The Write Stuff – Monday, September 22 – Interview With Patricia Reding

I am using the last several weeks of the year to feature a select group of authors in what promises to be a truly exciting series. Several have earned one or more Readers Favorite book awards this year. Two will be of very special interest. I begin this series with Patricia Reding.

DSC07942_3Patricia Reding leads a double life. By day, she practices law. By night, she reads, reviews a wide variety of works, and writes fantasy. She lives on an island on the Mississippi with her husband and daughters (her son having already flown the nest), Coconut (a Westie) and Flynn Rider (an English Cream Golden Retriever), from whence she seeks to create a world in which she can be in two places at once. She took up Oathtaker as a challenge and discovered along the way, the joy of storytelling. Currently, Patricia is working on Select, the first sequel to Oathtaker.

Oathtaker’s description is as follows:

An Oath Sworn. A Struggle Engaged. A Sacrifice Required.

When Mara, a trained Oathtaker, is drawn by the scent of the Select to battle underworld beasts summoned by the powers of evil to destroy the guardians of life, she swears a life oath for the protection of her charge.

Armed with a unique weapon and her attendant magic, and with the assistance of her Oathtaker cohorts, two ancients and a spymaster, Mara seeks safety for her charge from one who would end Oosa’s rightful line of rule and from assassins who endeavor to bring ruin to the land.

As Mara puzzles to decipher ancient prophecy concerning her charge, as she is haunted with memories of her own past failings, she discovers the price her oath will exact.

To renounce her word would be treasonous; to fail, ruinous; to persevere, tortuous. Abiding by an oath requires sacrifice.

Patricia, I’ve had a chance to glimpse Oathtaker’s opening pages and found it hard to step back out into the “real” world. It’s a captivating read. Further, your readers rave about what a wonderful story it is, but I’m wondering if there is a story behind the story.

I will age myself here and probably open a wider window into my soul than I might intend, but the inspiration for Oathtaker was my longing to return to the world as I saw it as a child. Perhaps it is just that my parents sheltered me more than I thought, but I recall a world in which people said what they meant and meant what they said. People entered into agreements with a handshake. Children knew that if a parent said “no,” it didn’t mean “no” only until the child overcame the parent with begging. People in relationships worked hard to walk through the difficult times together. Their behavior, their choices, came with consequences. I longed for that world because today it seems so easy to go back on your word. This is true across the board—of parents, teachers, politicians, and more. I think that our young people in particular, suffer as a result. They crave continuity and truth and something they can count on to be and to remain true. In many ways I think society has failed our youth in this regard, and I wanted to help to make up for that failure.

With all that in mind, I sought to create a world in which one’s word mattered, and in particular, to examine what someone might do if she found something that, or someone who, pulled her from her path—if she found her love—a moment after swearing a life-oath that forbid her from attaching herself to him. Thus, Mara came to be. Her situation is made more difficult by the fact that in Oathtaker, the man she comes to love, Dixon, is released from his vow only moments before Mara swears her oath. From that premise, Oathtaker was born.

Why have you chosen your particular genre?

There are two main reasons I write fantasy. The first is that I think it is the hardest. You see, I read a fantasy series some years ago that I found utterly genius. I sought to know how the author accomplished what he did. After reading it, I then went through a period when, notwithstanding the many, many wonderful works out there, I struggled to find stories that engaged, entertained, uplifted and challenged me. I had to see for myself what the process included. I had to know more. Thus, I started this writing venture as a challenge to myself—and writing fantasy was the greatest challenge I could conceive of. It requires the creation of a new world and a magic system. Such features must make sense to the story and must be internally consistent. Those are not easy tasks. Along the way, I discovered the joy of storytelling. I also discovered that writing a story that is new and different is very difficult. Perhaps of most importance, I developed a strong understanding of and for other authors. I am much more forgiving of mistakes than I once was.

The second reason I chose fantasy was because I wanted to explore a concept that I felt might seem “preachy” if I approached and discussed it through a story set in our modern world. Specifically, I wanted to present a story in which the main character was faced with choosing between honoring her word and following the path her heart begged her to pursue.

Your Readers Favorite award sets you apart from the herd, but in your words, why is your writing different from other authors in this genre?

Actually, this question makes me laugh. You see, I’ve discovered that there are many who would consider themselves “fantasy aficionados.” These are people who, it seems to me, have preconceived notions of what a fantasy story should do, how it should be told, that all the names should be unpronounceable and include apostrophes, and so forth. For example, some think a fantasy author can only teach about his world and how it works by having the main protagonist begin the venture in some kind of training. In this way, the reader learns along with the character. Some think that the world has to include so many “made up” things (that bear some loose resemblance to things in our world) that the reader has to learn an entirely new vocabulary in order to follow the story or constantly refer to the back-of-the-book glossary. Sometimes I read about how a fantasy work is “set” into some time period in our world (such as medieval, for example). But it makes no sense to me to say that because some features of a fantasy world are “medieval,” that as a result some other features or things can or cannot exist or happen. For me, that is the whole idea behind a fantasy world—it is made up. It can be anything. Thus, I am willing to give the writer the freedom to include or not to include anything in that author’s world that he or she chooses. This includes language used, gadgets in existence, and so forth.

Of course, people can have whatever thoughts they like about the fantasy genre, but I think having preconceived ideas about how a fantasy should be told, is a bit short-sighted. If all authors followed that train of thought, new ways would never come about. For example, where did steampunk come from, but that someone decided to do something different? What about gaslamp fantasy? I found a great list of fantasy subgenres to which I refer from time to time. The titles are intriguing. Consider, for example, the following: hard, gritty, dark, urban, dying earth, new weird, and so on. See: http://bestfantasybooks.com/fantasy-genre.php. A reader with preconceived notions might be disappointed when they encounter these works. By contrast, I appreciate a writer doing what has not been done before. I’ve read of wizards and elves and fairies. I want something new.

With those ideas in mind, I decided I would create the world I wanted—regardless of what someone else thought it ought be. My world does not fit any particular era in our own world history. The names do not begin with “de” or include apostrophes—and they are pronounceable. In most cases, I chose names because of the meanings behind them or, where I wanted to avoid drawing any connection to a meaning, I made them up. Several readers have told me that they’ve never been able to get into fantasy before—but that they enjoyed my work. Perhaps this is because, as one reviewer of my work suggested, I wrote Oathtaker “from the outside looking in” (see http://joshuagrasso.booklikes.com). I believe he was on to something . . .

Why should someone buy your book?

Oathtaker is a story that is challenging and uplifting. It offers heroes, secrets, magic, and an adventure. It is appropriate for readers 13 and older.

Tell us about the awards you’ve won.

To date, I’ve only entered one contest and that was the Readers’ Favorite 2014 International Book Award Contest. The winners were announced September 1, 2014. I was delighted to be awarded with an Honorable Mention Award in the Young Adult Fantasy category. This is quite something for a “first work.” I note that while my story may not be a standard “young adult” tale, in that it includes significant characters of a wide range of ages (and does not include “insta-love” or a love-triangle), it certainly poses a challenge to young readers and it speaks to issues important to them. Best of all—young readers have enjoyed it.

The Readers’ Favorite contest also includes a connection with WindDancer Films (at http://www.winddancer.com), the production company behind such movies as “What Women Want” and such television series as “Home Improvement.” Of the thousands of entrants in the contest, Oathtaker was chosen as one of ten works about which WindDancer Films would like to learn more.

What is your day job?

Goodness, where does one begin? In addition to being a wife and mother of three (two of whom are still “at home”) I also practice law. My main practice area is Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property includes assets of value that cannot be touched—trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and so forth. In particular, I handle trademark matters, including registrations and infringement, domain name infringement, and so forth. (Have you ever received a cease and desist letter from me?)

I think the practice of law makes for good training for writing fantasy—a genre that requires that the author keep numerous balls in the air at the same time. My experience with questioning people, collecting facts, looking for alternative ways to resolve matters, negotiating, drafting, and counseling, serves me well when it comes to writing.

Alright then, would you tell us about your dream job?

More than anything, I would like to teach. I would enjoy mashing some first year law students’ brains, as was done with my own, but even more, I think I would like to teach political science at the undergraduate level.

My undergraduate degree was in Political Science, with a minor in Philosophy. I concentrated on studies relating to what was then the Soviet Union, including history and philosophy courses pertaining to the USSR. Today, I am a 24-7 political news junkie. (The funniest stories my children tell me are of their bringing their teachers, unaware of details about which my children are well-versed, up to speed.) There are so many issues, aside from simple civics details, that would be great fun to explore with young minds. Some themes I know I would concentrate on would be how to be good consumers of information, how to “read between the lines,” how to identify when someone is not answering the question asked, how to spot an ideological bent, and so on.

If I spoke to your closest friend about you, what would she or he would tell me?

She would probably tell you that I have a knack for asking questions—questions that will unearth issues not previously considered and/or that will move you from problem to conclusion. She might also tell you that I truly do believe that “chocolate” is one of the four basic food groups, that I salt things way too much (because “salt” is another of the four basic food groups), and that I am bilingual—sarcasm is my second language.

Do you have a favorite quote?

There are so many. In particular, I love Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain quotes. But with a philosophy background, I find myself thinking of this, from John Stuart Mills: “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” In many ways, these words seem to sum up life and the state of the world at any given time.

What are your favorite authors?

I adore Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I think it is the most beautiful thing ever written. It is more than a story—it is poetry. I am also a big Charles Dickens fan. It took me some time to catch his rhythm, but I now find him positively hilarious. Once, I sat and read aloud to my then middle-grade daughters, the opening chapters of Great Expectations. Honestly, we laughed until tears ran. I love his descriptions of everything from people, to dead and scattered bugs on the floor. As to more contemporary works and/or those in my own genre, I am a big fan of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of the Truth series.

It’s time for the Lightning Round. Brief answers please!

The one thing I cannot do without is:

music. I especially enjoy movie soundtracks, Celtic works, and Broadway shows (in particular, Wicked, The Pirate Queen, Phantom and Aida). My family and I have also performed for almost 20 years now, in a Christmas musical, Two From Galilee, so I love participating as well as listening.

In one or two words, what is your defining trait?

Committed. Serious.

Hard copy or ebook?

Preferably hard copy. I love the feel of the book in my hands.

Vice? Virtue?

Vice: Louis Vuitton handbags. If I ever go broke, I will have to auction mine off. Virtue: Can I think about this for a while?

Hah! Favorite book:

Les Miserables

Favorite movie:

Oh . . . this is so hard. I love the Lord of the Rings movies, but probably not for the same reasons as many others. Truthfully, I find the story a bit difficult to follow. My favorite parts are the background music and the lighting—which in some scenes is true genius.

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

Don’t limit yourself—and don’t allow anyone else to do so either.

So true.

I asked Patricia to provide an excerpt from Oathtaker. This is the gem she provided:

PastedGraphic-4Upon touching the woman, Dixon’s eyes turned quickly from the soft glance he had given her to a kind of madness. He jumped up and glared. “What have you done?” he hissed.

“What have I done?” Mara crouched down, pulled away the blanket that covered Rowena, then carefully took into her arms first Reigna, then Eden. She stood up, holding herself as tall as she could. She glared. “What have I done? Oh, nothing! Oh, well that is, except—ahhh . . . well . . . let me think here—.”

She hesitated, playacting. “Oh, yes, I remember now. I took down a full pack of grut, helped Rowena birth these beautiful children, accepted them as my charge, saw to it that she released her power with her dying breath, comforted her in her last moments—. Shall I go on?” She took a deep breath. “What have I done? Who are you to accuse me of anything? I have done my duty!”

“I am her Oathtaker. That’s who I am!”

“Were,” Mara snapped. “You were her Oathtaker. She’s dead. Or did I forget to mention that? So I might ask—what have you done? Where were you when she so clearly needed you? The truth is, if I hadn’t arrived when I did, I expect we would have lost them all!” Her eyes remained fixed on him.

After some seconds, he looked away. “Dead.”

She could not tell if he was stating the fact or asking if it was true. Considering the shock he must be feeling, she decided that arguing with him would not be in anyone’s best interests. She recalled that above all, she must get the girls to safety quickly.

“I’m sorry. I did all I could. Rowena had lost too much blood before I arrived. She . . . she was a fighter, I know.”

He did not take his eyes from his former charge. He dropped to his knees at her side. Taking her hand into his own, he lifted it to his cheek and closed his eyes. His breathing slowed. His jaw set. Mara sensed he fought back tears. Slowly, he leaned forward to stroke the woman’s cheek, then her hair. Finally, he bowed his head and audibly exhaled.

Mara watched his easy touch, saw his shoulders sag and his eyes pressed closed. She knew that look.

“You loved her.” She had not intended to speak the words out loud, but there they were—hanging in the air.

“Well,” he said, clearing his throat, obviously restraining himself, “of course I cared deeply for her. She was my charge. She’s been my charge for . . . for some time now. I’ve forgotten what life is without her.”

“No, that’s not all. You . . . you loved her. I can see it in your eyes, in your touch, in—”

“She was my charge!” He held Mara’s gaze, as though daring her to challenge him further.

She said nothing. Perhaps he was trying to convince himself, but she wondered.

“You do understand the significance of the oath you just swore?” he asked, scornfully.

Of course she did. An Oathtaker’s vow came with commitments. Mara hadn’t given it much thought earlier, but when she swore her oath, she had sealed the deal. Her word bound her to the twins for so long as they lived. She could no longer follow another path.

In the moment she took her vow, Ehyeh bestowed gifts upon her, attendant magic and continued youth. She would not physically age until the death of her charge. Only then could she begin her life anew, follow other dreams. The same had been true for Dixon while his charge had lived. But what did his denial mean? What was he trying to imply? That because he’d sworn to accept Rowena as his charge, he had not still been vulnerable to his own feelings, longings, desires? Had he been one who had fallen into the state of pain that came with loving someone while subject to his oath?

“Of course I do,” she confirmed.

 

If you’d like to read more, or learn more about the author, here are some links to help you:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Oathtaker-Book-1-Patricia-Reding-ebook/dp/B00K32MW6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409924611&sr=8-1&keywords=oathtaker

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/4767727

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/oathtaker-patricia-reding/1114778887?ean=2940149813094

Links to website, blog and online social accounts:

Website and blog:  http://www.oathtaker.com

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6983212.Patricia_Reding

BookLikes:  http://patriciareding.booklikes.com

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Reding/e/B00BQUN18G/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1409925157&sr=8-1

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Oathtakers

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/oathtakers/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/102507278936219521448/102507278936219521448/posts

 

 

The Write Stuff – Monday, September 8 – Interview With Leisl Kaberry

This week’s guest is award-winning fantasy writer, Leisl Kaberry. I first met Leisl online. She’s a member of Facebook’s Fantasy Sci-fi Network, a group of amazing writers and readers you might wish to consider taking part in. I’ve found this multi-talented Aussie-turned-Canadian a real delight as I’ve gotten to know her. In turn, I thought you would also enjoy meeting her. Leisl writes fantasy adventures. Here’s what she has to say about herself:

Leisl 086‘I was never going to be a writer… seriously.’ Somehow despite Leisl’s lifelong love for making up and telling stories, she had no desire to become an author. However, after a creative urge spurred her on to write an idea for a scene, the world of Titania was born and she hasn’t looked back since. Born and raised in Australia she has lived in a variety places, including the Australian outback and Montreal, Canada. She currently resides in Kitimat, Northern British Columbia with her husband and four children; she is studying a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, is an amateur theatre actor and enjoys snowboarding during the winter.

Will you tell us about your award, Leisl?

Recently I won the RomCon Readers Crown 2014 for Fantasy. I was just thrilled to become a finalist, so to actually win… I was over the moon. Our local library in Kitimat has hung all the framed artwork from the book on the wall there. 11 pieces in total… I consider that a great honour, for me and my artist.

With the degree of competitiveness in today’s writing community, I can assure our visitors this is no small achievement. Since just getting published is also a major achievement, will you please share your experience?

I took the really long road on the first. When I started writing Journey of Destiny, I knew I needed to see it through and have it published, but writing for me (over ten years ago) was nothing more than a hobby and I would sit down to write whenever I had a creative urge. Fast forward to when we moved to Montreal Canada and I was stuck indoors while it was freezing cold outside, I barely knew anyone and I was struggling to learn the language. I found myself sitting down to write on a regular basis, when I could get some quiet time away from the kids. Within a year I was finished writing, I bought myself the book Self-Publishing for Dummies (no, really) and I set to work editing for the next three years. I did multiple edits myself between having others edit for me and in that time I rewrote and wrote a whole lot more. I found an artist through a mutual friend and we talked about her doing the cover for me and that turned into a whole lot of other artwork inside the book also… this dragged things on while I learnt how to format and prepare my book for publishing. Just over 11 years from conception to fruition. A worthwhile journey though… I learnt a stack in that time about writing, developed as a person, had some amazing experiences and lived in some very different places… all of which was fodder for my imagination.

That path suggests real discipline. I’m wondering if you ever get stuck. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I don’t know that I’ve ever really had writers block, for me when I find I can’t write it’s usually just a function of being uninspired which leads to can’t be bothered and the manuscript not being worked on. I tend to find a good brainstorming session will get me past any issues though.

When I’m stuck on a problem the best thing I can do is leave the computer and give it some serious thought. Lying on the couch, sitting in the hot tub or going for a walk by myself can help me relax and just let my mind play with imagination. All answers seem to come after a serious brainstorm and usually with added excitement and clarity. All I want to do then is sit down and write feeling freshly inspired.

What life experiences have enriched your writing?

I guess the biggest inspiration through life experiences has been travel and living in different locations. Traveling to different parts of the world has opened me up to new and exciting scenery that I was able to experience in ways that you can’t through a picture alone. The smells, the people and even the ambient temperature all add to the experience and give inspiration to my world. In the book I’m working on at the moment, a good part of the story takes place in a country that was inspired by a trip to Iceland. Iceland’s terrain is so different and unusual that it is frequently used for filming sci-fi and fantasy movies including Batman Begins, Oblivion, Prometheus and my favourite, Stardust. I loved it and the very experience being there gave me so much feed for my imagination.

Having lived in very different locations has also given me a wealth of inspiration for growing and enriching my world. Living at the top of Australia in the tropics certainly inspired the first book.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m a hard a work editing the second book of the Titanian Chronicles. It’s fully written and it will soon be passed on to others for further editing. My aim is to get it out by Christmas. While the first book sets our heroes out on a journey of discovery beyond the elvin borders where they have spent the entirety of their lives, the second book sees them five years on, at a time where the armies of the Warlord Moorlan are gathering and the mysterious Dark One is in search of furthering his power. I have seen this book in my mind since the beginning of my own journey writing the first book, there is a lot of exciting plot development in this one and it was so inspiring to write.

What is your typical day like?

A typical day for me starts at 6am with exercise… it’s the greatest thing to wake me up and get me going for the day. Then after I shower, the next hour is all about getting my kids ready for school and off to the bus stop. When I get back with the dog I finally sit down to breakfast and I work through my emails and social media. After that there’s housework and I study. In the early afternoon I sit down to work on my book and most days I can get few hours in before all the kids come bursting in the door from school. Once they are home its pens down for me and it becomes all about them. I help with homework and taxi the kids around to after school activities. I sometimes get a bit more writing done after the kids go to bed but then I also hang out and relax with my husband and maybe get some reading in. Then we go to bed around midnight and get up again at six the next day to start it all again. It doesn’t sound exciting but any day I get to work on my book is a good day for me and I find that exciting.

How do you overcome adversity?

I tend to be a pretty optimistic person anyway and try to see things in a positive light but it doesn’t always work straight away. I tend to find a good sleep does wonders… things always look better in the morning. ‘The sun will come out tomorrow…’ and all that, it really works!

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr Seuss. I love this quote… the Dr knew too well. See!? This totally reflects my positive point of view.

It does! And I like your take charge attitude. So then I have to ask, if you could change your circumstances and live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live?

Hawaii… haha, and I say that without ever having been there. I’m a beach girl, I just live for it. The roar of the waves, the salty smell in the air, the refreshing water and soft white sands is alluring to me. I would be happy just living in a shack on the beach and Hawaii has a wonderful and rich culture too that I imagine would also inspire me.

Now comes the Lightning Round. In a few words, answer the following:

The one thing I cannot do without is…

My family… I tend to think of my laptop as family too… it carries my characters and the story they tell.

In one or two words, what is your defining trait?

Happy go lucky – Oops three words.

Hard copy or ebook?

Although I think ebooks are great and so, so convenient, I still love hard copies of books and where I love a book or series, I will have to have it on my shelf.

Vice? Virtue?

Virtue for me and vice for my characters

Favorite book:

Daniella (played by Drew Barrymore) in Everafter is asked to pick a book, any book and she says “I could no sooner choose a favourite star in the heavens.” I feel this way.

Favorite movie:

Stardust

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

Not really, but I would like to say thanks Raymond for the interview, I appreciate you taking the time.

Thank you for joining us.

I asked Leisl to provide a synopsis and an excerpt fromTitanian Chronicles – Journey of Destiny. She provided the following:

Journey of Destiny - Leisl KaberrySynopsis

Afeclin walked nervously to the entry of the cottage. He held his breath as he passed over the threshold.

A little cradle was the only piece of furniture left in the building.
Afeclin touched the cradle delicately with one finger.
All of a sudden he fell backward onto the floor as an image of the fire burst into his mind…
He had seen a horrified face that screamed amongst red hot flames.

Found beyond the Elvin borders, Afeclin, a human child, is taken in and raised by an Elvin King. Now grown and longing to learn about the mystic arts, he embarks on a journey back into a land now unfamiliar. Accompanied by his elvin friend, Wolflang, they leave their homes to seek out their destiny. Unbeknown to Afeclin and Wolflang however, the warlord, Moorlan and his confederate, a dark mage, are preparing to bring war to the peaceful Land of Marrapassa, putting their lives and those they care about, in danger.

Excerpt

The ground had been a lot colder and harder to sleep on than it had first appeared. Wolflang had found himself sleeping on rock and although the rock was covered in fresh fallen leaves and moss it provided little comfort for the elf.

Adding to the problem, the day’s events had kept playing over and over again in his mind.

In the early hours of the morning, exhaustion overcame him and Wolflang, tired and achy, fell into a deep sleep.

It was during this sleep, while his body was relaxed and free from the tension built up in him from the previous day, he saw a familiar being.

A human man, wearing a leather cloak, stood before him and beckoned for Wolflang to follow. His face was shadowed by the cloak’s hood apart from his jaw and cheekbones covered in thick, greying stubble. Deep wrinkles around his mouth and down his neck showed that the man was aged and his weathered hands were old but strong.

‘You’re the hooded man I saw at the celebrations the other night.’

The man nodded and once again beckoned for Wolflang to come with him.

Wolflang, while curious, felt at ease with the old man despite his mysterious nature. He began to walk towards the hooded figure, stepping with lightness on the ground.

The older man led Wolflang to the edge of a cliff. There he beckoned the elf with an open hand to cast his eyes over.

Wolflang came and stood beside the hooded man, looking down into a deep valley beset by mountains.

He beheld a frightening scene before his eyes. For there in the valley a mighty battle raged. Heavy men clad in black armour, not unlike the pig-faced trolls they had seen the day before, surrounded a small multi-raced army.

Wolflang could hear the clang of swords clashing and shouts of anger and fear as men fought for their lives, giving everything they had. Blood flooded the terrain as one by one, the smaller army’s men fell to the ground dead.

The men in black, having been victorious, waved their swords in the air and cheered in celebration of their slaughter. It was a sickening sight.

‘What is this?’ Wolflang asked shaking his head.

The hooded man spoke at last, ‘It is a vision of an event that is to come.’

Wolflang felt sick to his stomach. He stared at the strange man with an incredulous frown. ‘Why do you show me this?’

‘In this moment of time lies a part of your destiny,’ the hooded man said as he faded away before Wolflang’s eyes.

‘What do you mean? I am to die down there?’ Wolflang shouted at the already faded figure.

Wolflang’s mind raced as he tried hard to comprehend what he had just witnessed. He buried his head in his hands in sorrow and slumped down to the ground.

If you’d like to buy Leisl’s book, or learn more about her, please click on the following links:

Book links:

http://www.amazon.com/Titanian-Chronicles-Journey-destiny-Volume-ebook/dp/B00F3UYKZS

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/422214

Social links:

Blog http://titanianchronicles.blogspot.ca

Twitter https://twitter.com/Lawfabex

Facebook www.facebook.com/titanianchronicles

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/leisl78/

The Write Stuff – Monday, August 11 – Interview With Author Robin Lythgoe

I delight in authors who exhibit a command of the language, who can convey an idea or express a sentiment with one word that would require a paragraph from others. Donna Tartt, Dean Koontz, Martin Cruz Smith and George R. R. Martin are fully fledged masters. Every now and then, however, I stumble on a new author who evidences such a talent emerging. It was Robin Lythgoe’s vocabulary that drew me in from her opening page.

It has taken me half a year to persuade Robin to allow me to interview her, so I was pleased when she finally relented. Even though she has only produced one novel to date, there are passages within it that hint of her ultimate potential. I hope she will grace us with another some time soon.

This is how Robin describes herself:

Robin_0123_pp_300I was born into a family of bookworms who happily introduced me to all kinds of books—and then I had terrific teachers who encouraged me not only to read, but to write. Books opened up entire new worlds for me, and when I was growing up (still working on that) I would rather read than do anything in the world. The Summer of Reading happened when our television broke and there was a family reading marathon. The best summer EVER. I read historical and modern romances, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, historical fiction, and the occasional horror. Fantasy, with its wonderful worlds and creatures and magic, captured my heart. My love of words developed naturally into a desire to put my own on paper. I started with (bad) poetry, then leaped into novel-writing. There were quite a few unfinished beginnings lying around before raising a family distracted me. Writing took a back seat, but reading never stopped. Finishing my first (unpublished) novel proved to me that I could really do it and… here I am! I am published—and I have several more books in progress.

As the Crow Flies was the work that introduced me to you. How would you describe it to our visitors?

Meet Crow, an engaging but self-serving thief. He has spent his life perfecting the talents given to him by the gods, sharpening his razor wit, and planning for a comfortable future with the woman of his dreams.

And then there’s Tanris, dauntless servant of the empire, dedicated lawman. It’s a feather in his cap when he finally captures the miserable, thieving bird that’s been flitting about the Bahsyr Empire as if he owned it.

Neither man is prepared to become a cat’s paw for a wizard with even bigger plans.

In this tale of thieves and dragons, author Robin Lythgoe ventures into a world where the master thief Crow and the lawman Tanris must learn to weather each other as well as survive dangerous lands, a haunted cave, and a temple guarded by blade, sorcery—and a vengeful dragon. Their goal? Simple: take a journey across inhospitable land to fetch an incredible, mythical prize. Escape the dragon. Return before time runs out …

What are you working on now?

While I’m entertaining ideas for another story about Crow, I am juggling a series which has actually been in the works since before As the Crow Flies was published. In a nutshell, “An unwitting pawn in a contest where the prize is an empire must rely on the very magic used to alter him in order to escape slavery and prevent the mage who would be his master from gaining control of the throne.”

Why have you chosen this particular genre?

It is the genre that most excites me! I love the balance of creativity and reality involved in creating a fantasy story. It is a fantastic (pardon the pun!) exercise in imagination for both reader and writer. The writer weaves an entire new world, and the reader gets to interpret it with his or her own experience and imagination. What a wonderful partnership!

There are numerous works of fantasy on the market. Why should someone buy Crow?

As the Crow Flies delivers a particular stamp of adventure and humor (one that’s found in my short story, Dragonlace, as well). It’s fast-paced, but not too fast for some creative world-building. I have it on good authority that the novel can be read in one day, if you’re willing to let chores fall by the wayside on your day off. The characters are relatable and they grow. People care about them, and it’s great when readers choose one character as their favorite and fiercely defend their choice. My current project is more serious than As the Crow Flies, but it still maintains the solid core that readers so enjoyed with Crow: style and rhythm, characterization, adventure, world-building. And, in spite of my original intention to write Crow’s story as a single, stand-alone novel, I’ve also got another story for Crow simmering—thanks to the enthusiastic prompting and prodding of fans.

What else have you written?

I have two published short stories: In the Mirror, and Dragon Lace—as well as the afore-mentioned “first” novel (Which will probably never see the light of day!) Dragonlace once appeared in an online ezine.

Are there any awards or honors you’d like to share?

While they are modest, I am tickled pink that As the Crow Flies has been named a Five-Star Reader’s Favorite, a semi-finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Kindle Book Awards, and is currently floating in Wattpad’s Write Awards 2014. Indie Book of the Day also spotlighted my book as an award winner.

Writing can tax the imagination, even cause a proven writer to doubt his/her ability. How do you overcome writer’s block?

Taking a leaf from the fictional Richard Castle’s writing:

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in writer’s embarrassment. That’s when you’re so embarrassed by the horrendous drivel you’re writing that you can’t bear to see it on the page. After all, you can always write something. I’ve discovered that giving yourself permission to write poorly is the gateway to writing well. It may not be good, it may not make sense, but that’s okay. After enough pages of meaningless drivel, your brain will uncover something interesting, and before you know it, you’re off and writing again.”

That said, I have struggled with the drivel—to the point that I avoided doing any writing at all, but that made me feel frustrated and ever-further behind in my goals. There is nothing like having new bills to pay to inspire one! I’m also really lucky to have a fantastic writing partner who has enough patience to help me hose down the drivel to expose the gems lying beneath.

I’m still slogging through a lot of muck, and I get impatient. I don’t want muck, I want instant perfection! Patience and persistence are two qualities I need to rely on heavily. They should be perfected any time now…

To give us a peek at the person behind the book, I frequently ask the following questions:

Where would you live, if you could live anywhere?

I would love to live somewhere by the water—preferably a beach, but a lake or a stream would do nicely. (I often wonder what I’m doing in the desert…)

What is your dream job?

I’ve got it! I have dreamed about being an author since I was a little girl. It is fantastic to actually be in this place, in this time, doing exactly that.

What motivates or inspires you (not necessarily as regards your writing)?

I love listening to music, examining artwork, and admiring photography. In fact, I gave in to the siren call of Pinterest, and now I have a wonderful, easily accessible place to collect the things that inspire me. It amazes me how beautiful or formidable our world can be—and the countless unique ways the vision of it is interpreted.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Writers write what they know best,

their passions, fears and dreams.

Writers never write about

what others call their ‘themes.’”

–       Charles Ghigna

Do you have any pet projects?

I do! I really enjoy doing Family History. If I’m not careful, I can get sucked into research and discovery for weeks before I remember I have other things to do! I don’t just like finding out the names and places, although that is awesome; I think it’s important—and educational—to learn about the places and cultures our ancestors lived in. It makes the people more real to me (and it doesn’t hurt my history education or my writing at all!)

What are a few of your favorite authors?

I am not a dyed-in-the-wool, stalker-type fan of any particular author, but I have most enjoyed (and learned from) Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, C.J. Cherryh, Stephen Lawhead, Terry Goodkind, R.A. MacAvoy, Lindsay Buroker, and A.E. Marling.

Alright, Robin. Lightning Round.

The one thing I cannot do without is:

Chocolate

In one or two words, what is your defining trait?

Imaginative…ly stubborn.

Hard copy or ebook?

Yes. I like my options! 😉

Vice? Virtue?

Vice in fiction, virtue in life.

Favorite book:

Only one? That is cruel. That’s like asking a mother which is her favorite child.

Hah! Favorite movie:

Ladyhawk. Or maybe Wolverine. Showboat? (I’m versatile AND indecisive! Which leads me to another quote: Indecision! It’s the key to flexibility!)

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

First, I want to thank you for inviting me to visit you virtually. It is a pleasure—I so enjoy your humor and intelligence. The company and support of other authors like you is aMAZing—and so are the wonderful readers who take the time to support us and share their thoughts and pictures and ideas with us. You all make the journey more doable, more exciting. Thank you!

Alright. Since I’ve already told everybody how much I enjoyed your book, will you please grace us with a chapter from As the Crow Flies?

AsTheCrowFlies_480x640web

CHAPTER 8

I had scarcely stepped out into the street with my handsome new acquisition when I was abruptly and rudely accosted. Two hulking pieces of manhood caught me by either arm, and I nearly lost both my hat and the burlap sack of supplies I carried. Lifting me right off my feet didn’t trouble either of them, and while they whisked me off down the street, I took a moment to recover my breath, my composure—more or less—and to study their identities. “Do I know the two of you?” I inquired politely while they plowed through puddles I would have chosen to go around. The first splash caught me rather by surprise, but I had the forethought to lift my feet for the second. No sense getting wetter when there was an alternative.

“Raza wants to have a chat with you,” the bruiser on my right informed me.

“Jolly for him. Would you be so good as to put me down? I think I remember how to walk.”

“We’ll help.”

“You’re too kind. Really.” I looked from one to the other, but they showed no sign of responding to gentle persuasion and we were making good speed down the street in a direction I had no desire to go. So I held on tight to my belongings and stuck my foot between the legs of the less chatty fellow on the left. He went down in a heap, and I went with him, rolling half onto him. The other man swore and scrambled, trying not to fall, too. I helped him out as best I could by swinging my sack at his head. There were a pair of grappling hooks in there, a climbing rope, metal cleats, and other sorts of paraphernalia a thief might find handy on the job. It knocked him backside over teakettle, which was rather satisfying and alarming at the same time.

Both my delight and my worry at the damage a hook might have caused were arrested by an arm around my throat.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of As the Crow Flies, here are a few links to help you:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/As-the-Crow-Flies-ebook/dp/B00AM1ZGUQ

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/as-the-crow-flies-robin-lythgoe/1114302256?ean=2940044229471

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/263933

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/as-the-crow-flies/id595567889?mt=11&uo=4

If you’d like to acquaint yourself better with Robin, you may do so here:

Blog: http://robinlythgoe.blogspot.com/

Website: http://www.robinlythgoe.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobinLythgoe

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5114039.Robin_Lythgoe

Google+: google.com/+RobinLythgoe

The Write Stuff – Monday, June 16 – Interview With Author Kasper Beaumont

This week’s edition of The Write Stuff takes us to the Land Down Under, but with a twist… We’re replacing ’roos with dragons and Aussies with elves as author Kasper J. Beaumont takes time away from her already busy schedule to share her writing life with us. I first met Kaz through Facebook’s Fantasy Sci-Fi Network where she’s an active part of the group that connects readers with bloggers and authors who specialized in this genre.

041 Kasper J. Beaumont was born and raised in Australia and lives a quiet life with the family in a seaside town. Combining a love of fantasy and a penchant for travel in the Hunters of Reloria trilogy, Kasper started to write on the urging of friends and family and enjoys watching readers become immersed in the magical world of Reloria. Kasper is a pen name for a rather shy author who is happy to remain unnamed.

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Dragon crop The first two volumes of her trilogy, Elven Jewel and Hunters’ Quest, are already out. The concluding volume, Dragon’s Revenge, is expected to be released July of this year. Oh, yes. Before I forget, the Dragon’s Revenge art competition is underway. There are 11 prizes and anyone can enter.

http://huntersofreloria.weebly.com/dragons-revenge-art-competition.html

 

 

 

Here is some information about the first two installments:

Elven Jewel Cover 3x4 Elven Jewel

This fantasy adventure begins when the magical continent of Reloria is threatened by cruel, scaly invaders called Vergai from the wastelands of Vergash. These invaders are barbaric and are intent on destroying the protective elven forcefield and conquering peaceful Reloria. The Vergais’ plan is to steal the Elven Jewel which is the key to the Relorian defence system.

Halfling friends Randir and Fendi and their bond-fairies are the first to discover the invaders and they embark on a quest to save the Elven Jewel. They leave their peaceful farm village with their fairies and race against time to stop the invaders. They join forces with dwarves, elves, men and a mysterious dragon, and call themselves the Hunters of Reloria.

The quest is perilous, with numerous encounters with the ruthless Vergai, who are determined to fulfill their mission. The Elven Jewel is stolen and the quest becomes a race to the portal to retrieve the jewel before it can be taken to Vergash. A battle for Reloria ensues where the consequences for the Relorians is death, unless Vergai are stopped.

Hunters Quest 3x4 Hunters’ Quest

Magical Reloria is under siege by scaly Vergai invaders by portal who have captured the Elven Jewel which creates their protective forcefield. These Vergai live across the western sea, and have fled with the elven princess.
Halfling friends, Randir and Fendi and their bond-fairies are members of a group of brave hunters on a quest to recover the stolen Elven Jewel. They must search for a mage who can make a portal to rescue the princess. They thought they knew what the quest would entail, but with an unexpected member and new enemies, not everything goes the way they had planned.
Their journey takes them to strange new places including the centaur lands, the gnomish inventors, the Great Elven Heart and the home of the dragons.
This unlikely group of men, a dragon, dwarves, halflings, fairies and an elf are known as the Hunters of Reloria.

Kaz, what distinguishes your work from that of other fantasy authors?

I introduced the concept of fairies and halflings bonded together in a symbiotic relationship. The fairies use their magic to heal and regenerate the halflings. The halflings eat food which keeps the fairies strong. The fairy comes into being at the birth of the halfling and one will not outlive the other. They also have a distance limit of 10 metres, but as I don’t use measurements in the book, I just call it the limit of their bond. I like that their fairies have individual personalities. Some are like a little conscience and others such as Sienna-Li can be very cheeky and get himself into trouble.

I also use some mythical beasts in my books, which some reviewers call a ‘genre-mash.’

Intriguing. These are certainly unique stipulations. Will you give us an idea of what your writing routine is like?

I’m not sure that I have one. I do routinely wake at 5am, but I don’t tend to start writing straight away. I usually sort through the 100-odd emails I’ve received for the day and do writing later on, maybe when the kids go to school. I love to escape to the bath or cubbyhouse with my scrapbook and scribble away without distractions.

For some authors, writing occurs in fits and starts. How do you overcome writer’s block?

I don’t believe in it. I could write 18 hours a day if my life would let me. It’s like there’s a dam full of ideas in me and the sluice can be opened at any time for ideas to spill forth.

Hah! Good for you. I would say the same about myself. Since I suspect we will also agree writing doesn’t come out of nowhere, but rather springs from our experiences, what life experiences inspire or enrich your writing?

I would have to mention my family when talking about writing. My eldest son has two short stories published and has been my biggest supporter. He likes to come up with outrageous ideas such as Cyclops giants with laser beams and I fit them into the stories somehow.

My favourite thing to do is travel with the family and experience new lands and cultures. Not only is this fun, but you always learn something, whether you’re in the Louvre, or wandering a desolate countryside.

Aside from the Hunters of Reloria trilogy, what else have you written?

I’ve written a short story recently about the tragedy of Garass and Asher, which is the back-story to one of the Hunters of Reloria. They were two best friends who had the misfortune to fall in love with the same woman and it tore them all apart. I like this one, because I get to write more romance than in the previous books, but as you know, I do love my battles too. I just handed it over to my editor and hope to share it with you all soon. My poor editor is very busy at the moment.

A moment ago, you mentioned your family and how they influence your writing. What else would you care to share about life in the Beaumont household?

My chickens. I have 6 beautiful little hens who are so tame they eat out of our hands. Sometimes they get impatient and peck our toes to remind us to bring food. They each have a name and personality. It’s so nice to have fresh eggs every day and know that the hens are loved and well cared for.

That’s delightful! Sticking to your “other” life for a moment, do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes, I’m a healthcare worker and I do enjoy my job most of the time. It has its challenges and rewards. At the moment I’m working less hours there and spending more time on my writing, so I would have to call it the best of both worlds.

Here are a few of questions I ask most of my guests. Where would you live, if you could live anywhere?

I’d love to be on an island with a couple of hundred people. Somewhere that’s not too hot or cold and there’s a mango tree. My family and I would live in tree houses and go fishing for our supper. Perhaps we’d have a pet possum. No work, no school, no traffic. I’d still have my scrapbook, no doubt. No worries and no cares sounds heavenly to me. Oh-oh, I think I’ve watched too many episodes of Survivor LOL.

Sounds like Swiss—or rather, Aussie—Family Beaumont. How do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?

Keep calm and carry on. I’m not really one for theatrics. We’ve had some loss recently and it has brought my partner and I closer together. It has been great to have all the family rallying around us.

I agree. Having said that, what makes you laugh?

The Umbilical Brothers and Tim Minchin. They are seriously some funny guys. Also the Big Bang Theory is hilarious.

Alright, before I treat our visitors to an excerpt from your writing, here are a few Lightening Round Questions. Answer them in as few words as possible.

The one thing I cannot do without is:

Chocolate (I apologise to my partner, who runs a very close second!)

Favorite book:

The Belgariad series by David Eddings

Favorite movie:

Star Wars

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

Try an Indie author for your next book. There are truly some gems to be found.

Raymond, thanks so much for having me on your blog today. It’s been heaps of fun, cheers, Kasper.

I’ve enjoyed having you. Thank you for coming.

Now, as I promised at the beginning of this interview, for your reading pleasure, here is an excerpt from Hunters’ Quest by Kasper Beaumont, Battle of the Western Outpost.

Halflings Fendi and Sienna and their bond fairies, could now discern what the elf and dragons’ keen eyes had already seen. The grasslands ahead were covered with thousands of Vergai, spread out in numerous camps across the West Lands, and beyond them, the outpost castle was just discernable in the early morning gloom. Bolts of lightning could be seen striking about the black fortress. As they sped closer, Fendi saw many giants surrounding the crackling portal.

Dark shadows above the portal caused the Dragon leader to pull up abruptly from his rapid flight. The dragons hovered high above the Vergai campfires.

The grey Dragon turned to the brown and growled, “There be some kind of sorcery here. See those large blobs suspended over the castle? They emit lightning at random intervals. To destroy the portal, we must avoid them and defeat the wizards on the far side.”

To the dragons’ surprise, a loud voice came from far above them, “Well, it’s about time you dragons joined the party. We have been here for hours, but can’t find a way past the lightning creatures and the giants. They keep pouring through the portal and we can’t get close to it.” It was Baja dwarf’s cheerful voice calling, but he sounded rather more serious than usual.

They all looked up to see Heikki’s gnomish flying machine suspended above them, with their companions straining to look over the sides of the basket.

The Dragon leader gave a regretful look at the Hunters of Reloria in the flying machine, before saying, “Lead them to the wizards, Varnon. If I fail, that is our last hope.”

With mighty beats of his enormous wings, the dragon set off towards the portal, leaving his companions behind. Fendi gave a cry of despair at seeing huntress Sienna valiantly clinging to the dragon’s spiked neck. The other dragons followed the leader closely, with Fendi riding the plucky brown, and Daeron upon the large black.

As they approached the castle, the halflings saw it was the same defensive design as the other outposts, but made of black rock. A fair distance in front of the castle was the portal, surrounded by giants and twelve strange lightning creatures. Fendi thought they looked a bit like large bloated toads, anchored to the ground in front of the portal by long thick ropes. Glowing antennae projecting from their foreheads were suspended before wide mouths. Every so often, one of the creatures burped and lightning crackled in all directions, striking the ground with a loud explosion. Fendi noticed that the giants stayed well clear of these lightning creatures and were positioned directly in front of the portal.

The Dragon leader carrying Sienna reached the portal first and circled high around it, noting the portal could only be seen from the eastern side with no guards to the west. He surmised that the portal could only be accessed from one direction and he banked around to see the other dragons, hydra and wyvern, waiting for his lead.

“Follow me, dragons, we’ll go straight down the middle and then peel off sideways just before the portal, while sending your strongest burst of flame into the mouth of the portal to break the connection. Let’s go.”

With wings beating strongly, the grey Dragon sped straight towards the lightning creatures, with the others bravely fanning out behind in a V formation.

If you’d like to learn more about Kasper Beaumont, or purchase her books, here are a few links to assist you.

Book links:

http://www.amazon.com/Kasper-Beaumont/e/B00DQ2JB22/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KasperBeaumont

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/kasper-beaumont

Links to her website, blog and online social accounts:

http://www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com

http://www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com/ kaspers-ramblings.html

https://twitter.com/KasperBeaumont

https://www.facebook.com/huntersofreloria