A big shout out today to my friend and fellow author JD Horn, whose Witching Savannah Trilogy wraps up today with the release of THE VOID ! If you love dark, magical mystery and sinister intrigue, you’ll love this series.
An otherworldly energy runs through te city of Savannah, betraying its sleepy, moss-cradled charm. The old, beguiling streets look welcoming to most…but certain families know what lurks under their genteel surfaces. Families like Mercy Taylor’s, which has the most powerful lineage of witches in the South, know this all too well.
Mercy and her husband, Peter, are happily preparing to welcome baby Colin into their lives. But their excitement quickly becomes overshadowed by a gruesome discovery: someone has scattered severed limbs throughout the city. After a troubling visit from an old foe, Mercy learns dark magic is at play, and someone—or something—wants her and her unborn child out of the picture. To uncover the shocking reason why, the amateur witch must face a force beyond her power…or risk losing everything.
The third book in J.D. Horn’s Witching Savannah series, The Void is a gripping adventure about the enchantment—and evil—that can lie just beyond sight.
Voting in the semi-final round of this year’s Goodreads Reader’s Choice Awards has begun, and I am so excited to share that my dear friend and fellow author JD Horn has been nominated in the Best Debut Author category!
JD’s Witching Savannah series has received a lot of critical acclaim from readers and reviewers, and if you haven’t read THE LINE yet, I highly recommend it! JD is a very talented writer and his debut novel is only the beginning of what I have no doubt is going to be a long and successful creative career!
I just love it when good things happen to good people :).
Before I got my first book contract, I supported myself as a marketing consultant and personal publicist to some minor celebrities. That experience taught me a few important things about what it means to become a public person – a few things all authors should take into consideration.
Recently an uber-successful thriller author (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this blog post) took to his/her FB fan page to chastise his/her fans for wasting his/her valuable time with questions like “what is the reading order for series x?”. Later comments and posts to responses from fans who were offended by his/her rebuffs spiraled out of control, until his/her publisher asked him/her to remove them. This he/she followed up with yet another public post about how said publisher made him/her remove the posts, and how he/she had no regrets about his/her behavior, adding that he/she should have the right to set his/her own boundaries when it came to public interaction.
Well, here’s the thing. If you are going to invite the public to support you – literally, and figuratively – you are going to have to accept some hard truths. And the biggest truth of all is that once you accept that public support, you owe that public an unending debt.
That’s not to say you can’t draw boundaries around your personal life. You absolutely should – but those boundaries absolutely cannot encompass anything having to do with your books or your writing endeavors. If your fans ask you questions about your work (and this goes for all entertainment professionals, everywhere), no matter how trivial or inane they may seem to you, you owe them an answer. You also owe them your gratitude, the continued expression of your art, your personal time, and most of all, your grace.
47North, Amazon Publishing, Book Reviews, epic fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Roberta Trahan, Team Tynga, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, The Well of Tears, Tynga's Reviews, Urban Fantasy, When I'm Not Writing
You’ve always wanted to know, right?
The crack Team over at Tynga’s Reviews were kind enough to host me on their weekly feature about the things we writers do when we’re not writing.
Click the banner to visit the article, and then spend some time checking out this fabulous paranormal/UF/YA fantasy book blog:
47North, Amazon Publishing, Anti-hero, Classic Fantasy, Classic hero, Game of Thrones, George RR Martin, GrimDark Fantasy, hero mythology, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, The Red Viper of Dorne, The Viper and the Mountain, The Well of Tears, Tor.com
My editor, Alex Carr, recently tweeted that my Dream Stewards series is “a return to classic fantasy and a step forward for the genre”.
In less than 140 characters, Alex summed up everything I ever set out to accomplish with my debut series. But then, he’s always understood and championed my vision. As usual, I’m a little out of sync with the current trends – especially when it comes to grim-dark and grey fantasy. Some people think I’m too old school. Maybe that’s true.
Critics often remark that my heroes are one dimensional because they are not morally compromised or ambiguous, or nearly irredeemable self-serving souls who may or may not have a moral epiphany just in time to save the world. They also scoff at my villains for being too recognizably evil and obviously motivated, but we’ll save that discussion for another blog post.
In recent years, the anti- hero has become iconic in fantasy fiction – and understandably so, to some degree. The idea that an every day person might, in spite of his or her lack of heroic qualities, do heroic things is actually quite inspiring. But even more recently, the trend has taken a darker turn. The anti-hero has devolved into a near-villain whose conduct is more often than not despicable if not reprehensible – who then experiences a moment of clarity in which he ultimately does the right thing, if only once. And more and more often, the anti-hero fails not only to win, but even to rise to the challenge. I give you Jamie Lannister (George RR Martin’s GAME OF THRONES) as a most obvious example. And of course it follows that evil overpowers righteousness. Darkness trumps the light.
The popular explanation for why this kind of fantasy is so appealing is that it is more realistic and reflective of the truth of human nature than the classic hero mythology. Many people see the classic hero as an archetype that is unattainable for them – so far out of reach it makes them feel small, while the anti-hero is more relatable to most of us.
But isn’t that more than a little sad? Is it really so unfair to hold ourselves up to a higher standard than we are ever likely to achieve? How is it heroic to lower the bar just to lessen the sting of failure?
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp – or what’s a heaven for?
I have had this Robert Browning quote sitting somewhere on every desk I’ve owned over the last 40 years. It is the motivations behind every challenge I accept, and an appropriate allegory for every story I write. To my mind, fantasy is at its very core an exploration of the unreal, the unexpected, the unexplained, and the unknown. To my mind, heroism a testament to ideals and aspirations. Of course story must always examine the dark side, even wander around in it a bit, but in the end the better angel has to triumph. Hope simply must prevail, because in reality, it so rarely does.
I’m a reluctant fan of Game of Thrones (the HBO series, not the books), but I watch it religiously because there is so much incredible storytelling going on. Last night’s episode (The Mountain and the Viper), however, has finally turned me cold. The Red Viper of Dorne and his righteous retribution were squashed, quite literally. And once again, a horrifyingly dark and disturbing force has dominated. As I get older, I realize more and more how broken and misguided and morally ambiguous the human condition has become. The last place I want to see this harsh reality reflected is in the fantasy I read. I am so weary of wallowing in the dark. Aren’t you?
As a result, I feel duty bound to offer an antidote, which is why I wrote THE WELL OF TEARS and THE KEYS TO THE REALMS. I’m not old-fashioned, I’m forward thinking. I am all for the tortured, conflicted hero, but most of all, I’m all for the hero – in the classic sense of the champion who recognizes right from wrong and chooses right even when it is hard, even when failure is guaranteed. Even if we are lost in the dark, we should always, always be looking for the light.
Recently, Tor.com posted a list of life-affirming fantasy books – it’s a great list, even though mine aren’t on it. Check mine out if you haven’t already (just click the cover images in the left hand column), and then take a look at this list for some more great reads: Looking For a Light at the End of GrimDark? Check Out These 13 Life-Affirming Fantasies
47North, Amazon, Amazon Publishing, Author, Fantasy, Hachette, Lilith Saint Crow, MacmIllan, Publishing Wars, Roberta Trahan, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, The Well of Tears, The Writing Life
Here’s the thing. Big retailers have been sparring for dominance in the American consumer marketplace since I don’t know, pretty much since the inception of consumerism. They have leveraged their market reach to force suppliers and manufacturers to give them deeper discounts and bloated themselves with profits until they get so big they burst, split in two, or fall afoul of anti-trust laws. Whatever.
I’m an author. My job is to create content that attracts, interests and affects people. I’m still working on how to do that in such a way that enables me to make a real living. And that’s just part of my job. I know there are some big name bestsellers reaching out directly to their readers in a fit of frustration and concern over their own bottom line. From where I sit that looks more than a little unprofessional.
We authors know, or should know, what we’re getting into when we sign on with a book publisher. It’s on us to worry about the business back channels, dear reader, not you. It’s not your job to worry about whether or not my publisher or the booksellers are being fair to me, and it’s not your job to shout the rallying cry against corporate bullying or stage a boycott or trouble yourself in any way about who is doing what to whom in the Gargantuan Publishing Industry Free for All that’s currently grabbing headlines.
Besides, there are no innocent parties here. Sure, authors get their pockets pinched when publishing companies and booksellers go to battle. It’s unfortunate, and as individual business people. we authors need to take these things into consideration when contemplating how to bring our work to the marketplace. But it really has nothing at all to do with you, dear reader. Except in one very important way.
Are you able to find the book you want? Is it available to you in the mainstream marketplace – maybe not at your first stop, but somewhere in the neighborhood? Odds are it is. And that’s good enough for me. It’s probably good enough for you too. If that ever changes, then we’ll be having a whole different kind of conversation.
But for now, I’ll just keep working on becoming the best writer I can be. And you just keep on reading. Deal?
On the edge of the veil between mortal ways and magic, evil was hard at work. Dark, twisted goblin creatures called the devilkin were weaving a spell—a thicket of thistle as tall as a house and so thick she couldn’t see light through it.
In the first book of the series, THE WELL OF TEARS, the high sorceress Alwen confronts and ultimately defeats a cursed wall of thorns spun by a dangerous being known as the devilkin. In the world of the Dream Stewards, the devilkin are the hands and eyes of evil magic – spawned by the incantation of a dark mage to do his or her bidding.
In folklore, the devilkin is a small, lesser demon commonly referred to as the imp and often considered a familiar of witches and wizards. I first came upon the word in Brewer’s Phrase & Fable, but references to “devilkin” also appear in Celtic and Germanic literature as early as the 17th century.
The devilkin in THE WELL OF TEARS are small, gnarled beasties with long tiny claw-like hands and glowing red eyes. They are summoned in the name of black magic to weave a thorny hedge surrounding the sanctuary known as Fane Gramarye. The hedge itself is a living thing with vines that ensnare anyone who ventures too close. The thorns are cursed with a poison venom that causes a sickness with no known cure.
This particular creature was inspired by a childhood fear of mine – the monsters living under my bed and in my closet. In my imagination, the monsters were tiny goblins just waiting to snatch hold of my toes! They don’t make an appearance in the sequel, THE KEYS TO THE REALMS, but they are sure to return to wreak havoc in a future novel.
And now for this week’s Trivia Challenge: In the world of the Dream Stewards, the mystical temple known as Fane Gramarye is protected by an enchanted forest. What is the name of this fictional forest?
Post your answer in the comments section below to enter. If you also like and/or share this post and mention where in your comment, you’ll get an extra entry – but the extra entry only counts if you also answer the question correctly :). One lucky winner will be chosen at random from all the correct entries received by midnight on Sunday, May 11th. The prize is a $10 Amazon gift card!!
Every author looks forward to the newest book launch as if it was the first. So much excitement, anticipation, and fear – the adrenaline rush is ecstatic, and exhausting!! It’s been an amazing week for me.
First I want to thank everyone who showed up to my virtual book release party on FaceBook – so many wonderful, talented authors and so many fabulous, dedicated fantasy readers, all in one place for an entire evening. Great conversation and giveaways galore! If you were there and entered the contests, be sure to check my FB page for the list of winners (you can click the image above to go there now if you want).
Also, congratulations to the five lucky winners of my author sponsored book giveaway on GoodReads – Ruth, Jorge, Bob, Nicole, and Evan! Your signed copies of THE KEYS TO THE REALMS will be on the way soon.
Didn’t win but wish you had? Didn’t get a chance to enter? Great news! My publisher, 47North, is hosting a new GoodReads Giveaway starting TODAY!! Twenty (20) copies of THE KEYS TO THE REALMS are up for grabs, so ENTER NOW! The giveaway ends on May 28th. Click the image below to be taken to the giveaway page (and don’t forget to tell your friends!)
AND THAT”S NOT ALL!!! To commemorate the birth of my new book, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky blog visitor. All you have to do to enter is find the answer the following question and post it in the comments section of this post:
The Dream Stewards series centers on a prophecy that foretells the rise to power of a legendary leader, who was also an actual 10th century ruler. What is the name of the king of the prophecy?
(hint: if you haven’t read the books, the answer can be found in the blog archives)
One winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries posted by midnight on Sunday, May 4th. Good luck!
Let the revels begin!
Today my author copies of THE KEYS TO THE REALMS arrived, and the party plans are finalized. So much excitement I can hardly stand it! Be sure to stop by the launch party TODAY, between 3 – 9 PM (PDT) and hang out with me and several special guests. We’ll be talking about world building and creating mythology and giving away swag. Here’s the link to the Facebook Event Page: The Keys to the Realms Virtual Release Party
And, there’s more! Want to read the first book in the series for free? For a limited time, my publisher is making the e-galley of THE WELL OF TEARS (The Dream Stewards #1) available to everyone for download – no device restrictions (you can read the e-galley on your e-reader, tablet, PC, or smartphone). All you need to do is click on the image below, and sign up for a *free* NetGalley account!!