Tag Archives: Fantasy


I’ve been excited about this cover reveal for quite some time. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Shadow of the Wolf four times during its different draft stages. It’s a real cracker of a YA book, and I can say, hand on heart, it has some of the best world building I’ve ever come across in a novel. A beautiful story, wonderful characters, a highly recommended read. :-)

Shadow of the Wolf


“This pack is your family now.”

Toby has always felt like an outcast in his village, but he thought winning a game at the Summer Fair was the answer to making friends. The  local boys disagreed and literally threw Toby to the wolves. Stranded in enemy territory with a broken leg, he’s offered two options by the resident werewolves; death or permanent exile from his race.

Although Toby longs to return to his family, he chooses to live. But the werewolf children torment him just like the boys and girls back home. When he fights back and discovers he can wield magic, a crime in his old kingdom, he realizes he’s safer with the werewolves than he ever was amongst his own kind.  He even finds happiness and acceptance, until his real sister contacts him with her own forbidden magic.
Fearing for her safety, Toby must decide where his loyalties lie; with the family he grew up with or the werewolves who took him in when his own people discarded him?

Shadow of the Wolf is slated for release on the 1st December 2012. You can add it to your Goodreads reading list here, and find out more about the characters here.


Filed under Cover Reveal

Interview with Beth Barany

I’m reposting this interview because I misspelled the author’s name in the original post on February 11th 2012. A terrible error. Because an author’s name is their brand, I wanted to make sure that Beth Barany got her moment in the spotlight.

Beth Barney

Beth Barney

Beth Barany

Beth Barany has been making up fantasy & adventure tales all her life. She writes to empower girls & women with her kick ass heroines who have to save the world against great odds. When she’s not writing novels, she runs a concierge consultancy as a book coach & editor, speaker & consultant, helping other authors succeed in their careers.

Henrietta The Dragon Slayer

Henrietta The Dragon Slayer

Henrietta The Dragon Slayer

Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can’t stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will misfit companions, seasickness, and an ego maniacal king derail the quest for the healing stone? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?

Welcome to my blog, Beth. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your book, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer.  Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about it.

One of my readers said it well: “I’ll be completely honest and say I was a bit leary about it at first, as I’m not a fan of books about slaying dragons! I love dragons too much. BUT, never fear, no dragons were harmed in the making of this book! I have to say I really enjoyed reading this story. Henrietta is exactly the type of heroine I love to read about. She can handle herself in a fight but that doesn’t mean she necessarily goes looking for trouble either.

Henrietta is a girl that can’t stand the thought of killing one more dragon – or anything for that matter. She simply wants to live her life. But, when her mentor falls ill she is forced into a quest to get a healing stone to save him. But that requires one more kill. Can she do it!? Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out!

It was a great read – I read it in one sitting. The dialogue and really the whole tone of the book made for excitement from the first line. Beth Barany did a fabulous job grabbing me right from the beginning with this story. I highly recommend this story to anyone who is a fan of fantasy and kick-butt heroines. It’s really a great book to have in your collection.”

— Anastasia V. Pergakis, Author and Reviewer on Goodreads.com

A wonderful review.

Jack & the Beanstalk

Jack & the Beanstalk

What inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired to write Henrietta the Dragon Slayer because all the fairy tales I read as a kid were always about boys as heroes: Jack the Giant Killer this, Jack and the Seven-Headed Giant that, and of course, Jack and the Beanstalk. Hey! I wanted to know — what about Jill! Where’s the girl hero? That is why I wrote Henrietta the Dragon Slayer (Fate of the Five Kingdoms #1). I wanted, and still want, to have my girl heroine fight the good fight and have adventures, and save the day. Even today I was researching heroic fantasy on Goodreads and found only stories by men written about men and boys. Again, I ask, “Where are the women and girls who are tough and can lead, and have to make the hard decisions, and yes, still be women?” (Whatever that means!)

Please tell us a little bit more about Henrietta. She sounds like an intriguing character.

Henrietta is motivated by a life of fame and fortune, she thinks. But deep down she’s motivated by the desire to protect the kingdom she loves and to protect the people in it, and to make her mentor proud. She’s also motivated into action because she cares deeply about the few important people in her life.

Who will enjoy reading your book and why?

I’ve been told by many readers that you don’t have to be a huge fantasy fan to really enjoy my book. You do however have to like strong women heroines and girls who kick butt! I wrote this book for avid readers 11 years old and up. And for women who want to root for the strong girl who saves the day.

Are you working on another book at the moment? Can you tell us about it?

I am! I’m working on book #2 of Fate of the Five Kingdoms series called The Dragon Stone. It starts soon after Henrietta The Dragon Slayer ends, and follows Henrietta back to her kingdom. She knows she’s being called to be a leader, but wants to ignore that calling for a little while more. Fate and an evil sorcerer have other plans.

I’m a great fan of sequels.



So, have you been writing for a long time?

I’ve been writing since I was 3 years old. Okay, that was scribbling, or more like big swirls across the page. It counts, though!

I started writing stories and making books around 7 or 8 years old. My dad recently found my first anthology and returned it to me. It’s a little stapled thing with drawings by crayon and scrawled words by my three younger siblings and me.

I started writing down my dreams at 13 years old. I still have that first notebook journal! And it was at 13 years old that I knew I could be a writer, with a certainty that has never left me.

I started as a journalist when I was 22 years old, getting my first article published in the Paris Free Voice, after 4 tries. (Yes, Paris, France, my favorite city in the world, and where I’ve lived twice.)

At 30 years old, I sat myself down with the commitment to finally start writing novels.

Fast forward 12 years later, upon the advice of a good friend and mentor, and after many rejection letters, I decided to publish Henrietta The Dragon Slayer myself, and have now gone on to win several awards for indie novelists. My dream of becoming a writer finally feels real.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, and do you have a favoured POV?

I’m a bit of both. But I wish there was a third category for someone like me, who comes up with a premise of a story, or sometimes a direction the story will head. Then I flesh out the characters, doing lots of back story. Next I sometimes write a synopsis. Sometimes. Then I write until I’m stuck. Then I’ll either do more character work, sometimes on the secondary characters that have decided to walk into the scene, or I’ll brainstorm with my husband and the next worst thing to happen next, and go write that.

My favorite point of view (POV) is third person — he/she — and close up. I like to share the story from inside my character’s heart and mind.

Sometimes I’ll write from a story teller’s point of view from long ago, who has only left us a fragment of a tale, but told that tale with warmth and vigor around a crackling fire.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

Well, I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, though I definitely have some preferences! I love writing in a busy place for my first drafts, like cafes, airports, trains, etc. anywhere there’s a lot of bustle. I can edit anywhere too, now, though I need my Baroque music when I edit.

Moleskin Notebook

Moleskin Notebook

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes, I do! For note taking and brainstorming, I put all my notes in my Moleskin 5×8.25 inch lined notebook with pens that flow well, usually blue or black ink. Like I mentioned above, I like to have my Baroque music playing when I edit. Other rituals include timed writing, washing the dishes to think, and the need to collect images as I begin a new story. Oh, and I need my coffee, especially if it’s the first half of the day.

There’s nothing better than a beautiful pen to write with. I adore writing with my cartridge pen and turquoise ink!

What’s the best piece of writing or publishing advice you could give other writers?

That depends on your goals; but overall, if you want to write, then write. And if you want to publish, do your homework and understand how the game is played today, and not in some mythical past that never existed. That doesn’t mean you can’t break the rules. Go ahead and be gutsy! You just need to know them first. In fact, knowing the rules before breaking the rules applies both to writing and publishing.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Write the story that you want to tell. Don’t try to write to the market.

It’s what I needed to hear at the time. I’d been making myself miserable trying to write what I thought the agents and editors wanted to see.

But they can spot passionless writing from a mile away, so wear your heart on your sleeve, and write your best most daring stuff (for you) now. (Mixing metaphors can be loads of fun!)

Have you taken writing classes, and do you belong to a critiquing group or have a critiquing partner?

Yes, yes and yes.

Can you recommend any particular craft books that have helped you with your writing?

I learned tons of story structure from The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray.

I learned to quiet my internal editor from Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico.

And I trained myself to write fiction using a method I developed that then became my bestseller The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book.

Thank you so much for providing us with such fun and detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Henrietta The Dragon Slayer.

Henrietta The Dragon Slayer can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and ITunes.

You can visit Beth Barany at her blog, follow her on facebook and Twitter, and catch up with her on Goodreads.


If you are a published author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please contact me at amaleen (at) amaleenison (dot) com.



Filed under Author Interview

Interview with Dusty Crabtree

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Dusty Crabtree. Dusty is a fellow YA author from Musa Publishing. Her debut novel, Shadow Eyes, released yesterday, and she’s here tell us all about it. I can’t wait.

Dusty Crabtree

Dusty Crabtree

About Dusty Crabtree

Dusty Crabtree has been a high school English teacher since 2006, a challenge she thoroughly enjoys. She is also a youth sponsor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church in Oklahoma City and feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis.

Shadow Eyes

Shadow Eyes

Shadow Eyes

Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil.  But she is the only one who can see them.  She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.

Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters.  First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.

As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.

Welcome to my blog, Dusty. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your book Shadow Eyes.  Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about it.

Shadow Eyes is a young adult urban fantasy about a girl who sees shadows and light figures – essentially demons and angels.  There’s a lot of mystery involved with various characters, and there are many plot twists and surprises along the way to keep the reader guessing and wanting to find out more.

Shadow Demon

Shadow Demon

What inspired you to write this book?

My friend actually inspired me to write the book.  I had actually never written any type of creative writing (aside from poetry) period!  Needless to say, writing a novel had NEVER crossed my mind until she suggested it to me, saying, “Hey, you’re smart.  You’re an English teacher.  You should write a book like the ones we love to read.”  She’d been referring to the young adult urban fantasies and paranormal books we’d been reading lately, mostly about angels.  I had already had an idea for a movie where the audience sees angels and demons surrounding people without their knowledge, so with her encouragement and belief in me, I let that idea develop and morph into what is now Shadow Eyes.

How fantastic that you have such a supportive friend. She obviously knew you had talent.

How did you choose the title for your book?

My main character, Iris, has violet eyes – obviously, a very unique trait.  Plus, her eyes are the source of her unique ability (or curse as she would say) to see the shadows and light figures.  There are deeper symbolic meanings, but if I shared them with you…I’d be giving something major away.

We definitely don’t want any spoilers!

Violet Eyes

Violet Eyes

Tell us a little bit about Iris, your main character. What makes her tick?

Hmmm…I would have to say her perfectionism and organizational freakishness.  …Which is basically like me.  However, unlike me, the cause of this is everything she’s been through and goes through in the duration of the book.  Being obsessive about everything is the one thing that makes her feel like she has a little bit of control.

Open to a random page in your book and explain what’s happening.

Lol! Iris’s boyfriend is starting to get a little bold in their relationship.  He just kissed her “with enough passion and intensity for a PG-13 movie” right in the middle of the school cafeteria.

Ooh, saucy!

Who will enjoy reading your book and why?

I think anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or paranormal books will especially like Shadow Eyes, but it’s not so overly fantastical that the average reader of books geared towards teens and young(ish) adults would still enjoy it.  I would also even venture to say that guys would enjoy it because the plot doesn’t revolve around a love relationship like many books in this genre do (although there are a few guys heavily involved in Iris’s life), and it has a good amount of action and plot intrigue.

Are you working on another book at the moment?  Can you tell us about it?

Yes!  Shadow Eyes will have a sequel!  I’m not sure what the title will be yet and I’ve only gotten through the first chapter so far, but the outline is already done and I’m super excited for it!  I can’t really tell you a whole lot about it though because that would give too much away for the first book!  Let’s just say, Iris continues her journey from where it leaves off in the first book.

I love sequels!

How long have you been writing, Dusty?

I’ve only been writing since May 2010, and this will be my first novel.  Well, first anything really.  But don’t let that scare you!  I’m a quick learner, and I had lots of help with learning how to revise and hone my craft.  I’ve come a long way!



What is your most common writing mistake, the one that makes your editor want to scream?

Well, I don’t know if she wanted to scream, but I think I’m a little adverb-happy.  She was constantly having to tell me (ever-so-politely), “Do you think we could leave this adverb out?” or “Can you explain or describe how they are like this instead of stating it?”  She was right on every account, and I’m getting much better at catching myself as I write.

Yep, those sneaky little adverbs creep in everywhere.

Who is your favourite writer and why?

Although I LOVE the Hunger Games trilogy more than any other series I’ve ever read, I think I would have to say that my favorite author is Becca Fitzpatrick who wrote the Hush Hush series.  In my opinion, the plot in Hunger Games trumps Hush Hush, but as a write I enjoy Becca Fitzpatrick’s style a little more.  I just love the way her words flow so smoothly that you don’t even notice how quickly you’re eating up the page until you get to the end of a chapter and find that you’re craving more.  I actually went through my entire book and did some major wording and sentence structure revision after reading Crescendo because I loved her style so much.  She taught me a lot inadvertently.

Thank you so much for providing us with such fun and detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Shadow Eyes.

 Shadow Eyes can be purchased from Musa Publishing and Amazon.

You can find out more about Dusty Crabtree on her blog, and Facebook Author page.


If you are a published author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please contact me at amaleen (at) amaleenison (dot) com.




Filed under Author Interview

The Trouble With Nightingale Release Day Party!

Well, today’s the day. The one I’ve waited for months to arrive. It’s the official launch of my story, The Trouble with Nightingale.

The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

I wracked my brain for weeks about what to include in this post. It needed to be something special to celebrate the milestone in my writing career – my first solo publication. But all my ideas seemed boring or contrived.

If only I could throw a party and offer a beverage (or two, or three) to everyone who stops to read my release day post. We could have a chat, a laugh. I could find out about you and your projects, and thank everyone for their interest in my writing and time in visiting this blog.


Then I had a brainwave and made a call to my wonderful, technically minded, brother. Love you John!

We hatched a plan.

Party Food

Party Food

I still can’t offer you real food or drink, only this picture of the spread I wish I could provide, but I can thank you in person for stopping by the blog today and read you the first few pages of my story.

Don’t forget to press the play button below. I hope you enjoy. Amaleen xx


Hop on over to the Euterpe blog to read the dirty details.

The Trouble with Nightingale can be purchased from Musa Publishing and other on-line book retailers.


Filed under My Writing

Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by on your tour around the Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Blog Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and wb32Reads.


I’m giving away an e-book copy of The Trouble With Nightingale released on 20th January by Musa Publishing. This YA paranormal fantasy story is offered as an international giveaway available in PDF, e-PUB, mobi and PCR formats.


The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

When seventeen year old Millie Scrubbings moves to new digs on East London’s Nightingale Estate, she believes she’s finally closed the door on a childhood dictated by strangers. But overnight, her peaceful high-rise turns bonkers, and a series of grisly murders leaves Millie frightened and more helpless than ever.

Millie must accept her lead role in rescuing Nightingale from its descent into anarchy, or risk all Hell breaking loose.


How To Enter

To win my giveaway, all I ask is that you like my facebook page (link on sidebar) and leave a comment below with contact details to confirm your entry. Already following me on facebook? Just write a comment. If you’re really keen, earn a second entry by subscribing to my blog.

That’s it! Good luck, and don’t forget to visit all the other blogs on the hop. Click on the button at the top of this post to rejoin the giveaway fun.

Terms & Conditions

  • This Blog Hop runs until midnight on January 12th 2012, and the draw will take place after that date.
  • The winner will chosen by my random and impartial 5 year old daughter :-)
  • I will contact the winner via email and give the winner 72 hours to accept their prize.
  • Prize as stated—no (cash or other) alternatives will be offered.


Filed under Blog Hops

Interview with Joseph Beekman

This week we’re firmly back in the YA genre with author, Joseph Beekman. I’ve enjoyed stalking Joseph on Facebook and admired from afar his flair for on-line networking and the marketing of his book ‘Little Orphan Anvil’. I finally decided to introduce myself a few months ago and couldn’t have been more thrilled when he agreed to an interview. He’s an awfully nice chap!

Joseph Beekman

Joseph Beekman

About Joseph Beekman

A graduate in fine arts from the University of Arizona (1994), Joseph writes books and screenplays, and is an avid supporter of animal rescue and protection. He is an avid fan of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and mythology, as well as a big fan of history, music, and the arts. Two books authored by Joseph Beekman are “A Tail Spun” -(self-published, available at Amazon books); and “Little Orphan Anvil” – (World Castle Publishing – released October 17th, 2011.) Both fantasy/science fiction based novellas. Also available is a self-published, short collection of poems titled “Shades of Fate”. Joseph currently lives in the “Wild West” of Arizona.

Little Orphan Anvil

Little Orphan Anvil

Little Orphan Anvil – A Tale of Magic and Metal…

About an orphaned robot and its journey to help save a realm from the rule of an evil witch.  When the Land of Iron and Anvil is brought to ruin by a wicked storm, the robot becomes lost in the wilds of the lands. But after being discovered by a little boy and his dog, the robot is reunited with its creator and together they set off to the Land of Shadows to free a group of orphans from the dark magic of the witch…and save an entire realm from her rule!

Welcome to my blog, Joseph. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your book Little Orphan Anvil. Please start by telling us a little bit about it.

Little Orphan Anvil is a magical/fantasy tale. It was first self-published as a short story, but was recently picked up by World Castle Publishing. It centers on an orphaned robot that is reunited with its creator – a blacksmith from the Land of Iron and Anvil – and together, with two orphaned children, they set out to the Land of Shadows to help save an orphanage and the realm itself, from the twisted dark magic of an evil witch.

What inspired you to write Little Orphan Anvil?

My love for fantasy adventure, science fiction literature, and movies, along with my memories of being a kid and loving to explore the woods and old haunted ghost towns of Montana where I spent many summers. The innocence and adventure of being a kid, and seeking out adventure and letting your imagination just flow. Plus, I always loved robots, or the idea of them – (I was 8 when I saw the original Star Wars, so that left a huge imprint on me :-) ) – and so, with all that in mind, I decided to combine a dark but magical setting in a fantasy based realm, and tossed in a robot that has just as much innocence and character as that of a little kid! :-)

So, who will your book appeal to?

It is a short story that aims to appeal to anyone from 8 years to young adults; but really it is a great read for anyone aged 8 and all the way on up! :-)

Your book has such a wonderful title. How did you choose it?

I had originally intended it to be “Little Orphan Android”, but it didn’t feel right for some reason, so I went with “Little Orphan Anvil” since the robot was created from Iron and Anvil in the Land of Iron and Anvil…so it just felt perfect for the story. :-)

I agree. It is perfect.

Every author’s journey to publication is different. I’d love you to share your story with us.

Wow, … well, I always loved writing, and continued to dabble in writing all through high school and college, and finally I started getting more serious. I thought: If I’m going to keep doing this writing stuff, then I either go all the way with it and get into some real action and footwork, or just keep it simple and do it as a hobby. Well, it was in my blood and soul to keep writing and be published, so with the advancement of the internet and all, I was able to find sources to self-publish. From there I started networking like a mad demon and, after a few years, I fell into the hands of World Castle Publishing! :-)

You’ve worked hard!

Do you have any writing or publishing advice for aspiring writers?

Just keep at it! Don’t give up, and keep learning along the way. Listen and learn to what others have to say, even if you don’t agree, just listen and keep an open mind. Constructive criticism is something to learn from. Also, stay in action! Keep writing and keep promoting and promoting like crazy! Get your name, your passion out there….and – Keep the faith and never abandon Hope! :-)

Promotion is something you’re expert at, Joseph. Your tireless marketing is what attracted me to Little Orphan Anvil in the first place.

Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop

I’m intrigued. Where’s your favourite place to write?

Usually, my favorite place to write is in a coffee shop environment…I like to have “white-noise” around me…you know – people (not too, too many). I blank out what’s happening around me, even though I am aware of my surroundings, and just tune into my imagination and write! :-)  Also, at times, in my apartment at night in low light….that always gets me into the writing mood, plus some heavy music playing low in the background. Night time is always my favorite time to write and create.

Favourite word?


That’s perfect, Joseph. We all need plenty of hope.

Who is your favourite writer and why?

Dune - Frank Herbert

Dune - Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert. He really left an imprint on my love for reading and telling stories. His imagination was so intense and creative, and his ability to form story ideas with such a vast and informative array of topics, such as religion, politics, philosophy, and of course science fiction based fantasy, was truly remarkable.

Dune is one of my favourite science fiction novels of all time. And, Herbert was a fantastic short story writer, too. So, Joseph, you are really following in his footsteps.

Are you working on another book at the moment? Can you tell us about it?

Yes, in fact I am working on a follow-up to “Little Orphan Anvil” right now! :-) It is going to be a bit darker and really take the reader into some more craziness and fun. Also, I’m working on a short story science fiction/horror tale.  This one is on the back-burner at the moment while I get the new LOA book completed.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Actually, it’s a quote by one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, who said: “Write what you know” :-)

Thank you so much for providing us with such detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Little Orphan Anvil.

Please write a comment below to let Joseph know how much you’d enjoyed the interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the comment box, and Joseph will be more than happy to provide an answer.

Little Orphan Anvil can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Smashwords.

You can visit Joseph Beekman at his blog, and follow him on facebook.

(If you are a published author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please contact me at amaleen at amaleenison dot com.)



Filed under Author Interview

Interview with Devin Hodgins

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce author Devin Hodgins. He’s kindly agreed to answer questions about his writing and debut release with Musa Publishing, Day Dreamer.

Devin Hodgins

Devin Hodgins

Devin Hodgins

Devin Hodgins lives in Casper, Wyoming, surrounded by mountains, prairies, and wind. He writes mainly fantasy, some science fiction, and even a wee smattering of horror, along with a few verses of poetry. His principal influences include Kafka, Borges, and Archambault.

Day Dreamer

Day Dreamer

Day Dreamer

Every night, Steve dreams about the next day. It’s as if he is living each day twice–once asleep and once awake–and he is tired of it. When he learns his old girlfriend, Dawn, is home from college for the summer, he contacts her and begs her to help him find a way to stop dreaming of each day. As they grow close once again, she suggests he defy his dreams and do the opposite of whatever he dreams of each night. But then Steve is faced with a decision: does he follow his dream of being back with Dawn or does he do the opposite of what he dreamed and let go of her once again? How can he ever find the way to dream beyond tomorrow?

Devin, welcome to my blog. It’s wonderful to have you here. Why don’t you start by telling us how long you’ve been writing fiction?

I can’t remember not writing. But as far as writing for the prospect of publication–only 16 years or so.

You must be very excited about your most recent release, Day Dreamer. Can you tell us about the story?

This is a novella. Too long to be a short story, too short to be a full-length book, it’s such a difficult length to market . But that’s one of the really great things Musa Publishing is doing–they’re publishing novella-length stories as stand-alone pieces at a good price.  Anyway, this story is about a fella who dreams every night about the next day. He begs his ex-girlfriend, Dawn, to help him find a way to make his premonitory dreams stop. She suggests he defy his dreams and do the opposite of whatever he dreams each night. He promises to try. But then he is faced with the decision of whether to do what he really wants which is to be with Dawn, just as he has dreamt, or whether to keep his promise and lose her all over again. Dream, in all its incarnations and metaphors, winds throughout the tale.

What wonderful conflict. Did you use your own dreams as inspiration?

In preparation for another little 3-page story I had in mind about dreamers and dreams, I kept a nocturnal, or dream journal. For a year and a night I recorded my dreams. The exercise helped me to remember my dreams better, and although I never experienced anything quite as dramatic as Steven in the story, I did come across a moment or two which I thought I had dreamt of before. Or so I wondered. And wondering led me to this tale.

I always have terrible trouble choosing titles. How did you choose the title for Day Dreamer?

A long drawn out process of elimination. Titles are always difficult for me.



Who will enjoy reading your novella?

Anyone who has ever wondered about their dreams. Really, though, this story can challenge readers with its fantastical element even while maintaining the appearance that it could still be based in reality. It’s accessible, too. Purely speculative, it’s somewhat mature in its way, but fine for adolescents and readers of Young Adult.


Some authors spend a great deal of time choosing character names. How do you choose yours?

Research. I usually decide on a sense of the character and then pour over languages and etymologies, disguising roots and derivations.” Steven Wespers,” for instance:“Steven” is an archaic form for voice. “Wespers” I took from “vespers” or evening prayers. So, his name, to me, means “singer of nightsongs.”

Where’s your favourite place to write? A cabin in the hills, on a sofa in front of the TV, in the garden?

I have a dusty desk in a dark corner of the room in which I grew up. And although I ponder pieces constantly, always carrying a notebook and a pen with me everywhere, I have scrawled a good ninety-eight percent of all the words I have ever written right there in that room.

Do you have a favourite word? I’ve always liked ‘silhouette.’

The first one. No, the last one. No, whichever one I am writing at the moment. :-)

What is your most common writing mistake, the one that makes your editor want to scream?

I have a tendency to veer off into poetic passages, wandering away across far abiding horizons, allowing myself to get lost in language, and that’s not always what’s best for the story.

Finally, can you recommend any particular craft books that have helped you with your writing?

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Thank you so much for providing us with such fun and detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Day Dreamer.

Please write a comment below to let Devin know how much you’d enjoyed his interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the box, and Devin will be more than happy to provide an answer. You can also subscribe to my blog (top right) for the next author interview with Kristine Goodfellow on 5th November to be delivered to your email in-box. Thank you for your support.

Musa Publishing

Musa Publishing

Day Dreamer is available from Musa Publishing.

You can find out more about Devin Hodgins on his blog and facebook page.


Filed under Author Interview

An Interview with Arley Cole

Since signing with Musa Publishing, I’ve met a bunch of extremely talented authors. So, as you can imagine, when a number of them agreed to answer questions on my blog about their writing and latest offerings, I was super excited. Today marks the start of a series of author interviews, which will shed light on the many different approaches to writing and showcase some fantastical books.

 Arley Cole

Arley Cole

Arley Cole

Customer Service Representative by day and writer by night, Arley Cole is the author of several short stories and the upcoming fantasy novel The Blacksmith’s Daughter. She has spent far too much time in school and has written most of her life for other people. Now she is writing for herself.

The Blacksmith’s Daughter

She believes she is only a blacksmith’s daughter, but he must discover the truth or risk losing his land—and his life.

The Blacksmith's Daughter

The Blacksmith's Daughter

Acwellen Lex’Magen rules as liege lord of a small country bounded by forbidding mountains and powerful neighbors. When the neighboring baron, allied with a powerful wizard, attempts to take over his land, first by political, then by covert means, Acwellen finds an ally of his own in Enith Roweson, an unassuming blacksmith who possesses powers he’s only known of in legends. As he attempts to unravel both the plots against him—-including the nature of the monsters sent to assassinate him—-and the mysterious powers Enith is only beginning to understand she has, he also finds himself falling in love with the blacksmith’s daughter.

Hello, Arley. Welcome to my blog. Why don’t you start by telling us how long you’ve been writing fiction?

I have been writing all my life. My first work was a play in first grade about Snoopy and Charlie Brown. I played Snoopy in the one and only performance.

I’d love to have seen that, hehe. I adored Snoopy as a child. :-)

So would you say you’re a plotter or a pantser?

I am definitely a pantser—an iron the pantser. Believe it or not, my best plotting takes place when I am ironing or cleaning house. For some reason, when my hands are occupied, my brain turns loose. I also have a reputation for dreaming significant parts of the plot. The opening of my latest work, The Blacksmith’s Daughter, was a dream I had several years ago. I filed the memory away and eventually got around to writing the rest of the story.

Most writers tend to favour a particular POV. I prefer 3rd person, how about you?

Most definitely rotating omniscient. I like to tell stuff on everybody, but only one at a time!! I have done a little first person and will do so again, but my first person narrators tend to be terribly unreliable characters. You can’t believe a word they are saying.

You must be terribly excited about your debut novel. Without spoilers, can you tell us a little bit about it?

The Blacksmith’s Daughter is a fantasy with a good dash of romance and some serious monster killing. I love a fantasy that isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty. Enith Roweson, the main character, thinks she is only a simple blacksmith, but in actuality she possesses powers that come from her father’s family. Our hero, Acwellen Lex’Magen, realizes out pretty early in the book that she’s got something unusual going on, but he can’t put his finger on what it is or why he ought to know more about it than he does. Eventually, all this leads to some serious revelations about her family, his family, and the history of their country. But they’ve got to survive the plotting of some very strange baddies in order to figure all this out.

Who will enjoy reading your book and why?

The Blacksmith’s Daughter is cross-listed at Musa Publishing under the Euterpe YA imprint as well as the Urania speculative fiction imprint. I think it will definitely appeal to anyone with a fantasy bent—as well as folks who like a some romance with their adventure. The Young Adult focus is interesting, though. I was a little surprised up front that it was placed there, but in retrospect I can truly appreciate why. First of all, even though the main characters are in their late twenties/early thirties, they are all still finding out who they are and what their contributions will be to their world. Acwellen has only recently become the ruler of his country, and Enith is just discovering her powers and heritage. Nerian also has not found out who he truly is. I guess the YA focus has less to do with age and more to do with the theme of becoming who you are. Plus, the romantic angle isn’t explicit, so nobody’s sensibilities will be shocked. However, these are also grown, married characters so readers don’t have to wait for everybody to get out of high school before the romance gets the ultimate payoff. So there is sex—I just don’t have to feel guilty about writing it since everybody is, like I said, grown and married.

The names of your characters are pretty unusual. How did you choose them?

My character names all mean something in The Blacksmith’s Daughter. I worked a baby names website to death coming up with everybody. Even place names have a meaning—it might be Chinese, but it means something. I’ll mesh words together and tweak them until they sound good, but it always starts with a meaning. I’ll also look them up on dictionary.com or Wikipedia to be sure I’m not putting together something that has an inadvertent double meaning. That’s the trouble with fantasy names. It is so easy to dream up stuff that is just unpronounceable or overly cute.

Can you give us the low down on your hunky MC, Acwellen?

Acwellen is very much driven by practicality and duty. He feels a deep obligation to be a good liege lord of his country and to be a good husband—no matter how he actually ended up married! But there is a passionate streak in him that takes duty and turns it into commitment and that takes practicality and turns it into drive. He is loyal to his friends and deadly to any who try to hurt them. Plus he’s a former military man and a real butt-kicker.

I’m always intrigued to know how authors envisage their characters. Who would you cast as the lead characters of your book and why?

Melanie Linskey

Melanie Linskey

Melanie Lynsky would play Enith. She’s got a very girl next door quality but has an unexpected depth and beauty that comes through when you least expect it.

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth

Ah, Acwellen. That one is so hard. Since Thor came out it would be very easy to see Chris Hemsworth play him. Another great blonde would be Josh Holloway. But I might be saying that because I have a massive crush on Sawyer from Lost right now. I do also have a huge crush on Thor. So I may be just dreaming.

I thoroughly approve of Chris and Josh. Yummy :-) And Melanie is a classic beauty.

I’d love to hear about your journey to become a published author.

I have been an off and on writer all my life. Then I became a college English instructor. Grading other people’s essays did not improve my creativity. A change to part time newspaper editing stoked the creative fires again and I started writing—a lot! At the moment, however, I am into my third career path as a Customer Service Rep for the local electric utility. Just call me Power Queen. The steady pay is good, but I’ve got to get back to a place where I can write more often. More than anything, I want to write full time.

What’s the best piece of writing or publishing advice you could give other writers?

Write. Just write. And put it out there to be read. There are too many good places to blog and to create fanfiction or post your work for feedback like on Fictionpress. The reviews and the feedback you get will only help you improve your craft. If you get a bad review, don’t get discouraged. Think about what you can take away from it to help you with your craft. If you get a good reader, be sure to write back. Encourage them in their critique. I have a great friend in Spain—thank you, RonCN—who has been instrumental in getting me over the hump of sending out manuscripts. I am a better writer because she was such a great reader.

Do you have a favourite writer, perhaps someone who’s influenced your writing?

I am heavily influenced in fantasy by long time reading of Ann McCaffrey, Roger Zelazny, and RA Salvatore. I love the way Ann McCaffrey joins world building and incredible magical or technological exploration with relationships—especially romantic ones. When I read her work, I always come away feeling like I’ve gotten to know people and their families—just in a different world. With Roger Zelazny it would have to be the visual impact of Amber and the Courts of Chaos. Plus I love his take on magic in the Amber books. Such a cool system. And who can’t help but love how RA Salvatore breathes life and development into a game system. I do love his fight scenes, but mostly I have an obsession with Artemis Entreri.

Can you recommend any craft books that you’ve found particularly helpful?

I just love The Truth about Fiction. It is a sincerely good book on the practicalities of writing. It got me rolling!

Finally, as a treat for your adoring fans, can you provide a sneaky peek at any future projects?

I am editing a Christian contemporary romance called Sunny and Grey which takes place in part in a comic book/gaming store. I love those! And I’ll be ironing my way into the sequel of The Blacksmith’s Daughter very soon. It is called The Merchant’s Son and will feature Nerian in a major way.

I’m pleased to hear there will be a sequel to The Blacksmith’s Daughter. Excellent! Thank you so much for providing us with such fun and detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success.

Please write a comment below to let Arley know how much you’d enjoyed her interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the box, and Arley will be more than happy to provide an answer. You can also subscribe to my blog (top right) for the next author interview with Devin Hodges on 29th October to be delivered to your email in-box. Thank you for your support.

Musa Publishing

Musa Publishing

The Blacksmith’s Daughter is available from Musa Publishing.

You can find out more about Arley Cole at her blog and facebook page.


Filed under Author Interview