Friday, October 20, 2017

Interview with Mark S. Bacon, Author of 'Desert Kill Switch'

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the freeway from Disneyland. Experience working at Knott’s formed part of the inspiration for his creation of Nostalgia City theme park. 

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including  one for John Wiley & Sons Publishers that was printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post,Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News,Denver Post, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Desert Kill Switch is the second book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City, an award winner at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival. The third book in the series will be published soon.
Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words. He  taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, University of Redlands, and the University of Nevada - Reno.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.   
Find out more on Amazon    
Website and social media:
Twitter: @baconauthor


Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
A life-and-death chase across the Nevada desert in Augusthighlights the action in this complex mystery spread across the southwest. Desert Kill Switch takes place first in Nostalgia City, a massive (and pricy) theme park with a unique appeal—particularly for anyone who remembers the 1970s.  The Arizona park re-creates in minute detail, a small town from the 1970s.  It’s complete with period cars, clothes, food, music, shops, fads, hair styles, restaurants—the works.
The story begins in the desert just outside the park.  Lyle Deming, a park employee and ex-cop, finds a bullet-riddled body next to a pristine 1970s model Pontiac Firebird.  But when he returns to the scene with sheriff’s deputies, no car, no body.
At the same time, Kate Sorensen, the park’s vice president of public relations is in Reno, Nev., representing Nostalgia City at a rock ’n’ roll and classic car festival.  When she’s accused of murdering the festival’s president, Lyle joins her in Nevada and the two embark on a wild, puzzling ride to exonerate Kate, save a witness’s life, trap a blackmailer and find the missing corpse.  They travel from Nostalgia City to Reno to Las Vegas and back.
In addition to automobile kill switches, which I’ll explain in a moment, the book also looks at the classic car market. This is not the sale of repainted jalopies, but of beautifully restored muscle cars from the ’60s and ’70s that can sell in the low to high six figures. And can be counterfeited.
Inspiration for Nostalgia City theme park comes from one of my jobs early in my career.  I was a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park just up the freeway from Disneyland.  As a mystery fan—but not a mystery writer yet—I thought that a theme park, especially at night, would make a great setting for a murder novel.  I used my behind-the-scenes theme park experiences to create the retro park, Nostalgia City. 
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
This is the second book in my Nostalgia City mystery series.  My publisher is Black Opal Books and I’m under contract for the third book in the series which will be out next year.  Although I self-published a how-to book once, I wanted to find a traditional publisher to carry this novel series.  It gives me more time to write, rather than be involved in every production task. 
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
This was a challenge.  You can’t copyright a book title, thus often more than one book has the same title.  Confusing.  At least six relatively recent mystery/suspense books have the title “Kill Switch.”  Obviously I didn’t want to make mine the seventh book with that title.  But since automobile kill switches are so important to the book, I had to look for other ways to use those words.
As the book is set in Arizona and Nevada, it takes place in the Mojave, Sonoran and Great Basin deserts.  I thought about using one of those desert names, but ultimately decided on the more simple, Desert Kill Switch.
Kill switches are devices that some auto dealers install in cars they sell.  Dealers sometimes put GPS trackers and kill switches in cars sold to people considered to be high-risk borrowers.  If a buyer misses a payment—sometimes by as little as a few days—the car is dead.  I discovered this practice in a news article, did follow-up research, and found out that about two million cars in the US contain remote-control kill switches. 
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
The credit for this stunning cover goes to its designer, Jacci Larsen and to James Mandas, the owner of the 1972 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am seen stranded in the desert.
My publisher permits authors to do their own covers and I had a pretty good idea what I wanted: a photo of a classic car surrounded by empty desert.  Since the book takes place in the desert, an arid landscape had to be part of the cover and the classic car trade would be represented by a good automotive example
Without spoiling too much of the plot, in the first chapter my protagonist, Lyle Deming, finds a Firebird on a lonely desert road.  The mystery—and the murder—proceeds from there. 
To set up the picture, I needed to find a restored classic car from the 1960s or 1970s. I didn’t really care what make or model it was.   I first tried local car clubs and happened to find reference to a Pontiac owners club.  After about twenty minutes more searching I found pictures of the white and blue Firebird at an auto show and was able to contact Mandas, its owner.
He graciously agreed to haul his beautiful car out to the desert. After several postponements due to bad weather, the photo shoot took place about 25 miles north of Reno, Nevada on a chilly, November day.  The car is an immaculate automobile artifact and it reflected the desert sun as it posed for the photos.
The cover design has the photo flowing across the spine to the back cover.  One clever design element that Larsen added on the spine is a US highway sign with the numeral 2 in it to indicate this is the second book in the series. The first book had the same highway sign on the spine, except it said, Route 66, representing the historic “mother road.” Nostalgia City theme park is located near a restored portion of 66. 
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
Larsen is my daughter.  She’s a web designer, not a book designer by trade, but her sense of style and balance translates well to all media.  She did the design for my first book and has helped with designs on my website and printed promotional material.  
How was your experience working with the designer?
Excellent.  I appreciated she treated me as much like a client as her father.  She worked with deadlines, gave me updates on the work in progress and was open to suggestions. 
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
So far, so good.  The book has just come out so I’m waiting for more feedback.  I posted the cover on social media recently and several people wanted to read the book, just based on the cover. 
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Look at lots of samples. If a designer has not done many book covers, but has an extensive professional portfolio, study the work. 
Look at the covers of top-selling books in your genre.  See if you can spot trends.  If you’re a romance writer and the artist you’re considering has mostly designed high tech books, tell him or her to study your genre. Also, talk with other authors.  Ask them who designed their covers.  How much did it cost? 
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
The landscapes in Arizona and Nevada have many faces. The bare, dark hills and tan and green scrub brush on my cover reflect the open spaces—and the daunting isolation—of the southwest deserts.

Guest Post from Dr. Patrick Mbaya on Clinical Depression

Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 76
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Tour Dates: September 25-October 20

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Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.


Clinical Depression is a common illness, different from ordinary sadness, which is a normal reaction. It can affect anyone, including doctors like myself, and indeed I suffered from this, during my illness. It is not a weakness. 

It may occur spontaneously in vulnerable individuals, like someone with a family history of depression. Severe stress or traumatic events in childhood, may also make an individual vulnerable to developing depressive illness, later on in life. Recent research has shown that this could be due to the effect of stress hormone cortisol, on the developing brain. Severe stress or loss events (like losing a family member) can cause (precipitate) it. In my case the brain infection I suffered, affected the limbic/emotional brain (see below). 

Emotions, and certain behaviours are controlled by the limbic (emotional) brain. This is like a circuit comprising of connections from the brain stem (stem of the brain), to the front part of the brain (prefrontal cortex, the part in front of the motor cortex), then to the medial (inner side) of the temporal lobe structures like amygdala and hippocampus. In my case, it is the left prefrontal cortex, which is next to the motor cortex (which caused weakness on my right side) and the speech (Broca’s) area. 

There are different theories about the biological causes of depression within the brain. However, there is a lot of clinical, and research evidence that depression is associated altered levels of chemicals (neurotransmitters) that control emotions, and behaviours. The two main chemicals (neurotransmitters) being serotonin and noradrenaline (also known as norepinephrine). These chemicals are made by the brain from the food we eat, like bananas (I asked my daughter to get me bananas during my recovery phase). Emotions and behaviours like mood, sleep, appetite, enjoyment, concentration, short-term memory, energy, and some forms of thinking are controlled by these chemicals. 

There is both clinical, and research evidence that these chemicals become imbalanced, causing symptoms of clinical depression including persistent low mood, tearfulness, poor sleep, lack of enjoyment, poor concentration, short term memory, reduced interest in things, poor appetite, feeling negative (like focussing on past traumatic or unhappy events, or being emotionally affected by current sad events) up to including suicidal thoughts. (Recent research has shown that amygdala become very active in clinical depression, negative traumatic past events tend to re-surface and the individual becomes pre-occupied with these events, feels hopeless, worthless, and has suicidal thoughts, and these symptoms are reversed by effective treatment of depression). These symptoms tend to be worse in the morning (diurnal variation, possibly related to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol) and can improve later on during the day. Like in my case, my mood was worse in the morning. “I was emotional and found myself crying without a moment’s notice.” As depressive illness can affect confidence, energy, motivation, concentration, short term memory, level of functioning is impaired (the ability to carry out activities of daily living, even to the point of being unable to work, socialise or to go to school). The World Health Organization (WHO) found out in a study (1990), comparing medical illnesses, that depression was four in the league table, as a cause of health-related disability. They estimated that by 2020, it will rank second to heart disease! 

Current research has shown that severe stress increases the levels of stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces serotonin, noradrenaline, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, also known as brain fertilizer, which protects against cell death by cortisol), in the brain, causing depression. 

Antidepressants work by increasing these chemicals/neurotransmitters (improving symptoms, and level of functioning), and may protect against severe stress causing depression. Psychological treatment like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), is also effective in depression, especially in combination with antidepressants. Current guidelines recommend psychological treatment for mild to moderate depression, and antidepressant medication, plus psychological treatment for moderate to severe depression. 

Dr Patrick Mbaya MD FRCPsych. 

References: Duman Ronald. Depression: a cause of neuronal life and death. Biological Psychiatry, 1 August 2004, vol.56:140-145 

Global Burden of Disease, World Health Organization, 1990. 

Mbaya Patrick. My Brain Is Out Of Control. Author House. September, 2016 

Shimizu Fiji et al. Alterations of serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depressed patients with or without antidepressants; Biological Psychiatry, 1 July 2003,Vol 54(1): 70-75 

Stahl Stephen M. Essential Psychopharmacology, Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. 

Stress and Plasticity in Limbic System, Robert M. Sapolsky; Neurochemical Research, Vol. 28, No. 11.

Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Blast: The Special and the Ordinary by David Clapham

Title: The Special and the Ordinary
Author: David Clapham
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ebook
John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable English home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year-old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.

Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free rein against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John's occasional resentment about Martin's ability to bounce back after perpetrating 'wrong notes' against the wealthy while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. Now all he has to do is somehow find his place amid an uncertain career as a ghost composer where chances come as infrequent as success.

The Special and the Ordinary shares the unique story of two young people as they come of age and step into the future, each with a different idea on what it means to be true to themselves.

iUniverse awarded The Special and the Ordinary the 'Editor's Choice' designation. Here are excerpts from the enthusiastic editorial reviews:

"Definitely a worthwhile read, I recommend The Special and the Ordinary to lovers of literary fiction." - Pacific Book Review

"...heartwarming and uplifting." - Kirkus Reviews

"The writing is clear and refreshing, with clean sentences that move the story along at a brisk pace." - Clarion Review

David Clapham grew up in in Sheffield, England and studied botany at Oxford. After working at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala, Sweden, where he still lives today. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. He has also published Odd Socks with iUniverse in 2013. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Her Final Watch Book Blast! @msashton_writer #bookblast #giveaway

We're really excited to be hosting Marguerite Ashton's HER FINAL WATCH Book Blast today! Leave a comment below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 296
Genre: Crime

Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …

Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily's usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she'd killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss's son who's hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn't for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.

As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah - placing Lily's life and her unborn child in danger.



Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.

In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she needed to do was make it through this last night and she’d be allowed to be who she was; a mom just doing her job.

After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had, it would be hard to detah. Towards the end, she’d learned things she wished weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.

Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take on another undercover assignment.


Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the backless white dress she wore at his request.

The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind her, breathing heavily.

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in
Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.




Marguerite Ashton is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight October 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 9, 2017

5 Questions with Non-fiction Author Frankie Hogan

FHFrankie Hogan is an American writer, director, and filmmaker. He is a founder and principal partner of Corner Prophets Production Company, a film production company started in 2012, and the company controller for a Los Angeles-based international interior design firm.
Q: What’s inside the mind of a Travel author?
A: I want to bring you to these places. I want you to realize how accessible they are in today’s world and give a taste of what these lands have to offer. History, nature, and nightlife drive me. Livin’ includes a Thanksgiving dinner buffet’s worth of all three. Whether you dig on exploring a 4000-year-old pyramid of a pharaoh or hiking in the Amazon rain forest or stopping at an Amsterdam coffee shop, you’ll find all of these places in Livin’: From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush.
Q: Tell us why readers should buy Livin’: From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush.
A: If you are a vicarious traveler who dreams of far-off lands or someone waiting for a kick in the ass to stamp more countries on your passport, Livin’ is the book for you. I took some trips formed from childhood dreams and other trips formed from reading National Geographic. The book is the story of a globe-hop, not by a biologist or a mountain climber, but by an everyman. I stopped getting in my own way and went for it. Livin’ is the story of the ride, the road, and the reward.
Front ADN3395 Digest-Soft-Cover (1)Q: What makes a good Travel Book?
A: I think any vanilla travel book can give you a list of sites or places to eat. A good travel book takes you there and makes you feel the context. Livin’ includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. It doesn’t cherry-pick. It lays out the true, nonfiction experience. At least that’s what I shot for.
Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
A: The book website is You can also follow the book on Instagram (@livinfh5) or on Facebook (Livin’ by Frankie Hogan).
Q: What has writing taught you?
A: Explore your passions. I write spec scripts in Hollywood, and Livin’ is my first crack at book-writing, but the two types of writing have one thing in common: The subject matter galvanizes and consumes me. I’ve been offered the opportunity to write for TV as part of a writers’ room, but ten writers arguing over character development within pre-designed plots, on a deadline, doesn’t jive with the reasons I write. That sounds like a job. Fuck that. I write to share the fire I have for a story.

An Unforgettable Memoir: Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin by Nadia Natali

 We're thrilled to have Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin today! Leave a comment below to let her know you stopped by!

Author: Nadia Natali
Publisher: RareBird Books
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir
Growing up as Frankie Gershwin's daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn't have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn't what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn't have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.

Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook. 
Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.

Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.



Meet the Author: 'There Be Demons' M.K. Theodoratus

Fantasy has always been part of M. K. Theodoratus’ life, starting when she starting playing with an imaginary friend when she was three. Comics, books, TV, and movies followed throughout her life. A northern California girl, many of her Andor alternative-world stories are firmly rooted there. Today, she lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two lap-cats, and writes when she’s not wasting time on social media.



Author: M.K. Theodoratus
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 360
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal


Heroes come in all shapes.

The war for Andor has lasted a century. Humans and their allies, the Angeli, fight demons from another plane who need a warmer planet to hatch and raise their young. Trebridge becomes Ground zero when Abraxas, a minion of the demon Prince Vetis, opens a secret portal into the city. The demons’ goal is to build an army to subjugate the city before the humans realize they are under attack.

Standing in the demons’ way are two disparate groups: the humans of Andor and their Angeli allies who command gargoyle warriors.

Leading the four gargoyles guarding Trebridge is Gillen, a proven war hero who uses magic to fight demons. But Gillen is an outcast, mocked for his tuft of hair that normal gargoyles lack. It’s up to him to prove once and for all that he’s worthy of his command, in spite of dissention in his ranks. When Gillen asks the Angeli Commanders for reinforcements to fight the growing demon menace in Trebridge, headquarters send four human teens from the projects.

The leader of the humans is Britt, a 14-year-old half-Hispanic girl who is one of the four magic-possessing Chosen. But Britt was never trained in the art of magic, and like most girls her age, spends her days preoccupied with school and romance. Like Gillen, she must rise above her station in life--if she is to save the ones she loves.

But Gillen and Britt are facing formidable demon foes, Abraxas: a chicken-headed demon who possesses several humans as part of his plan to build the demons’ base in Trebridge and power-hungry Prince Vetis who is his commander. Neither will let the deaths of expendable humans get in their way of the conquest.

In There Be Demons, author M.K. Theodoratus spins a brilliant tale of good versus evil. In this thrilling Young Adult fantasy novel, unlikely heroes rise to challenge a relentless enemy. Join them as they risk everything to save their city.



What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

My sixth-grade teacher lit the light bulb in my head that stories are written. Before that, books sort of miraculously appeared in the library.

My response shouted to the world I was a writer. The other kids wrote 3-5 pages. I had an incomplete 25 pages of Nancy Drew clone when the story was due. [I got a C because I didn’t finish the assignment.]

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Sorry, but I never knew I “wanted” to be a writer. Writing is like an itch that needs to be scratched with me. Craft skills are another matter. Turning the meanderings of a brain into something worth buying takes skill. I’m still learning how.

I started writing stuff in the sixth grade but have lost most the drafts but still have Clue of the Clay Cats. I freelanced non-fiction for some years. After I had heart surgery, I started writing fiction and have all sorts of stuff moldering in my computer.

Guess the distinction is to be a writer, you write whatever—fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, or poetry. Selling is another matter entirely.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

No. I write ideas on sticky notes whenever they hit me. I have little pads of notes and a pen wherever I sit. Every once in awhile I organize them and put them into my computer in their proper files.

When I enjoy another artist’s work, I immerse myself in their creation and forget my own.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do?

I’m retired, but I’ve done all sorts of stuff from being a credit manager to scraping little dohickies off plastic whatits.

What hours do you write best?

I used to write in the evenings, like after the kids went to bed. Now, I try to write in the mornings before I do anything else on the computer. Still stuck on the school year schedule, though. I take the summers off.

How often do you write?

Most every weekday and try to get at least 500 new words down.

Are you an avid reader?

I read fiction at night after the news until I feel sleepy. Currently, I’m rereading Lori Foster’s Paladin Trilogy, and I’m undecided about whether I’ll read Jane Austen or Tamora Pierce next. Maybe I’ll settle the dilemma by re-reading Tolkein’s Fellowship of the Ring. I haven’t done that yet this year.

What are you currently working on?

I’m dithering at the moment, though some might say I’m writing. I’ve been jotting notes on bits and pieces that might become the third book in a Demon Wars Trilogy. But I’ve got other stuff in my computer. Maybe I’ll get my Half-Elven Pig Wars out of my system before I go back to the demons. As I said, I’m dithering. I’m still trying to figure out what the book’s going to be about.