Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Mary Hughes

Welcome Mary Hughes, author of red-hot and funny vampire romances!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?

Mary: To me, fantasy is an integral part of life. It’s that sense of wonder, the ability to see the amazing beauty and variety all around you. It’s the fun, the joy, the wow that makes life worth living. I think that, since fantasy is the “what if” that enchants everyday life, all stories are imbued with it, from romance to spy thriller to sword and sorcery.

I write fantasy because it’s got the biggest helping of wow. The most play in “what if”. I write fantasy because that’s the biggest story playground.

Amber: What fantasy books do you read?

Mary: My published books are red-hot vampire romances. Strangely, my favorite novels star mostly wizards: Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, David Eddings’s Belgariad, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I recently discovered Charles Stross’s Laundry Files. I think the series appeals to the computer programmer in me. My favorite vampire fantasy (and comfort read) is Robin McKinley’s Sunshine.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

As a reader of fantasy, I love the interplay of possibilities that you can’t get in a regular story. Fantasy can show human nature against incredible backdrops, stretch it to the limits and beyond, pit the soul against truly impossible odds. I think fantasy is for the reader who wants more, and more again.

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

Mary: Not only would I write fantasy if nobody read it, I did for twenty years! 

Amber: Thanks for being my guest!
Mary: Hugs from Hughes!

Bestselling author Mary Hughes is a computer consultant, professional musician, and writer. At various points in her life she has taught Taekwondo, worked in the insurance industry, and studied religion. She is intensely interested in the origins of the universe. She has a wonderful husband (though happily-ever-after takes a lot of hard work) and two great kids. But she thinks that with all the advances in modern medicine, childbirth should be a lot less messy. (Readers have since told her they think babies should come with an instruction manual, which, while painful [Smirks] , would have been very useful for her two.)

 Biting Me Softly

He’s a candy box of sex appeal wrapped with a golden bow. She’s on a diet.

Blood, sex, violence. Blood, okay, but computer geek Liese Schmetterling had enough S&V when her cheating ex fired her. Now security expert—and lip-smacking gorgeous—Logan Steel saunters into her Blood Center, setting fire to her libido. And threatening her job.

Visions of pink slips dancing in her head, Liese tries to push Logan away without touching his jutting pecs…or ridged abs. Or petting the Vesuvius in his jeans. He’s hiding something, but it doesn’t seem to matter when his smiles stun her, his kisses crank her to broiling and his bites rocket her to heaven. Fangy bites which, if she weren’t grounded in science, would make her think ampire-Vay.

Warning: contains explicit vampire sex involving absurdly large male equipment (hey, they’re monsters), unbelievable stamina (just how long can he stay underwater in a hot tub?), hide-your-eyes violence and horrendously bad puns. And, just when you think it can’t get any worse, a computer geekette trying to play Mata Hari.

Also in this series

Bite My Fire Cop Elena O’Rourke takes on suspect Bo Strongwell as she investigates her first murder. Bo Strongwell is a master vampire who needs a cop snooping around like he needs a garlic enema. Warning: Jammed with hot explicit sex, graphic fanged violence, and acid cop humor. May contain donuts. 

Biting Nixie Nixie is five foot nothing of punk rock musician. Julian Emerson is six-plus of gorgeous…and a lawyer more buttoned-down than his three-piece suit. And then Nixie discovers Julian’s a vampire.  Warning: contains explicit language, violence and cheese balls. Those things are just scary. 

To learn more about Mary Hughes 
and her books check out

Mary’s Contest!

To celebrate Biting Me Softly in stores around the US, 
I’m having a giveaway! Just comment on this post to enter. 
For a second chance, let me know the city or bookstore where you’ve seen Softly
Through April 30, 2011. 
Adults only please. 
Winner will receive a choice of Biting Me Softly in paperback
(if US or Canada) 
or one of Bite My Fire, Biting Nixie,  
The Bite of Silence or  
Biting Me Softly in ebook.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Cindy Lynn Speer

Welcome Cindy! 

I'm pleased to welcome Cindy Lynn Speer fantasy author and practitioner of historical swordsmanship. 

Amber: Tell me why do you write fantasy?

Cindy: I write fantasy because I love infinite possibilities.  I love the idea of anything (as long as one bases it in reality) being possible.  I’ve always been drawn to magic, to things that exist in myth…and even when I write mysteries I mix in magic and fantasy.

Amber: What books do you read?

Cindy: I am very big into Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series right now…and I can never talk about fantasy without mentioning Barbara Hambly.  Her books are what got me started reading fantasy…she has incredible characters that you really care about.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
Cindy: I think readers love fantasy because they need an escape…that’s why I read it.  Sometimes one just has enough of the mundane world.  Sometimes you need to be taken away to someplace utterly different, and see things from new perspectives.  Fantasy allows you to see things through other people’s heads…a dragon has a different way of thinking than a human does, after all!  *grins*

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

Cindy: Yes…the thing is, I’m telling myself stories all the time.  Which might be why my time management skills are off…but I do feel the need to write the best stories down, so I won’t forget.

Cindy Lynn Speer has always been a day dreamer.  The life inside her head is infinitely more exciting and less confusing than life outside of it.  When she’s not writing about it, or reading and feeding the world inside her head, she’s sewing and practicing historical swordsmanship.

Check out Books by Cindy Lynn Speer!

(Zumaya Embraces)
 Andromeda Pendragon has been trained her whole life 
to be an agent of Balance, an organization that acts as a 
supernatural UN to keep the peace among werewolves, vampires and magic users.

(Zumaya Otherworlds )
What really happens once in a blue moon? 
Libby Halstead is about to find out. 
Centuries ago, Merlin realized that 
magic and technology could not co-exist, 
and so he created the Merlin Stone and cast one last great spell, 
sundering the two worlds.

 (Drollerie Press)
A collection of re-told fairy tales,
new stories & an interesting look at the classic Cinderella.
 (Drollerie Press)
Tasmin, William's wife to be, was chosen by a spell, 
as all wives and husbands are chosen. 
It's a nice, tidy way to find a reasonable mate for almost everyone. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Dana Davis

Welcome Dana! 

I'm pleased to welcome back Dana Davis, bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction and paranormal investigator to Wordshaping. 

Amber: Tell me why do you write fantasy?
Dana: Thanks so much for having me back, Amber. It's great to be here again. Well, I write what I love to read, which is mainly for escapism. Fantasy worlds allow me to get all the crazy stuff out of my head and into a readable storyline. I was weaned on Mother Goose and Grimm’s fairytales. As a kid, I made up stories that barely resembled the real world and even got in trouble a few times for it. Coming from a family with NASA roots as well as paranormal stories, it just seemed inevitable that I would be attracted to the fantasy genre.

Amber: Thanks for sharing your video for Desert Magick: Day of the Dead. It's beautiful and scary and makes me want to read your new book.

Dana: I'm glad you enjoyed the video trailer, Amber. My latest book, Desert Magick: Day of the Dead is the third in the bestselling paranormal fantasy series, Desert Magick. Day of the Dead was just released in eBook format and is available for various reading devices. I have to admit, I really love the cover, too. The artist did a fantastic job with it. This series focuses on witches, magick, ghosts, mediums, telepaths, and the like. I’m a member of a local paranormal investigative team, so I tend to use those experiences in my work, and especially in Day of the Dead. Of course, I change and expand them to fit the plotline but many of the incidents get their start from my real life experiences.

Amber: What books do you read?

Dana: I like to read several books at once, depending on my mood, but I read mainly fantasy and sci-fi. I also read suspense and ghost stories, as well as all types of mythology. Right now, I’m reading the fourth book in the Legend of the Seeker series by Terry Goodkind, The Lost Symbol nookbook by Dan Brown, and the first nookbook in the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking. I have several others queued up on my nook reader, my phone, and on my paperback shelf.

Amber: What are you writing now?

Dana: I’m currently writing the fourth book in the Desert Magick series. I’m under contract for five books in this series. I’m also editing another fantasy novel and a sci-fi novel for future publication. 

Dana Davis is an award-winning and bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction and a paranormal investigator. She once worked for Hollywood and Disney. Genealogy fascinates her, and her ancestry includes Irish, Scottish, Dutch, British, and Mohawk Indian. Her great-great aunt is purported to have been a medium and a telekinetic. President Barack Obama is her seventh cousin once removed. And her grandfather was an engineer at NASA. She lives in the Arizona desert with her husband and uses her varied background, along with family stories, to aid in her writing.

Visit Dana at her Website

Special promotion!

In honor of spring and Dana’s birthday month, 
SynergEbooks Publishing is offering 
all of her eBooks for just $2.99 
for the month of April, when purchased from their site.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Berinn Rae

Welcome Berinn Rae, Author of fun fast-paced urban fantasy!
Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Berinn: Growing up, my elementary teacher called me her little space cadet. At the time I thought nothing of it. After all, I’ve always been an introvert with an overactive imagination. And I often felt happiest daydreaming in the worlds that I created. My childhood was great, but I still fantasized about more. That’s when I dove into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Comic books, movies, books, TV. You name it. If it was Sci-Fi/Fantasy, I was all over it.
At some point, I realized I had so many ideas swirling around in my mind that I needed to let them out. Writing became that outlet. All of my ideas focused on strong, sassy women who go for what they want. And when they come out to play, all hell breaks loose. In my debut novel, Knightfall, releasing this month, my heroine is a half-breed angel believed to be the harbinger of Armageddon. The action heats up from there when sexy knight is sent to kill her. What happens next? You’ll have to read the book. J

Amber: Do you do a lot of research or do you rely on imagination in writing fantasy?
Berinn: In a fantasy novel, as readers we’re asked to believe in the fantastic. So, the rest of the story needs to be as real as possible to blend it all together. While I tend to start with what I know, I let my imagination run wild in getting the words on the page. When I hit the second draft, I’ll do my research. For example, my heroine in Knightfall is a bush pilot in Alaska. Even though I’m a pilot, I needed to learn how flying in Alaska was different from the flying I do in the Midwest. I believe it’s important to be accurate when talking about anything we can see, hear, taste, or do today.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Berinn: I read everything I can get my hands on - from comic books to the classics - although fantasy novels always topped my list (as long as they have a glimpse of romance for my softer side). Current series on my pre-buy list include Jocelynn Drake’s Dark Days, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega, and Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer. A classic I pull out every couple years is Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

Amber: Why do readers love fantasy?
Berin: I can only speak for myself as a lover of fantasy. Life isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be. A good fantasy novel can take me out of the real world for a few hours. In fantasy, I can be whomever I want and go wherever I want. There’s no other genre that offers the surreal worlds I can find in fantasy. Give me a story chocked full of escapism, and I’m happy.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Berinn: Easy answer. Yes. Although, I got to say that there’s nothing better than having a reader tell me how reading my story gave them goose bumps.   
Amber: Thanks for visit Workshaping and sharing.
Berinn: Thanks for having me, Amber!

Berinn Rae writes sexy fantasies about extraordinary women in epic events. Her debut novel, Knightfall the first story in The Seven Seals series, is coming out April 2011 by Crescent Moon Press. 
A nomadic spirit with a license to fly, she is always in search of new adventures and happy endings. 

Coming April 2011
Life is relatively normal for bush pilot Kerra Cain. That is, until a fallen angel reveals himself, with plans to use her to destroy the Seven Seals.To escape, she must place her trust in the arms of Gareth, a dangerously sexy but enigmatic man who has haunted her dreams for years. Thrown into a desperate war for survival, Kerra must embrace a heritage long denied her in Knightfall, Berinn Rae’s debut fantasy romance coming this month from Crescent Moon Press.

for more information and freebies, 
including free chapters and bookmarks.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Leanna Renee Hieber

Welcome, Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Strangely Beautiful series of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?

LRH: I primarily write historical fantasy because I love the chance to dive into another world that is in some ways familiar to us, it being our history, but is wholly another world because it’s a time in which we’ve not lived ourselves. The fantasy aspect is important for me because I like showing history in a new light. Paranormal and fantasy aspects allow me to utilize the era in ways that are unique, boundary-breaking and just plain fun.

I’ve been obsessed with both classic fantasy and classic Victorian literature since childhood, so it felt utterly natural for me to blend them. Considering the paranormal elements already present in great Victorian literature, drawing fantasy and paranormal elements into this historical time period was seamless for me, especially in the Gothic style in which I write. I think many writers write what they want to read, that’s certainly true for my Strangely Beautiful series; I took all my favourite styles and elements from different genres and blended them into my books. Thankfully, considering the Victorian obsession with ghosts and neo-classicism, my use of Greek Mythology and a ton of real-life London haunts all work in tremendous concert.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?

LRH: There are aspects of Edgar Allan Poe that border on the supernatural fantasy side of things, and he remains my earliest and most profound influence, along with Lewis Carroll, who helped anchor my interest in fantastical Victoriana. I will always think of Narnia and Lord of the Rings as similarly changing my life. Narnia first, then Tolkien cemented my love of fantasy forever. Authors like Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, who can blend the edges between fantasy, paranormal and horror, continued to inspire and influence me. Then Harry Potter came along and re-ignited my creative fire like nothing had done since childhood.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

LRH: The word fantasy says it all. It is fantastic. It is full of dreams coming true, but not in the easy way- in a way readers feel they have earned. We want to experience fantasy because of the journey involved. In some ways we can more accurately mirror real life by putting ‘real life’ into extreme and improbable circumstances, thus forcing out real truths in ways that are so much more easy to stomach, the results of which can nestle into our hearts with lasting magic that no other tales can quite deliver.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
LRH: I was writing fantasy for a very long time before anyone was reading it. J It took a long time to convince me that my books (I started writing my first novel around age 12) needed an audience outside of the secrecy in which I’d kept them.

Award winning, nationally bestselling author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber graduated with a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. Having adapted works of 19th Century literature for the stage, her one-act plays have been produced around the country.  Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy or Paranormal Romance.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels, hit Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, won 2010 Prism Awards for Best Fantasy and Best First Book and the rights have been sold for adaptation into a musical theatre production currently in development.

In addition to new Strangely Beautiful releases, her new Magic Most Foul Victorian Paranormal series set in 1880s New York City begins 11/11 from Sourcebooks Teen Fire. A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, she’s thrilled to be RWA NYC’s 2010 Author of the Year. A member of actors unions AEA, SAG and AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television. When not writing or on set, she's a devotee of ghost stories and Goth clubs, adventuring about NYC, where she resides with her real-life hero and beloved rescued lab rabbit Persebunny.

The Strangely Beautiful series: (Dorchester)
  • - The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful 1)
  • - The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful 2)
  • - The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess (A Strangely Beautiful prequel, so it would be fine to start the series here)

The Dark Nest novellas (Futuristic Fantasy - Crescent Moon Press)
The Magic Most Foul series coming 11/11 from Sourcebooks Fire

Leanna's Contest 
Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed, mass market copy of the first two books in the Strangely Beautiful series (U.S. Only please)

Visit Leanna on her website

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Rebecca Ryals Russell

Welcome Rebecca Ryals Russell, author of YA and middle grade fantasy!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?

Rebecca: Growing up I read one fantasy book after another and watched every episode of Lost in Space, Star Trek (every episode at least 3 times), Star Wars, anything Sci Fi. I devoured Lord of the Rings, every Anne McCaffrey book written, the Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks, I loved the Dark Tower series by Stephen King and read many of David Eddings series. In fact, it was while finishing a David Eddings book the concept for my first book was born. It then took me thirty years to finish writing it. I love writing Fantasy because of the room for invention. World building is so much fun I could just keep building and populating worlds. Does that give me a ‘god’ complex? Only on paper.

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?

It is my belief that readers love Fantasy because of the escapism is provides. Fantasy as a genre has grown in popularity for that reason. Not only does Fantasy provide spectacular worlds to visit but the reader can wield a sword or crown, wings or breathe fire.

What other genre allows so many fantasies to be borne out by the reader? And for those who enjoy Romance, it lends itself perfectly to the Fantasy world in a wide variety of ways. The reader can easily be the Princess finding her Prince or Faeries and Elves. And dragons can be good or bad, helpful or not. Not only that, but in the Fantasy world any kind of magical creature, Mythological or newly created, can be born and used.

Amber: Tell me about your YA series.

Rebecca: Seraphym Wars has been a trip to write. Although it took me thirty years to finally sit down and put the words to paper, the story went through so many evolutions it wasn’t really even the same story by the time I finished. I chose to go the evil dragon route and incorporated the apocalypse and Revelations from the Bible as well as pulling actual news accounts for the evil committed by the dragon-demons. I couldn’t imagine worse evil than I have found in the daily news.

Then I created a world that is Steampunk because Narciss, the head dragon and ruler of Tartarus (Mythological Hell) suppressed technology to control the planet’s population. The planet is predominantly primal forests full of dangerous creatures designed from Mythological elements. But in the farthest corner of the globe away from Narciss sits an enchanted island. After the Great Shuddering, the arrival of the dragon-demons on the peaceful planet of Solsyl, the Majikals who had been living all over the planet migrated to this island.

So now what remains of the Elves and Faeries, Dwarves, Mermaids and other creatures I designed live on the island with a Majikal shield around it. This is where my main character, 18-year-old Myrna leads the other six Vigorios. These are the teenaged demon hunters prophesied to defeat the demons in the final battle between the Seraphym and Demons. On the island they will train with the Majikals and finish assembling the army. But just because something is prophesied doesn’t mean it will come to pass. And that is what the Vigorios are finding out.

Amber: Would you write Fantasy, even if no one read it

Rebecca: Yes, absolutely. I write it for me. If others want to read my books that’s awesome, but I’m the one that has to be happy with the story first.

Rebecca Ryals Russell lives in a Victorian house on five acres with her family. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property. She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville (Central Fl), grew up in Sunrise (South Florida), lived in Orlando (Central Fl) and Jacksonville (NE Fl) before settling outside Lake City (North Central Fl). 

The daughter of a school principal and school secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies.  Her main interests are her four children and hubby of 35 years, writing, drawing, gardening, movies, reading.

As a Young Adult and Middle Grade author she has only just gotten started. Her debut book comes out April 2011, then nearly every month another book is slated for release.
Seraphym Wars Series: Odessa releases April 1, 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing.

The MG series Stardust Warriors Zarena is scheduled for July 1, 2011 from MuseItUp.

This is a MG version of the Seraphym Wars story.

Other releases for next year include: Stardust Warriors Jeremiah scheduled for September 1, 2011; Seraphym Wars Prequel Conscientia November 1, 2011; a horror story Don’t Make Marty Mad October 1, 2011; and Stardust Warriors Laman due out February 1, 2012. I’m waiting to hear about Seraphym Wars Book 2 Harpies and Stardust Warriors Books 4 and 5, Mercy and Magaelbash

All books will be available on Amazon, Smashwords, as well as many other sites.

To find our more about books by Rebecca Ryals Russell  

And her blog for additional information about writing,
random ramblings
and anything that strikes her funny bone.

Rebecca also participates in a grog (group blog)
Teen Word Factory

written by a group of MG/YA Authors, 

who write about how to write for teens, 

NaNoWriMo, interviews and more.