Maria Savva's Blog, page 5

August 22, 2014

Today, I'm excited to be introducing you to one of the friendliest and most supportive authors I've met online. Tara Ford not only writes great fiction, she also helps support her fellow indie authors with promotion on her blog.

After reading the wonderful Calling All Dentists I was keen to interview Tara about the book and her writing life in general.

So, without further ado, here's the interview:

In Calling All Dentists you have two female characters who are best friends, but have totally opposite personalities. Which one of the two girls would you say is more like you?

I think that I am more like Emma than Ruby. Ruby is a very sweet girl but far too nice to be considered anything like me. She is somewhat naive too and hopefully I have a little more grounding and experience than she does.

I can empathize with Emma and her fears but I'm not sure I would be as brave as her when it comes to the bottom line.

Emma has a terrible fear of dentists. Is that taken from your own experience or someone you know?

Oh, that would most definitely be taken from my own experiences of dentists over the years - I was terrified of them. I really could never understand why though. After all, a dentist is hardly ever going to tell you some terrible news about your health, like a doctor could!

While I was writing 'Calling All Dentists' it became apparent to me that there were so many people I knew who hated dentists and had real fears about them. I was relieved to find that I wasn't the only one.

I'm also terrified of dentists!

The book is the second in a series although it reads well as a stand alone book. I enjoyed it very much even though I haven't read the first one yet. Are you planning more books in the series?

Yes, there are two more books in the series, 'Calling All Customers' (due out at the end of this year) and then the last book is 'Calling All Neighbours'.

The series of Calling All... books are based around the lives of one family (the Frey family) but the stories are not always directly related to the Frey's and their lives. 'Calling All Customers', in particular, is related to the Frey family in an indirect way, i.e. the book isn't actually about them but they are there somewhere.... The other exception is that the first book, 'Calling All Services' is set ten years before the other three books. Are you confused yet? I am!

A bit! LOL :)

Incidentally, I now have the firm base for my fifth book which is very exciting. I can't write the others quick enough to get on to the fifth one!

That's great!

Apart from the 'Calling All...' series, are you working on any other projects?

Oops - think I just answered that one in the previous question. Well I'm not actually working on it (apart from in my head).

I have also been asked to write a biography for someone which really surprised me. I felt quite honoured to be asked actually and I'm in the early stages of talks about this exciting venture.

Intriguing... I look forward to finding out more about that.

How long have you been writing?

Er... I learnt to write when I was about 4, so I guess it's been for ** years. On a serious note, I've dabbled in writing, bits and pieces, for years. I always wanted to write a novel but could never think of what to write. Now I have come to realise that I was looking too hard all of those years and actually, the subjects/genre/style were right under my nose all of the time.

What would you say is the best thing about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is letting my overloaded brain explode out through my fingers and in to a Word document, in the form of words. I am quite a shy person, contrary to popular belief, and have always found it so much easier to communicate through word, rather than speech. I sometimes think that the internet, or more specifically social networks, were created for me and others like me who are able to express themselves easier through written words.

And the worst?

The worst thing about being a writer is doubt. I hear or read a lot about 'writer's block' and yet (touch wood), I haven't experienced it yet. The worst thing for me is wondering and worrying about whether people will like my writing. I am well aware that there will always be those who don't like it but in general we all want it to be liked - right? I suppose that I worry too much about it and possibly have a slight insecurity about what I'm writing sometimes. Perhaps all writers do?

Or am I just a wimp?

I think all writers have that :)

Have you read any books recently that you would recommend? What was it about that particular book or books that you most enjoyed?

I've stepped back almost 40 years just recently. I've been reading some of my childhood favourites, like 'Charlotte's Web' (which incidentally, has now helped me to overcome my fear of spiders... well up to a certain size of spider anyway... I'm working on the bigger ones). I've also just re-read 'The Secret Garden' which I didn't enjoy so much this time around and almost wish I could have left it in my memory dump from years ago and not read it.

I now have a long list of books that I want to read and they are all staring at me from my Kindle - Help! I don't know where to start...

A familiar feeling!

When choosing a book to read do you have a favourite genre, or are you open to trying any genre?

My usual choice of genre is chicklit/romantic comedy. I am open to trying other genres (except maybe horror, due to my 'wimpish' nature) and have read some true and sometimes really inspirational stories in the past too. So, as long as you're not scaring me, I'll have a go at anything.

Put these influencing factors in order from the most important to the least important when you're looking for a new book to read: Characters, Genre, Writing style, Cover, Blurb, Author, Price.

Genre, Author, Cover, Blurb, Characters, Writing style, Price.

What do you think of the current trend of writers giving books away free?

I used to think that this was a cheap and tacky, almost desperate thing to do. I couldn't understand why an author would work so hard to write a novel over a long period of time (whether it be 9 months or 9 years), just to give it away for free.

However, now I do understand this concept as I have done it myself. I read somewhere, some while ago, about the power of free promotions to gain a fan base from where to start working and marketing from. It worked for me in the sense that my free book was downloaded over 3,000 times, in just a few days. What was more exciting and unexpected was the fact that my other book started selling at a daily rate, tenfold to previous sales figures. This has now happened twice for me and I will do it again in the future.

I must stress that these free promotions are only temporary promotions, lasting no more than 5 days and I'm happy with that set up each quarter, throughout the year. I do wonder though, what is the purpose of permanently free books to the authors who wrote them?

I know some authors who have one book permanently free as a sample of their work. I suppose that would work where the author always writes in the same genre, or where the freebie is the first book in a series.

What's your favourite genre to write?

Definitely comedy with some romance thrown in... or is it romance with some comedy thrown in? Not sure which way round but I hope you get the gist of it.

Do you do your best writing in the day or night?

I'm a day person, more specifically, a morning person. It all goes downhill at around 10am. By 7pm I'm an internet zombie, stunned in to a death-like state of immobility as I stare at other people's conversations on Facebook, watch numerous, sometimes pointless, video clips that jump out at me from the newsfeed, about all sorts of weird and wonderful things and then I trawl through the mountains of notifications, messages and general mayhem on Twitter. The internet is the bane of my life and the modern form of procrastination.

Some writers like music in the background when writing, others (me included) prefer silence. What is your preference?

I go for silence for 2 reasons. Firstly, I don't often get it in my busy household, therefore it's the ideal excuse not to write and to further my career in procrastination. Secondly, when it is silent and I do have to write, I can hear the characters in my head clearer. They may be talking to me or having conversations amongst themselves but at least I can hear what they're saying. Weird or what?


If you could meet one of the characters from your books and spend a day with him/her, who would you choose and what would you do?

I really liked Ruby from 'Calling All Dentists' and would love to spend a day with her. I would take her shopping to buy some outlandish clothing, sunbathe on a nudist beach (purely for the shock factor - both the shockingly, horrified looks of passers by [I'm not as sleek as I used to be] and to shock Ruby), encourage her to play 'Knock door run' with me, make some crank phone-calls, get extremely drunk in a local nightclub and 'pull' a one-night-stand. Hopefully after all of that, Ruby would be a little more worldly-wise and 'up for a laugh'.

Many authors write much of their fiction inspired by their own life experiences. How much of your own life goes into your fiction?

Quite a bit actually. I think of something that may have happened to me, or someone I know, but usually me. Then I twist it and turn it, take bits out, put other bits in (usually funny bits) and then scramble it all back together and throw it at a wall, just to splatter it a little further. I then scoop it all up and chuck it into a word document. I hope that's not reflected too much in my books, lol.

If you could invite 3 authors to dinner (can include authors from the past) who would you choose and what would you cook?

For a start I am the world's worst cook - I can burn a jelly! So I would hope that the 3 authors would be kind and forgiving. I would probably cheat due to my culinary inadequacies and either ask Mr Fordie (who is a wonderful cook) to pretend to be a hired cook for the evening (I'm sure he'd be up for that) or nip to the local take-away.

My 3 authors would be, Sophie Kinsella - I adore her and love her books. She seems to be a shy-ish person (like me) and I'm sure we would connect. Carole Matthews would be my next choice, she appears to be very outgoing, lively and fun and her books are fabutastic. She could bring me out of my little coconut shell. My final choice would be Roald Dahl, purely because I am so intrigued by his lifestyle, his shed (I would quite like one too) and his writing, I would love to know where his ideas came from. He would probably be the centre of attention actually, thus deflecting from the take-away or the fact that I had to get someone else to cook for me!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write, write, write... and keep writing. Don't give up on those 'bad days'. Keep at it and believe in yourself. I am completely sure that if I can do it, then anyone can. Another thing that I would say is, get your name known, well before your first book comes out. Social networking is an absolute must, particularly if you are going to be an independently published author.

It's a very good idea to set up a website/blog for yourself too. This is a window for interested readers/fans to go and take a peep through. I believe that the readers want to get to know you a little more, if they like your work.

I'm a great believer in 'what goes around, comes around', hence I do a lot of promotional work to help other authors too. I think this helps me as well.

How much research did you have to do for Calling All Dentists?

I did a little research for 'Calling All Dentists'. Luckily, I like my dentist, who I've been with for 3 years now and I used my experiences with her in either a negative or positive way (back to the 'chucking ideas at the wall' again). I've had some terrible experiences in the past and also my fair share of toothy problems so again, it all went up the wall.

Do you have any news for your readers?

Er... I think I've probably blown this question by waffling in previous questions. I'm looking forward to the release of my third book, 'Calling All Customers' at the end of this year. I'm hoping that it will be the best one yet. A fun read!

I will be going part time when I go back to school in September - yay! All thanks to Mr Fordie's kindly supportive role as husband-type-thing. So I hope to be able to write a lot more and procrastinate a lot less. I may well be banning myself from the internet for a certain amount of time each day, just so that I don't waste any more time. I can also catch up with the ironing!

Sounds wonderful, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your books!

Keep up with Tara Ford's news at the following links:

Author Website:





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Published on August 22, 2014 09:14 • 2,445 views • Tags: author-interview, calling-all, calling-all-dentists, chick-lit, comedy, interview, romance, series, tara-ford

August 16, 2014

I’m excited to announce an exhibition that is taking place at Saffron Walden Library from the 18th August 2014 for a month! It’s an exhibition of photography by Martin David Porter of Mart’s Arts Photography.

A few months ago Perspectives was released. It’s a short story collection featuring stories by me and another author Darcia Helle. All the stories in that book were inspired by photographs taken by Martin.

Martin’s photos will be on display at the library, including photos that inspired the stories in Perspectives. There will be canvas prints available to purchase at the event.

You can find out more about Perspectives, the book, in this article I wrote on my Goodreads blog when it was first published:

The exhibition has a Facebook page here:

The library address: 2 King Street, CB10 1ES Saffron Walden

You can buy Perspectives at Amazon:



Find out all about Martin’s photography at the following links:


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Published on August 16, 2014 07:08 • 684 views • Tags: darcia-helle, exhibition, maria-savva, martin-david-porter, perspectives, photography, saffron-walden, saffron-walden-library, short-stories

August 9, 2014

I've just heard about this innovative new app that is being launched by an author friend of mine and her husband.

Andrea Howarth Salazar, is the author of the wonderful novel, Splintered, a heartwarming tale about letting go of the past and the all-encompassing power of love.

You can read more about it and buy the book on Amazon:


This new app for children has been developed by Andrea's husband with Andrea's help on character design and story boarding, and they've launched a new social media campaign to help with the launch. The Thunderclap campaign doesn't request donations, just clicks.

The app is designed to encourage children aged 4 - 10 to walk outdoors with their parents to earn more points to unlock characters and stories in the game. Andrea says, "It's for the good cause of preventing child obesity and promoting fitness, fun and family time! Supporting this does not cost anything - and the more support clicks we receive, the more advertising tweets we will get when the app is launched on September 1st."

To help promote via the Thunderclap campaign, please follow this link:

You can follow the Ed Eggs Team on twitter:
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Published on August 09, 2014 10:28 • 949 views • Tags: andrea-howarth-salazar, app, campaign, children, ed-eggs, fitness, sida-technology, support, thunderclap

August 6, 2014

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to the talented Eden Baylee, a prolific author with many books to her name. She has just released her first full length novel, Stranger at Sunset. It's an atmospheric, engrossing mystery that will keep you hooked to the very last page. Luckily, it's the first in a series, so we will be treated to more stories featuring the enigmatic main character Kate Hampton.

Vacation can be a killer.

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show. 

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation. 

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers? 

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate's own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.


After reading this wonderful book, I was keen to interview Eden about her writing and current plans:

How long have you been writing, and was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

EB: Informally, I’ve been writing since my mid-teens, but I took the leap to writing full-time January 2010. As for any defining moment, I can’t say there was. I know many authors say they’ve known all their lives they wanted to write. I’ve only ever known I had a rich fantasy life, and I’ve always loved to read.

I believe the combination of these two things pushed me toward writing.

How many books have you published? Which was the hardest to write and why?

EB: I have 13 books published. The first twelve are erotica – anthologies and short stories. My latest, Stranger at Sunset is a psychological mystery/thriller.

This last book was the hardest to write because it’s my first novel. I’ve never written anything this long before, so the structure was completely new for me. As a ‘pantser,’ I found it challenging, which is not a bad thing.

Stranger at Sunset is the first in a series, have you written the rest of the series yet, or is that something that you're still working at?

EB: Definitely still planning and writing them! It’s such a fine balance daily of researching, writing, promoting, and reading. I need 72 hours in a day if not more.

Wow! That's definitely a challenge!

Your latest book is a deviation for you as you usually write erotica. Why did you decide to venture into a different type of genre? 

EB: When I set out to write full-time, I started with erotica as it was a genre I knew well. I’ve been reading it since I was eleven, but … I also knew I would not write it forever. I have always considered erotica as a short story/novella-length genre. I never intended to write novels of it. 

I enjoy reading the mystery and thriller genres. There are many nuances contained in them and different ways to tell a story. I’m not a ‘blood and guts’ storyteller, so I don’t have the stomach to write police procedurals or crime novels. Where my interest lies is in the motivations of people. That is why I classify my book as a psychological mystery/thriller, because much of it is based on intellectual mind games.

The novel starts with a murder, but you don’t know who the killer is or who is killed. That is revealed only much later in the book through the interplay of the characters.

I think you got the balance just right. I often get put off by gratuitous violence in books. Yours was perfectly crafted.

I really enjoyed Stranger at Sunset. There are references in the book to James Bond, and in fact the setting is supposed to be where a James Bond film was made. Are you a James Bond fan, and if so do you prefer the books or movies and what is your favourite James Bond film/book?

EB: Thank you for your lovely compliment, Maria! Sunset Villa, the name of the resort in the book, is based on an actual place I stayed in Jamaica. The name is fictitious, but it was located next to where Ian Fleming lived and wrote his James Bond novels.

I love spy thrillers and James Bond, of course. My favorites are the old films with Sean Connery. I also liked Casino Royale. As for the books, I haven’t read all of them, but I remember being totally engrossed with From Russia with Love. I was a teenager when I read it, and it seemed magical and sexy. I loved the “foreign-ness” of it, both in the language Fleming used and in the story itself.

I saw the films on TV as a child as my dad was a fan, so I have a few memories of them, but quite distant memories LOL.

I understand that Stranger at Sunset was inspired by a trip you took to Jamaica. Tell us a bit about that trip and what you'd recommend people see if they go there?

EB: Jamaica has many attractions and I was close to Ocho Rios. The small villa I stayed at was near Dunn’s River Falls and James Bond Beach. I’d recommend snorkeling and swimming if you love the water. There is also the Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary, which was established to protect the underwater sea life. I’m not a deep-sea diver, but I’ve been told you can see spectacular species of marine life in certain areas.

It sounds lovely :)

Your main character, Kate Hampton, is a psychiatrist. This involves knowledge about various mental health issues. How did you go about doing your research for this element of the book?

EB: I’ve always had an interest in psychology, and at one time wanted to get into it as a profession. Given that, I still read texts from the field, and one of my go-to books is the seminal work of Dr. Hervey M. Cleckley’s The Mask of Sanity. A professional in the field recommended it to me.

Cleckley was an American psychiatrist, and the book describes his interviews with patients in a locked institution. His detailed clinical description of psychopathy is still relevant today even though the book was written back in the forties.

I was also a student of Freud’s writings, but many of his observations are no longer studied. It all makes for good fiction though.

Are any of your characters based on real people?

EB: I’ve borrowed bits and parts of people, but no character is 100% true to anyone I know. Part of writing fiction is the fun of expanding on certain traits, but there were a couple of characters I had to tone down from real world people I knew. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

LOL, I know what you mean.

Apart from the series, are you working on any other projects?

EB: I don’t write a novel fast enough yet to work on too many writing projects at once. I keep an active blog, promote myself and other writers I respect, and try to do a couple of charity events each year. It keeps me out of trouble.

Do you write every day?

EB: Yes. I think it’s important, even if it’s only a short blog or an entry into a journal. The process of putting words together on paper (on screen) exercises the brain in a way only writing can.

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?

EB: It was Hellgoing by Lynn Coady, a former Canadian journalist. It’s a book of nine short stories. I’d recommend it because she’s a visual writer, and her stories are unique.

I love short stories, so I'll add that to my list!

Which authors have inspired your writing?

EB: Many. In erotica—Miller, Nin, Nabakov. In literary fiction, Bukowski, Fowles, Murakami, Steinbeck, and others. I tend toward the classics though I read a lot of indie authors too, and many have inspired me as well.

Do you have any tips for writers who may be thinking about self-publishing a book?

I’m no expert, and I’ve learned by observing and doing. And making tons of mistakes along the way! The indie community is extremely supportive, and there is a lot of information out there to help a new author. There are more knowledgeable people than me who can talk to the ‘publishing’ side of writing.

My main tip is to keep writing. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned by writing continuously. The fact that I cringe a little by reading some of my older works is a good thing. It means I’ve moved on from there. I feel the mark of any writer, no matter how they are published, should be to improve with each book they write.

I totally agree, Eden

Stranger at Sunset is extremely well edited. Who edits/proofreads your work?

EB: Thank you, Maria, and I’m sure my amazing editor, Annetta Ribken would thank you too. What she does very well is look at the big picture of a manuscript—plot holes, inconsistencies, and problems with story structure. As the author, I can tend to get engrossed in the minutiae of the book because I know it intimately. Annetta has the ability to pull me back, which is tremendously helpful.

We work well together because neither of us engages our egos in the process of editing. Ultimately, we both want what is best for the book.

Who designs your book covers?

EB: JB Graphics in Toronto designs all my book covers and media. His work is clean, spare, and appeals to my sense of aesthetics. I don’t like overly “busy” covers, and he has a way of ensuring the cover sets a mood for the book. I’m a visual person, and I love color, images, and fonts. They all need to blend together well to create a good cover.

You have great book covers!

Do you have any other news for your fans?

EB: One exciting piece of news was the partnership of Stranger at Sunset with iTunes, which I’m unaware another author has done. My book has a soundtrack!

Before the book came out, I used certain songs leading up to its release as clues for the story. It seemed only natural to pair my two loves—music and words. You can sample and buy the play list here:

iTunes Playlist

For now though, I’m working hard to promote Stranger at Sunset while drafting the next two books in the series. I will also be doing some free giveaways of my backlist. Announcements will be made on my monthly newsletter, so I encourage readers to add their names to my mailing list.

Many thanks for the interview Maria. I really appreciate all you to do. It’s been a pleasure to chat with you.

Thank you for being a guest here, Eden!
I love that iTunes idea, and I'm not aware of other authors having done that, either! :)

Author Bio

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.



Get your copy of Stranger at Sunset from Amazon:



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Published on August 06, 2014 13:50 • 7,973 views • Tags: amazon, caribbean, eden-baylee, itunes, jamaica, murder-mystery, new-release, psychological-suspense, stranger-at-sunset, suspense

August 5, 2014

I've heard about a few free book promotions that some of my author friends are doing at the moment. I think all of these will be worth a read, so you should grab them while they're free.

One free promo that is going on only for the next couple of days is: Nine Lives, a wonderful collection of short stories by the brilliant author Terry Tyler.

If you've never read any of her books, this short story collection is a fabulous way to sample her style. She writes contemporary fiction and creates very real characters. She's one of my favourite authors. When I pick up one of her books I always know I'll enjoy it.

Get your free copy of Nine Lives on Amazon worldwide between 5th - 7th August 2014.


Michael Pugh is giving away pdf copies of all of his books at the moment. I'm not sure how long this offer will go on for, so grab yours now :)

Here's a link to his website where you can read about and download the books:

I haven't read any of his books yet, but they sound great!

Last but not least, Effrosyni Moschoudi is giving away both of her books on Amazon between 7th - 11th August 2014.

I'll be downloading both books. I haven't read her books, but they sound fascinating.

The Lady of the Pier is an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist!


UK: The Necklace of Goddess Athena:

The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb:

US: The Necklace of Goddess Athena:

The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb:

I hope you'll find some great stories to love, and if you enjoy these books, please think about leaving a nice review on Amazon.

Happy Reading!

August 3, 2014

I've been tagged by the talented Terry Tyler to take part in this blog tour. Terry's written lots of novels and short stories and I always love her books. You should try one if you haven't yet. I'd recommend 'You Wish...' as a starting point.

You Wish... by Terry Tyler

Here's a link to Terry's blog post:

The rules: Provide the link back to the post by the person who nominated you. Write a little about and give the first sentences of the first three chapters of your current WIP, then nominate four other writers to do the same.


(Well, that's a bit of a lie as I do have a title for it, but I think I want to keep it under wraps for now!)

My current WIP is a novel. It started life as an idea for a short story, but then another idea was formed, and another, until the only way to fit everything in would be to write it as a novel.

It's part horror, part comedy, part drama, part romance, and part unknown quantity as I am still writing it so I'm not sure where this tale will lead. I'm really enjoying the writing process though, it seems that every time I pick up a pen to continue it, new ideas are born.

Chapter One

‘Can you kill it, Daddy? Please.’

Chapter Two

Abigail set the table as she did every evening.

Chapter Three

‘You’ll never guess what happened this morning when I was taking Robbie to school,’ said Roisin.


I'm nominating the following 4 talented writers to reveal their WIPs :)

Lucy Pireel -

Jaleta Clegg -

Bianca Sloane -

Jennifer Lane -

Check out their blogs and their books!!
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Published on August 03, 2014 13:09 • 779 views • Tags: bianca-sloane, jaleta-clegg, jennifer-lane, lucy-pireel, novel, terry-tyler, work-in-progress

August 2, 2014

I've been tagged by my fellow author Neil Winnington to take part in a blog challenge.

Here are the rules:

I have to write a post answering seven questions about a main character from one of my novels, then I nominate five other authors to answer the same questions about their main characters.

Here's a link to Neil's blog where he introduces Eva Compton-Snort a main character from his book Religious Pursuits.

The main character I've chosen is Nigel Price, from my novel Haunted.

1. Tell us a little about this main character. Is he fictional or a historic person?

Nigel is fictional. He's a fifty-something man with a dark secret. We meet him at a point in his life when carrying the burden of his secret has become too much to bear.

2. When and where is the story set?

The story is set in London in the present day.

3. What should we know about him?

Nigel is a deeply disturbed man. He has lived with his secret for over 20 years and has already suffered a nervous breakdown years ago. He is a quiet man who likes to fade into the background. He works for a big company, but is on his own for most of the day in a small room where he's responsible for the mail, photocopying, and ordering stationary for the large organisation. He used to be a very successful man. In his twenties he was working as an IT specialist. He used to be loud and outspoken, but his secret has changed him.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

An event that happened 20 years before in a moment of rage changed his life for good.

5. What is his personal goal?

Nigel lives from day to day. He wants to get his life back on track, wants to find a way to break through the guilt, and conquer the voices in his head.

6. What are the titles of your novels, and where can we read more about them?

Haunted is my latest novel, and definitely the darkest.

The others are:

Coincidences (originally published in 2001, second edition in 2012)

A Time to Tell (2006) - I'm currently working on a second edition that will be published towards the end of the year if everything goes to plan.

Second Chances (2010)

The Dream (2011)

You can read more about them on my website:, and you can read excerpts on Microcerpt:

I also have lots of short story collections, and you can find out about them on my website, too.

7. When can we expect your next book to be published?

Well, the next book is a collaboration with photographers and other writers. It's part of the Mind's Eye Series. Darcia Helle and I wrote short stories inspired by photographs taken by Martin David Porter, and published Perspectives in April. We had so much fun that we decided to make it into a series of books and invite other authors and photographers. Book 2 will be called Reflections and will hopefully be published by the end of the year. It features more stories from me and Darcia, as well as poems from Ben Ditmars and Helle Gade, and short stories from Jason McIntyre and J. Michael Radcliffe. The photos in Reflections are by Helle and Martin.

Now I'll nominate five other authors... All these authors have written fantastic books and I'd recommend you try them!

Fantasy author, J. Michael Radcliffe, author of the excellent 'Beyond the Veil' series and many short stories. Michael owns 6 cats (although there may be more by now... he seems to get a new one every year!) He also loves dragons:

Talented writer, Laxmi Hariharan, who's currently at work on her Ruby Iyer series and about to release a new novel. She's a supportive writer who I met last year at the TLC writers' conference:

The wonderfully creative Julie Elizabeth Powell. Julie has written many books in multiple genres. She has written children's books, fantasy, murder/mystery, horror, and comedy. She is a friendly and supportive author:

Fantasy author and astrologer, Alex Sumner. His 'Magus' series of books is great, and he writes a very interesting blog:

Last but not least, the talented author Eden Baylee. She's written many literary erotica stories, and her latest book is a different genre. A brilliant murder/mystery set in the Caribbean. I have an interview with Eden coming up next week on my blog where she chats about her writing and her new release 'Stranger at Sunset.' Don't miss it!:

July 30, 2014

The giveaway for Far Away In Time is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered. Congratulations to Sarah, Adrian, Maggie, Spencer, and Elliott, who are the lucky winners of signed paperback copies!

I will try to get those in the post for you tomorrow. I hope you enjoy the stories :)

Far Away In Time by Maria Savva

Now, a short update about my writing. What have I been working on recently? you ask.


My second novel, A Time to Tell, originally published in 2006, is currently with my proofreader Perfect Prose as I'm preparing a second edition. It has been fully edited. I think I'll get the book back from my proofreader in September, then will send it out to beta readers.

Secondly, I'm working on a new novel. It started off as a short story but then took on a life of its own. I am having fun writing it. It has elements of drama, suspense, romance, thriller, comedy, and even horror, with a sprinkling of the paranormal.

Following the publication of Perspectives in April, the second book in the Mind's Eye Series is now almost ready to be published.

Perspectives by Darcia Helle

It will be called 'Reflections', and feature stories and poems from Helle Gade, Jason McIntyre, Ben Ditmars, Darcia Helle, J. Michael Radcliffe, Martin David Porter, and myself. The stories/poems were inspired by photographs taken by Martin and Helle. The cover has been designed by Jason McIntyre and it's brilliant. Hopefully I'll be able to do a cover reveal soon!

That's all for now. Watch this space for more soon :)

July 24, 2014

I haven't done any author interviews for a while, have I? I've kind of missed it. I'm planning a few in the coming weeks.

Today, I have author M.R. Cosby (Martin Cosby) as my guest. I met him online over a year ago and at that time he was working on his first collection of short stories having had a couple of stories published in an anthology. He's very friendly and very supportive of fellow authors. His debut collection of short stories has just been published.

I love short stories and am always trying to convince people to read more of them. People usually choose novels and the poor short story collections get left behind, but there are so many gems out there. I know that Martin is a big fan of short stories both reading and writing them, so that made me even more keen to invite him here for a chat.

I had the pleasure of reading Dying Embers recently. It's a book that you savour because it's so full of description that makes the stories vivid and come alive in your mind. Martin describes his fiction as 'strange', and I can see why, there is never a predictable ending to any of his stories and many of them involve different dimensions and paranormal elements. If you're a literary fiction fan you should definitely grab a copy of this collection.

Now, without further ado, here's the interview:

INTERVIEW with M.R. Cosby

How long have you been writing, and was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I still don’t think of myself as “a writer”. I do write, of course, but I feel that my L-plates are still firmly attached. All my life, I’ve wanted to write, but it took the passing of many years before I could convince myself I had anything of worth to say.

Hmm... I think that's perfectly normal, most of the best writers I know are not very confident about their writing ability. As Ernest Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” :)

Up to now you've only written short stories. What is it about the short story form that appeals to you, and do you have any favourite short story writers?

Short stories appeal to me because not one word is wasted. I love poetry too for the same reason. There are so many short story writers I admire. Robert Aickman is top of the list, followed by the likes of M.R. James, L.T.C. Rolt, John Metcalfe and Eleanor Scott. There’s also a lot going on right now, and my favourite contemporary writers include Kaaron Warren, James Everington, Rebecca Lloyd, Mark Fuller-Dillon and John Gaskin. There are far too many to list here!

I love James Everington's writing, too. I'll have to check out the others!

You've said that your stories are loosely based on your own life. Was that intentional or did your own life find its way into the fiction?

I could not have started to write about anything other than my own life. I began by attempting my memoirs, which gave me the confidence to at least put pen to paper. As I listed anecdotes, it occurred to me that within my experience there lurked some strange occurrences…

Mine is the other way around. I never intentionally put any of my own life experiences into my books, but when I read over them I realise many of them could almost be memoirs!!

Which of the stories in Dying Embers do you think contains the most fact? 

All the tales contain a fair bit of my life, as I find it very difficult to “make anything up”. Perhaps the two that spring to mind would be The Next Terrace and Unit 6. In fact the latter is almost all true apart from the precise climax.

You lean more towards 'strange' or 'weird' fiction in your own writing. Do you set out to write those types of tales or is it something that just happens in the writing process?

I confess; at the moment I set out to create ‘strange adventures’. I think it’s been useful for me to be able to place what I’ve been doing into some kind of a compartment. I’m not yet confident enough about my own writing for it to stand completely on its own merits (or otherwise). So to be able to place what I do into a ‘genre’, much as I hate that word, has taken the pressure off.

Do you ever plan your stories or just start writing and see what happens?

I never plan. I like to think of an opening paragraph, which might lead me more or less in the direction I want; then I see what happens. I try to intrigue myself as I write.

Yes, I like doing that too. It's always fun when the story is a mystery to me even as I write it :)

If I remember rightly I think you were intending to self-publish your short story collection, but were then approached by your publisher. How did that come about, and what made you decide to use a publishing company rather than publish on your own?

I was all ready to self-publish, but, as I put some effort into social media, I was ‘followed’ on Twitter by Satalyte Publishing, which was looking for Australian writers. I thought nothing would come of it, but nonetheless I popped all of Dying Embers into a Word document and sent it off to Stephen Ormsby at Satalyte. To my delight he said it would fit in with his schedule for this year. The attraction to me of being published was that I was so new to the scene; so that I felt it would be invaluable to find out how everything worked within the industry. So far, my experience has been very positive, thanks to all at Satalyte.

That's great! I'm glad it's working out well for you.

You've been getting some great reviews for Dying Embers. What is the best thing that someone has said about your stories so far?

Thanks Maria. Yes, I’m very happy with the reviews, and I’m humbled that so many readers have taken the time and effort to write them. To have been mentioned in the same sentence as M.R. James (however undeserved) makes me very happy!

How long did it take you to write the stories that appear in Dying Embers?

A few of the stories had been on the back-burner for six or seven years (Abraham’s Bosom and Necessary Procedure). However, from the time I began The Next Terrace until publication of the collection was around three years. Writing, for me, is very much a secondary activity, as I look after our two children most of the time.

Do you have a favourite story that you've written? If so, why is it your favourite?

Perhaps the story that came together in the most satisfying way was The Source of the Lea. Again, it’s an intensely personal tale, and it took a long time to get the sequence of events working in the best way.

I've heard it said often that readers prefer novels, and short stories are not as popular. What would you say to someone to convince them that they should read short stories?

I believe short stories are becoming more popular. Certainly, a lot of writers are producing a lot of excellent collections and anthologies – I’m finding it extremely difficult to keep up with the reviews these days. I would say this to the reluctant short story reader; by reading short stories, you are experiencing the very essence of storytelling. No one ever wrote a collection of short stories to make any money. For sure, it’s been written for the sheer love of it, and it’s not often that happens these days, is it?

What are you working on now?

I have a number of short stories on the go, which may be linked so as to read as a kind of “novel”. They are similarly dark, but I’m trying to give myself a little more leeway when it comes plot structure. I suppose I’m experimenting a little bit.

Always good to experiment!

When you read, do you prefer paperbacks or eBooks?

I love both. I collect old books (particularly Robert Aickman first-editions) and our house is indeed full of thousands of all kinds of books. However, I also love my kindle. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it’s changed my life. I have hundreds of books on the thing, and to have them all available to me wherever I am is just wonderful, especially on my frequent overseas trips. The truth is, it hasn’t stopped me from buying physical books as well. I’m willing to risk all sorts of cheaper and more convenient electronic purchases, and that has opened my eyes to many writers new to me.

If you met your favourite author and asked him/her a question about writing, what would it be?

I would ask Robert Aickman about his editing process. Legend has it that he would dictate his stories directly to his secretary, and it would go on to the publisher to be printed without change, not even to punctuation. I would like to know the truth behind this, as my own experience with publication has been, quite rightly, rather different!

Wow! If it is true, he must have been a rare genius!

Do you have any other news for your readers?

I’d just like to say a big thank you to all my readers – and to tell them, if they are so inclined, to keep an eye out for something new from me later in the year.

Wonderful! I'll be looking out for that!
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can keep up with Martin's news on his social media sites:





You can buy the book on Amazon:


Or on Satalyte Publishing's website:

Happy Reading!
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Published on July 24, 2014 12:57 • 693 views • Tags: australia, author-interview, debut, fiction, interview, martin-cosby, paranormal, satalyte-publishing, short-stories, strange-fiction

July 8, 2014

At the recent TLC's "Writing in a Digital Age" conference, there was a panel of experts talking about available funding in the UK for writers.

Here's a breakdown of what is available out there:

Society of Authors

They give away £200K per year

Writers in financial difficulty can apply to them for funding. See the terms and conditions and details on their website, including how to apply:

They also have grants available for works in progress, and various prizes for authors:

Arts Council

Anyone can apply for an Arts Council grant to, but you have to pitch your project well. You have to demonstrate a good track record and a good reason for needing the grant.

In the past they have given funds to authors who, for example, had to travel abroad for research.

To be successful, you usually have to be endorsed by other organisations e.g. publishers.

Find out more about what they have to offer and how to apply on their website:

The Literary Platform

The representative talked about two arts programmes they have:

1. The Writing Platform Bursary:

2. Annual prize also open to self-published writers - £5,000 to each of the 8 books selected. Find out how to apply here:

Other prizes and sources of funding that were mentioned:

Folio Prize. Read more about it here:

Guardian First Book Award:

Royal Literary Fund Scholarship Scheme:

The Literary Consultancy has a Free Read Scheme to assess your manuscript. Follow the link for more details:

IdeasTap Funding:

Winston Churchill Travel Fund:

Also, all UK writers should make sure they're signed up and have their books listed with Public Lending Right: and ALCS:

It was stated that there are more opportunities for funding/grants etc. in the UK than anywhere else in the world.

If you're a writer, have a look at all the sites above and see whether there's anything you can apply for!