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And now for something completely different… ish. I’m a fantasy writer and so I’m a sucker for maps. All the best epic fantasies have them. I’m published in a genre that pulls from this world with fantastical elements and doers of great deeds, sooooooo… no maps. I mean, California? Google it.

That’s why when one of my fellow authors at our publishing house, Tirgearr, put out a very engaging and spot on blog regarding maps in fantasy novels- I just had to share. I hope you’ll all enjoy her point of view and maybe even check out her stunning novel, The War Queen. Thanks again for appearing on my blog, J.M.!!!

Here’s her two cents… ENJOY!

Why E-book Fantasy Writers Should Include Maps


I’m an avid reader of fantasy books. I’m also an avid writer of fantasy books. And, what the heck, I’m also an avid enthusiast about maps in fantasy books. I own a lot of the Dragonlance books. I even have a map of Skyrim hanging in my hallway and a map of Maui right above my computer.


The answer is very obvious. You want a map to, literally provide direction for your readers who have taken a chance on you and picked up your book to read it. You don’t need a map of America if you write contemporary, because, thank goodness to our schools, we were taught where California and New York is. And, if for some weird reason you’ve never opened a book, turned on the TV, or stepped outside in your life, you can GOOGLE those locations. I know. I’ve done it. You get hundreds of different maps for America.

Let’s say I wrote a book and titled it The War Queen. It’s a fantasy book set in my own made-up world called Endendre. Now Altarn is the Lady of Blindvar, who faces opposition from Kaelin who is the Lord of Ruidenthall. Separating these two states is Luthsinia. Altarn travels out of Niesh toward Athenya, stopping along the way at Yott and Gaynord where she eventually ends up on Greatmare.

Are you wishing you had a map of Endendre yet? Did you just try googling it? Didn’t find it? Here it is.



Pretty fancy. Where did I get this map? I drew it. And because my sister is a professional artist on her way to stardom, I gave the outline to her and she dressed it up to be what you see here.


That’s fine. Here’s another map I drew by hand for another yet-to-be-published fantasy book of mine:


Of course when this book is published, I’ll throw it at my sister to dress it up professional like. Oh. Right. You don’t have my sister. But, you DO have programs online, you have illustrators all over the internet who would love love love your business (but JM! That will cost money!) So stop buying coffee at Starbucks every morning, eat beef ramen for dinner instead of sushi, bike to work instead of drive.

The point is, life costs money. Manage your money into the areas you feel are most important. Paying someone to illustrate your map can be cheap. You might find a good freelancer on to do it for you. Or, again, you can throw it into a program – even word paint – and do it yourself.

Let’s get back to why you should have a map included in your book. It’s for direction. Can you imagine reading Lord of the Rings without having the guidance of a map? Or any of the Dragonlance Chronicles? How about The Wheel of Time?

Reading should be an enjoyment for your readers. Help them read easy by giving them a visual to follow along.


Maps are fun to make. Creating a map brings your story to life and you start to believe you have created a real place that exists somewhere. It’s PART of your story, and you can do SO much more with your map aside from having it in your book. What do I mean by that? You can use it as a background on your book’s webpage. It might even look as awesome as this:

Or go one step further and create yourself a store on and turn your map into a poster to hang in your hallway next to Skyrim:


A mouse pad:



A bumper sticker:


(see these items in my store)

And then you can use this map as a fun free giveaway for your book. Basically, you’re not creating a map. You’re creating a massive promotion for your book that will hook readers to want to come back for more.

I’d LOVE to see your maps. I invite you to post a picture of it directly onto my Facebook author page.

Now, aren’t you glad you stopped by and learned about maps? Now you have a great book to pick up, War Queen, AND a new marketing tool! You’re welcome.

Have a GREAT weekend!!!

About JM…

Born in small town Bennington, Idaho, J.M. wanted to be just like her big, story writer sister. Big sister paints now, but that initial role model was all the springboard J.M. needed to fearlessly leap into writing the novels of her heart. Getting around the world as a soldier has helped broaden J.M.’s views on cultures and personalities, and settling down as a Deputy Sheriff in Nevada for a time has helped her maintain all the fine intricacies humans are capable of which has helped define her characters into something realistic and believable. Without any prior claims to fame, J.M. is proud to showcase that hard work, even from rock bottom, DOES pay off.


Please do check out The War Queen- JM is with my press, Tirgearr Publishing, so you KNOW she rocks. Here’s a bit about the book:

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her kingdom for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.

During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.

Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her land without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his kingdom. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her kingdom, or try claiming her heart?



This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.




Today is the best of times and the worst of times for writers. Yes, the publishing industry faces intense pressure. Yes, fewer people are buying books. BUT…. people ARE actually reading more than ever, just in different formats. That presents we authors with a whole new array of choices, small press, self-pub, traditional, blogging, hybrid publishing, you name it- new roads to traverse should we choose.

So hats off to the fabulous author, Yvonne Carder! She employed a different strategy by turning to a Kickstarter Campaign, a very successful Kickstarter Campaign, to finance the publication of her first novel, Luminata.

Yvonne is also the author of the short story “Star Flame.” A fantasy writer on the rise!


Thanks so much to the lovely Ms. Carder for stopping by my blog to chat- be sure to check her out. She’s a delight and talented force to be reckoned with. Here’s our interview:

  • Let’s start at the beginning… Are you a hugger? Kiss both cheeks? A hearty handshake or maybe a distant nod across the room?
    1. How do I greet people? It depends on the situation. If it’s social, I usually start with a handshake and sometimes get pulled into the girl hug. If I’m in a more professional setting, I usually start with eye contact, smile, and then the handshake (but I try to not have the handshake be too whimpy). I’m actually an introvert by nature, so I have to push myself out of my comfort zone to make sure I don’t miss out on connections with the cool people I run acrosss.
  • When and how did you know you were a writer? Did any books help you along the way?
    1. I remember my first short story was in elementary school and I won an award for it. I was so proud of those 4 or 5 pages. They were really simple and on those pages with the giant spaces with the dotted lines in the middle, but I wrote a story and shared it with the world.
    2. Then in high school I wrote poetry to get through the entire emotional whirlwind that tries to destroy us. But I was lucky, I let my thoughts flow on the page and I found myself. Of course, the teenage angst poured out onto the page too, and far less damage was inflicted on the world. =)
    3. I found fantasy fiction in high school and that is when my love for creating different views of the world we live in took off. Anne Rice was the first author that I devoured and she remains the matron of my author influences.
    4. I’ve since read books to help with my author journey and the ones that have been the greatest influences are Stephen King’s “On Writing”, Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey; Mythic Structure for Writers”, and James V. Smith, Jr’s “You Can Write a Novel”. King’s book is about an authors journey and helped me realize that we are all human and can share our thoughts and dreams with other people. Vogler’s book helped with understanding why some books resonate with me while learning about story arch, and understanding the archetypes for characters. And Smith’s book was the best at breaking down for me how to keep myself organized, how to structure writing and the story. Before I read that book I felt overwhelmed and unsure how to even start, it was the tool I really needed to get started. Apparently I’m a Plotter and not a Pantster.
  • Is there another genre that you enjoy- just as a pure fan? What is it?
    1. My reading guilty pleasure is urban fantasy books, both young adult and adult. I love the idea of magic in the world all around us that not everyone knows about. It gives me hope for the world I live in.
  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?
    1. Hands down the most influential person that I found on this journey is  JoannaPenn, from The Creative Penn. She is a genius and has the most generous spirit. She is an Author Entrepreneur and has been in the Indie Publishing scene since around 2008. She shares everything she learns very openly and wants to empower as many people as she can in the industry. She has a website with amazing resources and has the best podcast out there for authors. Check her out at
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?
    1. Vacations as a kid included visiting my grandparents in the Eifel in Germany and exploring all around the small town they live in. I fell in love with castles, both the ones meticulously maintained to explore, and the beautiful ruins that echoed those long ago lives lost to time. My spirit would soar in the wild forests where your imagination runs free picturing magical creatures hiding just out of sight. The Eifel is a huge inspiration for my novel Luminata. I can see Jessica in the forests that I’ve walked through and see the beams of filtered light strike her hair and make the forest floor look like autumn colored gemstones were thrown everywhere. Oh, have I mentioned? I definitely have an active imagination.
  • We’re just beginning the summer season- if you could give EVERYONE a gift, vacation, mojito, whatever… and expense or transportation was no object- what would you give them?
    1. I would give everyone a month vacation to explore the Eifel and check out the castles, like my favorite Burg Eltz, the forests where we could go mushroom hunting, and have lunch in an ancient Roman tavern that just so happens to be under a department store!
  • Denim versus leather- compare and contrast. It’s an argument that may never be settled. What’s your preference and why?
    1. Hands down: Leather. It’s way more versatile and feels great when you put it on. The biggest turn off? It’s from animals, so that could sway me to denim, but it doesn’t.
  • If you had to choose… Vegas or New York… where would you go? Why does your choice speak to you?
    1. 100% New York! I would love to see all the architecture and history, but the biggest reason: Broadway! I’m a sucker for Broadway musicals. I have an annual membership to SHN in San Francisco so that I can be dazzled by those fantastical creations. I’m constantly blown away by what artists can create on a small stage. It’s right up there with reading for me.
  • What is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?
    1. My favorite reward is reading some good book candy. You know: those stories that you don’t have to think too hard about, but you’re immersed in the world and you forget your cares. It lets my brain relax and just let loose.
  • And lastly, how do you say good-bye?
    1. How well do we know each other by now? Cuz if you know this much about me know I’d probably just say: Peace out home skillet!



‘Star Flame: A Story from the Meclauks Kingdom’: FREE copy through BookFunnel
Where to find Yvonne:

Facebook: YvonneCarder

Twitter:  YvonneCarder

Patreon: YvonneCarder


Instagram: YvonneCarderAuthor
Pinterest: YvonneCarder

LinkedIn: YvonneCarderAuthor


Yvonne Carder Author

Author Bio:

Yvonne Carder is a Young Adult Fantasy Author that has written a short story called ‘Star Flame: A Story from the Meclauks Kingdom’, and she is currently editing her first in a series novel ‘Luminata: A Meclauks Kingdom Novel’. With the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Luminata is planned for release in August of 2017.Yvonne Carder lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Kevin, and her three cats, Princess Pumpkin Doodle, Nichademus, and Barracuda Bob. Yvonne has a love for animals that she strives to show in her work. 
She has lived in California since 1982 when she and her parents emigrated from Germany. Most of her family is still in Germany with the exception of some of her Dad’s family in the Midwest. Her roots in Germany are something that she is very proud of and it influences her writing. Yvonne has been involved in the arts since a young child when she joined the school bands, choir, poetry club, and the art club at her high school. She has had poems published including ‘tHE wORLD uP-sIDE dOWN’ in Behind the Eye Las Positas College Anthology Number 16, ‘The Black Trail’ in Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans 1995 edition, and ‘Wilderness Pond’ in The Garden of Life by the National Library of Poetry. Yvonne also won a scholarship for her fine art paintings. When she’s not creating visual arts you can find her singing loudly in her car, or with a local choir and performing at their concerts.

Yvonne is a proud member of the California Writer’s Club: Tri-Valley Branch, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.




This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.


Venus and Lysander Interview

Venus and Lysander cover

About the Book

Title: Venus and Lysander

Author: Yoshiyuki Ly

Genre: Historical Romance / Fantasy

Living as a nobleman and as a woman, Valerie of Lysander is sick of waiting for the world to change. The discrimination she suffers as an outcast builds into resentment. Once Val takes matters into her own hands, the whole Empire of Tynan feels her brand of justice. The Emperor’s adviser, Lucrezia of Azrith, wants more of Val’s ruthlessness—for revenge against the unjust, and for her own desires. Venus and Lysander is an intricate romance set in the fictional Victorian city of Eden, 250 years after the events in The Scorpion’s Empress.

Lucrezia is Lady Chancellor for the Emperor and a sorceress-in-hiding. She is forced to conceal her identity from the religious public for fear of death. As she learns to trust in Val’s chivalry and affections for her, they both fall for the softer sides behind their similar bulletproof personas. Lucrezia receives a mysterious warning about a sadistic enemy threatening the Azrith and Lysander families. Once they discover their nemesis’ true motive, Val and Lucrezia’s tyrannous devotion for one another is all they can count on to survive.

This week I am happy to welcome Yoshiyuki Ly to my site. I thank her and Enchanted Book Promotions for bringing us together.

  • Let’s start at the beginning… how do you like to say hello? Do you have a favorite greeting? Are you a hugger?
    I usually say “hey” or nod my head. Not much of a hugger unless I know the person well and haven’t seen them in a long time.
  • I’m finding the character of Val fascinating. A woman living in a man’s world is at once very timeless and completely modern. Shades of Orlando. What inspired this character? Can you give us a glimpse into her head?
    I was inspired by my own androgyny as someone who looks feminine but thinks and sometimes acts in masculine ways. She doesn’t fit in. She knows that the binary ways of seeing gender end up causing issues for most people in the world, and not just her. But because she’s affected by this mentality more so than others, Val is the one who’s compelled to change the world “for the better,” even though she’s inherently self-motivated.
  • Fantasy can be so all-consuming (in such a good way) for readers- why did you choose the Victorian era to color your world? What can you tell potential readers about why they should visit the city of Eden?
    I played a lot of Bloodborne while writing this story. It’s a horror action role-playing game with Lovecraftian themes, set in a fantasy Victorian setting. The stark darkness of that setting compelled me along with the soundtrack. Eden doesn’t feature the horror from Bloodborne, but there’s a lot of history from the institutions there: it’s a hotbed of history-in-the-making with a revolution for civil rights at its tipping point.
  • What is next on your writer’s journey? What goal do you have in your sights next?
    Working on a distant sequel for this book that ties everything together.
  • Have you had any cool fan interactions? Have any of your readers’ responses particularly touched you?
    Most of my current fans have been with me since I wrote fanfiction. A few of them are my friends today. Forming those unexpected bonds was nice for me.
  • Can you share three new, relatively unknown books? We all love recommendations so choose three awesome titles to champion. (No fair picking your own!)
    I’m not sure about new, but anything by Pixelnyx, my favorite author, is worth my recommendation.
  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?
    I keep a blog that I update regularly with my writing process and anything else that I’m up to. I think it helps readers stay connected with me.
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?
    Nothing they don’t already know. I’m a private person.
  • If you could play Fairy Godmother for one night and give three people a gift, which three would you visit and what would you give them?
    It would be three specific people that I don’t speak to anymore. I’d like to give them a smile for once—something they rarely got from me.
  • Mimosa vs. Bloody Mary- the debate rages on… compare and contrast, please.
    I actually don’t think all that much.
  • If you had to choose… country music or rock and roll… what would you choose and why does your choice speak to you?
    I can’t think of any country songs I like, so rock and roll. If it includes alternative rock like Radiohead and IAMX, then that’s perfect. I tend to like a blend of genres.
  • And lastly… what is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?
    Actual sleep. I have a bad habit of not sleeping for days at a time when I’m working on a series of chapters. Not because I’m avoiding sleep—the insomnia takes over when I have too many ideas and my mind won’t shut off. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Author bio

Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. She lived there until moving away to college. In high school, she began writing fanfiction as a serious hobby. Her pen name represents her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that reflects in her work. She is a writer and a gamer.

The Links


This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.


This is a VERY fun week. Thank you to Steve Wiley for agreeing to be on my blog AND to Enchanted Book Tours for putting us all together.

About this fabulous book…

In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.

When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure though the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.


The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan Interview

  • When and how did you know you were a writer? Did any books help you along the way?   I think storytellers are just born that way.  I don’t remember having a moment where I said, “I want to be a writer.”  I’ve just always like to tell stories.  For this book, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland helped the most.  I wanted a Wonderland for Chicago.  Chicago needs a Wonderland, badly.
  • Writers often have colorful histories and discarded careers along the way. What was your favorite past job? If you weren’t writing what else can you picture yourself doing and why?   Favorite past job is difficult. I’ve hated most jobs I’ve had.  I’ll say college lifeguard (part-time), because after work we’d party and swim and nothing is better than partying and swimming, for a college kid at least.  If I weren’t writing I wouldn’t be happy –  I’d have to do something writing related.  I was a managerial consultant for years, and I wrote all day in that job.  I was the ‘writer’ guy.  Whenever we had a writing job it was mine.  So, if I wasn’t writing, I wouldn’t be happy.
  • The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan has some very distinctive, eye catching illustrations. What made you decide to include pictures and how did you go about finding an artist to bring them to life?   I didn’t decide on illustrations until after I’d finished the story.  After I’d finished, I realized the book could really be strengthened with pictures.  And so, one night at a party I met my future illustrator.  I didn’t know he was an artist, but we started talking about art, and I showed him the background on my iPhone, which was El Greco’s View of Toledo (Google it if you don’t know it!), and the rest is history.  He did an amazing job.  I was just super lucky to have bumped into him at this party for a mutual friend. 


Funny you should bring up that particular painting- it is one of my all-time favorites! Bravo!

  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?   We’re  donating half of the profits from this book to Chicago Public Schools.  That little fact has gotten the book a lot of favorable attention.  I was recently featured on WGN Radio here in Chicago, and that was something they wanted to talk about.  So, I think authors should consider strategic partnerships to help sell their books. 
  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?  I would defer that question to the readers.  There isn’t anything I’m dying for people to know about me, but I’ll throw some interesting facts out there for this interview: I once swam through Buckingham Fountain on a dare (in the middle of the day), my wife has reported me missing (like Richard in the book), and my mother was a nun.  That’s a start!
  • Do you have any new projects in the works? What should we be eagerly anticipating from Steve Wiley?  I’m all marketing all the time lately.  I’ll start my next project likely in 2018, once the smoke has cleared from this book.  Expect the unexpected, in the form of a book.
  • Who’s your favorite super hero and why?  I’m a Wolverine guy.  The more flaws in the super hero the better.  Perfect characters just aren’t as interesting. 
  • Favorite meal, health concerns and calories aside, if you could just enjoy anything what would it be?  Oh, easy question.  Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza and a coke, last meal every time.  That’s probably the answer half of Chicago would give you.
  • Please share three things you have NOT done yet on your Bucket List. 1) Write a story for my son 2) DMT 3) Write a story for my wife
  • And lastly… what is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself?  Book and a beer!  I like reading and drinking, but only after I’m done playing with the kids, and have gotten them to bed. 

Author Bio

Steve Wiley, Author

Steve is a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and purveyor of fairy stories. He grew up in and around Chicagoland, where he still lives with his wife and two kids. He has been published in an array of strange and serious places, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to Crannóg magazine in Galway, Ireland. This is his first book. He has an undergraduate degree in something he has forgotten from Illinois State University and a graduate degree in something equally forgotten from DePaul University. You can email Steve at, or visit thewileymancan on Instagram.


This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.





Okay, Fantasy fans- buckle up!!! I’ve got a fun new series for you and you are going to LOVE it! Yep, you’re welcome…


Lizard Queen Volume 1

300 years ago, in a nameless world, a prophecy passed unfulfilled. A secret society that formed to prevent its occurrence believed it was their doing, while the secret society created to ensure that the prophecy came to pass wasn’t certain it had been stopped at all. Eventually, the prophecy of Lacáruna, a female from another realm and the only being who can read the Lizard Queen’s language, fell into legend.  What no one realizes, however, is that Amy Darlidale is just a tad late.



Taking a break from a stressful workweek, Amy, a recently divorced CEO, goes out for a morning jog and crosses paths with an orange lizard. Suddenly, she finds herself under a starless sky confronted by oddly marked and strangely colored people who claim she’s there to rescue the world from evil’s grasp and expand it once again. But not everyone wants that to happen so there’s a price on her head. This is far from the relaxing weekend Amy had intended.



Along with the young companions who found her, Licha and Jandro, Amy has accompanied the swaggering Colonel Dack Sangcertigre—a member of the Trotéjo, the secret society sworn to protect her—to his home nation in search of a plan to fulfill the Promise of a New Morphósis. As the body count rises and she is confronted with raving rulers, military machinations, and crafty clergy, she quickly realizes there must be much more at stake than merely finding the prophecy.



The sense of order in this mysterious world continues to collapse. Fires rage, clans are being slaughtered and townsfolk massacred, and leaders have proclaimed a great evil has returned. As Amy searches for clues within the first mythic journals of this world’s origins, she’s begun seeing visions and receiving messages from forces unknown. While she’s trying to understand the extent of her power others have become aware of it as well. Soon a new group with its own mysterious agenda believes Amy may have another fated purpose and only she can save herself from their terrifying trap.


A huge thank you to H.L. Cherryholmes for appearing on this blog- I am super excited to have such an innovative and fresh author to showcase. Hope my readers enjoy this interview just as much as I did…


Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? What fills your life and lights up your days?


Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but I’ve lived in Southern California most of my adult life. I started writing when I was very young, mostly to entertain family and neighbors. About that time I also learned to change the names to protect the innocent. Storytelling has always been important to me and I’m never as happy as I am when I’m in the thick of writing a story. Even editing makes me happy.

Your books begin in our ordinary world and take us to new world “under a starless sky.” How does each world color and shape your protagonist, Amy Darlidale?


In our world, Amy is a CEO of a non-profit company. She’s recently divorced and just celebrated her fortieth birthday. She is fairly content and, most importantly, feels entirely in control of her life. When she finds herself under the starless sky she’s completely out of her element and feeling at a loss. Nevertheless, she’s still the same strong woman and works hard to take charge of her new predicament.



How has each world, real and imaginary shaped you as a storyteller?


The imaginary world is very much shaped by my real world experiences, particularly my travels. Amy keeps discovering places and things that are very familiar to her, albeit not exactly the same. It’s been so much fun to incorporate places I’ve visited into my writing. I think it’s made me a better storyteller because it’s taken me out of my comfort zone, which pretty much is my apartment.


Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? Are you agented? Self-published? How did your book come into being?


I’m an indie-writer. I spent many frustrating years trying to go the traditional route by getting an agent and one day I decided that what was most important to me was having my stories read. Self-publishing a book is so incredibly easy these days, which is why more and more authors are going that route. My series came into being when I decided that’s what I was going to do. I chose to wait until the entire series was done, however, before releasing the first two books.



What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? Pitfalls to avoid?


The benefit for me was being able to work the entire story out before anyone read it. That was also the biggest challenge. As I’m sure any author will tell you, it’s a lonely vocation often and the only validation you get is what you chose to give yourself. One word of advice—the most important, in my opinion—is you must have a professional editor. Thinking you can shape everything on your own is the biggest pitfall to avoid.



Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent?


Inspiration most often comes from something I’ve read or watched, or even overheard. Usually it’s just a spark of an idea that pops up and either I’ll pursue it or tell myself I should write it down to look at later but then decide I’ll surely remember it. That’s when the muse snatches it away. You’d think I’d learn, but no.



Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?


What has touched me and meant the most to me are any of the readers who have gone along (or are going along) Amy’s journey. Reading a series is a serious (see what I did there?) commitment so I greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to take it on. Hearing that they’ve loved how the story ends has been especially satisfying.




We all have our fan boy (or in my case, fan girl) moments. If you could get your books of anyone, celebrity, historical figure, etc. who would you choose to have read them? Please share one man and one woman and why.


Anne Rice and Stephen King and both for the same reason: They are master world-builders and both appreciate a strong female protagonist.



Do you have a favorite book that you wish you had written? What is it and why do you wish you had created it?


I can’t say that I do. I love stories and I’m the type of person that goes into any story, be it on the page or on the screen, with an open mind and heart, ready to follow what tale I’ve been offered. I do my best to keep myself out of it and just let it be what it is.



We all reward ourselves with little treats- after a particularly productive day- what is your favorite indulgence? I’m always looking for a new treat!


When I finish a draft of a book my favorite indulgence is a cupcake with buttercream frosting from Magnolia Bakery. And a vodka martini. Not necessarily in that order and never together.



Author Bio

H.L. Cherryholmes, author of The Lizard Queen Series, Come Back for Me, and A Slight Touch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but has spent most of his adult life in Southern California. He has a BFA from University of New Mexico and a Master’s degree in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with his husband, Ron Cogan.




Amazon Author Page:



This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


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