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A Film for My Father

Related imageIn your next book, make the main character a black guy.”

I listen to my dad from the speaker of my phone as I try to get my hair to cooperate. It’s no small feat for curls, no matter how short.

Make him a hero and make sure he gets the girl. I want him to save the day.”

I’m pretty sure I know the type of images rolling through Dad’s head. He constantly had Westerns on during the year I lived with him. I usually didn’t pay too much attention, but they had obvious patterns. The good guys were larger than life, the bad ones were easy to pick out, and it was obvious who would win.

Both sides were white, except for the occasional Native American or Mexican caricature. Men like my father were never anywhere to be seen. I wonder if he still looks for people like him in those films from his childhood or if, after 64 years, he’s given up.

Satisfied with my hair finally, I take the phone from the bathroom counter and place it on the bed so I can get my coat on. “I’ll see what I can do,” I tease, throwing on a hat. “Just got two more faerie books and I’ll get cracking on something.”

Throw in some black faeries then.”

You know what? You’re right. I got to go, though, Dad. I’ll talk you later. Love you.”

Love you too, baby girl.”

It’s a familiar conversation. I have a plethora of them in my memory, so I tuck this one away with the rest, hearing it but not properly listening. I’ve listened before though, I promise. I understand, but at this point it’s just an excuse to talk to my father before heading to the movies.

Change is coming, slowly but surely, I tell myself after every conversation.

Somewhere along the line, that became enough.

We settle into the over-plush seats with our buttered popcorn and whispers as the lights go out and the ads go out. It’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” so we whisper about the future films that flash across the screen, how close they’ll be to the comic books, who will play who. they’re conversations I just have to follow along with since I’m not that versed in this particular aspect of nerd culture.

But then the screen changes to a waterfall tumbling over a chasm and slowly it dawn on me what film is on the horizon. When Chadwick Boseman comes on screen, my suspicions are confirmed and I tear up.

At twenty-five, I’m crying over a movie trailer because every scene is full of people who look like my father, my brothers, my sister, my nieces and nephew, and all my cousins saving the world and doing amazing things.

And they’re doing it on a platform the entire world is going to see.

After 64 years, my father doesn’t have to look any more for the black hero he’s always wanted. Change isn’t just coming, it is here. Today’s kids aren’t going to have wait the way he did. That gives me a small moment of pure joy in a time when worry and panic feels far more appropriate.

By no means is this the end. The fact that “Black Panther” is breaking records left and right is a sign that it’s paving the way for more movies like it., I’m treating the night I get to see “Black Panther” as a celebration. I’m celebrating the fact that someone is telling a story for my father better than I ever could. I’m celebrating everyone who’s been waiting for this movie for years.

I’m celebrating the fact that change is here. It is small, no more than a blip to some, but it is here.

And I think it is here to stay.

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The Tale of a Faerie Knight: An Excerpt

It’s time to take a look inside The Tale of a Faerie Knight for real! We get to start back at one of my favorite places in the Faerie Realm: The Time Between night club. Enjoy!

Tay LaRoi © 2017
All Rights Reserved

This girl isn’t Queen Mab. They just have a few similar features. That’s all. People look like each other all the time. I’m just a little tipsy. The longer I look at this girl, the less she looks like the woman I once served. Mab didn’t have freckles or blonde hair. Mab’s ears tapered to a point like every other faerie I’ve seen around here, and this girl’s are rounded like mine. She must be human, which is exactly why she shouldn’t be here in the Time Between.
She gently shakes me out of my thoughts. “Please, is there somewhere I can hide?”
I take her by her wrists. “Slow down. What are you doing here?”
The girl takes a deep breath. “I was kidnapped by a group of trolls and goblins. They’re dragging me to only the gods know where, but they stopped nearby for the night. I managed to bewitch them and escape, but I’m sure it’s worn off by now. My magic’s terrible.”

“Wait, what? Your magic? But you’re…”

A light bulb flicks on.

“You’re half human.”

“Correct. Now can you help me or not?”

I don’t think I can, but Iver might be able to. Queen Shaylee’s half human, and he’s pretty good friends with her. He’ll know what to do with this girl, even if she’s being kidnapped. I take her hand and lead her toward the bar.

The girl squeezes my hand and whispers, “Thank you.”

She’s warm like a human. I can’t remember the last time I felt this sort of heat, the gentle warm pulse that radiates from within.

I shake my head again. Maybe Iver’s right. I should quit drinking.

Nah. Just lighten up.

We wiggle through the crowd near the bar, so I can slip behind the counter. “Iver, we’ve got a situation.”

He turns our way, still pouring a drink, and frowns. “What did you break this time?”

“Bite me. I didn’t break anything. Look, this girl needs help.” I pull her forward, so my boss can have a look at her. “She said a bunch of trolls and goblins kidnapped her.” As he looks her over, I stand on my tiptoes to whisper in his ear, “And she’s half human.”

His eyes go wide and blink at me a few times, then at the girl. He studies her for a few minutes more and concludes, “So you are.”

“What should we do?” I ask.

Iver looks over our heads toward the entrance. “Get down.”
Sure enough, there’s a troll lumbering through the doorway. He must be young because he only has to duck to get in. The dim and flashing lights don’t do any favors for his ashen complexion and warts. The other patrons give him a wide berth. As if a troll’s bulk isn’t enough to scare people off, it looks like he hasn’t washed that brown tunic in years. It can’t smell pleasant.

The three goblins that tag along aren’t much better. Their big ears flap and their long noses bounce with their crouched steps. They can’t be that old either. Two hundred years old, maybe. Two hundred fifty, tops.

I turn to tell the girl to get beneath the counter, but she already thought of that. She’s curled up beside the mini-freezer, hugging her legs to her chest for dear life. Iver glances around the bar, giving everyone a warning look to keep their mouths shut. Judging by the way everyone goes quiet and stiff at the group’s approach, there shouldn’t be an issue.

Even if we weren’t hiding a possible fugitive, I doubt anyone would give these guys a warm welcome. Ever since the Faerie Courts split back up, faeries in Seelie Court lands haven’t been too fond of faeries that willingly served Queen Mab, like trolls and goblins. One hundred years of oppression will do that to people. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but this crew doesn’t look like one of them.

The goblins hop up on a couple of barstools and lean over the counter. “Evening, Iver,” one says with a snaggle-toothed grin. “How’s business?”


The Tale of a Faeirie Knight

Buy The Tale of a Faerie Knight on Monday, December 25th!

NineStar Press       Amazon       Barnes & Noble        Kobo 

It is Well: A Glimpse Behind “The Tale of a Faerie Knight:

The Tale of a Faeirie Knight

Outside my window, miles upon miles of bright yellow plains stretch out as far as the eye can see. The Rocky Mountains are still only a distant blur, as is the home I’ve shared with my father for the passed year. It’s in spaces like this, on a thin strip of highway, underneath an endless all-encompassing sky, that I feel the most at peace. Nothing is too big of a problem for the universe when you feel so incredibly small, yet still cradled and precious in the eyes of the earth that holds you tight to the ground.

Even a problem like coming out.

The sign that tells me that we’ve entered Colorado tells me I’ve only got a few hours left until our cross-country road trip is almost over. The trip I swore I’d use as a chance to tell my father I’m gay.

My girlfriend is a devote Christian and the greatest display of the faith I’ve ever seen, so, while I don’t know where I stand, when she gives me words of wisdom, I shut up and listen. It’s one of the few times I do. The night we set back out for Colorado, she sent me a song that follows me around even now.

And through it all, my eyes are on You. And through it all, it is well.

It is well.

Hey, Dad?”

What is it, baby girl?”

Breath. Whatever happens, it is well.

You know how you’ve asked me a couple times if I’m bi or gay or whatever?”

A long pause. He knows what’s coming. “…Yeah.”

And you know how I never answer? I always change the subject?”

Um-hm.”

It is well.

Well, uh, that’s because I am. Gay, I mean.”

My father nods and shifts in the passenger seat, no doubt stiff from the hours of riding and driving, and probably a bit uncomfortable with his new knowledge. “I’ve wondered for a while. But how do you know? You’ve never had any…gay experiences.”

I’ve had a girlfriend for six months. You know Roz?”

Ah. That explains a lot. I had a feeling there was something going on between you two.”

I should have known he knew. I’m not slick by any means and a terrible liar. Not to mention, why would someone go through the struggle of syncing up their TV with someone’s computer a thousand miles away, if not for love? That’s not an easy process by any means.

How come you never told me?”

I needed a place to stay and I couldn’t live on my own. Not with everything going on.”

You thought I’d kick you out?”

I know how you feel about gay people and it’s your house. I wanted to wait until I was in South Carolina to tell you.”

A smile comes to Dad’s face. “Nah, if you waited until South Carolina, I would have drove down there and kicked your ass.”

I laugh and all the tension disappears. Whatever he thinks, we’re still father and daughter. Everything has to have a smart remark or a joke in there somewhere. Nothing’s ever completely sacred.

DJ, the hero of The Tale of a Faerie Knight is a lot like that. All those months of worry and suspicion gave birth to a character who’s stuck in limbo because she can’t face her family like I couldn’t face my dad. The biggest difference is that she gets to go on an exciting adventure though the Faerie Realm to get her answers and I don’t. She also needed a more difficult road. For one, she lives in a word of magic, secret plots, and mayhem. For another, not everyone’s families are as open and accepting as mine has been.

But we all deserve happy ending and loving families just the same.

I might not understand all this gay stuff, but you’ve always got a home where ever I am,” Dad says. “You know that now, don’t you?”

Yes, Dad.”

Good. Now pull over. I don’t like how you drive my truck. Gonna get me a ticket.”

I laugh again and pull to the shoulder.

DJ might have inherited more than my fear of coming out. You’ll have to check out The Tale of a Faerie Knight to find out.


Look for “The Tale of a Faerie Knight,” coming soon from NineStar Press

NineStar Press       Amazon

Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H.L. Burke

Writing: 5/5       Entertainment: 5/5       Characters: 5/5       World Building: 5/5

Nyssa Glass CoverNyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors is such a breath of fresh air. While most of the books I’ve read this year have been good, nothing’s hooked me in recent memory the way Burke’s tale did. I’m so sad I let it sit on my kindle for as long as I did. Its charming blend of whimsy, mystery, danger and adventure makes me nostalgic for the books and movies I would devour as a kid, but the darker tone makes it a wonderful YA adventure.

Nyssa Glass thought she had left her life of thievery behind, but when a mysterious man darkens the doorway of the electrician’s shop where she works, she’s forced to call on her old habits or risk a life of prison. With all the dangers she must face within the Dalhart estate, that almost might be preferable.

Burke makes steampunk come alike in a way I haven’t seen in many other places ( Kate L. Mary’s Liberation being one exception). I’ve tried to throw myself into the genre for years, but as someone who prefers more character-driven stories, its usual world-driven story-telling can be a bit slow and dry for my taste. It’s a brilliant genre, for sure, but I usually have trouble clicking with it. Burke does a wonderful job balancing her world with the more human elements of the story, blending them together to create a fun, compelling narrative that’s impossible to put down.

The machines and gadgets are a lot of fun. The blend of old-timey and modern tech is creative, unique, and lends itself to interesting situations, visuals, and plot points that kept me reading to see what Nyssa would find in addition to wanting to know what would happen to her.

Burke’s writing is spot on. Just like the story itself, she knows how to balance the world’s technical lingo with description and clever, flowing dialogue so that every scene is easy to picture and follow, but the technological elements are just far fetched enough to inspire a bit of awe and wonder in the reader.

As a lead, Nyssa’s okay. She’s cleaver, brave, and likable enough, but what really sets her apart is how, as her school puts it, “Mechanically Minded,” she is. She’s great with machines of all sorts and quick thinking, which is encouraging to see, especially in a book aimed at teen girls, who are usually discouraged from such interests.

Overall, Nyssa Glass is a fun read for anyone who enjoys YA, steampunk, fantasy, sci-fi, or is just looking for an enjoyable lighthearted read. Head over to Amazon and give it a look. The first book is free, so there’s nothing to loose but a few hours getting swept away in what’s sure to be a wonderful series.

Interview with Ashley Goss

51RXrxTRjOL._SY346_Today’s interview is with an author who likes to dabble all over when it comes to genre and who’s latest novel devels into a world that (hopefully) never go away, vampires! Welcome, Ashley Goss! 

What can you tell us about “Rise of the Blood Lust?”

Rise of the Blood Lust is a trilogy which starts out in 1990. It comes to show how the vampires species were made and how it effected, at first, the state of Kentucky. It shows the evil side of vampirism as well as the good side. Yes, there is a good side.

We’re friends on Facebook, so I had the privilege to kind of get a glimpse of how Rise of the Bloodlust came to be, but what was the FIRST thing that sparked the book into being?

Honestly, it came to me in a dream and I’ve been dreaming every night of more and more things to add to it. Pretty soon, I had a rough draft of a first book that I never would have imagined myself writing in the first place, but that’s why I enjoy writing. I get to use my imagination.

When do you begin writing?

Even as a young child I would conjure up stories with my imagination, sharing them with anyone who was around to listen. I’ve developed my storytelling and writing quite a bit since then, but the essence of creativity and entertainment I began with as a kid has remained a major influence on my work. My blazing passion for writing has consumed me the last couple of years. I’ve been writing professionally since 2015 and have no intention of slowing down anytime soon.

You normally write contemporary-set fiction right? Was it hard to switch genres for you?

Honestly, it was very hard. So many things change once you start writing in the past. You must do research about the time period you are writing so that everything matches. Was it normal to visit a bar back then? Was it normal to have a mom and pop shop on Main Street? It’s the little things that you don’t want to be wrong. If it is then it will throw off the reader.

What as one of the biggest differences you noticed in writing fantasy as opposed to your usual fiction?

You have to create the worlds. You have to help the reader picture the time period in their heads. Things are better explained in written in a fantasy novel. Description is needed.

What’s to come next in the Rise series? What sort of things do readers have to look forward to? Without giving us any spoilers, of course. 😉

Well, with each book we go further into time. The next book will be set in present time. The next book will enhance the romance between two characters as well as tear many apart. However, Book 2: Rise of the Blood Wars is going to be different. All the same characters plus adding a new few ones, it will be “bloody.” 😉

Who is your favorite character in Rise of the Blood Lust and why?

This is easy to answer: Jane. Coming from a bad childhood of an abusive father (not that my father was abusive because he would NEVER lay a hand on me) and wanting to go to college to get away from him only to have them both slaughtered. She so young and has her whole life literally ahead of her. She gets thrown into this life and she uses it to fight for humanity. She doesn’t think twice. She’s such a strong character and hands down my favorite.

After the Rise series, do you think you’ll go back to contemporary fiction or stick with fantasy? Maybe write a little bit of both?

Honestly, I plan to dabble in a lot of different genres. I have a half written mystery novel, crime novel and many others. I write whatever comes to mind and which one i have the most passion for at the time. I can say that i have a series that will be about werewolves and witches. Let’s just say, writing in the fantasy genre has really opened my eyes to so many things that I didn’t even think about writing before.

Are there any other mythical creatures you might want to write about in the future if you keep working with fantasy?

Well, I think I answered that in the previous question but yes. I plan to construct a series on Witches and Werewolves. I also plan on doing some novellas from the characters within the Rise Series.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Honestly, I have about twenty half written manuscripts across many genres. As I feel passion for each project I work on that specific one. It’s better when you are in all the way when writing a book. If you aren’t passionate about the book, how can the readers be?

Out of the four books you have published, which do you value the most?

Bound by the Heart. I wrote this book because I wanted to write something that would empower women. This book does deal with physical and emotional abuse. (TRIGGER WARNING) Abuse in any form is heinous but cases are growing each day as far as Domestic Abuse. I just wanted a book that dealt with that. I knew that I wouldn’t sell many copies of this book because of the content but I wrote it for me.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Honestly, when I published my first book, I did. After I published my second book, I learned not to read them. I still want people to leave reviews, of course, this is how other readers determine whether they want to buy the book but I don’t write to make a buttload of money. I write so that I can share my imagination with everyone or anyone who will read my books. Do I think my books are absolutely out of this world? Well the right answer would be yes, but all books aren’t right for every person. What I like to read may not be what you like to read? Therefore, I take reviews with a grain of salt. I do love getting emails from readers or when they sign up for my newsletter to get word on my next release. It inspires me to keep on writing because someone wants to read more.

Curious about Rise of the Blood Lust? Here’s a preview of Chapter 1, read by the author herself! 

My website: www.ashleygoss.com

Twitter: @authorashleyg

Facebook: AuthorAshleyGoss

Interview with Robert Eggelton

RarityHello! As December 25th draws closer and it comes time to release the second Faerie Court Chronicles book, I thought I share the love and feature some other great authors from around the net. Our first guest is an author that pretty much set the bar for me when it comes to indie books with his smart writing, brilliant story, and original take on the modern fairy tale: Robert Eggleton, author of Rarity from the Hollow.

Thanks, Tay, for inviting me to tell your readers a little about myself and my debut novel.

 

First, for those who haven’t read my review of your book, could you give us a basic idea of what it’s about?

You wrote a great book review of my novel and I hope that everybody reads it. Lacy Dawn begins the story as an eleven year old victim of child maltreatment. Her father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the Hollow is hard. But, she has one advantage – an android named DotCom (a recurring pun) was inserted into her life and works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

To accomplish her mission, Lacy assembles a team – the android who had been going through a gradual humanization process, the increasingly functional parents, the ghost of her best friend, a marijuana growing neighbor who has Bipolar Disorder, and the family mutt, the only member of the team with enough natural empathy to communicate with a vile enemy. Sensitizing readers to victimization, early tragedy in the story feeds and amplifies subsequent comedy and satire during zany trips to planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance of the universe.

Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary novel with a social science fiction backdrop. The content addresses social issues: poverty, domestic violence, child maltreatment, local and intergalactic economics, mental health concerns – including PTSD experienced by Veterans and the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of Bipolar Disorder – capitalism, and touches on the role of Jesus. “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans.” It’s up to readers to decide which scenes are dissociative as a result of Lacy’s severe traumas and which scenes are pure fantasy and science fiction. I hope that readers take away the sense that action empowers one to overcome any real or imagined tragedy.

In addition to your review, another review of my novel that I found particularly astute was by Awesome Indies. I believe that it will give your readers a good overview: “a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

The novel was also the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power – parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; complicated U.S. tax codes, and sexual harassment. Mr. Prump in the story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders. Parts of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on Shptiludrp, easily identifiable as Trump Tower.

Rarity deals with some very real, very heavy material. What made you want to tackle these issues through science-fiction rather than contemporary fiction?

I selected the SF/F backdrop for this story because it was the best fit by process of elimination. The novel also has elements of horror, mystery, romance, magical realism, self-help, and thriller. It is not a good example of the historical or western genres, although many of the social issues addressed in the story have been present throughout history, including in the Wild West.

I felt that the straight literary, biographical, nonfiction genres wouldn’t work because the story would have been so depressing that only the most determined would have finished it. The story had to be hopeful. I wanted it to inspire survivors of child maltreatment toward competitiveness within our existing economic structures, instead of folks using past victimization as an excuse for inactivity. I didn’t think that anybody would bite on the theme of a knight on a white stallion galloping off a hillside to swoop victims into safety, like in the traditional romance genre. That almost never actually happens in real life, so that genre was too unrealistic as the primary. There was already enough horror in the story, so that genre was out too. What could be more horrific than child abuse?

The protagonist and her traumatized teammates needed fantastical elements to achieve empowerment. But, as in life, one cannot overcome barriers to the pursuit of happiness by simply imagining them away. That’s where the science fiction came into play. It provided a power source. I tied the science fiction to capitalism because in today’s reality it will take significant financial investment by benefactors to significantly improve the welfare of children in the world. Our governments are unlikely to do so in the near future because of the politics, such as the upcoming tax statute that cuts domestic spending and which could hurt local efforts to prevent child maltreatment. Since half of author proceeds are donated to a nonprofit child welfare agency, I wanted to produce something that would be fun to read and hopefully sell.

What was the biggest challenge while you were writing the book?

Writing comes easy for me. The hardest scene to write was the third, the only actual depiction of physical domestic violence, and even in this scene nobody was seriously injured. Tears blurred my vision of the monitor every time that I reworked the scene.

By far, the biggest challenge has been the promotion of the novel. I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist and had no ideas about book marketing when I was published. Neither I, nor the small press that published Rarity from the Hollow, have funds to advertise it, so I’ve spent many hours on the internet trying to generate interest in my novel.

In the Lacy Dawn universe, who is your favorite character? Why?

I have a love / hate relationship with each of the flawed characters in Rarity from the Hollow, except for Brownie, the mutt. He’s my favorite, especially as he moved toward humanization in the story, because of his strong empathy skills and his sense of humor.

When I first received a copy of Rarity to review, I took a glimpse at the Amazon reviews for the book, like I do with most titles I review, and this one definitely has one of the most diverse reactions I’ve seen. What are the most common things that people like about the book? What are the most common things they don’t like? Why do you think that is?

Almost all of the reviews of Rarity from the Hollow on Amazon were posted by independent book bloggers. Also like you, I had no prior relationship when requesting a book review. This speaks highly as to the objectivity of the reviews of my book, but on the other hand, it’s disappointing that readers other than book reviewers have not been posting reviews. Eighty percent of the reviews are very positive; some of them are glowing praise. Ten percent are critical.

One of the most common themes of the positive reviews appears to be that my novel is unique in contrast to mainstream cookie-cutter releases. Some of these reviewers focused upon the realism, while others seemed impressed with the satire. Only one, a customer review, hit the political parody square on the head http://amzn.to/2xTqKqP), but this is not surprising as some of the reviews were written before Donald Trump and the emerging issues became household topics.

Here’s an excerpt of one review that is not on Amazon but which I believe illustrates my general analysis of the positive reviews that are posted there: “…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity from the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved….” https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow

Of the ten critical reviews, frankly, two of them are questionable. One of these reviewers stated that she didn’t like war stories, but there is no war in the novel. The only thing gunshot is a Barbie doll, a metaphor of the impact of poverty on the self-esteem of children. The other questionable review was posted by a blogger that I emailed the novel one evening and then discovered her review on Amazon the next morning. I apologize if I sound critical of these two critical reviews. So, let me get off the hook here by saying that the most common theme of critical review was “it’s not my cup of tea.” I recommend that potential readers check them out and decide if they are helpful reviews or not when making a decision on what to read next. One review of my novel was the most critical review of any book that I’ve ever read in my life. I can’t explain that one.

I’ve reviewed two editions of the book. What was the biggest factor in your decision to go back and tweak the story a bit?

The first edition of Rarity from the Hollow that you reviewed had a formatting error. The problem was discovered after its release. The italics for the internal dialogue (the thoughts of the characters) had been inadvertently left off in the final typesetting. We didn’t discover the problem until it was called to our attention as a mention in an otherwise glowing review, and then by another glowing review in Tales of the Talisman Magazine. The missing italics caused a problem with attribution – who was thinking what – and that resulted in head hopping for some readers. This problem was fixed in the next edition that you reviewed.

I take all reviews seriously. Based on comments in reviews, especially the otherwise very positive four star reviews, the connection between the tragedy and the comedy was strengthened with a new closing line that reached emotional closure of Lacy’s maltreatment. The sexual references were toned down a little. Actually, there are no sex scenes in the novel and Lacy is an old-fashioned traditional role model of virtue for girls because she vowed not to have sex for the first time until after she was married and did not even experience her first real kiss by age fourteen when the story ends. But, some of the punch lines appeared to be a bit much for some reviewers. There were a couple of typos, etc., but otherwise it’s the same story with not much revision.

Can you tell us what’s next for Lacy Dawn and her family?

I’m hopeful. After Christmas, the publisher is going to make the next deposit of author proceeds into the nonprofit agency’s account for the prevention of child maltreatment. Millions of American children will spend this holiday in temporary shelters. Having once been the director of emergency children’s shelters in West Virginia, it is still heartbreaking to think about children not having a “real” family during Christmas. I remember the faces, the smiles and thank yous for the presents from staff, but….

Depending on this outcome, I will either continue the Lacy Dawn Adventures project or I will return to writing for my own enjoyment. Self-promotion has been very difficult and a barrier to my writing interests because it takes so much time and energy. I’m not sure that I have a strong aptitude for marketing. One of my short stories was published in a magazine recently (part two of the story will be in the next edition). Writing it was the most fun that I’ve had in too long a time. It’s free if your readers want to check it out: “Stainless” in Far Horizons Magazine https://farhorizonsmagazine.wordpress.com.

Do you have any other books or series in the works currently?

Yes, the next Lacy Dawn Adventure is Ivy. I thought that it was ready for final editing a while back, but I got so wrapped up in self-promotion of Rarity that based on my experience, I’ve decided to tweak it again. It is another adult literary adventure with a science fiction backdrop. The story is about an almost forgotten alien invasion of Earth set in an almost forgotten abandoned small town filled with disabled Veterans. The compelling question of the story is how far will a child go to save her parent from drug addition. It was inspired by the fact that West Virginia has the highest opioid overdose death rate in the nation.

Thanks for joining me today, Robert! 

Thanks, Tay, for this wonderful opportunity to tell your readers about my fiction. If any of your readers have questions or comments, there is a link to my personal email on: http://www.lacydawnadventures.com

Purchase links:

https://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rarity-from-the-hollow-robert-eggleton/1118420669#productInfoTabs

http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow 

Public Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32993259-rarity-from-the-hollow

https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1

https://plus.google.com/b/108662084126982201049/108662084126982201049/posts

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-eggleton-909b154b?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

About the author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment. http://www.childhswv.org/

5 Reasons Claire and Jamie are Relationship (Writer) Goals

I have a confession to make before we get started: I hardly ever watch TV.

Walking Dead and Doctor Who were pretty much it for a long time, despite how desperately my girlfriend tries to get me on board with her shows. It’s not that I don’t like TV. I just have trouble focusing on something I have to leave and come back to repeatedly. I’ve even fallen off the Walking Dead and Doctor Who band wagons (all though Bill makes me want to get back on the Doctor Who one).

And yet, I was counting down the episodes and watching them religiously until Jamie and Claire Frazer were reunited .

When I first started watching the show I figured I’d enjoy it for the history and action while just tolerating the romance, but I was wrong. I’m as invested in Jamie and Claire as I am the other fantastically written elements of the show (I can rave about those in another blog post). I’m not usually this invested in romance-heavy stories, so I thought, since my favorite TV couple is reuniting, it would be a good time to break down what makes them so great when so many other relationships in the romance genre fall flat.

1. Both Characters Have Strong Individual Identities

Claire is a ex-combat nurse looking to settle down after the war. She’s as smart and quick-thinking as she is compassionate and brave, but she sometimes leans too strongly on her own understanding of how the world works, which gets her into trouble in a world far more different from her own than she expects.

Jamie is a Jacobite rebel fighting for Scottish independence and trying his best to navigate to the social-political landscape of his time. He can be stubborn and too quick to act at times, but is smart and open minded enough to listen when it’s important, even at great sacrifice to himself. Also he’s got great hair.

Both Claire and Jamie stand alone as compelling, sympathetic characters, so no matter who they’re with, they’re great to watch and when they’re together, they play off each other’s well developed strengths and weaknesses to be an awesome power couple. Given how much they have to overcome together, they both need that strength.

 

2. Their Happy Ending Isn’t Set in Stone (pun possibly intended)

If you’ve followed the story up to the point, then you know what Jamie and Claire are going through and where they relationship lies, but for entirety of seasons one and two, we had no idea. We didn’t know if Claire was going to stay and what would compel her to do so, the same for if she were to go back to her time.

One reason I don’t follow a lot of romance-centered stories is that you can see the happily ever after from the front page. With Jamie and Claire,  there’s too many variables at play, both on a personal and greater narrative level, so we have to watch to see what will happen to them.

 

3. They’re Part of Something Bigger

Whether it’s trying to thwart the British or gather support for the Jacobite cause in France, Jamie and Claire have a lot on their plate and they have to work together to get through it. We want to see them succeed not only because we care about them as characters, but because we come to care about everyone they know and we feel the weight of what a victory, or a defeat, would mean for them. We also know these larger conflicts have a direct impact on their relationship, meaning that, if we want to see Jame and Claire get their happily ever after, we have little choice but to be invested in everything that goes on around them.

 

4. They Both Mess Up

Like all real people, both Jamie and Claire don’t always handle things in the best way. They get things wrong, whether due to misunderstanding or acting out in anger. They hurt each other on accident and like real couples, sometimes you wonder if they’ll recover from what’s happened and you breath a sigh of relief when they do. It makes them all the more sympathetic because they’re believable, both in the source of their conflict and they way they both handle it, right or wrong. And in the end, they’re always stronger for it, which leads me to my last point.

 

5. They Challenge Each Other

Like I mentioned above, Jamie and Claire compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses perfectly. Jamie has to lean on Claire’s knowledge of the future at times, no matter how crazy it sounds that his wife is from another time. In turn, Claire has to learn to navigate a time and culture very different from her own, meaning she has to in turn lean on Jamie to get by, and even for her personal safety, on occasion. Such trust and vulnerability, alongside the fact that they’re from two different worlds, forces both of them into situations where they have to grow as people, making them a more interesting couple as well as more interesting individual characters. And with them FINALLY coming back together after such a long time, we get to see them change and grow together as they set out on another adventure.

 

What about you? What makes Jamie and Claire so enjoyable to watch? What about the show overall? Leave a comment and lets talk!

 

Image owned by Starz.

Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein (A Book Review)

Plot: 3/5       Characters: 3/5       Writing: 3/5       Entertainment: 3/5       World Building: 3/5

Rose Petal GravesRose Petal Graves brings a new twist to the fairy lore we all know, but its slow, heavy-handed world building and lack-luster faerie characters hold it back from being anything great.

The small town of Rowan has a rich and mysterious history filled with legends about faeries and those who hunt them. For nineteen-year-old Catori, the death of her mother means all those legends are coming to life and demanding she chose a side. With only an ancient casket filled with rose petals and a book of Native American stories to guide her, Catori must find the answers that her mother was looking for before anyone else dies.

I must admit that Wildenstein has a gift for breathing life into places and people that only exist in the imagination. The town of Rowan is a well-fleshed out, believable and homey and the people who reside there are equally so. Catori’s relationships with her parents are heart-felt and genuine, which is rare for YA and NA (and I think Rose Petal Graves could fit in either category), which I’ve always found odd since parents still play such an important and complicated role at that point in peoples’ lives. If as much heart had gone into the magical elements of the story, Rose Petal Graves would have a fairly strong book rather than simply “okay.”

While I appreciate Wildenstein’s attempt to work outside the usual faerie lore, the huge emphasis on an over-complicated back story slows the book down immensely. The conflict is interesting enough without info dumping every legend and story relating to it in rapid succession. The constant use of borrowed words for things that already exist in English hurts the book as well. While a few of them work for places and things new to Catori’s word, Wildenstein really could have left “mate” as “mate” and “legend” as “legend.” Making a reader keep track of words for concepts they’re already familiar with doesn’t really add to the fantasy experience. It just makes them pause and retrace where they heard the word, which gets old quite fast.

The fantastical characters themselves aren’t much better since their personalities are mostly made of exposition, being attractive, and, if they’re lucky, being attracted to Catori for reasons that don’t really lend themselves to potentially interesting relationships. If more of the book had been dedicated to developing Ace, Cruz, Lily, and Kajika as people rather than fountains of information, they and their world could have stood apart from the YA/NA urban fantasy crowd. As is, they all feel like cut outs of all the other mysteriously attractive otherworldly beings we’ve seen before.

So, if you want an easy read and like faeries, I guess Rose Petal Graves is okay. There’s definitely worse urban fantasy titles out there, which is why Rose Petal Grave gets three stars, but if you’re looking for something more exciting with more original characters, it might be best to look elsewhere.

5 Ways to Start Writing Now. Like, Right Now.

For better or for worse, I belong to a handful of writer groups on Facebook. Every once in a blue moon I’ll ask a question, but I mostly lurk among the more interesting ones and give a few tips or tricks if I have a bit of insight into a particular topic. One of the questions that I always, with out fail, come rain or shine, scroll over is this:

I have an idea, but I don’t know where to start. How do start writing this book?

Better question: How do you answer that in a Facebook comment? There’s so many styles and approaches (not to mention all the commentators clamoring to have the right answer), that I never know where to start. Maybe it’s because I tend to overthink things, but that’s a whole lot of answer for not a lot of words. It is for me anyway.

It is, however, still a valid question and a daunting one at that, so I put together five simple, flexible, (hopefully) no stress ways to get working on that project clamoring to get out of your head and onto paper.

1. Make an Outline

I personally think outlining has gotten a bad rep in the writing world. It’s often seen as being too structured and too restrictive when I’ve often found the opposite to be true. An outline is whatever you want it to be. It can be paragraphs, one-line chapter summaries, character interviews, whatever you want. I’m personally a fan of the Snowflake Method, created by Randy Ingermanson. It’s quite a detailed method, but long story short (*bada* *tsu*), you write a few statements about your story, then build on them until you have a full picture from start to finish. A key part of that picture for me is writing every chapter on a sticky note so I can edit/rearrange events before getting them all down.

Outline
Pretty sure my roommate thinks I’m a conspiracy theorist. 

If the Snowflake Method isn’t your cup of tea, there’s hundreds upon thousands of outline formulas that might work. I also really like Beat Sheets, for example. Or you could always make up your own. Like I said, outlines are whatever you want time to be. 🙂

2. Write the Middle Scene First

No one ever said you had to write chapter one first when writing a novel. Well, I’m sure plenty of people do , but no one ever said you had to listen to them. If all you’ve got to go on is a scene or two and a handful of characters, then work with it. Get it on paper or on your computer screen. Pretty soon all sorts of questions and plot threads will start popping up. What leads up to this scene? Why do these characters feel the way they do? Who else knows about what’s going on and what are they going to do about it? What did they do before? Now you’re off and running with the rest of your novel!

 

3. Study Books You Love

Maybe the best way for you to begin your book is to look at one that’s already ended. Go through someone of your favorite books and see how they start their stories. How do they introduce characters? What sort of events are you dropped into on the very first page?

In the Darkest Part of the Forest
Teach me your ways! *swoons*

For me, Holly Black’s In the Darkest Part of the Forest had a huge influence on the tone and set up of Portraits of a Faerie Queen. I loved the way you know right from the get go that it’s a dark fairy tale and that readers should be wary of this new town and the surrounding forest. While I my style is a bit more upbeat and simple, I’m still always learning a lot from Miss Black’s work, including how to get a book rolling. I’m sure you could do the same for whatever genre you love to write.

 

 

4. Watch a TV Show in Your Genre

 

I’ve written before about how TV and books don’t necessarily have to be at odds. Figuring out how to start a book is no exception. Just like reading in your chosen genre can have a wealth of insights, so can watching TV in your chosen genre. How do the shows introduce characters and conflict with dialogue? How do they do so with action? Where does one episode start and another begin? Take notes on what you could implement in your writing. Those notes could give you the perfect set up to get your novel going. Not to mention that, like reading in your genre, watching in your genre helps you get a clear intended audience in mind for when your book is all done, so good on you for thinking ahead!

 

5. Get Outside. Go Somewhere. Anywhere.

It might sound counterproductive to leave your desk if you want to get a book going, but getting on your feet will probably get your creative juices flowing. Where does your main character live? Hows is that place similar or different from where you live? Where would the like to go if they were in your shoes? Who would they meet once they get there? The questions and possible plot threads are only limited by how far you want to walk/run/bike/drive/unicycle/whatever you want to do. You’ll also be getting exercise, which we writers often don’t get enough of, so you’ll body will thank you later along with your story.

Downtown
City streets are some of my favorite places to walk. 🙂

Rina’s school, James-Child college, borrows a lot of elements from my old stomping grounds. I spent so much time walking to and from class that the place left a permanent  imprint in my mind. I knew one day I’d have to use it in a story eventually and I’m glad I got to sooner rather than later. The scene where Jocelyn meets Rina at school is one of my favorites in the book.

 

 

 

 


 

These five ways to get writing are only the tip of the creative iceberg. For those of you out there who have been writing for a while, how do you get started? What advice would you give to a writer just starting out? For those newer to the craft, what scares you the most about starting? How did you overcome those fears? Leave a comment below and lets talk!

Interview with Author Tay LaRoi prt 2

Originally hosted by Happily Ever Chapter 

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How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

I usually say, “Harry Potter-like stuff. There’s magic, but it’s in the real world.” That’s usually enough to satisfy people’s curiosity without them looking at me like I’m crazy, haha.

What does your family think of your writing?

They’re so excited! My mom was basically my editor in high school, so she’s seen all my stuff and has always supported me and my dad is still convinced I’m going to be the next J.K Rowling. He pretends not to hear me when I tell him that’s unlikely. My aunts and uncles are all trying to call dibs on copies already, even though I’ve tried to explain it’s young adult, so they might not enjoy it that much. Still, we’re a big family, so having all of them cheering for me makes me feel incredibly loved.

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

I’m currently working on the third “Faerie Court Chronicles” book and trying desperately to the world building done for that story I started in high school. The “Faerie Court Chronicles” will have two more books after the one I’m writing now, but I really want that other one done by the time I’m thirty. That’s five years from now, but a lot can happen in five years, especially when you have too write around the type of day job I’m about to start.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Get off Facebook, get off Pintrest, sit your butt down, and write. I don’t care how you do it (though I highly advise outlining), just write. I’m not saying you need to get it all down in one day. We’ve all got jobs, kids, and twenty million other commitment, but that book’s completion is up to you and only you. If it’s something you really want to do, you owe it to yourself to set aside some time and at least get started. I swear it gets easier after that (in some ways, at least), but you’ve got to at least start. Do it. I believe in you. 

Also, network, network, network. Get on social media, leave comments on blogs, what ever floats your boat. It’ll pay off in the long run when you’re trying to spread the word about your book and you want to spread the word about books you love along the way.

If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

Forward. Then I’ll come back knowing what I need to prepare for and what I need to do differently so, when the future does finally come, I can be completely ready.

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

I’d like to see the moment Arthur and Molly Weasley met. They were my favorite part of the Harry Potter series growing up, especially Molly, and I want to know what first drew them to each other.

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Not a whole lot, honestly. Left over soup, milk, and some vegetables. I work nights, so I haven’t been cooking much lately and I try not to snack too much.


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