Comments wanted!

Feedback on the proposed cover wanted!

Here’s a look at the proposed cover for Book II of the Empire’s Legacy series, Empire’s Hostage, alongside the very well received cover of Book I, Empire’s Daughter.  While I know there are a few tweaks needed – border size for one – I’d appreciate feedback on the background colour, tag lines, or anything else.  Thanks!

 

 

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

The Dirt Walkers, by David Joel Stevenson: A Review

For those readers wanting to know more about what happened to Jonah and Talitha, the book serves to tell that story.

Just about a year ago, I reviewed David Joel Stevenson’s book The Surface’s End, a young-the-dirt-walkersadult dystopian story. I gave it four stars.  I’ve just finished the sequel, The Dirt Walkers.

Sequels are notoriously difficult, especially if the author did not plan a series from the beginning.  (As I as a writer know, being nearly done the first draft of the sequel to my own book Empire’s Daughter.) The Dirt Walkers continues the story of Jonah, the boy from the wildlands, and Talitha, the girl from the underground city, as they move toward the consummation of their relationship; as well, the story considers the inevitable tensions created for the community and for Talitha as they adjust to each other, and especially the aftershocks and consequences of Talitha’s defection from the underground community.

For those readers wanting to know more about what happened to Jonah and Talitha, the book serves to tell that story.  But in comparison with the first, which I described as ‘compulsively readable’, The Dirt Walkers pales.  Too much of the story is told to us, rather than shown in the actions of characters, and some of what I saw as the more important aspects – Talitha’s culture shock, for one – are glossed over, mentioned but not really dealt with.  Perhaps because more of the action of the story is concerned with what is happening underground, not enough attention is given to the people of the wildlands.  Talitha and Jonah are almost minor characters in this book, and I found the easy resolution  (I can’t say more without spoilers) difficult to fully believe.

Overall, I’m giving The Dirt Walkers three stars.

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

Name a Character Contest

I need a name for a fairly major character in my in-progress young adult adventure novel, Empire’s Hostage.

I need a name for a fairly major character in my in-progress young adult adventure novel, Empire’s Hostage, the second in the Empire’s Legacy series. Empire’s Legacy is set in a world not quite our own, but that is based on Britain/Northern Europe in the years after the fall of Rome. The character I need to name is the “Viking” heir-apparent to the king of the islands of the north coast, more or less equivalent to the Hebrides.

He’s not a terribly nice character, so might not want to suggest your best friend’s name!  The name also needs to sound vaguely Scandanavian/Icelandic/Gaelic to fit in with the rest of the names in the story.

What do you win?  A mention in the acknowledgments in the book, when it sees the light of electronic day sometime next year; a free copy of it and its predecessor, Empire’s Daughter, and, if you wish, either a review of a book of your own on this website, or a beta-read of work-in-progress.

The contest remains open until I have twenty names to choose from, or to December 31. Respond in the comments section or to marianlthorpe at gmail.com

Feel free to send this out to others!

thanks,

Marian