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My Interview With Deborah Jay!

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The lovely and talented Deborah Jay!

Today, I will be introducing you to one of my favourite people, Deborah Jay. I have reviewed both of her books here on my site, and am happy to have her visit with me. Deborah Jay is the author (so far, of course!) of two marvelous books, the most recent of which is Desprite Measures. Her earlier book, The Prince’s Man is, as Deborah so eloquently puts it, Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings. She is also the author of Desprite Measures, the first in The Caledonian Sprite Series a fantasy set in the area of Inverness, Scotland – and the holder of my own, personal “Best Cover Ever!” award!

But that isn’t all – Deborah also writes under the name Debby Lush, offering two must-have non-fiction books for the aspiring dressage competitor: The Successful Dressage Competitor: Everything You Need to Know about Competing in Dressage and The Building Blocks of Training: A Step-By-Step Guide to the Gymnastic Development of the Equine Athlete.

This fascinating woman is incredibly interesting. Have a read of our interview and I am sure you will agree!

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One of the things I get a kick out of when I read about you is your love of science fiction and fantasy “from birth.” So what was your favorite TV show, and how do your memories from that show help you write today?

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Now I have to go see if I can find it on Netflix!

Without doubt, Gerry Anderson’s UFO. It combined all my favourite elements – aliens, space travel and secrecy. For those who haven’t come across it, the premise was of an alien invasion by an advanced but dying race, visiting earth to harvest organs for transplant. Sometimes they’d take just the organs, sometimes whole people. The governments of the world wanted the whole thing kept secret, so the headquarters of SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation) were beneath a film studio – a great place to disguise strange comings and goings.

The space travel was only as far as Moonbase, but this was just a few years post the real moon landings, so a functioning lunar base was an exciting prospect.

Although I’ve moved into writing fantasy these days, my first love was science fiction, and for me this series had it all. The clandestine side in particular shows up in both my novels so far – the need to keep secrets from the general population is a theme that I like to play with, as it’s one I don’t really approve of!

Many writers take up the pen from a very early age. When did you first start writing stories?

I started writing stories down as soon as I mastered a reasonable ability to wield a pen. I remember dreaming them up and telling them verbally even before that. I tackled my first novel at age 9, and then wrote and sketched a comic book series for several editions. Sadly my artistic talents are minimal, so after a bit I went back to straightforward writing.

I grew up in an era before computers (makes me feel ancient!) so keyboard skills were not taught in general education, but with the idea that I wanted to be a writer I taught myself to touch type when I was 11 years old, although my first few manuscripts were written longhand as I didn’t own a typewriter.

 Let’s stay young (we all like that, right?) When you were a child you read voraciously. So tell me who were your favorite authors of the day and how do they influence you today?

Early on I read lots of space stories, borrowing extensively from the library. Probably my first series love would be E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s LENSMAN series – lots of action, subterfuge, space travel and heroic but vulnerable characters. I moved on to the SF ‘classics’ – Frank Herbert’s DUNE, which blew me away with its scope, Asimov’s FOUNDATION TRILOGY where I developed my abiding love for secrets within secrets, and his ROBOT series for their mix of futuristic setting and detective work. Love, love, love THE 3 LAWS OF ROBOTICS, and was thrilled years later when the positronic brain showed up in Star Trek TNG, with Data and his daughter, Lal.

Heinlein’s novels also featured in there, along with WINDHAVEN (by Lisa Tuttle and guess who? One George R R Martin, years before he was famous!) and Anne Mccaffrey’s Dragon series, which started to blur the lines between SF and fantasy for me. And then I found Marion Zimmer Bradley’s DARKOVER series. Sigh. Oh, to write like that.

So how did I end up writing fantasy? That started with Ursula Le Guin’s A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, which enthralled me with its exploration of the human psyche right along with magic and mystery.

If there is any direct influence from these authors, I think it comes out in my sheer love of entertaining story telling, with multiple plot strands and complicated characters undergoing life-changing experiences.

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The Prince’s Man is only a ‘click’ away!

Your first fantasy, The Prince’s Man is what I would call a true “Sword and Sorcery” novel. When did you first focus on the storyline, and how long did it take you to write the book? And another quick question: With oodles of 5-star reviews out there, is there anything you would do differently in the book now that it has been out there for a while?

It’s a long story, that begins some fifteen years ago. I wrote a work of fantasy for a publisher looking specifically for novellas. As luck would have it, the company folded just after I’d submitted my work. However, I was quite taken with the land and society I’d created, so I adapted an idea I’d had for a spy story in an SF setting, and put it into this fantasy world. I was amazed at how well it worked!

It probably took me a couple of years to write The Prince’s Man, and at least another to polish it. I’d entered the first chapter in a UK Arts Board competition and it won! The prize was a residential writing course, and the tutors were very encouraging, so I submitted it to an agent in the US and she took it on.

It went to all the big publishers, but all I got were encouraging negatives. While this was ongoing, I was building my writing credits, becoming a regular contributor to UK and US equestrian magazines, and when Prince’s Man failed to sell, I decided to have a go at non-fiction instead. This was more successful, and (as you’ll see further down) I have 2 non-fiction hardbacks in print.

At this point I still wanted a traditional deal with a fiction publishing house, so I tried again, this time writing my urban fantasy, Desprite Measures. This one was ready to query in 18 months, but by this time I’d started to become aware of the whole indie publishing scene, and after a couple of failed attempts to sell DM, I decided to go it alone. I spent a year researching and platform building before launching The Prince’s Man, including another spruce up because the manuscript was by now ten years old and my writing skills had moved on.

The Prince’s Man launched successfully to great reviews and an Amazon Top 100 ranking for more than 6 months – a huge thrill and the start of a new career.

Would I do anything different?

Yes. I wouldn’t use names starting with the same letters! My two main characters are Rustam and Risada. The gods are Chel and Charin, and Rustam’s surname is Chalice, while two of the kingdoms are Tyloc and Tyr-en.

Too late to change now, but I won’t make that mistake again.

Tell me about your writing ‘lifestyle’ if you would. Do you have a particular time you write, and do you hold to a fixed schedule or write when the “mood hits?”

I’m a night owl. It’s a hang over from Uni days – I write late at night when I’ve done everything else and the world is dark and quiet, so no interruptions. I do settle to my keyboard pretty much every night, though there’s so much other stuff, like blogging, answering emails, etc. (not to mention running my daytime business), so I can’t always guarantee to work on the current novel; that comes when I have a burning need to commit words to screen.

I do try to produce a minimum of 2500 words per week, but a sitting may produce 300 words or 2000+, I really don’t go in for daily word count goals. I’d love to be more disciplined, but I’ve tried that and my creativity dries up, so it’s a no go.

Desprite Measures is only a 'click' away!
Desprite Measures is only a ‘click’ away!

Desprite Measures” is actually the first of your books that I read, and I adored it. I know that some authors base their characters on personality traits of people they know. Were you thinking about any particular individuals while you wrote, and what were the things about them that drew your attention? And no, no names! 😉

Desprite Measures actually draws more on relationships I’ve experienced rather than individual personalities. I’m a bit of a disaster area in the relationship department, so I like exploring that area with my characters. Some of the real life situations I’ve got tangled up in would be way too far fetched for a novel…

Speaking of Desprite Measures, I love the setting of the story! Are the areas you describe places you have visited before? What do you like the most about the locations that you fold into your stories?

Pretty much all the places in Desprite Measures are real, and all locations I love and visit as often as I can – I have a page on my website devoted to photographs of these beautiful spots, all of them less than twenty miles from Inverness (Knock Knock – Leiah interrupting! Click on Inverness to go to Deborah’s Photo Page! We now return you to your regularly scheduled interview!). It’s such an awesome environment around there, wild and deserted and magical, yet so easy to get to. I’m can’t get enough of mountains and waterfalls, and the Scottish Highlands have them in abundance.

I have always heard the “old saw” that “Writers should write what they know.” What is your opinion? Should a writer only write about places they have seen themselves, or occupations they are familiar with? Of course, with books like The Prince’s Man that doesn’t really apply, but did you base the location upon locations you were familiar with?

Absolutely not. If we only wrote about what we know, we’d suffer a drought of great books! Research is one way – for Desprite Measures I researched Cassie’s occupation as a personal trainer by sitting in on some private gym sessions and asking a whole heap of questions.

Places are easy to research too, although it’s probably easier to write colourfully about locations you’ve actually visited.

In The Prince’s Man, you’ll find lots of little facts about horses and horse care; something I’m well able to supply with authority, as a way of weaving in personal knowledge to enhance the tale. Of course the setting is entirely fictional, so I mix up places I know with totally imaginary places designed to fit the story – there are enough real details for authenticity, but in fantasy, imagination can be all you need.

 I read that you have a degree in animal sciences and have studied coaching psychology. Do you use that training when you are developing your characters?

I’m a qualified sports coach – I’ve actually picked up the coaching psychology as I’ve gone along, because its useful, and because I find it fascinating. These days we focus a lot more on the mental side of preparing competitors because it can make all the difference between winning and losing at the elite level. For sure I find it extremely useful when developing my characters – I just wish I had time to study it more,

trainingLet’s talk about Debby for a moment. Many of your readers may not know this, but in our iteration of the space-time continuum, you are known as Debby Lush. Debby is a professional rider, trainer, judge and author of two books: The Building Blocks of Training and The Successful Dressage Competitor, published by J A Allen. How do Deborah and Debby work out their schedules? 

We micro-manage time! Without a closely planned schedule, neither Debby nor Deborah would be able to fulfill the requirements of both jobs.

I’ve become very adept at prioritizing, planning and scheduling; it’s the only way I can fit it all in. Just as well I only have animals to care for, not children!

On the other hand, I realized recently that I was in serious danger of not having any life outside of the two careers, so I’ve eased back on the self-imposed pressure, and allowed myself a little free time when I don’t feel guilty about not working!Dressage

 Indie authors are real people with real jobs. Does your ‘real life’ interfere with Deborah’s life, and how do you work around it? Do you have encouragement for other authors who are also working people?

It does and it doesn’t. I’m fortunate in that both aspects of my work are self-employed so I set my own schedules, although earning enough money to live on right now sometimes cuts into my writing, as that’s future income, not immediate.

Being an author is a compulsion – if it’s something you just have to do, you will find a way to fit it into your life. My advice on that is to find what works for you – we are all so different, leading such different lives, trying to copy someone else’s routine is unlikely to work. Be an individual – you will find a way.

Finally, the Summer Olympics in 2016 are set for Beautiful Brazil! Will you be competing? And if not, who do you expect to attend, and win, the dressage event? A horse loving girl wants to know!

2016_Summer_OlympicsI was fortunate enough to be an official at London 2012, so this time I’d like to attend as a spectator again (I went to both Athens and Hong Kong). I’d love to compete but I don’t have a horse of that quality.

As to who will win – well, the Brits of course!

Please check out Deb’s links here!

http://deborahjayauthor.com/

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Equestrian website

 

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Leiah here! I think you will agree that Deborah is an extremely interesting and talented person! I want to Thank You, Deborah, for visiting with us today!

Let’s all give Deborah a ‘virtual round of applause’ and I, for one, will be watching closely for her next book!

Bring on the CHOCOLATE!!! Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic Cover Reveal!

 

Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic!

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OH, yummy! Now I am going to have to go make rich, gooey DARK Chocolate cupcakes, then find my athame and have a party! Yippee, skippee, Rah Rah YUM!!!!

 

Biography

Meghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2, Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – Dowser #3

Novellas/Shorts – Love Lies Bleeding and The Graveyard Kiss

WARNING: author has been known to manipulate characters with chocolate, sex, and fantastical plotting. Readers beware http://author.to/meghancianadoidge

 Linkscupcake

Blog, www.madebymeghan.ca

Twitter, @mcdoidge

Facebook, Meghan Ciana Doidge

NEW RELEASE MAILING LIST

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

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Mark Your Calendar! Thursday Is Cupcake Day!

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Check out the first two. Like chocolate, you won’t be able to resist the third!

I can hardly wait! going to go back and give the first two a quick read so that I am prepared for the next!!

And don’t forget Meghan’s other wonderful books! These are new covers for the Dowser series, but her other works have great covers as well, and you can even see the old-style cover for Cupcakes below.

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Click for Meghan’s Goodreads page!

Review: Worlds of Obsession (A Celtic Otherworlds Novel) – Kella McKinnon

It was the morning of her twenty-sixth birthday, and Liv Johnston couldn’t shake the feeling that today was no ordinary day. Thus begins a supernatural romp through the streets of Glasgow, with side stops that cross dimensions and lead to worlds within worlds that a simple internet advertising office plodder, sending out emails that people hated to receive and tossed without a thought. But today is, truly, no ordinary day.

Out the door on her way to work, Liv is interrupted by a courier – a courier with a very strange message, instructing her to fly from her home in Boston to Glasgow, and there to proceed to a certain house, on a certain street. Along with the message, there is an even stranger package. The Celtic Myths and Legends, by C.L. Dryfus. Huh? What in the world could it all mean?

Tossing it all aside to think about later, Liv gets to her office, only to find that her job has been made redundant, as have the jobs of everyone else in her branch of the company. Well, darn. So, having a bit of savings, and an encouraging friend, Liv hops a plane to Glasgow, certain this must be some sort of joke – but who could resist a bit of mystery and adventure? Especially when you don’t have a ‘day job’ and could really use a bit of vacation.

Liv soon finds that life, as she knows it, will never be the same. Thrust into a world she neither knows or understands, she still somehow feels at home, safe and secure. Though she truly is neither safe nor secure – and things are about to get a lot weirder.

The hero character and love interest is Bastien, a Fomoiri Demon. Having lost his love over two hundred years ago, Bastien has withdrawn into himself and become even more of what he is – a warrior for the Guild, a group whose sole purpose is the protection of humans from the dark, whether it be physically or in the form of knowledge of the other races.

Liv is a strong character, taking her new situation in stride while showing a lot of backbone and more than a bit of temper. I really liked that about her. She takes no nonsense, and doesn’t fawn and whine over Bastien, the (of course) hunky and drool-worthy Demon. She handles herself well under the circumstances and doesn’t back down from anyone – even a bad tempered, hostile Demon who is determined to cut her out of Bastien’s life – and out of life all together.

There are great women characters in the book. A meddling Witch, Carman: Carman had worked for ages to build a solid reputation as an evil Witch so that most other beings, especially humans, left her alone to do as she pleased.” I loved her to pieces, good hearted (though inept) meddling and all. Leanan is the mother of all Vampires, has a wicked sense of humour and is more than willing to get into trouble right alongside Carman. Well, she is the mother of the good Vampires, that is. Those bad ones? They are called Droch Fhola, and are the descendants of Abhartach. . . Well, that is a whole other story. Then there is the Kelpie, the Grandmother who isn’t a grandmother at all, and one bad ass Warrior Goddess with a nasty attitude and an even worse temper. How cool is all that?

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If you are into erotic covers, I suppose it is ok. If you want to know what the story is about, ignore the cover and read the book. Great women characters!!!

The only thing I didn’t like about the book, honestly, is the cover. TERRIBLE cover for this particular book. Yes, yes, you are all pretty with your naked, oiled up chest. Get over it. This book is more about Liv than the not-quite-bright Demon Boy. And yet, she is nowhere to be found on the cover! That stinks. Really. Ok, right, fine. Some people want to get all hot and bothered over covers, and Demon Boy is pretty as a ‘picture,’ I will give you that. But this is a LOT more than erotica, and the cover really blows for a book with a good story line and great characters. I hope it gets changed, but I won’t hold my breath.

I received this book from Bookplex in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Influential Magic by Deanna Chase

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The cover is what caught my eye first – beautiful!
I look forward to the next.

I first came across Deanna Chase in 2012 with her book Haunted on Bourbon Street. The book, featuring Jade Calhoun, was set in New Orleans and features Jade, an empath, and a creative and interesting group of friends, including a couple of strip club owners, a coven, and couple of ghosts with very different agendas. Since then, I happily enjoyed both Witches of Bourbon Street and Demons of Bourbon Street. There are still two more (that I know of) in the series that I have already purchased and are sitting in my TBR pile waiting for their turn. And I am very much looking forward to them.

Influential Magic is also set in New Orleans, and is the first in a series subtitled Crescent City Fae. This new series stars Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void. Oh, and she is also a faery – complete with wings and flight capabilities. Well, when she isn’t around vampires, whose walking death drains her earth magic, and thus her life force. A very uncomfortable position to be in when your evil faery auntie, who is also the Director of the Void policing agency partners you with a vampire in order to investigate dastardly deeds by the local vampire corporation. Especially when that vampire happens to be your ‘used-to-be-human’ boyfriend. A boyfriend, who suddenly dumped you with a quick text message (jerk!), then turns up later turned – literally.

What happens to Willow in this volume of the Crescent City series is a neat bit of creative urban fantasy, but it also carries an undercurrent of politics and xenophobia which reflects what is happening in this world, this reality, even now. I am, admittedly, not a ‘vampire groupie’ as so many are these days. Been there, done that, would really like for that whole ‘cold, dead, walking corpses’ to be over already. I mean, come on – have you ever felt a real corpse? Gross. I couldn’t imagine kissing cold, dead lips, much less getting down and dirty with other parts! However, in Chase’s alternate universe, her vampires are, though still cold and walking dead, much more ‘real’ people than others in the genre, with lives and families whom they love – even if they are still overwhelmingly entitled, making them both vicious and brutally efficient killers when crossed.

Overall, I really liked Willow. She takes a lot of damage, both physically and emotionally in this first book, and overall she handles it well. I did find her rather naïve at times, railing against those who would take care of issues in a vigilante fashion, while openly acknowledging that the governmental agencies are deeply corrupt. At the same time, I honestly admired her for understanding the siren song of power and how it can so easily corrupt.

The fantasy storyline is creative, well written, and believable as an alternative reality of a world which evolved under magical conditions, while still aligning closely with our own. There is a bit of a triangle aspect, between Willow and David, the vamp ex boyfriend and Talisen, her childhood friend and mentor who is another faery. The triangle seems to correct itself at the end, and I honestly hope that the concept doesn’t carry on through the other books, as I find those sorts of story lines to be crutches for poor story development. However, the Shih Tzu that turns into a wolf? Awesome! And I hope that Willow will be spending more time in her bakery, creating magically infused cupcakes, and more time with her best friend, Phoebe, a witch. There were a lot of ends left free, leaving room for a great deal of really good story development as we learn more about Willow, her skills, and her family and friends. And having listened to the Audible Edition, narrated by Gabra Zackman, one of my favorite narrators of all time, there was a whole other level of enjoyment that I was able to gain from the book.  And right now, Influential Magic is only $1.99 for the Audible Edition! What’s not to like? Especially when it is also text-to-speech enabled for the Kindle edition. I prefer the Audible editions, as I can download them onto my Zune and pop it into my pocket while I am doing other things, but having it in both editions means I can read it any way I wish. Cool…

Review: Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco – A New Favorite!

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Mark Del Franco’s Connor Grey gives both John and Harry a run for their money!
Click to order!

Detail. Some readers don’t really care about it – they simply want a book that they can pick up, breeze through, and go on to the next thing. Oh, that has its place, certainly. However, that has never been me. Rich details, complexity, and compelling story lines are what call to me as a reader, and del Franco offers these up in spades.

 Unshapely Things is an urban fantasy, to be sure, with fairies and elves, gargoyles and monsters, and a damaged Druid hero, Connor Grey. Connor puts me in mind of both Simon R. Green’s John Taylor and Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Like Harry, Connor pretty much lives hand-to-mouth, taking the jobs he can get from the police. With his brain damaged and his Druid powers pretty much non-existent, Connor has been fighting a losing battle against depression and ennui as he slides from a life of power and wealth into the “The Weird,” the fae neighborhood where the dregs of both the fae and human worlds reside. You won’t find vampires in this world, but you will find dirty politicians galore – isn’t it the same thing?

 When his human police partner, Leo Murdock calls him to the scene of a brutal murder of a male fairy prostitute, Connor has no idea that this murder could be a signpost to the end of the world – with Boston as the center of the maelstrom. What follows is a story that I found to be something quite special. This isn’t just an urban fantasy. Instead, it blends alternate history with suspense, mystery wit terror, and ties it all together with a huge dose of political intrigue.

 In 1900, on this alternative Earth, there was “Convergence” – an event which brought the world of Fairy and the Earth into alignment, pulling Fairy creatures onto this planet, effectively blocking them from their own. Battling between themselves, they drug the war between fairy and elf onto this world, battling it out through the World Wars, with some siding with Hitler while some sided with the Allies. The time of the story lands right into modern day, during the Fey Summit, an attempt by both sides to extend an uneasy peace and avoid all-out war. As the bodies pile up, is there a possibility that the deaths are connected to the Fey Summit? Or is there something even darker and more dangerous going on?

 Mark Del Franco writes exceptional characters. Connor was damaged during his work for “The Guild” the policing agency for the Fey on Earth. Broken, and with limited powers, he is living in poverty on a small disability check, pondering his losses and the wasteland he sees as the rest of his life. His partner, Murdock may be human, but with all of the bad feelings, jealousies, and hatred of most humans toward the Fey, he is curious and open to learning of the Fey and their ways. He cares what happens to them, and relies upon Connor as his instructor.

 Del Franco’s female characters are both strong and likable, with individual strengths and personalities that I am very much looking forward to learning more about. This isn’t by any means a “paranormal romance” but if you are a PR reader who likes strong, adept women characters who still follow their hearts as well as their minds, these women will be right up your alley. The story is rich in detail, both in the world building and the characterizations, and holds the attention until setting the book down and remembering you have to do things like eat and sleep will be impossible to accomplish.

 Overall, this is a series sure to appeal to a number of different genre readers, and a new-to-me author who goes immediately to the top of my “must” list.

I purchased this book on my own. My comments are my own opinion.

 Reading order for the series is:

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Mark Del Franco
Click to go to his website

UNSHAPELY THINGS

UNQUIET DREAMS
UNFALLEN DEAD
UNPERFECT SOULS
UNCERTAIN ALLIES
UNDONE DEEDS

 Mark Del Franco is also the author of the books:

SKIN DEEP

FACE OFF

Set in the Connor Gray alternative reality, these books feature the adventures of Laura Blackstone.

Gabriella The Tale of a Misfit Fairy – A Children’s Tale by Nancy Hill

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Free on Amazon!

Gabriella The Tale of a Misfit Fairy
Nancy Hill
4.8 Stars (19 Reviews)
Genre: Children’s eBooks | Fantasy

FREE for a limited time

When Gabriella falls from the villainous Dream Master’s bag, Lore Valley will be forever changed.

Gabriella is no ordinary fairy. With iridescent wings, bells at the tips of her toes, and an impression of a wand coloring her forehead, her appearance alone sets her apart. Intrigued, the fairies welcome her with open arms, but as she grows up, some of her behavior disturbs the residents of the Lore Valley. Queen Pasha, in particular, worries that Gabriella may not have arrived in the valley accidentally. Could she be part of the Dream Master’s plan to destroy the fairies?

Full of quirky characters living in a whimsical world that the maniacal Dream Master seeks to destroy, this novel takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions as Gabriella explores the Lore Valley and then the greater world beyond it when she takes it upon herself to confront the world’s most formidable creature.

From oddball bats to ghost cats, trolls to polka-dotted hens, Sirens to rouge eagles, you will find characters both lovable and treacherous within the pages of this book. Many of the characters have tidbits of wisdom to impart while others will amuse you with unique approach to the world.

Click here to get this book for FREE
(also available from Amazon. DE  FR  IT  ES )

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Review: Tinker – Wen Spencer

Five Star Reviewtinker

I have to say, when I saw this book listed, I forget where, I thought it might not be all that much, but it was at hand, so I picked it up. Oh. My. God. I could not have been more wrong, or more happy to be so.

“Tinker”, and the follow-up, “Wolf Who Rules” are extraordinary. The concept of science as the foundation of magic is one I have always wished someone would write about – and Spencer does it in a believable, extremely well developed, and well written manner. I picked up the book for an ‘easy’ read, and within a few pages was totally hooked.

Admittedly, I am a sucker for BOTH fantasy and science books. The “multiverse” and “bubble universe” studies, as well as the whole concept of quantum physics, fascinates me. No, I am not a scientist, never got to learn, but I can still read about it, right? Many authors use alternate universes to base their stories. Spencer takes it further, placing her stories in a possible future, where layers of universes flow-through to a possible future Earth we all recognize. And set in Pittsburgh, no less? Ok, you write about the city you know, and even though I laughed when I read where it was set (who would think Pittsburgh for a land of fairie?) Spencer really makes you feel like you are there, walking the streets of Pittsburgh, that you know the people she writes about. And she makes you really care about them.

Tinker is fascinating. In a way genetically engineered to become the creature of her grandfather’s dreams, she is a genius at mathematics and mechanics in a Pittsburgh moved to a land of magic. Good hearted, down-to-earth, intelligent, and smart as a whip, she is a perfectly realized character, with enough confidence in herself to be strong, and yet not a total screaming bitch as some authors like their heroines to be. She knows that she is not always right, is often unsure of herself, but still takes care of business, taking care of the people who depend on her for their safety and their own. She takes physical change, pain, and uncertainty and becomes the stronger for it. She never gives up who she is – amazing given the situations she finds herself thrown into with no preparation, no training, and socialization to the laws and goals of the group she suddenly finds herself a part of. Kudos, Ms. Spencer, for a beautifully developed group of characters, firmly based in both fantasy, and reality!

Tinker’s grasp of technology, as well as her grasp of magic theory and the integration between the two makes this a fascinating new meld of my two favorite fields. I picked these up at the library, but am purchasing both of these books for my library to pull out again and again. Thank you, Ms. Spencer, for writing wonderful characters and developing a realistic and fascinating world.

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