Sensual Cards by Luna Ballantyne

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INTRODUCTION

Relationships take work… whether you have been together for two months or twenty years, keeping the magic alive requires effort and more than a little bit of imagination! Sexy little surprises can add that extra sparkle and are a wonderful way to keep your partner ‘on their toes’ … and what better time than their Birthday or Christmas?

Introducing Sensual Cards by Luna Ballantyne

A brand new collection of sensually inspired cards that is sure to add that extra bit of spice to a special occasion! Within the range we have also included a naughty Booty Call Card – perfect for making date nights even more memorable and keeping the romance alive.

This brand new collection will be available to order from 4 January 2016 and will include a unique Valentine’s Day card that is sure to have hearts racing!

Contact Ingrid@luv2write.net to claim your free sample.

www.sensualcards.net

CARD IMAGES AND GREETINGS:
CHRISTMAS

xmas101

CARD IMAGES AND GREETINGS
BIRTHDAY

bday

CARD IMAGES AND GREETINGS
BOOTY CALL

booty

ABOUT LUNA BALLANTYNE
Novelist and entrepreneur

Residing in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Luna is very proud of her Geordie roots. There is always something happening there and with its vibrancy and character it suits her personality perfectly!

A firm believer in female empowerment, Luna sets out to write books and develop products that shine the light on women as strong individuals who know what they want and how to ask for it. This is never truer than when it comes to the subject of sex which is why she has chosen this as her niche!

Inspired by strong female writers who dare to push the boundaries of erotic fiction – women such as Anne Rice and Nancy Friday, Luna is looking to make her own mark; both with her Sensual Liaisons Series and her soon to be launched Sensual Cards collection.

For those who dare to recognize and embrace their sexuality – Luna Ballantyne is very pleased to meet you!

SENSUAL LIAISONS SERIES
Freedom

After spending years trapped in a soul-less marriage, Zara Cockburn is ready for anything … but was she really ready for Max and his “special” request?

Max, the most exciting and dangerous man she has ever set eyes upon. Sinfully good-looking and with a seductive charm that leaves her breathless.

freedom

One things for certain;
her life will never be the same again.

A sensual historical romance like you have never read before, delivered through a series of deliciously addictive novels.

(Contains sexual content of an explicit nature)

Available to purchase at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OKVZO2O/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

The Dawg Pound Dynasty: An Alternate History of the NFL

The Dawg Pound Dynasty: An Alternate History of the NFLThe Dawg Pound Dynasty: An Alternate History of the NFL by D.F. Pellegrino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t know anything about American Football, so the fact that this book kept me reading til the end is a tremendous achievement. Whilst there are sections that comprise lists and results, the bulk of the book is made up of the human story behind the rise of the Cleveland Browns in this alternate history, the interplay of personalities and amusing sketches in an alternate history media. There are some very nice touches in events that we all know being subtly changed by the butterflies of history, things which are mentioned by-the-by and not dwelt on as they are tangential to the story.

Before reading the story I had a vague idea there was a city called Cleveland. After reading it, I am convinced that the Cleveland Browns are the greatest American football team of modern history…modern alternate history, that should be!



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Book Review – Zhirinovsky’s Russian Empire

Zhirinovsky's Russian Empire: An Alternate HistoryZhirinovsky’s Russian Empire: An Alternate History by D.F. Pellegrino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a mighty book, of significant length, wide and ambitious plot, and global scope. It is one of those works of Alternate History that never lets the threads escape, and is masterful example of how the butterfly effect can work, and can work in the most unexpected ways.

The basic plot is that Vladimir Zhirinovsky becomes Russian leader instead of Yeltsin, but the book is so much more than that. Whilst the butterflies unleashed mostly have their origin inside Russia/CIS lands (as we would term them), their effects have dramatic consequences in the Balkans, in the Baltic states, and across Africa, not to mention within the USA itself.

Characters we know from history play greatly varied roles, some similar to their real ones, some vastly different as the butterflies multiply and the knock-on effects of history gather momentum.

But this book is far from dry, and in fact there are tremendous moments of emotional tension, moving scenes, heart-rending stories and heart-warming stands. The power of the emotive response that this book evokes is a significant testament to its author.

There is throughout a curious sub-plot, epitomised by one Mr Putin as a conspiracy theorist, but are things always what they seem?



View all my reviews

Guest Post from Gia Volterra de Saulnier

Starting Out As a Writer – 5 Things You Should Know
From a Musician’s point of view for Grey Wolf’s Blog post

I never intended on being a writer. Never in a million years would I have thought that I of all people that I know and have met in my lifetime would ever become a writer. It’s not to say that I’m not a good writer. I studied English and English Literature and read fantastic writers of classics and not so classic books (yeah, I like reading a great Romance Novel now and again). I even wrote some poetry back in High School and College and some of it was rather good too. I just never had the confidence of anyone actually reading my work(s) and telling me it was really good.

It wasn’t until I got on LiveJournal http://www.livejournal.com which is a free site to join (but now I’m no longer involved), that I really started to venture into writing short fictional pieces that folks I didn’t know read and gave me grammatical editorial advice.

I was more of a musician. I love to be in front of an audience and just be able to communicate my music if it’s jazz or just performing live in a Renaissance Festival that people come up to me and say, hey, that was really great or that they really enjoyed it. It’s that automatic reaction that I just get a great kick out of.

Writing is very different. Now, I’ve been really lucky to get my picture book (that I never thought I would get published) and here are the 5 things that every writer should know.

1. EDIT: Once you have finished writing your piece, be it a short piece of fiction or a novel; be sure that you EDIT the piece for grammar and spelling. Word is NOT going to double check if you misspell a word that is automatically another word. For instance if I wrote WORLD instead of WORD then Word is NOT going to pick that up. Even after you have EDITED the piece, be sure that someone else you love/respect reads your piece. They will then give you feedback on your piece. Try not to get offended of their opinion. They are there to help you with your writing and your ability to get the work printed/published.

2. RESEARCH: Review Publishing Houses or Magazines that you really want to have your piece in. Does your piece make sense for that said Publishing House or Magazine? I’m pretty sure that Fiction Fantasy is so very different from Science Fiction (for an example). I am not sure they want your poetry on love and kids. Be sure you know who your audience is.

3. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Which brings up a great point here – who IS your audience? In my case with my picture book Journey to Jazzland, this is for kids who like music or who want to learn more about jazz. That’s my audience. Also, my audience is parents who enjoy listening to jazz or folks who are jazz musicians.

4. WRITE MORE!!! Yeah, I’ve been learning this lately. So you published a book – so what? You need to get your work out there to other audiences so I’ve been lucky to keep writing articles, blog posts and now my short fiction and get it published in other papers and magazines and guess what? My book is now featured all over the World and in UK!

5. PLUG: Promote, Promote, PROMOTE!!! I can’t stress this enough! Once you have written your work or have it published you need to be the one to promote the piece! I will even help promote you if you are a writer – why? This is because it’s a win- win situation– you help promote me too by doing that – go check out #IndieBooksBeSeen on Twitter or Facebook (http://www.indiebooksbeseen.com). I’ve actually created a fan page called Promoting Picture Books http://www.facebook.com/promotingpicturebooks to help promote other picture book authors and illustrators out. So far, I’ve gotten a great response.

Interview with Spanish Spy

I’m from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and I go by the name SpanishSpy on AlternateHistory.com (I can’t say I’m too comfortable giving out information on the Internet). A list of my works on that site can be found here:- http://wiki.alternatehistory.com/doku.php/offtopic/spanishspy

How long have you been writing?

I first creatively wrote in 4th and 5th grade by writing script-like “comics” to friends of mine via email. I wrote my first AH in 6th grade (I was 11 or 12) with the PoD being if John Cabot’s expedition became violent with Native Americans. This butterflied into a war between England, France, and Spain.

What is the first work of yours that you have published or intend to publish?

I’m no published author, so I can’t say anything on this. The closest thing I can get to is my first work of AH that I put on the internet, which was originally a project I did for my 8th grade geography class. It was called The Hammer, the Sickle, the Earth, and was a blatant Sovietwank, with a balkanized America, a USSR that went as far west as Germany and as far south as Vietnam, as well as directly annexing western Canada after its PoD, where the Soviet Union intervenes in the Korean War on the behalf of the Chinese. Things get horrendously implausible from there, but I had a hell of a lot of fun writing it.

Who were the earliest authors to be an inspiration for your writing?
When I was in Middle School, my father let me read several books in his collection of science fiction novels; one of my favorites was Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Coincidentally, a friend of mine got me a collection of his stories, and I later read the Space Odyssey novels in addition to several others by him, and then onto Asimov, Niven, Heinlein, Bear, and others. This interest in science fiction led me one day to looking up more books on the internet, and I found out about Harry Turtledove’s WorldWar series. After gleefully reading all eight books, I read all eleven books of TL-191 in quick succession, and then The Guns of the South, The Man with an Iron Heart, and many others, and then other alternate history off of Amazon on my Kindle.

Also during Middle school I was exposed to the general “international politics” (for lack of a better term) interest that I had, which evolved after gushing over the lore of the Command and Conquer series of PC games. They took me to theoretical World War III scenarios on YouTube (which are in retrospect absolutely implausible), and then I found the videos of a user named alternatehistorypt, whose videos are not plausible either but served to eventually put me on the path of actual alternate history.

Which other authors do you consider to be an inspiration and for what reason?

I’m a little odd in that I haven’t read much for a while, and yet I am an utter geek. A lot of my influences, therefore, have been from games on the PC. There’s a lot of Command and Conquer influences in my work, subtle they may be. My work, The Beacon of Halifax, has taken a good deal of inspiration from Bioshock: Infinite after being inspired in part by Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. Perhaps it is best I break down my influences by significant works:
Liberty and Death: a Timeline of an Otherworldly Revolution and Beyond: this was inspired by a ghost story I read in the books Weird Massachusetts by Jeff Belanger, and I subsequently blew it out of all rational proportions. One of the major characters in the timeline, Thompson Phillips, was an actual but obscure man, and the house owned by John Hancock in the timeline was really owned by him, but in OTL never used by him.
The Beacon of Halifax: as I said before, it was inspired by Command and Conquer 3, in addition to a trip I took to Halifax, Nova Scotia between 8th grade and my freshman year of high school. In the PC game, a major plot point is an earthly explosion beginning an alien invasion. In my work, the 1917 Halifax Explosion is the catalyst to a similar invasion. Additionally, some ideas have been inspired by Bioshock: Infinite. On the topic of books, Harry Turtledove’s WorldWar has been a source of inspiration.
Emancipation and Exodus: This was inspired more by the general sociopolitical zeitgeist of the 2010s, especially by the controversy from the Snowden leaks and the growth of the security/bureaucratic state; I think that if a literary critic or an anthropologist reads it after a few decades, they would be able to say it is a product of these times. In the updates I’ve written, at least (my coauthor, Blackjack555, may be thinking something different), there are themes of government corruption, disillusionment with public figures and institutions, corruption of noble ideals, the growth of government bureaucracy, and how a democracy could become tyranny gradually. Aesthetically, it takes a few pages from Ad Astra per Aspera, an amazing work on alternatehistory.com by the user Rvbomally (which partially inspired the idea of alternate history extended into the future; the core of it is based on an idea for a story my coauthor had). Thematically, it borrows some from Bioshock Infinite and a little from the CoDominium series by Jerry Pournelle.
Scorpions in a Bottle: I wanted to do what David Bar Elias did to TL-191 to For Want of a Nail. This timeline is a result.

Are you inspired by any landscapes or buildings, or even towns and cities?

On occasion, I try to describe a city, for example, based on what the suburbs of Washington look like, as well as the countryside of north-central Virginia (where my family goes on day trips to). Other inspirations have included southwestern Texas and Washington proper, as well as bits of London and rural Lincolnshire.

Have you been surprised by a negative reaction to any of your work?

I did something stupid while writing The Beacon of Halifax and got chewed out for it. It was surprising, but I understood the rationale for it. However, I feel I’ve turned that poor decision into a very interesting plot point, so I feel it’s become a net positive. It’s even influenced, for the better, my conception of the timeline’s future twenty years or so after the current point.

Are there any themes driving your writing?

I have always found the approach of taking a theme and then writing about it as producing preachy, heavy handed works that are often dull; only a few works in my experience, like Orwell’s 1984, do it well. Rather, I start with a setting, and the themes grow out of them. For example, The Beacon of Halifax lets me explore the concept of what TvTropes calls “Evil vs. Oblivion,” the question of to what extent is it morally sound to support an evil individual or regime to fight an even greater evil? This is the focus of the recent arc focusing on Grayson Chester’s liberation of Memphis.
Despite my dislike for that method, I am guilty of writing with a theme in mind (but it did not arise until well into planning it), in Emancipation and Exodus. I find the notion that, in the future, humanity will somehow become better morally and ethically to be naïve and, frankly, childish. Star Trek, for example, uses this idea, and I vehemently disagree with it. People are, by their nature (in my opinion), shortsighted, vindictive, vengeful, brutal, and murderous, and no amount of charity or goodwill is able to fully overcome that. The future (of an alternate history with a 21st century PoD, so many things are still recognizable to us) of Emancipation and Exodus is a brutal one, where a hyperpower exploits human space at its leisure while being impeded by an overwhelming bureaucracy and politicization of most issues. The history of this universe is a bleak one, with multiple wars with liberal nuclear and chemical weapons usage (a favorite tactic of this hyperpower is the issuing of vaccines to citizens who swear allegiance to it on a newly conquered or rebellious world, while an artificial plague runs rampant on those that did not – credit to my coauthor, Blackjack555, for this idea).

What makes this so compelling to me is that, even in space, people are still people (I see this phrase as a sort of thematic statement of that work). I feel that, given the power to do so, people would do all the things in this timeline in real life. I find it interesting to subvert common science fiction tropes with a barbarous twist; rather being some uplifting, species unifying occurrence, the discovery of Faster-than-Light travel is during a major war and is subsequently used to kill thousands of innocents to prove a political point.
And yet, this theme of the inherent humanity of people is not necessarily pessimistic all of the time in that work; there are other touches in the story that are kinder and more mundane. People sell tacky gifts at spaceports and sing angry songs at rivals in love, and gush over the taste of a good hamburger (from Earth, even). One of my favorite examples is the name of a planet: Dote di Vittoria, or ‘Victoria’s Dowry’ in English. The backstory behind this is, when the system was surveyed, a young surveyor smitten with the daughter of a mining magnate, claims the mineral-rich world in his name and gives to his family in exchange for permission to marry his daughter. It’s romantic, perhaps melodramatic, but people are just that way.

Are there any genres, whether thematic or stylistic, that you enjoy writing?

In terms of subject, I usually write Alien Space Bats works mainly because those are most of my ideas and because I am afraid any non-ASB idea would be poorly executed (I have one such idea with a point of divergence in the Mexican Revolution that I am terrified of writing because of fear that it would be implausible). ASB lets me take the real and disrupt it with the absurd or impossible, and see the realistic (to a given degree) response of the actual world in question, a confluence of the real and unreal that I find quite fun to write.
In terms of style, I like writing in a textbook style moreso than a novelistic style, as it allows me to cover more history while not restricting myself to certain perspectives (although the latter approach certainly has its advantages, and I enjoy writing my timelines in that style). I once talked to someone of whom I had made an acquaintance about Emancipation and Exodus, and he insisted that I needed a central character to explore the universe. Had this conversation occurred over the internet rather than in person, I would have sent him that image macro that says “that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.” I find the ‘macro’ of history far more interesting than the ‘micro’ of history, so to speak, and Emancipation and Exodus is written from the ‘macro’ perspective, giving multiple points of view from different time periods, expounding on the theme of the corruption and decay of a noble ideal. EaE is not a drama of a few people; it’s the tragedy of a species.

Which was the first writing of yours that you are proud enough to say “I did this” about?

The Rise of the Tri-State World Order: A Timeline of Orwell’s 1984 was my first work that was critically praised, and reflected a massive effort on my part, writing four to five pages a day, plus research, for about three weeks, with the resultant product being fifty-five pages long. It was originally a project for an English class, and I got the highest grade possible, so that’s a plus. Getting the 2014 Turtledove for Best New Speculative certainly helps as well (my highest thanks to those who voted for it).
The other work that I am quite proud of is my Christmas special for the year of 2013, So Be Good for Goodness’ Sake: A Holiday Timeline. It’s a parody of the general feeling of government paranoia and public distrust of government in the 2010s, especially in the wake of the Snowden leaks, while framed in the context of a government pursuit of Santa Claus; in a phrase, it’s ‘Santa Claus vs. the NSA.’ There are some scenes where the tragedy of the story is balanced by the inherent absurdity that having Santa Claus as a character entails, and I think personally I used that juxtaposition effectively.

Do you find Alternate History a genre that is more difficult to write in than others, perhaps due to the focus on plausibility?

Yes. I spend a lot of time fact-checking, even down to slang and tidbits of everyday life, to ensure a feeling of authenticity. Most of my work is ASB (if not all of it), but I want to make sure it’s an accurate world that I am messing around with. It’s just so much more fun seeing a historically accurate world interrupted by something bizarre and impossible, rather than a half-baked, poorly researched one, which just becomes something focused on the bizarreness of the whole thing, lacking the characteristic of disrupted realism that good alternate history has.
Additionally, Emancipation and Exodus is not written in chronological order like my other works; the timeline jumps around century to century. Keeping continuity is hard, and I often have a second tab with the timeline open while writing to keep my writing consistent with established canon. For my older works, such as Liberty and Death, The Beacon of Halifax, and Scorpions in a Bottle also require such constant continuity-checking.

Do you write much non-narrative fiction, e.g. in the pseudo-historical fashion of articles and features from another world?

Yes; in some ways I find it more interesting than a narrative format, detailed above in my discussion of the structure of Emancipation and Exodus. Both Scorpions in a Bottle and Emancipation and Exodus are in a variety of nonfiction formats, while Tim Kane Lives is exclusively written as a series of news articles; it is intended, to a degree, to be a parody of the 2016 US Presidential Elections we see quite frequently on AH.com’s future history forum. Additionally, many of my oneshots are in the format of a history text; Wheels of the Patriots is in the format of an encyclopedia entry. As stated previously, I enjoy this format as it allows for a more full understanding of the world and the issues at hand; it feels more real, more understandable, and more complete.
Perhaps most interesting in terms of format is my work The Creators of This Hell: an Alternate 1940s, which I wrote as a background guide for a Model United Nations conference that I was chairing for middle school students. They were supposed to assume the roles of countries in this universe and debate two topics (which are given special treatment in the work) of concern in a mock League of Nations session; the work itself is in the format of a LoN dossier.

Do you find that much of your writing turns out to be Science Fiction, whether or not it was intended to?

If it is extended into the future, it naturally becomes Science Fiction due to the necessity of extrapolating changes in technology; certainly even when it is not science fiction, there is some of that. Some of my work shows some science-fiction-like elements; Liberty and Death required some creative thinking in regards to technology merging the designs of Da Vinci with technology of the 1700s; we have Congreve Rocket-powered airships launched from France invading Britain, and fighters in the sky intercepting enemy aircraft, as well as Da Vinci style circle tanks armed with Congreve Rocket batteries and cannons, and on one occasion Greek Fire. Liberty and Death generally verges on a form of clockpunk for the Catholic Church and associated nations and Magitek for the United States of Fredonia, as I call it; the latter uses magic-powered aircraft that act essentially like fighter planes and cargo variants of these are gradually phasing out naval ships.

Author Interview with Roisterer

I’m an old git by most standards. I was born and raised in the UK, but I’ve lived in the USA since 2001, and became a US citizen in 2013. I’m a Kentish man by birth.
I design silicon chips for a living, and have to remember that not everybody likes the technical stuff as much as I do.
I’m unpublished. All of my works are on AlternateHistory.com (AH) or Counter-Factual.net (CF). I have three novels completed, and a fourth starting, plus several short stories. I’m very much an amateur, and I hold down a full time job, so I never get as much time for writing as I would like.

Question 1
How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since 2011. I honestly would never have thought about putting characters to screen – the modern version of pen to paper – until I had read other people doing the same thing.

Question 2
What is the first work of yours that you have published or intend to publish?

I’m not sure that I have anything good enough to publish. I might hawk The Arrangement or Bus Trip to some short story anthologies.

Question 3
Who were the earliest authors to be an inspiration for your writing?

I read a lot of science fiction as a teenager. My favourites at the time were Asimov, Clarke, Bester, Knight, McCaffrey. Laumer and Niven.

Question 4
Which other authors do you consider to be an inspiration and for what reason?

There have been a few stand out moments. In an otherwise undistinguished anthology I read in the 80s there was a story that felt completely unlike anything I’d read before. It was called Burning Chrome, by William Gibson. It’s been said that the most effective stories don’t tell you how the future will be, but what it will feel like.
I also like Brian Aldiss’s Billion Year Spree, which is a kind of primer on other books. I doubt I would have read any Lovecraft without having read that first.

On AH I’d name Doctor What (Bruno Lombardi) Chris Nuttall, Thande and the late Robert Parker, all of whom posted things on line. They all have very different voices, and convinced me that if they could do it, I could do it too.
Oh, and Grey Wolf is always worth reading, There is a sense of immediacy in his work that is lacking in a lot of others, plus the stories seem to lead in unexpected directions. A kind of Van Vogt for alternate history.

Question 5
Are you inspired by any landscapes or buildings, or even towns and cities?

In its broader sense, location and milieu are very important. Would Phillip Marlowe be the same if he came from a different city? In my longer fiction, I’ve tried to give an idea of place. Some of these are SF settings, so I try to put in something about what life is like there. As for buildings, not so much. My late father wouldn’t be happy, as he was an architect.

Question 6
Have you been surprised by a negative reaction to any of your work?

I don’t think that I’ve had enough reviews. People mostly don’t read it. Perhaps if I submit some work and get a lot of rejections, I’ll change my tune.

Question 7
Other than authors (and friends and family) who are your heroes?

Norman Borlaug and Jonas Salk. The two people who aren’t so well known, but between them probably saved more lives than any politician who has ever lived. Perhaps also Johannes Kepler, a man who threw away decades of work when it didn’t fit the observations. I wonder who would have the strength of character to do that nowadays?

Question 8
Which was the first writing of yours that you are proud enough to say “I did this” about?

Gravity Well, definitely. Firstly, it’s a detective novel, and these are tough to do, as you have to have a well thought out plot. Secondly, I was posting it a chapter at a time, which is especially challenging as you can’t retcon anything if you get any clues wrong. I also came up with a heck of a twist.

Question 9
Do you find Alternate History a genre that is more difficult to write in than others, perhaps due to the focus on plausibility?

If you start a story about a popular AH meme, then there’s going to be a lot of discussion about this. I don’t just mean the obvious ones, like the Nazis winning WWII. You have to remember that there’s always somebody out there who knows more about the subject than you do. So if you write of X becoming a tyrant, or doing something out of character, expect some blowback.
Having said that, like SF, it can hold up a useful mirror.

Question 10
Do you write much non-narrative fiction, e.g. in the pseudo-historical fashion of articles and features from another world?

Not so much, although sometimes I try to take a sideswipe at some modern attitudes.

Question 11
Do you find that much of your writing turns out to be Science Fiction, whether or not it was intended to?

Well, I pretty much intended for everything to be SF.There are a few of my stories that blend into horror, but there is some overlap there.

Question 12
If you could go back in time to learn the truth about one historical mystery or disputed event what would it be?

I’d like to know what happened to Anne Bonny, one of the female pirates in the early eighteenth century. Mostly I’d like to go back and tell certain people at certain times, “how could you be so stupid?”

Author Interview with Marc H. Jones

Marc, hi, tell us about yourself:

I was born in London to a Welsh family, which means that I’ve spent my life using the Duke of Wellington’s adage that if a dog is born in a stable, that doesn’t make it a horse. I trained as a print journalist so at the time it made perfect sense for my first job to be at a radio station. After a few false starts I ended up as a (re)insurance journalist, and that’s what I’m doing now.
My amazon page is here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Marc-Jones/e/B00FFURIUK
My Facebook profile is here – https://www.facebook.com/marc.jones.50767
The Fireflies of Port Stanley – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fireflies-Port-Stanley-Marc-Jones-ebook/dp/B00COBGLLA/
Cato’s Cavalry – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catos-Cavalry-Marc-Jones-ebook/dp/B00DHUO9V6/
Cato’s Cavalry 2 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catos-Cavalry-2-Valentian-Campaign-ebook/dp/B00J7M75M8/
Splinters – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Splinters-Different-Alamein-Marc-Jones-ebook/dp/B00GL9LWUQ/
The Books From The Future – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Future-Marc-Jones-ebook/dp/B00KI3APL8/

Question 1
How long have you been writing?

I first discovered that I could write in school, when I was taking my English Language O-Level, so I guess I must have been about 15. However, it wasn’t something that I took very seriously at all. When I was University I dabbled at best with it. I really started to write when I had the most boring job in the world. Initially it was just fan fiction, but I later discovered the Alt-Hist website and started writing alternate history as well.

Question 2
What is the first work of yours that you have published or intend to publish?

After much prodding by my wife Kathleen I finally published The Fireflies of Port Stanley last year, followed by Cato’s Cavalry.

Question 3
Who were the earliest authors to be an inspiration for your writing?

Those who have read one of my books, Cato’s Cavalry, have wondered if I was influenced by Rosemary Sutcliffe. Yes, I was. The Eagle of the Ninth had a huge effect on me when I grew up, but The Lanternbearers had an even bigger impact on me – it left me in pieces for days afterwards.

Question 4
Which other authors do you consider to be an inspiration and for what reason?

I’ve always read as widely as possible to find out what to do – and what not to do. When I was a teenager I was a fan of the works of Colin Forbes, until I realised that he was basically using the same plot in every book, with the names of the suspects changed. I also cannot say how disappointed I was when I read the infamous Stars and Stripes alternate history books by Harry Harrison, which at times veered into ridiculousness. On a more positive note I am constantly astonished by how much David Weber writes every year, as well as how good he is.

Question 5
Are you inspired by any landscapes or buildings, or even towns and cities?

Swansea, Wales. The minute I see the Mumbles I get all homesick. Well, the minute I see the Black Mountains I tear up.

Question 6
Have you been surprised by a negative reaction to any of your work?

Oddly enough I’ve never had a really bad reaction from any of my written works. I have however had a few bad reactions towards my work from a boss who I will not mention.

Question 7
Other than authors (and friends and family) who are your heroes?

A lot of political heroes – David Lloyd George. Jo Grimond. David Steel. That should give you an idea of my politics! Other heroes – William Slim, AB Cunningham and Marcus Tullius Cicero. Oh, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Oliver Cromwell.

Question 8
Which was the first writing of yours that you are proud enough to say “’I did this’” about?

The Other Empire Strikes Back. I remember finishing it and then leaning back and thinking ‘wow, did I really do that?’.

Question 9
Do you find Alternate History a genre that is more difficult to write in than others, perhaps due to the focus on plausibility?

It’s very important to find a plausible point of departure. You can’t just say “Yes, the Soviets will reach the Rhine because Hitler catches a cold”, you have to really choose something consequential. And it’s important to find something that won’t make your readers howl with derision. Some of the most contentious threads on the AltHist.com website came about because the original poster came up with an idea that fit their prejudices and then stuck with that idea despite a torrent of facts and figures being thrown at them by other posters. So, it’s not particularly difficult, but you do have to think about just where the ripples from the changes you made will end up.

Question 10
Do you write much non-narrative fiction, e.g. in the pseudo-historical fashion of articles and features from another world?

Not really at the moment, although that was how I started off with writing alternate history.

Question 11
Do you find that much of your writing turns out to be Science Fiction, whether or not it was intended to?

My largest work so far has been the FanFiction works Jedi Harris and The Terran Jedi, both of which have taken me into science fiction territory, somewhat to my surprise. When the plot bunnies bite hard then things can go in unexpected directions! I’m also now working on my first science fiction novel, Earthfall, which be the first volume in a trilogy.

Question 12
If you could go back in time to learn the truth about one historical mystery or disputed event what would it be?

I’d go back in time to the bridge of the SS Californian, to see if they really did see the Titanic on the night that it sank. And if they did I’d like to kick Captain Stanley Lord in the nuts.
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Author Interview with Jasper Barlowe

Jasper Barlowe, age 31, location: Seattle, WA, USA. Studied history at the University of Washington. I was in the Army for a brief period. I’m not a big social media guy. Under the name Thespitron 6000, my major AH thread is “A More Personal Union” (at this link:
http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=193869 ) which diverges from our timeline when Francis II of France does not die early of a brain abscess.

My currently published work is The Red Crow, available at Amazon at this link:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Red-Crow-Jasper-Barlowe-ebook/dp/B00JMHC3VG
It is the first volume in a projected five-volume series of horror/alternate history novels set between 1914 and 1918, concerning an alternate Russian Revolution and World War I. The Red Crow is set in Saint Petersburg in late 1914, where an ancient evil is beginning to rise, threatening the whole of Russia, and eventually, the world. I am currently working on the sequel, to be entitled The Silver Eye.

Question 1
How long have you been writing?

About 18 years. I started when I was in high school, and have been writing off and on for years (with gaps due to various life events).

Question 2
What is the first work of yours that you have published or intend to publish?

My first published work is a novel available on Amazon, entitled The Red Crow.

Question 3
Who were the earliest authors to be an inspiration for your writing?

“Earliest” is a really difficult concept; I’m a voracious reader, and I honestly couldn’t tell you who I was reading when I started writing.

Question 4
Which other authors do you consider to be an inspiration and for what reason?

H.P. Lovecraft is a huge influence on my writing, as are Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, Robert E. Howard. I’m continually impressed by the transparency of Isaac Asimov’s writing; it’s astonishingly evocative while being as clear as a window pane. I read a lot of humor writers, which, when well-written, are master courses in brevity and wit, vital skills for any writer. I find myself influenced by artists outside of literature as well; musicians and film-makers have a decided impact on my visual conception of certain scenes–Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone, Christopher Nolan, the Wachowski Brothers, Stanley Kubrick, Todd Browning.

Question 5
Are you inspired by any landscapes or buildings, or even towns and cities?

I’m very much an “atmospheric” writer, so location is extremely important to me. A piece of writing has no verisimilitude if the reader can’t feel themselves in the setting. When writing The Red Crow, I spent countless hours researching Saint Petersburg, specific sites where scenes take place (the Winter Palace, the Mariinsky Hospital, the Admiralty Docks, etc), which was very difficult because most of the source material was in Russian, which I don’t read! Right now I’m being inspired by accounts of abandoned villages in England.

Question 6
Have you been surprised by a negative reaction to any of your work?

The nitpickery some of my alternate history work has received has always surprised me. I’m baffled by the sort of mindset who focuses on one tiny detail and allows it to ruin the whole work for them. If I say Napoleon was 5’3″ when he was actually 5’2″, what difference does that make to the story, really?

Question 7
Other than authors (and friends and family) who are your heroes?

Unfortunately, all my heroes are authors. H.L. Mencken and Ambrose Bierce remain among my top ten literary heroes, if only for their scathing wit, usually, although not always, targeted at the stupid. I also admire Aristotle, Isaac Newton, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Question 8
Which was the first writing of yours that you are proud enough to say “I did this” about?

I submitted a story to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction when I was 19 about Christmas on Saturn or something, which I suppose I was proud of at the time. (It was rejected, incidentally.)

Question 9
Do you find Alternate History a genre that is more difficult to write in than others, perhaps due to the focus on plausibility?

Less plausibility and more research. Most of my alternate history is historical, and therefore requires a lot of research into historical events that a science fiction story or fantasy can simply invent. Other genres need to be just as plausible, but invention is more acceptable, I think.

Question 10
Do you write much non-narrative fiction, e.g. in the pseudo-historical fashion of articles and features from another world?

Not really, not in that sense, because I find it’s often hard to “stay in character”, as it were. Most of what I write is narrative.

Question 11
Do you find that much of your writing turns out to be Science Fiction, whether or not it was intended to?

No. I have a pretty good idea of what a story is about before I start writing it (“Man discovers he is his own twin”, for example, may or not be science fiction, but “Man discovers he is his own clone” definitely is). I write a lot of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, crime, westerns, and horror because I find “literary fiction” to be boring and usually self-indulgent–writers who can’t write and painters who can’t paint, and so on.

Question 12
If you could go back in time to learn the truth about one historical mystery or disputed event what would it be?

I’d like to know what the hell happened to the Roanoke Colony. Also, the two missing plays of Shakespeare: what were they about, and were they any good?

Jasper Barlowe, Thank You very much!