Friday, 26 April 2019

Rob Gregory


Hey there!

First questions:
What are you doing so far away?

I part own a bar and restaurant in Thailand, so
spend most of my time there.
*See the restaurant and menu at the very end!
Your WIP is set in Thailand. Would the patrons
and staff of your restaurant find themselves in it?
They might think they did, but they'd be wrong.
Any resemblance to real people etc...
Next question:
Your work sounds like so much fun -- and some
gross-out humor. What is your audience like?
I'm not sure. I  would say people who 
love quirky humor and like a good story.
I write across multiple genres, so am a bit tricky
to categorize.
You have a PhD?
Yes, indeed I too. So I'm supposed to be called
Doctor Rob, but no one, apart from my son, ever
does. I got a Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford
University, way back in the year 2000.
How cool is that, "Doctor Rob?"
Do you think your philosophy studies have
popped up in your writing?
I don't think so, although they certainly
changed the way I look at the world which
may explain some of my writing quirks. 
Actually, thinking about it, I have mis-quoted 
Nietzsche in one of my short stories!

Great talking to you, Shauna and the best of luck
with your writing! Rob over and out.
Thank you!



1) Where do you live?

I tend to spend most of my time flitting between New Zealand and Thailand these days. It sounds glamourous, but trust me, it’s not. Going from blistering heat to chilly cold on a semi-regular basis, is no fun for the body, I can assure you!

2) What is the first thing you remember writing?

I did a short story when I was about seven or eight, but I’m not sure that it really counts. The first proper thing I remember writing was a horror story for my English exams at school. It was called The Bunker and ran to something like twenty chapters. At the time, I thought it was brilliant. I’m not so sure if that would be the case today, but it did get me an A grade.

3) Why do you write?

Quite simply because I love it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I get a huge buzz from creating new worlds, characters and situations that have never existed before. These days, I actually find writing more enjoyable than reading, because I get so utterly immersed in the storyline that’s developing, that I sometimes forget there’s a real world out there.

4) Have you published any of your work?

So far, I’ve self-published three children’s books that form a series called the DATS Trilogy and a compilation of all three books, with illustrations, called The Lucius Chronicles, that was released in March 2019. I also published a satirical fantasy novel called Drynwideon in March of 2018. With Drynwideon, a friend of mine persuaded me to publish it as a paperback, as well as an ebook and I still have a few copies left, if anyone is interested. They’ve sold surprisingly well, which just goes to show that the popularity of physical books hasn’t quite died out yet.

5) What are you currently writing?

I’ve just finished an action novella set in Thailand about a group of expats that try to take on the military government with disastrous results. It’s a modern-day Guy Fawkes story and probably the most serious thing that I’ve written to date.

6) Are you currently querying?

Yes, I have a revenge thriller, called Yogol’s Gold, out for query with a number of UK literary agencies at the moment. The story follows the lives of two friends, who become mortal enemies, following the discovery of a cache of gold in 1917. Spanning over seventy years of the twentieth century, it’s a bit of an epic. I really enjoyed writing it, but I’m having problems finding the right agent to represent me. Still, based on the experiences of other authors on Twitter, I’m not alone as far as this particular problem is concerned.

7) Finish this sentence (three lines or less):
And the buns were so terrified that their icing was on the verge of melting. “Don’t worry, I’ll look after you,” said the baker, trying to soothe the distressed cakes. Suddenly, the door to the bakery opened with a chilling squeal and from out of the darkness, The Mouth appeared.

8) Which activities do you like to participate in, in the Twitter writing community (VSS365, etc.)?

I’m a bit of a watcher and responder, rather than an initiator on Twitter. I like to reply to people’s comments and take the occasional poll, but that’s about it. I have made some good friends on the platform, including James Stevens (@fernmajestic), who did the cover artwork for The Lucius Chronicles, which was amazing. I guess you could say that I value real connections more than having thousands of followers (I only have around 300 at the moment by the way).

9) Do you have any formal training/education for writing?

Not really. I guess you could say that I’ve trained myself on the job!

10) Do the people in your life know that you write?

Yes. Just about everyone that I meet knows that I’m a writer. I’ve made it my profession, for the time being at least, so it’s in my interest to promote that fact as much as possible.

11) Tell me about the people in your life. Family? Pets?

Partner, young son and a really cute dog. That’s about it really.

12) Where do you wish your writing to take you?

I’d like to become known as a writer of high-quality fiction and a bit of a humourist. Someone who touches other people’s lives and makes them smile in their daily lives, even if it is only for a short while. It would be lovely to become a superstar writer, but to be honest, as time goes by, I’d be happy if I could just make a modest living out of my work.

13) What did you expect when you joined the Twitter writing community? Did it turn out as expected?

I didn’t really have any expectations when I joined Twitter. It was another friend who suggested that I needed to use it to gain visibility and connect with people. I’m quite introverted, so it has been a bit of a challenge, but so far, it’s been an enjoyable experience, especially becoming part of the amazingly supportive writing community that exists here.

14) Where do you write?

Everywhere! At my desk. Down in the bar (did I mention that I have a bar/restaurant?). On holiday. You name it, I’ve probably written there. I’ve even been known to start scribing on plane journeys between countries! Does that make me an international author, I wonder?

15) How much time do you dedicate to writing, weekly?

I treat writing as a full-time job, so I would say at least twenty to thirty hours a week, if not more. I try to write at least one substantial blog post a week for my website (, as well as make sure that I’m plugging away on my latest story, whatever that might be. I’m not sure that it will always be like this, so I’m trying to get as much done before the money runs out and I have to go back to paid employment.

16) Do you have other talents?

Umm. I’m a bit of a whizz in the kitchen and can bake a half-decent cake and do a nice roast dinner. I’ve done a bit of painting in the past, mainly abstract stuff, had a brief stint in television editing and used to be a techno DJ in the late 1990s, but that’s about it. I am an expert on the welfare of farmed animals, but I’m not sure that you’d call it a talent.

A. I do not mind when other writers ask for advice. (A - Although I’m not in a position to provide detailed/in depth comments or get involved in editing/proofreading.)
B. I’d rather keep to myself!


Born in the wilds of Bristol, England, in the mid-nineteen seventies, Rob Gregory, that’s me in the picture, by the way, bravely battled school and an unusually high number of bad haircuts to emerge relatively unscathed with a basic, but well-loved education, tucked under his arm. Using this in much the same way as a thief uses his favourite crowbar, he wormed his way into Reading University – which is quite appropriate for a writer – and studied Biology – which is not!
Having gained a slightly broader education and a fondness for old buildings, he shimmied his way along the well-trodden towpath to Oxford University, where he locked himself in a broom cupboard for three years and emerged with a PhD, having still not written any substantive works of fiction, despite what critics of his thesis on chicken behaviour might say!
Following those halcyon years, he set off with reckless abandon to seek his fortune among the glittering lights and gold-paved streets of Londinium, where he promptly fell in with a pioneering Internet TV company, called It was a wild and passionate affair, involving late nights, plenty of alcohol and playing around with expensive televisual equipment. But alas, it was not to be and he was run out of Chiswick a little over a year later, by a band of howling warrior maidens from the BBC.
Never one to stop running, he fled across the continents, ending up in New Zealand, where he found excitement in the windy nether regions of the capital, Wellington and solace in the welcoming arms of the Waikato – definitely not the capital. It was there that he finally put finger to keyboard and wrote his first book, Death and the Schoolboy, which was put onto a 3.5″ floppy disk and promptly forgotten about. However, the deed was done and no matter how hard he tried to ignore the urge, even focusing for more than a decade on a glittering career in farm animal welfare, the need to write became ever stronger.
Finally, he capitulated and at the beginning of 2017, he began a new life as a wandering author (and animal welfare consultant – old habits die hard, don’t you know). What you see here, today, is the ongoing legacy of that fateful decision…Enjoy!

FACEBOOK: @MalthusDevryn

TWITTER: @theunrealrobg

GOODREADS: Robin Alexander Gregory


Monday, 15 April 2019

TJ Fier


Hey hey TJ!
You design and create props for theater. What
I the strangest request you've gotten for a
Strangest props? I've made several dead
babies. I had to pull the eyes out of a 
fake severed head because the severed head
we were using in the show had to have its
eyes removed.
And I got to give it bloody eye sockets

I was once in a bidding war on eBay for a
fake leg.

Did you win the leg?!
Yep, won the leg!
Would Oscar and Rufus [her cats] ever make
an appearance in your writing?
No cats yet. Oddly I haven't had characters
with pets? Maybe because pets can be a 
stabilizing presence in characters' lives and my 
characters are anything but stable.
That makes sense!
You mentioned your sister and mom read your work.
How about your husband?
No, he's not much of a reader.
(Same at my house)
Thanks for taking the time to do this!
Happy to do this! Thanks for the opportunity.


1) Where do you live? 
Fargo, ND

2) What is the first thing you remember writing?
Lots of stories about horses. Before I had the ability to write complex sentences, I often created picture books filled with horses going on grand adventures.

3) Why do you write? 
I enjoy escaping reality and disappearing into the stories I create.

4) Have you published any of your work? 
I currently have a series on called The Bright One. Channillo is a collection of hundreds of series readers can access when they subscribe to the website.

5) What are you currently writing? 
A vampire story I’m currently calling Vampires Are For Losers. I’m trying to avoid the whole “sexy, brooding vampire with loads of money” idea. Instead, I’m treating them as vagabonds living off their wits.

6) Are you currently querying? 
No. My horror story, The Shadow of Tower Hill, is very slowly making its way through my writing group. I’m hoping to have it ready for PitMad in December.

7) Finish this sentence (three lines or less):
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT… Lightning lanced the dreary sky, reminding Alexa of a time not long past. Once she loved a good storm, but now, pulling a blanket over her head, she trembled beneath the rumbling heavens.

8) Which activities do you like to participate in, in the Twitter writing community (VSS365, etc.)? 
I often participate in tagging games and love promoting other writers but haven’t yet delved in VVS365. Follow me at @iamfierless

9) Do you have any formal training/education for writing? 
Other than various workshops as a kid and a couple as an adult, I do not.

10) Do the people in your life know that you write? 
Yes. I’ve shared stories with my mom and sisters.

11) Tell me about the people in your life. Family? Pets? 
I’ve been married to my husband for eleven years and we have two fat-old-man cats named Oscar and Rufus. I post about them regularly on Twitter.

12) Where do you wish your writing to take you? 
I hope to traditionally publish some day, but you never know. Indie publishing is also very tempting. I’m enjoying the journey and I look forward to seeing where it may take me.

13) What did you expect when you joined the Twitter writing community? Did it turn out as expected? I didn’t know it existed until August 2018 and I absolutely love the kindness and support. Twitter is known to be a cesspool but our corner of Twitter is wonderful.

14) Where do you write? 
Pretty much wherever I can find some peace and quiet.

15) How much time do you dedicate to writing, weekly? My goal is two hours a day.

16) Do you have other talents? 
I’m a professor of set design and a professional scenic artist so I have A LOT of creative skills. I’ve also worked as a professional props artisan for theatre. You need to be a jack of all trades when it comes to creating properties for productions. I have made some really weird and sometimes disgusting things over the years.

  1. I do not mind when other writers ask for advice.
  2. I’d rather keep to myself!
Definitely A. I’m a teacher and mentor by profession. I love being helpful.

TJ Fier started writing picture books full of horses and her illustrations before she could write complete sentences. As she went on in life she continued to write and draw while adding music, dance, and theatre to her list of creative pursuits. After focusing on theatre in college, she eventually graduated with an MFA in Set Design. She went on to work as a theatre professional and in 2012 became Assitant Professor of Set Design at North Dakota State University, and later Associate upon being awarded Tenure in 2018. TJ began writing again in 2017. After drafting several novels, joining a local writing group, and publishing her first serial, she's made it into another creative career.

Facebook author page: (may have to shut down briefly during April due to a potential troll popping back into my life)

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Amanda Flieder



First question:
Tell me about the things you sew!
Mostly I sew pants (because me in
skinny leg anything is not good,  so the
past few years I couldn't find anything 
that I liked wearing from stores) but I
Also make up simple shirts. I work from
patterns, except I'm really bad at
following patterns... I use them as a basis
and then spin off into what I want the 
article of clothing to look like 😁
That's awesome! You can make matching
jimmies for the fam 💓
Speaking of family, you're a mom. Age(s) of 
I am, yes. I have a 7YO and a 4YO.
Littles! Do you spin stories for them?
They are. I don't, no. My imagination
doesn't give me stories for kids very
often. My 7YO has started doing her own
short stories at home, though, and 
completed an outline for a novel that's 
actually a really good idea if she ever
wants to write it out... so I guess I'll let 
them tell me the stories!
I love that!
OK, last one. Tell me about the Steam Punk book.
Are you into the genre in other ways, or just writing?
(I love steampunk!)
Oh no... the Steam Punk book... lol. It
started off as a single idea for an off-
beat romance, then a couple side
characters showed up and I thought that
they could work into a fun, three-book, 
connected-but-not-sequels series.
Then airships and politics and secrets
showed up, pulling along a whole
 world behind, and I got lost in the 
machinations. My little book go blown up
by pirates, and I love how bit the idea
is getting! The genre is one I adore
consuming, yet am intimidated by for 
creating. (which makes these bossy,
loud, colorful characters perfect; they 
never let me set them aside for long!)
Sounds fun!
Amanda, thanks for giving me your time!
No problem! Thank you for putting your
time into this for so many of us. It means the world.
Hope you have a good night!
You too!


1) Where do you live?
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

2) What is the first thing you remember writing?
One of our in-class assignments in Grade 1 was to write a story. I ended up with something about 7 pages long that my teacher pulled my mom aside about because I’d done a complete story arc with character development. I only remember that the main character was a clown because he rescued the princess from something about trains, and at 6 or 7 years old I knew circuses traveled by train.

3) Why do you write?
I honestly can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t interested in reading that much when I was young, not getting into it until I was in my early teens, but I always had stories brewing and other worlds growing in my mind. Reading sparked off wanting to read more and different stories than I was finding, so I started writing my own.

4) Have you published any of your work?
I have! :) I currently have 8 works that are published: five novels, two novellas, and a short story.

5) What are you currently writing?
I’ve got a multi-book series happening in Steam Punk, another short story that’s a dip into Sci-Fi, and a stand-alone novel currently on the back burner because I need to get into more research for that one than I have time for (ie: rather than get frustrated by not having enough research time, I’m getting the other stories out so I have more time).

6) Are you currently querying?
I am! I’m sending out the Steam Punk idea to see if there’s interest.

7) Finish this sentence (three lines or less):
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT… at the backwoods cabin. The front porch groaned under the gusts and rain hammered the tin roof. I tossed another log on the fire and snuggled into my favorite chair, cat in lap; this murder mystery wasn’t going to read itself.

8) Which activities do you like to participate in, in the Twitter writing community (VSS365, etc.)? 
My favorites to play so far are TalesNoir, SaidSun, 2WayTues, ProtagProverbs, and Btr2sDay. For non-playing community participation, I really think the EditDash hashtag that ran each day in February was simply fantastic both for the great feedback from the host and for the conversations and critiques with other writers and authors.

9) Do you have any formal training/education for writing?
In a way, yes. My background is in industrial construction and the schooling I did included courses for writing technically. I’d say the better education for creative writing came from the Editors I was lucky enough to work with (specifically the Editor who took on my trilogy) during the past five years.

10) Do the people in your life know that you write?
I’m one of the lucky people who found support for what I’d grown up being told was a “cute hobby” that wouldn’t amount to anything. My husband actually found and contacted the publisher I used for my first books after reading over my shoulder and deciding my writing was good, and my in-laws helped toward editing and marketing costs on a couple of my novels. Again, I’m super lucky with the people in my life now.

11) Tell me about the people in your life. Family? Pets?

12) Where do you wish your writing to take you?
Honestly? I’d like to get to a point where writing is a viable second income. There are a lot of things that I’m good at from my previous career, and some things that I liked doing, but even focusing on writing as a job for the past year hasn’t taken the pure enjoyment out of it.

13) What did you expect when you joined the Twitter writing community? Did it turn out as expected?
Mostly I expected to be talking to myself, like the vacuum I found on other social media, so this is not going the way I thought it would at all. Connecting with real people, finding wonderful conversations, the encouragement and talent and passion… this community is so much more than advertised!

14) Where do you write?
I have a wee desk in the corner of my bedroom which I set up as an office space, and my brother-in-law gave me his old computer when my laptop started glitching more than it was working. It’s a cozy little space for tucking and letting stories unfold.

15) How much time do you dedicate to writing, weekly?
I’m a stay at home mom right now, so try for five hours a day dedicated to writing work. If the muse hits it can be all writing, and if not then it’s dedicated time for the other parts of being an author: editing, blogging, querying, and marketing / website work.

16) Do you have other talents?
I’m decent enough at running a Singer sewing machine that strangers have asked where I bought something that I’d made, and I can knit basic sweaters, hats, scarves and blankets.

  1. I do not mind when other writers ask for advice.
  2. I’d rather keep to myself!
Always A! I feel I’d be a poor member of the writing community if I didn’t try to pay forward all the help I’ve gotten.

I'm Amanda Flieder, a multi-published Canadian Author using she/her who lives and writes in Edmonton, Alberta, and a happily married mom of two. When not keeping up with my husband and kids in reality, I'm keeping up with the characters in my next books. So far I’m mainly self-published in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and have two Modern Romance novellas. For non-self, I have a short story accepted and published through Story Shares, which is a non-profit group supporting literacy. You can find out more about me and my books at

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