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Welcome to my place in the blogosphere!
feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Friday 14 October 2016

An interview with Susan Coryell

I am excited to have fellow Wild Rose Press on the Flight Deck today to tell us a bit about herself and her latest release.  Welcome Susan  - Tell us a little more about yourself – 3 things not many people know about you:

S.C.:  I am pretty much a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” gal, but here are three
obscure facts about me: I was a championship tree-climber as a child—once reaching the top of a 100-foot poplar and hanging by my knees from a branch. My girlfriend called my mother out of the house to see me. I will not report her response in this G-rated blog!  My first name is Mary, which I dropped when I went to school. My brothers are twins and my husband is a twin; I was grateful to have three children one at a time.

Lol, I used to love climbing trees as a child too! I've always been known by my middle name - but I have no connection with the twin thing! :) What do you do for fun when not writing?

S.C.:  Hubs made a big sign and nailed it to our boat dock. It reads: “Writer’s Block.” The word Block has a slash-mark through it and underneath it says DOCK. What it means, of course, is that whenever I am “blocked” with my writing I meander down to the water for inspiration. Water pretty much defines my fun. Boating, jet-skiing, kayaking and water skiing are my active water sports. Sitting on the dock watching everybody else play (frequently while sipping an adult beverage) would be the more passive fun. I also golf, practice yoga, and read—sometimes three books at once.

Wow, you have a lot going on! What comes first: the plot or the characters?

S.C.:   Actually, I always start with a theme—an underlying meaning or message I want my readers to take away from my book. For EAGLEBAIT, my YA anti-bully book, a major theme is building self-esteem as a way to ward off school bullies. For my Overhome Trilogy, cozy mystery/Southern Gothics, an over-arching theme concerns the culture and society of the South where long-held-hard-felt ideas battle with modernity. Another theme for the series: History defines us—not just our past, but also our present and our future. We ignore history at our own peril and the ghost of history can return to haunt us without warning.

Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.

NOBODY KNOWS completes the Overhome Trilogy.  In A RED, RED ROSE, protag Ashby Overton is a wide-eyed twenty-something searching for her family roots and, consequently, herself in her journey to her historic ancestral Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia. Ashby is aided in her quests by Rosabelle, a family spirit residing in the mansion.  BENEATH THE STONES continues the saga as Ashby, now twenty-five and owner of the Estate, battles Civil War ghosts as she attempts to save her home from bankruptcy.  NOBODY KNOWS picks up five years later as Ashby is visited by a descendant of a former slave at Overhome during the Civil War. Tall, dark and handsome, Professor Ellis O. Grady believes he and Ashby are related; indeed, his middle name is Overton. Together they work through myriad slave spirits riled up by his arrival and other disturbing local events.

Blurb for NOBODY KNOWS: Why do ancient spirits hover at the crossroads between two worlds: the living and the dead? 

With a successful writing career and blissful marriage, Ashby Overton is fulfilled and content at historic Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia'until a stranger walks into her life. The arrival of Professor Ellis O. Grady coincides with a violent and bizarre turbulence emanating from the dark world of Overhome's ancient spirits.

As paranormal events build into chaos, Ashby must use her sixth sense to sort out the real from the imagined in both the visible and the invisible worlds as, stirred into fury, the souls of Civil War slaves engage in a dangerous battle destined to reveal long-held secrets of the past.

What is the connection between the enigmatic professor, a slave-built chapel and a restored overseer's cottage on Overhome Estate? Ashby struggles to find the answers before the spirits destroy her family's heritage, and the lives of those she loves.

NOBODY KNOWS for Kindle:
Excerpt for NOBODY KNOWS:
     Walking over the weedy ground, I felt the desolate abandonment of those
long-dead. A few tilting gravestones, so blurred with time that their epitaphs were illegible, listed toward the ground as if sheltering from a punishing wind. Scattered among the patchwork grasses were small, thin stone markers set in the dirt, little more than raw rocks, though several bore the faint outline of initials which had been chiseled into them so long ago. Ellis and I surveyed the bleak cemetery, each harboring our own thoughts. 

I don’t know how long we stood there breathing in the silence. Then, I heard the voice.—so clear, so distinct, that I startled and almost fell back. Did my companion hear it, too? I darted a look at him. He stood with eyes closed, evidently completely lost in his own reverie. I held my breath and listened with all my senses on alert. The voice wavered this time, as though trailing away, but its repeated message was identical to the one I had first heard at the Overseer’s Cottage when the candlestick went missing. I had thought, then, that I heard “red apple,” which made no sense. Now I understood. 

“Jared Chapel,” the voice warned. Yes, its tone was severe. Demanding. “Jared Chapel.”

     I touched Ellis’s arm. “It’s here, Ellis. I know it is.” And when he blinked uncomprehendingly, I added, “You wondered if Jared Chapel offers anything in your search for your ancestry. It’s here—there’s something here. I feel it and I...I know it.”

     He blinked several times, a serious expression on his face. “You know because...”

     “Sometimes the past speaks to me. I can’t explain it, but I have to trust the voice that tells me things.”

     He rubbed his chin. “You know...this is odd. Really odd.”

     I raised my eyebrows in a silent question and he continued. “Because I thought I heard something. I definitely felt...a presence I can’t explain. Someone trying to get my attention. Someone very, very seriously trying to make me understand.” 
He shook his head. “Understand what? I confess, I’m baffled.”

     “It’s a sign,” I said. “Something I’ve learned over my years at Overhome. We ignore the signs at our own peril.”

S.C.:  I feel my “fans,” those who have read the first two books will be gratified to have all (okay—most) of their questions answered.  As a stand-alone novel, NOBODY KNOWS makes some clear statements about the nature of slavery and its horrifying effects still felt today. All in all, my novels are a combination of mystery, history, a bit of romance and ghosts. Something for everyone! Each novel stands alone as well as hooking in to the saga. All are published by The Wild Rose Press.

Sounds amazing. What have you learned about writing since you were published that surprised you the most?

S.C.:  Two things—both related. I am amazed at the amount of time and effort we writers put into promotion and marketing.  While necessary, I feel all the hours spent on social media take away valuable creative time. On the positive side, that very same time commitment has garnered dozens and dozens of writer colleague friends—folks I feel as if I know as well as my neighbors—many lovely, lively, loyal compatriots offering everything from advice to consolation—real help when needed for reading, reviewing and revising. BONUS!

I agree, both about the time lost for writing, but also with the writer colleaguees and friends. What’s your writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

S.C.:  My writing process has remained the same over my twenty+ years as a published author. First I have to spend time—usually months—in one case years— THINKING through my story. This involves TELLING my story to anyone who will listen. My children soon learned to detect the story-telling glint in my eyes and they would run and hide, knowing they were in for a long session.  When the kids all flew off on their own, my sainted husband took their place as chief-listener.  What I find is that every time I tell my story it gets better—often aided by questions or added ideas from the “audience.” Only when I have my details firmly in place do I sit down at the computer to compose. Then, I write the whole manuscript without attempting to edit—though I frequently will re-read previous chapters to make sure of continuity. Revision and edits come after all this. Whew! No wonder it takes me so long to write a book!

Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What 
valuable lessons have you learned from them?

I have a very helpful writing group composed of every possible genre-specialist in the lexicon of authors: poets, memoirists, biographers, sci-fi, romance, mystery and crime writers. Eclectic (and wonky) as we are, we offer each other constructive criticism that is invaluable. I am also lucky in that I have a writing family. Daughter—with a degree in writing and experience in everything from magazine editing to university branding is an excellent critic for my mysteries. Daughter-in-law, a career librarian, knows what readers like; she tells me the truth about my own creations. Brother, a college dean and published writer of hundreds of scholarly articles and quite a few books, reads my drafts and lets me know how an intellectual male regards my overwhelmingly “chick-lit.” And good old Hubs listens patiently to every draft chapter as though it’s in contention for a Pulitzer Prize.

With plenty of writing years under my belt and thirty years of teaching writing, I have a few suggestions for beginners. First, read everything you can get your
hands on. Read widely and well. Read the genre for which you want to write. Secondly, join a writers’ group. Even if you read aloud to them nothing you have written until you are completely comfortable doing so, keep sharp ears out for what makes good writing. Finally, write for yourself first, but branch out when you are ready and write for an audience. Think: Who will want to read what I have to offer? Why? How do I best meet their needs?

And finally - where can readers connect with you?

S.C.:  I have a good website:
Buy link:  (Please note, this is for Kindle only, as NOBODY KNOWS print releases Oct 14th)
I love to connect with my readers and hope to hear from all who read any of my books.

Remember, everybody, HALLOWEEN is upon us at the end of October. Celebrate by reading a great ghost series, the Overhome Trilogy.

Thanks, Hywela for inviting me to guest on your excellent blog!

It's been a pleasure to have you here, today, Susan, and congratulations on the release of 'Nobody Knows' and wishing you even greater success.

For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! Every new subscriber will get a FREEdownload of my fantasy novella 'Dancing With Fate' (If this doesn't arrive within two days just email me at

Tuesday 11 October 2016

James Austin McCormick visits the Flight Deck ...

It's my pleasure to welcome a fellow Brit to the Flight Deck today.

James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in his free time enjoys writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.

His novels include the trilogy Dragon (Dragon, Dragon: Smuggler Tales, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane), The Last Synn, a sword-and-sorcery story, a Science Fiction novel, Sunfall, and a horror novel, Balec. All are available from Class Act Books.

 HL: So  tell us about your writing and some more about your books, James.

JMcC: For me writing is pure escapism and the more I can create my own worlds, settings and characters the more I enjoy it. After the publication of my first SF novel, Dragon, I realized that I wanted to keep exploring this universe I’d created. So far I’ve written two more Dragon books, Dragon: Smuggler Tales and the most recent, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane. They’re not sequels exactly but rather fill in some of the missing periods in the first book.

Sillow, the main protagonist in the Dragon stories, is a semi-comic character. Diminutive, with long green hair, pointed ears and a child- like appearance, he's a restless, neurotic and somewhat cowardly elf who constantly finds himself in dangerous situations. Originally I intended him to be a fantasy character but as my novel developed I decided it would work better as a science fiction with a fantasy flavor. To add to the comedic element in the stories I initially paired him up with a surly, ill-tempered barbarian goliath by the name of Brok. They are the odd couple in space, often at loggerheads, constantly quarrelling but forced to work together as their fates become increasingly entwined, first as smugglers and then as government agents.

In the Tower of Tamerlan,e however, Sillow finds himself a new partner, Titanya, a beautiful and fearless pirate queen, who is more than a match for the cowardly elf.

HL Lol, I can relate to that! My own writing is mainly escapism, and a very similar thing happened to me and my Destiny trilogy - I just wanted to know more about the characters and worlds I'd created in the first book! 

This sounds like a great series, James and the covers are stunning. Thank you for being my guest today, and wishing you every success!

BLURB for Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane:

After the death of the Tuolon Ambassador Lagua and the failure to bring the non-humanoid worlds into the Alliance, Sillow and Brok’s long partnership is finally at an end. Now a reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.

Seeking evidence to prove Tamerlane is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, Sillow quickly uncovers the sheer scale of his plans, a lethal military strike on all four humanoid home worlds. Caught and imprisoned however, the Sylvan finds himself helpless to warn the Alliance of the coming danger.

All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy.


Laser fire and shouts echoed as Sillow was thrown headlong into the cell.

“What are you?” a female voiced asked. “Some type of green midget?”

Sillow groaned and tried to get up. He settled for a slumped kneeling position.
“I’m a Sylvan,” he replied. He squinted into the shadows and saw a figure seated on the upper berth of a bunk. He could make out little apart from a muscular, yet shapely pair of legs. “Who are you?”

The figure jumped down from the bunk. She was an Amazonian, strong and athletic with an impressive cleavage and long chestnut hair falling around her shoulders. She was also extremely pretty despite the artificial eye and cheek implant. She stretched out a perfectly formed silver arm, extending her hand. “Titanya.”

Sillow’s eyes widened. “The Pirate Queen?”

The woman nodded.

The Sylvan took her cybernetic hand and let himself be hauled to his feet. He found himself head high to her magnificent chest.

“Sillow,” he replied, smiling at her breasts. “I’m from the Alliance.”

“Up here, short stuff,” the woman told him.

Slowly and very reluctantly, Sillow turned his attention upwards. He grinned. “Nice to meet you.”

Outside, cries and weapon fire continued to echo through the halls.

Titanya frowned. “Any idea what all that’s about?”

“Whole place is going crazy,” the Sylvan replied. “Something got into Tamerlane’s AI system.”

The woman took a couple of tentative steps toward the door. Screams echoed through the walls.
“Sounds like a warzone out there,” she remarked. “You sure the AI is causing all this?”

Sillow frowned. “You know, this is going to sound kind of crazy but…” he paused, running a hand over his pointed chin.

“What?” Titanya demanded.

“Well, it kind of looks like the one causing all this is Darius Drake. You heard of the guy?”

“Oh yeah,” the Earth woman answered. “We’ve met.”

“Well, somehow he’s put himself into the computer system.” Sillow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Sounds sort of off the wall I know.”

There was a sudden explosion and flames tore through the slits at the top of the door.
“Look out.” Sillow threw himself at Titanya, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling to the floor. The Sylvan landed on top of her, head buried in her thick auburn
locks. A fireball tore past them, turning the bunks into cinder.

It was some moments before Sillow glanced up. He found himself looking at the stern, beautiful features of the Terran woman.

“You okay?” he asked. “Just so you know, that was me protecting you.”

 “Just so you know,” Titanya replied, “under any other circumstances I’d have busted your jaw for that.”

Sillow grinned. “You mean saving your life?”

Titanya flung the little Sylvan back onto his feet. “Yeah, right. I can’t believe a pipsqueak like you got the drop on me.”


Find out more about James Austin McCormick at:

For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! Every new subscriber will get a FREEdownload of my fantasy novella 'Dancing With Fate' (If this doesn't arrive within two days just email me at