Q & A: Amy Braun and Crimson Sky

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

Amy’s current work includes the full length novels Demon’s Daughter, Dark Divinity, Crimson Sky, and Path of the Horseman, and the novella Needfire. She has short stories in various horror and urban fantasy anthologies such as Call From The Grave, Hotel Hell, Survivalism in The Dead Walk: Volume 2, Dismantle in The Steam Chronicles, Lost Sky in Avast, Ye Airships!, Secret Suicide in That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, Bring Back The Hound in Stomping Grounds, Charlatan Charade in Lost in the Witching Hour, and her award winning short Dark Intentions And Blood in AMOK! Amy can be found online through her frequently updated blog, Literary Braun (literarybraun.blogspot.ca), as well as on Twitter (@amybraunauthor) and Facebook (facebook.com/amybraunauthor).

The first novel in a brand new series, CRIMSON SKY, the first 238 page novel of the DARK SKY books, marks the beginning of new characters as they forge their way through a shattered world, struggling to erase the perceptions left behind by their families, and relying on unlikely allies to survive horrors that have become commonplace…

cover and text

CRIMSON SKY is a steampunk horror novel set in the ruined city of Westraven, once a powerful city filled with trade, airships, and daring pirates. Ten years after a cataclysmic event known as The Storm, when the human populace has been desecrated by savage monsters– deemed Hellions– from another dimension, the remaining survivors are forced to hide underground, using their skills and instincts to scavenge and endure. Among these survivors is a young engineer named Claire Abernathy. Claire is shunned by her fellow survivors because of her parents failure in The Storm, and the only light in her life is her younger sister, Abby. But on a scavenging mission, Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions. When Claire is discovered by roguish marauders, she is desperate enough to make a deal with them, and their fickle captain, Sawyer. As their adventures begin and unexpected relationships begin to form, Claire learns secrets about her past, as well as Sawyer’s, and realizes that she could be connected to the Hellions in ways she never imagined.

Teaser2 1500x760

I’ve wanted to write the DARK SKY series since I was fourteen years old. I love vampires and I love pirates, and I wondered what it would be like to mesh the ideas together. I was tempted to go the obvious route– a crew of pirates crosses paths with a vampire crew, and chaos ensues– but I just couldn’t fall into the idea the way I wanted to. So I left it alone for a little while, and a few years ago, the solution came to me when I discovered the amazingness that is steampunk. It’s a genre where literally anything is possible, and I saw no reason why I couldn’t meld the ideas into something cohesive.

I worked on creating a new, fantasy world with rich history (I made a map and everything!), adding more elements as I worked harder on the details. I did my research to understand what Claire would be capable of creating, and I thought carefully about how desperate people would become after living in a wasteland for a decade, barely seeing the sun. I especially thought about who would hold the power in a steampunk world filled with grounded pirates, and how they would mingle. Or clash. I’ve enjoyed building this world as much as any story I’ve ever written.

Just as exciting was writing the characters of Claire and Sawyer. While I have fun with the secondary characters, both protagonists are at the forefront. I loved writing the banter between them, and they have some of my favorite interactions. They’re both so different from one another, yet alarmingly alike in certain elements. They’re stubborn and strong-willed, loyal and defensive, and they both suffer from the burden of carrying secrets to preserve their family’s honor.

I wrote the story like a madwoman, loving it more and more. When I was presented with the opportunity to submit a story for Mocha Memoirs Press’s steampunk anthology, AVAST, YE AIRSHIPS!, I thought it would be a good idea to test CRIMSON SKY out. This was a new series after all, and completely different from my other urban fantasy trilogy, CURSED. I revised the work into a short story called LOST SKY, and submitted it. I was delighted to hear back from the anthology’s editor, Rie Sheridan Rose, who absolutely loved the story and was excited to include it. I learned a lot during that period, understanding how spotlights and blog tours could help in promoting my work. It definitely helped that my story was well received and enjoyed by many readers.

CRIMSON SKY had a fair amount of editing to do once it was finished. It was the first time I’d used a professional Beta reader, and I was amazed at how in depth they could be. I made some important changes and worked with my editor to revise and perfect the story. Every reader gave me positive feedback, particularly with the characters of Claire and Sawyer.

I continued to work with Deranged Doctor Design for the cover and promotional work, and while their covers for my CURSED series have been absolutely gorgeous, I got the best responses for CRIMSON SKY. The promotional material is incredible, and I find every opportunity I can to use it.

I think every author gets nervous when they have a new book released, especially one that’s part of a new series, but at time of putting this media kit together, I’ve found I’m not as terrified as I think I should be. I mean, yeah, the nerves are still there, but I feel confident with CRIMSON SKY and the DARK SKY series in general. I think a lot of readers will like it, and find it different from traditional vampire and steampunk stories. It’s a mix of everything– steampunk, horror, post-apocalyptic, fantasy– so hopefully it will cater to a wide audience. I loved writing it, so hopefully there will be people who love reading it.

Teaser1 1500x760


 Q: When you began writing Crimson Sky, did you know the direction the series would take?

A: Yes and no. I had an idea of what I wanted the characters to achieve, but I had no idea how they would get there. I didn’t really know what Claire’s key from her mother would be used for, and I was still working on the history between her parents and the Hellions. But the more I wrote, the better understanding I had of the series and how it should progress. Hopefully readers will want to continue reading into the second book, which will be just as exciting as the first.

Q: What were the challenges in writing Crimson Sky?

A: To be honest, I don’t remember the story being that challenging as compared to some of my other work. Oh, there were times where I had to sit back and really think about what I was doing, and the research was bland as ever, but I knew I had to move past the roadblocks and just get the story done. The more I wrote, the more eager I was to reach the end, just to see how it ended.

Q: What inspired the design of Westraven?

A: One of my favorite movies is The Lord of the Rings. They’re beautiful films and the set design is incredible. I loved the look of Gondor, and I actually based the setting of Westraven off that city. A flatter, less medieval version to be sure, but I liked the idea of a crumbling city of white stones. I have another steampunk series planned that follows the more traditional ideas of a derelict steampunk town, but I didn’t want to write the same setting for two very different series’. I also think that Westraven’s stony, broken look gives a certain, haunting echo to the story, and I think a lot of readers will like it. There are still places in and outside of Westraven that haven’t been seen yet, and I can’t wait for readers to see them.

Q: Why did you choose vampires as the monsters?

A: It’s true that vampires are overused in fiction. It’s not something that’s lost on me. But the thing with vampires is that they’re such a changeable species, and when you stick to the tradition (more or less), they will always be terrifying. I modeled them after the vampires from Thirty Days of Night– they hide in the shadows, are super fast and savage, and have their own, animalistic language. I can’t read those books or watch that movie without getting chills when I see those vampires. Plus, I like the idea that even after its destruction, the Hellions continue to suck the life out of Westraven and its inhabitants. That definitely seems to raise the stakes.

Q: What can we expect in future books in the series?

A: Dark Sky will be a collection of three full length novels and two prequel novellas when it’s all said and done. Right now, the sequel, Midnight Sky, is scheduled for release in August 2016, with the novellas to be released in October and December. The final novel is scheduled for February 2017. Midnight Sky will have a lot of surprise reveals and twists, and an ending I seriously doubt anyone will expect. There will also be a lot more chemistry and interactions between Claire and Sawyer, which I think will leave a lot of readers happy. The novellas will focus on the secondary characters, Gemma and Nash, and chronicle their adventures before they joined Sawyer’s crew. I won’t say anything about the third and final novel, because I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that things are going to get dark for our heroes, and they’ll find themselves in places they never expected. And that’s a good thing, because you can’t write a steampunk pirate story without some wild adventures.

buy links

Book Promo: Through the Eyes of the Dragon by Diomira Rose D’Agostino

The Forest Speaks series

Through the Eyes of the Dragon

It has been one year since extraordinary events led Jedda to an incredible discovery that would change her reality forever. With the help of a talking cat, a raven and a Keeper, Jedda journeyed deep into the magical Forest to uncover the shocking truth of her soul’s true identity. Now she must learn all she can in order to fulfill her destiny to become the next Keeper – a role that entails nothing less than protecting the ancient Faery Wisdom that has survived for over 13,000 years. But protecting the ancient body of wisdom isn’t the only matter of importance, for a darkness stirs that threatens to destroy more than just the Line of Keepers.

Meanwhile, the race against Time is on for those of the Forest as they prepare for the auspicious and exceedingly rare event everyone has been waiting for – The Crossing of the Frog and the Mushroom!

Can Jedda uncover the truth of an ancient prophecy before the darkness consumes the soul of one she loves? And are those of the Forest able to unravel the dark plot against the Earth in time to save Rose? In this riveting sequel to Awakening the Rose, the clock is ticking for Jedda and the others. If darkness prevails, the Earth and all those upon it might sleep forever!


The tail moved beneath the earth’s surface. It was massive and bold, as it dreamed the Dream of the Earth. The sacred Dreamtime was made for dragons and dragons made for it. Dragons were both Movers and Dreamers. They lay sleeping now on the inner Earth. Where they were no one knew. No one except the Dragon Clan.
About the Author:
Diomira Rose D’Agostino is a holistic healing practitioner, metaphysician, and Healing Minister of Inner Quest Church. She also holds a BA in Modern Language and Culture: Spanish and Italian. She has been working with the Nature Realms for almost a decade now. She is the founder of Faery Light, LLC, an organization dedicated to sharing the Faery Wisdom Teachings, an ancient body of wisdom that seeks to awaken us to our connection with nature. She has traveled extensively to many different countries and sacred sites all over the world seeking to connect with and experience diverse peoples, lands, and nature spirit energies. Through her work she seeks to bridge worlds through peace, love and understanding.

Amazon Buy Link

Barnes & Noble

Available for pre-order: Remembering Olympus by Royce Murcherson

Remembering Olympus:
Challenges Us To Use The Power Of Our
Mind To Create Our Own Reality

Coming June 2015

Good news for all those who look around at their ordinary humdrum life: there is more. At the heart of Remembering Olympus (Koehler Books) by Royce Murcherson is the belief that one life is not your only life; love is real and eternal, and we are capable of creating our own reality through the sheer power of mind.

“We humans are capable of accomplishing magical things when we truly understand ourselves,” says author Royce Murcherson. “I wrote Remembering Olympus for people who want to broaden their understanding of the universe, our place in it, and our purpose for being here.”

Part mystery, part magical, Remembering Olympus is a story of ‘life after life,’ tangled destinies, and the creative power of love and jealousy. Aaron Payne is a typical urban professional running away from his impoverished past. Seemingly by coincidence, he meets Miranda Reed, a beautiful gentrified heiress. Though their relationship is awkward, he believes she is the key until unforeseen events throw his life into upheaval.

When his path crosses with an enigmatic publisher, Claire Vinson, they become entangled in a mystery as Aaron begins to remember pieces of another existence that pull him into a maze of shifting time and past lives.

Prophetic in tone, Remembering Olympus is a mystical revelation, peeling back the layers of certainty, challenging perceptions of reality, and asking, “Are humans more than mere mortals?”

Royce Murcherson holds a Ph.D. in English and is currently a professor of English in Dallas, Texas. She has taught American and African-American literature, creative writing, composition, business writing, and visual rhetoric for seventeen years. Her interests include the literary genre of magical realism, Eastern philosophy, and Jungian psychology.

Prior to teaching literature and writing, Royce spent several years in the business world and recently published an instructional book, The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Royce is also a guest writer on business writing and workplace etiquette for BOSS, a business and office systems support resource at Richland College.

For more information, visit: www.roycemurcherson.com.

Remembering Olympus
Koehler Books
Available May, 2015 online everywhere
ISBN-13: 978-1940192994


Diane Donovan, Editor of California Bookwatch: “Remembering Olympus is hard to neatly categorize: part magical adventure, part mystery, and part timeslip saga about other lives and other worlds, this straddles the line between several genres – and does so with good balance and finesse…A healthy dose of new age thinking and an affinity for sagas which, like the classic Cloud Atlas, invite self-examination and inspection of belief systems will lend to an appreciation of the divergent threads in Remembering Olympus…readers will find this story a compelling exercise in self-realization and possibility; all dictated not by the gods, but by very human choices.”


Meet Rebecca Luther, author of Chronicles of Magic: Secrets of the Untold



Rebecca Luther’s debut novella, Chronicles of Magic: Secrets of The Untold, was written and published in conjunction with the Teen Writing Group at The Stony Point Rose Memorial Library. Created and run by Jennifer Russell, the library program guides young individuals in the process of writing for publication through collaborative critiques and editing workshops.


Rebecca has been attending the Teen Writing Group since it’s inception in the summer of 2013. The challenge was to have a teen writer finish a piece, have it edited and then self published to be put in circulation at the library. Rebecca is the first participant to have accomplished this goal! Once her book was published she had a book signing and open discussion at The Outside Inn gallery in Piermont, NY. She also attended the Book ExpoAmerica event in NYC to meet authors and get a sense of the publishing world.  Rebecca continues to write and attend the Teen Writing Group.
~~~This is a first book in a series of three.~~~
The main character, Kellie Lynn, wakes up on her 13th birthday to discover that she has innate magical powers that she inherited from her parents. Her four other sisters wake up to the same information. They will set out on a quest to vanquish evil in the form of a dark sorceress.
ISBN  ~  9781312050563
Copyright  ~  Rebecca Luther (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)
Edition  ~  First Edition
Publisher  ~  Rose Memorial Library Association
Published  ~  May 9, 2014


Book Review: The Wizard of Ends series by Vanessa Finaughty

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Wizard of Ends series – it was a fast paced and fun series of books to read, which was brilliant for me, who rarely has time to read anymore.

I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys an interesting story with quirky characters and a fast paced story-line.”
~ Samantha Dyer

Wizard of Ends, Book 1

When Lashlor Leaflin offers to escort Queen Narraki Dragonsbane to the Jeltar Woods, he’s unwittingly caught up in a magical adventure of the type he would rather not have.

The sorceress Assassa believes the Land of Ends to be rightfully hers, but King Lanaran refuses to hand over his crown. In retaliation, the sorceress conjures creatures of darkness to hunt the queen and end her life. Lashlor helps where he can, but it isn’t easy when the Guards of Ends who protect the queen believe him to be false.

A confrontation with Assassa will be the death of him, Lashlor is certain. However, the king insists on his help and it soon becomes apparent that he may have no choice.

Get your copy now from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and other retailers.

Wizard of Ends Book 2 will be available October 23, 2014

Wizard of Ends, Book 1 Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature



Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’. Her passion for the written word started her career as an editor and copywriter, and she part-ran a writers’ critique group for close on seven years. She’s been writing ever since she learnt how, has always been an avid reader, and currently lives on coffee and cigarettes. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.