Hi guys, today I’m going to be talking about a series that I’ve just finished reading- The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. To be honest I’m probably one of the few people that hasn’t gotten around to it yet, so big thanks to my sister for forcing the pile of books into my hands and demanding that I read them. I didn’t know much about them except her telling me “it’s about some teenagers looking for a Welsh king” and that I had to read them because I like character-driven stories.
So, the characters. Wow. Every single person, from a main protagonist to a person that just features in a couple of chapters, is so well constructed and feels like a person instead of a plot device. I loved all the central characters and they were distinct with their voices, personality, and actions. And, without going into details, you really feel for each one, they’re each dealing with their own problems and secrets.
I adored Ronan the most, he has that kind of bad attitude that comes from someone that’s been through terrible experiences and then gets forced into a life that seems shallow and constraining. After the first book, I was dying to see more of what made him tick because we just saw glimpses of who he was without actually getting a POV chapter. And he has some of the sweetest moments too, especially with his pet raven, Chainsaw.
I could talk about all the main characters and what I enjoyed about their arcs and development but I want to try to stay spoiler-free and there is so much to dodge.
Another great thing about the characters is that some of them are adults, and this is YA! I like the genre, don’t get me wrong, but usually anyone who isn’t a teen is underdeveloped and seen as someone standing in the protagonist’s way. They are a parent that has to be lied to and avoided when they sneak out, or they are doing a terrible job of running the government/organisation/magical group and if they would just listen to the teenagers then everything would be better… Not in this series! The heroine, Blue, has a fantastic family life. She has a touching bond with her mother and has her aunts and cousins there supporting her too. I remember Blue’s mum asking her where she was going and Blue says something like “out with the boys to do something distasteful” and her mum’s just like “okay.” It was fun because they trusted and respected each other and felt like a true family.
That’s a lot of words about characters, so let’s talk about the plot for a bit. It has my typical need for magic and fantasy elements, so that made me happy. But it was done differently than most books, it starts off with some of the group only half-believing that anything mystical is out there, but more layers and types of magic are revealed throughout the series. Again, it’s tough to say much without spoilers because there are a lot of big reveals!
In another non-typical YA move, romance isn’t a huge part of the plot. Yes, I know there is the whole “if you kiss your true love he will die” thing plastered on the cover, but it isn’t the meat of the story by any means. There isn’t the unnecessary angst between characters just for drama, or every single person somehow dating or falling in love with every other person in the main group. Oh, and there’s no insta-love either (YES!).
What there is instead is a complex, character-driven plot with great friendships between the protagonists. Sometimes they have their fall-outs, but you can see how much they care about each other and the journey they’re all on. They handle situations how real people would deal with them and the results are so much more heart-warming because of it.
Okay, it’s fairly obvious I was smitten with this series but I have to be objective. It finished waaaay too quickly. And not just in an ‘I loved it so much I want more’ way. I was down to the last centimetre of pages in the final volume wondering how everything could be wrapped up because there was so much more that needed explaining. And it kind of was, I mean the story arcs were resolved and the characters had their closure. But it felt rushed and a little confusing in some places as to what exactly had happened, there were easily enough questions left over to make the book a quarter as long again. Though I’ve been told that there’s going to be another series with these characters so I’m hoping I find some of the answers there.
Should you read it?
Despite the hurried ending, this is a series I highly recommend. If you’re looking for something that will suck you in and not let you out until you’ve drained every last page of words, this is a series to do it. You’ll get so invested in the characters that you’ll barely care what they are doing, as long as you get to find out more about them. And in my opinion, that’s what makes a great read.
This series is so highly thought of in my family that my sister made two videos talking about it on her BookTube channel, why not head over and check them out? (WARNING- these do contain spoilers!)
Have you read The Raven Cycle yet? Let me know what you thought. Or if you haven’t, are you planning on reading it soon?
If you enjoyed this, take a look at my Shadows of the Apt review.
Hey awesome people! Today I had my very first live interview on Book Talk Radio Club. My host, Claire, was a lovely lady who made me feel very at ease despite my nerves (thank you!). Obviously you can’t hear it live now, but fortunately there’s a Podcast if you missed it, why not check it out? And tell me if you think I have a broad accent…
Hi guys, as part of a challenge set by my writing group I had to write a story of around 400 words without using the word ‘the’. It was a fun challenge and, of course, I decided to write about my favourite Constellation. So I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into Asher’s childhood. Let me know what you think, and if I should stop using the word ‘the’ entirely!
“I hate you.”
“Good, means I’m not coddling you.”
A table, an umbrella, a pair of socks, a candlestick, some papers. Asher had to know every item in every space he entered by heart within seconds. It wasn’t easy when his eyes ran in streams and his back was sticky with his own blood. A tremor in his legs tried to steal his balance, but there was no way he’d dare show signs of wavering in front of his dad.
“Again.” That dry command would come until Asher perfected his technique, even if it took days.
It was timing, that was all it was. And he’d gotten faster. Blinking away water; not tears, just water, he stretched out an aching arm and tapped a rolled scroll. It took less than a second of concentration before it teleported, swapping places so that tacky candle wax now pressed against his fingertip.
“We’ve figured you can Juggle, concentrate on what you’re doing, yeah?” His dad sounded more frustrated than Asher felt, even though he stood doing nothing but barking orders and languidly swinging a blade.
“Get faster.” Those two words were accompanied by agony as a honed sword tip scraped across Asher’s left flank. Umbrella. It should be switching, stopping his skin from ripping apart. He just had to touch one object and see another. Why wasn’t it working? His lungs were being pummelled from fighting against blind panic, gulping air through grinding teeth.
“Enough!” Asher blurted, heart sinking as he stumbled out of range. Another failure.
Warmth trickled down to his waistband, a liquid that also decorated his father’s sword, it didn’t seem real anymore. He’d seen his own blood so many times. His side throbbed and a kind of pure, bright-white anger pooled in his chest.
“It’s not gonna happen, okay? It’s not coz I’m slow, I can’t concentrate when it hurts…”
“Yeah, well, we’ll practice ‘til you can.”
“We? Like you’re doing a damn thing!” Asher stood straight, looking down at his father. He couldn’t remember when it had changed from having to crane his neck to gaze upwards, but that could be sleep deprivation robbing his memory.
“Son, we’re not that kind of Lucidian. We weren’t born with a perfected power, we need to train it. One day you’ll be untouchable by any weapon coz you’ll Juggle it before it cuts you. Don’t you reckon it’s better you learn with someone that isn’t actually trying to kill you? Every time I hurt you, it’s coz I care about you, yeah? How else you gonna keep up with Lucidians that have combat gifts? Do you want to be weak?”
“No…” There was more he wanted to say, of course, if he’d dared. So much more. One day he’d finally speak his mind. And he wouldn’t ever stop.
“Okay. Again. Oh, and son? Don’t ever speak to me like that again.”
Hi guys. I’m so excited to get to introduce this wonderful lady to you, Debbie Jinks is one of the kindest, most supportive people you’ll meet in the writing world. Writers, I definitely recommend you join her writing group, and readers, keep your eye out for her future releases!
I’m a UK girl and have been writing for approximately two years. I also love to sing and did that as a profession for 15 years. However even though I still enjoy singing now my real passion in life is writing. After suffering a head injury, which caused me to lose my sense of smell and taste, (Anosmia), writing became a way of venting my frustration and anger from this life changing condition. It became a way of escaping from the reality of it too. I started to love writing especially when I discovered how much satisfaction I got from it. This led me to the realisation that I wanted to become a writer so now have almost finished writing a short storybook of prose, still at the illustration stage. I have also started on my first novel in the fantasy genre, and have just completed a fantasy writing diploma. Not surprisingly in that case, I have an obsession with dragons and collect dragon paraphernalia. I’m also planning on having a dragon tattoo to cover up my old tatty faded one!
I enjoy horse riding and growing chilli peppers, the hotter the better! I also try to practice mindfulness when I can sit still for long enough!
You have a couple of blogs, write lyrics, run a writers Facebook group, and write books. It’s obvious you have a huge passion for writing, do you have a favourite style or genre?
Phew when you put it like that I seem to have gone a bit nuts with the writing thing!
My favourite genre is definitely Fantasy. I love escaping into another world, being able to build it, make up my own characters, and let my imagination run wild. I didn’t read anything like that until I interacted with other writers and found that I loved it. Dragons have to be my absolute favourite fantasy creature, so if there’s a book with one in it I’m happy! Style wise I know there are different forms of fantasy writing out there but at the moment I’m still deciding which I prefer, like I say dragons will always do it for me!
How did you become a singer? What are your favourite songs to perform?
There wasn’t a ‘how’ in there. I wanted to be a singer ever since I was a child, my mum said I used to sing before I could even put sentences together. I sang in school choirs, on my own, did little performances for family and friends and the ironic thing was I was shy but it went once I was singing. Eventually I went to college and did a performing arts course we even went to France and I got the opportunity to sing there as part of my course work. How good is that? It just went from there really, I joined bands, sang in acoustic acts, did some session vocal work, in fact I met my husband through his brother who I was in a band with. My husband is a mean guitar player so we started working together and that was where the song writing started he worked on melodies, I worked on lyrics.
Not that I’m biased, but my favourite songs to perform are our own of course! I also love female rock singers like Skunk Anansie and loved singing ‘Weak’ I also do a mean Susi Quatro, in fact a band I was in supported her at a music festival once, she’s tiny!! Kate Bush is brilliant, Sia is amazing I could go on and on so I’ll stop.
How did you first decide to start blogging, and where does your inspiration come from?
Well my Anosmia blog ‘Anosmia My World’, started it all I suppose. For anybody who doesn’t know what Anosmia is, it’s a loss of your sense of smell and usually taste too which was the case with me. I passed out suffering a head injury as a result, and when I came round, realised I couldn’t smell or taste anything. The doctor told me it would probably come back in a few weeks but it never has properly. Now I occasionally get the odd faint smell of perfume if I’m lucky, and can differentiate between sweet and salty food, but that’s about it.
At the time I was devastated, angry, depressed, I went through so many emotions and realised if I didn’t find a way to release them that I would go crazy. So, I started to write things down which resulted in my blog. It went from there and I still write it now after two and a half years.
I suppose you could say there was one good thing that came out of my Anosmia though, I realised I absolutely loved to write, and before I knew it I’d bought my own domain and set up another blog ‘A Song To Write’. This has different categories because there are so many things I like to write about, one of them being music with some of my lyrics on there too. The main category for me these days though is writing. I put my short stories on there and things related to writing also, and one day my own book! But that’s another story, oops excuse the pun.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a writer so far?
Oh my goodness there are quite a few really, but I suppose for me it’s having the confidence to believe I’m capable of being a good writer. Self-belief isn’t something I have much of when it comes to writing, so to keep going is an achievement for me and really exciting. When I’m really enjoying writing it’s so rewarding, I don’t know about you but I can’t believe where the time goes, I get totally immersed in it.
Me too, I totally understand!
You also have a love for nature, have you had any great wildlife-related experiences? If you could be any animal in their natural habitat, which would it be?
Yes, I have a real passion for nature, I always have. I used to run a small wildlife habitat, which was a great job, unfortunately I got made redundant as they ran out of funding. I was really upset about that. In fact, I’m working on a children’s book about the animal characters in the habitat, called ‘Bluebell Habitat’, it’s nearly finished apart from the illustrations which I’m getting done now so it’s quite exciting!
Great wildlife related experiences? Well I suppose running a wildlife habitat was a great experience, it’s not often people get that kind of opportunity. We also have a Sparrow Hawk who visits our garden regularly, she’s lovely but I swear she’s got a screw loose. She flew into our bush recently while trying to catch a sparrow, but when I say flew into I mean she fell into the middle of it. We had to rescue her and help her out. That was one peed off Sparrow Hawk. If she sits on the fence she tries to stare us down now! I say ‘she’ but to be honest I haven’t got a clue what sex she is, females are larger I think.
If I could be any animal is a difficult question. I love hares there is something so majestic and mesmerising about them, and watching them boxing is really wonderful. But I love the idea of being able to fly so I would say some kind of a bird, probably a swift. They are so resilient and strong. Did you know they never land except when they are in their nest, they even mate on the wing, now that’s an achievement! They make a very distinctive sound a kind of high pitched cheap/squeak, that’s the only way I could describe it. They are a very threatened species of bird unfortunately, but we are lucky enough to have a pair that nest under the eaves of our house every year.
What are your reading habits like? Recommend a fantastic book to us.
I tend to read before I go to sleep I find it a great way to wind down. I’ve been reading some books by authors I know lately, see if I can pick up any tips. But seriously though those books are just as good, if not better than some I’ve read by established authors. Actually, it’s about time I got a copy of yours!
Thank you 😀
Recommend a fantastic book…. well I’m a bit biased as the author who wrote it is in my writing group. But her most recent book ‘The Tree of Rebels’ is an amazing read. It’s by Chantelle Atkins, I’d recommend it. In fact, you’ll find my review of it on Amazon and GoodReads, around the 11th August. I also love the Katherine Kerr Devvery series of books, they are in the fantasy genre and are brilliant. Ok I know that’s cheating, as I’ve recommended two books, sorry!
Recommend away, you can never have too many great books in your ‘to read’ list!
Your Facebook group is a wonderful community of writers, I’m so blessed to be part of it, can you explain how it all started? Do you think groups like this are important for writers?
Thanks for saying that Kay, it’s great that you’re part of it. I love my Facebook group, funnily enough I only set it up on a whim and to my surprise writers started to join! I get so much pleasure interacting with writers and I love to give them an opportunity to showcase their work. It’s fun too and we have some good chats. A lot of the writers are much more experienced than me so I learn a lot from them, which is fine! I don’t keep that quiet we’re all very open on there. The group are called ‘All Write’ anybody reading this is welcome to join us!
Yes, I think these kind of groups are very important. Us writers are a crazy lot, no offence anyone, generally insecure and sometimes don’t realise how good we are until other writers support us. These groups give all of us confidence. We can learn from other’s experiences, bounce ideas off each other, celebrate or have a good rant, whatever we need to do to let off steam. I find it really helpful because the only writers I know are online, there aren’t any around the area I live in, so I wouldn’t be able to get the kind of support I need if it wasn’t for them. I consider a lot of them friends now.
If anybody reading this would like to join, or checkout my group, everybody is welcome. The link is www.facebook.com/groups/allwritedj
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
Oh, now this is a hard one. There so many great fictional characters out there. But if I had to choose one it would be Jill from the Devvery series of books by Katherine Kerr. She is the heroine who appears in all of the books. Her character is strong, clever and brave. At an early age, she was taught swordcraft from her father who was a wandering mercenary, this made her a very skilled sword fighter. She also possesses great magical powers called dweomer which made her a powerful sorceress. She was taught sorcery by Nevyn a travelling herbman, but also the greatest sorcerer ever. Jill eventually took his place when he died, so in a word she’s not somebody you’d mess with!
Tell us all about your book!
Ok so how long have you got? No but seriously, it’s not ‘Bluebell Habitat’ as you may expect, that wasn’t even going to be a book just a little story in prose for a bit of fun. That is until family and friends got hold of it and said I should turn it into a book.
So, the book I’m writing now almost feels like my first book, which is really scary and exciting at the same time.
It’s called ‘The Secret of Lowland Forest’ and is a YA fantasy story about a young vixen called Neiva who takes her mother’s place as a mystic when her mother is killed in battle trying to save another fox. She has many experiences and adventures trying to defeat a rival fox clan who was responsible for her mother’s death. There are lots of different fantasy characters that she meets along the way who come together to help overthrow the other clan. A lot of nasty characters in there too, including the humming slaves and some other really horrible villains, but I don’t want to give too much away!
It might sound a bit weird that the heroine is a fox, but she’s no ordinary fox by any means and I like the fact that she’s a bit different from a character you’d normally expect in a fantasy novel. I’m not even half way through it yet so there is a lot more work to be done. But I get this really good feeling when I write it. The words just seem to flow and I get such a buzz.
What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?
Something unrelated to books would be cool, just because if I became, no when I become a published author, let’s be positive here, readers can get to know me on a more personal level. So something like. When you were a kid who was your first superstar crush?
Eeek! When I was very young, notice the onus on ‘very young’ here, my mum and dad used to love the singer Andy Williams and played his records, still vinyl in the good old days, continually. Let’s see if I can remember any. Ok ‘Moon River’ was one and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, another. I used to sneak out of my bedroom in the evening and sit at the top of the stairs listening to him. They made me so emotional I used to cry, as far as I was concerned he was the love of my life. Well that’s what I told my mum and dad at the time. If they played his records when I was in the same room, I used to sing my little heart out too. I had a complete school girl crush! In fact one of my first boyfriends was called Andy Williams surprise, surprise, well actually I pinched him off somebody else, ahh the fickleness of youth. I’m very well behaved now though!
Today I get to show off another fabulous new release to you guys! This gorgeous-looking book is Kathy Robert’s latest novel, Kingdoms of the Curse, she’s going to tell us all about it and then we also get an interview with Casandra, our heroine. Seriously, just look at that dragon, how can you resist?
Cassandra lived with her mother outside of Drenidore, the cursed fairy kingdom. She had no personal knowledge of fairies, shifters, witches, or humans for that matter as she’d only ever known her mother. Her mother told her “Once Upon A Time” stories about these things which Cassandra loved, but never knew they were true stories about real creatures.
Zythora was the witch who placed the curse, but she was under a curse herself. She had an ally who was working to break her curse, so she was getting stronger again. She was calling to Cassandra from Drenidore. If she could get her to enter, she would be trapped and her powers drained. Since she was just coming into her powers as her mother had raised her without magic; she didn’t know what was happening. Due to these circumstances, her mother had to tell her that they were witches and all about the curse and the requirements to attempt to break it. Cassandra knew she was “the one” so her training began. She had just over 3 years to prepare as the only chance she had was on her 16th birthday.
They’d moved the to the palace of the White Witch Queen, Lorissa to begin her training. She also began school in the village and made some friends. Cassandra lived a dual live as human and witch, but she grew strong in her magic very quickly. She created her dragon Greargon, gave him magic, trained him to be her familiar, and they became fast friends. He would play a vital part in the plan to destroy Zythora.
She also had the backing of her coven who would be there to assist. It was quite the 3 year journey but they’d made it and believed they were ready to do battle with the strongest witch to have ever lived.
You have such a big role your majesty at such a young age, exactly how old are you? I just turned 16 today.
How is it you have a pet dragon? I made him a couple years ago. I needed a familiar and helper and I so wanted a dragon from the moment my mother mentioned one in passing. I just knew at that moment I would have my very own. We are such good friends Greargon and I. (pronounced Greergun)
Do you have a boy friend? I suppose I do. I am good friends with a boy I’ve known for a few years now and he has all the qualities I’d want in a boyfriend. We are now officially in the first stages of courtship; so hopefully things will progress in a good way. This is all new to me.
What a lovely necklace, where ever did you get it? It was a gift from King Baltazaar, thanking me for my efforts in attempting to break the curse on his kingdom so he could once again love his wife Queen Angelica. It was one of his mother’s prized pieces of jewelry. I think it’s rather exquisite myself.
When did you find out you were a witch? I was twelve years old. My mother had raised me without magic for all those years.
And did you know how powerful you would become? I didn’t at the time, but the more I found out about myself and my world, the more determined I became to become powerful so I could protect not just my loved ones, but the world I was learning about.
Do you tend to practice your magic alone or as part of a coven? Alone mainly. My mother trained me and would explain what I needed to do, and monitor my progress, but I knew I’d have to work with our coven if there was any hope of breaking the curse.
What are your plans for the future, will we be reading any more of your adventures soon? I haven’t given it much thought as my life is really just getting started. I do, however, have an entire world to explore, people and creatures to meet and places and things to see.
If you could give us one piece of advice what would it be? Believe in yourself, work hard, be honest in all your dealings and you can do whatever you set your mind to do.
Airamoor, the human kingdom, and Drenidore, the fairy kingdom, are under the curse of the evil witch Zythora. She was humiliated when King Baltazaar fell in love with the fairy queen. She’d had him under a spell, but it wasn’t enough to stop his love for Angelica. She placed both kingdoms and everyone and every creature in them under a spell where no magic could be performed and no love of any kind was to be had, so long as she lived.
She cast so many spells, she was exhausted and fortunately the white witches were quick to act. They cast a spell on her while she was weak, bound her and buried her in the center of Drenidore until she could be destroyed.
The curse can only be broken by a witch who is in the same bloodline as Zythora, who feels the call to save the kingdoms, is strong enough in her powers, and willing to take the chance that she will not be destroyed in the process. The main stipulation is the spell has to be spoken on that witch’s 16th birthday.
Cassandra has just discovered she is a witch and it’s a little over three years until her 16th birthday. She meets all the criteria and is convinced she can destroy Zythora and break the curse with the help of her coven. This is her journey and coming of age story. She has three years to perfect her craft and devise a plan to break the curse. She is the only hope they’ve had in 650 years and may be their last hope ever.
That sounds like an awesome read, Kathy. Thanks for telling us about it, and to Cassandra for being such a great guest.
Make sure to grab your copy of this fantasy adventure (I have mine!). If you’d like to know more about Kathy and her other books you can check out this interview with her.
Hi guys, today I have the honour of interviewing a breakout author with an incredible imagination and an intriguing new world you’ll be dying to visit! A huge welcome to C. A. Ardron.
Hi Christine! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello, Kay, and to everyone reading this.
Ok, a bit about myself. I’m 33 and live in the UK. Been writing on and off for a good ten years but Predgarians is my first published work. When I’m not writing or editing you’ll find me drinking all sorts of different tea, listening to metal and playing the odd computer game.
I also have a tiny cat. He’s half-munchkin so is the smallest cat in the area. When he was a tiny kitten he was too little for his claws so we called him Logan. (He never did grow into them either.)
Why did you decide to become an author?
You can thank my brother for that, I think. When I was a child I loved reading (not that I don’t now, of course.) I loved fantasy, my earliest memory of books I enjoyed were the Chronicles of Narnia. Also the Hobbit, anything by David Eddings and one of my personal favourites, Spellfire by Ed Greenwood, a Forgotten Realms tale.
My brother shared my love of fantasy as well reading scifi and horror. He was continuously writing stories and this encouraged me to try it too. Taking that step really opened my eyes, reading is great, but being able to step into my own worlds filled me with an indescribable joy.
You have an incredible amount of bonus material for your upcoming series on your website, how long have you spent on your worldbuilding? Give us your top Predgarians fact.
Predgarians has been in the making for years. I started writing the first draft of Jackal’s Gambit when I was 18, wow, guess that makes it about 15 years now. The concept for Predgarians has evolved over time, but it first entered my head when I was mid-teens.
A Predgarians fact, ey? Okay, here’s one for you, Predgarians ended up as scifi/fantasy but it began as classic fantasy. It was originally about five people thrown together and given magical talismans to fight against a dark order. Fifteen years later there are five Orders instead of five people, giant reptiles, magic and science and an alien invasion…go figure.
Interestingly, those five original characters are mentioned on occasion – as the founders of the Orders.
What do you most enjoy writing? Are there any parts of the process or types of scene you find tricky?
I love fantasy, and I do intend to let loose some straight fantasy adventures into the world. I enjoy writing dialogue, I’ve had to work hard on my description. I’ve improved a lot over the last five or so years – I think my description is acceptable now, before I used to cringe at it sometimes.
Tell us about some of your favourite books.
Well, I’ve already told you some. Big fan of the Wheel of Time series, the animal based novels by William Horwood. I’ve read so much fantasy over the years, I can’t remember the titles or authors. I remember the name Katherine Kerr, I think. Some manner of dragon series with druidism and reincarnation. Actually, it inspired me to write a fantasy novel using her unique style of splitting times – look out for it over the next few years, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
What does a typical writing session look like for you? Do you have any routines to help you get in the zone?
Not really, I probably should have. I try to get any distractions out the way before I start, stuff like breakfast, washing the pots, that kind of thing. I’m one of those annoying people that need near enough complete silence to work – I get distracted so easily. Seriously, someone walking past me can distract me.
What I do have is a story and chapter-by-chapter synopsis of whatever I’m writing. That way, when I do begin to write I can plunge straight in, knowing exactly what my next scene is – no staring at a blank page for half the morning.
What do you think makes a great character?
Well, there are many, many types of characters, and they all have their plus points. Personally though, I think it helps if their likable, relatable. A few flaws maybe, showcasing their humanness. Something they’re working towards you can really get behind. Something they’re doing that makes you want to travel by their side, egging them on, holding your breath when it gets rocky, praying they’ll succeed, come through it in one piece.
Do you have any plans to branch into other genres, or are you a crazed fantasy addict like me?
I do like fantasy. It’s a little strange, growing up that’s what it was all about for me, wanting to join the ranks of those awesome fantasy authors who inspired my own imagination. Cut to present day…I’m writing scifi/fantasy – and loving it.
I have many ideas for straight fantasy, but honestly, I believe my greatest work occurs when I merge fantasy with a different genre.
If you woke up in a fantasy land, what race would you be? What powers would you have?
Human-elf hybrid: Battlemage. Too quick an answer? I swear I haven’t thought about this before. Yeah, ok, I have. I’ve always loved the idea of a battlemage, or spellsword as they’re sometimes called. Everyone has different ideas of what that would look like but mine is clad in leather armour, wielding a runed short sword as well as a smattering of spells.
Tell us all about your upcoming release!
You realise I can talk about this for hours? I’ll try to be brief. So Predgarians: Jackal’s Gambit as I’ve mentioned, is scifi/fantasy. It takes place on a world called Courin which is fairly similar to earth but in some ways completely different.
It follows the story of Jay Morgan and Karen Fireirro as they become involved with the dangerous Sarpiens, servants of the sclithe, an alien race bent on world domination.
Sounds too scifi? Enter the Predgarians, an Order dedicated to protecting the world from this threat, oh, and they have magical medallions. Hopefully that’ll whet your appetite.
My writing style is fast-paced and action-packed. You pick up a Predgarians book I doubt you’ll find yourself bored.
What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?
Courtesy of my best friend, (because I couldn’t think of anything,) how did you come up with the name, Predgarians?
Predgarians is one of the first ever fantasy-esque names I came up with as a child. Because of that, it’s always held a special place in my heart. I’ve had several stories over the years with this word in it, but I’ve always been adamant that one day I would produce a story, publish a story, and Predgarians would be there. You could say that the Predgarians have been my faithful traveling companions for many years.
Christine Ardron is 33 years old, living in Nottinghamshire, England.
She enjoys writing fantasy and scifi and very often mixes them together to create unique worlds, characters and storylines.
Christine has been writing for as long as she can remember, and though her true love is in fantasy, she delves into many facets of story-telling, including dark scifi, comedy and even the occasional horror.
Christine has also written scripts for amateur theatre companies, and has enjoyed acting and occasional directing. She also enjoys creating dark, philosophical poetry.
When Christine doesn’t have her head in one of her many worlds, she can be found listening to her beloved power metal and offering many forms of tea to anyone who happens to pop in.
Hi guys, today I’m introducing you to a lovely lady with a big heart and big ideas, Kathy Roberts!
Hi, Kathy! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Age 56, Married, mother of a daughter almost 16. 5’4″, weight: too much. I’m a WV native and still reside there. I love to cook and eat of course. I love to travel. I’ll talk your ear off, especially about my books. I am very involved at church and love to attend. Spending time with family and friends is high on my list of things to do as well.
You write across a lot of different genres; do you have a favourite and are there others that you want to try out?
I have always loved romance and still do so that one is at the top. I’m currently working on a fantasy novel which is new for me. I sort of just take them as they come.
The hardest thing I’ve written was a short story to submit for a charity anthology. Political spoof in the sci-fi or horror genre. Unfortunately I wasn’t accepted, but was thrilled to be asked as the likes of Steven King was going to be in it. It turned out pretty good, I printed up some copies took to my signing and sold 20 copies at $2 each. No complaints and quite a bit of praise for my take on how the system works.
What are some of your favourite books and what do you have next on your to-read list?
recently read a 5 book series about vampires and hunters (Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand), a 5 of 7 books in a series about shapeshifters “The Union Series” I LOVED this and cant wait for the rest(books 6 &7 have not been written yet) Shawn also wrote “Children of the Alliance Series” about witches.
I am awaiting the completion of the Antecedent Series by Susan Stumpf as well as “The Union Series” In the meantime, I’m reading “The Waking Dream” by J.D. Tippey a zombie book, but definitely not your typical. And will be reading “Shady Bay” (romance) by Casey Bond after that.
You say that you like practical jokes, there must be some funny stories there, right?
I made a sponge cake for ladies group at church once, it was beautiful, but after sawing on it for 3 minutes, I finally convinced the elderly lady that it was REALLY sponge. She got a little miffed at me. In my defence, I did have real cake there too.
Then one time I had a subpoena served on a co-worker who had made fence posts from old power poles. He had them legally, but definitely thought he was being sued by the power company. He was trying to figure out how to dig up a couple hundred fence posts and keep his animals in the field all within two weeks. Plus he’d have to find some way of disposing of them. After a couple hours of letting him sweat, he finally came and asked me if I knew what he should do. I told him I knew a good attorney and gave him the name that was on the “Legal” document he had just shown me. It took a minute, but it finally hit him. As dawn was entering his mind, he asked how I knew this attorney and I told him from the subpoena I had. I then produced a copy of his and confessed. I’m so glad we were good friends or I might have ended up buried in a post hole somewhere.
You’re taking part in some fundraisers later in the year, can you tell us about them and how you came to be involved?
I am always on the lookout for places to set up and sign books, especially close to home. When an event is not just about money, but helping other’s I’m more interested than ever. All these charities are about families and helping them during horrible times in their lives and giving them hope and help that they may not be able to get anywhere else.
8/26/17 The Cupcake Festival in Milton WV this year (first two years was in Hurricane but the park is being developed so they had to move. All proceeds go to The Children’s Miracle Network. My check for vendor space is made directly to the charity. They provide medical care for children who cannot afford it. I personally know children who’ve gone there for help an had to pay absolutely nothing.
I’ll be at an event in Beckley WV “Beckley Holiday Jam on 11/11/17 that gives proceeds to Just For Kids, Inc.
You describe your books as being ‘about the journey’ why is this an important topic for you and did you plan your books to be that way or realise it after writing them?
I didn’t plan that and actually didn’t realize it until I was telling a friend about my current work and in describing the lead character’s role it hit me that they’re all really about the journeys and there are many things in my books that could help people through trials or struggles they’re going through. “The Elevator” for instance. If someone has nothing specific they want me to write when I sign it, I write “Hope Changes Everything” as many times during our heroine’s captivity in the elevator, she wouldn’t have survived without hope and that’s our lives many times as well. Once hope is gone, our life is meaningless. Suicides occur, people go insane, become prostitutes, alcoholics, etc.
What kind of crafts do you do? Do you have any pictures of your favourite creations to share?
I don’t have pics as I give away most everything I do. I crochet a little. I sew a little (used to a lot), I used to do ceramics, but I currently am painting rocks to hide with my daughter (Western WV Rocks on facebook ).
I’m working on being a better painter. I’ve done two on my own and one at Uncork & Create with my friend. A lot of varied stuff. If I see it on line and think someone I know might light that, then I make it. I’ve made bubble bath, keychains, magnets, and straws for my books. You know how everyone loves SWAG!
Who is your favourite fictional character and what questions would you ask if you could meet them?
It’s truly hard to pick just one, but I’m going to go with Elle Woods. I’ve seen those movies probably 30 times. I understand where she’s coming from and how she evolved into a much better person because she set out to win back the one thing (person) she wanted so badly. She is inspiring. Reminds us when we’re true to ourselves, we can achieve anything!
I guess the question I’d ask is “What would you say to someone who was told they couldn’t do something?” But then again I know the answer to that..”You must always have faith in others, but more importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”
I play bass at my church, what areas do you get involved at yours?
I am the secretary and clerk. I sing in the choir as well as our family group, and I make the bulletin covers and usually head up the crafts for VBS.
Tell us all about your latest release!
Latest is dear to me as it’s set in my home state of WV. Sci-Fi about time travel. The professor has perfected his calculations and theories and is utilizing students from West Virginia University to do the actual testing in the Laurel Fork Federal Wilderness Area in the mountains of WV to find the exact power source to achieve time travel. NASA is funding the internship and within days they all agree should or rather when they achieve their goal they must at all cost keep it from the government. It was too big for any political power to have. There would be too much changing of the past, present and future if they could jump back and forth at will to make or prevent things from happening. So they literally put their lives on the line should they achieve, do not disclose, and the government finds out. Lots of twist and turns. Plus as an added bonus the book solves one of the greatest mysteries of the 21st century. Well fictionally at least, unless you’re a true believer that people are time traveling right now and have been for years—then it won’t be fiction to you.
You can buy it here
What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?
If I could help you in any way whatsoever with your books and the sale thereof, what could I do?
Spread the word, and convince readers to leave reviews. It literally helps us writers sell books and costs the reader only a couple minutes of their time. It’s as simple as clicking 5 stars and saying “I loved this book!” Or 3 stars and “It was well written, but I didn’t like it ending in a cliff hanger.” (None of mine do and I can’t imagine I’d ever do that, because I hate cliff hangers, but it’s an example for you.)
Kathy is a lifelong native of West Virginia. She’s
married and the mother of a 15-year-old daughter,
Breanna. She is very involved in her church,
and loves spending time with family and friends.
She currently works at Precision Samplers, Inc. in
South Charleston, WV as an Administrative Assistant.
Kathy always had a passion for romance novels, but
real romance, not super “mushy”, or erotica.
“Scars of the Heart” is her first novel, “Truth Heals the
Heart” is the sequel. It starts the day after the first one ends;
However both are stand-alone books set in medieval times.
She switched genres for her third book, it’s a paranormal called “The Elevator” set in the future and is a very inspiring book; and yet again for her fourth “Chasing the Rift”. It is a sci-fi about time travel, set in her home state of West Virginia.
She also has a series 6 of self-help/teaching children’s books written “Adventures With Freddy” and has finally found an illustrator, so they will start being released in March 2017 as well.
You can find more information about Roberts’ books via the following links:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorkathyroberts Likes appreciated.
Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org (be sure to put one of her book titles in the subject line so it’s not recognized as spam. You can order books, ask questions, or just say hello.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Kathy.
Make sure to check out her links, and these other great titles by her…
This is the story of Samantha Keller, she is “trapped” in an elevator by some entity. She must free 500 souls and find someone to take her place before she can leave. She’s not sure who or what her captor is, but she has no choice but to obey if she ever wants to secure her freedom. All the while hoping the entity would live up to the bargain if she fulfilled her command. To free souls, she has to first discover what their problem is that’s haunting them and then help them or get them help to resolve their issues in order to move on with their lives.
Like Samantha, most people don’t even know they have problems or stuff that’s pulling them down or holding them back. She has to help them see their issues and they must want help to “fix” their lives and become happy productive citizens again. It’s a journey for Samantha into her own soul as she works to help others. Can she do it? Can she become a better person herself? Does she really have issues that have her burdened down? Can she survive the loneliness and solitude? Will she ever be free? If she does become free, what will have happened to her former life and what would she do then? Homeless? Alone? No job or prospects? No friends? It was going to be a trial getting through this and surviving afterwards as well. Samantha is a tough woman and is hoping that will help her make it free, after all; what else could she do but try?
Buy it here
Scars of the Heart
Scars of the Heart is set in medieval times. It’s about Katrina, who is cast, through tragedy, into an unheard of relationship. She blossoms into a beautiful and exotic young lady and is about to be presented to society. To be so young, she is extremely adept at handling whatever comes her way and has the self-control and street smarts to do what’s needed, even if it means losing her life.
Markus, prince and heir to the throne, who’s chivalry nearly costs him his life; falls for the beautiful Katrina. While struggling against the physical demands of his body to keep her moral demands of virginity intact, he devises an elaborate plan to make her fall in love with him. One fatal moment in time intertwines the two of them together, in spite of all the adversity to come their way and the deceitfulness required to bring it all about to Markus’ satisfaction.
Alexander is our villain in this story and he uses all his wiles to charm Katrina into falling in love with him while secretly trying to destroy Markus and his family.
They’re all in danger. While trying to save one another in a cat and mouse game of deceit and lies, intrigue and murder, they each may end up losing what matters the most. It’s a dangerous game and not everyone can be the winner.
Buy it here
Truth Heals the Heart
“Truth Heals the Heart” will show you a romance that even prison can’t stop. Our characters have managed to overcome the obstacles of their pasts, but can’t seem to move on with their futures. Secrets have been discovered, secrets are still being kept. They’re trapped in the bonds of the law. Although the guilty has repented, the sentence can’t be reprieved. Treason is the unforgivable act and Alexander has done the unforgivable. Lady Penelope has won his heart, but will he be able to win his freedom. It’s a game of give and take, wanting and can’t having, having and not knowing how to take hold of it. If only the prison bars were not in the equation. While Markus and Katrina fight their own emotions and desires, they are trapped as well, helpless to do anything about it. Meanwhile life goes on, babies are born, time passes, love grows stronger, people change and no one can figure out how to bring it all together. Some secrets remain and are so deeply hidden, there’s only one person left alive that can reveal the truth. The Nanny!
Buy it here
Hi guys, today I’m interviewing a man with great experience across many areas of the writing world, Prakash Vir Sharma.
Hi Prakash! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi Kay !
Thanks for providing me an opportunity for this interview.
Basically I am a management and engineering professional as well as an educationalist by qualification. I am best known for my impartial analytical opinions on political, social and religious issues. I am also a passionate social thinker. The books “Pratibimb” and “Mahakte Panne” were published by Yuvraj Prakashan which consist of my prominent works.
My first book ” Kathputli”, which was published in March 2017, made news for two months right from social media to print media.
”Kathputli was my first independent venture and was self-published. Within a month “Kathputli” was available worldwide on major platforms like Amazon, Createspace, smashwords, Bol and Ebay, Kmart, Abebooks etc while it is available in India on Shop101, Iglobale, Bookdhara, Pothi and Flipkart in e-book and paperback versions.
I started writing for newspapers as a freelancer in early 1990s. Starting from Hindi weekly ”Shrambheri”, I continued to display my skills in the form of articles, poems and stories in various newspapers and magazines till date.
At present, with 24 years of technical experience in steel industry, I am working with India’s leading steel manufacturing company as Senior Manager. Although a native of Moradabad (India), I am currently staying in Kolkata with my wife, a son and a daughter.
What are your favourite genres to read and write?
My favourite genres include Motivational, Self help, Short stories. Being a social worker I love to write on social issues and as a critic writing on political issues is my passion.
Your books are about some deep concepts, please tell us a bit more about them.
Yes, you are absolutely right. My deep concepts are due to my thought process which is independent and based on management principles, mostly PDCA cycle. Being an Indian, I am spiritual and believe in developing my own philosophy. You will be surprised to know that my pen name on facebook is “Swatantra Bhartiya”which means “An independent Indian” and I use to say my friends that it’s not just a name rather it is an ideology.
What first inspired you to write, and what still inspires you now?
Kay ! As I already told you about my starting point of writing, at that time I was eager to get my name published in newspapers, when I got success in that I wished to write books. I have written one complete and one incomplete novels in Hindi but could not get those published due to resources. Once I came to know about self publishing in 2014, I started writing short stories and published these as a book “Kathputli”. Now success of that book inspired me to continue my writing. In May’17 I came to know about StorytellerUK2017 award and I submitted my second book “Life In Shackles” which stood first in the contest on the basis of average customer reviews. I am surprised to see it’s excellent sales in UK, US and India. That’s it.
You also write poetry; do you have a favourite poem to share with us?
Well, Kay ! I have written poems in my mother tongue. I will definitely send some of those to you once I do something in English. However, I would like to share with you few lines from my recent book “Life In Shackles”
With whom she takes oath to spent her life
For whom she comes leaving her family
The house where she spent her childhood
All that joy and memories she leaves for him
She dreams for a happier married life
But finds herself stunned hearing Divorce
What a tradition this Talaq is !
Always she gets hurt by her own……
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is “The Secret”by Rhonda Byrne.
What do you do to relax?
When I face writer’s block, I do spent my time in reading Spiritual, Philosophical and Inspirational books.
If you could change something about the world, what would it be?
I wish to be a peacemaker who could be followed worldwide for sincere efforts towards mankind.
What are your plans for the future?
I had rough manuscripts of about half a dozen books of various genres. I sincerely wish to publish at least two books every year.
Tell us all about your latest release! (Or an upcoming one if you have a new release soon.)
My latest release “Life In Shackles” is within 50k rank among Amazon’s best sellers. My upcoming inspirational book will be released by May’18.
What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?
I will be glad to share my success stories if someone would ask during an interview. I am planning to write a book on that too.
Hi guys, my latest cinema trip was to see the new Marvel offering, Spider-Man: Homecoming. I was excited to go and see a Spider-Man film that was produced by Marvel Studios (Sony has had the sole movie rights to that character so far) but he isn’t one of my favourite heroes. So, I think I came out with an unbiased review, even though my sister calls me a Marvel fangirl.
This is the third version of Spider-Man that we’ve seen so far and I can say that it’s easily my favourite. Tom Holland’s jokey, excitable fifteen-year-old is a such a fun character to watch. He maintains a fantastic balance between being a hero that wants to use his new-found powers for good, and being a typical student that wants to be accepted by his peers and noticed by his crush.
I also loved watching a newbie hero again, most of The Avengers are well-established and confident in themselves and their abilities. Seeing Spider-Man struggle to figure out what he could do and being in a genuine panic sometimes as he dealt with intense situations was heart-warming, making you root for this young underdog. And they managed to do it without making an origin story!
The supporting cast were great too, obviously with the most prominent being Iron Man. Despite the heavy use of him in the advertising, he really was a background character and thankfully didn’t take over the film. But we all know he’s awesome so I don’t need to tell you about him.
Peter’s group of schoolfriends are hilarious, especially his best friend, Ned, and they draw you into the mundane half of hero life. All superheroes make sacrifices, but it’s so sad seeing a kid missing out on the normal things his friends are all doing because he has this huge responsibility he can’t even share with them. And it’s usually at these times that you see the weaknesses, struggles and depth to Peter’s character.
Spider-Man: Homecoming also has one of the best villains I’ve seen for a long time. I know we all adore Loki, but many of the big bads from superhero films aren’t that scary or memorable. The Vulture had a genuine motive for who he’d become, and was menacing enough to have me at that gut-fluttering, hands over my mouth state. And that was when he wasn’t even in his suit. I can’t say more about this without ruining one of the best parts of the movie, but you’ll know what I mean.
Overall, this was a different route than your usual Marvel fare, and it worked. It still had the great casting, effects and laugh out loud moments throughout, but it brought a fresh perspective from the small scale of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. As opposed to a battle for the world, or universe.
I usually talk about a few negatives too, but apart from some implausibility with things being fixed that were surely beyond repair, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The story is solid, with some well-done twists, and it was entertaining all the way to the end. And beyond- make sure you stay for both post-credits scenes.
I think you can tell that this a definite recommended watch from me, and I promise I’m being objective, even if I am a Marvel fangirl…
If you enjoyed this, check out my Wonder Woman review.
Today we are celebrating the release of Cecily Wolfe’s latest book, That Night. This is her first foray into the YA genre, and it’s already looking to be a hard-hitting and emotional read. Cecily is a wonderful author and person, and if this seems like your kind of book you should definitely go and grab yourself a copy!
Drug overdoses don’t happen to girls with good grades and athletic prowess, with longtime friends and a devoted boyfriend. Or do they?
When high school seniors Cassidy and Sarah, along with Kayla’s boyfriend Paul, discover their best friend Kayla unconscious at a party, the idea that they have lost her to a heroin overdose is unbelievable. She didn’t use drugs, except the pain medicine prescribed for a soccer injury, and she had no reason to accept any from a stranger. The month that follows her death is filled with anxiety, sadness, frustration, and questions. Answers won’t bring Kayla back, however, so as Cass and Sarah struggle with the insensitive but predictable behavior of parents, classmates, and teachers, Paul falls into a depression that leads him down a dangerous path. With Kayla’s younger sister Mia in mind, the three of them work towards forging ahead without the girl who has held them together since elementary school.
Get your copy of That Night on Amazon.
Praise for Cecily Wolfe:
Had me riveted from page one. (Interviews & Reviews on Throne of Grace)
A solid historical romance. (Goodreads reviewer on Throne of Grace)
Artful description. (Amazon reviewer on A Harvest of Stars)
Powerfully written and well-crafted. (The Genre Minx on Reckless Treasure)
Brilliant job developing characters. (Amazon reviewer on Reckless Treasure)