How did you hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

From Laurie Laliberte @LaliberteLaurie on Twitter. She tweeted out “Who wants to be part of KAS2?” And I replied “I do! I want to be part of KAS2.”


Tell us a little bit about your own work outside of the Kindle All-Stars.


My first book, Lillian Alling: the journey home, was published by Caitlin Press ( It’s a true story of an immigrant who wanted to go home. She was from Eastern Europe, living in New York city. But instead of taking a ship back to Europe, she decided it would be better for her to walk to Siberia and head home that way. So she did. She started out from New York in 1926, and ended up in Alaska in 1929. Amazing, gritty woman.


After the success of that book, I was encouraged to write more. So I’ve been working on a short fiction collection that should be out as an ebook this year. And I’m also working on another non-fiction history book about a mule train packer who lived a long and colourful life in the wilds of British Columbia.


I’m intrigued by regular people who do irregular things. Weird things. Inexplicable things.


Sometimes I write stories about these people.


What’s your favorite cryptid?


If I MUST pick just one, it’s The Ogopogo, a locally sourced cryptid. He lives in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. I don’t find him very scary. Or at least not as scary as the Loch Ness Monster. I also love another local cryptid: the Sasquatch. I SWEAR I saw one when I was 12, walking into the bushes near my house.


Tell us about your story – what’s it called and what’s it about?


My story is called “The Ogopogo Club.” It’s about a regular everyday woman who is living a life of fear, and overcomes that fear with a little help from The Ogopogo Club.


What was your process for writing your addition to CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS?


I took certain hideous characteristics from people I know, and turned those characteristics into two characters that were total dicks, plus one woman who was a composite of a few women I’ve met. Though I never mention the lake directly, it’s based on a real lake—Quesnel Lake—that is supposed to be the deepest fjord lake in the world and is like the world before humans. It’s terrifying. Silent. And deadly.


What have you learned about the many different cryptids of the world as a result?


I was shocked when I saw the list of cryptids that was available for us to choose from. Who knew? So many.  I knew about the Yeti, but the others were new to me. I’ll never be the same again.


Moving on from CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, what are you working on now?


I’ve got a fiction anthology coming out in ebook form later this year. Once again, it explores the more gruesome side of human nature.


I’m also researching some rather bloody historical crimes.


Finally, if you had one shot at selling this collection to a stranger in the street, what would you say?


“Step right up! You pays your nickel and you take your chances! Win a house, win a car! Come and see the Carnival of Cryptids!” And then I’d crawl back into my painted caravan. Yeah. That’s what I’d do.



Twitter: @susmithjosephy




Links to Books:





How did you hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?

El Presidente Bernard Schaffer told me about it and invited me to submit a story. He is always looking for ways to be of service to both other writers and our communities so I did not want to disappoint him.


Tell us a little bit about your own work outside of the Kindle All-Stars.

Most of what I write is non-fiction, some ghosting, proofing, and editing. I do not write novels yet, I favor short fiction especially flash fiction.


What’s your favorite cryptid?

I lean toward sea creatures such as the Kraken and the Creature from Loch Ness. I have loved dinosaurs since I was a little kid. And, as I get closer to being a fossil myself, I am more hopeful that some actual dinosaurs and other legendary critters will be found living quietly amongst us in our own neighborhoods.


Tell us about your story – what’s it called and what’s it about?

It’s called, “Oh My Darling of the Deep Blue Sea.” It’s about the longing of an old man whose time to return home has come. This is a man whose love of open water sustained him in times of great sorrow: the loss of his only son to a foreign war, the loss of his beloved wife who did not quite recover from the loss of their son. A man who yearns for the cold dark waters of his ancestral home beside a loch in Scotland and the embrace of the secrets it keeps.


What was your process for writing your addition to CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS?

I am not sure how to answer this… I suppose I should say that I had an entirely different story I was working on, but had to switch horses so to speak when I discovered my particular creature tale did not meet the criteria of this anthology. So, while pondered over which of the sanctioned cryptids I should write about the title of this one came to me as a song. A little sea-faring ditty that I included in the story. The original story was much shorter than this short version. I guess my years of writing flash fiction and ADD snippets restrain me from fleshing out many stories. I rewrote this to make it a bit longer but not so long that I muddied it with filler. I am honored that it was accepted, especially amongst such able published authors.


What have you learned about the many different cryptids of the world as a result?

That perhaps we children of the 60’s & 70’s were not the first to enjoy common hallucinogens. What I discovered is that humanity loves to tell stories of what ifs and could bes. That mystery and a love for things not yet explained delight us as much as anything else in life does. Our desire to be opinion leaders, shamans, mystics, and keepers of arcane and occult wisdom and secrets lends itself to fabricating imaginary and fantastic creatures to keep our childlike wonder and desire for adventure alive. I have found that every generation wants to take credit for discovering the moon… to make its mark as being its own unique cadre of thrill-seekers and adventurers. Whether these creatures exist or not matters little to me… though, I really hope at least some of them do… I just love to see the spark of delight in the eyes of those who enjoy talking about them. Life is too short to have no fantasies, no improvable mysteries, or dull imaginations.


Moving on from CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, what are you working on now?

Besides proofing and editing, I am working on some ghost rewrites for foreign Christian ministries and missionaries whose English translations do them disservice. I am working on a couple of children’s books with my beloved wife. And, I am working on several other fiction projects that may or may not turn out to be anything more than allowing me to run free and play as I develop my craft and skills at storytelling.


Finally, if you had one shot at selling this collection to a stranger in the street, what would you say?

“Pssst, Mac… over here. Have I got a deal for you…” Oh well, that might not work so good anymore. I would hate to have to try and sell it to Bubba or another scary cellmate.


I think I would search out someone who was reading something… other than the ads on the side of a passing bus… and, I would ask them what they are reading and do my best to discover if the reader enjoyed controversy, conspiracies, mysteries, or Scooby-Doo cartoons to make a connection. Then, I would direct them to our KAS CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS on Amazon and hope they did not think I was talking about a circus of gravediggers. Not everybody is going to like these stories… and though it’s a shame because this anthology is a delicious foray into what makes us start or shiver when we sense things we do not recognize or see out of the corner of our eyes… but, that’s okay. There are going to be so many more who will!


Maybe… “Pssst, Mac… over here…” might just work after all.


Twitter: @doogiehoser




How did you come to be involved with the Kindle AllStars?


Ha ha … I feel as though I’ve told this story a thousand times and I worry that people will get tired of hearing it, but …

Bernard Schaffer, whom I knew a little bit from twitter, posted a tweet that he was looking for short stories to include in an anthology. Within twenty-four hours, I sent him a polished draft of a piece I’d written a while back and never really done anything with. It was one of the first pieces Bernard accepted for the first KAS project. From there, I ended up helping with publicity and, eventually, some of the editing for Resistance Front.

That piece, “Fear of the Dark,” has morphed into a tale of erotica and is currently for sale on Amazon, both as a stand-alone short story and as part of my own erotic anthology, Strange Kisses. The clean version is exclusive to the Resistance Front anthology and I have no intention of offering it anywhere else.


Tell us a little bit about your own work outside of the Kindle All-Stars.


Where to begin? I am, first and foremost, a freelance fiction editor. I specialize in working with independent authors like yourself, Bernard Schaffer, and Susan Smith-Josephy. My work runs the gamut from more serious subject matter like Schaffer’s Superbia series, to hard core erotica like Shaina Richmond’s Safe With Me, to lighter fantasy like Eisah’s Outlander Leander series.

Although I’m a published author, I’ve published more as a way for editorial clients to view my work. My passion truly lies in the editing versus the writing.

I’m also an avid crafter which morphed, a few years ago, into crochet pattern designer. I published a book of my crochet patterns (Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath) last spring and will likely follow that first book with four more volumes in the series. My individual patterns are available in pdf format on and


What’s your favorite cryptid?


I’ve always been fascinated with tales of the Loch Ness Monster. Now that I’m older, I’m curious to see whether we will eventually find hard evidence that there really is a plesiosaur living in Loch Ness, or Ogopogo, or even Lake Michigan. Each of those lakes is actually deep enough and large enough to support an animal as large as Nessie is supposed to be. I think it’s possible if not probable, but scientists found specimens of the coelacanth and chupacabra, so . . .


How did the editing duties play out with this anthology?


The editing duties were quite different this time around. Bernard decided he would not be doing any developmental editing for this book as he had for the original, so a couple of the individual authors contacted me separately to professionally edit their pieces before they submitted them. Additionally, I acted as a submissions editor for the project. Every story in this group was chosen by both Bernard and me. No piece got in unless we both agreed.

Also, the two pieces I was paid to edit did not get preferential treatment other than an automatic yes from me. If Bernard had not liked them, they would not have been included.


Were you tempted at any point to write a cryptid story yourself?


Not at all. Bernard told me a year ago he wanted the next anthology to be a group of cryptid-based stories. I told him then that I would not be submitting anything for consideration, but he could count on my help. I didn’t know at the time I would be his co-editor.


Moving on from CARNIVAL OF CRYPTIDS, what have you got planned for the near-future?


Writing-wise, I’m planning a collaboration with an author you may know by the name of Tony Healey.

Beyond that, I have several editorial clients who are writing series to which I’m committed. There’s your own Far From Home serial, Reeni Austin’s Borboza Brothers trilogy, Eisah’s series which began with Flute of the Wind Queen, AND Bernard Schaffer’s Superbia and Guns of Seneca 6 series may likely be expanding this year as well.

Additionally, there are some newcomers with whom I’m working. I’m very excited about Anthony Deaver’s Garden War, Michael Tognetti’s Souls of the Past, Alexander Maisey’s Malevolence, and an as-yet unnamed short story anthology by Susan Smith-Josephy which is full of surprises.

And that’s barely the tip of the iceberg.


If you had one shot at selling this collection to a stranger in the street, what would you say?


These stories are so much more than monsters and horror. Matt’s story had me howling with laughter, tears streaming down my face. Simon’s and Doug’s stories brought tears to my eyes for other reasons; they both have such heart. Yours and Susan’s fill me with pride because I had the good fortune of seeing them through from the roughest first drafts to the beautifully polished stories they’ve become. Jeff’s had me grinning a wicked grin, but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling you why. And Bernard and Vitka could write just about anything and I’d read it.

I will always be a fan of each of the authors in this anthology.


I can vouch for your work as an editor myself, but to authors out there who are about to publish but haven’t had their work edited yet, what would you say? Just how important is it?


I like to paraphrase the old adage about the defendant who acts as his own attorney: The writer who acts as his own editor has a fool for a client. When we read our own work, we see what we intended to write. When someone else reads what we’ve written, they see what we actually put on the page. It is literally impossible for a writer to see his or her work objectively.

I’ll give you a few examples (and the major reason I’ve earned the nickname Edinatrix): Recently, one of my most talented clients sent me a manuscript they thought was their best work. This person was literally beaming with pride at how good this piece was. I read it through with my editor hat on, and when I finished reading, I said to myself, “This is probably the worst thing this person has ever sent me.”

It’s not that [insert name here] is a bad writer; it’s just that they couldn’t see the book from a reader’s point of view.

I had another author who hired me but refused to put any work into her end through the editing process. You see, an editor suggests changes; she doesn’t rewrite the work. That’s up to the writer.  This author refused to put any time into actually rewriting, so I told her in no uncertain terms that I didn’t want my name associated with the book. I have a reputation for quality work and I intend to keep it. I take pride in what I do and it shows; I earn it.

A third writer hired me because he kept getting one-star reviews. He didn’t want to put any work into editing because I suggested a complete rewrite. What I should have told him is that he had a bright future as a plumber, but I held back. Instead, I quit the job and he pulled the book from Amazon. He later changed the cover and title and republished, still unedited, full of typos and bad formatting, not to mention crap writing.

When an author, especially an indie author, does something like that, it makes every one of us look bad. Independent authors have a reputation for poor quality and for churning out sub-standard work. It comes from the minority of lazy indies who expect to make a quick buck, and it seriously ticks me off because most of us work our tails off to publish quality.

Editing is crucial. There is no excuse for releasing a book that has not been edited. Even if all you do is have another writer read your manuscript and give you editorial feedback, some form of constructive criticism. And for goodness sake, if you can’t have a professional proofread done, then at least have your Aunt Sally, the retired teacher, read your work and catch any major grammatical mistakes and spelling errors or typos.

There, their, and there are NOT interchangeable!



Twitter: @LaliberteLaurie


Links to Books:


FridayReads, Promo’s and BIG NEWS

Finished my re-read of Blaze by Stephen King. Just as good as I remembered. Check it out if you’ve not read it. Despite its thin supernatural elements, it’s a good crime novel with a heart.

Now I’m reading I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison. I’m about 40% through it (using the feature on my Kindle Paperwhite). It’s good. I’m interested to read Web Of The City (when Hard Case Crime re-release it in a couple of months) and Spiderkiss by Ellison, to see how he works a whole novel.

I have Far From Home: Volume 1 on free promotion today and tomorrow. Please pick up a copy, read it, and leave a review.

The BIG NEWS is that the new Kindle All-Stars anthology, Carnival of Cryptids, is out very soon. We have a cover:



My story, ABC, appears alongside work by William Vitka and others. And it’s a great anthology. I’m not just saying that. I was proud as punch to appear in Resistance Front alongside Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster last time around…but I think this anthology is better. It’s tighter, and I love the way the stories are linked in the fashion of The Twilight Zone.

The cover art has a story. Bernard put a call out for people to offer up potential cover art, and I sent a few ideas. Some rough mock-ups. Last-time around, I came up with the basic version of the KAS logo, which then went to Glendon who spiffed it up and made it something much much better. This time I found a fantastic piece of artwork called “Watson and the Shark” by John Singleton Copley, but I couldn’t quite get it to work. So after a couple of emails we both agreed to approach Keri Knutson, who does some fantastic work in designing covers. Thankfully she agreed, and the above is the end result.

Keri is a true star, and her covers are always reasonably priced. Also, she managed to get the cover to work within hours. We didn’t have to wait days. Her site is and she’s well worth a look if you’re looking to take your self-published work to the next level.

I guarantee you’ll not be disappointed.

As for Carnival of Cryptids, if you’d like to help us spread the word (and raise money for charity in the process) then give me a holler and I’ll pass it on.