Friday, March 3, 2023


 Hey everyone! So co-host/epic mastermind Angela R. Watts and I are both racing against weather-related problems to get this author panel to you, so Part Two of the Where Giants Fall author panel, celebrating the first anniversary of Where Giants Fall, is brought to you here! 

Don't forget to check out Part One HERE, featuring the Matt Starr, Sarah Ryder, and Angela R. Watts! 

This panel features Michael LaVoice, Sara Francis, M.H. Elrich, and R.J. Setser!  Keep reading and make sure to snag a copy of Where Giants Fall -- it's the perfect read for "weather warn days" like this if you're an East Coaster. (And even if you're not, it's still highly recommended!) 

What inspired you to write your piece in the Where Giants Fall anthology? 

Sara Francis:  “Children of Arnbjgorg” is the prologue to my upcoming dark fantasy novel “The Screecher King”. In the novel, the king’s wife and right-hand man are the only two to survive the beasts lurking within the forest. But how did they get there? Well, naturally I wrote the story. Völundr and Aksinya are characters close to my heart. Their bond as siblings shines forth in this story and is a message of hope to its readers.

Michael LaVoice: I cut my teeth on classic fantasy like LOTR, C.S. Lewis, Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels, Mercedes Lackey, Tracy Hickman, and many others that seemed to share certain themes. Heroes battled encroaching and growing darkness that takes many forms, but always with a reshaping or destruction of the world as its goal at the ultimate cost of the innocent. The heroes always won. Somehow, they stuck it out and they won. When this Anthology’s theme was proposed, I wondered immediately, what if they didn’t? What would that look like? How would a world tossed out of balance between good and evil react in the subsequent chaos? What if there were no more heroes? When there’s no more heroes, the Universe MAKES them. That was the genesis of the story No Hero. 

M.H. Elrich: Back in 2012, I was challenged to write a short story piece as part of a class. I suddenly saw an image of an evil queen torturing a good man. From this grim picture, the story was born, and rewritten several times until it appeared in Where Giants Fall.

Rayleigh Setser: I hate to start this off as “Johnny Raincloud”, but The Silver Dragon was the result of my husband (Joshua) and I losing our daughter very unexpectedly. Written in the months following her death, this story served as a way for us (though mostly me) to process feelings of anger, confusion, and hope in the darkness. Many people told us to look for a “silver lining” but in that moment, we wanted a silver dragon; hence the tagline of the story. 

How did your story change you as a person?

Sara Francis: It re-sparked my love for “The Screecher King”. The nordic/russian snowy universe I have created expanded in this story. It gave me the inspiration to potentially have a sequel for my new dark fantasy novel and further expand upon this brand new world.

Michael LaVoice: I am not great at the short form work of fiction. It seems every time I’ve tried it, I always end up expanding it into at least a novella if not a treatment for a series! I was determined not to do that this time. This story forced me to think small, while still dreaming large enough to world build a believable fantasy realm in which the tale takes place. I was rather pleased with the result. I suppose many others were too, as I have been deluged with requests to expand the short piece No Hero into a novel or series in its own right. A sort of reversal of my usual process! I’m happy to report that I have begun doing just that.

M.H. Elrich: This story grew me as a writer. After receiving harsh feedback from the first version, I almost quit. However, encouragement from others pushed me to persevere in writing. Years later, I was able to come back to it with fresh eyes.

Rayleigh Setser: The Silver Dragon is hands-down the most difficult story I’ve ever brought to life. Its deeply personal inspiration encouraged me to process my grief in an intentional and healthy way. When I felt the anger come out through Athias, I found myself wanting to point him towards the Light and by writing to him, I found myself comforted and encouraged.

Was Where Giants Fall your first publication?

Sara Francis: No, it was actually my 10th! A huge milestone for me. I have previous novels, books, and anthologies published.

Michael LaVoice: I had published military science fiction and LITRPG fiction under a pen name and as a ghost writer for a couple of years before taking on this project, but No Hero was actually the first fiction published under my actual name.

M.H. Elrich: No, I have published novels before. However, it was the first anthology that I’ve been a part of.

Rayleigh Setser: No! Where Giants Fall closely followed our debut publication A Queen is Knighted, book 1 in The Tunockian Chronicles. The Silver Dragon takes place in the same world as that series, but is entirely a standalone.

What was the most enjoyable part of launching this anthology for you? 

Sara Francis: Bittersweet stories is all I write. My mission statement for as long as I can remember has been bringing light to the darkness. To find another group of talented writers who share the same vision has been a blessing.

Michael LaVoice: Finding out my friend and indie film buddy Matt Starr was also getting published in it! Next, coming up with the pantheon of the world featured in the story that the MC constantly references in his head and aloud. I didn’t know it at the time, but the seeds for the expansion of this world and its story were there in those tales of ancient gods and goddesses.

M.H. Elrich: The most enjoyable part was holding it in my hands and realizing that I was featured alongside other great authors.

Rayleigh Setser: Releasing a new book is always so much fun, with cover reveals and the like. I think what made this one unique and special is having so many co-authors! We’re all such a great team and I’ve loved working with them and promoting their other works.

What writerly things have you done since this anthology launched?

Sara Francis: “The Screecher King” (the dark fantasy my story is the prologue for) is currently in the querying phase. In addition, I have drafted a new paranormal romance trilogy where book 1 will hopefully launch in 2024. I have also been accepted into two other anthologies.

Michael LaVoice: In addition to working on expanding the world of No Hero, I have written three novels and partially written the fourth in a four book Space Opera series that I am excited to announce has been picked up by Aethon Books to begin publishing in Kindle Direct, Kindle Unlimited, and Audible this year! I have also been busy coming up with new series ideas to pitch to Aethon to consider after this initial series is done.

M.H. Elrich: I re-released one novella, publishing another collection of short stories in March, and working on the next book in my main series. I also started guest posting for Anilujah, an animation-faith website, podcast, and YouTube channel.

Rayleigh Setser: Since Where Giants Fall, we’ve released a teen Dystopian novel called Program MIRA and finished drafting the 2nd book in the The Tunockian Chronicles (A Prince is Lured). A Prince is Lured will be released in late 2023!

What can readers expect from you next?

Sara Francis: Coming up next is the prologue to  “The Waiting Trilogy” being released in a Halloween anthology! “The Waiting Trilogy” is a paranormal summer camp romance launching in 2024. It has themes of redemption, “who did this to you”, the guy-falls first, self-forgiveness, and so much more. I have so many stories in the works, so I encourage you to follow me on Instagram for updates and check out my website for more!

Michael LaVoice: Galaxy’s Most Wanted book 1 will come out this year, followed by books 2 through 4. After that? The Galaxy’s the limit. You can get updates on my series and lots of other great writers at, and follow me for updates on all my projects at

M.H. Elrich: This year I am focusing on my newsletter and really making it something that you, a reader, would want to read. In addition to that, I’m finishing Etania’s Destiny, which will be the final book for Etania, but not the final book in the Daughters of Tamnarae series.



Rayleigh Setser: The Tunockian Chronicles is our primary focus, with book two releasing this year and book three following shortly after that. If you’d like to receive updates or talk about any of our books, you can go to or follow us on Instagram @rjsetserauthor! We’re in the height of book buzz, so its a fun time to join us on the socials!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and we hope you enjoyed these interviews! Please make sure to follow these awesome folks and stay tuned for their upcoming projects. Again, make sure to pick up your copy of Where Giants Fall for the sale price of $1.99 HERE. Today's the last day!


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