Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Avery Daniels

Author Name: Avery Daniels
Book Featured Today: Nailed: Resort to Murder Mystery II
Where Can You Find Her? Newsletter, Website, Facebook, BookBub, Goodreads
Top Writing Tip: Learn the craft, find a good editor to work with, and attend writer’s conferences.  The first two will take you far and serve you well while the third helps you network with other writers, because writing is so solitary.   

Hi Avery, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing?  
I began getting serious about novel structure and all the elements of the writing craft about twenty-five years ago.  I began with a suspense thriller that was slowly developed as I learned.  I stopped work on the book and developed the Resort to Murder Mystery series that I have published now (two book in the series so far).  That initial suspense thriller has been revamped and after losing the electronic file and starting over, I am now editing the draft to get it published.   Why I began writing is simply I have to get these stories out of my head.

When did you realise that you were Pagan?  
Wow, I’ll try to make this short.  I went through a particularly nasty marriage.  My abusive ex and the church we attended were hard-core Religious Right.  I attended their bible institute, taught Sunday School in the church, wrote for the monthly newsletter, and even volunteered as a secretary.  In the course of my coming to the decision I couldn’t live in the abuse any longer, I had to break from that faith and worldview. It was part of the abuse to keep me tied to a “covenant of marriage”, no matter how destructive.   

I turned to Native American spirituality because my mother had told me I was Native American on my dad’s side.  I felt like I was coming home the more I learned about an earth-based path.  Since then I have incorporated Wicca with the Native American path and feel much more self-accepting and centered. I am grateful everyday to be walking my current path.

What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?
I am an avid mystery/thriller reader and have puttered with writing a novel since high school.  I also grew up with a five-star resort in my hometown and would occasionally get to attend events at this resort.  I’ve attended LPGA tournaments on the pro-golf course, eaten at the restaurants for special occasions, and fed the ducks at the man-made lake, so using these experiences in addition to that particular resort as a base for the home resort in the novel was natural. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot. 
In Nailed, Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will. 

Julienne LaMere gets to attend a resort management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado mountains.  What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.

In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken.  As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship.  Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

How did the topic of your novels come to you?  
For the fiction, I started with the image in my mind of a huge ice sculpture of a swordfish as the murder weapon spearing a person and the rest came to me as I went.  The second book, Nailed was two fold.  I wanted to use a resort in the Colorado mountains and I decided on a nail gun for the murder weapon and I developed the rest from there.

Have you ever met one of your characters in real life?  
Oh yes, but in the sense that I borrow a gesture here or a life experience there.  A few of the victims began as mean people I’ve come across and developed from there. 

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?  
I have published before. I did an expose of the Religious Right after my experiences.  Then I turned to fiction and wrote Iced and now Nailed in the Resort to Murder Mystery series.  I am plotting the third of that series, which will be Spiked.  The suspense thriller I am editing is a combination of Conspiracy Theory meets Ghost Whisperer.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?
I am self published and it can be scary in some aspects, but empowering in others.  Thus far I am enjoying the process and hope to make a living at self-published writing. 

Tell us a little about the community you’re building through your blog and social media.  
I have a newsletter mailing list and I have begun a street team.  Both are growing.  The newsletter subscribers I try to give special offers (the prologue to the suspense thriller book that won’t be included in the novel) and give them some insight into the process.  The street team is my helpers to get the word out.  The street team will help me with a FaceBook Book Launch party in a couple of weeks.  

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?  
Reviews are crucial to getting a book momentum in sales.  Yes, I read them.  It is good to have a few less enthusiastic reviews so people believe they are real and not just all your family and friends.  Some people don’t know how to be constructive in their reviews and can hurt, though.

What, or who, do you enjoy reading?  
I enjoy mysteries and thrillers, espionage/intrigue, urban fantasy, fantasy, and occasional sci-fi.  Historical mysteries and intrigue are my favourites like novels by Anna Lee Huber, Andrea Penrose, Kate Parker, D.M. Quincy, Victoria Thompson, Susan Ellia MacNeal, and CS Harris.  I also enjoy paranormal mysteries/urban fantasy novels like Deborah Blake, Illona Andrews, Juliet Blackwell, Patricia Briggs, and Jim Butcher.  There are soooo many.

Who encourages/inspires you?  
I have three writing friends who encourage me.  I am inspired every time a self-published author is making their dreams come true with writing or a little known writer makes it big. 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?  
France or England, and Scotland.  Julienne, the main character in Resort to Murder Mystery series is aching to travel and she got that from me.  I want to see more of Europe.  There is a crime writers annual convention in Scotland called Bloody Scotland that I am saving up to attend.

What are your future plans for writing?  
I am editing the long-time-coming suspense thriller,The Society, plotting the third Resort to Murder Mystery series novel, Spiked, and debating on another series (either urban fantasy or lite paranormal mystery.) 


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with your other novels in the Resort to Murder Mystery series and your other projects!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

S. R. Hollands

Author Name: S.R. Hollands
Best Known Work: A Faerie’s Tale
Where Can You Find Him: Facebook, Amazon
Top Tip for Writers: Just keep writing.  Get it written down and worry about the content afterwards.  Edit it as much as possible and get some feedback from other people.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I began writing in the early nineties – I suddenly felt the need. I started out trying to write a historical novel set in early Roman Britain, based on real events. Looking back at it now, it was rubbish! Just as well I never finished it… I also entered a few competitions and had some good successes, so I carried on writing – mainly for my own pleasure. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan? 

I think I first realised I was pagan back in the mid-eighties when I read Marion Bradley’s The Mists Of Avalon. That book just seemed to resonate with me… 

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

I have always loved the concept of faeries. A voice at the back of my head kept on telling me to write a modern day faerie tale and so I eventually gave in to it. When I started, the only idea I had was of a young, fae woman trapped in the modern human world and unable to return home unassisted. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot. 

The story is about a young Fae woman called Willow. She is thrown out of the Fae world of Eyedore by her uncle Flint, and is found by a group of modern day teenagers. They look after her, and eventually assist Willow in getting home and reclaiming her stolen heritage from her uncle. Willow’s uncle Flint is a dark magician and wants to use his magical skills to take over the family wealth and lands. Book II will be a prequel to book I, and will answer some questions as to why Flint is so twisted and it will hint at some of the mysterious links between Willow and other characters. The final book completes the story and ties up all the loose ends. 

Do you plan your stories before you begin? 
No. I usually start with a basic idea and see what comes out.

How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer? 

My first book took me three years to write. Book II is now at the editing stage and is so far, two years in. I also have book three completed in the first draft. I only write in my spare time so it’s a slow process.

Who encourages/inspires you? 

Reading other fantasy books always helps. I also use music to set my mood and give me ideas. One of my main inspirational people is American violinist Lindsey Stirling. I have been following her music since 2013 and have watched her career really take off. It has all been her own hard work as the music industry never took her seriously. She is a very motivational person and regularly encourages people to ‘follow their dream’ It worked for her and so whenever I feel like giving up, I always remember Lindsey and her musical journey. I owe her big time. 

What, or who, do you enjoy reading? 

I love reading books by Robin Hobb, Terry Goodkind, and Peter James. Robin and Terry are just amazing fantasy authors and the worlds they create are really believable. I love the crime books of Peter James because the plots are always full of twists and turns and pretty unpredictable.

Where do you go to recharge? 

For me, the best place to recharge is in the woods. I love being amongst the trees and taking in the woodland smells. I always find woodland calming – and who knows? I might even meet a faerie.

If you could pick one book you wish you had written, what would it be?

The Mists Of Avalon by Marion Bradley.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before? 

A Faerie’s Tale is my first published piece, but I am now working on books II & III of the trilogy. I’m hoping to publish book II later this year. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process? 

I am self-published. I used Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle platforms and it seems to have worked for me. I just need to reach a wider audience now.

What are your future plans for writing? 

To complete books II & III of The Eyedore Trilogy and then work on a book of short stories based around witches, faeries, ghosts etc.


Thank you again for sharing your passion and process! We wish you all the best with this novel, and the rest of the trilogy!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Cricket Song

Author Name: Cricket Song (Sheri Breault Kreitner)
Best Known Works: A Witch's Voice
Where Can You Find Her? Lunar Wisdom, Facebook
Top Writing Tip: Write for yourself not for others; if you like your story there will be others who enjoy it as well. 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing short stories in elementary school as part of assignments given to me by my teacher, but enjoyed the process so much that I continued to do so for personal pleasure. I kept journals and filled notebooks with fictional stories. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan?
I have always had a strong connection to The Source of All-There-Is, but was raised as a Roman Catholic, but I never stopped questioning. Through my life experiences, I discovered other religions and spiritual practices and felt that all roads ultimately lead to the same destination. It wasn’t until around 2002 that I stumbled upon Witchcraft, magick, and paganism that I realized these were the concepts that made the most sense to me and were aligned with my own beliefs. Once I leaped into study and practice I never turned back.

How did the topic of your book(s) come to you? 

Most of the stories are personal in nature though have been provided within a fictional setting. Some of the characters are direct reflections of me while others are just pieces of the person I am and live shadows of my own life experiences. 

What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I have always loved words since elementary school and often wrote fiction as well as poetry and over the last few years within my practice, I would offer spontaneous words of devotion during my rituals and sabbat celebrations. This book is the product of such work and has been one of love.

Do we see some of you in your book?

Most definitely there are parts of me and my life experiences in everything I write, whether it is a short story, a poem, or a full-length novel. I don’t think I am able to write something that doesn’t reflect a part of me. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

This particular book, A Witch’s Voice is a collection of pagan / witchy/spiritual poetry with some of the poems being illustrated by Nakita Melo (who is also pagan). 

Do you plan your stories before you begin?

I usually have a rough plot line; major things I want to occur within the story, but nothing detailed; those fall into place as the characters reveal themselves and live the story.

How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer?

Since I am self-published, I have the luxury to set my own deadlines and change them if need be, which many times the need is there to adjust my own deadlines. I homeschool my daughter and run a small business so writing isn’t the only thing I do and often times it isn’t the primary focus of my day so I tend to take time to write my books. My first book took about five years and the others each about a year or two. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I am self-published. My first novel, The Prodigal Son I published in May 2016. It was a story I had been writing for years during a very challenging time in my life. The next book I published was a workbook for a spiritual program a created in February 2017, followed by the first volume of a paranormal/supernatural story titled Secrets of Syn published July of the same year, which brings me to this new publication, A Witch’s Voice released March 2018. The experience has been interesting and very rewarding. Being self-published presents many obstacles, but I am supported by family and friends, which makes it worthwhile. 

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?

I appreciate reviews and I do read them even if they are not favorable. I feel that it makes me a better writer and allows me to get a feel for what people enjoy reading and what they don’t, though I don’t take everything to heart, or rather, I do my best not to. 

Who encourages/inspires you?

Many individual encourage and inspire me; family, friends, acquaintances, other authors, artists, actors, musicians, spiritual leaders … people. People who have a passion for what it is they do and who allow that passion to shine through their words and the things they manifest.

What are your future plans for writing?
I am currently working on another novel, the working title of which is The Claiming of Parker Green, which is a Lovecraftian styled horror. 
Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your work and your process! We wish you the best of luck with your next novel and your future work!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Carolyn Balbi

Author Name: Carolyn Balbi
Best Known WorkPsychic Witch
Where Can You Find Her? Facebook, Website
Top Writing Tip: The only tip I can offer is this – do not force yourself to write.  I know a lot of authors say the opposite, that you should try to write every day.  But, if I’m not feeling it – I don’t do it.  The work is compromised.  When I feel it and I am in the mood to get in that space, ready to work and lay down those words…they flow and I won’t stop.  That’s when inspiration takes over and what you write is so on point; it’s beautiful!

Hi Carolyn, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I began writing at a young age.  I have journals that span from age 7 to now.  I have always loved writing short stories and poetry.  Words seduce me.

When did you realize you were Pagan? 

I realized I was Pagan at age 18, but I’ve always felt witchy.  Out of all of my siblings, I am the only one who never received communion or confirmation.  In fact, the religion teacher basically told my Mother that I was a disruption in class because I, “asked too many questions.”  As a child, I played mostly in nature and mainly alone, I was a bit of an introvert and liked being alone in the quiet.  I enjoyed watching my father work in the garden and I would gather herbs, put them in small jars and pour olive oil on top.  I saw the magick in everything, anything that seemed mundane in the world can and would be magick. To me this was real, not just imagination; fairies, unicorns, elves, witches, trees that spoke to me and being psychic opened me up to so much more, that it only sparked my curiosity. Looking back, I think I have always been a witch in many lifetimes.  I had met my first witch at 18 and she brought me to my first coven meeting – it was there that I knew I was home.

What are your main life experiences that have led to this book? 

I was born and raised on LI, New York and came from a large family of seven.  I had a wonderful childhood – I was very lucky.  I come from a long line of psychics and witches, on both sides of the family; you can read about that in more detail in my book!  My father was raised Catholic but my mother was the spiritualist, so it was all very hush hush.  When my mom passed, I vowed I would write a book about our abilities and our connection to witchcraft.  I wasn’t in the broom closet about it, but my mother was and I just felt pulled to share my experiences regarding my psychic ability and my devotion to witchcraft.  It has truly shaped who I am today.

Is this your first published piece, or have you had work published before? 

This is my first published piece, but I working on my second now.

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience with the process? 

I am self-published.  Came very close to being published with Llewellyn but it never manifested.  It didn’t deter me from publishing because I knew I had to, regardless if it was successful or not.  I am proud to say that it is doing well and continues to sell.

Tell us a bit about your story. 

My book discusses my life as a child psychic and how I dealt with it, good and bad.  It also discusses how I got into witchcraft while guiding the reader on how to unlock their own psychic ability while using witchcraft.  It has lesson plans to follow within each chapter, spell work, what steps are needed to find balance in one’s spiritual path and my own personal stories regarding angels, ghosts, spirit and my spiritual gifts.

How did this topic come to you? 

Since I was a child, I was psychic and my earliest memory of my ability was age 2!  Witchcraft helped me to understand my abilities more and even amplified them.  Putting my own experiences, but adding lessons within the book for others to learn while integrating the craft, seemed like a great topic.

Do we see some of you in your book?
Oh absolutely!  Perhaps too much.  It is very personal and holds a special place in my heart.  There are a lot of experiences based on the earlier part of my life, up until I left NY to come to FL.  I wrote it in my mid-thirties and I am now 45.  By the next book, I will have garnered more experiences and new material to write!

Do you suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?
When I suffer from writer’s block, I do anything else that is creative to get the juices flowing.  I’m also an artist – so I will do artwork, or crafting.  I used to make gemstone jewelry and still do sometimes.  But, once I get creative with anything, I bring myself back to my computer and try again!  It always works for me.

Who encourages/inspires you? 
In all honesty, I kind of carve my own path.  My biggest inspiration is my son though.  He encourages me to be the best and try in all that I do.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?
Nature and anywhere there is silence.  I need to ground usually, but all the elements in nature balance me. Earth, Air, Fire, Water.  So, for Earth – you may find me in my garden, for Air - standing outside on a cliff by the sea, Fire – sitting at a fire pit on the beach staring at the flames, Water – the beach or maybe just soaking in the tub.  

What or who do you enjoy reading?
I have my own metaphysical library so some of the greats are among my collection.  Books on esoteric knowledge, spell work, divination tools, chakras, auras, Native American, Kabbalah, crystals, herbs, oils, candle magick, magick in general, psychic work, etc.  There’s a list and I can’t really say I have a favorite author.  They are all wonderful.  My two favorite books are Reflections on the Art of Living, by Joseph Campbell and as far as fiction, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  My favorite pagan work is The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

If you could pick one book you wished you had written, what would it have been?
I would have written Mists of Avalon,  that was on the NY Times best sellers list for months!

What are your future plans for writing? 
I’m working on my second book now and it’s going very well.  My goal is to get at least 1 bestseller!  Either way, I’ll keep writing.  We need more metaphysical writers out there, so when I see new writers cropping up – it makes me happy!  It’s the same thrill I get when a witchy shop opens up.  We need to keep moving forward. 


Thank you, Carolyn, for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your experience! We wish you the best of luck with this book and your future work!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Author Name: A.Hanson
Best Known Works:  A Dream of Unknowing
Where Can You Find Him? Amazon, Tumblr
Top Writing Tip: My top tip would be my own mantra: don’t stop. Writing can be mind-numbing, exhausting and sometimes soul destroying (especially when you get negative feedback). The trick is to write for yourself and not worry about what other people think.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I started writing poetry as a teenager and it just developed from there. The reasons why, I am not sure. Perhaps because I wasn’t really able to articulate what I saw and felt to myself, so it needed writing down, rearranging and made real in the world, for me to be able to make sense of it. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan? 

In my 20’s I came back to the UK and went to live on the Isle of Mull. There I tried to research as much as I could about Celtic paganism and spirituality and realised many aspects were in tune with my own personal beliefs. I met some folks from Findhorn, made pagan friends, and together with a person who became very important to me spent a lot of time over that two year period camped out on wild beaches or on hilltops ‘looking for that little bit more’. 

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I was born in the UK but because of my father’s job, I grew up in the Middle-East, Africa, India and the Caribbean. I was always interested in writing and began writing poetry at an early age. This developed into wanting to tell stories that, a bit like poetry, offered more than just a good yarn.  

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

A Dream of Unknowing is my first published work. However, when I was living in India I published a collection of poetry which was read by about six people (I had to buy the other 94 copies from the publisher at cost to keep him happy) so doesn’t really count. Hopefully, sales will be a bit better this time.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters, and plot. 

A Dream of Unknowing is basically four separate tales detailing events that took place in and around the villages of Osikovce, where I now live, and Konkusova Dolina in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia over a 400 years period. My stories are reworkings of older tales from the region, and bits of legend that I have stitched together to suit the purpose of the book. The region where the book is set has a long history of paganism/witchcraft which still exists to this day; and the essence of my book is about how this traditional paganism, rather than the reinvented paganism, survives to this day. The title story, the first of the four, is said to be a parable and there were quite a few people in Osikovce who did not want it written down or published.  

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

I moved to the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia about 9 years ago and the rest...well, it’s in the book. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

Self-published. A couple of smaller publishing houses offered me a contract, but they always wanted me to subsidise the process. If I had the money I probably would have taken them up on the offer, but as I don’t...

Who encourages/inspires you? 

My eldest son is nine years old and loves listening to old stories. We are fortunate to live next to a beautiful forest and on long walks, we tell each other tales of what might be happening just around the next bend or over the brow of the next hill. He is my greatest inspiration in all things, not just writing. 

Where do you go when you need to recharge? 

About a fifteen-minute walk from my house there is an old abandoned spring called Marta’s Well. This place features quite prominently in one of the tales but is not nearly so…disturbing. The spring is dry now, but it’s still has a cool dampness about it which still makes you think of it as a watery place. There are thick ferns, violets and beautiful mosses all over the old stonework. During the summer it’s one of the best places I know to while away the day.

What are your future plans for writing?

My next book, The Fall of Petarov, is almost finished. This is a more personal look at my time in the Carpathians, how I came about the stories in A Dream of Unknowing, and how the book itself got written. It’s not a biography, but more like a fictionalised telling of what I’ve been up to in Osikovce. The events, people, and places are real, but I’ve added a bit of padding to make it more readable. It also looks at some of the traditions, rituals and pagan goings-on that happen here. 


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with this book and your future work!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Freya Wilde

Author Name: Freya Wilde
Best Known Works: Oldfolk Tales
Where Can You Find Her? Amazon
Top Tip for New Writers: Write the stories you would want to read.

Hi Freya, thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I’m 56. I knew when I was 14 I wanted to be a writer, and gardener. The day I discovered I wanted to be a writer, I stayed up manically writing the whole night, did not sleep a wink, and was astonished at the morning light that I had done that. No one but I knew that I had done that, it changed me. I now had a passion, a religious experience that was intense and private and liberating for my young mind.

When did you realize that you were Pagan?
I’m ignostic, with pagan-heathen leanings. Paganism/heathenism, is liberating to me, because you make it what you will with no threats of damnation. And of course I love the natural part of it, the wheel of the year, the forest/fairy picnics of it. The power and majesty of the green man, the stag, the protector. And the history of paganism-heathenism. It’s my family history down the generations of Samhain, juleboking and Jul/Yule, and so many more historical wondrous celebrations and feasts.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

My paperback/ebook Oldfolk Fairytales, available on Amazon, is my most currently self-published book. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I’ve been published thrice with online publishers TwistedShift, and two others I can’t remember right now, with some modest success. It was working with their editors that was wonderful though, priceless really. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

Oldfolk Fairytales is a book of nine fairy tales, rewritten with the protagonists being elderfolk for the most part, enduring and adventuring despite their being older. The world is aging, as am I, I thought it would be fun to write some stories with old folk as the main characters, and how that would be different. It was fun to write them. And I’d keep writing them, except I’m finishing up a young adult novel, hopefully to be published by Christmas. And also finishing up a science fiction space opera novel, hopefully to be finished before spring 2018. Both of which are the first books in their own series.

Do you have an excerpt? 

Poison Apple

Trailing her fingertips on both sides of the wall for balance down the narrow winding stairs to the dungeon, at the bottom of the stairs the girl’s dress had dragged through decades of accumulated dirt, soiling the tips of the dark red silk gown.  Cobwebs and skeletons shackled to the stone walls and floor contrasted jarringly with the beauty of the girl with her long golden hair falling down the lace of the red gown.  Drifting through the dark, she lit a torch to light her way through the endless stone subterranean passages.

Opening a heavy wood door, its black rusty hinges moaned as she passed through.  The walls and ceiling of the long, long chamber were round, completing a half circle overhead.  On each side there were tables running down the full length, overflowing with vials, beakers, scores of mortars and pestles of all sizes, glass slides, microscopes, scales, tubing, Bunsen burners, distillers, and many other devices and contraptions known and unknown.

Seemingly gliding without moving her feet, across the chamber to the end of the long, long narrow room, the girl lit all the candles, kerosene lamps, whale lamps, and torches available there at the end of the room.  The floor to ceiling length and width gold framed mirror reflected herself as clearly as if she was outside at noon on a cloudless day.

“Mirror, mirror.  Does Snow White still live?”

Nothing happened.  Standing expectantly before the mirror, she waited for something to happen, for the mirror to speak as it had for her mother so long ago. Still nothing happened.

“Mirror, mirror.  I am the daughter of the queen. By my mother’s blood, I command you to obey me.  Tell me if Snow White still lives!”

Originating from far, far away, a rumbling could be felt within the walls and air.  Gray fog puffed out and over the surface of the mirror, roiling over it like tiny storm clouds. It suddenly smelled of death and ashes in the chamber.  An invisible wind blew over the mirror causing the strange fog to roll away.  A masked face appeared in the mirror. Its deep voice booming, “Snow White lives.”

Paling, the girl demanded, “Where?  Where is Snow White?”

“In the forest, in the cottage of the dwarves, deep, deep in the forest does she still dwell.”

“Where my mother eventually died,” uttered the girl to herself.

Fingernails digging deep into the skin of her clenched fists to the point of drawing blood, her face flushed red with anger, the girl looked as if she would smash the mirror.

“Is Snow White the queen? Or am I?” asked the girl, her voice trembling.

The mirror did not answer.  The gray fog rose again, swirled over its surface stormily.

“By my mother’s blood, your mistress, answer me mirror,” demanded the girl imperiously.

“You are not queen,” stated the masked face through the fog in a smug tone.

The mirror began to shake as if it was in an earthquake.  A crack appeared on one corner, then suddenly the mirror shattered, all the tiny pieces smashing and exploding onto the stone floor, walls and wood countertops of the dungeon chamber.

Screaming as she stumbled backward, the girl covered her face with her arm.  “Oh my god!” she exclaimed in shock.

Searching her skin for wounds, she discovered none. The mirror shards had not harmed her.  After a moment she collected herself, “Time for me to take the reins mother.”  Slipping on a work smock to protect her beautiful gown, she lit a Bunsen burner and picked up a small pair of tongs.  “I have a present for you queen.” She spat the word queen as if the word was as poisonous as the Death Cap mushroom she was picking up with the tongs.  Her lip curled and a cruel glint shone in her eyes, transforming her beauty into the visage of a monster.

What are your future plans for writing?
My future plans are to never stop writing and creating.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process Freya. We wish you all the best with your future books! 

Friday, 31 March 2017

Merlyn Fuller

Author Name: Merlyn Fuller
Best Known WorksThe Merlinian Legend
Where Can You Find Her?: Website, Website, Facebook
Top Writing Tip: Just DO IT. No matter what. Set a plan. Set a writing schedule to accomplish (my goal generally is a chapter every 2 weeks). Then edit, edit, edit. Get your friends to help you edit. Ask your smart family or friends or people who like the subject matter to help you edit. Stick with it. Do it even when you don't want to, but stick to your schedule. Then all of a sudden, one day...you have a BOOK in your hands!

Hi Merlyn, thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

As a feminist, eclectic spiritual person, writer and Arthurian legend freak from way back, I have finally done what needed to be done. I wrote the book I desired to read when I was 16 years old and when I was first waist deep in fairy tales, myths, magic and fables.

With my book The Merlinian Legend,  I can finally face my 16 year old self and say “Here, hon. Read THIS.” And she will devour it, thank me for finally fixing the misogynistic Arthurian legends and in the same breath find that it relates to today and what she can do to fix the world 

When did you realize that you were Pagan?

Hard to say, I think when I went "church hopping" with my mom to many churches when I was 11 after she left the Catholic church. She was trying to find answers to some deep questions about life...brought on by the fact that we lived on the same road as a serial killer, but that is all in my first book, "Fairy Tales & Horror Stories: A Memoir" as well as many funny stories about me being a Renaissance faire minstrel around the country. I remember welcoming in Spring with my little sister on the Spring Equinox at the exact time and shouting "Welcome Spring!" together and dancing around. So that was probably the unofficial date.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I first grabbed a pencil and pretended to be a newspaper writer when I was little. I wrote stories and tried to sell the stories to my family, friends and neighbors. This was back when there was triplicate carbon copies and I didn't type yet, so I had to hand write everything. The copying got tiresome. Gods bless medieval monks who copied manuscripts. But if I don't write, it will squirt out some way, some how!

How did the topic of your books come to you?

My first book, Fairy Tales & Horror Stories: A Memoir is one that I had to write to sweep out of my psyche. It is a wild ride filled with amazing stories, all true. There is murder, religion, spirituality, magic, sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, and music in it and also hilarious stories about being a mother and being on the road.

My second book, The Merlinian Legend as I said, is the book I wanted to read, as I am a Merlin freak. My stage name "Merlyn" is a spin off of my given name "Marilyn" which was given to me 40 years ago or so, in high school because of my devotion to the subject matter. The name "Merlyn" and is under my senior pic as my nickname there.

My latest book A Rose By Any Other Name: Shawna Rose & her Family's Story of Down Syndrome is the book I needed to read when she was born, but I couldn't find. It is a comprehensive book about what we went through, what we learned, how we coped and how we all thrived. She is an amazing person and I wanted to encourage other families who get thrust into this new demographic of insight and abilities.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

It's the story of Merlin, but redone with more emphasis on the Divine Feminine. In olden Arthurian legends, folklore and tales, (which my work is based on), Merlin traditionally got screwed out of having a love relationship with an equal, was punished for being magical, and was delivered a fate worse than death. In all fairness to him, and my female sisters, I have reworked the tale to include more of the Goddess, strong female characters, a HOT Merlin, true love found, winsome magic and real hope for the future. Traditionally in Arthurian legends, women were either young, beautiful and daft or evil, old and ugly. I wanted to change that up!

As with the tales of olde, the characters remain basically who they are. Of the former character names, Ninianne and Vivienne, I have combined the two names instead, and I call this new character, Nivienne. She is unlike her former incarnations, in that she is not conniving, but rather, she is a strong, earthy, pagan leader who is a match for Merlin and who is devoted to him (unlike her historic, literary counterparts who only used him and entombed him). She loves him totally and in the story, both she and Merlin together advance humanity towards the Divine Feminine. This is a new twist.

Have you ever met one of your characters in real life? 

Many, especially at Renaissance faires! But I hold out hope that women will find their own Merlin man for a paramour who is as mercurial, stable and magickal as my Merlin character is.

Do you plan out your stories before you begin?

Absolutely, at least my book outlines are done and set in stone. These show me the direction I need to go from chapter to chapter. The chapters, how'ere, have a life and an agenda of their own. I don't always know what the finished chapter will actually look like, but I have had a plan for what I want to accomplish within it. As long as I accomplish my outline needs, the rest is gravy on top. 

Do you socialize with other writers or are you a solitary writer?

The answer is both. Writing by its nature is a solitary thing. We create with just our thoughts and a blinking screen and a keyboard. How'ere, I am supported by going to poetry nights or open mics for writers and can listen to their works and their thoughts. They inspire me with their creativity and bravery to keep going and speak up myself. Letting out your inner voice onto paper and then into a mic is one of the best feelings ever.

Who encourages/inspires you?

My mate, Harry and my daughter Jesse and my fans encourage me. Their words and their reactions to my words and writings keep me going. Life experiences, and old folk tales inspire me.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

The Merlinian Legend is my second book. I now have three books out with my latest book just being released this week.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I am self-published mostly because I am also already a traveling renaissance faire musician with the duo, Merry Mischief and have a website, fan base, blog spots and mechanisms in place to sell all kinds of product. I also do not possess the time, patience and willingness to submit all the queries, gather the traditional rejection letters that all authors must receive, nor did I want an editor to change main characters or decide my cover art. I love self-publishing because I can do what I want, when I want and how I want. My finished product is what I dream it to be.

What are your future plans for writing? 

My plan is to keep cranking out books. My goal is to be at festivals and faires, with patrons finding that one of my books is just right for them, and my booth is having something for everyone.

There will probably be a children's book, a pirate book, a self help book, mayhaps a book about magick. I don't want to get pigeon-holed into any particular genre. I'd like to try them all on for size and continue new ways of expression! I'd like to continue writing until I can't do it anymore, Gods willing and the creek don't rise.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process Merlyn! We wish you all the best with your future books and your musical career!