The 'Write' Information

Do You Believe in Magic?

How many books have you read where the strongest magic is love?

“I don’t want realism. I want magic!”
― Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

If you are like me, it’s a lot. Whether it’s Harry Potter or even some of my own titles, love can steal the show. It is as strong and powerful as any main character and can foil a villain without violence. But is that notion real or fantasy?

I’d like to share with you a story:

It was anything but a typical Mother’s Day. My husband had been diagnosed with terminal cancer the November prior. He didn’t go out much and I hadn’t expected a gift, but there was one. A tiny rose plant sat on my desk, little red buds ready to explode into blossoms. He told me a cut flower would wither and die but this plant would last forever.

The following January he passed away. The plant sat on my desk, a reminder of his love. I went through another tragedy soon after when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I began home care. He passed away the following January. My rose bush bloomed a single white rose.

You might think nothing of a flower, but the roses had always been red until that day. Now on special occasions such as mother’s day or my birthday I receive a present – flowers in all different colours from the same plant. I’ve seen pink, white, yellow, orange, peach and starburst. To me it’s the very definition of magical.

So, when someone asks if I believe in the magic of love, I will always answer, “Yes, I do.” Until next time, Happy Reading.

Until next time. Happy Reading.

Interviews

Q&A: Greg Alldredge

I’m excited to have the chance to take a peek into the world of another new-to-me author. Today we are talking with Greg Alldredge about his novel,  Lights in the Night.

Plagued by nightmares, Trevor’s drawn to Texas by unknown forces. What are those lights? Join Trevor and the quirky town residents as he searches for answers and tries to fill the void in his heart.

To start things off I asked Alldredge to tell us a bit about himself. Here’s what he had to say:

I guess I said it best on my author page, I’ve had several careers over the past 50+ years. Currently, I am a theatre teacher and a writer, this is probably where I will continue to work until I die. Growing up, I was bitten by the travel bug. Since my parents were not independently wealthy, I joined the Navy to see the world. I spent twenty years in the Navy I met and married my wife we adopted our son and we traveled extensively, I also acted professionally from time to time. Once I retired from the Navy I went into the medical manufacturing industry that was great it put my son through college. I came to Texas to retire, I failed at retirement. I began teaching because several people said I would be good at it. After five years teaching in Texas, we decided to travel overseas and teach. While in China I found an outstanding opportunity to write. I had tried and failed to write books in the past, either by location or maturity this time I was able to complete what I started.

I’ve been provided with the first three paragraphs of Lights in the Night to share with readers.

Let’s take a look inside this Sci-Fi Novel:

Everyone in town called ‘Old Sits’ the crazy old hermit. One of those men that by choice decided to live a life of solitude in the open desert.

Yet, this particular night, he was on a mission. Like a forward observer, equipped with surveillance equipment more suitable to the NSA or catching cheating spouses. Dressed in a ghillie suit, camouflage netting covering his entrenched position. Armed with a high-power camera, hyperbolic microphone and a four-inch tripod mounted telescope all targeted at the distance southern mountain range under observation.

Any rational observer would recognize someone who was spying on someone or something. He chose to position himself here, in this very location watching the same chunk of real-estate for the last four months. Every night from before moonrise to first light, eating cold spam sandwiches and drinking vodka, waiting for anything to happen.

It’s time to delve into the Q. & A.

This my favourite part. My questions are crafted to give a reader a clear look at how an author writes, what drives them, and what can be expected in their books.


Question: What genre would you say the book falls into?

I always say you must know your genre to know your audience. My book as science-fiction with a bit of humour. Of course if you find it funny it’s humour with a bit of science-fiction. I do feel every good book should have some mystery and suspense thrown in. If you know the end of the story, that’s half the reason for finishing the book. No one is surprised when the Titanic sinks.

Question: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content readers should know about?

Not really, if it were a film it would be rated R for drug use. It’s not excessive drug use, the language is not harsh and there is very little sex. Oh my God, I just made it so a good portion of the world will not read my book. Hopefully, you read it even with my last sentence.

Question: Do you have any upcoming events?

My current events all revolve around finishing classes towards my master of theatre education from the University of Houston. After that, I must travel back to China and begin teaching a new school year. Any events between now and June I will have to schedule via the Internet.

Question: What is next for you? Do you have anything in the works?

Currently, I am working on the second book in the series. It has a working title of Darkness at Midday.

Question: Do you have any special mentions? (Editor, cover art etc…)

I must mention my wife, Connie. She is my editor, my muse, my sounding board, my proof-reader, and just about everything else. I’ll never understand why she has put up with me for the last 30+ years.

Question: What was your favourite book when you were growing up?

Funny thing is I didn’t read a lot until I got out of high school. I guess my favourite book in high school was by Alistair MacLean Where Eagles Dare. I was more of an action adventure reader. I didn’t begin reading a lot of science fiction until I was in the Navy and an early adult.

Question: If you could meet any character from any book, who would it be? Why?

Crystal; I think she could teach me a lot about yoga.

Question: When did you realize you were meant to be a writer?

That is a loaded question, I’m not 100% sure I should be a writer now. Lights in the Night was my third attempt at writing a book. The first two failed. Either time, space, or both has changed enough to allow me the motivation to finish this book. Now I feel the dam has been broken, I am finding it hard to not write. I guess it will be up to my readers to decide if I am meant to be a writer or not.

Question: If your life was a book, what would be the tagline?

Will he ever stop moving?

Question: What advice would you give new writers?

Just do it. There will always be excuses why not to write. There will be times you start, and times you never finish, but you’re never really done until you die.

Question: What has been the worst mistake you have made in your writing career?

Not finishing my first two books. Even if they never saw the light of day it would’ve been a start. I know I needed to mature before I could finish a book. It would’ve been nice to have started writing before the Internet became so popular and changed the way publishing happens.

Question: What is the best moment you have had with a fan?

I posted a saying on Facebook. A former student replied saying “I don’t know if you meant that for me, but I really needed it today.” There are times I think we overlook the simple things, and the effects they can have on those around us. I never want to forget the simple things.


Lights in the Night is in my TBR pile – watch for my future review! If you’re interested you can follow the following links to find out more about this author. 

www.amazon.com/dp/B071ND2SMF

www.facebook.com/G.Alldredge

www.greg-alldredge.com

Thank you, Greg Alldredge and all my readers for your time!

Interviews

Q&A: Stan Faryna

Today I’m taking a look into an author whose book, Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows, I’ve recently reviewed for Books and Quills.

“A disabled, recently unemployed man is desperately searching for hard cash in a brutal, post-apocalyptic MMO game about zombies, greed and survival. All of which strongly reminds us of Shakespeare’s midsummer qualm, the course of true love never did run smooth. This epic, near-future science fiction and fantasy at its best – it asks us big questions about what it means to be human.

Stan gives us glimpses of the future that are as interesting as anything being said by Michio Kaku, Ray Kurweil, Marc Andreessen, and Jeff Bezos.

RIP Dollar and Euro! Viva la #Bitcoin!”

— Liam deTroch, Generation Z blogger

 

Mr. Faryna does an excellent job in describing the human condition, no matter how painful it may be. In short — This story is truly a must-read.

— Ms. H of Mom’s Minute Video Game Show

Stan Faryna was gracious enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of my questions:

Question: What genre would you say the book falls into?

Answer: Primarily, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Some have suggested, Literary Fiction. Others have said it is a multi-genre work with elements of classic literature, fantasy, action and adventure, romance, futurism, apocalyptic, dark dystopia, and litRPG.    

Question: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content readers should know about?

Answer: There is a shocking and horrible scene near the beginning of the story. It’s a gruesome metaphor of the real world and game world in which the story takes place. Maybe, our world too.

Question: What is your favourite Quote?

Answer: “Love never fails.”

Question: What advice do you have for new writers?

Answer: Write the words that travail the longer darkness and distance. Like starlight. Be the light in a dark place. Be truthful. Love strongly. Do try to write something good, excellent and praiseworthy.

Question: Where do you write?

Answer: Wherever I am – assuming I can plug in my laptop. The mundane and peculiar rituals of writers can become traps and prisons. I might have some, but I don’t want to admit it. I don’t want to give them power over me.

Question: Are your characters real to you? Do you speak to them?

Answer: Reading a fanfiction piece related to my novella, Grimdark Fantasy author M.L. Spencer commented to me in a private message that I really love my characters.

Is there something more real and worthwhile than love?

Question: What piece of advice from other authors do you hear the most but choose to ignore?

Answer: Just write.

No human activity is useful to us for its own sake. Neither art nor writing or any talent. If it does not serve a higher authority and virtue, it’s all just more dust in the wind.

Question: Which do you prefer Novels or Novellas and why?

Answer: I like them both. I imagine, however, that the Novella has a better shot with the much-diminished attention of modern people.

Question: Are there any Easter eggs in your book(s)?

Answer: There are lots of Easter eggs in my novellas!

The red dumpster in the beginning is a big one but I can’t explain it without spoiling a larger story.

Question: What’s your favourite food? Have you ever mentioned it in your book(s)?

Answer: I like good and healthy food. I like good cooking. I mention a smoothie recommended for cancer patients.

Question: Do you have a writing Motto?

Answer: Nudi nudum Christum sequi.

To nakedly follow the naked Christ.

Question: If you could change the date to any year past or future, what date would you change it to and why?

Answer: Are you asking me if I could time travel, where would I go?

I was born for this time so I have no regrets. The grass is not greener…

But if I could travel in time, there would be many stops in my adventures. First stop would be when Jesus speaks his sermon on the Mount.


I’d like to thank Stan Faryna for his time!  In my review, I recommend this story to anyone looking for something thought-provoking. If you are interested, it’s here on Books & Quills Magazine.  

If you are looking for more information, here are all the links you need:

Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071S75DWB

Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Faryna

Author’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stan.faryna

Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/Faryna.FanPage

Author’s blog: https://stanfaryna.blog

 

The 'Write' Information

Finding Inspiration to Overcome Writer’s Block – July

How do you deal with writer’s block? That’s probably the most frequently asked question of any author and their least favorite to answer. I decided to tackle finding an answer in 2017 by drawing inspiration other forms of art. Once a month, I’ll be trying something different and discussing the results.

For July, I trudged out of my comfort zone for a paint night at a local artist’s studio. The Brier’s Edge in Brantford, Ontario offers both group and private lessons for what seems to be any artistic endeavor a person might want to take on. I decided to attempt a painting.

Some people might not think a simple painting to be a big challenge – I assure you, for me it was. Anyone who knows something about me knows I can’t draw. I’m the stick figure lady, and even those are lopsided. I can’t even make a straight line. The artist, Susan, had her work cut out for her. I’m sure she wished for a stiff drink a few times during the two-hour session.

The best part about the experience was that the finished product was a combination of the artist and myself. She showed me things and helped me. There wasn’t a stick figure or wavy line in sight. While I’m not ready to try painting on my own, I feel that artistically I have grown from the experience and would recommend paint nights to everyone.

Are you wondering about the results of my experiment? I couldn’t help but be inspired by such a talented artist! Expect to see some new announcements in the near future. This evening was a success!

I’m looking forward to finding a new adventure in August. I hope you’ll join me for those results next month!

Thanks for reading The Write Information.

Interviews

Author Q&A: Mercedes Prunty

Yes! I’ve found another fantasy author to check out and this one has a bit of horror mixed in. I was looking forward to reading Junia – The Magic Of The Element Souls before the interview. If it’s half of what I think it will be, It’s going to be a huge success.

First, let’s find out about the author. I asked Prunty to share a bit about how the writer came to be:

I am a mother, wife, author and blogger. I mainly write in the genres of Horror and Fantasy, ever since I was young I have had a love and interest in zombie horror mainly due to the video game ‘Resident Evil’ and later in life the video game ‘The last of us’ and now the television series ‘The walking dead’. I love the suspense and the thrills of the scare those types of books can give you. (I own all the resident evil novelizations and the walking dead comics). I also love Fantasy, my all-time favourite fantasy story is another video game (Yes I’m a geek) ‘Final Fantasy X’ which inspired my story ‘Junia’.

Now for the book: Junia – The Magic of the Element Souls

Welcome to the magical world of Junia, a place where everything is made up of souls from the green grass you walk on to the lake made of lava, everything in Junia is alive.

Some people just don’t know it yet.

Mira the princess of Cosima wakes one night to an attack on her home, the culprit, a Grand Dark Witch who plans on taking over the throne and the whole of Junia and doesn’t care for who she kills in the process. To save her Kingdom Mira must venture out into a world she doesn’t really know or understand, to collect all the Element Souls, to then awaken the final Element Soul who will be powerful enough to defeat the Grand Dark Witch but not all the people she meets wish to help her on her journey. For the royal family is disregarded as traitors to the religion of Junia and to the Element Souls themselves.

And with a chance to find love will she lose it all to keep it or will Mira abide by her royal duties and save her Kingdom first? Or will she lose everything by the hand of an ancient evil?’

Already hooked? The idea of everything being alive and made from souls grabbed me right away. It also brought a bit of a chuckle – don’t step on the lava (the floor is lava). That’s my geek side showing! Right below is the Amazon link!

Amazon UK: Junia: The Magic of the Element Souls

Amazon: Junia: The Magic of the Element Souls
Still not sold?

 

Let’s try a short excerpt from Junia:

I didn’t sleep that night, how could I? It was most probably the last night I would ever see Thane almost alive. We both sat in the main hall of the temple, talking and watching the souls sing as they floated past us. Nuelle had thought it best we all stayed in the temple as it was the safest place to be, even though Lumi had managed to get in and attack me.

I wondered how Andromeda was feeling now, knowing that I had defeated her main warrior. My mother had warned me that she might use my father to make me weaker and I was guessing she would do something horrific to make me weaker now I had taken out Lumi but I hoped that seeing my father in the void meant he had managed to get away from her and settle into Spirit.’

 

Time for the best part – at least my favourite–the Q & A:

Question: Who is your favourite character in your book and why?

Answer: Nuelle is my favourite character, she is wise beyond her years and when I wrote her I envisioned a beautiful silver haired girl who could control the element of souls. She comes across as a little strange and blunt with words but she has a big heart and wants the best for Junia.

Question: Please describe him/her/they a) physically b) their personality.

Answer: Nuelle has silver hair and is suspected to be around 16 years old but in all honesty she is as old as Junia itself, she was born to watch over Spirit. Personality wise she is strong, a natural leader and doesn’t like to mince her words.

Question: Could I have a couple of quotes from your book of dialogue that shows that personality?

Answer: “Yes”, she answered plainly her eyes holding no emotion, “Thane was not originally your soul guardian”.

“A true Queen can see the beauty in everything, even the things she doesn’t fully understand…That was where you’re so called ancestors failed, they had no vision”, she said.

Question: What genre would you say the book falls into?

Answer: Fantasy (Young adult fantasy)

Question: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content I should know about?

Answer: Not really, there is a lot of death but that’s because the world of Junia is built of souls.

Question: Do you have any upcoming events?

Answer: Not at the moment but I should be attending a book festival in my local town later in the year but the date is yet to be confirmed.

Question: What is next for you? Do you have anything in the works?

Answer: I have about six projects on the go, a novella I’m writing to put in a competition, the final in my horror series ‘Alone’, a Sci-Fi type of story and another horror… I have so many files and folders I’ve lost count of all my Work in Progresses, I just pick the one I’m in the mood for writing and write.

Question: Do you have any special mentions you would like to share? (Editor, cover art etc…)

Answer: I tend to do it all on my own, money is very tight at the moment but if I had to give a special mention it would be to my husband Jamie who puts up with my tapping of the keys every night so I can write.

Question: If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Please describe the place rather than just a name. The weather, the time of day, the ground, the surroundings, foliage, etc…

Answer: Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, I would love the see the mist roll in and cover the bridge giving it the spooky image I have seen so many times on the start of ‘Charmed’ my favourite television series. I guess the mist would either come in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures change but I’m no expert haha.

Question: If the character from above were in that place what would they be doing?

Answer: Probably fighting a monster of sorts or collecting lost souls.

Question: If your character was allowed one chance to say anything to your readers, what would he/she say?

Answer: ‘Don’t fear death for your soul will be recycled to bring new life to a baby or to something else living in the world.’

Question: If your character could donate to any charity, which one would he/she choose?

Answer: As there is a huge battle and most of the temples in Junia get destroyed she would most probably donate to the ‘Temple build’ fund. The temples are of the upmost importance in Junia and without them there are no elements, no magic and ultimately no Junia.


Thank you for your time, Mercedes Prunty. I’ll be reading Junia soon and posting my review.

Book Reviews

Review: Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows by Stan Faryna

Book Review ~ Francesco Augustine Bernadone: Stan Faryna’s short, Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows  (Love & Fear: The Future is Bucharest Book 1) is a dark fantasy RPG Lit that takes place in the not so distant future. While I don’t have a warning per se, I am going to mention it could be classified as a horror as well.

I found the subject matter frightening enough to keep me awake a good portion of the night after reading. It isn’t so much monsters or things that go bump in the night that truly terrify, but rather the possibility that the author’s tale could one day come to pass.

Faryna takes the worst of humanity, amplifies it and makes it a plausible future. I, for one, don’t want to live in a world where the poor sacrifice their lives to have their bodies harvested of all usable parts – all in the hope of loved ones having a chance for a future. It’s also horrible to think of a cure for cancer that no one can afford.

The author earns all four stars in the storyline itself. I have no complaints about the storyline either. In most aspects this is a five star read. Where Faryna falls short is the ending.

In novels, leaving a suspenseful cliff-hanger is common practice. When writing shorts, however, the author needs to carefully lead into another piece or to self-contain the story.  Resolution of some sort, even the promise of one, is so important to readers it cannot be overlooked.

After reading Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows (Love and Fear: The Future is Bucharest Book 1) I was left wanting to know answers. Bottom line, I wanted to more.

I recommend this short story to anyone looking for a thought provoking read!

Four out of five stars.

The 'Write' Information

The Ultimate Fan Art Experience

Recently, I was approached by another local author with some ideas about a new event. If you remember last week’s article on paint night, it ties in.

The Ultimate Fan Art Experience is an author signing event, a painting event, a dinner party, a charitable auction and more. There are even optional Zumba classes. Think author retreat with book sales and you’d be close to what this event is shaping up to be.

Set tentatively for November 30th to December 2nd, 2018, there is plenty of time to prepare. It’s also prime holiday shopping time in an art loving community. A full weekend event where authors and fans can participate as much, or as little, as they choose.

Here’s how it works. Friday there will be an optional meet & greet followed by an author paint night. The paint night is included in your table price. This is where participating authors create a painting of one of their book covers. That painting will be used as the example in scheduled workshops for fans on Saturday and Sunday. Authors are urged to visit workshops where their book cover is being recreated.

Author signing will be open both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a charity raffle and/or auction both days.

Saturday Night Authors will be treated to a buffet dinner and dance (included in the price of the table).

Zumba classes will also be made available for those interested.

If you are looking for a great experience, look no further.


Author Interest Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8vm0VEXI7RoVfjJmqshEGL9ivh8jKxDZKy6sUSXpX-wfzWA/viewform

 

Looking to attend as a fan?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/863211700486200/

The 'Write' Information

Fantasy – More Than One Genre

As a Fantasy author, I have witnessed people stick their nose up at the genre many a time. They wave their hands and say, “I don’t read Fantasy.” But why? The answer to that may lie in what people think of when they envision fantasy books.

Truth be told, this genre is misinterpreted by many a reader. The first thing that pops to mind is the high fantasy realms of medieval wizards, swords, and dragons. The second might be low fantasy works such as Harry Potter. While these might not be a reader’s cup of tea, there are many other options to explore.

There are also:

Dark Fantasy, which could double in the horror genre. These tales are sure to frighten, especially if read around a campfire.

Historical Fantasy, which adds a magical presence to the past.

Portal Fantasy, which opens doorways to new worlds.

Urban Fantasy, which takes place in the reader’s backyard, or probably a major city close by.

War Fantasy:  The end of the world as we know it.

Dystopian: The world ended and has been reborn.

Sci/Fan (Science-Fantasy): This mash-up has everything the future could imagine including technological advancements and/or space travel melted together with fantasy elements.

Romantic Fantasy: Love is for everyone after all.

Readers can even find erotic fantasy stories to enjoy.

There is a little magic, some unusual individuals with unheard of talents, perhaps a god or two throwing around curses, dragons of all sizes, elves, dwarves, fairies, humans, robots, vampires. shape-shifters, heroes, vigilantes, villains, talking cats and yes, there may even be a sword fight or two. It is, however, still what readers love about all the other genres in fiction as well. If you haven’t given a good fantasy a try lately, take another look – I think you’ll be surprised what the genre actually has to offer.

Thanks for reading The Write Information.

Book Reviews

Review: Eclipse the Warrior by J.L. Hendricks

Eclipse of the Warrior is a portal fantasy book written by J.L. Hendricks as part of a series. The book is set in Los Angeles where a battle from another dimension has spilled out into the streets. Fae and Vampires lurk in every alley, battling for space. With green blood and no concern for humans, they aren’t the typical members of these races we normally hear about. That’s when a middle-aged woman sticks her nose where it doesn’t belong. Will she be the hero our world so desperately needs? You’ll have to buy the next book, this one leaves you hanging.

I have mixed reactions to this story. I love the plot. The storyline sings the author’s creativity in a delightful tune – one that I’d like to hear more of.

The characters are a little underdeveloped, but that isn’t unusual in a multi-book fantasy series. They will have time to grow. In an unusual twist, after reading the whole novel, I cannot describe the main character – which is a bit unsettling. I can, however, find a possible reason – I think her appearance may change in book two.

My problem was with the flow of the writing. The first chapters I found a bit choppy. Some things were over described and repeated, while others were left completely missing. It was a bit distracting. By the last 1/3 of the book it either improved or I became accustomed to it, because it wasn’t noticeable anymore.

I definitely want to find out where Hendricks takes thing next. I’ll be watching this author and looking for some more books in the future.

Rating: 3/5 stars

The 'Write' Information

Summer Reading Fun

It’s July ~ Welcome to Summer.

This is such a fabulous time to read. Whether at the beach, by the pool, or having a picnic at the park, summer is made for the bookaholic in all of us. One of my suggestions to make the decision of what to read a little easier: the summer reading bucket list.

How many books can you read in the next two months?

Take a moment to honestly assess that question. Two a month isn’t bad for an average reader. That would be 4-5 over the course of the rest of the summer. We, however, are all above average. If you are nodding your head in agreement you probably have ten or more as your answer. Whatever number you came up with, double it.

For the purpose of this article, we now have twenty. Of course, the odds of us finishing all twenty before the leaves change colours are slim. It’s the challenge we are after!

The next part takes a bit of a challenge on your part – research.

You need to locate titles to match the number you came up with and write them down, one title at a time on pieces of paper shaped like ballots. This is where the bucket part comes in. It doesn’t actually have to be a bucket, you can use a box, hat, bag or another container to hold all the papers.

Now it’s time to start!

Stick your hand in and grab one paper. Whatever title appears on it is your first book to read. When you are done, grab another. As soon as you see your first tree void of green; you go back to school; or in some areas of the world the first day of fall, the challenge is over. Count up how many pieces of paper you have left to see how you did. The results may surprise you. I know the first time I tried a similar challenge I read more than I thought I was capable of.

Good luck and happy reading.

Thanks for reading The Write Information.