Book Spotlight – Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – Fantasy/Bundle

Here Be Monsters

Title: Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse

Author: A. L. Butcher

Genre: Fantasy/Mythic/Dark Fantasy/Short Stories

Main character description (short).

“I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.

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

In a land of forbidden magic, a mysterious cave holds both riches and danger for three adventurers who discover a mighty treasure and a terrible secret.

 

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse Excerpt

© A. L. Butcher

On the nights when the moon rose to its fullest, its light a silver sheen upon the roof of the Great Hall, a terrible monster came. His voice was like the rasping of flesh on a blade, his countenance blighted and ugly, twisted like melted flesh with great weeping sores and a putrid smell. Many warriors had tried to vanquish this foul creature, and now their bones lay with the prince’s in the barrow to the east of Eadsham, the settlement that had been forged by blood and toil by the first king, Aedwin. Widows were aplenty and many children made fatherless from this awful beast. Doors were bolted and barred, and not even the lord himself dared to face it. Such was his shame.

The king grew ever older and wishing to marry a man of bravery and honour to his daughter messengers once more rode out north, south, east and west in search of a hero, one with the fortitude to face this cursed beast, as they had done so many times before. On a night when clouds covered the moon’s light and rain fell in drops the size of marbles, the sky was rent with lightning as a great human warrior rode to the gates of the village. “I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.

“We have slain creatures from nightmare and beasts that made grown men piss their drawers. Your curse will be lifted if the price is right!” His band nodded, for their rates were high indeed so that only lords and kings could afford their blades.

“No weapon forged by man can vanquish it! You’ll simply earn your place in the Hall of the Dead,” someone called.

Saelth looked around for the one who had spoken. “Then I shall go to the Halls of the Dead a hero, not one who cowers behind the table, or beneath the bed. I am no coward, nor simpering woman. Nothing is all powerful, or unable to be vanquished, save the gods.”

Why should readers buy this book?

The Warrior’s Curse is a tale of greed, adventure, monsters and the price of magic, set in a dark fantasy world. But it’s also a tale of people, their weaknesses and what some will do for power. It is a story within a story, as we start with a group of adventurers plundering a cave and learn of dark deeds and unholy bargains.

If you like mythic style fantasy, fast-paced adventure with a twist then you’ll love this.

Warriors Curse

Links etc.

Universal Link – all the major e-book stores)  https://www.books2read.com/WarriorsCurse

Amazon.com audio http://amzn.to/2Ei0EGe

 

Print

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1534782052/

The Warrior’s Curse also appears in Here Be Monsters

books2read.com/HereBeMonstersBundle

boxset Monsters

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Sorcha #Fantasy #Mythic

Welcome; SORCHA

Scorchas heart.jpg

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Within your culture what is the political structure?

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

  • What is your greatest fear?

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

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

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

  • Tell us about your family?

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

  • Would you die for those you love?

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

  • Do you believe in magic?

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

  • What is your greatest skill/asset?

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

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

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

  • What do you think of your author/creator?

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

 

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

Also appearing in  Mythic Tales

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Links, short author bio…

 

Website: http://debbiemumford.com/

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

Newsletter: eepurl.com/bTXLhX

 

Bio:

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

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

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Author name: Ron Vitale

*Please tell us about your publications.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sort these into order of importance:

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

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

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

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

Robert Heinlein’s five rules are:

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

I find rule #3 to be really hard.

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

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

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

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

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

Ahab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Links:

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

Ahab’s Daughter – Amazon

Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries

Ron Vitale - Secret Witch Diary

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

 

Tales of Erana Series by A. L. Butcher @libraryoferana #fantasy #shortstories #SFF

Hurrah, here is my book series spotlight for Tales of Erana.

Also now in print on Amazon, and arriving in the associated stores soon.

 

Book Spotlight – Rogue- Tonya Coffey- Fantasy #Bookspotlight

Title:        ROGUE

Author:    TONYA COFFEY

Genre:   FANTASY

Main character description.   A WARRIOR, SISTER AND A VALKYRIE

Synopsis:

CLYTIE, A VALKYRIE, FINDS HERSELF QUESTIONING ODIN’S ORDERS WHEN PSYCHE COMES FOR A SHAPE-SHIFTING PANTHER, STORM. HE RESCUES CLYTIE FROM A GIANT AND SOMETHING INSIDE OF HER CHANGES. A SPARK IGNITES, TRIGGERING AN EMOTION VALKYRIES ARE FORBIDDEN TO EXPERIENCE. FOLLOWING HER NEW FEELINGS, SHE TURNS HER BACK ON ALL SHE KNOWS TO BE WITH STORM. HOWEVER, SHE KNOWS IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE ODIN PUTS A PRICE ON THEIR HEADS.
ODIN FURIOUS WITH HIS VALKYRIE FOR DISOBEYING HIM, AND PROVING THE WELL RIGHT, ACCEPTS THE WAR IS COMING AND CLYTIE WILL BE THE GODDESS WHO DETHRONES HIM, UNLESS HER SISTER STOPS HER FIRST.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

THE VALKYRIE STOOD SILENTLY IN THE SHADOWS. HER VIOLET EYES PEERED THROUGH THE NIGHT, VIGILANTLY WATCHING FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HER PREY. THE CRUNCH OF WEATHERED BRANCHES, UNDER THE FOOT OF A HEAVY CREATURE, CAUGHT HER GLARE. THE SHADOWS WEAVED IN AND OUT OF THE DARKNESS, OPENING FOR A FIGURE TO PULL FROM THE CLUTCHES. THERE YOU ARE.

THE VALKYRIE’S SLIM FINGERS GRIPPED THE LEATHER HILT, READY FOR THE BEING TO STRAY IN HER PATH. THE STEPS GREW INTO THUMPS CAUSING THE EARTH BENEATH HER BOOTS TO SHIVER. THE BEAST SLICED THROUGH THE MOONLIGHT WITH HIS MASSIVE FORM. A BALD HEAD WITH A GROTESQUE SCAR WHICH WRAPPED HIS SKULL FROM MOUTH TO EYE AND A SIX-FOOT AXE WAS CASUALLY TOSSED OVER HIS BROAD SHOULDER.

THE SIGHT OF THE AXE MADE HER WINCE. I DO NOT LIKE THOSE. IT WAS AS LONG AS SHE WAS TALL. SHE NARROWED HER EYES AT THE BEAST, REFUSING TO LET IT WIN. SHE WILLED HER HEART TO STEADY, AS HE MOVED DIRECTLY INTO HER PATH. SHE DREW HER BLADE FROM THE LEATHER SHEATH ATTACHED TO HER BACK AND ATTACKED.

rogue

 

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

IT’S AN EPIC FANTASY ABOUT A GIRL WHO WANTS TO DO HER DUTY AS A VALKYRIE BUT FINDS HERSELF CONFLICTED WHEN A SHAPE-SHIFTING PANTHER CATCHES HER EYE.

Links etc.  Rogue on Amazon

https://www.goodreads.com/TonyaCoffey

coffeytonya.wixsite.com/tonya-coffey

 

#Bookspotlight #fantasy

Cover Reveal – Rogue – Tonya Coffey

Clytie, a Valkyrie, finds herself questioning Odin’s orders when Psyche comes for a shape-shifting panther, Storm. He rescues Clytie from a giant and something inside her changes. A spark ignites, triggering an emotion Valkyries are forbidden to experience. Following her new feelings, Clytie turns her back on all she knows to be with Storm. She knows it’s only a matter of time before Odin puts a price on their heads.
Odin furious with his Valkyrie for disobeying him, and proving the Well right, accepts the War is coming and Clytie will be the goddess who dethrones him, unless her sister stops her first.
Publication date will be September 27, 2016
Size: 6×9
200 pages
Trade paperback
Price: 9.99
rogue_cover_for_kindle

Back Catalogue 5 – Tales of Erana Interview

Originally published here: http://www.jeffreycollyer.com/#!Author-Interview-AL-Butcher-Tales-of-Erana-Myths-and-Legends/dr2ze/55b8f04a0cf27acb2d8bddd2

Today I talk to A.L. Butcher, author of the collection of short stories, Tales of Erana:Myths and Legends.

 A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, the Tales of Erana series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history

 and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

 A.L. what made you decide to publish a novel?

 The short stories came from lore and legends created for the world of my novels. They are mythic in style – similar to fairy tales or old-style legends. The original idea for the characters and world came from a mix of an idea I’d had for a while for a fantasy/mythic world and a character I had for a roleplaying game. Put simply I had a head filled with stories which wanted to be born.

Where do you get your inspiration to write?

 Everywhere. Nature, history, myths, and things I read and see. I tend to get bursts of inspiration at the most inconvenient times, like in the bath or at work.

 If you could pick just one phrase from your writings to preserve for future generations, what would it be?

 Magic has its price and that price was war. Other tribes coveted the Relic, gift of the Lady of the Sky, and so fought the tribes of the Jagged Peaks, staining the rock with blood and even poisoning the streams. In the infancy of the world the mortal races were young and foolish. Some remained so.

 Why have you chosen this collection for your spotlight?

 I think the Tales of Erana series is a great way to highlight the world of Erana. I love myths and lore; these focus on the magic, the legends and other more minor characters in the world. I’d love to get more people to read and listen to the Tales of Erana, they are short tales and can easily be read over a lunch break or on the train so are a good introduction both to the fantasy genre and the setting. The lyrical prose reflects a time of fireside storytelling and great heroes.

The novels are more…adult and unsuitable for younger readers.

 

Where did the ideas for these stories come from?

From the lore surrounding the world creation.

Different authors have differing approaches to writing.  Some prepare very detailed plot outlines before they begin on their first draft, while others have a much looser outline and like to see where the story leads them.  What was your approach with Tales of Erana?

 I’m definitely a pantser! I have an overarching plot for the series but the individual books and stories lead me along. For the short stories I usually have a vague idea of what I want but it is vague. Either the story ends up working – or it doesn’t.

Was there any part of the stories that surprised you as it appeared on the screen in front of you? If so, can you tell us about it?

 The ending to Moon on the Water. It’s not an especially happy ending. Essentially it’s a story of war, love and revenge but it started out as a totally different story.

 Some readers of fantasy like end-to-end action, while others prefer a greater emphasis on the personal journey of the main character(s).  Where would the stories in the Tales of Erana sit between these?

 Individual stories range from more action less ‘journey’ to the other way around. Moon on the Water is tale of forbidden magic, love and the war they bring; The Tale of Treyna the Beloved is the story of how the sun and moon became separated in the sky and the arrival of night and day in Erana – basically you could call it a creation myth of sorts. There’s not much action in that one – it’s the ‘journey’ of the elder gods; Storm Born is a lonely mage’s journey to create a companion – and the aftermath; The Legend of Oeliana is a tale of love, vengeance, magic and broken promises – it’s one of the tales which gives hints for later ones; the Blue Phial is a coming of age tale of a young apothecary. Overall I’d say these lean towards more ‘journey’ than action. That said one of the other tales in the series – Tale of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse is pretty much all action.

Are there any underlying messages hidden within the stories (e.g. life lessons, commentary on society, religion, etc) that you’d like to share?

 The world of Erana is a world of myth, magic and monsters. It’s a world where half the population are enslaved, magic is forbidden and the land is run by martial law. There isn’t an intended message, except perhaps hope. There is always someone to fight for those who cannot defend themselves. And the world will be what it will be – despite the people on it.

 Authors can grow quite attached to some of their characters, and sometimes that attachment can be with minor characters who maybe don’t have a big part to play in the novel.  Are there any characters from Tales of Erana who you’d like to explore in more depth?

 In the paperback collection (Tales of Erana: Volume One) we find Coel – an unwilling hero thrust into a situation beyond his control. He is not a bad person, but he does have to do potentially bad and dangerous things – although in the end for a good cause. Coel will appear in a later book/novella. At least I hope so – he’s fun. (He also appears in Nine Heroes.)

And finally, how influential do you think fantasy is in today’s society? 

 I belief it is at the core of our cultures. Western Civilisation has a basis in Ancient Greek and Roman culture, not to mention Nordic, Judeo-Christian and many others. Whether or not one is religious it is easy to see the heroic/mythic/fantasy elements. Example – I’m British, we have St George, several other saints with mythic backgrounds, dragons, fairies and, of course, King Arthur. We have a great tradition of storytelling, and fantasy authors too. From an early I was told fairy tales, fantasy stories about sentient kitchen equipment, and I read CS Lewis, Lewis Carole, and many others.

 Thanks very much for your time A.L. I wish you all the best with your various stories from the world of Erana.

 You can purchase Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends in various formats from the following links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/

http://www.amazon.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

http://store.kobobooks.com/

And on Audio Book

http://www.audible.com/

http://www.amazon.com/

http://www.audible.co.uk/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – Free on Kindle

Until 19th July Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse is free on all the Kindle sites.

This short tale within a tale is a mythic story of monsters, revenge and unwise bargains.

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse.

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY

http://www.amazon.de/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.fr/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.it/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.es/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.nl/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.in/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.co.jp/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

http://www.amazon.ca/Tales-Erana-Warriors-Alexandra-Butcher-ebook/dp/B00QZ7PVWY/

Greek and Roman Mythology – Course – Review

Greek and Roman Mythology – Coursera

Greek and Roman mythology is fascinating, in many ways it is at the core of many Western traditional stories.  Even today we are enchanted by such tales of heroes, monsters, errant gods, and the goings on of those far removed and yet ever close. Hercules, Odysseus, the Trojan horse, Oedipus, and much more. The terms have fallen into modern usages – An odyssey denoting an epic journey, a Herculean task, a Trojan horse for a gift which is not all it seems.  Such tales spawned others – and in many ways influence modern heroic fiction.

I’ve studied Classics in the past – although it was more for the historical perspective and so this course really appealed.  I’ve also studied with Coursera – an online organisation which offers courses from a variety of sources, including the University of Pennsylvania who provide this particular course.

Myths intrigue me, I read a lot of mythic fiction, and write it too in my Tales of Erana series.

https://www.coursera.org/course/mythology

This is what the Coursera site says about the course ‘Myths are traditional stories that have endured over a long time. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? This course will investigate these questions through a variety of topics, including the creation of the universe, the relationship between gods and mortals, human nature, religion, the family, sex, love, madness, and death.’ (Coursera Website)

Does the course deliver? Yes it does. The tutor Peter Stuck is engaging, obviously knows his subject and is enthusiastic. The course is presented through a combination of videos, reading materials, quizzes, two essays and some discussion forums. The course recommends 10 hours a week of study – in truth it’s probably slightly more as some of the reading is quite long.

The subjects covered range from how the myths were perceived, the notion of pietas (duty, honour, loyalty) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietas to religion, to food, to concept of the hero, what it meant to be a man in that society, the notion of how to treat one’s guests (or not) and familial ties. The reading includes The Odyssey – possibly THE epic adventure of antiquity and one of my first introductions to ancient Greek literature during my Diploma in Classics – so this was a very welcome re-read; The Aeneid – the tale of Aeneas and the struggle of the survivors of Troy and their quest for a new homeland – which lead (apparently) to the founding of Rome. Julius Caesar and Augustus traced their ancestry back to Aeneas and through him back to his immortal mother Venus; to the Oresteia (the tragic tale of Agamemnon after he returns from Troy); Oedipus the King (the tragic play so famous in which fate and prophecy play such a terrible role). Plus several more.

The video lectures made me think about some of the books in a new way, by focusing on aspects I may not have initially seen, and seeing the greater whole of the stories. Homer was incredibly influential and the later works often copy (or attempt to) his style and incredible narrative versatility. The books cover a period far removed from ideals and ideas of today, yet still something resonates – the challenge, the struggle and the emotions of the characters, the fight to be something more, and in some cases to survive. Of course much is different – Hesiod’s Theogony is not favourable to women, there are of course slaves in these societies, the gods are many and walk with humans, often begetting offspring in one form or another, and playing with the lives of mortals, ritual is important and there is violence – a lot of it. Actually that’s not so different from today and for much the same reasons – greed, honour, territory, religion etc.

These are not books for the faint hearted, or for those who are shocked by violence, sex, double crossing, murder, betrayal and such like. Themes in fact which tend to pervade our media – watch any soap opera and these themes are there in abundance. The influence of these authors and their work is monumental and this course helps to show why. Why this works need to be preserved and celebrated and why these cultures are so important to our own. These books are real heroic fiction, they are at the core of heroes and monsters, and of fantasy as we know it.

So, you ask, is it expensive? No it’s free. You can pay a small fee and get a certificate of completion (assuming you’ve done all the quizzes to an acceptable standard and one of the assignments) but it can be completed simply for the pleasure of it.

Is there anything I didn’t like? I did find the workload quite heavy – with work, writing, and family life commitments can be difficult to find the time and energy to put it but others may find that easier. I also didn’t use the forums much, although that was personal choice.

The course does not require any prior experience in the subject (but it helps) and assumes a level of literacy and intelligence in order to discuss and appreciate the themes and topics.

Would I recommend this? Yes, without a doubt to anyone interested in mythology, Greek and Roman literature or religion, fans of heroic fiction, and historians of the period.

#Mythology #Coursera #HeroicFiction #Fantasy #GreekandRoman

Character Interview Number Twenty-One Shyamal – Fantasy/YA

Legacy of Mist and Shadow

Tell Us About Yourself

*Author’s note: Shyamal is mute.  He usually communicates via written word or projection of visions.  He must touch someone to project his thoughts.  Thus far only one person can hear his voice within a vision, and that is his friend, Arwyn of Heron.

Name: Shyamal, guardian-child of Lady Kali, recorded in the Book of Ages as member of clan Tyrel.

Age: timeless – Guardians and their kin do not age in the way the Faie or Nimisa do.

 

  • Please tell us a little about yourself. I am Shyamal.  I emerged from the sacred pool within my mother’s realm when the Dreamweaver visited.  I have only recently joined the Faie as a member of clan Tyrel, but from my arrival they have known me as a puppy with a touch of magic.  Some of the magics I have access too are shapeshifting, calling visions, and pushing time.

 

  • Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Tall, thin, skin of ashen grey, hair of silken black.

(ten words is so confining)

 

  • Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? A moral code?  I am a guardian-child.  We are charged with helping to guide the clans, although I’m not certain that’s the sort of answer you are looking for.

 

  • Would you kill for those you love? Only if it was unavoidable.  I do not approve of death or killing, and there are beings from realms that are drawn to violent death which are best left alone.

 

  • Would you die for those you love? Gladly.  Without hesitation.

 

  • What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? My magics.  I have access to well many more magics than any individual or clan of Faie.  I am not certain, but I do not think I have discovered the full extent of my abilities.  I have, however, pushed myself beyond the endurance of my energies on more than one occasion while assisting my friends.  I know Mother sees that as a weakness, and I am working on correcting that.

 

  • Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? *His face flushes as he rubs his hand back and forth over the paper for a moment before writing a single word.*

Arwyn

 

  • Do you have a family? Tell us about them. My mother is Lady Kali, the Keeper of Time.  The clan I chose for myself when I left her sacred pool was Heron, for it was the Dreamweaver who reached out to me when I was still but a serpent swimming in the waters.  The clan Mother has chosen for me to join because their magic is the closest match to mine is Tyrel.

I have pledged myself to Lord Grypos and the scholars so that I may study in the great archives and learn the history of magic.  I suppose, as I left my brothers and sisters behind in the pool, that the scholars are my family now as I do not expect to ever live with the Tyrel clan.

 

  • Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? Childhood?  I have had no childhood such as you know it.  We simply waited in our chosen pool from the time of beginnings until the time was right to emerge.  I have watched the true gateway and waited.

 

  • Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I am the only guardian-child so far known to take on Faie form.

Tell Us About Your World

 

  • Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? I have traveled a good many places during our adventures.  First I left my home in the Stoney Deep to visit the clans of Faie on the Fertile Plain.  I traveled with Arwyn to the archives in the Expanding Desert.  Together we set out on a quest for Lord Grypos across the Great Expanse and through the Obsidian Wall to the Beyond.  On our most recent adventure we traveled through the very Mists of Time themselves to a World Beyond.

 

  • Name and describe a food from your world. I have had so many wonderful foods since joining the Faie, but the one that lingers in my mind is the first food I ever had in the beginning days.  It was small and pink and velvety soft.  It was sweet and fragrant and you only had to eat a few to feel full.  Sadly, it does not exist outside of the River of Life.
  • What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) I know not this word “politics”.  I shall have to research it in the archives.

 

  • Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. Myths and legends?  Do you not believe that the old tales of times past actually occurred?

 

  • What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Technology – the strange glowing things that do work for you on some Worlds Beyond?  We have no such things in Feyron.

What item can I not live without?  Considering the ages spent with no items at all, I can think of no item that I am bound to.

 

  • Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. Mystical, as in, of the mists?  We are all of the mists, every living thing.  All contain sparks of life that return to the mists when their time has passed. I do not understand this word “supernatural”.  Everything is natural to the realm it is from.  They only appear unnatural when found in an unusual location.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

The Dreamweaver’s Journey

https://talesfromfeyron.squarespace.com/the-dreamweavers-journey/

The Guardian Child Returns

https://talesfromfeyron.squarespace.com/the-guardian-childs-return/

Legacy of Mist and Shadow

https://talesfromfeyron.squarespace.com/legacy-of-mist-and-shadow/

Author name: Diana L. Wicker

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

Author’s website:  https://talesfromfeyron.squarespace.com/welcome

Facebook fan page where updates are periodically posted for the series:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tales-from-Feyron/421079171274185

Twitter: @FeyronTales

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