Torn: The Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank by Simon Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book deals with the subjects of suicide, mental health and more. It also features strong language.

Torn: The Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank is the story of Simon Williams. The author himself writes about the troubling circumstances that led him to contemplate the end of his life, and the struggles of life in general. From adjusting to a life in America much different than the one he grew up with in Australia to the pitfalls of the American Healthcare System and the heartbreaking realization that the person you love can be the ultimate source of betrayal. Here’s the synopsis:

Ever wonder what could drive a young man to suicide? Mental health is very much a taboo subject. Who wants to admit to the world that they are struggling with it?

For Simon Williams, his bizarre journey through life found him looking over his balcony in his mid-forties contemplating the end. What happens next is a heartbreaking, gritty and remarkable tale told with sardonic wit, frank honesty, and a unique perspective on life as Simon struggles to rediscover the meaning of happiness. He realizes that only when we are prepared to die do we stop apologizing for who we are, what we have done, and what we go through.

The first book in an eye-opening trilogy about what it means to savor every day of your existence and believe in yourself to overcome all odds. An inspirational story for anyone who faces tough times. After reading what this man goes through you will know what facing up to fear is and realize you have the power to do what it takes to tackle any issue in life head on.

This was definitely one of the most creative and unique memoir style tell-all that I’ve ever read. Filled with rich imagery, humorous and sometimes perilous stories that relate to the main story of the author, and a unique outlook on life many in America would never recognize. The book does a great job of showing how people from around the world adjust to life in America, which is not always an easy thing. It also showcases the mindset and outlook of an Australian native thrown into the chaos that is the United States. Delving into subjects like US Healthcare, US Immigration and the hardship of marriage, this book is a powerful insight into the struggles of everyday life, and finding meaning when your life seems meaningless.

Overall this was a great read. Filled with heart, humor and passion, the story was well written and deserves to be read. With two more books in the series, the story of one man’s struggle to reunite with family and find a purpose in his life is a must read. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up book one of Torn by Simon Williams today!

Rating: 8/10



Interview with Author George Bachman

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Writing started out as an extension of reading for me, continuing the same activity. I’ve been doing it for as long as I could write my name, even if it took a long time for the scribbles to mean something.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My interests in fin de siecle England, when social attitudes among the aristocracy were changing as wealthy Americans penetrated their ranks, and the occultism practiced during that period.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

How both good and bad people can be driven to do horrible things through no fault of their own, because of social pressures in no way designed to inflict the pain that they do.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My love of fantasy novels I grew up reading, in particular the Alice books (the best in the genre), John Crowley’s great Little, Big, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books, Peter Straub’s underappreciated Shadowland, Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale and Swan Lake trilogy, Hope Mirrlees’s Lud-in-the-Mist, and many others.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would ask my lead character Christine if she believes she could ever earn Allie’s forgiveness.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook. It’s the easiest way to reach like-minded readers and to keep them engaged.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read, read, read. Read the current market, read the classics, absorb as much as you can.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m just finishing another historical fantasy, this one centered on Renaissance Europe.


Interview with Poet Robin Williams

1) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I got into writing a month or two after I had planned to end my life, but I started to really write after I lost a friend to suicide. It was my way of coping.
2) What inspired you to write Forest Floor?
Forest Floor was first inspired by my Wildlife class. It was intended to be written for bonus points, but I instead found it complicated to write about nature in my style. So, I went along and just added poetry while keeping the title.
3) What themes do you hope or think are important for readers to take away from your poetry?
I hope readers take away the message that everything will be okay. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, or even a week from now, but it will be. I’m a survivor and I still struggle, and it’s okay to struggle.
4) What drew you into poetry in particular as a writing genre?
I used to write stories but found myself adding so much description that it took away the liking of my readers. When I came across poetry, I instantly knew that was what I wanted to write. I never believed I was good at writing stories, but poetry was the one thing I found my hope in, and I stuck with it.
5) If you could sit and talk with any writer or poet, who would it be and what would you ask them?
One of my favorite poets is Shelby Mcleroy, aka @slm_poems on Instagram. I would sit down with her and just ask her, How? How did she survive and how does she write so bloody well?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I believe Instagram has really helped build my readership. It’s much easier to reach people and to find people who really love my work. 
7) What advice would you give to any aspiring writers or authors out there?
I always say write from your heart. Put the raw emotions down onto paper and just let it all flow. If you do that, you have already become one of the best writers ever. 
8) What’s next for you? Any writing projects in the works?
 I have planned to reach out to a publisher after I graduate and to have them publish my longer, completed work Dear Nobody. As of right now, though, I am writing another collection called Salt and Sugar. 

Interview with Author Faye Hall

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My name is Faye Hall and I am an Australian Historical Romance author.  My books are set in North Queensland, Australia during the 19th century.  I got into writing as a young child when my parents encouraged me to write down the stories I was forever telling them.  When I reached high school my senior English teacher told me I would never be good enough to make it as a writer.  It gave me the incentive to send my first manuscript to a publisher just to prove him wrong.  I’ve been working as an author ever since.
2) What inspired you to write your book?

My latest book, Indulgence & Temperance, is book number 2 in the Sins of the Virtuous series.  I have always wanted to write a book about the seven deadly sins, but it is a subject that has been done to death.  So I decided to incorporate heavenly virtues into each book as well, kind of like a good vs evil and using the characters to explain each sin and virtue.  Indulgence & Temperance takes the reader on a journey of Hellfire clubs, kidnapping, laudanum addiction and a passion driven love affair that is threatened to be ripped apart.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I want readers to take piece of Australian history with them.  As far as Romance novels go, Australia is still very much a new setting.  I want to show readers my country has just as much of a passionate history as every other.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My love of history is what started it, but as I traveled through my teenage years I realized as much as I loved the suspense in my writing, I wanted more.  I wanted to create that ‘happily ever after’ that you read about in fairy tales.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

It would be Beth Meridian from Indulgence & Temperance.  I would want to ask her just exactly what she got up to when she worked in that Hellfire club.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

It would have to be Goodreads or Instagram – I end up chatting to quite a few people on there.  
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

To not give up and to not be afraid to let yourself grow as a writer.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

More writing!  I’m almost finished book 3 from the series, and I’m onto the second draft of book 4.

Author Bio:

Come on a journey with me through 19th century North Queensland, Australian and explore the passions and hardships of unique characters.
There is corruption, deceit and murder, as well as cattle rustlers, slave traders and hell fire clubs. Explore townships of Jarvisfield and Inkerman, as well as Ravenswood and Bowen. One book even incorporates my great grandmothers cattle station ‘Inkerman Downs Station’.

As well as an author, I am also the most spoilt wife in the world, and a very contented mother.
Come and discover all the passion and drama of North Queensland history with me

Book Blurb:

Indulgence and Temperance by Faye Hall


Would you abandon the woman you love for your own indulgence?


Beth Meridian has returned home, hoping to leave her sordid past behind her and settle into a quiet life. When her childhood friend, Hannah Raeburn, offers her a place to stay, Beth knows it won’t be long until she runs into Hannah’s brother, Daniel. What she doesn’t expect is for him to reignite feelings deep in her heart, reminding her of the kiss they shared before she left town.


Daniel Raeburn’s past is scandalous, his sinful indulgences allowing him more wealth than he could ever need. Still, he wants more, and his gluttonous appetite for wealth and women leads him to buy into a partnership at the local hellfire club.


When Hannah goes missing, Beth and Daniel follow her trail through the Australian outback. Witnessing the womanizer Daniel is, Beth flees on a cattle train headed north. Desperate to explain his actions, Daniel follows her.


Arriving in the small town of Jarvisfield, Daniel is shocked to learn that Beth is now the owner of the largest cattle company in the area. He’s even more shocked to discover that the preacher controlling the town, and stealing from the townspeople, is his once business partner William Maxon. He’s convinced this man is also responsible for his sister’s disappearance. When he learns William has Beth picked out as his next victim, Daniel knows he must do whatever it takes to make her listen to the truth. But she has no interest in hearing anything he has to say.


Faced with losing the two women he loves, Daniel is forced to choose between their freedom and the possessions and wealth he has hoarded over the years. But even if he gives it all up, he still might lose everything.


Content Warning: contains sex, strong language, and some violence



Genre(s): Historical Romance



You can learn more about the author at her social media links here:


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Interview with Author Gwendolyn Kiste

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?


Like a lot of authors, I’ve been writing in one form or another for most of my life. When I was very young, I started putting together little stories about anthropomorphic animals (a la The Church Mice books, if anyone remembers that series). I even illustrated my tales—very badly, of course, since I can’t draw at all. From there, I kept writing and eventually expanded to plays and screenplays through high school and college before circling back to my first love of fiction writing. In between, I explored a ton of other fields too: psychology, filmmaking, fashion design, teaching, nonprofit management, event promotion, travel blogging. I always like to challenge myself, so at the very least, I’ve rarely had a boring moment.    


2) What inspired you to write your book?


Since I was a kid, I’ve loved folklore and urban legends. As corny and on-the-nose as it may sound, I remember when the movie Urban Legend came out back in the 1990s, and how excited I was to see it. Spoiler: it’s not necessarily a great movie, but it was a great starting place for me when I was young and wanted to learn more about these strange modern myths we tell each other. The next Christmas, my parents got me an entire encyclopedia about urban legends, and after that, it became something of an obsession for me.

It wasn’t until a little over a year ago when my husband and I were discussing folklore that I realized how often the name Mary comes up in these tales. We went through and listed as many as we could think of, and I was shocked at how prolific that name really is. I hadn’t explored too much about urban legends in my writing up until that point, and I figured spinning a tale about these characters—who they are and how they got that name—would be a perfect place to start.  


3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?


I had so many ideas and themes in mind when I first started writing the book, but perhaps the biggest one for me was the notion of family and how sometimes the people closest to us are not our biological relatives but instead those we happen to find along the way. The Marys cobble together a family in their decrepit haunted house, and this bond is key to getting them through what’s to come.

Also, the power of resistance, of fighting back, even when the odds might seem insurmountable, was incredibly important to me with this story. The world can be so cruel, especially to those who are different, and I wanted to tell a tale about characters who are fighting to be heard despite a force trying hard to drown them out. In everyday life, I’m often hopeful to a fault, so I tend to believe that even in the worst times, all is not lost, which is certainly a major theme in Pretty Marys.  

 Pretty Marys All in a Row.jpeg

4) What drew you into this particular genre?


Horror has always been part of my life—literally, my entire life. My dad was very happily reading me Edgar Allan Poe while my mom was still pregnant. Horror in my family goes back even further than that too; my grandfather was a big Poe fan, and he shared that love of all things macabre with my father, who then of course passed it on to me. Growing up, there was always a Hammer movie on the TV or a book of horror short stories on the dining room table. I was reading Poe and Bradbury in elementary school, which was always a point of pride for me. (Although it could be hard sometimes to be the “strange kid” in a small town, I still relished my weirdness too.)

As I got older, my love of horror never waned, so I knew I had to become part of the genre in some way. This choice definitely changed my life. I even met my husband back when we were both struggling horror filmmakers. When I finally decided to switch gears and go back to fiction writing, it very much felt that I found my place in the world.    


5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?


I love this question! I’ve never thought about it before, but I guess if I could sit down with anyone from Pretty Marys All in a Row, I would probably go with Rhee (Resurrection Mary). I’ve already spent so much time with her, it seems, because she’s the narrator of the book, so she would be the one that I’d love to meet in person. As for questions, I think I’d just ask her about her day. That probably sounds boring, but I would love to hear the little details about what’s going on with her and how her afterlife is different from everything we as the living would take for granted.    

That being said, if I was just in the mood to hang out, I’d probably choose Lew (Mari Lwyd). She’s so feisty and always has a bottle of booze hidden somewhere, so that would make for a good party anytime!  


6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?


I’ve had some good luck with meeting readers and fellow writers on both Twitter and Facebook. There are things I like and dislike about each site, so it probably depends on the day as to which I prefer. Also, if I’m entirely honest, I’m not as social media savvy as a lot of writers. In fact, I’m not very tech savvy at all (I still have a flip phone from circa 2009), but I do my best to muddle through. Even for a Luddite like me, it really is wonderful to be able to connect with others in real-time online, and the friendships I’ve built on social media have definitely helped during the times when writing gets difficult. And at some point, it always seems to get difficult!   


7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?


Keep going. Keep honing your craft, and keep learning both what works and what doesn’t work for you in your writing. Not every piece of publishing advice out there is going to be helpful for you, and that’s okay. Figure out what does work, and go with that. Don’t give up, even when it gets hard. Especially when it gets hard. Your voice is needed in this world. Keep going.


8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?


I try to keep pretty busy writing—it helps to keep me mostly sane—so I usually have a few things in the works at any given time. Right now, the biggest project on the horizon is my debut novel, The Rust Maidens, which is due out later this year from Trepidatio Publishing, an imprint of JournalStone. The story is set in Cleveland, primarily in the year 1980, and deals with my Rust Belt roots as well as themes I’ve explored in my short fiction: coming of age, body horror, and unlikely friendships.


I also have several short stories slated for release this year too, including my horror tale, “An Elegy for Childhood Monsters,” which should be out soon in Grey Matter Press’s Suspended in Dusk 2. That anthology has a table of contents filled with horror authors I greatly admire, and I’m still in awe and shock that I get to be part of that lineup.


Finally, my collaborative novella with author Emily B. Cataneo, “In Her Flightless Wings, a Fire,” will be appearing in the forthcoming Chiral Mad 4. So there will definitely be several places to find my work over the next year if you’re so inclined!

In the meantime, you can also find me at my author site ( On my regular blog, I share a monthly roundup of open submission calls and posts about writing tips along with a series of interviews with up-and-coming authors and artists. There’s always so much great stuff going on in the publishing world, so it’s certainly an incredible time to be a writer.


And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe

Forest Floor by Robin Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger warning: This book deals with themes of mental illness, self-harm, suicide, political events, death and more.

A beautifully written book of poetry dives into dark, tragic and real themes in our society in poet and author Robin Williams book, Forest Floor. Here’s the synopsis:

Forest Floor takes you on a walk through a mind that has been shadowed by depression, fear, self-harm, and other mental illnesses in the form of poetry.

Taking the tragedy and hardship of life and the experiences the author has had, this book is written beautifully. The themes are hard to deal with and can be uncomfortable, but I think the writer does a great job of not glorifying the themes or making fun of them, but instead bringing a much needed light to them and opening up discussions that need to be had. The imagery is haunting as you explore the heartbreaking life this author is illustrating.

Overall I loved this book of poetry. Although difficult to discuss, these topics do need to be discussed in an honest, kind and open environment. The book itself was thought-provoking and although short, it was evenly paced throughout. It makes you as a reader think and as the author poses, if even one person can be helped by reading these poems and knowing they are not alone, then it will have been worth it. If you or someone you know is struggling with these themes in their lives, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Whether it’s to family, friends or professionals, reach out and get help. It’s never too late and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

If you haven’t yet be sure to also get your copies of Forest Floor by Robin Williams today!

Rating: 10/10


Spellcaster by George Bachman Review

I received a free copy of this book for a fair and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

If a hybrid of Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice were to have it’s own shown on the History Channel, then you’d get author George Bachman’s Spellcaster. A breathtaking blend of fantasy and historical fiction (with a bit of steampunk mixed in for good measure), this book brings to life a fantastic blend of action, character growth and a plot filled with twists and turns you won’t soon forget. Here’s the synopsis:

In a turn-of-the century England steeped in steampunk and magic, sixteen year-old Christine Daniel learns her life-threatening illness stems from her paranormal visions. During the London Season, Allie, her beloved sister and the family heir, seeks a noble match while she searches the occult underground for answers. But the only witch who can help will not do so unless Allie marries her beau, an impoverished aristocrat, so that the illicit pair can share Allie’s wealth.

This is such an incredible read. Full of classical humor, a rich handle on historical culture in several different eras, and a phenomenal tapestry of deep characters, Spellcaster does just that; it casts a spell on the reader throughout the entire journey. The protagonist Christine delights and draws you into this world of high society and dark magic. The plot brings the reader through the era of history where magic, superstition and religious persecution were at it’s height. The book does an excellent job of bringing the time periods to life, and the story itself flowed evenly throughout.

Overall this was a great read you fantasy and historical fiction fans will not want to miss. Filled to the brim with adventure, wit and a whole lot of magic, this is a book worth reading. If you haven’t yet be sure to get your copy of George Bachman’s Spellcaster today!

Rating: 9/10