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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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.