Umbrae Blog Tour

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Hi all! Today, I’m featuring an excerpt from Umbrae, which is the third book in Debbie Manber Kupfer’s P.A.W.S. Saga. This title was just released on March 1, so happy book birthday, Debbie! Debbie is not only a fellow writer but one of my clients. I had the pleasure of editing this book, so I know you’re going to love it! Now, on to the excerpt!



When she opened the door, Finny walked in complaining to herself. Miri lowered her mental shield so that she could talk to the cat without changing form.
“How long were you going to leave me out there?” complained Finny. “It’s hot and I’m hungry!”
Miri looked around her room. There was a small package of sponge cake on her desk that the Rabbi’s wife had left her on Friday just before Shabbat.
“Do you eat cake, Finny?”
“Well, it’s not my favorite, but if you insist.” The cat jumped up onto the desk and sniffed the package of cake, then nudged it with her paw. “Come on, Miri, some help over here.”
Miri chuckled as she opened the package of cake. She broke the cake in half and offered Finny one half while she munched on the second.
“That’s not fair,” moaned Finny. “You took the bigger piece.”
“Well, for one, it’s my cake, and two, you said you didn’t even like it that much.”


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The Other Queen Cover Reveal and First Three Chapters!

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Dear readers,

It’s my absolute pleasure to share with you the cover of my second book–sequel to The Other Inheritance–The Other Queen!

Preorder is available now and at the special price of $.99 for an ebook. I’ve included the link below along with the first three chapters

Preorder link:

The Other Queen
Rebecca Jaycox

Chapter 1

“John, you’re not eating. Is the wild boar not to your liking?”

The polite voice coiled around him like a snake before it squeezed. John glanced up from his plate and met the cold, gray eyes of Andrius Drake, fear shivering through him. He immediately stabbed his fork into the meat wishing it were Andrius’ heart.  Spices flavored the succulent boar, but it tasted like ashes in John’s mouth. He quickly swallowed and nodded at the dark mage.

“It’s delicious,” he mumbled, lowering his eyes. He felt the iciness of Andrius’ stare sweep over his face. Sneaking a quick glance out of the corner of his eye, he saw Arlene tense, her spine ramrod straight. The utter stillness of the dining room pounded against his eardrums.

“I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I would hate to think you felt I wasn’t properly caring for you,” Andrius said, sipping the amber liquid in his crystal goblet.

John choked back the words rising in his throat. Hatred pulsed inside him. He shook his head, not trusting himself to speak.

“We don’t feel that way at all,” Arlene interjected, and John looked at her gratefully. She pasted a sickly smile on her face; the expression made her resemble a possessed doll.

Andrius leaned back in his chair, swirling the liquid in his goblet. The soft sloshing seemed vulgar in the silent room. He studied Arlene, who was carefully watching a point over the dark mage’s shoulder. John took another bite of his food, observing them both beneath his lashes.

“You’re not drinking,” Andrius said, sipping from his glass.

John stiffened, his hand clenching his knife. He turned to Arlene, who had frozen in her seat. She reached out a shaking hand and took a drink from her water goblet.

“There,” she whispered, setting the goblet back on the table.

Andrius smiled at her, a gentle smile that made John’s stomach churn. “Water isn’t what you want. Drink the brandy, Arlene. It will help you forget, about Reggie, about John, about me. Escape for a little while.

Special Guest Author, Andy Peloquin

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Vicious, ruthless criminals are made, not born. Child of the Night Guild—an insight into the transformation from innocent child to thief and killer.

Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)
“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”
Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.
The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.
What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?
Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle:
Amazon Paperback:
Amazon Canada:

Book Launch Event:
Join my Thunderclap:

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!


10 Things You Need to Know About Me:
1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)

Cover Reveal for Umbrae!

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It’s here and it’s beautiful! The long awaited cover of Umbrae (The P.A.W.S. Saga, Part 3) created by the ever awesome Rachel Bostwick.


So what’s it about?

Step into the Shadows of Umbrae …

Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.

Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.

With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.


Help spread the word – support my Headtalker campaign!

Add Umbrae to your Goodreads TBR list!

Coming soon in paperback!


Cover Reveal!

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Ta-da! My beautiful new cover for “The Other Inheritance” is here. I’m so thrilled to show this to you all as it came out just the way I wanted it to. Reggie and Asher look stunning as do their two worlds. Thank you Molly Phipps and Aelurus Publishing! While I did like my previous cover, I never felt like it fit the story the way this one does. I hope you all love it as much as I do!

Welcome to Aelurus Publishing!

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Dear readers,

Despite my sporadic appearances, I’m still very much writing away and hoping to get book two to you. I have exciting news to share. I have joined Aelurus Publishing, and they will be relaunching “The Other Inheritance” on February 1 with a brand new cover!

I’m extremely excited to join this fledging press as the director is a fellow writing friend, and he’s really setting up the business in an incredible way. I’m so happy I found a new home with Aelurus, and I think you all will be very happy with the new covers!

Popular Character in Peril

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There comes a time in every writer’s life when you decide to put a popular character in mortal peril. In my case, I’m putting the most popular character in my trilogy in some serious shit. I realize this might (will) make some readers mighty unhappy. I might get some pitchforks thrown at me through social media. But the thing is, it’s necessary. This incident is the catalyst on which the third act relies on. This incident forces my heroine to make a choice that is going to have major consequences and also reveal the depth of her magical badassness. And I didn’t say this beloved character was going to die. I follow the Joss Whedon school of thought: why go for the kill when you can go for the pain. And don’t we all love a hero who overcomes tragedy and triumphs? Isn’t that why we get attached to characters? Because we feel their pain and recognize their struggles and want them to prevail.

So go forth, brave writers. Tell the tale that needs telling. Make us feel all the feels. The story is better for it, and so are we, the reader.

Author Insanity and snippet!

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Well all, the end is near! Not the end of the world (although watching the presidential debate made me very uncertain), but the end of my first draft of The Other Inheritance 2. After nearly two years of writing the damn thing (that’s a term of affection, I assure you), I finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, instead of progressing, my writing habits have regressed. For a while, I could only write on paper and then have to retype all my work into a Word document. Insane, no? But it was the only way I could work. I thought eventually I would return to the keyboard and be able to bang away on the keys again. Eh, not so much. Sometimes, I’ll sit down at my computer and write a few paragraphs–a page if I’m really luck–but I’m still avoiding my Mac.

Now my writing habits have gotten even stranger. Instead of just writing in a notebook, I’ve found that I want to write at 11pm while I’m in bed on my Notes app. At least I can just email the text to myself, but seriously, how annoying is this habit? I’ve written a few pages on my Notes app at a time and that ain’t easy folks. On a positive note, the book is getting done, so I’ve decided not to fight the insanity but to embrace it.

And your reward for listening to this rant is a little scene from TOI 2. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and avoid spoilers. Enjoy!

They wrapped their arms around each other, and she promised herself that she wouldn’t cling to him when he let go. He kissed her a final time and nodded, eyes shiny. She blinked a few times and nodded back, forcing her arms to release him. He bounded up the loading ramp and onto the ship. He turned at the railing, leaning against it so he could see her. Reggie felt (blank’s) presence at her back, and John looped an around her shoulders. She was beginning to hate that lump that seemed permanently lodged in her throat. She refused to let the last image Asher had be of her blubbering like an idiot. Rhys walked down the plank and stood on her free side.
“He’ll be all right. Now smile and wave farewell,” Rhys said. “Even if you don’t mean it.”
The sigils on the ship lit up, emitting a soft glow.

I’m back!

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After a woeful and unforgivable absence, I’m back to haunting my blog. I’ve had a lot of changes in my life since February, and I hope these changes mean I can focus on writing more. Cross your fingers!

The good news is I’ve officially written over 45K words on my new novel, which is the sequel to “The Other Inheritance.” I can finally see the end of this book tunnel, and maybe if I work my booty off, I might get out an end-of-year release. I’m looking for a Christmas miracle, people.

In other good news, I’m editing novels for indie authors. I find this so enjoyable. Editing makes a sharper writer, and we all need to improve. Writing is a journey, and we writers hope we get better along the way.

As usual when I’ve been gone a long time, I’ve been traveling. This absence is no different. I recently spent three weeks in Greece! I spent a week in Athens and two weeks on the island of Paros. I love Greece and am grateful that I’ve gotten to journey there every year this past five years. I promise there will be pics to come!

My summer has pretty much rocked! How has yours been? Love to hear what everyone has been up to!

New Year’s Resolutions and Other News

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Well, we can talk about the elephant in the room. I clearly suck at blogging. I mean suck. I disappear for months at a time, and I don’t call or write. I have no real excuse except that life continually gets in the way. The end of the year was especially busy for me as I was planning events for work and getting ready to go to Hawaii. And yes, no sympathy there as I did get to spend the holidays in paradise. Hawaii was pretty awesome. Is is the land of lush vegetation and rainbows. And rain. There’s a lot of rain. I spent two days in Honolulu and eight days in Maui. I made the mistake of staying in the jungle in Maui, which sounded way cool on paper, but remember the rain? Boy, was there a lot of it! Once we got out of the jungle, we would drive into sunshine and perfect beaches. (The we in this scenario is my husband). I swam with sea turtles, and I’m very certain tiger sharks as turtles are their favorite food.

Now on to more important things like New Year’s resolutions. This year, no matter what, I will finish the sequel to “The Other Inheritance.” It is literally the only resolution I have because, let’s face it, it’s a doozy. From fighting writing’s block and fatigue, it’s been a real struggle to get this book done. I honestly think it will be a better book than the first, with some twists and some surprises, but I just need to get that story on the page!

What are your resolutions?

Writing progress, good books, and traveling over the holidays

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As always, I’ve been woefully neglectful to my beautiful blog. I have no excuses but the typical ones; work, family, and more work. But I finally got my lazy ass motivated and decided to post today. I still can’t believe it’s December! Christmas is literally around the corner, and it’s a steady 60 degrees in New York. The weather is not conducive to the holiday spirit; although, I admit my holiday spirit is never super high. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I’m all about the food!

I leave for Hawaii next week, and I’ll spend 10 days with my husband in Maui. It’s my first Christmas not with the family in over 10 years, so I feel a little sad about missing my parents, but it’s Hawaii! I’ll be soaking up sun for 10 days and hanging out on the beach. I can’t be too sad about that.

I just finished “Magic Stars” by Ilona Andrews, a sweet novella that is a great addition to the Kate Daniels world. This is not just a fluff piece that needs to be skipped over, but a piece that is integral to the greater plot. You must read this one! I’m also a third of the way into “Sweep In Peace,” another Ilona Andrews book. It’s so great to have that many offerings from a favorite writer!

Speaking of writers you need to check out, you must try Michelle Bryan’s “Newblood” series. This is great dystopian YA fiction that is action packed and features a feisty, believable heroine.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for, an update on the sequel to “The Other Inheritance.” Good news; I’m about 115 pages in and I think I know where the story is going. I just reached the climatic middle, which will propel the book to it’s, hopefully, awesome conclusion. Bad news; I’m still having bouts of writer’s block that really suck. I think Hawaii will help me overcome that with a change of scenery and new adventures.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Traveling and Being Away!

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Lyons at Night

Lyons Fountain

Hi All,

Once again I can be rightly accused of absence and sporadic posts. I do have an excuse, sort of. I have been traveling again. I spent 10 days in France with a few hours squeeze in to Geneva. The first leg of my trip was in Chamonix, and I was right next to the famous Mont Blanc.The view was stunning; it looked like I was on the set of a movie with a fake backdrop, that’s how pretty it was. I got to hike to a glacier and go inside it! Other than a pretty bad case of altitude sickness, it was a fun five days.

After Chamonix, I went to the beautiful city of Lyons, which is the food capital of France. I ate a lot and visited amazing churches and museums and just had an awesome time. Now it’s back to work on my second book! I’ll try not to be gone so long next time.

Mount Blanc 1

Glacier 1

Writing, Great Books and Other Things!

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Hi all,

Once again, it’s been a long time, but I’ve been busy in the best possible ways. My publisher put the the fear of God in me, so to speak, with a looming deadline that I’m trying my best to meet. I’m happy to say that the yet unnamed sequel to “The Other Inheritance” is coming along slowly but surely. I’m currently at 17K words and 71 pages. I couldn’t be more thrilled! I’ve realized I’m using a lot more traditional fantasy elements in the sequel, so I have to make sure I add those cool steampunk touches that were so great in the first one.

Other than that scary deadline, fabulous reading has been inspiring me as well. I just finished “Magic Shifts” by Ilona Andrews. What an apt title, as the writing duo of Ilona Andrews set us up for the final arc of the series. Did I say final arc? No!!!! These books are so good I never want them to end. I ship Kate and Curran so hard! This was a great book. Great new mythology to explore, a scary villain, and an interesting reveal about what Kate’s father is really after. Good stuff! This writing duo always pushes me to excel at my craft.

I received an ARC copy of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. She kicks off my YA Lit series at 92Y, and I’m super stoked to have her as a guest. I’m a huge fan of the series, and she’s another writer that always inspires me to be my best.

I’m going to be traveling to France in September. I hope I get some ideas to inspire my writing and world building. Until next, y’all!

Cover Reveal for P.A.W.S.!

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My dear friend and colleague Debbie Manber Kupfer is rereleasing her wonderful YA fantasy P.A.W.S.! Just look at that beautiful new cover!

Despite all the stories I shared with you,
there is so much I never told you, Miri,
so much you’ll have to
discover for yourself.
Be brave, mein Katzerl.

When Miri receives a silver cat charm from her omama, Celia, on the night before she dies, she has no idea that the charm holds a family secret, a magic that saved Celia’s life and is about to make Miri’s a whole lot more interesting.
Book on sale on Amazon, September 1 ….

Goodreads Giveaway!

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Hi all!

I’m having a Goodreads giveaway. I’m giving away two signed books of “The Other Inheritance!” If you click on this link, you can enter to win a copy.

I officially have 35 reviews of “The Other Inheritance,” on Amazon and 17 reviews on Goodreads. To really be noticed, I need 50 reviews. Again, I beg of you, if you’ve read “The Other Inheritance” and loved it–or just liked it–please leave a review. Reviews are the best tools a writer can use.

Shifting gears slightly, my YA Lit program at 92nd Street Y kicks off on August 25 with Libba Bray and the launch of Lair of Dreams. Chuck Wendig is also joining the event, and I’m super stoked about this one. If you’re in NYC that week, please stop by!

Back from Vacation!

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Hi all! I’ve been super absent lately, but that’s because I’ve spent the last two weeks in Greece and Turkey having an awesome time. I didn’t read or write, which is incredibly unusual for me, but I really needed that R&R.

Greece was absolutely wonderful. I know people are concerned because of the economic crisis, but don’t be. If you’ve made plans or intend to make plans to go to Greece, keep them. The people really need tourism and they are so hospitable and lovely. You won’t have any problems getting money or getting around.

After spending 10 days in Greece, I spent my last two days in Istanbul. If you’ve never visited Istanbul, it’s a very special city with a lot of flavor. It really is the crossroads of East and West, and you can feel the history everywhere you go.

Now that I’m back, I have to concentrate on the writing the sequel to “The Other Inheritance!” I’ve officially wrote 50 pages, and I’ve outlined the next three chapters, so there is progress. It’s slow progress, but definitely progress!

I’m kicking off my YA Lit season at 92Y with Libba Bray on August 25. If you’re in NYC, stop by and see this awesome author!

Hagia Sophia

Final Day of the Tour Guest–KJ Hawkins!

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KJ Hawkins

Today is the last day of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour! I’ve saved the best for last and would like to welcome KJ Hawkins to my blog today.

Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
Hello everyone! It is a pleasure to be here. Tell you a bit about myself? Hmmm…well first off KJ Hawkins is my pen name. I was originally going to write under my true name, but decided I wanted to separate myself from my writing. I am also a graphic designer and want to keep my business self away from my creative self, if that makes any sense.

Besides being an avid reader and fantasy lover I am a normal 24 year old woman. I have two cats, and two dogs that preoccupy my time. They are my babies so I spend a lot of my time taking care of them. I could probably drone on and on about boring things about myself. However I think the most interesting thing about me is my writing and the worlds I have and will create. If you want to get to know me more you will have to pick up one of my stories/books and join me on the ride to discovery.

What is your most recent project?
This last April my short story Trisha’s Escape was published in DKC’s anthology The Magical Muse: A Collection of Fantasy Stories. This short story is an introductory piece to my first novel in my Half-Blood Academy Series. There is going to be a total of nine short stories that will be gathered officially into an anthology in the near feature. As for the book series I have yet to figure out how many novels will make up the series, however The Seeker’s Core is going to be the first in the series. I hope to publish it in 2016.

Tell us a little bit about it.
Trisha Solveig lives in Nazi Germany and finds herself on the road to a concentration camp. She thinks facing imprisonment is going to be hard wait till she faces off against Sergeant Smith.

When demons from the pit rule the camp and a demigod is thrown into the mist. She will have to find a way out and hopefully be able to handle the truth of her heritage in the process.

Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
I would have to say that my heart chose writing.

Welcome fantasy author Cheri Schmidt!

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Cheri Schmidt

Today, I’d like to welcome fellow fantasy writer Cheri Schmidt! Let’s learn a little more about Cheri.

Cheri is the bestselling author of Fateful. Think “The Vampire Diaries meets Jane Austen.” Fateful is followed by Fractured, Forever, and The Order of Curse-Bound Knights. And she has one other book in another series out entitled, Fair Maiden.

Her Fateful Series has been a bestseller ever since she published it, and well over a 150 thousand copies have been downloaded worldwide.

Cheri will say that her head is a very crowded place, and she wishes she could write faster. She will also tell you that if you do not like glittering fairies, hot vampires with British accents, knights in shining armor, the dashing Mr. Darcy, girly-girls who wear skirts, modern-day vigilantes, or large amounts of snogging, then perhaps her stories are not for you.

Currently she is working on The Trapping Club, a sequel to Fair Maiden, a contemporary/spy romance series, and a Steampunk series.

Cheri’s Books:
01Fateful-cheri- 2500

The Order of Curse-Bound Knights (book 4 in the Fateful Series)
A dying knight, the infamous Sir Maximilian…
A curse saves him. That curse makes him even more dangerous…and he likes it. To him, a new life as a vampire is an appealing thing.
The man who turned him into this great, fearsome warrior tasks him to watch over and protect his mortal daughter, Nadia. But the beautiful Nadia puts Max’s skills as a knight to the test, captures his heart, and bewitches him with eyes of emerald green. A power more potent than any magical curse.
Inspired by ballads of Robin Hood, Nadia is a bit too rebellious for her own good. And with a kind heart, she is much too trusting and forgiving for Max’s peace of mind, because those attributes get her into a great deal of peril. Deadly creatures surround her—some of them are there to protect her and some want to lure her into a trap—and she has no idea…
But can a knight in shining armor heal a lady’s heart when her love for the legend of Robin Hood is used against her?

Kindle Link:

Fateful, book one in the Fateful Series, is available for Free download and Whispersynced. This means you can pick up Fateful for free for Kindle and then get the audiobook for only $1.99!!!
For Danielle Darcey, when the sun sets in London the magic begins, but just as that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends…because the hero of her story is a vampire.

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.

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.


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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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.

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:
The Learned Owl Bookshop:

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.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Blog Tour Day 3-Melissa Barker Simpson

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Hi all! As our fantasy tour marches on, let’s welcome Melissa Barker-Simpson! She gives all us all the scoop about herself and writing below.

Tell us about yourself.
In addition to writing, I’m also a keen blogger and maintain three different sites. I’m a regular contributor at and have a role as guest contributor on a number of other blogs. I am an author, and an interpreter, a mother, and a geek. I am creative, and I am disorganised; an introvert and a loyal friend. I love to read, and connect with people, and I live in my own world!

The Contract is my eighth published novel, and though I write a paranormal romance series, this is my first major jaunt into fantasy fiction. I thoroughly enjoy the genre, and intend to write a serialised fiction series for release next year.

What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it?
As I’ve just released the prequel, I’m currently working on book one of the Fractured series. I fell in love with the characters, and anticipate many more adventures to come. I’m also working on the third novel in the Morgan and Fairchild Series (Brothers in Arms), which is a romantic thriller (crime fiction), set for release later this year.

Did you choose writing, or did writing choose you?
It most definitely chose me. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child it was plays, which my sister and I performed for our family! I dabbled in poetry, and wrote a variety of short stories. Being a writer is part of who I am.

What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
The freedom of creating different worlds and populating them with magical creatures. I enjoy discovering new myths and delving into traditional folklore, and it’s exciting to be able to use and adapt that information in an entertaining way for my readers.

What authors make you want to be a better writer?
Depending on the genre, I am influenced by a number of authors; Tolkien (obviously), Lee Child, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore. I have a growing list of favourites, all who inspire me to be a better writer. My bookshelves are bowing under the weight!

Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use?
I guess the obvious theme found within the Fractured series is good vs.

Fantasy Writers’ Solstice Blog Tour Day 2-Nichole Giles!

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Nichole Giles had early career plans that included becoming an actress or a rockstar, but decided instead to have a family and then become a writer.

She was born in Nevada, the oldest of seven—a number which increased to eleven with the addition of four step brothers—and has lived in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and South Texas.

Her future aspirations include owning a home on a tropical island, even if it’s just a vacation home. For now, she plans to travel to as many tropical locations as possible, scouting for her future paradise.

Currently, she lives with her husband, one of her two sons (the other is in college), two daughters, two golden retrievers, and one lucky bunny rabbit.

Writing is her passion, but she also loves to shop, spend time with her family, travel to exotic destinations, drive in the rain with her convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.


Here is an excerpt from Nichole’s latest, Water So Deep!
BY THE TIME SHE HIKED down the steep embankment and around the tide pools to her cove, the pressure in her chest squeezed so tight, black spots floated in her vision. Not a good sign. It had only been five days since her last swim— usually she was good for seven.
Emma hung her bag on a rock that jutted out of the cave wall and stripped off her clothes, breathing deep, squeezing her hands into fists to avoid the panic creeping up on her. Panicking stole precious air from her half-converted lungs, and she was already on the verge of passing out.
If she did pass out, she couldn’t get to the water, and if she couldn’t get to the water, this terrible pressure wouldn’t ease, and if the pressure didn’t ease, she would soon stop breathing altogether. It would be hours before anyone missed her and came looking, and by that time, she’d be shriveled like a washed-up fish, and probably just as dead.
By the time she’d put on her suit, her vision blurred and she had to step carefully, trailing her hand along the wall of the shallow cave so she wouldn’t trip and hurt herself before she got to the water. Finally at the edge, she sucked in a last breath of air and dove, relieved as slits opened up to gills in the side of her neck and water filtered through them, finally allowing her lungs to expand.

Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Tour-Louise Findlay

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It’s the kickoff of the Magic of Solstice Fantasy Writers’ Tour! Today I’d like to welcome fellow fantasy writer Louise Findlay. She was a good sport and agreed to answer a few questions about writing and being a fantasy author.

Rebecca: Tell us about yourself. Where you’re from, etc.?
Louise: Well I’m from drizzly Scotland. Funnily enough it rains a lot. I think England steals all of our good weather as it’s always dismal there on the seldom occasion we get good weather, lol.
Rebecca: What is your most recent project? Tell us a little bit about it.
Louise: Well my most recent recent story is for school. I’ve got to write a short story. It’s in a very brief stage where I Louise Findlay Image 2have a basic idea of a person who has control of plants/vines and transmits a virus that poisons/turns people into a plant. There will also be a vampire which with their different biology reacts differently to this virus. Vicious Vines is my working title but I think it will change.
Rebecca: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?
Louise: I think I chose writing really. I’ve always enjoyed writing stories and building on my skills there is fun.
Rebecca: What do you find so appealing about writing fantasy?
Louise: It is quite a broad genre and it also has many sub-genres, paranormal fantasy and urban fantasy to name a few.
Rebecca: What authors make you want to be a better writer?
Louise: Renee Scattergood and KJ Hawkins.
Rebecca: Do you have any traditional fantasy tropes that you like to use?
Louise: Well good vs evil is one I use regularly though sometimes I have a creative backstory for my villains (see guest post for Joshua Robertson.)
Rebecca: Do you have any weird writing rituals?
Louise: Not really. I generally write my longer fiction solely on my laptop and with my short stories/poetry/fanfiction I sometimes jot down notes on my iPad on Evernote and pen and paper to copy to my laptop later.
Rebecca: What inspires your world building?
Louise: I don’t do that much world building since most of my stories are short or poems.

Louise’s Bio:
Louise Findlay writes fantasy (generally short stories) and inspirational poetry. She enjoys reading and writing about mythological creatures such as angels and demons but has a soft spot for vampires. Louise is currently in the midst of writing a vampire novella about two vampire clans whose deputy’s clash in a big way, entitled A Spy in the Sagax Vampires.

Kiera Cass & Other News

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Hi all,

I met the wonderful Kiera Cass a week and a half ago when she participated in my YA Lit series at 92Y. The event was amazing; girls came dressed in full ball gowns with tiaras. I even had a few girls travel all the way from Brazil! Apparently, Brazilians are obsessed with Kiera. Who knew? That’s one of the best parts of running the YA Lit series, the fans are seriously amazing.

It makes me proud of writing YA. If these young kids read your work and love and take something good out of it, there’s no better feeling in the world.

As part of breaking my writer’s block, I’ve been trying to read more. I just finished two great books: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Clean Sweep was really original with great humor. Cruel Beauty had a heroine who wasn’t necessarily likable, but I loved her! Such a great book with beautiful prose. And reading both of those worked! I was inspired to write a bit. Two pages. Okay, it’s not much, but it’s something!

That’s all my rambling for now. Until next time! Kiera Cass

Woefully Absent

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Once again, I have been woefully absent from my blog! I haven’t been as active on social media of any kind lately, which makes me feel a bit guilty. What have I been doing? Binging on the final season of Sons of Anarchy and reading. First of all, Sons of Anarchy destroyed me this year. I spent the final episode crying. That’s a big feat, considering I seriously thought about not watching the season after the crazy violence of the first episode. I’m so glad I did as there was major payoff.

I just finished Visions in Silver by Anne Bishop and am almost through Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. Both these authors are seriously made of awesome sauce, and if you haven’t picked up one of their books, what are you waiting for? Go, go right now! I especially enjoy Andrews’ dry sense of humor. Always makes me laugh!

On the writing front, I have made slight progress. I’ve finished chapter 5 and am starting chapter 6. Both chapters feature Brwyn, who as you know, is my favorite character to write. The key with Brwyn is you can’t give the audience too much of him. He’s a special treat and you want to keep him special, so his page time has to be balanced. But he’s so darned funny and sexy! It’s hard to walk away from him.

That’s all for now! Enjoy the weekend you all!

Indie Spotlight Interview!

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Today, I’m at Lady N’s Den of Indie Awesomeness! Check out my interview with the wonderful Lady N and learn a little bit more about The Other Inheritance!

It’s been a while

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I just realized today I haven’t blogged in 2 weeks! What have I been doing during that time? Catching up on Outlander and realizing that I’ve missed most of the second season of Bitten. And Justified ended last night, and I’ve yet to watch the last episode. My life just hasn’t been about watching TV, I’ve also finished Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs. If you’ve a fan of Anna and Charles, you have to read this book!

I’m still stuck on Chapter 6 of The Other Inheritance sequel. Things got super busy at work, and I went home to see my family last weekend. It was wonderful to see everyone, but still weird and sad that my Granny is no longer with us. Eventually it will be less painful, but right now the wound is still pretty fresh.

Lots of good stuff about The Other Inheritance coming up next week. Some reviews and guest blogs. I’ll keep you posted!

YA Lit event & Other News

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Yesterday was the launch of The Wicked Will Rise, which is the sequel to the fabulous Dorothy Must Die by wonderful author Danielle Paige. Danielle, and fellow authors Soman Chainani, Sara Benincasa, and Christopher Healey celebrated Danielle’s launch at 92Y last night. I was so proud and happy that I was able to bring such a great group of authors together, and the event was so much fun! Having read the first book, I can’t wait to read The Wicked Will Rise and experience more of Paige’s version of Oz.

One of the best aspects of my job is being able to put together these wonderful events with incredible authors. I’ve met some truly amazing people over the past year and a half, and I’m grateful for the opportunity this job has given me. Up next is Kiera Cass and Jodi Picoult!

In my personal writing news, I’ve finished Chapter 4 of the sequel to The Other Inheritance. Maybe I’m not writing daily, but at least when I am writing, I’m finishing a chapter at a time. I call that pretty good progress. It sure beats feeling frozen and guilty about being unproductive.

The blog Miki’s Hope reviewed The Other Inheritance today and it was a rave! You can find the link in my News sections. I’m so proud!

Until next time, keep reading, writing, and finding joy!

Book Club Guest!

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My former colleague, Dara, invited me to be the guest author at her book club. I met with the ladies last night, and I had such an amazing time. They were lovely women, and they all liked my book! The scariest part about putting your work out there is the fear that no one will like it, so it’s especially nice when you find out people do like and appreciate your work.

It’s also great to get their perspective on your story and know what they wanted to see more of and what questions were important for them to get answered. The meeting really inspired me to get busy and finish my second novel because I have people out there who are actually waiting to read it! That’s a pretty damn good feeling.

Is the Curse Broken?

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Over the weekend, I had a writing breakthrough of sorts. For months I haven’t been able to sit and write at my computer. I know this is partially due to my Granny’s death; I’ve been too depressed to care about writing. But I’ve been feeling better lately, and I still couldn’t make myself put pen to paper so to speak.

And then it hit me, instead of sitting at my computer, what if I literally put pen to paper? Part of my problem with sitting at my computer is the delete button. I’m trying to bang out a first draft, and all I want to do is debate myself about word choice or if my writing is too clunky. But in reality, this is a first draft! It’s supposed to be clunky; it will need to be cut with a large pair scissors.

So I took a step back and grabbed a notebook. And guess what? Almost 2K words later, my writer’s block was broken–at least broken for now. I finished Chapter 4, and started Chapter 5 last night. I’m no longer frozen or pissed at myself for my inability to move forward on this novel. So if any of you are suffering from writer’s block out there, trying taking a step back from your computer and grab a pen instead. It may work for you too.

Cover Wars!

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Please vote for The Other Inheritance at Cover Wars!

Stuck on Chapter 3! The Joys of Writer’s Block

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Hi all,

My reading is going very well these days. I discovered a wonderful Fae fantasy series by Jeffe Kennedy, and I’m on the second book in the trilogy, Rogue’s Possession. There are power games, weird rules, and those Fae are tricky creatures. Highly recommend the series.

The theory–and normally it’s a correct one–is that the more you read, the more you write. I’ve read a lot of quality fiction these days too, but despite that, I can’t seem to the get past the third chapter of my sequel to The Other Inheritance. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and to be quite frank, disheartening.

I need to find my groove again, whether it be joining a writing group or making my publisher, Robin, give me a deadline and then threaten me with a blunt object. I’m only partially kidding about the blunt object; it might be a good motivator.

Here’s to finding my writing sweet spot and moving beyond that pesky chapter 3!

Cover Wars and Other News!

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Hi all,

As usual, I’ve been woefully neglectful about my blog. In essence, I suck, but I’m trying to do better. Cool news to share, I’m participating in Cover Wars! Follow the link here and vote for “The Other Inheritance!” I actually love my cover and think it could win.

In reading news, I just finished “The Glass Casket,” a YA horror novel by McCormick Templeman. This book was reading perfection to me. From the slowly unraveling tension, to the amazing characters, to the well, horror, it was one fantastic read. I highly recommend it.

As for writing that pesky second book, I’m trying my best. If I actually stop being lazy and outline the first half, I think it will go fairly quickly. I think I’m going to set my writing goal for 500 words today. That’s not too terrifying.

Goodreads Giveaway!

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Another piece of exciting news! I’m having a Goodreads giveaway! Go here to enter:

Upcoming Radio Interview and Other Interesting News

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Again, I have been woefully absent from my blog. Life has unfortunately gotten in the way, but I’m going to make a better effort to be here. I recently hired a promotional firm to help me with publicity for The Other Inheritance. I do all I can, but I’m just one person who can admit when she needs help.

The firm has really started to come through for me, and I’m excited to announce that I’m booked on The Frank Truatt Morning Show on March 19 at 7:10 AM. Now, of course, I’m a little scared. I’ve never done radio before. I’ve taken acting classes, but they were all television-specific courses. And if you’ve ever watched a televised debate vs listening to one on the radio, you know there’s a world of difference. I think this was first studied in the Nixon/Kennedy debate. Nixon won over radio viewers, but people who watched the debate on television preferred Kennedy.

Anyway, let’s hope with a little practice, my girly voice can be radio-trained by March 19. I’m super stoked about this opportunity, and I hope you all have a chance to listen in.

My new Lunar Chronicles Obsession!

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I’d heard about the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer for a while, but I’d never gotten a chance to pick up the books. When I booked the awesome Marissa for my YA Lit series at 92Y, I knew I had to grab Cinder and start reading. I’m so glad I did! Cinder was a wonderful re-imagining of the Cinderella fairytale and had a total feminist take. After I devoured Cinder, I moved on to Scarlet and that is where I really fell in love with the series. Both Scarlet and Wolf are made of awesome sauce, and their story was more mature than Cinder and quite frankly pretty hot. I can’t wait to devour Cress!

Like I said before, I had booked Marissa for my YA Lit series, and I’m happy to report she is just as delightful as her books. The fans who came to the event were also a delight; they were very respectful and creative. It was such a wonderful event. Meeting such great authors and fans makes my job really worthwhile.

If you haven’t started the Lunar Chronicles yet, what are you waiting for? Don’t be scared of Queen Levana, go get Cinder and start reading!

A Tribute to Granny

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I’ve been very absent from my blog lately, but it’s not laziness that has kept me away. My grandmother had been very ill since right after Christmas, and last Thursday, she finally succumbed to her illness.

My granny was the strongest woman I have ever met. She taught me how to be strong, and that it was okay to follow my dreams even if they took me far from home. I was her only grandchild, so her encouragement to see the world and be true to myself was the epitome of selflessness.

She was an artistic soul who could crochet, sew silk dresses, craft jewelry and handbags, and make furniture. I think my artistic inclinations came from her, and I am forever grateful for that inheritance.

Granny wasn’t the typical grandma. She didn’t bake cookies, instead she took me to great restaurants and on shopping sprees. We played video games together and went on hikes. When I grew up and began traveling, I would bring her back silver earrings from my trips, which were her favorite things.

I just loved spending time with her. The hardest part for me will be when I reach for the phone and realize she’s no longer on the other end. She was so proud of me for publishing my book, and I’m glad she got to see it.

Granny, I love you. The world isn’t the same without you in it, but I’m blessed to have such wonderful memories.

Entering the Zone

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As I try to write the sequel to “The Other Inheritance,” I find that I’m having a hard time getting into the Zone. The Zone is that magical, elusive mental space writers strive to achieve when they’re writing. When you’re in the Zone, you’re unstoppable! Time ceases to matter. You forget to sleep, forget to eat. Sometimes you forget to go to the bathroom. It’s a writer’s sweet spot. I have not been able to enter this mythical land lately, and it’s really starting to piss me off. Mainly it’s because I lack discipline. I can’t seem to get on a regular schedule, and it’s frustrating. I write a page here, a page there, a page everywhere. I need consistency.

But another big reason I’m having a hard time entering the Zone is because I’m afraid of it. You really do lose yourself. You achieve this amazing creative high only to be dropped abruptly back to Earth when it’s over because you really do need to go find food or use the bathroom. Here’s to the Zone! May we achieve finding that creative nirvana and not be afraid to let go when we do!

Ways to Support Your Favorite Author

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Hi all! I’ve always been a huge reader; no surprise there, right? When I was just a reader, I didn’t realize all the work that went into writing a novel. Not just the writing part, everything that came after. The promotional piece, hoping people would like the book, biting your nails for reviews, and trying to line up book signings and events. Now that I’m on the other side, I want to share what I’ve learned and how you (and I) can help support our favorite authors.

First off, buy the book. That’s simple enough, and with ebooks, buying books is easier (and cheaper) than ever. Authors really, really, really appreciate it when people buy our books!

If you love the book, please leave a review. That’s uber helpful, more than you can know. Some websites won’t even list your book unless you have at least 10 reviews of 4 stars or more. Reader reviews let people know this book doesn’t suck, it’s a worthwhile read, and a good use of time. And on the more personal end, it makes us authors feel amazing! It’s hard work to finish a book and to know someone likes it? Best feeling ever!

Recommend the book to everyone you know. Leave no man behind! Seriously, do you know how many of my friends I’ve hooked on Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series? I love recommending books to people. It’s fun, it’s free, and your friends usually appreciate you for it. 🙂 For you social media gurus out there, talking about your favorite author’s book on Twitter or Facebook helps too. I’m addicted to Twitter, so when I finish I book I love, I usually give the author a shout out. They appreciate it, and it makes me feel good that I helped a writer out.

Writing books is a tough business. Authors are competing with a lot more entertainment options than we used to, and the competition is fierce. So help us out; buy a book, leave a review, tell a friend. To all those out there who have bought my book, left a review, and recommended me to a friend, I will be forever grateful.

Writing Goals

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As many of you know, I published my first book this year. It was a seriously amazing, seriously scary experience. The Other Inheritance was the first book in a planned trilogy, but I never started that second book because I wasn’t sure if people would like the firs one. And if no one liked the first one or bought it, what was the point in writing the second book? I had planned to let Reggie quietly fade away, suspended in the Other forever.

But then something incredible happened: people liked the first book! And then they asked, so, when is that second one coming out? You know, that second book I hadn’t started writing yet. Yikes! So, my first and most import New Year’s resolution is to finish that second book. I’ve given myself a six-month time frame. This second book can’t take eight years like the last one. Not in today’s world. A month after release, you’re yesterday’s news.

I’m four pages in and determined to do this thing. Wish me luck!

Steelville Signing

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I’m a small town girl who moved to the big city, and I sometimes forget that small towns go out of their way to support their own. I was wowed by the turnout at Lange General store for my Steelville signing. The highlight of my day was when a middle school student I’d met before at a school event—Hunter—made a sandwich board featuring my novel and marched in front of the store asking people to go in and buy my book. That kid is made of awesome sauce! I also got a little teary eyed when my former teachers showed up; all the way back to first grade! And I got to see a lot of my old friends from high school. It was a great reunion. And I had a sellout signing! I was taking prepaid orders for books. Steelville really is a great town. Thanks to everyone who came out to support me! Love you guys!

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St. Louis Signing

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My St. Louis signing was so much fun! A lot of enthusiastic, proud family and friends came out to The Book House to support me. My mom and dad were there, which meant the world to me. High school friends I hadn’t seen in years made the trip.

Before my reading, I told everyone that my passage was a little bit PG-13. My cousin Laveda, who had brought her best friend Kristi, piped up that Kristi was used to reading “X,X,X” novels, so she could totally handle my material. The look on poor Kristi’s face was priceless! Everyone started laughing, and I told Kristi that I was sorry that my book wasn’t erotica, and we would have to solider on.

Thanks again to The Book House, Rocking Horse Publishing, and to my friends and family for making this signing so special. I appreciate all your support!

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Books of Wonder Launch!

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My book launch and signing at Books of Wonder was amazing! Many of my family and friends from NYC came out to support me, and I’m proud to say I filled the space up so much the staff had to bring in extra chairs. Despite wearing a plaid skirt that was a little bit Britney Spears circa 2000, I managed not to break into “Baby One More Time” and read from my novel like an old pro. Thanks again to all my friends who bought a book. You guys rock! And thanks to Books of Wonder for hosting me! The launch made me feel like a real author, which is a hard thing to get used to, but I have to start believing it.

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YA Lit Community

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As you all know, I am the creator of the YA Lit program at the 92nd Street Y. I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with some amazing authors like Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Lauren Oliver, Holly Black, Maureen Johnson, Maggie Stiefvator, Melissa de la Cruz and Chuck Wendig just to name a few. I hold a special place in my heart for James Dashner, who is the nicest guy on the planet. I met him and the cast of the Maze Runner when we did an event with them in September. I also got to meet Susan Ee! If you haven’t read “Angelfall,” what are you waiting for? Amazeballs!

This Friday night, I added to my growing list of awesomeness by meeting Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux series) and Gena Showalter (Alice in Zombieland). These two ladies lit up the stage and were both so warm and charismatic. Their fans were amazing too! One of the girls handmade a beautiful dress and looked exactly like the cover model from “Alice in Zombieland.” I was uber impressed. This is the absolute best part of my job; connecting readers with their favorite authors. I love that teens are excited about reading! And YA authors are the most gracious authors on the planet. They are just as enthusiastic about meeting their fans as their fans are about meeting them. Great night!

Book Launch at Books of Wonder!

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I have amazing news to announce. Books of Wonder has agreed to do my NYC book launch! Why is this so amazing you might ask? Because it’s freaking Books of Wonder! For all of you who aren’t familiar with Books of Wonder, they are a wonderful (pardon the pun) children’s bookstore located on 18th Street in Manhattan. They normally do launches with YA superstars from large publishing houses, so for a girl from a small press to get a gig there is a dream come true. I do have a slight leg up on the competition; I am the creator and curator of the YA Lit program at 92nd Street Y and Books of Wonder are my partners. Still, dream come true!

I hope this opens the door for other YA authors from small presses who are producing quality work but don’t have the opportunities authors from big houses do. But I also want to stress that networking really is the way to go. Visit your favorite bookstores, become friends with the event staff, go to conferences, make relationships and open doors for yourself. You are the CEO of your own company! You are in charge of your destiny!

Hope to see you at Books of Wonder on December 7!

Event Info Here

Hello World!

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This is my first blog entry! The very first! I feel I should take a moment, celebrate, or just quietly reflect. Sure, everybody has a blog these days, but I only have one because I finally got my first book published! Woo-hoo! And like every other writer on the planet, I want to talk a little about getting published. I know, I know, but I’ll try to keep it interesting and peppered with wisdom.

When your book finally gets accepted for publication, you’re overjoyed. Those eight years you spent polishing and perfecting your manuscript weren’t wasted after all. All those emails from agents telling you that you’re a good writer but they just don’t “love” your story; you can give them the proverbial middle finger. Someone liked your story! Someone thinks you’re talented!

Rocking Horse Publishing contacted me in January 2014 with a contract offer. To say I was elated was an understatement. I quickly signed on the dotted line and got started. The honest truth is as hard as writing my first book was, the real work begins once someone actually wants to publish your work. You have to make social media connections, start learning about marketing, research your audience, etc. The list goes on and on and it never ends.

But it’s all worth it. My debut YA fantasy novel, “The Other Inheritance,” launched on November 14, and I have never been so proud or scared in my life. I hope you love the book as much as I loved writing it. And if you’re a writer, remember this, persistence is the key to success. That and a good editor. Don’t give up on your dreams and keep writing!