Blog Tour – Kings of the Empire by M. A. Abraham

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Kings of the Empire

 

The Elven Chronicles: Book 12

 

By

 

M.A. Abraham

 

Blog Tour


 

About the Book:

 

The Empire is rising to face the enemy. They are not alone, for their allies and neighbors have come to help; some have even come to fight despite the objections of their own rulers.

 

The Drazon is free, the Demon Hordes are on the march, and their numbers are staggering. Will the Empire survive this challenge? Or will their enemies prevail? The stakes are high, for if they fail to win the upcoming battles, the lives of every Elf in the Empire will be in jeopardy. No one knows the real extent of what they will be facing

 

As the Elves prepare to fight, the Drazon attacks at will, first challenging the might of the Dragons. He feels invincible. Omnipotent. Immortal. He will show the world who is in charge and the meaning of fear. His hatred knows no boundary.

 

While King Lothrariel continues to hold his Empire and, the lives of his people together, he is besieged by problems. He turns to Gabriel, to handle the greatest tasks, and to resume his place as Commander in Chief of the Combined Elven Armies of the Empire. Lothrariel must also answer his Life Mate’s call to fight at her side. He quickly finds out there is more to her summons than their bond. As an Oracle, she ‘sees’ the possible outcomes, but she cannot speak of them, she can only guide.


 

Buy Links:

 

Smashwords / iTunesUS / iTunesCA / B & N / Kobo / AmazonCA / AmazonUS

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Excerpt:

 

General Jerrol Eagle Claw’s warhorse crashed through the circle of the Demon Warriors that surrounded his brother.  He immediately jumped from the saddle, even before his horse came to a stop.  He knew his mount would know what to do, as well as his men.  He didn’t need to order any of them into action, as he rushed to protect Gildren’s back.  This is what they had been trained all their lives for.  The first words their father had taught them were to protect their brothers’ backs in a fight.  They had lived their lives by that creed.  Never leave a comrade vulnerable in battle, unless there is no other choice.

 

“Your timing is impeccable, brother,” General Gildren Eagle Claw praised General Jerrol.

 

“You didn’t expect me to let you take on the whole Demon Horde on your own, did you?”  General Jerrol Eagle Claw returned.  He didn’t like the way Gildren sounded.  His bother’s words were weak, even if he never missed a beat with the way he handled his swords.  They stood back to back, and met all the Demon Warriors who came close to them, as they exchanged quick snippets of information.

 

“We brought reinforcements.  The Wild Elven Army came to join us.  After the battles, there will only be a short cleanup left to do.”  General Jerrol informed Gildren.

 

“Good, because I don’t believe I have much fight left in me anymore,” Gildren admitted.

 

At this moment, the two brothers were once more comrades at arms.  They were no longer Generals, as far as they were concerned, they were family.  They struck out at one Demon Warrior after another, until they quit coming at them.  When they reached that point, and they couldn’t see anymore signs of impending danger, Jerrol turned to congratulate Gildren, only to need to rush to his side to catch him, as his legs gave out beneath him.  He couldn’t control the instantaneous reaction that echoed through his mind, as he threw his head back to scream.

 

“No, Gildren.”

 

Gildren’s blood soaked his uniform, and his face was white with fatigue.  He looked into his brother’s face, and saw the anguish written on his expression, and he smiled as he commented.

 

“I think we won.  Dad will be proud of us.”

 

Gildren closed his eyes, as his head lolled over to the side, and Jerrol gave a loud keening scream.  Not Gildren, not his older brother.  Not the man he looked up to as much as he did their father.  What would he tell their mother?  They won the war in this part of the Elven Empire, but lost part of the heart of their family?  That wasn’t good enough.  He tried to pour as much of the healing power he had in him, into his brother, but like his father, he hadn’t been blessed with much.

 

Jerrol felt a hand press against his shoulder, as one of the Wild Elves responded to his anguished call for help.  It was their leader.  He walked around, to kneel before Jerrol, and took Gildren from his arms to hold him.  After a few moments, he turned to another Wild Elf and commanded.

 

“Summon Sonata, this Elf lives yet.  Tell her she is needed here more than anywhere else.”

 

“Sonata does not heal yet, she is too young,” the Wild Elf, the leader had spoken to, responded.

 

“Bring her now, and make it quick,” The leader ordered.

 

The second in command didn’t question his King a second time.  He could tell by the tone in this voice that there would be no arguing with him.  He had been given a Royal Command.  He raised his face to the sky to watch as Sonata came on the wings of a large Battle Bird.  Her sister followed close behind.

 

Jerrol watched, as Sonata slid off the back of her Battle Bird and then approached his brother.  He didn’t care if she looked like an Elven male’s dream, all he could think about was Gildren, and how close to dying he was.

 

The Wild Elven King usually kept his daughters away from the Elves from the outside world.  Their customs were different than theirs.  He believed that was part of the reason the magic in this part of the Elven Empire was so weak.  He smiled, as his Life Mate arrived on a panther, and then came to stand at his side, as they watched Sonata run her hands over the young Elven male.  When she was finished, she raised her eyes to meet with those of her mother, and spoke.

 

“There is so little left of him to hold onto, yet, there is something about him that calls to me, something that tells me it is important that I heal him.”

 

Sonata’s voice was clear, and sounded sweeter than the first songbird of summer, and her eyes shone a clear blue.  Her honey colored hair hung past her hips in long unfettered curls, and her lips looked soft and inviting, in a heart shaped face.

 

“I will help,” Sonata’s sister spoke with a voice what was whisper soft.

 

The sound of the second sister’s voice made Jerrol suddenly glance at her.  The moment he saw her, he felt his mouth go dry.  She was every bit as beautiful as her sister, but in a more ethereal fashion, with her coloring being a much paler shade of moonlight.  Something deep in his chest made his heart pound, as if it recognized something special about her.  His mind reached to understand the reason, and his eyes searched for whatever was attracting him.  She, however, refused to look directly at him.  Instead, she rushed to the other side of Gildren, to kneel at his side, and clasp her sister’s hands with hers, as she closed her eyes.  The two Wild Elven Females began to chant a healing spell, and he turned his attention back to his brother.

 

As the girls sang, Jerrol could see Gildren begin to gain ground.  His chest began to show signs of his breathing, and his eyes fluttered, as he fought to open them.  He closed his eyes too, as he offered his strength to help heal his brother.

 

The Wild Elven King looked at his Life Mate, as he wrapped his hand around her fingers, and she looked up at him for a moment, before she reached up to offer him a kiss.  They knew what they had just seen, and what to expect.  It wasn’t anything that happened often, but occasionally they were surprised in this manner.  The Fates worked in the strangest of ways.

 

“You cannot fight this my love.  We knew that Sonata and Lumina would someday meet their Life Mates.  I have a feeling these Elves are special, and will care for our girls well,” The Wild King’s Life Mate assured him.

 

“I know, but Light Elves?”  The Wild Elven King replied with distaste.

 

“Do not dismiss the choices of the fates.  It never ends well when we fight their plans,” The Wild Elven King’s Life Mate warned.

 

A high ranking Elf from the Elven Nation walked up to the Wild Elven King and asked.  “Do you know if the General will survive?”

 

“General?”  The Wild Elven King asked.

 

“Yes, General Gildren Eagle Claw, he is the son of the High Lord General Gabriel Eagle Claw, and the Tratchar Eden.  The one standing at his side is his brother, General Jerrol Eagle Claw.  They directed this portion of the war, while their father fights in the Light Elven Kingdom.”  The Elf from the Elven Empire answered.

 

Eagle Claws, his daughters were Life Mates to Eagle Claw Generals.  It was something the Wild Elven King could live with, for that family was strong, and spoken of with great reverence.  It was something he found usually went deeper then respect or admiration.  Their people actually loved them.  He reached out with his power, to feed it to the ailing Elf.  He knew it wouldn’t take much longer before the two young male Elves would be kneeling before him for his blessing.  They would know the girls were too young for bonding yet, but that would soon pass.  As that thought crossed his mind, he felt a pressure on his fingers.  It was his Life Mate, letting him know in her subtle way, that she was pleased with his decision to accept things as they were.


 

About the Author:

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I come from a very large family (mostly brothers), and to make a long story very short, we were a lively group.  We loved to tease each other.  Which is why I was able to outrun them (even if I am the shortest!). It was a matter of survival. My one and only sister was another matter, I think it would have been a close call to try to outrun her.  To put it bluntly, we had a happy childhood.

 

When I was growing up, my job was to play guardian angel to my little brother, which meant keeping him safe.  I ended up getting into more fights trying to do that than any other time – I guess that is one of the reasons that when I write about warriors, I know something about battles.

 

Writing was never my childhood dream, although I was the one who made up stories to play out when we got together with other children.  It was probably the beginning of what drove me to write; that, and a challenge from a friend in Jr. High.  She proudly showed me her story, and asked me to read it, which I did.  I have to admit, I was no diplomat, and embarrassed to admit it.  I told her what I thought was wrong with it, she told me to do better, and then when I did she threw her book out.  I felt bad, but it was too late to change things.

 

It was the beginning of a whole different phase in my life.  Now, instead of playing the story out, I wrote them.  The trouble a young girl can get into doing something so innocent.  People do not understand that flashlights use batteries, if you are not allowed to put the lights on in the house in the middle of the night. (Imagine that!)  Teachers take offence when you are writing, and not listening when they are lecturing.  I would write my stories and hide them in the closet, where they stayed until one of the nieces found them.  We all know what happened then.  Yes, you guessed it, Becca had just finished her formatting course, and those books were interesting, which meant they were about to become public domain.

 

So, now that my closet has been raided, and some of my stashes have been found, the worlds I once created are coming out into the open, where everyone can read them, slowly, as fillers between books that are evolving on a day to day basis, along with series like, The Elven Chronicles, Tantalus, EC: One Empire and Guardians of the Future, and who knows what else the future will bring.

 

Maybe it was her form of revenge for what I have done in the past, but I cannot imagine why.  I have been a good girl, granted, there are some of my family who will try to tell you that I’m not as innocent as I would like everyone to believe.  That I have earned what I have reaped, and have a personality that keeps them on their toes. (Do not believe them.)  Granted, over the years, I have earned several nicknames from the nieces and nephews 😉  ,  Names like – The Godmother, The Evil Christmas Elf (comes from making my nieces wrap their own Christmas presents), Mistress of Ambush.  My favourite response to them, when they try to get me into trouble, is just to look at them with a wide, doe eyed expression, and say “Moi?????”

 

As for pets, I have a seal point Siamese cat named Athena Ravenspaw, and another, a lilac point torte Siamese, I called Azorez Tathar Silver Myst.  Both like to romp in the middle of the night, on top the bed, and sleep during the day.


Social Media Links:

 

Website: https://maabraham.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MA-Abraham-381172971916740/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ma_abraham

 


 

 

It’s Writing You’re Worth – Guest Post by JannyC

Writing was not my first career choice. In fact, I avoided the career path like the plague. It was not a logical choice, or so I was told.  Being a writer is a dream.  What if being a writer is a destiny and sometimes there are some destines you cannot escape. Hello nice to meet you. Let me introduce myself I am a writer.

 

The Beginning

To be honest I have been telling stories since I was 4. They were all in my head acted out via Barbie’s, or She-Ra action figures or me with my friends outside on the playground. This made sense for my first step into the writing world was being a comic book script writer. Writing was a destiny I could not escape. I’ve been writing in this business off and on for nearly 8 years. Freelancing writing is the kind of job that is a side job not your main job to pay the bills with. “Writing” was a dream. I almost believed it. I had stopped writing when one day I got an email from a total stranger. They said they missed seeing my work. When was, my book coming out that I had mentioned I was writing? One person even offered me money to help with my writing career (I declined in case you are wondering.). Next day another email from a young girl who said I inspired her to write herself could I read a sample of her book. BAFLING!

 

Jump Starting

I decided to dive back into my writing taking a serious stab at freelancing writing as my career. I found jobs, but they were usually low paying, no recognition, plus they worked you like a mule job. Hey it was a job, right? You had to start at the bottom and you’re your way, up right? Problem was what I didn’t know was I was selling myself way below my worth. Add onto it these jobs were getting me nowhere. I was writing anonymously. I was not getting KNOWN. All the articles I wrote were basically ghostwritten. If I was to show someone my portfolio what did I have to show?

 

Writing You’re Worth

It took the help of my husband to finally convince me I was not writing my worth. I believed since I did not have the prestige like most writers do of going to college my experience did not count. I schooled myself actually learning first-hand the world of authors and publishers. One thing I learned was that when you are passionate about something you instantly possess that thicker layer of skin they talk about. The literary world can be brutal my friend, and the grammar police are very REAL.  I got truly convinced though when I wrote an article for my husband’s boss for his business and he paid $50.00 for my top-notch work. He loved the article saying to my husband his wife was a phenomenal writer. This made me think. Maybe I WAS not writing my worth.  I decided no more taking writing mill jobs. No more charging low prices because I am some little indie writer.

 

Discovering My Worth

So, what happened? I avoided the sent per word pricing. You can say I am at intermediate level so I just went with a flat rate. I do book promotions and each package includes a complementary book review that goes on Amazon and my blog as well as a promotion week of their book. I had 3 packages people could choose from. $10.00 for one book $20. If you had two books and $30. For 3 or more books. I was very cheap, thinking indie authors will love this. I am so affordable! I was only drawing in $30 to $40 bucks at the most. After discovering my worth I raised my prices to $15., $26, $60.  This seemed to draw more peoples interest in me. More orders started coming in. I had one client order $103.66 dollars ‘worth. It seemed I was doing better charging more that I was charging less! I also had the proof to back up my work via my blog and website I created.

 

If you feel like you’re struggling, ask yourself are you writing your worth?


dsc09294About our guest author JannyC:

JannyC is a published author (Writing under the pen name of Jan Marie.) and freelance writer. She currently writes at Indie Promotions where she helps writers and entertainers promote their work. follow her on

Twitter @ReviewerJannyC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Indiebookpromotions/

Linkined: www.linkedin.com/in/janis-cramlett-a08b3673

Author Spotlight – Allan Hudson

allan_hudson_color2Welcome!

 

Please introduce yourself. 

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog Aurora. It’s an honor to be included in your Writer’s Treasure Chest. My name is Allan Hudson and I live on the east coast of Canada in the province of New Brunswick. My home is in a small village called Cocagne and is situated across the road from the Northumberland Strait. I’m fortunate to have a loving, supportive family and consider myself a very lucky man.

 

  1. When did you start writing? 

Like many avid readers, I always felt there were stories I’d like to tell. I participated in a creative writing course at our local trade school, an eight week evening class, many years ago hoping to kick start my desire to get those ideas down on paper but more important things occupied my time. It was only after I discovered that my favorite author, Bryce Courtenay, started writing when he was 56 years old. He went on to write 20 best sellers before he died last year. That was eight years ago and was the inspiration for my own writing. I knew then that I needed to sit and get started. I was 55.

 

 

  1. What motivates you to write? 

I’ve come to realize that wanting to get the stories out of my head and onto paper is what motivated me to write but as time passes, it is for the sheer joy of writing, of getting lost in the world of my characters. When I sit and write, the story is all I think about, hoping that somewhere, someone will enjoy reading the story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. I also get inspiration from my surroundings, the east coast of Canada where there are fabulous sunrises and sunsets on the waters near my home and the people in my life.

 

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I have two favorite genres, action/adventure and historical fiction. As a reader I’ve been drawn to action novels from such authors as Dennis LeHane, Harlan Coben, Peter May and Chuck Bowie to name a few of my favorites. These types of stories are ones I enjoy writing. My first novel, Dark Side of a Promise, is an action/adventure novel as is my second, Wall of War.

I equally enjoy historical fiction such as Bryce Courtenay, Edward Rutherford, James Michener and Beth Powning. I very much like novels that begin early in time and carry the reader along in the growth and development of the main characters, as well as their surroundings, while teaching me about the past. My WIP is such a story.

 

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

At present my goal is to write as often as I while I maintain a full time career to pay the bills. I look forward to retirement soon when I can spend more time near a keyboard. I’ve dreamt so long of holding a book I wrote in my hands and with my first novel and subsequent short story collections, I’ve done that. My second novel is presently at the editors and will be self-published. My goal with my WIP is to have it traditionally published.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

I must admit, that writer’s block has never been a real issue for me. There are times when I stare at the cursor on the computer screen and wonder where I’m going next and the words seem to stall. I usually walk away from the screen, maybe even turn it off. Sometime I only need a few moments to stop thinking about the story or maybe a day or two but that is the extent of any type of block I experience.

 

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

I’m still a new, hopeful author myself so I’m not sure if my advice is sound. I feel that the best strategy is to write. Write as often as possible, get the story down on paper. Find a few beta readers you can trust, polish your work the best you can. Get professional services like editing and cover design. Turn to your fellow authors, like this friendly blog, and share, share, share. Discover other authors, comment and review their books so that they will be happy to help you along.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.  

In my action series, my main character is Drake Alexander. I am fascinated by foreign cultures and try to share my own wonder of travel through my novels. Dark Side of a Promise takes the readers from the shores of Canada to the young country of Bangladesh and around the world. The second novel in the series is called Wall of War and like Dark Side of a Promise, is an international thriller. It takes place mainly in Peru. At present it is being edited and I hope to publish this summer.

 

My WIP, my third novel, is a history of his family beginning in 1911 with his grandfather who lives in Scotland and eventually immigrates to Canada. It is a different genre from my earlier action/adventure stories but will explain the history of the Alexander family in a format similar to the historical authors I’ve mentioned above. My own work history is diversified by having dual careers in the jewellery industry and construction.  My central character in The Alexanders will be involved in similar businesses with the up and downs of beginning in a new country. There is much tragedy in his earlier years but the will to overcome and succeed is the theme of this new series.

 

I love short stories as well and always have several on the go. My short story, The Ship Breakers, received Honourable Mention in The WFNB short story contest and was picked up by Ryerson Hill-McGraw to be part of their iLit digital series available to high school teachers across North America as part of their curriculum. I have three collections published simply called SHORTS, Vol 1,2 & 3. Each are dedicated to one of my grandchildren.

 

I have published the beginning of a new detective serial on a separate page on my blog (South Branch Scribbler) and will be adding to it at regular intervals featuring Detective Josephine (Jo) Naylor. It is titled The Shattered Figurine. 

 

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

  

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 Contact Allan Hudson: 

 

www.southbranchscribbler.ca

 

https://www.facebook.com/southbranchscribbler/

 

https://twitter.com/hudson_allan

 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+allanhudson1953

 

https://www.wattpad.com/user/allanhudson

 


wall-of-war4Allan Hudson Books:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1485787317&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

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Featured Author – Interview – The return of Don Massenzio

don_massenzio_author_picWelcome back!

 

You were a guest on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ before, where we learned about writing in your life and your projects.

 

Let’s see what you can tell us today: 

 

 

 

  1. Are you still writing in the same genre as you did before, and if not, why did you switch – or would you ever think to change genres?  

Interestingly enough, a couple of months before last year’s interview, I had released a terrorist thriller Blood Orange which, after writing three detective mystery novels, was a change in genre. I have since released another two detective mysteries, but I am writing a follow-up to that thriller as readers seemed to like the main character and his team. It will, however, crossover into the universe of my detective novels.

 

  1. Please, tell us a little about your writing process. 

It’s chaotic. I work full-time in a 50-60 hour per week consulting job that has me traveling 45 weeks per year. I’m not a good hotel sleeper so I spend much of my travel and insomnia time writing. I write whenever I have free moments. This makes continuity a challenge sometimes, especially because I’m not a traditional outliner. But, hey, I was able to publish three books last year, so it works for me.

 

  1. What is important to know for young, new authors and writers? 

Great question. My advice would, just do it. My eight-year-old came to one of my book signings and said she wanted to write a book someday. With my help, she published her first children’s book a couple of months ago, and now she has the fever to do it again. If my writing accomplishes nothing else, I’m truly happy.

 

  1. Your experience in the writing world, do you think it has already taken you where you wanted to go? 

Writing takes me away from the real world and that is exactly where I want to go occasionally. In terms of success, I’m happy with where my sales place on Amazon for the moment. Would I like to take it to a higher level of success? Of course. I don’t know many authors that wouldn’t, but I am content when I look at my bookcase and see my name on a book.

 

  1. In your opinion, are you a writer or an author – and what is the difference for you? 

I am both. A Writer puts word on the page. An author lets other people read those words.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your projects again. Was there progress since the last interview or are there even completely new projects? 

I have published two more books in my Frank Rozzani detective series since the last interview on your blog. I have a follow-up to Blood Orange written and going through the polishing stage and ideas for more ‘Frank’ books on the way. There will always be new projects until I run out of time to complete them.

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

 

__________________________________________________________________

Contact Don:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordonmassenzio/

Twitter: @dmassenzio

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Massenzio/e/B00JJVN0UI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: http://donmassenzio.wordpress.com

Web Site: www.donmassenzio.com

 


Don Massenzio Books:

(click on the cover to be linked to the book page to get more information and buy it. Thank you)

 

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Author Spotlight – Phillip T. Stephens

pts-portraitWelcome! 

Glad to be here.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

The first story I remember writing was a parody of Miles Standish for a fifth-grade assignment. It went over well enough to encourage me to finish the parody of the entire book. I was inspired by a stage-based spoof of Gun Smoke called Pistol Mist that my dad wrote for the church youth group. He repeated it at every church he ministered so it had a great impression on me.

The long version was terrible, which taught me some projects have a limited span. Before that, however, I wrote comedy sketches for my tape recorder and tried to convince my sisters and friends to perform.

No one cooperated.

I wrote seriously in high school, including a novel (75 pages). My creative writing teacher hated everything I wrote. She wanted flowery prose sprinkled liberally with Latinate words. I preferred a Hemingway style—shorter, Anglo-Saxon words and direct sentences. (She also heaped praise on her son, who was in my class, as a model for our writing.)

I began to read writers like Anthony Burgess, Terry Southern, Philip Roth, John Fowles and John Le Carré. I reread Catch-22, which I first read in eighth grade (it took the entire summer). The second reading convinced me my writing was juvenile, so I threw it away.  I didn’t discover I could write well until I took my first college creative writing class.

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

I can’t not write. I write daily, whether it be a series of posts for a Twitter novel, a blog post, or articles for Medium. Perhaps as a child no one paid the attention I wanted so I knew I could preserve my thoughts on paper for a time they would. Perhaps, like the Hebrew prophets I’m compelled to speak and writing is my platform. I know I never wrote to be cool or admired because when I first shared my writing, I received little positive feedback. Most of my friends thought it was stupid.

I might go a day every two or three weeks where I finally say, rest. But it’s hard.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I call my genre “wry noir.” Dark novels with a sardonic twist. My first published novel, Raising Hell, was a dark fantasy novel about an optimist who drives Lucifer crazy, (as was the follow up novella, The Worst Noel). My second, Cigerets, Guns & Beer, was a Western mystery/suspense novel. Ironically, my latest novel Seeing Jesus is a light-hearted YA novel (although bullying by adults and peers is a major theme).

I know not settling on a genre hurts my brand marketing. Wit and wry observation defines my brand, which is much harder to market. But I read every genre growing up, and personally enjoy writing in several.

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
  • I want to create intelligent books that any reader will enjoy.

 

  • I want to change readers’ perceptions of the world in some small way: to help them recognize that the world is not about us and it never was. Because of this we have a responsibility to leave something of value in this world and not take from it.

 

  • I also hope to help them recognize that other people don’t see the world in the same way that we do, they process information differently, form different values. We’re responsible for our own actions and not for theirs.

 

I was raised a Baptist Preacher’s Kid and everyone expected me to follow my father, grandfather and every uncle into the ministry. Fooled them. I took one message from my faith—Life is about service, not self-fulfillment, a message that seems sorely lacking in Christianity (not to mention the current political climate). I wouldn’t write if I didn’t think my writing served the world at large in some small way.

In grad school, studying literature, art and philosophy, the reigning aesthetic theory proclaimed, “Art for art’s sake.” I still adhere to that, especially given the current beliefs that art should be profit-making and reflect a narrowly-defined set of values. I also believe artists share a responsibility to make our work transformative. Our art should stand on its own; our vocation requires us to put our work in the larger frame of cultural revolution.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Not really, although I will confess to procrastination. When I sit down to write, even if it’s two in the morning, I write. My first college fiction teacher John Vandezande (who wrote the book Night Driving, now out of print) said to write anything, no matter how bad. Start at the middle of your story, the end, at whatever point you can put words on paper.

I agree. You can fix bad prose. You can’t fix what isn’t written. Write paragraphs stream-of-conscience, outline, jot down notes and impressions. Anything to get your thoughts moving through the pipe. This is the only advice I ever give writers that I believe will benefit everyone.

I’ve thrown away entire chapters, sometimes as many as three or four. I stopped novels after ten or twelve chapters. I never thought they were failures. They got me to the chapters I needed and I wouldn’t have written the books I finished without them.

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Most writers never make a living writing fiction. (Few make a living selling books at all.) You need to seriously evaluate the role of writing in your life. If you want to write for self-fulfillment, recognize that, but be honest about your talent. If you don’t spend your free time thinking about your work, how to improve your work and studying other writers to see how they make their art, you probably aren’t ready to be a professional.

If, however, you’re determined to sell your work to the world, show your work to writers and readers who won’t pat you on the back and say, “this is good.” Find readers who will find the flaws and recommend improvement.

When you think you’re ready to publish, hire an editor and proofreader.

Most of all, don’t blindly follow the advice of every blog post. Most advice contradicts a blog posted the week before. Good writers take any number of approaches to writing—some from the seat of their pants, others with outlines and notes; some write 500-2000 words a day no matter the circumstances, others try to find a quiet space to concentrate when time permits; some write rough drafts by hand, others word process everything. Explore different approaches until you find techniques that work and stick to them. It’s okay to try something new, but if it doesn’t work for you, don’t trade it for something that works on that writer’s say so.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.  

I just finished a Twitter Novel, Doublemint Gumshoe (which I’m still Tweeting #TweetNovel), about a hapless, hopeless detective who stumbles onto a missing persons case that’s way over his head. I wanted the challenge of composing a story 144 characters at a time. When the last Tweet is posted, it will run more than 800 installments. I may rewrite it and re-release it as a real novel. I haven’t decided yet.

My biggest seller (which is like saying the biggest ant in the hill)—Cigerets, Guns & Beer—features an ex-con whose car breaks down in a small Texas town and ends up neck deep in the fallout from a thirty-year-old bank heist and murder. To make the novel more fun, I threw in a UFO and back story that connects the murder to Roswell.

During the seventies and early eighties, gas stations would sell Texas drivers beer from oil barrels next to the pump. They’d pack the barrels with ice, singles and six-packs. Drivers fill their tanks, grabbed their six-pack and popped a top as soon as they hit the highway. I joked to a friend that all we needed was guns and we’d hit the Texas Holy Trinity.* That line planted the seed for the novel. I’d been kicking around the idea of a stranger and thirty-year-old crime since grad school but couldn’t find an angle into the story that I liked.

I lived Raising Hell. I escaped from the worst job in the world, with a micromanager from hell, only to walk into a situation with four different managers with four competing agendas and every one expecting me to jump to their beck and call in a second.

From that came the idea of an optimist sent to hell by accident and Lucifer trying to find a way to destroy his optimism. Unfortunately, the hero, Pilgrim, believes that he’s already in hell so it can’t get any worse. He might as well make his punishment the most enjoyable form of eternal damnation that he can.

An agent suggested I write Seeing Jesus. We spent some time discussing my desire to write a non-fiction book about the way metaphoric thinking unconsciously drives our belief systems. She recommended that I read Gaarder’s Sophie’s World, and write something similar. (She rejected it, of course.) In the novel Sara Love learns to cope with bullying by adults and children through lessons provided by a homeless man no one else can see.

I plan to release an extended adult version this year, with a different ending, appendices and discussion questions.

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

How could I resist? Sharing on a great blog like this? I’d be a fool not to.

*Readers have just witnessed the joy of fiction writing. I’ve shared this anecdote dozens of times, but I just now made up the line, “Texas Holy Trinity.” I intend to use it with the anecdote from here on out, but that’s what all fiction writers should do—strive to improve your story at every opportunity.


Contact Phillip T. Stephens:

 

Twitter: @stephens_pt

cigeret-coverPhillip T. Stephens’ books:
on kindle
Cigerets, Guns & Beer http://amzn.to/1QG7t4m
The Worst Noel http://amzn.to/239NCNF
paperback
Cigerets, Guns & Beer https://t.co/7kTafuZEGp
The Worst Noel http://bit.ly/1mmJQAn
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Doublemint Gumshoe #TweetNovel

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Seeing Jesus also recently won three Human Relations Indie Book Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phillip T. Stephens will be one of the writers featured at this month’s #MysteryThrillerWeek, this month Feb. 12-17. Join him and others for advice, blogs, networking, reviews and links to hundreds of novels.


Author Spotlight – Mick Canning

portraitWelcome! 

Please introduce yourself. 

Hi Aurora. I’m Mick Canning, an English writer living in England, who writes and blogs especially about India.

 

  1. When did you start writing? 

During my childhood I used to write short stories and poems that I would read aloud to my parents, and then submit to my junior school magazine. They were kind enough to publish a few of these, possibly to keep me quiet. And then I never stopped.

 

  1. What motivates you to write? 

As the cliché goes, I write because I have to! There are so many stories and ideas milling around in my head that I want to share with other people. And now that I finally have a novel published, and can therefore claim to be an author, this urge seems to have increased rather than diminished.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I tend to write what is usually called ‘literature’, which sounds awfully grand and pompous, but really means no more than that it does not fit into any of the usual categories of fantasy or crime or what-have-you. It is probably due more than a little to my reading habits, which are frequently also ‘literature’. Not that I don’t read plenty of other genres, of course. Some crime, some fantasy, horror, humour, and plenty of non-fiction; mainly travel and history. I will write short stories in these other genres occasionally, too, but I feel my best work is usually ‘literature’. This probably sounds dreadfully pretentious!

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

My goal? Always to finish the current work in progress, and to make as good a job of it as I am able. I have no particular wish to publish dozens of books, but I’d like the few that I do publish to be good! My dreams, well, if my writing can take me to India or Nepal, that would be good! I suspect that is not quite what the question means, though.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

Oh, yes. I‘m sure every writer does. My method is to go for a walk, preferably on my own, in the countryside. Whatever the problem I have with my writing, be it not knowing where the plot is going, or how my characters will act in a situation, or even something about the geography or history of the setting, a walk will infallibly enable me to sort it out.

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

Write! Write! Write! And read! Read! Read! The more you read, and the more widely, the more you learn how writing works. And the more you write, the better you get at it. It really helps to get feedback from someone you trust, too.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.  

So far, I have one self-published novel, ‘Making Friends with the Crocodile’. The title comes from an Indian proverb, and the story deals with the attitudes to and treatment of women in society, in this case specifically Rural India. It is told through the relationship between a mother and her daughter-in-law, and how a violent incident impacts upon them and the rest of the family. I wrote it in the first person, through the eyes of the older woman. And if that is not a real cheek coming from a western male writer, I don’t know what is! The book has been well received, though, even by Indian female reviewers, so perhaps I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do.

Otherwise, I have a large number of finished short stories, quite a few of them set in India, and am working on a couple of novels – one set in an Indian hill station, the other a rather over-ambitious one set in a time-scale of some four hundred years up until late Victorian times, and in England, India and Persia. I must be mad.

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

It’s been my pleasure to be here, Aurora. Thank you very much for having me!

 

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 Contact Mick:

 

My blog is www.mickcanning.co

 


making-friends-with-the__-crocodileMick Canning Book:

 

My author’s link:  http://author.to/mickclink

 

The book is available as Kindle and Print-On-Demand Paperback on Amazon (the link takes you to the author page there), and also on Kobo as well as, in India, Pothi and Flipkart

Conflict is More Important than Character

This is an eye opening article, written by Steven Capps. It is quite controversy to what many think. But I guarantee, read the post, and it will make you think. thank you Steven.

Steven Capps

I know that this is an unpopular opinion. Truthfully, there are countless people who are smarter and more successful than I am, who believe the exact opposite. Up until a few days ago, I believed that of all the elements of a story the concept of character was, by far, the most integral element of a narrative. I am not saying that it is unimportant, but rather the idea of conflict has more power in creating a compelling narrative. It drives tension, creates depth, and is pervasive in every element of skilled storytelling. To kick off this discussion, I want to present my view of character.

Character: The Lens of the Reader

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Characters are representations of people who have a role in a story. I argue that in order to qualify as a character, the person depicted actually has to engage in some sort of activity relevant to the Point of View…

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