Tag Archives: fiction

Human 76 Release Special Offer: Free eBook Download

Ghabrie and Human 76 is finally here! 
And available as a free ePub eBook for two weeks to celebrate its release. 

Human 76 - An Unprecendted collection of Post Apocalyptic  Stories - Ghabrie

Join a new Fandom and Like our Human 76  Facebook Page to keep up to date with blogposts, links, fun stuff, and information you won’t find anywhere else!

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Please also find us and list us in your Want To Read on Goodreads
and when you’re done, please review Human 76.

Snippet of 'Leaving the Nest' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘Leaving the Nest’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

We are supporting Water Is Life and all profit from book sales will go
to this deserving charity – helping to provide water where people need it.
A charity that helps people who struggle within this world.

Snippet of 'We Make the Future' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of ‘We Make the Future’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

FREE Download from Lulu until 1st July
(ePub version of the book which can easily be converted to Kindle using Calibre.) 

Buy Links: Lulu Paperback

Amazon Paperback UK and US

Other buy sites will soon be available – Amazon Kindle etc –
once the Distribution avenues are open.

Enjoy, and please review and let us know what you think! 

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Flash! Friday – The New Dawn

 

The New Dawn…

On Friday everything changed and the early morning stars, adorning the firmament, blinked in sorrow.

Gossamer threads spread, like wanton ivy, and frosted fingers painted intricate designs across earth’s delicate canvas. Iced tendrils and frozen webs wandered far coating the planet’s filigree crust. Oceans stilled and froze, and the sun’s shamed, fading rays shimmered into moonbeams and tears.

Prophecy sang in the ether as decades of dreams, and dreamers, expired, and atop the summit, Jack Frost surveyed his work then left on the dusted wings of the iridescent chill.

Old Mother Earth shivered beneath Saturday’s long awaited age of ice.

(100 Words)

0. Flash! Friday
I didn’t want to miss the chance to join in with Flash! Friday’s last Flash Fiction contest. I’ve dipped in and out of it, sometimes in awe of the standard of writing, sometimes in awe of participating numbers, but it’s always been a great contest and produced some truly amazing writing! Rebekah Postupak did a fantastic job bringing great writers together on Fridays.

Please pop over to the dragon’s nest and read some of the offerings at Flash! Friday, you won’t be disappointed and even though the site is closing on 18th December, all the stories will remain accessible.

Beneath the Rainbow, Oak and Stars…find Hope

Stand beneath the old oak’s boughs,
staring up at a late evening rainbow as its colours arc across the sky
and early stars begin to shimmer…
This is how the rainbows, oak and stars entwine.

The Hope Within Novels BLOG post

I’m so happy that all three Hope Within novels are now out and available. I thought it was time to show how they interweave and why the major themes are so important to me.

Beneath the Rainbow is an enchanting story of tragedy and the hope that rises from it. It introduces the theme of hope, the running melody through all three books.

Beneath the Rainbow AD with public reviews“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”
Freya won’t let anything stand in her way. Not even death.
A heart-breaking event leaves Freya’s family devastated, but Freya has left clues to her secrets and her family need to uncover them before it’s too late.
As she watches from beyond, hope and stories of love prevail.  Her united family help, however, as final yearned for wishes remain unfulfilled, time begins to run out.
Freya is certain she’s the only one who can help as precious life hangs in the balance.

When loss hits a family, grief is the strongest emotion and as hearts break human nature struggles to find something to cling to. Hope is the emotion we clutch and pull into our souls to help rescue us from the despair and pain.

Freya’s family needs hope and Freya has it in abundance. She is the only one who can help when life reaches crisis point.

The subtheme of Beneath the Rainbow is dreams…as quoted by the tag line “It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.” Sometimes we need dreams to give us hope and sometimes they keep us alive!

Beneath the Old Oak is a beautifully woven tale that follows Freya’s story with her best friend, Meg.  Meg has grown up with loss in her life from the young age when she lost her best friend, Freya. She’s desperate to know where she fits in and the subtheme of her story is courage to face adversity.

Beneath the Old Oak AD with public reviews“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too?
Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her mother’s erratic behaviour she’s terrified she’ll inherit her sins.
Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. Life seems as transient as leaves upon the tree and as the seasons change the timeworn oak shares its treasured memories with her.
Meg wants to run away, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.

Meg has no idea how her life will play out when it spirals out of control and she has to face mental illness and a tragic past within her family. All she wants to do is escape, but her mother beats her to it.

She needs to change her dreams of escape (there we are again: dreams, linking with Rainbow) and turn them into hope. Meg’s challenge is not to lose hope when all seems lost.

Beneath the Distant Star is a turbulent story which takes us right back to Freya’s family. Her sister, Jasmine, was only a toddler when she lost Freya and cannot remember her at all. She fights her sister’s memory determined to become her own person and not Freya’s ghost.

Beneath the Distant Star AD with public reviews“Discover what you already have.”
Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember.
Her existence reminds her mother she has something her sister never will—life—and their fragile relationship shatters.
Jasmine craves love and acceptance but refuses to be her sister, Freya, and fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and resolves to live her life to the fullest.
Jasmine’s reckless abandon threatens to destroy the very thing she needs most. 

Like Meg, Jasmine wants to fit in, but her battles alienate her from those who love her, and she loses hope of ever being the daughter her parents want. Jasmine craves acceptance and love and needs her mother to come to terms with her grief. Bringing us the subtheme of gratitude for what you already have. We sometimes disregard, or just miss, the beauty of what we have for what we’ve lost.

It brings the novels full circle fourteen years after Freya’s death as hope becomes the one force they can all cling to and build upon. Freya, Meg and Jasmine all need to find Hope Within.

The Hope Within Twitter AD JPEG

So, if you’re looking for books that will inspire and lift your spirit and steal your heart the Hope Within series will do just that.

Rainbow Stars Times New Yorker

Each theme means a great deal to me and has touched me personally. Though I haven’t lost anyone in my life, we have all felt grief at some point, it universally unites us as humankind. Dreams are what inspire me…the reasons I keep moving and working to achieve. Courage is something we all fight for and it grows with us, and gratitude is a constant, something that keeps us grounded.

Hope embodies all of these and inspires us to keep reaching for those distant stars…

Add these books to your reading list and feel inspired!

Buy here: Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star.

You’re Not Alone: Anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

‘You’re Not Alone’ has now been officially released,
so if you’re looking for some short tales to escape
into a world of vastly differing relationships
(the theme of this collection), then look no further.

You're not alone charity anthology for macmillan cancer support,You will be whisked into a magical world of remembrance with Sylva Fae’s gorgeous tale ‘Lilies for the Mantel’, enchanted by my own fairytale ‘Love’s Silent Ache’, have your heart stolen by Nico Laeser’s ‘No Longer Broken’ and stirred with ‘A Year Afterwards’ by Lesley Hayes. Throw in a great mix of stories including Max Power’s ‘Babes’, ‘Last Goodbye’ by Paul Ruddock, ‘If the Shoe Fits’ by Katharine E. Hamilton and ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ by Rebecca Bryn, and you’re onto a winner. These are just some of my favourites and there are plenty more!

You're Not Alone - Indie Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone – Indie Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

I was happy to add my own story to this collection, since cancer has reared its ugly head in my own family, time and time again. I understand its ravaging pain and legacy, and truly wish to contribute something to the fight to beat it.

Love's Silent Ache by Lisa Shambrook for You're Not Alone...read more inside the anthology...

Love’s Silent Ache by Lisa Shambrook for You’re Not Alone…read more inside the anthology…

When we were given the theme relationships, I chose to write a fairytalea story of love trapped within the grasp of an evil power that refused to let go. Cancer is often unseen to begin with, something that grows and develops on its own into a canker that finally reveals itself. I hope and pray that one day, cancer and myriad other diseases that befall us will be eradicated, it’s only through research that this can be achieved. While we wait, there is an army of nurses who refuse to let cancer win, giving of themselves to help those afflicted to stay as healthy and strong as they can, while they can. I applaud these nurses, who help make cancer bearable for the sufferers and their families.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support

Each of the authors have been touched in some way, by cancer and when invited, wanted to help give something back. This anthology was thought up by author Ian D. Moore, after losing someone very dear to him, and he soon rallied the support and help of his author friends to put this book together.

All net proceeds from this book will go to Macmillan Cancer Support via the Pamela Winton Fund and you can also donate directly to The Pamela Mary Winton Tribute fund. This fund is in Pamela’s name but all donations go to Macmillan Cancer Support. Any kind donations are gratefully received.

You're Not Alone - Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone – Macmillan Cancer Support

Read more details about the conception of this book and support in my previous post.

In this collection you’ll find short stories to thrill you, they’ll scare you and leave you looking over your shoulder as you head back from your lunch break. There are stories of hope, stories of courage and stories of sheer determination, much like the very story that created this work to begin with.

This link will take you straight to your local Amazon store where You’re Not Alone is available in both paperback and eBook.

Only £1.99 for eBook and £8.99 for paperback. 
Treat yourself to some great stories and all in a great cause!

Author Feature: Sophie Moss

Whenever I visit Heron Island, I feel like the wind whispers through my hair,
and I can taste salt on my lips, and hear the ocean lapping at my feet…
If you love romance then Sophie Moss is the writer for you…

s-moss-wind-chime-wedding-rosesI discovered Sophie’s gorgeous sensory writing through several flash fiction contests, which led me to read her evocative Seal Island Trilogy. From there I’ve eagerly waited for more from this expressive author.
I’m honoured to close this series of Author Features with one of my favourite writers, especially after I’ve just finished her latest new release ‘Wind Chime Wedding’ and loved it! You can check out my review on Goodreads.

Sophie Moss author, S Moss Author,

Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss

I fell in love with your Selkie books, fantasy romance with fairy tales thrown in, and I quickly became engrossed in Wind Chime Café. What inspired you to change direction from fantasy to the new Wind Chime series?

I had actually written about a third of a book very similar to Wind Chime Café several years ago. It was right after the recession hit in the U.S. and the war was going on strong and I wanted to write about a military man on leave coming back to his hometown and meeting a single mother who’d moved there to open a cute little cafe but who didn’t know how to cook anything but casseroles. I stopped writing the story about halfway through for a lot of reasons (and it’s very different from the final product of Wind Chime Café) but when I finished the selkie trilogy (or at least pressed pause on it for a while) I decided to revisit it. I noticed that café books were doing really well at the time, books on Navy SEALs were growing in popularity, and small town contemporary romances were becoming huge. So there you go.

Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Cafe – Sophie Moss

Your characters are beautifully drawn, with intricate histories and depth, for example Wind Chime Café has an ex-Navy SEAL, and a great baker, Wind Chime Wedding has a teacher in its main role. How much research goes into your characters and their background stories?

I do a ton of research. While writing the first Wind Chime novel, I read almost every book written by a former Navy SEAL to get a sense of who they are, what their lives are like, and what issues are important to them. I also do a lot of research online—reading articles, watching you tubes, etc. It’s very important to me that my characters come across as authentic.

Wind Chime Wedding Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Wedding – Sophie Moss

I love the beauty of your writing which matches your locations. I know your Selkie series was inspired by a visit to Ireland, where did you get your inspiration for Wind Chime’s Heron Island?

Heron Island is loosely modelled after Tilghman Island, a real-life island only thirty minutes down the road from where I grew up. It’s a place known for sailing, fishing, and crabbing. It’s home to some of the last few hearty souls who still pull their living from the water. It’s one of the only places on the Eastern Shore that is relatively undeveloped. One of my favorite things about starting to write a new series is getting to know the place where my characters live. I’ve always been drawn to island settings, both in reading and writing. There’s something so soothing about being surrounded by all that water. The pace of life is slower. Neighbors look out for each other. Everyone knows everything about everyone.

Myself, reading Wind Chime Wedding on my Kindle!

Myself, reading Wind Chime Wedding on my Kindle!

So far, we know you for romance, are there other genres you’d like to explore, or is romance where your heart lies?

I will probably always write love stories. I’m a hopeless romantic. Nothing warms my heart more than a well-earned happily ever after.

So, if you want romance – you know exactly where to look!

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of five full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heart-warming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemossauthor@gmail.com or visit her website to sign up for her newsletter.

Find Sophie on Facebook and @SMossWrites on Twitter. She’s also on Goodreads and Pinterest. Sophie is also, like myself, a BHCAuthor.

Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Café:
Kindle
Paperback

Wind Chime Wedding Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Wedding:
Kindle
Paperback

Why Do You Read?

I read because there are so many stories out there,
so many lives I’ll never be able to lead,

so many worlds in other peoples’ imaginations that I want to visit,
and my soul has a need to discover the words other people write.

Why do you read...titleI read for the same reason I write. I have to. My own imagination is vivid. I have worlds inside my head, and dreams that need to escape, and these are the very reasons I read. If I have these amazing visions in my head that need to breakout onto paper, then I want to read the imaginations of those around me, I want to know their stories too.

As a writer and author the reasons people read fascinate me, for several purposes: firstly, I’m curious, and perhaps a little nosy! Secondly, as an author, I want to write books people want to read; and thirdly, it’s a subject that seems to divide.

I belong to many communities: family, church, online, book-club, local, neighbourhood – and everyone has a different reason for reading…

I asked my family and got different responses. My son only used to read short fiction because it was easy and he struggled with a tendency towards dyspraxia and dyslexia. My husband reads about things he’s interested in, ‘both fact and fiction’, and both my daughters read ‘to escape reality’, and ‘to escape into another world that’s better than this one.’.

I’ve got friends who love biographies, but not fiction, others who want to read to learn, and some who read just for the sake of reading. Some readers want absorbing stories but shy away from horror or sorrow. There are others who yearn for an emotional response, who need to commit and feel the emotion; those who want to be scared by horror, or weep amidst a tragedy, and whoop with delight as characters rise and triumph, and some who just need to escape.

So, I thought I’d ask you, the reader – why do you read?

Lastly, why do you read the books you do, do you choose because you love a specific genre, or author, or do you love an eclectic mix?

Do you stick to traditionally published works, or love to discover more from up and coming indie authors?

(If you read my latest author interviews, you’ll discover some of my favourite books from the last year…)

What books sit side-by-side upon your bookshelf? Tell me the books that have affected you the most, and tell me why you love them!

Writerly friends and Wombat’s Writing Challenge…

dfq minion con UK,

DFQ Minion Con – Nottingham

I have amazing online writing communities – in several places – but the one that’s inspired me for years is #DFQ  and the lovely Anna, and we recently organised a meet up in Nottingham for its UK members. The Cross Keys was our meeting place and we loved the decoration! It was a scene of wonderful writerly delight, invention, and meeting of like-minded souls. We all ‘got’ each other and it was great! 

This is us: Nick, Angelica, Bekah, Lisa (Me), Becky, Miranda, Sorcha, Wombat, Jessica and Alex and during our wordy meet up Wombat issued us with a challenge… He gave us each a first line, picked at random, and to be woven into a story… Here’s my response with its first line italicised:

Genesis

Nick is an average young man, filled with aspirations, struggles, hopes and doubts. He has everything that gives a young man life and a hunger for more. In five minutes he will cease to exist.

Nick bends his neck and stares up into the canopy. Dappled light flickers across the leaves, and he flinches as a glancing beam temporarily blinds him. Blue lights dance in front of his eyes and he grins as his gaze flicks across the foliage in the arboretum. It’s quiet and except for the soft hum of bees his ears pick up no sound.

Goosebumps ripple across his skin as a draught rustles through the leaves. The change in temperature makes him clutch his arms to his chest and his muscles tense in answer to the chill that fills the air. The sun, the light above the woods, begins to dip, to lower beyond the horizon and a lazy orange haze, like fire, shimmers through the tall trunks. Nick’s forehead creases and an urgent thought in the back of his mind begins to stir.

Racing to the front of his head, come memories, flashes of colour, memories of sunsets on beaches, and kisses that taste of salt, and the grit of sand between his toes. Nick shakes his head. It takes only moments for the light to fade and with it the hum of bees retires, replaced with the hoot of an owl and a sliver of white glimmering high above the trees. Nick rubs his arms and he remembers more.

Night life, sitting in a restaurant opposite a chatty blonde, cars rushing by on fast roads, a multitude of lights, orange, red, yellow, neon blue and more. He grins as he remembers a hand holding his, as he stands on a pier watching waves crash across the dark ocean, the moon a twinkling river of diamonds on its surface.

The moon is gone before he has a chance to recall more and birds begin a dawn chorus as he stands on dew damp grass. His memory smiles and despite his boots he feels the wet grass beneath his feet, and daybreak evokes pictures of waking in a tent, of bacon crackling on the stove, and a girlish giggle as he strokes her hair in the new glinting sunlight of the day.

His earlier thought simmers, just beyond reach. Birds now twitter in the canopy and as warmth caresses his skin, Nick grabs at the distant notion.

The clack of a woodpecker tunes his thoughts to fingers on a keyboard, then to a jackhammer on the pavement, heat haze shimmering like dust. The haze clouds his mind, confuses his thought process and impinges his memories. The dazzling sunshine glints, and realisation floods his brain, and he flinches as fragments of glass cut through his mind.

Nothing is real.

Heat fizzes and pops and in a second his thoughts cease.

Nick stands, silent and immobile, and two caretakers trample through the simulated arena to collect his body.

Back at the computer the tech guys shake their heads and begin reprogramming.

Anna is an average young woman, filled with aspirations, struggles, hopes and doubts. She has everything that gives a young woman life and a hunger for more. In five minutes she will cease to exist.

DFQ Minion Con - Nottingham - FUN

DFQ Minion Con – Nottingham – FUN

Author Feature – J. Whitworth Hazzard

Zombies – if you like stories about survival,
about beating the odds against the flesh-eating hordes,
then ‘Dead Sea Games’ is the book for you!
J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Deathwish will keep you biting your nails
as you urge him to outlive the forces against him…

dead sea games, j whitworth hazzard, losing is not an option, zombie book,James Hazzard resides in Illinois with his family and is another author I’ve known for a few years. His writing has enthralled me, and I seriously did bite my nails whilst reading ‘Dead Sea Games’! He has a PhD in molecular biophysics that he now uses to figure out how to scientifically justify the existence of mythical creatures. My kind of guy, I mean dragons – they exist, of course they do! It’s my pleasure to interview him in my latest Author Feature.

James Hazzard, J Whitworth Hazzard, Dead Sea Games,

J. Whitworth Hazzard

J. Whitworth Hazzard

I love the totally original Dead Sea of the title, you’ll have to buy the book to know why, but, with a fair amount of zombie television, movies and books already out there, what made you want to compete and write within this genre of horror?

The honest answer to this question is that I didn’t set out to write in this crowded space. I love the genre, but it’s a small niche in the overall horror space, and I was more interested in the action/adventure aspect of post-apocalyptic survival. Dead Sea Games started out as a flash fiction piece, and after I won the contest it was entered in, I couldn’t leave it alone. I kept coming back to the story and decided I had to know what happened to Jeremy. Thus the novel was born.

Dead Sea Games - J Whitworth Hazzard

Dead Sea Games – J Whitworth Hazzard

You appear to have quite a scientific/mathematical background, from where did you draw your inspiration?

So many years of biophysics, biochemistry, and biomechanics gives you a lot of time on your hands to think about mythical creatures. My very first attempt at a novel used a similar scientific approach to justify how a dragon could survive into the modern world.  After I read World War Z, I came up with pages and pages of theories on how a “zombie” could evolve and survive realistically. There is a huge (and unsolvable) energy transport problem that I solved using…well, now I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. You’ll find out how I solved the problem in the sequel Dead Sea Escape in 2016.

Your characters are diverse, strong, vulnerable and fully-rounded, and I willed them on right from the start. How much of yourself did you place in Deathwish, or was he drawn completely from your imagination?

Deathwish is an extremely wilful and difficult child that’s been forced to grow up extremely fast. He’s modelled after my own kids (sorry!) with a little more sass and bravado thrown into the mix. There’s a lot of me in Jeremy’s view on life and his situation, except for that part where he yells at his mother…which I would never, never do.

They're out to get you! Dead Sea Games

They’re out to get you! Dead Sea Games

I can really see Dead Sea Games on television or on the big screen; if it made it do you have any preferences for actors or actresses and what sort of soundtrack would you go for?

It’s funny you mention the sound track, because from the very beginning I put together a “DSG Playlist” and would fire it up every time I sat down to write. Some of the lyrics and songs even made it into the book in various forms.

If Jeremy ever makes it to the big screen, I’d like an unknown to get the role. I haven’t seen a teen actor lately that have the kind of physicality and screen presence Deathwish needs, and they grow up so fast anyone I picked today would be in their thirties by the time it was made. All the rest of the cast I have pretty clearly in my head as mainstream actors. All I want in life is to have Jason Statham cast as the Khan. Come on, Jason!

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing, for me, is one of those compulsions that builds up over time, and if I don’t write something it starts to drive me nuts. I love writing but it’s difficult to keep up a steady pace, because once I finish a project I can feel empty for weeks. I’m slowly closing in on that 1,000,000 word mark, but I still feel like a novice. For me, that feeling like I have so much more to learn is what keeps me coming back to the process and reaching out to other writers.

Dead Sea Games - J Whitworth Hazzard

So, see if you can survive the Dead Sea Games… I’m not a horror reader in general, but I love The Walking Dead, and this book had me gripped! This is the best book I’ve read in the zombie genre, and with a few other unread zombie books now residing within my kindle, this is the standard they need to reach. Now I’m so excited for Dead Sea Escape!

Dead Sea Games is available on Amazon US and UK and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. Find out more on his Amazon Author Page.

Like myself, James Hazzard works with Blue Harvest Creative, our Publishing Partner.

You can find him on Facebook TwitterGoodreads and Google+. Or feel free to stop by his blog for flash fiction and book reviews at Zombie Mechanics.

Author Feature – Daniel Swensen

Captivating, riveting, fast-paced fantasy – ‘Orison’ enchanted me.
Today, I get to interview author Daniel Swensen, an intelligent and delightful writer,
in the second of my Author Interviews. If you haven’t read ‘Orison’ yet, do.

orison, the dragon's game has begun, daniel swensen,

‘The dragon’s game has begun’ Orison – Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen is a talented writer from Montana and I first discovered him on Twitter and his blog Surly Muse…devouring his advice such as: ‘At the most basic level, characters should enter a scene with a goal in mind and then meet with some sort of obstacle that prevents them from reaching that goal. If you take a look at your scene and can’t find any goal to speak of, then congratulations! You’ve just found a prime candidate for the chopping block.’ (Daniel Swensen: Dramatic Scenes… Surly Muse: April 2012)
His advice helped hone my own writing skills, and when he released his short story ‘Burn’, I was hooked…

Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen – Author

Your writing is intense, intelligent and dynamic, and I was immersed in Orison’s plot and characters as soon as I began reading. What helps you to immerse yourself in the writing process?

Thank you! I would say the main tool in my writing process (besides Scrivener and  the act of writing itself) is music. I have a set of playlists that I cue up on my computer whenever I sit down to write. They’re mostly made up of movie soundtracks, ambient, and orchestral stuff, although there are a few songs with lyrics. When I first wrote the draft of Orison, I had a “high gear” playlist for the battle scenes and a “low gear” playlist for the calmer, more introspective parts of the story. The familiarity and rhythm of the music helps me get back in the proper headspace for writing and helps me disappear into the world of whatever tale I’m telling.

Persistence is also key for me. When I first sit down to write, I always struggle with self-doubt, second-guessing, and a rising conviction that whatever I’m writing is terrible. I just have to keep going until I push past that threshold and can start the real work. It’s like the endorphin rush when you exercise — if I can just hold out long enough for that to kick in, I’m fine.

Orison - Daniel Swensen

Orison – Daniel Swensen

When my daughter read Orison she immediately wanted to cosplay Story, do you have a favourite character in the book and why, or why not?

That’s tough. “Favorite,” to me, implies that I’d pick them above all the rest, and I can’t quite do that. I love all the characters. I love how they play off each other. Those bonds and conflicts are what the book is really about. So I feel to take any one of them alone would diminish them.

That said, I loved writing Story because in my own reading, I was having a tough time finding the kind of female protagonist I wanted to see… so I just wrote her. I’m really happy with the results. I love her determination and self-reliance.

I love Wrynn’s dry wit, Dunnac’s sense of honor and stoic humor, and Ashen’s struggle to fit into the world.

If I had to pick a favorite reaction to a character, it would have to be how readers have responded to Ashen. I didn’t really expect him to be a fan favorite, but so many people who have read the book have expressed their enthusiasm and love for the character. I’ve already had some ask when he and Camana are getting their own book!

So, I hate to dodge the question, but I couldn’t really pick a favorite. I love them all too much. I would love to see a Story cosplay, though. I’d feel like I’d “made it” as an author.

If Orison made it to the big screen, which it totally should, who would you love to see playing your characters?

While writing Orison, I actually did some “casting,” to help me find the voices for certain characters.

I’d cast Martin Freeman as Wrynn. He has a soft-spoken affability about him, but there’s iron behind it, and to me that’s the essence of Wrynn. I would cast Mads Mikkelsen as Dunnac — he has that perfect aura of charisma and menace. I could never quite find an actress who really fits how I see Story in my head, but a couple people suggested Ellen Page, and I can see that happening. (I had imagined someone more like Naya Rivera, but that’s still not quite right.)

I’ve actually had this conversation with readers, too! There’s a website called The Imagine Film List where you can propose actors for books if they were to get adapted into movies, and people made some amazing suggestions over there.  Like Simon Pegg for Wrynn and Idris Elba for Dunnac — actors I never would have thought of myself. One reader said Danny Trejo should play Ashen, which I think is an amazing idea. The iflist page for Orison is here.

Map of Calushain - Orison

Map of Calushain – Orison Map and Cover designed by Tracy McCusker

Are there other stories from Calushain, what can we expect from you in the future, and are there other genres you’d like to explore?

There are more stories in the works! I have been working on the Orison sequel, Etheric, for a little over a year now, and still hope to have it out in 2015, although there’s no official release date and I can’t promise anything. After that will be a third (and final) book in the series. I’m also working on another book in the same world, about a young woman finding a fallen dragon-god in the snowy north. The working title is Beneath the Broken Sky, and if all goes well, that might be in people’s hands by 2016. Again, I can’t make any promises.

I’m not entirely sure where I’ll go after that. For some time, I’ve wanted to expand the characters and events of my short story Burn into a full-length urban fantasy novel (or series), but Story and company are taking up all my creative efforts right now. I also want to start generating more short fiction, but I’m learning that staying focused and diversifying my writing efforts is a unique challenge!

Burn - Daniel Swensen

Burn – Daniel Swensen

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

The written word is an amazing thing. It lets us communicate information across boundaries of time and space, with people from faraway places who are hundreds of years dead. You can make up a story — characters and situations that are wholly fictional — and if you do your job well, people will react as if those characters were real. They’ll laugh and cry and mourn and feel intense emotions for people and events that never existed. I think that’s extraordinary. Stories are incredibly powerful. More powerful than reality itself in some ways, I think.

But to be honest, I’ve never been one of those writers who sits down every day with unbridled enthusiasm for writing. I’m not wired up that way. My stories tend to grind out slowly, and contentment only happens on the far end of a lot of hard work and anxiety. Those moments of frisson where everything just jumps to life and the prose flows like water — that’s maybe one day a year for me. Two if I’m lucky. The rest is all a hard push through thick mud.

But the connections that I’ve made with people through my writing — the wonderful writers I’ve met, the readers who share their joy with me after finishing something I wrote — they make all of that worthwhile. That’s why I write. That’s where I get to feel the incredible power of the written word: by sharing it with others.

orison-3D-daniel-swensenA great insight into the writing world of Daniel Swensen, and I am so excited for Etheric!

You can find Orison released and available to buy through Nine Muse Press and also available at Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk, all other local Amazon stores and Barnes & Noble in eBook and paperback. Burn is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can find out more at his Amazon Author Page and on Goodreads.

Daniel blogs at Surly Muse and is represented by Nine Muse Press.

Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

You’re Not Alone: an Indie Author Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

When I was afforded the opportunity to contribute a short story to an indie anthology, in support of Macmillan Nurses, it was a pleasure to be involved. My own experience with cancer, as with many others, is varied. I know people who’ve suffered, those who’ve survived and those who didn’t, and my own children have two grandparents fighting the disease. I help my beloved father as he cares for my mother now suffering with secondary breast cancer within her bones and insidious dementia. I know the intrinsic value of Macmillan nurses, and the intensive support they offer.

If I can give something back, I will.

You;re not Alone an indie anthology, macmillan cancer support, book, charity book,

Ian D. Moore, author of ‘Salby Damned’ wrote about the beginning of this book: ‘This Anthology began with a single thought…You’re Not Alone. Faced with the realisation that I was witnessing the beginning of the end of a fight with cancer that had raged for eight years in someone very dear to me, I felt powerless to do anything to thwart the inevitable. It was in the final days of Pamela’s life that I realised the potential that myself, and my writer friends possessed, that would enable us to make a difference.’

He then proceeded to rally his friends and fellow authors and created something special, of which I am grateful to be part.

Please read his articles: You’re Not Alone – An Indie Author Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support and Vision to Fruition – With A Little Help From My Friends to learn more of the process and read testimonials from each of the 27 authors as to why they became involved. It will touch you.

The front cover art work was created by the very talented artist Christine Southworth and Nico Laeser turned her sketch into a beautiful cover wrap.

You're Not Alone: an Indie Author Anthology for Macmillan Cancer Support

All net proceeds from this book will go to Macmillan Cancer Support via the Pamela Winton Fund (see below), and you can currently pre-order the eBook today: £1.99 UK or $3.11 US, this link will take you to your local Amazon site.

A paperback version will also be available once the anthology is released on 11th July 2015.

You can also donate directly to The Pamela Mary Winton Tribute fund. This fund is in Pamela’s name but all donations go to Macmillan Cancer Support. Any kind donations are gratefully received.

You're Not Alone: an Indie Author Anthology for Macmillan Cancer SupportIn this collection you’ll find short stories to thrill you, they’ll scare you and leave you looking over your shoulder as you head back from your lunch break. There are stories of hope, stories of courage and stories of sheer determination, much like the very story that created this work to begin with.

What can you do?

Be ready to buy or reblog/share what you’ve found, help us to help those in need.

And join our Facebook Page: You’re Not Alone: An Indie Anthology and help to spread the news!

If you or anyone you know has been touched by cancer,
help us to do something to give back to those who give all to help…