Cover Reveal! Can't Dream Without You

Okay, so first look at my new cover.
Then I ask, did you see the demonic butterflies, the angels, or the balance between good and evil first?

Then I say, read the story.

Legends say that, tens of thousands of years ago, Whisperers were banished from the heavens, torn in half, and dumped on a mortal realm they didn’t understand. Longing for their other half, they went from being powerful immortals to lonely leeches relying on humans to survive. Over the years, they earnt magic from demons, they left themselves Notebooks with hints, and, by pairing up with human souls, they eventually found their other halves. Humbled by their experiences, they discovered the true purpose of life and many were worthy of returning to the heavens. But not all of them. The Dark Chronicles are stories that share the heartache of select unworthy Whisperers on their journey to immortality after The War of 2019. Can’t Dream Without You is one of the stories from The Dark Chronicles, in which we meet Steve and Julia. Steve isn’t a normal boy. He plays with demons, his soul travels to a dream realm at night using mystical butterflies, and soon he’ll earn the power to raise the dead…

The style of Alison’s cover design for Tanya’s book was inspired by the amazing work of MC Escher. What better way to show the movement of immortals and demons between the different realms? And do some of those demons look like butterflies?

Tanya’s comment on the cover: “OMG, it’s awesome. It’s powerful and symbolic and mysterious and artistic and magical and perfectly weird.” I think she likes it!

Can’t Dream Without You will be published as an eBook in January 2016 and in the Spring in paperback.

So which did you see first? The demons, angels or the balance they create? I have to admit, I didn't see the angels until hours later. Not sure what that says about me...

Things a Cover Reveals

During an event not long ago, I had a couple young girls pick up my books and based on the covers alone, they commented in French that the books looked "so good". I was busy with someone else and not at the table to respond, but I could hear their comments. When they found out the books were written by me, they waited to ask about the covers. (They still had no idea what the books were about since both girls couldn't read in English.)

So I explained how each cover came to be and who the artists were. As children often do, they had a lot of questions about how getting such a cool cover works and what everything on it means.

Each cover has symbols on it that mean something to me.

Petrified is about a journey of hope. The light bouncing off Gabe as he fights getting turned to stone means that he will survive. The paper he's holding is the source and reason of his journey. It holds all his hope. Artist Amber Rendon designed it to capture the interest of teen readers and it always does. Incredibly powerful magic.

The cover for Ghosts on the Prairies reminds me of my childhood. I used to hold books after I read them, to figure out why the artist put this or that on the cover, as if it was my final moment with the book. It gives me an artistic joy when I see Ghosts on the Prairies, that makes me feel like others "get the story". Every thing on it is symbolic to me. The artist, Alison Buck did a wonderful job tapping into the story, the themes, and the emotions it evokes.

So of course, when these girls asked about it, I explained what everything meant to me. I talked about Antoine's journey from dark to light, the explosions and fires, the tunnels... Lost in the magic, I missed the wolf, the center, as he stands in the light of hope. And so they pointed to it, curious.

I rightly explained how the hero had killed this wolf after it had killed his little sister. How the wolf was haunting him until he learnt something very important from it. And that this wolf was one of the ghosts in the story, but that there are many other types of ghosts.

They held the books, each one had a different one, and I saw the magic in their eyes, the same magic I had as a child when I discovered a secret on the cover I had dismissed before reading it. It was so moving to see them, I went home and held some books. I didn't read them, I just studied the covers to see if they spoke to me. I went on amazon and did the same. It's not the same looking at covers on the computer as holding that book in your hand. I got thinking about how I miss that part. Using my Kindle is nice, but I miss holding the book before I open it and studying the cover to see if any of the secrets on it are revealed yet.

What type of covers stir emotions in you? Do you look at a cover differently after you read the book? Do you find a difference between holding a book and reading it on your ereader? Do you miss seeing the cover every time you pick it up? Have you ever found a cover misleading? OH! And what do you think about those new covers that have scenes from the movie!?


I've been writing things with no intention of sharing them with the world for over 25 years. I have shelveSSSS of things only I am allowed to read. Doesn't feel like a long time because 25 years goes by fast when you're lost in other worlds, blowing up stuff, and saving the future. Taking that step from being a writer in the safety of my own world, and finally sharing a few stories with the rest of the world was terrifying on so many levels.

Yet I did.

I apparently traumatized, shocked, yet captivated a few.

Regardless, I felt the support of my writing family, my family, and my friends, as they assured me it was okay to be weird and quite frankly, I've always been weird. I was going for magical, but I guess the two are relatives so I might find myself there soon.

Publishing Speculative Fiction is also a big leap to take when everyone is used to reading your news reports and government grants. Thanks to all the support this past year and the encouragement over the years I actually did it. And in the moment it didn't feel like a big step, just the scary next one. Perhaps I was ready after all.

Still, I can't even begin to express my appreciation for the incredible reviews, support, publishers, editors, designers, and friendships I've made in this journey. So much goes into making a book but preparing it for the world is a different story. (all puns intended)

And I know I would have never done it without my husband's blind belief in me and the motivation he endlessly provides. Or my kids just being so awesome about it (it being me writing, all the time). I have the coolest family. And yes, I am bragging because they are worth bragging about.

So much time, energy, and passion goes into everything we write, so my gratitude is especially deep to all the artists out there who inspire me, because musicians, painters, sculptures, cover artists, writers... all of them have a dedication I aspire to live up to.

This is a journey like no other I've embarked on and I have no idea where it will take me or how long it will last, but it's very interesting and I'm so thankful I found the courage to finally do it. And I'm thankful for every choice I made from publishers to critique partners because each one helped me better my craft. I look at it as a learning experience, and I hope I always will.

What are you thankful for this year?

Insecure Writer's Support Group Anthology Contest 2015

Thought I'd share the details on this most awesome Speculative Fiction contest hosted by the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

The IWSG Anthology Contest is now open until November 1st!

The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe (I know!) and it's for members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group those who blog or Facebook.

Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

Even if you don't enter or write Speculative Fiction, this is a great group to follow. I enjoy reading the posts and find them motivational and uplifting. Sometimes it's nice to know you're not alone on this journey.

Best of luck!

A Peek Into Your Life-- Katrina Mountfort

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

I met Katrina Mountfort through social media. I was excited to learn she was a new author at Elsewhen Press, mainly because I've enjoyed so many of their books but also because her title got me thinking. What was so perfect about this future? How was that going to affect the story? Most of my stories are about a not perfect future and people trying to make it better, but dang... what if the future was perfect? What would happen?

Her book is so cool! and!!! her new one comes out this week. So check out FORBIDDEN ALLIANCE.  

This series is about a future where people are trapped in Citidomes where they strive to live by Mind Values that are a bit extreme, in a world where they reward BodyPerfect traits, making the population more and more unisex and identical. So what could possibly go wrong in this Utopian world of perfect people? Human nature, I suppose. Urges. Natural reproduction... Yup, you see, to keep the standards of BodyPerfect, natural selection is not possible. Much to my horror, in this Utopian world, sex is banned. BANNED! Not only forbidden, thanks to Mind Values these citizens believe it is yucky. In all fairness, it does sometimes make them sick and leave them with scars on their perfect bodies.

Caia lives in this world, but doesn't fit in. She tries. Bless her for trying, but thank goodness Mac comes along when he does. He's just so dang... not perfect. He's a breath of fresh air in her stale life of perfection. When they get paired up to go on a mission outside the Citidome they discover a world unlike theirs. But can they give up the perfect life of game shows and empty parties to live a life of hardwork and running?

It boggles your mind how real this world is. By the second chapter, I knew it was a book my daughter would love as much as me. The action kept moving, the intense danger was very real, and the setting impeccable. It was hard to put down, but it was also hard to finish. I did not want to leave them. I actually found myself rereading pages or reading them slow. I was so glad to learn a new one was coming out quickly!

Of course, I had to seek Katrina out and invite her over to share her story, because it is worth the read. So welcome Katrina!

Where did you get the idea for Future Perfect?
I had the idea around ten years ago when I first heard about men waxing off their body hair. At the same time, waif-like supermodels were plastered over every magazine and it occurred to me that if this trend continued, in a hundred year’s time, men and women would be almost indistinguishable.

Is there a message you try to pass on while writing? Or a theme that emerges naturally?
I don’t intend there to be, but I’ve noticed that whatever I write, the theme of conformity creeps in. It can be summed up in a saying I have above my desk – stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out – and that’s the way I try to live my life. With Future Perfect, I wanted to hammer this message home. I see kids becoming obsessed with body image at an increasingly younger age and it saddens me. When I grew up in the late seventies, there were adverts in Jackie, the teen magazine, for a supplement called Wate On, which promised weight gain for girls who were ‘too skinny to have fun on the beach.’ It seems hard to believe by today’s standards! I hope the trilogy helps young people see that that beauty is an artificial concept created by society

What book would you recommend as "this is a book every writer should read”?
Jo Jo Moyes: Me Before You. She writes in a genre that used to be dismissed as chick lit, but this novel is a masterclass in character development, as well as in creating engaging characters. A writer may have created the most original, well-constructed, beautifully written novel, but if readers don’t care about the main characters, they won’t enjoy it.

Is there a particular genre, target audience or age group you write for? Why?
I write speculative and women’s commercial fiction because they’re the genres I enjoy reading. But I find difficult to categorize novels – for example my husband loves so-called women’s fiction! In the first draft of Future Perfect, the main characters were in their twenties. However, an agent suggested I made them teenagers to appeal to the YA market. While rewriting it, I read plenty of YA fiction and was so impressed with the quality – when I was in my teens there was so little to choose from. But although I imagined that the target audience of Future Perfect would be young women, that hasn’t been the case. A surprising amount of men have enjoyed the book and as far as I know, my youngest reader is 13 and my oldest 88!

Tell us about your bucket list!

I’ve ticked off a lot off my bucket list! This includes seeing gorillas in the wild in Rwanda, walking the Inca trail, a tandem skydive, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting and aerobatics in a Tiger Moth. There’s still plenty left to do though – in a few years I’d like to take a year off to drive round the US National Parks in an RV.

What is the best thing about where you live?
I live in a small town and it’s impossible to walk into the town centre without bumping into a few people I know, a nice respite from the solitary writing day. It’s also close to the beautiful Audley End estate where I walk my dogs. I get most of my best story ideas on those walks.

What do you do for a living?
I’m a home-based freelance medical writer, which involves writing articles for medical journals. It can be hard switching my brain from factual to fiction writing mode. But I started out as a scientist – I’ve worked in food and forensic science. I also studied homeopathy for a while and was briefly a homeopath. I seem to have a major change every seven years or so, which has given me plenty of writing material.

Thanks you so much for allowing us a peek and best of luck with the new release! Thanks for writing! 

A Few Secrets

I am visiting over at Jacqueline Ward's blog today! Be sure to stop by and say hi and! check out a few of my writing secrets in her excellent segment What, When, Where?

Hope you're all enjoying the summer. Happy readings!

And BIG thanks to Jacqueline for having me over! 

A Peek Into Your Life J.A. Christy

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

I was hooked by the cover of  J.A. Christy book, which is coming out as an eBook this week thanks to the folks at Elsewhen Press. So, I went to see what a SmartYellow was. What did the title mean? or all that yellow??? Her book sounds like something I'll enjoy :)  I'm looking forward to reading it and was excited to find out more about this upcoming author, so naturally, I invited her over for a little peek into her life.

To find out more about this story, check out the premise HERE.

Thank you so much for stopping by J.A.! I know this is a busy and exciting week for you. Congrats on the new release!

Where did you get the idea for SmartYellow?
I got the idea from a TV series starring Rob Bryson and Steve Coogan called The Trip. It started with a conversation between them about surviving or living. I was interested in the difference between people's experiences of simply living day to day with little ambition and meaning compared with others who live life to the full. Also, what social dynamics make these two states better or worse, something explored in SmartYellow and, in many ways, through SmartYellow. At the time, I was researching thought experiments and I was very interested in Schrodinger's Cat and the question of decoherence, both of which feature in the novel in unexpected ways.

Around the same time there were riots in Manchester, where I live, and a spotlight on how groups of disenchanted young people (and some older ones) had taken action. There were many articles about social control, and I just took that one step further. So the idea was really fragmented until the main character Kat came into being and I was able to filter them through her life. 

Is there a message you try to pass on while writing? Or a theme that emerges naturally?
I always start with a central theme and a core idea, as well as finding out what the characters want, before I start writing. I'm a great believer in idea gestation and I've found that once the idea is ready to be written it's fairly formed. I enjoy reading novels that have a central message, novels that have depth, and I hope that the subtext of SmartYellow concerning social inequity comes through.

Sometimes an overarching theme emerges and sometimes a story is just someone's story. I don't try to force it beyond my original loosely formed ideas.

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a second speculative fiction novel and a crime novel. I'm
one of those lucky people who can multi task and switch gears easily. The speculative fiction novel is in the gestation stage, with me waking very early and scribbling notes and calling my own answering machine with ideas! The crime novel is in the editing stage and I am working on it with my agent. I've got a couple of short stories on the go, but these can take between a week and a year to complete When I'm not writing novels I'm writing screenplays - nothing serious as yet but watch this space. 

What book would you recommend as "this is a book every writer should read”?
For me there are two, each with a fantastic message. The first is Scarlett Thomas' 'Monkeys with Typewriters'. The thing that sets this book aside is the chapters on seed words and themes, and on how to organise ideas. The second is John Yorke's 'Into the Woods'. While a lot of it concerns screenwriting and script structure, I had a real light-bulb moment about 'show and tell' whilst reading this book. 

I think writing books are invaluable, as are writing communities. It's so easy fall into the trap of complacency and feeling that art matters over structure and it took me a long time to realise that the structure of the story is the container for the magic of the art.

Is there a particular genre, target audience or age group you write for? Why?
I write crime fiction and speculative fiction for adults. I started out attempting to write chick-lit, but every novel I wrote ended up dark, with someone dead, or thick with 'issues'! When I started submitting my work to agents some of them commented that perhaps I should consider writing in the crime genre instead. As a psychologist I am interested in the criminal mind and the social dynamics of crime and war and I've developed this into a novel about women on the peripherals of modern warfare.

Speculative fiction has emerged out of my love of speculative novels. As a child, I read Alan Garner and I was enchanted. I carried on reading speculative fiction as my science career developed and I became more interested in 'what if's' and different worlds? Speculative fiction comes from a different part of me than crime fiction - perhaps my heart.

Tell us about something you've done that you're proud of. 
I've got an MBE! I am not a Royalist and my politics are to the left, but when I was recognised for my work with vulnerable people I was proud of myself and all the people I work with. I was really surprised when I got the letter as I had no idea who had nominated me. I realised that it would position me to help even more people and it was a unique experience to go to Buckingham Palace to accept it. It really humbled me to meet the exceptional people who were there and to hear their stories. I didn't trip up but I did shed a tear!

What do you do for a living?
I've worked as a barmaid, an auditor, a dancer, an accountant and as a cashier in a garage! I've even worked in a BT canteen when I was sent there in error by a temp agency, which didn't work out so well as I am not good with food! In the end I got a PhD in psychology and I work as a health psychologist and as a CEO for a national charity. I also do some freelance work around workplace communications - including storytelling - and health dynamics. 

Although I have been writing all my life, it was around seven years ago I started to work professionally as a writer. I love writing, but I also love my day job and the two sit together quite nicely.

Thank you so much for stopping by! It was great getting to peek into your life. And!! best of luck with the new release this week! 

To check out more about J.A., visit her at her hangouts: 
Twitter: @smartyellowtm

Magic- part 2: LET THEM BELIEVE

I'm working on a Sacred Land story about believing in legends. It got me thinking about how we can believe in magical stories or creatures to the point where they affect our lives and the lives of those we care about. Is it healthy to believe in such things? When others believe, does it make us believe? Why?

Is it possible to believe so hard, we make it real?

When I was in the hospital, and the nurse asked me to tell her about Whisperers, she countered with a story about a fairy that lives under her deck. She was as serious as could be, too. So serious, I believed her.

I had a reader tell me it was amazing I could write so well about Gabe in Petrified, when he isn't alive yet. Um... he's a fictional character, he won't ever be alive... "Well, not for another hundred years!" she snapped.

When my daughter was around seven she came up to me in her need-to-know-the-truth-about-everything attitude and demanded to know if Santa was real. She had her arms crossed and looked ready to debate anything I was going to say.

Now... it felt like a dare. I could have said he was real or not real, but I figured I'd let her reach that conclusion on her own. So I said, "Do you believe that a jolly man in a red suit flies all over the world in a sled pulled by magical flying reindeer, delivering toys his elves made? Do you believe that such a man could sneak into not only our house and leave gifts but houses all over the world? And do this in one night? Despite storms or weather, or whatever? Do you really believe such a thing?" Skepticism dripped from my voice.

She looked me square in the eyes and answered, "Yeah."

Okay then. What more could I say? She looked relieved I wasn't going to challenge her beliefs.

It was not at all where I thought we were going with that conversation so I left it at that. It never came up again until we were walking in a mall many years later and a guy walked by us. He had a long grey beard and was dressed in a work shirt. He had suspenders and was walking on a mission to find something in the mall. My first reaction was that he was in pretty good shape for a plump guy. By this time, I'm sure both my children knew the truth about Santa yet...

She nudged her brother, "Did you see that guy."

He smiled. "Yeah. Santa shops here, too."

I took a second look. Geepers. It might be Santa!

Have you ever witnessed such a strong  belief in something magical that it gets you to question your own beliefs?

A Peek into your Life-- Teresa Cypher

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

Teresa is not only a great blogger, she's a warrior. And well, I love warriors. I find her posts not only inspiriting but they motivate me to get out and write. Check our her blog, Dreamers, lovers, and Star Voyagers to see for yourself how talented this woman is! We met when she stopped by my blog way back in 2011. We've shared a few laughs over the years, and now a few tears.

Welcome, Teresa!
So how did you become a blogger?
Back in 2006, I joined a Q&A forum. I read comments left by others about their blogs. I didn’t even know what a blog was. So I investigated. The blogs were called livespaces and they were powered by MSN. That’s where I cut my virtual blogging teeth. It was fun, and I found friends aka followers pretty fast. Some of them are still on my followers list and vice versa.

Looking back, I have to smile at that experience. What it was when viewed through the simplifying rearview mirror was a bunch of bumbling, late-middle-agers working together to figure out a new technology. When one of us learned something, we all did. I still recall the thrill of adding music to my blog, and a guestbook. We did okay for old folks. ~Laughing~
That's awesome! We didn't even have Internet around here in 2006. lol.

What rewards have you found from running such an intriguing and diverse blog?
I'm still so glad I jumped into blogging—head first. It is such a marvelous thing. The best part has been the people. Incredibly talented writers, creators of stories, crafts, and advice. But more than anything, it’s how the people all reach out to each other, offering support, virtual hugs, a pat on the back or a kick on the behind when others desperately need one. I’ve had low days when a comment on my latest post just lifted me right up. And I like to think I’ve done that for others upon occasion.

What are you currently working on?
I am working on a novel titled Across the Night Sky. It’s a SciFi Romance. One day in 2005, the writing bug hit me hard. I’d written poetry before, but never fiction, let alone a novel. Yet…there I was. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but was still unsure about how to write it. I talked with my daughter who has a BA in English—I’m running on high school English classes. My main boggle—that I didn’t identify until months later, was that I was falling back on “How to write a research paper.” It’s okay. You can laugh. I do. (lol). It was what my formal education had taught me. We’d never even covered short story writing or fiction at all. Sad, huh?

Back to my boggle: It was half POV, and half fiction vs. research. Yikes! I know. So how on Earth did I EVER manage to write a book? I asked my daughter this: “Should I write it so that the readers know what the character is feeling, thinking, doing?” In retrospect, I think I was asking if I should step back and tell the story in a clinical, detached sort of way, or should I wade into it, emotions and all—because it could get messy. My daughter made it genius-simple for me. Her answer, “If you don’t empathize with the characters, the reader never will.”

The rest is history. Four months later I was writing the final lines in a 700 page, tear-jerking tome.

My mom loved it. She kept asking me when I was getting it published. ~laughing again~. She thought the sender of the first form rejection letter was completely off his rocker. (He wasn’t). It was so far from being ready to be published. This October will mark 10 years since I started penning that book. It had so many problems that if I hadn’t promised my mom I’d get it published, I would have walked away from it.

My mom was admitted to the hospital in Oct 2010 with trouble breathing. She turned 83 the day she was admitted. The last time I spoke with her was a few days later, I was leaving her hospital room after visiting her. I’d almost reached the door when she asked, “So, what all is involved in this publishing process? Because I am getting a copy of the book for Christmas, right?” (I’d decided to pay to have a couple of copies printed as the book stood—so she’d stop heckling me about getting it published).
The question stopped my exit. I turned around and went back to my chair beside her bed. And I delved into what was involved with self-publishing. She really loved the story—and I’d written two more books in the series—for her. I never really thought they’d see publication.

The really important thing about that question she asked me was that I spent 20 more minutes with my mom. And I got to hug her and tell her one more time, “I love you mom.” And that I’d see her soon.

She had a massive heart attack while still in the hospital. Her DNR never made it to her chart. They resuscitated her, sort of. She never
fully came back. On her best day, she was childlike. But she couldn’t swallow, and her stomach rejected the liquid through the feeding tube, and then she’d try to throw up, but she couldn’t swallow and she’d end up choking and struggling. And she had intense pain and…and… Her kidneys failed. They put in a port for dialysis. Two days later the port failed…

We stopped all aggressive treatment.

She went into hospice. My daughter and I took the night shift, keeping vigil at her bedside. During the day, I hastily typed the ending to the series and I read it to her while she lay wordless, expressionless, dying one moment at a time. For ten days… And I promised her, again, through tears, that I’d get it published for her.

And that’s it. The book I’m working on. The book I’ve been working on since I finished writing it. I really think it’s getting close. For my mom. I don’t know where my writing will go after I get this one out there. But the journey has been incredible.

And you know what got me this far? Other writers. Writers I’ve discovered through my blog, through Twitter, Facebook, and weekly writing memes. They’ve offered endless advice, crits, and encouragement. So, back to the answer about the best thing to come out of running a blog. All the people I’ve met.
I am a tough cookie to get crying, but I have to admit to a few tears on this answer.

What book would you recommend as "this is a book every writer should read”?
Definitely, Stephen King’s “On Writing”.
Loved it.

Do you over-write or under-write
Ha! Can’t you tell from these answers, Tanya. I’m long-winded, so I lean toward overwriting. I’m trying to cure it. I do better now. A professional editor who read ATNS as a favor to a friend of mine commented that there was some overwriting.

What amazes you about being a writer?
There’s nothing remarkable about me. But when I tell people I’ve written a book, they all think I’m semi-famous, or my life has suddenly become incredibly interesting to them. And I find that kind of fascinating. Has your experience been anything similar, Tanya? I live in a world where I don’t actually know any writers. My husband tells me that just finishing writing a book—even if it’s never published, is amazing.
I know what it means to work on a book for ten years. You are remarkable to me. As for how others see us... we'll talk. lol. I have stories.

What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my children. I think all three of them are good human beings. I think they’re kind to other people. Nothing can top that…

What one thing did you learn that you wish to pass on to other parents? Or writers? Or adventurers? or star voyagers? Almost everyone will offer advice to you. Take it all with a grain of salt. But be grateful for every bit shared. It comes well-intended, even if it won’t work for you. That goes for writers, parents, and adventurers. Other star voyagers? The sky isn’t the limit. It’s endless. It’s a dicey place. Keep your ray-gun primed and your dagger sharp. Never offer your hand for a handshake--you could end up missing fingers. And when you’re tempted to give a big, old, human smile, remember that in some alien cultures, baring your teeth is a challenge—a risky one.

Ha! Thanks for such an emotional peek into your life! I am SOOOOO happy you stopped by!

Can't Dream Without You

Exciting announcement!

Dreaming is the easy part in the first novel from Tanya Reimer’s Dark Chronicles  In a haunting ritual performed by his father, Steve’s soul is linked to Julia, an innocent. To protect her, Steve haunts her dreams, but it has the opposite effect and now he can’t dream without her. 

DARTFORD, KENT – 18 May 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the signing of a deal with Canadian author Tanya Reimer for her post-apocalyptic supernatural fantasy Can’t Dream Without You, a novel from the Dark Chronicles.

Legends say that tens of thousands of years ago, Whisperers were banished from the heavens, torn in half, and dumped on a mortal realm they didn’t understand. Longing for their other half, they went from being powerful immortals to lonely leeches relying on humans to survive. Over the years, they earned magic from demons, they left themselves Notebooks with hints, and by pairing up with human souls, they eventually found their other halves. Humbled by their experiences, they discovered the true purpose of life and many were worthy of returning to the heavens. But many were not.

The Dark Chronicles are stories that share the heartache of select unworthy Whisperers on their journey to immortality after The War of 2019. Can’t Dream Without You is one of those stories, in which we meet Steve and Julia, two such heroes.

Steve isn’t a normal boy. He plays with demons, his soul travels to a dream realm at night using mystical butterflies, and soon he’ll earn the power to raise the dead. Al thinks that destroying him would do the world a favour, yet he just can’t kill his own son. Wanting to acquire the power that raises the dead before Steve does, Al performs a ritual on Steve’s sixteenth birthday. He transfers Steve’s dark magic to Julia, an innocent girl he plans to kill. But Steve is determined to save Julia and sucks her soul to Dreamland.

From the dream world, he invokes the help of her brother to keep her safe. Five years later, Steve can’t tell what’s real or what’s a nightmare. Julia’s brother wants to kill him, a strange bald eagle is erasing memories, and Steve’s caught in some bizarre bullfight on another realm with a cop hot on his trail looking to be Julia’s hero. All the while, Steve and Julia must fight the desperate need to make their steamy dreams a reality.

According to Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, the post-apocalyptic world of the Whisperers that Tanya has created is “recognisably contemporary, yet with a rich and deep mythology distinguishing it from our own world while at the same time making it much more credible. These are characters you might expect to meet, but really wouldn’t want to!”

Tanya has previously published Petrified, a young adult story from the world of the Whisperers, but Can’t Dream Without You is the first of the Dark Chronicles and is written for adults.  It will be published early in 2016 by Elsewhen Press in both digital and print editions.  

Magic- part 1: DON'T RUIN IT FOR THEM

I had to teach  a magic class to kids. Now, I am in no way a magician. But! I can learn anything, even magic. Excited, I set to the task and worked hard at it. I studied several tricks, mastered them (I use that word lightly. I got okay with them would be a more accurate statement) and then I captivated my audience. Okay, maybe not captivate, but it was cool.

"How did you do THAT!?!" Even though I am not very good and my tricks were oh so simple, they were astonished. So I did it again, slower, in case they could catch what I was doing. They tried to figure it out and couldn't.

Then I did something horrible. I showed them HOW I did it. It was a magic class, I was supposed to teach them how... right?

The blank looks I got had lost all excitement.

The magic had died.

Did they want to practice to be able to do these tricks? Nope. Well... one did... there is always one.

Anyway, fast-forward.... same kids, during a summer camp, I thought I'd give them a little magic show. I have these okay abilities, I might as well put them to use. Magic is hard, and if you don't practice it in front of a crowd, you will not get better at it. Plus, I knew they would be very forgiving since they knew the tricks.

I was expecting them to say, "I know that trick." And come up and do it for us. Because they did know them all.

They did not offer. Well, that  one did... the others sat and gaped like I was magical. They were captivated and demanded I show them how I did that.

I already had... but I said "Nope, it's magic." I learnt my lesson. Never ruin the magic for others.

This can apply to all forms of art. I remember my daughter being captivated by a piano player. She couldn't believe how great he was. I know what it takes to be that good so I brought her up to the young man and asked how often he practiced. "Four hours a day. Everyday." Was his non-magical answer. The excitement she had faded. The magic was gone. He had to work to be that good.

Magic is an illusion we enjoy because we want to believe.

Have you created this for others or ruined it for them?
In what magical things do you believe?

My Two Cents

I am a guest at Dreamers, lovers, and Star Voyagers
Be sure to check out my two cents on writing advice to other writers.
Thanks again, Teresa for having me over!

A Peek Into Your Life-- Steve Harrison

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

Steve is the author of TimeStorm. I was lucky enough to met him via social media and of course, I noticed his catchy cover on the Elsewhen Press site. I was looking for something a little different and hadn't read a time travel in awhile, so I thought I'd check it out. In a nutshell, Steve's book blew my mind. 

TimeStorm is an enthralling read full of interesting characters who push the story to places not many of us dare go. These characters live an exciting adventure where a storm at sea tosses them into a new time. The ship’s cargo of convicts breaks free causing havoc in a new world that each one reacts to differently.

It had me chuckling as these tough men found themselves lost in a world they didn't understand with women doing things they couldn't wrap their minds around. Yet this is a story of a cold brutal world offset with hope, as kind people offered their help, and a romance blossoms. A  few selfish people  sought to gain from their misfortune, but through it shined a bravery and a truth (time is a storm we can’t escape) that kept my heart racing to the very last page.

Each character brought a picture to life for me. It is so well written, at one point I was actually cheering for the bad guy (much to my horror). Somehow, in the storyline, which had me hooked, one hero emerges that catches my attention as someone... how does Karen say it? Dangerous yet in control. yeah. I enjoyed Blaney's chapters as much as the chapters that share his story through different eyes.

I loved each twist and marveled at how well it was put together. Then, when I was lost at sea wondering how he was going to pull it together, everything wrapped up nicely and left me smiling at the beauty of a masterpiece. 

How the heck did he juggle each pov so well? I can't even imagine his storyboard.

Well, enough about my thoughts on the book, let's meet the author and see if we can find out how magic works.

I enjoyed the different snapshots of each character and how they each saw the world so differently. How did you come up with so many well-written characters and unique voices? 
TimeStorm, from the moment it took shape, played in my head like a movie. I could ‘see’ the story unfold. I adapted that vision to the novel and the characters are like cameras recording the action. I cut rapidly from one to the other and each of them ‘records’ the action through the prism of their own character, hopefully giving even the minor characters an additional layer of depth.

With so many great voices, who was your favourite character to write and why? 
Undoubtedly, Rufus Redmond, the convict leader. He is one of those people who can’t let go of a grievance, even if makes things much worse for them. Deep down, I don’t believe he is a bad man, despite the things he does, and he has good reason to feel extremely angry. On the surface he is a very basic character, but he is motivated by very deep and confusing emotions. I felt equal degrees of sympathy and frustration with him. My goal was for the reader to feel for him and, indeed, all of the convicts, while also being repulsed by their actions.
(I must say, I was rooting for him at one point! It was so easy to get caught up in his mission, I did have to keep reminding myself that he was the bad guy! then again, maybe he isn't all bad, just... wrongfully-emotional??)

What song reminds you of this story?
The one song that has resonated over the years and immediately fills my head with TimeStorm every time I hear it is, Ship of Fools by World Party.

What are you currently working on?
The first of a proposed YA comedy science fiction novels about two 15 years old girls, one from Earth and the other an alien. It’s a lot of fun, but slow going as I create an entire universe!

Where do you do your best writing?
I have an attic office where I can lock myself away and spend many hours procrastinating and a small amount of time writing! It’s a nice relaxing space where I have posters and photos all over the walls to inspire me.

Do you have any novels you shelved?
I do have one shelved novel – actually I only have a few pages – which will be written one day. It’s a religious thriller set mainly in the Vatican and spans some 40 years. I have been very excited about this story for many years, but I need a few months in Rome for research, so I consider it my retirement project.

Do you over-write or under-write?
I under-write, because when I edit, my manuscript usually becomes longer. For instance, I just wrote a chapter filled with exposition and information, which in its present form would send people to sleep, but I had to get it out of my head. When I rewrite the section I will add action and dialogue and (try to) disguise the information, so that the chapter is longer, but reads shorter.

What are you most proud of?
In a writing sense, getting TimeStorm published. It was a labour of love for some 25 years and I never doubted it would be published one day (possibly posthumously!). I stuck with it and after many rewrites over the years, Elsewhen Press came along and fulfilled my dream. I look back and I’m proud of both my persistence and conviction.

Where is your favourite place to read?
Strangely enough, at work. At lunchtime I retreat to the canteen and read solidly for half an hour. It’s a wonderfully meditative way to break up the day.

What do you do for a living?
I work for the Australian postal service in a department titled, Operational Interface. If anyone knows what that means, please tell me. The job is a troubleshooting role and we go in and fix tricky problems affecting the performance of the business. I think I perform a similar function when writing fiction…

Thanks so much for the peek into your life, Steve. It was great fun having you over for a visit. While I have this most creative artist in my world, feel free to ask him questions, and stop by his blog. Be sure to check out TimeStorm.