Friday, September 28, 2012

The OC Book Festival and Ehriad is Finally Here!

Hello everyone,

I just thought I'd put up this quick post to remind you that the Orange County Children’s Book Festival is this Sunday, September 30th (here is the link with all the info:  Be sure to come on by if you happen to be in the area.  This is my first year going to the festival, so I’m eager to check out all the booths and to see all the other authors (and hopefully meet some new readers, too!).  I plan on taking lots of pictures and writing up a post to tell you all how it went, but if you can make it, be sure to come on by and say hello.

Also, I want to let everyone know that Ehríad is now available from, and for $.99!  If you enjoyed Faelorehn and Dolmarehn, be sure to check out this newest addition to the Otherworld Trilogy. The novella is really three scenes from Faelorehn told from Cade’s point of view.  The whole story ended up being a little over 26,000 words, so not as long as Faelorehn or Dolmarehn, but hopefully it will help fill the time until Luathara is released.  Below is the blurb I included with the ebooks.  Until next time, happy reading!

-J.E. Johnson

From the author of the Otherworld Trilogy . . . Three scenes from Faelorehn, told from Cade’s point of view.

A Single Thread of Magic

Cade MacRoich is Ehríad, a faelah bounty hunter.  When he is compelled to deal with a collection of particularly nasty monsters in the mortal world, he stumbles upon a stream of Faelorehn magic that leads him to something astonishing. 

The Morrigan’s Game

The children of the Weald are protected by the forest’s ancient magic, but when the Morrigan’s faelah manage to break through that barrier, Cade’s sister calls upon him for help.

Broken Geis

Cade has tried in vain to forget about the alluring Meghan Elam.  Unfortunately, the Morrigan’s interest in the young Faelorehn girl puts her in danger and makes Cade realize he is willing to risk everything to keep her safe.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Look at Ehriad!

Hello readers!
     Well, I don't have a solid post for this week and I don't know what the future looks like for blog posts (at least until I'm done with Luathara), so I've been feeling a wee bit guilty.  In order to make up for it, I thought it would be fun to post another snippet from Ehriad.  This is the scene where Cade first sees Meghan outside of her high school.  Hope you enjoy and now back to writing/editing!
-J.E. Johnson
* * *
I reached the outskirts of the high school within fifteen minutes of leaving behind the swamp.  As I caught my breath, I studied the students pulling into the parking lot and reluctantly spilling out of their cars.  I wrinkled my nose at the barrage of smells and sounds that attacked my senses.  Several dozen perfumes and colognes clouded the air, along with the high-pitched laughter and false promises being thrown from one person to the other.  Combine that all together with the general angst and unavoidable desperation that permeated the atmosphere and it was enough to give one a headache.  I was very glad I never had to attend high school.  I would not have survived it.

Fergus and I had been in this area only a week or so ago, checking into a possible faelah problem.  I’d been wearing my old trench coat and had used my glamour to adopt the guise of an old homeless man.  Most people left me alone when I took up that particular costume, so I wore the same cloak of glamour now: one of a decrepit, retired veteran down on his luck, lingering in the woods for no apparent reason.

A few more minutes ticked by before I caught a glimpse of that brilliant blue magic again.  It trickled out of an old gold minivan.  I felt my muscles tense as the van pulled up and parked.  The door rolled open and the girl, Meghan, stepped out with her friend.  I took a small moment to wonder why I hadn’t detected her strange magic here last week, but then brushed that thought aside once she started moving across the parking lot.

I focused my attention on the group of teenagers, especially on the girl I had discovered earlier that morning.  They were a good distance away, so I sacrificed a fraction of my glamour, pulling it away from my disguise and using it to enhance my vision just enough to get a clear picture of my quarry.  The girl turned and looked in my direction.  My relaxed pose stiffened.  Pretty little thing, but not in a typically human way.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if her peers thought her to be strange-looking.  Humans were often a bad judge of real beauty, in my experience.

I continued to study her, grateful my hood covered most of my face.  She was tall with dark, curling brown hair and high cheek bones, but it was her striking eyes that gave me pause.  Hazel, flashing to gray, then green and blue, and back to hazel.  My heart sped up and I felt my own well of power begin to burn, like a coal coaxed to life by a bellows.  Not just a human tainted by glamour.  Oh no, this girl was Faelorehn.  Suddenly I felt winded, as if someone had punched me in the stomach.

There were plenty of Faelorehn and half-Faelorehn people living in the mortal world.  Some chose to live here, some merely liked to visit.  But there was something different about her; something I couldn’t place.  Most Faelorehn wore their glamour like a mantle, hiding their true identity in the mortal world.  But this girl . . .  Hers was locked away and almost impossible to see, like something lurking beneath a sheet of dark water.  Yet the magic that trickled off of her was as visible as the stars in a moonless night sky.

The girl and her companions glanced away, and I took the opportunity to slip behind the trees.  I would look into who this girl was, this Faelorehn with hidden glamour.  And while I was at it, I’d try and forget those eyes and her alluring face, too.
* * *
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little exerpt!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sneak Peek at Ehriad!

Hello everyone! 
     I've been getting a lot of emails and questions about the release date for Luathara (Book Three of the Otherworld) lately, and all I can say is that I'm going to do my best to get it out by November 1st.  I can't make any solid promises, however, because I have a lot going on during the next few months (the Orange County Book Festival at the end of the month, getting back into the rhythm of the new school year etc.).  But I would just like to let you know that I greatly appreciate all your messages and comments and that they do encourage me to keep on writing (even when my Muse demands a vacation ;)).  I can't thank you all enough for your wonderful support and enthusiasm for this series.
     I have also been working on Ehriad, my novella that will be a handful of scenes from Faelorehn, told from Cade's point of view.  I'm almost done with that book and I hope to have it out some time this month.  As of this moment, it is a little over 16,000 words, but may end up being more or less after editing.  I have no set date on its release, however, I am happy to give you guys a small excerpt to help tide you over until it's complete.  Again, thank you for all your emails and wonderful comments and I hope you enjoy this little preview!  (WARNING: There may be a few typos . . .)
From Ehriad, a Novella of the Otherworld . . .
The sharp snap of a twig and a low, almost imperceptible growl informed me that the creature I hunted was now only a few yards away.  I assumed his growl of frustration was aimed towards the branch he’d broken, giving away his presence, and not by any means meant to intimidate me.  No matter, I had planned it this way.  I had known he’d been following me for a good fifteen minutes now.  It helped when you had another pair of eyes, and a good nose, to help you along.

How close? I sent to my spirit guide.

Ten feet, to the right, Fergus answered.

His mind was sharp, focused on the hunt.  Even better.
I let my body ease out of the tense stance it had taken at hearing the sound of the snapped twig.  One more minute Fergus.  I’d let the creature stalk me for sixty seconds more.

The thing about faelah is despite their vicious, blood-thirsty tendencies, they weren’t very smart.  I was only a few feet from the dolmarehn now, boxed in on most sides by the steep walls of the culvert, and the faelah was somewhere above me, close to the edge but remaining out of sight.

What exactly are we dealing with? I asked my spirit guide.

About my size, dark, no hair.  Small eyes, big teeth, sharp, thin claws and a tail like a rat.

I nodded to myself.  This particular monster resembled most other faelah: the grotesque, zombie-like imitations of an animals created from the long-dead body parts of many others.  If the people of the mortal world could see it, they would be cursed with a lifetime of nightmares to disrupt their sleep.

Fortunately for them, the faelah’s glamour kept it invisible from sight.  No, only my people, the Faelorehn, could see the faelah.  At least until they were destroyed and a small window between the time their glamour faded from their bodies and their flesh turned to ash did the mere mortals get a chance to catch a glimpse.  This was one of the main reasons I lured as many as I could back into the Otherworld, or at least deep enough into the woods to kill them where they wouldn’t be seen by anyone.

The crunch of dead leaves met my ears again, along with Fergus’s words: Get ready.

I slipped my hand into my boot, pulling out a long knife, pressing the dull side against my forearm so that I could stab if necessary.

In the next breath, the faelah leapt from the edge of the ravine and used the trunks of dead trees crisscrossing my path like ladder rungs to make its way down.  The faelah came to rest only fifteen feet in front of me, a monster looking very much like a partially decomposed mountain lion.  It growled at me, showing several long teeth, and twitched its reedy tail.  Just as I had suspected, this one wasn’t going to let me lead it back into the Otherworld.  Looks like it would have to be a kill.  Not that I regretted it much.  Most of the faelah had been other animals at one time, animals that had been transformed by the Morrigan.  I bared my teeth in a grimace, hoping to intimidate the monster.

A flash of white caught the corner of my eye and a giant wolfhound joined us, using the same method the faelah had to reach the gully floor.  He landed behind the creature, bearing his teeth and laying his rusty ears flat against his skull.

Kill? he sent me.

Yes, this one will have to be a kill.

The beast howled and snapped its jaws before hunkering down on its hindquarters.

Here goes . . .

With preternatural speed the faelah leapt, mouth gaping open, massive paws tipped with needle-thin claws outstretched.  I froze for a fraction of a second, then with one swift movement, jerked my hand diagonally across my body, swiping the sharp edge of my blade against leathery skin.

The yowl in the monster’s throat died and I quickly sidestepped, letting the body hurtle past me.  It landed in a tangled heap in the dirt, the head nearly severed from the rest of the body.  Its limbs twitched a few times as black, putrid blood spilled from the open wound.  I wrinkled my nose at the smell, but didn’t gag.  I was used to the stench.

As I cleaned my blade I felt the faelah’s glamour swell like a bubble, growing larger and larger until it burst.  There was nothing to see really, but my own well of magic felt it all the same.  If there had been mortals around, they would now be gaping, dumbfounded at the atrocity lying at their feet.  I didn’t even stay to make sure it turned to dust.

“Come on Fergus, time to go,” I said to the wolfhound.

Wounds? he sent me.

No, not even a scratch.  I was, after all, very good at my job.

* * * * *
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Ehriad!  Feel free to leave comments or if you have any questions about the Otherworld series, send me an email at:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Author Spotlight: Interview with C.E. Martin

1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
"MYTHICAL: Heart of Stone" available for $.99 on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords.
When a super soldier comes back from the dead with no memory of who killed him, he sets out to complete his last mission.
2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Originally, I planned this for ages 16 and up. I have since been admonished that it's a wee bit graphic on the violence side for that.
Anyone who likes pulps or big adventure should read "Mythical". I patterned it after the classic Doc Savage and Tarzan pulps but then amped it up with a bunch of paranormal and supernatural violence. It's about as over the top as you can get.
3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I wanted a nice simple, one-word title for the book, then ended up making that the Series name- "Mythical". There are two books up right now ("Heart of Stone" and "Brothers in Stone") and I'm trying to finish the third novel in time for October 1st. Then it's on to Books 4 & 5.
I think "Mythical" perfectly sums up the novels- they take place in a modern world where ESP and Magic are known by the general populace but not very common. Governments use the paranormal the same as other weapons, but out of the public eye. The heroes of the stories are soldiers protecting the U.S. from the magical and the mythical.
4. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I designed the cover with some healthy critiquing from my cousin who has a graphic arts background.
Each cover in the first three books is linked- storm clouds, tinted Red, White and in book 3, Blue. The clouds are symbolic of the looming threat of the monsters in each novel. Each novel then has a unique symbol as well: For Book 1, "Heart of Stone" I chose an ororborous dragon eating it's own tail, held by a stone hand; symbolizing the shape shifting villain (who can turn into a dragon) and the living stone soldiers that fight it.
5. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
That's a tough call... I really like the old super soldier who's cursed and can never age or die. He's a relic of the 20th Century, left over and fighting to fit in as the world changes around him. But then there's the character of Josie Winters, a seemingly-typical teenage girl who overcomes her fears and wants to do what's right. I really like Josie, but that may be because I have two daughters as well. I purposely created the character of Josie so that the super soldier who can't have kids ends up in a father-daughter relationship (in future novels) that he has no idea how to deal with.
6. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
Femagick, a female sorceress who used to be a costumed vigilante but now moonlights for the FBI when she's not headlining in Vegas. I purposely wrote her to be a vile, vain, horrible person, but she makes such a brief appearance I think it's lost on the reader. I put a lot of thought into her then just didn't get to develop her better.
7. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?
I'd have put more action in the beginning, instead of starting with a mystery that slowly builds to an action-packed climax. When I wrote this I wasn't sure that I was going to turn it into a series. Had I been positive of that, I'd have made the book have more action, sooner, to better fit in with the sequels.
8. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
The old super soldier, Mark Kenslir, was born in 1928 and possessed a natural immunity to magic and psionics. But then he got himself cursed and is now frozen in the same form he was in 1962. He can't age, he's stuck with the same goofy haircut, and he keeps coming back from the dead. He's buried a lot of his friends and fellow soldiers and may just be getting tired of all the fighting.
9. What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?
Warren Murphy's "The Destroyer" series is probably the closest, content-wise. Remo Williams is a super assassin who protects the world from all sorts of crazy, supernatural beings and mad scientists. With his super-martial art, Sinanju, there's plenty of violence and gruesome demises.
10. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
My kids are most impressed by my ability to belch at will- my wife, not so much. As for hobbies, I tend to watch a lot of B Movies and play Xbox with my friends and kids.
11. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
There's a sporadically-updated blog for the series at, or you can follow my occasional snide remarks on twitter @troglodad
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm set to do 5 Mythical books then will wait to see if the series gains any popularity. If not, I have a horror-comedy novel I'd like to finish about a mailman who finds out he's a werewolf- the same night zombies invade his subdivision.
13. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Read it, and spread the pulpy goodness. Writing is easy- I could crank one of these out every month. But marketing is rough. There's so much good, indie stuff out there to be read, and a lot of us are lost in the endless selections. "Mythical" isn't for everyone, but fans of pulp and big adventure should like it- if only they could find it.
14. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Like Yoda said, "don't try- do." Self-publishing is easy. Writing is easy. The only hard part is marketing and a lot of that is luck anyways. I'd rather finish some novels and say I tried then sit back and say I didn't try simply because I didn't think I could find readers.
15. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
"It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." I like to tell my kids that. And if you read Book 2 & 3, you'll see how often that phrase pops up in my subconscious.
16. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
It was the giant’s turn to attack. Despite the incredible pain in his kidney, he struck out, right hand held flat, knifelike. His six fingers struck Kenslir’s chest with blinding speed, tearing through fabric and flesh just under Kenslir’s sternum.
Kenslir grunted from the impact. He looked down at his chest and saw the giant’s arm in his torso, almost to the elbow.
The giant grinned. He had learned long ago to form his heart on the left side of his chest, to avoid the spears, swords, knives and other weapons that had so often been employed against him in this form. But the black haired man with the strange green-black eyes had normal human anatomy. His heart was exactly where it should be.
The giant wrapped his six fingers around the heart and jerked it out of Kenslir’s chest.
The giant stepped back, then raised the heart to his chest, opening his mouth. He wondered if he was actually salivating at the thought of all the power the heart held. He was just about to put it into his mouth when he noticed it had changed color. And gotten heavier.
The giant looked closer. The heart had turned gray. Blood no longer dripped out of it. The giant squeezed the heart. It had turned to unyielding stone.
“I’m going to be needing that back,” Colonel Kenslir said.
The giant looked up, more surprised that Kenslir was still alive than by the petrified heart in his hand. But there Kenslir was, with a gaping hole in his chest that wasn’t even bleeding. And with a large pistol in his hand, aimed right at the giant’s face.
Thank you C.E. for taking part in my Author Spotlight interview! I hope your writing continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future.
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at

Monday, September 3, 2012

Author Spotlight: Interview with Keith A. Ferstl

1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Madman Dreams Book One: Reanimated. YA Science Fiction.

Thanks to the murderous act of a madman, Jonathan Chaulk discovers that his one chance to save McKenna Dupree, the girl of his dreams, will come only after her death.

2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Readers who enjoy fast-paced, character-driven science fiction with lots of unexpected twists and turns will find a book written just for them. Those who seek a thought-provoking, exciting page-turner should give Madman Dreams a read.

3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

On the surface, the ideas explored in the series, are exciting and reasonable, but when they are filtered through the minds of madmen, they become distorted dreams. The title Madman Dreams is a result of tinkering with those themes, and finding a concise way of distilling them into the title. And it doesn’t hurt that during this decision-making process, my wife was a willing sounding board, too.

4. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Since the phoenix theme plays a predominant role in the story and throughout the series, I wanted it on the cover. Graphic designer Asfar Shah designed the cover. The colors, flames, and soaring phoenix captured the tone of the story.

5. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Picking a favorite character presents the same difficulty as choosing your favorite child. You love them all, and it’s difficult to pick one over the others. If someone put a gun to my head—and McKenna just might—I’d say she has a slight lead over Jonathan. As a strong female character, I like her intelligence, her inner strength, and I admire her spunk.

6. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Although Dr. Sandor Serpa has villainous characteristics, and doesn’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to reach his ultimate goal, he’s operating from the position of doing what must be done for the greater good—at least in his mind. I find myself disliking Trace Connors even more. He wields his power with vicious, selfish intent.

7. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

I regret taking so long writing it. I started working on it several years ago, but it took me a while to commit wholeheartedly to the project. Had I made the commitment earlier, I would’ve been on the path toward doing what I love that much sooner.

8. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

The wind sled that appears on the first page was inspired by wind sleds that operate between Bayfield and Madeline Island on Lake Superior. The nanobots described in Madman would likely be the size of about one micron. For comparison, a human hair is about one hundred microns wide; a red blood cell is about eight microns in diameter and three microns thick.

9. What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

The use of nanobots, although implemented for different reasons and effects, makes BZRK by Michael Grant similar and alike. Cryogenics also plays a significant role in both Madman and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

10. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I enjoy swimming and riding my recumbent bike on nearby paved trails…until I have to go uphill, then I’m not such a big fan.

11. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

To contact me or find out more about my books you can email:, visit my blog:, or website: I’m also on Facebook (, or Twitter, @KeithFerstl.

12. What can we expect from you in the future?

Madman Dreams Book One and Book Two are already available in e-book format at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m working steadily on Book Three with high hopes for a September 2012 launch.

13. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Despite all the different marketing channels available, at the end of the day, the key to success is word of mouth. If readers enjoy the book, please let others know!

14. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

There’s an old axiom: Writers write. It still holds true today. I would add: Readers read. So many books, so little time!

15. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for taking the time to read this interview. And thank you in advance for reading my books. It means the world to me. Please feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear from readers!

16. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Excerpt: Madman Dreams Book One: Reanimated by Keith A. Ferstl

The arctic air that churned down across the Canadian border bit into Jonathan’s face. The cold wind exhilarated him. McKenna, snuggled in the cockpit beside him, shouted with excitement as the Raven flew across the ice.

They’d been crisscrossing the lake for almost two hours when they spotted what appeared to be a naked man stumbling toward them.

Jonathan jerked his head up and yelled a warning, but the man didn’t hear or chose to ignore him. He swiftly steered the iceboat into the wind. The sail flapped like a sheet on a clothesline as the boat skidded to a stop. They scrambled to the crumpled figure and watched helplessly as he collapsed and curled into a fetal position.

Jonathan yanked off his parka and draped it over the man’s exposed body. He dropped to his knees beside him, pulled off his glove and pressed his fingertips to the man’s neck, searching for a pulse.

McKenna knelt next to them. “Is he alive?”

He pushed the panic down. “I can’t get a pulse!” He tried to roll the body over to begin CPR, but the man’s contorted muscles refused to relax.

McKenna pointed toward the island. “Someone’s coming.”

Looking up from the body, he saw a black Land Rover heading in their direction. Was it from the Institute? He didn’t have time to dwell on the questions that popped into his head. Were they watching us? Were we under surveillance? Is that why they were so quick to respond? Or had they been pursuing the man? Right now he didn’t care about the “why” surrounding the cavalry’s arrival. He only hoped the rescuers reached the man in time.

He forced himself to look at the man’s face, twisted upward, eyebrows and eyelashes coated with a thick layer of ice crystals, bloodshot eyes frozen open, lips a dark blue.

The vehicle’s wide tires crunched to a stop a few feet away from them. Two figures, wearing orange hazmat suits, exited the vehicle.

McKenna’s gasp mimicked his own.

The taller of the two orange suits handed each of them a black rubber mask. A clear plastic hose connected it to a stainless steel canister. “Put these on, and step away from the body! Do it now,” he ordered, “or you’re dead.”
Thank you Keith for taking part in my Author Spotlight interview! I hope your writing continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future.
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at