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Friday, December 30, 2016

Author Spotlight: The Fell by Lyndsey Harper | Renee Writes

Originally posted on Renee Writes:


Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight. Today I have Lyndsey Harper visiting to share her up and coming novel, The Fell, Book 1 in The Naetan Lance Saga.
Lyndsey is a brilliant author you've likely never heard of, Superwife, and award-winning mother living life in leggings in the expensive and overcrowded state of New Jersey. She is fluent in Spanglish and Sarcasm and enjoys watching Arrow, Supernatural, Psych, and The X-Files repeatedly. You can find her either in the grocery store buying laundry detergent, Tylenol, and cat litter, hovering near her Keurig coffee brewer, or shaking her fist at the heavens in front of her computer. Occasionally, you may spot her on the beach or out shopping (when she actually has money to spare). However, you should avoid approaching her at such times as she is likely enjoying a rare moment of relaxation and can become moody if interrupted. If you decide to engage her during any one of these activities, approach with caution and a sizable cup of Starbucks in hand to avoid any ill effects.

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Please support Lyndsey by spreading the word about The Fell on Thunderclap!

About the Book

After the brutal death of his mentor, Leer Boxwell's only desire is vengeance.
However, his belief that the murderer is the mythical Grimbarror has made him the laughing stock of the Vale. When Leer witnesses the beast steal away the princess in an unexpected attack on the royal city, he volunteers to hunt the creature.
Battling self-doubt and ridicule, while struggling to control a mysterious power within that he does not fully understand, Leer must decide whether his convictions are worth the sacrifice the Fell demands.

Available 18 January 2017!

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Author Spotlight: Dragon's Posterity by Kandi J Wyatt | Renee Writes

Originally posted on Renee Writes:


Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Kandi J Wyatt with her book, Dragon's Posterity.
Kandi Avatar style smallKandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.”


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About the Book

When Ruskya and his son Ardyn but heads regarding tradition, Kyn sets out to make peace. What he least expects is to start a new tradition! An illusive vision of a plain on the ocean sets a quest into motion to bring together the younglings from all the dragon colonies into a challenge that will help them gain their independence. Will pride be set aside and younglings find friendships or will enemies be made instead?

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Keep reading for an interview with Ardyn from Dragon's Posterity:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
I was born in the dragon colony of Three Spans Canyon. I was surrounded by family and dragons. What wasn't to like? Oh, yeah, tradition. For the most part, I'm okay with the traditions around home. It just was when Da told me there was a specific way to braid leather and it couldn't be changed that I had issues with tradition.
Do you have a close relationship with your family?
Grandma lived a dragon ride away. Any number of family members could retrieve her or I could go visit her by the time I was old enough to fly on my own. Uncle Glendyn doted on me. He lived just a short walk away down one of the other side canyons. Uncle Kyn lived with us until just before my eighth winter. I have two sisters and a younger brother. It seemed like Ma was pregnant every other winter until my sixth winter. I'm sad that none of my siblings have become dragon riders yet. I still hold out hope that one day a dragon will find them.
Ma and Da are the best. Ma's a healer of dragons. She can communicate with them and help heal their inner wounds. That's actually how she became a rider. Da, how can I explain him? I guess, the best way is to say that he's a powerful rider despite his size. His power comes from inside him.
Aunt Duskya is Da's sister. The two are twins who have a very unique bond. Even though they live two and a half to three and a half days away from each other via dragon flight, their bond has remained strong through the winters. As soon as they are within a half a day's dragon ride from each other, they can sense each other and communicate together. Aunt Duskya is married to the leader of the dragon colony in Boeskay. She and Uncle Cerulean have two kids, Carryn and Darryn. Carryn is three winters younger than me, but we've always been close. Her brother is two winters younger yet.
What is the happiest memory from your childhood?
That would have to be the times spent with my cousins. I had seen eight winters when a friend of the family, Braidyn, came bearing news that Carryn's hatchling had been eggnapped. He convinced Ma and Da that I could come with them to visit Uncle Cerulean and Aunt Duskya. I was able to spend just over a moon with them. We rode Nube, my dragon, every day.
About a moon cycle later, Uncle Kyn talked Ma and Da into letting me go with them to Braidyn's wedding. I was able to see the El'shad'n firsthand. Their parties are amazing! They know how to roast a lamb to perfection. Then they have sweets and music, dancing, and fire dancers. I'm not a storyteller. You'll have to hear Kyn tell about the El'shad'n or even Braidyn. Then you'll be there and understand it.
Tell us a little about your world.
My world is a world where dragons live in peace with riders. We have lands of canyons, an inland sea that takes a half a day to cross on dragonback, sandhills as far as the eye can see, mountains, ocean, a valley filled with water, farm lands, mountain crags full of ebony, and a deep, dark forest. It's a world waiting to be explored. People inhabit most of it, except the forest outside Boeskay. I live in the northern canyon country.
What are your goals? What would you like to achieve?
I want most of all to live up to the expectations of others around me. Braidyn once told me that I would become a great leader and honor my family and canyon. I want to become a respected man. A man who lives with integrity, shows mercy, brings peace, and holds no bitterness.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Why?
Uncle Kyn by far is the greatest influence in my life. He isn't really my uncle, but he was there for my birth and ever since at any time in my life that I needed him, he's been there. He's the one who filled my insatiable questions as a youngling of nine winters when I tried to understand the El'shad'n world Braidyn married into. It was Uncle Kyn who told me stories by the fire as I grew up and inspired me to be the best dragon rider I could be. And it was Uncle Kyn who helped bring peace between my da and I when I needed to stretch my wings and become my own person. When Da and I would argue over my artwork with the leather, Uncle Kyn would listen and help make peace.
Do you have any hobbies? What are they?
I love braiding leather, but not any ordinary leatherwork. I make art. I dye the strips to make them just the right colors to accent the dragon who will use the harness. Then I create special designs that are woven into functional art.
What do you own that would be hardest to part with? Why?
Nube. There is absolutely no way I could part with my dragon. She's been a part of my life since we both had seen less than one moon. She's protected me and I her. We are one. If one of us died, the other would have a very hard time living.
What was the most exciting adventure you've ever been on?
I'd have to say my most exciting adventure was when Uncle Kyn took me to tell everyone about the first youngling challenge. I was able to see all the different dragon rider colonies, and then help him set up the camp for the riders to come. Then I competed in the first challenge. That taught me so much about myself. I know the other younglings on my team felt the same way.



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Adventure Awaits!

Lyndsey Harper's debut Dark Fantasy novel, The Fell is now available for pre-order in e-book and paperback!


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Writer's Edge: Making Villains





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Guest Post: How to Research for Historical Fiction by Andrew Joyce | Renee Writes

Originally posted on Renee Writes:


Today I have a guest blogger visiting, Andrew Joyce, sharing how he researches for his historical fiction novels.

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I would like to thank Renee for allowing me to be here today to promote my latest, Yellow Hair, which documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage I write about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in my fact-based tale of fiction were real people and I use their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.
Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.
Now that the commercial is out of the way, we can get down to what I really came here to talk about: the research that goes into writing an historical novel or an action/adventure novel that uses an historical event as a backdrop.
I want to say that I learned the hard way how important proper research is. But it wasn’t really that hard of a lesson. In my first book, which takes place in the last half of the 19th century, I made two mistakes. I had the date of an event off by one year and I had my hero loading the wrong caliber cartridge into his Winchester rifle. I would have gone blissfully throughout life not knowing how I had erred if not for my astute fans. Both mistakes were quickly pointed out to me in reviews of the book. One guy said he would have given me five stars if not for the wrong caliber bullet mistake. I had to settle for only four stars. Lesson learned!
Before I get into telling you about the year-long research I did for Yellow Hair, I’d like to tell you how I researched my second and third books and describe what that research entailed.
My second book was a western and the protagonist was a woman. The research took about three months. I had to know everything from women’s undergarments of the late 19th century to prison conditions for women in those days. (I sent my heroine to jail.) That kind of research was easy. Thank God for the internet. But then I had to do some real research. Molly (my protagonist) built up her cattle ranch to one of the largest in Montana, but she and her neighbors had nowhere to sell their beef. So Molly decided to drive her and her neighbors’ cattle to Abilene where she could get a good price. She put together the second largest herd on record (12,000 head) and took off for Abilene.
That’s when I had to really go to work. I wanted my readers to taste the dust on the trail. I wanted them to feel the cold water at river crossing. I wanted them to know about the dangers of the trail, from rustlers to Indians to cattle stampedes.
This is how I learned about all those things and more. First of all, I found old movies that were authentic in nature. I watched them to get a feel for the trail. Then I read books by great authors who had written about cattle drives to soak up even more of the atmosphere of a cattle drive. That was all well and good, but it still did not put me in the long days of breathing dust and being always fearful of a stampede.
That’s when I went looking for diaries written by real cowboys while they were on the trail. After that, I found obscure self-published books written by those cowboys. Then it was onto newspaper articles written at the time about large cattle drives. That’s how I had Molly herd the second largest cattle drive. I discovered that the largest was 15,000 head, driven from Texas to California in 1882.
My next book took place in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Here new elements were added such as wolves and the extreme weather as adversaries. Dogsledding was also involved. I have seen snow only three times in my life and I have never dogsledded. I knew even less about wolves. I had to learn about those things. I had no idea what it was like to travel across a wilderness on a dogsled at seventy degrees below zero. I also had to acquire knowledge about the dogs themselves, especially the lead dog.
I learned about all that by doing the same things I did for my second book. The old diaries were the most helpful. As to the gold rush, there was plenty of material in the form of self-published books by some of the participants. Some were never even published, but I found copies of them in the archives of universities and historical societies. Again, newspaper stories printed at the time were very useful. Concerning wolves . . . I read everything I could get my hands on about wolves—their habits, the pack hierarchy, the alpha male, and the different jobs or tasks the males and females have while hunting.
Now we come to Yellow Hair. As I mentioned above, the book is about the Sioux Nation from 1805 to 1890. I had to know both points of view, the white man’s and the Sioux’s. Getting to know the whites’ take on things was easy. There are many, many books (non-fiction) that were written at the time. I even found a book written by Custer detailing his strategy for wiping out the Sioux entirely. That was hard reading. And, again, there were universities and historical societies whose archives were a great help.
As to the Sioux’s point of view, there are a few books that were dictated to newspapermen years later by the Indians that took part in the various battles that I weave into my story. I found a lot of material from Native American participants of the Little Big Horn, written twenty to thirty years after the fact.
But I wanted to immerse myself in the Sioux culture and I wanted to give them dignity by using their language wherever possible. I also wanted to introduce them by their Sioux names. So, I had to learn the Lakota language. And that wasn’t easy. There is a consortium that will teach you, but they wanted only serious students. You have to know a smattering of the language before they will even deign to let you in. I had to take a test to prove that I knew some Lakota. I failed the first time and had to go back to my Lakota dictionary and do some more studying. I got in on my second try.
I’m running out of space, so I reckon I’ll wrap it up. I hope I’ve given you a little insight into the research process. It’s time-consuming and sometimes frustrating. But it is also a blast. Every new discovery is like finding the motherlode.
I’d like to sign off with another commercial. The three books I alluded to above are:
  • Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
  • Molly Lee
  • Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure
I would like to thank Renee once again for having me over and you good folks for tuning in.
Andrew Joyce

About the Author
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, Yellow Hair. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mick ReillyConnect with the author.



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Self-Editing: The Oxford Comma

The Oxford comma--you knew I'd have to bring it up eventually, right? Without it there is often room for ambiguity--sometimes adding unintended humor. For example, “A notorious gambler, Charlie Sheen owed money to his ex-wives, Billy Bob Thornton and Hugh Grant.” In this sentence, a simple comma would prevent Billy Bob and Hugh from being noted as Charlie Sheen's ex-wives! In journalism the comma is often dropped as a way of saving printing space. However, for all other types of writing the Chicago Manual of Style recommends its usage.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shadow Stalker Part 3: Now Available | Joshua Robertson

Originally posted by Joshua Robertson:


part-3-release

Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18) Release

Things go from bad to worse when the Galvadi Empire develops a new technology to use against the shadow stalkers. Now Kado and Makari are more determined than ever to keep Auren away from their enemies, but Auren decides enough is enough and takes matters into her own hands. She turns herself over to the Galvadi to get close to Drevin and Makari has no choice but to play along. He is forced to either torture Auren to prove his loyalty or die knowing she will be tortured and enslaved anyway. Somehow, they must get close enough to Drevin to bring him down and put an end to the Galvadi’s tyranny once and for all.
 Episode 13: Defiance
Three years have passed since Auren and Shai escaped the daily torture of the Galvadi. With Makari’s help, they have learned more about the Galvadi’s technology and discovered ways to overcome its effects on their power, which gave them an edge in the war. However, the Galvadi have spent that time developing new technology that could mean the end of the shadow stalkers.
Episode 14: Falling to Pieces
Things go from bad to worse after Cali is captured by the Galvadi. The new technology they have employed is making a rescue attempt impossible and endangering the lives of all the shadow stalkers. Auren refuses to give up though, but the more she tries to fix thing, the more Kado tightens the leash.
Episode 15: Into My Own
Just when Auren thinks she’d had enough of Kado’s overbearing and overprotective nature, he surprises her by apologizing and admitting he had been wrong. Auren finally accepts that she is not at fault for Cali’s death after visiting her in the shadow world, but Kado and Makari are still preventing her from confronting Drevin. They don’t feel she is ready, and Auren is beginning to believe they will never let her fulfil her destiny. It’s time she takes matters into her own hands.
Episode 16: A New Emperor
Makari is told the only way he can prove his loyalty is by torturing Auren, but he refuses to go through it. So Jharak, Drevin’s master interrogator, took the liberty to be the one to break her, but in the end, it would take forcing her to watch him torture and kill Makari.
Episode 17: Allies to Enemies Part 1
Traitors are weeded out and new allies are found. Auren and Makari are determined to bring peace once again to the Serpent Isles, but they have a deadline. If they don’t make it in time, they could end up at war with their own people.
Episode 18: Allies to Enemies Part 2
General Graves wants Auren and Makari dead. When Makari demands one of Graves’ men, who secretly supports Makari, is sent to him for extra security at the palace, Graves uses a mind control drug to get him to assassinate them. Will Auren and Makari learn what happened before it’s too late?
If you haven’t read the Shadow Stalker serial yet, download Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6) free – http://reneescattergood.com/books/shadow-stalker-part-1-episodes-1-6/

 Excerpt – Episode 13: Chapter 1

shadow-stalker-p3-72-smallCali gave me a nudge as she took a seat next to me. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“No idea,” I said, moving over a few inches so she had space to sit between me and Shai on the log someone had converted into a bench.
Shai slung an arm around her cousin and Cali returned the gesture, then wrapped her free arm around me. I smiled at her. Cali was the only one who had helped me maintain my sanity over the years. It drove me crazy never knowing what was happening to Makari. Kado kept me busy, as usual, but any time I had a free moment, all I could do was wonder if he was safe. I would know if he died. I would sense him again in the shadow world. He had been blocking me to keep me safe, though I had no idea how it was supposed to help. All it did was make me want to go to him, which would be more dangerous.
Of course, Kado would never allow that. He saw my thoughts as I had them most of the time, and he would know as soon as I made the decision. I learned quickly not to allow my thoughts to go down that path too often. That’s where Cali came in. She distracted me by helping me forget the war and making me feel like a normal person once in a while. She was as good a friend as Jade, except she didn’t encourage me to disobey Kado when I was angry.
“Maybe the Galvadi have decided to give up,” Shai said, pulling me out of my thoughts.
Cali snorted.
“I know. It’s wishful thinking.”
I smiled at Shai. “I want this to be over too.”
“You’ll figure it out soon.” Cali gave my shoulder a squeeze.
All the shadow warriors knew the end of the war would not come until I stopped Drevin. The only problem was I had no idea what I was supposed to do, and no amount of training helped. Each day it seemed like I was further from my goal instead of closer.
After everyone had taken their seats, Kado held up a hand calling us all to silence. “Makari has just given me some disheartening news. The Galvadi have developed a—”
I tried to listen, but I couldn’t get past the fact that Makari had been here. “He didn’t even bother to see me?”
Kado glared at me, and I suddenly realized I’d blurted it aloud.
“Makari has to keep a low profile for his own safety, and they were not aware he had left. He couldn’t stay away long.”
“I think it’s time he left the Galvadi all together,” I said, folding my arms over my chest.
“It would be the healthier option,” Cali added on my behalf.
“Makari’s work has been invaluable to us, and would not be possible if he weren’t living among them for the time being,” Kado said, then leaned in my direction looking straight into my eyes. “And he knows what he is doing.”
Kado watched me, and I was sure he was waiting to see if I would continue to interrupt him. I remained silent, but neither he nor Makari would be able to convince me the man I loved wasn’t taking an unnecessary risk. They could get whatever information they needed from their missions.
When he was sure I wouldn’t interrupt again he finished explaining that the Galvadi had developed a new recinder and how it worked. “You will need to avoid capture at all costs. Once these recinders are placed on you, there is no known way to nullify its effects even after removal. Auren, I want you to visit Makari’s unit to steal the schematics, and if possible, one of the recinders along with any other information you can find about new technologies. Makari suspects there is more, but they are keeping him in the dark.”
I stood quickly, smacking my hands together. “When do I leave?”
“Wait a moment. I have other things I need to discuss with you first.”
I sat again, hoping I wasn’t in for one of his long lectures.
“The rest of you are dismissed. Sephir, you and Shai are clear to leave on that special mission you’ve been training for as soon as you’re ready, but please be careful.”
“We will,” Sephir said, bowing.
I leaned over Cali to give Shai a quick hug. Cali wrapped her arms around both of us. Shai stood as soon as we released her, and Sephir, who had been standing next to her, wrapped an arm around her as they headed off.
“Good luck,” Cali said, winking at me before following Sephir and her cousin.
Kado sat next to me. “Auren, you have been the most adept at overcoming the effects of the beryllonium. That’s why I’m sending you on this mission, but you need to be extra careful this time. Makari believes even you wouldn’t stand a chance with this new recinder. If they are looking for test subjects, they may also have new ways of detaining shadow stalkers that Makari might not be aware of. If you are discovered, do not take any risks. Makari will not be able to help you. You will need to leave immediately. Understood?”
“Yes, Kado. I’ll be fine.” I only just managed to stop my eyes from rolling.
“I’m serious, Auren. We can always return later, but if you are captured, you may be lost to us for good this time.”
The fear in Kado’s eyes sobered me. Things came easily to me now that I had completed my training, and though I had discovered abilities not even Kado had known about, I wasn’t foolish enough to believe I was all powerful. Sometimes my foster father seemed to worry more than he should, but I was beginning to think that wasn’t the case here.
“I’ll be careful, Kado. I promise.” It wouldn’t hurt to pay Makari a little visit too if he was alone.
Kado gripped my arm and tilted my head with his free hand so I was looking directly at him. “Under no circumstances are you to seek out Makari. If you attempt something so foolish, Auren, you will be punished and banned from future missions.”
My shoulders sagged. “It was an errant thought, Kado. I will focus on my mission.”
“The mission and nothing else, Auren. This is important.”
I nodded and averted my eyes. I just missed him. That’s all it was.
“I know you miss him, Auren, and that it’s been hard for you both to be apart, but it won’t be forever. You and Makari will have your time in this world if the shadow people will it, but not if you risk both your lives on foolishness.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” Makari was being the more foolish of us both, and yet Kado supported him. It didn’t make sense, but whenever I brought the subject up with either of them, they redirected the conversation.
Kado pulled me into a tight hug and whispered, “Come back to me in one piece, please.”
I returned his embrace. “I will.”

renee-scattergoods-bio-picRenee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy, and she’d dabbling with paranormal thrillers under a pen name.
She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.
Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6)http://reneescattergood.com
Renee’s Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/ – a blog where I feature indie and small press authors.
Newsletter (new subscribers get 3 free books): http://reneescattergood.com/subscribe-today/



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