Introducing Geoff Le Pard, author of My Father and Other Liars

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Geoff Le Pard to the blog today. I met Geoff in person earlier this year, and he is as genuine as his blogging personality would suggest. If you caught my earlier post you’ll know that Geoff is running a blog book tour at the moment. The more I learn about My Father and Other Liars, the more I look forward to reading it.


The treatment of the adult orphan.

When I started writing My Father and Other Liars I had been thinking about the grieving process. My own father died in 2005 and, while his death came naturally as the end of a process the family lived through, I was intrigued by how the impact of grief worked. I vividly recall the moment I was told he had been diagnosed with cancer. I was sitting in my office, about 3.30 in the afternoon when the phone rang. Mum. She never rang me at work. I knew Dad was in for tests but her news hit me like a set of punches. It wasn’t a long call and by the end of it the initial shock became numbness. I sat staring at the conference table at the other end of my room and realised I couldn’t talk, not without breaking down. I was 47, head of this that and what have you and breaking down would have been embarrassing, humiliating. I got up, walked to the toilets and shut myself in a cubicle.

And that was it. An hour later I was off home to pick up the car and drive to my parents. From there on until well past his actual death a year later and well past the funeral I shed not a tear, felt rather divorced from all the emotion around me. He died in March 2005. In August I cried for the first time. I’ve had those tearing up moments since, never when I expect them and always difficult to deal with.

I talked to a friend about this, about how no one really seemed to understand this late flowering grief. He said something to the effect that being an adult orphan isn’t taken seriously. It’s expected, parents dying before their children. When that occurs at an expected age, people understand your loss, are sympathetic. But they expect you to be ‘grown up’ and ‘get over it’. Why? That’s what I asked myself. I read an excellent book ‘The Orphaned Adult’ by Alexander Levy. In it he takes a series of case studies to examine how grief impacts us as adults when we lose one or more parents.

I wanted to incorporate this theme into my book, since it was about fathers and my father’s death was still quite raw. My main character, Maurice Oldham is in his thirties and has lost his mother, blaming himself for her death. His father is also lost to him, but emotionally not because he’s dead. The book begins very shortly after Maurice finds his father – he believed him dead for many years – and he is angry and, in many senses, grieving for both parents. Finding his father alive robs him of his grief and that causes anger and a different grief in its own right. One of the themes throughout the book is how Maurice tries to come to terms with his father’s continued existence and the betrayals he feels at his father’s hands.

When Mum died five years later, the process was as erratic and difficult. I stood at the graveside and felt an awful heavy lump. This was truly it. Both parents had gone and the tangible connection to my past, my youth, my ancestry gone with it. I tried to bring out some of that in My Father and Other Liars, that linkage and to see in Maurice’s stuttering steps towards a reconciliation with his father the attempt to postpone that loss of one’s own living history.


my father and other liarsMy Father and Other Liars is the second book by Geoff Le Pard. Published in August it is available as an ebook and paperback here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 

dead flies and sherry trifleHis first book, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle can be found here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com


GeoffGeoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls.


Blog Tour 2 poster 2

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Character Interview: Aldra Malimore from Doubling Back by Rose Fishcher

I recently had the pleasure of reading Doubling BackA Story of Synn (The Foxes of Synn, Book 3) by Rose Fischer. Needless to say I loved the story, and fell for the charming and talented fox, Aldra Malimore. So imagine my excitement when I got to interview Aldra! Now I get to share that with you.

RBF_08-27-2015_3023RBF_08-27-2015_3024Aldra Malimore’s hope for a career as a sorcery scholar is over. Now, she’s working as waitress in the capital city of Arcanion and trying to resist the strange pull she feels toward Sorrell DeGray. When she stumbles on a thief with advanced technology that mimics the behavior of Synn’s color magic, it’s Sorrell she must turn to. But will trusting Sorrell be a mistake or a new beginning?

 

Interview with Aldra Malimore (The Foxes of Synn)

 Mel: You trained for several years as a sorceress, can you tell us about your experience?

Aldra: In the Northern Realms, you have to apply to one of the schools. There are seven.  If you’re wealthy, a teacher or mentor affiliated with one of the schools comes to you, or if you’re poor but really lucky, you can get a scholarship to live at the schools. I was fortunate because two of my parents are already sorcerers, so I had a mentor.   He taught me some things and helped me design a personal curriculum taking different classes at various schools.  I was also allowed to incorporate classes from Earth.  Sorcery is an interdisciplinary field.  You study magic and a variety of other things.  We know how the weather works, and chemical processes, and geology, and things like that. We can combine that knowledge with Colored magic to do things.  Lifespans are longer, especially among people who know magic, and that puts a different perspective on continuing education.  You have to be able to do a little bit of everything, including employable trade skills.  Magic doesn’t make money, though some well-known magicians have noble patrons. Most sorcerers have more learned skills than innate powers and abilities.

I guess we’re more “the people with special knowledge” than “the people with special powers” although we have powers that others don’t.  Witches have inborn powers to manipulate nature, so they don’t always need as much technical knowledge.

Magicians work in groups and there’s more of an academic emphasis than a standard “adventurer” one like your readers would probably expect.  The degree I have, called an Intermediate Holdership, typically takes between 8-10 years to acquire. It’s worth about as much career wise as an Associate’s Degree on Earth, and once you get it, you need a research grant and approval from one of the schools to go to the next level.

Mel: That’s quite an educational system. It has me all the more intrigued by the magic in Synn and the commitment to your craft. In Doubling Back you mentioned a few spells and, I’m curious, what’s your favourite?

Aldra: Synn has several different magic systems, so “spell” can mean a lot of different things. The main type of magic that’s really widespread is Color magic. That’s what you saw in Doubling Back. I have a hard time picking favorites, but in Color magic there are styles of spell more than stock phrases or rituals to perform.  A spell is like a painting or sculpture.  You learn the technical skills and history; you study memorable ones, but when you’re working with magic, you make your own.  I do have a few of my father’s spells that he let me modify for practice when I was younger.  I still use those because I’m sentimental, I guess. Usually that’s frowned upon, like plagiarism.   I like experimenting with combinations and incorporating woodworking.  One of my nephews does magic with words and runes.  It’s really interesting, older magic than the Color practices.

Mel: It does sound fascinating, but then, mastering Color magic must certainly have its challenges. You shared a little about the different ways to travel across worlds, one being by magic mirror. How does this work exactly, can you share anything about the fairies without giving too much away?

Aldra: Sure. The mirror fairies live in a transitional dimension that exists between Synn and other places. You can go in and out of Mirrorveld through a magic mirror, and once you’re there, you need to pay a guide to lead you to the right exit.  They don’t let very many humans in, and even foxes have to be vetted before we’re allowed to come and go freely.  My father, Thad, is friends with Nyx and Eos, the Queens of the Skies there, so we’re allowed more leeway, but the queens are not people you’d want to cross, so we’re always careful there.

Mel: In that case, I’d want you at my back if venturing to Mirrorveld! You’ve had various experiences in the past few years. What is the most memorable?

Aldra: Ummmmmmm…Honestly, the most memorable was getting mugged, because I didn’t even know I was being mugged until I was halfway on the ground.  But that’s probably not what you’re asking about.  I lived with a merchant family in the city for a while and learned their trade.  Worked on a riverboat.  I’ll go back to that someday.  Semi-dated a princess, memorable because it was horrid…

Mel: I get the feeling the less said about that the better! I’m sure those experiences influenced you, and it’s clear you feel a great deal of responsibility – especially when it comes to protecting people. Did your fathers influence this desire to make the world a better place?

Aldra: *laughs* The less said the better, though I’m sure someone will decide to write that story eventually.  Did my fathers influence my social concerns? Indirectly, maybe. My fathers are thousands of years old. They were all victims of exploitation when they were younger, and I think they feel like they’ve paid their dues and done their time getting involved in world affairs. For most of my life, we just lived on our mountain, visited the city once in a while, went shopping on Earth, and didn’t get involved in causes, because that’s how my parents want to live.  Micah used to be involved in the world-literacy movement in the more recent past, but he retired from it to build their magic greenhouse and help manage the Rangers who keep the family forests safe. Diana represents us in the Royal court during the summer and fall months, but that’s just a game to her. The only goal is to keep the family in a position where we have leverage with minimum involvement in any conflicts.  It’s all about maintaining equilibrium so we can be as non-involved as possible, and I think it’s boring.   Everybody else says “it’s not important as long as the family’s safe.” I can accept it from my parents.  They’ve all lost their families before.  Their priorities are different.  From my sisters, it’s harder to relate to.  Anyway, that’s not how I feel about it.  I don’t want anybody to suffer the way my parents suffered. I want to be involved.  I grew up with all these priveliges.  If I can help somebody, why shouldn’t I?  I want to contribue something meaningful to the world.

Mel: You’re right. Why shouldn’t you. I agree with that philosophy, and admire your commitment. The ability to absorb energy is a wonderful gift. I know you battle against the draw of shadow magic – is this a unqiue gift within the family?

Aldra: Thank you. Yes and no. Foxes are… Well, the only way I can think of to explain it is “energy vampires,” but that’s an oversimplification. We gain sustenance from intimate relationships and contact. The energy most foxes need isn’t just the color magic you saw me absorb; it has to be personal energy from another being.   Young kits get what they need from cuddling with their parents, but as we get older, most of us can only get it from sex.  Micah is part of a plant species that  absorbs ambient energy of all kinds.  Sunlight, colors, whatever’s there.  Its autonomic, similar to photosynthesis; he can’t pick and choose.  On Thad’s side, there’s a family gift for being able to draw shadow magic out of people who’ve been possessed, or release ghosts, but I’m the only one who can ingest the shadows or pick what magic I take in.

Mel: That sounds like a great deal of responsibility, and dangerous too. You’re all unique, which is a good thing, but it must be difficult not being able to change into a fox as your father and some of your siblings do. Do you gain support from your family?

Aldra: Some foxes can change and some can’t.  Some only have two forms; some have three.  Some have the upper body of a werefox and a fish tail like mermaids. I shouldn’t let it upset me as much as I do. It’s really not a big deal if I’m thinking clearly. The problem is, once I get upset, I’m upset about everything, and I think the reason it bothers me is that I have so little in common with my family. That is one of the most obvious things, but it’s a lot more about how we think differently and have different interests and  values.  I  feel like an alien speaking some strange dialect that only has minor similarities to whatever language they’re speaking. They’re wonderful people and great about practical help if you want to learn something or there’s a problem. There’s always someone to spy for your back you up in an emergency, but for anything emotional, I’m more likely to go to my wife — I mean, my girlfriend — I mean…okay, spoiler.  Sorry.  >.<

Mel: Oops, let’s skip over that part! I can relate to those feelings, even if I’m not a fox; all families are challenging! But I’m glad to hear you have someone to rely on for emotional support.

Thank you for talking to me today, Aldra. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you, your family, and how things work in Synn. Taking the journey with you (in a manner of speaking) in Doubling Back was a pleasure.

So now it’s over to my readers, who I’m sure are as charmed by you as I am.

If you have any questions for Aldra, or indeed the talented Rose Fischer, please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Introducing The Merchant of Nevra Coil (Legends of Windemere Book 8) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover art by Jason Pedersen
Cover art by Jason Pedersen

When the mischievous and random Goddess of Chaos gets angry, all of Windemere becomes her plaything.

It all starts with a collection of toys that have taken the populace by storm. People of all races flood the marketplaces to gather figurines of the champions whose adventures are starting to spread across the land. Stemming from the flying city of Nevra Coil, these toys bring with them a terrible curse: Fame. Every town becomes a mob of fans that hound their new idols and the delay is bringing the world closer to the hands of Baron Kernaghan. Perhaps worst of all, the creator of these toys forgot to include a certain exiled deity who is now out to earn herself a figurine.

Who would have thought a bunch of toys could cause so much trouble and lead to the breaking of a champion’s confidence?

Sound exciting?
CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT ON AMAZON FOR $2.99!
ALSO ON GOODREADS!
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There’s more!
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Welcome to Nevra Coil Excerpt

A screeching alarm goes off inside the vessel, signaling for everyone to pay attention to the pilot. Jo flicks a few switches above her head, amplifying her voice so everyone can clearly hear her. “We’re coming to Nevra Coil. Get ready for docking at Inspiration Tower instead of one of the Ring Houses. If you want to see the city then come to the front, but you better not complain while I’m giving the tour. I’ll be going too fast to repeat myself. We’re starting with the bottom, so don’t be scared. There hasn’t been a crash in a month. Two months since a fatality.”

The champions gather around Jo’s chair and watch as the clouds part to reveal the underside of the flying city. The steel gray earth has several narrow tubes of yellow crystal spread along its gleaming surface, the enchanted objects creating a spiral that leads to a red, metal rod. An occasional spark falls from the central pole and dissipates into the clouds, giving the illusion of lightning. Jo has the vessel steadily rise to give everyone a clear view and she taps her ear to silently get her passengers to listen. Beneath the sounds of the ship’s rotors, the champions hear a dull hum whenever they pass close to a crystal. Those with keen eyes can see a sapphire orb that flickers like a flame inside the yellow tube’s core, but the strange object is definitely solid like a rock.

“The flight crystals are designed to push off and ride the waves of the ocean. The outer tube is the reflector and the ice gem is the controller,” Jo explains as they flip around the far side of Nevra Coil. She scowls at the whimpering gypsy and begrudgingly slows the vessel down. “The central rod is what keeps us in a small area as we spin like a very slow top. Without that, we’d be floating all over Windemere’s oceans. You’ll feel the rotation at first, but the awkwardness will pass within a few hours. Before you ask, the system does nothing to the ocean below. We keep ourselves at a great height to prevent that and we turn off the crystals if we have to drop. That’s only in case of severe damage, so they would probably be malfunctioning in such an event anyway. Our backup system is a small army of pedaling stone golems that we activate in the core of Nevra Coil. Let’s get to the real event. Hey! Watch where you’re going, you son of an oil slick!”

The vessel swerves out of the way of a small, windowless craft that is powered by a pedaling gnome. Once their heads stop spinning, the champions get their first look at the city of Nevra Coil. Glistening towers are everywhere with a vast collection of flying devices and beasts moving among them. Several structures are missing pieces, revealing metal beams and hardworking gnomes who are trying to finish the construction. The city is a beautiful creation of metal, stone, and glass with nothing on the earthy ground besides several colonies of orange slimes. The burbling creatures feast on the garbage that falls out of hatches, which are built into the lower floors of every tower. Compared to the enormous buildings, Jo’s vessel feels like a rowboat as it weaves among the chaos. Several times they come close to hitting another ship, their skilled pilot meeting each encounter with a slew of insults and curses. They hover when a claxon goes off and the circular tower ahead opens one of its floors to reveal another ring-shaped ship.

“This is where we would normally dock, but you’re wanted on the one-hundred and eighty-sixth and a half floor of Inspiration Tower,” Jo says while waving to the other ship. She waits for them to leave before rising to the higher sky lanes where there is more space. “If you look to the right, you’ll see the Lizard. It’s used by those of us who don’t have a flying device due to no interest, accidents, revoked license, or whatever else can go wrong. I’ll swing by to give you a better look, but don’t stare directly into the golem’s eye. You never know if it’s going to be friendly or . . . churlish.”

Dipping toward a metallic rail, the ship comes alongside a green-scaled reptile with seats grown into its wide back. A throbbing bubble covers the sitting area, the oily membrane protecting riders from the elements until the transport comes to a stop. Gnomes are comfortably sitting in the chairs, most of them reading notes or sleeping. The creature’s tail is merged with the track to prevent it from falling off while it pulls itself along using powerful front legs. A driver on its head opens a hatch in the top of its long nose to drop in a shovelful of screeching beetles. The Lizard slows down while everyone hears the insects getting crunched in the construct’s mouth. When the strange transport hisses at the ship, Jo pulls away and heads for where a trio of metallic birds are sitting on a windowless tower.

AND DON’T FORGET!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Click here for the $4.99 Bundle to start your journey into Windemere!

Charles E YallowitzAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com



Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Cover Reveal – A Father's Protection by KJ Hawkins

I have a cover reveal for you today and, as I’m sure you’ll agree – it’s really cool.

EPSON MFP image

The land beyond The Forest of Ferrês belongs to the kyres mortal enemies the twin-tailed foxes. Standing on the borders DarkDeath will have to plunge into the unknown to save his adventurous pup.

Will he be able to find Digger and make it out alive? The battle to protect his own will be tested when DarkDeath faces off against an old rival. Death lingering over his pup’s head will test his strengths as DarkDeath braces himself for battle.


KJ Hawkins is a young fantasy author making her way into print. She has had a strong love for fantasy since she was nine years old.

As an adult the magic stayed with her inspiring her to write stories of adventure and magic.  Hawkins, at her best, brings personality to every word she writes, exciting her readers with every page.

Fun Fact

KJ Hawkins is actually a pen name taken from the initials of her real first and last name. Hawkins came from her favorite childhood film, Treasure Planet, the lead character is James Hawkins!

KJ Hawkins Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkjhawkins

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KJ-Hawkins/870825462984486

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/1/106664460289461678421/posts

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bvWek5

Website: http://kjhawkins.wix.com/authorkjhawkins


Pre-order on Amazon

KJ Hawkins would like to acknowledge and thank K Tolentino. She created a beautiful cover for “A Father’s Protection.” Her design was spot on and shows how talented a designer and illustrator she is. Link to K Tolentino’s fiverr account.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Review: Gabriel – Book Four in the Path of Angels Series by Patricia Josephine

GabrielPoACoverThe end is in sight.

To stop Uriel from freeing Lucifer, Gabriel and his brothers must fall and go to Hell. It is a sacrifice Gabriel is not entirely ready to make. Will he fight alongside his brothers or forge his own path? There is only one choice.

Alexander doesn’t want to help Uriel nor does he trust him, but the angel has promised him a better life. He swore to protect Charlie, and he’ll do whatever it takes. When he meets the archangels and learns the depth of Uriel’s lies, he understands the true meaning of sacrifice. If there’s any hope of stopping Lucifer from being freed, Alexander, Charlie, Zephyr and Lake will have to get to Hell and help Gabriel and his brothers in the fight against Uriel.

The path is finally ending, but the price may be too high.

Amazon Link

Review

We all have our favourites when it comes to a series, and though I will always have a soft spot for Michael (he was my first ;-)) Gabriel was definitely worth the wait.

He was the serious one, his personality dark and moody, and yet his commitment to his brothers shone through from book one. In Gabe’s tale, the stakes are already high, and the tension only continues to build towards a dramatic finale. But spending more time with Gabe; understanding his motivations, watching him face his personal demons – was a treat.

It’s fair to say Gabe is a little rough around the edges, and yet his heart – the love he feels for others, that is his best quality. His relationship with Alexander and Charlie is compelling. Their bond is unique and I felt myself drawn to them; moved by the sacrifices each character made – it was heartwarming.

The final book in the Path of Angels series is the perfect conclusion to the tale. I love these brothers; their skills, their heart; their loyalty. I’m genuinely going to miss them.


PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plynne_writes

Website: http://www.patricialynne.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108938106639683446081/posts/p/pub

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/patricialynne07

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13460894.Patricia_Josephine

Path of Angels: http://www.patricialynne.com/path-of-angels.html

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Cover Reveal: Alicia by Gloria Weber

Today I would like to share with you the cover reveal for Gloria Weber’s upcoming release – Alicia. As a bonus, Gloria has also provided us with a trailer for the book. Enjoy.

Alicia

ALICIA
by Gloria Weber
Published by Solstice Publishing (Summer Solstice imprint)
Release Date: August 18, 2015

Blurb:
Leon has decided it is better to remain silent and accused of Alicia’s murder than admit the truth. The truth, well… that’s so unbelievable it’s crazy. Not that Detective Dorndorf believes a word that comes out of Leon’s mouth. Dorndorf just wants a confession and figures dragging Leon to the last spot Alicia was seen might just pry it out of him. Will the detective’s plan work or will the truth come out?

Price: $0.99
Expected To Be Sold At: Amazon (for kindle) and Solstice Publishing’s website (http://solsticepublishing.com/)

aliciapromoghost2

Author Bio:

Gloria Weber lives in Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and many pets. She has been writing for publication since March 2006 with over a dozen titles published. Her favorite letter is L.

Website: http://gloriaweber.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @GloriaWeber ~ http://twitter.com/GloriaWeber
G+: http://plus.google.com/107706782152210234267/posts
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GloriaWeberWriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/GloriaWeber

aliciapromonobody2

Thank you for stopping by.

Mel

Author Interview – Celine Jeanjean

I have a special treat for you today, an interview with Celine Jeanjean, author of The Viper and The Urchin. I loved the book, and will be reviewing it next Sunday. But first, let’s find out a little more about the author herself. Please welcome Celine to WR101.

Photo

Celine Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.

Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.

To find out more about Celine or just to chat, visit  her on:

interview with celine jeanjean

Mel: Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in a lucky pair of socks? Or using a special pen?)

Celine: My strangest writing habit is that I write best when I listen to one song on loop, so I tend to go for weeks at a time listening to a single song (through my headphones, or my husband would have been driven crazy by now). Basically, the way it works is, rather than listening to the song, I almost immediately stop noticing it (the longer I’ve been listening to it, the quicker this happens), and it becomes a kind of white noise that blocks out anything going on around me. It does wonders for helping me focus.

One of the songs that works best for this is Radiohead’s Creep. I do worry a little what it says about me that Creep is the song that gets me in the zone, but I figure that as long as it works, I won’t question it too much. I’ve also noticed that I’ve kind of conditioned myself so that, as soon as I put in the headphones, and Creep comes on, my mind switches over to thinking about whatever story I’m working on.

Once I was out in a bar that played 90s music and Creep came on. About halfway through the song I realised that I’d completely drifted away from the conversation and I was daydreaming about my book. Good thing it’s not a song that’s played much these days!

Mel: That sounds like an excellent way to focus your mind, and allow the inspiration to flow. Do you set yourself time limits, or a schedule, or do you snap on your headphones whenever you have the time to write, and crank up Radiohead?

Celine: I set myself working hours, but one thing I need to get better at, is taking regular breaks. I’ll work for a couple of hours without stopping or moving, all hunched over on my computer, and then my back and neck end up being in absolute agony. I’m trying a new approach where I set timers and when that goes off I have to get up and move around. I’m not very good at sticking to that though if the writing is going well. On the other hand on those days where writing is about as fun as pulling teeth, I spend most of the hour checking on the timer to see when I’ll be able to take a break.

But I definitely like having set hours. I’m a creature of routine and habits. I tried writing as and when, and I didn’t get anything done.

Mel: We’ve all been there, when the characters refuse to play ball and drive us crazy! And speaking of characters – who would play your favourite characters in a movie?

Celine: Ooh, good question, but a very tricky one to answer! All my characters are non-white, since they live in a hot tropical place, and I came up with a blank as to non-white actors that would be suitable for Longinus or Rory. Makes you realise how saturated our screens are with white actors, doesn’t it!?

The closest answer for now would be for Longinus to be played by an Indian version of Benedict Cumberbatch, while Rory would be an Indian version of Arya in Game of Thrones – but with dreadlocks obviously! There’s nothing similar to India about the setting of my story, that’s purely based on how I imagine the characters look.

Mel: Longinus is an intriguing name. How important are names in your books? Do you choose based on the sound of the name, its meaning, or some other method?

Celine: I chose my character’s names based on how they sound, and the general ‘feeling’ they generate. So, for example, for Longinus, I wanted something that sounded both a bit old fashioned and that brought to mind someone a bit fussy and pedantic. Whereas, for Rory, I specifically chose a name that’s a bit ambiguous in gender because that suits her personality.

Mel: If you had an endless budget, describe the trailer for The Viper and The Urchin.

Celine: If I had a limitless budget, I would definitely get someone to do a CGI backdrop of Damsport — it would be amazing to see the city come to life! The trailer would start with Rory and Longinus separately: Rory picking a merchant’s pocket, Longinus working out what adjective best describes his nose. There’d be a voiceover throughout, outlining the story.

We’d then see the moment when Rory saves Longinus and blackmails him into teaching her sword fighting, followed by the discovery of the copycat’s first kill. After that, we’d get a quick montage of scenes from the rest of the book: aboard a giant steam-powered spider, a pool of blood creeping along the floor, lost in an underground maze, a sword fight at the top of a mast, running through the Great Bazaar, and then Rory, bleeding, leaping off a high place and into water, at which point the screen would go dark and the title would appear.

Mel: That sounds awesome – I want to see that movie!

But let’s move on to you, and more about your writing process. List five adjectives to describe you or your writing habits.

Celine: Impatient, Obsessive, Imaginative, Bookworm, Silly.

Mel: Tell us about your next project.

Celine: I’m currently working on the sequel to The Viper and the Urchin — The Black Orchid. Without giving too much away of the first book’s story, in the sequel Longinus and Rory are still working together, and they find themselves having to figure out why people in Damsport are disappearing and turning up completely emptied of their blood.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this one. So far, I’ve gotten to play with smugglers; I’ve created a mysterious place called the Black Orchid, and I got to write yet more capering aboard the steam-powered spider. It’s also been interesting to develop some of the more minor characters, and look a bit more into what makes them tick.

Mel: It does sound as though you’re having a grand adventure! What has been your greatest challenge as a writer so far?

Writing first draft material continues to be the biggest challenge for me. I love edits and rewriting, but writing that first draft is like pulling teeth. Most of that is due to the voices in my head telling me that what I’m writing is the Worse Thing Ever Written. Once the first draft is done and I read through it, it’s never as bad as I imagined. For me, it really is all about hammering out that first draft as quickly as possible so I can get to the edits.

Strangely, I find writing The Black Orchid harder than when I worked on The Viper and the Urchin. I’m now conscious of having set a precedent, and I keep second guessing myself, wondering whether what I’m writing is as good as book 1, whether people will find it a suitable sequel… With the first book it really was just me writing, as Stephen King says, ‘with the door closed’, and I got to make the story up without worrying too much about what people would think. I’m finding it much harder to keep that door closed this time around: I’m a lot more aware of having an audience.

Mel: Thank you for the candid reply. I can relate to these feelings, the times when my inner critic gets a bee in her bonnet! All authors experience doubt, and we push through it to get the story out there, because we believe in our characters. There’s a reason writing is described as opening a vein!

Are there any other genres you would love to explore?

Celine: Definitely! That’s the great thing about being an independent writer, we’re completely free to explore stories and genres that interest us, without needing permission from anyone. I have ideas for novels coming out of my ears, so the issue for me is more figuring how to tell these stories, and finding the time to write them.

I have plans for a more traditional epic fantasy story, following the traditional quest format, but with very unusual characters. I also plan to retell a classic Victorian gothic novel but adding a fantasy/steampunk twist to it, to write my version of a fairy-tale, and to do a cross between dystopia and dieselpunk (which is like steampunk but modelled on the Twenties and Thirties, and featuring diesel-powered technology, rather than steam-powered).

I don’t know that I’ll ever venture too far out of the general Fantasy genre though: I absolutely love taking readers to new worlds, whereas writing about the real world we live in doesn’t interest me very much. I would be interested in trying historical fiction though, or possibly alternate history — although I don’t have any plans on that front yet.

Mel: I agree with you. It is great to have the freedom to go in whichever direction we choose, and I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming writing adventures. Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview, Celine. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you.


viper_promoThe Viper and the Urchin

Being Damsport’s most elegant assassin is hard work. There’s tailoring to consider, devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain… But most importantly, Longinus has to keep his fear of blood hidden or his reputation will be ruined. So, when a scrawny urchin girl threatens to expose his phobia unless he teaches her swordsmanship, he has no choice but to comply.

It doesn’t take long for Rory to realise that her new trainer has more eccentricities than she has fleas. But she’ll put up with anything, no matter how frustrating, to become a swordswoman like her childhood hero.

What she’s not prepared for is a copycat assassin who seeks to replace Longinus, and who hires Rory’s old partner in crime to do away with her, as well. Rory and Longinus must set their differences aside and try to work together if they’re to stop the copycat. But darker forces than they realise are at play, and with time running out, the unlikely duo find themselves the last line of defence against a powerful enemy who seeks to bring Damsport to its knees.


Thanks for stopping by. I will be reviewing The Viper and the Urchin (a tale which definitely lives up to that wonderful blurb), on Sunday the 26 August.

Mel

Author Interview: Phyllis Moore

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Phyllis Moore, author of the Pegasus Colony. You will find links and further information about the novel below. But first, let’s find out what Phyllis had to say.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in a lucky pair of socks? Or using a special pen?)

Phyllis_MooreI can write pretty much anywhere. I don’t need everything to be quiet. I can write in my head while I drive, at work when things are slow and people are talking, at the park, or in a coffee shop. And I can write when everything is turned off and silent.

When an idea comes. I write.

If I get stuck somewhere and have to sit with nothing to do or read, give me paper and pen, and I write.

That process sounds familiar. Is there a book you wish you had written?

I’ve thought about it and I don’t think there is a novel I wish I’d written.

There are authors like J.K. Rowling that I wish I was as well read.

It would be nice it my characters were so well known that when some one says, Jessica Hewitt or Nu Venia, people know who they are.

Pegasus Colony is my first novel. I have my future in front of me and I have goals to meet.

That’s certainly an admirable goal. If Pegasus Colony was adapted for the cinema screen, who would play your favorite characters in the movie?

May I tell you a story instead?

I have many friends who bought my book and laughingly asked when the movie was coming out. My first thought was, this is not movie material.

But the Bible says where two agree it will happen. So I agreed with every statement of my book becoming a movie.

I told my friends when the movie came out I’d rent a movie theater and invite all of them and their significant other. I’ll have a buffet at the front of the theater just under the screen for people to eat and visit before the viewing.

And yes, we laughed good-naturedly.

But …

A met a gentlemen who bought a book and whose his son is screenplay writer. He planned to have his son also read the book.

I haven’t heard from him as of yet, but you never know.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed. You mentioned a few names from the series. How important are names in your books? Do you choose based on the sound of the name, its meaning, or some other method?

From other books I’ve read, names are very important from names like Stephanie Plum to Sherlock Holmes to Romeo and Juliet to Albus Dumbledore.

Sometimes my characters change their names several times before I settle on the right one.

Sometimes I hear a name and have to use it. A friend’s middle name is Samard. I’m using his name for a king in one of my fantasy stories.

I have a running list of names that I’ve heard or made up that one day might become a great fictional character.

I like to use friends’ names too. And following on from the earlier theme. If you had an endless budget, describe the trailer for Pegasus Colony.

It would be spectacular.

If I had unlimited money I’d find creative people who know how to catch an audience eye and wanting them asking for more.

One thing I would not do is tell the whole story in the trailer like so many movies do today. It’s annoying. If I know the story and how it will turn out, why bother to go see the movie.

I want my trailer to be intriguing with just enough information to create a mystery that encourages people to buy my book because they want to know what happens.

I get that. Sometimes there are so many spoilers it reflects badly on the movie. But, moving on, can you list five adjectives to describe yourself or your writing habits.

Persistent. Committed. (These two maybe the same. The point is I don’t easily give up. I also don’t start something unless I plan to finish it. I may have to put the story to the side and let it mature for a bit, but I have plans to get back to it.)

Intriguing. (I like to create mystery so the reader wants to keep turning the page to see what happens.)

Misleading. (If you’ve read my short stories, you’ll know I like to lead the reader in one direction only to surprise them with an unexpected ending.)

My last adjective would be “Hone,” as in honing my skills.

I strive it to learn from my mistakes and to improve on what I’ve already written. I want each book to be better than the last.

I think that’s important, because we never stop honing our craft. Tell us about your next project.

I’m presently working on the second book of People of Akiane, Storm’s Coming. I originally wrote People of Akiane as one book, but it was too long, and it kept growing, so I turned it into a trilogy.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer so far?

Becoming a great writer.

There are so many different elements of writing a novel such as: plot, characters, description, and dialogue.

I’m great at story and dialogue. If I could write a novel with only those two, I’d be happy, but I must also develop strong, interesting characters. I must give details that make the characters and their world seem real.

Yes, the characters are certainly key. Are there any other genres you would love to explore?

My trilogy is science fiction, but I also have a couple of fantasy ideas in the works.

I’d like to write humorous novels that seemingly goes nowhere, but in the end, it all lines up into a good laugh and “Wow that was great!”

My goal is to entertain readers. To take them out of this world and place them in an adventure in another world.

It’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it – taking our readers on a journey. I wish you every success. Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview, Phyllis. I had great fun chatting with you.


Connect with Phyllis Moore

My Blog: MythRider

https://mythrider.wordpress.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/PhyllisMooresMyths

Web page: Moore’s Myths

http://www.mythriderpublishers.com/moores_myths.php

Pegasus Colony is available on Amazon, Barns & Noble, and iBooks.

CT001-PegasusColony-PhyllisMoorenewLt. Jessica M. Hewitt can’t find peace for her own life, yet her mission is to bring peace between two worlds 28 light-years apart. Her orders are to convince the rough Pegasus Colony that they are still an Earth colony.

Soon after she lands on the alien planet, her nonexistent negotiation skills immediately prove their worth, within seconds she’s failed. Their leader has walked out on her.

The colony wants nothing to do with their home planet. They’ve been on their own for over 300 years. They’re not about to give up their independence.

At last that’s what they say is the problem. But there’s something else going on.

Why has the Earth team has been exiled to the farther reaches of the colony habitat? Why are the colonists so secretive about one particular garden? What are they growing? And why will not one colonist speak to anyone from Earth.

Most importantly what will it take to convince the colonists to just speak to her? The answer to that question may cost Jessica her life.


Thank you for stopping by.

Mel

Sourcerer’s Eleven: Questions for Author Joshua Robertson

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Joshua Robertson as part of Sourcerer’s Eleven this month. Hop on over and check it out, Joshua is very engaging 😀

Sourcerer

Welcome to round three of Sourcerer’s Eleven. An interview series where contributors within the site get a shot in the big chair. The Instigator-In-Chief, Gene’o interviewed Luther Siler, who then put me through my paces, so now it’s my turn *rubs hands together*. In the hot seat today is Joshua Robertson, author of Melkorka (Book 1: Thrice Nine Legends), and A Midwinter Sellsword (Book 1: Hawkhurst Saga).

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  1. You recently released Gladiators and Thieves, book two of the Hawkhurst Saga. Can you tell us a little about that series and how it came about?

You will have to forgive me if I momentarily nerd rage. The story of Hawkhurst was never intended to be in my collection of stories. Hawkhurst first began as a politically-themed RPG MUD (Roleplaying Game Multi-User Dimension) played through text on a web-based platform. I spent an entire weekend creating a complex city from the…

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