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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

GUEST POST: The Nuts And Bolts Of Writing A Fantasy Novel by Matthew Siegard

It’s not the easiest thing to write a novel and, for the first time, ask people if they want to read it, much less purchase it. With all the thousands of accomplished novelists whose works are now easily accessible with a cheap Kindle download, it’s difficult to imagine that my own voice is worth someone’s time and money. I think what finally convinced me to take the plunge is that I managed to write the novel I would want to read, rather than one catered to a demographic. I figured if I had a ball living with these characters (and killing many of them, tragically), and put in the work to tell the story clearly, why be apprehensive about it?

I’ve been working seriously at writing novels since I was in high school, which was way, waaaay too early for me to begin thinking that I had:
 1) the skills to write a coherent novel, and
2) enough life experience to write something thoughtful.

Then again, someone isn’t a finished product on their first try. I’ve been writing pretty consistently since then, bouncing from genre to genre. Along the way, I joined a writers group that I’ve attended ever since, eventually becoming its de facto coordinator, and learned all about the bad habits that I could ignore when I was writing mainly for myself.

A few years ago, I took a shot at the fantasy genre after dabbling in sci-fi and horror, writing what would eventually become “Fatebreaker, Book I: A Pact of Lies” after many drafts, taking inspiration from anything from Tolkien, to Robert E. Howard, to Jim Butcher, to Ray Harryhausen movies. At its core, it’s an adventure story centered around a group of people undertaking a mission to retrieve something from a mysterious temple, but the simplicity of the mission definitely runs off the rails once the group discovers more about the temple… and each other.

Because I care about authenticity, I think I spent more time researching things like what to call a particular part of an ancient-era sailing ship, or understanding the division of power in ancient empires, than I did actually write about my characters smacking monsters or befriending/alienating each other. Still, the gruntwork was worthwhile, because I got to write a story that I care about, incorporating all the things I love about other stories, and all the things I wish they would do. I wrote about a snide, wisecracking thief, Raven, who has both my worst traits and the ones I’d love to have, and I’ve forced him into an adventure full of monsters and spells and doozy plot twists. It’s a lot easier to write a variation of myself, going on the adventures I wish I could have (if pain and death were not a factor), rather than trying to craft a completely hypothetical person.

My hook for Fatebreaker was always fairly simple: to write a story about a character who shouldn’t be the hero. Of course, we’ve all read about anti-heroes and unlikely heroes, but my character of Raven should be a cynical and frustrating sidekick, and yet he’s the protagonist. He is a capable fighter, but hardly exceptional. He has no magical ability or inborn power. He has no famous heritage or claim to any great title. A bit like Tyrion Lannister, he’s forced to work with others who have those advantages. I like to think that if Raven were not the central character, he would be the character most certainly killed off by the novel’s midpoint. I often find the difficult, less capable side characters the most sympathetic, because they have the most to fear, so I wanted to avoid focusing only on the “elite” characters and make Raven central to this story.

What he has going for him are two things: he prepares himself extensively in a wide variety of knowledge and skills, and he is willing to do things that others will find unconscionable if they help achieve a goal he cares about. Unfortunately for the other characters, what Raven cares about is often likely frustrating for his companions and my readers.

The formative experience in Raven’s life is that his brother was supposed to be the “chosen one” and was killed because others forced him to attempt the impossible. That was what threw Raven’s life into a spiral and taught him contempt for higher callings, and it’s why I eventually settled on “Fatebreaker” for the name of this book and the series I’m writing. I know that Raven has a fate in that he’s being written by an author who has a plan for him, but to the best of his knowledge, he’s just a man adrift in the world, with no higher power he trusts and limited perspective to understand the consequences of his actions.

That’s the kind of character I want to read about: one who not only doubts whether he’s worthy of the fate thrust upon him, but who doesn’t believe there’s a fate for him at all. That’s what would take real courage, to risk your life and others’ without any reassuring force at all to tell you what must happen. Stories like The Walking Dead tap into that fear. I enjoyed writing that fear into an epic fantasy novel. At the same time, I didn’t want to be dismissive of people in the story who do have confidence in their purpose. Raven interacts with knights who believe in the exceptionalism of their nation, a priestess with faith in her god’s nearly pacifist teachings, and a sorceress with absolute devotion to knowledge. They’re not portrayed as ignorant, because I know wise and confident people of that sort in real life. I wanted to get my fantasy universe away from the idea that the world comes down to one philosophy, one force that makes itself obvious. The reader doesn’t need me to tell them how the world is ordered, and my characters won’t get any easy satisfaction in that regard.

In a nutshell, I set out to write a sword and sorcery novel, but wound up caring even more about a character who’s not sure what type of world he belongs in. He’s not sure where he’s going, but he’s fun for the ride, to which I can relate. And there are plenty of monsters and fighting too, don’t worry.


GUEST AUTHOR INFORMATION: Matthew Siegard lives in Gainesville, Florida with his beautiful fiancé, who encouraged him to finally stop editing and take a go at publishing. He works as an analyst during the day, and saves writing about sword and sorcery for after hours (mostly). He reads a great deal of historical non-fiction, along with classic and contemporary genre authors such as JRR Tolkien, HG Wells, George RR Martin, and his favorite, Jules Verne.

Matthew currently organizes the Gainesville Fiction Writers group in his hometown, facilitating discussion of writing approaches and tough critique of each other’s work. He’s happy to write in any genre, but is focusing now on epic fantasy, although the closest he has ever come to actual medieval warfare was fainting while learning about 19th century surgical techniques in a Civil War fortress.

You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewsiegard, or on his Goodreads author page.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB:In the ashes of the old Empire, a world of great men and new nations rising from the ashes of a fallen empire, Raven is a talented pain in the ass. A cynical, arrogant thief and fleecer, he has a dagger and lockpick up his sleeve and a comeback on his lips. He was once the younger brother of a boy who was prophesied to be an invincible warrior, and who was killed for that mistaken belief. Now he has only venom for causes and talk of destiny, happy to be a successful nobody. But when a mysterious job goes bad, he finds that the secrets he holds are vital to the coming war between the republic of High Iyanor and the necromantic dominion of Kishoria.

He is captured and coerced by an Iyan captain into guiding an expedition to find a long-forgotten weapon before the Kishorians can reach it. He joins a team of soldiers and mages, and if the danger were not enough, his party includes not only another fated young warrior but a member of the jotunn race that killed his brother. Bitterly, he leads them beneath the Temple Among Worlds, and they fight through barbaric goblins and cosmic monstrosities, navigate dark mazes, and sabotage horrific traps. Raven is distrusted, but only he knows that he has been courted by the Kishorians with a promise: betray the Iyans, and walk away wealthy.

When plans fail, heroes fall, and deadly secrets are revealed, Raven’s cynicism and self-interest is tested by the valor of his companions. He might lead his allies to ruin… or he might use his dark reputation to lure his enemies into his most daring con yet.

Catch the rest of Matthew's tour at these various stops:
1) March 28th - Books That Hook (excerpt + giveaway)
2) March 29th - Cover To Cover (excerpt)
3) March 30st - Fantasy Book Critic
4) March 31st - Bound 2 Escape
5) April 1st - C.B.Y. Book Club

Note: Temple art from the Elder Scrolls Wiki.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Unhooked" by Lisa Maxwell (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Lisa Maxwell's Website Here

 OVERVIEW: For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

FORMAT: Unhooked is a YA fairytale retelling of Peter Pan. It is darker and grittier than the Disney version. It has magic, adventure, and romance in it.

It is told from the first person point of view of Gwen. Each chapter starts with a small sentence or two story about a young boy going off to war. While it seems unrelated, these sentences do tie into the story.

Unhooked stands at 342 pages and was published February 2, 2016 by Simon Pulse.

ANALYSIS: Fairytale retellings can be tricky to tackle. Authors need to retain just enough of the original story to make readers feel comfortable and familiar with the story, but they need to add enough spin to their version to make it their own. After all, it is supposed to be a retelling, not a rehash of the 'same old, same old'. Lisa Maxwell's Unhooked, a retelling of Peter Pan of sorts, does a great job with finding this very delicate balance between the two must-have elements in a fairytale retelling.

Unhooked grabs readers and takes them away to a very dark, gritty Neverland. Here you find magic, adventure, and the ability to fly around, but there is an undertone of darkness. And of course, living on the island comes with a cost – you start to lose yourself, your past memories, and pretty much you have to sacrifice everything from your former life.

Upon starting Unhooked, there is a slight feeling of confusion. Maxwell doesn't necessarily throw readers into the action, but there are a lot of secrets and untold stories. This gives readers the sense that they are missing something or something was left out. It wasn't left out, as all things slowly start to come together, but it can be very confusing especially if you are expecting a complete Peter Pan knockoff.

Maxwell adds several different twists to the story to make it her own. There are dark faeries, a battle for the island, Pan is not at all like the Disney version (even though he tries to act that way at first), and Hook has a very interesting backstory that forces readers to look at him in a completely different light.

I really enjoyed the twist Maxwell added to the Peter Pan story. After the initial slow/confusing start, the story really took on a life of its own. It was fun to see how Maxwell took some of the original fairytale/Disney version and twisted it to give it a unique angle.

However, despite this novel being what I would consider a fairytale retelling done right, it is not without its flaws. Gwen, our main heroine and who is responsible for telling us the story, is a bit frustrating as a character. There were times when she would act incredibly strong and independent, but then just as quickly she'd be a wishy-washy character who couldn't make up her mind. It almost seemed like if she was supposed to think for her own, she wouldn't and times where she didn't need to think for herself she'd start exerting some level of control over the situation.

I personally would have liked to see Gwen grow a bit more as a character. Unfortunately, she seemed to just glide through the story and let other people/situations tell her what to do.

Another slight flaw was the world-building. Neverland was this mysterious dark world and while readers are given a glimpse into that world, it never really felt like it was enough. I would have loved the romance aspect toned down and more focus on Neverland.

That leads me to the romance. Unhooked had unexpected romance thrown into it. While I understand the importance of romance, it seemed forced and almost overtook the story. There is a budding romance between Gwen and Hook, it almost bordered on the insta-love. Then there was this odd romance between Pan and Olivia (Gwen's best friend who got taken to Neverland). Olivia would get jealous of Gwen whenever Pan looked/talked to Gwen.

The romance does play a role in the plot and adds an element to the story, but I would have liked to see more time devoted to character development (either Gwen or Pan) or developing the world of Neverland.

Even though it is not a perfect book, it is a satisfying read. Upon completion of Unhooked, I felt like I read a solid, complete standalone novel. There were certainly enough twists and turns to keep me entertained and reading, and the ending wasn't fully what I thought would happen, but I wasn't disappointed in it.

I would recommend Unhooked to those who enjoyed Peter Pan and are looking for a new spin on the old classic story. Those who are looking for a quick fantasy read will also enjoy it too, as will anyone who likes fairytale retellings.  
Monday, March 21, 2016

The Opposite Of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson (Reviewed by Will Byrnes)

Official Author Website
Order The Opposite Of Everyone HERE

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: "I was born blue. If my mother hadn’t pushed me out quick as a cat, I would have been born dead and even bluer; her cord was wrapped tight around my neck. She looked at my little blue lips, my blue toes and baby fingers, and she named me after Kali, Kali Jai."

So begins the story of Kali Jai, whose grandmother accidentally-on-purpose misheard the instructions Kali Jai’s mother gave her before they locked her back up in juvie, and filled out a birth certificate with the name Paula Jane Vauss instead. Sounds the same, right?

Turns out Paula Jane/Kali Jai had things to be blue about. Life with Mom, for instance. While Kai (aka Karen Vauss) was a loving parent, she had a difficult time with sticking, meandering through serial relationships of varying intensity, Kali by her side. She may have been the inventor of the Go Bag, or at the very least a skilled expert in its use. And if Kali had grown attached to the man in their lives, so sorry, buh-bye, gotta go, see ya later. Off into the wild blue yonder until the next guy comes along. A tough situation for a kid.

Joshilyn Jackson writes of family and faith in her novels, and has a particular fondness for adolescent females.

"What a gift, a character whose frontal lobe has not finished developing! Teenagers don’t fully see the consequences of their actions. That’s Christmas for a novelist who likes blowing things up—both relationships and buildings—as much as I do." – from the Writer Unboxed interview

We meet Kali all grown up as she recalls her childhood. She is a fierce warrior of a divorce lawyer, who may seem, at times, to have more than two weapon-wielding arms, and a skirt made of human parts. Of course, Mom had described Kali in a more positive light. “Kali destroys only to renew, to restore justice. Kali brings fresh starts.” The fresh starts Paula/Kali seems most interested in bringing entail a divorce decree and a substantial fee. But there is a large gap in Kali’s life. She is doing well financially, so sends her mother money every month, but that is the extent of their relationship. What happened? The journey that follows is a fabulous story of a grown woman realizing, to her surprise, that she actually wants and needs family, and seeing hers come together, out of a clear blue sky, one orphan at a time.

"I’m very interested in the concept of how you make home, how you get it, and how you fight for it, and how you keep it." – from Public Libraries Online interview

In fact much of The Opposite of Everyone is about the coming together and breaking apart of families, about the yearning for home, whatever or wherever that may be, the lengths to which people might go to get that for themselves and how they cope with disappointment when the hope is unfulfilled.

The tale takes place in two time lines. The first is now, in which we see Paula as a professional, on occasion a basket case, unattached, and uninterested in becoming attached, content in her divorce gladiator life. But when her last check to Mom comes back, with a cryptic message attached, it is a bolt from the blue. Where is Kai? Why did she send back the check? What the hell does her message mean? Kali does a bit of digging, a fair bit of thinking, and opts to enlist the assistance of her usual PI, true-blue Zach Birdwine, erstwhile lover, and contributor of emotional complication to her life.

The other timeline is adolescent Kali. We get a look at her time in a group home, while mom was in jail again, showing how she survives, the friends and enemies she makes, the lessons she learns, and bits of the magic of her relationship with Kai. A third narrative thread concerns Paula’s work, dealing with divorce clients and nemeses.

(Kali the many-armed goddess – from

The conjoining of Southern storytelling and Indian culture is unusual and effective. It came from a very concrete place:

"Three years ago, I started taking classes at Decatur Hot Yoga from the beautiful and excessively bendy Astrid Santana. She often begins class by telling a classic Hindu god pantheon story, but her sentence structure and word choices and even some images come out of the southern oral tradition. It is an odd and compelling blend. Because of Astrid I started dreaming the stories, and then I began reading them. Paula and Kali intersected in my head, and the novel took a sharp turn east."

Jackson was asked once what genre the though her work fit into.”Weirdo Fiction with a Shot of Southern Gothic Influence for Smart People Who Can Catch the Nuances but Who Like Narrative Drive, and Who Have a Sense of Humor but Who Are Willing to Go Down to Dark Places. Upside: Accurate. Downsides: Long. Hard to market,” she said. That sounds about right.

Kali Jai first appeared, as Paula, in Jackson’s prior novel, Someone Else’s Love Story, but there is no plot-line linkage between the books to keep one from reading them independently. Kali/Paula is a wonderful character, and Jackson shows how she came to be the person she is without making the faux pas of telling. While a somewhat feral divorce attorney might not sound like someone you would want to want to spend time with, don’t be fooled. There is a heart there, damaged, scarred, protected, but with chinks, openings, vulnerabilities. You will care about Paula/Kali, and be moved by her life and circumstances. Plus Jackson’s weaving in of Kai’s story-telling and iconography is nothing less than magical.

CONCLUSION: The Opposite of Everything is everything you could want in a book, engaging characters, who grow with time and experience, conflicts with resolutions that make sense (and don’t arrive out of the blue), concern over this peril and that, thematic substance, and some insight into elements of real life that are probably outside your experience. This is a read that may cause you to reach for the tissues by the end, but will leave you feeling anything but blue.

NOTE: Author picture courtesy of This review was first posted on Will's blog.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"The Siren" by Kiera Cass (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

A girl with a secret.
The boy of her dreams.
An Ocean between them.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude...until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.

Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

FORMAT: The Siren is a standalone YA fantasy romance that stands at 327 pages. It was previously self-published in 2009. HarperTeen picked it up for a rewrite/rerelease. It was published by HarperTeen on January 26, 2016.

ANALYSIS: The Siren is one of those books that I feel conflicted about when it comes time to review. There were good things about the book – fast pace, an interesting concept, and a fairly interesting character (The Ocean) – but there were so many things that just didn't work for me – insta-love, lack of character development, mopey teenagers – that I walked away feeling disappointed. This book could have been so much more than what it was.

In the acknowledgements of the book, Kiera Cass makes a pretty bold statement that 90% of her readership is teenage females. It is very clear that The Siren was written to cater in every way, shape and form to this audience. The characters for the most part are surprisingly one dimensional, the plot is pushed to the back in place of longing/pining for a man the girl hardly met/interacted with, and there feels as if there isn't really any substance to the book.

That is with the exception of The Ocean (a character in the book with feelings and a personality). The Ocean was the best part of the novel by far.

The way it is written isn't a bad thing, if that is the type of book you are looking for, but I feel as if the majority of the readers – even those that are within the 90% teenage female group – will want a little bit more.

I will start with the insta-love. The novel is a standalone that comes in at 327 pages. So, I understand that readers aren't going to have a whole lot of time to see the romance blossom and bloom, but that doesn't mean a romance has to instantly happen and the characters become soulmates forever.

Kahlen meets Akinli in a school library. They have a very brief interaction that totals maybe 5 minutes. This is followed by another short encounter in the school quad a few days later and a date that lasted maximum of an hour. After all this, Kahlen is madly in love with Akinli. This might work if the two characters interacted more with each other afterwards, but they don't for almost the entire half of the book.

After their first date, Kahlen runs away from Akinli and moves to another part of the country because their romance cannot happen. The chapters after this are filled with Kahlen wondering 'what if', 'why this', and creating this entire fantasy in her head until she is convinced she would have married Akinli and rode off into the sunset. It just wasn't believable, especially when Kahlen is an 18-year old siren who has lived for 80 years.

The instant attraction between the two mixed with their lack of any interactions – there is another date later in the book before the ending made it extremely difficult for me to buy into this romance. I can suspend reality a little bit, but this just seemed too unbelievable for me. Unfortunately, as a result the novel felt flat and the plot/romance felt forced. I felt no emotions for the couple which made the ending difficult to believe.

Another aspect of the novel which didn't really work for me was the character development. All of the characters, which the exception of The Ocean, felt one dimensional. Kahlen was this sulky, sullen character who didn't like to hang out, didn't like to do anything. Pretty much, she sat around moping about her situation in life and then playing a fantasy in her head about a guy.

And her friends were no better. Her friends lacked empathy for anyone but themselves. Forced people to engage in activities they were uncomfortable with and looked down on anyone who was different or didn't do things (casual one night stands, underage drinking) that they would consider normal.

There is one thing that nagged at the back of my mind while reading the book. Where did the girls get the money they used to move around? They moved around and lived in vacation homes on the beach (with convenient beach access). One of the characters sold paintings, but that didn't account for how they could just toss cash around and move to Italy, Miami, and other beachfront areas.

There is one redeeming quality to the book – The Ocean. I loved this aspect of the novel. The Ocean at first was a little confusing. I wasn't sure what to make of her, as she had her own thoughts and feelings and personality. As the story unfolded, I really came to like The Ocean even though she wasn't a very likeable character. She was possessive and mean at times. If it hadn't been for The Ocean, I would have abandoned the book. It really gives it a nice twist and makes the story somewhat bearable.  

Do you walk away feeling satisfied at the end of the novel? Yes and no. Everything is wrapped up nicely and complete, but there is an overwhelming sense of emptiness and disappointment. It is almost like you wanted more, but didn't get it.

I, personally, feel The Siren felt like it had potential, but the need to make it standalone was its downfall. There were so many things that could have happened or aspects that could have developed, but weren't.

The Siren is a mix of The Little Mermaid and some mega teen drama complete with insta-love galore and major pouting/sulking. For the right reader – one who can overlook major plot issues and who doesn't really want a whole lot of depth to their story – this is a good book. Unfortunately, for the average reader this may leave them feeling a bit disappointed.
Monday, March 14, 2016

GUEST BLOG: The Allure Of Tokyo by Dobromir Harrison

Tokyo is a city that works. That is, on the surface, everything is fine and clean. The trains generally run on time. Public restrooms are everywhere and usually in good condition. There’s a convenience store or Starbucks on every street corner, it seems. You can walk in the city at any time and feel safe (though your mileage may vary if you’re a woman – some crimes are under-reported). The food is delicious, and often surprisingly cheap.

I could have written a vampire story anywhere. I could have chosen cities in the US or my home country, the UK. Places that would have been more violent, where you had to look over your shoulder more. But I didn’t think I could do them justice. I wanted my story to feel authentic. I knew I’d be up against it writing vampires, something so overplayed in modern literature. I needed something to make them stand out, and to drag readers in.

Tokyo was a delight to write. It was a place I knew well, and a city I loved. Like the best settings, it was also a place of contrasts and hidden things. Look closer, and the darker parts of the city come to the fore – crimes that go unreported, poverty and desperation hidden away, a shocking suicide rate that delays trains on a daily basis. Any city of over 13 million people is bound to have a lot of darkness, and a wealth of settings for any writer.

The setting drove much of the story for me. It was a thrill to place my characters in Tokyo and watch them interact with the city and its inhabitants. I decided to set most of RACHEL in places I knew well, streets I’d walked down so many times. I’ve been to almost every place mentioned in the book, I knew the sights and sounds and smells, and I sat down each evening and tried to get that across in the writing; change my perspective, see things through Rachel’s eyes, write about places I knew from someone else’s perspective. That was the challenge I set myself as a writer, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

The problem with writing about Japan, though, is that most of your potential readers haven’t been there. Set something in an American city and people know the landmarks, or can imagine them clearly. They can picture the kind of places you create, even if they’re made-up. They know the shops and restaurants characters may walk past, the scents that drift through the streets, the car horns and shouting they might hear. They won’t necessarily picture a typical scene in Tokyo. They won’t see the 7-Eleven on the corner, with salarymen smoking around the ashtray outside by the trashcans. They won’t imagine the overflowing bin of empty coffee cans next to one of many vending machines, some of the drinks labeled “attakai” (hot) because it’s winter and people want a warm soft drink. They won’t know the tiny Shinto shrines that dot the landscape, sometimes hidden next to office buildings or on the roofs of department stores.

So you have to write for those people. You have to find ways of bringing them into the story. Japan can remain mysterious, but they have to be able to relate to the narrative. Sure, they might not realize that your character is staying in Ikebukuro because there are some empty rundown buildings on the north side where the suburbs begin, but they can still get a sense of the area through how you write about it. They may not know that because someone lives in Roppongi he must be pretty wealthy, but they can still see his apartment through the protagonist’s eyes and understand how she feels about it. Character is everything in a story like this, and I purposely wrote it to be fast-paced so readers wouldn’t have to worry about every little detail. Rachel’s life is messy, and dangerous, and violent, and I trusted that if people cared about what happens to her they would follow along with the story, even if I didn’t take the time to explain every little thing about the city or the culture.

Rachel herself also changed to accommodate this. In early drafts, she was clueless, until I realized she would know the city well. In fact, we see this in flashbacks – a younger, innocent character new to the country, terrified of going outside, contrasted with the way she is today: confident, not getting lost in the city, speaking the language fluently and knowing where to hunt her prey. Creating that contrast really brought the story to life for me, and meant I could have my cake and eat it! I could show Rachel coming to terms with living in Japan as an outsider, have her stumble and make mistakes in the distant past. And I could show her in the present as a more confident character, still messing up but someone we can follow for a whole novel. A monstrous but charismatic tour guide to Tokyo and Japan. Always the outsider, but with a depth and complexity of character that would bring any story to life.


Official Author Website

GUEST AUTHOR INFORMATION: Dobromir Harrison was born and brought up in the UK, after growing into adulthood, he spent 11 years in Japan, and since then has moved to Northern California. Growing up Clive Barker's books held a special position in his heart. He especially loves stories told from the monster's perspective. Dobromir and his wife share a passion for board games. They live in Crescent City with their cat, Koshka, who keeps them awake most nights with a truly hideous meow.
Sunday, March 13, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of Carnifex Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1 by D. P. Prior

Fantasy Book Critic is excited to offer a giveaway of D.P. Prior's book Carnifex. We have 6 prizes to giveaway. We have 1 signed paperback edition of Carnifex, Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Book 1. We also have 5 audiobook versions of Carnifex

D. P. Prior visited Fantasy Book Critic back in January to talk about his dysfunctional relationship with fantasy. Visit his guest blog post here to read what he had to say and to learn more about Carnifex.

A huge thank you goes out to D.P. Prior for offering the prizes for this giveaway. 




  1. This giveaway is open worldwide. Unfortunately, the signed paperback can go to residents of the US. Audiobooks can be delivered to anyone worldwide.
  2. Only 1 entry per person please. Multiple entries will be deleted.
  3. Contest starts March 13, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. and runs until March 22, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. Entries after the contest deadline will be deleted.
  4. To enter please send an email to with the subject line "CARNIFEX". Please include your name, snail mail address, and email address.
  5. Winners will be randomly chosen and emailed about their winnings at the end of the contest
  6. Upon completion of the contest and winners chosen, all entries will be deleted.
  7. Information provided for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of this giveaway.

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