Promote Yourself: Jane Routley

This post is something of a blast from the past, or possibly the start of another series of guest post.

My guest today is Jane Routley whose novel, The Three Sisters, was released recently. This is from Jane’s press release.

 

 

The Three Sisters by Jane Routley

TTS3

Historical Fantasy with feisty female Characters

“A captivating read” Sara Douglass

Three sisters, estranged from the Society they are destined to save. Elena, more beautiful than any man can resist, is kidnapped, her destiny controlled by the men who desire her. Yani, warrior woman, brave, strong, able to pass as a man, who will do anything to find Elena. Marigoth, powerful female mage, determined never to grow up, equally committed to finding their missing sister. In a country oppressed and cruelly ruled, the fate of many people lies in the unsuspecting hands of these three women.

Published by Clan Destine Press  http://clandestinepress.com.au/ebook/three-sisters

Ebook format. Available also in kindle or mobi

Price AUS $6.79

ISBN  9780992492595

JaneRoutley

Two times Aurealis award winner Jane Routley lives in Melbourne.

She has published short stories, articles and a blog about working on a railway station.

This is her fourth published novel available for the first time in Australia

www.janeroutley.com/

To give you a taste of the story, here is a short excerpt.

 

There was a feathery rustling of bird’s wings and suddenly the small

green–winged bird was gone and a woman stood before the window. She was

tall and dressed in green, with green feathers plaited into her long pale

blond hair. Her eyes were dark and slightly slanted above her high

cheekbones.

“Why the attitude of despair, Madraga?” she said, smiling cynically.

“Your people have come to take her back,” he said. “Now I have no chance.”

Sometimes without meaning to, a person looks at the sun and though he may

look away quickly, the afterimage of the sunlight is burnt onto his eye and

is part of everything he sees till it fades. So it was for Duke Wolf Madraga

now he had seen Elena Starchild. Except that the after¬image did not fade,

but continued to remain part of everything he did.

He burned.

 

Thanks for the post, Jane, and best of luck with the book.

Promote Yourself: Linzé Brandon

My weekend guest author is Linzé Brandon, a prolific writer as you can see from the number of book covers in the gallery. Here is Linzé to tell us a little about herself.

Teaching herself to read before she went to school, it was the start of her life long love affair with books. Trained as an engineer, Linzé has worked as an export consultant and is presently a project manager at a company that designs and manufactures products for the military industry. Although she still loves to read, she also enjoys counted stitch embroidery, archery, fly fishing, painting abstracts, her husband’s medal winning photographs and watching Manchester United play.

She is one of the moderators of the Google+ group, Writer’s Rabbit Hole, and leads the Pretoria Writers Group, consisting of ten members, seven of which are published authors in various genres.

Linzé Brandon lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her engineer husband and German Shepherds who are convinced that the world revolves only around them.

LinzeBrandon Author Photo small

Linzé writes in an extensive range of genres, and the book she has chosen to share today is the second volume of a fantasy romance series.

Keeper of the Dragon Sword_Cover_KINDLE

Keeper of the Dragon Sword – The Dragon Masters https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/301923

Synopsis

It was definitely not her week. Her uncle had been murdered, her life had been threatened, an old school friend had re-appeared, she had two body guards and a new home. Elizabeth L’Emery was not having a good time as the new owner and chief executive of the largest fabric manufacturer on Xa’an.

Randall Storm had missed his best friend from school, but he had so many secrets that staying away from her had seemed to be the only solution to keep her safe from the uncontrollable lust for blood of his dragon half. But when he was assigned to her protection detail, he didn’t want to be anywhere else.

As they search for ways to control his magic that didn’t enslave him – and didn’t kill her – more threats came to try and pull them apart. When the opportunity arises to put a weapon of incredible power into her hands, Elizabeth has to decide if the violence of the blood ritual would be worth the sacrifice of becoming the Keeper of the Dragon Sword.

Attacks, magic and sword battles ensue as they continue to fight for her life but in the end it might come down to the ultimate sacrifice of the dragon to keep his vow to serve his master with his life.

Was their partnership strong enough to survive the choice of enslavement to prevent a war against their people or a ritual that could kill the woman he loved?

Excerpt

Feeling a little depressed and exhausted by all the new happenings in her normally quiet life, Elizabeth fell straight into bed not even bothering to undress.

She woke the next morning with her heart pounding. It took a moment to recall the dream that was responsible for the aroused state of her body. It took another to realise that the tingling sensations in her left shoulder that would normally accompany her stimulated body, were not present.

“Oh hell,” she muttered, and threw back the covers.

There was no time for getting dressed. On silent feet she searched the bathroom. Nothing.

A search of the men’s bedroom and the other bathroom revealed no dragon either.

A hiss and a growl made her run for the main room. A hard arm held her back when she rushed towards the noise.

“Shh,” he whispered in her ear.

It was only Randall’s calm assurance that stopped her from pulling away. “She is fine.”

“What happened?”

She felt his arm loosen its tight hold on her waist, but he didn’t let go all together. “Your dragon surprised me. She must be producing mating pheromones, because my dragon was awake and on the floor before I had a chance to comprehend what was going on.”

She watched the two dragons circle each other, hissing and growling in turn. The mare was smaller than the dragon, but appeared unintimidated by the new addition to her territory. If nothing else, she seemed fascinated by him. Watching his every move. Her tail made slow sweeps behind her, as the two of them danced the introduction of meeting a potential mate.

Elizabeth took a better look at the dragon. He was red and black like her own dragon, but he had the most amazing blue eyes that dominated his face. They practically glowed with lust at the sight of the mare. But he was wary. Dragon mares didn’t submit to mating unless she was ready, or accepted the dragon. Dragons mated for life, but Elizabeth couldn’t be sure about hers. The dragon mare was part of her, but she couldn’t shift into its form. She was more like an alter ego, a primitive form of herself, than an actual independent entity.

“Will they mate?”

Randall tensed at the question and tightened his arm around her. He too watched as the dragons sized each other up. “I don’t think so. Dragons seldom mate at a first meeting. But we cannot take the chance that they will fight. Just keep still and let them decide,” he replied in the same quiet tone.

That was a surprise. “Why would they fight?”

She felt his chest move against her back. “Dragons of both sexes can be territorial. She must sense that I am a blood dragon, and that can put any female on edge.”

She frowned and turned her head to look up at him. In bare feet, he towered over her, head and shoulders. “You are a blood dragon? What does that mean?”

His expression froze into determined blankness.

Follow Linzé online:

Blog (Butterfly on a Broomstick) http://www.linzebrandon.blogspot.com
FB author page http://www.facebook.com/LinzeBrandonAuthor
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/LinzeBrandon

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/LinzeBrandon

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LinzeBrandon

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6035313.Linze_Brandon

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LinzéBrandon

Wattpad http://www.wattpad.com/user/LinzeBrandon

Book Links

Science Fiction

Don’t Call Me Sweetheart – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/383111

Erotic Romance

Their +1 – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360607

Erotica

Bubble trouble – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/364605

Pixie Dust, Boots and Reindeer https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/391625

The Third Gender Series (Sci-fi Romance)

reGENESIS – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/430285

Hunger – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/213647

Perfect – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/269278

The Nations of Peace Series (Fantasy Romance)

Géra’s Gift – The Grandmasters – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238397

Keeper of the Dragon Sword – The Dragon Masters https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/301923

Contemporary

The Cutting Horizon – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/430313

Thank you Linzé and best of luck with your newest release.

Guest post from Aderyn Wood: What came first – the story or the genre?

This post has been graciously offered by Aderyn Wood, a writer I have got to know through her novella The Viscount’s Son which I delved into because it sounded interesting. Yes, it has vampires in it. No, I wouldn’t count myself a positive fan of vampire stories. But, as Aderyn quite clearly points out in this article, when you are looking for a good story, being a fan of one thing or dismissive of another doesn’t make any sense. It’s the story and the writing that counts.
Take it away, Aderyn.

What came first—the story or the genre?

Unlike that chicken or egg conundrum, the answer here is obvious.

Of course the story came first.

Our caveman ancestors didn’t create murder mystery cave paintings, or tell fireside stories of cyberpunk dystopias. No. Most likely their stories had elements of all our genres – romance, mystery, fantasy (although probably no cyperpunk!).

The thing I’m interested in exploring is what comes first for writers and readers. What should come first? Now let me be honest here …

I hate genre.

Well, I mostly hate it, and I’ll try to explain why.

Genre creates prejudice

Prejudicial statements about genre are everywhere. They’re all over writing and reading forums, on review blogs, and in general conversations about books. Statements like ‘oh I don’t read fantasy/horror/romance/suspense’, or ‘I don’t read books about werewolves/zombies/claustrophobic clowns’. I have a friend who loves politics and history. She recently asked me why the world had gone Game of Thrones crazy. I told her “you know, I think you’d like it, it’s highly political”.
“I don’t read books about dragons,” she said. I blinked. I once had a reader contact me because she was interested in my novella ‘The Viscount’s Son’. She told me she liked the historical focus, but when she realised it was a ‘vampire book’ she stopped reading and informed me that “I don’t read vampire books!”
My point is that sticking to a select group of genres and ignoring others can prevent us from enjoying a range of reading experiences. I myself have fallen victim to prejudice when I used to think I didn’t read zombie fiction. I’m glad I changed my mind when I picked up Nessie Strange’s ‘Living Dead Girl’. – a book that will have you laughing at the characters just as much as you care for them. Now ‘The Walking Dead’ is one of my favourite TV series. That story has more to do with human relationships and the way we construct our societies than any other Television series I can think of. So I am very happy I overcame my own prejudice.

http://www.amazon.com/Viscounts-Son-Aderyn-Wood-ebook/dp/B00C37ZPZI/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1403775535&sr=1-2

Genre has been nurtured by the big publishing houses

You only have to visit a publisher’s website or stroll into a bookshop to see this as a truism. Books are organised in a system of categories entirely based on genre. At my local book store I can go directly to the fantasy/sci fi section or the young adult section or the thriller/suspense section or the historical fiction section. Or that ambiguous, largely unattended section called ‘Literary Fiction’. Fellow genre-hater, John Banville (also Benjamin Black) wishes bookstores didn’t have the genre of ‘literary fiction’ at all. “Bookstores may as well have a neon sign saying ‘don’t read this stuff”. It’s because the big publishers have nurtured genre, by having well known categories become more well known, publishers have made it easier to market novels. Categorisation provide readers with a sense of security in knowing that if they invest in a genre book they will find X, Y and Z. As a fantasy lover I do appreciate this at times, but has this ‘security’ measure actually restricted possibilities and opportunities for readers? Has it also treated readers as not intelligent enough to choose a story by themselves without the big hand of GENRE pointing them to the right section? Banville states that his ideal bookshop “would have no sections, just alphabetical, and not fiction, but all the books next to each other. You would discover things.”

Genre = sales

As I mentioned above, the big publishers have nurtured the idea of genre to help with marketing and trends. The more zombie or vampire novels they can sell to a hungry (pun intended) market, the more dollars. Now, as an author, I’m not going to bag the idea of making a profit, except to say that doing it through the prism of genre can prevent readers from discovering something new/different/wonderful. But this prism is deeply entrenched in the book-buying mindset of readers. Acclaimed indie author CS Lakin discovered some hard proof of the power of genre when she experimented with writing a subgenre that she had been told “sells itself”. Her experimental genre novel is now making more money and sticking higher on the rankings than her usual non-genre fiction. Certainly, some writers can (and do) see this as a recipe for success. However, aren’t these genre ‘rules’ just creating more of the same?

Genre = more of the same

A frequent lament of rejection letters is that the manuscript doesn’t fit neatly into a genre. Put another way, it would be too difficult to market/find an audience for. Publishing houses have strict marketing budgets and this is why genre can be so convenient, and economical, as it guides readers en masse. A quick google search can bring up all sorts of well known best sellers who were rejected because their stories differed too markedly from the genre rules and expectations of the publisher. Here’s three of my favourite famous rejection lines –

• “Too radical of a departure from traditional juvenile literature.” L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. – has sold 15 million copies
• “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ – sold over 1 million in its first year
• “I haven’t the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say. Apparently the author intends it to be funny.” Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’ has sold 10 million copies.

I thank the great Book God in the sky that Heller didn’t listen. ‘Catch 22’ is one of my favourites – it is so different from everything else I’ve read. And that’s my point. Too much adherence to genre rules gives us the same old plots, characters and clichés that we’ve seen everywhere else. I’ve been checking out quite a few book blogs recently and I’ve come across more than a handful of reviewers complaining that they’ve seen this character type or plot point too many times. They’re crying out for something different, new, refreshing. Well thank the Book God for indie authors, I say. They are not fettered by the chains of genre rules. – well not as much. Amazon still requires authors to categorise books according to genre, but at least they can choose across genres.

The Story should come first

Genre has its place. Remember I said I mostly hated genre? I think it’s a 90% hatred. Only because it has been allowed (and encouraged) to become such a dominant influence in the way we choose our books. As an author and a reader, it does offer some usefulness (about 10%). It gives us a platform to discuss elements we enjoy in stories. I, for example, enjoy fantasy. I know that means elements of magic, imaginary characters and settings will be included in the story – and these elements give me a frame of reference to both write stories and discuss what I read. My latest book ‘The Borderlands: Journey’ is a Contemporary Fantasy (well, I think it is). It certainly has magic, mystical settings and fairytale creatures – all set in our modern world (mostly anyway). But it also has elements of other genres. It is an adventure story, a drama, a young adult and a coming of age novel. If I was to dig a little deeper, I think it also has elements of a mystery novel. When I first thought of it, it was the story that gripped me most. I didn’t think of a genre and then set out to write a story that matched its rules. I wrote the story I wanted to and then scratched my head about which genre I could squeeze it into. Remember, this is not what you’re supposed to do if you want to make a truckload.

Many writers and readers will read widely and not restrict themselves by sticking to one particular genre or avoiding others. People who love books will often pick up anything if it is a good story, and it is those readers and that mindset that I admire most.

Aderyn Wood is an indie author who enjoys reading and writing a wide range of stories – although she mostly adheres to fantasy. Her latest book is the first of a trilogy – ‘The Borderlands: Journey’.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Borderlands-Book-One-Journey-ebook/dp/B00KKZUF5A

Thanks for that very lucid analysis, Aderyn. I couldn’t agree with you more that by limiting our reading to somebody else’s definition of a particular genre, we miss out on a mass of good literature.
I’m adding a link to Aderyn’s blog. Hope it works for that small, insignificant part of the world that isn’t French 🙂