At the moment, I’m running a Giveaway on Goodreads for my next release “Swordplay”, the first volume in the “Gendarmerie Magique” series. The book will be released on January the 31st, and you can win a copy right here already. What are you waiting for?
I’m happy to be able to host a writer that I have known and admired for quite a while already: Chrystal Collier. With the release of her new novel Moonless, she is touring the world (virtually of course, who could afford anythign else) and popped in here for a short interview.
Why did you choose a socially challenged heroine?
MOONLESS is written for young adults. As a teenager, I remember that being one of my greatest struggles—figuring out my place in the world and feeling like I just didn’t fit in. Who doesn’t feel that at some point?
What makes the world of your novel different from ours?
Call this an alternate history if you will, but what if there was another race of people hidden just below the surface of society? Now let’s say these people are gifted and unique, but nature is all about balance, so they have an antithesis or predator. Keep in mind they don’t propagate as easily as humanity which makes them a minority, and their discovery in the past has led to wars, racial cleansing, etc. Because of that, they’re very interested in remaining unknown, even while their battle for survival rages in the shadows.
What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?
Some people write dozens of novels before they get published. I rewrite the same book again and again and again until I get it right—or at least, that’s how it worked with Moonless. During rewrites we’ve lived in 3 different states, had two kids, worked on and off with producers for a Broadway aimed musical, and I’ve been a composer/writer for an audio/video production company. Do we need to add any more excitement?
Tell us about your writing day schedule.
My days starts with study, then I’m getting kids fed, dressed and into a home school day. After a couple lessons (and while the littles are occupied with assignments), I check in with email, the blogosphere, maybe even some critiquing. Finally, mid to late afternoon my littles get free time and I dive into writing, with regular interruptions, praying for a solid two hours.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I believe we are infinitely powerful beings. We can accomplish anything through hard work and perseverance. My only complaint is the need for a time-stopper. (Which the scientists locked in my Floridian basement are desperately working to complete.)
Thank you for answering our question, Chrystal. We wish you a lot of success for your books.
Here is my latest release, “Paralan’s Children“, a YA soft SciFi story. Hopefully, you’ll like it. It’s available for 99ct as a special introductory price until tomorrow, 23rd of May. Then, the price will go up to $4.99 for good.
Fresh from the academy, ambitious Galaktipol officer Vera Staven has been transferred to the only human settlement on the ice planet Paralan. Aside from smuggling, crimes are rare and the suicide rate is high. But something at the latest find nags at Vera, although no clues indicate it’s anything but a suicide.
When native Galaktipol officer Joloran Durim Brunàhgan meets the mother of his wee-ones for the yearly egg-opening feast, he doesn’t know he’s facing the worst case of his career. The next morning, fifteen Paralan wee-ones went missing, girls only. A catastrophe for the natives. Joloran hurls himself into the investigation, but he can’t get the murder of two wee-ones out of his mind that he couldn’t solve many years ago.
Paralan and humans harbor prejudices, making it hard for Joloran to follow all clues. Against his will, his superior requests support from the humans. POK Vera Staven is assigned to him, the only woman in the human Galaktipol station on Paralan. And time is running out. With every passing day, the probability of finding the wee-ones alive shrinks. But only as a team, Joloran and Vera might have a chance. Can they overcome their prejudices and cooperate, or will they find these children disemboweled in the icy wilderness of the planet’s far side too?
My Monday Cup of Tea (ehm Cocoa): Paralan’s Children
My next release is coming closer and I’m now working on the cover art and the back cover blurb. I will reveal the cover next Monday. Now, I’ll tell you a little about my story. It was the one that got me my agent in Germany some years back.
As I said in my Friday post, it is set on a planet that’s mostly covered in ice. The main species of the planet resemble polar bears but their snouts are much longer and they’ve got tufted ears. Also, their internal organs are very different from polar bears (e.g. two brains, gigantic olfactory nerve-cluster etc.). Humans would have never been interested in their planet if it weren’t for a rare mineral their FTL drives need (faster than light, for the non-SciFi readers). Thus, there is a single human colony under the planet’s ice and a space-port on the ice. The settlement is closely monitored by the Paralans who don’t like humans to be there but are depending on them to deliver an active ingredient for a medicine extracted from a Terran plant.
In this uneasy truce, both sides harbor prejudices. When fifteen female Paralan children are kidnapped, a male Paralan officer and a human graduate, the only girl in the human Galactipol station on Paralan, have to learn to work together to follow the traces, and with every passing hour the chances of finding the girls alive are sinking.
When I wrote this story, I played around with gender issues. The main female character is facing harassment by her colleagues and the situation only change gradually when she works with the Paralans, and in the Paralan society, the roles of father and mother are reverted. There are even rewards for exceptional breeding success (meaning at least 3 of the six hatchlings survive). I had so much fun developing the world and its inhabitants, I even came up with Paralan mythology.
I’m really interested to see if you’ll enjoy reading the story as much as I did writing it.
Now, let me know, if you had to create life on an ice planet, what kind of creature would you come up with?
I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett for the first time when I was twelve (In German of course). I loved it so much, I bought all available books by the same author.
About the book
When orphaned Mary Lennox, lonely and sad, comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire moors, she finds it full of secrets. At night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. Outside, she meets Dickon, a magical boy who can charm and talk to animals. Then, one day, with the help of a friendly robin, Mary discovers the most mysterious wonder of all–a secret garden, walled and locked, which has been completely forgotten for years and years. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?
I liked the love best that Mary felt for the garden and her efforts to make it come alive. It was evident in every chapter how much the author loved nature. This was a direct tie to my heart. I didn’t learn landscape gardening and studied forestry without reason. Even if the book is old-fashioned and the beginning seems slow to today’s readers, I highly recommend it to anyone who loves nature.
I read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken first when I was twelve, and it was one of my favorites immediately. I keep rereading the whole series all the time and still find it fascinating.
About the Book:
Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie’s parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease. With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?
These were truly believable characters, and they were dropped into a really nasty situation. No one likes losing their parents, but adding the loss of their home topped it all. I loved the way the two girls never let themselves get down. They fought back with everything they had. Since this story takes place in an England with slightly alternate history, the story also taught me (unconsciously) about the way of live in GB. Joan Aiken is a genius. What I loved best about this series is that she took one minor character from the first book and made him the hero of the next and so on. That way, there was always room for the characters to grow, and I was never bored. I might borrow this idea some day. 😉
When I began reading English, my Scottish mother (adopted) bought me a book. It was quite slim so I wasn’t too frightened to try, and it turned into one of my all time favorites to this day. The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye is a story for all ages.
About the book:
Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries… or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she’s so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there… much to everyone’s surprise… she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!
This book shows everyone that ordinariness or it’s opposite lie in the eye of the beholder. Princess Amy is anything but ordinary. Her problem is that she’s not what her parents want her to be. She doesn’t behave like princesses are supposed to, and she isn’t fixated on beauty (hard to do when you’ve got freckles believe me). When her parents come up with a nightmare idea to marry her, she takes matters into her own hands. This is the absolute anti-Cinderella story and that’s why I love it so much. It contains just as much romance and some typical fairy tale elements, but it twists them in a way that makes them new and exciting. If you haven’t yet, give this story a try. It’s not very expensive and you can get it as an eBook too.
It’s time. Everything went as planned, so here it is: Scotland’s Guardians
Since Bryanna grows up in Scotland, she is familiar with hobgoblins, selkies, and kelpies from the tales of her homeland. But she is extremely surprised when she starts seeing these creatures one day. Is she hallucinating? Before she can ask her father’s advice, he is kidnapped by a woman whose scent seems awfully familiar. Instead of calling the police, Bryanna follows the kidnapper and lands smack-dab in the middle of the adventure of her life. It’s just as well she knows the old legends and myths well enough. The world she lands in is murderously dangerous. And even if she survives the journey, she is fated to kill her father.
All right, I played around with the cover some more, but I didn’t like the way the letters obstructed the lovely picture. I think it’s better now. Hopefully, you think so too.
I got the idea to this story during one of my numerous visits in Scotland. Beside the unbelievably beautiful nature, this country has much to offer particularly one thing: the supernatural. Every region has its own mythical creature, and every Scotsman knows at least one haunted house or Loch monster. No matter whether on the mountains, at the coast, or in the valleys, there are as many stories about brownies (household sprites), Boobries (giants birds), and kelpies (waterhorses) as there are grains of sand by the sea. Fascinated, I decided to put at least some of these creatures into a novel. It took form after a woman appeared in my mind whose eyes mirrored the Scottish moors and not the garden she looked at.
Since Bryanna grows up in Scotland, she is familiar with Hobgoblins, Selkies or Kelpies from the tales of her country. But she is very surprised when she begins to see these creatures one day. Is she suffering form hallucinations? Before she can ask her father’s advice, he gets kidnapped by a woman whose scent is strangely familiar to Bryanna. So, she follows the kidnapper instead of informing the police and lands smack dab in the middle of the biggest adventure of her life. It’s just as well she knows the old tales well enough. The world she lands in is murderously dangerous.
Scotland’s Guardians will be available at the end of the month as an eBook on Amazon. Other retailers will follow. A date for the print-version will be announced on time.