Dirty Dozen Author Interview – L L Thomsen #Meetanauthor #Fantasy

Author name: L. L. Thomsen

*Please tell us about your publications.

I write character-led high medieval fantasy with a good slash of epic. I am working on a series titled, The Missing Shield – originally one large book that has been split into 11 episodes in order to make the workload more manageable. The 8th book (titled: All in a Day’s Work) is out now, and I am currently working on book 9. What you get in my books is lots of flawed characters that you may not feel quite sure about in the beginning. There’s magic, mystery, darkness, crime, plots, romance, backstabbing, manoeuvring, different races, and an end-of-the-world kinda deadline & quest.  I enjoy painting an immersive picture of the world I write about, so expect lots of depth and world-building. I try not to hold back and I try to write as close to real life as I can get. I also wanted to write something a little different from the mainstream so the story has quite the lyrical slant, but it is written with an adult/mature market in mind. This is not YA.

What first prompted you to publish your work? To begin with I wasn’t really sure that I would publish. I started writing my high fantasy book as I somehow got inspired – but it was always just something I considered a pastime whilst the kids were babies and I was at home anyway. Then I realised that I was getting more and more passionate about the job and I felt that I ought to publish at the end of the day because I wanted to share my work with an audience and I wanted to award myself by proving that I could complete the process.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Going it alone. Everything was a learning curve. Particularly when it came to figuring out the Amazon instructions and uploading my manuscript. Formatting is not as straight forward as I always imagined it to be. Furthermore, once you’re on the other side, and have successfully published your book, I cannot believe how difficult it is to get anyone to even look your way. I guess I never really got the ‘build yourself a social media following’ – I’m a little too private and old school.5 book promo picture.jpg

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Be tenacious! I knew it would not be easy, but I gave up on finding myself an agent way too soon and in return, it left me literally on my own with the whole load. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a freedom in being your own boss and maybe that’s partly why I went my own way so soon, but having said that, I think there’s lots to be said for getting yourself aligned with someone who’s on your side, has your best interest at heart and who knows the business: where to go, how to do it, and when.

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat. I’d love to treat my character Solancei to a meal – she’s in for a bumpy ride and I think she deserves some TLC. I’d also love to quiz her about everything that happens and the world she lives in.  I know a lot (wink – of course) but there are always secrets! I think we’d have pizza and wine, and I’d try and stop her from killing me for writing her such a hard, complicated destiny.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

For me there is no question of ranking these in order. They are each an integral part of the book you write and I feel that the author should pay equal attention to each.  Since I write fantasy – and epic at that – I’m very much for world building because that’s a must for the genre, but that in itself is nothing if it’s not backed by the other three.  What’s a good plot with flat/un-inspiring characters and vice versa? A technically perfect book is what we all strive for (as in a professional end-product) but I do believe that the interpretation of ‘perfection’ may vary depending on who you ask. Also, it may be technically perfect, but what good is that if the readers cannot engage with the story or the characters. It’s the snake that bites its own tail. It must come full circle.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I research as and when. It may be just a small thing like the components of a saddle or the belief system of various ethnic groups. I try and keep it factually correct even though I write fantasy – this means that even if the herb is made up, I’ll still look up how to brew tinctures for headaches, for example – or I might watch a YouTube video on sword fights.  The most extreme I’ve looked up will probably be stuff to do with injuries and the effects of various weapons/conditions.

How influential is storytelling to our culture? I think it’s hugely influential but maybe not through the original media anymore. I do feel that we love a good tale, whether it be a story is reported in the papers, or how TV channels adapt historical events to create entertainment.  We are always looking for something to catch and hold our interest – particularly after the rise of social media – and stories speak to us. They help us feel part of society and may sometimes even give us a sense of belonging too.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Keep at it.  Keep growing and developing.

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Don’t write your story like that – write it like this.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Maybe a phoenix. I like the idea that you can rise from the ashes and be reborn.  That you can try again.

Tell us about your latest piece? Around 6 weeks ago I released my 8th book in The Missing Shield series. It carries on from number 7, where one of my main characters – the rather naive and slightly annoying Princess Iambre – has decided to try and locate her missing friend and bodyguard despite her security chief and beau having told her that she must take heed and leave it to them.  In book 8 she finds herself alone and lost after a string of unfortunate events almost killed her and worse – but as luck would have it, she finds the very place she’d been looking for.  She wants to attend a clandestine meeting that might shed light upon her missing friend and now follows a series on incidents that has the Princess quaking in her boots.  Nevertheless she is reunited with certain other characters only to learn some devastating news.  However, before she can process this, she and her group are betrayed and they must flee or fall into the very hands of the enemy they are investigating and fear.

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

I’ve found that indies are very much considered ‘the second-hand citizen’ of the author world. It’s unfair but I guess that the indie route has given rise to many poorly executed books – and unfortunately people remember the bad ones far longer than the good ones. I’ve talked to readers who do not consider indie books ‘real’ works of writing. Fortunately, there are also those who have delved into the fray and have found gold, so swings and roundabouts. The common reason that readers list for not wanting indie works are: poorly formatted, bad grammar, no edits or badly edited, homemade, cheap covers, poor storylines, rip off storylines, over-priced, they should be free…

I think it worth mentioning that it’s not always because the indie books are not worthy that they have not been traditionally published. Agents are very fickle with what they are looking for (and rightly so).  In 9:10 times you need an agent to approach a publishing house, so it does mean that some decent manuscripts may be overlooked because the agent may feel that they are in the market for ‘something else’. It cannot be helped, but readers rarely see that side of the industry.

Links

llthomsen@themissingshield.com

https://www.amazon.com/L.-L.-f/e/B07B8K4J6S

https://books2read.com/u/47xdvR

https://www.facebook.com/linda.thomsen.12979

https://www.facebook.com/themissingshield/

https://twitter.com/LLThomsen1

https://www.instagram.com/llthomsen/?hl=en

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/llthomsen7589/

https://www.goodreads.com/LLThomsen

 

Bio

Armed with a love of fantasy, a slightly geeky mindset, and an unleashed wild muse, L. L. began the new journey into writing relatively late in life but was inspired by her long-repressed urges to write ‘something’ – and once she began, she never looked back.

“I regret I took so long to find my ‘calling’. The truth is that when you have an idea it just has to be set free,” she says, adding, “My somewhat unorthodox approach to style and flow has been a way for me to test my personal, individual voice. It’s a fluid thing, however. In the future, it might alter to match the shape of new projects.”

Linda currently lives in the UK, Nottinghamshire, with her husband, two kids, a cats and one dog. As with her writing, she approaches life with a nod to the saying: ‘fear nothing, respect everything’. She enjoys horse riding, sci-fi movies, travelling, reading fantasy (but not exclusively), Pilates, and has a strange fascination with swords.

Her first published fantasy novel, ‘A Change of Rules’, kick-starts the 11 ‘episodes’ of The Missing Shield – a new adult high fantasy series, with a touch of mystery, intrigue, romance and darkness. ‘The Missing Shield’ is the forerunner to ‘The Veil Keepers Quest’ series.

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Swift Six Author Interview – Simon Williams – Sci-fi/Fantasy/Specfic

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Name: Simon Williams

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?

I guess I’ve always been attracted by escapism, something that I think is more important than ever (for the sake of one’s sanity) in the age in which we live. The fantasy and sci-fi genres allow for a broad template of speculation and imagination which I think is unparalleled.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?

Probably the advice I received a while back, to do my own thing and be master of my destiny rather than to try and write books that I think publishers might want. I think for an author finding your true voice and writing according to that (in other words, writing what you feel you’re best at and which you feel happiest doing, rather than trying to chase some rather nebulous commercial tail) is essential. Luckily I decided about seven years ago to do just that.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose?

I think I’d choose a character from one of my books (either Nia or Vornen, from the Aona books). If I chose a famous person I’d probably spend the whole time worrying about not being interesting enough to hold their attention at all. Whereas, meeting your creator… you’d hope that would be interesting for characters. Or maybe not…

 Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?

Authors as diverse as Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Tad Williams, CJ Cherryh and others – it’s difficult to pick one, but the author who made me decide I had to follow this curious path was Alan Garner, when I was aged about 9 or 10.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?

I think it obviously affected sales at first, but there will always be people (myself included) who prefer print copies. In fact I believe sales of print copies of my new book have been slightly higher than Kindle versions so far, which is a pleasant surprise.

 Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

I’ve been meaning to read Clive Barker’s Great & Secret Show and Imagica for a while so it would be a good opportunity to chill out and be absorbed in his unique universe for a while. I think the other might be CJ Cherryh’s Chronicles of Morgaine, which I read as a teenager and loved.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

I’m a UK-based author of fantasy, science fiction and horror (usually a blur of all three in one form or another). I wrote the five-book Aona dark fantasy series which is now complete, and YA fantasy / sci-fi adventure Summer’s Dark Waters, followed by its sequel The Light From Far Below, which was published in Spring 2018. I also write short stories on occasion although not that often, and compiled some of these into Disintegration, an anthology I brought out a few years back.

I try not to be bogged down by the limitations of genre and often start books from scraps of ideas and dreams, concepts and characters. Somehow, sooner or later the whole thing gels into a more cohesive plot and I work from there. I think strong, multi-faceted characters are essential and endeavour to make them central to whatever I happen to be writing.

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

The Light From Far Below is the sequel to my YA fantasy / sci-fi adventure Summer’s Dark Waters. It’s set a year and a half after the events in the first book and things have moved on for the two central characters, Joe and Amber. So has the world itself. It’s difficult to go into detail without giving too much away but this sequel is more epic and darker in tone and deals with some of the uncomfortable truths about humanity – all seen from the eyes of two young teens.

 

Links

The Light From Far Below:

 Amazon.co.uk

 Amazon

UK Amazon Author page

(US): Amazon author page

Social media

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @SWilliamsAuthor

Goodreads: Goodreads

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Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Charles E. Yallowitz

Author name:  Charles E. Yallowitz

 My two biggest publications are Legends of Windemere and War of Nytefall.  The former is a 15 book adventure series that takes place in the fantasy world of Windemere.  I published the final book in December and I’ve just released the first volume of my vampire series, which takes place in the same world.  Both series have plenty of action, humour, and colourful characters.

 

What have you found the most challenging part of the process?

As strange as it sounds, I find the most challenging part to be the later editing stages.  I’m always having a blast with outlining and writing the first draft, but I’ve found that I hit an odd mentality when I’m doing my 3rd or 4th readthrough.  I begin making changes for the sake of making changes, which makes it difficult to do a true editing run.  So, I guess the biggest challenge is my own insecurity and doubt here.

 

 Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

 75% plotter and 25% pantser.  I used to be more of the former, but I realized that so many of my character bios and outlines didn’t survive the first draft.  So, I come up with a general idea of what I’m doing and key points that I want the plot and characters to hit.  Everything in between is up to what strikes my fancy while I’m writing.

 

 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 used to think the Perma-Free idea was a mistake.  Not that it demeaned the author or the work, but that it didn’t serve a purpose.  It wasn’t until I sat down to think of ways to help promote my own series that I realized a free Volume 1 could help get people into the rest of the books. Creating a low or no risk introduction is a great way to attract readers, especially those who might not normally read your chosen genre.

 

 How do you deal with bad reviews?

 I eat an entire cartoon of ice cream and yell at myself in the mirror.  Kidding since I can’t do that without making myself sick these days.  I read the bad reviews to see if there are any good points that I can use to improve myself.  If not then I shrug, talk to a few friends about it, and move on.  You’re not going to please everybody, especially in this business.

 

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

 This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  I’m going with Great Characters, Awesome World-Building, Good Plot, and Technically Perfect, but they’re all coming in very close.  I think the first three on the list influence each other too much to really put one above the other.  A good plot can stem from a great character while helping to forge an awesome world.  With the technically perfect part, you do need to get close to that, but I think you’ll also always get someone pointing out mistakes.  Then again, I’m a Present Tense Third Person author, so my entire style is sometimes called a typo.

 

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

With my fantasy books, I don’t do a lot of research beyond monsters and weapons that exist in the real world.  Most times, I find myself looking things up in the spur of the moment because a scene doesn’t feel believable.  This happens a lot when I have a character who uses poisons or I’m trying to make a monster act like a certain real world animal.  As far as the wildest subject, I’ve had to look up a lot of anatomy to see if a character will survive certain blows and to make sure a villain that enjoys torture knows what they’re doing.  With that second thing, you’d be surprised how quickly it can go from cringe-worthy evil to groan-inducing comedy.

 

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

 I think it’s more influential than people realize.  We run into stories every day that cause us to think and act in response to them.  It isn’t always a grand tale of adventure or the in-depth story of a real event.  Some stories are nothing more than a person telling you about their day.  They might not have the same impact as a fantasy adventure, but people who listen will walk away with something new in their heads.  That can lead to changes in the culture, especially if the story reveals an area of society that needs to be worked on.

 

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

Rip Van Winkle because I could use a good night’s sleep.  Seriously, I think I’d like to be a griffin, but the more docile kind that will allow people to ride on their backs.  That way I won’t be seen as a threat and I can still fly around whenever I want to.  As much as I hate heights, I like the sense of freedom that I feel when I imagine flying without a plane.  Almost like you’re part of the world, but still isolated with your own thoughts until you return to the ground. Typing on my laptop might be rather difficult, so I’d have to go with a human who can transform into a griffin.

 

What is your writing space like?

 I switch between two writing areas because I don’t have a designated spot to call my own.  One is sitting on my bed with my laptop and notebooks while the other is the dining room table.  The second choice doesn’t have as much privacy as the first, but it’s easier on the back.  I’m hoping to have an office one day, but I work with what I can get for now.

 

Tell us about your latest piece?

 My latest work is called War of Nytefall: Loyalty and it’s the first volume of a new series.  It takes place in the magical world of Windemere like Legends of Windemere, but a few hundred years earlier.  The Great Cataclysm has just struck and changed the entire world, including transforming a vampire named Clyde.  Having been buried for fifty years, he has returned to discover that his people have been in an endless war against the hunters and sun priests.  It is not long before Clyde realizes that the strange events that buried him also gave him unique powers. He no longer loses his strength in the sun and physical strength that surpasses even the vampire nobles, which he fears will make him a target.  As he fights in the war alongside his old friends, he starts to uncover more changes, including one that kicks of a vampire civil war between the Old World Vampires and the newly arrived Dawn Fangs. As with my previous series, there’s a lot of action and colourful characters to drive the plot along.

 

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

 I think there is still a stigma about indie authors being of low quality and it might never go away.  Many readers think indie authors refuse to edit or are so unskilled that no publishing company will touch them.  A lot of people also look at the indie author scene as easy money and crank out a simple book to make a few bucks, which seems to get more attention than the majority who take the trade seriously.  Those who are sceptical of the self-publishing world will always point to the lower quality works as examples of the whole too. It really comes down to the exposure one has to the indie scene and where the majority of attention goes to.  If the community is painted in a negative light then the stigma will remain, but if you have a positive reputation then it will go in the other direction.

 

How important is writing to you?

Writing has been an important part of my life for a long time.  It’s how I relax and what I love to do.  If I’m not working on a full-length book then I’m fiddling with my outlines.  Some days the only time I feel like I have any control over things is when I’m writing, so it acts as a stabilizer in a way.

Links:

Blog
Twitter
Facebook

Website

Amazon Author Page

Bio

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action.

The Immortals Bundle #Fantasy – Preorder now!

On Pre-order now! The Immortals Bundle

Monsters, Myth and Mayhem Vol 2

 

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Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

Featuring:
The Goddess Problem by Sherry D. Ramsey
Glamour of the God-Touched by Ron Collins
A Man and His God by Janet Morris
Unnatural Immortal by Russ Crossley
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
Walking Gods by Leah Cutter
Rainbow’s Lodestone by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Brainjob by David Sloma
Silver Dust by Leslie Claire Walker
Vale of Semūin by Eric Kent Edstrom
Fate’s Door by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by Barbara G. Tarn
The Legend of Oeliana by A. L. Butcher
Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart by Ezekiel James Boston

 

Fiery Bird

 

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.

New Release – More Than Human Bundle #fantasy #boxset #multiauthors

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Hurrah it’s here! I’m pleased to present the More Than Human Box Set! 11 Tales from a variety of authors. Look out for features from the ‘Bundle Rabbits’ coming soon.

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/more-than-human

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0751Z8YKK/

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/more-than-human-10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/more-than-human-a-l-butcher/1126995921?ean=2940158967016

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36098690-the-more-than-human-bundle

To save. To guard. To heal.

Beloved people, precious things, and sacred spaces move our hearts and inspire us to defend them.

In these tales of redemption and rescue, more-than-human heroes stand forth as champions to protect all that is worthy of protection.

Walk with these elves, imps, wizards, dryads, gods, and guardians as they subdue demons, free the enslaved, preserve the world, comfort the exiled, and cross swords with the dark. Read and revel in their triumphs and tribulations.

Kitchen Imps Bundle Rabbit Ad

The Shining Citadel – A. L. Butcher

Technological Angel – Barbara G. Tarn

Needle-Green – Debbie Mumford

The Cartographer’s Daughter – Karen L. Abrahamson

Serpent’s Foe – J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Crystal Courtesan – Karen L. Abrahamson

The First Book of Old Mermaids Tales – Kim Antieau

The Guardians – Book 1 – Don Viecelli

Love Apidae (A Recumon Story) – Michael R. E. Adams

The Flat Above the Wynd – Alexandra Brandt

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – A. L. Butcher

More than Human coverfan

Book Spotlight – Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin – Fantasy for Kids

THREE GHOSTS IN A BLACK PUMPKIN Synopsis

 

Spooky and funny, a heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children. Nikki and her impish cousin, Jack, find a mysterious black pumpkin in the forest on Halloween. A wise talking skeleton, Wishbone, tells them that the ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped inside the pumpkin and can’t be freed without their wands. The children offer their help, so the skeleton takes them on a journey to the world of Creepy Hollow to retrieve the three wands he hid long ago in Red Crow Forest, the Tower of Shadows, and the Cave of Spooks. Ghoulina, the beautiful vegetarian ghoul, and Catman, who was once a man, join them on their quest. They must face danger and conquer evil every step of the way as they search for the Wands before the wicked Hobgoblin and his henchman, a Tasmanian Devil, can get their hands on them. This is a fun, humorous and touching story for kids, with plenty of character interaction woven into a backdrop of scary danger, heroic action and lessons to be learned.

REVIEW QUOTES FOR THREE GHOSTS IN A BLACK PUMPKIN

“I had such fun reading this, it’s a while since I’ve read a book written for children, and I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of sophistication there is, while still maintaining a tale suitable for the younger reader. The characters leapt off the page, acted naturally and, this is important for me as a reader, I felt for them, cared for them.”

Author Lucinda E. Clarke

“The authors, Erika Szabo and Joe Bonadonna, share a great talent and imagination when it comes to write children’s stories. They take kids and young teens on a magical reading journey that will keep them glued to the pages. I recommend this book for young teens. It is the perfect story for Halloween time. It’s like Cool Whip on pie!”

Children’s author Mary Ann Vitale

“Three Ghost in a Black Pumpkin: A Creepy Hollow Adventure by Erika Szabo & Joe Bonadonna is a Halloween Howling Hit! I loved this action packed scary tale from beginning to end and it will certainly engage young readers at home or school. This is book one in a series and I am already wondering what ghoulish adventures await this heroic team. As a teacher, I look for books that teach a good lesson and this one will not disappoint. I recommend this book for home or school libraries for children from ages 6 to 12. I gave it 5 Howling Halloween stars!”

Children’s author Janet Balletta

ERIKA’S BIO

 

“Erika became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to her dad who introduced her to many great books. Erika writes alternate history, romantic fantasy, magical realism novels as well as fun, educational, and bilingual books for children ages 4-12 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them.”

Erika’s website:

http://www.authorerikamszabo.com/childrens-books.html

JOE’S BIO

“Much like Erika, Joe’s dad introduced him to books, as well as movies and music, at a very young age. He was encouraged to write as soon as he could hold a pencil. While Joe writes mostly Heroic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror and Science Fiction for an older audience, he decided to reach out to a younger audience and write something entertaining, as well as educational. This is his first collaboration with Erika, and his first children’s book.”

Joe’s Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonna/e/B009I1KYIK/

 

Buying link for THREE GHOSTS AND A PUMPKIN

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XPHL9NZ/

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Fantasy and Sci-Fi in our Society Guest Post – Thomas Barczak

I haven’t run one of these for a while so I’m delighted to post this so early in the year. Tom Barczak writes some great fantasy, and he knows what’s what in the realms of imagination, magic and monsters.  So welcome to the first guest post of 2017.

Welcome Thomas Barczak – Author of “Mouth of the Dragon – Prophecy of the Evarun” by Perseid Press.

Writing from my desk in Norman, Oklahoma

 It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? I would agree. But I think some of that is unavoidable. Much of science fiction includes space travel, or at least reference to it. Fantasy has dwarves and elves. Where a fantasy author can get into trouble, is when they don’t try to expand the definition of it. Tolkien broke great ground with his work. It’s so easy to limit one-self to what he did. The publishing industry, even Amazon, has categories that, I think, it’s too easy not to stray away from.

 With “Mouth of the Dragon” and “Prophecy of the Evarun” as a whole, I didn’t want to do that. I have always tried to listen to the story, and let it tell me its own legends and its own myth. There are no dwarves. There are no elves. There are dragons and wizards, but again, they are something entirely unto themselves and unique to this mythology. Smaug has no place in it. Nor does Dumbeldore.

 So then the question becomes, how do you create the mystery without those elements we depend on so much? Like I said, it’s easy to be lazy. It’s not hard to convey mystery walking into an elvish kingdom. It’s a lot harder without them.

 With “Mouth of the Dragon”, I depend on language and culture to show mystery. Go to another country where you don’t speak the language. It will be an adventure. No elves required.

So I guess the question for the author should be, “What does fantasy mean to me?” For me it has always been the story, the hero’s journey. A good story doesn’t need anything else. Even Tolkien, if you took away the fantastic, the hero’s journey would still be there. Where fantasy gets a bad rap is when authors depend on the fantastic instead of the story.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? Great question. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, no.

There is a great fantasy book by a wonderful author, set in a medieval fantasy world. In it, the young hero goes into his room and gets a pair of socks out of his dresser drawer. The author wrote what he knew and he killed it for me. In the real world, peasants didn’t have dresser drawers or probably even socks. Leggings in a wooden box would have been more accurate. Now maybe in this world they do, but that then becomes the responsibility of the author to say that to me. But he didn’t and it pulled me right out of the story.

Another thing that kills me is how everyone has 20/20 vision without any vision correction. Me, I wear glasses. I’d be eaten by a bear in a week. Then again, maybe that’s why there are only people with 20/20 left. I actually addressed that in a short story about a young, almost blind, girl, called “Forged”. The story is in a book called Heroika: Dragon Eaters, published by Perseid Press. The story challenged my writing, having to explain how she saw the world through a veil, and one that was completely normal one to her.

Fantasy and science fiction used to be seen as very male-oriented, do you think this is still the case. Do you have any experience of this? I’m glad to see it changing. I have several strong female characters leads in “Mouth of the Dragon”. The story required them. So I guess I hope that that’s be ok. It certainly is with me. The challenge as a writer, of course, is that it challenges just about every stereotype that you could possibly have. Makes me a better writer, and I daresay, I think it makes me a better man.

 What are some myths in YOUR society/cultural identity, how are they perceived and why are they important? Why have they endured? Well, it seems that much of what I write is about death and rebirth. I don’t know how much culture I have. I’m ½ Polish, ¼ English and ¼ Irish. I grew up in Oklahoma. I’m Catholic, which probably carries more weight than any of that. But probably my two greatest influences have been my own bottom and subsequent recovery, and the death of my daughter. I believe these two things have probably shaped who I am, and what I write, more than anything else. Double negative warning, but it can’t not affect what I write, and how I see what I write.

Death and rebirth. You can’t have one without the other. I can’t. It’s part of who I am.

“Mouth of the Dragon” is a dark, epic, and redemptive fantasy. It’s probably the darkest piece I’ve ever written, but the whole crux of the story depends on this one thing called hope, and faith, and trust. I really believe you have to have the redemptive part. You have to have the shadow too, but without the light. I mean really, what’s the point?

 The whole point of fantasy, I believe, is, and has always been, to give us a vision beyond our circumstances.

 Alex, thank you so much for having me on your blog.

 Mouth of the Dragon on Amazon

Tom Barczak Author Page for Veil of the Dragon

Happy New Year and Sod Off 2016

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2017 🙂

2016 was an odd year. The Grim Reaper was busy taking the great and the geniuses and politics went insane.

Some of the notable losses from the genius-pool were:

Carrie Fisher (actress/writer), Prince (mega musician), David Bowie, George Michael  (musician), Richard Adams (author), Vera Rubin (astronomer), Debbie Reynolds (actress), Zsa Zsa Gabor (actress), Berhard Fox (actor), Peter Vaugh (actor), Ronnie Corbett (comedian), Victoria Wood (comedienne), Terry Wogan (veteran broadcaster).There are lots more…. Wiki 2016 deaths:(

Of course many ordinary folks passed on too, some known to me (such as our neighbour, my friend, and Rich M – an author friend and good guy.  I’m not sure why but the losses this year seemed to weigh more heavily than ever before.

I’m not sure about you but I felt there was an air of uncertainty and fear. In Britain, there was a referendum to leave the EU, and many people were surprised and disappointed by the result. I know I was. Whatever one’s thoughts on that ‘Brexit’ (and I REALLY hate that term) is on the cards and the racists and bigots have once again crept out from under the rocks they inhabit. Of course, not everyone who voted to leave has right wing views, and many people voted in accordance with what they thought would be the best for themselves and the country. That said, the potential backlash and the potential instability was not well approached by the elected, or indeed the electorate.

And the US – well that is a whole different level of weird. Seriously? Him? Why? Whether or not you’re a supporter of that person, and I’m definitely NOT in that camp, the election result has sparked a great deal of unrest, and uncertainty both with the USA and internationally. Along with the ever-increasing terrorist threat humanity (at least in the West) appears to be edgy, suspicious of neighbours and former ally and former enemy, and not thinking through actions and decisions.  Either that or the moron apocalypse has started.  You know something – just because some other folks have a different god (or same god with a different name), or have a different skin colour, or sleep with someone you don’t approve of – it DOESN’T MATTER. The world will not end because of gay marriage, religious discrepancies, skin colour, or someone interfered in someone else’s election/government etc. It MIGHT very well end due to people being ASSHATS to one another. People are people. When it comes down to it we are all much the same.

Some days I wonder if it’s all some complex and twisted novel or game to amuse and entertain some alien or higher power with a warped sense of humour. But if it WAS a story would anyone believe it? Basically -SOD OFF 2016 – we’re done with you.

OK, so that’s enough of the politics for now.

What has 2016 delivered for me in the way of writing, and research?

Books:

Shining Citadel – second edition – which brought a few changes, another edit and a tightening up here and there.

The Kitchen Imps – The first in the Fire-Side Tales Collection of short, humorous fantasy tales for all the family. Available in e-book, print, and audio.

Shattered Mirror – A Poetry Collection. I’d been toying with the idea of releasing the poems for some time. Many are introspective, others inspired by current or recent world event, and a few are miscellaneous. Poetry is hard to sell and it is a bit of a niche market. That’s not why I write it (which is just as well). Poetry helps me order my thoughts and emotions. For me – it’s a way of looking at the world, and the foolishness therein.

Echoes of a Song  – This is the first in the Legacy of the Mask series. A short public domain work based on Phantom of the Opera. Phantom was and is the love of my life. I first saw the show and read the book many many tears ago and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Echoes was actually written some while ago but I only decided to publish this year. It’s dark, tragic and emotional. Don’t expect a happy ending…

The Watcher – Rewritten piece based on Jack the Ripper for the charity anthology Boo! Fore! Again this is pretty dark (as you’d expect) and rather disturbing but it IS a horror anthology.

Course in Ancient Egypt- Coursera

Diploma in Social Media Marketing – Shaw Academy

Short Story Writing Course

Also started using Hootsuite (which is GREAT).

I read 60 books (and some re-reads). Good Reads reading challenge Don’t ask how many I bought.

Actually, that’s not a bad haul for 12 months – considering ill-health (thank you Fibromyalgia), building work, day job and the general stresses of life.  I’d hoped to get a bit more of Book IV done but I go where the stories take me.

It’s been a pretty active year on the blog – lots of interviews, reviews, advice pieces, spotlights and more.

Soooo what’s the plan for 2017? I say plan but I don’t really do plans it’s more a general meandering in the right direction.

At least one Tales of Erana novella from the two I have in progress;

Working on Book IV;

Release of Shining Citadel in audio (imminent)

Adult fantasyesque sexy fun book as from my alter ego (more about that soon)

Hopefully another Heroika anthology piece (assuming it’s accepted).

Website

Newsletter

I plan to be more consistent with promotion (and less distracted by facebook)

Formatting course, and (hopefully) some freelance work. I’m not going to say too much about this now but there MIGHT be some expanding of the skill set in 2017…

I have several over Udemy and Coursera courses lined up too. – Including learning Latin, various writing and history courses, and some more marketing.

I’m planning to write every day. Even if it’s 5 words…

2017 – I’m coming to get ya

Heroika Dragon Eaters Anthology Interview with Beth W. Patterson

A great interview with Beth W Patterson – one of the Heroika authors.

Legends of Windemere

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromo

Welcome to Beth W. Patterson and Thérèse Naquin. Hope everyone enjoys the questions and check out this new release.

Character Questions

Who are you?

My name is Thérèse Naquin, but they call me Pichou. (That means “wildcat” in Creole.)

Where are you from? (Tell us about it).

I am from St. Landry Parish in Louisiana, not too far from a little town called Grand Prairie. It’s not a big city, but there’s lots of stuff to do. Hunting, fishing, playing Cajun music, going to dances and to the bingo games are what the grownups like to do. Some of the old people still speak French. I like it because ther are other children to play with, but if you want to be by yourself, it’s safe. And there are plenty of snakes, turtles, frogs, and lizards.

Tell us about dragons in your world.

There was only one that I ever…

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