Category Archives: Guest post

SMILE AND BE A VILLAIN by Colin Falconer


Today my fellow blogger and wana minion Colin Falconer has agreed to share with us his thoughts on villains, because every good story needs a great villain.

That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
(Hamlet, William Shakespeare, 1.5.105)

When I wrote VENOM friends who read the book asked me how I could dream up such a thoroughly evil man. Because they knew me, they wondered aloud at my devious mind.

In life I don’t consider myself devious at all; there are two reasons I managed it. One, it was based on a real character: Michel Christian is not Charles Sobrajh, but his life was the inspiration and I borrowed his MO.

I also wanted to write the story because I knew how close I came to being one of his victims when I was backpacking through Asia in my twenties. Our paths crossed several times and in several places.

But I believe it’s Michel Christian’s character that makes the book; it not serial killing that fascinates me, it’s charisma. Because true evil is irresistible – until it’s far too late.

I wrote VENOM as an edge of the seat thriller; when it was released in the UK I treasured the letters blaming me for a bad day at work. I was up to 4am finishing your damned book!

But my ambition was to do more than this. I wanted to describe the kind of man, or woman, that we should all learn to treat more warily; the charmer, the beauty, the charismatic life of the party. They are either the most loveable – or the most lethal – people in the world.

The loner who preys on society is dangerous but unsurprising. If you don’t hitchhike or jog in dark places they can be avoided. But we are all prey to the Michel Christians of this world.

One of the most laughable things you hear after a serial killer has been caught are his neighbours telling journalists that he/she seemed so nice. So normal. BUT OF COURSE THEY DID!!! Most of us cannot imagine outwardly warm and charming people committing crimes; this is why they get away with committing them. It is the first chapter in the defence lawyer’s manual.

Charm is the monster’s most basic weapon. It can be entirely manufactured, in the way that conscience and integrity cannot.

As any introvert will tell you, becoming sociable or even charming is something you can easily learn. You will never be a true extrovert. But it’s still an acquired skill and as such should be used responsibly.

Serial killers and predators of every kind – including wife beaters and paedophiles – rely on the fact that people will take them at face value. But face value is just that; something people do with their face.

In Groningen, in Holland, some ground-breaking work is under way at the moment to explore this phenomenon. Scientists are learning to measure individual levels of empathy in the human brain; because empathy is what makes us human.

Show someone a picture of a crying or injured child and most often certain circuits in the brain will light up; it is the empathic response. Most people want to help or to comfort.

Yet in certain individuals that response is completely absent.

Most often such people become aware of their difference to others at an early age and learn to mask it. And it is in the successful disguise – the joker – that you have the making of the true monster. You have Michel Christian.

(Read more on the Groningen experiments here: THE EMPATHY EXPERIMENTS)

As well as being sexy and attractive, Michel is courageous, resourceful, determined – there is so much to admire and be seduced by. Yet he feels nothing but his own pain.

The real danger in such people is that they are irresistibly drawn to those who have the most empathy, because they cannot comprehend its absence in someone else. They completely misread the sociopath. They ignore the things that don’t quite fit, the things they do that should serve as warning. It happens every day, from email scams where people lose their money to romances gone bad where people lose their lives.

How many of us reading this have been duped by the man or woman who smiles and yet remains a villain; and further, have then discovered how pointless it is to warn others, for they only see the smile and yearn for its warmth to shine on them?

Find VENOM here: VENOM

Poison Oak, Oz, and Magic with Angela Wallace


Hello everyone I’ve decided to stop being such a loner and invite others over to play. Today I have the pleasure of interrogating sharing my blog with Angela Wallace.

Angela Wallace has been penning adventures ever since she was sucked through a magical portal as a child. What she saw and whom she met gave birth to exciting and complex fantasy worlds where defying the laws of physics was a bonus. She has since come back down to earth, only to discover this mortal realm has magic of its own. Now she is quite at home in the world of urban fantasy, though believes that love, faith, and hope are of a stronger magic than fire wielding and sorcery. She loves gun-toting good boys, and could have been a cop in another life except real blood makes her queasy. She’ll have to stick to solving supernatural mysteries. Language is her pleasure, whether it’s weaving words on a page or lassoing linguistics into translations as a sign language interpreter. Angela is currently working on the next book in her Elemental Magic series.

How old were you when you fell in love with reading? Can you remember what book/ books inspired you?

I fell in love with reading the moment I learned how. My dad will brag that I was reading at 18 months, but I can’t attest to that. The books that really inspired me at a young age were Tamora Pierce’s quartets, Song of the Lioness and The Immortals. The characters were strong, brave young women, and the series watched them grow from children to young adults. I remember going on those journeys with the characters, and it was inspiring not only in seeing them triumph over the trials in their lives, but it helped me turn to writing my own envisioned journey down on paper.

I haven’t read those- two more books to add to my TBR list!

We all have favorite books, ones we nag our friends to read, buy our loved ones as gifts, and the biggy, the books we read over and over again. What books have you read more than twice?

Dee Henderson’s The O’Malley series. They’re Christian romantic suspense, full of great, fast-paced action, heartwarming love stories, and a beautiful portrayal of family bonds. When I wrote my first paranormal romantic suspense, those are the books I studied as the model I wanted to emulate.

I love books that inspire me to be a better writer!

Everyone seems to complain when their favorite book is made into a movie or mini series. What is your favorite movie based on a book?

I actually love it when books are made into movies. I have this weird compulsion to compare the versions, ever since I was eight and I sat down to watch The Wizard of Oz with the book in my lap, going through every page with each scene from the movie. My favorite adaptation, though, would definitely have to be Lord of the Rings. No offense to Tolkien, but his writing style is hard for me to get into. Sword fights on screen are way better. 🙂

I bet you were so cute siting on the couch critiquing The Wizard of Oz!

What mad ass survival skill do you have?

I’m immune to poison oak. Which means I can run away through it or hide in it.

That is a pretty awesome survival skill- one I unfortunately do not have.

We’re all supposed to be eating healthy, but what naughty treat tempts you the most?

My mom made gluten free apple pie for the first time this Christmas and it was SO GOOD. We bought enough stuff to make it three more times, but I had to promise myself I’d only make one pie a month, and not every week.

Yum, both my daughter and I have to eat gluten free- I might need that recipe.

Where is the weirdest place you’ve ever written?

I was on a youth retreat once and one of the “exercises” involved dropping us in the middle of the woods to sit and have alone time. Good thing I took a notepad, or I would have gone crazy.

What do you love most about your current book?

I’m working on two and both are in different stages. The first is in revision/edits as my crit partners go through it, and I love watching it grow from their feedback and how I apply it. The second is in the first draft writing stage, and I love working with a new main character. She’s quite different from the MC in the first two books of my Elemental Magic series, and getting to know her voice has been a lot of fun.

I with you, I adore getting to know a new character!

What style of book do you secretly long to write, but are afraid to try and do?

I’d love to write a cop series of murder mysteries, but I’m afraid the plots I’d come up with would be too outlandish. Plus, I’m pretty sure my main characters would get shot. A lot.


What is the geekiest thing about you?

I can write in Tolkien’s elvish runes.

I love it!

Thank you so much Angela for hanging out with me today. It’s been so much fun! And if I ever lose something in a patch of poison oak I know who to call for help.

Now that you know how awesome Angela is- or because you need to contact her to get something out of a patch of poison oak you can find –Blog or Facebook or on Twitter

You can also find her books on Amazon and Smashwords

Phoenix Feather: Aidan Quinn is a centuries-old phoenix living as a human. Weary of the repetitious life cycles, she’s not sure she has it in her to love again, though dashing fireman Trent McCain is going to do his best to convince her otherwise. But the clock is ticking—a serial killer is on the loose, and he’s on the hunt for a phoenix.

Elemental Magic: Aileen Donovan wants nothing more than recognition as a scientist by her supernatural community. What better way to do that than to solve a mystery involving a power-hungry alchemist, hallucinogenic coral, and a homicidal sea dragon? The hard part will be working with Coast Guard officer Colin Benson—until the tides turn, and Aileen realizes that love and duty may not be mutually exclusive.