Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dragon Mythology part 4

Dragons are spread throughout the world but until I started researching them for my novellas I never realized there were dragon legends in my own backyard. North America is rich in its own dragon lore that no one realizes exists.


There are three types of dragons that were not previously mentioned that live in this area. The first lives in Canada and is known as a Drake. These dragons are small and lizard like with bodies that are close to the ground. They look like large lizards with bellies that are close to the ground like crocodiles. They also do not breathe fire and in some mythology are not as smart as other dragons.

The Mid Atlantic region is home to the Great Serpent. As the name implies these dragons look like serpents and may be large or small. They are imbued with magical powers, guard a specific place or object, or have a unique form of wisdom. They can often control natural phenomena as well. Some great serpents will have horns or antlers. Great Serpents may be totem or ancestors of a family or group. They are often guardians of local wells, watering holes, or sacred places.

The last type of dragon from Meso-America is called a Quetzalcoatl and often takes the form of an
amphiptere. These dragons have the body of a serpent and may or may not possess forelimbs. They will always possess wings that are usually feathered, but can be membranous like a bat instead. This dragon was widely feared throughout Europe, although it can be found throughout the world. If a family featured an amphiptere in their crest they were seen as fierce fighters.

You can read Dragon Mythology Parts 1, 2, & 3 here.

When I read about the Quetzalcoatl dragon I knew I had to feature it in one of my dragon shifter romances. An American dragon had to appear somewhere in a series set in the USA. Plus it's too cool not to. My newest novella offered the perfect opportunity. While its still a work in progress and I have yet to write the Quetzalcoatl dragon's part I thought I would give you a sneak peek.


Sweet Surrender: Dragons of the South Book 2
Excerpt

At the top of the canyon Paxton uncovered Mac’s 350z roadster and climbed in. Normally Mac drove but Paxton needed to focus on something else right now. Mac got in beside him without a word. Paxton tried not to look at her legs or her thigh that disappeared into her dress even though he knew it ended in a perfectly shaped ass. The car’s speed steadily increased. He took a turn distracted by thoughts of her breasts and only his reflexes saved them. Mac made some offhand comment about him being excited for once. 

Paxton growled excited hell, he needed to get laid. Mac had him so worked up he had to do something before he made a mistake. Paxton loosened his grip on the steering wheel and slowed down. He had to calm down. He took a few deep breaths then looked at Mac. Part of it was her fault. Her emotions were rubbing off on him. Paxton took her hand laughing slightly as he apologized. He shouldn’t have let things get so bad. 

****

Mac watched her partner. Paxton never acted like this. He never did anything remotely impulsive or based on emotion. Everything with him was a calculated move. Even their partnership was strategic. He did what was best for everyone. Despite being raised together and told from the time they were young that they were going to be partners if Paxton found someone better for the territory he would have paired with them. Mac understood but it stung. 

To see Paxton caught up in this now like some horny teenager was more than amusing. He hadn’t even realized what he was doing for most of the trip to the city. Mac wasn’t exactly playing fair though; once she realized it Mac was fueling those emotions. Paxton needed that push to finally get over himself. Mac settled into her seat as Paxton held her hand. Tonight she’d find a pretty girl for them. Paxton could do whatever he wanted to get comfortable having Mac there and the following night Mac could do as she pleased. Mac could hold out one more night.

                              

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Book to Screen Debate, part 2 by Toi Thomas

 from Pinterest via Fifth Grade Freebies 
Did you know that the book to screen debate has made it into the classroom?

Did you know that there are tons of bloggers and vloggers whose major content is simply comparing films to the books they are based on?

What does this say about the current state of cinema? Well, I think it says a lot.

First off, things are starting to come full-circle. There are now books being written that are based on movies, and yes, these books are putting a spin on things… but that’s a post for another day.

Are you having déjà vu?

No. 😜

I know I said the same thing last time about movies I thought were better than their books, but you’ll just have to wait. I’m saving all the juicy stuff til the end.

So, now back to this comparison phenomenon. So many people are consumed with getting down to the nitty-gritty of why books and their associated films are so different. I have two theories to present.

1) I think a lot of people are like me in the fact that my love of books and my love of movies is neck and neck for the total domination of my mental capacity. I love a good book and I love a good movie. When I see a movie based on a book, part of my mind feels like this has to be one of the singular greatest experiences I will have in my life. Yet, that is seldom the case.

Pexels.com
In recent years, I’ve experienced a lot less disappointment in film adaptations of books after taking into consideration the points I mention in part one of the series. I don’t look at these film adaptations as being associated with the books the way I used to and it’s helped me to enjoy many movies I fear I wouldn’t have been able to.  

Still, I sometimes find myself playing the comparison game. I’m trying to find clarity in the fog that is creative license. The fact of the matter is that movie makers have a certain amount of creative license to follow the author's guidelines (their book) or not to follow them, in order to produce something that will speak to the masses. Believe it or not, sometimes I’m glad Hollywood does this.

There are so many bestselling science fiction futuristic stories that are so compelling and riveting, yet they all tend to portray a future where only one race or ethnicity is depicted. This isn’t such a big deal in dystopian futuristic stories, but the utopia-type stories just don’t seem to make sense. When Hollywood takes it upon themselves to add cultural diversity to the film versions of these stories, I praise them for their foresight.  Hollywood is aware that the global viewing population may not buy into a futuristic film with a cast of all one color or ethnicity.

Still, there have been times when Hollywood has attempted to diversify a cast to exaggerated extremes, and the story gets lost behind unspoken political messages.

2) I think people simply like to compare things. People like to weigh the pros and cons, and they love to make lists. Reading is great entertainment. Watching TV or film is great entertainment. But in this instant digital age of reality stars, commentary and comparison are also great forms of entertainment. It used to be that only hard-core fans delved into the making of a movie or read interviews with bestselling authors, but that is no longer the case. In this day and age, free information is entertainment just waiting to happen, and if people can discuss or argue over a movie vs a book, they will. More money for the author (if they negotiated a good contract) and more money for the filmmakers.

I’ll be back on June 13th to talk more about The Book to Screen Debate. Find out more about me, my work, and my inspiration at the following links:

Amazon | Goodreads The ToiBox of Words | YouTube | See a list of my other posts here.

#book2screen, bookvsmovie, 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My inspiration for creative use of language in novels. Nicola McDonagh #OurAuthorGang




Nadsat, Newspeak and Bubchat


This post was originally written several years ago when my book Echoes from the Lost ones was published by Fable Press. I decided to include it after I wrote my previous post about Amazon putting a warning sign on Whisper Gatherers, the prequel to Echoes because someone complained it had too many typos.

You can read the post here:

There were no typos just my slang-based use of language which sometimes combined words to make one. It seemed appropriate now to include this post as it continues the theme of creating a language that best suits your story, especially if it is set in the future.

I have begun to question why a lot of writers choose not to modify the language they use to create a sense of another time and place. It seems that in the future, vocabulary will remain the same and people will talk to each other exactly the way they do now. Which doesn’t really make sense, does it? The spoken and written word has changed over the years, and most authors have reflected this in their work.



In his novel, 1984, George Orwell introduced words and phrases that were not familiar to readers of that era, to create a futuristic realm where language is used as a weapon to subjugate the masses: duckspeak, thoughtcrime, bellyfeel, doublethink, and speakwrite. Would it have been such a powerful read if the author had not employed the use of such evocative words? Who can forget ‘Newspeak’, or ‘Big Brother’?


In A Clockwork Orange, the use of slang is vital to the narrative to give credibility to this dystopian future. Alex speaks ‘nadsat’ a language that sets him and his friends apart from the rest of society.

“These grahzny sodding veshches that come out of my gulliver and my plott,” I said, “that’s what it is.”

“Quaint,” said Dr. Brodsky, like smiling, “the dialect of the tribe. “

So, bearing this in mind, when I came to write my Sci-Fi/Dystopian series The Song of Forgetfulness, I made sure that I used words that were appropriate for the world I was creating. Since it is written from the viewpoint of a seventeen- year -old, Adara, in the first person, it was imperative that her voice rang true in order for the characters to maintain credibility in this vision of the future. I created ‘Bubchat’.


“I showed respect and bowed, then turned toward the not-right teen. He gave me a tiny smile, and for reasons I know not, I took his hand and said, “Show me where you splosh.” His face went redder than a bub about to plop and everyone, including me, let out a merry guffaw. I hadn’t meant to use such a nursery word, but when I looked at his soft brown eyes and slender arms I went all mumsly. Not like me at all. I began to wonder if the ‘dults had palmed a soother into my stew.”

I went to Lewis Carol for inspiration. I remembered I had a favourite poem from my childhood, The Jabberwoky, from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found. It is a delight in the creative use of vocabulary. The language is rich and full of evocative words that create a unique setting where his story unfolds.


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Science fiction and fantasy are the ideal genres for authors to invent new languages, different ways of speaking, and to shake off the confines of correct word usage by playing around with the narrative form. But not everyone warms to such experimentation, and critics often chastise authors for breaking the rules of grammar that ‘The Elements of Style’, by Strunk and White, have branded into the English language. You can download a PDF copy http://www.jlakes.org/ch/web/The-elements-of-style.pdf

So, don’t be put off experimenting with vocabulary. Let your imagination fly and write from your heart, not your head. (Then go back and edit it.)

You can view all of my books on my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nicola-McDonagh/e/B00D4NAH0S/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1



Want to know more about my books? Go to my website and have a look around.


Or visit my Amazon page:



Sign up to my newsletter and get a free download of Changeling Fog – a short story from The Song of Forgetfulness series:


Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day -- A Tribute to My Grandpa

Ruth de Jauregui

1909 or 1910

Memorial Day honors those who paid the ultimate price for their service. While many didn't come home, there are also many who came home and the war came with them. They battled injuries, PTSD and permanent disabilities until their last breath. We honor those fallen warriors too.

My Grandpa was one who made it home after WWI. But that's not where his military service began.

Born in 1889 in Beelog, North Carolina, he was a twin. His brother, Doctor O Pate, died shortly after their birth.


Grandpa's first enlistment took him to what we now call Glacier National Park. His unit guarded the surveyors as they resurveyed the Lewis and Clark Trail and established the boundaries of what would become the national park. He was stationed with Company L of the 2nd U.S. Infantry at Fort Assinniboine, Montana, in 1909 and 1910. We know, because he saved the 1909 Christmas menu and 1910 Thanksgiving napkin.


After completing his military service, Grandpa went to Arkansas, where his father had fled with the family after shooting a man (who died when the surgeon removed the injured arm). In Arkansas, the family was known as Shelton for obvious reasons. He homesteaded, but later left the state. Though Grandpa went by Shelton in Arkansas, his legal name remained Pate, probably due to his military service.


Grandpa's second enlistment was during WWI. He volunteered and ended up going to France. He worked in the forests and barely survived the Spanish flu epidemic. He left for France on January 2nd, 1918. 

(Note: His diary were transcribed by Grandma and Mom in 1983, after Grandpa had passed. He wrote it in pencil in the dark at night. I've inserted paragraph breaks to make it easier to read.)

They boarded the USS America late on January 4th, 1918. It was a miserable trip, Grandpa was horribly seasick. Though many of the men were ill, they all had to watch for subs.

"11 day we begane to keep a sharp look out for submarines putting a double sentry at each post 11th day out we had a little Bit of excitement in the early morning we sited a ship to South East She give a Distress signal. The signal was ansered and responded to by the Battleship Seattle going to find her. Finding it a Porteguese Tramp being at distress 
USS America in Boston 1919
U.S. Naval Historical Center

"12 day and the crew almost worked to death They taken the crew aboard the Seattle and set the Tramp ST. John on fire and leaving her to sea That afternoon, We had a little more excitement as our convoy didn't reach us. Being lost from our ships course thir was subs also reported to be in our vinicity so they lined in battle form and continued that way until the next day." 

After landing in France, his company marched to Pleyes. It was a difficult job, exasperated by the lack of food and shelter.

"This being the 27 of Jan we pitched our tents as the Best we could-Thinking we would get a chance to make us some beds But next morning the 28 and Monday we started to work That Licked The Hunger All we had to eat for 6 weeks was hard tack and bacon Sleeping on the gravel. 9 men to a tent the first work to pull the underbrush we had only 6 axes and 2 saws for 200 men Pulled Brush for 3 to 4 Days Then we got 60 axes and six saws We begane to fall timber and trim it with clubs Then they got some machates--they was but little better. The first order for timber was for trench poles No horses so the only thing was to carry them in We carried many train loads only having hard tack and bacon to eat while sleeping on the ground." 

Grandpa told Mom that after the Spanish flu struck, he was so sick and weak that it took him all day to get to the work site and then get back to his base. In his diary, he wrote, "Goying in the same way till August when the Spanish Flu struck the camp Everyone being underfed and overworked we were in bad condition for any kind of dissease. In about a week thir was 120 men down 8 died Some were disabled for life and had to be sent back home The Doctors got after the officers and made them feed us better-in about a month the most of the men was able to go back to work."

Grandpa finally returned to the U.S. and was discharged. His last sentence in his diary was, "I landed home May the 2nd I agree with Sherman WAR IS HELL"

Mom said, "Dad Pate always said the most beautiful sight in this world was the Statue of Liberty greeting him on the way home from France. He said, 'I will never see her face again unless she turns around.'"

After he made it home, he married Grandma and eventually they made their way to Oregon. His cousin drove them across the nation; Grandpa never learned to drive. He and Grandma were among the last homesteaders in Oregon.

 When WWII began, apparently every man had to enroll for the draft. He wasn't called to go.

 Grandpa had a long life with many adventures. Happily, he made it back from France, otherwise I wouldn't be here.

Grandpa passed in 1975 from emphysema and pneumonia. I believe his battle to survive the Spanish flu damaged his lungs, he suffered from emphysema for most of his later years and was a disabled Veteran.

Thank you Grandpa for your service.

DodgertonSkillhause / Morguefile.com
All phtotos are from the Pate Family archives unless otherwise credited. 

#MemorialDay  
#FamilyMemoirs  
#OurAuthorGang  
#RuthDJ

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Our Guest Today is Darlene Kuncytes #OurAuthorGang

So glad to have you with us today, Darlene!


     Darlene Kuncytes is the best-selling author of The Supernatural Desire series. She was born and raised in Ohio, and still happily resides there. She's a complete smart ass with a wicked sense of humor who has been told on more than one occasion that she is irritatingly chipper in the mornings. And, honestly-she really couldn't care less! She is the eternal optimist, and you can usually find her with a coffee mug in hand and a smile on her face ~ causing all kinds of trouble.
     Because of the content of her novels, they are best suited for readers 18 years of age and older. She loves hearing from her readers and may be contacted...
http://www.twitter.com/VampireEmbrace
https://www.facebook.com/AVampiresSavingEmbrace/
https://www.facebook.com/darlene.kuncytes
www.DarleneKuncytes.com


     What do you get when you mix a dragon, a witch and a tumble into the arms of fate? Can love find a way?
     Wynter's Kiss is part of the Stoking the Flames II: Tales of Legends, Lore, and Everlasting Love anthology.
     Find everlasting love in the clouds. Go back in time. Spring into the future. Soar on the wings of magic. 
Discover Legends of Fate, Destiny, True Mates, and Forever Love that’s written in the Stars.
     Take flight with fifteen amazingly talented bestselling authors as they bring these special Dragons to life. In each life-changing journey you will see that the heart gets what the heart wants, happily ever after is so much more than simple words at the end of a Fairy Tale, and Dragons prevail no matter the time, place, or obstacle. 

     This is Stoking the Flames II – spread your wings and soar with our Dragons. Once you’ve touched the clouds, felt the wind in your hair, and held the power in your hands, you will forever fly high.

Kelly Abell
Grace Augustine
Solease M. Barner
Kathi S. Barton
Linda Boulanger
Isobelle Cate
Dara Fraser
L.J. Garland
Darlene Kuncytes
Andi Lawrencovna
J.C. McKenzie
Julia Mills
Kate Richards
Kali Willows
Victoria Zak

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Our Guest Author Today is EV Emmons #OurAuthorGang

Welcome, EV Emmons! We're glad you could join us today! 

Miss Judged: 

Society’s Intolerance of the Empowered Female Antihero

EV Emmons


Women have long been held to a higher standard than men and nowhere is this more obvious than in literature, film, and entertainment.
Complicated male antiheroes are often met with admiration and respect while their female counterparts are scorned and deprecated.

Take Marvel’s Loki—a complex character who waffles between villain and anti-hero and sows chaos wherever he goes. He’s vainglorious, conniving, violent and jealous. He has a strong desire to subjugate lesser mortals, dominate Midgard, and he’s also Marvel’s most popular character. Comic fans hang on his every word at conventions and the thousands of fan sites dedicated to him tell us he is loved by millions. 

By contrast, his sister Hella has similar goals of world domination and destruction and though she has more reasons than Loki to resent Odin, she is despised by fans the world over.

Ambition, hypersexuality, and a predilection for violence are typical qualities found in male antiheroes, but in a female character, the reaction is far different from the adoration the male receives.

Female antiheroes with grit and strength of character are often reviled and hated. In the television series, Breaking Bad, Skylar White has earned the distinction of being one of the most hated characters on television—quite an achievement considering her husband Walter White was a murderous, meth-cooking thug. Viewers cheer for Walter and curse Skylar.

Sexual morality and promiscuity are also criteria on which male and female characters are judged differently. Ian Fleming’s, James Bond is lauded and admired for bedding several partners over the course of an adventure. He is the paragon of manliness—the poster boy for masculinity.

Jason Mathew’s character, Dominika Egorova, also known as Red Sparrow from the novel and film of the same name fairs far less favorably with audiences than Bond as evidenced by reviews and Rotten Tomatoes scores.

Laurell K. Hamilton’s, Anita Blake is another controversial female character because the character engages in frequent sexual encounters throughout the book series owing to her ardeur, a power given to her by a master vampire. In Hamilton’s case, both she and her character were disparaged because of the number of erotic encounters the character engages in.

An active sex life is just one of many mores readers and viewers alike use to judge a female character.

Like Hamilton, I received similar judgments regarding a character in my fanfiction series (a hobby I continued after publishing my novel, Eternity Awaits). Readers suggested that four relationships in eighteen months were far too many for a female character and derided her as being immoral and highly promiscuous despite the fact all of the relationships lasted several months. Given the character’s traditionally masculine values which included a tendency toward violence, combat prowess, and her authoritarian mien, she was also labeled ‘unlikable.’ 

Of course, no one batted an eye when my male characters behaved in the same fashion.  I never expected such contempt toward the female antihero in this day and age.

Scarlett O’Hara is another example of a complex female antihero who is considered unlikeable. She’s single-minded, intelligent, selfish and shrewd, all typically male qualities—and though the male lead, Rhett Butler shares these qualities with her, it is Scarlett who is criticized.

For a female character to be deemed ‘likable’, she must under no circumstances display any typically masculine personality attributes. We have been taught that qualities such as ambition, a penchant for violence, emotional detachment, jealousy, sexuality, and treachery are not welcome in the female character.

The double standard is alive and well—the dark male character is deemed a complex, layered antihero, while his female counterpart is sternly questioned and judged for not trying harder to be accepted and liked. 

A male anti-hero requires no justification for his actions and negative traits tend to be overlooked or romanticized. Even if a female antihero has admirable qualities, they are negated by any darker actions and she is not afforded the same forgiveness as the male character.

Over time, films and literature have taught society that women are only likable if they adhere to a certain code of behavior that stems from the Madonna/whore stereotypes that decree that women can only be good or bad with little complexity in between. 

Writers must persistently resist creating the likable one-dimensional female if women are to achieve equality in film and literature.  Female characters must be portrayed in the full spectrum of the human condition and accepted as the emotionally intricate beings they are.  It is not important to be likable but to be real.









#FemaleAntiHeroes #Feminism #StrongFemaleCharacters #Equality 






Friday, May 25, 2018

Character Interview With Ilona From The Ancestors' Secrets Trilogy

The Ancestors' Secrets

Magical realism, alternate reality fantasy trilogy 

Character interview with Ilona

A middle-aged man drops down on his knees and bends his head to the side exposing his neck as if offering his life to the woman standing in front of him. “My name is Zoran, and I’m the Scribe of the Hunor clan. I’m honored that you have agreed to meet me and answer my questions, milady.”

Ilona:
“Oh, please get up, sit with me in the living room and call me Ilona. I’m still not used to having a title besides being a doctor. I’ve been oblivious to the complicated structure of our secret society with its strict rules and deadly laws until my 29th birthday. It is all new to me. What is the job of the Scribe in the clan?”

Zoran:
“Thank you, mi… Ilona,” he sighs and follows her to the couch taking a seat. “Well, my job is to monitor the Collective memory and keep a detailed file of the important people in our tribe, and I read everyone’s diary who is connected or interacted with that person. It makes it easier for the Elders and Royals to find every detail about them.”

Ilona:
“Oh, the clan’s secret, the instant internet which people don't have excess until they turn forty. When were you born, Zoran?”

Zoran:
Clears his throat and fidgets on his seat. “Um… I’m supposed to ask you questions, but I was born in the fourth century when Elana, the great Healer lived.”

Ilona:
Gives him a warm, encouraging smile. “Oh, so your ‘live-for-centuries-gene’ had been activated, too. Elana is an amazing woman, but sorry, go ahead, ask me your questions.”

Zoran:
“Thank you, and yes. If I take care of my body the way I’m supposed to, and I don’t have an accident or someone would kill me, technically, I could live forever. May I ask what you would consider being your greatest strength?”

Ilona:
“I would say that it’s my bulldog personality. When I’m faced with a secret, I bite on it, metaphorically speaking, and won’t give up until I find out and make sense of it.”

Zoran:
“If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?”

Ilona:
“I would love to live a simple life in the 4th century and ride a horse into the sunset, feeling free,” she says sighing. “But, I know I’m needed in the present and I’m going to try to make life better for everyone, here.”

Zoran:
“What is your biggest regret?”

Ilona:
“That I couldn’t prevent the death of my parents and save Ema from her life-altering experience.”

Zoran:
“But without those events, we wouldn’t be here today. May I ask, if you could choose one magic power, what would it be?”

Ilona:
She looks out the window and laughs softly, “I activated and obtained many unimaginable powers while searching for my Destiny Box, but if I could choose to have only one, I would choose my healing power.”

Zoran:
“What is your biggest fear?”

Ilona:
“Useless life and meaningless death. I want to make a difference and I want to make life easier and better for everyone. People deserve security and happiness. Okay, enough of the serious questions. Ask me something else.”

Zoran:
Scratches his head feeling embarrassed, “I didn’t prepare for that, but do you have pets?”

Ilona:
Laughs, “Yes. Gypsy is my dog, he’s such a gentle giant and he’s a softy when he’s playing with his best friend, Tui, Bela’s Chihuahua. They have at least 140Lb weight difference between them, but they’re bestest friends.”

Zoran:
"Have you any pictures?"

Ilona:
"Yes, right there on the coffee table."

Zoran:
"Oh, that little one is so cute!"

Ilona: 
"Don't let her fool you, she's a menace. But, you can ask one more question, and I must make this interview short. I have an engagement. Please, stay and visit with Elza and Rua."

Zoran:
“Can you tell me about your love life?”

Ilona:
“It’s complicated, and it still puzzles me how naïve I was. I let myself be mesmerized and let my mind be clouded… Anyway, it's all clear now.”

Zoran:
"One more question if I may. Do you see yourself as a hero and savior of the millions of people of our clan?”

Ilona:
Stands up ready to leave. “Absolutely not. I did what I felt was right. I chose my destiny and I will always follow my heart and instincts to make life better and to do no harm.”

Zoran:
“Thank you so much for talking to me, I’m truly honored.”

Read the trilogy free with Kindle Unlimited subscription

The Ancestors’ Secrets, a magical realism, alternate reality fantasy trilogy.
When a young doctor, Ilona, starts to develop unusual powers, her life and her beliefs change. Mora seeks to gain the power to rule the ancient clan with a strict hierarchy and deadly laws that still exist hidden among us. Ilona has been chosen by the ancestors to stop Mora and save the future of the clan. She has been in love with her best friend but is also drawn to the stranger who appears in her peculiar dream. Ilona must save herself and her family from Mora’s evil plans, uncover ancient tribal secrets, and find her Destiny Box… the box that contains the message of the Ancestors. 
Does she have the strength to fight evil?
Can she keep her sanity when discovering her magical abilities?
Will she accept her destiny? 
Can she find true love?
Will she use her unimaginable powers for good or evil?



A review:
"I was very pleased to read this Fantasy novel because it is much more aligned to my taste in such books, namely real people living in our world, but gifted with special ‘magical’ powers. The first sentences already grabbed my fascination, and the easy flow of the entire book continually held my interest and curiosity. The author has skillfully let the main characters talk in the form of diary entries, and with natural dialogue and careful descriptions of thoughts and feelings, the reader soon feels intimately acquainted with them.
Particularly interesting is the fact that many aspects of this story are based on fact and history, namely the Huns who lived in Eastern Europe some 1500 years ago. It is therefore not too hard to believe that ancient traditions and secret rites could have continued down to our time. The main character, Ilona, is a young doctor educated in the modern world who at first struggles to comprehend the depth and power of her heritage when she ‘becomes of age’ at 29. Fascinating and fun to read is the way she discovers her special healing abilities and in particular, the way she can slow time around her. Even more intriguing is her handsome love interest, Zoltan, who can time-travel, but always within limitations and ancient law.
This first book in the series has been cleverly woven with various threads that continue into future books, and needless to say, I can hardly wait to read the next book and find out which man is Ilona’s true love, what her ultimate great destiny is, and what menace is still pursuing her with evil intentions. This is a book I can recommend to anyone interested in this kind of historical fantasy involving ancient traditions and down-to-earth characters of our own world."
~ Barbara Underwood

Thursday, May 24, 2018

King Brandan of Mahorg


King Brandan of Mahorg

Christina Weigand



Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, could you introduce yourself?
I am a prince of Crato, King of Mahorg and Master Wizard Brandan.

What is your biggest regret?
Missing out on the love of my family, especially my brother King Joachim and my son (It would be a spoiler if I gave you his name).
What makes you angry?

As a child, what did you aspire to be when you grew up?
Supreme ruler and wizard of all of Ramajadin.

Describe your family.
The first thing I shall share with you is that I am a twin, Joachim is my brother. We are the sons of King Theodric and Queen Lilia of Crato.

Tell us something about the religions and politics of your world.
Each of the four countries, Crato, Mahorg, Grillwood and Imherp is ruled by a king. Crato has an Council  that serve as advisors to the king. Mahorg is ruled by the king alone and recently I have served in that position.

Describe how your system of magic works in your world.
Magic and religion are tied together. Our god is Asha and the rules of magic serve to honor him. Magic performed by the followers of Asha is only performed to as a last measure and only for the purpose of healing the people or the land. And even then healing of people is only done if the illness or injury cannot be healed by human measures and threatens the life of the person. I personally prefer the  magic of Sidramah. I suppose you could call him Satan. His magic has no rules and is fed by negative emotions such as hatred, anger and jealousy. It can be used anytime the wielder feels the need to use it. Definitely my kind of magic.

Describe what it was like for you growing up
Not a pleasant experience that I care to dwell on. Suffice it to say that my twin was the favored son and in my father’s eyes I never measured up. Everything came easily to him while I although not struggling excelled at things that did not appeal to my father, like fighting and dark magic.

Do you feel like you have a handle on your destiny or do you and your author constantly argue over it?
I think it’s a little bit of both. Most of the time I am in control. I recall a time when she wanted to write the story one way and my brother and I didn’t like it. So we went on strike until she threw her ideas out and did it the way we wanted. There was another instance where she had some plans. I didn’t care for them, but knew it had to happen. In the end she compromised and we both got some of what we wanted.


What's more important to you; to live in a world with a family who loves and respects you OR to live in a world where you get to experience one intensely emotional and physical romantic relationship?

Having had an ill-fated marriage that ended in a way that I would prefer not to discuss that a romantic relationship is not high on my list. I spent many years trying to make my family love me only to discover that I really didn’t have to try so hard. My twin brother always loved me no matter what I did. I am sorry that it took me so long to realize that.












Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Du Lac Chronicles — A Character Interview by Mary Anne Yarde



The Du Lac Chronicles — The Interview
By Mary Anne Yarde


Character: It had to be in a church... Why not a Hall? Or a coppice? Or the coast? 

Interviewer: I am so sorry I am late. (Drops the parchment she is carrying when she looks into his face. She quickly falls to her knees and gathers up her belongings). Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Please take a seat. (She gets up, puts her belongings on the table and sits down). Right, let's begin. Firstly, could you introduce yourself?

Character: (Pulls out a chair and sits down slowly). You want me to tell you my name? (Grimaces) Perhaps this is not such a good idea.You see, I am supposed to be dead, and if my enemies were to find out I was still alive it could get a little bit… Well, it might get a little bloody and… I really shouldn't be here. I should go.

Interviewer: No. (She reaches for his arm to stop him from rising). Please stay. you don't have to tell me your name if you don't want to. (She lets go of his arm and picks up her quill.) You said you have many enemies. Could you tell me about the villains that you've encountered?

Character: (Frowns) There was a king who invaded my brother’s kingdom and almost killed him. There was also my cousin who… Actually, I would rather not talk about him. And then there was the son of a dead man who murdered my father and my mother. He and I are going to have a serious conversation one of these days. Not forgetting the Church. They would like to see my body on a pyre. And if they found me here (scoffs). Oh, and my late wife. She didn't like me very much. Nor does my former mistress. And I might have upset the King of the Franks. But in all honesty, that wasn’t my fault. As I said, I have many enemies.

Interviewer: I can’t understand why. I quite like you.

Character: You do? Why? You don't know me.  

Interviewer: I have a good feeling about you. That is all.

Character: And what does that mean?

Interviewer: Nothing. I am sorry. I am making a fool of myself. It is just that... 

Character: It is just...

Interviewer: What would you say was your biggest accomplishment?

Character: (Laughs) Staying alive.

Interviewer: That’s it?

Character: I think it quite an accomplishment considering…

(A long pause, while the interviewer looks deep into his eyes).

Character: Do you have any other questions?

Interviewer: Questions?

Character: I thought this was an interview?

Interviewer: Questions! Yes! May I ask about your childhood?

Character: You would be the first.

Interviewer: As a child, what did you aspire to be when you grew up?

Character: I was destined for the Church. But, umm, I found that I preferred sword practice to prayers. I always wanted to be a knight. I ended up being a mercenary. But, such is life.

Interviewer: What is your biggest regret?

Character: My biggest regret, apart from my entire life? A barn full of women and children. And failing to protect the ones I love.

Interviewer: A barn full of women—

Character: I don't want to talk about that either.

Interviewer: Then let me ask you this. Would you rather kill or die to ensure the safety of the people you care about?

Character: I have done both and I have the scars to prove it. There is nothing I would fail to do for the ones I love.

Interviewer: Do you see yourself as a hero?

Character: No. No. I have done too many things that I regret. Can you ask me something else, please?

Interviewer: I am sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Have you ever swum naked?

Character: Now that is an intriguing question. Come closer. (He leans across the table as he speaks). Closer. Oh for the love of God woman, closer. Yes, (whispers in her ear). (He leans away from her and grins.) Are you blushing?

Interviewer: No. I am not blushing.

Character: You are going very red.

Interviewer : It is hot in here.

Character: Isn’t it just?

Interviewer: You are incorrigible.

Character: I have no idea what that means, but I like the sound of it.

Interviewer: One more question, (fans herself with her hand) and then you can go back to where ever you came from. Who has creative control? You, or Mary Anne Yarde.

Character: (Laughs) Mary Anne tries, bless her. But, she really has no idea what she is doing, and if it were not for me, I dread to think what kind of mess she would make of the story.

Interviewer: So you are in charge?

Character: Absolutely. Honestly. I don’t even know how Mary Anne became a bard in the first place.

Interviewer: I would like to be a bard (Sighs dreamily).

Character: I think you would make a good one. Tell me a story.

Interviewer: No. I couldn't. (Blushes again).

Character: Maybe another time then. (He stands, takes her hand in his and raises it to his mouth and kisses the back of it). Until we meet again.

Interviewer: (Blurts out) Would you like to go swimming?

Character: (Laughs) Now? With you? I think my betrothed may have something to say about that. It was a pleasure to meet you, my Lady. If you ever find out who I am, think of me kindly and remember not all you hear is the truth. (He leaves).

Monk: (enters the Church) That man who just left... Who was he?

Interviewer: (Has a sudden epiphany) Blessed Mary. I think that was Merton du Lac.

Monk: No. It could not have been. He is dead.

Interviewer: (Smiles a secret smile).

***

"It has been a long time since I've genuinely enjoyed a book. Yarde brought back the love of reading for me with the Du lac series..." Amazon Reviewer.

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