This year, I will be attending the Leipzig Book Fair (Germany) where I will display my fairy tale series. The first book in the series already received the Qindie-award AND the B.R.A.G. medallion, both seals of quality for Indie authors.
The third book in the series, also honored with the Qindie-award, will be available as an eBook on March 12th, the day the Leipzig Book Fair opens (for those who are there, I’ll be in hall 5 at stall B302). The German print version is already available, the English print versions will follow soon.
About the Book:
Once upon a time in a world where magic and technology collide with unexpected consequences…
After her father is caught in the act of stealing a jeweled rose, Luna and her brother face a penalty worse then execution unless she works as the king’s mechanic. With her brother’s safety in mind, Luna does her best to please the king, trying to ignore his best friend, who is very interested in bedding her. As if these troubles weren’t enough, the king crashes a machine she considered safe to use and nearly dies. Can she keep him alive long enough to avert danger to herself, her brother, and possibly the whole kingdom?
What if Charles Perrault’s Beauty can do more than soften the heart of a beast?
The book includes a bonus story and the original fairy tale.
Pre-order it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or any other amazon shop. Other retailers will follow asap.
I’ve been nominated again by Elizabeth McCleary, but will not post everything again that I’ve already posted. I’ll just answer her questions.
What color shirt are you wearing right now?
My jumper is bright red and the T-Shirt blue.
Have you traveled outside your native country? If so, where’d you go?
America, Scotland, France, Denmark, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Austria (for five minutes ), Switzerland, Netherlands
I think that’s all; at least it’s all I can think of.
You’re all writers. Tell me your primary genre, any secondary genres, and what genres you prefer to read. (Not all writers read in their own genre.)
I love to READ anything Fantasy and SciFi and some Romance as long as it is well written with interesting characters, plus I love good Non-fiction especially all things history.
I write mostly Fantasy with some SciFi and Historical novels on the side. At the moment, I’m writing Fairy Tale Retellings (that reminds me, I’ve got to put up the page about the next release on March 12th)
Who or what has been the biggest inspiration for your writing?
My overactive imagination
Computer or longhand?
Computer, longhand hurts after a while.
Location of your ideal writer’s retreat. Where would you go to just write? Would you take someone with you, or go alone?
I don’t need to go away to work. I would go to my tiny office (2.5sqm) and I will need my family in the afternoons but not while I’m working.
Aside from writing, what other creative pursuits do you enjoy?
I used to make dolls, but haven’t done so since the kids were born. The last toy I made was a donkey with a music box inside for my baby (which is now 13 years!).
If your life was a movie, who would you want to have play you?
She’d have the right size to do it.
If your book/story was a movie, who would you want to have play your main character and/or antagonist?
I’ve written many books, so this is a tough question. I’m going to answer this for my novel “Paralan’s Children“. For the antagonist I’d like to get either Merryl Streep or Jamie Lee Curtis (obviously they’d need to wear a wig), and for the protagonist, I’d like Kirsten Dunst.
Coffee? Tea? Soda? Wine? Water? Double bourbon, no rocks? What is your beverage of choice?
Plain water, unflavored
Roller coaster or carousel?
Roller coaster — I love the mixture of speed and safety
What interesting writing rituals do you have? Include anything you want… music you listen to, habits you have, whether the TV is on in the background, whether you pour coffee and let it sit there getting cold while you’re working (like I do). Whatever. The question is wide open.
I write from 7:30am to 1pm. First I’ll answer my eMails, go through the forum where I’m moderator once. Next, I’ll write 1500-2000 words on a new project. If I’ve got a new release planned or need to write a new blogpost, I’ll work on that next. If I’ve got nothing scheduled, I translate. I need silence for working but can listen to music when doing other stuff.
Thanks for the questions, Elizabeth.
I was nominated by Juneta Key for the Liebster Award. Sure, this blog already got it once, way back when I was starting out, but these questions are new, so I’m going to give it a go.
Here are the rules:
Who is your favorite author?
Diana Wynne Jones
If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
Health for my family.
A remote control that allows me to pause my live on hold while I write.
Compassion and tolerance for all people lacking in that department (because I think if every person in the world would think a little more about other people and be tolerant of their way of live, our species might, with a lot of luck, manage to survive).
If you were given a free round trip ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
Scotland, Canada, Kamschatka – and I’d take hubby and the kids
Would you rather live near the ocean, forest, mountains or the fourth option?
Forest – isn’t that obvious? I’m a studied forester
What is your favorite genre of music?
Classic, Blues, Rock, and Heavy Metal (yes, I know the mix is a bit strange)
Plane, Train, Boat, Car or other for vacation travel?
Travel? What for if I can sit in my garden typing at my next novel and enjoying the sun?
Where is your favorite place to escape from the daily grind to?
That’s my office – I’m fleeing RealWorld(TM) when I write.
What is your best memory?
I was a small kid of maybe 2 or 3 years. My mother took me to bed, as always. The one bit I remember vividly is her long, brown hair tickling my cheek. It’s an extremely strong memory that I love a lot even though it’s only short.
Do you have a hobbit? if not, what would you like to do for a hobby? ROFL @ SELF okay this error was too good to correct—go ahead tell me who is your favorite hobbit?
My favorite hobbit… Sigh… I wish I had more time for the poor tyke.
I love to go for rides on my motorbike, but have not been able to do this often in the last few years. First because the kids were still too small, then because there was a bug in the electricity that took my brother and me nearly a year to find. But the machine is running again now. I’ll see how much time I can make this year.
What is the most memorable book you have read, or movie if not a big reader?
I couldn’t say. I’ve read way too many, and a lot of them still stick in my mind.
Would you travel around the world in 80 days if you could?
As long as I have access to the Internet and a laptop for writing, sure. Why not?
11 random facts
I’m a dog person but cats like me
I’ve got a PhD in science
my two younger kids hate me (they’re in puberty )
I hate household chores but most of all laundry
hubby and I have been an item for 30 years this year
I’ve got three nephews and one nice, three daughters, one husband, and one dog
most people get along with me
the ones who don’t don’t know what they’re missing
I regularly get lost in strange worlds, but don’t worry, people there know me well
I love all things fantasy (except for most of the current Epic Fantasy tales)
My muse likes shiny, new, but I force her to finish stories before starting something new… sometimes I fail
I will only nominate 2 Blogger, since most of the ones I would have suggested were already nominated by Juneta. Also, half of the blogs I nominate will be in German. After all, I’m bilingual.
William L. Hahn
Marny Leifers fantastische Bücherwelt
Please answer the same question I answered.
You might be wondering why I start the blogging year this late. After all, January is all but over. Truth be told, I just didn’t have the nerve to sit down and tell you about the boring things that happened, so I decided to wait for something worth talking about.
I should have known better… Since disasters are more newsworthy than most other stories, it stood to reason that I would be struck by it. And I did.
During January, I wrote most of the first draft of an eBook about coding eBooks by hand. Last week, I dove into the Bells&Whistles chapter that I had been looking forward to. Over three days and a weekend, I wrote several thousand words. Since I’ve been a programmer for quite a while, I made sure that my backup program was backing up according to schedule, and thought nothing could happen to me and my material. Fat chance!
When I opened the file on Monday afternoon to add a link to a resource I had found, half the file was missing all of a sudden. No explanation, no reason. Word hadn’t crashed and neither had my PC. I still don’t understand what exactly happened to the rest of my file. Relaxed, I called up my backup which had run the night before and searched for the file — it wasn’t there.
Argh… This hadn’t happened to me in years. I actually cried about losing that much work. But I recovered. By now, I’ve recreated most of what I lost already and made it even better than it was before. My stubborn mind insisted that the would not keep me from finishing the manuscript.
And then… my eldest lost her passport, and I got a cold and needed to see the doctor, and my other two kids got two days off of school… It seems as if someone has conspired against me.
But I will get this manuscript done, no matter what. It just might take a little longer than I had planned. And (I think) it made for a good blog posts.
And the morale of the story?
Never give up, never surrender!
I’m a little late in posting this — actually I’m quite late in posting anything recently. There seems to be so many things that need to be done before Christmas and not enough time.
My good friend, Will Hahn, is preparing for his next release. The third part of “Judgement’s Tale” will be available soon. His books are published one novella-length part per 3-4 months which I love because it means readers won’t have to wait so very long. Epic Fantasy usually makes you wait for ages for the next volume. So, if you haven’t started reading the story yet, the price of volume one “Games of Chance” has been reduced to a $0.99 bargain price. Read it. Although the beginning shows a lot of people, which can be confusing at first, the prose is beautiful. And believe me, not a single thread of the story is superfluous.
And since Will’s narration is highly unique, here is his reasoning for using
William L. Hahn
(oh, and if you read all the way to the end, you get the chance to WIN a printed copy of Judgement’s Tale volumes one and two!)
The protagonist of Judgement’s Tale is someone nobody gets to know. I understand their difficulty — Solemn Judgement won’t talk much to me either. Of all the beings in the Lands of Hope, his is the only mind that remains closed to me (the sole way to evade the block is too horrible to mention — I did it once and never again! See the first chapter of Reunion of Souls.). So I have been forced to rely on second-hand information, namely, the witness of others. And since hardly anyone he’s met comes off liking him, my difficulties are multiplied many times over.
The Man in Grey, as most people know him, has taken to wandering the Lands, methodically visiting every village and town for reasons that are unclear. He can never hope to finish, should he live to be a hundred. He seldom stays long. If there is a significant Healer in the area, Judgement visits him or her, and stays perhaps a single night in their house, within the protective healing circle. He has a terrible knack for showing up where something dangerous is happening, leading to gossip that the Man in Grey brings trouble with him. His manner, though civil, is often cold and intense, doing little to dispel this notion. This is the only way I saw him, for the first twenty years or so of studying the Lands of Hope; as I viewed the great deeds of one of the adventuring bands, such as the Candidates or Tributarians, there he’d be in the midst of battle or at the edge of a great conflict, walking through and perhaps staying long enough for a conversation or to lend a hand.
If it had not been for Cedrith, I don’t think there would be a Judgement’s Tale.
A Friend in Need
I don’t exactly recall when I first realized how Judgement came to the Lands, though it was always clear he was not born in the kingdoms. But it was through the writings of Cedrith Fellareon, an otherwise obscure Elvish Sage, that I began to nail down the year and the place. Thrown together by a chance of fate on Judgement’s first day in Conar (see Games of Chance), Cedrith was unaccountably interested (maybe fascinated) by Judgement’s upright character and frightful maturity, and became very committed to protecting, tutoring and understanding him. This kind, erudite, domestic Elf was able to show me through his dogged persistence that the Man in Grey was indeed the hero I suspected he might have been. Through his interviews and letters (to Kia, his fiancée) I was able to build a picture of the horror Judgement endured as a youth, the relentless drive he felt to learn and fulfill a higher purpose.
But Judgement is not always with Cedrith. So it became necessary to find other narrators to complete the tale.
And there have been many;
– The Gypsies who found Judgement on the beach his first day in the Lands, burying his father. When they tried to force him to play a game, he had to leave the clan.
– Guardsmen and magistrates, from whom I would never have compiled an accurate picture. One sergeant in particular has sworn to kill him.
– Various employers such as Nador the silversmith who taught him metalwork, or Till the groom when Judgement briefly kept the stables for a noble house.
– Frightened villagers, fellow adventurers, a postal courier, ferrymen and a future king or two, who generally greet him with apprehension and see him off with relief.
– In The Eye of Kog (publishing in 2015) Judgement reaches one of the few remaining unsettled areas in the Lands, and his narrators are not, um, strictly speaking, human. In point of fact, they are trying to eat him; but I’m not sure Judgement detects much of a change in attitude from what he’s previously experienced.
And probably the most interesting narrator I’ve ever used is just four years old.
Eyes of a Child
Riddy sees “the Ash Man” in Strength of Conviction, when his fisherman father sells Judgement his old unused boat which Riddy had been keeping as a fortress. It seems our hero can never get off on the right foot, as he belatedly realizes the hull he wants to patch up had another owner. I figured “here we go again”—what could a little kid feel except hate and fear for the unspeaking, unsmiling, staff-bearing intruder who’s stealing his castle? But instead I watched in astonishment—Riddy’s young life goes from carefree through tragic, to adventurous and finally just a touch miraculous all in the space of a few days. And Solemn Judgement—perhaps the only man in all the city of Conar willing to listen to everything a four-year old will say—hears an interesting tale about a man who walked into the sea, which proves of great value to him.
All in all I was pretty pleased with how that portion of the story went. Imagine my surprise when a reader praised the section and said how they looked forward to hearing about Riddy again! I’m still flabbergasted. Isn’t there such a thing as a one-time character in this tale? He’s a kid, he’s living in the safest city in the Lands of Hope. What conceivable reason… no, wait. If watching Solemn Judgement has taught me anything, it’s that everyone has value. And as I look ahead into The Eye of Kog, there is one young girl who touches the tale briefly. Even Anteris, the young scribe’s apprentice of Trainertown, is destined for more adventure than you might think (certainly more than he does). And perhaps years from now the world will hear of famous deeds by those who are now among the least important.
I cannot imagine who will narrate their tales to me.
Will’s Weirdly Whimsical Website is where he posts news about upcoming releases and blogs about writing, classic fantasy works you’ve never read and the unique photo-based series “It Figures”.
The Lands of Hope Facebook page contains a chronology of the Lands.
WIN A PRINTED COPY OF JUDGEMENT’S TALE 1&2
a Rafflecopter giveaway
and then, you’ll have to go and buy the third installment “Reunions of Souls” because you’ll be just as hooked as I am. I can barely wait for part four. Thankfully, it’s only going to be 3 months!
I think by now, nearly everybody knows about the Indie Advent Calendar that I organized. If not, here are the details:
1. six authors = six serialized stories and one song plus one German artist = two pictures
2. all nicely hidden behind numbers on a beautiful calendar page.
Indie Advent Calendar 2014
Those who sign up for the alerts (even if they do it on the last day), will get the calendar bundled into an eBook. Come over and join the fun.
As a thank-you present for hosting Vanessa on my blog, I got both “Wizard of Ends” eBooks from her. I read them in October and loved them. What I like about them is that the characters feel so alive. The stubborn refusal of Lashlor Leaflin to use magic unless severely threatened is refreshing. And King Lanaran’s love for his wife, although it causes some big problems, is something most women dream of. The villain is strong enough to cause the heroes some really big difficulties, but not so big that this becomes a Don Quixote fight against windmills. Also, the writing held just enough detail to keep me grounded in the world. If you get a chance, get yourself copies of both books on Smashwords (Book 1: Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature).
Doorway to Destiny
So, when Vanessa asked if I would host a one day book blast for her, I couldn’t refuse. She and her colleague TC Southwell have bundled eleven novels and two short stories into a gigantic volume called “Doorway to Destiny”. For a short time, this huge amount of reading pleasure will be available for 99ct only. Don’t be put off by the low price. Both writers are skilled (I’ve read books by both of them). This offer is clearly a bargain. I will get a copy myself.
About the Book
With eight novels by TC Southwell and three novels and two anthologies by Vanessa Finaughty, this box set offers fantasy and sci-fi lovers escapism that will keep you up long past your bedtime. Dive into fantastic worlds and meet fascinating characters whose trials and tribulations will enchant and inspire. Discover how a vengeful assassin reshapes the fate of three kingdoms and share in a quest to discover the origins of mankind, then follow the tale of a young queen’s fight to be free with the aid of a combat cyborg. Two short story anthologies spice up the fare with dragons, sorcerers and magic galore, and a child of another god strives to save his world from mankind’s ravages. When a mortal dark god treads a tragic path as he rises to destroy the Overworld, a brave young girl risks her life to try to change his savage ways. Each hero and heroine takes a definitive step through a doorway to destiny as he or she seeks to right wrongs and save worlds.
Get your copy of the book on
Barnes & Noble
Two Authors Worth Reading (both from South Africa)
<- Vanessa Finaughty
TC Southwell ->
Let me introduce you to Vanessa Finaughty, an Indie author from South Africa. She currently released the first book in her Wizard of Ends series.
Wizard of Ends is a fantasy novella series packed with adventure, magic, dark creatures, some life lessons and more. Today I have the pleasure to host Vanessa for the release of the second novel in the series: Dark Creature
Vanessa created a unique kind of magic and found that magic isn’t as unreal as wen might think. In the article below, she will explain her reasoning.
Modern Science and Ancient Magic are One and the Same Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty
Between 1543 and 1687, textbooks tell us, there was a 150-year window in which modern thinking transformed from magic and superstition to what we now call science. Many believe that modern science is, in fact, driven by cosmology and magical philosophy.
I think most of us have heard the hype about the Age of Enlightenment that many believe began on 21 or 22 December 2012. Why do so many believe we are now in this age, however, and what exactly can we expect if these people are right? Countless ancient texts across the world tell us to ‘awaken and remember’, and predict a time during which the ‘veil will be lifted’, bringing in a new world. It does seem as if science and spirituality no longer oppose each other as they once did. Not so long ago, most people believed that to believe in science was to lack belief in a higher power. Today, nothing could be further from the truth. Is it because the stars are now aligned to bring in the Age of Enlightenment, enabling our consciousnesses to rise to new levels so we can see the world through new eyes?
I believe that humanity has lost much ancient knowledge that we are slowly beginning to rediscover. Almost all ancient humans had vast knowledge of the stars and science, as is evident by ancient texts, hieroglyphs and other archaeological finds, such as ancient batteries and evidence that suggests the pyramids were once giant power generators.
In ancient times, science was called by other names, like alchemy, magic or sorcery. Whatever we call it, it is the same thing: knowledge sought by the same or similar means. Ancient alchemists and sorcerers were insatiably curious. Combined with their deeply philosophical outlook on nature, this enabled them to gain a greater understanding of not only our world, but the entire universe, thus empowering them to perform ‘magical’ feats like healing the sick. Ancient alchemists also had advanced knowledge of chemistry, consciousness, hypnosis and trances, and even other worlds that modern science is only beginning to understand via quantum physics.
I think part of the reason much of this knowledge was lost is due to religious institutes deeming it ‘evil’ and ‘of the Devil’, and thanks to human politics. This means that ancient scientists – or sorcerers, if you will – had to hide their insights in coded texts and symbols to avoid being labeled evil and condemned for it. An example of this can be found in Galileo, the father of modern physics and astronomy. Once he had discovered planets and gained knowledge of their orbits, among other things, he was ordered to go to Rome to stand trial for heresy, after which he was forced to spend his remaining days on this Earth under house arrest!
Many believe that another reason much ancient knowledge was lost is due to an ‘elite’ group of humans in power persecuting those who wanted to share this knowledge with all of humanity. These conspiracy theorists believe that all the persecutions were an attempt to prevent ‘the rest of us’ from benefiting from these ancient secrets, for, if everyone knew what the elite knew, the elite would no longer be elite and would lose the control they still have over the masses. I can’t say for sure, but this theory does have a ring of truth to it, don’t you think? Then again, some believe that Atlantis was real and Atlanteans were wiped out because they abused this ancient knowledge. If this is the case, perhaps the elite are trying to protect us from ourselves. This, too, could be true, considering humanity’s abuse of our advancements – using nuclear power to create weapons that could destroy humanity and Earth a few times over is a perfect example. Then again, it’s the said elite who wanted the nuclear weapons in the first place….
Modern scientists have not only done much research into ‘supernatural powers’ like human psychic abilities and remote viewing, but have made breakthroughs into tapping into these and other ‘magical’ powers. Modern science has proven that was once considered magic is real – real science! It’s been scientifically proven that almost anyone can be taught to project their consciousness to other places or times in order to view the goings on there. Of course, rather than teaching everyone who is interested, this knowledge is being used for espionage.
We have no way – currently – of knowing the ultimate truth. However, I believe that, one day, we will know everything ancient humans did and will once again be able to harness the full power of our universe. One day, life will once more be filled with magic. I just hope we don’t use it to destroy ourselves.
About the Books
In “Wizard of Ends“, book 1 of the series, Lashlor Leaflin, who is new to the Land of Ends, happens across two men abducting the Queen of Ends and is compelled to help her. Thus starts his magical adventure, leading to a confrontation with a deadly sorceress who believes the crown to be rightfully hers.
In “Dark Creature“, book 2 in the series, Lashlor finds himself trapped in the Mountains of Eclador with no way to help his queen, who will be forever trapped in the form of a dark creature if he does not return to Ends. To make matters worse, thinking the Wizard of Ends will not return from the mountains, King Lanaran Dragonsbane attempts to undo the curse on his wife – something Lashlor warned him against.
You can find more information about the author and her many books on her Author website, her Author blog, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook. You can buy her books on Smashwords, iBooks and Barnes & Noble
When I was asked to review “Soulless” by Chrystal Collier, the sequel to “Moonless”, a book I had read and reviewed before, I hesitated because I never got warm with the main character of the series (read my review on goodreads). After much thinking, I came to the conclusion that my dislike for her was mostly due to the fact that I cannot stand a typically Victorian woman. The way they accept the “superiority of men” raises the hairs on my neck and makes me aggressive. The problem was that the book is set in a Victorian world, so the main character’s view of the role a woman must play was perfectly logical in the context of the story. Also, I like Crystal a lot, so I finally decided to read the second book. Boy, was I glad I did.
volume 2 in the Maiden of Time series
The second book focuses much more on the history of the Soulless and the Passionate. The romance between Alexia and Kiren blooms, and this time, the feelings seemed more real to me than last time. I think it highly possible that the author is very happily married.
The problems the nearly-wed faced mounted with every page I turned. Some scenes left me breathless (although I have to admit that I did skip a few kisses – as I said in my review of the first volume, I’m not really a romance reader at heart), and I loved to see Miles and John return. They’re my favorite characters by far.
In my opinion, this sequel is a lot better than the first volume. The characters are more rounded and the seeds planted in volume one finally begin to make things hard for Alexis and Kiren. By now, I’m hooked and can’t wait for the next volume. Well done, Crystal.
About the Book
The Soulless are coming…
Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
And risk losing everything.
About the Author
Stories literally siege upon Crystal Collier (usually in the middle of the night) and threaten to destroy the universe if not set free. Through the years she has visited many realms of creativity in hopes of purging these life-threatening menaces, but, the only true way to satiate those hazardous narratives is to trap them in an electronic page.
Crystal is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids with a thriller pace. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
You can also win a couple of great things from Crystal. Just participate:
Since I can’t afford to hire a top-of-the-art cover designer, I have to do my own covers. Since I was never quite happy with the results, but couldn’t say why, I took a course on how to create professional looking covers. It opened my eyes.
With only a few minor tweaks, my covers changed from good but not spectacular Indie covers to professional looking covers. Let’s take Scotland’s Guardians as an example. The artist I hired captured exactly what I wanted, and still the cover did not satisfy me.
Then, I tweaked it a little bit. The changes are barely noticeable if you don’t have the covers side by side. But the new version looks much more like I wanted it.
The best example of my learning curve (from when I started out 2 1/2 years ago) to now is Urchin King. The first cover is extremely busy and indicates historical novel rather than fantasy. Also, it has no color scheme whatsoever and not much to do with actions in the book. The second cover at least tries to show what the book is about (the royal twins). But it is clearly visible that the designer (me) was an amateur. Again, it didn’t even begin to hint at fantasy.
The third cover is a little better, although it still doesn’t hint at the fantasy genre. For the fourth cover, I finally found the right piece of art. But even with a fantasy feel to the picture, the cover still didn’t look like one by a traditional publisher. The fifth and final version does.
Let me know what you think. Can you deduct what I learned just by looking at the pictures?