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Category Archives: sword and sorcery

Indie Author’s 20 Questions: Sue Owen


Another round of 20 Questions is upon us! This week the hotseat is being warmed by another awesome Indie Author, Sue Owen. She’s the author of fantasy time travel books and a fun person to chat with. So read on and join in on getting to know her better!

 








1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m a transplanted native Oregonian.  I have three grown kids and multiple grand kids that keep me pretty busy.  I enjoy writing and am working on several new novels.

2.) How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pencil.  I kept a journal when I was younger then started writing short stories I would just throw away.  I’d never let anyone read what I wrote.  I’ve gotten over that J

3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read? Is it the same as what you write?
Actually, no.  I prefer SciFi or Mystery when I read and I write YA Fantasy and Romance.  I used to read only Romance then went through a phase of only Mystery.  Truly, though, with my review site I pretty much read anything.  I’ve really enjoyed reading other Indie writers’ works.  We have some pretty talented people out there.

4.) What is the title of your book and where can it be found?
Wizard of Time.  Can be found in all the usual places.  Amazon seems to be the most popular (http://amzn.to/jCYQw3)

5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less.
The Wizard of Time snatches 3 kids from their timeline to return King Arthur’s sword before subsequent timelines break.  (Bit more than 15, but I’m a writer!)

*LOL Yes we are! Don’t worry about it, You’re forgiven! 🙂

6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?
A dream.  Long ago and far away I dreamed of three kids fulfilling a three part quest.  I loved the King Arthur era so decided that would be a great place to start.  The timeline stuff came along almost as I was writing it.  Just insinuated itself in the story line.

7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?
About 5 years.  It was probably 2 years it just rattled around in my head.  I took a year and wrote out the store line and the first half then had to set it aside.  I picked it up again about a year ago and finished in May.

8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go? Do you outline or just let it evolve?
I’ve done both.  Wizard pretty much evolved on its own.  The second in the series, which is done, Defender of Time required a story line and a bit more thinking to make sure it fit in with what had already been revealed by Wizard.  The story line for the third book, Controller of Time is almost done just filling in all the pieces Wizard and Defender needed.  Don’t get me wrong, Controller has its own story line too, so you won’t be disappointed!

9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?
I have a tendency to want to develop setting, characters and details way more than they need.  I’ve written full books just on location.  Look for companion books for all three of my Chasing History series. 

10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?
Character interactions and scene setting seem to come pretty easy.  Once I get them talking to each other I can easily visualize what that has to look like and their reactions and I can then put that on paper.

11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
It doesn’t have a single vampire, warewolf or shape changer!  Kidding aside, it takes an aspect that young adults are used to, time travel, and adds a new twist causing them, I hope, to think about what are the consequences to the future if we did this action now?

12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?
I couldn’t pass up the romance and mystery surrounding King Arthur and his round table.  Merlin, Mordred, Lancelot, Queen Gwinevere have always been heroes of mine.  I loved being able to bring that period to life for my readers and let them see how great a time it was through my eyes.

13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story? How did they find themselves where they are now?
Oh I can’t do that!  I tend to over write my characters.  When writing Wizard I wrote a full book on the three main characters, Josh, Meri and Digger.  I’m publishing them as companions to their own Chasing History book.  Look for Josh to come out September 1st.

14.) I’d like to know more about your book. Tell me all about it.
Wizard of Time is about restoring items that were lost out of time back to their timeline before it messes up the future timelines.  The Wizard of Time needs help stealing and returning Excalibur to King Arthur.  There are only a handful of people that have the ability to travel time lines so he has to search across all of time to find the perfect three.  Josh, Meri and Digger join the Wizard of Time to steal Excalibur from the Bards and return it.  However, when they do, something happens to the Wizard’s lady love and her timeline is erased.  Was returning the sword the catalyst for that disaster or were there other elements interfering with time? 

15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?
I just want people to think about the consequences of their actions.  Be brave, take a stand, make a choice and pay attention to what is happening around you.  It does affect the future.

16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?
Two more as stated above.  Book Two will be out middle September.

17.) Where can readers find you?
I have a blog, which you can find here!. My book can also be found at Amazon.

18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.
I play World of Warcraft.  I love my X-Box and I make a mean lasagna.

19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun.
Downtime?  Fun?  I live in Oregon.  I’m about fifteen minutes from the mountains or the ocean.  I love to swim so I split my time between lakes and sea.  Kind of a cool life right now!

20.) How about a peek at chapter 1?





Chapter One – Introductions

Josh blinked, trying to clear his eyesight.  Where the heck was he?  He registered that the room was dark with a musty smell, like old socks.  He could barely make out shapes but saw what could have been a desk with a big, stuffed chair behind it.  It appeared that books covered all the walls.  The room was large and Josh was at one end of it.  There was a table with chairs in the middle of the room, with the desk at the far end.  He rubbed his hands over his face again, trying to clear his eyesight.

“It doesn’t really help.  That blurriness will go away in a little bit.  Just don’t make any sudden movements and you won’t feel your head.”  Josh spun around and looked to his right where the voice was coming from.  So much for not making sudden movements.  As he turned, his head exploded with pain and he staggered against the wall and promptly sat on the floor.  He moaned.

“I told you not to make any sudden movements,” came the voice again in a softer tone.  Josh could tell it was a girl but couldn’t really make out her features.  

He held his head in his hands.  “Are you sure my head won’t explode?” 

“Yes, I’m sure.  Here.”  She handed him a cool, wet cloth.  “It will pass in a couple of minutes,” she assured him. 

“Thanks,” Josh said.  “Where am I?” he asked between his fingers, afraid to take his hands down for fear his head would explode despite her assurance.

“I’m not sure,” she said cheerily.  “I think this is the Wizard’s house but he’s not been back to tell us.  We’ve had the full run of the house but the windows and doors won’t open.  This is the library, in case you didn’t see that before you moved.  There’s a small kitchen, couple bedrooms and a bathchamber, but that’s it,” she continued in the same cheerful voice.  “There isn’t a food synthesizer but there’s some kind of metal box next to the sink that has food in it.  Kinda gross to see food uncooked, but at least its eatable.  Well some of it is, anyway.” 

Well that’s just weird, Josh thought to himself.  How can she not know what food is?  Before he could think about it anymore, what just happened to him came flooding back in one, big, honking memory. 

He had been heading home from the late shift at the diner where he ran the grill.  Burgers, fries, that kind of thing.  Nothing fancy.  He had rounded a corner after getting off the bus and a little man completely covered in a long, dark coat told him to “step through the portal.”  Not being one to do what he’s told, Josh tried to run the other way but the little guy simply pushed him and he went tumbling into the shimmering ring Josh now took to have been a portal, whatever that was. 

“I’m Meri.”  Meri was holding out her hand to Josh expecting him to shake it, he supposed, still kind of groggy and wondering what a synthesizer was, he grabbed her hand and pulled himself up, almost knocking her over.  She recovered nicely and smiled.  “The Wizard must be the little guy in black” he commented, not really needing an answer.  “You said ‘we’ earlier,” Josh said.  “Who’s ‘we’?”  Meri pointed to a corner.

“He doesn’t say much.  His name’s Digger but that’s about all I’ve gotten out of him.  He’s been here for a day; I came last night and now you.”  Meri told him.  Josh could barely make out another person in the corner.  He seemed to melt into the heavy curtains that were covering the window.  If it wasn’t for his blonde hair he probably wouldn’t have been visible at all. 

Josh could see he had some kind of backpack or bag in his hand but couldn’t really make out what it was.  Digger sat the bag on the floor in the corner and raised his hand slightly in way of a greeting to Josh.  Josh did the same and turned back to Meri. 

Meri took the cloth Josh handed to her and set it on the table.  She picked up a glass that was there and handed it to him.  “Water.  Drink.”  Josh took a tentative sip and found it was pretty good so drank it and handed Meri back the empty glass.  His eyesight was beginning to return to normal like she had said.

“Feeling better?” she asked after a little bit. 

“Yup.”  Josh tried a smile.  That didn’t hurt too bad.  “I’m Josh.  So what’s going on?  Do you know?” 

She grinned at him.  “Not really.  All I know is that the Wizard will explain everything when he gets here.” 

Since he had to wait, Josh figured he’d take a look around.  After a bit of exploring he too found doors locked and windows that wouldn’t open.  He even found the kitchen like Meri said. 

Waiting wasn’t something Josh did well and he was going to have a few words to say to the Wizard when he returned but for now he figured he was stuck and would take the time to appraise the situation a bit and see what the others had to say.  Maybe there was something they knew that could get him out of there.  He returned to the study thinking he could talk to the other two to find out what else they knew.  After all, they appeared to be in the same boat as he was. 

Meri was standing with Digger by the window trying to get a look outside.  He headed over to see, too.  From the corner by the door a noise like a whisper drew their attention.  Digger stepped back into the shadows.  “Looks like the Wizard has arrived,” Josh said as they saw a little man materialize in the corner.  The Wizard was holding a long stick with some kind of glowing gem on the end of it.  He tapped it sharply on the floor and the room was flooded with lights.  The three by the window all exclaimed and put their hands over their eyes.  The little Wizard saw the gesture and giggled.  “Lights” he said rather mischievously.

“Yeah, we got that,” said Josh, not bothering to hide his sarcasm.  “What is going on old man?  We need some answers.  Where are we and why are you keeping us here?”  Josh got out as he was holding his hand in front of his face, protecting his eyes against the light.  “All in good time, all in good time.”  The Wizard said almost in a whisper.  Josh snorted.  He didn’t like being dismissed out of hand.  Before he could start up again, he felt a hand on his arm.  Meri.  She whispered, “give it a minute, okay?”  Josh subsided reluctantly hoping she knew what she was doing. 

Once Josh’s eyes adjusted to the light, he peered around the room.  The light was coming from eight sconces set in the wall about three quarters of the way up; four on each side.  They flickered like candles.  Josh fleetingly wondered how the wizard had lit them all but was distracted by the wizard himself. 

Now that Josh was seeing the little man again, he remembered that he had seen him several times in the week before the portal incident.  Once outside his trailer park at the little bakery, once just outside his friend Charlie’s house in southeast Portland and again on the bus last week as he was heading to work. 

The old guy had apparently been following Josh.  He was clueless as to why.  He was just an ordinary teenager; almost 6 feet tall with wavy brown hair that fell over his eyes a bit.  Girls considered him good looking and he didn’t see any reason to doubt them.  He wasn’t vane about his looks but made sure to take care of himself and wore things that were stylish rather than shabby.  However, none of that, in Josh’s mind would be any reason to single him out for a little jaunt in a portal.  And he still didn’t know where he was.  As he was opening his mouth to give the Wizard a piece of his mind and get some questions answered, the Wizard had other plans.

“Wait here.  Back shortly,” said the Wizard as he went out the door.  Josh and Meri went to follow him but by the time they got to the door it was closed.  Josh opened it and started out into the corridor beyond but there was no sign of the Wizard.  “Well that’s just grand,” he exclaimed, stepping back inside and closing the door.  “Guess we just wait,” he said as he sat down at the table.  His head was still spinning and he picked up the glass, hoping for some more water. 

“I’ll get you more water,” Meri said, taking the glass from him and heading out the door.  When she got back, the Wizard was behind her.  She handed the glass to Josh who set it on the table without taking any.

“Sit” the Wizard told Meri and Digger, pointing to the chairs around the table.  “I need to tell you the rules before you leave,” he continued.  Digger reluctantly left the corner to join the others at the table.  Now that there was light, Josh was able to see his companions much better. 

Meri was pretty.  Her face was oval with high cheekbones and a slightly pointed chin.  Her deep blue eyes shone with laughter.  Her blonde hair was caught at the base of her neck and hung straight down her back in a braid.  He saw she almost sat on it when she sat down.  Earlier he noticed she smelled like wildflowers.  She had on a blue blouse and dark skirt that was made of some shiny material Josh didn’t recognize. 

Digger was tanned, blonde and looked skinny.  He had narrow shoulders and was about the same height as Josh. Where Josh was muscular from working out, Digger was slight and sinewy.  Digger’s cloths were slightly the worse for wear with a hole in the shoulder of his shirt and a ragged hem on his pants.  A slight musty smell was coming from him Josh realized trying not to hold his nose.  When he looked up, Josh noticed his sharp, blue eyes.  Very distinctive.

“Where are we, where are we going, what are we doing here and what exactly is going on?”  Josh asked, turning to the Wizard.  The Wizard had flipped back the hood to his robe and Josh could see that he was younger than he expected him to be.  His face was smooth with about three inches of beard on his chin.  His hair was white, not blonde but white as if with age.  Josh figured he was in his early to late 50s.  The Wizard ignored Josh’s questions. 

“This land is ruled by science, however, all patrols have a wizard for protection and they cast spells.  Some rather nasty ones, too,” he paused for a second, looking down the table.  “There is nothing you can use to defend yourself against them.  Meri’s amulet will allow her to hide from them and then she can let me know when you get in trouble.  You mustn’t be caught, though, with the item.  Josh’s talent will help with that to some extent.  Don’t talk to anyone.  Digger will lead you through the shadows so follow him closely.  Digger’s talents will get you into the area you need to be and back out.  Meri will defend you, if necessary.  Don’t leave witnesses.  It is imperative that you act quickly.”  The Wizard stood as if to go.

“Now hold on a sec, old man,” from Josh. “A question,” from Meri.  The Wizard turned to Meri.  “What item, what am I defending against, and what amulet?” she asked before Josh could catch his breath and ask his questions.  Digger sat in silence. 

“The amulet your mother gave you has the power to make you invisible and defend you against dark magic without being detected as magic.  It is old world power so the Bard’s cannot detect it and you won’t be discovered by their squads,” the Wizard stated with a puzzled look. “Didn’t your father tell you about it?” 

“No.  He just told me it was my mother’s,” Meri said.  “If it has some power I’ve never tried to use it and not sure it even works anymore.  It’s very old, according to my father,” she went on, fingering the amulet around her neck.

“It is passive magic so it will work when it works.  You shouldn’t have to do anything special to it as long as you are wearing it but holding it in your hand while activated should make the magic stronger.  I’ve not had one to experiment with but that’s what I’ve researched,” said the Wizard.  “As for your other questions, the defending will come in time.  You are trained and prepared for battle.  I need to go check on something.  The item we will discuss after you’ve rested.  I’ll have gifts for each of you, then, too.”  He abruptly turned to the door, stomped his stick on the floor putting out the lights and walked out, closing the door behind him.  Oh great, thought Josh.  The old guy doesn’t know how the amulet works because he didn’t experiment with one.  He doesn’t even know what he’s doing.  Great.

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Indie Author’s 20 Questions: Mike Cooley


This week I have a fun guest! He’s a writer and a musician and a some times comedian. And is fun to have around in the IWU group! So without making you wait any longer I give you Mike Cooley!


1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Well my real name is Mike. I have a lot of other names too. Some I write under and some I do music under. Online a lot of people know me as “Z” of Gotham Steel (metal band). Recently I have started to concentrate more on my fiction writing than on my music. I’m a very driven person. I keep very busy. I’m not good at  single-tasking. I have a sarcastic sense of humor.

2.) How long have you been writing?

I think it all started in grade school. I had a choice between taking Speech Class and taking Creative Writing. I hated Speech, so I signed up for Creative Writing and thus began writing stories. I don’t think I’ve really ever stopped since. At that time I was also reading every single science fiction and fantasy book in the library (I was also in Reading Class).

3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read? Is it the same as what you write?

I love reading many genres, but some of my favorites are science fiction and fantasy. I love near future, dystopian, time-travel, parallel reality, lovecraftian horror, paranormal and swords and sorcery stories.

I also write in many genres. I consider myself a science fiction short-story writer primarily (I think those sorts of stories are my strength), but–and this surprised me as well–my first novel ended up being Epic Fantasy.

4.) What is the title of your book and where can it be found?

I already have four books out, in different genres, but my novel is called The Crystal Warrior.

It can be found on here on Amazon

And on Smashwords

5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less. 

Larissya is thrust into a life and death battle to save the World.

 6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

To be honest I just started writing. The only thing I knew when I started was that there were going to be magic (I call them myrric) crystals, and that they would be painful and hazardous to use. I also knew that Larissya was going to get the first crystal on the first page, and that someone was going to die at the same time.

I get inspired by ideas and dreams and often see the beginnings of a story visually, in my head, before I write it. With the Crystal Warrior plot elements came to me as I wrote, but it is very much about the characters.

 7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?

Eight years. But actual writing time on it was more like 8 months. I took a break after the first 45,000 words to write 300 songs for a variety of rock bands. Then, last year I dusted it off, re-read it, got my act together, and finished it during NaNoWriMo.

8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go? Do you outline or just let it evolve?

I never outline short-stories, I just write. I used to be way more disorganized than I am now.
Now I use Scrivener, which helps me keep things more organized. I am working on the sequel
to The Crystal Warrior (it will probably be called Crystal Origin). As I go, I am writing chapter
outlines about 3 chapters ahead for each plot-line. And I also know the overall story-arc
(which I did not for the first book). Now that I have such a rich backstory book two is exicting
to write, and not nearly as hard as book one (where I was making everything up from scratch).

9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

Staying focused. I often stop in the middle of a story to write another story. It used to stress me
out a lot. Now I just roll with it. As long as I am finishing stories I let myself work on many at
the same time.

10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?
 
When I am in the zone the words flow like water. Certain things people warn against I just don’t do naturally (Like expository lumps or really long chunks of dialog). I’ve read so much that I think writing fast-paced action-oriented and visual prose rubbed off on me. So I guess I would say that showing the world as the characters interact with it without stopping the story is something I’m good at.

 11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?

Well it’s far better, naturally!I think what sets my book apart is my style. No one else writes like me. I don’t try to write like anyone else. Not that I am necessarily better than other writers. But my vision is my own. And I am immersed in my story. I know SO MUCH about my World that is not in the book. The real story starts 500 years before the first page of my book. I think readers can sense my enjoyment of the story through the words.

12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?

My story is set on Agorai. Which is an Earthlike planet somewhere far away from here in space–and perhaps time. I chose that setting because I didn’t want to have anything that tied the story to Earth. I wanted freedom to make up the entire planet, including plants and animals.
13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story? How did they find themselves where they are now?
 
I have a lot of main characters! There are 38 characters in the book (counting bit parts).
Let me tell you about a few of them.
 
Larissya is the hero. The Legend of The Crystals is about her. She gets the crystal of foreboding at the beginning of the story and is immediately running for her life.
 
Talos is an Onan swordsman. He has studied the legend and comes to Larissya’s aid to help her fulfill her destiny. He also develops a great love for her and would give his life for hers at any time.
 
Adan is a boy. He is a lot older than he looks. Something happened to him long ago that turned him evil.
 
Ishak is a large translucent worm. Inside he has a blue viscous fluid that is magical.

14.) I’d like to know more about your book. Tell me all about it.

It’s a character-driven swords and sorcery tale. The legend is that a great warrior will gather the six crystals of power in order to save the World. Larissya is that warrior. All the crystals have a different power. And the magic is not without a price to pay. Trying to stop her is the Triad. They are evil and possess powers of their own. At its core, it’s about a quest. Larissya’s quest to grow up fast enough to save her friends even though she doesn’t believe in herself.

15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?

I want them to smile and cry. And I want them to keep thinking about the story after they are done
reading it.

16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?
 
There will be at least one more book after The Crystal Warrior. I’m working on it now. It should be done this year.
It’s possible I will also write a prequel or a book that will follow book two. It’s a BIG story and there’s a lot to tell.

17.) Where can readers find you?
 
Readers can find me on twitter @last_writes, on my blog: http://mikecooleyfiction.com , on
Amazon and on Smashwords.

18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.

I’m a musician in several one-man-bands. I love mountain biking in the woods. I’m married to a belly dancer with a degree in physics. I’ve been to Egypt. And I have an 11 year old son. (that’s 5 things…)

19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun. 

Much like the answers above, I like to read, play guitar, bike, and go to the cabin with the boy (for fishing and relaxation).

20.) How about letting me have a sneak peak at chapter one?

You can read the beginning online at Smashwords: Crystal Warrior book view

 

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Indie Author 20 Questions: Kevin Domenic


1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Well, my name is Kevin, and I grew up in New Jersey right down the road from Thomas Edison’s factory.  I enjoy video games, hockey, and just about any strawberry flavored candy.  I used to believe that Jack Nicholson was the only Joker, but Heath Ledger made a believer out of me.  I’ve never fired a gun, nor have I ever been late on my water bill.

Oh, and there’s a gnat flying around my desk here that’s just begging for a rolled up newspaper.  Too bad I haven’t actually seen a newspaper in years.

2.) How long have you been writing?

I guess it’s seventeen years, now.  I started writing just for the fun of it when I was fourteen.  It wasn’t until I was twenty-two that I decided I wanted to pursue a career as an author.  Then last year I was informed that Amazon.com had a free self-publishing service, so I decided to give it a try. 

3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read? Is it the same as what you write?

I’m a huge fantasy fan.  Sci-fi is great too, but too often those books can get far too detailed about the schematics of their mythological technology.  That’s when I tune out. 

But I love going on medieval adventures.  Sword and sorcery are my favorite by far.  I love the hero who sets a good example, stands up for what’s right, and most importantly, wins the battle.  For me, I feel like those stories where the hero doesn’t win in the end are a slap in the face to the reader who stuck with him/her through the struggle and rooted for their victory.

I write mainly fantasy and sci-fi, though my sci-fi tends to lean more on the fantasy side of things.  I have strayed from those genres before, but they are my favorite.

4.) What is the title of your book and where can it be found?

The first volume of The Fourth Dimension is called Key to the Stars.  It can be found at:

Amazon: Key to the Stars (The Fourth Dimension, Volume I)

Smashwords: Key to the Stars

Barnes & Noble: Key to the Stars

Reader Store: Key to the Stars

5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less.

Fantasy and sci-fi collide as a young swordsman finds himself pulled into an interstellar war.

6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

A variety of places.  The strongest influences came from both Star Wars and the Final Fantasy video games series.  As for the story itself, I was actually inspired by the growing anti-hero movement in mainstream media.  TV shows, movies, and video games were beginning to feature protagonists who used immoral tactics to reach their goals.  I hated it, so when I sat down to write Key to the Stars, my main goal was to write a hero who fought for what was right and just for the mere reason that it was the right thing to do.

There was actually someone at the job I was working during that time period who fueled that fire.  I don’t know how, but I wound up talking with her about the Japanese anime Dragon Ball Z.  She told me that Goku was her little boy’s hero.  For those who may not know, Goku was the epitome of good.  Completely incorruptible, he’d give his life to save a rock if he felt it was for the greater good of the world.  I remember thinking that if such a noble character could still be a role model for kids, then maybe there was still hope for the hero.

That’s why my blog is called Searching for Heroes.

7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?

Several years from concept to publishing, but that includes a lot of downtime.  I was also going to school, working full time, and helping my mother care for my father who was sick with Alzheimer’s during that time period.  If I cut it down to just the time worked on the book itself, editing, and publication, I’d say a year or so.

8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go? Do you outline or just let it evolve?

Very rough outlining is done.  I’ll establish the main events that I want to occur and the overall theme I want to convey.  That’s about it.  From there, I’ll just sit down and let the writing find a way to connect it all together.

9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

Scenery description.  I’ll rewrite description over and over again because it always sounds redundant or silly to me.

10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?

Dialogue.  I see my characters so vividly in my mind that just about any conversations just flow through my mind without much effort.  I love writing those scenes.

11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?

Two things.  First, I don’t like the story to stand still for too long.  You won’t find full chapters dedicated to history lessons about my fictional world nor will you find pages of descriptions detailing the shape, color, and size of every leaf of every tree.  If I say it’s summertime and the character is in the forest, I’ll let the reader’s imagination do the rest.  That’s partly because I don’t like writing descriptions and partly because I feel that too much detail is boring and takes away from the story being told.

The other thing that sets it apart is the narrative.  I like to write stories as though I’m telling the tale around a campfire.  Less formal, more personal.  The feedback I’ve gotten on this has been pretty good.  That leads me to believe it helps people connect more closely with the characters.

12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?

Honestly, the best answer I can give on that one is that my story is set in a mythological universe not unlike our own.  Most of Key to the Stars takes place on Terranias, which could be compared to a primitive Earth.  But the story doesn’t stay there. 

13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story? How did they find themselves where they are now?

There are four main characters in Key to the Stars.  These are the four you see on the cover.

The first is Arus, a fourteen year old boy training as a swordsman under the tutelage of his master, Eaisan Lurei.  Arus’ father fought alongside Eaisan during the Vermillion War when Arus was younger, and now he strives to follow in his father’s footsteps. 

Vultrel is Arus’ best friend and Eaisan’s son.  He is his father’s best student and undefeated in his sparring sessions with Arus.  Though he claims himself to be confident, Eaisan often reminds him that there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

Kitreena is a fifteen year old soldier, a young lady raised on the battlefield.  A far cry from the “damsel in distress,” Kitreena’s ability to handle herself has led to success during countless missions.  Though her eyes of ice have often inspired fear, there is a pain behind them that cries out for healing.

The last is Damien, a towering giant of a man from the distant planet of Zo’rhan.  Often quiet and reserved, Damien has dedicated his life to the defense and protection of any who request his services. 

14.) I’d like to know more about your book. Tell me all about it.

Well, let’s see.  Arus and Vultrel are two youths haunted by the memories of a war that ravaged the kingdom when they were children.  The enemy, a band of sorcerers known only as the Vermillion Mages, retreated to the desert outside of the village of Keroko and have resided there ever since.  Fearing a possible return of the deadly invaders, Arus and Vultrel have dedicated their lives to following in the footsteps of their fathers by joining the militia when they are of age.  Until then, they continue to hone the skills passed onto them by Eaisan Lurei, hero of the Vermillion War and Vultrel’s father.

15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?

At the end of Volume III, I placed the following Biblical passage:  “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  Hebrews 10:24

I want to inspire people to try to better themselves and love each other.  And I wanted to create a heroic role model for kids to look up to.  We have so few good wholesome role models these days.  The world needs more heroes.

16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?

There are two additional volumes currently available with more to be written going forward.  Don’t worry, though.  The three that are available right now can stand as one giant story, so readers need not be concerned that they might be left hanging until I can continue work on the series.

17.) Where can readers find you?

In an unpadded cell somewhere on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri. 

Oh, you meant like online!  Gotcha. — [Yes Kevin, I meant online! Such a goof :)]

I have three blogs that I run.

Searching for Heroes is my main author site.  You can find links to all my work, interviews with other authors, excerpts from my books, and more.  That can be found here:  kevindomenic.blogspot.com

Then there is Retail Ramblings.  It’s unrelated to The Fourth Dimension, but I have written a collection of funny stories about my years working for the retail monster.  It’s not updated as often as I’d like, but I do try to get new posts up every now and then.  It’s right here:  retail-ramblings.blogspot.com

Then I also made a separate blog just for news regarding The Fourth Dimension.  There are excerpts there, and anytime there is a special offer or sale going on, it will be announced there.  That’s at:  tfdworlds.blogspot.com

Then, of course, I’m on facebook, twitter, and goodreads.

18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.

A:  I hate bugs.  All kinds.  They creep me out. — [Ugh! Me too!]

B:  I love winter.  I love cold weather, I love snow, and I HATE to sweat.  When it’s cool, you can bundle up in a nice comfy blanket and get cozy by the fire (or in my case, an artificial fire brought to me by the good people at duraflame).  Oh, and there are no bugs during the winter.

C:  I do enjoy fan mail.  Not because it strokes my ego, but because it’s nice to know that something I created made a difference in someone else’s life.  It’s the most fulfilling feeling in the world.

19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun.

When I’m not writing or spending time with my fiance, I’m usually either playing video games or watching TV.  I also enjoy video editing on my old iMac.  There’s actually a link to my Youtube channel on the right sidebar of Searching for Heroes.

20.) How about letting me have a sneak peak at chapter one?

The prologue to Key to the Stars is actually up at The Fourth Dimension’s blog.  Here’s a link:  Prologue

Thanks again for having me!  It was loads of fun! 🙂

Kevin

Kevin, I really enjoyed having you! I agree, this was a lot of fun!

Melissa

 

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