Face of “The Song Caster” Unveiled! (Fairy Tale Fortnight)

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As of Sunday, it’s Fairy Tale Fortnight! – an annual two-week, multi-blog extravaganza brought to you by The Book Rat and A Backwards Story.

Fairy tale lover that I am, I simply had to participate this year. You can check out my guest post on living a fairytale life and a flash fiction fairytale retelling o’ mine featured on A Backwards Story (complete with a **giveaway!**).And I couldn’t think of a better way to kick things off here on Ever On Word than with a cover reveal for the next installment of my fairytale spin/retelling/mash-up series of novellas, The Wilderhark Tales. Ready? You wanna see? Yes, yes?

“Skies above, author, get on with it!”

*cough* Yes, Lute. Behold!

Song Caster Cover, front

Is it not marvelous?!

“Naturally, it is,” says Lute, well pleased. “It showcases me. The rear view, anyway. I see how it is: Edgwyn’s face for two covers, my back for one. Your favoritism is far less than subtle, Danielle.”

The cover is just what I asked for, thank you – or, I’d do better to say, thank you to Yana Naumova, Wilderhark artist extraordinaire.

That’s right, everyone: Back by popular demand (both from readers who loved him in “The Seventh Spell”, and from, well, him), it’s Gant-o’-the-Lute in a book all his own! (Which is totally available to add to your “want to read” shelf on GoodReads, by the way.)

The dull doom of impending marriage at his back and a reticent royal at his side, remarkable minstrel Gant-o’-the-Lute is off in search of adventure, and you can be sure he finds it – complete with much music, magicked maidens, and a dangerous power so great, Lute might for once find himself outmatched.

The Song Caster

Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales

Who’s ready to read more? ^^

No, seriously. Who’s ready to read more? I’m looking for advance readers! If you’re willing to read and review “The Song Caster” ahead of its scheduled release on June 24th, drop me a line via my contact page and I’ll send you a PDF of the tale in all its practically completed glory!

“You’ll not regret it,” Luc informs you. “Rumor from amongst the earliest of early reviewers has it this Wilderhark Tale is the best of the lot. Purely a matter of opinion, of course, but as it’s an opinion I second wholeheartedly, might as well call it ‘matter of fact’ as not.”

That’s the spirit. Also in the spirit of Fairy Tale Fortnight and all things Gant-o’-the-Lute, stay tuned during the next two weeks as I share excerpts from a never-before-released (and not entirely finished, yet) story chronicling the life of our minstrel in blue prior to his introduction in Wilderhark Tale #3.

“An inspired treat!” says Lute, delighted.

No – a “Song Caster” treat. “Inspired”s that other book I wrote.

“Hilarious.”

Reviewers have called it witty, yeah.

“Stop.”

*sigh* Yes, Lute.

Soooooo… What’s everybody think of the “Song Caster” cover?!

Blog Tour’s End, Next Chapter’s Beginning

Got a double order of business, for ya! About a month back, Michelle Proulx tagged me in a blog hop, so I’m pleased to be finally getting around to participating in that. And afterward, we’ve got the final stops on the “Inspired” blog tour to summarize. Let’s get hoppin’!

Part One: The Writing Process Blog Hop

1) What are you working on?

It’s April – a.k.a, Camp NaNoWrimo, a.k.a. one of those glorious months where I tell the affairs of “real life” to take a number while I put writing first. This time around, I’m working on a follow-up to “Inspired”. Same amazing characters, startling new situation. Beyond that… *zips lips*

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Since “Inspired” apparently qualifies as literary fiction, I expect that means its sequel will, too. A quick online search for a genre definition still leaves me a bit confused as to what literary fiction even is, but I’m getting the sense that it has to do with language style, a character-driven story, perhaps pays little heed to convention, and, I dunno, makes some sort of philosophical commentary on the human condition? Mmm…okay. I don’t generally tend to think of my work as all that serious, but if we can have all that and throw in some lighthearted laughs, then sure, what the hey, call my novel baby literary!

3) Why do you write what you write?

Because they’re the stories in me that demand to be told. Because it feels right when my head is in those worlds. Because it’s fun, and it’s fulfilling, and I want to be a friend to the characters therein. And if I don’t get these things down on paper, who will?

4) How does your writing process work?

Once I’ve got an idea I want to pursue, I get started on mapping out the story’s arc. I get down what I know, and brainstorm answers to all the questions that crop up along the way. I track what the characters are up to at any given time, and probe their motivations and emotional states. There’s a lot of wondering, “Now what?” as I strive to hook everything up to, y’know, an actual plot. Eventually I’ll have a beginning, an end, and a semi-solid grip on what goes on in between. Nothing to do after that but write out the book, one eye on the plan, the other on the surprises that characters are always pulling out of the blue. In a NaNo month like this, it shouldn’t take more than three-and-a-half weeks before I’ve got a lovely unedited draft on my hands.

Now I’ve got four other author friends to tag. If they’re up for hopping in, I nominate the following:

Tirzah Duncan, author of Cry of the Nightbird;

Emerald Barnes, author of Entertaining Angels;

Kimberly Kay, author of Sleepless Beauty (One More Day);

and Alexander Nader, author of Beasts of Burdin.

Part Two: Meanwhile, on the “Inspired” blog tour…

On Friday, my interview with Laney McMann addressed the important questions, like: Which of my “Inspired” characters would I first reach to save if they all fell off a cliff?

Monday on the blog of fellow One More Day anthology author Erika Beebe, I compiled a list of ten fictional characters in my life who have inspired me.

And my last-but-not-least stop takes place today on the blog of Emi Gayle, where I’ve been author-interviewed!

To catch up on any tour stops you missed, you can check out the full schedule on my website’s homepage. And of course, though the tour may be over, the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!

 

P.S. – Last chance to enter my giveaway for a shot at nabbing the awesome free “Inspired” goodies up for grabs! I’ll be back later with an edit announcing the seven lucky winners. Stay tuned!

Edit: And the giveaway winners are…

Abishan bookmark = Kendra Conine!

Wilbur bookmark = Desnica Kumar!

Uri bookmark = Emerald Barnes!

Avelaine bookmark = Laurie Goudge!

Annabelle bookmark = Chelsea de la Cruz!

Luc bookmark = Tirzah Duncan!

“Inspired” paperback, signed = Mara Jacobi!

Congratulations, one and all, and thanks to everyone who in any way joined in the celebration of the release of “INSPIRED”!

Pics or It Didn’t Happen

The “Inspired” blog tour marches on! (Or Aprils on, by now.) Why, just look at what went down this past week:

Friday saw me interviewed on the JeanzBookReadNReview blog, talking writing, inspiration, favorite characters, and more!

Monday on the blog of Julie Antonovich Reece, I guest posted on my favorite type of hero. (Spoiler alert: Robin Hood’s name may come up. …I may also have used the term “spoiler” somewhat loosely.)

And Wednesday, I reminisce with The Parasite Guy on “Inspired”s fulfillment of ancient prophecy.

We’ve still got a few tour stops still to come (full schedule available on my website’s homepage), and the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win awesome free “Inspired” goodies…of which I now have pics! Check out the charms on these bookmarks, baby (photographed with tons of love in an effort to make up for any lack of skill)!

Inspired Bookmark, Abishan

One lucky winner’s bookmark will come with this sweet kitty – the great jungle god Abishan, portrayed here in housecat form.

Inspired Bookmark, Wilbur

Another’s bookmark will sport the figure of a chess set knight, a fitting representation of the chivalrous Sir Wilbur.

Inspired Bookmark, Uri

Our gal Uri may not be overly endowed with charm, but with this rockin’ little skateboard  attached, this bookmark couldn’t scream “Uri” louder if it had a set of lungs!

Inspired Bookmark, Yves

Finding the right charm for Yves took some doing, but I think those who know him will agree that this little bird in its pretty cage suits the boy quite well indeed.

Inspired Bookmark, Annabelle

I haven’t forgotten Annabelle! What better for a young lady of letters than a charm like a journal in which to scribe her beloved words? ^.^

And for Luc… oh, for our muse Lucianíel, I could scarcely believe my good fortune when I happened upon this little gem. Whichever muse inspired the making of this entirely perfect trinket, thank you! A dozen-dozen times, thank you!

Inspired Bookmark, Luc

Like I said, folks: This is a giveaway you don’t wanna forget to enter!

Psst. Just curious: Which of the bookmark charms are your favorites? ^^

Secret [of the Souls] No Longer

It’s a Cover Reveal Day for fellow J. Taylor Publishing author Terri Rochenski! Remember last fall when Terri stopped by here with a letter to one of her characters from her novel, “Eye of the Soul”? Well, that novel’s sequel in the works. And just look at how pretty its face is!

SecretOfTheSouls-web

Sword! Castle! Water! Sky! Green eyes! Just throw half of my favorite things all together, why don’t you! Of course, it’s only fitting that the cover be so fantastic. The book is a fantasy, after all.

Meanwhile, on the back of the book…

Thrust out of their homes by a human High Priest on a vengeful mission, the Natives of Derlund no longer have a place to call their own. One escaped capture, however, and now she, Hyla, is the only one who can save her people.

For, Hyla, though, saving her nation isn’t her ultimate goal—returning to the Pool of Souls is. Becoming its Guardian and preserving their faith is her heart’s desire. The perils of her current journey, though, could leave her unable to fulfill that dream.

To find her way back to the Pool, Hyla must live among dangerous, powerful humans willing to defend the Natives, and must submit herself—her Talents—to them. While her protection is paramount, plots to end Hyla’s life will push her to her physical and emotional limits.

On the edge of sanity, her courage tested, and convictions nearly broken, Hyla’s final test of loyalty to her faith comes with the death of one she could have loved.

Secret of the Souls (Pool of Souls, #2) – coming October 6, 2014! (And now available to add to your GoodReads shelves.)

Whaddaya think, readers? Anybody loving this cover as much as I am? ^^

Interview-a-Palooza!

We’re into Week 3 of the “Inspired” blog tour! Coming up, you’ll get a brief overview of what’s gone down since… well, the last time I gave you an overview. ;D

BUT FIRST! An interview with my writing bestie who can as of late March call herself a published author.

Part One: Tirzah Duncan and Cry of the Nightbird

Nightbird cover, final

Me: Hello, Tirzah! Thanks for letting me drag you over here to show you off. Tell us: Whence came the idea for your newly-published novella, Cry of the Nightbird?

Tirzah: I don’t know if you remember this, but it started last year, when you were at a loss for what to write for a Camp NaNo novel. And I was trying to brainstorm with you, tossing out this idea and that.

Then I said, “Okay, how about a young female main character who’s got this major crush on a villain? And what if that villain…”

I went on to speak spoilers, so you don’t get to hear that bit. But suffice it to say the idea really captivated me. To my frustration, Danielle, you were not interested. Hang it, I thought, I want to read the story! If she won’t write it, then I guess I’ve got to.

Me: Haha, I do halfway remember that! Obviously, it was a cool idea, T. Just as obvious to me, the idea was meant for you, so good on ya for running with it! You’ve been writing for some years, now. What was it that pushed you to finally take the plunge and self-publish a story?

Tirzah: There’s a bit of a dual answer to that. One, a sudden fit of impatience. But I’m not sure whether that alone would have driven me through all the boring things like spending eight mind-numbing hours trying to get indents to show up properly in an e-format.

Tirzah Duncan. Writer. Adventurer. Mary Sue? -_0

Tirzah Duncan. Writer. Adventurer. Mary Sue? -_0

What pushed me through that sort of nonsense? Desperation. My fiancé was offered a job in Germany. “Shall I accept the adventure of a lifetime in Europe, or be convenient and stay stateside?” he essentially asked, and left the decision in my hands. Taking the job complicated wedding plans, by which I mean, would require a few thousand more dollars in plane tickets and moving expenses, getting him back and the two of us forth.

“ADVENTURE OR BUST! TAKE THE JOB!” I cried, and determined to see that we do not come up bust, I aim to earn the extra in e-book sales. Audacious, I know, but I will sell this baby door-to-door if that’s what I must do.

Me: Your life is such a novel, you know that? I mean, mine kind of is, too, now that “Inspired”s a thing, but yours is a novel with a European romance, doggone it! Moving on, before I die of envy… Character-centric gal that I am, I’ve gotta ask: Who’s your favorite character from the novella, and why?

Tirzah: Tough one… I tried to make most of them their own brand of excellent. But like the sharp young servant girl, Wren, I’m a sucker for confident, cut, and sorta-kinda kind criminal overlords. So I’ll have to go with Joreth.

(…To clarify, when I say “cut,” I refer to defined musculature, not “the results of coming out of a knife fight somewhat scathed,” of which that master of assassins has both.)

Me: Yum. *cough* Yup. I meant “yup”. *pulls gaze away from attractive killers* Anyhow. This isn’t the only tale you’ve written set in this world. What can you tell us about the other project, Ever the Actor, and when do you suppose it’ll join Nightbird on the market?

Tirzah: Well, remember what I said I’m a sucker for? Joreth isn’t the first of those I’ve written. Although I use the term “sorta-kinda kind” far more loosely for Syawn, my sociopath thief lord determined to keep up caring appearances.

Me: SYYY! *more coughing* Sorry, I must be coming down with something. Pray continue.

Tirzah: You can read the book’s blurb and some select excerpts here—and the elsewhere-unreleased prologue is included at the end of Cry of the Nightbird, wink wink, nudge nudge.

When will it come out? Let’s keep it to the ever-mysterious “Coming sooooon…”

Me: Until this portentous “soon” comes to pass, any last words, Ms. Duncan?

Tirzah: Hmm. How about, “Hey, check what I can do!” or “Nooo, I’m too young…” or perhaps “At least I published something before the end,” or “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

Bit of an odd question to end an interview on, though. Leads one to wonder if you put a hit out on me.

Me: Who, me? Never…

That’s “Cry of the Nightbird”, folks – available now!

Part Two: Meanwhile, on the “Inspired” blog tour…

Friday on the Ink Caster blog, my/Annabelle’s light elemental Luc went in for an illuminating chat with Tirzah Duncan’s thief lord Syawn.

Monday, the interview was mine, all mine! …and my hostess Aimee Laine’s, of course. X)

And Wednesday, all sensible Q&A practices went out the window, because this time the operation was run by Alexander Nader (who you may remember from when we got treated to Will Scarlet’s idea of an interview during Alex’s “Beasts of Burdin ” tour).

Plenty more tour stops still to come (full schedule available on my website’s homepage), and the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!

P.S. – Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win awesome free “Inspired” goodies!

Cry of the Nightbird

“BREAKING NEWS!” Will Scarlet calls out. “Not the bit about how Danielle sometimes lies, claiming Saturdays on the blog are to be mine, all mine, then turning around and using a Friday post as an excuse to bump me off the roster. Nobody’s surprised by that anymore.”

I’m sorry, Will! I fully intended to leave you your Saturdays, despite the whirlwind of my ongoing blog tour. But then something came up!

“Oh-ho, did it ever! No worries, author girl,” he says, with a forgiving clap on my shoulder. “These are ultra-special circumstances.”

I’ll say they are! I mean, it’s not every day my writing bestie publishes her debut novella!

“Nope, pretty much just today,” Will says blithely. “Congratulations, Tirzah Duncan! Love you, ever and always! Danielle, release the Kraken! Whoops, read that wrong. The cover. Release the cover!”

Lol, proudly. Heck, I’m giving this the full Deshipley Book Review Treatment!

Nightbird cover, final

The Book: “Cry of the Nightbird” by Tirzah Duncan.

Genre: Fantasy.

Blurb: “Look—it’s a shadow, creeping on the wall.

Look—it’s a nightbird, feathered, black, and tall.

Look—o’er your shoulder; think ye twice,

Look—out, ye wicked rats, pray he finds ye nice.

Risen suddenly to lordship of the fiefdom of Cavernad, young Ferlund struggles to fill the shoes —and carry on the marriage engagement— of his late father. Doubly sorrowed by the old lord’s death and his duty to part ways with his common lover, Ferlund also seeks to pursue his suspicion that his father’s death was no accident…

Elsewhere in this fantasy-tinged novella, another man is recently risen to power. Joreth, formerly an assassin by trade, is newly the master of the assassin’s guild responsible for the elder Lord Cavernad’s demise. Wren, a servant girl deeply enamored of her new boss, seeks to gain his favor, and happens upon his strangest secret.

A lone vigilante stalks this landscape of cloak and dagger, sense and madness, and grudge and ardor old and new; the preying Nightbird stands in judgement of injustice masked by night or noble station. In this tangle of stale bitterness and fresh affection, who will stand justified, and who will fall condemned? And will the cry of the Nightbird sound loud enough to go down as more than a washerwoman’s four-line ditty?

My Thoughts: Short answer: OHMYGOSH, MY BEST FRIEND PUBLISHED A BOO-OO-OOK!

*ahem* More professional answer:

This story is rife with suspense and emotion, peopled with characters to love and to hate, to cheer for and to grieve for – not to mention an element just about any book can benefit from: A cool guy in a cloak and mask.

Duncan is a true wordsmith with a sharp poetic style worthy of a shady vigilante’s ballad. I chuckled. I gasped. I had to blink back tears to get through the end. And I’m left with a whetted hunger for the eventual release of the first full-length novel set in this fantasy world.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): “Should you read this?” says Will. “Should you read this?! I dunno, lemme ask. Hey, Danielle – should they read this?”

Dude, I’m only even friends with the girl because her writing lured me in! YES, read her book! Buy it! Tell your friends to buy it! Coerce your enemies into buying it! And did I mention?… All proceeds from the book’s sales are going toward funding Tirzah’s upcoming wedding to her sweetheart in the Air Force.

(Will Scarlet leads the audience in a rousing “AW-W-W!”)

So seriously. As her BFF, critique partner, and maid of honor, I must insist that you purchase “Cry of the Nightbird”. BUY NOW.

…And if you want to pick up a copy of “Inspired” or something while you’re in the neighborhood, I’ll not say you nay.

In Which I Can Officially Call Myself a Published Novelist

That’s right, my friends: It’s release day for “Inspired”! And that means three things.

1 = The wait to snatch up a copy of your very own is over! The book is available via Amazon (sing hey for shiny paperbacks! And Kindle e-books, if that’s how you roll), Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!

2 = If you’d like to try your luck against that of the Irish (get it? ‘Cause it’s St. Patrick’s Day? Aaaaanyway…), you can now enter my giveaway to win one of seven sweet prizes: Either a bookmark complete with a charm inspired by one of the book’s characters, or a signed paperback copy of the novel itself!

Inspired-Blog-Tour-Button

3 = We’ve kicked off the “Inspired” blog tour! From here ‘til April 17th, I’ll be on blogs all over the place (thank you, gracious hosts!) talking about the novel, writing, characters, inspiration… and Robin Hood. Perhaps a disproportionate amount of Robin Hood.

And what, you ask, will good old Ever On Word be up to in the meantime?

In an effort to refrain from talking about absolutely nothing but “Inspired” for a month straight, I will dedicate Mondays to storytelling. I’ve got some old flash fiction pieces of mine that have been sitting around unused; now seems a fine time to share. ^.^

Thursdays will be recap days where I give a brief rundown on the last few blog stops made on the tour. (You can also keep abreast of the tour schedule by visiting my website.) But not only that, a couple of Thursdays (well, one of them’s a Wednesday) will also feature guest posts from fellow authors on blog tours of their own! Oh, and a cover reveal on a Tuesday. Stay tuned for all.

And Saturdays, of course, will still belong to Will Scarlet and his Interactive Theatre troupe, because anything else is not worth the fight. If it’s an author/character power struggle you want, then allow me to direct you to a literary adventure that launched just today, and which I hope very much you’ll enjoy…

<<<>>>

Inspired_Cover_Draft_Final_web

For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.

INSPIRED — out now!!! :D

In Which I’m Seen Ravin’ About Another Stiefvater Novel

First “The Scorpio Races”, then “The Raven Boys”, now its sequel… I think it may be time I just go ahead and call myself this author’s fan.

The Book: “The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)” by Maggie Stiefvater.

Genre: Paranormal YA.

Blurb (as set down on the front flap of the book’s jacket): If you could steal things from your dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

My Thoughts: The short version: I want the third book a week ago, please.

The long version: Apart from the characters (which I broke down for ya back in my review of book one), my favorite thing about this book was the way the author says things. She uses language in vivid, unexpected, and often startlingly humorous ways I don’t frequently see and would rarely (if ever) think up on my own. Some small percentage of the time, her choices of phrasing and/or analogy may not quite work for me, but on the whole, I ate it up. Rather than just try to describe it, though, let me give you a taste of what I mean.

The three brothers were nothing if not handsome copies of their father… Declan had the same way of taking a room and shaking its hand. Matthew’s curls were netted with Niall’s charm and humor. And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.

A smile made for war… So much did that line please me when first I read it, I had to write it down by hand. Had I done so with more snippets from the book, this blog post would be largely ready to go, right now. But I didn’t, and I’m not the sort who easily memorizes what I read, so I’ll have to flip through the pages at random to pull out more quotes for you. Let’s see what grabs me next…

The first week of June, Gansey found a headless statue of a bird with king carved on its belly in Welsh. The second week, they wired a refrigerator in the upstairs bathroom, right next to the toilet. The third week, someone killed Niall Lynch. The fourth week, Ronan moved in.

That’s another trait. That matter-of-factness, never mind what an extraordinary thing has just been said. She makes everyday things poetry, and incredible things bluntly simplistic. There’s beauty in the balance.

“So what you’re saying is you can’t explain it.”

“I did explain it.”

“No, you used nouns and verbs together in a pleasing but illogical format.”

That’s what it’s like, sometimes. Not altogether logical, or logical in a way you can’t quite grasp, but somehow pleasing nonetheless.

I could search through for more examples, but my dislike for skimming would have me reading the whole book all over again – which I will someday happily do, but I am kind of trying to do other things, at the moment.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If you’re looking for votes, you’ve got a “yes” from me. I don’t even think it’s wholly necessary for you to have read book one first (enough months had passed between my reading of each that I’d largely forgotten the details from the series opener), though obviously I liked that book, too, so there’s another “yes” vote for you; I’m just saying, it can work on its own.

My personal copies of “Dream Thieves” and “Raven Boys”.

My personal copies of “Dream Thieves” and “Raven Boys”.

Such are my thoughts on “The Dream Thieves. If you’ve got any of your own, I’d be pleased to read ‘em in the comments!

In Which a Noir Scarlet Gets the Dirt on Alexander Nader

BeastsOfBurdin_BlogTourButton

When I agreed to interview author Alexander Nader as part of his “Beasts of Burdin” blog tour, I had no idea that one of the characters in my head would take that as invitation to conduct the interview for me. Perhaps I should have known. It’s Will Scarlet, after all. And once he heard “Burdin ” features a private eye… well, let’s just say he felt inspired.

<<<>>>

Trading in the medieval charms of home for a seedy office off some gray back alley, Will takes a seat across from his subject of interrogation. Red fedora angled over one sparkling blue eye; pen and notepad at the ready; unlit cigarette clenched lightly at the corner of his mouth for effect.

“So, Alexander – or should I say Alex?” He arches the one eyebrow left visible. “Seriously, which one would you rather? Your book cover and Facebook page say one thing, your blog’s title says another… Who exactly are you trying to throw off the scent?”

Alex: To be completely honest, the Swedish Mafia. You see I’m in witness protection and they took my full name Alexander and very uncreatively broke it up and swapped a couple letters to get Alex Nader. Alex-ander, Alex Nader, get it? Yeah, it’s crazy, but can we just keep that between us? Those mafia dudes are ruthless.

“Ah. Say no more,” Will says, tapping the side of his nose conspiratorially. “Well, I mean, I hope you’ll say a little more. I’ve done a little digging, and I must say, I’ve turned up some pretty interesting dirt. A certain Tweet of yours, for instance, suggests that you and I have something in common.” Will grins. “We’re both said to look like Greek gods.”

Danielle: When has anyone ever said you look like a Greek god?

“You’re all thinking it. I could be Apollo’s twin.”

Danielle: Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt?

Will casts an annoyed glance at his author. “I am conducting an interview, here. Sorry about that, Alex. Anyway. You said, quote, ‘She did not specify, but if given the choice I guess I’d have to go with Poseidon.’” Will leans forward, gaze intent and not a little suspicious. “Why Poseidon?”

Alex: Easy. He’s my great uncle on my father’s side. Yeah, me and Posey go way back. Every time he came to visit my house smelled like the ocean for weeks. This one time he even let me hold his trident. Man, what a mess that was. It took two weeks to get all the charbroiled flounder out of the carpet.

Will laughs. “I can imagine!” He flips back a few pages in his notepad. “Now, in doing a background check on you and your family, like ya do, I noticed a trend when it comes to your children: Every single one of their names contains the letters ‘av’. It begs two questions. One, what is the significance of this alpha sequence? Two, can you think of any similar patterns to be found within the names of your fictional characters?”

Alex: Yes, the letters AV are, in fact, an acronym: Actual Vampire. It’s because they are slowly draining the life force of my checking account. I mean seriously, do you know how much Nintendo games cost nowadays? There is a similar pattern between the names of my children and my characters and it’s pop culture references. My kids are named from a movie, a song, and a comic book. Bonus points if you can guess which is which.

“Ooh, I love bonus points. Memo to self,” he scribbles aloud. “Match ‘Nader’ kids to source. Win big. Got it. Moving on, and talking of characters, in the press release for your novel— Say, I haven’t congratulated you on that yet, have I? Way to go, you! Where we fictional folk would be without you author people to spill our deepest secrets to the public for cash of which we never see a dime, I just don’t know! That sounded really bitter. I’m not actually, I swear. Seriously, congratulations. Does anyone remember where I was going with this?” He checks his notes. “Yes! Right! Press release. It describes your main character, Ty Burdin, as ‘a man women will love and men will wish were their best friend. Not to be him, just to befriend.’ That’s a pretty sweet character recommendation! How true would you say it holds from your perspective? Do you and Ty hang out as friends? – and, if not, do you wish you could? Why / why not? And say, low key,” he drops his voice to a murmur, “how do you think he’d get on with me?”

Alex: I think Ty is a lot like my worst character traits rolled into a walking, talking insult machine. Ty is really kind of a jerk so if you’re planning on hanging out with him you better have thick skin. On the other hand if you had a drink to offer I’m sure he would hang around until things dried up.

“Oh, I’m sure I could scare up a tankard of ale or seven. One last question, if I may.” Will points his pen at the face across from him. “Since you have a beard and all, I’ve got to ask: Have you ever in your childhood dreams considered joining up with the Merry Men? Not that we all have beards, obviously,” he says, indicating his own face. “But, y’know, it might be seen as a point in your favor. The same goes for hoods and tights. Or if none of that is your thing, what did you want to be when you grew up? And how does it compare with the reality you’re living, Mr. Author/Family Man/Poseidon Lookalike?”

Alex: Tights? Um, tights are to me what a three legged elephant is to tight-rope walking; incompatible. Although, as poor as I am, I’d like to give props to what you guys are doing. Keep the money flowing, chap. So what did I want to be when I grew up? Astronomer, marine biologist, chemist, inventor, Power Ranger, Ninja Turtle, X-man…Really just depended which hour of the day you caught me on.

“Merry Man, superhero… same difference, practically. And that, my friend, is a wrap!” Will flips his notepad shut and extends a hearty handshake. “Been excellent talking to you, sir. That’ll be all for now but, y’know, don’t leave town. …Not that you have to listen to me. I’m not the police. Heck, depending on which sheriff you ask, I’m the enemy. Any case, good luck with your book, yeah? And give your ‘av’ kids my ‘hello’!”

Alex: It was very nice talking with you, Will. And tell Danielle I said, “hi”. I’m done weaving my complex tales of fiction and now I can go celebrate with a drink! (…me and Ty are different people, I swear.)

Alex Nader

About the Author:

Alex lives in the tourist infested hills of east Tennessee with his amazing wife/muse and three superb children. He would tell you more about how awesome they are, but you probably wouldn’t believe him. When he’s not hanging out with them he’s making pizzas. When he’s not doing that he’s working at a bookstore and occasionally he jots a few words down. He’s a big fan of good music, good storytelling, and mixed martial arts.

He once wrote a short story about pirates to his wife via text message that blossomed into a full length novel and never stopped after that.

BeastsOfBurdin_AlexNader_blog

Blurb:

Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.

In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.

No demons.

He’s retired from that. Remember?

Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.

Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.

This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.

Beasts of Burdin” (my review here) available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

In Which Edgwyn’s Fans Are Reminded Why They Love That Guy (Launch Week, Day 7)

It’s the last day of Launch Week for “The Seventh Spell”! Amazon (paperback) / Amazon (Kindle) / Barnes & Noble (Nook) / CreateSpace (paperback) And as part of the celebration, I’ve invited the novella’s four main characters to visit the Ever On Word blog and share their response to the following prompt:

From almost start to finish in the adventure of “The Seventh Spell”, the odds were pretty stacked against you. It might be said that the biggest (and perhaps only) weapon you had with which to fight for your happy ending was hope. At which point did you feel most hopeful? Most hopeless? How optimistic a person are you in general, and how did that measure up against the nigh impossible challenge set before you?

Please welcome our final guest (last, but never least, no matter how much he’ll try to put himself there), Edgwyn Wyle!

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Edgwyn as realized by my dream-Wilderhark artist, Yana Naumova.

Edgwyn as realized by my dream-Wilderhark artist, Yana Naumova.

I was fortunate in that I spent a good deal of book having no idea just how hopeless the situation was. Things were strange, yes, I knew that much. And stressful. Sometimes downright frightening. But I was sure there had to be an explanation for it, and some way or another to set it all right, if I could just make my way back to where I was supposed to be. (…and when I was supposed to be, for that matter!) If I’d known from the start exactly what was going on… oh, dear, it’s really just as well that I didn’t.

I am a pretty optimistic person, by nature. All else being equal, things are just as likely to go right as they are to go wrong, so why not suppose they’ll go right? And even things that seem to go drastically wrong at first have a way of coming out for the best in the end. So despite the strangeness, stress, and occasional frights, I mostly assumed it was simply a matter of time before it all worked out. Mostly.

It can be very hard to remain hopeful when you’re physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and your travel companion is, shall we say, not Rosalba. I will admit there were brief moments (which would have been better used for sleep) when I deeply doubted whether we could ever pull off what we had to in order to return everything to normal. Those were some of the most terrifying moments of my life. But I couldn’t afford to dwell on them. As you said, hope was our greatest asset. Hope and love. The one spurred me on to the other: My loved ones needed me to hope. To never give up while there was still time to succeed. So that’s what I did – what we all did, as best we could. And in the end… well, I oughtn’t to give that away. I guess the eventual readers will simply have to do as we did: Hope for the best possible ending.

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Seventh Spell Cover, front

A witch’s attempt to cast one spell too many

casts everyone touched by her previous spells into chaos.

Scattered throughout each other’s pasts, Sula and Edgwyn, Villem and Rosalba,

and the rest of the magic’s affected have a single chance to break this last enchantment

before their “happily-ever-after”-s cease to have ever been.

The Seventh Spell

Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales

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According to readers (*thank you for reviewing!*):

“Such an incredible book.”

“The best Wilderhark Tale to date.”

“I knew this was going to be epic in some form or another and it didn’t disappoint.”

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Once again, the book can be purchased via the following links: Amazon (paperback) / Amazon (Kindle) / Barnes & Noble (Nook) / CreateSpace (paperback)

And now for the final three winners in the “Seventh Spell” Launch Week Giveaway, each of whom can choose any of the first six prizes they wish…

Mara Jacob!

Miranda McNeff!

And the Grand Prize winner who will additionally receive my very first proof paperback of “The Seventh Spell”…

Michelle Proulx!

Hearty congratulations to you all (let me know what you want from the prize list!), and thanks to everyone who took part in Launch Week of “The Seventh Spell (Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales)”!

The Prizes

#1 = Autographed print of a portrait of Millyanna (drawn by me). Congrats, Michelle!

#2 = Autographed print of a portrait of Viralei (drawn by me). Congrats, Miranda!

#3 = Autographed print of a surprise “Seventh Spell” scene illustration (drawn by me). Congrats, Emerald!

#4 = Autographed print of another surprise “Seventh Spell” scene illustration (drawn by me). Congrats, Kim!

#5 = Seven selected chapters of the “The Seventh Spell”, with author commentary! Congrats, R.G.!

#6 = Seven selected chapters of the “The Seventh Spell”, with CHARACTER commentary! Congrats, Chelsea!

#7 = The Epic Win of the giveaway. 3 winners get to select any one of the first six prizes they like, and 1 of the three will receive my very first paperback proof copy of “The Seventh Spell”, autographed. Congrats Mara, Miranda, and Michelle! (ALL the “M”s!)

Ever On Word’s semi-regularly scheduled blogging may now resume. *toasting my triumph with a bottle of apple juice*