Author Spotlight: Judy Bruce, Author of the Critically-Acclaimed Wind Series #books #suspense

Judy Bruce


Hello readers, I’m Judy Bruce, a novelist from the American Midwest, ready to chat about the stories in my Wind Series. These novels are set in contemporary western Nebraska, the rugged High Plains of the pioneer, American Indian, and cowboy. My protagonist, Megan Docket, is a young attorney who accepts a job in a law firm in this desolate and windblown land. The trouble she finds fuels the mystery, suspense, and drama for these tales. Like me, Megan is half Phoenician (Lebanese Christian) and half Celtic (well, I’m Welsh), a graduate of Creighton University School of Law, and short. For the record, I have never killed anyone.


I am the mother of two, the wife of one, the sibling of three (formerly four), and I was orphaned at age thirty-three. Subordinate to the above roles, I am a writer. My favorite after 9:00 p.m. drink is brandy, especially with dark chocolate. I rarely miss my afternoon tea and crumpets.  I love reading, watching movies and sports, and just spending time with my family. Whenever possible, I avoid multitasking–it’s just the means of doing two or more things badly. My daughter thinks I’m both silly and efficient. My autistic son helps me stay in touch with my quirky side.


It’s strange how many of us go down paths we never intended. I never planned to be a writer. I quit corporate America to stay home with my daughter and particularly my son. Has my son’s autistic brain affected mine? Oh, yeah, and for the better. He helps me to stretch my imagination and see things in different ways. Looking back, I know writing was a way to prove to myself that I wasn’t one of my son’s body parts, or vice versa. I’ve created two autistic characters in my Wind Series, the first in Alone in the Wind, the second in Fire in the Wind.


I don’t have any addictions, nor have I spent time in jail. I don’t smoke. My mother died of emphysema, so that was never happening. I drink here and there—Saturday night is movie night in the Bruce household, so that means a glass of red wine and Reduced-Fat Wheat Thins. Yeah, that’s me living on the edge. Whoo-hoo! Some great writers come from dark life experiences—mine has been mostly sunny, except for family deaths. So I rely on a vivid imagination and the persistent need to tell stories.


I’ve been asked about my writing process. It involves mulling—that’s the start. I get ideas rattling around in my noggin, but they need time to come together into something coherent. With the Wind Series, I already had my location and many of the characters, so I needed a central event—a cross burning In Fire in the Wind, and new, necessary characters.


I am definitely a plotter: I develop my central idea, write down plot events, characters, time of year, and just keep finding more ideas and writing these thoughts down on the stashes of paper I keep in easy access throughout the house.


First, I make a general outline based on a three-act structure, always remembering to put plenty of important events in the middle of the story. Meanwhile, I keep stirring my brain for more ideas as I complete outlines for each part. Part one and two will have a more complete outline, with basic ideas in part three. Dialogue gets added to each part as I think of them.


When I get the itch, I’ll start writing, and then I’ll push through to the end. I always feel a tremendous letdown when I finish, so I ease that by jumping right into my revising process. My least favorite part of this whole process is marketing. I publish with a small press, so promotion is my task. And if I’m marketing, then I’m not writing. I just wanna tell stories, ya know?


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Fire in the Wind


Title: Fire in the Wind (Book 4 of the Wind Series)

Author: Judy Bruce

Genre: Mystery-Suspense

Publisher: Merriam Press, New York


Book Blurb:

Outraged by a cross burning on her land, Megan forms the Night Posse then strikes back. Meanwhile, she is saddened by the tragic illness of her dear friend, James. After her new boyfriend is killed, she is jailed for his murder. Later she fights to the death in the darkness against an avenger. An undercover cop pursues her. When a dying James attempts to end his life, Megan is forced to act.


Fire in the Wind—Excerpt (chapter 1):

I died once, but only for a minute or so. Still, it should rank with distinction in the category of unusual circumstances. I’ve also killed four men in the last four years, which must be a record for Nebraska attorneys under the age of thirty. But I planned to stay out of trouble—I failed in the past and it cost me dearly.  Yet calamity came even faster than I expected.


Starting at dawn on Sunday, a disturbance tormented me—the sense of foreboding in my guts persisted throughout the day and into the evening. After a delicious supper I barely tasted, portent began to pulse through my arteries. So I set out for my “backyard,” as I called it. Five miles of rugged land north of my house stretched before me, pocked with peculiar land forms. I passed over a grassy mound named Rufus located half a football field from the house then weaved through the five small buttes dubbed the Seven Dwarfs, located southwest of a bluff called Big Leo. The second year of the drought kept the soil beneath the gray-green buffalo grass crusty hard.  What was bothering me?


Author Biography:

Judy Bruce is a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, where she lives with her husband and two children. She has a law degree from Creighton University. Judy is the author of the Wind Series: Voices in the Wind, Alone in the Wind, Cries in the Wind and future stories in the series, as well as Death Steppe: A World War II Novel. She maintains a website at  and a blog at .


Lies in the Wind will be published in the winter of 2018.








Author @LiviaQuinn Stops By For a Quick Visit and Writerly Update! #Bookbub #romance #IARTG

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Author Livia Quinn stops in for a quick visit today….



Mrs. N: Hi, Livia. I understand you have a lot of new books coming this year.


Livia: I do have a lot of balls to juggle to make it all happen. First, the Men of Honor box set (books 1-4) in February, Blood Moon, Destiny Paramormortals #6 comes out in April, Beau (MOH 5) in May or June, Hidden (Blood Opal) at the end of June, Jed (MOH 6) in September and two multi-author box sets during the holidays. And by the time April gets here, all my books will have new covers. I’m so excited.



Mrs.N: Oooh, new covers. I’m a sucker for new covers for drool over. What keeps you motivated to stay on track?


Livia: Absolutely, my characters  and their stories. They follow me around everywhere, the car, the tub, at work. They don’t let up until I record what they tell me in story form.



Mrs. N: Have you always written romance?


Livia: Yes. I was a huge Nora Roberts fan, still am. As well as Diana Gabaldon and Deborah Harkness. My tagline says it all. It could happen anytime… any one of us could “Stumble into love… when you least expect it.”



Livia Quinn’s readers say, “It’s my new favorite series.” “Run don’t walk to the buy button!” “Wow, just wow.” “I could read this author’s beautiful writing all day.”





Whether you like humorous, quirky, surprising paranormals or the emotional character-driven excitement of contemporary romantic suspense, Livia Quinn’s books will remind you of some of your favorites like Jill Shalvis, Robyn Carr, and Molly Harper.


Her paranormal series – the Destiny Paramortals, marries the best of romance, fantasy and contemporary with a cast of characters you’ll fall in love with from her feisty heroine to the various supernatural heroes. It’s a coming of age series and you never know what will happen next!



As a counterpoint, Livia’s contemporary series, Men of Honor, highlights men and women who serve their communities in various services and law enforcement agencies. What they have in common is integrity, service, as well as their love of family, country, and community.


For compelling romance and irresistible characters with surprising twists and turns, pick up one of Livia Quinn’s books today. Better yet, follow her on Bookbub, Amazon and her newsletter  so you don’t miss any freebie, deal or new release.



The Destiny Paramortals

(Urban Fantasy Paranormal, Southern paranormal cozy)

Storm Crazy, #1

Cry Me a River, #2

Eve of Chaos, #3

Blame It on the Moon, #4

Destiny Boxset Books 1-3

Storm Crazy Bonus Edition, Books 1&2

Take These Broken Wings. #5

Blood Moon #6, coming April 5



Men of Honor (Contemporary Romance/Military)

Ridge  #1

Luc  #2

Nick  #3

All I Want for Christmas   #4

Men of Honor Box set (Books 1-4) coming Feb 5th

Coming in 2018, Beau and Jed and the Double Christmas wedding



Blood Opal (Sexy Romantic Adventure)


Hidden, The prequel  June 28



Award-Winning Author Stef Smulders @italie_verhalen Talks Expat Life in Italy #travel #expat #books



Hi, I am Stef Smulders, a Dutch expat living in Italy with husband and doggie since 2008, where we have a bed and breakfast. Even after 10 years I can still hardly believe we did it, packing up our things and … go! Well, there were some nasty surprises along the way we had never expected but we survived. And we are still happy we did it. We love the area where we live, the Oltrepò Pavese wine region, south of Milan in Lombardy. We like the people, most of them at least (exit real estate guy). The food and the wine are fantastic, the landscape still amazes us and the climate, wow, summer sunshine from May till October!


You can read about our expat adventure in my book and on my blog. Or come and visit us! You are always welcome.



Get a taste of Italy in Stef’s brand new English Blog:

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Living in Italy

Living in Italy: the Real Deal

Stef Smulders

Non-fiction, memoir, travelogue

Babelcube Inc


Book Blurb
Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.



For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories.



Glossary of Italian words included! Learn the true meaning of Italian phrases and expressions like “non ci sono problemi“, “di fiducia“, “persone serie“, “tutto a norma” and many more. Learn a bit of the foreign language before going to Italy.



  • Reader Views 2016/17 Literary Awards Winner
  • Readers Favorite 2017 Award Winner Travel category
  • Eric Hoffer Award Finalist
  • 2017 ELIT Award Winner Travel category
  • IAN Book of the Year Finalist Travel & Humor/Comedy/Satire categories
  • New York & Amsterdam Book Festival Honourable Mentions



  • a comical, often downright hilarious account” Reader’s Favorite Review ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
  • Smulders’ storytelling artistry is wildly entertaining” Blogcritics/Reader Views ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
  • Stef Smulders … does what a good writer does: He writes what he observes and leaves the judgement to you, the reader. No constant bellyaching from Mr. Smulders. I like that. I really like that.” James Martin, Italy expert,
  • Fantastico! I am a tough critic and have nothing but kudos for this book. Buy this book!!” Elliana on Amazon
  • There is more of the flavor of Italy in this book than in … Frances Mayes’ ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’” Amazon review by Grady Harp HALL OF FAME TOP 100
  • Now I can add Stef Smulders to the list of my favorite expat authors” N.N. Light


For lovers of books like

  • Michelle Damiani’s Il Bel Centro
  • Katherine Wilson’s Only in Naples
  • Tim Parks’ Italian Ways & Italian Neighbours
  • Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun & Bella Tuscany
  • Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy
  • Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There & The Road to Little Dribbling


“When we bought our home nine months ago it was ready to move into. And now?

We are shipwrecked in the kitchen of the downstairs apartment. A single sheet of plastic between the hall and the sitting room is the only thing that protects us from the heavy dust of the building site. All day, we are assaulted by the sound of workmen shouting, drilling and hammering. A couple of hours ago the electricity cut out and it’s starting to get chilly in here. Every evening we escape upstairs via the dusty, grimy staircase, where we try to find solace by watching TV in our future living room. The living room is also separated by a sheet of plastic from the kitchen, the bedroom and the office. There are gaping holes in the walls in all of these three rooms, made weeks ago in preparation for the doors and a new window. Now they are serving as tunnels bringing in the draught and the cold. Exhausted and numbed from the endless turmoil surrounding us, we are staring out into space in silence. We are hardly aware of what’s on the screen.



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Author Biography
Stef is a Dutch expat who moved to Italy in 2008, accompanied by his husband and dog, to start their bed and breakfast Villa I Due Padroni in the Oltrepo Pavese wine region, just 50 km (30 miles) south of Milan. In 2014 Stef published his first book (in Dutch) about their life in Italy. The English translation is available from November 2016 as “Living in Italy: the Real Deal – How to survive the Good Life” and has had raving reviews from editorial websites and readers alike.


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Author Spotlight: @RuthACasie and Her #ContemporaryRomance #books! #amreading #MFRWAuthor

 Ruth A Casie close


Storyteller  –  Blogger  –  Dreamer  – Creative Thinker – Good Sport  –  Teammate


You might be wondering what I’m about. Sit back and let me tell you.


I’m happiest when I’m telling stories either chatting with a group of friends or writing them down. I love to put my hero and heroine in tough situations and dare them to work it out—together, always together. They haven’t disappointed me.  Oh, they complain but in the end their love and relationships are stronger than ever.


I’ve been filling up my days and staying busy. While I keep tormenting my druid knight, I’m outlining a new series. The working title is the River of Time. It’s about an elite technology security officer, whose job is to eliminate time travelers, but he falls in love with a time traveling art appraiser and has to choose between his duty and his one chance for a timeless love. I love this story line because it lets me stretch my contemporary voice while working in historic time periods. I think this is the best of both worlds.


For most of you, my contemporary side will be a surprise. Here are five other things you probably don’t know about me:


I filled up my passport in one year.

I worked for a large financial institution, way before webinars and Skype. As a product manager I visited with clients and potential clients. All my clients were overseas. My sales support program took me to almost every European country (sorry not Liechtenstein) as well as a good many in Asia and South America. Have I got some great travel stories!


I have a medieval romance story about the seven sons of a seventh son.

Only one book is finished, and published. The Guardian’s Witch. The others are in various draft stages. The heroine of The Guardian’s Witch was born with veil over her face, a caul. Throughout history, caul bearers are believed to have a special purpose—to serve mankind, guide people to understand themselves and the world within which they live. Many cultures believe this makes the child “King by right” with special powers ranging from leadership abilities to natural healers and having greater insight. I was born with caul. I’m still trying to figure out my power.


I did a rap to “How Many Trucks Can a Tow Truck Tow If a Tow Truck Could Tow Trucks.”

I was a guest reader at my son’s first grade class (he’s out of college and on his own now). I rapped the book while my son was my boom box. We had a great time.


When I cook I dance.

Our kitchen isn’t large but ever since Paul (my DH) and took ballroom dance lessons I practice between the fridge, the stove, and the table. Caution, don’t twirl or dip while carrying dinner to the table. Ouch!


My Sudoku book is in the bathroom.

I’m not saying anything else about that.



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Title Second Chance by the Sea (Timeless Escapes Box Set)

Author Ruth A. Casie

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Timeless Scribes Publishing


Book Blurb

Married for ten years, a couple at odds find their marriage was never registered. Will an impending disaster be the final straw that breaks them up or will it rekindle their love and send them back to the altar for a second chance?



“El, you okay? You seem to be someplace else.” He didn’t let her hand go.


She glanced at his eyes. The ones that made every woman who met him melt. “I was thinking about the day we met.”


He put his arm around her and drew her close. “Ah, you mean the day I gallantly saved your life.”


She laughed and snuggled closer. “You did not. I was tired that’s all.”


“Please, let me think you needed me. There are so few instances.” He kissed her forehead and went over to the captain to help with their luggage.


The smile slid off her face. For a moment she felt… alone. Need him? If there was ever a time she needed him it was now, but they were set on a collision course and she had no idea of the outcome. She shook off the uneasy sensation and grabbed some of the small bags. Alan was on his cell phone.


Buy Links

Buy e-Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Buy Print: Amazon


Author Biography

RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. The Guardian’s Witch, part of the Stelton Legacy series was a Reader’s Crown Finalist. Ruth also writes contemporary romance in the Havenport series with enough action to keep you turning pages. Ruth lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she started writing time travel romance, she was a speech therapist, international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing time travel romance. For more information, please visit or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.


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Title Forsaking All Others (Timeless Vows Box Set)

Author Ruth A. Casie

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Timeless Scribes Publishing


Book Blurb

Morgan and Margot are wild  about  each  other.  But early on in their  relationship,  Morgan  was  focused  on establishing himself with one of New York’s most prestigious law firms and Margot was busy making a name for herself in the antiques business. For the past ten years, commitment was not something either of them wanted.


A visit to Morgan’s brother and sister-in-law changes both their lives. Now it seems all the two of them can think of is  making a commitment—they  just don’t know how to tell each other. They are both afraid of driving the other away.


Morgan keeps  reminding  Margot  she  doesn’t  want  a  commitment,  hoping  she’s  changed  her  mind.  Margot thinks Morgan needs to see someone else interested in her to force him into action.


In truth, all they need to do is talk to each other and say what’s in their hearts. Will they come to their senses or deny the loving relationship they both desire?



With her back to the door, she scanned the crowded bachelor/bachelorette party to see if Morgan had returned. He’d stepped out an hour ago. Business, he’d said. Aren’t you glad we’re not doing this? She thought about his words from earlier in the day. No, damn it. This is what she wanted. Do you hear me, Morgan Stuart? I. Want. Forever.


The DJ had almost everyone—including every woman present—doing a line dance on the packed dance floor. She had a clear view of the bar where the men were hanging out, gawking and making comments while they had their drinks. Nope, he wasn’t there, either. She was about to give up when a movement by the nest of cocktail tables captured her attention.


Morgan raised his bottle of beer in salute. “And I only want forever with you,” she murmured. She ran her hands down her snug black dress—making sure it clung in all the right places—then maneuvered across the crowded room, eager to get to him. She wanted to see if his eyes smoldered when he looked at her. As soon as she reached him she realized she needed more courage. She removed the bottle from his hand and took a swallow.


“Whoa. You don’t like beer. Remember?”  Ignoring his outstretched hand, she took another gulp and tried not to screw up her face. The stuff was vile, but she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction.


Those little pink things—the ones with vodka, vermouth and strawberries that she’d had all afternoon—slid down so easily, along with the shots she’d had a few minutes ago with the girls in the bridal party. At the moment, she didn’t care what she drank. Something wet and mind numbing was what she wanted.


Maybe the beer would steady the room and stop it from spinning. No, the dancers were a blur and now her stomach was complaining.


Since the beer made her stomach queasier, she placed her hands on the back of the chair and held on for dear life. A sideways glimpse was all she needed to see Morgan shaking his head. “You’re going to regret this in the morning,”  he said, bending close to her. She closed her eyes and tried to control a shudder as his low voice and warm breath bathed her ear. She turned to face him, his lips a kiss away and his eyes…his eyes—


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October Author Spotlight: Clive Johnson @AuthorClive #interview #POTLReads #entertowin



What is your writing process?

I tend to write in what, for some, is probably a slightly unusual way. Firstly, I spend usually many weeks researching the subject areas that I want to write about. I’m very fortunate to live not too away from and being able to use the British Library in London, where I can lay myself where I can lay my hands on a wide variety of materials, and go where my reading takes me.


I like to focus this activity as much as possible, absorbing as much as I can in a relatively short period of time, setting my mind on what I’ve learned.


The next stage is the writing itself. In retelling a familiar tale, I will first read through several versions (translations) of the story. I will then just write the story as I imagine it. This involves speaking aloud, which I find gets me into the feeling of telling a story, as though I had a group of willing listeners around me. I use voice dictation software for this, and then come back to the text this produces to enhance and edit it on my laptop. The laptop work gives me a chance to fine-polish the story, as well as usually correcting a lot of errors!


I next reflect on what the story means, referring back to my research notes. This involves allowing time for ideas to emerge. I then start to consider some scenarios in modern life that might capture the messages found in the original tales. This is when a parallel story can start to come alive.


I write the modern stories in the same way as the original tales – making use of dictation software. While I’ve often sketched out I an outline of the plot, and have visualized the characters involved, it’s true to say that most stories take on a life of their own – and I find the voice of the central character coming through in ways that I might not earlier have imagined.


This is one of the great joys of storytelling – as a writer, I am involved in a magical creation process, but it doesn’t always seem that I’m the one that fires all the shots! I believe that taking part in storytelling gatherings and training has greatly helped me develop as a writer – the skills needed for great storytelling and writing are virtually the same.


How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I believe that names have meaning. How they come to be is a mystery to me, but I’ve often observed that the names that people are given as children seem very appropriate for them.


My name, for example, means “someone who lives near a cliff”. I puzzled over this for a time, but then came to see that it could describe someone who likes living near the edge, or someone who often prefers to be on the periphery. I think this sums me up very well.


When I’ve imagined the character or the story, the name usually just seems to come through. I usually have to research names for characters that aren’t from my own culture, but still one name will usually just stand out as feeling “right” for the character in question.


What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

I suppose that I could be tempted to answer this question in terms of some accolade that I’ve achieved, a project that I’ve completed, a qualification that I’ve worked for, or some such thing. Were I to think this way, I’m not sure that I would come up with very much that anyone else might consider extraordinary!


This probably shouldn’t matter, since what you feel you’ve achieved is obviously very much a personal matter. But I think that I want to answer the question in another way.


Right now, it feels that my greatest achievement is having made some headway in reconnecting with my true self. I won’t go into the detail here, but through meditation and other activities during recent years, I’ve more and more tuned into my heart and rediscovered the powerful wisdom and intuition that comes from inside.


For someone who is very goal focused, loves logic, order and structure, this is quite a step forward! If I can continue to be who I’m meant to be – not who the person my mind says I need to project in the world – then I have every chance of accomplishing whatever I’m meant to accomplish in this life.


I don’t think that will have anything to do with winning races, heading up corporations (definitely not!), or climbing mountains. Not that any of these things are bad – they’re just not right for me. Still, for one or other of my books to break into the big time would be something that would make me very happy!


Have you always liked to write?

An interest in writing has been with me throughout most of my life, although it’s only in recent years that I’ve picked up my pen again (or rather my laptop), and started to let the words fly.

For some years, I wrote – and read – a lot of business and non-fiction material, but now my great passion has come back to writing fiction, and discovering the magic and creativity that this involves.


Until quite recently, I hadn’t written stories such as the ones that I write now since my school days, and there is a lot of catching up on time to do! But I think that everything that I’ve read and absorbed up until now has an important part to play in what I write – mythology, mystical things, and understanding something about the inner lives of people all feed into a story.


Reading was my first love, but with this I was a slow starter. I struggled to learn to read when I started school, but with the help of my parents and a very dedicated teacher, I somehow overcame my blockage, and went from the very back of the class to the front by the time I left the infants’ school.


If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

Writing is not the only thing that I do, although it’s probably my first love. I am a trained interfaith minister, designing and holding ceremonies for people to mark important points in their life, and I also narrate and produce Audible audiobooks for other authors.


Recording audiobooks is something that I’ve taken up only recently, but this has given me an opportunity to engage with a range of books in a very intimate way. This might not have happened had I merely added them to my list of books to read. Recording and editing takes at least three read-throughs of a text, and of course giving careful thought to how best to present the story that another author has written.


I’m beginning to run a few workshops and retreats as well, especially relating to the themes that particularly interest me – mythology, storytelling, connecting with the earth (Gaia), and self-discovery.


Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Before my last book (Fairy Stories & Fairy Stories), I probably would have said that I would avoid writing anything that had an explicitly erotic nature. This isn’t a genre that I read or feel attracted to; it’s the human experiences and (if you like) morals of a story that I like to focus on – including how a character develops over time.


However, I surprised myself – along with several of my friends – in what came out in one of the chapters of this book. My recasting of the Red Riding Hood tale told the story of an adolescent girl who was assaulted by her aunt’s boyfriend. I found that the story needed to not hold back on its punches, and I was amazed with the words that flooded out on to the paper!


While this wasn’t probably very explicit by many people’s standards, it was uncharacteristic of my style, and not something that I thought I would be capable of imagining, let alone writing! A couple of my friends thought so too, telling me that they had had to put the book down after reading this chapter (the second chapter in the book) – they just didn’t associate the writing with me, and had found it to be very powerful.


I think that this is the key – stories can develop with a power that even an author couldn’t have imagined. Possibly disturbing emotions that my story may have stirred might have been no different from intention of the original teller of the Riding Hood story. Fairy stories are well-known for presenting what are often challenging and troubling teachings. If I’m to go where the story needs me to go, there’s no knowing where it may end up.


Nonetheless, I redoubled the warning about the particular chapter that I wrote in the second edition of the book, and changed the ordering in which the various tales were told. My stories don’t usually venture into this sort of territory, but in terms of what I may or may not write, I guess the lesson for me is – “never say never”. Inspiration can come from a very deep place that isn’t necessarily exclusively yours. My job as an author is to let that inspiration flow on to paper.


Do you write naked?

No, but I often write while wearing loose clothes. I like to be comfortable when I’m writing, and this often means lying down, or sprawling in a seat. This doesn’t happen when I’m at the British library researching a story, of course! There, the steam can usually be seen coming out of my laptop!


Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

I used to smoke, but that now seems many years ago (the ending of smoking in public places played a big part in my own success in kicking the habit).


I enjoy drinking socially, and probably drink more than is good for my body. Not that I drink excessively, but rather too quickly when I do.


Without question, my biggest vice is drinking coffee. I must drink at least eight cups a day, if not more. Being a lover of coffee shops doesn’t help – in fact, I’m in one now!


On at least one occasion, my addiction to caffeine got me into trouble. I had made myself a full cafetière of coffee – capable of filling at least four mugs – and was drinking this virtually as though the rich liquid were on a drip. I’d put far too much coffee powder into the cafetière, and this hadn’t diluted well. Within a short time, I found myself feeling very dizzy and nauseous, unable to do very much. A visit to the doctor was necessary the next day, but happily I soon was back to normal. I know that caffeine’s not good for me, but unlike with my old smoking habit, I’ve not been very successful in curbing my addiction just yet.


What do you want your tombstone to say?

A part of my [interfaith] ministry training was to write a ceremony that could be used my own funeral. This was not the first time that I had undertaken this exercise, and I found it to be a very rewarding one. Thinking about how you’d like to be remembered can help focus attention on what you might not currently be doing in your life, but which you have the capacity to change.


I rather like the idea too of being a voice at my funeral – having a poem read that I’ve written, offering some brief thoughts about my views on life after death, or speaking my gratitude for the folks who’ve been with me along the way. I went to my aunt’s memorial service a week or two ago, and a video was played of her reciting a poem. She was alive, with us, and I think virtually everyone present loved to see her smiling and hearing her voice among us again!


In fact, when I began to think about everything and everyone that might have been involved in helping my life to be what it’s been –this made me realize that, were I really to take this exercise seriously, this would involve acknowledging a cast of thousands.


As for my tombstone, perhaps I would refer back to what my school gym teacher once wrote in my school report (I wasn’t the best at physical education) – “Not everything is [was] his particular forté, but he’s a real tryer!”


Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

There are so many places that I want to visit, along with a whole host that I want to revisit sometime. St Petersburg is high on the list, as is Buenos Aires. But the places that I most enjoy our really wild, and usually difficult to get to. I would love to go travelling in Far East Russia – further north than Siberia – and to see Antarctica, and the mountains of southern Chile.


Writing actually has allowed me to travel, if only in my mind. One of the stories in Arabian Nights & Arabian Nights is set in Baghdad during recent times. I had to do quite a lot of research for this story, including reading the stories of several people’s real experiences, to envisage what life in that city must have been like, and indeed is still like for many. Imagination can take you some distance toward “being” in a place, even if it can never fully capture the sensations and emotions of encountering a place for real.


If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

This is a question that has come up from time to time. Probably I’ve given a different answer every time I’ve considered it! I’m sure that some of my friends might want to venture an opinion too – one once suggested that I might have been a sloth, although I’ve no idea why (I don’t think that I’m particularly lazy!).


My current thought is that I would like to be a domestic cat – and a very well catered for, at that. I do a lot of house-sitting for people, which normally involves taking care of pets when their owners are away. This has introduced me to many wonderful creatures, especially of the canine, feline, and avian kind. I’m a big fan of horses too – and cows, and geese, and even seagulls, for that matter (one of whom used to visit my window ledge every day)!


It’s become clear to me through my various encounters with furry friends that many cats don’t have a particularly bad life. In the main, dogs aren’t too happy when they’re not being given attention, but cats are free to come and go as they please – and to command being fussed over when they want to, even (in some cases) taking over your bed.


They are agile, are keen observers, and don’t suffer any nonsense – and are pretty good judges of people as well, I think. Life as a cat might involve everyday adventure, but with all the creature comforts of home right at hand. That sounds as though it could be quite the life for me!









Audible version available soon.


Book Blurb:

Magic carpets and flying horses, caverns glittering with gold, unexpected plotlines following the fortunes of heroes and villains–who cannot fail to be enchanted by the magic and wonder of the tales of the One Thousand and One Nights?

This most celebrated collections of tales feature shape-shifting and miraculous transportation across continents, powerful jinn who rise like smoke from simple vessels, dreams that delve into the secrets of the subconscious, and gigantic, man-carrying birds.

The backdrop for the tales moves from barren deserts to spectacular cities, from the edge of the world to the inner sanctuaries of mighty rulers. Kings and paupers, benevolent sages and devious magicians, worthy princesses and unscrupulous harlots–all play their part in teaching important truths and providing lively entertainment.

This innovative book offers retellings of a selection of tales that have captured the imaginations of countless people over many centuries. Accompanying each is a short story set in a contemporary context, which reframes the messages and teachings of the original, specifically written for an adult audience.

Here are stories of betrayal and murder, exploitation and sibling rivalry, soul-searching and discovery. The modern parallel tales swap the busy alleyways of old Baghdad for the horror of Saddam’s prisons, move from following caravans sweeping across the Sahara to modern day pilgrims trekking along the Caminos of northern Spain, and lift Aladdin out of his cave to unwittingly face Triad gangsters and antiques smugglers.

Wayward Baptist ministers, adulterous accountants, and eco-warrior backpackers follow in the footsteps of the no-less colourful characters than those that feature in the original tales.

Each pair of stories is accompanied by a commentary on how they might be interpreted. The result is a gripping collection of tales that may continue to bring the mystery and magic of the Nights to life, as well as provoking fresh thought and feeling for adult readers. Prepare to be surprised, uplifted and–in the spirit of the original Arabian Nights Entertainments–enthralled.




A journalist had picked up on the news of Todd’s arrest, and by some means had been able to identify him as a Baptist pastor. Soon, the news of my husband’s escapade with the prostitute had made not only the front page of the Louisville Courier-Journal, but had carried across the state to Lexington too. I dreaded to think what the decent people of our church would say when they saw the photograph of their pastor being paraded in front of a police identification plate.

When we returned to Lexington, most people seemed to want to avoid mentioning the topic. It was obvious to me that they had been deeply unsettled by Todd’s indiscretion, but to our faces at least, they promised their love, assuring us that ours is a God of love, able to forgive every sinner–even a wayward minister.

Todd was not afraid to show his contrition before his flock. Were Oscars awarded for emotional outpouring by those in church ministry, Todd would surely be nominated for an award. Whether or not his tears were genuine I do not know, but he certainly gave a powerful example of how to show repentance when he took his place on the dais.

“O my Father, how I have failed you! How I have let these, my beloved brothers and sisters, down! Forgive me, for I am the worse among sinners!”

His cries and wailing knew no limit. Kneeling before the congregation, Todd accepted the prayers and blessings of the people. Two of the deacons laid hands on him, commanding the demons that were in him to depart.

Perhaps this display was good for our community. Other men in the congregation came forward to confess their infidelity, and to receive the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus and those of us who serve Him. In fact, I don’t think that our church had for a long time felt so overcome by the love and warmth of The Holy Spirit.

The experience had certainly been a shock for Todd. He knew that his position as a pastor would be under threat were he to backslide again. More than anything, I think that he was genuinely aware that he’d been unfaithful to his Lord.

He had been unfaithful to me too, and privately I went through a period of hurt and suffering. But the fast pace of events, and Todd’s apparent regret for his actions, kept me focused on supporting my husband.




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Author Biography:

Arabian Nights & Arabian Nights is Clive Johnson’s seventh book, and the second in the series that takes old and often familiar tales and retells them alongside modern-day versions. Taking this approach, Clive says that he aims to recapture some of the magic and important messages that can be found in traditional fairytales, stories from mythology, etc, while inspiring fresh wonder among adult readers.

His earlier books were aimed at business readers, and he’s also edited an anthology of interfaith wisdom. Recently, Clive has also started narrating and producing audible audiobooks for other authors, which is an activity that he says he particularly enjoys.

Clive spends most of his time in the UK, where he was born, although he has no fixed home. This allows him to follow his heart from place to place, often house and pet sitting for friends and others who are taking a break away. He also often takes in or hosts retreats and workshops on various themes. Many house sits introduce him to some wonderful furry friends, and provide the perfect opportunity for settling into some serious writing!

Having an autistic condition and with a strong interest in mysticism, Clive likes to approach his work with a keen curiosity. He says that he enjoys researching and imagining a story almost as much as he does writing it.

Clive is an avid reader, and an ordained interfaith minister.


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