The Life and Times of Ichabod Brooks by Charles Yallowitz #NewRelease #Fantasy #Magic

Charles Yallowitz has a new release to share!

Spend your summer with Ichabod Brooks in this 11 story collection!  $2.99 on Amazon!

Cover Art by Circecorp

Enter the world of Windemere with 11 action adventure short stories featuring a man who is out to make an honest living.

Some heroes seek fame. Some seek fortune. Others simply want to save the world. Ichabod Brooks only wants to put food on the table for his family.

Known and respected as the man who can get any job done, Ichabod has seen his share of adventure. Most of which have been highly exaggerated by bards. Still, the man has his famous reputation for a reason. Whether it be climbing a temperamental mountain for eggs or escorting orphans to their new homes, Ichabod takes every job seriously and makes sure he is as prepared as he can be. Not that it helps since things always take a turn for the worse.

Available on Amazon!

Add it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: Preparing for Galaces

“Is this any way to greet an old friend?” a dwarf in dark gray chainmail asks before plugging his ears with his dark red beard. Wanting the bard to stop, the mountaineer marches over and puts a hand over the young woman’s mouth. “Are you supposed to use her as bait? I did hear there’s a hobgoblin pack that moved in a few months ago. You know how those drooling scavengers love elf flesh.”

“Sorry about that, Dex. She latched on at my last stop and I haven’t been able to shake her off,” Ichabod replies, shaking his guide’s hand. He rubs his own black and white beard at the sight of how his friend shows no sign of graying. “I have to give this one credit for tenacity, but this is where we part ways. Galaces Mountain is not a place to go unless you have experience, an excellent guide, and common sense. So far, I don’t see you having any of those things and I’m not going to babysit.”

“I must go. That’s the only way I can write about your newest adventure,” the bard insists, unwittingly proving Ichabod right. She crosses her arms and meets the icy stare of the dwarf, who she considers leaving out of her tale. “Being the first to speak of your climb will help my reputation. I promise not to cause any trouble and pull my own weight. Elves are graceful and agile, which makes us perfect companions for whatever it is you’re doing. Besides, Galaces Mountain doesn’t look like that bad a climb. The stories must be nothing more than colorful exaggerations.”

Ichabod puts on a pair of white-palmed gloves and slips a blue band on his finger, a charge going through his body to enhance his lungs. “I suddenly relate very well to this mountain. Take a look at the empty space between us and Galaces. You’ll see why this place has earned a reputation.”

The bard puts her lute over her shoulder and walks to the yellow rope, which sparks with a mild magic. At first, she is unsure of what she is supposed to pay attention to among the shrubs and fallen rocks. It takes the elf a few minutes to recognize weather worn bones sticking out from under a boulder. The limbs are splayed since the climber plummeted with the rough stone pressed against his back and the landing embedded him in the ground. Knowing what to look for, the bard realizes that there are at least ten old corpses hidden by the mountain’s litter. The bard spots the fresh body of a yellow-skinned creature sitting behind a shrub, the armored creature crumpled from landing butt first after its fall. She is about to ask a question when a small pain runs up her arm and she collapses into a magical slumber.

“Guess that’s more humane than knocking her on the head,” Dex mentions while Ichabod carries the young woman to the dwarf’s cart. He shields his eyes as he stares at the churning clouds that have been trapped around the peak. “Looks like the eagles captured a storm beneath their nest this year. Means the winds are going to be brutal and the tunnels are infested with horned spiders and revelers. Not going to be an easy trip. Sure, you don’t want someone else to take this contract?”

“I’d love to hand this off to someone else, but Chef Zyrk always insists that I take the job. I have no injuries, diseases, or family events, so I’m here,” Ichabod replies, sheathing his sleep-inducing shortsword. As an afterthought, he grabs a horse blanket and tosses it over the bard to hide her from view. “The Starwind Eagles lay eggs every ten years and now is the time to get to them. Wait any longer and the mountain will be crawling with hunters. A youngster wouldn’t know that or have you as a guide.”

The dwarf grins as he lifts the rope and gestures for his friend to lead the way. “They also don’t have your wife making deals that you can’t say no to. She mentioned that you’re getting three times the usual pay because this baby is going to be prepared for Duke Solomon’s wedding. Personally, I’m looking forward to your wife’s cooking after this. Surprised your gut isn’t huge considering that woman can make a pot roast even the gods would praise. Did you happen to bring some of her dishes for the road?”

“I can cook too, you know.”

“You can bake, Ichabod. Not the same as cooking in my book.”

“So you don’t want the cookies I brought.”

“Oatmeal and cranberry?”

“With a touch of cinnamon.”

*****

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com

Twitter: @cyallowitz

Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Mae Clair Presents: Bound by Oath and Honour by Debbie Peterson #fantasy #romance

Hey, gang, I’m really excited to be sharing this latest release from you. Written by my dear friend, Debbie Peterson, BOUND BY OATH AND HONOR is an intriguing tale of fantasy, adventure and romance. I just finished an ARC of this fabulous book, and am blown away by the author’s talent in weaving such a complex and heartfelt story. Although, I expected no less as I’m a huge fan of everything Debbie writes. Check out this blurb:

book cover for Bound by Oath and Honour by Debbie Peterson shows an enchanted doorway with a mysterious figure in the foregroundBlurb:

Fresh from her photo shoot in Northern England, wildlife photographer Tala Westbrook makes a promised stop at the family manor in Staffordshire, desperately in need of renovation. Though she didn’t plan to stay longer than it took to find a contractor, she is caught up in an ancient paranormal war. Despite the danger all around, she finds herself falling for the handsome, enigmatic man assigned to protect her.

Micah Berrington, elite guardian from the realm of the Bewitan Fierd, is used to protecting men of strength in the greatest of peril, not a female looking for someone to repair her home. Yet the assignment is far more than it seems and so is the beautiful woman destined to capture his heart, regardless of the cost.

Excerpt:

“I’m not leaving until you tell me whatever it is you don’t want me to know.” She set her heels, and placed a hand on her hip.

His anger flared. “Is that right? A little while ago you couldn’t wait to leave this place.”

Tala gave her head a snooty little toss. “A lot has changed since then, wouldn’t you agree?”

He brushed the barb aside. “Then let me get you a pillow and blanket. You can make yourself comfortable on my sofa.”

Indignation filled her lovely eyes. “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say? Really?”

Micah met her gaze without a flinch. “Really.”

“Whatever.” She gave him a curt nod and stormed toward the door.

He had fallen into the deep, dark abyss of the feminine whatever. Nonetheless, he stepped in front of the entryway blocking her path. “Where are you going, Tala?”

“Back inside the forest, not that it’s any of your business.”

“Why would you do something as foolish as that?”

“To find some answers, since you’re unwilling to share what you know.” She gritted her teeth. “Now, get out of my way.”

He held his ground while disregarding the directive. “Just what do you expect to find out there?”

She shrugged away the question. “I’m not sure. However, I do know those creatures left tracks. I’m quite adept at finding and following them to wherever they might lead. Trust me.”

“Regardless of the danger?”

“I can take care of myself.”

photo of Debbie Peterson, AuthorDebbie Peterson Author Bio:

Debbie is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance because she has a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, making an impossible love possible, and happily ever after endings. She loves animals of every persuasion, music, art, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, the smell of rain, and thunder storms.

When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family in the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada, where some of those spectacular sunsets occur. She also pursues her interests in genealogy—which she also teaches—mythology, and history.

Connect with Debbie at the following haunts:

Website 
Blog 
Twitter 
Facebook 
Amazon Author Page 
Pinterest 
Goodreads 

Buy Links:

Amazon 
The Wild Rose Press

Don’t miss this fabulous book, which comes highly recommend by moi 🙂

The Merchant of Nevra Coil by Charles E. Yallowitz #HighFantasy #EpicFantasy

Presenting an exciting new LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE release from author,
Charles E. Yallowitz…THE MERCHANT OF NEVRA COIL

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

When the mischievous and random Goddess of Chaos gets angry, all of Windemere becomes her plaything.

It all starts with a collection of toys that have taken the populace by storm. People of all races flood the marketplaces to gather figurines of the champions whose adventures are starting to spread across the land. Stemming from the flying city of Nevra Coil, these toys bring with them a terrible curse: Fame. Every town becomes a mob of fans that hound their new idols and the delay is bringing the world closer to the hands of Baron Kernaghan. Perhaps worst of all, the creator of these toys forgot to include a certain exiled deity who is now out to earn herself a figurine.

Who would have thought a bunch of toys could cause so much trouble and lead to the breaking of a champion’s confidence?

Sound exciting?
CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT ON AMAZON FOR $2.99!
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Welcome to Nevra Coil Excerpt

A screeching alarm goes off inside the vessel, signaling for everyone to pay attention to the pilot. Jo flicks a few switches above her head, amplifying her voice so everyone can clearly hear her. “We’re coming to Nevra Coil. Get ready for docking at Inspiration Tower instead of one of the Ring Houses. If you want to see the city then come to the front, but you better not complain while I’m giving the tour. I’ll be going too fast to repeat myself. We’re starting with the bottom, so don’t be scared. There hasn’t been a crash in a month. Two months since a fatality.”

The champions gather around Jo’s chair and watch as the clouds part to reveal the underside of the flying city. The steel gray earth has several narrow tubes of yellow crystal spread along its gleaming surface, the enchanted objects creating a spiral that leads to a red, metal rod. An occasional spark falls from the central pole and dissipates into the clouds, giving the illusion of lightning. Jo has the vessel steadily rise to give everyone a clear view and she taps her ear to silently get her passengers to listen. Beneath the sounds of the ship’s rotors, the champions hear a dull hum whenever they pass close to a crystal. Those with keen eyes can see a sapphire orb that flickers like a flame inside the yellow tube’s core, but the strange object is definitely solid like a rock.

“The flight crystals are designed to push off and ride the waves of the ocean. The outer tube is the reflector and the ice gem is the controller,” Jo explains as they flip around the far side of Nevra Coil. She scowls at the whimpering gypsy and begrudgingly slows the vessel down. “The central rod is what keeps us in a small area as we spin like a very slow top. Without that, we’d be floating all over Windemere’s oceans. You’ll feel the rotation at first, but the awkwardness will pass within a few hours. Before you ask, the system does nothing to the ocean below. We keep ourselves at a great height to prevent that and we turn off the crystals if we have to drop. That’s only in case of severe damage, so they would probably be malfunctioning in such an event anyway. Our backup system is a small army of pedaling stone golems that we activate in the core of Nevra Coil. Let’s get to the real event. Hey! Watch where you’re going, you son of an oil slick!”

The vessel swerves out of the way of a small, windowless craft that is powered by a pedaling gnome. Once their heads stop spinning, the champions get their first look at the city of Nevra Coil. Glistening towers are everywhere with a vast collection of flying devices and beasts moving among them. Several structures are missing pieces, revealing metal beams and hardworking gnomes who are trying to finish the construction. The city is a beautiful creation of metal, stone, and glass with nothing on the earthy ground besides several colonies of orange slimes. The burbling creatures feast on the garbage that falls out of hatches, which are built into the lower floors of every tower. Compared to the enormous buildings, Jo’s vessel feels like a rowboat as it weaves among the chaos. Several times they come close to hitting another ship, their skilled pilot meeting each encounter with a slew of insults and curses. They hover when a claxon goes off and the circular tower ahead opens one of its floors to reveal another ring-shaped ship.

“This is where we would normally dock, but you’re wanted on the one-hundred and eighty-sixth and a half floor of Inspiration Tower,” Jo says while waving to the other ship. She waits for them to leave before rising to the higher sky lanes where there is more space. “If you look to the right, you’ll see the Lizard. It’s used by those of us who don’t have a flying device due to no interest, accidents, revoked license, or whatever else can go wrong. I’ll swing by to give you a better look, but don’t stare directly into the golem’s eye. You never know if it’s going to be friendly or . . . churlish.”

Dipping toward a metallic rail, the ship comes alongside a green-scaled reptile with seats grown into its wide back. A throbbing bubble covers the sitting area, the oily membrane protecting riders from the elements until the transport comes to a stop. Gnomes are comfortably sitting in the chairs, most of them reading notes or sleeping. The creature’s tail is merged with the track to prevent it from falling off while it pulls itself along using powerful front legs. A driver on its head opens a hatch in the top of its long nose to drop in a shovelful of screeching beetles. The Lizard slows down while everyone hears the insects getting crunched in the construct’s mouth. When the strange transport hisses at the ship, Jo pulls away and heads for where a trio of metallic birds are sitting on a windowless tower.

AND DON’T FORGET!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Click here for the $4.99 Bundle to start your journey into Windemere!

Charles E YallowitzAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @CYALLOWITZ

Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: WWW.CHARLESEYALLOWITZ.COM

Mae Clair Presents: Love, Lattes, and Mutants by Sandra Cox #YA #newrelease

Before sharing the wonderful new release by Sandra Cox, just a quick note to say that my ECLIPSE LAKE book tour is continuing today, and you can find me at Read Your Writes Book Reviews. And now *drum roll, please*….

Are you in the mood for something fun and different? If so, I think you’re going to love this one. I’m happy to share in the cover reveal and release excitement for LOVE, LATTES, AND MUTANTS by Sandra Cox. Check out this delightful book below, and be sure to enter Sandra’s giveaway. This fun-sounding YA title is available now!

TITLE:  LOVE, LATTES, AND MUTANTS
PUBLISHER:  Kensington Publishing
RELEASE DATE:  February 17, 2015

Love, Lattes and Mutants

 

Blurb:
Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…

Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story…

Purchase from:
EKensington
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Author, Sandra CoxAuthor bio:
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Connect with Sandra at the following haunts:
Blog 

Twitter 
Facebook

 

Attractive gold seahorse necklaceGIVEAWAY ALERT:
Enter the Rafflecopter drawing here

First Prize:
A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbucks Card

Attractive rope and gold starfish bracelet

2nd Prize:
A Piper-approved bracelet

 

Mythical Monday: Thought Forms and the Fae by Mae Clair

fantasy landscape in the nigthI recently finished a series of novels by C.S. Friedman called The Coldfire Trilogy/Saga. One of the most compelling things about the novels was a concept the author created for her imaginary planet, Erna.

In the books, Erna is rife with a power that can be manipulated and Worked by those who know how to tap into it. Adepts are born with this ability. Others, such as sorcerers, achieve limited use of it through study and apprenticeship. The fae is divided into categories such as earth fae, solar fae and tidal fae (only women are able to work tidal fae, and even then the gift is very rare).

What I found most intriguing about the fae was its energy at night. When darkness fell, it became highly active drawing strength from, and feeding on, human emotions. Feelings of fear, anger, jealousy and lust allowed the fae to take physical form (usually in the shape/form of something very nasty), which preyed on humans. Wards were needed to guard homes and city gates, keeping these “constructs” outside. Townspeople knew better than to be outdoors after sunset. Nightmarish creatures conjured from human fear and hostility stalked those foolish enough to brave the darkness.

I thought this was a great concept for a series of fantasy novels. Then recently, while reading a book on the Mothman, I learned of something called tulpas, or thought projections. Tibetan monks believe in the ability to conjure thought forms. It’s said that someone with a highly advanced, disciplined mind can conjure a sentient being through the power of thought. The tulpa is in control of its opinions, movements and thoughts, and can only be destroyed by killing the thought itself (if the tulpa is not fully formed) or diluting the thought and then dispatching the tulpa.

GHOST

Did you just experience a goosebump? We’re talking about thought given physical form.

That’s entirely too bizarre for me. I’m not even sure why anyone would want to conjure a tulpa, but I couldn’t help comparing the idea to the fae in C.S. Friedman’s novels.  I much prefer my weirdness to be restricted to the fantasy realms between the pages of a good book. I loved the idea of the fae, but am equally repelled by the concept of a tulpa.

Myth is intriguing, but some things are just too creepy for my taste. This was one of them. What about you? Are there certain myths that give you nightmares? Would a tulpa be one of them?

Wizards with Words: Laura Lee Nutt, Red and the Wolf G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

A beam of light shines out from an open bookIt’s Wizards with Words time! Today, I’m super excited to welcome my Lyrical Press sister, Laura Lee Nutt. Her debut novel RED AND THE WOLF, a fantasy romance, was released yesterday. Yesterday! How cool is that?

In celebration, Laura is doing a week-long giveaway. You’ll find all the details at the end of this post, but first settle in and help me welcome Laura.

Laura, please share a little bit about yourself and when you first became interested in writing.

Mae, thank you so much for having me today. Honestly, I’ve loved telling stories since I can remember, but I really started writing them down in second grade. I would staple paper into little books and write, rather illegibly I must confess, and illustrate them, usually with horses. I wrote so much in fact that my second grade teacher selected me as her student to meet Mary Brooke Casad, author of the Bluebonnet the Armadillo books. That was an awesome day, and not just because I got to miss school. Since, writing has become as much a part of my life as walking. Storytelling has become a part of my soul.

That’s about the time I started writing too. And strangely enough I wrote about horses–and dogs, LOL. Your new release, RED AND THE WOLF, puts a new spin on the classic fairy-tale, Little Red Riding Hood. I love your tag line—“They said Little Red Riding Hood lived happily ever after. They lied.” How did you come up with the idea for the novel?

I’m glad you like the tag. I’m always a bit paranoid that people won’t like it. Anyway, I honestly don’t recall what my initial inspiration for the book was. I was sick for about two weeks and needed something to distract myself from how awful I felt, so I threw myself into writing the first draft of RED AND THE WOLF.  I recall thinking how strange it was that Little Red Riding Hood could be so content and cheerful after getting swallowed by a wolf. It made no sense to me, so I started theorizing what might have happened had the fairy tale gone a more realistic route, at least as far as Red’s reactions were concerned. Then, since I love romance and werewolves, I wove those inextricably into the tale.

I have a particular passion for romance and werewolves. 😀 I’m going to love this book! Tell us about your characters and what motivates them in the story.

redandthewolf-1Heinrich Jaeger is the hero and huntsman of the original tale. He is also a werewolf; though, he would never confess that to the villagers he protects. Even werewolves can’t survive getting burned at the stake or beheaded. Six years ago during a territory dispute with another werewolf, Blanchette and her grandmother got caught up unwittingly as pawns. Heinrich arrived in time to save them but not in time to prevent the mental and emotional trauma Blanchette suffered. Since, he humbly takes on the duty to watch over Blanchette and her family, no matter how it hurts that Blanchete always shies away. Her fear of all things outside her house is his fault, or so he believes. She has grown into a lovely young woman, one he would dearly love to set free.

Blanchette Krautbrauer still frequently relives the wolf attack six years ago. She almost lost her beloved grandmother and her own life. Since, she dares do nothing to endanger either of them, especially step foot outside her home. Heinrich is the only one outside her family that she trusts. But when a stranger comes to the village to destroy any dangerous elements left over from the old folk tale and targets Heinrich, Blanchette finds that staying hidden isn’t always the best course, especially when the life of someone she loves is at stake. In this story, she has to choose between safety and love, and the two conflicting motivations compel her to do some very brave things by the end.

Lothar is a nix, a freshwater German-style merman, who Heinrich imprisoned in the lake on the village edge to stop him from eating villagers or dragging them down for twisted entertainments in his watery abode. Since, Lothar has craved vengeance. When Heinrich’s attention slips because of Blanchette, Lothar takes his chance and concocts a plan to destroy them both.

Karl Kaismann has a duty to the Holy Roman Emperor to seek out and destroy all unnatural threats to Germany, mainly those associated with these strange tales of wolves dressing in women’s clothes and consuming children. If there is any truth behind the fantasy, he must eliminate it for the greater good. Unfortunately, Blanchette’s sweet disposition and ardent insistence that Heinrich is innocent makes his task much more difficult. When only Lothar will give him facts, what is he to do but act on them?

Wonderful Intricacies! I always loved fairy tales as a child and began reading fantasy as a teen. Having the fantasy/romance genre explode on the scene has been wonderful. What originally attracted you to the genre?

I actually started writing the genre before I began reading it. Well, I had read a couple books with paranormal and romance elements, but I wasn’t serious about digging in then. Mainly, my fantasy and romance were already blending in my own stories because I love both so much. Then I met Jessi Gage, who became my critique partner. We were both on the Write_Workshop chat on Yahoo Groups for a pitch class. Her pitch so intrigued me that I private messaged her about it. It had wolfmen and romance and a whole world at stake. That was the first book of Jessi’s I critiqued, but it showed me how beautifully the two genres could meld. Since, I’ve taken a particular fascination with urban fantasy, which is often like the fantasy heavy side of fantasy romance, and paranormal romance, which tips the scales more toward the romance end. I look back now at some of my earlier stories and realize that I’ve always included a strong romantic thread in my fantasy. I just didn’t know then that there were subgenres to support it.

Do you have a favorite scene in the novel?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. Off the top of my head, I would have to say that it’s probably the scene right after the first love scene where everything starts to really come to a head between Heinrich, Blanchette, and Karl. The emotions, conflict, courage, vulnerability, and everything in that scene I loved writing so much. It’s especially fun when the characters really start acting from their deepest desires.

What is the biggest hurdle you’ve encountered on your path to becoming a published author and how did you overcome it?

For the longest time growing up, I could never finish a story. I would either keep writing on and on and on until I finally realized I wasn’t going to get to the end, if one even existed, or I would get distracted with writing another story. It took me taking a creative writing class in college where I had a deadline for turning in a finished story. The pressure to get a good grade and an outside force insisting I finish made it possible. Then, once I knew I could finish a story, it became much easier to do it in the future. Learning good plot structure later on made finishing even easier and gave me better results.

Which do you find the most difficult to write – – beginning, middle or end?

Beginnings. Definitely beginnings. I find I cannot write a decent middle or end I’m willing to admit has any potential unless I feel my beginning is strong and that I have a good sense for my characters and story. My first five or so chapters always undergo two to three times the number of edits as the rest of the book.

Name three books you’ve read over and over again. If you don’t reread books (I can’t imagine!), name three books that have made a strong impression on you.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, my favorite of all time.

Shadow of the Fox by Ellen Steiber. I used to read this to my brother as a kid. Spooky, romantic, and very cool.

Most of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’ve actually read the whole series, but I haven’t read book seven more than once yet.

Some random facts for readers to get to know you better:

Favorite time of day to write: Night, especially with a good moon.

Favorite color: I don’t have one. I can never make up my mind between red, forest green, or blue.

Favorite holiday: Do I have to pick only one? 🙂 Let’s go with 4th of July. It has less commercialism, fireworks, doesn’t stretch the pocketbook, and I do love my country.

Sunset picnic or candlelight dinner: Candlelight dinner. Picnics attract bugs that totally ruin the mood for me. Ick!

Seaside or mountains: Mountains, especially up through Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Gorgeous.

Favorite board game: I’m not allowed to play board games very often. My husband says I’m a sore loser, which I am. If I don’t win, I get grumpy and take it way too hard. If I do win, I feel bad about feeling so thoroughly smug about it. So to answer the question more directly, any game I have a good chance of winning. 🙂

Favorite fairytale (I have to ask :)): Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast, which is actually quite different from the original tales.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing (or reading)?

Role Play, mainly tabletop roleplaying games. I love the process of creating a character and theatrically playing them out. I enjoy being with a good group where everyone contributes to making an awesome story. For those of you familiar with roleplaying, my favorite games are Changeling: the Dreaming, Dark Ages Werewolf, Fading Suns, Pendragon, and pretty much anything that encourages character based roleplaying.

RED AND THE WOLF is your debut release, but the first in a planned series called Embracing Ever After. Is there a second novel already in the works? If not, do you have another WIP you’d like to share with us before we wrap things up?

Yes, there is a second novel in the works. Currently, it’s titled GRETEL AND HER GHOST. Now grown, Gretel is determined to marry and have a normal life, but nearly getting eaten as a child still haunts her and her brother. Hansel is determined not to lose his little sister and does everything he can to keep her, including driving away all her suitors. When a mysterious man comes to the village begging Gretel’s aid in rescuing more children, she has to make the most difficult decisions of her life, but ones that might ultimately set her free and satisfy her desire for a loving husband.

If all goes according to plan, I hope to have the book to my editor this spring. If she likes it, you’ll see it follow RED AND THE WOLF probably next year. After that, I’ve got partial work done on a Beauty and the Beast and a Sleeping Beauty story.

Blurb:
Six years after the attack at her grandmother’s cottage, Blanchette still hides in her bedroom, unable to hear the wolf’s cry without shivering to her soul. Nor can she scent the pine and spruce rising from the Black Forest surrounding her home without remembering the lunge of a savage beast, the thick aroma of blood, and its tooth pricking her finger. But when Karl, the emperor’s hunter of the fantastic and monstrous, arrives at the village questioning her tale and threatening Heinrich, her huntsman rescuer, Blanchette’s worst fears swarm to the fore. Unless she confronts these fears, embraces her lupine nature, proves her control over her wolf, and accepts the bond of mated love Heinrich offers, Karl will butcher her and Heinrich like the unnatural beasts that they are.

Excerpt:
Thick fir and pine scented the cool air, overlaying familiar aromas: animal musk, moss, and the lynx Heinrich skinned. Beneath all, the wind bore sickness’s sour stench.

He lifted his head and inhaled, sifting through flavors on the autumn breeze to define the scent’s origin and character. Northward it drifted, from Ulfheim Village through the woods until it chafed his nostrils, belying the idyllic afternoon’s enfolding shade and lulling birdsong surrounding his cottage.

Instinct pressed a name on his mind: Blanchette, the girl he had saved six years before from his kind’s brutal horrors. He tightened his hold on the skinning knife, ready once more to rush to her defense.

But this scent lacked Blanchette’s fullness and unsoiled maidenhood. Threads of her mingled with it, suggesting she lingered nearby. Only one person smelled so similar yet distinct and remained within Blanchette’s company enough for their scents to blend: Ada Krautbrauer, her grandmother.

He twitched, fighting the impulse to race for the Krautbrauers. To banish recklessness, he shook his head and forced his skinning knife to the forest floor. The beautiful golden lynx lay half finished at his feet. Compared to the urgency lashing his wolf’s mind, it meant nothing. Forgotten.

With a satisfying surge, he shoved up, took two steps, and stopped.

Racing off senseless like an animal might alert suspicion. No decent huntsman arrived at the village panting and purposeless.

He returned to the lynx outspread before his cottage door and retrieved the skinning knife. Survival and protecting his true nature required a strategic approach. The villagers must perceive him as human. His arrival should appear coincidental. Racing off and leaving a partially skinned lynx hardly compared with rational human behavior.

Yet Blanchette had endured anguish enough because of him and his kind. His conscience stabbed him for failing to immediately investigate the scent. What if she needed help?

As he finished the lynx and cleaned up, he disentangled the facts. Blanchette’s grandmother and parents sheltered her well. Though her grandmother could not guard her while ill, Blanchette hardly lacked companionship or assistance. Nevertheless, the slightest wavering in her grandmother’s constitution or countenance sent Blanchette’s precarious disposition reeling. What shattered state must have overcome her already?

Comparatively, what could he offer? A friendly neighbor poking his head in the Krautbrauer apothecary shop for a casual greeting fell woefully short of proper aid. Further, in feigning ignorance and concealing the anxiety the scent stirred within him, his arsenal of comforts, protections, and assurances would whittle to nothing. Even under the best circumstances, Blanchette would probably refuse to make an appearance. Since the incident in her grandmother’s cottage with the other wolf, she avoided the world outside the Krautbrauer residence. Considering all she had suffered and the part Heinrich played in bringing it about, he could not blame her.

While the lynx’s pelt hung to dry, he assembled an excuse, any excuse, to visit the apothecary’s. Firewood was his usual ploy, so he gathered a hefty load of dried logs and hoisted it over one shoulder. He marched toward the village at a forced stroll.

When wet, mossy aromas off the great lake crouching northwest of Ulfheim Village assaulted his nose, he slowed. Along the shore, he prowled and growled toward the dark king who lurked beneath the undulating waters made coppery in the setting sun.

Lothar, the nix he had claimed victory over years before, hissed a defiant spout of water at him. Satisfied, Heinrich turned his back and sauntered down the main path into Ulfheim.

Laura Lee Nutt Author ImageBio:
When the world said that life was little but disappointment, struggle, and pain, Laura chose to still dream upon stars. She believes birthday wishes can come true, that good can triumph over evil, honor and true love really exist, and hope and happiness are worth fighting for. When not living vicariously through her fiction, she seeks to encourage others to aspire to such life-affirming ideals.

Laura has been writing since she could pen sentences and making up stories long before that. She first published a poem, “Glass Eyed Inspiration,” about her admiration of Patrick Hough, a man blinded by a bullet to the head but who still fought for success and a positive attitude, a martial artist who inspired those around him. Later, once she decided to embrace her dream of becoming an author, she published “Entomophobia: An Insect Incident” in A Long Story Short and “War Drums Beat” in Sacred Twilight.

In fiction, Laura continues to build worlds, instigate adventures and romances, spark the fires of vengeance and love, and thread in that ever elusive yet essential hope. Her favorite theme to explore in writing is that, even in the darkest hour, the best of what we are can shine through and amidst calamity something good can take root and blossom.

Currently, she lives in Texas with her equally fiction obsessed husband, her rambunctious boys, and her dog, Shakespeare. Her favorite book is Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, which has one of the most heart-wrenching romances she has ever read.

Buy links: http://lyricalpress.com/red-and-the-wolf

RED AND THE WOLF is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, and the I-Store.

Look for Laura at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook

Okay, ready for the giveaway details? Here are they are!

Giveaway Details: For Red and the Wolf’s release week, Laura is hosting a giveaway. There are several ways to earn chances to win one of two prizes, an e-copy of Red and the Wolf and an adorable Annette Funicello Collectable Bear Co. Little Red Riding Hood valued at $105. You have from Monday, March 4th, 12 AM central time through Sunday, March 10th, 11:59 PM central time to get as many points as you can. Each point equals an additional time your name gets entered in the drawing for these prizes. Laura will announce the winners on my blog Monday, March 11th. To begin with, you will earn your first point for the drawing by commenting on today’s post. Do you prefer more fantasy or romance in stories? Why? For more ways to earn points see Laura’s blog. Good luck!

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Joanne Wadsworth

A beam of light shines out from an open bookHello and welcome to another Wizard with Words.  Today, I’m welcoming Joanne Wadsworth to my blog. Joanne is a sister author at Lyrical Press and, has just released her debut novel, PROTECTOR, a young adult, fantasy romance. Joanne and I became new authors with Lyrical about the same time, and it’s been a delight to get to know her. Her book promises to be an engaging read, the beginning of her MAGIO-EARTH SERIES. I hope you’ll welcome Joanne as she tells us a bit about herself and her particular style of writing.

I’m so happy to have you here, Joanne. To start, how about sharing what first prompted you to begin writing?

Joanne: Thanks for the lovely intro, Mae. I’ve been so excited about dropping by your blog to visit. Mine’s an unusual story. In 2009 I was waiting in the car for my son to finish preschool. I’d turned up way too early, and with time on my hands, I picked up a pad and pen and began writing. I couldn’t stop. In fact, I’d say I was addicted right from that first moment. After I got home, I swapped the pad and pen for my laptop, and away I went. I studied the craft of writing in every way I could. I wrote eight hours a day, seven days a week. I was completely hooked.

Wow, what an amazing way to discover writing! And your dedication to embracing the craft was remarkable. I’ll say you’re hooked, LOL. I’d love to hear more about PROTECTOR. Can you tell us about the plot and your characters?

Joanne: Absolutely. Protector is in fact that first book I constructed the storyline for outside my son’s preschool. It holds a very special place in my heart, and now being my debut, I’m sure it always will. Now for the plot–

ProtectorMy heroine, Faith, is a young eighteen-year-old woman completing High School in New Zealand. She’s a regular girl and ready to experience life, only the last thing she expects is to meet a man from another world, a prince who finds her on Earth through their soul-bound bond. Davio comes from Magio, a planet where the people have strength skills, and Faith soon becomes caught between two worlds. To further complicate issues, she comes into the skill of forethought and soon discovers her unknown father is from this other world.

Lovely! I like that you’re blending elements of YA with fantasy and romance. How long did it take to finish your manuscript from initial draft to submission-ready?

Joanne: I rewrote Protector in 2011, and it took five months to complete. At the end, I was so excited–I was completely ready to head out there and submit.

I’m always curious how authors who have a planned series develop their novels. When you wrote PROTECTOR did you know it was going to be the first book of several, or did the series develop as you wrote? And, tagging onto that question, do you find it difficult maintaining plot threads and characters over multiple books?

Joanne: I definitely plotted. With this series I sat for days in the beginning constructing it, building a large cast of heroes and heroines, and a scourge of villains. I plotted several books and laid out what went where. Book two in the series has just been contracted with a release date of 4th November 2013, and this month I’ve begun writing book three of which my editor already has the synopsis outline. There’ll be several books in the series, and each one is already half written in my head, but the other half comes as I write. In many ways my characters drive their story, and at times I have no control over where they lead me. They’re young, and they have a mind of their own. I just go with it. 🙂

I can definitely relate to that! In your novel, you introduce readers to the planet Magio. I love the idea of world-building a completely different reality. Is there any element of Magio that you wished existed on Earth?

Joanne: I love that once Magiolings reach eighteen, they no longer physically age, and they live easily to around one-hundred and twenty. I’m grinning right now at the thought of never getting wrinkles or gray hair, of always having the boundless energy of youth.

I’d love to bottle that, LOL! I’m curious how you chose the names for your characters, especially those who live on Magio.

Joanne: I’ve never been asked this question before–how cool. To give the characters from Magio an other-worldly name, I found the best way, was to take an Earth name and swap or remove letters. I played around with them until I had something that was unusual, yet still pronounceable. For example in the second book, I took the name Elizabeth, and made it into Elizara.

How clever!  I love when creativity strikes with unique ideas like that. Do you have a favorite time of day to write, when you’re more productive or more creative than others?

Joanne: I start first thing in the morning at 8.30 once the kids have gone to school. I have four kiddies, and they’re aged 14, 12, 10 and 8, so once there’s no noise, oh boy, I’m like a bullet heading to my office.

I bet! 🙂 What is the current title you’re reading on your Kindle/Nook or in print?

Joanne: I love my Kindle and now only buy ebooks for the ease of carrying so many around in one easy to store place. Would you believe I’m currently reading six books? Usually it’s about four, and I’m not sure if this is normal, but since I can read two to three books in a week, I usually have a number on the go at any one time. Does anyone else do this? Please, tell me I’m not alone. 🙂 Anyway, I’m currently reading Fantasy Mountain by Piper Denna, Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon, By the Sword written by Alison Stuart, Hard Core by Jennifer Lowery, The Devil of Kilmartin by Laurin Wittig, and Trouble Won’t Wait by Autumn Piper. It’s a wide spectrum of stories, from contemporary to paranormal to historical.

That’s amazing! I’m an avid reader but I’ve never been able to read more than one book at a time — unless I’m balancing a novel with a book on writing craft. Then I might have two going at once. It sounds like you’ve got some wonderful selections. I’m a Kindle addict too 🙂 Speaking of books, I know you already have another contracted with Lyrical Press. Can you share some details about that?

Joanne: I’d love to. Warrior is book two in the Magio-Earth series. It’s the story of Hope and Silas, and is set both within the Outback of Australia, and Magio. I love combining both worlds.  They come from opposing nations, but are mated, their soul-bound bond causing havoc as Silas is drawn to aid Hope in her endeavor to discover her unknown mother’s lost heritage. Theirs is a journal which takes them deep into foreign lands. It’s fast-paced and exciting for the Young Adult.

Awesome! Okay, now some quick stuff for the fun of it!

Favorite number: 7
Favorite color: Now, don’t laugh, but it’s seriously the color of diamonds. Those sparkly little gems can’t be outdone by anything else.
Favorite food: Watermelon, but soft-serve ice-cream is a close second.
Dressy or casual: Casual.
Dawn or dusk: Dawn.
Cake or pie: Cake.
Book you would like to see made into a movie: Nalini Singh’s, Angels’ Blood.
Five books you enjoying reading over and over again: You know, I only ever read a book once, unless I count the kids bedtime stories, of which they are all the classics, like Peter Pan. I love Peter Pan. Okay, now I wonder if this is why I love the fantasy genre?

That was fun! I especially liked your answer about the color of diamonds 🙂 Joanne, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with PROTECTOR. I’ve already snatched it up from Amazon, and I’m sure many others will too!

Joanne: Thanks, Mae. You are a fabulous host. 🙂

Joanne Wadsworth (2)Author Bio:
Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, and thrilling romantic suspense.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com

Look for Joanne at the following haunts:
Website and Blog / Twitter / Facebook Fan Page / Goodreads.

PROTECTOR Blurb:

To love and protect…across worlds.

Eighteen-year-old Faith Stryker is prepared to leap out into the unknown world beyond her home shores of New Zealand to experience life. Only she never expected to encounter Magio, a planet with two warring countries, where its people reach adulthood at eighteen by coming into their strength and prophetic abilities. Only after Faith discovers she’s a Halfling–thanks to her warrior father she’s never met–does her own skill of forethought develop.

Peacio’s Prince Davio Loveria is sent to the young Faith Stryker by his grandfather, but not all goes as planned. Davio discovers Faith isn’t just a Halfling, she’s also his soul-bound mate–an intense relationship he cannot, nor will not, give up.

With two wars now waging…one of land and the other of the heart…can the young lovers find their place in the world?

PROTECTOR Excerpt:

Davio leaned over me, all six foot four of him, his warm honey-brown hair falling forward to curl snugly around his neck, and I longed for him, just as I had during my first sighting of him in the classroom.

“What’s happening is the bond, my mate. It will become difficult for me to keep my distance both physically and emotionally unless I leave and end this now.”

My heart hitched. “You want to leave?” I swayed closer on impulse. “Is that how this bond works? We find each other and then you leave?” God preserve his people if it did.

“No, it is not. Those mated are bonded for life if we allow the link to grow. Except that would be the most unwise choice for us to take. You are, quite clearly, neither from my country nor from my world, and as such will have no allegiance to me or my people. I have no wish to join with one who does not wish to join with me in all ways. With that being the case, I will find another when the time is right. As should you,” he added solemnly.

I frowned. Hold on–did he just say he would be joining with another woman?

I bit my tongue. That was good? I should leave it at that, right?

Jeez, what was wrong with me for questioning that choice?

“I’m sorry. We just met, and you’re right. Go find your, your–” Strangely, I struggled to get the words out and finally gave up. “Well, have yourself a nice long life, and all that.” I patted his chest roughly.

That was more like me.

The clock ticked and time slowed.

He didn’t move.

“Look at me.” He tipped up my chin, directly staring at me. “This would never work.”

“I understand. It’s been pretty awful meeting you too.” I leaned back, only to feel the pressure of his hand move around my waist to the small of my back, preventing me.

I moved to grip his arm. “Okay, you were going.”

BUY THE BOOK AT: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Lyrical Press / Kobo.