Book Launch Night! and some freebies.

How do you spend the day prior to a book launch?  I practiced the excerpt I’m reading one more time. I packed bags with books and cash, raffle tickets, tape, pens, business cards, bookmarks, a receipt book.  That took maybe an hour.  Otherwise…

This evening is the official launch of Empire’s Hostage, Book II of the Empire’s Legacy spinesseries.  It’s being held in a bar downtown, one that is part of an independent bookstore/cinema/restaurant complex that hosts many cultural events, from book launches to indie bands to art shows to indie filmmakers. I’ve invited a couple of other writers to share the stage with me, a poet and a novelist. (I figured that way their friends would come too!)

So how do you spend the day prior to a book launch?  I practiced the excerpt I’m reading one more time. I packed bags with books and cash, raffle tickets, tape, pens, business cards, bookmarks, a receipt book.  That took maybe an hour.  Otherwise…

I went grocery shopping. I did laundry, and made beds. I cleaned bathrooms and bedrooms and the kitchen. I made cookies. Because I have family coming for the launch, and staying overnight, and needing dinner and breakfast. I’m not complaining….but I am curious.  Were I a male writer, would I be doing all this?  Share your thoughts!

And in honour of the official launch, the Kindle editions of both Empire’s Daughter and Empire’s Hostage are free on Amazon until Sunday, August 27th.  Grab them both while you can!

Meanwhile, I still have to figure out what to wear…

 

 

 

 

Introducing Geoffrey Saign

Wyshea Shadows is an epic fantasy with three main women characters whose lives are intertwined with war, mystery, a common enemy, and love.

In today’s blog, I’m chatting with award-winning  author Geoffrey Saign, whose newest book, Wyshea Shadows, is the first in his new series, Divided Draghons. Geoff is, as well as a writer, a biologist, teacher and sailor…I’m not sure how he finds time to write! His first novel, WhipEye, won the International Book Award; Readers’ Favorite Children’s Fantasy; Outstanding Children’s Fiction in IAN Book of the Year Award; Top Choice, LitPick.com; a Bronze in the eLit awards; and Notable Indie—Best Indie Book, Shelf Unbound. His second novel in the WhipEye Chronicles, Gorgon, was selected as a Finalist, Midwest Book Award; Outstanding Children’s Fiction in IAN Book of the Year Award—third place in Book of the Year, and Top Choice, LitPick.com.wyshea-shadows

Geoff, tell us a bit about yourself. 

I love to bake/cook healthy food, hike, swim out to the center of lakes, snorkel, am a black belt in kung fu, and sail big boats, around 42’, to islands and beaches to swim. I don’t watch TV, but I love movies—stories. I spent 11/2 years traveling in the South Pacific, and it taught me that beauty is everywhere and you don’t have to go anywhere to find it—as long as nature is present. I teach in special education to very bright young adult students, which is both gratifying and worthwhile.

What is the premise of Wyshea Shadows?

Wyshea Shadows is an epic fantasy with three main women characters whose lives are intertwined with war, mystery, a common enemy, and love. As a thriller, it also has enough elements of romance, world building, and mystery that it probably is one of my best books. The wyshea are able to be around animals without scaring them—kind of like our world on the Galapagos Islands, and have a special relationship with nature. There are also elements of old mythology, like precursors to unicorns, wood sprites, and faeries that are only hinted at. The stories build dramatically, and the intertwining of characters is some of the best writing I have done. Each book (two others are written and will be released this year) has a very climactic ending, which always brings emotion out of me even after reading it 100 times. This is because the characters have so much at stake in the story, including protecting those they love. Nature and wildlife have major roles in all my writing.

Wow, that’s complex. How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Usually I think of one line, one situation. In WhipEye I imagined a boy walking into a pet store to talk to an animal. That became an 80,000 word award-winning fantasy novel. In Wyshea Shadows, I envisioned divided races, with good and evil in all the races, and the antagonist an evil that used individual weaknesses of greed and power to his advantage. Once I have a beginning, the rest seems to develop organically.

 Are any of your characters based on real people?

I have a character in WhipEye that reminds me of special needs young adults. All characters probably have bits and pieces of people I know. In WhipEye, the main character is grieving, and is in love with nature. I drew upon myself for both of those attributes at the time (I experienced a loss of not being able to be outside due to a difficult health problem for years, and when I got better, I grieved that loss.)

 Given how you describe Wyshea Shadows, you must have needed to do a fair bit of research!  Tell us about that. 

I usually have to research wildlife, nature elements, and also some of the weapons to understand limits and abilities. The world building is solid, and the magic in this world is concrete and explainable in a scientific kind of way. That doesn’t mean it’s based on science, but there is cohesion in understanding the underlying principles of energy in this world.

 

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I write about 1/3-1/2 of the book, or at least the first few chapters, and then I might do a quick, one line outline for successive chapters to see where I’m going. It changes depending on the book and what type of story it is.

Given everything you do, how do you find time to write?

I write almost every day. Three hours or more in the evening after my education job, weekends 8 hour/day. There are breaks, friends, socializing, family, and play time. But I’m pushing 3 series now, plus 2 thrillers that I will come out with this winter, so 2017 will be a big year for me.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write, or a specific mood you try to create with music?

The mood is in my head. I don’t mind listening to birds outside, or children playing, but music is distracting when I’m writing. Every writer is different in this aspect. I write at home, at my desk, and it’s comfortable and cozy.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I just finished 4 new books less than 2 months ago; Bubblegum Mike, Book 1, the YA epic fantasy, Wyshea Shadows, Divided Draghons, Book 1, the 3rd WhipEye Chronicles book, Drasine, and a stress reduction book (I teach that in my school)—so I’m taking a little break with marketing and rewriting an adult thriller. In the next 3-4 months I plan on finishing the 2nd Bubblegum Mike Book and 2nd Divided Draghons book, two thrillers, another young children’s book, and a nonfiction book. It’s a lot to do in one year. I also have some school visits in Minnesota and Chicago. It’s all very exciting!

And exhausting, I would think!  Links to Geoff’s social media and book sites are below. 

 

https://twitter.com/geoffreysaign?lang=en

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33259256-wyshea-shadows?from_search=true

https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.saign

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCQ0X8P/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Witch (Freya Snow Book 5) by L.C. Mawson: A Review

Witch is perhaps a more thoughtful book than earlier installments, with less physical action and more development of, and insight into, Freya’s character and personality.

Witch is the fifth book in the Freya Snow series, following the experiences of autistic, bi-witchsexual, non-human Freya as she learns to navigate both the human world and the world of magic, discovering the complexities of both.

In the human world, Freya has a job as a barista; in the non-human world, she is mostly concerned with finding a way to lift a curse that has placed a friend into a coma-like state. As she solves this problem – with noticeably more skill in negotiation and communication than in earlier books – she also learns more about herself, her non-human family and her place in the hierarchy of magic. Freya’s friends play a larger part in this book; her human family is barely seen, and this is appropriate given Freya is older and more independent.

Freya’s developing maturity is paralleled by author L.C. Mawson’s development as a writer. Witch is perhaps a more thoughtful book than earlier installments, with less physical action and more development of, and insight into, Freya’s character and personality. The ending of Witch is indicative of Freya’s ability to accept responsibility, moving her from adolescent to adult.

Four stars to a pivotal installment in the series. For an overview of all the Freya Snow books, I suggest the author’s site here.

Xan and Ink, by Zak Zyz: A Review

Once the author had his characters where he wanted them, the story found its feet.

Many fantasy books start out well but lose their way somewhere in the middle. Xan and Ink does the opposite: I found the first third of thxanandinkcovere book fairly rocky going, but once the author had his characters where he wanted them – trying to stay alive in the insect jungle of Kalparcimex, caught up in the feud between the Ranger Xan and the sorceress Ink – the story found its feet.

Banished brothers Sandros and Gregary, and their companions Brakkar and Osolin, are on a quest, to find a way to rid Joymont of the insectine creatures that are destroying it. Chance takes them in search of the legendary Xan, scholar and ranger of the Kalparcimex, to ask for his help. Both the world and the characters the author has created are complex and multi-layered, and we are given only glimpses of the back-story and motivations of the four sworn to find help for Joymont. We learn the most about Osolin, the escaped, condemned slave. Nor do we learn much more about Xan or Ink, except hints and little tastes of what made them who they are, and the past history between them. I found this intriguing; others may find it disappointing. We are only beginning to understand the complexity of the characters when the book ends, but as the ending demands a sequel, more may be revealed if that sequel is forthcoming.

The insect jungle, the Kalpa, is one of the most unusual and creative ways to pit the environment against the protagonists that I’ve come across. The insects – ranging from annoying to fatal, from mindless to sentient – are antagonists that most of us can easily imagine – anyone who’s hiked in a mosquito-laden wetland, or fought off blackflies or sand-fleas or leeches (or the black wasp of Uganda that stings just for the love of it) – can extend that experience to the horror of the Kalpa. It had me shuddering more than once.

Sexually explicit, this is a book for adults, not younger readers. Xan and Ink was far from the usual fantasy that crosses my desk, and I appreciated it more for that. Four stars.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review Policies

I review published or pre-publication work from indie authors.

I’ll post this on the book review page on my website as well.

For everyone who has asked (and those who might wish to) I review published or pre-publication work from indie authors.  My preference is for young-adult fantasy/dystopia/sci-fi but will consider other work.  I do accept e-books (actually, I prefer them).

My practice is to share the review with the author before I post to anywhere except my website.  As well as my website, I post reviews to the following sites:  Goodreads, Amazon in the UK, Canada, and the US, and Kobo and Smashwords – but don’t unless the author requests it.

My contact details are marianlthorpe at gmail.com.