Please give a HUGE Top2Bottom welcome to the fabulous, Zathyn Priest!!

Welcome, Zathyn Priest! We’re thrilled you’re here!


Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Hmm… I think I might opt for tea, please.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m from Adelaide, Australia. I live with a cat, a duck, and two greyhounds. Living with greyhounds means my home looks like a daycare centre, with fluffy toys from one end of the house to the other.
Aside from that, I’ve been around the MM fiction scene for about five or six years, although I took a break away from writing during that time. Amara: The Rebirth is my first novel in about… ooh… three years, I think. So it has been a long time between drinks for me. While I wasn’t writing, I rediscovered my passion for art. I own Scarlet Tie Designs, and design pre-made and (occasionally) custom cover art. Mostly original artworks rather than stock photography based book covers
.

What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?

Fate, I think. I had no idea MM was even a genre unto itself, and certainly no idea it was popular. Cruising the internet one night, looking for publishers and/or agents, I stumbled across Torquere Press’ website and read through their submission guidelines. I decided to give it a shot and wrote The Curtis Reincarnation specifically to submit to them. Thankfully, it was accepted.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Actually, I’m going to be incredibly boring and decline your kind offer. About eight or nine months ago I was put on a new epilepsy medication, which has some strange side-effects. One of those side-effects is that it ‘rewires’ your brain to not recognize certain foods as appealing. So this once hopeless chocoholic now doesn’t like the stuff. Nor do I really like cookies, cake, candy, etc.
It’s quite bizarre because after a few weeks of taking this drug you eat a cookie and your brain reacts with a message along the lines of, ‘What the hell is this crap? Seriously… what the hell are you eating?’

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

I’m not one of those writers who makes sure they set aside writing time each day. In fact, I may not write for a couple of weeks and then, when I do, write for ten hours a day for several days in a row. If the mood strikes me, I’ll write. If it doesn’t, I won’t force myself. I can always tell when I’ve forced the writing and it only ends up being deleted.

Given that, I’m one of the least prolific writers in the MM genre. That used to really stress me because I’d see other authors pumping out one book after the other. I have to accept that I’ll never be like that.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Oh God… I’m a shocker for revising as I go. Constantly. I obsess over every little detail and I’ve always been my own worst critic in that respect. I do a million drafts of everything. Well… not a million, but a LOT. I’ve never written anything from start to finish without editing, changing, revising, etc.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I have a general idea and then I basically make it up as I go along. Hence why I have to go back and change things a lot. I’ve never planned or plotted a story from A to Z. I let the characters and story develop, then see where it takes me. That’s half the fun, because it’s a surprise to me where it goes.

Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?

My favourite is usually the character I’m writing at the time. If I had to choose an all-time favourite, then it’s Alec (Tyler Curtis) from The Curtis Reincarnation. And I think he’s my favourite simply because it was my first published book.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

It’s my constant companion, together with a hefty dose of anxiety. I’ve tried all the so-called writers’ block cures to no avail. If anyone has a sure-fire cure, please let me know.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?

I have my office, which is in desperate need of redecorating to make it comfy.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

I live alone. I don’t have to worry about anyone else in the house interrupting me. But people interrupting me on Messenger or similar when I’ve said I’m busy… yes, that hasn’t ended well on a few occasions! It takes a while for me to get into the writing mood and, once I’m there, I hate being snapped out of it. If I am, that can ruin the ‘zone’ for the rest of the day/night.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

My sense of humour? A little twisted, a little dark, a little off the wall and left of centre. My sense of humour is represented a lot in my books. It’s woven into everything I write.

What is the most frequently asked Zathyn Priest question?

Usually it’s, ‘Are you ever going to write again?’ This is because I might only write one novel every 2 years. However, I am trying to boost that up to at least one a year.

What are you working on now?

I have a few works in progress.


Counterbalance is a novel length contemporary story I’m working at the moment. I’m not sure what I’ll do with that one when it’s finished, though.

Dystopia is an almost finished novel, but something isn’t right with it and I can’t figure out what, so it’s shelved until I can figure it out.

The Violin Player is a sequel to The Curtis Reincarnation. It may or may not see the light of day, depending on the end result. I won’t let it leave my hands unless I’m absolutely certain it’s what I want it to be.

Left of the Middle is a sequel to Left of Centre, and I think that one will be graphic (Illustrated with digital art).
And I plan to write more in the Amara series.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?

To be perfectly honest, writing used to be a huge part of my lifestyle. It isn’t as much now. I suffer extreme anxiety in regards to writing and this is the reason I stepped away from it for so long. I’m in the process of dealing with the anxiety and trying to find coping mechanisms.

After I wrote The Slayer’s Apprentice – about 5 years ago – I was struck down with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s one of those things you never truly recover from, and anxiety related issues goes hand-in-hand with it. It’s taken all this time to get to a point where I’ve started to feel the desire to write again.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?

I gravitate toward non-fiction, and a lot of my ideas for stories comes from things I learn from it.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?

Horse Trainer.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Art is a huge part of my life. But when I’m not doing that, I love scoping the internet for interesting articles to read, or Youtube for tutorials. I have one of those brains that gets bored quickly and can’t relax. It’s difficult for me to sit and watch TV or a movie, unless I’m watching something educational.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

Not really, no – lol. Amara: The Rebirth may be it for me this year. Unless I get Counterbalance finished and make a decision on what to do with it.


Although, I will be at GRL in Chicago!

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
I’m most active on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/zathyn.priest1
Twitter (Sometimes): https://twitter.com/zathynpriest
My author website: http://www.zathynpriest.com
and my blog: http://zathynpriest.com/brokenpencil/

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

I’ll rinse out my mug. But seeing as I didn’t have cookies or cake, the rest of the cleaning… you’re on your own *wink*

Amara: The Rebirth by Zathyn Priest


Title: Amara: The Rebirth
Author: Zathyn Priest
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages: 275
Characters: Emrys Amara, Matthew Mitchell
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Vampire, Shifter, Romance
Kisses: 5+



Blurb:

Legendary vampire, Emrys Amara, changes Matthew’s destiny when he’s thrown into a world of kidnap victims, werewolves, deceit, and the rebirth of the greatest vampire clan in history.

Matthew and his husband Dean are slayers, trying to end a chokehold Amara half-breed vampires put on Nottingham and kill the leader, Amdis. A diary supposedly written by legendary Emrys Amara is sent to them, yet they doubt the orphaned vampire could have survived the demise of his clan. Meeting Emrys proves them wrong. Matthew falls deeply; Dean’s jealousy takes a sinister turn.

A chain of events involving kidnapped children and werewolves follows as Amdis teams up with another vampire clan. Can Matthew and Emrys save the children while rebuilding the Amaras as the greatest vampire clan in history?

Review:

Every once in a while, I’ll come across a beautifully written story that lives within my heart and mind long after I’ve finished reading it. When I finished reading, Amara: The Rebirth, I found myself immediately starting over, and reading it from the beginning again. Why? I honestly wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters, and wanted to relive their story again and again.

Since the blurb does an excellent job at describing the story, I won’t rehash it. Plus, I want to thread carefully through this review because I do NOT want to spoil anything. Instead, I thought I’d talk about why I loved this book and why I highly recommend it.

Amara: The Rebirth is told in first person through Matthew’s eyes. We briefly get Emerys’ point of view through his writing, but basically, Matthew is the main storyteller in this book. Now, if you follow our reviews, you already know that first person is not my favorite POV. But saying this, I think Matthew’s narration does an excellent job at showing the emotions, not only within himself, but of all the characters in the novel, too. Also, the grit and well-told details of the mystery, action and romance in the story kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

One of the things that Mr. Priest is a master at is his way of really capturing the moment and bringing the reader into any story he writes. I felt the anxiety and determination these characters had, and often felt like I was in the room fighting the good fight with them. I absolutely fell in love with Emerys and Matthew, and found myself really rooting for them to win their noble cause, as well as, find the happy ending they surely deserved.

These heroes will live in your heart. They are no cookie-cutter characters, but people who are humanly flawed, and even though they aren’t perfect, they are so easy to love. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to reach into the story and give both Emerys and Matthew a big hug, (I also wanted to kick Dean’s ass…but I digress) and hoped these two men kept the faith not only in their difficult fight, but in their love, too.

Another great thing about these characters is that ALL of them have many dimensions to them. Even the villains lived and breathed off of the written page. I felt both Emerys and Matthew’s fear of them and in the end, even though I hated them, respected them for what they were…which is nothing short of evil.

As you know, I’ve read my fair share of paranormal/vampire tales. What makes, Amara: The Rebirth, stand out is the unique and character driven storyline. I loved the intricate world and back-story Mr. Priest created for his vampires, and the lives they must live. Their lives aren’t always an easy one and living forever isn’t as glamorous as it would seem to be. It’s often a monotonous, violent and lonely existence. But, if they do find their soul mate, it does give them something they have lived without which is…hope. Hope for the future, and a better life than the lonely life they had before. Amara: The Rebirth has a fresh take on a much used genre, which made this an interesting, addictive read from beginning to end.

Between the nail biting suspense and the beautifully told romance, Amara: The Rebirth, is easily one of my all-time favorite books! Make sure you allow plenty of time to read, because once your start it, you’ll want to read it from start to finish without any interruptions. Believe me when I say that the mystery, romance and the almost lyrical way the story is told, Amara: The Rebirth, will definitely be a favorite of yours, too.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Introducing Scarlet Designs by Zathyn Priest

SCARLET TIE DESIGNS: Pre-Made eBook Cover Art by Zathyn Priest

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We’ve all heard the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ and, although it’s a nice sentiment, it doesn’t carry much weight in the real world of writing and fiction. Cover art is the first thing a potential reader sees and it can be the make or break of a sale. With thousands of Indie authors vying for attention to gain readers, every little bit helps when it comes to presenting your book to the public. I’m a published author as well as a digital artist, and I know the importance of good cover art. It used to be that finding a good freelance cover artist meant parting with large amounts of cash and, let’s face it, how many Indie authors can afford a couple of hundred dollars on a cover?

Pre-made cover art is fast becoming to go-to option for many self-published authors. Because the artist isn’t working to a deadline, doesn’t need to work with the author on design aspects, and can source their own materials, it dramatically lowers the cost outlay for an author. Most of my pre-made covers are priced between $30.00 to $50.00, but you’ll find a few as low as $20.00. I’m always adding new covers in a variety of genres, so check back often.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, I work on consignment for both eBook and print and am happy to discuss your specific requirements. Prices for custom covers depend on whether you want stock photography used or if you want an original digital art image. Keep in mind that although I do my best to source stock images that haven’t been used a million times already, there is always the risk the same image will be used on another book by another artist. However, a cover purchased from Scarlet Tie Designs is never resold to another author.

If you find a cover you like, contact me with the product number and to arrange payment. Your cover will then be altered to show your name and book title, and will be removed from sale. It may then be used on the Scarlet Tie Designs website for promotional purposes. You may use your cover in your promotions, etc, but you must credit Scarlet Tie Designs: Zathyn Priest as the cover artist in the credit section of your book. Please read my terms of service for more information.

For a 15% discount on cover art purchases all you have to do is ‘like’ the Facebook page. You will then be entitled to receive the discount on an unlimited amount of purchases provided you don’t ‘unlike’ the page.

Scarlet Tie Designs also offers custom website banner design and book promotion artwork.

If you have any questions, or would like a quote for custom covers, please feel free to contact me at: zathynpriest@yahoo.com.au

Website: http://scarlettiedesigns.weebly.com
Terms of Service: http://scarlettiedesigns.weebly.com/terms-of-service.html
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ScarletTieDesigns

Liquid Glass by Zathyn Priest


Title: Liquid Glass
Author: Zathyn Priest
Publisher: Scarlet Tie Books
Pages: 155
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Historical/Paranormal
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

Lillyport House was one of Britain’s most haunted residences. Originally home to Viscount Eldon Davenport, one of history’s most controversial poets, the house was sold by Davenport’s parents after he was found dead of a gunshot to the head, the Colt pistol that killed him still clutched inside his hand. The majestic mansion in Hampstead Heath refused to let go of Eldon’s misplaced spirit. Jailing him in death inside the room in which he’d lost his life.

Reclusive painter Cameron McKenzie is the latest owner of Lillyport, and he doesn’t believe in ghost stories. At least not until he spends his first evening at Lillyport and is jolted out of sleep my mournful wailing and terrified screams. Drawn to the bedroom by an unseen force, Cameron’s presence calms the distressed spirit and Lillyport House falls silent once again. When Cameron falls asleep, he unintentionally sets in motion a 19th century necromantic ritual and raises Eldon from the dead. Two soul mates, kept apart by death and a rip in time, are reunited.

But what happens when that rip in time tears open again? Enter parapsychologist Malcolm and psychic Trudy, each with their own agendas. Malcolm wishes to sever the link between Cameron and Eldon, while Trudy is attempting to keep them together. Will she be able to unravel Lillyport’s secrets or does the answer to Eldon’s survival depend on Cameron, a painting, and a guilt-ridden 19th century stable boy

Review:

Imagine if your soul mate was a man from a previous era. Imagine only being able to see or hear him was through your dreams and imagine what your family members would say and think about this. They’d title you insane and lock you away. Well, for Viscount Eldon Davenport, we’ll call him Eldon for short, this is exactly what happened to him. As Zathyn described the Viscount, I found myself completely in love with the man he was back in his era. I pictured him more like a pixie, soft spoken, whispery, pretty, well spoken, very smart and very alone. He was a very young man when he was killed, over something he really had no say so about. That was tragic and made me tear up as I read through that.

Well in present day there is Cameron, he’s somewhat reclusive, doesn’t do well in a social setting, would rather be on his own painting, as that is what he’s known for, his art. He’s very well-known and though he’s okay with that, he’s still prefers his own company. So, he ends up moving out of the busy city he lives in and buys a “haunted” manor in the country side. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, all he knows is that the manor offers what he needs to create. Peace and tranquility.

Imagine his surprise when he realizes one room in that house IS indeed haunted, but not in the way that’s malicious or harmful to him, he just happens to come across Eldon, who is the very same man that Cameron has more or less fallen in love with through years of studying him and his life. He knows what the reports say on the mental well-being of Eldon, that he died by suicide but he doesn’t know even the half of it.

Enter Cameron’s best friend Trudy and her ex-husband, Malcolm and wow do things heat up in very twisty ways in this book. We have a bit of mystery, paranormal, witchcraft, sex, lots of love, and more twists to keep you on the edge of your seat The scene I really enjoyed reading was when Cameron “woke” Eldon up. The details, description and dialogue used to create this will put you right there. And when I met Eldon again in today’s era with his speech pattern I fell more in love with him! He called his soul mate: Dearest. That is so heartwarming. When someone calls you Dearest, its more than the word honey, or sweetie. Dearest is the most romantic word I’ve heard.

This is a definite read. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed By: Michele

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The Statue by Zathyn Priest

Title: The Statue
Author: Zathyn Priest
Publisher: Scarlet Tie Books
Pages: 38
Characters: Tristan Church, Zane Aston, Eli, Lucas
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Gay Literature, Romance
Kisses: 5+






Blurb:

Freelance journalist, Tristan Church, wants to expose Galloway Mental Hospital’s dirty secrets. Teaming up with broody photographer, Mark, promises other perks. A ten year relationship with high school sweetheart, Eli, no longer offers Tristan the excitement he craves. Mark made his intentions clear and Tristan is close to giving in to his advances.

One morning at ‘The Gallows’ leaves Tristan reeling. He wasn’t prepared for the hell he witnessed and certainly wasn’t prepared to meet Zane. Disarmed by Zane’s angelic manner, Tristan can’t believe anyone would stand him up. He soon realises the tardy boyfriend only exists in Zane’s mind and the beautiful young man is not a visitor to The Gallows but a patient.

Eli walks out and Tristan’s life falls apart. A decision to meet with Mark almost ends in tragedy and Tristan finds solace in Zane’s company. Before long Zane’s delusions begin terrorising him again. While Tristan fights to save his own sanity and get Eli back, he knows someone must fight for Zane’s right to love a man no one else can see. A man who scares away violent hallucinations, takes away Zane’s fear, keeps him safe, and is trapped inside a stone statue.

Review:

Once in a while I am privileged to come across a book that truly melts my heart. I read a lot, and there are many books I’ll even call a favorite of mine, but it’s rare that a book whose characters, and the story that they share, will live long with me long after I’ve finished reading the novel. For me, The Statue is one of those books. I loved it so much, as soon as I finished it, I immediately read it again. And again. Since the blurb does an outstanding job of describing what the novel is about, there really isn’t a need for me to rehash it. Also, I want to tread lightly because I really do not want to spoil one minute of his amazing story, so I’ll just give the reasons why The Statue is one of my all-time favorite books.

Mr. Priest writes characters that live in my heart long after the story is finished. He is able to really dig deep, and get into the heart and soul of his characters. This often makes them vulnerable, humanly-flawed people who live and breathe off of the written page. It’s easy to empathize with their problems, rally behind them when things don’t go their way, and silently cheer them on when they are able to look inside themselves and learn from their mistakes. Also, these characters are definitely not your stereotypical candy-cutter heroes. There is a lot of depth to them, and each one is not like the other. Because they are so realistically written, they are unique and likeable characters whom are people that I would feel privileged to call a friend in my own life.

I would also like to mention the lyrical, lovely way Mr. Priest writes his stories. His descriptive and unique storytelling ability kept me captivated with his storyline from the first sentence to the last word. The story itself flows quite smoothly and it’s so beautifully written, before I knew it I was swept away in Tristan’s world and I loved every minute of it. Even though this book is considered more gay fiction than romance, I believe there is still a strong element of romance in it to satisfy even die hard romance readers. It’s really a story about two amazing couples, and the difficult road they must travel to find their way back to each other and their happiness.

The Statue is available in both plain text and a graphic art version. I’ve read both, but I have to say the graphic artwork in this book is absolutely stunning. To my knowledge, Mr. Priest is one of the first authors that I’m aware of that gives us the option of seeing his amazing characters live off of the written page through his gorgeous artwork. In every piece, he captures his characters perfectly, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these characters up close and personal. There’s even one picture in particular that made me cry when I saw it. It’s simply beautiful, and in my opinion the artwork was a perfect companion to the story itself, so I urge those of you who have never seen a graphic art book to pick this one up and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

So, if I’m ever stranded on a desert island, and I only have a few books available to me, I would definitely make sure The Statue was one of those books. It’s a story I’ll enjoy and reread again and again, and I know each time I do, it’ll still live long within me long after the story is over.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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The Statue by Zathyn Priest

Title: The Statue
Author: Zathyn Priest
Publisher: Scarlet Tie
Pages: 46
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 5+






Blurb:

Freelance journalist, Tristan Church, wants to expose Galloway Mental Hospital’s dirty secrets. Teaming up with broody photographer, Mark, promises other perks. A ten year relationship with high school sweetheart, Eli, no longer offers Tristan the excitement he craves. Mark made his intentions clear and Tristan is close to giving in to his advances.

One morning at ‘The Gallows’ leaves Tristan reeling. He wasn’t prepared for the hell he witnessed and certainly wasn’t prepared to meet Zane. Disarmed by Zane’s angelic manner, Tristan can’t believe anyone would stand him up. He soon realises the tardy boyfriend only exists in Zane’s mind and the beautiful young man is not a visitor to The Gallows but a patient.

Eli walks out and Tristan’s life falls apart. A decision to meet with Mark almost ends in tragedy and Tristan finds solace in Zane’s company. Before long Zane’s delusions begin terrorising him again. While Tristan fights to save his own sanity and get Eli back, he knows someone must fight for Zane’s right to love a man no one else can see. A man who scares away violent hallucinations, takes away Zane’s fear, keeps him safe, and is trapped inside a stone statue.

Review:

When Zathyn Priest puts his fingers to his keyboard and lets his characters take over, he really does a bang up job. And only in good ways. I’ve been anxiously waiting for his next book and this is it!

The Statue is about Tristan Church who is a freelance journalist, his live in longtime lover Eli, who can’t seem to give Tristan the excitement he so dearly craves from a lover or a relationship. Tristan is more of a free spirited person. Not one to be stuck behind a desk, or behind a register. He needs freedom to do his own thing and when he decides to expose Galloway Mental Hospital’s dirty secrets, he teams up with Mark, a photographer, who makes his interests in Tristan known right from the start. Tristan is excited about the possibility of this other man being interested in him, excited enough that he’s considering cheating on Eli.

He arranges to meet Mark at the hospital where they have been given clearance to visit the main areas of the place and speak to a few patients, take a few pictures, but I have to tell you. The opening scene of this assignment, the way Mark acts, the way Tristan finally begins to see Mark for who and what he is, and then to read the description of the inside of that hospital was so well done that I felt as if I was watching a TV show. Remember the ones where they show a mental hospital and the people in them? The grimy dirty floors and walls, the dreary look, the patients and how they were treated? Well Zathyn describes this so well that I really felt as if I were the one walking down the hallways and experiencing this scene.

As they go through the hospital Tristan finds himself getting angry and annoyed with Mark who makes some nasty remarks about what they see. Mark doesn’t seem to have a caring bone in his body and Tristan has a whole lot of them. During lunch they head to the cafeteria and this is where the story really gets interesting to the point that I could not read it fast enough. In fact, I loved it so much I read the story twice before writing this review.

While Tristan is sitting at a table waiting for Mark a young man with blond hair and angel like features asks if he can share the table with him and he’s holding a can of soda and a muffin. Tristan agrees and they immediately hit it off. Tristan talks to the young man, whose name is Zane and they get along very well. They bond rather quickly and it’s such a joy to meet Zane that I really didn’t want their dialog to end. Zane is truly a character that hit my heart. I have to be honest here and tell you that Zane is my favorite. And when Tristan finds out that Zane isn’t a visitor but a patient who is waiting on his boyfriend Lucas, who is stuck in the statue outside of the hospital, it damn near breaks Tristan’s heart. It did mine.

The story goes on and when Tristan gets home and Eli finds incriminating evidence that Tristan’s cheated on him, he leaves and tells Tristan he never wants to hear from him again. Eli storms out, leaving Tristan wondering how the evidence made its way to where it was. This event starts a very sad downward spiral of emotions within Tristan, especially when he goes to visit the person he was “cheating” with behind Eli’s back. One thing leads to another and this sends Tristan into a bout of depression that only Zane can help fix.

Let me add that the graphics in this book are simply outstanding. They tell the story in a way that words can’t. I found myself tearing up seeing a few of them.

I hate to give too much away the story is so intriguing and so well done that I’m forcing myself to stop here. I can’t say enough good about it. All I can say is that I highly recommend this story to any and everyone.

Reviewed By: Michele

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Zathyn Priest came over and look what he’s sharing!




BRINGING CHARACTERS TO LIFE:

Moving into graphic was a nerve-wracking decision, especially re-releasing stories that have been around for a couple years in a graphic version. Readers have already imagined these characters and then suddenly there they are in full colour. It’s quite confronting many ways. I’ve been blown away by the response and people have been curious over the process.

I’m going to use Alec (Tyler Curtis) from The Curtis Reincarnation for this demo. He posed the biggest challenge for me. Quite a few have read his story and I felt if I didn’t get the graphic version right there could be a good chance I’d be lynched. So, I’m going to set up a scene and show the steps it takes to get a character from a static, lifeless model in a 3D program to a book ready illustration. You’ll see it’s not a quick process with many stages from start to finished product. The version of Alec I’m using is the one for the sequel I’m working on, hence his hair is longer than it was in the first story.

Let’s pretend – for the sake of this demo – the illustration I need to create is an image of a young fan girl who happens upon her idol as he walks out of a room in a swanky hotel. Let’s Go!

No, relax, that’s not him. A character’s facial features and body structure need to be sculpted. The image above is the basic M4 3D male model most of my boys are built from. The sculpting process is done by moving dials on a computer screen rather than, say, using your fingers on clay. Nothing about the basic model holds any resemblance to Alec, except for the fact he’s male. Everything has to be altered, including skin tone, eye colour, hair, and age. This process can take two or three days and sometimes longer. Before I even start sculpting, though, I have to make the model’s skin texture map. The skin is the model’s uniqueness and no amount of work on their features is going to look any good if the skin is wrong.

That IS Alec. He’s not looking anything like he should look with that default skin, despite the fact the facial and body morph is the final product. He’s too old, he’s too hairy, his eyes are the wrong colour, the eyebrows are wrong, and the skin tone is incorrect. I always create the skin map first in Photoshop and then sculpt. Skin maps are created from a merchant resource. The problem with these is that everyone uses them. To make them look unique takes a bit of Photoshop work and this is where I make changes like removing hair, adding freckles or beauty spots, adding scars, changing lips, adding new eyebrows, all that type of thing. Skin tone usually has to be changed, as does sharpness to add realism, and shading to add depth. Once the skin map is done, I need to create something called a Bump Map, which is a high contrast black and white version of the skin. Bump Maps aren’t absolutely necessary, but they do add definition to things like wrinkles and skin texture. This whole process can take a couple of days and longer if a character requires several makeup options.

This is exactly the same morph as the previous image, only this time with his new skin map. It makes a huge difference to how a character looks. I’ve also applied a Sub-Surface Scatter shader, which will give his skin extra realism when I render the scene. Those of you who know the character of Alec Tyler may notice the colour of his skin looks, at the moment, too pale. Alec has an olive complexion. The Sub-Surface Scatter Shader will take care of that later on in the render, as will Photoshop postwork. Custom amber/gold eyes have been made and applied. Now we’re getting somewhere! Of course, he still looks like a deer caught in headlights, but we have to overlook that stunned expression for the moment. We also need to give the poor lad some hair. As I said, this is the sequel model so gone is the short black spiky hair he used to have. Let’s give him his new longer, dark brown hairdo…

Yeah, sure, it looks like a mop has been turned upside and plonked on his head. Like the stunned expression, we overlook that for the moment. In the sequel Alec likes to take the Goth image into his everyday life rather than leave it onstage. This means he needs some makeup. For this I need to take his face skin map back into Photoshop to make a new one with makeup applied. Why didn’t I do that in the beginning? He can’t always wear makeup and needs both a clean face and a made up one. Applying the makeup in Photoshop, depending on how detailed it is, can take anywhere from an hour to many hours. Of course, I don’t need to go through this process each time I create an image using a certain character. Once a model is made, they’re saved and any minor changes can be dealt without consuming too much time. And, as much as I enjoy looking at him semi-naked, he needs clothes. This is where it’s a bit like playing Barbie’s for grownups. Let’s dress him up in something to match the richness of the hotel he’s in and apply his new makeup.

Well, the pants are perfect but the shirt and waistcoat are definitely wrong. I like the shape of the waistcoat, but it needs retexturing. I also want to retexture the shirt and get rid of the frill on the front. New textures for some 3D clothes models are available to buy from Daz 3D, Renderosity, or RuntimeDNA. The problem with using these, especially for males, is the lack of different textures available. This runs a risk of creating a finished image with a character wearing an outfit seen in other people’s artwork. Not an ideal situation when illustrating a book. Off I go back into Photoshop to overhaul the shirt and waistcoat.

The image on the left is a jacket template. It’s not the template for the Regency outfit Alec’s wearing because I can’t find that one. Sorry! But, it gives you an idea. It’s kind of like a paper sewing pattern. The template is as a map and used as a guide for your ‘fabric’ which is applied in layers over the template. The image on the right is the new waistcoat texture. As it’s a plain waistcoat jacket without many embellishments, aside from the new baroque style silver button, this took about thirty minutes in photoshop. A more detailed texture can take several hours. Once again a Bump Map needs to be made to add depth to the jacket fabric texture. I went through the same process with the shirt, which also required an opacity map to be made to get rid of the frill at the front. The new texture maps are applied to the shirt and waistcoat in Daz Studio.

Now he’s dressed, he’s got his makeup on, I’ve added a few piercings to his ears and brow. He’s all set for.. hmm… maybe meeting Jordan for dinner in the hotel restaurant. This is where I start setting up the actual scene now the preparation is complete. Usually I’ll pose the models first and then add the set.

I’ve loaded the young fangirl into the scene and selected a pre-made pose, which quite obviously needs a lot of work. For a start, their heads are merged together, the arms are in the wrong position with Alec looking like he’s going in for a grope – in fact, it’s pretty much all wrong except for the basic stance. Next thing to do is correct all the posing issues and get it looking as natural as I can. Once I have them standing correctly, I need to work on their facial expressions. Fangirl has to look up at her idol in awe. Alec has to look friendly and charming. After all, he’s the type of guy who’ll have a coversation with anyone and talk the leg off a chair. At the moment he’s gazing off in one direction and fangirl is gazing in the other direction. I also want to make fangirl a little smaller, to give the illusion she is in her early teens.

Making Alec look friendly and charming means putting a smile on his face. All characters have different traits and they have to be consistent. Alec’s genuine smile – as opposed to a fake or strained smile – is wide, toothy, and slightly crooked. His bottom lip drops further on one side. These nuances have to flow through images or else people will notice the differences. When people smile in real life their eyes squint a little, the lower jaw pushes back, and the top lip reduces in depth. It’s important to try and recreate how a real face moves when expressing different emotions.

They’re posed together nicely now and it took over an hour to get to this stage from the pre-made pose, with the expressions taking the longest time. I’ve swept Alec’s hair away from his face rather than have it covering his eye and cheek. Now I’m going to take two wall sections from a large ballroom set and use them to create more of a hallway effect. I don’t want to use the entire set because it will compromise the end lighting result. A lot of digital art is about creating an illusion of something that may or may not really be there.

I’ve added the two wall sectionals and a floor. I also changed fangirl’s skin map because I wasn’t happy with it. I’m going to add a distant light into the scene now in a similar way a photographer makes sure lighting is correct on their models. The light needs to cast subtle shadowing on both of them. In real life there are always shadows, unless you’re nowhere near a light source. To get the lighting and shadows perfect in the final illustration, I generally do anywhere from two to five seperate renders. Most 3D artists will only do one render with several lights instead. I find the more lights added, the more realism you compromise. Hence, I use as few as possible, and only one if I can get away with it. This particular scene is going to take five renders. Rendering the scene is kinda like processing a photograph. I then take the different renders into Photoshop, merge them together, and take the best sections from each image.

There’s an example of one render. You can see the difference already. The work in Daz Studio is now done and I have to move all five of these renders into Photoshop for postwork. My main goal in postwork is to adjust shading and tweak the skin tones. I also want to get the background set looking more lush, bring out the colours and make the wood on the doors a better colour. There are a couple of little things that also need to be cleaned up, like the odd way Alec’s waistcoat looks too thick on his shoulder, and the ordinary way the doorknob looks. These things are taken care of in postwork to create the final illustration.

And there’s the final image after approximately one and a half hours in postwork. Alec’s olive skintone is now how it should be, corrected by adjusting tone in Photoshop. I’ve enhanced the colour of his waistcoat, along with enhancing his hair so it doesn’t look dull. I’ve corrected the odd way his waistcoat sat on his shoulder and changed the tone/colour for the background set. There was a little too much shine on his face, so I’ve used a Photoshop skin brush to bring that glow down a little.

From start to finish this image took approximately 7-8 hours to complete. For a short story like Left of Centre, I think I illustrated about 15 images. That adds up to quite a few hours spent on illustrations alone, especially when some images don’t comply in 8 hours and can take two or three days. It’s a time consuming process… it’s a good thing I love doing it!

>Left of Center by Zathyn Priest

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Left of Center
by Zathyn Priest
Torquere Press
47 Pages
5 Kisses

Blurb:
When self-confessed player Brand Faulkner arranges to meet three different Goth guys over the course of one weekend, he isn’t expecting to meet someone like ‘Enigma’. Enigma isn’t like anyone Brandon’s met before. He’s unpredictable, volatile and… well, downright weird! To make matters worse, the gorgeous Enigma isn’t at all impressed with Brandon and is unafraid to crush the man’s ego at every opportunity. For the first time in his life, Brandon has to work hard to win the guy. Will Brandon agree to Enigma’s left of center, bizarre requests, or is the player about to get played?

Review:
Though only forty-seven pages, this short story feels like a full-length novel. Zathyn Priest once again leaves his reader very satisfied and looking for more. At the start of this tale, we meet the one and only Brandon Faulkner. He seems to have it all, looks, career, and plenty of no nonsense, meaningless sex to make him happy. I laughed at the opening scene, out loud.

We have Brandon sneaking away from his lover whose name is either Justin or Jason, or was it Jasper? No, he’s sure it isn’t Jasper because Jasper is the dog he recently castrated. As these names are going through his head, he’s literally crawling around on his hands and knees looking for his discarded clothing and trying not to wake his one nightstand lover. He makes it out only to get pulled over by the cops on his way home and guess what he’s not wearing…

Brandon lives by one mantra: Why settle for one fish in a sea when there were entire schools to reel in? I’d say this guy is full of himself. He’s so vain.

His roommate’s name is Tarin and Tarin also is his assistant at work, and Tarin also gets Brandon all dressed up to look like a Goth boy so he could go and meet a guy he met online. This would be Engima.

Oh I fell in love with this quirky, quick witted, dry, Goth Boy right away! Not one thing this guy did upset me, in fact everything he said I loved. Brandon said that Engima is sexy as hell, with a face like a Gothic Angel and very definitely wacky. Oh then there’s this, Engima actually tells the very vain Brandon that his make-up was horrendous. I loved Engima to pieces.

Did you know that fish could get fish vertigo? I had no idea either. But Engima is sure of it. Here’s a small example of that little doll. Dr. Brandon, yes he’s a vet, asked Engima why he bought a fish if he didn’t have anywhere to put it? Well that Engima responds with, ‘Who else would buy an upside down goldfish?’ Priceless or what?

Zathyn kept this story moving and I was glued from start to finish. It’s a funny story and it’s a sad story and it is a love story that ends in love. The characters are complex, well drawn out with very diverse personalities and I loved every part about them.

Review by Michele

>Zathyn Priest

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Zathyn Priest

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m Australian, born in the pretty city of Adelaide. When I was very young we moved to Victoria where I lived until my parents divorced and then I moved back to Adelaide again. I went to a Catholic high school, where I drove the teachers mad with my questioning of the bible and religion. I left school at the age of 16 because I despised it and worked in a few dead-end jobs I also despised.

The suicide of my best friend/partner in 2001 was a major turning point in my life. It changed a lot of things, especially in regards to how I saw the world and myself. In 2005 I decided to take my writing seriously and I threw all my concentration and effort into it. It’s been a frantic few years and I’m now in the process of going through another self-reflective period.

What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?

My first completed novel is still hiding away on a disc somewhere and hasn’t been published. At the time, when I was working on it, it was my pride and joy. I decided that if I ever wanted to take writing seriously then I needed to make the effort. I was lucky enough to be offered a mentorship and I worked with my mentor for over two years learning how to fine tune the storytelling and characterization process. That first novel was my learning curve. Whether or not I’ll ever take it out of hiatus… well, not entirely sure.

My first published novel was The Curtis Reincarnation. I wrote it specifically for Torquere Press after I’d stumbled on their website and read the guidelines. I aimed right from the beginning with ‘Curtis’ for publication, and I was lucky that it paid off.

When did you start writing Gay and Lesbian Romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
It just seemed the natural course to take. It feels more comfortable for me to write gay lead characters rather than straight. There’s a feeling of connection I get from it. The actual romance side of my stories tends to be the sub-plot and not the main centre of focus. I don’t really consider myself a romance/erotica writer. Writing sex scenes, for example, doesn’t come naturally to me and 99% of the time it’s a chore.


Having said that, I do like the process of bringing characters together and I’m a bit of a romantic at heart. I like weaving a love story in between the drama/mystery/suspense, etc.

How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
Once I set my mind to it, I was published fairly quickly. Like I said, I wrote ‘Curtis’ specifically for that purpose and I was thrilled when it was accepted by Torquere Press.


Published novels? I’ve written three. The Curtis Reincarnation, The Slayer’s Apprentice, and Liquid Glass. Each one was a learning curve in itself; they’re all very different stories.

Do you write full time?
No. At the moment I’m not writing at all, which is a bit of a concern! I have nothing to follow Liquid Glass and nothing in the pipeline even close to completion. It would be nice to get my Mojo back and write like I used to. I’ve been on an extended – not entirely optional – retreat for several months. Other areas of my life are taking priority and I’m sure I’ll get back to writing when the time is right.

Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I think writing is something that chooses you and not the other way around. Having Asperger’s Syndrome meant that I was a quiet, unsociable child and writing was my form of expression. In many ways it’s still like that. I’m not a social butterfly and I’m quite happy spending most of my time in my own little world. Writing allows a sense of freedom for me and an opportunity to venture to fictional places that I wouldn’t go in reality.

On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
There’s nothing glamorous about the way I write. I don’t have any set rituals, I don’t listen to any type of music, and I don’t do anything to prepare. I just sit at the computer and work in silence. When I say ‘silence’, that doesn’t include my mumbled cursing! I know of other writers who use different music, pictures, videos, all sorts of things to get them into the creative mood. It’s far more interesting than anything I do. When I work I usually work for 8-12 hours non-stop. It’d be a very boring time for anyone watching me!

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I’m a terrible reviser to the point it’s detrimental. I’ll read something over and over again until eventually it starts to appear overly familiar and hence also appears like jibbering crap. I need to learn how to push through the urge to revise and ignore it. It’s something that puts the brakes on works in progress. Maybe I need hypnotherapy or something to break the habit.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’m not a planner. I swing from the hip and hope for the best! I’m an extremely unorganized writer and I’m likely to throw characters curveballs just to see where they go with it. I like to work on the principal, ‘If I don’t know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’ll keep a reader in suspense, too.’


I do make notes, though, and I try and be very thorough with research. My notes are sketchy and basic. My notebooks are not at all structured and I have scrawls of things written on separate pages here, there, and everywhere. I’m sure I could make life a lot easier for myself if I got a little more organized.

What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
At first I’ll just do some basic browsing on the Internet to get a general idea of what I’m after and where I may want to go with a story. Along the way the research helps to spark more ideas. Some writers despise research, but I enjoy it. I love learning new things and writing fiction gives the opportunity to learn about stuff you might not have considered researching prior.


The Slayer’s Apprentice, for example, meant I had to do a LOT of research in regards to serial killers and the mentality of sociopaths/psychopaths. Before starting ‘Slayer’ that never really interested me at all, but once I started looking into it, learning the mindset and then placing myself into that mindset to write the story, it proved to be a rewarding experience. To write a convincing psychopath, I had to think like one. It’s a lot like acting in that sense. It’s amazing the dark stuff you can pull from the crevasses of your mind.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
There are aspects of myself and personality that become quirks of the characters. There are also aspects of people I know that weave their way in. That’s all it is. There isn’t a character I’ve written that reflects me, or someone I know, in any true to life sense.


It’s funny actually because Alec Tyler, the lead in ‘Curtis’, is the one character that always tends to bring about assumptions that he’s me under the cover of fiction. We certainly do share similarities, but he definitely isn’t me. Though he does have the rock star career I secretly pine for!

How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
How long it takes me to complete a manuscript depends entirely on the story. I like to have one person who can read what I write as I go, someone I can bounce ideas off and tell me if the story is working properly. Other than that one person, I don’t like anyone reading what I’ve written until I feel it’s polished enough to submit to a publisher. Even then, generally no one reads anything I write until it is actually published or made available by me as a freebie.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Hell yes! I’m currently stuck in a crippling writer’s block phase that, as things stand now, shows no sign of retreat. I’ve tried everything I can think of to get past it and so far nothing has worked. Rather than stress myself out of over it, which I was doing, I’m just going to let it run its course. I’m aware of the outside influences causing it, but those outside influences can’t be changed. I’m going to have to somehow learn how to shut all of that out and maybe then the muse will return.

When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope a reader feels that I care enough about them to have given everything I have in an effort to provide an entertaining story. I’d like them to forget about me altogether and be – hopefully – completely immersed in the characters and their life. When I invent characters I want people to love them, or despise them, want them as their friend, or fear them as their enemy. I want people to feel they’re real and can be related to in some sense. If I achieve that then I know I’ve done my job properly.

Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?

  1. Write for yourself first and foremost. If you write something you would enjoy reading, it’s more likely someone else will enjoy it as well.
  2. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  3. Keep a separation between your working and personal life.

Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
Again, it depends. Usually I’ll have a working title and that’s apt to change at the last moment. Liquid Glass is the only one that was titled fairly on early on in the piece and stayed that way. Naming a story is like naming a child. It has to ‘fit’ and it has to be something you think you can live with for the long haul.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I have a slightly warped and many times sarcastic sense of humor. It’s something injected quite often in my stories. I like writing quirky comedies and I’ve been lucky that, for the most part, my sense of humor goes over quite well for a reader.

What makes me laugh? Usually nothing mainstream, as in I generally don’t crack up laughing at TV sitcoms or movies. But I can be the annoying guy who’d fold into fits of laughter if you slipped on your arse in the street before I offered you help to stand up!

What is the most frequently asked Zathyn question?
Are you going to write a sequel to The Curtis Reincarnation?

What are you working on now?
My sanity!  Aside from that, the only real work in progress I have is a novel tentatively titled, Village of Styx. It’s a paranormal/horror/mystery with, of course, romance thrown in. I’ve been stuck at the halfway mark for about eight months now. There’s a wall with it and I can’t seem to break it down.


I have a sketchy idea for a ‘Curtis’ sequel. Whether or not it’ll ever see the light day is highly questionable. I absolutely won’t write a sequel if I think it’s a weak storyline. And, so far, I don’t have a strong enough storyline to warrant starting it. I also want to write more free shorts for the One of Those Day’s story, which can be downloaded from my website.

There are a few ideas floating around in my head at the moment. It’s a matter of waiting until the writer’s block goes away.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
I mentioned a mentor before and working with her taught me many valuable things like character development, plot and subplot development, pacing, and tying up all loose ends. But one of the most important lessons I learned is to write honestly. For example, if you want to write something shocking, then write it and don’t hold back. Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I believe a reader would appreciate that more than sugar coating because you think they can’t take it. Write what you feel needs to be written, not what you assume people think you should write. If you’re true to yourself as a writer then it reflects in the finished product.

When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I haven’t gone to exorbitant lengths as far as promotion goes and that’s probably to my own detriment. I don’t have any Zathyn Priest forums or groups or clubs or anything similar. Twitter drives me crazy and my FaceBook page is lucky to see activity more than a once every couple of weeks. I gave up on MySpace a long time ago, so if you’ve added me as a friend there and I haven’t responded, that’s why!

Promotion isn’t my strong point, not by a long shot. I cringe every time a reader is referred to as a ‘fan’ and… oh, I don’t know… it just isn’t something I do well. I need a PR agent! The crux of the matter is that I’m a private person and trying to put myself out there failed miserably when it caused me more stress than it was worth. My Asperger’s plays a big role in my hermit-like traits.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
There’s a good question, and not one I’ve found the answer to yet. Though I have to beg to differ and say that writing isn’t my lifestyle. Not in a personal sense anyway. Maybe it used to be, but not anymore. I’m currently learning how to ‘not’ take my work home with me. When I close down Word, I want to get away from writing and everything that surrounds it. I suppose that’s why authors opt for pseudonyms. I don’t want to be Zathyn Priest all the time, I like to pack him away and forget about him when I don’t require him for work.

Perhaps when I do figure out how to separate work from life is when the creative spark will return. Until then I’m just letting ideas wallow away in my head and not writing anything down. Sooner or later – hopefully sooner – the whisper to write these ideas down will turn into a scream I can no longer ignore. If anyone does have a failsafe way to nudge the creative streak back into the fast lane, please let me know!

What pros and cons surround the e-publishing industry, and how do you envision the future of e-publishing?
It’s probably safe to say that the bulk of print books available now will eventually whittle down to a very small percentage. E-books are cheaper for readers and they’re cheaper for publishers to produce than paperback. They also give a much wider opportunity for new writers to get published.

I think the publishing industry is going through a major shakeup due to accessibility and low cost of e-books. Things are changing, and that’s a good thing for us as writers and for readers. There’s a wider selection of books available, a wider selection of authors, and there’s something for everyone at an agreeable price. E-publishing will definitely become the mainstream in the not too distant future.

What kind of books do you like to read?
I love something with a good dose of drama. I also like having the bejeebies scared out of me as well, there’s nothing quite like a story that has the full-on mind-f*** element! If it makes me a little, or a lot, scared to turn out the light at night, then I’m happy.

One of the best books I read was Memnoch, The Devil, by Anne Rice. I read it years ago and it still sticks in my brain as the best mind-f*** story ever. It left me questioning everything I believed in on a spiritual level. If a story can do that, if the characters and plot are so convincing it can actually leave you questioning long held beliefs, then it’s excellent.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A rock star! Of course, that career would be extremely limited due to the fact I can’t sing. So, plan B, once my singing career died a quick death, would’ve been acting. Course, that has its issues as well because I’m very shy and not comfortable in front of the camera. Though, I did do theatre acting when I was younger with an amateur drama group and I enjoyed stepping outside of myself and portraying someone else. A movie director is something I’d probably like as well. Whatever I chose, it would have been something to do with the arts or entertainment.

I recently read your novel, Liquid Glass. Where did you get the idea for that story?
The Victorian Era is a personal love of mine, as is Victorian architecture. I got the initial idea for Liquid Glass when I saw a photograph of an old Gothic Revival mansion, which then became Lillyport House in the story. The story went through a few changes as far as the plot goes, but basically I wanted the feel of an old fashioned ghost love story. Even though that’s not exactly how it turned out after it started morphing into necromancy and witchcraft. I also wanted an avenue to create something around my interests, that being the Victorian Era and all things 19th century.

When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I absolutely don’t like the naked torso images and I request my stories don’t have that on the cover. I also don’t like character faces because nine times out of ten I prefer the reader to imagine them. The only story I have a face on the cover for is the freebie, One of Those Days. I happened to stumble on an image of a guy who looked perfect for the role.

I have very set ideas of what my characters look like. Because of that I couldn’t live with an image of some guy who looks nothing like the one I have in my mind. Therefore I request covers that depict a scene from the story instead.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I’m a homebody and if I can avoid going out I will. I spend a lot of time on the Internet, playing games or chatting in IMVU. For those of you who don’t know, IMVU is a 3D chat program, although I don’t spend as much time there as I used to. I enjoy photography, painting portraits, and I also have a midi-keyboard I’m trying to master.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Umm… nope! lol I wish!

New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
This may sound harsh, but I’m going to say it anyway. Don’t assume you know everything about writing because you don’t. Writing is a craft that needs to be practiced and there’s never an end to the learning process. If there comes a day when I feel like I excel at my job, then that’s the day I’ll quit for good. I still consider myself a new writer, and I’m always keen to learn new ways of doing things. A lot can be learned simply by reading, too, and seeing how other writer’s do it. Natural talent is a good thing, but it needs to be honed.

What future projects do you have in the works?
Probably the only project I have in the works is the half completed novel, Village of Styx. I’m not on any deadlines at the moment and, in all honesty, I wouldn’t expect anything new from me in the next six months.

Can you please tell us where we can find you and your books on the Internet?
They can be found at Torquere Press, and there are links to print books and freebies on my website at http://www.zathynpriest.com/