Tag Archives: blog hop

Blog Hop: My Writing Process

I was recently tagged to take part in the “Writing Process Blog Tour” by the lovely and talented K. L. Schwengel. This particular “meme” (as these things are referred to nowadays) is about authors sharing something about your writing process by answering four questions. In turn, we pass the torch to other authors. This way, it spreads like wildfire. When I googled “Writing Process Blog Tour” I got almost 24,000,000 hits. 🙂

Anyway, here’s my own contribution to the meme:

1) What am I working on?

Right now I have two main projects going:
A Wasted Land, the third novel in my Pendragon Chronicles series that started with Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur. This novel revolves around Yseult’s son Kustennin and the fate of Britain after the Battle of Camlann, when former alliances begin to fall apart and the Saxon kingdoms on the fringes of Britain are growing stronger again. I’ve been working on this one for over a year now, since the publication of Yseult and Shadow of Stone — and a number of readers started asking for more — but for some reason, it’s still not completely coming together for me.
– Final revisions for Island of Glass, a YA novella. The novella tells the story of Chiara, a young glassmaker of Murano, who makes glass shoes for a prince of Venice to help save her uncle from prison. But the magic works in a different way than she had imagined…
– At any give time, I also have several other projects in the works. Right now that includes revising a novella I wrote with Jay Lake for publication, Recontact, as well as brainstorming further works in the worlds of Island of Glass and Looking Through Lace.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Anyone brings their own experience, their own way of looking at the world to what they write. Not only that, we each have different priorities, different interests, and different kinds of stories that move us the most. Any author who writes out of their own experience and interests is going to produce distinctive work, work that is recognizable in some way.

5th century Britain
One of my passions is for historical maps and what they signify. Make of that what you will. 🙂

For me, a couple of the interests that probably distinguish my work is my interest in literature, politics, linguistics, and cultural differences in general. For example, there is a lot of big picture cultural conflict in my Arthurian novels, Yseult and Shadow of Stone, probably more than is generally common in that genre. Or take my science fiction novellas in the Looking Through Lace series: they revolve around the linguistic and cultural misunderstandings of a first contact mission.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the books I would want to read, it’s as simple as that. My books and short stories contain the things that move me: events that break my heart, topics that get my back up or that I’m passionate about, my fears and my dreams.
I tend to package those passions in the genres of science fiction and fantasy because those are the genres I most enjoy reading. I have enough contemporary in everyday life. What I read and what I write is somewhere beyond or apart from that.

4) How does my writing process work?

Before I start writing a novel or short story, I usually do a lot of brainstorming and pre-writing in longhand on scrap paper and in cheap, sprial-bound notebooks. I’ve tried to use those beautiful Paperblanks notebooks for the purpose, but they’re too intimidating. I guess in order to free my playful brain, I need something that looks like it can be thrown away if it’s crap.
Once I’ve worked out the basic details of my world, my characters, and my plot, and have started playing with ideas for scenes to go with all of that, then I will start writing, jumping around here and there in the timeline as more scene ideas and plot twists occur to me. I don’t have everything mapped out from the moment I start to write, but neither can I start without any inkling of where the story is going to go. At the very least, I need to know the ending, so I will know what to shoot for.

An now, the folks who will be answer these question next! I did write three other writers, but one didn’t respond. Without further ado, here are my two “followers” who will be posting next week:

Shah Wharton: Shah loves fiction; horror, paranormal mystery, dark fantasy, and sci-fi are her favourites, although she also enjoys dark comedy, some romance, and an occasional young adult fantasy. She also writes poetry (two published in anthologies), short stories (one published), and ghost writes fiction as a freelancer.

Shah studied psychology, hypnotherapy, and counselling eons ago and once worked in a social work capacity with children, women with mental health issues and the homeless until her own mental health issues began to encroach on her abilities in 2005. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and speaks freely on her blog about how bipolar disorder has impacted her life.

As an infant, Shah’s father taught her to appreciate the written word through poetry. Now you’ll usually find her immersed in a story while slurping tea, cuddled up with her little family. Shah lives with her huge German Shepherd and her husband, anywhere between Dubai and United Kingdom.

Outside of reading and writing, Shah enjoys theatre, movies, zombies, varied music from old jazz to rock, travel, great food … and dogs.

Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.

Faerie and Feadh Ree: Developing the magic system for The Pendragon Chronicles (A fantasy blog hop.)

Magik & Mayhem Blog Hop and giveaway, July 15-19

Do you like like tales of fantasy? Are you fond of elves, fairies, pixies and kobolds? Do you enjoy stories with magic? Welcome to our blog hop! Here is a chance to read about such creatures, find out about fantasy stories, and win books and gift cards! Summer is more magical already. 🙂

Click here to reach the central page of the blog hop where you can use the rafflecopter and win the main prize: a selection of all ebooks and print books entered in the event plus a gift certificate!

The list of ebooks you can win:

Bundle Season 1 Boreal and John Grey by Chrystalla Thoma
Bundle Dark Elf by Willo Nonea Rea
Caitlin’s Book of Shadows by Juli D. Revezzo
Print book Raingun by John Blackport
Aundes Aura by Ryan Sullivan
Seeking a Scribe by Marsha A. Moore
Her Master’s Madness by J.E. & M. Keep
Wings of Shadow by Anna Kyss
Rune Breaker by Landon Porter
Judgement Rising by Tracy Falbe
The Chosen by Annette Gisby
New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer by John & Annette Gisby
Yseult by Ruth Nestvold

Some us took part in a group interview to talk about our magic creatures. If you would like to read it, click here.

Now, let me tell you something about how I developed my version of faerie, the Feadh Ree, for my Arthurian fantasy series, The Pendragon Chronicles. If you leave a comment, you will enter my own personal raffle and can win a copy of the first novel, Yseult, as well as a fantasy short story collection of your choice: Dragon Time, Never Ever After, or Story Hunger.

Faerie and Feadh Ree: Developing the magic system for The Pendragon Chronicles

I have a reprint of an old book I picked used somewhere years ago, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, by Lady Wilde (“Speranza”). When I decided sometime early in the last decade to return to my project of retelling the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde, one of the first things I had to consider was developing a magic system. I didn’t want it to be the kind of magic that could solve problems effortlessly, I wanted my Arthurian retelling to have a certain touch of realism and history. At the same time, I wanted my magic to fit in with the legends of Ancient Ireland. One of the main impulses of my retelling, after all, was to give Yseult / Isolde a history. The medieval epic romances always started with the background story of Tristan (Drystan in my version). I wanted to start with the background of Isolde of Ireland / Yseult of Eriu. Which meant I would have to create her world.

I’d been a collector of Celtic lore for a while, and Lady Wilde just happened to be one of the books on my shelf. But what a book it is! Story after story, it was full of inspiration for my magic race. This section in particular was important for how I created my version of faerie, the Feadh Ree:

The Fairy Race

The Sidhe, or spirit race, called also the Feadh-Ree, or fairies, are supposed to have been once angels in heaven, who were cast out by Divine command as a punishment for their inordinate pride.

Some fell to earth, and dwelt there, long before man was created, as the first gods of the earth. Others fell into the sea, and they built themselves beautiful fairy palaces of crystal and pearl underneath the waves; but on moonlight nights they often come up on the land, riding their white horses, and they hold revels with their fairy kindred of the earth, who live in the clefts of the hills, and they dance together on the greensward under the ancient trees, and drink nectar from the cups of the flowers, which is the fairy wine.

… The children of such marriages [between human and faerie] have a strange mystic nature, and generally become famous in music and song. But they are passionate, revengeful, and not easy to live with. Every one knows them to be of the Sidhe or spirit race, by their beautiful eyes and their bold, reckless temperament.

The fairy king and princes dress in green, with red caps bound on the head with a golden fillet. The fairy queen and the great court lathes are robed in glittering silver gauze, spangled with diamonds, and their long golden hair sweeps the ground as they dance on the greensward.

This passage inspired me in any number of ways, including the character of my protagonist, Yseult, who is descended from both the Old Race (Feadh Ree) and the the Gael.

For the magic of the Feadh Ree, I was inspired by Irish legends of “second sight.” This resulted in the three powers of the Old Race: The Power of Knowing (divination and mind reading); the Power of Calling (sending thoughts into the mind of another); and the Power of Changing (manipulating the thoughts of others so that they see something different than what is there).

These aren’t exactly fairies as we know them, but I had a lot of fun developing the rules of my world, and not just going with “received legend.” I hope my readers like the more subtle use of magic as well. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the blog hop, and remember to post a comment wherever you’re interested in winning a book!

The Next Big Thing: Musing on my time travel with Aphra Behn

I was tagged by Renata Barcelos to explain why my novel is going to be the Next Big Thing. *g* But seriously, the blog hop is more about stopping by different blogs to discover new writers, or maybe a great read down the road somewhere. A lot of us are talking about books that have yet to be finished, but maybe our WIPs will make people curious about the books we’ve already published!

On to the questions:

What is the working title of your latest book?

Chameleon in a Mirror

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The historical figure of Aphra Behn, the first professional woman writer in English. From the moment I read about Behn in graduate school, she fascinated me. I knew I had to do something with her beyond academic articles.

What genre does your book fall under?

That’s a very good question. It’s a time travel fantasy involving magic mirrors and literary history with a romance that doesn’t end happily. I think I can safely say it falls between lots of genre chairs.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m really bad at casting my novels. I know what all my characters look like, but I can never think of any actors who fit my ideas.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Billie Armstrong has always dreamed of traveling back to the English Restoration to meet her idol, Aphra Behn, but when she accidentally activates the magical properties of a baroque mirror, she discovers that a dream come true can get complicated, not to mention dirty.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About a year and a half.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hm. I can’t offhand think of any other books with the same weird combination of genres. There are plenty of time travel books out there, but my novel definitely isn’t a science fiction TT, nor is it a romance like Outlander, or a literary TT like The Time Traveler’s Wife, despite the subject matter. I will definitely have to think on that a bit!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The answer to that one is the same as the second question: Aphra Behn. She deserves to have more people know about her, and who knows, maybe I can help with this book.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s part self-discovery, part vindication, part love story, part secret history, part historical novel, and (hopefully) all fun! Billie’s journey to the past turns into an unwilling masquerade in a tale of literary politics and passion, a high-spirited Restoration romp, as Billie does her best to survive in a strange era and ensure Aphra’s literary survival in the future. The subject matter is serious, but first and foremost, I hope people will find the novel entertaining. Aphra was a great entertainer herself, and she deserves nothing less.

Now to tag 5 fellow authors, who will share something about their own books next Wednesday on their blogs, if they choose to do so. 🙂

Widdershins

Shah Wharton

Maya Lassiter

Luc Reid

Aliette de Bodard

“The Next Big Thing,” upcoming freebies, and hiatus announcement

I was tagged today in a blog hop, “The Next Big Thing”:

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This particular blog hop was started as an opportunity to learn about the work of independent authors, one blog at a time. If you would like the chance to promote your book in this way, please let me know in the comments! I need to tag five other writers next week when it’s my turn (assuming I even get around to posting, but more on that later.) You can see the questions on Renata Barcelos’s blog, the writing buddy who tagged me. Thanks, Renata! 🙂

Anyway, I’m flying to the States on Friday, and for 2 1/2 weeks, I’ll be driving up and down I5 and flying to Atlanta, visiting friends and family who I see far too infrequently. For that reason, I’m putting regular goals, both writing and social media, on hold until I get back, giving myself permission to get Very Little Writing Done during that time. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to tell folks I haven’t seen for so long, “Okay, I have to go write now.” So my plan is to just not worry about it and dive into NaNo a couple days late. I will be taking my lovely little eeePC with me, which I will load with my text directory and all my current writing projects, and I will continue to brainstorm Ygerna, the prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles that I want to write during NaNo. But I would much rather be grateful for any writing I manage to do during my visit, than end up kicking myself for not getting any writing done.

I have a number of free promos coming up while I’m gone. Since I might not have a chance to announce them shortly before they happen, I’ll just list them all now. If any of the books sound interesting to you, put them on your calendar!

FREE books in October:

Oct. 22-23: Beyond the Waters of the World (Looking Through Lace, Book 2)

Oct. 23-25: “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” (Tales From Far Beyond North)
This promo is part of Halloween Free Horror, which includes 24 books of horror, dark fantasy and Halloween themes.

Oct. 29-30: “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” again. I figured the best time to promote a Halloween-themed story is during October, so I might as well use up my free days all at once. 🙂

Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Dragon Time and Other Stories, containing my witch story “To Act the Witch”: Brilliana is a famous actress for the Duke’s Theatre, yes — but she is also a Witch. And it is up to her to save the Age of Magic.
This is in connection with the Witchy Books Halloween Promo. You can access a Listmania list of all the books that will be offered, either free or on sale, here.

That’s it from me for at least a week. Y’all play nice now while I’m gone! *g*