Elfhame – Anthea Sharp – Review #Fantasy #Fairytales

Elfhame – Anthea Sharp

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Mara is a girl with adventure in her soul, and she wants more than her mundane village and boring suitor can offer. Her life is one of few future prospects save a dull marriage, hard work and popping out children. She has no special skills of which she is aware, save more intelligence than usual, courage and a curious nature.

Prince Bran is the heir to not only the Hawthorne Throne, an-end-of-the-world prophecy, but he’s a fearsome Dark Elf. His life is filled with duty, war and magic. He is taciturn, a powerful sorcerer and fearsome warrior.

These two are linked – by a prophecy one has lived by and the other is blissfully unaware of. Aside from that, they have little in common.

Fate has her way and our two fine heroes meet; there are deceptions, battles with unpleasant monsters, surprises, unlikely friendships and a rollercoaster ending.

Told like a fairytale, the story is engaging (I read it through in a couple of hours as I couldn’t put it down), and the characters are great. Mara quickly captures the readers – feisty and brave, a bit naive but knows her own mind and is not afraid to say so. She is not a wallflower.

Bran is a sympathetic character – doing his duty and fulfilling a prophecy that will save his people, despite his own reservations, safety and happiness. The elves are seen by the humans as alien and ‘hideous’, with strange and mythical ways; the humans are viewed as primitive and weak. And both factions are proven wrong.

Well-crafted and filled with adventure this fantasy tale is definitely one for readers of mythic tales and fairy tales. Younger readers may find the monsters and the battles unsettling but this is a good read for any age.

5 stars.

Dark Fae – Blog Tour and Giveaway – Quinn Blackbird #Fantasy

 

Dark Fae
The Dark Fae Book 1
by Quinn Blackbird
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
He came to destroy the world.
He came to destroy us.
But he kept me alive when all else died.
It’s the end of us, the humans. Our world is ravaged, burned to the ground, destroyed by the armies of dark fae crawling all over our lands. They seek to end us, weed out the last of our survivors, and tear us to pieces.
We hide as best as we can. But it’s inevitable.
A dark fae army finds us hiding in a little village. We’re all goners. All of my group dies around me, and I’m about to join them in death—until he spares me.
**On Sale for only .99 cents!**
Taken
The Dark Fae Book 2
He’s a monster.
I’m a prisoner.
And he’s got his sights locked on me.
Caspan, the dark fae General, shows a dangerous interest in Vale, the latest human captive collected by the army.
What the dark fae want with the human captives is anyone’s guess—but it’s the last thing on Vale’s mind. As she struggles to manoeuvre the strict rules of her new life as a slave, she quickly learns that she must avoid the attention of the dark, dangerous Caspan at all costs.
His interest in her is not only a sinister mystery—it’s surely a death sentence.
Stay alive. That’s her only rule in this dark, abandoned world.
But living amongst monsters sometimes means having to bend the rules.
Dark Souls
The Dark Fae Book 3
Rule of the apocalypse. Don’t mess with the dark fae.
I did, and now this monstrous fae wants me;
Wants to hurt me,
Kill me,
And kiss me.
Vale is trapped in the dark fae army, a prisoner of monsters. To make matters worse, the dangerous and dark General isn’t forgetting her any time soon.
He corners her, watches her, and does what no dark fae should do with a human–kisses her.
His lips on her skin is a kiss of death.
But Vale sees in him an opportunity to save the life of her only friend.
Didn’t anyone ever tell Vale never to bargain with the fae?
Quinn Blackbird loves a good anti-hero.
All of her villains stay submerged in ‘dark’ so expect little redemption. She thinks them up over hot coffees and warm cups of tea on the porch.
When not writing, Quinn loves a good face mask and book on the couch with her two pups.
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Lynda Maye Adams – Bundle Author #HereBeMerfolk

image Linda Maye Adams

Author name: Linda Maye Adams

*Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

My story is “Dark, From the Sea.” It was part of a Writing in Public feature I ran on my blog—I wrote a scene each day and posted it until the story was finished.   It was partially inspired by Japanese pearl divers, and also by some research I did on lighthouses.

I’m also the writer of the GALCOM Universe series, which is about a woman who leaves Earth for the first time because the military pays her to deal with alien ghosts.  There are three books in the series, and a fourth coming that’s got a lot of action.  I get to blow things up!

What other bundles are you involved with?

I was in the 2018 Military Science Story Bundle curated by Kevin J. Anderson with the first book in my GALCOM series, Crying Planet.  My short story “Watcher” Ghost is in the BundleRabbit Short Flights (of the Imagination), and my Desert Storm memoir, Soldier, Storyteller was in the Remembering Warriors BundleRabbit.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I’m a pantser, though I don’t particularly like the term.  I just don’t plan anything out for my stories.  I don’t even know how it ends until I get there.  It’s sort of like taking a road trip without a planned destination.  You hop on the road and follow it.  There’s this sign…looks interesting.  You pull in and it isn’t quite what you thought, so you pull out of the rabbit hole until you find something else—and that one you spend a lot of time following.  It’s a lot of fun writing like this because it makes the story unpredictable.

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

That description is not a bad thing.  That gets mispresented a lot in writing books and shows up on top ten lists for “don’t do a lot,” instead of learning how to do it.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

I start with subjects I’m already familiar with, so I don’t have as much research to do. My GALCOM series came out of my military experience.  I’m also working on a mystery in 1940s Hollywood.  I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970s and devoured everything on Hollywood I could find.  So the majority of my research tends to be on the spot—how cold is it in space (over 450 below zero)?  What is it like in zero-g?  What causes an aurora?

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

It’s to have fun (which is from Dean Wesley Smith).  Writers can get so focused on getting published that they forget that writing has to be fun.

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

That you must outline.  I started out writing when I was eight, and it was natural to me to put pen to paper and simply write.  Everyone around me thought I was doing it wrong because I wasn’t outlining.  There’s such a lot of pressure on pantsers—everyone looks at how we write and they don’t understand how it can be done like that.  It scares everyone, and they try to convert the pantsers over to outlining.  I always cringe when I see “I’m a reformed pantser,” because it makes me wonder if that person is still writing.

Tell us about your latest piece?

I just finished Last Stand, the fourth book in my GALCOM Universe series.  Colonel Graul catches a contagious flu and ends up in quarantine on a space station.  Then disaster happens and the space station is attacked!  So it’s a lot of action, and I blow up spaceships.  The aliens look like creepy bugs I saw when I was growing up, potato bugs.  Fitting that they are aliens. We never thought they looked real.

What’s your next writing adventure?

 Non-fiction: Writers Toolkit: Research on the Go For the Fiction Writer.  This book blends my experience as a travel administrator and how to research when you travel.

Golden Lies: The first book in my Al Travers Mystery series.  He’s a private eye in 1947 Hollywood, at the point where the studio system was about to collapse.  He’s also a veteran of World War II, and his secretary was a nurse over there.  So they both have the effects of the war as they try to find a missing actress.

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling?

It has to be.  Traditional publishing is going to run out of writers.  When they gutted the mid-list writers, they cut off the water supply.  Those writers could be developing the skills to become best sellers in the future, and they’re either indie or no longer writing.  That only leaves the current best sellers.  One day, those writers going to start dying off.  There’s a lot of disruption, and traditional publishing is pretending like it’s 1980 and everyone will go back to the way it was. By the time they come around, it’s going to be too late.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?

While I still hear from a few people who think of the old days when you self-published a book because you couldn’t get published, I think most readers just want good books to read.  They don’t care where it comes from.

Is there a message in your books?

I don’t do message stories.  As a reader, I don’t want to be lectured to.  If I smell it from the description, I won’t even buy it.  I’m all about escapist fiction…grab the popcorn and sit down for a good read.

Bio

Linda Maye Adams was probably the least likely person to be in the Army—even the Army thought so!  She was an enlisted soldier and served for twelve years and was one of the women who deployed to Desert Storm.  But she’d much prefer her adventures to be in books.  She is the author of the military-based GALCOM Universe series, including the novel Crying Planet, featured in the 2018 Military Science Fiction StoryBundle.

Connect with Linda Online:

https://lindamayeadams.com/how-to-contact-linda/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaAdamsVA

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/garridon/

Linda’s fiction site: https://lindamayeadams.com/

Dark, From the Sea features in Here Be Merfolk

boxset merfolk

Part of the Here Be Bundle Series

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

I books

Bundle Rabbit

 

Review – A Sword’s Poem – Leah Cutter

Review – A Sword’s Poem – Leah Cutter

https://amzn.to/2LuiVmc

#Fantasy #Fairytale #Japanese

When Hikaru’s new husband is murdered by a wicked sorcerer, his soul stolen and forged into a mystic sword she risks all to find her love. Magic, betrayal, courage and love weave an intricate tale in Heian-era Japan; the author spins the world beautifully – as seen by the fox-fairy, and the human heroine. This is a tale of love, sacrifice, revenge and self-understanding – but more than that it’s a wonderful fairy-tale set against a background with which many Western readers will be unfamiliar. Ms Cutter brings this world to life, and its vibrancy and ritualism are everywhere in the story. Poetry features everywhere, and the language is very lyrical. I can imagine sitting around a campfire as someone recounts this as a heroic tale and getting totally caught up in it.

It’s primarily told from the point of view of the female characters – in a largely male-oriented world, which makes a nice change. These women are powerful, resourceful, braver than the men (in many cases), dutiful and self-reliant and such characters bring this sword and sorcery tale to life.

Recommended! 5 Stars

Swords Poem

Review – Beneath the Knowe – Anthea Sharp – Fantasy/Fairytale

Review

Beneath the Knowe

5 stars

This is a rich and lyrical short story of fairyland, glamour, one woman’s courage and magical music.

Maeve is a resourceful young woman who wants more from life than marriage to a man she barely knows, and the mundane existence of her kin. She has music within, a glorious melodic soul that yearns to be heard, but women cannot be bards.  When the fairies who ‘protect’ the clan take the chieftain’s baby son, Maeve’s nephew, nothing is to be done. Such is the bargain. Eventually, the menfolk challenge the fairies, and are sent home beaten and ashamed, minus the human infant.

It takes a woman, and a magical, musical soul to challenge the great Fairy King on his own turf -Maeve, and her music. Of course, bargaining with fairies has its price.

I loved this tale, with its vibrant imagery, innocent yet determined courage and a glimpse of the power of Anthea Sharp’s writing. Although this tale is short, it is enough of a taster to want more of this author’s work.  I will definitely be venturing into fairyland with Ms Sharp again.

Beneath the Knowe Amazon UK

Beneath the Knowe Amazon US

Beneath the Knowe cover

Dirty Dozen Author Interview J.M. Ney-Grimm

Author: J.M. Ney-Grimm

 Please tell us about your publications. I write fantasy in which the intimate and personal intertwine with the great forces of history and culture. Most of my stories are set in my North-lands, a world inspired by the watercolor illustrations of the Danish artist Kay Nielsen. My novels include: Troll-magic, Livli’s Gift, Caught in Amber, Fate’s Door, and The Tally Master. I also have a handful of novellas (plus a few short stories), among them: Sarvet’s Wanderyar, Hunting Wild, and Winter Glory.

Caught in Amber

What first prompted you to publish your work? In 2007, I re-discovered Maddy Prior’s amazing song ‘The Fabled Hare.’

Listening to her powerful lyrics and expressive voice, I grew suddenly aware that time was passing, I was getting older, and I didn’t have forever.

The imagery of the hunter and hounds closing in on the hare made me feel as though death were snapping at my heels.

If there was something I really wanted to do, something I had not done yet, I’d better get going or I might miss my chance entirely.

I didn’t ‘click the publish button’ in 2007, but that year and that song were the beginning of my publishing journey.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I do some of each.

I prefer having a skeletal outline at the start of a story. Doing without —pure ‘pantsing’—feels like walking a tightrope over Niagara without a safety net. Very uncomfortable! And yet…I’ve done it.

Once I awoke in the middle of the night, so afire with inspiration that I got up out of my bed to write the first scene of what would become the novel Caught in Amber. I didn’t work out an outline until I was a third of the way through the book!

More usually, I sort out the foundational plot line before I start writing. I need to know what happens, but (oddly) I need to not know how it happens. I discover the how as I write, and that keeps the story feeling fresh to me.

Even when I follow an outline, I always feel free to ‘have a better idea.’ Sometimes my outline writhes like a river in flood!

 

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? I’m going to pretend you asked me about my writing journey. 😉 Because there’s a piece of advice that I really, really needed and didn’t get, way back when.

For some reason, I thought that the process of writing was much more cut-and-dried than it ever could be. Why I thought this, I don’t know. Perhaps because I formed the impression when I was very young, at age ten or eleven.

But the result was that, when I sat down in my early twenties to write my great fantasy novel, and didn’t get anywhere with it, I concluded that I must not be made of such stuff as goes into the bones of real writers.

I longed to write novels, and believed I could not. I spent more than two decades believing this and writing poetry and story vignettes and gaming adventures instead.

And then I listened to Maddy Prior’s ‘The Fabled Hare’ and got serious about my creative aspirations. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, did every last one of the written assignments in the book, and read several of the titles in its bibliography.

That’s when I encountered Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and one of her suggestions set me free.

So the advice I wish I’d gotten? Find out how other writers do it! Not just one or two, but dozens. Ask them. Read biographies. Whatever it takes, find out.

Because if I’d learned that there are as many ways as there are writers, I might not have concluded so wrongly that I was not a writer. I might have been writing novellas and novels (as well as poetry and vignettes and gaming adventures) between 1980 and 2007. I might not have been so unhappy in my creative desert.

 

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Do not go there! Reviews are a reader space. What reader wants to write his or her honest opinion and then discover that the author of the book has been peering over his or her shoulder the whole while?

 

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters. Good plot. Awesome world-building. Technically perfect.

As a reader (not a writer), I want them all. If the characters aren’t great, I have no interest. If the plot is stupid, I get cranky. If the world-building is unconvincing, I get thrown out of the story. If there are grammar errors, I’m tempted to email the author with the necessary fix. Gah!

I believe I’m known as what one writer calls a ‘fussy reader.’ That’s being kind!

As a writer…what can I say? I go for all four. One of my writing mentors told me that I need never worry about grammar or word choice; in her words, I’m stellar at that.

My readers tell me that my world-building is so thorough that they feel like they are ‘watching a movie on the insides of their eyeballs.’

Another writing mentor says that plot is clearly one of my strong points.

And yet more readers claim that the relationship dynamics between my characters feel utterly real.

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? A surprising amount! I’ve heard those who don’t write fantasy speculate that fantasy writers need do no research at all: they can just make it all up.

Nope!

Because my world is make-believe featuring magic and fantastical creatures, it is all the more important that I get the details of living there right. Horses better behave like the real beasts. The combination of wet and cold better be appropriately dangerous. Travel attempted under medieval conditions better be realistically inconvenient. And so on.

I’ve researched the horse sandals of the ancient Romans (horseshoes weren’t invented until 500CE), the forging of Bronze Age swords, the details of how fishes’ gills work, and more.

 

How influential is storytelling to our culture? To be human is to be a storyteller. We remember our past with story. We predict and plan for our future with story. We make meaning out of our present with story. We cannot be ourselves without story.

That’s an existential answer to a more grounded question, but I stand by it. 😉

 

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love the sense of wonder present in the fantasy of Robin McKinley. I adore the cultural creativity in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. The poetry of Patricia McKillip’s storytelling inspires me. And the great characters within the amazing worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold carry me completely out of myself.

 

What is your writing space like? All I need is my laptop! I prefer quiet, but I can write amidst noise and hullabaloo if need be. (I learned how when my kids were still little and would nestle against me while I tapped away on my keyboard.) When I had a badly broken foot (doctor’s orders to keep it elevated and bearing no weight for 10 weeks, so as to avoid surgery), I learned to write while semi-reclining on the couch. I got so used to this position that I use it still!

 

Tell us about your latest piece? My novel The Tally Master released in April 2017. Here’s a little bit about it:

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Set in the Bronze Age of my North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

 

What’s your next writing adventure? I’m really excited about the novel I’m working on now. Its tentative title is To Thread the Labyrinth. Here’s a bit about it:

Ohtavie de Bellay craves safety. Craves obscurity. She seeks solitude and secrecy and shadows. Because only hiding holds death at bay.

But Ohtavie fears that all her care—decades of prudence—won’t be enough. No, she knows it won’t save her.

One day an angry mob will come to drag her forth from her long retreat and stone her. Or pinion her within her refuge and burn it down around her. Or, worst of all, summon the executioner who will hold her unmoving with his enigmatic magic, while his great axe parts her head from her living body with brutal precision.

So Ohtavie lurks and hides and fights her fears alone.

Until that one day arrives, bringing…no mob, no stones, no flames, and no axe.

Just one sweet-faced girl who threatens Ohtavie with something more perilous still.

A gripping story of quiet courage and fortitude.

 

Is there a message in your books? I don’t deliberately include a message, but I suspect my most cherished beliefs seep into my fiction.

There is hope. If the first attempt fails—or the second, or the third—try again. How you do a thing will shape who you become, as well as the ultimate result. You are loved. There is beauty in existence. ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

 

Links

Website: http://jmney-grimm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009200970533

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMNeyGrimm

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/315055.J_M_Ney_Grimm

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Ney-Grimm/e/B006QRFNAS/

 

J.M. Ney-Grimm lives with her husband and children in Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s learning about permaculture gardening and debunking popular myths about food. The rest of the time she reads Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lois McMaster Bujold, plays boardgames like Settlers of Catan, rears her twins, and writes stories set in her troll-infested North-lands.

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Sorcha #Fantasy #Mythic

Welcome; SORCHA

Scorchas heart.jpg

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a fully-trained sorceress, though my mother sometimes forgets this. I guess I’ll always be a child in her eyes. I’m in my early 20s, trim, active, and healthy. I’m not particularly beautiful, but then my physical appearance has never been important to me. I’m not interested in fashion or the latest hair styles. I wear sturdy, serviceable dresses and my long dark hair is usually in a single braid. My eyes are my most interesting facial feature, deep blue with an exotic slant that people often compare to a cat’s eyes. I’ve never met my father, but Mother says I inherited his eyes.

  • What is your world like? How does it differ to mine?

I believe your people would refer to my world as medieval and feudal, but those are political terms which we’ll discuss later. As far as the world itself is concerned, it is much like Earth, possessing mountains and lakes and oceans, and even deserts, though I’ve never seen one of those. The mountains near my home are tall and rugged and capped by brilliantly white glaciers.

  • Is your world populated by different races? How do they get along?

The intelligent races of my world are humans and dragons. We have the usual non-sapient creatures. Domestic animals such as horses, sheep, cows, dogs and cats, and wild animals such as wolves and bears and predatory cats.

How do humans and dragons get along? Not very well at the moment. In fact, that’s the reason for my adventure.

  • Within your culture what is the political structure?

Human society is made up of feudal kingdoms. My mother and I live in Glengorm under King Leofric. Our nearest neighbor is Rossal, which is ruled by King Dougal. Each kingdom is divided into hereditary holdings ruled by lords and their ladies. The common folk who work the land live in villages and are often represented to their lords by village elders who are elected by their neighbors for their wisdom and experience.

  • What is your greatest fear?

I’m so afraid that King Leofric will declare war on the dragons of the ice aerie that I’m considering a rash action. Mother has advised me to stay out of it, to let Leofric and his counsellors deal with the situation, but if I have the power to stop a war, don’t I have a moral obligation to use it?

  • Tell us why you’re embarking on this adventure?

To prevent a war between my kingdom and the dragons of the ice aerie, thereby saving my people. I don’t think King Leofric truly understands how completely outclassed his knights are by the dragons.

  • Tell us about your family?

My family? I don’t really have one. It’s just mother and me. My father deserted Mother before she even knew she carried me. Mother is the bravest woman I know. She’s a sorceress, as I am, and women aren’t usually accepted for training in anything more challenging than the potions of a hedge witch. But Mother refused to be held back by bigotry. She fought to be accepted and finally found a wizard willing to train her, though he had his doubts. Not about her ability. He knew she was powerfully gifted, but about her commitment. He believed women were fickle. Too prone to fall in love and desire family and children. When Mother confessed her pregnancy, he sent her away and told her not to return until she’d been delivered of the child and found it a suitable home. Mother stood up to him. She would not hide her pregnancy for his convenience, neither would she give me up. She would continue her studies and raise her child. The force of her personality and her magical potential were too much for him. She remained his apprentice and I was not given away.

  • Would you die for those you love?

Without a second thought. I’d rather not, of course, but if my death would save my people, I would sacrifice myself gladly.

  • Do you believe in magic?

Of course, don’t you? Its power courses through my veins. My entire reason for being is the study and responsible use of magic.

  • What is your greatest skill/asset?

My determination. Once I decide upon a course of action, nothing can deter me.

  • What is your greatest weakness (we won’t tell).

I’m very stubborn. (Another name for determination.) Once I decide upon a course of action, nothing can deter me.

  • What do you think of your author/creator?

She’s an adequate chronicler. She has told my tale fairly and well.

 

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

Also appearing in  Mythic Tales

mythic-fb-post-image

Links, short author bio…

 

Website: http://debbiemumford.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieMumfordWrites/

Newsletter: eepurl.com/bTXLhX

 

Bio:

A prolific copywriter by day, Debbie Mumford has been published in WMG Publishing’s Fiction River anthologies, Heart’s Kiss Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, and other markets. She has also published several novels, novellas, and short story collections, including the popular Sorcha’s Children series. Debbie writes about faeries, dragons, and the supernatural for adults as herself and for tweens and young adults as Deb Logan. Find out more about Debbie’s work at debbiemumford.com or follow her on Facebook: @DebbieMumfordWrites. Join her newsletter list at eepurl.com/bTXLhX to receive an exclusive FREE story!

Swift Six Character Interview – Acionna #Fantasy #Mythictales

#Swiftsix #fantasy #talesoferana #Meetacharacter

mythic-fb-bannerName: Acionna

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in the Jagged Peak mountains, they are in the world called Erana by those who live there. I am in a book? I know of books and lore. Then am I not real? – I feel real, and the mountains around me seem real. Is it, perhaps, that I am real here, and you are the myth, you are the imaginary?

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

I am an ancient elemental, a Goddess to some. Born of the mountain, and the pounding waterfalls when the world was young and the magic free. It was so long past I could not tell you how many years or centuries of your time. Once there were many of my kind – creatures of magic and wild places but the magic was chased away, corrupted and sickened and many of us fell, or hid, or faded. Now I am a myth, a legend told around the fire and a drop of blood here and there in lineages old and noble. The Plague came and everything changed. The land changed, the magic changed.

My myths say:

‘Many creatures were born when the magic was wild and free. Guardians of the wild places they would become, and when there were mortals to believe they would become gods; for those whose lives end often seek out those who endure. Acionna had been born of the rock, the water and the snow. She was a child of all and none, a child of the raw magic of the earth and streams. So it was the elemental walked among the rock and water, a goddess of sorts.’

 My hair is white like the fresh-fallen snow, and my skin blue-black like the beloved mountain which spawned me. To you I would appear naked. Elementals feel no shame of their bodies, nor a need to cover themselves. Shame is a mortal emotion. But even elementals may love, and experience loneliness. For everything which lives craves company of some sort. I do not fear death, but I do fear this awful loneliness lasting until the mountain falls to dust.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

I have had my adventures, I have warred, and lost all save myself. I have walked the mountain paths and fought with monsters and men who would seek to kill every last trace of magic. Why should I wish to adventure again?

If I were to consent I would bring you elemental magic, of the oldest sort. The Power of the elementals, the Power of nature and the furious waters and mighty peaks.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you?

I have none. My mate is long dead, now nothing but a statue and even I cannot undo the curse. My daughter is gone, fallen to wicked magic and I walk these peaks alone. Sometimes the trolls come and bring offerings but they see me not. For I know now that mortals and immortals should not mix.

What’s your most heroic exploit to date?

We fought the Sal tribe, with their wicked fae-bought magic. There were no winners in that war, but I cleansed the mountain of its taint of stolen and bargained dark sorcery. No more did the trolls bargain with the fae.

What’s your greatest failure?

We lost the war. The Plague came anyway and the land was blighted. My mate was killed, by allied tribe scattered and the Relic of the Moon was lost.

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade?

To an immortal time is nothing. I was born of magic and mountains, and with luck, I will fade when they do. The magic is hunted, it is purged, and it is tormented but magic cares not. Magic is and always shall be wild and free. The Order of Witch-Hunters are mortals, they rose and they will fall sooner or later. I have seen the tribes of men come and go like the seasons, but through them, magic remains. I concede it hides and shows itself in places of mystery and crafty ways but the magic is as old as the land and will not die completely.

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

Talin Var – Hirik prince of the Var tribe of trolls. Is it wise for an elemental to love a mortal? No, usually it ends in tragedy, but love is a sister to magic and she finds her way when one expects or desires it not. Love cannot be controlled or denied. Talin was brave, strong and honourable and he gave his life for his people.

My love for Talin persists, even after so many years.

Links to book etc

 The Moon on the Water appears in the Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – this appears in Mythic Tales Box Set.

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TalesErana cover

Mythic Tales Montage

Mythic Tales can be found at the following stores:

Mythic Tales on Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/mythic-tales

Mythic Tales on Kobo http://bit.ly/2fI2Ons

Mythic Tales on Amazon http://amzn.to/2fFWnkI

Mythic Tales on Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2xLbdLi

Mythic Tales on I-tunes http://apple.co/2xMaolH

 

 

 

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends

In a world where magic is illegal, and elves enslaved dare you hear the tales of old? Five tales of myth, magic, and monsters from the world of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

Audio editions narrated by Michael Legate

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2j0yyEh

Amazon audio http://amzn.to/2hKoUoZ

Audible.com http://adbl.co/2hKOKHP

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2j0DJnK

Amazon UK audio http://amzn.to/2iBbmM8

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2bxgVrw

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2i31N56

I -books http://apple.co/2hKO19z

Kobo http://bit.ly/2i2W0MR

Swift Six Character Interview – Fae – Fantasy/Mythic/Bundle

Mythic Tales Bundle

Myth, Magic and Mayhem abound and today we welcome Fae, who shares some of her thoughts with us.

Name: Oh, I wish I could remember my name! I wish I could remember anything. I feel so… lost, knowing nothing of who I am, where I come from. Yesterday, when I was pretending to be brave, I gave myself a name. It feels right, but it might not be right. How could it, when I remember nothing? But… I’m Fae (she raises her chin) and I’m going to pretend to be brave again. I have to.

Which book/world do you live in? I seem to be trapped in a castle. It’s very beautiful, with marble halls and tall windows looking onto flowering summer gardens. But it’s utterly deserted; I’m all alone and locked in! None of the doors to the outside seem to even have functioning latches and hinges. And when I tried to break a window with a paperweight, it bounced off!

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.) When I look in the mirror, I look human. But something tells me I might not be. Oh, I’m not anything truly strange, like the creatures in fairy tales or the monsters in myths and legends. Yesterday I thought I might be the granddaughter of a goddess, but that’s not it either. I’m trying to figure it out, because I think that if I can only remember something, that’s the key to escaping this castle and finding… home? Oh, I wish I could go home, wherever home is! (She raises her chin again.) But I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out. I won’t give up.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me? Adventurers… (Her tone is musing.) I always thought they were ne’er-do-wells, the black sheep of their families. But sometimes they’re soldiers of fortune, aren’t they? I wonder if a soldier—a warrior—could help me? I don’t think so. This castle, this situation, is a puzzle, not a battle. And I’m going to solve it. (She sighs.) But I wish someone were here. Besides me. It’s so lonely. I miss my friends, even though I can’t remember who they are. Oh, I hate this!

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you? I know I had friends. Maybe a band of girls my age? How old am I anyway? Maybe fourteen? Maybe sixteen? I don’t know! But it’s something like that. I think we spent a lot of time out of doors, rambling in the woods, running races, practising archery? Someone else was the fastest in the foot races, but I was the best with bow and arrow! Oh, I miss the outdoors! I hate this castle and being pent inside from dawn to dusk!

What’s your most heroic exploit to date? Ha! I don’t think I’ve had time to be a hero! I’m too young. But, guess what? I think I’m being a hero now. Something has happened to trap me in this place, and I don’t think I’m the only one affected, even though I’m the only one here. Somewhere that I can’t see, that I don’t even know about, there are people I love in trouble. If I can just solve this puzzle… I’ll get out and go help them! Whoever did this to me (she raises that chin again) is going to be sorry!

What’s your greatest failure? I think I failed at something important. Something really important. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t.  I think I betrayed… not someone else. Never someone else. But I might have betrayed myself. I might have… consented to something? To a punishment? When I should have fought it tooth and nail? Oh, I wish I could remember! This is horrid!

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade? I’ll be out of here! I’ll escape! I’ll rescue my cousins! Oh! I remembered something! I have cousins! (She does a little dance step of jubilation.) One of them… Athena? Athena was studying military history. Oh! I have an uncle! Uncle Leander was.. a blacksmith? No, that’s not right. He knew smithing. And he was good at it! But he was so much more. I can’t remember. (She grits her teeth.) I can’t remember, but I am remembering! And I’m going to remember more!

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item) I loved someone. I know I did. Besides my friends. And my cousins. And my uncle. I almost think I loved… Was she my aunt? I saw her so clearly in my mind’s eye yesterday. She was pale and stern and garbed in a sweeping black velvet gown as she admonished me to never open that quaint pointed door in the corner while she was gone. Did I open it? Is that why I’m here? Or did I fail to open it? And is that failure why I’m here? I wonder if that door… might be somewhere in this castle? (Her eyes light.) I’m going to go look!

 

Fae is the heroine of the novel Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm

Amazon US: Caught-Amber-J-M-Ney-Grimm Amazon

Amazon UK: Caught-Amber-J-M-Ney-Grimm Amazon UK

Apple: Caught in Amber – I tunes

Kobo: Caught in Amber – Kobo

Barnes & Noble: Caught in Amber – Nook

Smashwords: Caught in Amber – Smashwords

Universal Books2Read: Caught in Amber – Books2Read

Bundle Rabbit Caught in Amber – Bundle Rabbit

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Dirty Dozen Interview – Ron Vitale – Fantasy/Mythic/Paranormal

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Author name: Ron Vitale

*Please tell us about your publications.

What first prompted you to publish your work? My two kids and I were goofing off in a swimming pool, playing a game. I was pretending to chase after them, and instead of being a werewolf, I pretended to be a werewhale. My daughter laughed as I chased her and she made this funny whale sound and we all had a great time that day in the pool. With Sharknado being popular at the time, I thought: What if I created a werewhale creature and then answered the question: What happened after Herman Melville’s Moby Dick? Once I had that idea, then it was an easy jump telling the story of Captain Ahab’s daughter.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? When I was younger, I always thought that the writing would be the most challenging part of publishing a book. I was wrong. The hardest part for me is marketing the book. I’ve had to learn email marketing, Facebook advertising, Amazon ads, content marketing, create production and editorial calendars–basically I’ve had to devise, and then implement, a strategy that will provide a positive ROI. That’s both freeing and frightening at the same time. On one hand, I need to learn new skills and then experiment with what I’ve learned. Marketing isn’t as simple as buying a Facebook ad and a few promotional ads. Instead, I’ve needed to do A/B testing on Facebook ads. Once I refine the lookalike audience for the Facebook ad, I need to test different copy to see what actually performs, learn from that and keep refining over time. I enjoy both the creative aspects of writing and interacting with my readers, but I also really enjoy learning why the marketing is or isn’t converting. It’s fascinating to see the numbers come in and be surprised on what you thought would get a lot of clicks turns out to be a not so great. The only issue with all of this is time. There are only so many hours in the day. Between working full-time, raising a family, writing and marketing my books, well, things get a bit hectic at times. I guess that’s why I decided to write a book about what I learned. I really wanted to give back to my fellow authors because I’ve been helped so much along the way.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I used to be a 100% pantser. But when I was writing book 3 of my Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries series, I had to throw out a third of the book because it just didn’t work. I wasted a lot of time writing that and then having to redo that whole section. Over time, I’ve slowly moved over to the plotter side. I wouldn’t say that I’m all the way there, but I’m about 70%. I now have a Google sheet that tracks what happened (in one sentence and which characters are in that scene) by scene and I try to forecast out the future. I’m not going to lie–sometimes I plan ahead, other times I don’t. But I do see the value in having the overall story arc planned out in my head. Once I know what the main conflict is, where the characters start, where they’re headed and what I want to have happen, then I can fill in the rest as I write.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Keep writing. I wrote my first novel at 16 back in the ‘80s and rewrote and rewrote it. I tried to get that book traditionally published and failed more times than I can remember. I then started to write short stories, but I didn’t write my second novel (a sequel to the first) until the late ‘90s. It wasn’t until 2008 that I decided to write the Cinderella Secret Witch Diaries series and start something new. I didn’t know that I had more than one series in me. Back when I first started, I put all my eggs in that one novel. I thought it was the best thing and copies would fly off the shelves. What I didn’t know how to come to terms with was to keep writing and to nurture the creative part of me. I had created a fantasy world in that first book and I didn’t know what to do with another book. I wanted to create a whole series but if I couldn’t get book one published, why would I start book two? The more I write, the better I become at my craft. I’ve written novels that I love, but over time, I’ve realized that I’ve become a stronger writer by getting my hands dirty and learning my craft. I may not be a blacksmith and have a sword to show that I’ve forged, but I have words in a book. My journey as a writer started when I was 9 years old and will continue until I can no longer write. The most important thing is to keep writing. Dream, take those dreams and forge them into a story or novel, and then do the hard work of learning the craft. For me, that means writing and reading. Never give up!

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat. Although most of my books are fantasy, I also love science fiction. If I could have dinner with any literary character (and this might be a bit of a cheat), it would be with the Doctor from Doctor Who. Since I read a lot of the Doctor Who novels back in the early ‘80s, I would love to sit down and talk about history and time with him (well, now her). The fact that the Doctor has regenerated more than a dozen times into different people in the 50+ history of the BBC TV show gives me an enormous amount of topics to talk about. Now that the latest incarnation of the doctor will be a woman, I’d be curious to talk with her about how the world now sees her that she’s switched genders. It’s not every day that you could talk with someone who’s lived so long, as different sexes and been all through time and space.

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? I learned a lot when I published Lost (book 1 in my Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries series). I have given more than 10,000 ebook copies of that book away since 2011. Do I regret it? Partly. What I didn’t understand is that I need to have a marketing strategy tied to giving my book away. In the early days when the KDP free days still meant something, I was so happy that people were downloading my book, but I did not stop and think about why I was doing that and what it meant. For example, I didn’t have an email list and autoresponders setup, but now I do. I learned a lot over the last six years and now I only use a freebie if it’s part of my marketing strategy. I will say this though: Getting thousands of people on your mailing list might be great, but several of those readers reached out to me by responding to my autoresponders and let me know that they couldn’t read my book and leave a review because they had hundreds of free books in front of mine yet to read. Thousands of authors are all giving their books away and there’s only so many that people can read. I now use Instafreebie for much more targeted reasons.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? I don’t do it. I’ve had reviews saying that my book was the greatest and another that said something like “this book is the worst I ever read.” The reader went on to say that she only read a few paragraphs, but looking at reviews can be a time suck (and a big block to one’s ego). What I now do is set up an autoresponder email and over time new people on my mailing list are asked to leave a review. Once in a blue moon, I happen to notice that the reviews went up. I’d rather spend my time writing and marketing than looking at my reviews.

How do you deal with bad reviews? Mostly I ignore them. If there’s something legitimate in the review, I’ll take the constructive feedback, but I often find that people get a free copy of the book, don’t like what they read and then complain about it–without having read the entire book. I’ve found that that’s part of the balance in giving your ebook away for free. It’s a crapshoot. I would much rather target readers through a lookalike Facebook ad and drive them to my mailing list to get the free book and then through an autoresponder ask them to leave a review. I learned the hard way: A few years ago a friend passed on to me a mom’s book club and I gave them all my book. What I didn’t know is that they were not the demographic at all for a fantasy book. They hated the book and a few of them left reviews on Amazon. You live and you learn!

Sort these into order of importance:

  1. Great characters
  2. Good plot
  3. Awesome world-building
  4. Technically perfect

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? It all depends on the book. I’ve had to research Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in the winter and how disastrous the weather was with tens of thousands of his soldiers dying. In another book, I had to figure out how a space elevator worked for a science fiction book I was writing and in my most recent book, Ahab’s Daughter, I had to research Kanaloa, Dark Squid God from Polynesian mythology. I find the research fun, but I also need to make certain that I don’t do too much because I need to get to writing.

How influential is storytelling to our culture? I remember in my undergraduate English classes our professor taught us about the village scop–a man who would tell the oral history of the town. Now our storytelling has taken a dramatic turn. We’re telling stories in video games and through snaps on Snapchat. Storytelling is still immensely important, but the mediums that we use have evolved with augmented reality and the internet.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Dean Wesley Smith wrote a book on Heinlein’s Five Rules that really helped me overcome my fear of rejection and perfectionism. They’re simple, easy to follow but somewhat controversial:

Robert Heinlein’s five rules are:

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you start.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
  4. You must put it on the market.
  5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

I find rule #3 to be really hard.

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? I think the worst piece of advice is that I needed an agent. I spend a lot of wasted time trying to get an agent and had some brushes with the traditional publishing world back in the ‘90s but that left me feeling powerless. My book went into a black hole and I had no idea what the agent was really doing for me. Now with being an indie author, I make decisions on my business and I like having that freedom.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Well, I would have to say an elf. When I used to play Dungeons & Dragons (yes, I’m very geeky) as a kid, I always wanted to be an elf. But to be specific, I like Tolkien’s high elves. A close second would be Gandalf, but I thought being an elf with living so long and having excellent dexterity and intelligence would be fun. Reading, being able to do magic and learning how to be a warrior would all be rolled into one. I rather like that!

Which authors have influenced you the most? Tolkien and Isaac Asimov are the two authors that I have such great respect for. Tolkien’s world building inspired me and allowed me to escape to Middle Earth at a time that my mom was going through a difficult divorce. Asimov amazed me because he could write in any genre. I read his books and realized that I did not have to be limited to just one thing. I could write whatever I wanted just like him.

What is your writing space like? I have an office with a laptop and a monitor set up with all these books around me, but… I don’t write in my office. Instead, I go downstairs in the back family room, sit cross-legged on the sofa with a pillow on my lap and my laptop on top of that and then I write. It’s comfortable but it’s not the typical writer’s space that many readers would think of to imagine where an author writes.

Tell us about your latest piece? Ahab’s Daughter: The Werewhale Saga is an action adventure book that has just enough spin-tingling horror thrown into it to keep you on the edge of your seat. I wanted to explore the premise: What happened after Herman Melville’s Moby Dick? But instead of telling a man’s story, my novels have women as the main protagonist. Not only do I get to explore what would Ahab’s daughter role be after he died at sea, but I pushed past normal social expectations to challenge what would happen if his daughter ran off to sea trying to find her younger brother who had delusions of finding the island of nightmares that their father used to tell them about as kids. I had a lot of fun writing this book and take it as a major sign of success when my 14-year old son came to me and told me that not only did he really enjoy it, but that some scenes were really creepy. He’s normally not that effusive and I had to laugh at his feedback.

Ahab

What’s your next writing adventure? I have the first draft of book 4 of the Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries written. I just need to get back to reading it with fresh eyes and then rewriting it (see, the #3 Heinlein rule is really hard to keep!).

What was the last book you’ve read? I recently finished Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky and I loved the book. It’s one the Nebula award and I just fell in love with it. There aren’t many times when I read a book and just get lost in how different and unique the book is and I hope that more people read it with an open mind.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I wouldn’t say that bookstores will fade away entirely. Amazon is now opening their own physical brick and mortar bookstores and I think that’s good for the industry. Not everyone wants to read ebooks. I read both physical and ebooks. I prefer ebooks for my daily commute to my full-time job because I don’t have to carry the physical book. I expect that ebooks will become more popular but speciality physical books will be around to give as gifts or even normal books so people can bring them on vacation. The form factor is hard to beat: Physical books are small and have a great tactile feel (and smell)–that’s something you can’t get from an ebook.

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling? No. I commute to work on several different forms of public transportation and have been doing this for 22 years. Back in the ‘90s people carried the big Harry Potter hard backs with them on the train–then things shifted to Kindles, and now smartphones. I’m seeing an interesting change in reader behavior. More and more commuters are using their smartphones not only to play games but to watch Netflix. Honestly, that shocked me. We authors are now competing with screen time on the train. That’s not something I could have imagined back in the late ‘80s when I first started writing.

In order for us to adapt, I believe authors need to diversify our work. Yes, I write short stories, blog posts and novels, but I’ve also created podcasts and see a need for story arcs for augmented reality, TV shows, movies, virtual reality and things we haven’t even thought of yet. At my core, I’m a storyteller. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m telling a story with my voice, words or through some other means. I’m trying to be open with what the future will bring though due to lack of time my primary creative outlets are the written word with a few of my novels being available on Audible. I’m open to creating new worlds and storylines for augmented reality, video games and the like, but haven’t gone down that path yet. But I see the need there: People want stories–just not necessarily in the written form as I had once thought.

Are indie/self published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? I believe indie authors are still viewed with scepticism. Part of that is due to our limited resources. It’s difficult to not only write but find great covers (for what we can afford) and to have a well-edited book. With indie publishing so easy, anyone can write whatever they want (without any editing) and just put the book up live. Readers are now needing to go through a slush pile and they don’t have time to do that. I’ve worked hard over the last six years to provide the highest quality book that I can.

Is there a message in your books? Yes, everything I write aligns to my personal mission: I believe that, no matter how difficult our childhood, we can use imaginative stories to heal ourselves and lead lives filled with love and hope.

How important is writing to you? It’s part of who I am. I write because I love it. Sometimes it’s like the beauty of touching freshly fallen snow as a kid and building an amazing snowman. Other times it’s not so easy. But through it all, I love telling stories about the human condition and hope.

 

Links:

http://www.ronvitale.com/ahabs-daughter-the-werewhale-saga

Ahab’s Daughter – Amazon

Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries

Ron Vitale - Secret Witch Diary

Bio: http://www.ronvitale.com/about/