Author Interview: ‘The Broken Heart of Arelium’ by Alex Robins

About the Book:

None can resist the ravages of time. Knowledge is lost. Memories fade.

But some things must never be forgotten.


Over 400 years ago, twelve great warriors united the beleaguered armies of men and scoured the war-torn lands of evil, pushing the enemy back into the underground pits and caverns from whence they came. To ensure their legacy, each of the Twelve founded fortress monasteries to impart their unique knowledge of war and politics to a select few, the Knights of the Twelve.

But now the last of the Twelve have long since passed from history to legend and the Knights, their numbers dwindling, are harbouring a dark and terrible secret that must be protected at all costs.

Merad Reed has spent half his life guarding a great crater known as the Pit, yearning for some escape from the bleak monotony. Then the arrival of Aldarin, one of the few remaining Knights of the Twelve, sets off a chain of cataclysmic events that will change Reed forever.

To the north, Jelaïa del Arelium, heiress to the richest of the nine Baronies, must learn to navigate the swirling political currents of her father’s court if she hopes one day to take his place. But the flickering flames of ambition hide the shadow of an even greater threat.

And deep within the earth, something is stirring.

“A fast-paced epic fantasy thrill-ride filled with action-packed battles, compelling mysteries, and unforeseen betrayals.”

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into writing?

Hi there, Sarah, and thank you so much for putting this interview together! I’m a UK ex-pat living in France; I moved here with my parents and siblings in 1995. I currently manage an IT firm close to Angers, an attractive city in the western part of the Loire Valley … and write whenever I can find the time!

Strangely enough, I started writing because I was afraid that the quality of my written English was slipping. I still speak regularly to my close family in English, read exclusively in English, and watch a lot of UK TV, but actual writing was something I was doing less and less of. 

What started as a short story to practise my writing skills then expanded into a longer tale and from there careened headlong into the War of the Twelve series (which started as three books and is now four).

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Good question. Unfortunately, I don’t really get to choose when I write, as professional and family obligations come first. My more-or-less only writing time is late in the evening, once the kids are in bed and I have spent some time with my wife. 

What’s great about having a laptop is that you can write almost anywhere. My favourite place by far is in a comfy armchair by the fire, my feet propped up on a stool and my laptop on my knees.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, ever since the age of eight when I first picked up The Hobbit, swiftly followed by The Lord of the Rings and the Dragonlance Chronicles. I think many of my ideas come from things I didn’t see in most of the fantasy I read and wanted to explore more. So, lots of middle-aged characters, morally grey protagonists, the unreliability of historical accounts, that sort of thing.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I’m what writers call a pantser. No idea who first coined that exact term, but it’s been floating around in the writing community for a long time. A pantser doesn’t have a detailed outline, only a general idea of how the story will start and end, then lets the flow of the narration tug him/her in one direction or another. 

I’ve heard that some pantsers have no plot points laid out at all, which leads to characters being killed off, geographical locations changing, or the story suddenly shifting viewpoints, etc. That’s not quite my style! I have a beginning and an end for the series firmly stuck in my head, then I write an additional 2000–4000-word outline before starting each novel. I never deviate from these initial bullet points; the only difference is that sometimes when going from A to B a character will suddenly decide to go and do C instead and take me along for the ride. 

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

So, this is my first ever series, and it’s unabashedly epic fantasy, the genre I read almost exclusively while growing up. As a reader, I enjoy books that take me on a journey away from reality — the further away, the better! It’s a wonderful form of escapism, and I have huge respect for fantasy and SF writers whose worldbuilding is so superb that their readers can easily picture themselves standing there beside their favourite characters. 

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I admit I purposefully try not to do this as I am a firm believer that each reader should have his or her own idea of what my characters look like. I see the protagonists in my head, and they don’t look like any actors in particular, they are unique.

If I was casting for the first book, I would go for someone like Clive Owen or Iain Glen for Merad Reed, and Elizabeth Olsen, Kaya Scodelario or Naomi Scott for Jelaïa. But once again, every reader should form their own opinion!

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I do! Though probably less now that I write. My TBR is endless … My all-time favourite fantasy author is David Gemmell. If you’re looking for some great, fast-paced, traditional military fantasy, he’s the author to choose.

For a more recent take on military fantasy, John Gwynne is an absolute master of the genre. More specifically, his Faithful and the Fallen series.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

At the moment, I’m switching back and forth between Christian Cameron’s Killer of Men and the One Piece manga written by Eiichiro Oda. Both are equally excellent. 

9: What is your favourite book and why?

That’s a tough one. Probably Legend by Gemmell, as it has everything I really love in a fantasy novel. Lots of action, some great characters, and plenty of spectacular set pieces that you can only find in the written world (probably one of the reasons it’s never been filmed despite its popularity). 

A close second would be Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms. Pratchett fills every single sentence of his novels with philosophical musings, anachronisms, and Easter eggs, many of which you only pick up on during a ninth or tenth read-through. Incredible writer.  

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

The cliché — but correct — answer would be to write what you love. Not necessarily what you know, but what you love. You are going to be rereading your own stuff a lot. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read my first novel. If you don’t like reading fantasy, don’t write a fantasy novel. If you hate teenage protagonists, don’t write one as your main POV.

I was surprised to learn how many people in the writing community write “to market”. If you don’t conform to specific fantasy tropes, your book might sell fewer copies, but at least you won’t lose your sanity in the process.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

I’m very bad at social media in general (probably because I’m over forty), something not helped by the fact that I’m in a different time zone from a large part of my reader base. 

My website (www.warofthetwelve.com) is certainly the best place to go. Everything about current and future projects is posted there, and, if you sign up for the newsletter, you can have a monthly summary delivered straight into your inbox!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/warofthetwelve

Twitter: @warofthetwelve

About the Author:

Alex Robins hails from the sunny Loire Valley in western France, surrounded by imposing castles and sprawling vineyards. The Broken Heart of Arelium is his first novel.

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Release Blitz: ‘Just About Over You’ by Carrie Aarons

Just About Over You by Carrie Aarons is now live!

What’s the worst thing you could hear your best friend, who you’ve always secretly been in love with, say? That would be telling another girl he could envision her being his wife.

I just about died when Gannon Raferty, the boy who used to borrow my pencils in elementary school, said that to the lead of the reality dating show he was cast on. Though he didn’t win her heart, he’s now a bona fide sensation when he returns to our college and moves back into the off-campus house we share.

The torch I carry for him has always been one-sided; I’m head-over-heels, soulmate-level into him while he views me as a lovable kid sister. So I decide this school year will be the one where I move on, where I finally attempt to open my heart to another. After all, if he can make declarations of undying love to someone he just met, but not to me, that’s the biggest wake-up call I could ever receive.

Until one night early on in the semester, when we accidentally sleep together. Because of course he’s going to confess his feelings now, when I was ready to give up on there ever being an us.

But just as Gannon starts admitting exactly what I’ve always wanted to hear, I get devastating news. And suddenly, I don’t want to risk losing him as a best friend. I’ve already lost too many people I love, and am on the brink of adding one more to that list.

If our romance goes south, I don’t how I’ll ever come back from it. Not only the crushing heartbreak, but the fact that we can never go back to how we were again.

Download today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
http://mybook.to/JustAboutOverYou

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3dxW0mC

Meet Carrie Aarons

Author of romance novels such as Fool Me Twice and Love at First Fight, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the love stories of her imagination, and the athleisure dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, two children and ninety-pound rescue pup.
 
Connect with Carrie
Website | www.authorcarrieaarons.com
Goodreads | https://goodreads.com/carrieaarons
Amazon | https://amzn.to/3do0EDf
Facebook | https://facebook.com/carrieaarons
Facebook Group | https://bit.ly/2DDt1xX
Instagram | https://instagram.com/authorcarriea
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Bookbub | https://bookbub.com/profile/carrie-aarons
TikTok | https://bit.ly/3fzcrkI
Newsletter | https://bit.ly/authorCAnewsletter

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Book Blitz: ‘Dolly Pleasance’ by C.W. Lovatt

Title: Dolly Pleasance

Author: C.W. Lovatt

Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the Book:

From the best-selling author of Charlie Smithers and Josiah Stubb.

Come, meet the actress, Dolly Pleasance. Born into a life of poverty and abuse in the midst of 19th Century London, Dolly’s only salvation is her passion for the theatre. Follow her career, from rags to riches, over a span of twenty years.

Rejoice as she captures the hearts of thousands, fret as she attempts to avoid the clutches of a murderous madman, and weep over the impossible love she has for one Charlie Smithers.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

About the Author:

C.W. Lovatt is the award-winning author of the best-selling Charlie Smithers novels (including the spinoff, “Dolly Pleasance”), as well as the critically acclaimed Josiah Stubb Trilogy. His latest novel, “Adventures in Arran” is the fourth book of the Charlie Smithers Collection.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chuck.lovatt

Twitter: @tacscwl

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Author Interview: ‘Rags and Muffin’ by D. G. D. Davidson

About the Book:

Twelve-year-old Miss Rags is a goddess: As a hybrid of the world’s two sapient species, she has the power to grant her worshipers visions of God. But she is destined to die before her sixteenth birthday.

Now transformed into a living weapon by her mad-scientist pediatrician, she stalks the crime-ridden streets of the decaying temple city, determined to punish the wicked in the time she has left.

When Rags gets word that a pimp and drug pusher on the city’s south end has bought a young girl from the slave market, she stages a rescue with the help of a few close friends and her alcoholic, carjacking dog. But Southside is a powder keg: The grudges between rival gangs are about to explode into open war, and the site of the planned rescue is the epicenter.

Rags just wanted to save a life. Now she’ll have to fight to keep herself and her friends alive.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I spent many years as an archaeologist, but I returned to school recently for a degree in library science. Then I took a position as an academic librarian. I consider this my retirement since it is less stressful or physically demanding than my previous career. Archaeology kept me constantly on the move and living out of motels, but it also gave me lots of opportunities to see strange sights and meet interesting people.

I have wanted to write stories for as long as I remember. In kindergarten, I dictated a pirate story to my teacher, who faithfully recorded it for me. At some point in my early childhood, my parents bought a personal computer, a Tandy 1000, and I attempted to write a novel on it, but my project came to a sudden end when my document file got too large for the computer’s modest memory.

In middle school, I became enamoured of Ray Bradbury’s short stories. A lot of my efforts then were attempts to imitate his style, which I did poorly, of course. But I think that experience helped me develop my own voice.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Now that I’m settled down with a wife and child, I write when I get the chance, but the best opportunities are late in the evening when I’ve put the baby to bed and my wife is at work (she’s a night nurse). Previously, in my apartments, I kept an office space that doubled as my bedroom. I liked to write while sitting on the bed and edit while sitting at my desk. However, we recently bought a house, so now I have an office that’s just an office: I write while sitting in a beanbag chair and, again, edit at the desk.

In my office, I prefer to surround myself with clutter that matches my eccentricities and from which I can take inspiration if I need it. But my wife has commandeered my entire My Little Pony collection and given it to our baby; I felt it would be unmanly to voice an objection, so I will have to do without. My office is a little bare now.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

From my muse, naturally. But I do take ideas, characters, and situations from a hodgepodge of places. One character in Rags and Muffin has a name I borrowed from an archaeological form, and the world of the novel is informed by some time I spent in India.

But the primary inspiration for Rags and Muffin is the practice, in Nepalese Buddhism, of kumari worship. That is where they take young girls, set them up as living goddesses, and worship them until they reach puberty. When I first began crafting Rags and Muffin, I came up with something similar. Then, after I began my research, I was startled to learn that this worship of little girls is a real-life thing, so I ended up modeling the religious practices in the book on the real practice.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

That depends on the story. I am pantser by nature, but that simply doesn’t work for every book. For my first novel, Jake and the Dynamo, I could largely pants it because it’s a kitchen sink fantasy, so if I got stuck in a corner, I could just throw a new monster at the protagonists. Rags and Muffin, however, had a definite outline before I began writing. I’m currently working on a planetary romance that’s more complex than either of those, and it also requires an outline.

I don’t enjoy outlining, but it is a necessary evil. Except in special cases like Jake and the Dynamo, a lack of an outline can result in a lot of wasted time.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

That’s a good question: What genre are my books, exactly? I think Jake and the Dynamo and its sequel Dead 2 Rites qualify as ranobe, or “light novels,” since they have occasional illustrations and anime-inspired themes, though they are much longer than typical light novels. Rags and Muffin is an urban fantasy action-adventure, though “urban fantasy” may be misleading because it takes place in an alternate universe inspired by Rudyard Kipling and Talbot Mundy rather than the typical contemporary setting.

Broadly, I write fantasy adventures featuring a lot of violent action, usually with young girls as protagonists. All my current works are partly inspired by Japanese magical girl anime: Jake and the Dynamo’s immediate inspiration was Shugo Chara, and I think Rags and Muffin’s was Cardcaptor Sakura, though it no longer resembles it in the slightest. But I’m currently working on something that’s closer in spirit to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

That’s tough to answer. I don’t follow actors closely, and since my main characters are so young, they’d require child actors . . . I could maybe see Rags being played by Dakota Blue Richards back when she was a child, and I could sort of see Nicky, her main sidekick, being played by Jaden Smith back when he was a child, like when he was in that Karate Kid remake.

That’s the best I can do. I really don’t know actors, especially child actors. But if Rags and Muffin were made into a movie or television series, animation would probably be more appropriate, preferably by a Japanese studio. Then the age of the actors wouldn’t matter as long as they could do convincing voices.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read constantly. Reading is an author’s second most important task after writing. Naming favorite authors, however, is hard for me because the answer is always changing.

But I will name two. One is Ray Bradbury, who was such a big influence on me when I was younger. I read everything by him I could find when I was in my early teens, and at one point, I thought I had read his entire corpus (I was wrong). I don’t care for his later work, but when he was on top of his game, he was single-handedly reshaping science fiction.

A second is Roy Rockwood, though that’s not the name of a real person. It’s the pseudonym of a bevy of writers who, in the first half of the twentieth century, produced a boys’ adventure series called Great Marvel. Although I’ve always loved reading, I was frustrated in grade school because I couldn’t find the kinds of books I wanted. At the time, “realistic” children’s books were in vogue, such as the stories by Beverly Cleary, but I didn’t want those; I wanted fantastic tales set in space or fairyland, and I didn’t know how to find them. Somehow, probably in third grade, I stumbled upon City Beyond the Clouds, one of the Great Marvel books, and it blew my mind. It’s about a couple of resourceful he-men who gather a small army, build an airship to travel to a second moon hidden in Earth’s shadow, and battle a race of red dwarves. It’s silly and horribly written, but to a kid sick of Beverly Cleary, it was revolutionary.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I am finishing the complete works of Plato. I just read Casino Royale. And I am working my way through the Judge Dredd comics. Nowadays, I read almost nothing contemporary aside from comic books, and the comic books are mostly manga. There are so many classic books I need to read, either adventure novels or more substantial literary works, that I pay little attention to anything recently published. 

9: What is your favourite book and why?

That’s a tough question because the answer is always changing. For a long time, my go-to answer was Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, which is an amazing novel with multiple layers, written in a beautiful but challenging style.

However, I’m going to give a different title that’s a greater influence on my own work: Bone, the graphic novel by Jeff Smith. Smith has impeccable comedic timing. He uses humor to pull the reader in but then turns the story in more dramatic directions. So you come to love his characters because they’re funny and are therefore prepared to weep over them when they suffer.

Comics and cartoons are particularly well suited to that kind of emotional sleight of hand. Another excellent example is Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley. Japanese creators use the technique regularly, Sailor Moon being a famous example. Although it’s not a cartoon, I used it (or attempted to use it) in Jake and the Dynamo.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I don’t think I can give any advice that I didn’t learn from someone else. Read voraciously and write every day. There is no such thing as writer’s block, so write even when you don’t feel like it. If a scene isn’t coming together, make sure it contains at least two conflicts, as lack of conflict is usually the cause of that flat, dull feeling that keeps a passage from moving forward.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

The best site is definitely my blog, https://deusexmagicalgirl.com. If you just want my book releases or deals without the chitchat, then subscribe to my newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/ad8e66f9571b/girlst-at-work-sign-up. That will also get you a free Rags and Muffin short story.

If you are a glutton for punishment, you can also follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page.

About the Author:

D. G. D. Davidson is an archaeologist, librarian, and magical girl enthusiast. He is the author of the JAKE AND THE DYNAMO series, featuring the madcap adventures of the luckless Jake Blatowski and the surly Pretty Dynamo. Davidson makes his home in various places throughout the Midwest, where he pops up unexpectedly at strange times and in strange places. He blogs on occasion, mostly about magical girls, at deusexmagicalgirl.com.

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Release Blitz: ‘Playing Dirty in Alaska’ by Samanthe Beck

Playing Dirty In Alaska by Samanthe Beck is now live!

Bush pilot Bridget Shanahan runs from responsibility like a child runs from a dentist appointment, but when her brother leaves the family’s airfield in her hands, she knows it’s time to step up and behave like a Responsible Adult ™. So of course that’s when Archer Ellison III blows into her tiny town of Captivity, Alaska, every inch the hot-as-hell mistake that most definitely belongs in her past. Been there, done that, and didn’t even get to keep the commemorative sweatshirt
 
Archer has only ever had two goals. Now that he’s built his own empire outside his father’s company, he can move on to goal #2—winning back the one who got away by whatever means necessary. He knows it won’t be easy. Bridget Shanahan is older, wiser, more self-assured, and jaw-droppingly stunning…and doing everything she can to pretend the scorching chemistry between them doesn’t exist.
 
But fate is on his side. After an impulsive bet that would have sent Archer packing goes awry, Bridget is officially stuck with him. Which is really inconvenient, since falling for Archer again is the least responsible thing she could do.

Download today!
Amazon: http://mybook.to/pdiasb
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3CgrqaT
Nook: https://bit.ly/3CuM9YZ
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2YOdnMh

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3Dlbm9c

Meet Samanthe Beck

Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her long-suffering husband, Charles, and their turbo-son, Hud. Throw in a furry ninja assassin named Gander, a few hundred Nerf blasters, one electric guitar, (with amp!), and…well…you get the picture.

When not dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks ways to get her characters to happy-ever-after, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with ASMR podcasts.
 
Connect with Samanthe
Website | www.samanthebeck.com
Goodreads | https://bit.ly/3xlia4i
Amazon | https://amzn.to/3at1mhX
Facebook | https://bit.ly/3ejaTZP
Instagram | https://bit.ly/32ubAtM
Twitter | https://bit.ly/3gxjRp0
Bookbub | https://bit.ly/3sxkem8
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