Interview with Devra Robitaille

Devra Robitaille

Interview with Devra Robitaille

Today, I’m excited to welcome author Devra Robitaille to my blog. Welcome, Devra!

So good to be here and it’s nice to meet you 😊 😊

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I live in Florida now, on the Sarasota Bay, but I was born and brought up in London, England. My father was a well-known jazz musician and composer for the BBC, and my mother wrote TV shows throughout the sixties and seventies. So my childhood was mad and crazy, like a revolving door of creative, wild, whacky and wonderful personalities that rotated in and out of my parents’ insane social world. From there I went on to create my own crazy world, touring as a jazz musician, playing with well-known personalities like Mike Oldfield, singing back-up for people like Cher and John Lennon. I travelled the world as a musician, and I thank the powers that be every day for the adventures I had. I don’t have quite as much energy any more, but I can still move my fingers (LOL) so I began to write books for children, and that morphed into books for older teens and now it is a passion that enslaves me. I can’t wait to get to the typewriter (euphemism for computer) every day and see what adventures await my characters.

Leigh: What genre is The Henge and what draws you to this genre?

I think you might call it young adult alternate historical fiction, or metaphysical visionary (not sure if I made that up, but there are elements that hint of other worlds and things to be looked up on google in the book.) Well, as a professional musician I also spent many years directing and writing for the theatre in Los Angeles. That world is so random and magical. That world is what drew me to write about different little universes. In the theatre, the play or the musical takes place between the arches, so to speak, and the writer has to design what goes on in that small space; from everything that’s said, and worn, to the scenery and events and even the thoughts of the characters. But in that medium the author is limited by time, you only have a couple of hours to convey that world. In books you have as long as your readers are willing to sit there, and your job is to keep them enthralled. It’s a wonderful challenge and I am hooked the moment I type the words “Chapter One.”

Leigh: The protagonist tribe- what makes them special? What would you say are the main values of their culture?

The people of the Noble Village of the Arts are trying to thrust their civilization to the next level; they are reaching for better lives for their children than just the daily act of foraging for food. The action of the book takes place in a year, solstice to solstice, but it could also be a metaphor for an eon; the time it took for the hunter-gatherers to figure out how to plant crops and tend flocks and create stable villages instead of being on the move all the time following their prey. When I started the book I had no idea who these people would turn out to be, but as I “wrote” them, I fell for them.

Leigh: What can you tell us about the main character? What’s most important in their world?

Her name is Concinnity Song, of the Noble House of Song and she is just a young woman who has grown up in this most magnificent land. She understands nature and she knows how to “sing” to it….and it sings back. Her people find a stone buried in a quarry, and they recognize its value and purpose. They must transport it across the land to a pre-ordained resting place and Concinnity must use her voice as one of the tools that can liberate this enormous two-ton stone from its watery prison at the bottom of the jade lake. In her world, honor and faith in the ancestors are key to accomplishing this pledge. All the characters interlock with their own “talents” – there is Aderynn the Healer, and Izraziti the Dreamer and Thorsten the Architect to name a few. There are some pretty colorful bad guys too. I’d better stop now or I’ll give away some secrets.

Leigh: “The Henge” is described as an alternate history. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about how it differs?

Well, as a child growing up in England I was fascinated by places like Glastonbury, and Stonehenge; the stone circles that litter every part of Britain, their mystery and the fact that we still have more questions than answers about the people who built them. So this is a “Henge” that doesn’t really exist but might, in a country that is similar to Britain, but could just as easily exist on the Planet Zott. And the people are normal, just like people we know yet they have special talents and a driving passion to accomplish something sacred. They don’t have technology as we know it, but they do have “technology” as they know it.

Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

As I look back, I don’t really remember a time I didn’t write. In school I lived for the essay assignments, I adored being creative, the weirder, the better. Then growing up as I said before I wrote plays and scripts and songs, and now it’s coming out as books. I guess I write because I can, and also because I must LOL.

Leigh: What was your favorite childhood book and why?

Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows (sorry but I just couldn’t decide between the two) and I’d have to say it’s their complete and utter whimsy that enchanted me.

Leigh: If you could go back in time and visit the past, what era would you like to visit?

Well, although I’d like to say that I’d go back to the Bronze Age, honestly I am pretty attached to my nice kitchen and all the nice food I can get at the local market, so I’m not sure I would want to go back to the beginning of time where I’d have to forage for lunch. Having said that though, I am definitely intrigued by the raw, natural beauty of unspoiled nature – so perhaps I could take sandwiches.

Leigh: Where can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website: http://www.thehologramlibrary.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DevRobitaille

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/TheHenge

Book Links: getBook.at/Henge

Thank you very much, Devra, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.

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Castle Danger by Chris Norbury

Castle Danger

Castle Danger by Chris Norbury, 296 pages, Booklocker.com, Inc., April 26th 2016, Genre: Psychological Thriller. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Castle Danger is a suspenseful, engaging read. Taking place in northwest Minnesota in a frightful winter, the setting comes alive, menacing and life-threatening to any who lack the foresight and skills to survive. People who’ve been kicked in the teeth and were able to get back up again would call such a place home with pride. The winter’s not easy, but what in life ever is? It’s when things aren’t easy that one’s character and mettle are tested.

No good deed goes unpunished and this is doubly true for our protagonist, Matt. A quiet man, he’d rather watch, learn, and plan than chit-chat. Possessed of a strong personal code, Matt is on the run because he did the right thing against the wrong people. Try as he might to hide from the world, he happens upon a man who will die without his help. Naturally, Matt chooses to do the right thing. It costs him and nearly kills him. Luckily, he passes out in front of The Halcyon, a restaurant owned by Allyson Clifford. Matt awakens the next day to discover Allyson has nursed him back from death’s door. Since her chef has skipped out on her, she offers Matt the job as her cook. Matt is a man of mystery, refusing to reveal much about himself. He is reluctant to take up her offer, but given the situation with the weather and the fact she really seems to need a cook, he repays her kindness by agreeing to stay on until she can find a full time replacement. Meanwhile, we learn that a hired killer is after Matt and gaining clues where he can find his prey. Just as we think Matt is the fascinating one with all the deep, dark secrets, it turns out Allyson has a few of her own. Her “husband” has come to town and wants her and his son back…or else.

Most of the characters were believable, interesting, and relatable. None were saints, and their crimes were understandable. Matt and Allyson were likable and the attraction between them realistic. The antagonist tried so hard to convince everyone he was really the good guy but it was obvious he didn’t believe it himself. I felt the antagonist would’ve been more enjoyable if he truly believed he was the wronged hero in his own tale. Nevertheless, the interplay and struggles between various characters kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next and how things would turn out. Well-paced with an interesting plot, Castle Danger kept me on the edge of my seat.

I’d recommend Castle Danger to fans of thrillers and suspense.

You can find it at Castle Danger.

Book Description:

***2017 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree***

***2017 Honorable Mention, Genre Fiction, Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards***

Fugitive Matt Lanier, unjustly accused of a violent crime, has been hiding in the northeastern Minnesota wilderness for nine months. The law wants him in jail. His enemies want him dead. He simply wants to survive the most brutal winter in decades.

After rescuing an injured trapper, Matt is forced to leave his primitive encampment. He undertakes a Herculean trek through a blizzard to Castle Danger, a small town on the rugged North Shore of Lake Superior. There he’s saved from near death by Allyson Clifford, a shrewd and beautiful restaurant owner with secrets of her own. Despite wanting to move on in order to evade his pursuers, Matt helps Allyson weather a business crisis as repayment for her benevolence.

Then Allyson’s estranged husband, Donnie Vossler, shows up intent on reclaiming their 8-year-old son, Josh. Caught in the middle of the custody battle, Matt learns about Allyson and Vossler’s criminal past life together and is torn between self-preservation and his growing feelings for Allyson and Josh.

Matt’s recent past has left him with little hope for the future, so when Vossler resorts to sabotage, kidnapping, and attempted murder to capture his son, Matt’s integrity, honor, and survival instincts are put to the ultimate test just as a hit man hired by his enemies closes in for the kill.

Review

Castle Danger is that one manuscript in a thousand that is waiting to become a bestseller–yet breaks new ground in doing so. Nonstop suspense, real characters, and a vivid setting in northern Minnesota make Chris Norbury’s work stand out from the rest.Castle Danger’s readership potential is as far-reaching as Lake Superior, with appeal for both men and women and fans of suspense, crime, romance and redemption stories. It is the best manuscript I’ve seen in a long time.”- Lauren O’Neil, Sharp Eye Edits

From the Author

Castle Danger is my debut novel. It started as a sequel to an earlier unpublished novel. I’m a born-and-raised Minnesotan (except for a few early childhood years in Wisconsin) and love the state and its people. The prequel and sequel to Castle Danger will also involve primarily Minnesota characters and locales.

Weather will always be a character in my novels set in Minnesota because we have some of the most extreme weather on the planet. I defy you to name another region on earth that has a temperature range of approximately 175 degrees (as cold as -66 F up to about +110 F!).

Weather of all sorts can disrupt plans, affect outcomes, and be downright dangerous, even lethal. Think tornadoes, floods, lightning strikes, paralyzing blizzards (three feet of snow in two days … at Halloween!), and prolonged cold snaps (weeks at a time where high temperatures don’t get above 0 degrees Fahrenheit).

Instead of writing about “glamorous” main characters who are spies, government agents, ex-Navy Seals, or brilliant trial lawyers or detectives, I prefer writing about more or less ordinary people with normal occupations who I can insert into extraordinary situations and have them fight their way through without the assistance of super “powers,” special training, or unlimited resources and manpower.

At heart, my novels will explore one or more universal character trait found in all people and put a character’s moral fortitude to the test. For instance, in Castle Danger, protagonist Matt Lanier will have his integrity and survival instincts challenged when he’s put into a life-or-death situation. Thanks for your interest and I hope you enjoy reading Castle Danger.

Author Biography

Chris Norbury is a freelance writer and novelist. He independently published his first novel, “Castle Danger,” in April 2016. In June of 2017, “Castle Danger” was awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion from indieBRAG.com. In October of 2017, “Castle Danger” received an Honorable Mention-Genre Fiction- Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

Chris is working on the prequel to “Castle Danger,” whose working title is “Straight River.” A sequel to “Castle Danger” is in the planning stages. He has also been a freelance writer since 2014. His areas of expertise include finance, investing, economics, politics, golf, wine, and current events.

His essay on wilderness canoeing, “Solo Challenge,” was published in the Spring 2014 issue of the Boundary Waters Journal. A second article, titled “Soloing for Solitude,” appears in the Spring 2016 issue of the BWJ.

He is a contributing editor to brokerage-review.com and writes weekly op-ed articles for thinkingoutsidetheboxe.com.

Chris is a long-time volunteer Big Brother (since 2000) and will dedicate a percentage of all sales of his novels to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota. Even if you do not buy his book(s), please consider volunteering for one of the best mentoring programs in the country and contact your local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

During golf season in Minnesota, Chris works on perfecting his golf game, an impossible dream but also an excellent excuse to get out of the office. He lives in southern Minnesota with his wife and golf clubs.

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr, 310 Pages, Purple Toga Publications, October 19th 2015, Genre: Historical Fantasy Fiction. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr is a unique burrito: hard-boiled meat, smothered in urban fantasy sauce and lovingly wrapped inside a historical fiction tortilla. Warmed to near perfection, it provides cross-genre readers with a savory new creation.

We follow Felix the Fox, a private investigator in Egretia, part of the ancient Roman Empire. A realist and a bit of a cynic, Felix accepts his lot in ancient Roman life, despite at times not liking or agreeing with what goes on around him. Corpio hires Felix to find out who is responsible for the bizarre murder of his only son, Caeso. Some cabal performed the Rite of Pelegrinus on his body, turning his heart to a ruby and ultimately killing him. The fact that his corpse is now defiled is a nefas, or sacrilege, a taboo in ancient Rome. Felix questions friends and lovers around town, but as he digs up more clues, it leads to more questions. Felix travels in order to cover the journey the young Caeso made before his death, hoping to discover the missing puzzle pieces and solve the ghastly magical murder. He meets Caeso’s uncle, aunt, and cousin, and visits a sybil on a lonely little island. Her brew gives him a troubling and curious vision Felix can’t immediately solve, a vision showing young Aemilia, Caeso’s cousin, in danger. As Felix gets more involved with a local underground cabal, he uncovers a duplicitous plan. Will Felix be able to protect Aemilia, uncover the cabal’s schemes, and discover Caeso’s killer?

My favorite thing about this book is Mehr’s loving attention to detail, immersing the reader in ancient Rome. It was fascinating to see what it would’ve been like to live in that time and place. Mehr made Rome come alive on the page. Of all the characters, we get to know Felix the best. Felix may not be the most reputable man in Rome, but he certainly has his own code of honor, one he does not betray. Magic is an integral part of life in Mehr’s Rome and it has real world effects. It’s a good thing Felix attended the Collegium Incantatorum and learned valuable lessons about magic.

If you’re looking for something a bit different and enjoy cross-genre works, this historical urban fantasy mystery will be right up your alley.

You can find it at Murder In Absentia.

Book Description:

This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.

“Hardcore Historical Fantasy – Felix the Fox is Sherlock Holmes in Ancient Times”

— Jonathan Maas, author of City of Gods – Hellenica

“Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike.”

— Ruth Downie, author of the Medicus series of Roman mysteries

“Mehr is a master alchemist, blending the real and surreal on a captivating flight of fantasy.”

— Cynthia Celmer

“YESSS! Harry Dresden in a toga. A bit lighter on the magic usage, but every bit as colorful and intriguing!”

— Leslie Conzatti, Erin Sky, and a surprising number of Dresden Files fans

A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix the Fox, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician — but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and on his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.

Murder In Absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hard-boiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Virtual Fantasy Con Awards:

1st place: Dark Fantasy / Horror Book & Author

2st place: Urban Fantasy Book & Author

3st place: Favorite Fantasy Series

Voted #1 on Goodreads’ Indie Books Worth the Read for 2016!

About the Author:

“I have always been fascinated by ancient Rome, from the time I was in primary school and first got my hands on Asterix. This exacerbated when my parents took me on a trip to Rome and Italy – I whinged horribly when they dragged me to “yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling”, yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

A few years ago I randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis’ Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair. I fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. When I decided to sit down and write a novel, the setting was clear in my mind.”

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kids, cats, and – this being Australia – assorted spiders. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he’s writing – he seems to do his best writing after midnight.

To contact Assaph visit http://egretia.com.

Gretel by Christopher Coleman

Gretel by Christopher Coleman, 350 pages, October 31st, 2015, Genre: Teen and Young Adult/Horror/Thriller and Suspense. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

As a little girl, my father told me bedtime stories. Among them was “Hansel and Gretel”. I always had questions, such as “Daddy, why did the witch want to feed the little boy sweets? How does she survive in a Gingerbread House in the Summer? Why did she want to eat the children? Why did the father let his mean old wife send his kids away? Did the kids get punished for killing her? How does a grown up fit into an oven anyway?” To which my father answered, “Time for sleep.” It was difficult to sleep after that one. Not because I was afraid of evil witches overfeeding me and eating me- that didn’t sound so bad. It was because I was worried if times were hard enough, my own father might one day get rid of me, too. Why else tell me such a tale?

I expected the modern day retelling would be horrifying and I wasn’t disappointed. Coleman must’ve asked some of the same questions I did, because in this rendition, there are finally some answers.

Aneka Morgan breaks down by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Desperate to avoid being caught in the life-threatening, cold elements after sunset, Aneka tries to find her way home through the woods. What she encounters there is harsher than any winter’s night. Imprisoned by an immortal, desperate, murderous hag, Aneka bides her time, hoping for a chance at escape, sensing that she’s only being well cared for and fed for some foul purpose. Meanwhile, back at home, her daughter Gretel is forced to mature more quickly in order to provide for her family in her mother’s absence. Gretel has given up on finding her mother, believing the worst has befallen her. Gretel develops from a dependant little girl into a strong, confident, capable young lady. Aneka’s young son Hansel relies ever more on his elder sister. Hansel and Gretel are both suspicious of their father’s nurse, who positions herself to become their step-mother. Why does the hag want to kill Aneka? Will she succeed? Will Gretel ever be reunited with her mother again? Who can Gretel trust- within her family and without?

The themes of this work are the same as in the classic tale: the meaning of the blood ties that bind family members to each other and deep betrayal. The plot forces the reader to confront dark moral questions. If you were dying, in pain, in distress, what would you sacrifice in order to turn back the clock? What would you give for a second chance? Could you resist temptation if the price was horrifyingly steep? For how long?

This is an engrossing read with an imaginative spin on the classic. I’d recommend this to fans of modernized fairy tales and dark fantasy. You can find it at Gretel.

Book Description:

Alone. Frightened. Captive. If you hear someone approaching, RUN. She is not there to help you.

There is an ancient evil in the Back Country, dormant for centuries but now hungry and lurking. When it sets its sights on an unsuspecting mother one routine morning along an isolated stretch of highway, a quiet farming family is suddenly thrust into a world of unspeakable terror, and a young girl must learn to be a hero.

Looking for the perfect Halloween read? Gretel is a gripping, spine-chilling, thrilling horror with twists and turns you won’t see coming.

Praise for GRETEL:

“Great Halloween season read! Love the retelling of a classic story.”

“I couldn’t help but think I was reading something from Stephen King (one of my favorite authors).

“One of the best books I’ve read! I couldn’t stop reading it till the END!!!”

“Wow! What a great twist to an old story!”

“Wow. Fabulous twist on a Grimm classic. Such well developed characters. And THREE heroines.”

“If you’ve read the story of ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ and you think you know all there is to know about a girl and her brother abandoned in the forest by their father at the behest of an evil stepmother, think again. You simply have to read Gretel: Book One by Christopher Coleman.”

“Man oh man! A true horror story….not your old time Hansel and Gretel. No gingerbread house, no barred cages to be locked behind while the witch fattens you up. Nosiree bob. If you truly want to be scared out of your wits about what some people will do to others, read this book!”

“That fairy tale your parents used to read to you has changed and grown teeth, although author Christopher Coleman may have captured the feeling the Brothers Grimm originally intended us to feel.

“This book was really creepy. Very well written. Kept me on the edge of my seat. I would love to see this made into a movie.”

Gretel is a horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, afraid to turn off the lights and go to sleep. If you are looking for a suspenseful, creepy and spooky read that will leave you scared out of your wits, then Gretel is for you. You have been warned.

The complete Gretel Series includes:

Gretel (Gretel Book One)

Marlene’s Revenge (Gretel Book Two)

Hansel (Gretel Book Three)

About the Author:

Christopher Coleman lives in Maryland with his wife and two children. He received his degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland and has been writing professionally for over five years.

A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding

A Pearl for My Mistress cover

A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding, 384 pages, HQ Digital, August 9th, 2017, Genre: Historical Fiction. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Hester is an olive-skinned young English woman who secures a maidservant position at Habden House. She serves Lady Lucy, the family’s daughter. Hester comes from the North, the daughter of the poor working class, for whom starvation is but a day’s wage away. Her slang usage, accent, roots, and economic upbringing are considered inferior by those who employ her. However, Hester was taught there was honor, dignity, and security in service. If she knows and keeps her place, works hard, and is “a good girl”, she will be happy in the end. Hester’s ultimate dream is to see the world and find that special someone to share it with.

Lady Lucy is a well-educated, single, aristocratic young English woman, raised to live up to parental expectations, to be “a good girl”. Failing to do so leads to being made to feel fragile, useless, expendable, powerless, and weak. Her step-mother and father have made her feel this way in the past on more than one occasion for failure to behave the way they demand. Lucy’s overriding goal is to never feel weak again, to never again be at the mercy of a stronger foe.

Hester and Lucy grow increasingly closer until they become lovers. This would cause a scandal, so they keep the love affair a secret. The romantic elements are sweet and sensual without being graphic. As their love blooms, Hester believes they are forging a relationship of equals in private while maintaining the distinction between their classes in public. Can someone who has been taught all her life to view Hester as inferior ever really see her as an equal?

Set in the 1930’s in Habden House, Melton Mowbray, and London, England, the plot involves Lucy’s blossoming journalism career, which she views as her pathway to freedom from her parents, and Lucy’s ever-increasing involvement with the British Union of Fascists. Over time, Lucy develops a double life- one as an aristocratic author deeply in love with her maid, and another as an agent of German interests, shaping public opinion in their favor during pre-WW II England. Given Hester’s mixed racial origins, Lucy’s alternate life inevitably causes friction when the two worlds collide. Will Lucy change her path or will their love affair end?

My favorite character was Hester. A pillar of ethical strength, Hester never loses her core principles or personal code of honor. She betrays no one, despite being surrounded by snakes. Hester’s road is lonely, as most around her lack that kind of inner strength during troubling times. Hester balances being true to herself with the needs of others. No matter what the future may hold for Hester, she will face it with dignity, honor, and grace.

My least favorite character was Lucy. Lucy is drawn to dark political ideals because she lacks inner strength. She is afraid everyone will see her weakness behind her carefully constructed facade. Lucy thinks strength comes from being in a position of power over others- the way her parents have been over her for her entire life. Rather than focusing on trying to help everyone rise above bad circumstances, Lucy can only feel good about herself if she can drag others down beneath her. Lucy slowly transforms into the people she despises most and remains blind to the fact.

The character development and writing style shine brightly. The historical period is well-researched. Fielding has a beautiful way of weaving words into a wonderful design on the page. Her writing is a delight to read.

Steady-paced, the plot is interesting, with its events presenting its characters with moral dilemmas. While I doubt I’d make the same choices some of the characters made, I understood their reasons for doing so. As an American reader, I was struck by the troubling parallels between social media propaganda and Russian collusion plots, and the efforts of German agents inside England prior to the war to try to sway England into an alliance with the Nazis through supporting sympathetic political aspirants and influencing the news articles disseminated among the populace.

A unique and engaging read, I loved this novel. I’d recommend it to lovers of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy a bit of romance and intrigue. You can find this book at A Pearl for My Mistress .

Book Description:

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downton Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

“A gorgeous, elegant and well-researched book” –

Crystal King, the author of Feast of Sorrow.

About the Author:

Annabel is a London-based PR professional and a self-professed history geek. Her other allegiances include swing music, strong tea and travelling around Europe.

Archetypes of the Hero’s Journey Series #8: The Trickster

Archetypes The Trickster

Archetypes of the Hero’s Journey Series

#8 The Trickster

By Leigh Holland.

The Trickster is the archetype of change and chaos. Sometimes, the Trickster will also serve as an ally or sidekick. Tricksters can provide comic relief during a tense moment, or troublemaking antics that can hinder or assist the hero as needed. The Trickster, a ball of chaotic energy, often challenges the status quo, even if that happens to be your hero. Is your hero a bit too full of himself? Maybe it’s the antagonist who thinks too highly of himself. The Trickster can cleverly cut either of them down to size for you. Unsure how to get the hero out of a precarious situation? Tricksters are catalysts for change. Because of his (or her) unpredictability, readers accept it when the Trickster shows up out of the blue with the flying car he stole and save the hero and his sidekick from certain doom. Of course, that wasn’t what the Trickster was really doing out there in that flying car. It was just good luck that he happened upon them along the way. Don’t confuse the Trickster with the Shapeshifter. The Shapeshifter questions and at times, deceives. The Trickster disrupts, using a variety of tools, of which deceit if merely one.

Being true to his name, the Trickster can surpass the role of unpredictable comic relief and take on a more sinister, deceptive quality, deceiving friends and foes alike. And of course, the Trickster can easily occupy more than one role. In some tales, the Trickster, Hero, and even the Shadow are one and the same. One example that comes to mind is the main character from the film Atomic Blonde.

Here’s a series of clips showing the Trickster in LOTR: Gollum.

This is one of my favorite examples of a Trickster: End of the Line and Resisting Arrest.

Find other articles on the Hero’s Journey:

The Ally

The Shapeshifter

The Herald

The Threshold Guardian

The Mentor

The Hero

What is The Hero’s Journey?

Writing Tips From Joan Didion

Joan Didion

Writing Tips From Joan Didion

Joan Didion was born December 5th, 1934, in Sacramento California to Frank Reece and Eduene Didion. She loved books even from a very young age, continuously asking her mother for books on adult topics from the library at as young an age as 5. Joan described herself as a “shy, bookish child”. She became involved in acting and public speaking to force herself to overcome her social anxiety. An Army child, she moved frequently, and continuously felt like a temporary outsider. She graduated from University of California Berkely with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She’d won a writing contest that landed her a job at Vogue for the first seven years after graduation. During this time, she wrote her first book, “Run, River”.

Didion contributed to the style of New Journalism, seeking to communicate facts through narrative storytelling. In 2002, the Saint Louis University Library Associates awarded her the St. Louis Literary Award. In 2007, she received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution To American Letters from the National Book Foundation. In 2009, Harvard awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters. You can view her works at Joan Didon’s Author Page at Amazon.

On Editing

“[Editing] happens in the course of writing.

I can’t go on if it’s not pretty much the way that it should be. Towards the beginning of a book, I will go back to page one every day and rewrite. I’ll start out the day with some marked-up pages that I have marked up the night before, and by the time you get to page, maybe, 270, you are not going back to page 1 necessarily anymore, but you’re going back to page 158 and starting over from there.”

On the Act of Writing

“In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions —with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.”

On Reasons to Write

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

The Fate Healer by Noel Coughlan

The Fate Healer by Noel Coughlan, 26 pages, Photocosmological Press, March 30th, 2016, Genre: Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery/Short Reads. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

“The Fate Healer” is a short, entertaining fantasy read. We meet the personal genealogist to the tyrannical King Hamvek, a man named Draston. Anyone who displeases King Hamvek in the slightest ends up dead, or worse, so Draston knows he better do whatever it takes to deliver Hamvek’s royal lineage. There’s just one tiny little problem- Hamvek comes from pig farmers, not a trace of noble blood anywhere.

Realizing he can’t very well tell the king the truth, Draston does the unthinkable: he alters and forges genealogical documents. These documents prove the king is descended from one of the gods. Draston believes his fortunes are made and he’s off the hook. However, as curses begin befalling the king and his sons, Draston is charged with finding a solution to the problems plaguing the king’s household. Will Draston succeed without his forgery being revealed? Or will he perish as have so many others who angered the king?

Although it is a short read, I felt the characters were true to form. I enjoyed watching the cowardly but kind Draston squirm, the machinations of the “Fate Healer” reach fruition, and the ultimate fate of the king. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a short Fantasy read.

You can find this at The Fate Healer.

Book Description:

A five thousand word short story where the quill proves to be more dangerous than any sword.

The genealogist Draston is charged with the impossible. His master, Hamvok the Merciful, craves a royal ancestor or two to legitimize his tyranny. But every avenue of Draston’s research comes to a dead end. Nobility has never sneezed on Hamvok’s ancestors, much less married into them. And now Draston’s time has run out.

To save himself from Hamvok’s violent displeasure, Draston promises to prove the tyrant is descended from a god. In doing so, he commits himself to a path of forgery and sacrilege. His enterprise will risk the wrath of gods. But, far worse, it will draw him to a shadowy figure more terrible than all the gods combined, the Fate Healer.

About the Author, From the Author:

My name is Noel Coughlan. I am married and have a daughter. I live in the west of Ireland.

From a young age, I was always writing a book. Generally, the first page over and over. Sometimes, I even reached the second page before I had shredded the entire copy book.

In my teenage years, I wrote some poetry, some of which would make a Vogon blush.

When I was fourteen, I had a dream. It was of a world where the inhabitants believed that each hue of light was a separate god, and that matter was simply another form of light.

I tinkered with the idea for a couple of decades, putting together mythologies, histories, maps etc. but world building isn’t worth much without a gripping story.

And then I finally found one, a tale so compelling I had to write it.

The Golden Rule Duology consists of A Bright Power Rising and The Unconquered Sun.