CDN (book antiqua) Front Cover 6x9 JPEG Final ProofChasing Down the Night  – Crater Lake Series, Book 3 by Francis Guenette

I’m not usually a reader of novels in a series. That changed when I fell in love with Francis Guenette’s Crater Lake setting and characters. Beginning with the first book in the series, Disappearing in Plain Sight, I settled in with Izzy and Liam, Beulah and Bethany, and all the others, becoming a part of their oddly matched family as much as the stragglers who visit them throughout the three novels.

The injured souls who come to the lake and the camp on Northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, arrive with low expectations, but desperate for some type of healing. In Chasing Down the Night, characters from the first two novels, such as Dylan and Lisa, still need to find some kind of resolution from their past, but the reader is also introduced to three new residents at the camp with their own challenges to overcome. The intertwining of their lives, along with the newly hired cook from Toronto, play an important role in the unfolding of the ensuing dramas.

There’s a soap opera quality to the story line, which is carried artfully to the third novel. In the deft hands of the author, the story never degenerates into scandal or salaciousness intended to sell books. Instead, I find the intense dramas that converge on this outrageously beautiful place to be a road map for how we might all handle the mountains and valleys of our own lives.

From Izzy’s quiet determination to ignore her own grief and traumas to Lisa’s using her body to achieve her goals, lessons on coping, acceptance, and love emerge.

Ms. Guenette isn’t content to simply write a novel of people’s inability to express themselves or to cope with life’s challenges. She addresses issues of race–in this case, of tribal loyalties and prejudices–and the psychic abilities of dear sweet Robbie, who sees what no one else can. Then there’s the other injured soul out in the wild, but I’ll let other readers discover how that fits with the rest of the story in a perfect symmetry with all the wounded lives who come to the lake to heal.

I miss these characters and hated for Chasing Down the Night to end. I want more, and I want more than anything to visit Crater Lake and be embraced in the warm arms of the people who call it home.

Purchase Links for Chasing Down the Night

Amazon U.S.

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Interviews with Francis Guenette on Author Wednesday

May 25, 2015

May 21, 2014

November 6, 2013

Book Reviews of Crater Lake series

Disappearing in Plain Sight

The Light Never Fades



???????????????????????????????Today Amalie Jahn visits Author Wednesday to talk about her young adult time travel series The Clay Lion. Amalie also writes adult fiction, and I’m proud to share a slot with her and other authors in the box set At Odds With Destiny. In this set, Amalie’s Among the Shrouded, where an ancient prophesy foretells the birth of seven psychics destined to change the world. I think you’ll enjoy hearing from this multi-talented author who explores the concept of time travel. In the first book in The Clay Lion, she sets up the dilemma for the main character: What if you could go back in time to save the person you love the most?  The rules are simple. If you want to travel back in time, you need to be at least eighteen years old. You can only travel within your own lifespan for a maximum of six months. And above all else, you must never, ever, change the past. But that’s exactly what Brooke Wallace, the main character, plans to do.TheClayLion Reader s Fave. Award-cropped page-001

Welcome, Amalie. Your concept for The Clay Lion is intriguing. How did you come up with the idea for the first in the series, The Clay Lion?

The idea was born of two converging ideas.  The time travel element came to me in a dream.  My sister and I were some type of superheroes, and we were traveling through time saving people’s lives.  When I woke up, I wrote down as much as I could remember.  As I was writing down my ideas, I began thinking about a little girl named Lauren who happened to be one of my daughter’s good friends.  She had recently been hospitalized with leukemia for the second time and was searching for a bone marrow donor.  I couldn’t help but wonder how her older sister would react if she should die, knowing that she had been her first bone marrow donor.  The two were probably the closest sisters I’d ever had the privilege of knowing.  The idea of a sister going back in time to save the life of her beloved brother was born and The Clay Lion is a testament to the power of sibling love.  Lauren passed away in October of 2013 – tragic ending to a beautiful and very short life.  I hope that The Clay Lion brings solace to grieving families everywhere and honors Lauren’s memory.

So lovely and sad–truly bittersweet. It’s wonderful you were able to capture that in your novel. I’ve never attempted to write about time travel, although the subject interests me. What is the most difficult part with regard to writing about time travel?

I began writing the book with only a skeleton idea of how the time travel portion of the story was going to work out.  About a third of the way through the original manuscript, I realized that how I envisioned the time travel working would be impossible for Brooke to do in real life.  I had planned on her family and everyone around her remembering what had happened to her before her first trip, but as I continued writing, I determined that it would be impossible for them to remember if her timeline was reset to account for the changes she was making.  It would have to be reset over the origin of the trip, thereby erasing the memories of everyone but the traveler, in this case, Brooke.

Another issue I encountered with the time travel was whether or not the travelers were gone in the present for the same amount of time they were spending in the past.  For example, during her first trip, Brooke traveled into the past for six months.  In the original manuscript, Brooke returned to the present having missed six months of her own life because of the trip.  Knowing that Brooke would be traveling several times throughout the course of the novel, I knew that this was going to be an impossibility, not only because it would have taken years of her life away, but also because then every traveler would end up with large spans of time within their lives that they would not be present for.  This would be a huge problem for many travelers, so it was something I needed to rectify.  I finally decided that in the present day, no time would be lost for the traveler.  You leave and return in the same day, effectively missing nothing of your present life.

Both of these issues, along with several others, required a significant amount of editing and revisions as I wrote.  There were many days (and nights) that I was unable to write any of the storyline because I was bogged down in the intricacies of the time travel.  Strangely, most of my inspiration was given to me in the middle of the night, and I was forced awake by bursts of inspiration regarding the time travel that needed my immediate attention.  I was never so glad for my overactive subconscious!

In the end, I believe that I was able to work out many of the details regarding the time travel that exists in Brooke and Branson’s world.  Having grappled for so many months with the difficulties that it involves, I firmly believe that I will never experience time travel in my own life.  I believe it may very well be an impossibility in our world.  But if it isn’t, just in case, I’m already making my list of what things I would like to do with my trip.

I’ve written novels where I’ve switched time periods in the telling of the story, and know how difficult that can be. I can only imagine how difficult it was keeping it all straight. I don’t find it at all unusual that your ideas came to you when you were in a sort of twilight time–perhaps your own form of time travel. What do you feel is the greatest strength of The Clay Lion?

As I was writing, I felt a strong connection to Brooke and hoped the readers would share that same closeness.  I was pleased to discover when readers started weighing in that they bonded with her as well.  The story’s subject matter helped me develop her character fully, and I believe readers relate to her because of the depth of her loss.  We’ve all loved and lost – it’s a part of the human experience.  It’s something we can all relate to which is why Brooke’s character resonates with so many readers.  They feel her emotion and pull for her.  I believe her character is the strength of the book.

With such a complicated plot, what was your writing process like for The Clay Lion?

When I began writing I had an outline of the plot but didn’t know how I was going to end the story.  It was as if I was going on vacation, map in hand, knowing only where I was starting out and a few places to stop off along the way.  What I didn’t know, however, was where the ultimate destination was going to be.  After the first few chapters, I thought I knew where I was headed, but the more I got to know Brooke, the more she began taking over the direction of the story.  Places I wanted to go were not necessarily the places Brooke wanted to take me, so instead of fighting her, I surrendered to her.  At one point in the story, I was writing at the kitchen counter and my husband was baking brownies.  I started crying, and he asked me what in the world had set me off.  I told him I was upset because I didn’t know that what I had just written was going to happen, which of course made me sound as though I’d officially gone off the deep end.  “If you’re the one writing the book, how do you not know what’s about to happen?” he asked.  “I didn’t do it,” I replied.  “Brooke did.”  And that’s how it was for the remainder of the manuscript.  Brooke was in control.  I just wrote what she told me.

What an amazing process, Amalie. I thank you for stopping by today to share.

AmalieAbout Amalie Jahn:  “I spent my childhood writing journals about the boys I loved, especially the ones who never loved me back. I never imagined I’d be channeling those emotions into full-length novels later on in my life.” – Amalie Jahn

Undeterred by fickle teenage boys, Amalie won her first literary award in seventh grade for a fictional short story about a girl struggling with accident-induced hearing loss. She’s been writing ever since. The Clay Lion‘s Best-Selling March 2013 release was followed by the publication of Tin Men and A Straw Man, the second and third books in the critically-acclaimed series. Among the Shrouded is the first in a series of novels exploring real-world issues under the umbrella of paranormal suspense, and Amalie is currently working on the second installment of the series entitled Gather the Sentient.

When she’s not at the computer coaxing characters into submission, you can find Amalie swimming laps, cycling, or running on the treadmill, probably training for her next triathlon. She hates pairing socks and loves avocados. Amalie lives in the United States with her husband, two children, and three extremely overfed cats.

She is also very happy time travel does not yet exist. You can find her right here in the present day at these social media sites:


Amazon Author Central


Twitter – @AmalieJahn


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cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgIt’s my pleasure to welcome Effrosyni Moschoudi to Author Wednesday. Hailing from Greece, she offers up some intriguing stories combining Greek culture, myths, and romance. 

Her debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, is an urban fantasy of Greek myths and time travel, a touching family story with a good measure of romance. In 2014, it made the shortlist for the “50 Best Self-Published Books Worth Reading” from Indie Author Land.NECKLACE OF ATHENA533x800

Her historical romance, The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb, is an ABNA quarter-finalist with a paranormal twist, and right now it’s only $0.99! The book is the first part of a trilogy. The remaining two volumes, The Flow and The Storm, will be published later this year. The Flow – book 2 in The Lady of the Pier trilogy is available on preorder for $0.99, but only for a limited time. 

Welcome, Effrosyni. You’ve been busy in the past two years since the publication of your first novel. I’m curious about the moment when you first could call yourself an author. 

I’ve been writing since childhood, but as it’s always been a hobby, I never thought of myself as a writer. Even when I published my first book on Amazon, that didn’t change. I knew I was still too wet behind the ears to call myself that. Of course, one and a half years later, being in the process of writing my fourth novel and having learned so much on the craft of writing, I have no problem seeing myself seriously as an author today.

I’m impressed with your prolific body of work in such a short time. It’s also impressive that you’ve managed to receive such positive recognition for that work. Do you have particular themes you try to express through your fiction? 

Looking at my two published novels, I certainly see a couple of themes that repeat themselves, such as the love between parents and children, faith in a better future, the importance of true friends, and the sweetness of first love. In my fantasy, I even approach the subject of bullying between schoolchildren, which is a menace of our time. I hope my books will give comfort and inspire people out there, especially the young, as they are way more vulnerable than adults and need all the right guidance they can get.

lady of the pier, ebb no strap 533x800How did you choose the title for The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb? Was it the title from the very beginning?

Yes, it’s been the same title from the start. I have a huge affinity for the West Pier, the landmark of the city of Brighton that sadly, is no more. In my mind, my devastation for its total destruction has taken on the shape of a haunting on it, The Lady of the Pier. It is a spirit of the past that mourns for a love lost and yearns for redemption.

What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

I have done extensive research about The West Pier itself, i.e. its total history from its creation in 1866 till its final destruction in 2004. I also had to research heavily on life in England in the 1930s, as well as during WWII in the ’40s. The latter was necessary for the remaining two volumes of The Lady of the Pier trilogy, The Flow and The Storm. I’m publishing both of them later this year.west pier6

Who is the antagonist in The Lady of the Pier trilogy? I love creating my antagonist, so did you find some pleasure in creating yours? 

Charles is a psychopath, and he is ruthless. To get Laura to be his, he’ll do anything. But at the same time, as despicable as his acts are, I can’t help but feel sorry for him, and in a way, it is Laura’s fault too that things get to be so bad between them. Throughout the trilogy, I tell the story from the perspective of Charles quite often, providing tiny glimpses of his past that hint to the reader why he turned out to be that kind of man. This process has made for a baddie who is not all devil, but a bit of a fallen angel, too. As a character, Charles has been insupportable, talking in my head in the middle of the night or nagging at me as soon as I wake up in the morning to get writing. No other character has ever done that. It hasn’t been easy living with him in my head for a while, but now that I’ve completed writing his story, I do confess, I find I miss him a bit!

I understand that feeling. I’m sure that empathy with him is conveyed in the writing. What else do you want readers to know about The Lady of the Pier trilogy?

The trilogy has two different timelines:  there’s Laura, a British girl living in the 1930s in England, and Sofia, a Greek girl from the ’80s. As the story progresses, these seemingly irrelevant stories start to become more and more related to each other, and on the third and final book, they merge into one story.

How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

My British husband is very supportive, egging me on through my writing journey, as well as providing me with invaluable editing assistance on my finished manuscripts. Having said that, it took quite a few months for him to realize that what I’d been doing at my desk all day wasn’t just a way to pass the time since becoming unemployed. Once the second book was published and he got to share my experiences and to read the awesome feedback I receive from readers, he got to understand what I’m trying to do and be. He is my number one fan and critic (both equally valuable to me). My parents are also very supportive and keep reminding me I ought to translate my books into Greek so that they can read them!

Yes, you should definitely do that! It’s been a pleasure having you visit today. And I hope you’ll return when the third and final book in the trilogy is published.

frosso pic1About Effrosyni Moschoudi: Effrosyni was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She’s passionate about books and movies and simply couldn’t live without them. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. Effrosyni is a proud member of the writer’s group, eNovel Authors at Work.



Click below to purchase books by Effrosyni Moschoudi 

The Ebb

The Flow

The Necklace of Goddess Athena

Book trailer for The Flow


Connect with Effrosyni Moschoudi


Amazon Author Central 






Amazon’s Logical TOC and Author Review Rules

Here’s an excellent piece for all Indie Authors.

Lit World Interviews

I’ve posted about reviews and inserting a table of contents into your eBooks before, but I wanted to discuss them again, with special emphasis on Amazon KDP rules.

First, just a quick word about the table of contents. I’m editing a non-fiction book that I want a proper NCX table of contents for, that shows up in the little Go To menu itself, so I’ve been exploring Amazon’s guidelines. I wasn’t aware before that fiction had to have a logical table of contents, but it is now actually a requirement, and authors are starting to get notices from them to put them in their eBooks if they haven’t already. The HTML table of contents that we did here previously is Strongly Recommended by Amazon as well, but the Logical one is a requirement. This table of contents according to Amazon “Lets the reader easily find parts, sections, and chapters of…

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cropped-typewriter.jpgI’m very excited about introducing you to this week’s author, Mary Smith. Her debut novel, No More Mulberries, continues to garner praise  for its portrayal of marriage and life in Afghanistan. She’s created a novel of distinction about intimacy and adaptation, while offering up historical perspective on the Afghan culture.No More Mulberries - web ready

Welcome to Author Wednesday, Mary. It’s lovely of you to spend time with me today. I’m always curious to learn about other authors. You’ve done a variety of writing in the past, but is there a form of written expression you’d like to try?

I’ve written fiction, memoir, news stories, magazine features, and poetry – and now I’m trying my hand at a short stage play. It is interesting to try different things, but maybe I need to focus on fiction for a while and get another novel out there.

I understand. The past two or three years, I’ve stopped dabbling and concentrated on my novels. But I’m still drawn to other forms. Let’s talk about No More Mulberries. What’s your one sentence pitch for it?

Set in Afghanistan, No More Mulberries is the story of Scottish-born Miriam and her Afghan husband, Dr Iqbal — a story of cross-cultural differences, past loves, loss, and, ultimately, love.

It’s the next book on my TBR list, and I can’t wait to be captivated by the story. Did you publish No More Mulberries traditionally or did you self-publish?

The paperback is published by an unusual company called FeedARead which received funding from the Arts Council in the UK to publish a certain number of books. It pays the author a slightly higher royalty rate but doesn’t do any promotion. The author retains all rights, so I was able to self-publish No More Mulberries as an eBook. It’s the eBook which makes money for me, and I would certainly choose to self-publish again.

It sounds as if you found the perfect marriage between traditional and self publishing. What is the message you hoped to convey in No More Mulberries?

I spent several years working in Afghanistan during the years between the Soviets leaving and the rise of the Taliban, and I got a bit fed up of the Western media reports and the books written by men, which all seemed to focus on the war and dismissed women as being irrelevant.  I hope people who read No More Mulberries come away understanding the women of Afghanistan, despite the hardships in their lives, are not downtrodden victims but strong women who want the best for their families – as we all do. I also hope readers feel that whatever differences there may be in geography, religion, culture, humanity is the same everywhere.

I commend you for addressing this issue through fiction. What is the best thing someone could say about No More Mulberries?

“I loved it!” Actually, someone called Frenchie posted a review on Amazon (UK) which delighted me because she so obviously ‘got’ the book. “It is simply a life story, a love story, a vision to change a little part of the world, and a need for closure … A simple but oh so beautiful story that will stay with me for a very, very long time.” It is too long a review to post in full here but this is the link if anyone wants to check it out:

It’s a satisfying experience when someone gets the essence of my writing, so I understand how this review pleased you. How did you come up with the idea for this novel?

I was exploring a ‘what if’ question. When I was living in Pakistan someone said mixed marriages never work – just as I was about to go to a party to celebrate twenty-five years of marriage between a German woman and Pakistani man. The comment stayed with me. What if a British woman married an Afghan man, and they lived in Afghanistan – what problems would they encounter and could a marriage survive? I gave my couple a few extra complications such as the loss of her previous husband, his first love, and cultural differences. I wanted to write a good, page-turning story, which could also open a window to show life in rural Afghanistan for ordinary people, especially women.

What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

I lived in Afghanistan for several years, working for a health organisation and kept a diary throughout that time. Although the characters and their story are fictional, a number of incidents are based on events I experienced or witnessed. However, that’s not to say I didn’t need to do any research, especially when making any political, historical, or religious references. It was important for me to make sure they were correct. I read widely, but also found Afghan friends were happy to help and emails would often fly across the ether.

That’s important and something that isn’t often realized about the writing of fiction. Even though we imagine the plot and characters, the context where they exist must be accurate. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

Never mind a scene, I have a favorite chapter! Chapter Four. It actually changed the book entirely. Up until then the story was told from Miriam’s point of view, and I was worried Iqbal was coming over as a less than sympathetic character. Chapter Four is in his voice, and suddenly I understood a lot more about him than when I started writing. I – and I hope readers – could see that he, and not only Miriam, is carrying around a lot of baggage from his past.

What else do you want readers to know about No More Mulberries?

It’s my first novel, but I’ve started on another. I also have a non-fiction book, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women, which tells about part of the time I was working in Afghanistan.

Thank you for stopping by today, Mary. I hope you’ll come back when the new book is published.drunk chickens - web ready

Mary Smith - web readyAbout Mary Smith:  Writer, freelance journalist, and poet Mary Smith lives in beautiful South West Scotland. Although she has always written, whether it was childish short stories, very bad angst-ridden poetry as a teenager, diaries or funding reports, she never really believed she could write for publication. And so she did lots of other things instead including fundraising for Oxfam, and later working in Pakistan and Afghanistan for leprosy programs. While in Afghanistan, she established a low-key mother and child care program, providing skills and knowledge to women health volunteers. Those experiences inform much of her writing. Her debut novel, No More Mulberries is set in Afghanistan, and she has also written Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women, a narrative non-fiction account about her time in Afghanistan, which offers an authentic insight into how ordinary Afghan women and their families live their lives.

Links to books and social media sites:

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I welcome romance writer Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku to Author Wednesday today.Flirty & Feisty Romance Banner for Forbidden Dance.jpeg

When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

My writing took an active turn in 2010 when I first published Flirty & Feisty Romance first novel titled; Loitering Shadows. I love to write and romance is my No. 1 passion. At the start of 2010, I ditched full time work for more than a year. In between undertaking school runs and enchanting my husband, I had free time to pursue my interest. So I wrote a personal story embellished with frills of fiction. At least half of the story was true. The reader must try to sort out the truth from fiction. Loitering Shadows was my first attempt at self-publishing and the book cover spots my husband and me. My upcoming title, Forbidden Dance is Flirty & Feisty Romance ninth novel.

What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

A reviewer left this remark about Kiss My Lips (Holiday Series #2) “Uhm…Stella got me sighing each time Lorna and Logan made love. Each experience is new and intense. I love Logan for proving his love in so many ways. An example is convincing Mr. Marie to give her away at the altar. That is priceless. I look forward to a possible romance between Rochelle and Dominic. She is so determined to get a good man. I love Aunt Nneka even more. She is a rare gem. Logan shines through in Kiss My Lips proving his love over and over. I might as well confess I am in love with him. Lol. And a baby to seal their love…awww”.

Tell me a little bit about your new release, Forbidden Dance. When will it be released and what’s the pitch for the book?

Forbidden Dance will be released on July 15. Here’s the pitch:  A married woman wants to embrace a new admirer in pursuit of a lifetime of happiness, but what will it cost her?

Sounds intriguing. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?

It would be sweet for a reader to say Forbidden Dance gave them hope to hold onto their marriage no matter how lonely or dark the road becomes.

How did you come up with the idea?

Forbidden Dance was borne out of my concern for the increasing number of marriages hitting the rocks. As an optimist and a die-hard romance lover, one beautiful spring morning, about six weeks ago, I sat staring out of my bedroom window, and Alero’s story drifted into my thoughts. Soon, her hopeless marriage filled my waking moments, and I wondered if there would be light at the end of the tunnel. The speed with which she drove out of her husband’s home, not on a whim, but after too many setbacks, left me open-mouthed. After that, the story took on a few twists.

Who is the antagonist in your book? Did you enjoy creating this character?

Zane Abdul, a tall, handsome car dealer of Moroccan descent, is a romantic, who is willing to protect his love. He resides in Casablanca, loves to wear his baseball hat facing backwards and enjoys sensual dance steps. Zane snaps up Alero (heroine) from the minute he sets his sexy eyes on her. There is one snag. Alero is married.

I enjoyed creating Zane because he gives Kyle (Alero’s husband – hero) a good run for his money. This is the first male antagonist I have fallen in love with.

Love to love a bad boy, right? That’s funny. If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Lovely question. There is a woman who comes readily to mind. Her name is Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde, a Nollywood actress. I think she would play me so well, domestically and professionally. Omotola is an epitome of a successful, hardworking African woman.

Just like you! Thank you so much for stopping by today, Stella. I wish you success with your new release.

My PhotoAbout Stella: Stella loves writing romance novels that are as intriguing and flirty as they are entertaining. Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels are a wide range of toe-curling, skin-tingling romance books with compelling characters who have heart and soul.

The stories are dotted with unexpected twists and turns and conflicts. The stories are set in fascinating Africa, enticing Europe and enchanting America. The witty dialogue between the characters keeps you thoroughly entertained.

If you want to cuddle up and relax, grab a copy, travel with the characters and sail away to Pleasure Island. The stories cure boredom and relieve stress.

In 2010, Stella created Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels. There are seven published contemporary and one historical romance title in the basket. In her leisure time, Stella goes swimming, reads romance novels, goes to the Cinema with her family, and watches TV.




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