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Being a Dragon Rider

Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait
Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait Author Interview

The Spires of Dasny follows a young woman who attends the Dragon Rider School, but faces more challenges than she expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?

The inspiration came from a few different directions. A few months before starting this story, I saw a picture of a dragon gliding over a rocky terrain. Such things also kick my daydreaming mind into gear. I have also been participating in a writing group where each month we write to a prompt with a given word count limit. It is amazing what stories are spurred on by such things. The book developed from writing from three or four prompts and I fell for the characters and decided to develop it into a book. 

Seyra and Dreyth are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development? 

What happens most of the time, when I begin writing something fresh and new, I see a mini movie of a scene in my head and begin writing. All I knew of Seyra is she had always dreamed of being a dragon rider. She held the dream so tight that the stories that enriched her life drove her up the Spires in her greatest time of need. Dreyth developed as a protector and best friend, often seeing things in Seyra she couldn’t see, both bad and good. 

I appreciated how well defined the dragon lore was in your book. What kind of research and development went into developing them in this novel?

I refused to read many books about dragons when I wrote my first series, The Legend of the Dragon Child, for fear of my dragons appearing a carbon copy of other dragons. After getting that series out, I learned something. I think most fantasy writers have the same concepts of things we haven’t seen. I was amazed at how many things my books had in common with other books, such as dragon and human being able to communicated through their minds. 

I became ravenous to read more books of dragon stories, so I’m sure a part of them resonates in my current writing. I am a panster by design. The thought of outlining a book is cringe-worthy and shoots up a brick wall in my mind. I simply sit each day, write the day’s date and when my fingers hit the keyboard, we’re off for a new adventure.

Will this book be part of a series? If so, what can readers expect in book two?

Oh yes! It is a series in the making! I just finished book two, handed it off to the editor and making the final decisions on the cover as I write. 

Book 2 is a wild ride. There will be twists and turns and surprises around ever corner. I get goosebumps thinking of it. It takes place five years after Book 1 and the main characters have grown. The Dragon School is in full operation and is enjoying a peace in their kingdom–until something dreadful happens to shatter their world. 

Book 3 is now in the works. Will there be more? It depends on what is accomplished in Book 3. In my mind I see it as a four to five book series but I’ll have to wait to see what happens. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

The night when the rogue knights killed my family and torched our town, I fled. I scrambled up the Spires of Dasny, even though I knew it once was a haven for dragons and the old Dragon Riders School. The ground thundered. I trembled in the small niche tucked into the mountain. Had the knights returned? I caught my breath as an enormous green eye peered in. A dragon!

I awoke in a deep, dark cavern. Staring at me through one opened eye lay a huge black dragon. I had been taught the stories of the dragons, of the days long ago when they ruled the sky and searched for their riders, but this wasn’t at all what I had been taught. Why was I there? Suddenly, pressure built up in my head. My eyes sprung wide in fear and… I heard him.

What happens when three dragon riders come together as told in the prophecy? The Blind, the Healer and the Magician…

There are secrets to be uncovered, but only if Seyra is brave enough. Discover the intriguing lives of the brash young Seyra and Dreyth, the one who rescues her–or is it she who rescues him?

What Could Have Been

F S Bala
F S Bala Author Interview

Before The Origin follows Amy who is hurled into a world of mystery and magic that is deeply rooted in ancient African folklore. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

I have always wanted to write science fiction that is set in dystopian Africa. My tribe (the Hausa’s of Sub-Saharan Africa) is the biggest inspiration for the set up. Hundreds of years ago, before religion and colonization, they believed in spirits, they were partly nomadic in nature and had a whole lifestyle around that, unfortunately, it has been gradually erased and forgotten. My book just explores what could have been if a part of that was still alive.

Amy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

Due to her role in the story, Amy’s character development was a well thought out process. I feel like there is always a part of the author in the main character, and that is where her imposter syndrome comes in, but it was very important to have the reader experience the events of her first day at work through her eyes, which is why she is such a blank slate at the beginning of the story. Her relationship with other characters in the story is also a backdrop for the events in the next book.

I enjoyed the African folklore embedded in the story. What kind of research did you do on the topic to ensure it was accurate?

Thank you! I am always happy to hear that a reader particularly enjoyed the folklore aspect of Before the Origin because I completely made that up. Being African, I grew up listening to stories passed down from generations to generations very much like Xari in the story, but I never heard anything that explained different races or how the continents came to be. African folklore is always rich in the battle of good against evil, so I guess that is something I held on to.

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

I am currently working on the sequel to Before the Origin which is grander in scale and characterization, book one was just a set up to our main characters’ journey as they find themselves in a battle against time and it will be available next year.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Much has changed. Climate change has inspired a new generation of discrimination – one where the mutation of a hereditary gene has become the greatest crime. The others – a minority kept silent for years are now up to something sinister.

Agent Amy Taff has moved through the world unnoticed until the recent disturbances in an otherwise perfect utopia require her expertise. Desperate to make her mark, Amy is hurled into a world of mystery and magic, deeply rooted in ancient African folklore. Discoveries that threaten her life and could not only change her reality but hold far-reaching implications for everyone on the face of a lone continent. Follow her into an epic tale that begins with accepting a new job at Scythe. Where it ends could swing the scales of balance toward life or death.

Crown of Crowns

Crown of Crowns by [Clara Loveman]

As a daughter of one of the ruling families of Geniverd, Kaelyn has never known anything outside of her life of privilege and protection. She begins to realize the depth of that privilege when she meets Roki and learns more about the struggles of the common people. Through personal tragedies and charitable work, Kaelyn’s life changes drastically in just three years, but she is unaware that the changes are about to escalate quickly, and in ways she could never have imagined. Suddenly faced with more power and knowledge than she thought existed, Kaelyn has to become the savior Geniverd didn’t know it needed.

Crown of Crowns by Clara Loveman takes place on a dystopian-esque planet named Geniverd where disease has been nearly eradicated, natural births are against the moral code, and machines do every job previously held by humans. The ruling class, with royal families on each of the six continents, live in luxury and are insulated from any of the problems faced by the rest of the population. Kaelyn never questioned the traditions that her family, and the other elitists, followed until her mid-teens when she realizes just how much of a division they have actually created within the world and the majority of the people. At that point, Crown of Crowns moves the narrative along at a breakneck pace, as Loveman introduces a barrage of situations that forces Kaelyn to quickly mature, as she struggles with an ever-changing worldview. The story is a smooth and easy read for the most part, although the language occasionally reverts to almost adolescent type slang, which is jarring and a departure from the overall competent tone of the book.

Crown of Crowns deals heavily with the theme of morality, and the idea of doing what is right versus doing what has always been done. Kaelyn makes it clear early on that she believes tradition isn’t always what’s best, especially when a majority of people are suffering as a result. Her beliefs form initially from a place of selfishness (tradition would keep her from being with the person she loves) but as she grows and learns more about the world, she sees that genuine change is necessary for the people to thrive. 

Reading Crown of Crowns right now was also incredibly interesting because there were key plot points that reflected issues in our current society, namely an unforeseen pandemic and severe social unrest caused by years of disregard for the “common” people. The characters were engaging and I was invested in discovering what Kaelyn would do next, however, the book ends abruptly, leaving loose ends and questions to be answered in a followup novel. Crown of Crows is an epic dystopian fantasy novel that will entertain young-adult fans.

Pages: 238 | ASIN: B08BJGNHT7

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Ever Alice

Ever Alice by [H.J. Ramsay]

H.J Ramsay’s reinvention of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland is as beautiful as it is eerie. Her book, Ever Alice delves deeper into what Wonderland truly is. Through the eyes of both Alice and Rosamund, the Queen of Hearts, she gives two perspectives of a powerful tale. In many ways, Ever Alice reads like a sequel to the original Lewis Carrol classic.

While this book starts with Alice trying to recover from her first Wonderland visit and trying to fit in to her family, it ends with her finally finding her place. Throughout the story, she continues to follow and look up to the White Rabbit in the pursuit of her true destiny. On the other hand, the Queen of Hearts continues with her fits of paranoid rage which unexpectedly lead her down a path to more destruction than she had ever imagined.

Ever Alice is undeniably creative, but I felt that the first part of the novel wasn’t as eventful and compelling as the rest of the novel certainly is. However, the author more than makes up for this. It almost feels like this transition marks a quick-paced race to the biggest plot twists of all time. Even with this I still felt like the first few pages captured the original feel of Wonderland and how things are just a bit absurd.

The ending of this book leaves you with as many questions as it does answers. In some ways, it makes you think deeper about what Lewis Carroll was trying to convey in the original classic.

In this book, we get to interact with many beloved characters but some of them have been written in different and unexpected ways. For instance, our beloved Mad Hatter is no longer close to Alice in any way; sad in my opinion, but I see how the author uses such unexpected occurrences to give the story more depth .

The running theme of this book is family and the need to belong. It is a book for the misfits and the characters are a representation of this. Ultimately, it is evident that the plot of this book was extremely thought out and meticulously planned. I also love the whimsical writing style used by H.J. Ramsay. A wonderful continuation of a literary classic that adds a unique layer to a much beloved fantasy story.

Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07TNHCZG8

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Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End by [Hugo V. Negron]

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is the fifth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s “Forging of a Knight” series.  The book series takes place in a magical, mythical world drawing heavily upon folklore and where numerous societies with feudal systems reside in the greater universe. The series follows the journeys of Qualtan, a knight who wields the powerful and coveted Goldenflame blade, Glaive, his half-orcne best friend and trusted partner, and many other rulers, knights, and creatures with whom they interact in the ongoing fight against the heinous agenda of the Evil Order.  The “Knighthood’s End” installment guides readers on an arguably more personal battle involving Qualtan – the events that transpire as he finds his true love in Vanessa, a Mah-Zakim, and the journey of Qualtan and Vanessa in securing their freedom to love.

This book features many different types of characters and creatures, some common fixtures and other illustrations pulled from the depths of Negron’s vast imagination. The author does a fantastic job at creating the imagery needed for the reader to conjure in mind each of these magical characters and creatures. He displays the same talent for expressing imagery in his illustrations of the different worlds that Qualtan, Glaive, Vanessa, and other characters in the story traverse. The Great Forest, for instance, with its idyllic scenery and woodland creatures roaming about, contrasts greatly with the dark, terrible, and grotesque world of the Mah-Zakim.

The development of the story is done in such a way that, even if the reader was not already familiar with the series, they not left in the dark in regard to former battles or happenings from previous installments and how they play into the current plot. My only comment is that the author could have elicited more emotion and dimension in each character; I found that the characters at times fell too deeply into their respective tropes (ex. Qualtan as the hero, Glaive as the disgruntled but loyal sidekick, and Vanessa as the hopeless lover fighting against herself). The interactions between the characters, along with references to past struggles they have mutually faced, still adequately depict the strong ties that bind the characters to each other; a great example of this bond is the brother-like companionship between Qualtan and Glaive that remains steadfast even during the moments when they have their differences.

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is overall a great read for anyone who has an interest in a well-written and carefully crafted story where knights, kingdoms, gods, magic, and other elements of folklore rule, with some seeking the greater good and some seeking no benefit outside themselves. The plot of the story is rich and enjoyable, and it should spark reader’s interest in delving into the rest of the series.

Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5

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Norse Mythology

Glenn Searfoss Author Interview

Glenn Searfoss Author Interview

Cycles of Norse Mythology does a fantastic job of reinvigorating old mythology and breathing new life into their stories. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?

I grew up knowing of Odin, Loki, and Thor long before reading comic books. But when I decided to learn more about the Norse gods and goddesses, I became dissatisfied. All the summary sources (e.g. Bullfinches’ Mythology) were about a handful of male gods; they provided little if any information about the goddesses and the animals that populated the world of Norse Mythology. Talking with other people, I found the same limited information.

So, I began researching the topic, more for my own understanding than anything else. Sharing what I knew with others inevitably resulted in requests for more background and tales from earlier in the mythology. So, I had to do more research and to write more stories. Ultimately, this work expanded to encompass the entire breadth of Norse Mythology.

I thought the research was deep delivered easily. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?

Cycles of Norse Mythology is the culmination of 16 years intensive study of Norse myths that involved consuming research literature, multiple translations of works (from 900 – 1400 AD), and story compilations published since the late 1700’s to the present.

I hunted public and university libraries for references. I sought out period references, such as Tacitus’ The Agricola and the Germainia and Ibn Fadlan’s Journey to Russia. I searched new, used, and rare bookstores for any reference. I dug into cited references and searched for those. I still encounter new references (i.e. works from 875 to 1400s), and I hope there are translations.

Always seeking something cleaner, with less bias, I found the following website provided me with an international access to reference source materials: http://www.archive.org/index.php

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the public.

Was there anything that surprised you during your research regarding Norse mythology?

I had several great surprises in store:

  1. There was more depth and more humanity in the traditional characters of the Norse Gods than the superficial figures found in many pieces of modern literature and in film. For example, a modern viewpoint has Thor’s hammer as a symbol of storm and war. Whereas, in the traditional myths his hammer was actually a symbol of consecration and protection.
  2. The foundation of our knowledge on Norse Myth is based on fragments of what once was a full oral tradition. And the accuracy of those fragments is subject to question.
  3. The primary source of our knowledge regarding Norse Myth are the Codex Regius (1270s) and the Codex Wormianus (mid-1400s), of which editions of the Poetic Edda (~985 -1000AD) and the Prose Edda (~1220 AD) are a part. These were written down in Iceland, which wholesale converted to Christianity in 900AD to avoid the bloody religious conversions that had wracked Norway and Sweden. Since the writings were filtered through the lens of several generations raised under Christianity, and it appears only those tales and the portions of those tales which did not conflict too much with Church doctrine were kept, they are likely subject to differences in tone, focus, character presentation, and bias that are different than the traditional unfiltered belief.

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

I’m currently finishing up a fiction novel that pays homage to three great Victorian characters of literary fiction: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. James Watson, and M_______―the time traveler of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. It is set firmly in the Victorian era, with all the social attitudes and prejudices of that time. I am hoping it will be out next spring.

A new work under development involves the Sigurd Myth, but it is too early to provide a timeframe.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

These stories are old, old as the Behmer Wold and seldom in life has there been such a brewing…

Cycles of Norse Mythology captures the passion, cruelty, and heroism of an ancient world. Encompassing Odin’s relentless pursuit of wisdom across the nine worlds, Gullveig’s malicious death at the hands of the Æsir that sparks a brutal war with the Vanir, Thor’s battles against the giants of Jotunheim, the tragedy of Volund, the many devious machinations of Loki, and the inescapable events of Ragnarök, this lyrical re-imagining of the Norse myths presents the gripping adventures of the Norse gods and their foes in a style to delight modern readers of all ages.

A detailed glossary provides a quick reference to the meaning behind names and terms used in the book.

A Source Reference is included for persons who want to delve deeper into the study of Norse mythology.

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The Rabbit Hole Experience: On Sasquatches, Spirits, and the People Who See Them

The Rabbit Hole Experience reads like a fireside chat between two paranormal field investigators—one specializing in spirit activity, the other in Sasquatches. They’re friends who sometimes work together and always trade notes.

In the book they explore the ways eyewitnesses react to encountering something they believed to be impossible.

One person may have a spiritual awakening. Another may have a psychological breakdown and live in fear. Yet another denies anything happened.

The two investigators wanted to know, why?

So they open their case files of fascinating, real-life stories, look for patterns, create theories, and pioneer an area not often addressed in the paranormal world.

 

www.RabbitHoleExperience.com

 

Tales from the Kingdom of Telidore Book Trailer

She traveled to a new world to find her sister. She left her whole life behind. Now, to keep Emily safe, Alicina must pose as a wealthy aristocrat. Plunged into a royal court steeped in intrigue, she is forced to do battle with someone she once called a friend. Will her belief in herself and the magical powers she has found be enough to save them all?

Welcome to Telidore.

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