Tag: Fantasy

ALIENATION: Blog hop tour

Posted October 17, 2017

Alienation blog hop Indiescififantasy

 

 

 

Welcome to the Alienation BLOG HOP TOUR.

Please take your seat and strap yourself in, as we take you on an intergalactic tour. You will be amazed, entertained, and educated. Manoeuvre through the cosmos and be astounded at all you see. Hunt down the hidden words that will get you to your final destination where a one-of-a-kind award awaits one lucky traveller.

You are here to celebrate the release of Alienation, book two of the humorous Sci-Fi series, Starstruck.

Alienation book hop Indiesciifantasy

Sally Webber’s dream is coming true: Zander is back and taking her out for a night on the town–on a planet hundreds of light years away from Earth.

But when an accident separates her from her alien tour guide, she’s thrown into the seedy underbelly of an insane city where nothing is as it seems. Suddenly lost and desperate to get back home, Sally is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means accepting spontaneous marriage proposals, crashing some fancy parties, or joining what appears to be the space mob.

All she wanted was some decent interstellar pizza, but now it might be the end of the world as evil nanobots and an out of control AI try to take the universe by force, and the only one who can stop them is missing in action. Sally has no choice but to try to stop them herself–if she can stay alive that long.

 

Pre-order your copy now!

 

 

Alienation is the fantastic sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy, Starstruck by S.E.Anderson.

Alienation S.E.Anderson Blog hop Indiescififantasy

Theosians

 

The Theosians are a peaceful race that lives in the Undercity of Da-Duhui. Decedents of the original race that evolved on the planet, they were slowly relegated to the dark after joining the Alliance as one of the first ten races.

Deep under the city, the Downdwellers live and thrive, the Theosians making up upwards of 90% of the Undercity’s population. They boast an incredible ability to create fire, or even plasma, out of thin air. Despite this, they are wholeheartedly peaceful. Which works against them in keeping them trapped underground.

Thousands of years of living in this dark environment has made their morphology evolve. Their skulls are almond shaped, pointed at one end, around where their mouth is, while the other point is on the back of their head. Their hair sprouts from the apex in the back, sometimes creating a long ponytail that they can wear like a scarf, carelessly wound around part of their bare scalp. Their round, dark eyes are like those of creatures that live their lives in caves, never to see the sun. Their skin is also a fleshy pale.

Life in the Undercity is not as the Alliance would have you believe. For starters, the night market is a splendid sight that would enchant any tourist – if they ever made it to the Undercity. Lit only by Theosian light, the Downdwellers sell and haggle their wares, which can be anything from fruit and vegetables to high tech instruments. The children enjoy scavenging for lost parts that people in the Overcity drop from their cars, and a trade has grown around upcycled debris.

Sally encounters the Theosians in the Undercity, when she’s trapped there and needs their help to return home. But she needs to help them in return, and her actions could change the lives of the Theosians forever…

Taxi

 Alienation S.E.Anderson Blog hop Indiescififantasy

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alienation S.E.Anderson Blog hop Indiescififantasy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow this exciting blog tour starting at your first stop UrbanHype101 and if you get lost in cyber space, come back to UrbanHype101 for the tour map.
There’s something new to read see or hear on each of these stops.

Don’t forget to hunt for that special word and if you find ALL of them, send them to scavengerhunt@bolidepublishing.com and you could win a signed copy of Alienation and a gift pack of unique swag. This contest is open internationally.

Make sure to visit the next blog.

 

18th October  Madeline Dyer


August Book Bundle (APC)

Posted August 30, 2017

August book bundle

The APC (Authors-Professionals Co-Op) has another great bundle up for August, and one lucky reader has the chance of winning this book bundle (via Rafflecopter). There is no subscription or sign-up required.

**Ends 31st August 2017**

 


Stormhaven Rising by Eric Michael Craig

Posted June 21, 2017

My Review

I should begin this review by saying that I am totally fascinated by the whole ‘asteroid heading to Earth’ concept. I’ve watched numerous films and read every work of fiction I can featuring asteroids in this very scenario, so when Stormhaven Rising was recommended to me, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Stormhaven Rising isn’t a rehashed ‘Hollywood saves the world’ type story. It has science – real science – and dispels many of the myths we have seen on the big screen. It had an interesting start and was quick to set up the basics of the story and introduce some key characters, and of course the science. I’m not very knowledgeable about advanced science (anything beyond what is taught general science in high school), so when reading a hard sci-fi, I tend to prefer the plot over the science, but in the same respect, I like to learn new things. I certainly learned a lot from reading Stormhaven Rising and for the most part, understood it.

The crux of this story is the government trying to keep knowledge of the oncoming asteroid out of the public domain, and Colton Taylor, an industrialist with seeming unlimited resources, trying to do the exact opposite. I found the character dynamics interesting for the most part. There were parts that went aover my head, or went on for a little longer than I felt necessary, but overall, I enjoyed the story.

This is the first book in the Atlas and the Winds series gives an insight into how the powers that be may react in such a situation versus those who believe people have a right to know.

If you enjoy hard sci-fi, then I would certainly recommend added Stormhaven Rising to your ‘to be read’ list.

[goodreviews isbn=”9780997470703″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 

 

 


Fragmented by Madeline Dyer

Posted June 17, 2017

My review:

Fragmented is the second book in Madeline Dyer’s Untamed series. It picks up where the first left off, and charts the progress of Seven and Corin, amongst others.

I have to say, while I ‘liked’ Untamed, the first book in the series, I absolutely loved Fragmented. Not only do the stakes introduced in the first book continue, but Seven (and Corin) have a whole new set of problems to deal with, and it’s hard to see how they can beat any of them. Madeline Dyer, in my opinion, has a definite skill in keeping a reader on their toes. Just when I thought the book was heading in one direction, it went in another, though not without warning. The foreshadowing is very skillfully done.

I think one of the strengths of this book, is that it is ‘next’ in a series. The characters, setting, and the main conflict has already been established, which allows Dyer to build and develop on already introduced themes and relationships (which throwing more into the mix).

There are several new characters in Fragmented, a couple of whom I really didn’t like (which, I believe, was the intention), but necessary for the overall story arc. I enjoyed learning more about Seven and watching her relationship with Corin develop, though the odds were very much against them.

I would highly – highly – recommend this book (although I would advise reading Untamed so you can appreciate the depth of this world), and cannot wait to read book three.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01NAUNSE6″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Spellcaster by George Bachman

Posted May 20, 2017

Christine Daniel suffers in ways no sixteen-year-old should and no doctor has been able to cure her. The excruciating pains and high fevers debilitating her aren’t triggered by a physical cause but by visions of a youth calling to her while fleeing a mysterious man who means him harm. This could hardly be happening at a worse time, when she and her beautiful older sister Allison are making their début in high society, like other wealthy socialites seeking matches with titled but impoverished gentlemen in Victorian England.

Christine is convinced that to stop the visions she must somehow save this youth. But first, she has to find him. She needs someone who’d know how to locate someone through means outside the known senses, the paranormal. Unfortunately, the authorities have driven underground all but one of the country’s occultists, and the reason she isn’t hiding is the only reason she might help Christine, something she wants in return. Christine must convince Allison to marry the occultist’s lover, one of those impoverished gentlemen, so that the illicit pair can share her part of the family fortune while continuing their affair.

If Christine doesn’t stop the visions by saving the youth, the pains and fevers will eventually kill her. But if she does what the occultist wants, she will betray Allison to a lifetime of misery. Can she lead her sister into a marriage with a bad man if doing so is the only way to save her own skin – literally?

[goodreviews isbn=”B06Y1FMY33 ” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Untamed by Madeline Dyer

Posted January 10, 2017

As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides–because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.

But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.

Yet, as one of the most powerful Seers that the Untamed and Enhanced have ever known, Seven quickly discovers that she alone holds the key to the survival of only one race. But things aren’t clear-cut anymore, and with Seven now questioning the very beliefs she was raised on, she knows she has an important choice to make. One that has two very different outcomes.

Seven must choose wisely whose side she joins, for the War of Humanity is underway, and Death never takes kindly to traitors.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01MS5264O” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Kingdom Asunder by Thaddeus White

Posted December 9, 2016

Princess Karena is all that stands between the House of Penmere and ruin. The King, her brother, was gravely wounded in a failed assassination attempt, and once-loyal followers are flocking to the treacherous Usurper’s golden embrace. But Karena knows the surest defence is attack, and will stop at nothing to destroy any rival to her brother… or herself.

Against her, the Usurper musters a vast army to crush Penmere once and for all, but in a war of treachery those closest to you can be the greatest threat.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01N8UF799″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Author Interview: Penelope Wallace

Posted December 7, 2016

Penelope Wallace We do not kill childrenI have lived in St Andrews, Oxford, Aberdeen, and Nottingham, and am old enough to remember black and white TV. I am a pedantic bibliophile, a sometime lawyer (in both England and Scotland), a not-completely-orthodox Christian (and churchwarden), a wishy-washy socialist, a quiet feminist and a compulsive maker of lists. In the distant past, I invented a world where the buildings and manners were medieval, but the sexes equal, and a few years ago Dorac Kingsbrother walked into this world.



1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

I wrote my first book at the age of six. It was a shortened version of “The Jungle Book”, in a notebook with a spotty orange cover.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write? The sitting-room.

The sitting-room.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really. The great question is scribble first, or go straight to the keyboard? On the whole, I scribble illegibly first.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I admire the concept of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover” series: books that are all set in the same world, but not necessarily at the same time period or with the same characters. I love world-building that feels solid and plausible (JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin), and also distinctive prose with a light touch (Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford). I also like stories where the author’s beliefs can be deduced but are not rammed down the reader’s throat. But these are high aspirations!

5) What inspired you to write We Do Not Kill Children?

For about a month in 2012, I experimented with writing daily snippets of description, story or dialogue in an unused diary. Then I forgot about it. A year later I picked the book up again. Two pieces gripped me – the condemned warrior Dorac, and the Place to Die, and I put them together. After a while, I realised that Dorac needed a time and place to live in, and remembered the continent of Ragaris I’d invented twenty or so years ago.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a story of murder and intrigue; a fantasy without magic; an attempt to see what would happen if women really were valued the same as men in a pre-modern society; and in places a courtroom drama.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Dorac is my protagonist. He is a xenophobic, violent, surly nerd, and I love him very much, but I’m not sure I’d want to meet him in a dark alley. Kai or Hassdan or Makkam would be better conversationalists. In the next book, the king is a bit of a scene-stealer…

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Every criminal justice system needs a court of appeal.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

The King stood up. Silence beyond imagining.
“Dorac Kingsbrother, I find you guilty of the murders of Ilda aged twelve years, Gaskor aged nine years, and Filana aged five years.”
It still seemed impossible.
Hands pressed on his shoulders, pushing him to his knees. Blood pounded behind his face. Possible and actual. At least he would soon be dead.
“You have served my mother and me and this land with great loyalty for many years. I do not doubt that you thought what you did was for the best. Words were spoken at Council that may have helped you to believe this. But whatever your motives, it was an abominable act.
“From this day, and forever, you are exiled from this land, and from the fellowship of the Thirty. If you are still within the realm one week from today, or if you ever return without the King’s word, I will have your life.
“I take back your companionship, I take back your land and your gold to comfort the bereaved, I take back your horse and your armour.” He paused. “Your sword you may retain. Go from here, make a better life, and may God forgive you.”
That was all. He barely noticed the eyes now. As he stood up, he overbalanced and had to steady himself on the floor. Someone almost laughed. He bowed to the King, turned, met Kremdar’s eyes one last time and walked out of the Hall.
So his life ended.
*
But still he walked and breathed, and had to decide what to do.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing We Do Not Kill Children?

Getting to the end, and making the plot fit together.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing We Do Not Kill Children?

That I love writing emotional dialogue…

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Dreaming is fun, but you will never write a book without sitting down and doing the work. Anything you write you can remove later. The first draft is not a finished book.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for having me on the show!

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

We Do Not Kill Children is the first of the Tales from Ragaris. I am currently waiting nervously to see what my publisher makes of the second, “The Tenth Province of Jaryar”, and trying to write the third.



Publisher: Mightier than the Sword UK


City of Masks by Ashley Capes

Posted October 3, 2016

Waking in Anaskar Prison, covered in blood and accused of murder, nobody will listen to Notch’s claims of innocence until he meets the future Protector of the Monarchy, Sofia Falco. But Sofia has her own burdens. The first female Protector in a hundred years, her House is under threat from enemies within, the prince has made it clear he does not want her services and worst of all, she cannot communicate with her father’s sentient mask of bone, the centuries-old Argeon. Without the bone mask she cannot help anyone — not herself, and certainly not a mercenary with no powerful House to protect him.

Meanwhile, far across the western desert, Ain, a young Pathfinder, is thrust into the role of Seeker. Before winter storms close the way, he must leave his home on a quest to locate the Sea Shrine and take revenge on the people who drove his ancestors from Anaskar, the city ruled by the prince Sofia and Notch are sworn to protect, whether he wants their help or not.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01KGAVMFA” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Off to See the Wizard by Clay Johnson

Posted September 28, 2016

At the end of most heroic quests, after a plucky band of heroes has averted the apocalypse, all is well, and everyone lives happily ever after… (until the next book in the series.) Now, for the first time, readers get an in depth look into what really happens after the quest. This is the collected case file of the Grand Inquisitor’s investigation into the Misery Reach debacle. Read first hand as the participants try to explain their actions and make their case. Did the Demon Lord Krevassius really try to end the world just to impress a girl? Would everyone be better off if the Wizard Galbraith hadn’t invented a quest in order to stave off criticism? And what about an elf queen peeing on a Minotaur? A swordsman’s losing battle with a young raccoon? And the transvestite assassin with a heart of gold?

[goodreviews isbn=”B01BQGGGEK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Dragons Among Them by Kyra Jacobs

Posted August 21, 2016

Two secret worlds. One unstoppable passion. A fiery secret that could destroy them all. Prince Zayne Godfrey, heir to Edana’s throne, is betrothed to the lone princess of rival kingdom Forath. While his heart is not in the arranged marriage, he will do his royal duty. When he finds a beautiful stranger cornered by a pack of wolves, he doesn’t hesitate to shift into his golden dragon form to save her. She thanks him by taking one look at him and fainting dead away. Photographer Adelaide Miller is in England for a career-making shoot when a bizarre jogging mishap lands her in a dangerous, medieval-like world of royals, wizards and dragon-shifting men. Her first instinct is to find her way back, but the fire-breathing prince intent on protecting her threatens to melt her heart. Zayne’s burning passion for Adelaide not only jeopardizes the fragile peace between two kingdoms, it uncovers a ruthless plot to destroy his family. Remaining together may change Adelaide’s very definition of home—and expose one searing secret that could forever shift the balance of power in Zayne’s world.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01BMV2F3U” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Songs of the Osirian by Christopher D Abbott

Posted August 21, 2016

From the award-winning author of Sir Laurence Dies, comes this epic fantasy tale of the Osirian return to Earth. It was written … beings known as Servants of Light appeared as gifts to Man. Their majesty unlike anything seen; their Songs so angelic a single melody turned barren soil fertile. They were worshiped and called Osirian. For years they shared knowledge, bringing peace and prosperity to mankind. But when an ancient evil awoke and corrupted the world, the Osirian swapped books for swords and led Man to war. Victory came at a price. The aftermath created disillusioned men and woman who angrily rejected their teachers, and in grief the Osirian disappeared. Their knowledge and wisdom lost to history. But they were all betrayed. The evil remained …

Three-thousand years later, archaeologist Mary Wilson unwittingly assists its resurgence. But this time, the Songs of the Osirian are silent. Foreword by Chase Masterson Chase Masterson has most recently been seen guest starring on CW’s The Flash, which won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite New Drama.” Best known for her break-out role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, one of the highest-rated syndicated shows of all time, Chase is loved by millions of fans worldwide. Songs of the Osirian was adapted from the short story, Songs of Beast, published by Media Bitch Literary Agency and Productions Bonus short story “The Last of Us” by Rob James is included at the end of the book.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01HX3V4O2″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Path to Dawn (Opal Charm) by Miri Castor

Posted July 21, 2016

Opal is a young girl living in Dewdrop, a bustling suburb southeast of New York. Life is a constant struggle for her, until she befriends newcomer, Hope Adaire. With the girls’ friendship slowly beginning to grow, Opal’s life begins to change in mysterious ways, as the secrets of Hope’s enigmatic life begins to unfold. In the process of taking new paths and unveiling truths, a new world is discovered and with it, the discovery of a Gift a power that can make Opal stronger than she ever imagined. Yet with every truth, lies must be shattered. Now, when Dewdrop and the new world is threatened, this temperamental teen with too much emotional baggage, must learn how to control her Gift, and protect everyone living in her world and the new one—or face the consequences of unmasked truths.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01CN7HOWY” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Ten Things I’ve Learned Since Having a Book Published by Madeline Dyer

Posted June 3, 2016

 

So, a few days ago I celebrated the one year anniversary for the publication of my debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015). During that year, I’ve learned a whole bunch of things and thought I’d share ten of them here with you.

 

1: Not everyone realises having a book published is a big deal. 

You feel great about your book being published, but some of the people you excitedly tell just don’t ‘get’ it. You see their faces fall and realise that when you told them you had ‘big news’, they were expecting something much bigger. And it’s hard not to let that upset you.

But writing a book—and getting it published—is a huge achievement. And we know just how many months (and even years) of hard work, sweat, and tears have gone into this… but not everyone gets this.  To some, writing a book is nothing, and publishing it is just a shrug-your-shoulders kind of moment. But you shouldn’t let the reactions of non-knowers (as I affectionately call them) get you down.

Just because someone doesn’t understand that you’ve poured your soul into this book and spent months and months labouring away over it, it doesn’t mean that your achievement is any less validated.

You still rock—you wrote a book! And don’t worry, there’ll be other people who do understand why this is a shout-from-the-rooftops moment.

 

2: A lot of the non-writers who you tell about your novel will suddenly confess their dream to you—that they, too, wish to write a book.

Often this statement is followed by some sort of justifier, that they will write their book ‘when they have time’. And time seems to be the only thing a lot of non-writers think is necessary to have when writing a book…

At first, I was surprised by how many people seemed to think I had managed to write my book because I apparently ‘had the time’ to do so. In their eyes, skill and motivation didn’t really feature that highly. And didn’t they realise that I was busy with other stuff too?

I mean, I wrote the first draft of UNTAMED when I was 18—whilst I was at school and studying for A-levels. And then I worked on in-house edits with one of my publisher’s editors alongside doing my degree. It was tough to fit it all in.

But part of being a writer is having the determination to write, and the determination to find time to write. That fifteen-minute break? Well, I can write a couple of hundred words then. That bus journey? Yes, I can get some outlining done.

Writers don’t magically have more hours in the day than everyone else in the world. We have the same amount of time. But we just have to find the time to write, and we organise ourselves in such a way that we do have time—even if it means less sleep, or not going out to see that film.

I’m a firm believer that if someone’s a writer, they have to write as much as possibly they can. Writers don’t have any choice, and they can’t put off their writing dreams for a more suitable time—say, in ten years. There’ll never be a more suitable time, and writers write whenever they possibly can.

 

3: You also won’t feel like a proper writer.

Even now, after signing a second book deal with my publisher, I still feel like I’m not the real thing. From talking to other writers, it seems the aptly named Imposter Syndrome is common among us all. We all feel like we’re not good enough, and that soon someone is going to realise it—but, according to some, that’s a sign of a proper writer. It’s when you’re certain that your writing is spectacular and that you’re the next J.K. Rowling that you might need to worry…

So, I guess the thing that I’ve learned here is that it’s okay to feel like this. It’s normal. And other famous writers feel like this too.

 

4: But once you’ve got one book published, writing your next can be harder.

I’ve certainly found this to be true for me. Having already had one book published, I feel there’s a great amount of pressure on me to write one that readers love just as much—if not more.

And these expectations we think people have makes writing a follow-up book an incredibly daunting task all of a sudden. And all your doubts about your writing ability come flooding back. After all, what if that first book was a fluke? What if you can’t produce the stunning sequel that you know readers are waiting for?

Well, don’t worry. That’s my answer, and that’s what I’ve been telling myself every time I start fretting. I think the main problem for me is that I’m now comparing my patchy first draft of book two to the final version of book one. And of course, the writing’s not going to be great in a first draft. And there will be holes in the plot, and characters who aren’t that well formed.

But I know I can fix all this. I have to tackle it one step at a time, just as I did when I was rewriting and editing Untamed. And I have to believe in myself. If I wrote one book that readers loved, then I know, deep down, that I can write another, even if my first thought is that I can’t. I’m still the same writer. And it’s all about self-belief and not becoming intimidated by what you achieved before.

So, just write. And get your first draft done. That, for me, is still the hardest bit, and becoming a published writer hasn’t made it any easier.

 

5: Now onto reviews: don’t read them!

Okay, I’m not very good with this one. I know I shouldn’t read the reviews that my book garners, but I just can’t help it. There’s something exciting about realising you have a new review on Goodreads, or Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. And you just find yourself clicking through to read it, whilst anxiously wondering whether the person loved or hated your book.

And there will be some negative reviews. Whether a book is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is, after all, subjective. And you won’t be able to please everyone.

But as soon as you come across a negative review, you suddenly feel as if this review speaks the Ultimate Truth. All the good things you’ve previously read about your book are washed away, and all you can focus on now is the less-than-favourable thing that someone has said. And this really fuels that feeling that you’re not good enough, that you’re not a proper writer… that you’re an imposter.

And it can hamper your creativity.

That’s why I know that no author should read their reviews—and NEVER respond to any. Seriously, don’t.

But, if you must read those reviews then definitely do the next thing on my list.

 

6: Save your good reviews.

Print out a hard copy of your favourite reviews and stick them in a scrapbook. Then, whenever you come across a negative review and end up feeling like you’re the worst writer ever, read through your book of positive reviews. I promise they’ll make you feel much better, and you won’t (hopefully) spend days crying.

But, at the same time, don’t fall back into the trap of reading your best reviews and thinking, ‘but what if I can’t write a sequel that readers love as much as my first?’

So, yes, even your good reviews can be a double-edged sword. They certainly make me feel better and motivate me to write, but at the same time, I worry about disappointing my fans with my next manuscript. Ah, it gets so complicated…

 

7: Finding readers can be hard.

Even when your book is traditionally published, finding readers can be tricky. There are so many books out there competing for readers’ attention that many unfortunately do get lost.

But this is where promotion and marketing come in—trust me, marketing your book is important. And marketing it correctly is even more important.

You need to know your audience, and you need to engage with them. You also need to seem like a real person, so talk about your everyday life and share funny anecdotes. And always engage with your readers as an equal—never talk down to them.

But you also need to make sure that readers can find information about you quickly. A website is a must—and if you can host it on your own domain, even better. You’ll seem more professional that way. And make sure that you have clear links on your website to where readers can buy your book—don’t make it hard for them to find this information.

 

8: The number of reviews you have is important.

Once you reach certain numbers of reviews for a single work, many retailers include your book in different lists—and even on newsletters. So, the number of reviews you have is important. And the more reviews you have, the easier it is to sell your book.

But getting genuine reviews can be difficult, especially when you need unbiased reviews from people who you don’t know. Amazon removes the reviews from reviewers they think know the author, believing these to biased and untrustworthy.

And finding readers who will review your book can be difficult enough in itself. Especially when only around 1 in 100 will write a quick review of your book off their own back.

But book bloggers are great. And there are thousands of professional reviewers and bloggers out there who will write an honest review of your book in exchange for a free copy of your book—and include that disclaimer in their review. Plus, many of these reviews can also be used as editorial reviews, and often you can use snippets from these reviews in your marketing.

And also; NEVER buy reviews. I mean it. NEVER do it. When I hear that others are considering it, I cringe so much. Buying reviews can destroy everything—and cause retailers to block all your reviews (even any genuine ones). Never do it. Your reviews need to be genuine and unbiased, from actual readers who have actually read your book.

 

9: Nothing sells your last book like your next.

This is actually something I’ve read a few times now, in many different places. But it seems to be true. And it makes sense: the more books you have out, the more people will see your name, and the more readers will look for your other works having read one.

So perhaps the best marketing you can do for book one is to produce book two.

It seems so simple, and it emphasises an important part of being a writer—you know, the writing part.  Just because you’ve got one book out, doesn’t mean you need to stop writing. Quite the opposite, actually!

(And again, don’t let you success with one book intimidate you and make you feel under pressure with your second—I’m definitely struggling with this, now that we’re less than months away from the release of my second book… but what if readers really don’t like the direction I’m taking the Untamed Series in?)

 

10: And the final thing to mention here is that reading (and relaxing) is still important.

All writers, whether they publish or not, need to read widely. Don’t stop reading—and having fun—just because you’ve had a book published. Sure, it can be harder to find the time, now that your days (and nights) are filled up with marketing, promotion, answering interviews, writing, editing, researching, and booking events—plus other life commitments!

But you still need to read.

So please, don’t stop. Make sure you have time.

For me, reading is also a way of relaxing. And it is so important. Don’t overwork yourself—you still need some time off. And you still need to do what you love.


Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal. She can frequently be found exploring wild places, and at least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. FRAGMENTED (Prizm Books, Sept. 2016) is her second novel.


The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King by Michael R. Miller

Posted May 16, 2016

Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.
Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.
Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging…

[goodreviews isbn=”B017UDTDCK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Grave Measures by R.R.Virdi

Posted May 14, 2016

What do shadows darting across the walls, cryptic writing, black fog, and a little girl who can see ghosts have in common? Paranormal investigator and soul without a body, Vincent Graves, has forty-four hours to find out.

To make matters worse, his years of body-hopping and monster-hunting are catching up with him. He’s losing his mind. An old contact has shut him out. To top it all off, something’s skulking through an asylum, killing patients.
Three guesses who might be next, and the first two don’t count. The writing on the wall is not so clear. But one thing is: if he doesn’t figure this out he’s a dead man–well, deader–and a strange young girl might follow. Vincent’s got his back against a wall, and that wall’s crumbling.
Some days it’s not worth it to wake up in someone else’s body.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01DC7OBH0″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


A Facet for the Gem (The Tale of Eaglefriend Book One) by C. L. Murray

Posted May 7, 2016

In a land of eagle-riding knights, bloodthirsty beasts, and a ruthless prince, no border is safe for long. And as smoke billows from the only blockade standing between the great city of Korindelf and certain doom, young Morlen races to escape the inevitable siege. Thrust from the chaos with thousands of snapping jaws on his trail, he discovers that the abilities he’s buried all his life are awakening—and it could not have happened at a worse time.
War has come, and he doesn’t dare rely on his untested talents after stealing the coveted Goldshard, which makes strength and invincibility just a panicked whisper away. His dependency on it carries him through many dangers, until it becomes an enemy far worse than those he must fight hand-to-hand. And the allies he meets on his quest are just as troubled: a legendary warrior too afraid to leave his sheltered paradise, a wizard tormented by his past, and a disgraced king who has lost any hope of saving his people.
A FACET FOR THE GEM is a coming of age fantasy that brings Morlen from distant kingdoms to sprawling airborne battles, into the fiery breath of a stony dragon and side-by-side with a lady knight who is the last person in need of rescue. Follow him as his epic adventures culminate in a final showdown against swords, fangs, and greatest of all: his own fear.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01C9JT5BY” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


DAUGHTER OF THE WOLF BY CAT BRUNO

Posted March 21, 2016

Daughter of the Wolf

How far must one travel to escape the gaze of a dark-shadowed god? After fleeing the Healer’s Academy, Caryss struggles against becoming little more than a plaything of the gods. Pregnant with a child who will be born of shadows and stars, Caryss searches for an army to protect her unborn daughter. Along the way, she finds help from a fallenmage, an exiled prince, a blood-stained shaman, and a boy who commands the skies. Yet, even with their assistance, Caryss cannot run far from the High Lord Conri, whose love for her is profaned and damaged.

Mysterious and dark fantasy filled with epic adventure and magic. Find the first book in the critically acclaimed Pathway of the Chosen series, The Girl from the North.

[book-info]

amazon

[goodreviews isbn=”B019WJUH20″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]



Review: Equivocal Destines by Raymond Clarke

Posted March 7, 2016

Equivocal Destines is one of many books I’ve listed on this website but never really found the time to read it, except now I have, and what a great little read it turned out to be, well, not so much of the little…

Equivocal_Destines_Cover_for_Kindle
In a world plagued by hordes warped by magic into creatures hell-bent on the destruction of mankind, where elemental magic holds sway and determines your lot in life, Taal is of the water, which should assure him a place among the revered rudas, protecting his city and assuring him the wealth it bestows. But centuries ago, it was a water wizard who caused The Change that precipitated all of the disasters that followed, and now, being a water wizard is the lowest of the low.

With dreams much bigger than life in Takelberorl will allow a lowly water-boy, Taal sets out on a journey that will change his world forever. In reality, he’s a typical, sixteen-year-old boy who’s only following the pretty girl, but those electric-blue eyes (and said pretty girl’s older brother) just won’t let up on the whole Destiny thing.

From the battle-scarred plains that surround the place of his birth, through regal cities and across pristine mountain wildernesses full of mysterious forces, Taal and his makeshift band of renegades search valiantly in a quest to unmask the evil forces conspiring to annihilate all races. Taking heart-pounding risks and suffering tumultuous trials, the team experiences both horrific battles and unexpected delights.

 

The Story Telling

Equivocal Destines tells the story of Taal, a fifteen, going on sixteen, year old water wizard. Life is simple. He works in the fields watering crops three times a day, lives with his mother in pitifully poor conditions, and owing to the fact he is ‘of the water,’ he gets very little respect from his fellow citizens.

This story begins with an introduction to Taal, his good friend Rah, and some of the shenanigans they get up to. These two young men may well live under the threat of hoards attacking their walled city at a moment’s notice, but they must also deal with girl problems (if only she would notice him), peer rivalry and compulsory weapon training.

The plot is weaved at a steady pace as the reader is introduced to what life is like in Takelberorl. It is a dull life, broken only by the arrival of carnival acts and a weapons fayre…and without meaning spoiling too much for you, the recent movements among the hoards.

My thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed Equivocal Destines. I couldn’t help but like Taal, although I found myself pitying his predicament, I mean, who wants to be ‘of the water’ when it was the water wizards who caused ‘The Change,’ effectively ruining the world for future generations? Despite this, Taal has strong morals, a strong bond with friends and family, and at the times that matter, he has the courage to do the right thing.

The writing is very descriptive, and the story blends through this. Although it takes a while for the physical ‘journey’ to  commence, the emotional journey begins from page one.

If you enjoy fantasy books with depth to the characters, and rich world building, then I would highly recommend Equivocal Destines, even though there is a sharp ending (cliffhanger) which leaves you yearning to read the next book in the series.

 

amazon

 

You can follow Raymond Clarke at:

Amazon

Website

Facebook

Twitter


Spirit of the Book by D E Howard

Posted March 5, 2016

Do you believe in magic?
Ellie Forrester didn’t.

Raised an only child by a mother who never hid her resentment Ellie learned from an early age to be self sufficient.

Finally moving away from her mother’s negative influence Ellie thought her small run down flat was a little piece of paradise.

The old book she found hidden away didn’t seem to be anything remarkable but Ellie soon discovered that it contained far more than just the words on the pages.

Ellie soon discovered that not only did magic exist but it was within her reach.

Do you believe in magic?
Ellie Forrester does!

[goodreviews isbn=”B01BC2T3WK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Where Shadows Fall by Tom Fallwell

Posted March 4, 2016

The Rangers of Laerean are the protectors of the people, the heroes of Hir. Their exploits are legendary and their great deeds recounted in tales across the ages. These are the stories that will be told for generations.

The Rangers face their greatest challenge when they discover that a horrific and deadly dragon is wreaking destruction and death throughout the land of Hir. But the dragon is not their only worry, as it soon becomes apparent there is a conspiracy of dark forces set on destroying the Rangers. Lies, rumors and mysterious assassins threaten to turn the people against the Rangers as they find themselves betrayed by those they would never suspect and the Regions of Hir are thrown into political and economic turmoil.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01APYF1G8″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan

Posted March 4, 2016

Joshua, a young woodsman, is approaching the age of decision. Despite the tales of his father having died in a skirmish with another tribe, Joshua’s dreams are telling him otherwise. The young man yearns for the truth and decides to enlist the help of his village elder to guide him. Armed with little more than the cryptic musing from the ailing elder, Joshua sets off to find the Oracle with his best friend and an imp, who is travelling the land to find others of his kind. It isn’t long before they stumble into a beautiful and ingenious young woman who is herself on a journey of discovery.

On the way to the Oracle, Joshua comes by some curious magical artefacts. Can these help him to find his father? An evil and malevolent creature of the underworld known only as the Goat learns that Joshua has possession of some of the magical orbs needed to open the Portallas, a permanent gateway that links worlds together. Enraged, the Goat sends his dark forces to thwart Joshua and to prevent him from fulfilling his destiny.

Travelling through fantastic landscapes, the four travelling companions meet strange people and creatures alike, and must use all their cunning and ingenuity to find the remaining magical orbs. Will Joshua find all the magical artefacts needed to open the Portallas and free his father?

PORTALLAS – FORESTIUM is full of twists and turns, as Joshua goes on a veritable roller-coaster ride of challenges that will test his courage and emotional strength.

http://portallas.com

[goodreviews isbn=”9780994525703″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom by Barbara Underwood

Posted February 19, 2016

In the distant past, when a utopian civilization built the pyramids and other megalithic structures using magical powers, a young girl named Rhuna learns the truth about her father and the enemy that caused his demise. The idyllic civilization in which she flourishes and finds love is threatened by this old nemesis and only Rhuna possesses the special inherited skills to stop him.

[goodreviews isbn=”B008YN2QMK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Girl from the North by Cat Bruno

Posted February 9, 2016

When a dark stranger, beautiful and haunting, approaches the flame-haired girl on a solitary stretch of beach, she senses that her life at the Healer's Academy is about to change. As his hands reach for her forehead, gliding across it with intimacy and purpose, suddenly, she remembers who he is, and who he has been. Yet, still, Bronwen wonders why she was chosen and fears what the mysterious man's presence in her life will mean. Before he turns to leave, she asks why he has come and why it has been her he sought.His reply silences her.”Rexaria,” he whispers, low and gruff, yet louder than the tumbling sea and the screaming gulls flying overhead.Somehow, Bronwen understands. Kingmaker.

In the first book in the Pathway of the Chosen series, we meet Bronwen, a healer-in-training, who arrived at the Academy as a child with no memory of who she was or where she had come from. Soon, we learn that there is much that she keeps hidden. Her fire-streaked hair marks her as a Northerner, far from her homeland, yet she recalls nothing of her time there. Until she is visited by Conri, the High Lord of the Wolf Tribe. It is he who lets her remember. But what will those memories bring? Follow Bronwen as she explores what it means to be god-touched.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00PHDRA3K” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Crimson Claymore by Craig A. Price jr.

Posted January 18, 2016

The brave warrior Searon is haunted by the deaths of his wife and children at the hands of the savage reptilian draeyks, who are on a bloodthirsty rampage. He walks the land of Calthoria alone and thirsty for vengeance. He hunts the creatures down one by one, showing no mercy.

But Searon is a one-man army—and no match for the legions of murderous draeyks. Lucky for him, the powerful wizard Karceoles finds him during his travels and enlists Searon in this coming war. Karceoles believes Searon can unite the races to defeat the draeyks once and for all.

Searon discovers he can do more damage with Karceoles and a band of warriors they find along the way. But as the war rages in earnest, Searon must make a choice: Is it more important to destroy the draeyks at all costs, or will his quest for vengeance endanger the lives of his new brothers and sisters at arms?

[goodreviews isbn=”B017ZTTLIA” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Secret King – Lethao by Dawn Chapman

Posted January 8, 2016

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with who to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.


Websites –

Production Website – http://www.tskproductions.com/

Main TSK Website – http://www.thesecretking.com/

Twitter:

Production – https://twitter.com/ProductionsTSK

TSK – https://twitter.com/TeamSecretKing

Facebook:

TSK Productions Ltd – https://www.facebook.com/TSKProductionsLtd

 

The Secret King Fan Page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Secret-King/836723299691777

[goodreviews isbn=”B0149F9NQI” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Author Interview: M. LaRose

Posted December 17, 2015

The Flower Eater

  1. LaRose is the pen name of an American writer of fantasy who lives in the New England state of Vermont, an area known for beautiful woodlands and bucolic farms. Like many of the characters in the old-world fairy tales that she admires, LaRose lives in a forest that constantly inspires her imagination with its mystery.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I have always loved stories.  The first thing I can remember intensely wanting, was the ability to read.  Before I entered elementary school, my mother was friends with another woman who had taught her daughter to read at the age of three. When we visited them, I’d sit with this other little girl, who was younger than me, and she would read her books aloud while I hung on every word. One day I asked her to read a certain picture-book and she agreed, but added, “I’m picking the next book.” This was totally fair, but I hated the fact that I had to rely on someone else to read to me.  It felt like someone else held the key to the garden of stories that I wanted to enter.

By the time I was in second grade I had written my first story (about some fuzzy monsters) and decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I used to wander around with stories playing in my head, and whenever I told them to other children, they would listen with great attention – I guess you could say that I started creating and sharing my own garden of stories way back then.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

A: I write at home (rather than out in coffee shops or other public places).  I live in a very small cabin without an office, or even a desk, so I write on my laptop, either sitting on the couch or at our breakfast bar. In the summer I would love to write outside, in my quirky flower garden, but so far I don’t have a spot outside where I can read the computer screen clearly!  I hope to someday have a covered porch or awning that will allow me to write outside.

  •  Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really! But when I was writing the final chapters of The Flower Eater I did write every evening, as I felt the momentum of the ending pulling me along. Ideally, I would like to write every day, but I don’t always find the time, or the feel the urge strongly enough, especially since I have a full-time day job. I’ve recently begun writing short stories and entering them in contests, and the contest deadlines have helped me finish some good stories.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

There are so many writers I admire that this is difficult to answer! I tend to skip around among writers and genres, rather than focusing one.  But I know I’ve been deeply influenced by fantasy books I read in childhood, including The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; and The Hobbit, as well as Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  As a teenager, I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, and was very intrigued by the scene where a priest declares his love for a gypsy, and begs her to run away with him.

  • What inspired you to write The Flower Eater?

When I was a child I read a lot of old-world fairy tales that had been collected in a huge series of volumes that were available in our town library. The intensity, emotional depth, and magical elements of those fairy tales really appealed to me. My parents divorced when I was six years old, and there was a largely unspoken but tacitly powerful belief, on my mother’s side of the family, that after my father left her, my mother never fully recovered from the heartbreak.

In my novel, The Flower Eater, I explore ideas around heartbreak and emotional breakdown, as well as the concept of taking and breaking vows. I’m also very interested in psychic powers and the possibility of alternate dimensions, and those feature in my novel, The Flower Eater. The title came to me first, and hovered around in my psyche for many years before I finally began to write the book. The plot came to me over the course of fifteen years, as I slowly wrote the novel in my spare time. Certain scenes came to me very suddenly, out of the blue, and felt very much like magical or divine gifts for which I am very grateful.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

Here’s the “elevator pitch” for The Flower Eater:

In a world of medieval magic, a young priestess is enthralled by a handsome blacksmith into breaking her sacred vows. A crisis of faith and passion launches her into an astral dimension where mysterious flowers beckon and an evil prince flexes his psychic powers toward world domination.

  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

Trilla, the heroine of The Flower Eater, is still on my mind. Her story continues in the sequel that I’m currently writing. I’m also fond of Trilla’s best friend, Brea, and Trilla’s true love Venn. Recently, I wrote a short story about a mermaid and I enjoyed conjuring that character so much that I may write a novel, or a collection of short stories, about the mermaid.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Yes. As the reader follows the main character, Trilla, they’ll see an over-confident young priestess wrestle with the darker sides of herself and the world she inhabits. The Flower Eater is about overcoming one’s lowest, self-centered, potentially evil, desires, to see the larger picture and work for the greater good.

  • Q: Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Here’s a brief teaser from The Flower Eater:

In the pattern of the watching crowd, a spot of pale blue began to catch my eye each time I passed it.  A gentle color, vividly pale.  The Song-Sister’s voice and the Bell-Sister’s music reached a crescendo.  I leapt into the final steps of the Dance, twirling rapidly to the spot on the stage where I’d begun.  With a flamboyant twist of legs and skirts, I kicked and jumped, then fell to a sudden landing with my sisters.  Chests heaving from exertion, arms raised, we were done, our features glowing but as still and composed as the faces of the statues above us.

I looked out into the crowd and saw the swatch of pale blue color that had caught my eye.  It was a woman’s dress, worn by a maiden of my age: a stranger, someone from other parts, come to see the new Priestesses dance.  Near her stood Brea’s parents and siblings, and her aunt Rissa.  Next to them, I spied Uncle Verd and Aunt Fara gazing at me with awed smiles and shining eyes.  I smiled back, very slightly, to show that I saw them.  Then, suddenly, my eyes were drawn upward, toward the back of the crowd, where a dark-haired man fixed me with his gaze.  Harnn was there, staring at me.  For a moment, I stared back without thinking, my heart jumping inside me at the sight of his handsome features, fixed on mine, from across the throng.  The memory of his passionate kisses flared through me like a flaming arrow.  Then I tore my gaze away.  The serenity of the Trance was gone in an instant.

  • What have been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Flower Eater?

Besides finding the time to write, my biggest challenge was dreaming up the plot. When I began to write The Flower Eater, I had only a vague premise about forbidden love and broken vows, and knew I wanted to write in the fantasy genre, but the plot was not clear in my mind. Because I had come up with the title first, that title stimulated my imagination to ask questions that eventually led me to write various plot scenes and twists. There is one major plot twist that I resisted when it first came to me, but the idea wouldn’t go away. Once I allowed myself to take the story in that direction the plot began to open itself, like a flower, in my mind. That was an amazing experience, but it also took years for me to put all the words down on paper.  My greatest achievement is that I finally completed the story to my own satisfaction – and that most readers so far have enjoyed it.  It also felt good when Kirkus Reviews called The Flower Eater a “magnificent debut” and “delightfully entertaining story” – that was really nice!

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Flower Eater?

The Flower Eater is the first complete story I’ve written since childhood, and it took me about fifteen years to write, during which I was not writing any other fiction. I learned a lot about perseverance, editing, and trusting my imagination. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with procrastination, so learning to persevere and complete my writing is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a story that appeals to you. And if you’re easily shaken by criticism, do not share it with anyone until you’ve finished it to your own satisfaction. If you want to sell your writing, you will have to handle feedback and criticism at some point, of course, but first just get the words down on paper. Then set it aside for a while and re-read it later, as if you were a stranger who knew nothing about the story. If you don’t like editing, hire a good editor.

  • Anything else you’d like to say?

Just my thanks for this interview!

  • Do you have any future works planned?

Yes, I’m working on the sequel to The Flower Eater, and hope to get that largely completed by next summer.  I just finished writing my first short horror story (about an evil clown).  And I have a short fantasy story in progress that features a woodland nymph. And, as I said earlier, I may write more stories that feature a mermaid.


Twitter @TheFlowerEater

Facebook: The Flower Eater by M. LaRose

Thank you for your interest!

*******

 

 


Author Interview: C.C.Hogan

Posted December 12, 2015

C.C.HoganC.C. Hogan was dragged up in North London in the nineteen seventies and spent many years in the media industry doing whatever it took to not kill clients. Making the leap into novels, he is working in two directions at the same time – a massive fantasy project called Dirt that is a saga spread over twelve books, and a series of novels set in London.


1) When did you first discover your love for writing?
I suffered a series of teachers when a child who punished me for my spider writing, bad spelling and general inability to write the rubbish they wanted me to write. For some reason, it did not kill my interest in words and communication and I have been playing with ideas ever since. The invention of the word processor probably was the most liberating thing that has happened to me, and I have been attempting to write something for years.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?
I have a dream place to write which I have yet to realise; a tiny, two-roomed cottage overlooking a welcoming sea. You will find it in The Fight for Dirt. In lieu of that, I have a big, comfy chair sat before three large monitors and a large rug covered desk. My monitor wallpaper is the key maps of Dirt so that I am always reminded where I am meant to be and what I should be doing.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
Not especially. Since I am writing full time at the moment (while pulling in bits of panic work to pay bills), I just wake up, switch on and write.
I am, at heart, a story teller and believe that the written word is a poor substitute for the spoken word. In consequence, I read out loud constantly, sometimes even as I write. This probably makes me pretty antisocial, but then isn’t that what writers are meant to be?

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Two: Illiwhacker by Peter Carey and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. Both these writers have the ability to take the fanciful, exaggerated and incomprehensible and make it sound perfectly sensible. This is a rare talent and a powerful one. Although my current books are not as mad as those, I hope I have managed to make my characters believable and plausible, even if they have wings…

5) What inspired you to write Dirt
I should answer this by saying that I was out walking on a desolate moor when I looked up and saw, pushing against the highest winds, the beautiful form of a flying creature. Watching as the sun caused the vision to shimmer and distort, I thought of the dragon and how beautiful a world with such creatures would be.
However, the truth is that I sat down one day and wrote down a pile of ideas for books, each of them little more than a sentence, and I stopped when I got to the one about a young man trying to rescue his sister.
Yeah, I know, boring, but most brilliant ideas start that way. That is the joy of creativity; wonder out of the humdrum.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?
In essence, Dirt is fantasy road-trip as Johnson Farthing races across the world of Dirt, hanging onto the back of a beautiful Sea Dragon, to rescue his captured sister. Yet, this is only the first small wing-beats in a huge saga that will take the young man from the poverty of his life and thrust him and his friends into war.
This is a tale of heroism, but the heroes are ordinary; they are pie sellers, well-diggers, goat-herders, all working together with dragons who are intelligent and cultured and do not live in damp caves.
As the story unfolds, the world of Dirt opens up for the reader and becomes, perhaps, the central character; a multi-layered persona of good and bad, beauty and ugliness, wonder and simplicity.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
Mistry, who we first meet partway through Dirt, which is the first book in the saga, is a very important character for me. She is only fifteen when we meet her, but she is thrust into the role of a hero as much as anyone. She has been working with her father from the age of ten and she is responsible and clever, but she is also young and being the hero weighs heavily on her and she does not always cope well.
She may be the bravest of them all, but she is also the most reluctant, and I think she represents how many of us would be in real life – we might do the brave thing, but it would scare us stupid and we would battle an inner fight not to just run away.

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
I have always been puzzled why in this world where we celebrate the hope of democracy, so many of our fantasy novels are about kings and queens. Even in Narnia, the young heroes run a feudal society.
So in Dirt, high fantasy it may be, but my heroes are fighting for freedom and equality. My main characters, male, female, human and dragon, are strong, but they are also ordinary. They are not super-sexy or scantily clad, but they are you and me and they want to do what is right.
More importantly, they are all looking for what we all look for – a home.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 
This is a very short extract from the first book of Dirt and is just to give a sense of a couple of the characters. Picking an extract that is not simply the first chapter is difficult because there are so many twists and turns that would be either inexplicable or a terrible spoiler.

“Weasel!” Mab-Tok shouted out as he landed nearly on top of them. “I need your help; Fren-Eirol has broken a wing!”
“What?” Farthing was dismayed. Suddenly all their plans were collapsing again.
“Magician, if we can hurry, we can fix it before it becomes a serious problem, she just caught it a few minutes ago. Jump on my back.”
“Can you take me?” Weasel had never flown on something so much smaller than a sea dragon.
“Of course, or I wouldn’t suggest it and I don’t have the hang ups of those big lumbering idiots on the hill.” Weasel shrugged, and pulled himself up on the back of the small dragon, like a child climbing onto a parent. To Farthing’s complete amazement, the small dragon just jumped into the air and headed straight off as if the magician weighed nothing. He and Jipperson stood watching the dragon disappear into the distance toward the village.
“So, a healer too, your Mr Weasel.” Jipperson said thoughtfully. “And a Bach-Iachawr and a sea dragon? My, but you have collected together an interesting crew, Mr Farthing.” He looked at the young man. “Come on lad,” he said in a much less formal tone. “Looks like they be headed for our Inn. Suppose we should be hurrying along?” Farthing nodded and the two headed up the road.
Fren-Eirol was leant back and braced against a tree with pain in her huge eyes as Weasel had hold of her wingtip and pulled.
“Harder, magician, I have to have it straight!” Mab-Tok could be a bully, but he knew what he was doing.
“Fren-Eirol,” started Farthing.
“Shut up boy!” the large sea dragon growled from between clenched teeth. Suddenly there was a sickening snapping sound and Map-Tok slapped a soaked dressing over the wing bone near the tip.dirt1

“Got you!” he shouted with triumph. “Okay, let it go … slowly!” Weasel gently released the dragon’s wing and she sagged against the tree with an audible sigh of relief.
“I haven’t done that since I was young,” Fren-Eirol said with a note of dismay as Mr Jipperson the elder appeared from the pub with a big pale of what looked like steaming warm water. “Oh, bless you, sir!” the dragon exclaimed and downed the contents in one gulp. Farthing blinked; he had rather assumed the water was for the wing. “Oh, and that had rum in it too!” A broad smile grew over Fren-Eirol’s face. Now it was young Mr Jipperson’s turn to look dismayed. He picked up the bucket and sniffed.
“Mr Jipperson,” he addressed his brother a little more abruptly than usual. “Exactly how many bottles of my rum did you empty into this pale?”
“Not enough for you to fret about, Mr Jipperson,” the elder brother replied with a smile. “Just the two…”
“Two!” Any pretence at formality disappeared in a flash. “Ronald, if I am short at the end of the week, you will be brewing me a new batch personally!” So, they did have first names, mused Farthing.
“Brother mine, I would never deprive you of your precious tipple, I have three crates in store, just in case.”
“Really?” The younger brother looked taken aback. “Well, Mr Jipperson, in which case, the large young lady here can have another to ease the agony.” But the large young lady was already out like a light, her head tilted backwards and her tongue lolling out.
“Strong spirit and dragons are an ill-advised mix,” Mab-Tok explained. “Don’t get me wrong, we like the taste, but we don’t handle it very well. Still, it will help the healing, which is why I ordered it.”
Farthing’s smile became a frown as he walked over to Mab-Tok. “Thank you Mab-Tok, but how long will it take to heal?”
“Well, it is not as dramatic as it sounds. What she did was catch the top of the tree and she had torn a bit of the cartilage. The dressing I have put on will set hard and that means she can fly, with a little care, but we should delay a day, I am sorry to say.”
It was much less worse than Farthing had feared. He had worried that they had been effectively grounded. The elder Jipperson was looking at the sea dragon with interest. She had slowly slid off the side of the tree and was lying on the ground belly up. Weasel had taken some of her cloths from the bag she had brought back and laid them over the dragon.
“Will she be alright, Mr Weasel?”
“She will be fine, Mr Jipperson,” Weasel told the older man. “Her headache should take her mind off her broken wing,” he added with a grin. “And not wishing to leave her feeling like an exception in the morning, shall we adjourn to your outside tables? Mr Jipperson, would you oblige us with some flagons of your finest stout?”

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Dirt?
Keeping track of a complicated and rich world. I realised part way through writing book one that I was running into trouble in several ways. I was naming everyone I met, I had no real idea how big the world was and I did not know how fast dragons fly. If I was to write a story that took in an entire continent, then I had better get organised. So I stopped and started that horrible process of planning properly.
I have written a few articles on planning and one of the most regular comments I get is, “I am an instinctive writer and planning gets in my way.” Well, rubbish. Good planning, I have discovered, does not get in the way, it liberates. Because I know exactly where I am heading, chapter to chapter, and I have complete notes on every character, place, weather pattern and time line, my writing has improved.
In particular, it has helped my dialogue. My characters talk a lot and it is the strongest area of my writing; removing the worry about where I am going has allowed me to have a lot of fun!

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Dirt?
Much to my surprise I have found that I could be far more dedicated than I have been at any time before in my life. My world has been wrapped up in the media industries working with journalists, actors, musicians and some other amazing creatives, but most of the work has been glimpses of a whole and I have suffered from boredom very quickly.
With Dirt, it has been different. After many years of writing, I actually finished my first novel, The Stink (the first of the London novels) in 2014. It was a huge achievement for me and I was keen to write another, though I was fairly certain that I might not actually manage it. Fun to try!
Now I have published four more and have two more waiting to be edited and another part written. I just can’t let go. As I sometime say, I am addicted to it now and it might be a problem.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Pretty much what I have just said – let yourself become addicted, become obsessed. Keep writing, even if it is rubbish. Don’t stop for anything. In my old job, commercial pressures kept you on your toes. Writer’s block didn’t exist; clients did not believe in it and so neither could you. So, whatever we all did, we kept creating, knowing we would have to sort it out in the edit.
Same applies to writing a novel. Plan fully – I mean, write pages of notes – and then just write and write and write. At some point, it will just go Click.

13) Anything else you would like to say?
I have gone the self-published, indie author route for my books. Why? Simple; I could not find an agent. It has been an interesting learning-curve and one I am only part way up, but I have learned several very important lessons. The first is that there are a hell of a lot of really, really good writers out there that cannot get agents, and a lot of really bad writers who have.
Secondly, we live or die on reviews and they are terribly difficult to get. A part of me thinks that we have become our own worst enemy and indie authors are continually on the lookout for the lengthy, great review. But actually, any review or comment of any length is brilliant.
If you read a book by an indie author and you liked it, just post on Amazon, Smashwords or wherever you bought it a quick note. “I loved it,” or “Great book,” or something simple is all that is needed. You don’t have to spend hours writing a huge commentary dissecting every word. Just a thumbs up – that means so much to us all!

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I have another six (or more) Dirt books to write and that is going to keep me occupied for some time, however I have other projects too.
I wrote a Young Adult book called The Stink which people love, but I haven’t managed to shift. I want to get that moving and write the sequel. This is not fantasy, but about a group of young people starting a band in 1976. The sequel is set two years later when they go on tour in the back of a knackered old van. Should be interesting.
I also have planned more London novels and possibly a tome of poetry too.



Blog: http://cchogan.com
Dirt website: http://aworldcalleddirt.com
The Stink website: http://thestinkbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cchoganauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/cc-hogan
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00CPQT8VY
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTIWHEj-Q6cxylom4Tgod2A
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Its_CCHogan
Ello: https://ello.co/cchogan

Video Links:
When Be-Eirol met Mab-Aneirin and Weasel

The Stink trailer
https://youtu.be/njIVj1ewwk8