Something to Read on the Ride: Stella Wilkinson

Stella Wilkinson avatarIt’s the middle of the week, and today’s guest in my cozy corner of the web is Something to Read on the Ride’s very own intrepid captain, British author, Stella Wilkinson.

Let’s meet Stella who has the cutest avatar ever (she also gets bonus points for being the one who thought of putting together the collective):

Stella Wilkinson lives in Somerset, England, UK.
Even though Stella is now old and married and really dull, she wishes she could have been forever a Young Adult/New Adult.

She says: In The Flirting Games series my little world revolves around a group of teenagers at Boarding School in England. Mainly their romances, after all what is more fun than that? Book 2, More Flirting Games, and Book 3, Further Flirting Games are also available. There may be more in The Flirting Games series, if you all like them enough; but I’ve got a few others up my sleeve too, some Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

I love feedback and comments! Follow me on Twitter: @fantastyscribble
Also you can follow my blogs at:

More than anything I love to read, so chuck some recommendations at me too. Books are more precious then diamonds to me. My desk is in a room filled with shelf after shelf of antique books that I’ve never read but I keep collecting because the view of the spines alone is inspirational. To be fair most of the antique books look pretty dull inside, they have titles like ‘Bridleways of Somerset’. These days, when I read, I use my kindle. My kindle is the item I would save from a fire, after family, and photos of course, oh and my laptop, and perhaps just a few of my first editions, and the chocolate hobnobs…

Now, let’s ask her a few questions… 8 to be precise.

When you were a kid you wanted to be…?

Lois Lane. I carried around a notebook looking for good stories to write, and started our school newspaper just so I could print them. I never did get to date Superman though…

The first book you read was…?

Uh, The Bad Tempered Ladybird, I think. If you mean grown up book then I spent my teens devouring Mills and Boon romance novels.

You discovered you were quite good at writing when…?

I wrote some stories for Harry Potter Fan Fic (HPFF) and got a huge response of positive reviews, that’s when I started on The Flirting Games Series.

As a reader, your favorite genre is…?

Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

No, really, what’s that title you’re hiding in your kindle…?

Riders, by Jilly Cooper. I’ve read it at least ten times. I love all her anti-heros. Bad boys that come good, or sometimes get their comeuppance.

You write…?

Mainly stories for teenage girls. The Flirting Games has three books in the series so far and more to come.

The praise about your writing you like the most is…?

Emails direct from fans. That someone took the time to personally mail me to say how much they liked the books is a massive incentive. I’m always stunned that with modern technology people are picking up my books from all over the world, it’s so flattering.

What’s next…?

I did a short story on Amazon for Halloween, called Halloween Magic & Mayhem. I got such good feedback from it that I’m writing a sequel, Werewolf Magic & Mayhem, which should be out just before Christmas.

Stella’s Very Important Public Announcement:

We’re also putting together another charity anthology of short stories based on the success of Something to Read on the Ride. It will be called Something for the Journey. People are welcome to email me direct if they are interested in submitting a story.

And finally, don’t’ forget:

To read Stella Wilkinson’s short and donate to a great cause, the Wallace and Gromit’s Copertina-Sandro-Beneficenza6Grand Appeal, A Children’s Hopital Charity, buy Something to Read on the Ride. It’s only $2.99 and all the proceeds go to the charity.

Something to Read on the Ride: Stella Wilkinson

Something to Read on the Ride: J David Core

The Writer’s Café’ is a fantastic cyber-space to frequent if you are a writer. Thanks to my daily lurking there, I came to know about Stella Wilkinson’s charity project, Something to Read on the Ride. Thanks to participating to the collective, I am getting to know awesome people.  I am also reading the anthology and the shorts are great reading material. Today, to start the week in style, author J David Core is visiting my blog.

Let’s meet David:

J David CoreWith a profound interest in religion, liberal politics and humor, Dave began writing in High School and has not given up on it since. His first professional writing jobs came while attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when he was hired to create political cartoons for the Pitt News & to write humor pieces for Smile Magazine. Dave has worked in the newspaper industry as a photographer, in the online publishing industry as a weekly contributor to, and was a contributing writer to the Buzz On series of informational books and to the Western online anthology, Elbow Creek. Dave’s science fiction novel, Synthetic Blood and Mixed Emotions, is available from

Dave currently resides in his childhood home in Toronto, OH with his beautiful girlfriend and his teenage daughter. He enjoys participating in local community events & visiting with his two adult children and his grandson. His writing blog is available at

Let’s interrogate David:

When you were a kid you wanted to be…?

I wanted to be a scientist, but I had no idea what that really meant. I wanted to understand the origins of life and the mechanics of the universe. I did not want to do math or spend days developing and repeating mundane experiments. Fiction only ever shows us the result of the work, not the drudgery. So I decided to become a guy who “invents” the end result.

The first book you read was…?

I think it was Alice in Wonderland. The story has a unique voice and is incredibly imaginative and – yes – inventive. It still ranks as one of my all-time favorites. Plus the illustrations by Tenniel were incredible.

You discovered you were quite good at writing when…?

I was always a loner as a kid. I spent most of my youth inside my own head creating fanciful experiences for myself. Then when I entered high school I suddenly found a group of creative people to hang out with. They were all musicians and I can’t carry a tune, so I tried my hand at writing lyrics. Turns out that time I spent conditioning my brain to invent entertainment for myself had set the groundwork for a creative platform.

As a reader, your favorite genre is…?

I love mysteries, thrillers and sci-fi. I don’t think I have a favorite though. I have some least favorites though. I don’t care for chick lit (Nickolas Sparks, RJ Waller) nor am I a fan of introspective fiction (Eat, Pray, Love or The Life of Pi.) I appreciate them, but I’m just not a fan.

No, really, what’s that title you’re hiding in your kindle…?

I don’t even have a Kindle. I read eBooks on my phone or PC, and I also blog and do reviews so all of the titles in my “to read” list are books I intend to review. However, if you’re asking what my secret vice reading material is, I already told you I love Alice in Wonderland.

You write…?

I write in several genres, but all of my writing has a noir feel to it. My published novellas include humor, sci-fi, mysteries and straight-up noir all with a crime element and a hard-boiled undertone to the writing.

The praise about your writing you like the most is…?

People say my stories are readable. In fact, the main criticism I get is that my stories are not descriptive and flowery enough for some readers’ tastes. To me, that criticism is high praise. One critic complained that my first novel begins with a descriptive and elaborate description of coming into Pittsburgh at night through the Ft. Pitt tunnel. The reviewer loved that paragraph – which I had included as a gimmick – and felt cheated when the rest of the book told a good story but never lived up to the haute fiction promise of that opening paragraph. To me – the reviewer may as well have said, “Core can write like James Joyce when he wants, but he prefers to channel Hemingway.”

What’s next…?

I’m currently re-writing the second novel in my mystery novel series for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) When I finish that, I have an idea for a novelette about Copertina Sandro Beneficenzatwo boys who put an unconscious friend on a bouncing Betty landmine one of their parents owns in an illegal collection of live munitions. They want to see if the three of them can figure out a way to diffuse the mine under those circumstances. After that, I may try my hand at a non-fiction series of essays about religious belief. We shall see.

To read J David Core’s short and donate to a great cause, the Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, A Children’s Hopital Charity, buy Something to Read on the Ride. It’s only $2.99 and all the proceeds go to the charity.

Something to Read on the Ride: J David Core

Something to Read on the Ride: Frank Zubek

Frank Zubek portraitI am pleased to start the weekend by having a most gracious guest, author Frank Zubek, on my blog. Frank is one of the authors who collaborated to the anthology Something to Read on the Ride. Frank, who has been a great supporter of the collective since its inception, has donated not one, but two shorts.

In his own words:

Where do you live and what’s the day job?

Greater Cleveland and I work in retail. The rest of my time is taken up writing and a few hours of sleep.

What inspired this story?

Stella suggested for people to submit a story they had hanging around on their hard drive. I didn’t have any so I decided to think up a new story exclusive for the anthology, which is geared toward people who travel to and from work on buses or subways. I was also a bit worried that we wouldn’t have enough submissions to fill a book so I offered to think up two and she said okay. So my two stories take place on a bus.

How long have you been writing?

1999. I currently have several short stories and a few novellas for sale on amazon.

What are you working on next?

I seem to have run out of ideas for contemporary fiction so I’m switching to fantasy. I have a few adventures that are perfect for a novel.

Can people visit your web-page or blog?

Of course!  is the web page and the blog is  

Can people contact you?  

Copertina Sandro BeneficenzaIf you want to donate to a great cause, Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, A Children’s Hospital Charity, and read Frank’s two shorts, buy the anthology. It’s only $2.99!

Something to Read on the Ride: Frank Zubek

Sharon Sant

Fall is in full swing here in the great Northwest and only two days are left to enter the Off the Beaten Path Giveaway!

Today’s guest is Sharon Sant Author PicSharon Sant, the author of  The Sky Song trilogy, and one of the seven awesome indies who collaborated to Off The Beaten Path: Eight Tales of the Paranormal.

Everything you wanted to know about Sharon:

Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles. She is the author of a string of YA novels including Runners and the Sky Song trilogy.

Her answers to my questions:

1) The first horror book you read was…?

It by Stephen King

2) You discovered you were quite good at writing horror/paranormal/urban fantasy when…?

I’m still not sure that I am! But people seemed to like my first release, Sky Song, and so I’ll go with that.

3) As a reader, your favorite horror book is…?

Anything by Stephen King. I also like gothic spookiness, particularly 19th century stuff like Edgar Allan Poe.

4) What scares you…?

Small spaces – I’m terribly claustrophobic

5) You usually write…?

YA fantasy/paranormal/sci fi

6) What’s next…?

I have a new book just out, The Memory Game, which is a YA paranormal.  Next job is to continue work on the second book of my YA dystopian series, Runners.

You can find out more about how awesome Sharon is on her website or check out her equally awesome Goodreads page.

And remember, for a chance to win Amazon gift cards and books enter the Off the Beaten Path Giveaway

Sharon Sant

Richard Phillips

"I promise you that Richard Phillips is going to be a popular and influential writer, period." Orson Scott CardRecently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Richard Phillips’s Once Dead’s rough draft. Judging from it, the latest Jack Gregory adventure is shaping up to be one exciting read. Phillips is one of my favorite trad authors and his series, The Rho Agenda, introduced me to high tech/thriller  science fiction. With a bio that makes you wonder if he’s writing non-fiction, Phillips is one of the most influential science fiction authors and also one of the most popular authors today. The Rho Agenda series has more than two thousand 4 star reviews on Amazon and it is a must read if you like fast-paced action, alien technology, strong characters, international intrigue, domestic affairs gone wrong, and the hint of romance.


Mr. Phillips was gracious enough to answer my 8 questions.

1) When you were a kid you wanted to be…?

An astronaut or a cowboy, maybe a combination of both … something like Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Serenity.

What about a space opera novel in your future? As a fan of Firefly, I love the mention.

2) The first book you read was…?

Robert A. Heinlein’s ‘Have Spacesuit, Will Travel’.

3) You discovered you were quite good at writing when…?

I’m still working on that one.  I love to read and try to learn from other authors whose novels I enjoy.

What a humbling attitude. New authors should learn from you.

4) As a reader, your favorite genre is…?

I have two: Sci-Fi and Thrillers.

I must admit, as a classic science fiction/space opera aficionado, I never cared for science fiction/thrillers before I read The Second Ship.

5) No, really, what’s that title you’re hiding in your kindle…?

Kindle(s) … I have a bunch of them.  It’s no secret.  One of my all-time favorites is Watchers by Dean Koontz.

I’ll give it a try.

6) You write…?

To entertain.  I write to provide my readers an opportunity to mentally put the real world out of their minds for a little while.  Some call my novels escapism, some call them beach reads.  Either is just fine with me.  I’ll let others with better skills than mine expound on the day to day problems we all face.

I read all your novels while walking around my neighborhood. So, you can add walker companion and exercise facilitator to the list of names. I walked miles and miles thanks to your stories.

7) The praise about your writing you like the most is…?

Orson Scott Card saying: “I promise you that Richard Phillips is going to be a popular and influential writer, period.”  I was deeply honored by it.

Well, that’s a compliment!

8) What’s next…?

After the publication of Once Dead this fall, I’m signed up for two more Jack ‘The Ripper’ Gregory novels that occur prior to The Rho Agenda trilogy.  Then I plan on revisiting some of the surviving characters from The Rho Agenda and the changed world in which they find themselves.  After that … I’ll just have to see how many of the stories that are percolating in my head I can get around to telling.

Can’t wait to read Jack Gregory’s new stories. I’ve become a great fan of the Ripper and of Janet and can’t have enough of them. It would also be interesting to read what happens to the new world left after Wormhole.

Mr. Phillips, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It was a real pleasure having you on my blog.

For the latest information regarding Richard Phillips’s work, please visit his Rho Agenda Blog.  

Richard Phillips