A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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The “Halloween Fun – Get Your Spook On” Weekend Blog Tour – @WendyJayneScott #RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to the “HALLOWEEN FUN – GET YOUR SPOOK ON” Weekend Blog Tour!

13 Spooky Writing Prompts to ignite your imagination.
Bats and cats, owls and howls, trick-or-treat, hosts and ghosts.
Kids, have fun this Halloween by creating spooky stories to scare your family and friends.

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Giveaways
(3) Amazon eBook copies of any of the Aspiring Author Series (Winner’s choice)

Leave a comment below and/or along any stop along the tour for your chance to win!

Halloween—Witch’s Familiar

In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as “familiars” or “animal guides”) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal.

The main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for them as they come into their new powers.

(Reference: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

 

Meet Wendy’s two writing familiars—Zippy & Zappy

13 Spooky Writing Prompts to ignite your imagination

Bats and cats, owls and howls, trick-or-treat, hosts and ghosts.

Have fun this Halloween by creating spooky stories to scare your family and friends.

Available eBook & Print on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075FD222K/

Visit author WJ Scott

https://www.amazon.com/WJ-Scott/e/B00MGDXQ8C/

Twitter@WendyJayneScott

https://www.facebook.com/ChildrenAuthorWJScott/

http://www.authorchildrens.com/

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!  Thanks for stopping by to support Wendy.  To follow along with the other two tour stops this weekend, or to find out more about her, please visit her 4WillsPub Blog Tour page and be sure to leave her a comment below, letting her know you’re running out to get her book this weekend! It’s only $.99!!! Grab a copy of Halloween Writing Prompts today. WJ Scott’s writing prompt series ranks among my favorites. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author https://www.4writersandreaders.com 

 

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Christina Steiner (children’s literature)

CHRISTINA STEINER author picChristina Steiner is an award-winning writer of two illustrated children’s books The Sad Tree and Pronuba and The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly (Outskirts Press 2013, 2015). As a nature enthusiast, she likes to introduce children to the wonders of the living world around them. Steiner writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Other accomplishments include being featured in the Moorpark Review 2013, the West Winds Centennial, California Writers Club 100 year anthology in 2010, and an honorable mentioning in the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition 2008.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Christina made Southern California her home and raised two daughters. When not writing or reading, she hikes with her dogs, rides her horse, makes wine with her partner and enjoys the beauty that nature offers.

It’s wonderful to have Christina Steiner with us today. I’ve fallen in love with both of her children’s books (outstanding children’s literature inspired by nature) and can’t wait to send copies to my youngest grandson to read and enjoy. Now it’s time to meet the author. Tell us more about yourself, Christina.

If I can be outdoors, I usually am. I prefer mountains to the ocean but living in California offers both. Nature in its bounty always amazes and enthralls me. A bad day gets whisked away after a walk on the beach or in the local hills.

How about your family?

My roots are in Switzerland. Growing up as the youngest of five, I learned from my siblings what was accepted and what not. Small town living has advantages and perils. Any misbehaving in the town usually reached my parent’s ear before I could make it home.

Living in America and raising my two daughters was different, everything seemed larger than life. I had the big advantage to live in a semi-rural area of Los Angeles at the time so I could instill the wonders of nature by exposing my children to the local wildlife and our domestic animals which included horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats and even a llama. Now I live with my partner and four dogs in Ventura, California.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I always loved to write. My earliest competition was an essay for a newspaper in third grade. I did win second place. Later I wrote journals all through my teenage years which included poetry, at that time in German. My dream of writing my own book didn’t happen until much later when my children were grown. English became the language of choice as a writer. I joined local writing communities and profited a lot through critique groups and encouragements of follow writers. The dream became a passion.

SYNOPSIS OF BOOKS (Click cover images to find Christina’s books on Amazon  and take a look inside these beautifully written and illustrated children’s books.)

cover (1)The Sad Tree and Pronuba tells the story of the symbiotic relationship between the Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth.

The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly is a chapter book. A North Dakota boy rides along with Anka, an eastern, fourth-generation Monarch butterfly to central Mexico and back. During the journey William learns the intricate life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, survival and friendship

What prompted you to write The Sad Tree and Pronuba

I visited the Mojave Desert and climbed Malapai Hill in Joshua Tree National Park. Fascinated by one of these strange Joshua trees, I wanted to know everything about them. The relationship of two different species, The Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth, show how exquisite and unique nature presents itself.

Favorite line: I must go—I’m so busy, I’ve got to blow. (Reminds me of our busy lives.)

Favorite character: Pronuba moth, she’s so upbeat and joyful.

William & the Monarch Butterfly CHRISTINA STEINERThe Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly was prompted by a suggestion from my partner. We live close to a grove that western Monarch butterflies choose for their winter quarters. Sadly the population of butterflies greatly diminished. After extensive research I decided to set the story for an eastern Monarch butterfly. For a small creature to fly the distance to the Oyamel fir forest and survive the winter in this unique environment to assure the continuation of the species is another example of the incredible natural world.

Favorite line: Anka speaking to William . . . “You and I share this world. We all have our purpose. I know mine from the get-go. You will have to figure yours out as you grow. But there is a reason why we’re here, why we’re alive.”

Favorite character: Anka, the Monarch butterfly. As she matures, she becomes incredibly sage.

What was the hardest part of writing your children’s books?

To write the stories so the readers, young or old, can see the grandeur of nature and be entertained while adhering to the facts.

Do you do anything in addition to writing books?

I assist my partner in making wine, two to four varietal per year. Together we take care of our dogs. In our household we have four large dogs, three champion Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Betsy, Harvard Girl and Boomer and Sentry, a 180 lbs. Hungarian Kuvasz. Every morning we take them to a leash-free park close by for training and exercise. Several times a week I ride my horse Xena, stabled in Moorpark. These outdoor activities balance out the time spent on the computer.

My two grandchildren, twins—a boy and a girl, spent most Sundays with me while my daughter is at work.

I attend a tutor-training workshop at the local library to become a volunteer tutor and help adults to achieve better reading and life skills.

My books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, outskirtspress.com and some local independent book stores.

What’s next for author Christina Steiner?

I finished a series of articles called Predators in the Backyard. Each talks about the intricate lives of insects or spiders commonly found in the backyard and the significance they have in mythology.

The first draft of a new novel is nearly completed. Untitled as of now. The middle-grade fiction deals with coming of age, loss, adjustment to inner city life and forming new friendships.

It’s been wonderful to have you with us today, Christina. I highly recommend both of your beautifully written and illustrated children’s books to our readers.

Visit author Christina Steiner and find out more about her books

Readers, thanks so much for visiting today. In invite you to join the conversation (comments below). Happy reading! ~ Bette A. Stevens 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Author Tim Hemlin

The “Rave Reviews Book Club SPOTLIGHT” is a great place to meet new authors and discover great new books. Today, the SPOTLIGHT is shining on Tim Hemlin, author of “The Wastelanders.” ~ Bette A. Stevens, 4writersandreaders.

The New

wastelander-cover-1 2We thrive when the creative spirit pulses through our mind, body and soul and the new suddenly springs to life. And I fully admit that’s me. I love writing first drafts. If I had my way I’d only write first drafts for the rest of my life and they’d magically edit and revise themselves. When I first wrote The Wastelanders it took on a life of its own, surprising me at many turns. The Poet Theodore Roethke wrote, “Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.” This is what I thought of when slowly I developed my little Time Witch in The Wastelanders. Si-Ting has prescient powers and discovers she can “bend time.” Think of the cat in the Matrix. Neo sees it then sees it again and comments he’s had a déjà vu. Instead it’s a glitch. Time has changed. Si-Ting can make changes, though they must be immediate and she is limited to the shadow of the present. It makes her strong, yet it also makes her vulnerable, open to danger. It is a powerful tool for good. Or evil, should this knowledge fall into the wrong hands. I’d not originally planned this for Si-Ting. But I allowed her to grow as the story unfolded, and she showed me the power she had. That’s what the new does for me. This is why I find the new delightful.

Author Bio:

TimHemlinAuthorTim Hemlin is a marathoner, teacher, and has his master’s degree in counseling, but his passion for the environment  sparked him to write The Wastelanders, a dystopian-clifi published in both e-book and paperback by Reputation Books. He is represented by Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency.  Hemlin has also published a Wastelanders short story called ‘Black Silence’ as a bridge between the first book and its sequel. He is currently in the notes and brainstorming stage for the Wastelanders sequel Recently the Muse has kindly allowed TIm to tap into that creative magic and pen a young adult urban fantasy. If all goes well with the edits and revision, the final draft should be completed by early summer.  Finally, in the late 90s Ballantine published the Neil Marshall series of culinary mysteries set in Houston, Texas. These include If Wishes Were Horses, A Whisper of Rage (nominated for a Shamus Award), People in Glass Houses, A Catered Christmas (the one I most enjoyed writing), and Dead Man’s Broth. He has recently gotten the reversion rights and is planning on reissuing them under an elite publishing house out of New Orleans.

Hemingway liked running with the bulls. Tim enjoys running with dragons (that’s what he calls his grandkids).

Where to find author Tim Hemlin?

“The Wastelanders” by Tim Hemlin

Comments to Tim’s post are most welcomed and appreciated. Happy writing and reading, friends! ~ Bette A. Stevens, 4writersandreaders. (Member of Rave Reviews Book Club)

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In the Spotlight: ANNWYN’S BLOOD by Michael Eging

Aldonzo—Prince, Fop or…Hero?

Annwyn's Blood CoverAnnwyn’s Blood has its share of heroes and villains that you recognize as soon as you see them chew up the scenery. However, one character in particular developed to be far more than we imagined when we began this journey. Aldonzo, the pampered prince from Southern Gaul is not your typical heroic character. Yet, as the story develops, he finds strength within himself to carry on following some horrific events. The following is an excerpt from Annwyn’s Blood, highlighting this fish-out-of-water prince.

“Sail to port!”

Aldonzo didn’t dare look up from scrubbing the deck. Ever since the previous evening, when he had been dragged aboard this miserable tub, his stomach had been turning in continuous knots. But he didn’t dare vomit. He’d seen a very graphic example the previous evening of what could happen if he did.

There had been an old slave aboard who’d suffered badly at the hands of the pirates—battered and bruised, cursed and tormented constantly. The extent of the abuse had been obvious to Aldonzo from the moment he had laid eyes on the wretch. But in the midst of the evening mess the oldster suffered a fit of coughing that ended in a vomit of bright red blood splattered across the Captain’s plate.

Fearful that he suffered from consumption (not to mention outraged at the slave’s audacity to spit up on the captain’s food) the pirates killed him on the spot before he could infect any others in the crew. So Aldonzo fought down the waves of nausea that washed over him. There was no telling what the pirates might think he could have.

He held no illusions why he, alone out of the entire expedition, had been kept alive. All the others had been merely soldiers. Even Kien, stout, dependable Kien, had been nothing more than another trooper to them. Aldonzo, on the other hand, was different—he was ransom material. He was nobility, from a rich, landed family with ties in both Britain and Gaul. The pirates knew well they could expect a healthy reward for his safe return.

Ha, he thought bitterly. Qualify that ‘safe’ return to mean simply in one workable piece. They beat him thoroughly to find out who he might be, and, much to his disgust and shame, he told them. He’d always imagined that in such a situation he would be filled with iron-willed resolve to oppose his foe, who would have to kill him before anything of use could be revealed. Some hero, he thought ruefully. But he had never imagined reality to be so brutal.

His left hand throbbed in its rough bandage where they had severed his finger to remove his ring.

So it was that when the lookout reported the sail of another ship, Aldonzo just kept his head down, his right hand scrubbing despite the splinters and lye, his left cradled against his chest. He fervently hoped the ship approaching would be one of Cynric’s war vessels. But even that hope hung by a thread. The Anglan king possessed little by way of a navy and lacked sufficient skilled sailors to use even what he did have. And even if he had, they seldom ventured this far from land.

He kept at his work, removing the accumulated filth of regular neglect, working his way aft from the stem to the mast and listening to the shouts and orders around him. Yes, it was a trader’s vessel and, yes, it attempted to evade this vessel crawling with unkempt reavers. The other captain probably knew this ship for what it was even before it sailed into smelling distance. Slow and cumbersome, the merchant’s ship would be no match for the faster raiders’ vessel. All around Aldonzo, the brigands prepared themselves for yet another plunder, yet more death.

From his position by the helm, the first mate shouted orders, and the distance between the ships closed. Aldonzo glanced up. The other ship teemed with passengers—Saxon settlers in search of a new life in Britain.

The other sailors hustled women and children below the decks. The crew and male passengers strapped on leather-covered bucklers and hefted weapons, arming for the impending attack.

Aldonzo put his head back down and slowly crept across the deck to the starboard side, away from the other ship. Deck crew cursed and kicked him as they ran past whether he was in the way or not. Others heaved ropes up from the hold and tied on the grappling hooks. Then the brigands clustered so tightly on the port rail that the ship heeled from the weight.

Due to an unfavorable wind, the fleeing ship wallowed a bit, wind spilling from her sail, and the pirates cut through the waves to close the distance. Aldonzo’s stomach churned with apprehension. The helmsman appeared not to be as skilled as he had thought, taking an unfavorable approach, but it only prolonged the gut-wrenching anticipation of the inevitable, and Aldonzo’s innards had had about all they could take.

A great shout broke from the pirates as the grappling hooks sailed through the air to the other ship’s gunwales. Some caught, some didn’t. But enough held to allow the raiders to start hauling the ships together by hand.

The defenders wasted no time hacking at the ropes, but the pirates constantly pitched out more hooks as archers picked off the defenders. Steadily, the ships rocked closer together, and with a great crash and grinding they struck sides. Brigands poured over the bulwarks to the other deck. The Saxons made a fight of it, but Aldonzo, peeking over a coil of rope, clearly saw they would not be the victors of the brutal engagement.

There were only a few experienced seamen on the Saxon ship; most of the rest were only farmers and had no sea legs. Their difficulty in keeping their feet on the pitching deck proved to be fatal. The Saxons briefly rallied near the afterdeck, but the stand was cut short when those pirates occupied with finishing off the Saxons in the fore completed their task and moved rearward to reinforce the aft contingent.

The entire battle lasted only minutes. Then the real killing began.

Mike Eging-9468sml
Meet Author Michael Eging

Author Bio
Mike has wanted to write since he was very young. His earliest memories are of carrying a battered old notebook around full of illustrations and stories. He would often transpose those ideas on his grandmother’s old typewriter. While in college, he was inspired by professors and visiting writers to BYU. Literary classics such as Song of Roland and Inferno were often in his backpack, along with Russian textbooks. Chapter 4 of Annwyn’s Blood was written during this time as a short story.

Mike works in Washington, DC since pursuing graduate studies in Russian History. He focuses in domestic policy issues. Recently, Mike has pursued an interest in writing screenplays for feature films with his first option being a medieval epic, Song of Roland. He continues to focus on a variety of script/movie projects, most recently a horror thriller, Feast of Saint Nicholas, and a political thriller, The Prince. Recently, he founded and launched Filibuster Filmworks with his partners to produce and develop feature films, television and other projects.

He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Lori and his wonderful children. He dreams of one day driving to Alaska in his old Defender with his kids and their dog, Marlin.

  • What's In A Name CoverAnnwyn's Blood Cover
    Book Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

 

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Meet the Author: Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie

kristyKristy Feltenberger Gillespie is the author of Jaded, a dystopian novel, as well as Even in Death, a short story collection.

Hi, Kristy. It’s great to have you at 4writersandreaders today. I absolutely love the cover for Jaded and can’t wait to find out more about you and your books. The floor (post) is yours.

I’ve written poems, plays, and short stories since elementary school. I published Jaded, a YA Thriller in February 2014 and Even In Death: A Short Story Collection in August.

BOOK REVIEWS:

Jaded: “Jaded is a great dystopian because it’s totally different from what I expected. Gillespie really hits home with originality. (In a dystopian? I know. Ridiculous idea, but she does.) The eye colors, all of Samsara, the struggle to figure out her future: I loved all of it. The fine details about wines, the school kids, the struggle, it was great truly.” –Katie Cross

Even In Death: A Short Story Collection: “Even in Death” is an insightful and captivating collection. I found that once I started the first story, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of twist the next story would offer. Kristy brings life to her characters through dialogue that is realistic and energetic. I really enjoy how the author brings humor to an otherwise dark scene. I would recommend this short story collection to anyone who enjoys reading stories that offer hope, “even in death.” –Gary Caruso

JadedSynopsis of Jaded

Jade has spent her entire life within the confines of the eye-color-obsessed Nirvana commune. She dreams of experiencing freedom but travel to the Outside is forbidden. Besides, she’s a dutiful daughter who never breaks the rules. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, however, she realizes just how little she wants to follow the commune rules. She doesn’t want to undergo another eye color surgery, or immediately choose a life partner, or follow her parents’ life paths of teaching or wine making. In fact, her green eyes suit her just fine, she’s never even been on a date, and she’s passionate about photography. And yet she’s resigned to do as she’s told because it’s easier for her to close her eyes and follow orders.
Her Grandmother Ruby’s murder is the catalyst that causes Jade to open her eyes wide for the first time in her life. She’s devastated yet determined to find the killer and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter, Jade unearths dark secrets which include her mother’s illicit affair, her maternal grandparents’ escape from Nirvana, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth, and that someone is most likely the killer.
Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins…and blinding.

EveninDeath_ebook_Final_smallSynopsis of Even In Death: A Short Story Collection

Even In Death, a collection of ten short stories, explores the thin line between love and hate; extreme emotions even death cannot destroy. Julie wants nothing more than to receive a flower bouquet from the hometown veterinarian. However, in “A Flower Story,” flowers are delivered long after a person is alive to smell them. After purchasing their dream home, Sara and David feel truly blessed. Unfortunately, the couple soon discover they’ve inherited a wicked curse. In fact, in “What’s Really There,” the former residents’ spirits refuse to move on. In the title story, on the anniversary of his fiancé’s death, Mark realizes that he can see and communicate with spirits, including Amy’s. Can Mark and Amy’s love survive even in death? “A Flower Story,” “What’s Really There,” and “Even In Death,” as well as the other seven stories in the collection are rife with emotion that will linger well after the last page.

Why did you write Jaded?

During a six-week writing class one of the assignments was to write a six word memoir. I thought of colors and what they represent and I thought of my parents and their dispositions. My father is often sad, my mother is often happy, and I’m somewhere in-between, a true combination of the two. So I came up with: Blue Father, Yellow Mother, Green Daughter. Then I starting thinking about writing a dystopian novel (which is the opposite of a utopian society) since that is my favorite YA genre. I imagined a society based on color, specifically eye color & that’s how Jaded came about.

What is your favorite line from Jaded?

“Like most babies born in Nirvana, my natural eye color is brown. Not hot chocolate brown or buttered biscuit brown, but brown like the Crayola crayon stuck in the original crayon box.”

How about your favorite character?

I would have to say that Jade is my favorite character since she’s a lot like me!

What was the hardest part about writing your novel?

The hardest part about writing Jaded was making sure that it was long enough to be considered a novel. I’m a brief writer which is why short stories are so appealing.

What do you do besides write?

Besides writing, I enjoy traveling, blogging, and reading. I work full-time as a middle school counselor, and am working toward my School Library Media Degree.

What’s next for you, Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie?

Right now I’m working on Hunted, the sequel to Jaded, as well as Blinded, the prequel.

It’s been a pleasure to have you on 4writersandreaders, Kristy. And readers, be sure to get your copy of Jaded (I’ve got mine!) and check out Kristy’s author sites.  ~ Bette A. Stevens

Jaded is available via:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00II0UUSQ

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jaded-kristy-feltenberger-gillespie/1119404299?ean=9780615974835

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/471926

Even In Death: A Short Story Collection is available via:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Even-Death-Short-Story-Collection/dp/0692228055/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407526096&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Kristy+Feltenberger+Gillesie

My Blog Keep Calm and Write On: http://kristyfgillespie.com/

Twitter: @KFGillespie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristy.feltenbergergillespie?filter=3

“AMAZING MATILDA” FREE February 17-19: Children’s book inspires young readers!

"Matilda's story is my story. It's you story too. It's everyone's story. Meeting the challenges of life at every stage of life is no easy task. Matilda and her friends encourage readers and listeners to meet those challenges."  (Bette A. Stevens)

“Matilda’s story is everyone’s story. Meeting challenges of life at every stage of life is no easy task. Matilda and her friends inspire readers and listeners to reach for their dream.” ~Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale is a story filled with excitement and adventure. WATCH THE VIDEO below to find out more!

FREE FOR 3 DAYS: February 17-19!

That’s this week, Sunday – Tuesday

There’s a new book out that inspires kids to meet challenges with patience and persistence AND it’s FREE on Amazon for 3 days.

AMAZING MATILDA– FREE DOWNLOAD http://amzn.to/Xf97aU Feb. 17-19, 2013

“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way…This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, award-winning adult and children’s books author. Renee Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

Watch the video:

Get your FREE Download NOW! http://amzn.to/Xf97aU

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries… Download Amazon’s FREE APP http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771 Kindle Reader for iPad, smart phones, tablets, PCs and other devices. Start your own digital library and read AMAZING MATILDA and other great books instantly!

Share great news with friends!

Grab your copy of AMAZING MATILDA and share the great news with your family and friends! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Get your FREE copy of AMAZING MATILDA and share the great news with your family and friends!  Drop me a line and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to download and save my Monarch Freebies Facts and Fun. I designed it especially for my readers. HAPPY READING!  ~ Bette A. Stevens

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