (October 2022)

Avraham “Avi” Shama
Cyberwars — David Knight Goes To Moscow (3rd Coast Books, May 2022)


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




An Interview with Author John L. Thompson

John L. Thompson is a graphic designer and an author of long and short fiction in several genres including crime fiction, thriller, and sci-fi. He published two books in 2021: Monkey Wrench, the second novel in his crime fiction Truck Stop trilogy, and the nonfiction release It’s a Lonely World: An Indie Author’s Journey (Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them). Visit John on his website at JohnThompsonAuthor.com, on Facebook and Twitter, and on his Amazon author page.


What sparked the story idea for the Truck Stop trilogy?
Working as a diesel mechanic for the better part of thirty years, writing the story came naturally. I worked at a truck stop a couple decades ago that resembled an old western honky-tonk. The supervisors were trying hard to hang on to the dying age of Outlaw trucking. They wore all the western clothing, the custom boots, the whole shooting match. They reminded me of characters out of the 1973 film Walking Tall except they resembled the bad guys…a lot. They ran the place like mafia henchmen. It seemed natural to include that fun fact in the story line. I show the dark underbelly of a chain of truck stops. Mix in a mob group, a couple of down-on-their-luck diesel mechanics looking for lost mafia money, and finally a woman with a hidden agenda, and you’ve got a story.

What is your elevator pitch for Monkey Wrench?
George Olsen’s life is one big lie, and he is proving to be a problem in the WITSEC program. All he wants is his old life back, but then again, there’s that mob group wanting him dead. When he hears about an old flame moving to town, he takes a chance to step outside the protective boundaries set by the US Marshals, only to find that people are still looking for him.

Who are your main characters? Will those who know you recognize you in any of these characters?
The main character is George Olsen. He has many names within the story due to the fact he hates life in the WITSEC program. He botches living in one place only to find himself in another state under a new name. This habit eventually leads to further issues. As far as using real life people as characters in my story, I did in Truck Stop (book one), but I mixed character traits to make it impossible to tell who is who if the real-life person reads the story. Some of my friends caught on to this and were happy to see they were in my book.

Why did you choose New Mexico as a setting for the book?
Monkey Wrench continues after the events in Truck Stop. Choosing New Mexico as a setting was natural selection. I keep with the adage of writing what you know. It was easier to write about the places mentioned. Even though Monkey Wrench takes place in several states, New Mexico was obvious. Not only do I live here, I try to center all my stories within New Mexico.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing a series?
The challenging aspect of writing this series is trying to remember all the details, such as character traits and plots from one book to another. I had to go back over Truck Stop for details of the crime in question. In another instance, I had forgotten a character’s last name. You would be surprised how often a writer can forget the small things. Detail is critical.

Is there a scene in the book that you’d love to see play out in a movie?
Not so much in Monkey Wrench as I would Truck Stop. I envision a single scene in Monkey Wrench where the main character Olsen is thrown in jail after a bar brawl. His background check is a bit spotty, and he is detained because the local cops believe he might be hiding who he really is. He confesses who he is and the cops think he is bluffing. At least until Olsen’s handler in the US Marshals shows up to bail him out. It is a mix of comedy, and it shows just how serious a predicament Olsen is in if he ever leaves WITSEC.

What would you like readers to know about It’s a Lonely World?
Basically, the premise behind Lonely World is that Indie Publishing is a lonely project for just about anyone involved in the self-publishing world. Many people believe that authors write the book and that’s it. Few people realize these same authors wear many other hats. Not only do they write the books, most will design their own book covers, perform editing, learn the marketing angles, and finally try to sell a few books. Some authors are proficient at selling their books, but the fact is, the majority of Indie authors fail in selling their books. This is discouraging for many and some give up on the dream of being an author. Lonely World is kind of a motivational book for authors. Eventually, I’ll have to update the material, but it points out my own personal successes and failures.

What prompted the push to begin this project?
I started writing and publishing stories some fifteen to twenty years ago. I met many, many great writers within the Indie community who were just awesome people to talk with. Many encouraged newer authors to keep writing and trying to publish. Fast forward to present time, I find many of those authors no longer in the writing world. The reasons are numerous as to why. Some had passed away, some found the journey too damn difficult to balance with marriage and a 9-to-5 grind. Others just gave up chasing the dream of being an author. I wanted people to know that there are those out here who really want you, the writer, to succeed.

This is your first nonfiction release. What unique challenges did the work pose for you?
Actually, writing Lonely World was natural. I didn’t feel like there was any stress to writing it. I wanted to be open and honest, but not discourage people from wanting to be a successful writer. I wish for anyone wanting to be a writer to keep chasing the dream and never let go. I have seen people struggle for years to be a published writer and also become a success, so I know it can happen.

What was the expected, or unexpected, result of writing It’s a Lonely World?
The best feeling in the world is being told, “Hey, I bought your book, read it and liked it. I even continued writing when I was about to give up.” I can appreciate those kinds of compliments.

Who are your favorite authors? What do you admire most about their writing?
There are many to note, but off the top of my head, I admire Philip Jose Farmer, Barry Sadler, Ray Bradbury, Robin Moore, Dashiell Hammett, Carsten Stroud, Ian Fleming, and Philip K. Dick. The reasons are numerous but these authors are literary giants who left a huge footprint within their genres. I love to read their stories and have for decades now. They told stories that were worth reading and learning about character and world building that are believable and relatable.

What kinds of scenes do you find most difficult to write?
Romantic aspect. It is truly difficult to write a believable and relatable romantic perspective in any story line. At least for me, anyway. Most importantly, I don’t want to write scenes that are too graphic in nature. I must have balanced the romantic aspect well enough in Truck Stop. Everyone has said it is believable.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I have multiple stories in the oven. One book I’m working on that has my interest is a graphic novel, which will be completed sometime next year. I’m not going to spill the beans yet on title or subject. I have an agreement with the artist to withhold info until he gives me the green light. Let’s just say, the story is one awesome ride in the making. I’m also working on a sci-fi thriller titled Puzzle Man. It is a story that I have had on my mind, and on several computers, for the last ten years. It is going to be a “Rip Van Winkle” kind of story, and perhaps a little bit of my own personal story thrown in.


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




An Interview with Author Cassie Sanchez

Cassie Sanchez is an award-winning author of romantic fantasy. Chasing the Darkness (Morgan James Fiction, November 2021) was her debut novel and the first book in The Darkness Trilogy. Book two in the series, Embracing the Darkness (October 2022), is described as the weaving of “a complicated, compelling story…a powerful saga of change, redemption, and transformation.” Visit Cassie on her website at CassieSanchez.com, on Facebook and Instagram, and on her Amazon author page.


What would you like readers to know about the story you tell in The Darkness Trilogy?
The Darkness Trilogy, starting with Chasing the Darkness, is about a man’s journey of self: his purpose, his worth, and his values. It’s a romantic fantasy full of magic, sword fights, and love.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
As a debut author, navigating the publishing world, building my platform, and marketing were very challenging with the first book. With the second, the challenge was that there were now expectations that weren’t there before. Imposter Syndrome is very real and has a tendency to rear its ugly head, often.

What sparked the story idea for Chasing the Darkness? What about book two, Embracing the Darkness?
One day, my two sons were playing a video game and a character in that game got my attention. The creativity bug struck, and I wrote a scene about an assassin betrayed by his team and left to die in a dungeon. This became chapter four of Chasing the Darkness and from there the story evolved. Embracing the Darkness is a continuation of my main character’s story, but now he faces new challenges yet with old temptations and habits tightening their grip.

You published the first two books in the trilogy about a year apart. How did the books come together?
I began writing Chasing in early 2020 and signed with Morgan James Publishing in February 2021. The eBook released in November and the paperback released February 1, 2022. I was already working on the second book when the first released, but I’d say it took me around a year and half to write each book from start to finish, including the editing and cover design process.

Who are your main characters? Did they surprise you as you wrote their story?
Azrael, the Angel of Death, also known as Jasce Farone, is my main character. He’s a morally gray assassin who’s fiercely loyal and yet has some anger management problems. Kord Haring, my gentle giant, became a fan favorite, which surprised me. He is a very likable character and honestly, I’m not sure how I did that. He’s the wiser, older brother of Kenz Haring, the love interest in the story. I’ve found that many women love Kenz while quite a few men are annoyed by her (including my husband). She’s got a chip on her shoulder and a need to prove herself but would do anything to protect her family.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for the series?
Probably the fact that I did it backwards since the world developed as I wrote the story. I assume most fantasy authors already have their world and magic figured out before their fingers hit the keys. I had my magic system down, so to speak, but the world grew as my characters traveled across it. The one thing I did have planned was the Desert of Souls. In this desert grows a plant that suppresses magic. It was a way to add tension with the setting.

With two books in the trilogy published and the third in the works, what has been your favorite part of putting this project together so far?
I love the writing (or should I say the rewrite/editing phase). The first draft is so hard for me. I also love meeting new people at book signings or Comic-Cons. Of course, winning awards or getting positive reviews adds a lot of joy to the process.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still struggle with calling myself an author, but I’m getting better at it. Once I saw my name on the cover of Chasing the Darkness the reality began to set in. Now that I have two books under my belt and the third in its beginning stages, it’s easier to say, “Hi, I’m an author.”

What marketing techniques have been most helpful to you?
Instagram (Bookstagram) has been hugely successful for me. I had learned to engage and post consistent content about myself and my brand way before I ever talked about my book. I was on Instagram for around nine months before I mentioned Chasing the Darkness. I’m now trying to build some momentum on TikTok but coming up with content is a challenge.

Do you have a message or a theme that recurs in your writing?
Redemption, identity, and forgiveness are themes that occur in the first two books, and I imagine will also run through the third.

Tell us about your writing process and/or your writing routine.
I’m more of a plotter than a pantser but still give myself a lot of wiggle room to let the creativity flow. My best times for writing are in the morning. By the afternoon, my brain is usually fried. And I absolutely need coffee and my writing playlist to write.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the third (and final) book in the series. It will be called either Defeating the Darkness or Destroying the Darkness. Which one do you like better?

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
Stop by my website to learn more about me and my books at www.cassiesanchez.com. Also, sign up for my newsletter to stay in the loop of all things Darkness and get two short story prequels for free.


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




An Interview with Author Mary A. Johnson

Mary A. Johnson, Ph.D., is a counselor who semi-retired from private practice to focus on writing nonfiction. In 2015, she published her first book, A Caregiver’s Guide: Insights into the Later Years (PMJ Associates, Inc. Press). Her newest release is the memoir Love and Asperger’s: Jim and Mary’s Excellent Adventure (Atmosphere Press, 2021). You’ll find Mary on her website at MaryAJohnsonPhD.com, on Facebook, and on her Amazon author page.


What would you like readers to know about the story you tell in Love and Asperger’s?
I tell the true story of falling in love with a person who has Asperger’s Syndrome and the excellent adventure that followed.

While writing the memoir, were you ever afraid of revealing too much about your life?
It was a sobering experience to make myself vulnerable by sharing intimate details of our life together. Telling the story, even years after it happened, was an emotional journey in which I had to put the project aside at times, to regain my composure. I had some hesitancy about some of the things I included, but I wanted the story to be factual, as a memoir ought to be, so some details needed to be shared. I left out some things that would have been true (but possibly hurtful to some people) because the purpose of the book was a positive one, to share information about Asperger’s and mine and Jim’s life. My motivation to be positive kept me writing, past the tendency to insert tangential stories.

Tell us how the book came together.
My second husband, Jim, asked me to write the book. I promised him I would, so I was bound by my promise. I began it a few weeks after his death, using notes of memorable events, backed up by emails we exchanged. I read over fifty books by both experts and ordinary people who had experience with Asperger’s, broadening my knowledge base. Even as a licensed counselor who had diagnosed many clients with Asperger’s, I had a lot to learn!

I realize the pandemic was a terrible thing, and I don’t diminish its horror to many people, but for me, it was a time of isolation without distractions, which enabled me to finish the book. My first draft, after over four years, was in excess of 600 pages! Lots of editing by myself, beta readers, and professional editors whittled it down to a manageable length. I contracted with a hybrid indie publisher that provided cover design from my photo and did the final formatting.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book you’d like to share?
A favorite quote, which provided the title for me, was one from Jim when someone asked about a move we were preparing to make. “It will be Jim and Mary’s excellent adventure!” Jim replied.

Did you discover anything surprising while doing research for this project?
I was surprised by the wealth of information available now about autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, and the varying opinions of experts about the condition.

How did you come up with the title of the book?
I answered this for the most part in a previous question, but I added “Love and Asperger’s” to attract readers who were interested in the topic. At first, I had the title reversed, with “Jim and Mary’s…” before the “Love and Asperger’s.” Then one of my beta readers said, “Reverse the components of the title, to grab readers’ attention who are interested in Asperger’s.” Wise decision, and another reason to have honest betas on your team!

What was the expected, or unexpected, result of writing Love and Asperger’s?
I could never have predicted the overwhelming positive response to the book. I was fortunate to have David Steinberg of the Sunday Albuquerque Journal feature it as Book of the Week in June, and have received many emails from that article, as well as several speaking engagements. I have been asked to give a 90-minute presentation for OASIS on April 2, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. Another unexpected result was the constant request for an audio version, which I hadn’t planned to do. I have finished the recording, and the final product should be available by Thanksgiving, but for sure before the end of the year.

When you tackle a nonfiction project, do you think of it as storytelling?
Yes, I see memoir as storytelling, and I think readers expect to have a storyline of some kind to follow.

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research?
I prefer the creating aspect, as I believe most authors do. The editing has to be done, but to me, it is the really hard, boring part—catching any mistakes, as well as rearranging or cutting entire portions. I love doing research and learning, so I have no problem there.

What does a typical writing session look like for you?
A typical writing session is a whole morning or afternoon of uninterrupted time in which I have nothing else planned.

Is a memoirist’s responsibility to the truth of the facts or to her perception/feelings about the past?
Both, I believe. Intentionally inventing facts makes it a novel. I’m pretty firm about that. The author is entitled to report perception/feelings, in fact, should, to give a reason for writing the memoir, but in cases of being factual, should attribute any deviation from the generally accepted truth to be her perception or memory of an event. Memory can be tricky unless events can be documented by outside sources. I was fortunate to have many, many emails Jim and I exchanged, giving me documentation for events and the dates of the events.

What is the best encouragement or advice you’ve received in your writing journey?
I enjoy hearing from people who don’t know me. I feel their input is unbiased, based on the writing alone. I’ve been greatly encouraged about this book by having several people tell me my book saved their marriage or changed their lives. That is encouragement to continue writing!

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m into genealogy, especially now that we have DNA evidence of relationships, so I’m gradually writing a family history for my descendants. The project I’m working on for publication is a memoir about my dad, that will be titled Wash Your Face with Cold Water. Rather than a chronological format, I’m playing with an essay format, to see how that feels.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I think I’ve said enough, but I want them to know Love and Asperger’s: Jim and Mary’s Excellent Adventure is my second published book. My first was A Caregiver’s Guide: Insights into the Later Years published in 2015. Lois Duncan, my dear friend, prolific writer, and long-time member of SWW, served as my encourager, editor, and also wrote the foreword to that book. I’m sure some members of SWW still remember Lois, who died in 2016. I miss her very much.


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




Author Update 2022: Joyce Hertzoff

Author Joyce Hertzoff writes mystery and speculative fiction with strong female characters eager to earn a place in their world. In 2020, she completed her four-book Crystal Odyssey fantasy series, and in 2022, she released Winds of Change, book two in her series of science fiction Portal Adventures. You’ll find Joyce on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as on FantasyByJoyceHertzoff.com and HertzoffJo.blogspot.com. Read more about Joyce in her 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021 SWW interviews, and visit Amazon for all of her books.


What is your elevator pitch for Winds of Change?
The portals from Nokar to other worlds are changing and the inhabitants of those worlds are disappearing. Will Anabet Haines and the other portal travelers discover why and find a way to restore them?

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
I had some creative problems concerning finding a solution to the plot situation at the end, but the biggest challenge was formatting the manuscript to meet Amazon/Kindle’s exacting requirements.

What prompted you to write this second installment in your portal series? How did the book come together?
I enjoyed writing A Bite of the Apple, the first book in the series, and I knew I had more to do with the characters. I needed a situation where most of them would participate in the action and in the conclusion. I think I started writing this soon after Apple was published but set it aside a few times before I finished the first draft. I finally finished it and submitted it to a couple of critique groups. At sixty-one chapters, it took a long time for them to get through it. Then the editing began.

I used Fiverr for the cover after I found I had no idea what I was doing creating a cover in Canva. The Fiverr artist I picked was able to take my first stab at it and transform it into the final cover. She sent me covers for both the eBook and the print version and knew how to modify them to meet the KDP requirements.

Who are the main characters, and what do you like most about each of them?
The main character is Anabet Haines, called Bet. She’s a spunky nineteen-year-old farm woman who’d been recruited to be a portal traveler about six months before this story begins. She showed how smart and inventive she could be in the first book of the series where she had several situations to deal with. But she’s also a bit naïve and unsure she can do everything she’s asked. Quint is a young man from another world, Lamady, where his mother is one of the councils of ruling Mothers. He’s the youngest of several brothers and determined to prove he’s the worthiest. He’s also an advocate for the portals and the use of portal keys and magic. He’s currently an apprentice to the mage Cass.

Aunt Gill is Bet’s aunt and an experienced portal traveler. She and the mage Morgan have become a couple. Monique Cho is a young woman from Earth who was Bet’s roommate in New York City in the first book. She writes historical novels and used Bet as the model for the heroine of her book. Bet meets her again in the oddest of places.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for this book?
Because the characters visit several worlds in Winds of Change, I had to build several very different ones. I had to think of diverse parts of these worlds and how they differ from each other.

TheCrimsonOrbThe Portal Adventures series and The Crystal Odyssey series use science to make their storylines work. What elements of science do you include in Winds of Change?
The main scientific principle I used was that electronic vibrations can have many frequencies. In this case, though, their use is very different from how we use vibrational frequencies. I needed some kind of science to explain how portals work. I still haven’t decided how portal keys can allow travelers to pass through portals or even how the portals can take people from one place to another. We’re just scratching the surface.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
I enjoy writing about Bet and her growing awareness. There are more adventures in store for her. Who knows where she’ll go next?

Did you learn any lessons from writing/publishing this book that you can apply to future projects?
I’ve definitely learned more about how to format in Word and the differences in what works for a print book vs. an eBook. It’s more complicated than it used to be. I’ve also learned to let my imagination flow, not to force the story in a certain direction it will not go.

What’s your reading routine like? What’s on your to-read pile?
I read both eBooks (on my phone, often while I’m eating) and print books (in the bathroom — can I say that?). At the moment I’m reading two very different stories: Grand Ellipse, a hardback fantasy novel about made-up monarchies and republics and a race around the made-up world for glory and property; and The Brighter the Light about people in an Outer Banks beach resort following a character in the 1950s and her granddaughter in 2021. Waiting on my pile are an assortment of mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, books on writing and thrillers. On my phone I have books in the same genres. Then there’s my list of “Want to Read Books” on Goodreads.

What writing projects are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on a time travel story set in southern Arizona, a mystery story set in a smallish city in 1890s England (which requires the most research), and a series of shorter pieces about the teenage members of a family who deliver goods and messages from planet to planet in a distant star system that was settled after the Earth was destroyed.


KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.




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