Category Archives: Special Events

Guest Post From Author Tracey Sinclair

An Angel on My Shoulder

I’m not a religious person: I wasn’t brought up going to church or Sunday school, and I went to a working class comprehensive school where my RE tried to make the lessons trendy by explaining the underlying religious themes of Star Wars. Consequently, most of my (admittedly very thin) knowledge of the Bible comes from studying literature: so it was in a sense fitting that when I decided to make one of the characters in my novel Dark Dates an angel, I should turn to literature and popular entertainment for my inspiration. So for this guest post, I thought I’d talk about my favourite angels… did I include yours?

Castiel, Supernatural
No surprise to anyone that knows me: until its rapid drop off in quality in Season 7, I was a huge Supernatural fan and I loved the whole angel story arc. Misha Collins’ Castiel is of course a joy (I think my favourite line, ever, is when he’s phoning Dean and going ‘the little voice tells me I’m out of minutes’) but the supporting cast of celestials were great, from Robert Wisdom’s menacing Uriel to Sebastian Roche’s delightfully louche Balthazar. Not to mention Richard Speight Jr’s fantastic take on Gabriel…

Xas, The Vintner’s Luck
The idea for this hypnotic novel came to author Elizabeth Knox in a fever, and it shows: there’s something of the dream state in this lush, lovely tale of an angel who falls in love with a human in early 19th century France. (This was also made into a film, which I admit I haven’t seen yet, and a sequel that is sitting on my to-read shelf, because I’m scared I won’t love either as much as I adore this book…)

The Angels, Wings of Desire/City of Angels
While the Berlin-set original German film is beautiful and moving, it’s not without flaws – it’s overlong and a little ponderous, but worth watching for its lush imagery and romantic themes. The Hollywood remake transferred the action to the US (and, inexplicably, gave it an unhappy ending, in a reversal of the usual rules of American remakes) and while it was a fairly bland romance, it used the same idea of the angels – still, silent, standing in their black coats on top of buildings as they watch the humans below them – to beautiful effect, and both can be seen to be obvious influences to shows like Supernatural.

O’Reilly and Jackson, A Life Less Ordinary
Danny Boyle’s little-loved comedy is rightly regarded as a bit of a misfire, but who wouldn’t love Delroy Lindo and Holly Hunter as a pair of deadpan angels? Owing much to the classics A Matter of Life and Death and Heaven Can Wait, the idea of angels as administrators or put-upon public servants is one that recurs through film and literature – Jim Butcher used it well recently in the Dresden Files – and it never gets old for me.

Clarence, It’s a Wonderful Life
‘Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings’ – come on, who doesn’t sniffle a little at that? Henry Travers’ bumbling, good natured angel Clarence helps Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey realise just how important he has been in the lives of those around him in the ultimate feelgood Christmas movie. Excuse me, I have something in my eye…


UK link:

US link:




BIO: Tracey Sinclair works as freelance copywriter, editor and legal directories consultant.  A diverse and slightly wandering career has included writing factsheets for small businesses, creating web content for law firms, subtitling film and TV and editing one of the UK’s largest legal directories. A keen blogger, she regularly writes for online theatre site Exeunt and science fiction site Unleash the Fanboy and her blog Body of a Geek Goddess was shortlisted in the Cosmopolitan Blogger Awards 2011. Her work has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies and her short play Bystanders was premiered in 2011 as part of the CP Players New Writing Season at Baron’s Court Theatre, London. She has published two small press books (Doll and No Love is This, both Kennedy & Boyd) and is now dipping a toe in the digital self-publishing world with her new urban fantasy novel, Dark Dates.

BLURB: All Cassandra Bick wants is to be left to get on with doing her job. But when you’re a Sensitive whose business is running a dating agency for vampires, life is never going to be straightforward – especially when there’s a supernatural war brewing in London, a sexy new bloodsucker in town and your mysterious, homicidal and vampire hating ex-lover chooses this moment to reappear in your life…

Witty, sharp and entertaining, Dark Dates is a heady mix of vampires, witches and werewolves – with the occasional angel thrown in – and introduces Cassandra Bick, a likeable heroine destined to join the ranks of fantasy’s feistiest females.





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Interview with Tracey Sinclair

Thank you so much for joining me!


Q: How did you come up with the idea of a vampire dating service?

A: I was trying to write a short story for a friend and originally the idea came from a ‘culture clash’ between the old images of vampire seduction in books like Dracula, and our ‘fast food’ culture – so it started off specifically being a speed dating event and grew from there.


Q: Have you ever taken part of a dating service?

A: No, I’m too much of a wimp!


Q: The two male heart throbs in this novel sound absolutely yummy! Was any aspect of the based off of a real person?

A: Haha, I wish! No, I based them more on my own personal fantasies and I used bits and pieces from other characters I like, and put them together in hopefully original ways.


Q: Other than Cassandra who was your favorite character to construct?

A: I had fun with all of them because they are so different, but I do have a soft spot for Medea, Cass’s assistant, simply because I think she is so much more than she seems.


Q:  What scene in the novel did you have the most fun writing?

A: Probably the first scene with Cain and Cass – it’s quite a tense, sexy scene and it was one I wrote very early in the process (I make a lot of notes and write character scenes before I start working) and I felt this summed up so much of the characters in  one short scene.


Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

A: Just keep at it, keep writing. I think lots of people want to ‘write a book’ but think that their first book will get published and make them a fortune but that’s simply not the case 99% of the time – you may end up chucking your first book in a drawer for years! So be patient and keep at it. I got my first short story published when I was 17, but I was 35 before my first novel was published. I’d also say make the work as good as you can and then let it go – if you keep polishing it until it’s absolutely perfect, no one will ever see it.


Q: What made you decide to self-publish this novel?

A: Having already published two books traditionally (albeit in different genres) I did originally consider the traditional print route but was struggling to find a publisher and everything seemed to take so long. So I thought,
what the hell, get it out there, see what people think, rather than spending months waiting for an agent or publisher to get back to me… and so far the reaction has been great, I’m really thrilled.


Q: Can you give us any hints

as to what may be in store in the next novel?
A: It’s going to be a little steamier as the love triangle becomes more complicated, and everyone will be dealing with the repercussions of the events in Dark Dates. There will also be more about Medea and Katie’s relationship when some very unwelcome visitors from their past make an appearance…


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Chapter One of The Erroneous Talibani by Richard Asner


     Hamid Khalifa is the head of the Mid-East Division of the CIA. Born in 1971, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hafez Khalifa who immigrated from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. in 1965. At 18 he attends HarvardUniversity and is there the required time to earn a B.A. and then an MBA in business. After graduation, he joins the U.S. State Department and spends seven years with them before accepting a position as assistant to the head of the Mid-East Division of the CIA. Two years later, he is offered and accepts the job as head of the division.

    It is now February 3, 2007 and Hamid makes a call to long-time friend Larry Lamont, the envoy to the deputy U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.

    “Good morning, Larry, Hamid Khalifa!”

    “Oh yes, Hamid. How have you been? Haven’t seen you since you left the State Department. How has the CIA been treating you?”

    “I haven’t had a moment to call my own since I left there four years ago. It’s a real rat race, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

    “Well, as you may remember, this place can get rather hectic at times too. So what can I do for you today, Hamid?”

    “I was wondering if I could meet with you in your office sometime soon to discuss an item of some importance.”

    “Of course, Hamid, would you care to give me some idea of the subject matter?”

    “I’m sorry, Larry. It’s something I’d rather not discuss over the phone.”

    “I understand. Why don’t we meet here tomorrow at eleven o’clock and perhaps we could have lunch together afterward. Would that fit your schedule?”

    “That sounds great, Larry. See you at eleven.”


    It is eleven A.M., February 4 and Hamid approaches Larry’s secretary. “Hamid KHalifa to see Mr. Lamont.”

    “Oh, yes, Mr. Khalifa. Mr. Lamont is expecting you. Go right in.”

    “Hamid, you’re a sight for sore eyes. You look great. Have you been working out?”

    “Working in, would be more like it, Larry. Working out is not part of my life right now. I wish I had the time.”

    “Well if you’re that pressed for time, this meeting really must be important. I hope you’ll have time for lunch.”

    “Of course! I always have time to visit with old friends.”

    “Well, let’s get to the point. What’s on your mind?”

    “I have recently learned of the negotiations that have taken place between the U.S. and India as well as the U.S. and Pakistan. As the CIA is responsible for the securing and safeguard of all intelligence that is needed in times of crisis, the information you have regarding the safeguards used by the Pakistani government to secure their nuclear weapons is information that should be available to and guarded by the Central Intelligence Agency. This information should be readily available for our agents to act on a moment’s notice. I strongly feel, as head of the Mid-East Division of the CIA, this is information the Agency should have.”

    “I heartily agree with you, Hamid. However, I’m sure you understand I must clear this with the ambassador.”

    Final agreement is reached and the requested information is released to the CIA on February 27.

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Excerpt From Empyreal Fate by Rachel Hunter!

And now, a sneak peak of Empyreal Fate by Rachel Hunter!

Darrion stared, dazed, into Amarya’s face as she loomed above him, concern defining her frame. Lifting himself, he sat, uncertain how he had come to lie upon the ground. He did not remember falling; he had no recollection.

“You did well,” the elf congratulated, extending a slender hand.

Darrion rubbed his head, feeling a tenderness that had not been there before. “What happened?” he asked, taking her hand and rising.

            “I saw not of your mind, but from what I could figure, you gained entrance to the thoughts of a rambling oak. I know this to be true, for I could see your eyes swimming beneath the lids. Such does not occur unless a connection is made.” Amarya beamed, eyes sparkling with pride despite her pupil’s faint. With eager strides, she began smoothing the creases of his tunic. “You drifted too far, however – missing the mark. Your focus broke upon more than a single entity; your mind roamed in places it was not meant. As a result, your consciousness receded, and your celestial bond forged hollow spaces to compensate. Once that barrier snapped, the voices of many within the Illex, not merely the trees, poured through you. It was an overload of understanding – most mortals cannot handle such. But no need to fret; you’ve far surpassed the most capable of beginners. I am simply surprised you made contact at all.”

            Darrion stepped back, feeling the lightness of his chest. With clouded thoughts, he speculated the feat he had barely attained. Few words could describe his awe – the confusion – that enveloped him. Dizziness clothed him as a tumbled reed.

Resting one palm against the bark of an oak, he listened – intent – as though searching for a beating heart against the trunk. Despite his wavering state, he was glad for Amarya’s tutelage. This feeling… it was almost surreal.

            “To my knowledge, never has a human discerned as much as you.” Amarya’s pale hand sought Darrion’s shoulder, and he melted at her touch. “I’m uncertain what it means – for indeed, your ability comes as no coincidence… But the mortal mind proves oft unable to comprehend the spiritual realm. Not that it’s impossible, but man forgets his possession. He knows not of the awareness beyond material senses. You, Darrion, are not like other men. You – you’re different.” She shifted her jaw, examining him as if for answers.

“It’s true… I never knew the depths to which magic strayed,” Darrion murmured, almost trembling from his ethereal venture. “I used to think it all frivolous tricks of the tongue.”

“Not quite,” Amarya offered. “Those who perform incantations, as you suggest, are sorcerers – mere magicians who rely on handholds and false words to create masked illusions. In some cases – nigh, but rare – such illusions become reality. Regardless, the art lacks in form. Words are the derivation of mortals – a human contrivance, unnecessary for understanding. They are not real, as nature is real. Nay, words are but crude concepts – trivial in the matter of divine understanding. What is meant in one tongue may be opposite in another. How can a concept so unsure create something so pure? The answer is simple: it cannot.”

-–Scene from Empyreal Fate– Part One of Rachel Hunter’s Llathalan Annal series.

You can purchase this book Here


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Interview with Author Rachel Hunter

Hey guys! I would like to thank Rachel Hunter for a wonderful Interview and I hope you all enjoy! 😀 

Author Bio: Born in 1993, Rachel Hunter has always been fascinated with words and the intricate way in which they combine. Since a child, she has been an avid writer, winding vibrant tales and elaborate stanzas on folded bits of paper.

As the years passed, her love of words never died; her adoration for reading fared no equal. Always with her nose in a book, Rachel took fondly to works spanning all genres. Yet it was the compelling grasp of fantasy and science fiction that wrenched her fascination above all.

In March of 2012, Rachel published her first short story with Trestle Press, titled, “Perfect Nothing”, which recounted her harrowing relationship with an eating disorder and was also fueled by her passion for psychology. But her writing does not end there. While currently pursuing a degree in psychology and in the medical field at the University of Oklahoma, she aspires also to illuminate the creative spark of eager readers. In her desire to incite intrigue, she is simultaneously exploring new worlds and creating vast empires of her own. “Empyreal Fate” is only the first in her Llathalan Annal series. Indeed, it is only the beginning.

Q: How did you come up with Llathala, is it something you envisioned of your own creation or did something inspire you?

A: I’ve been inspired by many stories I’ve read in the past; but, honestly, Llathala just sort of came to me. Actually, one of my main characters – Amarya – came to me first. And then the land materialized around her. I think she whispered about it in my ear and described it for me herself. I had only to listen – and understand.

Q: With such unusual names for your characters and even for the places, how do you come up with what to call them in the first place?

A: Titles, as well as names, seem to come easily for me. Again, it’s almost as if the characters choose their names for themselves. I simply create their personalities, morals, and heritage. They do the rest.

One name that I was always sure I’d include in a novel someday was Nevaeyeh. I hope that – if I ever have a child in the future and she is female – to call her that. I find it to be a beautiful name. And it works well for the being in my story. (Watch out for her. She’s more than she seems.)

Q: I know an author falls in love with their main characters, so one of my favorite questions to ask is which of the side characters did you enjoy the most?

A: So far, I’ve enjoyed writing Pin the most. Pin – short for Pinoque – is a creature I made up, called a Cauychin. He’s a rascally beast, cat-like almost. He is quite the witty creature, and he always insists on wearing a funny hat with a thick plume. Oh, yes, one cannot forget: he is also friend to the elves (Amarya in particular. She is the elf featured on the cover of Empyreal Fate).

Q: In your bio it says you are pursuing a degree in psychology and in the medical field at the University of Oklahoma; do any of your studies play a part in your writing of Empyreal Fate?

A: Indeed! I enjoy implementing my knowledge of psychology and personality into my characters and their environment. I am quite the ‘people-watcher’, so I’ve much to relate between characters in my fictional world and figures in the real world. Besides, I’ve incorporated various motifs in Empyreal Fate that reflect a few of my ideals. Such can be related to my own psychological insight.

Q: You are published through Hydra Publications. What made you decide on that publishing house versus self-publication or other publishing houses?

A: I wanted to go with a publisher that was willing to aid its authors with marketing, editing, and the entire publishing gig – one that was more like a writing family: supportive and ever-helpful. Thus, after several hours of research, I submitted a few query letters out to relevant publishers and was even asked to send more info to some. In the end, I received offers for two contracts – and during the same week! I chose Hydra in the end, for they dealt solely with speculative fiction genres, and their house was growing – indicating positive relationships between publisher and authors. I made the right decision. I couldn’t be happier.

Q: Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring authors?

A:  I say this to everyone – not just writers – but as far as advice…. READ. Seriously. And write to your heart’s content. It doesn’t have to make sense at all (in fact, the more nonsensical, the better). But the Muse must come out somehow; it must be beckoned and tamed, and then it must be heeded and groomed. But without the “experience” of literature under one’s belt – from reading, writing, and even research – the craft of writing will fall in shadow. At least – I find that immersing myself in words helps spark the creative flair. It gets the cogs turning, at the least.

Q: Empyreal Fate is book one of the Llathalan Annals, could you give us a hint as to what we might expect from the next book?

A: I’ve actually written the entire series, and there are five books total. However, the other four are only rough drafts, and I’ve yet to go back through them for heavy edits and rewrites. So in the end, the Llathalan Annal may end up with more – or even fewer – sequels. It all depends on whether I want to rewrite the other four books and incorporate new ideas – or whether the Muse wants to guide me with something different. We’ll see… But my only ‘hint’, if you wish to call it such, is that the world will indeed return. Part Two will be upon us soon. Are you ready?

For More Information About the Author:

Rachel Hunter’s Blog

Rachel Hunter’s Website

Find Rachel on Facebook

Follow This Author on Twitter

For more information on Empyreal Fate:

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