‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’ – Paperback available now for pre-order!


As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures.

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English. Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.

Purchase the ebook NOW on Amazon or B&N

Pre-order the paperback NOW on Amazon or B&N

Official paperback release date: December 15, 2015

ramses and I

About the Editor

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium

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The Story Behind ‘Hidden Shadows’ by Linda Lucretia Shuler

HiddenShadows_medThe idea for Hidden Shadows began when I discovered an isolated, rugged section of the Texas Hill Country called Willow City. I loved the craggy, impossible hills, the deep canyons, the low-lying meadows. It felt as though I had been tossed back in time. Not a house was in sight, not a single barn. Homes were hidden at the end of trails slashed through the woods or climbing up the hillsides. The only breathing creatures I saw were the four-legged kind penned in pastures, several deer dashing across the road, and an armadillo.

A character had come to my mind earlier, wanting to be heard. Perhaps here is where Cassie needs to be, I thought – somewhere peaceful and isolated, to heal the troubles in her heart. But what troubles? It came to me then, what she was trying to tell me: she was drowning in grief, and needed to be restored.

I’ve met remarkable women who suffered incalculable loss, and yet somehow survived, and lived each day with joy. I marveled at them, at their courage, their spirit. And I asked myself, “How?” What did they endure in private, what interior battles did they wage? What dwelled in their spirit that made them victorious over such sorrow? And I’ve met those who did not endure, those who forever walked in the shadows of grief. And I asked myself, “Why?” Why do some souls shatter under the weight of it, while others survive? Because I’ve experienced grief myself – who hasn’t as the years collect? It’s part and parcel of life – the need to write about it must have been there, lurking inside me, silent.

So Cassie would move here among the hills and face her inner demons. But in what kind of house? I’ve always been fascinated with old country houses – the sort that are scattered thought the small towns of Texas, sporting wrap-around porches and a weathered “come on in look.” I thought it would be something akin to this – until I visited the old stone German homestead displayed at the Pioneer Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas. And I knew Cassie had to have both, conjoined like twins.

These elements were, in a small way, inspiration for Hidden Shadows. But there’s more, much of it unknown to me – the secret part of ourselves that reveals itself as we write.



Linda Lucretia Shuler wrote her first story when she was six, Koko the Monkey, which she still has tucked into a drawer. Since then her stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, and a handful of her plays have been produced in schools and community theatres.

Linda received a BFA in theatre from the University of Texas, and an MA in theatre from Trinity University while in residence at the Dallas Theatre Center. She taught theatre arts in college and high school for three decades, loving every moment and directing nearly a hundred plays in the process. She also wrote theatre arts curriculum K-12 for Houston ISD, conducted numerous workshops, and performed in community theatres.

Hidden Shadows, Linda’s debut novel, takes place in Willow City, a ruggedly beautiful section of the Texas Hill Country less than three hours from her home in San Antonio. Several other manuscripts are in the works, reaching across the genres. These include a prequel to Hidden Shadows, plays, and a collection of poems and a half-dozen different story ideas demanding attention.

Linda enjoys participating in Toastmasters, writer organizations, critique groups, and book clubs. She continues her love of theatre, delights in watching the birds flocking outside her office window, and is an enthusiastic fan of San Antonio’s championship basketball team, the Spurs.


Title: Hidden Shadows

Genre: Literary

Author: Linda Lucretia Shuler

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Amazon / OmniLit / B&N / Twilight Times Books

Hidden Shadows is a story of connection: to the land, to our ancestors, to others, to ourselves – and to the redemptive power of love: 

Cassie Brighton, devastated by the accidental death of her husband, flees to a remote homestead deep in the rugged Texas Hill Country. Alone in a ramshackle farmhouse steeped in family secrets, Cassie wages a battle of mind and heart as she struggles to overcome the sorrows of her past, begin anew, and confront the possibility of finding love again.

What people are saying:

Hidden Shadows is a wonderful novel of a women’s journey of self-discovery and search for purpose. The characters will win your heart (and sometimes break it) in this beautifully written and satisfying story of loss and renewal.”

Sandra Worth,

Award-winning author of The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen

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Guest post by S. W. O’Connell, Author of ‘The Cavalier Spy’

TheCavalierSpy_med“1776: His army clinging to New York by a thread, a desperate General George Washington sends Lieutenant Jeremiah Creed behind British lines once more. But even the audacity of Creed and his band of spies cannot stop the British juggernaut from driving the Americans from New York, and chasing them across New Jersey in a blitzkrieg fashion. Realizing the imminent loss of one of the new nation’s most important states to the enemy, Washington sends Creed into the war-torn Hackensack Valley. His mission: recruit and train a gang of rogues to work behind British lines.”

The above quote adorns the cover of my second novel, The Cavalier Spy, which is now out. Those who follow me on Twitter (@SWOConnell) or on Facebook (S.W. O’Connell) have been bombarded with a stream of promos, nuggets and tidbits. You may thank me later for all that. Seriously, this work was much more difficult to produce than my first novel, The Patriot Spy.  Going into it, I thought it would be easier. But I was wrong.

Writing the The Patriot Spy was a first venture so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no timeline and only a vague idea where it would go when I started. The Cavalier Spy, as a sequel, was more challenging.  For one thing, I had to remember everything I wrote in the first book just to make sure I did not repeat anything unintentionally.  Second, I had to repeat enough scenes from the first book, intentionally. Why is that, you ask? Because I wanted The Cavalier Spy to also be a “stand alone” work.  That way, readers who had not read The Patriot Spy would be up on things.  And of course, I had to do that without giving away any nuggets from the first book. Ice cream headache time!

The other challenge was how do you follow the largest battle of the war and all the excitement and intrigue went with it? How do you make it more interesting? As it turns out, that became easier as I went along and I got into the rhythm of the plot. Things started to happen. I read several new works related to the period following the loss of New York and before long I had several interesting things to build the action around. And a new piece of the Revolutionary War struggle to reveal. And just to juice things up, I have multi-chapter flashback providing more insight into the main protagonist, Lieutenant Jeremiah Creed. As I paced through it, new ideas and characters developed. A fictional town.  A British plot. Political intrigue on both sides.

About half way through the story I knew where I would end it, with an iconic scene out of America’s history. But you’ll have to read the book to learn more about that.

Shameless plug:  The Cavalier Spy is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com right now. In December, it will be available as a paper book at those locations and selected stores around the country.



S.W. O’Connell is the author of the Yankee Doodle Spies series of action and espionage novels set during the American Revolutionary War. The author is a retired Army officer with over twenty years of experience in a variety of intelligence-related assignments around the world. He is long time student of history and lover of the historical novel genre. So it was no surprise that he turned to that genre when he decided to write back in 2009. He lives in Virginia.


Title: The Cavalier Spy

Genre: Historical

Author: S. W. O’Connell

Website: www.yankeedoodlespies.com

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Purchase link: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCavalierSpy_ch1.html

Amazon / OmniLit 

About the Book:

1776: His army clinging to New York by a thread, a desperate General George Washington sends Lieutenant Jeremiah Creed behind British lines once more. But even the audacity of Creed and his band of spies cannot stop the British juggernaut from driving the Americans from New York, and chasing them across New Jersey in a blitzkrieg fashion. Realizing the imminent loss of one of the new nation’s most important states to the enemy, Washington sends Creed into the war-torn Hackensack Valley. His mission: recruit and train a gang of rogues to work behind British lines.

However, his mission takes a strange twist when the British high command plots to kidnap a senior American officer and a mysterious young woman comes between Creed and his plans. The British drive Washington’s army across the Delaware. The new nation faces its darkest moment. But Washington plans a surprise return led by young Creed, who must strike into hostile land so that Washington can rally his army for an audacious gamble that could win, or lose, the war.

“More than a great spy story… it is about leadership and courage in the face of adversity…The Cavalier Spy is the story of America’s first army and the few… those officers and soldiers who gave their all to a cause that was seemingly lost…”

~ Les Brownlee, former Acting Secretary of the Army and retired Army Colonel

“Secret meetings, skirmishes and scorching battles… The Cavalier Spy takes the reader through America’s darkest times and greatest triumphs thanks to its powerful array of fictional and historical characters… this book shows that courage, leadership and audacity are the key elements in war…”

~ F. William Smullen, Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and Author of Ways and Means for Managing UP

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adrenalineOne day it struck me—at 2:00 in the morning in the midst of another grueling 24-hour shift. I had just finished interviewing a nice lady with an appendix about to burst—we’ll call her Linda. I had done my best not to yawn as I went through the routine questions that an anesthesiologist is obliged to ask. She appeared nervous, which soon gave way to tears. I did my best to comfort her, took her hand, told her I would take good care of her. That I would watch over her carefully in the operating room and see her through surgery. And be there when she woke up in the recovery room. She appeared to calm down a bit. I wrapped up my pre-op assessment and asked her to sign the anesthesia consent form, while assuring her the risks would be minimal. She raised her eyebrows at this and the fearful look returned. I wondered: What the hell does minimal mean when you’re talking about life and death? More tears. She told me of her two young daughters at home that desperately needed a mommy. I felt my own throat tighten. I quickly buried my emotions, tried not to think about my wife and three sons, and focused on the task at hand as we wheeled her litter back down the hall to the OR.

After Linda, sans rotten appendix, was safely tucked in the recovery room, operation a success, anesthetic uncomplicated, I lay down in the call room to try to catch a couple of z’s. My mind wandered as I lay there. Rarely, I thought, does a person willingly surrender control of their mind and body to a virtual stranger. Yet, this is exactly what happens when the person is a patient being wheeled in for surgery and the stranger is their anesthesiologist, whom they have just met minutes beforehand. Talk about an extraordinary amount of trust. This degree of trust made a distinct impression on me that night, some twenty years ago.

Other thoughts followed soon thereafter. What if the trust Linda had exhibited earlier was ill-conceived and her doctor was actually bad? Not just incompetent or sleepy, but downright evil. Being an avid reader of thrillers, I thought this chilling concept would make for a good story. Too bad I wasn’t a writer. (Disclaimer time: I don’t want to scare people here. All the docs I have known in my 30 years of medical practice are highly competent professional people, who would never purposely hurt anyone.) But I still couldn’t shake the evil concept; it kept gnawing at me until eventually I had to put it down on paper—lack of writing experience be damned. So Adrenaline was birthed, my first medical thriller novel that explores this issue of absolute trust implicit in the anesthesiologist-patient relationship—specifically, what happens when that trust is abused and replaced by fear.  Adrenaline was finally published twelve years after my encounter with Linda.


JOHN BENEDICTDr. John Benedict graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and entered medical school at Penn State University College of Medicine.  While there, he also completed an internship, anesthesia residency and a cardiac anesthesia fellowship. He currently works as a physician/anesthesiologist in a busy private practice in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Benedict has been writing stories since high school, but his creative side was put on hold to pursue a medical education and start a family—he now has a wife and three sons.  Finally, after a 15-year pause, his love of writing was rekindled and his first novel, Adrenaline—a gritty medical thriller with a realism borne of actual experience—was born.

Besides creating scary stories, the hallmark of Dr. Benedict’s writing is genuine medical authenticity—something in short supply these days in thriller fiction.  He draws on his 25+ years of experience as a board-certified anesthesiologist to infuse his writing with a realism that renders it both vivid and frightening.  As one of only a handful of anesthesiologists throughout the country writing fiction, he gives readers a taste of what really goes on in the operating room, the human drama inherent in this high-stress, high stakes environment where lives are continually on the line.  Readers will find out what it’s like to hold a patient’s life in their hands, as the author provides an illuminating glimpse into the fascinating, but poorly understood realm of anesthesia.




Purchase on Amazon

About the Book: A sensational, skillful and highly suspenseful tale, Adrenaline introduces anesthesiologist protagonist Doug Landry. About Adrenaline: When patients start dying unexpectedly in the O.R. at Mercy Hospital, Doug Landry finds himself the focus of the blame. Is he really incompetent or is there something more sinister going on? As Doug struggles to clear his name and untangle the secrets surrounding these mysterious deaths, it becomes exceedingly clear that someone is serious—dead serious—about keeping the devastating truth from ever seeing the light of day. As he launches a pulse-quickening race against time to prevent more deaths, Doug soon finds that the lives of his patients aren’t the only lives at stake.  Seems that someone will stop at nothing to keep Doug from revealing the truth. Could it be that murder is the ultimate rush?

About the Author: Pennsylvania native John Benedict graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and entered post-graduate training at Penn State University College of Medicine, where he completed medical school, internship, anesthesia residency and a cardiac anesthesia fellowship. Benedict currently works as an anesthesiologist in a busy private practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Links:  http://johnbenedictmd.com/  https://twitter.com/johnbenedictmd https://www.facebook.com/groups/253647318120087/

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On the Spotlight: THE DEAD LETTER, by Finley Martin

It is 2001 and the police constable’s girlfriend is murdered in a fit of jealous rage. When the constable realizes what he has done, he manages an elaborate cover-up. Only one person knows the truth. Flash forward to 2012. Anne Brown is still running her late uncle, Bill Darby’s, detective agency after spending four or five years as his assistant. One day, the postman delivers an eleven year-old letter. The letter is addressed to her uncle from a woman named Carolyn Jollimore. She says she has evidence about a murder and begs for help from Darby. But Bill Darby is dead. And when Anne looks up the letter’s author, she finds that Jollimare too is now dead. Troubled with the evidence at hand, Anne must decide if she should investigate this eleven-year old murder.
Finley’s  Website / Facebook / LinkedIn / Goodreads

Finley Martin was born in Binghamton, New York and grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He received a B.A. degree in English at the University of Scranton, and during the 1960’s he served as an officer with the United States Marine Corps at posts in America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

After he returned to civilian life, he worked as a free-lance writer, p.r. consultant, and photographer and became public relations director at International Correspondence Schools. In the 70’s he received an M.A. from the University of Ottawa and a B.Ed. from the University of Prince Edward Island.  For many years he taught English literature at high school and writing courses at university.  He has also worked as a truck driver, labourer, carpenter, boat builder, and deckhand aboard commercial fishing vessels and passenger ferries.

During his writing career he published numerous magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, and short stories in Canada and the U.S.  He produced a mini-series for CBC Radio and has given numerous poetry readings.
He authored three books: New Maritime Writing, Square Deal Pub., Charlottetown, PE; A View from the Bridge, Montague, PE; and The Reluctant Detective, The Acorn Press, Charlottetown, PE.

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The Writing Life with Historical Novelist Joan Schweighardt

joanJoan Schweighardt is the author of several novels. In addition to her own projects, she writes, ghostwrites and edits for private and corporate clients.

Website: www.joanschweighardt.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/joanschweighardtwriter

Twitter: @joanschwei

What’s inside the mind of a historical fiction author?

I’m calling my book new book, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, a historical novel because I haven’t been able to come up with a better classification. Actually the story is based in part on the true history of the times I write about and in part on legends that grew out of the same time period. Because I had these rich materials to draw on, I did not have to work as hard at being creative as I would have if I were making up the whole story. But where I got off easy regarding that end of things, I had the challenge of having to do a ton of research and then being able to blend historical and legendary materials so that they would come together seamlessly.

What is so great about being an author?

If you love to write, being an author is great, just the way that it’s great if you love horses and get to ride all the time.

When do you hate it?

attila coverI complain a lot about how hard it is in these times to draw attention to books that are not published by one of the five big publishing houses that are able to throw money and clout behind their titles. I’d love to have a wider audience for my work. Not having the audience I want sometimes makes me question why I bother. But then I think about all the reasons I bother and go back to writing again

What is a regular writing day like for you?

I am at my desk every weekday by 8:00 a.m. But I don’t work on my own projects until I’ve finished client work. Sometimes I have no client work for days on end and can work on my own projects.

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?

Well, there are two kinds of authors. There are a handful of authors who have made it big and there’s the rest of us. I would think those of us in the latter category probably don’t have big egos. I don’t know about the others.

How do you handle negative reviews?

Nowadays most of the reviews a body gets are from the public at large, as opposed to professional reviewers. Some people are used to reading very uncomplicated books with unrealistically happy endings. So, if they accidentally purchase something a little darker or more challenging, they may say bad things about it. That can be hurtful to an author.

How do you handle positive reviews?

Everyone loves to get a positive review. But in these times I think some people are more interested in the number of reviews they get than in whether they are negative, positive or somewhere in between. If you have 600 reviews on your amazon page, readers will think they’re missing out on something and want your book. That’s why lots of people “buy” reviews. I still can’t get my head around the idea of every “buying” a review, but I understand where the people who do buy them are coming from. We all want to sell books.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

I’m much better at talking about the books I write for other people than I am talking about my own books. So I usually talk about my ghostwriting and editing projects for clients.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

Since I write for a living as well as for my own pleasure, I am pretty much always writing. I take a break on weekends. Sometimes if I have having trouble with a project, whether for a client or myself, I tell myself that if I want I can get a book and go lie down on the sofa and read until I fall asleep. That’s my escape valve. Knowing I can do that if I want to keeps me from ever actually doing it (mostly).

Any writing quirks?

I’m sure I have plenty but I don’t know what they are. When I’m writing fiction, I do the dialogue between characters out loud, often saying the words with the intonation they would. That doesn’t feel quirky to me, but if my husband is home and happens to overhear me, he’ll raise an eyebrow and give me “the look.”

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I’m happy to say the people who mean the most to me take my writing seriously. If they didn’t, I guess I would just have let it go.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate? 

I’m shrugging. I never “hate” writing. I do dislike many things about the publishing process, such as the need to market your work on social media and the fact that there are so few professional reviewers these days, and the ones that exist are inundated with review requests. But as for the process, I have no complaints.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

We all need money to pay the bills. While you can derive immense pleasure from doing the thing you love—whether it is writing or knitting or making flower arrangements—if you can sell your book or sweater or bouquet to someone who appreciates the love you put into it, so much the better.

What has writing taught you?

Writing taught me to think at another level. I don’t know if it’s a deeper level or just another level. I do a lot of lucid dreaming, where I am asleep and awake (or at least aware) at the same time. I think that comes from writing all my life, from trying to grasp the thoughts behind thoughts before they slip away.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

My best advice for first time writers and writers who just want to write better is read, read, and read. And don’t just read books in your genre of preference. Read everything, all the time.

Title: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun

Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction with a Legendary Component

Author: Joan Schweighardt

Website: www.joanschwweighardt.com

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Two threads are woven together in The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue. Lovers of history and fantasy alike will find realism and legend at work in this tale.

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On the Spotlight: Nightscape: Cynopolis, by David W. Edwards

Detroit’s eastside has seen its share of horrors. Once-proud factories gutted for scrap. Whole neighborhoods burned out and boarded up. Nature drained of color. But nothing like this: a thought-virus that turns the city’s dogs feral and its underclass into jackal-headed beasts.
The city erupts in chaos and nightmare violence. Communication in or out is impossible. The skies fill with lethal drone copters and airships bristling with heavy-duty cannon. Abandoned to their separate fates among hordes of monsters, the few surviving humans must find a way to elude the military blockade preventing their escape or to defeat the virus at its source—before government forces sacrifice them all.
Breakneck action, rogue science and deft portraiture combine for a grand and gripping tale of urban terror.
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David W. Edwards is the writer, director and
producer of the feature film Nightscape and author of the novels Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils and Nightscape: Cynopolis. He attended the University of Southern  California’s prestigious screenwriting program and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature while working for a variety of Hollywood production companies. He’s the founder and former CEO of a successful high-tech market research firm, and a former two-term state representative. He currently lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his family.
the entire NIGHTSCAPE

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