22 Feb 2014

Cover Reveal ‘Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Chilling Revelation’ by Paul Cude

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Cover Reveal ‘Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Chilling Revelation’

“Stolen” from http://www.thesoberhockeyplayer.co.uk/

Following his harrowing and near death experience at the talons of the evil dragon Manson in ‘A Threat From The Past’, Peter Bentwhistle, the human shaped dragon and reluctant hero, finds himself on the slow path to recovery.

Helped by his dragon friends, Tank and Richie (both in their human forms), he finds solace in his new found friendship with the dragon king. But the three friends are soon unwittingly drawn into a deadly plot, when a straight forward meeting with the monarch sees them helping an injured dragon agent, straight back from his mission in Antarctica with news of a devastating encounter with another ancient race.

Blackmail, intrigue, forbidden love interests, a near fatal mantra gone wrong, a highly charged rugby match in which Tank takes a beating, combined with enough laminium ball action to please dragons the world over, stretch the bonds of the dragons’ friendship like never before. New friends and ancient enemies clash as the planet braces itself for one of the most outrageous attacks it has ever seen. Lost secrets and untold lore come to light, while sinister forces attempt to steal much coveted magic.

Explosive exploits, interspersed with a chilly backdrop and unexpected danger at every turn, make for an action-packed, electrifying adventure.

‘Snow way you’ll wanna miss this!  A-Chilling-Revelation-Cover-Reduced

Excerpt

With that the king looked away. Flash knew his time was up. It was now or never. With one last look at the semi-naked human dragon, Flash turned and flung himself head first into the icy flowing water.
The mantra that had been cast on him still held, was his first thought, as he tried not to pass out from the pain and shock of the water. His second thought was that it hurt more now, entering the water a second time around.
The light from the cavern subsided as the stream became fully enclosed underground, quickly leaving Flash encased by fast flowing water and bubbles of air. He couldn’t see further than about two feet in front of him. How on Earth was he supposed to see when the stream separated into two parts? Kicking with his feet and flailing about with his arms, he tried as best he could to stay over to the left side of the channel, scraping himself along the side of the icy underground tunnel as he did so.
A sharp right hand bend, followed by a steep drop, sent Flash tumbling head over heels as the freezing water numbed his exhausted body. As he came out of the roll, his face smacked violently into a sharp, vertical piece of rock, right in the middle of the stream.
‘Oh my God,’ thought Flash. ‘This is it! This is the point where the stream separates.’ Scrabbling with his hands, he managed to get a handhold on part of the rock that he’d just banged his face on, realising belatedly that the tumble had moved him to the wrong side of the stream and now he was perilously close to plunging down the right side of the stream, and almost certainly to his… DEATH! He held on for all he was worth, despite the fact that he could barely feel his fingers or hands. The fast flowing torrent of water continued to pulverise his body. He knew that the longer he remained here, the more likely it was that he would be carried to his doom down this side of the stream.
Digging his fingernails into the rock, he used every muscle in his entire body, willing them all to work, despite the pain he felt in each and every one of them. It was working. His head was nearly level with the top of the rock. All he had to do was pull himself up just a little higher and then he could get one arm over the other side and pull himself into the left hand stream’s current. He was concentrating so hard on pulling himself up that he hadn’t noticed the tiny slivers of water that had started to seep through the mantra that held the pocket of air around his head. The surprise of feeling the ice cold water running across his face nearly caused him to lose his grip. Opening his eyes, for they’d been closed as he had willed his muscles on to greater things, he saw that water had started to leak in all around his face.
‘The mantra must be wearing off,’ he thought, totally terrified. ‘I’m gonna drown in only a matter of moments.’ It was this thought, and this alone, that gave him all the energy he required. Scrabbling up the rock and throwing himself into the current on the other side, Flash zoomed headlong into the fast flowing water, concentrating on what was in front of him and the watery pocket encasing his head.
More water had started to flow around his face now, so much so that he’d swallowed a couple of mouthfuls accidentally, and had taken to spitting some of the water back out and away from his face. The stream started to slow as the tunnel widened. The icy white sides of the tunnel became smoother, a bit like an underwater bobsleigh run. Flash hoped that the changes were indicative of reaching somewhere outside the mountain, somewhere he could exit the stream. Still the water leaked in even more around his freezing, throbbing, bleeding head, if he was not mistaken.
‘Must have been where I hit that rock,’ he thought, spitting out the blood along with a mouthful of icy cold water. Flash’s hope that the river would be leaving the mountain and coming out above ground seemed to have been dashed. The much slower flowing water was still firmly encased in a dark, icy tunnel, punctuated only by a few random eruptions of bubbles from the stream bed. Flash knew his time had nearly run out. Only a small amount of air remained around his face, air that he knew could disappear at any time. Desperation forced him into action and he started to swim as fast as he could, all the time taking deep breaths of the remaining air, knowing that one of them may be his last. Rounding a huge corner in what seemed to be the widest part of the stream he’d come across so far, he pushed on, forcing his legs to move for fear of drowning.
Seconds after taking another deep breath, the remaining air surrounding his head bobbed away, leaving him terrified and exhausted. If he could have done, he would have cried. The irony of being surrounded by this much water and wanting to cry nearly made him laugh. The current carried him along as he held his breath and looked back on what had been quite an adventurous life. The first dozen or so thoughts and images that whizzed past jolted him into action. He wasn’t the sort of being that calmly laid down and waited for the end to come. Alright, given the choice, he probably would have gone for an all-out fight to the death, with amazingly bad odds and just a hint of glory.
‘Well,’ he thought, ‘I haven’t been given the choice, but that doesn’t mean I’m just gonna give up and drown.’ He urged his legs on, kicking as fast as he could, the muscles burning with pain as he did so. He knew at best he’d have maybe another minute or so before his breath gave out, but he was determined to fight to the very end, albeit in a very different way from what he would have preferred. Swimming for all he was worth, he seemed to be moving faster and faster.
‘The current is increasing again,’ he thought, ploughing on. Soon, wave after wave of bubbles blocked his vision, as he moved through them at unerring speed. His cheeks, with the remainder of his air, were battered and bruised by the rushing water and the bubbles, and wanted nothing more than to expel their last breath. Moving his arms and legs was getting harder, as he was concentrating so hard on not opening his mouth. As he pitched through another curtain of bubbles, a torrent of white water engulfed him, dragging him round a bend and into an almost vertical drop. Fighting not to open his mouth while wanting to scream, he hit the bottom of the river bed, hard, jarring his right knee and elbow, both at the same time.
He was only a few seconds away from drowning now. He could feel his mouth about to open, and knew there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop it. Unexpectedly, a haze of light appeared through the bubbles up ahead. Clamping his mouth shut with all his might he surged forward. Black spots started to cloud his vision, but he pushed himself on. Rising upwards towards the light, Flash had no option but to open his mouth. His body continued its journey to potential salvation as the freezing water poured into his throat. Amazingly he broke the surface of the stream, out into the bright Antarctic daylight. The spots before his eyes were getting worse; only tiny openings in his vision remained. With both his arms outstretched, he pulled himself for all he was worth out of the freezing cold stream and onto the snow covered bank. Turning onto his side, he immediately began throwing up all the water he’d swallowed. The cold nibbled at his wet body, piercing him like a poker. After the excess water had left his body, Flash passed out on the snowy river bank, only inches away from the bitter stream that had nearly cost him his life.
Barely five minutes later, Flash’s survival instinct kicked in, and in a staggering display of stubbornness he awoke, wishing with every part of his body that he hadn’t. Feeling worse than an alcoholic’s hangover, and shivering on a national level, he knew that he had to get back to the dragon domain. Nothing else existed, only that one thought. Getting to his feet, he staggered slightly and then fell back down to his knees. His head was so muzzy that he just couldn’t concentrate. Two deep breaths later, he was back on his feet. He had to get a grip, get his bearings and find a way to get away from this hellhole and back to the dragon world. Looking back round at the body of water he’d come out of, he found that the stream only broke the surface for perhaps twenty feet or so before disappearing back underground. The bank and the surface of the stream were shielded from the normally roaring wind by a wicked looking rocky overhang that hovered menacingly over him at the moment. As Flash took all this in, a little voice in the back of his head said,
“They’ll come after you. As soon as they’ve recovered, they’ll come.”
He knew what he had to do. Still shivering violently, he took off his precious watch, noting the time and GPS location of where he was before he did so, and then set it down in the snow. Rubbing his hands together, he tried to get some feeling back into them and his fingers before he went any further. Not seemingly making any difference to his fingers, he set about turning the watch into an explosive device. He knew how to do it of course, and under normal conditions it would only take a few seconds, but his cold fingers made it hard to press all the small buttons in the right order. At the rate he was going, he’d be lucky not to blow himself to smithereens.
Eventually, after lots of fiddling and amazing amounts of concentration, Flash managed to set the proximity detection function. Setting the countdown to sixty seconds, so that he had enough time to get out of range, he depressed the button to start the countdown, leaving the watch on the icy bank, just pressed into the snow. After the timer had counted down, any movement at all in a radius of thirty metres would set off the explosive device in the watch. Flash turned away from the watch and started to jog slightly, buoyed by the knowledge that he had once again escaped certain death by the very skin of his teeth.
A few paces into his jog, a loud splashing noise from the stream caused him to turn round. A vision from hell appeared, dripping wet, on the water’s edge. The golden-coloured naga who’d captured him earlier, the one that he’d last seen flailing around on the floor of the prison barely conscious, stared at him from thirty feet away. Flash couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Another forty seconds or so and the naga wouldn’t have been a problem, because the explosive Flash had just planted would have gone off, either killing the naga, or trapping it below the surface of the stream for good. Waves of exhaustion washed over Flash, begging him just to lie down in the snow and call it a day. He couldn’t believe that he’d come so far, avoided death by a gnat’s… well, whatever it was, only for it to end like this. If it weren’t for the deadly seriousness of the situation, he could definitely see himself laughing about it all.

Download ‘Benthwhistle The Dragon In A Threat From The Past’ free from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286035

Download ‘Bentwhistle The Dragon In A Chilling Revelation’ from Smashwords:https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/394788

Paul’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Cude/e/B007339206/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Bentwhistle For Nook At Barnes & Noble:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Bentwhistle-The-dragon?keyword=Bentwhistle+The+dragon&store=book

Paul’s Blog: http://www.thesoberhockeyplayer.co.uk/

Bentwhistle The Dragon Website: http://www.bentwhistlethedragon.co.uk/

Bentwhistle The Dragon on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Bentwhistlethedragon?ref=hl

Follow Paul on twitter: @paul_cude

02 Feb 2014

M. Joseph Murphy: Groundhog day Author Interview, “A Fallen Hero Rises (Sword of Kassandra)” and “Council of Peacocks (Activation)”

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“A Fallen Hero Rises (Sword of Kassandra) by M. Joseph Murphy is an accomplished piece of fantasy / science fiction writing and a very enjoyable read. 1614427_10152145734570546_1830065818_o
Set on the distant planet of Maghe Sihre seers have ominous premonitions when an earthling crashes down through the void and onto their planet. The damage to the void is seen as a threat to the planet but there is also the mystery to resolve as to why the boy has landed on their planet. A separate narrative tells us about earthling Tadgh Dooley’s background as he gradually regains his memory.
From the first dialogue it was clear to me that the author has created some memorable and colourful characters that go beyond the often found fantasy stereotypes. With the – to my ears sometimes – obscure names and parameters of the new world it took me a little to get the hang of the story but the narrative that deals with Tadgh’s past hooked me into insisting and I am very glad I did. What follows is classic fantasy and science fiction fare with action and outworldly technology and fighting tools. However, I found much of the dialogue and the presented concepts of human and supernatural powers quite deep and meaningful. Tadgh has such powers and needs to control them. With wise men but also some villain figures around him the story has some truly great suspense that kept my interest on several levels.
As this is the first book in a series it does not come to a complete conclusion but leaves us craving for book 2.
I don’t often read fantasy and when I do I frequently feel it has been done before. “A Fallen Hero Rises” has some unusual and profound components that made me enjoy the read very much.
Recommended for fans of the genre and those who are curious and for those who like myself like gay characters in stories without it becoming a gay story.

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To celebrate Ground Hog’s Day, A Fallen Hero Rises, will be free for one day only on Feb 02 2014.  myBook.to/AFallenHeroRises 

Please consider getting it and “like” the book on Amazon. You’d be amazed at the power of a “like” on potential readers. If you like what you read, the author would naturally appreciate a review but it’s not required.

Maybe if the book gets enough downloads it’s a sign that winter’s almost over.

Interview with M. Joseph Murphy:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

Not much to tell. I’m a man. I write stuff. I have cats. Oh and I was abducted by aliens as a child but we won’t talk about that.

What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

I wrote my first novella at 13. It was a horror story about a abandoned one-room school house. The idea still creeps me out. As for what made me become a writer, I’ll credit my high school teacher Ms. Elizabeth Christie. She pulled me aside one day after class and told me that, of all her students, only me and one other person could actually make a career out of it. Having someone show that much faith in me changed my life. It also made me want to be a teacher.

When did you decided to write your chosen genres? Do you have a favourite genre?

It was never a conscious decision. When Stephen King was asked why he wrote horror he gave the perfect analogy. He talked about people fishing on a lake and each person has a unique net. They’re all going into the same area, the unconscious dream world, but each person catches different things because they have different nets. Fantasy is just watch catches in my net.

How long does it take you to write and publish a book?

I write 5 pages a day, normally. That means I can get the first draft done in 2-3 months. That’s when play times over and I get to work. When the first draft is finish, I normally spend 5-10 hours a day revising. After that it’s off to beta readers followed by another round of revisions. Then it’s off to the proofreader and another round of revisions. All in all, it takes about 6 months to write and publish a book. That means I can put out about 2 a year at my current pace.

What is the easiest about writing and what is the hardest?

There are few things in life as much fun as writing a first drafts. It’s like dreaming with my eyes open. Editing for grammar and punctuation sucks monkey butt. However, the hardest part is cutting out the cool scenes that are messing with the pacing. For A Fallen Hero Rises, I removed over 80 pages focused on Eiodeesh and Gnocko. They became minor characters because it helped the pacing.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story?

I have a love/hate relationship with subtext. I majored in English so I could talk about how Council of Peacocks is about fate and whether or not you have control over it. But honestly, I hope people read it and say “Woah. That was cool.”

For A Fallen Hero Rises, it was really important for me to have a gay character, something that is almost non-existent in the fantasy genre. There are, of course, a few examples, but I had to go searching for them. I also wanted to make sure it wasn’t a “gay story”. It’s just a story in which one of the characters happens to be gay.

Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

I’m overwhelmed by how well it’s been received. Even from people that don’t generally read my genre. The only negative reviews I’ve had were on grammar and spelling errors in Council of Peacocks when it first came out. I sent it off for another round of proofreading to fix that. I can’t believe how well A Fallen Hero Rises is selling. I’ve barely done any marketing but it’s already outselling Council of Peacocks.

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite? Who would play the characters in a film?

It’s weird. I’ve read articles where writers say their characters are like children and you can’t ask them to pick a favorite. But most parents know they actually DO have a favorite child. We’re just not supposed to admit that because we don’t want to hurt the other children’s feelings.

I love Wisdom. He’s in my head. I think about him even when I’m not writing. His relationship with Echo is complex to say the least. I feel the same way about them that I do the characters in the Notebook. I also have a soft spot for Jessica. She’s hilarious and brutal. Totally kick ass. I think the character that will surprise people the most is Elaine. She has an incredible journey ahead of her. I can’t wait to show everyone where she goes.

As for who would play them in a movie? For Council of Peacocks,  I did a blog post about this. Lucas Till as Josh, Peter Mensah as Wisdom, Emilia Clarke as Echo.

http://councilofpeacocks.blogspot.ca/p/works-by-m-joseph-murphy.html

For A Fallen Hero Rises, I picture a young Landon Liboiron from his days on Degrassi. Not the dirty version we see on Hemlock Grove.  I picture Liam Hemsworth as Menphis and Garrett Hedlund as Shonn.

One of the things I like most about your books is the unexpected depth. You write fantasy but the characters have bite. Do you find that fantasy reader appreciate this?

I hope so. I know I do. I can’t stand one-dimensional characters. One thing I admire about George R.R. Martin is he’s able to convince the reader that even the most despicable villain could be seen as a hero by someone. I especially want to make sure my female characters are strong. I’m a fanboy for Joss Whedon and I call myself a feminist. It’s important to me the women in my stories are real. I know that doesn’t often happen in fantasy.

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

Well, I am a planner. There will be five books in the Activation Series and 5 books in the Sword of Kassandra series. I’ve already got them all plotted out because I’m a bit crazy like that. I plan on releasing one book from each series a year. That means I need to write and publish two books a year which is doable.

I also have five books I wrote over the last twenty years that aren’t related to either series. At some point I’ll take them out, revise them and help them see the light of day.  

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

My life is amazing. I’m recently married. I teach at a local college. I have the best job in the world. Every day I have a current or former student tell me “Thank you for helping me change my life.” It doesn’t get any better than that.

When I’m not writing I’m an obsessive video game player. I’m currently addicted to Puzzle Quest and I’ve recently started playing Final Fantasy XIV.

Who are your literary influences?

The books I read a s kid made me want to be a writer. For fantasy that was Robert Asprin’s Myth series. Lloyd Alexander’s the Chronicles of Prydain. I’m also a massive horror fan. I’ve always proclaimed Stephen King is one of the greatest writers of our life time. I got lots of slack for that in university but Stephen King got an entire generation of people interested in horror and reading in general. Who the heck cares if you win a Booker Prize if no more than 10 people read your book?

Also Chris  Clairmont’s run on the X-men pretty much defined what I think cool is.

What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Perhaps my all time favorite book is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It changed the way I looked at fantasy as a genre and also affected the way I looked at the world. I also love the Wheel of Time series. I’d pick Robert Jordan over George R.R. Martin any day.

Favorite movie: The Color Purple if I want to cry or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World if I’m just looking for a good time.

Favorite album: I’m a massive music fan so this is nearly impossible. I could write a book on all the great albums out there. Best albums ever would include The Beatles White Album and Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails.

What are your views on independent publishing?

For good or bad it’s the future. Recently Amazon revealed that 25% of their ebook sales are for self-published books. The good news is it’s easier to get published than ever. The bad news is that too many people publish books that aren’t ready to get published. And don’t even get me started on the junk that some people put as their cover art. The tricky thing for those of us that are truly serious about our writing is distinguishing ourselves from lazy writers. But I guess that’s always been the case.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

So many good writers. I love Travis Luedke. His Nightlife series is amazing and his books the Shepherd is so much fun. He writes like Richard Laymon. The fact that Travis treats me like a peer helps me realize I really am a writer. It also shows that he’s an amazing guy.

Also, if you like Douglas Adams, I’d recommend Canterbury Tales by Luke Bellmason. It’s beautifully written. I kind of hate the guy because it’s so perfectly written.

Helen Boswell’s Mythology series is perfect if you’re looking for YA.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

They’d say my best quality is my ability to stand up for what I think is right. I’m a confronter.  I’m willing to have the hard conversations but I’m not willing to throw chairs like on Jerry Springer. My oddest quality is my OCD traits. I have to have all the cans in the kitchen facing outwards. I occasionally refold all the towels and sheets in the linen closet and color-coordinate the clothes in my closet. All of these make total sense to me but apparently is a sign of mental illness.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

Animal is an otter. Seriously they are like swimming cats. How can you not love an otter. Favorite color is blue. As for outdoor activity, I love camping. For a few days the whole world slows down.

What would you take to a remote island?

My first thought is a shotgun. I would go a little bit mental on a remote island. I’m not the type to sit and relax on a beach. I like to keep super busy. But if I was stuck on a deserted island and decided not to kill myself I’d probably take my tablet and a solar powered recharger. That might finally give me time to catch up on all the books I’d like to read. 

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

Right now, you to thank you for the interview. Aside from that I’d love to have Jane Epsenson over. If you don’t know the name, she’s a big-time writer and producer. She’s worked on Once Upon a Time as well as little shows like Battlestar Gallactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s my hero and also one of the nicest people on twitter.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I’m about 180 pages into the sequel to Council of Peacocks, Beyond the Black Sea. Yesterday I wrote about Josh and Wisdom traveling into the Axeinus. Today I’m writing a scene in which we learn the history of the Orpheans and how they were imprisoned in the Axeinus. As soon as it’s off to beta readers, in March, I start work on the sequel to A Fallen Hero Rises. That will be called  Rise of the Graunskyegs. I can’t wait to write that one. It will be super fun. Imagine Jet Li fighting a zombie invasion.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

I don’t know. I think you know more about me know than the NSA. I will say this. I ain’t going anywhere. I take my writing very seriously and I’m not leaving this planet until all my books are done. I think about what happened to Robert Jordan. He passed away before he was able to finish his monster series, The Wheel of Time. It’s being handled now very well by Brandon Sanderson but I don’t want the same thing to happen to me. It was the final kick in the butt I needed to get my story out there.

I humbled beyond anything that so many people enjoy those stories. Me and my characters thank you.

Social Media Links

Twitter https://twitter.com/Windswarlock (@windswarlock)

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joseph.murphy3

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MJosephMurphy/posts

Blog http://councilofpeacocks.blogspot.ca

Website http://mjosephmurphy.info

Joseph Murphy was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. He earned his geekdom at an early age. He read X-Men comics from at the age of 8 and it only went downhill from there.

As a teenager he wrote short stories and wanted to be the next Stephen King. Instead of horror, however, he kept writing fantasy stories. After surviving high school as a goth with a purple mohawk, he studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor.

When not writing, Joseph works as Lead Accounting instructor at Everest College. He also lectures to other businesses on outside-the-box marketing. He lives in Windsor, ON (right across the stream from Detroit, Michigan) with his husband, two cats, and shy-but-friendly ghost.

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“Council of Peacocks (Activation)” by M. Joseph Murphy is a highly entertaining and clever paranormal thriller. 
It is a fun read with some unexpected depth. Set between Canada and Greece it involves amongst other great ingredients time travel, djinns and wizzards. 

While out camping a group of six youngsters get attacked and run from what appears clearly not human creatures.
As they are on the run we learn more about how they link to a much bigger picture.

The Council of Peacocks, a group of ruthless wizards under the leadership of Propates are taking on the world while Wisdom, an immortal scorcerer and his team of ‘gifted’ youth, the Anomolies, fight back.

It is the classic battle of good versus evil, but not in as simple a way at all. The plot is highly evolved and complex, cleverly constructed and very engaging. Human kind is evolving and threatened, different groups of beings fight each other and battle for the ultimate tool to wipe the other out, time and events are muddled up by repetitive time travel to alter history, so there is a lot going on.

The book is written with great suspense and action that cleverly involves the hero and the anti-hero. The characters top me are clearly one of the biggest strengths of the book; they are not your average and boring stereotypes, they have issues, contradictions, a past and they make for some excellent entertainment. They even add some serious thoughts and a philosophical dimension to the story at times.

The paranormal or fantasy part of this thriller is very engaging with lots of great ideas and imaginative creations. You dive into this world and feel for once someone has not re-told the same story with just a different colouring.

There are surprises in the plot that save us from predictability, the language is superb and the humour in the novel was just right for an epic fantasy like this to ‘keep it real’.

I don’t often read fantasy books but this one pressed all the right buttons. .

Well done and highly recommended.

18 Jan 2014

Amalie Jahn: The Clay Lion

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“The Clay Lion” by Amalie Jahn is an amazing piece of heart-breaking and uplifting fiction. Aimed probably at young adults as main target audience the book however has a lot to say that is relevant to people of all ages.
It is the story of one brave young woman that choses to go back in time to try and save her fatally ill younger brother.
The idea of time travel did not appeal to me at first since it has been done many times and some authors in the genre can try to be too clever for their own good. 
“The Clay Lion” is way above that level and raises some fascinating and worthy questions about regrets, missed opportunities, second chances and destiny. By doing so successfully the book qualifies – in my humble opinion at least – as literary fiction and philosophical offering on the subject of turning back time. It made me think hard about what I would chose to relive and try and change in my life.
The main story – the disease of her younger brother – is often sad but always full of hope and positive and important messages, a tribute to courage and an appeal to the good side in all of us.
Written with charm and emotional wisdom this is hugely rewarding and captivating. A powerful and important read and a talented author to watch.

Interview with Amalie:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

Writer is about the tenth thing on my list of things that I am, behind a lot of other things that often take precedence over sitting down at the computer and telling the stories that want to come out.  I’m a wife.  Mom.  Carpool driver.  Laundry folder.  Cook.  Maid.  Handyman.  I can fix a toilet and change the oil in my car.  I’m also a triathlete.  When I’m not writing, I’m running, swimming or biking.  Right now I’m training for an Ironman in April.  You can read about my journey here if you’d like: http://foamrolling.tumblr.com/

What was the first thing you wrote, and how old were you when you wrote it? 6995709

I used to have a little hardbound journal when I was in about second or third grade.  I’d write little stories but mostly about stuff going on in my life.  In fifth grade I wrote an autobiography.  It was short.  

What have you written since then?

I’ve written a lot.  You remember school and all the writing?  The essays?  The forced short stories?  I went to college and made a lot of stuff up.  I was pretty good at writing around a subject.  I became a teacher and wrote lesson plans.  And report card comments.  Those are fun.  How many different ways can you tell someone their kid’s a genius?  Or not living up to their potential?  Or crazy?  I’m most famous for my to-do lists.  I have at least six going at all times.  I will add something I’ve already done to the list to make myself feel better. 

Oh, and I’ve written a couple of novels.

What made you choose your genre of writing, and what about your genre fascinates you?

My first novel, The Clay Lion, is young adult fiction.  What I love most about YA is that the young are impressionable.  They’re not jaded yet.  You can reach them and make them feel important things.  And you can make them fall in love with the written word.  It’s what I set out to do.

I also love that YA is not just for the young.  It’s also for anyone who’s ever been young.  And we all have been.  We remember all those firsts and how wonderful they were, even if they didn’t feel so wonderful at the time.  It’s fun as an adult to go back to those times when life was… simpler.  Reading (and writing) YA allows us to do that.

Would you ever consider writing in a different genre?

Yup!  I’m convinced my second novel, Among the Shrouded, is unclassifiable.  It’s adult for sure.  A little bit paranormal.  A little bit thriller.  Crime drama.  Social awareness.  I guess I need to spend more time classifying my ideas before I write them!

Much has been written about how a book will change from the original intent of the writer, as it’s being written. How did your book change as you created it, and did it surprise you how it came out?

The Clay Lion definitely did.  I started out writing it, but somewhere along the line, my main character Brooke took over and finished it herself.  She wrote the story for me.  At one point I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing one of the hardest chapters of the book.  I started crying because I was devastated by what I had just written.  My husband looked up at me from across the kitchen and asked what was wrong and I had to tell him that I was upset at what Brooke had done.  He stared at me like I was nuts and asked how in the world I could be surprised by what had happened when I was the one writing the book.  To this day, I have no idea.  Brooke took the book in a direction that I hadn’t even fathomed.  It was amazing.

Tell us a little about the history of your book.

I’ll talk about The Clay Lion, my first novel.  The idea was born of two converging ideas.  The time travel element came to me in a dream.  My sister and I were some type of superheroes and we were traveling through time saving people’s lives.  When I woke up, I wrote down as much as I could remember.  As I was writing down my ideas, I began thinking about a little girl named Lauren who happened to be one of my daughter’s good friends.  She had recently been hospitalized with leukemia for the second time and was searching for a bone marrow donor.  I couldn’t help but wonder how her older sister would react if she should die, knowing that her sister had been her first bone marrow donor.  The two were probably the closest sisters I’d ever had the privilege of knowing.  The idea of a sister going back in time to save the life of her beloved brother was born and The Clay Lion is a testament to the power of sibling love.  Lauren passed away just this past October.  A tragic ending to a beautiful and very short life.  I hope that The Clay Lion brings solace to grieving families everywhere and honors Lauren’s memory.

How long did it take you to write and publish?

My first manuscript only took about 4-5 months to write.  But the editing seemed endless.  Publishing too.  All toll, The Clay Lion took about 9 months start to finish.

What is the most difficult part of writing a book?

EDITING.  No question.  I’m a perfectionist.  I question every word choice.  The structure of every sentence.  Every plot choice.  I trim a lot of fat.  I hate it.  And also, I love it too.

What is the most difficult element in selling your book, and how do you overcome it?

Reaching new readers is really difficult without the help of a huge publisher behind you.  I had no idea how hard it would be and I honestly think if I had known I may not have ever published to begin with.  But I’m here now and I’m learning.  There are a lot of wonderful, knowledgeable people out there and I’m happy to accept help!

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? 

Oh definitely.  I don’t want to give too much away, but I have strong beliefs about life and why we are here and our place in the world.  Most of our day to day experiences have less to do with what happens to us and more to do by how we react to what happens to us.  I think someone wise probably said that at some point, but you can quote me on it here.

Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?image1

I’ve gotten fan mail from teenagers thanking me for writing the book because it made them feel peaceful in a way that other YA books have never done.  I’ve received emails from people who have told me how much comfort they found in the pages of The Clay Lion.  One woman even told me that she had never come to terms with the loss of her brother, but after reading the book had slept soundly for the first time in years.  So, yes, I think it is both well received and duly noted.

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite?

I’ve been told that my character development is one of my greatest strengths as an author.  People have connected with my characters and can’t stop reading because they need to find out what happens to them.  I think it’s a good thing that my readers take a vested interest in what happens to my characters.  So I guess what I like most about my characters is that people seem to like and relate to them.

My favorite character is Thomas from Among the Shrouded.  When I first started writing I didn’t connect with him.  I had trouble writing from his point of view and I think it was mainly because he was the first male character I’d attempted to convey.  I kept asking men, “what do you think Thomas would think about this?” to which the men would respond, “Nothing, men don’t think!”  Thomas eventually found his voice once I got to really know him and he became my absolute favorite.  He grew as a character and yet remained true to himself.  I love that about him.  And he’s cute in my head, so there’s that.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Is it egotistical to say that I’ve actually thought about this?  I picked out a few songs I’d like to have featured as well!  My best friend wants to see Zac Efron play Charlie from The Clay Lion, except not the 26 year old, just out of rehab Zac Efron, but the one from High School Musical.  So it seems we may need an actual time machine for that.  I see Michelle Trachtenburg as Brooke.  I loved her in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Again, I need the teenage version of her.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My oddest quality is easy.  I have a full blown anxiety disorder.  It is undiagnosed and I am unmedicated.  My biggest anxiety producer is germs and illness.  My favorite gift is hand sanitizer.  I use it all the time.  I may ask you to use it as well should you be in my company.  This quirk, as I choose to call it, drives me as crazy as it does everyone else, but luckily the people who love me have learned to accept me as I am.  I don’t know that I am qualified to speak to my best quality.  I do the best with what I’m given to help others along the path of life.  I hope that it’s enough. 

 

Tell us a bit about your current book, and where it’s available.

A,ong the Shrouded released on October 31 and it’s about three main characters (Mia – a police officer, Thomas – a busboy, and Kate, a Ukrainian student), who are each born with a different ability.  They don’t realize their gifts have a purpose or that they are fated to meet one another to fulfill their common destiny.  It’s available exclusively through Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.

Do you have an idea for your next book?

Of course!  I had every intention for The Clay Lion to be a stand-alone book but so many readers have asked specifically for more of Brooke’s story, I’m working on a sequel!

How do people get in touch or follow you?

I have a website at www.theclaylion.com

I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmalieJahn?ref=br_tf

My twitter handle is https://twitter.com/AmalieJahn

Here I am on Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6995709.Amalie_Jahn

And Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Amalie-Jahn/e/B00C3H3TWO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1384883602&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

 

 

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