Hey everyone,

I know you all know about podcasts, but I bet you might not know about the podcasts produced by Small Publishing in a Big Universe. The focus is everything and anything writing and publishing related. It’s a fairly new effort, having started in August of 2021. The podcasts are short, clocking in at just 15 minutes each. But they’re well done and interesting.

The first two podcasts were released in August and September 2021 and feature Steven Radecki, Managing Editor of Paper Angel Press, discussing the press and its imprints. Radecki outlines everything an aspiring author might want to know about publishing, from the submission process to contracts to editing and the mechanics of getting a book from manuscript to print. And of course, he addresses everyone’s least favorite activity, marketing!

This great start to the series was followed by author interviews. In November, we heard from Morgan Chalut and in October, from author Paul S. Moore. The podcasts introduce you to their work, their inspirations and writing habits, how they got their start, and their various quirks! In December, author L.A. Jacob will be interviewed.

In the new year, the podcast will feature narrator Jenn Broda (who narrated the Shelby McDougall audio books), an interview with yours truly (sometime next spring), as well as a panel discussion with several technical writers talking about differences and similarities between technical writing and fiction writing.

You can find these podcasts here and listen to them anywhere:

Hope you enjoy!



Celebrating audiobooks!

Hey everyone,

One of my favorite things to do is listen to audiobooks. I listen when I’m in the car, when I’m cleaning the house, when I’m knitting, gardening, walking. Right now, I’m listening to the Sue Grafton Kinsey Milhone series, in order. I’m up to J is for Judgement. Some of my favorite narrators are Barbara Rosenblatt, Mary Pfeiffer, Simon Vance, and George Newbern. The performances, for that’s what they truly are, are incredible.

Now, I have a new favorite narrator to add to my list: Jenn Broda, the narrator of the Shelby McDougall series. I’m delighted to let you know that the trilogy has just been released in audiobook format. Ms. Broda brought Shelby’s story to life with a vivid complexity I hadn’t thought possible. As Shelby grew and changed throughout the series, so did the quality of Ms. Broda’s narration. She was able to age Shelby appropriately, giving voice to Shelby in her early twenties, late twenties, and mid-thirties. Listening to my words being read out loud by a professional was truly a joy.

I’d never given much thought to what it took to release a book in audiobook format. It’s quite involved. Ms. Broda, among others, provided a 15 minute sample as an audition. Her voice stood out as the obvious choice. Once a contract with Paper Angel Press was in place, I was asked to provide a character overview: who they were, their ages, their motivations and desires, their individual storylines. It took a while to prepare this, but it gave me the opportunity to dig deep into the timeline and provide some insights. In a few weeks, I received a 15 minute sample for Due Date, where Ms. Broda narrated a few pages here and there with different characters. It was perfect, I really didn’t have any changes to suggest.

And after that, we got down to work. About a month later I received a link to a shared folder with every single Due Date chapter, all 55 of them as separate files, along with the Acknowledgments, Introduction, and other front and back matter that goes in a book. My job was to follow along and listen to each word, noting every place (by time, chapter, and page) a word was missed or mispronounced; an extra word was inserted; or a dreaded typo discovered. Then, Ms. Broda would fix those glitches and upload the updated file which I needed to verify. Once Due Date was complete, the process would be repeated for The Stork and The Found Child. I was a bit nervous at first — would my words hold up? How about the stories themselves? Would I still enjoy them?

To my surprise and delight, I loved it! Listening to Ms. Broda’s narration was a pleasure. Her voice is smooth and bewitching, compassionate, empathetic. Her narration was perfect. And she voiced the tension masterfully; propelling me to listen to the next chapter and the next. At some points, I found myself so caught up in the story that I had to rewind and listen using my editorial ear.

To celebrate this milestone, the eBook edition of each book will be on sale this coming weekend, from November 18 – 30, priced at 99¢ each. Click here to open my website’s home page in a new browser tab to find out more about the books and where you can get them.

And if you want to go directly to the audiobooks format, they are at a reduced price for a limited time. Just click below to find to more and listen to a sample:

14 hours and 33 minutes
10 hours and 23 minutes
11 hours and 41 minutes
46 minutes

If you’re so inclined, you can look on the Paper Angel Press YouTube channel to find a snippet of me reading from The Found Child. I have to say, Ms. Broda’s narration is much better!

Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoy these audio editions as much as I did!



Book review: The PIP Inc. Mysteries by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Hey everyone,

It’s the third Monday, so it’s book review day! Today, I’m introducing you to the PIP Inc Mysteries by Nancy Lynn Jarvis. You might be more familiar with the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries by Nancy, but in July of 2019, she launched a new series. The main character, Pat Pirard, is snappy, brave, and kind of a snoop. But a really fun snoop!

So far, there are two books in this series. The first book, The Glass House, is 271 pages and was published in July of 2019. And the second, The Funeral Murder, came out in September of 2020. It’s 216 pages. The set would make a great holiday gift!

Now for my reviews. First, The Glass House:

I love the start of this new series from Nancy Lynn Jarvis. It’s written in her engaging style, with solid characters, plenty of red herrings, and a murder that feels perfect since the victim is someone you love to hate! 

I was particularly impressed by the deft introduction of the main character, Pat Pirard. At the start of the book, Pat is in her new car, a two-door sunburst yellow Mercedes, pulling into her newly-designated parking spot at the Santa Cruz County office building. She’s listening to Aretha’s RESPECT. We learn that she’s got strawberry blond hair, peachy lipstick, stylish pointed-toe pumps, and totes a leopard print briefcase. It’s a great character portrait, right there on page 1.

Needless to say, I was hooked. Pat is a fun character. She’s likeable, smart, and funny. Her friends are equally so. The plot moves along quickly, with Pat pulled into a murder investigation thirty pages in. As Pat proves herself as a P.I., she’s also falling in love. The romantic element of this book is written with just the right amount of spice. And the story is fun, with lots of detail about Santa Cruz, glasswork, and the ins and outs of private detecting. As the plot unfolds, you’ll find plenty of suspects and shifting facts, and you’ll definitely want to keep reading to find out what happens. 

I highly recommend The Glass House for readers who like a cozy mystery with a dose of romance.

And, The Funeral Murder:

The second book in the PIP Inc mystery series, The Funeral Murder, is a winner. Pat Pirad is back, with style. The Funeral Murder is a classic cozy, with a dead body by the end of Chapter 1 and plenty of multiple, intersecting motives by the end of Chapter 2. The murdered woman, Vivian Ponti, is someone everyone loves to hate. As Pat sifts through toxicology reports, family histories, complicated inheritances, birth and death certificates, and divorce decrees, she gets a little too close to the truth, putting herself; her beloved dog, Dot; and Lord Peter Wimsey, her cat; in grave danger. The book is written with Nancy Lynn Jarvis’ extraordinary eye for relevant detail; her snappy, humorous dialog; and her well-crafted plotlines. You’ll love it if you’re a local. If you’re not, you’ll want to visit! In a word, this book is fun. 

Again, if you’re looking for good reads for friends and family who like cozies, you can’t go wrong with this series.

Until next time,


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


New Release from Paper Angel Press

Hey everyone,

I’m so happy to share the July release from Paper Angel Press. It’s an anthology by J Dark called Sometimes After Dark.

A collection of thoughtful tales by J Dark

Among the tales collected here to make you think, question, and wonder …

  • rescue mission in a combat zone on a hostile planet becomes something more
  • A young girl, searching for the parents who abandoned her, discovers that some answers only lead to more questions
  • A young boy learns that it takes more than superpowers to become a hero
  • A man who had led a less-than-perfect life finds out that it’s never too late for redemption
  • A dying Afghanistan veteran’s last moments of his life are not what he expected them to be
  • And, sometimes, on the night before Christmas, it is not always a silent night

Explore the past, future, and triumphs of the human soul.

Buy it now!

Check back next week! I’m interviewing J Dark on July 8!


BayCon recap

620856771673955012I spent last Sunday at BayCon 2019. I helped out at the Paper Angel Press table in the Dealer’s Room. I spent the day with Steven and also met author Andrea Monticue. A lot of folks wandered by the booth, curious about the books and the press. We sold a few books, met a lot of fun people, and made some great connections.

In the afternoon, I attended a session called “How to Write a Heroine,” which was billed as “tips for writing strong female protagonists in the sic fi/fantasy genre.” I knew that the amazing women on the panel — Deborah J. Ross, Marjorie Kaptanoglu, Jennifer L. Carson, and Katharine Kerr — would pass on great advice for writing heroines in any genre.

The panel was led by Marjorie Kapatanoglu, who did a great job of keeping the conversation on track. After introductions, the panelists talked about their female characters and their motivations. We heard about growth, pivotal moments, determination, self-esteem, self-confidence. Katharine Kerr said that the only difference between male and female protagonists was upper body strength! This led into a lively discussion about cultural roles and expectations.

Then, a member of the audience asked the panel members what they thought about rape and violence against women as being  a device to define a character’s trajectory. Great question. This led to a conversation on violence, gratuitous fiction, and what causes a character’s growth. I loved the depth of experience these authors brought to the discussion. Definitely worthwhile.

Until next time!





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.


BayCon 2019

Hey everyone,

Paper Angel Press will be at BayCon 2019! BayCon is in its 37th year and is the Bay Area’s longest fan-fun science fiction & fantasy convention. It’s over Memorial Day Weekend (May 24th through May 27th), at the San Mateo Airport San Francisco Marriott. I’ll be at the booth on Sunday.  Stop by and say hello!

You’ll also meet Paper Angel Press editor and author Steven Radecki, as well as author Andrea Monticue. I’m looking forward to it! I’ve never been to one of these conventions before, so I’m especially appreciative of this opportunity.

Follow our Twitter feed (@PaperAngelPress) during the convention for author appearance times and special deals available during the event. While you’re there, stop by and pitch your book ideas! Steven is actively looking for new authors.

Hope to see you there!