Swift Six – Character Interview – Barte #Fantasy

Character Name

My name is Barte son of Moshere. And no, there are no commas. That name, my friend is my title, though I believe my guardians should have included more surnames just to make it difficult for the common people to remember.

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in the books the author titles Sword of Cho Nisi. She really should have called it Sword of Casdamia as my empire is larger, stronger, and much more fitting than that tiny little island in the middle of the Nisi Sea. Did you know the natives walk barefoot on that island? I was there once but I don’t remember much. I was blind at the time—under the curse of that evil wizard Skotádi, the murderer of my parents. I’d rather not talk about it.

*Fiddles with his falcon’s breast feathers and kisses the leather helm over its head.

Too traumatic for me. Too much blood. They know I get sick at the sight of it, yet they made me go there anyway. *shudders.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m the emperor of the greatest nation in the world. Casdamia is my charge and someday I hope to conquer all the lands. Perhaps. Well, maybe not. Seems like such an effort.  I would like to have Tellwater Valley within my borders though. No finer wine in all the land comes from Tellwater and I hate to say it’s ruled by Potamia and that young scallywag son of a king, Barin. He’s not an altogether rotten chap, but the commoners speak way too highly of him.

My father was the emperor Moshere. He was the grandest of all warriors and provoked fear throughout the land. Part of that was Skotádi’s doing. They were in cahoots for most of the battles, but something happened, and the dark wizard changed. He cursed my father and my mother and when I was an innocent young child barely out of my nightcap, he burned them to a crisp. Magic did it. A cruel inhumane bolt of magic.  *He breathes a sigh and fans himself* I will never forget, nor forgive. And I trust no one because of it. Only my Allat. *Kisses the falcon again.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths? *He laughs and takes the falcon’s headdress off. Strengths, the man asks. Yes. Well, my strength is in my army. They’re a cruel lot. I’ve been working on them. You should see their black Armor and green plumage. One look and you’ll be quivering in your boots, my dear fellow. No one messes with the Dark Army!

As for weakness, well, I must admit I retch at the sight of blood, but that shouldn’t make any difference. I don’t really need to be on the battlefield, you know. That’s what soldiers are for.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).

Does me, myself and I count? Oh, I know. You’re looking for something beyond Rigelstaff.

I heard a rumour that Barin the king of Potamia, has a lover, the daughter of one of his barons he exiled. Seems that her father was slain in my kingdom. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry about that one.

And his wizard Kairos made a pet of a skura. Had me fooled for months. I’m the one that taught him falconry and to think he took advantage of my blindness and tricked me into thinking he was training a falcon. No wonder the man stunk every time he came around.

King Tobias’ gods died with him. That’s what I’m told. They put a monument for them in the palace garden.

And the fool who married the Tobian Princess, the man who was once king of Cho Nisi? Gossip is spreading that he handed his throne to the village elders. Imagine that! A whole conglomerate of natives sitting on a throne. Barefoot, no doubt.  *Snickers and kisses Allat. The Fool will lose the island.

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you?

Heroism is what Allat is to me. *He holds the falcon close to his heart.  My hero. The only friend I have. The only creature I can put my trust in. Allat is my hero. He hears my deepest thoughts and keeps them secret. He does what he’s told. He even found the murderer of my parents for me, and nearly lost his life doing so.

What do you think of your ‘creator’?

Hmpf! Poor choice of main characters.

Give us your favourite piece of advice:

Stay to yourself. There’s not a soul on this planet you can trust, not even the trustworthy ones. Unless of course they have some fashionable Armor to sell you or some delicacy for your kitchen. Still, don’t trust them.

Links to book

https://books2read.com/ap/nBvawn/DL-Gardner

https://gardnersart.com

Swift Six Character Interview – Jane #Fantasy

 

Character Name: Jane

Which book/world do you live in? Why don’t you ask the author?!

I had quite a normal life on earth! And what did she do?! Throw me head over heels into this, this- what should I even call it?! Ha! I don’t know the name of this world… Damon is the name of the land we left on our way north, but that’s as much as I can say…

Tell us about yourself: I was working as an emergency room nurse for about seven years. I loved my job! Loved my staff, the work, the crazy hours. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but I truly felt alive every time something entered through the doors!

I practiced martial arts since high school. It’s a mix of Aikido and Jujitsu. I feel it gives me the best of both. Love my sensei! Really, he is like a father figure to me. A father I never had…

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? You know this is really hard to answer… do you ask all characters these questions? Okay then, let’s see…

Strengths- I think fast, I can take in quite a lot of information and come to the right conclusions real quick. I have good intuition.  I take my job seriously, actually most things I put my mind to. I am not afraid of hard work or getting my hands dirty.

Weaknesses- well, I guess I am not the best judge of character, and after being hurt in the past, I have a hard time putting my trust in others. I think sometimes I bite more than I can chew and swallow.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc). My world? I really can’t say which is my world… but just for the sake of this interview, let’s say it’s this world I am now stuck in.

Owen- my anchor and connection to this world. I have no idea why we keep hurting each other… why do we act so stupidly around one another…?

Lord Kiran- saved my life. More than once. I owe him at least that.

A certain creature, but I will not name it. I shudder just being reminded of it… it’s a type of entity, but I can’t say much more. Only that we’re not on best terms…

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you? Heroism? I don’t know. I don’t like referring to someone or being referred to as a hero.

I was called a hero several times in the ER, but I don’t think myself as one. I was just doing my job. I enjoyed doing it and I dare say I was quite good at it.

But I guess it might mean giving something of yourself for the good of others without expecting to be repaid.

What do you think of your ‘creator’? If you can hurl her also into this world, I will gladly show her, in person, what I think of her! What do you think  I might think of her after everything she put me through?! My intuition says it’s not getting better in the sequel, and as I told you before- I got good intuition…

Give us your favourite piece of advice: Right now it would probably be-

Don’t go training in the ruins of old watchtowers.

But as I built everything in my life by myself, I guess my advice would be- trust your arms, for they will always be by your side. Trust your legs, for they will support you and finally your fingers, because you can always count on them!

Yeah! Always loved that one!

Links to book

https://amzn.to/3uOWtJh – Jewels of Smoky Quartz

Swift Six Author Interview – Jon Cronshaw

Name: Jon Cronshaw

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

I’ve been a full-time author since 2017. I’ve zig-zagged between high fantasy, post-apocalyptic, and gamelit. I’m trying hard to stay focused on writing fantasy stories, but that doesn’t stop the Muse teasing me with ideas for space opera tales.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

My main fantasy series is called The Ravenglass Chronciles, this is a 21-novella series where each book is inspired by the tarot. My latest novel, Dawn of Assassins is set a few hundred years after The Ravenglass Chronicles and tells the story of a pair of thieves who are recruited by a master assassin. But they’re thieves, not killers.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I’ve worked as a professional writer for most of my adult life, mostly in journalism. I’ve written stories, comedy scripts, and lyrics since I can remember, so I’ve always had that drive to tell stories. When I saw I could bypass corporate publishers and produce books on my own terms, that’s when I decided to follow this as a career path.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

To keep writing stories in my Ravenglass Universe. As I establish the universe, I want to branch out into other media and work with other writers. There’s potential for video games, movies, and comics. It’s very exciting. It’s also meant that when I get an idea for a story, I ask myself whether it will fit in the Ravenglass Universe. If it doesn’t, I thank the Muse and move on. 

What do you like to read?

Books! And lots of them! I read in most genres. My favourite stories tend to be fantasy. Give me banter and swashbuckling and you’re onto a winner.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

Just because someone’s got a system that works for them, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

There is no magic bullet.

Author bio and book synopsis

Jon Cronshaw is a full-time fantasy and speculative fiction author based in Morecambe, England.

Born in Wolverhampton, he has a PhD in the history of art and has written for local and national newspapers across the UK.

He’s an avid reader, podcaster, and history geek.

Dawn of Assassins:

Two friends. A master assassin. One deadly choice.

Fedor and Lev are thieves…not killers.

They lead a desperate life in the tunnels of Nordturm, conning and stealing to buy their next meal.

But when an assassin recruits them against their will, they are forced into a life they do not want and cannot escape.

If they leave, they will die. But if they stay, they must kill.

Can they survive the master’s relentless evaluation?

Is loyalty stronger than the will to live?

Will their friendship last the ordeal?

From the best-selling author of The Ravenglass Chronicles, comes a new thrilling adventure featuring a new cast of unforgettable characters.

You’ll love this high fantasy series, because these unlikely heroes have a story you won’t be able to put down.

Links/Social media

https://joncronshaw.com

https://facebook.com/joncronshawauthor

https://youtube.com/c/joncronshawauthor

https://instagram.com/joncronshawauthor

You can also find Jon Cronshaw’s Author Diary wherever you listen to podcasts.

Swift Six Character Interview – The Girl #Sci-fi #Fantasy

Character Name: The Girl (I have several aliases depending on the situation)

Which book/world do you live in? I live in the Sunspear world. I have been on this journey from the beginning and still remain despite close calls.

Tell us about yourself: I usually avoid this question.

There’s only two people left that know who I am and that’s Alika and Alena.  I wish they didn’t know. I’m always afraid of putting them in danger, but it can’t be helped.  My parents are both dead. Their death haunts me for different reasons, one I grieve still and the other I wish it had come sooner. You must think me a horrible person for saying such a thing, but if you knew the truth maybe you wouldn’t think so.  Perhaps you still would. I’ve seen close up the ugliness of the Black Dragon, and so I fight them. However, my past requires I battle differently.  I routinely rotate between a number of roles to get the job done. I’m the shipping dealer, the disguised Black Dragon soldier, the security advisor, and the list goes on. You’d think I would be confused, but I keep it straight. Part of it is I have to.  Survival is a strong motivation.  It’s a deadly game I play. So, one day I’m Chris the shipping dealer, another day to another person I take on another random name for my shipping cover, then another day I’m Kate the advisor, and then another day Dante calls me …  (She shakes her head). I still can’t understand that one, how he sees me like that.  Alika tells me Dante sees clearly when it comes to me, that I’m one with the distorted vision on that one.  He hasn’t convinced me yet.  Of course, no one sees the images I do, the gift from the Ancient One.  I tell myself it’s a gift, and it is because it helps us in a lot of ways.  Yet, there are images I can’t get out of my head, that I can’t unsee.  Honestly, it scares me to death. It’s something that you can’t extinguish with a sunspear blade like a Black Dragon agent.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

 Strengths, huh?  I’m excellent in a fight, but a give a lot of credit to my teachers, Alika and Alena.  I can also get into about anything electronic; it’s invaluable in the operations we carry out, with hacking into systems and creating clearances.  I’m always had a knack for it, just like my… well I guess that kind of stuff isn’t passed down in genes, but sometimes it feels like it.  I can play whatever role needed or at least so far, I’ve been able to. Some are harder to reconcile than others once the scene is played out, but I have to bury it and move on from the aftermath. There’s a line, and certainly I’ve walked it more than once now. Honestly, I’m certain I’ve stepped across it. Beyond those, strengths get hard to find if the truth were told with my vision, but others disagree with my assessment. Alika and Alena frequently tell me I’m my worst critic, that I don’t see this incredible person I am. It’s easier just to nod and pretend to agree with them those times.  They already know that’s all I’m doing.  They try to convince me I’m not to blame for everything I place on myself.   I see the failures though, the ones I didn’t make it in time to save, like my … (She looks down momentarily). I guess that’s one of my weaknesses. Any victory is swallowed up in the memories of what I couldn’t change, of what the Black Dragon has taken away.  It drives me to never let them have victory again and that means protecting those around me at all costs. I vow never to fail them again, and that’s a good thing. However, sometimes the anger boils to the surface faster than I realize, and it consumes me all over again. Regrettably anyone in the path of it feels its fury, and I hate it about myself.  I don’t know how many times I’ve had to beg for Alika’s forgiveness, but thankfully he never gives me what I deserve for how I act. Instead, he gives me a hug and affectionally calls me by the name he uses on me still, his child. I’m grown now, but I’m okay with that name, because I still feel like a child in so many ways.  That desire to protect those around me and to fight for them is also what gets me into many of the messes I find myself in.  Even though we go in with a plan for an operation, I’m impulsive and change the game plan on my own.  If that means it’s my last stand so that someone I care about survives, I’ll make that trade any day.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).

I consider Alika and Alena my family now.  Alika is an Elder, one of those called to the task of training sunspear-bearers.  However, he’s so much more than that to me.  He’s shown me the love of a father, but never been afraid to challenge me at the same time when he knew I was moving into dangerous waters.  Alena, a spear-bearer herself, has helped trained me, but more than that she is the sister I never had.  She has seen me through the darkest moments of my world and been the shoulder I cried on.  They both continued all the teachings of the Ancient One. The Ancient One is this other one in my world that some days it’s a wonder He doesn’t leave me be.  Somehow though as many times as I come unravelled, He’s there to reassure me I’m still His and that He has me in His hands.  As far as my world, I’ve seen different landscapes at various points in my life.  I’ve lived as a child in a household that seemed to the rest of the world as normal and played my role to survive. Then when it fell apart to the outside world finally, I became formally accustomed to a new world, one that frequently saw the inside of bars as a shipping dealer.  Then there’s the other side of me, the other world I found myself drawn into or better yet, the person I found myself drawn to.  That would be Dante.  I saw him in the visions and tried to tell myself that’s all it was.  I knew better. I had admitted the truth to myself long before he understood. It scares me to death though even as I long for every moment I get with him.  If anyone finds out what he means to me, what’s growing between us, what will be the price? If something happened to him because of me, that would be it. The final blow in my world.

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you?

A hero… I guess for a lot of people it’s measured in how many kills you make with a blade. If you took a poll in many of the places I hang out, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s your top answer. It’s a pretty shallow measure though. Not to say those good with the blade don’t qualify. I mean, those I consider closest to me now are all masters with a blade.  Yet it’s their heart and spirit that’s behind the blade that makes them a hero.  It’s why they swing the blade repeatedly and keep getting up to battle again that gives them the title.  Yet there’s those that never swing a blade, and yet they are heroes as much as the others.  I watched that battle too, the one who is bent over from wounds of battles and yet struggles over and over again to one’s feet until the strike of the death wound.  What the two have in common is what is heroism.   It is the willingness to give of oneself, to put it all the line, in order to stand up against the darkness and to protect others.

What do you think of your ‘creator’?

Liz, as we know her as, is a lot of things. Somebody else asked Dante and I about Liz recently. She’s a lot of things. She pushes herself hard and keeps to an insane schedule.  It’s no surprise then how she pushes us.  I’m grateful for the splashes of down time she does give us. I’ve learned to treasure that time with Dante (she smiles).  She does put us through a lot though, and I guess in some ways for that I could say I didn’t like her too much sometimes. I can’t though, because she never has us go through it alone.  She’s steadfast and has proved herself a true friend. She fights beside us, reminding us we’re stronger than the battlefield in front of us. Sometimes that means being the shoulder to cry on.  She gets that battlefield too, and it doesn’t scare her. She listens to us too, willing to help, but still lets us direct our own way. Honestly, I can’t blame her for the mishaps, because I do rush into things a fair amount of the time, especially when it involves people I care about.  Liz gets me though, and I can be me with her too. There are other people it feels similar with, but Liz really does know all my secrets after all.  Sometimes there’s parts of me that I don’t like, that I can’t imagine how anyone would still stay if they knew all of it. Yet, she does, because she doesn’t leave those she cares about. But I guess that’s what it comes down to with Liz.  Even though we go through a lot of stuff with her, she loves us as we are and so we trust her. Because we’ve seen her heart, and so we’re not afraid of the journey ahead since she’s traveling with us.

 

Give us your favourite piece of advice:

That’s a tough one. I’ve been given so much training and words of wisdom already in my small number of years. Some I try to practice because they really are wisdom, but I find I’ve regrettably failed at keeping those at crucial moments. Others I’ve practiced not as much for their true wisdom, but to survive in the situation I found myself.  It’s not a noble reason to follow it, but sadly it’s what I had to do. I suppose one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from Alika.  “Do not fear what is ahead. You are equipped for the path you chose.  Remember who you are and cling to that truth.”  It is the moments that I have strayed from that path, forgotten who I am, and believed the lies of the darkness that I have paid the price.

Links to book 

https://books2read.com/TheSpinningOfDeception

https://books2read.com/Deceptions-Hold

https://books2read.com/ShadowedBonds

Social media links for author

https://elizabethlavender.net

https://twitter.com/Elavenderauthor

https://facebook.com/elizabethlavender.author

https://instagram.com/elizabethlavender.author

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Lavender/e/B07ZLS4G93

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-lavender

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19685019.Elizabeth_Lavender

(13) Elizabeth Lavender | LinkedIn

 

 

Swift Six Author Interview – Tahani Nelson #Fantasy #MilitaryFantasy #Femaleheroes

Name: Tahani Nelson

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): My name is Tahani Nelson, and I’m the author of the Faoii Chronicles, a female-led military fantasy series. I’ve always loved reading, but growing up I struggled to find heroines that I could identify with or aspire to be. Women in classic fantasy always seemed to be damsels in distress or love interests. Even when I could find an awesome heroine with dreams and aspirations, more often than not it seemed she’d meet a guy halfway through the novel and that would be her main focus. I was so over love triangles by the time I turned 16. So now I write all the heroines that young me looked for and couldn’t find—and it turns out I wasn’t the only one searching. Together, we’ve built the Faoii Army—readers that have followed me through everything and come out the other side triumphantly through every obstacle. I think at this point I’m most famous for always attending readings, signings, and events in full armor and warpaint. I know a lot of people told me it was weird when I first started doing it, but you don’t get anywhere in this world without taking a few risks. And let me tell you—a fantasy lover will cut across a room to talk to someone in cool-looking armor. It’s a great conversation starter, and even if someone doesn’t buy my books the first time they pass my booth, there’s no question that they’ll remember they saw me.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) The Faoii Chronicles is a completed military fantasy series that focuses on the unforeseen aftermath of war. We all have the power to forge new destinies and futures—but ripples can cause tidal waves, and even the smallest actions can change the Eternal Tapestry in monumental ways.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it? According to my father, I’ve been writing “books” my entire life. I didn’t really start exploring it seriously until high school, though, when I wrote a 360,000 word monstrosity filled with tropes and two-dimensional characters. But I’ve always had supportive, loving people in my life, and they helped me to practice and hone my craft.  I published my debut novel, The Last Faoii in 2017, and with the incredible support of the Faoii Army, it’s grown beyond anything anyone ever expected. It’s truly been an honor.

What writing plans do you have for the future? Honestly, I don’t know right now. The Faoii Chronicles have been the center of my existence for so long that I’ve kind of forgotten what my life was like before I started it. Now that the series is complete and available everywhere, I’m paralyzed by choice. I can keep writing military fantasy or I can move on to something with dragons or I can explore the science fiction world I created in a short story called “Honeysuckle Sky.” I’m free to do anything. I have no doubt that inspiration will strike and carry me forward the same way it did for my first series. You haven’t heard the last of me.

What do you like to read? I love fantasy, but I also come back to the classics quite often. Fahrenheit 451 is my favorite novel of all time, and I read it anytime I worry about whether or not my words have worth. When I search for something new, I try to support indie authors, because I know how much of a difference a single sale can make sometimes. And ripples can cause tidal waves.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure? Stop comparing yourself to other writers. There will always be someone who writes more than you each night. Who sells more copies or who attends more events or makes more in royalties. It is so easy to get discouraged when you’re constantly comparing yourself to other authors—especially on social media. Those highlighted reels of other people’s “best of” moments while you only focus on your “bloopers” track. Comparison is a thief of joy. It is a soul crushing habit made specifically to extinguish whatever sets your soul on fire. Instead, I encourage you to think about where you were a year ago. Or five. Or ten. That person in the earliest stages of writing would have believed you could ever come this far. They would be so proud of you. And rightfully so. You’d be their hero. YOUR hero. And that’s exactly how it should be. If you must compare, then only compare the author you are now to the author you were then. And keep going. I can’t wait to see what author you’ll be.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Tahani Nelson is an author and English teacher in Billings, Montana. With hundreds of 5-star reviews and an ever-growing army of Faoii at her back, Nelson has become a common attendee at author events, Renaissance festivals, news programs, and conventions across the US– always wearing full armor and a face resplendent with warpaint. While her most notable appearances have been at the Indie Audiobook Awards and Fantasycon discussion panels, she most frequently gives presentations about empowerment and creating strong, healthy female role models in modern media.

Synopsis of The Faoii Chronicles

The Faoii Order is the shield of Imeriel. Wielding both magic and blade, these women have held back ancient evils and maintained sacred rites for millennia. But when a dark war uncovers secrets that even the Faoii cannot keep hidden, it starts a chain of events threatening the free will of an entire continent.

As old leaders fall and new ones rise to take their place, a warrior, a thief, and a launderer all strive to fix what’s been broken. But none can see how their actions affect the Eternal Tapestry—and all are unknowingly bound to the Threads that the others grasp.

In an intricate tale that spans centuries, The Faoii Chronicles is both empowering and immersive. Everyone has the power to forge their own destiny—and even the smallest actions can change the Weave in monumental ways.

 

 

Links/Social media

https://www.TahaniNelson.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheLastFaoii

https://www.twitter.com/TahaniNelson

Instagram: TahaniNelson

TikTok: TahaniNelson

Nelson_AuthorPhoto_Armor

 

 

 

The Last Forest – Excerpt #Fantasy #Shortstory #Dystopian

The Last Forest (c) A.L. Butcher

The whine of the chainsaws, and the rumble of iron machines cut through the growing sound from the forest. Death came on tracks of metal and wheels of rubber. The monkeys who commanded the machines waited, smoking and pointing towards the edges of the forest. “Where do we start?” one asked, eyeing the trees.

“Make your way to that big old one – the tallest. That will take out plenty when it falls. Look it’s three-quarters rotten anyway! Break the heart of the forest and tame it! That is how it’s done, lad.” The speaker pointed towards the Great Oak, satisfaction creased his face, and power gave his countenance a smirk. The monkey who walked on two feet was lord of the land and knew it well. He had brought death to the flora and fauna of this land, and their sap and blood soaked the soil. And he ignored the cacophony of music around him.

“This is the last patch of woodland in the country, the only unspoiled wilderness left,” someone said, from the back. “Must we?”

“It’s coming down. It’s needed for houses – people are more important than trees. They are just plants.” The foreman glared at the speaker, as the wind began to blow around them. “It’s not the last, there’s that coppice over in Haydock, and the Amazon of course.”

“The Amazon went a decade ago, boss. And that place in Haydock was bulldozed last year.” The first speaker reminded him.

The boss shrugged. “Not my problem. We have our orders. Now get to it, there is no place for conscience or sentiment here.”

The machines snarled, they spat their poison breath and rumbled forward, inexorable, awful. Monsters of modernity, some had called them. Progress had been their name from others. All the trees understood was the choking stench and the inexorable roar of impending death. Trees are not complicated, but they are not stupid. The knowledge of the wood pulsed through every branch and root; the force of nature, the will of life to survive surged.

Crack! The sound of tons of wood uprooting drowned the roar of the engines. It was the sound of defiance. Earth showered from roots, and leaves swirled as the mighty trees moved. Nature stopped; from red fox, and blackbird to tiny grey mouse life paused – the cry of war flowed through the ground, squeaked from the lowliest and sung from above. ‘We come! We stand! We fight! Nature Rises!’

Birds swooped, squawking at the monkeys who walked on two feet. Beaks were sharp, and eyeballs soft. The brave robin and the humble thrush dived, their song the sound of battle as they flew towards danger. ‘Be gone! Be gone!’

The humans flapped their arms against the onslaught.

“Get away, filthy creatures!” one monkey yelled. “I hate birds!” His flapping arms knocked birds to the ground, and some rose up for another onslaught. Others lay broken but roused the song to inspire their comrades.

“What is this? Alfred Hitchcock been ‘ere?” The foreman cried, trying to bat away the crows, pecking at his face. Blood flowed, feathers flew, and the beat of the Primal Song changed again – the music surged as other creatures joined the fray.

Available as an ebook and audiobook https://books2read.com/TheLastForest

The Electic Girl – Blog Tour, Giveaway and Guest Post #Fantasy #YA

The Electric Girl
by Christine Hart
Genre: YA SciFi Fantasy, Magic Realism
Polly Michaels is trying to forget that her mom has cancer. She keeps busy at school and plods through a normal social life. Until a freak electrical storm and a unicorn appear in the orchard next to her house.
Sy’kai wakes on an orchard floor to the smell of rotting cherries and wet earth. She doesn’t know where she is-or what she is-but she knows something is hunting her.
Polly recruits her friends to find the mysterious creature she saw from her window while Sy’kai, a confused shape-shifting endling from another dimension tries to piece her mind back together. Once the human girls find Sy’kai (whom they nickname Psyche) the mystery unravels and the danger facing all of them comes into focus.
A gritty struggle ranges throughout the girls’ rural hometown and in the wild terrain around it. All while two questions hang over their heads. Can an alien deliver a miracle for a human mother? Can a group of teens defeat an interdimensional demon?
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban home outside Vancouver. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my metalworking husband, dancing daughter, and future rocket scientist son.
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Writing YA Novels as a Pop Culture Fan

Many of us have been binging all our old favourite TV shows and movies over the past year. So, we’re not surprised to see nostalgia making its way into the novels of 2021. Today, author Christine Hart is sharing the scoop on all the pop culture influences that shaped her new book, The Electric Girl.

 

Christine, can you tell us a bit more about the role pop culture plays in this novel?

So many people have a love/hate relationship with pop culture, but the older I get, the more I realize that I should be writing what I want and drawing inspiration from what I truly like. Rather than trying to be a literary author, I’ve embraced genre fiction – and it feels like the right choice for me. And with The Electric Girl, setting a story in the 1980s was an irresistible opportunity to infuse my worldbuilding with the pop culture of the time.

 

Which movies and television shows influenced this story?

The most obvious first influence is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle – both the book and movie, drawing on the idea of a unicorn becoming a girl. When I picture Psyche opening portals to another world, I can’t help but remember the inter-dimensional doors opened by Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife.

I also believe the nebula imagery and the concept of an alien that exists primarily in astral form comes from my days watching Star Trek: The Next Generation every day after school. I also watched a lot of Twin Peaks and I’ve always loved David Lynch’s ability to be delightfully bizarre just for the sake of it.

Most recently, getting addicted to Stranger Things, and combing through old toys and games that I saved for my children surprised me by having the power to evoke both memories and positive emotions.

 

Do you see The Electric Girl ever being made into a movie?

I have a very clear picture of the story in my mind, mostly because I used my hometown of Vernon, BC for the real-world side of things.

If The Electric Girl could become a movie, I’d like to see it done with as much historical authenticity as possible. I tried my absolute best to make my readers feel like they’ve been drawn into 1988. So that’s what I’d want from a movie as well.

But at the end of the day, I’m a pragmatist at heart. I used to indulge in daydreams about one of my novels getting an upgrade to film format. Now, 40-something me knows it’s not very likely, so I don’t think about it as much.

To keep the retro 80s fun going, Christine has put together a playlist including a handful of songs and bands mentioned in the story.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4Oibmyx7Wmu9X1vFPOPQgd

 

 

 

 

Swift Six Character Interview – Astrid #Fantasy

 

Character Name: Astrid the Raven turned man

Which book/world do you live in? Dark Spell Series, Shambre Fell

Tell us about yourself: I am just over two hundred years old. I am a raven and a man. I’ve seen more darkness and destruction than some of you have sampled fine wines. I live in Shambre Fell with my counterpart Lady Isra of The Dark

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? I am cunning which leads me to be able to keep watch on my enemies. I have sharp beady eyes which is useful also for keeping an eye on things. I have a tendency to fly off the handle and lose my temper but I am definitely able to execute well-done revenge. I could be your best friend or your ultimate enemy. Your choice.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc). Isra, Silas my brother (He’s a raven too) James, to be honest, hated the lil twerp for years but we are on good terms now. Oh boy does he have his work cut out.

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you? Oh please save that hero stuff for someone who gives a crap. I’m a rebel. I’ll do it with great justification. Can’t just be shooting things around willy nilly now can we? That wouldn’t be right but I am not the type to do right. I will stand up for someone who isn’t getting justice though.

What do you think of your ‘creator’? Well, Samuel Reynaldi acts like a god but to be truthful, I think of him as a very angry man with severe drinking problems. He’s always necking that Irish whiskey without a care. Poor sod.

Give us your favourite piece of advice: There isn’t going to be anything but forever so you may as well try to be happy else you’ll be miserable for a long ass time. Immortality is a drag. (I know)

 

Links to book https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WN2T6BL

 

 

Swift Six Character Interview – Sarah Stone #Vampire #ParanormalFantasy

 

Which book/world do you live in? Shades of Night series

Tell us about yourself: Well, I used to be an agent for The Monster Defence Agency. We hunted vampires, ghouls, demons, ghosts…basically anything that wants to harm humans. My partner is a werewolf, the alpha in his pack, and he was by the book until I was turned into a vampire. The kicker is, I’m some sort of weird hybrid that can withstand sunlight.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

When I was a normal human witch, I could manifest anything I needed when I needed it. If I needed a sword or knife, bam, it appeared at will. Clothing, same thing. But I couldn’t call anything but objects. So that was a strength and a weakness, because it would be really convenient to enact my revenge on the bastard that turned me if I could just call him into existence before me. My biggest weakness is my alpha partner. I’ve been secretly in love with him since we were in the academy together. Come to find out, he felt the same, but any relationship was prohibited by the agency we work for. And they are militant about their rules.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).

Robby, my partner and secret lover.  The Monster Defence Agency (TMD for short) where we work.  And the vampire who turned me, although I really want to drag him out into the sun for what he did to me.

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you?

Heroism is your partner having your back in the middle of shit storm. It’s a firefighter running into a burning building to save a child. It’s a soldier recovering a fallen comrade through enemy fire. It’s a police officer shielding others from a wacko with a gun. It’s the child who stands up to the bullies picking on a weaker kid.

What do you think of your ‘creator’?

My creator meaning the asshole who turned me?

Oh, you mean the author who created me. Well… she has a mean streak a mile wide, but she does give me what I need when I need it. But that does not mean she lets me off easy.

Give us your favourite piece of advice:

Find someone who doesn’t think of you as their property. Find a partner who views you as an equal partner in life and who adores you for all your faults and endearments. Once you find that special someone, do not let them go.

Links to book  https://books2read.com/u/mgEV5x

The Shining Citadel #Fantasy

Share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest #fantasy #ShiningCitadel #IAN1
(18 rated)
Universal Link https://www.books2read.com/ShiningCitadel

Ebook #Audiobook #print #largeprint #hardcover