Tag Archives: author

Author Interview: Maurice X Alvarez

Author Maurice X Alvarez writes what he loves to read. He tries to make his stories much more fun that the real world. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, there. My name is Maurice, and I live in New Jersey with my wonderful wife, author Ande Li, two great kids, a dog and a parakeet. I grew up in NYC, and still consider myself a New Yorker at heart.
I’m an avid cyclist, finding the activity and the exploring of new places cathartic after a long week of work.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was around ten years old. I was fortunate to have family that encouraged my writing, including a cousin whose feedback proved invaluable at that early age.

I’m often asked about “when” I began writing, but seldom “why”. I was inspired by films like Star Wars, The Monster Club and Xanadu. They made me dream things I’d never dreamed before, and opened my mind to the kinds of places I wanted to explore and people to learn more about.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

There’s nothing more convincing than that first time you hold a printed copy of your book in your hands. That was January of 2011 for me. But I’d suspected I was a writer long before that, probably in high school when I found myself writing a number of sequels to a short story I’d written in 8th grade. One of them required me to do some research on travel to Africa and diamond mining. That’s when things got real.

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

“Return to Averia” is the first book of a trilogy called “The Trouble With Thieves”. It falls under portal fiction, a subgenre of sci-fi/fantasy I learned about recently.

It’s a lighthearted story of a thief from a distant world and two young women from Earth who are drawn into the adventure of their lives as they hunt down a borderline sociopath with delusions of grandeur. How’s that for a one-liner?

What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration came from a drawing my wife created one day. As I sat there admiring the drawing, a friend happened to peer over my shoulder and mused, “I wonder what the story is behind that!” I’ll never forget those words. He made me realize that I wondered what the story was too! Within a few hours, I had the character names, the epilogue and a basic plot.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve heared others refer to my writing style as “seat of my pants”. I know some authors create outlines and have other elaborate methods for their writing. And perhaps some of that goes on in my head, but I definitely don’t engage in anything so formal. My characters lead the way most of the time, and they get themselves in and out of situations, often to my surprise.

Aside from that, I write the way books I have enjoyed are written: easy to read and focused on characters that change and grow from their experiences.

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

Each book in the trilogy contains the name of a planet within that book. “Return to Averia” is actually the second time one of the characters goes to that planet. The backstory of their first trip to Averia became so rich that it evolved into a forthcoming prequel story.

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

That’s a tough one! I would have to say it is to look past small issues and just enjoy life. Like us, the characters each start out with a personal struggle that they bring to their relationships with each other and with others. The adventure in “Return to Averia” begins putting things into perspective for them. And that growth progesses throughout the trilogy.

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

There are so many! Issac Asimov, Larry Niven, Stephen Donaldson, Jack Chalker, Edgar Rice Burroughs… the list goes on. Their characterizations and worldbuilding skills were true inspirations. And with authors like ERB and Doc Smith, it’s more about the whimsical nature of the stories; you can just zip through them, losing yourself completely but without feeling like you’ve read a deep work of literature.

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

The original artwork on which the cover is based was my wife’s doing. There’s a pencil-version of that image which I converted into a 3D graphic for use as the cover. I’ve always been partial to the pulp paperback book covers of the ’60s and ’70, and this was my attempt to mimic their style. Though I did change the title about a year ago when books two and three were released, in order to get a consistent look across the series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Two things:

Prepare yourself to receive a lot of feedback. Some will be good and some bad; that’s just the way it is. But you will have to learn how to deal with it. Just don’t let it get you down. Read it, ignore it for a day or two and let your chemistry settle down, then read it again and see what you think of it then.

Whether you’re new at it, or it’s old hat, you can always learn something from other writers. This is especially true for us, the self-published. Ours is an ever-evolving world, and it helps to stay on top of the latest trends.

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

Whether it’s my book or someone else’s, have fun reading!

Maurice X. Alvarez
Florham Park, NJ


Return to Averia

Cover Artist: Ande Li
Publisher: Room 808 Press


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


 Fate of the Flame

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



Writing Tips by Avril Sabine

Creating a story isn’t just about sitting down and pouring words onto the page. You need to fill your ‘toolbox’ with the right tools. There’s no need to start from scratch trying to figure out the techniques of those who’ve gone before you. Learn the skills other writers have figured out through the ages and build on them with your own discoveries about the craft.

But remember, “it’s not logical to think that all advice fits all writers and all writing projects at all times even through much advice fits many writers and many situations much of the time.” (Beth Hill, Editor.)

Grammar, Spelling And Word Choice

Grammar is the structural foundation that allows us to express ourselves in a way to allow others to understand what we’re trying to say. Spelling allows the reader to recognise and understand the words we’re trying to use and help make the meaning of the story clearer. Particularly when it comes to homophones. When choosing the right words for your story you don’t want to sound like you’ve used a thesaurus in every sentence. Nor do you want to use the same word repetitively so the reader becomes sick of seeing it. Finding the correct balance is extremely important.

Sentence Structure

Sentence structure isn’t just about the grammatical aspects of it such as whether it is a simple, compound, complex or compound-complex sentence. This is important to understand, but what is more important is to learn how the different structures make the reader feel. Short sentences can make a story race forward and create high tension moments. Longer sentences have a more relaxed feel to them. You do of course want to vary your sentence lengths. Learning how to use sentence structure to change pace, create emotion and draw readers into your story is important.


People form groups with other likeminded people. In business, sports and other social activities. Yet often they’re hesitant to do the same when it comes to their writing. Groups are great in that where one member may be lacking the skills in a particular area, another member might have those skill and be able to share some of their knowledge. There’s also nothing to say you can be a member of only one writing group. There are many groups all focusing on different aspects of writing. Both online and in person. Some groups focus on different genres, some on the techniques of writing, some on short stories. It can take time to find the right groups suited to your writing needs.

Reading the works of other writers can also help teach you the way books are created. And I’m not talking about how-to books. Studying other books in the genre/s you wish to write in can teach you a lot of techniques that can be used in your own writing. When it comes to learning from other writers using this method it’s important you only use the techniques you’ve learned from them and not plagiarise their work.


Even those who write fantasy need to learn how to research. If you’ve loosely based your world on a period in history you’ll want to learn the logistics of living in such a time period. If horses are your method of transport, or even a completely made up animal, you can research horses or something similar to give you an idea of the care and abilities of that animal. What ground can your transport cover in an hour? A day? Does it need rest, or if it’s mechanical, what sort of maintenance does it need? Researching actual objects similar to what your own fantastical object is like can help create a more realistic and probable object.

If you’re writing something set in the real world it’s even more important to get your facts right. Whether it’s location, a historical event or a job. There’s sure to be a reader out there somewhere who knows the subject you’re discussing and will point out the mistakes.


A writer’s voice is their own particular style that sets their work apart from other authors. It’s a mixture of everything that goes into their story including characterization, sentence structure, grammar, topics, pace, word choices, POV choices, and influences. It can take a lot of time, even years, to develop your own voice. Quite often it develops once you’ve learned many of the rules about writing and understand how they can be used as well as when they can be broken. Once you have all those basic tools, you can start to develop the more complex ones such as voice.


It’s important to learn how to write and understand how other great writers create their stories, but it’s also important to sometimes ignore the rules. Let yourself be creative. Let yourself explore different types of writing and unusual ideas. Not every piece of writing has to become a story. Practicing and exercising your craft is equally important. Make notes about your ideas so you don’t forget them and go over your notes sometimes and see if one of your old ideas is urging you to write about it. Give yourself permission to try something even if everyone tells you it won’t work. It might not work, but you might surprise yourself and learn a little bit more about your own methods of writing.


Never underestimate the experiences that have occurred in your life. Even if you think they’re ordinary. Those experiences are unique to you and even if someone else has also gone through the exact same event, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have experienced it exactly as you did. You can use those emotions, feelings and events to help understand other emotions, feelings and events. To draw conclusions about other occurrences or even use the event exactly as you experienced it. When writing different scenes in your story you can think back over past events and draw on them to add another layer of authenticity to your work. I’m sure most people have, at different times in their lives, experienced love, hate, frustration, satisfaction, failure, success, compassion and heartlessness. Relive those experiences. Understand them and allow your characters to feel them too. Taking into account their unique personalities, how would your different characters have reacted in those situations?

Avril Sabine is an Australian author who writes mostly young adult and children’s speculative fiction. She has been writing since she was a young child and wanted to be an author the moment she realized someone wrote the books she loved to read. Avril is the author of more than seventy books, including Guardians Of The Round Table series, Dragon Blood series, Realms Of The Fae series, Elf Sight and The Irish Wizard.

Website: http://www.avrilsabine.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/avrilsabine

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s writer links. Every Monday I post a top ten list of writer-related articles that I found surfing the internet that I felt were noteworthy I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

When the Book Takes Over Everything

Seven Stories With Contrived Character Conflict

Motivation for Character Arc: A Different Approach

How To Turn Your Novel Into A TV Series


Leave a Message at the Tone: Setting the Right Tone for Your Novel

How does an independent bookstore survive for 90 years?

Our Brains Tell Stories So We Can Live

Feminize Your Canon: Cora Sandel

How to Consistently Write Faster

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! Each week I offer up a top ten list of articles that I find interesting as an indy author. There are links to general writing tips, help with your author career path, and sometimes articles that simply tickled my fancy. I hope you enjoy reading them. Let me know your favorites in the comments.

How to Establish a Long-Term Writing Career: Insight From Two Literary Agents

How to Write While Not Writing

Building an Author Platform: What It Is, Why You Need One, and How to Get Started


Get More Done By Giving Yourself Less Time

In It to WIN It: How Committed Are You to Being a Successful Author?

Choosing Naval Tactics for Your Pre-Gunpowder World

Habitable Planets: Exoplanet Research for Worldbuilding

How To Become A Creative Writer & Figure Out What You Should Write

Writers, Remember: The Wand Chooses The Wizard