Friday, 25 January 2013

Authors Tagging Authors Blog Hop - Q&A.

Hello Everyone!
Here is my contribution to the ‘Authors Tagging Authors’ blog hop. I was originally tagged/tigged by my favourite historical novelist Judith Arnopp (do check out her books, they are wonderful!) back in December 2012, but was tardy in posting to my own blog (apologies, Judith – better late than never?) More recently I was tagged/tigged again by Simon Andrew Stirling, author of ‘The King Arthur Conspiracy’ – a fantastic book. Here’s his blog link:
So I thought I’d better get to it and finally answer these blog hop questions! Hope you enjoy them. And below you’ll find links and a brief intro to the authors I’ve tagged/tigged in my turn. They are all great writers with some brilliant books to share. Why not check them out?

Ok, here we go:
 What is the working title of your next book?
The title of my next book is King’s Artesan, and it is the concluding book in my first trilogy, Artesans of Albia. It goes to my editor in March and will be published in July. The first two books  in the series are King’s Envoy and King’s Champion. After that, Rhemalda will be publishing all three books in my second trilogy, Circle of Conspiracy, in 2014. Should be a fun year!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have to answer this for the entire first trilogy, as it was actually written as one hugely long story. And I didn’t start out to write a book, all I was trying to do when I began writing was to make a cold and boring winter go a bit quicker! But there are two main reasons why I began writing. The first stems from a children’s TV programme that I used to watch back in the 70s. Called ‘Tarot, Ace of Wands’, it was about a magician who was also a bit of a crime solver. For some reason, a small thought sparked by this programme stuck in my brain for years. When I returned to the UK in 1994, after three years of living in Italy, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. During the winter of 2001, I became increasingly bored with not having a job, and so I decided to write this small idea out. No one was more shocked than I when all these other ideas and extensions of this tiny idea began snowballing into a book. In case you are interested, the initial thought or idea that started the whole thing off was, where would someone born with a special talent or power go to find help with it if no one else around him was gifted? The initial scene that I wrote concerned Taran Elijah’s first meeting with Major Sullyan at the Manor.
What genre does your book fall under?

My Artesans series is Epic Fantasy, which is the genre I am most drawn to. The books themselves are aimed at adults, although I have had readers as young as twelve who have really enjoyed my first two books. The final trilogy in the series gets progressively darker, though, and there are times when it borders on dark fantasy or even horror, so those books are definitely not for children!

 What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is quite a hard question in some ways because I am not a film buff and only really know the very famous actors. I would certainly struggle to find someone to play Major Sullyan! But one of my characters, Elias, High King of Albia, was actually modelled on the English actor Sean Bean, who played Bernard Cornwell’s Richard Sharp, and also Boromir in Lord of the Rings and Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones. They’ll have to hurry up with the film version of my books though because Sean Bean is in his 50s now and King Elias is 33!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am very fortunate in that my books are published by independent US publishing house Rhemalda Publishing. Like most writers, I went down the route of submitting to agents and UK publishers, and then spread my net to include those in the US as well. I received many encouraging replies from agents and publishers alike, all telling me to keep trying, and that my work was definitely publishable and would find a home. Yet no one ever offered to take me on. In that time I also wrote a non-fiction book, For the Love of Daisy, and that was published with a very small indie publisher, I gathered a wealth of publishing experience through Daisy’s book and came to the reluctant conclusion that I would have to self-publish my Artesans series. Then one day I was on Facebook and saw Rhemalda Publishing mentioned in a post about fantasy books. I did some research and decided to submit, as a final attempt at securing a ‘traditional’ publisher. To my great amazement, they loved my book and offered me a contract! They are an awesome company and I’m very fortunate to be working with them.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote the entire first Artesans trilogy in around seven months. It was such a wonderful experience but also a bit scary, because I couldn’t seem to stop writing, yet I had no idea where all these plotlines and characters were coming from. It was an almost physical ache when I couldn’t write, like at weekends when I had other things to do, and I used to get quite tetchy if an idea was knocking and I couldn’t get somewhere where I could write it down!

 What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
I’m not too good at comparing my own work to others’, but I have had reviewers compare me to Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin (yes, really!). I suppose my tales are on an epic scale, as theirs are, so maybe that’s the similarity. As far as writing style goes, I try to write only like myself.

 Who or what inspired you to write the songs associated with this book?
My own love of singing inspired me, I guess. It seemed natural to include references to music in a tale set within a medieval-style world, because music would have been a major form of entertainment. Songs – and one in particular – also help my characters accomplish their tasks and overcome the obstacles placed in their way. This is especially relevant in the final trilogy, Master of Malice, where a very personal song enables a character to connect with dead souls. On a practical level, my husband plays guitar, and he and I met through singing. My brother and his song-writing partner also helped and inspired me with writing and recording the tracks, and we’re having great fun writing songs for the rest of the series. Having music associated with each book is also a great marketing tool and has opened the doors to several radio interviews for me.

 What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
My main female character is quite a charismatic and unusual person. I wanted to create a believable female fantasy lead because I so often found that the females in other books I’ve read have either been there mainly as ‘love- (or lust!) interest, or they’ve been Red Sonja types, totally over-the-top Amazonian male-hating women. I wanted to create a woman who could exist, and compete, in a male-dominated world without sacrificing her femininity and vulnerability. She had to be powerful, yet humble; beautiful, yet approachable; capable of great leadership, yet without arrogance or pig-headedness. Judging by some of my reviewers’ comments, I succeeded, and that really pleases me. There are also some very rounded male characters too, though – I didn’t neglect the men!

Thanks for reading, please don’t hesitate to contact me at if you’d like more information. Or you can visit my website:

 Up next on this blog tour is author/illustrator Mikey Brooks. He has published several picture books including Bean’s Dragons and ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures. He’ll be discussing his middle-grade fantasy novel The Dream Keeper. Check him out at

 Then we have Steven D Jackson, a fellow Rhemalda author whose paranormal thriller Shifter is just brilliant. See his blog:

You might like to try author Gordon Long’s unique fantasy tale, “A Sword Called … Kitten?” and also his insightful and humorous look at the human race, “Why Are People So Stupid?” He also has a great blog, plus poems and short stories. His website is: and you can find his blog here:

And you MUST check out Tom Barczak, the author and illustrator of Kindle serial epic, Awakening Evarun, and his debut novel, Veil of the Dragon, Book One of the Prophecy of the Evarun. See his website:

Last but by no means least we have the hugely talented Candace C. Bowen, another member of the Rhemalda family, who formerly wrote under the name Candace Bowen Early. She has several published novels, all of which are awesome:
Titles available through Seven Realms Publishing:
A Knight of Silence - Vol. I
A Knight of Battle - Vol. II
Jack of Hearts (Available March 2013)
Voodoo Fire (Available Fall 2013)
Available through Rhemalda Publishing:
Spur of the Moment
Wicked Embers (Sequel)
Check out her website for more details:


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Coming Up With Ideas

Hello everyone, and may I take this opportunity to wish all my friends, followers, fans and fellow book lovers a very Happy New Year!

Today I am privileged and excited to be kicking off 2013 by welcoming onto my blog my lovely friend and fellow writer Mikey Brooks. This is a first for me, because I haven't before hosted a guest on my blog. It's high time I did and I'm so very pleased that my first guest is Mikey.

Mikey and I met in June 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at Rhemalda Publishing's 'Got Stories?' reading and writing conference. We didn't have too much time to get to know each other then, but the spark of friendship and kindred spirit was born. Since then we have worked together, and I have come to realize what an undiscovered talent Mikey is. Not only in his writing (watch out world - Mikey has some great novels to share!) but also as an illustrator. Having dabbled with "art" in a very superficial way myself, I know how hard it is to produce something good. Not only is Mikey's artwork appealing and pleasing to the eye, it also has an irresistible quality that makes you want to see more. I'm sure you will agree when you see the examples further down this post. 

Mikey has some great tips in his post about where you can find ideas to fuel your writing muse. He also has a GIVEAWAY going on over at Goodreads - details at the bottom of his post, so don't miss it! I will hand over to him now and let him tell you all about his work. Take it away, Mikey! 

Coming up with Ideas

By: Author/Illustrator: Mikey Brooks
The idea of Bean’s Dragons actually came from my three year old daughter. One day I was standing in the dining room and she started yelling at someone in the living room. When I went to see who it was the only person in the room was her. She explained to me that her dragons were jumping on the couch and she had told them over and over to get down. Playing along with her imagination, I opened the front door and asked her dragons to go home. Fortunately they never did.

I believe ideas for stories can be found anywhere. We just have to be open to receive them when they do. The best way to keep your ideas flowing is to be doing other things than writing. I know this might sound off the wall, but it’s true. You need to immerse yourself in all things creative. Watch a few shows, read a few books, hang out with kids and ask them to describe crazy things like the tickle monster, or even draw a picture. Ideas really can be anywhere.

Once I have an idea I find it helpful to write it down. I have a notebook on my nightstand that has a pen next to it. Sometimes I’m woken by fantastic dreams or ideas that I think will be great to write about. Sometimes I can’t read the scribbled notes in the morning, but most of the time I get the hint of what I was trying to say. I think it is important to have a notebook, or something for you to collect ideas on, with you all day long. Fortunately I have a smart phone now and can jot down notes anytime in it. Before my phone I used to write on the backs of napkins, scrap paper, even toilet paper. Ideas for my middle grade book The Dream Keeper, started as a dream I had one night. I wrote down what I remembered from it and then later when I was at work I began to sketch out notes on cake order forms (yes, I work in a bakery).

 Now that you have an idea, should you work on it right away? If you are not working on something currently, then yes. If you already have a work in progress, then file those ideas away. Sometimes I will take the idea and write out a few scenes, maybe even an outline before I file it away. That way I have something a little more to bridge from later. Don’t let the surge of ideas keep you away from finishing your current project. Idea drawers are great!

I started writing Bean’s Dragons immediately after I saw my daughter playing with her imaginary friends. I was also working on my middle grade book at the time so I never got around to finishing it. Once I was able to focus on just the picture book, I wrote out the story line and started to create the pictures of the dragons. Here I used a lot of my daughter’s help. Working with kids can be amazing fun. If you ever have a chance to do it, do it.

My daughter helped me pick out all the colors for the dragons and even helped with what they looked like. This was really a joint effort. As I was drawing out the dragons, more ideas for the story came into my head. This goes back to my previous statement that drawing helps with ideas. It didn’t take long to change up the story a bit to fit in what the drawings had given me. In the end I think it turned out to be a terrific book that is a fun read.

I hope you found this bit of information helpful. For other tips on writing, illustrating, and more visit: or my blog at

If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask.
You can find me on Goodreads at:
on Twitter: @writtenbymikey 
on Pinterest at:
and on Facebook: as Mikey Brooks,
or email me at: insidemikeysworld(at)          
You are invited to check out Bean’s Dragons and my other books, including the newest release: ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures at or on Amazon.

 And thank you Cas Peace for allowing me to give a guest post on your blog. I don’t need to say this because anyone following Cas’s blog already knows how amazing she is, but for those of you who don’t, Cas really is an amazing friend and colleague and I am grateful for her and all she does. Now go check out her books, because they are awesome too!
About the Book: Bean’s Dragons.
Have you ever had a dragon in your house? How about a dozen? Bean is a little girl with an imagination that is creating quite a mess. Although Bean loves each of her dragons, she forgets how untidy they can be when having so much fun. When Bean's parents discover what's happened in their short absence, Bean finds herself the blame of the dragons' giant mess.
You can find more about Bean’s Dragons at:

There is also a GIVEAWAY on Goodreads for Bean’s Dragons and for ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures. Make sure to enter soon, the contest ends on January 26th!