Memorial Day 2015

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this day let us pause for a moment of silence to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave not because they hated what was in front of them, but because they loved what they had left behind.

Friday's 5 with Sylvie Nickels

This week's author started writing as a child in World War Two, and has barely stopped since.  Much of it has been as a travel writer for major UK newspapers and magazines.  More recently Sylvie returned to her first love of writing fiction and has self-published six novels, two anthologies of short stories, and a true adventure (The Big Muddy – a canoe journey down the Mississippi).

A recurrent theme has been the effect of war on the children and grandchildren of participants (as in her trilogy ‘Another Kind of Loving’, ‘Beyond the Broken Gate, and ‘Long Shadows;  and a more recent novel ‘The Other Side of Silence’).  Her only Young Adult book, 'Courage to Change' deals with alcohol addiction.

Currently she is involved with her own generation.  Sylvie Nickels latest anthology of short stories, 'It'll Be Better Tomorrow', gets its title from the mantra of her late husband George Spenceley who when questioned about his uncertain future, replied with these very words.  Her next novel will also feature him and his early stages of dementia behind which the real George and his amazing life were still recognizable.
"Reconciliation is also a recurrent theme as is my belief that it is better to be part of the cure than part of the problem.

Reviews of her work can be found on and on Amazon.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.)  At the age of ten or eleven during World War II.  One of my first stories was called 'Bunty's Mystery' about a lost cat and air raids, fully illustrated with guns firing shells upwards and bombs falling downwards.  At that stage I thought you just wrote a book, reviewed it yourself and sent it to a publisher for publication.  It has been a long learning curve since.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.)  Getting it as good as I want it to be.   I spend a lot of time revising and editing and yet there are always more things I wish I had done when the finished product is ready.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.)  The first time was a long time ago but I haven't forgotten the magic of holding my first published book with my name on it in my hands.  And, in fact, the magic is still there each time.  Maybe it's even slightly greater with my self-published books when I have done the formatting, chosen the cover and so on.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.)  Equal, I think.  Usually I get very involved in a particular theme, fairly clear on how the book will begin and end.  But the great expanses of what happens in between don't always come so easily.  Very often I find that as I develop my characters they sort of work it out for me.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  When you're 84. widowed after a wonderful marriage, dealing with the running of a home, a car, a small business, your finances, etc., I don't think there can be a typical day.  When I'm working on a book, it's always at the back of my mind and sometimes the next phase or a problem may be solved while I'm doing something else (especially walking).  It is rare that a day passes when I don't write - in fact I think it is important that writing should be daily.  A writing friend once told me that he made it a practice to finish the day in the  middle of a sentence so that he could get back into the story quickly the next day.  It can work.


Amazon Authors Page:

Book Links:

It'll be better tomorrow:

Courage to Change:

Long Shadows:

Beyond the Broken Gate:

Another Kind of Loving:

The Other Side of Silence:

The Big Muddy:

Cybernocturnalism: The New Age of Horror Publishing

From the blog Servante of Darkness: Words and Sounds for the living, the brainchild of Anthony Seravante, comes this collection of interviews and essays from Horror and Dark Fiction authors. Grab your copy today, take a no holds barred glimpse behind the scenes with some of today, and tomorrows up and coming dark writers as they share the truth behind what drives them to write and publish.

Cybernocturnalism: The New Age of Horror Publishing

Click on the cover for more info and to order.

Interviews and comments from Horror and Dark Fiction Authors on ebook publishing, its ups and downs, advice, criticisms, warnings, and experiences. Contributors and participants include Adrian Chamberlin, Billie Sue Mosiman, Brad C. Hodson, Chantal Noordeloos, Chet Williamson, Cindy Hernandez, Dev Jarrett, Eric A Shelman, Franklin E. Wales, Geoff Brown (aka: G.N. Braun), Graham Masterton, Hank Schwaeble, Kat Yares, Kealan Patrick Burke, Kevin Bufton, Kim Acrylic, Jimmy Pudge, John Shirley, Jonathan Winn, Joseph Rubas, Julianne Snow, Lee Allen Howard, Lisa Lane (aka: Leigh M. Lane), Lisa Morton, Lori R. Lopez, Mark Parker, Mark Rainey, Michael H. Hanson, Ray Garton, Richard Schiver, Rob Meyer, Rod Labbe, Steve Harris, Steven Savile, Tonia Brown, et al. 


Friday's 5 with Sarah Stuart

Sarah Stuart has been a writer since she could hold a pen: her debut novel, published in July 2014, is only the beginning of a lifetime ambition to embrace the freedom of creating characters in depth. Her first publications were articles about wildlife, horses, and dogs, followed by short stories created for mature students when she worked as a literacy tutor. During a period when she ran Kennel Club accredited dog obedience training classes she edited a monthly magazine.

Her passion for the theatre, the major setting for her first series of books, is rooted in dogs. She supplied them for the stage, which gave her an unrivalled opportunity to meet producers, directors, choreographers, wardrobe mistresses, dressers, stagehands, and performers.

History, and British history in particular, interests her but, so far, she has resisted the temptation to write historical novels. Instead a link to English and Scottish royalty runs through her current contemporary work that is firmly imbedded in the twenty-first century. A confirmed Christian, she has no qualms about tackling subjects that push the boundaries of faith and forgiveness.

People hold the greatest fascination of all. Mother, child-minder, foster mother, student landlady, “university wife” meeting the rich, famous, titled and royal, and an appetite for worldwide travel, all contribute to her deep understanding of how individuals react to different circumstances and triggers. Her characters “live”; in one guise or another they have, or do, live.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.)  As a child, I finished my first book when I was eight years old. I still have it, but the only thing good about it is it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I was serious though: absolutely determined to publish a book one day.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.)  Stopping to deal with real life, though I rarely switch off completely. People, and the things they say, trigger ideas so often.

Watch the book trailer at

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.)  The first that was available to the whole world was a mixture of excitement, because it was in a very upmarket magazine, and disappointment. It had been edited so much, for length, not errors, that it lost much of its potential impact.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.)  Character. They drive the story to the extent much of my skeleton plot goes out of the window. I never know the end until I reach it.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  All my work, other than writing, is voluntary so I don’t have a “typical” day, they vary so much. I’m rarely without my laptop: if I have to be I read my current book on my Kindle, highlighting errors and making notes of changes and improvements I decide to make.


ILLICIT PASSION,  Book Two in the Royal Command series, coming soon.