Summer of Indie Talks With Cliff Ball

Today's Summer of Indie guest author is Cliff Ball, who talked with us about his dystopian, Christian thriller novel Times of Trouble which is set in the U.S, thirty years in the future.

Times of Trouble

Thirty years in the future, the U.S. government has turned into a tyranny as the EPA and TSA grow with ever more power.

Brian, the main character, tells his story from first person point of view. His work with the FBI involves mostly cyber terrorism and actual cases of potential real world terrorism. Eventually, his wife gives birth to their third child, who has Down's Syndrome, which does not please the U.S. Health Administration because there are rules and regulations set-up in cases like these to prevent "genetic freaks" as they like to call them, from sucking up a lot of Health Admin money. Because the Atwoods are born again Christians, they never considered aborting the baby, so now the Health people have to take him away to deal with the problem later.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service decides to recruit Brian to be the personal agent of the President of the United States, David Collins, due to his great work stopping a terrorist plot that would've involved Offutt Air Force Base. Brian's faith is tested every day as he deals with a man that has no morals from what Brian can see, and is tested even more when his wife finds out that she's dying from a fast growing form of breast cancer. Trouble in the rest of the world pits the U.S. against Israel as that country attempts to defend itself from attack.

When the re-election of Collins doesn't turn out the way he wanted it, he and his people declare the election nullified because of supposed "irregularities" with the ballots. Collins claims that the new President-elect may take the seat sometime in the middle of next year, if everything looks to be sorted out. Collins purges his staff of what he considers unloyal people, including Brian. At the same time, Brian loses his wife, but regains the son he thought he had lost.

Brian moves back to his family home in Nebraska, where we follow what happens as the country slowly falls apart. Events play out as Brian and his family sees the End Times approach.




Cliff Ball lives in Texas, is a Christian, and has a BA in English. He is currently going for a Tech Writing Certificate and a 2nd BA, and hopes to pursue an MA in Technical Communications in the next year. So far he haspublished six novels.

You can find author Cliff Ball online at:



Summer of Indie Meets Carolyn Arnold

With the third novel of her Madison Knight series coming out in Summer 2012, Summer of Indie invited author Carolyn Arnold to talk with us about the first two books in her mystery series. Author Carolyn Arnold gave us a brief introduction to the Madison Knight series: "Major Crimes Detective Madison Knight, fueled by determination to find justice for the victims, is a strong, independent female amidst a career dominated by men.  If you love a strong female protagonist lead, I invite you to meet Madison for yourself."

Ties That Bind

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman's body is found in a park killed by the same line of neckties, she realizes they're dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the Sergeant and Chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if there's not going to be another victim.

Author Carolyn Arnold told Summer of Indie that, "The Madison Knight series is designed as a stand-alone, which means you can read these books out of order and still pick up on the series' characters and storyline." Readers do not have to worry about details of the second book containing spoilers of the first.


Madison Knight should have ignored the call. Now she is spending Christmas Eve dealing with her least favorite thing...blood and lots of it. When a female victim is found in her home it has Madison and her partner tapping into the vic's personal life. With a rash of former business partners and lovers, all of whom wanted her dead, there are not enough hours to question them all. But trying to find the person who had the most motive isn't all that's on Madison's mind. As she struggles to establish balance in her own life, she knows she has to get her focus back. Justice requires it. 

Be sure to be on the lookout for Sacrificed, the third book in the Madison Knight series, coming out this summer!

Image of Carolyn ArnoldCarolyn Arnold is the author of several novels in various genres.  Her mystery novels Ties That Bind and Justified have reached best seller status on Amazon United States for Kindle.  Her FBI thriller Eleven released November 2011 made it on The Miami Books Examiner's 'Top 12 Fiction Books of 2011' list.   

She was born in 1976 in a rural town of Ontario, Canada.  She currently lives with her husband, and two beagles in a city near the well-known Canadian center Toronto.

You can find author Carolyn Arnold online at:


Summer of Indie Talks With Ruth Barrett

Our next guest author's book, Base Spirits, is best described as a historical ghost thriller, and inspired by the play A Yorkshire Tragedy. Author Ruth Barrett stated that, "if you like ghost stories and historical hellishness, this will appeal to you!"

Base Spirits:

‘Murder has took this chamber with full hands

And will ne’er out as long as the house stands.’

~A Yorkshire Tragedy, Act I, Sc. v

In 1605, Sir Walter Calverley’s murderous rampage leaves a family shattered. The killer suffers a torturous execution… but is it truly the end? A noble Yorkshire house stands forever tarnished by blood and possessed by anguished spirits. 

Some crimes are so horrific002C they reverberate through the centuries.  

As an unhappy modern couple vacation in the guesthouse at Calverley Old Hall, playwright Clara, and her scholar husband, Scott, unwittingly awaken a dark history. Clara is trapped and forced back in time to bear witness to a family’s bloody saga. Overtaken by the malevolent echoes, Scott is pushed over the edge from possessive husband to wholly possessed…

Inspired by a true-life drama in Shakespeare’s day, this is itself a play within a play: a supernatural thriller with a historical core.  

Only one player can survive. 

In Paperback--

After hearing about Base Spirits, Summer of Indie interviewed author Ruth Barrett to find out more about her work and the process of being an author. 

Q: Can you tell us how you got started writing?

A: I've been a storyteller all my life. My Mom used to read to me from the time I was a baby, and all of my childhood games involved my inventing complex story-lines. I've always been a keen reader and wrote for the sheer fun of it since I was a child. I studied English Literature at university before training as an actor, then spent years working in theatre and TV. I caught the writing bug again in my thirties and began seriously honing my skills with courses and writers' groups. I published a number of short stories before attempting to write a novel.

Q: Can you tell us some more about your book?

A: Base Spirits was inspired by a play I did a number of years ago-- 'A Yorkshire Tragedy'. It's an obscure one-act piece first presented by Shakespeare's own theatre company in 1605 to 'cash in' on a popular scandal of the day when a minor nobleman lost his fortune and attempted to murder off his family rather than live in poverty. I was portraying his long-suffering wife-- who apparently forgave him even though he killed their sons in front of her very eyes! I had a chance to visit the area of England where the story took place during the rehearsal period, and discovered that the old family hall is not only still standing, but can be rented as a holiday flat. I met a local historian and was given a tour. Knowing as much as I did about the history, I thought it might make a good ghost story... It took me a few years, but here we are!

Q: What motivated you to publish now?

A: I had been trying the traditional publishing route on and off over the past few years. Canada has a very small pool of good literary agents and none of the worthwhile ones were willing to give it a chance. Genre fiction is a bit looked down upon in this country: there is a very strong prejudice toward 'literary fiction'. I'd give up for a while, then try again if I felt I had a new contact or direction to try. Meantime, the book was reworked and professionally edited by a highly respected industry pro. She loves Base Spirits and offered to place it on a few publisher's desks for me... but still no joy. It was incredibly discouraging because I knew it just needed to find an audience-- and the 'gatekeepers' were holding me back. I've battled some serious illness over the past few years and was on death's door three times. After the third time, I finally started listening more closely to my friend Craig's suggestion about going it alone. The concept of Indie publishing was really starting to take off because of the e-book revolution and I decided that life is too short to waste any more time.... and thankfully, my health seems to be fine these days.

Q: In your book, who is your favorite character?

A: Clara Ravenscroft has a few things in common with me, but we're really only alike in the broadest of senses. Like me, she's a writer and very much an animal of the theatre world. We've each had our share of being knocked back from our creative goals both by our own inner doubts and by outward forces beyond our control. I also was once briefly married to an academic, but he was nothing like Clara's fictional husband, Scott Atkinson! The only traits my ex-husband shares with Scott are actually his positive attributes: their boyish love of the poetry they teach, and their uncanny ability to memorize and recollect whatever they read. Thankfully, I've never been through anything nearly as horrible as Clara's supernatural adventures in Calverley Old Hall! And I don't get drunk.

Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?

A: I haven't had enough time to read my fellow Indies to give an honest answer! My TBR pile is huge and I hope to make some time as the year progresses. I've made countless great connections with so many other talented and personable authors-- and we all have a genuine wish to help one another out in whatever ways we can. It's been a heartwarming revelation to find that none of us are really alone as we explore the Wild West of the new directions in publishing.

Q: What's your favorite book of all time?

A: I'm going to cheat a bit and say The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. There really is nothing that is more brilliant or inspiring for the sheer beauty of the language and the amazing insight into the human condition.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: I have a fairly eclectic list of favourites. Off the top of my head, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Alice Munro, Sarah Waters, Emma Donoghue, Ian MacEwan, Stephen Fry, Lionel Shriver and Louis Bayard. My biggest early influencers for horror writing are definitely Stephen King, Peter Straub and John Saul. I adore Dickens and the Bronte sisters, too.

Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?

A: Read a lot. Hone your skills. Don't rush to publish: this is not a race. Just because it is easy and relatively cheap to get your work out into the world, make sure it is in as professional and perfect a condition as possible before you do. I've seen a lot of good ideas that are badly executed and not well-presented, and that only cheats both the author and their prospective readers. Once you have done your job as a writer, hire an editor. Have a proper cover designed. Be patient and keep the faith. If your work is good and you make steady effort with getting the word out, the readers you want to attract will find you...(with any luck!)

Q: What's next for you (in your writing)?

A: I've just released a stand-alone Kindle short story 'Family Secrets'. http://www.amazon.com/Family-Secrets-ebook/dp/B007D8TLP2 Over the next little while, I'm planning on putting out a few more shorts, then bundling them up with some bonus stories into an anthology. The next major work is very likely the first of my 'Dead Drunk' mystery series. I have at least 3 or 4 books planned for that project. I also have another ghost novel-- The Rake's Chronicles-- set in late Victorian England. It kind of depends which of the fictional voices in my head make the most noise to get out...

My PhotoRuth Barrett is a Canadian author living in the quirky theatre town of Stratford, Ontario amid the swans and tourists. She studied English Literature at Trent University in Peterborough, and the University of Leeds, UK, and went on to train as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Always a story-teller, the move from stage to page seemed a natural progression (although it freaked her parents out a bit). Ruth has had a number of short stories published over the years, and Base Spirits is her first novel. The inspiration for this historical ghost thriller is a play from the time of Shakespeare- A Yorkshire Tragedy.

You can find author Ruth Barrett online at:


Summer of Indie Meets Darcy Scott

Fans of mystery novels will be interested in Summer of Indie's latest guest author, Darcy Scott.  We talked with Scott about their work, and learned a lot about Matinicus, "a one part ghost story, two parts murder mystery—set on Maine’s most notorious island." We asked Darcy Scott to give us a brief personal description,  and we found out that she is an "ocean cruiser, live-aboard sailor and author of kick-ass mysteries." Summer of Indie asked author Darcy Scott to give us an in-depth look at two of their books: MatinicusAn Island Mystery, and Hunter Huntress.

MatinicusAn Island Mystery

MatinicusMatinicus (247 pages) is a gritty, spine-tingling tale—one part ghost story, two parts murder mystery—loosely based on the history and wild west-meets-beeper-generation lifestyle of Maine’s most notorious island. The story pits a renegade fishing community against an unhappy child-bride of the 1820s, a defiant twenty-first-century teen, and a hard-drinking botanist—Dr. Gil Hodges—who escapes to the island of Matinicus to avoid a crazed ex-lover and verify a rumored 22 species of wild orchid, only to find himself hounded by the ghost of a child some two-hundred years dead. If Gil’s hoping for peace and quiet, he’s clearly come to the wrong place. Generations of infighting among loose-knit lobstering clans have left them openly hostile to outsiders. When a beautiful, bed-hopping stranger sails into the harbor, old resentments re-ignite and people begin to die—their murders linked, through centuries of violence, to a diary whose secrets threaten to tear the island apart. Kirkus Reviews says: "Scott's prose crackles with energy, and her sense of place is superb…Ends with a brilliant twist sure to leave readers' jaws hanging. The kind of book readers will tear through, only to find themselves hungry for more.”

Matinicus is available online in both softcover and Kindle formats at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Matinicus-Island-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0082C3XBQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337606899&sr=1-1), and in all Smashwords e-versions (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/160797).

Hunter Huntress

Hunter HuntressDistraught after the horrific car crash that claims the life of her young son, the and talented pianist Jamie Lloyd quits her high-power job with a New York symphony and flees to New Hampshire, where she marries a seafaring marine biologist. Although it's a good life, she remains emotionally numb and tormented by thoughts of Michael Ryan, the man whose carelessness shattered her world. Choked off from the past, unable to live in the present, she finds herself drawn back to her old home, determined to find answers to the questions surrounding that awful day. But as Jamie faces off against her intricately monstrous foe, coming ever closer to the answers she seeks, she comes to find that Michael Ryan's inevitable ruin is not necessarily her salvation.

You can find author Darcy Scott online at:
Darcy ScottAuthor Website: www.darcyscott.net

Blog: http://Darcyscott.blogspot.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/Darcyscott


Summer of Indie Talks With Doreen McGettigan

Our next Summer of Indie guest is Doreen McGettigan. When asked to briefly describe herself, Doreen responded, " I write. I always thought I could save the world. I know now that I can't but I will keep trying anyway."

Doreen McGettigan talked with Summer of Indie about her book Bristol bOYZ Stomp, which was written after she experienced personal tragedy: the random road rage murder of her brother, musician David Albert. Her book is the story of  the "fight for justice, and the continuing struggle to put the pieces back together, minus one."

Bristol bOYZ Stomp:
Bristol boyz Stomp
The media was there in full force. Our court advocates warned us we were going to hear graphic details of David's injuries. I was prepared; I wanted and needed to know every detail of that night.

You can find author Doreen McGettigan online at:

Blog: http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-boyzStomp/113804488656243

YouTube: http://youtu.be/_6ApR_tV63Y

Twitter: @doreenb8


Summer of Indie Hangs Out With Lee Allen Howard

Our guest author for today is Lee Allen Howard, who "writes horror, dark fantasy, and supernatural crime—and technical manuals. All terribly horrifying.

Lee also does editing and layout for fitness professionals and psychics in addition to editing fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s done book publishing consultancy.

A long time ago he earned a BA in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also received an MA in Biblical Studies from CI School of Theology and an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Lee is a Spiritualist and is a practicing medium and metaphysician. You’ll see these supernatural elements crop up in his writing.

His publication credits include CEMETERY SONATA anthology, THOU SHALT NOT... anthology (Dark Cloud Press), and Amber Quill Press. His fiction titles for Kindle include THE SIXTH SEED, MAMA SAID, STRAY, DESPERATE SPIRITS, NIGHT MONSTERS, and SEVERED RELATIONS.

He lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."

Today we talked with author Lee Allen Howard in-depth about his book, The Sixth Seed, which is a "dark, paranormal fantasy fraught with suburban Pittsburgh horror."

The Sixth Seed

Today’s stories of alien abduction and experimentation include temporary embryonic implantation. THE SIXTH SEED takes this scenario one radical step further when the first alien/human hybrid fertilization develops to full term in utero.

Believing a vasectomy will prevent another unplanned pregnancy, 34-year-old Tom Furst--Melanie’s loving husband and the father of their five children--wants more than anything to dig himself out of the fiscal hole he’s mired in and become financially secure. However, during the procedure, mysterious Dr. Prindar Krakhil secretly implants a worm-like alien seed in Tom’s vas deferens that not only ensures that Melanie gets pregnant, but plants in her womb a child half alien.

Their children are abducted. Melanie becomes gravely ill. When Tom loses his job, their home, and the sixth seed is born, will he be able to accept the child for what it really is--and conquer the temptation to exchange it for the money Krakhil offers?

After hearing more about The Sixth Seed, we interviewed author Lee Allen Howard to find out more about his inspirations, and the process of being a writer.

Q: Can you tell us how you got started writing?
A: I started writing because I stories made my imagination explode. Writing horror began at a young age: I wrote my first story on ruled tablet paper in second grade. My teacher passed it on to the elementary school principal. He read it at a meeting of the local Lions Club, of which my father was a member. As president of the chapter, Principal Sprunger fined my father a dime because the preacher’s son wrote such a sordid tale full of skeletons, witches and blood.
Some boys like baseball. My fun was writing stories.
Q: What motivated you to start publishing?
A: I was never keen on writing to fit the strict bookstore shelving categories. I began publishing my work for e-readers because I can write the story I’m inspired to write and tag it with the terms that suit it best. Anyone with a search engine can find it.
Although I’m responsible for the writing, the formatting, the editing, and the promotion, I no longer have to wait for or depend on others to validate me. If I do a good job, the potential for profit far surpasses traditional publishing. 
Q: Can you tell us more about your book?
A: When I first began working on THE SIXTH SEED, I wasn’t planning to write anything other than a horror tale. And it started out as a story, a short one, way back in 1994.
The idea invaded my mind during my drive home through rush-hour traffic: A man gets a vasectomy performed by a doctor in league with the Gray alien race in order to produce the first human/alien hybrid. The doctor implants a genetically engineered paraseed in the man’s vas deferens, outside the cauterization point, that impregnates his wife with their sixth child—the first hybrid to develop full-term in utero.
The more I worked with this idea, the bigger it grew. Frustrated with my inability to get a handle on this tale, I sent it out for review and received a comment that the idea was too big for a short story; why not develop it into a novel?
When I wrapped my head around the possibility, I broadened the story arc, developed the characters, and gave them a backstory. Working on my antagonist revealed that I needed to represent his world realistically, and this included science and medicine. (Frankly, without this grounding in reality, the story would be too farfetched to believe.) So I studied up on urology and obstetrics. I was lucky to have a friend who had just undergone a vasectomy and was willing to give me the gritty (intensely portrayed in chapter 1).
My horror story was mutating into something else, some kind of hybrid… Was it science fiction? Kind of. Fantasy? That, too, listing toward the dark side. Definitely paranormal, in the aliens and UFO sense. And what else? Family drama. What a mish-mash.
I tried to place this book for a decade, and it couldn’t be categorized. I liked it just fine the way it turned out, so I refused to rewrite it to make it acceptable for traditional print publication. I finally decided to produce it myself for Kindle, and it’s enjoying regular sales.
I bill THE SIXTH SEED as “a dark paranormal fantasy fraught with suburban Pittsburgh horror.” But the science fiction is there too, in the medical procedures, extrapolated to the conception, prenatal care, and delivery of a child half alien.
Although I spent the most time with my protagonist in THE SIXTH SEED, my favorite character is six-year-old Emil, a sweet, starry-eyed boy who can’t get his father to believe that the bug people are coming to take him away.
Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?
Melanie had been virtually comatose since lunch. Late that afternoon, he slipped into the bedroom to check on her and laid his hand on her warm belly. She didn’t stir. Faintly, almost imperceptibly, he felt the baby move in her womb. It made him smile. His smile died when he felt the child trace the outline of his outspread hand.
Q: Where can people find your book?
My blog is http://leeallenhoward.com 
Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?
A: I’ve read a few and enjoyed most of them, but the one that sticks out is Jason Jack Miller’s THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK—Appalachian gothic at its finest.
Q: What are some of your favorite authors?
A: I like Stephen King’s early books. I also appreciate Patrick McGrath and Cormac McCarthy. A new favorite is Trent Zelazny, who wrote DESTINATION UNKNOWN.
Frank Herbert’s THE RATS and Thomas Tryon’s THE OTHER were probably the most influential books during my teen years. I still love reading THE OTHER.
Q: What's  next for you?
A: I earned a master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. I’m working on finally getting my thesis novel, DEATH PERCEPTION, ready for publication. Here’s the skinny:
Nineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton lives with his invalid mother in a personal care home, but he wants out. He operates the crematory at the local funeral home, where he discovers he has a gift for discerning the cause of death of those he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.
He thinks his ability is no big deal since his customers are already dead. However, when what he discerns differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers. To save the residents and avenge the dead, he must bring the killers to justice.
Supernatural crime blends my love of horror, crime, and the supernatural. It’s the direction my fiction is taking. 
Q: Can you tell us some interesting facts about you?
A: I’m kind of bipolar with my light and dark sides. Besides writing dark fiction, I have a master’s in biblical studies and was once a pastor before I came out. I’m now a Spiritualist and a practicing medium. I write about metaphysical issues at http://buildingthebridge.wordpress.com/.
I’m a technical writer by trade, which is a sub-genre of horror.
I love cashews and eat them every day.

You can find author Lee Allen Howard online at:

Twitter: @leeallenhoward

Author Website: http://leeallenhoward.com