Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview: Jonathan M Lazar

Author Jonathan Lazar describes himself as a queer and quirky, mostly fantasy writer that tries to break conventions but who also plays with tropes. He loves tea, making homemade pizza, and posting pictures of his cats on his social media accounts. Please welcome Jonathan to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Jonathan M. Lazar, and I am mostly a fantasy author. I say mostly, because I also write science fiction, and I have an LGBTQ+ romantic comedy available. I am self-published for most of my works, but I have been fortunate enough to have my Urban Fantasy series picked up by Kyanite Publishing. I am originally from Chicago, but have lived in Kalamazoo (Michigan), Springfield (Illinois), Saint Louis (Missouri), and currently live in overly sunny Tucson. My husband and I are owned by two adorable Siamese cats named Ping and Pong.

When and why did you begin writing?

Funny story actually. Back in the third grade we had a homework assignment to use as many of the weekly spelling words as possible. I used all ten, in what would now be considered a fan fic. I wrote a very terrible Power Rangers story, I don’t remember what it was about now. My teacher said that I would go on to win an Oscar (I am still waiting for that to happen).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I can say I first considered myself a true writer, after my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) way back in 2008. This was when I wrote my first 50k word novel for a fantasy series I only had notes on. Prior to that, everything was notes, or attempts at short stories.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

This book and the entire Gehenna Cycle series actually, takes place in the far, far future of my science fiction series, the Terran Rising series. I know crazy, magic in a science fiction series, right? But I found a way, one that will eventually be explored not only as I get the science fiction series available, but as I continue on with the Gehenna Cycle. So stay tuned.

What inspired you to write this book?

Fate of the Flame is actually the third book in the Gehenna Cycle that I wrote. During my first NaNoWriMo, I wrote, Shadow of the Queens, which is the second in the series, and then during another NaNoWriMo I would go on to start the third book in the series. However this was always the intended first book in the series, chronologically. I knew the characters, the world, and the idea, but actually writing it down, took a very long time, mainly I had to figure out how they got from point A to point B and met everyone in-between while still staying consistent with the world I had built.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For many of my works, I am a sucker for the small details. I love describing the way the suns rays hit fabric, water, or a window. I love describing the way a piece of clothing moves in both the wind and as someone adjusts themselves, or the smells of the building or what’s in a cup. I like to fully immerse not only myself but my readers in the world. I find this adds such depth to the world that I am building.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Fate of the Flame was determined as the ultimate title, since the novel revolves around the Augur prophecy that details the Order’s fall by the hands of the Boy with Sapphire Eyes. Wish there was a more hidden meaning behind that, but its not. Sometimes titles naturally manifest and are in direct correlation to the novel’s happenings and sometimes, they are more symbolic. Though I can say the original title of this book was almost Destiny of the Flame.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

This novel is an epic story with a prophecy, and through out the entire book, there is the theme of lies vs truth. As the religious, Order of the Unnamed Goddess will do everything they can to keep power, and are not below lying to the populace.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I want to say outright no, as this book is part of my epic fantasy series, however, this series started off as a very terrible fantasy story involving myself and my friends (back in high school). So I do see myself as my MC, Bastian. Also because I was the main character when I first wrote the story… then reworked it to make it what it is today. Very little, aside from some names that remain.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Most definitely this would have to be Roger Zelazny and his Chronicles of Amber series. His writing made me realize that fantasy can have elements of science fiction and vice-a-versa, which plays heavily into the Gehenna Cycle.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My cover designer was OlivaProDesign on Fiverr. I have used her for several other of my novels, including my fairy tale fantasy series Bound by Wolves & Roses. She is both professional and as you can see, just fantastic. I chose her, because as an independent author, it can be difficult to get fantastic covers for a relatively low-cost. This satisfied both requirements.

I am also going to throw a shout-out to my amazing editor, Katlyn Webb of Ambition Editing, LLC. I found her on a whim, or she found me. But she has been instrumental in editing many of my works, including Fate of the Flame.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice has to be keep writing, make a doable word count goal. Start small and build up, and most of all, get that first draft done! You will always hear that your first draft is crap, and I have plenty of crappy first drafts. Your first draft is just to get your work finished, everything after that is perfecting the work.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I always love hearing from everyone. I am quite chatty on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, regarding writing, my cats, food, tea, and endless array of topics. Feel free to comment on my posts, tell me what you love, what you hate. Sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a free novella. Also don’t miss out on my author page on Facebook, because that’s where I also occasionally run the bulk of my contests.

Jonathan M. Lazar
Tucson, Arizona

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 Fate of the Flame

Cover Artist:  OlivaProDesign
Editor: Katlyn Webb (editor)
Publisher: Kyanite Publishing

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Author Interview: Adric Laser

If a pen is truly more powerful than a sword then it must be the author that can make that statement come to life. It is Author Adric Laser’s goal to spend what’s left of his life bringing about positive change through publications as he helps people gain a better understanding of themselves through stories. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Locke Dauch and I am a science fiction author that likes to publish work using the pen name “Adric Laser.” I’m also a featured author on several popular blogs and an educator with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Western Washington University and a PGCEi from Nottingham University. After a short career in corporate America, I decided it was time to travel and see the world to expand my horizons. As a result, I’ve spent over ten years living in Asia teaching primary and secondary students Science, Maths, History and English. I currently live in Vientiane, Laos and spend my days writing and raising a small kitten.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was in my early teens but most of my work remained in notebooks or files that never ended up getting published. I’ve spent the past few years publishing non-fiction books with an aim to help people solve problems in their lives.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It wasn’t until more recently that I decided I wanted to focus my efforts on fiction writing and storytelling. I regret not having pushed myself harder in the past to begin doing this at an earlier age as I find it immensely enjoyable to create the stories that I’ve had the pleasure of working on over the past two years.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

In the past year I’ve been actively working to produce a science fiction series entitled “Dystopity.” This series is authored using the pen name “Adric Laser,” because, well, I just thought it sounded so much cooler than using my actual name! A book I’ve recently authored and published that I’d like to share with you today is entitled “A Rebel Was Born on Horus.”

This is a short novella that is about a military officer named Annabelle that realizes that she may not be cut out for the type of work required enforcing policies she becomes to see as tyrannical. She is forced to make some very tough decisions throughout the course of the story as rebel terrorists occupy her space station with the intent of taking over full control.

You’ll have to read the story to find out if she ultimately becomes successful in wrestling back control of the station and figuring out what role she actually wants to play based on the events that end up taking place on Horus.

What inspired you to write this book?

There is always a lot to be learned from conflict and I thought creating a story about a female officer’s transformation from model cadet to rebel would be quite interesting in the context of a terrorist invasion. Sometimes we can only figure out who we really are when we are put under pressure. Furthermore we don’t always know who we are working with until a situation arises which gives us an opportunity to see how they react. Annabelle is a character I’ve written in to an upcoming novel and I thought it would be interesting for readers to understand what really makes her tick. This novella gives my readers an opportunity to learn about her in more depth and really understand the underlying motivations that drive her actions in the novel set to be released in late 2020.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For my science fiction titles I’ve developed a writing style in which I often remain in 3rd person while sometimes going into 1st person to give the reader a chance to get into the mindset of the characters I’ve created and better understand them. From a lifetime of reading science fiction titles it seems there is no hard and fast rule to writing styles in the genre so I prefer to focus on making sure I’m immersed in the story so I’m better able to immerse my readers in the story as well.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

This book is set on Horus space station. It is a corporate owned station built into a large asteroid. The story is about a transformation that the main character goes through as a direct result of the conflict she faces aboard the station and her difficult decision to abandon the loyalty she once had in her employer.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I suppose it’s a story that asks readers to reflect upon their own lives in a way and ask themselves if they are doing something that benefits them materially at the expense of others. It may make them think about their own loyalties and ask themselves if they are truly on the right side. If not, perhaps it could motivate them to change sides if they felt there was a way to right a wrong or gain integrity and righteousness by making a difficult pivot in their life.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I’m definitely not a stranger to the concept of self-reflection and the experience of remaking myself into what I believe is a better person. As a young adult I realized that I had been quite selfish growing up and wasn’t nearly as respectful as I should have been to the people who have tried to help me. I regretted that fact and resolved to become a teacher in Asia to try to make up for some of my shortcomings growing up by helping others try to avoid some of the same mistakes and pitfalls that I found myself making during my early and late teen years.

What authors have most influenced your life?  What about them do you find inspiring?

There are definitely too many to name. I remember reading “Of Mice and Men” when I was quite young by John Steinbeck. Something about it mesmerized me. Perhaps because I felt a deep connection and understanding with the crisis, conflict and nature of the characters. The story had a sense of realism to it beyond almost anything I had ever read.

Another book that left a serious impression on me was Fyodor Dostoevsky. I remember how the book just sucked me into the fearful situation of getting caught as if I was the main character trying to evade capture. It’s a rare gift to be able to connect with someone so well in your writing that they can imagine being in your character’s shoes as if they had been transported to some far off land.

In regard to science fiction, two authors that I really look up to are Orson Scott Card and Larry Niven. Their books have been a huge inspiration in deciding to become a science fiction author and pick up in some ways where they have left off.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I actually designed the cover of the book myself. I’ve spent a lot of time working with designers and I just sort of felt that no matter how much guidance I give them it’s hard to get them to create what I envision for a project. Assuming one of my novellas or novels gets significant traction I may decide to hire professional help and update the cover but for now I’ve received a lot of good feedback based on the presentation of my novellas and don’t have any immediate plans to change any of them.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I would say, forget about trying to make people happy and write about topics and stories that you find interesting, exciting and passionate about. Passion can be a very powerful tool for creating literary masterpieces, don’t underestimate it!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I would just like to thank them for taking the time to read one or more of my stories. Time is probably the most precious asset we possess and wasting it is truly a cause for regret. I’ll always write with my readers in mind but I’ll do it in a way in which I feel that my time is being used productively and for a good cause. I write not just for myself but in hopes that the stories I bring to life can have a positive impact on that of my readers.

Adric Laser
Seattle, Washington

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A Rebel Was Born on Horus

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Author Interview: Jon R Osbourne

Author Jon Osbourne could be described as a long time gamer who took up the keyboard to tell the stories my dice wouldn’t. He would not be the first writer to transition from the gaming realm to writing books. Please welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

I’m Jon R. Osborne, a Midwestern nerd who split his childhood between Chicagoland and rural Illinois. I started playing role-playing games when I was 13 and I never lost the passion for the hobby. I was a journalism major in college but did almost no work in the field after graduation. I work in scientific logistics – at least until I reach the point I can turn full-time writer.

When and why did you begin writing?

I first started trying to write fiction in college. I was a journalism major, and I wanted to find a way to share the adventures from my D&D campaigns. My first attempt at a book was a collaboration with two of my players trying to write out our college campaign.

Later, I began writing scenes for the players as ‘behind the scenes’ and between session material, as well as filling out recaps of game sessions to include extra material.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I didn’t consider myself a writer until a publisher accepted and published my first short story. I went to the convention where the book launch party was held and signed copies of the book. It was surreal.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My current book is set in my urban fantasy universe and follows my Milesian Accords trilogy. It focuses on what happens when magic returns to the world, with various characters trying to deal with the fall out.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had hoped that the story would continue after I finished the trilogy, and reader feedback inspired me to keep the story going. The original Milesian Accords was inspired by the Irish legends in Lebor Gabala Erenn – The Book of Invasions, specifically the conflict between the Tuatha De Danann and the Milesians.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t have a singular style, but I tend to use the same style for a given setting. For example, in the Milesian Accords and ensuing books in that setting, I write each chapter from a single character’s point of view.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The current book I’m working on is titled “The House Between Worlds.” The origin becomes obvious if you’ve read the Milesian Accords, but in a nutshell the home of one of the character’s becomes a waystation between the mundane world and the otherworld.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t consciously put messages in my work. I think you can weave in a message if you choose and do it organically without beating the reader over the head. Great examples are Star Trek or the X-Men. The X-Men’s struggle against anti-mutant sentiment was a parallel of the civil rights movement, with Professor X and Magneto as stand-ins for Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The events in my books do not reflect my own experiences. I’ve never had a supernatural delegation turn up on my doorstep (checks door). A few characters in my urban fantasy books may have attributes inspired by people I know, and one minor character is a tribute to a deceased friend, but overall the characters stand on their own. Some of the locations are based on places from my childhood – especially Liam’s farmhouse.

In the military science fiction books, it there are more characters inspired by real people. Some of these are ‘red shirts’ – for some reason mil sci fi fans love to see themselves go out in a blaze of glory. One of the POV characters for my most recent mil sci fi book started in the previous book as a red shirt I never got around to ending, and he filled a role in the next book. I won’t say if he made it to the end of the newer book.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein were my major science fiction influences. They made me believe someday mankind would step out into the stars. Larry Niven’s “Ringworld” was one of the first science fiction books I remember reading – I was probably too young (it was my mother’s book) and some of it went over my head, but I was amazed. I stumbled across Heinlein’s books in a store in the mall – one of the first of his I read was “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.”
As for fantasy, early on I read the Thieves’ World series, Stephen Brust’s Vlad Taltos books, and David Eddings’ Belgariad. My first urban fantasy was courtesy of Charles de Lint, and he inspired my urban fantasy writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I see a difference between inspiration and mentor. While the aforementioned authors were inspirations, they never provided feedback. If I had to name a mentor, I’d say it was my publisher Chris Kennedy. His guidance and feedback made me a better author. I believe there is a marked difference between Book One and Book Three of the trilogy regarding my writing quality, and I owe a lot of that to Chris.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The covers on the Milesian Accords books are the second ones. When Podium Audiobooks produced the audiobook for ‘A Reluctant Druid” they sent us the cover art by Alexandre Rito that they were going to use and told us we could use it and the art for the other two books. The covers were so awesome I said yes immediately.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Make a habit of writing. I wasn’t published until I was 51 because I lacked the discipline to finish projects. I now use a spreadsheet to track my writing, and I have a time scheduled to write. My first story was published 3 years ago – I now have 6 books and 9 stories published. If you have trouble finishing a book, try short stories. Also, don’t obsess on making your book perfect. My publisher has a saying – “Any story can be fixed in editing except the one that isn’t finished.”

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you. Every time I get a review or e-mail telling me someone enjoyed my work it inspires me to keep writing.

Jon R. Osborne
Indianapolis, IN

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A Reluctant Druid

Cover Artist: Alexandre Rito
Publisher: Chris Kennedy Publishing

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Author Interview: Mel Snyder

One of the pleasures I have an an editor here on No Wasted Ink is to encourage young authors that are coming out of the gate with new work.  Enter Mel Snyder, an enterprising and upcoming writer.

Hello, my name is Mel Snyder. I am 22 years old, I’m an artist, author, language enthusiast (although I’m only fluent in two so far). I love learning how to renovate and do repairs around the house, recently rediscovered my joy for gardening, and am trying to learn my first instrument; drums. I have a noisy three-legged cat named Matrix, and spend my downtime with my wonderfully chaotic family and friend. Despite struggling with depression, anxiety, and other problems, I try my best to be outgoing and inviting to those I meet.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing at around 12-13. I loved to read, and I always thought it would be amazing to have my worlds, characters, and stories enthusiastically read and talked about. To have people empathize with the characters, immerse themselves in my stories, and clutch every page tightly as they desperately try to unravel the mysteries of the plot would be a dream come true.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I was 18, when I officially published my book. As much as I loved the idea of calling myself a writer, I felt like I needed physical proof to give myself that extra confirmation.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

It takes place in an alien world where the citizens of the planet have undergone a brainwash that left every last one of them emotionless, obedient, and silent. At least, that’s what the governing system would like to think. The main character, Zepharius, is broken from that enforced repression and is trying to find the answers to why this happened while searching for the solution to restore her people. Finding others like her with the same ambition, she struggles with trust, betrayal, disabilities, ignorance, and the unknown. It’s a story about internal and external battles, fighting for what’s right, understanding oneself, and developing close bonds with family and friends to endure trials.

What inspired you to write this book?

Much like JRR Tolkien who wrote the stories of Middle Earth to cope with his traumatic and life-changing experiences from World War I, I find a lot of inspiration comes from the things I have witnessed and endured in my life. This series was my way of venting my feelings, or previous lack thereof, and showing the way life can change a person as their world seems to collapse around them. I wanted to have a book that included the complex internal struggles that many stories forget to include but many are so desperate to read, and show that characters disabled both mentally and physically can still be strong. I suppose it’s not only to inspire others, but also to myself.

Do you have a specific writing style?

First person perspective seems to be my go-to. In terms of style, I could say I am very descriptive, perhaps even too descriptive. I want my stories to be like a virtual reality world where the reader can pick up the book and be inside the scene, looking around and experiencing the sights, smells, sounds, and feel of everything around them.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I’m very bad at titles, which is ironic because I can make up obscure names and languages with ease. So, I decided to stick with the main character’s name. After all, the stories are only from her perspective.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are various messages I’ve strewn throughout the stories, whether it be political, social, familial, or interpersonal. The most important message I want my readers to grasp is that no matter what you are going through and where you are, it is important to find people that you can trust and rely on. They may not have the same ideals, be the same “species”, or use the same methods to get through situations, but it is still possible to be united and push through difficult times with them. We are all in this together.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

As mentioned before, the plot, the characters, and the situations are heavily inspired by the events I have endured in life. Some situations I have extracted from my family or friend and have used them as a basis for a scene or quote. Most of my characters are either a variation of myself and others that I am close with, adding a few quirks here and there.

What authors have most influenced your life?  What about them do you find inspiring?

Arthur Conan Doyle and JRR Tolkien. Maybe it’s why I find myself getting lost in descriptions. Tolkien opened a gateway for me to discover the lengths I could go to create an immersive, awe-striking world with various characters, scenes, situations, and action. Doyle’s work showed me how to create quirky and intriguing characters, as well as showing the importance of including even the smallest details, especially if they’re needed to understand a later plot point.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I actually design the covers myself! While searching for ideas on how to put the cover together, I came across the endless photos of stock covers and other illustrator’s work, but nothing seemed to come across as what I envisioned for my cover. So, I decided to sit down, pull out my paintbrushes and put my vision on canvas paper.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up. If you receive criticism, accept it and learn from it. If you can’t get yourself to write, give yourself a distraction until you’re ready again. Remember that your work is a part of you, so be sure to consider it as yourself. Take pride in it, share it with others. Soon enough you’ll find those who love your work as much as you do.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Despite everything, there is hope. Despite betrayal and loneliness, there is trust and family. Despite trials and setbacks, there is a way to push forward. And even if you feel like giving up, you need to keep pushing through each day, because if you live through your trials, you can use them to inspire and strengthen others.

Mel Snyder
 Lexington, KY
Zepharius

 

Author Interview: Marjorie King

I had the pleasure of meeting Marjorie as a co-panelist on the Scifi Roundtable Podcast.  She is impressive with her knowledge of science fiction and due to her engineering background, a fine scientist herself.  I’m pleased to introduce her on No Wasted Ink.

Hey everyone! I’m Marjorie King. I grew up on Asimov, Star Wars, and Star Trek. House Ravenclaw (with a little bit of Slytherin). I love reading, making memories with my family, cooking, and hiking the US National Parks.

When and why did you begin writing?

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. I actually loved painting and chemistry. I graduated in Chemical Engineering and painted as a side hobby. I thought that would define the rest of my life.

But then I lost my brother to a skiing accident–please, please wear helmets when you ski–and that was a devastating year. After that year was over, I had journeyed through my grief, but there was still something left. Something I couldn’t put into words, but something that needed working out. At that time, this story formed in my mind, and I couldn’t stop picking at it. I kept developing the characters and their adventures. It wouldn’t leave me alone.

So, January 2015 I made a New Year’s resolution: I would write the story. It helped heal me in hard to define ways.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I wrote “The End” on that first story in May of 2015, I was hooked. At that point, I didn’t consider myself a published, polished author. But I was a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Rogue Invasion is book 2 in the Maverick Series. It starts a few months after Maverick Gambit left off. The crew has finished their mission. Brant is starting his new job as a teacher at a school for adapted children. But it isn’t the dream job he’d always hoped. And the hidden assassins the crew fought at the end of their last mission are plotting their revenge.

What inspired you to write this book?

It wasn’t until the book was finished that I realized I had put a teacher on the pedestal of the story. But in hindsight, it made perfect sense. My mom has retired from years of teaching high school math, so I got to see behind the scenes how much teachers sacrifice for their jobs and their students.

I think teacher appreciation is understood a lot more now, with all the remote learning that took place during the quarantine.

Do you have a specific writing style?

The pacing of the sentences and paragraphs has a strong stage dialogue feel. It’s my short time in a theatre showing through.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

A Rogue group of assassins is plotting to Invade the school. Ta-da! Rogue Invasion.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

No one is all good or all bad. You have to treasure the good and cope with the bad (sometimes from a safe, healthy distance).

Are experiences in this book based on someone you or events in your own life?

Well, my mom being a teacher influenced it heavily.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Asimov got me hooked on SciFi. I love Aliette de Bodard’s poetic style. I go to Terry Pratchett when I need a laugh. Murderbot, by Martha Wells, has absolutely won my heart. When I want something slower and more contemplative, I turn to the Three-Body Problem series. The Thrawn series by Timothy Zahn is an old favorite that’s been resurrected.

I also enjoy Mark Twain’s wit, CS Lewis’s insight, JK Rowling’s magic, JRR Tolkien’s worldbuilding… you get the idea.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

May Dawney Designs. I’d lost the cover artist from my first book. He’d changed careers. So I went to the SciFi Roundtable Facebook group and begged for references. Several recommended May Dawney, and when I checked out her website, her art was brilliant and in my price range! She worked hard to match book 2’s cover to the feel of book 1.

But between you and me, I like hers better than the cover for book 1. In a few months, I might hire her to redesign book 1.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing.
Read books on writing.
Test the advice.
Apply what you like.
Toss what you don’t.
Keep writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you!

Marjorie King
Clute, TX

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Rogue Invasion

cover artist:  May Dawney Designs

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