Meet Marlene Anne Bumgarner

Hey everyone,

I’m excited about today’s interview! I first met Marlene last year at a Shut Up & Write meetup. She was working on a memoir and was already the author of two books. One was a cookbook titled Organic Cooking for (not-so-organic) Mothers. Great title! And every more cool was that I picked that cookbook up when it first came out, in the early 80s — I was not a mom, but it was a great cookbook all the same and I definitely needed help.

I introduced Marlene to my publisher and friend, Steven Radecki of Paper Angel Press, and the rest is history. Marlene’s book came out just a few days ago, on July 1. The cover is gorgeous. I was honored to provide a pre-release recommendation. My book review is at the end — I loved it! If you want to meet Marlene “in person,” she’s hosting a launch party on Zoom on Tuesday July 7 at 4 pm. Go to her website to sign up.

Marlene’s Bio


Marlene Anne Bumgarner was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Following World War II she and her parents sailed to New York, then lived on a family-owned poultry farm in Zephyrhills, Florida and in a rural community in Victoria, Australia, before settling permanently in California.

Marlene put herself through college working as a technical writer, then felt the draw of the land. In 1973, she moved to a piece of rural property with her husband and daughter. Following a decade teaching elementary and preschool children, Marlene taught Child and Adolescent Development for 30 years at a community college. Her first book, The Book of Whole Grains, grew out of a cultural history curriculum she developed for fourth grade. Organic Cooking for (not-so-organic) Mothers was inspired by letters written to her by readers of the “Naturally Speaking” newspaper column she wrote for the San Jose Mercury News. Working with School Age Children was written for the thousands of young people working in before- and after-school programs around the country, and is used as a textbook in many colleges and universities.

In 2001, Marlene was awarded the Educator of the Year award by the Chamber of Commerce of Morgan Hill, California. Since retiring from full time teaching, she volunteers in the Young Writers Program at local schools, and writes a monthly blog addressing topics of interest to parents and grandparents.

Find out more about Marlene’s family life, cooking, and gardening at

About the Book


330 pages, published July 1, 2020 by Paper Angel Press

“We all worked together. Ate together. Sang together. Learned together. We had a good life. After living close to the natural cycles of the earth year after year, good and not good, we grew stronger and more resilient, learned to manage our occasional conflicts with tolerance and love.”

When Marlene Bumgarner and her husband moved to a rural plot of land in 1973, she thought of herself as simply a young mother seeking an affordable and safe place in which to raise her child.

By the time she left the land nearly a decade later, she had written two books and a weekly newspaper column, served as contributing editor to a national magazine, a college instructor, and a sought-after public speaker. Her natural food store, The Morgan Hill Trading Post, was the first one in her community.

Follow Marlene and her friends as they live on the land, coping with the challenges of rural life as Silicon Valley evolves into the high-tech center it is today, and the world in which they live transforms itself culturally, economically, and politically.

The Interview

Why did you decide to write this book?
It was a story that needed to be told, at least to my children. John and Doña had only vague memories of our time on the land, and my two youngest children, Jamie and Deborah, knew very little about it. Once Jamie became old enough to ask me to “tell me a story about when you were young and lived on the land,” she kept at it until she knew most of the stories. After she took a memoir class with her older sister, she began encouraging me to write the stories down. Then as I shared the stories with my writing friends, I began to realize it might have a larger audience.

What genre is your book?
Memoir? Creative non-fiction?

How long has the idea for the memoir been percolating?
More than 20 years. I began writing scenes at writing workshops and retreats, when my youngest child was still a baby. It wasn’t until I took a memoir class myself that I began to put the scenes together.

Tell us about writing a memoir.
When I first became serious about writing the book I went to the garage and brought in several banker’s boxes of correspondence, financial records and publicity about my first two books and the natural foods store I opened in 1976. I organized them into a file drawer, one folder per year from 1973 to 1982. I sent hundreds of photographs out to be scanned, then tried to organize them chronologically, and then, finally, when I unearthed all my journals from that decade, I realized I had enough to fill a book. I corresponded with everyone I could think of who visited me or corresponded with me during the time we were on the land and made arrangements to visit them and interview them about that time period.

How did you go about getting input and feedback from people you were writing about? How did you decide what to include/not to include in terms of events and/or relationships?
My land partners had begun to pass away; I realized I only had a short window to collect other people’s memories and ask them for feedback on my version of our story. I called, emailed, and visited everyone who had lived on the land to tell them what I planned to do. While they were supportive, I soon realized that I was the only one with the desire or the information to do this. Memoir is about perceptions, colored by time and fallible memories. I tried to limit myself to writing about what I remembered or could document, and did not delve into the private lives of my friends.

Your memoir captures not only a moment in our cultural history, but also weaves in delightful anthropological tidbits (The Whole Earth Catalog, among others) as well as political insights. For me though, what really stood out was how you followed your heart, your leading. That leading took you places you probably never dreamed of. Have you experienced other such seismic shifts in your life?
I have. The opportunity to teach child development at a community college led me to some wonderful challenges, including writing grant proposals, creating a pipeline to teaching for students who didn’t meet basic college entrance requirements, and participating in a state-wide advisory committee for afterschool program staff. Then, when I thought life had settled down and I was almost ready to retire, I met my soulmate. Together we traveled to India to work in an orphanage, to Australia and England and Canada and Florida to trace my roots, and to South Dakota to revisit his childhood. But that’s another story.

As I read the book, I kept circling back to persistence, resilience, and passion. I was amazed at how difficult life on the land could be, especially with a toddler. But, all in all, it seemed like your belief was so strong that you just kept chipping away at the problem in front of you, then the next one, and the next. With all the daily time-consuming difficulties, how did you find time and energy to keep a journal?
I truly don’t know. I haven’t managed to keep a journal for more than a week in the last thirty years. During those years, however, with no television, telephone, or internet, my journal was where I turned to record the weather, day to day events, and how I was feeling. I wrote last thing at night, unloading the day’s trials and successes, and clearing the slate for the next day.

Do you have a writing mentor?
I have two, actually. My first writing mentor was Ellen Bass, who I met at a local author’s night at the Morgan Hill Library. I traveled over the Santa Cruz Mountains for two years to attend classes and workshops that deepened my writing practice and my self-awareness as a writer. After I moved to the California coast, I met Laura Davis, attended her memoir writing intensive, and participated in her weekly writing group for many years. She helped me hone my skills and my confidence, and the other participants in her classes provided me with an audience that provided valuable feedback.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
While I was writing Back to the Land I arose every morning at 6:00 and walked nine tenths of a mile to a coffee shop, where the sounds of clanking cups and saucers came to become my prompts and background to my reminisces. I wrote each scene on my iPad Pro using Scrivener, and used the corkboard feature to rearrange the stories until they made sense. Writing this memoir became an obsession; on the three days a week I drove into town for my exercise class, I would spend two additional hours at a coffee shop nearby. Somewhere along the way I discovered Shut Up and Write, and joined other writers a couple of times a week to write in yet another coffee shop. For two years I wrote every day.

Anything else you’d like to add?
The months leading up to the release of this book have been filled with learning about the publication process and marketing in the time of Covid 19. Once the book is launched and on its way, I plan to revise my second book, Organic Cooking for (not-so-organic) Mothers, and then get back to writing two other books I have started and put aside. My iPad awaits me.
I can be reached online here:

Nancy’s review (5 stars!)
This memoir by Marlene Bumgarner captures the essence of the 70s back to the land movement. With humor, honesty, and love, the author shares the story of her family’s odyssey on a 10-acre parcel of land in the coastal California hills, just south of San Jose, California. The adventure starts with two families, two trailers, errant fencing, dogs, and a flock of chickens. Hard work, optimism, some serious problem-solving skills, and a steep learning curve lead to a full-on farm with animals, landmates, and children. But constant money pressures, zoning bureaucracies, parenting, and conflicts with landmates take their toll. This luminous tale, set against the explosion of tech, is a story of determination, hope, resilience, and ultimately, of wisdom and transformation. An enthralling memoir.

Meet Ryan Southwick


Ryan Southwick decided to dabble at writing late in life, and quickly became obsessed with the craft. His technical skills as a software developer, healthcare experience, and life‑long fascination for science fiction became the ingredients for his book series, The Z-Tech Chronicles.

Ryan also has a story in the recent anthology from Paper Angel Press, Corporate Catharsis. His story is titled “Once Upon a Nightwalker.”

Angels in the Mist (Z-Tech Chronicles Book 1), is 462 pages long and will be available June 16, 2020.

Angels in the Mist (front cover)

“…an epic urban fantasy blended with science fiction that will capture readers’ imaginations!”
-InD’Tale Magazine

In the heart of modern-day San Francisco, Anne Perrin becomes the target of an ancient evil. Her only chance—and perhaps the City’s—rests in the hands of a secretive, high-tech organization known as Z-Tech.

​Anne Perrin is resigned to a life driven by an adolescent trauma: a strict routine, no socializing (outside of the safety of her waitressing job), and no romantic relationships. When her cautious lifestyle lets the perfect partner slip through her fingers, Anne vows she won’t let it happen again and ventures into San Francisco to find happiness.

Her first night out in a decade becomes a nightmare when her date turns on her with sadistic intent. But his nefarious plans for Anne are unexpectedly interrupted by a mysterious savior. Valiant, smart, compassionate … Charlie is exactly the partner Anne has been looking for. And best of all, he likes her too.

Things go well between her and Charlie until an assailant with unexpected strength plunges Anne into a world she didn’t know existed — nor could have imagined — where super-science and an eclectic group of extraordinary individuals may be the solution to Anne’s lifelong loneliness … and humanity’s only hope against an ancient threat.

How did you come to write this book?

Even when I was younger, I was surprised how many stories (books, movies, or otherwise) featuring bigger-than-life characters relied solely on action or the characters’ unique abilities to carry the audience’s interest. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to have extraordinary/gifted characters that were interesting even without their abilities, and a plot that would draw the audience forward even if “normal” people were involved? The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t exist back then, which has provided some of that much-needed relief, but my first inspiration came from George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m an epic fantasy fan, and I remember being disappointed—disappointed!—when he introduced dragons because the characters were so well written and the plot so intriguing that dragons felt unnecessary, a cheap trick that would water down an already fantastic series.

That was how I wanted to write. I’d had a cast of heroic characters bouncing around in my head for years along with a cheesy vampire plot. But what if… what if I could do what Martin did? Could I make those characters so interesting that you hardly cared they were superhuman? Could vampires be introduced gently enough—plausibly enough—that even non-vampire fans would nod along because it just made sense?

Five years ago, I decided to find out, and Angels in the Mist was born, followed closely by Angels Fall and Wrath of Angels. I’d love to know from anyone who’s read the first book if I succeeded.

What genre is your series?

Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction. It’s a modern-day adventure in San Francisco. Vampires are the only fantasy element, really. The rest is more science fiction.

Do you consider your series character-driven or plot-driven?

Plot-driven, though all of the major characters (and especially the protagonist on her journey to heroism and healing) have significant problems holding them back and evolve through the series.

What makes your series unique?

A few things. The protagonist, Anne, is a 36-year-old waitress with chronic, debilitating PTSD who has a hard-enough time making it through the day as it is. Then someone tries to kill her. Then vampires attack. Then she discovers her new boyfriend is one of the most influential people in the world, has some super-tech secrets, and isn’t even human. Then she’s hit on by a girl she thought hated her and could at any moment accidentally kill her, introducing an LGBTQ quandary. Anne must figure out how to cope with things that would drive a normal person insane and keep her PTSD from going completely out of control. And that’s just the first book. My guess is you won’t find many stories with that combination.

Another is realism. Yes, it’s fantasy, but I’ve tried to lay it out believably, offering plausible explanations wherever possible, and tying it into extraordinary characters who have real problems and are dealing with them as anyone would.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

Both. I start with scene cards so I have a general idea where I’m going (Scrivener is my writing weapon of choice), but if something cool happens in the story that doesn’t fit with the rest of the cards, I won’t hesitate to throw them away and see where the new direction takes me. Plot is driven by characters, and my characters tend to take on a life of their own. I can try to predict what they’re going to do and plot around it, but when I write the scene, the characters often surprise me and do something I didn’t expect, and I’m loathe to change that just because their behaviors didn’t fit what I’d scribbled on an index card. For me, the adventure of writing isn’t sculpting the words to fit the story but putting interesting characters in strange situation and seeing how they react. In many ways, I’m just as excited to find out what’s going to happen as the reader is.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

Going with the idea of realism, I like to pick ordinary names that resonate with me. Common names are easier to remember. Anne and Charlie are two main characters in the book. William is the bad guy. Why not? For more exotic names, like Zima and Cappa, I reach out to friends or use random name generators on the internet. For the latter, I’ll sift through a hundred or so choices, pull out a dozen that I like, then stare at the list until one floats to the top.

How do you decide on the setting?

For Angels in the Mist, San Francisco was an easy choice. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for… well, for many years. The book has a technology theme, and much of it takes place in a tech factory, which also made Silicon Valley’s heart a natural. Having a vampire outbreak in a densely populated city that’s only nine-by-nine miles also felt like it would be challenging to write. San Francisco also has a rich culture, especially in the LGBTQ community, which worked well with the protagonist’s character arc.

In general, though, I like to pick settings that are interesting to me. A portion of Angels Fall takes place in China. I’ve always been fascinated with that part of the world, so it was an excellent opportunity to do some research and put the characters somewhere picturesque. Some of Wrath of Angels is on an Arleigh-Burke-class missile destroyer, which took weeks of fascinating research to properly portray. Another portion is in an abandoned missile complex, which I’ve always wanted to see, and prompted me to visit an old Nike missile site that was practically in my backyard.

Do you have a writing mentor?

Unfortunately, no. I learn best by studying, doing, failing, and trying again until I get it right. That said, I would love to have started this journey with an experienced author as a guide, but I didn’t know any. I’m starting to meet more, thanks to my editors at Paper Angel Press and Water Dragon Publishing, and am looking forward to learning from them, if they’re willing to share.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I wake up early just so I can do some writing before work, and I’ll write all weekend if my schedule allows. The only time I won’t write is after about 9 pm, when my brain shuts off. It’s the same rule I apply to programming. A friend of mine once said that late at night was when he wrote all his bugs. I find the same is true with writing, so no matter how much I want to continue, I close Scrivener when my concentration starts to wane and save it for the next day.

My favorite place to write is in my comfy chair in front of my computer desk. It’s in the dining room where everyone else hangs out, which is great. I love writing, but I love my family, too. Plus it’s near the snack cupboard.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Only what an incredible journey writing a series has been. It’s brought me closer to my mother, who’s also my alpha reader, as well as my friends who’ve graciously offered their encouragement and feedback. I’ve lost track of the number of hours I’ve spent at the keyboard, writing and re-writing, and I wouldn’t trade a single minute.

You can find out more about my current and upcoming books on my website,

Thank you, Nancy, for giving me this opportunity!

You can find Ryan online here:







Book Links for The Z-Tech Chronicles

Angels in the Mist:

Zima: Origins:

Angels Fall:

Graven Angels:

Wrath of Angels:


Meet Mary Flodin


Mary Flodin’s debut novel, Fruit of the Devil, was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction and the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Competition. She was awarded a fellowship to the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and has participated in numerous writers’ conferences, including BreadLoaf Orion and ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment). Before settling into the writer’s life, Mary taught environmental education, English, and art in California public schools. A native Californian, she lives in a cottage on the Monterey Bay with her husband— a retired NASA climate scientist— and their dog, koi, chickens, and gopher herd. More at


About the book:
Ms. Aurora Bourne would do anything to protect her students from harm … even if that means going up against the most powerful corporation on the planet.
While getting her classroom ready for Fall, Aurora feels sick, and it’s more than back-to-school-blues: strawberry fields nearby have just been fumigated and pesticides are drifting into the classrooms. A spate of serious health issues crop up in children and adults around the school, the teenage sister of a migrant student goes missing from the fields, and Aurora realizes why farmworkers call strawberries Fruta del Diablo — the Fruit of the Devil.
When she starts asking questions and gets caught in a web of gangs, trafficking, and high-level corporate crime, a Catholic priest comes to her aid. She has no idea he’s actually an ancient nature god from Pacific Coast indigenous legends.
Fruit of the Devil was published on October 1, 2019, by Paper Angel Press. It’s multi-genre; as Mary says, “take your pick!”:

  • contemporary fiction with elements of mystery, romance, and an edge of magical realism
  • eco-thriller
  • romantic suspense
  • paranormal romantic suspense
  • climate fiction
  • socially engaged fiction
  • environmental fiction

Now on to the interview….

What makes your book unique?
Fruit of the Devil is based on a true story.

Why did you write decide to this book?
One of my earliest memories is of a seven-year-old me explaining to my family that my purpose in life was to be the “secretary of the world” and “write down the things that happen to people.” I’ve written all my life —journals, poetry (some published in small presses and chap books), articles for magazines and e-zines—and I started several novels.
But when—as a teacher in a school surrounded by strawberries fumigated with deadly pesticides—I lived the story I knew I must write, it grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and would not let me go until I wrote it all down. Much had already been written in serious articles and scientific publications about the dangers of exposing children to pesticides, but I felt the story needed to be reframed as fiction—as a murder mystery—for people to truly feel the impact of this environmental and social injustice.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
When I was just getting started on my novel, I read that a suspenseful murder mystery should have a “ticking clock”, so I went to the office supply store and bought one of those big one-year calendars, and I plotted every scene as it had happened in real life on the calendar. The story wrote itself. There were surprises – sub-plots and plot twists emerged out of the ether, and new characters appeared to me in dreams and even waking visions, telling me they needed to be in the story. But overall, I simply followed the actual events that took place in a little school on California’s Central Coast at the turn of the century—events which turned the tide for organic agriculture in the region.

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?
My first draft was almost entirely plot driven. But, as I edited, received feedback, and revised, the characters—their complexities and emotions—deepened, evolved, and became more important to the story. I learned a great deal about human nature and about myself watching my characters develop. See my blog about “Agency” for more on how I came to understand the character arc of my protagonist.

How did you decide on the setting?
Fruit of the Devil is a true story about a community’s struggle to protect their children and one of the most beautiful environments on the planet—the watersheds of the Monterey Bay. Setting is a key element in Fruit of the Devil: one could almost say that the setting stands as a character on its own.

How do you develop names for your characters?
I obviously had to fictionalize the names of actual people, corporations, and most locations—although readers familiar with the Monterey Bay will probably recognize many of their favorite hang outs in the book. The fictional names just came to me. I reached into the ether, and they were there. However, one real character—Destiny—had such a perfect name that, with her permission, I used her actual name in the novel.

Do you have a writing mentor?
I taught English literature and writing in grades third through twelve for decades, and have always been an avid reader, so you’d think I’d know how to write a novel, right? But when I was given the task by the Universe to write the true story of Fruit of the Devil in a murder mystery genre, I realized I had no idea how to even begin writing a novel, much less a mystery.
After finishing my English literature degree, long ago, I went on a decades-long sci-fi binge. Then I discovered fantasy (Robert Jordan!), and wanted to read nothing else. One of my favorite novels of all time, which influenced the evolution of Fruit of the Devil, is Outlander by Diane Galbadon. Barbara Kingsolver, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley and many more authors have influenced me. But ten years ago, when I realized I needed to write a mystery and I had no idea where to start, I began reading mysteries voraciously, and watching cop shows and mysteries on TV. (Love the BBC mysteries and Tom Selleck in the Jesse Stone series!) I devoured all of Tony Hillerman, Nevada Barr, Margaret Coel, C.J.Box, and Laurie King.
I bought lots of books on writing, and on crafting mysteries, including Steven King’s On Writing, Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird, many books by Orson Scott Card including Characters and Viewpoint, James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure, Jack Bickham’s Scene & Structure, Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel & The Fire in Fiction, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Writing Yourself Home by Kimberley Snow, Writing Mysteries an anthology edited by Sue Grafton, Manuscript Makeover & A Writer’s Guide to Fiction by Elizabeth Lyon, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland, Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Publilshed by Eckstut & Sterry, and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
I also joined the local chapters and attended meetings of Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America, joined Sisters in Crime and Guppies (offshoots of Mystery Writers). I took many writing workshops and attended at least one big writing conference a year, including San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conferences, Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Algonquin Write to Market, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, BreadLoaf Orion, and more. I met other writers, and agents and publishers. I found talented editors, a wonderful critique group, and Beta readers, and I learned and learned!
In my writing space I have photos of some of the writers, artists, and crusaders for social and environmental justice I most admire— Mentors Jack London, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, Annie Dillard, Cesar Chavez, Mark Twain. But my most precious writing mentor and muse is my foundling husky, Sarah Bella, who mysteriously appeared in my life just as I started writing Fruit of the Devil, and has been sitting at my side, day after day, for all the years I’ve been on this writing journey.

Do you have a writing schedule and a favorite place to write?
As soon as I retired and returned from my celebratory trip to Hawaii, I started working on my novel with the same daily discipline I’d developed over nearly thirty years of teaching.
Now and then, something will wake me before dawn and I’ll feel compelled to rush to my writing space with a new scene, a character who has spoken to me in my sleep, or a revision. But most mornings, I’m up at 7:30. While I grind beans and wait for water to boil, I stretch, review my dreams, and watch for hummingbirds to show up at the feeder outside the kitchen window. Then Sarah, my Siberian Husky, follows me—my coffee cup in hand—into the little back room of our house, which I co-opted years ago for my writing space.
After taking a few moments to greet and honor the spirits who visit me there, and occasionally to smudge with sage, I review lists and notes I left for myself the previous afternoon, open my current manuscript, and begin. About 11, I take a short break for a bowl of oatmeal with my husband and a walk around the garden and pond, listening to my characters and whatever muses show up. Then I’m back at my writing space, usually until 2. Most afternoons, I walk to the beach with Sarah. Sometimes while walking, I get “messages” about the story I’m working on and I have to return to my writing space. I usually don’t look at email, answer phone calls, or schedule appointments until after 1 pm.
It took me three years to write the first draft of my manuscript. Since I had the story all plotted out on a calendar, I knew the end I was writing toward. I believed that when I wrote that final scene and finished my first draft, I would be done, and finally free to clean my garage and get on with my retirement.
Alas, I soon discovered that “Writing is re-writing.” Thus, I embarked upon five more years of daily work with editors, attending workshops, revising and editing with my critique group and Beta Readers, and sending queries to agents. I’ve revised my entire manuscript—with a poet’s attention to every word—countless times. At the Breadloaf Orion Writers’ Workshop last summer, a mentor advised me to forget about the Big Five New York publishers and look for an independent small press.
By the time I met my wonderful publisher, Steven Radecki of Paper Angel Press, all that revising and editing proved worthwhile. Digital, paperback, and hardcover editions of my debut novel, Fruit of the Devil, were released for pre-order on all digital marketplaces and on the Paper Angel Press website on September 15!
Soon, maybe I’ll finally get around to clearing out my garage.

Anything else you’d like to add?
You probably have a story inside you, bothering you, asking to be written. Do it! But realize your story (or poem or play) won’t get written without dogged perseverance. Carve out a private writing space; establish a routine. Show up every day, as faithfully as if it’s a job you’re getting paid for. Believe in your story and in yourself. Good Luck!

Where can readers find you?

Meet Roslyn Reid

Hey everyone,

reidToday I’m interviewing Roslyn Reid. She just published her debut novel, a mystery, called A Scandal at Crystalline.  Roslyn lives in Maine, one of my favorite states, and the name of her blog is Mysterious Maine Woodswoman. Gotta love it!

Roslyn lives with her corgi, Great Pyrenees, and husband in Downeast Maine, where she gardens, lifts weights, hikes, and renovates houses. She has contributed articles to Llewellyn almanacs for over a decade and written for one of the local newspapers.


Here’s the book blurb. Click here to find the book on Amazon.

Chandler Hammond’s wife says he and his hot Iranian girlfriend skipped out of their Maine town of Finderne with his company’s millions. But his sister thinks his wife murdered him and hires African-American detective James Early and his teenage son Tikki to find the truth. A Scandal at Crystalline follows them through an intriguing maze of unexpected encounters: financial shenanigans, two beautiful women who were sleeping with each other (and with Chandler Hammond), a police psychic, and a runaway kid in a remote mountain cabin. But things turn dark when their investigation forces them to consider the unimaginable—the sinister side of raku pottery.

Onto the interview!

Why did you decide to write this book?

One morning I woke up and this book was writing itself in my head. The same thing happened the next day and the next. I never considered myself good enough to write a mystery (or even a novel), so I kept trying to get it to go away. But then at some point I started listening to it and said to myself, hmm, this is pretty good. That’s when I started writing it down.

What genre is your book?

This is the first of a mystery series. They are all different subgenres within the mystery genre. My publisher calls this a “dark” mystery. I would call the next one a “paranormal” mystery. 

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

Readers might be a better judge of that than I could. I think sometimes it’s the characters and sometimes it’s the plot! 

What makes your book unique?

Currently I’m researching racism in the mystery genre. There aren’t many black detectives. Also my villains are women, in the Raymond Chandler vein. 

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I’m definitely what they call a “pantser” – seat of the pants writer. I let the plot go where it may and then figure out how to make it work.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

This is a rather interesting insight into the creative process. The names of my detective, his son, and his best friend came out of the ether. Some characters, like George, are named after people I know. One of my favorite places for mining names is the local newspaper. The town the book is set in has the name of my real hometown, but it’s not in Maine. And Siri is probably self-explanatory! 

How do you decide on the setting?

It seems like any writer who lives in Maine wants to set their books in Maine. This state has many unique aspects, and it can also be a pretty creepy place.

Do you have a writing mentor?

No, but I do have an impossible standard: Raymond Chandler. 

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write whenever I can. Some days I write only a few hours, other days can be 8 hours of nonstop writing. I’ve written in bed ever since I was 8. The only difference now is that it’s on my laptop.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Writing is not a cushy job! And not for the shy. Get out there and promote yourself.

Where can readers find you?

My blog on Goodreads:

My LinkedIn page:

My Twitter:


Meet Andrea Monticue

Hi everyone,


Today I’m interviewing Andrea Monticue. Andrea is published by Paper Angel Press, and I was able to meet her during BayCon in May.  It was fun hanging out!

Andrea is an aircraft technician who has crawled around inside of the B2, corporate jets, and puddle jumpers. She figures this makes her an expert on starships.

She and her wife live on the west coast of the North American Continent, enjoying redwoods, scuba, archery, bicycling, skateboarding, coffee, reading, and dogs.

Andrea can be found at Memoirs of an Earthling.

Her book is called Memory and Metaphor.  It’s 372 pages and was published on January 31, 2019.  Great cover!


Civilization fell. It rose. At some point, people built starships.

A millennium after the Earth was abandoned to climate change and resource depletion, Sharon Manders wakes up in a body that used to belong to somebody else, and some say she was a terrorist. She has no idea how she could be digging for Pleistocene bones in Africa one day, and crewing on a starship the next. That was just before she met the wolfman, the elf, and the sex robot.

Struggling with distressingly unreliable memories, the expectations of her host body’s family and crewmates, future shock, and accusations of treason, Sharon goes on the lam to come face to face with terrorists, giant bugs, drug cartels, AIs, and lawyers.

All things considered, she’d rather be back in 21st Century California.

I love the blurb and I’m looking forward to reading the book. I’ll be reviewing it in a future blog post.

Here’s my interview with Andrea.

Why did you decide to write this book?

This question relates to the one below, How do you decide on the setting? I wrote this book largely because I already had a lot of the background material. 

What genre is your book?

Science Fiction/Space Opera

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

There are parallel story lines in this book. One, following the protagonist, is character driven. The other part is about society’s reaction to the character and the events that brought her into existence, and that is plot driven. 

What makes your book unique?

Well, that’s a loaded question, eh? I don’t believe there’s anything in this book that can’t be found in other books. I mean, spaceships, robots, lycanthropes, and elves can all be found across multiple genres, though there probably aren’t very many that bring that combination together under one cover. I’d like to think that I put them all together in a unique story.  

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

Both. I start out with an overall outline of the story, but often change it up as I write. In the case of Memory and Metaphor, I had some very solid ideas about where the plot was going to go and what bases we were going to touch on the way. Seeing the story fleshed out, though, made me realize that some of those goals weren’t realistic and needed overhauls. 

That being said, the very first thing I wrote in the story were the first two paragraphs of chapter three, and everything else evolved from that.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

I sometimes already have a name ready to go. Other times I use various websites designed for developing character names. I use those primarily for minor characters. Since my the story takes place a thousand years from now, in some cases I have taken contemporary names and asked myself how they might evolve over the centuries.  For instance, I might take Jennifer and change it to Jéehnufair.

The name of the protagonist in Memory and Metaphor had to be one that remained static over the centuries. 

How do you decide on the setting?

A long time ago, maybe ten or fifteen years, I read an article in a magazine. I think it was Sky and Telescope but it might have been a similar publication. The article discussed the possibilities of planets in the Alpha Centauri system, and how stable the orbits might be. I ended up writing several programs to simulate the gravitational environment of the system. None of them could be considered quality programs, and even the smallest errors tended to multiply horrendously when extrapolated over mere centuries, let alone billions of years. I didn’t learn anything definitive other than I would never be a good programmer.  In the process, I did a lot of reading on current theories of planetary system formation (I think all of them have become obsolete in the meantime), and ended up creating what I thought was a perfectly reasonable, though entirely fictional, interplanetary society.

The biggest question, of course, was how did humans end up on a planet that looked so Earth-like orbiting Alpha Centauri A? 

Do you have a writing mentor?

Not officially. I try to learn from other writers whose work I admire, but I don’t ask their permission first. 

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

While I try to stick to a schedule, I’m not very successful at it. I generally do my best writing when I’m supposed to be doing something else – like math homework.

My favorite place to write used to be at a hometown place called Chit Chat Café.  I’ve recently moved, though, and I’m looking for a new favorite place. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

I read a long time ago that Ernest Hemingway wrote the last page of Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times. This is apocryphal, as near as I can tell. Still, it keeps me going when I’m in that slogging stage of writing books.

How can readers connect with you?

Through my website at Memoirs of an Earthling and also on my Paper Angel Press author page: Andrea Monticue

Meet J Dark

Hey everyone,

Today I’m catching up with Paper Angel Press author J Dark. J Dark is a latecomer to the writing profession, but enjoying every moment that life will allow. “The best thing to me is writing a story that someone enjoys. If I’ve made something fun and entertaining for people, it’s a win-win.”

J Dark lives with a house full of dreams, three cats, and various friends who occasionally drop by and stay for a while. The author lives in Kansas, where the winds blow all the time, and, if you blink your eyes, the weather changes.

Today, J Dark is promoting the series called The Glass Bottles. The name is a reference to the object that kicked off the series and figures in most of the books.  It will eventually be a 5-book series. Right now 3 of the books are finished and the 4th will be out sometime this winter if things go according to plan.

Book 1, Best Intentions, is approximately 56,000 words  and was published in July, 2016. 


Book 2, Broken Bridge, is approximately 76,000 words and came out in September, 2017.


Book 3, Beguiling Voices, is approximately 66,000 words and was released in November, 2018.


Why did you decide to write this series?

This series came about from three things actually.  The first was I’d had fun writing on forums in City of Heroes and got the idea I liked writing.  The second was we were having a really bad year financially, and there seemed to be no way to have any celebrations for the upcoming holidays.  We were borrowing money to make ends meet. The third was National Novel Writing Month. It gave me the idea I could write a story, and give that to my daughter for Christmas.  Once I got started, the story took off on its own and I felt like I was just a listener as the story was told to me.

What genre is your series?

The genre is urban fantasy with post-apocalyptic life thrown in.

Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?

Oh wow.  I’d hope that the books are both!  I know the way I write seems to be plot-driven, but I love to see how the characters evolve in the plot, so I’d like to check off both.

What makes your series unique?

That’s a good question. I think that its uniqueness comes from the setting, which is in Canada, and the idea that magic actually did exist before and was dormant for some reason.  

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I have tried plotting out a story, and the written plot lasts about two pages at most, and then it veers off someplace unexpected.  The stories seem to have their own direction and agenda. I just listen and record.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

I really don’t plot them out.  I do my best to listen to the character, and what sounds right when I say it out loud.

How do you decide on the setting?

The setting is where I do take time.  The world needs to be written out so I can see what kind of environment and influences the character has.  Once the world’s in place, then I can start figuring where the characters live, and what beings, places, and things they interact with.

Do you have a writing mentor?

I think the closest thing I have to a mentor are the editors at Paper Angel Press.  They’re willing to explain their reasons for the edits, and that is valuable feedback to me. But as for a formal mentor, I just don’t have one.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I have a small alcove in the house that is both quiet and isolated, and has a window.  I like writing and do so mostly in the early morning from about 4:30 a.m. until I get a call for substituting.  Otherwise, I’ll write just before bed. I think early morning is best, oddly enough because I’m still waking up.  I think that the grogginess makes it easier to hear the story as the character is explaining what’s happened.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I really enjoy the challenge of writing professionally.  It’s a dream come true. I may never sell big, or get a lot of financial compensation (lord knows it’d be awesome if I did some day!), but the real point is I get to write, and share those stories with people.  I have a need to entertain people, I have a need to tell stories. This is the way I can do that. Stories are a way of making sense of some things, speculating about others, letting the imagination run free, and, getting a catharsis when life gets too real on occasion.  it’s a place I can go to and pull myself back together, look at questions in my life objectively, and maybe write a story about it to help myself understand some things in a different way. I suppose it’s a way to keep myself sane in a crazy world.

Where can readers find you?

Lots of places!

Paper Angel Press

Amazon author page

My website, The Pandemonium


Meet S.C. Alban

sc_albanWelcome today to S.C. Alban, who writes both adult and YA fiction. S.C. Alban was born and raised in Northern California. She is the eldest of three children and often spent much of her childhood playing make-believe with her two younger sisters.

After graduating from university, where she majored in English literature, S.C. traveled for a year. She ultimately moved back to Northern California where she currently resides.

Her adult contemporary fantasy books, The Strega Series novels, will be published through Foster Embry Publishing (A Life Without Living – May 2019, Barely Living Alive – Fall 2019, and Death Before Dying – Winter 2020).

S.C. is currently working as an assistant editor for the growing boutique publisher, Lakewater Press, out of Queensland, Australia. During her time there, she’s had her hands in various projects from slush pile reader, to assisting acquisitions, to producing book trailers, working with the social media coordinator, to working directly with the editing & development department under the guidance of editorial director (and Angel), Kate Foster.

She currently resides in the gorgeous Sonoma County with her family, three cats, and three (terribly) lazy guard dogs, and considers herself pretty darn lucky to live in such an amazing place.

Her book ,A Life Without Living, The STREGA Series, Book 1, comes out today, May 21, from Foster Embry Publishing. It’s 350 pages long. The cover is gorgeous and the title is very compelling.


Kate Martins appears to have it all – a good career, a beautiful home, and an amazing husband. What more could a woman ask for? But when Kate’s recurring nightmares begin to cross over into her waking hours, she discovers that her perfect life is not at all what it seems. It isn’t until she meets a mysterious stranger that Kate begins to question who she truly is and where she comes from.

Why did you decide to write this series?

I wrote this book because I’ve always had a fascination with witches and folk magic. I’m also a sucker for a tragic love story. I’m drawn to the dark stuff, the stuff that doesn’t always turn out like you want it to, and I wanted to write a love story that had that tone. Also, I wanted to write a novel with a heroine that was an anti-heroine of sorts, but has growth over the series.

What genre is your series?

There’s been some debate about exactly where this book/series would go among my friends, but I’d say this novel falls strongly in the contemporary fantasy genre. However, my sister is adamant that it’s a paranormal thriller all the way.

Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?

Though there are bits of internal revelation by the characters, the series is a plot-driven roller coaster.

What makes your series unique?

I think what makes my book unique is the fact that my characters are terribly flawed and seem to make their lives more difficult with every choice, and somehow they’ll need to figure out how to make everything work out. That, and the focus on Italian witchcraft. My characters practice Stregheria. Of course, creative interpretation about the tradition is exercised, including borrowing form other traditions, is employed. But I think the way I combine the many traditions from all over the world is what makes the book unique.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I am a very loose plotter. I have an ending. And perhaps a few points along the way, but mostly I like to see where things lead.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

It’s silly, but whenever I hear a name I like I write it down in a journal I have set aside for name gathering. Also, I’ll say dialogue out loud using the names and imagine scenes and character interactions to see if the names match the person and go with the other characters.

How do you decide on the setting?

I tend to write about places I’ve been to and have experienced. Which makes a wonderful excuse to vacation. I try to travel as much as possible to get as many setting ideas settled in my brain. Then, I just mix and match to make the setting work for the story and characters.

Do you have a writing mentor?

I don’t have a writing mentor, per se, but I’m super lucky to have so many colleagues who I look up to that have definitely taken on a “mentor”role at one point or another. The writing community is such a supportive place to learn and grow.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

My writing schedule is so chaotic right now. I typically write at night, but after a day of teaching, that doesn’t always happen on a regular basis. Weekends are always good, though. I usually do some writing every weekend. And, my favorite place to write is in the lounge at my local bowling alley. I know it sounds bizarre, but it’s rarely busy and surprisingly quiet. Plus, the bartenders are really nice there and let me hang out in the coveted corner comfy couch for hours without any problems.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to thank Foster Embry Publishing for breathing new life into this book, and series. I’m so excited to finish Kate and Gio’s story and share it with the world.

I also want readers to know that a portion of all sales for this series will be donated to The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). It’s the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders by providing support, and as a catalyst for prevention, cures, and access to quality care. As someone who’s been affected by an eating disorder, I know the work NEDA does is lifesaving, and I want to make sure I do whatever I can to help support them.

Where can readers find you?

Readers can find me on my website, my Amazon author page, or on Twitter.


Meet L. A. Jacob

Hey everyone,


Today I’m interviewing Paper Angel Press author L. A. Jacob. L. A. Jacob (also writing as Jake Logan) has been writing fiction for over 30 years. She has been involved with Ceremonial Magic, Wicca and Paganism, and now considers herself Unitarian.

She’s published four books in the Grimaulkin series and, as Jake Logan, the first volume in the War Mage series.


Today, she’s talking about the Grimaulkin series.  So far, there are four books in the series:

Grimaulkin, Book One, 142 pages, was published in February 2017.


Grimaulkin Tempted, Book Two, came out in December 2017 and is 202 pages long.


Grimaulkin Redeemed, Book Three, published in February 2018, is 180 pages long.


Grimaulkin Tales, published on May 1, 2019, is a collection of short stories and is 202 pages long. 


Now, the interview:

Why did you decide to write this series?

I have always been interested in using magic in the real world. I am a practicing magician and believe that magic does really work.

I first created Grimaulkin in an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game. I wanted to play a man because it was known at the time that if I played a female in this game, I was either looking for a relationship or the male players would not take me seriously.

I decided on a gay man because there weren’t enough gay players in the game. By role-playing a character who happened to like men and could be taken seriously as a gamer, I could explore the male dominated world of gaming.

I really liked Grimaulkin’s attitude and found that he was a “love him or hate him” kind of guy. I took him out of the gaming universe and put him in my own, to try and solve some of my own problems and issues.

What genre is your series?

It’s young adult fantasy, not necessarily urban fantasy because it’s not as dark and gritty as urban fantasy. It can also fall under young adult LBGTQ fantasy.

Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?

Mostly character-driven. If I am not pressed for time, I will set the characters up and let them duke it out on their own. However, I often will end up down rabbit holes or I will write myself into a corner.

What makes your series unique?

Other than possibly Dumbledore, there aren’t too many serious gay magicians. Grim has been through a dark past and is a stronger man for it, even if he is somewhat amoral at times.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

If I’m pressed for time, or have a deadline, I try to loosely plot out my stories. When I want to feel old fashioned, I set up index cards—when I’m new-fangled, I use the index card feature in Scrivener, where I usually write my first drafts.

Regardless, I always at least have an end-point in mind before I write.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

Grimaulkin is a misspelling of Grimalkin, which is the cat that belongs to the three witches in Macbeth. It’s also a word that means “old female gray cat”. I have three books of names, and also use the Beyond the Name websites for first names and surnames.

As an aside, I named my first petite gray cat Grimalkin, but my husband misheard it and thought it was “Grey Mountain.” The name stuck.

How do you decide on the setting?

I write what I know. I grew up in the area that the book takes place in. I even pass by “Scott’s store”. It used to be a place called the Curly Caterpillar, where I bought my first deck of tarot cards at 15. It is now a coffee shop.

Do you have a writing mentor?

No, I never did. I have a degree in English and Communications, with the idea that I was going to be a journalist. I have a minor in Cultural Anthropology, because I decided I wanted to have that under my belt to write science-fiction and develop other fantastic cultures. When I got out of college, I ended up working as an admin at a newspaper until it closed, and found myself in different administrative jobs instead of my chosen field. I had no place, no other writers to involve myself with.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I try to write nightly, but I am a news junkie who listens to news from the time I get home until 7 pm, and by then, I’m too tired. Most of my writing is done on the weekends now. My favorite place to write is in my cellar, on my iMac using Scrivener. I don’t have any distractions but mail and the internet. I also have Scrivener on my Windows computer located in my official “office”, but I have a game that can distract me on that computer. If I have to get something done, I do it on the Mac.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Writing is a magical experience. When you’re in that zone, that place where your world has fallen away and you’re typing or writing something that seems to be coming from on high, then that is magic. But before you get there, you have to work and write earthy stuff.

Where can readers find you?

A few places. There’s my author page on the Paper Angel Press website.

And my websites:

Grimaulkin’s Grimore

Dark Mystic Quill


Meet Steven Radecki

Hey everyone,

Steven headshotEarlier this month, you met Steven Radecki in his role as managing editor of Paper Angel Press. (See Meet Paper Angel Press, Part 1 and Part 2.) Did you also know he was an author? Today, I’m talking to him about his book, Building Baby Brother. I remember when he was writing this story, ten or so years ago. It’s great to see it in book form! I really enjoyed it and think it will appeal to readers of diverse genres: YA, family drama, sci-fi. You can find my review at the end of the interview.

Building Baby Brother was published in August 2016. It’s 120 pages long.


You can find it here:

Paper Angel Press

And now, the interview.

Why did you decide to write this book?

It actually started as what was intended to be a 2,000-word short story for a family event at the school my son was attending at the time. The event, unfortunately, got cancelled, but my mind couldn’t let go of the story … and it kept growing … and growing … and growing – and eventually became the 29,000-word novella that it is today.

What genre is your book?

Building Baby Brother would definitely be considered science fiction. Had it been told from the point-of-view of the son rather than the father, it could also have been YA (Young Adult). Hmm … excuse me, I need to get back to the keyboard right now.

Do you consider Building Baby Brother character-driven or plot-driven?

Originally, I think the story started out to be plot-driven, but I think it turned out to be far more character-driven.

What makes your book unique?

That’s a good question – and one an author should be able to answer when promoting their book. I’d have to say that it might be unique because it’s approachable science fiction that anyone with children could relate to because it doesn’t get bogged down in the “science” part, but themes are relatable to anyone with children or who has been a parent.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

This may come as quite a shock to people who know me, but I rarely plot out the entire story before I begin. I tried outlining my stories first, but once the characters develop lives and voices of their own, they rarely want to follow the script I originally laid out for them. (I do occasionally create pseudo-outlines when I’m in the midst of creating a story to make sure that I remember to hit some key points or events along the way to the end. I guess I’m a big believer in “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” I do like being surprised when I read a story. I don’t always know how the story will end when I start it (as problematic as that might sound), but I always know how it must end when I get about a third of the way through writing it.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

Most of the time, they name themselves. As I’m writing, there’s usually a name that feels right. If that doesn’t work, I check name lists on the Internet, like lists of baby names or random names in directory listings and then often combine names from two different sources together.

How do you decide on the setting?

Well, for Building Baby Brother, it was set in an imaginary home and an neighborhood that resembled the one where I grew up in Southern California when I was the same age that the boy was in the story.

Do you have a writing mentor?

I don’t know that I have a specific writing mentor, per se. There are authors who I admire and look to for inspiration. Some of the key influences would be Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson, Tom Robbins, and Harlan Ellison.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

If I could hold to an actual writing schedule, then the sequel(s) to Building Baby Brother would be published, as would books in my various space opera series. I don’t know that I have a particularly favorite place to write, as most of my writing tends to get squeezed in wherever I happen to be. I do, however, have a fondness for a local coffee place where they roast their own beans. I would try to get one of the tall bar tables next to the roaster and write away on my netbook to the aroma of roasting coffee. I may need to put that place in a story someday.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to encourage our writers to submit their stories – particularly to smaller presses who might appreciate them. Feedback – even less than positive – is a gift that can help you grow as a writer. And, please, stop giving your work away for free. Your time, effort, and vision are worth more than that.

Where can readers find you?

Check out my page on the Paper Angel Press website: Steven Radecki 

Also check out my website: A Work in Progress

Nancy’s review of Building Baby Brother:

Building Baby Brother is a fascinating book, with themes on multiple levels, from the impacts of AI to what it means to be a parent. A dad wants to do the best for his son and uses his engineering skills to ‘create’ a baby brother. And, just like a person, baby brother grows in unexpected ways. The story is touching, funny, and wise, and will appeal to sci-fi fans, as well as to fans of family drama and YA.

Meet Paper Angel Press, Part 1

Hey everyone,

IMG_3365Today, I’m interviewing Steven Radecki, one of the managing editors of Paper Angel Press. As you may know, the second edition of Due Date was published by Paper Angel Press on March 1. I couldn’t have been happier with the press and the process. I thought I’d find out more, and am happy to share this interview with you.

As an aside, in addition to being a Paper Angel Press managing editor who works on all things business- and production-related, Steven also has a full-time tech job, and is an author. Check out his book here: Building Baby Brother.

This is the first installment in a two-part series. I’ll publish the second part of the interview on April 8.

Where did the name Paper Angel Press come from?

I am a huge fan of real, physical, paper books and I wanted a name to help demonstrate that we didn’t just do digital editions and that we also appreciate and cherish the tradition of printed editions. Part of the name came from my original concept for our logo, which was a ring of clearly diverse paper-cut people holding hands in a circle. (As you can see, we didn’t go with that, for several reasons.) As our goal was also to help authors get published in a supportive manner, I liked the “angel” concept as a kind of nod to “angel investor” concept – where we invested our time, energy, and resources to do our best to help our authors be successful.

Tell us about the history of the press. How long have you been around? What was the first book you published?

I would say that we officially started in July 2015 (although there was definitely some planning long before then, actually some of it as early as 2011!). The first book we published was Is Home Your Happy Place?: The Unruly Woman’s Approach to Space Healing by Christy Diane Farr in October 2015.

Your logo is unusual and unique. How was the logo developed?

Our logo went through a lot of iterations before we settled on this one. With the name, we struggled with coming up with a symbol that didn’t inadvertently convey something potentially too religious or spiritual. We also needed a design that would scale down well and still be recognizable when printed on the narrow spine of a book. Fortunately, our incredibly talented illustrator, Niki Lenhart, finally arrived at the logo you see today.

How many authors/books have you published?

As of right now, if you don’t count the free stories for download, we have 23 books either published, or scheduled to be published, before the end of 2019. We currently have 8 authors, but are always looking for more!

What types of books do you publish?

We publish pretty much anything – fiction and non-fiction – except for erotica. If a story appeals to us, and we and the author believe there is a market for it, we are generally willing to give it a try. Thanks to you, we just expanded into mysteries this year, which was a genre we hadn’t published before (at least not in the specific genre sense, as some of our fantasy novels are mysteries at their core).

One thing that drew me to your publishing company was your mission. Tell us about that. How does that translate out to a published book?

Without going into all of the detail (which is available on our website:, our mission is to help make the publishing easier and less intimidating. Our goal is to try to turn around books from final manuscript in a few months, rather than the several months or few years that it takes for traditional publishing through the major publishing houses. As an author myself, knowing my book will be available for sale within a few months is much more exciting than “sometime late next year”. People have short attention spans, so it’s difficult to maintain enthusiasm and interest in a book that might not available for a year or more.

What do you offer authors that other small presses don’t?

I can’t speak about all small presses, but based on my experience, I believe we do more to help support our authors – even those we might decide not to work with. If we decide not to work with an author, they will almost always receive specific reasons for our decision, instead of the typical (and usually very unhelpful) form letter they might receive from other publishers.

When we publish a book, we provide authors with a complete promotional toolkit to help them promote their books, including such materials as social media banners and promotional business cards. Their books are included in our quarterly brochure, and are also sold at events at which we or our authors participate, such as last year’s WorldCon or Rhode Island ComicCon.

Tell us about the anthologies you’ve published, and the upcoming anthology titled Corporate Catharsis.

So far, we haven’t officially published any anthologies, but we have three scheduled for release this year (2019). The first, Grimaulkin Tales by L. A. Jacob, is a collection of stories involving some of the secondary and background characters from her “Grimaulkin” novels. We thought readers might be interested in those rather than trying to develop them into full-length novels. The next one, Sometimes After Dark by J Dark, is a collection of unrelated short stories in different genres. In both of these cases, it was also that I didn’t want to give away all of their short work for free, and anthologies seemed like a good way to try to solve that problem.

The Corporate Catharsis anthology is a concept that we had when we first started Paper Angel Press – it’s just taken us this long to assemble all of the pieces needed to create such an anthology. The idea behind it is that writing can be a cathartic process and what better source for that than what almost everyone has experienced in a corporate environment or as the result of corporation bureaucracy. If anyone is interested in learning more about it, they can visit our web page for it: Also, we are still open for submissions for that anthology! (Tell us you heard about it from here.)

Thanks for stopping by, Steven! Be sure to visit next Monday for the second installment.