Returning Author – Tori Zigler

I’d like to welcome back author Victoria Zigler, or Tori, if you prefer.

Please recap briefly about your books:

Most of my books are fantasy stories, fairy tales, animal stories, or some combination of those, but I’ve also written books in other genres too.  Regardless of genre though, my stories are aimed at children.  I happen to know that some adults have really enjoyed them too, however, and I’m not just talking about adults who are family members or friends either.

Not all my books are children’s stories.  I also write poetry, which is generally suitable for any age level, and has also been enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Plus, I have a fantasy story published in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology.

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!

The last time I was interviewed on here, I was about to release the final book in my “Kero’s World” series, and had ”Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie” due for release the following month.  Since those titles came out, I’ve published another 14 titles.  Two are poetry books, four are the books for my “Zeena Dragon Fae” series, and the others are more stand alone stories.  My most recent releases are a poetry collection called “The Ocean’s Lullaby And Other Poems” which was released in early July, and my first ever science fiction story “Jeffrey The Orange Alien” which was released in late August.

Also, at the time my last interview went live, I was only doing my books as eBooks, but now I have them all available as paperbacks too.  The eBooks are still published via Smashwords, and distributed to all eBook retailers Smashwords distributes to (such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, etc) so are available in multiple formats to work across a variety of eReaders and other devices.  The paperbacks are published via CreateSpace, and distributed to all the retailers CreateSpace distributes to (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc).

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?

Yes, I do.  For some reason, people got it in to their heads that self-published translated in to “not good enough to be published” – despite the fact that there are many reasons why a traditional publisher might not want to publish something, and most of those reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the work in question.  Unfortunately, the fact that some self-published authors put their work out in to the world before it’s really ready (in other words, before it’s been properly edited, proof read, etc) has led to some poor quality work being on the market, which has only served to encourage this view.  Opinions are starting to be swayed by some self-published authors who have managed to make it big, and show the world that a self-published book can be as good as a traditionally published one for quality, but I think it’s going to be a while before everyone is willing to accept this new viewpoint – if they ever do.

Do you read work by self-published authors?

Yes, I do.  I also accept books from them in exchange for posting a review.  Personally, I don’t care how an author has published their work.  If it sounds like a book I’ll enjoy, I’ll read it whether it’s self-published or traditionally published.  I use the same criteria for deciding if I want to read a book regardless of the publication method, and don’t give the method of publication a single thought when rating or reviewing a book.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Reviews are very important.  They’re useful for authors sometimes, because some contain helpful information on what an author could have done to improve the story, which can potentially help to improve the author’s next piece of writing.  However, reviews are mostly important for other potential readers, since they tell those readers that someone has read the book, and give some insight in to what they thought about it.

Authors can “like” a review, or thank a reviewer for a good review, if they really insist on interacting with reviews.  But that’s it.  An author should NEVER comment on negative reviews, especially not to disagree with the reviewer.  By all means read them, and privately take note of any constructive criticism contained in them, but don’t comment.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors?

I don’t see anything wrong with author’s reviewing work by other authors.  I’m an author, but I was a reader first, and the same is true for all authors, which means there’s no reason an author can’t assume the role of an average reader while enjoying the work of another author.  Plus, it’s a bit silly to exclude someone from being allowed to review a book just because they’ve written one of their own.  As long as an author leaves an honest review, and isn’t leaving a good review on the work of another author just in hopes of getting one in return, or leaving a bad review because they got a bad review from that author, there’s no problem.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with author’s doing review swaps, as long as they’re done with the understanding that the review should be an honest one based on your opinion of the book in question, rather than one based on how good or bad the review the other author gave you was, if you know what I mean.

I quite often review books, and rate those I don’t review.  Whether I’ve just picked up a book randomly, or have been given a copy by the author or publisher (or both, in the case of most self-published books) in exchange for a review, I always try to be honest in my reviews and ratings, whether the author has reviewed my book(s) or not, and regardless of how good or bad any review the author left for me was.

Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing?

Since I started writing as soon as I learned how to, I don’t think there’s anything.  Honestly, I don’t remember much from the time before I started writing for pleasure, since I learned to read and write early, and was quick to learn the pleasure of writing.  Plus, I think you learn more about writing by actually doing it, and never stop learning.

Although, if you mean before I started writing professionally – in other words, before I started publishing my books back in 2012 – the answer is different.  The thing I wish I’d known then was that an already established online presence would help my writing career, rather than hinder it.  I’m not really sure why I got it in to my head that continuing to blog would take too much time away from my writing.  After all, I’d been blogging regularly – usually at least once a day – for about six years when I published my first book, and had been doing plenty of writing in that time, even if I wasn’t mentioning most of it on my blog.  But I became convinced for some reason that if I wanted to make a career out of writing, I should stop blogging publicly.  I still kept my blog, and posted a few things on it with it set to “private” just for my own benefit, but I stopped allowing others to see my posts, and stopped visiting the blogs of my friends.  Huge mistake! Not only did it cost me several really good friends – friends who I miss, because they were a great group of people – but it also meant I lost several potential opportunities for sales, as well as potential people who might have helped me to spread the word about my books.  I only had my blog private for about a year, but that year was enough time for me to lose touch with most of the people who had been regular readers and commenters on my blog, most of whom still don’t appear to realize I’m blogging again, even though I’ve been doing so for around three years, and am doing so on my original blog, which I’ve now made public again.  I’m trying to reconnect with as many of the people as I can.  Not just for the potential networking opportunities, but also because I miss them.  Unfortunately, success on this front has been limited.  In short, the choice to stop blogging publicly was a bad one, which I regret, both from a personal and professional point of view, and if I’d known then what I know now, I never would have even considered stepping away from the blogging world.

Do you have any unpublished novels under the bed/in a folder anywhere which you thought were awesome at the time, but now will never see the light of day?

Nope.  I mean, I did have some stories that were… Well, let’s just say they needed a lot of work.  I also had several poems that needed a little work.  But I hated to see them go to waste, so I took the time to rewrite them, and later edited and published them.  All I have unpublished now – that I have copies of, anyway – are poems I’ve written since my last poetry collection was published (which will go in my next one) and the stories I’m in the process of writing.  There were probably others that I didn’t get to re-write, but no copies of them exist anymore, since they’ve been lost in moves and computer crashes, and I don’t think it counts if the only record of them is a vague memory I have of having written other stories and poems.

How have you progressed as a writer since you started?

Since, as I said when answering a previous question, I was really young when I started writing, I would hope I’ve progressed a lot.  I know my grammar skills have improved, I’ve learned more about sentence structure, I’ve learned about different poetry styles and tried a couple of them out, etc… All the stuff you learn as you progress with education.  Beyond that, I’ve learned not to assume that because I know something my reader will.  In my early stories, I often assumed I didn’t need to describe things because I knew what they were, but I now know descriptions are important, and not everyone will recognize even some everyday items I take for granted, since different places have different names for some of them, and others aren’t actually available in other countries.  Luckily, I learned about this before starting to publish, so have done my best to take this in to consideration in my re-writes, as well as in my newer stories.

What aspect of writing do you least enjoy? Why might this be?

When it comes to the actual writing process, there’s nothing I don’t enjoy.  I enjoy research too, since I enjoy learning about different things, and if it wasn’t a topic I was interested in I wouldn’t be writing about it, which would mean I wouldn’t be researching it.  The only part about being an author I don’t enjoy very much is the marketing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting with my readers on social media and such, but I hate the part where I have to spend ages doing the posts that are essentially just different ways of saying “please buy my book.”  Unfortunately, since I want to be able to share my stories with the world, I have to do that part as well as the writing and research.  I try to focus more on finding interesting things to share and post about, as well as interacting with others in places where I might get sales, rather than actually posting “please buy my book” type messages, which makes the marketing stuff a bit more fun.  It’s probably more fun for potential readers that way too.  At least, I hope it is.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

The last book I finished reading was a children’s story by a fellow self-published author.  The book’s title was “Oh Grandad!” and the author’s name was Stephanie Dagg.  It was, as I said in the short review I put up for it on Smashwords, an amusing and fun read.  Actually, all the stories I’ve read by Stephanie Dagg have been entertaining and enjoyable reads.

Do you have a favourite movie?

“Practical Magic” and “The Craft” are my favourite movies.  However, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the movie “Frozen” since I first saw it towards the end of last year, so I might have to add that one as a third favourite from now on.

What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book?  Tell us about it.

I’ve got my first ever historical fiction story due out in October, which is a story based on the Battle Of Hastings.  I’ve already written several new poems towards my next poetry collection, so I’ll hopefully have a new poetry collection out next year too.  I’m also working on a couple of other stories, one of which is a Christmas story involving a giant, the others I can’t tell you more about just yet, because I don’t know much myself; I’m a pantser, and I’ve not long started working on them, so right now I don’t know exactly where they’re going, nor even exactly which genre they’ll all be in as it stands at the moment.  Like I said, I rarely know much at this stage myself.  One time, for example, I had a story I thought was going to be a mystery, only for it to turn out to be a fantasy.  Anyway, I’m not yet certain what the future holds beyond that.

If you had to pick five books to have on an island which five would you pick?

I’d rather not be limited on my choice of books, but if I had to pick, I’d want “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl, “Strings” by David Estes, “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and something that will be useful for telling me how to survive while waiting to be rescued.  Either those five books, or just that last one, plus my Kindle and some kind of solar powered charger, that way I could have the time to read all the books waiting on it for me to read them.

How do you think fantasy is portrayed in the media?

Though it’s not always the case, for the most part, from what I’ve read and watched, fantasy is generally portrayed as being a mostly male dominated genre, with vicious dragons and weak women making regular appearances, while mighty men rush in to save the day.  I want to see more vegetarian dragons and strong female characters, maybe with some men needing to be the ones rescued for a change.  Not just in children’s books and movies, but in general.

 

Links etc.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

#3AnthBlast – Three Anthologies Blog Tour

Today I am pleased to be promoting 3 Charity Anthologies. They’re a mix of authors, styles and genres but they are connected – all the authors gave their time and work free of charge and all profits go to good causes.

Three Anthologies to Support Three Great Causes 

Publication Date: October 4, 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Charity: Exotic Feline Rescue Center

What is it about the tiger that so captivates? Or about the jaguar that enchants? Why are we so drawn to the lethal grace of the large feline predators of the world?Get ready to purr, growl and roar along with six paranormal romance authors in this anthology of love and shapeshifting kitties. After reading these six unique tales, from the sexy to the sweet, you’ll be guaranteed to be saying… Here, Kitty Kitty…

* * *

In ‘His Jaguar Princess’ by A. Star, jaguar shifter Selene Peters can’t deny her feelings for the tycoon Lucas King. Somehow, he’s penetrated her barriers and become more than just a client, but loving a human is dangerous and she fears her past repeating itself. Could he help her overcome the past or will she sacrifice her happiness and succumb to it? Not if he has anything to say about it…

In ‘In Our Nature’ by Jessica Nicholls, when Mira’s privacy and independence are threatened, she can be very nasty. Daniel is an expert on American mountain lions. His assistance is requested after an ‘incident’ on Mira’s front lawn. When the two meet, they recognise each other in more than one way.

In ‘Divine Passage’ by Dariel Raye, Kimani, a breeder with the power to preserve the human race, must depend on her guardian, Ahkil, a black panther shifter with more than one reason to distrust humans, but his secrets could change the course of her life forever.

In ‘The Distance Between’ by Mia Darien, she’s traveled thousands of miles, looking for a safe place. He’s brought her thousands of miles, looking to not be lonely any more. But they both have secrets. Can they bridge the distance between, and find what they’re looking for in each other?

In ‘Hannah’s Fate’ by Abigail Owen, cougar shifters have allied into groups, together in a rocky alliance to protect themselves against other shifters. Hannah Keller becomes the targeted Mate for Kyle Carstairs, the treacherous soon-to-be Alpha of another group. Meanwhile, Nick Jensen, her childhood hero and longtime secret crush, has returned home with hopes of claiming Hannah for his own. But will he be in time to rescue her from the Carstairs’s schemes?

In ‘Full Moon’ by B. R. Kingsolver, the full moon can get a girl stirred up, especially with a handsome cowboy paying her way too much attention. If it wasn’t for those damned werewolves causing trouble and getting in the way…

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Publication Date: May 10, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Charity: American Red Cross

Romance can be found among the darkest of times. In this anthology, you’ll find four tales of sweet romance about those who dedicate their time, and sometimes even their lives, to helping others. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
“Cross My Heart” by Abigail Owen
“A Healing Touch” by Jessica Nicholls
“Lesson Learned” by Crystel G. Smith
“Hope” by Mia Darien

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Publication Date: August 1, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Charity: Wounded Warrior Project

Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unalike and inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s what you’ll find in this anthology.
From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar and new!
100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“SARAH” by Lee Pletzers
“The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel
“Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver
“The Twelve” by Mia Darien
“Ghosts” by Christi Rigby
“Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
“My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan
“With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls
“The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith
“A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau
“Slacker” by Doug Dandridge
“The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

 

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Titles: Here, Kitty Kitty / Reaching Out / Bellator
Edited by: Mia Darien
Publication Dates: October 4, 2013 / May 10, 2014 / August 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance / Romance / Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Charities: Exotic Feline Rescue Center / American Red Cross / Wounded Warrior Project

Synopsis

Here, Kitty Kitty
 

What is it about the tiger that so captivates? Or about the jaguar that enchants? Why are we so drawn to the lethal grace of the large feline predators of the world? Get ready to purr, growl and roar along with six paranormal romance authors in this anthology of love and shapeshifting kitties. After reading these six unique tales, from the sexy to the sweet, you’ll be guaranteed to be saying… Here, Kitty Kitty… * * * In ‘His Jaguar Princess’ by A. Star, jaguar shifter Selene Peters can’t deny her feelings for the tycoon Lucas King. Somehow, he’s penetrated her barriers and become more than just a client, but loving a human is dangerous and she fears her past repeating itself. Could he help her overcome the past or will she sacrifice her happiness and succumb to it? Not if he has anything to say about it… In ‘In Our Nature’ by Jessica Nicholls, when Mira’s privacy and independence are threatened, she can be very nasty. Daniel is an expert on American mountain lions. His assistance is requested after an ‘incident’ on Mira’s front lawn. When the two meet, they recognise each other in more than one way. In ‘Divine Passage’ by Dariel Raye, Kimani, a breeder with the power to preserve the human race, must depend on her guardian, Ahkil, a black panther shifter with more than one reason to distrust humans, but his secrets could change the course of her life forever. In ‘The Distance Between’ by Mia Darien, she’s traveled thousands of miles, looking for a safe place. He’s brought her thousands of miles, looking to not be lonely any more. But they both have secrets. Can they bridge the distance between, and find what they’re looking for in each other? In ‘Hannah’s Fate’ by Abigail Owen, cougar shifters have allied into groups, together in a rocky alliance to protect themselves against other shifters. Hannah Keller becomes the targeted Mate for Kyle Carstairs, the treacherous soon-to-be Alpha of another group. Meanwhile, Nick Jensen, her childhood hero and longtime secret crush, has returned home with hopes of claiming Hannah for his own. But will he be in time to rescue her from the Carstairs’s schemes? In ‘Full Moon’ by B. R. Kingsolver, the full moon can get a girl stirred up, especially with a handsome cowboy paying her way too much attention. If it wasn’t for those damned werewolves causing trouble and getting in the way…

Reaching Out
 

Romance can be found among the darkest of times. In this anthology, you’ll find four tales of sweet romance about those who dedicate their time, and sometimes even their lives, to helping others. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross. “Cross My Heart” by Abigail Owen “A Healing Touch” by Jessica Nicholls “Lesson Learned” by Crystel G. Smith “Hope” by Mia Darien

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Bellator
Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unalike and inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s what you’ll find in this anthology. From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar and new! 100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. “SARAH” by Lee Pletzers “The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel “Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver “The Twelve” by Mia Darien “Ghosts” by Christi Rigby “Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker “My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan “With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls “The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith “A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau “Slacker” by Doug Dandridge “The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

 

Giveaway: There is a giveaway for this blast. $10 Amazon/B&N G.C. or a $10 credit at the Book Depository.

2014 – A Year Filled With Words

I can’t believe it will be 2015 in a few hours, where has the year gone?! So what has 2014 brought? Words! Knowledge! Friendship!

It’s too many years for me to confess to since I left university but my thirst for knowledge hasn’t abated. As some of my followers know I love history, especially ancient history. The course https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall Hadrian’s Wall – Life on the Roman Frontier was fascinating. Well presented and interesting this was a good look at life in Roman Britain, and the challenges facing both occupiers and occupied.  There may well be a story from this era…. watch this space.

Next year – January I am hoping to complete another course about Roman Architecture and archeology, and later on the Coursera course about Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’d planned for Book III of the Chronicles to be out by year end, but for one reason or another this hasn’t occurred. It is, however, done in draft so should appear in the springtime. I’ve not been idle, this year has been a year of short stories, planning and promotion.

My books this year:

Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy. This includes a Tale of Erana not featured anywhere else. Coel is the reluctant hero of this tale of slavery and revenge. Look out for Coel again in 2015

Kiss and Tales – the Romantic Collection (with the Indie Collaboration).

Summer Shorts (with the Indie Collaboration) – this includes some poetry about the British Summer Time, and a short story about the Kitchen Imps.

Spectacular Tales (with the Indie Collaboration) – (free) featuring some poetry and a fairy tale retelling.

Tales from Darker Places (with the Indie Collaboration) (free) – featuring some poetry, a dark and twisted story about Jack the Ripper, and a dark tale about a lonely vampire.

Bellator – I have to say I haven’t had that much fun for ages. It was such a joy to be co-writing with Diana Wicker again.  Perhaps these characters might appear again. This charity anthology is raising money for wounded service personnel, a cause close to my heart. Books for heroes and stories about heroes – what a marvellous combination.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – a collection of tales set in Erana featuring errant gods, magic, myth and mayhem – Also in Audio. On the subject of Audio I started running Audio Book Narrator interviews, which were fascinating. For me a whole new world was revealed – a book read aloud is a treasure indeed, it brings forth emotions of joy from memories of parental and grandparental story telling, sitting down at school and being read to, and reading aloud to friends. Story telling is as old as the hills, and is central to our culture.

Wyrd Worlds II – this free anthology features another tale of the Kitchen Imps, plus a short fantasy tale of the god-keeper of a small bluish-green world.

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – new release. A short story of myth and magic set in the world of Erana.

Blog-wise there have been:

18 character interviews with everyone from William Shakespeare, a horse, a dog, several aliens, a few witches and wizards, a couple of demi gods, a vampire and even Satan himself.

42 author interviews covering fantasy, science fiction, suspense, paranormal, children’s fiction, crime and historical.

3 narrator interviews, including Chris Morris.

6 editor interviews.

5 cover designer interviews.

5 reader interviews.

2 reviewer interviews.

Several blog tours stopped by, plus there’s been advice about audio books, Thunderclap, book reviews, course reviews, giveaways, new releases and much more. It has been a busy year!

So what will 2015 bring?

The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III will appear in the spring.

Plus there will be more short stories, including more from the Kitchen Imps, Coel and the Thiefmaster, and more Tales of Erana. Book IV of the Chronicles is in planning, and I dare say more short stories will spring from that. A murder mystery, plus perhaps some more grimdark.

There may also be an erotica collection, co-written with a friend.

Wow I am busy already and the year hasn’t even started!

There will be several guest posts discussing the influence of fantasy on our culture, plus, of course many more interviews. The first of these is scheduled Jan 2nd 2015 from Joe Bonadonna. If you are interested in participating in an interview, a guest post or blog tour stop-off please contact using the form below or on the Contact Details page.

Sale and Event – Light Beyond the Storm and Tales of Erana

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To celebrate the release of Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse, Christmas and the end of the year I am offering money off the Smashwords editions of both novels and Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends.  I’m also running a Thunderclap Event for Myths and Legends.

For those who haven’t experienced a Thunderclap Event they are FREE to set up, and free to participate in. It is simple. Click on the Thunderclap link provided, then chose which of the red buttons to support (Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter) and click them, then share. At the specified date the message will go live, to be shared on multiple platforms simultaneously.  It’s a great way to meet new folks, find new books or events and share the love:)  For more information of Thunderclap please see these articles: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/thunderclap/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/thunderclap-one-users-experience/

Here are the details for the sale: (SMASHWORDS EDITIONS ONLY)

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…
Promotional price: $0.99
Coupon Code: AX98D
Expires: January 31, 2015

AND both the novels for 50% off.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…
Promotional price: $1.63
Coupon Code: HD98R
Expires: January 31, 2015

The Shining Citadel
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view…
Promotional price: $1.75
Coupon Code: FU28E
Expires: January 31, 2015

EDIT – THUNDERCLAP EVENT HAS NOW ENDED.

Anthology Author Interview – Wyrd Worlds – Zach Tyo

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Name: Zach Tyo

Please tell us about your work with the Wyrd Worlds books: I actually reviewed the first edition of Wyrd Worlds on my blog, http://indiebookreviewer.blogspot.com and fell in love with both the concept and all the authors. Each one provided a wonderful story that was thought out and fun to read.

Where did the idea for these stories come from? For my anthology story “My Last Day” I really drew from an emotional place, and tried to convey that. As a father, being helpless to protect the ones you love is a real fear and made it a story that was surprisingly easy to tell.

Do you have any phobias? Though my current occupation forces me to interact with them almost daily, I still have a fear of spiders. Every house spider is a brown recluse, and every small hairy spider is a tarantula.

What have you learned from your experiences with this anthology? Well the main thing I’ve learned is Steph Bennion is a work horse. As a fellow contributor, editor and publisher she put more blood, sweat and tears into the overall work then anyone realizes….hopefully not too much blood though.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Never stop writing. Don’t do it unless you love it. When rejection is up and sales are down, only someone who truly loves the industry has a prayer of longevity. Finally, get a Goodreads.com account, read, and pick the brains of every author who will listen. You can never fully understand the business until you get into it, but the authors on the site can give you the best chance for a positive experience.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? Reading has always been something I’ve been passionate about. The only difference now is what I read. Fantasies were always my “wheelhouse”, which later evolved into thrillers. For the past year, or so, I’ve been reading indies of every genre. I still pick up the occasional Dean Koontz book, but mostly I stick to my indies that I’ve become a fan of. My most recent book is a collection of Poe’s short stories.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews, in your opinion? Honest reviews are invaluable to an author. When you’ve received enough it gives you an idea of what the general public thinks of your writing. As far as a reader goes, at least from my experience, they matter a little less. So many people pay for 5* reviews that now when a reader sees an indie story with a dozen 5* reviews they automatically think that they could not possibly be as good as they seem.

Who are your influences? I take my influences from many of the usual. When I was younger I imagined writing epic fantasies like R.A. Salvatore, and as I grew I feel in love with Dean Koontz’s style of sprinkling supernatural traits into thrillers. Now that I’m actually writing, I find myself taking a lot of inspiration from Poe.

What can we expect from you in the near future? I recently released my first book The Reaper’s Opus which is a short story collection following mortal’s interactions with the Reaper at the end of their lives. I’ve currently been working on my next book that follows a man working at a private hospital for plague victims.

 

Sunday Surprise

Here’s my latest author spotlight – hurrah!

Barbara G.Tarn - writer

d40388e226a77c7ce70c8ceee77644540f223979_resizeDid you support her Thunderclap? Yes? No? Well, she’s back anyway. She was already in Wyrd Worlds, but she’s also in Wyrd Worlds 2. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back A.L. Butcher!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Bristol, in the South West of the UK. It’s an historic city, John Cabot sailed from Bristol to America, Isambard Kingdom Brunel built bridges and railways here, and there has been a settlement in these parts since the Stone Age.  

When did you start writing?

At school, same as everyone else…. Seriously though I assume you mean storytelling? I was always an imaginative child, I was the one writing the poem/short story for the school display or off somewhere in my own head. I’ve written poetry for as long as I can remember and stories almost as long. OK, a fair few were best not…

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Tales from Darker Places – Horror and Dark Fantasy Anthology – Indie Collaboration

 

darkerplacesFRONT

I am delighted to announce the publication of Tales from Darker Places – the second horror and dark fantasy anthology by the Indie Collaboration.

The book is a mix of work from authors familiar and new and will be, as are all the Indie Collaboration works, free. At least when Amazon catches up!  The mission of the Indie Collaboration is to share the work of up and coming authors in bite sized chunks, gaining recognition for the authors and sharing a taste of their work with readers.

Usually my work is fantasy, but for this anthology I have included a story about Jack the Ripper, the infamous Victorian serial killer. It is half based on fact – the death of the victim, the time and the situation are real but the killer’s identity is conjecture.  It was not easy to write, nor is it easy to read. The Autumn of Terror was a truly terrifying time for the citizens of London in 1888, especially the poor.  There is also a poem which is a companion piece to the story.   Both are dark. So Many Nights, So Many Sins is vampire tale of darkness and defiance.

The entire volume is not for the faint of heart or the squeamish but the tales and poems are varied and there is something to suit lovers of the dark and deadly.

Authors included in this volume:

Donny Swords:

Dark Places

The Cleansing Bar

Sandra

A Chance Meeting?

Chris Raven

The Worm’s Head Manuscript 

The Sham

A.L Butcher

Jack is My Name

A Blade in the Night

So Many Nights, So Many Sins

Moonlight

Alan Hardy

Double

Adam Bigden

Where?

Dani J Caile

A Day in the Life of a Zombie

Payback

 

Amazon Link http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Collaboration-Presents-Chilling-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ODS3HQY

Paperback link http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Darker-Places-Collaboration-Presents/dp/150272913X

Curl up with this shivery Halloween anthology.

 

darkerplacescover

 

Character Interview Number Twenty-Seven – Arael – Fantasy/YA/Children’s Books

Name (s): Arael

Age: 9

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. “Tall, with red hair, green eyes, and pointed ears.”

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? “All elves have a moral code.  We care for our world and the creatures who live in it, and do what we can to protect both.  The elders believe this includes killing those who threaten it with their harmful and disrespectful behaviour, but I personally believe that killing is never the right thing to do.  I know for a fact that there are many other elves who agree with me.  It is unfortunate that these elves are not among the elders who write and enforce our laws.”

Would you kill for those you love? “I do not think so.  I would most certainly try to avoid doing so, and would hope that I was strong enough to stick firmly to my beliefs that killing solves nothing even when placed in such a situation.”
Would you die for those you love? “Perhaps.  Though I hope I shall never need to find this out.”

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? “I have given this some thought, but I still have no idea.  I think it is common to struggle to admit to your weaknesses, and I do not feel that anything stands out as being a strength where I am concerned.”

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? “The person I am closest to is my identical twin sister, Derwyn.  We have rarely been parted throughout our entire lives so far, and we are best friends as well as being siblings.”

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? “I love all animals; we elves generally do.  We have no pets, since we do not believe in forcing animals to be kept in cages.  Animals should be free.”

Do you have a family? Tell us about them? “As I already mentioned, I have an identical twin sister named Derwyn.  As I also already mentioned, we’re very close, and we’re best friends as well as being siblings.   I have no other siblings.  My Father is the elven king, and my Mother his queen.  This, as you might imagine, means they are often quite busy and have little time to spend with Derwyn and myself.  When we are a few years older and it is time to prepare us for the day we will rule, they will pay more attention to us.  In the meantime, my sister and I have a governess, who is responsible for both our education and our care, though she is generally so relaxed in her observations of us outside of lesson time that we can escape for hours at a time without her noticing.  This is how it works if you are a member of the royal family, though I dare say the governess is supposed to be more observant than she is.  I am unsure whether it will be Derwyn or I who take our Father’s place, but I hope it will be her, since I feel she is better suited for the task.”

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? “I was 5 years old the first time that I saw a human find his way in to our world through one of the magical doorways.  I watched him be killed for the crime of being a human.  I had seen no sign of violence from this man, and yet he was killed.  I felt it was wrong, but when I confronted my Father he just told me the stories of the old wars as though this made it acceptable for the human to be killed.  I swore that day I would do all I could to avoid it happening in the future.  I have since discovered that many other elves feel the same way about it.  This is why we did not report it when the human child, Polly, entered our world.”

Do you have any phobias? “I fear that the elders will turn us in to violent beings with their law that humans should die for simply entering our world.”

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. “I can not swim very well.  With the lake separating our tree town from the mainland we elves are taught to swim at an early age.  But I just can not get the hang of it.  I can just about keep myself from drowning, but that is the best I can manage.  My sister, Derwyn, is a strong swimmer, like almost every other member of the elven population over the age of 3.  But not me.  It is one of the few ways we differ.”

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. “My world has no religion.  We care for animals and nature, because you have to care for your world if you wish to live a healthy life in a healthy world, and especially if you wish to leave a healthy world behind for your descendants to survive in.  But we do not believe in any God, Goddess, or other spiritual being.”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? “Elves are free to travel where they wish in our world, though being the elven princesses my sister and I should officially not travel out of sight of the tree town unescorted.  Nobody would dare to stop us if we revealed who we were, but we tend to wear plain clothes when we sneak out.  The only people who would dare to stop us if they recognized us would be our parents, and they are generally too busy to notice unless we are gone too long.  Oh, and our governess, though it generally takes her some time to notice we are gone unless we miss lessons.  The only time we travelled very far was when we went with Polly to look for the purple pumpkin.  Every other time we have remained within a couple of hours walk of our home.  It was only our knowledge of geography from our lessons that allowed us to easily know which direction to take with Polly.”

Name and describe a food from your world. “Most of our foods are just like those from the human world, but we do have a couple that are unique to our world.  I shall name and describe my favourite berry.  It is called a silbery, and is a very sweet fruit.  As the name suggests, silberries are silver.  They look just like silver strawberries, and taste like a cross between a strawberry and a kiwi fruit.”

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? “I have read that many people believe that elves are magical.  This is not the case.  There were once magical elves, just as there were once magic users in the human world, but they are all gone now.  There are still some magical items in our world – such as the purple pumpkin – and those items can be used to perform magic.  The purple pumpkin, for example, grants wishes.  As for how magic is viewed in our world… For the most part people do not think about it.  We know the magical items exist, but until we need their magic we spare them very little thought.  There are also the magical doorways, which appear randomly to connect our world to other worlds.  These are viewed as being very dangerous, due to the risk of being stuck forever in a world that is not your own, and are usually avoided by any elves who see them appear.”

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) “We have both a royal family and a council of elders.  Officially it is the king and queen who rule, but it is common knowledge that they make no decision without the approval of a majority of the council of elders.”

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? “The only race in our world is elves.  Once other races shared our world, but after the great wars they were banished, and none visit now.  A few humans have strayed in to our world through the magical doorways, but since humans were the cause of the great wars all those years ago, any human who enters our world is put to death.”

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.“The most well-known legend is the legend of the doorways.  The legend says that there was once an elven wizard with so little patience he poured his magic in to the soil in which he had planted seeds to make them grow immediately, just so that he could avoid having to wait for nature to do the task in its own time.  His attempt worked, but it had an unexpected side effect; it created ripples in the universe that created magical doorways to other worlds.  But these doorways were unstable, and those who found them and passed through them found themselves trapped in a world that was not their own.  Sometimes people would search for years before being lucky enough to stumble upon another doorway, and there was no guarantee it would be one back in to their own world, since it could lead to another world entirely.  These doorways allowed other races to enter our world, and many stayed, and were welcomed at first.  But when the humans’ numbers grew they wanted to claim the world for themselves.  The result of which was the wars known as the great wars, which led to the elven population shrinking considerably, and all other races being banished from our world forever.  Legend says each race was sent through a different doorway when one appeared next, starting with the humans, and that those races each claimed a world for themselves.  Most of us avoid the magical doorways now, but sometimes curious humans will stumble through a doorway, and from the first time this happened it has been the law in our world that any human entering our world should be put to death, since they were the cause of the great wars that divided the races and worlds.”

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? “We have no technology, and there is nothing I could not live without that nature does not provide.  As long as I have food, water, and shelter, I can be happy.  Though, of course, I would prefer to also have my sister, Derwyn.”

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. “The answer depends who you ask.  Some would say that it does, because they would consider elves to be mystical beings.  However, since elves are the only humanoid race that populates our world, we do not consider ourselves to be either supernatural, mystical, mythological, or any of the other words I’ve heard are used to describe us in other worlds.  So, as far as we are concerned, it does not.  However, others may disagree.”

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? “I think that the most important discovery is the purple pumpkin, since without it Derwyn and I would have had no chance of saving Polly before the elders learned she was in our world.”

***

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

Arael is one of the main characters of the story “Quest For The Purple Pumpkin” in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology.  Get your copy at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/478114

Author name: Victoria Zigler

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Author Interview Sixty-Seven – Barbara G. Tarn Revisited.

I’d like to welcome back author Barbara G.Tarn

 Please recap briefly about your books: I’m the prolific writer who keeps putting out 25 titles per year, but sometimes it’s rewrites of old stories, sometimes it’s translations and only a third is brand new stuff.

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news! This year’s new stuff is about the Assassins Guild of Godwalkar, first mentioned last year in Saif’s Legacy and now in my Wyrd Worlds 2 story Guisarme. The other stories will come out between October and December.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I went to Loncon this year. I felt even more invisible than at Chicon. The fans aren’t aware of us – or maybe the Worldcon is for old people who are not aware of the ebook revolution – so we’ll never be nominated for a Hugo, unless we sell a short story to a traditional market that would put us in front of everybody’s eyes. The worldcon is still traditional publishing kingdom at this time, unfortunately. Hopefully things will change soon! 🙂

Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing? I started writing longhand on a notebook long before the internet! What I see now with new writers is lack of patience. They want to get rich with one or two books. They don’t write because that’s a way of life. I could stop publishing (which is something I’ve started doing in the new millennium), but I’d never stop writing. And I’m grateful things are changing in the publishing world, allowing little me to put my work out there!

How have you progressed as a writer since you started? I’ve learned some writing techniques and can now write fluently in two languages (saves the money of translations in this global world, LOL!). I also learned to reduce my casts and move slower (some of my old stories read like summaries with dialogues), showing more and telling less, although I’m still not too fond of descriptions. I have a dry prose because that’s why I like to read.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? As long as you have fun, anything goes. Nobody knows the perfect recipe, so experiment with what you’re comfortable with. A friend of mine asked if blogging is still necessary. I don’t know, I do it because I enjoy doing it. When I won’t have anything left to say, I’ll stop. As for social networks, I use only Facebook and Goodreads, but your mileage may vary! 😉 Oh, and my #1 rule for marketing is “write the next book”! Announce the birth of your latest baby and go back to writing, without obsessing with sales!

What are your views on authors offering free books? It might work to spread the name… I’ve given away free POD books. Two I donated to a bookshop, and 4 that I didn’t sell at Loncon I improvised a UK-only Goodreads giveaway. I have only a couple of free e-titles, though. Free e-books don’t work as well as they used to (but I’m getting rid of all those dead tree books, LOL!).

Do you have a favourite movie? Nope. But I have a cinematic writing. I write down the movies in my head (hence the virtual casting) and often take inspiration from movies.

What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book?  Tell us about it. Already written: the Assassins’ Guild of Godwalkar. Waiting for the betas, then I’ll revise and send off to the editor/proofreader. Expect something in October as a taste, and the rest between November and December.

Give us a bit of information about your primary character(s). The protagonist throughout is Kilig  I’m not sure yet in which order I will release them, but one part is about him and Saif, the other is about him and Hakeem, Saif’s son that you’ve met in Saif’s Legacy. He’s an assassin and a loner, but he did fall in love – twice. First with the father, then with the son… He lives in the interesting times of the birth of the Varian Empire, also explored in other books of the Silvery Earth saga (namely: Books of the Immortals – Fire)

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/character-interview-number-twenty-three-kilig-the-sword/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/wyrd-worlds-ii-an-anthology-of-science-fiction-and-fantasy/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/author-interview-number-fifty-two-barbara-g-tarn/

Links etc.

blog: http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barb-aka-Barbara-GTarn/175559797281

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4717133.Barbara_G_Tarn

Author Central http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-G.Tarn/e/B0050P0R2G

Where to find everything (although the i-bookstore link seems to be broken):

http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/where-to-find-my-stuff/

Silvery Earth (adult unconventional fantasy): http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/silvery-earth-chronology/

 

Wyrd Worlds II – An anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Last year I was delighted to be asked to participate in the Smashwords Authors group anthology Wyrd Worlds, a collection of speculative fiction from some of the new talent, and established talent on the Good Reads site. We had such fun putting together the free anthology decided to do it again! Thanks to Steph for her support and hard work and to Ross for the cover art.

This year a few more authors got involved and the talent ranges from Steph Bennion, who once again organised and edited the book, to Victoria Zigler author of children’s fantasy.  There is quite a mix of stories, mine include ‘The Joy of Socks’ part of the Kitchen Imps tales. It may well explain where socks go in the washing machine. The other is ‘Free Will’, a tale of the musings of a god as he watches the small blue-green world he cares for. There is something for everyone in this anthology, young and old.

This ebook contains a bumper 19 short stories from 17 independent authors from around the world, encompassing a wide range of science fiction and fantasy. Here lurks tales of the future, steampunk and time travel; of magical realms and fantastical deeds; and of things so weird they defy categorisation. The original WYRD WORLDS rode upon a new wave of indie collaborations; and now we’re back! In this anthology you will find:

HORIZON – KIRA: PART 2 by Ross Harrison – It was just her and a boy, alone. Kira had to concentrate on keeping him alive.

THE VISITOR by Neil Shooter – Time is relative. On an ordinary blustery British night an extraordinary visitor comes.

A WORLD TAKEN OVER by Douglas Schwartz – He had conquered the world. How much more effort was it going to be to unconquer it?

THE JOY OF SOCKS by A.L. Butcher – The imps knew what they wanted from the Bringer of Offerings…

THE COLONIAL PLAGUE by L.L. Watkin – It’s been years since Missra was executed and now her soul is shut away, but being the most powerful magical healer of her generation gets her out of the box occasionally…

HUMANITY WAS DELICIOUS by Ubiquitous Bubba – Imagine you were the werewolf who ate the last human. What will you eat now? More importantly, how are you going to get off this alien ship?

MY LAST DAY by Zach Tyo – Disaster awaits the Earth, yet an unexpected gift brings joy.

GUISARME by Barbara G. Tarn – Members of the Assassins’ Guild can be as honorable as anyone. They might be trained to kill, but they’re just people with loved ones to protect and avenge.

ROCK OF AGES by Steph Bennion – Letters from the past were hidden for a reason. But breaking into the secure facility was child’s play compared to an unexpected family reunion…

THE DINER by Michael Puttonen – Sometimes a life lived hasn’t been lived at all.

HOMELESS by Neil Shooter – Winter didn’t end, but his world has. Is he completely alone? In a world gone cold, what can keep the spark of life shining?

GY by Peter Lean – The Book was the knowledge that could open the door, but the worlds had been separated for a reason…

IRREVOCABLE by L.J. Hick – He did not accept finality. All he knew was that he had to change the impossible.

POISONED GROUND by Laurel A. Rockefeller – Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar must find the cause of a mysterious plague of illnesses before it is too late for the city of Nan-li…

SASHA AND THE COLLARED GIRL by Stan Morris – The man was willing to trade his prized possession, but she was already lost.

QUEST FOR THE PURPLE PUMPKIN by Victoria Zigler – A glittering surprise in the woods leads Polly to another world, where just being human is punishable by death…

FREE WILL by A.L. Butcher – The other Grand Wizards thought Leonardos eccentric, indulging the little World Marble like a favoured child…

AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE by Clark Graham – A tabloid journalist discovers his outlandish stories just might be true.

CHANGING EVERYTHING by Josh Karaczewski – Two men set out into one of America’s roughest neighborhoods as one piece of a grand plan to change everything…

For now it is only available on Smashwords – Free – but will shortly appear on Amazon and all the Smashwords premium stores.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/478114 (Smashwords Link)

http://www.wyrdstar.co.uk/books/wyrdworlds.html (Website for Wyrd Worlds II)

http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/wyrd-worlds-ii.html

http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-wyrd-worlds-ii-gang.html

Wyrd Worlds II