Tag Archive | fantasy

Hear ye! Hear ye! A major announcement…

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Conquest of a Queen, the very first book of my Courtships of Quendaris series is published at last! It was a long and hard journey and I look forward to writing more adventures featuring Isabel, Nancy, Prince Alaric and the rest of the crew. The ebook is now available on Smashwords and is coming soon to a bookstore near you. In the meantime, you can buy it in print here.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m stepping away from the realm of Baelcrest for a bit but I’ll be back with more adventures soon. Stay tuned for news about my next book already in progress.

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Writing playlist

And now l bring you a playlist of songs I listen to that inspire me while I’m writing. In general I typically listen to classical and new age instrumental music to open my brain and get the creative juices flowing. However, when I want to focus on love scenes, fighting or the mindset of a villain, I change things up a bit.

General inspiration

I love listening to light and gentle music that won’t exactly put you to sleep.

Love scenes

When I’m writing about my characters doing the horizontal mambo and scenes leading up to it, I tend to lean towards funky rhythmic songs with smooth beats and sultry sounds.

Battle scenes

When my characters are locked in battle or chewing each other out, I like to write with some adventurous music in the background.

Villains

When it comes to writing my villains I tend to lean towards the darker synthy sounds of New Wave/New Goth/Goth Core/Dark Wave or whatever the hell else they’re calling it now

Pitch Slam Manuscript Music

Greetings and salutations!

This week you will see many posts and tweets from me regarding my novel, Conquest of a Queen, for a contest called Pitch Slam. With any luck these efforts will land me some representation. *waves frantically* Hullooo judges! Anyway, today participants have been asked to blog about music that would accompany their manuscripts. Like say, our babies were brought to the big screen so here is the soundtrack I would choose for Conquest of a Queen. I don’t want to give too much of the story away so if you don’t mind, I’ll have to be a bit vague in places. Pasta banana, folks!

Opening Music – I’m a Believer by Smash Mouth

Picture if you will, a young woman in chef whites meeting with a bunch of suits, calling out commands in a busy commercial kitchen, then rolling up in a yellow jeep into the driveway of a house as the sun sets

 

Isabel has dinner at her mom’s – Animal by Bitman & Roban

Poor Isabel cringes as her mom’s latest fix up attempts to put the moves on her before she escapes into the kitchen to fight with her mother.

 

Isabel enters her ransacked house – Lizard at school by James Horner

Lightning flashes and thunder rumbles announcing a coming storm. The power is off and Isabel discovers that her home has been broken into.

 

Fight scene between Isabel and Rakad – Invasion by Alan Silvestri

Isabel encounters a large formidable looking man who wants her to come with him. Isabel has another idea.

 

Leticia tells Isabel about her father – Breathe Me by Sia

Isabel learns the truth about her parents’ identities

 

The Coronation Ball – Dances from Terpsichore: Courante

Pretty people in pretty outfits congregate in a magical setting

 

The palace is attacked – Tilt by Thomas Newman

The Goblins are coming! The Goblins are coming!

 

Dragon flight – Night wind by David Arkenstone

Picture yourself soaring through the clouds courtesy of a fleet of dragons

 

The Temple of Nerys Island – Whisper by Kitaro

Magic and mystery abounds

 

The prophecy – Teardrop by Massive Attack

The Oracle’s words fill Isabel’s mind with visions of impending doom

 

The Eagle Lord’s party – Water Music Suite #1 in F 

Elegant but unusual scene with people who resemble… birds?

 

Battle over the amulet – Buster Voodoo by Rodrigo y Gabriela

Isabel and friends have overstayed their welcome and their host insists on taking a trinket that isn’t his.

 

Isabel in the forest – I Still Believe by The Call

Isabel has a mission but has no idea how to accomplish it. She discovers a wish can be a powerful thing in Baelcrest.

 

Battle with the Shumi king – Sons De Po by Dazkarieh

Isabel throws down with a powerful enemy.

 

Activating the Silver Fleet/Journey to the Shumkarja Outlands – Rotation by Herb Albert

 

Shumi ceremony – Marco Polo by Loreena McKennitt

Isabel becomes a queen

 

Isabel and Alaric love scene – Semilla Negra by Marlango

 

Goblin attack and escape/Battlefront – Ebla by ES Posthumus

 

Nancy and Iskander in the woods – Dice by Finley Quaye

 

Bath scene – Think Twice by Groove Armada

Nancy and Iskander get chummy while she helps him shave

 

Nancy and Iskander love scene – God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton

 

The scrying ring – The Mystic’s Dream by Loreena McKennitt

The gods bestow a gift on Nancy that allows her to see her birth parents in their final moments.

 

A Traitor in their midst/Confrontation – Broken by Depeche Mode

 

Rescue/Mirror Mage fight/Isabel battles the sorceress – Neckbrace by Ratatat

 

Confession – How Deep is Your Love by The Bird and The Bee

Isabel and Alaric have a final confrontation

 

Closing – Music Cannons by Youth Lagoon    

New Release Announcement

Greetings and salutations!

Apologies for the silence but as I mentioned in July, I have been hard at work on revamping the Crystal Palace Chronicles series. Originally the stories I had in mind for Heroes and Hearts and Descendants of Quendaris were one and the same but I figured I would expand the story into two books, giving Isabel and Nancy their own stories. Well, the ladies and their heroes made it abundantly clear that they did not like to be separated and I was unable to work on book 3 until I went back and fixed a few things. So the couples are together again in an even bigger, more elaborate adventure!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Chronicles of Quendaris, Book One: The Heart of Kendra. Estimated release date: November 15, 2013 in ebook and paperback form!

Synopsis

She wanted help from no man, yet she had a vulnerability that drew him to her.

For a quarter of a century, war has ravaged lands, torn families apart and destroyed lives. It even affected those oblivious to the fact there even was a war. Isabel Kendra, a chef raised by a single mother in New Jersey, flees from her home after being attacked on a dark and stormy night. She soon finds herself embroiled in a battle against fallen deities, witches and monsters bent on her destruction while finding the balance between drawing on inner strength and accepting help from a dashing prince insistent on coming to her rescue.

She was no one’s pawn!

Groomed to be the perfect Southern belle, debutante and trophy wife in Texas, Nancy has had every aspect of her life dictated to her and she’s sick of it! The sudden death of her parents sets Nancy on an adventure filled with spies and intrigue, magic and of course, an arranged marriage she wants no part of.

Deep within the dark depths of the earth an ancient enemy awakens from his slumber…

Determined as ever to conquer the world, the Goblin King wakes to discover his chance to win the war, and only an ancient and powerful magic can defeat him. Do Isabel and Nancy have what it takes to lead the Crystal Palace Alliance to victory, reveal a traitor, and bring peace to Otherealm once and for all?

 

Book Review: Over The Rainbow by Brian Rowe

Brian Rowe, author of Over the Rainbow, talks about the difficulties he faced in getting this interesting book published.

Over the Rainbow marks my ninth self-published novel. I love the control I have over my work in self-publishing, and no book I’ve ever written has needed as much control as Over the Rainbow. This is a book that incorporates science fiction, fantasy, action adventure, and coming of age; it’s a book that deals with lesbianism, the rapture, The Wizard of Oz, and dinosaurs. I queried agents with this book between August 2012 and March 2013, and even those who liked it said that the book would never see the light of day without some of the creative elements being toned down a little, or eliminated completely. One agent, for example, told me I should cut out the dinosaurs. I knew from the beginning Over the Rainbow was going to be a difficult book to sell to agents and publishers, and in the end, I decided it was best with this one, probably more than any book I’ve written, to ultimately go the self-publishing route.

I’ve self-published many young adult books before, including the Happy Birthday to Me trilogy, but I’ve never written a book I care about more than Over the Rainbow, and this time, I really wanted to do it right. Not only have I pulled out all the stops with the marketing of the book, and worked hard to make sure the book had a beautiful cover, I’ve done all I can to ensure the manuscript is the best it can be. Many are wary of self-published books because they’ve been burned before, with so many typos and inconsistencies in the texts. But such is not the case with my new book. Not only have I done ten full drafts, twice the amount I usually do, but Over the Rainbow has been professionally edited by a traditionally published author, and copyedited by two different professional copyeditors. I’ve worked tirelessly night and day for the last few months in making sure the book reads just as professionally as would a traditionally published novel. The reader, every time out, deserves only the best.

Over the Rainbow is the first book I’ve self-published that will be appearing on five different platforms—Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBookstore, and CreateSpace. For too long I stayed exclusive to Amazon, and this summer I decided to branch out to all the various platforms customers use to read their books. I’ve never been, and am still not, against traditional publishing, and will start querying my next young adult novel Magic Hour later this year. But self-publishing should never be looked at as a last resort. It is a viable option for all authors, and can be loads of fun. And in the case of Over the Rainbow, it proved to be the best route to go.

YA Fantasy
Date Published:  8/6/2013 

16-year-old Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion , a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population has mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.

 

Excerpt

            When I came home from school, my dad was in the living room, alone, sitting upright. He wore a fancy gray business suit. Papers and brochures were sprawled out over the table.

He turned his head toward me in a slow, robotic fashion. “Sit down.”

I stared back at him. “What’s wrong?”

“Do what I ask.”

“But I have homework to do—”

Zipporah Green! I’m not going to say it again!”

I sat down and tried to pinpoint my crime. And then there it was, at the edge of the table: my most recent e-mail from Mira, the one in which she said she wanted me to come visit her this summer.

Dad turned to me, an expression on his face that suggested I wouldn’t escape this little chat alive.

“I know about Mira. I know all about your little friend from Seattle.”

The immediate pain in my gut almost doubled me over. For my father to be so condescending to call her “my little friend” made me want to pick up the living room table and throw it against the wall. “I’ve been meaning to tell you about her—”

“You’ve been talking to her online for two years? Zippy, I know you’ve struggled trying to follow the righteous path of Jesus Christ. But never in my wildest nightmares could I have ever conceived you, my own flesh and blood, as the most blasphemous of sinners.”

“Dad, it’s not like that.”

He wiped his sweaty fingers against his chin. “What’s it going to look like if my own child is a…” He struggled with the word. “A homo…”

I didn’t want to have to finish the word for him; he was a big boy. “A what, Dad?”

“A homosexual.”

I should have been cordial. I should have sat with my little hands in my little lap and pleasantly agreed with every statement he made. But it was time to be strong. “I don’t understand why you have to come down on me for this. Why can’t I have this one thing in my life that makes me happy? Mira makes me happy, Dad.”

“I can’t have a gay child,” he said. He hadn’t locked eyes with me since the start of our conversation. I always thought my dad to be close-minded, but I never knew him to be a wimp. “I can’t have a lesbian daughter. I love you, sweetheart, you know I do—but what you’re doing is wrong.”

I leaned toward him and whispered, “But it’s the only thing to me that’s right.”

I don’t think he heard me—at least, he pretended like he didn’t. “Promise me, here and now, that you will suspend all communications with this girl.”

“No.”

“No?”

“Dad, please—”

“I’m not asking.”

“You don’t even know her.”

“I don’t want to know her.”

I tried really, really hard not to cry. “If you could just look past your hate for one second, you’d be able to see that she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“You can’t mean that.”

“I do,” I said. “She’s my best friend.”

“Your best friend? But you’ve never even met her. For all you know, she could be—”

“I love her.”

He finally looked at me. His neck turned so slow I heard his bones twisting. “What did you say?”

“I love her, Dad. I do.”

My dad sighed and pushed away from the table, like the closest he could sit was a yard’s length away. He shook his head and stood up, his hands shoved into his pockets.

“Connie and I had a long talk about this,” he said. “We’ve decided to send you away this summer. To a camp.”

“A camp?” I shuddered. I didn’t know what to think. “What kind of camp?”

“It’s called Moral Inventories. It’s in Memphis. And it’s for teenagers like you who suffer from…” He searched for a word. “…abnormalities.”

Abnormalities?” I looked away. I didn’t want my father to see me cry.

He turned to me. His chiseled face emitted strobes of anger and resentment. “I’ve tried to guide you on the righteous path, but clearly I haven’t done enough. You need proper, around-the-clock assistance if you want to have any chance of being cured of this… disease.”

I sat there stupefied. I tried to think of something to say. I had nothing.

“You’re young, honey,” my dad said, in a calmer tone, “and I thank the Lord for that, because there’s time for you to be set free through the power of Jesus Christ. When our Lord and Savior returns to Earth and takes the Chosen up to Heaven, I don’t want you to be left behind.”

I narrowed my eyes, tried to make sense of his madness. “Are you talking about the rapture?”

“It could happen any day, sweetheart. You have to be prepared. We all do.”

My dad had officially passed over from closed-minded to completely nuts. “You really think this camp is going to make God love me more?” I breathed in deeply, then asked the most pivotal question of all: “You really think this camp is going to make me not gay?”

“It better.” My dad finally looked at me. “Because if it doesn’t, I’ll see to it you never come back.”

I ran upstairs to my bedroom, slammed the door so loud my framed Spice Girls poster fell and crashed against the carpet.

I wanted to write to Mira. Tell her what had happened.

But my computer was gone.

Review

This was a fantastic book! As a long time fan of the Wizard of Oz I’m always interested in alternate versions and inspired works and Over the Rainbow just made my list:) When Zippy escapes from her domineering religious fanatic father in the airport she begins her journey to find her long distance love in the Emerald City (Seattle). Along the way she meets Frankie, a man with a head injury who jokes he doesn’t have a brain, a frightened little black girl named Elle who doesn’t know what courage is and Mr. Baum, a Vietnam Vet with a bad heart. Did you catch the play on names there? Frank Elle Baum? Get it? FYI for those who are staring at the screen like a deer in headlights, Frank L. Baum is the author of the Oz stories. Oh and there’s also a little terrier named Judy who I’m guessing is a nod to the great Judy Garland.

I found myself speeding through the pages with my mouth open as Zippy and her friends face encounters with prehistoric animals, dinosaurs and Zippy’s crazy father but the ending was incredibly satisfying and I truly hope there’s a sequel in the future.

Well done Mr. Rowe! Six Ruby Slippers cuz cmon, what can you do with five?

Brian Rowe

Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He’s written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. His fiction has appeared in Dreamspinner Press, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Literary Journal. He is one half of the YA book blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his first New Adult novel, which will be released in November 2013.

Website: brianrowebooks.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17792829-over-the-rainbow

 

LINKS TO BUY 

Amazon Author Page

New Publication Launch Dates!

Heroes+Hearts_Noemi-Betancourt-1Final_Crystal_Palace_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings and salutations to all!

I had a dilemma. I’ve been working hard on getting book three of The Crystal Palace Chronicles going for several weeks now but I wasn’t getting much cooperation from the characters. I couldn’t figure out why that is. While I’ve experienced writer’s block in the past, this was something else. I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted the story to go but it just wasn’t happening. Then suddenly they all turned and screamed out in unison. The reason I couldn’t get book three going was because books one and two still needed my attention.

My records indicate thousands of you downloaded Heroes and Hearts and Descendants of Quendaris since their release earlier this year. Many of you have posted reviews online and contacted me expressing how much you love the story and characters and can’t wait for more. Others however have indicated disappointment in some aspects of the books. Believe it or not, these critiques did not upset me. As a writer and avid reader I know you can’t please everybody, not everyone will be fans of my work and negative feedback is perfectly normal. In fact authors who have nothing but positive reviews tend to come across as sketchy. Even books and movies appreciated today as classic literature and masterpieces had their share of critics and seeing nothing but positives tends to make they buying public wary, as it probably should.

What’s my point? Ok here it is in a nutshell. I appreciate all my readers and their feedback. Without you I’m just another poor schlub posting a block of words on the internet. I take into account every interaction I have with my readers, both good and bad, and the negative feedback I have received have two glaring issues in common.

#1 The books are too short. Happily I can say people haven’t complained about not getting their money’s worth but they are complaining that the stories end too soon. While I understand the old adage “Leave them wanting more” I’m hearing this complaint way too often.

#2 Isabel, the heroine of Heroes and Hearts, is too accepting of all the craziness happening around her in the other realm. While this issue did come up during the publishing process and I had made efforts to add scenes and dialogue to circumvent this, many of you are expressing that I just haven’t done enough and it still seems to be an issue.

Both issues have nagged me throughout the writing and editing process and I know them in my heart to be true. So, I am announcing that as of August 5, 2013 Heroes and Hearts will be pulled while I work to improve and expand the story. Prince Alaric, Isabel and the others are extremely happy with this turn of events and the words have just been flying from my pen. It is my intention to have a larger edition of Heroes and Hearts available for sale in both ebook and paperback form by October 2013 under a new name!

Of course, I’m not doing this in an attempt to please everyone and I won’t be continuously pulling the books off the shelves to revamp every couple of months. This action is simply because as a writer and reader of fantasy and romance, I wasn’t entirely happy with the end product but figured it was the perfectionist in me screaming to get out. We are, after all, our worst critics. However, as so many of you echoed dismay with the same points that I myself wasn’t happy with, I feel a revamp is due. Once the new version of Heroes and Hearts is out I’ll start working on expanding Descendants of Quendaris into a full sized novel as well and hope to have that version ready by the end of the year. Once this task is complete I anticipate placing my full attention on Book 3 and hope to have that novel ready for release by January 2015.

So, long story short (too late) if you’re interested in seeing the changes between versions you have two weeks to download a free copy of Heroes and Hearts. Updates on publication dates will be forthcoming. Enjoy the rest of your summer folks! 😀

Writing Playlist

In conjunction with a featured post on Me, My shelf, and I here is a list of just some of the songs I listen to while writing in no particular order.

Sweet Lullaby – Deep Forest

Die Without You – PM Dawn

Children – Robert Miles

Icarus – Mythos

Live at the Acropolis album – Yanni

Sadeness Part I – Enigma

Why – Annie Lennox

Aquaria Album – Diane Arkenstone

Clair de Lune – Debussy

Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven

Charlie Brown Christmas Album – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Now We are Free – Lisa Gerrard

Put Your Records on – Corrine Bailey Rae

Island in the Sun – Weezer

Violator album – Depeche Mode

Over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

Jashn-E-Bahaaraa – Jodhaa Akbar

Bad Mama Jama – Carl Carlton

Enya (too many to name)

Erykah Badu (too many to name)