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Character Interview: Alassa from Christopher G Nuttall’s fantasy ‘Trial by Fire’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Alassa from Christopher G Nuttall’s fantasy Trial by Fire. Alassa is a 19 year old student magician who just happens to be the Crown Princess of Zangaria. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Alassa. 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?

TrialByFire_med1Well, the first thing I would like to say is that you didn’t include my full titles. I am Alassa, Crown Princess of Zangaria, Iron Duchess, Lady of the Magical Arts, Patron of Steam and Heiress of Alexis, Founder Monarch of Zangaria.

But the author? Naturally, he should have focused more on me. I’m going to be getting married next month and trust me, Emily doesn’t like the attention. And I didn’t get expelled from the school by accident, I contrived it quite deliberately. No one will be fooled, of course, but one must keep up appearances.

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 the author did a reasonably good job of me, as seen through Emily’s eyes. But she’s a very good friend. I don’t think everyone else sees me as the perfect princess. Why, some of them even think I’m a spoilt brat! Can you imagine the nerve?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m ruthless. And before you start pouring scorn on how unfeminine that trait is, just remember I’m going to rule a kingdom infested with noblemen who want to park their smelly behinds on my throne. Killing my aunt should have warned them I’m not to be trifled with.

Yes, she was asking for it. Can you imagine using blood magic on my uncle, plotting the overthrow of my father and turning me into a slave? She was lucky I only cut off her head, personally. 

Worse trait?

I’m told I’m arrogant, snooty and bloody-minded. I don’t see it myself.

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 can’t I play myself? Do you know what happens to people who say no to me? But if I’m really not allowed to play myself, I’d nominate Billie Piper. Or maybe Laura Vandervoort.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, I do. Did I tell you I’m getting married?

It’s a funny story, really. My father thought I needed extra training, so he hires a recent graduate to train me and we ended up falling in love. I didn’t see that coming, but did my father? Jade is strong, kind and poses absolutely no threat to the established power balance.

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

I think the moment I realized just which particular acquaintance had returned to Whitehall was a pretty big ‘oh crap’ moment.

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?

Those pesky first years. Running around turning each other into frogs and not actually studying. How dare they waste their first year of genuine magical education?

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

It was bittersweet, I think. Nothing is ever going to be the same again.

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

I have my dignity to think about. If he puts me in an embarrassing situation, I’ll put him in jail. The next book will be delayed.

Or, in other words, he should tell everyone how wonderful I am as often as possible. I’m getting married, you know.

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

I’m getting married, remember? I may have mentioned it once or twice, but I have it on good authority that the next book will center on my wedding. And if it doesn’t, the author will find his head cut off and centered on a pike. So there.

About the Book

Title: Trial By Fire (Schooled In Magic 7)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Christopher G. Nuttall

Website: www.chrishanger.net

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Sample Chapter HERE.

Purchase on Amazon / OmniLit

Three years ago, Emily killed the Necromancer Shadye before he could sacrifice her and destroy the Allied Lands.  Now, the shadows of the past hang over Whitehall as Emily and the Grandmaster travel into the Blighted Lands to recover anything Shadye might have left behind, before returning to Whitehall to start the fourth year.  For Emily, it is a chance to stretch her mind and learn more about new and innovative forms of magic … and to prepare for the exams that will determine her future as a magician.

But as she starts her studies, it becomes clear that all is not well at Whitehall.  Master Grey, a man who disliked Emily from the moment he met her, is one of her teachers – and he seems intent on breaking her, pushing her right to her limits.  In the meantime, her friends Alassa and Imaiqah are acting oddly, Frieda seems to be having trouble talking to her and – worst of all – Caleb, her partner in a joint magical project, is intent on asking her to go out with him.

As she struggles to cope with new challenges and to overcome the demons in her past, she becomes aware of a deadly threat looming over Whitehall, a curse that threatens her very soul.  And when she makes a tiny yet fatal mistake, she finds herself facing a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose…

nuttall_pix_med

About the Author

Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son.  He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels.

Connect with the author on the web:

Website / Blog / Facebook

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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.

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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

 

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

 

YA romantic fantasy Dragon Fire only $.99 on Kindle today

For those of you YA fantasy lovers and dragon story fans, DRAGON FIRE by Dina Von Lowenkraft is on sale on Kindle today for only $.99! Read a sample chapter below. Happy reading!

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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.

Title: Dragon Fire

Genre: YA Fantasy

Author: Dina von Lowenkraft

Website: www.dinavonlowenkraft.com

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Find out more about the book on:

Amazon B&N / Twilight Times Books

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In the Arctic winter, the sun never rises.

In the Arctic summer, the sun never sets.

In the Arctic, the world is at your feet.

Chapter 1 The Circle Tightens

The candle flickered in the subzero wind but Anna made no move to protect it. She stopped on the hill in front of Tromso’s three-year high school and watched the water of the fjord shimmer below. Even though it was mid-afternoon there was no sun, just the luminous reflection of the moon. The procession of students continued on without her, leaving only the fading sound of crunching snow in their wake.

“You seem as eager to go to Fritjof’s memorial vigil as I am,” June said, startling Anna with her sudden appearance.

Anna fingered the oval piece of bright orange coral that she had carried around like a talisman since she was a child. She usually kept it in her pocket, but today she wanted to feel its soothing energy closer and had it in her glove. She had never liked Fritjof, and even though she wasn’t glad he had died, she wouldn’t miss him.

She turned to face June whose cobalt blue eyes were at odds with her otherwise Asian features. June and her boyfriend had also been out on the mountain when the avalanche claimed Fritjof. “I’m glad it’s not yours too,” Anna said. “I’d really miss you.”

“It would take more than an avalanche to kill me,” June said, trying to smile. But Anna could feel her friend’s pain lurking under the surface.

“Hey.” She wrapped an arm around June to comfort her. But as soon as her hand touched June’s shoulder, a burst of energy exploded from her stone. Anna ripped off her glove and the piece of coral went flying. “What the—”

June spun around, pushing Anna behind her as if to protect her from an attack. She scanned the area, her body tensed for a fight.

“Who are you looking for?” Anna pressed her palm to dull the pain as she glanced around the deserted hilltop. “Whatever it was, it came from my stone.”

June relaxed her stance. “Are you okay?”

“I think so.” Anna gestured towards the coral-colored sparks that crackled in the darkness of the Norwegian winter. “What do you think it’s doing?”

“Don’t know.” June crouched down to get a better look. Her hand hovered as a bright green light flashed around the stone.

“Don’t touch it,” Anna said sharply. Her stone had always had a special energy, but never coral-colored sparks. Or green flashes of light.

“It’s okay now.” June pulled her hand back. “Look for yourself.”

Anna knelt next to June. The stone was dark and lifeless and she felt a sudden pang of loss. She prodded it gingerly with her good hand, but felt nothing. She picked it up. It was just a pretty bit of coral. The gentle pulsing energy that she had liked so much was gone.

“Can I see it?” June asked.

Anna nodded, her throat constricted. The stone had always reminded her of her father. Its energy was something he would have been able to feel too. The only person she had met so far who seemed open to accepting that kind of thing was June. Everyone else got freaked out, or thought she was crazy. So she had learned not to talk about it.

June closed her fist around the stone. “Where did you get this?” Her voice wavered.

Anna’s attention flicked back to June. She never wavered. “I found it in the mountains. Years ago. Why? What is it?”

“A trigger.”

“A trigger for what?”

June returned Anna’s searching look. “I have no idea.” She handed the stone back.

“So how do you know it’s a trigger?”

“I just feel it.” June picked up the candles that lay forgotten in the snow. “If you’re okay, we should go.”

Anna picked up her discarded glove and froze. In the middle of her left palm was a star-shaped scar. She stretched her hand to get a better look. It was about the size of a dime. She touched it. Like an echo under the fading pain, she could feel the energy of her stone pulsing faintly in her palm.

“Here,” June said, offering Anna a candle. She stopped mid-motion. “What is it?”

“I don’t know. The stone…” She held out her palm. “Look.”

June dropped the candles and took Anna’s hand in hers. Gently, she ran her fingers over the slightly raised ridges of the scar. “A Firemark,” June said as if talking to herself. “But how…?”

“What’s a Firemark?” Anna examined the scar. It was almost silvery in the moonlight.

June looked up, her fingers still on Anna’s palm. “It’s like a living connection between two people. But… there was only the stone.”

“It always felt alive,” Anna said, sure that June would understand. She touched the Firemark one last time before putting her glove back on. It was warm and smooth.

June shook her head. “But even if it felt alive, it shouldn’t have left a Firemark.”

Anna shrugged. “Maybe. But I like it.” Anna closed her hand around the Firemark. It felt like she was holding her stone. She smiled. She’d never lose it now.

June re-lit the candles again and handed one to Anna. “Ready?”

Anna hooked her arm through June’s. “I think so.” They walked silently through town and across the bridge that straddled the green-black fjord.

“Do you think it’s over?” Anna eyed the Arctic Cathedral that sprawled like slabs of a fallen glacier on the other side of the fjord. It was lit up like a temple of light.

June shook her head. “It’s only just begun.”

“That’s enough.” Khotan’s voice snapped like a whip across the barren land of Ngari in western Tibet. “You’re not going to kill her. I will.”

The wind howled in agreement. Rakan bit back the urge to argue with his father whose shaved head and barrel chest marked him as an Old Dragon. But Khotan’s massive physique belied his diminishing power and Rakan knew that his father wouldn’t survive a fight with the female dragon they had finally located. He had felt her power when she had set off his trigger just a few hours before. And she was more powerful than any other dragon he had ever met. Rakan clenched his fists. Blood for blood. It was the Dragon Code. And he would be the one to honor it.

“You need to start a new life here,” Khotan said, his hand like a claw of ice on Rakan’s bare shoulder. “I will end the old.”

His tone of voice, more than his touch, sent shivers down Rakan’s spine. But before he could question his father, a flicker of red caught his attention and his older half-sister, Dvara, materialized on the sparring field. Except she wasn’t dressed to fight. She was wearing a shimmering red gown that matched the color of her eyes and her black hair was arranged in an intricate mass of twisted strands.

“It’s too late to teach Rakan anything.” She made an unhurried motion towards the targets at the other end of the field. One by one, they exploded with her passing hand.

“We weren’t practicing,” Rakan said calmly. “Although if we had been, you’d need to start again. You used a trigger. You didn’t manipulate their structure on a molecular level.”

“Who cares?” Her Maii-a, the pear-shaped stone that every dragon wore to practice manipulating matter with, sparkled like an angry flame at her throat. “They’ve been demolished. And that’s all that counts in a fight.”

Rakan slid his long black braid over his shoulder. “How you fight is just as important as how you win.”

“I’d rather stay alive,” Dvara said. “But you can die honorably if you want.”

“Neither one of you will fight anyone,” Khotan said. “Remember that.”

Rakan bowed his head. There was no point arguing about it now. But Dvara lifted her chin defiantly. “Kraal was my father. I will avenge his death.”

Khotan growled and stepped towards Dvara, dwarfing her with his size. He held her gaze until she dropped her eyes. Rakan shook his head, wondering why Dvara always tried to challenge Khotan’s authority in an open confrontation that she was sure to lose. Khotan was the guardian of her rök, her dragon heart and the seat of her power, and she had no choice but to abide by his will.

Their mother, Yarlung, appeared without warning. “I will speak with Rakan’dzor.” She crossed her arms over her white gown that sparkled with flashes of turquoise. “Alone.”

She waited, immobile, until Khotan and Dvara bowed and dematerialized, shifting elsewhere. As soon as they were gone, her face relaxed and she turned to Rakan, her nearly blind eyes not quite finding his. “I always knew you would be the one to find her,” she purred. “You have the strength and the will of my bloodline. And the time has come for you to use it.” Yarlung tilted her face to the wind. “Kraal gifted me his poison before he died. Neutralized, of course.”

“But no one can neutralize dragon poison.”

“Kairök Kraal was a great Master. His death is a loss for us all.”

Rakan struck his chest with his fist. “Paaliaq will pay for his death with her own.”

“Yes. She will. And you will help me.” A faint smile played on her usually austere face. “I will mark you with his poison so that we can communicate when necessary.”

“Khotan and Dvara have a full link, isn’t that enough?”

“You don’t expect me to rely on second hand information, do you?” snapped Yarlung. She paused and spoke more gently. “Or are you scared to carry Kraal’s poison?”

Rakan knelt down in front of Yarlung. “I will do whatever it takes to kill Paaliaq.” His voice cut through the arid cold of the Tibetan plateau.

Yarlung’s eyes flashed momentarily turquoise and Rakan stepped back as she morphed into her dragon form. She was a long, undulating water dragon and the scales around her head and down her throat glistened like wet opals. Without warning, a bluish-white fire crackled around him like an electric storm. His mother’s turquoise claws sank into his arms and pain sizzled through his flesh. The fire disappeared and Rakan collapsed to the ground, grinding his teeth to keep from screaming in agony.

He would not dishonor his family.

“No, you won’t,” Yarlung said in his mind.

Rakan’s head jerked up in surprise.

“You have just become my most precious tool.” Her voice hummed with pleasure. “You will not fail me.”

As suddenly as the contact had come, it was gone. And so was his mother. Rakan didn’t like it. Not her disappearance. That was normal. Yarlung had always been abrupt. But he didn’t like hearing her in his mind. It was something only dragons who were joined under a Kairök, a Master Dragon, could do. Few dragons were able to survive the rush of power that happened when their röks awakened without the help of a Kairök. But Rakan had.

He gritted his teeth and stood up. If sharing a mind-link with Yarlung was necessary to kill Paaliaq, then he would learn to accept it.

He held his arms out to examine the dragons that had appeared where his mother’s claws had dug into his biceps. They were long, sinuous water dragons like Yarlung. But they were black, the color of purity, the color of Kraal. Rakan watched the miniature turquoise-eyed dragons dance on his arms until they penetrated under his skin. He felt a cold metallic shiver deep inside as they faded from view.

A rush of pride exploded in Rakan and he raised his arms to the frozen winter sky, the pain like a blood pact marking his words. “I will avenge your death, Kairök Kraal. The Earth will become our new home and your Cairn will once again prosper.”

“You can drop me here.” Anna glared at her mother’s boyfriend who reminded her of his namesake: a wolf.

Ulf turned the car into Siri’s driveway and flashed his all too perfect smile. “Not unless you want me to carry you in. Your shoes aren’t practical for walking in the snow.”

Anna snorted. “You’re one to talk. You’re the one driving a sports car in the winter.” And she didn’t feel like having her teammates from the handball team see it.

Ulf threw his head back and laughed. “I only take it out for special occasions. Like New Year’s.” He leaned towards her. “Especially when I have the honor of accompanying a lovely lady.”

“You’re not accompanying me. You’re dropping me off.”

“Precisely.” He pulled up in front of the house that pulsed with music, revving his engine one last time. He jumped out of the car and got to her side just as she was opening her door. He offered her his arm. “And since I’m a gentleman, I’ll accompany you to the door.”

Anna ignored Ulf and struggled to get up while the dress she had decided to wear did its best to slide all the way up her thighs. Ulf moved to steady her as she wobbled in the high heels she wasn’t used to wearing but she pushed him away. Her shoes slipped on the icy snow and she grabbed the railing, wondering why she had decided to wear them.

“It would be easier if you’d accept my help.”

“I don’t need your help,” she said, walking up the stairs. When he followed anyway, she turned to face him. “Don’t you have anything better to do?”

“As a matter of fact… no,” said Ulf. He straightened his white silk scarf that didn’t need straightening. “Ingrid won’t be off work until eleven.”

The evening was cold and Anna regretted wearing a dress. “You’re not coming in.”

“We can stand out here, if that’s what you prefer,” said Ulf, looking up at the sky.

Randi opened the door. “Anna! Finally,” she squealed. She threw herself at Anna. “I didn’t know you were bringing someone.”

“I’m not,” Anna said. “He’s leaving. Now.”

Randi glanced at Ulf who was leaning elegantly against the railing in what could have passed for a golden boy fashion shot. “Is that your boyfriend?” Randi asked hanging onto Anna. She looked Ulf up and down. “Is that why you didn’t come earlier?”

“Let’s go in,” Anna said, trying to get Randi back in the house.

Ulf slid an arm around Randi’s waist. “Perhaps I can help.”

“Oh sure,” Randi said. She giggled as she leaned into Ulf. “You have a nice… car.”

“Leave her alone.” Anna pried Ulf’s wandering hands away from Randi who was happily wrapping her arms around Ulf’s neck. “Randi, knock it off.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Randi pushed away from Ulf. “He’s yours. I forgot.”

“I’ll take her,” said Siri, steadying Randi. “That way you guys can come in and take your coats off.”

“Ulf has a date,” Anna said. She blocked the door after Siri and Randi disappeared inside. “With my mom. Or have you forgotten?”

“Sweet little Anna.” Ulf reached out to touch her cheek with his leather gloved hand.

Anna slapped it away. “Get away from me.”

“You’re so adorable when you’re angry,” he said with a laugh. “Call me when you want me to come for you.”

Anna resisted the impulse to slam the door and closed it calmly instead. The living room was packed with people dancing. She rubbed her forehead and walked over to the dining room table that was laden with food and drinks instead. She’d never understand her mom’s taste in men.

Siri came and nudged her shoulder. “Where’s the guy you came with?””

“Gone,” she answered, rolling her eyes. “Finally.”

“He didn’t look your type,” Siri said with a shrug. “But you never know.”

“He’s not. He’s my mom’s boyfriend. And he’s a jerk.”

Siri’s hand hovered over the massacred chocolate cake. “That’s a mess.”

“Tell me about it.” Ulf was by far the worst of her mom’s recent boyfriends. He was a liar and a manipulator. But her mom never saw beyond a pretty face.

Siri dropped her voice. “Have you seen June? Is she coming?”

“No. She went away with her boyfriend and his family for the vacation. Why?” Anna asked sharply, not liking Siri’s look of relief.

“I was worried that maybe she didn’t feel welcome. And I felt guilty. I mean… I’m really sorry about Fritjof.” Siri paused. “But I’m starting to wonder why I thought some of his ideas were good. I know you never liked him. But… I thought he was right. About June being different and the need to keep our race pure and all that.” Siri looked away. “I’m embarrassed I let myself believe any of it.”

“He was persuasive, I guess.” Anna tried not to rub it in, but she was happy that at least one friend was coming back around.

“Maybe. But I really am sorry.”

“Tell June after the break.” Anna put her glass up to Siri’s. “She’ll understand.”

“Why are you girls being so serious?” boomed Anna’s cousin, Red. He put an arm around each of them. “There’s music. You should be dancing. Or aren’t there any nice guys?”

“Anna never thinks there are any nice guys. But I see a few.” Siri raised her glass and headed across the room that had started to get crowded now that a slow song was playing.

“What are you doing here?” Anna playfully punched her cousin who was built like a rugby player. “You graduated last year. You’re not part of the team anymore.”

“We told the guys that we’d be back,” said Red, nodding to where his best friend, Haakon, was surrounded by half the boys’ team. “But we can’t stay – we promised the girls we’d go to a dinner party. And they’ll kill us if we’re late.” Red and Haakon had dominated the court with their size and skill for the past three years, but neither of their girlfriends played.

“I’m surprised they even let you out of their sight.” Anna waved a finger at her cousin who had the same ultra blond hair and pale blue eyes as she did. “I’ve hardly seen you at all this vacation.”

“I know. We’ve been busy. But I’m here now.” The music picked up again. “Dance?” He took her hand and then dropped it as if he had been stung. He grabbed her wrist and turned her palm up, revealing the star-shaped Firemark. “Who did this?” he growled, his face turning the telltale shade of red that had earned him his nickname.

Anna pulled her hand out of his and closed her fist. “No one.”

“A mark like that can’t just appear.”

“Why do you care what did it?”

“What do you mean what did it?” Red gripped her shoulders. “You were the one…?” Red’s voice trailed off, but his eyes bore into hers as if he was trying to peer into her mind.

Anna pulled back, breaking the contact. “What are you talking about?” She hadn’t said anything about what had happened on the hill and June had left town right after the vigil.

Red laughed, but Anna could still feel his anger like a tightly coiled snake. “Nothing,” he said. “Let’s dance.”

Dvara paced around the massive table that filled the stone hall of Khotan’s lair. “Why are we waiting? Paaliaq has had more than enough time to hide again.”

“That is for Kairök Yarlung to decide,” Khotan said, using Yarlung’s official title as the head of their Cairn. As Kraal’s mate, she had taken over after his death.

“She’s too busy with her political games to think about it.” Dvara snorted. “She’s never had time for us anyhow.”

Rakan looked up from the intricate wire sculpture he was making. “Maybe she just wants to make sure you won’t throw yourself at Paaliaq in a hotheaded rage.”

“I’m no fool.” Dvara leaned over the table towards her half-brother. “I won’t attack until I’m certain to win. But I will attack. Unlike some I know.”

Rakan stood, towering over her. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Sit,” Khotan said from his high-backed burgundy chair at the head of the table. “Both of you.” He waited until they complied. “The only reason you’re going instead of one of us is because Paaliaq won’t recognize you. Unfortunately, neither one of you is experienced enough to trap Paaliaq on your own.” Khotan looked from one to the other. “You’ll have to work together. Remember that.”

“But why did she set off one of Rakan’s old triggers?” Dvara hit the table with her fist. “It makes no sense. Even a newborn whelp would have felt what it was before touching it.”

Khotan created a burgundy colored fireball that floated in front of him. “Either she isn’t Paaliaq, or she’s luring you into a trap.” The stone walls reflected the warm glow of the fireball. “This isn’t a game. And I wish we didn’t have to send you.” Khotan’s face went blank for a split second as it always did when he spoke mentally with another dragon. “Yarlung bids us come to Lhang-tso,” he said, standing up. “Now.” Khotan disappeared without a sound, the fireball still suspended in midair.

Dvara followed in her stepfather’s trail, leaving Rakan to arrive last on the silver shores of the intensely blue lake that was Kairök Yarlung’s home. They faced the lake in their dragon forms. Khotan, an air dragon, rose on his burgundy hind legs and bellowed their arrival.

The blue-white coils of Yarlung’s water dragon form undulated majestically in the center of the crescent shaped lake. Rakan had always felt a sense of awe in front of his mother’s abode. Something about its starkness, the pungent salty flavor of the wind that rolled off the lake, the beauty of the contrasting red hills that surrounded it in the thin air of its 4,500 meter high perch had always made him feel like he was in the presence of something profound. He smiled and rocked back onto his own hind legs, stretched his majestic coral wings and added his greetings to his father’s. Neither animal nor plant life ventured near the lake. They were refreshingly alone. And free.

Dvara, a compact fire dragon with only the shortest of wings, dug her claws into the ground. She raised her jewel-like vermillion head and joined her voice to the others’.

Yarlung approached the edge of the lake and morphed into her human form. She signaled for them to do the same. Flashes of turquoise glinted off her metallic white dress. Rakan knelt next to his father and Dvara, his right fist on the center of his chest where his rök pounded in excitement.

“Rise. It is time,” Yarlung said, her voice snapping like thunder. “If the dragon who set off Rakan’s trigger is Paaliaq, I will savor her death.” Yarlung paused and then spoke again, more quietly. “If not, I will bind her to me by taking her rök whether she wills it or not. But I believe she is Paaliaq. Too many things confirm it. Including the presence of a male dragon who can only be her mate, Haakaramanoth.”

The wind howled across the lake.

“From what our scouts have been able to gather these past three weeks,” Khotan said, “she has created the illusion of being an untrained whelp and goes by the name Jing Mei. But don’t be fooled by her innocent appearance.”

Yarlung’s nostrils flared. “If she even begins to suspect who you are, she’ll kill you. Pretend you’re untrained. Take your time and get close to her. But not too close. Only one member of her Cairn is left and she will want to possess you both. Starting with Rakan’dzor. She has always preferred males.”

“But the Code forbids blood relatives to have the same Kairök,” Rakan said.

Yarlung snorted. “Paaliaq has no honor. Never forget that.” She turned to Khotan. “Give Dvara back her rök. Paaliaq will be suspicious if she doesn’t have it.”

“But the risk…” stammered Khotan.

“Is of no consequence. Do it. Now. And then bind her to you as Kraal taught you.”

“No,” said Khotan. “It’s too dangerous.”

“Have you become so frail that you can no longer master even that?”

Khotan bowed his head. “May your will be done,” he said, saying the traditional formula of submission to a Kairök. But Rakan could feel his father’s anger.

Dvara tilted her chin and gave Rakan a look of triumph. She had wanted her rök back ever since Yarlung had declared that he would keep his and remain independent. But learning to control his rök had been harder than he had let on. Starting with when he had morphed for the first time not knowing which of the three dragon forms he would take. But even after he knew he was an air dragon, his rök’s wild power had nearly overwhelmed him. It wasn’t until Khotan had taught him to control his emotions that he could morph without fear of involuntarily killing himself or his family.

Khotan walked over to Dvara, his fluid black pants snapping in the wind. They stood still, facing each other as equals even though Khotan loomed over Dvara’s delicate figure. Khotan began a low chant in Draagsil, the ancient language of the dragon race. He lifted his arms to the sky, his bare chest glistening like armor. Energy crackled and began to circle him. It spun faster and faster until Khotan was nothing more than a shimmering mirage in front of Dvara. A faint drum-like beat began, steadily increasing in tempo as it grew louder. Suddenly, the wind died and the beating stopped. A mass of pure vermillion energy licked Khotan’s hands like the flames of a fire. The energy condensed in a flash of vermillion light, leaving a bright red stone in Khotan’s palm. Dvara’s dragon heart.

Khotan held the egg-shaped rök to the sky before releasing it to hover above Dvara’s head. It glittered like a crown jewel. “My will has been done. You are now your own master. May your will be one with your rök.”

A red flame moved up Dvara’s gown, circling her body until it reached her rök. The rök ignited in a ball of wild energy. It spun around her in an uncontrolled frenzy. It was going to kill her. Rakan sprang forward, desperate to catch Dvara’s rök before it was too late, but Khotan stopped him. “No. Their reunion can’t be interfered with. It must run its course. For better or for worse.”

The rök lurched. Rakan stood ready to intervene if things got worse. Whether he was supposed to or not, he wouldn’t stand by and watch her die. A brilliant flash of intense vermillion encompassed Dvara, knocking her to the ground.

Yarlung snorted in contempt. “Tend to her.”

Khotan knelt next to Dvara and touched a hand to her forehead, healing her with his energy. She latched onto Khotan, her red eyes echoing the wildness of her rök.

“Come,” Khotan said, helping her to stand. “Do you accept of your own free will that I mark you with Kraal’s neutralized poison and bind you to me in a partial link?”

“I do.”

“And do you understand the consequences of this act?”

Yarlung growled her impatience, but Dvara didn’t take her eyes from Khotan’s.

“I do,” Dvara said solemnly.

“What consequences?” thought Rakan, glancing at his mother. But she ignored him.

Khotan morphed and sank his claws into Dvara’s bare arms. Rakan watched, horrified, as Dvara writhed by the edge of the lake in a mixture of rapture and agony. A black winged air dragon with burgundy eyes danced on each arm before fading under her skin.

“Go now,” Yarlung said, her words lingering for just a moment after she disappeared.

“Rakan…”

“Yes, Father?”

“If you need to contact us, send a message through Dvara.”

Rakan nodded, confused. Didn’t his father know that Yarlung had marked him too?

Khotan disappeared. It was time.

Character Interview: Amy Benson from Ray East & Sam D’s ‘Voluspa’

We’re thrilled to have here today Amy Benson from Ray East and Sam D’s new YA fantasy romance, Voluspa: A Magical World. Amy is a 15-year-old empath from New York.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Amy. 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 my character has been portrayed fairly well. However there is this small thing that I’d like to clarify. In the book I am portrayed as someone with an aversion to shopping. In truth I love shopping and hanging out in the mall.

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 the author did a good job of capturing all the nuances of my character. My insecurities, moments of self-doubt, my needs to find affection and all my other traits have been accurately presented.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I would say my perseverance. Life has always thrown me a few hard curves but I never give up. My friends tell me that I am just plain stubborn.

Worse trait?

I am very emotional. I think and feel very strongly.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. His name is Drake Mc Grizzle and he is the most amazing boyfriend a girl could ever wish for.

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

I didn’t really get nervous about the outcome of the book because I had faith in my authors.  To be honest, I have to admit that there is one part in the book, where I start feeling an attraction of sorts for a very disagreeable boy. That had me worried. Besides I was so engrossed in Drake, I found it hard to genuinely understand my attraction for another boy.

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?

I would hate to be Lord Vali. He has no redeeming quality and is just plain evil.He is cruel, greedy, ambitious, blood thirsty and completely merciless. In short, he is despicable. But I also think he is pitiable. His evilness stems from the turns and twists his life has taken – to some extent he is a product of difficult circumstances as well as possessing a natural proclivity towards violence.

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

I think the ending of the book is pretty great. If you have connected with the young lovers i.e. me and Drake then the ending is going to fill you with anticipation. You’ll be eager to know what happens next.

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

I would just ask the author to keep in mind all the things that have changed about me in the past several months. I am no longer the same person that I was when I first arrived in Voluspa. My trials and triumphs have caused me t change. I am so much stronger as a person; more confident. Also finding Drake, falling in love with him has changed me. Now I am at peace with the person I am.

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

Absolutely! The adventure is nowhere near done. I want my happily ever after with Drake.

Ray East and Sam D has moved to Voluspa and live in the Forest of Skotos with their 5 year old daughter and a pet Typhon.  They visit Earth with the help of an Empath from time to time. Ray East did her masters in Phsychology from Univeristy of Sussex and has worked as a counselor for adolescents. Sam D used to teach at a SPJC before he moved to Voluspa.

Their latest book is Voluspa: A Magical World.

To get your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/VOLUSPA-A-Magical-World-Sam-D/dp/0985681608/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1

To get your e-copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East for your Kindle at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Voluspa-A-Magical-World-ebook/dp/B008BCZBTE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Order your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D. & Ray East at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voluspa-a-magical-world-sam-d/1111523622?ean=2940014770675

To learn more about Sam D and Ray East, visit their website: www.magicalworldofvoluspa.com

Visit Sam D & Ray East on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/voluspa

Like Sam D & Ray East on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldofvoluspa

Follow Sam D & Ray East at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15592516-voluspa

Centuries ago, war between aliens and humans almost destroyed the world. To prevent such a war from happening again, a mighty ruler then formed a secret society of nine powerful humans and aliens called the Bramhas. These Bramhas each wrote a book imparting ancient wisdom and knowledge. The possession of these books could bring about untold power and success. The nine books were hidden but the desire to possess those books, still cause men to fight wars and turn against each other. One such war was fought in the realm of Voluspa decades back; the consequences of that war still resonate in this magical land. Two young lovers get caught in this tussle and it changes their destinies forever.

Amy’s humdrum life takes a complete 180’ turn with the death of her stepfather. She goes to live with her grandmother – her only living relative, though she hasn’t seen her in the last five years. Among her mother’s childhood memorabilia, she finds a book ‘Legends of Voluspa’ that captures her imagination. She becomes so engrossed in the book that she starts dreaming  about the places in the book till one night she finds herself inexplicably transported to the new world – Voluspa, as described in the book. Here she meets Drake, who unknown to her is a shape shifter.  Chemistry cackles between the two from the very first and as they discover that they share a lot in common, a tenuous bond forms between the two. ‘I’ll keep you safe’ vows Drake and he remains true to his word as he befriends her and saves her from various troubles that befall her over the next couple of months.

In Voluspa, Amy discovers a new way of life. It’s a magical world inhabited by primarily four clans – Empaths, Morphus, Mendens and the Pulchrous. The Empaths have the power of mind, the Morphus are the shape shifters, Mendens are the healers while the Pulchrous possess physical perfection and strength. With the help of an old family friend, Amy takes her rightful place in the Empath clan. This marks a new chapter in Amy’s life. She realizes her own powers and subsequently starts going to a school to enhance the same. With Drake by her side, she makes some wonderful friends. However, her life is not all smooth sailing; trouble comes when she learns the truth about her biological parents. She realizes that her very existence is against Voluspan law which forbids the union between individuals belonging to two different clans. History threatens to repeat itself as she realizes that her predicament was not that different from what her mother had faced, decades back. She is totally in love with Drake, who belongs to the Morphus clan.

The enchanting world of Voluspa is far from Utopic; it has barely recovered from a devastating war fought twenty years back when the peace of the land is once again threatened by Gangrels, the evil army of aliens.  The two young lovers soon realize that besides contending with forbidden love, they have to deal with other impediments. Ancient enmities, a past war, a much coveted book, all conspire against the two lovers. Gangrels reappear in Voluspa and Drake falls in the clutches of one such evil being who would stop at nothing to realize his fiendish ambitions. Amy and her friends cross realms, face enemies, deal with challenges, solve riddles and brave possible destruction, as they set off on an adventure to rescue Drake.  The ‘Force of Sutra’ clashes with the ‘Elemental Force’ of the Gangrels as Amy and her friends are faced with an indomitable enemy. They use strategic warfare, pit adversaries among themselves and use every last drop of strength, skill and courage as they take on warriors far more ruthless and skilled than themselves.

As Amy embarks upon a quest to save Drake, her love for him is tested at every turn but she never wavers from her objective. Braving imminent death she manages to reach Drake – only to find a changed person. Gone is the man she is in love with, instead a dangerous stranger stood in his place. This Drake was teetering at the edge between becoming completely evil and retaining his own soul. He almost harms Amy but stops himself at the very last minute. His love for Amy proves to be stronger than the evil entity threatening to overpower him.  However when chips are down, Drake comes through. He sets aside his personal well-being in order to save Amy, one last time. Drake is perhaps lost forever but hope dies last – Amy is determined to get back Drake, no matter what the cost.

 

IF YOU’D LIKE TO WIN A  FREE KINDLE FIRE HD, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TELLING US IF YOU’D LIKE TO LIVE IN VOLUSPA, THEN CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE KINDLE FIRE HD GIVEAWAY!

A Conversation with ‘The Mirror of Yu-Huang’ Christine Norris

Christine Norrisis the author of several works for children and adults, including the Library of Athena series and the Zandria duology. When she’s not out saving the world one story at a time, she is disguised as a mild mannered substitute teacher, mother, and wife. She cares for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, and two felines who function as Guardian of the Bathtub and Official Lap Warmer, respectively. She has also done several English adaptations of novels translated from other languages. She reached a new level of insanity by attending Southen Connecticut State University Graduate School’s Information and Library Science program, so that someday she, too, can be a real Librarian. She currently resides somewhere in southern New Jersey.

Her current book is a YA/Fantasy titled The Mirror of Yu-Huang.

Visit Christine on the web at www.christine-norris.com. Connect with her at Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ cnorrisauthor and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Norris/131776641000.

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

THE MIRROR OF YU-HUANG is my fifth book. Wow, five? I can hardly believe it! I’ve been at this for almost ten years, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

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?

All of my books so far have been published through independent small presses. I don’t know that I chose it so much as that it’s where I was accepted. I tried the agent route, and that was a bust, then I just kept plugging away and submitting until I got a yes. Looking back, though, I think all the books found the right home for them.

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

About a year, maybe a little more? I think that’s about par for the course with all my books. Publishing is one of the last industries that’s still run completely by humans, so it tends to move slowly. Which is okay, because first, you want to get it right, and second, you want to have time to write the next book!

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

I was super excited, the first time the box of books came with my name on them. W00t! And I’m excited every time the next one shows up on my door J How did I celebrate? I honestly don’t remember. But I did start a charm collection, one for each book. I have a silver charm holder I keep them on, but I need a new chain. I’m actually falling behind—I owe myself two, one for the last book and one for MIRROR.

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

Now that I really don’t remember.  I’ve done so many things over the years—giveaways, guest blogs, brochures, contests. Back when I started, there was no Facebook or Twitter, and I find they are a tremendous asset for a writer. I did a small blog tour once, by myself. This is my first ‘real’ book tour J

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

In so many ways. I understand much more about storytelling, about the technical side of writing, and about publishing. I spent the first few years really getting a lot of critique about the technical aspects of my writing—dialogue tags, sentence construction. Now I’ve kind of got that down, so I can really concentrate on the meat of story, of characterization, of all the ‘other’ stuff that goes with writing. I think I’m more willing to take a risk now with my stories, too, realizing that safe is often boring, and if you tell it right, the most off-the-wall things can be made to sound as if they could happen.

I look back and I was such a newbie; I knew nothing about the business at all! I had a knack for the writing, and that’s developed tremendously over the years. As I tell the kids I speak to, writing is just like any other skill, like learning an instrument or a new language or a sport —you HAVE to practice.

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

How just two years ago everyone was saying that ebook readers would never take off, now EVERYONE has one. I mentioned them to my family one Christmas, probably right around the time the first Kindle was ready to hit the market. Everyone balked at me, thought it was a terrible idea. Now my sister has a Nook, my aunt has a Nook, and I finally got my Kindle. Good thing I waited, because I wasn’t crazy about the original design. I love my Kindle.

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

I love when kids come up to me and tell me they loved a book I’ve written. I think that’s the best reward in the world.

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

Do your homework. Go to writer’s conferences (reputable ones) and network, because the people you meet might remember you when you submit to them. Find someone to work with, like a critique partner, that you trust and listen to their advice. You might not take all of it, but listen to it. And find out about the business of publishing while you’re learning to write and know what’s good and what to look out for. And don’t give up!

Beyond the Books with Larry Sweitzer, author of The Ghost, The Eggheads and Babe Ruth’s Piano

Larry Sweitzer is a writer, musician, and avid baseball fan. He was born and raised in western Maryland and now lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters. The Ghost, the Eggheads, and Babe Ruth’s Piano is his first novel.  Visit him at www.larrysweitzer.com.

 

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

A: My recent release is my first novel.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: None. I never submitted my book to any mainstream publishers. I decided to self-publish it from the start. That doesn’t mean I would never go the mainstream publishing route, but at that moment in time, I felt it was the right decision.

 

Q: When your book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I decided on iUniverse for a number of reasons, but a big part of it was for the opportunity to get into their recognition programs. Fortunately, I did! My book received their Editor’s Choice designation and then became one of their Rising Star titles.

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

A: I felt a great sense of pride just finishing the first draft of the book, so you can imagine how I felt when it was released and I held an actual copy in my hands!

The Ghost, the Eggheads, and Babe Ruth's Piano by Larry Sweitzer (click on cover to order online)

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

A: I set up a website to serve as a base for my online marketing and promotion. Everything branches out from there: my blog, a list of my events, links to various online bookstores to purchase my book … everything. Having a website is a basic and essential part of being an author these days, so that was the first thing I did.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I don’t think so. Everything has worked out well. In the short time my book has been out, feedback has been positive and sales have exceeded my expectations. iUniverse has been a good fit and they have done all that they said they would do. I’m very pleased with them.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: I am just starting to work on my next manuscript. Yes, I feel I’ve grown as a writer, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning or trying to improve on my writing.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: My book has only been out for about a week, so I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I can say I hope the book is one that teen boys will enjoy and get into—especially if they aren’t ‘big’ readers yet. If it’s something they enjoy reading and it entertains them until the end, then I would consider that an accomplishment on both of our parts.

 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Wow, there are so many fields that interest me—maybe a scientist or something to do with outer space.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: Even if I could have any non-writing profession, I would always write, tell stories, and pursue publication. I could never give those things up.

 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I hope to have written many more books by then. I have a number of story ideas and works-in-progress that I hope to publish in the future.

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

A: Work hard, never stop working on your craft, never give up on your dreams, and never forget those that helped you along the way.

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