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Author Spotlight: Showdown (Wyrd West Chronicles #1) by Diane Morrison


Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight. Today I have Diane Morrison visiting to tell us about the first book in her Wyrd West Chronicles series, Showdown. One of the characters from the book, Graeme Walsh, will be paying us a visit as well, but first more about the author.

Diane Morrison lives with her partners and works part-time in a bookstore in Vernon, BC, where she was born and raised. An avid National Novel Writing Month participant, she is proudly Canadian and proudly LGBTQ. Under her pen name “Sable Aradia” she is a successful Pagan author, a musician, and a professional blogger. After a lifetime of putting the needs of her family first, she is striking out to become what she always wanted to be; a speculative fiction writer.

Connect with the Author

Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page

About the Book

In Queenstown, an untried youth is the only one who can face down a notorious Desperado. But Graeme Walsh is not a Gunslinger: not yet. Will his training and his secret sorcerer’s powers be enough to get the drop on the Outlaw, before the Outlaw gets the drop on him?

Welcome to the Wyrd West, the world next door, where Western meets high fantasy, apocalyptica and a dash of steampunk. This novelette serial will be published bimonthly in e-format, with collections published in print format once a year.




Get it Today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Graeme Walsh, Apprentice Gunslinger, from Showdown:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

Well, I was born on my folks’ horse ranch, ’bout a day’s ride outside of Queenstown. It’s a region we call the Windpan. Guess they used to call it Saskatchewan? A province in Canada? That was before the Cataclysm, of course. Ancient times now. I guess my upbringin’ was pretty typical of a rancher’s son, except of course that I’m half-sidhe, which ain’t common ’round these parts, and I’ve been trainin’ to be a Gunslinger like my father.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

Sure I do! I’d say we’re a real close lot. My folks are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Unless you’re a Desperado, of course.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

Listenin’ to my momma play piano and sing. She’s sidhe and she has a beautiful voice.

Who was your best friend growing up?

I guess that’d be my little sister Piper. She’s still my best friend, really. But if I had to pick one outside the family, that’d be Jessie Williams. His folks own the cattle ranch just north of us. Sometimes our folks would take us in to town together to do their business, and we’d chum around.

Who is your enemy?

Any right-thinkin’ Slinger has got to regard the Desperados as our enemies.

What makes you enemies?

They’re our dark reflections, so to speak. We Gunslingers try to defend the common folk, and the Powers of Light are kind enough to grant us some abilities to help do that. Desperados make deals with the Powers of Darkness for selfish reasons, mostly power. We got to stand against ’em.

Who do you most admire in your world?

My father.


I wish I were half so brave. I’m not quite so naive as to think he’s perfect, but he’s got some mighty big boots to fill.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

Well, there ain’t nearly as many people as you have in your time! I guess the Cataclysm took care of that. Like I said, long time ago now, ancient history; we keep findin’ ruins of the Ancients but we ain’t entirely sure what they all were for. I guess lots of them nuclear power plants blew up when it happened, so some areas you still can’t go or the air and the ground’ll poison you. Most of that’s far to the south and the east, though.

The rest of us mostly live in cities like Queenstown, but there’s still lots of frontier folk like ourselves. Big exodus from the south when the Cataclysm happened, so I guess our ancestors came from both Canada and the United States? Except I know you ain’t got no elves, dwarves or gnomes in your time. Or trolls, or Mantis-folk, or intelligent equines like the Gunslinger horses and the Nightmares.

And I know our technology ain’t what yours is. See, the laws of physics don’t work the same in all places these days, so you can’t rely on them. We’ve started to figure out ways to make tech work in some places, though, like steam engines and dirigibles and telegraphs. So I guess we’re catchin’ up!

There’s Cree in the Qu’Appelle Valley, and we get on fine with them. Respect them and they’ll respect you. Spirit Bear, he’s their shaman, and he’s a friend and a mentor of mine. But the local Mantis-folk can get violent. Inter-tribal warfare bleeds over and truces between tribes change with their chieftains. And someone just got lynched recently. Piper and Henry — that’s our lead ranch hand and a family friend, kind of like an uncle to us — and I found a body on the way into Queenstown to ship the latest young horses off to the Order.

As to “my place in it” . . . well, our family raises Gunslinger horses for the Order. My dad’s semi-retired since he married my momma and he’s been teaching me how to be a Slinger since I was knee-high to the Mantis-folk. He don’t want to, but all the signs say it’s my fate, so he figured I ought to be ready. And I help out with the ranchin’ of course. Me and Momma and Piper too. We’re responsible for the ranch hands and Queenstown is our Protectorate. The local folk tithe us a share of their harvest so we can concentrate on their defense.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Aw, shucks, I get tongue-tied when I try to do public speakin’. My tongue trips over itself and I sound like a fool.

What are your goals?

To do justice to the Gunslinger legacy. To honour my predecessors. Maybe to make a difference in the world, and protect people as best I can.

What is your greatest fear?

I’m afraid of lettin’ people down.

How will you overcome it?

I don’t rightly know how to overcome it; I just keep tryin’ to do my best and hope it’s enough.


Liebster Award – My Second Nomination! :-D

First of all, thank you to Allison D. Reid for nominating me for this award. It’s the second time I’ve been nominated since starting this blog a few years ago, so that’s pretty cool. 😀

Now to answer Allison’s questions:

1. What is your favorite book, or if you prefer, your favorite author?

This always changes with my mood, but so far Terry Goodkind is probably my ultimate favorite. I absolutely love his Sword of Truth series. 😀

2. Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, if so where?

It’s a tie between Scotland and Italy. Scotland because it’s just so beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to see it in real life. And Italy because my mom is of Italian descent, and it would be nice to see the place where some of my ancestors have come from.

3. What do you enjoy about blogging, and how has your blog changed in unexpected ways since you started it?

I originally started my blog to share my writing and gain new readers. Since then, it’s also turned into a place where I share what I learn about writing and the industry with other authors as well. I love blogging as long as it’s not something I HAVE to do and something I just do when the mood strikes me. I find I enjoy it a lot more when I’m not forcing myself. It’s another way for me to get my thoughts out of my head and maybe entertain/inform others in the process.

4. What’s your preferred writing and/or blogging space?

My desk is in the lounge room right next to a huge sliding glass door that overlooks our back yard. I love having the TV going behind me for background noise when I write/blog. When the weather is nice, I also like to take my laptop out onto the deck and sit outside to write. I haven’t had much chance to do that with the hot weather, but it’s cooling down now. Just have to wait for a rain free day. 😀

5. How do you find inspiration?

I don’t often have to go looking for inspiration. It generally comes to me in the form of dreams and a very vivid and overactive imagination. When I do need inspiration, usually for short stories, I use a plot generator to get my creative juices flowing. I don’t use one idea though. I usually read through a few of them until inspiration strikes and my imagination takes over.

6. What do you like to do for fun when you need a break from writing (or from your blog)?

Read… I read or play Star Wars: The Old Republic online. Or I watch movies with my family and play board games with my daughter. Sometimes we’ll even bake together or do science experiments, but that happens less often as she’s getting older.

7. What started you down the road of writing and/or blogging?

I’ve always liked telling stories I’d make up on the spot. My friends thought I was crazy, but they loved my stories. I never considered writing them down until I was in college. My English instructor suggested I get some of my work published. But it still took a while before I finally came around to making a career of it. Blogging came naturally as a result, I guess. It just made sense to have a blog as a way to keep my readers informed.

8. Are there any Indie authors you would recommend to readers looking for a good book?

Yes, definitely. If you like epic fantasy with a steampunk feel and assassins, you’ll really love Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge series. You can download the first book free on Amazon. I’m also really enjoying Joshua Robertson’s dark fantasy book, Melkorka. It’s taking me forever to read because I’m more tired than usual lately and I fall asleep almost as soon as I start reading (that’s normal for me when my immune system is out of whack). And I’m loving Allison’s Wind Rider Chronicles too. It’s Christian fantasy, but its themes are subtle and non-preachy if that kind of thing bothers you. It’s a really good story, and I definitely recommend it.

9. How do you keep yourself motivated?

I don’t have to be motivated to write. If I don’t write my anxiety and stress levels go through the roof. Writing keeps me sane, and I love it. There are days I don’t feel like getting my brain in gear, but I just tell myself I’ll write and paragraph and stop, but I very rarely stop after a paragraph.

10. What superpower would you choose and why?

Considering I don’t have a car, flying would be a good one to have. Even if I did have a car, flying would be awesome!

11. What four people would you invite to a dinner party; contemporary, historical, or fictional?

Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi most definitely. I mean, real Jedi in my house. How cool would that be? Jamie Oliver, because I’d need his advice and help with the menu. And my grandfather. I didn’t get to see him before he died, so I’d love to see him one last time. Preferably as a spirit and not a zombie…

I’m supposed to nominate 11 others, but just about everyone I would nominate have already been nominated recently, and the rest don’t have blogs. So I’m breaking the rules this time. I nominated people last time, so I think I can get away with it. 😉


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Author Spotlight: The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Tiffany McDaniel with her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. Tiffany shared a bit about herself in an interview, but first…

An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. She is the winner of the Not-the-Booker Prize for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything, which was a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee.

About the Book

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Original Watercolor by Tiffany McDaniel

Why did you decide to be a writer?

Writing is the first thing I remember doing as a child without being told to do so. I’ve always had an innate desire to write down what’s in my head. I never decided to be a writer. I just embraced the story within me.

What inspires you to write?

For me, the inspiration always comes from the characters. I’m inspired to write a story that honors the characters and honors their truths.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

I have eight written novels and on average they’ve taken me a month to write. One novel I wrote in eight days. My pace may sound fast but I don’t like for the story to sit for too long or it loses its essence. The quality control comes in the drafting and copy-editing stages, which can take longer.

What are your goals as an author?

My goal would be to make a career out of words. I hope to be an author that readers can trust with their time and that I not only entertain with my writing but that I also write something that encourages thought. I hope to be part of a larger conversation. A conversation about who we are. A conversation about who we want to be.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

Aside from writing, I enjoy the outdoors and doing things in nature like gardening. I also like baking. Art is a big part of my life and I use all mediums from charcoal to pastel, pencil to paint. I also love film.

Original Watercolor by Tiffany McDaniel

How many books do you have on your “to read” list? What are some of them?

I have quite a few. The new Shirley Jackson biography by Ruth Franklin and Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco among them.

What is your writing process?

I never outline or plan the story ahead. I like for the story to evolve one word and one page at a time. Directing a story too much can domesticate it. I like to preserve the story’s wild soul.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I always start writing a new novel with the title and the first line. These two things put me on the path to the rest of the story. Titles can come from anywhere. In the case of The Summer that Melted Everything, it was one of those Ohio summers that was so hot I felt like I was melting. A little arranging of words, and the title was born out of true heat.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

My advice would be to never give up. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my first published novel but my fifth or sixth written. For me it was a long eleven year journey full of rejection and perseverance. For those writers still on the journey to publication, it’s important to never give up and never turn your back on your dreams.

Welcome to Renee Writes!

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I do Author Spotlights every Friday, and I'll be glad to be a host for blog tours and guest posts. Get the details if you're interested.

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