Deity’s Soulmate follows a young goddess Gardenia as she sets out to create a better universe than the one mankind is in. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The initial idea for the story actually didn’t blossom in book 1. I first started writing book 3 where Gardenia was banished by an evil sorcerer and a young man had to hunt down talismans to get her back so the war would end. After finishing half of book 3, I realized that my title- Gardenia’s Castle wasn’t of interest. Why should people care about her castle? Who is Gardenia? So the idea was born to show her beginning.
Deity’s Soulmate went through many drafts and two editions before I was satisfied with it. Characters have been added, conflicts had changed, and illustrations have helped transform the story into what it is now in the second edition.
Gardenia is a complex and deep character. How do you capture the thoughts and emotions of a goddess type character?
By making her human-like. I wanted Gardenia to be young, naive and it helped that I started working on her character in high school when I was young and naive, but only published it as a young adult. As I grew up so did my character. There was admittedly a long break where I didn’t think about her and so I was able to have a new outlook when I returned to her story.
It also helped that I wanted her to grow up along the way and meet characters that would complement her, mainly the dragons. I believe that the dragons were able to bring out her character the best.
This is a stellar second edition of Deity’s Soulmate. What were some things you wanted to change in this second edition?
Thanks to one of my editors, I realized that I needed to create more conflict. She told me to work on conflict for both of my published works so I thought for awhile on how to do that with Deity’s Soulmate. The conflict with the Fates happens in book 2 which I couldn’t really bring out in book 1 so I added Hera and her daughter. I, honestly couldn’t believe that I didn’t have Hera in the first book and adding her had been a great addition.
I also wanted to make the romance more realistic by adding an infatuation for Gardenia. My mother always told me that first relationships always fail and that’s a good thing because one needs to have a first relationship in order to succeed in the relationships that’s for forever so I added a young man into the story for Gardenia to like and I believe that helped her complexity.
Those two additions helped the story line and added little bits and pieces all over the second edition to make it great.
What are some of you sources of inspiration as a writer?
People, cats, and random objects. The two people that really inspired me to keep going with their honest feedback were the two editors (Kali and Laura). They were never afraid to tell me that I lacked elements in my stories which is important for an author. They pushed me forward and I will always be thankful to them.
My cats are amazing. They tend to be around when I write and one look at one of them makes my heart soar. They help to calm the storm whenever I’m lacking in inspiration and push me forward.
I have a collection of dragon figurines and those helped bring the dragons alive in Deity’s Soulmate. My sister, the artist was able to take elements of different figurines to create Ri, the dragon on the cover. She was able to see the scales of artmanship and bring Ri to life.
Also, sometimes inspiration comes from just holding a regular notebook with a pen. When I was waiting for my sister to try on clothing at a store, I sat on a chair and tapped my pen on my notebook surfacing an idea for my current work in progress – Into the Flames.
A sheltered schoolchild in a realm of condescending gods and goddesses, Gardenia goes to Earth on a dare to witness the unsavory side of mankind for herself. Believing she can do better, she undertakes the formation of an entire galaxy, but without permission from Zeus.
Zeus disciplines her by assigning an epic 13-fold creational lesson destined to take her a century to complete. But he is taken aback once more when she makes an odd choice. She vows to fulfill this knowledge quest by tracking down a lost race of dragons, and discovering the secrets they’ve kept since time began.
Searching the universe to meet even one dragon may be a fool’s errand, but that’s the least of her worries. For ancient wartime resentments linger between the nations of dragons and deities, and some dragons would attack Gardenia on sight!
Yet she ventures out undaunted, learning unexpected things about nomadic life, tender love, and mortal peril along the way. The biggest surprise of all, though, goes by the name of Ri. Ri may be the man of her dreams, the voice in her head, the dragon she’s seeking, or all these things and more…
Meanwhile, the Fates brew sordid plans of their own and Hera jealously sets traps and trials for Gardenia at every chance. What’s a young goddess to do? Flight or fight?
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Nickerbacher follows a fun loving dragon on his quest to be more than a dragon protector of princesses and sets his sights on becoming a comedian. What was the inspiration for the setup of this entertaining book?
This story started out as a Picture Book and evolved to a Chapter Book. In the beginning stage, I wanted to find a way of saying that it’s okay to be who you are. Being true to yourself and following your dreams. It went through a lot of stages, twists and turns but having been involved in theater, I ultimately went with performing as a fun way to get my message out.
I felt that the story carried some important lessons for children, like the importance of friendship and believing in yourself. What were some morals you felt were important for this story?
Those were exactly the morals I felt were important. The princess is a true friend who supports Nickerbacher 100%. And the evolution of the prince’s friendship is great to see ’cause once you get to know someone, unlikely friendships can develop.
The book is filled with some great art. My favorite includes ghosts and goblins at the Fairywood Forever Cemetery. What were the decisions that went into the art direction for this story?
Working with artist, Kim Sponaugle, was a wonderful collaboration. There was a lot of back and forth. We’ve spent hours on the phone planning each scene. Then she sends rough drawings and we discuss any needed changes before she does the final shading with ink & pen.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I’m working on a few different things right now. Pretty much in the beginning stages. Don’t really have any publishing plans yet.
“Nickerbacher is a dragon and aspiring comedian who travels to La La Land to audition for The Late Knight Show. Hoping to prove to his father – and the world – that dragons can be funny. Nickerbacher befriends a prince and a princess who help him realize his dream while paving the way for equal rights of all citizens.”
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The story of Nickerbacher takes you on a journey of mystical beings and starry-eyed dreams. It’s an adventure with a dragon and a prince and princess. Nickerbacher is a dragon destined for a life of working as a protector of princesses- a job that was proudly held by his father and his father before that. However, Nickerbacher dreams of something more and wants to perform on The Late Knight Show where he can show off his comedic value. With the help of a leprechaun, a prince and other magical beings, can Nickerbacher change the hearts and minds of all La La Land?
Nickerbacher, written by Terry John Barto, is a fun-loving children’s novel based on the story of a dragon and his friends. Nickerbacher dreams of being something more than a dragon protector of princesses and sets his sights on becoming a comedian. There is an underlying message that children will love as it promotes following your dreams even if other people may not believe that you can achieve them.
Throughout the story, the fantasy characters participate in modern-day activities, like taking selfies with mystical beings or trying to fit their feet into the prints of famous celebrities. This provides a modern twist to a classically styled fairy tale that combine beautifully in this incredible city. My favorite character is Miss Phoenix, a receptionist who rises from the ashes to greet the unlikely trio. She is dedicated to her work but has a heart of gold which sings true to the end.
Pictures are included throughout the novel which brings to life the extraordinary fun loving characters. My favorite image is one that includes ghosts and goblins at the Fairywood Forever Cemetery, royal chariots at LAX and the Medieval Tar Pits. The images are a mix of castles with high rise style buildings that replicate a similar style of what I would imagine LA would look like if it had been sprinkled with a touch of fairy dust. I love how the imagery complements the text and helps with engaging the reader in expanding their imagination.
This story will help children to learn the importance of friendship and believing in yourself. Nickerbacher also touches on issues such as family, societal expectations and breaking through the barriers of life in a fun and engaging story line. Children will relate to parts of the story and see parts of themselves in each of the magical beings. I love the relationship between Princess Gwendolyn and Nickerbacher and how they break the stereotypes of the typical dragon and Princess friendship.
I would recommend Nickerbacher to any school-aged children who wants to be lost in the magic of La La Land. This book would be perfect as a bedtime story to be read aloud as Terry John’s Barto’s wonderful way with words will delight all children and adults alike.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B00SKKX2AW
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In Sir Princess Petra’s Mission, Petra’s father sends her on a mission where she is expected to fail so that she can stop having fantasies of adventure and become a proper lady. The book is beautifully written, did you set out to create a story rich in kindness and morality, or did that happen organically?
Before I began to write the story, I did tons of work creating the characters. When I felt the characters were fully rounded and as well-known to me as friends, I began to write their adventures. It was, also, important to me to have noble characters doing noble deeds. So, the story was written and developed with noble values in my mind, but the characters seemed to develop the story organically because of who they are.
Princess Petra is a strong young woman. What was the inspiration for the main character’s traits and dialogue?
I’ve always believe that gender was never an issue to accomplishing what one’s heart desires. Petra’s character was created out of that belief. Petra is a strong young lady, and I am sure those traits come out because of my upbringing with a strong mother figure who has, and still is, accomplishing great things in life whether those accomplishments are male or female orientated.
What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in Sir Princess Petra’s Mission?
Believing in oneself is the most important theme Petra instills throughout the series. Also, kindness, acceptance of others, standing up for what is right, bravery, and friendship were important themes to bring out in all the characters.
What will the next book in that series be about and when will it be published?
The characters haven’t told me yet what the next book is about yet. They have mentioned that they like the title Sir Princess Petra’s Quest. I’m hoping we’ll have created the 4th book for publication in later 2017. In the meantime, I have a new book, based on these characters, releasing in early 2017. The book is entitled The Dragon Grammar Book, and it’s an-easy-to-understand grammar book for middle grades through adults. The book is kind of quirky (well, if you think fantasy characters giving grammar lessons is quirky), and a fun and easy way to learn grammar.
Sir Princess Petra has already attained her knighthood in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu and her non-princess-like talent certificate from Talent School, neither of which pleases her father and mother, the king and queen. The king writes up more silly rules in the royal rule book to deter Sir Princess Petra from her knightly ways and useless talent, and turn her into a real princess once and for all. Will the king finally succeed with this newly written, ridiculous mission for Petra?
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Children’s books are more than just fun stories on paper. More often than not they are designed to teach the readers a skill or lesson that will serve them as they grow older and interact more with the world. The key is to make the lesson seem so natural in the story that it gets absorbed without much notice. Diane Mae Robinson does this with Sir Princess Petra’s Mission. The book is the third in a series and the very beginning gives a synopsis of the two prior installments. This is exceptionally beneficial for those who are coming into the tale so far behind. In our story we find Petra, the Princess Knight, who has been given a mission by her not-to-pleased father. As is the case with many books where young women strive to be outside the ‘ordinary’, Petra’s father is displeased at the fact she is a knight. He charges her with a mission that he desperately hopes she will fail in an attempt to conform her to his views.
The language is very fun and easy to read. There are several pictures throughout the story which give a great addition to the words. It is always fun for readers to have an idea of what the author intended when they describe something and this is a welcomed bonus for young readers who are possibly reading for pleasure for the first time. The text is simple enough for children yet interesting enough for adults to actually be engaged with what they are reading with or to their children.
Petra is a strong female character who has a desire to live her life the way she wants. Much to the chagrin of her father this means being a knight and going on knightly adventures. This means no pink frilly dresses and no classes on how to faint properly. The story of the young girl going against expectations has been around for quite some time, but Petra truly needs no saving by anyone. She is not a trapped princess who needs help getting out of the tower or the princess who tries to fight a dragon but needs help from a male. Petra takes every task head-on and does her best to deliver results with her own hands. Even when she is faced with a difficult question or situation, she does her very best to think about what the right answer in her heart would be.
It’s truly sad that Petra’s father can’t be excited for his daughter and proud of everything she has done for the kingdom. How many princesses subdue a snarling dragon, only to become allies with them? Not many, even in the realm of children’s books. Sir Princess Petra’s Mission is no different in that her father hands out an impossible task, yet when she does her best to achieve her mission and strives to straighten out some incorrect information on the way, her father’s response is less than delightful.
Robinson weaves a wonderful tale of adventure and excitement that any boy or girl could love. With an underlying message that doesn’t scream from within the pages all readers, adults too, are sure to come away with the desire to emulate Petra’s wonderful tenacity; even if only for a while.
Pages: 106 | ASIN: B01AX8G1Q0
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The Deadly Troubadours seek to make a name for themselves by stealing a dragons egg. What was the inspiration that created this fantastic journey these characters go on?
There are two basic inspirations for this quest. The first and likely more obvious one, is alcohol. I have lived in Japan for over a decade and office drinking parties are a part of the culture. I certainly think this was on my mind when I decided the quest should began basically due to bragging while inebriated. As for the actual quest for the dragon egg, I wanted something relatively small scale. By that I mean a common element in fantasy is the everlasting fight against the eternal evil that threatens to destroy the world. And nothing against that books that use that in their stories, but I wanted this to be an adventure of our heroes making.
There are several well developed characters in this story. Kestra, Demetrius, Talbert, and Aleksander. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating these characters?
To be honest I’ve never really thought about them in that way. I wanted them to be likable, even if they don’t always make the best choices. I wanted them to feel real in that we can understand their motivations even as they make those choices. I’m trying really hard to think of certain morals that I was thinking of, but I really do think I was more aiming for roundness of character, which sounds horribly egotistically of me.I would say that here are four people who are striving to make themselves better people while doing their past to remain loyal to each other and honest with each other about their mistakes.
I felt this story was very well written. What’s your experience as a writer?
Thank you! Writing has always been a hobby for me, even if at times has been a neglected one. I’ve been working on little short stories, many half finished, since elementary school. I had ringed-notebooks filled with little hand-written tales that have probably been tossed in the trash years ago. During college I tried a bit of play writing on things that never got produced even locally. After graduation I moved to Japan and did blogging on and off to keep the folks back home caught up with my life and that slowly petered out. Finally I got a job where I spent two days teaching special needs lessons and three days sitting at my work desk staring into a computer with too little work to do. That was when I remembered writing and starting a new blog, which transformed into my current site, and started writing little short stories to pass time because I figured if I was typing in English while looking seriously into the monitor everyone around me would just assume I was doing work. Deadly Troubadours actually started as a one off story about a little thief-mage running from some guards. Something about that story got stuck in my head and I kept thinking “What happened next?”
What is the next book that you are writing and when will that be published?
It is going to be a sequel to Deadly Troubadours. It is tentatively called “Sand, Sea, and Stone”. I’m hoping to have it released March 2017 and I will be starting a crowdfunding campaign to do a print run, much like I did with Deadly Troubadours. That campaign will likely start January 2017.
Who are the Deadly Troubadours? Artists? Thieves? Pranksters? Punks? The answer depends on who you ask. In the summer city of Tryst the Deadly Troubadours seek to make a name for themselves – unfortunately that leads to a stupid oath after a night of heavy drinking. Because of course it does. Kestra: former gladiator. Demetrius Tate: magician and huckster. Talbert Gretchen: academic in exile. Aleksander: master of song. Will their actions earn them fame or infamy? Do they know they are out of their depths? Are they truly stupid enough to fight a dragon? Yes, yes they are. Because they are the Deadly Troubadours.
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Who doesn’t love dragons? And sword fights peppered with magic and intrigue? Brent Thomas delivers all this and more in his novel Deadly Troubadours. We start our tale in Coal Town where legend has it a remaining dragon sleeps. These creatures haven’t been seen for decades and the mining town mills about their mundane business without tempting fate. As is fitting for any tale of such magnitude a group of travelers appear on a dark and stormy night. The quartet has a resident bard who immediately sets about wooing the crowd of the Black Canary while they investigate for information about the fabled dragon. What is revealed to be a quest borne of drunken excitement turns into a real fight for their lives. The Deadly Troubadours themselves have come to the town to seize proof of the dragon: an egg. They must also live to tell the tale or face scorn from their fellows of the Stone Prince.
Thomas does an excellent job balancing out the story. He starts with information about the main aspect of the story: the quest to retrieve the dragon egg. We are introduced to four characters: Kestra, the lone female, Aleksander, our friendly bard, Demetrius who deals with all things magic and Talbert; our ex-academic. Instead of delving into each character’s backstory right from the get-go, Thomas breaks it up. He’ll deliver one chapter on backstory and then return to the main story line. He’ll mix it up until the readers are surely satisfied with the agonizing pasts our Troubadours have had. All our Troubadours, save one. The origins of the resident Master of Song, Aleksander, are never revealed. He is left a mystery to the reader as we’re not sure how he came to be a part of their world.
When it comes to storytelling, Thomas does an excellent job. The beginning of the tale is full of description and little dialogue. In the first few chapters this is preferred as it helps set the tone of the story and divulge information in a stylistic way. His descriptions are vivid and allow the reader to imagine just what the characters and setting could possibly look like.
Not only do we learn about the quartet, but we also get to read a few chapters from the perspective of the dragon. We learn that the dragon is female and is driven by a very realistic, and humanistic, urge to retrieve her child. What follows is anger, bloodshed and waves of flame.
Even during fighting scenes, where a lot of fantasy-adventure stories can fall flat, Thomas doesn’t go overboard with his descriptions and makes it easy to imagine the fight. Nothing is excessive and his range of vocabulary help keep the tale fluid. The magic is also described with such attention to detail but without being unnecessary. As readers we understand the weight using magic can place on the user as well as the extent of its power. Magic doesn’t feel forced or overly convenient. It feels like it belongs and that can be very tricky to pull off, and Thomas does it well. You won’t be disappointed.
Pages: 286 | ISBN: 1508801118
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Grant Reed’s Welcome to Deep Cove is an energetic tale that involves intrigue, action and fantastical adventure. The first in a series, but using characters from another, we start off our adventure with an elite military unit infiltrating a potential enemy country. We immediately meet Jack, a crazy and entertaining prisoner. After things begin to go horribly wrong we switch our attention to our main men, Garret and Merle. To call Merle a man is a stretch as he is actually a dragon. The mix of fantastical creatures delivered as if they are completely normal and expected is quite well done. As the story goes on we meet an ogre, a robot named P.C. and some minotaurs. Garret is a former military man, part of an elite guard for the king, who has traded in his sword for a private investigators license. Garret’s new occupation draws him into a possible war with the Syndicate: the mafia arm of this world.
While the story starts off with some awesome punch it gets slow pretty fast as we watch Garret mosey about in his mediocre life. It’s not until part way through the tale that the energy picks up and we’re on for an exciting ride.
Reed does an amazing job with his descriptions and it’s easy to picture what everyone looks like in your mind as you read. The hair on the minotaurs and the scales on Merle are all described with such detail you could almost touch them.
If there were to be any criticism it would be regarding the lack of gender. Ninety five percent of the characters in this particular volume of the tale are men. There are around three women who we actually meet: a drunk girl at a bar, an older homemaker who has seemingly misplaced her husband and Coral. Coral is the only woman we meet who has a name. There is another woman who is referred to, but we never meet her. Even though she has a name and seems to have importance to the story we don’t see Coral very much and the first time we do she’s very cold. Her role is only briefly explained and her purpose is not entirely clear.
Aside from the lack of strong female characters this book is very well written and the story is thoroughly engaging. This is exceptionally high praise for a book that is published by an indie-author.
Welcome to Deep Cove is a great introduction to the characters and power balances of Deep Cove. The maps at the beginning of the story add to the visualization of the tale and make it that much more believable. The tale is expertly woven and it does indeed leave you ready and excited for the stories to come.
Pages: 289 | ASIN: B00J1KUXH0
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Zeus’s Daughter. 100 years of punishment. Gardenia didn’t ask for it. Yet the Fates brewed their plans ever since before she was born. On the day of gaining knowledge about what humanity truly is, Gardenia decides to do something stupid… create a galaxy without permission. Out of that childish choice, something breaks inside of her and she decides to spend her 100 years with dragons. After searching the stars, Gardenia finds her first teacher and then the next and the next. However, what does one do when one falls in love with your family’s adversary? When one falls in love with a dragon? And what if the Fates are ready to make their move? Imaginative, amusing, and adventurous, the Goddess Training Trilogy Book 1 is a tale that will possess you to want to travel the stars.
Deity’s Soulmate tells the story of Gardenia, a young goddess on her rite of passage. She must create a world of her own with living beings that worship her as a god. The use of Greek mythology and detailed accounts of the stars demonstrate author Angelina Kerner’s vast knowledge on the subject. I enjoyed the budding cross-species romance between Gardenia and one of her teachers, which grows naturally and includes a twist that left me wondering what will happen next.
Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1518780466
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