Guest Post from R J Mirabal

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Today I have a guest post from author R J Mirabal, talking about his current and upcoming novels.

RJ Mirabal loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. “The Tower of Il Serrohe” is his debut novel with the first of two sequels to follow in early 2015.

His writing is aimed at adults of all ages who are readers of contemporary fantasy with an interest in unusual settings such as the high desert of the USA and generous blend of psychology, adventure.

Author R J Mirabal

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

My writing habits are not unusual, at all. I like to write knowing I am in control of plotlines and character development. So I jot down plot/character ideas, then work up a simple outline and character descriptions. Next I write a few paragraphs plotting the action of each chapter. I let that sit while I occasionally revise, add, and eliminate elements in the plotline. Finally, I start writing each chapter, not always in order, to produce the first working draft. Then edit, edit, revise, revise, and repeat. Then beta readers report back what works and what doesn’t. More revision and creation. Finally, my editor and I work it over to produce a publishable manuscript.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

My advice to new authors is “No one knows anything for sure” Remember that. Not other authors, editors, publishers, etc. What many will say won’t work, turns out to be “golden” once readers get ahold of it. So many hugely successful writers (and even a lot of modestly successful ones) were told by the “experts” that what they were doing wouldn’t sell, no one would read it, etc. etc. Do what you believe in and if the rest of the world likes it, great. If not, you have at least created what pleases you. Beyond that, of course, advice from other writers, readers, and editors is important but only how that advice fits you. Believe in yourself and cherish those who encourage you. Finally, have as many people read your work and especially get a professional editor whether provided by your publisher or hired on your own if you want to be taken seriously and not rejected for faulty writing. Everyone needs an editor. Everyone!

What is your best method or website for book promotion?

Concerning promotion, I find face-to-face contact with potential readers works best for me. My story is rather unusual since it doesn’t fit into well-established sub-genres like vampires, hard science fiction, high fantasy, etc. so it takes a little face time and conversation to help develop interest. Of course, my hope is that the books will soon speak for themselves, but it takes many readers to make a following. And my growing band of followers will help get the word out.


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Book title: The Tower of Il Serrohe (Book 1 of Rio Grande Parallax Series)

Author: RJ Mirabal

  • A man who has lost his way.

  • A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.

  • A bat offering a formidable quest to this unlikely hero.

  • A Portal to another valley called the Valle Abajo.

  • Clans in the Valle needing help to overcome the evil Soreyes.

  • A Tower, the mysterious source of Soreye power.

 

Early in the past century Teresa, a young curandera, traveled to the Valle Abajo to bring down the Tower. But the Tower still stands and Don Vargas, an alcoholic looking for escape from failure, may be the only one to destroy it.

Don travels through the Portal to the Valle, encountering beautiful Raquela and feisty Nersite who join him to fight the Soreyes. Meanwhile Nightwing, the enigmatic bat, manipulates events behind the scenes. Many surprises and revelations await as this contemporary fantasy unfolds.

Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Coming this winter, Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:

Extreme Dust Storms May Exist:

  • Esther has dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. A bat slams its body against her window in the night. Markey, her best buddy, thinks she might be going crazy.

  • It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a young cousin of the missing Don Vargas, is drawn to the Portal in Don’s old Casita.

  • In the Valle Abajo, an old enemy of the clanspeople returns. And a mysterious presence makes itself known.

Why New Mexico Fantasy?

I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.

But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!


RJ’s Blog: http://rjmirabal.wordpress.com/

Buy links for The Tower of Il Serrohe:

Black Rose Writing: http://goo.gl/fZXWgF

Amazon: http://goo.gl/GvXAUT

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/42OHpk

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/2LmWHu

Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: rjmirabal@gmail.com

Justi the Gifted – Guest Post from R. R. Brooks

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Today’s guest post is from R. R. Brooks, where he tells us about his upcoming novel, Justi the Gifted.

Justi cover final Justi the Gifted, an epic fantasy tale by R.R. Brooks ( http://www.appalachianroundtable.com ), will be published momentarily by LeoPublishing L.L.C. and can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore (which would love for you to visit).

A gift from a god can be good. But what if it is damaged?

Magic in Justi the Gifted. Magic in a fantasy novel is an ability or power that exists beyond the laws of nature. The gift of physical power conferred on Justi by the god Li is a type of magic. When the dark spirits rend this gift, leaving parts of it with Justi and parts with Mercerio, the heir to the throne, two characters have magic.

RRB front smallI did not want a lot of magic in the novel. No flying dragons, no power rings or swords, no floating intelligence or omnipresent wizards. Nevertheless, I wound up with a good dose of magic, such as mind control. Angel servants of both the good and bad gods influence the minds of animals, an act beyond nature. For example:a cat is used to track Justi’s pregnant mother.

Thinking they should first learn more of Arturi and her child, the Miasma sent a familiar to stay close to the woman. The dark ones combined their mental force to infect a small animal asleep in the forest, one with enough intelligence and cunning to do their bidding. The creature came alert with the full power of Darhoch. Its eyes flashed red as it trotted out of the woods not far from where Arturi hastened toward Ortun. This was the cat named Daresse.

Later, wolves are controlled to try to kill the teenage Justi. Justi’s spirit guardian, an angel called Li-Margot, inhabits the body of a hawk. Even humans are subject to mind control. The prostitute who seduces Justi is sent his image in a dream. The barbarians are induced to kidnap Princess Mercerio.

Other magic exists. Justi comes into possession of an amulet with a bit of magic power: it warms when Justi and Mercerio are thinking of each other and sends Justi in the girl’s direction.

The High Priest Aduk probes Justi’s mind when he is drugged. The coastal traderCarend supposedly has a “sixth sense” in reading people’s thoughts and personalities.

So, despite the author’s intention of making this mostly a human story in a real world setting, the magic crept in. I hope it is reasonable, controlled, and satisfying to my readers.

has a “sixth sense” in reading people’s thoughts and personalities.

So, despite the author’s intention of making this mostly a human story in a real world setting, the magic crept in. I hope it is reasonable, controlled, and satisfying to my readers.

Guest Post – Sarah Daltry, author of ‘Dust’

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Today’s guest post is from author Sarah Daltry, with an interview, and information on her current novel, ‘Dust’.

Dust Cover

An Interview with Sarah Daltry

Who is your audience?

People like me, who value words and ideas as much or more than plot.

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.

I am an introvert and a nerd. I’ve written more than 15 novels, but only five are available. Dust is a YA fantasy/philosophical fantasy novel. I also wrote No Such Thing as Perfect, which is contemporary women’s fiction/literary fiction about growing up, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining (literary fiction based on the poem), Backward Compatible: A Gamer Geek Love Story, and the vampire NA urban fantasy (18+) Bitter Fruits.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Dust came to me one morning and I don’t really know what inspired it. It’s the story of growing up amidst war when the world has survived by holding secrets. Alondra must navigate the past, specifically that of her mother, to learn about what led to the events that destroyed her kingdom, and she must face the darkest parts of herself.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Not really, although I am a binge writer. I will write 1/3 of a novel in one day and not write for two weeks.

What authors or books have influenced you?

Hemingway, Salinger, The Book Thief, The Lovely Bones

What are you working on now?

A bunch of different things – contemporary realism, literary fiction, and fantasy

What is your best method or website for book promotion?

I don’t really have one. I don’t think I think like most people and I seem to struggle with connecting with them

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Write what is in your heart, not what other people tell you to write.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

You can’t take it with you. 🙂

What are you reading now?

Mrs. Dalloway

What’s next for you as a writer?

Not sure, really.

3 or 4 books for deserted island?

The Catcher in the Rye, The Sun Also Rises, Frankenstein, and Dracula

What inspires you to write?

I need to. I need it like oxygen. I never stop writing, even though I stop talking to people

Tell us about your writing process.

“Sit down at a [computer] and bleed.”

Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer?

Both, but mostly I don’t plan.

If you are an outliner, what do you use to outline? Whiteboard? Software?

Notes that make no sense to anyone but me.

Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?

Both – depends on how things come to me.

Do you listen to or talk to your characters?

Yes, all the time.

How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?

We talk – and I convince people it’s totally normal to live with characters in your head all the time.

How did you decide how to publish your books?

Self-published and small press, because I’m not marketable apparently.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?

I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of hope for the future of humanity, not just in books, and publishing is just another business that gives millions of dollars for One Direction porn, but has lost interest in the human condition.


Dust

Dust is the story of a young girl, Alondra, in another world. It’s a world that normally would be draped in magic – the kind of world traditional in fantasy. There are castles and kingdoms and all those fun fairy tale elements, but it’s also a world with futuristic features, such as teleportation and giant glass towers that reach into the sky. Picture something out of the Final Fantasy series, with less steampunk.

There used to be magic in Alondra’s world, but well before she was born, all of the kingdoms were part of war. It was a war that happened because human beings grew too powerful. They wanted more and they wanted it for themselves. No longer was man satisfied to have the power of the gods and use it for the greater good; now he wanted to be a god. Because of the fear of magic and the damage it wrought, it has been suppressed and Alondra only knows it as a hobby.

When a new villain appears, though, and the world so desperate for peace and security is shattered anew, Alondra sets out on a journey through the past. She soon discovers that the secrets people keep in order to preserve a facade of safety run deep.

I see this as a fantasy novel woven through with philosophy and moral questions, as well as a sprinkle of romance. Although there is a love story, it is not about romance, but about coming of age, about learning who you are and understanding your role in the world, and about independence and choice (as well as the associated consequences).

Take the journey with Alondra! The book is available now! Read a sample here!


GOOGLEPIC Sarah Daltry is the author of No Such Thing as Perfect, Dust, Backward Compatible, Bitter Fruits, and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. As a former English teacher and YA library coordinator, Sarah has always loved books and her passion in life is writing – weaving tales of magic and beauty. She originally wrote romance, but Sarah’s real focus is lyrical and introspective fiction that gets to the heart of being whole.

Sarah is an obsessive Anglophile who spends more time watching BBC TV than any human being should, as well as a hardcore gamer, feminist, hermit, and sarcastic nerd. She’s extremely introverted and craves quiet and solitude, but she does enjoy hearing from readers. Find her online at http://sarahdaltry.com

Interview with V M Sang, Author of The Wolves of Vimar Series

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Today I’m delighted to be hosting an interview with V M Sang, author of the Wolves of Vimar series.


Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.

I live in the UK near the south coast. I am a retired science teacher. I enjoy reading and writing as well as a variety of crafts and I also paint. I have written 3 books.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

My latest book is called The Never-Dying Man and is the second book in the Wolves of Vimar. The whole series grew out of a Dungeons and Dragons scenario that I wrote when running a D&D club at the school where I was teaching. It has sort of grown out of that. I don’t think many of the pupils who played would recognize it now.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Don’t think so.

What authors or books have influenced you?

Obviously Tolkein, because he was the first, but I would add Weiss and Hickman and their Dragonlance books. George R.R. Martin, whom I would add that I discovered long before the TV series and everyone jumped on the bandwagon, and of course, Robert Jordan, and also Brandon Sanderson.

What are you working on now?

I am working on part 3 of The Wolves.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?

Not sure. I’m still struggling to find it!

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Never give up. Some of the best thought of authors had a struggle at first.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

My uncle once wrote in my autograph book when I was a child: ‘A winner never quits. A quitter never wins. Keep on trying.’

What are you reading now?

Just bought a new car and am reading the owner’s manual!

What’s next for you as a writer?

To follow Uncle Roy’s advice and keep on trying. I want to finish and publish Book 3 of The Wolves and then write either a historical novel or a different fantasy one that I have been planning in my head for some time.

What inspires you to write?

I have stories that I tell myself running about in my head. They need to get out and so I write them down.

Tell us about your writing process. Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer? If you are an outliner, what do you use to outline? Whiteboard? Software? Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?

I have a general idea as to where my work is going, mainly in my head. I rarely write it down, so it can change, and frequently does. My characters develop as they themselves wish. I do have a rough idea as to what they are like, but I usually let them do as they want.

Do you listen to or talk to your characters? How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?

Always. They are always telling me to do something different, often most unexpected, or saying something that surprises me.

What advice would you give other writers?

Please, please, please check your spelling and grammar. There is nothing so distracting for a reader as poor grammar, and there are many authors who write bad grammar. I have been known to take a pencil and correct it as I am reading (the teacher coming out!) Since I send them back to a charity shop for recycling, I assume other readers come across this. It probably irritates the hell out of them, but I hope they will learn a bit from it!

How did you decide how to publish your books?

Don’t really know. I just decided to try when I’d finished The Wolf Pack. It seemed the natural next step. I tried to find a traditional publisher and agent, but could only find one of each in the USA. Since I am based in the UK I decided not to go along this route and join the indie published brigade.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?

I think more will be electronically published. This is only in its infancy yet. It is convenient to carry around, especially Kindle and ipad mini, lighter and less bulky than a book. You can also carry large numbers of books away on holiday. This was always a bone of contention between my husband and myself. He complained about the weight! I hope that books do not disappear altogether though, because there is nothing like the smell and feel of a real book.


109vivnoframe

I was born in the north west of England in a town called Northwich, which is between Manchester and Chester.

I was educated at Northwich Grammar School for Girls, which was a selective school. It has now become a comprehensive school and takes in all ability levels and both sexes. From here I went to Elizabeth Gaskell College in Manchester to do teacher training where I studied Science as a main subject and Maths and English as subsidiary.

After finishing my training I taught in several places. I began in Salford, near Manchester, then taught in Lancashire, Hampshire (south of England) and Croydon (a London borough)

I am married with 2 children, a girl and a boy, and 3 grandchildren, 2 boys and a girl. I like to spend time with them as they are great fun. I also enjoy a variety of crafts (cross-stitch, card making, tatting, crochet, knitting etc) and I paint as well as write. I enjoy gardening too and walking, cycling and kayaking.

I am now retired and live in East Sussex with my husband.


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Book title: The Wolf Pack, Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar series.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Pack-Wolves-Vimar-Book-ebook/dp/B00CJ16VZ6/ref=asap_B00CK8JHRM?ie=UTF8

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I have also published Book 2 of the Wolves of Vimar, The Never-Dying Man, and a recipe book called Viv’s Family Recipes that covers at least 100 years of recipes and many of my grandmother’s.

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Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Vivs-Family-Recipes-V-M-Sang-ebook/dp/B00IARRS50/ref=asap_B00CK8JHRM?ie=UTF8


 

You can find out more about me and my books on my website:

http://vmsang.moonfruit.com/ and on my blog: http://aspholessaria.blogspot.co.uk/

My books can be bought from: http://www.amazon.com and http://www.amazon.co.uk/ and other amazon sites.

Interview with JoElle Martín

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Interview with JoElle Martín

Q – What originally drew you to writing?

A – It was a subject I enjoyed and excelled at in elementary school. In fourth grade we were given an assignment to write a story. The other children in class turned in one or two pages. I turned in a eight to ten page “book”, complete with illustrations.

Q – Which writers inspired – or continue to inspire you – to write?

A- All the fairytale writers. I love fantasy and happily ever afters.

Q – What most inspires your stories?

A – Everything around me. I see magic and fantasy in everyday life. A single tree in a field becomes a gateway to the fairy world. A homeless person becomes an elf lost in our world. Anything and everything becomes a possible story.

Q – Do you have a special time of day that you prefer to write?

A- Not really. I write when “that feeling” hits me.

Q- Do you have any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

A – Sort of relates to the previous question, don’t force your writing. If it isn’t there, do something else and come back to it. Otherwise, you end up stuck and frustrated and that kills creativity.

Q – Are you an e-book person, or do you prefer to own a hard copy?

A – Hard copy.

Q – Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

A – My female and male characters in Julianne’s Wish are Julianne Carter and Forest O’Connell. Julianne is human and Forest is elf; and they are true soul mates. They actually share the same soul. However, as a broken hearted young teenager, Julianne makes a wish to never fall in love again. She doesn’t realize her wish has come true and she is unable to fall in love with Forest.

Q – What genre do you prefer to write in, and why?

A – Fantasy, young adult, and romance. Why? I am a romantic who believes in fairies.

Q – Have you ever been involved in a collaborative project with another author? If not, is it something you would like to do in future?

A – No. I know what I am like. I would drive the other author nuts. I couldn’t do that to another person.

Q – Do you set yourself a daily word target? If so, how often do you meet it?

A – No. I do not do well with deadlines and goals.

Q – What do you do to get book reviews?

A – Beg. Bribe. And sometimes get lucky.

Q – What are your views on social media for marketing?

A – It is an evil necessity. I don’t like social media and the internet, but it works and as a society we’ve allowed ourselves to grow dependent of it. If we want to market and reach our audience, it is a must.


JoElle MartinJoElle was born in the Pacific Northwest. When she was a young girl, she moved with her family to Guadalajara, Mexico. She has since lived in South Texas,Central Texas, the Bay Area of California, and now her home is in Northern Nevada.

Today she spends most of her time wandering the scenic highways of America with her husband and creating new worlds and characters for her novels.

JoElle comes from a large family. With two older brothers and three younger sisters, she enjoyed the middle spot while growing up. (She was the official tattletale – a title none of her siblings ever let her forget). Though she loved playing outside as a child, she was also a bookworm.

Married shortly after graduating high school, she and her husband have been happily married over 30 years. (Which is a big reason JoElle firmly believes in happily ever afters!)

When they are home, JoElle and her husband enjoy visiting their son, daughter in law, and four grandchildren.

Ever since she was a little girl, and wrote her first multi-page story in fourth grade, JoElle knew she wanted to be a writer. She competed in Journalism in high school, winning several awards in feature writing. JoElle writes both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to her novels, she has written a number of feature stories of community interest for local newspapers on subjects such as volunteering, guide dogs, homeschooling, and the Explorer program. She served as a regional editor for a homeschooling newsletter and has had a number of short stories and articles published in print magazines and e-zines.


Connect with JoElle

Website: www.joellemartin.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/JoElle_Martin
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dreamersforest

my books moonlight book secret book bridge

Interview with C.B. Mac Gillavry

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pic C.B. Mac GillavryToday I’m pleased to be hosting an interview with author C.B. Mac Gillavry .  Below is a character interview, answered by one of her characters.

C.B. Mac Gillavry studied English and Dutch literature, she has an affinity with Colonial Dutch literature. C.B., like so many authors, started writing as soon as she was able to write, although the actual reading started at a later stadium, with the discovery of Jane Austen. She enjoys many different genres and writers, preferably in the original language. The environment is a key topic in her writings and she ideally writes for young adults, in the hope of enchanting them, even if just for a short while.

You can visit C.B. Mac Gillavry on her webpage here: http://cbmacgillavry.weebly.com/


 

Character Interview Questions, answered by Agatha, C.B. Mac Gillavry ‘s Golden Fairy

Q: Who are you closest to (a best friend, family member, lover etc) and why?

A: Most of my friends are humans, then there is Lucio the gnome, he’s a father figure to me, there’s Sparky the hearth creature, who’s also a good friend, my cousin, and last but not least a Nature Spirit, Chloros, who has been kind enough to make me fall for him. All these people and creatures have been there for me when I needed help and healing. They are family. Oh, and I am Agatha, a Golden Fairy.

Q: Where were you born, and what are your strongest memories of the place you grew up?

A: I don’t really remember when I was born or started existing. Some say we are ancient, some others say we last as long as a heartbeat. I don’t know really, I only know I’m older than most of my friends, even if it doesn’t show.

Q: Where do you go when you get angry or upset?

A: I go to a field where the grass grows tall or to the woods, where the others can’t see me. I don’t like to be seen in such states.

Q: What makes you laugh out loud?

A: Chloros is very good at that. Otherwise it’s Lucio, he knows me best, he has been busy with me for some time now. And my friends also make me laugh out loud: have you ever seen a puppy dragon setting a garden on fire? That can be funny to watch.

Q: When were you most satisfied with your life?

A: When I managed to leave the past behind me and was able to look straight ahead!

Q: Who is your role model and why?

A: I’m my own role model! There aren’t so many Fairies left where I live, and my cousin is really too messed up to be one for me. So I have to try to be my own hero, when I need one.

Q: What is your favourite journey?

A: To my friends’ house: it’s a good place to be, its magic is very powerful and that always feels good.

Q: What is your greatest regret?

A: I have opened up too much to creatures that didn’t deserve me. They took advantage of that and treated me badly. That’s the only regret I have.

Q: How would you like to die?

A: Alone. After all my friends, so that they would not miss me.

Q: What is your motto?

A: Love always wins.

Q: What is your most marked characteristic?

A: I am crazy in many ways, good crazy mostly.

Q: What talent would you most like to have?

A: I’m not so good at being resolute, that would have been nice.

Q: What’s your most treasured possession?

A: My family and friends

Q: What are you most proud of about your life?

A: Against all odds, I’m still here, happy and alive.

Q: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?

A: I had to push them away, after they had hurt me. I had to protect myself in the end, even if it meant their sadness.

Q: Describe your ideal mate. Have you found them yet?

A: I have found my ideal mate, he is the one that accepts me for what I am and loves me anyway. He tries to make me smile a lot, he’s always by my side and he sings to me. He takes “being green” to a whole new level, because he is green!

Q: What’s your greatest fear?

A: To be stuck in the past.

Q: If you could do one thing and succeed at it, what would it be?

A: I don’t know, I’m pretty good at what I do, which is breed and train fireflies, and I don’t feel the need to try anything else.

Q: What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

A: No, it’s too embarrassing!


 

Short story – Fog on the Loch

“Come not between the dragon and his wrath.” –Lear from “King Lear” (1.1.127) William Shakespeare
‘“The name is Alexandra Drerea Ramsey. You may call me Twang.” But the old man looked puzzled,’
The girl explained.
‘So I added “I shoot pretty well with the crossbow, and that’s the sound the arrow makes every time I shoot.” And I smiled.’
Twang paused.
‘He still looked at me, but he smiled back, eventually. He cleared his throat. He readjusted his big, fluffy coat. “Did you bake those cupcakes?” he asked pointing at my table.’
She mimed his movements.
‘I had just finished the cakes for my mom’s birthday, you see. I’d made several cupcakes with sugar flowers and coloured buttons and the big cake with roses. The one that looked like it was made of china, remember?’
Victoria nodded quickly, she wanted her friend to continue her story. She motioned her to continue.
‘Yes, and…’
‘Well, I said “Of course I made them! And they should be pretty good too!” and that’s when I heard the foghorn screaming outside. He turned towards the window, he looked worried, absorbed in his own thoughts. It can get spooky around the lake when the fog is that thick and I would have sworn that he was starting to feel a little restless.’
The girl slightly raised her voice.
‘Then he turned to me again and said “I heard that you weld things together.” I didn’t like this one bit!’
Her cheeks reddened.
‘I had left the newborn dragon, George, in the workshop, because when they are that young they tend to breathe more fire while they are asleep. I didn’t want him to burn down the house by accident. You need to train them first, right? Plus, Charlie, my black cat, was there too, taking a nap and keeping the little one company. I really didn’t want the old chap to see baby George.’
Twang paused again. Victoria feared this was due to the effect: the girl knew how to tell a story, that much was clear! She readjusted her long black skirt, fidgeted with the laces of her high heeled boots and sighed. Joe noticed that Victoria could hardly wait for Twang to continue, perched as she was on the sofa, almost lauching herself in the other’s arms.
‘Anyway, I was curious. Why was he asking about my welding? And he said these words, honest to the dragons, he said “My sledge, I think one of the runners needs some welding, and I really have to leave tonight.”’
Twang shook her head in disbelief.
‘ I replied “I understand, sir, but the fog is too thick anyway, you wouldn’t be able to see anything. The Police notified us that it would last for a couple of days and that it’s too dangerous to drive.” He looked at me with that puzzled look again and said “I wasn’t going to drive, I wanted to slide away.”’
She shrugged.
‘I said, “Well, I suppose that doesn’t change much. Are you hungry? I just made some organic popcorn. I was going to watch some tv before going to bed.”’
She pointed her finger towards the imaginary table with the cakes.
‘He looked at my cupcakes again. I swear, he would have eaten the whole table if I had let him! Not that he would have needed the extra pounds, if you know what I mean…’
Victoria knitted her eyebrows, ‘No, I don’t. I thought it was his coat that was big, not that he actually had a big belly!’
Twang replied, ‘Well, yes, he was filling the coat all right!’
‘What did it look like? You said it was fluffy…’ said Victoria.
‘It was red, with a thick white hem, like it was fur.’
Joe and Victoria both pulled faces at that word, as they felt very strongly against fur and leather.
‘Don’t get all touchy! I pretended I was passing him the popcorn and actually felt with my hand: it was just fabric, I’m positive.’ Twang explained.
The others relaxed. Joe smiled amaibly and counted on his fingers, while he spoke,
‘So, he wasn’t thin, was waring a big red coat with a thick white hem, he was rather old… What did he look like?’
‘Oh, he had a bit of a beard, white hair, red cheeks… you know, the rubicund kind!’
‘Yes,’ allowed the boy, ‘but he didn’t take the popcorn you offered him and you never let him touch the cupcakes. So maybe he wasn’t the rubicond kind..’
‘Oh, well,’ Twang was getting impatient, ‘whatever! I wanted to go to bed, but with him there, all stressed out and all, I couldn’t. He even started flipping through my photo album I keep near the the antique typewriter and I was afraid he might get to the part with the pictures of the dragons! I found it rather rude to be honest, so I got my angle grinder and my soldering iron at once, and went outside with him to take a look at the sledge. He had the most ridiculous hat on, it was also red and rimmed, but with this white pompon dangling next to his ear.’
Joe and Victoria looked at each other and sniggered.
‘What!’ the snigger turned into laughter, ‘What!! I don’t understand… Oh, stop it! I won’t tell you how it ends if you continue…’ said Twang.
The two forced themselves to stop laughing, wiping the tears from their cheeks, and tried to resume their seriousness.
‘That’s better,’ Twang snorted, ‘so, we went outside and the sledge really needed some welding. Lucky for him, I’m good at that too, so I fixed the runner. It looked like I had used glue to repair it. I was quite pleased with myself! Then he thanked me, he said he had to go even if I had told him it wasn’t safe.’
Twang imitated the man’s manners, ‘“Don’t worry, Miss Ramsey, my deer have a kind of built in alarm in the tip of their ears. I never bumped into anything before, and I’ve been going about in this kind of weather for quite some time now.”’
She said in her usual way, ‘“Where are you actually going?” I said.’
Then, imitating him again, she said, ‘“I’m going home, I have done everything I had to do for this year.”’
Twang spoke like her normal self once more.
‘And he winked at me. Then he stepped on the sledge, it didn’t even wobble a bit under his weight, he waved at me, and turned towards the Church. He had little bells attached to the reins, and they jingled when the whole thing moved, that’s how I heard where he was going. He laughed too, it sounded like “Hohoho…”, very peculiar. I swear I heard the sound over my head at a certain point.’
Joe and Victoria boomed with laughter.
“What! Stop that already. Why do you do that?”
And the two sang, mocking,
‘Santa Clause is coming to town…’


Please visit C.B. Mac Gillavry’s webpage here: http://cbmacgillavry.weebly.com/

Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer

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Debbie Manber Kupfer – author of P.A.W.S. and Argentum.

 

What originally drew you to writing?

I’ve always written ever since I was a child. I’ve always felt much more comfortable putting down my thoughts on paper than in any other way. When I was a kid I would fill notebooks and even finished a series of three school “novels” based around my friends and the playground.

Which writers inspired – or continue to inspire you – to write?

The two main ones are probably JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman.

What most inspires your stories?

Anything and everything. Even though I write fantasy, the little things around me often end up in my books. I love people watching and will often sit in cafes for inspiration.

Do you have a special time of day that you prefer to write?

As a mother I’ll have to say “no”. I fit in writing whenever I have the time.

Do you have any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

Go for a walk. A change of scenery and fresh air do wonders.

Are you an e-book person, or do you prefer to own a hard copy?

I do both. I tend to read traditionally published books in a hard copy from the library and buy ebooks of indie authors.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

In lot of ways Miri is like me. She was bullied as a child, but the experience has made her stronger and not take things for granted. She’s always loved to read and write and used books as an escape from the harsh realities surrounding her. She enjoyed fantasy as a child and wished she could escape into those worlds. As she grows older she grows stronger especially after she learns to control her magic which is very powerful. But as we discover in the beginning of the second book having strong magic can come with a price.

What genre do you prefer to write in, and why?

My main series is fantasy, but I also love experimenting in different genres in my short stories.

Have you ever been involved in a collaborative project with another author? If not, is it something you would like to do in future?

Oh yes. I’ve been in quite a few anthologies where we all worked together. The most notable being Fauxpocalypse (a collection of stories about the end of the world that wasn’t) and Sins of the Past (a historical horror collection in which I not only have a story, but also am the editor of the anthology). I plan to do more collaborations in the future and in particular the group of authors that put together Sins of the Past are already working on a second book, Sins of the Future, that all being well will be released next Halloween.

Do you set yourself a daily word target? If so, how often do you meet it?

I only set myself a daily word target during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). During NaNo I make myself write two thousand words each day before I’m allowed to go on the Internet. It must work as I’ve “won” NaNo (reached 50k words) three years in a row now.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I approach bloggers who review in my genre. So far my reviews have all been favorable, but like all authors I could still do with a few more!

What are your views on social media for marketing?

I’m on Facebook a lot (probably too much) and it definitely has helped me make connections with authors, bloggers and readers. I do a little Twitter too, but admit that I don’t really understand how to use it properly.


debssmallDebbie 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. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Connect with Debbie on her blog or Facebook and check out her books on Amazon.

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P.A.W.S. is Debbie’s first novel and is available here. When Miri’s grandmother dies, she takes with her the family secret. Miri finds herself alone and abandoned in a St. Louis boarding school. But she is about to discover the secret isn’t dead.

Taunted by bullies, Miri is shocked to learn she possesses a secret power. It can save her… but can it save those she loves? After she is befriended by others with the same strange, magical powers, her history comes alive. And with it, Miri’s fate becomes more dangerous.

Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society called the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.


ARGENTUM-CONCEPT2-FrontDebbie’s second novel, Argentum is available now.

Argentum . . . silver. Magical powers.

The death of the evil Alistair has brought a measure of peace and calm to those at P.A.W.S., but his silver charm remains in Miri’s possession and it seems to almost have a life of its own.

Nightmares and questions torment Miri until the charm mysteriously disappears and Jessamyn seeks help from Quentin, who claims to have repented his past association with Alistair. But can he be trusted?

And Jenna, the sweet, young girl once held captive by Alistair, is carrying a terrible secret—a secret that could determine the future of P.A.W.S.