Interview with Mark Henwick

I’d like to welcome author Mark Henwick to the blog today.  He’s an urban fantasy writer who currently has five full-length novels and several novellas out so far.  They are all part of the Bite Back Series, though two novellas are spin-offs.  Today, we’ll be focusing on his first book, Sleight of Hand.  You can find out more details about it at the end of this post.  There is also a giveaway opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Now, on to the interview…

What is your current country of residence? Have you visited other countries?

I live in England, 10 minutes from Windsor, and about 20 minutes south of Heathrow. I was born in Africa and I love travel, so yes, I’ve visited lots of places and hope there are lots more to come. One of my current projects is to visit American states. This year I did the Rockies in a road trip: Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Next year, I’m wondering where/how to go. West coast? East coast? Middle? Road trip, cycling, hiking or Amtrak?

If someone was willing to pay you a million dollars cash to run down the street naked, would you do it?

They’d pay me to do it?

Hold on a minute; I’d need to know which street first. Watling Street in England starts in Wales and finishes on the coast near Dover, so I couldn’t run that, naked or not. But the local main street which is less than 100 yards long? $10,000 a yard? Oh, yes.

What genres of books do you like to read?

I read very widely. Crime, Urban Fantasy, SciFi, History and Thrillers are all well represented in my physical and virtual libraries. I’ll read almost any novel to learn how the author tells their story, and I have some very strange ones in my collection. Even them books they call liter-at-ure.

I have quite a few reference books about the process and method of writing. Some of them I’ve actually read.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Crazy is a state of mind. Not much seemed crazy at the time. However, in hindsight, there are a lot of contenders for this! Giving up the day job to start writing my first book is near the top of the list.

Name a few of the TV shows you like to watch.

Game of Thrones is compulsory, of course, because my daughter, Jessica, is Lady Nymeria, one of the Sand Snakes of Dorne. Anything with my daughter – so I will be watching her as Colleen Wing in Iron Fist, the new Netflix Marvel show starting next year.
Other than that… I watch a lot of American shows to tune my ear, given that the books I write are based in America and I live in England. I like shows that develop characters and I like crime shows. Strangely, I find paranormal TV shows usually don’t quite cut it for me.

So… Blue Bloods, NCIS, CSI (the Las Vegas one), True Detective (preferred the first one), Homeland, In Plain Sight, Rookie Blue, Chicago PD, etc. For all of them, I generally find the first few seasons much better, and then they get caught up in a caricature of themselves.

What would be your weapon of choice if society crumbled and it was each man/woman for themself?

The power of persuasion, to build society back up. And do it better this time.

What is your favorite meal (including side dishes)?

Asian fusion. Spice and variety. Tasting menus, especially with wine.

If you could witness any event in history, what would it be?

Nooooo! I’d much rather not see the events, so I can sit and write about what might have really happened.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Lol. Rocky Mountain oysters (hint: not oysters), durian fruit (smells like the toilet, tastes like vanilla ice cream), lamb’s brains, marrow, rotten shark, puffer fish.

If money were no object, what kind of car would you get?

An aeroplane. Seriously, when I learned to drive, it was fun. There is less and less of Europe where driving is even remotely describable as fun these days. Across the pond, or down in Oz / NZ, I guess there’s more scope and it would involve a big, slow turning engine, seats like armchairs and good air-conditioning. Or a fast motorcycle.

What would be your ideal writing retreat?

Somewhere without internet and traffic. In the mountains, by the beach, or in the place I’m actually writing about. With similarly minded friends. Wine, beer and great food a couple of miles walk away. And good weather.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

It varies with mood and weather. Flying my microlight, off-road cycling or walking, and scenic photography are all contenders.


Thanks so much for being here with us today, Mark.  I envy you for your world travels, and you’ve managed to visit a couple of states I haven’t yet. As for Rocky Mountain oysters, I’ve always known better than to try those, lol.  You should give calf fries a try while you’re at it!



Mark was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often.

An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, he ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified him to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing.

When not working, Mark gets high by the slightly less conventional means of a small microlight aircraft or down and dirty on a mountain bike.

He lives with his family in the south of England, and can often be found in the Rockies.

You can visit him at his website here:

His Amazon author page here:

Or his Facebook page here:


Mark has been generous enough to offer one of the following books below (winner’s choice) to a randomly chosen person from the comments section.  Be sure to leave a comment by Tuesday, October 25th for a chance to get the prize.  A winner will be chosen and notified shortly after that by email.

(1) Sleight of Hand

(2) Both the novellas in the Bite Back: Outsiders companion series (The Biting Cold and Winter’s Kiss)

(3) Saigon: The Reach of Lies—the first book in a new companion series which will be published next year. This series will follow a Vietnamese woman, Bian, from her sale as a young girl to a French couple in 1890, to her appearance in the main Bite Back books in 2011.

Companion series books are available as Kindle or ePub.

Sleight of Hand is available as Kindle, ePub or an audiobook.

sleight-of-hand-v3BOOK SUMMARY:

“This is the gift and the sorrow of the Athanate; to see your loves pass before you like the days of summer while your heart still beats. To keep your vigil in the shadows and rise again with every sun.”

For Amber Farrell, post-military life as a PI has its ups and downs: She’s been hit by a truck. She’s being sued by a client. Denver’s newest drug lord just put out a contract on her. The sinister Athanate want her to come in for a friendly chat. And it’s only Tuesday.

Enter Jennifer Kingslund: rich, gorgeous—a tough businesswoman who’s known for getting what she wants in the boardroom and the bedroom. Someone’s trying to sabotage her new resort and destroy her company—and she wants Amber to find out who.

The answers lead Amber past Were and Adept, right back to the Athanate—and a centuries-old war that could threaten not just Denver, but the nation that Amber swore to protect and serve.

And all sides want to claim her for their own…

Purchase link:


Interview with Kate Danley

I’ve got author Kate Danley here with us to answer a few questions about herself.  She primarily writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and Penny Dreadful stories, plus play-writing!  So far, Kate has published 15 novels, 5 short stories, 1 collaboration, and 12 plays.  For today, we’ll be highlighting a book from her Maggie MacKay series- The Ghost and Ms. MacKay (A Maggie MacKay Holiday Short Story).  You can find out more information about it at the end of this post.  There is also a giveaway, so be sure to check it out!

Now, for the interview…

What is the longest you’ve ever stayed awake?  Why?  

I once was an actress in a film called “My Turn”.  We filmed in a movie theater and could only get into the space after the last movie ended.  But since it was a small indie project, I had to keep my office day job.  So, I think I went three or four days without sleeping.  I went straight from work to set and then from set to work.  I started seeing things out of the corner of my eye that weren’t there and falling asleep in between blinks.  When I finally was able to grab a whole two hours of sleep, it felt like I had slept for a week.

What is your beverage of choice when you first wake up?  What happens if you can’t get it?

I am a coffee addict.  In the words of Jeff Bezos, you haven’t had enough until you can thread a moving sewing machine.  I get zombified without it.

Name a few of the TV shows you like to watch.

If anyone is looking for shows to add to their streaming queue, I highly recommend The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Green Wing, X-Files, Moone Boy, Bluestone 42, Friday Night Dinner, Episodes, The Great British Bakeoff, Fixer Upper, and Agatha Raisin Mysteries.

If you could witness any event in history, what would it be?

I sure would have loved to have seen an original Shakespeare production at the Globe.

If money were no object, what kind of car would you get?

A Morgan Aero Supersports… or Herbie the Lovebug

Name a mystical creature you wish you could have as a pet.

Not so much a pet, but I’ve always been fascinated by the Gnome books and illustrations by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet.  I would love to walk out into my garden to discover a family of gnomes had taken up residence.

What would be your ideal writing retreat?

Annie Dillard has a gorgeous book called The Writing Life.  Her ideal writer’s retreat is a cinderblock office with no windows.  Because the room itself is so unremarkable, you are forced to retreat to the page and create a wonderful world in your imagination.  Some writer friends of mine have taken to booking week long cruises, but they just stay on the boat (with its lack of Wifi) and write.  I know that when I’m in the UK, I am so moved by the art and history and people that I come back to my hotel room and am up till all hours because the Muse won’t let me sleep.  So, perhaps a quiet little room in London looking out over the rooftops, no internet or phones, with tickets to a West End show every night.


Thanks so much for being here with us today, Kate.  Glad to have fellow coffee addict drop by and love your idea of an ideal writing retreat!



Kate Danley began her writing career as an indie author in 2010. Since then, her books have been published by 47North, she spent five weeks on the USA Today bestseller list, has been honored with various awards, including the Garcia Award for Best Fiction Book of the Year, and her Maggie MacKay series has been optioned for film and television development. Her play, Building Madness, won the prestigious Panowski Playwriting Award.

Her works have been produced in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, and the UK. She has over 300+ film, television, and theatre credits to her name, and specializes in sketch, improv, and Shakespeare. She wrote sketch for a weekly show in Hollywood and has performed her original stand-up at various clubs in LA. She learned on-camera puppetry from the man who played Mr. Snuffleupagus and performed the head of a 20-foot dinosaur on an NBC pilot. She lost on Hollywood Squares.

You can visit her at:


Kate is doing an an Audible giveaway of Queen Mab (narrated by British actor Julian Rhind-Tutt).  For your chance to win, be sure to leave a comment below by Tuesday, October 18th.  One lucky person will be contacted shortly after that to get their prize.


book-coverBOOK SUMMARY:

The Ghost & Ms. MacKay
A Maggie MacKay Holiday Short Story

It’s Halloween and Maggie’s mother is throwing a haunted house… as in, she’s invited all the ghosts of the neighborhood over for a party. Unfortunately, one of the ghosts is not in high spirits and, in fact, is wanted by the Other Side’s finest. It is up to Maggie and Killian to find out what caused this soul’s unrest and return him to his happy haunting ground.
This story originally appeared in the Nightshade anthology.

WARNING: This short story contains cussing, brawling, and unladylike behavior. Proceed at your own risk.

Purchase links:

Amazon    iTunes    Nook    Kobo


The first book Maggie for Hire is available free on all platforms.

Cover reveal for Forged by Flames

I am pleased to finally reveal the cover for the next novel in the Dragon’s Breath Series, Forged by Flames.  Those of you who joined my new Facebook fan group already got to see it yesterday and chat with myself and the cover model, but for everyone else this is it!


COVER ART– Jeff Brown


MODEL– Rahela Mahmood

You can add the book to your Goodreads TBR list here:

I am very pleased with how the design turned out.  Jeff Brown did a fantastic job with the artwork and making the cover look exactly like I wanted. He totally worked from scratch, though I did ask him to put a post-apocalyptic look to downtown Oklahoma City in the background.

The photo shoot went really well, too.  Below, you can see some behind-the-scenes pics with myself, the model (Rahela), photographer (Josh), make-up artist (Celeste) and her helper (Mauri).  It was a lot of fun.  We also got tons of images for future covers and promo art, one of which has already been added to my new website banner.  Another is currently running around as a Facebook ad some of you might have seen.  I personally designed the website banner and ad, though, so if you don’t like them that’s all on me.  I’m slowly getting the hang of Photoshop!

Note- The first photos in black and white were taken by the photographer.  The ones in color were taken by me on my phone.

behind-the-scenes-2 behind-the-scenes-3 Continue Reading →

Susan Illene’s Dark Avengers

This is quick post to let you all know about a new Facebook group available for fans of my books.  Up until now, there hasn’t been an easy place to go once you’ve finished the Sensor Series or Dragon’s Breath Series novels to discuss it with fellow readers.  I thought it was about time to change that.

One reason I haven’t done this before is that I don’t have time to run it myself, and I didn’t feel right about it anyway because it should be a place where you can hold discussions freely without my involvement.  Thankfully, I found two awesome ladies (Rachel and Sarah) who follow both my series and were happy to run it for me.  They are also part of the team that helps with brainstorming for my novel covers and planning the cover model photo shoots.  They know my books well, and I’m confident they’ll make great moderators.  I will stop by once in a while for special posts and Q&A sessions, but other than that it’s all for the readers.

The title of this post may have tipped you off on the name of the group.  After much thought and consideration, we went with “Susan Illene’s Dark Avengers“.  We tried a lot of different ideas in an attempt to find something that didn’t favor one of my series over the other, and for whatever reason that one stuck with us the most.  It’s catchy.  Just go with it 🙂

Things to expect with the group

  • Sneak peeks at covers before they’re revealed anywhere else
  • Exclusive giveaways
  • Early snippets from upcoming books
  • Character highlights before the next novel releases to help refresh your memory on who they are and where they were at the last time you saw them.
  • Reminders for when books release in various formats (ebook, audio, paperback)
  • Q&A sessions with me
  • Group discussions of my books before and after releases (anything with spoilers will be marked accordingly for those who may not be caught up)
  • A chance to hang out with like-minded readers

There are probably more things I’m not remembering to list right now, but you get the basic idea.  This will be a closed group with two moderators who will post regular topics and help keep things civil so you can feel comfortable there.  If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, and you want to join the Dark Avengers, the link is below. The moderators will be checking in regularly to approve new members and welcome you to the group!

Interview with Devon Monk

We’ve got author Devon Monk here with us today to answer a few questions about herself.  For those who don’t know, she is an urban fantasy, science fiction, humor, and horror author who has published twenty novels and a short story collection so far.  Some of you may recognize her from her Allie Beckstrom series, but today we are going to highlight the newest novel from her Ordinary Magic series–Devil’s and Details.

You can find out more information about it at the end of this post, as well as a giveaway Devon is doing.  Now, on to the interview!


What is your beverage of choice when you first wake up?  What happens if you can’t get it?

Coffee! Plain ol’ drip brewed coffee. Of course, that’s pretty much my beverage of choice 24/7. And if I don’t get it, well, it’s not a pretty thing.


Do you have pets?  If so, what kind and do they help you write your books?

We recently adopted a Chow-chow/Husky mix from our local shelter. She’s the strangest dog I’ve ever owned. She’s nocturnal, isn’t afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks, and almost never barks, growls, or whines. It’s possible her previous owner was a vampire. I’m not sure if she’s helped me with my writing, but she did help me break my thumb while I was writing DEVILS AND DETAILS, book #2 of the Ordinary Magic series this year. Good times, dog.

vampire-dog-in-the-sand vampire-dog

If someone was willing to pay you a million dollars cash to run down the street naked, would you do it?

Yes. I’m a pretty shy person, but a million dollars would bring out my inner extrovert.

Name a few of the TV shows you like to watch.

Supernatural, Flash, Sherlock (BBC), Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Drunk History, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Jessica Jones (haven’t tried Luke Cage yet, but am excited about it), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Modern Family, Project Runway, and Shark Tank.

What would be your weapon of choice if society crumbled and it was each man/woman for themself?

A coffee pot. No, wait. A solar-powered coffee pot. Because coffee.

If money were no object, what kind of car would you get?

A 1967 black four-door Chevy Impala. Baby! (Shout out to my SPN peeps!)


Thanks so much for being here with us today, Devon.  You and I share a few favorite TV shows, including Supernatural!  Also, love your dog.  She is adorable 🙂



Devon Monk is a national bestselling author of urban fantasy. Her series include Ordinary Magic, House Immortal, Allie Beckstrom, Broken Magic, Shame and Terric, and the Age of Steam steampunk series. She also writes the occasional short story which can be found in various anthologies and in her collection: A Cup of Normal.

She lives happily beneath the rainy skies of Oregon. When not writing, she can be found drinking too much coffee and knitting silly things.

You can visit her at her website here:

Or her Amazon author page here:


Devon Monk is giving away an ebook copy of either Death and Relaxation (Ordinary Magic book #1) or Devils and Details (Ordinary Magic book #2).  Winner’s Choice!  Be sure to leave a comment below for your chance to win.  You have until Tuesday, October 11th, before the giveaway ends.  One lucky winner will be selected and notified shortly after that.

devilsanddetailsBOOK SUMMARY:

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Police Chief Delaney Reed is good at keeping secrets for the beach town of Ordinary Oregon–just ask the vacationing gods or supernatural creatures who live there.

But with the first annual Cake and Skate fundraiser coming up, the only secret Delaney really wants to know is how to stop the unseasonable rain storms. When all the god powers are stolen, a vampire is murdered, and her childhood crush turns out to be keeping deadly secrets of his own, rainy days are the least of her worries.

Hunting a murderer, outsmarting a know-it-all god, and uncovering an ancient vampire’s terrifying past isn’t how she planned to spend her summer. But then again, neither is falling back in love with the one man she should never trust.

Purchase links:

Amazon    iTunes    Nook    Kobo