Friday, September 27, 2013

Author Spotlight: Judy Goodwin

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I'm a single mom, work as a technical writer by day, and aspire to one day support my family off my fiction writing and not have to drive to an office. I was born in Arizona and grew up there, can't stand the cold, and can tell you all kind of tales of growing up with farm animals, in particular the chickens, which I used to dress up. I was always a creative child. Nowadays I spend my free time watching movies, playing video games, volunteering for local fundraising efforts, and watching my daughter's soccer games.

2. When did you start writing, and why?

I wrote my first book at six--no really. I've been writing for as long as I can remember; it's just part of who I am. Even if another soul never saw any of it, I'd still be writing.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?

I write mostly fantasy, with some science fiction and humor thrown in. I enjoy history and world building, which goes along with the fantasy genre. I also like to come up with magic systems that contain a hint of realism, whether it is mystical or scientific.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?

My first novel came out in December 2012 entitled "Heart of the Witch." This is an epic fantasy about a young man with magical powers in a civilization that burns witches like him at the stake.

My next novel will be the first in a five book series, and will be coming out Spring 2014. This book is called "Journey to Landaran," about Aidah and her twin brother Tavish. Aidah has the gift or curse of Spirit Talent, a gift so rare that nations fight wars over control of people like her. Her brother also has a powerful gift to affect light and heat, a firestarter. Together, they must race for the safety of family in the great city of Landaran before the enemy can capture them.

I also have a few novellas and short story collections out, including the adventures of Cathy Pembroke, Fae Enforcement Division of the Oakland police.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

In "Heart of the Witch" the world is a mirror image of our one in many ways--the setting is a colonial town where religious fanatics hold tight control over the people. They look like the Puritans. But magic is real.

One of the differences is that beyond the walls of the town lies a vast jungle, and beyond that, mountains and deserts. I based the continent of Argessa on Australia, complete with aborigine-based tribes. And there are monsters unique to Argessa, including a singing possum with blue scales and a flying kangaroo.

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Zerrick Dhur is the main character, and while he is intelligent and creative, he sees only his faults. He can't read, even though his family has tried to teach him. He doesn't believe in the God that his father, Reverend, preaches about. And he loves magic, which is heresy. Most of all, he wants to explore the jungle and see beyond the tiny town of Harrow.

I like having characters with flaws. Zerrick has a lot of personal baggage that he must deal with later on, with the help of friends that he meets along the way. Among these are two of my favorites, Mira, a fiery redhead who also wants to leave the confinements of her over-protective family, and Mok, a Put-na scout of a local tribe who enjoys smoking the colonists' tobacco. He brings a lighter tone with his rough humor and easy going ways.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.

I did the illustrations inside the book. There was a time when I thought about becoming an artist as well as a writer. But I decided art was going to take too much time away from my first love of writing. You can find illustrations for Zerrick, Mira, and Mok posted at my blog.

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.

Blog: http://judygoodwin.wordpress.com
Book available at:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Author Spotlight: Antonio Simon, Jr.

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Introducing Antonio Simon, Jr., whose book The Gullwing Odyssey I reviewed recently.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
That's a tough one to answer. I pride myself on my humility, you see. [Grins]. I'm a lawyer, an author, and an entrepreneur. I'm also the editor-in-chief for Darkwater Syndicate, a weekly webzine that features "Quirky stories each week, bad drawings or poetry otherwise." Slowly but surely I'm working my way to the point where I can devote myself 100% to writing novels.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing when I realized I had a face for radio and a voice for print. By then I figured there had to be something I was good at, and as it turns out, I'm not half bad at writing.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write fantasy and comedy, mostly. You can get away with more things in a fantasy or a comedy than you can in more serious genres. The audience expects that you're going to bend the rules of reality a bit. And if you're clever and a little sneaky, you can slip a serious message into a book of either genre, which adds a whole new level of depth to the experience.

What's more, writing comedies makes me happy. It's a great feeling to meet someone who's seen the same movie or read the same book as you, and share the moments that made you laugh the hardest. That feeling takes a whole new dimension when you're talking about something you, yourself, have authored.

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4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
I've just released "The Gullwing Odyssey", a comedic fantasy adventure. This isn't your typical "swords and sorcery" fantasy. It's the tale of an ordinary guy who embarks upon an extraordinary journey quite by accident, and in the end finds himself. I'm currently working on the sequel.

I've also written "Transit Dreams", which is a collection of bizarre short stories, and the most bizarre thing about them is that some are true.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

"The Gullwing Odyssey" takes place in the early age of sail. Great empires jockey for dominance of the seas with fleets of enormous galleons. Piracy is rampant. Amid the royal intrigue and power struggles, smaller nations struggle for a place on the world stage, while ordinary men and women scrape by.

Marco's traveling party is a multinational group. His companions come from different countries and each harbors his or her own personal values. Much of the humor comes from how a such a varied group can work together without killing each other.

For instance, one character, the wizard, is from the tiniest nation in the world. This country is a plutocratic republic where only the wealthiest are allowed to reside. It's also where the stuffiest people in the world come from. Another character is from a country based on France under Louis XIV, and it is the naval superpower. Interestingly, its orders of knighthood are all nautical. Their knights are not men with horses but sea captains. And then of course we have the dragon islands. The dragons are an intelligent race of creature who live in virtual isolation from the rest of the world. Their homeland was only recently discovered in the years preceding Marco's adventure. This culture shock causes problems at home for the dragons and threatens to shake up the power politics among the human nations.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
For starters, there's Marco Gullwing, the titular character. He's a young man who thinks he'll never be much more than a messenger, and would be pretty content if things remained that way the rest of his life. As you already may have guessed, it wouldn't make for much of a story if he got his way, so everything that could possibly go wrong for him does.

Marco isn't your typical fantasy hero. He's no sword-swinging knight in shining armor, and he knows it. But he is a likeable-enough sort of guy. He's down to earth and you definitely wouldn't mind having a drink with him in a bar. He's also quick-witted, which is all the better for him when he gets into trouble - which is often.

Then there's Barclay, a gruff knight and religious zealot. He is on a mission to spread his gospel and save souls. Personally, he cannot stand dragons because his religion considers them to lack souls. Yet, for reasons that make sense only to him (if at all), he is sent to the dragon islands to save the souls of beings that his religion has decreed soulless. It's paradoxical, but Barclay is not one to question his faith. If that weren't bad enough, the traveling party includes two dragons.

Dria is one of the dragons who accompanies Marco. She is the princess of her country, and she knows better than anyone (more so even than her father, the emperor) that times are changing. She realizes that, in order to keep her people safe, her people will have to change with the times. Headstrong and quick-tempered, she is something of a tomboy. She takes charge where others (like Marco) would shy away. She also holds up well in a fight, and is fun to watch in action.

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7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
There are many overtly funny moments in this book, but there many subtle jokes too, like "Easter eggs" in TV shows and video games. You can catch them if you really pay attention, but so far, no one has caught them all.

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
"The Gullwing Odyssey" is available on Amazon and Smashwords.
"Transit Dreams" is available on Amazon, and as a free ebook on Smashwords.

The link to Darkwater Syndicate is: www.DarkwaterSyndicate.com
Darkwater has a Twitter Feed: DrkWtrSyndicate
The link to my Facebook Page is: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAntonioSimonJr

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Dean Mayes

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Introducing author Dean Mayes, here on his blog tour with Saskia Book Tours. Take it away, Dean! (And don't miss the Rafflecoptor giveaway entry form down at the bottom!)

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi Kyra. I live in Adelaide, Australia with my wife and two children. I juggle parenthood with my dual career of writer and Intensive Care Nurse where I specialize in Paediatrics. I enjoy cycling - which I have neglected somewhat in recent months and sailing - I have a small yacht which gets a big work out in the summer months
2. When did you start writing, and why?
My love of creative writing dates back to about aged 7 or 8. I had quite an active imagination that my then teacher, Mrs. Furnell, sought to nurture. It was probably the most significant moment I'd experienced as a student. I loved to create grand adventures, some of which weren't wholly original (cough *Star Wars* cough) but I relished in the creativity I had discovered.

My life kind of got in the way and, throughout my teens and 20's, I my attentions were diverted by academia, establishing a career in nursing, marriage and family. But I never gave up on the idea of writing. In mid 2007, a personal hero of mine, a journalist named Matt Price, revealed that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. 2 months later, he was dead and his passing had a really significant impact on me. I decided then that I wanted to write seriously. I had a story treatment that had languished in my desk drawer for several years. So I took it out and began working on it with no goal in mind other than to finish it.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I tend to write fiction that isn't genre specific – which I find to be quite freeing because I like to break as many rules as possible when it comes to writing. There is however, a common characteristic of my writing that binds my stories together. They tend to be character driven narratives and the plot is often dependent on the discoveries I make about my characters while writing them. I enjoy delving into quite complex and believable characters and examining their relationships with one another. This, I have found, is an effective tool to drive the stories I createforward.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My second full length novel "Gifts of the Peramangk" was released in October, 2012. It is described as a sprawling family saga set across two time periods in the harsh Australian outback and the struggle streets of its suburban fringe. It centers around an 8 year Aboriginal girl who is an undiscovered violin prodigy.

It is a loosely connected follow up to my 2010 debut for Central Avenue Publishing "The Hambledown Dream" which is a paranormal romance whose central protagonist is a young man who embarks on an incredible journey from the other side of his mortal world. There are elements of reincarnation which I explore through the novel as well as the power of music - namely classical guitar - as a redemptive force in the lives of the characters who populate that novel.

In April this year, my first novella "The Regenesis Cluster" released and here again, I explore the possibilities offered by renicarnation through elements of fantasy and science fiction. The interesting thing about this piece is that I offer no resolution to the story. Rather, it encourages the reader to ponder the “next step” as such and I've had some wonderful discussions with readers about what that might be.

I am now working on my third full length novel which carries the working title of "The Recipient".

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The worlds of my novel are firmly grounded in real world settings but in all of them, there are hints of the fantastical which is a writing quirk I've embraced. “The Hambledown Dream” begins in Australia, before transitioning to the streets of Chicago in the U.S. Before returning to the leafy surrounds of Melbourne in Southern Australia which is my home town. I enjoyed immersing myself in familiar places where I'd spent a lot of time growing up and portraying them in a fictional sense. Likewise, the cast I brought to the story were based in part on people I know or have known. I derived a lot of satisfaction from casting and molding those characters and giving them the classic hero and villan archetypes – though I haven't revealed who those people are.

“Gifts of the Peramangk” required a great deal more care and attention in terms of world creation because here, I was dealing with controversial historical events in order to structure my story. This time, the setting was the leafy city of Adelaide, where I live and work now. Additionally, I explored the struggle streets of a region of Adelaide where there is a lot of poverty and disadvantage and this made for some interesting and perhaps “tense” field work during the research I conducted for the novel. Finally, there is the vast expanse of the South Australian Outback which is that classic vast Australian setting that would be familiar to most readers through such vehicles as Baz Lurhmann's “Australia” and Paul Hogan's “Crocodile Dundee” from a few years ago.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
The dual protagonist of Andy De Vries / Denny Banister from “The Hambledown Dream” is one of my favorite creations because together, they represent both the dark and light sides of myself. In Andy, I sought to portray somebody who we really don't like when we first meet him. He is a self destructive character, filled with anger and resentment and he engages in the kinds of behaviour that would be repulsive to many of us. However, through his exquisite gift with the guitar, there is the tiny seed of good in him and it just needs that “something” to nurture it. Contrasting that with Denny Banister, who is everything that Andy isn't, he is someone who is kind and considerate, dedicated to his career and his true love Sonya. To be struck down by cancer in the prime of his life, when he has the world at his feet, it's something Denny cannot reconcile and the journey he undertakes to win that life back throws up an interesting character study into the lengths someone will go to achieve that end.

Sonya Llewellyn – the other protagonist in “The Hambledown Dream” was loosely based on my grandmother. When my Nana lost her husband of 48 years to cancer back in the early 90's, she did not grieve for a very long time. She just got on with her life and was there for our family as they dealt with their own grief. It wasn't until about a year after my Pa died that Nana acknowledged her own grief and she kind of collapsed for a while after. It was quite an experience, to witness her own grief play out and it was one that never left me. In portraying Sonya's own grief in “The Hambledown Dream” I eventually came to realize that this was my own journey towards understanding Nana's grief and the impact it had on her at that time.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
There is an unconfirmed rumor that American actress Kirsten Bell (Veronica Mars) owns a copy of The Hambledown Dream and absolutely loved it. Ihaven't been able to establish this as fact however but I would be totally blown away if it were true.

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The Hambledown Dream
Australian Denny Banister had it all; a successful career, a passion for the guitar, and Sonya - the love of his life. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer.

Andy DeVries has almost nothing; alienated from his family, moving through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction while keeping a wavering hold on the only thing that matters to him: a place at a prestigious conservatory for classical guitar in Chicago. As Andy recovers from a near fatal overdose, he is plagued by dreams - memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he's never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he's never met, he begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown...

Available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Emerging onto the literary stage in 2010 when in his mid 30's, Adelaide based author and Pediatric ICU Nurse Dean Mayes describes himself as somewhat of a late bloomer, having almost given up on the prospect of ever being published. Dean had an idea for a story that he dearly wanted to tell however, and decided instead to blog the story rather than allow it to wither and die in his imagination.

Quite unexpectedly, the blog took off, quickly logging upwards of 3000 unique visits per month as a rapidly growing audience “tuned in” to Dean’s dream like tale of a young man who discovers he has taken on the memories and dreams of a complete stranger in the aftermath of a near fatal drug overdose.

Following a chance meeting with Canadian based publisher Central Avenue in mid 2009, Dean was signed by Creative Director Michelle Halket to an initial two year contract. In 2010, Dean’s humble blog became his debut novel “The Hambledown Dream” – a lyrical and moving romance about a young man’s journey on both sides of mortality. The novel has since gone on to receive global attention and critical acclaim.

Having established himself as an author of great passion and literary style, Dean set about penning a follow up novel that was not merely a repeat performance. After 2 years of meticulous research, Central Avenue Publishing released the powerful Australian family drama “Gifts of the Peramangk” in October 2012.

A third project, an experimental sci-fi novella entitled “The Regenesis Cluster”, was released in 2013. Dean describes this piece as an exploration of death and life, an artistic interpretation of reincarnation using words.

Dean is now working on his third feature length novel, the tentatively titled “The Recipient”.

Official Site – http://www.deanfromaustralia.com
Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway not run or sponsored by Kyra Halland or Welcome to My Worlds.
 
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: The Gullwing Odyssey

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The Gullwing Odyssey (Gullwing #1) by Antonio Simon, Jr.

Kyra's Star Ratings:
* * * * * 5 stars all around
 
(I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review)

All Marco Gullwing wants to do is deliver an important package for his prince. Then he's mistaken for someone he isn't, and finds himself whisked off on an adventure involving an island full of dragons, flying ships, and an evil conspiracy.

The Gullwing Odyssey is a very silly book. Homicidal hummingbirds, dragons both bureaucratic and amorous, a surprisingly bloodless way of doing battle, Red Underwear Tuesday... It's very funny and I laughed out loud a lot.

But there's also substance to the silliness. An interesting setting that isn't the usual pseudo-medieval-Europe (more Renaissance influences, with island and jungle settings), an engrossing plot full of twists and turns, engaging and vividly-drawn characters, some really cool magic, and a surprising moment of truth for Marco which added real depth to the book.

Some of the slapstick action maybe doesn't play out as well in text as it would visually, and there are a few minor proofreading mistakes, but overall the book is extremely well-written and nicely-presented, with nothing else to interfere with the reader's enjoyment.

The Gullwing Odyssey is an excellently entertaining read, and I look forward to more of Marco Gullwing's adventures.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Review: A Blacksmith's Quest

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A Blacksmith's Quest (Chronicles of the Aurovingians, Vol. 1) by E.R. Odhomi

Kyra's Star Ratings:

Characters: * * * *
Story: * * * *
Storytelling: * * * * *
Writing mechanics: * *

In the Muldovene Empire, slaves suffer in bondage to their cruel owners and dream of a prophesied land where they can be free. After suffering a tragic personal loss, the young slave blacksmith Aurovin sets out to find this mythical land of freedom. Before he gets too far, though, he finds himself caught up in a plot to expand the Empire into the independent lands which surround it. Surrounded by loyal companions, scheming criminals, kings both noble and evil, plotting noblemen, a brave princess, a mysterious shaman, and even a pirate (Captain Scabro - best pirate name ever!), Aurovin plays an increasingly important role in the struggle of the lands threatened by the Muldovene Empire to preserve their freedom.

The story is intricately plotted and filled with surprising twists and turns. The settings are vividly described, and the characters, both good and evil, are well-rounded and engaging. There are a number of exciting battle scenes, including a battle at sea, and for the most part the action is clearly described and easy to follow. A Blacksmith's Quest is book 1 of a series, and while the immediate battle ends, there's a lot more story left to come.

The novel is pretty well written, with a few tangled sentences and word usage problems that could easily be cleaned up in an edit. Of more concern is the lack of standard paragraphing, especially dialogue paragraphing and punctuation. This makes the book harder to read than it should be, and could also be easily cleaned up with an edit. But the story was entertaining enough that I was glad I kept reading in spite of those problems.

Overall, despite a few technical problems which could easily be fixed with an edit, A Blacksmith's Quest is an entertaining, engaging, exciting, and well-told saga with lots of promise for the rest of the series.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lainie-isms

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I'm working on book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings. Book 5 and this first part of book 6 have been interesting to write. The series has two main characters, Silas and Lainie, and through the first four books I divided up the viewpoint more or less equally between the two of them, maybe leaning more to Silas. He's a fun character to write, and seeing the world through his eyes is an interesting experience. Because of this, even though I was also spending a fair amount of time in Lainie's viewpoint, I hadn't really developed her as much, and most of the quotable quotes from the books were coming from Silas.

Starting with book 5, due to circumstances the story has been entirely from Lainie's viewpoint, so it forced me to look deeper into her mind and personality and find out just what she's capable of. And I'll tell you, it's pretty impressive. She may be a Sweet Young Thing, but she's also pretty badass, and smart too. So here, to balance out all the Silas quotes I've posted, are some Lainie-isms:

Heading off on a possibly dangerous errand:

Lainie didn't like it. This was the perfect setup for an ambush. She checked her gun yet again, then climbed down. "Wait here," she said to the carriage driver.
"But, madam, my instructions were--"
She cut him off by pulling a ten-gilding piece from her pants pocket. "Wait here and count to three hundred. If I haven't come running out for my life or if you haven't heard me scream by then, you can go."
Seeing a ladies' fashion magazine for the first time in her life:
Lainie found a seat on a couch just the right size for two people, and picked up an oversize, floppy book--all paper, with no hard covers--with a big picture of an elegantly-dressed lady on the front. 'Ladies' Fashion Monthly,' it said on the cover. Lainie flipped through it; it had lots of colored and black-and-white pictures in it of fancy clothing, fancy houses, fancy children, fancy food, fancy dogs, and short articles--like in a newspaper--about how you could go about achieving all that fanciness.
It's a trap!
She pushed her gun a little harder into the man's back. "What in all the hells is going on?"
"I don't know what you mean--everything seems to be going to plan so far--"
The end of her revolver went to the base of his skull. "The next lie you tell me is going to be the last thing you say."
Facing off against seven enemy wizards (actually eight, since the one she already shot won't stay down):
"I'm not the one who picked this fight," Lainie replied. She drew Silas's gun into her left hand. It was big and heavy, too big and heavy for her, but it made her feel stronger, like Silas himself was fighting at her side. "Show me what you've got."
Getting her first good meal in a long time:
She made her way to the kitchen, which was just as big and shiny and beautiful as the front parlor. The first thing her eyes alighted on was a pie--apple, she thought, smelling it--set out to cool on the counter. She moved towards it, wondering if Mr. Coltor was rich enough that he could afford to hire someone just to bake pies and cakes and cookies for him, like the people who read that 'Ladies' Fashion Monthly' book she had seen at the hotel in Sandostra. She hoped so, because that pie wasn't long for this world.
Picture So, it's been lots of fun getting to know Lainie a little better. Book 6 is coming along; I'm getting to that terrifying point that I've encountered in all the other books of this series, where I know how it's going to end but only have the vaguest idea of how I'm going to get there. I've picked up some good plotting techniques from Holly Lisle's books and courses, which so far have seen me through. (btw, that's my affiliate link for her store. I'm proud to recommend her books, workshops, and courses because they've worked wonders for me.) Once this draft is done, the whole series will go through the first big, deep, major revision as if it was one book, so I can get everything consistent from beginning to end, then it'll go out to the test readers. If you're wondering how long that's going to take, I can't say, but I'm hoping to start releasing the series late spring/early summer 2014.

Also if you're wondering, I'm estimating that the whole series is going to come out at around 300,000 words, or approximately the length of one George R.R. Martin book. So I won't be asking you to spend the rest of your life reading big long honkin' books and waiting years for the next installment. Once I've got the series ready to start releasing, it will (hopefully) only be a few months between releases.

And a final note, I got a look at the sketch for the cover of book 3 a few weeks ago, and am hoping to get the final version any day now. It's gonna be so cool! Stay tuned for cover art reveal news :D

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Kate de Jesus

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Introducing Kate de Jesus, author of the middle grade/young teens fantasy series The Gateway Discoveries:

1. Tell us about yourself.
Not surprisingly, I am a book nerd and have always loved to write.  I actually volunteered to write my friends English papers in high school and college just for fun.  I am the proud mother of two boys and my husband and I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

2. When did you start writing and why?
About two years ago I became a stay at home mom and found myself counting the hours until my kids came home from school.  I decided to do something a little more productive and give my dream of writing novels a shot.  I had spent years in the 9 to 5 cubicle life, and let me tell you, there is no comparison!  Now I look forward to sitting down at the computer every day.

3. What do you write and why?  What do you enjoy about it?
My 12 year old son discovered reading can be fun and not just a chore about the same time I sat down to write my first book.  He began churning through books in this age group and was constantly finishing a book and searching for a new one.  He especially loves series, which I recall loving also from my days as a 12 year old.  I wanted to create a series that has it all; action and adventure that kids like and positive characters with a positive message that parents like also.  I really enjoy showcasing how the kids in the story deal with issues common to kids today.  My hope is that if readers see the character overcome these issues, they will realize they can too!

4. What is your latest book series?  Any forthcoming books?
There are two books currently available in The Gateway Discoveries series, Dark Fate Falling and The Brutal Ones.   Dark Fate Falling is the first book and tells how four friends accompanying their scientist fathers on a trip through the Bermuda Triangle inadvertently discover a gateway into another dimension.   Although the dimension looks very much like our world, they soon find that it has its own secrets and deadly creatures for them to contend with.  The kids are forced to rely on themselves and each other if they want to survive…and escape.  The second book, The Brutal Ones, is a continuation of the first book and delves deeper into the other world the gateway has led them too.  The characters now face getting caught in an age old clash between the people of this newly discovered world and trying to find a way home.  They are drawn into events because they cannot, in good conscious, leave without helping, and because if they don’t do something they will likely be crushed by the conflict.  There is definitely a message of ‘do the right thing’ in this book.  I am currently working on the third book, Arden’s war, which is the conclusion to this story and the launching pad for the fourth book.  Arden’s War is due out in January, 2014.

5. Welcome To My Worlds: Tell us about the world of your series.
I collaborated heavily with my 12 year old son on the first book in the series.  He helped with the characters and theme, and I even describe the creatures in the book based on drawings he did, so it is very much the mysterious, adventure filled world of a 9 to 12 year old.  I liked the concept of having a few main characters that the reader grows fond of, without trapping the characters in one situation or one world.  The first three books tell the story of how the kids discovered the gateways and what happens when they entered.  But they also discover there are other gateways out there and those could lead to anything; outer space, the Wild West, a zombie apocalypse.  The possibilities for new settings and new characters are endless, which keeps readers interested in a series.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters.
There are three main characters in the series.  Nick is a twelve year old who sometimes struggles with anxiety and ‘what if something bad happens’ thoughts.  Then there is Remedy, a twelve year old girl who conveys all the confidence in the world but is secretly afraid of what others are thinking of her.  Finally there is Simon, a fifteen year old who likes to think things through before acting and is an all around straight arrow.  I try to give the characters issues that my readers can relate to.  If they see Nick overcoming his anxiety in a situation, maybe they can see themselves doing the same.  I also want readers to see that girls can do anything they put their mind to, and that it’s okay to have doubts as long as they don’t hold you back.  The three kids find themselves in some really exciting circumstances, and I want readers to see themselves in the way the characters handle events. 

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7. Tell us a fun fact about you or your book.
A fun fact about me…hmm…I guess I would have to say that I am a firm believer in the existence of Bigfoot.  Maybe it’s my very active imagination, but I love a good Sasquatch story!

8. Website and where your books are available:
Dark Fate Falling (The Gateway Discoveries Volume 1) and The Brutal Ones (The Gateway Discoveries Volume 2) are now available on Amazon.com.

More information about the books and upcoming books in the series can be found at:
https://sites.google.com/site/darkfatefalling/

Monday, September 9, 2013

Author Spotlight: Aoife Marie Sheridan

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Introducing fantasy author Aoife Marie Sheridan, here on her blog tour with Saskia Book Tours! (If you're wondering, Aoife is pronounced EE-fah.)

Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon's books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn't) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.

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Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I have always written but mostly poetry, it’s always been my way to deal with my emotions, no matter how big or small. Two years ago I lost two people I was close too. I had never lost anyone before, so I didn’t deal very well with it. One night I had a dream of a man and women on a horse, passing through a wall of fire. The dream lingered with me, as did my grief. So instead of writing poetry I started my story. My starting point was my dream and I worked my way from there. Eden Forest helped me once again deal with death, and all that comes with it. So in a way I am very grateful for this story.

I always wondered why God created us and what was our purpose, but those questions are unanswered. So in my story I give you the answers for this world called Saskia. In the story God creates a world parallel to ours, for four fallen angels.

Death is something that I also question now, like why do we die, is 60 to 90yrs of life enough, imagine having immortality what would one do to gain it? And that’s where a lot of my plot lies. The greed for immortality, for power’s that only God should wield, drives Saskia into war.

God decides to give one person all the powers that anyone could possess to banish evil, before it destroys Saskia and Earth. This one person happens to be a young lady called Sarajane Anderson who lives in the mortal world (Earth) but is actually from Saskia.

Q. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: My work so far:

Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy)
 
Four banished Angels,
A world created by the hands of God,
A Kingdom on its knees,
A secret protected for centuries,
And one mortal can save them all.

Step into Saskia.

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City of Secrets (Part two of the Saskia Trilogy)

A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane?

Step back into Saskia. 


Pending:
The Rise of the Queen (Part three of the Saskia Trilogy)

Aoife’s Other works:Ama Forbidden
Hunters

Q: "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
A: Saskia is a parallel world to earth, it’s beauty and horror are equal in measures, if something is white is snow white or if it’s bad it’s deadly. It’s a world of immortality, forbidden love, war and magic and just love going to Saskia for a few hours to see what everyone is getting up to.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
A: Queen Bellona, she was the most interesting to write about. Bellona is all that is bad in the world she is a combination of people that I have crossed paths with in my life. But she does not represent one person alone. Through her I could vent the injustice of people’s ways, and display it.

Secondly would have to be Sarajane she plays the main Character. She is relatable as in she isn’t perfect. I created Sarajane with flaws, as we all have them. Mine can be that I am selfish so that’s the flaw I gave Sarajane.

I am surrounded by very strong women in my life, and I am grateful for this. I take a lot of their personalities and place them in my characters, or something they might do, or even a facial expression. I love to watch people’s reactions as they talk to me, if they stumble on a line, they may chew their lip, in an endearing way. I note it and file it way for later.

To contact Aoife you can email her at aoifesheridan101@gmail.com

Website www.aoifemariesheridan.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Aoifemariesheri
Blog: aoifesheri.wordpress.com
Goodreads: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Twitter: aoifesheri

Books available at:
Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com     Easons
www.aoifemariesheridan.com
E-book:  http://synergebooks.com/ebook_edenforest.html

Saskia Book Services:
www.saskiabookservices.yolasite.com
Email: saskiabookservices@gmail.com

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Author Spotlight: Darren T. Patrick

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Introducing fantasy author Darren T. Patrick.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Darren grew up as most Winnipeggers do—surviving bone-chilling winters and mosquito-infested summers. Looking back now, he wouldn’t change a thing.

Darren attributes his passion for reading to his mother, who handed him his first fantasy fiction paperback at age twelve and told him that ‘he’d like it’; and his passion for writing to his father, who spent countless hours with him in front of a clunky word processor and told him that ‘he’d get it’. Turns out, some twenty-five years later, they were right.

Darren lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife Laura, their son Nolan and their dog Gallagher. When he isn’t writing, Darren enjoys hiking with his young family, playing tennis when he can get a game in, and catching up on his reading when everyone else in the house has gone to sleep.

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) in 1974.  And, like other Winnipeggers, I grew up learning to deal with bone-chilling winters and mosquito-infested summers. Looking back now, I’d have it no other way. 

Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) has been my home since 2000. It’s a beautiful city, nestled in between the mountains and the ocean, and I count myself fortunate for being able to live here with my wife Laura, our son Nolan and our dog Gallagher.  Outside of writing, I enjoy trail running, tennis (when I can find the time and a partner to hit with) and reading (after everyone else in the house has gone to sleep).
 
2. When did you start writing, and why?
The first rumblings I felt about writing my own stuff came shortly after reading The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks.  I was about twelve at the time and remember it well—my mother had recently come home from the local mall in Winnipeg and dropped a paperback on my bed with some really cool artwork on the cover. I didn’t know what fantasy fiction was, but believe me, I sure as h#$# wanted to know what Elfstones were!  It was my first literary introduction (outside of playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends… all fantasy writers did at some point, right?) to mystical creatures, magical weapons, strange worlds and even stranger races. I devoured it.  And when I was done, I remember thinking how cool it would be if I could one day write something that took people to another place like the way I had been. So that’s what I did—I wrote.  Mind you, like many authors I know, life “got in the way” and unfortunately my writing stepped aside to let that happen. Fast-forward twenty-four years since Elfstones found its way to my room, and that’s when I decided—seriously—to reacquaint myself with the craft.  Three years later, The Cloudstone Key was born (the child of a great deal of planning and forethought). For those that pick up The Cloudstone Key, it is my sincere hope that they will be transported away to that mystical place—that place which enables the suspension of disbelief and drops them into a far away land and all that comes with it.

3. Introduce us to some of your characters.
Meet my protagonist, Karsen Morgate. Karsen is 17 years old (going on 18), a shade under six feet tall with (ear length) sandy brown hair and green eyes.  He is the second child of Gavin Morgate—his sister Elysse, went missing/ran away when Karsen was eight years old. Karsen is unsure of the direction he wants to take his life—pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps as head of Aystin’ mining Guild. His true passion, though, is to get out of Aystin and to explore the vast world in which he lives, but has yet to experience. If I was to describe Karsen’s character in just a few words, I’d use: Curious. Sensitive. Determined. Cognizant. Clever. Proud.

 4. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The Rithhek Cage Trilogy is set in the world of Tholann, a land rich in history and conflict. About 500 years have passed on the continent before the reader meets Karsen Morgate on page one of The Cloudstone Key. During that time, “a lot happened,” not the least of which involved nine species of dragons, an ancient race of industrious humanoids known as the Rithhek, a group of agate-wielding magic users known as Adepts, and a conflict that drove a spike into everything.  When the reader meets Karsen at the beginning of The Cloudstone Key, the weight of Tholann’s history looms over him, although he doesn’t yet know what that means; but he wants to—if he can.  Using the six-word framework again, I’d describe Tholann as: Expansive. Strained. Diverse. Untamed. Mysterious. Treacherous.

5. How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
In my mind, it’s hard to write something fictional and not pour your emotions and experiences into your characters. In my writing, I try hard to have my characters come to life on the page and to do that, I draw on the five senses as well as my own life experiences. Translating this into The Cloudstone Key, there are elements of Karsen’s character loosely related to my own life; a capital ‘L’ on loosely. I, too left home at a relatively early age, but I wasn’t forced to, nor was I running from a murder case. To twist your question around a bit, though, I’ve channeled more personal experiences directly into my world-building. Especially through the map of Tholann.  A lot of care went into crafting it (and the history behind it) and every element is emotionally tied to something or someone close to me.

 6. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My “latest” book is the first book in The Rithhek Cage Trilogy: The Cloudstone Key. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft of the second book in Trilogy—The Peregrine Prophecy—and will be releasing it in November 2013.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
One of the coolest things I’m finding about being an author and having access to the power of social media is the speed and ease in which you can test ideas with your friends, family and readers.  In fact, the title—The Peregrine Prophecy–was one of four choices that I tested on Facebook and Twitter.  It won the day.

Picture The Cloudstone Key: Book 1 of The Rithhek Cage Trilogy

In the remote mining village of Aystin, Karsen Morgate secretly longs to explore the world outside the town walls; but instead dutifully spends his nights protecting the precious Cloudstone tiles--mined by his father, and engraved with mystical symbols and lore by the reclusive Adept Noxyn. When his half-brother, Petr, commits a gruesome crime, Karsen is forced to flee his home, carrying with him a tile depicting a unique artifact--the Ennae--entrusted to his care by the Adept himself. Alone, ailing, and on the run, Karsen must find help, find his way, and decipher the true meaning of the Ennae. For he soon realizes that he is being pursued by the dark brotherhood of the Shroud, and that he has somehow become an unwilling pawn in an ancient conflict.

The Shroud is stirring.
The world of Tholann is in danger.
And young Karsen Morgate is in the middle of it.     
       
Link to buy the book on Amazon (geo-specific):
smarturl.it/TheCloudstoneKey

Link to buy the book on Kobo (geo-specific):
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/the-cloudstone-key

My website:
www.darrentpatrick.com
 My Twitter account:
www.twitter.com/9thChapter 
My Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/AuthorDarrenPatrick

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Progress Update: Lost Book, Sarya, and DoW5

Picture Been working hard; time for a progress update.

The Lost Book of Anggird is on the final line/copy editing round. I'm about 1/3 of the way through. After that comes the proofread and formatting, and I anticipate being able to release it sometime during the later part of October. Watch for previews and book extras as the release date draws near!

The first major revision of Sarya's Song is a little more than halfway done. I'll start scaring up some test readers for it soon, and plan to be able to send it out to them later in September. It's hard to say for sure this far back, but I'm probably looking at a February release for that one.

The draft of Book 5 of Daughter of the Wildings is getting close to finished. I should be able to wrap that up this week, then get right to work on Book 6. As I've said before, the plan with this series is to get all the books written, then revise them all as one unit to get the storyline and everything consistent throughout. When I first wrote Beneath the Canyons, I didn't intend for it to turn into a series; I'd always thought of myself as a writer of stand-alone novels. But at the end of that book, even though the storyline was resolved, Silas and Lainie were in worse trouble than they started out in, so of course the story had to continue! The series has developed in some ways I wasn't expecting - some things I thought were important early on have turned out not to be so important (so far, at least - we'll see how things go in Book 6), while other things I didn't think were important have turned out to be major parts of the overall series storyline. So, there's still a lot of work to do there. Can't say for sure, but I'm hoping to start releasing the series in Spring 2014. At that point all the books will be written and will have been through the first major revision and the test readers, so I'm hoping for no more than a couple of months in between releases of each book in the series.

(And yes, if you're counting, I'm working on three novels at once right now. I think I'm probably out of my mind.)

Also, I just got a look at a preliminary version of the cover for Daughter of the Wildings Book 3, which is now titled The Rancher's Daughter. Thrilling, I know, but it has more layers of meaning than it looks like. I reserve the right to change it if I think of something better. This cover is going to be super cool.

While I'm on the subject, I want to say that of all the fun, awesome, cool things about being an independent author, working with my two amazing cover artists has been one of the funnest, awesomest, coolest things of all! Design by Katt and me-illuminated (Mominur Rahman) have both been great to work with, and I highly recommend them to other authors looking for custom cover art.

And a reminder, to be informed of new releases and if I have a sale or free coupon or something, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter! I'm too lazy and too busy to spam; you'll only get emails when I release a new book or am having a special on my books.