Author Spotlight – J. S. Frankel

Today we’re welcoming author J. S. Frankel. Check out his work below.

About the Author

J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science.

After working at Gray Coach Lines for a grand total of three years, he came to Japan at the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to any and all students who enter his hallowed school of learning.

In 1997, he married Akiko Koike. He, his wife and his two children, Kai and Ray, currently reside in Osaka. His hobbies include weight training, watching movies when his writing schedule allows, and listening to various kinds of music.

His novels, all for the YA set, include Twisted, Lindsay Versus the Marauders and it’s sequels, Lindsay, Jo, and the Tree of Forever, and Lindsay, Jo and the Well of Nevermore, all courtesy of Regal Crest Enterprises. He has also written the Catnip series (five novels), Mr. Taxi, The Titans of Ardana and its sequel, The Titans of Ardana 2: Battlefield, along with Picture (Im)perfect and more novels, courtesy of DevineDestinies.com.

Future projects for Devine Destinies include the final novel in the Titans trilogy, the final novel in the Just Another Quiet… trilogy, The Undernet, the re-release of Star Maps, and more. He is also the author of The Menagerie and The Nightmare Crew trilogy, all courtesy of Finch Books.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessSFrankel

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JS-Frankel-AUTHOR-1458667077729037/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4859674.J_S_Frankel

 

THEUNDERNET2AZRAEL

In the depths of the Undernet, finding the light is an almost impossible task.

Milt Edwards, survivor of an incident that almost claimed his life six months previously, is back. He and his girlfriend, Roberta (Robbie) Jones, suffer from PTSD, attend counseling sessions, and try to work through their mental anguish.

Nothing helps, but then a friend of Milt’s is killed by the same person who designed the Undernet–Azrael. Milt faces his fears, once again joins forces with the FBI in order to find out and stop Azrael, and he is paired with a rookie agent, Nasraana Shaksy, an American Muslim who has her own battles to fight.

Together, they stumble upon a child trafficking ring, and Milt comes face to face with monsters of the worst kind–those who walk around in everyday society. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Azrael begins, and Milt soon learns who the predator is, and who is the prey.

Find it on Amazon

Devine Destinies. http://www.devinedestinies.com/978-1-4874-1922-6-azrael/?search=Azrael&sub_category=1

Amazon: ISBN:978-1-4874-1922-6

 

 

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Building Your Own World

Land's EndThere’s an entire universe out there, and we’ve only explored a little bit of it. However, our imaginations are rich with other worlds, even if we can’t hop on a ship and visit them in the ‘real’ world. Below are just a few things to consider when creating your own fictional world. It isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it’s a place to get started if you’re unsure of where to begin.

 

Culture

We have a world full of various cultures and languages, and there’s nothing wrong with borrowing a bit from existing cultures to populate your world. However, your cultures need to have their own elements as well. For example, a culture based on Ancient Greece could have a king as the ruling body, or, perhaps, they have a railroad or electricity. It’s also perfectly acceptable to blend cultures to come up with something unique.

Grevared has a number of human cultures as well as cultures for other species. They’re all different in some way, but there are also similarities. Why? Because when cultures encounter each other, they share. For example, the demons of Jitradena have a strict set of civil laws and an Academe, in part because of their contact with others. Those of Pistofficle maintain a more demonic-type culture where death in the streets is common. Since visitors are at risk just by entering the city, Pistofficle has had far less contact with others, so the influence is much less.

 

Religion

Most cultures have some kind of belief system, even if that system posits that deities don’t exist. Much like with cultures, there are plenty of religions and mythologies from which to create one, or several, for your world. Do a bit of research and take what you need to create a belief structure your characters can follow. This will also give you the opportunity to explore various holidays, though not all celebrations have to stem from religion.

Grevared has several religions. In the Xaggarene Empire, the Arcana Maximus worships the snake goddess Inyokamor. As the Arcana Maximus keeps itself involved in the politics of the empire, it’s the predominant religion and plays a role in creating and enforcing government policies. While the Arcana exists in the other countries, it isn’t as powerful, and other beliefs stand equal to it.

 

Government

Everything from a small village to a globe-covering empire needs some form of government, even if it’s only reason is to be torn down. Think about your culture and base your government on the needs and beliefs of the people. Determine if your government is benign or oppressive. How do the people fair under its rule? Are there social programs? Is there one group that’s suppressed more than others? What is allowed and forbidden within the realm? These are just a few things to consider.

In Grevared, government differs according to country and no two are exactly alike. Again, remember that cultures that interact are going to share, so there’s nothing wrong with some crossover.

 

Currency and Trade

Currency isn’t necessarily a big deal when it comes to creating a world unless you plan to use it in your story. For those who don’t want to create a currency, something like ‘coin’ works just fine. However, it does give the world a touch of realism to give the currency its own name.

Trade, on the other hand, matters a bit more. Most countries have some form of economic relationship with other countries. With differing climates and land forms, it’s almost impossible for any but the largest countries to produce everything they need themselves. Even then, there’s some benefit to trading with others. Consider the technological and agricultural traits of each country in your world to determine what a country might have that others want. This also gives the opportunity to introduce large-scale conflict in the story.

An example of this in Grevared is the country of Corleon. This country is known for its horses, and the animals are its chief commodity. They run wild through the plains, and they’re used in almost every capacity imaginable.

 

Education

We hear a lot about education in the modern world, and fictional worlds are no different. This doesn’t mean that your world must have a public education system or a string of universities, but there needs to be some way for the common people to gain the knowledge they need to survive. Is it an apprentice system? Are children taught at home by their parents? Are there village schools? Not all of your countries have to use the same system, and it will give a bit of diversity to your world if they don’t.

Magic and Technology

Some fictional worlds thrive on magic, while others are more focused on technology. A lot of worlds use both. There’s no law that says these systems must be codified, but it’s something to consider if you plan to use them in your world. Is there a magical guild or school? Is magic something common, or are there only a few who practice it? Is it accepted or shunned? Do people travel by railroad? Are there spaceships? These are some questions to get you started thinking about the magic and technology in your world.

To give an example, in Grevared, railroads are present in almost all countries. However, the Xaggarene Empire embraces technology and somewhat shuns magic, while E’ma Thalas embraces magic and shuns technology.

 

Races

Who populates your world? Are they humans, elves, aliens, talking zebras? That’s entirely up to you. Spend some time thinking about it, and if you choose to add other races to your populace, there are many legends from all over the world that can help you learn a bit about the ones you’re considering. Research into folklore can help you bring a race to life and give them that certain something that sets them apart from all others.

In Grevared, humans live along side angels, demons, elves, and dwarves among others. Each species has its own set of traditions, but they’ve interacted in many instances, so there are things among them that are shared. Take, for example, the demons of Jitradena mentioned above. While they are still very much demons, much of their violent nature is held in check until certain celebrations. Other races aren’t really welcomed to Jitradena, but they do visit, and they aren’t harmed. Mostly.

 

Flora and Fauna

Plants and animals are a large part of just about any world. Look out your window and see what kinds are right outside. They aren’t there just for our pleasure; they also provide food and materials for clothing and shelter. This is something to consider when creating your own world. Even if it’s a world that is entirely urban, the people still have to eat, and there must be some means of cleaning the air (which is the function of plants). Furniture has to be made out of something, as do homes. Consider how this is done to determine what kinds of flora and fauna are needed.

In the world of Grevared, there are some recognizable animals. Cats roam, and dogs (called n’kitas) are faithful companions. The country of Corleon is known for its horses, but a similar creature, called an elecon, is common in E’ma Thalas. Chocolate (kokolat) is known to all lands, but the assaberry has no ‘real’ world equivalent. The same is true of the spitmoller, a small creature that lives in sewers and tunnels, or the ghighet, a pest creature that can also be a pet.

Plants and animals unique to your world can give it a feel and reality of its own that separates it from our world. Even changing the colors of common animals can help to distinguish your world from ours.

Maps

One of the best ways to get to know your world is to make a map. Campaign Cartographer is a good software for mapmaking but drawing it out yourself is also rewarding. I enjoy doing both, even though my artistic skills leave a lot to be desired.

Making a map gives you a chance to get to know all the little places your characters visit and determine the best types of agriculture, culture, etc. to use for each place. It helps you see the weather patterns and how the land affects all other aspects of life. It also gives you a way to see the world in front of you, to help it become more ‘real.’

 

Building a world of your own can be a rewarding experience, whether you share it with others or not. It’s a way to explore the depths of your imagination and create a place you can visit whenever you desire. It also opens opportunities for research and learning about other cultures and beliefs.

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

 

Interview with Deborah Burnside

23319229_10155727922650102_7205406075011842319_nI’ve had the pleasure of speaking with author Deborah Burnside. Below are her thoughts on writing and being an author.

  • What genres do your writings fall under? Primarily Christian romantic suspense
  • What age group? Mostly New Adult, with an occasional side trip into Young Adult
  • When and why did you start writing? Since I was a little kid – it soothes me.
  • What other goals do you have for yourself? At the moment, to complete my trilogy.
  • How do they fit with your writing? Perfectly, since it involves more and regular writing.
  • What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? Reading, of course, and animal rescue
  • What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral? “God never abandons us, even when it feels like He has. When life kicks us around, He’s still with us, right in the middle of whatever we’re going through.”
  • Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Jason Hancock, the 3-year-old in Prodigal Hearts. He’s not a major character by any means, but he was so much fun to write! I modeled him after a little boy at a daycare center I once worked at. Or Connie Sherman, the 15-year-old in A Cousin Scorned. She’s me, at that age.
  •  Which of your characters is your least favorite and why? Jennifer Reid, in Prodigal Hearts. She’s not necessarily my least favorite, but definitely the least likeable. Or Bobby Jensen, in A Cousin Scorned. He’s a slimeball.
  • What genre is your favorite to read? Mystery/romance. I especially love anything written by J.A. Jance. She’s the woman!
  • If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I wouldn’t change a thing about Prodigal Hearts. I published that one with Westbow Press, which I realize some regard as a vanity publisher. They’re really more of a hybrid. Yes, it was expensive, but it was well worth the finished product. They did a beautiful job.
  • How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? I’ve used a variety of avenues: Press releases to local media outlets, though I will admit those have not generated any response. I managed to secure a couple of book signings, with several more looming in the near future. I’ve done carousel ads (designed by Westbow) on Facebook, as well as boosting specific posts and things of that nature.
  • Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? No, but I did write a TV movie script in the early 70’s, that was ultimately rejected by Mr. Aaron Spelling himself. He wrote me a real nice personal letter, and I still have it in my files…somewhere.
  • Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I have two WIP’s. The working title of one is “Wolfsong.” It tells the story of a young Native American woman, Liberty (Libby) Rose Runningwolf, who rescues wolves and wolf hybrids – which earns her the ire of a group of ranchers. The working title of the other one is “Wednesday’s Child.” When completed, that one will be Book #2 in my Sisters in Christ trilogy. Though we get to see most of the characters from Prodigal Heart, the emphasis is on Rebekkah Merek, owner of the retro-60’s diner, The Green Onion.
  • Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? It’s always a combination of the two. I like to address real-life issues, so I combine imagination with things I’ve had to endure – changing names to protect the guilty, of course – and weave them together into a work of believable fiction. For instance, in A Cousin Scorned, the legend of Giant Rock airport is real, as are the abandoned buildings there. Everything else is completely fictional. In Prodigal Hearts, the locations really exist, and some of the plot twists are taken either from my life or the lives of friends.
  • What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? It’s more of a favorite event, as it spans three chapters of Prodigal Hearts. I destroy the city of Long Beach, California with a major earthquake, setting forth that event in multiple viewpoints – Stephanie Williams, Sam Kendrick, and Jennifer Reid. It took me a long time to write that part, not because of lack of knowledge about earthquakes, but because I’ve been through several major quakes and I wanted to make sure I did justice to it. First time flashbacks have ever made writing a scene difficult.
  • How did you come up with the title? Prodigal Hearts was originally titled A Second Chance. The editor I was working with at Westbow googled the titled and said he found “a million works with that title” and I should change it. I drew a blank on a replacement, and posed a question to one of the writer’s groups I’m in. One of the guys came up with Prodigal Hearts. I liked it, and so did my editor.
  • What project are you working on now? Again, I have two WIP’s. I’m focusing all my energy on Wednesday’s Child. Wolfsong will have to wait.
  • Will you have a new book coming out soon? I’m hoping to have Wednesday’s Child complete by the end of June, and in print with Westbow by the end of this year. When I get around to completing Wolfsong, I’ll publish that one on CreateSpace, the same as I did for A Cousin Scorned. So that one may actually go live in December, the same time as Wednesday’s Child.
  • What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Both came from the same source – the judge who read Prodigal Hearts for the Writer’s Digest Self-Published competition. On the positive side, he loved the storyline and complimented me on the complexity of the characters and my willingness to tackle difficult issues. On the not-so-positive side, he wasn’t wild about the multiple (3) viewpoints. Stephanie and Sam, he understood – they’re the MC’s so it stands to reason the reader wants to know their thoughts. He felt I should have excluded the scenes from Jennifer’s perspective – he didn’t like her as a person, and he wasn’t interested in “getting into her head.” All in all, though, he thought it was a great read and said he hopes to see more.
  • Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? If you’re serious about your writing, make it a priority in your life. You don’t have to churn out a chapter a day, but write something. Every day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/advice/criticism from people who have been on the publishing journey. If somebody totally disses your work, try to realize they don’t mean it as a personal insult. We’re all here to help each other along.
  • Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? If there’s a secondary character in any of my works you’d like to see more of, by all means let me know!
  • Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? I am gloriously retired.
  • If you could visit any time period, which one would it be? Toss-up between the Victorian era and the Old West.
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Two places: Mt. St. Helens, because that’s my happy place. And Scotland, because that’s where my ancestors on my father’s side were from.
  • Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I’ve never been out of the country, but I’ve moved from southern California to southern Oregon, and now to northern California. I’ve spent extensive amounts of time in southern Washington – home of my happy place.
  • Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? I was a classy dresser during my career as a secretary/receptionist. Now I prefer comfy over class, and it’s not unheard of for me to stay in my jammies all day long if there aren’t any errands I need to run.
  • If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be? Tom & Jerry. They rock.
  • If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be? Forks, Washington. Yes, I admit it. I’m a Twilight fan.
  • If you were suddenly tossed into your favorite TV show, what would you change in that world? The Curse of Oak Island. I’d make sure the treasure was found. Sooner, rather than later.
  • What’s your favorite comfort food? Pepperoni pizza.
  • If there was one food you could get rid of, which one would it be? Pickles. Pickles are the devil.
  • Who’s your favorite superhero? Wonder Woman. The new one, with the Israeli actress. I wanna be her!
  • What’s your favorite holiday? Toss-up between Christmas and Easter.
  • Why is that one special to you? Christmas because it’s the birth of Jesus, and everybody gets the feels for family and friends. Easter because it’s both a remembrance of the death of Jesus, and His resurrection three days later.
  • What’s one tradition you can’t imagine doing without? Christmas Eve dinner with the family.
  • What historical figure inspires you most? William Wallace. We’re not related, but he showed great courage and dedication against horrendous odds.
  • Which mythological figure do you relate to best? Aphrodite
  • If you had to have a mythological creature as a pet, which one would it be? Centaur
  • What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? Does this toy show up in your writing? A stuffed bunny. And yes, it shows up in Wednesday’s Child.
  • What author would you most like to meet? J.A. Jance, hands down!
  • You get to bring one of your characters into the real world. Which one is it and why? What do you hope to accomplish through your relationship with this character? Lindsay Williams (from Prodigal Hearts), Stephanie’s sister. She’s an irrepressible teenager who never backs down from a challenge.

Author Spotlight – Linda Strader

promo 1Today we’re shining the spotlight on author Linda Strader. Find out about her new release below.

 

 

About the Author

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

 Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage is her first book, scheduled for publication on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. She is currently working on a prequel.

 

SummersofFire-HiResAbout the Book

Linda Strader is one of the first women hired on a fire crew with the U.S. Forest Service. A naïve twenty-year-old in the mid 1970s, she discovers fighting wildfires is challenging—but in a man’s world, they become only one of the challenges she faces. Battling fire is exhilarating, yet exhausting; the discrimination real and sometimes in her face.

Summers of Fire is an Arizona to Alaska adventure story that honestly recounts the seven years she ventures into the heart of fires that scorch the land, vibrant friendships that fire the soul, and deep love that ends in devastating heartbreak.

In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She currently lives in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

Connect with the Author

Blog: https://summersoffirebook.blogspot.com/

Publisher: http://binkbooks.bedazzledink.com/

Amazon:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518614536&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520767588&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Writing Update

Ethan VintageDoes anyone know of a twelve year old boy who isn’t sometimes a pain? I raised three of them and taught sixth grade, so I know that age can be challenging. Well, Ethan is no different.

I’d intended to make all three of The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III books into one book and tell the story from start to finish, but, apparently, Ethan has other ideas. He just can’t seem to stay out of trouble long enough to make one book, so it looks like I’ll be keeping it as a trilogy and just make the three books a set inside the larger series.

All that being said, I’ve finished the first draft rewrite of book one and am in the revision process. I’m hoping to have that book out in June, if Ethan behaves himself and does what he’s supposed to.

Thanks to all those who’ve supported Ethan up until this point. I hope you’ll continue to check back and see how things are coming. For those who like to be part of the process, I’ve got a page on my website with some possible covers. I’d love some opinions on them.

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

Author Spotlight Book Release – L. Salt

Today we’d like to give a warm welcome to author L. Salt. Teaser_2

She’s an accomplished author with a fascinating blog, well worth reading, and a short story in the upcoming Full Metal Horror (releasing on April 15). Keep reading for a look at her novel, coming soon.

 

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Now on pre-order!!!!

His Personal Reich An action/thriller novella by L. Salt

Release date: April 26, 2018

Pre-order link: http://mybook.to/HPReich

#Thriller #Action #Mystery #CrazyInk

Andrea Zissman was brought up by her strict grandmother and never knew the truth about her family. When her mother dies at a special care home, the only legacy she leaves her daughter is a mysterious envelope full of old photos.  Andrea finds out that her father, a scientist who studied the energy of Aurora Borealis, didn’t die in an avalanche in the French Alps, but was killed by members of some mysterious neo-Nazis’ colony somewhere on a remote Icelandic island. Moreover, she has an older brother she has never seen before.  Desperate to find her brother and bring to justice her father’s murderers, Andrea meets Leon Callais, a flamboyant, scandalous journalist, who is on the hunt for the Nazi super weapon “Nothung”, a device which can open a portal to other dimensions. He believes that death of Andrea’s father and “Nothung” are connected.  The investigation leads Andrea and Leon to Iceland where they are determined to discover the truth about the neo-Nazis’ colony, its secret weapon, and Andrea’s family. However, the colonists give them an extremely cold welcome. Now, they need to fight not only for the truth but also for their own lives.

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Learn more about L. Salt at the following links:

www.facebook.com/saltandnovels

www.saltandnovels.wordpress.com

www.amazon.com/author/saltandnovels

 

His Personal Reich_cover_big

Author Spotlight – Sandra J. Jackson

View More: http://anotherperspective.pass.us/sandrajLet’s give a warm welcome to our spotlighted author, Sandra J. Jackson.

Author Bio

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, Sandra J. Jackson has always been creative, from drawing and painting to telling stories to her children when they were young. Her wild imagination lends itself to new and exciting ideas.

Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was released in 2015 and Playing in the Rain (Book 1 of the Escape Series) in September 2017 by Fountain Blue Publishing. A short story, Not Worth Saving, was published in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. She also has had several sports articles published in a local newspaper. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra lives with her family in a rural setting in Eastern, Ontario. She is currently working on Book 3 of the Escape Series, her first trilogy.

A Little About Sandra

  1. Playing-In-The-Rain-Promo-Paperback_preview smallerWhat genres do your writings fall under? What age group? I consider myself a multi-genre author. I like to read many genres so it’s fun to explore writing them as well. My books are anywhere from age 16 and up.
  2. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? My upcoming book would be book 2 of the Escape Series. The book itself is finished but I have yet to edit it. I am waiting to finish writing the third book and then will edit the second.
  3. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?While most things in my books are purely imagined there is always a little bit of me and my experiences included in my writing.
  4. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I suppose that would depend on what book. I have a few favourite chapters in Promised Soul, one of which is a dream sequence. In it the character, Mary, is fighting to keep herself and younger brother and sister from sliding out a hole torn in the side of their ship. For me it’s interesting to write about something I haven’t experienced and yet try and put myself in that position, imagining what it would be like and all the emotions that would go with it. In Playing in the Rain, one of my favourite chapters is when the character April, enters a bedroom after hearing a noise. I won’t go into too much detail as to not give anything away, but again it’s fun to explore.
  5. How did you come up with the title? My titles are derived from the last line of the book. I always have an idea how I want my story to end. I make sure that the last line has a phrase that can be used as the title.
  6. What project are you working on now? I am working on finishing the third book of my Escape series trilogy.
  7. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Build your author platform before you get published. Start a blog and get people to know who you are. 2. When you finally finish a book, find an editor to edit it properly. This is not a family member or a friend (unless they’re an actual editor). I’ve been reading a lot of books lately from self-published authors who have not had their work properly edited. As a reader, it is very distracting for me when I read books (even if the story itself is good) that is full of grammatical errors (I’m talking on every page) or isn’t written well technically. There are a lot of technical elements that a writer should be aware of – do the research. I am still learning these techniques and applying them to my own work.
  8. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Thank you!!!!!! I appreciate all my readers.
  9. Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? Yes, I work full time as a financial assistant. So far it has not inspired anything but you never know.
  10. What’s your favorite comfort food? Pasta would be my go to comfort food. I also have a sweet tooth so just about any baked good will do. And chocolate, can’t forget about chocolate.

Promised-Soul-Promo-Paperback smallerAuthor Links

Website: www.sandrajjackson.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/sandrajjackson.author

 Twitter handle: @sjjacksonauthor

E-mail: sjjacksonauthor@gmail.com

WordPress link: http://sandrajjackson.wordpress.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

 

 

 

 

Ethan Grimley Rewrites

Land's EndI posted a couple of weeks ago that, now that life has settled down a bit, I wanted to rewrite the Ethan Grimley stories and make them into one book. I’m doing this for two reasons. 1. I think it’ll make the story better, and I’m becoming more familiar with the world. 2. I had an idea for another book that wouldn’t work in a series about one character. Rewriting opens up the possibility for others to take the spotlight.

So far, the rewrite has gone well. I think the story has a lot more depth, and I think Ethan is easier to get to know. He’s still a twelve-year-old boy with all the stuff that comes with that, but he’s more real now. There’s also a lot more about Land’s End and the world of Grevared, things I think help bring it to life.

All that being said, below is a bit of the first chapter of the rewrite. It hasn’t been edited yet, so bear that in mind. I would love feedback.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

Ethan Grimley Chapter One Snippet

 

The chimes of the Arcana Maximus echoed through the town of Land’s End. The sound rose and fell on the wind, a tinny, mechanical sound both soothing and painful. The large, wooden doors at the front of the school house burst open to spew forth boys and boys of all ages. Their shouts and laughter rivaled the noise of the bells as they tumbled into the open air after being cooped up in the classroom since morning.

“See you tomorrow!”

“Let’s go to the square!”

“Hey, Ethan!” Corbin Clearwater called.

Ethan Grimley, a boy of average height with shaggy brown hair and brilliant green eyes, stopped in mid-run and turned to face his friend. He waited while Corbin jogged to where he stood, school books in hand.

“Let’s go to the park with the others,” Corbin puffed. He was shorter than Ethan and had a pudgy face and curly black hair. His eyes glowed golden behind a pair of spectacles that had been mended too many times. “They’re getting a kickball game together.”

“They play every afternoon,” Ethan replied with a sigh. “And every day Boron’s team stomps us.” Ethan shook his head. “I don’t wanna play today.” He turned away then looked back at Corbin. “Besides, I promised Ma I’d help her with deliveries this evening.”

Corbin pushed his spectacles up on his nose and shifted his school books to the other hand. “Aw, come on, Ethan. Just for a little bit.” The boy’s round face brightened. “Besides, today may be the day we beat Boron.”

Ethan laughed and shook his head. “You’re dreaming, Corb. It ain’t gonna happen.”

Corbin fell into step beside Ethan as the two headed down the long path from the school house. The Arcana Maximus, with its pointed spires behind an impenetrable stone wall, loomed behind them, and gravel crunched under their feet. Birds twitted, and a breeze brought the smell of growing things to their noses.

Barracks for the guards and city constabulary lined the curving road, while the large estates of the well-to-do stretched toward the town wall. Ethan and Corbin stepped off the road to let a horse drawn cart pass, then they continued on their way toward the center of town.

“You coming to the festival this Sixthday?” Corbin asked, his voice full of anticipation.

Ethan shrugged. “Probably. My Pa works for the town government, so we have to attend all town festivals.”

“Is your Ma gonna have a booth?” Corbin gave a little hop at the thought. “She makes the best cookies of anyone in town.”

Ethan laughed. “I’m sure she will.” His shoulders slumped. “And she’ll probably have me manning it all day while she and Pa do other stuff.”

“I’d love for my Ma to have a bakery.”

Ethan shook his head. “Naw, you’d spend all your time making deliveries instead of playing kickball.” As they neared the park, Ethan stopped and turned to face his friend. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ve gotta go.”

They said their good-byes, and Ethan took off at a trot. He reached the town square and slowed to a walk. Stalls lined the area around the fountain, and their owners hawked everything from fabric from the Xaggarene Empire to books printed by the Academe in Jitradena. People milled here and there, some simply enjoying the day while others perused the wares being sold.

The smell of people and horses floated on the air, and the scent of people clogged Ethan’s nose. It was always like this on market day, the middle day of the week, and Ethan was anxious to get through the crowd and away from the commotion. He was restless, like too much energy had built up in his muscles, and he wondered if maybe a game of kickball would bleed some of it away. Still, though, he had promised his mother he’d help her out, and she didn’t take kindly to him breaking his promises. Besides, once he’d hauled a heavy basket or pushed a cart all over Land’s End, he’d be plenty tired.

Ethan paused as he passed the fountain. A crowd had gathered there, some looking angry while others appeared frightened. They were talking among themselves, and Ethan moved closer to see what was going on.

“I tell you, I saw it,” an old man said. “It was coming up the lane just as pretty as you please.”

“Oh, Goddard, give it a rest.” This from the old woman by his side. “You didn’t see anything but yer own imagination.”

Ethan stood, puzzled, as another man spoke up. “Then what’s killing the n’kitas? Tell me that. All three of mine were found dead this morning, the life sucked right outta them.”

“Mine, too,” a woman replied. Ethan knew her from his mother’s bakery and rolled his eyes. She was always going on about something, and his mother had said more than once that the woman needed a good physician.

“All of you, that’s enough.”

Ethan backed away as the constable pushed his way through the crowd to stand beside the fountain. As much as he wanted to know what was going on, he didn’t want to be caught in a crowd that could turn into a mob at any moment, and he didn’t want to think about what his Ma would do if he were caught in the middle of some bru-ha-ha.

“Listen to me,” the constable continued. “Several of you have reported that your n’kitas were found dead. Now, before you all go off thinkin’ it’s something strange, give us a little time to look into it. It only happened this morning, and we’ve all been working all day to get to the bottom of it.”

“That’s not keeping our animals safe,” a woman shouted.

“And I need mine for hunting.” This from the man who’d first spoken, a rotund fellow with a long, gray mustache and a balding head.

The constable held up his hands. “I hear you, I do. And I already said we were looking into it. But the best thing you can do right now is head on home for dinner and lock your n’kitas inside. We’ll be patrolling the streets double tonight in case there’s an animal loose in town.”

The crowd grumbled, but most of them turned away and headed toward their homes. Ethan, too, moved away from the fountain and wove his way between the buildings on the eastern side of the square toward his own home. A chill slithered up his spine at the thought of some unknown creature roaming the town, and he was less than happy at the thought of having to carry food along empty lanes alone. If there was an animal, wouldn’t it be attracted to the smell of the bread and desserts? And what could it be? He didn’t know of any animals that ‘sucked the life’ out of something. Even spitmollers, who could spit poison almost two feet, used their teeth to tear. He’d heard tales about demons who could do that, of course—this was Moirena—but demons hadn’t come to Land’s End in years. Even the travelers from the port tended to be more human.

These thoughts tumbled through Ethan’s mind as he opened the door to the bakery. The aroma of bread and cookies assailed his nose, and he paused in the doorway to simply breathe them in.

“Ethan, is that you?” Eva Grimley called from the kitchen.

“Yeah, Ma. It’s me.” Ethan bounded up the stairs that led to the family’s flat. He quickly dropped his school books on his bed and headed back downstairs. Eva was just coming from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron, when he stepped off the last stair.

“I just pulled some butternut cookies from the oven if you want to get a snack before you head out.”

Ethan’s heart leapt. Butternut cookies were his favorite, and there was nothing like having a hot one. “Sure, Ma. Thanks.” For a moment, he considered telling his mother what he had heard in the square, then he thought better of it. As much as he didn’t want to cross whatever might be out there, he feared his mother’s overprotectiveness more. If she thought he might be in danger, she’d never let him leave the house. Better to keep quiet, he decided. He was fast, after all. Maybe faster than whatever had killed the n’kitas.

 

 

Author Spotlight-J. C. Steel

Author photoLet’s give a warm welcome to JC Steel, the author in our spotlight this week.

  1. When and why did your start writing? To be honest, I’ve told myself stories in my head as long as I can remember; I just never got around to writing any of them down. I finally started actually writing around age fourteen; I was in boarding school, frankly probably on the verge of washing out due to sheer boredom, and one of my friends asked me why I never wrote any of my stories down so other people could read them. It solved my boredom problem. I scribbled my way through high school, and wrote five novels in five years (and, to everyone’s surprise, passed all my exams). The beauty of the hobby was that to a teacher, a student busily writing a space battle looks remarkably like a quiet, attentive, note-taking student.
  2. What genres do your writings fall under? What age group? I write sci-fi and urban fantasy. I’d say on the whole that the themes are adult; which is no bar to younger people reading the books, but the language and topics aren’t specifically slanted at the younger age brackets, and parts of all of the stories would definitely fall into the PG-13 category.
  3. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? I read a lot, I play with my cats a lot, and when I have the time and money, I enjoy martial arts and riding (usually not simultaneously). This year I’m hoping things will come together so I can take a week and ride across Iceland – I got to meet Icelandic horses in 2017, and they manage to combine looking ridiculously cute with the kind of instinct for mayhem usually found only in six-month-old cats.
  4. What genre is your favorite to read? I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. I scared myself silly with Lord of the Rings aged about seven and refused to go to the bathroom on my own for six months in case a Black Rider came hunting me, but my addiction was firm. I added sci-fi to my habit a couple of years later, when I climbed to the very top of my parents’ bookshelf and came across Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ series. I still have that edition of Dragonflight; it’s been through a lot of moves with me.jc-steel-banner
  5. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t waste several years half-heartedly begging publishers and agents to consider at least opening my submission envelopes – I’d go straight to independent publishing and save myself a lot of hassle and postage costs. I love having complete control over, and responsibility for, what I publish and when I publish it. It means whatever goes out into the world is completely mine.
  6. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Actually there are three on the boil right now, I have an extreme case of literary infidelity. I’m working on the fifth book in my sci-fi series, which hasn’t yet confessed to a final title; I’m in the final edit stage on my first urban fantasy novel, Death is for the Living, which is about a team of vampire hunters based on a yacht in the Tropics; and I’m on the first draft of another urban fantasy about a half-siren ‘acquisitions specialist’ tasked to acquire the Peaches of Immortality at their next ripening. I’m hoping at least Death is for the Living will make it out of the door in the next six months, and if I’m lucky, #5 in the Cortii series will publish towards the end of the year.
  7. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?Well, my sci-fi series is set in an interstellar mercenary cult, which would make my past life both terminally interesting and probably admissible evidence J Death is for the Living, though, is heavily based on my childhood. I grew up on a yacht in the Caribbean, and a lot of the settings are drawn from that. The martial arts training comes in surprisingly useful for the fight scenes across both my genres, which means I can call my classes research when asked (it tends to worry people less than calling them stress release!).
  8. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I’ve actually been really fortunate with all my books so far; about the worst thing I’m told on a regular basis is that my writing is complex. I’m fine with that; it’s perfectly true. I’ve never had a lot of time for the concept of writing to a ‘grade-level’, and honestly I don’t feel that we, as authors, do society a favour by trying to write to a level of the language geared at 12-year-olds. On the whole, though, the feedback has been remarkably positive. It’s a great feeling if even a few people enjoy the read enough to take the time to go online and leave a rating or a review.
  9. Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? If I didn’t work in a business environment, I would be a jeans and hoodie wearer full-time – and bare-foot whenever I could get away with it. I deeply appreciate clothes that are comfortable, have capacious pockets, and will tolerate a slide on a muddy path followed by a hot wash.
  10. Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I moved around a lot growing up, and went through a lot of schools before I finally wound up in boarding school in the UK. I’ve spent at least a few months in most of the Caribbean islands, most of the countries of southern Europe, and a couple of weeks in Morocco, Venezuela and the USA. Iceland was my first visit to Scandinavia, and I’m currently living in Canada. I enjoy travelling, preferably away from the tourist routes if I can manage it, and I love learning new languages and trying new foods. I have a friend who holds that someone who learns a new language experiences a whole new life, and I’m broadly onboard with that opinion. I’m hoping to get to the Far East in the foreseeable future; I’ve practiced karate, aikido, and bujinkan for years and never even visited Japan. One of the oddest places I think I’ve ever been was when we sailed across a corner of the Sargasso Sea; it’s basically a huge, semi-stationary patch of floating seaweed in the Atlantic that’s several days’ sail across. The ocean goes from deep blue to a greenish-brownish-yellow and stays like that as far as you can see.

TTH, FS, EA, EC OBC quote desertConnect with JC Steel

Author website: http://jcsteelauthor.com

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Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/J-C-Steel/e/B00XARD7XC/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/steel_jo

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

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JCSteel