OMG! Where has the time gone??

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted on here! Major apologies and much grovelling to my followers for my absence.

There have been some great books released that I’ve read and I know of at least two more that are due out soon. I intend to write some reviews and also post details of the two new releases as they happen.

My work has been rolling along nicely. Lorelian, the first book in my new epic fantasy series, The Seven Doors, is now in editing and is shaping up really well. There’s a good chance it may be released before the end of the year, depending on certain pots I have bubbling away at the moment.

The second book, Kankanoor, is work in progress. I’ve written about 40,000 words so far and can’t wait to get to the next part as it’s going to be full of action. I’m going to use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated) to push this as close to the point of completion as possible.

I’ve already completed the world building for book three and have written plenty of plot notes, so as soon as Kankanoor is finished and revised, I can start on it immediately. I’ve had visions in my head of some of the other worlds too so I’ve got a special note book in which to write it all down.

For me, it’s the best way to work, as I’ve discovered over the years. Having all my notes in one book instead of spread around like I’ve done in the past is a much more efficient way of working and saves me so much time in the long run. I know this is a no-brainer, but when you’re a new writer starting out on your first series, as soon as you get an idea you tend to write it down on the first piece of paper available; you’re scared you’ll forget it, especially if it’s an important plot point.

This might seem a silly thing, but it’s all part of the steep learning curve you have as a new writer of novels. Over time, you find the best and most efficient way of working, the optimum time of day to write, and little routines you tend to adopt before you start writing. You learn better ways of phrasing and constructing sentences, how to remove extraneous words, character development, and world building, to name but a few.

I know I’ve still got much to learn; in fact, seasoned writers have said you never stop learning to hone your craft. But as time goes by, I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my books and see improvements.

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Book Review: The Wayward Son by Connie J Jasperson

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything and I’m sorry if you thought I’d deserted you. In truth I’ve been busy writing a new book and am revising it before it goes to my editor. I’m hoping to get it published before Christmas, but with NaNoWriMo in November, it may be doubtful. I’ll share more about it another time. Anyway, enough about me for now. I’ve read an amazing book and wanted to tell you what I thought.

First off, here is the great cover:

the-wayward-son-front-cover

I hope you like it as much as I do! Here’s the blurb:

Deeds done in the heat of battle cast long shadows.

The most famous man in the history of the Temple, retired Commander John Farmer, has left the militia behind. War looms and John must answer the call to serve, but his terrible secret could destroy everything. A broken mage trying to rebuild his shattered life, he must somehow regain his abilities, or everyone and everything he loves will be lost.

John must face the crimes of the past to become the hero he never was.

I don’t know about you, but that really grabs me!

And here is my review:

The Wayward Son, a companion book to the fantastic Forbidden Road, part of the Tower of Bones series, follows the story of John Farmer, the father of our hero in the series, Edwin.

This book fills in some of the gaps from Forbidden Road as John remains in Aeoven while Edwin is fulfilling a task in the dangerous country of Mal Evol.

The characterisation of John is a work of art. Jasperson has crafted him to perfection so you almost feel what he does and go through the ups and downs, the happiness and sadness, the worry and the contentment with him. Having read the Tower of Bones series, I could even see some of John’s traits in his son. The supporting cast were just as realistic, especially Cane and Marya, whose emotions are every bit as powerful as John’s.

I was pleased to see how the plot revolved around John and his life in Neveyah, meeting his friends, and following his career. Of course this is what was expected, but so often companion books tend to bring in too much of the other book and I’m extremely happy Connie didn’t do this. Another good point in this book’s favour is that you see and experience events that were only alluded to in Forbidden Road. I particularly liked how a sub plot concerning one of his friends weaved its way back to John, like a spider constructing a complicated web around him without the reader knowing he was the prey.

The pacing was well timed throughout, never rushed and definitely not slow.

The world of Neveyah was expertly crafted by the author in the Tower of Bones series and she was true to it in this book. However, she does take you to different areas that hadn’t previously been mentioned and, in my opinion it gave the realm even more depth. She describes the surroundings just enough to leave the rest to the reader’s imagination.

This book was a page turner for me, as the previous books in this series have been, and I resented going to sleep as I wanted to continue reading.

The only downside I could find was that I would have liked the story to continue a bit further, up to a particular event in Forbidden Road. This is just my personal choice, but the book did finish at a satisfactory point.

I think this is Connie’s best book to date (and that’s saying something!) and if you haven’t read the Tower of Bones series, you need to get them and this. As epic fantasies go, this series is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to sink into the world of and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend all the Neveyah books.

If I could I’d give The Wayward Son more than 5 stars!

Click the title to go straight to Amazon so you can buy this for yourself.

About the author

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson

Connie J. Jasperson lives in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, an editor, and is a writing coach. She is an active member of the both the Northwest Independent Writers Association and Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and is a founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group.  Music and food dominate her waking moments. When not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find Connie on her blog, Life in the Realm of Fantasy

 

 

 

Podcast

Back in the summer, I was asked if I would like to be interviewed for a Podcast for Blondie and the Brit. Through Facebook I’d already become friends with ‘Blondie’ aka KJ Waters – you might remember the posts on her book, Stealing Time – and we were working on my book cover together (along with Jody Smyers), so I was looking forward to chatting with her again. Also, I’d done one before so it didn’t faze me. The time was set for the recording and after a couple of minor technical hitches, it went ahead.

'Blondie' aka KJ Waters

‘Blondie’ aka KJ Waters

I have to say I had a brilliant time. It was lovely to get to know Suzanne Kelman, ‘the Brit’, and between the three of us there were plenty of laughs. We obviously did some serious stuff as well though. I can’t believe how many subjects we covered in ninety minutes: editing; jewellery making; book reviews; Of Ice & Air; my publishing group, Myrddin; the writing group I lead, Writebulb; inspiration; and, of course, writing.

'the Brit' aka Suzanne Kelman

‘the Brit’ aka Suzanne Kelman

Anyway, the great thing is that the interview went live yesterday. The timing could not have been more perfect with the launch of my new book today!

Here’s the MP3 link so you can listen to it:  <a href=”http://blondieandbrit.podbean.com/mf/play/8z67fg/Carliecullenfinal1118.mp3“>Download this episode (right click and save)</a>

I hope you enjoy it and if podcasts are your thing, check out Blondie and the Brit. They have some great ones already on their backlist and plenty of talented people still lined up.

Click to go directly there

Click to go directly there

 

Book Review – Stealing Time by K J Waters

At the beginning of June, I featured K J Waters on here when she was celebrating the launch of her debut novel. If you missed the exclusive excerpt on launch day, interview, and guest post, just click on them to play catch-up.

Well, now I’ve had time to actually read the novel and want to share my thoughts with you. So here’s they are:

Book Review – Stealing Time by K J Waters

KJWaters-Front Cover for blog

I was intrigued by the blurb on this book, especially as it mentioned Hurricane Charley which I experienced in 2004, so although it’s not the sort of book I would normally read, I was interested enough to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

The concept of the plot was very original and I liked the way Waters constructed the method for the time travel to take place. She weaved the plot well and it certainly kept me turning the pages. KJ had certainly done her research about London and the time period. Factually it was very accurate, especially when it came to how women were treated more as chattels to be sold into a loveless marriage to advance the standing or financial position of the family. She’d also done her homework on what happened to women who were accused of witchcraft. The detail she included gave the reader an accurate picture, but I’m glad to say there wasn’t an info dump. The author intertwined it with the plot so it read as a natural progression within the story.

The detail included in the hurricane scenes was scarily realistic. Trees crashing through roofs, bringing down power lines, loss of power and water – these were all things I remembered only too well!

The main character, Ronnie, was well crafted. She had depth, was realistic, and relatable. When Ronnie became Regina, after the time travel incident, the confusion and desperation she felt was palpable – something which isn’t easy to achieve without over-emphasising. However, the author accomplished it with ease. I enjoyed the blossoming love between Ronnie/Regina and Matthias and I hope they meet again in the future. Matthias was the perfect gentleman, perhaps a little too perfect, but I liked him just the same. Jack, Regina’s brother, on the other hand, was a monster and I had a hard time believing parts of his story. I couldn’t understand how a man could treat his sister in such a horrendous way and then denounce her as a witch and all because she didn’t encourage the suitor of an arranged marriage. It seemed to me that his behaviour was way too extreme for the circumstances, which made his character less realistic.

The supporting cast were well thought out and, for the most part, likeable. Jeffery wasn’t a character I warmed to, probably because he used Ronnie for his own ends and was cheating on her too. Those directly involved in the Hurricane Charley part of the story showed myriad emotions and reacted as most people would under the same circumstances; this was very well done. I particularly liked the two main characters in this section.

The writing flowed nicely, the story lines were easy to follow, and the descriptions of places and events were extremely well written, without going over-the-top.

My only real criticism was that the proof reader didn’t do the greatest of jobs. However, this didn’t spoil my enjoyment too much. Overall, this was a page turner for me; I found myself invested in the story and characters to the extent that I really want to get my hands on book two. For a debut novel, I would have to say this is one of the best I’ve read in a while and would definitely recommend it.

Guest Post: Inspirational Characters by K J Waters

Inspiration is something that fascinates me. I love how my mind can imagine different places, characters, and creatures totally unbidden and then give me the words to create stories. I often wonder where other authors get their inspiration from and how they craft their characters.

I asked K J Waters, author of the debut novel, Stealing Time, and who I’ve been featuring on here over the last week, what her inspiration is and whether she’d be interested in writing a post on it for me. I won’t say she ripped my arm off, but she was very excited about it. So without further rambling from me, here’s K J’s post on inspiration:

Inspirational Characters

Thank you so much Carlie for letting me pen a guest post for your blog. Carlie asked me to talk about what inspires me to write and how I develop my characters. It’s funny because when I think of my characters I get all warm and fuzzy. They are part of me of course, but so much more than that, they’ve become my dear friends as well.

Let me start with what inspires me to write. I was born with a very creative brain and have used those skills in various ways to bring me joy. As a kid I’d play for hours with my brother and our stuffed animals. He is my Irish twin, only 11 months older than me (well yes, I was a mistake). In high school and college I set aside my animals to pursue art classes and filled my creative brain with water colors, pen and ink, and acrylics. I didn’t ever consider being an author until I decided to quit my job to stay home with my children well after college.

Without the constant demands of my job, I had time to be very creative with the kids, with constant art projects, day trips to fun museums and loads of imaginary play. But at a certain point, my mind started craving more creativity, more of a challenge than finger paints and zoos. The idea for a novel began brewing after the hurricanes hit Florida in August of 2004 and the following summer we were on a road trip driving up the coast from Florida to Maine.

The idea sparked a wild adventure that has come to fruition with my first novel, just released this past December, called Stealing Time. I’m so thrilled to be back writing again after the months of editing and promoting, and I’m working on book two in the Stealing Time trilogy. My inspiration now comes from wanting to spend time with my beloved characters. I’m falling in love with Mike Walsh, and can’t wait to get back to some of the interesting characters that are in this second book. The time travel elements are so much fun to explore and I’ve delved into it a lot more than I had time for in the first book.

Characters

Carlie asked me how I develop my characters. Ronnie is the main character in Stealing Time and I’d have to say she is about 80% me, with a dash of … hmmmm, not really sure, but there has to be someone else in there. It was easy to make her love the water, because it is something I’m passionate about, and I can say she reacts the way I would in many of her situations, at least as far as I can imagine being back in time and in trouble.

Steph, the second main character in my trilogy, is another story. She is based on one of my best friends who moved away from me years ago. It is my way of spending time with her now that she is gone. I don’t think she is exactly like my friend, because we’ve grown apart somewhat, but it is how I think of her and how she would act in similar situations.

When I developed Jeffrey, Ronnie’s boyfriend, I had to go with what I knew about men. He is a mixture of the good and bad of a few people in my life. It really surprised me that I would enjoy writing from the male perspective so much. Some of my best friends are men, and I love seeing the world through their eyes. Writing from Jeffrey’s perspective has given me a new window into their minds, and from what male readers have told me they really identify with how I’ve written them. Which is a huge relief!

In book two I began writing Mike Walsh, Ronnie’s boss, as the good parts of the same person that Jeffrey is based on but had to diverge enough to make the two characters very different. They have completely different motivations and views in their roles in my book. The other way are very different is that Jeffrey pretty much listens to me and does as he’s told. Mike has his own ideas. He’s hijacked my story on numerous occasions and it has shocked me as some of the twists and turns that have spiced up the story. I gotta say, he’s really grown on me and if I could make him into a real person my husband would be in big trouble. I guess that’s a writer for you, always making up stuff and often glad it’s not real.

As for Mathias in the first book, an Austrian man from the 18 century, I pretty much had to go on a big fat guess on how he would act. You don’t really run into many men from that time period these days. I have a friend who read the book and reported, much to my surprise, that he had a really good friend from Germany who was so much like Mathias in how he acted and thought. Maybe, just maybe, I tapped into some special time travel skill to mind meld with these characters in a different realm. Hey, I’m a writer I can think outside of the box on anything if I want.

The side characters are a mish mash of people I run into in my real life – a waitress, a PTA mom, an old boss. On several occasions I’ve created a character not really knowing him well, but as he develops into a full blown personality I meet someone who is ridiculously like that person I crafted. It has definitely freaked me out. This happened with Nick in the first book.  

I’m really curious to learn how other authors create their characters and see if my approach is standard operating procedure, or if, as I often do, I’ve created something completely different.

Thank you again Carlie for allowing me to spew on and on about my inspirations and character development. I’d love to talk to you about how you created your well-loved characters in the Heart Search series.

I’d be only too happy to talk about my characters with you, K J!.

It was a real pleasure for me to feature K J on my blog during this last week and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Don’t forget, if you’d like a copy of Stealing Time, click here for all the buy links from the Book Launch post!

KJWaters-Front Cover for blogkj pic

Darker Places by Shaun Allan

Every now and then you have the privilege of coming across an author whose writing style it so different yet imaginative that it makes your toes curl. One such author is Shaun Allan.

I read his book Sin and absolutely loved it. It wasn’t the sort of book I’d normally read, but I’d heard so many great things about it, I became curious and picked myself up a copy. I’ve been a huge fan of his work ever since. I’ve also met Shaun and he is genuinely one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known. He also likes my bacon sandwiches, a point which raises him in my estimation!

Today, Shaun launches his latest offering, Darker Places, a collection of thirteen stories and thirteen poems in the horror genre. I’m honoured to be able to reveal the cover here today. Look at this beauty and tell me what it says to you…

DarkerPlaces_96dpi_100%

And here’s the blurb:

What if you could steal the final moments from the dying? What if you had the darkest secret, but couldn’t think what it might be? What if you entered the forest in the deep of the night. Who is the melting man? And are your neighbours really whom they appear to be?

So many questions.

To find the answers, you must enter a darker place. Thirteen stories. Thirteen poems. Thirteen more doorways.

Well, if that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will! If it already has, here’s the buy link: Amazon UK and Amazon US

I’ve already got a copy of this book and can’t wait to read it. You can be sure that as soon as I have, there’ll be a review on here for you!

Shaun Allan

Shaun Allan

A writer of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into Sin’s point of view and sense of humour although he can’t, at this point, teleport.

Yes, but how do you really feel?

This is a lady after my own heart. She believes, as I do, that showing emotion in writing engages the readers much more than just telling what the characters see and feel.
This is something I’m passionate about in my writing and have written articles on this very subject, but don’t just take my word for it, see what Connie J Jasperson has to say (oh, and by the way, I happen to get an honourable mention too!):

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

x - y chromosomesI love writing and I love my characters, but they are so stubborn about some things. Of course, many of them have ‘Y’ chromosomes, but still…. It’s frustrating because they don’t want to to talk about how they’re feeling.

Oh, for the love of Tolstoy–don’t they get it? I’m  a woman. I need you people to talk to me. Tell me what’s going on in your imaginary head.

It’s difficult to show the characters’ emotions and thought processes when it’s so much easier to just say he felt, or she was some emotion.  These thoughts and feelings are central to making our characters feel real. But describing them from a distance, as an author must do, may disconnect the reader from that character.

Sometimes, descriptions don’t allow the reader to experience the moment with the character. Instead, the author is telling them how the character feels.What we must ensure is that our…

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