Tag Archives: fantasy

Beyond Barlow, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Hello all you Lost Boys and Merry Men, you misplaced children of all stripes. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there bringing you the characters from the stories you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today my special guest is Ford Barlow, he’s a runaway stepchild who falls in with a group similar to himself. “Welcome to the show, Ford.”

“Are you…are you of the gods…from out there?”

“In a manner of speaking. And where are you currently?”

“Right here. I mean, in the woods. I wanted to get away from the others for a bit, ya know? And I found this totem in this glade. I’ve never seen one like this before, with lady parts and all.”

“Oh yeah. Now please speak clearly into the ears of the magic totem. Now, Ford, what would make a young man leave his home so suddenly?”

“Well, I’m ashamed to say I made a bad mistake, you see, and someone got hurt, well, killed if I’m honest. I didn’t mean to! It just happened, so I had to leave. I took to these woods and been here ever since.”

“But I understand you’re not living like an animal. There are others in the forest. What can you tell our listeners… um, the spirit thingies about them?”

“Oh yeah! I met these folks ‘bout my age. They call themselves the Wayward Boys and they took me in, treat me good.”

“Camping out with your buds, and living off the land doesn’t sound so bad.”

“No, it ain’t so bad at all. We got along all right, but sometimes are better than others. Winter’s awful hard. Cold cuts right through to the bone and there’s never enough to eat. Whenever we wasn’t all bundled up in our hideout, we’d be out sniffing ‘bout the towns for this and that. I’m ashamed to admit, ma’am or mistress, we take from others now and again when needs must. But I tell you true, it’s not by want, not on my part. All I want’s to get my father’s axe back to him. I took it when I wasn’t thinking straight and, well, I just want him to know I’m better than that.”

“That’s kind of a deep well. Could you maybe slip back one night and leave a note tied around the axe handle?”

“Well, I can’t write and neither can any the Boys, and we don’t have nothing to write with even if we could. And besides, there’s something creeping around out there just now, something nobody’s ever seen before. It’s like demon’s magic or something. Don’t know what it is, but it ain’t good.”

“Ford, I really hope you can find closure with your father somehow. You have to remember that life goes on though. What do you think your future holds?”

“Don’t know…You’re of the gods, maybe you could tell me!”

“Well, um. I guess you have to accept your circumstances and make the best life you can. If you don’t like something, change it.”

“That would be nice… The Boys want to keep me around and I don’t know how I’d get away. Even if I did, where would I go? I couldn’t go back home. They don’t want me back.”

“That’s a problem, for sure. Maybe you can work your way up in the group and find a new life somewhere else?”

“Hmmm, that’s a thought maybe!”

“Any final thought for the, um, spirits today?”

“I just want to give my thanks for the help of the gods.”

“Thanks for, you know, entertaining the spirits today, Ford.

“If you want to read more about Ford and his friends, pick up a copy of Beyond Barlow, by Jason R. Koivu. I’ll post all the deets on the website. Please use those sharing buttons today to help spread the word. I know Jason would do it for you, and we could probably trick Ford into doing the same. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

blurb

Ford Barlow is banished from his home and the clansmen he loves after a tragic accident forces him into joining a band of thieving boys. Adventure and fun abound and it seems Ford has found a perfectly fine new home until a mysterious massacre chases the boys away from their beloved woodland hideaway. They pass through a magical and dangerous forest into the arms of conniving bandits. These vicious men and his conscience push Ford to the brink of his moral limits in Beyond Barlow.

Review snippet

“The story was so full of twists and turns that I had trouble putting it down…” – Jasmin Brooks, Amazon user

You can pick up a copy of Beyond Barlow right here.

You can catch up with Jason at jasonrkoivu@mail.com, or on his website.

 

Advertisements

36 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Warlord of the Forgotten Age

Charles Yallowitz is a good friend of mine. He has appeared on my blog many times, and me on his. If you are the kind who read comments, you’ll find us getting into some fairly deep topics on one site or the other. Charles has what I see as a major accomplishment. He’s completed the final volume of his Legends of Windemere series. As a writer of stand-alone books I am in awe. This series is epic fantasy, and epic in proportion at fifteen volumes.

Many months ago, we got into a discussion about writing characters of the opposite gender. This isn’t something that comes easy to every writer. Our discussion morphed into the following post, and it’s part of his blast to announce Warlord of the Forgotten Age to the world. Read the post, join in the discussion, and get your copy of the book. I’ll also note that if you’re one who likes to wait for completion before starting a series, this is the time to jump on the Windermere train.

Oh, and if you would use those sharing buttons, we would both appreciate it. I’ve released enough books to know that spreading the word is super important.

Thank you to Craig for helping me promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age, which is also the last of the series.  That works for the necessary sales pitch because I want to get to the fun.

A while back, Craig wrote a guest post for my blog about how he writes female characters.  This is a question I’ve seen come up a lot in forums with people asking members of one group how they write characters from another.  It’s almost like readers are surprised when a man writes a strong, interesting female character or a woman comes up with a great male character.  Although, more the former than the latter because many female authors admitted that they find heroes and villains easier to write than heroines and villainesses. By the way, ‘villainesses’ is a word that doesn’t get used nearly enough   So, where do I stand on this?

Honestly, I never really thought about it until now.  Since I was a teenager, I focused more on how the characters acted and evolved.  The gender was important only to denote romantic interests, pronouns, clothing, and physical appearance, but the core of my characters was to make them human.  My heroines had to be able to pull their weight on teams and have unique skills that made them stand out.  In my earliest stories, I gave all of my characters roles and the female protagonists did tend to fall into caster and healer roles.  Only recently did I revisit these characters and redesign all of them to flush them out more.  To be honest, the males weren’t any better, but I think most of us have started out with flat characters.

In regards to the women of Windemere specifically, I started with a character that was introduced in the connected D&D game.  Selenia Hamilton isn’t the best example of how I write female characters.  The reason is because she’s a tough, legendary mercenary who now runs a warrior school, but has eliminated her femininity to the point where she’s very masculine.  A lot of authors seem to think this is the way to go for a ‘strong, female’ character.  I considered changing her, but realized she’s one of Windemere’s pioneers in terms of proving women can be strong warriors.  So, it would make sense that she went this route and paved the road for characters like Nyx, Sari, Kira Grasdon, and Dariana. Does this mean Selenia Hamilton is a bad character?  Not in the least, but it does show one way I used to think when it came to creating tough heroines. The thing is that you do have people like this in the real world, so I don’t see why it would be a problem to have fictional versions.  I’ve met plenty of women who decided that the only way to get ahead is to act more like a man. So, here we have me observing different types of women (men too to be fair) and using the variety.  After all, not every character of the same gender has to be the same.

That’s really the biggest thing that’s helped me write female characters in general.  I look around to see how women respond to things, listen to what they would like to see in heroines, and watch for various personality traits.  This really began because of Nyx, who is easily the most powerful hero in Legends of Windemere.  Seriously, who’s going to try and tell her that she’s not?  Nyx started as my wife’s first D&D character and I worked with her to do the transition from game to book.  I had to keep the personality the same while making it deeper and more flexible since she was going to be facing monsters instead of finals.  It wasn’t easy because the game Nyx wasn’t nearly as powerful, but still ran into battle and tended to get knocked out in the first round.  Mages are NOT supposed to rush into hand-to-hand, which is why the book version knows how to fight and has a massive defiance streak.  This experience led to me doing the same thing, but it gets difficult with characters that don’t have a real-life counterpart.  For those, I paid attention to heroines and villainesses from movies, shows, games, books, and whatever else I could find. I was looking at how other creators handled female characters and went on forums to see what people thought.  Usually, I found more complaints than praise, but it helped me figure out the details.

After all of that, I still came up with one important fact that I use for all of my characters.  It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female.  I write about heroes who stand for good and villains who wish to do bad.  They’re motivations, personalities, and abilities might be different, but all of them stand for something more than what’s between their legs.  I want all of my characters to be seen as strong and flawed, which is why I pay more attention to the core than the fleshy coating.  Personally, I think that should be the goal.  Make a strong character of either gender that everyone can enjoy and you’ve done something special.  Thanks again to Craig and hope people check out Warlord of the Forgotten Age to see how Nyx, Sari, and Dariana do against the Baron.  Oh, I guess the guys will be there too.

Author Bio & Social Media

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Website

All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Catch the rest of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE on Amazon!

83 Comments

Filed under Writing

Heartstone, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there, all you casters and spell slingers. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Sylvie Sirx, of The Drowned Tower. “Welcome to the show, Sylvie.”

“Glad to be here, Lisa.”

“My bio doesn’t actually say this, but a girl can read between the lines. You have a conundrum. Your friend Jack wants out of the Drowned Tower, and you have a pretty sweet deal there. I mean, apprentice to the head of the Tower and his heir apparent. So, give us the scoop; are you going to leave with Jack or stay put for the big payoff?”

“You… um, you jump straight to the good stuff, don’t you? Well, I don’t hate that. But to tell you the truth, I don’t plan on leaving. I’m perfectly content where I am. Now, that might sound disappointing to all you listeners out there—and really, it is to most. You won’t believe how much backtalk I hear about my decision to remain, but like you said, Columbus Cephas, my master, is head of the entire Tower, a position that will be handed down to me upon his passing. Many have died achieving less. I know more than a dozen master-less practitioners that would jump at the chance to stand where I do.

“Besides, what’s not to like about the Tower? Practitioners are free to stay and live out their lives in comfort, regardless of talent or skill, so long as they abide by the rules of the Institute. Not a bad deal, I’d say. Their rules can be a tad stifling, but they aren’t entirely unreasonable.

“Still, what I want can only get me so far. Master Cephas is pushing for me to participate in the upcoming Choosing. An offer of apprenticeship in the Diamond Alps doesn’t come every day after all. Really, he’d be better off endorsing Jack. He’s been the obvious choice from the start, and more importantly, he actually wants to go.”

“Is there anyone you can talk to about this? I mean, I’ve met Jack. He’s a little brash, but he has some worthy goals. Is he running from the oppression of the Tower, or pursuing those worthy goals?”

“I can tell you this, if I’m still in the running at the end, I’d find a way to back down. What are they going to do? Drag me kicking and screaming all the way to the Diamond Alps? That would just be a headache for everyone involved.

“And Jack, he… well, he wants to do a lot of things. His dreams are grander than most. Certainly grander than mine. His lineage isn’t anything to scoff at either. A prominent family name will serve him well in the future—and he knows it. But it’s hard to say for certain what exactly it is he’s doing. He spins you around with a lot of talk and opinion, then gets upset when you can’t follow. If anything, I’d say he’s pursuing his goals in order to escape the oppression of the Tower.

“Rather than simply deserting and being chased for the rest of his days, he wants to change his world from the inside. But people fear change. They also fail to realize when they might need it. I doubt his views will be well accepted, especially in the Alps. He’s a bit like the First Zenith in that regard. A group of four practitioners that reformed the entire Institute, abolishing slavery and crafting many of the councils and regulations that we have today. Though Jack goes against most of them, the fact that he’s looking to change things through the proper means is worthy of respect.

“And look, ages later, the First Zenith are regarded as apotheoses. Worshipped across Ferus Terria with statues built in their honor. Oddly enough, I can imagine a statue of Jack somewhere with people kneeling in devotion before him. But whenever I think of them singing songs of praise, all I hear is him spewing a mouthful of Íarre curses in response.”

“Sylvie, maybe you can both take an internship at the Diamond Alps. That allows you to keep your master happy, and still hang out with Jack. Do you both practice the same kind of magic? That way you aren’t competing with each other.”

“We don’t. I’m a Conjurer. We control one specific elements all our lives—fire, wind, you get the picture. Jack’s an Elementalist, and Elementalists are a different breed entirely. They’re able to draw upon all the primal forces in nature and use every element to their advantage. They’re powerful, to be sure, but are the master of none types. The Elementalists are special in that they’re a dying breed. They’ve dwindled over the years, and no one knows why. So, every Elementalist that’s born is carefully watched after. Conjurers, in comparison, are more common and are usually trained in other skills to be more rounded.

“There are other kinds of practitioners, too. Healers and Amorphs. My older brother belongs to the former, which is self-explanatory. Healers carry ungainly grimoires on their person at all times, and most are trained in some form of hand to hand combat. Amorphs, on the other hand, can take the form of animals, though their eyes always remain the same—black and abysmal. There is a certain group within the Alps that are specifically educated in identifying and tracking Amorphs.

“While those are how practitioners are officially classified, there are also sub-types for those gifted with magic in their veins, but don’t have the ability to properly draw it out, or for those that simply want to pick up other skills. Embrocologists, for example, create tonics and salves. Gavinists survey the land and Enchanters use charms.

“But I’m just going off on you, aren’t I? Regarding what you first said, I suppose we could both go to the Alps, but I’m mostly set on staying in the Tower. It would have to be a truly spectacular offer for me to even consider going.”

“About that. My bio says you like to hang out in someplace called Archive 19. What’s so appealing about that place? I mean is it a cool bar or coffee shop?”

“No, nothing like that…”

“So, if it’s more of a quiet place, maybe you could ask the chick inside the rock you found.”

What! Jack told you about Her? Of all the—Silas’ holy pyre! When I get my hands on him, I swear… Well, since he’s already loosened his tongue, the rock is officially called a Heartstone. It’s an old, enchanted thing meant for storage. Use the proper spell, and you have your own tiny room for your luggage. Convenient, isn’t it? I thought so, too, but the one I found is… infinitely creepier. There’s a woman inside, no, surely she’s some kind of ancient, heinous being. She likes to whisper things. Riddles, mostly. The first time I heard her sing, my blood burned, as if she was calling out to me for— I… I think I’ll stop there.”

“I wish you luck in deciding which path you’re going to take. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“I know Jack had a segment before me, and even though he’s prickly, he can be persuasive when he wants to be. Don’t let him corrupt your views of the Institute too much. He’s only expressing the opinion of one side after all.

“With that said, if any of you happen to come across him, send him to my archive, would you? I have more than just a bone to pick with him.”

“You can read all about Sylvie and Jack in The Drowned Tower, by Nicholas Rinth. I’ll post all the links on the website.

“Help me keep the lights on around here, by using those sharing buttons on the way out. It’s simple, it’s fun, you get to help someone. I know Sylvie and Nicholas would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

“If the future was bared before you, would it still be yours?
If the past could chase you, would you run from it?
If the world crumbled tonight, would you carve your own?”

Freedom is out of the question for practitioners of the Institute, and any supporters otherwise are dealt with violently. A system Sylvie Sirx neither refutes, nor endorses—born from an enviable family, talented in her skills, and entirely too content with her position, her path has always been a straight one… until now.

Her qualifications backfire when an elder from the north descends upon her home for a Choosing. He calls upon the Drowned Tower’s most sought after practitioners for a simple job that ends in blood, and then Sylvie’s blissful world erupts. She finds herself in the company of the Elementalist, Jacques Dace, an insufferable but deadly enthusiast of personal reform. Together, they’re swept into a spiral of powerful magic and ancient grudges. Where truth bends, stones whisper secrets of the past, and their home lies at the heart of what could very well be Ferus Terria’s next recorded war.

And for once, she is forced to choose a side, learning for herself what it means to master fate.

 

Author Bio:

Nicholas Rinth is the author of Sitting in Silence and the NA fantasy series, Heartstone. He currently lives lakeside in the southern graces of Savannah, Georgia, where he spends his time fantasizing about other worlds and working on his next novel.

LISA BURTON RADIO: JACK INTERVIEW

Contact Nicholas Rinth:
Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

The Drowned Tower is Available for Purchase Here:
|EBOOK MASTERLINK|

PAPERBACK:
AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK

 BARNES&NOBLE (USA) | !NDIGO (CA) | BOOKTOPIA (AU)

43 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

The Idea Mill #31

It’s been a long time since we visited the Idea Mill, here on Entertaining Stories. I’ve kept my eyes open for articles, and they haven’t been all that good lately. In typical fashion, I  always wait until I  have three – but two good ones show up at the same time, leaving me with four.

If this is your first visit to the Idea Mill, I  have a category in the sidebar where you can check out the previous posts. I  use push feeds to send me news about things that might help my fiction. Think of them like Muse food. I  can’t possibly use them all, and maybe something will bring your own Muse to the table.

Our first article involves humans returning to the moon one day. Scientists have long speculated there might be underground lava tubes on the moon that would make a great location for a human colony. A team of Japanese and American scientists proved the theory, and they even identified a suitable location.

In speculative fiction, you can always change things up to suit yourself. Maybe you want Mars instead; shouldn’t be a huge leap of faith. Maybe you want some basis for a fantasy where one of your races lives in underground colonies. This could be a starting point for your research.

I really like the image in the article that shows a huge underground cell holding a city the size of Philadelphia with plenty of room to spare. If you think of Earth’s atmosphere as being similar to an ocean, then why couldn’t you fill the entire cell with oxygen and allow the inhabitants to moon-hop without space suits? I think I could sell that in a story. If you get plants to grow, they might even help with the oxygen. You can read the article here.

That giant cell where the people must live is also a perfect setting for horror of some kind. Help is a long way off, and you can’t just run away.

Our next one involves a new finding that the squirrel fur trade may have helped spread leprosy in medieval England. I think what amazes me the most is the idea there even was a squirrel fur trade. I mean squirrels never seemed to make much of an impact on the red carpet decades ago when fur was in fashion. Marilyn Monroe never posed snuggled inside a squirrel fur stole and nothing else. I can see trade like this spreading diseases way back then. They didn’t have some of the regulations, FDA, and other folks watching over them.

Need a fantasy character who hasn’t been done to death? Tired of burley woodsmen and handsome princes? How about a squirrel fur trader? How about a bunch of orphans who catch squirrels to survive? Could there be a fur trader’s guild in your fantasy city? Maybe even a guild war when opossum fur starts becoming more economical?

Learn about the spread of disease by squirrel fur trading at this site.

Our next article involves an idea that’s been floating around for a long time. Mosquitos carry a lot of diseases that are harmful to humans. They are also hard to control using current methods, because the old methods were so devastating to the environment. When I first read about this, the idea was to introduce a deadly mosquito venereal disease into the larger population in hopes that it would kill them all off. That idea never went away, it seems. Today it’s back with a new hair-brained basis. The FDA has approved a method of using sterile male mosquitos to introduce into the wild. In theory these would mate with the bad mosquitos (apparently the bad ones are always females) leaving all the eggs as duds.

Now, if this could actually happen, repeated treatments could lead to an extinction of the bad mosquitos. Their method cracks me up, though. They will produce these mosquitos in a lab, then hand separate the males from the females, before boxing them up to ship to areas where Zika and yellow fever are prominent.

If they’re going to use labor to hand separate the mosquitos, I almost think they’d be better off to send that same labor into the swamps with fly-swatters. Anyway, you can read the article here, then we’ll speculate about it.

Maybe you caught on to the term in the article about weaponized mosquitos. If they can manipulate the little buggers to this extent, it isn’t much of a leap to turn them into biological weapons to use against humans. Some of this might even play into my next novel that I’m going to call Grinders. (I need to give it some thought.) Maybe you write thrillers, and can pit the CDC against a terrorist cell utilizing weaponized mosquitos to carry out its evil plans. Maybe you want to project this out a few years and have the Endangered Species Act trying to protect the now-endangered bad mosquitos. It could be CDC vs the Endangered Species Act, while the terrorists are getting away.

Like I said, I hold some of these articles for months, then always seem to get two at the last moment. This time is no exception, so we have one more. Where the mosquito article bordered on mad science, this one moves right in and sets up shop. Scientists have been merging human and rat brains in a laboratory. They even have a cute name for the human parts called organoids.

This one plays right into my Grinders novel, and I already have rats involved. The article explores the idea of ethics and rights if the animals are part human, and questions what kind of consciousness they might have. I’ve got news for them, all animals are conscious to a degree. They all protect their babies, understand the need for food and water, and many are much more incredible.

Writing a courtroom type story that’s reflective of the Scopes Monkey Trials, one where eventually a rat testifies, seems like low hanging fruit to me. It could be good, but it’s just not what I write. I can see a plague of intelligent rats causing all kinds of problems. Maybe they set up street gangs and start taking lunches from school children. They form organized raids on restaurants and bakeries. Maybe they even fight back by using swarms of biting rats to kill those who oppose them.

It wouldn’t take much of a stretch to use other species if you have the science behind this project. You could go all Michael Chichton on the story. Read the article right here.

One of the fun parts, and it gets harder with four articles, is to rough out a story using all the articles. I have space, a medieval fur trade, and two modified animals to deal with…

A colony of humans is living on the moon in a fully functional underground city. They are dependent upon Earth for many of the things they need for survival. These people are dependent upon a line of super intelligent rats to help them delve deeper into the lava tubes. The rats can explore places we cannot go, and assess whether it’s worth digging through to the next area.

It’s cold on the moon, and the rats want something warmer than their natural fur. A shipment of squirrel fur arrives from Earth, and a cottage industry is born – making fur coats for rats. The fur is infected with a virus that is deadly to humans. The best hope is in the form of modified mosquitos that will transmit a cure for the disease. However, the cure is deadly for the rats.

While the ship carrying the cure is on its way, the rats rise up to destroy the humans before they can destroy the rats.

That’s it, some ideas to kick your Muse in the pants; check. A corny outline to have some fun with; check.

I’ve got to say the last two have me thinking, and I think the Research Sirens are on their way to the writing cabin.

51 Comments

Filed under The Idea Mill

The Curse of Time, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. Life is hard, and we all go through some rough patches. Some of us go through extraordinary patches, and we aren’t the same when we come out.

Imagine for a moment, you’re the most popular girl in school. You’re good at sports, tons of friends or hopeful friends orbit around. You’re beyond pretty. Then one day, you’re abducted. Everything changes, who you are, who you hope to become, gone in an instant. But it’s worse than that. What happened to you took a turn for the paranormal. That’s the case with my special guest today. “Welcome to the show, Esme.”

“Thank you Lisa, I’m honoured to be your guest.”

“Why don’t you tell our listeners where you are right now, please?”

“I’m trapped in a mirror.”

“Ooooh, tough blow, Esme. Mirrors have been magical pathways for centuries. Are you able to look beyond into another plane, or is this like some kind of magic mirror enslavement?”

“It’s not magic mirror enslavement Lisa; I can’t do anyone’s bidding! All I can do is look out and see the same strange reality every day. I’m in a house but it isn’t my home. I recognise the girl who lives here, Amelina, an only child.  I’m on an endless sleepover but Amelina didn’t invite me and I can tell you it’s no party. There’s no exit. If I try to step too far forward the cold glass presses against my fingertips. Amelina sees me in my mirror prison wherever she walks. It’s her house, and her house has become my prison. It seems as if I am enclosed in a single mirror and yet Amelina can see my reflection in many rooms. There is one exception – the attic at the top of the house. For some reason I never get to talk to Amelina up there. I don’t eat, or drink and I don’t die. All I do is breathe, cry, laugh hysterically and collapse.  I’m not stable; my mental health issues are getting worse. I long to escape. Amelina longs to escape too. She walks out but she will never desert us.”

“I’m just theorizing here, but it seems to me that someone put you inside the mirror. You may need someone to help you find that person and make them reverse the curse. You said you’re stuck in Amelina’s room. Is she someone you trust enough to help you?”

“Yes Lisa your theorising is correct. Someone put me in this mirror but if I told you who that person is there would be terrible consequences. My only hope is that Amelina will help me. She is unaware of her powers but two events will happen in succession which will trigger her abilities. The first, is an invitation to visit the mysterious Crystal Cottage, the second is a magical crystal paint set – a gift from Amelina’s aunt. There is also a third source of power, but this is a dark shadow she must avoid at all costs. There is a black cat, Shadow who holds the secret of this source but he does not speak. He is 99% good. I have only known one time when I saw his 1% bad but that was frightening.”

“Um, yeah. Magical abilities and a black cat sound like clues to me. How good a friend is Amelina again?”

“Amelina and I were never friends at school. I was Miss Popularity, and she was Miss Obscurity. But now I have all the time in the world to listen, and to talk. I realize I misjudged her. She has hidden depths, whereas I was all surface, and superficiality.”

“So if it wasn’t Amelina, who else might be checking up on you? People usually do things for a reason, and it’s odd that nobody has asked you for anything.”

“Not true! Amelina has begged me to tell her more about this curse but I have told her I can’t reveal what I know. It’s too dangerous. One look at Amelina’s dad and you’ll see what I mean. He’s aged unnaturally, but it’s more than that.  He’s lost a cherished part of him. Amelina’s mum hasn’t aged but every aspect of her yells bitter. Both of them look like a cruel caricature painting. Just recently, Amelina has taken to walking down this forbidden river pathway where she met Ryder. Every time I see Ryder my skin crawls.”

“Does everyone talk to you, or are some people incapable of seeing you inside the mirror?”

“No, not everyone talks to me. Ryder doesn’t. Amelina’s aunt Karissa never blinks an eyelid in my direction which is unusual as she natters and gossips non-stop. I expect that means she doesn’t see me. Amelina’s parents talk to me. No scratch that, they tell me what they daren’t tell anyone else. I reckon they’d both have a fit if they knew I’d been listening to them spill their guts out. They have a permanent house guest/prisoner and they’ve no idea.”

“Wow, not a lot of clues to go on. I worry that you won’t be able to get free once more. Any closing thoughts for our listeners today?”

“Lisa, there are numerous clues but like the Crystal cottage they are hidden. There are depths of meaning in this story. You have to delve into the puzzle to reveal the mystery. I’m trapped so Amelina has to find those clues. It is frustrating having no control over what happens. Sometimes Amelina and I fall out because of that mounting frustration. I fear for her knowing what I know. She is too trusting. I implore her to see the darkness that hides in the shadows. If The Curse of Time won’t release us, our fates will continue to be an individual prison with or without bars.”

“You can read all about Esme’s plight in the book The Curse of Time, by Marjorie Mallon. I’ll include all the pertinents on the website.

“You can also help them out by using the sharing buttons on the website. Tell your friends on Facebook, or Google+ about Esme’s plight. I’m sure they’ll do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio show.

***

The Curse of TimeOn Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

Pick up your copy at this link.

Marjorie MallonI am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Social media contacts:

My Amazon UK Author Page

My Amazon US Author Page

My Amazon Canada Author Page

My blog – for information about new releases, photos of main characters/character interviews, book reviews and inspiration: https://mjmallon.com

My New Facebook Group #ABRSC: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook

Instagram: Instagram

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and Twitter: @curseof_time

Facebook: Facebook: m j mallon author

Tumblr: Tumblr: mjmallonauthor

I have devoted the past few years to writing over 100 reviews on My Goodreads Review Account, and on my blog to help support traditional and indie writers.

Photo credit: Black cat Alex Marlowe – https://alexmarloweblog.wordpress.com. Shadow the cat is modelled by Samantha Murdoch’s cat Lily – https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/

Photo credit: Corpus Chronopage on book cover – Inventor Dr John C Taylor, OBE. http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/


Artwork: Esme Portrait – available to buy via Carolina Russo’s wonderful art page: https://yesterdayafter.com/2017/09/06/new-release-esme-bringing-alive-a-character-with-a-painting-collaboration-with-author-mj-mallon/

If you’d like to vote for me in the AuthorsDB cover and first line contest here’s the link to find out how to do so: https://mjmallon.com/2017/09/08/please-vote-for-me-in-authorsdb-first-line-contest/

62 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Back to Windemere

On the eve of destiny, the fate of the champions are in the hands of those they once called Enemy.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption.

With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy. Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help. Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism. Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize.

By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.

Dive into the adventure on Amazon for $2.99!
Find it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: The Aura Syphon

A gurgling causes the two women to pause and look into the pit where the shadows are swirling among the jagged stones. Two black tentacles lance out of the ground and wrap around Yola’s waist, the ooze-dripping projections turning silver at the taste of her magic. Attracted to the stronger energy, the aura syphon yanks the immortal into its slime-covered maw and becomes a metallic beast. With its armored skin, the camouflaged predator is now visible and resembles a sea anemone with the body of a beetle. The jagged rocks are fused to the animal’s exoskeleton and there are six jointed legs that help it scurry out of the pit. Standing over Trinity, the creature opens a faint crease on its body to reveal a bulbous eye with a star-shaped pupil. It pauses to shove a few tentacles into its mouth and hit Yola with pulses of electricity to stop her from struggling. It changes from silver to gold when she attempts to break free, her efforts being quickly drained by the monster.

“Let the crazy woman go before you get killed,” Trinity whispers to the aura syphon. She creates a fireball in the hopes of getting its mouth open, but her spell is ignored. “No reason to have a snack when you have an eternal meal in your belly. Maybe we can have a trade. Can’t believe I’m trying to bargain with this thing. Well, I gave you a chance, so I’m going to blow you up before things get worse. Hope you heard that Yola and are bracing yourself.”

The beast gurgles before releasing a blast of sticky strands that lock Trinity in place. Instead of going after the trapped chaos elf, the creature turns its attention to the helpless army. Having had its fill of magic, the aura syphon is ready to gorge on fresh meat and opens a second mouth that is filled with knife-like teeth. Heading for Sir Harbiss, it is stopped when a chunk of earth erupts beneath it and flips it back into the pit. Unsure of where the attack came from, the aura syphon leaps out and reveals several eye stalks that search for an unseen enemy. A cutting wind lops off half of the projections, but Yola’s potent energy revives them and protects the crystalline armor plates. When the spell comes back around, it bounces off the new defense and bursts against a hill. Blasts of fire strike the beast from behind, so it sprouts a fan-shaped tail of water that douses the flames.

Looking around, the aura syphon stops when it sees that Trinity is nowhere to be seen and there is a hole where she once stood. Spikes grow from the predator’s belly and it slams against the ground in the hopes of impaling the chaos elf. The hiss of escaping gas is heard an instant before an explosion sends the shrieking animal into the sky. Careening towards a solitary cloud that is very low to the ground, the beast catches the scent of an aura that revives the one currently in its gut. Passing through the cloud, it finds its legs caught in a net that runs down to where Trinity is hiding behind a hill. With enhanced strength, the channeler slams the aura syphon into the ground and delivers a leaping stomp to its soft upper body. Instead of ejecting Yola, the creature opens its skin to swallow the chaos elf’s leg up the knee.

“Fine. Backup plan it is,” Trinity mutters, synching her aura to that of the imprisoned immortal.

Releasing as much magic as she can without killing herself, the channeler creates a power surge within the aura syphon. Unable to absorb or redirect so much energy at once, the predator tries to reject the grinning chaos elf. Plunging her fingers into its flesh, Trinity refuses to be thrown off and continues her assault. Blisters appear on the hard exoskeleton and the metallic color flakes off to reveal the natural black of the tentacles. Without warning, the gold returns and the animal explodes with enough force to collapse the ground. Before she can escape, the channeler falls into the pit and is buried beneath the icy dirt.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the picture below! First book, ‘Beginning of a Hero’ is free!

Ready for the newest adventure in Windemere? Find out if Queen Trinity earns redemption or will return to the Baron’s side!

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

8 Comments

Filed under Writing

The Book of My World, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Attention all you writers and dreamers, lovers and readers, avatars and NPCs. You’ve reached Lisa Burton Radio, the only show on the airwaves that interviews characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. Today, I’m proud to welcome my very special guest, Tiernan Hartwell. “Welcome to the show, Tiernan.”

“Ah, hello, Lisa. I’m happy you’ve agreed to see me and help me find Dyre.”

“Tiernan, my bio says you’re on a self imposed quest to find the woman you love. My interns leave something to be desired. Does this mean you’re looking for any old woman to love, or is someone special missing?”

“No, no…hardly any old woman at all. She’s a loan goddess, one of our champions loaned from another world to help us fight against our greatest foes. Without them, we would have been crushed under Llyr’s might. But she’s not the only one of them missing, they all are.”

“It sounds like a pretty worthy mission. What’s your next move.”

“I…I don’t know. Somehow, some way, I need to make my way to her world, to find her, to make sure she’s okay, even though it’s never been done before. They come here, we never go there. Something must have gone wrong, she would have never left us…me…like this. I don’t even know if it’s possible, though. I’m not the right sort of mage to do this, it would take years to learn what I need to know…”

“Sounds to me like someone needs a steaming hot mug of Man the Hell Up here. She could be in trouble. If you don’t rescue her, who will?”

“No one will. No one else can. I just don’t know if it’s possible.”

“This sounds like there’s more here than a soldier rescuing his aristocratic master from peril. you have feelings for Dyre, don’t you?”

“Absolutely. Dyre…well, she made me everything that I am now. I love her, I’ve been with her for a decade…my entire adult life. She is everything, life without her is empty. I can’t imagine having gone through this, to be victorious, and then not have her here to celebrate it. She won, we won, she should be here to see the fruits of that. All of that. We owe it to her. I owe it to her.”

“Well, you have to go after her. What’s your next move?”

“It…well, it might be possible. I’d have to go back to Llyr, the kingdom we fought…there’s a font of great power there. But it’s dangerous, there are a great many terrible things left behind from the war. The friends who could help me do this are few…I can only think of one or two who could even try to make the journey to that font. After that, it would only be me. I’d have to do it alone. And…well, I’ve never done anything alone in my life. Dyre was the one who made the decisions. The one who took all of the risks. I just followed her. I’ve always just followed her lead. But I’d do anything to be at her side again. Even if things change, even if she has a man from her own world, someone who is able to be what I couldn’t be for her… I would still want to be in her household. It’s my place. It’s what I was forged to be. I am adrift here, I have no meaning or use alone.”

“Awww, poor guy. Why are you still here?”

“I am…afraid. This has never been done before. Dyre is a warrior, and I’ve been trained to be a warrior’s companion. I kill our enemies. I burned down that which stood in our way. I’ve never, ever been taught to do portal magic. I don’t even know if I can. If I can’t, I will not survive the attempt. But I can’t survive staying here, no matter how fine a place she has left me in. What good is luxury when I feel dead inside now?”

“Those are some terrible choices. Give up an accomplished and comfortable life completely, for only a chance to be with the woman you love. I feel so bad for you. I wish you all the luck in the world in deciding what to do. Do you have any closing remarks for our listeners today?”

“Wish me well. I know that, either way, nobody here will know if I make it or not.  But I have to try. Maybe I can find her and bring her back. Maybe I can’t, but there’s only one way to find out, and that is to do this.”

“You can read all about Tiernan’s decision, and his adventures, in The Book of My World, by Melissa Cuevas. I’ll include the purchase link on the website.

“It would really help Tiernan and Melissa out if you would use those sharing buttons on the way out today. It helps out my show too, so I appreciate all of you.

For Tiernan and Dyre, and for Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Blurb: Ten years ago, with the rise of the Llyrian threat, Mirach’s champions had come from their home world to stand in her defense as their ancestors had centuries before. Tiernan Hartwell’s life had changed then when he had been chosen as a holy companion to one of these champions, the great loan goddess Dyre Wrathbourne. He’d stood at her side for a decade, fighting for her and fighting for his own people during the darkest of times…or so he’d thought. But now he understood the true darkest of times with the sudden disappearance of the loan gods from his world, and the loss of the woman that he had built his heart and life around.

He has one choice…accept her loss, carry on with his life, or to challenge the very fabric of magic and his society by going after her, to bridge the gap between his world and hers.

Purchase Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKNBQ7C

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/717450
Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/melissacuevasauthor/

28 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio