There is a place where sorrows pile up like snow and rest in your hair like cherry blossoms. Boys have wings, monsters fall in love, women fade into nothingness, and the bones of small children snap like twigs. Darkness will surely devour you—but it will be exquisitely lovely while doing so.

Mercedes M. Yardley’s Beautiful Sorrows is an ephemeral collection encompassing twenty-seven short tales full of devastation, death, longing, and the shining ribbon of hope that binds them all together.


Mini Review:

4/5 Stars.
This is a touching, moving, confronting and even a little bit twisted (in a good way) collection of creative fiction. I was trying to think of a good way to describe my delight at each new tale. It’s like when you are at Grandma’s house, sneaking a look in her jewellery box. With each new treasure you bring into the light there is that moment of joy mingled with a delicious fear that you will be getting caught out any second. Her characters are beautiful and endearing. Little worlds of hurt and wonder swirl around you. This book made me smile and cry. Mercedes is a very clever lady.

I borrowed these words of wisdom from Mercedes website to share.

1. People will give you terrible advice out of love. They’ll tell you to give up on writing and focus on a more stable career. Thank them, with a smile, for their concern. Then ignore them. Firmly.

2. Enjoy every success. It’s easy to look ahead and work for the next big success to the exclusion of where you are now. Don’t let this happen. It will steal your joy away.

3. There will be controversies and scandals and feuds. Writers like to be heard, and one way to do that is to hop on the bandwagon and shout along with everyone else. This doesn’t make you stand out. It almost always gets you in trouble. If you have a firm opinion on something and want to share it because it is dear to your soul, absolutely go ahead and do so. But instead of taking the time to be part of an argument, use that time to write.

4. If you’re not having fun anymore, go ahead and quit. There’s no shame in it. The rewards for writing are few and far between. Write for the love.

5. You’ll find that much of the wheeling and dealing happens at conventions in hotel rooms after the main event. And for women, you’ll be treated differently in this situation. It is not necessary, ever, to be someplace that you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable. Writers like to spin tales. Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you could become a victim or villain in somebody’s story. Be a person of class, and eventually the opportunities you hope for will come to you. You won’t need to chase them.

Good luck!

Posted by Leanne Ellis

Mercedes can be contacted via http://abrokenlaptop.com/

on Facebook as Mercedes M Yardley  and Twitter @mercedesmy




I purchased these three books from my local Book Warehouse shop today. I like to support my local businesses, keep money and jobs local, do the right thing. But after handing over $76.97 I wondered was it worth it? Is there a point where propping up the locals is just too expensive?

Those who know me are aware that I am a tragic Bibliophile. That my books are precious and that I cannot even entertain the idea of reading any other way than holding an actual book in my hands. If I am asked to read an authors book for review I read it off my PC as a PDF file. But Kindle and other flat-screened doohickies are a personal “no-no”. I have ordered books from online outlets many a time, but only as a last result; checking that the book was not available in Australia, or couldn’t be ordered in by my book shop. This is unfortunately becoming more common. An example is John Gwynne’s latest book Valour, available since July in the UK, not here till October or November.

So I did some online detective work and here are the results.




All figures calculated using current monetary conversion rates.

The three books all seem to be published in England, so I checked out a well known book published in America, Brent Weeks book The Blinding Knife. £8.09 in England, $17.00 in America and $33.00 in Australia. Paper back copy.

If I purchased these three books online from England it would cost me a total of $123.52 including P&H, plus two weeks delivery. If I purchased these three books online from America it would cost me $114.17 including P&H again up to two weeks delivery.

So, where possible, I will continue to buy locally despite the heavy taxes.

Or perhaps I will return to the land of my ancestors …..


By Leanne Ellis, the Bloody Cake News resident Aussie.




traitors blade coverSYNOPSIS:

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.

All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn.


4/5 STARS.

rapiereTraitor’s Blade took me back to Saturday Afternoons, on the couch watching Hollywood Classic Movies on TV. This was and still is a guilty pleasure. I remember the 1948 version of Alexandre Dumas’s Three Musketeers with Gene Kelly and Vincent Price. Or Christopher Lee and Oliver Reed’s fight scene in the 1973 remake. The gallantry and dare devil antics of Errol Flynn in his varies incarnations, or the nobility and sacrifice of Charlton Heston in El Cid.

All glorious escapism. And so is this book.

Falcio Val Mond is a man of nobility, strength, honour and intelligence. He is a charming but damaged human being who continues to try and uphold the wishes of his dead king. Falcio, Kest and Brasti are for better or worst Great Coats. They were the embodiment and enforcers of the kings law. They are now reviled outcasts forced to work as mercenaries, guards or lose all and become criminals. Theirs is a world of corruption, violence and black magic. The Dukes and their allies slipped into the vacuum created by the kings death and they are robbing, raping, killing and grinding the people under their rule. Will the late kings secrets be discovered and aid given to save the land of Tristia?

The fight scenes are wonderful, well described and vivid. The callous cruelty and deviousness of some characters shocking. I enjoyed the twists and turns in this tale. I loved the banter and humour. I was deeply affected by the physical suffering and also the touches of joy and kindness. I am looking forward to book two in this series and what happens to these characters.



sebastienSebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

Sebastien lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

BCN:  When did you realize you wanted to write? Is it something that you have done since childhood, or was there something that happened in adulthood that caused you to start?

SDC: The idea of being a writer started for me in an odd way: when I was about ten years old my mother told my brother and I that my father, who had passed away not long before, didn’t have enough in his pension fund for us to live comfortably. My mother decided that the simplest and easiest way to make money was to write novels and wanted my brother and I to know in advance so that we wouldn’t be embarrassed when her books were published. She proceeded to write two of the least romantic love stories ever conceived. Despite all that, what really stuck with me was the way my mother thought of writing as simply a natural human activity – something we could all do if we set ourselves to the task. Years later I decided I’d write a book. My first one was a rather terrible mystery novel but I couldn’t believe how rewarding it was to complete it. Over the next decade or so I wrote several books, one of which became Traitor’s Blade.

BCN:  What author’s or books have you have found inspirational?

SDC: Because I’ve worked in different fields within the entertainment industry I tend to draw from a wide range of influences that span novelists, comic writers, filmmakers and sometimes even designers. Authors such as Roger Zelazny and his Nine Princes in Amber were a big influence on me – you never knew what was coming at you next in that novel. Fantasy’s my first love, so writers like Steven Brust and Charles de Lint influenced my sense of character. But I also find inspiration in guys like C.S. Forester (writer of the Horatio Hornblower adventure stories) and Raymond Chandler (noir pioneer who gave us Sam Spade.)

Aaron Sorkin, who writes largely for television and film (notably, The West Wing), is unmatched for my taste when it comes to dialogue and making even small moments between characters feel dramatic. Finally, because I write fantasy and adventure, I have to think about balancing the more bombastic nature of heroic characters with a more grounded approach to personal relationships. Brian Michael Bendis does this brilliantly with super-heroic figures, as do a number of new comic writers out there.

BCN:  Do you stick to a routine when writing? Or does spontaneity help the creative process? Do you do pots of research prior to beginning?

SDC: My basic process is to go running a lot and develop story ideas by seeing what grabs me in that state of pushing myself physically. I’ll then turn those into beat sheets for scenes and, when I think there’s enough magic there to build something I believe in, I’ll construct an outline. Of course, it all goes off the rails pretty quickly when things you expected to work fall apart and other, often more interesting things, take their place.

BCN:  How do your ideas come to you? Some writers have dreams, some hear a phrase or a story from history.  What has given you that “Yes!”  moment?

SDC: For me it’s often the intersection between a particular thought and a piece of music. I’ll sometimes happen upon a moment in a song that connects with something I’m thinking about and suddenly I’ll feel a strong emotional reaction. I’ll often replay the song over and over and over while pursuing that thought inside the spaces within the music. It sounds a bit fluffy but it works for me.

BCN:  Now that Traitors Blade is out and being enjoyed by all, can you reveal what is in the pipeline for us to enjoy next?

SDC: The second book is complete and with my U.K. publishers. It’s tentatively entitled Greatcoat’s Lament, and it takes the main characters on a darker and more perilous journey than they’ve faced before.  Falcio will come to question his idealized memories of King Paelis, Kest will pay the price that comes with wanting to be the greatest swordsman in the world, and Brasti will discover he can no longer get away with simply playing the charming rogue. Valiana, Aline, and the Tailor all take more central roles in the second book than they did in the first, and the clash between their different visions of right and wrong will shake Tristia’s very foundations.

My other fantasy series, Spellslinger, is about an outcast mage hunted by his people whose business partner is a slightly murderous raccoon. It was one of my favourite books to write so I hope readers will enjoy it as well.

Finally, I’m partway through a strange detective novel that’s best described as Nancy Drew meets Chinatown. It’s remarkably dark but I think it’s going to be very exciting once it’s done.

BCN:  What is your favourite cake?

SDC: I’m an absolute chocolate addict. I would happily eat chocolate cake and ice cream every morning for breakfast if I thought I could get away with it.

BCN: Thank you very much Sebastien.

Sebastien can be contacted on his website www.decastell.com make sure you go on and do the quiz to see which Great Coats Shield you are. I got this:

Your colour is black to show your willingness to sacrifice
The kraken symbolizes your intellect
Your ability to go on long journeys is shown by the wings
You’ll face any opponent with your broadsword


He is also on twitter @decastell and on facebook : Sebastien De Castell

By Leanne Ellis.




elemental rancor coverA far away star supernovas and sends waves of force and change rippling through the cosmos. The waves crash into Sarnen Karnea’s world and thrust him into a deadly struggle to keep his loved ones from harm and to keep a secret about his son from the Zangava Empire.

The waves awaken new and old forms of consciousness, and stir ancient primordial resentments, that threaten to destabilize the Empire’s dominance in the world. Challengers from across the ocean, and from under it, seek to capitalize on newly developing Imperial problems.

Like the Empire, Sarnen must adapt to survive, and must ask himself which of his virtues he is willing to deny in order to reach his goals.


Rating 4 / 5 Stars.


Charles Lominec has created a interesting world of creatures, non-human and human races.  The merchant Sarnen Karnea dreams of the day he can retire, stay with his family in one place and keep away from the politics of the Zangava Empire. Journeying on his ship Windrider and making a profit is becoming harder. Even with the aid of his college friend Jorsana Faylen, Tutor to Lorgen his son,and retired Elemental Tutor.

shipThe Elemental College has always helped kept peace and aided the people. The Elements of Water, Air, Earth, Fire, Flesh and Ether worked with by the Elemental Tutors. But things are stirring. Why can’t Fire be found and Air is becoming harder to deal with. Who is causing beasts and the other races to attack without provocation, leaving death in their wake? What are the other dark Elements discovered and used in this destruction?

I found this book to be an enjoyable and different type of fantasy read. The characters are wonderful, especially Sarnen and Lorden. The world and its cultures are unique and intriguing. Charles writes with  a nice rhythm that keeps the tale rolling along from one scene to the next. I am looking forward to the second book in A Chronicle of Consequence.


Charles lominec picMy five-year-old daughter asked me to attach a small knit blanket to her shirt so she could have a cape. Once the cape was secure, she turned on me and began an epic battle. Her little fists punched with imaginary yet primordial force as she proclaimed, “I’m going to take you to jail bad guy!”

It was a concentrated dose of joy to see my daughter love the same stories that I love. Super-heroes, science-fiction, modern and historic fantasy have all held special places in my heart and have inspired my imagination for a world better than the one we have.

While studying Philosophy and History at Florida State University, I spent a lot of my free time writing stories for numerous role-playing games with which I was involved. Eventually, I took my love for Philosophy, story-telling, and writing; and wrote my debut novel.

I think we’re living in a fantastic time where the predictions of our sci-fi fore fathers are coming true or close to coming true. Continuing exponential advances in technology, medicine, and our understanding of our cosmos stands ready to propel our species forward to an exciting future. Our potential for greatness is tempered by our equal potential for self-destruction. The same advances promising to send us forward could hurl us drastically backwards.

In order to tip the balance toward greatness, we need to reawaken humanity’s imagination and love of learning. We also need to encourage empathy and compassion for not only other humans, but all the lifeforms that share existence with us.


BCN:  When did you realize you wanted to write? Is it something that you have done since childhood, or was there something that happened in adulthood that caused you to start?

CL: I started creating stories at eighth grade when I discovered Dungeons & Dragons and other role playing games. I got better at creating stories as time progressed, to the point where I found myself running games more often than playing: which suited me just fine. By the time I was in college, gamer people, who I didn’t even know, were looking me up to ask about joining my games.

After college I decided that I had read enough and learned enough to start writing a novel. I wrote a few chapters of a D&D/Planescape novel, a few chapters of a modern super-hero tale, and then some initial chapters of what would later evolve into Elemental Rancor. Though I was creating stories since childhood, I hadn’t considered myself a serious writer until 2002.

BCN: What author’s or books have you have found inspirational?

CL: George RR Martin’s depth of character; Tom Clancy’s military detail; The dialogue style in Plato’s The Republic; The eloquent prose of The Federalist Papers; The political viciousness of Machiavelli’s The Prince. I’ve done a lot of reading over the years, but I think these stand out of my most inspirational.

BCN: Do you stick to a routine when writing? Or does spontaneity help the creative process? Does being a family man help or hinder?

CL: I belong to an online writing group. We post our daily activities: word count, proofreading, research in book marketing, etc. My personal rule is to meet my daily word quota before I allow myself TV or video game.

My family is more of an inspiration than a hindrance. Sarnen’s family is modelled after my own. Though there are times when I have to close my laptop to attend imaginary tea parties, but that’s ok. The tea is quite excellent.

BCN: How do your ideas come to you? Some writers have dreams, some hear a phrase or a story from history.  What has given you that “Yes!”  moment?

CL: I wish I could just dream my stories. That would make the process less tedious. I get the majority of my ideas from current events, history, philosophy, science, and my own vision. My “Yes!” moments come when all those elements fit nicely together. The development of The Magmanoid was a good example of a “Yes!” moment.

BCN: Now that Elemental Rancor is out and being discovered , can you reveal what is in the pipeline for us to enjoy next?

CL: I’m working on the sequel: currently on chapter 4. I also see a sci-fi project in the future. I’m collaborating with a friend on a series of short stories. Those who like Elemental Rancor have a lot to look forward to.

BCN. And last but not least, What is your favourite cake?

CL: Cheese cake.

BCN: Thank you very much Charles.

CL: Thank you. I’m delighted to work with Bloody Cake. I’ve become quite the fan.

Charles Lominec can be contacted on his website: http://lomineclexicon.com , Twitter @ElementalRancor and Facebook

by Leanne Ellis


half a kingHesitant we may be, but when God opens a door for us, we eventually go through – whether it leads to life or death. But what might that life be like, if we are given half the blessings others were so generously granted? A life of shadows. A life of shame.

Until one day the sun rises to seek us out, to mercilessly chase us out of our safe harbour of false dreams and sets us on a journey to find our purpose, our strengths and most importantly, ourselves.

And with that the swords clattered and rough words rattled, the icy winds swirled and the pages turned, and the journey grew into an epic adventure.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie is a tale of betrayal, revenge, a bloody song you dance with death on and on, as the world shifts around you, turning love into joeabercrombie-bw2-600x900hate and hate into love, with no rules, no choices and no exemptions given when you pay the price. Always you pay the price.

Cheated out of his own destiny, Prince Yarvi must face a perilous path, armed only with his mothers’ wisdom and cunningness, driven by his father’s anger and determination, bound by an oath, chased by enemies in a land where steel speaks and the weak listen.

While, as only to be expected, this was a skilfully written, highly enjoyable book, for me it was the last five chapters that truly turned a good story into a great one. Brilliant ending to the first book of the series, indeed very well played, Mr. Abercrombie.


Photo by Lou Abercrombie

Jay Kristoff profile

jay-kristoff-headshotJay Kristoff is the author of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK. Part 3, will be released in September 2014. He’s also co-author of the upcoming ILLUMINAE (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi… thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13520 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings



stormdancerStormdancer. Book #1 The Lotus War

Rating 4/5 Stars

This book had me engaged from the start. Set in a dark and stifled world that is being torn apart by itself. Yukiko is like a gem of light amongst the polluted dross. She and her friend Buruu the Griffin are thrown together but respect and sacrifice create bonds that even the Shogun and others cannot break. Please may I have more?

“To be a servant can be a noble thing, but only as noble as the master served.”


kinslayerKinslayer. Book #2 The Lotus War

Rating 5/5 Stars

Wow Jay Kristoff! The second book is even better than the first one. Well done, Sir. The Shima Imperium is in a shambles. The Lotus guild is making its play for power over the dynasty. The rebels are in a race against time to prevent it all from happening. The other clans make a grab for it all while chaos reigns. Yukiko and Buruu are trying to aid the rebels while fighting her grief and rage. The mind powers by which they communicate are growing uncontrollably. There is gore and blood here. But this is a dark, damaged place so it is understandable. These people are cruel and savage, the result of living undervalued lives in a hellhole. I was greatly moved by Jay’s characters. And I despaired for the land that is dying beneath their feet. Thanks for a great read. Bring on The Lotus War #3.


endsingerEndsinger. Book #3 The Lotus War

Endsinger is due out 23rd September 2014 and early reviews are already giving it 5 stars.

The synopsis:
The flames of civil war sweep across the Shima Imperium. With their plans to renew the Kazumitsu dynasty foiled, the Lotus Guild unleash their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath known as the Earthcrusher, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. With the Tiger Clan and their puppet Daimyo Hiro in tow, the Guild marches toward a battle for absolute dominion over the Isles.
Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the Kagé rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends in an effort to unite the country against the chi-mongers. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war tearing the Imperium apart, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win.

The traitor Kin walks the halls of Guild power, his destiny only a bloody knife-stroke away. Hana and Yoshi struggle to find their place in a world now looking to them as heroes. Secret cabals within the Lotus Guild claw and struggle; one toward darkness, the other toward light. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.

There is nothing a mother won’t do to keep her children by her side.


Jay Kristoff is contactable on his blog , twitter and Facebook

by Leanne Ellis

 jeff salyards banner
Scourge of the Betrayer Review.

Rating 4/5 stars.

scourge of the betrayer coverThe first book in The Bloodsounder Arc does a great job introducing us to this world and peoples through the eyes of Arkamondos, the Scribe. He is the narrator of the story and as a trained scribe he doesn’t miss much. Arki, as he is called, is hired by Captain Braylar Killcoin to chronicle the doings of him and his company of Syldoon soldiers. Somewhat naïvely Arki finds himself in the employ of a dark and dangerous man and his staff of hardened warriors. Even though Arki has had a far from ideal upbringing, he is in turn terrified, repelled, and sickened by the actions of those he is travelling with. Lloi, the Grass Dog woman, maimed and cast out by her people because of what she is. The Captain, Braylar, Syldoon veteran soldier, killer and bearer of Bloodsounder the strangely wrought flail that causes him to descend into a hell of mental and physical torment whenever he kills with it. And the company, Mulldoos, Glesswik, Vendurro, Hewspear and others – Jeff Salyards has created wonderful characters and delightful dialogue.

There are well worked fight and battle scenes, nice little twists, sweet droll and dark humour. I like Jeff’s creation of the God Veil, The Memoridon Magic and the Gods who left them all behind. There is some nastiness and blood but this is a world of darkness and corruption, populated by creatures of nightmare and people hardened by necessity. And through it all moves the Captain and Co, causing mayhem and disruption in the service of their Emperor. A great start to this series.


Veil of the Deserters Review.

Rating 5/5 stars.

This, the second book in the Bloodsounders Arc series does everything I hoped it would and gets an extra star.

There is more of all the good stuff laid down in Scourge of the Betrayer to keep us all enthralled. More great fighting, intelligently thought through. More wonderful dialogue and humour. Characters that you will get involved with, and care about, or dislike because they are so twisted and bad. All the gang that remained are here from Scourge and we learn a lot more about them as individuals. There are some wonderful new characters who will have you entertained. We also discover more about the magic and mythology of this world and how it may be connected to its people.veil of the deserters cover

Captain Braylar Killcoin is still suffering from the effects of using Bloodsounder. He and the company are continuing to disrupt the elite of Alespell as per their previous mission with Arki still trying to make some sense of it all. The Syldoonian Emperor is recalling all operatives for a formal oath of fealty. The capital is a vipers’ pit of intrigue and danger but Braylar must go.

Dragged into the machinations of deposed emperor Thumarr and current emperor Cynead the company finds itself caught up in a game of “Who is friend and foe?” We also meet Braylar’s sister Soffjian who is capable of helping him with his mental torture but with who he shares a mutual distrust. Arki begins to come out of his shell and shows his skills. Jeff Salyards has a well paced story telling style that is improving with each outing.  A great read and I can’t wait for book 3.


Jeff Salyards Profile.

I jeff-salyards-headshot-colo1grew up in a small town north of Chicago. While it wasn’t Mayberry, with all the doors unlocked and everyone offering each other slices of pie and quaint homilies, it was pretty quiet and sleepy, so I got started early imagining my way into all kinds of other worlds and universes that were loud, chaotic, and full of irrepressible characters and heaps of danger. Massive explosions. Tentacled aliens. Men with sharp swords and thousand-yard stares and secrets they would die to protect. Clearly, I was a full-bore dork.

Royal Crown bag full of multi-sided dice? Check. Blood-red hooded cloak? Check. Annual pilgrimages to Renaissance Faires? Check. Whacking other (curiously athletic and gifted) dorks with rattan swords in the SCA? Check. Yes, I earned my badges, thank you very much.

My whole life, I’ve been fascinated by the fantastic, and of course this extended to speculative fiction of all kinds. Countless prepubescent evenings found me reading a worn, dog-eared copy of Thuvia, Maid of Mars (it sounded so much dirtier than it was!) or The Frost Giant’s Daughter (high hopes for that one too!) well past lights-out, flashlight in hand, ignoring the repeated calls to turn in. That’s as quiet and harmless a rebellion as you can have, and my parents mostly sighed and left me to it.

I live with my lovely wife, Kris, and three daughters in a suburb west of Chicago. I am indebted to Kris in countless ways for her steadfast encouragement, support, and thick skin in dealing with a prickly, moody writer. I don’t always like living with me, but she has a choice and stays anyway.

And before you are tempted to mention it, I am fully aware that siring three daughters is certainly karmic retribution, particularly when they all transform into teenagers. I cling to the hope of discovering at least one of them reading covertly in the middle of the night. That kind of transgression I can handle.


Author Q & A

BCN: When did you realize you wanted to write? Is it something that you have done since childhood, or was there something that happened in adulthood that caused you to start?

Jeff : Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed writing. When we were in fourth grade and had to write a little essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up, I wrote, “Jewel thief, stuntman, or writer.” At the time I was probably gravitating towards stuntman, but sadly, nobody wants to train a 40-something year old apprentice on jumping out of burning buildings, so I missed my window for that one, and I’m really too big and clumsy to be a successful jewel thief. So writer it is.

BCN: What authors or books have you have found inspirational?

Jeff : This is always such a tough questions, since I could rattle off huge lists and go on about it for days, neither of which you probably want. I would love to be able to write a book like A Prayer for Owen Meany, poignant and moving and resonating. Or something absurdly funny like Catch-22. Or something as disturbing or almost pulverizing as Clockwork Orange. If I could muster dialogue half as clever as Tom Stoppard’s I’d high five myself. I read prose by someone like Octavia Butler and am stunned at how sharp and evocative it is.

And as far as inspiring just in the sense of trying to be a better writer, hard to go wrong with Stephen King’s On Writing. I’d recommend that to anyone interested in an unvarnished and very accessible book on craft.

BCN: Do you stick to a routine when writing? Or does spontaneity help the creative process? Does being married with children help or hinder?18040285

Jeff : Having a supportive spouse is great. So is having three kids, but not gonna lie, it can be a challenge to carve out time to write with a young family at home. That said, it’s easy to make excuses—and I’m good at it!—but I’m sure plenty of people with bigger challenges create the time, so really I’m just whining.

I usually write late in the evening, and sometimes on the weekend, but it’s not consistent enough to be called a routine.

BCN: How do your ideas come to you? Some writers have dreams, some hear a phrase or a story from history.  What has given you that “Yes!”  moment?

Jeff : Ideas come out of the blue sometimes, and I scramble to write them down in a notebook. The Syldoon culture and infrastructure was inspired by some research I did for a project ages ago on the Mameluke Sultanate in Egypt. I was fascinated by the slave solider dynamic, and while I took it in a different direction and added some layers (and of course, the Memoridons) to avoid it being a complete and utter historical rip-off, there is no denying that impacted the direction the book went in.

BCN: Now that Veil of the Deserters is out and being enjoyed by all, can you reveal what is in the pipeline for us to enjoy next?

Jeff : I’m working on book three in the series, tentatively called Bane of the Revenger. But that’s a super soft tentative—I’ll probably change my mind a hundred times. Anyway, that’s going to occupy this next year. Not sure if I’ll do any short stories. And then after that, it’s sort of murky. Do you have a Magic Eight Ball?

BCN: Thank You for your time, Jeff.

If you want to contact Jeff Salyards  his website is : jeffsalyards.com

He is also on Facebook and Twitter @JeffSalyards.

by Leanne Ellis