Welcome Fantasy Author RJ Mirabal!

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It’s my privilege to welcome RJ Mirabal today as part of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour! Let’s learn more about RJ.

RJ Mirabal

Q:Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
A: I don’t know who choose whom, but from my earliest memories I have loved stories. And once I realized the difference between realism and speculative stories, it was the “weird” ones that had me hooked, first as a reader and then in my own childish creations. By junior high, I wrote a few little science fiction, adventure, and fantasy stories. So it went from there. Only the need to have to make a living in my adulthood kept me from a serious focus on writing, though I did try hard in my twenties, but the market was hard to break into at that time. Retirement from teaching has finally allowed me the freedom to write.

Q: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
A: I can create my own world and do all the research “between the ears.” Library research was always like pulling teeth without anesthetic for me, though I still do some in terms of the more realistic parts of my stories, but now the Internet makes it easier.

Q: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
A: Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien, Tony Hillerman, Rudolfo Anaya, Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare, Arthur C. Clark, Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte Bronte…. I could go on and on.

Q: Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use? What inspires your world building?
A: I have included the hero, the dark lord, world building, created races, good vs. evil, the quest, and magic into my published book as well its sequels, but I’ve tweaked them quite a bit to make them my own.

My hero is an apathetic alcoholic, the “dark lord(s)” are actually less-than-impressive leaders of a not totally evil race, the quest is fairly standard, but magic is downplayed as a power of limited scope. My races are all a little odd and rustic, but the world I have built is my pride and joy.

I have used an alternative New Mexico as a high desert setting elevated to mythic heights—literally. The Medieval European type setting has been done to death. Since I grew up in New Mexico and always found it to be a unique and fascinating place, it only seemed right to make it a major part of my fantasy stories.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour-Welcome Jan Marie!

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Jan Marie

Our Magic of Solstice Tour continues with Jan Marie! Let’s learn more about his wonderful writer.

Q: Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
A: I’m a mom, writer, and lover of books.

Q: What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
A: Currently working on Book 2 of Angelic Confessions. Its been a bit difficult as my twins are in their terrible two’s. Finding time to write is like finding a needle in a haystack. I also freelance write as a book reviewer Currently reading Exiles Redemption by Lee Dunning.

Q: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
A: I think writing chose me. I was very shy growing. I was the quite one. I found out I could talk without saying a word with writing.

Q: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
A: In the world of fantasy anything can happen.

Q: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
A: I can not remember them all! I learn something from every author I read that makes me want to work harder on my craft. Indie author Renee Scattergood comes to mind. I like her writing style and her sense of business. She inspires me.

Q: Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use?
A: No, I go against them. I try I know I fail sometimes and use them.

Q: Do you have any weird writing rituals?
A: Doing dishes. Oddly I do my best writing while doing dishes.

Q: What inspires your world building?
A: Art does. I love to look at fantasy art. It sparks my mind.

Bio:
Jan Marie is an established online article writer. Mostly self trained with only attending one Rock Valley College writing course she first broke into the comic book writing scene where she worked with new independent companies as head script writer. She then moved into freelance writing having been published by various online publishers and also was featured in FATE magazine. She also hosts her own Review business blog site Authors and Angels where she host reviews and interviews of fellow indie authors. She now has written her first fantasy romance novella “Angelic Confessions.”

Jan Marie Book
Angelic Confessions
“In a world where the Father created all I was born…an angel. A new breed I was meant to overthrow the children of heaven. To prevent this I was taken, and raised as Father’s own.

Introducing C. B. Mac Gillavry!

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pic C.B. Mac Gillavry

The awesome C.B. Mac Gillavry is here today to talk about all things fantasy. Please welcome C.B.!

Q: Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
A: I live in Europe, I love books and I live and breathe for books, when I’m not working.

Q: What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
A: I’m currently editing a novel and a novelette and writing another novelette, all at the same time. Only because I don’t really have the time to look after all my projects properly. My writing means very much to me, it’s what keeps me grounded and sane, so I’ll just keep writing like this until I earn enough to quit my day job.

Q: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
A: The writing chose me from a very early age, like for so many of us. It’s always a matter of perseverance really.

Q: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
A: It may sound corny, but it’s the magic. Most people would kill to have a magic wand or the power to change things in the blink of an eye. Well, fantasy gives me unlimited powers: I decide who gets to do magic and who doesn’t, I say what kind of magic and how it’s used and in the end it’s magical to me.

Q: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
A: At the moment I’m lucky enough to be in touch on a regular basis with excellent writers in the Indie scene and they all stimulate me so much, they all make me want to be a better writer. Some of them are on this very tour, and once again I feel honoured for the incredible chance to tour with them.

Q: Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use?
A: My target is a young adult audience, so the Bildungsroman is a consequential choice. My main character is growing into adulthood, she has to understand how the world turns around and where she’s allowed to stand. And then there’s the love thing. I’m a huge romantic, I need the romantic love story and I honestly see romantic love stories where they probably don’t exist. Or maybe they do. Anyway, I smuggle first loves and new loves and mending broken hearts in my writings. Let’s face it, there is nothing like a broken heart to turn everything upside down in life!

Introducing Charlotte Henley Babb!

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Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome fellow fantasy author, Charlotte Henley Babb. She writes one of my favorite genres; steampunk! Let’s learn a bit more about Charlotte.

charlotte-babb-author

Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
I live in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. I’ve always lived in the southeastern part of the us, the red mud, rolling hills Piedmont area, where people used work in cotton mills, drink sweet tea, wear overalls and drive trucks. We’re getting really gentrified as people move here from the rust and snow belt, but there’s still sweet tea and grits.

What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
The current WIP, 20 Hours to Charles Town, is a steampunk adventure set on an airship brothel. The madam has expanded her business to host a secret meeting of the ambassadors from the European colonies in North America where the American Revolution was not successful. The topic at hand is the recognition of Texas, which has just seceded from Mexico. Can she get them there in one piece despite a rogue detective, a hoodoo, and an anarchist plot?

Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
Yes. I have always wanted to write since I discovered fiction. Having the backbone, intestinal fortitude, or whatever other body parts apply, to sit down and face the blank page has taken me much of my life, and I have experimented with arts, crafts, web design (my current day job), teaching writing (my current evening job) and various other things. I worked for a few weeks as a telephone psychic to make some extra money—but not much.

I wish now that I had started writing sooner, but that’s water under the bridge, and it occurs to me now that I make things happen when they happen. Now is always the right time.

What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
Fantasy is for people who are too smart for hard drugs. Nobody in the left mind would live in the real world, so it is up to us writers/directors/actors/ to create those fantasy world for those people to live in for a while.

Fantasy, and most other fiction as well, has to do with the protagonist taking on incredibly unbalanced odds, generally of eldritch proportions, and must face them and prevail, which s/he usually does, by wit, strategy, and cunning.

What authors make you want to be a better writer?

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour-Debbie Manber Kupfer

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Debbie

Today, I’d like to welcome multi-talented author Debbie Manber Kupfer! Let’s learn more about Debbie.

1. Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
I grew up in London, lived in Israel and the East Coast of the US before moving to St. Louis about 16 years ago. I live with my husband, 2 kids and the real ruler of our household our kitty, Miri Billie Joe. When I’m not writing fiction I write puzzles for magazines.

2. What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
I’ve just finished the first draft of P.A.W.S. 3 (currently called Maze of Shadows, but that might change). In it Miri visits Israel to try to discover the history hidden in the book she received in Argentum. We also go back in history to World War II Europe to the time when Max and Celia first escaped from the Nazis.

I’m also currently working with a local artist on a picture book, Adana the Earth Dragon, that all being well will be released in the fall of 2015.

3. Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
Oh definitely it chose me! I’ve been writing ever since I was small – I even wrote a series of “books” while I was in school in exercise books. They were really silly, but back then of course I thought they were wonderful.

4. What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
The wonder of it. My characters can truly go anywhere and do anything when there’s magic involved.

5. What authors make you want to be a better writer?
Number one at the moment – Neil Gaiman. I adore his books and if mine could be even a fraction as good then I feel I’d have achieved something great.

6. Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use?
Well not really as I write urban fantasy set in our world.

7. Do you have any weird writing rituals?
Just that I need gallons and gallons of hot tea with milk in order to get my brain moving. Oh, and I reward myself with a dark Hershey’s chocolate kiss if I reach my daily word count.

Bio:
Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour-Joshua Robertson!

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Joshua Robertson

Today I’d like to introduce you to dark fantasy all-star Joshua Robertson! Joshua, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from Kansas and I currently live in Alaska with my wife and children. I started writing snippets of fantasy and horror around the age of nine, had a collection of poetry and short stories by fifteen, and had completed my first fantasy novel at seventeen. Recently, I have published a couple of books and started my own small press, Crimson Edge Publishing Company.

What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
I have recently published Melkorka in January 2015, the first book in the dark fantasy series, Thrice Nine Legends. I am extremely excited about this novel and have received some great reviews. I also published A Midwinter Sellsword in February 2015. Gladiators and Thieves comes out June 2015. I have several WIPs, including the sequel to Melkorka, titled Dyndaer. I am also co-writing another novel within Thrice Nine Legends called Anaerfell, to be released October 2015.

What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
Writing a fantasy novel for me is like taking a vacation. It is what I like to do in my free time, and it is the one thing that I never want to retire from. It gives me the opportunity to escape into a world of my own creation. It is like playing make-believe as a child, and I think that is something that every adult wishes they could do again.

What authors make you want to be a better writer?
It sounds cliché, but J.R.R. Tolkien has always been my favorite writer. I have read everything he has ever written and I often go back to read it again. I like his way with words, descriptions, and the intricacies in his characters. There are other authors that I read occasionally, but none have matched the enchantment of Tolkien.

Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use?
I am sure that there are some found within my novels, but I honestly try hard to challenge about any fantasy trope I come across. I like to write about powerful women, flawed characters, and unlikely heroes. There are enough farm boys out there that find out they are the sons of powerful gods, and suddenly go out to rule armies and nations. I like to focus on what has not been done quite so much, sticking with a realistic and gritty tone.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog-Lee Dunning!

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Today, it’s my privilege to introduce fantasy author Lee Dunning. Lee was a good sport and decided to answer my questions about writing. Read more below!

Lee 2

Me: Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
Lee: I’ve lived in about nine different states, but most recently I’ve wasted away in Arizona. The Pacific Northwest is still my favorite part of the country, so I plan to relocate there within a year or so.

I love animals, and when I have the finances I contribute to some of my favorite causes, like the Save the Manatee Club. I share my home with five cats. They make me laugh several times a day—when they’re not driving me mad. Three of the little buggers were adopted from the Siamese Rescue of Southern California.

I’ve always loved to write and draw. My artsy inclinations don’t make for practical finances however, so for the past 20 plus years I’ve worked in IT. About two years ago I went back to school to study accounting (I’m sick of IT). I just graduated with my new education in May of this year. Now I have to find work again. Boo!

Me: What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
Lee: I just finished the second draft to my story ‘Exile’s Gamble’. It’s the sequel to ‘Exile’s Redemption’, part of the ‘Chronicles of Shadow’ series. It takes off pretty much right where the first book ended. It sees a lot of changes for the original characters, and introduces some new characters. We get closer to knowing who is behind the original attack on Second Home, K’hul discovers some terrible information, Raven embarks on a crazy quest to bolster the elven army, and W’rath continues to drive everyone crazy.

Me: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
Lee: Hmm, probably a little of both. I’ve always liked reading, and storytelling games like D&D, so the two make for a logical launch point for me to explore my own stories. My strongest subject in school was always English, I actually enjoyed writing assignments, so stepping up to novel writings didn’t take much prodding.

Me: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
Lee: I like not being tied down to the mundane world. I like spending my time with crazy, obnoxious elves. I like exploring the possibilities beyond science.

Me: What authors make you want to be a better writer?

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour– Allison D. Reid!

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Allison Reid

It is Day 6 of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour, and I’d like to welcome a very special guest today, Allison D. Reid! Allison’s passion for medieval history and fantasy was sparked by writers like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, and Lloyd Alexander. She also spent years living in Europe, captivated by its ancient towns, cathedrals, and castles. She received her B.A. in writing from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Her first published work, Journey to Aviad, is a Christian Fantasy novel—the first in The Wind Rider Chronicles book series. Many of her short stories relate back to the world of her books. Allison has two young daughters, runs a small business with her husband, and also provides editing services to other independent authors.

Learn more about Allison’s books–and where to find her–below!

Allison Reid Book Cover

Journey to Aviad
Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. She soon realizes that the storms are but a warning sign of much more frightening things yet to come.

Terrifying wolf-like creatures emerge from the depths of the wilderness at the bidding of a dark master. His name found only among the crumbling pages of ancient texts, the re-appearance of Alazoth and his Hounds is a dark omen for the people of Tyroc and beyond. Only legends remain of the heroes and prophets whose blood was shed ages ago to banish him into the abyss, which should have remained his prison for all time. How he has been released is a mystery, but all the old stories agree that death and destruction are sure to follow.

With the Hounds inching closer each day, the city of Tyroc caught up in religious and political turmoil, and her home life no less turbulent, Elowyn has nothing left to rely on but her meager courage and a budding faith in Aviad, the Creator. She and her sister, Morganne, set out on a remarkable journey that challenges everything they have ever known about themselves, the world, and the path that Aviad has laid out for them.

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Aviad-Allison-D-Reid/dp/1456329650/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430609919&sr=8-1&keywords=Journey+to+Aviad
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/journey-to-aviad-allison-reid/1107518297?ean=9781456329655
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3497109
The Learned Owl Bookshop: http://www.learnedowl.com/book/9781456329655

Allison Reid Book Cover 2

The Magical Muse

Stories of fantasy ranging from dark, to light and inspiring, bring life to this anthology. The creatures featured throughout, both good and evil, display the devastating or wonderful personalities they were given by the authors who created them for your enjoyment.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour–Renee Scattergood!

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Hi guys and dolls,

The magic of fantasy continues today with the insanely talented Renee Scattergood! Let’s talk to Renee.

Renee Scattergood Pic

Me: Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
R: Originally I’m from America, but I moved to Australia in 2004 to be with my (now) husband. We met online and, after meeting in person, we decided we didn’t want to be apart anymore. We have a daughter who has been diagnosed with ASD and ADHD, so that has been both a challenge and great learning experience. She’s a great kid, but she keeps us on our toes.

Me: What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
R: For the last ten months or so I’ve been focusing on my Shadow Stalker serial. It’s about a young woman who is destined, according to some, to enslave her people. It’s a story about how she overcomes being branded with a false destiny and actually saves her people by fulfilling it in an offhanded manner. I write in “episodes”, about the length of long short stories or short novellas, which are published monthly. There are four parts to the story, and each part is made up of six episodes. Currently I’m working on Part 2 and I’ll be releasing Episode 10 at the end of this month. For those who are interested, Episode 1 is permafree and can be downloaded on Smashwords.

Me: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
R: I would have to say it has chosen me. I’ve always loved telling stories, even as a kid. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to write any of them down until I was in college and my English instructor suggested I consider getting some of my work published.

Me: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
R: I love the fact that I can make up my own worlds with my own rules. It’s a genre that really allows my imagination to run wild, and as active as my imagination is, I need that kind of freedom.

Me: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
R: Most recently it has been Lindsay Buroker. She is an indie author who has been quite successful and I have been following her blog and podcast, hoping to learn everything she has done so I can apply it to my own career. I love that she is always willing to experiment and try new things.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour-Ali Cross!

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Hi all,

As the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour rolls on, I’d like to introduce you to Ali Cross.

Ali Cross grew up watching Bruce Lee movies and dreamed of being a kick-butt martial artist like Cynthia Rothrock. Well, she never became the kind of ninja she envisioned, but she does hold a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin’ husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, one sumo dog and four zen turtles. And a cache of nunchucks, staffs, kamas and other dangerous ninja-weapons.

Ali moonlights as Alex Banks where she writes wild middle grade adventures set in the faraway places of her imagination.

Learn more about Ali’s books!
Become (Desolation #1): It’s never too late to choose.
Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.
When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

Desolate (Desolation #2): Where darkness lives, all will become desolate.
It’s been two months since sixteen-year-old Desolation Black chose Earth over Hell and her friend Miri over her eternal love, Michael.
Desi goes through the motions of life: school, training, remaining vigilant against the forces of darkness, but her dreams are full of the choices she wishes she could change. When she’s injured by a strange demon, old temptations arise, and the lines between good and evil blur. Desi discovers those choices aren’t so final after all.
And this time, the power of love—for a friend, for a lover—may not be enough to save her from the darkness that lurks within.

Destined (Desolation #3): Destiny isn’t fate, it’s choice.
Choosing is a bad idea, because Desi always makes the wrong choice, and sometimes there are no do-overs. Certainly not this time, when all has been lost and Desi can’t even save herself, let alone her friends. For Desi, the hardest thing is letting someone help her, to accept their sacrifice on her\behalf. But that’s exactly what she’ll have to do in order to save the worlds from Helena’s destruction.

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