Blog contributions of the 14 fantasy authors who participated in the blog tour in January are here.
1/21/15. Sarah Daltry www.sarahdaltry.com is the fantasy author of Dust. She gives us the flavor of the story here:
Dust is the story of a young girl, Alondra, in another world. It’s a world that normally would be draped in magic – the kind of world traditional in fantasy. There are castles and kingdoms and all those fun fairy tale elements, but it’s also a world with futuristic features, such as teleportation and giant glass towers that reach into the sky. Picture something out of the Final Fantasy series, with less steampunk.
There used to be magic in Alondra’s world, but well before she was born, all of the kingdoms were part of war. It was a war that happened because human beings grew too powerful. They wanted more and they wanted it for themselves. No longer was man satisfied to have the power of the gods and use it for the greater good; now he wanted to be a god. Because of the fear of magic and the damage it wrought, it has been suppressed and Alondra only knows it as a hobby.
When a new villain appears, though, and the world so desperate for peace and security is shattered anew, Alondra sets out on a journey through the past. She soon discovers that the secrets people keep in order to preserve a facade of safety run deep.
I see this as a fantasy novel woven through with philosophy and moral questions, as well as a sprinkle of romance. Although there is a love story, it is not about romance, but about coming of age, about learning who you are and understanding your role in the world, and about independence and choice (as well as the associated consequences).
Take the journey with Alondra! The book is available now! Read a sample here!
1/19/15. Viv Sang (http://vmsang.moonfruit,com http://aspholessaria.blogspot.co.uk) writes fantasy novels. She confesses to writing fiction as a preteen, as a teen, and as a teacher. Her love of fantasy started with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and her experience playing Dungeons and Dragons morphed into a full story that has become The Wolves of Vinar series (Amazon, The Wolf Pack and The Never-Dying Man). She is working on a third instalment and on a novel based in Roman Britain. She has a recipe book in print too. She offers a piece from Chapter 1 (Prophecy) of The Wolf Pack:
The half-elf leafed through the book that he was studying. He was due to take the tests to end his apprenticeship soon. Mabryl, his master and adopted father had sent off to the Mage Tower in Hambara asking for the young man to be considered for the tests at the next opportunity. He was a tall, handsome young man, just over six feet with shoulder-length auburn hair, a closely trimmed beard and eyes of an intense blue. He was sitting in the study at the home of Mabryl in Bluehaven, which was situated on the south coast of the land of Grosmer. With him were Mabryl’s other two apprentices, 14 year old Tomac and 16 year old Emmienne. Tomac pushed a lock of his unruly dark hair out of his eyes.
‘I think that’s the Master coming in now, Carthinal,’ he said. ‘You’d better get looking as though you’ve been doing something instead of moping around waiting for that letter, or you’ll be in trouble.’
Just as he said this, the door opened and Mabryl entered shaking his cloak out as he did so.
‘It’s pretty cold out there,’ he said, ‘And it’s turning to snow if I’m not much mistaken. Unusual this far south.’ He turned to his three apprentices. ‘Have you finished the tasks I set you?’ he asked as he hung his cloak on a stand by the door. Carthinal stood up and walked over to the fire, putting a fresh log on to the flames.
‘Come and get warm, and, no I’ve not finished. I can’t seem to settle down to anything until I hear about whether I can take the tests soon. I think Emmienne has finished though. I can’t say about Tomac.’
‘Nearly,’ replied Tomac, jumping down from his chair and carrying his workbook to his master. ‘I was a little stuck on the moon phases though. It’s complicated trying to work out both moons at the same time.’
‘Stick to it, youngster,‘ came from Emmienne on the window seat. She grinned across at the younger boy, the grin lighting up her otherwise rather plain face. ‘I had problems too, but it comes eventually.’
Tomac groaned and went back to his seat.
‘I’ve finished though, Sir,’ she said. ‘I’ve learned that new spell you gave me and am sure I can make it work. When can I try it?’
Mabryl laughed. ‘Such enthusiasm. We’ll try it out tomorrow, I think. In the meantime, I’ve made what I think may be a big discovery. Perhaps the most important one for many, many years. Look,’ and he put an ancient looking book on the table. The three apprentices gathered round.
‘I think it may be a spell book from before the Forbidding,’ he went on.
Emmienne gasped. ‘That is old. And if it is, we’ll be able to find lost spells. You’ll be famous, sir.’
‘Calm down, Emm. It may not be the spell-book of a magister, or even an arch-mage,’ smiled Carthinal. ‘It may have just the spells we already know and not any of the lost ones.’
1/18/15. Charlotte Babb http://charlottehenleybabb.com writes fantasy of several sorts. Her books, including the award-winning Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil and Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales, are available (paper and Kindle) from Amazon. Web designer, social networks manager, blogger, novelist, and online writing instructor, she’s been writing since she was four, and now makes up fractured fairy tales for survivors beyond the love’s last kiss. The stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, post-graduate education, bankruptcy, empty nest, and widowhood. She tells of her work in progress, 20 Hours to Charles Town. Set in 1840 in an alternate timeline in North America where several European countries still have colonies, its broad theme is “trust risks betrayal.” It is scheduled for release in late Spring 2015.
When an airship madam arranges a secret meeting, can she trust her crew and a rogue operative to keep her clients safe from his handlers, her allies, and an anarchist?
The male lead of this story, not a love interest or not yet, is K.P. Jonas, an operative for the Mauverton Detective Agency. He has been spying on the business network of Madame Elvira O’Sullivan for the Mauvertons and maintaining his ties with the Irish gang known as the Red Hares.
Kevin Padraig Jones was born of an Irish mother and a Welsh father who emigrated to New York to find work in the potato famine. The marriage did not last, not only because of religious differences but because it was just too hard to be poor and an immigrant even in Five Points, since the Irish didn’t like them, and no one else did either. Kevin’s father left the family to find work and never returned–probably dead, or maybe out in the gold fields. Kevin’s mom, Colleen, died of typhus when he was twelve.
By then, he knew all the hookers in NYC, most of the cops, and all the Red Hares gang members. He worked as a runner, taking messages and pretending he couldn’t read any of them. He worked for the stable, shoveling manure and feeding the horses, and eventually got into the draying trade, which kept him employed and moving throughout the city. At some point, he ran across the liquor trade, which paid off the cops.
He was on the take from both groups, as they needed reliable transportation that wasn’t connected to them, and a soft-spoken, clean-faced, illiterate boy seemed the perfect one. Kevin never let on how much he knew about what was going on, and in fact seemed a bit slow and easy going. He let people make him the butt of jokes, but often the jokes backfired on them.
Some men took him to a street whore, thinking it was his first time. They planned to promise her payment and then not pay her, but he whispered their plan to her. She made a big deal of his being a virgin, and said she would need more for breaking him. She kept him long enough that he was able to get her friendship, and to plan a pickpocket deal to pay her more than she would make in an average night.
He was hardly a virgin, having been with older girls most of his young life. He treated the whore as if she was a lady, telling told her she didn’t have to do it, as he would get her the money either way, but she liked him and invited him to see her again.
“I know the madam at Lady Layla’s and could put in a good word for you. I’m not a customer, but I do a good bit of work for her, and you’re too nice to be on the street.”
He did speak to the Madam, and Layla thought he was very cute, recommending a whore.
“She’s nice, and she’s as clean as she can be, considering. Probably not more than sixteen. I’d appreciate if you took a look.”
“Bring her round, if you don’t plan on marrying her anytime soon.”
“Won’t be marrying, Ma’am,” he said. “Living for one is hard enough to do.” He took off his stupid expression and gave her a direct stare, daring her to know a bit about who he was.
“I have work for a young man who can keep his trousers buttoned and knows when to look stupid.”
“If it’s not being with the men, I might be interested.”
“You drive for the livery stable on 14th, yes?”
He nodded again.
I need a delivery here tonight. It needs to be on the quiet, not being noticed. Can you do that?”
He nodded again.
That was the beginning of his life as an operative. He was 15 then, a bit gawky, but already hard muscled and broad shouldered. If he didn’t talk much, his voice didn’t crack, and he never let anyone get to him. As he’d gotten older, it was harder to do the stupid face, and to take the mean-spirited things people did to him with a smile. He found himself against a wall a few times, forced to choose one boss over another to keep a cop, the Red Hares, or the Mauvertons from killing him. He made up his mind to work one against the other, and now he found that they had both turned against him.
1/17/15. C.B. Mac Gillavry http://cbmacgillavry.weebly.com writes ecofantasy tales for young adults. She talks about promoting her writing: As a child I have been taught to be humble, never to praise myself in any way, always to remember that I’m the last person who should say good things about myself. This is the reason why I find it so hard to promote my work. I hope I will find someone to do that for me in the future, though. And about her characters: I don’t have one favourite character, I love them all, or at least the good guys. On the other hand I took particular care in shaping the bad guys like some people who have hurt me in the past or in the present. I am a vengeful person. And I had fun making bad things happen to these characters. And her themes: I write eco fantasy for young adults, there is always a strong environmental vein pulsating in the story that creates the main plot. Then there is the magical element: the world wouldn’t be the same without magic. Last but not least, love and friendship are essential for young readers. And possibly also for older readers.
Here is a taste of her style here from the story “Fog on the Loch”:
“Come not between the dragon and his wrath.” –Lear from “King Lear” (1.1.127)–William Shakespeare
‘“The name is Alexandra Drerea Ramsey. You may call me Twang.” But the old man looked puzzled,’ the girl explained. ‘So I added “I shoot pretty well with the crossbow, and that’s the sound the arrow makes every time I shoot.” And I smiled.’
Twang paused. ‘He still looked at me, but he smiled back, eventually. He cleared his throat. He readjusted his big, fluffy coat. “Did you bake those cupcakes?” he asked pointing at my table.’
She mimed his movements.
‘I had just finished the cakes for my mom’s birthday, you see. I’d made several cupcakes with sugar flowers and coloured buttons and the big cake with roses. The one that looked like it was made of china, remember?’
Victoria nodded quickly, she wanted her friend to continue her story. She motioned her to continue. ‘Yes, and…’
‘Well, I said “Of course I made them! And they should be pretty good too!” and that’s when I heard the foghorn screaming outside. He turned towards the window, he looked worried, absorbed in his own thoughts. It can get spooky around the lake when the fog is that thick and I would have sworn that he was starting to feel a little restless.’ The girl slightly raised her voice. ‘Then he turned to me again and said “I heard that you weld things together.” I didn’t like this one bit!’
Her cheeks reddened. ‘I had left the newborn dragon, George, in the workshop, because when they are that young they tend to breathe more fire while they are asleep. I didn’t want him to burn down the house by accident. You need to train them first, right? Plus, Charlie, my black cat, was there too, taking a nap and keeping the little one company. I really didn’t want the old chap to see baby George.’
Twang paused again. Victoria feared this was due to the effect: the girl knew how to tell a story, that much was clear! She readjusted her long black skirt, fidgeted with the laces of her high heeled boots and sighed. Joe noticed that Victoria could hardly wait for Twang to continue, perched as she was on the sofa, almost launching herself in the other’s arms.
‘Anyway, I was curious. Why was he asking about my welding? And he said these words, honest to the dragons, he said “My sledge, I think one of the runners needs some welding, and I really have to leave tonight.”’
Twang shook her head in disbelief. ‘ I replied “I understand, sir, but the fog is too thick anyway, you wouldn’t be able to see anything. The Police notified us that it would last for a couple of days and that it’s too dangerous to drive.”
He looked at me with that puzzled look again and said “I wasn’t going to drive, I wanted to slide away.”’
1/16/15. Debbie Manber Kupfer (blog http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor) grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ending up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything! Check out her books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Manber-Kupfer/e/B00DHPNJ5I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1418233428&sr=8-1. She writes about discovering Kangaroo, Chimp, and Toad, Oh My!
One of the wonderful things about writing a story about a worldwide organization of shapeshifters is all the weird and wonderful characters that emerge. While Miri and her friends may be central to the story, my favorite characters by far are the odd side characters that populate the P.A.W.S. Institute.
Take, for example, Joey Marks, the animagus kangaroo and exchange student from the Australian P.A.W.S. Institute. His character is particularly dear to me as he is based off of my son, Joey and shares a lot of his traits. Always bouncing from one thing to the next, filled with wonder about everything around him, and he also plays a mean game of Monopoly.
Then there’s Ian the animagus chimp, who while working for P.A.W.S. still prefers to hang out at St. Louis zoo in the monkey house and is even said to be dating a rather fetching orangutan.
Back at P.A.W.S. there’s the caring Mrs. Bumsqueak, an animagus toad who is the Healer at the Institute, Professor Ainsworth, the animagus owl, who likes to perch on top of the ceiling fan in his classroom and watch his students work, and the rotund cook, Hugo Hogsworth, a shapeshifter pig was a fondness for Gilbert and Sullivan.
Join Miri and her friends as they journey through the world of P.A.W.S. and continue that journey in book 2, Argentum.
1/15/15. Danielle Ross (http://tsrideraworldinagrainofsand.blogspot.com/), writing as T.S. Rider, is also an artist and costumer (figure). Her Deadly Ink 2010 short story collection is available on Amazon. She comments on her writing life.
Do you have any unusual writing habits? I wouldn’t call them unusual, but I have to have either the TV on or music playing while I write.
Do you have any advice for new authors? Keep writing.
What are you reading now? Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series.
What’s next for you as a writer? Getting one of my longer manuscripts polished and submitted for publication.
What inspires you to write? My dreams. Tell us about your writing process. I sit down and write, then stare at the screen, then write some more, then go sew, then write some more, then go and work on a wand, then write some more, then make a wand box, then write some more, etc. etc. etc.
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer? I’m mainly a seat-of-the-pants writer, but sometimes I outline, at least a little. Mostly I just write a few pages of plot to get the story out of my head, and go from there. As for character sketches, I do that while I’m writing.
Do you listen to or talk to your characters? How do you interact with your characters while you are writing? They scream at me, and most of the time I ignore them. The one time I listened to a character she changed the story ten pages in, and at the end decided she wanted to go back to that I had originally planned.
What advice would you give other writers? Enjoy what you’re doing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing? I don’t like how everyone seems to be going toward e-publishing. It’s not the same as holding a book in your hands. Printing books may cost more, but a book’s batteries don’t run out, a book can’t be deleted by a computer virus, or have its data corrupted from a power surge or the like.
1/14/15. Deedee Davies http://deedeedavies.wordpress.com is a short story author and novelist interested mainly in the fantasy, horror and science-fiction genres. She is a cover artist (30 books published). Her short stories appear in several anthologies (A Chimerical World, Perfect Flaw, Monster Hunter Blood Trails, and others (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00P20L9IK.) She discusses her short story “The Halls of War,” which appears in The End Was Not the End anthology:
This story started out as a comic strip about eight years ago. I had a drawing that I did back when I was about 15 of a woman in impractical armour, and, about 15 years later, I dug out the drawing, decided to give her a bit of an upgrade, and design her a boyfriend. As I was doodling away, a story started to materialise for the both of them, and I quickly got it down into a (rather badly-drawn) comic strip.
I got about 9 pages into it when the scenes in my head got a bit challenging for my limited comic-strip drawing skills, and around the same time, I found that the dialogue and story text I was writing for it was becoming increasingly verbose. So I decided to start turning it into a proper story. I hit a brick wall. I had started writing it in the first person, present tense (i.e. Vronn’s point of view), talking directly to the second person (poor old dead Achoris), which made a lot of the scenes quite difficult to write.
I abandoned the story for years, occasionally dipping back in to attempt to push it along, but failing. It was only when I saw an open submission post for post-apocalyptic fantasy tales that I finally got the motivation to hunker down and get the entire story roughed out. I’d never actually decided on the end for my comic strip, you see! Once the outline was properly in place, the rest started to fall together quite nicely, although still in the ‘first person, present tense, talking direct to the second person’ format.
Once I’d got to the point where I couldn’t actually read the story any more, I passed it along to a friend whose writing skills I admire greatly, who tactfully pointed out that they had no idea of the gender of the main character until half-way through the story… Ahem. My brain was still in comic book mode, you see, and I never thought anyone would need telling that my main character was female when she was wearing that boob-shaped breastplate!
So I went through and made a bunch of changes, making it clear that Vronn was in fact a lady, and clearing up a bunch of other anomalies. I also made the decision to overhaul the writing tense, changing it from present to past, and talking about Achoris in the third, rather than second person. I left one bit of the original tense in at the end, leaving it as Vronn’s final dialogue with Achoris before she consigns him to the flames.
While I was re-editing, I also got the urge to do some more artwork of the two main characters, choosing the moment when they stand together and fight the horde of Summoned. These images can be seen at http://seedydeedee.deviantart.com/art/The-Last-Stand-343131527?q=gallery%3Aseedydeedee%2F24579&qo=2
1/12/15. J Lenni Dorner (http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/), author of The Existence Book Series, also appears in Wrong, a fiction anthology http://www.amazon.com/Wrong-themed-anthology-Deborah-Owen/dp/1927296056/ He offers insights into the writing life.
What do you write? I weave fantasy with lore to unhinge your mind. I’ve written a few books that remain unpublished (querying, editing, totally rewriting). I’ve published short stories and poetry under several other names. ” WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014 ” includes my short story, EGOT and the Pond King.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it? For NaNoWriMo 2014, I worked on The Dagger in the Darkrise, a high fantasy novel inspired by a gaming community my friends and I began taking part in fifteen years ago.
Do you have any unusual writing habits? I’ve scribbled a few ideas, notes, dialog exchanges, and character quirks on a notebook that I keep on the headboard of my bed. My sleep handwriting is terrible, so I’m not certain what all of it says.
What authors or books have influenced you? Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance by Rosanne Bane.
What are you working on now? Besides my high fantasy novel, I’m also finishing up a short fantasy story and a short story for young adults.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books? I think Twitter offers the best method I’ve seen. I say this due to the massive number of ebooks by others I’ve acquired thanks to links I’ve seen there.
Do you have any advice for new authors? Don’t be a writer. Be anything else. Only be a writer if you are enraged that I just told you not to be one and were mentally arguing with me.
What is the best advice you have ever heard? Even if you make a mistake, it’s better than making no attempt at all.
What are you reading now? Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint, The War of the Flower by Tad Williams, The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini, and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin.
What’s next for you as a writer? To keep on writing! I’ll finish up the fantasy book and then get into editing and querying. I’m also cleaning up my urban fantasy book, then re-editing and sending it back out to query.
What inspires you to write? I write because I have to. I write for the same reason that I breathe, eat, or sleep. I write because my characters need me. I write because doing so reminds me that I am alive, that I have a purpose, and that the next page is a reason to wake up tomorrow.
Tell us about your writing process. A character gets into my head and demands to exist. The loudest ones win. The quiet ones attempt to kill them off.
Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer? I will sketch a very basic outline after I’ve fleshed out the story a bit.
Do you create character sketches before or during your writing? A huge yes to this one! I start them before, and expand upon them during. Keeping track of all those tiny little notes is important.
Do you listen to or talk to your characters? The characters aren’t real good about ever shutting up. Seriously, I’m either a writer or a complete psycho. It’s a thin line. My interactions with them while writing are a bit touch and go, because sometimes (most times) I have to torture them a bit.
What advice would you give other writers? For writing fiction you simply have to do exactly what all the other successful authors have, but in a way that no other ever came up with.
How did you decide how to publish your books? Some publishing houses have lists of frequent book buyers to whom they send alerts when a new book is published. This increases sales. So I start by looking at the success of other published books and work from there. It is also very important to research, because I’ve heard about several writers who published with someone that vanished, and took the rights and royalties with them! Scary stuff.
What do you think about the future of book publishing? I think it’s going to be really interesting. There’s a big flood right now from the indie section. Some of it is great, some of it is good, and some of it is in desperate need of editors. The larger presses are going to need to adapt to this new love of authors who don’t need them. Those who can change, who can offer something amazing to writers and readers alike, will survive. Any who can’t adapt will vanish in the next decade, tossed onto the pile with Enron, MySpace, and Pontiac vehicles.
1/10/15. Joelle Martin www.joellemartin.com is author of The Dreamer’s Forest series. She tells all in an interview: Q-Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written. I am convinced I was a male elf in a previous life. I always find myself strongly connected to the male protagonist of my stories. Three of my novels were published, but they were released as four books because my first novel was rather long for YA. I’ve just finished my first Fantasy Romance. It is sort of a Harlequin Fairy Tale. I also have three other WIPs.
Q-What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it? I have just finished writing Julianne’s Wish. It is about finding your true soulmate. The story sort of just popped into my head after I read Plato’s explanation of soul mates in his Symposium. After I get Julianne’s Wish submitted, I plan to finish Chloe’s Promise. They are both Fantasy Romances. Adult modern day fairy tales. I always work on two or three novels at a time because stories come to me and I start on them while the ideas are fresh. I then set them aside to finish whatever I have going.
Q-What authors or books have influenced you? Every fairy tale and romance I’ve ever read: The Snow Queen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter Pan, Snow White & Rose Red, Rapunzel, etc.
Q-What is the best advice you have ever heard? Be thick skinned and open minded about constructive criticism.
Q-What’s next for you as a writer? Besides writing novels, I also write non-fiction articles on subjects ranging from health and fitness to community concerns. I’ve had these published in newspapers and trade magazines. I’d like to make the time to write more non-fiction. I’ve kind of neglected this side of me lately.
Q-Do you listen to or talk to your characters? How do you interact with your characters while you are writing? Of course. All the time. Very often I become my characters, as I write scenes involving them. I feel their emotions as I describe them. They laugh, I laugh. They cry, I cry. I talk back and forth in their dialogues. It is almost like I am all the actors in a play, acting out the scenes as the play is being written.
Q-What do you think about the future of book publishing? I spend a lot of time driving, so I am a fan of audio books. However, even though I have kindle on my tablet, I have yet to read a kindle book. I like to turn pages. I like hunting for books on bookstore shelves. And I know I am not alone in this. Computers are changing our lives, but I don’t know that physical books will entirely disappear. Even though we have iTunes, people still play instruments and go to live concerts. Even though electronic keyboards exist, people still play pianos. Even though movies can be downloaded and bought on DVD, people still go to the theater to watch them, people still watch stage performances. I think humans have a need to physical contact with the arts, including physically holding a book.
Fun Facts about the Dreamer’s Forest Series: The Kingman Family are named after the town of Kingman AZ. Dexy is named after the band Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Alyssa and Amanda are named after my nieces. One of them, in the story, studies nursing. One of my nieces actually just finished nursing school. Rachel Kingman was named in honor of my son’s German Shepherd Dog, Rachel, who was a guide dog puppy. Dreamer was the most difficult character to name. He rejected about five names before he accepted Dreamer. I didn’t find out why until later. His name came to me while listening to the Dream Academy’s song “Life in a Northern Town.” The novel A Bridge in the Forest was named afterI sent my sister and nieces a list of 12 names for the title of the first novel. They didn’t like any of them. The title didn’t come to me until the manuscript was nearly finished. It made the titles of the next books, A Secret in the Forest and Moonlight in the Forest, very easy. The inspiration for the story came to me while I was driving through the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in Oregon during a full moon.
1/9/15. Lee Dunning http://leedunning.com/ is author of Exile’s Redemption, a fantasy adventure tale about good versus evil, but it goes beyond that. It’s about paths taken which changed the course of history and sent a proud race down a road of slow decline – so slow they don’t even realize that one day they’ll exist only in history texts and children’s stories.
Umbral K’hul, returns after ten thousand years of exile. His flare of temper as a boy not only saw him banished but set the stage for pride and ambition to run unchecked among his people. He must come to grips with his failings and work to rebuild his people while keeping them from discovering his true identity. Adopting the name W’rath, the elves’ first-born son, joins with a young, untried warrior and strives to save their people.
This exerpt is a scene from between W’rath and his pain-in-the-arse half-nephew, K’hul. W’rath wants to stop to a rather nasty practice going on in the Elven nation of First Home, and K’hul, who has just replaced his father as “First Among Equals” is standing in W’rath’s way. Enjoy.:
Now that they were away from the others, and any possibility of public humiliation, K’hul’s confidence reasserted itself. He faced W’rath, arms crossed, his face hostile. “You have me here now, Exile. What do you plan to do? Chew on my ankles?”
“Really, lad, short jokes? Even among the Shadow Elf population, I’m shy several inches of average. I’ve heard every possible insult in existence. You’ll have to work much harder if you wish to provoke me. Oh, I know, threaten to keep my lads helpless and labeled as inherently evil. That will get my attention.”
K’hul raised an eyebrow. “Your lads? Until a few days ago, you didn’t even know they existed. Until a few minutes ago you’d never laid eyes upon them. How can you call them ‘your lads’ when you don’t know a thing about them? Their own councilors wanted them collared. You just strut in and decide they should have full access to their psionics without first finding out why your predecessors thought it was a bad idea?”
“Interesting.” W’rath cocked his head. “That actually came across as a coherent argument.”
“So we’re done with this, then?”
W’rath chuckled. Ah, so young, so naïve. “Of course not, lad. Those collars will come off. But since you went to the effort to put together a logical reason for your obstinacy, it’s only fair I do the same.”
“Or, since we both know nothing you say will change my mind, we could just skip that part and move on to where I pummel you into a jelly. A very small jelly.” K’hul made a show of cracking his knuckles.
“Charming. However, isn’t that a bit archaic? Isn’t the whole purpose of having a council to facilitate communication and the exchange of ideas? Or am I mistaken and it’s really only an attempt to put a civilized face on our government while the First’s descendant continues to bully the rest of the population?”
“I’m the bully? You’ve already made it clear you expect the collars to come off regardless of the outcome of any discussion. In fact, you used threatened violence to lure me here in the first place. So be it. It worked well enough for the First, I’m only too happy to continue the tradition.”
W’rath had only a fraction of a second to chide himself for underestimating his nephew before the huge First Born smashed a granite-like fist into his jaw. He attempted to roll with the punch, but the lad’s speed shocked him, and W’rath felt the bone shatter. Most people wouldn’t expect someone of such size to also have the agility and quickness of a hunting cat, but W’rath, of all people, realized he should have known better.
Lee has always loved writing, and wrote her first book in ninth grade. It was deplorable, though at the time she thought herself the next J.R.R. Tolkien. Since then Lee has written several short stories and books, but thankfully had enough sense not to publish them. Now as an older, and hopefully more skilled writer, Lee has published the first story she deems worthy of sharing with the world – Exile’s Redemption. She published it through Amazon in July of 2014. In addition to writing, Lee absolutely loves reading, working on digital art (she did her book cover and has sold several covers to other authors (including Chris Kennedy’s novel, Can’t Look Back), wasting too much time on computer and tabletop gaming, and baking. She’s working on the sequel to Exile’s Redemption and hopes to have it out in the second quarter of 2015.
Exile’s Redemption at Amazon: http://bitly.com/1rczyyd Lee’s Book Review Blog: http://wildhuntreviews.com Lee’s Goodreads Page: http://bit.ly/1wB8eju
1/9.15. JuQuan Williams (godmode.quanwilliams.com) is the author of Godmode. He writes about Now Leaving: Your Comfort Zone. If you’ve looked at the body of my writing work, I think it would be hard to pigeonhole me into any particular genre of fiction. I’ve written comic books, Young Adult novels, Business Melodrama, Science Fiction and Survival Horror. I’m currently looking for an agent for a literary love story, and I wrote a crime novel that will never see print. And right now I’m writing a thriller with some elements of high fantasy. I never gave much thought into what motivates me to switch genres and styles of storytelling. I could say I just go where the story takes me, but that would be too simple.
Truth be told, every story I’ve written has been a challenge to myself in some way, shape or form. I get inspired by books I read, TV shows I watch and movies and video games I enjoy. And these stories inspire me to tell my own. I often ask myself “wouldn’t it be cool if I could write XXX kind of story?” and being the impulsive guy I am, it doesn’t take me long to hash out some ideas for that genre and style.
For the story I’m writing now, it started off as a prequel to an epic urban high fantasy series I’m planning. But as I was writing it, I didn’t really know how the story was going to get from its beginning to the point where my saga started. I’m usually a big “plot” guy, and I’ll spend a lot of time outlining the plot points and twists, creating a roadmap for where I want the story to go. But this time, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time pre-planning my story, and I really just wanted to start writing. So that’s exactly what I did. I only have a handful of vague plot points in mind for this current story. I have two or three events I’m building up to, and I have a general idea of how I want it to end, but I’m leaving myself completely open with this story. I just created some characters, created a world for those characters to inhabit, and put the central character in a dire predicament. And now, I’m really just following that character around in this setting, observing his actions, getting inside his head to find out what he’s thinking and feeling as he does what he does, and writing everything down. This style of storytelling is counterintuitive to every other book I’ve written, and its uncharted territory for me. It’s kind of scary. But it’s also thrilling to be “winging it” and basically making the story up as I go along.
I believe the only way to truly improve as a storyteller it to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Even successful writers (actually ESPECIALLY successful writers) can get complacent and fall into a rut, telling the same types of stories in the same style over and over again. This is why Steven King will take a break from writing horror to write stories like The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, and The Stand. It gives one a chance to freshen up, and learn new things about ones self as a writer and storyteller.
So my challenge to you is simple. Try something different. If you’re used to writing modern fantasy (especially if your Vampires glitter and your Werewolves are emo), take a stab at writing a crime story. If rustic heartland romances are your thing, take a shot at writing a political thriller. If you write historical fiction, then maybe you can shift from the past to the future and write some hard Science Fiction. And you can even stretch your muscles stylistically, like switching from the female protagonists you always write to a male one, or switching from Third person to First person (or the even bigger challenge of second person), or switching from writing in past tense to present tense. In doing so you might broaden your horizons and discover some new things about your voice that you never knew you had before.
You don’t even have to commit to a whole book of it if you don’t want to. Maybe just a short story, or a simple scene just to see what it would feel like and read like in your new style or genre. And whatever you don’t finish you could just put in your writer’s vault for future idea mining. This would be a great way to improve your storytelling acumen.
1/8/15. Maeve La Fay www.thestafftheswordandthepen.blogspot.com is author of Tree of Nine Worlds, a multi-perspective Celtic and Norse fusion fantasy taking place in an original world.
The tale begins with an unlikely group of characters coming together in the home country of Princess Saoirse and staying at the castle as the group discovers a horrible plot from an unknown dark force to destroy the world and rebuild it in his image. It is also discovered that there may still yet be hope, for if a fairy woman of the lost city of Crannllwynn still lives, and if they can find the Lochbhan, they maybe able to save the world from the darkness taking over.
Saoirse, Percy, and Aisling take off with Doug to find the city of legend in what is now a war torn land as several kingdoms fight for control both against each other and against themselves.
Stories are how people communicate lessons, feeling and desires. I have learned that even the most fantastic of stories express something fundamental about that author’s thoughts or feelings on any given topic. I have always had a passion for strong stories that told of far away lands and times and began creating my own at an early age. Hailing from Nova Scotia, Canada, I am twenty-four-years-old and have been writing for at least sixteen of those years, and telling stories much longer. Growing up, I always loved reading or hearing old ghost stories and faerie stories. This very soon developed into a love of speculative fiction and several cultures mythologies.
My pen name was born of one of two of these great loves, Mebd the great Irish queen of myth and Morgan La Fey from Arthurian legend. Stephen King and J.K Rowling were staples of my middle and high school years allowing me to branch out into the wonderful world of speculative fiction and folklore.
I am currently studying psychology for my undergrad at university and am writing a novel of the fantasy genre along with several short stories. “The Otter King” is my first of what will hopefully be many publications in the future. Tree of Nine Worlds:Quest for the Lochbhan Everyone knew what a bride to be singing that song meant. This was the entire reason for betrothal ceremonies before they became an excuse to feast for the sake of feasting.
“Saoirse!” King Agnew cried angrily down at his daughter . “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Saoirse inhaled deeply and spoke as she had rehearsed it in the mirror before coming down to the hall. “I am invoking the Bridequest, as is my right by Highland Law!”
Everyone around her let out a gasp, and nobles from both highland kingdoms stared at her, wide eyed or simply squinting in anger. King Ferghus stared at her the most intently, his fair skin reddening by the minute. She knew better than to hope the Sluadaighish king would not be slighted.
“Ach! Ye cannae do this to me lad!” Ferghus announced angrily waving a large square index finger in her face. “King Agnew, your daughter can’t resurrect this archaic ritual.”
“You have to renounce the Bridequest, Saoirse,” Agnew pleaded. “No one has invoked a Bridequest in over eighty years. The match has already been made, this isn’t fair to any of the parties involved.”
Except perhaps me, Saoirse thought bitterly, but said. “It is my right by ancient highland law to name a quest for any suitor who wishes to strike a match, to prove he is a good enough match, and ensure that our sons will be strong. There was once a time that any noble man who wished to marry had no choice but to complete a quest chosen by she who was promised to him.”
“Aye,” Agnew conceded. “T’was a strong tradition, but, Saoirse, but these are dire times and we have to keep making noble matches before more houses die out.”
“Your king father’s right, your highness,” Doug stated without expression. “As my father’s only son, it is important for me to continue the line. A quest could kill me, and thus end it.”
“The bridegroom has the right to refuse the request,” spoke Queen Adelaide,
Saoirse knew not to be surprised with her stepmother. “But in refusing the Bridequest, he is also refusing the right to his bride.”
“Adelaide!” Agnew choked, his hazel eyes staring widening. “I am sorry, your grace? Is it that you want your daughter to wed a man who could not prove his worth?”
“Your grace?” asked Gawaine in amazement. “Our alliance with Sluaghdaigh—“
“Does not depend on my step-daughter’s hand in marriage,” Adelaide stood with her arms open and spoke loudly. “We are one land split into four kingdoms and we are naturally allies against those who would see us harm in this growing world. The princess’s hand in marriage is an act of friendship between two allies, no more, no less!”
“Name your quest, Princess Saoirse of Daoinebhaile and I shall fulfil it.”
Saoirse stared blankly in amazement. She didn’t expect him to accept the quest. She couldn’t remember what she had wished him to do for a second. Disbelief clouded her memory and caught her breath while her heart thudded loudly in her chest. She now remembered what it was she had wanted him to do. Never did she imagine he would accept her quest, but she would happily marry him on the morrow if he gave her the means to do this. “I want you to help me find the sacred city of Crannllwynn and grant me an audience with the Lochbhan.”
1/7/15. Renee Scattergood is the author of the Shadow Stalker Series, short novellas (episodes) that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles. Episode 1: The Hidden Truth. Auren Trask’s perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever. Episode 2: The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate. Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her. Episode 3: Shadows’ Betrayal. After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests. Episode 4: Forbidden Love. Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father? Episode 5: Destiny Reconciled Part 1. Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle? Author Pages Authorgraph – http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/ReneeScatts Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507658.Renee_Scattergood Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Renee-Scattergood/e/B00NTJY1W2 Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts Social Media Connections Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts Twitter – https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts Goggle+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/118427336236369690813/+ReneescattergoodAuthor/posts My Website/Blog: Renee Writes – http://reneescattergood.com/ Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth (Episode 1) Excerpt: The soldiers approached the cave at a slow pace. Their heads darted around as though they were expecting something to jump out at them at any moment. Without looking down, they each pulled an unfamiliar circular metal object out of their pockets. I ushered Jade and Deakan toward the back of the cave. I was aware that the men were just outside the entrance when I could see their torch light through the ivy. Jade held onto my arm so tight that I was sure it was going to leave a bruise. I reminded myself to breathe. I had no idea what I would do if they realized there was an opening behind the ivy. Deakan balled up his fists. I’d seen him brawl before, and he’d give the men a hard time. I had training in self-defense as well, and would be able to hold my own for a time, but I doubted we’d be able to defeat two trained soldiers on our own. “Is that rock wall solid?” one of the men asked. My breath caught in my throat. I saw the shadow of his hand through the ivy. He was about to push through, but then a branched snapped somewhere behind the soldiers and the hand dropped. “What was that?” one of them asked. There was a loud roar. “Demon! Run!” the other replied.
- A man who has lost his way.
- A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.
- A bat offering a formidable quest to this unlikely hero.
- A Portal to another valley called the Valle Abajo.
- Clans in the Valle needing help to overcome the evil Soreyes.
- A Tower, the mysterious source of Soreye power.
Early in the past century Teresa, a young curandera, traveled to the Valle Abajo to bring down the Tower. But the Tower still stands and Don Vargas, an alcoholic looking for escape from failure, may be the only one to destroy it. Don travels through the Portal to the Valle, encountering beautiful Raquela and feisty Nersite who join him to fight the Soreyes. Meanwhile Nightwing, the enigmatic bat, manipulates events behind the scenes. Many surprises and revelations await as this contemporary fantasy unfolds. Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Coming this winter, Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist:
- Esther has dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. A bat slams its body against her window in the night. Markey, her best buddy, thinks she might be going crazy.
- It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a young cousin of the missing Don Vargas, is drawn to the Portal in Don’s old Casita.
- In the Valle Abajo, an old enemy of the clanspeople returns. And a mysterious presence makes itself known.
Personal Comments: Why New Mexico Fantasy? I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures. But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from! Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges. RJ’s Blog: http://rjmirabal.wordpress.com/ BUY LINKS: Black Rose Writing: http://goo.gl/fZXWgF Amazon: http://goo.gl/GvXAUT Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/42OHpk Smashwords: http://goo.gl/2LmWHu Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org