Author Interview with Austin Worley

Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview Austin Worley, an author in the Murder and Mayhem and Organic Ink: Volume 5 anthologies.


1. What inspired you to start writing? 

My biggest inspiration to start writing was my 12th Grade Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Sullivan. Before her class, I had never really considered writing professionally. Her encouragement and confidence in my work ultimately led me to take the plunge. And here I am now: a published author and poet.

2. How do you handle writer’s block?

My first method for avoiding writer’s block is to plot out everything before I begin writing, because I find the only time writer’s block is a problem is if I don’t already know where I’m headed or how to get there. When it does set in despite my best efforts, I just push through the block as best as possible. Either the block will subside, or I’ll eventually finish, because even a paragraph or two every day is progress.

3. What comes first, the plot or characters?

For me, it varies wildly. Sometimes a unique idea for a character suddenly takes shape. This was the case with The Silver Shrike. I loved the idea of a superhero who wanted to prove to the world—and himself, deep down—that he was nothing like his villainous family. Other times, a very loose plot would grab my imagination. “An Oath to the Sun” in Murder & Mayhem was inspired by a little research into methanol poisoning, which made for a great murder mystery.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Oh, this is a tough one. Personal quirks are so difficult to identify yourself. If I had to choose, I’d say the gender imbalance of my protagonists across my entire body of work is my most interesting writing quirk. Most of my stories published and unpublished have female leads. Part of this is because of recurring characters—roughly two-thirds of my published works star either Arlise Dun or Topsannah Price—but even if you only go by unique protagonists, there’s a definite slant towards women. I don’t know why. Lots of male writers find it difficult to write female characters, but that’s never been an issue for me.

5. What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?

To me, success means my work ends up in front of readers. Earning a living purely from writing might be my pie-the-sky dream, but readers enjoying my stories is enough success for me.

6. On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?

Between three and five hours in front of the keyboard is pretty typical, but I spend a lot more time working on writing-related stuff in my head.

7. Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels? 

Series are tough because the deeper into them you go, the more limited you are by what came before. First stories or novels are always easier because you have so much freedom, especially in terms of character and setting.

8. What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out? 

Persist. There are going to be times where you doubt your writing is any god. Times when you want to give up on a story or even writing in general, especially once the rejections start piling up. But if you throw in the towel, you’ll never achieve your goals. Persistence is the only pathway to success, whatever success looks like to you.

9. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about? 

Right now, I’m preparing for two novels. The first is a novelization of my second-chance superhero romance novelette “Law, Love, and the Whippoorwill”. I feel like expanding this story into a novel will allow me to better develop the characters and their reconciliation. My other project is a military sci-fi romance influenced by Honor Harrington and the work of Linnea Sinclair. Most of the subgenre is centered on marines or space fighter pilots, so I’d like to bring more of a naval focus to the table. Once the pre-writing is finished, I’ll dive into writing whichever one fires my imagination more.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

You can find out more about me and my work on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, DeviantArt, and Wattpad.

Author Interview with E.L. Summers

Dragon Soul Press interviewed E.L. Summers, an author in the Organic Ink: Volume 5 anthology.


1. How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for the last twenty years, but at a young age I only saw my writing as a hobby. I had little confidence in my writing. It wasn’t until college, when I had my first piece of fiction published in the college’s literary magazine, that I contemplated the idea of being a full-time writer. I took more creative writing classes and started a regular writing routine. I wish I had more confidence in my writing at the beginning, but sometimes it takes others taking a chance to make you to help chase away your inner demons.

2. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, but as a child I wanted to write the stories for video games. The story behind the games is what I enjoyed the most aside from the characters featured in them. I first wanted to write middle grade but feared my stores were copying the authors I had read, so I created my own worlds. Here, I felt free to use my creativity as an outlet for my depression and social anxiety.

3. How do you come up with the titles to your books?

Hmm… titles can be hard to come up, as you want them to be unique while at the same time drawing interest for your readers. Sometimes if I’m stuck on a title, I’ll leave it blank or use something as a placeholder until I finish the first draft of the project. I tend to focus on the themes of the piece and brainstorm ideas. If that doesn’t work or if I’m dissatisfied with the idea, I’ll reach out to my critique partner for advice.

4. How do you develop your plot and characters?

Characters are always the easiest to come up with and I have a templet for creating characters. The template is a series of questions or prompts to ensure the character is well-rounded and not one- dimensional. Most of the time, I’ll be struck with an idea and create the character before creating ideas of what the plot will be. Despite writing several novels and a series I tend to resist using an outline. I’ll have a few ideas of where I want the story to go and write freely around those plot points.

5. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

I think aside from grammar and sentence syntax, which arises during the editing phase, I think the most difficult part with writing any project can be creating the world building. I have been told that I am talented in creating a vivid, believable world, but I over think its creation. I tend to stress out and spend too much time on research when keeping my world tied to the real world. I think when you’re creating your own universe, you’re given more creative freedom. Things still must make sense to an extent, if you can justify your creative choices for going outside the norms, then it’s not as restrictive.   

6. On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?

Four to six hours, depending on whether it’s a new story or a project I’ve been working on for a while. I’ll spend some time reading what I’ve already written before writing anything new. In the afternoon I’ll take an hour or two to edit any projects I have finished. O tend not to edit as I go while drafting. I find trying to edit while drafting can distract me and lead to procrastinations.

7. Who is your favorite author and why?

What a hard question, I am a mind reader and always looking for new things to read. For poetry it’s a tie between Edgar Allen Poe and Mayla Angelou. They both have different writing styles; Poe’s work can come across as grim and creepy whereas Angelou’s work is flowy and captures emotions and feelings. They both have a way of using words to create vivid imagery. My favorite fiction author is Cassandra Claire and J.K Rowling. They both played a role in getting me into reading and excel at character driven stories focused on a fantasy realm full of diverse characters.

8. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

There’s no surprise that as a writer, I love reading fantasy, poetry, and paranormal romance. I am a child at heart and love going to amusement parks and carnivals. I love attending art museums and musicals. I enjoy sharing my writing journey and connecting with fellow creative people through creating content for YouTube. I love playing video games, coloring, and watching anime, cartoons, comedic sitcoms, and dramas.

9. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I am always working on new ideas; hence I have a notebook full of potential ideas, but to answer your question, I am working with my co-author Luna Nyx Frost to finish our Hunted trilogy and began plotting out a fantasy series inspired by Greek mythology. We wanted to showcase how the gods would overcome adversity if forced to live on Earth with a fraction of their power? There are not many stories in fantasy where the main character is disabled and being blind authors, we wanted to help create more representation for the disabled community.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

On my website, Instagram, and YouTube.

Upcoming Submission Calls for 2022

Listed below are some of the upcoming Dragon Soul Press anthology deadlines.
Visit DSP Anthology Calls for more titles and submission instructions.


Everlast (Rated R)

Deadline – January 31st, 2022

Publication – March 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Romance can be difficult on its own, even before adding the complications of time travel to the equation. These couples find themselves from separate timelines in history, but cross paths due to unforeseen circumstances.


Surge (Rated R)

Deadline – February 28th, 2022

Publication – April 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Cyberpunk. These characters are trying to survive in a dystopia of advanced technologies. Living alongside Artificial Intelligence has its perks, but also many deadly downfalls.


Beyond Atlantis (Rated R)

Deadline – February 28th, 2022

Publication – May 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Unique retellings of Atlantis-like civilizations. Preferably with mermaids, selkies, krakens, or other mythological sea creatures included.


Chance on Love (Rated R)

Deadline – March 31st, 2022

Publication – June 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – Everyone deserves a chance at love. Whether it lasts forever or ends up being temporary, these characters will fight for the chance at happily ever after.


Valor (Rated R)

Deadline – March 31st, 2022

Publication – July 2022

Word Count – 5,000 to 15,000

Theme – All stories featuring East Asian warriors are welcome.


Organic Ink: Volume 5 (Not Rated)

Deadline – April 30th, 2022

Publication – June 2022

Word Count – 1,000 word count minimum (not line count)

Theme – All poetry pieces are welcome. There is no theme.

NOTE: Minimum word count does not mean one poem of 1,000 words. It is all of the poetry/haiku submissions with word counts combined to equal 1,000 words or more.


Age of Artifice (Rated R)

Deadline – April 30th, 2022

Publication – August 2022

Word Count – 1,000-15,000

Theme – All stories featuring steampunk (including similar subgenres) are welcome.


Haunt (Rated R)

Deadline – May 31st, 2022

Publication – September 2022

Word Count – 1,000-15,000

Theme – In a world where so many dark things go bump in the night, terror awaits around every corner as these authors take horror stories to the next level.


Beautiful Darkness: Volume 1 (Rated R)

Deadline – June 30th, 2022

Publication – October 2022

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – In a world where so many dark things go bump in the night, terror awaits around every corner as these authors take horror stories to the next level.

Note: This series replaces All Dark Places.


Life At Its Best (Rated R)

Deadline – July 30th, 2022

Publication – November 2022

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – These women are navigating through the ups and downs of life whether it be relationships, children, health, etc.

Note: This is Women’s Contemporary ‘Realistic’ Fiction only.


Magick & Mistletoe (Rated R)

Deadline – August 31st, 2022

Publication – December 2022

Word Count – 500-15,000

Theme – All Christmas stories. As long as Christmas is involved, the story qualifies. All genres. Happily Ever After not required.

Note: This will be an ebook only anthology. No paperback will be published.


Reign of Fire (Rated R)

Deadline – September 30th, 2022

Publication – January 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All dragon stories. As long as dragons are involved, the story qualifies. All genres.


Union (Rated R)

Deadline – October 31st, 2022

Publication – February 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All science fiction romance stories. Outer space and aliens are accepted. All heat levels are accepted.


Carried Away (Rated R)

Deadline – November 30th, 2022

Publication – March 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All romantic comedy stories are welcome. Does not have to be Happily Ever After. All heat levels are accepted.


Carried Away (Rated R)

Deadline – December 31st, 2022

Publication – April 2023

Word Count – 5,000-15,000

Theme – All LGBTQ+ stories are welcome. All fantasy genres are accepted.