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Author Interview: C. Vonzale Lewis

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Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick. On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs.

With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Little does she realize, the moment she sets foot inside the building, she becomes a pawn. A sinister force has set its sights on her and will stop at nothing to use her in a sadistic game.

Tribec’s proprietors, the Stewart family, are curiously preoccupied with the Naqada, the mysterious pre-dynastic Egyptian society. Nicole finds it creepy, but on the bright side, the job reconnects her with her estranged friend, Marta. Yet the eerie atmosphere, disappearing Magick wards, and the smell of blood inside Tribec bring Nicole to a startling conclusion—the Stewarts are practicing Blood Magick, the deadliest of the Five Principles. By the time Nicole uncovers the truth, Marta and her four children have gone missing, and all signs implicate the Stewarts and an archaic blood ritual to an Old One, a Naqada god imprisoned on Tulare Island.

Battling the evil of Blood Magick will demand Nicole to confront a hidden past and unlock the Magick buried within. But can she set aside her deep-rooted fears to work with a team of vigilante Mages? Or will the clock run out on Marta and her children—and on Nicole?

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Author Interview with C. Vonzale Lewis:

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What was the inspiration for your upcoming book?

I use to work in a call center. I don’t recommend this job for ANYONE! Once in a blue moon, the major players would come to our center for a center wide meeting. I use to wonder what they did all day. Like what exactly was their job. So in answer to that question, I wrote my first book based on a woman getting a job in a call center and learning her employers were sacrificing people. Morbid, I know. But I did warn you NOT to work in a call center.

Do you have a favorite character in your book? Who and why?

Yes, while I do LOVE my main character, Nicole. I am in awe of my side character, Rachel. She is just the right mix of crazy and sane and it was fun writing about her.

Do you usually outline or just go with it?

I just go with it! But I do find that in the midst of writing, scenes come to me. I keep a notepad near me so I can jot these gems down. So, no, I don’t outline, but I do follow some bullet points.

What do you find to be the hardest thing about writing?

Sitting down and getting in the groove. If I spend my time thinking about writing and never take the step toward putting words on paper, then I will never do it. But once I do sit down, and take those first awkward steps, I can get into a real nice rhythm.

The best thing?

Creating characters! I love laughing with them, crying with them, and just going on adventures with them. I love digging into their stories and finding the roots of their existence.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When my mother bought me a typewriter when I was eight. I think I was amazed at how I could put words on paper. And, of course, I loved reading stories and having stories read to me. All those wonderful adventures in one book! I thought, I can do that!

What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year?

Circle of the Moon—by Faith Hunter. There is just something wonderful about her characters and the depth in which she writes them. And, of course, her plots are rich with history and lore. Mythology is my jam. I can get behind any fantasy story that has a really interesting backstory behind it. Kind of like your story, CLOUDED BY ENVY. I mean seriously, Candace, THAT WAS A VAMPIRE ORGIN STORY!!!

And what’s your favorite book ever?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is the first book that came to mind when I read this question. But seriously, I’d have to say I have MANY favorite books. And this interview would turn into a thesis statement if I listed them all. LOL!

What future books do you have planned next?

I have seven books to write in my Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles series and I want to finish three others that are right there ready to be polished. So, the answer is…A LOT!

I know you’re also an editor, does this affect how you read books?

Yes and no. If the book is a little slow or hard to get into, yes, then I find myself finding ways to improve it. And if it’s interesting and holding me captive, then I just breeze right through without my internal editor ever showing its head.

As an editor, what kind of books are you interested in working on?

Since I’m an eclectic reader, I’d say I enjoy a few genres. Definitely contemporary fantasy with a strong backstory/mythology. I love mysteries and thrillers. And all these books have to have some romantic elements in them. I just love reading about people falling in love.

What’s your favorite color?

Green

If you were trapped on an island with one person, one object, and one food, what would they be?

My husband, a bookshelf full of books, and tacos!

Do you have any advice for other writers out there?

Never listen to advice that tells you how and what to write! Sit down, tell your story, and then go through it. Make sure you read in your genre and others as well. You never know what ideas you might come up with. Writing is an evolving process. You will stumble but it’s when you do stumble that you learn the most. I have found that most writing advice is really just another person’s pet peeves dressed up to look like law. IGNORE IT ALL AND WRITE!

About C. Vonzale Lewis:

My name is Carla Vonzale Lewis and I like my martini’s shaken…never stirred.

I was born in Georgia but please don’t mistake me for a Georgia peach. I’m more like a prickly pear. Speaking of being born, someone asked me recently if I remember my birth. And I have to say, yes, I do remember that handsy doctor pulling me out into the cold. Right Bastard!!!

Despite being born in the South, I grew up in the North. California to be exact. Every once in a great while we get to experience all four seasons. But mostly, it’s just heat. You should see our electric bill in the summer! I like the beaches, but not the sand. I enjoy being outside, but the sun gets on my nerves. Does it really need to send its death ray to a single spot on my skin! (I told you I was a prickly pear) And don’t get me started on the traffic.

The first part of my life, I worked in customer service. This line of work led to the discovery of my favorite drink, or, rather, several favorite drinks. I could list the many concoction but that would go on forever!

Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy job. But I did enjoy talking with people. And when it came time to develop my characters, I drew on those experiences.

I have a degree in Fashion Design. Don’t ask. The only thing I gained from those wasted two years of my life, is being introduced to the love of my life, Bobby. He is truly my rock.

So…why do I write?

Well my first book, LINEAGE, answered the question, “What does the big boss actually do all day?” I might have gone a little dark with my answer, but it was fun answering the question. But mainly, I love writing because it gives me power to create. And it also gives me the power to fix this broken world.

Truthfully, I’ve always loved the written word and the way a good book could take you to another place and time. Instead of hanging out in the lunchroom, I would go to the library and create stories or bury my head in a really good book.

I started writing my first novel in 2014 and 30 days later I had a collection of scenes that needed some serious revision. And that was where the fun came in. Over the course of several years my novel went through final draft after final draft until I finally came to…you guessed it, the final draft.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, and trying to convince my husband that getting a dog is a wonderful idea.

And one day, I will discover how many licks it actually takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.

Website: cvonzalelewis.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CVonzalelewis

Twitter: @cvonzalelewis

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carlavlewis

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Author Interview: Elle Beaumont

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Hunter’s Truce:

When Niklaus von Brandt’s mother is murdered by a poacher it moves him to make a change in the kingdom of Abendrot. Once a kingdom founded by werewolves, it is now ruled by humans who have one goal: eradicate the werewolves. In order to protect what is left of his family, he must make an important decision, one that leads him to become an assassin, and the shadow the kingdom murmurs about.

Too bad the royal family has a secret—a secret that Niklaus plans on using to his advantage, and in the meantime he has given King Ansgar three chances before he comes huffing and puffing.

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Royal’s Vow:

When The Big Bad Wolf came huffing and puffing at the royal gates Stasya knew change was on the wind. With the family secret exposed to the assassin turned ally, Stasya has to entrust her life to a werewolf she barely knows—Niklaus von Brandt—who has vowed to protect her, and in doing so has declared a lockdown.

Now a prisoner in her own castle, Stasya feels the tension growing between herself and Niklaus as she wonders if the alliance is the best thing for the kingdom and herself. But when they stumble into some trouble outside castle walls the Hawk swoops in and makes his presence known.

Stasya must survive the Hawk—but can she trust the Wolf?

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Game of Bezique:

At eighteen, Etienne Mercier shouldn’t have to worry about being hunted in the streets of Paris. To survive, he cons people with games of chance, hoping no one will discover the truth his grown-out hair hides—he is Fae. Baron Weaver knows, though, and when Etienne tries to con the man, he’s the one who gets surprised.

Etienne flees to escape the Baron, but soon realizes he’s not being chased for the reason he thinks. The Baron offers him and once-in-a-lifetime chance—the opportunity to work in Cirque de la Tempete as an aerialist.

Jumping at the chance to earn an honest living, Etienne never expects to find what he lacked all along—a purpose and a family—especially when he meets Lili. But Lili has plans of her own, and together, Etienne finds himself taking his biggest—and deadliest—risk yet.

Care for a game of chance? Step right up!

AVAILABLE IN CIRQUE DE VOL MYSTIQUE APRIL 23RD

AVAILABLE JULY 16TH BY ITSELF

The Hunter Series Links – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PDHKQ3B/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Cirque de vol Mystique – https://www.amazon.com/Cirque-vol-Mystique-K-M-Robinson-ebook/dp/B07PPJX7KY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=35LFW5IDAQNR0&keywords=cirque+de+vol+mystique&qid=1555863756&s=digital-text&sprefix=cirque+de+vol+myst%2Cdigital-text%2C135&sr=1-1-catcorr

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Elle was born and raised in Southeastern, Massachusetts in a little farm town by the harbor. She grew up fascinated with all things whimsical and a strong love for animals. As she grew so did her passion for reading and writing. Although she prefers devouring all genres she largely enjoys dark fantasy.

She is married to her best friend and has two lively sprites who inspire madness, love and a sense of humor in her. They also have a menagerie of animals, two dogs, three cats, and a horse. In her downtime, Elle enjoys creating candles, crocheting, horseback riding and running.

Author Interview:

Why did you decide to become a writer?

That’s kind of a tricky question, right? Why decide to be a firefighter or a doctor? It’s something I always thoroughly enjoyed. When I was in 4th grade, I wrote this short story about a pony I used to lease. Her name was Lady, and I illustrated the book and wrote it with my friend.

I couldn’t jump my pony because she had a bad rear, but somehow I came up with this elaborate story as to how she had bad hind legs, and how she came to live at this barn. It was so far-fetched, but I fell in love with story telling which then prompted me to get into tex-based RPG’s which led to forums, and I thought, hey—maybe one day. Fast forward, I met K.M. Robinson who showed me how ‘easy’ it was to publish. 😉 The rest they say is history!

What’s your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I’d say that Game of Bezique is actually my favorite. You can find that one in the Cirque de vol Mystique anthology, and it’ll be releasing in July by itself. It’s an original supernatural/steampunk circus story, and it follows an older teen fae, who is just trying to survive in Paris. He’s down on his luck, and he tries to con the wrong [or right,] man, and ends up joining the circus, finding friends, and falling in love.

Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?

Oooh, that’s a tough one! I’m torn between Niklaus von Brandt from The Hunter series, and then Etienne Mercier from Game of Bezique. They’re so different, but Nik says it like it is, and is so unapologetically himself. Etienne is smart-mouthed, but has such a big heart and would do anything for those he cares for.

I have a thing for the guys I write, I suppose I should show some love to my girls?!

Zola from Veiled Allurement is great. She’s a tough cookie and would do anything for her friends, too. Liesel von Brandt from The Hunter series is Nik’s little sister, and she’s probably another favorite of mine. She keeps her brother in check.

What gave you the idea for The Hunter’s Truce?

Funny story, actually! I love the show Dexter, and kind of wanted to write a character like him, and I was part of this forum with my friends—she really wanted me to write a Wolf character [from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles,] and so I compromised with her. I came up with this Big Bad Wolf type, and we totally fell head over heels for what I created. Dexter meets Deadpool!

Are you an outliner or a pantser?

Totally depends, generally I pants it all the way, but sometimes I find outlines helpful. Sometimes they make me dizzy! Lol

What upcoming projects do you have planned?

I’ve got a few projects… Possibly continuing Bezique -waggles brows- working on a Sci-Fi project, too. Some mermaids, some more Hunter series.. I’m a busy gal!

You’re also a candlemaker, what got you into that?

Gosh, yes! I love the candles. I started making them for friends and family, then fundrasiers. I took it more seriously when I decided to stay home and raise my kiddos. It’s really boomed in the past year. You can peek around at www.willowridgecandles.com —I had the chance to make candles for Candace Robinson! 😀

What is your favorite color?

Yellow, it’s always been yellow. I had to have everything yellow when I was little, still do. I also love teal… check out my bookshelf 😉

What’s your favorite book ever?

That is so hard, but one that I always swoon over is Splintered by AG Howard. But honestly? I think Wuthering Heights and The Hobbit will always stand the test of time. 🙂

What advice do you have for other writers?

This sounds so cliche, but here is my sage advice.

Read what you want to write. Look at the structure, the pacing, and what draws YOU to that kind of story.

Continue to read as you write, sometimes it’s hard, but trust me, it’s a must.

Just write. Write gross words, write mess words, just write. Because 50 words is better than 0. 1000 words to edit is something to edit. You can always fix it up later!

Have friends that love and don’t love your genre read over your work.

Be able to take constructive criticism. Just because someone points out a way to improve doesn’t mean they hate it.

Make time to write. Set a timer—30 mins? 15 mins? I write, make candles, have a house to take care of and a family. I’m not actually Wonder Woman, I just have to schedule things in a crazy, sprinting fashion. I write for 20 mins at a time and then get up to work on something else.

Most importantly, don’t lose the joy. It’s hard to remain joyful sometimes, but if that’s the case… take a deep breath, surround yourself with people who understand, and know that you can do this.

Connect with Elle:

www.ellebeaumontbooks.com

facebook.com/ellebeaumontbooks

instagram.com/ellebeaumontbooks

twitter.com/ellebeaumont

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3pEeX3Y4XoTvUHH99_ssug

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/elle-beaumont

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Author Interview: M. Dalto

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Two thousand years ago, the Prophecy of Fire and Light foretold the coming of the Queen Empress who would lead the Empire into a time of peace and tranquility. But instead of the coming of a prosperous world, a forbidden love for the Empress waged a war that ravaged the land, creating a chasm between the factions, raising the death toll of innocent lives until the final, bloody battle.

Centuries later, Alexandra, a twenty-two-year-old barista living in Boston, is taken to an unfamiliar realm of mystery and magic where her life is threatened by Reylor, its banished Lord Steward. She crosses paths with Treyan, the arrogant and seductive Crown Prince of the Empire, and together they discover how their lives, and their love, are so intricately intertwined by a Prophecy set in motion so many years ago.

Alex, now the predestined Queen Empress Alexstrayna, whose arrival was foretold by the Annals of the Empire, controls the fate of her new home as war rages between the Crown Prince and Lord Steward. Either choice could tear her world apart as she attempts to keep the Empire’s torrid history from repeating itself. In a realm where betrayal and revenge will be as crucial to her survival as love and honor, Alex must discover whether it is her choice – or her fate – that determines how she survives the Empire’s rising conflicts.

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The Child Dreamer: Review + Author Interview

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This was a cool little prequel to the Dead Dreamer series, and it’s free! We learn about a boy named George and how he becomes maybe not the best of people. But even then, George was easy to relate to. Sometimes things drive a person in a certain direction, now that’s not to say that the things George does is good by any means, because it’s not, but I get it.

When I got to the last chapter which is from George’s wife’s perspective, that seriously owned the whole book. I felt for her, and I felt for George, and I wanted more of the freaking story!

I’m excited to see where the new story leads me!

Read The Child Dream for FREE here!

Also check out character profiles here!

https://www.instagram.com/slampkin.author/?hl=en

https://twitter.com/Lampkin_S

https://www.facebook.com/author.sarahlampkin/

 

Author Interview with Sarah Lampkin:

What inspired you to write To Dream is to Die (Dead Dreamer Series)?

When I first arrived at college, I didn’t really have any friends, so I had a habit of living through the books I read. After a while, my imagination would take me on wild journeys and eventually the idea hit me: What would happen if my spirit could leave my body? Like astral projection? It kind of went from there and spawned a life of its own.

Who is your favorite character in To Dream is to Die and why?

I like Damon. Brenna hates him and she’s not even sure as to why. But now she’s forced to interact with him all of the time because of her best friend. They eventually form a bond and it’s hilarious to watch.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

I love getting lost in my own world. When I write, I try to use a very specific playlist. The music takes me to a very dark place in my own mind. As long as I’m careful, I can always come out of it. But when I suddenly figure out a plot hole, I can’t even describe how amazing that feeling is.

What is your least favorite thing about writing?

Writing forces me to keep my mind on one project/task at a time. I have ADHD, so that is extremely difficult for me to do. It takes a lot of discipline for me to focus like that.

What made you decide to be a writer?

Pure chance. I started writing out of curiosity in regard to my imagination. Then it suddenly turned into something I just couldn’t stop.

Did you base any of the characters in To Dream is to Die on people in real life?

Only a few. But I can’t give away who they are 😉

What is your favorite book?

I love The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Every November, I’ll either read it or listen to the audiobook [depending on how busy the month is]. I look forward to it every year…and sometimes read it more than once a year.

If you could live in another time or fantasy world when or where would it be?

I’d prefer to live as we do now, but where supernatural magic was real, as well as some mythologies. Or in the world of Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age…whatever!

How many books will be in the Dead Dreamer Series?

4! For every year that Brenna is in college

What other books do you have planned?

I’m currently working on Tainted Wings as probably a stand-alone, but I’m undecided. I’ve also been planning on a sister series to the Dead Dreamer series. But that’s still on the drawing board.

What’s your favorite color?

Green!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Don’t let other people tell you your story ideas are bad or wrong. They’re your ideas. Do what you want with them and let them grow and mature with you. It will turn out amazing in the end.

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Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering Nephesburg College as a freshman and starting hoping to meet new
people, but she hides a dark secret: because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the
Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone
watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With the demons and fairies that wander the Fade, Brenna has
enough to worry about. Now that she’s in college, it’s schoolwork, new friends, new enemies, and something under
the surface happening at Nephesburg College. Only time will tell if she will survive her first year…

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Do you remember your dreams?

Author Interview: Sydney Paige Richardson + Excerpt

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Twin Sisters: one destined to rule, one cursed to destroy.

Some say blood is thicker than water. But for twin sisters, Adie and Aura, their connection runs even deeper than blood.
After investigating a surprise attack carried out by dark souls controlled by the Wicked Willow, an evil  residing in a neighboring region, Aura uncovers a family secret: she is the fulfillment of a curse placed upon her family centuries ago.

While Aura is destined to destroy their planet, Thindoral, Adie is fated to follow in their mother’s footsteps and become Ruler, but even Adie’s path comes with revelations. Dangerous premonitions plague her dreams, all depicting Thindoral’s demise at the hand of her sister.

As darkness takes control of her mind, Aura must determine whether defying fate and time is the choice that will seal her destruction, or if self-sacrifice will save all she holds dear. Meanwhile, Adie is faced with an impossible decision: save her sister, or protect their world?

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Pre-order on Amazon

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Author Interview:

What gave you the idea for The Halves of Us?

Honestly, it came from my dreams. I have suffered from night terrors since I was a little girl. I was going through a super stressful time in my early twenties, which makes the night terrors worse and come more often. I started to write them down because it felt like I could have some sort of control over the situation. Slowly, on the advice of a dear friend of mine, I started to merge them together and build a story.

I know there’s twins in the story, do you have a favorite?

Oh my goodness! I don’t think I can choose. I relate to them each so much. Adie has night terrors and loves whole heartedly, and Aura is headstrong and fights for what she wants and those that she loves. There are pieces of me in each of them. I can relate to them both so much.

When you write, do you outline or just go with the flow?

I think it’s a mixture. With book 1, it really was about just merging all these dreams into a story. And then I realized this was going to be more than one book. With book 2 and book 3, I outlined some of my ideas. But when I started writing book 2 of the series it really took off in a direction I wasn’t expecting in some areas (including the death of a character I didn’t even know was coming – and resulted in my crying in my cubicle on my lunch break). So, I think I do both.

If you could describe The Halves of Us in three words what would they be?

Sisterhood, choice, and darkness.

When did you first start writing?

When I was a child. I wrote my first ‘book’ in second grade called Girls. My second grade teacher laminated it for me! It was when I knew I wanted to write stories. I kept a diary/journal and mostly did terrible poetry in those in my teenage years. I always knew I wanted to write – but I needed time to grow into my voice and aesthetic. I think I am still growing and learning every day from myself and the writing community– but I am so excited about sharing my stories with the world! I think that is my next step in continuing to mature as a writer.

Did you always know where the story would go for The Halves of Us?

With this book (part one of the trilogy), I definitely knew where most of it was going. Many of the scenes are based on my actual dreams/night terrors. But just like when you are dreaming, you start in one place and then go to another – and forget how you got there, I had to fill in the blanks and build the story. I felt that I always knew how it had to end, but it didn’t really hit me how the end would play out until I was in my car listening to Pandora. This song came on called In Reverence by David Tolk. It has no words to it, but the entire music just filled me and I began crying in my car because I knew exactly what I had to write.

What’s the hardest part about writing?

I think that changes from day to day. Some days it’s self-doubt. Some days it’s finding time. Some days your creativity leaves you and you feel stuck. Some days it’s forgetting where you saved that last file and having a panic attack. I think my main struggle now is really just self-doubt and worrying that no one will love it as much as I do.

If you could become any book character for a day, who would it be and why?

Any book character EVER? Oh man I am giving two answers. Maybe three…ahh crap. This is a tough question! Here is two, a new one I just met and an old one I have loved for a while:

NEW character I have just met: Well, I just finished reading Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury, and it was such as beautiful story – and I find myself still thinking about it. I would love to be Summer for a day. Mostly because Darce and Morpheus, but also because I love the story. ;]

OLD character I love so much: Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter because she’s weird and says random things, but she’s oddly smart and compassionate – and I think we have that in common, plus HOGWARTS.

What’s your favorite color?

I love black. It is a majority of my wardrobe. But I also love purple, various shades of blue, and emerald green [basically just all the jewel tones ever].

What other books do you have planned next?

Well book 2 and 3 of The Halves of Us trilogy come out next year through Parliament House! I hope everyone continues to follow Adie and Aura’s journey.

I am also working on another YA fantasy called The Chains that Bind about djinn that live in a parallel world to Earth and a girl that gets stuck there after a wish goes wrong. It has a few re-telling factors of old fairy tales, but has the story stands on its own.

I have a two other WIPs that are top secret! ;]

Do you have any advice for other writers?

To just keep at it. It’s tough. Some days suck. The best thing you can do is find like-minded writers who help build you up and also offer you constructive criticism. Take it all in, listen to their advice – it’s the only way you can grow.

 

Excerpt:

[Scene in Adie’s perspective] Twin sisters Adie and Aura, along with the other final year students, are being escorted down to the Room of Papers by their Uncle Gossamer. There, in the Room of Papers, they will each discover their Fates…

“We’re headed down to the former dungeon area. It hasn’t been used as a prison in hundreds of years. It’s more of an archive area now, deep inside the mountain connected to the Dome.”

Adie turned to speak to Aura, but she was no longer by her side. How does she always disappear like that? We were supposed to do this together. They reached a large door she’d never been through but had always made her curious. Or more, it had always made Aura curious.

Don’t tell Aura not to touch something, because then all she wants to do is touch it.

The Forbidden Door.

It remained locked at all times. Long, thick bars of brass bolted the silver door, crisscrossing at different angles, making the door impenetrable. Adie shuddered as she heard her mother’s voice in her head. Behind this door lies the Fates of our people, guarded by a creature most foul.

Years ago, when she and Aura would sneak through the Dome and find all the secret tunnels, no matter how hard they searched, they couldn’t find another way past this door. The only ones allowed to enter were those in their final year of Teachings. They’d always discussed going through this door together.

Gossamer shuffled with his keys, but Adie’s eyes caught a quick slide of his hand as he pulled a key from his pocket she’d never seen before. The pale key had a soft glow. Adie gazed around, wondering if anyone else had noticed.

As Gossamer turned the key, he took a step back, and they watched the brass bars shift around the door, clicking as they each moved to the side. The door shuddered as it eased open. Following Gossamer’s lead, the students shuffled in, forcing Adie forward without Aura. The dark tunnel had white vines trembling along the walls and creeping beside them as they walked through.

As they reached a spacious open room, Gossamer fumbled through his array of keys until he reached a wooden one with an elongated and bent torso. He inserted the key in the only door in the room and turned it with ease. The door creaked, and all the students watched with wide eyes.

A humpback creature unlike any Adie had seen on Thindoral, stood in the doorway, towering over Gossamer. Peachy rugged skin covered him except for the tousled hair on his large round head. A sharp beak protruded from his face, and a thin opening stretched across it, creating what Adie assumed was a smile. Sharp, silver teeth lined his grin in multiple rows, and a foul rotten smell filled the air around him as he panted breathlessly.

Gossamer faced the students. “This is Mister Dilip. He will escort you, one at a time, into the Room of Papers.”

Mister Dilip looked about the main room of the dungeon with his beady pink eyes. He clasped his hands in front of him, revealing three wrinkly fingers on each hand, and sighed with anticipation. Adie stepped forward to get a better look and listened to his gruff voice.

“You will each enter individually. It’ll seem but an instant to those who remain waiting out here, but remember, time doesn’t bind this room. There are rows. There are stacks. There are thousands of papers.” His eyes grew wider with excitement as he gazed at the students surrounding him. In a deep, raspy voice, he continued, “You’re searching for one sheet of paper. The one that’s not blank. That one will reveal your Fate. Your destiny. Welcome to the Room of Papers.”

The students peered behind him, but all they saw was darkness. “Who’s first?” he asked as one eye spun around in its socket, making his pink iris vanish. All the students stepped back in a hushed gasp, except one.

Aura.

Her distraction was obvious. Her eyes remained glued to the floor and her hands were in fists. Her gaze broke when Voke croaked loudly. An Ogre next to him grunted and hunched his shoulders, trying to disappear into the crowd.

Mister Dilip’s three fingers motioned her forward. Adie watched as Aura held her head high as she walked toward the dark room. She paused only momentarily and glanced over her shoulder. Adie forced a smile and prayed Aura would come back with a pleasing Fate. Gossamer motioned for Aura to continue, and she entered the room, disappearing into darkness as he shut the door behind her.

What seemed like only thirty seconds later, a pale-faced Aura walked out of the room. Within her trembling hands, she held a large, rectangular white sheet of paper. She walked toward Adie quickly and stood next to her sister.

“How long was I gone?”

“About thirty seconds or so,” Adie whispered.

“Seemed like an hour.” Aura said, showing Adie her paper.

“I don’t see anything.”

“And you won’t,” Mister Dilip interjected. His eye rotated again. “You alone will see the image on your own paper. You alone will see your Fate. You can’t see the Fate of others. You may only share your Fate with those it involves.” He looked around at the crowd, all the students hesitant to be next.

Adie stepped forward, nominating herself.

“Come. Come, Future Ruler.”

Adie took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. She walked forward and into the dark room, stealing a quick glance behind her to get reassurance from Aura, but the door had disappeared. Mister Dilip, Gossamer, Aura . . . everyone was gone.

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Author bio:

Even before I could hold a pencil in my hand, I was making up stories in my head. I wrote my first book in the second grade, Girls [sorry Lena Dunham], about me and my best friends in college [because college was super cool when you were 8] who went on treasure hunts and fought bad guys with our super powers. My second grade teacher was so impressed with me, she laminated a cover and bound it. That will forever be the moment I dreamed of holding a copy of my own book and placing it on a shelf.

Now all grown up, my head still stays in the fantasy world, fashioning worlds where the power of a star can be harnessed and used for time travel, flying is just as easy as walking here on earth – and my best friends are fairies. My characters are dark and lost individuals, but your love for them will grow when you realize not everything is black and white. I am represented by Rebecca Angus at Golden Wheat Literary.

Connect with Sydney:

Facebook: @sydneypaigeauthor

Instagram: @sydneypaigedecides

Twitter: @sydsayingthings

Website: sydneypaigerichardson.com

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Dream Keeper: Review + Author Interview

Title: Dream Keeper

Author: Amber R. Duell

Date of Publication: January 29th, 2019

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The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.

My Review:

Right off the bat, I was extremely intrigued by this book. I’ve read three other stories by Duell, so I knew the writing was going to be flawless and the story would be unique. I was not disappointed!

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First off, I’m going to say I don’t get scared or need a blanket when reading a dark or creepy book. Instead, I’m more like, heck yes that was awesome! And there was a whole bunch of fist pumping with the nightmare descriptions!

The book is told in dual POV, and I already knew Sandman would be my favorite chapters—which they were. But Nora’s were great too—she was a strong character that made choices for heself. Now, let’s get down to swoony business, the Sandman was sweet and can I just keep him in my pocket? Also, I want to go to my own private sand beach like now, have a sand whip, and kapow it against the sand, just because!

So far, this is my favorite book by the author, fab-ab-ab writing and especially the world, which was such a cool concept. Loved it! Give me the next one, now!

 

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Dream Keeper?

When I lived in Maine, we would drive back home to NY a lot to visit my family. We got in pretty late once, and my oldest was wired at midnight because we just spent 6 hours in the car so I told him if he didn’t try to go to sleep that I would call the Sandman. (It worked, by the way! haha) Then I was sitting on the couch the day after we went back home and it hit me. I wanted to write a Sandman book. Everything stemmed from that moment.

Did you have to do any research when writing Dream Keeper?

Yes! And it was really fun. I read up on the different legends that dealt with dreams or dreaming. (The Sandman isn’t the only one in the Dark Dreamer trilogy!) Also, I researched facts about dreams and REM sleep.

Who’s your favorite character in Dream Keeper, and why?

The Sandman. He’s such a kind, genuine person. Plus cool tattoos, starlit eyes, and magic!

When you write, do you outline or just wing it?

Both. I have a vague outline with things I know need to happen, but I fill in the blanks as I go.

What’s your favorite book ever?

The Winner’s Curse! (Technically, the whole trilogy.)

What inspired you to be a writer?

My mother used to make up stories for us at bedtime and it always seemed like fun.

What’s your least favorite thing about writing?

Can I say writing? lol After the vague outline, I do an incredibly sparse draft (20-30k words) and it’s so bad. I hate everything about it, but it’s necessary since my process involved adding a bunch of layers to that base.

What other future books do you have planned?

There are two new ideas that I’m trying to decide between—a high fantasy and a contemporary fantasy.

What’s your favorite color?

Purple

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Finally back in NY! With any luck, still writing stories to share.

Did you already know from the beginning that Dream Keeper would expand into a series?

It was originally a duology instead of a trilogy, but as I got into planning the second book, I realized it needed another.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think there was ever a time that I didn’t want to.

What future books do you have planned next?

There are two new ideas that I’m trying to decide between, but first I have to write the 2nd and 3rd Dark Dreamer books.

If you could live in any fantasy world where would it be?

Any that had fairies!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Don’t get discouraged! Keep working at your craft and bringing new stories to life.

 

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Amber R. Duell is a native of Central New York but currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two sons. She survives on caffeine and baked goods. When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, staying up way too late to research genealogy, and discovering real-life adventures.

Stalk Amber:

Website: http://amberrduell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmberR_Duell
Instagram: http://instagram.com/amberrduell/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmberRDuellAuthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15857372.Amber_R_Duell

 

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Do you remember your dreams?

 

Author Interview: Kathryn Lee Martin

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Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave.

But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

Pre-order on Amazon

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It’s the one place no rustler ever wants to end up.

Having survived Rondo’s destruction, sixteen-year-old Rags has been taken captive by the Kingdom and sentenced to ‘rehabilitation’ at the Kingdom’s Threshing Floor, a notorious prison camp for hardened criminals. Those who refuse to serve the Kingdom go in…no one comes out.

Faced with this nightmarish reality, Rags is forced to use everything she knows as a rustler to survive against starvation, a cruel ward master, and torture at the hands of the Kingdom’s ruler, Hyperion. Given only two options—death, or conformation to the Kingdom’s ways—she’s forced to play the Kingdom’s twisted game.

With the help of the Kingdom’s second-in-command, Henrick Oreson, and its charismatic luresman, Colton Caelan Fieldson, Rags must find a way to play a convincingly false role she was never meant to play and show the Kingdom she can be ‘rehabilitated’ to its standards. But with the deciding evaluation rigged in the Kingdom’s favor, failure is imminent…unless she can find a way to turn lies into truth and achieve the impossible: actually, escape the Threshing Floor.

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Author Interview:

What gave you the idea to write The Bone Roses?

I’ve always been a fan of futuristic “what if” stories which led to my love of wanting to write one of my own. I tend to favor underdogs and rebels in most of my works and wanted to put myself in the shoes of a young outlaw who might be struggling in a grim future where the law has gotten out of hand to the point where every day is a test of survival. I also have a love affair with the Yellowstone supervolcano, which lead me to base the story on the “what if” aftermath of such an eruption should one ever take place. I grew up with fantasy stories and in a small town and have always loved westerns so I decided to combine elements of them to create a dark world reflective of that. What I ended up with was The Bone Roses.

Who is your favorite character in The Bone Roses?

Even though I adore writing the stories from Rags’s perspective and I have so many favorites in the story, if I have to pick one, it would have to be Henny. Henny is such a versatile character to write and he’s got a lot of secrets to explore. He has two sides to him, the soldier capable of commanding the Kingdom Corps, and a much softer, rarely seen human side to him. He has a lot of personality for a young man who plays a mostly villain role in The Bone Roses, but as the series unfolds, you see a different side to his motives for being the way he is. He’s also just fun to write, especially his interactions with Rags and Colton.

Did you always know The Bone Roses would be a series?

No. Originally The Bone Roses was supposed to be a stand-alone story with a very different ending than the one it currently has. As I sat down to actually write it though, things just sort of got out of hand and the characters wouldn’t cooperate so it sort of took on a life of its own and became a series. In a way I’m glad that it worked out that way as I adore these characters, but it was unexpected at the time.

Do you outline before you write or just go for it?

A little bit of both actually. I’ll start with a reasonably long, fairly detailed outline, but that usually ends up getting away from me because of my characters doing what they want to do in the story. I do keep an outline of the entire series overview to stick to as much as possible so I know where I am at any given point and how to get to the next arc in the story, giving it some structure, but when it comes to each individual book, it’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen since some parts I just go for and they work.

Garden of Ashes, the sequel to The Bone Roses is about to release, do you have a favorite between the two?

Between the two of them, I prefer Garden of Ashes. Not that The Bone Roses isn’t a good book, because it is in its own right, but when it comes to character development, a few key characters take the spotlight in Garden of Ashes and we get a more in-depth view into their personal lives. Henny and Colton are good examples of this and the stakes are considerably higher in Garden of Ashes than they were in The Bone Roses. It changes the perspective of how Rags views them from how they were portrayed in The Bone Roses. We also see Rags mature quite a bit in Garden of Ashes.

Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

I have a few. I tend a small hobby farm with a goat, donkey, border collie, and four cats. I also enjoy gardening, especially with my rose bushes. When I’m not doing that, on my limited free time, I can be found playing video games.

What’s your favorite color?

I have quite a few favorite colors (lavender purple, sage green, cyan blue, and silver) but if I have to pick one, I love the color cyan blue. It’s just one of those cool colors that I’ve always liked.

What other upcoming books do you have planned?

There are two more books in the Snow Spark Saga planned. They are Stars Over Zephyr and Count the Rain. I also have another super-secret, special project I’m ultra-excited about and have been working on called Phirestag. It’s a higher level of steampunk fantasy and the first in a series known as the TimeFeather Chronicles that I’m hoping to share with the world relatively soon. Beyond that, there are a few other projects in the works, but right now my focus is on the Snow Spark Saga and TimeFeather Chronicles.

If you could re-read one book forever, which one would it be?

Quite honestly, this was a tough one because I haven’t really found that one special book yet that I’d want to re-read forever. One of these days I’ll find it but for now, I’m just enjoying the wide variety of amazing works that many amazing writers are putting out there into the world.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Practice your craft as much as you can and don’t let the bad parts about it discourage you from writing. It’s tough out there in the publishing world and not everyone is going to like your work, accept it, want to read it, etc. Many people will love it of course, so don’t think it’s all doom and gloom because it isn’t but writing is not for the faint of heart. You will have days where you feel like giving up, aren’t good enough, and so on. Just remember during those times that you’re writing, you’re creating something amazing, and it’s all being done by you. Enjoy the journey. Learn to dance with the words you’re writing. Embrace your craft and realize that no matter what, you’re a writer and one way or another, you’re going to make it. You have something only you can write to share with the world and that makes it all the more special.

Author Photo Kathryn

Author Bio:

Kathryn Lee Martin, known as ‘Ryn’ by friends and colleagues, spends her days saddling up the literary horse and hitting the “what if” trails on a quest to tell the outlaws’ and underdogs’ stories. Not one to shy away from the darker side of stories for the older young adult audience, her works often explore impossible odds and dire futures, falling into a fusion of post-apocalyptic science fiction meets the gritty lawlessness of the old west with a dash of fantasy and steampunk. Putting her unfortunate characters in situations where faith and fighting often go hand in hand, she’s not afraid to make things difficult for them and when she’s not corrupting society on paper, she’s usually leading the rebellion to save it.

Connect with Kathryn:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RynSageQuill

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rynsagequill/

Website: https://www.rynleewrites.com/

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What kind of world would you want the future to have?