WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Samantha Bryant

 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.

meandbookSamantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her secret superpower is finding lost things. When she’s not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything). 



Wolf: Middle school is a tough age to teach. Thank you for your patience. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Samantha: I’d like to be a large dog, especially if I could be a pet dog in a household of happy and active children. I envy my dog his ease with boredom and his comfort in his own skin. When we run together, I admire his athleticism and joy in the movement of his own body. So many of the things that have been hang-ups for me all my life simply don’t exist as issues for dogs, who trust to a loving universe to bring them what they need and want.

Wolf: I’m partial to canines as well. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Samantha: I didn’t grow up in a food-adventurous household, so I was an adult before I tried anything other Midwestern Americans might consider interesting. As a young woman, I picked up a taste for sushi (especially salmon roe) and Indian food. But the food that was the strangest to me was during my Alaska years. I lived in Nome for a little shy of a decade, a small city where the population is roughly 75% Native, mostly Yup’ik. So, I ate seal in various dishes (it’s chewy), more moose and reindeer meat than I expected, and some traditional dishes like akutaq (Eskimo ice cream), tea (stinkheads), and mantak (muktuk). I still miss the hard-smoked salmon candy and salmonberries.

Wolf: I haven’t heard of some of those. I’d love to try them. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Samantha: I’d need more training, but the only weapon I’ve ever used that felt good in my hands was a longsword. I took some German longsword classes with my husband for a bit, something we’d both love to get back to sometime. Even with my limited knowledge and expertise, I felt the power and confidence of wielding a big, heavy sword.

Wolf: Sweet. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Samantha: I let them find each other. When the Menopausal Superheroes series began, the main characters all felt alone in their struggles to manage the new abilities they were manifesting alongside their jobs, relationships, and responsibilities. Over the course of the series, they’ve become good friends and an essential support to each other. I’m being extra nice to Jessica “Flygirl” Roark right now. She’s getting a second chance at love in the fourth book.

Wolf: Hope it works out for her. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Samantha: I gave them superpowers. That might not seem mean at a first glance, but these weren’t teenagers thrilled to get new skills, these were grown women.

Sure, Linda/Leonel “Fuerte” Alvarez got super strength, but it came with an unplanned sex change (it was a surprise to their husband, too!).

Jessica “Flygirl” Roark eventually mastered her power of flight, but at first it was more like she and gravity had stopped communicating with each other. Just like she and her husband during her battle with ovarian cancer.

Patricia “Lizard Woman” O’Neill didn’t have it any easier. She wasn’t married, except to her career, but it’s hard to run a company when you keep sprouting scales and claws in front of your employees.

If I ever met any of my characters in real life, I don’t think they’d be thanking me for the complications I added to their lives.

Wolf: That’s for sure. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Samantha: Oh, I hope I’m a tree! I’d like to be something tall and leafy and shady and long-lived. As a human, I find a kind of peace among trees that I don’t feel anywhere else and it would be lovely to feel that from the inside.

I’ll be a paper birch, with lovely white bark that contrasts strikingly with my yellow leaves in the fall. Children will play under my branches and collect my vaguely heart-shaped leaves to pass to one another as Valentine’s or use as pretend food in their imaginary journeys. When the wind blows through my branches, I’ll lean with it making a whistling sound when I get the angle right that invites thoughts of ghost stories and haunted fields.

Wolf: Birch trees are beautiful. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

meandO-postrun.JPGSamantha: Definitely a dog person. I like cats, but I don’t connect with them emotionally like I do dogs, and since my husband has a cat allergy, we don’t keep any in our home. I did have a wonderful cat in my previous life (with my first husband), a yellow Maine Coon mix called Kitty Claude who took a little girl’s love—no matter how rough—like nobody’s business.

We currently love a rescue dog, an Australian shepherd mix named O’Neill, and he’s a lot of trouble, and a lot of joy. Speaking of which, any tips from your readers for dealing with a middle-aged dog who has suddenly developed people-food-scavenging habits? It’s a new behavior from him that has us all a little baffled.

Wolf: Not sure what to make of that. You might want to check with your vet or local dog training school. The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?

Samantha: Grab my nearest and dearest and huddle together, assuring each other of our love through the very end.

Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?

Samantha: That’s like trying to choose a favorite child. It really does vary. Of my Menopausal Superheroes, I am fond of Patricia, with her curmudgeonly demeanor that protects a soft as a marshmallow heart. But usually, it’s whoever I’m writing right now, which would be Malcolm in my work-in-progress. He’s had a hard row to hoe, that young man, but he has the stuff of heroism in him.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

Samantha: I’m in the middle of the first draft of a new novel, working title: Thursday’s Children. I started it when I was invited to be a part of a book bundle some friends were assembling. We were all asked to write novellas that were young adult, romance, and either post-apocalyptic or dystopian. Since I’d never written ANY of those things, and I’d been interested in writing something my students could read, I thought I’d give it a whirl. I didn’t finish in time to be part of the bundle, and the book wants to be a full-length novel anyway, but I’m hooked. Kye’luh, Jason, and Malcolm have me wrapped around their fingers and they’ll have my full attention for a few more months until I finish telling their story.

Wolf: I look forward to reading that when you finish. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Samantha at these links.

all covers


It’s hard to be who you are meant to be.

Especially when your trying to hide.

Pick up your copy of STAR TOUCHED today.

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This Is America To Me!

The Tony Burgess Blog


All of this is what will make America awesome again.

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Gareth & Marty the Merchant


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.

Wolf: In honor of Independence Day, I’ve invited Marty the Merchant and Gareth Jenkins to Wolf notes. Both are characters in STAR TOUCHED. Tell us a little about yourselves.flag

Marty: Not much to tell. After the Cataclysm wiped out most of the population and the country fell apart, I became a traveling salesman. I’m not into the mercenary thing like some former army folks.

Gareth: I’d already left the army by then to open a bar in my home town. Things were rough for a while, but business has since expanded to include a store and rooms to rent.

Wolf: You both seem to have adapted well. There is quite an age difference between the two of you, fifteen years. Did you meet in the army?”

Marty: Yeah. I was a bit of a trouble maker. Gareth helped straiten me out and refocus into more useful activities.”

Gareth: Marty is being too polite. He was a prank pulling pain in the butt. Even so, he always managed to do what needed to be done without complaint. A slacker he’s not.

Marty: I’m glad someone saw more than trouble. Gareth recommended me for special forces. It was a turning point. Turns out my sneaking around skill had a bonified use.

Gareth: We’ve helped each other through the years. Marty pulled me out of a rabbit hole after my wife, Margaret died. Don’t know what I would have done without him.

Wolf: Sounds like you make a good team. The Cataclysm tore a lot of people apart, yet you’ve managed to stay connected. How’d you manage. I mean there are no phones or computers and the roads are a mess.

Gareth: Marty knew where I was.

Marty: Being a traveling salesman lets me roam the country side. One of the first places I went to was Atherton. Needed to look up my buddy.

Wolf: About that roaming, what is it you do?

Marty: I’m just a merchant.

Wolf: Right, sure you are. There are a lot of things that people have had to do without since the cataclysm. What do you miss the most?

Gareth: Tuna. I love canned tuna but after eight years in a can, even I don’t want it.

Marty: Yuck. Canned tuna and noodles is what my mom cooked all the time. Sometimes she’d mix in canned peas or green beans for variety. I’ve had enough of that stuff for a lifetime. I miss coffee. Anytime I find a stash it’s like I hit the jackpot.

Gareth: There used to be a coffee place on almost every corner, even Atherton had at least two. That’s saying something for a small town. Now all we have are a few old stale beans. Tea just isn’t the same.

Wolf: At least you have those. If you could reestablish the USA, would you?

Gareth: Absolutely, but I’d get rid of the electoral college thing. Everyone’s vote should count. And there should be limits on how much money can be spent trying to get elected.

Marty: Term limits, definitely term limits. A government for the people by the people has no room for professional politicians. Elected officials should do their duty, then go back to their daily lives.

Gareth: Don’t forget about education and health care. We need to see to our future leaders and care for all citizens

Wolf: That’s a lot of changes. It’s going to be hard to do when so many are struggling to survive.

Gareth: Never said it would be easy. Maybe the star-touched could help with some of the health issues. Put their healing abilities to good use.

Wolf: Switching gears slightly, try to complete this sentence. You’re walking through the woods and come across….

20170401_101611Gareth: A quiet lake teaming with fish and a small boat. I’d row out to the perfect spot, toss a line in and wait for a bite. Pure bliss with no worries.

Marty: Sort of like that fishing trip we took after you left the military.

Gareth: You mean the one where you said you were going to sleep late, then swam out and put a dummy on my hook? Absolutely not.

Marty: The look on your face when you reeled that thing in was priceless.

Gareth: You almost gave me a heart attack!

Wolf: I’m with Gareth. You have a warped sense of humor.

Marty: I’m not that bad.

Wolf: Really? How would you finish that sentence?

Marty: Can’t answer. This is a G-rated blog.

Wolf: On that note, pick up a copy of STAR TOUCHED and have a happy and safe 4th of July. If you see any military or former military personnel, don’t forget to thank them for their service.

Startouched front cover2

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Chris Jackson

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.

Jackson picAs a professional sailor, writer, scientist, and life-long gamer, writing nautical and RPG tie-in fantasy came naturally for Chris.  His Scimitar Seas novels from Dragon Moon Press have won multiple gold medals from Foreword Reviews Magazine, and his Pathfinder Tales novels, Pirate’s Honor, Pirate’s Promise, and Pirate’s Prophecy from Paizo Publishing have received high praise. Though he’s built a reputation writing pirate stories, his magical assassin, Weapon of Flesh series has also become a Kindle bestseller, culminating last year with the sixth novel, Weapon of Mercy. He’s also branched into the Horror genre with his soon-to-be released novella The Deep Gate, an Arkham Horror tie-in story from Fantasy Flight Games.

His recent short works include Dia de Los Muertos, in the Drawing Destiny Shadowrun anthology, First Command, in the Women in Practical Armor anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media, and a series of short stories for the Starfinder compatible Legendary Planets Adventure Path by Legendary Games.

Lastly, he has published the Cheese Runners Trilogy of satire-science fiction novellas available in digital, paper, and Audible versions.

Drop by jaxbooks.com and sign up for his mailing list.

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

Chris: I think it would be a spinner dolphin. They are always playing, perfectly at home in their environment, and seemingly effortless in their grace. They’re social, quick, intelligent, and beautiful. I’ve watched them for hours under sail while they ride the waves, darting and dashing about, jumping from the sea to flip and spin in acrobatic antics. Yeah…I could totally do that.

Wolf: Dolphins are cool. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Chris: I spent a couple of summers on foreign fishing vessels as a NMFS observer, and ate whatever they ate. One vessel was Japanese, and I ate like a king, gaining about 15 pounds in two months! The other was Korean, and I lost weight, not because the food was not delicious, but it was very spicy (all three meals a day were spicy) and it took my stomach about a month to get used to it. A lot of octopus, squid, pickled jellyfish with sea-urchin roe, pickled bits of this and that, and fish head soup (which is actually delicious, if you can ignore the eyeballs).

Wolf: It all sounds yummy. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Chris: I’d have to ask for what purpose? Survival in the Zombie Apocalypse, home defense, or just to hang on the wall? And can it be magical? Can it be science fiction? I’m not a fan of guns, but I’m not averse to them either. For home defense I’d probably choose an automatic pistol with some knock-down. For zombies, maybe a katana (you never have to reload a sword). I do own a broadsword, which would do nicely.

Wolf: I’ve always been partial to blades, myself. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Chris: There is a great line from one of the Patrick O’brian novels. Stephen Maturin wants to name a tortoise after Jack Aubrey, but he says “Oh, no. Name a shrub after me. Something prickly and hard to eradicate. Yep…that’s me. Prickly and hard to eradicate.  Maybe a blackberry bush, because they put out sweet fruit every once in a while, too.

Wolf: I like that. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Chris: I’ve lost too many friends and loved ones over the years not to wish for the power to heal. If I could eradicate disease, injury, illness, and pain, I would be a very happy person.

Wolf: You should check out Star Touched, by A. L. Kaplan. There are several characters who can heal, including the main character, Tatiana. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

Chris: Depends on the cataclysm (Would there be zombies, aliens, monsters?) but I think I’d want a really nice sailboat (fully equipped, of course), a water purification system, a good hunting rifle, some really top-notch fishing gear, and an e-reader with every book ever written on it.

Wolf: You’re definitely a seafarer. Which of your characters is your favorite?

Chris: I created a courtesan/spy/sorceress for my Pathfinder Tales novels, Vreva Jhafae, who is probably my favorite. She is beautiful, smart, and courageous, but also not entirely “good” if you know what I mean. She’s on the right side but will stoop to nefarious means to achieve her goals. If you took James Bond, made him an omnisexual woman, gave her magic and a snarky feline familiar, you’d pretty much have Vreva.

Wolf: Sounds interesting. I’ll have to read them. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

Chris: The Caribbean, without a doubt. I fell in love with the sea at a very young age and spent years on the deck of my father’s fishing boat off the Oregon Coast, then more years in Alaska, the Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and now the Caribbean and Atlantic. I’d love to sail the Greek Isles and see the Great Barrier Reef one day. Second favorite would be Crater Lake, Oregon…just because it’s so utterly awesome.

Wolf: Yup. A seafarer through and through. What story are you working on now?

Chris: Always have more than one project at once. Right now I’m working on four; two rewrites of previously published works and two new stories. The one that I just finished and has not gone through edits yet is a story about a shape shifter. It’s set in my own fantasy world, where I’ve already written about fifteen novels, so the world is pretty much built and the magical “rules” set. He’s a war veteran and carries a lot of PTSD. He has a snarky animal companion, Max, who helps him by “stabilizing” his shape shifting, and the two become embroiled in a revolution of sorts. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s set in a middle-eastern themed area of desert, ancient tombs, djinn, and a tyrannical male-centric society. You know that’s not going to last, right?  There is also magic, romance, and other shape shifters involved.

Wolf: Sounds cool. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Chris: I’m kind of a nature buff, and I love the sea, so probably either sailing or snorkeling. My wife and I own a sailboat that we have taken from Maine to Trinidad, and are now exploring the western Caribbean. I prefer warm water, and we try to snorkel as much as possible. There’s always something new to see, and my wife Anne, is a marine biologist, so she can actually tell me what we’re looking at. We’ve been blogging our sailing adventures for nine years. If you want to have a look, check out sailmrmac.blogspot.com

Wolf: I will. Thanks for visiting. Connect with Chris through these links.

Twitter: @ChrisAJackson1
Facebook: chris.a.jackson.967
Google+: ChrisatJaxbooks@gmail.com
Linkedin: chris@jaxbooks.com

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Concentration camps at the border: a moral stain that will taint America forever.


While I don’t often speak out directly on political current events on this blog, today is an exception. I’m going to make this as blunt, succinct and clear as possible: the Trump Administration’s policy of tearing children away from their parents, and imprisoning them in cage facilities near the border, is cruel, immoral, wrong, and disastrous. It’s a moral stain on the United States of America, and on Americans as a people, which will not soon be washed away. And if we don’t stop and reverse course right now, it’s going to get worse.

A lot of ink has been spilled over the last few days about what to call the monstrous thing happening down there in the Southwest, whether children are being put in “cages” or what conditions the children are or are not being subjected to. I don’t hesitate to call these facilities what they are: concentration camps…

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – GB MacRae

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.

0816171630_resized copyGB was born in a small town in Vermont and grew up in the country attending a rural school. She started telling stories to her toys from a young age, writing her first short story in second grade. Her first novel in 10th grade. They’ve often been of the fantasy genre, because who doesn’t want to let their imagination travel as far as it can? But they’ve also been about real life: betrayal, suspicion, joy, war, triumph, self-doubt, all that good stuff. …And unicorns and dragons!

Growing up, her hobbies were showing her horses, lots of reading, and creating art. As she aged and life circumstances changed (she moved to the city where having horses wasn’t possible) she added folkloric belly dance, costuming, and entertaining in her home to her list of activities.

Currently she lives just a short drive from Lake Ontario where there is lots of snow, in a rambling old colonial house with her family and pets.

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

GB: Are we talking imaginary or real? This is a difficult question. Always be a unicorn. Or a dragon. I (like a lot of writers and artists) have introvert tendencies, so to be left alone to do my work but with a few close friends, and having powers is a bonus. As for a real animal, I would like to be a warmblood dressage horse. They get the best care, work for about an hour a day except on show days.

Wolf: The questions was any, so we’ll stick with unicorn for and answer. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

GB: I tend to be relatively tame when it comes to food. No eyeballs or tentacles. I enjoy the international food I’ve had. Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc. Probably the strangest thing was haggis (not true haggis because it’s not legal in the States). It reminded me of gamey meatloaf.

Wolf: That’s one I’ve never tried. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

GB: I give them hope.

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

GB: Oh man, what haven’t I done? Across the series there have been entire families eradicated, some characters have had severe trauma…

Wolf: That sounds about right for an author. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

GB: I’m a pet person in general. I currently have a dog, a cat, a hamster, and an aquarium.

Wolf: Nice. While walking in the woods you come across…

GB: I have bad luck, so probably a very lost grizzly.

Wolf: Hope it’s not hungry. (I actually have come across a grizzly. Very scary.) If you could have a super power, what would it be?

GB: So many wonderful powers to choose from! I think I would love to have the powers of Dr. Strange. It would be very handy indeed.

Wolf: Yeah. I like what he did with Loki in the last Thor movie. Which of your characters is your favorite?

GB: It varies from moment to moment. Whichever character is making me happy for whatever reason. They all have their moments, but Cassius, Mina, and Gallylya are probably most often at the top of the list.

Wolf: What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

GB: I love waterfalls. They’re beautiful, powerful, and always changing. Lakes come in second because they’re safer than the ocean and the view is nice.

Wolf: What story are you working on now?

GB: I’m polishing Arise, Book of Avenzyre III (due out later this year), and a writing the first draft of a book for tweens about a teenage girl living in rural New England surviving mean girls at school as well as horse shows (doesn’t have a title yet), and a coloring book to accompany the Avenzyre series.

Wolf: More familiar with mean girls at schools than I’d like to be. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

GB: I read, research, I have various sewing projects (I make the costumes I wear at RavenCon and Ren Faire), sometimes I crochet, I make very involved sketches of my characters and sometimes paint.

You can connect with GB through these links.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of STAR TOUCHED

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We Need to Talk About ALL Deaths by Suicide—Not Just When Celebrities Die by Suicide

This is an excellent article.
Thinking of suicide?
Stop and get help now.

The Bipolar Writer Blog - A Mental Health Blog

I am saddened by the two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, that died by suicide last week. However, I am glad it has increased the discussion about mental illness and suicide. I wish people would discuss the severe epidemic of mental illness and suicide before celebrity suicides occurred, but at any rate we are talking about it finally.

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After listening to people speak about mental illness on the news and other places, I have come to the realization that most people do not have a clue what mental illness is. Too many people have said that these two people who died by suicide had everything going for them and had everything to live for and yet they were not happy.  These comments make me think that people really don’t get it.

Mental illness is not a choice. Mental illness is not a character flaw. Mental illness is not always…

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