Monday, March 31, 2014

Blog Ring of Power--Vera Nazarian

Today on the Blog Ring of Power, we have Vera Nazarin, author of The Cobweb Bride, a book I read and enjoyed. She's here to tell us about her latest work.You can read the rest of the interview at the links below:

About You : The Writing Life : The Creative Process : Words of Wisdom



Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

Cobweb Forest is book three of the Cobweb Bride trilogy, and it concludes the very intricate Renaissance historical epic fantasy romance story that is also a retelling of the Persephone myth. More so than the first two books, this book is somewhat more dark and yes, very intense. But it is also transcendent. The book was released on December 31, 2013, in trade hardcover, trade paperback, and various ebook formats. You can buy it anywhere online (Amazon, B&N, etc), and you can also have your bookstores and libraries special order it. See the official website for more info and buy links.

Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

I really think this trilogy has a fresh and original plot, and many mysterious twists and turns, and some truly intense character relationships. I take the old trope of “death takes a holiday” and twist it around and use it in a historical and mythic context, plus throw in a whole bunch of cosmology and philosphy. To say any more would be to give the story away.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The ending of a series is always particularly difficult because the author is gently saying goodbye to the characters and the world, and at the same time is responsible for a satisfactory resolution, for tying up of all the plotlines and loose ends, and that goes double (or triple, or quadruple) for an epic novel. In addition, there is one part of the story which I cannot reveal now, but it nearly destroyed me, while writing it. It was the single most difficult thing I’ve ever had to write, and I cried all through it, both in first draft and during edits. But it was cathartic, and necessary, and it turned out very well, I believe.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The long awaited appearance of the various Greek Gods, especially sexy enigmatic Hades, was highly enjoyable for me. There was one particular chapter that was extremely sexy and erotic, and it revealed some interesting secrets. However, my absoltue favoirite places involved romantic revelations for the major characters, with much long awaited joy and exultation for the reader.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I learned that, as I wrote in the beginning of the novel, “There is only Love—and Stories. All else is but a shadow dream.”

Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

As an award winning artist, I myself designed and created all of the covers for this series. I use elements of classical world art to put together magical and beautiful images that are steeped in history and antiquity.



VERA NAZARIAN is a two-time Nebula Award Nominee, award-winning artist, member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and a writer with a penchant for moral fables and stories of intense wonder, true love, and intricacy.

She is the author of critically acclaimed novels Dreams of the Compass Rose and Lords of Rainbow, as well as the outrageous parodies Mansfield Park and Mummies and Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons, and most recently, Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret in her humorous and surprisingly romantic Supernatural Jane Austen Series, and the epic Renaissance fantasy Cobweb Bride Trilogy.

After many years in Los Angeles, Vera lives in a small town in Vermont, and uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art.

Her official author website is www.veranazarian.com


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The world is broken... A dark Goddess rises. A mortal maiden must stop her.

COBWEB FOREST (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book Three) is the third and final book of the intricate epic fantasy flavored by Renaissance history and the romantic myth of Persephone, about death's ultimatum to the world.

Percy Ayren, ordinary girl from the small village of Oarclaven, and now Death's Champion, has delivered the Cobweb Bride to Lord Death--or so she thinks!

But nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Percy and Beltain Chidair, the valiant and honorable Black Knight, discover that even more is at stake than anyone could have imagined, when ancient gods enter the fray.

It is now a season of winter darkness. Gods rise and walk the earth in unrelieved desire, and the Longest Night is without end...

Meanwhile, landmarks continue to disappear throughout the realm. The cruel Sovereign's dead armies of the Trovadii clad in the colors of pomegranate and blood march north... As the mad Duke Hoarfrost continues to lay siege to the city of Letheburg, it is up to Claere Liguon, the Emperor's dead daughter and the passionate Vlau Fiomarre who killed her, to take a stand against the enemy.

But Percy still has a difficult task to do, the greatest task of all... For in the end the Cobweb Bride awaits, together with the final answer.

At last all the occult mysteries are revealed in this stunning conclusion to the Cobweb Bride trilogy.

Buy/Book Links:

Goodreads:

Amazon:

BarnesandNoble:

Smashwords:

Apple iTunes:

Sony:

Is your book in print, ebook or both?

Ebook, Trade Hardcover, and Trade Paperback.


 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Children of the Shadows Blog Tour--Book Excerpt

Today I'm hosting Joleene Naylor as part of her Children of Shadows blog tour. Please see below for an excerpt, further information about the book, and a chance to enter a contest.


Katelina told herself she’d misheard Ume’s final question, and with that denial managed to slip into dreams of burning light and running blood. Eventually the screams faded into darkness.

The wind was chilly and Katelina saw that she was standing in front of a lake. Snow was sprinkled on the ground around her feet and ripples danced across the surface of the water. The world was cloaked in night, but she had a sense of nature; trees and plants rustled and whispered. She could see the outline of a building hiding in the dark. A siren wailed low and far away.

She turned to see someone standing near her in the snow. He gazed into the distance, staring at something she couldn’t see. His long black hair stirred in the breeze and she held herself back from touching it; from running her fingers through the silky strands.

“Does it please you?”

She wasn’t sure what the question referred to: his hair, their location, the warm soothing tranquility that spread through her, so she chose the second and said, “I’m tired of the cold.”

“The world is cold. Cold faces, cold words, and cold hearts. All war, fight, betray, and steal to take everything that they can—gold, land, lives—with the hope that these will keep them warm. But one cannot steal warmth from another. One must make their own warmth.”

The words felt like wisdom, but in the dream she couldn’t grasp their full meaning. “I don’t understand.”

“Of course you do, you need only acknowledge it. But be not troubled. You will come to see the truth when you are ready.”

When Katelina woke the next evening she felt she’d dreamt something important. She blinked against the gloomy darkness, to find snatches, like wisps of cloud. There was a feeling of peace, a distant siren, a lake, but she couldn’t remember the rest. The cold of the floor seeped through her layers, and he Christmas lights flickered. Many of the bulbs were burnt out and left the strand looking like a gap toothed grimace. In the false twilight she could see the other vampires standing, stretching, and leaving. She rolled over to find that Jorick was still asleep. She brushed his hair back from his face, and gently traced his cool lips. The blisters were gone, and he was perfect again.

Though extra sleep probably wouldn’t hurt him, she didn’t like the idea of him being helpless while the Black Vigil was awake. “Jorick,” she whispered and shook him gently. “Jorick.”

He stirred, and came to with a deep, gasping breath, like someone who just remembered they needed air; not that he did. He sat up quickly, his head darting from side to side. “What is it?”

“It’s all right. I wanted to tell you the others are waking.”

He followed the Black Vigil with his eyes and yawned. “Yes. They would rise earlier than me since they’re sun walkers.”

Katelina nodded. “Ume said something like that last night.”

Jorick’s confusion melted away as he pulled the memories from her mind. “How disappointing. I’d hoped she’d make the red-headed clown squirm more than that. Never mind. Come, we’ll see if they have any facilities for humans.”

Fethillen was in the room at the bottom of the stairs. She sat in a folding chair, wearing a pair of headphones, and tapping a strange metal contraption that clicked rhythmically. She stopped and listened. Katelina eyed Jorick curiously and he murmured, “Morse code.”

“You mean like they used on the Titanic?”

He nodded and Fethillen removed the headphones. “I didn’t think you’d wake until later.” She turned and gave Jorick and Katelina a once over. “The sun is already gone.” She motioned to the stairs. “You’re welcome to find what you can. I’m afraid we have no food for humans. We don’t keep them.”

Katelina gave Jorick a horrified look. Did she mean they’d have to hunt something and cook it like barbarians?


Joleene Naylor is the author of Amaranthine, a paranormal series where vampires live in the shadows and don’t sparkle. She grew up in southwest Iowa surrounded by soybeans, corn and very little entertainment – so she made her own. She has been writing and drawing since she was a small child, with a particular leaning towards fantasy, horror and paranormal. It is this love of all that goes bump in the night that led her to write the Amaranthine series. 
In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer and photographer. Joleene maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar Missouri with their miniature zoo. However, unless she starts buying tickets she won’t win anything.

The sixth installment of the Amaranthine series pulsates with the dark blood of vampire lore.
The Children of Shadows, a vampire cult not seen for hundreds of years, resurfaces to wage war on the vampire guilds. Led by a familiar face, the cult wreaks havoc while Katelina and Jorick are trapped in Munich. Ume, a mysterious vampiress, claims to know Verchiel and offers the help of her secret organization. But can they trust her?
As mysteries are solved, new ones appear. Why have the Children of Shadows returned, and is it really a former ally that leads them, or a look-alike?
Legends rise and secrets are revealed in a world where vampires walk, drenched in blood and shadows.


Buy links:
Paperback -
Amazon Kindle- (I won’t have this until closer to release)
B&N NOOKbook -
Smashwords -
itunes -

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Blog Ring of Power: J. Kathleen Cheney

Today on the Blog Ring of Power, we're featuring J. Kathleen Cheney. Please check the other parts of her interview at the links below:

About You
The Writing Life
The Creative Process
Words of Wisdom


Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?  

My new book is The Seat of Magic, the sequel to The Golden City.  It takes up two weeks after The Golden City leaves off, and follows Duilio as he confronts a new string of murders.  It will be out July 1, and is already available for preorder at most book retailers. 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

 I always like scenes that take place in ballrooms, where things that shouldn't happen in society do.  So this book has a chapter that takes place in a ballroom where my heroine gets to turn a lot of heads.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?  

Since it's the second in a series, it's been a real continuity struggle.  Not only do I have to have every little detail in this book straight, but I have to catch any niggling little differences between the two books.  So I'm hoping that I'll be better organized next time.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

 I think I would.  I went very 'American' in this book, meaning that I changed a lot of Portuguese things in order to make them easier for American readers to understand.  If I started over again, I would leave more things in the Portuguese style.

Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

It was all the art department and my excellent editor, Danielle.  I was asked for my suggestions, but what they put together was far better than anything that entered my mind.




J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist.  Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen's Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella "Iron Shoes" was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist.  Her novel, "The Golden City" came out from Penguin in 2013.  The sequel, "The Seat of Magic" will come out July, 2014.

Her website can be found at www.jkathleencheney.com


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For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone....



Goodreads: The Golden City and The Seat of Magic

Amazon: The Golden City and The Seat of Magic

Barnes and Noble: The Golden City and The Seat of Magic







Friday, March 21, 2014

Science of the Week, 3/21/14

Spring is finally and officially here! (I know the first day was yesterday, but since it's also my parents' anniversary today, I always think of 3/21 as the first day of spring.)

The main science news for the week is the discovery of gravitational waves that Einstein predicted. These waves provide additional support for the Big Bang theory.

Here are some other science news articles I found interesting:

Stretchable antenna for wearable health monitoring

Antarctic telescope may have provided the first direct evidence of origins of the universe

Children's preferences for sweeter and saltier tastes are linked to each other

Simulating how the Earth kick-started metabolism

Honey is a new approach to fighting antibiotic resistance

Climate change will reduce crop yields sooner than we thought

MIT team creates bionic plants

Emotion detectors could make driving safer

The precise reason for the health benefits of dark chocolate: mystery solved


Have a good weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.












Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Setting and Reaching Personal Goals

I've been engaged in a semi-secret project for the last year. Last March, I was inspired to write a haiku, and I promptly decided I wanted to write a haiku every day for a year. I just completed the year yesterday. Part of my personal challenge to myself was publishing the collection, even if poetry is not the most popular genre out there. The main thing I have to do now is assemble the back matter and format the collection. I've already added Life at Seventeen Syllables a Day: A Journal in Haiku to Goodreads. It should be available in both paper and Kindle formats next month.

I'm also engaged in a month-long challenge to make this a "Meatless March." After reading Meatonomics last month, I realized the current practices of the food industry are not sustainable in the long run. Therefore, in order to make the future a little better for my son, I'm practicing lacto-ovo-vegetarianism this month. So far, it hasn't been too bad. It helps that after being on Weight Watchers in 2012, I've learned to eat a greater variety of vegetables and have some recipes I like. The hardest part is juggling different meals for everyone in the house (ironically, my husband is on the South Beach diet) and going out to eat. The restaurants I've been to this month specialize in meat or seafood, so they don't provide much selection for vegetarian entrees.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to continue this diet long-term.

Being able to set and reach personal goals is vital to success in both writing and life. It can take a lot of discipline to make the changes necessary to meet these goals, and it's hard changing your habits. Some studies have shown that willpower can break down over the course of a day and that trying to stretch your willpower over too many projects can also lead to breakdown. (Hum, that could explain a few things...) So perhaps it's best to focus on a few personal goals and get them out of the way first thing in the morning. (Then you can go eat chocolate, right? I'm not ready to give that up yet!) A couple of personal traits that seem to help me keep on track are my conscientiousness and my stubbornness. The only downside is that if you really want to develop a stubborn streak, you have to be short. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

What tricks have you found that help you accomplish your personal goals?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blog Ring of Power--Matthew Cox

I have no idea if Matthew Cox is Irish or not, but it's his lucky day today, since he's appearing on the Blog Ring of Power. Here are the links to the other parts of his interview:

About You
The Writing Life
The Creative Process
About Your Current Work

Matthew will be sharing some words of wisdom with us:

Tell us about your route to success –did you use an agent? How did you land your agent and/or publisher?
I had been querying Division Zero for about nine months with little success from agents. I had a few partials, but I kept getting the same generic “this is great, but I just don’t feel like the right agent for this” responses. (I do appreciate getting the responses… the ones that just don’t reply are vexing.) While wondering if it was perhaps a problem with the query, I was on AQC and decided to ask a published writer (AW Exley, author of Nefertiti’s Heart and Hatshepsut’s Collar) if she would be willing to read the first 5 chapters. Since the query looked strong, I was concerned it might be the writing that was the problem.
After reading it, she suggested that I send a query to her publisher, Curiosity Quills directly without an agent. I did. A few weeks later they requested a full. A few weeks after that I got a request to make that change I mentioned earlier about the reveal. I agreed to make that revision, and they signed it 
Since then, I have also signed 5 other titles with them (soon to be 6), as well as a co-author contract with Tony Healey to do a deep-space Sci Fi series.

Why did you choose to go with a small/independent press?
AW had nothing but great things to say about CQ, as well as a few other writers that I met via AQC Chat. What ultimately did it though was their quirky email signature. I figured if they had a sense of humor as odd as mine, it would be a natural fit.

Is there anything you would have done differently during the querying and publishing process?
I can’t think of anything I could have done better or differently – aside from going to writer conferences and meeting agents in person; alas, such things are out of my budget right now.

What are the most important elements of good writing?
Solid believable characters who remain consistent to the character’s nature. A good plot, and writing that creates vivid imagery in the reader’s mind. Mechanical issues can be overlooked if mild, but some things such as overuse of adverbs, filtering, and long swaths of expository backstory/infodumping can take the reader right out of a scene.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Seek feedback from writers and total strangers. Consider that feedback. Don’t be afraid. The only true failure is never to try. I sat on a short story that would become caller 107 for almost ten years because I thought it was ‘too weird’ to appeal to anyone. Accept all criticism delivered as honest feedback; ignore all mean-spirited comments.

What do you feel is the key to your success?
I’ve been told I have a wild imagination and am very creative. I honestly don’t know what to say here – aside from a confluence of fortuitous events occurring in a specific sequence. Who knows… if one fedex truck was four seconds slower nineteen years ago on a Tuesday when it rained, I might not be writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope that you find the world of Division Zero entertaining, vivid, and meaningful. I am doing this to give people an escape from the drudgery of the real world, and hope that I am deserving of the time they devote to reading anything I’ve written. I would love to hear back from anyone that has read it with your comments. (msc@matthewcoxbooks.com)

What are your current / future project(s)?
The second and third books in the Division Zero series are in the works (writing finished and in various stages of editing). Caller 107 (the contemporary paranormal) is due out in July. Virtual Immortality, which is set in the same world as Division Zero, is also on the way. Book 1 and 2 of The Awakened series are at the publisher (again, in various stages of editing), and I am presently working on some short stories for an anthology they are putting out later this year. With Tony Healy, I am co-authoring Operation Chimera a deep-space sci fi story that is like Star Trek meets Wing Commander.
Soon, I will begin work on the 3rd (and remaining) titles in The Awakened series. After that, I have a few other projects in mind.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to thank Terri and Vicki for taking the time to lend me space on their blog. Also, I have some free fiction up on my website. Divergent Fate is a weekly installment fiction that I have been posting since going online.

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.


Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour. He is also fond of cats.

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Twitter: @mscox_fiction

Most cops get to deal with living criminals, but Agent Kirsten Wren is not most cops.

A gifted psionic with a troubled past, Kirsten possesses a rare combination of abilities that give her a powerful weapon against spirits. In 2418, rampant violence and corporate warfare have left no shortage of angry wraiths in West City. Most exist as little more than fleeting shadows and eerie whispers in the darkness.

Kirsten is shunned by a society that does not understand psionics, feared by those who know what she can do, and alone in a city of millions. Every so often, when a wraith gathers enough strength to become a threat to the living, these same people rely on her to stop it.

Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.

She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.

Amazon:

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