Fridays 5 with AR Simmons

AR Simmons was born in Chicago, but grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He lived on a gravel road and attended a one-room school through the eighth grade. His parents were factory workers, but the family worked a subsistence farm on land cleared from the native forest by his grandfather.

The first small step from the insular rural life came when attended the high school in town where each class numbered around 500. Following graduation, he was a carpenter and factory worker until he became a soldier. A tour of duty in the Far East revealed a world far different from his own. His military days literally acquainted him with his country’s racial, ethnic, and cultural makeup and changed forever his concept of “American.”

The GI Bill financed his entire college career. After declaring and rejecting majors in Business (lacked interest) and Art (passably talented, but color blind), he settled on History, in which he obtained BA and MA degrees. Passing up a doctoral program (he was 27, married, and had no job), he took a public school teaching position "until something better came along." He discovered, to his amazement, that the calling suited him. Thirty years of teaching in a hill school immersed him in the contemporary Ozark culture, the setting of his stories.

After a brief flirtation with science fiction short stories, but gravitated to the mystery/suspense novels which he now writes exclusively. In 2003, he began serializing his novels on-line. In 2013, he published the first of his Richard Carter novels as an e-book. As of 2016, there are ten books in the series.

Today, he and his wife live on the Ozark farm his grandfather settled. His roots (four generations deep) are in the Ozarks. Using the culture, language, and mores of this "Bible Belt" region, he writes culturally immersive stories of obsession set amidst the small-town and rural life that he knows and loves.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page:



Twitter: AR Simmons  @arsimmons_rcn


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

A.)   I took myself seriously as a writer after I gutted my first “complete” novel. “Gutted” is only a slight exaggeration. It was major surgery requiring the excision of sixty per cent of the story and reconstruction of the rest. That was only the craft. It’s necessary, but the art is the thing. When I found that I had created a world and people that I care enough about to dream of, I thought, “I can do this. I want to do this.”

That was a dozen years ago.

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

A.)  It was the grammar at first. Ten novels and uncounted edits have alleviated that. Now, the hardest part is handling back story without becoming tiresome. I write a series of mystery/suspense stories, but each must be a completely “stand alone” story. I learned to use dialogue so that a character could reveal himself and his past without my inundation of the reader with naration. I think naration is a seasoning that should be used sparingly.

Click on cover for more info or to order!


Ex-marine Richard Carter's obsession and fear lead him to commit an insane act. The resulting campaign of physical intimidation and psychological terror throws intelligent but vulnerable young Jill Belbenoit into a nightmare world that may or may not be exactly as it appears. The climax will make you check the locks before going to bed.

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

A.)  Satisfied and yet worried that I could have done more tweaking. I worried about how it would be received, or if anyone would give it a read. To any of you thinking about publishing, I say, "Run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes."

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

A.) I have to make a choice? That’s like asking which leg I could most easily do without. Let’s see. Without characters, the story is nothing. It is only a plot outline or story board. Without a story, the characters are only sketches. They are stills in a moving world. However, I must make a choice. So I pick characters. They give you the “who” and “why.” The story gives you the “what,” the “when,” and the “why” perhaps, but to be real, a story must have characters that become actual people for us, people we care about.

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

A.)   I wake up with thanks for a new day. I put on coffee and take the dogs out. Over coffee and dark chocolate, I check email and social media—maybe play a hashtag game. Then I use the quiet time (from four until eight) to write and edit. When my wife rises, we have coffee and talk while watching the news. Then (we recently retired) we plot the day together. It may include yard and garden work, carpentry, just talking, family business (three children and six grandchildren), or a road trip in the Ozarks. She is my "running buddy" and constant companion as well as first editor, illustrator, and muse.

All Roads Lead to Terror Audiobook Release.

They say all good things come to those who are patient. It's been a long time coming but the audio book version of All Roads Lead To Terror is now available.

Three ways to get your free copy!

  • Sign up for an audible 30 day free trial and get a free copy of All Roads Lead To Terror. Follow this link: Free Book
  • If you're already an audible member I will gladly provide you with a download code in exchange for your honest review. I only have a limited number of these available so act fast. Just drop me a line at with review in the subject line.
  • Share this tweet to be entered into a drawing for a free code. The drawing will take place Friday February 17. Tweet This!

Monday Motivation

Yayyy!!! It's Monday, again.

The #1 way to happiness as a writer.

Be Yourself!!!

Fridays 5 with Thaddeus White

Thaddeus White is a writer of speculative fiction (mostly fantasy), and an avid reader of fantasy and classical history. He also likes watching and betting on F1 (with mixed results).

He's released two fantasy novels (Bane of Souls, and Journey to Altmortis) and his new comedy, The Adventures of Sir Edric [Volume One], will be published shortly.

UK Amazon:
US Amazon:


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

A.)  Several years ago I wrote a story and hawked it around various agents. It wasn't in a fit state to be seen, but the process was taking so long I started writing a new book just to keep my eye in. A few months into that, I started taking the new book seriously, and became more active on the Chrons (a sci-fi/fantasy forum, which includes lots of good writing advice). I took my time with it, and redrafted it a lot.

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

A.) Knowing when to stop. No book's ever perfect, so you can redraft until the cow's come home, but at some point you've got to fling it into the open and hope people don't hate it. A related problem in comedy is that when you read your own jokes so many times they lose almost all the humour, so the final check makes it seem like you've written a comedy with no good jokes... [I write both 'serious' and comedy fantasy].

Click on cover for more info or to order!

When Sir Edric Greenlock, the Hero of Hornska, is summoned to attend the King in the dead of night he fears imminent execution. The King, however, has something else in mind. Priceless royal seals have been stolen, and the King dispatches Sir Edric to retrieve them in a mission that could optimistically be described as suicidal.

Along the way he'll battle rockheaded golems, terrible sorcery and the Ursk: a race of brutal slavers who consider humans to be edible currency.

Accompanied by his pathologically loyal manservant Dog, the prudish elf Lysandra, and a man called Colin, he must travel to the Unholy Temple to retrieve the royal seals from a mysterious thief.

Sir Edric’s Treasure:

It isn't always nice to be wanted, as Sir Edric discovers when an enormous bounty on his head attracts bounty hunters to him like dung attracts flies. To escape near certain capture, he embarks on a daring quest to pay off his bounty by winning the inheritance of the dying, and obscenely wealthy, Archibald Thrift.

Accompanied by his trusty manservant Dog, Raella the librarian and Belinda, a ten foot nun, he must find the Eye of Wisdom to win Archie's wealth. But he'll need all his cunning to best his rivals for Archie's legacy, and the bounty hunters won't give up their prey easily...

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

A.) In terms of a traditionally published work, I'll tell you in a month or two (The Adventures of Sir Edric [Volume One] hopefully out at the end of March). For self-publishing, I'd worked on Bane of Souls for so long I was glad to finally get it out there. So, there was relief, and when the (mostly) positive reviews came in I was encouraged, and took on board the points that were made for the next book (lots of people said they liked the magic, but felt the start was a bit slow, so I improved that for the following book).

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

A.) Character. Obviously, both matter, but it's possible to make the mundane magical if you've got a witty or intriguing character. I also think people identify with characters and care about them. It's the people in a book that readers want to see succeed or fail, live or die.

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

A.) A mix of writing a first draft, which I really like, and redrafting (which feels a little more like work). I don't just work on one project at once any more, it's both more enjoyable and more effective to keep a few plates spinning at the same time. Enough to keep me on my toes without decorating the floor with broken crockery.

Thaddeus also has an anthology coming out February 15 of this year.

Click on cover for more info or to order!


A stone from the starts rips a royal family apart, in a new tale from the banished lands. Weary hero Cam rides to the aid of his dying king, bearing the elixir that may save him. A party of reluctant adventurers pursues a troll across a snowy mountainside – or is it the troll who is hunting them?

Fourteen tales of daring, death, and glory, by fourteen talented writers.

Grab your map, sword, and magical amulet; your journey awaits.

With stories from:

John Gwynne, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gail Z. Martin, Juliet E McKenna, Julia Knight, Juliana Spink Mills, Jacob Cooper, Samanda R Primeau, Steven Poore, Davis Ashura, Dan Jones, Charlie Pulsipher, Anna Dickinson, and Thaddeus White

Coming Soon: Legion of the Damned

After weeks of tweaking and adjusting I've finally reached the end of the project to create the cover for book three of the Deadland Chronicles.

Permit me to introduce you to
Legion of the Damned: 
Coming of age in a post apocalyptic world.

Coming soon to an e-book retailer near you.

No firm date on release has been set as of yet but I'll keep everyone posted. It was fun figuring out how to do this one. I had to stage the bear on a small stage I built in my workshop. Here's one of the raw shots. 

Once I worked this out it was simply a matter of working out the rest of the details using royalty free images. The two eyes in the background occurred naturally and I just had to tweak one of them using the liquify filter in photoshop.

So what do yo think of this cover? Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Fridays 5 with Caleb Ajinomoh

Caleb Ozovehe Ajinomoh was born on 17th November 1990.
He's an enthusiastic Liverpool supporter, big dreamer and print journalist.
His first book "Job Seekers do Stupid Things" was released on the 11th of September, 2015.
His next title "Gentlemen, come and be going" is in the works for a public release early next year.
You'll never find him without five hundred pens, three thousand blank pages and a Liverpool scarf. Oh, suicidal romantic too. xx

Twitter @queerpants

He blogs and stuff at

When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) when I knew it was absolutely impossible for me to succeed at pretty much nothing else. The moment I realized I had begun putting my ten thousand hours into this craft a long time ago and there was no point starting afresh on some other career path. Sometime last year (2015)

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

A.)  I have always maintained that getting your message across how you intend it is not quite as easy as advertised. So I tell writers: do your best job of putting your work out there and hope your reader gets it the way you intended.

Click on cover for more info or to order!

Job seekers do stupid things. All the damn time. It’s almost as if an art form in itself for unemployed people. This book isn’t set out to amplify the job seeker’s everyday gaffe as much as it tries to assure the regular Joe in the job market that it is okay to suck a little, to be clueless about the simplest things to do to hasten your job market success, do a bit of the non—commonsensical while trying to find a job, showing through real life experiences/stories how other people have gone about the business of finding a job successfully and otherwise; find out what kind of job seeker you might be, how best to approach the Nigerian job market and what you should fix to see your job market value hit the ceiling!

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

A.)  Einstein-level feels. Like biblical Lot right before he turned into a pillar of salt. Like a fat kid who ate his cake and somehow still managed to have it.

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

A.) story because I find creating my characters around a story is quite easier than casting characters before I have a story. Ultimately though, later in my career, I’ll attempt to put the characters first just to see how it turns out.  

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

A.)  wake up; get at the bible, some meditation, quick run through of my email and twitter, then get to writing. Writing could of course mean reviewing yesterday’s plot, building on where I stopped from last night or just reading other peoples’ works. Reading for me is still writing because I take mental notes a lot. It is almost mechanical.

Fridays 5 with CearĂșil Swords

I'm alive and well and feel that under the circumstances and when the rest of humankind (both past and present) is taken into account that this state of affairs is both a decent achievement and worthy of recognition.
Other than that, well I was born in Dublin. The one in Ireland, not California. I have never been to the Californian namesake though the public library looks nice in a photo I saw ;) I have lived in several other countries including Canada, Scotland and Spain. I recommend them all.

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

A.) I finished a diploma in entrepreneurship. Something that stuck with me was the advice that we should be involved in something we knew well. I decided to work on a project to help students with the transition out of school and into the wider world. In order to gain some creditability with schools I wrote a book (in fact I wrote two) and sent it to schools. It was kind of my calling card. It helped me get a few gigs talking to the students. The fiction I write developed out of needing some time to myself during my campaign for local elections in 2014.

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

A.) The ideas come thick and fast. The problem is more about completing them. I have several that I was really excited about at different stages but unless I see them through quickly there is a good chance they won't be finished or will have a much longer waiting period before completion.

Click on cover for more info or to order!


Tales of everyday magic have been in short supply but this collection of short stories makes heroes of the hitherto ignored men and women on the ground. So forget Goldilock, Sleeping Beauty and Rumplestiltskin and prepare to enter the real(ish), modern and still magical world of Bedtime Stories for Grown Ups.  

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

A.) I was probably like “well that's done, what's next?”
I think other people were more impressed than I was. I was there so I knew all the bits and pieces that went into it and somehow that made me less in awe of it. Maybe something about it being easier to pull off than people understand. Of course I learned that most of the work takes place after you finish writing ;)

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

A.) I had hazard to say you can still have a story without a lot of character development. But, it's harder to have characters without something for them to do. I might try test that out someday. I kind had a thought like that before. There I go again starting a new story without finished what I'm doing right now :)

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

A.) Lately long nights with a few hours sleep followed by efforts to promote the material I have already published. I am also trying to sort out a new job for myself. Wish me luck :) Or better yet help me make writing my job ;)

Author Links

January Paperback Giveaway.

Wanna win a signed paperback? 

For January I'm giving away one personally autographed print copy of Adversary.

Adversary cover


They have watched from the shadows since the dawn of time.
Jealous gods who once ruled a young planet.
Seeking a return to their former glory.
Only one man stands in their way

What began as a routine murder investigation snowballs into a fight to the death when homicide detective Sam Hardin is drawn into a battle between good and evil. He must come to terms with his own guilt if he hopes to save his son from an otherworldly being bent on the annihilation of mankind.

But first he must learn to love his son, and quit blaming him for the death of his wife. Four years earlier Sam and his pregnant wife walked into the middle of an armed robbery. When the smoke cleared she lay dying on the cold tile floor. At the hospital the doctors were presented with only one option, save the child.

Partially disabled Vietnam vet Jack Griffith has been counting down his final days as the cancer, compliments of his service in South East Asia, slowly consumes his body. Called upon to clear a clogged storm drain,he is stabbed by a dagger that had been stolen to repay a gambling debt. With his lifeblood flowing into the waters of the storm drain, surrounded by rats, he is given another chance at life when an alien presence invades his body.

But at what cost?

Jack surrenders everything that once made him human as he becomes a host to this alien life form. He is driven to search out the only one who can stand in the way of their return. An ancient god who appears in the guise of Sam's brain damaged four-year-old son, whose disturbing gaze holds the secrets of life and death, a child capable of closing the conduit to the past forever.

In the final battle, among the snow-covered peaks on the outskirts of a small mountain town, the fate of mankind hangs in the balance as Sam and Jack go head to head in a fight to the death. Only one will emerge victorious.

Will mankind awaken to new masters?
Or will good prevail?
 Sign me up NOW!
  • Every month this year I will be giving away a personally autographed print copy of one of my books.
  • The winner will be selected randomly from the subscribers who are currently signed up for updates. Those who have already won will be barred from winning again in 2017. 
  • In 2018 everything will be reset as a new round of giveaways commences.  
  • At the end of the year one lucky winner will receive my entire body of work in personally autographed paperbacks, including new releases.
  • As an added bonus you will receive a free copy of White Walker just for signing up.

White Walker ad

Give me my FREE BOOK