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Interview with C.H. MacLean, author of ‘Two Empty Thrones

C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

  1. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

For More Information

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, C.H.. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Two Empty Thrones is my second published book and is the second book in the Five in Circle series. Fire Above, my third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in the winter of 2014/15. The third book in the Five in Two Empty Thrones 2Circle series will be released shortly after that.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

After a few nibbles but no bites from mainstream press, my research on the publishing world led me to a bevy of information about self-publishing. The information challenged my previous biases against it. I decided to self-publish for several reasons, the two main being the amount of control I have over my work and the ability to keep my book in print for as long as I want.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Once I decided to self-publish, all the extra work such as formatting, cover art, and so on, took about six months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I saw it lying on the counter and my first reaction was, wow, that looks like an interesting book. Then came the shock of, Hey, that’s my book! I’m sure the grin on my face was ridiculous. Of course I celebrated by giving my love a big hug and kiss!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I started with requests for book reviews, including Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways. I really wanted to have readers’ honest opinions of the book as my promotional foundation.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Having a real book out there, seeing my name on books only inspires me to write more. The stories just tumble out now, and I can see I’m getting good material down more quickly.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I was humbled when I realized how much work goes into publishing a book. I guess my idea of self-publishing deserved to be crushed. I hoped it just meant all you have to do is write, upload a file and poof, you’re published. But there are so many things that have to get done: formatting, proofing, cover design, book blurbs, sales descriptions, etc.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I love knowing that someone out there is enjoying reading the story. I cherish reading and know how much I enjoy a good book. Hearing that someone else is having that same feeling from my book is the best.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Keep writing. Pour your heart and soul out for the readers. When you get tired or stuck, remember them and just keep writing.

 

 

Character Interview: Corinth from Andrew Cratsley’s fantasy Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows

frontcover_444x664We’re thrilled to have here today Corinth from Andrew Cratsley’s new fantasy, Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows. Corinth is a 120 and a Sage Knight, living in Enzlintine on the continent of Ithmilar.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Corinth.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I feel the story was adequate, however my knowledge of Terranesit (my world) would have been more accurate if the author had updated the archives in my local library. Why he created a world so different from what I read about I will never know.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I was written appropriately, but was it necessary to make me look so dry? I know how to enjoy myself! How do I rest when Terranesit has gone mad?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

The training I received from Master Tessius

Worse trait?

Why must I answer that? (Shifts uncomfortably) It was my inability to defeat Mortiscet, however that business is far from over. 

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Why not? If you insist I suppose I look much like Jason Stackhouse from True Blood, except for my hair of course.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Well…(coughs and turns away from the smiling priestess) Who has time for that while battling across all of Ithmilar?

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When we met the true threat of the region. Rest assured; he will be dealt with.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Norman. His virile stench of dragonfire wine is enough to offend every creature in the region.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

…shocking.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Give me a chance to handle one crisis at a time! Mortiscet and Khalid? What were you thinking?

Thank you for this interview, Corinth.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Most definitely. There is much work to do.

 //////////////////////////////////////

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A native of Honeoye, New York, Andrew Cratsley lives in North Carolina. Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows is his debut novel. Cratsley is a lifelong fan of fantasy books, films, and RPG-style gaming.  A champion of literacy issues and proud supporter of the World Literacy Foundation, Cratsley will donate a portion of the proceeds from Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows to the World Literacy Foundation’s fight against illiteracy.

@Mortiscet

www.keeperofrunes.com

https://www.facebook.com/andy.cratsley?fref=ts

 

C.H. MacLean: ‘Being published only inspires me to write more and write better.’

C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is One is Come.

Visit his website at www.chmaclean.com.

About the Book:

One is ComeHaylwen doesn’t care who actually blew up the wall of the school library. With a chance to finally have real friends, all she cares about is if her suspension will make her parents move again. Her parents, forced to keep their own magical past silent, are shocked to learn that she is indeed a magic user. She tested negative. Twice! Desperate to hide Haylwen from the King of magic users, they flee, but their efforts thrust them all into mortal danger.

Haylwen’s parents don’t know about the prophesy of “The One,” or that the only one who doesn’t know Haylwen is a powerful magic user is Haylwen herself. The King and the dragon clans’ plans to remake the world are already in motion. As Haylwen struggles with her feelings of loneliness and unworthiness due to her inability to make a friend, she is completely unaware that the fate of the entire world rests on her choices.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, C. H.. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

One is Come is the only book I have published so far. It’s the first in the Five in Circle series, with the second in the series scheduled to be published in July 2014. My third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in the winter of 2014/15.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I self-published. After a few nibbles but no bites from mainstream press, I started researching self-publishing, which really challenged my previous biases against it. I decided to self-publish for several reasons but the two main reasons were the amount of control I have over my work and the ability to keep my book in print for as long as I want.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Since I self-published, the only contract I signed was the one with myself to see it through. All the extra work that went into it, editing, formatting, cover art, and so on, took about six months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Seeing my book in the flesh was utterly amazing. When I saw it, my first reaction was, wow, that looks like an interesting book. Then the shock of, Hey, that’s my book!

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

The first thing I did was send out requests for book reviews, which included Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways. I really wanted to have readers tell their honest opinion of the book as my promotional foundation.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Being published, having a real book out there, only inspires me to write more and write better. The stories just tumble out now, and I can see where and when I’m really getting good material down more quickly.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I didn’t go the traditional route, but I must say it was humbling to me to realize how much work goes into publishing a book. There is this idea that it’s so easy to self-publish and all you have to do is write, upload a file and poof, you’re published. But there are so many things that have to get done; extensive editing, formatting, proofing, cover design, book blurbs, sales descriptions, etc.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I think it’s the idea that someone out there will get to enjoy reading the story. I love to read and know how much I enjoy a good book. Thinking someone else is going to have that same feeling from my book is the best.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write what you love. Pour your heart and soul out for the readers. When you get tired or stuck, remember them and just keep writing.

 

The England Operation by Peter Swarbrick Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT THE ENGLAND OPERATION

Title: The England Operation

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Peter Swarbrick

Publisher: iUniverse

EBook: 360 pages

Release Date: May 16, 2012

In the year 1141, civil war rages in England. Robber barons pillage and loot, while rampaging armies terrorise the countryside. But never fear: the peacekeepers are coming. The Organisation of Nations of the World (known in Latin as ONO) launches the England Operation to sort everything out. In this world-turned-upside-down satirical take on the peacekeeping industry, rich and powerful African businesswomen and politicians collude with Norman overlords to steal England’s most valuable natural resource—sheep—as the hapless international troops who are supposed to stop the war sink ever deeper into the swamp of violence and corruption that is twelfth-century England.

iUniverse

Pump Up Your Book and Peter are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

grydscaen by Natsuya Uesugi Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT GRYDSCAEN

Title: grydscaen

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 288 pages

Release Date: July 21, 2011

Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the fi rst volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.

Xlibris

Pump Up Your Book and Natsuya are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Interview: Fr. Anselm Farnese from Florence Byham Weinberg’s metaphysical fantasy, Anselm, a Metamorphosis

Anselm_medWe’re thrilled to have here today Fr. Anselm Farnese from Florence Byham Weinberg’s new metaphysical fantasy.  Anselm is a fifty-three-year-old Benedictine monk living in Holy Cross Monastery near Platte Hill in Upstate New York. 

It is a pleasure to have Fr. Anselm with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Father Anselm.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? The author does use my voice—she narrates the whole book in first person, as if I were writing it myself. I find that to be an example of chutzpah. You know the term, I’m sure. For example, when I first meet the man who had just usurped my body—the real Anselm Farnese—(I really am Eric Behrens, you see), she overdoes my bumbling and confusion. But I’m probably just confusing you, am I not? Mine is a case of a body-swap, my mind is still Eric’s, but you’re not seeing a young professor, you’re seeing a middle-aged monk!

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? Well… yes, I guess she did. I turn out to be quite a hero. Never thought I’d have it in me. She also makes me out to be a complete human being, with fears, sex drive (that’s hard to cope with in a monastery, let me tell you!), and all sorts of other feelings. Oh yes, I’m a complete human being, all right; she did a good job.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? Perseverance, I suppose. I set a goal and never let go until I achieve it… or almost. Worse trait? Impulsiveness, which leads to making stupid mistakes.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? Perhaps Leonardo DiCaprio as Eric Behrens (although he may be just a bit too slight, physically, for the role. As Eric, I was 5’10”. Now, since the metamorphosis, I’m 6’3”. In any case, the first actor needs to be blond, cute, attractive to women, and able to appear to be 27-years old. An actor who might play me in my new body as Father Anselm would be James Nesbitt (who starred in The Hobbit). He has the right coloring, and is about the right age—I just don’t know how tall he is. In the beginning, he has to be made up to look fat—70 pounds overweight. I lost all that weight and became quite a body builder, really ripped. So I momentarily thought of Conan Stevens… but he’s way too tall. Another problem with Conan: can he act?

Do you have a love interest in the book? Two. Diana Gregg and Jennifer Schwartz. Diana… well, she was an undergrad at Woodward State when I was Eric Behrens, an assistant professor there. We were attracted to each other at a swimming party at her dad’s place. At first I didn’t know he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The affair lasted all summer, and I was getting tired of it… wanted to ditch her. About that time her father found out and had me fired. I cursed the world and said I’d rather be someone, anyone else. That’s when the transformation happened. I woke up as… me. As Anselm. Jennifer Schwartz, Dr. Jennifer Schwartz was a young intern in Rockhurst General Hospital while I was there. It’s a long story. We liked each other. I mean, she liked me, as Anselm. It got serious….

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? When I started getting ready to go after the Usurper to get my real body back. That’s when I got scared. I had no idea how that was going to turn out!

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? The Usurper, the original Anselm, who stole my body, of course. Thank God I have my own mind, not his! Why? Because in order to work the medieval ritual, the spell that enabled him to change bodies with Eric, with me, he had to commit himself to the Powers of Evil. He really became a creepy character.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? Actually, I’m very satisfied with it. You might say that all the loose ends were neatly tied up. My author did a good job there.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it? She’d have to find new adventures, new conflicts that would be serious enough to interest a reader. Readers feed on conflict and difficulty in a novel, of course. That way they can say to themselves, “Gee, we’re so much better off!” At the same time, they’re caught up in the suspense of the thing. It has to have suspense, even if it’s an artsy novel, otherwise people just lay it aside.

Thank you for this interview, Father Anselm.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? Maybe, if she finds enough interest in the quiet life I’m now leading. You never know what trouble I might get into, though. Thanks for spending your time with me; I really enjoyed the interview!

Purchase the book on AMAZON

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR FWeinberg2Born in the high desert country, in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Florence loved exploring the wilderness on foot and horseback. Those grandiose landscapes formed her sensibility. Hidden pockets of unexpected greenery tucked away near springs in folds of barren mountainsides spoke to her of gentleness and beauty in an otherwise harsh world. She published her first poem in a children’s magazine shortly after she learned to read at age four; wrote her first ‘novel’ at age six, entitled Ywain, King of All Cats. She illustrated the ‘book’ herself. She traveled extensively with her military family during World War II. With her husband the brilliant scholar and teacher, Kurt Weinberg, she worked and traveled in Canada, Germany, France, and Spain. After earning her PhD, she taught for twenty-two years at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, and for ten at Trinity University in San Antonio. She published four scholarly books, many articles and book reviews, doing research in the U.S. and abroad. When, after retiring in 1999, she was freed from academia to devote herself to writing fiction, she produced ten novels, ranging from fantasy to historical romance and mystery. An avid researcher, she grounds most of her publications in historical fact. She spends hours combing through web sites, books and periodicals, and historical archives to enhance her writings with authenticity. Eight of her ten books are now in printan historical romance about the French Renaissance, published in France in French translation by Editions Lyonnaises d’Art et d’Histoire, and two straight historical novels,Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross and Seven Cities of Mud. In addition, four historical mysteries starring the 18th-century Jesuit missionary, Father Ignaz (Ygnacio) Pfefferkorn. Two of these are set in the Sonora Desert, the third in an ancient monastery in Spainand the fourthUnrest in Eden, follows Pfefferkorn’s fate after his release from Spanish prison. Five of the historical novels have received a total of ten awards.Unrest in Eden is now published in German translation by Dr. Renate Scharffenberg under title Unruhe im Paradies. The most recent book, Anselm, a Metamorphosis: metaphysical suspenseweaves an aura of black magic and nightmare that should fascinate all levels and ages of readers. Florence also serves as Lector at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, as well as appearing as a guest lecturer to various groups throughout the country and abroad. Her favorite animals are horses-an intense love affair over many years-and cats, her constant companions. She enjoys music, traveling, hiking, biking, gardening, and swimming.

Book News: STONEWISER fantasy trilogy FREE on Kindle TODAY through September 2nd

Here it is, Folks!

Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, FREE on Kindle.

WHEN?  Starting today, from Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

To get your free download NOW from the Kindle store, click on each title below. It’s as simple as that!

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone 


Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

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9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

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9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone

Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

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Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel,The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.

After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her atwww.DoraMachado.com.

Dora Machado’s Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy to be available FREE on Kindle

Dear Romantic Fantasy Fans,

Mark your calendars!

For the first time ever and for a limited time, Dora Machado’s entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, will be available FREE on Kindle.

WHEN? From Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2

stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240

Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stonewiser%3A%20The%20Heart%20of%20the%20Stone

Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

Between truth and deception, between justice and abuse, a stonewiser stands alone with the stones. Or so begins the stonewiser’s oath. But what happens when a rebellious stonewiser discovers that lies have tainted the stone tales?

In a world devastated by the rot’s widespread destruction, only the tales preserved in the stones can uphold the truth and defend the Goodlands. In this world, stone truth is valued above anyone’s word, and stonewisers are the only ones capable of retrieving the tales from the stones, the only link between past and present, order and chaos.

Sariah is the most gifted stonewiser of her generation, but her talent does not atone for her shortcomings. A survivor of the Guild’s brutal training, she is curious, willful and disobedient. Yet not even Sariah is prepared for what she finds when she steals into the Guild’s Sacred Vaults: A mayhem of lies and intrigues that shatters her world.

Hunted, persecuted, and betrayed, Sariah must make an unlikely alliance with Kael, a cynical rebel leader pledged to a mysterious quest of his own. The fate of their dying world depends on their courage to overcome centuries of hatred and distrust. But not even the grueling journey has prepared them for what they are about to discover. Because nothing is really as it seems, and the truth is more intricate and devastating than they ever suspected….

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9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stonewiser%3A+The+Call+of+the+Stone&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AStonewiser%3A+The+Call+of+the+Stone

Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

Sariah’s reward for revealing the stone truth: a death sentence.

The executioners have arrived and Sariah, the most powerful and controversial stonewiser of her generation, has been judged and condemned to death. For the last few months, Sariah has been hiding in the Rotten Domain, trying to find the elusive tale capable of uniting a divided people teetering on the brink of a catastrophic war. As she is dragged to the nets, where an eel rave has been stirred to maximize her execution’s gruesome spectacle, Sariah knows she cannot escape her sentence. She is guilty of the crimes for which she’s been condemned and no one, not even Kael, the Domain’s foremost rebel leader, can save her from the executioners’ righteous justice.

But Kael is more than just a formidable warrior; he is also a cunning strategist and Sariah’s steadfast lover. Risking all he has, he bargains with the greedy executioners, bribing them into delaying Sariah’s execution, buying her precious time and a last chance to realize the mysterious legacy that the stones have imposed on her. The agreement is hardly a reprieve. It encourages a mob to hunt Sariah for ransom, banishing her from the Rotten Domain and imposing heavy fines on anyone who tries to help her. Worse, it requires her to wear an irremovable, mysterious bracelet. If she doesn’t return to the executioners with the tale in hand when the allotted time expires, Kael and his kin will be ruined and the bracelet will kill her.

Hunted by the executioners, the Guild and the Shield, Sariah and Kael embark on a desperate search. Their journey will take them to the depths of the Rotten Domain, where Sariah must wise a guiding beam out of the wild tale stored in a stone-carved game. The beam will lead them through the warring Goodlands—where the rot is on the move—to the land beyond the Bastions, where a zealous people guard an ancient stone that could hold the key to their search. Along the way, Sariah and Kael must overcome deadly traps, torture, heartbreak, agonizing defeat and devastating losses in a desperate attempt to avoid war and answer the mysterious call of the stone.

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9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stonewiser%3A+The+Lament+of+the+Stone&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AStonewiser%3A+The+Lament+of+the+Stone

Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

“Do you know why the stones grieve?” the woman said to Kael. “Not for a soul, I’ll tell you that much. The stones don’t grieve for the passing of a lowly woman or the madness of a smitten man. They don’t mourn death, or lost love, or broken dreams, or loneliness or despair. Yet you will make them wail. For you, the stones will weep.”

In their most perilous adventure yet, Sariah, the rogue stonewiser who stunned the world by discovering lies in the stones and defying the all-powerful Guild, and Kael, the rebel leader who against all odds loves her, must find a stolen child, the only one capable of setting rule upon chaos, preserving the future of stonewising, and defeating the rot ravaging the land. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The coveted child they seek is said to be an abomination. He is also their son.

It’s a daunting challenge. Their child is in the hands of a deceitful enemy who has fled to a mysterious ruler, a rival deity with unfathomable powers pledged to destroy the goddess and eradicate stonewising from the world. Worse yet, the land is engulfed in strife, the rot is spreading faster than ever, and Kael is haunted by a malevolent curse compelling him to kill the woman he loves.

In a dangerous journey fraught with shocking twists, Sariah and Kael must do more than defeat their foes, unravel the mystifying forces vying to control their lives, and discover the mysteries of ages past. They must challenge the stones, defy the goddess and confront their cursed fates. Because only by embracing their destinies do they stand a chance to save their child and their world.

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

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Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.

After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind’s adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her at www.DoraMachado.com.

Character Interview: Rakan’dzor from Dina von Lowenkraft’s YA Fantasy Dragon Fire

We’re thrilled to have here today Rakan from Dina von Lowenkraft’s debut YA Fantasy, Dragon Fire.  Rakan is a teenage shapeshifting dragon living between Ngari, Tibet and Tromso, Norway.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Dragon Fire coverThank you so for this interview, Rakan. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

I think it is a fair account, and although I would like to change some of my actions in the book, they are what happened. If I knew what I know now, I would have reacted differently.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I think Dina understood my inner conflicts and portrayed them with fairness. I would have preferred to have had her clue me in to a few things earlier on, though. And I don’t think she needed to let Anna suffer as much as she did.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My ability to control my emotions and to maintain the calm I need to fight.

Worse trait? 

My inability to control my emotions around Anna. I forget everything when we are together. Even when it puts us both in danger.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I’m afraid I don’t watch a lot of human movies, but it would have to be a Tibetan. Perhaps a Khampa, they are taller than some of the others – as I am. Although, I really don’t see how a human can portray my dragon form – so you might have to let me play myself for that!

Do you have a love interest in the book?

My life revolves around Anna. I can no longer imagine it without her – even if the book starts before we met.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

From quite early on actually. There were too many factors that were beyond my control, from my sister’s reckless behavior, to my inability to concentrate around Anna. And then all of my questions about who – or what – June actually was… It was only when I understood and accepted what I would have to sacrifice to stop all the fighting, that I came into that inner place of calm that would allow me to change the course of history.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Kariaksuq. She was manipulated from the beginning and was forced to do many things that she felt was wrong. Even when I made mistakes, they were my choices, and I believed that what I was doing was right. Kariaksuq never had that freedom and her life was torture.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Frustrated. Happy. Excited. Devastated. Hopeful. And a bit terrified about how things will play out in the future. I guess the feeling I have looking back on it now is determined.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Give me time with Anna. Even just a few weeks. I need her. I love her. And if I must die, promise me first that Anna and the earth will be safe. I won’t let myself die until you do.

Thank you for this interview, Rakan. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I certainly hope so – because it will mean I will be with Anna. Or it had better mean that. Can I add something to my previous answer? Dina, be forewarned that if you write a second book and I can’t have time with Anna, I will make your life miserable.

Is that a threat, Rakan?

*Rakan flashes a devastatingly handsome smile* I’m a dragon. I take care of my own.

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ABOUT DRAGON FIRE

Some choices are hard to live with.

But some choices will kill you. 

When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to his pulsing energy. Unaware that he is a shapeshifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June. 

Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, punishable by death, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

Genre: YA Fantasy

Author: Dina von Lowenkraft

Website: www.dinavonlowenkraft.com 

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Purchase on AMAZON

Read a sample chapter 

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Dina von LowenkraftBorn in the US, Dina von Lowenkraft has lived on 4 continents, worked as a graphic artist for television and as a consultant in the fashion industry. Somewhere between New York and Paris she picked up an MBA and a black belt. Dina is currently the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children and three horses.

Dina loves to create intricate worlds filled with conflict and passion. She builds her own myths while exploring issues of belonging, racism and the search for truth… after all, how can you find true love if you don’t know who you are and what you believe in? Dina’s key to developing characters is to figure out what they would be willing to die for. And then pushing them to that limit.

Site: www.dinavonlowenkraft.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dina-von-Lowenkraft/551209381555837

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vonlowenkraft

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vonlowenkraft/

Book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18282428-dragon-fire

Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123641.Dina_von_Lowenkraft

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Dina-von-Lowenkraft/e/B00ED2IZYY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Character Interview: Jalenia, from The Curse Giver, a fantasy novel by Dora Machado

We’re thrilled to have here today Jalenia, from Dora Machado’s new fantasy novel, The Curse Giver. Jalenia is an ageless curse giver who usually keeps her name and whereabouts secret, but generally operates in the Kingdom and the Free Territories that comprise the Land of the Thousand Gods along the great river Nerpes. She’s very mysterious, so don’t expect to learn a lot from her and beware: Whatever you do, you don’t really want her to turn her attention to you.

CurseGiver_Front Cover FinalIt is a pleasure to have you with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you, I think. I don’t do interviews often. More like never. But you seem like an interesting character yourself and I’m currently looking for work. Who knows? Maybe you or one of your readers needs a curse cast?

Thank you so much for this interview, Jalenia.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Fairly portrayed? I don’t think so. Creatures like us are never fairly portrayed. We are secretive, devious and mysterious by nature. We don’t like the spotlight. We believe in wickedness over goodness. We enjoy doing evil. We have to cast curses to exist, and yet people fear us because we do our job so well. Face it, villains never get fair press.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I’m afraid she might have painted me weak on a couple of occasions, but overall, I think Dora didn’t mince words. I mean, I like being evil, and she got that, oh, yes, she wrote me just the way I am. She didn’t make excuses for me. She didn’t make me good, or friendly, or even caring, thank the gods. So what if the readers may loathe me? So what if I cursed the Lord of Laonia?

Face it. The Lord of Laonia’s father did me wrong. He deserved to be cursed. He and his entire line deserved to suffer, all the way to the last of his sons, Bren, whose story is told in The Curse Giver. He was a fighter, that one. He wasn’t willing to lay down his sword and wait for my curse to kill him like any reasonable man might have done. His sense of duty was as impressive as his endurance.  I really enjoyed stringing him along. He waged a good fight. You must understand. I relish what I do and I enjoy a worthy opponent every so often. Heroes like Bren are hard to come by in my business. Fear usually neutralizes the cursed. Not Bren. He refused to be neutralized. He made it interesting for me.

As to that remedy mixer, Lusielle, well, she had it coming. She thought maybe she was going to be able to defeat me with her potions, to heal the curse from the very man that was trying to kill her in order to survive and save his people from the destruction. Little did she know about how foul and terrible her death would be in the hands of the man she tried to heal. Little did she know about the terrible secret that the Lord of Laonia kept from her until the very end.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m powerful, more powerful than any other curse giver that has ever existed. I’ve got good blood lines, excellent training, and I’ve lived a long time, which means I have the skills and expertise to cast a virulent curse. I can command the elements, travel swiftly through astonishing means, change my appearance almost at will and kill the strongest man with but a twist of my wrist. I’m persistent, oh yes, tenacious like the Goddess herself. And I’m a planner. My curses are impregnable, carefully crafted to address contingencies, anticipate disruptions, and ensure my victim’s demise. Finally, I’m merciless, selfish and wicked beyond redemption. These are the traits that make me the most powerful curse giver in the realms.

Worse trait?

I don’t have a worst trait. I consider myself the perfect curse giver. Shudder when you hear my name.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I doubt there’s anyone in my world capable of playing me. Don’t you understand? I can be anybody. I could even be you.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Love? Yuck. There’s enough of that from Bren and Lusielle in the story. Those two fought off the attraction growing between them almost as hard as they fought their enemies and me. I never understood. What did Lusielle see in the bitter, wretched lord fated to die by my hand?

Lusielle was a powerful healer, I understand that, but why would she want to heal the very man who was destined to kill her? I mean, what kind of madness fuels that type of compassion? I never did figure all of that out.

If you ask me, love is a pretty disgusting ailment. It makes the heart weak and the mind feeble. Lust, on the other hand, is a bit more interesting, something that perhaps I might consider to ease my boredom from time to time. There’s this creature that I had to work closely with there at the end the story, a traveler of the dark realms like myself, a soul chaser who claims the souls of the cursed when I’m done with them. To satisfy a fit of lust, he wouldn’t be bad. But love? Please.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Nervous? Me? Ha.

I’ll admit that Lusielle gave me a few surprises along the way. She ended up being stronger, more skilled and resilient that I had anticipated. Perhaps I should have taken care of her early on, when I killed her mother. Lusielle’s wits turned out to be more impressive than most, certainly more impressive than the cursed Lord of Laonia.

He was all brawn, wrath and desperation, easy to tease, mock and mislead, until he found Lusielle and, together, they tried to defeat my curse. Fools. She gave him hope. Hope is another disgusting emotion, a dangerous delusion. Have I told you how much I relish tearing people’s hopes to shreds? It’s extraordinarily fun. You ought to try it sometime. But I’m getting off point. You need to know: Regardless of how the story ended, my curse prevailed and that’s the true measure of my power and strength.

If you had to trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Brennus, Lord of Laonia, because if I were him, I wouldn’t have him to torture, would I? Also, I treasured the man’s hatred for me. Like I said in the book, loathing, hatred and revulsion are thrilling, satisfying emotions worth living with and for. I cherished the Lord of Laonia as my enemy because he refused to forget and forgive. He knew that I was dangerous and would always remain so. He was a creature after my own heart and I will forever relish the scent of his scarred soul.

How do you feel about the ending of the book, without giving too much away?

Doomed and damned are the souls of the cursed. Useless are their struggles.  I’m the curse giver and you, you will always be my prey.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Embrace the wickedness within and you will find me; relish it and you will understand me.

Thank you for this interview, curse giver Jalenia.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Perhaps if The Soul Chaser has a story to tell, I’ll be in it, for cursed souls rarely live for long and the soul chaser must come.

Purchase The Curse Giver on AMAZON

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Dora Tapestry 2 June 2013 (480x640)Dora Machado is the award winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books July 2013. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website atwww.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for her newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php and follow her onFacebook and Twitter.

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