Click image to purchase from Amazon
Tell us about Dragons of Wendal:[Click above to purchase from Barnes & Noble]Learning new magic isn’t as easy as Zoe expected, especially when the mages at Gorgon University seem dead set against teaching. Add in some necessary late-night sneaking about, and Zoe is almost certain to be kicked out. As for exploring the intriguing mysteries across the border in Wendal, well, it has more teeth than she ever imagined.
Click image to purchase from Bear Mountain Books
Tell us about yourself Maria:[Click above for Maria's blog]I am the author of the Sedona O'Hala mystery series, the Moon Shadow urban fantasy series and several short stories, including two anthologies for Kindle. I have published stories in Coyote Wild Magazine, TownDrunkMag.com and "Over My Dead Body." My latest novel is a fantasy adventure: Dragons of Wendal. I grew up in New Mexico where the desert environment required that I embellish the landscape with my imagination. After working in the computer industry for twelve years, I decided technology moved too slowly, and again put my imagination to work, creating messes and then inventing characters to handle all the clean up. I currently live near Austin, Texas.A bit about Maria's other books:[Click above for Maria's Amazon page]
"Executive Lunch" is the first in the Sedona O'Hala series. Sedona is given the opportunity of a lifetime: play an up-and-coming executive with all the trappings of wealth with someone else footing the bill. The catch: find out who is stealing company funds before the criminals find out that their program is being debugged. Sedona runs into danger, the corporate glass ceiling, and an occasional chance at romance in her quest.
"Tracking Magic" contains five case files from Max Killian Investigations: Max is hired to expel a ghost from a mansion, counteract an ancient curse, investigate a graveyard mystery and figure out which secrets are worth dying for. All in a day's work--assuming he survives!
"Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom" includes short stories set in the medieval fantasy world of Sage. There is danger and intrigue; castles, ghosts, dungeons, possible dragons--and magic, of course.
"Under Witch Moon" is the first in an urban fantasy series and was released October 2010.
A brief chat with Maria:
Dragons of Wendal started out as the short story, Snitched, Snatched, which is still available for sale as a standalone short story in both English and Spanish, in one volume. Snitched, Snatched was meant to be a quick fantasy work to introduce readers to a whimsical adventure. Most of my short stories result in a few emails asking for a full novel about the same characters. I admit that I rarely comply—not because I am mean, but because there are always more ideas than time and money to implement them. I liked Zoe, however, and was curious about where she would end up. Next thing I knew, she was off on another adventure. I hope you enjoy it. Zoe wasn’t pleased with the danger and risk, but she’s a fighter. Now if she could just get rid of cousin Lonnie, things would be so much easier.
Click image to purchase from Amazon US
Tell Us About Mark Of The Dragon Queen:[Click above to purchase from Amazon UK]Kira has led a sheltered life, brought up by her widowed father, whom she adores. When he is arrested and imprisoned for a murder he allegedly committed 18 years before, she is devastated. So when she overhears an ex-student of her father's planning to visit the prison, Kira decides to go, too. However, the student - Arun - is not who she thinks he is, and she soon learns that her father has not always been the man of integrity she has known for fifteen years.
Caught in a rebellion against the Lord High Councillor who would return the country to Wizard Rule, Kira finds that there is one more lesson she has to learn - about herself. Success depends on her, but is she willing to make the sacrifice it will require?
A book for Young Adults, but suitable for all ages.
Click image for Katie's website
Tell Us About Yourself:[Click above for Katie's blog]I am an Australian author of fantasy for all ages. I live in country Western Australia with my husband and three children. I have always loved writing, but took it up seriously twelve years ago. I have written and e-published three novels and a short story, as well as having short stories published by traditional and educational publishers. As well as that, my illustrations have appeared in a number of books. Real life insists that I must earn a living, so I work as a school library assistant and IT Curriculum Support, but I dream of having a cabin on the hill where I can hide each day and write the million stories still in my head. A Brief Chat With Katie:[Click above to connect with Katie on Facebook]
Why do I write fantasy? It’s a question I’ve often been asked, but I’m not really sure that I’ve found a totally satisfactory answer. It’s not that I’m a huge fan of fantasy - not the sort of fantasy most people think of as fantasy anyway. I’m afraid to admit that I’ve tried to read Lord of the Rings umpteen times and didn’t get through the first book. I didn’t even make it through The Hobbit. All that description left me numb, though I loved the characters and I did enjoy the movies.
As a child, I loved all genres, especially history. I read the usual children’s fantasies like the Narnia Chronicles, but didn’t seek them out especially. As a teenager, I read every Charles Dickens book I could lay my hands on. I even stretched my brain and got through some Sir Walter Scott. Thomas Hardy was another favourite. Then someone lent me The Wizard of Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K Le Guin. I’d never read anything quite like it before. Here I was in a completely new world, where anything could happen. I could picture this place, these characters, even though I’d never seen it or them. I devoured the books in three days and went looking for more.
Why did it appeal so much? I think it was because it sparked the artist in me. My imagination was piqued by the idea of this new world full of Mages and dragons and islands. It was a quiet world, not full of sword-wielding heroes or gory battles. I have fantasy-loving friends who despair at my turning away from battle-filled fantasy, but it’s not a world I would ever voluntarily enter. I love people, I love to write about people and the people I love most are the thinkers, the ones who consider the world and value it. They aren’t the sort to go into battle after battle. They’ll fight, when and how they need to, but they won’t be soldiers, just ordinary people fighting for a cause.
Lloyd Alexander wrote: “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.” That’s what my books and the fantasy books I enjoy reading are – a way of explaining feelings about the world, about people, so that I can understand it (and hopefully my readers do, too). I don’t always know what I’m trying to explain until I’ve finished, but there is always a lot of how I think in there somewhere, hopefully not too obviously. My first book, Treespeaker, had an environmental theme and also one about belief. It very much stemmed from things that were going on in my own life at the time. I could never have written about them in reality, but putting them into a whole new world helped me to get them down. My children’s book, The Dragon Box, was written for my son to help him overcome bullying. Mark of the Dragon Queen had no particular impetus, it just popped into my head during a bored moment, but even that holds a lot of my values carefully woven into fantasy characters, who could portray them without preaching.
Maybe it’s also the fact that I have very vivid dreams that makes me love fantasy, too. It’s those dream-like worlds that make so much sense, even though they’re nothing like ours, that I love so much. I love making up those worlds even more. I love sleeping, too!
I do have a couple ideas for historical novels in my head, one based on an exercise I did for a writing course I took when I first started writing, and another based on the life of an Irish captain I had to research when I left University. Both would require more research which, living in the country is difficult, so they’ll have to wait. I have two sequels and another children’s book to complete yet. They should keep me busy for a while.
Click to purchase from Amazon US
Tell us about Spellfall:[Click above to purchase from Amazon UK]Natalie saw the first spell in the supermarket car park… so begins a fantasy adventure that whisks Natalie away from her home in the boring new town of Millennium Green through a hole in a standing stone into the enchanted world of Earthaven, where unicorns roam and spells grow on giant trees haunted by the souls of Spellmages.
Accompanied by her dead mother’s magehound K’tanaqui and wannabe Spellmage Merlin (bullied son of the villain Lord Hawk), Natalie discovers a plot to destroy the magic of Earthaven forever. Can she and Merlin reach the ancient tree that houses the soul of her mother in time to save a world?
Click image for Katherine's website
Tell us about yourself:[Click for Katherine's blog]I'm a children’s fantasy author. My first novel “Song Quest” won the Branford Boase Award in 2000 for best debut children’s book. I have been published by HarperCollins and Chicken House/Scholastic, and I am currently writing a new series about King Arthur’s daughter for Templar. Meanwhile I am indie publishing my out of print backlist as ebooks for Kindle. A brief chat with Katherine:[Click above to connect with Katherine on Twitter]When I first wrote “Spellfall” back in 2001, I never dreamt that such things as ebooks would one day exist, let alone that I would one day be republishing this book myself on amazon’s Kindle direct publishing platform! It’s been a journey of discovery for me, and ebooks came along at just the right time to rescue my backlist from oblivion. I umed and ahed for a few weeks, having started my writing career firmly in the “authors write, publishers publish” mindset. But my agent had recently died, and my original publishers were in turn uming and ahing about my new project, so I had some time on my hands and thought: “Why not? What have I got to lose?”
The answer has been nothing, except time and some serious head-banging over the formatting. And while the gains are not eye watering (I’m not Amanda Hocking by any means), Spellfall and my other backlist books – the Seven Fabulous Wonders series – are steadily selling few copies each month. I am still not sure if they are being downloaded by their intended younger readership, or by older readers who enjoy children’s books for this teen/YA age group, but obviously someone out there must be enjoying them… I hope! And taking control of my own work in this way made me feel much more of an author than I did when the reversion letters arrived and I was still stuck in query limbo waiting for my new series to be contracted.
I often joke that my books – taking an average of nine months each to create – are my children. So watching books written only a few years ago go out of print and “die”, simply because they would cost too much to keep alive in paper format, is soul destroying… even though, as a mathematician, I understand the figures and know that there are just too many books published each year to keep them all in print endlessly. I have to accept that my book-child is no more special than any other author’s book-child, but I think ebooks are an excellent way of rescuing older titles that are not readily available elsewhere. And while I’d agree that stories (like authors) eventually date and start to feel old fashioned, and no book should be kept on life support when it’s time to let it slip quietly into oblivion, I like to think fantasy stories… and maybe fantasy authors… endure longer than most!
So many thanks to Trace for inviting me to guest on this blog, and I hope that those of you who missed “Spellfall” the first time around might be tempted to try a sample on your Kindle. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this book is also available to borrow from the Kindle owner’s lending library. And for those who are still uming and ahing about taking the ebook leap… Why not? What have you got to lose?
Click image to purchase from Amazon
Tell us about Tommy Tippet:Enter a world of vignettes and stories about Australian life in the 60's, as seen through the eyes of Tommy Lee Tippett, a boy whose life is filled with innocence, wonderment and hardship. Tommy’s family is dysfunctional, but in the nicest sense. Tommy’s Granddad is never far from his horseracing papers and never slow to retell an outrageous tale. Uncle Jack’s life revolves around riding in buses and regaling strangers with stories about bizarre bus routes. Tommy’s twin sister, Annette is mentally handicapped and it befalls Tommy to look after her. His mother Norma is a severe woman who loves her children but is torn between her love for them and the love of a man. Tommy’s story inhabits the golden sands of Bondi Beach and the exclusive suburbs of Sydney, where Tommy finds himself in a stately mansion as well as the home of the American Consul. The tales of Tommy Tippet will touch you and give insight into a well woven, gorgeous tale that lies against the backdrop of Australian life in the 60's, parenting, family and more.
Tommy and Granddad
A brief Chat with the Author:[Click above for A.K.'s blog]My book, Tommy Tippett came to be by accident. Several years ago I made the move to Canada to be with my partner and we lived in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. As an Australian citizen I couldn’t work in Canada and boredom was becoming a constant acquaintance. What could I do to pass the time?
My partner suggested that I write a book. A ludicrous suggestion I said. She replied that it wasn’t silly at all as I was always telling stories about all manner of things and wasn’t writing any more than transferring the verbal to the written?
A ridiculous suggestion!
As she knew she would the seed was planted, and with some clever prompting began to sprout.
I started to write. I didn’t have a plan or process I just did it. The words flowed and in two months I had completed the first draft of 87,000 words. By that stage I had enough of writing so the manuscript went into a drawer.
In the meantime we moved back to Australia and life overtook the book. Tommy Tippett was hidden away and forgotten.
After a period of time my partner started to cajole me into releasing Tommy Tippett from his crypt. Finally I took the hint; I breathed life back into Tommy by undertaking an edit, something I found more tiresome than writing the book.
All the while I was undertaking research in how to publish and promote my book. I quickly came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t publish the book traditionally and the way for me to go was to publish Tommy Tippett as an eBook.
If I was going to self-publish I decided to give the book the best chance of success by having a professional cover design and having the book professionally edited.
Hundreds of dollars later Tommy was ready to be uploaded onto Amazon. It was a proud moment as I pushed the button to upload my book.
Tommy now sits on Amazon vying for attention, lost in a wilderness of budding authors. The next step is to get Tommy noticed, read and reviewed. Small steps.