Posted in author, author interview, book series, Indie Author, Self Published, writing

An Author Interview with Michael Taggart

I have had the distinct privilege of being on the editing team for Michael Taggart’s new book Melee Mage. It is the second in his Fledgling God series. I reviewed the first book Misfit Mage last year about this time. Since then, Michael has been working hard at starting and completing the second installment.

Late last year, he contacted me to help with the editing process, and I was glad to do so. I truly enjoyed the characters and the world he built in book one and was excited to help bring the second book to completion. Now that the second book has been published, I thought it would be fun to learn more about this awesome series and the author who wrote it. Check it out below.

You have an amazing series with a lot of great characters. You even have some characters that aren’t human like Penny and Eggy. Can you explain a little bit about these characters and what gave you the idea for them in the first place?

The characters evolved as I wrote them. My writing process is to just write out a bunch of scenes that sound fun––then put them together in a loose outline. From there, I have the characters I want in the book––but in the process of writing them, they change and evolve.

  • Sandy has pretty much stayed true to who I thought she was––Head of Household––wanting to make a positive difference in the world and help new Supernaturals.  In the 3rd book (current project)––she heads off to the Gathering with Jason, so when I write more of her, she may change a bit.
  • John was a complete surprise. I knew he was the maintenance man, part mountain troll, and Sandy’s best friend and lover. I didn’t know he was going to be so much of a prankster. The whole ‘Painted to Circle’ scene in Misfit Mage was a lot of fun that just showed up.
  • Annabeth––Jason needed a best friend in the house. I knew she would be a much older person with health issues, but because of her new magical powers would be growing younger. I didn’t know she would so happy and supportive. That just showed up and I love it! Plus, she hears magic, so it has been very interesting to figure out how to work that in. Her powers are really strong, and allow her to do stuff with charms that shouldn’t be possible (run 3 healing charms at once by humming with them). Even on the physical level, she rocks (She creates her own feedback loop on punching better by listening to how her body is reacting)
  • Penny. It’s been a blast writing for a nonhuman metal character. I knew Jason was going to make a sentient charm, but I didn’t know how much personality she was going to have. I’ve had so much positive feedback from her conversation with Jason about how fleshy people ‘get sick’ and ‘can she watch?’ We even have metal humor and a metal language between her and Eggy.
  • Eggy. I knew I wanted a magic sword in the book. But the idea he didn’t want to be a sword just happened while writing. He wants to be a very ornate vase and sit in the window and watch the world go by while looking pretty. Don’t we all? LOL. I now have lots of ideas for this character as he was created by a supernatural Master over 2000 years ago. He will be able to give Jason a view into the past and secret techniques that have been forgotten.
  • Tyler. I knew he was a good Incubus when I started writing him. I didn’t know how mature he was going to be. He is an amazing friend, lover, and partner for Jason. He takes all the crazy that comes with Jason’s journey and just rolls with it. (watering the flowers––i.e. peeing all over the bathroom, comments from Anna Lykit the imaginary drag queen). He is a lot more than just a super sexy hunka hunka (although he is that too).
  • Jason––he’s turning out just like what I wanted. He’s not perfect and he gets nervous a lot. But he tries hard, has a good heart, and is very creative in his solutions. He’s someone you can root for––as well as full of life and adventure.
  • All Characters––I want them to grow and change too. Sandy and John get married and exchange oaths and magic. That is going to change them a lot as she is a mage and he is a natural. Tyler is starting to search for meaning in his life and is finding that with his relationship with Jason.  This is going to continue as he comes even more out of his protective shell. Jason, of course, is changing all the time. Who knew a mage would be a great physical fighter?

You have a really in-depth world that has a lot of “rules” for the magical/supernatural world. Was there a single inspiration for how you came up with these rules? Or did the rules form as you wrote?

Back in my college years my goal was to be a game designer. I actually made a game as my Senior Design Project and won top honors. After school, I made a 2nd version of the game and released it as shareware. This was back in the days when having 256 colors was a Big Deal and not everyone had a mouse! I got letters from people all over the world saying they really enjoyed it (this was also pre Email! Dang, I’m old.) (I even got a letter from someone in Luxembourg––which is a tiny country of only 1k square miles).

I said all that to say––I love creating a world of simple rules, and then figuring out how to use them to surprise people. I have spreadsheets and documents that I use to put the rules together and make sure that Jason’s power progression is consistent.

Rules are much more than constraints. They allow the reader to feel comfortable in the world. They can settle in, enjoy the characters, and get into the flow of the world. Then, when Jason does something new with his power, it’s surprising and enjoyable for the reader. I was seeing that a lot with the beta readers. As they were reading the book they had notes about what they thought would happen. Then they either guessed right, or were happy to see the world in a new way. It make magic so much more than just a ‘word’ or ‘gesture’. It gets the reader invested in the world and they take it on as their own.

So to answer the question––the rules came first––then the writing. I’m just starting book 3––and realized I still had a few holes in my logic. So I’m taking the time to nail down exactly how a Creative Core works.

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Posted in blog tour, book series, Book Tour, ebook

Blog Post Tour: Power Divided By S. Behr

A runaway princess with elemental powers stumbles upon a thousands-year-old archive of ancient tech that will forever change her utopian kingdom.

The citizens of Amera are blessed with a range of extraordinary powers ­– from telepathy and healing to growing plants and breathing under water. As descendants of genetically modified humans desperate to survive an ice age, Amerans have built a peaceful, prosperous kingdom uniting nine realms, each with their own king and queen.

Violet is a princess of Neyr, the third of the nine realms of Amera, living in the transformed ruins of ancient New York City, high up in the reborn Chrysler building. Born into Neyr’s talented ruling family, she struggles to show evidence of any special power herself. Raised by one of the most powerful healers in Ameran history, Violet wants more than anything to pass her Criterion, a test all citizens must take to prove they are worthy and to find their place in society. But when her powers explode to catastrophic effect in front of her entire court, she runs from the unthinkable damage and misery she has caused.

In her desperate escape, Violet stumbles upon an incredible archive of ancient knowledge and awakens Hailey, an artificial intelligence relic who reveals hidden truths that could be the key to her return home.

But when the sanctuary of the Amera is threatened by humans, old enemies of Amera who live in violent colonies beyond Amera’s borders, Violet must master her burgeoning powers and find a way to protect her idyllic kingdom from the outside world.

A thrilling, action-packed blend of Young Adult fantasy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Perfect for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and Shatter Me series.

Genre Categories: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Power Divided can be purchased at Amazon for Kindle on in paperback.

Author Bio: I love a good story, in all artforms. I have been a professional photographer for nearly 20 years and I had to learn to tell a story with a click of a button and capture the layers of emotion in a single image. Little did I know it was boot camp for writing.
Being an author was a childhood dream and as I got older it seemed to be a dream that grew further out of reach with each passing year. But with encouragement from a lot of friends, new and old, my husband being my biggest cheerleader, The Evolutionaries series has begun with Power Divided.

To keep me company during my writing bubbles are my husband and our fur babies. They love whatever I write, even if they can’t read it but they don’t always love the music I write to. We all have to make sacrifices! And I am still pinching myself ever since I found out, that, recently I became a Featured Author. Power Divided will be in the Feb 15th Issue of Kirkus Magazine.

You can connect with S. Behr through her website, on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Download and read the first chapter of Power Divided

You can also learn more about this book and the author by following Power Divided Blog Book tour. See dates and blogs below.

Posted in book review, book series, books, Indie Author, Self Published

My 5 Top Suggestions For Indie April

It is Indie April where indie and self-published authors are given a little extra support by readers through either buying or promoting their works. So I thought I would go through my book reviews and pull out my top 5 indie/self-published likes for those looking to check out something awesome to read this month!

Misfit Mage By Michael Taggart

Categories: Fantasy, Magic, LGBT

The main character is Jason who has just discovered he is a supernatural through a major life altering event. His world is turned upside down when he realizes he can do magic, and that magic really is a thing. Along the way he makes amazing friends who feel more like family, and meets a man who puts his other lovers to shame.

Jason quickly discovers his limits in magic, but also finds places he excels at. He also realizes how dangerous the magic world is and how much he needs to catch up for he gets himself killed. But he is a problem solver with an abundance of creativity. Some of his solutions are amazing to behold (and super funny too)!

You can read my full review of Misfit Mage here.

The Goddess’s Choice By Jamie Marchant

Categories: Fantasy, Romance

This is a story of magic, legend, love, and lust of power. It follows the main characters of Korthlundia’s Crown Princess Samantha, and Robbie, a peasant farmer’s son with the magical power of healing. The Princess struggles against power hungry nobles who want to marry her and become her consort and the new king. Meanwhile, Robbie deals with persecution from his own people for being considered a demon because of his magic and skin color.

The danger at the palace increases as Samantha’s father, the king , becomes ill. And Robbie learns of a mysterious destiny he must fulfill while also learning more about his vast healing abilities. The two major story arcs are masterfully woven together to create a rich and unforgettable story.

You can read my full review of The Goddess’s Choice here.

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Posted in blog tour, book series, ebook, empowerment, guest post, hooked on books, writing

Guest Post By Phoebe Ritter: How I Became An Empowered Writer

Writing the Daughter of the Zel trilogy was hugely empowering for me. I’d always enjoyed writing and dreamt of having something published, but I never had the confidence to put my work out there.

Then, a few years ago, I was having a rather tough time personally, which led me to quit my job and move back home. Even with everything going on, I found myself with a load of free time I hadn’t ever had before.

As a distraction, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel in a month. I’d always wanted to do NaNoWriMo, but November was never convenient. Every day after work I’d sit down and type until my brain ran out of scenes. The rapid progress towards a final word count slowed towards the end, and I had to go back and carefully stitch together key scenes to make a complete story.

I had an idea for where the book was going and every time I wrote it felt like clearing space in my head. Making this mental room meant I’d get an idea for a new scene, usually when I was trying to get to sleep.

Now, like then, in the early days of a story, I get these rather annoying moments where I’m unable to go to sleep because of new phrases, places, people that pop into my head. There’s a process I’ve learned to follow by turning the bedside light on, writing the thought down in my notebook, and turning the light off again before immediately having another thought and repeating it. Eventually my brain lets me sleep.

I have found that the first draft is always shocking. I’ve come to terms with that. One of my betas recently said how she’d love to write a novel, but was worried it’d be awful. I explained the number of drafts my work passes through before she even sees a beta version. I hope this encourages her to get something down on paper. That’s the hardest bit.

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Posted in author, author interview, book series, books

An Author Interview with A.W. Exley

Isn’t it fun to get obsessed about a book, or a book series? It’s a great feeling to get lost into something exciting. And my latest addiction happens to be A.W. Exley’s Artifact Hunters series. If you missed it, please check out my review of the first book Book Review: Nefertiti’s Heart By A.W. Exley, and earlier this week I did a review of the entire series Series Review: The Artifact Hunters. Now it’s time to get a peak at the author herself. Check it out below.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! First, I have some questions about the Artifact Hunters series.

This is a fantastic series that brings together an amazing cast of characters. All of the characters loveable with their own quirks. Did you find one character that you liked the absolute most, and why?

Jackson! He didn’t have much of a role in the first book and he was supposed to be this thug in the background. But as the series progressed, he grew on me. He’s got this really tough exterior, and as the story unfolded, I discovered why he was like that. As Cara says he’s a crème brulee––crack that tough outer shell and he’s all soft and gooey inside LOL

I love the way you brought Cara and Nate together. Their stories so intertwined, especially once Nefertiti’s Heart became involved. What gave you the idea for this complex and fascinating artifact? And does it prolong their life in any way? How long will Cara and Nate be around (if you can say without ruining any potential new books in the series)?

Oh gosh… I wrote the book so long ago, I’m going to have to scrap the memory banks! Lol I remember trying to decide what to write and I pulled out my Egyptology books, a stack of true crime, and decided I was going to mash them together. That got me thinking about Nefertiti and what sort of artifact she would inspire. As to how long Cara and Nate might be around… I’ve tried killing them both off already and it didn’t work, so its safe to say they will be around for a bit longer yet 😉

This series is set on the backdrop of cool steampunk artifacts in the Victorian age. It’s a great world you built with lots of history, but with your own personal spin complete with mechanical hearts and beasts. Where did you get your inspiration to create this impressive world? Did you find it difficult to walk the line between fact and fiction?

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