Thursday, 27 June 2013

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop - June 21-30

Welcome to this hop in which I am giving away
signed copy of The Sea Inside

Hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer

The winner will receive the runners-up prize plus a signed paperback copy of The Sea Inside, which is a fantasy adventure. It involves a heroine, a portal, magical creatures 
and mystical worlds, one of which resides beneath the ocean.

To be in with a chance to win, simply enter the Rafflecopter competition and then click the other blogs on the linky to hop to more giveaways. Good luck!! :)

The Sea Inside 
Book 1 in the Cerulean Songs series

Time is all we have; it flows – it cannot stop

Jayne wakes up in hospital following a terrible accident, which changes her life as she knew it. While struggling to recover, she is visited by a mysterious woman who offers her a gift. To the girl’s astonishment, she finds herself on a journey, on both the physical and mental plane. It brings her to the mystical realm of Entyre, where life is very different and power lies with the creatures of the deep. While the threads of time keep flowing, Jayne must decide what is real, who to trust, and regain her inner strength in order to find herself and her true destiny.

Nickie Storey, author of the 'Grimsley Hollow' series: “A delicious brew of invention, enchantment and refreshing characters, Vickie Johnstone has a firm grasp on the fantasy genre. I can’t wait to read more of her work!”

Greta Burroughs, author of the 'Wee People' series: “Strange worlds, interesting characters, suspense and a surprise ending – what more can you ask for? This book has it all and more.”

Jennifer Thomas: “A gripping and fascinating mythical adventure that is beautifully described. There is suspense, fear and emotion throughout the entire novel that makes you want to keep turning the page.”

Thanks to Maja Dražić for the beautiful cover photograph.

Runners-up prizes for 3 people

Ebook copies of Kiwi in Cat City, Kiwi and the Missing Magic, Day of the Living Pizza and Day of the Pesky Shadow

Good luck!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Flash fiction 1: Amish Hit Job - my entry

Today I did something different to get the hamster-in-the-brain running. You might not know, but Indies Unlimited is a wonderful website for anyone who is writing and/or thinking of self-publishing.

They have the weekly Flash fiction Challenge, so I wrote one. Of course, there's an animal in there!!

Here is the website if you'd like to enter your own story and read the other entries. Voting begins tomorrow, I think.


Seth and Amos and I saw the fancy rig waiting outside as we walked up. The driver sat there stoically, waiting for his passenger to return. There was no mistaking it. This was the Amish mafia. Somebody must’ve failed to show up to the midnight barn raising. Now there would be a shunning going on – a brutal shunning, indeed. To our everlasting shame, we averted our eyes and quickly walked by. Yet, we were not to escape unscathed. As we turned the corner, we saw the carriage start our way. The driver’s eyes bore at us. Just when it seemed there was no escape…


“Woof,” I said, raising an eyebrow of warning, but knowing full well that the boys would just think I was battling a flea. Turning, I did the Lassie ‘Follow Me’ routine, but it wasn’t working.

“It’s getting closer!” gasped Seth.

“What am I supposed to do with all these potatoes we pinched?” asked a scared-looking Amos.


The carriage was bearing down on us, and by the devilish look in the driver’s eye, I knew he didn’t mean to give us directions.

“Run!” Seth shouted.

We did. Down that stony road we pelted as fast as our legs could carry us, and was I glad that I had four, I can tell you. On we ran, coughing on the dust thrown up in the summer haze.

“I feel like we’re in that film, ‘Duel’,” said Seth.

“No time for jokes,” grumbled Amos. “Do you wanna carry this sack?”

Seth shook his head, and we all skidded as the lane turned. We charged on beneath the boughs of the sheltering trees. Glancing back, I barked in fright. I could see the whites of the Devil’s eyes and he was laughing.

“Let’s jump off the road,” suggested Seth, panting. “He can’t get us there.”

Grinning, Amos hurtled off to the right, tripping over the potatoes and landing with a thud.

“Guess I’m the brains of the outfit,” said Amos, laughing as the demon rattled by.

No, that would be me. I tried to tell you guys earlier, but would you listen? “Woof!”

Thanks for reading!! Now have a go on the website! I dare you! :)))

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Words with... Brenda Perlin (99c blog tour)

Welcome to author Brenda Perlin who joins me today. 
Her book, Home Wrecker, is on sale right now for 99c. 
Here, Brenda tells us about one of her favourite childhood memories... 
mine would normally include animals and ice cream, so let's see what she says...

I used to love going to out lunch with my mom and her girlfriends. When I spent time around them, I looked at myself as being mature, even though I was still so young. I loved their intimate conversations where they often complained about their friends, husbands and bratty children. Being with them allowed me to act like an adult. 
I adored being able to be in earshot of so much good gossip. These women talked about the arguments they had with their husbands, the silly things their friends were doing and what flakes their kids could be. I ate up every morsel and took everything seriously. On the outside I tried to act unfazed, so they never did realize how inappropriate they were being. I mean, several things they discussed were NOT meant for a child’s ears.
Throughout these experiences I was able to learn a thing or two about my mom. For one thing, I learned she didn’t tell my dad everything. I realised she left things out on purpose, and even though I was young, I understood why. She wanted to live in peace. If she told him how much money she often spent on shopping for me, he might have gone crazy. This way it became a win-win situation. I got nice new clothes, my mom didn’t have to have another fight with my dad, and he didn’t have a reason to get upset. At the time, it felt like the right thing to do.
What I loved the most about these afternoons was how alive my mom became while she spent time with her girlfriends. She became fun and jovial. I got to see her as a fun-loving woman and not just my mom. These afternoons were empowering and taught me how important your friends can be for your soul. When my mom was with her girls she became more open and even charismatic. I could tell she was in her comfort zone. With these ladies she could feel free to be herself.
Brenda, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing this great memory. I just love to get to know authors and what better way than visiting their childhood for a moment.
I know my readers would enjoy getting to know you a bit more, so where they can find your book, The Home Wrecker, which is on sale this week for 99 cents? 

About the book
When Brooklyn meets Bo, their lives are instantly turned upside down. Brooklyn and Bo, each unhappily married to someone else, have to decide whether to stay with their spouses or give up everything for each other. Find out what Brooklyn's husband and Bo's soon-to-be ex-wife do to try to break them up.

Home Wrecker is the first book in a three-part series that follows the main character, Brooklyn, through her childhood and adult life, and then what seems like an “endless” journey towards redemption.
Where you can buy it - 

Amazon reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars - 23 reviews.
Snippets from Amazon:  
"Pour a glass of wine, pop open 'Home Wrecker', and Walk on The Wild Side!"
(5 stars, Emily Hill)

"The second part of the book discloses just how brave and heart-full this woman is. 
She will inspire you and leave you craving for even more."

(5 stars, Kyczy Hawk

"Great read! Characters were written with depth and humanity. Easy to get lost in the story of her life and cheer her on. Very enjoyable journey." 
(4 stars, SeanD)

"I really enjoyed this book... not just for the story, but for the way it took me back to memories of my own life, growing up in Los Angeles in the 80s." 
(5 stars, Mooks Nelson)

About the author:

"There is really no creative process, I just write" - Brenda Perlin
Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author. Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book, Home Wrecker, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfilment.

Ever since Brenda was a child, she has been fascinated with writing. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume. This sparked a passion in Brenda to pursue personal expression through writing. Once she was old enough to go to coffee shops alone, Brenda recalls losing herself in the world of writing, all while documenting her ideas on paper napkins.
Connect with Brenda:

Facebook links:

 Thanks for reading! :))

Saturday, 22 June 2013

A Poem a Day (29) - She Walks with the Sky

Here's a quick poem I wrote for today... was thinking of the moon...

She Walks with the Sky

She walks with the sky
Arm-in-arm between the times
Sips juice from the freshest lime
Rumbling thunder draws nigh
Forlorn the babe that wanders
Alone beneath the waning moon
Wonderful the silvery sight
Of this glistening starlight

She walks with the sky
Dances with the fire flies
Laughs wherever she lies
On the breath of the breeze
Moths hurtle in the dark
Whispering on the lily pads
Hops a deep-sounding frog
Merrily from log to log

She walks with the sky
Underneath this dark blue hue
Listening where the song is due
That holds the deepest secret
Beneath the lake’s still surface
A green-haired mermaid swims
Begging the stars not to leave
On this Midsummer’s Eve.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Presenting... 'Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen' Blog Tour

Welcome to this stop on Sally Smith O'Rourke's tour.
Read on to find out about the author and her novel, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen.
I asked Sally who her top ten romantic couples are, seeing as her book stars a certain
Mr. Darcy, and what more could you ask for in a man? Now I'm thinking of Colin Firth, ooh... 

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen

Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia, is the reason why!

His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?

Tens List
Sally Smith O'Rourke's Top Ten Romantic Couples 

Abigail and John Adams
Their amazing letters prove this was a true love match as well as one of shared respect.

George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell
This couple’s entire relationship was in letters, although they did know each other. An unconsummated relationship (as was Shaw’s marriage), theirs was a chivalric love.

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
Their real life love affair could have rivalled anything they portrayed on film.

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
Having been married in the Catholic Church, Tracy would not get divorced, but it is doubtful that Hepburn would have married him anyway. She believed that no one could ‘have it all’ and that if you have a career, are a spouse and/or parent then all of the avocations would suffer. She felt that she needed to chose one and it was work. Still, their love spanned many decades, until he died.

Marie and Pierre Curie
A couple whose love was so strong that it spanned their scientific and personal lives. They were together almost 24 hours a day, every day, and still their love and respect never faltered.

Victoria and Albert
Refusing a marriage strictly for political reasons, Victoria found her soul mate in Albert, who was at her side and instrumental in many governmental decisions Victoria made. Devastated by his death, she wore black to the day she died (even, unfortunately, to the weddings of her children).

Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester
The ultimate Cinderella story, but with a scandalous twist.

Anna Leonowens and King Mongkut of Siam (Jodie Foster and Yun-Fat Chow)
There is no historical evidence of a love affair, but it has been intimated in virtually every depiction since the publication of Leonowens' diaries from her time as governess to the king’s children. The relationship that I note here is the fictional one from the Andy Tennant/Steve Meerson film Anna and the King.

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth)
The fictional couple in the book is pretty romantic, but Ehle and Firth brought them to such vivid life that they are Lizzy and Darcy to millions of people, most particularly me.

Eliza Knight and Fitz Darcy
The couple from Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen and The Man Who Loved Jane Austen.

Praise for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen

O’Rourke creates a world that defies cynicism and demands suspension of disbelief – 
even in this age of doubt and hyper-realism. Sheer escapism at its best. 
Clever, charming and affectionate. 
 ~Jocelyn Bury 

…the reader must tenaciously read on rather than put the book down to satisfy their hunger for the story to resolve, which it does in characteristically Jane Austen fashion. 
 ~Erin Murdock

In Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, author Sally Smith O’Rourke creates a compelling story that investigates what and who might have inspired Jane Austen. While the storyline is certainly far-fetched, it is a truly unique idea, one that captivated this reader until the very last page. 
 ~Meg Massey
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords

The audio book with Kendra Hoffman’s wonderful narration 
is now available at

Author Sally Smith O'Rourke 

Sally Smith O’Rourke is a surgical scrub nurse at the City of Hope national cancer research hospital in Duarte, California, and resides in the nearby Victorian village of Monrovia. With her late husband, author Michael O’Rourke (aka F.M. O’Rourke), Smith O’Rourke owned and operated a medical advertising company where she used her diverse talents to produce and co-write teaching films and videos. Working not only with major medical and surgical manufacturing companies, but also network television. These endeavours ultimately led to a collaboration on two feature films (direct to video) and three published novels.

The wife and husband writing team of Sally Smith and Michael O’Rourke, being long-time fans of Jane Austen, wrote The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, released by Kensington Books in 2006. Kensington followed that very successful effort with The Maidenstone Lighthouse in 2007 and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009, both also collaborative projects by Smith and O’Rourke. Published after her partner and spouse’s untimely death in 2001, the publisher chose not to use the names Michael O’Rourke and Sally Smith (as the manuscripts were presented), releasing all three books under Sally Smith O’Rourke. Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is Sally Smith O’Rourke’s first solo novel.

Yours Affectionately tour
  Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/6/13

Extract from The Sea Inside

Thanks to David Lowbridge for hosting me on his blog. There's an excerpt from my latest book, The Sea Inside; a fantasy adventure with a heroine, a portal, a quest, and some magical creatures and mystical worlds - one beneath the ocean. 

The link -

Cheers, Vickie

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A Poem a Day (28): She sits beside the rose

I've been watching Vikings, so that may have inspired this one! :)
Cheers & happy Sunday to ya!

She sits beside the rose

She sits beside the rose that grows
In the hereafter
A smell so sickly sweet
Red like blood, it mixes courage
In the thorns that cut so deep;
Rested in this decaying place
The burial of the aged,
Blessed in the past they roamed
Once beneath the bowing trees

Where birdsong once laughed,
Clear waters rippling by,
The thorn breaks the skin,
Ejects a drop of blood red here;
Awakening the morning
Darkness slinks and ebbs away,
Striking a path through the light
Where no one treads so still
So slight, she listens to the ages

As the rose petals sink to the ground
Drifting out upon the wind,
It speaks softly through the trees,
Rustling the leaves, twisting,
Like open hands they hover softly
Where she stands
Sightless and watching,
Hearing the wail of the often tide
Dancing in the shadows held aloft

The thorn rents the curtain in two,
So it falls
Slowly, like the dusting of a wave
Brilliant on the back of the butterfly;
It shimmers there
Soundless, crawling in between
The walls of time, so silencing;
It does not pretend to weep
As the petals descend into blood

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Page Turner Book Tours Presents: Alex's Lemonade Stand

FEATURING Kat Fight, Collision Course & Draconian Legacy 
Authors: Dina Silver, S.C. Stephens and PriyaKanaparti

Book blurbs:

Kat Fight

The seriously funny, fabulously flawed Kat Porter has arrived, and she may just steal your heart — not to mention your boyfriend. Readers everywhere will revel in this sharp-witted, well-meaning whirlwind in author Dina Silver’s hilarious new novel, Kat Fight. In her quest for love, Kat makes every wrong turn, juggling two men, one best friend, and her own deeply confused heart’s desires.

Kat Porter is a consummate romantic, eager for her chance to find love and commitment. But after her boyfriend of four years, Marc, begins to grow apathetic and sends her calls straight to voicemail one too many times, Kat finally musters the courage to confront her so-called sweetheart, who seems more interested in dodging her than courting her. Though she’s no fan of ultimatums, Kat is at the end of her considerable wits, and lobs a massive one his way, completely confident that he'll make the right decision when faced with losing her. He doesn't.

With radio silence from Marc, Kat’s lifelong dream of finding a husband and forging a family is decidedly on the skids. That’s when her childhood friend, Julie, steps in, forcing Kat on a blind date to help her move beyond the break-up. Not only does Kat botch the set-up, but she instead finds herself in hot pursuit of Julie’s love interest, Ryan Sullivan. A man who, in addition to literally taking her breath away, is the living, breathing personification of everything Kat wants in a husband.

Can Kat connect with the man of her dreams without hurting two of the people she cares most about? At the same time, she must also contend with the quips of her beloved catty co-worker, Adam, her bi-polar boss, Brooke, and a string of comic, unpredictable plot twists. All the while, Kat’s cheeky perspective and generous heart will leave readers adoring every moment of her journey while chuckling and cheering for the ever-cute, razor-sharp Kat as she fights to land the love of a lifetime.

Collision Course

Lucas had it all – popularity, a devoted girlfriend, a brotherly best friend, and a loving mother who would do anything for him. His life was right on course to be a successful and fulfilling one until the crash changed everything. It happened late one night during a sudden downpour. That evening, three young lives were lost and one life was left irrevocably altered. As the lone survivor, Lucas finds himself surrounded by swirling gossip of reckless drunkenness from the small town he used to warmly call home. Amid his own guilt and self-hatred, Lucas struggles to find hope and peace, and maybe even find love again.

Dracian Legacy

Ren and Axel are caught between two powerful magical races: one destined to end the bloodshed, the other out for vengeance.

Seventeen-year-old Ren Pernell is prophesied to end the war between the Dracians and the Telalians. So when a Dracian, Axel Knight, is sent to find and bring back the prophesied one before she turns eighteen and Telalians discover of her existence, unexpected sparks start to fly between the two. Once Ren finds the truth behind Axel’s arrival, she wants everything to do with him and nothing to do with his mission.

Things prove to become difficult as Ren’s life is constantly threatened by the Goarders, humans who sold their souls, a Proxy Succubi, and the leader of the Telalians, who has been searching for her as well.

With the clock ticking and Ren’s life in jeopardy, it is no longer just a mission for Axel. It becomes a personal endeavour to save the only one he has ever loved. In a heart-racing ending, they must find a way to evade the preordained war that won’t also end Ren’s life.

About Dina Silver:

A graduate of Purdue University, Dina Silver has spent the past fifteen years feeding her red wine habit by working as a copywriter in the advertising industry. After seeing the bulk of her professional prose on brochures and direct mail pieces, she is delighted to have made the transition to novelist. She currently lives with her husband and son in suburban Chicago. Additionally, she loves talking about herself in the third person.

About S.C. Stephens:

S.C. Stephens is an independent author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

Her first attempt at a full-length novel was Thoughtless. She wrote the angst-filled love triangle in early 2009, and published it that summer on FictionPress. Amazed and surprised by the response, more stories were quick to follow.

Conversion, the first novel in a three story vampire series, was released in the fall. Collision Course, a tragic, yet hopeful tale of love and loss was released in early 2010. The second Conversion novel came out next, along with It’s All Relative, a different take on a one night stand story.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys reading other people’s fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer’s block reducing music, heading out to the movie theaters, and spending quality time with her children.

About Priya Kanaparti:

Indie YA/NA Author. Dracian Legacy, a YA Paranormal Romance releases in 2013. Priya strongly believes that true love conquers all and that's what she writes about.

She live in beautiful city of Boise, ID. She’s a full-time working mom and part-time YA novel author.

The Event Details:

** During the month of June, $1 of every Kat Fight, Collision Course, and Dracian Legacy purchase will be donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand - 
Foundation for Childhood Cancer **

PLUS: Author Rebecca Donovan from the Breathing series will be matching
every dollar they donate!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Digitus 233 by K. D. Emerson - "what a ride!"

33 reviews on Amazon - 4.9 out of 5 stars

Review from Lana Lee: 

"This is the most exciting book I have read in years! If you want to read a book that makes your pulse run faster, cause your hair to raise on your arms, hold your breath, make your heart pump faster, get sea sick without being at sea, feel frozen though you are warm, and keep you on the edge all the time, this is definitely the book for you. OMG, what a ride!!"

Book blurb:

Digitus, the world’s dominant corporation, has studied human nature for centuries. Their people are experts who expand on a human’s natural gifts and talents to create supreme world leaders in all major areas of science, art, religion and leadership. A select few are hand-picked each year to join the elite.

This year, fifteen-year-old Zeph will fight to uncover the truth with the help of an old man and a monkey, while, as a final test of induction into Digitus, five teens are dropped from a specially designed Learjet and land on a barren Arctic island. They are forced to come together in an effort to survive and escape. Unfortunately, escape is shortlived when a Russian ballistic submarine rescues them and a computer malfunction threatens an all-out nuclear attack on North America. Time is running out and the sub’s programmer cannot stop the computer failure. It is up to the teens to convince the Russians they should be allowed to give it a try.

Tick tock...
About K.D. Emerson

Author K.D. Emerson was born (or is that hatched?) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still a teenager off to conquer the world. Her first novel was written in pencil, stapled together and placed in the school library. At age 6, she didn’t have a clue that an author needed a publisher. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory. 

Links to Kim and her books:

Amazon US 
Amazon UK
Twitter - @MstrKoda
Website - 
Facebook - 

Cheers! :)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Page Turner Book Tours Presents: 'Airion: Return to Zire' by J. S. Council

Title: Airion: Return To Zire
Author: J.S. Council
Series: Airion Series
Genre: young adult epic fantasy
Publisher: self-published
Formats available: paperback, ebook (HTML, Kindle, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm doc, plain text (download), plain text (view)

Book blurb: 

Aside from his outward appearance, Kobi is a normal thirteen-year-old boy. Living with his mother, his father, and his identical twin brother, Raili, with whom he spends most days at the cove watching dolphins and whales feed, he is happy with his life just the way it is. But his fourteenth birthday is coming and Kobi has no idea how much his life is about to change.
     When Raili is pulled through a puddle in the floor of their second floor bedroom by a monster armed with poisonous, spiked tentacles, Kobi goes in after him. What he finds isn’t Raili, but a new world all together, buried beneath the ocean. With a bounty on his head that has been there since he and Raili’s birth, Kobi will have to learn to fight or die before he can be reunited with Raili again. Everything he knew to be true was a lie.
     People he loved and trusted are not who they seem. He isn’t the normal boy he thought himself to be. A transformation is coming. Raili is gone. Blood is shed. Traitors lurk, waiting for their chance. War is inevitable. The fate of the world of Airion rests in his hands. The Wiseone speaks. Failure is certain.

About the Author:

“Although I didn’t fully commit to making writing my life’s work until my sophomore year of college, I have always been a writer at heart. I was the only student in class to get excited about school papers, even asking to write a few for extra credit on occasion. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in creative writing – fiction. After graduating, I moved to Japan, where I wrote most of my debut novel, Airion: Return to Zire, and all of my second one, Airion: Light and Dawn – the first two of a four-book series. Japan was a peaceful place to just sit and write, but life there was also filled with adventure. However much I loved it there, I had to return home to do what I love most. Write.”

With thanks to J. S. Council for this interview. Read all about her new book; her likes, ambitions and sources of inspiration; and her joy of writing...

Welcome J. S. Council. Can you tell us, what is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I wish I was lucky enough to write for a living. I am working my way up to that. But, for now, I am Tenant Services Coordinator and Conference Room Manager for a building management company. It’s not nearly as cool as it sounds. Ha ha. I solve problems all day, which isn’t the worst job one could have, by far.

What books have you written so far?

Although I have been writing for a while now, Airion: Return to Zire is my first published novel.

What works in progress do you have?

Well, book 2 of the Airion series, Light and Dawn, is in its third stage of editing now. I am currently searching for beta readers and editors to help polish it (if anyone is interested, please email me at  By late summer I hope to have finished the cover of the book and by early fall I hope to release Airion: Light and Dawn to the world. In the meantime, I have been constructing book 3 of the series, Airion: Strange Ruins, in My Journey (my writer’s journal). I hope to release this one next year.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

From conception to birth, Return to Zire took me about 4 years to complete. I liked writing and I did it often, but I honestly had no idea how to write a novel. I floundered through it as best as I could with only an idea in mind, until I finally reached the end and thought about publishing it. It was only then that I realised I had done it all wrong! I went back through it, over and over, changing, cutting, adding, fixing, sweating, crying and praying, and then doing it all over again until I came up with something that I could be proud of. Airion: Light and Dawn I wrote in six months. J

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

My method of writing evolved from book 1 to book 2, but I like the method I used with book 2 much better. First, I brainstorm the settings, characters and plot, etc, and then I plot my story in My Journey. Once I have all of the characters more or less mapped out, I begin writing, using My Journey as a guide to keep me on track and ward off writer’s block. It works like a charm.

Why do you write?

Hmm, good question. Well, since Junior High, reading has always been a means of escape from the world. I always admired the people able to think of such good stories to tell. Then I tried it. I found that writing can be even more therapeutic than reading. There is something about creating life on a page that others will enjoy and dive into that feels so right. It’s nice to know that I can be someone’s escape route.

How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first short story when I was nine years old. It was a class assignment and the prompt was, “You are going home after school and you see a mysterious wall, and you look over it. What do you see?” Somehow my characters ended up running from a living snowman and jumping over the wall to land in another world, although they didn’t know it at the time. My teacher loved it so much that she read it out loud in front of the class. I was so embarrassed and so proud.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

I don’t really have a set time that I write, as it’s either in the morning before work, during my lunch break, or in the evenings after work. I find that I am not very good at writing at home, so I usually find a bookstore café or coffee shop to sit in, and write for a few hours. I did most of the editing for Airion: Return to Zire in the local Borders by my house, before it closed down.

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

I think my favourite character from the Airion series is Black Master Rick, the master blacksmith of Zire, and best friend of the King and Queen. Rick is so calm, cool and collected, so strong and loyal, and a great dad to Kobi when his son feels like he is losing everything. I feel that I am most like Winiki, the Princess of Zire. She is a rebel and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to hold her back from what she wants to do. When I created her, I based much of her dialogue and many of her actions on what I would do in that situation.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

I would have to say that reading was my initial inspiration for taking writing seriously. When I read Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling and started following her as a writer, I started using her success as my motivation. I still aspire to be as successful as her.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

I think that a well thought out plot, good setting placement and strong, logical characters make for a great novel. In some books and movies that I’ve seen, the characters are made to do things that are irrational or unintelligent just for a rise in conflict, drama or suspense. Personally, I don’t like it when the dramatic pull of a novel feels forced. I believe a novel should be realistic, even if it is fantasy or science fiction. I believe a writer should write to the flow of the piece, and not force it to go places that it naturally doesn’t want to go. 

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

I have never based a character’s personality on someone I knew, but I do have a habit of collecting extraordinary names that I come across. If I meet someone with an interesting name, I will ask him or her if I can use it in one of my novels. They always say yes, and I write the name down in My Journey until I am ready to use it.

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

For sure, I would want Zoe Saldrana to play the part of the Zirian Queen, Kai Ventra, and Brad Pitt, with the body he had in Troy, could play the Zirian King, Sai Thayne. Dwayne Johnson could play the part of Black Master Rick. Viggo Mortensen might be a good Captain Kaiyen Vorex and Sean Bean could make a good Sir Alick of Zire. William Moseley would be a great Trayn, Prince of Zire, and the up-and-rising Jaden Smith could tackle the dual parts of Kobi and Raili. Taylor Lautner would be good to play the role of Trayn’s best friend, Kloud, and Ian Somerhalder could play a truly villainous role by playing Balin, Sub-Leader of Cella. Orlando Bloom could play Bran, one of the advisers to the king. I’d also like to see either Jada Pinkett Smith or Halle Berry play the role of Heal Warrior Kimi. But, I fear the roles of the younger ladies in the piece would have to be completely new because, although I can think of some people who might play the part very well, they are, alas, too old or too young for the parts of Winiki Kaio and Salina Vorex.

She loves boots!
Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?

My favourite animals are dolphins. I love cran-apple anything. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favourite movie series, among many others. My favourite color is royal blue; Florence and the Machine is my favourite band at the moment; and Breath of Life by Florence and the Machine is now my favourite song.  The top of Mount Fuji is my favourite place to date; it’s breathtaking up there. And I love boots! ^_^

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

I think what I didn’t want to do is a shorter list. Ha ha! I wanted to be a doctor, an actress, a marine biologist, a palaeontologist, a crime-scene investigator, an archaeologist and zoologist. Can you tell how much I love science?

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

I have many dreams. Yes, some of them have come true, like living and working in Japan for two and a half years, and learning the language and culture. But my dream of being successful enough as a writer, to make it my sole source of income, is still a work in progress. I’ll get there.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Well, I would tell him Airion: Return to Zire by J. S. Council is a must read! :P Then, The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkin and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling would give him a great outlook on a few different ways we see this world.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

I love characters with quiet strength and authority. Characters that don’t have to force people into knowing that they are important, they just are, from their natural sense of duty and understanding of what needs to be done in a situation. Whitestorm, from the Warriors series by Erin Hunter, was that character for me. He wasn’t a major until the sixth novel in the series, but he had my attention from the beginning of the first one.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Easy. Harry Potter. It was the best idea of its age and very well written, hence its success. I really wish I had thought of it first. Ha ha!

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Stephen King, Shakespeare and Bram Stoker.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

I self-published this novel. Due to my inexperience of the publishing world in general, the self-publishing experience was much more difficult that it should have been, or will be when I self-publish Light and Dawn.

How do you find the marketing experience?

Marketing is, by far, my least favourite part about self-publishing. It takes a lot of time away from writing and there is no guarantee that you efforts will bear fruit.   

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

I would suggest keeping a writer’s journal when you first start writing. It was the best advice I received from my very first creative writing instructor. Even if you realise that isn’t how you work best, I would still try it. Also, be ready for opposition. It will come from friends, family, critics, reviewers and many other places. Just remember to learn what you can from it and leave whatever is not helpful behind. When publishing and marketing your book, it is good to make friends and acquaintances who have experience of the writing world. Those connections are invaluable.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

Yes, I do, The Council Blog. I do mostly spotlights and updates on my blog. I’m pretty new to the blogging world, so I’m still getting into the groove of things. I’m thinking about taking The Council Blog into another direction; maybe do some book reviews, showcase some local writing talent and things like that. We will see how that goes. I’m excited about the change.

What other hobbies do you have?

Ha ha! I am a very proud dork. Documentaries, medical shows, and National Geographic are 80% of what I watch on TV.  I also love animals, Anime and Japanese culture. I can speak Japanese pretty well, although I don’t practise as much as I should. My mom is a singer and vocal coach, and I have been singing with her since I was very young. It is fun, but I do get a bit shy singing on stage. On top of Japanese culture and singing, drawing and dancing are passions of mine as well. I can dance all styles, including ballet, contemporary, Jazz and hip hop. Basically, I find interest in everything.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I would like to have all four books in the Airion series finished, published and doing well. I would like to be planning, writing or in the process of publishing book one of my new series.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with all that cash?

I would buy my mother a house anywhere she wanted to live, put money away for my future children, help in the efforts to save and protect endangered species, and keep writing as much as I could.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less… or you can do a poem – anything...
Option 2: Icy fingers crept up his spine as he realised someone or something was in the room with him...

Icy fingers crept up his spine as he realised someone or something was in the room with him. Eyes blindfolded, he could hear the hiss of its breath escape its teeth. Hands bound in front of him, he tried to turn back and run through the door he was just forced through. It was locked. He screamed for help, panic rising in his chest. The hissing breaths grew louder and were coming out now in short, rhythmic spurts. It was laughing.

Book excerpt:

“If the Cellians just wanted us dead, why didn’t they just kill Raili instead of taking him?” asked Kobi.

“That is the question, isn’t it?” said Kaiyen slowly. “If they only wanted to use his power, wouldn’t they have taken them both?”

“Not necessarily,” said Rick, fist to his chin. “Having both would probably be too dangerous to risk. They may have been afraid of being destroyed from the inside if they worked together to free themselves. Even with one son of the prophecy, they could cause considerable damage, or so they may think.”

“But Raili would never do that though,” Kobi protested. “Dad…I…I mean, Black Master Rick. You know Raili; you know he wouldn’t do anything like that.”

“It may not be his choice,” said Kimi. “The Cellians can be very persuasive.”

Kobi’s heart sank. “What would they do to him?” he asked, not wanting to hear the answer.

“Whatever they had to,” said Kaiyen. “That is why we must focus on a plan of rescue, before RailiSaio acquires the powers they seek.”

“On our fourteenth birthday,” said Kobi.

“Yes,” said Kai Ventra. “Almost all Airians change on their fourteenth birthday. Along with the natural changes they undergo, such as growing gills, they also acquire unique individual skills, allowing them to thrive more than most others in that ability. These abilities can be anything from designing exceptional clothing to controlling the elements.”

“The stronger the ability, the harder it is to control,” said Kaiyen. “No doubt Cella is depending on this.”

“It won’t work,” said Rick.

“Agreed,” nodded Kaiyen. “But there is another matter that must be discussed, if I may.” Questioning eyes turned to Kaiyen. “Lady Sara,” Kaiyen continued after a swift nod from the King. He was addressing the old woman seated beside Kimi, “have you seen anything in your Kubec about a traitor in Zire.”

Whispers filled the room. “You go too far, Captain,” said Bran.

“What are you saying,” said the advisor to Bran’s left.

“Silence,” said Sai Thayne. The talking ceased instantly. The King’s questioning eyes fell on Kaiyen then turned to Lady Sara. “Wise One?”

“This man possesses a tainted heart,” said the old woman, her eyes gazing into the diamond block. “His treachery dives deep.”

“Do you know who this man is?” asked Kaiyen.

“I see not his face nor his rank,” said Lady Sara, her brow creased and her hands resting on the Kubec. “However, he knows all that we know and some we do not.”

“It is as I thought,” said Kaiyen, “Zire’s traitor has resurfaced.”

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Where Airion: Return to Zire is available:



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