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 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 author, blog tour, Book Tour, ebook, empowerment, guest post, novel, self-empowerment, Self-publishing, writing

Guest Post By Elfie Riverdell: The Story That Inspired Me To Self-Publish

I find it hard to pinpoint exactly when I realized I wanted to be an author. I remember writing paranormal stories on my old PC when I was at middle school, with (beautiful) covers illustrated on Paint. I wish I still had those stories, as it would be so much fun to go back and revisit old characters. Even still, I’ve always had a very vivid imagination, and I’ve never had any issues with coming up with quirky plots. But The Forest of Fallen Stars was a little different.

When I wrote The Forest Of Fallen Stars, I sort of fell into a writing frenzy. It was summer, and I had a lot of spare time around my work schedule. I would sit in my room for hours and hours, writing and scribbling down ideas. The plot just came to me. I wish there was some way to explain it, because I certainly can’t seem to replicate it! But I think it was the characters that truly made the story come alive for me.

Alura means so much to me, all of the characters do. Alura is shy, and full of self-doubt at the beginning of the book, but we get to see her learn about her gifts, and develop into a strong and confident young woman.

Kara is troubled and angry, but she has a kind heart and is always focused on doing the right thing.

Loria is also quite unsure of herself and the role she plays in her world, but she is strong-willed and determined.

Self-publishing has been a strange and very stressful experience. It’s taken a long time, and a lot of hard work. But I was incredibly lucky to get to work with an amazing friend of mine, Nicoletta, who formatted and designed everything inside my novel. She did an amazing job, and really helped me when I was struggling with the design.

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Posted in editing, inspiration, inspirational, publication, publishing, the writing journey, the writing process, writing, writing journey

A Writer’s Wings Cover Reveal!

I’ve been keeping mostly to myself this summer because it’s been an especially busy one this year. I’ve been packing to get ready for our move, which should happen in a few weeks. We are in closing stages now on our home in Florida. I’ve also been doing a lot of self-reflection work to help clear myself to be more beneficial as a Reiki healer and to be a more balanced person over all. The other major project I’ve been working on is a book that is near and dear to my heart, mostly because it is a large part of my heart–it is one of my very special journals that I’ve been writing in for quite some time.

A Writer’s Wings took years to write, but it was done little bits at a time as any journal is written. I spent a large part of April, May, and June of this year transferring my journal entries into a digital file. Then I spent July working on formatting, layout, and illustrations to place in the book to make it a little more eye-catching. I’ve been working on the cover off and on since April, but it’s only been the last week I’ve buckled down to get it finished.

I have a 11×17 image of the butterfly you see across the front of the cover hanging over my desk in my office. I created the graphic years ago, because I decided I needed something very personal and meaningful to inspire me as I wrote. In fact, as I was brainstorming cover ideas for Writer’s Wings I kept looking up at that image over my desk. After a while a light came on in my befuddled brain and I realized the image was exactly what I needed for the cover, since Writer’s Wings is all about inspiration.

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Posted in Blood Feud, Emperors of Ethia, Michael Knost, novel, publication, published, publishing, the writing journey, writing

Blood Feud Cover Reveal!

I’ve been talking about it for awhile off and on, and the day finally arrived when my awesome newly published book showed up on my doorstep. Imagine my excitement as I opened up the box and held my very first published book in my hands! Then I immediately imagined doing the same with all the other books to come (I’m working on two books right now in fact). Finally after years of hard work, I have something very physical to hold in my hands!

I knew this day would be coming. So over the past few months, I made many book release plans and even came up with some release dates, but in the publishing world release dates can be a tricky thing. Ultimately, I opted for short, sweet, and simple by doing a cover reveal post and another post when the book is up on Amazon. Another reason for this simplicity is I have been and still am heavily preoccupied by our family’s upcoming move to Florida.

In fact, I still can’t give a exact release date so people can start buying the book because I am going to Florida very early this coming Tuesday and will be in Florida for ten days looking for our new home! I am in the process of working with Create Space to get it up and available on Amazon, but I’m not sure if it will be done before I go. I’m not taking my laptop on this Florida trip because it’s supposed to be a little bit of a getaway for me too (hitting two birds with one stone, three if you count spending time with my husband who’s already been in Florida the last six weeks working his new job).

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