Monday, 15 September 2014

The Big C Blog Hop



Happy Monday! Today I'm participating in the Big C Blog Hop, organised by the ever helpful Michael di Gesu to raise funds for our dear friend Melissa Bradley's cancer treatment. Entries will be collected into an anthology to go towards her exorbitant medical bills. I have family members myself who have been touched by cancer and knew I had to take part in this hop. Here's hoping it goes a long way towards getting Melissa back to full health.

We were asked to contribute comical, uplifting or inspirational stories. Mine is fiction which is based in fact. I hope that's acceptable! The cast is drawn from my own family (my parents, myself, and my daughter). Names have been changed, although character traits haven't. ;) Also, I ended up writing this at the last minute, so hopefully it doesn't seem too rushed. Naturally, I give Michael full permission to use my story in the anthology.


The Grumpy Pirate

Martin’s cancer treatment had gone from bad to worse. Chemo was out as an option, due to a number of unwanted side effects, leaving just radiotherapy to hopefully blast those malignant cells from where only customs men usually dared to probe.

The worst of these side effects had been an eye infection, meaning he had to wear a patch and - horror of horrors - not being allowed to drive.

Anyone who knew Martin knew he was a petrolhead who was used to driving anywhere and everywhere without the aid of any Satnav. He called it an “instinct for the road”, and relished the feeling of being in command of his vehicle. He also participated in classic car runs, and a 1952 Vauxhall Velox called Vera, who had a whole garage to herself, was his pride and joy.

Everyone knew he hated being driven, but no one more so than his long-suffering wife Elaine, particularly in the last few days.

“Are you sure you want to do this, dear?” she said, putting the last of the picnic things in the coolbag.

“Of course,” said Martin, sitting at the kitchen table and finishing off the newspaper crossword with the use of only one eye. “It wouldn’t do to disappoint the little mite.”

She groaned, and zipped up the coolbag just as the doorbell rang.

Elaine opened the door to find her son Rick standing there with a concerned look on his face, and her granddaughter Niamh with an ecstatic, beaming one on hers.

“Nana!” she squealed and jumped into Elaine’s arms. Elaine staggered slightly under the little girl’s weight. She was five and growing up fast.

“Hello, darling!” Then, to Rick: “Are you sure about this?”

“Not quite, but try telling that to her,” he said.

“I know, and your dad’s the other one who won’t be talked out of it. Oh well, we just have to get there, and then it’ll be okay. Until it’s time to go home again.” Her shoulders sagged.

The corner of Rick’s mouth lifted up in a half smile. “Stay strong, Mum. And don’t take any of his rubbish!”

She nodded. “I can only try. Well, you’d better get off to work. In you come, you little scallywag!”

Each Saturday, Martin and Elaine looked after their youngest granddaughter while her parents both went to work. The three older kids, who were all teenagers, were happy to stay in the house and get a break from their excessively energetic sibling. Rick had argued that shifts could be swapped while Martin was undergoing his treatment, but Martin was adamant that he didn’t want to break the routine. They took Niamh out for a special treat and it was the highlight of her week.

Niamh hugged her dad goodbye and skipped through to the kitchen where Martin was still sitting.

“Whoa! What happened to your eye, Granpa?”

“And hello to you too,” said Martin, looking up and breaking into a grin. “Come and get a cuddle.”

She ran over for a hug, but after pulling out of her granpa’s bear-like grasp she looked up at his face and frowned. “You look like a pirate.”

“Granpa’s got a bit of a sore eye, just while he’s ill,” said Elaine. “Remember, you need to be gentle with him. He might be a bit grumpy... even more than usual. Especially because he can’t drive the car.”

“You can be a grumpy pirate!” said Niamh, throwing her hands in the air.


So for the duration of the half an hour journey to the soft play centre, that’s what Granpa was. He sat next to Niamh in the back, and at every junction he warned Elaine of incoming ships on the starboard bow. He grabbed hold of Niamh and uttered dire warnings that anyone who tried to take his “treasure” would walk the plank. He issued streams of hilariously inventive, kid-friendly pirate expletives. Niamh laughed her head off. The drive wasn’t nearly as bad as Elaine had anticipated, and by the end, she couldn’t stop herself from smiling.


Bio:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Trained as a journalist, he now enjoys creating new worlds and getting to know his characters better. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He also works as a freelance editor and proofreader. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine and is the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew, a fundraiser for his stepson's college fund. You can find him at his writing blog, Scattergun Scribblings

Please go to Michael's blog to check out the other entries!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Kyra Lennon's Cat Anthology Bloghop

Happy Friday! Today I'm posting for a wonderful fundraising idea dreamed up by author Kyra Lennon. Kyra volunteers at her local Cats Protection branch for rescued kitties in need of a loving home and decided to put together a cat-themed anthology to help the cause. Here is my contribution, which was inspired by Egyptian mythology and Tom & Jerry. Hope you enjoy!



Cat and Mouse

A growl of frustration came from deep in Jabari’s stomach as he eyed the mouse that had secreted itself in a hole in the mudbrick wall. The little beady eyes and quivering whiskers hovered just inside the recess, seeming to be mocking him. He paced and growled again, trying to be menacing, although he didn’t feel like it.

“It will give up eventually,” purred a deep voice with an alluringly feminine tone. “Stay strong, Jabari.”

Jabari’s ears pricked up and a chill ran through him, which always happened when the great goddess Bast manifested. His ears flattened and he lowered himself to the floor in a gesture of supplication. “Please help me catch this elusive mouse, O great Bast.”

“Oh do get up you silly tom, that’s what I’m doing.” The irritated voice seemed to come from within his own head, but when he looked to his left, Bast looked like a normal cat, albeit extremely beautiful - sleek, papyrus-coloured, with large brown almond-shaped eyes. He knew not to look too long, or he would be transfixed by her radiance.

A morsel of cheese materialised on the other side of him. The mouse’s whiskers thrummed with greater ferocity and Jabari could practically see it salivating. It was the most succulent cheese to be found in the Lower Delta, and Jabari had to restrain himself from gobbling it.

“Now, we wait. He will not be able to resist for long.”

But Jabari didn’t feel like waiting. He was getting old, and wanted nothing more than to curl up and sleep in a patch of warm sun. What did it matter if he let one mouse go? Cats were so revered in Egypt that he was hardly likely to be thrown out on the street, but he didn’t want to lose face in front of the goddess.

As if sensing his thoughts of blasphemy - which he knew she was - her voice rang out in his head again. “Patience, Jabari. You will win over this puny creature.”

Now Jabari was getting annoyed. He glanced again for a second at Bast - who was watching him with an expression of faint disdain - and at that moment the mouse dashed out of the hole, snatched up the cheese under one front leg, and scrabbled up the wall on the opposite side of the room. Jabari snarled, crouched and lunged, but it was too late. The mouse was clinging onto the wall near the ceiling and rapidly devouring the cheese, and two thoughts hit him at once.

Since when could mice climb up walls?

And this mouse had not only climbed the wall, but had committed a heretical act. He had dashed up the mural of Bast in her glory days, as a woman with the head of a lioness, and was actually sitting at the open mouth of the painting as if defying her to snap down her jaws.

A terrible yowl from Bast made him claw at his own head in a hopeless attempt to stop the noise. “Witchcraft!” she shrieked. “Blasphemy!”

Jabari looked open-mouthed from Bast back to the mouse, which had finished the cheese and seemed to be sneering at them. A terrible heat was coming from the middle of the room, which had been hot enough to start with. Jabari turned and shrank back, shielding his eyes and trying to curl into the wall. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bast also looked subdued, her front legs stretched out in front of her and her chin touching the floor.

The sun god Ra had manifested; the creator of all living things, he was also Bast’s father. A giant, muscular man with the head of a hawk and a blinding image of the sun disk atop his head.

“Your powers are weakening, Bast,” he intoned. “Why was this mouse able to outsmart an experienced hunter so easily?”

“I... I do not know, father,” said Bast, her formerly authoritative voice sounding meek compared to Ra’s booming tones. “It has been happening more and more of late.”

“Yes, I know,” said Ra. “The balance of power is shifting, which is why a new member of my celestial family has arisen. Allow me to introduce you to Nantor.”

The great god held up a clenched fist; when he opened it, a brown mouse with piercing eyes and a tiny head dress like the one worn by Ra materialised and stood proudly.

“You are relieved of your duties as a deity,” went on Ra, as Bast’s eyes widened in horror. “The mice have grown in number and intelligence, and Nantor shall be their idol. A new temple is to be built in his honour at Bubastis, site of your own shrine which houses thousands of mummified cats. Although they will be left in place, the temple will cease to function as a place of worship.”

The sun disk on Ra’s head seemed to expand until it filled the entire room, and Jabari was forced to squeeze his eyes shut. When he opened them, Ra and the new mouse god had disappeared. Bast was still there, but... diminished. She stretched, and paced in a circle a few times. Jabari realised what had happened. Ra had removed her status as a goddess, but allowed her to remain as a mortal being. She was trying out her physical body for the first time.

She stopped, and sat down, and they both watched blankly as the mouse ran down from the wall. It brazenly crossed the floor in front of them, climbed the opposite wall, and disappeared out of the window. Jabari couldn’t process what was happening, so what must it feel like for Bast?

His owner came into the room and paused, brow creased in confusion, as he stared at the feline newcomer. Did he know what had happened? Would both of them be thrown out to starve?

“Where did you come from?” he said, glancing briefly at Jabari before walking past him to pick up Bast. She let herself be tickled under the chin and Jabari heard her purr. “Let’s see if we can find you some food.” He put her down again and walked to the door. “The kitchen’s this way.” They both trotted after him, and Jafari could sense some kind of relief coming from Bast. Being a goddess was a lot of pressure, after all. She’d never had an owner to give her any affection, and Ra was probably too busy to spend any quality time with her. So cats weren’t going to be worshipped any more, and he wouldn’t end up being pickled and wrapped in bandages, but that was okay with him as long as he still got fed.

There might be a problem with mice eating through stores of grain in their new found position of power, but it wasn’t his problem. Maybe mice would be kept as pets and fed on cheese so they wouldn’t have to eat the grain. The pressure was off him, as well. He had never quite enjoyed having to kill them.


Bio:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Trained as a journalist, he now enjoys creating new worlds and getting to know his characters better. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He also works as a freelance editor and proofreader. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine and is the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew, a fundraiser for his stepson's college fund. You can find him at his writing blog, Scattergun Scribblings

I give Kyra permission to use my story in the anthology.

Please go to Kyra's blog to check out the other participants! 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

IWSG - RIP Tina Downey

Most, if not all of you, will have heard about the sad passing of Tina, one of our blogging comrades. This will not be a long post, but I wanted to add my voice to the growing chorus of praise for Tina and her warm online presence.

I first met Tina through the A-Z Challenge, and while I did not know her as well as some I can say that every comment I received from her was cheerful and encouraging. I have to confess that I did not know she was ill, so the message from DL Hammons breaking the news was a complete shock. Next Monday there will be a bloghop to splash sunflowers all across the blogosphere, Tina's favourite flower.

Of course, my thoughts are first and foremost with Tina's family, including her two boys. Her nearest and dearest managed to find time to post a letter on her blog to break the news to everyone, which they didn't have to do, but it is a reflection of the high esteem in which Tina held her fellow writers and the energy she gave to the community. I hope they find some measure of comfort in the messages that were left underneath and in the tributes that have appeared since.

I could not help but be reminded of the outpouring of support that followed the passing of my stepson. Times like this show the strength of this community. Some might say that people we communicate with electronically and may never actually meet are not our friends; acquaintances perhaps, or connections. I think it is more than that. Through our blogs we let people in on a slice of our lives, as long as we are open and honest, and through shared interests we build friendships. Tina's passing will leave a hole in the lives of many, even those she did not share in person.

I hope this post makes sense. Let's take a moment to celebrate Tina's joie de vivre and this amazing community which has the power to offer solace in the darkest of times. Here's to you, Tina!

Please check out the other IWSG blogs here.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

IWSG

It's time for another group posting of the Insecure Writers' Support Group hosted by the erstwhile Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. Go here to find out more about the group and to sign up.


First of all, I need to state that this is a prescheduled post as we're visiting my parents in Brighton this week, so I'm unable to take part in visiting the other bloggers in the circle. I missed last month because I was away then too, so I didn't want to do the same thing again.

I guess blogging (or lack of it) is my insecurity this month, rather than writing. Many people worry that blogging is turning too much into a platform for promotion rather than debate - all the cover reveals and giveaways. I love all that, and love supporting my comrades who have worked so hard to put their work out in the world. But as far as anything more in depth goes, my well seems to be running a bit dry.

I know many people post less during the summer, especially if they've got kiddywinkles, I've noticed that. Recently we've had subtropical temperatures that were boiling our brains out, but today it's been bucketing down with rain, provoking a feeling of gloom. In between running around after the kids and the dogs, I just don't feel like I've had anything to say.

They're back at school in a week, so I'm sure things will pick up again. Maybe blogging is a seasonal thing. At least I've been able to continue with my writing, by aiming for 1000 words on weekdays before my paper round, between around 5-6am. I haven't accomplished this every day, but by keeping up semi-regular progress, I've passed the halfway point on Book 2 of my dystopian series, so I think writing was a win this summer. Maybe I'm drained after an early start writing, leaving no room for a well thought out post!

How about you? Do seasons affect your productivity in blogging and other social media? Any tips for keeping things balanced?

Friday, 18 July 2014

SOULLESS cover reveal

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and
lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to
reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her
wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her
people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


COMING October 13, 2014





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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Sidelined Blog Tour - Bree Collinson Interview

Today I interrupt our normal programming to hand over to the States for a very special, exclusive interview with Bree Collinson, star of Kyra Lennon's latest novel, Sidelined. As you'd expect from Kyra, it's a very sweet read with some added grit and an excellent addition to the Game On series. So without further ado, let's hand over to our friends at Westberg One.



Hello and welcome to Word on Westberg, your local syndicated cable TV chat show with your host, Wilbur Wintersby. We've got a great show tonight and we're starting by finding out about the glamorous life of a top soccer player's wife. Our first guest's husband Jude is the goalkeeper for Westberg Warriors. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and give a warm welcome to the fabulous Bree Collinson.

- Good evening, Bree, you're looking beautiful. Can you tell us about a typical day as a footballer's wife? Some say you have everything a girl could ever want, is that true?  

*tilts head* Well, it’s pretty awesome to be a footballer’s wife, and my husband is soooo handsome! Jude has to work a lot, so I get lots of time to hang out with my friends and go shopping! I love to shop, and yeah, I do have a lot of stuff. Sometimes I think I have a little too much, actually. Maybe I should donate some of my shoes to, like, a charity or something…

- Now, you've gone through some troubles in the past year which have inspired you to tell your story in this book as an inspiration to others. Without giving anything away to those who haven't read it yet, why should people read your book?

Because, as a footballer’s wife, people have the impression that I’m… stupid. Sure, I know how to dress, and I know more about fashion than… well, anything else, I guess. But I’ve been through a lot of stuff, stuff most people would never be able to guess. I get excited about little things like celebrity weddings, and the latest movie releases, and nights out with friends, but it’s only because I never used to have any of those things in my life. I couldn’t afford a gossip magazine, and I sure couldn’t afford to go the movies. I didn’t have any friends, either. Not real ones like I have now. So, yeah. I guess I want people to read my book to show them that I’m not all about the latest trends. There’s more to me.

 - It seems like you're in a pretty good place with your life and marriage. Could we be hearing the patter of tiny football boots in the Collinson household in future?

*laughs* Oh, I love babies! But, you know, Jude and I have been through a lot in the last few months, and right now we just need to focus on us. There will definitely be babies in our future, but not for a while.

- You come across in the book as a bit ditzy, but with a heart of gold and ready to help anyone. Apart from Jude, do you have anyone in your life like that?  Tell our viewers why they're so great.

I’m a lucky girl. I sure don’t know anyone as ditzy as me, but I have the best friends in the world. And I know everyone thinks that about their own friends, but seriously, mine really are the best. If you guys have ever seen us out on the town, you know that Leah Walker and Freya Phillips are my best friends, and also, Jesse Shaw. *audience wolf whistles and Bree giggles* Right, ladies? He’s a sweetheart, a real gentleman who has been there for me when things got rough.

- In the early part of your book you seem dissatisfied with your lot and yearn for something more.  Have you found that and is there any news on that hamster?

*laughs out loud* No hamsters for me! Things are getting better now, but I wasn’t dissatisfied with what I had. I was dissatisfied with myself, but I didn’t really realise why for a while. All it took was an idea from Leah to help me see what the problem was and I’m much happier now I have something to work for.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight, Bree and I hope you'll stick around, we have some awesome guests still to come.
Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed
of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than
Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything
handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to
better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

Buy Links: Amazon UK/ Amazon US/B&N/iBookstore

About the Author:



Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels.

Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

Find Kyra online: Website/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Goodreads/Join My

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Friday, 20 June 2014

Reborn Blog Tour - Interview and Review

Happy Friday! Today I'm very proud to be able to help out the talented Cherie Reich with the blog tour for her debut novel, Reborn. It's by no means her debut book though - I've thoroughly enjoyed Cherie's work in shorter forms, and Reborn does not disappoint. I got a chance to pick her brains on the genesis of Reborn and her love of classical mythology, and here are the results...



Hi Cherie. Congrats on the release of Reborn - I thought it was an excellent, involving read. Can you tell us a little about how the story came about?

Thank you, Nick! The idea blossomed from a character (Clarissa Black) I created for an online Harry Potter roleplaying game. This character was equally given the gift of prophecy after being brought back to life at birth. The idea stuck with me, even though Yssa and Clarissa had very different lives.

The thing about those ideas that want to be told is they don't leave you alone until you've dealt with them!

Can you tell us about how you started writing? Any tips for those who are considering such a career?

Back in 1999, I was obsessed with Phantom of the Opera (the musical, the movies, the books), so I started roleplaying in that world. For over ten years I honed my writing skills by roleplaying in different worlds and writing fanfiction. Although I don’t have an actual count, I probably wrote millions of words during this time. It wasn’t until 2009 that I decided to write in my own worlds.

My major tips for those who are considering a writing career are to write a lot and read a lot. Get your worked critiqued and pick up some smooth grammar moves.

Sounds like you have done some solid training. You can't beat reading and writing!

You write across a wide variety of genres - science fiction, horror, fantasy, yet each is recognisably your voice. Did this happen by accident, or was it a conscious decision to try lots of different things?

I wish I could say it was a conscious decision, but it wasn’t. I read different genres. I grew up reading mysteries, thrillers, and horror. In adulthood, I also added fantasy and some science fiction to my reading list. Reading across genres means my ideas often cross genres.

It's definitely good to read and write widely, some say you should choose your genre niche to write in, but I find it interesting to read different genres by the same writer. 

One thing that particularly impressed me about Reborn was the rich and multilayered worldbuilding. It seemed like a huge amount of time and effort had been put into creating this universe before you even started writing. Was that the case, or did it develop organically as the story went on?

A little of both actually. Back in 2006, I had the idea for this trilogy, so I drew a map and took some notes on gods, creatures, and people. I daydreamed about the storyline for three years before I wrote the first word. Some of the world came out in that first draft, but the world was honed and enriched during revisions and edits. To this day, it’s still showing me new things about it.

I thought the maps were a great touch. And it's always good to know exactly where your characters are!

You incorporate elements of classical mythology in your work, even in books that are set in space. Where did your interest in this area start, and how much time do you spend researching it? Do you have a favourite myth?

I’ve always love mythology. I enjoyed watching Hercules and Xena and seeing the gods and such interact with mortals. In high school we read Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. In college, I majored in Ancient Greeks and Romans (they called the major Classical Antiquities, but I often get confused looks when I say that) and minored in the Ancient Near East. I took classes on comparative mythology, which also included the Norse myths. So my majority of my research came while getting my Bachelors of the Arts.

My favorite myth would have to be the Homer’s The Odyssey. Odysseus is my favorite hero, and Athena, who features prominently in the tales, is my favorite goddess.

I like Jason and the Argonauts. Ray Harryhausen's films are also excellent myth adaptations.

Yssa has the ability to foresee events, yet she doesn't always appreciate this gift as it comes with a heavy burden of responsibility. What would be your ideal magical power?

As golden as it would be to see the future, I’d rather have the gift of speedy travel, whether it be flying or apparating from place to place.

That would be a heck of a time saver!

Another thing that stands out in your work is the romance element, with characters that come across as real and relateable no matter what race or species they are. Would you have any plans to write a straight romance story?

Yes, I do have plans for a few actually. Back in 2011, I wrote a YA contemporary novel with romantic elements. It needs a major rewrite, and I have to come up with my own musical for the novel to work, but I’d one day like to get back to it. I also have a couple ideas for NA contemporary romances. Of course, I find that contemporary needs so much more research than fantasy. I can’t just make things up. LOL!

Good point. A musical sounds very ambitious!

You keep up a very active social media presence, and also work as an editor and library assistant. How do you go about balancing all these roles and are there any tips you can pass on? Can you tell us a bit about your daily routine?

Balancing different roles can be very difficult. In the past year I’ve had to give up being a freelance editor, although I still do critiques for my critique partners. I had to decide if I wanted time to work on my own writing or other people’s, and I chose my own. I’m very lucky I work full-time for a small academic library. When I don’t have work-related work, then I can do as I please, whether that be social media, reading, or writing. So I’ll often come into work, catch up on the day job, check out social media, and then see where the rest of the day takes me, whether it includes writing, editing, blogging, or reading.

The best tips about balancing multiple roles are to be organized, make lists, set goals (daily, weekly, monthly), and not be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything done as planned.

Sounds like the sort of job I'd like. And it's quiet, too!

How are you getting on with the follow-up works in the Fate Challenges series, and are there any advance nuggets of info you could share? (Feel free to shoot me rather than answer this question, if you'd prefer!)

Well, I must admit working on the next books has been rather slow. I spent the past five months almost exclusively on Reborn, so I’m a bit out of practice when it comes to writing first drafts. I’m currently working on Repledged (a prequel story set 800 years before Reborn, which I plan to offer for free later this year). After I finish Repledged, then I will write Remarked (a novella told from Liam’s point of view and book 1.5 in the series). Then, it’ll be time to write Repledged (#2), Reigned (another prequel set 500 years before Reborn), and Redestined (#3). My goal is to write and publish the rest of the series within the next couple years.

And I’m really trying to keep mum on what happens next, even though I want to tell everyone what happens next, but I can say The Fate Challenges isn’t the only series set in the world of Amora. The God Challenges will feature the god Apenth and a new Phoenix Prophetess set 2500 years after Reborn. There will also be a prequel novel, which will explore the true Prophecy of Sólfœra and will be set 2000 years after Reborn.

You've got your work cut out! I look forward to reading them all.

Finally, could you sum up Reborn in five words? 

A prophetess must challenge Fate. OR Coming-of-age tale with chosen one.

I do love the idea of her not only foreseeing fate, but having the ability to change it. It's a great hook!


Blurb:

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.

Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

Available in Ebook and Print!


Click here to add on Goodreads.

The authors of Untethered Realms and I are giving away over $50 worth of books to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally.

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A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Nightmare, a space fantasy novella collection titled Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.

And for good measure, here is my review of Reborn. I was honoured to receive an ARC from Cherie.

Reborn is a brilliant, absorbing fantasy novel that really gripped me and didn't let go. It has many classic fantasy elements, as well as some that may not be so familiar, but what really made it work was coupling these with the story of a young girl that is easy to relate to. Yssa is a typical teenage girl in many ways - growing up on a small island, she is slightly gauche and unsure of herself. She has a crush on her childhood friend. But she has been marked out as special from the day she was born (or reborn) as the Phoenix Prophetess, a child chosen by a god to serve her kingdom by foreseeing events. She doesn't always appreciate this gift, and longs to be normal. There is a heartbreaking moment that makes her feel her blessing is more of a curse. But she is also a brave character, and rises to the challenges that come her way. I feel Yssa was a really well-drawn character, and that also goes for the other main players in this book, especially Queen Samarra, who I never entirely trusted.

Another main point that made me love this book was the worldbuilding. It is clear that Reich has spent a lot of time and effort painstakingly creating a universe with its own races, laws, customs and gods. Sparkling descriptions made me feel fully involved in the scenes. There were even maps provided, which you don't get in every book. There were many interesting creatures, such as the karshiptas, perytons and woodwoses.

The pacing, I feel, was spot on. It is a fairly slow start, but this allows the scene to be set and the reader to become familiar with the characters' world. After the heartbreaking moment alluded to above, it just builds and builds until it becomes unputdownable. And you don't get much higher stakes than the destruction of an entire kingdom. Although the story was resolved at the end, there are still questions unanswered and I can't wait to read the forthcoming installments to find out more. All in all, a rich and satisfying fantasy with characters you can invest in that I would recommend to anyone. 5 stars.