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

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including Caught n Amber) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

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: Raziel’s Shadow

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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Character Interview: Fae of Caught in Amber

The Mythic Tales bundle includes fourteen titles:
    • 8 novels
    • 1 novella
    • 4 short story collections, and
    • 1 short story

Thus far, I’ve read Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp, A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter, Tempus by Janet Morris, Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis, and Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt, and enjoyed each very much.

Of course, my own Caught in Amber is one of the novels in the bundle. For those of you who haven’t read Amber yet, here’s a little bit about it:

When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Beauty from all the ages graces the castle – medieval towers, renaissance columns, and gothic vaults – but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae hates the loneliness and the sense of hidden malice oppressing her. Even more, she hates the feeling that just around some receding corner of lost memory lies the answer to her predicament – an answer just out of reach.

An answer essential to surviving this castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key.

A mythic tale of family and betrayal told with all the twists and moments of sheer joy that epic fantasy allows.

The curator of the Mythic Tales bundle, Alex Butcher (byline A. L. Butcher), has been presenting interviews on her website, both of the bundle’s contributing authors and of the characters who appear in the stories. Just a few days ago, she featured a Q&A with Fae, the heroine of Caught in Amber.

I think you might find Fae’s thoughts (outside the covers of her book) to be interesting. Here are the first few of her answers to Alex’s questions…

What is your name?

Oh, I wish I could remember my name! I wish I could remember anything. I feel so . . . lost, knowing nothing of who I am, where I come from. Yesterday, when I was pretending to be brave, I gave myself a name. It feels right, but it might not be right. How could it, when I remember nothing? But . . . I’m Fae (she raises her chin) and I’m going to pretend to be brave again. I have to.

Which book/world do you live in?

I seem to be trapped in a castle. It’s very beautiful, with marble halls and tall windows looking onto flowering summer gardens. But it’s utterly deserted; I’m all alone and locked in! None of the doors to the outside seem to even have functioning latches and hinges. And when I tried to break a window with a paperweight, it bounced off!

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

When I look in the mirror, I look human. But something tells me I might not be. Oh, I’m not anything truly strange, like the creatures in fairy tales or the monsters in myths and legends. Yesterday I thought I might be the granddaughter of a goddess, but that’s not it either. I’m trying to figure it out, because I think that if I can only remember something, that’s the key to escaping this castle and finding . . . home? Oh, I wish I could go home, wherever home is! (She raises her chin again.) But I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out. I won’t give up.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

Adventurers . . . (Her tone is musing.) I always thought they were ne’er-do-wells, the black sheep of their families. But sometimes they’re soldiers of fortune, aren’t they? I wonder if a soldier—a warrior—could help me? I don’t think so. This castle, this situation, is a puzzle, not a battle. And I’m going to solve it. (She sighs.) But I wish someone were here. Besides me. It’s so lonely. I miss my friends, even though I can’t remember who they are. Oh, I hate this!

I don’t want to steal Alex’s thunder, so I’m not going to reproduce the entire interview here. Instead I urge you to visit Alex’s website to learn Fae’s views on heroism, failure, love, and more. Here’s the link:

Library of Erana

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

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
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 Bundle

I told you all about story bundles when my own Serpent’s Foe was chosen to be in a bundle called More than Human. Now I have another story appearing in a new bundle! Caught in Amber.

To refresh your memory about bundles…

A curator chooses a theme for her collection and then seeks high-quality stories that fit that theme. The idea is to give readers a chance to conveniently and inexpensively try new-to-them authors.

Because I call one of my own series “Mythic Tales,” this new bundle of Mythic Tales made me wonder if the curator had been reading my mind! But many fantasy writers are inspired by the myths and legends of the past, so I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

The Mythic Tales bundle includes 14 titles, and I’ve enjoyed every one of the four that I’ve read so far. I’m looking forward to the rest! Eight are novels; one is a novella; four are short story collections; and one is a gem of a short story.

My first selection to read was the first title in the bundle, the short story Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp. I’ve read some of Anthea’s work before and liked it, but this story just happens to hit the heart of my taste and I found it especially excellent.

From the official ebook description, here’s a little bit about Beneath the Knowe:

From USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp, a magical faerie tale featuring an ancient Celtic setting, music, and the ageless denizens of the Bright Court.

Can music overcome fey magic? When the chieftain’s infant son is stolen away by the fey folk of the Bright Court, Maeve Donnelly journeys beneath the faerie hill to save the child. Her only weapon is a simple pennywhistle, and the music running in her bard-gifted blood…

I plan to say a few words about several of the titles in the bundle in future posts, because there are so many good choices. But I’ll conclude this post with a description of the collection 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

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

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
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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Caught in Amber Is Everywhere!

The paperback edition of Caught in Amber has been available in many online stores for over a year. But until a few days ago, the ebook edition was limited to Amazon. Now that has changed, which makes me very happy.

Caught in Amber can be found all over the place! 😀

Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo
Overdrive I Playster I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

* * *

When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Amber cover 300Beauty from all the ages graces the castle – medieval towers, renaissance columns, and gothic vaults – but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae hates the loneliness and the sense of hidden malice oppressing her. Even more, she hates the feeling that just around some receding corner of lost memory lies the answer to her predicament – an answer just out of reach.

An answer essential to surviving this castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key.

A mythic tale of family and betrayal told with all the twists and moments of sheer joy that J.M. Ney-Grimm brings to epic fantasy.

* * *

Caught in Amber has been the most popular of my titles on Amazon, so if you get ebooks from Barnes & Noble or Kobo or one of the other many online stores, give it a look. Perhaps your new favorite awaits you. 😉

Caught in Amber as an ebook:
Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo
Overdrive I Playster I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

Caught in Amber as a trade paperback:
Amazon I B&N I Book Depository I Fishpond I Mysterious Galaxy Books I Powell’s Books

 

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5 New Books!

5 New Titles

I read about the Liliana Nirvana technique more than a year ago, in August 2014, on the blog of SF author Hugh Howey.

The technique is simply described: release 5 new books on the same day or one after the other with little delay in between. The idea is to boost your visibility to readers. Howey said this about it: “You hit bookstore shelves with a handful of titles at once, and they prop each other up. They direct attention toward each other. They amplify your signal.”

I decided to try it, and I’ve been working continuously toward my own 5-title release since that day.

Now – more than 14 months later – my 5 new stories are finally available on Amazon! I’m thrilled, because I hit a patch in the middle of my preparations when I began to wonder if I’d ever pull it off.

I’ve priced each title at 99 cents for release week to give my most assiduous readers a chance at a deal. I’ll raise the prices on the longer works when the initial spate of sales slows.

Here they are for your reading pleasure. 😀

Hunting Wild200 pxYoung Remeya worships the forbidden horned god. A worship made taboo half a millennium ago. Performed still in secret by a few. Quietly tolerated by the king. Epic fantasy in which old beliefs and old loyalties clash with hidden magic in the Middle Ages of the god-touched North-lands.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 

Serpent web cover 200Once she stalked the duat by Ra’s side, carrying his light in her eyes and battling the monsters that assailed them. Now, tormented by confusion and her own fury, she longs to regain the unique powers which – inexplicably – elude her in captivity. In this mythic tale of pride and revelation, a fight beyond death delivers one last chance at redemption.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 

Glory web cover 200Caught in a cold and snow-shrouded wilderness, far from home, Ivvar confronts 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.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 

Fate's Door, web cover 200Secrets, like troubles, come in threes. Nerine, a sea nymph of the ancient world, knows too much about both. Love and coming of age in a mythic Mediterranean where the gods and goddesses of old shape history.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback coming soon!
 
 
 
 
 

Amber cover 200When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it. A mythic tale of family and betrayal told with all the twists and moments of sheer joy that belong in epic fantasy.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Cover Reveal: Caught in Amber

Caught in Amber is getting ever closer to its release!

Amber feature cov 300When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Beauty from all the ages – medieval, renaissance, and gothic – graces her surroundings, but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae must recover her memories and discern the true nature of the challenge before her, while she confronts the castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key to her freedom.

Coming soon!

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