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Resilient and Courageous

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

The Love of Gods is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, supernatural, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Actually, I initially was trying to write a mystery with a hint of a simmering romance which I hoped would span several books, but I discovered pretty early on that I am a romance writer and not a mystery writer. So, I tossed my first draft and started over.

Lugos and Keely are interesting and well defined characters. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in their characters?

Lugos is based on two different Celtic gods which gave me a place to start. I immediately understood who he was, what would be important to him, and a good portion of his backstory from the very beginning. And so from that jumping off point, he became a vivid character in my mind. I wanted him to value his intellect over his brawn. I also him to value humanity over his own kin. As for Keely, her southern sass is based on a waitress I know, and the awful taste in men is a nod to a dear friend of mine. Because Lugos is an immortal, I wanted Keely to have a resilient and courageous nature so that Lugos’s god-ness didn’t overpower the relationship. Even though she’s a mortal, Keely had to be his equal in many ways otherwise the relationship wouldn’t work.

I loved the backstory and world building in this novel. What were some sources of inspiration for you while creating this story?

I spend a lot of my time researching various myths and much of the characters’ backstories are tied to my understanding of those myths. The various gods in The Love of Gods all have their own histories in Celtic mythology and I drew from these. The shifter and witch communities have rich literary traditions that gave me a direction, a roadmap, of how they might respond if the world of the Pale truly existed.

This is book one in The Legends of Pale series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?

I’m happy to say that I am hard at work on several books in this series. The Fate of Wolves is the next book and will be out near Christmas this year. I have already finished book three, The Dreams of Demons, and if all goes to plan I’ll release it in spring 2020. I’m currently writing the fourth book, The Souls of Witches and I’m absolutely in love with the main characters. But then, that’s how it is with each book I write.

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The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Lugos had given his word when the world was still young, before he’d endured the wrenching pain of her soul being torn from his. Lifetime after lifetime she’d returned when he’d needed her most, when the apathy of his kind had eaten away at his resolve and his heartfelt vow seemed pointless. One would think he’d be able to protect a single mortal, after all, he was a god. But two long centuries had passed since he’d held her, since he’d been whole. Now, she was back and Lugos had a decision to make; claim the only woman he’d ever loved, or deny his soul’s deepest craving and grant Keely a chance at a peaceful life without the dangers that populated his world. For five years, Lugos had chosen the latter with the hope that the fates might overlook them this time. That was still his plan when the goddess Rhiannon called seeking his help. Lugos should have known better.

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No Easy Resolutions

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Dagger’s Destiny follows princess Catrin who is torn between duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love. What were some things you felt you had to bring over from Apollo’s Raven and what were some new themes you wanted to explore?

One of the themes I carry over from Apollo’s Raven is Catrin is torn between her duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love for the Roman enemy, Marcellus. However, in Dagger’s Destiny, Catrin must face the consequences of her forbidden love when her father, King Amren, accuses her of treason due to her liaison with Marcellus. Duty is of greatest importance to the characters because it exemplifies the honor central to being in a position of power. Duty to the state and the family’s legacy is explored as well as duty to loved ones and to one’s self. The characterizations of Catrin, Marcellus, and their fathers are more fully explored as each person must grapple with balancing their duty to the state vs. their love to those they cherish. There are no easy resolutions as the fathers have resorted to brutality and corruption to maintain their powers.

Another theme that is explored in Dagger’s Destiny is fate vs. free will. Catrin must dive into the Depth of Possibilities of what choices she can make to stop the curse that foretells her half-brother will kill their father. However, whenever Catrin changes the future, the curse an alter in unexpected ways.

Dagger’s Destiny is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a romance, fantasy and history as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

When I first start writing the series, the story was intended to be a historical fiction based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but with a Celtic twist. However, as I explored Celtic and Roman mythology, I began weaving in some of the fantastical elements to help explain what the Celts believed. I was particularly fascinated to learn that the Celts has a similar belief in the immortality of the soul as the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. They believed the soul could transmigrate between different animal species and could occupy another body after death. As a result, the series evolved into a more mythical tale as I weaved in other fantastical worlds and druidic powers into the historical backdrop.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

A secondary character that I enjoyed developing was Ferrex—a loyal, duty-bound Celtic warrior who deeply loves Catrin and risks his reputation to support her. Down-to-earth and blunt, Ferrex is a sharp contrast to Marcellus, a suave and impetuous Roman nobleman who has had a reckless affair with an older married woman. Ferrex will continue to play an important role in the series.

This is book 2 in your Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Where will book 3 take readers and when will it be available?

Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture will take the star-crossed lovers, Catrin and Marcellus, to Gaul (modern-day France) and Rome. Even thought they believe they are destined to be with each other, they encounter resistance to their love at every turn. They will sacrifice almost everything to be together, but can Catrin must balance her fate to retake her kingdom as a warrior queen with her role as the lover of a man who considers her subservient?

Amulet’s Rapture is drafted and undergoing revisions based on feedback from critique partners and an editor.  It is my goal that it will be published in approximately one year.

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Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]

A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust

In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.

Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?

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The World of the Supernatural

Keller Yeats Author Interview

Keller Yeats Author Interview

Wyndwrayth finds Nick living in an old farmhouse overlooking a mysterious island in Wales where he becomes intrigued by its ancient and deserted mansion. What served as your inspiration whilst writing this book?

Once, when travelling, I came across this deserted, majestic old mansion house. It looked ancient, decrepit, left mouldering to sink into the landscape. It was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by overgrown trees and shrubs. It had lichens and green moulds staining its walls, ivy had invaded its broken windows which seemed to stare at me menacingly. The house had a presence, a brooding, ominous spirit that looked like it could swallow you whole. I remember thinking that it must have many stories to tell.

Having moved myself from Manchester to Wales the landscape here was also a big influence. The ancient monuments, the Norse connection and the lakes close, by inspired my research and my story grew from those influences. The Celtic connection to water and their mythology along with the Norse mythology also wove their way into my consciousness, combining with the memory of the intriguing mansion and Wyndwrayth was born.

Nick Swann is an intriguing character that I felt gained layers as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating his character?

I wanted to create a male character who is childless, approaching and becoming middle aged. I wanted to explore how he became stuck in a time gone by because of the death of his wife and how he falls back on those times when he’s in trouble. The character has a deep loneliness, which creates a certain unhealthy introspection and self medication. In addition, I wanted to explore the usual problems of middle age; ill health and death of parents, changing of roles from son to carer and changing of profession. A lot of his character is established during the first book, Powderfinger, which creates his move to Wales. Nick knows he needs to shed the past and move on, to evolve. He is looking for a new place to be, a new profession, a new life. The unexpected appearance of Wendy Finch becomes an exciting turning point and I’m looking forward to seeing the long term effects it has upon him in the stories to come.

This is the second story in the Nick Swann Series. Where did you want to take this book that was different from book one?

In Powderfinger Nick is a probation officer who almost accidentally becomes embroiled in historical research into strange occurrences, which lead him unexpectedly into the world of the supernatural. His degree in History suddenly becomes of use to him and it reawakens his passion for discovery. It lifts him from his boring, hermit-like, everyday existence, bringing excitement, a sense of accomplishment and a possibility of a different future. It is this that I wanted to explore in Wyndwrayth. Here he moves from living in the past to exploring it. I wanted to establish him in this story as a professional researcher and investigator of both historical and supernatural events.

In addition I wanted to move his character forward, to becoming more pro-active in the story and to create a new partnership with Wendy Finch, to lift him from his lonely existence.

What is the next book you are working on and when will it be available?

My next Nick Swann story has the working title of Shacklady Rest and is presently in its first draft. It will team Nick and Wendy together in another dark and mysterious adventure, set in the brooding mountains of Snowdonia. I anticipate it will be ready to publish sometime next year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookFacebook Author PageWebsite

Wyndwrayth (Nick Swann Book 2) by [Yeats, Keller]This is the second horror novel in the Nick Swann series. This scary story finds Nick now living in an old stone farmhouse on the lonely and mysterious shores of Llyn Isaf, in Wales. He becomes intrigued by its mist-covered lake island, Ynys Y Niwl and its dark, ancient and long deserted mansion, Wyndwrayth.

Its moldering edifice holds many secrets and treasures, some of which draw Nick and his old friend Alan, into dangerous realms. Death stalks the island and as the dangerous spectral figures of The Millar of Souls, The Paladin and Gideon reveal themselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern between reality and dreams.

As the death toll rises, Nick finds himself, along with his new partner, Wendy and her Wolf, Mir embroiled in a struggle not just to maintain sanity but to stay alive.

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The Chakra System

Teresa McCallum Author Interview

Teresa McCallum Author Interview

In Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art you discuss the seven Chakras, where they’re located, how to determine if they’re blocked and how to correct it . Why was this an important book for you to write?

I have been yearning to write a book about resilience for many years but I always got stalled as I tried to find the correct template. It was not until I had endured a near death experience and started looking more seriously at alternate methods of healing that my ideas started to gel. I had actually given up on writing the book and dedicated myself to healing my own issues and found that the use of the chakra system was perfect. After I had turned my own life around, I realized that the template for my book was right there: the Chakra system. The seven chakras provide the perfect road map: colour coded and simple to use. And the chakra system works well with other methods of healing (traditional and alternative) and is not discriminatory. Regardless of one’s race, gender, sexual identity, culture, or spiritual path, the chakra system can be used.

One of the different aspects of this book over others on Chakras is the incorporation of art in all stages. Why is this a vital aspect?

Well, first of all, I am an artist, so it is just part of the fabric of my being. And I truly believe we are all artists. Children have an innate ability to be creative and as we age, we tend to lose that freedom of creative expression. I have used art as a therapeutic tool with mental health patients for many years. Art is a natural healing method, but when art is used with the chakra system, magic happens…truly. I’ve seen people who are skeptical of using alternative healing methods, such as the chakra system, but when an artistic exercise is added to the experience, it seems to provide increased clarity and buy-in for the participant. I have found that art ties in well with explaining the different levels of the chakra system. And art makes the experience fun.

What do you find is one common misconception people have about Chakras?

I think there are a lot of misguided sexual identity beliefs about the chakra system:

  1. that the basic human needs, including sexuality, are not as important as the higher level chakras
  2. That there is a negative connotation to feminine traits and that masculine attributes are viewed in a more positive light

As I studied the system, I realized that balance in all areas is critical. And that all aspects of self: needs and enlightenment; masculine and feminine are necessary and desired.

I think this book is a great reference for people new or experienced to the study of Chakras and self-healing. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

My hope is that people find balance, while understanding that there are times we need the help of experts – and while knowing that we can also take an active role in our own health, self care, happiness, and ability to connect with ourselves, others, and a higher power. Balance is achieved when we are able to forgive… ourselves, others, circumstances. Yes, there is work to do, but it can be fun, manageable, and with a bit of artistic flair and pizzaz!

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Using chakras and art is like having a template to achieve balance, forgiveness, and peace. Life is challenging; our world often seems chaotic and tumultuous. Learning to assess and treat your chakra imbalances helps you to cope with these challenges and to find inner peace.

Through the use of true stories, both her own and those of others, Teresa McCallum provides examples of balanced and imbalanced chakras. She offers simple activities, methods, and art suggestions to help others achieve personal growth and inner balance. Teresa’s background as a nurse working in mental health, as well as being a visual artist, lead her to develop a unique way of looking at spirituality, self-healing, and use of the ancient chakra system. Regardless of whether the chakra system is new to you or you are an experienced yogini (or yogi), Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art will provide artistic insight and guidance.

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Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity

Anam Cara is a Celtic term meaning, “soul friend”. In the days of the Druids, an Anam Cara served as a confidante, an advisor, and confessor. This book reintroduces the power of having a “soul friend”. Today, we can enjoy this spiritual benefit. A soul friend listens, understands, and is never judgmental. By clearing one’s conscience, learning to let go, forgive, and atone, we experience the magical power of our soul. We are reborn and begin to realize our potential. This book teaches us how we can transform our lives by following simple but powerful teachings. Ashby offers the listeners minor and major keys to unlock their fullest potential. Minor keys include meditation and journaling, while some of the major keys are atonement and forgiveness. Eric Ober, media consultant and former president of CBS News, said, “This is a truly inspirational book on overcoming inhibitions and roadblocks in order that we maximize our creativity and quality of life.” University lecturer Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh said, “This unique publication will benefit persons who seek to rid themselves of emotional baggage and attain a peaceful mind.”

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The Power of Life and Death

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

In Apollo’s Raven we follow a Celtic princess Catrin and her star-crossed Roman lover Marcellus on opposing sides of a fierce battle. What was your inspiration for the setup to this exciting series?

Since childhood, I’ve been an avid reader of mythology and legends that portrayed females as goddesses, warriors, and cunning sorceresses. I’ve always been drawn to bigger than life epic heroes and heroines who steered the destiny of their people. In my travels to London, I was struck by the statue of Boudica and her daughters riding in a chariot near the Thames River. I discovered that she was a celebrated warrior queen who united the Britons in a revolt against the Romans, almost throwing them out of Britannia in 61 AD. As I did more research, I became intrigued that Celtic women were considered as equals in this war-like society. The Roman historian Dio Cassius describes Boudica as having the mystical powers of a Druid. Other Roman historians wrote of Celtic women’s ferocity as they fought alongside their husbands.

The heroine Catrin is based on historical and legendary accounts of Celtic warrior queens such as Boudica in Britannia where women were held in higher esteem and could serve as warriors and rulers. The storyline of star-crossed lovers in Apollo’s Raven series is inspired by the legacy of Cleopatra and Mark Antony but with a Celtic twist. Archaeological evidence and sparse historical accounts suggest that Rome heavily influenced the politics of southeast Britannia prior to Claudius’s invasion in 43 AD—a political situation similar to Cleopatra’s Egyptian kingdom. I was also drawn to the tragedy of Mark Antony and his son, Iullus Antonius, whose downfalls were associated with powerful women. Their infamy cast a shadow on Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, which will be further explored in the Apollo’s Raven series.

Your story is able to portray ancient Roman life in a believable yet entertaining way. What kind of research did you do to make sure you got everything right?

I did extensive research on the Roman life by reading books, journal articles, and blog posts by historians and archaeologists. Of particular interest are the written accounts by Julius Caesar which he sent to the Roman Senate as propaganda to support his military expeditions in Gaul and Britannia. I’ve also explored several Roman archaeological sites in Britain and France where scenes from the Apollo’s Raven series take place. Locations include Dover, Bath, Fishbourne Roman Palace, Colchester and Hadrian’s Wall in England, and Lyon in France.

As I researched Roman historical events and culture, I also tried to understand their mindsight. In Rome, the male head, the paterfamilias, had complete control over his family—wife, children, and slaves. If they disobeyed him, he had the power of life and death over them. Women were held in higher esteem in Celtic societies which is in sharp contrast with the paternalistic, empire-building Romans.

Catrin is a princess, yet she is not fragile. She’s tough and trains to be as strong as her sister. What themes did you want to capture while creating Catrin’s character?

It is my hope that modern women can draw on the rich traditions of the ancient Celtic civilization where females owned property and could become rulers and Druids. These women fought, hunted, rode horses and used weapons, just like the men, to protect their homeland.

Deeper themes that will be explored in the Apollo’s Raven series as Catrin matures and faces new challenges on her journey of becoming a warrior queen are as follows:

  • Coming of Age
  • Power to change destiny
  • Sacrifice and love
  • Corruption of power
  • Quest for redemption

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am in the process of finishing Book 2: Empire’s Anvil, which should be available by the summer of 2018. The epic tale continues when King Amren accuses Catrin of treason for abetting her Roman lover, Marcellus. She must prove her loyalty to her father and people by forsaking all men and defending her kingdom even to death. Forged as a fierce warrior, she begins a quest to redeem herself and to break the curse that foretells her father’s kingdom will be destroyed. Yet, when she is reunites with Marcellus, she must face her greatest challenger that could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

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Apollo's Raven

The world is in turmoil. Celtic kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. King Amren’s former queen, a powerful Druid, has cast a curse that foretells Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him.

King Amren reveals to his daughter, Princess Catrin, the grim prophesy that his former queen pronounced at her execution for treason to him.

The gods demand the scales be balanced for the life you take. If you deny my soul’s journey to the Otherworld by beheading me, I curse you to do the same as mine. I prophesize your future queen will beget a daughter who will rise as a Raven and join your son, Blood Wolf, and a mighty empire to overtake your kingdom and to execute my curse.

Catrin is trained as a warrior and discovers she is the Raven and must find a way to block the curse of the evil former queen. Torn between her forbidden love for her father’s enemy–Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony–and her loyalty to her people, she must summon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that awaits her.

Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse? Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love with Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren? Will she save Ancient Britannia?

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Apollo’s Raven

Apollo's Raven by [Tanner, Linnea]

When a historical fantasy grips you from the very first page, you know you are in for an excellent read. With Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner, we are brought into the world of the not-so-distant past when Rome set their sights on Britannia. We follow the experience of our protagonist Celtic princess Catrin and her star-crossed Roman lover, Marcellus. On opposing sides of a battle that grows fiercer with every passing day. There is more to this tale than love and war for magic and mysticism are part of the lifeblood of our characters. This is more than a tale of might and magic. This is also a tale of a woman coming into her own as a powerful warrior and a strong mystic. Catrin has faced uncertainty and hardship even within her own family. When pitted against the Roman Empire will she find the strength she needs to survive?

When you write a story that has its base in history, research is a must. You cannot simply write whatever you wish and hope that it makes sense. Tanner realizes this and does her best to research her time period. How people acted, how they dressed, their beliefs and their mannerisms are carefully reviewed in this tale. At the end of the book she does acknowledge that the Celts did not leave much written history. This is a blessing for a writer though, because it leaves an open creative license. Since they didn’t keep records, who is to say that the druids did not behave in exactly the same way they did in this book? This is where the fantasy aspect comes in. Tanner is careful not to get too carried away and the tale feels believable and relatable.

Tanner begins each chapter with a brief excerpt. This gives the reader a sense of where the story is going. This can be a useful tool when you take long gaps between readings. While there is some slightly graphic content, a teenager would find this to be a friendly reminder of what is about to happen and can help jog the memory if they haven’t picked up the book in some time.

The way Tanner portrays women in this book is also very empowering. Our protagonist is a princess, yet she is not fragile. There is no Snow White here. She is forged with fire and metal and trains to be able to reach the pinnacle of fortitude her eldest sister has. For a young woman who is trying to figure out where she belongs in her world, this tale is relatable to other young women in our timeline who are also trying to figure out where they belong.

If you’re looking for something entertaining with a fast, action-paced rhythm, Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner is a definite must. The first in a series this book firmly establishes backstory while also being able to stand alone if necessary. It’s a very exciting read and readers of all ages and genders will find something to identify with in this tale. How will things turn out for Catrin? What will happen with her relationship with Marcellus, scion of the Roman Empire sent to oppress her people? You’ll have to read and find out.

Pages: 400 | ASIN: B06XJQ74H6

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