Author Spotlight – Assaph Mehr

Author Spotlight - Assaph Mehr

Introducing Assaph Mehr

Assaph has had his nose in a book since he was five, so it wasn’t surprising that he turned to writing. All those years reading on ancient Rome, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries while practicing various martial arts, travelling the world, and working odd jobs lead to some interesting combinations in his stories.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

G’day!
I read voraciously and eclectically, but I grew up of classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I also read a lot of mysteries, and was joyous when I found the sub-genre of historical mysteries.
I always dreamt of seeing my name in print, but that seemed something for retirement. Until one day, rather randomly, that I started to write. And haven’t stopped.
Considering my reading tastes, I write what I want to read – a mash-up of Ancient Rome detective and Urban fantasy.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

This is the second Story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. It tells of Felix’s second big case, where he was hired by a rich landlord who found tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.

Felix, dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, he’s hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.

The stories are set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. They are the cases of a cynical, hard-boiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Who is your intended readership?

If you like Urban Fantasy such as Harry Dresden and are curious about historical settings, or – conversely – if you love works of Roman detectives such Lindsey Davis and Steven Saylor and are open to supernatural and fantasy elements – this is the book for you!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Pretty soon after starting reading, which was before the official age to get a library card. I did end up getting my very own library card, reading voraciously, borrowing my sister’s card so I can start reading the adult fantasy shelf, and reading even more.

I haven’t planned on being a writer, until – decades later – my wife said she ran out of things to read. So that evening I started writing a story that has been kicking around in the back of my head. Thus Murder In Absentia was born. By that point I was fairly certain I not only want to, but am, a writer.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I don’t think there’s enough space to list them all here…

On the Roman historical fiction side, probably Colleen McCullough, Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis stand out. The last two also cover historical mystery novels, and I will only add the amazing Boris Akunin for his incredible Erast Fandorin series.

On the fantasy side too many to mention, from classics like JRR Tolkein and Fritz Leiber, to modern authors like Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett.

There are other historical fantasy detectives out there too… I’ll mention Barry Hughart, with Bridge of Birds – one of my all-time favourite books!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

If you want to write, write.
Unless you park your ass in a chair and put words on a page, you won’t get anywhere.

If you want to write well, read.
Read voraciously, in and out of your genres. Read anything that catches your fancy (and thing why). Read about writing. And then go and write.

If you want to publish, persevere.
If you’re going the trad route, it takes a lot of submissions, a lot of rejections, and a lot of time. So take a deep breath, keep writing, and keep submitting.
If you’re going indie, do it properly. Get yourself proper editors, proper cover designers, and proper book producers. Play to your strength, and pay for professionals to cover gaps.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

My wife is too scared to read my books, so she reads them only during daylight hours.
Also, Felix (my cat) is responsible for Felix (my protagonist). Because he walked into the room and sat behind my computer when I was thinking what to name him.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

Family, martial arts (30 years of practicing various arts), reading, avoiding yard-work, dealing with invading Australian wildlife. You know – life.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Currently writing a novella in the Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic series, and then it’s on to the third full-length book! Titled In Victrix, the novel sends Felix into the lives of gladiators and women in the republic.

In Numina

This is the second story of Togas, daggers, and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Hardboiled detectives, and Urban Fantasy.

A rich landlord finds tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.

Enter Felix, a professional fox. Dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, Felix is hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.

In Numina is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Praise for the Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic series:
“Mehr creates a vivid cast and an equally vivid setting in which magic just seems to fit in perfectly.”
— Richard Knaak, NYT best-selling fantasy author of Legends of Huma

“Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike.”
— Ruth Downie, NYT best-selling author of the acclaimed Medicus series of Roman mysteries

Buy Now: Paperback, E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon

Where to find Assaph Mehr:

Website (Felix the Fox Mysteries), Twitter, Instagram, Blog, Facebook

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Seattle News Headline Meets Urban Fantasy Author

Seattle News Headline Meets Urban Fantasy AuthorSometimes when you’re a writer, you come across a news article that you’re sure would fit right into one of your stories.

I setup Google Alerts this week, and asked it to produce alerts for articles, news and events in Seattle, Washington. And the top item on day one was something amazing…

From KIRO 7 came this headline:

Woman arrested after trying to break into Seattle family’s home through a dog door

My Thoughts…

  • This headline has story written all over it
  • As an urban fantasy writer, this sounds like something that would fit in my stories easily
  • Since I write about shapeshifters, I’m thinking I missed the boat when it came to drunk shapeshifters
  • I may well have myself a new character to feature at some point
  • It’s a shame this headline wasn’t about a guy caught doing the same thing, I could have used it as a promo for “The Lupine’s Call”

So… Who Was This Woman?

I didn’t see a lot of information about the would-be burglar, so that got my thoughts churning. And yeah, this is pretty much the order I wrote my notes down…

  • In the Seattle of the “Shadows Over Seattle” stories she would likely be a member of the Lupine breed of shapeshifters.
  • Since the supernatural creatures keep a low profile she’s probably an outsider to the city who’s visiting family.
  • She was probably drinking because of a loss in the family (the reason for her visit).
  • Having mistaken the house for her family member’s she’d tried to open the door but found she’d lost the key, or left it behind when she went out.
  • She’d tried under the doormat for a spare key, and couldn’t find one.
  • The dog door was her drunken solution to not wanting to wake sleeping family members.

And that’s how my brain works sometimes…

Book Reviews – June to August

Book Reviews-June-August-2018New Feature

For a while now, I’ve been considering adding book reviews to my line up of regular features. The problem has been that I have a huge back-catalog of reviews, and I really didn’t know where to start. I read both fiction and non-fiction books, and time allowing I can read three or four books a month.

Usually my fiction reading covers Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy/Paranormal genres, but I sometimes read outside those areas, if a book catches my interest, or it’s by an author I’ve come to trust.

My non-fiction reading ranges from author advice, to marketing, and topics related to stories I’m writing, or planning. I also pick up the occasional books on science, animals, and even biographies, or other subjects that catch my attention.

As a blogger, I often feature book spotlights as part of my regular posts, so don’t be surprised to see some familiar titles in my review posts. I’ve yet to decide how often I’ll be posting these review spots, so feel free to drop suggestions in the comments. Would you prefer to see each book review posted as soon as it’s live on the book sites, or does a round-up like this work best for you?

Reviews For Readers

FoolsOfParodyTitle: Fools Of Parody

Author: Scott Moses

Genre: Science Fiction, Satire

Rating: 4 Stars

Sci-Fi Political Parodys are a rarity

“Fools of Parody” was a fun read, but there were times when I felt a little confused by the motivations of some of the characters. Thankfully a lot of those confusions were resolved by the end of the story, as more information was revealed.
I would have liked to see certain characters fleshed out a little more, or at least more time on the page, especially given how instrumental they were expected to be in the outcome of events. However, it was a fun read, and I thankfully didn’t have to wade through a lot of hard science to feel that this was well placed in its genre selection.

Buy Now: E-Book, Paperback


TheHiddenCourtTitle: The Hidden Court (The Paranormal University Files: Skylar Book 1)

Author: Vivienne Savage

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Suspense

Rating: 4 Stars

A suspense-filled school year for the paranormal students, with a splash of romance

This book is a great read, and the romance element just adds to what would be an otherwise great story.
Starting a new school can be difficult enough, but when you’re going to a school for supernatural students things are always going to be a little different. I loved how each of the races had a unique perspective on not only each other, but the history of the magical world, and the events that are going on around them.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a suspense story without something going on to raise the tensions between the various races, or the individuals, and the author delivers on this in a wonderfully entertaining way.
What really surprised me though, is how much I came to care for the supporting cast of characters, just as much as I did for the protagonist and the love-interest. There is a great variety in the characters, and each of them has qualities that set them apart, as well as compliment each other.
I received a copy of this book as an Advanced Reader Copy, in return for an honest review, but I’ll definitely be adding more of this author’s work to my collection.

Buy Now: E-Book, Paperback


Reviews For Writers

LayerYourNovelTitle: Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes (The Writer’s Toolbox Series)

Author: C.S. Lakin

Rating: 4 Stars

This book made me rethink my book writing process

Lakin has produced a book that made me rethink my entire book writing process. Thanks to this book, I now have a way to help resolve problems I’ve been having with the plot of my current novel project.
I’ve been struggling with the plot for my first novel for years now, and this book came to my attention at just the right time. I was literally pulling my hair out at time as I wrestled with my subplots, and making sure they entered the story at the right time. But after reading through this book, not once, but three times, I’ve come away with new ways of looking at story structure, outside the basic three-act structure.
Lakin breaks stories into layers, and layers into key scenes according to how the layers fit in the story. The best part is that the entire process takes you from story premise to basic outline, and into layers of action-reaction and subplots that add depth to your story, and flesh out your characters in the process.
I’m glad that I picked this book up, even if it took multiple readings to wrap my head around the potential changes I can make to my writing process. I’ve actually made great progress breaking down the mess that is my current draft, and look forward to reshaping the subplots so that they actually make sense.

Buy Now: E-Book, Paperback


 

The Wait Is Almost Over!

If you loved “Under A Hunter’s Moon” and wanted to learn more about Richard Parsons, the wait is almost over.

“The Lupine’s Call” is the second in the “Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels” series of short stories. It continues the story of Richard Parsons, the wolf-shifter (or as they prefer to be called, Lupines) after he broke into a museum, and the hearts of readers in “Under A Hunter’s Moon”.

TLC - Postcard

Here’s What People Said About “Under A Hunter’s Moon”

“An amazing take on Lycans. I love the dark view taken but also the unique point of view that makes you want to care for the dark creatures.”

“I enjoy the author’s twist on the old werewolf lore, creating a whole new version and calling them Lupines, to allow him to break the rules of the legends without really breaking things, if you know what I mean.
This is a great teaser to the main character, his motivations, and his drive. Jump on in and then go yell at the author to hurry up and finish the book, just like I’m doing!”

“If you enjoy shifter stories, this one is a great Urban Fantasy short story that introduces you to some characters that you’ll definitely need to know more about!”

If you haven’t read “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, you can get your copy at all major ebook retailers