Sigils & Secrets

(Black Magic Book 1)

Fantasy novelist Whitney Metz’s first book in the Black Magic series is a magical fantasy novel entitled Sigils & Secrets.

The series is magical realism and is about the world behind the one we see every day, the importance of the connections we all share with each other and with the Earth, and the search for our true paths.

Ben Harrison was well on his way to having the life he always wanted. He had a high-paying job, a great apartment and, most importantly, he had Carrie. She was fun, exciting, creative, beautiful, and a bit eccentric. Carrie had a fascination with the occult, which Ben found irrational but not particularly troubling.

Then one night, during what Ben assumed was just another of Carrie’s standard ghost-hunting expeditions, something went terribly wrong. Now Ben must find a way to navigate a world that he never believed existed in order to save the woman he loves. In the process, he learns the truth about Carrie, about magick, and about himself.

You can find out more about this fantasy author on the Whitney Metz website or on Facebook. You may send her a Tweet, an Instagram, or ask her questions at her questions at Goodreads Author Whitney Metz.

Whitney’s Interview

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

I am definitely an introvert. I’ve never been particularly skilled at talking to people, or handling social situations. I think that’s the main reason I developed an interest in writing in the first place; it allows me to express myself without all the awkwardness of human interaction, hahah. I feel much more comfortable saying things in writing than I ever would in person.

Great way to express yourself!

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

As interesting as it would be to visit other planets, I would stay on Earth. For one thing, I think I would hate the process of space travel. I would not enjoy being trapped in a confined space for months, or years, at a time. Mostly though, I feel like we humans have an obligation to take care of this planet. I think the possibility of colonizing other planets would inherently lead people to be less concerned about the damage we are doing to this one. I would want to stay and do everything I could to make sure that Earth was not being abused.

Saving the earth from abuse is important!

Do you find it (1) easy to give a witty retort OR (2) think of what you should have said after the conversation is over?

I’m certainly not great with witty retorts, or any kind of retorts for that matter. I’ve gotten better, over the years, but I still have a tendency to just smile and brush off any disparaging comments. That’s another reason I love writing. You get as much time as you want to come up with exactly the right words to say what you mean.

Creativity in action!

Your novel brought you fame and fortune. Do you spend approximately $2 million on (1) an expensive car OR (2) a Hollywood-style RV?

I would definitely go with the RV. I’ve never been particularly impressed with fancy cars. As far as vehicles go, as long as they run, and get me where I need to go, I’m happy with them. If I had the opportunity to buy a nice RV though, I would just live in it. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of a nomadic lifestyle, and there are tons of places I would love to see, if I had the chance. So, I would take my RV and travel all over the country visiting all of the places I’ve always wanted to go (and getting inspiration for my next book).

Living the RV life – What a way to get inspired!

What is your (1) favorite book quote OR (2) favorite movie quote?

My favorite quote comes from the Hellblazer comics. “Reality’s just a story that’s taken on a life of its own.” One- I think it just really captures what it means to be a writer. That’s what we do, we create new realities. We find a story and we shape it, and build upon it, until it becomes its own world. But I also just find this quote inspiring in general. It’s the idea that we get to create the life we want, that, if we believe in ourselves and our ideas strongly enough, we can make them real. Bonus fact- I have an appointment set up to get this quote as a tattoo.

Inspirational reality!

Thanks for being interviewed, Whitney!

Sigils & Secrets book cover
Sigils & Secrets: Black Magic Book 1

Crown Prince

(Book one of New Blood)

Fantasy novelist W.D. Kilpack III’s first book in the New Blood Series is an epic fantasy novel entitled Crown Prince.

Natharr is Guardian of Maarihk, one of a long line of protectors dating back to the Firstborn Age, before the Aa Conquest. Natharr’s is an ancient role, rooted in his Firstblood, giving him Sight to see what is yet to be. He adheres to his sacred duties even in the centuries since the Firstborn were forced to the brink of extinction by the Aa.

Natharr still stands guard over all men, Aa or Firstborn, Seeing what will come to pass, deciding what is unavoidable and what is not. He spends decades planning how to save the life of the newborn Crown Prince Vikari so he may one day reclaim the throne of the land where Mankind was created in the time when the Olde Gods still walked.

You can find out more about this fantasy author on his Kilpack website and subscribe to his YouTube channel. You may ask him questions at Goodreads Author W.D. Kilpack III.

W.D.’s Interview

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

I have dreamt of going into space all my life. Who didn’t want to be an astronaut as a child? As an adult, I REALLY want to go into orbit on SpaceX, so it follows that I would REALLY love to go to another planet! I would love the challenge of learning how to live there, as well as just the awe-inspiring experience of being someplace before anyone else. I would love to meet alien life and learn how to coexist. I guess I would be that guy wandering around with his mouth hanging open, in awe of everything he saw, touched and tasted.

To quote Star Trek, “Where no man has gone before”!

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

I prefer quality, home-cooked meals, particularly since I would likely be the one cooking them. I’m a good cook (better than a lot of restaurants I’ve been) and enjoy the creative process. I love exploring new flavors and styles of cooking, and of course the sense of accomplishment when something I cook turns out just as I had hoped. If it comes out better than I hoped, then that’s certainly worth a cheer.

Three cheers for the chef!

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

I am a people watcher. I always have been. It’s fascinating to see how people behave in various situations. For one thing, I learn things from others that I might want to implement in my own life or, just as importantly, aspects of a person’s personality that I think would make for an interesting character in my writing.

Creativity in action!

The most important event in the past century was (1) the moon landing OR (2) the Berlin Wall coming down?

The Moon landing was more important than the Berlin Wall coming down. The Moon landing influenced the future of all mankind, inspiring and promising a future of possibility. Political events rarely have that kind of impact. The Berlin Wall coming down was a significant event signaling the end of the Cold War, but hardly had the same kind of impact on humanity as the Moon landing. The wall coming down was a great event, that certainly had a positive impact on the people of Germany, but was not of the same significance as landing on the Moon.

Ready for outer space!

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

I am absolutely nocturnal. Mornings are brutal. In college, I took two classes that were at 9:45 a.m. and my face hit the keyboard in both of them (they were computer classes). My mind is most active after the sun goes down. Not only internally, but because of what’s happening around it. I love looking up at the stars, the Milky Way, the Moon, even city lights! Full moons often keep me up all night. (I also suspect I grow a bit more fur during them.)

This reader wants to know: What color is your fur?!

Thanks for being interviewed, W.D.!

Crown Prince book cover
Crown Prince Book One of New Blood

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