Karis by R. M. Strong

Genre: Science Fiction

Format: eBook

Buy: Smashwords & Amazon

karis-rmstrongTamara finally got what she’d always wanted, all it took was the complete disintegration of her life. Putting her life back together would take her places she never thought possible.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a 32-year-old mom of a kindergartener (and a dog, three cats and 10 chickens), married (to the same guy) for over 10 years, and a Beaver (Oregon native) living in the Potato State. My birthday is on April Fool’s Day and I was named after a Steely Dan song—which you wouldn’t think would necessarily make someone strange, but it did. Fortunately, to be a writer—not to mention the mom of a boy—being strange isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, which—unfortunately for my career but probably fortunately for everything else—is most of the time, I am a stay at home wife and mom. Of course, that “stay at home” part is rather a misnomer. I am very involved in my church’s neighborhood youth ministry programs as well as my son’s school’s Parent Teacher Organization. There is usually only one day a week that I actually do stay home… and that is usually spent writing.

3. When and why did you begin writing?

I have been able to read as long as I can remember, but my writing journey began when I was in fifth grade. Our teacher assigned us a creative writing project, writing a mystery story. Mine was picked out as the best in the class and, really, I have wanted to be a writer ever since. I went to Multnomah University in Portland, Ore., back when they offered a journalism major and learned quite a bit about writing non-fiction, but never lost my love of writing fiction. My first book was published in 2004 (and then re-, self-published in 2011), and I have been hooked every since.

4. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have two books published right now, Karis (part of the My Life as a Superhero series) and What Difference Does Seven Days Make?. I would have to say that the Superhero series has been my favorite so far. I have the second book, Flash, done and am working on the third and final, Erimentha, right now, and to watch Tamara’s journey from scared 15-year-old to a confident, self-reliant adult has been fun.

5. What are your current projects?

I am currently working on finishing up my NaNoWriMo project for this last year, God of Chaos, an historical fiction account of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. I also have a fantasy novel in the works, and Erimentha. Those are the projects I’m working on now… of course, I may be forgetting a few things.

6. Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Yes! The sequel to Karis, titled Flash will be released on April 1, 2013. We are in the final processes of editing and polishing now and should have everything done soon. I already have cover ideas ready and am going to start putting those things together soon. For the first 90 days, it will only be available on Kindle and in print through Amazon, but will be on every format on July 1, 2013.

7. What is the most challenging part of being an indie author? The most rewarding?

The most challenging part has been ignoring the prejudices of traditionally-published authors and readers who will only read something that has been published by one of the Big 6. I do understand where they are coming from—I worked in a copy shop during the advent of self-publishing, when everyone and their brother wrote something and took it to the local copy shop and suddenly was “published.” Books like that do usually deserve the scorn they receive— I’ve read plenty of them when I was binding them.

However, that is no longer always the case. The My Life as a Superhero series is about a Christian Superhero… which, let me tell you, is crazy hard to try and sell to a company who already would have to take a chance on an unknown author. Just because I couldn’t find anyone to publish the story God gave me the way that God told me to write it (non-Christian characters do not have the cleanest language… but it’s a whole lot cleaner than anything you’d hear in the halls of a public high school) doesn’t automatically make it a bad or horribly-written story.

Once I got a taste of “author publishing,” I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

8. As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author?

Poorly-written books are not exclusive to independent publishing. There are so many household-name authors that have written horrible, poorly-executed books—even those who have written well in the past. Many indie authors write not for the paycheck, but because there is a story inside them waiting to get out. Because we don’t have to pay for a bunch of frills, our books are usually cheaper and of just as good quality—and sometimes of even better quality—as some of the books from traditional publishers. Do not be afraid to take a chance. You may just discover your new favorite author.

RikkipicTo get to know the quirkiness of R. M. (Rikki) Strong, one only has to look to her namesake: The “Rikki” of 1972’s Steely Dan’s Song: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Now a Pastor’s Kid four times over, she hasn’t forgotten the fun-loving nature her parents, and the rest of her family and in-laws, instilled in her. After 13 years of public school and 3 years of Bible College, she was ready to take the world by storm… Um, yeah, sure… we’ll go with that.

Her favorite genre to write is Young Adult, partially because she absolutely refuses to admit she’s “getting on in years” (as in: over 30) and partially because, ever since graduating high school, she has been mentoring middle and high school students through various churches. There is always some story (or series) in the works, and she’s always looking to branch out into new things.

She lives in Idaho with her husband, son, dog, cats, and chickens.

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A Dodge A Twist and A Tobacconist by Sophronia Belle Lyon

Genre:  Gothic Fantasy

Format:  ebook

Buy:  Illustrated Dodge a Twist and a Tobacconist (The Illustrated Alexander Legacy)

This series melds some better and lesser-known characters of classic literary fiction: A literary dream team of crime fighters including nods to Dickens, Stevenson, Alcott, Austen, Kipling, Doyle, and other writers across the pond, with plenty of homages to great books sprinkled throughout. Prowl the foggy London streets on the track of a ruthless enslaver of souls. Travel the Thames in a Giant Catfish. Soar over London in a stealth glider, and witness true redemptions and restorations no one ever imagined.


1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up reading HG Welles, Jules Verne and other classics. I dressed up and acted out scenes with friends much like Louisa May Alcott’s beloved “Little Women,” and got to be a cauldron spirit in Macbeth in fourth grade. I traveled to Italy by way of Iceland and Luxembourg in high school. I’ve taken apart my share of clocks to study the gearworks, knowledge essential to the Steampunk writer. Scores of cat friends informed me about Bagheera’s attitudes and manners. Oliver Twist’s oblivious, eccentric habits came from the science-absorbed men in my life.

2. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I saw the movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and felt disappointment that some of my favorite characters were not true to the spirit of their creators. I decided to form my own Victorian Literary Crime-fighting team with special attention to strong moral character family values.

3. Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is a little old-fashioned, perhaps, pretty traditional. I am not big on detailed descriptions, though I do use more in this series than I have in previous works, in keeping with setting the atmosphere of the Victorian era and describing the mechanicals.

4. What was your favorite chapter to write and why?

Chapter Eleven contains a surprise turning point in the story and underscores my theme that anyone can be redeemed. One reader said to me, “I didn’t expect that!” and I replied, “Neither did Florizel!”

5. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want readers to understand the importance of knowing and applying the Word of God, and that freedom from the bondage of sin is worth fighting for, and also that anyone can gain that freedom through the power of God. I want them to understand the dangers of a society that preaches that man can do anything, overcome any obstacle, just by using his own reason.

6. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Sarah Witenhafer, Precarious Yates, Ilil Arbel (she isn’t necessarily new, but she is a living author to whose works about Jewish history I have recently been introduced), Brad Francis, Pastor George McVey, and Debby de Quillettes-Alten. (Debby currently has flash fiction works on her blog, but hopes to publish her first book soon. She’s an editor/publisher busily helping other authors realize their dreams.)

7. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The character of Oliver Twist is loosely based on my husband and one of my brothers, both of whom are very focused on scientific accuracy and not very socially adept.

8. As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author?

I have read lots of amazing stories by indie authors. Don’t just look for your old favorite author. Don’t just get stuck in the bestseller lists. The authors I mentioned above and many others who have chosen indie publishing are well worth a read. They write in all the genres and I have even enjoyed *gasp* contemporary romance by indie authors.

9. What has been the best compliment you received?

The best compliment was this, from a respected reviewer:

“The sources are so different from each other, that it is absolutely amazing how Sophronia Belle Lyon managed to weave them so seamlessly into a cohesive whole. I kept smiling in disbelief when a new character would be introduced – someone who I could never see in the company of the other characters – and then fall into place and join the company with perfect ease.”


Sophronia Belle Lyon grew up in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, reading HG Welles, Jules Verne and other classics. She dressed up and acted out scenes with friends much like Louisa May Alcott’s beloved “Little Women,” and got to be a cauldron spirit in Macbeth in fourth grade. She traveled to Italy by way of Iceland and Luxembourg. She’s taken apart her share of clocks to study the gearworks and feels well-prepared to enter the Steampunk genre. Hundreds of cat friends informed her about Bagheera’s attitudes and manners. Oliver Twist’s oblivious, eccentric habits came from the Science-absorbed men in her life, and her love for weapons translated into the well-armed members of the Alexander Legacy Company. She travels widely, shoots when she can, collects swords and knives, but is so far too shy to be photographed.

Visit Sophronia on Twitter.

The Victor by Marlayne Giron

Genre:  Fantasy

Format: ebook, paperback

Buy: The Victor

A benevolent King; …his sword of power; …a ruthless traitor bent on revenge; …and the faithful son who stands in his way with the woman destined to share his throne. Who shall emerge as the victor in this epic struggle between good and evil to govern the lives of hapless men?


1. Do you have a day job as well?

I have been a career administrative assistant since the age of 19. I actually wrote my first book, The Victor, when I was a receptionist at an ammunition factory on a typewriter (before computers) when I had nothing else to do.

2. When and why did you begin writing? 

I’ve always been artistic and creative. I used to sew, embroider, and draw quite a bit. I had a good friend I met at the age of 12. On one of her visits, we lay on our stomachs, and she produced a typewritten story in which she had put us in as characters. We read it out loud to each other, and it was so much fun that I created a story for our next get-together. At that time, we were really into the Six Million Dollar Man television series, and we saved the day in each of our short stories–we must have written hundreds. We wrote and illustrated a “feature” length story, too, which I still have.

Lisa had always wanted to be a teacher when she grew up, and soon I found her red-marking my stories for spelling, punctuation, and grammar problems. I decided I would make sure she could find no errors in any future stories. This decision honed my English skills. Lisa is a creative, brilliant person, and was a big influence in my writing. I learned a lot of creative writing techniques from her.

3. What inspired you to write your first book? 

I was inspired to write The Victor 30 years ago from a line in an Amy Grant song called: “Fairytale” from her Father’s Eyes album.  It said: “two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start”.  An image popped into my mind of Jesus as a knight in shining armor and Satan as a black knight crossing swords over the “bride of Christ”. Shortly after beginning the book, I asked the Lord for a “confirming scripture” that the book idea for The Victor was from Him, and was led to Psalm 45:1  “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” The Victor was released on April 14th of 2009 and in 2010 I finally got to meet Amy Grant in person at the Life and Faith Concert Tour in Richmond, VA.

4. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have written 3 (with one more in the works): The Victor (my baby), Make a Wish, and In Plain Sight (an Amish paranormal fiction with a Jewish surprise at the end).

5. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The part where the two main characters are reunited after years of being separated. It is a very tender and emotional moment.

6. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The Victor is basically a very elaborate Gospel track disguised as a Medieval action/adventure love-story for people of all ages and both genders. Make a Wish is a compilation of short inspirational stories where I granted wishes for real people. You will see the world, trials and tribulations in a very different light after reading this book. Kleenex is definitely needed. In Plain Sight started out as a paranormal love story and grew into something much more profound.

7. What books have most influenced your life most?

Definitely the Lord of the Rings. It is the gold standard for high fiction.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen Lawhead. They are both believers and weave their faith into their masterful stories. They both had me sobbing, wringing my hands with worry and rejoicing with the characters.

9. What are your current projects?

I am currently putting the finishing touches on a semi-Amish fiction love story about a 40 year old widow form Southern California falling for a 40 year old Amish widower in Lancaster, PA called “Plain & Simple”.

10. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Editing The Victor on a typewriter. Excruciating until the mid 1980s when computers came along.

11. Who designed the covers?

I got to help design the cover for The Victor with the publisher’s graphic artist. Make a Wish I did myself and for In Plain Sight I provide the stock footage and the idea and paid a graphic artist to create the final product.

12. Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you are self-publishing, hire a good editor; they are worth their weight in gold and will significantly improve your final product. I personally recommend mine, Tracie Storey. She has worked for major and traditional publishing houses and not only does line by line editing but also helps with concept, logical inconsistencies and timeline issues. She is very thorough and reasonable. Her email is: venusian31@prodigy.net

Watch the trailer:

Marlayne GironMarlayne Giron is a wife and mother living in Orange County, California. She currently works as a part-time career secretary and enjoys cooking for her family every night, scrapbooking, making high teas, and entertaining.

The Victor was released on April 14th of 2009 and many doors have opened up for her to get the word out on her book. One of which being that as a direct result of her former employment with John Styll at CCM Magazine 28 years ago (who is now currently President of the Gospel Music Association), both he and Amy Grant now have copies of The Victor and Marlayne’s personal copy has been autographed by Amy Grant herself.

Visit Marlayne at her website:  www.thevictorbook.com, Blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

The Center Circle by Steve Biddison

Genre:  SciFi / Fantasy

Format: ebook

Buy:  The Center Circle (The Center Circle Chronicles)


A lowly freshman in college one day, crown prince of Orion and famed Center Circle member the next.

Orphaned at a young age, Landon’s first memories were living in a home with eleven other children who had lost their parents. But even those memories had long since faded from his thoughts as he spent the last eight years in the care of a loving foster family. Now, as a freshman in college, Landon had his future in front of him. However, all that would change the morning he got a text saying, “It’s time.”

From that moment on, Landon’s world literally was turned inside out. Taken away from his college campus to another world, he begins to discover who he really is as his destiny starts to unfold before him. No longer was he Landon, a mere freshman in college, but he was Landru, the son of a Center Circle member and heir to the throne of Orion.

But Landru’s welcome to his true identity is not one of pomp and circumstance. Called back from all corners of the world are the twelve orphans who must unite to defeat the rising power of the evil Rondel – the former mighty general who has his sights set on ruling all the worlds.

Equipped only with a ring and a sword, and the head strong guidance of the young priestess, Theophania, Landru fights his way to unite the Circle and rescue captives while trying to get a grasp on his inner powers he possess through the feelings of faith.


1.  Welcome, Steve Biddison.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
For over twenty years, I have been a teacher and a basketball coach.  In addition, I spent four years as a youth pastor.   As a basketball coach, I have been very successful winning over 400 games and two trips to the regional finals.  My four years as a youth pastor were perhaps the most rewarding four years of my professional life as I was able to touch hundreds of young people’s lives.

I have been married for almost 12 years and have an 8 year old son who is all boy.  I enjoy watching him grow up, learning to play sports and falling in love with anything related Star Wars.

2.  When and why did you begin writing?
I actually began writing when I was in seventh grade.  Until then, I had been an avid reader and I guess my love for reading translated into being a writer.  Now I won’t pretend that I wrote well in seventh grade, but that is when it all started.  I think every year after that, I wrote some form of a novel.  That was before computers were in every house so my novels were hand written in spiral notebooks.

Now fast forward a few decades.  After having firmly established my career as a teacher and basketball coach, I discovered a venue in which to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing.  In the summer of 2011, I put together my philosophy I teach as a basketball coach into a book and published it for the Kindle (several months later, I would add it to the Nook as well).  I think that little spark of being published and actually seeing my book sell was enough to rekindle (no pun intended) my love for writing.

3.  Do you work with an outline, or just write?

That really depends.  When I write nonfiction, I definitely work from an outline.  Without it, I have no framework from which to write.  For instance, in my first book about a coaching, I wrote from an acronym that I coach by.  HEART.  Each letter stands for a different aspect of a philosophy.  That acronym served as my outline.  In my second book, Pursuing Your God-Given Dreams, I used a verse on the Bible as my outline.  Each phrase became its own chapter.

But when it comes to fiction, that is a different story completely.  Yes, I have a general idea where the story is going.  I guess you can say that I know the beginning, middle, and end.  But all the twists and turns within the story happen as I write.  These things actually keep me going as a writer because I need to know what happens next.

4.  How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

All in all, I have written 5 books.   I have written two that deal with coaching.  One yearly devotional on the life and teaching of Christ.  One on pursuing the dreams God plants inside you.  And have recently published my first fiction novel, The Center Circle.  All can be found on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

5.  How did you come up with the title?

I actually came up with the title of The Center Circle when I wrote one of my novels back in high school.  That book became the basis for the book I recently published.  The original story centered around a group of knights in another world that were united to stop an evil force.  I couldn’t call them the knights of the round table because that was already taken.  So I used the idea of “round” and came up with Circle.  I can’t remember where the word, “Center” came from.  Probably had to do with the fact that I was a basketball player in high school and I was thinking of a basketball court.

6.  Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Obviously since I am working on a sequel to The Center Circle, I am going to revisit all the characters.  Without giving too much away, I will say that the character of Theophania, a kind of minor character in the first book will have a major role in the next two.  The more I wrote her in the first book, the more she demanded to have a major role in the following ones.

7.  I love that and know what you’re talking about.  Characters often tell us writers what to do!  Switching gears now, what is the most challenging part of being an indie author?

Hands down, the most challenging part of being an indie author is learning to market your material.  Until you have a name as a writer, no one is really looking for your books.  So its up to you to market them to the general public.

8. What is the most rewarding part of being an indie author?

It is a great feeling knowing that your books are getting out in front of people.  Every time I get an email or a post on my author facebook page telling me how much someone enjoyed my book, it spurs me on to continue writing.

9.  As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author?

For those who have never read an indie author, I would encourage them to take a chance.  There are some great writers and books in the indie world.  I believe this is going to be the wave of the future.  With the amount of ereaders being sold coupled with the higher royalties that ebooks make for the authors, I foresee indie authors overtaking traditionally published authors in the not so distant future.

10.  Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Follow your dreams.  If you have a dream to be a writer, there is no easier time than now to get your work into the public eye.  If you have a good product and it is written well, the sky is the limit as to where your writing might take you.


Steve BiddisonFor over 20 years, Steve Biddison was a very successful basketball coach and educator. In addition, Steve also served on a church staff as the youth pastor for 4 years.

Ever since he was in junior high, Steve has had a desire to write. After 21 years of coaching basketball, he has taken a hiatus from the coaching field and is focusing on his love of writing.

Steve is married to his wonderful wife, Amy, and together they have a son, Landry.

Visit Steve at his website:  http://stevebiddison.wordpress.com/, on Facebook, or on Twitter.  Watch the book trailer for The Center Circle.