Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Riley Quinn

Welcome, Riley Quinn, urban fantasy author!

Riley: Thanks, Amber, for inviting me to guest on your blog.
Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Riley: I write fantasy, particularly urban fantasy, because it’s my favorite genre to read. When I got serious about my writing several years ago, I naturally gravitated toward the paranormal and urban fantasy genre. Funny enough, I have two novellas published, one under Riley Quinn and the other under another pen name, and neither are fantasy. I do have a story coming out in August that features different species of the Fae.

Amber: You say that your characters are "just like us. Except for the super-human strength, enhanced senses, ability to do magic and drinking blood. So not exactly like us but they've got problems too. They just have more interesting ways of handling them." Tell me more. 

Riley: In fantasy novels, the supernatural characters have special powers and super-strength. Normally, these attributes would be seen as positives. But sometimes, these same positive can be the cause of problems too. Because of their “quirks”, sometimes their problems require more creative solutions. 

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Riley: I love series. When I meet characters that I really like, I want to see more of them. Some of my favorite urban fantasy novels are the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison, the Karma Consultants series by Vivi Andrews, the House of Night series, by PC and Kristin Cast, The Kitty series by Carrie Vaughn, Vicky Lewis Thompson has some great lighter paranormal books that I enjoyed, A Werewolf in Manhattan, Blonde with a Wand and Chick with a Charm. This is a short list of some of my favorites. Several of these authors are automatic buys for me when new books come out. I’m also open to discovering new authors, too, so if any of your readers have suggestions…

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
Riley: I like to read as a means to entering another world. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been able to transport into the world of a well-written book. Fantasy allows us to explore new worlds, new species, new experiences that aren’t possible in our world. I would venture to guess that other readers love fantasy for the same reason.

Amber: Would you write fantasy if no one read it?
Riley: Absolutely! I write first for myself. The stories that I’d like to read, the characters that I’d like to meet, that whisper in my head. If others find enjoyment in my stories, that’s a bonus. So, yeah, if no one else read it, but me, I’d still write it.

Riley Quinn is a recent transplant from the central Texas area to Bavaria, Germany. She lives there with her supportive husband and crazy dog. While in Europe, she's taking advantage of travel opportunities and storing up the story ideas inspired by historic towns and scenic countryside. She spends her days writing and in her downtime likes to read, quilt, sew, crochet and watch movies.

Let It Be Me, the the first in her Cupid Matchmakers series, will be released in August from Red Hot Publishing. Riley will be one of the great authors of DigitalDigest, a new blog, offering short fiction and other fun stuff Mondays through Fridays. And each month, an ebook of one of the blog’s contributions. Riley will post twice monthly installments of Power Play. The blog goes live July 1 and will be available for uploading to your Kindle .

Blood Diamond
Dodging an angry warlord and running through the rain forest in Congo Brazzaville was not what Jillian St. James expected when she signed up with Doctors Without Borders. Yet that’s exactly what she gets after a mysterious visit from her brother.
Mercenary Mack Nichols doesn’t have much faith in humanity these days. When a beautiful young doctor denies being part of the theft of a blue diamond from his client, he doesn’t put much stock in her story. Read an excerpt.

Let It Be Me
Emily is through with musicians. After supporting her last boyfriend only to find him “thanking” one of his groupies, she’s thrown herself into her cafĂ©. The new guitarist she’s hired brings in the customers, but he’s serenading her senses and weakening her resolve about musicians.
Mike plays and sings most nights at The Coffee Bean, but his real reason for being there has nothing to do with music. His attraction to the owner is getting in the way of his true mission. He knows building a relationship on lies can lead to more than broken hearts.

Power Play
 Cassie’s not having a good week. She’s tired of dealing with the mixed signals from her boyfriend and she’s attacked by a large dog. Then it gets worse. Said boyfriend is keeping secrets and possibly using her for his own ends? And the dog that attacked her? Yeah, that was a werewolf and now she’s going to be howling at the next full moon. 

To lean more about Riley and her books check out
Digital Digest Blog (goes live July 1) 

Riley Quinn’s Contest!
Leave a comment by May 20th
for a chance to win a .pdf copy of 
her romantic suspense, 
Blood Diamond!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Marc Vun Kannon

Welcome Marc Vun Kannon, fantasy author with "characters in motion"!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

Marc: Let me tell you a secret: I don't write fantasy. I write stories, which more often than not have a fantasy setting. Fantasy allows me to make stuff up, to not have to worry about "getting it right". There is no "right" in fantasy, there is story logic, there is consistency, there is coherence, and lots of other words beginning with "C". Like "Characters." Characters are the heart of my stories, which are best described as "characters in motion." Writing a story is showing them in action, discovering the reasons for those actions, revealing the meanings and consequences of those actions. Fantasy is a non-serious way to talk about serious things. 

My only real rule of writing is never to do what's been done before, even if the person who did it before is me. As a result I don't confine myself to any one genre, I'm always pushing to try out new styles. Fantasy is a supercategory, with many different fields for me to try yet. The good thing about writing about people is that they transcend categories. A good character can fall in love while solving mysteries and chasing monsters in a space station. These are the types of stories I like to read, and want to be able to write. I have been exceedingly fortunate in finding Echelon Press as my publisher. They don't tell me 'it can't be done'.

Amber; What are some of your favorte fantasy books?

Marc: The books that I love are of course the books with the strongest characters. Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion is the best of this breed, combining a strongly developed set of characters with a unique plot and excellent world-building, areas in which I am weak. Lawrence Watt-Evans writes about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, trying to remain themselves. Dave Duncan (the Seventh Sword trilogy), Tanya Huff, Patricia McKillip (RiddleMaster of Hed), C. Dale Brittain (the Yurt series), and Nina Kiriki Hoffman (The Thread that Binds the Bones) are among my favorites.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

Marc: Not all readers love fantasy for the same reasons, of course. Some read for epic sweep, intricate plots, or panoramic world-building. The word here is scope, and scope means possibilities. Readers want to see those possibilities made 'real'. For some simply reading about them is enough. I try to learn from them as well. To me a bad book is one that has no lessons for me the reader to take away. (Not that authors need to hit their readers over the head with "the meaning of life" diatribes, either. Stories are characters in motion. Diatribes are not motion.)

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?

Marc: There is no such thing as an unread book. I am a reader, and I write books that I want to read. That's the only reason to write that I know of. For me the possibilities I want to see made real are usually internal, what does the character do, why, what does he become? I do not know the answers to these questions before the book starts. Sometimes I don't even know what the questions are. Writing is a process of spinning out the character's internal logic ("What'll he do now?") and capturing it on paper. As I write page 1, I come up the questions that carry me forward to page 2, the solutions on page 2 leading the way to page 3, and so on. 

Marc Vun Kannon has spent his days pumping gas, servicing fire extinguishers, attending school, and writing computer code, while ekeing out whatever time to write that he can. He's itching to reverse those proportions.

Short Stories

Ex Libris 
Steampunk Santa
Bite Deep 
Chasing His Own Tale 
Boys Will Be Boys 
Off The Map 


Unbinding the Stone 
A Warrior Made 

Coming 5/2011: St. Martin's Moon
The Moon is haunted, but the werewolves don't know that!

Visit Marc at his website

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Gloria Oliver

Welcome Gloria Oliver,  author of fantasy for young adults and more grown up young adults!
Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
I write fantasy because it's my first love. It's the genre I fell head over heels for when I began reading in my early teens. That broad shiny spectrum of possibilities! Unlike a lot of other genres, I feel fantasy can be more incredible, more fantastical, more open to my imagination's wanderings. A great big universe just waiting to be explored! All sorts of peoples, places, and things to discover.

Amber: What makes your fantasy titles different from others?
: I like to think of my books as a very personal experience for those who choose to read them. They'll take you on a  journey of discovery and growth hand in hand with the characters I'm writing about. Each book normally has an underlying theme the readers can hopefully relate to at some level - finding our place in the world, realizing we're not bound to society's tethers, discovering your past can always find you no matter how hard you try to hide from it, that truth isn't always what you think it is.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Oh my!  The more I read, the more of them I have, to the point it'd take forever to list them all. Now I choose authors rather than novels, knowing these individuals will always deliver so I don't care what the subject is - I know I will go on a great journey.  Tad Williams, David Eddings, Barbara Hambly, Tanya Huff, Piers Anthony, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Anne McCaffrey and more recently George RR Martin, Martha Wells, Rachel Caine, A Lee Martinez, Rob Thurman, Terry Pratchett (I adore his stuff! I can't believe how long it took me to discover him!).  I suppose I can recall a few actual books, sort of...The Belgariad Series, Sword of Shannara, Dragonriders of Pern series, the Xanth books - all oldies but goodies!

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
I think they love it for the same reasons I write it - because of the endless possibilities! The races, the societies, the situations as varied as there are stars in the sky.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
I am a slave to my muse, so I would have to say YES. The genre calls to me. I may dabble in others on occasion, but I will always come back to my first love.
Gloria Oliver lives in Texas making sure to stay away from rolling tumbleweeds and bowing to the wishes of her feline and canine masters.  She is the author of “In the Service of Samurai”, “Vassal of El”, “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles”, and “Willing Sacrifice”, all fantasy and YA fantasy novels.  Her latest, “Price of Mercy” should see release in 2011. She is a member in good standing of EPIC and BroadUniverse though she has yet to make the list for Cat Slave R Us.  

  Zumaya Publications
In the Service of Samurai  
Info & Sample ChaptersAmazon link
Vassal of El  
Info & Sample Chapters, Amazon link
Willing Sacrifice  
Info & Sample Chapters, Amazon link
Price of Mercy (Coming 2011) -  

Visit Gloria at her website and her blog.