Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Author Spotlight: Vanessa Kings

Introducing fantasy author Vanessa Kings:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.I was born on March 14th of 1985, in Rosario, Argentina. I lived with my mom and 2 sisters until I was 19 when I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband), we lived in several cities until we decided to have a baby. Then, in 2012 we moved to Capilla del Monte, Cordoba, Argentina, and our baby boy was born on October of 2013.

2. When did you start writing, and why?At the age of 10 I wrote my first fairy tale as a way to deal with a very painful earache. My 5th grade teacher had told us to write a short fantasy story as summer homework. I sat on the backyard to write and I couldn’t stop. That short story is the one I recently published as a bed time story: “The princess of the Enchanted Forest”.

That day, I found writing comforting and distracting, so I continued writing every time I felt the need of leaving realty behind. By the age of 18 I had around 120 pieces written of fairy tales, poems, life’s reflections and other stories.

I always wanted to publish my stories but never had the confidence to do it. After my son was born, my husband and my best friend gave me the confidence that I needed to start writing my first book.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write? I write fantasy stories, mostly involving fairies, goblins, princesses, dragons and knights. I always say that I am trying to bring the old-fashioned fairy tale kind of books, that’s what I loved to read when I was a kid.
What I enjoy most about writing is leaving the real world for a little while; when I write I submerge into my fantasy world and everything else disappear for a moment. It is almost like reading, but writing gives the opportunity to live your own adventure and create your own characters.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?I have two series that I am writing simultaneously. My main series is “Stories of the fairy of my dreams”, the first book, “Chronicles of the Nocturnal Forest”, was published on December, and it is the first of three. It takes place on a magical island called The Kingdom of Astebeth. The second book of the series, “The diary of Amanda”, is expected to be published on October of this year.

My secondary series, “The Dream Fairy’s Bed Time Stories”, is a collection of ten short stories, based on secondary characters of The Kingdom of Astebeth that didn’t have their own stories on the main three books. The first book, “The Princess of the Enchanted Forest”, is available on paperback now, and the e-book will be released on February 28th. The second short story will be published on May.

I am also planning to write a book called “Spells of the Dream Fairy” or something like that, I haven’t decided the name yet, it would be an anthology of poems.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.The Kingdom of Astebeth is a small Island, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It has a small town and a big castle. On the left and north shore there are mountains, on the right and south shore there is a beach. Besides the town, the Island has an extensive forest. No one dares to venture themselves into the forest because they say it is haunted, but the truth is, the forest is the home of magical creatures, fairies, gnomes, talking animals and even dragons. The forest has a queen, Nasha, which is the mother of all the fairies of the forest and the protector of its dwellers.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?The main character of “Chronicles of the Nocturnal Forest” is Melanie. She is sixteen and has a boring, regular life. She goes to school, doesn’t have any friends, is a victim of bullying and doesn’t have the best relationship with her parents. She often gets in trouble for drawing during class, and it’s very close of being expelled or transferred to a different school, which, along with her low grades, won’t help with her college applications. The only things that help her to get through all that are her books and her dreams. She loves to read fantasy stories and often dreams that she is a part of them. One night, on her dream, she sees herself sitting next to a fairy. The fairy starts telling her the story of Sarah and Thomas, two young inhabitants of Astebeth. Melanie starts dreaming of this magical Island almost every night, always hearing the stories that the fairy tells her.

I like Melanie because she is strong. She has to deal with a lot of bad things, but she doesn’t lose her innocence and her dreams. She stands for what she believes, she knows what she wants and she will do anything to accomplish it. She is sweet and kind, but she won’t let anyone stand on her way and stop her. During the first book of the series she goes from a disoriented teenager to a very mature college freshman, her journey and adventures in Astebeth were a big part of her life and helped her during the hard path of becoming a woman.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.I don’t know if readers will find this fun or disturbing, but, I am a crazy cat lady. Not exactly like the one from The Simpsons because I still have all my teeth, and I am missing about 20 cats hanging from my hair, but I have like a cat-magnet. I have two “official” cats, two more that come every day to visit us (and eat), and another one from the neighbourhood that always meows at us when he walks in front of my house. When I go out for a walk, cats come to me, you know, like dogs usually do, sniffing and moving their tales? Well, cats come to me purring and I would take them all home with me but some have owners and I don’t have the room for all of them. I love cats, I would have a tiger if I could. Of course, some of my Bed Time Stories, have cats.

Picture 8. Where to find Vanessa:Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon

Exclusive excerpt from Chronicles of the Nocturnal Forest (Stories of the Fairy of my Dreams, #1):
"We continued walking until we exited the forest. A few steps away, I saw a small wooden house and ran straight towards it, hoping that they could be hiding inside. I wanted to warn them about Arthur’s knights. I had to let them know what was going on and help them escape. I entered the house in a rush, shouting that they had to leave, the knights were coming, and they were not going to let them escape. Sarah and Thomas were sitting in front of the fireplace, holding their hands and looking into each other’s eyes. I told them to leave once, twice, three times, but they could not see me or hear me.

In previous dreams, I could always control what was happening when I needed, and when I found myself in a situation like this, I reminded myself that it was a dream, and so from that moment on, I could do anything. I could fly, fight dragons, and swim in the depths of the ocean without needing to breathe.
Somehow, I could not control this dream; I could not make them listen to me.

It seemed that the fairy noticed my confusion and explained that for many days, they were hunted by Arthur’s knights, who eventually found them, living in the small house made of wood. It was their fate and nothing would change that.

I could not witness what was going to happen next; I knew what Arthur had sent them to do, so, with tears in my eyes, I asked the fairy to take me away from that place. She did, and soon afterwards, we were sitting under a tree in the forest as she continued telling me what had become of Sarah and Thomas."

Chronicles of the Nocturnal Forest (Stories of the Fairy of My Dreams #1) is available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Meet My Character: Lainie Banfrey

Welcome to the Speculative Fiction Showcase Meet My Character blog hop! Last week's stop was at Aurora Springer's site. Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. Whimsical stories in weird worlds. Science fiction and fantasy, love and war with a spice of humor. Aliens and outer space! Check out her blog to meet her alien character Sa Kamizan Veedak.
Lainie BanfreyMominur Rahman illuminatedimages.co.uk
Last time I did a Meet My Character blog hop (that one was with one of my Goodreads groups), we got to know Silas Vendine, hero of Daughter of the Wildings. This time it's leading lady Lainie Banfrey's turn.
1) What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person?

Her name is Lainie Banfrey. She's fictional (but don't tell her that!).

2) When and where is the story set?The story is set in the Wildings, a fantasy world inspired by the American West of the 1880s. Non-magical people have fled from persecution in the mage-ruled civilized land of Granadaia to settle in the wide-open Wildings.

3) What should we know about him or her?Lainie is the 19-year-old daughter of a moderately prosperous (though far from wealthy) cattle rancher in Bitterbush Springs. It's just her and her father; her mother died when Lainie was 6 years old, and her older brother was killed in a shootout between feuding miners and ranch men. She's a hard worker, tending to both ranch chores and housekeeping, and she's an excellent cook. She's proud of her full 6-year education at the Bitterbush Springs Town School, and she loves to read all the penny-thriller novels she can get her hands on.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life?Lainie was born in the Wildings to Plain (non-magical) parents, but she inherited magical power from a grandmother who was a mage. Mages are hated and feared by the Plain settlers, so Lainie has to hide her power. She's torn over her power: she wants to be able to use it to do good, but she's been taught all her life that wizards are monsters with no heart and no soul.

When a dangerous renegade mage comes to Bitterbush Springs and stirs up a feud, Lainie meets Silas Vendine, a bounty hunter on the renegade's trail. To her, he seems like the man of her dreams, even though he's a mage. Lainie's power is discovered by Silas, who is legally required to either Strip her of her power, which would leave her a helpless, mindless shell, or to take her to Granadaia to be trained in magic, a process that would probably destroy the young woman she is and turn her into the monster she's afraid of becoming. Lainie refuses to go along with either option, and Silas can't bring himself to force her.

Lainie teams up with Silas to stop the renegade mage. The renegade discovers her power, and then the whole town finds out about it, with the result that her whole life is uprooted and sent in a direction she never imagined.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?She wants to learn to use her power while remaining herself and not becoming a monster like she's always been taught mages are, and to use her power to protect the peace and freedom of the people of the Wildings. At the same time, she wants to convince the settlers that not all mages are evil, and eventually make it so that mages and Plain folk can live together peacefully.

6) What is the title of the book(s), and where can find out more?The series is Daughter of the Wildings (click to go to the series page for book extras, buy links, and more information).
Book 1: Beneath the Canyons (now available)
Book 2: Bad Hunting (now available)
Book 3: The Rancher's Daughter (coming soon)
Book 4: To the Gap
Book 5: City of Mages
Book 6: For the Wildings

7) When was the book published?Beneath the Canyons was published November 2014, and Bad Hunting was published just a few days ago, Feb. 20. Anticipated release for The Rancher's Daughter is May 2015.

The next stop on the Meet My Character blog hop is yet to be determined; I'll update when that's set up.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bad Hunting Now Available

Picture I'm pleased to announce that Bad Hunting, Daughter of the Wildings Book 2, is now available at the following ebook retailers: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | OmniLit | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction. It'll also be on iTunes, which for some reason is being really slow. The regular price is $3.99, but through Feb. 24, 2015, you can get it for the special introductory price of $0.99! (or the international equivalent)

If you haven't read Book 1, Beneath the Canyons yet, now's your chance; it's also on special for only 99 cents through Feb. 24!

The paperback edition of Bad Hunting will be coming in a few weeks.

And now, on to book 3, The Rancher's Daughter! I can't say yet when the release date will be; I would love to publish it in April, but May might be more realistic. I'll keep you posted on the progress! And in the meantime, watch for Lainie to be featured on the Speculative Fiction Showcase Meet My Character blog tour this weekend, right here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Bad Hunting" Formatting Day!

Picture Yes, it's finally here, the day I turn the manuscript of yet another novel into a lovely ebook, the last step before releasing it into the world. The first time I did this process, it took 2 weeks; I've now got it down to a day or two, depending on length of the book (lots of chapters take more time to do). This isn't counting the paperback version; I do that in my spare time after the ebook release.

So I'm taking a quick break between preparing the html file and running it through the ebook generating program (I use Sigil) to announce that Bad Hunting will be available in just a few more days at a wide variety of ebook sellers. There'll be some special promotions in connection with the release; to make sure you don't miss out, sign up for my email alerts. (I only send these out when I have a new release or special offer to announce; no spamming!)

Also, this was cool, I had a guest post yesterday at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog devoted to indie fantasy, science fiction, and related genres.

One other bit of business, Facebook has become pretty much useless for announcing my blog posts, book news, buy links, and special offers. If you want to keep up with what I'm doing, there are several other ways you can do this: follow me on Twitter (not my platform of choice, but I do tweet my blog posts and release news) and/or on Google+, bookmark my main site, and/or subscribe to one of my blogs: main site, Blogspot, or Wordpress (same content, just different platforms and options for following).

Time for lunch, then back to work!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Feb. 2015 Look Back and Look Ahead

Picture Yes, I know February is almost halfway over! Just a quick update post. Job one this month and last month has been getting Bad Hunting ready for release. I'm at least a month behind schedule - the stretch between Thanksgiving and when we took our son back to school after New Year's took a lot out of me, it was fun but exhausting - and working hard to make up time. I've got myself on a more or less regular work schedule (hard to do when you work at home and you're your own boss!) and progress is finally happening. Bad Hunting is in the final proofreading stages, and I'm looking at a release date of Feb. 20. Stay tuned for release news and some special promotional pricing; to make sure you don't miss out, sign up for my email alerts. Don't worry, I'm too lazy/busy to spam, and you can cancel any time.

All other projects have been put on hold until I get back on track with the Daughter of the Wildings schedule. This includes getting Tales of Azara ready to release and working on my other Estelend novels and the Urdaisunia sequel. They haven't been abandoned; they're just waiting their turn.

On my A-Z reading challenge, for H I read The Hawk and His Boy, book 1 of the Tormay Trilogy by Chirstopher Bunn, then had to take a detour to read the rest of the series. I'm halfway through book 3, The Wicked Day, and it's wonderful.

Time to post this and eat lunch, then back to work!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Author Spotlight: N.J. Paige

N.J. Paige
Introducing author N.J. Paige and her novel Rise of the Nephilim: Fire and Blood:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

First, I want to thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. A little bit about me: well, I'm a mom of two wonderful children and wife to the best husband in the world-my best friend.

2. When did you start writing, and why?This may be a little cliche, but I began in high school. I found it as a way to express all my frustrations as a teenage girl.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?My goal is to write across many different genres. However, currently, I find that I'm drawn to Fantasy/Science-Fiction. The most important thing for me though, no matter what genre I happen to be writing in, is to support the foundations that I believe to be the foundations of Humanity-love, empathy, honor.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?My latest book is a new series, Rise of The Nephilim: Fire And Blood. Its foundations are love and empathy-two of Humanities foundations I referred to earlier.

Also, you are the first to know, my new release, Code Human, will be out 4/25/2015. Its foundations lie in love, honor, empathy, and I'll add, respect. Both series have kick-butt heroines who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Rise of the Nephilim: Fire and Blood
5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.Rise Of The Nephilim: Fire And Blood is set in an subterranean world-Babylon, where there are large lakes, cave structures with some modern utilities such as electricity. Think of a medieval village, with some sort of modernity. Its core is beneath New York City. In this world are strange beings-Epochs, Imps, and Fallen Angels, not to mention Nephilims.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?Well, some of my characters are Maxine Lauren-the main charater. Although Maxine has been bullied all her life for her unique features, and has every reason to hate the world, it is her love for her family and for Humanity that will save the world. Also Amand, Maxine's Fallen Angel father. He is set on destroying the world, for he so hates Humanity, but his love for Maxine, his Sarai, and her human mother, Maybie, is cutting that hate down a little at a time. And I must not forget Mathias, the golden Angel from the Realm of Angels. He is Maxine's first love. And he is willing to risk everything to protect her and to show his love for her-an unforbidden love.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.Hmm. A fun fact. Let me think. Well, I have a passion for gardening. And one of my dreams is to one day build a home that is completely off the grid and will provide food for me and my family via greenhouses and so forth. Aslo, I love to hike and do all kinds of outdoorsy stuff.

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.Rise of The Nephilim is available at Amazon.
Where to find N.J.:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter

I want to thank you again for having me as your guest. [Kyra sez: You're welcome :-) My pleasure!]

Read on for an excerpt from Rise of the Nephilim: Fire and Blood:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bad Hunting Sneak Peek


Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings, is now available at Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, OmniLit, Smashwords, CreateSpace, and DriveThruFiction. Coming soon to Barnes & Noble (which is once again being laggy with the updates).


Update: Canyons is now live at Barnes & Noble!
 
Still plugging away with final edits on Bad Hunting; in the meantime, here's a sneak peek inside the book, with Lainie and Silas on the trail of a killer:


Picture
The next day, thunderheads started building up over the hills early in the day. Silas and Lainie still went on foot, leading the horses, as they continued looking for tracks. Being down in the washes when there might be rain upstream could be a deadly mistake, so they kept to higher ground as much as possible. The humidity made the heat even more oppressive, and the air was filled with a tension that only a thunderstorm could relieve. Rainbugs clicked and buzzed in the brush, heralding a chance of rain, their noise constant and maddening despite its welcome message. By late in the morning, the clouds over the hills towered high and white, nearly black on the bottom, and a curtain of gray gradually thickened across the highest hilltops in the range. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The wind coming down from the hills picked up, bringing a promising smell of rain.

So far that morning, the search had been just as futile as the day before. Then, about mid-day, Silas paused and looked down into the wash they were following. "What's that?"

Surprise that he had found something, and a touch of fear, jolted Lainie out of the haze of heat, frustration, and boredom she had sunk into. "What's what?"

"I thought I saw -- wait here."

He walked to the edge of the wash and pushed aside the thorny brush growing there, then started climbing down the sloping bank.

"Be careful," Lainie called, nervously eyeing the storm up in the hills and thinking of the killer who could be lurking down in the creek bed.

"I won't be but a moment," Silas called back as he disappeared into the wash. Lainie peered anxiously after him, but he was soon out of sight. Almost she wanted to go after him, so he wouldn't be alone down there and she wouldn't be alone up here, but there were the horses to consider --

Without warning, a cold, violent downdraft from the hills crashed into her, followed by a wall of dust. Dirt and sand swirled around her, blinding her, clogging her nose. Behind her, Mala and Abenar neighed in panic, the sound muted and torn apart by the wind rushing past her ears. In her anxiety about Silas, Lainie realized, she had forgotten to hold onto the horses' reins. She spun around and lunged to grab the reins before the horses could run away, and missed, and stumbled to the ground. She came up disoriented, with no idea which way she was facing or where the wash was. Even the sounds of the horses were lost in the roar of the wind. "Silas!" she tried to call out, but the wind stole her voice and blowing grit filled her mouth.

She froze in place. Every child in the Wildings was taught that if you were lost in the wild, you should stay put so you could be found. Wandering around, especially in a blind panic, would only get you more lost. She couldn't be more than a few steps from where she had been and from where Silas had gone down into the wash, she told herself, trying to stay calm. The wind buffeted her side to side and front to back, but she fought it, trying to hold her ground. Even small steps would add up, taking her away from where Silas could easily find her.

A pair of arms came around her from behind. Relief swept away her panic; Silas --

The grip of the arms tightened mercilessly around her, and the stink of old alcohol and long-unwashed body hit her nose. Terror surged inside her. Before she could fight back, a rope of glowing green power wrapped itself around her legs and arms, stinging her skin and nerves, and the cold edge of a knife blade pressed against her throat.

At the touch of sharp metal on her skin, her cry died in her mouth. In her mind, she saw clearly the scene that Silas would find when the dust storm passed: her lying dead on the ground, her throat carved open, and no sign of the murderer who came and went like a spirit, without a trace.

"Stay still and quiet, and I won't have to kill you," a male voice whispered harshly in her ear.


Watch for Bad Hunting, coming soon!