Tag Archives: science fantasy

Guest Post: An Interesting State of Mind by M. Garnet

Fantasy Woman

Being an author is an interesting state of mind. As I give talks or meet people, I am asked the same questions. Where I get my ideas? How do I write a whole book? How did I get my books published? There are none who ask the important question. What are the technicalities in writing a book?

WHAT A BORING QUESTION.

Being a published author I can say with a big sigh that the whole process is a learning business, a learning business that never ends. Let’s start with the easier questions.

Where Do I Get My Ideas?

I treat this as a serious question so I give a serious answer. I get ideas from the very people who ask me that question. I have a wild imagination. I am one of those people that look up at clouds and see rabbits that change into dragons. The guy sitting next to me just sees the clouds.

For me, to be an author or to write a full book, you have to take an idea such as a storm planet and then not only put people on it, but decide how those people would have survived as indigenous natives in such a harsh environment that led me to wonder what kind of plant and animal life would also cling to this harsh world. There it is folks, one idea leads to another idea and then to a whole book full of ideas.

My thought and what I share with my listeners is that if you can’t take a single cloud and see several shapes you are going to have a hard time taking an idea and finish a book. Now remember I am talking about fiction not reality topics.

How do I write a whole book?

This was partially covered in the paragraph above. You need to expand on your idea and take your characters into situations that you enjoy writing about. Did I mention that you had to enjoy writing?

You need to look forward to getting your fingers on a keyboard, to add to those ideas. If you get tired or bored, you need to talk to someone else, to see what is the problem with your writing ability.

Books come in all sizes from all authors with only a few exceptions. I do know of one who only writes very short novellas. We all know of a couple like Hemingway who only wrote very long books. Still most authors write both sort and long stories.

How did I get my books published?

Here is where I wish I had a fairy godmother. I can tell you that a small author like me and a big time author like Stephen King had the same problem, that very nice refusal letter.

You are never going to be published until you have written a book, edited it, re-edited it, asked for help on editing it and then submitted it. Like all the rest of us you will submit it to every publisher you can find on the Internet, through Google and by reading the NY Times or Reviewers in California. You will get the same nice refusal letter back. I got enough to cover the walls in my bathroom, that is where I began to hang mine. Not as regret, but to remind me to keep trying.

So can we believe some of the words in those refusal letters? This leads to the boring last question.

What are the technicalities in writing a book?

Good English learned in Lit. 101. When we write, most of us are using the English language where there are rules. We can break those rules when our characters talk slang, but when we are describing plants clinging to a storm chased planet, we must use proper English.

We also have to very careful how we use proper names or refer to brands. A number of those refusal letters were because the editor that looked at the first Chapter found so many errors in punctuation, quoting, numbers, and most important POV (Point of View).

Writing the story with your idea was fun, it was for all of us. Then reality hit us all as we went back to school to write our books correctly, so we could get past that editor who kicked out the first Chapter.

Get your story down and then find some help on the editing before you go back and re-submit it to all the same publishers. You might have a surprise, I did.

Author A. GarnetAfter raising a daughter, running an International Business, traveling the world and only finding time to write a few minutes in any twenty-four hour period, I now am retired in Florida and can write all day and all night, which I often do. Under the pen name of M. Garnet (Muriel Garnet Yantiss) I use all the experiences I gained and without any hesitation draw information from my long list of friends and acquaintances worldwide.

With over 30 books published through two active publishers and a couple of independent books (indies) at Amazon I love the email that the Internet brings me from all over the world.

I write SciFi, Fantasy and Contemporary Mystery. But I like my stories to end happy ever after.

A fan wrote me about liking a planet I wrote about in TWIN’S SLAVE so I dedicated the second story about the planet AN ASSASSIN FOR THE SLAVE to her. I have had others writing me about this storm planet and am now working on my third novel about the water and caves and intrigue that tempest brings to the planet of GigasVenee.

Just to make sure I am really busy, my other publisher has put in a request for a contemporary story with the same type of turmoil but between two people. I just can’t resist a challenge. Visit my web site at www.mgarnet.com to see other books I’ve written.

Author Interview: R.A. Baker

R.A. Baker is a science fiction and fantasy author. His books include: The Beast at the Gate and Two Merchants and a Thief. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author RA BakerHello, I’m R.A. Baker and I’m a speculative fiction author for JK Publishing. I live in the great state of Virginia and I’ve written science fiction, fantasy, paranormal short stories, and several books. I’ve been writing stories since the age of seven and I’ve been writing professionally as a published author for about 15 years. During this time I’ve also juggled the responsibilities of being a dad to two great kids, and a computer analyst for a day job that pays the bills between royalty checks.

When and why did you begin writing?

For me, writing was a bit of self-discovery—a long, meandering process that eventually made me the person I am today. In grade school (third or fourth grade, I believe), I loved writing stories. After one of my teachers had gone over Aesop’s Fables, there was something about those stories that connected with me on a deeply creative level. I proceeded to write my own fables, patterned in a similar Aesop style. My stories so impressed my teacher, she entered one of my fables in a local short story contest. I became a finalist and got my story published by the school. That was my first taste of what it was like to be a writer, and I liked it! At the time, I didn’t realize what I was writing was dancing on the edges of what would be considered speculative fiction or fantasy; to me, they were just expressions of my imagination. Soon after that, I would discover the Richmond Public Library with its rich assortment of science fiction and fantasy authors. Reading these authors’ books made me hungry to create my own characters and fantastic worlds…and rest is history. I was officially hooked.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

To be honest with you—at the risk of sounding cliché—in my heart, I was a writer for as long as I can remember. As soon as my small, clumsy fingers first learned how to put words together on paper to form sentences and eventually paragraphs, I somehow knew that writing would always be a critical part of my life. However, it was on a subconscious level at first. It took a while before I affirmed in my mind, ‘hey I am a writer—that’s my true calling’. I think that’s probably true of many professions, whether it be athletics, or art, or religion. It’s intuitive. It’s instinct. And yet, it draws you in slowly, assimilating you over time, from childhood to adulthood. For me, it wasn’t one defining moment, but rather a series of events that told me I always was and will always be a writer.

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

I’m currently working on the second book in an epic scif-fi/fantasy trilogy; the first book is titled, The Beast at the Gate. In a nutshell, it’s about a young, modern-day woman, Rayna Powell, who suddenly finds herself in a strange pre-industrial society called Taren. It’s a land divided by war, years of mistrust and social prejudice. Needless to say, Taren is a bit of a shock for Rayna. Part of the reason for this is that some Tareners possess magic-like mental powers they call “psi-magic”. To add to the problem, Taren is currently ruled by Nephredom—a bitter, cruel man with a questionable grip on sanity. Nephredom commands many forces, most notably the Red Robes. They are an elite unit of psi-mages who increase their powers greatly by combining their thoughts—allowing them to think and act as one. Using the Red Robes, Nephredom has systematically bent the people of Taren to his will—or at least most of them. This takes us to Princess Keris. She was the rightful heir to the Taren throne, but was framed for murder by Nephredom’s aide, and forced into hiding. Soon after Rayna arrives in Taren, she meets the princess and they agree to join forces in an attempt to overthrow Nephredom. In exchange for this help, the princess says she will take Rayna to see a group of “scientists”, who may know how to return Rayna back to her world. In the The Beast at the Gate, I address a variety of topics such as unrequited love, social prejudice, and the moral dilemma of human cloning.

What inspired you to write this book?

I always wanted to write an epic sci-fi/fantasy series, and after reading a few great examples I decided to take the plunge myself.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told I have a very descriptive, fast-paced style. I just try to write in a way that pulls my readers into my world and not let them go until the last page is read.

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

The original title for the book was Rayna of Nightwind, and that was the title it was published as, under my own imprint, when I self-published. Rayna Powell was the protagonist of the story, so it made sense to me to include her in the title. However, when I was picked up by a traditional publisher (JK Publishing), they decided to re-publish the first novel as The Beast at the Gate.

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

Yes: welcome to my world—have fun!

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

Not really. Granted, every author brings something unique to their writing based on their culture and how they grew up. But I think the whole appeal of writing science fiction and fantasy is the ability to escape reality for a while. So you will see very little of my personal life in my books, which—if you read my work—you will find extremely reassuring.

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

So many authors have influenced me, it would take me forever going through the list. I will say most of my favorite authors are science fiction and fantasy authors.

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

I consider almost every speculative fiction author I’ve read a mentor, because I learn something new in my craft whenever I read a book by a new writer. However, Steven Barnes, Terry Brooks, and Stephen Donaldson stand out in my mind. Sorry, I can’t narrow it down further than that.

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

Jess Buffett is an illustrator who works for my publisher. She designs most of the book covers and does a great job.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It’s popular to say, ‘don’t write for yourself, write for your audience’ or ‘write for the market.’ I beg to differ. If you write for yourself, your passion and love for what you are writing will shine through. That’s the best way to gain and keep readers, in my opinion.

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

I would like to thank all my readers for their support. I have a modest but dedicated fan base that has consistently encouraged me over the years. And yes—book two in my Taren trilogy is nearly complete!

Book Cover The Beast at the GateR.A. Baker
Chester, Virginia

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COVER ARTIST: Jess Buffett
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Book Review: The Crystal Gryphon

Book Name: The Crystal Gryphon
Author: Andre Norton
First Published: 1972

Alice Mary Norton was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her first writing experience began as editor of a literary page in the school’s paper called The Collinwood Spotlight. During this time, she wrote her first book, Ralestone Luck, which was eventually published as her second novel. She dreamed of becoming a teacher, but due to the Great Depression, she took a job working at the Cleveland Library System, in whose employ she remained for 18 years. She kept writing at this time and in 1934, she published her first novel. At this time she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton. Andre Norton is the pen name she adopted for marketing reasons. At this time boys were the main audience for fantasy tales and it was thought that they would not read stories written by a woman. Andre is a Norwegian male name, but obscure enough in the United States that had a more androgynous feel.

Andre Norton remained working for the Cleveland Public Library until 1950 when she retired due to her health. She took a job as a reader for publisher and editor Martin Greenberg at Gnome Press, a science fiction small press. She remained there for eight years until she shifted into becoming a full-time writer. At that point she had twenty one novels published. She would go on to write hundreds of novels, some of which are still being published today after her death in 2005 of congestive heart failure.

Her first science fiction novel was Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D. published in 1952. She was a prolific novelist in the 50’s, many of her books selling in the juvenile market. She wrote over a dozen speculative fiction series, but her longest and most popular was the Witch World series, of which The Crystal Gryphon is a part of. Norton was nominated twice for the Hugo Award, for the novel Witch World in 1964 and for the novella Wizard’s World in 1967. She has been nominated three times for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement and won the award in 1998.

Andre Norton was a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerer’s Guild of America (SAGA). They were a group of fantasy authors led by Lin Carter and whose work appeared in her anthologies, Flashing Swords!. She was the only woman of the original eight members.

Known as the Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Andre Norton wrote novels for over 70 years. She has had a huge influence on the entire genre, having published well over 300 titles and having inspired at least four generations of science fiction and fantasy writers. Notable authors who cite her as an influence include, Greg Bear, C.J. Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, A.C. Crispin, Charles de Lint, Joan D. Vinge and many others.

“Be yourself, not ruled by the belief that one man must be like another.” Andre Norton, The Crystal Gryphon. Neevor’s advice to Kerovan.

The Crystal Gryphon is the first book of the Gryphon Trilogy. It is one of the first fantasy romances and follows what is now a standard format, of writing the story via duo viewpoints, that of Lord Kerovan of Ulmsdale and his promised bride Lady Joisan of the Dales of High Hallack.

When Kerovan’s mother was to give birth, she was forced to shelter in the mysterious ruins of the Old Ones. Due to this, or perhaps the rumor that she had blood of the old race herself, her son was born with small cloven hooves instead of feet and his eyes were the color of butter amber. His father decides to name him heir despite his unusual features, and to prove his intentions, he “ax-weds” his ten year old son to an eight year old girl of good connections. Young Joisan remains with her family, to be sent for when she comes of age.

When Kerovan becomes a man, there is danger afoot as the Hounds of Alizon attack the mountains of High Hallack and Kerovan joins the Dale armies to represent Ulmsdale. Before he leaves, he sends Joisan a beautiful crystal gryphon encased in a globe, an object of power that he had found, almost as an after thought. Soon, Kerovan’s father dies and his mother rejects Kerovan’s claim to Ulmsdale, wishing to pass it on to her daughter and her new betrothed. Ulmsdale is betrayed to the enemy and falls, leaving Kerovan to depart and travel across the war-torn lands of High Hallack to Joisen’s Dale.

As she has grown, young Joisen learned how to wear armor and to fight with a light sword. She wears the tiny gryphon under her mail as a keepsake from her unknown fiance, a man she has never met in person. When Kerovan finds her, she mistakes him for one of the Old Ones due to his cloven feet and reserved manner.

The two set off into the wilderness as the Dales fall to the invaders, seeking the lands of the Old Ones and learning about the power of the gryphon and of each other. They hope to save their people from enslavement and destruction.

I confess that I have not read the entire Witch World saga, there are many books to the series and they interact in a way that can be confusing if you don’t know where the books fit. However, the two books in the series that I consider to be my favorites is the original Witch World and The Crystal Gryphon. The story about Kerovan and Joisen has stuck in my mind for decades. The romantic duo point of view of the writing that allows you to understand the characters emotions during their growing relationship created a chemistry that was hard to forget. Much of fantasy and science fiction during the time when this book was written was geared toward boys and therefore romance was an element that proved missing in many books and there were few female protagonists. Joisen, while still having an old-fashioned “stay by your man” outlook, was a strong female lead in her day. As a young girl reading this novel, that held a certain appeal to me. I consider Andre Norton to be one of my influnces in my own writing style. Most of my stories also have elements of romance and strong female characters. How else would I write after growing up reading Andre Norton?

The Crystal Gryphon is out of print, but you can find a kindle version on Amazon and used paperbacks. While this trilogy has become a little more obscure these days, it is one that I can recommend.

The Crystal Gryphon Book CoverThe Gryphon Trilogy is part of the High Hallack Cycle of the Witch World Series.

Gryphon Trilogy:

The Crystal Gryphon (1972)
Gryphon in Glory (1981)
Gryphon’s Eyrie (1984) with A. C. Crispin

Book Review: Nine Princes In Amber

Book Name: Nine Princes in Amber
Author: Roger Zelazny
First Published: 1970

Roger Zelazny was born in Euclid, Ohio, the son of of Polish immigrant. He had a typical childhood and showed an early interest in writing. In 1955 he earned a B.A. in English from Western Reserve University and went on to earn an M.A. in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama from Columbia University in 1959. After graduation, he worked for the Social Security Administration by day and wrote science fiction by night. Zelazny wrote short stories at first, progressed to novellas and finally moved on to novel-length works. In 1969 he quit his day job and became a full time writer. Zelazny was an active member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. He was also a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America (SAGA), a group of heroic fantasy authors from the 1960s, much of their work was published in Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords! Anthologies.

Zelazny was married Sharon Steberl in 1964 and later they divorced. Two years later he married Judith Callahan. They had two sons and a daughter. The author died of cancer in 1995, at the age of 58.

While Zelazny is best known for his Chronicles of Amber series, of which Nine Princes in Amber is the first book, he has won 6 Hugo Awards, 3 Nebula Awards, 2 Locus Awards, 2 Seiun Awards, 2 Balrog Awards and 1 Prix Tour-Apollo Award. Many years, Zelazny’s work competed with each other for the same award.

In 2010, Roger Zelazny was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.” -Roger Zelazy from Nine Princes in Amber

Nine Princes in Amber begins when Carl Corey wakes up in a hospital and has no idea how he arrived or even who he is. He is suspicious of the circumstances of his stay and escapes the room, only to learn that he is recovering from a car accident and his hospital care is being paid for by his sister.

When Carl flees the hospital, he goes to his sister’s house, wishing to learn more about his unknown identity. There he is called Corwin and his sister refers to herself as Flora. In Flora’s library, Corwin finds a set of customized Tarot cards, the trumps of the Major Arcana are all replaced with portraits of members of his family. There are nine brothers, including Corwin and four sisters. While at Flora’s house, his younger brother Random contacts him on the phone. When Random arrives, he is being chased by strange humanoid creatures, which are defeated in concert by Corwin, Flora and Random. Corwin realizes that strange forces are at work that have little to do with how he thinks Earth should be.

Random asks Corwin if he is going to return to Amber and offers to “hellride” with him there. As the two brothers travel, Random subtly shifts the world around him using an innate ability that fascinates his elder brother. They arrive in Amber, a place of sublime beauty and order from which the entire universe takes its form.

In Amber they meet with another of their brothers, Julian. They battle and Corwin manages to unhorse Julian from his steed and take him prisoner. Corwin is learning that the nine princes of Amber are all at battle because their father has been missing for centuries and is presumed dead. When one of Corwin’s sisters arrives, fleeing from yet another brother named Eric, Corwin is moved to confess to Deirdre about his amnesia. Deirdre tells Corwin of the Pattern, from where the power of the royal family to manipulate worlds springs from. It is Deirdre’s opinion that if Corwin “walks the pattern” again, it would restore his memory.

Corwin, Random and Deirdre leave Amber and travel to a nearby reflection world called Rebma. It is an underwater city and ruled by their sister Moire. Since Rebma is close to the original Amber, it also contains a near perfect reflection of the Pattern. Moire grants Corwin permission to walk the Pattern because she believes that the three of them will support her in the defeat of Eric, their brother who holds the royal castle in Amber and is amassing a huge army. There is a price: Random must stay behind in Rebma and marry a blind girl named Vialle. Corwin walks the Pattern and his memory is indeed restored. He is a true prince of Amber and remembers a long life of centuries along with the powers which the Pattern give him: the power to walk through “shadow” and to pronounce a curse before dying. Walking the Pattern also grants him the power to project himself through space and he does so, going to the Castle of Amber where he finds a safe location to rest and think about what he has learned.

In the castle, Corwin searches the library and finds another pack of Trumps, tarot like cards that allow him to create shortcuts through “shadow” and travel to other worlds. He now knows how to use them. Corwin is discovered by Eric and they duel. Corwin doesn’t fair well in the battle and he uses the Trumps to escape.

Corwin begins to use the Trumps to contact his siblings. He makes deals with the various princes of Amber, learning who is aligned with whom and gaining an understanding of where he stands in the royal intrigue. His car accident was no accident after all, but part of the intrigue for the throne of Amber. He joins forces with his brother Bleys and together they command a navy to take Amber from Eric. In the end, Corwin and Bleys are not successful. Bleys falls over a cliff and Corwin is captured and thrown in chains. Eric sentences his defeated brother to be imprisoned and his eyes burned out. Eric crowns himself King of the one true world.

Corwin endures years in prison, blind and helpless. Although he is visited by occasional friends, no one can help him due to their fear of King Eric. As time goes by, Corwin’s eyes begin to regenerate and he begins a futile escape attempt with the use of a spoon. It is during this time, that the former keeper of the Pattern, appears out of nowhere. Dworkin Barimen is insane and has been imprisoned for a long time. He explains that he has come to Corwin by drawing a picture on his own dungeon wall, creating a Trump to travel. Corwin asks Dworkin to draw a picture of the Lighthouse of Cabra, a place he considers a safe haven. Once Dworkin completes the drawing, Corwin projects himself out of prison.

Roger Zelazny has been one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors. Nine Princes in Amber was my introduction to his work, but it certainly wasn’t the last book of his that I read. One of the common themes of his writing is that there exists an infinite number of worlds and that every world that can be imagined must exist somewhere. The powerful characters in his books usually have the ability to travel to these different worlds in some manner. The idea that the characters are never sure if they are creating these special places or are simply finding them is the metaphysical question that they ask themselves and never quite answer.

Sometimes his stories are pure fantasy, and others they combine science fiction and fantasy together. Either way, a Zelazny novel was always something unique and wonderful to read. I highly recommend the Chronicles of Amber. The books might be a bit old, but they hold up well and are still an entertaining read.

Nine Princes in Amber Book Cover


The Chronicles of Amber:

The first five novels feature Corwin, Prince of Amber.

1970 Nine Princes in Amber
1972 The Guns of Avalon
1975 Sign of the Unicorn
1976 The Hand of Oberon
1978 The Courts of Chaos

The next five novels feature Merlin, Corwin’s son.

1985 Trumps of Doom – Locus Fantasy Award winner, 1986
1986 Blood of Amber – Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 1987
1987 Sign of Chaos – Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 1988
1989 Knight of Shadows
1991 Prince of Chaos

Zelazny also wrote seven short stories set in Amber. The last five of these stories form one tale set after Prince of Chaos, the final novel.

2005 “A Secret of Amber”
1985 “Prolog to Trumps of Doom”
1994 “The Salesman’s Tale”
1995 “Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains”
1994 “The Shroudling and The Guisel”
1995 “Coming to a Cord”
1996 “Hall of Mirrors”

Author Interview: Raymond Bolton

Raymond claims that whether set here, or on another world, he tries to craft gripping stories about the human condition. This industrious author certainly is a man of all trades and brings much life experience to his worlds of fantasy. Please welcome Raymond Bolton to No Wasted Ink.

Author Raymond BoltonBy way of introduction, I am Raymond Bolton. Until my books take off enough to support me, I work as a hairdresser, spending part of every week in both Santa Fe, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon. I am on a plane every Wednesday. I’ve written some poetry, for which I’ve received some recognition, and four novels.

In 2010, having written only nineteen poems ever, I garnered third place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s annual literary competition among over 1,200 entries. More recently, my novels have begun winning significant recognition. In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, my debut novel, Awakening, was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe and Australia in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest. Hailed on BookViral.com as “a grand debut. An ambitious and well considered SF crossover… [that] breathes originality into the genre”, Awakening has received almost all five star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.

I am of the persuasion life is too short to squander. I enjoy fine food, so I have learned to cook. I am endlessly curious about the world around me, so I read and I travel. I like people—who else is there?—so I talk and listen and try to understand what I hear. Over the years I’ve driven trucks, been an FM disk jockey, produced concerts, served as a mainsail trimmer on racing yachts, piloted gliders, written software, worked as a hair stylist and owned and operated my own business—all with varying degrees of success. All have imparted a wealth of experience and taught great lessons. In the course of these doings I have had the privilege of meeting very accomplished individuals in the areas of music, movies, sports, technology, industry, finance and politics. Ultimately, all of this background comes together, struggles to find coherence and emerge in my writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing ever since I can remember. It’s something I am compelled to do. If I could say why, I could explain the meaning of life.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In the truest sense, I can say my work transitioned from a hobby—a way to occupy idle time—into something more serious in the early 2000s. A friend of mine, best-selling romance author, Brenda Joyce, said one was truly a writer when the story inside burned to come out. I realized they did. Many stories. Since then, I have been studying the craft, attending conferences and entering literary competitions. I am still becoming the writer I wish to be. It’s an ongoing process.

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

I am working hard to complete Thought Gazer, the first volume of the prequel trilogy to my debut novel, Awakening (Regilius Publishing, 01/01/14). People call it a sci-fi/fantasy crossover because it treads the ground between the two genres while eschewing the traditions of each. While set on a world with two suns, there is nothing by way of science, nothing by way of magic. Instead, telepaths, or those with unique psychic abilities tip the course of events.

The warlord, Hath Kael, kidnaps Darva, an opposing lord’s sister, to force her brother’s capitulation. When Bedistai, from a tribe of hunters, foils the abduction and undertakes Darva’s return, an ally of Kael recruits Peniff, a telepath, to find the two. Instead, Peniff comes to the couple’s aid, then attempts to rescue his family—held hostage to insure his cooperation—before his betrayal comes to light. This is the story of a man, in all other ways ordinary, rising above his fears to do what he must.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was working on my debut novel and had created a character I found fascinating. Awakening, however, already had more characters than a Russian novel and I knew I had to can him. I really liked him, though, and in time I came to realize he could become the core that drove a prequel.

Do you have a specific writing style?

The language I use has been described as formal. It seems to suit my subject and their almost medieval setting better than the casual language of our day-to-day lives.

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

My protagonist reads minds and the title seemed to fit. Like my stories, it told me what I should call it.

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

Overcome your fears. Do what you must. No challenge is so horrible or so great you cannot surmount it. Doing what is right, rather than what is easy, is one of the most difficult tasks for all of us. Still, when all is said and done, the outcome of having acted from one’s heart—even if it was not what one expected—is the easiest to live with, the best place from which to carry on.

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

Hah! Hardly. The people I know are truly diverse, but there’s not one mind reader among them. One reads the tarot, another translated the Popol Vuh, the creation story of the Maya, while yet another’s husband is the world’s foremost translator of the I Ching into English, but that’s as esoteric as it gets.

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

John Steinbeck first introduced me to how powerful a story one could craft with only words. J. R. R. Tolkien was the man who introduced me to fantasy. Dean Koontz delighted me with the way he turns a phrase. I envy Donna Tartt’s richly descriptive scenes, and sometimes begin to approach them—emphasis on begin. Martin Cruz Smith is a master of combining tension with realism.

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

These days, I have to say it is the unparalleled George R. R. Martin. Every page he writes contains a lesson, whether it be dialogue, scenic description, examples of Show, Don’t Tell…the examples are endless.

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

I am blessed to have discovered Natasha Brown. Her sense of color and form are at once unique and magical—so I guess there is really some magic in my books after all. Some people liken my covers to movie posters.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write from the heart. Write what appeals to you. Don’t dumb down your work in an effort to appeal to the broadest market possible. If your work has depth, if it resonates as something real, something important, something believable on a gut level, your readers will find you.

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

Please support your favorite authors. They have labored for months, or even years, to give you those hours of pleasure you find between their covers. If you enjoyed the experience, take a few minutes out of your life to post a review, whether it be on Amazon or Goodreads, on Facebook or Twitter, even in the blog you use to journal to your friends.

Awakening Book CoverRaymond Bolton
Santa Fe, New Mexico AND Portland, Oregon

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Cover Artist: Natasha Brown
Publisher: Regilius Publishing

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