The Power of Conviction

(The Prime Series Book 1)

Fantasy novelist Catrin Russell’s first book in the Prime Series is a high/epic fantasy with influences from dark fantasy and fantasy romance. In a sweeping war between humanity and demons, a Priestess of the Light is forced to choose between heart and duty.

Fate, prophecies and an impossible love will blur the very line between good and evil.

Warnings: The Prime Series contains subjects and scenes that depict violence, torture, consequences of prolonged sexual abuse, emotional scars and suffering, as well as mature language and steamy scenes. It is therefore intended for a mature audience.

You can find out more about this fantasy author on her Catrin Russell website or on Facebook. You may send her a Tweet, an Instagram, or ask her questions at Goodreads Author Catrin Russell. She is also on Linktree.

Catrin’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

I have always considered myself to be more extroverted than introverted as I am certainly not shy, and I love talking to people. But then, on the other hand, I am very comfortable in my own skin and happy to act as my own company, so I’m not one to particularly mind being alone. The best, and undoubtedly my favourite, social situations are with a select few, family and friends alike, just hanging out over dinner and perhaps play some board games. Big parties and social gatherings are not quite my thing.

An extrovert who enjoys solitude too!

You prefer (1) to eat a home-cooked meal with family and friends OR (2) to eat in a big-name restaurant?

Similar to the answer to the previous question, I do love a meal with family and friends. However, if I am meant to cook the said meal myself, I prefer to eat out instead. I am lazy when it comes to cooking, and nothing beats having someone else do it for you!

Hail to the chef!

You prefer (1) to people watch OR (2) bird watch?

People-watching! It must be one of the best things to do as an author, to sit and study those around you for inspiration. The number of fun things people say or do can be incredibly helpful, as is their looks and styles. It can all help design and shape new characters, or even the worlds they live in.

Motivational!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

I will have to say art. I do love a walk in nature and taking in my surroundings, but I often use art as a second element as I design both characters and worlds. I regularly draw my characters as part of the process of deciding on their looks and equipment, and even backstory, so I will definitely choose art for this one.

Sketchbook at the ready!

Do you prefer to read (1) an e-book OR (2) a paperback?

This is a debate that is never-ending, and not even for me on a personal level. I adore physical books, and I long for a vast personal library spanning wall to wall in my home. As such, I really do love paperbacks, the feel in my hand and the book scent as you flick through the pages, but in truth, nothing beats an e-book at practicality. As I hold my Kindle, I have a hundred books in my hand, its light and easy to carry, you needn’t use a night lamp while reading at night, and you can flick through the pages with one hand. So at the end of the day, I will have to go with my e-books!

That’s so easy to understand!

Thanks for being interviewed, Catrin!

The Power of Conviction book cover
The Power of Conviction

The Ascent of the Writer

You may wish to pre-order Benjamin M. Weilert’s upcoming book which will be released on Amazon on September 8, 2020. It covers a variety of genres, including poetry, satire journalism, and short stories that can fall into science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, and humor.

What does the evolution of a writer look like? Poems, articles, and short stories can all explore ideas that the writer uses later for larger projects. The Ascent of the Writer covers the last 20 years of Benjamin M. Weilert’s writing. Many of his stories have already been published elsewhere, but this collection brings them all together for the first time to show how concepts he wrote about years ago eventually made it into his novels.

You can find out more about the author on the Benjamin M. Weilert website or on Facebook. You may send him a Tweet or ask him questions at Goodreads Author Benjamin M. Weilert.

Benjamin’s Interview

You see an amusing incident while grocery shopping. Do you (1) record what happens in some form OR (2) do nothing?

Before the grocery stores were under a lot more strain from people buying too many of one product, I usually took pictures of out-of-place items and posted them on Instagram under the hashtag #GroceryDecisions. I would come up with a narrative as to why there were donuts in the pasta aisle or a kale salad in the beer section. Thinking up these narratives was a fun exercise to explore “what if” scenarios that I find useful in my writing.

Clever visioning!

Science has advanced and we can now colonize other planets. Do you (1) sign up to be a colonist OR (2) remain on Earth?

Technically, I think I can do both. While I hope to publish it soon, one of my next books (entitled Buried Colony) explores how we can potentially colonize extra-solar planets using technology that is either current or just cutting edge enough to be useful in 20-30 years. Concepts like 3-D printing and mind digitization can allow any individual to be a colonist and remain on Earth, especially since it’ll still take millions of years to travel to the closest exoplanets. Additionally, I feel I have a well-rounded background of knowledge and experience that I’ve gained over the years that would help in survival scenarios that would arise on a new colony.

Would be awesome to do both!

Are you a person who (1) makes and follows New Year resolutions OR (2) never bothers with resolutions?

I’m a #1 person, although my resolutions aren’t generally the generic “lose weight” or “stop a bad habit” types that most people do. If anything, I like to consider the things I set at the beginning of a new year my “goals.” Plenty of my goals are long-term accomplishments, like self-publishing books. If I have an idea of what goals I want to accomplish during the year, I can plan my year to finish them. I know it’s a somewhat rare trait, but I like to think I have the perseverance to see any of my goals to their completion through hard work and planning.

He made the goal. Score!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

I’m going to say #1, mostly because I like to see the lens through which others interpret nature. There is plenty of inspiration in the world around us, and I’ve certainly had moments where the Colorado scenery where I live gives me the spark I need to create my own art. However, being able to either see someone’s art that would mirror my own perspective or provide an alternative viewpoint to widen my own worldview creates equal amounts of inspiration. If anything, life imitates art, so even the vibrant colors of our world might appear dull when compared to an artist’s interpretation.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Do you prefer to read (1) an e-book OR (2) a paperback?

Definitely #2. Sure, there’s some convenience to an e-book, but there’s an intentionality to a paperback. Not just for the reader, but for the publisher as well. Page design is an important aspect of a written work, from the margins to the font to any additional pictures and extras that don’t translate well into e-book. Since these are intentional design choices, I like to think the paperback is the purest form of a book’s presentation. Not surprisingly, I have made formatting choices in my books that can best be experienced in paperback form. From three parallel experiences that require the reader to turn the book sideways in Second to None to pictures of my mountain-climbing adventures in Fourteener Father to the satire articles formatted in the “newspaper style” in The Ascent of the Writer, I like to provide my readers the best experience in paperback form.

That’s so easy to understand!

Thanks for being interviewed, Benjamin!

The Ascent of the Writer
The Ascent of the Writer

Writing A Family History

You probably have scrapbooks filled with images of your ancestors. You may be lucky enough to have one of their diaries or a crumbling letter written almost a century ago. Your family may have told you their stories, and you’d like to write a family history.

Your first step will be to do research. Finding information is much easier than it was twenty years ago thanks to Google and the Internet Archive. Second, check your facts, because some of your genealogy may be wrong. Was your Aunt Mabel right about how much land,  how many children, or where your grandparents were born?

 

old paper

WikiTree
Dr. Increase Mathews WikiTree Profile

While doing research on my family, I found many genealogical sites had misinformation. Sometimes, I couldn’t remember where I had found the accurate information, so I became a genealogist on WikiTree. This allowed me to record these sources for easy reference. I love this feature of WikiTree! The genealogists there are very helpful and friendly. It’s easy to ask questions and get answers on the G2G forum. Every profile is a collaboration. I recommend you add your family tree to WikiTree. Best of all, it’s free!

For example, the image on the left shows a portion of the Sources section on the profile page for Dr. Increase Mathews (Matthews). I’m fortunate to have been able to find so much historical information about  my family’s history. Future generations will thank you for doing the research!

 

You’ve finished discovering accurate details. What’s next? Organize your information and start writing. This is the hardest part. Don’t worry about having perfect punctuation. This can be fixed when you revise. Your family history should be more than facts and historical dates.  Make it interesting. Ask yourself (and imagine) what difficulties did they encounter? How did they overcome these.

Set time aside each day and write something! Don’t make the mistake of revising right away. Wait until you’ve finished writing your entire novel, then set it aside for a few weeks. When you return to it, you’ll see it from a fresh perspective. Next, ask for beta readers to read your historical family history. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint any problem areas.

My Research

Marietta College has a collection of business documents and letters written by Increase’s older brother John Mathews. Historian Irene Nau included a sentence from a letter from John to Increase in her summary of these documents. I wanted to know more about this letter and if there were any other personal letters available, so I contacted the Special Collections Department. I received PDF files which were images of typed transcripts of several personal letters contained in the Historian Samuel P. Hildreth Collection. For one of these letters, the transcript only noted it was sent to “M”. I have been unable to determine who the recipient was. From the contents, I surmise it was written to someone in New England. In this missive, John shares his thoughts on the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. I found it to be an interesting insight to this time period. The following except is the opening quotation for my next novel.

An Excerpt from
The Mathews Family Saga Book 2

“It is to be much regretted that Government did not take the measures they are now pursuing at an earlier period. Besides saving vast sums, it would have given a weight and dignity to the Federal Government that would have tended greatly to check the licentiousness and opposition to Government unfeverable in this country, and I really believe that the present insurrection in the back counties of Pennsylvania would never have existed, had not the slow and ineffectual prosecution of the Indians have given them a contemptible opinion of the strength of the Government.

“The idea that the Atlantic states, particularly the Eastern, are unfriendly to the population and prosperity of this Country is prevalent and has an unfavorable operation on the minds of these people, and the extreme reluctance Government have observed to enter into the Indian war, but too well supports the opinion. However, I hope the result of this campaign will convince the western inhabitants that the protection of Government will be equally & impartially extended to all.

“I hope too Government will take prompt & effectual measures to suppress the insurrection in the western parts of Pennsylvania. They are a factious and ungovernable set, principally Irish, or Scotch-Irish as they are called here, or their immediate descendants. I feel a little flash of national pride in observing that the American-born inhabitants of this Country whose father or grandfather never felt, nor hardly heard of, oppression are much more governable and have more confidence in Government than the Europeans, who cannot divest themselves the idea that Government & the people have separate interests.”

John Mathews
1794 letter written at Fort Washington

Does She Think of Me:

A Birth Mother’s Journey to Forgiveness

Memoir author Cathy Williams-Thrun’s book is available on Amazon. “You’re not permitted to see your child at birth.” The nurse was cold and stern as she draped a curtain across the teenager’s midsection. The baby’s cries echoed off the cold operating room walls and boomeranged back to the girl’s shattered heart. Wiping the tears from her eyes she desperately clung to her baby’s fleeting shadow, cast upon the thin fabric that hung between them.

An unplanned pregnancy at seventeen, and the feeling they had nowhere to turn, forced a young couple to make a decision they would regret for the rest of their lives. Although Cathy and Joey had their entire future planned to eternity, nothing could have prepared them for this fork in the road. One decision, either way, would change the course of their love forever.

The pounding of her heart dances in rhythm to the methodical passing of time. How could nineteen painful years drag on like an eternity, yet suddenly fade in the blink of an eye? Anxiously waiting for the phone to ring Cathy accepts the unknown. Her future happiness depends on the questions she yearns to have answered.

You can find out more about this memoir author on the Cathy Williams-Thrun website or on Facebook. Send her aTweet on Twitter or send an Instagram. You may ask her questions at Goodreads Author Cathy Williams-Thrun.

Cathy’s Interview

You prefer (1) to people watch OR (2) bird watch?

It’s no secret in my family that I love to people watch. I don’t do it to criticize or pick out flaws. There are so many stories hidden deep within their souls that are never written. The tired young lady with three kids in tow leaves me asking if she is single, does she have support, can she feed her children. The senior all dolled up with bright clothing, earrings to match with her favourite red lipstick makes me ponder why I lack the confidence or feel too old to wear that neon pink shirt I love so much that hangs in the closet. I find the process very thought provoking.

Nice way to look at life!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

I believe growing up in a rural community in Newfoundland, Canada near water, farmland and fields as far as the eye can see has made me a lover of nature. Whenever I would feel lost, sad, or needed clarity of mind, I would sit by the ocean. It’s the best therapy for what ails you.

What a lovely description of Newfoundland!

Do you prefer to read (1) an e-book OR (2) a paperback?

Oh my gosh, a paperback definitely. As much as I love holding a book in my hand you can’t beat the smell. Someone once told me it’s just the ink to which I replied, “Not to me. It puts me in my happy place.” The magazine rack in the grocery stores is a challenge for me to walk past without picking up a magazine and running my nose through the centre pages while inhaling deeply. Just glorious!

Here’s to your happy place!

Are you (1) a morning person OR (2) a night owl?

I became a night owl when I had children. Once they were tucked in for the night at 8pm a calm fell over our home. I hated to go to bed because it was me time and I dragged it out until midnight or 1am. It gave me time with my husband as well as time to read, knit, sew, do crafts, soak in the tub or watch a great chick flick over a glass of my favourite wine.

Everyone deserves me time!

You prefer to watch (1) a sunrise OR (2) a sunset?

When my husband and I were dating, we worked the night shift which would end as the sun was rising. It was beautiful but then as mentioned when the kids came along I turned into a night owl. As much as I love sunrises the night owl prefers sunsets. A beautiful sunset does bring a sense of calm over the world, the end to another day, blessed to get another chance to witness its beauty.

Both are beautiful!

Thanks for being interviewed, Cathy!

Does She Think of Me
Does She Think of Me

An Unexpected Road to Motherhood

Author Sabine Garvey Campbell’s contemporary novel is available on Amazon. Most little girls dream of meeting their Prince Charming, getting married, and becoming a mother like something they read in a fairy tale. For some lucky girls, life goes just as planned but for others, the fairy tale gets rewritten into something that reads more like a mystery. And then, there are girls like me whose story turns out to be a little bit of both. Like the fairy tale, I met my Prince Charming and we got married, but then my road to motherhood became unexpected, complicated, and unpredictable just like a good mystery. Fortunately, I always knew that life had a plan for me and that if I never gave up, I would one day find my happy ending.

You can find out more about this contemporary novelist on the Sabine Garvey Campbell website. Tweet her on Twitter or send an Instagram. Ask this contemporary novelist questions at Goodreads Author Sabine Garvey Campbell.

Sabine’s Interview

You have enough money to do anything. Will you (1) pamper yourself at a spa for a week OR (2) go on a cruise for a week?

If I had enough money to either go on a cruise for a week or pamper myself at a spa, I would take a cruise to some exotic and far away place that is on my bucket list to visit. I love to travel but do not get as much opportunity to do so as I would like so I would chose destinations that I have only dreamt of visiting. I would take an excursion at each port at which we stopped and do something I had not done before. Then, while I am on the ship, I would spend quiet time just relaxing and people watching. It would be a fun escape for a short while.

What a nice dream!

Are you a person who (1) makes and follows New Year resolutions OR (2) never bothers with resolutions?

I am typically not a person who make New Year’s Resolutions because I rarely stick to them. I did, however, once make a resolution years ago to try one thing I have never done before each month and that one did stick. Each month I make a point of trying something be it a new activity, a new restaurant, watching a new movie, etc., to break routines which have a way of taking over. I have found it is a great way to learn about the world and myself.

Wow! Impressive!

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

I consider myself neither an introvert nor an extrovert but instead a little of both. When it comes to meeting new people in my personal life, I am introverted. I have never been very good at small talk so I prefer to avoid parties or social gatherings where I know few people. Yet, when I attend meetings in my corporate career, I look and feel extroverted. I can easily step outside of my introverted comfort zone. Because I am both introverted and extroverted, I am as comfortable spending time alone as I am talking with people in intimate gatherings given I know them when I feel the need for companionship.

That’s great!

You prefer (1) to people watch OR (2) bird watch?

I find people watching as interesting as bird watching and very similar in the rewards they provide. Birds, like people, remove their pretense and pretending when they think they are no being watched. Birds and people’s true natures are evident in such a raw way when they do not know they are being watched which allows me to see true characters which are always much more interesting in airs. Seeing these true characters reminds me that all creatures on earth are basically the same. We need food, water and shelter. How birds and people respond to everything else like love and family is what makes them so interesting to watch. For this reason, I enjoy people and bird watching the same for if I were to chose one over the other I would be missing out on the uniqueness one or the other brought to the world.

Great perspective!

You prefer to watch (1) a sunrise OR (2) a sunset?

I make choices every day of my life but deciding whether to watch the sunrise or the sunset is not one of them. I choose to watch both. The sunrises in rural Virginia where I live are spectacular. There is something inspiring in seeing geese fly through the reddish-yellow hues of the morning sky as the sun brings hope for the possibilities of the new day. When the sun sets, it does so over the mountains to our west. Even though the cold of night is nearing, I am warmed by the last fire in the sky that reminds me that I will see it again soon. The sunrise and the sunset are equally inspirational, each in their own right, so I could never choose one over the other.

What lovely descriptions!

Thanks for being interviewed, Sabine!

An Unexpected Road to Motherhood
An Unexpected Road to Motherhood