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Epic Fantasy – The Shadowbearer – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Several hours later, after Mensa and the Zar Selentis left to return to the capital, Stefan sat at the table in his pavilion. Two candles in glass holders occupied the table’s center, their perfumed scent overriding the odor of sweaty men. Illuminated by flickering light, the map before him displayed his forces. He removed the pins representing the Alzari Matii. By now, they were well on their way back to Benez under Mensa’s command. Men were going to die because of the King’s order. A great many. In the days to come, the first to perish would mainly be Astocans. Some might say their deaths weren’t much of a loss. Eventually, his own men would number among the dead. A sense of helplessness crowded over him, and he sighed. Yet, he harbored no regrets for his announcement. Somehow, some way, he needed to stay true to his word.

“So what now?” Kasimir asked.

“We do as we have always done … save as many of the enemy as we can,” Stefan said.

Garrick grumbled a protest under his breath.

“I know how you feel about them, Garrick.” Stefan recalled the sight of Garrick’s mangled body and face after his torture by the Astocans. “But this was the one thing King Nerian, myself, and the High Council agreed upon: We would be different from other conquerors and choose to save most of those we defeated, give their people choices. This way, the common folk won’t think of us as tyrants—a lesson history taught us.”

“Use force as necessary for victory and compassion when the battle is won,” Kasimir said. A quote from Henden’s The Disciplines of Soldiering.

“Exactly.”

“I understand.” Garrick let out a resigned breath. “I still don’t like it.”

“What I don’t get,” Kasimir shifted in his seat and peered at the map, “is why the King ordered us to kill them all and now has withdrawn our Alzari menders.”

Stefan nodded. “Yes, I wondered the same myself. I can’t remember Nerian changing plans without conferring with me in person. So why now? I swear … I feel as if something is amiss back home. I don’t trust Mensa. Any man who is so quick to do anything without questioning motives often has his own plans.”

“You think he had a hand in this?” Garrick scowled.

“Not likely,” Stefan said. “The man barely knows the ass end of a horse. Someone else may be using him, or he’s smarter than any of us suspects. Anyway, unless I speak to Nerian himself, I’m not changing how we do things. We’ll mend as many Astocans as we can.”

“How are you going to accomplish that without our Alzari?” Kasimir leaned back in his chair, armor creaking as he did so.

Read more of Chapter 2

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Author Interview : Stephen Hise

So for today, we have Stephen Hise, author of Upgrade. I first encountered Stephen in my facebook group, Book Junkies. He was and still is one of the funniest and most engaging people I’ve met there. He’s also a person who devotes his time to helping other authors get the word out.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Stephen Hise: I can’t really identify a recognized genre for it. I call it a bodice-ripper with a Twilight–Zone twist. It is the story of a wealthy computer geek who has everything going for him but looks. Rather than pursuing plastic surgery, he undergoes a procedure that makes microadjustments in his facial contours, counterbalancing asymmetries in his face. This has the effect of distorting the metric used by the human brain’s hard wiring. He looks the same after the procedure, except people subconsciously register him as appearing attractive instead of unattractive.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Stephen Hise: I was home-schooling my teenaged daughter. One of her subjects was creative writing. We had watched a Twilight–Zone marathon, which gave me the idea for a writing assignment for her. I told her to write a short story that she thought would be a good Twilight–Zone episode. She challenged me to do the same. I started writing what I had intended to be a short story, but it just kept coming, so I went with it.

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Stephen Hise: I liked the early works of Stephen King, and practically everything by Michael Crichton.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Stephen Hise: The main character is Brent Schoenfeld, the computer software designer who has the procedure. He is intent on getting what he wants in life, and because he had no experience of a romantic nature before (even though he is nearing 30 years of age) he has trouble. My favorite character though was Marcy. She is so deliciously flirty and manipulative.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Stephen Hise: From pillar to post on the first draft, I’d say about two months.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Stephen Hise: I pretty much only knew the framework. All the character development and little twists and turns developed as I was writing the story.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Stephen Hise: Well, I want them to enjoy the book, but I also hope that it provokes some introspection and discussion about the nature of self-image. I would like them to reflect on that and then buy a dozen copies to give to their friends. (Ahem.)

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Stephen Hise: I guess I’d have to say I had concerns about how people who know me would feel about it. The book could not be classified as erotica by any stretch, but it has some pretty steamy stuff going on. I had reservations about how my family, in particular would receive it.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Stephen Hise: I just can’t make myself a slave to word count. I’ve tried that approach and just end up very unhappy with what I write. I just have to write when the muse is upon me. I never prosper by trying to force it.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Stephen Hise: I was just so very pleased and surprised by the warmth and mutual support in the indie author community. I had an image of a bunch of people with tweed jackets and condescending attitudes. It just isn’t like that at all.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Stephen Hise: I’d advise anybody starting out to get engaged early on with social media and to connect with the indie author community. Neophytes will find a lot of help and encouragement among the indies.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Stephen Hise: I’m not sure of what works or works best, but I do know people do not liked to be spammed. If you join Facebook groups, show up and participate every once in a while, don’t just drop by once a week and remind everybody to buy your book.

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Stephen Hise: I’m on Facebook and twitter. I have over a thousand followers on both my Facebook page and on twitter, but the best way I’ve found is just to connect with people, let them get to know you. You do not have to be your book. I think if people find you interesting, they may think perhaps your book would be interesting as well. That’s a theory, anyway. I’m still trying to find someone who thinks I’m interesting.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Stephen Hise: “If everybody was reading right now, all this unpleasantness could have been avoided.”

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books

Stephen Hise: I am also a contributing author to a short-story anthology with my daughter and my youngest son. The title is “Creepier by the Dozen.”

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Stephen Hise: On my website: http://stephenhise.com/

Buy Links : Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 

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Author Interview : Keta Diablo

Today’s interview is with Keta Diablo. A writer of Fantasy romance. One of the things that drew me to Keta was her covers and the fact she had trading cards. Now how awesome is that? You’ll find a couple after the interview.

Dust and Moonlight

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Keta Diablo: Dust and Moonlight is a time travel fantasy novel. Criminal profiler, Kira Barton, has a lead on a serial killer and follows him into an abandoned building. When he attacks her, a woman from another world descends to save her. Kira awakens in a strange land, one filled with sorcery, wizards, shape-shifters and a prince that makes her heart thrum.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Keta Diablo: I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time travel. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could travel into the past or into the future through mysterious venues? I’m particularly intrigued by history, would love to experience firsthand an era in early Wales, Scotland or Ireland. I say for a short time – lol – because times were hard, living conditions rudimentary. While the visit would be intriguing, I’m thinking a short period of visitation would be ideal.

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Keta Diablo: I must say Harper Lee because To Kill A Mockingbird was the first novel I remember reading and remembered long after I put it down. I suddenly realized I could go anywhere in the world simply by turning the pages in a book. I loved the vivid depictions of her characters. Everything seemed so real  – the sultry heat of the South, the bitter taste of prejudice and the fascinating adventures of Jem and Scout’s childhood. Even the names she choose for her characters – Atticus and Boo Radley – were well suited to the overall ambience of the novel.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Keta Diablo: I liked writing about Kira, the heroine. An only child, she sort of floated through an idyllic childhood, yet knew something about her parents seemed strange. She wasn’t really prepared to be thrust into another world, yet rose to the occasion through determination and grit. As the alien, dangerous world unfolded around her, she kept her wits intact, didn’t collapse into hysterics – which I think many of us might have. She isn’t a perfect character – she has flaws, an annoying habit of comparing a situation or a person to something visual from her past. I think characters, like every day people, should have flaws and weird nuances whether physical or as a result of life’s experiences. Perfect characters are boring and unreal in my opinion.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Keta Diablo: Dust and Moonlight started out as a published short story. So many reviewers and readers wanted to know more about the world of Locke Cress and the people who lived there. They also wanted to know what happened with Kira and Prince Balion. I expanded the short story into a full-length novel that seemed to write itself. I knew Kira and Balion quite well after writing the short story. This helped in the journey to lengthen their story.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Keta Diablo: That depends on where the idea originates. At times, I find an idea for a story through research. A good example of that is my novel Land of Falling Stars. I read a true life story online about cousins who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, yet lived only miles apart. That led me down a path of “what-ifs”. What if two men who loved the same woman fought for opposite sides in the War? What if one died and the other came home to tell her the horrific news?

And like many authors, at times for ideas stem from a dream. I’m a vivid, virtual dreamer and keep a notebook on my nightstand in case I wake up from a dream. And finally, I get ideas by people-watching. This is a great way to invent your next character. I look for peculiar expressions, and again nuances/quirks in their persona. It’s amazing to watch two people hold a conversation – forget the words, just watch the expressions and the gestures.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Keta Diablo: With all my books, I hope for two things: That for a short time I was able to remove them from their every day struggles and worries. Of course, authors want readers to remember the book when they’re done reading. I’ve read hundreds, perhaps thousands of books but distinctly remember only a handful years later. If one accomplishes the above, the author has done his/her job.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Keta Diablo: Always the pacing for me. I have a tendency to rush through scenes at times– my mind working much faster than my fingers. We all hope to improve with every book we write. Knowing what we need to work on is half the battle. The other thing is to know your characters well. You have to stop and ask yourself if your character would really say or do such a thing. Yes, it’s fiction, but it still has to be believable.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Keta Diablo: I wish I did strive for a certain word count each day, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m a binge writer once I get the story down in my mind. I think about the plot, the characters for weeks – run through every scene and conversation in my mind long before I sit down to write. When I have things squared away in my brain, then I might write for eight hours a day. If inspiration is still with me in the following days, I’ll do the same until I’m done.  That’s the first draft. Then I go back and look for plot holes, wrong words, bad writing, that sort of thing. And finally, I run through it a third time for typos and spelling errors. It’s a long process writing a full-length novel, and the first draft might not look too much like the final.  At least not my first drafts.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Keta Diablo: Two things: Freedom to do what I love without someone looking over my shoulder and the sense of satisfaction when someone likes your book – really likes “your” book. To me, that’s amazing.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Keta Diablo: I don’t know that I’m qualified to give advice. I think every writer needs to find their own path during their journey. What works for one, will not work for another. Some authors outline or use note cards before they attempt the next novel. Some write by the seat of their pants. I think you can’t listen to what everyone tells you – find what works for you. Be persistent and persevere. Writing is hard work; it’s a craft you must learn if you want a following. There are no shortcuts, but there are lots of rules. Learn the rules and then have the courage to break them when you know you should.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Keta Diablo: Promotion and marketing is never-ending. Again, there are no easy answers here. You need to discover what works for you. How many hours a day do you have to devote to marketing? What are the best venues for your type of book? What can you afford to give time- wise so it doesn’t prevent you from writing the next book? There is no easy way around promotion and marketing. You must have a plan and again, persistence and determination eventually pays off.

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Keta Diablo: I’ve run the gamut to see what works best. I have a large following on twitter (@ketadiablo) and my Facebook page is very active (http://www.facebook.com/KetaDiablo.Author). I post regularly on both and think they work well for me. I make sure my books are current on Goodreads, Shelfari and my Amazon author page is up to date. I do belong to Nings and other social networking sites but there’s no way of knowing how well they work when it comes to actual sales. I have a large blog following (http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com) and post regularly to the blog. I also have an author home where all information is updated on a regular basis. (http://www.ketadiablo.com)

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Keta Diablo: If I truly did the best I could in all aspects of life, then I’ll be satisfied. To not try to improve no matter what role you play or what path you take is a mistake. We can always work harder at being a good person. We don’t always succeed, but what’s important is that you keep trying.

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?

Keta Diablo: Yes, thank you so much for asking. I think I have about 21 books on the market now. You can view my books at my Amazon Author page here (http://amzn.to/qsrw5D). In 2009 my novel Decadent Deceptions finaled in the RWA Molly contest. In 2010 one of my stories finaled in the Scarlet Boa Contest and in 2011 my paranormal shifter Where The Rain is Made was nominated for a Bookie Award by Authors After Dark in the BEST enovel category.  Be sure to check them out at the link above.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Keta Diablo: On the links I’ve listed, Amazon, Keta’s Keep Romance Blog and my web site.

Terry, thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog. It’s so kind of you to support your colleagues in this manner. Sending lots of good thoughts your way for your kindness.

Keta Diablo

Terry C. Simpson: You’re most welcome Keta. And thank you for the thoughts. Here’s a couple of Keta’s trading Cards for Dust and Moonlight.

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Individual Card links:

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in Announcements, Epublishing, Interviews, Writing

 

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Epic Fantasy Novel, Etchings of Power released.

What a journey.

So, I sit here numb. Why? Well, today my book officially published.

I actually clicked the publish button yesterday and wasn’t sure how I felt then.  Well now I can say I’m so elated that I’m numb. Someone pinch me, please.

This started in 2001, when I was working at Verizon. My best friend Hughey and I always got together and talked about the books we read. We both felt there were so many great authors out there, but for some reason, we couldn’t always find the books that moved us the most. You see, we love magic, action, wars. And while we love characters also, those three things are what appeal to us the most. It’s why we loved Jordan, Sanderson, Butcher, Lumley just to mention a few. So my journey began.

After years from when I was in primary school in Barbados to high school here, people told me I had a knack for writing. English Lit and Lang were my best subjects. Along with History, I enjoyed those immensely. Then there was my love for wild life. Couple that with my love for fantasy fiction, this route seemed the most plausible.

I started building my world, and I started writing short pieces. Then I began to seriously look at what I needed to do if indeed I wanted this as a serious future, to be published in any form. I rented and bought books on writing, from Elements of Style to How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, to everything inbetween, constantly learning the craft. I joined groups online. This eventually led me to the Speculative Collective Group here in NYC. A group of wonderful writers and aspiring novelists, who work in many different fields. And I learned.

Critique after critique, some more brutal than others, I learned. I still remember the first meeting when my work got beat up. But I took that in stride and knew what I needed to do to get better. So I worked on those nuances, and I’m still working on them. From there came a process of refining and rewriting even while my life tended at times to be a mess around me. But in those dark days, I found a love, a passion. This, writing. Creating worlds and peoples and characters wrapped up in their own trials and tribulations and watching as they lived their lives. It’s such a great joy that I cannot begin to describe.

So here it is, Book 1 of Aegis of the Gods, Etchings of Power. I hope you enjoy. And i hope I can make the next one even better.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Announcements

 

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