I can’t believe it’s the end of 2018 already. I had so many plans for this year, but life got in the way a bit. Mostly good things, but they kept me away from writing as much as I wanted to. I’m proud of getting The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley rewritten and re-released, but there are more books I wanted to get done. Well, no use crying over spilled milk, as my grandma used to say. It’s time for a new year, so onward and upward.
I want to say a sincere thank you to those who’ve followed along and purchased my books over the last year. I appreciate each and every one of you and the support you’ve given. I hope all of you have a wonderful 2019 filled with good things and happy memories. Let’s reach for the stars together and make next year the most wonderful one yet.
Well, we’re getting down to the wire on the Christmas holiday, and, once again, it’s come upon me unawares. I think most things are done, but I can’t be sure. Tree. Check. Food. Check. Gifts. Um…partial check. There are still a few more things to get. Holy cow! Am I gonna make it in time? I’m not sure. I could sure use a little help from the man in the red suit. He hasn’t let me down yet, so I have complete faith that things will be ready on time.
As to the Christmas story, it’s coming along. The first draft of the first two sections is complete. Now, on to the rest. I did come up with a title and a cover, though, so that’s something.
If you read last week’s excerpt (remember, these are unedited), then scroll below for the next installment. Also, remember there are spoilers for those who haven’t read Wolf in the Shadow.
Eleanor wanted to rid herself of her human mind. She wanted to forget she had ever walked on two legs. She wanted to revel in the joy of being a ly’kita, to hunt, to leave the past behind forever, not just in the world but in her mind as well. She wanted to run forever, to be free. She let the scents of the forest—the trees, the flowers, the animals, life and death—wash over her as she cried to Worichiom to take her body and mind and set her free.
Before she realized it, Eleanor had left the cover of the trees and entered a small range of hills. She slid to a stop in the snow and sniffed the air. The cold crispness of the winter air filled her nose and cleared her mind. She panted and licked at the snow to quench her thirst then sat on her haunches to rest.
I need to return for the clothes.
The thought entered her mind unbidden, but she pushed it aside and looked around her. Hills rose above her, grass almost covered with snow. Wind howled between the hills and blew snowflakes into her face. She blinked her eyes to clear them, and her breath caught in her throat. A creature, not human according to her nose, crawled up the hill in front of her. Eleanor blinked again, several times, and cocked her head to the side.
The creature climbing the hill was unlike anything she had seen before, in either form. Cloven hooves sank into the deep snow, and multiple tails whipped away the falling flakes. A mass of tangled hair whipped in the breeze, and a sack across its back wriggled eerily.
Eleanor dropped to her belly, her canine senses telling her to be cautious. She slithered forward to get a better smell but stopped when the creature halted its climb.
“I see you.”
Eleanor froze. Snow whipped into her face and ruffled her fur the wrong way. Her heart beat wildly in her chest, and she panted as terror pumped through her veins. She tried to speak, but the sound was nothing more than a growl.
“None of that. I know you. Better than you know yourself. Come with me and join me. I could use another creature to help me with my work.”
Eleanor stood, but she didn’t move forward. A gust of wind shifted and brought the creature’s stench to her nose. She sneezed. Ogre. She hated the smell of ogre.
“Come on now. I won’t harm you.”
Eleanor shivered. Ogres couldn’t be trusted, and this one was far different from others. Older. Almost godlike. She sneezed. Still… It was cold. Frigid. And she could use a rest before returning home.
“That’s a good girl. Come with Grýla and let’s get you warm.”
Eleanor took a tentative step forward, then another. Her fur stood on end from more than the cold, and she wanted to turn and run. But she was exhausted from her run and the discussion with Abilene. Rest wasn’t an option, and this creature, Grýla, was currently her only choice.
“That’s a good ly’kita. Come on now.”
Eleanor took another step, and something set fire to her chest. She howled with the pain and buried her face in the snow to ease the burn. A throbbing, began near her heart and moved through her until every part of her ached. She tried to take another step, but her legs gave out, and she landed on her side in the snow.
“Begone, foul beast!”
The ogre screamed and hurried down the far side of the hill, while Eleanor’s head swam. She tried to rise but found her legs too weak to hold her. She shivered at the chill wetness against her skin and realized she had lost her ly’kita form. She was lying naked in the snow in a storm increasing in ferocity. She could barely see in her ly’kita form, and now she’d lost the heightened sense of smell she needed. She tried to will herself back to her Lycan self, but her body refused to respond. She searched for the source of the voice, the one who had sent the ogre running, but all she saw was a vague, humanoid outline. She tried to call out in hope of help, but her voice, too, had abandoned her.
For those in northern climates, snow isn’t a big deal. However, I’ve spent my entire life in the southern United States, so seeing the Christmas tree and snow at the same time is something that’s never happened. Until now.
This morning we have several inches of snow on the ground, the tree is lit, the fireplace is going, and cinnamon buns are in the oven. It’s a perfect day to sit back with something warm and write and craft.
My current work in progress is a Grevared version of A Christmas Carol. I meant to get on it earlier in the year, but life has a way of taking its own path sometimes. So instead of it being ready this year, I’m hoping to have it out in time for the season next year. Below is the first few pages, unedited, but there are spoilers for those who haven’t read Wolf in the Shadow.
Flight Through the Forest
Wind in face.
Nose to ground.
Eleanor ran through the forest of E’ma Thalas on all fours, a grin on her canine face. Her padded feet made almost no sound as she darted through underbrush and across fallen leaves. She leapt over fallen logs and nipped playfully at small creatures. Her vision, sharp and full of color when human, had faded somewhat, but her nose brought her the scents of the forest in a heady potpourri that made her run all the faster. Asing, carnivorous plant/animal hybrids, growled nearby, and nonyana’e droppings littered the ground. Eleanor paused for a moment and looked upward to see the giant birds soaring overhead. Other creatures, spitmollers and ghighets, scurried for cover as she approached, though even in ly’kita form she would not dream of harming them. And covering it all, the scent of falling snow—cold, fresh, and heralding Yuletide.
Eleanor slid to a stop and shook the snow from her coat. She shivered in the cold and stood panting while her heart pounded. Yuletide. Another one. Alone in the forest. Eleanor sat down on her haunches and wished her ly’kita form could cry tears.
“Your control is good, much better than eight years ago.”
Eleanor looked up to see a woman. At over six feet, she towered over Eleanor’s Lycan form. The scent of alpha female seared Eleanor’s nose and mixed with the odor of human sweat and food. She could smell the herbal soap, a mixture of lavender and honey, the woman used, and the scent of her leather coat caused Eleanor to sneeze. She bared her teeth for a moment in response to the alpha female scent, one she had never liked, before settling down with her head cocked to the side.
“Cool it, little girl. I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been alive, and I’ll kick your ass no matter what form you’re in.” The woman held out trousers, a shirt, and a cloak. “Now, how ‘bout you get dressed.”
Eleanor sneezed again and considered licking the woman in the face just to annoy her, but after eight years in Abilene’s company she had learned better. Instead, she willed herself back to human form, and, after a moment of dizziness, took the clothes Abilene held out to her.
The wind bit into her bare skin, and Eleanor found herself looking around for Worichiom, the spirit of winter. She slid into the clothes with a shiver and ran her fingers through cinnamon hair. She glanced down at her bare feet and wondered if Abilene had remembered to bring boots.
“You were looking for me,” Eleanor said once she had dressed. She winced as she walked across the detritus on the forest floor.
“Yeah,” Abilene replied. She brushed a strand of mint green hair behind her ear and stared at Eleanor with golden eyes. She pointed at the ground beside her, and Eleanor reached down for the pair of boots sitting there. “Oberon and Titania have invited us for Yuletide. Jorge and Bria are planning to join us. The pack. Family.”
Eleanor turned away as she donned the boots, her attention on the falling snow. A lump formed in her throat, and she shivered with a sudden chill. A weight settled across her shoulders, and her heart paused before racing on. “You have fun,” she said at last. “I’ve already made plans.”
Abilene stood with her hands on her hips, snow dusting her black coat, and glared at Eleanor. “What plans? The same as last year? And the year before?” She made a disgusted noise and shook her head. “Girl, you gotta let it go. The past is the past, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it. Move on.”
“Let it go, Ab. I’m used to being alone, and I prefer it that way.”
Abilene threw up her hands and stomped away. She stopped and propped against a nearby tree with her arms crossed. “So, what are you gonna do? Head back to the Borderland Mountains and find a cave? That’s where you’ve been living, isn’t it?” Abilene pushed herself away from the tree. “You’re not an animal, Eleanor. None of us are. It’s been eight years, for the gods’ sake. Accept yourself.” She paused a moment. “And us. You’re pack, Eleanor. Family.”
“Accept what, Abilene? That I can never go back to the Xaggarene Empire? That my best friends rejected me because of what I am? That–.”
“That what? That Timothy has never responded to your letters? That he’s never forgiven you?” Abilene reached Eleanor in two strides and placed her hands on the smaller woman’s shoulders. “You have no way of knowing the letters ever reached him. You don’t know what he thinks or feels. And as to returning to the Empire…there’s no reason you can’t.”
“Pfft. Justin Harper is all talk. Surely, after years in his company, you realize that. Hell, girl, I smelled it on him before we even met. The woods were full of it, and so is he.”
“But what if he told others? If the entire guild knows what I am, what I did, then I’m dead the minute they find me. You know that.” Eleanor wrapped her arms around herself and shuddered. The Shadow Walker guild would hunt her down if they knew she was a Lycan, if they knew she had been the one…Cooley Cray… Her mind refused to voice her deepest regret, the shame that had shaped the last eight years of her life.
This time Abilene punctuated her words with a shake. “No, I don’t. And neither do you.”
Eleanor snatched away from her friend and mentor. Regardless of what Abilene said, Eleanor didn’t feel like pack. She didn’t feel accepted. “Whatever. I’m not going to Letallatos for Yuletide.” She shrugged. “It’ll just be a bunch of elves and fairies drinking and dancing, and you know how annoying pixies can be.”
“And you’re forgetting the feasts and the games and the comradery, and I’ve heard that he’s invited the wizards of Crowrest and Ragekeep as well. This is the biggest bash in a century, all to celebrate the little prince’s first Yuletide. You don’t want to miss it.”
“I don’t wanna go.” She shrugged again. “It just doesn’t sound like any fun.”
“Fine,” Abilene replied. “Do what you want. The gods know I’ve tried for years to get you to move on and accept yourself. It’s all on you, girlie. There’s nothing else I can do for you.”
Eleanor turned away as tears forced themselves into her eyes. Abilene had a point. She was now in control of her Lycan abilities and had no more need of the older woman. Eleanor wanted to say she enjoyed Abilene’s company, but that wasn’t the truth. Abilene was simply there, someone within her sphere that she needed. Eleanor was grateful for her tutelage, of course, but that wasn’t the same as considering her a friend. The same was true of Jorge and Bria, two other members of the pack. They were there, and she was grateful, but she wouldn’t miss them if they were gone.
“You don’t have to stay alone, Eleanor,” Abilene whispered. “There are people who care about you, who accept you for who you are. You just have to be willing to open yourself up to their friendship.”
Eleanor wanted to respond, but the lump in her throat forbade it. She swallowed hard and closed her eyes. She hugged herself, fists clenched, but she couldn’t face the other woman. Something squeezed her heart and pulled on her lungs, and she tightened her jaw to force herself to breathe. She wanted to turn to Abilene, to tell her that she needed that care, that friendship, but she didn’t dare. She knew where that led, and she wasn’t about to go through it again. Never again.
“Well, you know the way to Letallatos if you change your mind.” Abilene turned away then paused. “Not everyone is invited to the elf king’s court for the celebration. Don’t take that for granted.”
Eleanor kept her eyes closed as she listened to Abilene’s footfalls in the leaves. She turned her face upwards, and the falling snow mingled with the tears on her cheeks. A sob forced its way up from her gut and burst out in a scream that shook the trees. Birds squawked and left their perches, and small animals scurried for cover. The scream turned into a howl, and Eleanor found herself in ly’kita form, without meaning to, for the first time in eight years.
I had a strange dream the other night that got me thinking about the story of “Hansel and Gretel”. Nothing serious, mind you, just the prevalence of these tales in our culture, in all cultures, really.
One of the things that’s always fascinated me about folklore and religion is the similarities between cultures that weren’t supposed to be in contact with each other. It’s always made me wonder how so many different people in so many different places could come up with the same thing at around the same time period. Don’t get me wrong, I understand Jung’s idea of archetypes and the collective unconscious and the universality of human experience. After all, we are all born, live, and die. We have to come to terms with ourselves and learn to live in the world on our own. I get that.
What’s always fascinated me is the amount of similarity and the desire of humans to pass on lessons through stories and analogy. I mean, when I’m trying to get my kids to understand something, I don’t couch it in metaphor and euphemism. I say it plainly. We do the same thing when talking about our day at work or teaching history, in some respects at least.
Why then the need for these tales? We know they serve a purpose outside of entertainment. Many of these tales allow children a glimpse into the adult world long before they experience it themselves. They allow us to meet fear in a form that isn’t as frightening, and children who are read fairy tales generally have an easier time with reading and comprehension. There’s something basic about them that speaks across time and culture to that place within us that makes us all human beings.
But who first thought them? Who crafted these marvelous glimpses into long ago that are so powerful we’re still rewriting them today? Was it an ancient family seated around a fire after a day of hunting? Was it a mother desperate to give hope to a sick child? Was it a sibling offering comfort to the younger ones in times of trouble?
I would love to create a time machine and travel back to that distant time just to watch this phenomena unfold, to meet the richness of culture and experience the connection that allowed the same thoughts, and plots, to arise on opposite sides of the world.
I suppose these are odd thoughts, and they definitely ramble, but I’ve spent the day making snow to decorate with, and I’ve had plenty of time for wandering thoughts.
I hope all have a wonderful holiday week and season.
Things have been a bit hectic lately, so writing has been on the back burner. Now that the holidays are upon us, I’m not so sure things will slow down, but I have hope.
Now that the weather’s cooling down and the leaves are changing, I find myself more motivated and more creative. The problem comes with deciding where to focus my time and energy. Do I want to continue with Grevared? I have a ton of stories in the works and more ideas in my noggin’. Do I want to get started on the YA modern fantasy that’s whirling around in my head? Right now, there are two stories, mostly fully formed, written in a notebook. Do I want to work on the horror stories that come unbidden into my dreams? And, boy, did I have a doozy last night. Or do I want to focus on building my proofreading business? I can do this for others, but making sure my own stuff is free of typos is another thing all together. Or do I want to abandon all of that and return to researching folklore and mythology? It’s not like we’ve figured it all out yet.
Mostly, it’s a matter of time management and organization, but I think it would be easier to petition the Universe for a few more hours in the day. But would that help? I’m not sure. I have no doubt I’ll figure it out when my mind has had a little time to slow down and consider a bit. Until then, I’ll keep on keeping on and do what I can when I can and hope the results are something others want to read.
At the end of the day, it’s the joy that comes from doing it, the journey rather than the destination, that matters.
Appearance: It has a dragon-like head and a serpentine body with no legs or wings. Most have horns on the head, though this can vary. Void serpents often grow to be several hundred feet long, and they have the strength to destroy a ship. Mating rituals are unknown, for no one has ever seen this activity. It is believed that the females lay eggs, but this has not been definitively determined. Void serpents also possess the ability to spit fire, though they are rarely seen to do so. They attack without provocation, and their population numbers are unknown.
Habitat: Void serpents live in the void. There is no other known habitat.
Diet: It is believed that the void serpent lives primarily on other void creatures, though just what these creatures are is still largely unknown. However, the serpents will eat those on the ships they attack.
Threat: The void serpent is extremely dangerous.
Notes: There is a legend, though I can’t vouch for its veracity, about demon creatures called Serpent Riders. It is said these beings have tamed the void serpents and use them to travel the void. I don’t believe in this legend, however, for there are none who can survive the chaotic energy in the void.
Food is a vital part of life. It’s a major component in social interaction. It’s expressive of culture. And, let’s face it, we have to eat to live.
The characters in fantasy worlds are no different. They have to eat, and what they eat depends on where they live, their economic status, their culture, their personal preferences, and what time of year it is. Just like in our world.
The easiest way to create fantasy foods is to take something from our world and change the name of the dish or some of the ingredients. Easy-peasy.
However, if you’re more adventurous, you can create recipes for your world. These can be anything from typical meals to holiday delights. Mix ingredients you’ve never considered and have fun with it. Some of the dishes will be awesomely yummy, while others might be…well…more appropriate for the demons.
This was one of the things I enjoyed most about creating Grevared. There was an entire world full of different cultures, with a plethora of plants and animals that don’t exist in our world, to play with. The trick was finding our world equivalents for what I wanted to do.
Tips for Creating Fantasy Food
Decide what grows and lives in your world. I know this sounds like common sense, but knowing what plants and animals exist in your world and deciding on their ‘our world’ equivalent is important. For example, the assaberry is a common fruit all over Grevared. It’s used in Yuletide cooking, drinks, and candies. But what is it? My description of the plant is “common in all parts of Grevared except the Shizzuria Wasteland, the assaberry has small, bluish-green leaves and deep maroon berries. It has a sweet taste and is used in baking and pies.” Now, a raspberry would probably work, but I want something else. I’m still working on the ‘something else’, but there are several combinations I’m considering.
Explore and expand. Fantasy food doesn’t have to be restricted to baked goods, though, for me, that’s what’s easiest. Creating main dishes is even more fun. Take talakilkonna tail, for instance. (A talakilkonna is an eight-foot-tall bipedal turtle-like creature common to the Sea of Sands in Moirena.) This is a dish favored by the demons, so it’s taking some thought. I want it to be edible, but, at the same time, not something your average human is going to pick up to munch on. I have some ideas for this, too, but getting the primary ingredient is proving difficult. I’m hoping to locate what I need soon.
Be consistent with what’s available to your characters. Empire Delight is a cake made from a pudding base with typical Christmas spices added to it, while Rada’ke Cakes are made with pancake mix. While there’s nothing strange (to us) about the ingredients, I chose things that would mirror the cultures that created the dishes. The Xaggarene Empire is somewhat technologically advanced with strong trade and plenty of variety, while the Shizzuria Wasteland is frozen and supplies are limited. That being the case, Empire Delight is a three layer cake, while Rada’ke cakes are simple desserts made with few ingredients.
Know the culture that created the dish. This is extremely important if you want to keep your cultures consistent. A people based primarily in the desert is going to have a much more limited diet than those who live in the forest. Likewise, those in cities with restaurants and markets are going to have access to ingredients that those in small towns won’t. Those with a religious background that forbids meat or alcohol aren’t likely to indulge in those foods.
Have a strong stomach and an expanded grocery budget. Not all recipes will work, so having a strong stomach may be required. I discovered this with Melon Peckers and Nutty Fluffies. I still haven’t figured them out. And while breaking your budget on ingredients isn’t a necessity, you will have to purchase things to experiment with.
Creating fantasy food is one of the most enjoyable parts of creating a fantasy world, and it can add depth to the world you’re creating. If you’re one of those who likes to play in the kitchen, it can also give you more insight into the world and cultures that you’re bringing to life. Not to mention that it can improve your cooking skills.
Today we’re giving a warm welcome to author Peter Blakely-Novis. Read on to learn about this exciting author.
What would you like to tell us about yourself? My name is Peter Blakey-Novis, and I’m based in a small town on the southern coast of England. Although I’ve enjoyed writing as a hobby for as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until February 2017 that I released my first book. I’m fairly new to it all and am learning a lot as I go! I also co-run Indie Writers Review, a monthly digital magazine featuring book reviews, short stories, poetry etc.
What genres do your writings fall under? What age group? Quite a mix, actually. I started out writing a novel, which is a femme fatale thriller along the lines of Fatal Attraction. This book (The Broken Doll) has a sequel which was released in August 2017. I have also written two collections of short horror stories, and at the other end of the spectrum, have a children’s book out which was co-authored by, and stars, my daughter.
When and why did your start writing? I had an idea for a story back in March of 2016, which kept playing on my mind. I wrote a little when I had a bit of spare time, with no real thought as to what I’d do with it if I ever finished it! It came along slowly to begin with, until I needed minor surgery and was bed-bound for a few weeks. With little else to do I cracked on with the story and the end of it began to appear in the not-too-distant future.
What other goals do you have for yourself? How do they fit with your writing?Writing has been a great way for me to get ideas out there, and has given me a real sense of accomplishment and pride. I’ve always been very wary of how I’m perceived by other people, and it took a lot of courage to show my work to others, but the feedback has been better than I could have imagined, and that helps build confidence in what I do.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? Reading is just as important as the writing, so I get through a couple of books a week. Aside from that, life is pretty busy with four children.
What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral? My two novels are purely fictitious, perhaps a life-lesson in how fragile relationships can be when someone from outside decides to try and destroy it. The horror stories that I have written cover a range of sub-genres – some are creepy ghost stories, there’s one from the POV of a serial killer, and others are simply about people and their fears.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Probably Ella, the antagonist from The Broken Doll. She was the most fun to write, anyway. Despite the trouble she causes, you can’t help pitying her a little, and wishing you could somehow save her.
Which of your characters is your least favorite and why? I’m quite fond of all three of the main characters in The Broken Doll books, but there are quite a few despicable minor characters. I’d say Maggie, from book one, isn’t a person I’d like to hang around with.
What genre is your favorite to read? I mostly read horror, much more so since writing my own. I’m keen on collections of short stories more than full-length novels, but I’m usually happy to read almost anything.
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 would have been better prepared! I didn’t even look at what to do with the first book until it was almost finished. I knew nothing about self-publishing, or where to promote it. As a result, sales have been much better in the months following that first release, once I had a better idea of what I was doing.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? Social media is now the only way that I promote, through my pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The novels have had good reviews, and I share these in book-related Facebook groups. I have tried paid advertising on Facebook and Amazon but it didn’t seem worthwhile. My horror books actually sell better than the novels, but I am involved in a number of horror-specific book groups, and learned how important it is to promote other peoples work just as much as your own. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have received some fantastic reviews on a number of blogs, as well as in Scream Fix magazine. For the children’s book, selling in person far outweighs online sales, so I attend school events such as summer and Christmas fairs.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? All of my books are self-published, although I have had a few stories included in other anthologies, so I am able to put a book out there myself without the fear of rejection from a traditional publisher.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I currently have a few projects on the go. One is (probably) going to be a novella, about a young woman to kills someone but can’t remember doing so. It deals with some mental health issues and PTSD in particular. I have a few stories completed ready for my next collection of horrors, and I’m expecting that to be ready around June. I also have another horror book planned for later in the year, around novella length, but quite different to most books. My daughter is keen to release another children’s book, but I’m holding off until we have recouped the money spent on the illustrations!
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?The two novels are entirely fictitious, but a number of the landmarks in the books are easily recognized as being around my home town. The characters are not based on real people, although the main characters are quite similar to myself and my wife. Some of the horror stories are rooted in some past experience, for example Opened Up is a medical horror about an infestation, inspired by the surgery I had on my foot. There is one called Embrace the Darkness, which features a creature that I did have nightmares about when I was a child. So, although not ‘true stories’, they are partly based on real events.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? In the second Broken Doll book, something happens to one of the main characters. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it seemed inevitable from my point of view, yet I knew it would really affect the readers. It was a difficult chapter to write, but was the best fit for the story, and gave the whole tale a change of direction.
How did you come up with the title? The Broken Doll refers to Ella, the seductive femme fatale. The title seemed to fit well, balancing her physical beauty with the fact she was severely damaged inside. Titles for the horror collections were simply enough; I chose my favourite short story and used that, hence they are called Embrace the Darkness and other short stories, and Tunnels and other short stories.
What project are you working on now? As I mentioned earlier, I have a few projects on the go. The next for release though will be another collection of shorts.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I’ve been very fortunate with the reviews I’ve received, with more than 90% of them being 4 or 5 stars. I did receive a 1 star review for The Broken Doll, although with no details written as to why. I happen to know the person that left it, which made it quite hurtful, but I managed to ignore it and focus on the good reviews. My favourite review described the Broken Doll as ‘incredibly well-written, an intense, gripping, and emotionally stirring read’ and featured on a blog.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Keep at it! Get the book finished, check it over as many times as you can stand to, get other people you trust to read it before going public, and take on board any feedback – both positive and otherwise.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Two years ago I never would have dreamed I’d be doing what I am now, so I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to everyone that has taken the time to read my work, to those who have given me advice and helped promote my books, and an extra big thanks to those who take a moment to leave a review, or to recommend one of my books to their friends. It really does mean so much, and it keeps me motivated to put out more stories.
Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? For the last four years my wife and I have been running a catering business. Unfortunately, my wife became ill at the start of 2017, and we had to close the business. Although financially challenging, this has given us the time to focus on getting my books out there. My wife was able to train as a graphic designer and together we began Red Cape Publishing, an umbrella for not only my books, but the magazine Indie Writers Review, the upcoming horror book subscription service Boxes of Blood, as well as her design work.
If you could visit any time period, which one would it be? It would be a tough decision between the 1920s and the 1950s, there is something exciting about the clothing and music in those times.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? I’m keen to visit Japan, New Zealand, and Iceland. They are definitely my top three countries whenever that becomes possible. We enjoy city breaks, and visited Venice last year, with Budapest being next on the list.
Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I haven’t travelled all that much, I don’t feel. Of course being in England, Europe is close enough for short breaks, and I’ve been to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece. Out of these, going on a mountain safari day in Portugal with my eldest, and riding the gondola in Venice, are my fondest memories.
Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? Both, I guess. My wife would definitely prefer me to be in a suit permanently, but once winter is out of the way I’m usually in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt!
If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be? I’d have to take my daughter and visit SpongeBob Squarepants.
If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be? Strangely, the first thing that came to mind was Water World, the Kevin Costner film. I do love being near the sea, so perhaps messing about on boats all day wouldn’t be too bad?!
What’s your favorite comfort food? Pizza, with a variety of meats and plenty of jalapeno.
If there was one food you could get rid of, which one would it be? Celery, no need for that ever!
Who’s your favorite superhero? Deadpool appeals to my sense of humour, so probably him. Although I have enjoyed the more recent Batman movies.
What’s your favorite holiday? Why is that one special to you? Christmas is the only real celebration that we do, and I’ve never really been that keen on it! That said, last Christmas we managed to go away for a few days, and we had a really great time so I may be starting to enjoy it more.
What historical figure inspires you most? Anyone who has stood up for human rights, whether that be defying the Nazis, opposing racism and segregation in the second half of last century, as well as those that do so today. Most of these people have names we wouldn’t recognize, but have helped so many people – that’s something that is very inspiring.
If you had to have a mythological creature as a pet, which one would it be? My daughter’s obsessed with unicorns at the moment, so if there was a way of getting a mythological creature it would have to be that (or I’d never hear the end of it!)
What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? Does this toy show up in your writing? I had a stuffed dog, imaginatively called Doggy, which apparently was bought just before I was born. He’s seen better days, but I still have him (actually my youngest does).
What author would you most like to meet? If I had to pick, I’d probably say Stieg Larsson. I have a special hardback set of the Millennium Trilogy, and thought they were incredible. I’d also really like the opportunity to meet up with some of the fantastic Indie authors that I connect with online, but geographically we are quite spread out across the globe.
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? It would have to be Ella from The Broken Doll. As I mentioned, there is an impulse to help her. However, there would be a risk, of course, as she is both unstable and dangerous.
Let’s give a warm welcome to author T. L. Shively. Check out her exciting series below.
About the Author
My name is T.L. Shively. I am a wife and mother along with being a YA Fantasy author. I have always loved fantasy. I love comics, games, and anything that takes me to a place where I have never been. The characters in my book series were created when I was nine years old and have stayed with me my whole life. It took me a long time to bring their story out for everyone to read, but I am very glad I did. The Guardians have become a very big part of my life, and I hope that everyone enjoys them as much as I do.
I have two books published, working on book three in the series and a short story as well. I look forward to August where I will be attending an author signing event in Frankenmuth, MI with both my books and other surprises.
The Guardians are seven teenagers who discover powers and a destiny that keeps changing on them. Descendants of Gods who are supposed to be sleeping and yet still manage to interfere with the lives of their children’s children. Join them on their journey as they discover who they truly are.