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juliana spink mills Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Juliana Spink Mills. Juliana Spink Mills was born in England, but grew up in Brazil. Now, she lives in Connecticut and writes science fiction and fantasy. She is the author of Heart Blade and Night Blade, the first two books in the young adult Blade Hunt Chronicles urban fantasy series. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and online publications. Besides writing, Juliana works as a Portuguese/English translator, and as a teen library assistant. She watches way too many TV shows, and loves to get lost in a good book. Her dream is to move to Narnia when she grows up. Or possibly Middle Earth, if she’s allowed a very small dragon of her own.

Juliana Spink Mills’s latest book, Night Blade, is a YA novel urban fantasy fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—In the aftermath of the Heart Blade’s return, Del and Rose have different roads to follow. One leads forward, the other to the distant past. Rose is on a mission to infiltrate and double-cross the ultimate heist, and retrieve a game-changing prize. Meanwhile, as the Court of the Covenant prepares to meet, Del has a quest of her own. She must untangle her lost identity or risk her entire future. With the Blade Hunt prophecy in motion, darkness threatens to rise, and a new sword emerges from the shadows.

And a little “taste” of Night Blade:
  The vampire smiled at Raze. “How do you feel about a little undercover work?”
  “Undercover work? What kind?”
  “The dangerous kind. The sort of work that should suit Raze perfectly, since you’re so determined to leave Rose behind,” he said. “A challenge. You’re infiltrating a heist. I think you’ll make an excellent cat burglar.”

nightblade_front_mills Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Night Blade?

Night Blade is the second in my YA urban fantasy trilogy. The idea for the series came from a short story I was working on. That particular story was never published, but the world stuck in my head and kept growing, and eventually became the first book, Heart Blade.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

I think my two favorites are Camille, an immortal half-demon, and Ben a teenage witch. Camille is fun to write, because her personality is similar to my own (demonic immortality aside). As for Ben, I just like him. He’s had a lot of bad things happen to him, but he doesn’t give up. And, more importantly, he always tries to do the right thing, even if it’s going to cost him.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

Both my books were published by a small press. I think the advantages were that I was involved in every step of the process. I was given everything you can expect from a larger press—editor, copy editor, professional cover art—but additionally, because I worked so closely with the owner of the press, I was involved in a lot of the decision-making. It really was a lesson in what it takes to bring out a book! For a first timer who up to that point had only published short stories, it was a real learning experience.

The disadvantages of a small press are probably obvious, and center mostly around market reach.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I’m definitely a planner. That said, I’ve become a lot more organic in my process as I’ve gained confidence in myself as a writer. So now, instead of the rigid chapter outlines I used in the past, I tend to do a list of bullet points: key events that need to be incorporated. This gives me wriggle room to go ‘off road’ when I want, and I constantly update this list as the story progresses.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I was definitely a Narnia girl. I was gifted the full Narnia set as a going away present when I moved from England to Brazil at the age of eight. Brazil was new, and exciting, but also confusing and strange, so I absolutely connected with Lucy Pevensie and the rest of C.S. Lewis’ portal-travelling youngsters. I credit those books with a life-long love of fantasy novels.

What writing project are you currently working on?

After a much-needed break to write a sci fi thriller, I’m now working on Star Blade, the last book in my YA trilogy. The planning stage took ages—there is so much to fit in!—but now I’m up and running and delighted to be back in this familiar world of mine. I missed my characters!

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

My favorite bit of advice ever, and one I always pass along, is: “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Nothing happens overnight in publishing. If you love writing, allow yourself the gift of time. And keep writing!

Want to learn more about Juliana Spink Mills and Night Blade? Check out her:  WebsiteFacebook pageTwitterInstagram, and  Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Night Blade.

Thanks to author Juliana Spink Mills for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Elaine Isaak on February 21, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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CLundoff Publicity photo Whimsical Words welcomes guest author-editor-publisher, Catherine Lundoff. Catherine Lundoff is a Minneapolis-based award-winning writer, editor, and publisher. Her recent stories have appeared in Tales of the Unanticipated, Curious Fictions, The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade V20 Anthology, The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Tales and The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Professor Moriarty. Her books include Silver Moon, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories and as editor, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). She is the publisher at Queen of Swords Press.

Catherine Lundoff’s latest book, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), is a new anthology fans of pirates and adventure are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—Think pirates are all about the rum and the pieces of eight? Let these fifteen tales draw you into the adventures of a new kind of pirate. Sail with them as they seek treasure, redemption, love, revenge and more. Raise the Jolly Roger and sharpen your cutlass (or recharge your raygun) and climb aboard for some unforgettable voyages. Featuring stories by Ginn Hale, A.J. Fitzwater, Geonn Cannon, Joyce Chng, Elliott Dunstan, Ashley Deng, Su Haddrell, Ed Grabianowski, Mharie West, Matisse Mozer, Soumya Sundar Mukherjee, Megan Arkenberg, Peter Golubock, Michael Merriam, and Caroline Sciriha.

ebook QoSP Scourge 432 x 648 72 dpilundoff Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)?

I started my own small press last year and I wanted to publish an anthology. Originally, it was on a different theme and was going to have a different editor, but that fell through, so I decided to go ahead with another theme that I liked. I’ve always had a fondness for pirates, fictional as well as historical, starting with reading Treasure Island when I was a kid. Since pirates historically turn up all over the world, as well as in fantasy and science fiction, I thought it would be a great opportunity to solicit stories from writers from different countries as well as subgenres. I also opened it up to stories featuring protagonists of any gender or orientation to try and get to a reflection of the diversity of the topic.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Ooh, that would be a challenge! I really like all the stories in different ways. I think you really have to get to a point where you appreciate all the strengths of every story you accept when you’re editing an anthology. Between story selection and rounds of editing, you’re going to be reading and rereading those same stories a LOT. Multiple rereads in, I still love all the protagonists in a book with stories that range from the aftermath of the Trojan War to outer space, (most of) the 7 seas and the lands beyond!

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

It’s traditionally published in the sense that it’s being released by a publishing house; however, Queen of Swords Press is my small press so things get a bit complicated there. I have edited or co-edited two previous anthologies for a different small press though, so I have something to compare it to. The contrast between editing for someone else and doing it on my own is the scale of work involved. I’m doing all my own publicity for Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) as well as for other Queen of Swords Press titles and I’m taking all the financial risks. On the other hand, I get to make my own decisions without needing to answer to anyone else and pick stories based on what I like. I’m pretty pleased with the mix of stories that I selected and I know that it would look somewhat different if I had to answer to a different publisher.

What is your writing/editing process like?

I’ll talk about my editing here, instead of writing, because that’s been my latest focus. In terms of story selection, I tried to put a lot of thought into the kind of anthology that I wanted to publish. I wanted a mix of pirate stories set in different parts of the world as well as in fantastical settings and in outer space. I wanted a range of protagonists to somewhat reflect the historical diversity of pirate ships and crews. Add to that, I wanted authors from different parts of the world as well as protagonists of different genders and sexual orientations. So I did an open call where I specifically asked for international authors and for protagonists of any gender or orientation. I ended up getting submissions from authors in fourteen countries, which was pretty amazing.

From those submissions, I had to go through and pick the strongest of the stories that I got, then decide which ones I wanted in the anthology. I tried to pick based on my goals: having a diverse range of pirate stories and an anthology Table of Contents that wasn’t all white guys or all cis people or all from the U.S. Fortunately, I had a lot of really good stories to choose from so it was a more a matter of picking “best in class” rather than “I must take it because it’s the only thing like it that I have.” Editing themed anthologies can be challenging that way. I say this despite this being my third one, so you would think it would get easier with practice. At any rate, everything after the story selection part was reading and rereading and providing feedback to the authors and incorporating changes and getting copy edits back and so forth.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had a LOT of favorite books as a child and they changed every couple of years. The first book I ever read on my own was Alice in Wonderland, then I went through a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson, fairy tales and other related work. Alexandre Dumas and Jane Austen got me through my early teens. On bad weeks, The Count of Monte Cristo is still a map of my mental landscape. When in doubt, I can always count on getting a mental image of tunneling out of the Chateau d’If with a spoon. Puts everything in perspective. I have a list of every book that I’ve read since I was ten years old so I can backtrack through the Narnia years, the Lloyd Alexander years, and so forth. I owe my fragile sanity entirely to reading, but I have to say that it was a collective effort. I can name ten to twenty favorite books, but not just one.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Blood Moon, the sequel to my menopausal werewolf novel, Silver Moon. Blood Moon focuses on the same protagonists as in the previous novel and has more mystery and romance elements than the first book. Apart from that, I’m working on a couple of new short stories and some gaming-related projects. And the next books for Queen of Swords. I like to keep things lively.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

It’s a toss-up between “Learn to love rewriting” and “Pick a day job you don’t hate, because you’ll spend more time there than anywhere else.” They are both useful, if somewhat depressing, in their own way. I think both pieces of advice are also very realistic and sometimes, we need to hear that. I know there’s a strain of thought, particularly in genre fiction, that “real writers don’t need day jobs,” but I think that gets less and less realistic for most of us as the field changes. And rewriting for me is like painting: you do a sketch, and then, start adding layers. Those layers add depth and beauty, if you do them well, in the same way that rewrites help you to create a better story and become a better writer.

Want to learn more about Catherine Lundoff and Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)? Check out her:  WebsiteFacebook pageQueen of Swords Press Website, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) from Books2Read or IndieBound.

Thanks to author-editor-publisher Catherine Lundoff for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Meriah Crawford on February 14, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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suz-headshot-18 Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert. Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert writes horror, dark fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional poem. Her short fiction has been published in the anthologies Killing It Softly, The Deep Dark Woods, and The Final Summons. Her poetry has appeared in places such as the anthology Wicked Witches, Tales of the Zombie War, “The Wayfarer: A Journal of Contemplative Literature,” and “Eternal Haunted Summer.” Suzanne is a freelance editor and content creation expert. She’s currently writing several more works of short fiction in between meeting the incessant demands of her feline overlords.

Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert’s latest published story, “In Darkness, She Sheds,” appears in The Final Summons (New England Speculative Writers, 2019). A quick summary for my readers: In a land where the human Master controls both humans and fae, a chance accident enables Savron d’Fae—Master’s Elixir-Mistress and former concubine—to glimpse the true nature of Master’s rule.

Where did the idea come from for your latest published story, “In Darkness, She Sheds”?

I wrote the first version almost two years ago, as a reaction to the fury I felt watching Kellyanne Conway stand up and lie and defend Trump’s actions on whatever that day’s disaster was. I kept thinking, “Why do women not support each other and make alliances with men who are innately against their best interests?” I kept turning that thought around in my head and I wrote the story to get out some of that anger.

Who is your favorite character in the story—and why?

That’s a tough question. Probably Darron, even though she gets introduced halfway through the story. Savron, who begins the story, is also a compelling character. What I like about both of these fae women is that they are very brave and decisive despite being literal slaves and discovering that their realities were not what they thought.

final sum Where and when will this story be published?

This story appears in the just-released anthology The Final Summons, which is the premier anthology from the New England Speculative Writers. They formed about two years ago and have amazing and dedicated leadership. They quickly came up with the idea for this anthology and put out the call for submissions to writers in New England. They had a good number of submissions, so I was really happy to make the cut.

The anthology was crowd-funded in order to pay fair compensation to the contributors, editors, and artist. They were also able to hire a blurb writer. I think it was a successful model, and the anthology will be available in both print and electronic versions.

I encourage any aspiring writers who feel daunted by writing a novel to try writing short stories first, and getting them placed in anthologies with more established writers, if possible. It’s great exposure for you, and you’ll learn a lot from your fellow contributors.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I’m a short story writer, not a novelist (yet!) and I’m a total pantser! I get into my writing mindset, and the characters “tell” me what’s going to happen next. Having said that, I do make notes and do some character studies. But I’ve found that when I put too much on paper, it inhibits my creative flow. I do a lot of work “in my head.” I do hope to get better at outlining. I attribute my inability to successfully write a novel (yet!) to getting too bogged down in the outline process. But I believe I’ll figure it out eventually!

What was your favorite book as a child?

As a child, I adored the Little House books and read them over and over. I liked a female protagonist, reading about perilous situations, and I liked that Laura was a person not afraid to stand up for what she believed.

When I got a bit older, I fell in love with dystopias. I believe I was about ten when I first stumbled upon Animal Farm at my grandmother’s house. Then, I read 1984 and Brave New World in quick succession. My mind was literally blown by the concept that people could manipulate each other so capriciously, and that others could so easily fall prey to misinformation.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I’m currently finishing up another short story, “Unafraid,” which is horror. On the back burner are two novellas (one scifi/fantasy; the other scifi/horror) that need more editing, and I have an idea for a horror novel that I haven’t been able to successfully write out. It’s based on what was initially a short story and it’s about 35% done.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

Do what works for you! That is honestly the best advice. I was bogged down for years thinking I’d never be successful because I didn’t write every day (and still don’t.) Find your own rhythm. Make your own path. Although it doesn’t hurt to try others’ “sage advice” to see if it resonates.

Want to learn more about Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert and her short fiction, including “In Darkness, She Sheds”? Check out her: Website–Voices in my Head, Twitter, Facebook page, Bookbub, Goodreads, and Amazon page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of The Final Summons.

Thanks to author Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Catherine Lundoff on February 12, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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Claire Davon bio photo Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Claire Davon. Claire Davon has written on and off for most of her life, starting with fan fiction when she was very young. She writes across a wide range of genres, and does not consider any of it off limits. If a story calls to her, she will write it. She currently lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time writing novels and short stories, as well as doing animal rescue and enjoying the sunshine.

Claire Davon’s latest book, Water Fall, is a novel fantasy fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—Lara thought she had time to ease into her role as water Elemental, guardian and defender of the sea and all its creatures. Time to learn the skills to rise to the next Challenge, many decades away. Then she felt the shift. When Sullivan intrudes upon her oceanside sanctuary, stirring memories of the blazing night he bound her to him, body and soul, the shark king confirms her suspicions. A new Challenge is upon them. And Sullivan, the prime suspect in her predecessor’s death, demands her trust.

Sullivan remembers the carnage—human and paranormal—the last time the Elementals failed to win Challenge. It must not happen again. But in the six years since he reluctantly left Lara’s side, she hasn’t learned nearly enough to defeat a rapidly rising enemy. A gargantuan Demonos that makes him look like a minnow. Shifters don’t normally aid Elementals, but Sullivan made a deal with the gods to teach her to fight. Now if he could only convince his wayward body to put aside the searing memory of her touch. Because distraction now could spell disaster to them all.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Water Fall?

WaterFall_Digital_Large claire Water Fall is the third book in a five-book series called Elementals’ Challenge. Each one centers around an Elemental, who is an immortal being with powers related to their element. In this one the water Elemental, Ondine, is new to the Elementals and has to find her core strength in order to fight her enemy. I loved writing about a new Elemental, one who was human not so long ago and who had to figure out her new station while facing a great threat to the world, and to herself.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

As much as I love Ondine (the Elemental) I think my favorite character in this book is her love interest, the shark shifter/demi-god Sullivan. He is a both a strong character with a core of steel but also a romantic who has wanted this woman for eight years. He does what needs to be done.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

This one is self-published. The series started out at a publisher (Samhain,) but they closed two weeks from releasing the second book. At that time, I opted to self-publish the remainder of the series (a total of five books) for many reasons, but the primary one is control over the subject matter and the covers. I love my covers. This series and the covers are interwoven to me.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I am a total pantser. I think about reforming and becoming a plotter, but it never works out for me. My books ebb and flow and take unexpected turns. I usually start a story by simply starting, with a general idea of what I want to write about, but no real idea of how I am going to get there. Maybe someday, I’ll plan…but I’m not holding my breath

What was your favorite book as a child?

If by child, you could say a twelve/thirteen-year-old, then hands down my favorite book was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. My parents had tons of books laying around, and I picked this one up and my world changed. It was not only my introduction into SF/fantasy, but also an introduction into my own fantasy life. For years, I wanted to be a dragonrider and would invent elaborate stories around the world and dragons. I think my interest in SF/fantasy started the day I picked that book up, and it has never waned.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I just sold the second book in the Universe Chronicles series to Soul Mate Publishing. In addition, I am working on edits for the fourth book in the Elementals’ Challenge series, as well as writing a paranormal romance that is going to be in a box set the middle of next year. I’ve usually got a short story or two in the pipeline, but at the moment my focus is on the novels.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

There are two pieces of advice that stick with me. The first is to write every day, and I do that. The second is to write a story, send it out, and start working on a new one. Both pieces of advice have served me well. I may not always like what I put down on paper every day, but it gives me a framework to go off of. You can’t edit what doesn’t exist.

Want to learn more about Claire Davon and Water Fall? Check out her: Website, Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Water Fall.

Thanks to author Claire Davon for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert on February 7, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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Eddie Louise Final-square med-res Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Eddie Louise. Eddie Louise has had a lot of experience writing. As a child, she composed nonsense songs to keep herself company herding cattle across the lonely Wyoming plains. Discovering the theater led her to write melodramatic plays full of artful alliterations, which in turn led to composing the book for a musical on the beaches of Monterey. She ran away from home to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she explored her passion for writing novels. Having landed back in California she is writer of the hit Audio Drama Podcast, The Tale of Sage & Savant and the novel TransMIGRATIONS, The Tales of Sage & Savant Book One, published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

2018-03-26-TransMIGRATIONS_Cover-DRAFT Eddie Louise’s latest book, TransMIGRATIONS is a novel steampunk fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—Telesensation agent Justin Bremer studies time—specifically the effects of journeying through it. His assignment, funded by a mysterious organization, ‘Les Charges de L’Affaires,’ is to observe the timeline of a young Victorian scientist who lived approximately 2000 years in the past.

Equipped with an AI neural-interface, Bremer carefully documents the experiments of Dr. Petronella Sage and her archaeologist friend Erasmus Savant. The Doctor, while investigating the effects of electricity on human flesh, becomes obsessed by the curious and vivid shared hallucinations induced after she and Savant are accidentally electrocuted.

Each fantastical adventure (which they call a ‘transmigration’) takes the intrepid duo into the unimaginable lives of persons and places throughout history. Justin Bremer observes and dutifully records it all.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, TransMIGRATIONS?

It is terribly clichéd to admit this but the idea came from a dream. I am a very visceral dreamer and often my dreams play out with cinematic clarity. I also have serial dreams where a story will continue over many nights. This is a talent that is very helpful in writing stories! Unfortunately, sometimes I get ‘stuck’ where the same dream or snippet of a dream plays over and over, night after night. Sage and Savant came from just such a dream. Every night for about two weeks I dreamed the same fragment: I was a female scientist in the Victorian age (corset, long skirts, lots of hair) and I had been given a VERY limited time in the Galvanistic laboratory to prove my thesis to the male supervisors of my program. I would set up a bank of very complicated electrical equipment and then electrocute myself. That was it—each and every night I electrocuted myself which would shock me awake and my first thought would be, ‘It worked!’ Eventually I decided I had to write about this scientist and figure out why anyone would do such a thing and think of it as a victory.

VarnerPhotography-6550 Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Doctor Petronella Sage. She is clever, complicated, and conceited. She has never met a problem she couldn’t solve through sheer obstinacy. She loves passionately, yet denies herself the expression of that love because it would end her career. She is a mad scientist whose motto is ‘Death is no barrier to science!’and I love her!

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

I am traditionally published with Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing out of Canada. Edge is the Canadian equivalent of Tor. The chief advantage of the traditional route is that you have a whole team helping your book into the world. The cover art Edge secured for me is amazing and all four books will be consistent and visually stunning. The typesetting on the inside of the book helped deal with some really gnarly problems I had created. (Namely conversations that take place via neural implant and ALSO out loud in the same dialog section—my publisher figured out how to indicate out-loud speech separate from thoughts, separate from in-head conversations without breaking the flow of the scene—they are geniuses!) The disadvantages—well of course you are not in control of timelines or price points. In truth, I plan on becoming a Hybrid author with some self published titles alongside my traditional titles.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I love the choice. I would say I’m an architectural gardener. I like to lay out a basic plot line (I call it my Tentpoles) but then free write everything else. For me some remarkable things happen when I do this. For example, I am currently writing Book Two, TransANIMATIONS and I had to deal with a plot hole I had created in the 3rd episode of Season Two of the podcast. EXCEPT it turned out it wasn’t a plot hole—it was foreshadowing for something that we find out about in Season Three. I had no idea of this when I wrote the original story, but my subconscious had it all worked out and let me know about it when the time was right.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I grew up on a 20,000 acre cattle ranch in the middle of Wyoming. I had never seen a body of water larger than a reservoir and a creek. At age seven, I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and I knew I would grow up to be a pirate and sail the seven seas. That book opened an entire world as magical to me as Narnia was when I read that the next year. The ability for this arcane magic we name story and inscribe on the bones of trees to create truth out of thin air, to open portals, to transport us is alchemy of the soul and RL Stevenson was my first tutor in that art.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I am just putting the finishing touches on TranANIMATIONS, Book Two of The Tales of Sage and Savant, and of course I have a monthly episode to keep abreast of. By next week I am hoping to dive into the final edits for Palace Du Mers, a Steampunk novel set on an elegant ship that I plan on self publishing in spring.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

My writing teacher in Scotland said: “Drafting a novel is like a potter throwing a pot. Step one is to mix the clay. Your first draft is just this—the clay from which you will form your pot. The only thing you need in enough clay for the pot you envision. Don’t worry about the pot shape; that will come later when you put it on the wheel. For now, just mix the clay.” This advice freed me to write a messy first draft. Sometimes I write a scene two or three times sequentially trying different approaches. Then when I move the clay of my novel onto the wheel of editing I choose what serves and what doesn’t.

Want to learn more about Eddie Louise and TransMIGRATIONS? Check out her: Website, Sage and Savant WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy. Available in Kindle, Nook, Kobo and bookstores everywhere or for a Signed Copy go here.

Thanks to author Eddie Louise for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Claire Davon on February 5, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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Happy Groundhog Day!

Here’s the February schedule of guest author interviews. I hope you’ll stop by and check out this wonderful group of writers:

February 2 – Eddie Louise

February 5 – Claire Davon

February 7 – Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert

February 12 – Catherine Lundoff

February 14 – Meriah Crawford

February 19 – Juliana Spink Mills

February 21 – Elaine Isaak

February 26 – Denise Timpko

February 28 – Heidi Hanley Smith

Keep on reading! – Vonnie

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rebecca g farrell Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Rebecca Gomez Farrell. Rebecca Gomez Farrell writes all the speculative fiction genres she can conjure up. Her first fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, debuted in August 2017 from Meerkat Press. You can find her short stories in over 20 anthologies, magazines, and websites including Dark Luminous Wings, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Fright into Flight. Becca co-leads the 400-member strong East Bay Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Meetup group and organizes a chapter of the national Women Who Submit writing organization, which encourages female writers to send their work out for publication. She also co-moderates Facebook resource groups for female-identifying writers and is a regular participant in the Bay Area literary reading scene. Becca’s food, drink, and travel blog, theGourmez.com, has garnered multiple accolades and influences every tasty bite of her fictional worldbuilding.

Rebecca Gomez Farrell’s latest book, Wings Unseen, is a novel fantasy fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancèe of Lansera’s Prince Janto.

perf6.000x9.000.indd As Prince Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.

To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: Vesperi. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Wings Unseen?

Way back in college, a decade and a half ago, I began thinking about writing Wings Unseen, though it had no title then, of course! I knew I wanted to tell an epic fantasy story, and I knew it would involve a prophecy about a silver stag, a prince and his betrothed having to confront how destiny might have different plans for their idyllic love, and a woman raised to be cruel in a country that prizes power and greed above all else. I had pictures of my characters and their motivations right away, and the plot was born out of that over many years, when I had free moments to write.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

The book’s three main characters are the nearest and dearest to me, and I refuse to pick between them. I do quite love two of the side characters, though: Jerusho, a portly young man who inspires Janto to chase his own dream by hunting a mythical creature despite everyone’s doubts that it exists; and Lourda, a bubbly woman with wild hair who couldn’t be more different from Serra, but also couldn’t be a truer friend to her while Serra is dealing with her brother’s murder and the mysterious Brotherhood.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

Wings Unseen is traditionally published by Meerkat Press, a wonderful small press out of Atlanta. I wanted the traditional experience in part because I wanted the validation of someone else believing in my work enough to be willing to invest in it through the full publication process. I also went that route because I didn’t want to be the sole person in charge of marketing the book – Meerkat Press has access to the big industry magazines that I would not have on my own. The disadvantages are that it takes time to publish a book traditionally; my book came out about a year after I signed my contract, and that’s a fast turnaround time for the industry. It was also four years after I finished the book, as I spent three years submitting it out to publishers and agents. If you want your book out now, not later, then self-publishing is the way to go, especially if you have the smarts and passion to undertake book marketing.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I’m a gardener, for sure, and a gardener that used to only work in fits and bursts, discovering the plot as I went and then editing to accommodate that changing plot. Typically, that means it took me a long time to write a book, but it’s done and polished by the third to fourth draft.

I’m working on the sequel to Wings Unseen right now, and it’s the first time I’ve written anything where I’m just focused on getting the words out before going back and revising. It’s a different technique for sure, and I’m not certain I like it, but it is nice and inspiring to see myself make progress in word count over a shorter time. I fear how much work there will be to do once that first draft if done, though!

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt was one of the first books I ever read with a map and a quest for fantastic creatures. The characters are rootable, the conflict fun, and there’s a great sprinkling of the everyday (the plot is about defining the perfect food) and the mythical (the plot is really about saving a fairy). I still enjoy re-reading it on occasion.

What writing project are you currently working on?

As mentioned, I’m working on the first draft of my Wings Unseen sequel. Once that’s done, I’ll be working on the third draft of Natural Disasters, the first book in an intended post-apocalyptic, paranormal romance trilogy about a future Earth on which natural disasters now operate like weather systems and romantic relationships have been outlawed to preserve people’s mental health. Hopefully, I’ll have that off to agents by spring. I’m also working on a handful of short stories, and I keep meaning to start writing personal essays.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

Remember the details – What are the groceries and/or discarded items in your character’s trunk? They may be about to fight a space warlock in an abandoned carnival, but knowing they have a battery charger in case of a flat is what makes them relatable to those pesky humans, your readers.

Want to learn more about Rebecca Gomez Farrell and Wings Unseen? Check out her: Fiction Website, Twitter, and Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Wings Unseen.

Thanks to author Rebecca Gomez Farrell for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Eddie Louise Clark on February 2, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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