Friday, April 29, 2011

Positive review for Union of Renegades at My Book Addiction

BookGirl of the blog My Book Addiction awarded 5 ratties to my fantasy novel Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I. She uses rats for her rating scale, and 5 ratties are good. So, OK, it's a bit different being measured in rodents, but I've decided to be honored.

BookGirl runs her book review blog from the Netherlands. My Book Addiction boasts over 200 followers, and BookGirl's reading habits cover fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, horror, and steampunk, and readers appreciate her honest reviews.

This is what BookGirl had to say about Union of Renegades:
"This story took a little time to grow on me but once it did it wouldn’t let me go."
Read the whole review of my fantasy book.

Thank you very much, BookGirl, for taking the time to read the first book of The Rys Chronicles. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.

Other readers interested in Union of Renegades, may download it for free or get the paperback from my website.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Announcment: More fantasy novels by Tracy Falbe on the way!

I am planning to publish a new fantasy novel this summer. Rys Rising Book I will launch the Rys Rising epic fantasy series that will be published in four parts. Three of the novels are already written and the fourth and final novel is well underway. I had wanted to have the whole series completely written and then publish it all at once, but the wait has become too painful even for me to bear, and I am moving forward. I expect to publish the first three novels by the end of this year and publish the final part the first half of 2012.

Here is the tentative schedule I have in mind:

Rys Rising Book I - early summer 2011
Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II - late summer 2011 or early fall
New Religion: Rys Rising Book III - December 2011
Untitled: Rys Rising Book IV - work in progress, but definitely progressing toward a 2012 release

These releases will be in digital ebook formats. I will develop print versions at some point, but I have not set a schedule for that yet. Right now I am busy with the final phases of editing and proofreading and arranging artwork.

This decision to initiate publication came to me over the weekend, and I'm suddenly feeling quite overwhelmed yet excited. Since publishing the final part of The Rys Chronicles, The Borderlands of Power, in August 2007, I have not launched any new fiction. I've been in mad scientist mode and unwilling to suffer the distractions of production, but that has ended! (Well, I'm still in mad scientist mode but accepting that it's time to pay the bills.) Hopefully my life as an independent writer will go much more smoothly and successfully with the new novels. I knew nothing when I started publishing my fiction in 2006, but I have so much more going for me these days, like readers who are waiting for me to publish more novels.

Please subscribe to this blog or follow me at twitter so you can watch the development of my new series and learn more about Rys Rising.

Now I am going to go work on that untitled Book IV. The best fantasy series have endings, so I will get to work on mine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Rys Chronicles fantasy series in the German Amazon Kindle store

Amazon Kindle Store expands into Germany bringing The Rys Chronicles fantasy series by American author Tracy Falbe with it.
My fantasy novels that have been in the Amazon Kindle Store in the United States and the UK since last year are now available to German Kindle users. Over the years I've had readers in Germany purchase my fantasy ebooks through my website, so I know that some Europeans have enjoyed my fiction. I now hope that more people in Germany will have a chance to discover my series.

If you are a German Kindle owner who likes reading fantasy here are the links to The Rys Chronicles in the German Kindle Store. 

* Book I Union of Renegades
Book II The Goddess Queen
Book III Judgment Rising
Book IV The Borderlands of Power

* If you would like to read Union of Renegades for free, you can download it to a computer right now.

Click this link and select the .prc file. This will work on your Kindle. Of course to get the free version you'll have to use a USB connection from your computer to the Kindle.

If you decide you like The Rys Chronicles please consider buying your Kindle compatible versions directly from me. My system converts many currencies, including Euros, and the ebooks are instant downloads after payment. Germans might actually save a little money buying through my U.S. website. For example, today one of my ebooks that retails for $4.95 US is exchanging for 3.40 EUR, a touch less than the novels at the German Amazon site where they are listed for 4 EUR. The exchange rate varies by the day of course, but typically offers people spending Euros a savings. The small amounts of potential savings may not matter to most readers, but when a reader buys directly from me, it always makes me happy. It means I don't have to wait months to get paid or give up a big percentage to Amazon.

Myths to Live By written by Joseph Campbell released as ebook

I've been enamored by the teachings of Joseph Campbell for several years. I have difficulty explaining his points using any words other than his, but I believe the points he makes through the study of world mythologies help me better understand humanity and inject greater meaning into my fantasy writing.

As an associate member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation I was pleased to receive an email yesterday about the upcoming release of Myths to Live By in ebook format. It is a collection of 12 essays delivered by Joseph Campbell in the Cooper Union Forum between 1958 and 1971.

Here's the description of Myths to Live By provided by the foundation:
One of Joseph Campbell's most popular works, Myths To Live By is considerably enhanced through the electronic format (for example, editor David Kudler has been able to include 80 illustrations, including some photographs actually taken by Campbell, that would be cost prohibitive in a print edition; there is also a discussion link at the end of each chapter). First published in 1972, Myths to Live By has long served as an easily accessible introduction to the wide scope and range of Joseph Campbell's work.

I have checked out Myths to Live By from my library several times. Every essay gives me plenty to contemplate. Sometimes I just read two or three and then return it to the library until I am ready to consider more of what Campbell discovered. Now, I have these essays at home with me all the time because I bought the epub version this morning from the Joseph Campbell Foundation. For foundation associates it was $5.99. When it is released for wider distribution after the end of April, it will $9.99 at the Apple iBookstore and other outlets. The writings of Joseph Campbell are worthy of any thinking person's library. His insights prod my intellect and inspire my creativity every time I read them.

Related post: Joseph Campbell on tapping into your creative unconscious

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poll: Have you ever had a paranormal romance?

I've started another poll at Goodreads.com. If you belong to Goodreads, you can click the answer links and have your choice recorded there. Otherwise, just leave a comment at this blog with your response. Enjoy.

Poll
47269
Have you ever had a paranormal romance?



This poll is meant for laughs but also to help us really think about what is so darn appealing about the popular paranormal romance genre. Please comment with your opinions after voting.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Paranormal fantasy character profile: Diana from God Wars: Living with Angels

God Wars: Living with Angels by Rob Tobin presents a complex urban fantasy of witchcraft and revenge. 
Author and professional screenwriter Rob Tobin introduces Diana, the Witch in the Wheelchair.

As a teenager with telekinetic powers, she is paralyzed from the waist down when a gangbanger attacks her and kills her parents in the process, the trauma destroying her psychic powers. Years later Professor Lessage, a mysterious figure who turns out to be a demon trapped in a human body, introduces her to witchcraft which allows her to reclaim her powers and then some, and she goes on a rampage to exact revenge on all the evil people in the world. But she goes too far and opens the gates of Hell, releasing Lessage and his demon cohorts.

Diana is an incredibly complex character, at once a good person seeking to prevent others from suffering the unspeakble pain she's suffered in her short life, but also bitter and vengeful and willing to risk the fate of the entire world to resurrect the gangbanger who put her in the chair and her parents in the grave, just so he can be killed again, this time by her hand. Law student, psychic, witch, bitter but good hearted, in love with an angel she can't trust, devastated because her paralysis makes it impossible to live a normal life or a love life of any kind, she is in danger of succumbing to the very evil she claims to want to destroy. And through it all, she's still that sweet sixteen year old girl who woke up jammed against a car dashboard and smashed windshield, paralyzed from the waist down, her dead parents staring lifelessly from either side of her.

God Wars: Living with Angels is a new ebook available at numerous retailers for $2.99.

Smashwords

Omnilit

Barnes & Noble Nook

Kindle

Also go to Rob Tobin's website to learn about his screenwriting services and the films he has worked on. And since he's part of the film business, he likes everyone to know that the film rights for God Wars: Living with Angels are available.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I can't find my DVD The Chronicles of Riddick


About every six months I get the urge to watch the Chronicles of Riddick starring Vin Diesel. I'm very overdue because I have misplaced the DVD. I'm about ready just to add it to my Netflix cue.

Why do I need to watch The Chronicles of Riddick?

Because it is kickass sci fi adventure with a compelling antihero. Riddick embodies wonderfully the concept of the bad guy as the hero. Is he evil? Yes. Mostly he's dangerous, lethal, and not the least bit interested in the goings of so-called decent society. Riddick is a killer, and he's spent so much time in the deep pits of interstellar prisons that he's had his eyes altered so that he can see in the dark. He prefers the darkness and always wins the game who can kill the most. If Riddick defends or avenges a good person, it is because of a personal whim or simply from the fact that he is strong and aggressors naturally seek to subdue him.

When Riddick encounters the Necromungers, a vast horde that is the scourge of worlds on a journey seeking the Underverse, he is confronted by true large scale evil. At first Riddick is not particularly concerned about the invasion of Necromungers because very little bothers Riddick. When he interrupts the Necromunger leader as he is converting the masses to his religion and threatening to rip their souls into oblivion, Riddick sardonically says, "Look, I'm not with these people."

After several awesome fights, Riddick is rescued from the Necromungers by the bounty hunters that have been pursuing him across planets. Riddick considers capture to be rescue because he knows that whatever prison the bounty hunters deliver him to will not be able to hold him.

Meanwhile the Necromungers continue to hunt Riddick because he is the lone survivor of the genocide perpetuated on Furia by the Necromungers. As the last free Furian, Riddick is supposedly destined to destroy the Necromunger lord.

Spoiler warning - Stop reading and go watch the movie if you haven't already

After a wild escape from prison and a huge fight with the Necromungers, Riddick appears on the verge of defeat, but a high ranking Necromunger turns out to be a Furian converted long ago to serving the Underverse. This remnant Furian releases Riddick and confesses to doing "unspeakable things" in the name of something he does not believe in and then he kills himself in an epic suicide scene. It's one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Every part of the Chronicles of Riddick is just awesome. It's a spectacular adventure. Vin Diesel really thrives in the role. I know that he usually comes across as just reading cue cards, but as Riddick he truly becomes the most dangerous man in the galaxy.

After watching this movie you'll learn two things: Take the money and you keep what you kill.

The Chronicles of Riddick has an awesome ending too. I don't know if this movie was a hit when it came out. I was busy with a newborn, but I certainly would have gone to the theater to see it if I could have. Now if only the elves that stole my DVD would quietly return it, then I could indulge in one of my favorites. The epic scale and sheer sinister joy of this story inspires me every time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Character profile: Clarence Knight from Silent Knight by Kimberly Ranee Hicks

Meet Clarence Knight from the thriller mystery Silent Knight. He's an aspiring film maker searching for a lost friend and making a documentary in the Projects, where he's forced to live after his family's suburban lifestyle falls to pieces.
CLARENCE KNIGHT is a warm, loving, intelligent and friendly person, when he gets to know you, but somewhat of a loner. His greatest weakness is being too trusting sometimes. It was his lifelong dream to become a film maker like the man whom he idolized as a child, Melvin Van Peebles. And later through his teenage years when an aspiring film maker, Spike Lee, hit the Hollywood scene that gave him more hope to finally fulfill his dream.

Clarence’s parents had every intention of sending their son to film school, but through tragedy, he didn’t think he would ever be able to go. Ironically, it was that tragedy which later helped to fund his college education. Clarence was originally from the suburbs of Crescent Hills, but his family was forced to move to the projects, a place in which he feared.

SILENT KNIGHT opens with Clarence going back to the place he vowed never to return, Woodland Heights. While he’s there paying his respects to his best friend’s father, Reggie Dunn, Sr., he decided to surprise his friend with a camera crew and create a documentary about their childhood, the way it was in the 70s. And he also had another reason for wanting to make the film, he was anxious to find out what happened to a friend of theirs named Marcus Paige.

Quotes from Clarence:

As Clarence thought back to something his baby sister, Gilda asked? “Clarence, what is this place? Where are the houses?” Those were very good questions Gilda asked, and I honestly had no answers for her, so I chose not to answer her at that moment. She yanked my hand harder. “Clarence, why are there so many windows to these big houses? Where’s the backyard?” Still in shock myself, “These aren’t big houses, Goodness Gilda, these are a bunch of apartments, better known as the Projects.”

“The rap group, Whodini, asked it best, Friends. . .how many of us have them? Friends, ones we can depend on? Friends. . .before we go any further. . .let’s be Friends! No one knows this better than I, for I wouldn’t trade my best friends for anything in the world!” Clarence Knight, Film Maker.

To purchase a copy of SILENT KNIGHT, go to http://www.70silentknight.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Knight-Kimberly-Ranee-Hicks/dp/1456860909/ (Available in Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle Bookstore). Kimberly Ranee Hicks is a member of the Independent Author Network. Catch the SILENT KNIGHT book trailer on IAN and YouTube. Follow her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/kiwes.

Want your character to appear on Her Ladyship's Quest?
 
Authors please refer to the post how to submit your character profile. I look forward to reading about the children of your minds and Muses.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Results from my readers' poll about sex and love scenes

Two weeks ago I started a poll at Goodreads seeking opinions about sex scenes in books. Voting ended yesterday and the results indicate strong support for sex or love scenes when they contribute to plot and characterization.

Thirty two readers responded to the poll.

Do you like sex/love scenes in the books you read? I ask because some people really like them, some people don't mind them, and others definitely want their fiction to go through a prude filter. Plus it's interesting to discuss.

* Love scenes are fine if they contribute to characterization and plot. 22 votes, 68.8%

* I really enjoy sexuality in fiction. 5 votes, 15.6%

* No nookie for me. I don't want to go there. 3 votes, 9.4%

* Some sex is OK but only in small doses. 2 votes, 6.3%

* Love scenes are why I read! 0 votes, 0.0%
After the most common response, readers appeared equally split between really liking fiction to be bumping uglies and a definite disinterest in a story including sexual elements. Overall, from this tiny unscientific sample, I'm willing to proclaim that most readers like some sex in their books.

Even though the poll is closed at Goodreads, feel free to leave a comment on this subject if you like.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Real life more epic than any fantasy novel


Earth is an astounding place that provides my active imagination with endless bounty. Although I write fantasy novels, I am a firm believer in the adage that fact is stranger than fiction. Sometimes I am asked where I get my inspiration. I believe anything I experience or learn bombards my imagination and keeps it fertile. For example, just this week I was astounded by Michael Finkel's article "Volcano Next Door" in the April 2011 National Geographic magazine. His article about Mount Nyiragongo on the Congo Rwanda border informed me of a situation shaped by colossal natural forces and the serious potential to inflict a terrifying natural disaster on an epic scale.

The Doomed City of Goma

With a population approaching one million people, Goma is packed with refugees from the atrocious prolonged horror that is the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rwandan genocide. Lava flows from recent eruptions of Nyiragongo have already overtaken tens of thousands of homes and displaced hundreds of thousands, and people are building shanties on the new lava rock. In addition to the near certainty of being overrun by violent rivers of lava, Goma is on the shore of Lake Kivu. Huge reservoirs of methane and carbon dioxide under the lake could be ruptured by a violent eruption of the nearby volcano and engulf Goma in clouds of toxic gases.

The facts of the volatile situation in Goma could make a riveting setting for a novel. You can surely imagine how such a story would climax with characters performing heroic deeds to save as many as possible from the expanding inferno.

Of course, I do not wish to minimize the plight of Goma. I'm well aware of the relentless and hopeless despair that has been inflicted on the Democratic Republic of Congo for years. Millions have died in its war fueled by child soldiers, systematic rape, and extraction of valuable resources. My point is that the real world offers more than enough dangerous drama to inspire any writer. I think we like our adventures in novels precisely because it's not entirely real and there's hope that someone will escape.

May Mother Earth be merciful to Goma.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fantasy character profile: Keyotie the Trickster from A Plethory of Powers by Gerald Costlow

A Plethory of Powers by Gerald Costlow

The Trickster Coyote comes to us from ageless myths and the soul of Mother Nature herself. And in the hands of fantasy author Gerald Costlow, he becomes Keyotie the Trickster, one excellent character.

I had the pleasure of meeting Keyotie when I read The Weaving by Gerald Costlow (see my review at the Fantasy Tavern), and now Keyotie is back in a new novel A Plethory of Powers.

Costlow has provided quotes from both novels, The Weaving and the prequel A Plethory of Powers, to help readers get to know the ingratiating Keyote.

Keyotie, the Trickster

“As much as I like Keyotie, it’s impossible to believe his wild stories about being around since the beginning of time and knowing the Creator personally. He is the finest storyteller I’ve ever met, though.” ~Rose, Witch of the Woods

“Keyotie the Trickster? I’ve met him once or twice. Little dark-skinned fellow. Shape shifter. Always wears the same fringed leather outfit when he’s not running around in what he calls his ‘true form’. Some sort of dog, apparently. He owes me money.” ~The Deacon of the White College

“Don’t let Keyotie hear you call him a dog, or you’ll receive a lecture about his noble coyote heritage.” ~ Rose, Witch of the Woods

“The Trickster is wanted for theft, breaking and entering, destruction of property, multiple escapes from custody, and skipping town without paying debts. There’s also a charge involving an act performed on a dog that I’m not going to discuss in front of the ladies. Reward offered. If seen, notify the nearest Royal Guard immediately.” ~Sheriff of Whitecastle

“I am NOT a dog!” ~Keyotie

“I’ve got a friend, runs a tavern over in Crossroads. Way he tells it, this little bitty guy everyone called the Trickster took on the entire tavern and was the only one left standing when the sawdust settled. Told me to be on the lookout for him, ‘cause the guy skipped town without paying for the damages.” ~Barkeeper in the Troll and Dragon

“The Trickster? Oh, you must be talking about Grandpa. He was quite the rogue back in his day. Rumor is, he met his end when a husband came home and caught him in bed with the man’s wife and maid at the same time. Grandpa made it out the window, but the balcony gave way.” ~Keyotie

“Keyotie has refined lying to the point where I believe even he can’t tell the difference.” ~The Lady

“I’ve never claimed to be a God and I’m not immortal; I’m just hard to kill.” ~Keyotie the Trickster

Both novels by Costlow are for sale in paperback and ebook forms at the usual online booksellers such as B&N and Amazon, and at the Pill Hill book store, http://www.pillhillpress.com/shoppe-novels.html

Want your character to appear on Her Ladyship's Quest?
 
Authors please refer to the post how to submit your character profile. I look forward to reading about the children of your minds and Muses.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A thriller novel driven by shamanism


Recently readers met Claire Milton, the heroine of Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box as part of this blog's character profiles series. Today, the author Ann Simon is back to explain the shamanism that is part of her novel and how she used it to develop the plot and action of her thriller.

Shamanic overlay in my novel Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box
by Ann Simon

I had a good idea. I had time. It was all simple and straightforward: all I had to do was sit down and write the novel.

Okay, when you pick yourself up off the floor and stop laughing, you can continue reading.

The plot revolved around a puzzle with a souvenir Russian lacquer box leading to a tactical nuclear weapons smuggling ring. Tactical nukes are small nuclear weapons that don’t need a highly technical delivery system. You could, say, deliver them with a tank.

I ran into a problem though because most of the action took place when my heroine Claire was alone. The absence of husband and friends reduced both dialog and obstacle extraction opportunities. I needed some way for Claire to get new ideas, have some dialog and change the course of the plot while she was by herself. When I meet an obstacle like this, I access the creative side of my brain through the practice of Shamanism.

Shamanism is the earliest of human spiritual practices. It involves going into a meditative state known as a journey where, on a spiritual level, one visits other worlds, and gets information and guidance from spirits. The spirits can take the form of supportive animals. Each power or spirit animal has attributes that help its human partner. Everyone has a spirit animal in the same way people believe everyone has a guardian angel.

I’d practiced Shamanism for 15 years. While I was off romping in a Shamanic jungle, it struck me: why wouldn’t Shamanism work for Claire? It would be cool if her spirit jaguar, a source of emotional support, became a source of physical support as well.

Shamanic journeys and spirit animals aren’t real, not in the sense of being in the here and now, being solid, being within the space/time continuum. Okay, I’m not sure what other way you might define “real,” so let’s just agree that Jaguar didn’t exist, so how could a journey, no matter how inspiring, be a physical force against very real, dangerous men?

I developed an internal logic for the story that allowed Jaguar to slowly develop a corporeal presence in our world and therefore be able to provide more and more help to Claire as she discovered and then struggled against the smugglers. Claire is unsure of which characters in the novel she can trust including Jaguar. Is she depending on a spiritual manifestation, a mental construct of her own intuition, or a hallucination? This uncertainty heightens the tension of Claire’s predicament.

Then I found myself in another quandary. If Jaguar crossed over to our world, wouldn’t that open a portal that allowed other spirit animals in as well? Now the fun began! I imagined what each of the bad guys’ spirit animal might be, keeping in mind that the spirits themselves were not evil but were protective of their humans just as Jaguar was protective of Claire. I was cooking; all I had to do was follow the progression of spirit animal and human interaction as it paralleled the smuggling operation, following both to the exciting, event-packed conclusion.

Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box by Ann Simon is available at the Amazon Kindle store, Windows 7 phones, i-pads and other i-products. The Kindle app is currently free.

Interested in contributing to Her Ladyship's Quest?

Please contact me through the guest bloggers and blog tours page.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fantasy Character Profile: Diana from the Mythikas Island Series by Diana Hurwitz

Mythikas Island Book One: Diana
by Diana Hurwitz
Diana strives to prove herself better than her rival Athena in a grueling test on Mythikas Island. The heroine of this young adult fantasy inspired by Greek Mythology explains the challenges in her own words.
At the beginning of Book One: Diana is the sixteen-year-old daughter of the ruling Titans, Zeus and Leto. In order to earn a seat on the ruling council of Mt. Olympus, she must undergo a green-beret type exercise on Mythikas Island. She is denied the leadership position in favor of her hated half-sister Athena and refuses to go until her twin, Apollo, forces her. Diana wants to be a leader. She wants to be a hero, but she must develop the skills to influence other people. She starts out as a dreamer and a loner. Diana also blames herself for her mother’s death. As she sets off on her journey, she vows to convince their two cousins, Aphrodite and Persephone, to mutiny. None of them are prepared for true dangers that await them on Mythikas where they “face their greatest fears.” The challenge forces Diana to learn that leadership takes more than desire, it takes ability.

Favorite moments:

To Athena: “You stubborn, uncooperative nag.” I straightened up. “Why can’t you admit you’re wrong?”

I was overwhelmed by an odd sense of relief. The pain and regret would be over soon. I stepped closer to lead wolf until he was a body length away. I knelt in the water, my knees sinking into the mud, captured by his gaze, accepting his verdict.

Memories of my mother swam in and out of my dreams like minnows in a pool. It was becoming harder to recall her visage at will.

What if the reason for their mass exodus were here, waiting for us?

You can read more about Diana in Mythikas Island Book One, MI Book Two: Persephone and MI Book Three: Aphrodite available on www.amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. It is also available for Barnes & Noble Nook and can be ordered through your local bookseller. To find out more visit http://www.dianahurwitz.com/.

Want your character to appear on Her Ladyship's Quest?
 
Authors please refer to the post how to submit your character profile. I look forward to reading about the children of your minds and Muses.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Character profile: Brigid from Once A Goddess by Sheila R. Lamb

Currently an MFA candidate in creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte, Sheila R. Lamb is developing a historical fiction trilogy based on the legendary Brigid of Ireland, the subject of today's character profile.

In order to save her people, Brigid of the TĂșatha dĂ© Danann sacrifices her own desires and agrees to arranged marriage with Bres, a Fomorian prince, the enemy. Spying is only one reason why the Danann leaders send their daughter into Bres’s arms. She also guards their secret of psychic magic, powers the Fomorians must never discover.

Brigid is determined to make the best of it in order to save her tribe from the brutal warriors who overpowered Danann magic with iron weapons. She finds that she must confront Morrigan, a powerful warrioress who vies for Bres's attention. She also meets Adriac, a Fomorian man who inexplicably possesses Danann powers, and she works to discover the mystery of his lineage.

Over time, Bres changes from an attentive husband to a tyrannical ruler, threatening the Tuatha de Danann into extinction. Brigid must find a way to unseat Bres from his kingship, a manipulation that places herself, her son, and all of the Danann in life-threatening peril.

Favorite Quotes from Brigid of the Tuatha de Danann:

To Bres on their wedding day:

“There will be pressures,” I said. “However, the purpose of our union is peace. Not for my personal gain.” I paused. “Nor yours.”

Bres smirked at my implications and our eyes met, each daring the other to turn away first. So, this was how it would be. I knew in that instant that I couldn’t let him catch me off guard; I would have to think carefully before I spoke and always remember that cunning motivation hid behind his words. I would protect our gifts, our knowledge of the elements that surrounded us, with my life.

To Nuada, the Danann Chieftain:

“How dare you,” I hissed in reply. “I’m the one who sacrificed my future, my anam cara, to appease you. I’m the one who was sent away to live with the Fomorian, with your old friend, Elatha, the man who conveniently removed your rival for chieftain. You remember that, don’t you Nuada?”

To her son, Ruadan:

“It’s Danu, the goddess of us all. I will teach you to listen and to understand what She is saying to you. When you learn that, there will be more... you will be able to shape shift...just like we all do.”

Once A Goddess, the first in the Brigid of Ireland trilogy, is looking for her publishing home. More details and excerpts can be found on Sheila's website: Pagans, Saints, and Potatoes at http://www.sheilarlamb.com/.

Want your character to appear on Her Ladyship's Quest?

Authors please refer to the post how to submit your character profile. I look forward to reading about the children of your minds and Muses.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Composer Bruce Farquharson wants to write original scores for book trailers

Interview with Bruce Farquharson, a musician and composer talented in diverse styles and experienced with scoring videos.
I'm pleased to present musician and composer Bruce Farquharson today at Her Ladyship's Quest. I think music is probably the highest form of human expression and it has been with humanity since prehistoric times. I hope to encounter more musicians as I continue this blog's media journey, but now read about Bruce and his dedication to his craft.  

1. According to your biography you had an opportunity to study music in Vienna, Austria. When was that and what was unique about studying music in such a historic location?

I had the great opportunity to study in Austria, Vienna on a scholarship in 2000. It was a unique experience because many great composers such as Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms (to name but a few) all resided there and made music there. Symphonic music is so much a part of Vienna's culture and history being a part of it is inescapable when one is there. There are concerts there all the time. It is not uncommon for many concerts and operas to take place during the week. One is submerged in symphonic music in Austria. Another unique experience is that many musicians in Austria have a tie to some of the great composers composers who lived. It is not an odd thing to find a musician who is somehow related in some way to a composer from the past. A relationship can be blood related (an acquaintance of mine was related to Bruckner). But a relationship can also be from lineage with regards to teaching. It was not uncommon to discover that someone I met had studied with a professor who had a link to a composer form the past. A composer with whom I was able to study (Kurt Schwertsik) studied with Stockhausen. So, it was a wonderful experience and opportunity to be able to not only study with Kurt Schwertsik, who is an accomplished composer, but also to now be a part of that lineage.

2. You play many instruments, but do you have a favorite instrument and why?

I began playing guitar when I was 8. I studied it in school. When I lived in L.A. and N.Y. I performed in different groups and I did recording sessions. From my studies in school as well as my experiences outside of school I have played many different styles (classical, rock, jazz, funk, blues, country, jazz-fusion, etc). In addition to my studies and my performance experience as a guitarist I have been teaching private lessons at a music store and I have taught at NVCC for the past 10+ years. Given the amount of time I've been playing guitar is the most natural for me. I believe it to be one of the most versatile instruments. It is found in so many styles, it can be played acoustically or as an electric instrument. It is portable. It can accompany, be a part of an ensemble, or be performed as a solo instrument. I love the guitar both as a listener and as a player still to this day. But the other instruments I play also give me pleasure as a player and as a listener. Piano, viola, drums and bass also provide a wealth of knowledge and experience I could not have gained by only playing guitar. The piano repertoire for Classical, Romantic and 20th Century music provides one to gain access to great music not necessarily available on guitar. By playing viola I was not only able to enjoy the instrument, but I also learned much by playing in an orchestra and a string quartet. Drums and bass have helped my overall musicianship. Ultimately, each instrument has contributed greatly to my compositional skills, for being a composer is how I think of myself first and each instrument is a valuable vehicle in which I am better able to convey and develop my ideas.

3. You graduated from George Washington University with a music degree focusing on composition. Did you always know you wanted to pursue composition or did it develop while studying music?
I received my first guitar when I was little and before I began lessons I would make my own little melodies. In my teens I played in bands where I continued to compose my own songs and instrumentals all though high school. After high school I moved to L.A. where I studied at Grove School of Music. Originally I studied guitar in the Guitar Program. While I was in the Guitar Program I took an arranging class. One of the assignments was to arrange a standard for a 5 sax soli. At Grove they believed everything a student composes/arranges needs to be heard by real players in order to get the full benefit while one is studying. So, everyone was able to hear their arrangement (and original pieces as well) in a play-down/reading. After I stood on front of the ensemble and heard my arrangement of "All The Things You Are" played I was hooked. When I finished my first year in the Guitar Program I enrolled in ACAP (Acoustic Composing & Arranging Program). After Grove came Juilliard and ultimately George Washington University (and Austria). So, I have always composed. My time at Grove was probably the period when I realized I wanted to compose for more than just my main instrument (guitar). It also made me realize I wanted to compose in other styles and as well as other forms. I don't remember ever having a desire to do anything but music, nor can I imagine not making music in the future.

4. People like to joke that conductors are just waving their arms around. Describe what a conductor is contributing and the special challenges of the position.

The conductor's role can vary depending on the ensemble that is to be lead. The overall responsibility of a conductor is to ensure the players are together when they play and to determine the tempo, dynamics and overall sound of the ensemble when it plays. But the ensemble can require more attention depending on its ability. Orchestras and ensembles with professional highly skilled players (such as the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, NSO, etc) are able to play pieces that are very difficult. A conductor is free to seize the opportunity when having such accomplished players to focus on interpreting the music. Even though the caliber of musicianship is high in a professional ensemble rehearsal is still needed. In addition to rehearsing the orchestra with the hands the conductor can also cover many things verbally. But in a performance the conductor communicates using only hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions to indicate the beat and the tempo of the beat (how fast or slow to play as well as when to speed up or slow down) and dynamics (how loud or quiet to play) as well as mood and spirit. The role of the conductor may change if the orchestra consists of volunteers and/or amateurs. Players of limited means may be unable to play certain pieces that exceeds their ability due to difficulty. It is the conductors job to ascertain which pieces are too difficult for the ensemble. There also exists the problem that an amateur orchestra may be able to play certain sections of a piece, but unable to play other sections of a piece. In this case the conductor may need to arrange the music by recomposing the difficult section(s) so that they are playable for the orchestra. An ensembles goal is to play music, and it is the conductors job to not only ensure that the orchestra remains together, but also bring the overall sound of the piece to fruition.

5. You've expressed an interest in writing musical scores for book trailers. What qualities do you think you would bring to the challenges of the book marketing arena?

Scoring book trailers would be a wonderful experience. I believe I offer great versatility to any trailer project. I am extremely flexible and I am excited to be a part of what I believe to be a new and evolving genre. I am excited to be part of the new media - the internet, social media, e-books - to promote authors and their stories. Book trailers are a new and emerging genre that will definitely grow and being able to contribute to it as a composer is exciting. My background as an orchestral composer as well as my ability to compose in jazz, rock, funk, electronic, as well as many other genres (even eastern music) offers a trailer a wide musical pallet from which to choose. I want to create music that fits an author's unique story. If a story is set during a particular time period or culture, I would use music from that place and time, if that what the author wants. For example, a piece set in Scotland or Ireland would include harp and bagpipes. If it is a fantasy or science fiction story, I would work with the author to discover what kind of sounds would be available in that alternate world. Any project with a newly composed score will benefit due to the scores ability to contribute to the trailer's originality. Scoring for indie films for the past 5 years will serve as a strong foundation, and scoring book trailers will be just as challenging and fun as scoring an indie film. I hope to add to the authors literary story and visual story by sonically shaping a musical score that fits and elevates the vision of what the story is conveying.

6. Any additional comments?

It is not uncommon for an author to use music that is free as the score for their their trailer. But an original score can really bring the trailer to a new level. Music composed specifically for a trailer can add a deeper dimension to a trailer that freebie music just can't always get. When working with a composer an author is able to communicate and help shape the ideas of what they want to the composer.A well-done book trailer can really draw readers to a book. Original music can bring authenticity to the piece, to add to the world that the author has created. I hope that I can help writers make their trailer stand out from all the rest. It would be a pleasure to be a part of that. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your blog. I'm really exited about the merger of writing and music.

Listen to samples of Bruce's music.

Watch video clips with musical scores composed by Bruce.

Thank you for the informative interview!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April prizes for fantasy ebook drawing at Brave Luck Books

A new month brings new prizes for the monthly ebook drawing I sponsor at my main website Brave Luck Books.

For April I am offering a two ebook set by David J. Guyton

Blood and Bronze
Mighty Hammer Down
David J. Guyton writes fantasy that is inspired by Greco Roman culture. He states that "My work is fantasy, but it is an allegory for the modern political struggles in the United States."

How do you win these ebooks?

Join my readers' list during April and then pet a black cat, throw your paycheck in a public fountain, stop shaving, or whatever superstitious thing you think will improve your luck so your name will be drawn on May 1st.

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