Inside the mind of JM Bray

I’m feeling chuffed to welcome the charismatic and talented JM Bray to my website today. JM is penning the Shroud trilogy and I wanted to let readers know about the first novel in the series, Tearing the Shroud, before next month’s launch of Mending the Shroud.

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~~~ FREE eCOPY up for GRABS ~~~

Make sure you read to the end of this Q&A for your chance to win a free eCopy of Tearing the Shroud.

Book 1Cheryse: You’ve set Tearing the Shroud in 1984? Why did you choose that year?

JM: I went to college in San Diego in the ‘80s so I know the area, era, and atmosphere. We live in such an instant society now and I wanted communication to be more difficult. 1984 puts us before cellphones or the internet, helping achieve that. It was a boom era, especially in Southern California, and knew that would be important in the Shroud Trilogy overall.

Cheryse: Do you write yourself or your friends/family members into your books?

JM: To some extent, yes. Flea and Knife are actual people, friends from college. They allowed me to take who they were and exaggerate it…yes I asked them in advance. I dedicated both Tearing the Shroud and Mending the Shroud to my wife, Kari and that’s not just because she put up with my writing. Seeing her bravely face life over the last twenty-nine years together taught me about heroines and what real romance means.

Cheryse: Is there a stigma attached to a man writing books with strong romantic elements. How do you deal with it?

JM: This is a great question! Thankfully I haven’t faced a stigma, but have been well received and accepted by the community. As a guy, how I approach a romantic scene may not be what’s expected. It’s not the ogling factor, I’ve read plenty of women authors who have female characters drooling over the guys bulging whatever. It’s that when I’m being romantic, personally, I do it with my from a guys standpoint. When I write…yep…I still have the same standpoint and that isn’t always what readers have come to expect. I, personally, see it as a positive.

Something that does worry me somewhat is this: All of us are working away, striving to find a place in the market and sometimes a guy gets questioned about his take on romance…simply for being a guy. True, the male author didn’t ask the question, and he wants his name out there as much as the next person, but that doesn’t make it any easier for folks trying to find a way to stand out in a crowded market. To help with this, I try to not rely on my “man-card”, but simply write the best I’m able and support the writing community all I can.

Cheryse: That’s a fabulous answer, JM. Okay, my next question is that you’re eighteen again. What’s your advice to eighteen-year-old you?

Go deep-sea fishing with Uncle Buck! Yeah, I know, you’re scratching your head, so let me explain. My Uncle Buck ran fishing charters and offered to take me on a two week all expenses trip to the Sea of Cortez. I was eighteen, just started a new job and chose not to go. I was trying to be responsible.

The advice boils down to this:

Don’t take life so seriously — AND — Take life more seriously.

Many times, I chose the wrong one at the wrong time. Recognizing what needs serious attention and what doesn’t matter at all is a tough skill to develop.

Cheryse, if you were trapped on a desert island, what three things do you wish you came armed with? My wife, Monica Bellucci, and a permission slip.

How can anyone argue with that? Thanks, JM, for visiting my website. Best of luck with next month’s launch of Mending the Shroud, and the continuing success of the Shroud trilogy. 

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For your chance to win a copy of Tearing the Shroud, email cheryse (at) quietdawn (dot) org with the words “Sharing the Shroud Trilogy” in the subject header. Good luck, everyone, especially all those gamers from 1984 🙂


About JM Bray:

JM Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met. When not writing or working his ‘day job’, JM loves to cook, play the guitar and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named Tuffy at tracks in the southwest.

Book 2Blurb to Tearing the Shroud:

Fall in love, be possessed, hunt a sorcerer and save the world – and Vincent thought calculus was tough.

1984 – Vincent expected college to be about freedom and girlos, but then the nightmares of sorcery, monsters and other worlds began. Not even the surprising attention from his dream girl, Julie, could shake them.

Before he’s even nailed his second date with Julie, he’s possessed by Coleman, a warrior from another realm. Coleman is hell bent on defeating the monstrous Kafla who threatens to tear into Vincent’s reality, changing both his and Coleman’s worlds forever. They have one chance to stop them: Vincent must allow Coleman to share his body and wage war against the sorcerer.

Now it’s up to them, the women they love and Vincent’s rag-tag bunch of role-playing and gaming friends to save the world, or see 1984 descent into the apocalypse.

Buy links:  Amazon       |        iTunes       |        Kobo       |        EscapePublishing

Author links: Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Connect Page  |  Pinterest

Inside the mind of Danielle Belwater

Rising YA paranormal romance author Danielle Belwater published her debut novel, Of Fire and Roses, in February this year. Fellow What If writer Reece McPherson chats to her about life, the universe and desert islands…

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Reece: You’re trapped on a desert island. What three things do you wish you came armed with?

Dani & nespressoDanielle: That’s a tough one! Can I have 4? Or can I combine them? My island survival kit would comprise of, first and foremost, my nespresso machine (this is a magical island where electrical items work without being plugged in), my laptop computer and my Paperblanks notebooks with a box of Pilot VBall BG05 Gel pens. (I know that’s more than three but it’s too hard!)


Reece: You’re a published author with a young family. How do you manage it all? How do you make your books your priority amongst everything else?

Danielle: This has been one of the most difficult obstacles I’ve had to overcome. When I first started writing Of Fire & Roses, it completely took over my life. Every spare second I had was devoted to penning my manuscript. I would find myself angry at anything that took time away from my writing, including my family. I had it the wrong way round.

I have had to let the urgency go and put my family first. Whatever writing time I get after that is a bonus.  I have made my peace with that and it has made life a lot less stressful.

Reece: How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

Danielle: I have always had a fascination with the paranormal since my brother used to frighten me with ghost stories when I was five. Growing up and still today, my main coping mechanism when life gets a bit much, I find myself looking for a book or movie that I can escape into, totally immerse myself in another universe for a short time. I am just as at home amongst ghosts, witches and the supernatural as I am sitting in my lounge room.

Reece: What do you love most about being published?

Danielle: What’s not to love? I think it’s a mix of things. Being able to pick up a book in my hands and say I wrote that, I really wrote that. There is such a sense of self accomplishment that comes with that, even more so when I get a good review. To know that words I have written have entertained someone, even for a little while, is truly humbling.

Reece: What’s your advice for young men and woman of the future?

Danielle: Don’t lose sight of your goals. As you get older, life can sometimes get in the way and it is very easy to get sidetracked on a different path. You look up 40 years later and realize that you aren’t where you had expected to be or not achieved goals that were so important to you when you were younger.

Don’t let obstacles stop you. Obstacles are there to teach you how to deal with life and it is sometimes easier to quit than find a way around it. Work and work hard and you can achieve anything.

Reece: Thanks, Danielle, for sharing your time with Cheryse’s readers.

Danielle: My pleasure, Reece 🙂

About Danielle:

Danielle Belwater adores the concept of true love and thoroughly believes everyone has their Prince Charming or Snow White out there somewhere, even if they have to fight demons, ghosts and wizards to find it.

She lives in rural South Australia with her husband, young daughters and way too many animals to mention. She spends most of her time dreaming up characters, stories, ghostly tales, and watching Firefly re-runs.  She also cooks the odd meal for her family to avoid them looking like skeletons at official author functions!

Blurb to Of Fire & Roses:

Of Fire & RosesNate West’s mother is dead, his dad a lost cause. Anger has become a way of life, until he meets and falls in love with Cora Ewell. But Cora has a secret, one that could kill them both.

Nate moves from the big city to a small, forest town with his father after his mother’s tragic death. Alone and angry, Nate feels even more isolated by his father’s inability to communicate and relate to his only son in the wake of their loss.

Nate takes to the forest in an attempt to find some peace, but instead finds a beautiful girl with flaming red hair.  But before he can speak with her, she vanishes. Unsure if the girl is a vision or real he searches desperately for her.

When Nate finally meets Cora, his world is turned upside down and inside out.

Dreams of his own death plague his sleep as old, dark magic, hidden for centuries, resurfaces and has its sights clearly set on Nate.

Buy links:  Evernight Teen  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon AUS  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Wattpad  |  Pinterest