Interview with @0tralala #DoctorWho #TheWomenwhoLived #doctorwhoislife #audiobooks #doctorwhobooks @DrWhoOnline @bbcdoctorwho @bigfinish @ChristelDee @Jake_Dudman_ @DWMtweets @DWBBCBooks

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I had the ultimate pleasure of interviewing Simon while I was recovering from multiple surgeries. We chatted about Doctor Who, Big Finish, writing for audio, and especially, his new book, The Women Who Lived: Amazing Tales for Future Time Lords!

Question 1) For those who aren’t familiar with you, would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

Simon: Hello, I’m Simon Guerrier and I’ve been a freelance writer since 2002 because I am very old. I have written Doctor Who books and comics and audio plays and DVD documentaries, and also non-Doctor Who books and radio documentaries and short films and things.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

Simon: My first memory of anything is the cliffhanger of part one of Full Circle in 1980, with the Fourth Doctor and K9 crouched among the reeds watching the Marshmen emerge from a swamp. But at the end of Logopolis(1981), when the Doctor regenerated, my elder brother gave me his copy of The Doctor Who Monster Book, which explained about there being other Doctors and gave a history of the series in a really exciting, straightforward style. And that’s what made me a fan.

Question 3) Who would you consider to be your
Doctor?

2f70c0je0az1000Simon: I like them all, but because Tom Baker was the Doctor when I started I suppose I think of him as the definitive one.

 


Question 4)
Congratulations on the publication of The Women Who Lived: Amazing Tales for Future Time Lords! Tell me, how that opportunity come about?

DoByW-QXkAE_m18Simon: It was all Christel’s idea, and when she first approached me I thought she just wanted some help with how to pitch it to BBC Books. I thought it was a brilliant idea with lots of potential, so I was very happy to do that – and then delighted when I realized she wanted me as her assistant all the way through.

Question 5) What kind of research is required for a project like that?

Simon: I know Doctor Who pretty well – I’ve seen all the existing episodes and listened to the soundtracks of the 97 missing ones, and I’ve read and written lots of books and magazine articles about the series. But you still need to check details, and look for new things that other people haven’t picked up on. So I watched a lot of episodes again, with my notebook in hand. For example, it was really interesting to watch the very first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child, and think about how events played out from the perspective of one of the supporting characters – a woman called Hur. I’ve seen that story lots of times since it was repeated in 1981, but watching it from Hur’s point of view made it seem new.

For some of the characters, I also had to do some digging into real history – the history of the Womens’ Volunteer Reserve in the First World War for Lady Jennifer Buckingham (from 1969 story The War Games) and first-hand accounts of the court of Emperor Nero for Locusta (from 1965 story The Romans). I really enjoyed doing that.

Question 6) How challenging is it to accurately write these characters to fit with canon?

Simon: It’s a lot of checking details against what’s in the TV episodes. So a lot of putting on the DVD and fast-forwarding to the key moments to double-check exactly what happened.

Question 7) What story would you consider your favorite and why?

Simon: Impossible to choose! But the first one I thought of when you asked is The Five Doctors, from 1983, which makes me very happy.

Question 8) I understand you have also done work with Doctor Who comics. Can you describe the difference in the process of writing for a comic versus a novel?

Simon: I think the main difference is in how you tell the story – the mechanics of getting the plot across in five to seven panels per page, with a mini-cliffhanger at the end of each page, and the captions and dialogue kept as short and exciting as possible. Comics are all about concise story-telling. You still want a novel to be exciting, with plenty of jeopardy and weirdness to keep people reading, but you’ve more space to breathe.

Question 9) Turns out, we both have something in common — writing for Matt Smith! Where did the inspiration come for your story for Big Finish’s The Eleventh Chronicles – The Top of the Tree?

images.jpegSimon: Matt Fitton asked me to write a story with Danny Horn returning as Kazran, so I rewatched A Christmas Carol and had a think. My original idea was to do one of the stories we glimpse on screen – him and Abigail at the pyramids, maybe. But Matt pointed out that that might be tricky without Katherine Jenkins returning as Abigail – which sadly wasn’t an option for this story. So it had to be just Kazran. I wanted it to be directly relevant to him, so I started to think about the history of his people on the planet Ember, or how they came to settle there.

Then I was thinking about an interview with Steven Moffat where he talked about not liking simplistic “evil” baddies in stories, and because I was trying to write a story in his mindset, I used that. So the antagonist in my story was going to be a place – somewhere difficult and puzzling but not evil. And then I remembered an idea I’d had ages ago about an enormous tree. So I put all my loose ideas together…

Question 10) Having that I have worked independently with voice actors, is the process different when working with Big Finish? For example, did you get to work with any of the actors (i.e. Jacob Dudman) or do you just write your part and producers do everything else?

Simon: When I wrote The Top of The Tree, it was going to be done by Nicholas Briggs – 41153313._UY630_SR1200,630_.jpgwho’d already done the Ninth Doctor set, which was the model I was meant to follow. I’ve known and worked with Nick for years, so my script was littered with things I thought might amuse him. For example, I had to indicate when he had to change voice, so paragraphs would begin (AS NARRATOR) or (AS DOCTOR). And when there’s the old woman in the tribe, I put (AS EILEEN WAY) – a brilliant actress who is in some old Doctor Who stories.

When I got notes from Matt Fitton, he explained that Jake was doing the story, and we couldn’t be sure he’d know who Eileen Way was. So I had to go through and adjust all my stupid jokes for Nick. Which made the script better and less self-indulgent. (Nick might have cut them anyway!)

jakedudman-bigfinish-teneighty-soundhouseBut working with Jake was extraordinary. I’d not met him before I arrived at the studio, though I’d seen his videos online. It was a real pleasure to sit in the back of the studio and watch him and Danny, and director Helen Goldwyn, bring it all to life. It was a really good day.


Question 11) Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that I haven’t already discussed?
 

Simon: I don’t think so.

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?

Simon: Right now, I’m making a documentary for BBC Radio 3 about women from the north of England who funded archaeology in Egypt in the late nineteenth-century. That should be broadcast in February. I’m also writing lots for Doctor Who Magazine and Doctor Who Figurine Collection. And some other bits and pieces I can’t talk about just yet. 

Question 13) How can others find out more about you and your work?

I’m @0tralala on Twitter and Instagram, and have a blog at http://0tralala.blogspot.com. But you can google me for details about all the stuff I’ve written. I’m old so there’s quite a lot of it, sorry.

Mackenzie: Thank you, Simon, for this delightful interview. Everyone, please remember to check out his blog and other works!

And USA fans, you can still pre-order The Women Who Lived by clicking the link.

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Interview with @ChrisWalkerT #MattSmith #theriteofwands #audiobooks #vo #DavidTennant #DoctorWho #TuesdayTeaser #doctorwhoislife @DrWhoOnline @FindawayVoices @smith_lynne

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In this special edition of Time And Relative Developments In Stories, I have invited my incredible voice actor/narrator, Chris Walker-Thomson, from The Rite of Wands audiobook, coming out later this month. He’s here to talk about voice acting, Doctor Who, Big Finish, Matt Smith, and especially, my book, The Rite of Wands.

Question 1) What got you interested in voice acting?

thumbnailI’ve always had a thing for putting on voices. Earliest memory I have is of me putting on a different voice for each toy I played with, so they’d converse on whatever adventure I’d be putting them through. As they years went on, I discovered impressions – particularly Dead Ringer’s Jon Culshaw – and ended up emulating people around me. So it all grew from that really, until finally, I went professional.

Question 2) What was it that got you your first “big” break?

61C9I66yXjL._SX342_There’s a few that I considered my “big” break until something even bigger happened. I did a lot of Doctor Who fan audio dramas, doing my performance as Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor, which got a lot of attention. But one day I was asked to do the audiobook for City Of The Gods: Forgotten, which gave my first official credit and paid work that really pushed me into being a working actor. So I’m immensely grateful for them giving me a shot, and setting me on my way.

Question 3) Where you would suggest someone brand new into voice acting start to find job opportunities?

I’ve found websites like Mandy.com, or Findaway very good. There are many others out there, some low-paid, some not, but experience is key. I started small, and am still small in comparison to others, but experience is great and attracts more interest. And never be ashamed to ask to be paid.

Question 4) Do you enjoy working better independently or in a studio environment like Big Finish, and why?

Oh, a studio environment for sure! I’m an actor foremost. As great as putting on voices is, and you can do so independently, to have someone to bounce off is such a thrill and really improves the performance. Even when it comes to Pixar films or any animation, they do feed the lines to the actor. Plus, I like the energy. Independently can get quite lonely, tiring, and if you work from home, you get a bit of cabin fever from not going out.

Question 5) How did you first come across The Rite of Wands?

doctorwhoonline.pngAgain, I owe thanks to the Doctor Who fan world. I have got to know a lot of people in the community, such as people behind big blogging sites such as Sebastian J Brook from Dr Who Online. Seb mentioned that an author friend (Mackenzie) was having trouble with her book, as the person who was meant to be doing it had to pull out due to other commitments, leaving her in the lurch. So, he suggested myself.

I was a bit down at this point. It had been months since my last job, and any job, so I was thinking of calling it a day. But on a whim, I dropped an email to Mackenzie and she got back asking me to audition. I was a bit late to doing the audition, but I did it, sent it off and left it as that. Then, in early January, I got an email from Mackenzie offering me the gig. Hilariously it came at the same time I also got a part-time job offer, so like they say about buses.

Question 6) What kind of research did you have to do to prepare for recording?

template-4-12172901503297868-largeAlthough I do record reading off a tablet (to avoid paper turning sound, etc.), I don’t find it a great way to read. Like everyone who has ever owned a Kindle says: they actually prefer reading a physical book in their hands. So, I asked nicely if I could get a copy to read at my leisure, which Mackenzie was very kind to send me with a signed message within. For someone who does audiobooks, you’d be surprised to hear that I don’t really take the time out to read books as much as I probably should – mostly because it takes time out of the day. But, I found myself engrossed in it and really finding it difficult to put it down, so I knew this was a good book if it managed to hook me in. Afterwards, I went over it again and made notes.

But the research I had to focus on was my performance of the main character, Mierta McKinnon, which Mackenzie had noted as “I wrote it with Matt Smith in mind”. I could do a reasonable impersonation of Matt Smith beforehand, but I needed a refresher course, so I started a marathon of his Doctor Who episodes to let it sink in. The rest of the voices I’d pieced together, but Mierta’s voice took some time to prepare.

Question 7) Knowing the history of the project being passed around multiple narrators, did you feel any extra pressure before recording it?

Eleventh_Doctor_(Doctor_Who)Only that the previous narrator was better at doing a Matt Smith impression than I was! So I kept saying “it’s not exactly right, but the best I can muster”, to which Mackenzie was immensely happy with my effort anyway, so I didn’t need to worry. So aside from that, I didn’t have any pressure. It was quite fun, until I got the email after I’d finished recording it, saying “we’ve redrafted the book”, and prompting me to redo it all from scratch. But I think it sounds better than it did previously, especially my Smith’ voice for Mierta.

And, here’s a little tease of the audiobook, releasing in the next couple of weeks!

Question 8) Okay, be honest. How many times did you have to practice saying “Emaculavi el curpas y mehartis” before you got it right? LOL!

Too many to count! Quite a few spells got me frustrated. Especially as they’re not spelt accordingly due to their country’s origin, or the pronunciation guide in the book wasn’t exact. I’m all for learning new words, but wow. Ha.

Question 9) How do you go about deciding which voice to use for a character?

tumblr_mr4l73sHmL1surntbo1_1280It’s not a long process, I tend to read the dialogue and think, maybe this voice? Maybe later on I’ll change my mind, and go back to redo it. Orlynd was Scottish, which wasn’t my best accent, or one I’d spent a while working on. So I found the root of the voice in my memory as a scatty, young David Tennant, and just went from there. I found it also helped to jog the accent by swearing between lines of dialogue, just to really get the Scottish tone right. Then after a while it just settled in, and I can now talk fluently. The rest of the voices just seemed right.

Question 10) Did anything in particular surprise you while you while performing?

Only that my neighbours really couldn’t care less as to what I was doing. Either they’d get out a pneumatic drill, or they’d completely ignore my dying screams. Probably used to my madness at this point.

Question 11) Fans of the series tend to favour the character, Mierta, however, from recent discussions, I’ve learned Orlynd is your favourite character. What is it about him that you like so much?

Well, I just think Mierta grows up to be a dick, ha. Orlynd has me feeling sorry for him from the first time we meet him in the book, and he’s stuck in a place he’s despised, yet is “Aye yer Majesty” in a sad, yet shy tone. But as he progresses, he gets stronger and becomes more heroic. He even shouts at the King’s guards. It’s great character development, and a delight to play.

Question 12) What would you like to see happen in the series?

I’d like to see Orlynd and Deor become better friends as time goes on, and even more of Anya’s conniving. But, I’d also like to see Lochlann (Mierta’s brother) knock Mierta off his own pedestal. From what I’ve heard of what’s going to happen, it’s already ticked my boxes.

Question 13) How can others find out more about you?

My official website is www.chriswalkerthomson.com and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and such. I do keep it all updated if you’d like to follow me there?

Be sure to check back in the next few weeks for the official release of The Rite Of Wands on audiobook, performed by Chris Walker-Thomson.

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Interview with @MatthewJElliot1! @bigfinish @DoctorWho_BBCA @bbcdoctorwho @DWMtweets @SawbonesHex @GSear @MrHolness #DoctorWho #bigfinish #audiobooks #interview #doctorwhoislife

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Okay, this one I’ll admit I’ve been hanging onto for quite sometime, waiting for the perfect opportunity to post. And with it being 7 days till the new series of Doctor Who, now, is perfect.

Next up is the intriguing Matthew J. Elliot, an audio scriptwriter for Big Finish Productions. Today he’s here to discuss Doctor Who, the 6th Doctor, and his compelling audio drama The Lure of The Nomad.

Welcome!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

I’m from the North-West of England. It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from where I live.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

I’ve been aware of Who ever since the Pertwee era. I have memories of the original broadcast of The Sea Devils, and of Tom Baker’s first story. The Hinchcliffe era frightened the bejeezus out of me, and eventually scared me away. I returned to the show infrequently, but I didn’t become a regular viewer again until Destiny of the Daleks.

Question 3) Who is your Doctor?

DOCTOR WHO: VENGEANCE ON VAROS: GENERICThe Sixth. I grew up with the Third and Fourth, spent my teenage years watching the Fifth, but from the very beginning of The Twin Dilemma, the Sixth seemed like the perfect distillation of everything I’d come to expect from the Time Lord. Intelligent, childish, gentle, cranky, egotistical and selfless. He is, to me, the Doctor’s Doctor.

Question 4) Congratulations on the release of The Lure of The Nomad from Big Finish Productions. How did this opportunity come about?

511sPpuXZBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_It was by no means an overnight thing. I’d been writing for American radio for about 15 years, and sending CDs of my stuff to Big Finish without any response for about ten. It was when I wrote the book Lost in Time and Space (soon to be republished by Telos!) that I finally got their attention and was asked to submit some possible plotlines for a thirty-minute episode to be included on the You Are the Doctor release. Unfortunately, that e-mail went straight into my junk folder without my ever seeing it! Thank God they wrote again to ask why I hadn’t replied.

Question 5) I’m really interested in the whole behind-the-scene process. Do you approach Big Finish with a story idea, or do they contact you and state they want you to write a story for such-as-such Doctor?

thAs a relative newbie in the Big Finish world, it’s maybe different for me than for more established writers. I’m lucky to have had several offers in the past few years, although I recently contacted a script editor about an idea that had been kicking around in my head. You have to be aware, however, that the script editors have commissioned work for several years in advance; you can only hope that they’ll file your idea away and come back to it when a gap opens up in the schedule.

Question 6) What inspired you to write this story?

The only thing I was initially told was that a solo Sixth Doctor was required. A lot of inspiration came from watching the most recent Alien movie. It concerned a colony ship, where the crew had, as usual, placed themselves in suspended animation. I began to wonder whether there might not be a more efficient way of cutting the time down, perhaps by having time running at different rates inside and outside the ship.

Question 7) How did you prepare to write for Colin Baker’s Doctor?

I’ve been preparing for years! My Sixth Doctor DVD collection (and, before that, my video collection) has been watched, re-watched and then re-watched to the power of fifty! In this particular instance, though, I had The Two Doctors playing as I wrote, to try and capture the feel of the era. I became intrigued by Dastari’s line about several Androgums being sent back in time and never recovered. I wonder what became of them. There’s a Sweeney Todd tale there, waiting to be told…

Question 8) The plot twist involving the character Mathew Sharpe is one of the best I have heard in a Big Finish audio. Did you build the story around that twist or did that come about as you were writing the story?

William_Riker,_2383Once I was putting my ideas together, I was informed by the script editor that a temporary companion would be required, with the emphasis on “temporary.” By lucky coincidence, I was already thinking along the same lines, drawing inspiration from an episode of Star Trek: TNG, in which the characters all awaken with amnesia and a new character has suddenly cropped up, one whom they all assume is just another crewmember, but who turns out to be an alien interloper. Also, Riker and Ensign Ro totally do it, but that’s unrelated to my story. Mathew Sharpe was originally Daniel Speedwell, but there was a Daniel in something else Big Finish had coming up, so a change of name was necessary. Alan Barnes was very keen that it be a two-syllable biblical name. “Judas” was obviously a little too on the nose, and during our e-mail exchanges, he became very keen on the name “Matthew.” Obviously, I didn’t want people to think I was so egotistical as to name the Doctor’s companion after myself, which is why he’s very insistent that it’s spelled with one “t.”

Question 9) Have you written for other Doctors before, and if so, who is your favorite to write for?

I’ve written Dead to the World, Maker of Demons and The Silurian Candidate for the Seventh Doctor, Zaltys for the Fifth and Backtrack for the Tenth. Dead to the World, which was essentially my audition piece, was selected out of a number of plotlines as one that would suit the planned story arc in which the TARDIS was searching for Mel without the Doctor’s knowledge.

dwmr216_makerofdemons_1417_cover_mediumFor Maker of Demons, I was simply presented with the current team of the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Mel, and asked to devise a plot, which turned out to be a more complicated matter than I anticipated. My original idea was some akin to Enemy of the World and The Armageddon Factor, but lacked a hook, and – equally importantly in Who – any monsters. It was script editor Alan Barnes who suggested The Tempest as a possible source of inspiration, and the story changed noticeably as a consequence. Unfortunately, in my interview at the end of the CD, I unintentionally gave listeners the impression that I’d written an unsatisfactory script in its entirety and had to go back to square one. That certainly wasn’t the case – Big Finish wouldn’t allow me to write one word unless the proposal met with their approval. It was the proposal that was reworked, not the script.

For Zaltys (originally entitled The Feast of Beltane, until I had to admit there was no good reason why the planet in the story should be named Beltane), I was again given the lineup – The Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan – and a notion of the placement within established continuity. I threw a few ideas at Alan, and he suggested that a couple of them could be melded together to make one whole adventure.

bfpdwcd229_the_silurian_candidate_cd_dps1_cover_mediumThe Silurian Candidate was the first story where I had a more detailed recipe – I had to include the Silurians, and the story couldn’t take place in the present day. Straight away, I suggested a post-war Jamaica setting, in which the Doctor would encounter a young Ian Fleming, but this was nixed before I even came up with a story. For one thing, the tropical setting was too similar to the Sixth Doctor audio Bloodtide. In the end, the professional conspiracy theorists I’d used as an element in Maker of Demons provided the answer: what if the world really was run by lizard-people, and those lizard-people happened to be the Silurians?

Favourite to write for? Colin, but there are still a few Doctors out there I haven’t tackled yet.

Question 10) Do you have a favorite story you have written?

thelureofthenomad_image_mediumProbably The Lure Of The Nomad, because it’s structured like a detective story (which is my natural environment), and all the pieces fit together so well. I wish that Maker of Demons got more love. Perhaps I’m prejudiced because it was my first four-parter, but I feel there’s a lot of good stuff in there. My colleague and occasional co-writer Ian Potter says it feels as though I feared I might never get another chance to write for Who, so I put as much in there as I could, and that’s a fair observation. Is the mention of the Fourth Doctor’s comic strip companion Sharon Davies necessary? Not in the least. Am I glad I included it? Hell, yeah.

Question 11) What is the biggest challenge writing for an audio production versus print?

I’ve written three hundred radio dramas, so maybe for me the question should be the challenges of print versus audio. The real challenge is that what one audio production company wants might be very different from what another requires. It’s necessary not to be too precious, therefore, in order to meet their demands and get your work produced. Any audio production is, by its nature, a collaborative venture. Producers and script editors have their requirements, the BBC is, by necessity, protective of its product, and understandably there are elements that won’t make it into the script.    

Question 12) What can we expect from you in the future?  

BBC_Radio_Collection_Further_Adventures_cassette_coverWell, the inevitability of death haunts us all. Before that, I’m adapting a number of classic children’s novels for US radio, as well as writing a serial entitled The Autumn of Terror for the long-running American series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. As you can probably guess from the title, this story involves Holmes’ investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders, and involves more research than I’ve done at any time for anything.

And, of course, there’s RiffTrax, the online comedy experience created by the makers of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’ve been writing and performing material for them for the past ten years, most recently with the assistance of fellow Big Finish writer Ian Potter.

Question 13) How can others find out more about you and your work?

Imagination Theater, the Seattle-based company who produce The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (and all the other series for which I’ve written over the last 20 years) has a YouTube channel, where episodes can be heard every week. You can also find my author’s page on Amazon, and purchase – among other things – my two authorised spinoff novels, Big Trouble in Mother Russia and Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England. Both are, of course, continuations of the cult movie, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. No, wait, I mean Big Trouble in Little China. Oh, and you could even visit RiffTrax.com and download everything with my name on it. That would be very generous of you, and a reminder of how nice it is to be wanted.   

 

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Book Spotlight: A Bond of Swords and Sacrifice Cove @kytomlinson #newrelease #giveaway #fantasy #ya #dragons

Title: A Bond of Swords and Sacrifice (Book Four: The Goddess and the Guardians series)

Author: Karen Tomlinson

Release Date: 15th December 2018

Blurb:

Sometimes winning means losing EVERYTHING.

Reeling from their encounter with the God of Chaos, Diamond and Eryanth Arjuno, the true heirs of the Avalonian crown, strive to rekindle their broken bonds and heal their shattered hearts.

2017-234-Karen-Tomlinson-B04-copyBut the machinations of war are never simple. Challenges must be faced and threat hovers ever closer as painful truths are revealed and blood ties are uncovered.

No longer an innocent village girl but a fierce and powerful queen, Diamond will fight for those she loves. She will wage war for her people and battle for the survival of every soul in the Eight Kingdoms. But she soon discovers destiny will exact a high price. If she cannot accept the cost to her heart and soul, the Eight Kingdoms—and those dearest to her, will be doomed for eternity.

Prepare yourself for magical lands, heart pounding battle, sailing through vast oceans and flying with fierce dragons. You’ll be pushed to your limits and sucked back in for this final, breathtaking adventure in The Goddess and the Guardians series. It’s the epic conclusion you never knew you were waiting for.

Author Bio:

DSC02261Karen Tomlinson is the USA Today Bestselling author of The Goddess and the Guardians YA fantasy books.

Karen adores books and will read any genre that catches her eye. She was whisked away by fairies as a child, has been a dragon rider and grew up learning to fight. (This bit’s true!) She likes nothing better than an epic fantasy full of hot warriors and romance especially when it is set in a magical and dangerous world.

Karen lives in Derbyshire, England, (think Mr Darcy territory) with her husband, twin girls and her dalmatian, Poppy. When she is not busy writing, reading (or eating cake and drinking coffee) Karen likes to keep active. She has been practicing Shotokan karate since being thirteen, loves running, mountain biking and walking in the hills with her family.

Pre-Order Link:

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  mybook.to/swordsandsacrifice 

Social Media:

Website: www.karentomlinson.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/karen-tomlinson

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kytomlinson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karentomlinsonauthor

Facebook Page: Facebook page

Facebook Street Team: Facebook street team

Contests:

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Book Spotlight & Cover Reveal: Severed Veil @simmeringmind #fantasy #scifi #shortstories #poetry #dragons #Fridayfeature

Severed Veil coverBlurb

A dream-traveling boy haunted by a broken girl. A cursed warrior, weary of bloodshed. A princess who battles dragons in an enchanted slumber. A treacherous graveyard in the stars.

From Bethany A. Jennings—author of Threadbare and Dragon Lyric—come twelve mesmerizing short works of poetry and prose that boldly pierce the shadows. Severed Veil contains a selection of fantasy, sci-fi, and poetry, including “Dreamskip,” the winner of an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future Contest in 2018.

Illustrated with ethereal pencil sketches by artist Julia Busko, these tales dance on the delicate rift between life and death, waking and dreams.

Author Bio:DoAAw5CWkAAyy0G

Bethany A. Jennings is a YA fantasy author, a sandwich aficionado, and forever a night owl. She is endlessly passionate about the power of fiction to shape hearts and cultures and unveil hidden realities. Born in sunny SoCal, Bethany now lives in New England with her husband, four kids, zero pets, and a large and growing collection of imaginary friends.

Social Media Links:

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Author Interview: J.E. Reed #fantasy #newrelease #runningwiththewolves @J_E_Reed_author @bhcpressbooks

Today I’m fortunate to present J.E. Reed author of Running with the Wolves.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from? 

JE_ReedI live on the outskirts of Cincinnati, OH.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story? 

Character. I love it when a story develops a character through adversity. Watching as someone grows up or grows stronger and gets through whatever they are facing is inspiring and I never get tired of it.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book? 

I’ve always had a passion for writing, but oddly enough it was gaming that inspired my first published work. The new craze is virtual reality and we’ve seen movies/books that depict people in that environment, but the technology is always involved. I wanted to create a story where people are trapped in a sort of gaming world, but without technology’s interference. Kind of ironic, I know.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

Messily organized. I’m a pantzer, which means I don’t outline and just write on the fly. My characters determine the direction of the story. Naturally, this has its draw backs as I’m forced to write more drafts to get everything right, but I feel like the story has better flow when I just let my imagination take over. I strive to write 3000 words a day when I’m working through a draft.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

Sticky notes, they’re everywhere.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book. 

Running with the Wolves is the title of my fantasy debut novel and I’m very excited to share it with the world.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book? 

Running with the Wolves has a medieval setting. Due to this I’ve done research on that era, but I’ve also done a lot of research on various survival methods and tools. One of the more interesting things I learned was how to pick up someone who is dead weight. Have you ever tried to pick someone up from the ground? It’s hard and if you’re in a situation where you have to move fast, it creates a problem. There is a roll technique that enables you to grab the hurt/unconscious individual and stand with them on your shoulders. Yes, I’ve practiced this haha. You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPrATJ-u5Rg

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share? 

Chapter 1

Unknown

Realm: 1

Day: 1

Running_With_the_Wolves_JE_Reed.jpg

Lying in bed, the chatter caused her mind to stir from that blissful place that lingers on the edge of dreams. It was too loud, too early. She rolled over, the fog slowly clearing as voices turned to song, birds greeting the morning sun. Strange how they’d never woken her before.

She groaned, reaching for a pillow, but something stung her fingertip, and she jolted. A small droplet of blood formed on the tip of her index finger. Her heart thundered as she looked at the culprit and then her surroundings.

This wasn’t her room.

Instead of cool sheets and a soft bed, she lay on dead leaves and grass, the musty forest scent filling her nostrils. White walls were replaced by an endless array of trees that blotted out the sun, save for a few rays that fought their way through.

 

 

She blinked, pushing herself up.

Am I still dreaming?

Her finger pulsed as she scanned the vicinity, and fear crawled into her mind.

Nothing.

No fire, no tent or tracks. Nothing that indicated civilization existed.

Surely someone had to be here, someone could explain—wait, had she been abducted?

Who would want to kidnap her? Why wasn’t she bound if that were the case? The list of reasons for waking in the middle of a forest were slim. Abduction, a lapse in memory, a vacation gone horribly wrong.

She stood, using a tree for support, but dizziness rocked her back. She leaned her head against the trunk, waiting for the spell to pass.

Small specks flew across her vision. Abduction seemed the most likely of scenarios, but where were her captors? Could a drug explain her lapse in memory?

The last thing she could recall was dressing for bed. The girl examined herself, pleased to find shorts and a tee-shirt rather than pajamas. Brown hair hung loose around tan shoulders, and nothing around her wrists indicated she’d been bound. The only odd possession she carried was a little bracelet with leather threaded around a small blue stone. White veins traced a sky-colored surface like cracks of lightning.

Unease settled in her gut at the name etched on its surface.

Kiuno

It was a surrogate name. Something she used for gaming and online activities. Few knew her—

She paused. Her name. She couldn’t remember her name…

What’s going on?

Her throat tightened as she slumped against the tree again, fighting back tears. She was alone and didn’t know her own name. What were the odds?

She took a deep breath, trying to steady her racing heart.

Stay calm.

A forest in mid-summer wasn’t so bad.

Summer? Wasn’t it only January?

Her heart pounded faster as she realized one of two possibilities. Either time had passed without her knowledge, or she was further from home than she imagined.

Calm down. Think.

Summer, okay. Food would be easy. She’d a spent a lot of time camping and experimented with a few survival techniques. That would help as long as she could remember them.

She glanced back at the name on her wrist. She tried to picture her husband calling when dinner was ready or when he needed her to fetch something from the house, but every time the recollection came close it eased away again. Like a cloud hanging over her mind. Maybe she’d recall it later. For now, Kiuno would have to do.

Knee-high foliage surrounded large trees, and fur covered vines snaked their way up the trunks. Thick air caused sweat to roll down her neck. She needed to find water.

Kiuno made her way through the foreign forest and allowed herself to become lost in its beauty. Heavy, snarled roots spread across the ground, connecting each tree in an endless network. Small animals eyed her with curiosity before scurrying beneath the brush.

It would have been the perfect painting.

Hours passed, and the temperature continued to rise as mosquitoes and other insects nipped at her skin. Beauty was turning to nightmare.

Kiuno stopped to catch her breath and plopped on a fallen log. Sweat rolled down her face as she tried to lift her hair for some relief. She was no stranger to the outdoors, but didn’t remember camping ever being so miserable.

She looked at the sun. Had someone noticed her missing yet? Surely her boss would call home regarding her absence. Her husband would know something was up.

Standing, she took another breath, wiped the sweat from her brow and started walking again, the dry patch in her throat a nagging reminder. Using the tree roots, Kiuno slid down a small hill and finally heard the sound she’d been searching for. Running water.

She made her way around a few more trees to find clear water cascading down a rocky cliff that stood twice the size of any person. The river stretched twenty feet across and flowed with a steady pace. Thick brush and cattail lined the bank, and a large piece of rock lay just below the falls, its previous fixture visible above.

Rushing to the water’s edge, Kiuno cupped her hands, the cool liquid easing her scratchy throat. She splashed more on her legs to ease the itchy bites.

Deep colored pebbles lined the river bank with small water plants growing between them. Little fish played among the foliage and larger stones. If she could catch one that would resolve her growling stomach.

Before worrying too much about food, Kiuno hoisted herself onto the fallen rock, slipping a few times on the green moss. She looked down river, hoping for some sign of civilization, but it only renewed her sense of dread. Forest extended for miles.

Her stomach flipped, and she sank down, drawing her knees into her chest.

Trapped. Alone.

Kiuno stayed there for some time wrestling with ideas. She had water, first priority taken care of. The river would provide food, and it wasn’t as though she’d be there forever.

Despite some optimism, her nervousness grew with the looming shadows. Beings seemed to form and vanish as evening played on her fears. It was too late to build a fire, but at least a tree would be safer than the ground.

Glancing between branches, Kiuno found one that split, creating a nook just big enough for her to squeeze in. She rested her back against the biggest branch and watched the orange glow dip below the horizon. Her stomach growled, her skin itched, and every sound made her jump and recheck her surroundings. She curled into herself, trying to reason the shadows were nothing more than the reflections of trees.

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?   

Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Running with the Wolves and I hope to finish it as a trilogy. Beyond that I have ideas for dragons, kitsune and pirates. It’s just a matter of picking which one to work on first.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?  

A developmental editor. There is literally no better money spent. They’re not your friends and they know what to look for. A good editor will tell you what needs to be fixed and they aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings. You might think your book is good enough, but give it to a good developmental editor and they’ll make it shine.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books? 

Visit my publisher’s website www.bhcpress.com to learn more about me http://www.bhcpress.com/Author_J_E_Reed.html and Running with the Wolves http://www.bhcpress.com/Books_Reed_Running_With_the_Wolves.html

Love social media?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/J.E.Reed.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/J_E_Reed_author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jereed_kiuno/

 

Author Interview with J.W. Garrett, author of Remeon’s Destiny @garrettjlw @bhcpressbooks #ya #fantasy #scifi

Today I’m fortunate to present  J.W. Garrett, author of Remeon’s Destiny.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

DjMPNbfU8AIIWgtI live in the Jacksonville, FL area, but I’m originally from Lexington, VA.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

There are so many elements that need to be blended together to create a great story: fully developed characters with needs and desires, lots of conflict, and a strong emotional connection throughout the story especially.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

For as long as I can remember I’ve written, at first, poetry and short stories. Thomas, the main character in Remeon’s Destiny was inspired by my father, who also wrote poetry throughout his lifetime.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I set a writing goal for each day and write six days a week.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My characters routinely wake me up during the night, so when that happens I write, often late into the early morning. It can make for some really long days!

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

Remeons_Destiny_JW_Garrett_FC_WebRemeon’s Destiny; YA Fantasy / Sci fi. It’s the first in a series titled, Realms of Chaos.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I would say how emotionally attached you become to your characters and world. It’s a little disconcerting, especially to those around you, so I’ve been told…

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Link to blog post: https://bhcpresspublishing.com/2018/06/19/read-an-excerpt-remeons-destiny-by-j-w-garrett/

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, Book 2 in my YA fantasy series is in the editing process. I’ll begin plotting book 3 in the very near future.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Editing for sure! That extra set of eyes from a different perspective is a true gift!

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Visit me at my publisher’s website – link below to my author page

https://bit.do/Garrett-RemeonsDestiny-order

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/garrettjlw

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17913503.J_W_Garrett

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

Website: https://www.jwgarrett.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jlwgarrett