Remembering Warriors: Siren

Vo Arlo survived the destruction of Alexandria Station and RAN Auberon.

In between assignments, at a small college on a back-water planet, he stumbles into a mystery when the prettiest girl on campus suddenly starts throwing herself at him.

Vo, the former gutter punk from the streets.

What will it cost him to understand why he attracts such attention?

I just read Siren by Blaze Ward and enjoyed it thoroughly. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to end!

Set within the milieu of academe, the novella is the brilliantly written story of an encounter between a space marine from the slums and a beautiful co-ed from the wealthy upper crust.

The characters are compelling. The narrative is compelling. I felt like I was Vo Arlo as events unfolded and he assessed and responded out of his unique blend of effective marine, man of honor, and escapee from the ghetto.

I’ll be reading more by Blaze Ward. I only hope he has more stories about Vo, because he’s a character I’m eager to spend more time with.

Siren is one of 13 stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle. (Another of those stories is my own “Resonant Bronze.”) Here’s a little more about the bundle:

One hundred years ago, in 1918, the Great War ended after four terrible years. Never had the world seen such a conflict. All touched by its scythe hoped we would never be thusly reaped again. Their hopes were but desperate dreams. Since that first armistice, there have been many more battles, and thousands have given their lives or their health to preserve freedom and escape from tyranny.

One hundred years after the first armistice we still remember and honour those brave souls. But still the soldiers fall, for the War to End all Wars did not.

10% of the royalties from the Remembering Warriors bundle will go to the Royal British Legion plus another 10% to Help for Heroes, two charities that support wounded and ex-service personnel and their families, in commemoration of the World War I centenary.

Comrades in Arms by Kevin J. Anderson
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Norman Blood by Barbara G.Tarn
The Rise of a Warrior by Harvey Stanbrough
Total War by Russ Crossley
“Resonant Bronze” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Siren by Blaze Ward
“The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Nothing for Nothing by Harvey Stanbrough
“The Rescue” by Blaze Ward
Soldier, Storyteller by Linda Maye Adams
“Heroes of Old” by Russ Crossley
With a Broken Sword by Stefon Mears

The Remembering Warriors bundle (with 13 titles, including Siren by Blaze Ward and my own Resonant Bronze) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle, see:
The Museum of Modern Warfare
With a Broken Sword
Resonant Bronze

For more about other bundles, see:
Here Be Dragons
Spring Surprise
Immortals
Winter Warmer bundle
Mythic Tales
More than Human

 

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Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

I’ve been writing mini reviews of my favorite stories in the Winter Warmer bundle to give you a taste of what the bundle contains.

This will be my last blog post about the bundle, but I want to remind you that my own novella, Winter Glory, is one of the 13 stories collected in it.

(There’s a mix of lengths: 6 shorts, 2 novellas, and 5 novels: ).

Obviously I cannot review my own work, but Winter Glory happens to have accumulated a bunch of reviews on Amazon. So I’m going to share a few excerpts with you.
 

The story moves along quickly. The descriptive language is nothing short of gorgeous without being repetitive or taking away from the plot. The characters are interesting, well-written… I love that the protagonists are older—I think the unconventional (read: not young and gorgeous and physically flawless) characters are relatable, and they stuck with me long after I had finished reading. —Mary Anne

The writing is lucid, elegant, smooth. Ney-Grimm creates a fantasy world of Norse legends, but with real people… the settings are gorgeous, sketched with quick perfect strokes. The culture she writes is realized in great detail in few words. I felt as if I had dropped in. —Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

A little atmospheric gem of a novella…puts you into the lead character’s shoes beautifully, and that’s a treat because the protagonist, and his society, is so alien. It’s interesting, beautifully written, and worth re-reading. —Rich S.

An excellent fantasy—well written and absorbing, with a lot of depth in both background and characters. It would be worth reading just for the fascinating details of life and different cultures in this cold landscape, but the characters are people you can care about. —Paul T.

I have been drawn to this writer’s work by her vivid use of language. This story is no exception in how it showcases her skills on that front, but what really makes it magical is that this is a story with a strong heart. In the starkly beautiful Northlands—a place that Ney-Grimm conveys so clearly it’s like watching a movie on the inside of your skull—two people who once knew and loved each other meet up again. This is their story… —Laura M.

Thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time and made the effort to review my stories. I love hearing what my readers think, and when your words are words of praise, I feel great!

Here’s the blurb for Winter Glory:

In the cold, forested North-lands—redolent with the aroma of pine, shrouded in snow, and prowled by ice tigers and trolls—Ivvar seeks only to meet his newborn great granddaughter.

Someone else has the same plan.

Traversing the wilderness toward the infant’s home camp, Ivvar must face the woman he once cherished and an ancient scourge of the chilly woodlands in a complicated dance of love and death.

Ivvar’s second chance at happiness—and his life—hang in the balance.

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Winter Warmer bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

Winter Glory is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords.

For more about the stories and novels from the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches

 

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Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches

Kimberly reigns as the witchy Martha Stewart of her neighborhood coven…until Philippa moves in across the street, with her snooty English pagan heritage and her magical one-upmanship. When the annual Winter Solstice ritual goes horribly wrong, can Kim and Philippa put their differences aside and avert disaster?

In preparation for writing this blog post, I re-read “Desperate Housewitches” by Dayle A. Dermatis.

I intended to peruse only the first few paragraphs to refresh my memory, but the story is so good it beguiled me onward for “one page more” all the way until I reached the end. I found it just as delightful, charming, and fun as I did the first time through.

The real heart of the tale is change and jealousy and making new friends, but the window dressing of witch’s hat fascinators, patchwork gift bags, peppermint fudge, and other housewifey projects adds a sparkle that makes the whole story sing.

Kimberly, who was always “the one with the best decorations, the best food at potlucks, the best parties, the best poison garden (for show only, of course),” feels threatened by newcomer Philippa, who uses magic to do her work, instead of doing the work to fuel her magic.

Their rivalry starts at Halloween (or Samhain, as the witches term it) and escalates as the year progresses to its close.

I loved Kimberly’s verve, the inventive world building of the coven and its neighborhood, the clever intertwining of the personal with the ritual, and how the whole desperate situation worsens and comes to a head.

“Desperate Housewitches” is altogether a gem of a short story. I’ll definitely be reading more by Dayle A. Dermatis.

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Winter Warmer bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

“Desperate Housewitches” by Dayle A. Dermatis is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

For more about the stories and novels from the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

 

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Mythic Tales at a Lower Price!

Story bundles, by their nature, are intended to offer readers some excellent reading for a modest price. I think the Mythic Tales bundle achieved that goal with its 14 titles – a mix of novels, novellas, and short stories – for $6.50.

But now the bundle is on sale for only $4.99.

If you were thinking of picking up a copy, now is the moment to do it! 😀

Remember those epic legends of heroes and monsters? Stories of great adventure woven with magic and myth live once more in this collection; read of ancient lore, magic swords, wicked beasts, courageous souls, desperate champions, and unholy bargains. Fairy tales and bold ventures come together in this boxed set.

Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp
Tales of Erana by A. L. Butcher
A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter
On the Edge of Faerie by Stefon Mears
Sorcha’s Heart by Debbie Mumford
Tales Fabulous and Fairy by Kim Antieau
Tempus by Janet Morris
Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Warden of Power by Karen L. Abrahamson
Beautiful by Barbara G. Tarn
Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries by Ron Vitale
Tales of the Faie: The Beginning of Days by Diana L. Wicker
Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis
Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt

Mythic Tales is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

Fourteen titles (8 novels, 1 novella, 4 short story collections, and 1 short story) for $4.99.

Note: The sale at the reduced $4.99 price is now over, but the bundle will continue to be available until February 1.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child

“Jeri combines V.I.’s social conscience with Kinsey’s bad-ass attitude and a snappy narrative voice… Dawson manages to blend her social criticism into a rich plum pudding sprinkled throughout with memorable characters.”

Those were the words of Maureen Corrigan in the Washington Post Book World, and they sum up the novel Nobody’s Child by Janet Dawson excellently.

Nobody’s Child is one of thirteen titles in the Winter Warmer bundle. I read it several weeks ago and enjoyed the book very much.

Its private investigator protagonist, Jeri Howard, felt utterly human and real. I especially liked that she was a well-grounded, middle-aged woman struggling with the normal issues that confront women in their thirties and forties, trying to discern the way she wants her life to be and how to make it so. I sympathized with her, liked her, and wanted her to succeed.

Amidst her own struggles, she pursues a missing person case that lands in her lap.

Unlike so many detective novels, this one features neither the highly dramatic neuroses of a dysfunctional detective (such as an alcoholic), who can’t relate healthily to those around him, nor the entirely carefree quilter or cook who solves mysteries on the side and seems to have no substantive problems at all.

Jeri Howard has problems, but they are honest ones, and she tackles them with honesty and good sense, just as she brings those qualities to bear on her missing person investigation.

In the course of Jeri Howard’s search for Maureen Smith and her toddler daughter, Nobody’s Child thoroughly explores all the issues surrounding the plight of the homeless. It avoids falling into either extreme pathos and melancholy or melodrama, steering flawlessly and informatively through the reality in way that educates the reader without browbeating him or reducing a complex situation to simple solutions and a political agenda.

Because the topic is dark, Nobody’s Child is a dark book. It could easily have proved too dark for me, but the protagonist, and her normal and healthy relationships with family and friends, balanced the sadness of the homeless so well that the story did not plunge me into gloom.

Additionally, the plot of the story was well constructed, and the pace of events and revelations moved along at a good clip, keeping me intrigued and interested throughout.

Here’s the official blurb:

It’s a cold rainy winter. Oakland PI Jeri Howard is having a tough time getting into the Christmas spirit—and dealing with a prickly client. Naomi Smith’s daughter Maureen ran away three years ago. At various times Maureen was homeless. Now she’s probably dead and her two-year-old daughter is missing. It’s dangerous out on the mean streets of Berkeley, for an adult let alone a child.

Can Jeri find the little lost toddler before time runs out?

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Winter Warmer bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

Nobody’s Child by Janet Dawson is available as an ebook and in paperback on Amazon and in paperback on Barnes & Noble.

For more about the stories and novels from the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

 

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Winter Warmer: Nutball Season

I love Christmas stories, from the original about the babe in a manger through Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to Connie Willis’ Miracle and Other Christmas Stories and more by other contemporary authors.

As I was reading through the Winter Warmer bundle (in which my novella Winter Glory appears), I encountered a new Christmas story to love: “Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

I’ll share the official blurb and then talk about a few of the elements that charmed me. Here’s the blurb:

According to Officer Nick Mantino, Nutball Season runs from Halloween to Christmas. This Christmas season, he sees more than his usual number of nutballs.

First, there’s the geezer who thinks he’s been cast in Miracle on 34th Street. Then there’s Mrs. Billings, who has told everyone she’ll shoot Santa if he lands on her roof.

Mrs. Billings has scared the local children, and Nick Mantino must investigate. What he finds in Prudence Billings’ house scares him too—and makes him wonder if he hasn’t just joined the lists of candidates for Nutball of the Year.

So why do I love this story?

The biggest reason is Officer Nick Mantino, who’s lonely and longing for family, but making the best of it, doing his job and dealing with the crazies brought out by the holiday season. He’s an experienced cop, a realist, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Yet he finds his pragmatism conflicting with his basic decency and niceness, causing him to treat a Santa impersonator with kindness.

I loved Nick and found myself believing in him, rooting for him, and liking him. He’s very human and very much the heart of the story. But the plot of “Nutball Season” is clever and fun, and the happy ending is completely in the spirit of the season, encompassing healing and new beginnings.

I won’t say more, because I don’t want to give away all the good stuff. Get it, read it, and enjoy it!

“Nutball Season” is available solo, but I urge you to pick up your copy via the Winter Warmer bundle, because then you’ll obtain several other stories with it that are equally good.

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Winter Warmer bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

“Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

For more about the stories and novels from the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

 

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Winter Warmer: Phoenix

“My blood seethed with power.
       “The ones who didn’t fear me wanted something from me.
       “I was the Serpent. The original tempter. The one who convinced humanity that the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge belonged to them, too. People assumed I was evil because their books told them so. They blamed me for everything wrong in their lives, including their own crappy decisions. They ought to have thanked me instead. Wasn’t for me, they’d still be walking around naked in a paradise that was more like a prison. Wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have two brain cells to rub together.
       “Evil? No. Bringer of knowledge? Yes.”

“Blood to Blood,” Leslie Claire Walker

I first encountered Leslie Claire Walker and her short story “Blood to Blood” in a book bundle containing The Uncollected Anthology: Magical Motorcycles. I knew within the first few pages of the tale that I would want to read more by her.

Walker presents a world in which the serpent of Eden has become Malek, a tattoo artist who speaks only in sign language and who inks magical and deadly tattoos with his own poisonous blood. Old gods with new names stalk the night—The Mayor, Gator, and other monstrous powers—while the Fae cross the deadly In-Between to emerge from Faery and meddle in the affairs of men.

“Phoenix,” another short story by Walker, tells the tale of Stacy, a human witch who steals one of three most precious possessions from a princess of Faery. Something more precious than blood, safety, or home.

I loved both “Blood to Blood” and “Phoenix.” When I encountered “Silver Dust,” which continues where “Phoenix” left off, I loved it as well.

Malek appears in all three stories; he is the protagonist in the first, while the young witch Stacy takes that role in the second, and the Faery princess Silver in the third. Each of them engaged my partiality and pulled at my heartstrings.

I found it fascinating how each installment felt fully complete and satisfying in itself and yet also filled in different segments of a larger saga, approaching the whole from different angles and using different themes.

I’m eager to read more of Walker’s works.

So, why am I telling you about Leslie Claire Walker and her stories? Well, first off, she’s good and her stories are excellent. Check them out!

But, secondly…I have another of my own titles in a book bundle along with Walker’s “Phoenix” and a number of other stories by authors that are well worth reading. Let me tell you a little about the Winter Warmer bundle. 😀

Winter, a time of festivity, of hardship, and cold. Perhaps it remains the most superstitious of seasons and for many the most beloved. Snow, feasting, gifts, religious significance, family and getting together. A time for storytelling!

Thirteen tales about, or set in, the harshest of seasons. From witches to icy realms and faery kings, to holiday nutballs who might be less nutty than they seem. From detectives up against wintery crimes and mysteries to Christmas romance and second chances, there’s something for everyone in this winter warmer.

Available for 3 months only — December, January, and February.

“Sanctuary” by Leslie Claire Walker
“Snowman’s Chance in Hell” by Robert Jeschonek
Tollard’s Peak by Michael Kingswood
“Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker
The Tuxedoed Man by Marcelle Dube
“Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Dreamweaver’s Journey by Diana L. Wicker
Dark Dancer by Jaleta Clegg
“Coconutty Christmas” by Ann Omasta
Nobody’s Child by Janet Dawson
Freak Sanctuary by Ann Stratton
“Desperate Housewitches” by Dayle A. Dermatis
Winter Glory by J.M. Ney-Grimm

And here’s the official blurb for “Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker:

A mystery girl appears in the midst of a winter thunderstorm, seeking a witch to break a terrible curse: the girl has accidentally destroyed the Realm of Faery.

Seventeen-year-old Stacy, young to the Craft but growing in power and reputation thanks to her hand in thwarting the last apocalypse, might be able to save both Faery and the girl.

If Stacy refuses to help, both the realm and the girl will die. But helping the girl can only lead to heartbreak—and a choice that will change them both forever.

An impossible problem. A heroine with the courage and heart to take on the challenge against all odds. To enter the magic, read “Phoenix.”

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Winter Warmer bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

“Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

For more about the stories and novels from the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

For more about other bundles, see:
Here Be Dragons
Spring Surprise
Immortals
Remembering Warriors
Mythic Tales
More than Human

 

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Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

I first discovered Alexandra Brandt when I read her short story “The Flat Above the Wynd” in the book bundle entitled More than Human. I found “Flat” wholly engaging and charming, so I was delighted to learn that the Mythic Tales bundle included Brandt’s short story collection Magic for a Rainy Day.

“The Flat Above the Wynd” appears again this collection, and I was happy to re-read it, especially because its prequel story “Sidewynd” gave me a deeper appreciation of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (the setting for both tales) and for their protagonist, Sky Patel. I’m definitely looking forward to the novel about Sky that Brandt has underway.

The other three stories in the collection are equally appealing. “Banoffee Pie and Black Pudding” was pure fun, “(Not a) Fairy Tale” brightly amusing, and “They Stole My Love Last Night Night” as hauntingly lovely as the Gaelic melody that inspirits it.

Here’s the official blurb for Magic for a Rainy Day:

Set in Scotland, Ireland, and the Pacific Northwest, these five stories share three things: a little rain, a little fantasy, and a lot of heart.

In “Sidewynd,” Sky Patel balances life between Edinburgh and its mirror in the faerie realm. Until the balance breaks. In “The Flat Above the Wynd,” Sky’s inherited responsibilities double when past mistakes come back to haunt her.

In “Banoffee Pie and Black Pudding,” Alyssa Granville’s troubles begin with a strange gift from a stranger Irish man.

In “(Not a) Fairy Tale,” a bullied teenage girl learns a startling truth. But fairies don’t go to high school…do they? In “They Stole My Love Last Night,” Celtic music, fairies, and ghosts collide, turning a bitter story sweet.

In these pages, a rainy day might bring excitement with a whiff of danger. Or the kind of magic that brightens your week.

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually for about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Mythic Tales bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

For reviews of the stories and novels from the Mythic Tales bundle
(plus the odd character interview), see:

Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow

 

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Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow

Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis is the penultimate title in the Mythic Tales bundle. I read it last week (last week, as I type this) and enjoyed it a great deal.

I found the world building especially fascinating and well done. It’s an intriguing mix of the Arabian Nights and African mythology seasoned with a dash of pseudo-Biblical elements. The young protagonist, Zerai, is engaging and sympathetic. And the plot is well conceived, well told, and kept me guessing all the way through to the end.

Here’s a little more about the novel:

The young falconer Zerai thought he was a long-lost prince. He thought he would be granted supernatural powers to slay an army of demons. He thought he would reclaim his grandfather’s empire.

He thought wrong.

After years of living in the wilderness, hiding from killer mercenaries and lethal monsters, Zerai has lost all of his friends, leaving him alone on a quest to save his country. But even after he joins a company of legendary warriors and seers from the east, his chances of success seem bleak against the vast southern armies, packs of bloodthirsty ghuls, and huge fiery ifrits that have claimed his homeland.

Drawn from elements of African history and mythology and inspired in part by the Arabian Nights, the epic fantasy series Angels and Djinn takes readers to a dark world where heroes and lovers confront fantastical creatures out of the strangest of dreams and the worst of nightmares.

Because it’s been a few weeks since I first announced the Mythic Tales, I’m going to give a refresher below about the contents of the bundle as a whole.

Remember those epic legends of heroes and monsters? Stories of great adventure woven with magic and myth live once more in this collection; read of ancient lore, magic swords, wicked beasts, courageous souls, desperate champions, and unholy bargains. Fairy tales and bold ventures come together in this boxed set.

Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp
Tales of Erana by A. L. Butcher
A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter
On the Edge of Faerie by Stefon Mears
Sorcha’s Heart by Debbie Mumford
Tales Fabulous and Fairy by Kim Antieau
Tempus by Janet Morris
Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Warden of Power by Karen L. Abrahamson
Beautiful by Barbara G. Tarn
Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries by Ron Vitale
Tales of the Faie: The Beginning of Days by Diana L. Wicker
Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis
Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually for about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Mythic Tales bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

For reviews of the stories and novels from the Mythic Tales bundle
(plus the odd character interview), see:

Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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Mythic Tales: Author Interview

Alex Butcher, the curator of the Mythic Tales bundle, has been doing interviews of the characters that appear in the bundled stories, as well as conducting Q&As with several of the contributing authors. Recently, she posted her interview with me on her website.

She asked some great questions, so I’m sharing her first few questions, along with my answers, in this post on my own blog.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

In 2007, I re-discovered Maddy Prior’s amazing song ‘The Fabled Hare.’

Listening to her powerful lyrics and expressive voice, I grew suddenly aware that time was passing, I was getting older, and I didn’t have forever.

The imagery of the hunter and hounds closing in on the hare made me feel as though death were snapping at my heels.

If there was something I really wanted to do, something I had not done yet, I’d better get going or I might miss my chance entirely.

I didn’t ‘click the publish button’ in 2007, but that year and that song were the beginning of my publishing journey.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I do some of each.

I prefer having a skeletal outline at the start of a story. Doing without —pure ‘pantsing’—feels like walking a tightrope over Niagara without a safety net. Very uncomfortable! And yet . . . I’ve done it.

Once I awoke in the middle of the night, so afire with inspiration that I got up out of my bed to write the first scene of what would become the novel Caught in Amber (my title in the Mythic Tales bundle). I didn’t work out an outline until I was a third of the way through the book!

More usually, I sort out the foundational plot line before I start writing. I need to know what happens, but (oddly) I need to not know how it happens. I discover the how as I write, and that keeps the story feeling fresh to me.

Even when I follow an outline, I always feel free to ‘have a better idea.’ Sometimes my outline writhes like a river in flood!

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

I’m going to pretend you asked me about my writing journey. 😉 Because there’s a piece of advice that I really, really needed and didn’t get, way back when.

For some reason, I thought that the process of writing was much more cut-and-dried than it ever could be. Why I thought this, I don’t know. Perhaps because I formed the impression when I was very young, at age ten or eleven.

But the result was that, when I sat down in my early twenties to write my great fantasy novel, and didn’t get anywhere with it, I concluded that I must not be made of such stuff as goes into the bones of real writers.

I longed to write novels, and believed I could not. I spent more than two decades believing this and writing poetry and story vignettes and gaming adventures instead.

And then I listened to Maddy Prior’s ‘The Fabled Hare’ and got serious about my creative aspirations. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, did every last one of the written assignments in the book, and read several of the titles in its bibliography.

That’s when I encountered Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and one of her suggestions set me free.

So the advice I wish I’d gotten? Find out how other writers do it! Not just one or two, but dozens. Ask them. Read biographies. Whatever it takes, find out.

Because if I’d learned that there are as many ways as there are writers, I might not have concluded so wrongly that I was not a writer. I might have been writing novellas and novels (as well as poetry and vignettes and gaming adventures) between 1980 and 2007. I might not have been so unhappy in my creative desert.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

Do not go there! Reviews are a reader space. What reader wants to write his or her honest opinion and then discover that the author of the book has been peering over his or her shoulder the whole while?

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters. Good plot. Awesome world-building. Technically perfect.

As a reader (not a writer), I want them all. If the characters aren’t great, I have no interest. If the plot is stupid, I get cranky. If the world-building is unconvincing, I get thrown out of the story. If there are grammar errors, I’m tempted to email the author with the necessary fix. ‘Lay’ when it should be ‘lie’ makes me wild, unless it’s in dialogue, of course. Gah! 😉

I believe I’m known as what one writer calls a ‘fussy reader.’ That’s being kind!

As a writer…what can I say? I go for all four.

For the rest of the interview, I urge you to visit Alex’s site. She asks about my views on research, what my writing space is like, and whether my stories contain a message, as well as prompting me to tell her a little about the novel that I am smack in the middle of writing!

Library of Erana

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually for about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Mythic Tales bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

For reviews of the stories and novels from the Mythic Tales bundle
(plus the odd character interview), see:

Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

For another author interview of me, see:
5 Quirky Questions from Shantnu Tiwari

For more about my writing epiphany of 2007, see:
Writer’s Journey

 

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