It’s here!

The technical glitch is sorted and Tales from the Northlands is up and running. It’s a 99c/p volume so it won’t break the bank, and if you enjoy stories, you’re in for a treat, because no one could tell stories better than the Norsemen, and though I’m not a Norseman, you might be able to forget that when you’re reading them.

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Just to repeat myself, this is what they’re all about..

These five short stories are set in the Northlands: a modern Swedish department store, the windswept east coast of Anglo-Saxon England, and the fjords of Viking Sverige.

A rickety wooden escalator carries a child from his safe, comfortable world of department store Christmas glitter to the midnight zone inhabited by legendary nightmares.

On the windswept east coast of Northumbria, a Saxon thegn avenges his murdered chief by selling his village to the sea wolves, and a ruthless war leader prepares for battle, gloating over the blood dream sent him by the wicce.

In Viking Sverige, Jussi and Solveig plan a future juggling bride price, parental expectations and the knarr they have yet to acquire, but their future falls beneath the shadow of the mountain.

Antar seems like the answer to Inna’s dream of escaping the bleak steading on the fjord, but her father and his chosen son-in-law have other ideas.

What links these tales is the North Sea that beats the coast, brings the cold and the long ships, laps the winter nights in snow, when the wind howls stories of trolls and giants. It brings the herring, the sea mews and the grey seals, and it joins a people with the same vision of the world—harsh, vivid and full of magic.

 

You can get Tales from the Northlands here

Amazon.com

Amazon.UK

And there are, of course, free copies in exchange for a review. Though if Regency romance is your thing in historical fiction, these stories might not be for you.

Coming soon…

How soon depends very much on when I get a technical hitch sorted out. This is a collection of five short stories set in the Northlands. Some of you might be aware that my current WIP is an epic saga set in an alternate ninth century with Norsemen, Celts, and a certain monstrous fantasy element. Apart from the monsters, I’ve tried to keep to historical accuracy and have written several stories as spin-offs from my research. The Celtic stories will be for another volume.

tftn

A rickety wooden escalator carries a child from his safe, comfortable world of department store Christmas glitter to the midnight zone inhabited by legendary nightmares.

On the windswept east coast of Northumbria, a Saxon thegn avenges his murdered chief by selling his village to the sea wolves, and a ruthless war leader prepares for battle, gloating over the blood dream sent him by the wicce.

In Viking Sverige, Jussi and Solveig plan a future juggling bride price, parental expectations and the knarr they have yet to acquire, but their future falls beneath the shadow of the mountain.

Antar seems like the answer to Inna’s dream of escaping the bleak steading on the fjord, but her father and his chosen son-in-law have other ideas.

What links these tales is the North Sea that beats the coast, brings the cold and the long ships, laps the winter nights in snow, when the wind howls stories of trolls and giants. It brings the herring, the sea mews and the grey seals, and it joins a people with the same vision of the world—harsh, vivid and full of magic.  

While you’re waiting, why not go to Wild Geese Books and choose something to read?

Christine Haggerty on the Dragon Tempest blog tour

The Dragon Tempest

Christine Haggerty is my guest today on the Dragon Tempest blog tour. You can read an excerpt from her prize-winning story The End of Everything here. She very obligingly wrote a short article about one aspect of fantasy writing. Here is her take on urban fantasy as a subdivision of fantasy.

Placing Urban Fantasy

Last summer, I sat on my first panel at Salt Lake’s first FantasyCon. The topic, prompted by a last-minute mediator, was whether or not ‘urban’ fantasy was still fantasy, and if so, where ‘urban’ fantasy fit in the genre.

Before Amazon divided genres into little pieces, urban fantasy fit easily under the more general category of fantasy. It involves magic and creatures and typical fantasy genre tropes. By definition, urban fantasy most particularly uses the simplicity of a familiar modern setting rather than the grand world-building required in epic fantasy. Think City of Bones vs. Wheel of Time.

The greatest advantage of urban fantasy is that it functions as a sort of entry-level fantasy genre. I teach high school language arts and work with students at varying levels of reading interest and ability. If I hand a kid a hard copy of Sanderson’s Words of Radiance and ask him for a report, the kid figures he’s done his weightlifting for the day and never even cracks the book. There’s nothing familiar on which to build an understanding of the elements of fantasy. However, if I hand a kid a copy of Fablehaven, he has the familiar setting of this current time and place on which to build a beginner’s understanding of magic and magical creatures.

The advantages of urban fantasy are:
1. World-building is easier to construct for both the writer and the reader because most of the contextual elements are modern and familiar.
2. Magic has a physical basis in the real world, and the reader can see how the magic system affects familiar, everyday objects.
3. Magical creatures are set side by side with human characters who have the same world-references and history as the reader.
4. Readers with limited imaginations can more easily insert themselves into the story because the new elements are mixed with familiar elements.

Urban fantasy, epic fantasy—regardless of genre, we writers have one primary goal: entertain our readers.

Christine Haggerty

Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

An award-winning young adult author, she is now launching her dark fantasy fairytale novella series The Grimm Chronicles.

You can visit Christine’s blog here:
http://www.christinehaggerty.com

and catch up with her here:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Haggerty/e/B00H1YLN4A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1386542302&sr=8-1
https://www.facebook.com/ChristineHaggertyAuthor
@chaggerty99

Christine has several books available:

The Grimm Chronicles: Pretty Things
The Grimm Chronicles: One, Two, Blood on my Shoe
The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions
The Plague Legacy: Assets
Standard Issue

which you can find by visiting her Amazon page.
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Haggerty/e/B00H1YLN4A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1386542302&sr=8-1

The Dragon Tempest blog tour

The Dragon Tempest

You might remember that I have a story in this anthology, which is one good reason for promoting it. Another is that Christine Haggerty also has a winning story included.
Here is an excerpt from her story:

The End of Everything.

Tucking her wings above her spine, The Seeker landed heavily on the street, her dragon blood still thick as mud from The Sleep. She watched a few humans pause and look around, confused as the earth trembled beneath her weight.
Humans always forget at the beginning of The Dying. We dragons are magical and alien to them, gone so long that we are nothing but myths.
She sniffed at the decay of the landscape, the once green world crusted over with asphalt and cement. The humans reminded her of rodents, scurrying through the maze of their artificial dwellings and instinctively avoiding her. She stretched her neck and fluttered her wings as far as the buildings on either side would allow, amused at how blinded the humans could be by simple disbelief.
The Seeker’s breaststone warmed. Living crystal embedded in the dragon’s chest sensed the faint signature of an aware mind as a girl shuffled out from between two tall dwellings.
The Queen. The dragon lowered her head to peer at the girl more closely. Instead of the pride and strength the dragon expected to find in the human queen who was chosen by the breaststone, the dragon saw nothing but weakness and fear. The girl hung her head, her stride unsteady beneath her stretched womb.
Within the collective memories of dragons since The Dawning, I cannot recall a queen so frail. The Seeker tried to ignore the doubt that wove its way through her sluggish blood, and looked away from the dark hair that hung limply over the girl’s narrow shoulders.
The Destroyer. The Seeker scanned the stained landscape for the other dragon, the male who was born only to be a sacrifice. She needed not only the power of his breaststone to carry the queen, but also the male spirit the stone contained to breed a new generation of dragons.

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This is the official Dragon Tempest blurb and the buy links if you would like to splash out on a copy.

The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment.

Judges:

Allison D. Reid
KJ Hawkins
D.B. Mauldin
Joshua Robertson

1st Place Winners
Christine King
Katie Roxberry
Winter Bayne
Jane Dougherty
Wilson F. Engel, III

2nd Place Winners
Christine Haggerty
Randall Lemon
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
Louise Findlay

3rd Place Winners
Samuel Milner
Karen Brown

Ebook Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Tempest-Fantasy-Adventure-Anthology-ebook/dp/B0105JE02O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436399998&sr=1-1&keywords=the+dragon+tempest+tales+of+fantasy+%26+adventure

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/552304

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dragon-tempest-tales-fantasy/id1009713116?mt=11

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-tempest-dragon-knight-chronicles/1122188936?ean=2940151986038

Paperback Buy Link:

Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/5586901

Secrets and Doors

As the blog blitz for Grá mo Chroí kicks off, I’d like to get in a bit of a word for fantasy author, Christine Haggerty, whose story Simple Magic appears today in the anthology Secrets and Doors. All royalties are to be donated to charity.
Here is Christine to explain.

All proceeds from Secrets & Doors will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their fight against T1D. We are donating all author AND publisher proceeds.
http://jdrf.org/
About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.
As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF is currently sponsoring $568 million in scientific research in 17 countries. In 2012 alone, JDRF provided more than $110 million to T1D research.

Where to order the book (also available on Amazon, but they take all the money)
http://crimsonedgepublishing.com/bookstore/

SDSebookCover

I had a sneak preview of the Secrets and Doors anthology in the shape of Christine’s contribution, Simple Magic.
I knew I was going to like it from the first line:

I cannot kill the child.

As an author who opened her first book with the mass murder of newborn babies, I could empathise. These are Elves we’re dealing with here. They have the classic Elf look, long silver braids and green eyes, but all similarity stops there. This short story is a complex affair mingling magic and fantasy with spec fic. These are more like Aliens than the Elves we have come to know and love through the likes of Tolkein. Whatever is noble and upright about them is riddled with corruption, and they have brought the seeds of their destruction with them from the world they have fled.
The story describes how, on the eve of becoming a fully-fledged priest, an Elf begins to doubt, then to ask questions, then to realise the true nature of her existence. What she surmises horrifies her, and suddenly, the ethereal beauty of her crystal castle in the sky, with its gardens and marble halls, seems so paltry compared with the earthy pleasures of human beings and the nature that surrounds them.
What I enjoyed most about this story were the descriptions of the Elf dwelling, which had a truly dreamlike quality about them. If anything, I would have said the story didn’t need to be so complex. I would have been happy without the technical explanation given at the end in a denouement that came over as just a little contrived. The simple contrast between the cold, decadent beauty of the Elf world and the familiar human world of hard work and love, would have been enough for me.
Having said that, many people prefer to have all the loose ends tied up at the end of a story, and I very much enjoyed Simple Magic. If this is representative of the quality of the anthology it should be one worth reading.

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Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

Links
http://www.christinehaggertyauthor.com
Facebook: Christine Haggerty, Author
Twitter: @chaggerty99