My Story ‘The Ifrit’ is included in ‘Cranial Leakage: Tales from the Grinning Skull, Volume II’. Link below:
Today’s guest post is from author Sarah Daltry, with an interview, and information on her current novel, ‘Dust’.
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?
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 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).
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
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?
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.’
‘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.
‘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.”’
‘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/
The Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour kicks off in January. I’ll have some juicy fantasy / author / writing related posts on my blog from the following guest authors on the following dates:
05/01/2015: Danielle Ross
06/01/2015: Debbie Manber Kupfer
07/01/2015: C. B. McGillavry
08/01/2015: Charlotte Henley Babb
09/01/2015: V.M. Sang
11/01/2015: Sarah Daltry
12/01/2015: Robert Brooks
13/01/2015: RJ Mirabal
14/01/2015: Renee Scattergood
15/01/2015: Maeve La Fay
16/01/2015: Lee Dunning
17/01/2015: JuQuan Williams
18/01/2015: JoElle Martin
19/01/2015: Jean Lauzier
20/01/2015: J Lenni Dorner
21/01/2015: Elizabeth Lorraine
I’ve been trying to garner some interest in ‘Fortune’s Thief’, and having failed to find an agent, I’ve been contacting independent publishers to see whether anyone would be interested in publishing it.
So far, I have had two contract offers, but I won’t be accepting either of them. I had no idea when I started sending out my manuscript that it would be such a minefield.
The first offer I had was from a publisher whose employees are illiterate. The email accompanying the contract, and subsequent correspondence was so badly written I had to read it three times before I could understand what they were trying to say. They were also planning to put it out exactly as I’d sent it to them, with no editorial input or modifications whatsoever. I’ve checked it the best I can, and had a few friends review it, but I have absolutely no doubt that it would benefit greatly from some professional editing. Having read up about these guys on the Absolute Write Authors Beware section, they’re definitely one to avoid.
So I sent it off to a second publisher and had a grammatically correct response on nice headed paper, asking for a printed manuscript. Then followed three weeks of watching the doormat, wondering when a letter was going to land. In the interim, however, I looked them up on my new favourite forum page (Absolute Write Authors Beware) and found that many people were reporting bad experiences with them. These guys appear professional, but are in essence a vanity press and will charge authors for publishing, so when I had the contracts arrive today, I wasn’t in the least surprised to find that they wanted £2,300 to publish my book. If they had been up-front about it, and indicated on their website that contribution-based publishing was one of their possible routes, I wouldn’t have wasted my time or theirs in submitting to them.
I’m now going back to a third publisher, who expressed interest about the same time I heard from the second publisher to see whether we can still work together, and what their terms will be.
More news from the minefield as it breaks…
Seventh Star Press will be having a great Cyber Monday Sale that will coincide with a big contest, Feel the Fire III.
The sale will feature titles by all Seventh Star Press authors at 99 cents on Kindle, as well as all anthologies. The sale will be for one day only, Cyber Monday, December 1, 2014.
Click here to read more.
The sale will feature 3 anthologies with my stories in:
A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court: http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC
The End Was Not the End: http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Was-Not-Post-Apocalyptic-ebook/dp/B00C3ZWA58
Today I’m pleased to be able to share news about the release of Dragonbride, a fantasy novel by author Rani York.
Shalima, “Daughter of the Light”, was born under special circumstances. She was raised by her aunts instead of her mother because she needed to be prepared to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Scriptures, which told that she was the only Magician on Earth.
Her aunts carefully prepared her for her obligations and her sacred duty. She will have to get married to the Holy Golden Dragon, the King of the Dragons, a huge Earth Dragon with magical talents. She cannot believe that she is the “Chosen One”, who has to protect the Dragon Species, all of Nature and finally the Earth. But when she turned into a teenager it seemed that the Old Scriptures were right.
Not only does she have to fulfill her duty by getting married to the Dragon – she will also have to go on a deadly mission to save the world from an unspeakable evil. A mission there is very little hope her party will ever return from.
Here’s an except from the book to whet your appetites:
The mountains possessed a dark but seductive beauty, and they lay in wait for the ones who came through the Fire Hell. The powdered white peaks of the sparkling black mountain-world watched for them with longing.
The Diamond Mountains gave the illusion of being much closer than they really were, and many a pilgrim had been lured to his death by the promise of riches hidden on their slopes. These mountains were so named because of the rough gems strewn about the black volcanic soil. When the sun shone overhead the gems made the mountains sparkle and shimmer brightly, and at night they made the moonlit mountains glow with a soft silver light.
People, blinded by both their greed and the tantalizing glittering of the sunlit earth, imagined that there was immeasurable wealth lying there on the ground, just waiting to be picked. However, the mountains never betrayed the secrets they held. None who had ever walked those slopes could find the diamonds hidden within the black soil, for the mountains protected themselves.
Although healthy forest still grew in the foothills, the undergrowth became sparser just a few hundred feet up, and then the treeline ended. Where stunted trees would normally grow the forest just stopped, as if some unseen hand had cut it short. All that remained were dangerously sharp, dry rocks. Just below the snowline, the rocks disappeared, and the glittering black soil took their place.
Moreover, at the summit it seemed as if the Creator of All Things had dusted the peaks of the fissured mountain range with powdered sugar, for they were covered with a deceptively soft-looking, yet extremely sharp-edged eternal snow.
The mountains never betrayed their secrets…
And if a wanderer were to climb those peaks, going up to the Fire Hell and searching to quench his thirst at a splashing mountain spring, he would find no cool, refreshing water. Instead, these living mountains would seek to frighten him by shrouding the ground with a mysterious fog that made it impossible to see where he was putting his feet. Pilgrims sometimes drowned in the sulfurous pools of water hidden within the hellish rocks when the fog appeared, and if they left the main trails, they would know true fear, for they would be led down treacherous sidepaths that seemed to take them somewhere, yet actually led them nowhere but to their doom.
The mountains never betrayed their secrets…
Though many thought they would find the cool relief of the shadows by early evening, the ascent would continue for another three torturous days. During those three days, their throats would scream for water, and their eyes would tear up in the swirling sand. Blown up by the hot desert winds, the sand burned as it fell upon a traveler’s face and skin. Eventually their limbs would become heavy, and they would barely be able to move; thus, the wanderers would be forced to crawl on, farther and farther, until sheer luck eventually brought them to civilization… to people.
In a canyon between two hills below the mountain range there was a village. It had no official name, but the people living there called it Alpcateçu, which meant Oasis of the Mountains. Anyone who wanted to climb the mountains had to pass through the village. A few taverns and inns surrounded the village fountain, where a market was sometimes held.
Some houses and huts had been built in the wide hills and even at the edge of the forest… and in one such place, hidden within the woods, almost four hundred feet past the deepest thicket and connected to the village only by a sidepath lay the place in which I had been born.
CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/4861497
Raani York has been a high volume writer for years. She has published articles, letters, short stories, poems, continuation stories and descriptions of all kind. She also writes novels, some of which can found on her website http://www.raaniyork.com/ .
Raani has been educated in Switzerland and in the U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She also obtained diplomas in Graphic Design, Color Studies and won a prize as a Logo Designer. She speaks four languages and several dialects.
Raani York works and lives in Switzerland and the U.S. and travels often.
Next to her writing and her cats, Raani likes reading, blogging, Martial Arts, skiing, horseback riding, sky diving and enjoys playing the classical piano.