Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Links to DIE for!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Mwahahahahaha! 

May all the things that go bump in the night come out and getcha with terror and fright!! 

This beautiful Halloween I'm pleased to link you up with the outstanding author, Matt Valenti, author of The Newts, the political satire arriving just in time for election season. Check out the cool links below, we have everything from buy links (to purchase a copy of The Newts), to other blog interviews. Lots of good stuff here, make sure you check it all out and then go buy your copy of his book today!

Amason Author Page:
Goodreads Page:
Amazon Book Page:
Follow on Twitter:
Kindleboards Page:
Interview: (Sidenote, Eddie McGarrity will be featured later!)

As you can see, there's a lot of great info here, so take your time and check it all out, but make sure you secure your copy of The Newts before the election is over!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Politically Un-Correct? The Newts Delivers

Yesterday I had the privilege of posting an awesome interview with an even more awesome indie author, Matt Valenti. Matt's first voyage into the wonderful world of publishing is a delightful political satire called The Newts, and what better time to release it than with an impending election that will prove to be just as controversial as a political book dripping with sarcasm? You don't have to be voting, you don't have to be highly involved or knowledgeable of politics, heck, you don't even have to know the names of the folks running for president (although, if you don't, you obviously live under a rock), The Newts can reach everyone's funny bone while delivering a very important message. Here's what some reviewers are saying:

"Deftly blending mythology and satire the author pays homage to Dickens and Euripides alike, creating a reading experience that feels at once familiar and new."

"Fans of the Colbert Report and The Daily Show will love this book, as will anyone who'd rather laugh than cry at the state of American politics."

"... Valenti paints an absurd portrait of not just American politics, but of all politicians...past and present...If you don't like politics, you will love this story."

"Funny, current and full of jabs at both sides, The Newts is worth the read no matter which side of the aisle your favorite political animal sits on."

"Matt Valenti manages to hit every major hot button issue in the news today--gay marriage, abortion, contraception, gun control, taxes, capital punishment, birtherism, socialism, you name it."

" only hope is he reads it into so I can listen and weep tears of laughter as I work at my humdrum job!"

"Matt Valenti is a desperately needed fresh voice shining a bright light through the Swiss-cheese logic that keeps our country locked in its own Sisyphean struggle to set the world 'right.'"

While I haven't had any time lately to read anything (I can barely find the time to read my email), and though I'm not typically a fan of politics whatsoever (in my opinion they're all the same man in a different colored suit making false promises and once elected will do whatever will line his pocket the most), I feel this is one I simply MUST read. Dangit! Why do all these awesome authors keep putting out stuff that I want to read?! When the Reaper comes to visit, I have no doubt he'll be sitting in an armchair tapping his bony fingers as he waits for me to finish all the books on my ever-growing reading list. 

Still, The Newts is on my Kindle for Android app to read, and read I shall! I suggest everyone else in America (heck, why stop there, everyone in the WORLD!) read this book. I think we'll all see how it relates to the upcoming election.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Visiting Heaven

Just wanted to take a moment to share a short story I wrote yesterday. It's posted on the "Other Writing Stuffs" page of my blog, but to make it easier to find it, here ya go.

Visiting Heaven

I hit the “END” button and stared down at my phone. The news of my aunt’s passing was painful and raw. There were so many things left unsaid, so many visits left unvisited. My husband Andy and I were going to go see her in the morning.

After dropping my phone on the bedside table, I turned to Andy, who was patiently waiting for me to process what I had just heard, and dropped down against his chest, crying. He cradled me with one arm, rubbing his other hand through my long hair, trying to comfort me.

After several minutes, although the pain was still there, the coughing fit forced the tears to stop, and I curled up against my pillow, while Andy drifted back to sleep. I laid there awake, my thoughts flooding with regrets that I didn’t visit often enough, and that I wasn’t around like I should have been. I wished like crazy for the chance to see her again, and to apologize for not being the niece I should have always been. My eyes closed against the pain, and I was welcomed by a whirling darkness.

I opened my eyes a second later to a white room with silver accents and a large silver podium farther away from me. I had no recollection of how I got to this place, only that I wasn’t the only one there. People were roaming around everywhere, leisurely, and there was a group of folks standing together listening to one man speak.

My eyes searched around me, trying to get a feel for where I was. Beneath my bare feet, barely visible amidst the cloudy fog that seemed to be everywhere, the floor was made of solid white quartz that sparkled where the light hit it. It seemed to be one huge piece of quartz that went on for miles in any direction, with no cracks, no tiling, no imperfections whatsoever.

Moving closer to the group of people huddled together, I tried to figure out exactly why they were listening so intently. It seemed to be some kind of welcome group. Again, I wondered what this place was, and why I was here.

I examined the clothing everyone seemed to be wearing, men and women alike. A shimmering silver hooded cape that fell to the floor over an ankle-length gown of bright white linen. Tied at each person’s waist was a silver twisted rope that tied off-center and fell about knee length. The stitching around the bottom, the rounded neckline, and the long, wide sleeves was a pattern of silver X’s that matched the color of the rope belt. Everyone’s feet were bare. I looked down at my own clothes, and to my surprise, I was dressed just the same as everyone else there.

My feet carried me past the man giving the welcome speech, leaving the group slightly behind me, when I noticed the clouds parting in front of me. As they moved, I saw what appeared to be a giant silver fence, rounded at the top of each thick metal post like a series of upside-down U’s. The posts were connected a foot from the top and a foot from the bottom with an endless silver bar speckled with diamonds. When I followed the fence a bit further to my left, it ended in twin silver gates beautifully adorned here and there with diamonds. Neither the fence nor the gate was overly intricate, but the simplicity of the shining silver metal set with the sparkling diamonds made the sight so beautiful, it brought a tear to my eye.

In that moment, I realized where I was. The gate. The cloudy fog. Everyone dressed alike in simple yet beautiful clothing. The impossibly solid floor that never ended When I had closed my eyes, I found Heaven.

After taking in the beauty of the place, I grew fearful. If I was in Heaven, that must have meant I wasn’t alive anymore! My only thought-and of this I feel a bit ashamed- was Oh, Hell no! I’m not dead; I have to get out of here!

I turned away from the beauty of the gate and slowly made my way back the way I had come. There didn’t seem to be an end to the room, no door to exit out, but perhaps the clouds had distorted the entry way. As I passed by the welcome group again, I felt a pang of sadness for the families of all the people entering Heaven.

As I passed the people in the back, one figure turned and watched me as I passed.

“Ashley?” she called after me.

I turned. And my eyes welled up with tears.

“Aunt Debbie?” I asked.

She moved closer to me and I ran back to her. I wrapped my arms around her small frame, which
seemed much less frail without the cancer eating away at her as it had been for years. She was stronger, vibrant, her hair bright and shiny red and lively, her freckled skin full of color, her eyes dancing.

I pulled away from her, and her smile warmed my heart.

“Aunt Debbie, what are you doing here?” I asked.

“I’m supposed to be here, but how did you get here?”

“I don’t know!” I laughed, and hugged her again.

Suddenly, I heard a voice I hadn’t heard in years.

“Is that Ashley? What are you doing here, girl?”

When I pulled back and looked up, I saw the smiling face of my step-father, Danny, who had passed away 16 years before.

“Oh, my goodness! Danny!” I exclaimed, completely filled with joy.

“He’s not the only one who wanted to see you,” came a voice from my right.

I turned to look and I saw my grandmother, Linda, with my great-grandmother, Naomi, and my great-uncle, Doug, who was no longer in a wheelchair, but fluttered about on beautiful silver wings.

“You’re all here!” I exclaimed, so happy to be with my family again. Back with the ones who were stolen from the world well before their time.

For a few minutes, we all laughed, we cried, we hugged, and we laughed some more. It seemed I had managed to find a way to visit Heaven. I didn’t know how often I could come back, but I knew I was welcome as long as I didn’t cause trouble.

Too soon, though, I felt a strange pull. One that was unavoidable and persistent, and I knew this visit had come to an end.  As I was pulled away and darkness started to cloud my vision, I shouted my love to them and promised to visit again soon. They stood there, waving and smiling at me, until darkness completely enveloped me.

When I opened my eyes, I was back in my bed. The room was dark, save for the light coming from the television enclosed in the armoire, playing soft Celtic music to sleep by. I looked to my right, and found my husband, curled up on his side, sleeping peacefully. I glanced at the clock on the bedside table. Only a few minutes had passed, but it had seemed like hours. I laid back against my pillow, smiling.

I had found a way to visit Heaven.

Hope you enjoyed. Thanks and happy reading!

Indie Author Interview - Matt Valenti

It's that time again! Most everyone hates Mondays, but for the Drunken Space Penguin, it's the beginning of a brand spankin' new author interview! This week, we get to meet Matt Valenti, author of the political satire The Newts. His insightful way of dissecting and twisting things may change your way of thinking. Or, at the very least, make you question your own opinions. Let's take a tour inside his world and see what makes Matt Valenti tick. 

DSP: For starters, tell us a little about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!

Matt: I've worked as a preschool teacher and a lawyer, and learned there's not much difference between toddlers fighting over a toy and adults fighting over money. Both of these jobs have also taught me that humor is often the most persuasive way to win an argument or earn respect. 

DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?

Matt: The Newts is a satire of American politics, and targets politicians and religious leaders who use deceptive, hypocritical rhetoric. All I had to do is look at the news and I got more inspiration than I could handle.

DSP: So, do you have any kind of writing ritual? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you're completely alone, etc?

Matt: I have a busy day job and a family I love to spend time with, so writing for me is catch-as-catch-can. Although I'd prefer to be writing in a quiet, mahogany-paneled room with a view of redwoods, more often I'm scribbling away on lunch breaks, in bed at night, or sitting in traffic.   

DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?

Matt: My favorite character in The Newts is the wine god Dionysus, who also happens to be the one I had the most trouble with. The joy and terror of writing scenes with Dionysus is that he has a habit of taking over and trying to write his own dialogue, and he can be a very unpredictable and moody god. Often I would sit back in amazement at the things coming out of his mouth and write them down as fast as he could speak them. Other times I winced in shame as he went into a drunken rage, and I had to argue with him to get him to agree to let me tone it down a bit. It's not easy working with gods; they always think they know best.

DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you're working on at the moment,  do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?

Matt: I write most of the initial drafts on yellow legal pads, then type them into the computer and redraft numerous times. I constantly remind myself of James Michener's statement "I'm not a good writer, I'm a good re-writer." 

DSP: Do you see any more books to continue this story? Do you have ideas for different books that might be published in the future?

Matt: I don't foresee a sequel to The Newts but I'm considering writing a short series of books that uses the plays of Aristophanes as inspiration. (The Newts was inspired by Aristophanes' "Frogs," one of history's very first political satires.)

DSP: Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how?

Matt: I dedicated The Newts to my late uncle, Emil Schau, because he was always so supportive of my desire to become an author, and had a profound influence on the way I see the world. If there's a heaven, and if they allow Kindles there, I'd like to believe he's reading my book up there and getting a good laugh.  

DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?

Matt: Charles Dickens is my biggest influence stylistically. I'm a fan of Aristophanes, of course, as well as classic satirists like Rabelais, Voltaire, Lawrence Sterne, and Swift. Some of my favorite modern writers - purely off the top of my head - include Carl Hiassen, Kurt Vonnegut, Ken Kesey, and John Irving. I've also been getting into some great new works by Indie writers. Lately I've been enjoying Ryan Forsythe's political satire, "Dick Cheney Saves Paris," in which a time-travelling Dick Cheney tries to save Paris Hilton from doom while ensuring Al Gore is never elected president. Good stuff.

DSP: Okay, one last question, and this one is different for every author, not to mention completely off the wall! What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?

Matt: It's rotation. Isn't it about time to try something different? I mean, how many times do we have to see the sun rise in the east and set in the west? 

I couldn't agree more, Matt! The whole East to West thing is overrated and has run its course, it's time for a change! Haha, this indie author will keep you thinking, laughing, pondering, and by the time he's through with you, maybe the sun will start rising in the South! Keep up with the Drunken Space Penguin and learn more about Matt Valenti all this week, and don't forget to grab a copy of his wicked awesome book, The Newts, available on Amazon HERE!

Thank you!!

I just want to say thank you to R.G. Porter for the delightful interview, and for sharing a peek inside her world with us. It's been a true pleasure working with her, and I look forward to mite incredible books from this outstanding author. Coming up, we get to met yet another awesome author, so don't forget to tune in tomorrow!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Devastating News

Whew. I've been up for the last hour and a half texting and calling family. We had a pretty upsetting night.

Earlier in the day-well, now it's yesterday, considering it's after 5 in the morning here-we were handed the news that my aunt was only given 2 more weeks. She's been battling a very tough fight with cancer, the same disease that claimed her brother's life in 1996, who was my step father. It's also the same disease my uncle, her other brother, actually won the battle with. It runs rampant through not only my step father's family, but it's claimed my own father's brothers, sisters, and mother. It's a horrid disease, and one that needs to be eliminated. It's stealing all my family!

Well, the reason I've been up so long...I was woken up by my phone, my current step father called to tell me my aunt has, regretably, passed on. This was so...soon!! We knew it was coming, but not within hours of a 2-week prognosis. It's a very devastating blow, but on the up side, she can finally stop fighting and be at peace.

Normally, at this point, I would be flying down the freeway, letting the speed ease my pain and freaking out my family. At least, that's what I normally do. I wanted to try a different outlet this time. After all, I am a writer. I didn't want to share it on Facebook or Twitter, because some family hasn't heard yet and it's not fair that they hear it on a public forum first.

I would like to ask anyone who reads this to please send prayers, happy thoughts, whatever you do send it to my Mamaw, uncle, and cousins as they mourn the loss of a strong, beautiful wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend. Please also pray for a safe passage into the next life, the next stage of her journey.

Thank you all for listening, and have a wonderful rest of the night. Day. Whatever you call this.  <3

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Tricks, Just Treats

Halloween is creeping closer! What better way to get in the spirit than to read a terrifying novel that will make your skin crawl? Deadly Descent is a creepy book that will captivate you from the very first paragraph. Not to mention author R.G. Porter is a rather talented and accomplished master of the trade. Her writing style and ability to tell a story are remarkable. For a chance at a FREE eBook copy of Deadly Descent, simply comment on any post from this week. No tricks, just treats! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Gripping Read! Nightmares Will Ensue!

From the opening paragraph, Deadly Descent grabs your attention forces you to read on. We're introduced to Justin, desperately running for his life, and in doing so, possibly seals his own fate when he gets locked into what could become his tomb.

After reading the sample on the Amazon website, I'd have to say that unless the rest of the book were written by a brain-dead platypus, this book is not only well worth the $3.99 that it's selling for, it's going to keep you up at night. Not only is this a page-turner, but it's a helluva storyline that screams to be read. If you want to buy a copy of Deadly Descent, head on over to Amazon and download it today. If you're a smart one, though, you can comment on any post from this week and be entered into a drawing to win a FREE copy of Deadly Descent. Hurry, though, contest ends Sunday!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Link Alert!! R.G. Porter

If you've been reading this week, we're getting to know indie author R.G. Porter, author of such novels as the recently released horror book Deadly Descent. Here are some links to her book as well as some other links to keep up with this awesome author!

Buy Links:

More Links for R.G. Porter:

This Halloween season, why not treat yourself to a terrifying tale to set the mood? Get your copy of Deadly Descent by commenting on any post this week! Only a few days left, better hurry!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blurbology 101

Just to give you a taste of what indie author R.G. Porter has to offer, here's the blurb from her book, Deadly Descent:

A discovery of a lifetime turns into a nightmare that will not end...

Far beneath the waves of the mid Pacific, new forms of plant life discovered in the Marianas Trench unleash a horrible affliction among Dr. Tori Cutter's colleagues. When the strange plants are brought aboard an undersea research station, crew members begin to sicken and die.

...Trouble is, they aren't staying dead.

To escape a deadly fate, Tori and her guide Lt. John Akers, must escape to the surface. But life for her may bring death, or something worse, to the world above.

Oooh, does it give anyone else chills? I simply MUST read this! Don't forget to comment to enter this week's giveaway to score a copy of Deadly Descent for yourself!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Haunting Interview with R.G. Porter!!

Mwahahahaha!! Good evening, my ghostly ghouls, my fiendish followers! It is time again to meet another new indie author, and in the good spirit of Halloween, this week's author has recently published the horror novel, Deadly Descent. Ladies and gentlemen, witches and demons, it's my ghastly honor to introduce you to the devilishly delightful indie author, R. G. Porter!! Okay, I'm done with the lame alliteration and corny Halloween references! Enjoy this haunting interview with R.G. Porter! 

(Okay, that was the last one, I swear!)

DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person! 

R.G. Porter: Well, I currently live just outside Austin, Texas. I grew up in the Midwest and moved around a bit before settling here. I’m married to a Brit and we hope to move back there down the line. (Love England!) I have two kids (both boys) and two cats. :) I love animals and the outdoors but can’t get enough or just daydreaming while sitting in the car driving through the woods. 

DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book? 

R.G. Porter: A dream. Honestly, many of book ideas come from dreams that I’ve had. I learned long ago to remember what I dream. I even got pretty good at lucid dreaming (which can be a total blast at times). I also tend to watch a ton of supernatural thrillers and horror movies.

DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc?  

R.G. Porter: It depends on where I’m at when I’m writing. If I’m at home, I need to have music going because I can get sidetracked way too easy. (Swear I’m ADD) If I’m on break at my day job than I’m good with whatever I have going on. Mainly because I’m already in the frame of mind of working.

DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with? 

R.G. Porter: I love the two main characters (Tori and John), however, I adore a character that kind of came out of no where in the middle of the book. Her name is LJ and she is just fun to watch. She’s sassy, sarcastic, smart and fun. I had a harder time with figuring out how to deal with Derrick in the book. He’s not bad, but he loves money and power. That can always be a dangerous combo. 

DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? 

R.G. Porter: Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing? For the most part, I’m a total pantser. I write as it comes to me. I will do rough outlines of the overall story arch and different aspects of the characters, but I generally just let the story flow. I find it works better for me, as twists I might not have thought of beforehand come to light.

DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come? 

R.G. Porter: There is definitely a possibility of at least one followup to this story. I can’t say why, because it would spoil the ending. :)

DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser? 

R.G. Porter: I have too many ideas. :) I have 3 series that require additional books but I also have another horror novel idea (or two) that are dying to be written. One of them should be out sometime in 2013. The next project on tap is a short novella though. It is a bit different and involves an agent of the MCA (Mystical Creatures Agency). It’s not horror but a ton of fun so far. Think of the FBI version for the Fae world. After that it will either be the next in the Demon’s Gate series (my vampire series) or the next book in my Dragon’s Legacy trilogy.

DSP: Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how? 

R.G. Porter: I have many dear author friends who are always a great support and resource for me. The world of indie authors is a very tight one and I am grateful each day for them all. On top of that I have a wonderful husband that supports my writing adventures, though he is good at keeping me grounded as well. 

DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why? 

R.G. Porter: As much as I would love to hit the bestseller lists I’m happy just knowing that my adventures are getting out there to the public. Though, there are a couple of my stories that I think would be fantastic as movies, but screenwriting is an entirely different animal that I have never attempted. 

DSP: Okay, one last question, and this one is different for every author, not to mention completely off the wall! When the Zombie Apocalypse occurs, what will be in your survival kit? 

R.G. Porter: How big is it? :) Okay, off the top of my head. Let’s see. Guns, MREs (icky but hey, can’t be picky), fresh water, survival guides, matches/lighters, first aid items, blankets, clothing, and utility knives.

Well, this wordmaster seems to have a plan ready for the dreaded zombie attacks, plus the mad skills to make you nervous alone in the dark while reading her work. As a special treat for our readers (no tricks!), R.G. Porter is graciously giving away a free copy of her eBook, Deadly Descent, in honor of this Halloween season. Simply comment on any post from now until Sunday, 10/28/12, to be entered into a drawing for this free eBook. Super exciting stuff, so make sure you get in on this giveaway!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spotlight on Chris Ward - Excerpt

Just to tease everyone with what you're missing out on if you don't read The Tube Riders, by Chris Ward, here is a brief excerpt from Chapter 1. Just a taste of what you can expect from such an outstanding and accomplished author.

Excerpt from The Tube Riders (chap 1)

"As the others said their goodbyes and left, Marta stood for a moment, looking out across the park towards the huge elevated highway overpass that rose above the city to the south. Half finished, it arched up out of the terraces and housing blocks to the east, rising steadily to a height of five hundred feet. There, at the point where it should have begun its gradual decent to the west, it just ended, sawn off, amputated.

Years ago, she remembered her father standing here with her, telling her about the future. Things had been better then. She'd still been going to school, still believed the world was good, still had dreams about getting a good job like a lawyer or an architect and hadn't started to do the deplorable things that made her wake up shivering, just to get food or the items she needed to survive.
He had taken her hand and given it a little squeeze. She still remembered the warmth of his skin, the strength and assurance in those fingers. With his other arm he had pointed up at the overpass, in those days busy with scaffolding, cranes and ant-like construction workers, and told her how one day they would take their car, and drive right up over it and out of the city. The government was going to open up London Greater Urban Area again, he said. Let the city people out, and the people from the Greater Forest Areas back in. The smoggy, grey skies of London GUA would clear, the sirens would stop wailing all night, and people would be able to take the chains and the deadlocks off their doors. She remembered how happy she'd felt with her father's arms around her, holding her close, protecting her.

But something had happened. She didn't know everything - no one did - but things had changed. The government hadn't done any of those things. The construction stopped, the skies remained grey, and life got even worse. Riots waited around every street corner. People disappeared without warning amid tearful rumours that the Huntsmen were set to return.

Marta sighed, biting her lip. Her parents and her brother were gone. Marta was just twenty-one, but St. Cannerwells Park was the closest she would ever get to seeing the countryside, and the euphoria of tube riding was the closest she would ever get to happiness.

She gripped the fence with both hands and gritted her teeth, trying not to cry. She was tough. She had adjusted to Mega Britain's harshness, was accustomed to looking after herself, but just sometimes, life became too much to bear."

Want more? Rush out and get your copy of The Tube Riders series today!

The Case of the Disappearing Interview

I don't know how...but something happened with the interview with author Chris Ward. The last few questions got cut off. Sadness! Good thing I still have his info. Here's the remainder of the Chris Ward interview!!

DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser?

Chris: Dozens.  In fact, I just put out another one called The Man Who Built the World, which is a kind of paranormal drama.  I wasn’t one of these people who started writing when self-publishing came along, I’ve been churning books out for years and have four or five in the back catalogue that will eventually be published if I can make them good enough, although several more than will stay on the hard drive forever.  I have VERY high standards for my own work, something few self-publishing writers have.  If I don’t think it’s capable of rubbing shoulders with traditionally published books it ain’t going out there.  Even now, less than half of what I write I consider good enough.  I just wish some of the so-called writers choking Amazon with poorly written junk would go away for five years and learn their trade first.

DSP: Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how?

Chris: Iain M. Banks is my favorite writer, he’s just a god, even though some of his later work is a little too political for my tastes.  I also love Stephen King, particularly his older stuff.  He’s the author I always tried to emulate, and I think I write easily as good, if with a little more brevity.  In terms of non-famous writers, my father and my grandfather, because they always encouraged me, whether it was by letting me batter away on the family’s prized typewriter or by driving me round to my grandparents’ so I could use the only computer in my family at the time, a little green screen Amstrad.  I don’t know if they thought I had potential or not, but if they did I like to think that I’m going some way towards justifying the faith they showed in me, and there is a lot, lot more to come yet.  I’m barely getting started.

DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?

Chris: Not particularly.  I cross genres a lot.  Tube Riders, for example, is straight up sci-fi, whereas I have a couple of early horrors that Richard Laymon could have written and one book (that will remain nameless) that is more like Chuck Palaniuk.  I like to push myself, try different styles, different genres.  I’ll probably never be rich for this very reason, but if I make enough money to only have to work part time and my writing gets respect then that’s good enough for me.

DSP: Okay, one last question, and this one is different for every author, not to mention completely off the wall! What do you believe is the greatest unsolved mystery of all time?

Chris: Definitely the Mary Celeste.  I’d love to know what happened to that ship.

Hope you enjoy! Stay tuned for an excerpt from his awesome series!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meet This Outstanding Indie Author!

Meet Chris Ward! We've spent some time getting to know Chris, hearing about his book, we've shared some links, and it occurred to me that we've yet to share a picture! So here he is, meet the fabulous indie author Chris Ward!

Now that you've seen and heard about Chris, go out and buy any of his phenomenal books from his expansive library. His highly praised series, The Tube Riders, is available from Amazon and definitely a good read. Check it out!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Talent Galore-Chris Ward

If you haven't read the interview with Chris Ward yet, you may not be aware that this multi-talented author is also part of a rockin' band! The Steampunk Unicorns seem to be doing pretty well right now, and with good reason. Check out a video I snagged from YouTube of the band:

See, this guy's got talent! Check out some of his books and you'll be glad you did!

  • Benny's Harem
  • Saving the Day
  • Ms. Ito's Bird
  • Forks
  • Castles Made of Sand
  • The Tree
  • The Man Who Built the World
  • Fallen From the Train
  • The Tube Riders series (Three books)

All of which can be found on Chris' Amazon author page HERE

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chris Ward Links

We've gotten a chance to learn a little about Chris Ward, and his books, but I want to make sure you know where you can go to get more information! Check out some links below, and learn more about an amazing indie author. These links will have a permanent home on the Hot Links page of this blog, too.

Follow Chris on Twitter:

I personally have checked out Chris' blog and Facebook, and as a fellow author, I'm quite impressed by his knowledge and talent. This is one author that I believe in and encourage you all to do the same!

Monday, October 15, 2012

I am a Technophobe...

I have no idea why this morning's post of the interview with indie author Chris Ward was dated for Saturday the 13th, but it was posted today, Monday the 15th! I swear, this week, I am simply repelling technology. First my phone, then the internet connection at my house, now this...ugh!

On a good note, Chris is a very talented and accomplished writer, and I encourage everyone to check out his interview. He's got a lot to say, and it's fun to read! It doesn't hurt that he's a pretty awesome dude outside of just writing. Check him out!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Indie Author Interview - Chris Ward

I would never want to disappoint my amazing readers and followers, so since today is Monday, guess what we get to do? Yep, it's time to meet another indie author, and this week's feature spotlight is on Chris Ward, author of The Tube Riders series. This talented man has a lot to say, so let's take a few minutes to get to know him!

DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person! 

Chris: Hello Ashley, thanks for having me here. I’m from Cornwall, UK, but I currently live and work in Nagano City, Japan. I’m 33 years old. I’m married and I have a cat. I like hiking, snowboarding, writing (of course) and playing guitar in my band, Steampunk Unicorn.  I’ve been writing since I was seven or eight years old, and in primary school I won a prize for best story in the class. It was a picture book copy of Black Beauty, and I still have it somewhere. I wrote my first novel at 18, published my first short story at 26, and my first professional short story at 28.

DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?

Chris: I wanted to write a sci-fi epic. For me, each book has to be different, I can’t just churn out the same formulaic crap over and over like a lot of writers can. If I’m not interested I can’t do it. While I’d been writing and selling sci-fi short stories for many years, I’d never written a novel in that genre before. I went back through my short stories, found one with a cool idea, and added a bunch of unstoppable half-human, half-dog cyborg type creatures. And it went from there.

DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc?

Chris: I like to be alone, or at least undisturbed. Silence is good, I hate TV at the best of times and I can’t really concentrate while I’m listening to music, even though I love music very much. I can be in a room with other people, as long as they don’t disturb me. I quite often write in the teachers’ room at the school I work in, if I have a free period and no preparation to do (though that’s a secret).

DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?

Chris: In this book it would have to be Marta Banks, the leader of the Tube Riders. She’s awesome, kind of grungy, kind of hot, yet totally down to earth and willing to do anything to help her friends. She has a frailty under her hard exterior yet she steps up to the plate when necessary, so to speak. She’s kind of like my second sister.

The character I had most trouble with was John Reeder. I wanted him to provide a bit of light relief without being too clowny. I changed his name and mannerisms a bunch of times and I’m happy with him now. Some people have said that his entrance is a bit of a deus ex machina but Tube Riders is such a relentlessly paced book that I felt the reader needed a bit of a breather. Plus, the fact that he lives on a barge fits with the transportation theme of the book.

DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?

Chris: For a book, I always have a vague idea of what’s going on a few chapters in advance.  Some, I’ve plotted the whole thing, others I’ve done with no plan at all. This one was generally brainstormed a few chapters ahead. I had no idea, for example, about what the Tube Riders would find behind the fence in Cornwall until they got there. I did, however, already roughly know the last chapter.

DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?

Chris: I’m working on book two now and they’ll be at least one more because I’ve already got some of the major events in my head. Probably I’ll stop there. I don’t want this to drag out into seven or eight books as that will just bore me. I already have several other projects on the go and I’m not so attached to the characters that I can’t let go of them.  They’ll likely all be dead by the end anyway J.

Thank You!!

I have had so much fun getting to know indie author J. Paul Stephens this week! Don't forget to pick up a copy of his book, Devil, if you haven't already. It's a good read, and has received excellent reviews. If my fellow blogging buddy Michala, of, enjoyed his work, I feel confident recommending it to you all! Thanks again, J. Paul Stephens, for your generosity and for giving us a peek inside your world. It's been a true pleasure!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I've been a little busy this week, so my apologies if it seems I've been neglectful lately.

That being said, don't forget that this week only you can get a copy of the hit debut book by author J. Paul Stephens, Devil, PLUS the first 10 people to comment on the blog get a free copy of his newest book, Darling too!! Get yours before its too late!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

J. Paul Stephens, Man or Myth?

The fantastic indie author J. Paul Stephens, author of the book Devil, may be incredibly talented, but just try researching him on the internet. Go ahead, I'll wait

See? This author is elusive, which is a talent all in its own! His secrecy and mystery give him a certain intrigue that makes you want to find out whatever you can on him. And the fact that his book is getting awesome reviews should make you wanna go get it now. It's free for the moment, so hurry to snag your copy, and don't forget that if you comment, the author is offering a copy of his newest book, Darling, to the first 10 commenters!! You don't want to miss this opportunity. 

Blog Hop - The Next Big Thing


I guess that means I'm it? Welcome to my little corner of the blog hop, folks! I was tagged by Chris Ward, fellow blogger and indie author of  The Tube Riders series. Much love for the tag, Chris! Now, I was also informed I have to follow some rules, and while I don't particularly care for rules, these are so easy a caveman could do know, follow the rules...ah, heck, let's just get down to it!

The rules for the blog hop are as follows:

****Give credit to the person/blog that tagged you

****Post the rules for the blog hop

****Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog

****Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

     To be perfectly honest, there are about 5 different in the works right now, 3 of which I'm actively writing on a regular basis, but the most important one-and the next to be published-is going to be called Daughters of Night: Possession. It's the second in the Daughters of Night series, following my first novel Daughters of Night: Sanctuary.

Where did the idea come from for your book?

     The end of Sanctuary changed drastically from the original ending when I realized there was more to tell. After living the battles and trials with Carmen and Gaviyn, I found myself wanting to get them involved with other people, with other groups. I needed to see what happened after the happily ever after, but I also needed to see how their actions affected not only their close knit group, but other lives.

What genre does your book fall under?

     Tricky question. It's definitely Young Adult Fiction, but depending on what website you're researching or what website you purchase from, there are different subcategories that don't always match up with one another. If I had to pick, I'd say it's along the lines of Paranormal, Teen Thriller, and even Occult Fiction. It crosses genres a bit, so it's hard to nail it to just one.

Which actors would you chose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

     Another tough question, because when I created the characters, they were literally that, my own creations, and I wasn't thinking about anyone in particular when I wrote it. After contemplating this one for quite some time, here's what I came up with: Gaviyn - Asher Book, Carmen - Hannah Marks, Aliena - Elena Satine, Abby - Dreama Walker, Jackson - Hunter Parrish, Connor - Max Irons, Damien - Nolan Gerard Funk, Olivia - Shelley Hennig, Zariah - Indiana Evans, Zachary - Austin Butler. Whew! That's a lot, but they're the main characters of the story.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

     Carmen and Gaviyn have the greatest love story in history, but now they must face off against a greater demon trying to reclaim her followers...and Carmen's life.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

     Self-published, definitely. I've found a new respect for indie authors, and the community is like a mini family. I love the indie community, and unless someone presents me with an offer I can't refuse, I plan to stick with self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

     I'm actually still writing it. I hit a bit of a block recently, but I started working on it toward the beginning of the year. The last chapter in Sanctuary was initially the first chapter of Possession. After some editing, though, I found it worked better to transition the end of one book into the beginning of the other by making it the last chapter of Sanctuary. I'm making slow progress, and I've hit a few roadblocks along the way. It didn't help when my brain decided to create several new stories, all of which demanded immediate attention in order to organize my thoughts and quiet the voices of some of the characters. I suspect it will be published before Christmas, though.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

     Actually, it has some very common elements of many Young Adult novels. The theme of vampires, of course, relatable to the Twilight series, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, and such. What really sets my series apart is that I combine witches with vampires in one big coven, and in the second installment, I'm introducing the element of demonic possession. Not a lot of books really combine all three elements. I'd like to say it's similar enough to the most popular books in my genre to create interest, but unique enough to set it apart in a way that will draw readers in and make them want to not only continue the series, but read other works I put out there.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

     Laugh if you want, but the initial idea came to me in the shower as the picture of a candy apple red Ferrari, and the story just created itself from there. What inspired me to keep writing it? My husband, for one, who supported me through every step of the process and helped me to believe in myself. In my senior year of English, as part of a state-mandated portfolio, I had written a short story that ended up being closer to a novella in length. There was an assistant teacher who really encouraged me, and while I hate myself for forgetting her name now, she was the first to believe in my work and praise what I had written on a grander scale than just saying, "good job." I hope I can give her thanks one day for the support she showed me.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

     There is more than one element of surprise and a twist that will give you whiplash in this series! I don't want to give too much away, but Carmen and Gaviyn's relationship is put to the test as they battle the life taking over her body. This story is one that you would regret passing up!

Now it's my turn to tag!

Michala Teelucksingh

Eddie McGarrity

Chris Stralyn

Raquel Dove

Cas Greenfield

George Arnold Hall

**Yes, I know, I was only supposed to tag 5 people. I told you I don't like rules, and I'm not very good at following directions...**

Thanks to all, and happy reading!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spotlight on J. Paul Stephens

In case it isn't adamantly clear by now, our guest this week is a pretty talented author! His book, Devil, has recently been reviewed by another amazing blogger, and you can read up on her insights on Magdalena's story at Bite My Book or click the here to go straight to the review! Her way of really climbing into the book and unraveling the threads to paint the most accurate portrait of the book is impressive, and her review of Devil will make you rush to get your copy. Read more about J. Paul Stephens' book, then hurry and get your copy as soon as you can! Don't forget to comment for your copy of his upcoming Darling!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bite My Book Reviews

While I unfortunately am not able to do book reviews at the moment, fellow blogger Michala from Bite My Book is going to review the book Devil by J. Paul Stephens and post it to her site as well as link back to the Drunken Space Penguin! She does an awesome job of reviews, very detailed and thorough. Don't believe me? She reviewed my book, Daughters of Night: Sanctuary, and you can read her review on her blog too! Or you can click HERE to be taken straight to the review. Either way, it's worth your visit to the blog for both reviews, then come back here for more of J. Paul Stephens as well as Daughters of Night! 

Happy reading and goodnight!!

Spotlight on J. Paul Stephens

I got the opportunity to interview indie author J. Paul Stephens, author of the book Devil and the soon-to-be published Darling. Check out the phenomenal interview with an author who has a very unique style of writing. You can get your copy of Devil by clicking HERE.

Check out the synopsis of Devil:

Magdalene believes that she has found the love of her life in James; an enigmatic young man who becomes entranced with her. Soon though she finds herself trapped in torment and James her tormentor. Her life devolves into a constant assault where she is forced to endure relentless abuse and humiliation. To survive Magdalene must fight back, and be victorious, because for the loser there’s hell to pay.

Gripping concept for a story! Let's show some love to Mr. Stephens!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Indie Author Interview - J. Paul Stephens

It's Monday again, and while the general consensus is that Monday is the worst day of the week, it still brings with it a ray of sunshine, because we get to meet another new indie author! This week I am pleased to introduce you to J. Paul Stephens, author of the recently published book Devil. Mr. Stephens has quite a gift for writing, and I'm honored to have him tell us a bit about him and his book. Read on to learn more!

DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!

J. Paul Stephens: I am a 36 year old husband and father working in the mental health field in rural North Carolina. I have lived in several states and in Mexico since becoming an adult, but I kept feeling the call to return home to the Old North State. I am blessed to live in one of the most striking landscapes on earth; if you’ve never visited the foot hills of NC I encourage you to get here as soon as possible. I have two beautiful children, a 12 year old boy and an 8 year old daughter, with my beautiful wife of thirteen years. Apart from writing I enjoy antiquing and spending time with my family.

DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?

J. Paul Stephens: My mother, who passed away in 2010, lived in, and believed, that the Uwharrie Mountains of North Carolina contain a special power. Their age, over 500 million years old, sparked a discussion between my mother and I one day and a story began to take shape. Since her death I haven’t had the energy to finish the story, though it remains on my desk top. My most recent story “Devil” is stemming from the same vine. My stories, both published and in process, have the common theme of abused women responding to a secret power that gives them paranormal abilities. I am in the process of creating a series of shorts that establish my main characters and then follow up with the capstone Novel.

DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc?

J. Paul Stephens: I like to write in total quiet, so in my house that means early in the morning or very late at night. If I can’t get into the story I walk away and re-think what I’m doing. Not long ago I started a complete re-write of a short because I felt like my character was getting lost in the story.

DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?  

J. Paul Stephens: The way I have chosen to write these individual short stories with a common direction allows me to focus on each female individually. So, I enjoy each story for the main character. I always enjoy figuring out how each will discover their connection to The One; and revealing what role that power will play in the eventual conclusion. It is difficult because I want each character to have their own story but also relate them to the others.

DPS: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?

J. Paul Stephens: Well, I don’t listen to music much so I find myself with a lot of quiet time in my car; I drive about 800 miles per week in my day job. So, I’m kind of a weird guy who spends a lot of my time in silence, thinking about my characters; internal consistency of the series is very important to me, but I want each work to have its own unique direction. That said, I guess I do have an outline, but it is more mental and less material. However, if there is an important thought or phrase I want to capture I will jot it down for later inclusion.

DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?

J. Paul Stephens: Yes, I’m going to continue writing character specific short stories to introduce the important characters of the larger novel. I believe that the stories are too interesting to be merely an insert in the larger work. “Devil“, my first short, is about Magdalene and her escape from abuse and ascension into The One. “Darling” is the second title and should be out as of the printing of this interview. “Darling” tells the story of Darla, a woman who has never fit in anywhere, and though she is a necessary member, she finds her acceptance to the coven as challenging as every other relationship she‘s ever experienced.

DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser?

J. Paul Stephens:Yes, I am working on some other genres of fiction as well. However, the story lines are too shallow to even tease you with right now. Sorry.

DSP: Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how?

J. Paul Stephens: Geez, I don’t know. I love so many great writers, and I get such wonderful support from my friends and family I don’t know who inspires me the most. I will say though that I often remember my sixth grade English teacher telling me that I should become a writer. I’ve thought of her encouragement often throughout the years…so if you're reading this, thank you, Ms. Drake.

DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?

J. Paul Stephens: Ray Bradbury or Robert Cormier - the two could not be more different but both use such vivid imagery that I go back and read and re-read their works again and again. I am in awe of their ability to tell stories. I have the desire to be able to tell a story like them, but I also want to be uniquely different from them as they are different from each other.

DSP: Okay, one last question, and this one is different for every author, not to mention completely off the wall! If you could have any superpower at all, what would you pick and why?

J. Paul Stephens: I’d like to be able to shape-shift into the form of any living creature. What could you not get away with if you looked like someone, or something, else?

Another amazing interview! J. Paul Stephens' book Devil is available at Amazon HERE and stay tuned for more: Mr. Stephens is finishing up another book now that will be available very soon! I'll keep us updated!! Thank you, J. Paul Stephens, for taking the time out to interview with the Drunken Space Penguin, and we look forward to hearing more very soon! 


I just want to take a brief moment to give a huge THANK YOU to Roberta Kagan for giving us a tour of her world and for all the kind words. She's been absolutely wonderful and I truly feel blessed just to know her. Thank you thank you thank you, Roberta!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

FREE!!! Last chance!

Last chance for free books, I know you want these!! Hurry up and comment, the contest closes at 11:59pm tonight! Get your copy of The Heart of a Gypsy OR All My Love, Detrick!!  Two options, and they're phenomenal reads. Comment on any post from this week, and get your read on.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Testing something, please ignore this post...

Free Books!! Don't Miss This!

I wanted to remind everyone about the awesome author interview and FREE books that are being given out to our readers!! Don't forget to comment on any post from this week and remember to leave your email address for me to contact the winners! This author is truly amazing, and her work has received amazing positive reviews. You're going to kick yourself if you miss this opportunity!!