Sunday, 23 October 2016

Coffee chat with Tia Mitsis, author of a Greek Odyssey - Aussie indie author spotlight

I'm talking to Aussie Indie authors all this month and next, inviting them into my virtual café for a chat. Today I'm chatting with Tia Mitsis, who writes non-fiction books. She holds a Masters in Law and her favourite books to read are non-fiction books about science and the universe
I have to admit that I read Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Impossible" and I'm a little partial to science non-fiction books myself.

As an author with Greek parentage, Tia explores her roots and shares the side of Greece that tourists may never see.
Please join me in welcoming Tia to my virtual café.
DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?

Tia: Coffee with a little bit of milk, no sugar or a very small amount – the tip of the tea spoon.

I’m a morning person. I remember a colleague telling me I was annoyingly cheery at 6am one day when we were away for work and had to be up and ready for a long drive.

DL: History and culture are so important. How does a book such as 'A Greek Odyssey' help towards preserving culture? And does it clash with humanity's incessant need to grow?

Tia: ‘A Greek Odyssey’ is aimed to increase awareness of the areas of Greece that many tourists are yet to discover. As an author with Greek heritage, I wanted to highlight the Greece I know. When people talk about Greece, they generally refer to Athens or the islands. I wanted to introduce areas which are off the beaten track so to speak. There is so much to discover in Greece, many towns and villages that I am yet to discover too.

It preserves the culture through focusing on Greece as not just a destination but sharing experiences from the perspective of a writer with Greek heritage. I want to help raise awareness that it’s not all economic turmoil. Greece and her beauty are still there, just waiting to be discovered. I really hope that ‘A Greek Odyssey’ can help preserve the culture through instilling pride in Greeks about Greece, encouraging tourism and creating more awareness and knowledge among travellers about places to visit and experience.

I don’t believe there’s a clash because through preserving culture, we’re creating a growth in awareness, preserving knowledge of language for those who are bilingual (or more!) and instilling identity. We are all humans, and we all have cultures that are unique and preserving that is a way of preserving our history also. It’s not all about the future, history is something that we need to be aware of, appreciate and preserve.

DL: As a writer of fiction, I rely on other's real life experiences. Have you marketed "A Greek Odyssey" to romance fiction writers who haven't had the opportunity to travel to Greece?

Tia: I haven’t actually and you make a very good point. I might need to look into that! I would like to try my hand at fiction next and have written some fiction just for me but not for publication. It does require a lot of research to ensure the fictional account is relatable and accurate when set outside your local area.

Romance authors - if you are placing your novel in Greece, check out this book.

DL: And I love the concept of your first book "When Study Goes Wrong". So often we are blinded by the pursuit that we aren't prepared for failure. How important is it for human development to fail?
Tia: No, we aren’t prepared. We go into something expecting everything to fall into place exactly as we want it to. Whether that’s in study, work, business etc. I wasn’t prepared, I hadn’t considered the possibility that it would be so hard to get a job.

I’m not going to lie to you, I still struggle sometimes with frustration at how things turned out. Writing ‘When Study Goes Wrong’ was a catharsis, it needed to be out there and my hope for it is that graduates who read it realise that they are not alone. It is so often swept under the rug and many people probably wonder why I took the step of being so honest about my experience. I could have pretended it was all fabulous…but I didn’t. I didn’t because it is important to speak out about this issue. We all know graduates who are highly qualified and haven’t been able to find work in their field. Yet what do we do about it?

I felt so alone going through the experience that I don’t want others to go through the same. ‘When Study Goes Wrong’ is there for support, encouragement and to help graduates realise that it is not their fault. Their experience doesn’t define them. Failure at obtaining a job in my field of study when I tried so hard and went through to postgraduate studies defined me for far too long. It affected my life for far too long, it takes a toll both physically and emotionally. It’s easy to look at the situation from the outside but when you go through it, when you live the consequences of it every day, it’s draining.

Had I not gone through it, it’s likely that ‘When Study Goes Wrong’ wouldn’t exist. It’s likely I wouldn’t have had to evaluate my life and identity to this extent, it’s likely I would not have experienced as much stress and depression as I have. For human development and my own development, I learned that I had to tell myself it was okay to fail, that is was okay for things not to work out as intended and that what I studied and the work I did, did not define me. They are not my identity. Many people are defined by their jobs, I’d like to think I no longer am defined by this. I do not want to identify as a lawyer who couldn’t find work in the field. I’m a person, a person who has struggled, who has had to deal with a reality I didn’t envisage and as part of the healing process, I turned to writing.

Writing has been with me from a young age, I used to say I wanted to be an author ‘when I grew up’. The author journey isn’t an easy one but with every struggle there’s growth, acceptance and drive. If everything is stacked on a silver platter, there’s no struggle, and in my opinion, there’s minimal need for development. Without struggle there is more positivity of course, but there’s no need to develop yourself, to search your inner most thoughts or to analyse your dreams and accept that you need to make a change within yourself to accept and overcome struggles.

DL:  And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

Tia: Gingernuts are my guilty pleasure!

I love a cake my mum has been making since childhood for every birthday. It’s a sponge cake and the biscuits are soaked in coffee. It would be similar to tiramisu. I look forward to birthdays so I can have a piece of that cake, it’s delicious!

Take a journey of discovery with Tia Mitsis, and be introduced to the roads less travelled in Greece; places that are off the beaten track normally frequented by tourists. Areas that are hidden gems, traditional and authentic parts of Greece that are largely untouched by tourism. The Greece which Tia introduces readers to is filled with beauty, history, and scenery that needs to be seen to be believed.
While tourists normally flock to the famous Greek islands, Tia explores the mainland of Greece. A journey which leads her to a variety of hidden wonders not often explored. Tia climbs to the top of the monument of Zalongo, sees the famous Edessa waterfalls, finds herself on the edge of Greece, and explores places with vivid stories and mythology.
As an author with Greek parentage, Tia explores her roots and captures the natural beauty of an ancient country. A country that is filled with natural landscapes, traditions, and monuments that have weathered time, wars, and the elements to still enchant visitors today.
“When I think of Greece, I think of warmth, comfort, rich history and culture, and breathtaking scenery.”
Tia Mitsis
Thanks for stopping by, Tia. Good luck with the writing.
D L Richardson

Saturday, 22 October 2016

4 days left to nominate Welcome To The Apocalypse for Kindle Press

4 days left to nominate Welcome To The Apocalypse for Kindle Press.

It's "Ready Player One" for adults.

The campaign has gone well. I've had over 600 page views, the book has spent 24 hours in hot and trending, though they don't provide the number of nominations. Is this enough to get it published by Kindle Press? Only time will tell.

At the end of the day, it's not going to matter how many nominations a book gets, it has to be a good story, well written, and marketable.

Look out for the new cover which is what I've been working on during this campaign. I've also worked on the blurb and the content so that it's ready to go if I'm lucky to get a Kindle Press publishing deal.

What have I learned so far about this experience:

A strong cover will gain more attention. However, since it's taken me 25 days to get this cover how I like it, I'd only be starting my campaign now, and heading into Christmas, no thanks. So I went with the best cover at the time.

I also should have led with the logline "Ready Player One for adults".

I'm so glad I created a planner for all the promotion I've had to do to get this out to readers. It has kept me on track and forced me into action. When I look at the calendar and see "Goodreads" then I get on Goodreads and contact readers.

I hope I can count on your nomination. Be there at the start of this series. You can also sign up to receive my newsletter which will announce the release date.

D L Richardson

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Coffee chat with Nicola Field, author of The Prodigal - Aussie indie author spotlight

So far this month we've met some awesome Aussie authors. We've got more to come.
Nicola Field is a Canberra writer. As well as writing, she works for a local Hearing Service Provider and has lived with hearing loss since childhood. This encouraged her to write her first short work on living with hearing loss. "Diversity" in characters is something many publishers and agents are seeking right now. I wanted to ask Nicola how she felt about writers without disabilities writing characters with disabilities, and her answer is below.

Please welcome Nicole to my virtual coffee room. I've just poured my cup of coffee into my bar mug that I purchased while at Lake Louise Canada last February.  

DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?

Nicola: I love my Nespresso!  I have to have my morning cap with breakfast.  Bit of coffee snob, I have to admit.
DL: There is such a call these days for diverse characters, including those with disabilities. How do you feel when you read about an able bodied writer writing about a character overcoming a disability? Do you feel any exposure to diversity is good, or does it inspire you to write the story right?

Nicola: I feel that exposure to diversity in the use of our characters can help to make people see others in a fresh new light.  We need to be able to venture our of own little world and see things from another’s point of view. Having a disability doesn’t mean we are devoid of feeling or emotion.  It just means to do things differently and need a bit of hand sometimes.

DL: I'm a huge fan of Jamie Summers, the Bionic woman. Watched the TV show every day as a child. I loved how she had super hearing. Is there technology out there for super hearing?

Nicola: Wouldn’t that be exciting!  We would all be hearing what we really say about each other!  Seriously, technology is amazing and has changed the lives of so many people.  To be able to engage with others socially and be involved in the conversation can be the difference between living life and just existing.  Hearing loss is very isolating and technology has broken that invisible bubble that separates us from the world.

DL: "The Prodigal" is a thriller. Can you tell us where the idea for this story came from.

Nicola: I started working on "The Prodigal" when I was about 18 years old.  I loved the idea of a secret organisation, Foundation, and loved the idea of people helping others without anyway knowing.  It developed as I got into the story, and it was fun to see it take shape.  It’s been a long project, and I am excited to finally have it published after so long. 

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

Nicola: Cheesecake!  I am a sucker for cheesecake.  My name is Nicola and I am a cheesecakeaholic.

Now that you've met Nicole, let's check out her latest book "The Prodigal"

"Joshua Adams, an agent in the underground law enforcement group the Foundation, is about to be given the case of his life.  The son of their President, who was kidnapped as a child, has returned thirty years later.  Can Joshua find the truth behind why one of their own took him?  Can he bring home the Prodigal?”

Check out more about this author:

Visit her website:

Visit her Amazon store:


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Coffee chat with Jeanette O'Hagan, author of Heart of the Mountain - Aussie indie author spotlight

We're continuing with the great Aussie indie author coffee chat campaign. 
For the rest of 2016 I'm talking twice a week (sometimes thrice) with Aussie indie authors in my virtual cafe, where we'll talk about books, writing, what makes us laugh, and most importantly, how we have (or not in some cases) our coffee.
This morning's guest is Brisbane author Jeanette O'Hagan. I've just poured my second cup of black plunger coffee. Yes, it's a two cup day today. My dog is on my lap, and I'm all set to welcome Jeanette to my virtual cafe.
Welcome Jeanette.
DL: Firstly, how do you have your coffee? Have your tasted changed since our last coffee chat?

Jeanette: My tastes haven't changed - I still enjoy lactose-free cappuccino when out with friends, or moccona instant at home. 
You can read Jeanette's earlier coffee chat here.

DL: Australia has had some pretty wild weather recently. Do you find you write better in stormy weather or blue sky weather?

Jeanette: I can write in any weather as long as there's enough light and I'm relatively dry - I especially love windy weather (as in the Westerlies). I find it invigorating. And maybe it reminds of my childhood in Mt Isa.

DL: Your stories have a theme of inspiration. What's the most inspirational thing to happen to you?

Jeanette: With all the bad and shocking news we get bombarded with these days, it's easy to feel despairing about the world despite all the good things that usually don't make the news. I find stories of bravery and generosity against the odds inspiring and meeting Nick Vujicic  (born without arms or legs) some years ago was very inspirational. Being immersed in nature, appreciating its complexity and beauty or even just taking in the vastness and beauty of the sky helps ground and inspire me too - so experiencing the grandeur of the Victoria Falls (Africa) or European Alps or Milford Sound (NZ) or seeing the Milky Way from rural Africa was totally uplifting. But I would have to say that what has inspired me the most is encountering a loving God often in the midst of the difficulties and despair and uncertainty. 

DL: You run a sci-fi/fantasy blog. Is this an area of writing you'd like to venture into?

Jeanette: Fantasy is the genre I love the most - all my fictional stories, except two, are fantasy, written about my secondary world Nardva and in some way linked to the stories I started telling myself as a 9 year old - decades ago. This is true of my latest release, "Heart of theMountain" - and the last story I wrote 'Stasia's Stand' (sent off to a competition) and my current WIPs - Akrad's Children and Blood Crystal (the sequel to "Heart of the Mountain")

Of the two exceptions to fantasy - one is a contemporary piece ('Sandy: Perfect Plans' in Let the Sea Roar) and the other is a sci-fi flash fiction 'Space Junk' - recently published in the Mixed Blessings: Genre-lly Speaking anthology. Some of my stories have mystery and romantic elements and I am thinking I of writing another Sci-Fi piece but can't see myself writing contemporary or historical anytime soon.

DL: Are you the only writer in your family?

Jeanette: Good question. My daughter (grade 12) is not only an amazingly talented artist but writes great short stories (which I get to edit from time to time).  My brother Tom has written some beautiful poetry and evocative fiction and also blogs on the environment.  Otherwise - hmmm - my great-great grandfather was editor of the Charters Towers Miner  - but that was a very long time ago. 

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

Jeanette: Unfortunately, being strictly gluten/wheat-free, my choices are somewhat limited these days - but I can't go past a pavlova with berries on top.

Thanks for having me  -  once again I've enjoyed our chat and answering the great questions. 

Jeanette (Jenny) O'Hagan

Today's featured novella is "Heart Of The Mountain"

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm deep under the mountain.
Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across a stranger. Trapped under the mountain, young Zadeki’s only thought is to escape home to his kin. Peril awaits all three youngsters. Will they pull apart or work together to save the underground realm?
Adam Collings ‘great world building”, “fast paced”, “thrilling climax”
Nola Passmore ‘a real page-turner and I found myself thinking about the characters in between reading stints’
Paula Vince ‘skillful world building and characterisation’
Nook (Barnes & Noble):
About Jeanette O’Hagan

Jeanette O’Hagan enjoys writing fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. She is writing her Akrad’s Legacy series—a Young Adult secondary world fantasy fiction with adventure, courtly intrigue and romantic elements. Her short stories and poems are published in a number of anthologies including Glimpses of Light, Like a Girl and Another Time Another Place. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and two children.
You can find her at her Facebook Page ( )
or on Jeanette O'Hagan Writes (
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

Monday, 17 October 2016

10 days left to nominate Welcome to the Apocalypse for Kindle Press - Ready Player One for adults

10 days left to nominate Welcome To The Apocalypse for a Kindle Press publishing contract.

Ready Player One for adults. For fans of The Matrix.

About 15 days left till we find out if we were successful.

If yes, you get a free ebook and you can say you helped. You'll be there at the start of this sci-fi series.

I'm already working on book Two, so successful with Kindle Press or not, Book One will be out in time for Christmas. I've already got people lining up for the print edition.

So, just to recap. Here is the final blurb:

"Players. Welcome to the apocalypse…"
Kelly Lawrence is a grieving widow.
Jack Minnow is a website designer.
Reis Anderson is the son of a senator. 
Each of these players has their own reasons for signing up to The Apocalypse Games, a state of the art virtual game designed to entertain doomsday preppers, gamers, and
cosplayers. Altogether, over 100 people enter NASA designed simulation pods and hook up to the mainframe computer with one goal: survive 24 hours of an apocalypse.
Instead of game over at the end, they’re plugged straight into a new game. Then another. It’s clear the computer has malfunctioned. What’s not clear is why. With no communication to or from the outside operators, they can only fight endless battles and hope they’re rescued before it’s too late. While they can’t die inside the
game, they can die if the pods break down while they’re still hooked up. 
This game of survival just got real.
Here is the final version of the cover:
And here is the link so you can nominate:
Thank you for your support.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Coffee chat with A.B. Shepherd, author of The Beacon - Aussie indie author spotlight

I'm talking with Aussie indie authors in my virtual cafe, where we'll talk about books, writing, what makes us laugh, and most importantly, how we have (or not in some cases) our coffee.

Today I'd like to welcome A.B Shepherd (aka Abie) to my virtual coffee chat room. She's new to Australia, having grown up in Michigan US, and she moved to Australia is 2009. She lives on the Limestone Coast, and I have to admit that I don't know where that is so I'm keen to learn about a hidden Aussie gem. I had to Google it.

Limestone Coast is South Australia. Ocean views, natural rock, lighthouses and stunning scenery make up this part of Australia.

I've just poured myself a cup of percolated coffee and I take it without milk and with one sugar. Now let's meet Abie.

Welcome Abie.

 DL: Since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?
Abie: I actually don’t like coffee. I grew up with parents who smoked and drank tons of coffee. I used to sip on my mum’s who loved hers sweet and white, and now I feel like coffee has an ashy aftertaste. Sad, isn’t it? I do, however, love a hot Milo in the morning.

DL: "The Beacon" is about being shipwrecked on an island.  Did living on the Limestone Coast region of South Australia influence your choice of setting?
Abie: I love the Limestone Coast and it’s beaches especially, but no, they were not my inspiration. Or at least only indirectly. It’s lighthouses that have always fascinated me. I always thought it would be romantic to live in a remote lighthouse somewhere, and my love of that fantasy was the initial inspiration for "The Beacon".

DL: You have notes for book club discussion in your books. Do you get much chance to visit with book clubs?
Abie: I wish I got more opportunity to visit with book clubs. While travel is a bit awkward for me, I’m up for a good virtual meeting with a book club anytime, so please let your readers know if they are interested to shoot me an email and we can set something up.

ATTENTION BOOK CLUBBERS - If you're interested in a virtual book club meeting, please email A. B Shepherd by clicking on this link, or you can email

DL: The blurb reads: How far would you go to help a friend? What's the craziest thing you've ever done to help a friend?
Abie: Crazy, yes and also a bit silly, but when my friend Jane (her real name) and I were in our first year of Uni she had a huge crush on this guy and I helped her toilet paper his house! She got to help clean up the mess. 😊

DL: How long have you been writing? And what is your biggest achievement so far?
Abie: I’ve always written, at least in a journal, and I attempted writing novels several times throughout the years, but it wasn’t until I participated in NanoWrimo a few years ago that I managed to actually finish a full draft of a novel. It’s called Lifeboat and it’s the first book I published. It became an Amazon Bestseller and I consider that my biggest writing achievement.

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?
Abie: Chocolate with chocolate icing – hands down and always. Thanks for hosting me Debbie, in spite of my aversion to coffee I always love a good chat.

DL: It's been my pleasure Abie. Keep in touch with your future writing projects.

Abie's book is "The Beacon"
Shipwrecked on a deserted island.
How far would you go to help a new friend? Would you kill someone?
How do you know what is and isn't real?
When The Beacon beckons safe harbour isn't guaranteed.
Follow A.B Shepherd

Thanks so much, Abie, for stopping by and sharing a virtual cup of milo for you and coffee for me. Good luck with your writing.