Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Interview: Jordi Burton

Author Jordi Burton started writing when she was ten-years-old and hasn’t stopped since!  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Jodi BurtonMy name is Jordi Burton. I recently graduated from the University of Florida this past December with a degree in English and a minor in history. I am a major sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast. I love anything Marvel or DC—I can’t decide between the two—and my dad instilled a love of Star Trek in me at a young age. I believe in love at first sight, thanks to my beautiful Boston Terrier, and I am a long-suffering Dolphins fan.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was ten-years-old. I had been playing a pretend game in my pool and was telling my mom all about it when she suggested I write it down. It had never occurred to me before that I could simply write a book. I sat down and started writing that afternoon, and I haven’t really stopped since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer my senior year of college. I had published my first novel the previous summer and was working on releasing my second. I found that when people would ask me what my plans were for my future, or what I wanted to do, I told them I was focusing on writing, or that I wanted to be a writer. That was when I truly accepted I was a writer. Before that, I was just a student that liked to write.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My current book is called Call Me Anastasia. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old princess Anastasia Piliar. She is half-god-half-angel, and her people, the Nadmilise, are the ancient ancestors of the human race. In her world, there are ten dimensions known as realms, and each realm houses a race of mythical beings, such as werewolves or vampires. Each realm also has the culture of a part of history. Anastasia’s realm is based on the Renaissance, the werewolves’ on traditional Hindu culture, and the vampires’ in Victorian England.

At the start of the novel, Anastasia witnesses her grandparents’ murder at the hand of the Shadows, an equally as ancient race of monstrous beasts. In the first chapter, Anastasia returns to her home realm after living in hiding amongst humans for ten years. She must find a way to protect her people from the Shadows—who have once again set their sights on her homeland—and learn to become a part of the life she left behind.

What inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration for Call Me Anastasia came from the City of Bones novels by Cassandra Claire. In the novels, there is a homeland for Claire’s heroes where no technology exists. It is a kind of Renaissance land in the modern-day world. I wondered what it would be like to live in such a place, to have modern ideals in such a historical setting. Thus, Anastasia’s realm was born. The rest of the story took place around the setting.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing style tends to be descriptive. I’m often told my novels read like screenplays in that everything can be visualized as though it were a movie. I also tend to write female protagonists for my novels, and I lean towards male protagonists for my short stories.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

After I finished writing Call Me Anastasia, I was having a talk with my dad. I couldn’t figure out what to title the book—I always title things after they’ve been written so that I have a feel of the work as a whole. He asked me if there was any word or phrase that was repeated throughout the novel, something that seemed to encapsulate Anastasia as a character, or her world. It was then that Call me Anastasia went from a line of dialogue to the title of my novel. It showcases Anastasia’s approachability, as she prefers to be referred to by her name rather than her proper title, as well as her upbringing. She chooses to be personable with her people, a trait that I felt aptly summarized the main point of the novel.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t believe there are any overt messages in the novel, but I definitely had certain intentions when I sat down to write. I knew I wanted a female protagonist that was strong and had high self-esteem. As a young reader, I had difficulty connecting with female protagonists because most of them were self-deprecating. I wanted to have a protagonist young readers could look up to. I also wanted to stray from other YA tropes, such as the love triangle, the female protagonist needing to rely on male characters to accomplish her goal, and the idea of the Chosen One. Other than that, I hope my readers take away Anastasia’s connection to her family and her people, as well as her strength.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

In the novel—without giving too much away—Anastasia suffers from a kind of illness, where she struggles with severe stomach pains and headaches. At the time when I was writing Call Me Anastasia, I was dealing with health issues. I took the physical illness I was dealing with and used it to make Anastasia’s struggles realistic. I also fashioned Anastasia’s parents after my own parents. I even used things they had told me over the years as advice Anastasia’s parents give to her.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

The authors that have most influenced my life would be Christopher Paolini and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I started reading Naylor’s Boys vs Girls series when I was in middle school, and have since read all eight novels three times. I loved how she took a real life event—the conflict between the Hatfords and the Malloys—and turned it into an engrossing set of middle-grade novels.

Chrmiddle-gradelini inspires me because he started writing his debut novel, Eragon when he was fifteen-years-old. He self-published through his family’s publishing company and put together his own 130-stop book tour. He created his own language he uses throughout his four Eragon novels when he was only a teenager. His incredible talent, and his young age encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing. Whenever writing was tough, or I wasn’t being taken seriously because of my age, I just thought of Paolini and persevered.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

I would consider S. Usher Evans a mentor in many ways. I met her at a comic convention, right around the time I was working on releasing Call Me Anastasia. She gave me advice, as well as her personal email address, and answered any and every question I threw her way. She helped me decide to pursue writing full-time and walked me through many aspects of self-publishing. Not to mention, her novels were captivating to read.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I designed the cover of my book, but Aaron Lambert is the artist that brought my concept to life. I was at a comic convention—the same one where I met S. Usher Evans—and came across some incredible drawings of The Flash and the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who. After purchasing both, I fell into conversation with Aaron and realized that he would be the perfect person to create my cover. I have used him for the second novel in the Anastasia Series, and plan to use him for all the others. I am inspired by his work.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice would other writers would have to be, as cliché as it is, to keep writing. Even if you hate what you’ve put down on paper, it’s better than staring at a blank computer screen or page. Sometimes, you just have to get over that first bump in the road, or those roadblocks along the way, to really get your word flow going.

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

To my readers: I do what I do for you. I love to tell stories—I always have—but I would be talking to myself in an empty room if you weren’t there to listen. I am grateful for all of your support, and I can’t wait to share more with you.

Book Cover Call Me AnastasiaJordi Burton
Plantation, FL

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Author Interview: Karin De Havin

Karin De Havin writes Young Adult fantasies as well as Paranormal stories from her timber frame lodge home in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with a pair of tuxedo cats that help her write by jumping on keyboards, and her pianist husband who wears a tuxedo while he tinkers with the keyboard too. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Karin De Havin and I am an author, designer, and artist. I split my time between designing and putting pen to paper or rather fingers to the keyboard. I’ve always been creative and have expanded my mediums from paint, to fabric, to words.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had been working in the grueling fashion industry as a designer and needed a break. I took a creative writing course in college and have always enjoyed writing short stories but never had a chance to follow through on my passion for writing. So after over a decade in the fashion business working for several companies, I decided to go freelance so I could finally have the spare time to begin my first novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I sold several short stories and a few magazine articles. I thought if people are willing to pay for my stories then maybe I’m a writer after all.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’m almost done with the final book in my heaven fantasy series, The Katran Legacy. I will be sad to say good-bye to my characters after spending several years together, but I’m enjoying giving them the ending they deserve.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s a bit of a strange inspiration story. I was at a funeral of a friend of my husbands. It was very sad, as he was only thirty-five years old when he died from cancer and had so much life to live. But I was amazed at how his friends weren’t upset and were able to celebrate his life. They took turns telling stories about all the crazy adventures he had in his life as an extreme sports enthusiast. His friends said in his last days he was at peace with dying. He’d lived a full life and had no regrets. There were several high school age kids at the funeral and I thought what if one of them died? The conversations would be totally different because they haven’t had a chance to live their life yet. Then I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful when they arrived in heaven they were given an opportunity to earn a second chance at life? That’s what started the idea for Nine Lives, the first book in the series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I’m a very character driven writer. I come up with story ideas all the time, but before I can flesh them out, I need to visualize the key characters first. I have to hear their voices and see their faces before I can put the story to the page.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The story in the fourth book is about discovering a new path for the characters now that they have won back their lives. They will never be the same after what they experienced in heaven. Some of them reconsider going to college while others are certain they want to strike out on their own. I also picked the title because Heavenly Discovery worked well with the previous book, Heavenly Returns.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. Just when you think all hope is lost you have the power to turn things around. But things are never easy, so you need to hard work, have a little luck, and the help and support of good friends.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

I think all writers base their books on experiences even though they may be writing fantasy fiction. I’ve never died and gone to heaven, but I’ve been given second chances in my life and I learned not to waste them.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I love all types of authors so I have a broad base of influences. Authors I admire are Jane Austen, Kurt Vonnegut, Tolkien, J.K. Rawlings, and George R R Martin. What drew me to their writing were their amazing characters and their world-building abilities. You might be thinking Jane Austen had world-building abilities? Yes, she did. She was a master of capturing the life she experienced in the Regency era. Her descriptions are so vivid readers for decades have traveled back in time through her books. My love of her books inspired my Victorian genie time travel series, Jin In Time.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I actually am lucky enough to have two writers I admire as mentors. My first mentor and I were represented by the same literary agency. Our agent matched up as critique partners. After being traditional published my mentor left the agency and went indie. She was quite successful so I followed her two years later. I had only been traditionally published so she’s been a lifesaver learning the ins and outs of the indie publishing world. The second is a new mentor who is a New York Times bestseller who is helping me grow my writing even more. I’m so excited to be working with her.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Kellie at Book Cover by Design did the cover. She has done many of my mentor’s covers and which are truly amazing. It was a no-brainer to use her too. As an artist, I can appreciate all the hard work Kellie puts into her covers and her wonderful sense of color and composition.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You need to study the craft and be passionate about your stories. Telling a good story is an art. It’s a very tough business. I’ve found it to be even harder to learn than the fashion business, which is notoriously difficult. You need to believe in yourself and never give up.

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

Thank you so much for reading my stories and believing in my characters. I really appreciate your enthusiasm for my series and your willingness to jump right into the crazy worlds I create. You’re the best!

Karin De Havin
Pacific Northwest

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FlashFiction: Honor Bound by Wendy Van Camp

Honor Bound

Honor Bound
A fantasy short story by Wendy Van Camp
980 words

Marching through the misty twilight the noblewoman paused. Her hand reached under her stout woolen cloak as she examined the shadows. In a single fluid movement, she drew a narrow sword and held it before her as if it were an extension of her hand. “Come no further, Sers. Otherwise, you will know the taste of my blade.”

Coryan flattened herself against a nearby stone wall. Had anyone seen her? Master Jacob had tasked her with following the woman. No stable duties along with the promise of a hot meal were enough to send her into the cool night. Yet, facing thugs was not part of the bargain. She shivered as she inched away from the scene.

The largest of the three men laughed. He drew a short sword, the curved type used by the soldiers of the southern guard. “Perhaps you will taste mine. Unless you have the coin to stay my sword?”

“You would do well to retreat, Ser. I am Raven Ewen, perhaps you have heard of me?” Coryan felt her jaw drop as she froze in wonder. Who had not heard of the famous warrior mage? She was an adviser to the king and on the wizard’s council. Yet, this woman was smaller than the legend she had idolized during nights lying in the stable hay. How could this be the former savior of the kingdom?

“As you will.” The rogue said to the noblewoman. The curved blade whistled through the dank air. Coryan winced as the blade bit into the woman’s stomach. There was a metallic clank as blade met chainmail and a blue glow. The woman leaped back to her feet, with no wound showing.

The leader of the thugs roared and came at her again, his two henchmen joining close behind. The three grabbed the noblewoman by both arms and pulled her into a nearby alley, away from the safer main street. A few moments later there was another scuffle and a cry of pain. From who, the girl did not know.

“No. This can’t be.” Coryan whispered into the night. She trembled as she leaned against the stone wall. Before her mother died, she had recited many tales about Raven Ewen. Coryan used to brandish a wooden sword and pretend she was the mighty heroine. Before she lost everything and became the orphan stable girl at the inn’s stable. She should run but she had to know the heroine’s fate.

Coryan looked down the dim alley, but the men were gone. Deep in the ally, she spotted the fine wool of the woman’s cape. Within her body lay prone on the cobblestones. Coryan stole forward until she was at the noblewoman’s side. “I am here, Sera. It is Coryan, from the Hen and Bull.”

“Coryan?” Raven’s brown eyes looked at a point distant and ethereal her voice a whisper.

“Sera, you must stay with me. I will bring help!”

“It is too late.” Her narrow hand took Coryan’s wrist. “The honor of my House…must be preserved.” From her pocket, the mage removed a glittering blue gem that glowed with inner light. She pressed it into the girl’s hand.

Coryan’s world vibrated, filling with a myriad of colors. Then it was gone. She was once more bent over the body of the woman. But wait, it was not the mage that laid there on the street. It was herself! Horrified, Coryan looked at her hands. They were not the thin fingers and pale skin of a street urchin, instead they were narrow and wrinkled. What has the mage done to me?

“You must go to the Green Dragon Inn. You must help Lourna Mernal find my young cousin. I am honor bound to be of aid.” The woman closed her eyes and added, “You are young to place such faith. But the spirits must have brought you for a reason….” she whispered, “Promise me. You will do this.”

Coryan bowed her head. “Will I ever see myself in the mirror again?”

The noblewoman’s grip lessened as her strength faded. “Promise me!”

Coryan nodded. The woman was dying. It made no difference what she said to her. “I promise, Sera.” The mage closed her eyes and her breathing slowed, then stilled. The hand that kept the girl at her side fell to the road.

Putting the silver chain over her head, Coryan settled the blue gem under her clothing. It felt warm and seemed to vibrate. Was it alive? She took the mage’s narrow sword and scabbard, belting it around her strange new waist. The body in the alley was hers. She could not leave it. Coryan wrapped the child body in the wool cloak and placed it against the wall where no one would step. She would inform the constables once the sun rose into the sky.

She stood and made her way out of the alley. She turned toward the Hen and Bull intending to return to her Master and the stable. Then she stopped. How could she return to her old life looking like this? No one would believe she was just Coryan, the ten-year-old stable girl.

Am I free? The thought was a heady one. I could see the world. Live as I choose. Coryan frowned. I could starve. Who would take care of me? The fear grew in her.

“Promise me.” The whisper of the mage’s voice came to her ear. She blinked in surprise. She was alone on the street.

The Green Dragon Inn was on the other side of the city. Perhaps this Lourna Mernal could help her discover a way to transform herself back into her youthful form.

Coryan did her best imitation of the confident stride that the Sera mage had shown the world. If she must be Raven Ewen, she would do her best to play the part. In this manner, Coryan entered the doorway of the Green Dragon Inn.


Honor Bound is a story from a fantasy novel I’ve been working on for the past few years.  This is a little preview of the world and main characters in the story.  I don’t have a due date for this novel since there are a few projects ahead of it, but as time goes on, I’ll likely post more stories based on this world here on the blog if there is interest.  Let me know in the comments.

This story is also available to members of Medium.  If you would like to support me as an author, please go to Medium and give my story claps.  Clapping lets the Medium system know that my story is popular and it will gain more visibility.

Author Interview: Richard Fierce

Richard Fierce is a fantasy author best known for his novella The Last Page. He’s also one of the creative brains behind the Allatoona Book Festival, a literary event in Acworth, Georgia. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Richard FierceMy name is Richard Fierce and I write fantasy. My day job is in the tech industry, but my passion is writing. I hope to be a full-time writer by the end of 2018! I have 4 dogs (three huskies), three cats, two birds and a dwarf hamster. My wife and three step-daughters are animal fanatics and “No” apparently means “Yes” in my house. My daily commute is 4 hours round trip. The office I work at is 82 miles from my house, and I drive through Atlanta traffic. People in Georgia drive like they aren’t afraid to die if that tells you anything.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing since I was in elementary school, but I really got serious about it in 2007/2008. I self-published a novella that had been collecting dust and began my publishing career. I began writing because I love telling stories. The creative side of my brain is constantly coming up with ideas, so I always joke that I have more unfinished story ideas than I do friends.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always considered myself a writer, even before I was published, but I didn’t consider myself an “author” until my first book went out into the world. I think a lot of writers have that backward, though. They don’t think they are writers until they have something published. I disagree with that view. Regardless of whether or not you are published, if you write, you are a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My book is titled Dragonsphere. It’s the first in a completed four book series and sets the stage for the events that happen across two kingdoms. These kingdoms have been at war for as long that no one really remembers why they’re even still fighting. When a dragon starts ravaging cities of both kingdoms, they have to put their differences aside to stop it. The top of each chapter has a quote from someone, either a historical figure in that world or a current character, and gives insight into the history of the world that isn’t in the main narrative.

The Kingdom of Talvaard had a great persecution break out against wizards, and so they do not have wizards to help them against their enemies. The Kingdom of Oakvalor has wizards but no weapon smiths because Talvaard has assassinated all of them. Both kingdoms have an advantage over the other, and this is what forces them into a truce, however temporary, to stop the dragon.

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea for Dragonsphere came to me as I was helping my wife in the nursery of a church. She was watching the younger kids and one of them was playing with a toy ball that had buttons all over it. When you pushed the buttons, it played music. I thought to myself, “What if there was something inside that ball, and if the music didn’t get played so often, it would escape?” That idea slowly turned into this book.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m always working on my craft, but I can’t think of any “style” that I have aside from being a “narrative” writer. I aim to entertain readers, but not with the beauty of language or anything. I use descriptive language so that readers can envision or imagine the scenery and characters.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title came about as a play on words. It’s Dragonsphere, which is an item in the story, but the play on words is dragon(s) fear. Classic fantasy always shows people being overcome with an intense fear when dragons show up, and I thought it was rather fitting to play into the classic trope.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

When I write, I try to weave things that people can relate to into the story. One of the main characters in the book is a monk, and he struggles with faith. I think that’s something many people can relate to. I know I do. The character poses questions, both philosophical and honest, and learns about different beliefs as the story progresses. While not direct events, I have experienced this in my own life.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Good questions! My idols are R.A. Salvatore and Margaret Weis. I find Margaret’s storytelling to be so in depth and well thought out. Salvatore is a master of storytelling as well, and I love how he keeps you engaged with the characters and shows you their inner thoughts.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

Yes, actually. Pdmac is a sci-fi writer I met at a convention a few years ago. He lives in the same area as I do and we talk at least once a week. We share each other’s WIPs with one another for feedback. He’s a mentor in that he makes me think of things I hadn’t considered before and poses questions that make me re-think why I’m writing a scene a certain way or points out passive voice. He’s a mentor and an editor, I suppose.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Saeed Ramez did the art. I chose him because his style fits what I was looking for (and he let me use the art for free!) Sapphire Designs did the formatting and typography. I posted my original cover in the 20Coversto50K Facebook group and she had some pointers on how to make it better. I’m not a designer, so when she offered to fix it up for me, I was more than welcome for the help. She charged me a very fair amount, too.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Even the most prolific writers suffer from self-doubt. I find the way to fight through that doubt is to keep writing and working on my craft. Don’t let your work die in the hands of the critics. As I see the sales starting to increase, it adds to the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile. My worst critic is self, but I always remind myself that no one lies to me more than I lie to myself.

Richard Fierce Dragonsphere EbookRichard Fierce
Rockmart, Georgia

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Anthology For Your Writers’ Group by April Grey

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Could you, should you, dare you, put together an anthology for your writers’ group?

In this age of Internet and computers, we all know how easy it is to publish online. Just hit “send.” However, putting together an anthology (ebook and/or paper) for your writers’ group may take a bit more effort.

For me, a love of learning led me to take classes from Dean Wesley Smith
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/online-workshops, in how to create a book cover and how to format a book interior. Easy Peasy? Hmmm. Well, there are many You Tubes that teach you how to do formatting and design, so yes, with a little determination and time you can do it.

Although the how to’s is something that almost anyone can do, coming up with material—that’s where having a pool of creative people is vital.

The first anthology I put together was inspired by our local community garden, along with two stories about gardens from writers I knew. I’ve been involved in SF, Fantasy and Horror workshops since the early 90’s, both on-line and in real life and so would read many, many stories a year to give crit. In return I also got my stories reviewed.

Once the idea to put together an anthology came to me, I asked of the writers in my circle if they had any stories about gardens, gardeners or gardening. I pulled together six stories. Not a lot of material, but I was thinking this could be a promotional item. I included excerpts of material from the writers. Six stories transformed into twelve! I’d seen samplers from all sorts of publishing houses.

Besides years of critting, I was an editor for Damnation Press. This rewarding work allowed me to get to know an even larger circle of writers than from my writing groups.

My second anthology was again inspired by events in my life. Cronehood isn’t for the fainthearted. This time I had ten stories to go together. Instead of photoshopping a cover all by myself, I enlisted the work of Dirk Strangely. I have long been a fan of his Tim Burtonesque style, and I figured why not splurge and send some money his way? I’ve used his artwork for four of my covers.

We all know that a cover can make or break a book. Of course, what’s between the covers matters a great deal, but it’s the cover that lures the reader in to crack open the book or read an on-line sample.

Wonderful cover art, great stories, a formatter, and an editor. That’s it. For ebooks, Smashwords is extremely user friendly. Createspace’s customer service is great (though I always fight with them about the spine—that’s for another blog).

I haven’t mentioned publicity, maybe because that’s my least favorite bit. Word of mouth, blog hops, reviews, all of this needs to be done both leading up to release and after publication. Since this is being done not to get rich, but to promote your writing group, that you really need to have group support in getting the word out that your anthology is a must-read among a sea of other self-published works.

Another thing needed is a theme. Most anthologies have one. So far the Hell’s series has focused on gardens, crones, pets, and music. All the stories are more dark fantasy and humor than horror and can appeal to a wide audience.

Recently I was fortunate enough to be co-editor of our local Horror Writers Association’s anthology, New York State of Fright. It’s at its publisher right now and should be out in 2018. I’m very excited to see that work of so many writers who I have known for years and greatly respect. The theme is centered on New York and it is a varied and exciting read!

I hope that this has gotten you thinking about your own writers’ group. Great stories and cover art are the biggest factors. If you have that, then you should consider this as a great project for the new year!


Author April GreyApril Grey’s short stories are collected in The Fairy Cake Bakeshop and in I’ll Love You Forever. She is also the author of two urban fantasy novels: Chasing the Trickster and its sequel, St. Nick’s Favor.

She edited the anthologies: Hell’s Bells: Wicked Tunes, Mad Musicians and Cursed Instruments; Hell’s Garden: Mad, Bad and Ghostly Gardeners, Hell’s Grannies: Kickass Tales of the Crone and last year’s, Hell’s Kitties and Other Beastly Beasts.

She and her family live in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC in a building next to a bedeviled garden. Gremlins, sprites or pixies, something mischievous, lurks therein. Someday she’ll find out. Please visit www.aprilgrey.blogspot for her latest news.  Follow her on Twitter and FaceBook