Tag Archives: fantasy

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome back to No Wasted Ink’s top-ten articles about writing with a science fiction and fantasy bent. This week I found many great articles for you to review. Enjoy!


Search Engine Optimization for Novelists

Multiverses in Science Fiction

Guaranteed Success Strategy!

A Checklist for In-Person Book Events

Two Important Points for Writers

The Log-Line: Can You Pitch Your ENTIRE Story in ONE Sentence?

How Can Writers Make Description Evocative?

Writing Neurodivergent Characters in Fantasy

How Much Do I Need To Describe My Character’s Appearance?

The 411 on Writing Retreats

Author Interview: Christiane Knight

Author Christiane Knight is an artist, poet, and writer. She is a lifelong enthusiast of faerie, folktales, forests and fauna, especially combined in copious amounts with all-black clothing and some Joy Division or Bauhaus playing in the headphones. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Hello! I’m Christiane Knight. I was born in Baltimore MD and have escaped twice, but keep getting drawn back to my quirky hometown. I’ve had a dizzying array of interesting jobs over the years, but these days I am a fiber artist as well as a writer. For fun, I run an online radio station that features goth/industrial/alternative music, and I sing in a couple of musical projects.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I learned to print letters. Before I could write them down, I would gather up girls at the playground to sit in a circle and listen to the tales I would dream up – usually about fairies and talking animals.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In high school, I joined a club that put out a yearly literary publication, and that was the first time I ever saw my words in print. At that point, I knew that writing was something that I was meant to do. After that, I spent some time writing for very small press publications, including my own, but I never thought I’d manage to put out a novel – until I did!

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

I released In Sleep You Know in 2021. It focuses on Merrick Moore, a guy with some great friends and a garage band, but no drive to go anywhere in life. That is, until he crashes a party and ends up with more than he bargained for: new powers, a girlfriend who can visit him in his dreams, and a seven year bond with the Eleriannan Fae court.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been carrying around this series of stories about the Eleriannan, set in Baltimore City, for years and years. When the pandemic hit, and I had nothing but time on my hands, I decided what better to do than to finally start crafting them into proper novels?

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is very character driven, filled with traditional lore that I’ve filtered through my imagination. I’ve been told that my books read like watching a movie, with lots of intense visuals and action that puts you in the middle of the story. My goal is to write fantasy in a way that the story feels almost plausible, and the characters seem like the kind of people you wish you’d meet and convince to be your friends.

I also weave music throughout my writing in ways that add depth to the story, including using a soundtrack that hints at the action occurring in each chapter.

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

“In Sleep You Know” is a reference to the gift that Merrick’s Fae girlfriend Aisling gives him, dreams that reveal the future. It also refers to something that Aisling tells Merrick – that in dreams, one cannot lie. Dreams and dreaming are very important to this story.

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

This is a story about discovering the magic inside oneself, realizing the importance of the family you choose, and standing up for the things that matter – even when you are hopelessly outclassed.

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

Some of the locations in the book are directly inspired by actual locales in Baltimore, Club Marcada in particular. Every scene written there, including the scene where Merrick’s band plays onstage, is inspired by real life events in some way or another. I was able to draw extensively from my experiences as a performer and club manager. Some of Vali’s life and experiences are also drawn from and inspired by my own, especially the experience of having the weirdos of the area regularly hang out at the cafe where she works!

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

As a voracious reader my entire life, too many to list fairly, but as a writer, I would have to mention Charles deLint for his perfect blend of magic and hope and characters you feel like you know like friends. Patricia A. McKillip inspired my writing voice to some degree, and made me pay attention to how she writes her descriptions in a way that feels opulent without being overdone. Jane Yolen, Ursula Le Guin, Tolkien, Elizabeth Hand, Connie Willis.

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

All of those writers have helped me on the way to becoming the writer that I am now. If there was one on the list I would have loved to be able to learn extensively from, it would have been Ursula Le Guin. Her mastery of the craft was matched by her cleverness and insightfulness.

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

My cover was designed by Leesa Ellis of http://3fernsbookdesign.com/, with some photo manipulation done by Mohammed Hossain Poulash. Leesa is my book mentor as well as the person who did all the exterior and interior design for the book, and I recommend her highly.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Outlines and notes are your friends. Write every day if you can, even if it isn’t on your current project. Go to literary conventions and events, attend the panels, and meet other people in the field. It will do wonders for your confidence as a writer!

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

Keep that sense of whimsy and wonder. Look for the unexpected moments of magic.


Christiane Knight
Baltimore, Maryland

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In Sleep You Know

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Publisher: Three Ravens Press

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Author Interview: Geoff Habiger

Part of the writing duo, Habiger & Kissee, Author Geoff Habiger says he writers to tell the stories that he wants to read and hopefully a few other people will also like them. He is also a fellow knight of the Scifi Roundtable. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hello, I am Geoff Habiger, one half of the dynamic writing duo Habiger & Kissee. I grew up in the wild hinterland of the Flint Hills of Kansas. I would awaken in the morning to the sounds of peacocks and roaring lions (no, really – we lived below the city zoo) and I would trudge to school, walking up hill both ways. (Again true, since we lived at the bottom of a hill, and the school was also at the bottom of a hill. Welcome to the Flint Hills.) I attended Kansas State University and got a B.S. degree in geology, which really helped me work varied careers in fast food, retail, pharmaceuticals, and publishing. I have lived in New Mexico since 2005 with my wife and son.

When and why did you begin writing?

I actually started writing stories a long time ago when I was in high school. I had so many creative ideas that I wanted to share them with others. I wrote some short stories, and a novel about a mission to Mars, but none of that was ever published and I doubt it even survives to this day. I started writing in earnest about twenty years ago, writing more short stories and another scifi novel, again, none of which were published. Around 2010 Coy and I got the idea for the Unremarkable series and we started writing it, and the ideas for it, and our fantasy series just started flowing. My goal is still the same as when I was a teenager, to tell creative stories and just share them with others.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I first considered myself a writer when I started writing that long-lost scifi novel. I figured if I was writing a story, then I was a writer, even if I didn’t publish it. I “officially” became a writer when I sold my first piece (a short RPG adventure for D&D) back around 2003 or 2004.

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

Unavoidable is the final book in our Saul Imbierowicz vampire trilogy. In the previous books (Unremarkable and Untouchable) Saul has gone from the eponymous unremarkable everyman who is suddenly thrust into the world of gangsters and then learns that vampires are real. In book two Saul tries to take down Chicago’s biggest gangster (and vampire), Al Capone, tracking him to Atlantic City and a climactic battle.

Unavoidable picks up about a year later when Al Capone is released from jail, but that is the least of Saul’s worries. Eliot Ness has deemed the notorious gangster off limits, while Director J. Edgar Hoover has taken note of Saul and Christian’s activities and has his own plans for the two agents. Meanwhile, a mysterious vampire master finally reveals herself, putting Saul’s family in more danger than they’ve ever been before. Saul’s life is changing again, and not for the better. The choices that Saul must make in order to save his family, stop Capone, and deal with an old threat, might come at a price too high for Saul to pay.

What inspired you to write this book?

Unavoidable is the third book in the trilogy, so the actual inspiration started with why we wrote book one, Unremarkable. The concept for Unremarkable was born from a conversation that we had as we drove back from a trip to Chicago on how the supernatural could have played a part in actual historical events. We latched on to the St. Valentine’s Day massacre as something that could be explained as part of a vampire turf war, and that led to the inevitable discussion around how powerful Al Capone really was, and why it was so hard to take him down. The pieces all just fit together really well, so we ran with it. We always planned to write this first part of Saul’s story as a trilogy and Unavoidable now concludes this particular chapter in Saul’s new life.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t think I have a particular writing style. I just think up the story and the characters and then try to tell something that will entertain the reader. I like to plot things out ahead of time, but also my characters will often change up the plot when the situation needs it.
As to writing with Coy, we work on the plots for our stories together. I then write the first (very rough) draft of the story and hand it over to Coy. He cleans up all the bad grammar, spelling errors, and corrects all of the dialogue to make it sound better and be true to the characters. We then work together on edits to the story before sending it to other editors and beta readers.

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

The title for this book came during the previously mentioned trip to Chicago when we first came up with the story. We knew we wanted the first book to be about Saul, so the natural title was Unremarkable. The follow-up book, Untouchable, was the logical sequel to it playing on the team that Eliot Ness created to stop Capone, the Untouchables. Finally, the events that played out in the trilogy came to the Unavoidable conclusion for Saul. The titles all flowed together and help tell the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That even if you think you lead the most boring life (like Saul) that extraordinary things may happen to you. And, when that happens, it is important that you stay true to yourself. Don’t try to become something you are not, even if you physically change (or become a vampire).

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

Nope. We invented everything for the characters pretty much whole cloth. We did read biographies about Al Capone and Eliot Ness to get a feel for those characters, but everybody else we created for the books without basing them on anybody in particular.

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

There were a couple of authors whose works I read growing up that really inspired me, both in how to live my life but also to instill in me a desire to tell my own tales. James Harriot, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and CS Lewis were all inspirational to me to be able to tell wonderful stories. I acquired my love of reading from them, as well as kindling my desire to tell my own stories.

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

Even though I have never met them, I consider Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston to be mentors. Not only do they write exciting thrillers that I want to emulate in my own stories, the fact that they write together gives me insight into how Coy and I can write together. Now, among writers I have met, and learned a few things from, is Eric M. Craig. If you don’t know the name, Eric is a self-published sci-fi author and I routinely bounce ideas off of him, but mostly what I learn from him is in the area of marketing. That’s often an overlooked skill for a writer, and I am happy to have found somebody who does it well and is willing to share what he has learned with me.

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

For the first two books in the Saul trilogy (Unremarkable and Untouchable) we used old photographs that we then added a touch of red (blood) to the image. When it came to Unavoidable. we couldn’t find an image that we liked that we could get the rights to use, so I reached out to the extremely talented Ian Bristow of Bristow Designs. We “met” Ian through the Scifi Roundtable group on Facebook and I immediately loved his work. Ian had already done some other covers for me and we knew that he would be able to deliver the right feel to the cover that we wanted. And he did. We love the cover for Unavoidable.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Two bits of advice: One, don’t quit your day job until you have that six-figure deal and check in hand (and even then, don’t burn your bridges when you go to write full-time). Two, don’t listen to “writer’s advice”. I have seen a lot of “advice” out there, especially on social media that is actually masking as gatekeeping. There are very few hard and fast rules for writing (basically, spelling and grammar) and even those can be bent (or broken) when the situation and story calls for it. Everything else is just opinion, so do what you want. Write how often you want, in whatever style that works for you. If you can tell a wonderful story with compelling characters, then bravo! you are a writer and now you can give “advice” to others.

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

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in our stories and supporting us by buying our books, leaving us reviews, and hanging out with us at cons and book events. Knowing that people look forward to our next story is very humbling and gives us fuel to keep writing. Also, there will be more stories coming involving Saul, Christian, Sarah, Joe, and the other characters from the first trilogy. We have more tales that we want to tell, including a couple of stand-alone stories and at least two more trilogies that we want to write involving Saul.


Geoff Habiger & Coy Kissee
Geoff lives in Tijeras, NM and Coy lives in Lenexa, KS.

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Author Interview: Jeanette O’Hagen

Author JeanetteO’Hagen’s tales of Nardva span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic, others include space stations and cyborgs. She has published over forty stories and poems. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, my name is Jeanette O’Hagan, Born in Australia, I spent part of my childhood in Africa. Over the years I worked as a doctor and lectured in theology, ethics and history, and am now a writer. I live in Brisbane with my husband, two children (15 & 21) and two cats. I love traveling, painting, reading, learning and catching up with friends and family.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began telling myself stories about characters in an imaginary world at the age of eight. I made maps, drawings, genealogies, alphabets etc but didn’t consider writing down the stories until a family friend challenged me to do so when I was fourteen.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my late teens to early twenties, when I wrote my first novel and a few short stories, but life took on a different turn and it wasn’t until about eight years ago that I dusted off my old novel, enrolled in a Masters of Arts (writing) and started writing again, that I took it seriously.

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

I (just) released Rasel’s Song (26 April 2021),the second book in the Akrad’s Legacy series and I’ve wasted no time in pulling out the drafts on the next book, Lumi’s Allegiance (due for release later in 2021).

What inspired you to write this book?

Rasel’s Song continues the narrative arc in Akrad’s Children, in the Akrad’s Legacy series (though each norel has its own arc). I was inspired to write the series as a prequel to my original unpublished novel, Adelphi (now Finding Elene), to tell the backstory of the previous generation behind that novel, in particular Mannok, Rasel, Ista and Dinnis.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is immersive, descriptive, a mixture of action, character and world-building with a strong sense of place.. Some have called it lyrical.

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

Rasel is a shapeshifter and an intruder on Tamrin society. Her people are semi-nomadic, following the ‘songlines’ in the country. For them, a person or creature’s nature and characters as an expression of a song. While she does sing, Rasel’s Song is also a reference to her character, motivation and story.

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

For me, the story comes first and I rarely start with a theme or message. However, themes do emerge as I write. Akrad’s Children had a strong focus on betrayal, forgiveness and revenge. In Rasel’s Song themes of love, duty and the nature of freedom.

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


Though I do draw on my own experiences and that of others as I write, I haven’t based the story on actual people or actual events.

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


So many great authors. Early influences were C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien – though other authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, Ann McCaffrey, Julian May, Peter Beagle have given me a strong love for fantasy and science-fiction. They inspire because of the richness of their imaginative worlds, their understanding of character, their ability to find a thread of hope even in the darkest times, and their willingness to persist with their writing.

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

So hard to choose one. The writers I’ve just mentioned have shaped my own writing. Other writers in writing groups and critique groups, as well as my editors, have also been invaluable in challenging and encouraging me as a writer.

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

I must confess, I designed the cover of Rasel’s Song and, in fact, all but one of my books. While I have no formal artistic training, I love drawing and painting for as long as I can remember and it’s just something I wanted to do for my own books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up, keep learning and always be prepared to take on constructive feedback.

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

Enjoy. Enjoy the world, the characters, the story. And, if you loved the book, review the book and recommend it to others you think will enjoy it.


Jeanette O’Hagan
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Author Interview: Sybrina Durant

Author Sybrina Durant is an author because she writes. She feels compelled to do so. She is also an entrepreneur because Indy publishing required it. I think she is a quick learner! Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

I am Sybrina Durant – unicorn author and entrepreneur. I also have a full time job at an engineering company where I describe my primary role as “bringing order to chaos”. That’s what document controllers do through gathering, organizing and cataloguing information.

Doing that for thirty plus years helped me understand the concept of doing the same things in my book related activities, whether it is researching, outlining my stories, or setting up my unicorn book and gift store. Yes, that’s right. . . one of the ways I promote my book, Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale, is by promoting every unicorn book by every other author that I could find on the internet. Considering all of the age categories, that’s well over one thousand books featuring unicorns!

When and why did you begin writing?

I started trying to write science fiction and fantasy after I had read a couple of hundred science fiction and fantasy books – several of them novels featuring unicorns. By the time I was in my early 30’s, the works of those other authors had so inspired me that I was sure I could come up with a tale of my own. I was particularly fascinated with the idea of unicorns with magical powers but I wanted mine to be different from all the others I’d read about. I decided mine would be metal-horned unicorns with magical powers based on the science of their particular metals. I got to work researching metals and finally came up with a group of unicorns whose hides and manes were derivatives of the colors the metals produced under different conditions such as heat. Nearly all of them were named for the name of their metal in other languages. Their magical powers were inspired by their names or properties of their metals.

A couple of examples are Style, the steel-horned unicorn, who is the tribe’s magical “mane-do” stylist; and Tinam, the tin-horned unicorn, who can magically preserve food in tins of different shapes and sizes. In those two examples, Style is an Old English word for steel and Tinam is a Germanic word for tin.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer when I didn’t even really know what being a writer meant. I was pretty naïve in the beginning of my writing days. Now, even after writing several books and receiving lots of positive reviews, I’m still never completely happy with what I’ve written.

Luckily, beta readers and editors have saved the day for me many times. I recommend every potential author out there to utilize their services if serious about the idea of selling books to the public. Otherwise, be prepared for some cruel criticism.

Back to your question, I’m not sure I’ll ever really consider myself successful as an author. There are so many amazing writers in the world who will never achieve financial success or worldwide recognition. That is a shame because a there are so many great stories being told. The struggle to get eyes on your book is intense as there are literally over five thousand books published and offered to the public for sale each and every day in the United States alone. If you write it, you have to be willing to market it, too. With all of the competition, most of us will have to learn to be content to work within our own little sphere of influence. That sphere will only have any hope of continuing to expand outward by your overwhelming commitment to marketing.

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

Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale is the full length novel version of The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm, a middle grade picture book. In that one, each two page chapter is followed by a glorious double-spread illustration by Dasguptarts. That “chapter book” contains over 160 pages total. I was never happy with the text constraints of that version of the book so I expanded it to an 85,000 word clean-read YA novel.

The Blue Unicorn is one of twelve remaining members of the Tribe of the Metal Horn. It took a couple of centuries for Magh, the evil sorcerer of MarBryn, to slaughter hundreds of stranded space-faring unicorns who were visiting MarBryn. Why did Magh do it? To steal the unicorn’s magic, of course. Why didn’t the unicorns just travel away from the evil sorcerer? Well, you’ll find the answer to that question in the book. Of the remaining twelve unicorns, only Blue was born with no metal and no magic. Strangely, it was prophesied that he would become the saviour of the tribe. With little to no hope left, it will be up to the plain blue unicorn to figure out how to fulfill the prophecy that promises he will take the metal-horned unicorns back to the safety of their home planet, Unimaise.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, it is somewhat lyrical and a little whimsical with some silly comedic moments plus quite a bit of action, adventure and drama. I use a lot of word play. . .turning ordinary words into flights of fancy. My unicorns think and act like people. Readers, who are grounded in reality, will have to seriously suspend some of their beliefs when they learn of some of the things they are capable of.

How did you come up with the title of this book? I was always enamored with the Wizard of Oz. I wanted the word Osm to evoke flashes of fond memories in potential readers. On a side note, the word, Osm, is taken from a metal that many don’t know about called Osmium. That shiny, bluish-white metal is the densest metal in the world – twice as dense as lead. It is also one of the rarest metals. It’s not the most expensive but as of today it is valued at $1,645.00 for 1 troy ounce. That’s right up there next to the price of gold!

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

First, that you can’t always just a book by its cover. And last, don’t let anything stop you from trying to achieve your goals. Keep consistently at it. You will find yourself learning and calling up new strengths every day. Never give up.

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

Piers Anthony’s writings most influenced my desire to try to write a book. He wrote about magical unicorns and he is known as a master of “punmanship”. I absolutely loved the way he took ordinary words and terms and flipped them into something completely different and unique. Here’s one – Ladies: Are you looking for a new pair of shoes? Just pluck one from a Ladyslipper tree. His books contain thousands of examples of this type of word play. All the normal people in his novels were known as the Mundanes. Hmmm…I wonder if that’s where JK Rowling came up with the idea of calling magicless people Muggles? She has publicly admitted to being influenced by lots of authors but he is not one that I could confirm. By the way, I call all of the actual people in my novel (those with magic and those without) Two-leggers. But I never call them people.

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

I hope you enjoy reading about the metal-horned unicorns from Unimaise. It took me thirty years to come up with a story that I wanted to actually share with others.

Sybrina Durant
League City, Texas

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Journey To Osm- The Blue Unicorn’s Tale

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