Saturday, November 26, 2016

Books: Meet Fantasy UK writer Martyn Stanley

I'm excited to feature Martyn Stanley today. I've read and reviewed a couple of his books and I totally recommended for those who love good fantasy! And don't forget to scroll down to the end to take advantage of a free offer. Let's get to know more of him and his work!
Where are you from and what's your background?

I'm a British author, I live on the Staffordshire, Cheshire border with my wife and two kids. I've always been a reader and a gamer. My favorite games have always been fantasy RPGs, but I prefer writing these days, because it gives me more freedom. I don't have to unfold someone else's plot. 
When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I've been writing for decades. I started writing a lot, on a daily basis around the year 2000 when I began co-writing Star Wars Fan Fiction on an RPG forum. I'm still in touch with some of the people I met there, I haven't written any of that sort of thing for years though.

Great way to start. What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

I mainly write fantasy, but I have some sci-fi, paranormal and black comedy in
the pipeline too. For my fantasy and folklore stories I'm really aiming at the mysterious NA category. Some of the contents in my books is a little mature for YA, but they're an easy read. Many adults enjoy them too!

Yes, I enjoy your books! How many books have you published? Do you have a favorite?

I've published four novels and two short stories under my own name. My favorite is 'Deathsworn Arc 4: Rise of the Archmage' though I'm very fond of my second short story - 'Return of the Worm Slayer' too. 
What is your favorite quote, and who wrote it?

I like a lot of quotes. My favorite source of inspiration is actually a very brief You Tube clip of David Bowie. David Bowie on why you should never play to the gallery. He talks about the importance of not trying to fulfill other people's expectations. He also suggests that if you feel 'safe' where you're working, then you aren't working in the right area and you should go further out of your depth. I completely agree with Bowie on everything he says in this video.
Excellent advice. Thanks for posting it! Do you have a favorite author? Who? What's your favorite book? Has this author or book influenced your writing in any way?

Definitely Terry Pratchett. I've read all his disc-world and some of his other work. His wit and perceptiveness are without equal. I also read his 'Slip of the Keyboard' I felt like I got to know him. I think we'd have got on well. We share a lot of opinions. This was my review of that book:- Martyn Stanley (Stoke-on-Trent, I6, The United Kingdom)’s review of A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-Fiction
What inspired you to write your first book? Did you research the topic? How did you overcome writer's block if you had any while drafting the plot?

I just had an idea about a 'big thing' and started to write some characters and fill in the gaps. The little story is what's important. Relationships, friendships, arguments - the human aspect of the story. Always make the big story small and the small story big.

Very interesting. And what are you working on now?

Deathsworn Arc 5: The Temple of the Mad God is my main project at the moment, but I also have a paranormal, a black comedy and a time-travel in the pipeline. So little time, so much to write!

Can't wait! Where can we find out more about you and your work?

Goodreads is always a good place. I'm very open and willing to interact with readers. I'll happily discuss my books or other books I've read with anyone on Goodreads! I also have a You Tube channel where I talk about many things. Occasionally even writing and books!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

One of my projects in the pipeline is a short story prequel to 'The Last Dragon Slayer' it will be a subscriber exclusive. I may list it on Amazon, but it will be at an absurdly unrealistic price if I do. Once it's ready I will be giving an e-book of it to all my subscribers so if you've read my first book and want to know what Vashni was up to before she met the companions you should subscribe here:- 
Great deal! Readers, don't pass up subscribing to Martyn's newsletter.
Here's the link to this Amazon author page where you can browse his work:

BONUS: Get the first book in his series FREE on Amazon:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Books: Meet talented UK suspense writer Ken Fry

Another talented UK writer has graced us with his presence on the blog to tell us more about his five star-rated books. Don't miss his thrilling interview below.
Ken, please tell us where you are from and a little about your background.

I’m from the UK and live in a small country village in the south of England.
When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

From the age of about twelve I was aware that I enjoyed the process of writing and was advised to get into newspapers. I didn’t. Events overtook me and I became consumed by the world of commerce. My first ever job was in a bank! I find that hard to believe.

I had a reasonable education but was always more interested in English and the world of classical writing. Indeed all my pet animals have been named after great writers.

Practiced a bit in my early thirties and then entered the world of magazine publishing. I was forever tinkering around with story ideas that I never knew what to do with. That changed after my university degrees in Literature. I quit business.

Seems writing was your real calling! What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

They seem to pick me, but my work hovers around greed, ambition, and murder all of which impregnate our global village. Of late, a touch of quasi-religious mystery or supernatural has crept in, as with The Lazarus Succession, which will be re-released later in the New Year. 

I have always admired authors like Henry James, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler and of course the plays of Wm. Shakespeare... I could go on and on.

Since we're talking about favorite authors, do you have a favorite one? Who? What's your favorite book? Has this author or book influenced your writing in any way?

As I said earlier, Henry James does it for me. The craftsmanship is unbelievable and you can see that in A Portrait of a Lady.

I suppose in my imagination I long to write an agonised soul masterpiece. When that occurs, I go and have a few beers until the feeling goes away! That’s an influence I guess (I don’t mean the beers). But today’s busy world of writing has little accommodation for lengthy prose and literary attempts.
Excellent choice. How many books have you published? Do you have a favorite?

To date I have four largish novels out and a couple of short stories. On file I have several other novels in the pipeline. Of my own work, I enjoyed The Brodsky Affair and The Lazarus Succession, but Suicide Seeds in terms of commercial success has pipped them all at the post.

They sound great. What is your favorite quote, and who wrote it?

My favourite quote, which some say comes from Earnest Hemingway, but I think it’s from Ashwin Sanghi. It sums up my sentiments and attitude.

‘Write when drunk, edit when sober... Marketing is the hangover.’

Perfect, it does sums up a lot about writing. Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

The answer is YES to all three.

And what are you working on now?

I have one book awaiting an edit that deals with the war in Sierra Leone a while back. 

Am currently working on a story set in Israel and deals with shadowy religious style organisations and the discovery of importance that relates to the Book of Revelations… that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Intriguing! Keep the mystery going. But where can we find out more about you and your work?

If you want more information, pics, etc. go to or my Amazon page at

Wonderful. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Indie authors by and large are embraced in the love of writing, that like mine, can often be faulty and sometimes pretty much okay. If you want a modicum of success, I found I needed a few things in my armoury.  In no particular order, a great cover that should reflect the narrative content.… Add to this an editor who understands my narrative and is prepared to challenge me, (In the nicest possible way) as to what’s bad, not required or is even needed, to lick it into shape as a respectable saleable piece of work.

Add to that the need in this Indie world for the thing most authors dislike… that is marketing, marketing, and yet more persistent marketing of both author and book. 

Never be afraid of it, for without it, unless the gods have your name on their tongues, you will never make it. 

I hope that’s covered all your points…. Many thanks for the opportunity to participate. 

Ken Fry
Thank you so much, Ken. We wish you the best in your writing career!
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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Books: Japan's Pacific War - Interview with Author Augustine Kobayashi

Mr. Augustine Kobayashi is our featured guest today. We're honored to introduce him and learn more about his WWII book, Japan's Pacific War. History buffs, rejoice!

Please tell us where are you from and what’s your background?

I was originally born in Tokyo but mostly raised in one of the commuting towns just outside the city. I was always interested in world history, but Japan is unfortunately rather backward when it comes to historical studies. So I went to the UK to study history. I studied International History and then Byzantine History as my master's degree. 

I love history too. Tell us a little about your book.

My book, titled Japan's Pacific War, presents history of WW2 in Asia from 1941 to 1945 from Japan's perspective. It deals with the origin of the war, briefly explaining what domestic conditions led to political development that eventually produced policies leading to Japan's war with China and then even a dangerous belief that Japan must fight the West. The war is narrated by focusing on some vital campaigns that occurred, which decided the outcome of the war. 

Also, I dealt with some little known stories from the war in the Pacific, namely, the hardship of the Japanese merchant marine. This is important, as not only it was a tragedy for civilian sailors who paid the ultimate price for the cause they didn't quite understand but also their suffering epitomizes deficiency in Japan's strategic thinking and war planning.

I also included, among others, the battle for the Philippines in 1945. This is again not a very well known episode of WW2, perhaps because of world wide neglect of Asian history. The Philippines, which lost more than one million people during the war, saw some of the most brutal battles of WW2. The battle for Manila, the capital, has been compared to Stalingrad or Warsaw. The city was flattened completely because of Japan's deliberate tactics to get more people, either soldiers or civilians, killed. The Japanese had this insane hope that more bloodshed would turn US public opinion against war. Such unrealistic thinking was what made the war so bloody.

Sounds very informative. What's your target audience for the book?

I wrote this book for those who are not familiar with the subject or history in general.
Anyone who is only vaguely aware of the history of the Pacific War would learn something about Asian history in the first half of the twentieth century. But those who know the subject may find my analysis interesting. Those who use the history of the Pacific War to attack America’s current military actions should learn more about the actual history of this war, as they would learn that the Americans did not drop the atom bombs for fun.

History has so many different points of view, and I'm sure you had to do extensive research to write the book. So, why did you choose to write a book with this subject?

Over the years, I have encountered people who know absolutely nothing about the Pacific War, even among my historian friends. How the war in China in the 1930s directly led to the Pacific War, for example. My father had this American friend, who was a sailor during WW2 in the Pacific theatre. Upon discovering that I was a historian, the first thing he asked me was, why Japan attacked America in 1941? In the subsequent conversation, I realized that he genuinely didn't know. He was fighting out of a sense of duty, but without understanding what the war was all about. Too many people who belong to the post-war generations in the US, Europe and even Japan are mostly ignorant about the cause and course of the war in the Pacific. I was guilty of this collective ignorance myself, as I mostly study European, Roman and Byzantine history. My knowledge of WW2 was strongest in the Mediterranean theatre and Germany's war with Russia. Indeed, writing this book was also a discovery process for me too. 

A fascinating topic. Is there a historian that you think has influenced you?

Generally speaking, good historians collectively taught me how to read and write history. John Keegan is a good military historian who inspired me; I was impressed by some of Fernand Braudel's books. Arnold Toynbee too, as his work on Byzantine history was surprisingly good, even though I’m not really familiar with his other work for which he is famous. As I write popular history know, I tend to follow Tom Holland's work, as his books show how to write good and readable history for non-historians.

Why did you choose to write about WWII when your main area of study is Byzantine history?

Born in the early 1960s, WW2 was still fresh in the living memory of many people either in Japan or elsewhere. My mother talked about how his brother, a kamikaze pilot, caused such distress to her mother. (Luckily he survived as the war ended just a few days before his attack was due.) According to her, the cover page of my book so reminded her of her brother! Near my house, there used to be some caves, which, according to some locals, used to be part of underground bunkers and ammunition dumps in preparation for the expected American landing on Japanese soil. In a way, WW2 wasn't really 'history' yet, it was a part of the living landscape of the world we lived in for my generation.

Plus, military history was a fad in my childhood. There was a big publication industry, printing books on warplanes, tanks, battleships, submarines and so on. We kids were fascinated by these technological marvels. But when I began to encounter photographs of soldiers blown to bits by a tank shell, I sat down and studied military history more seriously, looking at the more human side of the history of war. Recently, there has been a strong trend to write about what happened to people in war condition, which I believe should continue.

Was Pearl Harbor a decisive moment for WWII in your opinion?

Yes, it is a decisive moment, if not the decisive moment. Now the US is in the war, the US would become a military superpower in the post-war world. Japan could have stayed away from war in Europe and dealt with only China, in which case, the world might have ended up with a division of power the Japanese themselves had envisioned, but it decided to take on the Western Allies, turning WW2 truly global. I mean, what if Japan had not attacked the US? The US might have never joined the Allies. Britain might have been defeated. Nazi Germany might not have been powerful enough to defeat the USSR, but then the USSR would not have been able to win outright either. So, we could have had a divided Europe between the Nazi Germans and the Soviets in a sort of cold war; most of Asia and Africa still under the British Empire; East Asia and Southeast Asia would have gone to Japan; and the US would have stuck with its own Monroe Doctrine. Ironically, such outcome would have been what Japan wanted in the first place! Instead the war led to downfall of leading Western European powers and Japan; and it produced a more streamlined power structure in the world, with the US, the USSR and China emerging as victors and dominating world politics. Without Pearl Harbor, this world might not have created. But, in this respect, the most decisive thing was Hitler's honoring the Berlin-Tokyo Axis agreements and declaring war on America, I think.

Thank you so much for your time and for enlightening us with some history. It's been a pleasure to host you on our blog today. Wishing you much success in your future endeavors and studies!

For more on his books, please click on the links below:

His book on

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Books: Interview with UK fantasy writer Daccari Buchelli

It’s a pleasure to get to know more about you and your writing. Could you tell us where you are from and what your background is?

I was born in the Eastern region of England, into a working class family. While my father always worked in administrative roles, my mother worked at home as a child minder until I reached fifteen years of age. There was never a shortage of children in our house.

That sounds like a happy and fun environment! When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I knew that I wanted to be an Author at age eight. I spent a lot of my time indoors, where I would write short stories about my siblings. At first I wrote to entertain myself. Upon showing some of my work to teachers and receiving their praise, I decided to share my stories with others.

How great! It’s wonderful to get positive feedback, especially from teachers. What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

I specialise in writing Fantasy novels, which are aimed at young adults (roughly aged 14+). I try not to target a specific gender with my work, as I have noticed a lot of fantasy novels being geared toward young women with roughly the same plots throughout examples. I like my work to appeal to anyone of the target audience's age.

Good idea, after all, readers from any age can appreciate a good fantasy story.  How many books have you published? Do you have a favorite?

I have published one book of a series so far, although I did write many books as a young adult, which I have yet to re-visit and polish so that they too may be published. Phoenix, my currently published novel, is one of my favourites to have written so far. I was going through the start of a difficult journey when I began it and have since managed to prevail.

(Buy the book here)

Writing can be a wonderful healer, right? Your novel sounds great. What is your favorite quote, and who wrote it?

Terry Goodkind once wrote within his Epic Fantasy book 'Blood of the Fold' that 'We are not our bodies, but our thoughts. As they form, they define who we are.' I have always loved this quote. It explains that our identities are not based on our physical appearance, but in something deeper, relating to the spirit, mind, and our personal experiences.

Excellent quote; and one to be followed. Since we’re talking about favorites, do you have a favorite author? Who? What's your favorite book? Has this author or book influenced your writing in any way?

My favourite author is Terry Goodkind. I adored the first book of The Sword of Truth Series, 'Wizards First Rule,' which introduces us into a magical world ruled by a vicious tyrant.

Goodkind has certainly influenced my writing in regards of style and in the way that I define my main characters. I find the way that he bonds characters together to be a rather moving experience.

A true fantasy lover! Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

I would consider myself to be an Idealist. I love to see the world as what it could be, imagining a brighter tomorrow. I do consider myself to be a romantic at heart, perhaps even a hopeless one at times. Being able to bring joy into someone's life (romantic or otherwise) is something that I think we should all strive for.

Great answer. And what are you working on now?

I've just finished the second draft of the Sequel to my Fantasy novel, Phoenix.
While I take a break between drafts, I intend to go back to a project I started a few years ago, and to tweak and polish it until it shines.

Good luck with the new projects! Where can we find out more about you and your work?

You can find out more about me and my work at my Author Website:  and at the following social media platforms:



Book Trailer:

Thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I spend my time not just writing novels, but also writing a blog relating to exciting reads, writing tips, and books which I have personally reviewed. I love to read more than anything else, except for writing.

Keep writing and thank you so much for sharing about your work with us. Good luck and success with your books!