Feature and Follow #12 Posing with a book


Feature and Follow #12

This meme is brought to you by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Congrats to the featured blogs for this week Read in Paris and Spare Time Book Blog.

For this meme, you can follow me however you’d like.  Whatever makes you come back a second time!  Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Book Selfie! Take a pic with your current read.

lizzy ashes

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.


It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

I saw the third book on Netgalley and it sounds amazing, but I promised myself that I won’t request it until I at least finish the first book.  I have the second book too.  I hope I like it!


(I really hate this picture, but it’s the best I could get taking it of myself.  /sigh  I should have taken it earlier in the sunlight, which is much more flattering.)


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10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask Benjamin Epstein

Congratulations to Benjamin Epstein for having my favorite answers of the month.  So, one lucky US resident will win a paperback copy of his book, Captive of the Orcs.  Winner has 48 hours to respond by email with their US mailing address.  I can’t be responsible for any item lost in the mail, however I’ll be shipping from Amazon.com so they’re pretty reliable.  So, check out his awesome interview and then enter into the giveaway!

If you’re an author and interested in answering questions most reviewers are too scared to ask, then email me at lizzylessard (at) gmail (dot) com.  If I think your answers are the best of the batch, then I’ll pay for a giveaway of your book.  Even if you don’t win, if you’re willing to host a giveaway, I will post your answers.  But you have to be CREATIVE.  The questions change every month!  Remember, there is NO GENRE RESTRICTION.

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10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask Benjamin Epstein

1)  Imagine your characters are on Survivor.  They have to vote one character out of your book.  Who votes for who and why?

Dallet is voted off, no question about it. Everyone hates him anyway. He has no survival skills, so he’s useless around camp.  He’s physically weak.  And he’s too smart for his own good, which is irritating.  Worst of all, he’s a Luminean Exile, and everybody hates the Luminean Exiles.  He tries to make an alliance, but he’s voted out unanimously.

The next week, there’s a puzzle challenge. The tribe loses spectacularly. When Jeff Probst asks if they made a mistake voting off Dallet, they all look confused:  It didn’t even occur to them.

2)  Your main character has committed a crime.  What is the crime and how do they do it?

I have two main characters, so…

If it’s Torak, the crime depends on the time of day.  If it’s night, he silently slips over the shepherd’s fence, finds the sheep he think will make the best meal, snaps its neck, and hops the fence again, invisible and unseen in the dead of night.

If it’s daylight, he’ll commit armed robbery: the shepherd surrenders his sheep, or he gets skewered by Torak’s spear.  His choice.  In neither case does Torak feel any guilt over it.

Or maybe someone insults Torak by accident, or makes a crack about Boragh, the god of the Orcs.  In this case, Torak either challenges the fool to a duel, or murders them outright.  Unless the person is Dallet, in which case he just beats him with a stick for a while.

If Dallet was the one committing the crime,  he would wait until he was starving to death, then he would rationalize stealing a loaf of bread from someone’s window sill.  When caught (and he would be) he confesses immediately, and begs for the opportunity to work off the crime.  He’s sent to the chain gang, wearing a number that says “24601″ and forced to sing music from Les Miserables.

author interview3)  You have to fight zombies.  What is in your arsenal?

My copy of Max Brook’s book, “The Zombie Survival Guide.”  I can swat zombie houseflies with it.  As for weapons, I have my cheap sword from the costume store, and a plastic lightsaber.

Frankly, I don’t think I’d last very long. I don’t even have cyanide suicide pills.  I’d probably be the snarky guy who says he can beat up zombies with his bare hands, and is the first one in the movie to get killed.

Oh, you mean in real life, not in a movie?  I hide under the bed, sobbing over how I didn’t take advantage of the 2nd amendment when I had the chance.

4)  Your main characters are stuck on a desert island.  What are their initial reactions?  Which one has the best chance of getting off the island alive?

Frightened of starvation, Dallet searches the island for Jeff Probst, trying to get food from the Survivor producers.  Next, he tries to build a raft to return to civilization.  The raft sinks.

Torak, on the other hand, has a marvelous time. He goes fishing, hunting, builds a shelter, and bosses Dallet around.  Within a couple weeks, he has the start of what could be a pretty successful Orc village.  He sees no reason to escape, except to find more Orcs to move into his village and honor him as their chieftain.   And if short on food, he eats Dallet.

5)  Write the most ‘rediculous’ death scene possible.

It was late one night.  I was working on the sequel to my book.  It is a hard task.  I am not having a lot of success.  I am banging my head against the wall, hoping that there was a way to get my ideas sparked.

And then I had a vision.  A terrible phantasm manifested of my old High School English teacher, Mr. Bindner.

“What kind of weak writing do you contaminate the written page with?” he roared through the mists of memory. “I told you many times before not to use passive verbs!”

“Passive verbs?” I whimper.  ”What on earth is a passive verb?”

“Is is!” he snarled.  ”All the roots of the phrase ‘to be!’ Is, Was, Am, Are, Be, all of those passive verbs are unacceptable…. will not be accepted… you cannot use them!  They suck away all life and vitality from your work, and you shall not pass my class if you continue to employ them!”

“Well, forget it buddy!” I yelled back at the emanation.  ”I am a published author now! My book is sold for real money on Amazon!  I was in your class, but I can no longer be bullied by you!  And now you have no power over me.  Ha!  Let’s change that: You are powerless!”

Laughing maniacally, I resumed my work, shouting each forbidden word in defiance of the wraith of dynamic writing. “It WAS late one night! I AM banging my head against the wall!”

But little did I know the folly of mocking the wizards of lively writing and proper grammer.  I should have known when this very question misspelled the word “ridiculous.”  The ghost of old Bindner reached through the thin veil separating the physical world from the realm of spirits.  My heart froze to ice, and I expired before I could strike the next keystroke.  Alas, poor me.  I knew me well.

6)  Reveal the darkest moment in your life.

At the age of 9, I was in a car wreck that changed life forever.  My grandmother was killed.  My brother was in a coma, and suffered head injuries that affect him to this day.  As for me, I was wide awake in the back seat, conscious of every moment from skid to stop, with each second burned into my memory.

When I returned to school, my classmates showed their sympathy for my family’s tragic event by bullying me without mercy. I escaped into books and fantasy worlds for quite some time.  Perhaps to this day.

Years later, I felt an odd identification when Luna Lovegood told Harry Potter than the reasons they were different was that they both witnessed death.  She seemed to attract her own share of children’s “compassion” to traumatized classmates.  They called her weird.

7)  One of your favorite authors agrees to go on a date.  Who is it and how do you woe him/her?

As tempted as I would be to meet Ayn Rand and pick her brain, at the end of the day I would pick J.K. Rowling, but only if I could bring my wife.  She’s a huge Harry Potter fan, and would have a wonderful time.  Best of all, she wouldn’t kill me at the end of the night for dating other writers.
8)  Pick a popular book with an ending you didn’t like.  What’s the new ending?

The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, of course.  How about Huck slaps Tom Sawyer silly for making it so unnecessarily difficult to rescue Jim?  Pull out Tom Sawyer’s share of the treasure they found in the last book, buy Jim from Miss Watson, and set him free!  Or was that too simple for Tom Sawyer? Or Mark Twain?

9)  You are a misunderstood monster (like Shrek).  Briefly write about what your life is like.

I’d be a dragon who lives inside a cave, and sleeps on a mattress stuffed with cheap, imitation silver coins.  I’d keep two gold candlesticks, and a cracked quartz bracelet as my only valuables.  When that annoying knight show up to kill me and steal my treasure, I tell him that all my money is tied up in investments.  What use is keeping my gold out of circulation, where I cannot accumulate interest?  There’s scarcely a king, duke, or prince in the land who I don’t have an investment account with.  Usually that’s enough for them to leave me alone.  Except when their loan grows too large for them to manage, and they send knights to my cave to murder me.

Oh, the knight wants to know, why did I burn down that nearby farming village, which killed a community of harmless peasants? Well, it wasn’t really my idea. But the sad truth is, I lost 95% of my net worth when the housing market crashed.  My finances became so strained I actually had to get a job. So the evil wizard hired me on a mercenary contract to burn down one of the local principalities.  He wanted to instill terror to advance his conquest, and he needed a few hundred bodies for his zombie army.  As for me, I saw it not just as a profitable contract, but also as a way to plunge the property values so I could buy some more real estate cheap.  I’m sure the price will go up once the peasants rebuild.  And there is a state of war between the King and the Evil Wizard anyhow.  Since I was working as a mercenary, I cannot be held liable for the deaths of enemy combatants.  Yes, the peasants were combatants!  They were withholding resources that the Evil Wizard needed for his army! Namely, their own bodies…

So why does this knight want to murder me so badly?  I’m just trying to make a living here!  He’s trespassing in my cave anyway.  I should call the king’s guard myself.

10)  Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.

Not watching television.  You know how many times someone describes in intimate detail their favorite scene from “Seinfeld” or some modestly famous competitor from American Idol?  And when I say I don’t watch TV, they look at me like I’m an alien from another planet?

And the same goes for sports!  Why should I be made to feel like an ignoramus if I don’t know who’s playing in the Superbowl, or I wonder when the New York Giants moved away from San Francisco?

Not to mention popular movies!  Do I have to feel small if I was the last person to see the Blair Witch Project, or Titanic, or Kill Bill?  I had things to do that weekend!

Or music!  So what if I just got around to listening to 99 red balloons last week?

Sometimes it feels like the only people who don’t make fun of my cultural ignorance is the Amish.  Until they told me that my horse and buggy was just so last century.

Safety question –  What character in your book do you wish you could switch places with?

It seems I got all ten, but I’ll answer this one anyway as an encore.

I choose to switch places with the elven merchant, Artaen Stardreamer.  Now you might ask: why would I elect to switch places with such a minor character?  The answer is… he doesn’t have to go through the nine levels of hell that the other characters must deal with.  One thing is certain about Captive of the Orcs:  I did not write this book out of envy for any of my characters.  They have a tough journey.


http://www.dreamstime.com/-image26691751Captive of the Orcs by Benjamin Epstein

Genre:  Fantasy

Publisher:  Center One Publishing

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Facebook

Released November 13th, 2012

Dallet departed on a long journey, leaving behind his family, home, and his love. He planned to travel to the City of Brass Gates, and enter the priesthood of the Divine, the deity of the Luminean Exiles.

Torak was a young Orc, raised to pursue honor and victory. His tribe captured a trading caravan, and Torak enslaves a fleeing Luminean Exile.

Human and Orc, slave and master, bound by fate, must now adventure across the face of Codytha. One seeks revenge, the other freedom. And each is an enigma to his companion.

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What’s your favorite question/answer from the interview?

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This Your Song #2 – Book Playlist Meme

Welcome to This is YOUR song

a brand new book meme hosted by Lizzy’s Dark Fiction.

Meme name is inspired by the Elton John song.  Here, I find that perfect song to fit some of the most popular books. I’ll pick 5 books from different genres or age groups and match them with the song that I think describes the book the best.  

slammed1)  Representing contemporary books, Slammed by Colleen Hoover.

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Song Match:  Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette

Lyrics:  Don’t be surprised if I love you for all that you are  /  I couldn’t help it  / It’s all your fault

Reason: Poetry in music. Layken thinks that Will set her up for loving him. This song would fit in perfectly at one of their slammed sessions.

50 shades2)  Representing erotic books, 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James.

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Song Match:  S & M by Rihanna

Lyrics:  Sex in the air / I don’t care  / I love the smell of it  /  Sticks and stones may break my bones  /  But chains and whips excite me

Reason:  Not like it has a plot or great characters.  It’s all about the latex and bondage.

alicezombieland3)  Representing paranormal romance books, Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter.

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish

Song Match:  Alice (Underground) by Avril Lavigne

Lyrics:  I found myself in Wonderland / get back on my feet again / Is this real?  Is this pretend?  / I’ll take a stand until the end

Reason:  This song matches what the actual book is about (not what the title and blurb allude towards).  This song is about a girl overcoming an event that turned her life upside down.  The literal Alice connection is just an added bonus.  That part connects with the “are zombies real” or “are zombies in my head” part of the book.

4)  Represrevealingedenenting controversial books, I have Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt (Can you BELIEVE there’s a sequel!)

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she’ll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she’s cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden’s coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she’ll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her “adopted aunt” Emily Dickinson.

Song Match:  Chocolate Rain by Tay Zonday

Lyric:  Chocolate Rain / Say it publicly, and you’re insane / Chocolate Rain / No one wants to hear about it now / Chocolate Rain / Wish real hard it goes away somehow

Reason:  The song is about how society insists that racism no longer exists in the US, despite the in-proportionate amount of minorities in prison.  The book is racist, despite the author insisting it is about finding the beauty within one’s self.

cinder5) Representing Science Fiction, I have Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Song Match:  Reflection by Christina Aguilera

Lyrics:  Must I pretend that I’m someone else for all time? / When will my reflection show  / Who I am inside?

Reason:  Cinder hides the fact that she’s a cyborg to the prince.  She’s afraid that if she reveals her true nature that he won’t like her anymore.

 What do you think about my choices?  Would you have matched different songs to these books?

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10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask – Derrolyn Anderson

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day Vector Art

I thought it was fitting to have a romance book spotlighted on Lizzy’s Dark Fiction today.  Thank you, Derrolyn Anderson, so much for being part of the author interviews.  She’s elected to giveaway 1 ebook copy of The Athena Effect (INT) and some cool SWAG (US/Canada only) with her interview.  If you live in the US or Canada, you may enter into both giveaways.  Winners have 48 hours to respond by email or another will be chosen.

If you’re an author and interested in answering questions most reviewers are too scared to ask, then email me at lizzylessard (at) gmail (dot) com.  If I think your answers are the best of the batch, then I’ll pay for a giveaway of your book.  Even if you don’t win, if you’re willing to host a giveaway, I will post your answers.  But you have to be CREATIVE.  The questions change every month!  Remember, there is NO GENRE RESTRICTION.


10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask Derrolyn Anderson


1) Name a topic that you refuse to write about.

Vampires. I can imagine a lot of weird shit, but I just don’t want to go there – Can’t get past the whole bodily fluids thing.

2) What is the hardest scene you have ever written.

Sex scenes are tough. I don’t write erotica (not yet, at any rate) and I’m all about the “fade to black” sex scene. Not because I don’t imagine my characters getting down to it, but because the language and imagery often used is so loaded. The ick factor can get really high, and one person’s sexy might make another person throw up in their mouth a little bit. For example, I cringe to read about anything moist, glistening, swollen, throbbing or spurting. Sounds like an infection. Her “nub”, his “manhood”, all that mewling, laving, spurting, seed spilling, thrusting and pumping… It’s tricky, because the more clinical terms are almost always way too sterile. Hats off to anyone who can write sexy sex without making me laugh out loud.

3) You threaten someone obnoxious in real life:  “I’m going to write you into my book and kill you off.”  Describe how you would kill off this person.

I’ve actually put some thought into this before. For example, if someone ever messed with one of my children, they’d better watch out.

Going with the premise that revenge is a dish best served cold, I would do it quick and dirty. For example: “Knock knock.”, “Who’s there?”, “Shotgun blast to the face, that’s who.” Of course the groundwork would all be laid out ahead of time: wig and sunglasses, anonymously rented car, iron-clad alibi… Please don’t check my browser history.

4) What book are you ashamed to have read?

Nothing REALLYbut when I was a girl I read a lot of old-school bodice rippers, and now that I have daughters I find the overriding theme of rape fantasy to be a little disturbing. I mean, they all seemed to send the message that “good” girls must be forced to enjoy sex, and they make rape seem like it’s (wink wink) okay if the guy is hot. I do realize that there’s a place for fantasy, and I myself am not in the business of writing after-school specials, but still… Eww.

5) Reveal  your “secret” author crush.

Laini Taylor. Besides her beautiful writing, I wish I had the balls to dye my hair pink.

6) Imagine your main character dies on page one.  Everything else stays the same.  Who will be the new star of your book?  What is it about now?

In the Athena Effect, if Cali died, Cal would have to take over the whole story, and that would probably shift the focus to his relationship with his brother. Two words: bikers and strippers.

7) If you could revive one person in history and make them your zombie slave, who would it be?

That last thing in the world I’d want is a rotting, undead slave sucking around, but if I had the power to resurrect someone… Whoa!

I hate unrealized potential, so it would be hard to choose between Selena, Jimi Hendricks, Heath Ledger, Aaliyah, Mozart, Brandon Lee, Jeff Buckley… Hell, the list just goes on and on…

8) Your muse becomes a real person.  What do they look like?  Describe their personality.

Reading my daughter’s YA fiction was what got me started writing in the first place, so my three lovely girls are my real-life muses. I may be biased, but by anyone else’s measure they are beautiful, kind, sweet, and incredibly intelligent.

9) Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.

I’m just as brainwashed as the next person, but wouldn’t it be great if female body hair was considered attractive? No more plucking, waxing and shaving! Imagine the poolside liberationWinking smile.

10) What fictional villain do you wish won?  How would you have ended their story instead?

I’ve always found Frankenstein’s monster to be a sad, misunderstood creature. I would have had him get his bride and go off for a little happily ever after Franken-nookie. Guess I’m just a sappy fool for love after all.

bookdescriptiontheathenaeffectThe Athena Effect by Derrolyn Anderson

Genre:  Romance

Publisher:  Self Published

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords

Released August 20th, 2012 on ebook only

Country girl Cali has been kept a secret her entire life, raised in isolation by two very troubled people. Despite her parent’s disturbing fits, Cal is perfectly content, living at one with the nature that surrounds her, and finding adventure inside the pages of her beloved books. When an awful tragedy tears her away from her remote cabin in the woods, nothing she’s ever read has prepared her for a world that she knows very little about.

Girls and motorcycles are what bad-boy Cal’s life is all about. Brought up in a raucous party house by his biker brother, he’s free to do as he pleases, going through the motions on his final days of high school. Aimless, Cal stopped thinking about his future a long time ago.

Attacked by a gang of thugs while running an errand for his brother, Cal is in serious trouble until a fierce girl appears out of nowhere to intervene. She chases off three grown men, sparing Cal a brutal beating before disappearing into the night like a spirit. He can’t stop thinking about his mysterious rescuer, and when she turns out to be the weird new girl at school who goes out of her way to avoid him, he can’t contain his curiosity.

He’s never met anyone like her before, and the more he learns about the unusual girl who shares his nickname, the more he wants to know. Cal can’t help falling for Cal, but can he keep her from falling victim to a dangerous enemy from her parent’s tragic past?

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The Athena Effect Necklace[3]

OPENED TO US/CANADA:   Derrolyn Anderson is a beader as well as a writer, and she has made some jewelry inspired by my main character Caledonia’s ability to see auras – colorful emotions made visible. 
The necklace is approximately 18’’ with a toggle closure, the necklace is a rainbow of gemstone chips, including : Citrine, Peridot, Green Adventurine, Malachite, Amazonite, Magnesite, Turquoise, Lapis, Howlite, Amethyst, Coral, Jasper. and Amber.
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OPENED INTERNATIONALLY:  Win a ebook copy of The Athena Effect.

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about author athenaauthor

(Image and info borrowed from Goodreads)

Derrolyn Anderson is a visual artist and writer of fiction. The creator of the four part “Marina’s Tales” series and the YA romance, “The Athena Effect”, she’s currently hard at work on her next book, “The Mackenzie Legacy”.



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10 Questions You’re Too Scared To Ask – Michael Cargill

 Welcome to the first ever author interview on Lizzy’s Dark Fiction.  I wanted to give a little incentive for answering creatively, and so I had several authors answer these questions.  I absolutely loved Michael Cargill’s answers, but he doesn’t want me to foot the bill for his books.  So, instead I’ll tack on two $5 gift cards to the winners of this giveaway.  Giveaway is opened internationally!  Winners have 48 hours to respond by email or another will be chosen.

If you’re an author and interested in answering questions most reviewers are too scared to ask, then email me at lizzylessard (at) gmail (dot) com.  If I think your answers are the best of the batch, then I’ll pay for a giveaway of your book.  Even if you don’t win, if you’re willing to host a giveaway, I will post your answers.  But you have to be CREATIVE.  The questions are constantly changing.


10 Things You’re Too Scared To Ask Michael Cargill

1) Name a topic that you refuse to write about.

Ultimately, everything I’ve written about has originated from some kind of ‘spark’, meaning I get ideas about all kinds of things, and some of them are more savoury than others.  I reckon that the only thing I’d outright refuse to write about would be a YA erotic zombie Armageddon trilogy based around the misadventures of a hamster, a bowl of cheese curds, and my parents.  Mind you, getting them all to pose for the cover picture would make for an interesting experience.

2) What is the hardest scene you have ever written.

Once, when I was nine years old, I wrote “Miss Arbuckle doesn’t have a fanny” on a toilet cubicle door at school.  I was paranoid about her bursting in and catching me red handed (because, you know, female teachers often make impromptu trips to the boys toilets), and my hands were trembling like mad.

Other than that, I reckon the hardest scene to write so far was when I had to kill off a character that I liked.  Once the idea takes hold, I can’t shake it off and I tend to make the character stronger and more likeable as a result of what is in store for them.  It’s almost as if I’m asking to be able spend just one more day with that character, and I want to make it as enjoyable as possible.

3) You threaten someone obnoxious in real life:  “I’m going to write you into my book and kill you off.”  Describe how you would kill off this person.

It would be a YA erotic zombie Armageddon trilogy.  Right at the start, a witch and a wizard combine their powers and turn the obnoxious person into a hamster as punishment for their crimes.  The only way he can become human again is if he learns how to milk a cow and finds something interesting to do with the resulting dairy product.  Stretching it out into three books might be a struggle, but I reckon doing the front cover would be great fun.

4) What book are you ashamed to have read?

Years ago I had a brief spell of reading Japanese Manga comics, and I somehow got into a comic series called Ranma ½.  The main character is a boy called Ranma and, due to an odd curse that doesn’t really make much sense, if he gets wet with cold water he turns into a girl.  Hot water turns him back into his usual self again.  To be honest, that isn’t necessarily the strangest thing about the Ranma world as just about every character is as eccentric as it’s possible to get.  I’m not even making this up, it’s on Wikipedia for those that don’t believe me!  And before you ask, no it wasn’t me who wrote the Wikipedia article.

5) Reveal  your “secret” author crush.

JK Rowling is a bit of a honey, it has to be said.  And yes, I’m aware that saying ‘honey’ makes me sound like a soppy buffoon who might be found standing outside her window, desperately trying to serenade her by singing the lyrics to Muppet Babies in the middle of winter.

6) Imagine your main character dies on page one.  Everything else stays the same.  Who will be the new star of your book?  What is it about now?

Eh?  What?  This is an outrage!  My artistic integrity is integral to how the main character develops in the book.  Actually, this is quite an interesting idea.  The star of the book would be Robert, one of the police office characters.  Although he cracks lots of jokes he is a committed copper at heart, if maybe a little too idealistic.  It would be about his female partner breaking him in, giving him a kick up the arse and also making sure the uncultured swine knows the difference between an espresso and a latte.

7) If you could revive one person in history and make them your zombie slave, who would it be?

Julius Caesar.  The French military is getting a bit bossy in Africa these days and if anyone knows how to put the Gauls back in their box, it’s him.  If it turns out that his military genius doesn’t survive the zombie resurrection process, I’ll just pop a centurion helmet on his head and pretend he’s a punk rocker.

8) Your muse becomes a real person.  What do they look like?  Describe their personality.

My muse is a small bear with dark blue fur.  He doesn’t really have a personality as such and spends most of his time roaming around the woods, looking for honey.  He carries a roll of plastic bin liners to store all this honey in, and he is smart enough to wear gloves so his claws don’t rip them to shreds.  When he comes home of an evening, he likes to put his feet up and read stories about Spongebob Squarepants on his Kindle.  Unfortunately he doesn’t like wearing gloves in the house, so his ereader tends to get smashed to bits after a while.  Good job he has the Amazon customer service phone number on speed-dial, eh?

9) Name one culturally “taboo” thing you wish would be accepted.

Wearing women’s underwear.  The ladies have bras that cater to each part of their body that hangs down, so why can’t the men?  We’re lumbered with all-encompassing boxer short things where everything just gets thrown together in one untidy heap.  It’s why our dingly-danglies always look like they need to be ironed.

10) What fictional villain do you wish won?  How would you have ended their story instead?

The lion/shark/eagle in any nature documentary ever made.  Why is the little rabbit with the hyperactive twitchy nose always made out to be the good guy?  They have no qualms about randomly digging holes whenever they fancy it, or eating someone else’s grass without asking first.  They poo all over the place if you let them, and if I’m honest they’re nothing more than the trailer park trash of the animal kingdom.  Let’s not forget that predators have families to raise too, you know.



Underneath by Michael Cargill

Genre:  Thriller? (So hard to categorize this one)

Links:  Goodreads  | Amazon.com  |  Amazon.uk  |  Smashwords

Released June 15th, 2012

Look at the person sitting just across from you. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a loved one, a friend, or a complete stranger.

Now look at their face. Are they happy? Are they sad? Or are they angry? Can you even tell?

How well do you actually know the people closest to you?

Have you ever seen the real person that lies just underneath what you see…?

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about author
underneathauthorI’m an author who lives in the sunny, green hills of England.  I’ve written a mixture of WWII historical fiction, suspense thrillers, and satire humour.

Over the years people had often said that I should write a book so, in mid 2011, I did just that! Anyone wondering which book of mine to read first should start with Shelter from Thunder. ’tis short and available for free.

My books are available to buy on Amazon, or download on Fenopy, H33t, ISOHunt and The Pirate Bay.

Published Books:

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 I’d love to hear suggestions for questions.  Please comment with them!  If I use your question, you might just get something special in your email.  :)

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