Excerpt of Blackwood Chronicles: Inock Tehan and the Phantom of the Ruins By A. A. Wise

Spotlight Tour, Writing


Allan Andrew Wise (A. A. Wise), born in Uganda, East Africa, moved to England as a young boy. His interest in fantasy literature appeared at a young age and he has been devouring fantasy novels ever since.
Allan’s first book, Inock Tehan and the Phantom of the Ruins, was published by Austin Macauley in 2017. His second novel in that series, Inock Tehan and the Forbidden Clan was published by Austin Macauley in May this year. The books are available on Amazon and in bookstores.
The first book is centred around a thirteen-year-old boy called Inock Tehan. Inock lives in a different world to ours. A world full of witches, demons and many magical creatures.
Allan designed Inock to be a bit mischievous and fun loving because he was a little like this as a child. He designed Inock’s best friend as a friendly, knowledgeable ghost to add wisdom and balance. Inock later meets his other friends Lalita and Andre as the story progresses. Andre is black and they are all around the same age.
Allan wrote this story because he enjoys fantasy stories and so wanted to create a story of his own that others could enjoy.
Allan takes inspiration from books he’s read, the television, movies, animation, and stories told to him in Uganda when he was young.


Social Media Links:
Twitter: A. A. Wise
Instagram: aawise24
Facebook: A. A. Wise

aa wise book cover.jpg


Blackwood Chronicles: Inock Tehan and the Phantom of the Ruins

‘You charge way too much for lessons here at your school,’ argued Laden, pointing a finger at Inock’s big brother.

‘Look, I’m not the one who sets the prices,’ Torend retorted. ‘You’ll have to come back when my father isn’t busy. He sets the prices!’

‘Every time we come here he’s busy,’ said Laden, laying a hand on his little sister’s shoulder. ‘And you always tell us to come back later.’

‘I wouldn’t lie about…’

‘Look, Torend,’ Laden interrupted, ‘my little sister recently came into her powers and she needs to see a power-trainer. Her powers keep going out of control. And they’ll only get worse if she doesn’t see the power-trainer right away.’

‘I understand what you’re saying but I can’t book you in,’ said Torend. ‘My mother said no. Why don’t you just go and see another power-trainer?’

‘Oh, come on, Torend. You know there isn’t another power-trainer for miles. And I can’t afford to send her to the Secilia Power Academy; they charge a fortune!’

(The Secilia Power Academy was a very famous school for demons and witches. It was in a faraway city.)

Torend was about to reply when he was interrupted by a pair of angry-looking men accompanied by two vile creatures; these were venators with their ghastly onis!
Venators were the police of Inock’s world. They were bald, black men with green eyebrows and they always looked angry. They wore a uniform of dark green, knee-length silk jackets with long black sleeves, black trousers and black boots and they always had black whips hanging from their waists. They also wore a green metallic brace around their necks. Venators were invariably accompanied by onis – large black creatures that came up to a man’s waist. They looked like gigantic dogs – like a bull terrier with large red eyes, no ears and two very long, scaly tails that writhed like serpents behind them. They had long jaws that resembled a crocodile’s, packed with lots of sharp, stained teeth.
Venators always used these horrible creatures to help them patrol the streets. You’d never see a venator without an onis.

‘What’s the commotion here?’ one of the venators snapped.

‘Nothing’s wrong,’ replied Torend.

‘Who asked you guys to butt in?’ spat Laden.

‘You’re causing a scene,’ hissed one of the venators, reaching for the black whip at his waist.

The two onis snarled at Laden, their four tails thrashing about behind them.

Seeing the two vicious creatures snarl like that reminded little Inock of something – the Onis flute. He reached into his pocket, took it out and stared at it. It looked exactly like the little flute one of the angry venators was holding. He wondered if the dog-like creatures would do what he wanted if he blew into it. Would they come and stand by his side? Could he make them chase the angry venators away from his brother?

Inock just had to find out. He raised the green flute to his mouth and was about to blow into it when Rozanthia screamed out, ‘No, Inock! Don’t!’

Guest Post: “Self-Publishing: How I Came Full Circle” by Elana A. Mugdan

Guest Post, Writing

Author Elana A. Mugdan picture.jpgMeet Elana A. Mugdan.

Elana A. Mugdan is an author and semi-retired filmmaker based in New York City. She has received many accolades in the film industry, including a number of awards for her feature film Director’s Cut, which she wrote, directed, and produced by herself. Currently she is working with a production company in California which has optioned her newest screenplay, a sci-fi action triller called Paradox.

In 2016, Elana’s debut novel, Dragon Speaker, was published in the U.K. Dragon Speaker has enjoyed critical acclaim, and is the first in a 5-book Young Adult epic fantasy series entitled The Shadow War Saga. The second installment, Dragon Child, will be published worldwide in May of 2019. She is currently doing her final round of revisions on book three, Dragon Blood, which has a projected release date of March 2020.

An avid reader, Elana is a lifelong fan of fantasy stories – particularly ones which revolve around dragons. She is described by her friends and family as “the weirdest person I know”, and wears that weirdness proudly on her sleeve. Some of her favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkein, Peter S. Beagle, and Robert Jordan.

Elana currently resides in New York, living a quiet but eccentric life with her adopted pet snake, Medusa.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Speaker-Shadow-War-Saga/dp/1532387938/

Dragon Speaker Cover - Web.png

The Guest Post.

Self-Publishing: How I Came Full Circle

Back in 2015, when I had just put the final-FINAL-really-final-for-real touches on my manuscript, I decided I would go the self-publishing route. I’d spent a couple years in the query trenches and I hadn’t gotten any good bites. The few nibbles I had gotten hadn’t panned out, and I was tired of waiting. Self-publishing, I reasoned, would ensure that my book would get out into the world and be found by readers near and far.

This was a terrible idea for a whole host of reasons, the main two being that (a) I am not good at marketing, and (b) I am not good at socializing. But hey, I had a Facebook account and that should be enough! Surely the book would sell itself, right? All I’d have to do would be to throw up a link to the thing on Amazon and people would flock to it.

Oh, how naïve 2015-me was.

Fortunately, I was saved from the agony of self-publishing just in the nick of time. Shortly after I came up with my brilliantly bad idea, I linked up with a small press publisher based in the U.K. He loved my book, and in 2016, he published my debut novel, Dragon Speaker, Book I of The Shadow War Saga. My publisher and I worked closely together for the next two years, organizing reading events across England, recording an audiobook, and preparing for the release of the remaining books in the series.

But alas, the best laid plans of mice and men will often go awry. Despite my publisher’s best efforts, he wasn’t able to bring the book out in America (he only had the rights to publish in the U.K.), and we also failed to achieve a release of the second book in the series. 2018 was fraught with roadblocks and disappointments, and I learned a series of hard life lessons.

But not all was lost. I remembered that I’d once thought it a good idea to self-publish, and I decided to revisit that concept. I’d learned a lot over the two years I’d spent in the world of traditional publishing. More importantly, I’d gotten an inside look into the world of marketing, and I now had a much better understanding of how to make that process work for me . . . and how much work I’d actually have to put in if I wanted to see tangible results.

Thus, I began my research. A big step forward was attending the annual Writer’s Digest conference, last year hosted in my hometown of New York City. There I connected with IngramSpark – a printing company only slightly more expensive than Amazon’s CreateSpace, which offers comparable quality and is infinitely better to deal with. Through IngramSpark, I self-published Dragon Speaker in America and worldwide last October. Finally, my book was available to all audiences!

Also during the Writer’s Digest conference, I linked up with a company called DartFrog, which is a purveyor of “outstanding independent books and talent”. Since they were also experts in marketing, and marketing was my major weakness, I figured it would be a good idea to work with them. Through them I was able to gain additional exposure for my book and my brand. Not only that, DartFrog helped place Dragon Speaker in 50 brick-and-mortar independent bookstores nationwide.

I have now gotten in touch with many of those stores, and have been cultivating my relationships with them – something that has been difficult, but very rewarding, and undeniably invaluable to my progress. I’m pleased to report that I single-handedly organized a book tour spanning from January to May. I’ll be stopping at The Next Chapter Books & Novelties (El Dorado, KS), The Book Rack (Cincinnati, OH), A Freethinker’s Corner (Dover, NH), and Cupboard Maker Books (Enola, PA), which are just a few of the DartFrog stores currently stocking Dragon Speaker.

On the surface, it seems like things are going swimmingly. Compared to last year, they are. But I know the road is long and the war will be bloody. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I will need to market (shudder) and communicate with people (oh, the horror!) if I want to continue gaining momentum. And while self-publishing has certainly had its downsides, it has its perks, too. The best thing about self-publishing is that you are your own boss. Your fate is entirely in your own hands. You’re on no one’s schedule but your own, and that gives you the most wonderful sense of freedom. It creates a lot of anxiety and stress, too, but personally I think the trade-off is worth it.

You must be prepared to work harder that you ever have before. Your success – or failure – is riding on  it, after all. But if you go into the process knowing that, then you stand a fighting chance. 2015-me was not prepared to make this journey, and she would never have survived it. I’m not sure present-day-me is adequately equipped for the cutthroat world of marketing, but she’s doing a damn fine job pretending she is.

Despite the anxiety, the sleepless nights, and the crash course in marketing that I never wanted, I’ve ultimately enjoyed this process. I’ve learned many useful skills along the way – by necessity rather than choice – but I believe the hard work has made me stronger. While it’s still difficult to tell if any of my efforts have improved visibility for the book, I can say without hesitation that they have improved me as a person. I am older, stronger, a little wiser, a lot tired-er, but unarguably better.

And that has made it all worthwhile.


Thank you Elana for sharing your journey with us!

Guest Post: “The growth of opportunities for experimental writing” by streetcake magazine

Guest Post, Writing

Meet streetcake.

Nikki and Trini have been running streetcake magazine for over 10 years. They publish experimental writing every 3 months. In 2019, they launched the streetcake experimental writing prize for 18-26 year olds, supported by ACE.

The Guest Post.

Back in 2008, streetcake began as a response to limited outlets for experimental writing at that time. Then, at a poetry reading, we experimented with silly names, trying to think of something memorable. From the moment we thought of ‘streetcake’, the idea was set in stone and gave us the final push to create it. Both of us have always been drawn to experimental writing and we wanted to expand the ‘genre’ further, as well as giving writers a new outlet. Over the years, we’ve published a lot of new writers but also established ones, which we think is one of the best things about what we do. Therefore, we want the streetcake experimental writing prize for 18-26 year olds, which we just launched in March with the support of ACE, to increase awareness of experimental writing and encourage young people to explore new and innovative ways to express themselves. The Prize offers mentoring to the winners, which we hope will give young writers the confidence and tools to really grow as writers. Another important aspect is creating readers of the future. If we want to keep reading experimental writing, we need to create new lovers and advocates of the genre.


For the prize, we want to see new forms or free forms of writing. Much the same as our normal magazine, we want to see strong images. We want to be taken out of the comfortable box we tend to live in, to be ´provoked´ even. Saying that, we also like some substance to our writing, so a thread/idea/image that holds it together. Sometimes we choose something because it makes us think differently, other times it makes us laugh, sometimes we’re shocked by a turn of events, sometimes it’s so raw it’s painful to read… We are very open to a lot of things as you can see. The main thing is that we both need to agree to publish it – if one of us isn’t sure or says no, we won’t go with it. Of course, the final judging of the ultimate shortlist won’t be done by us this time, so that should be interesting.

In the future, we would like for streetcake to grow and to increase our audience even more. This may be too ambitious but we would like for streetcake to become ‘the’ place to aim to be published and a magazine to be read. In terms of the Prize, it would be great if we could provide another avenue for support for young writers who will go on to be published widely and support the experimental genre with their work and reading. We started streetcake out of our love for experimental writing and hoping we could share it with fellow writers who wanted a platform, and nothing has changed for us. The Prize is just another step on that journey so the more writers and readers we have on that journey, the merrier!

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Please visit: www.streetcakemagazine.com for more info about our magazine or the Prize.

Follow us on Twitter: @streetcakemag

Guest Post: “The Literary Post” by Ernest Sandefer

Guest Post, Writing

Meet Ernest Sandefer.

Hard for me to categorize my writing so I’d sat I’m an advice giver with an imagination. I hope to inspire change and evoke emotion with my writing. I’m 27 years old, live in Boston MA and constantly creating. If not writing in my journal I’m working on drafts or opinion pieces. Feel free to reach out!

The Guest Post.

500 literal words on literary, where do I start? Well my love for writing started in the 5th grade. The assignment was for us to create our own short stories that would be read by the other students. Me being the shy little kid with a lot of self-doubt I already made up in my mind that none of my classmates were going to choose my book simply because I wasn’t the most popular kid in the classroom, in the 5th grade or in the entire school for that matter. What surprises me about it was I didn’t care about  what I thought was the truth at the time. I enjoyed writing that short story. I enjoyed tapping into my imagination for once in school and not being thought of as weird for doing so. I felt free and that was a feeling I felt for the first time in my life and I knew I wanted to experience that feeling again, I just didn’t realize at the time expressing myself and creativity through writing was the catalyst.
Anyways, I’m reading other people’s short stories I hear giggles and cackles from classmates. I thought nothing of it other than “someone must’ve written a funny book” and continued snacking on my “Smart Brand” white cheddar popcorn. Our reading was timed. Don’t remember how long the time was but it apparently wasn’t long enough for people to finish my book. I didn’t get to finish the books that I was reading as well so I understood the slight frustration a few of my classmates had with the amount of time we were given to read each other’s stories. That “slight frustration” with students began to grown the more students started to read my book “The Nose Knows” a story about a group of eccentric friends who stumbled across an abandoned haunted mansion they decided to film their first music video in.
I don’t want to say this book was made out of thin air, but it certainly wasn’t something that took me months to come up with. I can tell you based off of memory, the characters in the book much like the characters created in other books of mine are characters based on people I’ve crossed paths with, but with different names, looks and pretty much everything else, but a similar character trait. Usually something so small about the person I don’t think they notice about themselves, but it is blown up to be the center of attention when it comes to that character since you can’t really see who they are. “The Nose Knows” also incorporated diversity and humor because even as a pre-teen I understood the importance of diversity. Humor was thrown in there simply because comedy are my favorite genre of movies and shows.
Haven’t read too many books that I found to be funny, but to whomever is reading this feel free to recommend me something with humor in it. How I found out the book the class “laughed at” was mine was when one of the students, Errol told our teacher, Mr. Kid that my book was “classic.” That was the first time I’ve ever gotten a “critically acclaimed”  classic rating from an audience and I loved it, but as stated before the joy of creating something and being able to express myself was the cream filling. The fact that my book made people laugh was the icing on the cake.
So I leave here with my final words to you  being always create from the heart and be unapologetically authentic.

Guest Post: “AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: I’m A Small Fish in A Big Pond” by Donna L. Martin

Guest Post, Writing

donnaMeet Donna L. Martin.

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in ebook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

Social sites:
Website: www.storycatcherpublishing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays
Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays


I can also be found on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

The Guest Post.

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: I’m A Small Fish in A Big Pond

Thanks, Rae, for inviting me to chat about my journey to becoming a self-published author.


I’ve been writing for almost fifty years, but only professionally since 2010. That was when I received my first traditional book contract for a picture book I wrote the year before. I’ve had a total of four books traditionally published so far, including “My Journey, My Journal” just released this past year.

Then why pursue self-publishing, you may wonder? In one word…




Now, I don’t mean the type of power that steps on the rights and feelings of others.

I mean…


POWER to create my own brand of books. I write picture books, historical fiction chapter books, young adult fantasy books, and inspirational essays. Last year I created my own publishing house, Story Catcher Publishing (http://www.storycatcherpublsihing.com) where I can now release my stories without having to wait to see if a publisher is willing to offer me a contract.

POWER to give back to this incredible writing community. Now that I have my own publishing company, I am in the process of creating my annual Star Catcher Contest, hopefully starting this year. This contest will offer young writers, ages 10-18 years old, a chance to become published authors, when they might otherwise never become published.

POWER to choose my own destiny! It took me almost a year to research and determine who would become my business partners when it came to marketing and distribution. My first book from Story Catcher Publishing is my young adult fantasy novel, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound which can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers


There’s a lot to be said for self-publishing. But it’s not for everyone. If you have been tossing around the idea of publishing your own stories, there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself…

  • Are you ready to invest the time researching your various publishing options?
  • If your story needs illustration, are you qualified to create the drawings? If not, do you know how to find a professional illustrator?
  • Do you have a marketing plan in place? This usually begins way before your book is even written.
  • Do you have what it takes to be writer, editor, publisher, distributor, promoter, and overall salesman? Self-publishing means you must wear ALL the hats, not just one or two.
  • Do you have the money to invest in your book’s publishing future?


Becoming an author is a crap shoot. Whether you go the traditional path or self-publish, there is no guarantee you will sell a ton of books or see your name on the NY best seller list. Over ONE MILLION books were published in 2017 with probably just as many last year.

But as a self-published author, I get to choose when to share my stories with the world. I may release a small fish into a big publishing pond, but they’re MY fish and in a pond of MY choice and I can live with that…


Thank you Donna for sharing!

LUNADAR: Homeward Bound, Donna’s latest release, is out now!



Witch-y Wednesday: Poem – “In This One, The Bus Stop Becomes a Coven”

October Spooky Features, Poetry, Writing

shani.jpgMeet Shani Carrington.

Shani Carrington is a 22 year old, black, first generation American, born and raised in Philadelphia. Having recently graduated from Arcadia University with a BA in English literature and a minor in Pan-African studies, she is currently taking a gap year before attending law school next fall. As a poet, she has been writing seriously for 9 years and performing at small open mics and poetry shows for 6. Influenced by a perspective shaped by Barbadian parents and an inner city upbringing, her work often revolves around the state of blackness across the diaspora, the complexities of love, and the way we as humans interact with one another. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with friends, watching slam poetry videos on YouTube, playing with her black kitten Spring, and drinking tea.

Social Media Links:
Instagram – @peaceloveandpoetry
Snapchat – thepoetafrodite
Twitter – @poetic_devices
Pinterest – Shani Carrington
Blog (co-creator) – www.aloeandamethyst.org


The Poem.

In This One, The Bus Stop Becomes a Coven

He spots the star hanging from a
Black ribbon,
Tied gently around my throat
Like the fingers of a reluctant shadow.
And he asks
“Are you a witch?”
And I can’t hide the giggle
That whispers up out of my lungs
Casting a spell on him,
With the sudden appearance
Of my generous dimples.

I reply ‘no’

With more confidence in my answer

Than I truly own,

For what is a witch but

Magic with a mouth

And I just made a boy jaywalk

Without looking both ways

As I waited for the bus

While sipping on a neon blue lemonade.

What else would you call that

But magic?