Bookish Giveaway & Interview: Marc Secchia, Author of the Shapeshifter Dragons Series

Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway!

Folks, please give a warm welcome to historical fiction author Marc Secchia. I recently had the pleasure of listening to his book, Aranya: Shapeshifter Dragons Book 1 which follows the dragonish adventures of Aranya and her friends.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

Snape – well, he’s not so much a villain, but he is a beautifully conflicted character who I found myself rooting for almost despite my instincts. Very well-written indeed.

The public library of your dreams has arrived! What special collections does it hold?

African fiction. I believe this is one of the most underrepresented fields of literary endeavour and I’d love to see powerful African voices taking their place on the world stage.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

I’d choose a dragon. They are Fantasy’s finest and most magical creatures and they’d undoubtedly possess the skills and magic to pull off a crazy rescue.

If you could, what book or movie or TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

Definitely The Lord of the Rings. It’s the classic fantasy tale of the insidious, corrupting power of evil and the courage of those who choose to stand against it. Peter Jackson did an awesome job of bringing the tale to the big screen, but I still love the rhythm, detail and power of the original text. I’d love to dive into that world afresh because it’s just incredibly immersive and every detail is thought out.

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

There are so many terrific books out there that would make amazing movies, it’s hard to choose. Let me throw out a classic author’s name here – Anne McCaffrey. I think it’s a travesty her works have never made it to screen, although some of the mores are a bit dated I think this series would still resonate with so many people, not just Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans. I’d play Robinton, the Master Harper of Pern.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Let’s see … Dumbledore since we’re having a smallish Potteresque vibe here, Aladdin if he doesn’t come in his canned-and-potted Disney guise, since he’d have plenty of fun tales to tell, and it’s weird I know but I think Mulan just kicks it in her world and time. Two more (scratches chin) … Killashandra from one of my favourite books of all time, the Crystal Singer omnibus by Anne McCaffrey, and Aragorn from LOTR. Maybe I’d throw in a dragon just to liven things up. Toothless is awesome but not much of a conversationalist. He’d just have to make funny faces.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I live and work in Ethiopia so that’s a little different to most. I love to play music – I play a range of woodwinds such as flute, panflute and Irish whistle – and when I’ve a quiet evening I love nothing more than a relax with an epic book.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

Ha ha, it’s really boring, but it’s one of those “learn-to-read” books about Kathy and Mark I think. After that must come Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and then I had a Hardy Boys binge before graduating to older books.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

Well, I’ve a sale coming up on 15th/16th August when I’m going to take a run at getting one of my books into the Top 10 free books on all Amazon. If you’d like to sample my work, Aranya will be free on the 15th and it is a bestseller in Coming of Age fantasy.

Secondly, I’m really excited about the release of Dragonstar on August 16th. It’s the 4th book in my Dragonfriend series and the culmination of the series.

I think you’ll love the cover art for this series – do check it out, thanks!

Check out more interviews, spotlights, & reviews on the blog tour.

About Author Marc Secchia:

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ GoodReads

Synopsis of Aranya:

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonizing, building, and warring. Now the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom – the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

Series Note

There is a companion series to Aranya, set in the same unique Island-World above the Cloudlands. Aranya is the last of the Dragons – or is she? Find out why the Dragons disappeared in The Pygmy Dragon, now available on Kindle.

Audible ~ Amazon ~ iTunes ~ Audio Excerpt

About Narrator Shiromi Arserio:

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ SoundCloud ~ IMDB


The giveaway is for a $50 Amazon gift Card. Open internationally! Ends August 16th, 2017.

Aranya Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Giveaway & Interview: John C. Dalglish, Author of Torn by the Sun

DalglishTornByTheSunFolks, please give a warm welcome to historical fiction & mystery author John C. Dalglish! We chat about dead authors, villains, obstacle courses, and plenty more. For details on the giveaway of a signed copy of Torn by the Sun, then scroll to the bottom.

If you could be an extra on a TV/movie mystery, what show would it be?

DEXTER– it was the first show my wife and I ever binge watched. We were addicted.

What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

ERMA BOMBECK– I know that probably comes across like-WHAT?!- but she’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever read. I would love to swap family stories about my kids.

Over the years, are the changes in society reflected in today’s villains and heroes?

I don’t know if they’re more or less evil than before- but the acts of the villains are more heinous by description. The heroes are probably a little less plastic.

In my experience, some of the best fiction is based on facts and history. How do you build your research into your fictional works?

The book I will be giving away on your blog (Torn by the Sun) is my first attempt at Historical Fiction. I found the process very interesting. The main thing I had to keep in mind was that if I made up something that wasn’t factual, then it would definitely be caught by someone. It kept me on my toes and made sure I did my research.

DalglishWhere'sMySonWhat do you do when you are not writing?

Mostly play stay-at-home husband and grandpa. Oh, and think about writing alot!

What side characters in your work have caught more attention than you expected?

Actually, I tell the story about how my main character in the Det. Jason Strong series came to be. It turned out that I met him at the same time as my readers, when he showed up at the first crime scene of the first book, WHERE’S MY SON? He was the lead detective but not someone who was supposed to be a lead role. I liked him enough to make a whole series about him!

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

“The Great Airport Mystery”– a Hardy Boys novel. I read the whole series.

You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along? Will there be a tasty libation involved?

First of all, I’m not much of a drinker-wine or beer occasionally- but I love me a Diet Cherry Limeaid from Sonic.

I would probably invite Macgyver– or the Rock!

DalglishTornByTheSunTorn by the Sun Book Blurb:

Keiko Yoshida is a beautiful, young Japanese-American in Pre-World War 2 San Francisco.

Jesse Sommers is a native San Franciscan, who walks into Keiko’s life just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Neither has any way of knowing what is coming, nor the impact events will have on their lives, but they are determined to hold on to a love being ‘TORN BY THE SUN’.

DalglishWhere'sMySonWhere’s My Son? Book Blurb: 

What would you do if your son went missing? How far would you go to get him back?

Michael Barton comes home to find his infant son gone. There is no trace of the kidnappers, and the police have no leads. Michael is driven by a promise and he won’t stop.

Detective Jason Strong led the task force to find Michael’s son and has become his friend. But as Michael’s darkness grows, Jason fears he may be the only one who can stop him.

It is a race against time, as the detective tries to stop the events that will change everyone, before it’s too late.

Places to Find John Dalglish


The author is giving away 1 signed copy of his Historical Fiction, Torn by the Sun, to a US/Canada winner.

To enter, answering the following in the comments:

1) What now-dead author would you like to interview?

2) How do I contact you? Email is preferred.

If you share this post on social media, let me know in the comments and you get extra points. Contest ends Mon. July 13th, 2015 at midnight.


Interview: Gail Z. Martin, Author of Deadly Curiosities

MartinDeadlyCuriositiesIt is my pleasure to have Gail Z. Martin on the blog today. I quite enjoyed her most recent release, Deadly Curiosities (check out my review). Toady we chat about cussing, convention panels, super sleuth kids’ books, and a whole lot more. Make sure you check out the bottom of the post for GIVEAWAY info!

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

Fantasy and science fiction hold up a mirror for us to try on different futures and pasts. Sci Fi often serves as a cautionary tale of where we might end up if we aren’t careful. Fantasy lets us play in the past or present that isn’t but should have been. And sometimes, when we experience something in fantasy, we start wondering why we can’t alter reality. That’s why sci fi and fantasy have always had a bit of a subversive edge, questioning the status quo and wondering what else might be possible. Sometimes it’s easier to approach a controversial topic from a fresh perspective outside of the real world. Star Trek did this all the time. I think that’s also something that happens with today’s dystopian fiction. Once you start people asking why something has to be the way it is, you’re opening the door to change.

MartinSummonerWhat fictional world would you like to visit for the holidays? Is there a fictional holiday event that you would like to take part in?

For the holidays? Hogwarts! I’d love to be part of that awesome Yule feast and the Yule Ball.

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer books, I talk about a mid-winter holiday called Winterstide on the Solstice, which I think would be a nice, quiet alternative to the Christmas chaos to try some year.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

I don’t think you have to mention every time someone stops to use the bathroom, but throwing things like that in occasionally makes the world feel more real. (In one of my books, a character overhears an important bit of news taking a pee back behind the tavern.) It goes right along with throwing up, food poisoning, and lice.

Cussing depends very much on the individual character. Some will use “minced oaths” (the equivalent of ‘darn’ instead of ‘damn’), some will be vulgar, and everyone else will be in between. Cussing is actually an interesting way to explore what a society finds sacred and profane, what they consider vulgar and acceptable, and what behavior is tolerated of different social classes and in different social occasions. Try coming up with a suitably vulgar/blasphemous outburst for a religion that doesn’t exist! It’s harder than it looks to make it believable and not funny. Likewise, if you have a person from a rough background, they’re going to cuss. You don’t always have to repeat what they say, but not having someone like that swear is inauthentic.

My characters complain a lot about lengthy travel, especially when it rains and the taverns have bedbugs. Talking about the hardship of travel in a fantasy setting reminds readers that this was before you could hop on a plane and be across the country in a few hours.

For me, these kinds of details make a world feel more lived-in and real. It’s the difference between a movie set and actually being there. And it can make you very thankful for central heating and indoor plumbing!

MartinBloodKingConventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of self-promotion and what are some of the least favorite parts of self-promotion?

I love doing conventions as a pro, because it’s even more fun than it was when I wasn’t a pro. I get to talk to readers and be on panels and hash out cool topics like “Writing real magic” or “Are werewolves the new vampires?” with some of my favorite authors. Conventions are like family reunions, only with better relatives.

Blogging is fun, although sometimes I feel like I’ve said everything and it’s hard to come up with a new topic. I really enjoy conversations on Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads. Book signings are fun when the store has good traffic and there are lots of people. When you’re in a strip mall bookstore on a very rainy day, all you can do is make the best of it by getting to know the bookstore staff—which can be a lot of fun.

Probably the least favorite part is that you really don’t ever get to take a break from reminding people that you and your books are out there. It’s so easy for readers to go on to the next big thing and not remember that they were looking forward to the new book in your series—especially when they have to wait a year. So there really isn’t any time off from being out in the public.

MartinSwornWith the modern popularity to ebooks, a book is no longer limited to a specific genre shelf. It is now quite easy to label place an ebook in multiple genres (i.e. YA, Fantasy, Horror). How do you see this affecting readers? Have you been inadvertently lured outside your reading comfort zone?

On the plus side, readers may stumble upon books they wouldn’t have found wandering through a bookstore. On the minus side, it can be harder to discover books in a specific genre because they’re not helpfully shelved together, and the covers are smaller online and therefore not always as tempting.

I think readers find ways to cope, and overall they will find what they’re interested in, either by browsing, using the Amazon suggestions (which can be funny sometimes if you’re searched for some odd things), and tapping into word of mouth sites like Goodreads.

Ebook categories can also be humorously off-base. My epic fantasy The Blood King once accidentally got categorized on Amazon under “erotica”. I guess that’s the next category down from “epic” on the menu and someone picked the wrong one! I suspect there were a few very confused readers until we got it straightened out!

From your own writings, are there any characters you would like to cosplay?

I might be tempted to do something from the upcoming steampunk book….

MartinIceForgedAs a young reader, unspoiled by the realities of this world, what stories and authors drove you to delusions of grandeur, expecting to be swept up into a magical tale or a laser battle?

As a kid, I loved Nancy Drew, Meg [Duncan], Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys, along with Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators. I read a lot of ghost stories, including Macbeth and Hamlet. Of course there was Dracula, Frankenstein and anything about King Arthur, ranging from the Mary Stewart books to the more scholarly texts. Anything with ghosts, castles, and monsters was big on my list!

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

Mary Shelley, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, and probably Billy Shakespeare.

MartinRaider'sCurseFinally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

So much going on! Reign of Ash, the latest in my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga epic fantasy came out in April and I’m still doing book signings for that. Deadly Curiosities, my new urban fantasy, comes out in late June, and I’ll be doing some signings in the UK in July/Aug. as well as in the U.S., so that’s exciting. I’m doing about 14 conventions this year, and several of those are first-time for me, so always fun. Plus I’m working on the 4th book in the Blaine McFadden/Ascendant Kingdoms series, and a new Steampunk book, Iron and Blood, for 2015. I’m also in 8 anthologies and I write a new short story every month for Kindle/Kobo/Nook in either the Deadly Curiosities Adventures series or the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures series, plus a Deadly Curiosities Adventure novella for Wattpad.

Places to Find Gail Z. Martin

Please look for me, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and I also have monthly conversations on Goodreads and I post free excerpts on Wattpad

Ongoing Giveaway and Upcoming Events

I snooped around on Gail’s various sites and she has a ton of stuff going on. Check out her GIVEAWAY of Deadly Curiosities on Goodreads (through June 24, 2014). She and several urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal authors have teamed up to do a Q&A and Giveaway party on Facebook on June 25, 2014. Also on June 25, she will be on Goodreads hosting a lanchapalooza for Deadly Curiosities with party favors and giveaways. And you can catch her on Reddit where she is also giving away ebook copies of Deadly Curiosities. I wish I had some cyber-confetti to toss around!