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.

Continue reading “An Author Interview with Michael Taggart”
Posted in blog tour, Book Tour, books, ebook, Indie Author

Blog Tour Post: For The Lost Time By Heather Blair

When Diego Delgado closed his eyes it was 2020. When he awoke, he was one-hundred years in the past. Thrust into the dawn of the Jazz Age with no money and nowhere to go, Diego encounters a veritable bouquet of acquaintances including a kind-hearted factory owner, a free-spirited flapper, a worldly-wise mystic, and a strong-willed heir named Thomas Greely. Diego, desperate to return to the future and reunite with his young daughter, must blend in with the roaring twenties lifestyle while searching for answers. But distractions are all around him, especially Thomas who is both beautiful and charismatic, and Diego must grapple with the reality that even if he succeeds in returning home, half of his heart will stay behind.

Genre Categories: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA, New Adult, Romance

For The Lost Time can be purchased at Amazon for Kindle.

Heather Blair is the author of new adult romance novels including “Lucid Dreaming” and “Wide Awake.” She was born and raised in Vermont and has spent much of her adult life in New York and Los Angeles. She currently resides in Connecticut with her two cats. You can find more out about her at her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Here’s an exert from the book…

The restaurant Diego soon found himself in was far classier than the art deco diner where he usually ate lunch. After almost a month in 1920, he’d finally begun to understand what prices constituted as “high” and he knew that the eighty-five cent lunch specials at Caroline’s would have been too pricey for his blood. Incensed, he slapped the menu down on the table.

“Are you trying to rub it in my face?”

“Am I trying to what?

“Where do you get off taking me to a nice place like this when you know that I…” He trailed off. Thomas’s mouth parted as he realized what Diego was trying to say. When you know that I’m homeless.

“I meant no insult. I simply have a thing for the creamed chicken on toast they serve here. Jeepers, friend, do you really think I would do such a pig-headed thing?”

“Yes,” Diego answered simply. “And why do you keep calling me friend?”

A solitary laugh puffed from Thomas’s lungs.

“You don’t consider me a friend?”

“I consider you a spoiled rich kid who’s never been told no in his life and wouldn’t know how to handle it.” Diego hadn’t meant to be so harsh. He was like a cornered animal, lashing out on instinct.

“Wrong on all accounts,” Thomas replied coolly. “I’m not rich, my parents are. I’m not a kid, I’m twenty-one years of age, and I’ve been told no plenty of times and I handle it by simply choosing to ignore it.”

You can also learn more about this book and the author by following For The Lost Time 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.

Continue reading “My 5 Top Suggestions For Indie April”
Posted in Indie Author, publisher, publishing, small press, writing

An Interview with Small Press Wisteria Publishing

I was lurking around Twitter one day in December, when I ran across a tweet that caught my eye. I think it was the avatar more than anything. A brilliant yellow background that grabbed my attention. I decided to take a closer look, and found a really cool freshly started small press.

What really drew me to this small press was the how it was presented. A press run by a writer for writers. The owner, Claire, also seemed very personable and open when I contacted her through email.

I love supporting small businesses. It’s even better when I get to support self-published and indie authors. That also includes small presses. So here’s a little interview I did to help myself and all my readers get to know this press and the owner just a little better.

Thank you, Claire, for taking the time to do this interview! First, I have some questions about Wisteria Publishing.

What is Wisteria Publishing, and what caused you to start this company?

Wisteria Publishing is a small, independent publisher created by a writer for writers. I wanted to start this company for two reasons. The first being that I had experienced being published twice and both experiences weren’t… ideal. Contracts were hard to understand. The second is that I went on to self-publish and loved the process. Also, I love books! Wisteria is a place where authors earn 50% of profits and read contracts that are easy to understand.

How many and who is currently part of Wisteria staff, and how do you want to see Wisteria grow in the future?

Besides myself, I also have a part time editor and part time creative assistant. Ideally in the future, I’d love to make these roles full-time, hire some more staff and even have a little office somewhere. I want it to put out wonderful books.

What is your biggest dream for Wisteria?

My biggest dream for Wisteria is that it is a Good company. That we are known for being appreciative and fair, and that we are always supportive and supported.

What sort of authors are you looking to work with?

Continue reading “An Interview with Small Press Wisteria Publishing”
Posted in author, author interview, book addict, book review, Indie Author

An Author Interview With Elina Vale

Last month I did a book review on The Charmed Locket by Elina Vale. It is the first book in The Treasure Hunter’s Heart series. Shortly after I did the review, I managed to get a hold of an ARC copy of the second book Hidden Truths.

Elina continues the story where the first book leaves off, and we follow Gina, Philip, Ramon, and Sera, who are in search the third wolf statue. This statue will lead them to where the coveted book of mechanical charms rests. And the Divided are hot on their trail.

A showdown between the Guild and the Divided leads to tragedy. Later, Gina finds herself back in her hometown burdened by what she knows. War is coming, and she’s not sure what to do about it. Who can she tell? Who should she trust? As she tries to find a way forward in ever darkening circumstances, Gina makes some discoveries that helps her realize she’s not quite alone as she thought she was.

The first two books have been a really fun read. I love how this series has captivated my attention. So I decided to contact the author to see what more I could learn about her books, and the author herself. Here is the interview with Elina Vale. Her responses are in bolded text.

Thank you so much, Elina, for taking the time to do this interview! First, I have some questions about your books.  

You are currently writing a series called The Treasure Hunter’s Heart. It is a series based off the idea of charmed mechanics that have what seems like magical powers. These mechanics were supposedly destroyed and many people in the books think them pure legend, except for a few like the main character Gina Mansfred, who is in a desperate search to find out more about them. I think this is an intriguing plot premises. Can you tell us more about these charmed mechanics, and maybe a little about where your original ideas for the mechanics came from? 

Charmed mechanics are different kinds of items, that seem to be just regular objects like necklaces, statues, pens, boxes and so on, but they all have been enchanted. Charms are first built like any object with mechanics (with locks, hatches, moving parts) are, but after that, magic will bring them alive: A box opens with a secret word, a jewel could turn you invisible by twisting a certain piece on it, a statue might come alive when you blow on it a certain number of times… So the charms are a combination of mechanics and magic. 

I guess the idea of regular items being enchanted kind of intrigued me.  

Gina is in a pretty desperate situation where she finds herself between two warring organizations who are searching for the mechanics, and to bring them back from myths of old to everyday usage. She also happens to be romantically stuck between two men that are heading these opposing expeditions. This in itself is creating a lot of tension, conflict, and darkness for Gina personally. Out of all her struggles, what do you perceive to be her biggest hurtle to overcome?  

She has a lot of growing up to do in these books for sure. Her biggest issues in this series will definitely be her trust issues and her fear of losing people.  These will make her do some hazardous things before she learns to trust in others and let go of this fear. She also struggles morally and wants to do the right thing. The problem is that she is not sure what the right thing to do actually is… 

Gina poses as a thief in book one called Lily, who boldly takes from the rich to give the more unfortunate. Will we see a return of “Lily” in future books? 

Continue reading “An Author Interview With Elina Vale”