The way I look at it, there is really only one difference between fiction and reality, and no, it doesn't have anything to do with magic. It's that someone steps outside of the script for our lives that we're all far too familiar with. You know the one- wake up, go to work/school, have dinner, watch TV, socialize a little, go back to sleep, repeat. At some point, whether it's the most common and mundane drama or the most profoundly removed from the laws of physics kind of fantasy, the main character is put in a position where s/he makes a different choice.
I find it comforting, to think that the only qualitative difference between the adventures of the best protagonists, and myself, is that they stepped out of the ordinary. I could do that, you could do that. It doesn't seem too implausible.
S.M. Boyce's Kara Magari does just that while out hiking and is transported into another world teeming with danger, intrigue, and the sort of world building that makes the reader want to linger. I could definitely use reading more about the world of Ourea, and with Kara's difficulty adjusting to college life and the loss of her mother, Ourea was just what she needed.
In some ways I am reminded of The Lord of the Rings, in that an unsuspecting hero has great power and responsibility thrust upon him/her, and the fate of everyone is somehow tied to their journey, but in a new and wonderful turn of events, Lichgates focuses on the trials, tribulations, discoveries, and adventures of a girl.
I know that I've probably just not read enough high fantasy, but the female protagonist in a story that isn't, at it's heart, just a love story with a fantastic setting, seems kind of hard to come by. Her character may take some warming to, but if you're in for an otherworldly adventure, well, then of course, I highly recommend following Kara's example and opening the book.
We're pleased to be joining the ONDINE book blitz today. Take a look at this exciting young adult urban fantasy novella by Emma Raveling.
Ondine by Emma Raveling
(Ondine Quartet 0.5)
Publication date: December 19, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
“I shouldn’t get involved.”
Rebellious and headstrong, sixteen-year-old Kendra Irisavie doesn’t have much respect for authority. An ondine with the powerful gift of Virtue, she uses her tough attitude and Empath magic to navigate through high school and keep others away.
Because being an ondine also means keeping secrets.
Kendra and her mother are Rogue water elementals in the middle of an ancient war. They hide among humans, their survival constantly threatened by monstrous Aquidae demons.
Along with a rigorous training regimen to mold Kendra into a lethal fighter, her mother has instituted four rules to keep her safe.
Trust no one. Relationships are weaknesses. Emotional attachments are dangerous. Be responsible only for yourself.
But when Kendra witnesses a classmate in trouble, she intervenes and her decision to break the rules comes at a price.
Sometimes, humans could be more dangerous than demons.
Ondine is a short prequel novella for the young adult urban / paranormal fantasy series, the Ondine Quartet.
I’m a fantasy writer who lives a slightly eccentric life with my accommodating husband and our charming, neurotic dog. I'm currently working on the Ondine Quartet, a young adult urban fantasy/paranormal series featuring a kick-ass heroine, powerful magic, and the complex world of water elementals.
I have a weird love of spreadsheets and organizational tools because they give me the illusion that I am somehow in control of the chaos that is my life. I adore beautiful art such as painting and sculpture, classical music, lyrical writing, and great graphic design. My all-time favorite books (as of this writing) are Immortality by Milan Kundera, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
Today we're chatting with author Beth Pond about her novel, PODIUM FINISH. Join me as we get to know Beth and her book.
Welcome to We Do Write, Beth! Tell us a bit about yourself. Hobbies? Career? How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. It didn’t matter where I was. I always had a notebook and pen at the ready. I’d sit at the family computer for hours and write stories. I was also pretty sporty as a kid, something that has definitely influenced my writing. I competed in track and field in college (shot put and hammer) and am currently working toward earning my 1st degree black belt. Tell us about PODIUM FINISH. What's the story about?
With six months until the Olympic Games, seventeen-year-old Harper's life is pretty much perfect. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee, thereby sentencing herself to six weeks in a cast and possibly ending her Olympic dream before it even starts. For seventeen-year-old Alex, being anything less than the best is unacceptable. That's why, after a miserable debut season at the senior level, the former junior national singles champion switches to ice dance. Her skating partner, Ace, is an "all skating all the time" type of guy, which would be fine, if he'd stop keeping secrets about the real reason he and his former partner broke up. Now is not the time for second thoughts, but how can Alex skate her best if she can’t trust her partner…or herself? As the pressure to make the Olympic team builds, the girls must rely on each other, because if there’s one thing they both know, it's that the only thing harder than skating to the top is staying there. How did the idea of the story come to you? Podium Finish was inspired by the 2006 Torino Olympic Games. I found the athletes’ life stories fascinating—the struggle, the sacrifice, the unknown, and hopefully, the joy, and suddenly, Alex and Harper were born. Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit? Podium Finish went through several revisions, so it was a combination of both. I had some friends who read drafts at various stages and gave me wonderful suggestions, but I did a good portion of the editing on my own. I’m currently working on two new projects and having critique partners and beta readers has proven incredibly valuable. It’s nice to have cheerleaders in your corner. Are you a plotter or a pantser? I try to be a planner, but I’ve written some of my favorite scenes by the seat of my pants. What’s the hardest part of writing for you? I have a major internal editor, so often times the hardest part is just getting the words on the page and letting them breathe. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing? Mountain Dew! Or Diet Coke when I’m trying to be “healthy.” If you could have any super power, what would it be? I’d love to be able to fly. No more getting stuck in traffic or pricey fill-ups! Plus it would just be an awesome super power to have in general. What's the weirdest thing you've googled? Nothing really jumps out as being the weirdest thing I have googled, but I was reaching organ donation for a book I’m working on. I’d done so many searches that organ donation ads started appearing on the sidebar of my browser and facebook. Good thing I wasn’t researching anything too scandalous! Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: Olympic, mirror, harp Oh boy! This is hard! Umm…I can’t think of anything funny, so I’ll go for something somewhat realistic: The Olympic ice dancers’ moves mirrored one another so well that the sportscasters couldn’t harp on the technique. Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... at the gym. Seriously, I’ve gotten some of my best ideas while on the treadmill. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs. I think the dedication in Podium Finish says it best: “For my mom who drove me to every practice, my dad who took time off from work to see me play, and for my brother, Danny, who always cheered for the other team.” I’d also like to give a shout out to my best friend, Ana. She used to wake up at the crack of dawn and ride 3 hours with my mom and brother to see me compete in my college track meets. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is. Seriously, she’s a saint, and she’s always very eager to read whatever it is I’m working on. And finally, where can people find you and your book online? Podium Finish is available for Kindle and Nook. It’s also on goodreads, so please mark it as “to-read.” I have a blog: www.pondacrossthepond.blogpost.com and you can follow me on Twitter @BethPond90.
If you like mysteries, manga, or fantasy, you just might like today's interviewee. TJ Perkins is here to discuss her well-rounded career as a writer and publisher.
TJ Perkins is a gifted and well-respected author in the
mystery/suspense fantasy/manga genre. Her
short stories for young readers have
appeared in the Ohio State 6th Grade Proficiency Test Preparation Book, Kid’s
Highway Magazine, and Webzine ‘New Works Review,’ just to name a few. She’s
placed five times in the CNW/FFWA chapter book competition. Her short story of
light horror for tweens, The Midnight Watch, was published Oct 2007 by Demon
Minds Magazine. TJ is available to conduct speaking engagements and workshops.
Finished works of her young reader’s chapter books are
entitled: The Fire and the Falcon (which won two chapter book awards), Wound
Too Tight, Mystery of the Attic, and On Forbidden Ground. Published books in
the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series include: Fantasies Are Murder, The Secret in
Phantom Forest, Trade Secret, Image in the Tapestry (which won a chapter book
award) and In the Grand Scheme of Things (all with GumShoe Press 2006).
Mystery of the Attic was made into a play by the Café
Theater in NJ, Oct. 2005. TJ has developed an all new cross-genre of
fantasy/manga. Silver Leaf Books publisher her 5-book series Shadow Legacy;
book 1 is an award-winner.
Welcome to We Do Write, TJ. How long have you
I was 14. I realized I had a knack for
it when I was 12, but started to perfect storytelling in high school. I finally got serious 18 yrs ago. I’ve been published for the past 8 yrs.
Tell us about your
books. What have you published?
started off getting published with POD publishers then realized my mistake 3
yrs later. At that time I took all I had, which was my first 8 YA mysteries and
formed my own company GumShoe Press. I
put out the following:
of the Attic and the sequel On Forbidden Ground
books in the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series include:
Secret in PhantomForest
in the Tapestry (award-winner)
the Grand Scheme of Things
was then picked up by Silver Leaf Books and
contract to do a 5 book fantasy
series for teens entitled Shadow Legacy.
The first 3 books are out with books 4 & 5 to follow in 2014.
of the Ninja: Earth
of the Ninja: Fire
of the Ninja: Water
How did the story
ideas come to you?
of the Attic was based on things that really did happen to me when I was 13 yrs
old while living in an old farm house.
So, that one was easy. I grew up
loving Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and all the greats and
wanted to create a new mystery series for African American girls, thus Kim
& Kelly were born. The idea for
Shadow Legacy was sort of wacky. I fell
in love with Anime because of my kid’s interest, and video games (mainly Final
Fantasy). So, I decided I wanted to
write a story using the only thing that hadn’t been ‘written to death’ and that
was ninjas. I took all that I’ve seen,
all that I knew, all my past experience in martial arts and weapons and created
a story that has become the first cross-genre of its kind – fantasy/manga,
which is fantasy that reads like a good manga.
Fabulous! My daughter loves manga and fantasy. I see an extra visit to Amazon in my future ... Do you have a
critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
have no help at all with my books. If I
need an editor for my personal work I have to find someone and pay them. Silver
Leaf Books provides the editor for Shadow Legacy.
Are you a plotter or
start off as a plotter, and then as the story progresses I become a pantser
What’s the hardest
part of writing for you?
ending of any story
What are you reading
just doing research for my newest novel, but I what am really waiting for the
last book by Maria V. Snyder “Taste of Darkness” from her Healer series. Maria and I are good friends and she always
conducts a writing workshop with me at Balticon.
If you could have any
super power, what would it be?
communicate with animals and nature
That would be awesome! I have so many questions just for my pets that I'd never leave the house. What's the weirdest
thing you've googled?
Finish this sentence:
If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... working or at the gym
And finally, where
can people find you and your books online?
Can you believe the year is almost over? Crazy, right? This will be our last week posting until the new year, so lets dive in and enjoy. Today we're talking with author TR Patrick about the award winning YA Dystopian novel, PLATFORM 21.
Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I do write as well – so it seems I found the right place! As for me, I’ve been a sailor, politician, engineer, writer, and a ghost hunter. Don’t ask me how I managed to get it all done, it just sort of happened. As a military brat, I traveled all around the United States, and as a Navy Sailor, I’ve crossed every single latitude line this earth has to offer. In my travels I found some incredible stories that demand to be told. So, I gave in to those voices in my head and penned together a few novels. Platform 21 was the first one worthy of publication.
How long have you been writing?
Not long enough, but I started when I was nine years old. I hope to be writing for the next fifty years or so. It all depends on my health I guess. Sanity helps as well.
Tell us about PLATFORM 21. What’s the story about?
Platform 21 follows Luke Gibson, a High School Sophomore, in the year 2052. His life is suddenly turned upside down after he inexplicably survives what should have been his untimely death. He and his entire family were murdered in a devastating terrorist attack which claimed the lives of 80,000. Afterwards, he finds himself in some kind of alternate reality. His family, home town, and just about everything else is different – except the event that brought him to his new world. He watches as history repeats itself, all while reeling from the realization his sister, Laura, was the victim of a brutal homicide years before.
Luke sets his sight on discovering the truth about his sister. He uses her death as motivation to push on through life, a life that didn’t belong to him. Along the way, he meets a mysterious girl named Angela. She was there with him when he should have died. Angela was with him in his dreams. She is the only one besides Luke who recalls what happened in their previous life and together they investigate what happened to Laura. The closer Luke and Angela get to the truth, the more they begin to realize Laura’s death is connected to the global conspiracy that consumes the world.
How did the idea of the story come to you?
I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure this one out myself . . .
It all began with such an obscure concept, I’m not really sure I want to reveal the idea that started it all. However, I could envision a beginning and an end. From there, I needed characters, a strong supporting cast, sub-plots; etc. In the end, the characters and their stories ended up changing most everything. Beyond the Veil – as a series – has had its direction changed considerably throughout my time writing Platform 21. In a way, my characters drove the story, and how it ended up being shaped.
This is perhaps the easiest way to describe it: “The voices in my head told me what to write.”
Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
Yes. All of the above. I also have a professional editor. Her name is Victoria Rae Schmitz and she is the owner of Crimson Tide Editorial. Her efforts made the flow of the writing superior. To me, there simply isn’t a better choice for editing.
Every writer should enlist the help of test readers. The question is, “When does Test Reading begin?” Well, that answer is simple. It begins before anything else in the writing process. You need a group of individuals to bounce ideas off of. Talk about your characters to them, where the book is going, etc. It’s a difficult balancing act because you don’t want to spoil the book (you want to get as much honest feedback as possible, and spoiling something takes the edge off their initial reactions to reading it).
The next question, “When does test reading end?” Never! Even after publication, listen to everyone who has the time to read your book. There is no feedback more valuable than that of a paying customer.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Yes – though I’m not sure what these terms are suggesting exactly. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume a plotter is someone who thoroughly outlines their book prior to writing, whereas a pantser is flying by the seat of their pants. Yes, that's it exactly.
I’m a plotter in that I spend a lot of time building my world. I have a thorough understanding of what’s happening throughout the world, and beyond. I have an entire encyclopedia of characters (most of whom weren’t introduced in Platform 21) who are ready to act at a moment’s notice. I know the beginning and the end, and how/where the important plot points come to be. However, I do not outline anything.
I introduce the characters to their setting, and let them go from there. My writing style requires an awful lot of role playing. It is my opinion that just like in real life, everyone in this world thinks they are the main character of their own story. They each have their motivations, and flaws. They all have a breaking point, they all have a vice. I engineered the characters in a way that they would cross lines, create drifts, and expose one another to their weaknesses.
Everything in Beyond the Veil is Character Driven. My characters have surprised me, changed the entire course of the series, and left me in shock and awe. There are some parts of this book that blew me away, and in all honesty – there were some things that I didn’t even see coming. My writing is at its best when my characters are in control of their own destiny. As a result, I write from the beginning to the end, and I do not jump around. How can I write page 257 if I don’t know what happened on page 132?
I could tell you, but then I'd be giving away my secrets. ;) What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting into character, and maintaining my ‘groove’. I can’t write while distracted, and I am distracted easily. I love writing, but sometimes getting started is a lot harder than it should be. I never write a line unless I can get into character. Considering how many characters I write, it is a very difficult process to begin. I’m both an actor and author when I’m at the writing desk. It’s much harder than it seems.
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
As a Young Adult author, I feel it necessary to maintain a clean image – however I must admit that an Irish Coffee goes a long way in helping me find my writer’s groove. A good set of noise canceling headphones and a keyboard are also absolutely necessary as well. A good working computer with a word processor . . . and the right music mix.
What are you reading right now?
I don’t read when I’m actively engaged in writing. However, I did just finish “Like Ice” by Sherry Torgent and I began Divergent by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, my Kindle Paperwhite is put away for now. It’ll be a few more months before I take a stab at another book.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Infinite Energy. I don’t want to sleep unless I want to. My mind will never tire, and my muscles will never break. I just want to have the ability to use all 24-hours as it seems I never have enough time to work my full time job, spend time with my family, and write.
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
I’m tempted to answer this question with, “What does the fox say?” – But I feel that would be taking an easy way out. The weirdest google search I’ve probably run over the years would have to be . . . hmm . . . there are quite a few options here . . . So there was this one particular grave stone in Riverview Cemetery that caught my interest. It is a giant cube, and it sits right across from the main entrance of the cemetery. I wanted to know everything about the marker, who created it – why, and how. It led me down the strangest bit of history I’ve encountered. To go any further would reveal a potential spoiler for my future books, so I’ll leave it at that.
I'm very tempted to embed the video of What Does the Fox Say? into this post. Hehehe. But I digress. Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: platform, formation, and animated.
The raving rhinos roamed through plains of the valley in formation, as the necromancer animated the remains of their ancestors on the platform of the plateau above.
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...
If I’m not writing, I’m probably working, or sleeping; there isn’t much time for anything else.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
So many to list – if I forget anyone, it was not intentional!
My test readers, who shall not be named in case people want to hound them for what happens in the books to come.
Regina Wamba, an amazing cover artist and brilliant mind behind the cover of Platform 21.
Victoria Rae Schmitz, of Crimson Tide Editorial, the book would not be what it is without your help.
The people who make those chocolate covered espresso beans.
Tia Souders – Simply one of the best book promoters in the business!
Murk Patrick, the incredibly talented photographer who captured my author photos.
Farmers everywhere! I do like to eat …
My lovely family!
And that yellow lab who sits next to me at my writing desk.
And finally, where can people find you and your books online?
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.” ~ Robert Frost
*Evie’s family has been holding out on her …
On an unexpected visit to her grandparents’ house in New Hampshire’s secluded North Woods, the sixteen-year-old literally runs into the truth of the long-hidden family secrets, and finds herself thrust without warning into the clandestine world of the Great North Pack—a wild and exhilarating world of rugged beauty, heart-pounding adventures, and long nights running under a sea of stars … but as she’s set to discover, a world also fraught with potential dangers lurking in the shadows.
"Simply put, this book was amazing. I've read more fantasy novels than I can count, but this one is certainly one of the best. The heroine isn't some wishy-washy pansy that screams at everything, and the focus of the story isn't on some unbelievably beautiful teenage girl who suddenly becomes the biggest, baddest member of her species falling in love with some big, bad, sexy member of her newfound species. It's about a girl becoming something she never knew existed, finding her place within the pack family she values more than ever before, and an age-old feud that threatens everything she loves." ~Morgan
Shawn is a part-time writer from New Hampshire, where he spends his free time hiking in the mountains, camping, racing dirt bikes, or anything else that keeps him outdoors. Dogs are his very favorite people. He is also the author of the novel All Things Different.
BookBlast $100 Giveaway
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If you're a fan of the very non-YA Herculine series, this story will grab you and hold tight from the very beginning. Written in the gothic style complete with meaningful glances, and heavy on the atmosphere and accessible sensory detail, Cleary builds a post-apocolyptic throwback world where the rules have changed with energy. Something in her world building puts me in mind of The Dearly Departed series.
I admit, ever since my earliest Necromancer books, they've had a special place in my heart, so opening with Judy, a young natural necromancer being raised in a convent orphanage, it nestled right into that place in my heart and I decided from the beginning that Judy and I were going to be good friends. I liked that she was a straightforward girl and that Cleary never pretends that she has the sort of omnipotence of a character, but instead Judy has the attention span of a real person who misses details and daydreams. She reminded me a little of Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre, if she was a post-apocalyptic necromancer in a world overrun by the living dead.
On the one hand, I wanted more of the world building details and backstory, but on the other hand, I don't suppose that they're pertinent to the story if it's Judy's world and she accepts it. A book about my life wouldn't include the entire social history that led to the conditions in which I live with the technology we enjoy and the epidemiology associated with the diseases we currently face.
All and all, it's an interesting read with some tea and biscuits before bedtime, you know, if zombies, intrigue, and the casual raising of the dead won't give you too many nightmares.
Check out the Path Unchosen Blog Tour's giveaway below if you'd like to enter to win your very own copy.
Middle Grade Fantasy, anyone? Celtic warriors? Knights? Goblin-like creatures? How about FINN FINNEGAN by Darby Karchut!
Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut
(The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #1)
Published by: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: March 12th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Middle-Grade
Finnegan MacCullen: a thirteen-year-old apprentice with the famous Irish temperament. Gideon Lir: a legendary Celtic warrior with a bit of a temper of his own. Secretly, these blue-collar warriors battle the hobgoblins infesting their suburban neighborhood…when they are not battling each other. Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures. Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival. Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”
All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.
Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.
Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches social studies at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.
Her debut middle grade book, Finn Finnegan, released March 2013 (Spencer Hill Press). The next book in the series, Gideon's Spear (Spencer Hill Press), will be released February 2014. Her YA books include Griffin Rising (2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), Griffin's Fire, and Griffin's Storm.