One-Year Anniversary

TRON-5-2016-SEAL-1-smWhen I look back over the past year, I am truly amazed. I have met so many wonderful people: Authors, Editors, Illustrators, Artists, etc. From those meetings over social media, book signings, and cons, I have formed some fantastic relationships.

Now, as I sit at my computer, a warmth completely engulfs me. Like anyone else, not all of the past year has been pleasant. I have had some significant trials—one I am currently working through. However, even with that incident, I have learned, grown stronger, and recognize the blessings that are to come from such trials.

This anniversary is but one! My first novel, The Rise of Nazil went live in August of 2015. Now, a year later, the first trilogy is complete and the second is ready for the editing stage. That is a major accomplishment since I refer to myself as an, “accidental author.”

The Rise of Nazil was written over a decade ago. It was a novel I wanted to read and could never fine. The only option was to write it myself. It took the prodding of numerous friends and family members to convince me to publish. I am pleased that I was able to heed their advice and do just that.

The Rise of Nazil I, Seed of Scorn II, and Piercing the Darkness III are Epic Fantasy novels with an edge. I am proud of each completed work and look forward to the ones to come.

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Author Interview: Michael Baker

 

Today, I am honored to introduce a fantastic new author and blogger, Michael R. Baker.

Michael BakerWhat genre are your books?

My genre is generally fantasy, although I write short stories on horror too. But fantasy/epic fantasy is my go to, and the main one which I’ve been working on for most of my writing life. I’ve been trying to branch out into others though, especially dystopian.

What draws you to this genre?

The ability to create and mould your whole world. To build new creatures, bring magical systems from the ground of your mind and breathe life into my mad imagination has always been appealing, and has been since I was twelve years old.

What project are you working on at the moment?

I have several, but the most important one currently is the fantasy trilogy I’ve been working on since 2012 known as Counterbalance. As of this point, Book 1 is in revision/early editing stages (A phrase all writers hate and will grow to hate) but I am hopeful it will be published by the end of 2016. I have publishers potentially interested; it will be a very hard task, but I’m up for making my long-time dream a reality.

What’s it about?

Very good question. Counterbalance is set in the world of Rengar, a realm of my own creation and been in progress since I was around 10 years old. Originally a single novel (A very badly planned one) but now a trilogy, it covers a devastating war between the two superpowers of the known world, the Bale Empire and the Selpvian Dominion, and the morality of victory, as opposing sides stretch to the limits of humanity to find a way to winning the war. While this is going on, a fugitive necromancer joins forces with a homeless son of the Empire in a pact of vengeance. There will be a great deal of betrayal, politics and brutality, with a huge array of different factions and characters at hand, all with their own beliefs and inner goals. The name Counterbalance strives from an ancient and deadly branch of necromancy magic which the Empire is trying to reach, in order to win the war. The trilogy will explore the suffering of the world during the brutality of war and every side in the conflict.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

While there are several very important characters in Counterbalance, I’d have to give the main character role to Tyir of Irene. He is commander of the marauding band of mercenaries called the Thousand Scars, and is a feared necromancer/fugitive with exceptional intelligence and knowledge; his specialty is he’s one of the very few in the world who has not just the knowledge but the capability to use necromancy (Magic is a very rare and costly thing in my world, as the primary race responsible for its use died out thousands of years earlier, followed by a brutal purge by its survivors the Pharos Order) The story is multi-POV, but the main two follow Tyir’s group the most, giving them almost a “protagonist role” even though the Thousand Scars are a brutal and very nasty bunch of people. Tyir is probably the most important character in Counterbalance and I love writing about him and his cutthroat allies. He’s a very dangerous character despite his protagonist viewpoint, but I make it clear early on that he is not someone to trust or to be messed with. He’s probably the most fascinating character in my series, not only because of his skills but his morality.

Have you written anything else?

I’ve written several bits during my lifetime. I’ve always enjoyed writing stories. I did a couple of fan fiction pieces which received some decent success, though I stopped writing those to focus on Counterbalance. I do write short stories, including one published by Profound Fiction in their Halloween anthology Project Corpse Candle. It was a minor publication but I hope to expand on it a lot more in the coming year. I’ve been working also on a large biography piece of my fantasy world, a slow process but nearly 70,000 words so far, basically covering battles and history of the world, character profiles and the like.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I haven’t got any huge ones. The main I’d say is to get my trilogy out there, at least hoping it’ll be well received and popular and to get more of my work out there. I’d love to show people what I can create, and hope people enjoy what I write.

Which writers inspire you? Too many to count, but off the top of my head:

George R.R Martin

Brandon Sanderson

Tolkien

Aaron-Michael Hall (writer of the fantastic Rise of Nazil series)

Michael Kobernus

Kelly Evans

When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, since I was nine or ten. I write mainly because it interests me, I like making stories and characters, because it’s a great way to let off steam and immerse yourself into fantasy worlds which can be anything you want to be. I mainly decided to write my main novel during a period of severe depression. I felt lost and unable to escape through my own illnesses, being a patient of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but as I started to recover from my depressive episode, I looked over the fantasy world I created, and decided I would try and write a novel through it. Three years later, it’s gone further than I ever thought I’d dream, but I hope to get my magnum opus published and out there sooner rather then later.

Do you have a special time or place to write?

Due to my health restricting me, I write essentially when I feel able. I mostly do my writing at home on my laptop, or if I go to the library during the week I always try and get a computer to write there too. I work better usually when I’m away from home.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Most of my inspiration comes through my friends and family, especially the new writer friends I have made online the past 5-6 months. The biggest inspiration to me comes from my girlfriend Vicky; she means the world to me and I love her to bits; she is truly an inspiration to me in every way. She appreciates and supports my life and there is little greater than having someone who loves you for who you are.

Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

I do both. Sometimes I use an outline, sometimes I just write and see what my brain churns out. Both have their merits, I feel. For Counterbalance, my world is still being developed daily, so the “seat on the pants” writing approach actually works, for I discover new things about it all the time. Only a week ago I discovered an entirely new continent to the far north and new races, which suits the history of the world very nicely.

Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

I get writer’s block all the time, it’s constant and irritating. What I usually do is try brainstorm a way past the block or inspire myself from playing games to relax me. It’s always difficult to overcome, sometimes taking me months to get over it, but it is always possible to defeat. My worst case of writer’s block was when I had an 8 month hiatus on my fan-fiction, but I finally was able to overcome it by gritting my teeth and powering through.

What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

For me? It’s probably finding the energy to do it. Chronic fatigue is quite disabling at the best of times and a nightmare at the worst, and it severely cuts into my lifestyle. Writing for me while highly enjoyable is difficult because often I just don’t have the energy to sit down and write; it comes and goes for me. I’m quite lucky in that I have plenty of time to write, it’s just health holding me back most of the time. Another hard part about writing I’ve definitely found is the editing…oh god the editing. It’s hard but so worth it in the end. Hopefully by the end of 2016 I’ll have book 1 of Counterbalance out there.

How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

As I haven’t got anything really out there, I’ll probably skip this question. When I do though I’ll be using Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth.

How much research do you do?

Not as much as I should, to be honest. I’ve done the vast majority of my work through reading around my genre, studying historical events like wars and diplomacy to understand how they function, psychology (I was an A-Level student, and Psychology appeals to me naturally) to go into how the mind works in my characters. To understand my own cast, I do a lot more depth research to get into their heads, making mock scenarios and wondering “How do they act? What should I do in their position or rather what would they do?” My characters are pretty diverse and from vast variety of backgrounds, and I find interviewing them on a frequent basis really helps. To summarize, I feel I do a fair amount of research, but I really should do more, especially weapons and armour. It is going to be one of the things I plan on improving.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I always use a computer; it’s far more convenient than writing by hand; easier to backup, easier to save and easier to edit mistakes, of which there will be countless. It’s just much more simple for me to use, as I know my way around a computer much better than my own handwriting, and it isn’t as hard on my joints. Laptops are easily portable too and you can take them anywhere.

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

I’d have to go with overall, George R.R. Martin, mainly because it was him who inspired me to write my own. His world and overall setting is fantastic, and while it certainly has its weaknesses, it has so much character development and versatility that it is a great read, and it has some extremely powerful writing at times. I like many of the indie authors, particularly the ones I’ve already mentioned. J.K Rowling despite the plot holes in her writing made my childhood, so she has a place as one of my favorite authors in spite of the flaws. Brandon Sanderson, Stephen King and Terry Pratchett are also high on my list.

Are you currently reading any books?

I’m currently rereading Song of Ice and Fire, as well as the Dune series. I also plan on reading The Rise of Nazil series now book two has come out (One of my favorite new series). I also started rereading the Harry Potter books, as I want to try and reach a new light with them and see the series strengths and weaknesses.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

There are several ways where people can reach me.

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Originally interviewed by: dragonqueen3

Dragon Moon Cover Reveal

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Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming author Julie Nicholls.

Ms. Nicholls has a fantastic new YA Fantasy titled, Dragon Moon.

Welcome, Ms. Nicholls.

Thank you very much for letting me take over your blog today to reveal the cover for my latest novel, Dragon Moon.

This is a Teen & Young Adult Fantasy, and I hope to publish with Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, if it is accepted.

Can you tell us about Dragon Moon?

 The story concerns Scarlett, an almost nineteen year old who is undecided about her future. Throughout her school life she has been the subject of ridicule and bullying because of her flame, red hair. While college was easier, because she stood up for herself, she can’t make up her mind if University is the place she wants to be, and is taking some time out from studying to decide. She visits the Nottingham Goose Fair, and meets Dizelli, a psychic, who gives her a gold pendant and instructs her to wear it to bed.

Scarlett wakes up the next morning but she’s not in her bed, or her home. She’s in a field. In her pajamas.

Her adventure begins and she’s thrown into a world of dragons and magic. She’s the Dragon Mage, and it’s her responsibility to save the dragons from slaughter, and also bring two warring tribes together.

There are just a few days left before the Dragon Moon arrives. All the dragons currently asleep, protecting their eggs could die unless Scarlett finds a way to unite the silver haired, and black haired races together and to stop Lord Ithel from killing the elder dragon who knows the secret location of the dragon eggs.

 Here’s a sneaky peek!

 No matter what Elyan’s surprise is, at least it’s another lovely day out. It’s another lovely day. The sun is shining and despite the cool breeze, it’s perfect for riding. We set off at a walk but once outside the city walls, Elyan kicks his horse and he’s off. I have a hard time keeping up on Sootli; bless her. Once he reaches the foothills, he slows and when I catch up to him, he pulls off to the left instead of the path through the mountain.

“Where are you going?” I ask.

He doesn’t answer and just waves at me as he trots ahead. He’s in charge again; he can’t help it.

We ride for only a little way, and then the smell hits me.

Vanillian.

Soon we’re looking at a blanket of white flowers. They stretch along the side of the track as far as the eye can see, and the smell is amazing. Elyan dismounts and wraps the reins around a fallen tree. He helps me down and leads me to the huge log where we both sit.

I can’t stop sniffing the air and notice he’s staring. “What?”

He smiles and I notice for the first time how charming he looks when he’s not scowling.

“I know how much you like Vanillium and thought you would like to see where it grows. Am I right?”

“Yes! Thanks.”

I’m smiling as I look at him and see him in a different light. He can be thoughtful when he puts his mind to it. He stares at me for several moments, his gaze unfathomable. Do I want to know what he’s thinking?

“I am sorry for my behavior yesterday with Mostyn,” he says.

Wow! Didn’t see that coming.

“I expect learning he and your sister were an item was a bit of a shock.”

“I learned something else too. From my father.”

“What was it?” I ask as if I don’t know.

“That there was someone else he loved before mother. I am not angry about that. He expected me to be, though. I have a reputation, it seems.”

I can see a hint of a grin forming.

“My father relies on me to protect the town. While I have my warriors to aid, I am constantly on my guard. My responsibility to our people is foremost on my mind.”

“That’s why you’re so wound up, Elyan. You’re stressed out.”

I know how he feels. In my last year of college I was worrying over my exams, the bullying, and concerns about my life after college. My dad said when someone is stressed, they are short-tempered, have trouble sleeping and are unable to see the positive side of things. Elyan ticks all of the above. People don’t realize they are stressed, but once it’s pointed out to them, it becomes clearer.

“What am I to do? This is my life. I am responsible for our people.”

“I understand you have an important role, but you don’t have to do it on your own. You have warriors who follow your lead. They are just as capable as you are. Let them take some of the pressure.”

Elyan narrows his eyes as he looks at me. He’s listening to what I’m saying rather than spouting off. That’s a good sign.

“But will they then act as I do? Become ‘snippety’ as you say?” He grins.

“No, I don’t believe they will. If you divide the tasks between yourselves, it will be less of a burden. Do you see that?”

“Yes, I do.”

It could be my imagination, but I swear he looks less stressed already. He’s a smart cookie and I know I whined about him plenty of times, but he isn’t a bad person. Actually, as he is now–calm and thoughtful–he’s very attractive. He was already ranking high on my “hot men” chart, but it was his attitude that stopped him reaching a higher position.

Oh, I know you think I’m mean, but I bet I’m not the only one who has a score card.

“When we return home after the meeting today, you can gather your warriors and delegate your duties. Start enjoying your life, Elyan.”

“I like the way you think. You are as smart as my father said.”

“Did he say that?”

“Yes, last night after you left. I spoke with him for a while, and he believes you are too wise for your age.” He chuckles.

Ha! I think what the Earl said probably went something along the lines of “she’s too big for her boots.” But I’ll accept it as a compliment anyway.

Elyan is looking at me again. Not quite a stare but his gaze is lingering and I know I’m blushing. My cheeks are on fire. I’d like to know what he’s thinking. Wait…maybe that’s not a good idea. There’s a glint in his eye, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’ve got too much to think about at the moment.

Extremely bad timing.

“Are all the women in your town like you?” he asks.

“No. They are much nicer.” I laugh. “Women are equal to men, though. They share responsibility, work and some earn such a good wage that the man plays househusband and takes care of the children.”

“That is a story you have made up.” He laughs. “It is a woman’s responsibility to tend the children.”

I’m surprisingly calm after that misogynistic statement. In all fairness, he lives in a world where men are chivalrous and women are skivvies, and that’s not entirely his fault. However, I will nevertheless attempt to enlighten him of why a role doesn’t need to be filled by only one sex.

Here goes.

“Elyan, I’m going to explain something to you which you may find surprising. Women are quite capable of fulfilling any job a man is tasked with. The only difference is that some women might struggle depending on the physical strength required, but that does not mean that some women are not a strong as some men. There are some who are stronger.”

He’s shaking his head, so I continue.

“Women are in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Where I’m from, we are ruled by a Queen, as are many other countries. So you see… there’s nothing a man can do that a woman cannot. As for taking care of children, why shouldn’t a man look after his child? There’s no rule that says a woman should be the only person to wipe a baby’s bottom!”

He laughs and shakes his head. “You are making this up, surely?”

“No, I’m not.”

I look at him and wonder how he would cope if he were to visit my world. Not only because of the women’s issue but all the technology we have as well. I don’t think he could take it all in, although he might have fun playing my X box.

“I should like to see this for myself. Your world sounds interesting. Do you think I would like it?”

“There are some wonders that would impress you, Elyan, but just as you have problems here, we also have them. Countries fight one another and man has built horrendous machines and created poisons that could kill us all. People starving to death live side by side with people who are so rich, they will never be able to spend their money before they die.”

He’s listening closely.

“Our world is full of different races and we are not all the same color. Whole nations have been targeted because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs. So you see it’s important that we try and resolve the issues here before they escalate.”

Elyan narrows his eyes. He’s thinking hard, I can see from his expression. He will be the Earl once his father passes and he could help implement changes now that would stop future warring.

“This makes you sad, does it not?”

“Yes, very much.”

“We are from different worlds and yet, we are not so different.”

He takes my hand in his and smiles softly. He’s capable of becoming a great leader, I feel it. He has already made changes to the way he acts based on information he’s acquired. He is a smart cookie.

“We have a saying—‘there’s nothing new under the sun’–and this is so true. Wherever we are in the world, whether we’re black-skinned or white, if we have black or white hair, or we worship the sun or the moon, we are all human beings and we have a right to be free and to live.”

“We shall have that here, Scarlett. I promise. I will do everything within my power to make Lord Ithel understand we must live together in peace.”

Elyan pushes up and pulls me with him. “You will show us how to make a start. Will you not?”

Thank you for taking the time to read the sneaky peek… you can read another on my official website www.julienicholls.com to the page, Dragon Moon where a link will be added once the book is available for purchase.

 

Answering a question from my email.

Aaron-Michael Hall

I received an email recently with a good question. The reader completed The Rise of Nazil and loved the Novel. He had one question regarding the manner in which the characters speak. It was not the lack of contractions or the cadence of the dialogue. His question was one I was expecting and have heard several times prior.

“Why do your characters ‘sound’ alike?” It is true; many of the characters speak in the same manner. This was not an oversight; this was purposely done. I know in most epic fantasy that you have these unique dialects to set the characters apart. The Rise of Nazil fantasy series does the opposite. It is one of the many subtleties you will find within its pages.

It is extremely important to me that the similarities with the inhabitants surpass the differences. There are slaves taken captive by those of Nazil. However, because…

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The Purloined Letters

This is a fantastic blog post by author and editor, Morgan Smith. Definitely worth a read.

Traveling Light

Marilyn Diptych 1962 by Andy Warhol 1928-1987 Marilyn Diptych 1962 Andy Warhol 1928-1987 Purchased 1980 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T03093

As a professional editor and the product of academia spanning three countries and five colleges/universities, I’ve learned to spot intellectual stolen property from literal miles away.

I’m not talking about pirating someone else’s published work, the way so many websites claiming “free” downloads of my books, or anyone else’s, do. That’s evil, sure, but nine times out of ten, the downloader gets nothing more than a computer virus and a few ads extorting money from them to fix the problem. Just deserts, really, if you want to steal content purely for entertainment’s sake, and deprive an author or artist of their tiny royalties as you slug back your $5 mochaccino.

Any idiot can tell when someone takes a manuscript wholesale and just changes the author’s name. Any pair of eyes can spot when Walmart sells thousands of t-shirts adorned with artwork…

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Interview: Celecanepo Rahadeyah

Celecanepo-330Tonight I have the distinct pleasure to interview an extremely remarkable “gentlemen.” Neither his path nor his purpose is without adversity. Albeit his journey is one of great promise and intrigue.

Please offer a warm welcome to Celecanepo Rahadeyah (aka Celeca)

Will you start us out with a little about yourself, where you are from, and what your childhood was like?

  • I am a Guardian, one of the first races to come into existence on the first breath of reality. Like all my kind, when I was born the prophets cast their Gifts to determine what my purpose was, so I may be trained appropriately.  At that time, all the prophets could discern was that I would be involved in great things – not the cusp, but involved somehow – but there were ambiguities to what my path should be.  Because of this, it was decided that I should be trained as a warrior, rather than a guide.I was taken from my parents, in exchange for a child whose prophesy was that they would guide many to new lives, and given to the parents of the new guide’s parents.  Instead of having only one set of parents, then, I had two.  It is rare for us to know our birth parents if our path does not match theirs, and some have said this is why I am not suited for the warrior’s way.

    My story continues long past this point, but I will shorten it by saying I was trained in many things before the prophets discerned my first assignment.  It came not a day too soon.  If I had not been selected, then I would have become one of the “fallen” and had to join the Nelesie

It sounds like you had an uncertain childhood.  Do you ever resent that it took so long for the powers-that-be to ascertain your place?

  • Some feel I should resent that fact. In truth, after I completed the most important facets of my training, I became bored.  There is only so many crafts you can be interested in, even when you know that your life will end only when you wish it, or by an agent of the lower Realms’ deceit.  Though I do find needlework an acceptable way to pass the time, it never grew to be a great love in my life, like a crafter or thread worker.  I much prefer the healing arts if I cannot use my other skills.  That is what brought me to where I am now in the Master’s care.

Are you a slave, then, to speak of a “master”?

  • I am only a slave by my own wishes. Though there is much evil in him, evil I am sworn to root out and eradicate from the world, there is much in him that can do good as well.He is a slaver by training, though I hope to help him see that the type of slavery he practices is wrong.  As such, the only way to ensure my example remained before him was to be captured by him.  Even without his collar, I was already captured by his need and pain.  With events unfolding as they are, even the fiend who travels with him cannot accurately predict what will happen, he will need examples of what it means to be good, and just, and honest more now that ever before.

It sounds like you are in a group you do not get along with.  Are there those who can, or are, helping you achieve your goals?

  • There are four of us now, though from the way the Master speaks there may be others, many others, in the near future. I hope with all my heart that the four of us can convince him to not do this.  Beslynx and Raonal may help – both see permanent slavery as wrong.  I fear we will have to fight the fourth captive – Akantheldama.However, even if the others do not help the Master see that what he does is wrong, I would strive to press my case to victory.  This is my last chance to prove to my tribunal that I deserve to be reinstated as a warrior and Guardian.  I have learned much in my cycles living among the mortals, and I have matured more than any expected.  I was young when I failed, untested and untried.  Now, I have been forged and am ready to face the battle.

Are you saying that even among your companions, there are those who you would consider an enemy?

  • Not precisely an enemy, just someone who has another agenda she is dedicated to. Unlike the rest, she has lived with the Master long enough to have fallen under the malignant influence of wherever he comes from, and the madness her kind are subject to.She says there is greatness in his future, and that he must amass a large following.  We agree on the greatness – everything living has that potential.  What we disagree on is the way he is going about creating his following.  She wishes them to be bound to him through the collar the four of us wear; I wish the bonds to be those of love and mutual agreement.  I think my way is better, she hers.

What would you like to see happen, if you were living in a “perfect” world?

  • You ask for dreams and fantasies. I must live in a world of reality and practicality.  I wish to be reinstated my rank.  I wish for the Master to give up his vile ways, and be welcomed to the Nelesie Courts with open arms.  I wish for Beslynx and Raonal to be accepted by their pack.  I wish for the fiend, Akantheldama, to be cured of her madness.  However, none of this will happen quickly.  All are pieces that must be solved, and all require bits from the other pieces to affect their solution.  There is no perfection in the world, only well done.  If even one of these wishes were to happen, I feel my work would be complete, though I would continue to wish for the rest to come to pass.

You talk about going home with such longing.  Is there someone waiting for your return?

  • Do you mean like a mate?   Even among my cadre, I was considered strange.  Many of the remaining age mates had been given prophesies that would not come to pass until they were well into their adult lives.  I was the only one who had received the type of training I did to remain unassigned.The reason I wish to return home is because I feel I was unjustly judged and punished.  Earning my right to return, earning that redemption, would lift the feeling of having failed my parents – both sets – and the specter of having failed my trainers.  Even if I never received another assignment, or ever practiced my skills again, the reinstatement would prove to the prophets they were not wrong.

That sounds like there is quite a bit riding on your shoulders, then.  Do you ever have nightmares or panic attacks that you will fail?

  • I live in constant fear that I will never earn my redemption. That I will become not just a “fallen” but a “double fallen” – one who has lost, or given up, their entire heritage to become a mere mortal.  There are days when that prospect is more tempting than I care to admit.  Days when I have redeemed someone so sunk in depravity that everyone gave them up for lost, yet I was able to help them see a better way and set their feet to becoming that better person.  Yet, even with those redemptions, I gain no recognition from my tribunal.  When I reach out for them, I receive silence – as if I am a mortal speaking to the Woodland Path; a concept, not a trio of beings who hold my very existence in their hands.  On those days, I fear greatly that what few Gifts I have left will fade, that I will forget what it means to be a Guardian, that I will be come mortal and be glad for my suffering to end.

Do you have any achievements to carry you through such dark times?

  • I do not. I have hope that soon I shall have an accomplishment, the likes of which none should ever forget.  Until that time, I continue to hope for a better future.

I would like to thank Celeca for taking the time to sit down with me tonight. May you be granted the desires of your heart and the ability to right the wrongs and move toward a better future of redemption and light.

Celecanepo-330

For more information about Celecanepo, click HERE

Interview: Raonal Tiornestake

Raonal-330Tonight I have the honor of welcoming a member of an extremely interesting “species.” Raonal is a pukah – a type of faerie that love to bring laughter, joy, and fun into the lives of all they meet.  They are also mischievous little scamps who love to help – often giving too much help – and have a tenuous grip on what the truth is at the best of times.  If they do tell the truth, it is usually buried under so much hyperbole and innuendo that it is hard to ferret out.

A warm welcome to Raonal Tiornestake.

Will you start us out with a little about yourself, where you are from, and what race you are?

  • I am myself, unique, me. There are many others like me, none like me, everyone likes me!  I am Raonal, pack alpha, beta, kappa, never delta.  From the lands where wheat, oats, and barley are harvested at the same time the apples and pears come into bloom.  Who are you, strange person?

That doesn’t exactly tell us where you are from though, Raonal.

  • I said I was from everywhere, nowhere, the Courts and the pack. Did you not understand?

I guess not.  As I have never heard of these “Courts” or anything like them, will you tell us a little about what they are like?  Did you grow up there?

  • They are everywhere and nowhere. Special people get to go there, and sometimes we bring guests.  They are magnificent and boring, though.  Bring something fun to do.  The crown loves it when I bring the river with me – they do so love swimming.To get there, all you have to do is believe.  That’s it.  Believe in the unexpected, the magical, the mystical and you are there.  Many come, many go, none are banned, all are barred.  If you come, bring something to eat – remember, if you eat of the food there you can never go home!

    There are many children who live there, though I was never one of them.  I grew up learning responsibilities on the farm.  I hate the idle life there, it is so much more fun to be out in the world experiencing, being, laughing, inspiring.  I hate when I have to visit and be all sober.  Even the ladies there are boring and stolid.  Homely creatures with locks of flowing gold or rivers of fire, skin as pale as bleached birch or as rich as the best hot chocolate.  Their voices screech like the symphony of creation, as silent as a volcano’s eruption or as loud as a baby’s first whispering breath.

    Everyone is an enemy there – vying for power for power’s sake or striving for recognition to get the plum assignments.  The courts are no place to be.  I was more than glad to escape and join the pack.  Children to tease, adults to instruct, and everyone loves everyone without exception.  That is where I don’t belong.

What is it you hope to accomplish, then?  In addition, who is it that stands in your way?

  • Why accomplish anything? Being is accomplishment enough.  Laughter, joy, help – that is all you need to do.  Just love, live, and love life.  What more is there?  Everyone wants to be so serious all the time – no time for joy, no time for love, no time to live.  They are not being, they are walking mind dead.  They do not believe, so do not want to love, laugh, or be any more.  I want that, more than anything, to be like the Courts in my heart.  Why can’t they believe?

Would that be something you would change if you could?

  • I would change it so they loved, so they could live and be again.  Wouldn’t it be the most exciting thing if everyone remembered how to laugh again – all at once?  What a party that would be!  To see the barley, wheat and oats come in again just as the apples and peaches came into bloom.  Oh, that would be the most perfectly undesirable world I could ever live in.  Day in, day out – plow the fields, sew the fields, reap the fields, pick the fruit, climb the trees, shake the trees, and hope you don’t ruin the crop.

You are a little scamp, you know that?  What has farming to do with enjoying life?

  • Go try it for a year, and let me know what you think.

I’ll pass, thank you.  I have enough just keeping up with a small garden.  What do you do, that leaves you time for farming?  Didn’t you say something about being part of a pack?

  • I watch the pups – teach them everything they need to know about life, about living, and about what it means to be part of the pack. Can’t have them getting underfoot all the time running errands, now, can we?

Sounds like you have taken on quite a bit of responsibility.  Do you ever feel overwhelmed by it?

  • What’s to be overwhelmed by? Kappas always have betas looking over their shoulders.  Even the alpha has a low-rank beta breathing down his neck all the time.  I don’t want that.  I like being a kappa, though I’ve had my alpha hunt.  No recognition, none! I work harder than the betas, and no one recognizes it more than me, myself and I.  Why should I feel overwhelmed?

Did you grow up with the pack, or did you find them after you were an adult?

  • I’m a member of the pack. There are only three ways to become a member of the pack – born to it, adopted into it, or marry into it.  I’m none of the above, so I could not have found it as an adult.
  • (Editor’s note: Raonal was considered by his fellow pukah to be an adolescent when he joined the Mistwalker Pack.  Because of his size, and lack of understanding for the local language, they saw him as an orphan pup and took him in.  In a way, he grew up in the pack, yet didn’t.  His childhood was spent in the Courts, after the Fae reclaimed him from the mortals that had raised him for his first eight years.)

Do you have anyone you’re interested in settling down with?

  • Why? All the pretty ladies, all the ugly ladies, and all the wonderful ladies are all mated.  Why would I want to accept a lady that doesn’t suit?  Besides, I have all the pups I can handle – I care for the pack’s pups.  If I had a mate, then I wouldn’t be part of the delta pack any longer.  Why would I want to give that up?

Last question – what’s your biggest secret?

  • Now why would I want to tell you that I’m a pukah? Why would I want to reveal that, and give away all the fun?  Is it enough that I have trouble with weapon’s training because the pack uses steel and iron instead of something that doesn’t burn?  Why would I want to explain to you (or them) why I do so poorly with my metal weapons when I do so well with the wooden ones?  Nope, not telling you one iota of my secret.  Nope, not one bit, I tell you!

Well, that was one of the most interviews I have ever done! Thank you Raonal for taking the time to sit down and speak with me.

Raonal-330

For more information about Raonal, click HERE

 

 

2016 Summer Indie Book Awards!

indie awards

2016 Summer Indie Book Awards!

The cold of winter is setting in, at least for those of us in the northern Hemisphere of the world. But we at Metamorph Publishing aren’t letting that get us down! We’re already looking forward to a sizzling summer, and we’re here to announce our first annual Indie Book Awards! You heard that right, a summer book awards! The event officially begins on January 1st of each year, and nominations will be accepted through midnight CST on August 31st each year. Voting will begin on September 1st and end on September 10th each year.

“What’s the big deal,” you ask? “There are all kinds of contests out there.” And you’re right, there are hundreds, probably thousands of book awards. But many of them are only for unpublished authors, or authors who only write in certain narrow genres, or for authors who have never published before in a particular genre. Plus, there are plenty of them that charge an entry fee, some of which are prohibitive to authors who publish independently, without the backing of a large and powerful publishing house.

So, we’re hoping to do something different with the Summer Indie Book Awards! Entry is free, and nominations will be accepted from any indie or small-press author, regardless of their current published or non-published state, or what genre they write in. We are accepting donations of print or e-books, author swag or novelty items (bookmarks, pens, keychains, etc.), but donation is not required for nomination. We’re taking nominations from authors as well as from readers, and authors can nominate their own books; we only ask that authors who do so also nominate a fellow indie author. Nominations can be made using this form: http://goo.gl/forms/T1L8sQJGVx, while donations can be made at: http://goo.gl/forms/6DkAK4MeqI.

Feel free to join up with the event on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1099924726693772, and like the official Facebook page of the Summer Indie Book Awards at https://www.facebook.com/summerindiebookawards. You can also sign up for the newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/bL43cf so you can stay up to date with all the latest news! In the pinned post of the Facebook event, you’ll find these links, along with links to a Google Drive folder where you can look and see who’s already been nominated! And any author who is nominated will have access to an official contest nominee badge, that they can use on their book covers or any promotional media, if they so desire.

Winners in each genre will receive a prize (hopefully we’ll get enough donations for this), beginning with the 1st place winners. If we get enough prizes donated, we’ll go next to 2nd place winners, and then to 3rd place. Regardless of the prizes, winners will get a high-quality winner badge, stating their place and the genre of the book. These will be of high enough resolution for authors to use on their print books, if they want to!

But it’s not only the winners that will benefit from the Summer Indie Book Awards! All nominated authors will have the potential to reach hundreds, if not more, of new readers (readers often have a preferred genre, and while they’re voting for their favorite author, will come across others they may not have tried yet), and reach a huge new audience through the social media forums! And best of all, it’s meant to have fun, to reach out and network with other authors, potentially forming long-lasting relationships. And readers will benefit from having a wealth of new books in front of them, as well as a vast amount of new stories to immerse themselves in.

Though we’re using Facebook and other social media as a platform to reach more authors and readers, none of these social media outlets are affiliated with the awards. They are hosted strictly by Metamorph Publishing.

For more information, please visit Metamorph Publishing at https://metamorphpublishing.com.