Thursday, 27 October 2016

Coffee chat with Chris Johnson, Aussie indie author - author of short story collection "Twelve Strokes of Midnight"

We're back in the virtual café with Chris Johnson. He's an Australian author who resides with his wife in Brisbane, Queensland, where he works as a stage mentalist when he is not writing. He also has a background in sales and marketing, as well as a bachelors degree in Information Technology. One thing I've noticed about these "coffee chats" is that some people don't drink coffee. Gasp! I know, right. But I won't hold that against them. Let's meet today's Aussie indie author and 'mentalist', Chris Johnson.
Welcome Chris.
DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?

Chris: I haven't had coffee in years, but I like herbal tea. The green tea is perfect, thanks. Or hot chocolate. I'm a morning person and find it a good time to do things before others wake up. The stillness of the air lets me hear my inner voice much better. How about you?

DL: You currently have a collection of short stories published "Twelve Strokes Of Midnight". I love the idea of one story per clock strike. Reminds me of one of my favourite books "Stories by O'Henry". Were these stories written specifically for this book or were they a culmination of many years of writing.

Chris: "TwelveStrokes of Midnight" is an idea that came to me twenty years ago. I wanted to create a book with "one hair-raising story per ominous clock stroke", and include a few hidden surprises. So, it is a collection of things I wrote in that time specifically for the book. It contains hidden pieces - one is very obvious but you have to read it completely to find it. Other hidden messages exist for friends, foes and family. 

DL: You are also a Mentalist. Can you tell us what a Mentalist does?

Chris: A mentalist is someone who reads minds (or thoughts) and performs other "psychic stunts" for people's entertainment. I predict people's behaviour, read their fantasies, and reveal them. Sometimes I tweak that in my volunteers at shows by having them read their friends' minds or bending spoons in their hands, for example. I do this at corporate events and private home parties. It's great fun for all.

DL: How long have you been writing? And what does the future hold for Chris Johnson?

Chris: I've loved writing since I was a kid, and one of my stories has been rewritten for inclusion in Twelve Strokes. It's about a magical carousel that reads people's thoughts and takes them into their fantasies. I wrote the original in primary school, and the teacher loved it so much she read it to the class. The revamped version is longer and grittier.

As for my future, I am releasing my novel "Dead Cell" at the end of this year. UPDATE - NOW RELEASED. It's about a psychic investigator and a sceptical policewoman teaming up to investigate numerous deaths that appear to be simple road accidents. The psychic believes they are murders while the police detective believes he is a kook. My beta readers have loved it and want more.

I have some other projects in mind, but I have another exciting adventure to tackle in April/May 2017 (to be revealed in November).

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

Chris: Oh! do I have to pick just one? I love anything with chocolate, so Tim Tams are good - ESPecially when hot chocolate is sucked through them!

(I love the pun.)

Twelve Strokes of Midnight is a collection of short stories, covering the paranormal activity that affects some ordinary people in not-so-ordinary situations. You will find ghosts, witches, vampires and more of the mysterious within these pages. With one short story per clock strike, each person's chilling horror unfolds in different ways until the final ultimate sacrifice upon the Witching Hour. 
Chris' deep fascination with the paranormal, his love of fantasy, science fiction, and his stage entertainment experience provides much of the creative inspiration for his writing. 

His first published work, "Twelve Strokes of Midnight", is a collection of short stories with supernatural and science/fantasy themes that carry a deeper message. Each stroke of the hour coincides with an absorbing story that will twist your perceptions while making you consider the unseen horrors that watch you from the shadows... until the final sacrifice.
Thank you so much for stopping by and having a virtual cup of "tea" with me. All the best with the writing.
D L Richardson

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Coffee chat with Justin Sheedy, Aussie indie author of World War Two fiction trilogy

We're talking books and coffee on today's coffee chat with Glebe based author, Justin Sheedy.
Justin Sheedy is the author of five books, and whether they be don’t-read-on-the-bus-hilarious or cry-in-every-chapter-heroic, he is passionate to share Australian stories. His Australian World War II historical fiction trilogy began with ‘Nor the Years Condemn’ (2011) followed by ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ (2013) and now concludes with his latest release, ‘No Greater Love’.

Welcome Justin 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?

Justin: Strong, black, no sugar, on ice. I’m religious about coffee. Beginning a day without one is unthinkable. Thanks to cutting-edge parents, I was privileged to espresso strength coffee since a child in 1970s suburbia at a time when my school friends didn’t even know what percolated coffee WAS. One of my most treasured possessions is my stove-top 6-cup Bialetti Moka Express percolator, the same model my family had when I was a child. Oh and on weekdays I’m a morning person, on weekends an afternoon person, coffee on ice either way first thing after rising. And I mean that literally.
DL: I used to work in Human Resources and one indicator of future behaviour was to look at the past behaviour. Humans have been in wars for thousands of years. So if you could predict the future, what would your future world look like?

Justin: I can only agree with your ‘past behaviour’ indicator re human nature: The old maxim that ‘all we learn from history is that we never learn from history’ seems eternally true. As humans we know we’ve never been without war so why is it still like a bolt of lightning for us to think that somewhere in this world a war rages at this very moment? Perhaps because we’re in denial of our past, so of our present. My World War II historical novels are hugely ANTI-WAR stories. They portray the ancient and eternal tragedy of young men fighting old men’s wars, of history something we are condemned to repeat. As for predicting the future, the past informs us that it will look like the present. I’ll be a happy old man if I turn out wrong.

DL: In one of your reviews, the reader states that your war story "Nor The Years Condemn" should be on the national curriculum. Have you spoken to schools about getting your books onto their reading list, or is it even impossible for an indie author to do so?
Justin: I was utterly honoured to have had that said of Book 1 in my trilogy and it has just been said again of Book 3, “No Greater Love”, released just weeks back. Yet no, I have not spoken to schools about getting my books onto their reading lists. Long overdue I investigated this. As for it being impossible for an indie author (i.e., one like me without a massive publishing company behind them), my experience shows me that nothing is impossible for an indie author.

DL: What has been the reaction in countries other than Australia? The battles didn't happen in Australia, I'm curious to know if readers in the UK are interested in these tales.

Justin: International reaction to my war novels has been brilliant. All I ever used to dream of last thing before falling asleep at night yet never expected would come true. The loveliest responses from all over the English-speaking world from grandmothers to history nerds to young lady readers who don’t usually read war stories yet who’ve vowed to me I made them cry in every chapter. And you’re spot-on: My books bring alive the amazing real-life drama of World War II as fought on the other side of the planet from us here in Australia: in the UK and Europe. So for UK readers, it’s engaging enough for them that my novels are set right where they live in the UK, but on top of that I portray THEIR war as it was fought by Australians who crossed the planet to BE there fighting it alongside them. This ‘crossing the planet to fight other people’s wars’ theme is of course a key engaging factor for Australian readers of my stories, being as it is the story of our nation since White settlement to the present day. Then again there’s a universal appeal in my stories simply due to the true history that they’re so closely based on: True history that is so surreally exciting and dramatic as to be the stuff of science fiction and fantasy except it’s all true. In a nutshell, the kind of REAL drama that was surely the inspiration for the attack on the Death Star in ‘Star Wars’.

DL: Do you think being a writer in one of the most iconic cultural places in Sydney - Glebe (I'm jealous) - has helped fuel your creativity?

Justin: Um, no not in itself, I don’t think: I think what really fuels MY creativity is the exhilaration of travelling back in time. Which is where my stories send me and so my readers. I think maybe they’re an escape from my present, from my reality, from Glebe, from Australia, at least, from Australia of the present time back to another. Yes, I suppose my writing is all about time travel. And I’M not even a Dr Who tragic though I am a long-time appreciator of the truly great story-telling which is the whole tradition of Dr Who: Stories (and this is science fiction itself) where anything you can imagine is possible. The thing is my based-on-fact war stories are like science fiction except real.
PS, speaking of Sydney, I’m doing a book-signing at Dymocks Sydney on Saturday 12th November, the day after Remembrance Day, all day from 10am. It’ll be wall-to-wall red poppies from Australian War Memorial, the red poppy of remembrance being a key symbol of my war trilogy.

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

Justin: Greek baklava. I suspect I may have been Greek in a past life. …No, not Greek baklava. Any and ALL baklava. Yes.


To abandoned child, Colin Stone, World War Two grants an escape from the mean streets of St. Kilda. A natural warrior, his talents qualify him to join an elite group of young men. The shining ones. Who fly Spitfires against Nazi tyranny. Rising with them, from the top Colin Stone looks down on a world that has doomed his first true friends.
Bringing to vivid life true Australian war history and events, "No Greater Love" is a saga in the classic mold, featuring the drama, beauty, heroism and horror of one young man's war journey through stunning Malta, Egypt and North Africa, Sicily, England and Europe. It is a portrait of the once-in-a-lifetime characters the war places on his path, of the tragic, wholesale waste of war, on occasion even the profound humanity of his enemy, and of his evolving perception of his world for what it is.
Though standing on its own as a ripping and also highly emotional read, "No Greater Love" is the third and final chapter of Justin Sheedy's now widely and warmly cherished World War Two novel trilogy begun with "Nor the Years Condemn" and "Ghosts of the Empire".  Continuing and now concluding their portrait of shining young men destined never to grow old, "No Greater Love" is the full and rich story of Part 1's reader-favourite character, Aussie rough diamond Colin Stone ('Stoney'). It is the story of his war, of his loyalty and devotion to his friends, of his enduring love for the mother who abandoned him, and his dreams of being held by her once again.
“No Greater Love” by Justin Sheedy plus Books 1 & 2 in the trilogy “Nor the Years Condemn” & “Ghosts of the Empire” available via Dymocks bookstores, Readings BooksBerkelouw Books, GleebooksAmazon, Booktopia, The Book Depository, Waterstones Online, Barnes & Noble Online plus orderable via all bookstores & book retail websites.

Justin Sheedy's saga brings to vivid life a stunning true story in our ANZAC tradition yet one which until now remained untold in Australian historical fiction: the story of how our nation’s best-and-brightest youth volunteered for the most dangerous job of World War II, crossing the planet to become the pilots and aircrew who flew against the might of Nazi tyranny. This hellish struggle they won in the most exciting way imaginable and with even LESS chance of survival than if they had been at Gallipoli or in the trenches of the Western Front. Though intensively based on true history, Sheedy has written his war trilogy in historical fiction format as the ‘best and brightest’ fact upon which his story is based makes plausible a line-up of awesome fictional characters, bringing to life for the reader the kind of shining personalities who made our true history. Falling in love with such characters only to lose them rams home for the reader the anti-war message that Sheedy intends.
Dymocks Sydney
Saturday 12th November
(the day after Remembrance Day)
all day from 10am

Monday, 24 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

Sunday, 23 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

Thursday, 20 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: