Indie Blog Party Reading, Reviews and Recommendations posts 5 and 6.

Indie block party smallDon’t tell anyone but I am going to cheat and post 2 activities for the Indie Block Party as one post. Activities 5 and 6 are to talk about current reading and to recommend our top 5 books, seemed sensible to me to post them together.

I like to read, I always have and my tastes are fairly wide. Reading is a great pleasure and a great privilege for it is only reasonably recently that woman and common folks have had the opportunity to be literate, and it is still the case in many places people cannot read because they are simply too poor or have not the education to do so.  A couple of hundred years ago it is unlikely someone like me, who would not have been from a high-born family would have been educated.

Reading is something taken for granted in the Western world but not everyone likes or is able to read even in the relatively prosperous West. I cannot imagine that part of my life being missing.

So WHAT is it I am reading now and what have I just finished?

I have just finished I, the Sun  (author Janet Morris) – a historical biography recounting the life of King Suppiluliumas, King of the Hittites, which was absolutely amazing! Here is the link to the review https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/review-i-the-sun/

I cannot praise this book highly enough, although it is not for the faint-hearted. I spent quite a bit of time looking at websites about this king, his family and the Hittites and am hoping to find the time to get back into studying history. History teaches us about the past, it teaches us about the future and it teaches us about ourselves.  One thought which occurred to me when I was reading was 3000 plus years on and that region of the world is still at war, still unsettled, and although the battles now are fought with different weapons and slightly different reasons unrest still rumbles around like thunder in the hills.

Being the sort of reader who has a couple of books on the go I am also reading ‘I never knew that about the English’ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2743680-i-never-knew-that-about-the-english which is a lighthearted book full of interesting facts about English counties, famous folk and buildings. It is easy bed time reading and quite informative with a paragraph or so about each entry.

The product description on Amazon is this: ‘A wonderful miscellany of great stories and interesting facts about the English’. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Knew-About-English-ebook/dp/B0038LB3ZO

Kindle-wise I am about to start http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13417663-marlowe-and-the-spacewoman which is the Indie Club group read for August. I will post a review when done.

What am I planning next? One of my reading challenges for this year is to reread the complete Cadfael series of which I have read 10 to date, next in  line is ‘The Pilgrim of Hate‘ but as I have one of the three book-chronicles I may read all 3 . http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Fourth-Cadfael-Omnibus-Chronicles/dp/0751503924

For anyone interested in these who is not familiar Cadfael is a 12th Century Benedictine monk residing in Shrewsbury and solver of mysteries. The stories are relatively formulaic but the period of history, the civil war between Empress Maud (Matilida) and King Stephen for the throne of England is an interesting backdrop and an integral part of the books. Certainly worth checking out for lovers of historical mystery.

I also have a LONG list of fantasy, a fantasy to beta read and another, equally large pile of historical fiction.

The second part of this post are my top 5 recommendations…only 5! How do I choose!

1) Lord of the Rings

2) The Count of Monte Christo

3) The Phantom of the Opera

4) 1, the Sun

5) Schindler’s List.

Indie wise – Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade by JD Hallowell

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15829015-dragon-fate

The Dreamweaver’s Journey – By Diana L Wicker (YA Fantasy)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16133339-the-dreamweaver-s-journey

Viridis by Calista Taylor (Steam Punk Erotic Romance)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12520769-viridis

Indie-wise is much harder but I think thus far the War of the Blades series (Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/review-of-dragon-fate-and-dragon-blade-by-j-d-hallowell-fantasy/

My reader interview can be found here: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/my-reader-interview-alex-butcher-blog-host/

For anyone following the Indie Block Party Event posts to follow will cover social media and writing tips.

Indie Blog Party Post 4 – Author Interview Allie Jean

Indie block party smallThe fourth activity in the Indie Blog Party is to have an interview with a neighbour in the block. I am very happy to chat with Allie Jean, author of Supernatural Romance.

Author Bio: Allie Jean was born with an overactive imagination. She spent her childhood inventing stories and telling tales. Her mind never shut down, even while she slept. Vivid dreams containing extensive, elaborate plot lines of good overcoming evil villains captured her nightly visions, lingering into her waking hours and filling the pages of her well-loved bounded diaries. She was encouraged by her parents, even at a young age, to write down her tales, and it has remained a somewhat secret hobby. As a busy wife, mother and critical care nurse, Allie’s love of storytelling has been reborn through the adventures of her unforgettable characters. 

Please tell us a little about yourself. I am a registered nurse in a local ICU. I have been a writer since I was very young. With the encouragement of some very good friends of mine, I entered my novel into a competition hosted by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House and was offered a publishing contract for my series. The rest is history.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write a New Adult Supernatural Romance series featuring Chantal Breelan, a girl who has suffered horrific nightmares throughout her life. She was taken from her family at a very young age and doesn’t remember much about her past. She suffers from anxiety due to the dreams, and confides in a shadow that is shaped like a man that sits in her room late at night. She is scared to sleep so feeling like someone is there watching over her gives her comfort. Until the dreams become real, and the shadows reveal a whole new world and the secret to her legacy.

Where can readers find your book? Amazon, Barnes & Noble internationally. Also at through the publishing house, iTunes, Kobo…

How long have you been writing and what made you choose the genre in which you write? I actually write multiple genres, but my favorite is the young adult/new adult supernatural romances. I love the genuine love stories that have to make it through tough times. And I love what this genre has done for the young teenagers today because it has encouraged more readers. Hollywood seems to love this genre as well, if the box office titles are anything to go by.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? Chantal actually suffers from a lot of the dreams I had as a child. I had night terrors up until I was about 12 years old, and I thought what a better way to use that experience than to make my own series out of it. LOL

Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? Obviously winning the competition and being offered a contract was pretty awesome. I’d have to say that going through my first edits left me doubting myself as a writer. But it was like giving child birth. All the hard work pays off in the end.

With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? Yes, the house offers paperback versions of our books. I actually prefer a book rather than my kindle because I like the feeling and smell of the paper. It is hard to have a success in sales with paperbacks when the e-book is so much cheaper.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I do a little of both. I’ll put on a movie and watch it sometimes, or watch my kids swim in the pool while I write. Just depends on what I have going on in my life.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Books are fuel for the imagination!!! Movies and video games are based on someone else’s imagination, and I love how I can make up the characters in my own mind while I’m reading. I do think it’s cool to see characters come to life on the big screen sometimes, with some exceptions.

What advice would you give new writers?  Write how YOU see it. I was given that advice by author Cassandra Clare and it has helped me so much in my writing. I visualize what scene I’m writing, like on a movie screen, and I write what I see.

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? Mostly I stick to books in my own genre because I love the romance and enchantment of it. But I do travel outside every once in a while.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Um, I’m double jointed it my shoulder. I can rotate my arms without moving my hands.

If you are having a sale, new book release do please mention it.  Book #2 of the Dreamer Series will be out this October.

If you would like to check out Allie’s book or author pages please look here:

Author Contact Links

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

TWCS

About.Me

Website

Buying Links

Amazon

TWCS

iTunes

Barnes & Noble

 

Indie Block Party – Post 3 – Work in Progress.

Indie block party small One of the activities suggested for the Indie Blog Party was a brief mention of our Works in Progress. As some of you may know my second novel – The Shining Citadel – was released at the end of May. I had hoped to release it before but due to personal circumstances, including the death of my mother from cancer about a year ago work on that book was delayed.

There was also the matter of changing the ending…which of course means subsequent ideas also have to change.   I am not a planner, I am a ‘pantser’ so more often than not the stories go the way they want to go. I see the beginning and the end but the middle is negotiable, this is within the over-reaching story arc which lives in my head and pokes me at inconvenient moments. Thus book 3 has been tricky. The initial idea I decided was not workable (after about 10 chapters) so I shelved it to work on at a later date in a different guise. Then I came up with this awesome idea…which isn’t… That one may become a short story but until I can work out the holes it goes to live in the “misbehaving story” folder.

So book 3 – well after much contemplating, bouncing ideas around with my sounding board I have found a way of making my original plot for book 3 work. At least I hope so. Book 3 doesn’t yet have a title and is very much a work in progress but IF all goes according to plan will follow on from the events of The Shining Citadel, in the quest for allies, knowledge and magic. Archos and Dii will not feature so prominently but they will feature, and may well have some excitement themselves during the course of the main story. The plan is to follow the adventure of the trolls, Talfor (who was an important character in book 2),  and his his sister Mirandra, who must undergo a rite-of-passage to prove her worthiness to lead her tribe. Of course the adventure is not going to be straight-forward and what they find may have profound influence on later events. The trolls have a complex culture, matrilineal in nature and this will be explored in a world which in many places male dominated.

Book 2 left a few threads untied and these will be picked up in later books, and I am planning some short stories with minor characters both new and established so they should be fun.

I am also working on a collection of short erotica stories the first of which should appear reasonably soon. So if this is to your liking look out for announcements.

Both poetry and short fantasy stories will appear in the next month or so in a couple of anthologies, one of which is a charity event to raise money for a premature baby charity and one which will be a free anthology from a collection of fantasy and sci-fi authors who publish on Smashwords. Again please look here for announcements.

I have just published the large print edition of Book 1 via createspace and book 2 will be along soon. The formatting is …rather fickle so it is taking longer than I anticipated.

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/the-light-beyond-the-storm-chronicles/

 

Indie Block Party…Character Interview.

Indie block party smallOne of the suggestions for activities for the Indie Block Party was a Character Interview. It was hard, believe me. I wasn’t sure which character to interview, not wanting to end up with spoilers and poor Dii’Athella has had such a difficult life it didn’t seem appropriate.

So here is an interview with my main male character – Lord Archos of Tremellic.

Archos is a mage, and a powerful one. He is quite old (how old gets revealed in book 2) and certainly doesn’t look his age. He is handsome, with long grey-flecked blonde hair, storm-grey eyes and the rest… well find out for yourself.

What was your life like growing up?

I was born during a time of great upheaval, the Plague was rife and the Order of Witch-Hunters imposed martial law. Needless to say as my father was a sorcerer and I was a Skychild we were hunted. I always knew who I was and was not ashamed of it, but even with our wealth life was often difficult. I recall more than one occasion when we had to flee with little more than the packs we could carry. We were very lucky in our friends and allies. Yet no family was left untouched by the wars and the darkness which covered the land. Kin and friends risked their lives to shelter us and some paid the price.

How would you describe your personality? I am the Lord of the Storm, my moods reflect that.

Who are your closest friends? Olek, my faithful Olek. I found him in a condemned cell and his skills were useful to me. More than that he is shrewd, loyal and a close companion. There is nothing with which I would not trust him. He would die for me and I for him.  We have been friends for many years and he has taught me a great deal. I recognise talent and potential, Olek is a very talented thief and assassin but he is also clever. He will put up with my moods uncomplaining, will offer advice when it is needed but unwanted and still care enough to risk my wrath. I am not an easy man to live with. Of course there is my beloved Dii’Athella but more about her later.

Who do you love? My beautiful Dii’Athella, my pretty flower. I loved her the moment I saw her image, the moment I felt her magic.  Even after such a terrible life she is kind and gentle, clever and brave.  My beautiful elven girl makes me a better man.

Who do you hate, and why? I hate the Order of Witch-Hunters and I hate slavers. The Order take life simply because a person happens to be an elf, or born with magic. All they do is for the Order not for the population at large but they hold the people in so much fear their rule is law. Slavers, foul traders of flesh. Destroyers of family, they take people for gold, treat them worse than cattle. The hatred within me burns but they will fall. Erana will be free.

What do you collect? Magical artefacts, books and antiques. I try to preserve what I can from the old world. Lore and history are our past. So much has been lost, and so much taken. That which remains should be protected.