A Conversation with A.F. Stewart

Today on Paws 4 Thought another of our occasional author interviews. A.F. Stewart recently released the first of a new series, Ghosts of the Sea Moon.

Horror Author

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’m Anita and I write fantasy and horror under the name A. F. Stewart. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi geek, and I love reading and movies. I’m a minor history buff and adore mythology and folklore.

 When did you first start writing?

I started writing as a child. I’d scribble poems, stories; I even tried songwriting. All the strange things in my head conjured by my imagination needed to come out. And still do, I suppose.

 Who are your favorite authors?

An easy one. Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay. They all have a lyrical quality to their writing that captures my interest.

What inspires you to write?

I honestly cannot define it to one thing. It’s a bit like inscribing bits of my mind and soul onto paper whenever some thought hits me. For instance, recently I was staring out a window at a grey sky and boom:  an idea popped into my head.  I guess maybe it’s all about emotional being for me.

Tell us a little bit about Ghosts of the Sea Moon.

Ghosts of the Sea Moon is a sea-faring, epic fantasy novel that I expanded from a flash fiction story I wrote. It was inspired by tales of ghost ships and Greek myth, and follows the adventures of Captain Rafe Morrow and the crew of the otherworldly ship Celestial Jewel as they defend the Outer Islands. They are up against a mad Goddess, sea monsters, and a mysterious dark enemy who is pulling strings. The book has roguish sailors, dysfunctional gods and goddesses, magic battles, some murder, a brief appearance by a Kraken, and yes, ghosts.


Who is your favorite character you have written?

My newest main character, Captain Rafe Morrow, a charming seafarer who is far more than he seems, is definitely one of my favourites, as is my sociopathic demon, Balthazar, who hunts souls escaped from Hell. However, I think my number one favourite would be Nimue, my immortal witch from the Camelot Immortals short stories and upcoming series.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on final revisions for the second book in my Saga of the Outer Islands series, Souls of the Dark Sea. After that, I’ll be working on book three in the series, Renegades of the Lost Sea, and a series history reference to keep all the backstory and my dysfunctional gods straight. I’m also trying to sneak in some writing on the first book of my Camelot Immortals series, Past Legends.

What do you like to do to relax?

I haven’t had too much of that lately, but I like to read, watch TV, or do art projects. And play the Word Cookie game on my tablet.

If you could have any superpower what would choose?

I’d definitely want to be able to fly. There’s a certain appealing freedom, I think, to that particular superpower.

How can readers connect with you?

The best way is through my website, as I have most all my social media set up there: https://afallonblog.wordpress.com/

You can also find me most frequently on

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scribe77

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/afstewartauthor/

Or in my Facebook fan group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/348788975590362/

Ghosts of the Sea Moon is on sale for just 99 cents on Kindle.

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.


Want to read a sample? Sure you do:

Captain Rafe Morrow paced the quarterdeck of his ship, Celestial Jewel, the signs of an oncoming squall setting him on edge. Blustering wind rattled the sails and the crew’s nerves, their usual jaunty hubbub reduced to grumbling and snipes. Trouble travelled on that wind. Rafe could smell it woven in the air, and his blood prickled with a sense of worry. The ship trembled as if with warning. He glared at the sky and its darkening clouds painted amber and crimson from the setting sun. A storm sky coming ahead of a full moon meant dark magic and sea monsters would prowl the waves this night.

The Moon Goddess will hold sway tonight.

A trickle of blue energy raced across the back of his hand at the thought.

Damn her…and her beasts.

On the breath of a sigh, he whirled to face his crew. “Storm’s coming, boys. Doesn’t bode well, not with the moonrise tonight.”

“How long, Captain? Will we be in the thick of the weather or just what comes after?” A rough-edged sailor, Pinky Jasper, spoke up, but all ears of the deck crew listened for an answer.

“It’s coming within an hour or two, out from Raven Rock, by my reckoning. After nightfall by certain. We’re heading in, boys, but we’ll likely hit the edge of it.” He heaved a breath, exhaling. “It’ll be a bad one even for this crew so expect trouble.”

A shiver of tension settled over the deck. Some of the crew cast worried glances at the sea and each other. Others shivered, and a few more whispered prayers. Storms brought bad memories and nervous anticipation to the sailors of this ship.

“Which port then, Captain?” The mariner at the ship’s wheel chimed in. “Might make Abersythe if we head north.”

“We might, Anders. But we head east. We’ll race the edge of the tempest, but it’s closer and the ship will find better shelter anchored at Crickwell Island.”

“Aye, sir. Laying in course to Crickwell Island.” One-Eyed Anders turned the wheel and the ship’s bones groaned. Others of the crew adjusted the sails, and the Celestial Jewel leaned into her new bearing headed east.


Instafreebie preview (download the first four chapters free): https://www.instafreebie.com/free/cu9nx 

Or pick up your copy today – did I mention it was 99 cents?

Books2Read link (all non-Amazon retailers): https://www.books2read.com/u/ml5GvM

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078MS397S

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37648721-ghosts-of-the-sea-moon

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Moon-Saga-Outer-Islands/dp/1981802223/





Meet Stephanie Barr

Hi everyone today on Paws 4 Thought we’re pleased to introduce fantasy author, rocket scientist and cat lover, Stephanie Barr.


1) Which of your characters are you most like?

Most of my protagonist characters, including several side characters, are based on aspects of my own personality either gifted with traits I lack, taking that aspect to a much greater degree or both. Sometimes the aspects I lack are provided by people I know (a few exceptions like Lofar (short story) and Dante da Silv (Tarot Queen), both more based on my husband of the time).

Two in particular were focused on my being unusually bright (which does not get you friends) and my social awkwardness (not shyness) that makes me incredibly unpopular even today except among a few discerning folks. That’s Dylan Chroz of Saving Tessa and Nayna from the forthcoming Ideal Insurgent.

However, I’m probably most like Darma from Nine Lives. I know my own strengths, I’m smart, I’m not afraid to show it, but I’m also a dabbler, pushy, capable of quick changes of temper with moments of insecurity. And exceptionally protective.

2) What is important to you in your character building?

Strengths and weaknesses. Relatability. Depth. Growth. Sheesh so many things. Intelligence. Most of my characters are smart and I generally use brains over brawn to solve problems. Sarcasm is pretty popular, too.HUMOR! Too many books just aren’t funny enough.

I like characters that challenge stereotypes, that force readers to reexamine their preconceived notions or open them to new perspectives.

3) How much do you know about your characters ahead of time?

Before I put even one word to paper, I usually have a very good sense of who the character is, how they’d react, what shaped them, where they need to grow. Not what they look like. That’s rarely a key factor for me and I’ve had to be reminded a few times to even mention that.

I might not know everything consciously, but my subconscious will have it in my head and cough key details rationales, mindsets in the story that solidify my original thought. I’m a total pantser when writing a story, but not the characters; they’re always true to my original vision.

4) What genre do you admire but not write?

Truly well-researched historical fiction. Some of my favorite books are from this category (Hawaii, Shogun, etc) I’m a perfectionist and I’d have to have it exactly right, and I love research, but the amount of research to get every detail correct takes a lot of time and organization, two things I rarely have. It’s not that I couldn’t do it if I was really compelled, but, at least so far, I haven’t felt more compelled than I am for my speculative fiction that requires relatively little research.

5) What haven’t you tackled yet but plan to?

I’m a single mother with three kids–two at home and on the autistic spectrum. More than one person has encouraged me to take some of the little vignettes I’ve written on facebook and compile them into a book to encourage other parents of autistic kids, not only that they’re not alone for the challenging pieces but to really steep themselves in the joy of the fun and unique pieces.

Check out some of Stephanie’s books:

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Also Stephanie has an awesome story in Sins of the Gods – the most recent release of my Sins of Time anthology group.



Cap’n Rex – New picture book from Henry L. Herz


I was excited to receive this glorious new picture book from Henry L. Herz. Henry’s books are always a delight and this one is no different. I mean it has dinosaurs and pirates – what’s not to love!

In fact the dinosaurs are pirates on a quest to find treasure (but of course) steered by the wily Cap’n Rex they overcome a host of almost disasters and each crew member has their own special skill that helps along the way. My favorite of the dinosaurs was Pat, a long-necked dino of the kind I’ve always loved.

The story is delightful with an important message about sharing and Benjamin Schipper’s illustrations are first rate. There’s even a little pirate glossary at the end. Highly recommended for young children and the parents and educators who enjoy reading to them. Aaarrrrrrr.

Pick up your copy of CAP’N REX today in hardback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore or request a copy at your local library.

I was privileged to get to ask Henry a few questions about this and some upcoming books in the pipeline:


Tell me about your new book.

I’m very excited about my new picture book, CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW, coming out in August from Sterling (the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble). Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure. But whenever they hit an obstacle like a giant shark or pea-soup fog the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex always glares with teeth bared and says, CAN’T YE?And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. The book has already received positive reviews from Kirkus and Booklist.

Tell me about any future books in the pipeline.

Well, there are three picture books my agent is shopping around right now:

TOP OF THE HEAP – Barnyard animals debate who is the best animal on the farm. Each makes their claim, even Dung Beetle. In response to the others’ laughter, Dung Beetle takes a vacation. Eventually, they all recognize even tiny Dung Beetle’s important contribution. That’s how he rolls.

NEVER FEED A YETI SPAGHETTI – Two young goblin siblings throw their mom a monstrous birthday party. Despite their best efforts, things go further and further awry, thanks to the yetis. One should never feed them spaghetti.

(That one sounds oodles of noodly fun – DMK) 

ALLEN & ALIEN – Like many boys, Allen doesn’t like to eat his veggies, pick up his toys, or take baths. But he loves playing with his alien toys. When an indefatigably inquisitive alien drops in to study humans, the alien’s enthusiasm (even for the mundane) is infectious. Allen learns an important lesson about appreciating one’s blessings, while his parents are pleasantly surprised at their son’s new alien behavior.

And these three books are scheduled to be published next year:

HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican Publishing) – Ever wonder why two of a squid’s ten arms are longer than the others? A selfish squid is cold, so he swipes other animals’ clothing. Will he learn it’s wrong to steal in the end? This modern fable demonstrates you reap what you sow. It’s Kipling’s HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT HIS SKIN meets Klassen’s THIS IS NOT MY HAT.

GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE (Schiffer Publishing) – Not all the foods in the refrigerator get along like peas in a pod. Bad Apple and Second Banana are at the root of the problem. The vegetables are steamed. Good Egg suggests his friends try different responses to the bullies, but his tactics don’t bear fruit, at first. Only by using his noodle does Good Egg save their bacon.

ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius) – Alice lives in the dreariest boarding school in England. She pours her love and attention into caring for her little garden and its denizens. Unknown to her, these include a large caterpillar, gryphon, and a talking white rabbit. When Alice is in trouble, the magical creatures come to her aid. Love, it turns out, is magical. GARDEN FAE is A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

(I look forward to this one. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was my favorite childhood read and I love any new spin on Alice. DMK)

Where can we learn more about your books?

At my website at www.henryherz.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/henry.herz/

Meet RL Andrew, author of A Lunatic’s Guide to Interplanetary Relationships


Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m excited to welcome RL Andrew who recently published her debut novel the awesomely titled A Lunatic’s Guide to Interplanetary Relationships.


  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a former Legal Executive, chronically ill Australian writer, Movie Reviewer, mother of three adult daughters and grandmother (aka Grammy) to two grandchildren. Along with many short stories published in International Anthologies I’m also a regular, long term contributor to the CrypticRock.com Website based in New York.

(RL Andrew has a wonderful story in once of the horror anthologies I edited, Sins of the Future. Be sure to check it out, DMK)


I live in a regional city in Victoria, Australia, where I’ve been for around thirty years. Early next year my husband and I will be moving back to the place I grew up in where he will work as a full time bee keeper.

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

Edgar Allan Poe

Janet Evanovich

Joss Wheldon

Danielle Trussoni

The Soska Sisters

Nicholas Gyeney

  1. Tell us a bit about your new book, A Lunatic’s Guide To Interplanetary Relationships? (I love the title by the way. Reminds a lot of my favorite author Douglas Adams!)

Thank you so much. I grew tired of reading stories containing main characters with ordinary flaws, none over the age of 35 nor any sick ones. I’ve got a crazy imagination and one day the idea came to me. In many ways Shayne’s the physical embodiment of personality traits that frustrate and irritate me in people I’ve met or come across. She does get her darkness and sarcasm from me and her small stature. That’s about where the similarities end. As for Annu all his good qualities come from my husband and other close men in my life. In regards to the rest of their and other character’s traits are all fiction.


When perpetual screw-up Shayne James is transported from Earth to another planet, she has no idea she’s the key to saving the universe. When Annu discovers this puny human on his planet, little does he know that she’s the key to the two of them defeating the enemy. He finds her irritating, annoying, and somewhat attractive! If they don’t kill each other, or get killed by an unknown force attempting to take over the universe, they might live happily ever after.

(That sounds a lot of fun. I can’t wait to read it, DMK)

  1. If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

Back to the time of creation when everything was apparently perfect.

  1. Do you have any pets? (Pictures please! We love to see furry friends here on Paws 4 Thought!)

We have one pet – a chocolate labrador named Max.


(Hi Max – he’s a cutie! DMK)

  1. What are you currently reading?

A day with an Extraterrestrial by Lou Baldin

Forbidden Science

The Anunaki of Niribu by Gerald Clark

The Hidden History of the Human Race by Michael A Cremo

  1. So whats next? What are you working now?

The sequel ‘A Demigoddess’s Guide to Menopause and Marriage’ is currently in revision stage and I’m plotting book three – A Demigoddess’s Guide to an Interplanetary Apocalypse.  (Adore those titles, DMK)

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

When I’m able to I go out in my garden and weed or tidy up. I also enjoy baking and watching horror movies, which I review for a New York based website. Purely for the experience and I’ve made some amazing contacts.

  1. Tell us a fun fact about Australia that my readers might not know?

Well for starters we live in towns and cities just like you guys. And while in some more country areas you see Kangaroos and Emus they aren’t wandering our streets. Oh and despite how it looks Vegemite on toast is delicious.

Would you like to read a little of A Lunatic’s Guide to Interplanetary Relationships? Sure you would:

Chapter 1: Crazy Like a Falling Coconut

Ardrossan, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Earth

 How did I, Shayne James, a Demi-Goddess and daughter of the Great God Ki, end up in a nut house? It’s God damned ridiculous. Literally. Ive got to get out of here. I cant do another night in this stupid place.

Shayne shook the gate; her fingers ached and rust embedded beneath her nails. “What kind of screwed up torture is this? Haven’t I suffered enough?”

She surveyed the yard for Geoffrey from Ward 3, her one true fan, believer and stalker. Where he went, hospital staff followed. Yard all clear, Shayne counted on her fingers. “How many weeks have I spent in this shit hole?”

2 or 3? Fuck. I don’t know.

The medication they’d thrust into her made time a slippery worm difficult to grasp. The morning’s pills jiggled next to her phone in Shayne’s pocket. She’d hide them with the others. The few missed days cleared her brain and the memories returned. The instant their effects wore off, Shayne realised the governmental nightmare with its hard beds, terrible food, and bad TV, interfered with her true destiny on another planet.

Shayne kicked the metal lock. Pain shot through her foot. “Shit. Crap.”

She hopped in a circle and cursed dodgy hips connected to short legs. The bastards prevented her climbing up the Wistingera hedge beside the gate without assistance, and she couldn’t find anyone to hold her steady without grabbing her arse.

Cant get out the gate, cant break the fence, cant climb the hedge. I’ve tried all the doors. Which leaves what exactly?

Shayne breathed in crazy free air and ran through other options. “Oh fuck it. I can’t think of any. What to do, what to do?”

Her shoulders drooped; Shayne’s freedom remained as distant as Orion.

Even if I did escape, what then? How do I get home and back to Orion? Why can’t a wormhole just appear right here? Huh?

Frustrated with her lack of control, Shayne grabbed the top fence rail and shook. Each rattle represented wasted minutes spent there and the time taken from her future with Annu. The strive for freedom pulsed through her, it interrupted her thoughts and shoved her out of bed each morning. All to face a day filled with half baked escape concepts and pleas to release her Godly self.

Shayne moved her anger down a rung. “That nobody fucking listens to.”

Her arms ached; she relent her hold on the fence. Shayne shifted from the gate across to the hedge filling the fence and smushed into the middle of it. The faint scent of rosemary comforted her, a fresh wave of memories flooded Shayne’s mind.

Shayne wriggled her middle finger, not a scar or mark indicated its former separation.

I can’t believe I got a finger chopped off and it grew back, let alone all the other stuff.

Before being found on the pantry floor by her son and taken to the hospital, Annu held Shayne in his arms inside a stone room. Both Demi-Gods fresh from ascension, and filled with universal power. All they’d been through to get there seemed like a dream, and she’d fucked it up.

Shayne in the ultimate moment of stupidity mentioned Earth one too many times, and in a flash a wormhole ripped Shayne back to her home planet and away from love.

True fucking love and shit too.

Annu’s shocked expression tormented her. “Damn you medication for making me forget it even for one second.”

A branch stuck into her back, Shayne wriggled further onto the hospital’s back lawn, a large pile of dried bird poop on her right fared better than her. “We did everything right and in return we weren’t given time to soak in our success; the greatest moment of existence. Let alone kiss and enjoy things. No, not me. I got cosmically shafted. As usual.”

Shayne yanked out a wad of grass and tossed it to the side. “I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind, there’s something pleasant about that place, even your emotions had a gecko, and so much pace. Mmm. Does that make me crazyyyy? Does that make me–oh wait apparently it does.”

Neighbourhood dogs howled, a flock of magpies a few metres ahead shot into the air.

Bastards don’t appreciate a good voice. Oh what does it matter? My new life waits on the other side of the Galaxy, through the stupid wormhole–an hour and a half, several security guards, and several door alarms from here.

Shayne resigned herself to no knight in shining armour arriving to rescue her from the current dilemma.

Rather, a retard in tin foil waited on this one planet, on the hospital lawn, deep in thought and determined. “It’s not the first time I’ve saved myself. It’s probably like the third. Surely I can do it again?”

I miss my chocolate hulk.

Shayne shook her head, Annu lingered in her mind. Her belly gurgled, doubt poked into her thoughts.

Is he still waiting for me? No, he probably gave up, and I cant blame him. He’s probably relishing in glory–alone.

Shayne tried to twirl her jade ring, its absence on her naked finger shot another wave of panic through Shayne. She’d grown accustomed to the odd piece of jewellery despite its catalytic nature.

Where did it go? I must have lost it when I burst through the wall. Its got to be under the pantry shelf.

Shayne massaged a lump in her shoulder and sighed. “Another thing that doesn’t matter because I’m not getting out right now, so fuck it and fuck them.”

She scanned again for any sign of staff; all clear. Eyes squinted; she pulled out a smoke and lit it. Shayne inhaled to her lungs’ capacity, held the breath and fought coughing.

Hold it in, don’t waste it. Any second now it will be worth it. You’ve got to cough to get off don’t you?

The scratch in her lungs eased, a warm rush numbed her senses and removed life’s edges. While it didn’t remove the body pain, it made not caring about it easier.

Want to read more? Pick up a copy of A Lunatic’s Guide to Interplanetary Relationships today.

Keep updated on RL Andrew:

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Page





Articles & Reviews: www.CrypticRock.com

An Interview with an Artist – Meet Tina Wijesiri


Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m happy to welcome illustrator, Tina Wijesiri. Tina created the awesome pictures for my new picture book, Esmeralda Grunch and the Red Tulip.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself, Tina.

I’m Tina Wijesiri. I live in Sri Lanka and I’m 27 years old. I love drawing.

  1. When did you start drawing?

I’ve liked to draw since I was a kid.

  1. What is your favorite thing to draw?

I like to draw every kind of thing and improve my skills.

  1. Do you prefer working on the computer or by hand?

I love both. But by hand is easier. (The pictures that Tina created for Esmeralda Grunch were hand drawn with watercolors. DMK)

Esmeralda pond

  1. What’s your favorite food?

Rice and curries, pizza, and burgers.

  1. Tell us a little bit about Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is in the Indian Ocean. It’s an island and a tropical country. We speaks Sinhala, Tamil, and English. Our main religion is Buddhism, but there are also Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Catholics. Sri Lanka has lots of natural beauty and a great history.

  1. Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a cat. (Aw – we like kitties here at Paws 4 Thought, DMK)

  1. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not drawing?

I like to write to my pen pals, and enjoy reading and writing stories.

Tina has written and illustrated her own picture book, Bob the Cat, which currently available FREE on Amazon. Download a copy today.


Do you want to hire Tina as an illustrator? Check out her page on Fiverr!

And of course, if you haven’t already pick a copy of Esmeralda Grunch and the Red Tulip, now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.


J is for Joey Marks


“G’day everyone! I’m so happy to be here today! I’m Joey Marks and when I’m not a kid, I’m a kangaroo! Isn’t that cool? I come from Australia and attended the P.A.W.S. Institute of the Outback. It’s there that I perfected my animagus form.

Then one day my teacher Wemberly (he’s a wombat) suggested I try this contest and guess what, I won. The prize was a scholarship to the P.A.W.S. Institute of the Midwest in St. Louis, MO in the USA. I was so excited to come here and have loads of friends – there’s Sean, (he’s a shapeshifter horse) and Theo (he’s an animagus squirrel).

When I’m not in my classes I like playing board games, making puzzles, and learning magic tricks. There’s this clown that hangs out in Forest Park sometimes, the Great Bobbert and he’s been teaching me.

Please come visit me at the P.A.W.S. Institute of the Midwest and check out my interview from the Umbrae blog tour.