End Of Year Book Survey 2012

Usually, I do a top 5 list of books I’ve read in the past year. This year, however, I couldn’t resist joining in with this survey that Hanna seems addicted to, especially considering I’ve actually read enough books to adequately answer the questions for the first time in my life! So here’s my year in reading.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas hands down. It’s a high fantasy with a strong female protagonist who can look pretty and kick some arse at the same time with somewhat of a love triangle which doesn’t interfere with the story whatsoever. To top it off, I was even quoted in the book! Though I can’t find my quote in my copy, I have seen a picture and that was awesome, especially in my favourite book of the year.

I would like to give an honourable mention to The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson which is taking me forever to read because I keep stopping and starting but it’s wowed me completely, I just haven’t finished it yet.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke, I mean come on! It’s a novel about dragon shapeshifters!! It just kind of fell flat for me.. It was predictable and didn’t excite me the way I expected it would. It was okay, just a bit.. meh.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?

I think White Wedding by Milly Johnson. Looking at the covers and blurbs, I’ve always expected average local stories of troubled romance and lifestyle troubles, and while I wasn’t far off, White Wedding proved to be far from average. It was a completely delightful read which I was sad to see end. Definitely took me by surprise and cemented me as a firm Milly Johnson fan.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Oh yeesh. Err.. Well I always recommend Morganville which comes across as yet another average, or even bad, teen vampire romance but turned out to be far from it. I seem to have made it my blogger’s mission to convert as many people as possible into Morganville fans.

After that, Throne of Glass. It probably won’t appeal to adult epic fantasy readers, but I think every fantasy reader should give this one a try. It might surprise you.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Alex Craft! I adored Grave Witch and Grave Dance. The mixture of Witches, Faeries, ghosts, reapers and the way it all mingles and separates.. I loved it! And every supernatural type has so many variations and Alex is such an anomaly, she’s amazing. I was worried she’d be another “independent woman” type but she so wasn’t. She has her moments but she knows when she needs help from her friends.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
  • Rachel Vincent. I finally read the Soul Screamers series this year and I’m very much excited to get started on her other two series.
  • Catherynne M. Valente. Author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making I fell in love with her imagination and must read everything by her.
  • Milly Johnson. I’ve already discussed why I love her, her Christmas novel A Winter Flame proved to me that White Wedding wasn’t just a fluke. I’ve already started gathering her other novels and I won’t stop. Her books leave me feeling so happy.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I’m gonna go with chick lit. I read my first chick lit in years last December and was surprised to find, as a big fantasy reader, that I adored every moment. I carried on in January as those first two were Christmassy reads and still found I loved every moment even with a regular chick lit. Seems I like the humour, the predictable and safe romances, and the warm, happy feeling I get when I read them. While I have to read chick lit in small doses, it’s definitely a new genre for me.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

If I Die by Rachel Vincent, fifth of the Soul Screamers. Oh my god. I still haven’t reviewed this one but I could not stop reading. And why is a spoiler!!

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Throne of Glass… Perhaps not in 2013, we’ll see. But I need to read it again!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

   

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Myrnin. C’mon – he’s Myrnin!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Shop of Her Own Making is a modern fairytale which lovingly caresses that which it is emulating. It’s odd and charming throughout. Beautiful.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan and When I Fall in Love by Miranda Dickinson both made me stop and think about my life and how I am living it and what could I do differently. Cupcake Café made me think more about doing what you love rather than ‘making do’, whereas When I Fall in Love made me think more about life. How to really live.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Unf.. I’ll have to say The Way of Kings here. Sure I only bought it at the very tail end of 2011 but it’s truly amazing and I can’t believe I waited this long to pick it up. I’ve overall focused way too much on review books this year which makes this a very difficult question to answer.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

Oh I have the worst memory ever, I don’t tend to remember passages/quotes I’ve enjoyed offhand.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

The shortest was Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent, one of the Soul Screamers novellas which I couldn’t resist squeezing in for some extra Soul Screamer goodness. This clocked in at about 62 pages and took me barely any time to read.

The longest is Way of Kings at 1001 pages (I’m currently on page 648 as I write this) but as I say, I still haven’t finished so perhaps the latest Morganville which is about 530 pages, or Watermelon by Marian Keyes which I can’t remember the length just the size of it.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

If I Die by Rachel Vincent!! I started rambling about it to Dan I was that desperate to speak to somebody. He didn’t care in the slightest but I had to talk!!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
  • Claire and Myrnin’s friendship always makes me happy.
  • Another one I’d mention is a spoiler so I’ll not go there.
  • I think Elsie’s relationship with her dad in When I Fall in Love takes the biscuit. It’s so heartwarming, in fact, reminding me of my relationship with my dad in some ways. The way she gets on so easily with him and the way he loves his daughter.
  • An honourable mention to Lucien the Fallen Angel and Lalael the Angel in In The End by Alexandra Rowland.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine, the most recent Morganville. I seriously can’t get enough of this series and sod it, it’s really about time I started on the Weather Warden series. I haven’t disliked a Rachel Caine series yet.. I say series rather than book because I have disliked a couple of the Morganvilles.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Erm.. there actually haven’t been any. Every book I’ve read this past year I’ve read because it appealed to me, or because many, many people recommended it as being amazing. None I have read based solely on somebody else’s recommendation BUT there are a few on my shelves and my Kindle so perhaps next year.

My Top 5

  1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  2. If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) by Rachel Vincent
  3. Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) by Rachel Caine
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. White Wedding by Milly Johnson

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

All of them. :3 No.. err.. Kingdom by Anderson O’Donnell. He’s a great guy and an amazing author and every time I’ve gone to pick his book up I’ve been adoring it and then kaput goes my mood for Science Fiction. I’m not sure when, but I will read it in 2013. Sidenote: Congratulations for getting into Kirkus’ Top 25 Indie Books of 2012!!!!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

With All my Soul by Rachel Vincent. The end of Before I Wake? I NEEED to know what happens!! But also looking forward to reading some of my own books, particularly some of the epic fantasy.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Back down on review books and read more of what I want to read. Read some classics, some epic fantasy, some gifts and spur of the moment charity shop purchases. In blogging, I’d like to bring in an active co-blogger to help me out when I get into a slump. This is my New Year’s Resolution and I’m really crossing my fingers that I’ll keep to it.

Happy new year!

Challenge Sign-Ups 2013

I’m trying to go challenge-lite this year as I overdid it a tad last year. Though that’s not to say I was entirely unsuccessful I just thought of them more as “well I’ll be reading that genre anyway so why not?” than as challenges. So here are a small handful of challenges for myself. If you’re interested, the buttons link to the sign up pages and there are more on the challenge page for a little while that I had been considering also.

My 2013 Sign-Ups

The New Year’s Resolutions Challenge is actually an idea I had had. I found Livia had set it up before I’d even considered any sort of ground rules and figured I’d be best off joining rather than hosting, especially after my miserable excuse for a challenge in 2012!

My 2013 Resolutions
  • Focus less on books for review and more on what I want to read. There is so much out there that I have never read but didn’t have time over the past couple of years because I was so heavily focused on review books so this year I’m planning to try some of these must reads.
  • Read more epic fantasy, classics, and more of what I fancy at the time. Don’t let myself feel like I have to read a certain genre when I’m not in the mood, that’s how reading slumps happen. Just read for the pure joy of it. Become more well read in the genres I love.
  • Get writing. I want to be a published author, I now have the privacy and the laptop to take advantage of it with, it’s time to get writing seriously this year.

I’ve always wanted to take a look at the “must reads” lists and this could be the perfect opportunity. I’ve read a small handful of them but nowhere near enough. This challenge focuses on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, but there are many, many other lists including BBC Big Reads and the newer Goodreads 100-Fiction, both of which I imagine would have a lot of crossover, so I shall take a look and get around to some of those books I have always meant to get around to. Three birds with one stone! These following books aren’t a definite list but are books I’ll be considering reading in 2013.

A Handful I’d Like To Read (Finally)

I may make a page for the 1001 featured that I have read and have yet to read to keep track but for now, here’s a few I particularly want to aim to get around to soon.

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murukami
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Not On 1001 But On The Others And Should Be

While I’m not reading these for the 1001 challenge as I’m sure that’s technically cheating, they come under the ‘must read’ category and feature on the other two lists I’ve linked up.. and I really should read them.

  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Magician by Raymond E Feist
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

This one will have a lot of tie-in with other challenges I’ve signed up to, but it also has specific goals of its’ own.

  • A 19th Century Classic
  • A 20th Century Classic
  • A Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic
  • A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience - This can be an African-American author, or a book relating to slavery, civil rights, or African-American culture.
  • A Classic Adventure
  • A Classic that prominently features an Animal This can feature animal characters or animals in the title (real or imagined)

I’ll try to choose these from the 1001 Books list, which shouldn’t be too hard, or the other ‘must read’ lists.

There are a fair few challenges that focus on choosing books based on finding certain keywords within titles and I love the sound of all of them but in the end decided that What’s in a Name would suit me and my other challenges the best. All it asks you to do is read six books, one in each of the following categories.

  • A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title: Deep down True, The Girl Below, The Diva Digs up the Dirt
  • A book with something you’d find in your kitchen in the title: Loose Lips Sink Ships, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Breadcrumbs
  • A book with a party or celebration in the title: A Feast for Crows, A Wedding in Haiti, Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness
  • A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Burning for Revenge, Fireworks over Toccoa, Catching Fire
  • A book with an emotion in the title: Baltimore Blues, Say You’re Sorry, Dreams of Joy
  • A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: The Book of Lost Fragrances, The World We Found, A Discovery of Witches

Amanda and Kelly hosted (correct me if I’m wrong) a mini challenge during the Summer to catch up on series we’ve started but not yet finished. Well I didn’t have time at that point to join in but with my New Years Resolutions, I want to focus more on the books I want to read. And that means catching up on my series. I may look at some series that I haven’t yet started but here are the few I’ve started and not gotten around to continuing with yet.

  • Tawny Man/Fool’s Trilogy by Robin Hobb. – I’ve read book one, need to read two and three and finish this one off!
  • Sookie Stackhouse (aka True Blood) by Charlaine Harris. – I’m partway through book four and would love to finally catch up here.
  • Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger – Have read book one, Soulless, and own 2, 3, 4, and 5 but haven’t had chance to get back to it.
  • Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – Another I have read book one of. Started book two, own 3 and 4 as well, would like to catch up.
  • Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – Again, I read book one, haven’t read 2 or 3.
  • Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong – I’m starting to feel like a broken record but this is why I’ve signed up for this challenge. I’ve been collecting the rest of the series slowly knowing I’ll read them and haven’t yet.
  • Assassin’s Rising series by S.B. Sebrick. – This is a self published epic fantasy series that I shall be reviewing in the new year. I have book two to get started on and there are 1 or 2 others after that one as well, would really like to see where Sebrick’s series goes.
  • Alex Craft by Kalayna Price – I still have to read book three and get hold of book four when it’s released. Adore this series.
  • Songs of Magic by J.L. Bryan – So much fun! I have 2, 3, and 4 to read here and intend to.
I’ll be going for the “Semi-serious” level in series started before and in 2013 though that’s not to say I won’t end up doing more.

Now hosted by Kelly and Amanda (who I am fairly sure are joined at the hip by now), I’m once again signing up to Why Buy the Cow? Why? Well… you see how many freebies I pick up month after month! I have hundreds sat unread and I’d really like to finally read a few of them. I pick them up for a reason after all. I failed pretty miserably last year totalling just 1 freebie read, so this year I’m determined to do better. I just don’t read very fast and I’m not good at reading through noise and distractions. Still! The minimum is 12 and I’ll do my darned best to get there. This is my freebie list which I occasionally rearrange for funsies.

So: 6 this year! Let’s see what I can do with these. How many challenges are you signing up for this year and which ones?

Wibbley Wobbley Timey Wimey Stuff — My How it Flies!

Well I say. Where did you guys all go for so long? Because I’ve certainly not been absent with neither explanation nor reason for the past few months.1

Just how long has it been anyway? I suppose I should go check that August!? Nuh-uh. I don’t believe that for a second. Although I suppose that time would sort of make sense; it was not too much before then that I was thrust into a rather horrifying late shift at work which managed to eliminate any and all practical me-time.

Hannah will be looking at bringing another body on board in the new year and this is a fantastic idea. I’m currently back to early shifts — well, actually I’m off work for two and a bit weeks, booyah! — but who knows how long that will last for!

All that said, I have managed to read the odd thing here and there throughout breaks at work and in the time between head hitting the pillow and eyelids hitting the, um, eye bottoms?

So here are some of the things I’ve read between then and now (i.e., the ones I can actually recall), some of these might even get proper reviews!2

  •  First Lord’s Fury (Codex Alera #6 and Final) by Jim Butcher
    Quite enjoyed this whole series; more than I thought I would given the series was essentially based on a challenge accepted to write something entertaining based on Pokemon and a Lost Roman Legion.
  • The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2) by Brent Weeks
    Want more. Moooore. If you’re roughly a century old — in internet years — you may recall that I rather quite liked the first Lightbringer book. This one was no different. Well… It had different words. I just mean that they were also pretty good!3
  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) and King of Thorns (The Broken Empire #2) by Mark Lawrence
    Hmm. I liked these volumes; quite a unique take on… I’m not even sure I can call it fantasy, but I suppose it still is. Takes grim to whole new levels though. I think Lawrence realised that it may have been slightly overdone in the first book as the second makes some (small) efforts to lighten the tone somewhat.

And that is all the stuff I’ve read in the interim that I can currently recall.

Right now I’m reading Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I told myself I was going to hold off on this one until the final volume — A Memory of Light — was released, and I was doing fairly well at keeping to it too.4

Then… Then my Kindle broke.5

I saw this sitting on the shelf, all lonesome and dust-collectingy and now here I am reading physical books capable of double-tasking as wheel stops for trucks and small aircraft.

I’m not particularly far into it yet, but it’s already got me rather quite excited. Sanderson is a great author, I knew that already to be sure, but his contributions to the Wheel of Time series are nothing short of phenomenal so far. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a review of this one out once done. :)

In any case, that’s enough from me for another few months now! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and will have an excellent New Year. :)


  1. This statement may or may not be true 

  2. You can imagine me saying yes while shaking my head Noooo here. 

  3. In fact, if any of these books on my past-reads list would change my head shake from a ‘No’ to a slightly more circular/possibly actually ‘Yes’ motion it’d be this one. 

  4. Not actually too far off though it seems, Amazon has listed A Memory of Light’s release date as Jan 8th 2013! At least for the Hardcover edition… Hm… Wonder if my wrists are up to the task? 

  5. I’ll likely be replacing it with a flash new Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon vouchers received for Christmas :)  

Make Believe Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

This tour stop is ever so slightly different. Make Believe is an anthology featuring stories influenced by its cover image, however, I am a part of Terri Rochenski’s tour and as such am going to be promoting the anthology for her. Read on for my thoughts!

Make Believe – Fantasy Anthology

Publication date: 3rd December 2012

Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski

An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.

With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.

Goodreads.

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Amazon UK | All Romance  |  Diesel eBooks | Books on Board

Author Bio

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.

Website | Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads

[Review] Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski

The Make Believe anthology focuses on stories inspired by the cover art, the catch: no Red Riding Hood tales, and the story must have a happy ending. A dozen different scenarios pop into my head just from a glance so you can imagine the variety included within the anthology.

Terri Rochenski’s publishing debut is within Make Believe. You’ve seen the blurb above so I don’t need to go on about the story itself which played out well, though the ending felt a little like a deus ex machina however it was a nice ending so I won’t complain, especially when you consider Terri’s talented writing. I very much can’t wait for her newly contracted fantasy series with J. Taylor Publishing in 2013! This little taster for Terri Rochenski has convinced me of her worth as a fantasy author. Watch out for this one, guys.

Giveaways

This giveaway is hosted by Terri but you can enter on Once Upon A Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also win an ebook of Make Believe right here. Check out not only Terri’s publishing debut, but the other talented authors in the anthology too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberley Richardson Blog Tour: Guest Post

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson - Mythic Fiction

Mabon:

What would you do if you discovered that your dreams were real? Monica had no idea that moving to the small town of Mabon would be the answer to her prayers, and yet so much more…

Pomegranate:

Alexandra has it all: a great job, a wonderful husband, and very few worries in the world. Yet, when a black clad stranger enters her life, she is suddenly thrust into a world of myths and legends all contained in the skin of an infamous fruit.

Goodreads.

Amazon (UK|US) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The Decembrists by Kimberly Richardson - Modern Gothic

Sophie Joyce, a young writer, soon becomes a part of best selling author Hilliard Ravensdale’s elitist world. Yet, what she desperately wants comes at a terrible price, revealing a secret from Hilliard’s past that will threaten to destroy them both. Award-winning author Kimberly Richardson turns her literary eye to the world of sex, control, uprisings, secrets, and lies, all wrapped within a story worthy to be called modern Gothic.

Goodreads.

Amazon (UK|US) | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio

After found as an infant crawling among books in an abandoned library, Kimberly Richardson grew up to become an eccentric woman with a taste for jazz, drinking tea, reading books, speaking French and Japanese, playing her violin and writing stories that cause people to make the strangest faces. Her first book, Tales From a Goth Librarian, was published through Kerlak Publishing and named a Finalist in both the USA Book News Awards for Fiction: Short Story for 2009 and the International Book Awards for Fiction: Short Story in 2010. Ms. Richardson is also the Editor of the award winning Steampunk anthology Dreams of Steam, the award winning sequel, Dreams of Steam II: Of Brass and Bolts, and the upcoming Dreams of Steam III, all published through Kerlak Publishing. Other short stories and poetry by Ms. Richardson have been published through Sam’s Dot Publishing, Midnight Screaming and FootHills Publishing. Her first full-length novel, The Decembrists (Kerlak Publishing), will be out in 2012. Her other book, Mabon and Pomegranate (Kerlak Publishing), will be out in 2012 as well.

Website | Blog | Facebook

Yarrow by Charles DeLint

In my book Mabon/Pomegranate, characters Monica and Alexandra live out their lives as best they can until someone or something informs them that there is more than what meets the eye. There is another world, simultaneous to our human one, filled with shadows, myths, and places waiting to be discovered; all they have to do is take that first step and down the rabbit hole they go. Charles De Lint’s works are like that as well; in the fictional city of Newford, anything is possible. Here is a review of one of my favourite books by De Lint entitled Yarrow. I hope that you will read this book and discover the magick as well.

Within the masses of the sci-fi and fantasy literary genre, there is one author who stands out as the master of the urban fantasy tale and that is Charles De Lint. His stories give us a clear insight into the world we know of and the world that lies just beyond the veil. He is most known for his stories about the fictional city of Newford and the inhabitants of that city who stumble, quite literally, into the Otherworld, a realm populated by elves, dragons, twin girls that change into ravens, and the like. His book, Yarrow, is no exception but instead the epitome of his extraordinary talent of not only as a writer but a “record keeper” of the Otherworld.

“Old ghosts lived behind Cat Midhir’s eyes, memories that had no home until they came to haunt her.” So begins the story of writer Caitlin Midhir, a woman who is a best selling fantasy novelist but also a recluse in her city. She has very few friends, no lovers, but a wealth of information that leads her to write novel after novel of extraordinary creatures and beings, giving a source of escape and joy to her readers. However, there is a catch: these stories do not come from her imagination but rather from the Otherworld itself; while asleep, Cat “travels” to the Otherworld to spend time with her strange friends and then writes down the stories and legends given to her by a poet-bard named Kothlen. All is going well until one night when a dark and evil presence begins to steal her dreams, thereby cutting her off from the only world she ever knew. For months, she cannot write a single world nor is she able to visit her special place. The thief, a more-than-human being named Lysistratus, enters the city to steal people’s dreams as well as their souls, giving him the essence he desires to continue existing. He, through his own feeding and later carelessness, brings several characters from both the real world and the Otherworld to, unknowingly, fight the creature to get their dreaming back. But at the center of it all is Cat who must overcome her own insecurities and fears to recognize her own strength as both a writer and a goddess of the Otherworld named Mynfel who share the same secret name, Yarrow, which means “Heal-All”.

I have been a fan of Mr. de Lint’s work with each book brining me closer and closer to the Otherworld with his lyrical and descriptive stories and Yarrow proves to be no different. Although I read the 255 page novel in three hours, it felt as though I, too, traveled with Cat and her friends to assist in getting my own dreams back. We live in a world of metal with everything around us promising something new, something faster, something better for our lives. Mr. de Lint, however, tells us of something that is even greater: a chance to dream and a chance to believe. Yarrow is full of hope and conquering one’s own limitations, to see what lies beyond and to understand that it is real no matter what others might say. We are given a choice in his works: do we continue with our daily lives that possibly lack colour and imagination, or do we take a chance to peer behind the veil and begin our exploration into a new and strange world?

I have made my decision. Have you?

Clock Rewinders #23 – It’s Christmas!

Clock Rewinders is the brain-child of Tara from 25-Hour Books and Amanda from On A Book Bender, showcasing the past week on the blog, in the blogosphere, books, the weird and the wonderful.

There are only a few days left until Christmas and right now I am most likely in a van fighting travel sickness during a 230 mile journey back home to Leicester – but it’s Christmas! So I thought I’d do a little Christmas-themed Clock Rewinders before I go.

The Past Week at Once Upon A Time

And a little note. Apologies for the captcha in the comments but I was getting a ridonkulous amount of spam and it was starting to slip through. Giving a plugin a trial run but I’ve chosen a cute little one rather than the scary “AGH CAN’T READ IT MY EYES” one. Here’s the kind of thing you should see:

If you don’t and it won’t let you post, please please let me know. On Twitter, through the contact form, however you want, but I’d like to keep my blog working.

Link Love

I haven’t had chance to keep up on the blogosphere this week but I have found some great articles and such that I really wanted to share with you guys so ta-da, all combined into one.

  • Bout of Books 6.0 Sign Up!! I still haven’t because I suck but I am joining in, of course, I always join this read-a-thon.
  • The fantabulous Stephen Zimmer (whose Twitter party this past week was epic fun) wrote a guest post entitled Healthy Approaches to Life in Today’s Publishing Climate. I haven’t had chance to read this one yet but I have a lot of interest in the world of publishing and thought it a good idea to share.
  • Terri Rochenski (whose blog tour I am participating in in a few days time) has had her fantasy series contracted with J. Taylor Publishing! I very much can’t wait to see what she has for offer after reading her short story in the Make Believe anthology.
  • I’ve become a lot more active on the Fantasy Faction forums over the past few days and while browsing came across a member sharing her blog with tips on becoming a better writer by recording. This is actually a fantastic idea which I will most definitely try if I can remember to note down well written sentences.
  • Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed me having a big old rant about the misrepresentation of women in fantasy when I was just trying to find a piece of fanart featuring a strong woman who wasn’t skimpily dressed. When that proved next to impossible I went on a rampage and ended up finding an article on the five most influential women in epic fantasy.
  • And a nice story all about bringing the joy of reading to people who previously did not have it. Kindles for children in Africa.

A few Christmassy links.

  • Over at Fantasy Faction there’s an article entitled Fantastic and Forgotten Christmas Stories. It’s a truly great read, I recommend you check it out if you have any interest in the history of Christmas.
  • Erm.. I can’t remember exactly how I came across this one but the 90 year old actor, Sir Christopher Lee, has released a Christmas themed heavy metal album. Win.
  • Seanan McGuire’s guest post at Nocturnal Book Reviews entitled Christmas at the Prices is pretty epic plus there’s a giveaway. Win/win!
Freebie Christmas

Well it’s Christmas and we love reading so hows about some Christmas freebies for some light reading over the next couple of days?

Note: All books listed were free at the time of posting, make sure you check the prices before purchasing!

            

My Week

We saw The Hobbit! That’s all I feel like saying. It was amazing and I want to see it again. And finally read all the Tolkien.

Search Terms
  • bunny slippers for men
  • muller rice pudding
  • muller rice original review – you guys really like muller rice, eh?
  • good for reading and nothing else
  • noel cat -
What Am I Reading?

Finished: Almost there with The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson!
Started: Make Believe anthology
What Next? Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Incoming

I got a bit of library loot. Fevre Dream for the Fantasy Faction book club, I also reserved Clash of Kings so I can finally read the Song of Ice and Fire series, the other two.. well.. I can’t go into a library without browsing. I’m weak. Hoping to use the library a little more this year.

I’d list everything else, I’ve found a fair few freebies and you guys have spoiled me (love you forever, you know who you are) but I shall tell you about Christmas loot after Christmas.

In the New Year I’ll be looking for a new co-blogger. Naithin is way too busy and I’m really struggling to keep the blog going on my own so I would love a little help. If you’re interested or know anybody who might be, feel free to get in touch. :)

[Guest Post] SM Boyce: How to Develop a Realistic Setting for Your Novel & Giveaway

Boyce’s novel, Lichgates  (Grimoire Trilogy #1), is free from December 21 – 23. Go grab yours now!

Lichgates (The Grimoire Trilogy #1) by S.M. Boyce – Fantasy

Publication date: 15th October 2011

The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it…and Kara Magari is its next target.

Kara has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking along a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she’s thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying beings that all want the Grimoire’s secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most of them want to control the new-found power the Grimoire bestows upon her.

Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known in life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book—-one question that can fix everything in his broken life—-and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.

There’s no escaping Ourea.

Author Bio

S.M. Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction novelist who also dabbles in contemporary fiction and comedy. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries, and she updates her blog a few times each week to keep you entertained.

Connect with Boyce

Website | Blog | Advice for Writers

Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Pinterest | Youtube

Goodreads Page | Amazon Page

Fantasy World Building: How to Develop a Realistic Setting for Your Novel

A great friend of mine, Jen McConnel, asked me to talk about world building and how I do it.

Because of the heavy high fantasy influences I’ve had in my writing career, I tend to give the setting a fair amount of detail. I do my best to keep it as secondary, but many tell me the worlds I create become characters all their own. That’s one heck of a compliment, right?

In my opinion, setting is crucial to a novel. It establishes the where and settles the reader into the novel by giving them a concrete location. With a stable setting, the reader can dream as big as they want and let the characters move through what is for all intents and purposes a real place. The background becomes solid, and in making the setting as realistic as possible, the author lets the characters take ownership of the space.

The process of world building itself is incredibly complex and subject to massive rewrites and revisions. It’s all about finding a balance between too much and too little description. Fact is, you’ll never make everyone happy. I hear reviewers say the setting was perfect just as often as I hear others complain the description went on too long. So I do what makes me happy.

Step One

When I sit down to create a place, I’ve already daydreamed about it. I’ve pulled in my past experiences or looked up amazing pictures (which you can see on my Pinterest boards “Swipes  & Ideas,” “Creature Swipes,” and “Character Swipes”). I’ve let my mind wander, and I have a sense of what it looks like. If you’re going to build a world, you need to already have an idea of how all its pieces fit together. That’s step one.

Step Two

Step two in world building is to start out small. Plan out how you’ll introduce your bits of the world and plan out why each bit of the world matters. You may not talk about every nook and cranny, but you should know about them. Realistic writing comes from understanding even details that are never shared.

If you’re building an entirely new world like I do in Lichgates (Grimoire Trilogy #1), you can’t info dump. Telling the reader all about this crazy world all at once in the first chapter will make them slam the book closed. Don’t inundate the reader; spread it out instead. Let the characters visit the various places in your world and explore it with the reader. Have a character who knows all about the world join up with one who doesn’t—having this dynamic will prompt dialogue that explores the nuances that aren’t visible to the naked eye, like the land’s history (or city’s, or whatever). It lets the reader learn along with the character.

Step Three

Step three to building your world is to sit down and actually write out your first draft. It’s okay if it sucks. The point is to get it out.

Visualize the location, right down to any movement within it. Ask questions. If you’re in a forest, what do you see? Are the trees close together, or separated?  What’s on the ground? What kind of canopy do you see—green leaves, fall colors, or dead limbs? Are there animals? If so, what kind? If not, why not? Are your characters taking a path, or are they wandering, lost?

Write the details as your narrator—not you—would notice them. Use cues from all five senses to bring about action, rather than just describing the world. So instead of describing the red and yellow leaves on the forest floor, describe the crunch they make under your narrator’s boots as he runs through the woods. Show us how a gust kicks them up, and how the wind’s biting chill races down the nape of his neck.

I heard someone tell me I used too much “telling” in my world building, and I’m sorry, but I laughed. That debate is so old. That’s a whole other post, but you’ll need to balance showing and telling in your world building, and that is why I bring it up. Visual cues will obviously be telling, and frankly, you’ll see mostly telling while establishing your setting. I mean, don’t get carried away with it or anything. “The woods were dense” is just weak. But, you can tell us how the trees congregated close together. Use active verbs, and you’ll make your writing both strong and interesting.

Continue to build the setting. Take risks. Let it interact with your characters as much as they interact with it. Let it breathe, and I think you’ll be impressed with what you create.

Step Four

Rewrite. And rewrite. And tweak. And rewrite again. Sigh deeply. Repeat.

That’s how I work, anyway.

First drafts are typically pretty bad. Don’t let that discourage you. As you build your world, it will teach you things. It will grow and develop, and your subconscious will uncover new nooks and crannies  you hadn’t realized existed.

Grab Boyce’s Books

Lichgates

Grab Your Copy:

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Buy the Paperback

Bonus Features

Goodreads | Book Trailer | VIP List 

 Win a guest appearance in Heritage (The Grimoire Trilogy #3)

Treason

Grab Your Copy:

Amazon: USA | UK | Germany |  France | Spain | Italy

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Bonus Features

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Win a guest appearance in Heritage (The Grimoire Trilogy #3)

Giveaway

To celebrate her free book day, the solstice, the end of the world, and a myriad of other things, S. M. Boyce is also offering a giveaway with winner’s choice between two beautiful hand-wrapped pendants.

You can choose between this Royal Green Agate pendant and this vivid Natural Blue Onyx pendant. They’re wrapped with sterling silver wire, and each handmade pendant is inspired by Boyce’s Grimoire Trilogy. Make sure you enter to win! The winner will be announced next week. What an awesome way to start off the new year, right?

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Vine Blog Tour: Michael Williams Q&A

Vine: An Urban Legend by Michael Williams - Mythic Fiction

Publication date: 28th March 2012

Amateur theatre director Stephen Thorne plots a sensational production of a Greek tragedy in order to ruffle feathers in the small city where he lives. Accompanied by an eccentric and fly-by-night cast and crew, he prepares for opening night, unaware that as he unleashes the play, he has drawn the attention of ancient and powerful forces.

Michael Williams’ Vine weds Greek Tragedy and urban legend with dangerous intoxication, as the drama rushes to its dark and inevitable conclusion.

Goodreads.

Amazon (UK|US) | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio

Michael Williams was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Much of his childhood was spent in the south central part of the state, amid red dirt, tobacco farms, and murky legends of Confederate guerillas. He has spent a dozen years in various parts of the world, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, with stopovers in Ireland and England, and emerged from the experience surprisingly unscathed.

Upon returning to the Ohio River Valley, he has published a series of novels of increasing oddness,combinations of what he characterizes as “gothic/historical fiction/fantasy/sf/redneck magical realism” beginning with Weasel’s Luck (1988) and Galen Beknighted (1990), the critically acclaimed Arcady (1996) and Allamanda (1997), and, most recently, Trajan’s Arch (2010). His new novel Vine will be released this summer.

He lives in Corydon, Indiana with his wife, Rhonda, and a clowder of cats.

Blog | Facebook

Author Q&A

Hello Michael! Welcome to Once Upon A Time. :)

Thank you! It’s a pleasure to join you!

So, mythic fiction. What initiated your interest in this genre?

Tolkien, who initiated my interest in pretty much everything (I’d probably be inanimate were it not for Lord of the Rings). I first opened the book at 14, while bedfast in a summer of a sports back injury. The book was perfect: I loved myth and fairy tale to begin with, and was swept away by how you make that stuff into a novel. It was a wedding of my favorite worlds.

It occurred to me (much later, mind you: I wasn’t sophisticated at 14, but forty years later, I’m marginally more hip) that we were like the Greeks in this—that our poets and novelists made the myths we might live by. You see it all the time in popular cinema, don’t you? How people shape their dialogue, their posture, sometimes their lives, by what they see on screen? It’s disastrous sometimes: Americans elected Reagan (which I think was pretty much a disaster) because they’d seen him in movies. But that was a yearning for myth as well, I think, and that yearning is very human, very understandable. We like those people, those stories, that connect us to the large currents in life, and that’s what myth did for the ancients, largely. It’s what our fictions do for us.

Sometimes they do it more directly than other times. After Tolkien, I went on to read Robert Graves, who ”novelized” many of the Greek myths that I loved. Then more indirect, but still mythic fiction, like Robertson Davies or Robert Holdstock. I think that the intersection of myth and modern fiction is that place where story resonates the most richly.

Do you have any (other?) notable influences, whether other authors or something else entirely?

When I’m working, I’m generally in conversation with ancient writers. Pulling a seat up to the table, hoping to learn something from them. So although Tolkien remains my major influence (even when my work no longer looks like his) I draw on other reading as well. My world is largely a world of books.

For Vine, I wanted to try my hand at a Greek tragedy. Had the disadvantage of not being (or writing) Greek, not to mention being born a couple of millennia too late. Instead of lamenting the impossibilities, I finally decided to write a tragedy anyway. As you might imagine, my “notable influences” in this undertaking were Sophocles and Euripides. Now, nobody plots a story with the power and leanness that these guys did, so when I was crafting my own plot, I decided it would be far more effective to steal one of theirs.

I see you’ve travelled a lot! How has this impressed upon your writing?

You know, I’ve done a bunch of interviews, and you’re the first to ask me that! Which is strange, because travel is such a powerful shaping of a writer’s perspective and vision. I think Americans especially need to travel more: we tend to think of the rest of the world as simply a place where people haven’t yet learned to behave and talk like us, and it’s to our discredit, to our impoverishment, that we cop that attitude. Passing through a place where the assumptions are different is a great schooling for a writer. Especially a novelist, who is asked to adopt (and to sympathize with) many perspectives, many points of view. You can get that from simply moving or traveling in another region of your home country, but I think it’s most striking when you venture abroad.

I also think that feeling itinerant is important. That when you get a sense that you’re only in a place for a while, you tend to take it less for granted, your attention sharpens and expands. So the places I’ve lived and visited factor into my work, yes, but mostly it’s an attitude, a way of being, that you learn from being elsewhere.

What would you do if you attracted the attention of ancient and powerful forces?

Faced with a similar situation, what the Greeks basically did was sacrifice something and duck for cover. It sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? As a matter of fact, that whole grisly possibility rears its head in Vine, but I’ll slide around the spoilers and put you through 200 pages of fiction.

Nevertheless, ducking and sacrificing might still work. Not goats—there’s something sardonic about them that I rather like. Our back yard in Indiana has suffered an intrusion of squirrels. Rats with pretty tails and good publicity, and I hate false respectability. Perhaps…

And finally, how about an anecdote?

Here’s the one I usually tell. I’ve dined on it a couple of times, so why not again?

I was at a book signing once, back in my Dragonlance days, and a young man came up to me with the announcement that he didn’t like a short story I had written in one of the numerous Dragonlance anthologies. I asked him why he felt that way, and his reply was, “Gnomes wouldn’t behave that way in real life.”

You’ve got to love that. Got to love that kid.

Cover Lover #13

Cover Lover features covers that catch my eye in some way, whether good or bad, and you’re very welcome to steal the header image and join in yourself. Link up your posts at the bottom. And yes, that is a rather naff rainbow-heart.

I thought I’d go for a Christmassy cover this week and this one has to be my favourite of Christmas 2012. The colours and simple image grab my eye and give off such a Christmas feeling, plus it gets the song in my head which is actually really relaxing. I only wish I’d been able to read and review it!

Goodreads.

An absorbing novel about family, love and friendship from the bestselling author of Last Christmas.

With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia, Cat Tinsall has plenty to juggle. When her eldest daughter, Mel, starts going off the rails, Cat has even more on her plate.

Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full. When Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down.

Balancing her job as a school teacher with twins and her step-son Steven isn’t easy for Marianne North. With her husband’s ex causing trouble, life is getting even trickier.

As Cat, Pippa and Marianne help each other through a difficult year, they’re all hoping for a much brighter Christmas.

What do you think? Do you have a favourite cover with a holiday style?



[Review] Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

Spoiler Warning: The following review and/or blurb may contain or does contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

Author: Rachel Caine
Series:
 The Morganville Vampires #13
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Pages: 538
Published: 6th November 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository | Book Finder
Goodreads

First Sentence
“I have a surprise for you,” Oliver said.
Blurb

For years, the human and vampire residents of Morganville, Texas, have managed to co-exist in peace. But now that the threat to the vampires has been defeated, the human residents are learning that the gravest danger they face is the enemy within…

Thanks to the eradication of the parasitic creatures known as the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town’s human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But college student Claire Danvers isn’t about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires.

To make matters worse, a television show comes to Morganville looking for ghosts, just as vampire and human politics collide. Now, Claire and her friends have to figure out how to keep the peace without ending up on the nightly news… or worse.

Thoughts

What happens when just about every enemy that cowed the vampires has been defeated and as your last act, you piss them off? Well of course you lose favour with the most powerful vampire in Morganville and go back to square one, but worse. Living in fear of what lurks in the dark. And the light. See, Eve and Michael’s marriage at the end of Black Dawn didn’t just annoy the vampire population who see a human rising above her station but also the human population who see a human resorting to the lowest thing possible. Siding with them. So once again, the residents of the Glass House have a problem, and as a result Bitter Blood is non-stop. So much happened in this book it was impossible to put it down. We have mayoral elections, chipped ID cards, free hunting passes for vampires, a ghost hunting show in town at the wrong time, and an almost bearable Monica who is running for mayor alongside a new Captain Obvious. Oy. “Only Monica could think Vote for me or I’ll break your leg is a decent campaign slogan.” Morganville has become a distinctly darker place and it’s better than ever.. for us at least.

We still see the story through the different character’s viewpoints which, while handled much better than in Bite Club, I’m still unsure about. I did enjoy seeing inside the mind of Myrnin and really seeing how crazy he is and a little bit of why, but I don’t know. I suppose I like to be kept guessing about some things. Still, Bitter Blood is fantastically written and I don’t exactly fault it for its’ different viewpoints I’m just a little bemused as to why Claire’s narrative is in third person and everybody else’s in the first.

Yet again, a fantastic Morganville installment. I know I keep saying this, and I might say it for Fall of Night too, but Bitter Blood really is the best yet. By the time I’d finished reading I just couldn’t read anything else.

 Other reviews of Bitter Blood can be found on Fiction Vixen and Paranormal Indulgence.

The Morganville Vampires series:

1. Glass Houses
2. The Dead Girls’ Dance
3. Midnight Alley
4. Feast of Fools
5. Lord of Misrule
6. Carpe Corpus
7. Fade Out
8. Kiss Of Death
9. Ghost Town
10. Bite Club
11. Last Breath
12. Black Dawn
13. Bitter Blood
14. Fall of Night
15. Daylighters

Remnants of Life Blog Tour: Guest Post

Remnants of Life is an urban fantasy series with a focus on vampires (sort of) and how the main character deals with becoming one in her afterlife. Interesting premise, no?

Legends of Darkness (Remnants of Life #1) by Georgia L. Jones – Urban Fantasy

Publication date: 13th March, 2012

Dangerous Saviors… What would you do if your life rested in the hands of something that really wanted to eat you? Come journey through the realms of the next world where everything you know about Good and Evil are put to the test.

Samantha Garrett lives and dies a good life in the human world. She awakens a new creature, Samoda, a vampire-like warrior in the army of Nuem. She is forced to realize that she has become a part of a world that humans believe to be only “Legends of Darkness.” Samoda finds her new life is entwined with the age old story of greed, love, betrayal, and vengeance.

Join our heroine as she battles not just for her own existence, but for the entire human race’s future.

Goodreads.

Amazon (UK|US) | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio

Georgia L. Jones was born in Columbia, Missouri on September 21st, 1968. In 1992 she settled in the beautiful Ozarks town of Lebanon, Missouri, where she met and married the love of her life. Together they have raised 7 children and have the 8th still in their home.

At a young age Georgia learned the value of getting lost in a good book. She has always enjoyed reading and letting her imagination run wild. In her early teenage years she began to put her own stories down on paper as she plunked out the words on an old manual typewriter.

In 1996 Georgia enrolled at Missouri State University where she majored in Psychology. While there she found an untamable thirst for Philosophy and Greek Mythology. Many evenings she can still be found curled up with one of the great Greek Tragedy’s or reading about personal continuity by Rene Descarte.

Over the years Georgia has harbored the dream of being a published author and written many short stories. On January 10, 2010 she embarked on the dream as she began to bring the characters from her first novel, “Legends of Darkness”, to life. Upon completion in June 2010 she realized that it was not a single book but a series and created the concept of the series “Remnants of Life”. She is currently working diligently on the “Remnants of Life” series.

Website | Twitter | Author’s Facebook | Samoda’s Facebook

Guest Post

Once upon a time, a London man heard stories of the undead in the Carpathian Mountains. He heard of blood suckers that were labeled as vampires roaming about. He wrote a little book about it, originally titled “The Un-Dead” and at the last minute changed to “Dracula.” In 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published. It was seen as a straight forward horror novel and for its day, I would say it was pretty edgy and fresh. It became a part of pop culture and lives on today. Dracula has been an influence to me as well as many novels that revolve around vampire legend and mythology ever since…

When I was young I fell in love with reading and writing. I have always loved the way it feels to get lost in a book. I have had many inspirations in the writing field. I believe everything I have ever read has inspired me in some way or another. Other than reading there have been many other things that have influenced what and how I write. So let’s dive into my influences in writing and how it all began.

When I started school, I loved it, but I didn’t see any need for reading. I was almost held back in the first grade because I just didn’t want to do it. Parenting techniques were a little different back in the mid 70’s. So we will just say my parents urged me to read and I ended up passing the first grade because they persuaded me to do so and I must admit that I’m very happy they did. Once I got past “See Spot run,” I was thrilled with what I found. There were of course the books about animals from the zoo and other children from here or there in their little cartoon illustrations. It was pure bliss, then…I found Dr. Suess and my imagination really began to soar. I rocketed from blissful reading to hurry up and do my chores so I can go read a book before I ever hit Jr. High.

In Jr. High is when I really remember starting to write more. I had always jotted down things. I have always had this rather odd obsession with paper and pencils. I can’t help it, I just like the way it feels to write, literally. In the seventh grade I had taken the mandatory typing class and once I mastered where the keys were, we had mostly open time in class to type whatever we wanted. That is where I really began to plunk out stories on the old manual typewriter I was assigned, (The electric ones were reserved for the high school). My love of writing was growing. It didn’t matter how I felt I had a story to go along with it.

By the time I was in High School, I was every English teacher’s dream. I loved English, every aspect of it. I enjoyed reading, writing, and learning how to do both better. I had a teacher enter one of my stories in a contest and I won. That particular teacher gave me a lot of encouragement in the area of literature. I had begun to dream of being a published author. I thought realistically that I would go into the area of journalism and then break into writing novels, but, we all know how life happens and my dream had to wait while my young adult life got underway.

Even during my rebellious youth I always had the dream and I wrote very frequently. I was introduced to the writing of Stephen King in my late teens and fell in love with a whole new genre. This was no Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys stories; it was different, dark, mysterious, and addictive. C.S. Lewis and Dr. Seuss had captured my attention with their fantastic stories of places that only a mind could conjure up, but Stephen King opened a Pandora’s box of a different kind. I found myself writing poems and short stories about dark and dreary fantasy things that could steal dreams away. He is probably one of my biggest writing influences. I love his work and ironically we share a birthday. We were both born on September 21st.

Other than writers and just life experience a huge influence for my writing is people in general. I have always enjoyed watching people and their reaction to things. Human behavior is a huge influence, both good and bad. There are so many stories out there just waiting to be told. With a little creativity they can be told in a way that has never before been done. That is goal of mine while writing. I want to write stories that are new.

The Remnants of Life series is the first series I have ever worked on. It started with Legends of Darkness and evolved into the series. Now with the launch of the second book, Witches, I have realized several new things about my writing, inspiration, and my influences. The dream itself has been a huge inspiration, I have just been fortunate enough along the way to have the influences in my path to keep me pursuing it. I owe a great amount of thanks to my family especially my husband for the support that was necessary for me to continue on the path of becoming a published author. I also have been lucky enough to have one friend in particular that has helped me tremendously in my endeavor.

To wrap up my guest post I would like to thank Once Upon a Time for having me as a guest. If you would like to learn more about my writing please visit:
WWW.GEORGIALJONES.COM
WWW.BLACKWYRM.COM

I currently have 3 titles published and available for purchase here are the links for those:

Legends of DarknessWitchesThe Official 2012 Survival Handbook

E-Book versions are exclusively available on Amazon

Each title is available in the print version at online retailers and in bookstores.