Category Archives: Fantasy

Toxic Ash #teasertuesday

 

 Toxic Ash

(book 2 of the Eldritch Elysium series)

 

Genre: Paranormal fantasy

“”I need to make things right with The Company. I need to know that I’m not in danger of having my services terminated.”

“Rin…”

“I know,” Ash sighed and put a hand to the bridge of her nose, feeling the seeds of a headache taking root behind her eyes.

“Do you really?” Buddy’s gaze gained an added pressure, a weight that she’d never felt before and drew the flutter of fear from deep within her gut. “You know that Jeb was from The Corporation? You know that because of this, relations between them and The Company have soured to the brink of all-out war? Do you know that you’ve been put on review?” The word “review” was like being slapped in the face with an iron gauntlet, Ash felt her legs turn to unexpected noodles and her bladder somehow grow full in an instant. “Now you want to talk to me about making things right? And exactly how does the soldier who fired the first shot put the bullet back in their gun?”

Jenkins was angry, a very rare sight indeed, even so he was forever conscious of the steady stream of passing tourists and his voice never rose to a shout. Instead it grew more and more quite, finally escaping his lips in a venomous hiss that made Ash wish she was facing a cobra instead of her former teacher. Being up for review meant the very real possibility that her worst fears were being realized already.

If the Company decided to terminate her contract—well, from the very beginning, Ash had always known that a contract with The Company could only be ended the same day as her life. Suddenly the organization that had nurtured, embraced and sheltered her was turning its decidedly wicked claws in her direction and she didn’t like it one bit—but, “I didn’t call you lightly Buddy, there’s no one else. Can you—will you—help me?”

 

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In the Absence of Famine #teasertuesday

 

 

In the Absence of Famine

(book 2 of the Four Horsemen series)


Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

“Blood. Spattered here and there with a rather large puddle cooling just a few feet from where they were standing. Oh gods, how did they get to her here?

“Jules,” he started to say, voice already rising into a shot but Aedan dropped a hand to his shoulder, silencing him. The god was tensed, a coil of muscle so powerful and deadly even Leo, who’d grown as used to the god of the hunt as anything mortal ever would, felt it; the creeping terror of being so close to something so powerful and predatory.

“It’s not Jules’ blood.” The words seemed wrenched from Aedan at great cost. As if he’d almost lost the ability for words already. The hunt was calling him in a voice so strong Leo could almost hear it; a sound like desperate panted breath, the thunder of chasing footsteps and the long peel of a distant horn. “The Method took Mitei here but Jules was not taken also.”

Leo swallowed around a lump in his throat, trying to find the necessary moisture to enable speech. “Where is she then? Where is Mitei? Where are they?”

“Follow,” Aedan released his hand from Leo’s shoulder slowly, as if the effort cost him and dearly, pointing towards a trail of red drops on gray stone. “Follow the blood, I’ll find Jules.””

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The Uncertainty of Death

 

 

The Uncertainty of Death

(book 1 of the Four Horsemen series)

 

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

“Stripped and redressed, Jules balled the shirt she’d been wearing tightly inside of the much less obviously bloody jeans and shoved the whole ball into her bedroom trash, then trooped back to the kitchen, just as the water started to boil.

She rushed for the stove, moving the water off the heat. Trying not to look at her waiting Death, who, she’d noticed in passing as she entered, had removed her hood.

“I’m not dead am I?”

“No.”

She couldn’t help but smile triumphantly as she gathered sugar, lemon, honey and tea bags onto a tray along with the two steaming mugs of water, anything to keep from turning around and having a companionable cup with the thing that was sitting behind her. It might not be Death, but whatever it was it most certainly wasn’t human.

“Not that I’m not ecstatic with joy about that, but why aren’t I dead?”

Tray laden she turned, eyes on the cups, concentrating perhaps a bit too hard on keeping the water in them from sloshing out. Jules heard it sigh as she placed the tray down and started taking things off of it.

“In truth, Ms. Harper, I do not know.”

Finally, Jules took the last mug off of the tray and set it before her guest. She hadn’t realized she was still grinning like a fool until she felt it leave her face as her eyes watched that pale, pale hand grasp the handle and traveled up the arm slowly to look on their face.

No one ever told her Death would be this beautiful.”

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http://www.amazon.com/Uncertainty-Death…/dp/B004KZOTM6

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How Pregnancy Changed My Writing

In early March I experienced a very strange moment. My breasts had been hurting for a couple days, and when I mentioned it to a friend her immediate response had been to ask, “Are you pregnant?”

Well, I stared at the computer screen for awhile with this dulled, blank look on my face as the consequences of potentially being pregnant washed over me. There were the sort of concerns and fears most people have about being able to afford having a child, health insurance, and (selfishly) how it would change my life if my life wasn’t about me anymore. Would I even be a good mother? I’m a great mom to fur babies, but a human baby is completely different. I’d be responsible for raising a child who would have to interact with society. No pressure.

I’d never felt so many emotions as we drove to the store to stock up on pregnancy tests. Excitement. Fear. The purest of both that I’ve ever felt. We talked about names, jokingly, because joking is how we both deal with stress. I barricaded myself in the bathroom and drank glass after glass of water, and then I called him to the door. I didn’t say a word as he opened it, but he lit up when he said, “Are we having a baby? Oh my God, we’re having a baby, aren’t we?”

I told him I wanted more cold water. Yes, I survived that moment.

I didn’t call him to the door, however, when my bladder was so full I had almost no choice except to pee on the stick. I instead had a private little meltdown by myself that involved a few tears, lots of smiling, and borderline hyperventilating. I had a freaking tiny human growing in me who was utterly reliant on me. I was pregnant.

Before I became pregnant, it seemed like the half-assed way to add drama to a story. Dare I say…the easy way out? PREGNANT would always illicit an eye roll from me, even when it came from the best authors. Gwen in The Kiss of the Highlander by KMM? Blech. The mention of Xhex possibly being pregnant after being raped by Lash was marginally better, although (SPOILER ALERT) she wasn’t. It was with some (many) reservations that I decided to incorporate pregnancy into one of my upcoming novels. I loathe to be a  hypocrite, but was convinced that the end justified the means when it came to moving the development of the character forward. My understanding of pregnancy itself had been shallow and superficial. I greatly underestimated the experience. Perhaps that’s part of why it’s been sitting on my shelf, untouched, while people clamor for this sequel.

I’ve met a version of myself I never knew existed. One who swings through phases of eating all-organic and dotes on onesies before catapulting to the nearest Cinnabon, and laments her misery over a caramel pecanbon to whoever will listen. I’ve become multifaceted to the point of almost multiple personalities. My pregnancy hasn’t been terrible, although neither has it been smooth. My normally dormant Tietze Syndrome has become the bane of my existence and I endure pain 24/7, and my IBD is at war with most of my pregnancy cravings. Being pregnant had never been a viable “excuse” before in regard to how people acted. Now I’m riding a roller coaster where censoring myself into staying well-behaved is…hard. Just today, as I sat trying on my first ever pair of Crocs, some kids walked by and shouted into the store at me. It took almost more self-control than I could muster to not go running after them and berate them. I’m six months pregnant, my feet hurt, and you think it’s smart to mock me trying on Crocs? I’ll show you, you little whippersnappers! In fact, the only thing I think stopping me was the fact that my feet hurt too much to chase after them.

The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones is my worst nightmare. In my head I’m already reacting to situations with the sole interests of protecting the unborn young who is brutally hiccuping and kicking me when I’m trying to sleep. A car accident is my most immediate concern, and it’s constantly on my mind. I’d like to say I’m driving like a grandma, except I think we all know old folk are rather…reckless when they’re on the road. My own grandmother could drive blocker for a truck of illegal Coors. I was reading a book a week ago where the female MC learned she was pregnant, and didn’t tell the father on the basis that his previous (and likewise pregnant) fiancee had been shot dead by the mob. Before pregnancy I would’ve just rolled my eyes until they spun right out of my head. How cliche, how ridiculous. But now? It hit me right in the fucking feels. While I might not be pregnant with the spawn of a mobster (I try to take what blessings I find), I could understand. Or, perhaps a better way to phrase it, I finally understood.

I still intend for my character to be pregnant. I intend it more than ever now because instead of thinking it will change her a certain way, I know for a fact it will. And it will make my story fantastic.

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The Long Road to Publication

Cat Moon Final CoverThere are a couple of things that I don’t talk about much when I discuss my upcoming book Cat Moon, Book One of The Were-Children series. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to trot out my lack of success as an author. Maybe I don’t really want to admit that I turned 55 years old this past month. I’m not sure. So here I go. True confessions.

The first is that I wrote it ten years ago. Ten years. An entire decade. My daughters were 11 and 17, just children, and now they are grown women living their own successful adult lives.I was teaching at a different school in a different district. The students who were sitting in my classroom then are grown and having their own children, some of whom are approaching school age themselves. I probably owe them an apology for having assigned so much Silent Sustained Reading so I could scribble furiously on a yellow legal pad by longhand. They know me better, though, than to think I will ever apologize for giving them time to read. But if they ever wondered what I was doing while they were reading, this was it. I was writing this book. It was a long, long time ago.

The second is, I think, connected to the first. Author Stephen King once said he got “dozens” of rejection slips for his first published novel Carrie. I don’t know how many that actually is, but I do know that Mr. King has nothing on me. I have kept all of those rejection slips in a folder, even printing out the many that came via email. Some are from agents; others are from the few publishers who consider un-agented work. I’m pretty sure I could wallpaper my bathroom with them. That, of course, doesn’t count the ones for which I got no response whatsoever. Any author who has queried a novel will tell you that it is absolutely soul-crushing. Oh, most them are so sweetly polite they set your teeth on edge, and they tell you that your work is probably quite good. It’s just not right for them. They let you down easy like that, but inside, you know. You know they thought your manuscript was stinking up their office and that you better not be quitting your day job. You know.

Then came the magical moment when I got a phone call from a reader at a publisher I will not name. (I will, however, tell you that this same publisher’s predecessor company was the original publisher of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, a fact which absolutely delighted me.) The reader loved it and was passing it on to an editor. A few months later, she called back and said that editor was going to pass it on to another editor she thought better suited for it. A few more months passed, and yes, I got another rejection slip. She said it had some good points, but she just didn’t have the time for the work it would take to make it publication-ready. In other words, my manuscript was stinking up her office. I did not quit my day job.

You know what, though? A few more years went by, and the industry started changing. I toyed with the idea of self-publishing, but it was so overwhelming to consider, I just never did much that direction. Technology also changed, and that I felt I had a better handle on. So at the end of 2014, I participated in one of the literary pitch events on Twitter. Distinguished Press “starred” my short pitch, requesting that I query. I queried, fully expecting another rejection slip. This time, though, that didn’t happen. They accepted the manuscript. They love the story. They believe in me as a writer.

Here we are, just a few days after release. Shortly after release, my book–MY book–was in the Amazon Top 100 for three separate categories. For a brief, shining moment, I had higher book sales than the legendary C. S. Lewis. Unprecedented! Many, many thanks to Catrina for taking a chance on my work, to Karyn for the edits, to Vanessa for the gorgeous cover of my dreams, and to Kristina for getting the word out to folks that the book is there to be read. Now I just need to get cracking on the rewrites for the second book!

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Book Review: The Gathering Storm, Book 12 of Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re making it through the doldrums of winter. Our winters (I live in eastern Canada on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) drag on and on (I’ve seen it snow in June) but I’m doing fine. The snow is melting (at least for today) and my back is getting a welcome rest from shoveling. More importantly winter gives me some time to catch up on reading (I’ll admit a lot of comics but some novels too) and the “Wheel of Time” series is one I’ve been trying to finish for years. All the books are out and I’ve got just two more to go. Here’s my thoughts on “The Gathering Storm” and some of my feelings on the series as a whole.

p.s. be sure to check out the re-release of my first novel “The Newfoundland Vampire” by the great people at Distinguished Press. It will be out March 27th, mark your calenders!

The Gathering Storm: Book Twelve of the Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan , Brandon Sanderson

Initial Thoughts:

Ahh “Wheel of Time”, this is for a lot of geeks a fantasy classic, a truly epic tale that sadly outlived it’s own author (Robert Jordan) and was completed (with his widow’s guidance) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not going to get into a long discussion about the series as a whole. I was late picking it up (book 7) and I’m such a slow reader that I’m still not finished despite the fact that the series has been over two years. Suffice it to say not matter how long it takes me I will finish reading the series and this book was one I completed a few weeks ago.

Main Points:

I just don’t have the patience I used to, as such I find a book of this length (over 1000 pages) very hard to get through. Don’t get me wrong this book has some amazing action scenes, some lovely quiet moments, good character development and advances the plot at a much better pace than some earlier ones (7-9 in particular) but still here it just gets bogged down in parts far too often for my liking. I love Rand and I enjoy Matt and Perrin (along with some other characters) but I think the authors do Matt and Perrin quite a disservice here.

I know that Perrin doesn’t like to kill but he KNOWS the last battle is coming and yet he is paralyzed and unable to act on almost anything in his life. He is a wolf brother (I think that’s the term) and his inability to embrace this (or speak truthfully to his wife) is incredibly frustrating and makes his parts rather dull. The same goes for Matt, all he seems to do anymore is complain about his wife to be, Tuon and women in general. He does have a good scene with town of people who go insane and can’t stay dead but overall I think both of the characters are wasted in this book.

The book does show a lot of different places in the world and is slowly drawing the main characters together. I also especially enjoyed how the Dark One has a much larger impact on the world at this point. Crops spoil, rooms shift, people die mysteriously, weird accidents, it all makes everyone aware that something bad is coming.

I also thought a lot of the time spent on Cadsuane Melaidhrin is wasted. She is rather dull and do very little until almost the end of book. The same goes for a lot of the happenings in the rebel camp and with early chapters with Egwene al’Vere in the tower, there’s just so much buildup that seems unneeded to me. The ending, however, is a little odd so I’ll say…

SPOILER ALERT!

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Okay so Rand thinks about killing a large portion of the Seanchan, doesn’t do it, then thinks about destroying the whole work and (of course) doesn’t do it. He does finally destroy the Choedan Kal and silence the voice (Lews Therin) in his head along with quelling his madness. All that’s fine and good but why does it work? Rand was driven mad (at least partially) by the tainted male half of the power. Even though he cleansed it my understanding was that it was too late for him. So his madness is cured because he can no longer channel unheard of amounts of the one power? I just don’t follow this reasoning. Sure it was a temptation and he was obsessed with the access key but I don’t think destroying it would suddenly make him all better.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book but the length and several frustrating passages (and a weird ending) takes away from my overall thoughts on it. Also I like to see characters go to a dark place, I liked emotionless/more crazy/decisive Rand, though I guess one of his companions would have tried to stop him eventually. I think Sanderson is a worthy successor to Jordan and I am looking forward to the two last books. A friend of mind pointed out to me that almost all of the male characters are dismissive towards women and immature. As I read the book closely I do admit this comes through in several places. This may be due to the fact that WOT is aimed at a younger audience (thought they aren’t YA) who are primarily men. Well this has gotten long. So I give this 7.5 out of 10. I do recommend it to anyone who has read the Wheel of Time (though not readers under 12), though obviously if you’re starting with this book you’ll be quite lost.  Wheel of Time is one of those series that will have moments and characters that stay with you and that ultimately makes the series a modern classic for me. Until next time, have a great week everyone!

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My writing journey so far

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

I hope everyone had a great Xmas and holiday season. Mine was nice, quiet with a small family but that’s fine with me. Like most people I ate and drank too much and now cutting back but enough about such boring trivia. Today I thought I’d briefly get into my journey as a writer and how I got here.

I’ve always loved stories, when I was young that made me an avid reader of Archie comics, then all the superheros (and some anime) and then novels of primarily the sci-fi/horror/fantasy genres (and yes I still read comics today, just not as many monthly titles). When I was around 13 I started doing short-stories, I don’t have any of them now but I’m sure they were all terrible but none the less the seed was planted.

In high school I wrote poetry from the school newspaper (again probably lousy stuff but it felt good to do it at the time). I also kept a journal for many years (that I wish I still had but sadly it’s lost to the ravages of time). I was not at happy teenager and my poems were pretty sad. I hope geeky kids have an easier time in school now as I know I sure didn’t.

Time moved on and I found myself writing music and movie reviews for the Memorial University student paper The Muse. I have always loved music (and movies) and the chance to get to see/hear them for free was fun (though most of my reviews never got published). I liked the fact how movie reviews for the paper meant I got to take someone with me to a movie (though the only time I took someone the movie was terrible. If you never saw “Vampire in Brooklyn” count yourself as lucky!).

I finished at Memorial and writing took a back seat, sort of. I always had the need to express myself in a creative manner. Fortunately for me I had Dungeons and Dragons. Role-playing is a wonderful way to exercise your imagination and for me being the Dungeon Master (basically you create a world and control how the story goes, to a point) was enough writing for a long time. My wife (who is not into D&D) said if you’re of the female persuasion (or just want a good laugh) you should watch this video.

Like lots of people who enjoy literature (I did a BA in English at Memorial) I tried to write several times. I attempted a Star Trek book, then a Star Wars, the a vampire one. All three (ok technically two) never amount to more than a few chapters. A book just seemed to big, too daunting.

varneysmall1

I started my vampire tale back in 2002 but it got put aside. Then some 8 years later I found myself at a very boring job, my mind wandered all the time and I began to think of that book I started. I had kept the file and going back to it I found that I still liked the idea of a vampire based on myself. It was a chance to explore fantasies I knew would never come true and it was a way to imagine how my life could have turned out differently if I had made other choices (and if vampires were real). After 4 months I had a rough draft and then began the process of submitting it. I learned some hard lessons (like the first 3-4 drafts are always terrible) but after about 9 months of editing and submitting my perseverance paid off, I had found a publisher (Penumbra Publishing).

Things went well there for a while. My first book did okay (was released in April 2012) and I soon completed book II “Killer on the Road” and it came on in September of 2013. About a year later is when things took a wrong turn. My sales were shabby and no matter what I did I couldn’t improve them (I spend a lot on promotion, getting a website, getting a cover done and other things) and my profit was very small. I eventually became dissatisfied with my Penumbra, I won’t get into all the details as I don’t like to say negative things about a person. My old editor was honest with me and had taught me a a lot about writing, editing and being an author but I knew by October of 2014 that it was time to move on. It was slightly ironic that the day I told Pat I was done with Penumbra my first short story “Robots” was published by them. I am proud of that story and I hope to see it re-released as part of a collection someday. I’ve written some other short stories the past few years and I’d love to have them published someday too.

So this bring me to my new home Distinguished Press. Through Twitter I got to know the friendly, helpful (and talented) Karyn Pearson. She mentioned my work to Jen Leigh and in early November of last year I signed a contract with DP (there is some truth in the saying it’s not what you know but who you know). I am thrilled to be with DP, everyone has been really friendly. There are lots of interaction with authors (it’s one big happy family!), lots of promotional activities we help each other out on and Catrina has lots of great ideas for the future.

I was happy to go back and look at the first book in “The Newfoundland Vampire“. Jen pointed out some things that I hadn’t considered and that will make it a better book (and I’m sure she has other notes for me as well). As writers can attest your characters become your friends and going back to visit them is always great, it’s like re-watching a movie you love or a TV show, just on a much more personal level. Book I will be re-issued on March 27th and book II “Killer on the Road” sometime later this year. That leaves book III (tentatively titled “The Gathering Dark) and hopefully book IV (need to started writing it!) for 2016.

QuestionMarksOnPaper

Well this turned into a lengthy post. I’ll leave you with a question, what has been your writing journey? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉

 

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Skye Knizley in the Hypothetical Hotspot™

Today, we’re showcasing Skye Knizley in celebration of her Halloween release of STORMRISE. We’ll learn a little about who she is, what she’s about, and then I’m throwing her into the Hypothetical Hotspot™ where the real fun begins. ::wink::

 

Skye Knizley

Skye Knizley

Skye Knizley currently lives in Connecticut, USA, a small state of confusion where she spends most of her time writing urban fantasy and role-playing game adventures.  When she isn’t setting quill to parchment Skye can be found hiking with her Siberian Husky Piper and her spirit guide Sheba, camping in a variety of state parks, motorcycling, ghost hunting or practicing and studying the healing arts of Wicca.  Which doesn’t mean she dances naked under a full moon… as far as you know.  Besides, you need a stone circle for that and they knocked the last one down to build a six-lane bypass.

Tell me something you want people to know about you:
This is important and not something everyone gets;  if I tease you, I like you and consider you to be, at a minimum, a close acquaintance.  On the other hand of my teasing becomes snarky, mean and doesn’t include a smile, you have managed to annoy me and should back off.  In some ways I am still a thirteen year old girl…

Tell us how you live or walk us through a normal day for you:
I am certain this will be fascinating…  My alarm usually goes off at 6:00am.  I let my psychotic Psyberian (yeah I spelled that my way) Husky out and then the first thing I do as an iPhone junky is check my texts and Facebook messages.  An hour later I put my hair in a tail, throw on some light makeup and go to the gym for two hours.  I do an hour and a half of cardio and a half hour of circuit training.  I swing by DnD for a coffee afterwards and head home.  By ten I am working on a novel or promoting my current work.  I go outside to eat some lunch a few hours later; have to rest my eyes and get some sunlight.  Too many of us look like the vampires we write about.

After lunch I work for another couple hours, then I shut everything down and sing, practicing first scales then I do songs ranging from Heart to Queen.  Afterwards is a cool down period where I play with my Husky and check the mail.  This time of year I burn most of it in my firepit.

Dinner comes around 5:00pm and is usually cooked outside.  It tastes better and costs less.  If the weather is nice it is eaten outside, too.  Once clean-up is done it is back to writing and promoting, with the exceptions of watching my addictions: Castle and Once Upon a Time.

The only days that are really different are certain Wiccan observances and alternating Thursdays and Fridays/ occasional Saturdays.  On alternating Thursdays and Fridays I play Dungeons and Dragons or Halo (or the shooter of the month).  Yep, I am officially a gamer girl and proud. 

On the Fridays I am not playing a game and occasional Saturdays I sing and sometimes play drums for a local bar band.  We may not be Halestorm but we’re loud.  I’m proud of that, too.

Are you a full-time writer? If not, tell us about your day job:
While I make a little cashy money singing, I am a full time novelist. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there is a message, I am not aware it exists.  Growing up I always hated that we were taught to analyze books and “find the meaning.”  I read for fun and my novels are written to entertain.  There are no Orwellian messages hidden in them.  But if you read one backwards it will undo the universe.  Be careful of that.

How much of the book is based off personal experiences?
I am not aware of ever encountering a vampire, though I do have unanswered questions about my first grade teacher.  That said actually quite a bit of my stories is based on my real life experiences in a variety of ways.  When it comes to forensic science, shooting and so on, that is all based on my education.  I have a degree in Forensic Science and I try to be vaguely accurate with that in my novels.  I also own the firearms my protagonists use and I know how to use them.  I have a pet peeve about books that use weapons (or anything else) and the author clearly had no experience with the item, so I go out of my way to learn.  If I tell you I can drift a 1966 Mustang around a tight corner, it is cause I know personally it can be done.  I just sold it, in fact.  

What are your current projects?
I have a novel titled Stormrise from Vamptasy Publishing that comes out on Halloween.  I am working on the first sequel tentatively titled Stormrage, and have also started a new series about a witch named Aspen.  I’m trying to title those based on Credence songs.

Stormrise by Skye Knizley

Stormrise by Skye Knizley

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes.  The first thing I ever wrote was a very long character background for a character named Rissa for a Dungeons and Dragons game.  I spent ages on it using my dad’s beaten up urethane-spattered  laptop and made him print copy after copy at his office until I had it just right.  I detailed where she was from, who her parents were, her brothers and sisters, why she became a wizard and who her mentor was, everything.  I knew her better than I knew myself by the time I was done.   And then the game master decided not to run the game after all.   He survived my rant afterwards but only barely.  I enjoyed creating that character so much, I never stopped writing.

Do you ever experience writer’s block and how do you overcome it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I believe you can get to a point where you are not sure how to join part A to part C.  So I do one of three things:  I write part C, with the hope that while I am writing that, part B will come to me, I work on another project and let my subconscious deal with the problem, or if I am really stuck I present part A to my gaming friends and see what they would do if it were a game.

What project are you working on now?
I am working on two:  Stormrage and Midnight Special.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I don’t know if it is advice, but I am always happy to share what I have experienced.  First, don’t listen to most of the stuff spouted by “experts.”  You can read and buy their books, but remember there is no magic bullet to getting published and an expert’s advice is no guarantee you will get that manuscript in front of anyone.  Second, edit.  And I don’t mean you or your cousin or your mom.  Find a good editor whose only interest is being paid to do a good job, pay them and LISTEN TO THEM.  A good editor has more experience doing their job than you do and it is their job to make your manuscript the best it can be.  If you disagree with a comment, discuss it with them but for Gaia’s sake listen!  Lastly, never give up, never stop writing.   No one ever got published by surrendering.

 

Hypothetical Hotspot™

The Zombie Apocalypse is a scientific possibility. What’s your plan when it happens?
Kill’em all?  My friends have said many, many times they are coming to my house when it happens.  I have weapons and ammunition, including Hornady Z-Max.  I have cases of MRE’s and I have water.  I also have no problem executing someone to save others.  That may sound scary, and it puts some people off, but once someone is infected and there is no hope?  They’re dead already.  Say your goodbyes, say a prayer to Gaia and put a bullet in their brainpan before they have to suffer becoming a soulless monster.

So… from there the plan is to sit out the first few days.  I and my companions will sit quietly on watch while people panic and are quickly consumed.  Again, harsh, I know.  But I can’t save everyone.  Neither could you.  If it is a matter of survival or trying to save someone running around like a chicken with its head cut off, the chicken gets eaten.

Once things have quieted down, we pack everything into trucks and move towards safer territory far away from cities.  Cities are where the zombies are…

What happens when you get ‘half scared to death’ twice?
You get scared half to death twice.   Look, you got scared half to death.  Then you got over it.  Then you got scared half to death again.  This isn’t a mathematical equation and the effects are not cumulative.  If you’re lucky, whatever scared you the first time won’t ever scare you again, so you got tougher in the process.  Woot! Go you!

When is the world going to end?
October 13, 2037 at 6:33am.  And fifty-nine seconds.  So some clocks may stop at 6:34am.  They aren’t as accurate as I am.

Are the good things that come to people who wait, the leftovers of people who went before them?
Eww, I have a leftover phobia and that’s just gross.  Besides, good things don’t come to people who wait.  It is like standing in line for a video game you didn’t preorder.  You’re going to be out of luck, bub.  Good things come to those who get off their butts and hunt them down. 

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality comes from morons?
Morons, as we know, orbit neons, the smallest part of a fracktard.  As we are taught in high school, a moron is the tiniest but most powerful element of stupidity, so I find it very unlikely that they could create morality.  They are far more likely to bond and form a government.

Why do we teach kids that violence is not the answer, but then teach them all about wars that solved America’s problems?
I’ve been toying with this question.  I could say something funny about stupid people, or refer to fraktards and neons, but I am going to take a leap and be honest and hope no one sets fire to my house.

I was not aware we taught kids that violence is not the answer.  It wasn’t what I was taught, nor my friends, their parents, or their grandparents.  I will take a wild stab that goes back pretty far.  If a parent is teaching their child that violence is never the answer that parent needs a Gibbs slap upside the head.  I’m not a sociologist, I am just an opinionated novelist, but that teaching could be part of the bullying problem.  Are parents basically teaching children not to defend themselves?  That leaves them open to the bullies, who are going to be violent no matter what you do (trust me, I’ve been a victim and I’ve seen it in my career) and limits their options…  possibly resulting in the increase in child suicide as a result of bullying.  What are they supposed to do when that bully comes after them with an aluminum bat?  Use harsh language? “No means no” is all well and good but it’s not nearly as effective as a solid kick to the groin and an elbow to the temple.  I know if I was taught not to fight back, I wouldn’t be here answering, writing, and doing what I do.

What we should be teaching is what I, and generations before me, were taught:  Appropriate response.  That is what our wars were about:  The appropriate response at the appropriate time.  Violence is rarely the appropriate response.  But sometimes it is.

Can we spell creativity however we want?
It depends entirely on how you are referring to creativity.  If you are trying to use the word “creativity” in a sentence you can hardly spell it “spatula” and get your meaning across. 

If, however, you are referring to the act of being creative, absolutely we can spell it however we want.  You might think a bunch of car parts welded together in an abstract pattern is just a pile of rusting junk.  To someone else, it is creative, mind-blowing art.  Go forth and be creative.  Just don’t paint your children blue and put white hats on them.  That’s creepy.

Why don’t you ever see ads for advertising companies?
They’re like ninjas.  That’s how good they are.  You never even notice those monstrous billboards that say “ADVERTISE HERE.”  I have sneaky author perceptions and can see things that are really there.

 

Releases October 31st

Releases October 31st from Vamptasy Publishing

Life isn’t easy for Detective Raven Storm. Her best friend was recently killed and dismembered, her latest case ended with her partner in intensive care, and her mother, the vampiric Mistress of the City is playing matchmaker… again. The last thing she wants is another bizarre murder case with a partner she doesn’t know. But that is exactly what she gets when she is handed the enigmatic case of Nathan King, who was found in his car with a gaping hole where his stomach should be.
Soon Raven is unraveling a mystery that leads her deep into the city’s preternatural underworld, and into the arms of a sexy vampire she barely knows, but whose heart she seeks in the darkness…

Stormrise Snippet

“Thanks, Ryan,” Raven said. “Did you find anything else of interest in the car?”
Finkel shook his head and turned to look back at the vehicle. “Not really. We lifted a couple partials from the door handle, but they probably belong to the victim. Lots of high-speed blood spatter inside, no sign of gunshot residue…it is like he pulled into the garage and his stomach tore open.”
Levac nodded, still staring at the contents of the gris-gris bag. “You know, Storm,” he said after a moment, “they’re right.”
Raven looked puzzled. “Who’s right? About what?”
“The rest of the squad,” he replied. “They were telling me you get all the weird ones. They’re absolutely right.”

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You’re invited to the Stormrise Release Party on Facebook that’s happening online on October 31st. There will be some awesome prizes and giveaways!

Are you an indie author who would like to be interviewed by Coey Cain? Send your requests to coeycain@hotmail.com or send a message on Facebook.

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Spotlight on A Rangers Tale

Title:A Ranger’s Tale

Series: Tallenmere
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Author:Mysti Parker

Genre:Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Publisher:Melange Books

Formats Available In:All eBook formats and Print

Release Date: January, 2011

Blurb:In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done…

High elf CaliphanyAranea leads an enviable life as King Leopold’s niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard’s most famous wizard. Yet, being forced to follow in her father’s footsteps and being betrothed to a man she doesn’t even like makes her want a taste of life outside the city walls.

As a young boy, half-elf GaladinTrudeaux witnessed his parents’ death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger.

When two brutes at LeogardHarbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany’s hefty sack of gold finally persuades him. Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose.

From that moment on she and Galadin embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Only if they can survive the trials ahead, will they find a love that stands the test of time.

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Excerpt:

Caliphany lowered her hood and smoothed out her robes. She smiled. I admit I’d held a vague hope we would cross each other’s paths again, but I’d also told myself awoman of her class and a man of mine had no business being seen with one another.
Even though I didn’t know who she was exactly, the clothes she wore told me shedidn’t mingle regularly with us working classes.

She tucked some hair behind her ear and blushed. “Captain Trudeaux.”

I bowed. “My lady.”

“Please don’t bow.” She avoided my gaze and clenched her robe. “You weren’t at thedocks this morning. I thought you had gone.”

Razor had started tearing into the rabbit, so I held up my finger. “One moment,please.” I knelt to retrieve him and the carcass before it was gone.

Razor eyed Caliphany when I returned to her side. “I sent my men on to Faewood. They’ll be back by the week’s end. We had some Tilliyan coffee beans to deliver.”

Her shoulders slumped. “I’ve read a lot about Tilliya Island.” Her eyes focused somewhere in the distance, and then rested on me again. “So, you’re a falconer?”

“I’m a ranger. Razor accompanies me from time to time. We sell what we hunt and gather. Sometimes I help thin out wildlife. It’s just my job.”

The words rolled off her tongue. “A ranger.”

I nodded, a bit annoyed she found my profession so curious. I killed things for a living. It was a hard, dirty job, one I was sure she could never understand. Icleared my throat. “I’m glad to see you’re in one piece, though still unescorted.Would you like me to walk you back to Leogard?”

She held up a satchel. “I’m gathering plant specimens.”

“As you wish. Well, good day then. I’ve got work to do.” I began to walk away.

“Wait,” she said.

I turned, and Caliphany approached me, opened her mouth, shut it again, and finallyspoke. “I wanted to thank you for rescuing me.”

If she was any other woman, from the lower end of society, I might have thought she was flirting. “You already did, I believe, and it’s not necessary. Good day.” I tried to walk away again.

“Wait.”

Razor screeched and puffed his feathers when I turned back around. “Easy, now. Look,Caliphany, it’s really not necessary—”

“I want you to train me.”

I stepped closer. She blushed. I wrinkled my brow and asked, “Pardon?”

The words tumbled from her mouth. “You know how to handle yourself, handle weapons. I want to learn that as well. Will you train me?”

I puffed out my cheeks and exhaled.

Should have known she wasn’t interested in me, just in what I could do for her. “I’m not sure what you think I am, my lady, but I’m no trainer. I’ve got work to do.Forgive me, but I can’t waste precious hours teaching you to handle a bow.”

She reached into her cloak and pulled out a sack. From the jingle inside, Iestimated a month’s wages in gold. She got my attention.

“I’ll pay you. If this isn’t enough, I’ll pay more.”

That definitely got my attention. “My men will have to take up the slack. I’ve gotorders to fill. But, why would you want to do…” I pulled out a bloody, limp rabbit carcass. “…this?”

“My reasons are personal. So, are you willing to train me or not?”

I scratched my chin. “When can you start?”

A smile flashed across her lips. “My father leaves for Mirrochet citadel in two days. He’ll be gone for a month. I can train with you every day for a few hoursduring that time. After that…” She frowned and turned her head, then met my eyesagain. “After that, I don’t know. I can meet you at the ranger outpost just east ofhere. My family should not know about this.”

Desperation settled in her eyes, and I had a strong urge to take her in my arms and kiss her until we both had to come up for air. But she stood waiting for my reply.

“L-Look, I don’t know if I should be skirting trouble. Being caught out here in the woods with you wouldn’t look good for either of us.”

She stepped a little closer, reached out as though she would touch me, but withdrew her hand. “Believe me; they would know it was my idea. And with my father gone, theydon’t pay as much attention to my whereabouts. So, is it a deal?”

She held out her sack of coin with one hand, and the other for me to shake. I took the gold and shook her hand. Her skin was warm and soft. Damn shame it would be to mar those pretty fingers.

 

Profile Pic 2013_ About Mysti Parker:

Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder‘s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

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Tallenmere Series:

A Ranger’s Tale, Tallenmere #1
Serenya’s Song, Tallenmere #2
Hearts in Exile, Tallenmere #3

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Excerpt Faire Eve

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The undeniably talented Catherine Stovall has been kind enough to share an excerpt with her incredible new release. I will tell you this from opening the first pages, it draws you in and doesn’t let you go, even as an adult reader. The tale is woven spectacularly. The characters are lively and relatable, and this author is one to know. Enjoy the excerpt from the incredible new release, and then purchase the book. You won’t be disappointed.

Excerpt Faire Eve by Catherine Stovall

A demon stood directly in front of Eldon. Its long snout and beady eyes glowered at him from the dark. A long cloak covered most of its body and the hood hid its short spiky ears. Two hands protruded from the sleeves, each finger the size of a corncob and tipped with a razor sharp claw. The Astaroth demon resembled the human’s idea of a werewolf with short ears and no tail. Incredibly quick in both mind and body, despite its huge size, the Astaroth was capable of ripping Eldon in half.
Eve stood at the mouth of the alley behind her mother, watching. The demon lurched toward Eldon and a rush of warm air flowed out of the alley. Eve gasped in both fear and wonder. Two large wings sprang from Eldon’s back. They were nothing like what Eve had imagined a fairy’s wings to be. In the cartoons, fairy wings looked similar to a butterfly and always shimmered as if made from gold dust.
    Eldon’s wings looked tattered but beautiful. The copper colored silk gleamed with turquoise, red, and yellow. A deep ebony color covered the tips and they shivered in the chill of the air as if they contained a life of their own. His wings were dark, lovely, and the perfect match for him.
Reaching for his sword, Eldon realized too late, he was unarmed. A long clawed hand shot out, leaving an oozing wound down his right arm before he could spin out of reach. Stumbling a little, Eldon distanced himself from the brick wall enough to extend his wings. With one gentle swoosh; he rose several feet off the ground. His wings pulled back behind him and he descended the distance in a rush. A satisfying crunch followed as his left foot planted against the demon’s snarling face. The Astaroth turned on him, barely dazed by the blow, and two others appeared at its flanks.
    Something silver flashed in the night, followed by a loud crack. The first demon’s head split open with a sickening plop, making Eldon think of bubbling mud. Aibell screamed at Eldon to move out of the way, as she sent another star hurdling toward the second demon. As the creature opened its mouth to roar, the weapon stuck in the exposed cavity. The thing fell to the ground growling, snapping, and choking. Its long talons dug into the hairy flesh of its own throat in an effort to dislodge the small metal throwing star.
    Aibell tossed Eldon what looked like a long piece of golden wire and he caught it as the third and final demon attacked. The monster was on him before he could position the garrote or lift himself out of the way. Its fangs dug into his shoulder as he fought against the demon’s massive build. Slinging its head back and forth like a pit bull with a rope toy, the Astaroth flung Eldon’s body from side to side. His beautiful wings smashed against the wall and the violent lunges caused them to rip and tear against the harsh brick.
The world began to fade to black. He was losing consciousness as the demon’s poison flooded his system. He felt his wings retract, beaten and bloody, they were of no use to him. Fairies’ wings were the most vulnerable part of their bodies. They freed themselves during battle but once rendered useless, they folded back inside the flesh to heal. In a final attempt to free himself from the powerful jaws holding him, Eldon gripped the garrote tightly in his free hand and flicked it towards the creature like a whip.
    The end wrapped around the Astaroth’s long snout twice and Eldon yanked with all the strength he had left. The enchanted metal of the garrote began to burn and the wire sunk deeper into the demons flesh. The monster released Eldon and began to tear the wire off its muzzle. Eldon fell to the hard pavement and frantically kicked his legs, trying to distance himself from the beast. The wire would not keep it distracted long and his wounds were too severe for him to be able to fight it unarmed.
Aibell’s scream echoed off the brick walls as she ran to him, unable to watch from the sidelines any longer. Her white gossamer wings sprang out behind her. The neon lights barely caught the silver streaks through the sheer chitinous layers. A Valkyrie priestess in training, she could throw the stars or use the garrote but little else. Her self-defense skills were limited. Her preparation focused on the basics because, once she became a priestess, living and dead soldiers would surround her at all times. Despite her frail size and her non-existent battle skills, Aibell ran at the demon.

~oOo~


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