Monthly Archives: May 2013

Author Spotlight: Donna Hawk

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Today I’m very pleased to introduce you to Donna Hawk, as part of Donna’s blog tour with Saskia Book Tours. Take it away, Donna!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.My name is Donna Hawk. I’ve been a middle school teacher for 33 years. I taught Reading, mostly, but also I’ve taught a variety of things: yearbook, photography, creative writing, social studies… the list seems endless. I truly enjoy that age kids. I retired two years ago because I wanted to devote time to writing. I live in a small town, on a farm with my husband, a dog, and a whole bunch of cows. I know everyone in town, so writing is a good way to escape! I am also an avid photographer.

2. When did you start writing, and why?

I don’t remember liking or not liking to write as a child. I was pretty normal as far as my attitude toward school. In college, I became an avid reader. I often thought: I think I can do this, when I read a book I really liked. Between college and my boys leaving to go to college themselves, I wrote several full-length manuscripts, but for a long time never had the nerve to send them off to anyone. Sometimes I go back and reread them just to make myself laugh. The early ones were pretty awful.

3. What do you write? What do you like about writing it?

At first, and this includes my old ones, I wrote mainly romances because that’s what I was used to reading. Recently, however, I discovered that because I was a teacher in a small town, I wasn’t comfortable saying too much that dealt with sex or anything too adult-related. I guess I cared what my middle schoolers would think. So I thought: why not write for them? My new trilogy is awesome for anyone 12 and up. Now I can sleep at night!! J (And I can let my mom read it!!)

4. What is your latest book?

My latest book is called Where Darkness Walks; it is the first book of my Mortgatha Trilogy. I’m really happy with it. It’s the first truly Young Adult book I’ve written. I kept asking myself what I’d seen my students read. That’s what I wanted to write.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book.

The story begins in our Earth world, but soon Clarie finds herself being shoved against a set of dark, magic doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha. In some ways, it’s very Earth-like, but there are a lot of scary things about it. Mortgatha has been taken over by the Darkness, which has done everything in its power to extinguish the Light. There are not only scary animals, but dark entities that pester her and try to take Clarie’s life. Many of the “bad guys” are not actual characters that she can see, but still try to hurt her and take the Light away from her. The sun is never bright, the stars are too timid to shine, the moon rarely appears. It’s like living in smog.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?

The main character is Clarie Perl. She is sixteen and very sweet. I like her because she has a good relationship with her dad, she is loyal not only to the people she knows but also to the Earth world.

Patrick is the main minor character. He picks Clarie up when she is dumped by her boyfriend and, like Clarie, is very loyal. He is romantically interested in Clarie. He bullies his way through the dark doors in an attempt to “rescue” her.

The third main minor character is Joseph. He is a resident of Mortgatha, but is from the Earth world. He loves Clarie, to Patrick’s annoyance.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.

Imagine what it would be like to own your very own flying carpet… I know I want one!

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.

My book will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Smashwords, iTunes, or wherever eBooks are sold, plus on some sites it will be offered in paperback. You will also be able to find it and link to it on my website: http://donnahawk.net/

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Where Darkness Walks (Mortgatha Trilogy Book 1) By Donna HawkClarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Rand broke up with her at the prom, she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and she meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart.As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world. 

Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

Where you can purchase this book:
Paperback Createspace
E-Book Amazon

About Donna Hawk:I have been a teacher in Kansas for 33 years. I enjoy writing, riding my bicycle, and spending time with my husband. I am an avid photographer and Photoshop user. Currently, I am working on a dark trilogy for young adults, the first of which I am hoping will be completed by the end of the summer 2013.
If you have any questions for me, you can email me at: bydonnahawk@gmail.com
Website
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Goodreads


This Book is Rated…

Earlier this month, I got an email from an old college friend asking if my books are suitable for a couple of teenage girls in her life. I also had the opportunity to lend my proof copy of Urdaisunia to a good friend of mine, who also happens to be the wife of our current clergyman (in our church, the leaders of the congregation are drawn from the membership and rotated about every 5-7 years). These incidents, along with a discussion on my Goodreads group about content and age appropriateness got me thinking that I should do a post about content and age appropriateness of my books, as a guide for anyone who might be concerned about that.

To establish some context, I’ll start by saying that when I was growing up, my parents told me that none of the books in the house were off-limits to me, and if I had any questions about anything I read I was welcome to bring it up with them. I think I was about 11 or 12 at the time. Of course, being the upright, church-going people that they are, my parents didn’t have any pornography or anything like that in the house, but they did buy a regular supply of the current best-sellers, with all that entails. The first book I read with my newly-granted freedom (or maybe this was the book that inspired that conversation) was The Poseidon Adventure. The original movie had come out not long before, and the theme song from the movie was a big hit on Top 40 radio, so I was curious. Anyway, I grew up with the idea that, with proper parental involvement, teens should have few if any restrictions placed on what they read.

Of course, now, erotica and books with very explicit sex scenes are a lot more mainstream than they used to be, and I wouldn’t be wild about the idea of my own teens reading those. So I’ll agree that parents, and anyone who doesn’t care to read explicit material, need to exercise more caution now than maybe they used to.

Sex isn’t the only concern in deciding the appropriateness of reading material. Graphic violence is something that many parents and readers are concerned about; along with, at least for me, the cause served by the violence. I’m less bothered by reading about a villain being graphically and colorfully disposed of than I would be if the same methods were used against a hero, innocent bystander, child, or animal. Strong language bothers some people. Readers and parents might also object to what they consider sacrilegious content. A handful of f-bombs in a book doesn’t bother me, but I’ve been known to put a book down because of light or disrespectful treatment of matters that are sacred to me. Some people might not like to see people of certain genders or races portrayed in certain ways. Some people might object to a specific political slant. The exact definition of what’s offensive or inappropriate is different for everyone. As another example, I’m presently reading a fantasy novel that I believe is generally considered “clean,” although it contains at least one fairly intense scene of near-rape, and I’m left wondering why near-rape is considered less objectionable than consummated lovemaking, just because the act isn’t completed.

Anyway, the list goes on and on, and the consensus among writers is that you can’t please everyone, you’re bound to end up offending someone, and the best and only thing a writer can do is to write as honestly as he/she can.

So, to the point. How would I rate my books as far as age-appropriateness and offensive content?

My books feature adult characters, with adult lives and concerns, and contain “mature themes and situations,” including sex and relationships, earning a living, death, war, sacrifice, and the struggle against evil forces that disrupt their world. A principle I try to follow in my writing is that everything in the story is there because it’s needed. (I’m not perfect at this, but it’s what I aspire to.) The corollary to that is, if something needs to be in the story, I put it in. If some important story or character development requires a sex scene, I put in a sex scene, though I leave out any description that isn’t important to the point I’m trying to make. On the other hand, if some detail of the act is important, I’ll include that – but still in the least graphic manner that still gets the job done. My aim is never to titillate the reader – I don’t want the reader to be pulled out of the story by thinking about their own reaction to what I’ve written, I want them to be engrossed in what’s happening with the characters (this applies to everything I write, not just sex scenes). On the other hand, if the important character and story business take place before the sex scene, I’ll draw the curtain. In Urdaisunia, we don’t need to know what Prince Eruz does with his three concubines (no, seriously, we don’t); what we need to know is the desperate state of mind he’s in that drives him to seek comfort that way.

Same thing with violence. Prince Eruz has to execute some people. The important thing is what’s going on inside Eruz’s head as he is forced to carry out these executions, not graphic descriptions of the actual deaths, so that’s where the focus is in the writing. In Lost Book of Anggird, a couple of reprehensible people are killed in a particularly grisly way as punishment for their misdeeds; the act of carrying out the killings is cathartic to the person who does it, as well as demonstrating the extreme state of mind that character is in, so I focus on that in the writing and not on the (literally) gory details.

Language: I try to use restraint in the use of strong or offensive language, because it loses its impact if it’s overused. (A personal line for me is not to use religious oaths that apply in our world; on the other hand, characters in an invented world using oaths that reference invented gods aren’t a problem for me.) Again, if it’s necessary to communicate what the character is experiencing, or if the use of strong language is appropriate to how the character would speak in a given situation, I’ll put in just what’s necessary. There’s a bit of language in Urdaisunia that’s rougher than I would normally use, but it’s coming from a thoroughly bad person who is purposely being as insulting and offensive as possible. Anything milder in that situation would have sounded silly.

And so on. In general, I try to put in what the story requires to be told honestly and completely, without going overboard, and certainly without any intent to purposely shock, offend, or titillate.

If you want something more concrete, here is where I rate my books on a couple of different scales:

On the All-Romance Ebooks Heat Rating scale, from 1 – 5 flames, I rate my books a 2: “some [consummated] love scenes. These will be more sensual than graphic and will mostly rely on euphemism.” Some parts might edge up just a bit to a low 3, with slightly more graphic description. My short stories run from 0 – 1 flame.

Alternatively, here’s a rating scale I devised for fanfiction (another post for another time):
G: Nothing offensive, possibly some slight angst
PG: Occasional mild language, sexual references, mild violence, angsty
PG-13: More frequent language, strongly implied or “on-camera” (non-explicit) sex, more violence, intense angst
R: Strong language, more descriptive (but still non-explicit) sex, semi-graphic violence
M: extreme foul language, explicit sexual description, graphic violence.

On this scale, my books run PG-13 – R. (Short stories G – PG-13).

As far as age recommendations go, my books are definitely not for children. Also not for young teens. As far as older teens go, my books don’t fit into the currently-popular Young Adult category, mainly because they have adult rather than teenage main characters and address adult concerns rather than the typical coming-of-age themes usually addressed in YA books, and also may have somewhat more graphic content (though my understanding is that there are plenty of YA books with intense and disturbing content, that address serious issues of sex, drugs, abuse, and so on). Based on my own experience at that age – there wasn’t a YA category back then, or if there was it wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is now, and when you were in high school you went from reading middle grade/young teen books to adult books – I think my books are suitable for ages 16 and up. I wouldn’t have a problem with my 17-year-old reading them (aside from the embarrassment factor of kid reading love scenes written by his mom!) I mean, really, I’m not exactly writing 50 Shades here.

But, ultimately, the appropriateness of my books is not a decision I’m qualified to make for other parents – or any other reader, period. I hope the information in this post will give readers and parents the information they need to make the right decision for themselves.


Book Review: I Kissed A Ghost, by Robin Leigh Morgan

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I Kissed A Ghost, by Robin Leigh Morgan
**** (4 stars)

“I Kissed a Ghost” is a novel of first love combined with a ghost story. It’s positioned as YA, but it reads more for a younger audience, I’d say 4th-8th grade. Mary and her friends are just discovering that boys aren’t quite as icky as they thought, and that kissing one might be fun. But soon after Mary’s first tentative experience with having a boyfriend, her family moves and she’s afraid she’ll never find another boy like the one she left behind. Or will she?

There’s a ghost living in her family’s new house, and Mary soon finds herself living two lives – partly her modern-day life and partly the life of a girl in the early 20th century. She also struggles to find friends at her new school, and when she does they refuse to come to her house to play because, they say, the house is haunted. They think they’re only teasing her; little do they know!

The style seems a little distant and formal; a lot of the story is told in narrative summary, where showing more of it through action would give it a more immediate feel and livelier pace. Also, although an editor is credited, the book could use a really thorough editing pass to correct misplaced words, incorrect tenses, and a few punctuation problems.

Overall, “I Kissed a Ghost” is a tender and sweet story about a girl beginning to make the emotional adjustment from childhood to adolescence and about her ghost’s surprisingly poignant mystery.


Some Artists, and Some Good Reading

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to three wonderful artists who I found on deviantArt.com about commissioning cover art for Daughter of the Wildings. I was very pleasantly surprised with what I was able to afford, with the end result being that not only am I able to get custom cover art for the Daughter of the Wildings series, I can also get a better cover than the one I made myself for Chosen of Azara! I’m not going to go into which artist/s I ended up commissioning (that’ll be revealed when I post the covers) or why (that’s between me and them, except it was a very difficult decision and a lot of it came down to the looks I wanted for the different projects and the needs of my budget) or how much I’m paying (that’s confidential), but I will say that based on my interactions with them so far, I would absolutely recommend any of the three to other writers who are looking for cover artists.

Go take a look:
me-illuminated
Trisste
Design by Katt

Also, some authors I read have some new stuff out. The fabulous Camille LaGuire, whose Mick and Casey westerns I really enjoy, is posting a new serial, The Case of the Misplaced Baronness. This one is set in her roughly “silent-movie era” alternate universe and features the indomitable Lady Pauline Anne Marie Tritt-Woolsey Beethingham Smythe, Baroness of Beethingham, aka “Plink.” There’s something of a Jeeves-and-Woosterish vibe to this, so if you’re a Jeeves and Wooster fan (which I am), you’ll enjoy this.

And Forged in Blood, Part 1, the first part of Book 6 of the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker is out. I’ve really been enjoying this series, and could hardly wait for this book (and can hardly wait for part 2, due out later this summer). Each book is partly in the point of view of a different member of the Emperor’s Edge team, and in this last book (or pair of books) we finally get inside the head of Sicarius, the inscrutable yet sexy assassin. And it’s a very interesting place to be, indeed. I’m an incurable end-peeker (it’s harder to peek at the end with e-books, which I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I still manage it if I really can’t stand the suspense) and it looks like this one ends with a doozy of a cliffhanger. Just makes the anticipation of the last book all the more sweet! I’ve also enjoyed the Encrypted/Decrypted duology set in the same world as the Emperor’s Edge books.

Finally, I want to mention The Norothian Cycle, by M. Edward McNally, yet another amazing independent author. I read the first book, The Sable City, not long ago, and went through it like a box of chocolates. Highly recommended, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series – after I finish Forged in Blood 1 and some Read and Review books for my Goodreads group. Since I started exploring books by independent writers a little more than a year and a half ago (about the time I was considering taking the leap into self-publishing myself), my to-read list, as evidenced by the number of samples on my Kindle, has been growing at an alarming rate. So many fresh voices and exciting books, so little time!

One more thing: Here’s a shout-out to this week’s Paranormal, Fantasy, Dystopia, and Romance Writers and Reviewers group featured author, Donna Hawk! I will be hosting Donna next week as part of her blog tour with Saskia Book Tours, and I’m looking forward to it very much.


Author Spotlight: Sharon Stevenson

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Today I’d like to introduce you to Sharon Stevenson, author of the Gallows series.1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m married to a man who makes me laugh.  I love reading and watching TV and I enjoy a wide variety of genres for both.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I was maybe five years old when I started writing and I did it because I liked it.  I think it started with weekend diaries at school.  Whatever I’d actually done wasn’t as interesting as what I could make up!

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write adult modern fantasy, or urban fantasy in a non-urban setting.  Urban Fantasy is a favourite genre of mine to read so writing this type of series came easily enough!  I like books to be entertaining and my imagination gets to run wild in a fantasy setting.

4. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?
‘Fate Fallen’, the third book in my Gallows series, just came out at the start of May.  I’m in the editing stages with an urban fantasy / dark comedy novella about reanimation, titled ‘Raised’.  I hope to release it in the next few months.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book.
The Gallows novels are set in an alternate reality Scotland, complete with fictional towns and as many supernatural creatures as I could cram in!  Descendants of fallen angels work as demon trackers and demons roam the earth in the form of vampires.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Shaun is sarcastic, a bit moody, and reluctant but his heart’s in the right place.  Sarah is a pretty determined and caring kind of person even if she tends towards reckless behaviour.  I enjoy flawed characters so that’s the kind I like to write about!

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I tend to listen to music while I write. I listened to Twin Atlantic CD’s while I was writing the Gallows novels.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
Website http://www.sharonstevenson.moonfruit.com/
Link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009JBKV96

Book Review: Path to Vengeance, by W.H. Cann

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Path to Vengeance (Guardians, Book 1) by W.H. Cann
**** (4 stars)

Science fantasy, futuristic fantasy, whatever you want to call it, if you like magic and high tech together, you’ll enjoy this. Sorcerers and ancient prophecies, whiz-bang hardware and space battles, and a human story of love, loss, ambition, friendship, and vengeance all come together in this story about Grogaan, a talented young starfighter pilot. We follow Grogaan as he deals with the loss of three of the most important people in his life, including his beloved fiancee Miranda, through his search for vengeance against the raiders who killed them, and then as he begins to realize he has an even greater destiny.

The style is somewhat formal, and the book is written in the omniscient viewpoint (that is, a distant, all-knowing narrator) rather than the more familiar 3rd-person limited (the story being told from inside the viewpoint of one character at a time). This is a legitimate stylistic choice, but some readers might find it makes it harder for them to become engaged in the book. To these readers I’d say, stick with it, it gets easier.

Also, there’s quite a bit of explanation of characters’ thoughts, emotions, and motivations, as well as information about the (well-developed) world. The author is adept enough at using action and dialogue to show what we need to know about the world and the characters’ thoughts and emotions that a lot of the additional explanation isn’t necessary. Even so, the story moves forward at a good pace. The space battles are particularly well-written; I was able to clearly visualize the action, and found myself reading quickly to find out if Grogaan and his friends made it through safely.

Overall, this is a fun, exciting book, and I understand that the next books in the series are even better, so I look forward to reading them.


Book Extra: Chosen of Azara Cast of Characters

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Here’s another Book Extra for Chosen of Azara: the cast of characters. It’s a little tricky to do a character list for this book in a non-spoilery fashion. The novel covers three distinct story arcs, over separate periods of time. Some characters appear in all three arcs, sometimes under different names, and other characters come and go. There are also some family relationships that might constitute spoilers. So instead of listing the characters by story arc, I’ve just put them by nationality, without spoilery family trees and alternate names.

Also, here’s a shout-out to the Paranormal, Fantasy, Dystopia, and Romance Writers and Reviewers group featured author of the week, Alexandra Butcher!


Author Spotlight: Jennifer Howard

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And now it’s time for another author spotlight: Jennifer Howard!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jen and I’m a lunatic. No lie. I’m crazy, inappropriate, warped. I “lie” for a living, and I love it! I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a dog owner, and a super spy. Oops–I didn’t mean to say that. Now I’m gonna have to kill ya. Sorry. My bad.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I have written all of my life. As to the why, it’s always been a part of me–it’s like breathing. I couldn’t exist and not write.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write? 
I write a little bit of everything–short stories, poetry, various genres of fiction. I haven’t tried nonfiction yet, but I’m always open to trying new things! (That to say, it’s always a possibility!) I like to switch things up, and it’s challenging to attempt different things. Sometimes it’s a flop, sometimes it’s brilliance–but every time, it’s fun! I enjoy writing, period!

4. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?
My currently released book is The Healing Heart. My work-in-progress is entitled The Steps to Karma. I also have a secret work-in-progress, as well. It’s a collaboration, and I’m EXTREMELY excited about it!

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book.
The Steps to Karma is set in our world, mostly on the island of St. John, USVI. I absolutely liken Caribbean island life to a magical world. The scenery, the colors, the environment, the weather—purely magical!  In my book, I hope my descriptions do it justice!

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
My protagonist is named Karma Clark. She’s a burnt out D.C. divorce attorney who has some MAJOR issues and decisions to make! She’s strong, emotionally pent up, a hot mess! My favorite character, though, is Jae Jourdain. She’s 1/4 Thai, raised by her NOLA Creole Grammy, tattooed, dread locked, a hippie chick, and FUN! She interjects Cajun French phrases into her regular conversation–which throws Karma for a loop, at first. And she is the antithesis of ’emotionally pent-up’–which is GREAT to me!

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book:
I have travelled to St. John twice, my last trip being business and pleasure, research and vacation. I hope it shows in my book!

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available:
My website is http://www.jennifer-howard.net. My blog is there, as well as descriptions and links to my currently published book, The Healing Heart, short stories, featured indie authors, and a sneak peek of The Steps to Karma. It’s fun! The Healing Heart is available for sale on Amazon.com: amzn.to/YdGBsR, Barnes and Noble.com:  bit.ly/ZjX7bO and on iTunes: bit.ly/16wdUvY

Introduction to Estelend: The World of Chosen of Azara

The feedback from the test readers on The Lost Book of Anggird is in, and it’s awesome. Lots of love for the book, and also some good suggestions for making it even better. So I’m mulling all that over, and in the meantime I’m going full-in on finishing up revisions on Chosen of Azara and getting it ready for release in June.

Chosen of Azara is set in a world that I started making up years ago. I don’t remember how long ago, and I don’t think Chosen is even the first story I set in that world. “A Cure for Nel,” one of the stories in the collection of the same name, is set in the same world, as are the two longer short stories I wrote in March and some other unfinished novels/story fragments.

I do remember how I started developing this world. I was bored one day, so I bought a box of crayons, the box with 64 different colors and a built-in sharpener. You can buy boxes with even more colors than that now, but at the time that was the deluxe box. Then I got out a big piece of cheap kid’s drawing paper and started drawing this landmass. I wanted it to have deserts and hills and mountains and rivers and swampy areas and a large inland sea and all kinds of cool stuff. Mostly, I designed it around Sources, which I imagined as natural features that served as sources of magical power. A Source can be a hill or mountain, a cave, a place where two rivers flow together, a water spout or rocky ocean cove, an ancient tree, a spring or lake, a fjord, or any other kind of distinctive natural feature.

And I named it SourceWorld. Which is descriptive, but not very organic – that is, it doesn’t sound like something that the people living there would naturally call it. It’s an externally-imposed name. So I got out my word-making-up-fu (checked the word-origins section of my huge old American Heritage dictionary and mixed some stuff from that together with some names I came up with on a fantasy name generator) and ta-daa, Estelend was born.

The idea with magic in Estelend is that naturally-occuring heavenly and earthly magical powers are combined and flow through the Sources. Where the Source is, what kind of natural feature it’s located in, and what sort of people gravitate to that Source all affect the kind of power it is, good, not so good, useful for healing or prophecy or other stuff, and so on. Certain people are born with an ability to take in Source-power and use it. Other people who aren’t born with the ability can have it forced into them. A very few people are born perfectly attuned to the power of a certain Source, and their lives depend on having constant access to power from that Source. Bringing together a person and a Source that are incompatible, or committing certain acts within a Source (such as bloodshed) can taint or even destroy the Source.

So I started marking in the Sources, and the countries, and figuring out allies and enemies and the different characteristics of the people and places on this huge continent, and how the magic works, and stories started to grow. I don’t know if you can really call them a series, since they are all stand-alone, with different characters in different places, but they definitely go together. Chosen of Azara was posted on an old website I had for many years, and now I’m excited to be able to write and share more of the stories that my world of Estelend has given birth to. (Kanyev the Source-Fixer has been waiting impatiently for his day in the sun for a long time now. I promise, buddy, your time is coming.)

There’s a quick introduction to the world of Chosen of Azara, “A Cure for Nel,” the tales of Haveshi Yellowcrow and Latan the Scholar, and more. Oh, and if you have a fantasy world, you have to have a map, and here it is. This is an improved drawing I did based on the original, and doctored up in the image editing program I had two computers ago. I don’t seem to have the dingbat any more that I was using to mark cities, so as I add more cities I guess I’ll have to find something else to mark them with. But that’s ok. Better to have a world that continues to grow and develop than to have it become static for lack of a dingbat.


Author Spotlight: Kristen DaRay

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I’m excited to add another new feature to the blog: author spotlight interviews. It was so much fun to be interviewed during my week as the PFDRWRG featured author that I decided to continue the fun by also hosting some interviews! I’ll start with other featured authors from the group, and I’ll also be acting as a blog host for Saskia Book Tours. From there I’ll also branch out into other authors I want to introduce to my blog visitors.First up is Kristen DaRay, whose book Gemini of Emreiana I reviewed here.1. Tell us a little about yourself:
I am 21 years old, live in Alabama, and completely love reading and writing. I enjoy watching Korean Drama’s and playing Sims 3 along with writing Sims stories.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing my first novel when I was 15. As far as writing in general since the 6th grade, 12.  I started writing after I won a contest in our county for an essay. It even placed second in the state. I was so proud of my achievement that I wanted to pursue it. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I realized that I really enjoyed the fantasy world and had some great ideas of my own.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
Right now I am interested in writing YA science fiction. I integrate some romance in it, but I like having a major story within it, not focusing on the romantic side. To me, this builds the characters a lot more and I can see and watch them grow.

4. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?
My latest, and first, book was Gemini of Emreiana. Carson finds out that her life is a lie, and that she is an alien princess. She will have to make difficult choices, including leaving behind her friends and boyfriend, Kyle.  However, Emreiana’s war with the Bremoir seem to impact her decision.

Right now I am working on wrapping up the sequel to the Gemini series, Gemini the Heir. Carson is adjusting to life on Emreiana, but now the war isn’t her only problem. Some of the other leaders in Emreiana do not see her fit to take the crown. Book two is full of twists and surprises, though.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book:
Emreiana is a planet within the Volva solar system. They are at war with the Bremoir, species to planet Helentania. Emreiana is mostly a tropical planet. The areas around its poles is extremely barren and cold. It is full of new animals, such as drazen, and plant life, such as illimor.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Carson, also known as Lenai Carsona, is our heroine. She was born in Emreiana as an heir to the throne. However, the Bremoir see her as a threat because of a prophecy they have. So she was sent to Earth to be protected from the Bremoir. 18 years later she learns of her past and has to make a decision to leave. But, it’s hard for her because she is living the dream life with her friends and boyfriend Kyle.

I like Carson because while she has a reason to be upset with the situation, in the end she handles it like a true Lenai, princess.  She is wiling to put her feelings aside so that she can keep her friends safe. That is a hard decision for someone to make.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book:
A fun fact about Gemini of Emreina would be that the first chapter changed five times before I settled. The original was completely different. Then halfway through the book, I decided I didn’t like it so I changed it about twice. Then when I finished writing, I realized there were a few things that didn’t measure up so I rewrote it another two times.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available:
This link includes links to where all my books are available:
http://kristendaray.blogspot.com/p/gemini-of-emreiana.html
Which is amazon, kobo, smashwords, scribd, Barns and Noble.