Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Interview: C.I. Chevron

Definitely ADHD—C.I. Chevron loves to write everything from Christian to hard science fiction. Problem is, she loves to read just as much and has a hard time deciding which to do first. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author CI ChevronI began writing at a very young age on anything I could get my hands on, including, don’t kill me, my picture books. When I was nine, my great grandmother took out her old typewriter and taught me to type. What a revelation. I wrote all the way through high school. Then college, marriage, kids, and showing horses competitively got in the way and I stopped. About ten years ago my mother (my greatest fan and supporter) passed away. Then not too long after, my stallion. I was floating without the will to do anything. So I turned back to writing. It’s been full steam ahead since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote this monstrosity of a fantasy book when I was sixteen. My sister loved it and read every word asking for more. The validation of having a devoted fan—yeah, I know she was my sister—made me think, hey, I can do this. Even if it took a while. My mother kept the book. A huge file of loose single spaced scribbled on mess. Sometimes I take it out and look and it and think—maybe this year.

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

Metal and Bone is a fractured CinderElla fairy tale set in an alternate steampunk timeline of 1870. Ella is a modified human, forced to work as a servant and thief for her stepmother, a German agent. Of course, there is a handsome Prince, returned from the warfront when his brother, the crown prince, is killed. At loose ends, he works with Scotland yard to apprehend the thief Cinder. Unbeknownst to him the woman he has fallen in love with, Ella, has a lot of secrets. As does the thief Cinder.

What inspired you to write this book?

Quite simply, I love fractured fairy tales. I read as many as I can get my hands on.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I used to be a pantser, but after several saggy middles and stories that just didn’t go anywhere, I pretty must plot my stories now. The outlines are fluid and tend to change—a lot. But when I get stuck, I look at the outline, and away I go.

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

My main character, Ella, was modified by her godmother using a secret method from the Egyptian tombs (since lost again) that fused wires (metal) to nerves and bone. Thus—Metal and Bone.

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

I really don’t tend to write with a message in mind, but I do write strong women. Basically, do what you need to do women.

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

Not at all. I am an escapist writer and reader. I want to fall into the story and disappear, and I want to take the reader with me. Of course, there are a few things that may be traced to people I know or things I have seen or done, but I’m not admitting to anything.

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

Too many to count. Any person, indie author or traditional, that can take me on a journey, who has a good story to tell, I will read. Not matter mistakes, even plot holes. It’s all about the story for me.

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

The people of NETWO (Northeast Texas Writers Organization) have been my mentors for the past eight years. They are supportive and offer up the best constructive criticism ever.

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

Steven Novak did this cover and I love it. It won the People choice at the 2019 NETWO conference’s cover contest. Steven is easy to work with, and you just can’t beat that. He gets back to me, is willing to change things up over and over again until we get it right.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find a critique group that meets regularly or put one together yourself. I am in a group that has met at a local coffee house every Tuesday for over a year and a half. They are great for bouncing ideas off, finding plot holes, running book trailers by, and discussing marketing or just the book world in general.

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

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

MetalBone_CVR_SMLC.I. Chevron
Cookville, TX

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Cover Artist: Steven Novak

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Author Interview: Ronesa Aveela

Author Ronesa Aveela is “the creative power of two.” Two authors writing as one to introduce the world to the rich and magical culture of Bulgaria. Please welcome them to No Wasted Ink.

Author Ronesa AveelaThis is the pen name of two authors: Nelly Toncheva and Rebecca Carter (who will be answering questions today). Nelly is married and has two children. In the late 90s, she came to the U.S. from Bulgaria when her husband won a national lottery (not monetary, but immigration). She enjoys painting to relax. Rebecca is happily single. She’s lived her entire live in New England: hates the cold, but it’s home. She enjoys reading, knitting, and baking, although author-related tasks take up most of her time nowadays.

When and why did you begin writing?

Our writing career began in 2011, when Nelly asked me to help her with a book she had written in Bulgarian, a romantic fantasy about a place she fell in love with when she visited: Emona, Bulgaria. Since English wasn’t her native language and I had a background in editing and publishing, she wanted help making it sound good in English.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. In my senior year in high school, as part of a class assignment, I wrote a short murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie. It was one of the few papers that impressed the teacher enough that she read it to the class. Since then, writing has been the most enjoyable part of the various jobs I’ve held.

As far as professional writing is concerned, although we started working on the book in 2011, it wasn’t until we finally published it in 2014 that the word “writer” became “author.”

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

I’m working on the second book in a nonfiction series called “Spirits and Creatures,” which focuses on the mythology and folklore of Eastern Europe. This book is about Rusalki, Slavic mermaids. All the books in the series are geared toward the non-academic world to bring the rich culture and mythology of Bulgaria and the eastern world to the western world. The books include artwork and stories to make the creatures come alive, as well as links to videos and music.

What inspired you to write this book?

In our fantasy book The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, a character possesses a book called Lamia’s Bible. This book holds the secrets of all the creatures who live in Dragon Village. I wanted to know what secrets these creatures might have that would enable someone to defeat them, so I did more research. I discovered a wealth of information that I wanted to share.

Do you have a specific writing style?

The writing depends on the type of book we are working on. We write fiction (adult and children’s) and non-fiction. The first book in the adult fantasy (Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey) is slower paced, with many descriptions, as we want to draw the reader into the location and customs of the people. The children’s fiction (one full-length novel and a few short stories) are faster paced, with more action. We wanted to make the nonfiction books fun, so the writing style is chatty.

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

I’ll talk about our recent book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village. Bulgarian folklore references “unborn children” (boys and girls), who will become great heroes because at least one of their parents is a supernatural creature. Quite often, the mother is human and the father is a dragon. Other heroes are born from a Samodiva (woodland nymph) and a human father whom the nymph enchanted. Dragon Village (Zmeykovo in Bulgarian) is a place at the end of the world where all the mythical creatures live in the wintertime. They return to the human world on March 25, which in Bulgaria is called Blagovets.

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

Besides wanting to introduce people to the world of Bulgarian mythology and folklore, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village wants kids to know they are not alone. There are people who can help them accomplish their goals in life if they work together as a team. And, their differences make them unique and special.

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

No, but every kid has a fantasy about being special, especially if that child is different. We all long to believe in the stories we were told as a child. In Bulgaria, Samodivi are still very much alive in the minds of the people. They are beloved and feared.

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

My favorite authors when I was growing up were Agatha Christie and Taylor Caldwell. They both made me think. With Christie, it was a matter of using my mind to solve a murder mystery. With Caldwell, it was pondering the world: politics, religion, life in general.

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

I’d pick Neil Gaiman. Having recently read his American Gods book, I’d like to know more about his research methods into various mythologies that he included in the book.

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

Nelly designed the cover for The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village. Even though she does her own artwork, we decided to have the cover illustrated by Dmitry Yakhovsky. He does marvelous illustrations and works quickly.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up. It can be frustrating, but find other authors you can talk with about issues you are having. We’ve all gone through it, and are willing to support each other.

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

Indie authors love hearing from you. A single kind word or message does so much to brighten our day and make the struggles of publishing worth it. Please also take the time to write reviews, even a sentence or two telling others what you thought of the books you’ve read.

CS-Cover_UnbornHeroRonesa Aveela
Swanzey, NH and Virginia Beach, VA

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The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village

Cover Artist: Dmitry Yakhovsky
Publisher: Bendideia Publishing

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Author Interview: Lisa Hofmann

Author Lisa Hofmann is a planner, and she loves doing on-site research, taking her children to every castle within driving distance to spend hours exploring the grounds, embarrassing their family at any given moment whenever taking a guided tour, because she’s the woman who’s always got just one more question for the guide.  Please give her a warm welcome to No Wasted Ink.

Author Lisa HofmannHi, I’m Lisa Hofmann. I’m 43 years old, married, and a mother of three with a houseful of pets. I was educated in Germany and in Ireland, which has certainly shaped who I am today.

By day, I’m an elementary school teacher who works with migrant children and refugees. At night, I turn into a rabid dark fantasy writer who survives on cappuccino and cheese snacks.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was still in school, but only seriously pursued it much, much later, when I was in my late thirties and discovered that I could actually do this on my own with no need of a publisher. I believe traditional publishing has its merits, but it’s not for someone like me who’s on a tight time-budget. I’m not a full-time writer. I work a lot of extra hours in my daytime job as a teacher, and I have three children who have my full attention. That means, I steal time to write whenever I can. I can’t imagine having meet tight deadlines for my novels or fulfill contracts for possible further books of a series within a certain time frame. I’d constantly feel pressured, and to me, writing is meant to be a pleasurable activity. It’s what I really love doing, and I’m my own boss in that area. I define my own standards, and I want to keep writing the books I myself would like to read, and not have to write to please an editor who’d like to see me change my content to suit someone else’s tastes. That’s why I always shied away from offering my work to traditional publishing houses, and I never looked for an agent. So far, I’m quite enjoying doing this my way, in my own time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started aimfully writing my first book, Stealing the Light. I loved the whole process or writing and publishing it. It felt right, and I knew immediately that this was something I was going to be doing for a long time to come.

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

My current work in progress is a third book of a series, titled “Gates of Eventide”. It’s being edited as we speak, and I’m very excited to get it out there. The series is about a community of outlaws with magical abilities who are hiding in plain sight, operating a fair that sells magical items and puts on shows. The Fair’s biggest problem is one of their own, so to speak – a woman with dangerous magical Talents who grew up outside the community, was rejected by it, and has gained a powerful position among the humans who are out to destroy the Unnaturals. I hope to release this third book in late summer, perhaps earlier, depending on how long the process of getting it ready with my editor and cover artist it will take.

The book I’ve most recently released is titled Trading Darkness. This is a stand-alone novel that’s set during the time of the witch trials in the late medieval period near my home town. Some of the events that I described in it are real, and a few of the characters as well. It was a lot of fun to research, and even more so to finally write it, since the initial idea for it was stewing for about twenty years, since my studies of local history.

What inspired you to write this book?

The series was an idea that arose from a piece of music I’d been listening to. I was talking to a friend one Saturday about it, and she encouraged me to pursue the thought. It was more a joke than something serious at the time, since we were playing around with characters from a TV series, discussing how so-and-so would handle a complete disaster like the one I was imagining for the storyline, and what such-and-such a person would do, but then I sat down and started making character charts for original characters and began outlining. The idea kept growing and getting bigger, and I suddenly found myself completely captivated.

The stand-alone novel is a book that I’ve been wanting to write ever since my time at university. I studied women’s history and I visited one of the sites where witches were executed in the course of a class I was taking on the witch trials. Standing on “Gallow’s Hill” sent shivers down my spine, and I remember thinking that life certainly writes the most fascinating stories.

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

The series title is the title of a piece by Mozart – Dies Irae, The Requiem. The idea of light and darkness was already in the first two book titles, so Gates of Eventide is a variation, basically, that tells the reader that we’re heading toward a place where shadows lie in wait.

Trading Darkness has to do with the bargain one of the main characters makes with the devil. He’s trading one darkness for another, but it’s a deal he’s going to regret for the rest of his life.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think my style is pretty much my own. I don’t try to imitate other writers, but I do read a lot of good books, so there are always bound to be traces of other author’s styles somewhere in what I’m doing. But I do think my voice is my own.

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

I think my style is pretty much my own. I don’t try to imitate other writers, but I do read a lot of books by great authors whose work I love and have been reading for decades, so there are always bound to be traces of those authors’ styles somewhere in what I’m doing. But I do think my voice is my own.

I find writing in my particular genre a bit of a challenge since it’s not strictly sword-and-sorcery or epic fantasy, but something that I would consider more “soft fantasy”, for lack of a better term. There is magic, and there are magical creatures, but the story is very much more character-driven than a typical sword-and-sorcery might be. I don’t do formula writing – I don’t write for a market of readers who would expect a storyline to develop a certain way per se. I write for readers who love intense characters and intense story development, rather than expect epic battles with dragon-riders and orcs on every other page of the book. My books have characters who are people of their time in a world parallel to ours, only with the premise that magic is a reality and not a superstition. There are real people’s conflicts in a medieval setting based on that premise, and there’s good and evil and every shade of gray in between.

What other authors have most influenced your life?

This is going to sound funny, but I read a lot of different kinds of things. I could name a lot of authors as having influenced my life and my writing. I think Stephen King would be one of them – but in contrast, I would also say Cornelia Funke. What I admire about King is his drive and how he’s managed to keep producing good books over a period of so many decades now. What I admire about Funke is her determination even in the face of personal tragedies, and her ability to evolve. She made a name for herself as an author of children’s books, but what she really is, is a very gifted fantasy writer for all ages. She’s proven that with her Reckless series.

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

Giuseppa Lo Coco designed the covers for the Dies Irae Series. She’s very talented, pleasant, and easy to work with, and she came up with the images to the words as if she was seeing what I was. That’s magical!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

In terms of the writing as such: practice your Art and stay humble. Writing is a craft that you need to hone and work hard to move toward as high a level as you can get. Plan what you’re doing, and rewrite and revise as often as necessary. I also believe it’s ever so important to work with professionals. Get in touch with a good editor, even if you’re thinking of having your work agented and publishing traditionally – polish your manuscript and make it the best you can before you put it in front of an agent or your readers.

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

Thank you for enjoying my books. Tell your friends about them and support indie authors by leaving an honest review, if possible. It’s what keeps us going.

Stealing the Light E-Book FINAL VERSIONLisa Hofmann
Siegen, Germany.

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Cover artist: Giusy Lo Coco

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Author Interview: Jennifer Brozek

Award-winning author, editor, and tie-in writer, Jennifer Brozek has spent over a decade doing what she loves most: writing about interesting worlds with unique characters and creatures.  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Jennifer BrozekI’m an award-winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. I have four cats, one husband, 1500 books, and no children—just the way I like it. An avid reader and sometimes crocheter, I enjoy playing ARGs (like Ingress and PokemonGO) and tabletop RPGs—current favorites are Pathfinder, D&D 5E, and Shadowrun. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am both a Pluviophile (a lover of rain) and a Gluggaveður (a lover of window weather). My favorite words are: Peril and Thwart. I just really like the sound of them. One of my goals in life is to eventually live on a bluff by the ocean. Probably in Oregon.

When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote casually for my RPG characters in the 1990s. I started writing to get paid in 2000. I got serious about it in 2004. Then I quit my tech job to become a full-time author in 2006. I wrote then and I write now because I have stories to tell. I’ve written for free. I’ve written for pay. I always write for joy. Joy + pay = a good life.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think it was when I was hired to write on the Dragonlance sourcebooks: Legends of the Twins and Holy Order of Stars. That’s when I started writing fiction to someone else’s schedule. I met my editor, Sean Everette, on a text-based RPG game. He ended up hiring me to write for his magazine. When he was hired by Margaret Weis as an editor for her company (Sovereign Stone at the time), he brought me along because he liked my writing and knew I could hit my deadlines.

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

It’s called BattleTech: Iron Dawn. It is book one in the Rogue Academy trilogy. This is the first YA BattleTech trilogy from Catalyst Game Labs. It’s about a pair of orphaned siblings who won their way into the Ritza Academy on the Federated Suns border planet of Emporium, and what they decide to do when the Draconis Combine come to invade. Jasper Roux is a MechWarrior cadet while Nadine Roux is an infantry/tanker cadet.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was asked by Catalyst Game Labs if I’d be interested in writing a YA trilogy for them. They wanted a high action YA series that could bring younger heroes to a new audience. I wrote the first ever BattleTech YA novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, back in 2014. It was well received and won a Scribe Award for the best YA tie-in for that year. After some brainstorming, we came up with an idea I was excited to write. It is a bombastic coming-of-age-while-at-war story. It’s about the relationships between people, the family we’re born to and the family we choose. Also, there’s a lot of ’Mech-on-’Mech battles.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to write page-turners. Sparse but evocative location descriptions and body language to convey emotion. I’ve been writing long enough to understand that I still have a lot to learn—and I learn more with every novel I write. I start in media res (in the middle of the action) and try to end every chapter on a mini-cliffhanger; the metaphorical equivalent of a man bursting into the room with a gun.

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

I was looking to recreate the feeling of the military/invasion movies from my past (child of the 80s) like Iron Eagle and Red Dawn. I ended up merging the names because “Iron Dawn” seemed to evoke the beginning of something in a military sense. It also fit well within the Rogue Academy trilogy’s sense of time. Book two is called Ghost Hour while book three is called Crimson Night.

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

Sometimes you need to act when everyone tells you not to. Sometimes you do know better… or at least what’s right, but you can’t go it alone. Think, consider, then act.

A lot of the time, adults are faking it. They don’t know what they’re doing any more than teens do, but they also have the added complication of being in charge and being responsible for the people in their care. It’s why, a lot of times, it seems like adults refuse to listen to their children or the teenagers they are responsible for. They feel they can’t shirk their duty or show fear.

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

The sibling fights. Sometimes, siblings fight just because it’s what they’re used to doing. At the same time, family is often the one thing you can rely on to back you up. As a military brat, I moved around a lot and the only stability I had was my siblings. They were familiar—both friend and foe. Above all, they were family.

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

My goodness. What a list. Neil Gaiman, Mercedes Lackey, Steve Perry, Seanan McGuire, Stephen King, Susan Cooper, Mary Robinette Kowal, John Scalzi, Cat Rambo, Annie Bellet… the list doesn’t stop. Each of them brings something to the table for me: a writing technique, the lyrical phrase, effortless worldbuilding, cliffhanger chapter endings, distinct voices, and amazing storytelling. I learn something from every novel, novella, and short story I read.

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

Susan Cooper and her Dark is Rising series. If I had not read that as a lonely ten-year-old in a foreign land, I don’t think I would be an author today. Her series opened my eyes to the magic of reading and writing. I reread that series about once a year.

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

The cover artist is Marco Mazzoni. He was assigned to the novel cover by the BattleTech Line Developer and based it on my art notes. He did a marvelous job. As an aside, there is another Marco Mazzoni who is an artist, lives in Italy, and does beautiful pencil work. That’s not this Marco Mazzoni who lives in America and illustrates a lot of BattleTech games and novels.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You may take parts of the journey at a neck-break pace, but there will be hills, mountains even, that you’ll struggle with—plodding (and plotting) as slow as molasses. Just remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one word after the other, and breathe. As long as you’re still moving you’re doing the right thing. Also, write the stories you want to read. I always do my best work when I’m excited and interested in the story I’m writing.

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

Thank you for reading what I write. I appreciate it and you.

Iron Dawn Cover for displayJennifer Brozek
Bothell, WA.

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BattleTech: Iron Dawn

Cover Artist: Marco Mazzoni 
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs

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Flashfiction: Number Twenty-Three by Wendy Van Camp

Number Twenty-Three
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Gwendolyn tiptoed down a castle hallway, her flowing blue dress sweeping the floor. Strange white doors were set in the stone walls. Each wore a symbol: letters, numbers, or images.

She touched a glowing symbol.”Twenty-Three.” The door opened. She stepped into a blue light. Was this the answer to her forgotten mystery?

The world disintegrated in a shattering of shards.

Gwendolyn woke in a hospital bed. Her nurse detached the electrodes on her skullcap. “That is not it. We will try again in the morning.”

Would she ever find what they wanted? The nurse killed the lights and left her in darkness.


 

This is a 100-word microfiction written during an annual challenge for my science fiction and fantasy society.  The prompt was virtual reality.  This one bends the line between fantasy and science fiction.  Which genre would you choose for it?