Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Author Spotlight: B.R. Kingsolver

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Today I’m happy to welcome B.R. Kingsolver, author of the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy Chameleon Assassin, here with Ultimate Fantasy Books blog tours.

Question: Tell us a little about yourself.
Answer: I grew up in Santa Fe, The City Different, in the Land of Enchantment, surrounded by writers, artists, myths, and folklore. I’m a passionate lifetime skier, and our house was seventeen miles from the nearest ski basin.

After living all over the US and exploring the world — from Amsterdam to the Romanian Alps, and Russia to the Rocky Mountains — I trade time between Baltimore and Albuquerque. I have an eclectic education in history, social sciences, nursing, and biology and a Master’s degree in business. I’ve done everything from painting houses to working as a newspaper editor,  making gold and silver jewellery,  to programming computers.

I currently spend my  time writing and working with computers while living nine blocks from the harbor in Baltimore. My main job is servant in residence to a very demanding cat.

Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I tried to write a novel when I was fifteen. It was terrible and I was so sure I was a poor writer that I never tried again until five years ago. Now, in my professional life, I’ve worked as a business and technical writer and editor for a long time, but I didn’t try to write fiction. Then five years ago, my partner and I were discussing self-publishing and I mentioned that I had a story I thought would sell. She pushed me to write it, so I did.

Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: Chameleon Assassin, the first book in a series by the same name. The second book in the series, tentatively titled Chameleon Uncovered, is about half written and should be published early in 2017.

Q: “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
A: The book is set 200 years in the future. Environmental pollution and climate change have drastically altered the world, and several nuclear wars have damaged the environment further. The book is set in Toronto, but the climate is like south Florida is today. Major parts of the world are so hot and dry that they’re uninhabitable.

As a result of all this, large businesses have taken charge and governments are basically organs of the corporations. There are four main tiers in society, the corporate bosses, those who work for the corporations, a small set of independent business people, and the desperately poor. Many of the poor are mutants.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
A: The main character is Elizabeth (Libby) Nelson, a tall (6’2”) 25-year-old mutant who owns a small business as a security consultant. Her main business, though, is as a burglar and assassin. Libby’s main mutation is that she is a chameleon. She can essentially become invisible by blending into the background. She can also psychically project an image or illusion of herself as being anything she chooses. Very handy for a thief.

Libby’s mother is a madam, and her father was a cat burglar and assassin before a fall crippled him. So she’s had an unusual childhood, to say the least. She’s kick-ass, takes no sass, but dishes it out. She’s irreverent, snarky, and has a cutting wit and nasty temper.

She’s also a bleeding-heart altruist who gives a lot of her money away and is fiercely protective of her friends and those who can’t protect themselves.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A: I envisioned the character of Libby almost a year ago, but didn’t know what to do with her. I was in the middle of writing an epic fantasy/quest novel this past August when I had a story idea for an urban fantasy\dystopian sci-fi  novel and realized it was the perfect story for Libby. I stopped writing the epic fantasy novel in the middle of a battle and wrote the first four chapters of Chameleon Assassin before I went to bed that night.

Where to find B.R. Kingsolver:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

For special deals and news about new books, sign up for B.R. Kingsolver’s newsletter.

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Chameleon Assassin:
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized.

There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets. The corporate elite live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.

Chameleon Assassin is available at Amazon | Add to Goodreads

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Author Spotlight: Rachel A. Brune

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Today I’m happy to welcome urban fantasy/steampunk author Rachel A. Brune to the blog, talking about her books and a new Edgar Allan Poe project.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’m 38 years old, six feet tall, and I have trouble saying no to new projects. On the other hand, I always have a steady stream of experiences and characters on which to draw when writing!

Q: What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
A: I write in a variety of genres, but lately urban fantasy and steampunk seem to be my thing. For urban fantasy, I am in love with the idea that the fantastical is right around the corner, and that there are worlds where magic lives right next to the subway. As for steampunk, I love the physical aesthetic of the costumes and artwork that you can see at conventions, but I also love the worlds that have been created around the idea of futuristic historical technology.

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Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: The very next thing that is coming out is a steampunk detective story, “The Case of the Cigar Girl in the Sixpenny Temple.” This is a punk version of Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” and will be part of an anthology that includes literary punk versions of Poe’s stories and poems, titled Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk. After that, I will be starting revisions on an urban fantasy novel, Steel-Toed Blues, and then sending that out to hopefully find a home.

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Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A: For the last few months of 2015, I was having the WORST writer’s block. I couldn’t even sit down to my computer without wanting to cry because nothing was coming. So, I auditioned for a play, and ended up cast as the Priest in the local Sweet Tea Shakespeare production of Twelfth Night. I also played guitar and sang with the band that accompanies the play. For some reason, trying something new creatively jogged loose whatever was blocking my writing, and I started getting words done during rehearsal, and finally finished the steampunk short story, and made some good headway on my novel.
Rachel A. Brune’s books are available at Amazon.
The Poe anthology will be available on Amazon on May 31.
Where to find Rachel A. Brune:
Blog | Goodreads | Twitter

Reading Roundup

I’ve been reading some awesome books lately, so it’s time for another Reading Roundup! (Links go to Goodreads.)

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A Guardian Reborn (The Guardians #3), W.H. Cann

Like the previous two books in the Guardians series, in A Guardian Reborn, shiny spaceships, futuristic technology, and exciting space battles blend with magic (unsullied by pseudo-scientific explanations) and wizards good and evil in an engaging mix of high fantasy and space opera with a touch of romance. The formal, slightly old-fashioned narrative style and omniscient viewpoint might make this book a little difficult for some readers to get into at first, but the engaging characters, tensions between the evil Empire and the Republic battling to preserve freedom in the galaxy, and the exciting battles both magical and involving space ships and laser cannons kept me reading.

Fans of Star Wars will especially enjoy these books, as will fantasy fans looking for a setting very different from the usual low-tech fantasy and science fiction fans in the mood for a little magic. (Full review)


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Savage Storm (Rys Rising #2)
New Religion (Rys Rising #3)
Love Lost (Rys Rising #4)
by Tracy Falbe

I’d read the first book in the Rys Rising series and liked it, though I struggled a little bit with it, not being familiar with the world which was previously introduced in the Rys Chronicles series (Rys Rising is the prequel series). In Savage Storm, though, the saga really takes shape and takes off. Exciting and adventurous, with memorable characters, high stakes, and a broad, epic sweep. The action continues to rise in New Religion, then Ms. Falbe brings it all back home in epic style in Love Lost, the intense, exciting, heart-wrenching conclusion to the series, filled with vivid characters, a colorfully-drawn landscape, awe-inspiring magic, intense battles, romance, heartbreak, ambition, and heroism.


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The Fire Mages (Brightmoon Annals), Pauline M. Ross

The Fire Mages is another standalone novel set in Pauline Ross’s Brightmoon World, the world of her first novel, The Plains of Kallanash. I enjoyed Plains very much, and Fire Mages even more. Though set in a different country and culture, with different characters, The Fire Mages has another original social structure and interesting magic system. If you enjoy high fantasy in a unique setting with cool magic and well-conceived, multi-dimensional characters, I highly recommend The Fire Mages. (Full review)


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Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter International #1), Larry Correia

Wow, this was awesome. A diverse cast of memorable characters, great monsters and fantasy creatures (these aren’t Tolkein’s Elves and Orcs!), a battle to save the world from evil creatures from beyond, lots of shooting stuff and blowing stuff up, courage and heroism and a touch of romance, all told in a fun narrative style that kept me up reading way too late four nights in a row. And one of the best opening paragraphs in fiction, EVAR! Lots of fun.


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Our Husband, Stephanie Bond

Something light and fluffy as a change of pace from the more heavy-duty reading I’ve been doing lately. Three women discover they’re married to the same man when they come to visit him in the hospital after he’s in an accident. He dies, then it turns out he was murdered! Though they’re naturally jealous and suspicious of each other, a shared sense of confusion, grief, and betrayal brings the women together and grows into friendship as they try to figure out who really killed their husband. No big surprises, but still fun.


Book Review: Path of the Heretic

Path of the HereticPath of the Heretic (The Beholder #2) by Ivan Amberlake

Path of the Heretic is the exciting follow-up to The Beholder, and I liked it even more than the first book (which I enjoyed very much). Months after the events at the end of The Beholder, Jason is still trying to come to terms with what happened, but the battle between Lightsighted and Darksighted is ongoing. The book starts off with a bang and continues at a fast pace as Jason tries to learn the truth about Emily, protect the human world from the Dark Ones, and keep himself from being killed or turned by Pariah. In between the exciting magical battles, Pariah and his gang plot to get to Jason and his friends, Jason attempts to solve the mystery of Emily, and characters live, die, change sides, and discover new things about themselves. The book is darkly moody and atmospheric, but I also appreciate the touch of romance from the man’s point of view.

It had been a while since I read The Beholder, and Path of the Heretic dumps the reader right into the middle of the action, so while I remembered the characters from the first book (they’re certainly memorable), it took me a while to get the hang of what was going on and remember some key points from the first book. But I stuck with it until I got it figured out, and the rest of the book was definitely worth it.

A more-than-worthy sequel to The Beholder, great reading for fans of urban/contemporary fantasy.

The BeholderAnd I realized I never posted my review of book 1, The Beholder, so here it is!

The Beholder (The Beholder #1) by Ivan Amberlake

Urban fantasy about a regular guy, Jason, who discovers that the terrible nightmares he’s been having are real. He discovers that he’s linked to a group, existing undetected in our society, of people with supernatural powers, and that he is a key weapon in the fight against evil.

The magic is complex, and the story is suspenseful. At times it reads a little like a video game, with explanations from one knowledgable source or another of things Jason needs to know alternated with challenges that he has to get through. But the action is thrilling and the battles kept me glued to the book.

I especially appreciated the romantic subplot written from the guy’s point of view, seeing Jason’s feelings for Emily, his guide through the magical world he’s been pulled into, as they develop. I found it geniunely moving and well-done.

Highly recommended for fans of urban fantasy, or readers of epic/high fantasy who are open to trying something set in the real, modern world.


Release of Ruins by Joshua Winning

I’m happy to announce that my buddy Joshua Winning (profiled here) has a new book out: Ruins, book 2 of the Sentinel Trilogy (read my review of book 1 here). I beta-read Ruins and, basically, it was awesome. The first book, Sentinel, was really good, and Ruins is a more-than-worthy successor. From my comments to Joshua: “I was never bored! Every scene was interesting and well-paced, and necessary to the story. I didn’t find myself reading something and wondering why it mattered. Also, after that ending, you’d better get Inferno out fast!”

So, it’s good. Check it out on Amazon!

Ruins by Joshua WinningRuins (The Sentinel Trilogy, Book 2), by Joshua Winning

Second instalment of the critically-acclaimed Sentinel Trilogy. In his desperate search for answers about the Sentinels, an ancient society of guardians that his parents once belonged to, fifteen-year-old Nicholas Hallow is tipped into a fresh nightmare of terrifying monsters – and even more sinister humans. As Nicholas is challenged to become a Sentinel, he must track down a mysterious girl with the help of a grumpy cat. Meanwhile, an uprising of evil threatens to destroy the Sentinels and send the world spiralling into chaos.

Learn more about the Sentinel Trilogy here.

About the Author:

Joshua Winning was born in Cambridge, but don’t hold that against him. He’s attempted to escape reality for most of his life by writing. As a child, that involved poring diligently over anything by C.S. Lewis or Robin Jarvis.​

When he’s not writing about Sentinels, Joshua can usually be found watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Wire and Daria. He also works as a freelance journalist, writing about movies for Total Film, Little White Lies and movieScope.​

Joshua currently lives in North London with his cat Mia. Unfortunately, she’s not a great conversationalist, but he’s working on it.


Book Review: Demon Divided

Demon DividedDemon Divided (Gallows, book 2) by Sharon Stevenson

Urban fantasy isn’t my usual reading, but I really liked Blood Bound, book 1 of the Gallows series, so I decided to keep reading and I’m happy to say that I liked Demon Divided even more.

Demon-hunting twins Shaun and Sarah Gallows are back, trying to track down the vampire maker responsible for the vampire they have locked up in the basement. (Why you need a locked cage in the basement – to keep the vampire in, of course.) Along the way, Shaun finds himself being suspected of the grisly murder of a drug dealer, and Sarah is in thrall to the demon who is possessing the vampire in the basement (you thought regular vampires were bad…) – and that’s just the beginning of their troubles! There’s also serial-killing ex-vampire zombies (again, you thought regular vampires were bad!), a winsome human psychic who Shaun knows is the wrong girl for him but that doesn’t seem to make any difference, Shaun and Sarah’s mom (as scary as anything else they have to deal with!), the evil and corrupt Melissa from book 1 and her evil and corrupt dad, and a werewolf who just wants to be patted on the head and told “good doggy”. It’s lots of dark, gruesome fun, written in a clear, sophisticated style with an undercurrent of wit; one of my favorite lines is “He’d shifted into his furry skin and was looking a lot less feral than he had in human form, even if he did have a zombie arm hanging from his mouth.” And Shaun, my favorite character, is back in fine curmudgeonly, junk-food-inhaling form.

I did have some trouble remembering things from the first book and working out what was going on and why – the author doesn’t stop to just explain things, she trusts the reader to be smart enough to figure it out on their own – but after a while I got the hang of most of it, and where I didn’t, I just went along for the ride anyway, trusting that Ms. Stevenson knows what she’s doing and it’ll all come together eventually. And what a fun ride it is. Recommended both for fans of urban fantasy and those who aren’t sure if they even like urban fantasy.


Book Review: One Crazy Night

PictureOne Crazy Night, an anthology by Nightshade Reads

Eight paranormal, fantasy, and urban fantasy authors have put their heads together and come up with this anthology of stories on the theme of how lives and even worlds can change in a single crazy night. Some of the stories are standalones; others are more like prologues or teasers for the authors’ longer works, but all are exciting and enjoyable. They range from the lighthearted YA humor of “Love Magic” by Louise Nicks, where two teenage sisters wreak havoc on a high school dance with an ill-made love spell, to the reflective “The Recruit,” by Sara Furlong Burr, in which an alcoholic firefighter, broken by his brother’s death, tries to find the wherewithal to move on and do something about it, to the horror of “Bellona,” Aoife Marie Sheridan’s look at the backstory of the villainess from her Saskia trilogy. And lots of other great stories – the undersea paranormal “Elements” by M.H. Soars; the poignant dystopian paranormal “The Keymaker” by Teshelle Combs; frightening YA nightmare “The Lady in Black” by R. Holland; Emma Faragher’s chilling legend “Necromancer Lineage”; and Sharon Stevenson’s engaging and slightly creepy urban fantasy “Reanimator.” (Though the anthology contains some YA selections, some graphic violence and horror content and minimally graphic sexual content makes it more suitable for older teens and adults.)

A highly recommended sampling of some fresh and exciting new voices in these genres – and the proceeds go to a very worthy cause, leukemia and lymphoma research. Definitely worth reading!

Find out more about the authors of Nightshade Reads and this anthology in this post.


Author Spotlight: N.J. Paige

N.J. PaigeIntroducing author N.J. Paige and her novel Rise of the Nephilim: Fire and Blood:


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

First, I want to thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. A little bit about me: well, I’m a mom of two wonderful children and wife to the best husband in the world-my best friend.2. When did you start writing, and why?
This may be a little cliche, but I began in high school. I found it as a way to express all my frustrations as a teenage girl.3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
My goal is to write across many different genres. However, currently, I find that I’m drawn to Fantasy/Science-Fiction. The most important thing for me though, no matter what genre I happen to be writing in, is to support the foundations that I believe to be the foundations of Humanity-love, empathy, honor.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My latest book is a new series, Rise of The Nephilim: Fire And Blood. Its foundations are love and empathy-two of Humanities foundations I referred to earlier.

Also, you are the first to know, my new release, Code Human, will be out 4/25/2015. Its foundations lie in love, honor, empathy, and I’ll add, respect. Both series have kick-butt heroines who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Rise of the Nephilim: Fire and Blood5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

Rise Of The Nephilim: Fire And Blood is set in an subterranean world-Babylon, where there are large lakes, cave structures with some modern utilities such as electricity. Think of a medieval village, with some sort of modernity. Its core is beneath New York City. In this world are strange beings-Epochs, Imps, and Fallen Angels, not to mention Nephilims.6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Well, some of my characters are Maxine Lauren-the main charater. Although Maxine has been bullied all her life for her unique features, and has every reason to hate the world, it is her love for her family and for Humanity that will save the world. Also Amand, Maxine’s Fallen Angel father. He is set on destroying the world, for he so hates Humanity, but his love for Maxine, his Sarai, and her human mother, Maybie, is cutting that hate down a little at a time. And I must not forget Mathias, the golden Angel from the Realm of Angels. He is Maxine’s first love. And he is willing to risk everything to protect her and to show his love for her-an unforbidden love.7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Hmm. A fun fact. Let me think. Well, I have a passion for gardening. And one of my dreams is to one day build a home that is completely off the grid and will provide food for me and my family via greenhouses and so forth. Aslo, I love to hike and do all kinds of outdoorsy stuff.

8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
Rise of The Nephilim is available at Amazon.
Where to find N.J.:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter

I want to thank you again for having me as your guest. [Kyra sez: You’re welcome 🙂 My pleasure!]

Read on for an excerpt from Rise of the Nephilim: Fire and Blood:

Continue reading


Book Tour Spotlight: Hunters

HuntersHere’s Aoife Marie Sheridan, here on her book tour with Saskia Book Tours, to introduce us to Abigail, the main character in her new novel, Hunters:

Q: What is the name of your character?
A: The Name of my Character is Abigail Thornton. She’s Nineteen and a Demon Hunter.

Q: Is she fictional or a historic person?
A: Demon Hunter? Fictional I would say. LOL

Q: When and where is the story set?
A: The story is set in our world (Earth). Most of it is set in England and the rest in Rome.

Q: What should we know about her?
A: Well Abigail has no living family, she witnessed the death of her mother, then her father and brother but she was saved by Daniel. Abigail has lots of her own demons but she found a way to deal with them, Alcohol. After being taken in by a priest he teaches her to become a demon hunter, and she’s good at what she does. O did I mention that she can see ghosts. 🙂

Q: What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

A: Her feelings for Daniel really cause serious problems; he’s her best friend, her savoir in ways.  Yet she won’t let him see how she feels. Abigail’s main fear is of losing one more person that she loves, so she chooses to keep people at arm’s length. Her past comes back to haunt her also, when ghosts start attacking her, and her brother makes an appearance, she can’t cope so she turns to drink but soon everything starts to spiral out of control. So her life is pretty messed up.

Q: What is the personal goal of the character?
A: To understand what really happened to her family.

Q: Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
A: Yes it’s called Hunters (Hunters #1). The first chapter you can read for free at http://www.aoifemariesheridan.com/hunters-chapter-one.php

Q: When can we expect the book to be published?
A: The release date for Hunters is the 1st of October 2014.

Hunters:
Abigail is nineteen. Her job, she hunts demons.

Her life so far has been tough. Having witnessed her family’s death and her mother’s suicide, she’s been taken in by a priest, who believes her when she says that she sees ghosts. Father Peter trains her as a demon hunter with three other members, one being Daniel, who isn’t what he seems.
But when a possession goes wrong, and ghosts start to attack Abigail, the tight rope she has on her emotions soon starts to loosen. Abigail draws the unwanted attention of the Reote, and she finds out a lot more than she was willing to learn.
Knowledge is power, but for Abigail, it’s her undoing, and the only thing keeping her together is Daniel.

Hunters is available at Amazon

Aoife Marie SheridanAbout the author:

Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age. Starting off with Mills and Boon’s books, given to by her grandmother, her love for romances grew. By the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn’t) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison Study, one of her favourite books, has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife’s first book, Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy), came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.

You can find Aoife at:
email | Website | Facebook | WordPress | Goodreads | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Pinterest


Author Spotlight: Arie Farnam

Arie FarnamIntroducing Arie Farnam, author of the dystopian fantasy Kyrennei series:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from a remote rural area in Eastern Oregon. I grew up in a family with somewhat alternative values and an earth-based spiritual bent. I also grew up legally blind. Those two influences collided to give me an education in being an outsider as a teenager. Later, I traveled extensively in about 35 countries, worked as a newspaper correspondent in places like Kosovo, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, produced documentary films and generally had a very interesting journalistic career. Now, I live in the Czech Republic with my husband and my two small children. I suppose I am still sort of an outsider, because I’m a foreigner and visually impaired and I often hold minority views. But I’ve made peace with that. And hence my books, which partly deal with issues of social exclusion and inclusion.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I was taught to type by a wonderful teacher when I was in sixth grade. That opened up a whole new world to me. I’ve never been all that good at expressing myself orally and handwriting was always difficult. Typing was like freedom. My imagination and expression ran wild. I have basically written something every since. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes newspaper articles, sometimes just very long letters but I have never had to make myself write or suffered from writers block. If there weren’t other necessary and fun things to do in life, I would write all the time.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?

One thing I really love about writing fiction is the feedback from readers. Non-fiction is good too but fiction is really fun to share. Everyone I’ve heard from has been intensely gripped my series and has fallen in love with the characters. When readers tell me that they meant to just read for a bit and then ended up staying up half the night and wandering around at work the next day daydreaming about my characters, all I can say is, “Yeah, I know. Isn’t it bizarre? I had the same problem while writing it.”

Right now, I’m finishing up a series that is something between contemporary dystopia and a fantasy thriller. It’s my first serious work of fiction. I’ve had the ideas and characters and much of the plot since I was a teenager but I always dismissed it as being “too out-there”, “too-intense” or “too” something else. I was embarrassed to let my fantasies loose on the world. I tried to write all kinds of other fiction and was never satisfied. For a long time, I thought that I must just be a non-fiction writer. But then about a year ago, I decided to try writing this story down, even though I never expected to show it to anyone. I was emboldened partly by recent trends in the dystopia genre, which showed me that my story isn’t beyond the pale.

When I started writing it, I was shocked by what happened. I was gripped by what seemed like a “writer’s fever.” I literally wrote for three months straight. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t sleep. I could barely keep the rest of my life together. In three months, I wrote the rough drafts of three novels. I’ve spent the last few months learning about the new shape of the publishing world, deciding to go independent, creating a website, learning graphic design, editing, editing, editing and seeking out editors and finally publishing and marketing the books. Despite my worries at the beginning, the first book has a five-star average on Amazon.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?

Okay, the series is called The Kyrennei Series.

Book One is The Soul and the Seed. It’s out as an ebook and will be out in paperback within the next few days.

Book Two is The Fear and the Solace. That will be published as an ebook in early October.

The third book, The Taken and the Free, should be launched at a series party on November 8 if all goes well.

I’m also reworking my narrative non-fiction book Border Crossing Lessons. It is sort of a memoir, sort of just a story about incredible people I met and harrowing adventures I had as a shoestring journalist and traveler in my early twenties. That will be out in 2015.

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

The Kyrennei Series is about a fantasy world that outwardly looks exactly like the real world. The difference is that so many of the problems of today’s world that we have a hard time explaining are explained – everything from inter-ethnic wars to high school cliques, as well as political parties, the military industrial complex and corruption. In essence, it’s a whopping good conspiracy theory and it holds water disturbingly well.There is a clandestine force which usurps the wills and desires of individuals, making them fervent disciples of a secret cult of power. A certain portion of the population – including many politicians, business leaders and socialites – are part of what is called the Addin Association.

The Addin is in essence a manifestation of the human desire for power over others. Humans cannot resist the Addin. If the Addin wants an individual, they take them and there is nothing the individual can do about it. Some people can put it off a little longer than others, but in the end, no human can stand up to it. And once taken by the Addin, you desire more power for the Addin and you can take others under its control as well, except that the Addin doesn’t want everyone to have that kind of power and thus only strategic individuals are usually “taken.”

As usually happens in nature, the world started out with something to balance the Addin. There was a race of non-human people, a parallel species to Homo sapiens and those people, known as Kyrennei, could not be controlled by the Addin without their consent. In ancient times, some humans wanted to remain free of the Addin and they asked the Kyrennei for help. The Kyrennei allied themselves with some of these humans and thus came into direct conflict with the Addin. In around 300 CE, the Addin decided that the Kyrennei were a threat to their power and thus began a particularly bloody period of history, during which the Addin tried to exterminate the Kyrennei. By around 700 CE they had succeeded, given that the Kyrennei were not very numerous.

But Kyrennei mystics put in place two important things before they were wiped out. First, they equipped their human allies with a strange sign made up of very subtle gestures, which would disappear from their memory if they were taken by the Addin. Thus, their allies, now called Meikans, would always know who among them was taken by the Addin and who was free. The Meikans, being human, were more able than the Kyrennei to hide and some of them still survive today, hiding from the Addin in the general population and passing down through the generations their special sign, their quiet resistance to the Addin and a secret international Pagan religion.

Secondly, the Kyrennei mystics attempted to hide their DNA, through the use of what appeared to be magic, scattered in dormant genes among humans. There was a prophecy that some day the bits and pieces would come together and the Kyrennei would return. But in the twenty-first century few, even among Meikans, actually believe in such things. True, myths and legends about non-human people with pointy ears and slight stature still abound in many disconnected parts of the world, mystifying folklorists from Ireland to Vietnam, but they’re only old legends after all.

Or are they?

That is the world that the Kyrennei Series opens on. I hope to someday write more books, beyond the initial trilogy, including historical books about how the modern situation came to be.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Aranka is “semi-normal” sixteen-year-old girl. She’s a bit awkward and more athletic than most. She doesn’t pay enough attention to fashion or social cliques, so she’s not real popular in high school but she has a couple good friends. Then, some doctors come to her school to administer a surprise blood test and they claim she’s sick with a terrible super virus. Aranka and several other kids are shut away in a quarantine and wake up imprisoned in cages in a warehouse. Aranka doesn’t know the Addin, which holds true power in the world, exists any more than your average kid in twenty-first century America does. And when a young doctor tells her that she is belongs to an extinct non-human race called the Kyrennei, she’s pretty sure he’s delusional. But after a strange illness and gene therapy, she does now have pointed ears and her body has changed in other ways… and the people keeping her in a cage are killing others who look like her.

Kenyen is the young doctor who tries to tell Aranka about the harsh realities of their world. He’s an undercover agent for an international group of outlaws who actively resist the Addin. The leaders of the resistance have prepared him for this ever since he was a kid, including putting him through medical school. The modern study of genetics has given the Addin access to the dormant Kyrennei genes hidden deep within the human genome and they have decided to force the Kyrennei to return on their own terms, so that they can easily eradicate those who defy their power. Kenyen’s mission is to infiltrate the Addin laboratories and participate in killing Kyrennei at first. Then once the scheme has picked up speed, he is supposed to use his inside position to spearhead a raid by resistance fighters that should free a great number of Kyrennei. The problem with that plan – other than the fact that it’s insanely dangerous to try to infiltrate a group that can control your will in an instant if they ever find out you’re not really one of them – is that he’s a doctor and he has to help kill innocent kids. And it’s destroying him.

Beyond Aranka and Kenyen, the main characters are the members of J. Company, a diverse group of resistance fighters. There’s Thanh, the young Vietnamese Meikan outlaw who narrates a good part of the first two books in the series. He’s just an incredibly awesome character and whenever I was stuck for a voice, I settled on him. Then there’s Jace, the Australian mastermind of J. Company. Jace’s second in command is a tough-as-nails, middle-aged Russian lesbian named Dasha. There’s also Cho, a Japanese medical student who’s in love with Thanh; Rick, Kenyen’s Arab foster brother; Kwasi, an East African musician and mechanic; and Radek, a Czech cartographer with a suspicious streak.

The primary bad guy isn’t actually the boss of all the Addin. One problem with the whole Addin puzzle is that there isn’t really a boss. The Addin isn’t just the people controlled by it and can’t be that easily destroyed. But one Addin figure does stand out, at least for Aranka and Kenyen, because he’s the kind of guy who really hates it when someone small and weak stands up to him or makes him look less than invincible. And this guy Bradley becomes obsessed with torturing Kyrennei prisoners, particularly Aranka, because they resist his domination without even trying.

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

Many of the locations in the book are real, so you can read it and have fun navigating with the characters on GoogleEarth.

The Pagan religion of the Meikans is fictional but similar Pagan belief systems now make up the fastest growing religion in the United States.

The Soul and the SeedTHE SOUL AND THE SEED (Book One of the Kyrennei Series)

What if your very existence threatened the heart of power?

It’s the 21st century, right now, in America and on the surface everything looks just fine. But the commonly accepted image of society is an illusion. A clandestine force usurps the desires of individuals, and those who won’t conform must be crushed to preserve the appearance of free will.Aranka is just a sixteen-year-old girl but a fluke in her genes makes her a threat. Those with power will stop at nothing to protect their supremacy. She is kidnapped by doctors who claim she´s sick but it´s only a matter of time before it´s her turn to die.

A diverse band of outlaws from every corner of the globe represent the only hope of resistance. Kenyen, a young doctor, infiltrates to the heart of the oppression but he can’t stop the terror. He just wants to save one life. In the process he uncovers “the Seed,” the first flicker of hope in a thousand years.

“This could be the next big thing! It presents a dystopian, world-shattering vision while taking place in the recognizable here and now. The characters are flawed, angst-ridden, and totally believable. The plot is instantly engaging, carefully laid out, and strewn with unexpected twists. Subtle yet apparent undertones surrounding issues of race, politics, language, geography, and urban vs rural culture all contribute to the rich, aromatic “stew” in which this story bubbles. .” -George Lederer, school librarian and radio actor

“The Soul and the Seed is a well-crafted tale, full of dynamic characters and showcasing some of the best aspects of fantasy literature: world building and meaningful social commentary by way of holding up a fantastical mirror to our own world. This is modern fantasy, with no vampires or werewolves or inane teenage romance, and it succeeds where so many similar books fail.” -Damian Roache

The Fear and the SolaceTHE FEAR AND THE SOLACE (Book Two of the Kyrennei Series)

What if you had to fight a war you knew you could never win?Twenty-two-year-old Cho is temporary commander of the J. Company compound in Montana when disaster strikes. The scouting team in Portland, Oregon has been ambushed on the 205 bridge. If they’re captured, their souls will be usurped by the malevolent Addin Association. Then Cho will be on her own in a secret world war that cannot be won. Two of her closest friends are dead, the man she loves is at the epicenter of the peril and the one who carries the first hope in a thousand years is lost, almost certainly killed in a rain of bullets.

Hope is a fragile thing and fear is constant companion. It’s the twenty-first century, right now, in America, and a clandestine force controls the highest seats of power. It will stop at nothing to stamp out resistance. Meikans like Cho have lived in terror of the Addin for generations and those who dare to stand up to its power are shunned as outlaws by their own people. Then a mere girl fulfilled an almost forgotten prophecy and hope briefly flowered in unlikely places. But does a giant even notice the crushing of a single flower? One girl is easy enough to kill.

The Fear and the Solace will be published in the first days of October 2014.

The Soul and the Seed is available at Amazon.

Where to find Arie Farnam:
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