Magic of Solstice – Renee Scattergood

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Renee Scattergood.

Renee is the author of Shadow Stalker, a series of novellas that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles.

Renee shares this excerpt of her story with us today:

Shadow Stalker: Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5) Excerpt

By Renee Scattergood

His pain was replaced by fear. Whether it was fear of me or fear for me, I couldn’t tell.

“What does it mean?”

Kado moved toward me, pushing me to the ground. “Close your eyes and relax. Do not resist me and do not hide yourself by wrapping yourself in the veil.”

I closed my eyes and at first there was nothing. Then a tingling sensation started in my solar plexus. He was re-establishing the connection. My relief overwhelmed me when I sensed him again, but it was short-lived. I couldn’t move. It was as though my body had been covered in a lead blanket.

“Breaking the connection was the most dangerous thing you could have done, Auren. Contrary to what you believe, it’s not a way for me to spy on you. How else will I know what you need during your training? How will I sense if you are in trouble? This bond tells me how I can find you, so I can help you. Without it, and without your training, you are completely helpless.”

I understood that now, well most of it, but I couldn’t tell him so. Breathing was becoming difficult as I was crushed under an invisible force, similar to what the demon had done to me when I was in the hole.

“Any shadow stalker is capable of doing what I’m doing to you now, Auren, and worse. They don’t need a connection to you. Without training you have no way to defend yourself.”

He was right about that. I fought desperately to push whatever was crushing me away, but I may as well have been trying to move a three ton stone slab. My head spun as I gasped for air. For a moment I thought he might kill me, and I was powerless to stop it.

Please, Kado.

The pressure lifted, but my body would not move. Kado was restraining me, though his hands only rested gently on my forehead and belly. For a moment it seemed he was simply trying to calm me until my head began to ache as though something was boring into my skull. At the same time, a white hot pain seared my gut. My mouth opened to release a scream, but I couldn’t pull in a breath. Struggling was useless against my invisible bonds; I couldn’t escape the pain. Thankfully, it eased almost as soon as it began, and I found myself floating. Like perhaps I had died.

No, not dead, I realized. I wasn’t in the shadow world, so I struggled to grasp onto something real and felt a gentle caress against my forehead. Latching on to the sensation, I followed it back to consciousness. Kado had me cradled in his arms, brushing wet strands of my hair out of my face.

What did you do to me?

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About the Shadow Stalker Series:

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 Shadow Stalker is a series of short novellas (episodes) that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles.

 Episode 1: The Hidden Truth

Auren Trask’s perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

Episode 2: The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate

Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.

Episode 3: Shadows’ Betrayal

After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.

Episode 4: Forbidden Love

Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?

Episode 5: Destiny Reconciled Part 1

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?

About Demon Hunt:

Demon Hunt

Auren longs for adventure and a break from her tedious life on Appolia. It’s the start of summer, and she is looking forward to her yearly camping trip with her foster father, Kado. She believes these trips are for fun, but when they arrive on Luten Isle, Kado informs her that she is a shadow stalker, and she is in training.

One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.

With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.

Pick up Renee’s books from her website, Amazon, or Smashwords.

Get the latest episode of Shadow Stalker free!

Renee Scattergood

Connect with Renee on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads, and Authorgraph.

And visit me today on RJ Mirabal blog.

Magic of Solstice blog tour – Louise Findlay

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Louise Findlay. Louise writes fantasy (generally short stories) and inspirational poetry. She enjoys reading and writing about mythological creatures such as angels and demons but has a soft spot for vampires. Louise is currently in the midst of writing a vampire novella about two vampire clans whose deputy’s clash in a big way, entitled A Spy in the Sagax Vampires.

She shares with us today the beginning of her poem, The Rogue’s Odyssey  which was originally included in the Dreamless Roads anthology.

 The Rogue's Odyssey Cover Finished

THE ROGUE’S ODYSSEY

by Louise Findlay

Copyright © 2015 Louise Findlay.

It was the dead of night, on horseback I fled,

fled from the knights of the realm.

Their intent, to flay me alive,

was keeping me going, keeping me going.

A rogue I was, honourable though,

but they were scarce in supply.

They hit me, dead, dying, I fled,

traversing through the wood.

I had to survive, survive I did,

through the snowy wood.

I stopped for a second, to revel,

in its wondrous beauty,

but I had to keep going, had to keep going.

This journey I had to make,

the dangers worth the rewards.

The money was good, oh the pay was great,

A wizard was paying my way.

There was a more, primal reason,

a directive I had to follow.

The fate of the kingdom, rested in me, rested in me,

despite the knights following.

The knights,

corrupt they were,

twisted by the darkness.

Their lord,

dark at heart,

instigated the curse.

Read on when you Pre-Order at only $0.99

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Dreamless Roads Anthology Cover

Connect with Louise

See her website

Find her other eBooks at her Smashwords Author page

Follow her on Twitter

Like her Facebook page

Add her as a connection on LinkedIn

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Be sure to check out Louise’s site today as I’m the guest over there and have answered a few rather fun questions!

Magic of Solstice Blog Tour – RJ Mirabal

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Today we welcome RJ Mirabal. RJ loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. The Tower of Il Serrohe is his debut novel.

The Tower of Il Serrohe front cover final

The Tower of Il Serrohe and Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (Books 1 & 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax Series)

  • Don Vargas, a man who has lost his way.
  • A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico.
  • Nightwing, a bat offering an unlikely hero a formidable quest.
  • A Portal to another valley, the Valle Abajo, where lifestyles are primitive.
  • Clans in the Valle Abajo begging for help to overcome the Soreyes, a wily clan terrorizing the valley for generations.
  • A Tower erected by the Soreyes which seems to be a mysterious source of their power.

All this leads to a unique modern fantasy involving curanderas, an alcoholic looking for escape from the failures of his life, an enigmatic bat who manipulates events behind the scenes, adventures, a beautiful woman, and more surprises in this contemporary New Mexico-based tale.

Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is now available. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:

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Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (release date coming up in mid-July 2015):

It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a sixteen-year-old honor student and athlete, suffers a mysterious accident and dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. Next, a bat repeatedly slams its body against her window during a powerful wind storm and she hears a whispering in the darkness.

It is the bat, Nightwing, who persuaded Don to take on his mission in The Tower. Nightwing begins to persuade Esther, Don’s younger cousin, to use her intelligence and resourcefulness to drive away the Soreyes from the Valle Abajo—the valley of her dreams. As she shares these disturbing details with her best friend, Markey, they both worry Esther is going insane.

However, new dangers threaten when word reaches the Valle about a murderous clan in the far away Mountains of Sky east of the Valle while in the west there lives another band of Soreyes. Meanwhile, a mysterious presence lurks in the background as the saga of the Rio Grande Parallax continues.

RJ stopped by for a brief interview. Tell us RJ, how real are your characters?

Some of my characters are obviously fantasy, but based on interesting human peculiarities of most every person I’ve ever met. Even Don, though a regular human, is not based on any one person, but a collection of individuals I’ve known and other characters I’ve encountered in literature. I’ve tried hard to “test” my characters—even the fantasy ones—against reality so that I hope readers will find them believable given the setting and plot I’ve created.

What larger social message does your series convey?

People tend to put themselves in little groups and the groups come into conflict with each other… I think people from different cultures are a bit suspicious of each other. The clans in the book have some elements of New Mexico, but they are also universal; they could be from any part of the world.

What attracts you to fantasy?

I can create my own world with its own rules and method of operation. That freedom allows me to engage my imagination more freely while I being as realistic as I desire, but then throw in a twist on reality to keep me and my readers on our toes. Only problem: I have to follow my own rules once I set up this world, challenging my consistency!

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading Donald A. Wollheim’s 1989 Annual World’s Best SF. I’ve had a life-long love of science fiction and came to fantasy a little later on. I find my SF ideas are rather worn-out or require more scientific background than I possess, so fantasy satisfies my need to “go out of this world.” I also love mysteries all the way from the traditional private detective to modern police procedurals.

If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?

I would travel to the Valle Abajo (the world of my book series) of course! It’s wonderful to think about it, but to actually be there would be wonderful though I’d have to watch out for Soreyes (my nasty villains).

Tell me one odd thing about you.

I’m not sure how odd this is, but I’ve always had so many interests that I cannot devote myself to one thing for any length of time. In addition to writing, I play the hammered dulcimer, volunteer for the New Mexico Dulcimer Festival, I am now in the process of organizing my high school class’s reunion, I get out on wilderness trails on my Polaris RZR 4Wheeler, and have worked for years organizing events for my motorcycle club, The Land of Enchantment BMW Riders. No one in any of those groups seems to feel a need to do as many different things!

What is the general theme of The Rio Grande Parallax series?

The message is: “All of what we perceive to be reality is a function of our perception which is informed by our normal senses and our emotional and philosophical states of being.” And, as always: evil is bad, kindness is good, and love is essential to life.

No big agenda other than entertaining my readers who will share in my imagination as they read the book.

Tower of Il Serrohe Map Aug 2012

So why New Mexico Fantasy?

I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.

But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!

Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges.

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Connect with RJ Mirabal

Facebook

Google+

Twitter

LinkedIn

For a limited time, RJ’s first book, The Tower of Il Serrohe, is available in Nook and Kindle formats for free on his publisher, Black Rose Writing’s site: The Tower for Free!

Pick up your copy of The Tower of Il Serrohe today!

Black Rose Writing: http://goo.gl/fZXWgF

Amazon: http://goo.gl/GvXAUT

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/42OHpk

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/2LmWHu

Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: rjmirabal@gmail.com

Magic of Solstice blog tour – Jan Marie

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Jan Marie.

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Jan shares with us an excerpt of her paranormal romance, Angelic Confessions.

I awoke to the feeling of being encased in luscious warmth so I nuzzled into it more.

“Are you nuzzling me?” I heard Pio’s voice underneath me. I opened my eyes wide finding myself lying against Pio in his lap. I jumped up him sliding off his lap, stumbling to my feet. How long had he been holding me? “I was not.” I said defensively.

“Fine if you say so,” he said as he rose raising his hands in surrender. “You should get dressed then,” he said motioning me up and down. Again the familiar heat rose to my cheeks. Ugh! The man was incorrigible. I stomped away to dress in a simple medium length white dress with a red sash that tied in the back. Still fuming in my mind I tried to tie the sash behind me, when I felt Pio’s hands take over. The man confused me. A total jerk one second, kind and gentle the next.

“Why do you have to be such a jerk?” I said exhaustedly.

“Well, I have been called worse, and by my own men too….”

I turned to face him wondering if he was insane. “Don’t you miss your former duties? Why are you watching over me? I-” He took my face in his hands as my breath caught in my chest. “No, you are not. Your Father requested me, but I was honored he trusted me to do so.”

“Thank you,” I said slipping his warm hands from my face. I then smiled sweetly clasping my hands behind my back. “I am fine now.”  Pio dropped his head wearily, as he went and collapsed  onto my bed. “You’re going to give me grey hairs now.”

“Angel’s don’t get grey hairs do they?” I said slinking myself back towards my door. Just as I turned to grab the handle a hand instantly slapped onto my wrist.

“Oh no you don’t,” he said as he slipped his arms around my waist swinging me around.

“Let me go,” I glowered tugging at his arms around my waist.

“But you were nuzzling me before,” he whined.

“I thought you were a pillow.” I glowered.

“No you did not think I was a pillow,” he smiled against my cheek.

“Okay! I didn’t you win,” I said giving up when there was a sudden knock on my door. We both looked up surprised as he let me go. I walked over to the door oddly feeling naked without his arms around me. I quickly shook that thought out of my head as I opened the door to reveal Raphael. “How are you feeling Princess?” Raphael beamed cheerfully. “I am better, thank you,” I curtsied.

“May I speak with your guardian for just a moment?” Raphael looked over at Pio and I looked back to see Pio nod; he then walked out with Raphael as he closed the door behind them. I crouched down putting my ear to the door to listen.

“I’m fine, Raphael, thank you. I will do as our Lord requests. She is listening by the door by the way.” I gasped as the door swung open and out I splattered onto the marble floor. “Very well then,” Raphael said. I looked up to see Raphael pat Pio on the shoulder with a weary look as then he walked away. I stood up and bowed before Pio.

“I am sorry for listening!”

“You are an impossible girl, aren’t you?” I winced as he put his finger under my chin lifting up my face to look at him.

“And you still like me right?” I smiled sweetly. He chuckled. “Yes, I do, though I cannot let this misbehavior slide,” he scolded as I stood up straight a bit shocked.

“Pioooo,” I pouted. He intertwined his hand with mine and pulled me along to leave. “Father gave me permission to punish as needed.”

“Father did not!” I choked. He looked back at me smiling quite mischievously. “Let’s go now, naughty girl.”

Angelic_Confessions_Cover_for_Kindle

Kitty Corner

Some of the authors visiting Paws 4 Thought want to introduce us to their furry friends. Here are the kitties that live with Jan Marie.  Kitkat (the cute black and white one) and Heizy (the tabby, AKA Jedi kitty!)

kitkat  jedikitty

Jan Marie is an establish online article writer. Mostly self trained with only attending one Rock Valley College writing course she first broke into the comic book writing scene where she worked with new independent companies as head script writer. She then moved into freelance writing having been published by various online publishers and also was featured in FATE magazine. She also hosts her own Review business blog site Authors and Angels where she host reviews and interviews of fellow indie authors. She now has written her first fantasy romance novella, Angelic Confessions.

Connect with Jan:

Website,    Blog

Amazon page   Facebook:  Twitter

Pinterest:    Goodreads:

Head on over to Allison D. Reid’s blog today Weaving World where I am Alison’s guest.

Magic of Solstice Blog Tour – Charlotte Henley Babb

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Hello everyone and welcome to the Magic of Solstice fantasy writers’ blog tour. During the month of June I’ll be hosting a whole manner of fantasy authors here on my blog. I’ll also be out and about visiting the blogs of others. To keep up with the tour visit our Facebook page.

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Our first guest is Charlotte Henley Babb. Charlotte has been writing since she was four, and now makes up fractured fairy tales for people who have survived beyond the last love’s kiss. Today she shares with us an sneak peak from her new steampunk adventure, 20 Hours to Charles Town. Her upcoming novel  is set on an airship brothel where a secret meeting of ambassadors is discussing the recognition of the nation of Texas in an alternate history line where the American Revolution failed. New France and Mexico are at odds, Spanish Florida is barely hanging on economically, and the freed slaves have joined with runaways and Natives to form a new country on the southeast coast, Liberia.

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Brandy walked into Madame’s office, standing before the imposing desk, the elegant lighting and the books–so many books. She waited to be spoken to, standing in the position they used to photograph the hostesses. Madame said they were to be seductive at all times on the job.

After a few seconds of scrutiny, Madame spoke. “Why do you want to work for me?” She sipped from a shot of tonic.

“I want to go to college, and this is the only way I can make enough money to go.” She kept her glance steady on Madame’s face, taking in every shift of expression. She didn’t know why she was in trouble.

“Why college?” Madam’s expression didn’t change, and her voice was even, almost friendly, like a maiden aunt.

“I want to be a financier, to make money in the stock market.” She didn’t say anything else, waiting for Madam’s reply.

“My accountants are well paid for their work. You could learn on the job.” Madame shifted in her seat, crossing her long legs that even at her age were firm and supple. She did the same training that she required of her girls and had been known to take some of them down a peg if necessary.

“Yes, Madame.” Brandy shifted slightly and suppressed a wince. “What are the advancement opportunities?”

Madame tilted her head. “Show me your ribs.”

No one hesitated to disrobe on the ship, especially at Madame’s command. Brandy dropped her kimono, standing nude with her arms by her sides.

Madam motioned for her to turn around. “Did you learn anything from this?”

“Yes, Madame. I need to be quicker, and I need to learn when to back up.” Brandy looked away. Dixie was three inches taller and had much longer arms and legs. Brandy hadn’t been able to find a way inside the barrage of hands and heels and elbows. Dixie seemed to enjoy it. Maybe getting off the ship would be the way to go, as she’d never be able to get to Dixie’s status as long as Dixie was the top.

Dixie made in one night what Brandy would pay for a year’s tuition, on top of the money the men, and some women, paid just to ride The Elephant, even after Madam’s twenty percent.

“I won’t have bruisers–or rumors of bruisers–on this ship.” Madam stared out the gallery windows at the late afternoon skyline of New York. She waved her finger at the kimono on the floor.

Brandy grit her teeth as she leaned over to pick it up and slid into it. She stood straight again, waiting to be dismissed, probably forever.

“Opportunities for advancement are found for people I can trust.” Madame glanced up. “I have an assignment for you this trip, a man who won’t have sex with you on principle, but who needs some encouragement to trust me. You’ll have to think like an accountant instead of a whore.”

Brandy did a double-take. “Madame?”

“An accountant has no feelings about the numbers, except a sense of satisfaction when everything adds up and is in the black. Can you work with a person like that, seeing the investment  rather than the man?”

“Yes, Madame. What do I need to do?”  She always thought of the men that way, another tuition payment, a book or ledger for her studies. She liked sex all right, but it was a business for her. “What will make him trust you?”

“I don’t know.” Madam shook her head as if she were thinking of something far away. “He doesn’t approve of what we do here, but he pays his way to do his networking. Just being here is a sacrifice of his principles, but he can’t get what he wants any other way.”  She gave Brandy an appraising look. “I need for you to change that impression. I know what he has to offer, and I want in on the deal. Make that happen, and I’ll see that you are trained as an accountant, a financier and a securities broker. I’ll even send you to law school, if it works out favorably for me.”

Brandy’s heart leapt to her throat, and she could not speak. She nodded, pulling her composure together. She didn’t want to know what would happen if she failed. “I can play an innocent, maybe, a runaway who is working passage to a new life. Do you think he would like that? It’s not that far from the truth, except for the innocent part.”

She shifted her stance to stoop a little, hanging her head and opening her eyes wide. She dropped her shoulders, and let the pain of her cracked rib show on her face. 

Madame laughed. “I think you can pull that off. Can you still talk like a Brooklyn street rat?”

“I’m a good, honest girl. I just need a job.”  Then Brandy straightened up, almost rigid, with her eyes turned away. She changed her voice to sound more like the mountain people. “I got away from the Iroquois, so I know how to work. Give me a chance.”  She stared directly at Madam, letting her hands fall limp from her wrists and straightening her shoulders.

Madam stood up, walked around Brandy, looking her over again, like a horse she might want to buy. She lifted Brandy’s hair, twisting it up into a knot, just to get the effect.  She stood back, crossed her arms, and tilted her head again. “I’ll work you hard, and you’ll have a half-day off on Saturday. Can you cook and clean?”

“Yes, Ma’am. I can tend babies, sew and keep a garden. I’m your all-around girl.” Brandy crossed her arms too, mimicking the stance of the buyer, as she’d been taught to do. She even matched Madame’s breathing.

Madame smiled. “I believe you can. We’ll give it a try. If nothing else, I can put you on the stage.” She put her arm around Brandy, again like an aunt, instead of the hardest, most dastardly scheming robber baroness of them all. “I’ll have Mei Lin train you. She is smaller than you, and can handle a full-grown Irish boxer with one hand. You may give Dixie some of her own back, then.”

“Dixie doesn’t like my client.”

“That’s why she isn’t working with him. You are. Do me proud.”

Madame left the “or else” unspoken.

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Look forward to the release of  20 Hours to Charles Town in late summer 2015.

Can’t wait then check out Charlotte’s first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, an adult fantasy (not erotica) about a down-and-out 50-something who gets a job as a fairy godmother and proceeds to fracture each fairy tale she is assigned. A sequel is in the works, That Darn Maven, wherein she is transformed into a cat until she can grant three wishes. http://bit.ly/Maven2ed

Charlotte also has three story collections out. Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales includes three stories, “Mavenstiltskin,” “Fairy Frogmother,” and “Bubba and the Beast,” though they are much in Maven’s future. Just a Smidgen of Magic has five urban fantasy stories, not connected to Maven. Walking Off Heaven’s Shore contains ten pieces, including a bit of poetry and illustrations, mainstream flash fiction and short stories.

Walk-Shore  Just-a-Smigen-of-Magic  Maven cover 333x500

Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales: http://bit.ly/eMFFT 

Just a Smidgen of Magic: http://bit.ly/Smidgen

Walking Off Heaven’s Shore: http://bit.ly/WalkShore

Charlotte sat down with me and answered a few questions. What attracts you to fantasy?

Reality is for people who have no imagination. Nobody in their left mind would live here.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

I would remove all deleterious effects from all delicious foods like chocolate, fried chicken, mayonnaise and sausage biscuits. Did I mention I live in South Carolina?

If you write YA, how have you attracted teens to read your books?

I don’t write YA, but my stories do include YA characters. I hope sometime to explore their experiences, but at 64, I don’t really remember much about being a teen.

What are you reading right now?

I’ve collected a number of Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Place stories, and some of his other science fiction. There are few people who write science fiction humor, and he is one of the good ones I missed in the 80s and 90s..

If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?

The Place, Jake Stonebender’s replacement of Callahan’s. Or perhaps Lady Sally’s place, the model for my airship.

Tell me one odd thing about you.

My silver hair is currently dyed cobalt blue and copper. It’s nice to be old enough that nobody questions why I want to do what I want to do.

Connect with Charlotte through these linky-links!

Website:

Facebook author page

Goodreads

Amazon

Twitter: @charlottebabb

Linkedin

Also check out my post today on Joshua Robertson’s blog, Robertson Writes.

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour – Day 16 – Deedee Davies

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Today we continue the Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour with British writer, Deedee Davies. Tell us a bit about yourself, Deedee.

I’m a short-story author and wannabe novelist interested mainly in the fantasy, horror and science-fiction genres. I’ve had five short stories published to date in publications from Seventh Star Press, Horrified Press and EMBY Press, and am currently seeking a publisher for my first novel. A second book is more or less complete and a third (a sequel to my first novel) is in progress. I’m also a cover artist, with around 30 published book covers under my belt. I live in Plymouth, UK with my partner, 10 spiders and four snakes.

 

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Fortune’s Thief.  It was (as most of my work is) inspired by a random thought.  I started writing about a man who had been away from his friends and their thirst for adventure for some years, being pulled back into that life. Around that time, I also had another idea about a mystical stone and a magical sword.  I ended up working the three elements into one story and out popped Fortune’s Thief.

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Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I think the phrase ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ applies. I have been known to write in bus shelters, pubs, hotels, on trains, buses, parked in my car in a layby, and walking down the street (dangerous, but it has to be done if you want to get those ideas down while they’re fresh!).  I also need either absolute silence to write, or else low background noise (like the noise of a coffee shop or pub). If there’s music, my head’s in the music, not the writing. Oh, and the most potent ideas always pop into my head ten minutes after I’ve turned the light off, which is why I keep a book and pen next to my bed.

 

What authors or books have influenced you?

Clarke Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs are the biggest influences on my writing.  Clarke Ashton Smith (and his contemporaries) always drew me in with his rich writing style, while the low fantasy of Howard and Burroughs appealed to me in a way high fantasy never has.  Although it’s fantasy, you won’t find elves or wizards throwing fireballs in my writing!

 

What are you working on now?

A sequel to Fortune’s Thief and a vampire romance novel.  No, it’s absolutely not what you’re thinking!

 

What is your best method or website for book promotion

It’s hard to say as I’ve only had stories published in anthologies, but social media seems by far the best way to get the word out. I have profiles on and constantly update Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon Author Central, Goodreads and AuthorDB.

 

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Go and see what publishers are looking for, find something that appeals to you, and write about that.  If you go and write a random story about something no publisher is looking for, it’ll be that much harder to find representation.

 

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Write with one person in mind as the audience: it really helps you focus.

 

What are you reading now?

 Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I really enjoyed the first two in the trilogy but I’m finding this one slow going, so I’m dipping into the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I’m on my third this month – I think they’re a bit addictive…

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

To finish my next book and get the first one published. I have three publishers potentially interested at the moment, but I’m finding it a bit of a minefield.

 

3 or 4 books for deserted island?

The Name of the Wind, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Newnes Golden Treasury, The Mabinogion.

 

What inspires you to write?

Really mundane, everyday things.  I like to take a concept or image that strikes me in everyday life, convert it, add a fantasy twist and run with it to see where it takes me.

 

Tell us about your writing process

I outline the plot, sketch the main scenes, figure out roughly what’s going to happen – and then often write something completely different.

 

Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer?

Usually I just let the story flow with just a nugget of an idea underpinning it, but I’ve found recently where I’m working on novel-length projects, once I get past 40,000 words, I lose track and I absolutely have to plan it out so that I know where I’m going.

 

What do you use to outline? Whiteboard? Software?

I use yWriter, which is free software and has some fantastically useful tools for planning, outlining, organising your thoughts, characters, items, locations, chapters and scenes. It also has a ‘read aloud’ feature, which helps you to understand how your text flows, and a facility to output to e-book format. I’ve also recently taken up a free trial of Scrivener and may well be investing when the 30 days are up!

 

Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?

I rarely create character sketches before I start: I prefer to let them create themselves as I go, but I’ve just started doing this with my current book in Scrivener. I’ve found pictures that match each of the principal characters, and have noted the salient details for each. I’ve found it’s given me a much stronger starting point than usual and just looking at the pictures inspires me to write about the characters and envisage what they might say.

 

Do you listen to or talk to your characters?

While I know some people have characters running riot in their heads with constant internal monologues, my process is to drive their creation, and I usually find that after a short while, they write themselves.

 

How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?

When I’m having trouble getting the dialogue to come out, I stand up and act out the scene, playing each part and putting myself in the character’s shoes. It works a treat!

 

What advice would you give other writers?

Write about what you know and love.

 

What do you think about the future of book publishing?

I think the market for e-books will get stronger and stronger, but I’d like to think there will always be a market for the hard copy.  While I do have an e-reader, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with a bona fide paperback. I’ve also found in my recent dealings with publishing companies that there are a lot of POD publishers out there masquerading as traditional publishers, or who aren’t up front about the fact that they want you to pay for your own publishing. I think there will be more of this kind of approach as POD services become more accessible.

 

Connect with Deedee on her blog or Amazon author page.

 

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Visit Charlotte Babb for my stop of the tour and an intro to the devious Tegs, Morgana and Stella.

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Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour – Day 6 – R. R. Brooks

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Justi the Gifted, an epic fantasy by R.R. Brooks, has just been published by LeoPublishing L.L.C.

See Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore.

A gift from a god can be good.  But what if it is damaged?

Justi cover final

The Cats of Justi.  Two significant cats managed to find their way into my YA epic fantasy novel Justi the Gifted.  They were not planned in advance, but just appeared.  The first was Daresse, a feral cat engaged by dark spirits to keep an eye on Justi’s mother Arturi:

Arturi saw the black creature emerge from the trees ….  It seemed to be waiting…. She closed to within ten paced and examined the animal.  It returned her gaze with narrow yellow eyes tinged with red, opened its mouth, and issued a long, low sound, something between a meow and a growl.

Daresse close

Later, Daresse tries to kill Justi.  Thus this animal character serves to illustrate the power and threat of the dark forces against my protagonist.

 

A second cat, Sparkle, serves a different purpose.  He is Mercerio’s pet, a descendent of the cat adopted by the princess as a child.  Sparkle serves as Mercerio’s “listener.”  He says nothing, of course, but she interprets his gaze, his arching back, stretching, indifference, and departure as conversational gambits.  The cat also confirms that the ghost of her father is a real vision and not imagined:

Sparkle approached and crouched at her feet with a twitching tail and raised fur.  He stared intently at the spot where the ghost had been and made small hissing sounds.

“There’s nothing there now.”  Mercerio ran her hand along Sparkle’s arched back, certain the cat’s actions meant her vision had been read.  Sparkle had sensed something.

Sparkle

For his service, Mercerio picks up Sparkle and thinks about what her father’s ghost has revealed.  She remembers a startling bit of information—she has her own power– and drops the cat.

 

A few other cats serve as scenery, but Daresse and Sparkle contribute to the plot.  As does a dog, but that is the topic of a separate blog.

Bob plant crop

 

Follow R.R. Brooks on his blog.

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