Indie Author Spotlight: Daley Downing – and a new release

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome to week three of Indie Author Spotlight by The Edifying Word! Today I’m talking to a new-to-me author of fantasy and speculative fiction, Daley Downing. I just purchased and started reading her new release and first-ever e-book, I is for Invisible, M is for Moth: Eight Stories of Magic and Adventure, and I’m enjoying it. Maybe I’ll even have finished it by the time this post goes live!


So, Daley Downing is the first author I’m featuring without having read one of her books in its entirety. I usually wouldn’t do such a thing – what if I read them and don’t like them? Eek! But I feel totally fine with it after chatting on Twitter (@invisiblemoth1) and checking out her blog, which is spectacularly well written! I enjoy her insights and normal-human-mom conversations, and I am intrigued to learn more about her experiences living with Autism. I hope you enjoy getting to know Daley as much as I have, and give her books a go!

So, you just released your first e-book last week! Do you have other published books, or upcoming projects?

I did; my other books are available only in hard copy at the moment. The newest book is a collection of short stories, and I have a fantasy/speculative fiction series. They’re currently available in paperback from Barnes and Noble, and I’m working on e-books and sales with other distributors. My next project is a standalone novel in my Order of the Twelve Tribes universe, called Fire And Wind.

I like to ask authors why they write and I feel like I get a lot of variation on the same theme: they have to. I suspect you’re not going to let me down.

I am not. I write because I think I would explode if I didn’t. I feel like I’e been writing since before the dawn of time. Seriously, even as a youngster, I was always interested in storytelling and creating my own spin.

We’ve talked a lot recently about this crisis homeschooling nonsense and I appreciate your support for going easy on ourselves! I know things are challenging in a completely different way now, but before COVID-19, how did you fit writing into parenting? 

I carve out time for writing. I have two special needs children, and my spouse works long hours, so most of the time it’s just me. I also was working two part-time jobs to help make ends meet.

Do you have a favorite genre to read, or favorite books we should check out?

My favorite to read is fantasy, but also sometimes historical fiction. High-ranking titles include Mort and Thud! by Terry Pratchett, Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

What do you want readers to know about you or your work?

My little fantasy series is important to me, so I write it just how I want to – I don’t go in for publishing trends or “bandwagon” topics. There are lots of heavy things going on in the world, and while I grasp and appreciate other authors tackling them, I prefer to inject some humor and lightheartedness into my work. Yes, I address serious stuff, too, but it’s not the only focus for me – art needs to be beautiful and caring and inspiring as well.

Please take a look at Daley Downing’s blog and look for her books at Barnes and Noble


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Indie Author Spotlight: Paolo Ruggirello

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome back to Indie Author Spotlight by The Edifying Word, thank you for joining me for week two! Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing poet and fantasy novelist Paolo Ruggirello (who is also an editing client of mine, and an awesome one at that!). 


I first met Paolo on Twitter, when he was looking for an editor for his work-in-progress, a fantasy novel for which he plans to pursue traditional publishing. We’ve been working together for nine months or so now, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know him during this time. I admire his dedication to writing and his passion for his created world, but also respect the value he places on family and his respect for how my family impacts my work! I don’t think we have had a single correspondence where he didn’t mention his mom, his siblings, or his girlfriend. This is a big deal for me, a girl who as a kid got banned from trick-or-treating with “friends” because I talked about my family “too much.” I’m excited to be a part of Paolo’s publishing journey, and I encourage you to stay tuned in for updates.

Without further ado, meet Paolo Ruggirello!

How did you get started writing?

I started writing consistently when I was 20, which was when the universe in which my fantasy series takes place was born. I started writing when I was a little kid: when I was in first grade, my elementary school had a field trip to a publishing firm, where we got to have one of our books “published”. I wrote a terribly illustrated Batman book that my mom still has today, somewhere. Now I write because I must. Without it, my head would be too full. It’s hard to describe, but there’s something way deep down that calls to me, telling me to put my thoughts into words. I have no choice but to write.


So, aside from Batman, tell us about your writing!

I have one self-published book of poetry, Lover, which is inspired by my wonderful girlfriend. My upcoming debut novel from my fantasy series is currently being edited for publication.

Wow, you wrote and published a whole book of poetry for your girlfriend – she must be pretty awesome! There’s someone else awesome in your life, too, isn’t there? 

Yes! I have a budding babe due in about seven months (October). It’s really kicked me in the butt and motivated me to see my writing through, because now I’m not just doing it for me. I work full-time and just completed a coding course. I have one year of C++, Java, JavaScript, and ReactJS. I really love coding and building apps, so I’ll probably continue doing it even after my series is published.

You mention the book I’m editing is part of a series. What is your approach to the series – is it all planned out, or are you still waiting to “find out” what happens?

I like to allow my ideas to grow naturally, but the plot of the series is entirely mapped out at this point. My universe was initially written for use with tabletop role playing games (RPG), so the plots that occur in different time periods are centered around certain characters. This book series is based on a completed campaign, during which many unexpected things happened, things I didn’t plan at all. I usually plan the initial idea and allow my characters to take it to new and exciting places.

This is a fascinating method for developing a story. Do you plan any intersection between your writing and your programming passions? What are your upcoming projects?

In terms of writing, I am working on the sequel to the sequel to the book that is currently being edited. My brother has reprised his role as Miami in our tabletop game and Bertucio’s player is taking on a new character. It’ll be a lot of fun once it’s ready to read! As for Zubare part 2, I’m having a very hard time deciding on how to begin the book, but rest assured the plot has already been completed. It’s just waiting on an exciting beginning and some descriptive text. In terms of coding, I want to create a text-based browser RPG in the same universe as the books. Players of this browser game might even meet characters from the books!

Do you enjoy reading fantasy as much as you enjoy writing it? What are some of your favorite books?

My favorite genre to read is definitely fiction/fantasy. I find I’m mostly drawn to books that blend our world with fantasy elements, or completely new worlds of high- to mid-level fantasy. That being said, I also peruse many scholarly papers and nonfiction books on topics that interest me, if one comes across my path. I have so many good books on my bookshelf, but I’d have to say my favorites are the Charlie Bone series, by Jenny Nimmo; The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien; the Rowan of Rin series, by Emily Rodda; Shogun by James Clavell; the Arthur series by Kevin Crossley-Holland; and the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage.

What is your author dream?

My dream would be to be able to live off my writing so I can afford to dive into programming. I don’t know if I want to be the next Tolkien, but I definitely don’t want to be just another Joe Schmoe in an already overcrowded genre. Ultimately, I want to publish TV shows, video games, and movies set in my universe, as well as help other indie authors bring their projects to life.

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you? 

I’m a pretty open and logical thinker. I love questioning myself, others, and especially the universe around us. Also, I hate wearing hats.

His website is currently being built, but in the meantime you can connect with Paolo on Facebook (@piafantasy) and Twitter (@pia_fantasy). 


Would you like to be featured, too? Please contact me at!

COVER REVEAL: Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez

I’m thrilled to be a part of author T. A. Hernandez’s cover reveal for her upcoming book Calico Thunder Rides Again. This is one of the best covers I’ve seen in a while! I also had the opportunity a month or so ago to offer some feedback on the cover blurb (included below) and I’m really excited for the book’s release – I’m looking forward to reading it. SO – check out this perfect cover and read a bit about the book:

CTRA is a fantasy novel set on a magical traveling circus in an alternate 1920s America and features a dragon, a down-on-his-luck cowboy, conniving mobsters, and magical Prohibition and will be published November 5, 2019. Stay tuned for more info on when it’s available for pre-order!

Cover Blurb:

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the most fantastic show on Earth…

Three years ago, the Ban changed everything, outlawing certain forms of magic and bringing about the rise of powerful crime syndicates. Now, speakeasies in every city sell illegal charms and jinxes, and bootleggers traffic restricted potion ingredients across the country. But even in this changing world, the magic of the circus still acts as a wondrous escape and provides entertainment for all.

Jake Strickland owns one such circus, inherited after an accident ended his career as a rodeo dragon rider. He also inherited the circus’ financial troubles, but since the show became his, he’s slowly managed to turn it into a profitable business once more. Or at least, that’s what he thought.

When a dangerous mobster comes to collect an old debt, Jake resorts to desperate measures to get the money before a strict deadline. With lives and livelihoods at stake, he battles the clock, his responsibilities to the circus, and a longstanding personal grudge that has festered for years. Can he pay back the mob before it’s too late? And if so, what will it cost him.


T. A. Hernandez is a science fiction and fantasy author and a long-time fan of speculative fiction. She grew up with her nose habitually stuck in a book and her mind constantly wandering to make-believe worlds full of magic and adventure. She began writing after reading J.R.R. Tolkien’sThe Lord of the Ringsmany years ago and is now engaged in an exciting and lifelong quest to tell captivating stories.

She is a clinical social worker and the proud mother of two girls. She also enjoys drawing, reading, graphic design, playing video games, riding her motorcycle, and making happy memories with her family and friends.

Connect with T. A. Hernandez:



Twitter: @ta_hernandez5

Instagram: @ta_hernandez5