What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Leigh Bardugo, Robin McKinley, Naomi Novik, Sarah Maas, JK Rowling, Madeline Miller, Ken Follett, VE Schwab, Brent Weeks, Jane Austen, Brandon Sanderson…. I must stop, but it is so hard. There are so many great authors out there!
What is your writing process? Every book has been a little different, just like humans, I think each of my books comes with a personality and unique challenges.
Dragon Blood is a trilogy, and I did more outlining on that project than any other because I needed to be very organized to plan three books ahead. But with Betting on Love that’s coming out in 2021, I saw in my mind a scene from it and just went with it with very few notes. With the book, To Unite a Realm, I saw an idea I wanted to explore. I wondered what it would be like to marry someone you hated and what kind of pressure would a person need to be under to accept that kind of marriage.
I have another manuscript that I’m working on that is an adult fantasy, and it’s the hardest draft I’ve ever worked on. This story is big and important and it’s really testing my patience and commitment and creativity. I’ve left it and come back to it three or four times now and I’m still not done with the first draft, but I think in the end it will be that much better for the work and effort.
Usually I like to buzz through the entire first draft start to finish within about three months. I live and breathe and sleep the story, and it’s so much easier for me to stay deep in it than to come in and out and try to keep finding the voice and narrative. Now that I have deadlines and edits due, it’s harder for me to carve out exclusive time to one book, but I’m learning and adjusting.
I will say that with each manuscript, I’ve had to see where I was going before I felt comfortable starting. I don’t usually have a full-fledged outline, but I know several important plot points I’m aiming for and that helps the draft flow. I usually have a notebook full of ideas and have spent months just thinking about the characters and the scenes before I ever start on the first draft.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? I have to spend a good bit of time with my main characters walking around my head before I start writing, but they are far from fully formed until after I start writing and truly seeing them act and come to life. Secondary characters get even less prewriting meditation time so it’s a lot of learning who my characters are as I write and they start to do this. It’s especially exciting when they start to do things on their own and unexpected and interesting things happen.
Do you see writing as a career? YES!
Do you read and if so what is your favorite genre? I read as much as I can. I think it is one of the best ways to improve craft and creativity. I read all the genres—except horror and erotica. My favorites are fantasy and historical fiction, but I love so much that it was hard for me to even narrow it down to those two.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? Silence. Sometimes if I am really all over the place, I’ll put on some classical music to pull myself together, but I just like to really focus in silence. I very difficult for me to draft when my husband or kids are home making noise.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? Harry Potter. Lol. Is there any other answer to that? But I also thought of the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? That’s a range as wide as 5 months to 5 years.
The Third Edition Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I is now available in Large Print format – currently on Amazon only – but should aggregate to the Barnes and Noble online store in a few weeks.
In a dark world where magic is illegal, and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.
18 rated. Amazon, Audible, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and more on the link below.
In a dark world beset by tyranny and lies can love and magic entwined bring freedom? A dark adult fantasy with sizzling sorcery, romance and revenge.
Deep in the rain forests of Guatemala, an ancient Mayan temple holds a mythical secret. The legendary Fountain of Youth lies within, but not all myths are fairy tales. The temple ruins have been seized by the Core, a sinister cult determined to unlock the mysteries of immortality.
When their captured friends are spotted near the temple, Bobby and his cousin Jinx must journey into the dark heart of the jungle to save them. Harnessing their extraordinary abilities, the boys will undertake an epic quest to fulfill a centuries-old prophecy.
Cut off from their allies, Bobby and Jinx combat supernatural barriers, raging rivers, and deadly beasts. They’ll face savage natives, vengeful ghosts, and ruthless mercenaries who can conjure a person’s darkest fears. Past and present will collide, with the power of eternity on the line. Can Bobby fulfill the prophecy and lay the temple’s spirits to rest? If not, Bobby and his friends may become permanent inhabitants of the Temple of Eternity.
The South West of Britain has many striking geological features – The rivers Severn and Avon, the Avon Gorge not least among them. As with many of such wonders there are myths aplenty surrounding their creation (nothing as mundane as ice – ages, glacial flow and tectonic movement). Giants were a common creature often blamed of tasked with the creation of these natural phenomena, and if the amount of myths about them are anything to go by the giants were plentiful, drunken and of a mind to fighting.
Here is the tale of Goram and Ghyston-Vincent – two brother giants who have left their legacy in the culture of Bristol, if not, in fact the scenery.
Goram and Ghyston (Vincent)
The most widespread version of this myth claims the Giant brothers Goram and Ghyston (later known as Vincent) were both enamoured of the lady Avona (who bears the name of the local river – the Avon – which is a story in itself). Avona offered herself to whichever one could drain the lake which once existed between Bradford-on-Avon (neighbouring county of Wiltshire), and Bristol.
Taking up the challenge Goram decided to dig a channel through the limestone hills via Henbury, and Vincent opted for a route just south of Clifton.
Goram, (in one version) finding the work hard and hot downed prediguos quantities of ale (did he take it with him? Do Giants have public houses or make their own?) and fell asleep in his favourite stone chair.
Ghyston-Vincent – the better planner – paced himself and completed his channel – leaving is with the narrow gorge at Hazel Brook, and the Avon Gorge, through which the River Avon now flows. On completion the waters roared into the Severn, leaving only a trickle for the Hazel Brook.
Upon waking the Giant Goram, was upset at losing the affections of the Lady Avona, and stamped his foot in a pit – leaving the Giant’s Footprint in the woodland above the Henbury Gorge, in what is now the Blaise Estate. He was so upset he threw himself into the Severn Estuary, leaving behind Steep Holm island (his head) and Flat Holm island (his shoulder).
Goram’s lake, near Henbury, was supposedly created when Goram stamped his giant foot, and the smaller lake is Goram’s Soapdish. Goram’s Chair is comprised of two flat topped walls of solid rock sticking out from the cliff-face – they look a lot like the arms of a comfy chair.
It’s not surprising he lost – it sounds like he’d been busy creating these other features as well as wooing the ladies.
Ghyston-Vincent wed Avona and named the gorge after her.
In some versions Goram was lazy and stopped for drinkies…
Other versions of the tale
A second version of the legend says the brothers were working together and Goram fell asleep and was felled by an accident blow from Ghyston-Vincent’s pickaxe. A variation of this says the giants were sharing a pickaxe for the work, and Goram was slain when he was resting when his brother threw him the axe. Giants throwing tools and rocks to or at one another are common British myths to explain monoliths.
Ghyston-Vincent then completed the work alone, going on to complete other stone-works such as the Stanton Drew Stone Circles in remorse and later returned to his cave and died from grief and exhaustion.
Yet another version states only Goram built the Gorge and there is no mention of Vincent. Goram, having completed the work fell over an iron-age barrow and plunged into the Severn Estuary.
A similar legend tells of a giant named Gorm threw rocks at his rival, and one particularly large one fell short, thus becoming Druid Stoke.
Goram was buried beneath the barrow tumulus at Charnborough Hill – although there is not much left of the barrow now.
Transmission of the legend
The oldest version known is found in Britannia (1586) by William Camden, later reworked by Thomas Chatterton writing as Rowley the monk. Another version appears in Robert Atkyns History of Gloucestershire) in 1712.
The name Vincent may reflect that at the narrowest point of the Avon Gorge there was an ancient hermitage and chapel dedicated to St Vincent. In another version of the story Vincent is known as Ghyston, which is the name of the whole cliff-face of the Avon Gorge from at least the mid-fifteenth century. Vincent’s cave is also known as Ghyston Cave, or the Giant’s Hole.
The name Goram may have come from Iseult’s father, the King of Ireland, in the early romance of Tristran and Iseult. ‘Gorm’ is Irish for blue or ‘dark-skinned.
‘Vincent’ as a first name arrived in about the 13th Century, and became popular as a result of St Vincent the Deacon, however it is unclear whether the Clifton hermit was called Vincent and became associated with the saint, or that St Vincent became known in Bristol due to trading links with Portugal and Spain (St Vincent is the patron saint of Lisbon and vintners).
Legacy of the Legend
Blaise Castle and Estate use the legend of Goram widely, including hosting a funfair bearing Goram’s name. There is a Giant Goram pub in the area, a smokehouse restaurant called the Goram and Vincent, and even an Enterprise level E-commerce company bearing the name.
There is also a website and collection of kids’ books about Goram and Vincent/Ghyston.
There are walking tours and other tourist attractions based on the myth.
There is a carved Giant’s head at Ashton Gate, and in the Middle Ages a turfwork portrayed Ghyston’s head. Ghyston’s Cliff is in Avon Gorge.
A bit about the area
The Avon Gorge is a mile and half long and runs through a limestone ridge about 1.5 miles west of the centre of Bristol. It’s been used in the defence of the city. It is spanned by the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The gorge spanned 700 feet wide and 300 feet deep.
The gorge is mainly limestone and sandstone – it is believed to have been caused by glaciation during the Anglian Ice Age, and the limestone carries fossils from the Carboniferous Age 350m years ago. The Iron Age Dobunni tribe are believed to have dwelled in the area and there are the remains of three Iron-Age hill forts. (A variation of the myth held that the Giant Ghyst built the forts).
There are over twenty rare plant species that grow in the gorge and two unique species of trees, the rare peregrine falcons have returned to nest there since the 1990s. Much of it is a Site of Scientific Special Interest.
Check out the post from Anthony Adolph – broadcaster who gives a wonderful account of the stories. https://anthonyadolph.co.uk/somerset-giants/
Meet author Nathalie M.L. Römer
Hello, everyone, my name is Nathalie and I’m a expat Brit who lives and works In Sweden (the country not the American city). I originate from the Netherlands originally where I was born, and I grew up in Amsterdam. (Fun fact, walking to school involved walking past the daytime versions of the “Red Light District” windows). My journey to authordom began originally with my ferocious bookworm addiction of devouring as many books as I could as I was growing up. My advice immediately is for kids to be as interested in reading books as early as possible.
I would typically read at least TEN books a day, and I’m not talking children’s books here though I’d read them too, but books by such authors as Isaac Asimov (still my favourite author and I’m excited for the upcoming Foundation movie), Tolkien, Georges Simenon and Jules Verne (I’d read the adult edition rather than the children’s edition of his books). My imagination was ignited by reading about so many different worlds and places, though circumstance caused me to only begin writing in 2014 (pesky bad marriage, annoying ex-husband getting in the way of creativity and all that sort of stuff). But when I began writing I realised that I had never forgotten any of the many stories I’d been dreaming up in my mind. One such story is the story in my series of The Wolf Riders of Keldarra, though the original premise did change somewhat as time went by…
I glance over at the suggested questions Silver Dagger Book Tours sent me and the first one is to tell something unique or quirky. I’ve often enough in my life been told I’m an empathic person who cares about others. I guess that’s not a unique thing but when I think back at what I’ve done throughout my life my mind settles on one event that has made me who I am.
The event is something that could have ended up tragic if I hadn’t acted as fast as I did. I knew I cared about others when I made an effort to rescue a toddler who got washed out to sea. I rushed to the child, got her from the water, and was already administering CPR and all necessary actions to save her. Her parents realised then what was going on. I still remember the mother’s words to this day, “Never forget what you did here today. You were a hero. You showed you cared for a child you never met before.” You need not do something massive to stand out from the crowd to “shine.” You can do a simple thing to show everyone you care about others. Though in Book 2 of my series, Stolen Truth, I decided to reverse the event somewhat, making the “rescue” spiritual rather than physical, there a scene in the book (available for pre-order on Amazon) that is a direct reflection of what had happened to me.
Well, even someone supposedly empathic can have her pet peeves. The biggest pet peeve I have is when I see people not wanting to get along with one another. I see us all as connected as we have one world to live on (so far and for the foreseeable future) and therefore we should all act in a way like we’re the hero. The best example of an explanation for this sort of behaviour comes from Melissa Benoist (never met her but she’s definitely on my bucket list of a “hero” I’d like to meet one day), who has said – and I’m not quoting verbatim: “We all are the heroes of the world. Girls come to me telling me that Supergirl has made them realise they matter no matter who they are.”
I kind of have the same approach with Marrida in The Wolf Riders of Keldarra (and had the approach before I knew of what Melissa Benoist said; she said it in 2019). Marrida in my story goes from a naive girl who knows very little about her world to someone who becomes an inspiration to others, i.e. a hero, and tells the people she meets they matter. A real hero, therefore, is ANY person who tells others they matter no matter who they are or where they’re from. So that means you can be a hero by simply being kind and loving to others, which then makes you my hero.
The drive to be an author comes from something a teacher once told me: “You’ll either be an artist or an author.” Before I became an author I did freelance work creating advert graphics (I guess that’s the artist part of the teacher’s statement fulfilled). As I decided in 2014 to embrace the other part of the statement that’s when I became an author. But whatever the creativity is, you become creative the moment you think about something you want to create, whether it is art, stories, music, movies or YouTube videos, theatre acting, costume design, or any other creativity. The ancient Homo Sapiens with their cave paintings teach us that by nature humans are creative. We invented writing. We invented mathematics. We invented engineering to create tools and later machines. It’s the first time you think: “What if I create…” that’s when you are a creative person. For me the “What if I create…” was when I was just four years old, created a drawing of a girl with a skirt (I still own the drawing) and then went into a lengthy tangent explaining to the girl beside me how drawing her art with just four fingers, opposed to me doing it with five, was likely the moment my storytelling skill was born. I may have begun writing my first novel over decades after that day as a toddler but I began being a creator of stories on that day in late 1973.
This leads into what I watch for added inspiration. I love movies that have a larger than life setting, which I commonly have in my books too, especially fantasy or science-fiction. When I write I have the movies of Lord of the Rings in my mind, where both the books and the movies offer the ultimate “hero’s journey.” Which coincidentally, right now, is my all-time favourite movies. But that may get eclipsed if either the movie Foundation, the reimagined Dune or any other movie comes along. I watch science fiction movies as they present to me the chance to see an imagined future. I watch fantasy movies for escapism. Personally, I’d like to see The Wolf Riders of Keldarra on the television screen though.
And finally, I’ll end this essay that gives you an insight in who I am with telling you that my “muse” is the plush doll of a WOLF that sits on my desk. Wolves are my spirit animal, and I have a high belief in such things as a Pagan. I’m someone who feels connected to nature, which is why almost all my stories always will feature animals in one fashion or another, especially wolves…
I support the Wolf Conservation Centre (https://nywolf.org/) as my chosen charity because of my love of wolves. Maybe you can show them your support too.
Nathalie is a published author, based in Sweden, and born and bred in the Netherlands, with roots squarely planted culturally in Britain and Curaçao. She primarily writes epic fantasy, futuristic science fiction, mysteries, romance with a twist, and is now venturing into fairytale retellings, dystopian stories and much more (just keep visiting to see where stories take you and the author alike). And Nathalie describes her style of writing as unapologetically wordy, because she has discovered that the best part of writing is weaving a world that’s interesting to explore, to discover its back story, to meet its people, and find out what makes them tick. Nathalie weaves each world with her own experiences into the stories, and will touch on various causes and situations that speak to her…
In un mondo oscuro in cui la magia è illegale e gli elfi sono schiavi, una giovane elfa maga scappa dalla casa del suo malvagio Custode per salvarsi la vita. Inseguita dai suoi uomini e dal corrotto Ordine dei Cacciatori di Streghe, deve trovare un rifugio. Mentre i trafficanti di schiavi si muovono per i territori, rubando elfi da quel che resta delle loro case ancestrali, i Cacciatori di Streghe chiudono un occhio davanti alla tragedia, e una storia di potere, amore e terribile vendetta prende forma.
When Autumn Blackwood shows up at Windhaven Academy for the Witching Stick Orientation, she hopes to find out what dormant powers she could possibly possess to have been accepted to the elite supernatural school. Instead, the academy is in chaos as everyone frantically hunts for two missing girls.
But as school begins with Autumn no closer to figuring out her powers, strange occurrences start to follow her everywhere. Even at home, Blackwood Manor keeps many secrets, and Autumn can’t escape its haunting past.
New friends urge her to learn more about her family’s history in order to unlock her powers and make sense of what’s happening at Blackwood Manor, but Autumn’s not so sure. Once an accident brings Autumn face-to-face with death, however, she realizes her gifts are tied to a legacy that can either save or doom them all…
Turns out being the town’s only necromancer could pose some problems when the dead won’t stay dead.
Being haunted by ghosts isn’t unusual for Autumn, but this time it’s someone she didn’t think was dead.