WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Steven Southard

081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

This week I welcome Steven Southard

Steve Southard photoSubmariner, engineer, and Jules Verne fan, Steven R. Southard pens stories that showcase people as toolmakers, gadget-masters, dreamers and tinkerers, creators of devices and victims of them. He’s written in the genres of steampunk, clockpunk, science fiction, alternate history, fantasy, and horror. His stories have been published in over ten anthologies, including In a Cat’s Eye, Hides the Dark Tower, Dead Bait, and Avast, Ye Airships! Another story will appear in the upcoming anthology, Dark Luminous Wings. Tales in his What Man Hath Wrought series span all human history as well as timelines that might have been, featuring the drama and danger of invention and discovery. 

Wolf: If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Steve: I’d opt for the Centaurian Demilitarizer. Invented by the beings of Proxima Centauri B, it’s a bit difficult to wield without tentacles, but if aimed and fired at an enemy’s weapon, it renders that weapon useless. They haven’t had a war or a murder on Centauri B in the past millennium.

Wolf: What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Steve: Tough question; I’m pretty mean to all my major characters. Perhaps the meanest thing is what I did to the mission commander in “The Cometeers,” my steampunk version of the movie Armageddon. First, the story is set in 1899 and a planet-devastating comet is on its way toward Earth. Humanity launches a desperate, international mission to redirect the comet using gunpowder. Of the three manned capsules launched from the Jules Verne cannon, one doesn’t make it to orbit. The six remaining crewmen receive a radio message that one of them is a traitor, but the transmission fails before telling which one. Then their first attempt to divert the comet fails and they have no backup plan. That’s pretty mean.

Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Steve: My gut reaction is to say I’m a dog person. My family owned a dog when I was young, and I’ve never owned a cat. Still, I’ve written about both animals in my stories—a basset hound in “Ripper’s Ring” and various mutated cats in “The Cats of Nerio-3,” a story appearing in the anthology In a Cat’s Eye. But your question goes deeper, doesn’t it? Cats and dogs are the yin and yang of pets. Cats go their own way and are their own masters, demanding much and offering little. Dogs are dependable, loyal, predictable, subordinate, and trusting. I’ve got a strong amount of both cat traits and dog traits in my nature, but perhaps I lean more toward the dog side.

Wolf: While walking in the woods you come across…

Steve: …a small boy, about ten years old, riding the back of a mechanical, clockwork lion. It’s the one made by Leonardo da Vinci in 1515, as depicted in my story, “Leonardo’s Lion.” Not meaning to startle the boy, I wait until he passes and move on. Emerging into a clearing, I see an enormous, metal spring, compressed but still standing over a hundred yards in the air. It’s the spring used to launch men to the moon in my story “A Tale More True.” I hasten back behind the tree line but hear loud footfalls. To my horror, there’s a Martian tripod fighting machine making its way through the forest, just like the one from my story, “After the Martians.” I hide within some foliage until I can’t hear the machine’s noise any more. Perhaps today isn’t a good day to be walking in these woods. But it’s a fine one for reading.

Wolf: If you could have a super power, what would it be? 

Steve: The ability to write best-selling novels without effort. But the world’s citizenry shouldn’t worry. I’d only use my power for good.

Wolf: There is a door at the end of dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Steve: Wait for my stomach to settle down. I shouldn’t have eaten such a large meal, especially before entering this sewer, particularly a sewer with an inexplicable door at its end.

Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

Steve: Change the channel, if I’ve seen this movie before. If I haven’t, I’ll make some popcorn and enjoy the show. Oh, you mean, what do I do if the real world were really ending? Still the popcorn thing, but with extra melted butter and salt.

Wolf: Describe a meal you would be served while visiting another world.

Steve: You and I sit in one of the famous floating dining halls of Tau Ceti e, with their hovering chair and table pads, all decorated in white and lit so as to best highlight the food. Cetean technology is a millennium or two ahead of our own, so their food seems almost magical. Completely synthetic, it is individually manufactured to optimize both nutrition and taste. Part of the preparation involves scanning the individual for dietary needs, favorite flavors, and vitamin deficiencies. My plate contains Lobster Newberg on a bed of rice, with a side of string beans and broccoli sprinkled with fresh grated parmesan cheese. A crisp, yet steely white wine complements the food. Ah, and now the robotic waiter’s brought the bill. Um, I’m a little short. Do you mind?

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

Steve: I’m writing an updated version of the John Henry story—the one where the steel-driving man competes with a steam-powered spike driver. In my story, a CEO competes with a robotic CEO, among the last occupations to be automated.

Wolf: Steve, there are millions of stories out there, and I can only read so many; why should I read yours?

Steve: My answer is that one of the main problems of our age is how we must come to grips with new technology since it advances so fast and changes so much. My stories focus on characters just like you contending with the good and bad of unfamiliar technology, facing and overcoming unforeseen problems, most often in a historical setting. Call this subgenre “technohistory” if you want, but there aren’t too many authors writing in it.  

Website and blog: http://stevenrsouthard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenRSouthard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.southard.16

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Star Touched, dogs, and wolves–oh my!

Check out this interview.

Cindy Young-Turner

I’m excited to welcome A.L. Kaplan to the blog today! Her first novel, Star Touched, was recently released and she was kind enough to do an interview for me. She’s been a member of my critique group for a long time and it’s really exciting to see the book she has worked so hard on finally make it into print! As you’ll see by her answers, she is rather fond of wolves. And dogs. First, check out Star Touched:

Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers. Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble. Will Tatiana flee or stay and fight for the new life she has built? Only by…

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Tired despite hours of sleep, my head sinks into the pillow

Morning’s light gives no warmth or peace with its rays

Only clouds of pointless dust in an indifferent world

Rising is pointless when you’re numb to everything

Except the smothering weight that presses down

To choke what little light remains

Nothing can pierce the shroud

No reason to continue

To struggle forward

To breathe


A touch

Warm and furry

persistent in its desire

Wakes me from the dark

Pulls me back into the light

To struggle onward out of the gray


Depression; unhappiness; despair; sadness; downheartedness; misery; hopelessness; melancholy; dejection; gloominess; despondency; gloom; cheerlessness; joylessness; glumness; – They all mean the same thing.

More than 15 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with depression. Because of social stigma, many do not seek treatment or won’t admit they have a problem. Depression is more than feeling a little sad. It’s an all over gray feeling that won’t go away. Have you ever started crying for no apparent reason and couldn’t stop? Depression sucks the joy out of everything, but it doesn’t need to. The hardest thing is admitting to yourself that you are depressed. Talk to someone, I did and it made a world of difference. I resisted for a long time. I wish I hadn’t. If one form of treatment doesn’t help, try another. Remember, you are not alone. Keep holding onto the light.


About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to http://www.HoldOnToTheLight.com and join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – H. L. Burke


Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives. This week I welcome H. L. Burke



H. L. Burke is the self-published author of multiple fantasy novels including the Dragon and the Scholar saga and The Nyssa Glass YA Steampunk series and Coiled. 

She is an admirer of the whimsical, a follower of the Light, and a believer in happily ever after. 


Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

H. L.: Cat-Dragon. It’s a thing. If it isn’t a thing, it should be. I fly and breathe fire, but am also soft and fuzzy and I purr and knock things off the table just to test gravity.

Wolf: What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

H. L.: Does a caterpillar I swallowed in middle school just to show off count as food? I tend to be kind of adventurous, and I did live in Japan for a while, so I’ve had authentic Sushi and whole dried fish on rice for breakfast and things like that. Squid on a stick? Good flavor, rubbery texture. I think the most, “huh,” thing I had in Japan, were various pastries I assumed were chocolate filled only to find out it was black bean paste instead. That never failed to fill me with chagrin. Beans aren’t something I particularly like, especially in dessert.

Wolf: If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

H. L.: Can I say cat-dragon here, too? Seriously, no one, NO ONE, messes with you if you have a cat-dragon. Especially mice-dragons. Mice-dragons are the worst and a cat-dragon is really the only defense against them. If it must be a non-sentient weapon, when I used to do some online RP’ing my character was armed with a frying pan. I swear this was years before Tangled. In fact, I’m 90% sure Disney stumbled onto a thread on my Tolkien fan forum and found a scene where my cat riding character was fighting off giant Mirkwood spiders with a frying pan and said, “Oh, that’s cool. We’ll do that.”

Wolf: You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

H. L.: I’m a plant.
Dang, that was easy …
Oh, what? More detail?
Gee, demanding, aren’t we? Hmm … plant me is an air plant. Roots are for suckers. I’m flexible. I can pretty much grow anywhere as long as you spritz me with water on occasion. Plus my hair is a mess and I don’t do well-organized gardens. But yeah, you have some pots hanging from the ceiling, I’ll swing there for a while. I’m just tiny and adorable but maybe a little big pokey.

Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

H. L.: I think the fact that I’ve managed to answer “cat-dragon” to two of these questions so far gives you a pretty good hint on where I fall on the “cat or dog” scale. I have a dog. He’s a nice enough dog. He’s just not as personally attached to me as my cat, Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is a humongous orange cat with the best personality. He just showed up on our doorstep one day and decided he was going to stay. We take a lot of selfies together, and he sleeps at the foot of my daughters’ beds (he rotates). When Coryn (my older daughter) was sick, he camped out next to her on the couch for three days straight.

He’s also still very “cat.” Once I walked in on him nudging a book towards the edge of the table and caught it before it hit the floor. He gave me a look that could kill because I’d ruined his “experiment.” He always steals my chair and sits on whatever I’m working on. He also does this thing where he’ll jump up next to me while I’m eating and try to steal my food. He’s amazing.

Wolf: While walking in the woods you come across…

H. L.: A glowing blue egg about the size of a cantaloupe. Warm to the touch, it emits a strange rumbling noise. Almost a purr … actually, exactly a purr. I pick it up and press it to my cheek. The purring intensifies. Then (crack) the egg hatches. A furry face with an adorable pink nose gazes up at me. It spreads its bat-like wings and meows gently. I have finally found my cat-dragon. I name him Englebriet.


Wolf: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

H. L.: Teleportation. I hate driving and there are a lot of things I would do if I could get there instantly. They say the journey is a point unto itself, but if the journey is being stuck in traffic or a tiny airplane seat, I think I’m okay skipping it.

Wolf: There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

H. L.: I summon Englebriet, my cat-dragon. He’s older now, about the size of a German Shepherd. He paces at my side, wings low, tail twitching. This is what he’s trained for, for beyond that door lies the lair of the insidious mouse-dragon who has been stealing the precious grain reserves from the nearby village. The door flies open, and the mouse-dragon flaps his wings and roars. His end is nigh, but the battle will be great (to be continued).

Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

H. L.: (My instinct is to just answer “My husband” and leave it at that, but that might be a little more PG13 than you’re looking for, though, honestly, yeah … so I’ll give you a back-up answer, and you can leave this off if desired.). Something fun. I mean, assuming there is nothing heroic I can do to stop it and I’m not simultaneously granted powers to go anywhere and do anything so I’m like here at home, I’d probably just find something pleasant to do with my near to me family and chill and wait. Death doesn’t scare me all that much.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

H. L.: Ellis Dalhart from the Nyssa Glass series. He’s buoyant, supportive of the female lead (Nyssa), resourceful, and hilarious. Though if you don’t like puns, he might annoy you after a bit. He really, really likes puns.

Wolf: Describe a meal you would be served while visiting another world.

H. L.: Fresh off our victory over the mouse-dragon, Englebriet takes me to the land of the cat-dragons where we are treated to a feast of sumptuous tuna. There is a catnip sorbet and some fine catnip wine. It is a grand time.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

H. L.: I finished the first draft of the third book in my Spellsmith & Carver trilogy at the end of August and am slowly polishing it up for release. I have not decided what I will be writing next, but I have a few things percolating.

Wolf: You look like you could use a cat-dragon. Do you want one?


H. L. Burke’s work can be purchased on Amazon. 

Copy of ifyoulikeFoF8Social Media Links:

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20151205_101845 (2)Jacob stumbled to the pool and plunged his head into the water. Somewhere in the back of his mind a voice told him to take sips, but he ignored it, gulping in the tepid liquid. Then his stomach twisted and he heaved.

Exhaustion and dehydration left him trembling in the blazing heat. Once his stomach settled he drank again, this time, small mouthfuls. He closed his eyes to ease the throbbing in his head. If only he could remember how he got here. Two days of wandering this endless, barren landscape and he still had no clue.

A deep rumbling set his heart racing. An earthquake was the last thing he needed. He looked across the deep ravines that riddled the canyon. It went on forever. One of the giant plateaus swayed back and forth and a rock at the top swung around. Two beady black eyes stared at him.

The breath caught in Jacob’s throat. It had to be heatstroke playing with his mind. Rocks didn’t have eyes. He dunked his head again, trying to ignore the sound of grinding stone.

“Share,” said a booming voice.

Jacob scrambled away from the pool, staring at the stone face above him, then waved the creature to the water. The giant tortoise drank deeply then blinked at him.

“Remember,” said the tortoise.

Tears filled Jacob’s eyes. His child, alone, in a locked car. A copper haze covered his vision then he woke to begin the cycle again.

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STAR TOUCHED Author Interview & Giveaway! – by Maria V Snider

Hop on over to Maria V Snider’s blog for a lovely interview and chance to win a copy of STAR TOUCHED.

Startouched front cover2 Amazon logo

Barnes & Noble

Books a Million


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STAR TOUCHED Is Here! – And An Interview On Poseidon’s Scribe

It’s finally here, folks.

STAR TOUCHED is on sale now.

And just in time for the release, check out this interview by Steven Southard on Poseidon’s Scribe.

Don’t forget to join me

Monday, October 2, 2017

7:00 PM EST

For a Facebook Party

Trailer image 1

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