Katy Mann – Writer
Writing and reviewing horror fiction, because I love scary stories!


banner Splinters

Splinters banner



I had the good fortune to interview Matt and Fiona about their new book, Splinters, published by Jolly Fish Press, now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in local bookstores.


Fiona Titchenell

Fiona Titchenell

Matt Carter

Matt Carter


1. Why did you write Splinters?


Fiona: I’ve always wanted to write a speculative YA epic, like the books that inspired me as a kid and made me want to be an author in the first place. Matt and I together have some pretty eclectic tastes in fiction, especially where we’ve rubbed off on each other, so by crossing some very odd inspirations, we realized we could make ours pretty unique.


Matt: We’d worked together off and on for a while in our short story days, but had never really tried a novel together. Then one day in the middle of an X-Files binge (I’d been a fan back in the day, she’d never seen it before) we started thinking, ‘Hey, can we try to make a YA version of that for today’s readers?’ and from there, The Prospero Chronicles was born.


2. Was there any one person who was your inspiration for your main character?


Matt: Nobody from real life. Ben’s kind of an old-fashioned hero in a lot of ways. Very principled, strong, somewhat naïve but still savvy enough to make the right decisions when he has to. I like to think he’s something of an old school hero who’s grown up in a modern world, and throughout the series we’re going to see just what kind of toll that takes on that kind of mindset.


Fiona: No, I can’t think of any real life people the main characters are closely based on. They’re blends of things we are, wish we were, and are glad we’re not, with dashes of some of our favorite fictional characters and antidotes to our non-favorites.


3. As a writer, what would you say is the most controversial or compelling statement in the book? Why do you feel that way?


Fiona: This really shouldn’t be controversial at all, but wander into a movie theater at random and pay a little attention, and you’ll find that it definitely is: the idea that female characters can and should be as important, prominent, diverse, developed and interesting as male ones. I hope it at least goes more or less without saying why that’s pretty important to me.


4. What’s the most important thing readers will learn from Splinters?


Fiona: Other than what I’ve just mentioned? We’re not particularly didactic with it. They’ll learn a lot of very dangerous and impractical ways to protect themselves from otherworldly shapeshifters. Seriously, Mina’s an expert, and she’s fictional. Do NOT try this stuff at home.


Matt: I’d like to say how this book has an overall message that two opposites can work together for a greater common goal, and in a way it does, but its overall theme that you can’t trust anyone because they might just be an alien out to get you really kind of makes that point a little moot.


5. What problem do you feel the readers will identify with? What’s your best advice on how they can deal with that?


Matt: For lack of better wording, being a teenager sucks, or at least it feels like it does. A lot of the time it can feel like the whole world is out to get you, and though in this story it actually is, in real life that’s rarely the case. My advice on this is simple. Treat everyone around you like a bear; assume they’re really more afraid of you than you are of them. Of course this isn’t always the case, so you’ll have to play it by ear, but just remember that not everyone is out to get you because they’re usually more focused on their own problems.


Fiona: Ben and Mina both have to deal with choosing between what’s expected of them and what they believe in. They’re both smart and hardworking people from pretty well-off families. Mina has her issues relating to people (a problem in its own right I’m sure many can identify with), and Ben has to live with his mother’s wanderlust, but both of them should have had an easy time of building nice lives for themselves, acceptance by their neighbors and parents, good grades, an easy route to college, if they tried. They’d even have a fair chance of being left alone by the Splinters if they kept their heads down, but they both see the chance to help people, and they choose that instead. That’s one of the themes that definitely comes up throughout The Prospero Chronicles, the fact that the choices that will make you respectable and popular and successful in other people’s eyes aren’t automatically the right ones.


6. When do you write? Is it easier to write in the morning or at night? As you write as a team, do you discuss things and move forward, or do you write separate passages and then merge them?


Fiona: I write whenever I have a few minutes throughout the day, and then we both get most of our best work done in the morning and afternoon on the weekends. When we work together, we lay out a full outline first, and then every week we talk out the details of the next two chapters and then write our parts separately (he writes Ben, I write Mina). Then we swap and make notes to each other for edits to make it all work together.


Matt: Fiona and I are kinda opposites when it comes to how and when we can write. Give her a few minutes a day and she’ll put a chapter together slowly but surely. I can only really work on the weekends, and in weird fits and starts. Still, when I write in one of my writing binges, I can really write. It’s not uncommon for me to get 5,000-6,000 words of material done in a single weekend this way.


7. Who’s your favorite author?


Matt: I have some odd, eclectic tastes in authors, but Stephen King definitely has to top the list. Other favorites include, but are not limited to, George MacDonald Fraser, Max Brooks, George R.R. Martin and Alan Moore.


Fiona: I can’t choose, sorry, I love them for too many different reasons. First ones to mind are J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Max Brooks, and I’ve recently been on a Shirley Jackson binge that might put her on the list.


8. Where can we buy the book?


Fiona: It’s in some stores, mostly in the LA area I think, and available to order from pretty much anywhere. And of course here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Splinters-Prospero-Chronicles-Matt-Carter-ebook/dp/B00N6WPXK6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1413133199


Matt: What she said.


9. What made you decide to team up to write the book?


Matt: It wasn’t so much a what but a when. We’d done a lot of projects together before, nothing really major, just some odds and ends shorts. We’d planned to do a novel together some day, but no idea really stuck, not until we got The Prospero Chronicles, and once we did get that together, it was just a matter of mapping and putting it together.



Fiona: We’ve been writing partners since long before we were married. Mostly we helped with brainstorming and critiquing each other, sometimes, as Matt said, teaming up for a short story (some good but none that saw publication). He taught me horror, and I taught him YA. We’d always wanted to do a big project together, and when the YA X-Files premise came up, it all clicked.



Thank you Fiona and Matt for stopping by. And good luck with your new book!



Jolly Fish is hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway in honor of the new release:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tags: , , ,


Splinters cover

Splinters cover

Under ordinary circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other; he’s an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal, and she’s a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small town of Prospero, California, has no ordinary circumstances to offer. In order to uncover a plot set by the seemingly innocent but definitely shapeshifting monsters-that-look-like-friends-family-and-neighbors, the two stark opposites must both find ways to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other.



Everyone who adds Splinters to their Goodreads to-read list on or before March 7th will be entered to win a $25 Amazon giftcard. A winner will be selected at random and contacted by Goodreads direct message. Letting people know in your reveal post and linking to the Goodreads page is greatly appreciated! Here it is: www.goodreads.com/book/show/20860637-splinters


Details to note:

Splinters is the first book of the series The Prospero Chronicles.

Tentative publication date set for Fall 2014

F.J.R. Titchenell is also the author of Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of), to be released May 6th, 2014 (link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18722335-confessions-of-the-very-first-zombie-slayer)



Author bio:

F.J.R. Titchenell and Matt Carter met and fell in love in a musical theatre class at Pasadena City College and have been inseparable ever since. Though they have both dreamed of being writers since a very young age, they both truly hit their stride after they met, bouncing ideas off of one another, forcing each other to strive to be better writers, and mingling Matt’s lifelong love of monsters with Fiona’s equally disturbing inability to forget the tumult of high school. They were married in 2011 in a ceremony that involved kilts, Star Wars music, and a cake topped by figurines of them fighting a zombified wedding party.


Author links:

F.J.R. Titchenell’s blog: http://fjrtitchenell.weebly.com/

Matt Carter’s blog: http://mattcarterauthor.weebly.com/

F.J.R. Titchenell’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/FjrTitchenell

Matt Carter’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/mattcarterauthor

F.J.R. Titchenell’s Twitter: www.twitter.com/FJR_Titchenell

Matt Carter’s Twitter: www.twitter.com/MCarterAuthor

Splinters Goodreads page (again): www.goodreads.com/book/show/20860637-splinters


Carter and Tetchenell

Carter and Tetchenell




The only thing that multi-published, award winning horror author, Tom Elliot, wanted was to move to the country for a change of scenery and relaxation, to a quiet part of southern Illinois. It seemed he’d picked out a wonderful spot, miles away from the closest neighbor and even further away from civilization.


Tom couldn’t write to save his soul. Weird thoughts trampled through his head and left him wondering if he’d made a mistake moving from Chicago. Could it have been that he ripped himself from his element, like his best friend, Michael Gully, had predicted? That he couldn’t answer yet.


Words came and flowed like wildfire, but at what price? Tom’s imagination was getting the best of him and running rampant. The very characters that he created tormented him, driving him mad where he couldn’t distinguish fiction from reality.




His mind swam with thoughts about his story, always struggling to fall asleep when starting a new novel; too many thoughts playing like a movie in his brain. His eyes drooped heavily.


A child’s scream sliced through the air and filled the house.


Tom sat up and opened his eyes abruptly. “What the hell was that?” he whispered in the dark.


A crash sounded.


Tom turned his head in the direction of the door. His heart thudded deep in his chest. He stared through the doorway that led into the next room. Blackness dominated the house. He leaned toward a nearby table and switched on a lamp; amazingly, nothing appeared out of the ordinary. Tom rolled out of bed and took slow steps, searching for what made the ruckus. The first thing that came to mind was that an animal might have gotten into the outside garbage. But the noise sounded as if it was inside the house. Maybe, a raccoon had broken in. Yeah, that’s what it probably is. He hoped.


Tom didn’t find anything out of place. Chills ran up his spine to the back of his neck. He didn’t understand. How did he hear all that noise when nothing appeared wrong? Did he dream it? Maybe…


Patrick will be awarding a $10 Wild Child Publishing GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


My Review:


Shattered is a story about a horror writer forced to confront the creations of his mind in the real world.


Horror writer Tom Elliot has moved to the country.  Haunted by a horrific childhood, he is puzzled by mysterious happenings that seem to parallel events of the stories he is drafting.  Slowly the events begin to follow him from his lonely cabin into the neighboring town, with terrifying consequences for the lives of those he encounters.


I enjoyed this intriguing tale as it passed between dreams and events that began to mix reality and intrusions of his imagination into the real world.


There are a few dream sequences, but these are short and it is clear that these are dreams, so they don’t interfere with questions about the veil being pulled between the world of Tom’s imagination and the real world around him.  The novel’s crucial question becomes:  can the events of  Tom’s story world entrap others?  There is a surprising twist that adds layers of mystery to this novel and sets Shattered apart from similar works, leaving the reader uneasy, questioning and thinking about the novel after it has ended.


I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.


Tags: , , ,
Room of Tears by Linda Merlino

Room of Tears by Linda Merlino


  Author: Linda Merlino

Tour organized by:  Goddess Fish



Out of tragedies come heroes and miracles…


At 9:59 a.m. on September 11, 2001, Diane O’Connor’s life as a firefighter’s wife changes forever, shattering her faith. Four decades later, a note still hangs on her kitchen cabinet in Queens, the paper yellowed with age. Diane knows the scribbled sentences by heart; she’d left them the morning of 9/11 for her husband, Billy.


In the summer of 2041, Diane invites Friar Antonio Ortiz to her home. He is a man destined to become counsel to the first American pope—her son, Peter. Antonio asks no questions and arrives in secret, promising to wait nineteen years before passing Diane’s journal to Peter. Only then will Billy’s story be told, along with answers to Peter’s questions about his father’s last days.




Excerpt Chapter One –



Absorbed, Antonio neglected to notice that Diane had disappeared into the kitchen. He thought to ask her about the two men in the photographs, and when he turned in anticipation of seeing her next to him, he took a step toward where she might be standing. His right foot struck a pair of boots propped upright against the wall. He stumbled and put a hand out to that empty place where he thought she might be, but his face did not meet hers, and instead came within an inch of a firefighter’s helmet, the medallion of its FDNY ladder company polished and gleaming.


On the edge of that moment, trying to regain his balance, each breath he took tightened in his throat. Antonio began to gag. His mind raced. What could be happening? One minute he was looking at photographs and the next his throat was constricting. An acrid odor rose to his nostrils. He shook his head—the same faint smell he’d noticed from before, at the door, but stronger, sharp enough now to sear his soft membranes. My God, he thought and recoiled. Sweat sprang from his face and neck. A heart attack? He clutched his chest. No, not that. His heart was fine except for the galloping beat under his ribcage. Heat emanated from the helmet as if it had just come through an inferno. “My God,” he said aloud. Perhaps a fire burned inside the wall, hot enough to choke him.


Two commenters will receive a $25 Amazon or BN.com Gift Certificate each.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






LInda Merlino author photo

Linda Merlino author photo




Linda Merlino is the author of  Room of Tears (July 23 2013), Hudson Catalina (2008-Belly of the Whale & re-release 9/14/12), Swan Boat Souvenir (self-published 2003) she began writing fiction as a young mother on the sidelines of endless soccer practices.  Linda wrote anytime any place.  A manuscript filled a carton in the back seat of her car.  Many years have passed since those early beginnings, but her work continues to be inspired by her children.


The author has a fascination with heroes and writes her fiction to honor ordinary men and women who react unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances.  She extends her gratitude to all who keep us safe and free.


Her hometown is outside of Boston.  She lived for many years in New York City and more recently calls Connecticut her home.






Tags: , , ,

Powered by Wordpress
Theme © 2005 - 2009 FrederikM.de
BlueMod is a modification of the blueblog_DE Theme by Oliver Wunder