Behind the Book: Soul Bearer by Elexis Bell

Soul Bearer – Elexis Bell

What genre is this book and can you name any similar books?

This one, like many of my other books, is high fantasy romance. It’s slow burn romance mixed into a hero’s quest.

You write books of different genres, does this mirror your reading style?

Very much so. I tend toward high fantasy romance, but also read dystopian, post-apocalyptic, thrillers, psychological novels, paranormal, and various things relating to WW2. In most cases, I prefer to have a romantic arc within the story. I don’t like contemporary or reverse harems. And I rarely read younger than Young Adult.

Are there any genres you cannot see yourself writing?

Contemporary, Harem, or Reverse Harem. I got close to harem/reverse harem with a novel that’s currently in edits (title to be announced later), but it doesn’t quite fit the bill. It just has several love triangles.

What inspired your novel Soul Bearer?

A dream, actually. The prologue was a dream. None of the characters in it were going to do the work of fixing the whole dragon problem, though. It was perfect for setting up the world and showcasing the issues facing the main characters, so I kept it as the prologue.

Which mythical or magical creature do you wish was real?

I’ve given this a lot of thought, probably too much. Honestly, I don’t know which one I would choose. I can’t think of a single one that wasn’t an absolute nightmare in some tale or other, and I have terrible luck. If I chose a mythical or magical creature to make real, it would be the bad version of it. Or it would be the good version, but humans would poach them for their horns or magical feathers. I do wish humans were more interesting, though. Horns, wings, tails, whatever.

Tell me about the krakken style octopus on your website?

That octopus was a gift and rests in the center of the coffee table in my library. It’s my favorite animal, and I have several of them scattered through the library (most of which are not real, though I do have a few preserved in formaldehyde). They’re intelligent, creative, and unbelievably unique. They use tools and communicate by changing the colors of their skin. They shapeshift, morphing their bodies and altering the texture of their skin to lure prey and hide from predators. There are even a couple octopus cities in the ocean now, a fact which is one part awe-inspiring and one part terrifying. Basically, I just find them fascinating.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Soul Bearer?

Spinning slowly, Aurisye looks at everything around her. Chaos rules the land as the great red beast rules the air. Another roar threatens to shatter her eardrums, quickly followed by another stream of fire as the dragon flies overhead, so close that Aurisye could count its scales if it would only hold still.

She reaches out, passes a hand through the tip of its tail as it passes her. The dragon roars so loudly that, for a moment after, the world loses all sound. A high-pitched ringing sound punctuates everything, chasing away the screams and the crashing of buildings falling in upon themselves.

Up above, the dragon executes a perfect hair-pin turn and rockets itself toward Aurisye. Yellow eyes shining in the firelight, it stares straight at her, the only being here capable of seeing her. Each flap of its wings fans the fires all around, sending them climbing even higher into the atmosphere. Jaw dropping, it prepares to launch a blazing assault on Aurisye.

In an instant, she snaps back into her body, sitting bolt upright on the roof of her cottage. Her chest heaves with choppy breaths, pulling nothing but panic into her lungs. Her heart races, and she puts a hand to her chest to calm it.

Only then does she notice the soft red light coming from the mark on her arm. Her world goes cold. She pulls the sleeve of her jacket down to cover it, hoping it didn’t draw any undue attention.

Where can we find out more and buy your books?

My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.  


All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.


If you enjoyed this, you should check out:

Behind the Book: Annabelle by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

To discover more ways to connect, please click my link tree:



Behind the Book: The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

The first two books of Cassidy’s Romantic Suspense series is out with more coming. Here she shares her inspiration, process and snippets.

What inspired you to write The Sentinels Series?

Over 10 years ago, I woke up one morning from a dream and immediately thought it would be exactly the kind of story I would like to read. I didn’t remember more than a few snippets from that dream, but in my head I started to create the story in my head. I worked out who all the characters were, how they acted, and what they looked like. Then, I figured out what their likes and dislikes were and what made them who they are as individuals. Eventually, I had the whole story written in my head from start to finish, but that’s where it stayed until I decided to stop being scared and just throw it out there.

How long did it take to write and publish from the first idea?

The actual writing didn’t take me that long as I had everything already worked out and I also type quite fast. I think I had it all down on the screen in around 6 weeks. Then I spent another 6 weeks or so re-writing, editing, fixing continuity mistakes and filling potholes. From opening a new document on my computer to pressing the publishing button too about 3 months in total. I probably should have taken more time with it, but I knew that if I didn’t get it out of my hands and into the world, I would never actually put it out there. It was a do or die kind of thing.

Did you know it would be a duology from the start?

I don’t think I ever thought beyond the first book until it was published and I’d had some time to process. Then I got this feeling that the main characters’ story wasn’t quite finished. There were events in their pasts that needed to be brought their full conclusion. So, I started to work on book 2 and it didn’t take long for some of the other characters to start telling me they wanted their stories to be heard as well.

Consequently, I now have a complete first draft of book 3 and I’m also plotting book 4. Will there be a fifth? Well, a voice in my head keeps telling me so, but for the time being I’ve told him to shut up.

Why did you choose a pen name when you published?

I’m a fairly private person and don’t like everyone knowing every aspect of my life, so to protect my privacy I chose to use a pen name. That way I can accept friend requests from readers on Facebook and know that real my life, and the lives of my family and friends, won’t be displayed to complete strangers.

What genre is The Sentinels and can you name any similar books?

The Sentinels Series comes under romantic suspense, although it has a tiny bit of paranormal thrown into the first two books. It is similar to Rescued by Stephanie St. Klaire and the styles of Lucy Score and Ivy Smoak.

Which character is most like you and why?

There’s a little of me in all my female characters but I would say Anya is probably the one who is most like me. She loves with abandon, is loyal to a fault, but won’t allow anyone to tell her how she should behave and soon gets up if she’s been kicked to the floor. She’s independent, stubborn and finds something good in everyone she meets. Except her worst enemy.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Cassidy Reyne?

Hmmmm, a typical day. Well, I’m usually up and having my morning coffee around 8.30 in the morning and sitting with my laptop looking through whatever I was working on the night before. I’ll also scroll through social media, reply to emails, and say good morning to my writer friends who are doing almost the exact same thing as I am. After the usual household chores are out of the way, I usually have a few things to do for our main business, but before lunch I want to be sitting at my desk getting stuck into whatever I’m working on. I’ll take a break for lunch with my husband before going back to work till around 4 in the afternoon. By that time, I’ll be needing a longer break so I’ll get on with other things till after dinner when I’ll go back to my writing for a while. I’m not quite so focused during the evening and often fit in other things like social media and chatting with friends. I might even watch some tv if I feel I need a distraction. Since I work from home I have the luxury of going to bed when I want to so you can often find me still at my desk around 1 am.

During the week I also fit in a yoga and pilates session and a non-syllabus ballet class, as well as a few walks around the neighborhood for some fresh air.

Please share a snippet or a teaser from the book?

The Sentinels 1 — Saving Her

The helicopter rose up from its platform by the East River dock and started a sweep out over the water. It circled the whole of Manhattan and they could see all the big sights and buildings. The view from the air put a whole different perspective on the city. It was a warm day for being in early March and the first signs of spring could be seen even from this height. When the chopper veered away from the center and left the city behind, Anya turned to Nikolas looking puzzled.

“I’m taking you for lunch at this little place I know in Montauk, you’ll love it. It’s right by the beach and as it’s out of season there shouldn’t be many people around.” He explained with a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Anya grinned at him in delight and turned to gaze out through the window again as Long Island stretched out beneath their feet.

“Oh Nikolas, this place is beautiful. Have you spent a lot of time here?” Anya drew a soft sigh of pleasure at the sight of the little New England style restaurant overlooking a wide, deserted beach. The sun glittered on the blue water and seagulls soared on the air currents overhead. It was a beautiful spot that he always enjoyed coming back to. He explained that it belonged to some close friends of his but he hadn’t been there for a couple of years or so.

As they walked in, Anya gasped in surprise. The restaurant was all lit up with soft lights and music playing in the background. One table by the windows facing the ocean was set for two with white linen, flowers and a flickering candle. Outside, the sun was setting on the horizon and painted the whole sky in red and gold.

Anya had a wonderful time with Nikolas, having dinner at the gorgeous little restaurant with his friend’s parents serving up the most delicious food. They had lobster and crab for entrées, a wonderful home cooked stew as their main course and a mouthwatering chocolate and raspberry cake to finish off. Anya didn’t think the helicopter would be able to take off with all the extra weight they must have just put on. Nikolas laughed and agreed with her. He felt so full he didn’t think he could walk but it was all worth it seeing the look on her face.

Anya decided this was the birthday she had ever had. God knew she hadn’t had much reason to celebrate anything in the last few years. It was a relief to finally feel that life could be good and there was every reason to be hopeful for the future. As she looked across the table at Nikolas’ face, which was lit up by the soft light from the candle, she was amazed at how fate intervened sometimes. Even if nothing ever came from this she would always be grateful to Nikolas for helping her see that this was the beginning of her new life. She just hoped he would be a part of it for a long time. When he placed his hand over hers on the table a warm tingle spread up her arm and into her chest and the butterflies in her stomach took flight.

“I have something for you.” He said softly and brought out a small box prettily wrapped with a bow on top.

“Please, Nikolas, you’ve already given me too much. I can’t accept this.” Anya pleaded with him.

“It’s only something small to remember this day by. Open it, please, I can’t take it back now.” Anya carefully opened the present and under white tissue paper nestled a silver case with an engraved leafy vine trailing around the outside edge. Nikolas explained he thought she could put her new business cards in it for when she had decided what she wanted to do after selling her current company. Anya gently opened the case and drew in a soft breath when she saw the inscription on the inside of the lid. It read ‘Et hoc est solum initium est’ in italic script.

“It’s Latin and means ‘This is only the beginning’.” Nikolas said. His voice was soft and warm and made Anya smile. He was right. This was just the beginning of the rest of her life.

“Thank you so much, it’s the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever been given. I just don’t understand how you had time to organize all this, and why you would go to so much trouble for someone you hardly know.”

Because I want this to be the beginning of the rest of your life — with me.The thought of wanting her always in his life no longer surprised Nikolas, he just wasn’t sure how she felt yet and didn’t quite know how to take the next step, but he was confident he’d be able to win her over.

The Sentinels 1 – Saving Her

The Sentinels 2 — Saving Him

She hadn’t slept all night, not that that was any different from all other nights these last three weeks. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had any kind of restful sleep; certainly not since she’d been told Nikolas wasn’t coming home again. Everyone kept saying he was dead but she knew better, didn’t she? Their bond was still there and she refused to believe she could still feel it just because she hadn’t accepted the truth, that she was clinging to false hope, an echo. But if he wasn’t dead then why hadn’t he come home? Gray and Logan had checked all the hospitals in a 30-mile radius but no one matching his description had been brought in. That meant he wasn’t lying injured and unconscious in a hospital bed somewhere. There were only a couple of other reasons for him staying away that Anya could think of. She tried very hard to keep those thoughts out of her head, but his behavior in the weeks leading up to the explosion made it almost impossible for her to do so. She slumped down on the unforgiving tiles, exhausted and covered in a cold sweat. She needed to start getting herself ready but she didn’t want to. She just wanted to hide in a dark room so she didn’t have to face what was coming; Nikolas’ Memorial. She had told Rick she didn’t want to go but he’d said Nikolas’ friends needed to say a last farewell to their friend. His parents, Connor and Elizabeth, needed some closure and to celebrate their only son’s life. And they all wanted Anya there, to be able to support her and show her how loved her husband had been. She already knew how loved and cherished he was and as he wasn’t dead there was no need for a Memorial! She felt like shouting out to the world that there was no need for any of this, he was alive! In the end, though, she’d agreed to attend just to get everyone off her back and, most of all, for Nikolas’ parents. She loved them dearly and didn’t want to make the situation any worse for them than it already was. They couldn’t feel the tether that was still connecting her and Nikolas and she couldn’t convince them it wasn’t just a whisper of what had once been the strongest bond two Sentinels could possibly share. Anya dragged herself off the floor and into the shower. She turned the water to scalding and stood under the streaming jets, hoping it would ease some of the tension in her tightly wound muscles. As she slowly lathered her skin she could feel the hard outlines of her ribs and hips, a sharpness that hadn’t been there a few weeks ago. Not eating or sleeping properly and running too many miles every day for several weeks would do that to a person. Her fingers lingered on her skin, remembering when it had been Nikolas’ hands on her body. She’d always felt so safe and protected in his hands. So loved. When the water started running cold Anya got out and slowly attempted to dry herself off. She wrapped a towel around her hair and pulled the bathrobe around her thin body. She wouldn’t be picked up for the service for a few hours yet but she still started to slowly get herself ready. She was hoping it would keep her mind occupied and away from the thoughts that were slowly eroding the tenuous hold she still had on her sanity. The heat from the hairdryer felt soothing on her scalp but she didn’t have the energy to try to style her hair the way she usually did. In any case, it had lost all its usual shine and bounce so all she could be bothered to do was to pull it into a severe bun at the nape of her neck. After trying, and failing miserably, to cover the shadows under her eyes with foundation, and adding some blusher to her pale cheeks she dressed in a black pencil skirt, cream blouse with a short fitted jacket, and the red-soled black stilettos that had been Nikolas’ favorites on her. Her motions were robotic and automatic. She couldn’t allow herself to think too much about what she was doing and why she was doing it or she’d flee the apartment and find an isolated corner of the world where no one could ever find her. After she’d finished getting ready she made her way downstairs and slumped down on the sofa in the living room. The Memorial still wasn’t for another few hours and Mac was picking her up in the car so she wouldn’t have to drive. Anya sat stiff with her back ramrod straight and her hands twisting and untwisting until the skin was red raw, staring out the large window in front of her. Her heart hammering in he chest and a terrifying speed. She didn’t want to do this, she couldn’t! How could anyone expect her to say goodbye to her husband, her best friend, the love of her life, her soulmate — when every fiber of her being told her he was still alive?

The Sentinels 2 – Saving Him

What project are you currently working on?

That should really be projects — plural, as I’m editing a standalone novel as well as first round edits of book 3 and I’m also plotting and planning book 4 in The Sentinels Series.

Where can we find out more and buy The Sentinels — Saving Her?

If you go to my website, you will find all the information on both my books and links to where to buy them. They are both available from Amazon in paperback and ebook, and also free in Kindle Unlimited. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by Jodie Groom

Behind the Book: Annabelle by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Check out World Indie Warriors for more amazing reads.

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

What inspired you to write Sorceress of Truth?

From being around 12 years old I’ve had a love for books, which evolved to fantasy. From as far as I can remember, my dream has been to see my very own book on the shelves of Waterstones and WHSmiths, etc.

Way back in 2006/7 my now husband and I went to visit Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. The huge cliff faces of the gorge cutting through the earth and the story of the Wookey Hole Witch are what sparked the beginnings of Sorceress of Truth.

How long did it take to write and publish from the first idea?

From my initial idea, I spent a year or so on a fact finding mission. I really wanted to lay down the foundations of my characters back stories and origins of the races, though there have still been a number of surprises along the way.

Up until November 2015 I’d written no more than 20,000 words. I had a lot of other things happening in my life, so writing became something that I picked up every now and again. That is until I discovered NaNoWriMo.

It gave me the boost I needed to write ‘The End’ and I finally published in November 2019.

What genre is Sorceress of Truth and can you name any similar books?

I class Sorceress of Truth as a YA urban fantasy with a hint of paranormal romance.

I’m massively inspired by Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, and P.C. and Kristin Cast. Collectively their works fill the majority of my bookshelves. I guess you could say that Sorceress of Truth deals with a similar discovery journey as the House of Night series. At the same time, the different races are a lot more integrated into normal society, like the Vampire Academy books.

Where is the novel set and do you have a personal connection to the location?

The novel is set in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and the surrounding area. The small town of Springs is loosely based around somewhere I lived whilst completing my own Alevel’s, with a few artistic differences.

Why did you choose to self publish?

I would say self publishing chose me!

Initially I wanted to go with traditional publishing, although I wasn’t keen of having an agent. That massively reduced the already short list of publishing houses who would accept my submission.

I did everything right. I read the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, wrote a synopsis and short bio, batched everything up as per the publishers requirements, hit send, and waited. And waited.

Eventually I had a few replies, ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’, and I found myself at a crossroads.Should I continue pursuing the golden ticket, or should I re-evaluate what I wanted out of my writing?

There were many factors when it came to my decision, one of those being reaching the top 250 out of 3112 entries in the UK Novel Writing Competition with an early, poorly edited, version.

Self publishing won.

That’s not to say it’s been the easier option. From my experience, and from stories I’ve heard, self publishing can often be a much harder and braver option. Though, in some ways, the rewards are so much sweeter.

Please share a snippet or teaser from the book?

“So, I’m going to wake up in two months time and be able to shoot bolts of lightning from my fingers? Or, is this your way of telling me I’m being shipped off to some school for magic?” I glared at Ky with my fists by my side, the nails digging into my fleshy palms. It was the only way I could think of to make me feel something, to make sure this wasn’t all some twisted dream.

“Your family seems to have eluded The Guard for many years.”

“The Guard?” That piqued my interest, and not in a good way. I still didn’t know much about them, and an uneasy feeling churned within my stomach.

“The Guard was formed hundreds of years ago. There’s a prophecy that, one day, a powerful sorceress will cast a demon, Belial, into the mouth of hell.”

Belial? Hell? Was everyone here crazy?

I pushed myself from the tree and began striding back towards the house. There was no way I was going to get caught up in all of this. Next, they’re going to tell me that there are unicorns roaming the woods and mermaids living in the lake.

There are two love interests in your novel, which is most like your man?

This is really hard because all of my characters are an amalgamation of friends, family, acquaintances, even characters from books I’ve read and films I’ve seen.
My husband is a great dad, and very supportive of me and my many crazy ideas, so he definitely has a lot of Kylan in him. On the other hand, as a gamer and anime watcher, he does tend to have a soft spot for the darker and more troubled characters.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Jodie Groom.

To be honest, in my eyes, my day is pretty boring to anybody looking in.

I start my day with my phone alarm going off several times before I eventually crawl out of bed and wake my daughter for school. Once the school run is out the way I try and do half an hour or so of exercise in the living room followed by breakfast and coffee.

Begrudgingly I try to fit in an hour or two of housework, or related tasks, then turn to the computer to deal with email and social media posts. If I’m feeling creative I will try to write, but it’s rare.

After lunch, I’ll do more housework and jobs that have built up, before picking my daughter up from school again. Sometimes she has clubs etc so I act as taxi, and once home, we cook and eat dinner.

This normally brings me to about 7pm when my husband takes over and does the whole bedtime routine, allowing me to get on with whatever I need to be doing on the computer. Sometimes that’s writing, sometimes it’s creating video’s and trailers, and sometimes it’s updating my website.

Time seems to fly pretty quickly then. I’m at my most creative at night and, if I’m having a really good writing session, I have been known to stay up past 3am. Which is another reason why I loathe my alarm clock and the morning school run.

Some day’s I spend a lot of time up at school helping with the PTA activities, and other day’s I can be quite involved with tasks for World Indie Warriors. Every day is different and comes with its own challenges. For now, I may be a stay at home mom, but I definitely don’t see myself fitting into any of the regular stereotypes.

What project are you currently working on?

I always have many pies on the go, I can’t help it. I learned very early on that I get fed up easily so have to be able to switch to something else. It’s not just in my writing, it seems to be in most things.

I’ve recently turned my focus back to Sorceress of Flame, the second instalment of the Divine Prophecy Series. We continue Tory’s journey but this time it will be NA rather than YA. It wasn’t intentional but Tory is growing up, maturing, and so it felt fitting that he story followed the same path.

In the background I’m also writing a 3 book series, whose working title is The Don of Avery, which I can’t wait to unleash. It’s a dark mafia romance set in Leeds that definitely isn’t YA.

Where can we find out more and buy Sorceress of Truth?

Sorceress of Truth is available in print and ebook from all good book shops, such as Warterstones, Barnes & Nobel, Apple etc. Or you can purchase direct from Amazon.

I try to post regularly on my website, , where there is information about upcoming events that I’m attending. Alternatively, Instagram is where I mostly hang out.

If you enjoy this, you should check out: 

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

World Indie Warriors Brochure (1st edition)

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.


Behind the Book: Annabelle by Elexis Bell

Interview with author Elexis Bell

Annabelle is your second published book but the first book you self published. Why did you choose to self publish?

I self-published Annabelle because it’s a novella, and getting a traditional publisher to consider a novella is…well, rather difficult. Only later did I decide to self-publish all my books. Part of that decision was born of impatience. Traditional publishers take months, sometimes even a year, to get back to you, and only accept about 1% of the manuscripts submitted to them. It can take years to get a book deal. So, while I was wasting time and energy on query letters and five different synopses of different lengths for each manuscript, along with one sentence summaries, summaries of varying page lengths, and all manner of other things (formatted differently for each publisher or agent) to even submit…All my work was gathering dust. Since I write quickly, the manuscripts were also piling up. So I did some more research and found that self-publishing would be a better fit for me. Having creative control and the final say on each step played a huge role, as did the fact that most of the marketing (a.k.a. the part I really wanted a traditional publisher for) is up to the author in traditional publishing, unless the author is already famous.

Annabelle by Elexis Bell (Blurb)

What genre is this book and can you name any similar books?

Annabelle is a bit of a hybrid. It’s a thriller, specifically a vigilante justice story set within a western. I’m terrible with comparisons, but one reviewer said that fans of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn or The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins will like Annabelle.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Annabelle?

I walk along the main road of another dirty western town and sashay past the saloon, knowing my prey follows close behind. My silken yellow dress and all of its lace flows behind me, trailing in the dust.

I can hear him getting closer but pretend to be so absorbed in the folds of my parasol that I don’t notice. Really, I’m checking over the mechanisms concealed within it, making sure that everything is in working order.

I turn down a bare alleyway as the sun begins to dip below the horizon. He follows. Still, I pretend not to notice that anything at all is amiss. A smile spreads across my features.

Where did you come up with the idea of a weaponized parasol?

Annabelle was originally inspired by a statuette made of starched doilies, which actually became a gift for someone else. I was looking at it as I boxed and wrapped it, and just imagined it coming to life, twirling its delicate little parasol. But my mind doesn’t really leave things…delicate. It very quickly morphed, becoming something much darker. For the time period, a parasol was a perfectly acceptable thing for a girl to carry, making it a perfect concealed weapon.

What do you want readers to get out of your book?

The courage to speak up. Now, obviously, I don’t endorse serial vigilantism. But victims of sexual assault need to speak out, and people need to take it seriously. Victim blaming NEEDS to be a thing of the past, as does sexual assault. But neither of those things will ever happen if people keep ignoring or hiding or minimizing the problem.

If you could have any super power what would you choose and why?

Either flying or teleportation. I’ve always wanted to be able to fly, but the idea of not having to spend days in a car or hours on a plane to travel is pretty appealing.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Elexis Bell.

Usually, it starts with me posting to my author pages from the passenger seat as my husband drives us to work. Then, I spend the day brainstorming while working in the factory. Repetitive work, mostly comprised of muscle memory, is great for thinking through story arcs and world building. After work, I do chores around the house and watch an episode or two of one of our shows with my husband. Then, somewhere between midnight and 2am, I start writing or editing. I don’t usually go to bed until 5 or 6am. On days off, I just start earlier on my book stuff.

Where can we find out more and buy your books?

My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.

All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.

If you enjoyed this, you should check out:

Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.


Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver


Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

What genre is Crown of Conspiracy and can you name any similar books?

Crown of Conspiracy is a court-intrigue high-fantasy book, although I’ve heard it called epic fantasy as well. I’d say it’s new adult, others have said young adult, but because I know where book 2 is going, YA is out of the question.

Similar books I think would be by Trudi Canavan (Age of the Five, the Black Magician trilogy), perhaps the Kushiel Series by Jacqueline Carey. I think my writing style has certainly been inspired by these amazing female authors.

What inspired you to write Crown of Conspiracy?

Writing Crown of Conspiracy started out as a challenge to do NaNoWriMo 2018. I had no idea what to write, until I remember the four lines of the prophecy I came up with over 15 years ago. I remembered the MC (Shalitha) of the story idea I had way back when and decided to roll with it.

When I started writing, I had no idea where the story would go. In fact, it took me writing a first draft, and a second completely different draft to get a much clearer idea.

How long did the first book take to write from the first idea to publishing?

Eight months. I started writing CoC, as mentioned before, during Nano 2018, and I published the book in June 2019.

How many books do you anticipate in the series and is the whole series plotted out?

Currently, I anticipate 4 full novels in the Ilvannian Chronicles, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up writing novellas too from the PoV of side characters; or novellas of events that happened in between the main books. I already have ideas for that.

Can you share tips from your world building process?

Oof, hard. I’m a pantser, so I write as I go, which means my world is built as I go. What I try to do though is draw inspiration from cultures we have around the world and give it my own twist.

I know there’s tips out there which go as far as thinking about the sewage system and where waste goes, which is totally fair, but I wouldn’t get to that until the end, and here’s why. The chances of you writing about that, unless your characters have to escape through said system (for example) aren’t as high as for example learning about their way of life. My tip would be to think about HOW the world around your character influences them and go from there.

Characters and their surroundings go hand in hand; their immediate surroundings create their beliefs, their morals, their values. Think about those first, and continue onwards.

I loved the MC, Shalitha. She is such a strong character. Who inspired the character?

I’m glad you did! I think she goes two ways. People either like her, or don’t. Some people see her as strong, others as weak—to me, she’s both. She’s not infallible. She makes a lot of rookie mistakes in book one, and then tries to deal with the outcome as best she can.

As for who inspired her… I think in a way, I modelled her a lot after my own experiences, or rather, someone I would like to be in the future; strong, a fighter, someone who doesn’t do nonsense, fuelled by sarcasm and witty remarks while still able to care and love.

Crown of Conspiracy blurb

Please share a snippet or teaser from the book.

Having something to do took my mind off the worst of things. When I picked up a book to place it back on the shelf, a piece of paper fell out. I nearly dropped it when I saw what it was—a clear overview of names with suspicions scribbled below them. Xaresh had found out much more than he’d led me to believe.

“Fool,” I murmured. “You stupid, wonderful fool.”

A knock on the door alarmed me and I spun around to see Evan sticking his head around the corner, a smile on his face. I folded the piece of paper behind my back and tucked it deep inside my boot.

“Is everything all right?” he asked with a frown as he saw me hopping around on one leg. “Eh, Elara said you’d be here.”

“I’m fine. Got something in my shoe.”

Tell me about a typical day in the life of Kara S. Weaver?

A typical day in my life? Hah! Welcome to the madhouse.

A typical day for me would be a work day, I guess, where I get up between 5 and 5.15 am, shower, dress, and slap on some make-up so I only look like half a zombie. I prefer getting up before my husband and kids so I can wake up properly without anyone harassing me. I am a morning person, but 5am is pushing it. My husband and kids wake up 6am; I dress them while he gets ready. At 6.45am I leave the house for work. It’s a 45 minute drive, but I don’t mind it as much. It gives me time to think, listen (and sing) to music, plot, whatever.

Then I teach from around 9am to 3pm, go home, pick up the kids from daycare and plop on the couch.

After that, I either read/write/edit/revise/do what needs to be done. My husband cooks, thankfully. It’s something I really do not enjoy doing. After that it’s time to get the kids ready for bed, and depending on how tired I am, I do something for myself and go to bed at 9pm.

Kara S Weaver – Author Bio

What project are you currently working on?

I am currently working on Dance of Despair, book 2 in the Ilvannian Chronicles, although by the time this goes online, I wouldn’t be surprised if I have started on book 3!

BREAKING NEWS: Dance of Despair will be available to buy on 27 February 2020!

View this post on Instagram

This a cover reveal for Dance of Despair book 2 in the series, releasing 27 Feb by Kara S Weaver. At the start of Feb, I reviewed book 1, Crown of Conspiracy and tomorrow’s blog post is a Behind the Book interview with Kara S Weaver. Link to my site in my bio. Repost from @kara_s_weaver using @RepostRegramApp – 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐚𝐥 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐞𝐬. When Shalitha’s life takes a dramatic, and dangerous turn for the worse, she must reconcile her new life with the old. Struggling to survive in a foreign country while adjusting to new rules and traditions, she longs for home. Alone, enslaved, and with nobody to trust, she sees no way out, until she meets an enigmatic stranger who makes it his mission to help her. But is he who he claims to be? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When the new tyrant queen of Ilvanna directs her focus at Talnovar, his will to survive is tested beyond compare. Facing his past is only the beginning. Abandoned by his friends, Tal has to push himself further and harder than ever to outsmart his enemy and honour the wishes of a dead queen. If that means relying on the help of his enemy, so be it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Conspirators! Behold the cover for Dance of Despair, the second installment in the Ilvannian Chronicles. Filled with love and hatred, hope and despair, trust and betrayal, this story takes you on an adventure. What happened to Tarien Shalitha after she was kidnapped? What will Talnovar do to get her back? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 𝘾𝙊𝙈𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙎𝙊𝙊𝙉 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 𝐏𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #coverreveal #bookcoverreveal #bookstagram #bookish #booksofinstagram #booksbooksbooks #booknerdigan #readersofinstagram #readersofig #readingcommunity #nextread #whattoreadnext #mustread #fantasynovel #newadultfantasy #fantasybookseries #fantasybooks #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #writersofig #ampublishing #writinganovel #indieauthor #indiebooks #danceofdespair #booklover #bookworm #bookaddict #bookcommunity #behindthebook

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Where can we find out more and buy Crown of Conspiracy?

If you follow me on Instagram @kara_s_weaver or go to my website you can find more information about the The Ilvannian Chronicles. Crown of Conspiracy is available on Amazon as paperback, ebook and even on Kindle Unlimited.

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Behind the Book:  Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

If you enjoy this, you should check out: Why I have chosen to Self-PublishA decade of writingMy plans for 2020To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.


Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Elexis Bell – Gem of Meruna

The Gem of Meruna blurb

Gem of Meruna made you a published author, but you recently released it again, why?

The first time around, I was woefully undereducated about the publishing world. As such, I didn’t know to run (as fast as possible) from any publisher that expects you to pay them. I thought it was normal for the author to cover part of the costs. But…it definitely isn’t. That was just a vanity press.

My novel received no edits. It got no marketing. I was inundated with phone calls from their marketing people trying to sell me promotional packages, all of which were pitiful yet expensive.

Basically, it was a legal scam and my novel suffered for it. Now that I’m self-publishing, I’m making it right.

You now have three self published books, does publishing get easier?

It does, actually. It’s still very time-consuming and certain aspects are tedious, no matter what. But the metadata, copyright, and ISBN process gets easier with practice. Each time through, I have little tricks I picked up the time before.

What was the earliest story you can remember writing about?

In 3rd or 4th grade, my class was assigned a creative writing project wherein we had to write about a horse and a bat. I don’t remember the story I came up with, but I do recall something my teacher said when she called for me to read it. Apparently, I already had a reputation for writing darker stuff, because she said, “Knowing Elexis, the horse and the bat probably both die.” Lol.

What genre is Gem of Meruna and can you name any similar books?

It’s high fantasy romance. As for similar books…I’m really bad at finding comparison books. That was one of the hardest parts of querying when I was pursuing traditional publishing.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Gem of Meruna?

A noise startled Kiluna awake. It was far too close. The sound came again, right at her ear, but this time, she realized what it was.

Father had often snored when he slept, and Grandmother had, as well. But Kiluna hadn’t heard that sound since they died. Joseya’s snore was much softer, quieter, but its proximity made it seem far louder.

That was when Kiluna noticed it. Joseya no longer faced away from her, rather he nestled in close. One arm curled under his head, but the other wrapped around her waist.

Nothing about it felt strange though, just…right. She didn’t want to move, or even breathe too hard, for fear of waking him. The embrace would be retracted if he woke, she knew it as sure as she knew her scars were still there.

So, she laid still. She concentrated on his breath on the back of her neck. She relished the moment, all the while wondering if this would be the only time she lay near another Leey.

Her eyelids fell, blocking out the world as she savored the closeness. She didn’t notice when she drifted back to sleep.

Several moments later, she felt Joseya stir. His sudden movement made her jump. Instantly, he pulled his arm back to himself, muttering apologies as he did so. Kiluna flinched at his words but held in her pain. A single tear escaped her eye, leaving a tiny wet spot on the earth.

Which character from your books is most like you?

Every character gets a little piece of me. Sometimes it’s my favorite color, sometimes it’s more than that. Annabelle from my novella and Chloe from World for the Broken (my upcoming dark post-apocalyptic romance) have a lot of big experiences from my life, but so does Christian (also from World for the Broken).

What project are you currently working on?

I’m currently editing a dark post-apocalyptic romance, a dark high fantasy romance, and a dark supernatural high fantasy romance for release. Hopefully, I’ll be releasing all three this year, but at the very least two of them. I also just started writing another dark high fantasy romance wherein a deposed prince teams up with a druid high priestess to landscape their enemies to death.

Where can we find out more and buy your books?

My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.

All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.


Elexis Bell – Author Bio

If you enjoy this, you should check out:

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Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Why I have chosen to Self-Publish

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree:


Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

I feel so honoured to get to share with you a behind the scenes of Number Eight Crispy Chicken, a novel by Sara Neofield. Here is the book trailer:


What inspired you to write Number Eight Crispy Chicken?

I was inspired to pick up writing again after a long hiatus when I was stranded in an airport due to a cancelled flight. The resultant book – about a hotel inspector – was terrible, but it rekindled my love of writing.

The next time I was stranded in an airport, I wrote about the experience, and wondered what character might benefit from being in that situation. That’s when I hit upon the idea of an immigration minister, trapped in an airport.

Sarah Neofield with Number Eight Crispy Chicken

For years, the right to seek asylum and the fair, compassionate treatment of asylum seekers has been an interest of mine. But in my conversations with others, I found there were other, competing stories out there, which demonised those seeking refuge. To my dismay, otherwise kind, decent people seemed to believe the narratives peddled by those in power who seek to divide us.

The overall goal of my writing is to use humour to get readers to engage with the kinds of topics that are hugely important, but which we might otherwise ignore. Sometimes the world’s problems can seem insurmountable. Like there’s nothing we can do, so why even bother.

That’s why hearing that someone read my book, and changed their mind even a little about, for example, treating our fellow human beings with compassion, brings me great joy.

You enjoy travelling – which countries have you enjoyed visiting most? 

Since leaving my job as a university lecture a few years ago, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit sixty different countries. Every single one has taught me something.

I think every country has its strengths that others could learn from – I especially love visiting unique museums that teach you something about one aspect of a place in depth, like the rainwater ‘theme park’ in India, or the butter museum in Ireland.

Choosing one or two places I’ve enjoyed visiting most is really hard, but Japan always holds a special place in my heart since I spent a year on exchange there when I was growing up, and I love to go back and visit my “second family”.

What genre is Number Eight Crispy Chicken this and do you read similar books?

I would consider Number Eight Crispy Chicken to be a sort of literary, satirical book, or perhaps even a social novel. I can’t say I’ve read any books exactly like it (which is why I had to write it!) but I was inspired by the works of Robert Tressell, Margaret Atwood, Charles Dickens, and Kurt Vonnegut.

One early reader told me Number Eight Crispy Chicken reminded her of 1984, which of course thrilled me! In terms of humour, I love British comedic writing (I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and of course, PG Wodehouse!)

How long did this novel take from the first idea to publishing? 

From the moment I started tapping out words in the airport hotel which bears a striking semblance to the one Peter enjoys, to the release date of January 2020, three years, almost to the day!

Why did you choose to self publish?

I have wanted to be an author ever since I can remember. When I started school, my class was tasked with creating fabric representations of ourselves in the future for a quilt. I created a rather detailed rendition of myself as an author, painstakingly drawing in all of the individual pages in the stack of books my future self had apparently written. Unfortunately, one of the mums helping the class deemed it ‘too fiddly’ to cut out of cotton, and suggested something easier, like a checkout operator at Target instead.

As things go, I didn’t end up working at Target (which is probably a good thing, considering the only Target in my hometown closed down!). But I did end up writing a book. Several, actually.

After completing my PhD in Linguistics, I wrote and edited a number of academic books, book chapters, and journal articles. While I still love research, my heart was still with fiction, which was why, after a number of years of hard-core saving and investing, when my husband and I finally quit our jobs to travel the world, I returned to my first love, creative writing.

As for why I became an indie author specifically… Like many authors, I began by sending my manuscript out to publishers. I knew I didn’t want to send my work to a large publisher from the start, but I became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of even a small publisher having control over my work as time went on. While I completely respect the work of those in the publishing industry, I wanted to write something a bit different. It was a feeling I’d experienced before, and I knew that I had to be brave and go down the indie path.

Number Eight Crispy Chicken released 20 January 2020

Please share a snippet “teaser” of your novel?

Peter shoved his way to the front of the queue, and with a flash of his Priority Clearance card, tossed his luggage onto the belt. As the X-ray machine swallowed his bag, airport security eyed Peter’s cardboard tube. ‘You’ll have to open that up,’ the agent prodded at the sticky-taped plastic lid.

‘It’s just plans.’

‘Government regulation.’

Peter peeled off the tape, his stubby fingernails scraping against virgin cardboard. The plastic lid popped, like on a bottle of soda.‘See?’

‘You’ll have to remove the contents.’

‘This is ridiculous!’ The new security measures meant Peter had needed to arrive a full three hours early to be metal detected, swabbed, patted down, and sniffed. Surely his Priority Clearance status should afford him better treatment. He’d have to ask Percy when he got back to the office.

‘Government regulation,’ the agent repeated, bearing his yellowed, broken teeth, rivered with cracks. The sight almost made Peter wish he hadn’t voted against the Dental Care Act.

Download the first three chapters for free on my website: Click here for the FREE sample!)

What novel are you working on now? 

I’ve got a number of projects on the go (I’ve always been a hopeless multitasker!) but the project I’m most excited about is called Propaganda Wars.

Propaganda Wars is about cousins who, growing up in a city separated by ideology, split into two opposing countries by a formidable wall, one day meet – and how they perceive life on the other side.

It’s inspired in part by my travels through the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and modern-day socialist Asia – countries which, when I was born, were out of reach – and in part by the surreal world of today’s fake news, ‘reality’ shows, ‘social’ media and hyper consumerism, and the firewalls and bubbles of today’s internet landscape.

What is a typical day in the life of author Sarah? 

Since leaving my job to travel, my ‘typical day’ is really quite variable, but it usually involves budget accommodation, finding something to cook, learning to speak or at least read a bit of the language around me, and sometimes, a long-distance bus or train trip.

I enjoy reading and writing (of course!) but also exploring in my travels – both usual sightseeing activities, and exploring abandoned places. To date, some of my favourite explorations have been an abandoned theme park, tuberculosis hospital, bobsleigh track, and an airplane graveyard.

Tell us an interesting fact about your novel? 

I read over a hundred books, articles and websites in order to research Number Eight Crispy Chicken. While the story is light-hearted, and the characters and institutions depicted are entirely fictitious, the policies and events presented are sadly grounded in real life. (You can find out more at

Where can we buy it and find out more about you? 

Number Eight Crispy Chicken is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N and Apple.

You can find out more about me on my website where you’ll find a free sample of the book, reading guide, and resources.

Sarah Neofield’s author bio

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