Andi Van on Writing, Dragons, and their new release Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3) (author guest post)

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Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3)  by Andi Van

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon | Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andi  Van here today to talk about writing, and dragons and their new release Magic Triumphed, Welcome, Andi.

 

 

“Write me a story with a dragon.”

You never think that a single sentence could change things so drastically. Or at least I don’t. But in 2007, when I decided to participate in this thing I’d heard of called NaNoWriMo, that’s exactly what my grandmother told me when I called her to tell her I had no idea what kind of story to write.

So I wrote her a story with a dragon. That was in 2007, mind you, and the original iteration of Tasis’ story was only one book long and badly written in places. Especially the ending. The ending was horrible. But I was lucky enough to have a chance to fix that, to expand my fictional world into an entire universe.

It’s been almost twelve years, and  I never thought I’d be so incredibly sad about having a book released, because Magic Triumphed being released into the world means it’s over. Done. The thing I poured my heart into as a tribute to my late grandmother is complete, and it’s kind of like losing a piece of my soul.

(When I said this to my mother, her immediate reaction was to ask me when I’m writing the fourth book. I pointed out that a trilogy is only three books long, and her response was “That didn’t stop Douglas Adams.” I mean, she has a point, but…)

It’s been a labor of love, for sure. I wrote Magic Wept and Magic Triumphed back-to-back, without a break. I lost Koi, my much-loved feline companion and deleter of chapters (via sitting on my keyboard), in the middle of the process due to old age. My roommate was pretty sure she was going to have to take me to the hospital before I ended up dead from lack of sleep (I’m not even joking about that, sadly). The characters weren’t cooperating. I had to have deadlines extended. And I had to write something near the end (don’t worry, no spoilers) that pretty much destroyed me, even if I knew how it was going to turn out. On the final day, I was up until 5 in the morning, with another author friend keeping me company until I hit send on my submission email. (Then I promptly fell into bed and stayed there for a week.)

We all know how I am by now, though. There’s a baby who can do magic he shouldn’t be able to do, and we have to know why he can do that, right? He should be getting his own story, shouldn’t he? Plus I’ve already been talking with friends about doing some crossover stories. So chances are, this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of The Mages’ Guild.

But hey… I wrote a story with a dragon for you. I hope you like it.

You can follow along with the blog tour at http://andivan.com/magic-triumphed-blog-tour. Since the dragons are what started this whole mess (both in reality and in the story), it’s the dragons I’ll be talking about for most of the tour. Keep your eyes peeled for a random giveaway or two!

 

 

 

Blurb:

Zaree Muna would follow her brother Tasis anywhere, but she never imagined that path to lead where it has. After Tasis and his familiar fall under a magical sleep from which no one can wake them, she and her party prepare to face the mad king of Archai without him. They don’t expect the journey to lead to the Maker herself, who predicts three deaths will occur as the battle to save their world from Archai and a jealous god nears. Two of those deaths will be loved ones, and if things go wrong, the third death could spell the end of everything.

But no one ever accused Zaree of being a coward, and as she and the others go into battle to save what Tasis has rebuilt, she is ready to laugh in the face of death. The thousand-year wait is over, and none of them will accept anything less than triumph.

***  Excerpt

Vashk was waiting for them when they made their way into the cavernous dock, and Zaree, with Yldost riding on her shoulder, couldn’t help but wonder just how much the water dragon knew. She respected and trusted him, certainly, but she didn’t kid herself. He was hiding something from them. Multiple somethings, likely, and all of them important.

Yldost leaped from her shoulder and would have landed on the ground in a small heap if Zaree hadn’t caught them. Clearly the dragon wasn’t used to not having all of their feathers in place. Instead, Zaree very gently set Yldost on their brother’s snout, which was likely the place Yldost had been aiming for in the first place. They gave Zaree a grateful chirrup before turning their attention to their sibling. “Vashk. Seri na.”

Seri na,” Vashk replied, his clear voice rolling through the grotto.

Diisen var?”

“If you would speak a language we could understand, it would be appreciated,” Zaree said, catching Jorget’s nod from the corner of her eye.

Seri na is a greeting between family members,” Vashk told her.

“There isn’t really a translation for it, but it signifies family ties as well as affection. You would use it when greeting Tasis, but not when greeting Sireti.”

Zaree tilted her head slightly to one side without thinking about it, and groaned inwardly when she realized what she’d done. She’d been spending far too much time with Yldost if she was picking up their mannerisms. “I wouldn’t use it with Sireti even though he’s blood family?”

“You dislike him,” Yldost piped up. “Seri na is for loved ones. And blood does not make families.”

About the Author


Andi Van is a foul-mouthed troublemaker who lives near San Diego with a baseball bat that’s forever being used for things other than baseball, and a fondness for rum and caffeine (though not necessarily together).

Andi is fluent in three languages (English, sarcasm, and profanity), and takes pride in a highly developed—if somewhat bizarre—sense of humor.

Social media info:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefiantAndi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/defiantandi

Julie Aitcheson on historical romance, young adult literature and her release Being Roy (guest blog)

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Being Roy by Julie Aitcheson
Harmony Ink Press
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Available for Sales

AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-A-MillionHarmony Ink Press |

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Julie Aitcheson on her Being Roy tour. Welcome, Julie.

✒︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with  Julie Aitcheson, author of Being Roy ~

What did you read as a young adult?

Honestly, I don’t remember “young adult literature” from my time spent inhabiting that demographic. It was the early nineties, before the genre was even properly defined. I was too busy reading The Great Gatsby to death in English class and writing papers about the significance of the green light at the end of the dock.  Then there was the copious required summer reading, which included Death Be Not Proud— the devastating memoir of a dad losing his beloved son to cancer. That book was beautiful. I can see that now, from the remove of many years and personal losses later. But at the time, it shattered me. It ruined every single day that it took me to read it, the pall of death dimming the summer sun. Every page was a heartbreak, and by the end I was seething with rage that I was forced to witness such horrendous pain as a tender, self-absorbed fifteen year-old.

This is not to say that I wasn’t reading beyond my academic requirements, but only that when moments of literary leisure presented themselves (usually around eleven p.m., after I was finished with homework, but before I’d found a way to manage my insomnia), I reached for something very different. You see, I come by my bookworm genes honestly. My mother was an English major in college, then an editor, and remains one of the most voracious readers I have ever known. She endured many more years of enforced reading lists than I, analyzing her way through most of the classics. She has had hundreds of Gatsbys and green lights in her past, and this is her justification for the contents of her personal library.  These days, it consists almost entirely of true crime novels and murder mysteries, but when I was in high school, her book stash was one hundred percent bodice-rippers.

Mom kept her historical romances stacked at her chairside, bedside, in the cabinets in the study, and in boxes down in the basement. I was given unfettered access, and the supply was endless. Authors like Johanna Lindsay and Catherine Coulter were my favorites. Their heroines were smart, feisty, and adventurous, and always in possession of some notable skill, like healing people with herbs or spear-throwing (despite the uniformly enormous size of their breasts). The heroes would usually start out as icy aristocrats or swashbuckling pirates. Rogues all, until a good woman’s love made them as docile as newborn kittens. 

I would stay up until three a.m. to finish “just one more chapter”, willing to suffer the gritty eyes and foggy brain of a sleepless night to find out how each story would end. It didn’t matter that they all ended the same. I needed to be there. I blew through three or four of these novels a week– more during vacations. I would bring the well-thumbed volumes to school once I’d finished and pass them on to my friends, going from one book to the next like a hamster pushing a lever for pellets. The only cure for the despond that came with watching my beloved characters ride off into the sunset without me was another book. And then another and another.

As I write this, the sheer mass of historical romance that I consumed during high school strikes me anew. These were formative years. Years during which I was indoctrinated by books with covers featuring Fabio in various guises. Given that I attended an all-girls high school, there were certain assumptions about the nature of male-female relations that went unchecked for an astounding length of time. For example, it was a while before I realized that sex did not have to happen under the cover of night in the stable behind a grand English manor house or down in the cramped hold of a storm-tossed ship. Clothes could simply be removed and placed neatly to the side rather than torn off in the throes of passion. My mouth could be gently kissed rather than “ravaged hungrily”, and love could bloom without having been first threatened by international intrigue, feuding families, or a murderous marquis.

I have since learned to love the books that break my heart, like Death Be Not Proud, and others that win prizes for the beauty of their prose or the insight of their commentary. But historical romances still hold a special place in my heart. They kept me company on the island of my angsty teenhood, and prevented me from kissing too many frogs on my way to becoming a woman. (What adolescent boy could compare to Fabio dressed like an aristocrat disguising himself as a pirate?)  They taught me how to lose myself in a book until everything around me disappeared, and planted the seed of a thought that maybe someday writing could feel the same way.

Being Roy (Fall 2017)- blurb

The greatest trial Roy Watkins faces isn’t deciding whether she’s gay or straight, male or female, West Virginia country mouse or prep school artistic prodigy. It isn’t even leaving behind her childhood sweetheart Oscar to attend uppity Winchester Academy in the hunt country of Virginia, or acclimating to a circle of friends that now includes privileged Imogen, her sharp but self-conscious sidekick Bugsy, and the tortured Hadley. No, the hardest thing for Roy to face is the world’s expectations about who and what she should be. 

As Roy’s journey of self-discovery forces her to cross one hurdle after another, her identity closes in fast. Sooner than she could have ever predicted, she’ll have to decide what that means for her, the people she’s coming to care about, and the life that lies ahead.

About the Author

Julie Aitcheson began her pursuit of writing as a screenwriter, then realized that a little exposition never hurt anyone and switched to books. She has had articles published in Echo QuarterlyCommunities Magazine (formerly Talking Leaves Magazine), Isabella, and All Things Girl.  Most recently, she received a full fellowship to the 2013 Stowe StoryLabs and won second place in the 2014 San Miguel Writers’ Conference nonfiction writing competition.

Julie lives wherever her bohemian heart takes her, and wherever she can hit the hiking trails when her muse decides to take a personal day. She has worked extensively with young adults as an experiential educator, both across the United States and in India. After spearheading an initiative to assist at-risk youth in becoming trained for green jobs, Julie threw herself into writing stories for young adults that do justice to their intelligence and complex emotional lives. Her childhood growing up in West Virginia, subsequent matriculation at an exclusive all-girls boarding school in Virginia, and former incarnation as a truck driver inspired her to write Being Roy. Her next YA novel, First Girl, is a dystopian piece due out from Harmony Ink in Spring 2018.

Julie continues to seek out unique life experiences to provide grist for the mill of her imagination, including her work as a medical actress at a simulation laboratory. There, she indulged her love of the dramatic arts and her passion for health education while amassing enough writing material to sink a barge.

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