Wordy Babble

Awesome Adventure Academy and “Boardgames”

January was a month of firsts for me in terms of publishing. First time I’ve focused on my writing for days at a time instead of around a dayjob schedule, first time I hit a nice sales milestone, and my first convention!

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The brainchild and test run for artist Adam Tupper and his organization Wonder Geeks Activate, along with a few other talented and energetic people, the AAA involved some amazing cosplayers, improv, artists, and all things geek culture, with the catchy catchphrase #likeschoolonlyfun

My booth at the start of the day. My table buddy and bestie Megan is already hard at work to convince people my books are worth the read ;)

My booth at the start of the day. My table buddy and bestie Megan is already hard at work to convince people my books are worth the read 😉

I had a blast! Made so many new connections, and bought some beautiful art from Rich Lauzon, Katie McCarthy, and Jolie Stripes. The novel pictured is a YA fantasy/horror by Kevin T. Johns.

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I also had fun perusing the wares of Steamdragon Studio, a booth of steampunk/gothic curios including shrunken heads, monkey paws, mummy hands, and Marv, the mummy stuffed in a trunk. Each item comes with its own myth or legend, all adding to the atmosphere.

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I inherited an imp familiar, that I think will end up named Crowley.

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Rob Olsen with Geek Inked Magazine was also awesome enough to give EVENSONG a plug in his article on the event. Want to know what the AAA was all about? Give the article a read!

Based on this experience, I’d jump at the chance to do it again. I love the opportunity to meet new readers in person. A few have come back to keep in touch so if any of you are reading *waves* Hello!

Last week I skipped posting my short story, but I’ve been good at keeping up on them! I technically have not missed a day since I started (read: I’ve missed days, but caught up). Today I’ll share one called “Boardgames”.

***

“You totally cheated!” Sarah cried. “It fell on the five.”

Gary laughed. “It did not. A clear six and anyone will vouch for me. Chuck?”

“Of course Chuck will vouch for you — he’s on your team! I saw a five.”

“Kara, ladies, calm yourselves,” said Chuck, raising his hands in a gesture that had the opposite effect than intended. He ducked to evade a projectile chip bag and snatched out a hand to stop his drink from toppling. “Hey now. Just because you’re losing–”

He had no time to finish before a pillow launched at him next. He caught it in the chest and collapsed on the floor. “Man down. I’m hit, Gary. Go on without me.”

Gary grabbed the dice. “I’ll make it up to you, man. I will avenge you! Come on, four.”

And he rolled.

Week 4 – Fall into Fantasy with Marsha A. Moore

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends

Book One: Seeking a Scribe

Book Two: Heritage Avenged

Book Three: Lost Volumes

Book Four: Staurolite

Book Five: Quintessence

By Marsha A. Moore

Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One by Marsha A. Moore

Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love.

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love?

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.
Series Description:
The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.
When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.
Purchase Links:
ABOUT MARSHA A. MOORE

Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!
 Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
 

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Excerpt from Seeking a Scribe:
 
Chapter One: Licorice Memories
The smell of anise
greeted Lyra as she opened the door to Drake’s bookstore. It took her back to
happy childhood memories. Licorice-shoe-string-rewards for following her
parents’ requests to stay on the dock while they secured the family’s pleasure
boat to its trailer. The aroma brought a fleeting remembrance of times long
gone, a treasure now that her folks had recently passed. At ease with the
familiar scent, she settled into browsing through rows of antique bookcases.
The shop owner
stuck his head around a set of shelves. “Do you like tea?”
“Yes, I do.”
Before she could finish speaking, he disappeared. “Is that the wonderful
smell?” she called out.
Kitchenware
clinked in the back room. Receiving no answer, Lyra followed the noises,
scanning collections as she walked. This bookshop appeared established, but
surely she would have remembered it from her last visit to the Lake Huron
village five years ago. Books were her passion, especially fantasy. She paused
in front of that section and studied its titles.
The owner appeared,
holding a pewter tray with a teapot, two cups, sugar jar, spoons, and napkins,
which he laid on the corner of an old library table. She watched him carefully
pour the tea and hand her a cup. He was about her age, mid thirties or a bit
older, and handsome. His medium brown hair, peppered with gray at the temples, grazed
his shoulders in wavy layers, and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He
wore long shorts, a knit golf shirt, and sandals—typical casual attire for this
island resort community.
She set down her
bag from the drugstore and accepted his offer with a smile. “Thanks. My name’s
Lyra.” She blew across the hot surface of the tea to cool it and then inhaled
the anise-scented steam. She closed her eyes to fully enjoy the memory. “Ah!”
“Afternoons of
boating and licorice with your parents? Right?” he asked.
Her mouth dropped
open. How did he know that?

(more…)

Week 3 – Fall Into Fantasy with Elsie Elmore

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 3: The Undead: Playing for Keeps

By Elsie Elmore

When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Survival definitely trumps the in-crowd.

Her corpse-following scare reeks of a major prank and coincides with the arrival of Eric. He’s the hot new guitarist in her brother’s band. But Eric’s arrival isn’t by chance. He’s a Grim Reaper dispatched to find out why Death’s clients aren’t staying down.
As Eric realizes that Lyla can wake the dead, he jockeys for control of her gift. His uncanny way of appearing when she needs him most earns her reluctant admiration. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are easier to deal with than living emotions.
Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.
Buy your copy here: Kindle  Barnes & Noble Print  Amazon Print

Or add it to Goodreads

ABOUT ELSIE ELMORE:

Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.
Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW. The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel. Find her on the web: on twitter at @ElsieWriter, her blog at elsieelmore.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elsieelmorewriter.
Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Week 2 – Fall into Fantasy with Ann N. Noser

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 2: How to Date Dead Guys 

Under the Blood Moon series

By Ann M. Noser

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one.
Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.
Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.

Buy it from: Amazon US  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble

Or add it to Goodreads

ABOUT ANN M. NOSER:

My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24. I’ve chosen a life filled with animals. I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed. But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day. Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.

Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task. I work out plot holes during runs. Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches. I find inspiration in everyday things: a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory. For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction.
I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head. Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.
Find Ann Online:

Blog   Facebook page  Twitter  GoodreadsWant to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
 

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Week 1 – Fall Into Fantasy with K.L. Schwengel

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!



Week 1: The Darkness & Light Series

Book One: First of Her Kind

Book Two: Emergence

Book Three: Edge of Darkness (Release date 2015)

 

It seems everyone wants to dictate what Ciara does with her life: Serve the Goddess, destroy the Goddess, do as you promised your aunt — all Ciara really wants is to keep the two magics she possesses from ripping her apart.

And that’s not going to be easy.

Not only is her earth magic in complete opposition to her other power, blood ties pull her in divergent directions as well. And then there’s Bolin, the man sworn to protect her. There’s no denying the growing attraction between them, but is it Ciara he wants, or her power?

None of which will matter if Ciara can’t overcome her fear and learn how to use her gifts. No one knows the depths of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control. Will she lose herself entirely? Or be forever caught between Darkness and Light?

Buy the e-book: Kindle Nook

Or the paperback: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of who wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

Buy the e-book: Kindle  Nook

Or the paperback: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

 

ABOUT K.L. SCHWENGEL

K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books, and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. With so many characters and ideas spinning in her head, she had to get them onto paper or risk what little sanity she possessed. She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember, but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design, and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Connect online at…

Blog  Facebook  Pinterest  Twitter  Amazon Page  Goodreads

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

Contest! And Page-a-Day Challenge Week 3: Pier 21

Last week I mentioned a brewing idea for a contest. I was still figuring out dates and prizes, but I think I have it narrowed down.

So here we go: I hereby present THE MERATIS CHALLENGE

I think the nature of this contest is extra fitting considering the trade Jeff enters into with the Sisters in Evensong, which would make any submission from him next to impossible. (Yes, I realise that’s a low blow and right now, he’s giving me the stink eye in the my head. But I stand by my assessment)

The terms:

Submissions of fan art or fan fiction based on the Meratis books/world/characters

Fan art can consist of, but is not limited to art, cosplay, interpretive dance, photography, and baked goods (but only if you share). Video, image, it’s all good! This is your chance to get creative and have some fun.

Flash fiction  can be anything under 1000 words (prose or poetry. Or lyric!), using any character/world elements included in the story. All I ask is that you keep it cleanish.

All submissions to be sent to theravens (dot) quill (at) gmail (dot) com

The incentive …. 

What’s a contest without prizes? All winners will receive a signed copy of Evensong (or Eventide if you prefer. Alas, Evenlight will not yet be ready for release),

1st place – $30 value:  book + $15 Amazon gift card

2nd place – $25 value: book + $10 Amazon gift card

3rd place – $20 value: book + $5 Amazon gift card

Plus a few odds and ends thrown in.

AND all contributors will receive a free e-copy of Evenlight on its release

Multiple submissions are not only allowed, they are encouraged – but you can only win once.

The dates:

Submissions will open on August 15,2014 and the contest will run until October 15, 2014. All submissions will be reviewed by a trio of judges (not me), and the winners announced on October 31, 2014.

I ask only one thing in return: bragging about how amazing your contribution is? Link people here and encourage them to submit! They haven’t read the book yet? Help me spread the word by sending them here! Start the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with #AndvellArt

Questions? Concerns? Leave a message in the comments or send me an email at theravens (dot) quill (at) gmail (dot) com

Ready, set, go!

But the post isn’t done yet. There’s still a short story to be shared!

I have a confession to make. I have not kept up with my page-a-day challenge. I know! It’s only been 3 weeks, Krista, what a lackluster attempt at any sort of dedicated progress.

But here is some news in my defense: The page-a-day challenge accomplished what I hoped it would and I have officially re-started the Evenlight draft. And I’m loving it (most days, over all, except when I want to set it on fire). As of yesterday, I hit 20k, so although the short stories aren’t coming out as quickly, it’s not for lack of words!

**

Week 3: #7 – Pier 21

A week can be a lifetime in the downtown core of a city. It couldn’t have been much longer than that since I last walked by this bar on the corner. The name Pier 21 in ye olde font welcoming the pedestrians out wandering the market, the lights over the full patio, live music wafting onto the streets alongside the scent of pub food and craft beer.

Now the building looks decrepit. The paint has chipped over the locked doors, and the yard is overgrown with weeds. I could almost expect the tumbleweed to shuffle past. One sign remains on the wall announcing a live show and all-you-can-eat wings on Tuesdays — or at least that’s what I interpret between the missing letters.

Around the yard, the fence has started to collapse outwards, as though from years of too many people leaning against it. Strings of white Christmas lights still wrap around the spires, looking sad and ignored against the depressing aspect of the abandoned building.

One week to bring about such a change, as if its soul left when the people did.

What does that say about the society that built it?

Page-a-Day Challenge Week 2: Kiss

I’m up to day 10 in this 30-day (or longer) challenge (miss week 1, click here), and I’m both surprised and thrilled to report that not only is it proving easy so far, I find I’m bothered at the thought of not writing. A few nights this past week I’ve come home late and thought only of going to bed – but the story had to come first.

From stories, I started thinking about my Meratis trilogy and how I feel it deserves some love … and you guys deserve some prizes. So I’ve decided to launch a contest. I’m not 100% sure of the dates yet, because I want to give enough time for you to get your creative cells working, but I want to see what ideas Jeff and his perhaps-not-so-fictional characters have inspired in you. That’s right, this is YOUR chance to share in my Andvellian world.

Once the rules and regs are set I’ll have an official post, but for now let it be said that I will be looking for submissions of fan fiction flash fiction (1000 words or less) or fan art (any medium! Art, video, interpretive dance – whatever you can come up with). There will be judges (of which I’m not sure yet if I’ll be  a part), and top 3 winners will get a prize package. Interested? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Now, for this week’s story.

11. Kiss

She closed her eyes and could feel his breath on her cheek. The pressure of his hands slid up from her waist, tracing along her spine, to cup the back of her neck, to tangle in the waves of her hair.

Her heart sped up as he pressed against the length of her, both of them drawing out the moment, luxuriating in every shiver, every tingle.

She had wished so long and hard for his moment. Prayed every day that it could be possible, even when she had sworn that it couldn’t. Fate wasn’t always cruel. Love didn’t always lead a person down the path of pain. Miracles did happen.

She had to believe that.

His lips were on hers. She felt their warmth, tasted their longing and desire, knew in that one moment that he needed this as much as she did.

She wanted him to kiss her forever and hang onto to this sensation of being completely alive. But he stopped.

Disappointed, she opened her eyes.

And saw no one.

 

EVENSONG Character Interview: Jeff Powell

I hope you guys are ready for an Evensongladen blog week! As promised, this week will be filled with character interview goodness. Since they’re the ones who face the dragons, get their hearts broken, and fall off horses, I think it’s only fair to give their voices some air time. 

Keep in mind, I conducted this interviews near the beginning of Evensong to help work out some plot gaps, so there should be very few spoilers to worry about.

To kick things off, I would like to introduce you to my narrator, my fellow author-in-crime, Jeff Powell.

KW: Thank you for stopping by, Jeff. I know how busy you are right now, right in the middle of drafting Evensong.

*view pans out to show a smiling man with tired eyes and messy brown hair in a red and black checked shirt, white t-shirt and jeans. He’s sitting on a green sofa next to a roaring fire*

JP: Always happy to take a break to chat with a fan.

KW: *blink* Right.  I can’t say that I’ve read any of your work.

JP: Oh?

KW: Well … see, it doesn’t exist in … never mind. I’ll look them up. How about we start at the beginning with a question I ask all my author guests. Tell us about yourself, Jeff.

JP: I’m a best-selling fantasy author from Montreal, Quebec. My claim to fame is the Feldall Saga, which after four books I’m currently wrapping up with Evensong.

KW: And how is the fourth book coming along? Don’t worry, I’m not asking for you to give anything away.

JP: *nervous laugh* Well, it’s great. Really. I’m loving it. Going to be my best work ever.

KW: I guess there will be a bit of a delay in production with your current circumstances?

JP: *laugh disappears into a somewhat startling glare* They tell me I’m stuck in my book.

*view pans back further to show stone walls covered in tapestries*

KW: *trying not to laugh* That must have been a terrible surprise, waking up to find that you were transported into your own fantasy world.

JP: It’s a dream. Work stress. You’re probably a figment of my imagination as well. Give me another couple of hours and I’ll be fine.

KW: Be that as it may, what do you think of this place so far?

JP: It’s … I’ll admit it, it’s amazing. It’s like picturing all your life what Disneyworld would be like, and then finally getting there and getting hugged by Mickey Mouse as soon as you walk through the gates. Authors write worlds they wish existed–because they get to do so from the safe distance of their office spaces–but somehow I  actually climbed between the pages. Figuratively.

KW: Or so you hope.

JP: Figuratively.

KW: *holds up hands* All right, all right. What about the people? Your characters. Have any of them surprised you?

JP: All of them. To look at them, they’re identical to how I wrote them. Then they go and open their mouths and none of them say what I expect them to say. But please don’t tell them that. As far as they need to know, they’re exactly how they should be. I don’t think I can handle any more of Brady’s crazy “we exist independent of you” theories.

KW: My lips are sealed. *Adds question to Brady’s interview* So what do you plan to do next?

JP: Wake up. Get home. However you want to call it. In fact, I should probably go see Maggie. See if that woman’s figured out what she’s doing.

KW: Good luck, and thanks again for meeting with me.

*Jeff walks towards the door. When he reaches it, he stops and turned back around*

JP: Hey — how are you getting home? Can’t I just hitch a ride with you?

At which point I closed my notebook and effectively ended the interview. Couldn’t have him coming home too early, could I? Now, as promised, I have a few paragraphs from the book to share with you! Be sure to check back tomorrow to hear from Jasmine & Jayden. Any questions you have for any of the characters? Leave them in the comments!

***

In the books, he always pictured the area within the walls of Feldall as a small enclosure, but the understatement astounded him. The Keep sat on the top of a hill, and from his vantage point on the stoop, he could see the whole thatch-roofed village stretched out below.

“Incredible,” he murmured in wide-eyed wonder.

Barracks and cottages, shops and training yards, and beyond the gates more houses still, with acres and acres of tilled fields as far as he could see. Too bad they were brown and lifeless from the drought.

Feeling guilty, he allowed Brady to lead him down the long line of stone stairs and over the bridge to the courtyard itself. Under the afternoon sun and falling leaves of autumn- touched trees, crowds of people hurried among the horseshoe of shops in the centre of the square.

The bustle of activity and hum of chatter filled Jeff’s senses. He closed his eyes to absorb the sounds and smells, and the chill of autumn air as it brushed over his skin. Another set of shivers ran down his spine at the wonder of his being here at all. Here, standing the middle of this invented world, where it no longer mattered whether he was dreaming or insane. Either way — miracle of miracles — he was in within the pages of his own novel.

Evensong: The Humble Beginnings

For today, to continue with my EVENSONG IS A REAL LIVE BOOK celebration, I want to offer the original flash fiction piece that inspired the novel. Thanks to a prompt at Devin O’Branagan’s writing forum, Evensong became what it is today. The book that eats brains.

All right, this post is cheating. I’m not going to deny it. But I have 2 reasons for re-posting it.

1) I like it

2) To prepare for next week’s posts, I have to go back through the notes I took between the flash piece and the novel. As it happens, I carried out interviews with all of my characters before I got to work.  I hadn’t planned to share them–some were like pulling teeth to get more than a glare out of these people. Those of you who’ve already read Evensong will know who I mean–but there’s too much goodness to keep them locked away. Unfortunately, the interviews are recorded and need to be transcribed. As such, they won’t be posted until next week. But the schedule will be as follows:

Monday: Jeff

Tuesday: Jasmine Feldall and Jayden Feldall

Wednesday: Maggie the enchantress

Thursday: Brady and Corey (Yes, that’s right. In ONE room!)

Friday: Well .. I’ll keep that a surprise for now. I can’t guarantee the recording will still work. It’s possible they’ve warped it all into static. Can’t trust them as far as… anyway

And who knows — there may be a few paragraphs from the book to tie in with each of these interviews. *shrug* If you’re interested.

Also a reminder to head over to The Gal in the Blue Mask to win a chance a free e-copy! Thanks again to Meghan H for hosting!

Now: THE FLASH FICTION PIECE

Jeff opened his eyes and blinked a few times to clear the crustiness. With a sleep-addled brain he took in his surroundings, and it was only after the third pass over the walls and furniture that he realised he was not in the room where he’d gone to bed.

“What the…” he murmured.

“Ah, so he finally wakes,” a bemused male voice spoke on his left.

“About time,” a female voice added on his right.

Jeff blinked again and turned his head first to one, and then the other. Both shared the same blond hair and green eyes, both with the same dry expression.  She was leaning back against the wall in a green dress belted at the waist, spinning a knife in her hands; he was standing with his arms crossed in matching tunic and hose. They both look very familiar, but he had no idea who they were.

“Oh look, he’s confused,” the woman said.

“Shocking,” the man answered.

“Who are you?” Jeff demanded, sitting up and pulling the sheets to his chest as if they would protect him.

“I’m not sure whether we should be offended or unsurprised that you don’t recognize us,” the man said.

“Obviously, though, we’ve found the problem,” the woman grimaced. “After all, no one should know us better than you, Jeff.”

“What problem? What are you talking about? Who are you people?”

The other two exchanged a glance and stared back at him, resignation on their faces, predicting his reaction. “Jasmine and Jared of House Feldall,” the woman answered.

Jeff laughed. “Nice. I don’t know who planned this, but they cast you well.” Some practical joke. Was it April Fools? He threw back the covers and his feet hit dirt floor. He frowned. The joke should have ended at these two, but…he turned to inspect the bedframe.

“Walnut with painted ivy engraving,” Jared said, bored. “We don’t have time for you to figure it out. We need to talk.”

“But it’s…”

“Impossible. We get it,” Jasmine finished.

“You’re…”

“Your characters, we know. You are in Andvell. No, this is not a dream. No, you’re not crazy. Maggie summoned you and we were asked to talk to you.”

“Maggie,” Jeff mumbled, picturing the wizened crone he had created who served as the House’s enchantress. He dropped back on the bed. This was insane. But the ewer on the dresser with the braided pattern, just as he described it. This was too elaborate for a joke – the entire scene was the guest bedroom of Evensong. “Let’s pretend for a moment I buy this. What did you want to talk about? Rafe giving you trouble?” He posed the question with a laugh, but Jasmine’s reaction cut the smile from his face.

“Rafe is hardly the problem,” Jasmine replied, cutting to the heart of the matter. She pushed away from the wall and pulled up a chair. “The problem is your plot. It makes no sense. A year ago, Jared and I killed Raul and the whole village celebrated that he was gone for good. Now he suddenly has a son we need to contend with? He never had a son.”

“I—”

“And now we’re being pushed to kill this boy, but so far Rafe has done nothing but pace around Fort Artura. What is our motivation other than his blood?”

“Then there’s Christoph. The blacksmith? He woke up the other day with complete archery training and wants to know why he needs a bow.”

Jasmine caught Jeff’s eye. “Look, we know you’re trying hard, but this isn’t going well. It’s like you’re making things up as they go along without any reference to what came before. We’ve put up with the story so far, but you crossed the line with my marrying Corey. Four months ago I was engaged to Brady. I like Brady. Corey smells of cheese. You said that.”

Jeff gathered his thoughts, overwhelmed. “I was writing based on reader suggestion. They wanted a little more drama, more twists and surprises. They liked Raul as a villain and were upset when he died.” Frustration and irritation bubbled in Jeff’s chest. How dare his own characters argue with him?

“Readers will only get you so far, Jeff,” Jasmine soothed. “All of them want something different. All we want is for our lives to be consistent. We don’t enjoy surprises that come out of nowhere.”

Jeff’s shoulders slumped. He’d been stuck for a few days on a reason for the Feldall siblings to go after Rafe, so he knew these two were right.

“We’re only trying to help,” Jared said. “But if you could throw me Tania’s way….And I wouldn’t mind a new sword.”

“Don’t be greedy,” Jasmine scolded her brother. “I’d be happy if our enemy was someone worth fighting. And if I didn’t have to marry Corey.”

Jeff ran his hand through his hair, thinking. “Maybe Rafe could be Raul’s…disciple? Someone he mentored? Either out for revenge or to fill the power vacuum?”

“Better,” Jared nodded.

“And maybe you marry Corey, but since you’re away from home most of the time…” Jeff continued, encouraged.

“No.” Jasmine left no room for discussion.

Jeff sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Fine. I’ll figure something out.”

“Good,” Jared approved. “Now come on. Tania cooked up some venison this morning.”

Jeff’s eyebrows rose. “Tania cooks?”

Jared’s eyebrow rose. “She’s only the best in the province.”

Jeff shook his head again. How was there so much he didn’t know about the people he had created? Inwardly he groaned. This would mean rewrites.

Cover Reveal: EVENSONG

I’ve done many cover reveal posts for fellow authors in the past and I always love how exciting they are. The first visible sign that it’s real. That in a few more days, it will actually exist in your hands. The Greylands reveal was even more excited for me because it was the first book with my name on it. So … you can imagine my excitement right here and now about the Evensong cover reveal.

Just in time for the planned February 10, 2014 release date … the cover!!

Big thank you to Kevin Lister & Colin F Barnes for the art & design.

Big thank you to Kevin Lester & Colin F Barnes for the art & design.

 Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

Interested in first grab at Evensong at the sale price? Future promotions, news & announcements? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

Next week: an excerpt …