Category Archives: Short Stories

Author Interview with Emily Moreton

I’m pleased to have author Emily Moreton on my blog today. Emily is one of my fellow authors from the Torqued Tales anthology and has over 30 published short stories to her name. I found we have lots in common (we both spent our uni days studying Primary Teaching and writing fanfic and we both had our first stories published in charity anthologies for victims of natural disasters).


Welcome to my blog, Emily, it’s great to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing?

I’m mostly a short story writer, because I get bored once I know how what I’m writing is going to end. I’ve tried to write a novel a couple of times, but usually by 40,000 words, I know what’s going to happen next, and then it stops being fun!

Most of the characters I write are military or ex-military, which is odd since neither I nor anyone I know has been in the military (well, my grandmother was an OWL during WW2). I’ve always been interested in fighter jets though; my parents took me to several air shows when I was a kid, and many time to see the Red Arrows, so I suppose that’s where that one came from. I even wrote about a Red Arrows engineer once, though I’ve never submitted it anywhere for publication.

 How long have you been writing for?

I’ve pretty much been writing all my life, and making up stories for just as long. My sister and I loved let’s pretend when we were kids, and writing was always my favourite subject in school. When I was in university, I got into fanfic, and also started writing a novel, and I’ve been writing regularly ever since… so, wow, that’s well over a decade now!

Can you tell us (without spoilers) what your story is about in Torqued Tales?

A Stranger Brought is a modern lesbian take on Rumplestiltskin, which I still cannot spell without at least three attempts! It’s about Tia, a young street artist who paints Kelly, and gets a date along with payment. The date goes really well, and Kelly promises to call… But if I tell you more, then there’s nothing for you to read about!

 I loved your take on the Rumplestiltskin fairy tale. What inspired you to write ‘A Stranger Bought’?

I started off at university training to be a primary school teacher, specialising in English, and as part of this, I bought a lot of children’s books, one of them a really lovely book of fairy tales. When I saw the call for fairy tale related stories, I dug out the book again and looked for one that’s not so well known – like Rumpelstiltskin. I started by taking out the parts of the fairy tale that I don’t like, including the love interest testing the heroine by making her spin straw from gold, and her offering to trade her first born for the trick, then got to thinking about what a modern version of spinning might be… from there, it was a short step to Tia the street artist. Throw in some magic, and there you have it.

 Do you have any writing advice for aspiring authors?

Get into a fandom and write fanfic! Sounds like odd advice, but fandom got me writing regularly, taught me how to write within confines like a prompt in an exchange, or the canon of a particular episode. Writing for challenges and exchanges taught me to write to deadlines, and also got me used to sharing my stuff in public. It also helped me build up a community of other writers to be part of, and even got me over my embarrassment about writing sex scenes (true confession: I used to write them while looking away from the screen, and avoided proof-reading them for months).

 (Note from Jo: I completely agree with Emily! Fanfic is a great way to hone your writing skills and get used to sharing your work and dealing with critiques of your writing.)

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just submitted a story about a young trans girl coming out in school, and now I’m working on something for an anthology of stories about writers, publishers etc – that one’s a sort of urban fantasy, about a printer who finds a hot, naked print devil in his shop one morning.

Thanks so much for stopping by and telling us about yourself, Emily.

If you would like to read Emily’s Rumpelstiltskin story ‘A Stranger Bought’ you can find it on Torquere Press’s website (you can read a free sample), Amazon and other online bookstores. You can also find ‘A Stranger Bought’, along with my Red Riding Hood story ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’, in the anthology Torqued Tales

Emily Moreton published her first short story in 2007, for a charity anthology in aid of victims of Hurricane Katrina. Since then, she has published over 30 erotic short stories, mostly m/m and f/f. In 2011, she had a story accepted into the anthology of best speculative lesbian fiction, and in 2013 was part of an anthology nominated in Goodreads’ M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards.

Emily lives in Bristol, UK, with her cat, where she works as a data analyst, studies towards her PhD, and tries not to sleep through Sunday morning archery class.

Follow her on facebook:; or at her blog:

Annabeth & the Wolf Release Day! Plus more exciting news!


I’m so excited today for two reasons:

Number 1 – My short story ‘Annabeth and the Wolf‘ got released today. Not only is it part of an anthology, but it is being sold on its own as well, making it my first story release with my name on the front cover! I’ll talk more about the story in a moment.

Number 2 – I got a surprise email in my inbox this morning letting me know that the GrammoWriMo group novel, The Lonely Wish-Giver, I worked on in November (and helped edit) is being released today, too, AND all proceeds will be going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation!

The Lonely Wish Giver cover


I’ll talk a bit more about the GrammoWriMo novel tomorrow, but today I want to talk about ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ as I’ve been bursting to share this one for weeks.

Torqued Tales

‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ features as one of three stories in the anthology Torqued Tales published by Torquere Press (on their page you will see two anthologies with the same title, one with a male cover and one with a female cover–‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ has the female cover). The concept of the anthology is fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist.

In ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’, a retake on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, Annabeth sets off through the woods to her grandmother’s house to meet an unwanted fate, but a beautiful shape shifter she meets along the way has other plans.

You can read a snippet of the story here.

A Little Bit of Background

Little Red Riding Hood has always been one of my favourite fairytales and I’ve been wanting to write a story based on it for a long time. Those who’ve read my past stories know I’m drawn to the fantasy genre and previous stories have seen me write about angels, demons, vampires, trolls and superheroes. When I saw the call for stories for this anthology I immediately got the idea of a Red Riding Hood story with a focus on witches and a shape shifter. It’s my first time writing GLBT characters and I’m really happy with how the characters evolved through the writing process.


You can pick up ebook copies of either ‘Annabeth and the Wolf‘ or Torqued Tales from Torquere Press. Over the coming days they will also be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Bookstrand and other online stores. A print edition of the anthology will also become available in the coming days.

Please note: Although this is an anthology of fairytales, the content is for mature readers only.

Anthology Cover Reveal

Today I got a nice surprise email: the cover for an upcoming anthology featuring one of my stories!

The cover art is absolutely stunning.


The anthology features fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist and is due for release on the 23rd April.

Reflections on 2013 & Looking Ahead in 2014

Reflections on 2013

My poor old blog got a bit neglected last year, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back into a regular schedule again this year. Here is a snapshot of some of the big things that happened to me in the writing world at the end of last year that I haven’t yet shared:

1. I attempted NaNoWrimo. And didn’t hit 50,000 words. I’m not disappointed, though, as I knew going into it there was a slim chance I’d hit the 50k mark. Fitting writing around an extremely busy November calendar was going to be a push. But I got words on the page! I made a start on my novel and I know where I want it to go, so to me that is a win.

SuperHERo Tales cover

2. SuperHERo Tales. Last year I posted a story called ‘Spectrum’ on my blog. I updated the post, but never got the chance to write an official blog post to announce the story is now published in an anthology of female superheros. I’m very excited about this anthology as all the proceeds go to the charity ‘Because I am a Girl‘, which helps girls in third world countries. It is a cause I am passionate about and I implore you all to buy a copy of SuperHERo Tales or support the charity in some other way. The other reason I’m excited to be part of this anthology is because it helps try to break through the stereotypical superhero stories that are aimed a boys. My 4 year old daughter said to me a few months ago, “I want to be my own superhero.” Hopefully stories like these can encourage girls to do just that.

Jingle Bells cover

3. Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World. This anthology was published just before Christmas and features an extended version of my story ‘Dashing Through the Snow’, which I posted on my blog for Christmas 2012 and was a finalist in Susanna Hill’s annual holiday contest. We’re a bit past Christmas now, but it has lots of family-friendly, holiday-themed stories, so keep it in mind for next Christmas.

Looking Ahead in 2014

Some of my writing resolutions for 2014 include:

1. Subbing More. I’ve made the same resolution the past few years, but I need to keep reminding myself that if I don’t submit I won’t be published. I’ve received some very positive and encouraging rejections this past year, in some cases just narrowly missing out, which has given me confidence and motivation to keep submitting. The other day I started planning submissions for the first half of this year–just short stories at this stage, I still need to plan my picture book subs.


2. Making Time to Write. NaNo always reminds me that I can find the time to write if I stop procrastinating and take advantage of spare moments. I want to keep using those spare moments. I have some short stories I want to write, I want to write more picture book drafts this year through 12 x 12 (I’m hoping to join again this year) and I would ideally love to finish the first draft of the novel I started during NaNoWriMo.

3. Get Back Into Social Media. I dropped off the social media grid this past year in the writing world, not just with my blog, but on Twitter and Facebook, too. I miss all those connections and friendships I make with fellow writers through social media and want to try to get back into again. Unfortunately, when life gets busy, social media is usually the first to suffer. I’m hoping to remedy this by scheduling time specifically for social media. I’ve got big plans for my blog, including continuing the Writing a Novel series, starting a monthly writing challenge and reviving Helpful Websites and Blog Posts.

What about you? I’d love to hear about some of your successes from the past year and what your aims are for 2014. 

Spectrum (Creating a Female Superhero Challenge)

Becky Fyfe put forward a challenge on her blog: to create a short story featuring a female superhero. I love the idea of a strong female hero and decided to take up the challenge. Here is my entry into the Creating a Female Superhero Challenge:

Spectrum cover

Author name: Jo Hart

Word count: 981

Anthology: Yes

Charity: Because I am a Girl

Name of female superhero: Spectrum

Name of human alter ego, if different: Lindsay Rogers

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): Lean physique, dark eyes, dark hair slicked back into a ponytail

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): Long dark hair that hangs down around her face, loose t-shirt, loose pants and sneakers.

Costume: Black bodysuit, red utility belt, black mask over her eyes, black boots, black gloves.

Personality: Prefers her own company, determined, logical, observant, intelligent.

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): Born with them as a result of alien DNA spliced with human DNA in a government experiment.

Powers: Super senses, eidetic memory

Anything else important:


I’m not like other people.

My mother’s an alien—an honest-to-God extra-terrestrial. I never met her; I was raised by my human father on a military base.

To regular people I appear completely human (a myth I’m happy to perpetuate), but I’m not. My alien DNA means I have incredible hearing and can see things regular humans can’t. My dad calls them my ‘super powers’. Sometimes they feel more like a curse, but I figure if I use my abilities for good, maybe they really are super powers.

There are others like me—half alien. For some reason the alien gene favours male offspring. I am one of the few females.

Some use their inherited alien super powers for villainous ends. I work with the government to stop them. My mission tonight: a half-alien terrorist. I can find him when government agents failed because I’m like him, or so they say. In my mind, I’m nothing like him. I’m no terrorist.

The sounds are extra clear without daytime bustle to muffle them. Using my enhanced senses, I separate the sounds by distance. Cats yowl in the alley behind me. Across the road, a streetlight crackles. Two blocks away, footsteps clack hurriedly against the pavement—someone doesn’t relish walking alone at night. Five blocks away, a vehicle hums along the highway. An explosion pops on the other side of town. That’s the sound I’m looking for.

A car would get me there quickly, but I can’t stand to be inside one. The engine noise, the vibration… I can’t do it. Instead I run, allowing the quiet of twilight to wash over me. I don’t fear the night. Daytime noise and crowded streets overwhelm my extra-sensitive senses. A crying baby, the brush of a stranger’s shoulder, cars whizzing by—they can cripple me.

Another pop, louder this time. A faint red glow in the sky, for just a second.

Why has this terrorist decided to threaten the human race? After all, he is half human. Is he angry at the government who experimented in mixing human and alien DNA? Does he resent what he is?

The area is secluded—empty shop fronts and dilapidated houses. My breath comes out as a white puff and dissipates in the darkness. I move with soundless footfalls. He’s bound to have hearing like mine. The black bodysuit I wear as my costume helps me meld into the shadows.

A window in the top storey of an old florist shop lights up red, accompanied by a bang that rattles the window panes.

The scene disassembles in my brain. I examine each piece. The front door is locked. I can’t smash a window, he’ll hear. The drain pipe up the side of the building is too rusted to hold my weight. The fire escape is too high to reach. A skip bin would give me a boost, but they’re too heavy and noisy to move. I could use the explosion to cover the sound of window smashing…

The scene reassembles. My point of entry decided, I make a fist, thankful my chosen costume consists of gloves. My ears pick up the initial reverberations before the explosion cracks loudly above me. I time the punch perfectly and on the next explosion knock out the remaining shards of glass with quick, sharp movements.

Using the gymnastics training of my younger years, I place my hands on the ragged sill, pull myself up and balance as I manoeuvre my body through the window. Poised, arms taut, feet mid-air, waiting. The sill shudders as the next explosion goes off and I drop to the floor, the crunch of my boots against broken glass masked.

I leap over the glass and hurdle over the counter as the whole shop shakes and rattles. The door behind the counter leads to a hallway with a staircase at the end.

Another explosion covers my ascent.

“I know you’re there,” a low monotone voice speaks from inside the top storey room. “Show yourself.”

I have no choice but to enter.

He’s more alien than I am. He’d pass as human, but his eyes are a little too wide, his limbs a little too long and thin and his head slightly too large.

“Who are you?” He doesn’t look me in the eye, rather he seems to look straight through me.

“I’m Spectrum. I’m like you.”

His face brightens momentarily, then darkens again.

“They sent you?”

“You’re too dangerous.”

“They think I’m going to blow up something. They think I’m a terrorist.”

“Aren’t you?”

He laughs humourlessly. “No. Are you a superhero?”


He eyes my costume critically. “You’re like me? Do your senses overwhelm you, too?”


“What do you do?”

“I close my eyes, cover my ears and try to block it all out.”

“I explode.”

My mouth gapes.

“I’ve been practicing controlling it.” To demonstrate he closes his eyes, grows red in the face and clenches his fists. His whole body becomes rigid. A burst of light and loud bang erupt from his shaking form. My hands fly to my ears and I turn my head until it’s over.

I stare at him and he stares back in his non-expressive look-right-through-me way. “If I can control it,” he says, “they won’t need to lock me up again.”

My insides crumple. He’s no terrorist, just a half-alien trying to control his extra abilities. He really is just like me. What if I exploded when it became too overwhelming, would the government lock me up?

“I’ll tell them I couldn’t find you,” I say.

His large eyes widen in surprise. I’m surprised at myself.

“Don’t make me regret it,” I warn.

He nods, slowly, as though he can’t quite believe I’m letting him go. “I’ll get it under control.”

Every superhero has a defining moment. This was mine. Did I live to regret that decision? That’s another story.

SuperHERo Tales cover

Now available in the charity anthology ‘SuperHERo Tales‘. All proceeds from this anthology go towards the ‘Because I am a Girl‘ charity supporting girls in third world countries.

A Little Bit of Mystery

Memoirs_of_Sherlock_Holmes_1894_Burt_-_Illustration_3I love the mystery genre. I love trying to spot the clues and work out whodunnit. I have a nice little collection of Agatha Christie novels on my bookshelf. Miss Marple stories are some of my favourites, but I’m also a fan of Poirot. For years I’ve had Sherlock Holmes on my ‘to be read’ pile, but never seemed to get around to reading any until recently. I downloaded a free Sherlock Holmes ebook from Amazon for my Kindle a couple of weeks ago and have been enjoying trying to think like Holmes.

It was a coincidence that only last week I noticed The Australian Literature Review was having a short story competition this month with a mystery/detective theme. With my head full Holmes, it was perfect timing to have a go at penning my own murder mystery. As much as I love reading the genre, I don’t often attempt writing it, unsure of my ability to weave in subtle clues without giving too much away, while leaving readers with that ‘aha!’ feeling when they get to the end. I love the cleverness involved in mystery stories, and admire the crafty authors of the genre.

Obviously reading Holmes had a good influence on my writing, despite my worry, as the story I wrote for the competition has been short listed! Pop over to The Australian Literature Review and have a read for yourself. The story is titled ‘Mystery at Beaumont Manor‘ and is written in a similar style to the Holmes/Poirot type stories.

Do you like to read or write mystery? What are your top tips for a great mystery story?

My top tip: Plot backwards. Know how it’s going to end and plot in reverse so you can weave in the clues.


anzacI wrote the original version of this piece many years ago for ANZAC day and read it to a crowd of a thousand at an ANZAC day service. I think I was about fifteen at the time. I recently dug it up and, in honour of ANZAC day, I wanted to post it to show my respect to those who fought (including my own great great grandfather who fought in WW2). Forgive its roughness and please spare a moment to remember those who fought, suffered and lost their lives for their country.


The clock ticks on the mantle, the only sound in an otherwise silent room. The old man shifts in his bed, trying to get to sleep. His aching bones scream at him and when he closes his eyes haunting memories flood his mind.

The sound of the ticking clock morphs into planes zooming overhead and gunfire blasting all around. The old man opens his eyes, no longer in his bed, stiff and old, but a young man in the trenches, fighting for his country. On either side of him stand his mates, yelling over the gunfire.

A metal cylinder drops from one of the planes and hurtles towards the ground, exploding only metres away. He takes cover in the trench as shrapnel flies over their heads.  His ears are ringing, he can’t hear what Eddie is yelling at him. Eddie points. The young soldier turns to see the devastation in the trench to his left. Peterson, Lewis and Neal are all gone. If the bomb had been dropped a few more metres to the right it could easily have been him shredded by the shrapnel.

Still, he fights on. They all fight on.

The odour of death fills his nostrils. The smell is a constant in the trenches, unable to be eradicated, even when they have a chance to move the bodies. Flies are everywhere: in the food; buzzing around their wounds; around the dead—mostly around the dead. The dead bodies surround them—a constant reminder of what could happen to any of them. The price of war is all too real. Too scary. He pushes the fear aside. There’s no room for fear.

Another bomb hits, closer this time. Blinding light, more ringing in his ears, and pain. Pain! He can’t feel his legs. Is this death? His sight returns slowly, blurry at first. He can still see the trenches, the soldiers, the chaos. He is not dead.

He closes his eyes against the consuming pain. He does not cry. Soldiers don’t cry.

He opens his eyes again, not as a young soldier, but as an old man in his bed. The sound of guns and bombs fade. The clock ticks.

He looks down to where his legs used to be and lets a tear roll down his cheek—a tear that should have been shed a long time ago.

The war gave him many things: pain, sorrow, loss. Thankfulness. Thankful the war is over. Thankful he survived (though broken). And thankful that his children and their children and their children’s children don’t have to experience the nightmare that he did. For him, the horrors will never fade. He will always remember.

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We shall remember them.

Lest we forget.”

Chester Lewis Author Chat

chester-lewis-fan-fiction-competitionToday I’ll be chatting in the Chester Lewis Fanfiction group on Facebook. For those who haven’t heard of it, the Chester Lewis Fanfiction contest is open until August 2013 and has a $2000 first prize. The idea is to write a fanfiction piece based on The Life and Times of Chester Lewis. Entry into the contest is $10 and this entry fee also gives you access to the Facebook group where you can chat with fellow writers, authors and the editor. Throughout the year (until the contest closes) there will also be author drop-ins which so far have revolved around the story of Chester Lewis, writing in general and the publishing industry (I picked up a couple of great tips during yesterday’s drop-in). It’s well worth the entry fee just for the Facebook group. Plus, who knows what other opportunities could emerge from this competition.

I’ll be dropping into the Facebook group in 6 hours to chat. That’s Sunday 3pm AEDT, Sunday 4am GMT, Saturday 11pm EST or Saturday 8pm PST. Don’t forget you need to have paid your entry fee before you can join.

Interview with Steve Rossiter

Today I’d like to welcome Steve Rossiter to my blog. Steve runs The Australian Literature Review ( and Writing Teen Novels ( and is the editor of various anthologies, including Australian Literature: A Snapshot in 10 Short Stories (featuring one of my first ever published stories) and the recently released The Life and Times of Chester Lewis. Steve offers great opportunities to emerging writers through his programs and he has played a big role in my own writing journey. It is a pleasure to have been able to interview him and pick his brain.

You wrote the final story in The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, can you tell us a little bit about it (without giving away any spoilers)?

The final story takes place around Chester Lewis’s 100th birthday and is told from the POV of his granddaughter. It marks the end of Chester’s life story but raises new implications for the Lewis family.

I wanted to create a final story which would spark readers’ imaginations rather than, say, wind down and have Chester reflect on the past 100 years of his life.

You were also the editor for The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, how did you balance your two different roles? Was it difficult switching between writer and editor?

Since I wrote the final story, my main role for the most of the process was as editor.

It wasn’t difficult to switch between the two roles at the end. I wrote my story with pen and notepad then did my first full edit of the story as I typed it onto the computer.

As well as the various short story anthologies you have published, you also run The Australian Literature Review, which often has short story competitions. You must be somewhat an expert on what makes a short story stand out after all the stories you’ve seen! What are your biggest tips for writers of short stories?

In a previous interview, I was asked what makes a compelling character and I responded that it is a combination of purpose and personality. This would be a good place to start for developing a short story idea. I mean developing a character in the full context of that fictional person and the story-world in which they are situated – not just to pick a goal and label a few personality traits in an abstract way. A character’s sense of purpose and their personality will, of necessity, draw from the story-world in which they are situated.

A simple but important tip is: create a story concept before you start writing. Many fiction writers just write with no story concept in mind and hope a story will emerge, or they write about the setting and/or character relationships with no clear sense of purpose or story momentum. This is fine if you’re writing something as a brainstorming exercise to help trigger an idea to adapt into a story concept, but many writers write without clear purpose and use the result as the end story.

The basic components of a story concept could be summarised as:

1)    A character (in the full context of being a fictional person situated in their story-world) actively pursues a goal.

2)    That character and other characters care about the outcome, but for conflicting reasons.

Readers will care about the outcome if they relate to why the characters care and what they do to pursue their desired outcome.

There is a fan fiction writing competition running on, do you have any advice for those hoping to enter?

Making an early decision to enter the competition is a good idea, so they have plenty of time to write a good story, then get some reader feedback and refine it before submitting. It runs until August 31st 2013, but writers can sign up early and they have until August 31st to send their story in. There is a $10 entry fee before March 31st(or $15 for those who sign up between April 1st and August 31st).

Participating in the private Chester Lewis Fan Fiction Group on Facebook is a good idea. Once signed up, the private Facebook group is available for entrants to discuss story ideas and their writing, to meet other writers, to receive fiction writing tips, and where authors from the book and some of their publishing industry friends will drop by from time to time.

Can you tell us about some of your current favourite authors/books and what makes them stand out for you?

I don’t so much have a few authors who are my absolute favourites as I have a range of reading interests and like various authors for different reasons.

Off the top of my head, some Australian authors whose novels I like include Fiona McIntosh, Rebecca James, LM Fuge, Tony Park and Jaye Ford, and some international authors whose novels I like include Stephen King, Gregg Hurwitz, Jodi Picoult, Thomas Harris, Cynthia Voigt, April Henry and Bernard Beckett.

If I was to lump the authors together and describe some things their novels tend to have in common, I would say they have characters with purpose and personality, they have a story with clear stakes, they have an easy-to-read style, and they explore interesting subject matter with intelligence and originality.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently writing a novel set in 1939 Poland with a teenage main character, intended for publication in 2014. My aim is for the novel to be entertaining for teen readers and a serious historical novel for adult readers.

I have Writing Teen Novels ( undergoing a big expansion from January 1st to feature daily posts throughout the year from a great mix of established novelists from around the world. There will be more than 20 novelists with a post per month throughout 2013 and guest novelists each month.

I will be launching Writing Historical Novels from January 1st along similar lines as the expanded Writing Teen Novels site.

The line-up of authors for these two sites will be announced in December. There will be numerous New York Times bestselling novelists as monthly contributors on each site (including one with more than 75 million copies in print), as well as novelists who are also professors, historians, feature film directors, screenwriters and producers for film and TV, scientists, non-fiction authors, documentary makers, teachers, journalists (including a Pulitzer Prize winner), and more.

I also have Writing Novels in Australia ( – initially a place for members of a writing program I ran in the first half of this year to put down some thoughts about their writing and to reach readers – relaunching from January 1st with a mix of Australian aspiring novelists, early-career novelists and established novelists, including authors such as Helene Young (published by Hachette and Penguin) and Greg Barron (published by HarperCollins).

Any parting words of wisdom?

Write the kind of fiction you find personally rewarding. If your aims for your fiction include commercial publication or to be read by other people (and most writers want their writing to be read by other people in some capacity), find some overlap in what you find personally rewarding to write and what others find personally rewarding to read.

 Thank you, Steve, and good luck with rest of your blog tour!

If anyone would like to see Steve’s blog tour schedule or read some of his previous interviews or guest posts on his tour, please follow this link.

Book website:

Facebook page:

Writing an Action Scene

Last week I was answering interview questions about my story in the integrated short story collection The Life and Times of Chester Lewis and, since I hadn’t looked at it in quite a while, I gave the story a reread. Like most writers (I would imagine), I couldn’t help but think there were places where I could have written more tightly or hooked the reader in more. As writers I don’t think we ever stop editing our stories in our heads, even after they’ve published. I’m a perfectionist in that way, and I don’t think I can ever feel like my writing is perfect. Good, maybe, but perfect, no.

I did concede to myself, however, that I was quite happy with how the main action scene turned out. There are some main points I keep in mind when writing action scenes that I think make a world of difference:

1. Short, sharp sentences pack a punch.

2. But, it is also important to vary sentence length to keep readers engaged, not bored. Short, sharp sentences lose their impact if you don’t vary them with some longer (but not too long) sentences.

3. Get into your character’s head. Think about his or her reactions.

4. Up the stakes. Just when it looks like the character will be triumphant, just when they’ve got the upper hand, turn the tables. Throw the worst case scenario at him or her. Make it seem as though all hope is lost and there is no way out.

If you want to check out my Chester Lewis story and judge my action scene for yourself, The Life and Times of Chester Lewis is actually on special offer today for its launch. You can grab a copy of the ebook for $0.99 (it’s normally $3.99). This is an especially good opportunity to pick up a copy and get started on you fanfic story (if you’re entering). Remember, it’s $2000 for the winner of the competition and it’s open worldwide. What a great opportunity!

Do you have any tips for writing action scenes? What really hooks you in when you’re reading them? Do you have any favourite action scenes from books you’ve read?