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

 

 

 

Swift Six Character Interview – Saelth #Fantasy

 

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.) I am Saelth, a warrior lord and slayer of monsters. My band has ventured where none other dare tread to best creatures of legend.

Which book/world do you live in? Erana – from the Tales of Erana – The Warrior’s Curse

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me? Did you not hear me? I do not fear the monsters who infest this realm. I will slay them, large or small. If I am victorious so much the better and if I fail, I shall go to the Halls of the Dead a hero, not one who cowers behind the table, or beneath the bed. I am no coward, nor simpering woman. Nothing is all powerful, or unable to be vanquished, save the gods. My name shall live forever.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you?  I am their chieftain, they respect me. Perhaps they speak of my arrogance, but so long as they praise my exploits I do not care. I like women and have bedded many. So perhaps there are husbands, brothers and fathers who would speak ill of my exploits.

What’s your most heroic exploit to date? Slaying the witch-born monster of the Hellirinn mountain – that foul beast had brought many warriors to the Halls of the Dead and near-ruined the old king.

What’s your greatest failure? I have none. (Although fate would say it’s my love of a pretty face and a seductive smile).

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade? Lord of this land, renowned in song and tale and in the bed of the most beautiful women.

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item). Glory

 

 

Links to book etc

 

He who bargains with monsters beware! A hero forges an unholy bargain with a witch and learns magic never forgets.

Mythic tales in a land of forbidden magic.

A Tales of Erana dark fantasy novella.

Audio editions narrated by Rob Goll

Universal Link  https://www.books2read.com/WarriorsCurse

 

Fortellinger om Erana – Tales of Erana – Norwegian Edition

Erana er en verden full av magi og selv om forbudt, holder trolldommen seg fast for trolldom er mektig og følger ingen lov.  Det er en verden styrt av undertrykkelse, men håpet vandrer i skyggen, alltid letende etter en sjanse til å blomstre.  Det er en verden full av kjærlighet og fortvilelse i like mengder. Dette er fortellingene og mytene fra en slik verden.

https://books2read.com/TalesErana-Nor-Fortellinger-om-Erana

https://www.kobo.com/gb/fr/ebook/fortellinger-om-erana

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1531993869

Amazon.Com https://amzn.to/33mULCr

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/3cP3IHM

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=JPH_DwAAQBAJ

Prisbelønnet fantasi, historisk fantasi og erotisk fantasi forfatter.

Britisk fødte A.L. Butcher er en ivrig leser og skaper av verdener, en poet og en drømmer, en elsker av vitenskap, naturhistorie, historie og aper.  Hennes prosa har blitt beskrevet som ‘mørk og mektig’ og hennes poesi som ‘tankevekkende’.  Hun skriver med en sikker og noen gang erotisk følsomhet om ting som kunne ha vært, ikke var, men kan bli.  

Alex er forfatter av ‘Light Beyond the Storm’ krønikeren og ‘Tales of Erana’ lyrisk fantasi serie.  Hun har også skrevet flere korte historier i fantasi og romantisk fantasi stil, og har streifet innom gotisk skrekk stil, innkludert ‘Legacy of the Mask’ serien.  Med en bakgrunn i politikk, klassiske studier, oldtids historie og myte, bringer hun et eklektisk og unikt preg til arbeidet sitt, som blander virkelighet og drøm i alkymistiske deler og bringer figurene og verdenene til live.  

Cronache de La Luce dopo la Tempesta – Libro I

https://books2read.com/LBTSItalian5x8_BW_490 Wraparound Light Beyond Italian

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.

LBTS Book I - ITALIAN3

Geschichten aus Erana

https://books2read.com/Geschichten-aus-Erana-German

Wer möchte die alten Legenden aus einer Welt hören, in der die Ausübung von Magie vom Orden der Hexenjäger verboten wurde? Hier findet man fünf Geschichten aus einer Zeit der Magier und der Monster.

Der Mond auf dem Wasser: Eine Geschichte der Liebe zwischen einer Göttin und einem Krieger und des schrecklichen Fluches, den diese Liebe nach sich zog.

Die Legende von Treyna: Wenn eine sterbliche Frau von zwei rivalisierenden Göttern umworben wird, werden Himmel und Erde von der Magie bewegt.

Sturmkind: Ein einsamer Magier findet Freundschaft und Liebe in einem Wesen, dass während eines schrecklichen Sturms erscheint. Doch die Magie fordert immer ihren Preis.

Die blaue Phiole: Hier lernen wir wie wichtig es ist, Anweisungen genau zu befolgen!

Die Legende von Oeliana: Die Geschichte einer Nymphe und einer Kröte, Eifersucht, Magie und einer Lektion, dass Schulden beglichen werden müssen.

TalesErana cover german

Author Interview – Simon Williams #Fantasy

Author name: Simon Williams

 *Please tell us about your publications.

I’ve written the five-book Aona series, as well as two novels for all ages (Summer’s Dark Waters and The Light From Far Below) and Embers Drift, a standalone metaphysical fantasy work.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

Definitely a pantser- I start with a collection of concepts / ideas and situations, a few characters, and then I work on it and see where it goes. The plot is determined by how it all turns out, not the other way round.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

Don’t bother trying to get noticed by the big publishers and well-known names. Unless you’re incredibly, unbelievably lucky, they won’t notice you and they won’t care about you. If you believe in your work and your creations, stick at it and carve your own destiny.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work?

Whilst I don’t think authors should (or need to) offer all their works for free, there’s nothing wrong with offering a few of your books (e.g the first in a series) for free if it helps readers to discover you.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

One word: don’t! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everyone is going to like your creation.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

Generally, it isn’t for authors to “deal” with reviews at all, good or bad. If a review is misleading, offensive or makes categorically untrue statements then you can contact the people who run the medium, whether it be Amazon, Goodreads or whatever else, and ask that it be removed. But if a review is simply by someone who doesn’t like your work- leave it alone. I refer you to my answer above.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

To keep going until you’ve found your “voice” i.e your particular style and method- and if you’re comfortable with it, then stick with it.

Which authors have influenced you the most?

Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, C J Cherryh, Tad Williams,

Tell us about your latest piece?

Embers Drift is a standalone novel of metaphysical fantasy / mystery with elements of sci-fi and psychological horror, in an industrial / slightly dystopian setting. But although it bridges many genres, it’s conceptually consistent and is really about the lives of four main characters- specifically, the parts of their lives that they’ve forgotten.

 I’m happier about the result than I’ve been with any of my previous works. I reworked it a number of times until I realised that- at last- I was telling the exact story I wanted to tell. So I’m relieved to have finished it but also very satisfied.

 The process of creating was different to the Aona books, largely because they were more complex on a practical / logistical level. But at the same time the process required more effort in other ways- because there’s an overarching concept to Embers Drift which requires some explaining, and my goal was to do this through the lives of these four main characters. It wasn’t easy but in the end it was very rewarding.

What’s your next writing adventure?

So many! Well, several.

 I’m part of the way through writing the first in a new dark fantasy series which will probably seen as more “traditional” fantasy but which will have a number of unique features to it. It explores the nature of magic and of conflict and there isn’t going to be a clear-cut “good vs evil” thing going on- I’m not a fan of such absolutes, I want to explore characters’ motivations, whether or not most people think of them as acceptable. What made them this way? Are they able to change- either for the better, or worse? It’s that aspect that interests me.

 I also have another standalone book in progress- this is more a sort of cosmic horror about three demonic beings who have existed in a vast city for hundreds of years, weaving mischief and woe wherever they go, and a young man from an ancient family of magicians and thieves, who is the only one to suspect their existence.

 Lastly, I’m also working on a somewhat leftfield YA magical realism novella- I’m not entirely certain how this one will turn out but I’m pleased with some of the concepts involved so this may see the light of day shortly.

 What was the last book you’ve read?

The last book I finished was Scar Night by Alan Campbell, which I greatly enjoyed. Industrial, violent fantasy with angels. I’m currently reading The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams and it’s as good as all his other books.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline?

I think shops of most kinds are in decline, but in my experience, the number of paperbacks sold has stood up pretty well. I think about a quarter of my sales are paperback, which I don’t think is too bad.

How important is writing to you?

Very. It’s the only thing I’m any good at really, so if I didn’t do it I would truly be a non-entity.

embers-drift-cover-small2 (1)

#Heroika Skirmishers – A L Butcher and her Character #Historical Fantasy

Author section

Name A.L. Butcher

Give us a brief synopsis of your story A new religion sweeps the land on the point of a sword, and the old gods are none too happy. A mysterious plague fells lord and peasant alike, a woman on the margins of society knows a cure – but to seek it brings a risk of death and unleashes awful magic.

What is your usual genre? Fantasy/Fantasy erotica.

How do you define a hero? A selfless person – who will do what others won’t, someone, even at great risk to themselves.

Is being a writer ‘what you do’ or ‘what you are’? I’ll rephrase that as ‘being a storyteller’. Being a storyteller is what you are. If you don’t have that it can’t be what you do. Not everyone who tells stories writes them down. Not everyone who writes tells a story. Storytelling is as old as humanity – it helps to make sense of the world, to explain the unexplainable, to find a better life, and place for a while, to escape, to be brave, to be loved, to be noble. And to be wicked.

I think if you are a storyteller those tales, those adventures will find a way to be told – to your kids at bedtime, secret files no one will ever see on your computer, that hidden notebook, the distraction at meeting times.

Many people who do write down their stories will never publish them, or if so beyond their family and friends. There is a craft to writing – oral storytelling is probably more forgiving than the written word, but there are certain rules, of course. And that’s the ‘what you do’ bit – the learning of that.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A squirrel. When I was little I was obsessed with them (I still am to a degree). My first stories were about two squirrels called Patch and Silky, they had many adventures

Name three things you really love about writing and three things you don’t like.

3 things I love: I can create something from nothing. I am never alone. I can go anywhere.

3 things I hate: Too many characters wanting their stories told at once. Marketing books. Typos.

If you could invite anyone from history or literature to dinner who would you choose and why? Let me see…. Shakespeare, Terry Pratchett, Tolkien and Homer to provide the after-dinner stories; Mozart, Erik, the Phantom of the Opera and Freddy Mercury for the music; Tempus, King Arthur, Frodo Baggins, Boudicca for the anecdotes. We’d have a dish from each of their favourite foods. I dare say there would be a drink or two.

 

Character Section

Name: Moira

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a herbalist, I hold some of the old knowledge – my father and brother were Guardians – protectors of the old religions – but I only barely knew my father and my brother his disappeared. The women of my line are what you would call witches. My land is overcome with the fierce new religion of Arun, and so I must hide what I am.

I live alone, my mother is gone and I have none who care except Mordicai, the Smith’s son, and Old Robin – the village recluse. Mordicai is set to marry another and Robin is frail and elderly. Soon I shall have no one. But the people here need me, at least when it suits them.

How do you come to be on this adventure? There is a plague on our town – much death and sickness. The new god, Arun, has done nothing to allay it, so someone must seek an answer or everyone will be taken.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live. The Lord-Reeve is reasonable enough – he tries to keep the peace in a time or fear and uncertainty. He is the Duke-Regent’s man – and that too is an unsettled state of affairs. The Archduchess rules in the name of her daughter – the old Archduke’s only living heir – and there has never been a woman on the throne. The Duke Regent is a dragon-rider – not a nobleman and assists her in governing the land, but they are distant from us.

This new religion is brought with sword and fire and all must convert or die. The old ways allowed for many gods, many beliefs – and the magics and rituals which went with them.

It’s less than a decade since the end of the war, and the lands are still recovering.

I am female, of the old bloodlines and the old beliefs and so I must take care. I cannot appear to be what I really am – Arun’s priests despise my kind – they are afraid they may be wrong, I suppose.

Are you brave? I do what must be done when others will not. But I fear many things – the new god’s followers, the loss of knowledge, the sword and the flame.

If you could have three wishes what would they be? I wish for the plague to be gone, I wish to be allowed to live my life in peace and safety, I wish that people would get on with one another.

Do you think you make a difference in your world? I hope so.

 

AUTHOR BIO (short)

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror, including the Legacy of the Mask series. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

She also curates speculative fiction themed book bundles on BundleRabbit – for the most part the speculative fiction Here Be Series

Awards: Outside the Walls, co-written with Diana L. Wicker received a Chill with a Book Reader’s Award in 2017.

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales won best fantasy for 2018 on NN Light Book Heaven.

Echoes of a Song – one of her Phantom tales – won best fantasy 2019.

Alex is also proud to be a writer for Perseid Press where her work features in Heroika: Dragon Eaters; and Lovers in Hell – part of the acclaimed Heroes in Hell series. http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Social Media links

Website http://www.libraryoferana.co.uk/books.html

Blog https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/about-a-l-butcher-fantasy-author-poet-author-promotion/

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM

Smashwords Author Page https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALB123

Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/LightBeyondtheStorm/

Indiebound Author Page https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3AButcher%2C%20A.%20L.

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-butcher-8342ab13b/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/abmonkey/

Books2Read newsletter sign up

https://books2read.com/author/a-l-butcher/subscribe/1/97541/

 

 

 

 

Heroika Skirmishers – Cas Peace and her Character #Fantasy #HistoricalFiction

Author section

  • Name: Cas Peace

Give us a brief synopsis of your story: Britain is a country rich in legends and myths. Any writer seeking inspiration for a story concerning battles, skirmishes, mythical creatures or heroic deeds could do worse than research the many wonders of our misty Isles. For my second Heroika story, “Black Quill”, I did exactly that.

I’m from Hampshire, southern Britain, and soon unearthed the legend of a cockatrice that reportedly lived near a local abbey. When I also discovered that this abbey had connections to Queen Ǽlfrida, mother of Æthelred, called the Unready, I simply had to combine the two stories.

Queen Ǽlfrida became the prioress of the abbey after her husband, King Edgar, died, and she reportedly had Edgar’s son killed so her own son, Æthelred, could inherit the throne. Æthelred, whose nickname ‘the Unready’ is a derivation of ‘unraed’, or poorly-advised, forced his mother to give up her powerful status as queen and become prioress of the abbey as penance. And it seems that tragedy and sly dealings dogged the former queen because before Edgar married her, he sent his best friend, Æthelwold, to check her out. Æthelwold fell for her and married her himself, and Edgar was so furious when he found out that he had Æthelwold killed. What a family!

In my story, “Black Quill”, the life of a disabled farm girl becomes irrevocably entwined with the fates of both the abbess and the cockatrice—producing a denouement that is anything but simple.

What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy? I find the main challenges revolve around invoking a realistic, visceral atmosphere, enabling the reader to immerse themselves in the story as fully and naturally as possible. In many ways, I find it easier to achieve this with a historical fantasy rather than one which comes purely from the writer’s mind, because there will be readers already familiar with the chosen setting. The hard work comes in the research which, if thoroughly and successfully carried out, enables the writer to surround themselves with ancient sights, sounds and smells, allowing the writing to flow seamlessly, already imbued with the ambience of the time. Solid historical facts play their part too, although in fantasy, of course, facts can be twisted and adapted, providing hours of fun for playful writers and readers alike.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? When I first started writing I was definitely a pantster, mainly because I hadn’t intended to become a writer and certainly didn’t know what I was doing! I was simply filling a few bored hours by writing out a little scenario I’d had in my mind since watching a kids’ TV show in the ’70s. Wow, did that open some floodgates! Before I realized it, I’d written around 300,000 words, and those words eventually became my first Artesans trilogy. The second and third trilogies were written in a similar way; although this time I understood more about my craft. Since that heady, exciting, scary and immersive time, however, I have learned the pleasures of plotting, very necessary seeing as I’m writing a prequel to the events in that first trilogy. But I’ll admit that I still crave that incredible, irresistible feeling of words desperate to be written, rushing through my mind and onto the page.

What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I was average at most things scholastically: best at English, abysmal at anything to do with numbers (still am!). The exams I took were generic, and I only achieved good passes in English, Biology and Art. I did toy with the idea of going to art college to study fabric design, but throughout my childhood my heart really belonged to horses. My parents couldn’t afford for me to have one and neither could they really afford to send me to college, so I finally found a good school of equitation and enrolled as a working pupil. This meant you had living accommodation and meals provided, and received a clothing allowance for work clothes, but there was no wage and you worked with the horses in return for lessons in equitation and horse care. It was a good arrangement and I had a great group of co-workers around me. I passed my initial exams to become an Assistant Instructor, and remained at the establishment for several years as a wage-earning instructor. Now, I incorporate horses into my writing, as my love for them has never waned.

Character Section

Name: My name is Gytha

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am the daughter of Rathgar, a farmer. I had a twin sister, Larna, who was killed. My father took another wife, Anice, after my mother died and she gave him two more children: Anice cared nothing for me. They call me the cursed girl because I saw great evil but didn’t die like Larna did. They say I caused her death, and that evil is sure to find me again.

How do you come to be on this adventure? My father had to find a place for me because my crippled legs mean I cannot work on the farm. I was useless to him and no one would wed me. But I am quick and clever with my hands and so he sought a place for me at the Benedictine abbey, where I might learn to copy manuscripts and scrolls. The abbess, who once was Queen Ǽlfrida before her son forced her into the abbey, took pity on father’s sorrow over the death of my sister and eventually agreed to take me. That is the reason I was here when the evil finally found me.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live: Our Anglo-Saxon society is structured and ordered. Our countryside has been formed into areas called hundreds, and shires. We have laws and government. The language we speak is known as Old English. We worship the Christian God and there are many abbeys and monasteries throughout the land. Although there are also kings, the bishops, abbots and priors wield great power. We have been relatively peaceful for many years but recently there has been an increase in Viking raids on England. The Danes are keen to take back the land King Edgar took from them—land they first stole from us. But these are matters for kings and leaders. I come from a line of simple farmers; all we can do is farm and try to survive.

Are you brave? Is it brave to run from a monster? Is it brave to leave your twin sister to a horrific fate? Is it brave to survive being crippled, faced with a useless life? If so, I am very brave, for I have done all these things. Larna’s voice in my mind tells me all will be well, and so I endure for the sake of my sister.

How do others see you? I am called the cursed girl—I am the girl who survived seeing the devil, the girl who should have died instead of her sister. They see my twisted, ruined legs; they never see my nimble, clever fingers. They hear me speak of Larna’s voice in my head and hear madness. They would much rather not see me at all and, in the abbey, they do not have to.

Do you believe in a god? I believe in the Christian God. Most of England believes in the Christian God—the bishops and abbots make sure that we do. Yet we also believe in the ancient evils, and there are some in the countryside who still practice the old rites, the forbidden rites, the druid rites. There are hedgewives and witches still and, of course, there are Danes who refuse to spurn their pagan beliefs.

How do you define a hero? I have never met a hero. I suppose a hero would be a great warrior, someone like King Edgar who subdued the Danes in England. Or maybe a hero would be someone who rescued people from disasters, who gave up his life to save others. I am a simple girl with no life—what do I know of heroes?

Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I adore my twin sister, Larna. I speak to her all the time and she speaks to me, even though she’s dead. She is my only friend. I love my father, even though he gave me to the abbey. It was not his fault; he could not afford to feed a crippled, cursed girl. I don’t really hate anyone, although I don’t like father’s second wife, Anice. Anice only cares for her two young children.

What do you REALLY think of your author? I am not sure why she decided to tell my story above all the others she could have chosen. But I am grateful to her, because she has given my useless life some meaning.

Do you have a moral code? Father taught us to be honest, to be kind to others, and to respect others’ property—especially Seyerd, the farmer who owns land next to ours. He grows delicious fruit and father says we’re not supposed to pick it without permission. But if the branch grows across father’s side of the hedge, why should we not? The abbey where I now live has strict rules, and everyone must obey the abbess.

If you could have three wishes what would they be? The first would be that my sister had not died. The second that I was never crippled. The third that father had never wed Anice.

How do you view yourself? I was a happy, cheerful, helpful child before the monster came. After, I was quiet, because I was shunned by people who thought I was cursed. I became sad, fearful that father would send me away because no one would wed me. At the abbey, I work hard and make no trouble because I need the shelter the abbey provides.

What is your favourite thing? My favorite thing in all the world is to hear Larna’s voice in my head. It is my redemption, my promise that all is not lost, that I will one day be with her again.

Do you think you make a difference in your world? Of course not! What difference could a useless girl like me make to the world?

 

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Amazon UK Bestselling author Cas Peace lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK. Originally, she trained and qualified as a teacher of equitation. She also learned to carriage-drive. She then spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband Dave lived for three years.

As well as her love of horses, Cas is mad about dogs. She currently owns two rescue lurchers, Milly and Milo. Cas loves country walks, working in stained glass, growing cacti, and folk singing. She is also a songwriter and has written and recorded songs or music for five of her Artesans of Albia fantasy novels. They are available to download free from her website.

As well as being a novelist, Cas is also a freelance editor and proofreader. Details of her Writers’ Services and other information can be found on her website: http://www.caspeace.com.

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Heroika Skirmishers Interviews – Travis Ludvigson and His Character

Author section

  • Name: Travis Ludvigson

 

  • Give us a brief synopsis of your story Nithing (an Old Norse term for a coward, an outcast or a man without honor), is a tale of betrayal and redemption set in the later part of what is known as the Viking Age. Grimolf is a warrior driven from his home, harried by those who would take his life and with it earn glory and riches. An opportunity to change his fate arrives and he must choose which path to follow.

 

  • Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? The Norse are a fascinating people made up of fighters, farmers, craftsman and seafarers. Their influence reached throughout much of the known world at the time, and can still be seen today. Additionally, they were a group of men and women who represented strength in the face of adversity and a fierce devotion to that which they loved.

 

  • How would you define a Skirmisher? A Skirmisher is a fighter who engages in smaller battles where hit and run tactics can be used. They can serve as scouts to collect intelligence, and can also serve as a small, quick reaction force that can be used to harry the enemy and keep them unbalanced. A Skirmisher is a fast, smart, efficient fighter who knows how to hit the enemy hard before they can properly react.

 

  • What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy? Ensuring that there is accuracy in the depiction of time and place of the story. I always take the time to do good research of the terrain, animals, names of both people and places, historical events and other details to be as true to the history as I can. However, I am also writing fiction, so I take some liberties to change a few things to better fit the story. You just have to find a good balance so you don’t destroy the vision you have created for the reader.

 

  • What is your writing space like? It is a cold, dark cave located well below ground, wherein I am surrounded on all sides by books; the ether filled with the collective murmuring of millions of voices and stories. Directly to my left sit Huginn and Munin (Thought and Memory) to provide inspiration. A mirror hangs in front of me so that I can look into my own eyes and try to discern whether the thoughts that are coalescing within are worthy of the story. And there is typically a dog or cat lounging somewhere nearby, just waiting for the chance to divert my attention to them.

 

  • If you could invite anyone from history or literature to dinner who would you choose and why? Man, there are so many it is really hard to narrow this down. If I had to choose one person from history, I suppose it would have to be Marcus Aurelius. He was a warrior, a statesman and a philosopher and would be a great dinner companion. Then afterwards, maybe he would be agreeable to sparring and could give me some pointers on using the gladius.

 

Character Section

1)Name: Grimolf

2)Tell us a bit about yourself. I don’t really like to talk. I enjoy fighting and drinking. In fact, I believe I will pour another right now.

3)Are you brave? I don’t fear anything or anyone, but I don’t know if its bravery or not.

4) Do you believe in a god? There are many gods and goddesses: Odin, Tyr, Thor, Frey, Freya, Sif and the other Aesir and Vanir.

5)Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I did love someone deeply, but she betrayed me. And I hate the man who was my Jarl, that black-hearted coward is the one who took my whole life from me. One day I will introduce my axe to his head and settle the matter.

6) What do you REALLY think of your author? Well, he knows how to fight, and I can respect that.

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Travis Ludvigson is an author of urban, historic and supernatural fiction. He served with honor in U.S. Air Force Intelligence, tested his fighting prowess in a Muay Thai championship in Asia and is fiercely proud of his Norse heritage. He loves reading, spending time with his feisty wife and brilliant son, and playing with their giant mastiff and tough little bulldog.

Author website/blog:

http://norseman73.wix.com/land-of-the-norseman

Twitter:

@TravisLudvigson

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/travisludvigsonauthor

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4272358.Travis_Ludvigson

Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Travis-Ludvigson/e/B00BNASEIG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1430185761&sr=8-1

Heroika 2 1.2 FINAL JPG

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

 

 

 

#Heroika: Skirmishers – Witness the Birth of Alchemical Warfare! Read “The Naked Daemon” by S.E. Lindberg

Images (from Wikipedia) 

  • Emerald Tablet
  • Apollonius of Tyana
  • Alexandria Library

Author section

  • Name: Seth (S.E.) Lindberg
  • How would you define a Skirmisher? Any soldier roaming ahead of the core army, usually shield-less and including heroic civilians caught behind enemy lines.
  • What is your usual genre? I focus on alchemy-inspired, dark fantasy. With Perseid Press, I write in the Heroes in Hell series with two characters: the shamed evolutionist Ernst Haeckel (who embellished his beautiful drawings with fictional data) and the smug archaeologist Howard Carter (known for finding/raiding King Tutankhamun’s tomb); their yarn has them exploring the Egyptian Duat afterlife (Pirates in Hell, Lovers in Hell, … and more to come). Check out related Library of Erana posts: Hell Week 2018 – A Day in the Life of Haeckel and Carter and Hell Week 2017 – An Interview with Ernst Haeckel. Separate from Perseid Press, I rely on Sword & Sorcery as a medium to contemplate life-death-art with my Dyscrasia Fiction series (dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids”, an alchemical term).
  • Give us a brief synopsis of your Skirmisher story: The Naked Daemon pits the mystic Apollonius of Tyana (deceased ~100 CE) against zealots who destroy what remains of the Alexandria Library. In life, his principles had been aligned with those of the pacifist gymnosophists (a.k.a. naked philosophers); hundreds of years past his death, Apollonius finds himself reborn as a daemon empowered with Hermes’s Emerald Tablet. He observes the Roman oppression over pagan scholars and is challenged with an urgent need to defend knowledge.
    • Will Apollonius rationalize war by unleashing the power of alchemy to do harm?
    • Will he become an angel or demon? How will alchemy transform The Naked Demon?
  • How did alchemy inform your first Heroika tale? “Legacy of the Great Dragon” (Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters) features the Father of Alchemy Thoth (a.k.a. Hermes) entombing his singular source of magic, the Great Dragon. According to Greek and Egyptian myth, Hermes was able to see into the world of the dead and pass his learnings to the living. One of the earliest known hermetic scripts is the Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus. Within that, a tale is told of Hermes being confronted with a vision of the otherworldly entity Pymander, who takes the shape of a “Great Dragon” to reveal divine secrets. “Legacy of the Great Dragon” fictionalizes this Hermetic Tradition, presenting the Great Dragon as the sun-eating Apep of Egyptian antiquity. Hermes’s learnings are passed to humanity via an Emerald Tablet. The actual Emerald Tablet (if it was indeed “real”) is arguable the most popular work of Hermeticism since its reveals the secret of transmuting any material’s base elements into something divine or valuable (gold). Many refer to the Tablet as being the philosopher’s stone, or the knowledge embodying it. In fact, the tablet no longer physically exists, but translations of it do. Sir Isaac Newton’s translation of the tablet’s inscription remains very popular, and undeniably cryptic.
    • Apollonius, it appears, not only recovered the Emerald Tablet, but he was entombed with it.
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser? 100% Plotter.
  • What keeps you up at night? Night terrors.
  • What inspires you? Exploring the seam between reality and fantasy. Nightmares.

Character Section

1) Name: Apollonius of Tyana

2) Tell us a bit about yourself. Many claim you to be a miracle worker, rivalling your contemporary Jesus: “No need to compare one man, or woman, to any other. Misunderstood powers, used for good or ill, flow through we hierophants. In this respect, I am merely a conduit. A magos.”

3) Do you believe in a god, or gods? “Of course. I minister people on their behalf.”

4) How do you come to be on this adventure? “In my primary life, I spent decades searching, and reassembling, the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Atop the sacred slab, in the Serapeum of Alexandria, I passed away. Then I rose, not as a ghost, but as a tangible body.”

5) You pause. Why? “Romans were ransacking the last vestige of the Alexandria Library. Their distaste for humanity revived me. Our conflict did not end peacefully.”

6) You look at your hands. How do you view yourself? “As a bloody daemon, for certain.”

7) Angel or devil? “In my life, I was angelic. Judgement awaits for what came next.”

8) How do others see you? “Most see me with their eyes. A living, naked philosopher. Like other, wise gymnosophists. My disciple Damos sees me through his heart. He is overly loyal. Indeed, he was buried and reanimated with me.”

9) Where are your possessions? “I possess nothing. Therefore, I have the possessions of all other men.”

10) Do you have a moral code? “Spread hope and enlightenment. Slay no living thing. Eat no flesh. Be free from envy, malice, and hatred. Be powerful without inspiring fear.”

11) If you could wish for anything, what would it be? “To abide by my own moral code without fail. The sacred powers, prima materia of Hermes’ Emerald Tablet, can be corrupted, however.”

12) Do you think you make a difference in your world? “Once I did. But then time passed. Now to protect some people, I am tempted to hurt others. Gods work in mysterious ways, through flesh.”

13) What do you fear? “By defending what is righteous, I introduced a new evil to the world.”

14) Which is what?  “Alchemical warfare.”

15) What do you REALLY think of your author? “S.E.? He should be less terrified of me when I visit. When I stand beside his bed, enflamed in chartreuse astral-fire, looming over his sleeping form, I mean only to convey messages. He need not swat my effigy away. He needs to chill. Not all ghosts come to haunt.”

16) What do you want to tell him? “The secrets of alchemy are wordless, conveyed best through dreams. Tonight, when light fades, and dreams wash over your vision. Peer beside your bed. See me, and I will answer you. Pray you do not see another.”

 

AUTHOR BIO

S.E. Lindberg resides near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing scientific and artistic skills to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Over two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs him to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors (primarily under the banner “Dyscrasia Fiction”).  With Perseid Press, he writes weird tales infused with history and alchemy (Heroika: Dragon EatersHeroika II: SkirmishersPirates in Hell, Lovers in Hell). S.E. Lindberg is a Managing Editor at BlackGate.com, reviewer of authors on the topic: Beauty in Weird Fiction, and co-moderates a Goodreads group focused on Sword & Sorcery.

S E Lindberg Author-site / Amazon Author Page / S E Lindberg on Goodreads / Dyscrasia Fiction on YouTube / Twitter Handle@SethLindberg

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/