First in Category-Young Adult Fantasy

First in Category-Young Adult Fantasy
Dante Rossetti Award

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Meet my Character, Thera of Allenholme

Welcome to the Meet my Character Blog Hop (revisited), sponsored by SpeculativeFiction Showcase. 

The author preceding me is Genevieve Mckay, Author of The Opposite of Living, published November, 2014.

Genevieve Mckay is a freelance writer, short story author, and first time novelist. She lives on the West coast with her two and four-legged family in the wilderness. When she isn't busy creating new worlds she enjoys playing outside, riding horses and preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Meet My Character, Thera of Allenholme,
daughter and heir of Duke Leon ArNarone and Lady Fideiya, of Allenholme.

Sandy Hunter’s (S.A. Hunter) novel, Elanraigh: The Vow published by Eternal Press, 2012, is an alternate-earth, medieval fantasy (YA/Adult)

Sandy’s always lived at the edges of ocean and forest, so it came naturally to have a sentient forest as a major character in Elanraigh.  She loves kayaking the scenic Vancouver Island coastline, swimming and walking. She has a ready sense of humor and an optimistic outlook (a good thing, when you’re a writer).

She’s currently working on the sequel to Elanraigh, and enjoys writing short stories as well—her publications include Dark Fantasy shorts in pro magazines, Spinetinglers Anthology 2011 and On Spec.

1)             What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person?

Her name is Thera, though if we’re being formal, I should introduce her as Lady Thera ep Chadwyn Ned’ArNarone, daughter and heir of Duke Leon ArNarone and Lady Fideiya.

I suppose I must agree that she is fictional, although I strongly suspect that Allenholme and the Elanraigh Forest do indeed exist—as an alternate reality…somewhere.

2)             When and where is the story set?

In the most northern reaches of the Kingdom of Bole, is the Duchy of Allenholme, bordered by it’s wild and rocky coast to the west, Ttamarini Lands to the North and the far reaches of the Elanraigh forest to the East and South. We would judge the era to be the 1300’s by the weapons and gear of the fighting men and the construction of the Keeps.

3)             What should we know about him or her?
The Elanraigh Forest is a sentient entity, composed of both spirits and elementals—over generations, though, the folk of Allenhome drifted away from belief in, and therefore, awareness of, forest-mind.  Now, Forest-mind strives to ensure that Thera hear its voice. It awakens in her gifts of mind and spirit—the ability to bond with raptor birds and to read hearts, The Knowing. Its goal is to make her its Salvia, an ancient Title, meaning governess and liaison to the human folk. To make her fit, to save them all...

4)             What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life?

The Elanraigh Forest sends her a warning dream; black sails swooping toward Allenholme from across the western sea—the Memteth, an ancient enemy, armed with blue fire that hungers to consume life. Forest-mind knows Thera is young to shoulder such power and responsibility, yet it has no choice. The lives of all Thera’s people and the existence of the forest itself depend on her mastering her gifts…and herself.

Thera's father invites Ttamarini tribes to join them against the Memteth and as word of this unsanctioned truce reaches the neighboring Duchy of Cythia, Lord Ambraud is sent to investigate. Thera finds she is courted by two very different young men—Chamakin the young Ttamarini warrior who is  kindred in spirit to her, respects the ways of the forest and values all life; and Lord Ambraud, the polished nobleman who covets her beauty even more than her estate.

5)             What is the personal goal of the character?

Thera wants to answer the call of the Elanraigh Forest, to serve as its Salvai, a liason between Forest Mind and her people—to be ready, mentally and physically, to defeat the threatened invasion of Memteth raiders. She knows that Chamakin’s suit is approved by the Forest-mind entity and that together they can return the people of Allenholme to feeling and hearing the Elanraigh’s unique voice.  

6)             What is the Title of the book, and where can we find out more?

Elanraigh: The Vow (pronounced: Ellen-ray)was published by Eternal Press and is available for purchase at:

Eternal Press (Publisher)  Use Coupon Code 61NF17DV2LEX for 50% off all titles ;)

iTunes Book Store:
Elanraigh: The Vow

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Conspiracy Theory re BC Ferries :)

Conspiracy theorists, alert—this is undoubtedly a government experiment of the most heinous kind…

First they make moves to deter anyone from leaving, or coming, to the island.

If playing “hide the bean ” with the ferry terminals doesn’t work…they may invent an anthrax scare, or deer tick outbreak, to keep us carefully quarantined.  

They will observe this now isolated population’s behavior…make us into a sort of a Galapagos experiment. We will all gradually mutate into alternate life forms (unique variations on the rest of Canada’s norm).

Some of us will grow moss, and cry a lot in the winter. Expect J.R.R. Tolkien-type  Ents to be soon roaming the rainforest.

In the cities and towns, pub populations will increase both summer and winter—it will soon become an “us an’ them” attitude vs. the mainland, and we’ll talk of seeking our independence—we’ll wear flat-caps, tweeds and tartans (Clan Victoria, Clan Nanaimo and of course, Clan Campbell River) and become suspicious when “strangers” walk into our pubs.

We’ll legalize marijuana and Lasquiti Island will become the new centre of wealth per capita.

Formerly peaceful kayakers will join together— growing beards, and acquiring tattoos—they’ll build longships and chanting fierce war chants they’ll cross the forbidden Salish Sea to raid and pillage…and of their political leaders the people of the mainland will demand,  Save us, oh MLA’s, from the wrath of the Island Men.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lyrical or Taut Fiction (Which style do you write, or prefer to read?)

I was struck by something English author, Mary Stewart, said in an interview conducted not long before her death this year. She states that she had once spent a week laboring over a particular (descriptive) paragraph to get it just right.

This, I can well believe. Her writing is lyrical and lovely—it was her Merlin Trilogy that I first discovered back in the 80’s, and have since re-read many times, that made me sit back and say to myself, I want to be able to write like that…
On the other hand there are those whose writing style is taut, crisp and even minimalist. (I’m in awe of, and respect this, but can’t/wouldn’t enjoy writing it).

I want to believe there is still readership for both styles…or is the more lyrical style now archaic, belonging back in the age of “reading by firelight,” whereas today, everyone reads in nano-bites off their smart phones between bus stops, on coffee breaks and during the kid’s dance class.

Another author I read, Anne Rice, (Vampire Chronicles especially) favours a “lush” prose style, and certainly has a huge following. (Of course she has well-developed and intriguing characters as well.)

Every writer learns early that writing evocative prose does not mean adding in endless adverbs—we’re discussing a poetic style—poetry being the minimal amount of words needed, that with sound and imagery, create an emotional response.

OK. So I threw this question out to writer friends at SF Canada, and it started a lively discussion.

Most confirmed that they can and do enjoy reading stories written in either style, providing the style suits the story.

For author, Eileen Kernaghan, “the setting, the time period and the voice of the character who is telling the story, all help to determine the style.”

Susan Forest , speculative fiction author, reminds us that, “a single work can have both— A Song of Fire and Ice, by George RR Martin gets on with the story, but he also takes the time to place you in his world, with the people. The writing is very lyrical, but he doesn’t sacrifice story.”

Dave Duncan, author of more than forty novels, expresses his opinion that, “…your own style is so much a part of you that anything else will seem faked…if your story flows so smoothly that no reader notices what your style is, well, that’s pretty magical too!”

Matt Hughes, on the other hand (ever ambidextrous :) states that he can suit his style of writing to the material, and the effect he’s trying to create—whether a moody “Bradbury” piece, or hardboiled 1950’s pulp-voiced style.

Noah Chinn, author and “adventurer”, writes that he is,“ a fan of both styles, it depends in part on the intent of the author.” He remarks that he would classify Ray Bradbury as lyrical. “Passages of his just wash over me, evoke images and chills…but sometimes the story is the thing and being more bare-bones is exactly what you need.”

Ira Nayman, humorist extraordinaire, says “Most of my favourite authors use language in wildly entertaining ways” and he adds, “The great thing about the multiplicity of books is that we can enjoy (and learn from) a wide variety of styles of writing…There really are no rules in artistic creation, only what works to entertain.”

Barbara Geiger, who describes herself as, “Writer of dark, redemptive, snarky smut” came up with one of those Aha! insights she’d acquired from colleague Susan Forest after a writer’s session Susan had attended, “The sooner the writer puts their narration in the character’s skull and has the character filtering everything, the reader will be pulled along from start to finish:

There is no description, there is only Point of View.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Muse on Holiday...

Home again.

I smiled to see familiar crows fluffed and grumpy on their cold branches. Not so very different, after all, from the bold and curious grackle birds of Yucatan,  who called me to feed them with high pitched shrieks—a sound exactly like the rapid release of air squeezed from a child’s balloon.

Yup. We’ve traded the sight of the high-soaring frigate birds over the Gulf of Mexico, for our beloved bald eagles—the humid air wafting from jungle and marsh, for the cool, clean scent of our northern ocean.

As we pulled in the driveway at home, I saw our heather in its full amethyst bloom and sighed.

 Did being on unfamiliar earth challenge me when it came to my writing? Am I so very rooted to home? When the El Norte wind blew around the sharp, stone angles of the beach casa—I heard voices unlike the forest songs at home and I stumbled in my thoughts. I am an intruder here—I struggle not only with the language, but its alien earth.

Perhaps because my WIP is based in the land I have always known, whose voices are those of  evergreen rainforest giants and the northern Pacific Ocean. 

I think perhaps I should have started to write something new—about the ancient Maiya, the land of underground rivers and sonatas, where the jungle trees trail their roots thirty feet downward to the surface of the water. 

I will be better prepared, next time.