Tag Archives: author interview

BLOG TOUR: The Hand of Death by Hayden Linder

Hello, dear readers. Today I am participating in a Blog Tour for my author friend Hayden Linder, for his newly released book, “The Hand of Death.” Sounds cool, huh? (I think so. Put “hand” and “death” in the same sentence and it is super intriguing. At least to a morbid soul like me, anyway).

So Hayden wanted me to interview him, so I came up with some pretty cool questions for him to answer. Without further ado, here it is:

“The Hand of Death” by Hayden Linder.

1) What was the inspiration for the Hand of Death?

It was actually a series of daydreams that I had over the period of several months. That plus a lot of ninja movies growing up and role-playing games gave me a pretty good foundation to work with. After several months of daydreaming I realized I had bumbled across a really good story. As I wrote it and re-wrote it the characters slowly came to life.

2) Tell us a bit about the Hand of Death.

It is the story of an assassin from childhood to the point of Master assassin. Along the way he meets several interesting people, highborn and low, who become the cast of characters that provide the backdrop for a pretty dark life.

3) Are you an outliner, a pantser (non-outliner), or a combination of both?

I am a “Pantser.” I like to follow the story wherever it goes and, for me, an outline would ruin that. I would be inclined to ignore some of the more interesting parts of the story because they did not fit into the plan.

4) What is the best part of the writing process? What is the hardest?

The best part is easily the dreaming things up. I love skylarking. Actually writing it down? That is the hard part. When I actually HAVE to put on paper what was in my head. I’m really not sure why that is.

(Erin’s note: That is a common issue, I think. I find that very difficult myself.)

5) Did you always know you’d be a writer, or did it sneak up on you one day?

I didn’t realize I wanted to write until I had left the army back in 1995. And I didn’t get around to doing anything about it until 2005-ish. I wrote this book and vacillated on whether I was good enough to finish it or not for 10 years.

6) Who is your favorite character in Hand of Death and why?

My favorite character is actually Daimyo Hiroki. He is a frightening man who supposedly kills people on a whim but you start to realize there is quite a bit more to him as the story progresses. I think he develops the most as a character out of everyone in the cast.

(Erin’s note: Sounds like my kind of character. 😉  )

7) Why do you write in the genre you do?

This story came to me in the Fantasy Fiction genre.  I have two more books of this story and then the next story is a Sci-Fi tale about mercenaries in the future.  For me genre is just specific to the story itself. It’s not something you have to stay locked into doing.

8) If you were stranded on an island and were able to have only two books with you, which two would they be and why?

The complete works of Shakespeare, because I have it but I have not taken the time to read it yet.  And “Grave Touched” By Erin Zarro, because that’s – the – kind – of – guest – I – am!:)

(Erin’s note: LOL. You are too kind.)

9) What author (or authors) has inspired you the most?

Jack London. I have a collection of his work and the preface says the reason you will never see a “Complete” works of his is due to the quantity of work the man did. He was the most prolific writer of his time in magazines, news paper articles AND books. Can you imagine that? He wrote too much for anyone to bind into one book. THAT is impressive. A nice bonus that he also didn’t suck.

(Erin’s note: That *is* impressive.)

10) If you could talk to any author, living or dead, past or present, who would it be and why?

Niccolò Machiavelli, because he wrote “The Prince.”

10a) Let’s pretend you were only allowed one question. What would it be and why?

Did you really think the Midici would believe it?

So, Machiavelli was the enemy of the Midici. These were the people that are almost single handedly responsible for the Renaissance in Europe. At some point he lost a maneuver against them and went to jail. After serving several years he got out and all of his political connections were gone so he decided to make new ones. He set his sights on his old enemies the Midici, since they were still in power, and he decided to write a book extolling their qualities. The book he wrote, “The Prince,” is where we get the term “Machiavellian” from. The qualities he applauded were deplorable. No one took the book seriously. He didn’t even believe it. His mistake was that because he had seen the Midici act in this manner, he assumed they were proud of it. Where as in reality they only acted that way because they felt they had to. It was not something they were proud of and certainly NOT something they would ever praise. He never did regain is former status and the book was a joke to the rest of the world until some business management idiot back in the 1970’s discovered it an thought it was brilliant treatise on leadership.

“Beware those who praise “The Prince.” – Hayden D. Linder

To purchase or just have a sneak peak of the first three chapters of “The Hand of Death” click here:

To contact Hayden: http://bit.ly/1HOTn6m

Hayden and his lovely family.
Hayden and his lovely children.

AUTHOR BIO: I have done several jobs over the years but currently I am a 40 something year old PC Tech. I have a lovely daughter, Kyle, by my ex-wife and four beautiful children, Chuy, Vivian, Felix and Lalo by my long suffering wife Ruby. I spend most of my time being grateful for the life God gave me and trying to be a blessing to those around me.

God speed.

Please take note:

Hayden has some copies of The Hand of Death to give away to each commenter, so don’t be shy! Comment away! Ask questions! Lots of them!

After commenting, contact Hayden at his contact link above with your email address to claim your prize.

Also, the commenter with the best question asked will receive an advance copy of chapter 1 from book 2!

Hayden, thank you for joining us. It’s been a pleasure having you here. 🙂

Author Interview: Kit Campbell, author of Shards

Shards_Cover_small_2[1]My fellow Turtleducker Kit Campbell’s novel Shards released yesterday.  She agreed to an interview.  So here we go!

1) What inspired you to write Shards?

The main storyline of Shards is based off a dream, actually. I have this habit, when I realize I’m dreaming, of turning the dream into a narrative. The dream narrative appealed to me because it had a neat strand of mystery running through it. And it allowed me to do a lot of really fun research.


2) Who is your favorite character in Shards?  Least favorite?
I love everybody, really. Lily is probably my favorite. She pretty much does whatever she wants whenever she feels like, with no care of whom she might be pissing off. And her hair always looks amazing. As for least favorite–hmm. I really don’t think I have one. I love all the main characters and the side characters for various reasons. I’ll pick someone who isn’t really there, like the barista at the coffee shop. She’s cheating on her exams and spits in people’s coffee.

3) Are you a plotter or a pantser (or both)?
I’m a mix of both. I start a new story by pantsing–I usually only have a premise and some characters–and then, about halfway through, I’ll sit down and start outlining the rest of the story, though not in a lot of detail. Rewrites and edits are always extensively outlined.

4) How long have you been writing?  Did you always know you’d be a writer, or did it happen by accident?
The first story I remember writing was when I was about eight. Around then, maybe even before, I’d take things I liked–computer games, books, movies–and expand on them. Make new stories with the same characters, or take the same premise and go a different way. A lot of times I added female characters. And I wrote short stories and several aborted novels throughout my teens, but it wasn’t until my early 20s that I was like, oh, wait, I can actually make something of this. Apparently my family always expected it, but it was kind of a surprise to me.

5) What is your zodiac sign?
I’m a Libra, cardinal air. I think that probably explains a lot.

6) What’s your all-time favorite book?  Favorite movie?Kitphoto[1]
I absolutely adore Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. It’s not a genre that I typically read or like, but the character interplay and the wit is so perfect. I mean, it’s hard to choose a favorite book, and I have a lot that rank right up there–Pride and Prejudice, The Phantom Tollbooth, Return of the King–but Agnes hits all the right notes for my life right now. I’m sure, in ten years, some other book will hit closer to home.
As for movies, my favorite is probably Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, not necessarily for what it is, but what is had the potential to be. I am a crazy person and I judge a lot of things based on their potential.

7) Did you go to college?  If so, what did you major in?  Sum up the college experience in one word.
I did, and I double-majored in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Other writers are always a bit surprised to learn that, but engineering requires a lot of creativity too. Sometimes we were a little too creative, like the time we overheated that satellite. Luckily it was still able to complete its mission successfully.
Let’s see: Long nights, little sleep, and as much insanity as we could stuff into a 24-hour period. Engineers are an…interesting bunch.

8) What’s this about landsquid on your blog?
I really like cephalopods–squid, cuttlefish, octopuses. I realize that I am an odd cookie in that regard, but I think they’re amazing. The Landsquid itself is a squid that lives on land. He likes Cheez-Its and hot chocolate. He’s the official mascot of my blog, and gives me an excuse to write and draw silly posts when I can’t brain enough to write something real.

9) How do you handle writer’s block?  Or its opposite, too many ideas all at once?
When I have writer’s block, I find it’s best to just write through it, but normally I have to change mediums. I tend to handwrite when I’m having a hard time making forward progress (I normally type everything). And sometimes it’s better to just sit on it for a few days and ponder. As for too many ideas–I’ll write down ones that seem viable, but I’m afraid I never make it back to most of them.

10) Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character (yours or someone else’s)?
Oh, sure, tons. Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy. Mr. Spock. Han Solo. I try not to crush on my own characters–that feels a bit incestual to me.

11) Can you tell us what’s next writing-wise for you?
I’m going to return to working on a high fantasy trilogy I’ve been working on and off for several years. I’m not quite sure if I’m going to finish writing the third book, or if I’m going to start submitting the first book. Actually, knowing me, I shall probably try to do both at once.

12) Are you a coffee drinker, tea drinker, or something-else-drinker?
I drink a lot of tea and hot chocolate. I used to drink more coffee, but then it and my stomach started having disagreements, so I tend to leave it alone.

13) Team Feline or Team Canine?
Team Feline all the way. I am just not a dog person. They are sweet animals, but cats and I get on much better.

14) If you could take only 1 book with you to an isolated island for possibly forever, what book would it be?  And why?
D: Only one? Hm. I can’t decide if I should take something ginormous–the complete works of Shakespeare, or all the Sherlock Holmes stories, so that I’d have more variety, or if I should take a favorite along to comfort me in my isolation.


Eva Martinez isn’t sure why she’s pursuing a master’s degree in religious studies, except that something about the material resonates in the depths of her soul. But when her dreams start to be invaded by lost gardens, forbidden fruit, and a strangely familiar mystery man, even she has to wonder if she’s taking her schoolwork too seriously.

Then Eva starts to notice the strangeness seeping into everyday life. The man from her dreams is real and Eva feels a curious connection with him. Her classmate, someone she’s known for years, starts to act increasingly volatile. And it seems like everyone, including her bosses, is keeping secrets…secrets that have something to do with her. Eva’s determined to find out what’s going on, how it involves her, and why she’s transforming into someone buried deep in her memories.

The deeper in that Eva gets, the more she feels like she should understand what’s happening around her. The secrets conceal real dangers, and if she can’t untangle them and find the truth in time, she–and all those she’s come to care for–will face defeat at the hands of an ancient enemy, one who recognized Eva long before she learned to recognize herself.

Where to buy this amazing book:

On Turtleduck Press website
Kindle Edition
Print Edition (Amazon)

You really don’t want to miss this book, so go forth and buy!

Interview: Shannon Shaw, author of Created

Shannon Shaw, the author of Created, stopped by to answer some burning questions.

What inspired you to write this book specifically?

I was in the planning phase for another book when the idea popped in my head.  The thought really was one of many that day about concepts for books. I was reviewing them with my wife when she said I would love to hear more about the vampires and thus Created was born.

How long have you been writing?

I have always enjoyed writing, but shelved the idea during college and it was only about two years ago that I decided to return.

What made you decide to self-publish?  What do you see for the future of self-publishing?

My family and I were on vacation when the newspaper was delivered. Inside was a fascinating article about self-publishing darling Amanda Hocking.  I was fascinated about her rise to fame.  After talking it over with my wife, we resolved that I would at least give it try. The rest of the vacation I could not get the thoughts about writing from my head.

Tell us how your vampires are different from the traditional ones.

The Created are humans who have been selected for one reason or another to become vampires through the use of science.  The vampires in my novel use some unique elements, but embraces older traditional tropes as well.

Tell us about the series.

The Created series is planned to become a trilogy. The second book is currently in the revision stage.

The books detail the transformation of a young teen, Ethan Castel. He realizes that something sinister is happening within the new world of which he is now a part. Ethan has to deal with the intrigue on the military base as he fends off the advances of his guide, a mysterious vampire with weird fashion sense, and the love of a recent addition to his high school.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Clive Cussler. His books are always full of adventure. I think sometimes writers take themselves and the stories that have written too serious, but Cussler’s books always seem to be borderline fantastic tales that immerse the reader in action while supplying ample amounts of fun.

Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself.

Prior to becoming a writer I was a high school football coach for sixteen years.

Are you a pantser, plotter, or both? 

I am a little of both lately. I love the concept of detailing the whole book out, but sometimes this is just not realistic. I have written stories that were carefully outlined only to add more elements as I have moved throughout the process.  Writing can be very scattered and chaotic for me at times even when I have invested a large amount of time in the world building.

Do you listen to music when you’re writing?  If so, does your book have a specific theme song/soundtrack?

I love to listen to music while writing. As far as a soundtrack for the books, I do have several songs that I enjoy listening to while writing. If I had to describe the soundtrack it would be eclectic with a romantic leaning since there are so many interactions between Ethan and his lover interests.

What other things do you enjoy doing besides writing?

There are other things? Seriously, I am very boring.

Give us a bit of insight into the main character.  Who is he?  What does he want/need?  What can’t he live without?

Ethan is seventeen and was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He is like your average human boy with the same interests and desires except he has these extraordinary powers which complicate his life and these lives of those around him.

He is a great guy who is willing to sacrifice it all for the woman he loves either human or vampire.  It is his willingness to protect his friends and lovers that create problems for everybody throughout the series, but it is hard to fault someone who truly is guided by his heart.

There are no complications to Ethan. He wants what he wants, right or wrong.

Where can we find you on the web (website, twitter, etc.)?







Hot or cold? Hot

Coke or Pepsi? Coke

Summer or Winter? Summer

Black or white? Black

Vampire or human?  😉 Vampire

Computer or pen and paper? Computer

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Milk Chocolate

 If you were stranded on an island, what three objects would you NEED to have with you?

A device to start a fire, rope and a knife.

Thanks for visiting today, Shannon.  Those of you who like vampires: check out Created!

Interview: Sherri Rabinowitz

Today I have a special guest here on the blog.  Her name is Sherri Rabinowitz and she is the author of Fantasy Time Inc., a novel about a travel agency that arranges for people to travel back in time.  I have always been fascinated by time travel, so this piqued my interest.  Here’s what Sherri had to say about Fantasy Time Inc., herself, and writing.

What inspired you to write Fantasy Time Inc.?

There were two things, I have been a nut on time travel since I was child and I saw The Time Machine movie from the 60’s with Rod Taylor. After that I watched and read everything that had to do with time travel and my own humble attempts at in fan fiction. I  also worked as a travel agent at the time. One slow day at work I started to play with the idea of a travel agency to the past. I started to write notes and …Fantasy Time Inc. was born.

Who is your favorite character? Your least favorite character?

Captain Morgan is my favorite, he is the dashing hero of the movies from my youth. Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable all mixed up into one dashing man. He also has a great sense of humor, I love his wit. My least favorite? Hmmm, none really. As an actor I learned you have to love every part in order to portray them so even bad guys are special to me.

If you were a customer of Fantasy Time Inc., what time period would you travel to? Why?

That’s easy the Twenties. I have been interested in that period since I read The Great Gatsby when I was a kid. I love the wildness, the clothes, the excitement and all the change that happened for society and especially for women. Like my protagonist Anne, I know the down side, that if I met my Grandparents (they were in NYC in the twenties) and did something that hurt them I would not be here, or if I killed a bug I could change the language of  our time or change our political history (that was from a classic time travel story my Dad introduced me to.) It is such a slippery slope, I would hesitate.

How long have you been writing? When did you know you were a writer?

I have been writing since I was a child. I knew I was a writer when I started to write fan fiction and newsletters. I began to see that I could do it and I had a place to practice, that was fan fiction. It was a loving safe harbor to learn my craft and try out all kinds of new things. I guess the first time I felt like a writer was when I sold my first story and held a real check in my little hands.

Do you have any hobbies?

Yes, I like to collect; I collect books, stills of classic movies and autographs, stuffed bears, costume jewelry… I also dance and sing.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

There are several places but the next on my bucket list would be Greece and New Zealand because of the show Xena. New Zealand because I saw all those beautiful locations and fell in love. I also researched a lot of my fan fiction stories set in Greece and in using my travel books and on line sites fell in love with the real Greece too.

Tell us one intriguing thing about Fantasy Time Inc.

There is a lot of romance in it but I have snuck some history in it too, I like to teach people but in a pleasurable way.

What are you working on now?

A Classic Sequel and a memoir about my time as an actress in the late 70’s to late 80’s.

Do you plot your novels or do you wing it?

Both, I have an idea of how I want it to go, and sketchy outline, but then as I write I let the characters lead me.

Favorite color? Blue
Favorite drink? tea
Favorite animal? panther
Favorite place to be? home
Favorite time of day? mid-morning

Where can we find you on the web?


Thank you so much, Sherri, for joining us today.

If you’re curious about Fantasy Time Inc., be sure to snag yourself a copy!