Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Quirky Interview with Author Assaph Mehr

Sitting Down With 

Assaph Mehr

Author of Murder in Absentia


Historical Fantasy


I have always been fascinated by ancient Rome, from the time I was in primary school and first got my hands on Asterix. This exacerbated when my parents took me on a trip to Rome and Italy - I whinged horribly when they dragged me to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

A few years ago I randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair. I fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. When I decided to sit down and write a novel, the setting was clear in my mind.

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife Julia, four kids and two cats. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.

Hey Assaph, What made you decide you wanted to write?

Always wanted to, just never thought I’d do it before retirement. Then one hot night in January (it’s Australian summer) two years ago, my wife complained that she has nothing left she wants to read. So after everyone was in bed, I sat down and started to write – and didn’t stop until I finished the manuscript for Murder In Absentia.

Who inspires you?

In terms of writing? The list is too big to make it justice… I grew up on classic sci-fi and fantasy. Read plenty of detectives and thrillers. Loved ancient Rome since my first Asterix.

These days it’s authors on a range from such as Neil Gaiman to Boris Akunin, from Ruth Downie to Jim Butcher.

Tell us about your stories.

My stories are subtitles as “Togas, Daggers, and Magic.” They draw in equal amount on my love for ancient Rome, Hard-boild Detectives, and Urban Fantasy.

Any quirky characters?

Most of them. Felix, the protagonist, is a bit miserly. He’ll never pass on free lunch, and tends to abuse his employer’s expense accounts. He’s not fussed about morals in general. Of his two cronies in Murder In Absentia, while he will never utter a swear word, the other uses them as punctuation.

Then there is Araxus, with his cursed mind and independently wandering eyes…

If you were a character or creature in one of your stories, what would you be, and why?

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the griffin!

I’d probably love to be Felix. He’s a bigger and better extension of me, after all. Though I wouldn’t want to live in his world, doing what he does. Too many narrow escapes, too many trips down the sewers.

If you could disappear in any story, (aside from your own) which would you choose?
Ooh, something utopian. Nice comfortable meadows and an immortal lifespan to read all the books I want to read. Would be boring to read about me, but I’d be happy.

I laugh.
Your lost in that story right now. Which character are you?Oh, we’re doing it this way, are we? I’d pick Eric Klein’s upcoming book, The One, and his protagonist BJ Armstrong. There is a LOT to be said about a world where 3D printers can fix you faster than any surgey today.


Because, as I said, I do appreciate my modern niceties, like medicine and hygiene. The worlds I usually read about are a lot more gritty. Something with advanced technology, but not too far ahead so I lose myself. And I think I’d get along quite well with BJ and his life style.

If you were a fantasy creature, what would you be, and why?

A unicorn, to ride all the maidens…

Oh, it’s the other way around, you say? Never mind…

Sorry, you can't win them all.

I love bouncing around with alternative choices, so …

Angel or demon?

Demon. They get to meet a lot more interesting people.

Fairy or Witch?

Fairy. Not enough warts for a witch.

Land or air?

Air! I dream of flying.

City or Country?

Why can’t I have both? Which I do, actually. Living on the edge of the suburbs, working in the city with access to everything, and taking frequent drives in the country.

I do too, actually.
Candy or Cake?

Cake. Definitely cake.

Red or blue?


Ah, you're out!
Black or White?

Are merely an illusion. Life is made of shades of grey. (Or grey shades, if you read my latest short story).

That should be fun. Check it out everyone. While the price is right.
Coffee or Tea?

Coffee mostly, but I’m not averse to the occasional cup of tea.

Music or Television?

Neither. Books. They account for both.

Paperback or Kindle?

Love paperbacks, can’t compete with carrying a kindle.

Boat or Plane?

Plane. I dislike floating jails surrounded by hungry wildlife.

Is there anything you’ve really wanted to do that you’ve never done?

Walk on the moon.

Are there any books planned for the future that we can look forward too?

Lots and lots! Some of them even written by me…

Scary Hahaha.

I’m close to finishing the second full-length Felix mystery. By the time you read this, I’ll probably be deep in edits. It’s titled “In Numina” and the subtitle is “A story of haunted houses and house-hold gods”.

Household Gods. I like that. Wonder if any of them vacuum.
Do you have a website?


Facebook or Twitter?


Twitter: @assaphmehr

How about an Amazon page?

Murder In Absentia on Amazon:

Is there anything you want to add before calling it a day?

I’ll take my Scotch like my women – single (malt) and of legal age. Two fingers, neat. I can also be bribed with a good martini.

It’s was great having you Assaph. Thanks for joining me today.

Thanks much for hosting me!

Cover Reveal! Demon's Blood by Lissa Bilyk

Cover Reveal
Demon's Blood
By Author Lissa Bilyk

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review - Fractured (Mirrorland #1) by Majanka Verstraete


Genre: Romantic Thriller

When Piper discovers an old antique mirror on the attic of her new home, she has no idea what terror she unlocked.

Eerie shadows lurking in the night and estranged voices crying out for help are only the beginning. As Piper’s world comes crumbling down, she realizes everything that she believed was imaginary, might have been real all along.

Something is very wrong with that mirror. And if she doesn’t find out what, the mirror might end up killing her.

With some help of old and new friends, Piper tries to get to the bottom of the mystery. One thing is for certain: the mirror preys on the guilty. But what exactly is she guilty of?

Author Bio

Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-four year old author from Belgium. She studied law and is now studying criminology at university. She writes speculative fiction for children and young adults. When she's not writing or helping other authors with marketing, she likes spending her time playing World of Warcraft and binge-watching Netflix.

She's the author of "Valentina's Spooky Adventures", a picture book series for kids with a vampire as main character, and of the "Weirdville" series, chapter books for fans of "Goosebumps". Her young adult series include "Mirrorland" (YA Dark Fantasy) and "The Angel of Death Series" (YA Paranormal).

Her newest book, "Reflected", the second book in the Mirrorland series, will release in May 2015.

She blogs about herself and her writing on

I was given a copy of this book for an honest review

I loved this book, and really wanted to give it five stars, but there were things at the end that I felt needed more explanation. I understand this is book 1, but still felt there were a couple of issues. Those issues don't destroy the story, however, it has a strong plot that plays out well. So, I'm going with four stars.

There are a couple of places with an extra word, and one place with a missing word. I don't rate grammar, but since these can't be avoided, I figured they should be mentioned.

After the prologue, the story starts off a little slow. I think the goal was to introduce characters and give a little set-up, but once you get past that, hang on for the ride. The tension is strong throughout. The main character Piper, (love that name), lives with her mother who likes to fix up old houses and move on to the next one. Both she and Piper love antiques, and they are grounded people, who are not easily frightened. That is shaken when Piper falls in love with an antique mirror and moves it into her room. 

Piper has a good relationship with her Mother, but finds herself in a situation where she has to find the answers she needs on her own, and protect herself in the process. Even her best friend isn't always able to be at her side. While that scares Piper, it does not stop her. She goes from a non-believer who is a little weak due to a difficult background, to a young woman who takes the bull by the horns. That's not to say it's easy. 

I won't give any spoilers, but will say that this story has all the things that make a story strong. Friendship, suspense, love, betrayal, a strong and balanced backstory, and character growth. I can't wait to see what happens in book two.

Find Marjanka Verstraete's books

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reflections - The California Gold Rush

Revisiting Reflections

California wasn’t even a state when gold was first discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848. The state joined the union in 1849.

Over a hundred thousand foreigners uprooted their lives, moving to California by any means necessary, hoping to find their fortunes. In 1849, San Francisco’s harbor was so inundated with boats that it took days for travelers to be able to disembark.

Imagine reaching down to retrieve a shiny nugget of gold. There was a time we could do that. But it didn’t last long, and soon the miners had to dig and pan to find this precious metal. By 1855, less than ten years after it started, the Gold Rush was history.

For more information on the California Gold Rush, check out my Reflections Pinterest board.

Cursed to live in a world behind a mirror, Juliette learns the skills of survival from a unicorn, blood-thirsty beran, and a cantankerous, but beautiful, centaur, while being forced to watch her family and friends grow old without her.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Monday, July 10, 2017

Reflections: Regency Era Corsets

Revisiting Reflections

The guest post I sent out a few days ago was based on the Victorian Era. The Carriage takes place in that time period. Reflections takes place in the Regency Era, and moves forward from there. There were some differences in actions and style.

When we read about the Georgian and Victorian era, we always hear about tight bone corsets. Sometimes they were worn so tight that internal organs were forced to move aside. But in the Regency era, women escaped that fate. Corsets were made to enhance a lady’s natural curves, rather than making them smaller.  Like the modern day bra, the corsets of the Regency era were made to lift the bust, creating a shelf that highlighted the breast.

Muslin and silk were common fabrics, and dresses were embroidered intricately by hand. They flowed to the floor, draping like the robes of ancient Rome. Still, they wore a petticoat, chemisette, and long stockings held by garter belts for modesty.

While Juliette was not royal, her father was a man of wealth. As such, she would have been required to be a slave to the fashion of the age, wearing a more modest dress by day, and an elegant gown for social gatherings and parties at night.

To see and read more about Regency era fashion, check out my Reflections board on Pinterest.

Cursed to live in a world behind a mirror, Juliette learns the skills of survival from a unicorn, blood-thirsty beran, and a cantankerous, but beautiful, centaur, while being forced to watch her family and friends grow old without her.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Blog

Jena Baxter's Bookworms

Maybe I should have added this to my earlier post, but the topic is different, and I didn't think about posting until now.

I've recently began a new blog called Jena Baxter's Bookworms. It showcases Author interviews, guest posts, excerpts, and reviews done by Brandy Mulder. Although I'll have one to post in the near future as well, and I may start doing more reviews here as well. There will be giveaways, and you can learn about Authors you may not have met before.

Here is the link if you'd like to follow:

Hope to see you there.

While I'm here, don't forget to read this month's chapter of Coven's of Misty Haven.