Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy -Lyndi Alexander & Her Elves!

Welcome Lyndi Alexander, urban fantasy author who discovered elves living in Montana!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Lyndi: I really enjoy writing fantasy because I can push the "what if" envelope outside normal boundaries. Fantasy is also a perfect format to showcase weird and quirky characters, which seem to trail around behind me like dropped crumbs. Being "different" is an asset when you're working with a situation that's out of the norm. I have three children with special needs, one with ADD, one with autism and one with Asperger's, and I like to consider their differences as assets, rather than detriments. The Elf Queen has not only barista Jelani Marsh, but her WoW-playing computer geek friend Lane, his roommate paranoid child abuse survivor 'Crispy,' and their social worker friend Iris, as well as a host of elves with various skills and talents. It takes cooperation among all these diverse folk to make the magic come together.

Amber: How do you work elves into urban fantasy?
Lyndi: I have to admit, elves were new for me, but I knew I didn't want to use the traditional "elves, faeries and leprechauns" kind of elves. Though these elves come from a time beyond the existence of humans in the mountains of Montana, they co-exist with humans. They are the same size, shape and can blend in quite well if they have to. In my story, they've been forced to live in the human city by an ongoing schism in the elf clan, and what they want more than anything is the chance to return to the natural world. When the clan is functioning well and in harmony, then nature is also harmonious, the environment healing itself and the world a better place for it.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Lyndi: Anne McCaffrey's dragon books, by far. I love her world-building, the way her series carries the characters forward and adds and expands with new and side characters. We share the same birthday--April 1. I hope that's lucky!

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Lyndi: As readers, I believe we want to escape from our own realities, the stack of dirty dishes, the blather of talking heads on TV, the kids, the spouse, the empty, quiet rooms. Fantasy gives the reader a two-fer, in my opinion; not only can they find a fine story, but they can move into a realm of something that is not necessarily of this time or this world and stretch their minds with the author's imaginative tales.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Lyndi: I would. *L* My stories get written because they come to me. I don't set my brain for "Today I'm going to write a vampire story." Instead, I see what stories are inside, waiting to get out, and then I write them. Several reviewers have said that The Elf Queen is not a typical fantasy, and I'm glad to hear that, because I don't want to feel like I'm trapped in a genre formula.

Lyndi Alexander (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications is eclectic, from science fiction to romance to horror, from tech reporting to television reviews.  Lyndi and her absent-minded computer geek husband have a dozen computers, seven children, and a full house in northwestern Pennsylvania. 

The Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series 

The Elf Child, The next book in the series, will be out in spring 2011, 
& The Elf Mage  in 2012.

Lyndi’s"Be An Elf" Contest
Leave a comment for a chance to be an elf character in 
book three of the Clan Elves series.
The winner can be an elf in the big battle 
and can choose what power/talent he or she has at their disposal.

Learn more about Lyndi and Barbara on her writer's blog.
And her blog Awalkabout’s Weblog about autism, science fiction and life  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy - Tracy Morris

Welcome Tracy Morris, author of urban fantasy mysteries!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?

When I started writing, I was drawn to reading fantasy. There were plenty of non-fantasy books that we were expected to read in school, such as the Newbery Award winners like Sarah, Plain and Tall and Dear Mr. Henshaw.  These books never engaged my imagination. I didn't go
home after school and pretend that I was Sarah from the book, or Anne from Green Gables. I wanted to be a Dragon Rider from one of Anne McCaffery's books or Alice having an adventure through Wonderland or Dorothy with magic shoes that could transport her anywhere with a click of her heels (though never Wendy. In the books she only got to play mother and clean up after the lost boys and fix their socks and she ended up tied to the mast of the pirate ship instead of getting to fight the pirates).

I didn't really care for the problems that the girls in the mainstream books faced. I didn't want to read about the girl who was bullied in school (or perhaps I identified too well). I thought books should be an escape into a world where I could be the hero and slay the dragon and solve problems that I couldn't seem to solve in the real world.

When I started writing, it was an extension of the fantasy worlds I already invented. The heroes and heroines of my stories were an extension of myself. And, unlike me as a pre-teen and teen, they were always able to solve their own problems.


Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?

Tracy: The ones with strong heroines and heroes who take on a problem and solve it believably. I know that sounds funny, since it is fantasy. But at the root of every fantasy are human characters with human motivations. I love reading Terry Pratchett because his characters are recognizably and believably human. He may write about wizards, but they still worry about getting tenure in the wizarding classes that they teach and the score of the most recent soccer game.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
I think readers are drawn to fantasy for the escapism. Fantasy can be a place where they can ride along as an unseen extra character on a grand adventure. You can be right there with Frodo as he climbs Mount Doom. That's why when some of the largest, most beloved fantasies are brought to the big screen, there is intense scrutiny and fan outcry. Particularly if the fantasy portrayed isn't a close match to the
fantasy that the reader has in their head.

I think that's why big budget fantasies like Lord of the Rings were so successful. The fantasy that was put on the screen was obviously a loving and faithful adaptation of the novel series. It's also why inconsistencies with the book, like the missing Tom Bombadill subplot were remarked on by fans. When you make a film adaption of a classic like that, you're challenging every fan's personal fantasy.  

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
I think most writers would. Writing is like a compulsion that most writers can't deny. They will often go without hobbies, television or necessities in order to be able to write. That's why a lot of us are still at it in the face of daunting odds.

Tracy S. Morris is a self-described kamikaze speller who is blessed, thrilled and occasionally befuddled that someone actually pays her to write.

She is the author of the Tranquility series of urban fantasy
mysteries. The most recent, Bride of Tranquility is a murder mystery set in a haunted hotel during a Renaissance wedding. 

The series is available in paper format from Yard Dog Press, or in E-Format from Baen books.Additionally, the Tranquility series is available in paper format at Yard Dog Press.
Baen is running a special on
Tracy's e-book series. 
Both Yard Dog Press series released through Baen 
have been bundled together& offered for $20.
Including Tranquility & Bride of Tranquility as well as 
The Four Redheads of theApocalypse &
The Four Redheads: Apocalypse Now! 

Also anyone who buys a copy of either Tranquility or Bride of Tranquility directly from my publisher, Yard Dog Press between now and Christmas, I will send them a "free preview" of the first two chapters of the third novel in the series, It Came To Tranquility, which I am now in the process of writing. 
Order from Yard Dog Press  

Tracy’s contest
Leave a comment 
for a chance to win a copy of 
Bride of Tranquility.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy -Christine E. Schulze

Welcome Christine E. Schulze, author of Christian Fantasy and cover model for her own books!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

: I cannot imagine writing anything but fantasy--that is, I have tried, but failed miserably. In college, I took a fiction writing class which actually proved quite a challenge since we were required to write in the real world. I felt very restricted; the possibility of anything and everything happening had been stripped from me. I suppose that is one thing i love so much about the genre: freedom. An author can be quirky, random, and fresh like Diana Wynne Jones or tell a very classic, epic legend like J.R.R. Tolkien. Or, like myself, an author can incorporate both these methods. I truly love creating new worlds, peoples, and magics, as well as the intricate plots and deep characters so fitting in such worlds.
Amber: Is there any considerations in writing Christian fantasy compared to other subgenres of fantasy?

Yes, I suppose there are, though writing Christian fantasy has always come so naturally to me, I suppose I haven't thought terribly much on it until now. As a kid, around twelve or so, I decided that if I was going to keep enjoy writing books and spreading them across the world, I better give back to God by including Him too.

That being said, I've always aimed to NOT make my books sound preachy. If God is included, it needs to be natural, a part of the characters' lives or the world they live in, the same as eating or breathing. For most of my books, I use Amiel, my allegorical version of God/Christ, much like Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, though I occasionally have books referring to God directly, like The Pirates of Meleeon.

For most of my books, I just incorporate Christian traits like friendship, forgiveness, love, etc., which can be seen in many non-Christian books as well, such as Harry Potter's self-sacrifice in Deathly Hallows. In the words of Briana, a reviewer from The Book Pixie on reading Bloodmaiden: "Another thing I loved was the incorporation of religious elements. They were subtly done so that a Christian like me would pick up on them; however, they weren't blatantly obvious enough to detract from the story for those non-religious readers out there."

This is what I aim for in most of my books; however, I have had a few which touch upon deeper Christian issues like salvation. In The Pirates of Meleeon, this ends up being an important aspect. So, for both adamant Christians and just the regular fantasy readers, I have something for everyone.

There are also certain things I WON'T include, namely cursing and sexual immorality. This doesn't mean I never have intimate scenes; however, you'll never seeing me pairing up a threesome...okay, except in Tears of a Vampire Prince, but that wasn't a good situation for Aaryn anyways, and you'll just have to read the book to understand his plight. ^_^

So, to sum it all up: allegorical God, morals like friendship and forgiveness woven into the story, and occasional deep theme but mostly subtle symbolism that adds that Christian touch but won't turn off other readers. A final example is a reader on Goodreads who just DEVOURED my entire Hero Chronicles series. It mentions issues like jealousy, friendship, and forgiveness the characters deal with, but not in an unbelievable, preachy way. She granted five stars to the whole series, enamored with the world, edge-of-your-seat plot, and intriguing characters; needless to say, I don't think she was turned off in the least.

I honestly hope that writers and readers alike will cease shying from the Christian fantasy genre. There doesn't seem to be a lot of it out there, which is a true shame.
On a final note, I have penned and plan to publish--in the farther future--a book which shall give an end to all my books. It incorporates a lot of fantasy elements and is an epic allegory of Revelation, the last chapter in the Bible. Drawing on many characters and worlds from previous of my books, it is one Christian fantasy work I am especially excited about sharing with the world.

Amber: What are some current fantasy projects you are working on?

Christine: Well, I just completed my first fanfiction novel entitled Silent Hero, which is based upon my favorite video game series, The Legend of Zelda. Zelda actually has inspired many a book from the time I was twelve. From the unique, quirky characters to the interesting plots to the rich fantasy worlds, Zelda has always been an important part of my fantasy life. I've been contemplating doing a fanfic for a very long time now, and the mood finally hit me. It was finally time. I've published the book as a free ebook on Smashwords; obviously, I can't really "sell" it or Nintendo would sue me, but at least I can give readers a good read which hopefully does the games justice.

As you can also tell, I also enjoy graphic art and a bit of modeling. I've appeared in multiple covers and other artwork for my books, including Bloodmaiden, Bloodmaiden: a fantasy anthology, and the upcoming Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. Hence the mask and cape; no, I don't really dress like that on a daily basis.

Since I've written so many classic fantasy books now with the normal strong elements of intricate plot, vast world-building, and deep, complex characters, I'm sort of branching out more, experimenting with different projects. Silent Hero was one. I'm also trying a bit of horror; I just published a story with Victory Tales Press in A Halloween Collection Anthology: Sweet and intend to publish a horror/romance anthology of my own in the near future, entitled Broken. Also, I'm working on a book which I like to think reinvents both the novel and video game at once. It will be an extensive adventure set in an extensive fantasy world, much like Zelda or Final Fantasy. As readers follow the main character, they embody her, making decisions along the way which will majorly affect the outcome of the story and characters' lives. That book is called You, Fairie, I. I am penning it with a good friend of mine, Salvain, my first truly co-authored work.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?

What a terrible question! No, really, I actually don't read a TON, I'm so busy writing, creating coverart, composing music for my books, etc. But, here's a few favorites: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; Tolkien classics; Twilight saga; for all you haters, I discovered and loved the series before I even knew it was popular--or had ever even heard of it; Chains of Gold; actually ended up inspiring Bloodmaiden; Darkangel; Brilliant! Fresh, unique, both in world-building and characters. A must-read!; Chronicles of Narnia! Resonates especially with a Christian/fantasy author like myself. Harry Potter; need I say more?; Howl's Moving Castle; too classic! Quirky, beautiful, a unique work of art!; Stardust; also a quirky but beloved, unique fantasy read.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

I think readers love fantasy for much the same reason as I enjoy writing it--it's that escape and freedom which makes it all worth while. Of course, one can find escape in reading almost any genre, I suppose. But in fantasy, it seems more so. A reader feels, in a sense, more removed from their world, in a far-off place where truly anything can happen. As for my part, I revel in delving into the unique worlds, interesting characters, and often twisting, suspenseful plots fantasy has to offer as well.


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

That is a question I have thought upon before, and am of two minds. On the one hand, I would say definitely yes. For the way I write, I don't often sit down and try to think of something to write. It just comes to me; as a Christian, I often say that God inspires me, and I must write. I assure you I am a very cranky author when I don't have time to jot down new ideas which are literally about to explode from me.

On the other hand, I do desire for readers to enjoy my work around the world. Always have, even as a small kid. So, while I would probably still write, it would be a shame if no one else could ever read my stories or enjoy them; I would feel partly as though I squandered the gifts God has given me. But if just one person can be positively affected by a story, then maybe, just maybe, it's all been worthwhile.

Christine E. Schulze has been creating books since she was too young to even write them in words. The stories from Bloodmaiden: A Fantasy Anthology are only a small part of her vast collection spanning over thirty books, The Amielian Legacy. She hopes to inspire readers throughout the world with these books by publishing in both traditional and electronic formats to make them available to all readers.

Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WEbook online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books and ebooks which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange. Her latest and most exciting ventures include publishing her novel Bloodmaiden with Old Line Publishing; being a part of Victory Tales Press' Sweet Halloween Anthology; and completing her first fan-fiction, Silent Hero, based on Nintendo's Legend of Zelda and available as a free download on Smashwords. Christine currently lives in Shiloh, Illinois with her Mom, three dogs and a rabbit.

All her books can be found on either Smashwords, Amazon, or both, most as both print and ebooks
For more about Christine E. Schulze and her books visit her Website
Please consider joining and leaving a comment; guests are welcomed and much-sought-after!
and her Goodreads Page Read reviews of many of my works, and keep on the look-out for give-aways! Please feel free to send me a message and chat as well.
Schulze's Blog  also includes artwork of characters from her books.

Christine’s Contest
 Leave a comment for a chance to win
A print copy of  Bloodmaiden: A Fantasy Anthology
(U.S. Residents only, please)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why I Write Fantasy -Caroline Clemmons

Welcome Caroline Clemmons, Texas time travel author!

Amber: First, tell me why you write fantasy? 

Caroline: I love the challenge of introducing a time traveler to a new time. I bring my characters forward. They have to be introduced to changes. A person traveling back in time would have some historical knowledge of the past, but for my character (always the heroine) it's all new and a challenge to navigate through her new location. (I have to say I also write traditional contemporary and historical romance.) In addition to traveling from 1845 Ireland to 2010 Texas, the heroine in OUT OF THE BLUE is also clairvoyant.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?

Caroline: In spite of my own preference to bring my heroines forward, I loved the writing of Kathleen Kane (Maureen Childs). He books were my introduction to time travel and I’ve read each of her novels. I wish I'd kept them because I'd love to reread them. Then I read Theresa Medieros. I don't remember the first book of hers I read, but it was contemporary in which a lovely and lively witch dropped into a fountain in front of the hero's business building.  Such a precious book! Then I read Diana Gabaldon after I met her at a conference. Honestly, Diana must have a Mensa+ I.Q.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

Caroline: We want to be transported, to have our imagination stimulated until we believe every word we read. Remember when you were a child and played "Let's pretend" this or that? We're just big kids who still want to pretend.

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

Caroline: Of course! I would continue to write if I were the only one who saw the result. Oh, but it's so much nicer to have readers and good reviews, isn't it?  Although I also write contemporary and historical romances, my current WIP is the first of a time travel trilogy. (Say that quickly three times.)There's a great deal of pleasure dumping a heroine in a new time and letting her fight to adjust as she discovers a new life--and teaches the hero a few things.

Amber: Tell me more about yourself.
Caroline: As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is. 

My Hero and I live one a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Our two daughters are grown, and supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a large black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion. 

My earlier books from Kensington included one contemporary, two historicals, and one anthology--all of which I hope soon to have available as e-downloads. The Wild Rose Press has published one fantasy titled OUT OF THE BLUE, one historical titled THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, and the Civil War anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES. Coming out in 2011 will be something new for me, a sweet contemporary, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME. I'll also have released soon a sensual western historical novella, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME. I'm an eclectic reader, so I'm an eclectic writer.

Caroline’s Contest!
Comment for a chance to win your choice choice a PDF from her current list.
Find out more about Caroline
at her website