Friday, 30 August 2013

Tolstoy's Friday

Alison Can Read Feature & FollowI have now lived in my own house for a week (THE EXCITEMENT) and feel incredibly grown up! But I didn't get Wifi until yesterday, which is why A Universe in Words has been generally quiet. But today, it's time for the Memes! :)

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. This week's qst is:
If you could only have ONE book - one book - for the rest of your life. Don't cheat...what would it be?

Oh God, that is such a difficult question! There are so many books out there that are amazing and so many I haven't read yet but want to. I am really torn between two books, right now. It would either be 'The Lord of the Rings' for obvious reasons. I mean, there's enough there to last me a lifetime I think! But on the other hand, I absolutely love 'Wuthering Heights' and every time I reread it I discover something new. The love story between Heathcliff and Cathy is one of my favourite ones in all of literature and I think Emily Bronte was incredibly talented.

I think it would be a toss up between these two. And then I'd smuggle Harry Potter through the checks as well, because, let's face it. I don't think I'd be here without that book.

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and this week's question is:
Have you ever ended up reading a book with its last or last few pages missing? What book was it? And how did you manage to get to the the end?

I don't think I could start a book if I wasn't assured of the end. I mean, when you start reading a book you trust yourself to it and good books can rip out your heart. So unless I know that there is an end at which there is the chance everything will be resolved, even if it is in the last line, it makes everything easier to bear. So no, I've never read an incomplete book. The closest I maybe have ever come to this is when my mother taped shut the last two chapters of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. So the end wasn't really accessible, but she cut it open once I got there, so it wasn't really hard work to finish the book.


I've recently started reading 'War and Peace' by Tolstoy, because I actually really like the idea of this novel that is going to take me months and that will just unfold an entire world in front of me that I can sink away in. So, this is the book I'm using for Book Beginnings (Rose City Reader) and Friday 56 (Freda's Voice).

BB:
'Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichirst - I really believe he is the Antichrist - I will have nothing more to do with you and you are o longer my friend, no longer my "faithful slave", as you call yourself. But how do you do? I see I have frightened you - sit down and tell me all the news.'
I love this beginning for a number of reasons. Partly because it is a great example of conversational writing. There are just so many shifts and it shows a lot of the speaker's character, I think.

F56:
'The princess smiles as people do who think they know more about the subject  under discussion than those they are talking with.'
The book, as far as I've read, is filled with these tiny kind of wisdoms about people and society. Tolstoy really observed people well, because occasionally there'll be this little anecdote that could come straight out of real life.

So, what are you reading this week? Have you ever tried to read a book with a missing end?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Double Cover Reveal: 'Quantum Entanglement' and 'Dark Remnants' by Liesel K. Hill

I have been MIA for a bit since I moved into my house and there is no wifi, but I am more than happy to break the silence with a double cover reveal for Liesel K. Hill. So let's get started:

First: 'Quantum Entanglement'
Five months after traveling to a post-apocalyptic future where collectives reign supreme and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper was returned to her own time until the threat to her life could be neutralized. She thought Marcus and the others would return for her within a few weeks, and now she’s beginning to worry. 
When travelers from the future finally show up to collect her, it’s not who she expected. With the return of her memories, she wants more than ever to see Marcus again, but a snake-like woman whose abilities are a perfect match for Maggie’s, an injured Traveler, and decades of civil unrest to wade through all stand in the way of their reunion.
Meanwhile, Marcus and Karl traipse through the countryside, trying to neutralize Colin, who’s promised to brutalize and murder Maggie if he can get his hands on her. When a collective woman is left for dead, Marcus heals her, hoping she’ll be the key to killing Colin and bringing Maggie back. But she may prove as much a hindrance as a help.
The team struggles to get their bearings, but things happen faster than they know. The collectives are coalescing, power is shifting, and the one called B is putting sinister plans into action. If the team can’t reunite and get a handle on the situation, their freedom and individuality—perhaps their very identity—will be ripped away before they can catch their breath.
I think the cover looks great, with the different layers. Also, the girl's eyes are creepily amazing!

Then there is 'Dark Remnants'
 In the most dangerous city in the country, one controlled by a sadistic gang called the Sons of Ares, Kyra Roberts is searching the deep places for someone…
Kyra has come to Abstreuse city to find someone she’s lost, but walking the underbelly—a dark alley system residents call the Slip Mire—even in disguise, is rife with dangers. Kyra must stay on her toes if she intends to live. After crossing paths several times with the same detective, she wonders if his work and hers might be connected.
Gabe Nichols has worked homicide in Abstreuse for three years. Dead prostitutes and gang violence are part of the night shift. When a woman who looks like a street junkie but acts like an intellectual saves his life, he’s intrigued. Another woman shows up at his crime scene, and Gabe’s instincts kick into high gear when she clams up. Two cases involving strange women who won’t tell what they know are too coincidental.
If Gabe and Kyra can’t find a way to collaborate, they may not live to see the sunrise. Doomed, like so many others, to become gray, unmarked graves in a forgotten fracture of the Slip Mire.

This is probably my favourite cover out of the two!  There is just something classic about an eye staring at you from a cover!

Find more information about Liesel here:
Her Blogs:
     Musings on Fantasia: http://musingsonfantasia.blogspot.com
     LKHill: http://lkhill.blogspot.com

Her Facebook: facebook.com/lieselkhill

So, what do you think? Don't the covers look great?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review: 'A Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic' by Emily C. Barker

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real MagicI requested this novel through Netgalley because I thought the premise sounded really interesting and funny. Since I am a massive Harry Potter fan, a lot of magic books are a bit of a disappointment, but not this one. Barker creates a new spin on the idea of magic in the modern world and creates a gripping novel that doesn't feel almost 600 pages long.
Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.
Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her "real life" against the dangerous power of love and magic.
Perhaps the biggest strength of this novel is its main character, Nora. As an English student, I see my own future in Nora, struggling to have innovating ideas about age-old texts. Barker describes the relative drudgery of her academic life perfectly, but the novel really kicks off when Nora ends up in a different world, where everything seems to be perfect and beautiful. Once she recovers herself under Arundiel's roof, the development in her character is so subtle I only realised it upon looking back. Initially quite dependent on those she considers stronger, she learns to work, obey when necessary, but also stand up for herself and demand to be taken into account. Whereas in some novels I wind up wondering what is happening to the other characters and how they are feeling, I felt truly interested in Nora for the entirety of the novel 

I absolutely loved Barker's approach to magic in this novel. In many supernatural novels, which I guess this one could be classed as, magic seems to be something that suddenly appears to the main character without any kind of backstory or explanation as to its existence. Barker develops magic as something natural that has to be discovered and felt, as a part of nature that most could see but many fail to really recognize. The concept of different kinds of or stages in magic was also well developed. Nothing ever invented by any society has not been abused at least once, but Barker manages to find a balance between the dark side of magic and the darkness in humans. 

Next to being supernatural, to an extent, it is also a fantasy novel which means it comes with the obligatory medieval setting. As a Lord of the Rings fan I often find myself despairing at the lack of originality from some authors in their world-building. Although Barker chose the same stereotypical setting, she kept Nora away from the cliche kings and queens as much as possible. What I really enjoyed was the time Nora spent in the country side, allowing much more interesting and realistic characters to take over and for the novel to move away from the more cliche tropes.

The title very clearly seems to market the novel towards women, which was also one of my first thoughts when I requested the novel. I do believe the novel might not be as engrossing to male readers as to females, considering the female protagonist and her decidedly feminine experiences and thoughts. However, this warning is also accompanied with the reassurance it is incredibly far from the novels usually marketed for women. The key word is probably 'thinking', which allows for a sense of realism and modernity in the book despite its setting and genre. 

The novel is rather large which I absolutely loved. There's nothing like completely sinking into a novel after the first 50 pages and knowing you have at least 400 left to go. When the beginning is bad, I dread the rest of the novel, but in this case I just knew it would be exactly what I wanted to read. Which inevitably brings me to the conclusion of the novel which, surprisingly, came much sooner than I expected. Many novels drown in a cliched ending that the author feels they owe the reader, but this novel manages to stop at a point in the narrative where there is still enough story left for the reader to want more, but not so much left unfinished that the reader is unsatisfied. 

I give this novel...

4 Universes!!

Despite its length, or perhaps because of it, I loved sinking away in this novel in the same way Nora enters Arundiel's world. Accompanying her on her path is a true joy, thanks to Barker's modern writing style being combined with the much loved magical medieval world of many fantasy novels. Nora is a great main character that it is easy to sympathise and unify with. If there ever was a sequel, I'd gladly read it!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Guestpost: 'Journalism to Fiction' by Emily Croy Barker, Author of 'A Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic'

Last week I posted a Q&A with the author Emily Croy Barker, who wrote one of my new favourite books: 'A Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic'. Now she's agreed to do a guestpost about her experiences as a writer.
Emily-Barker-1379-bw
A Journalist Turns to Fiction
Emily Croy Barker

I’ve been a writer and editor for more than 20 years, and for the majority of that time, the writing I did was all journalism—mostly long features for business magazines like The American Lawyer and Inc. When I started writing The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic almost eight years ago, it was strictly for my own enjoyment. I’d dreamed up a couple of characters that I couldn’t get out of my mind, a woman trapped by enchantment and the magician who becomes her ally and teacher. Once I’d figured out a little bit more about who they were and how their stories were linked, I decided that I’d better start writing this down.
Writing fiction instead of nonfiction felt a little bit as though, after I’d mastered one dance—the foxtrot, say—the music changed and I was suddenly trying to dance swing. Some previously learned lessons helped me with this new dance. I already knew how to keep typing, resisting the temptation to turn off the computer and flee, even when I became convinced that what I was writing was crap and that no one would ever want to read it. And I knew that sometimes, when you really get stuck, it’s fine to go off and take a bike ride or watch a movie and come back the next day to try again. I had written long articles about people doing deals or starting companies or arguing in jury rooms; I had learned to look for “color” and the famous Telling Detail; to listen to how people talked; and to pay attention to what they said and what they didn’t say.
That all turned out to be quite useful in fiction-writing. But the actual process of stitching together sentences to make a fictional narrative was daunting at first. Beginning writers are always told, “Show, don’t tell,” which is very good advice. On the other hand, you can’t show everything. I had to learn where I could condense and where I could leave something out altogether. It took me a while—probably one reason why my first draft ended up being 1,300 pages long—and I know there’s still more to learn.
One change from journalism that I loved was being able to make things up. No more coaxing anecdotes out of reluctant or forgetful sources, no more worrying about holes in the story. And yet this new freedom was also a little scary. Suddenly the entire burden was on me to create a credible world. I could no longer rely on details scrounged from reality. What if I got things wrong?
Thankfully, I was writing fantasy about an alternate world, so most description came straight from my imagination. The main thing I had to be concerned with was consistency. If I were to write a police procedural, say, where I had to think about what kind of car a certain character would drive or which make of gun she would carry or whether it really makes sense for a transgender Russian emigré to be running a vegetarian restaurant in a small city in North Carolina, frankly I would be a nervous wreck.
Good journalism and good fiction are both about telling stories and as such, they are hugely satisfying. I have to say that fiction is a bit more fun. Maybe it’s because, when I was sweating over crafting the perfect lede for a magazine article or explaining some complicated twist in a deal or litigation, I was always keenly aware that I was writing for someone else, the readers of American Lawyer or Inc. Will they like this? Will they get this? With fiction, though, I’m writing for a smaller audience: myself. Because if what I’m writing doesn’t move me or excite me or pull me along—if it doesn’t come alive for me—I’m absolutely sure it won’t do that for anyone else, either.

Thanks to Emily for the guest blog and thanks to everyone reading!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Q&A with Emily Croy Barker, author 'The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic.'

A Conversation with
Emily Croy Barker, author of
THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking; on-sale August 5, 2013; 9780670023660; $27.95

Q. Which of the characters in THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC did you most enjoy writing?

A. Aruendiel, no question. He says exactly what he thinks, and he doesn’t mind giving offense to anyone. Not something that most of us can get away with in our daily lives.

Of course, Ilissa was also a lot of fun, too. Because she’s also honest—Faitoren can’t tell lies—but at the same time, she’s thoroughly deceitful.


Q. Are any parts of this novel autobiographical?

A. You mean, is it about the time I stumbled into an alternate world and started studying magic? Sadly, no.

There were things in my life that I deliberately borrowed for the novel. The way Aruendiel talks about other magicians—I was thinking of how my father, who was a painter, used to talk with his artist friends about other artists, about who was doing good work and who wasn’t. My dad was the kindest and most gentle person ever, but he was ruthless when it came to criticizing bad art. It’s the idea that you have a calling that you have to follow and you don’t sell out.

I gave Nora some of my interests—a penchant for memorizing bits of poetry, a love of cooking—although she’s much better at both things than I am. She’s also braver than me. You could never get me to go up a cliff like the one at Maarikok, even with a levitation spell! And I let her take a path that I considered but never took—going to grad school in English.


Q. Your heroine, Nora Fischer, is swept away by magic into a kind of too good to be true existence. Even though a part of her knew it wasn’t right she stayed. Why would she allow herself to be easily enchanted?

A. As Aruendiel himself would point out, Faitoren enchantments are very hard to fight, because they give you something you want. Nora was feeling bruised and defeated, and suddenly she had everything that she thought she was missing.

I also think the kind of idealized femininity that Ilissa offers Nora—being beautiful, being the belle of the ball, having this perfect romantic love—is a very seductive thing, even for someone like Nora who has read all the feminist theorists and has really chosen the life of the mind. Maybe especially for someone like Nora.


Q. You have so many literary references, John Donne, Miguel de Cervantes, William Carlos Williams, Alice in Wonderland and Grimm’s Fairytales, but it’s Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice that Nora ends up with as her only possession in the alternate world. What is the significance of this particular book? Any personal connection to it?

A. Well, Pride and Prejudice is so modern in many ways, although written and set in a premodern time. So it seemed like a good match for A Thinking Woman’s Guide, where a contemporary woman is thrown into a world where women are still second-class citizens, at best. And Pride and Prejudice reflects some of the themes that I was interested in—an intelligent woman engaging with a man who has both higher status and worse manners than she does—without being too closely parallel to the plot of my story. Finally, I love Pride and Prejudice! And so do many other readers. So I hoped it might resonate with those who read my novel.


Q. Words are a powerful tool and language is a very important status symbol in Nora’s new world. Women are uneducated and don’t speak to men the same way Nora does; something she is repeatedly frustrated by. How did you develop Ors, the language Nora must learn in order to communicate?

A. Language reflects society, so as I thought about Aruendiel’s world, I tried to imagine what sort of linguistic rules it would have to help keep women in their place. And as anyone who has studied a foreign language knows, there are all kinds of subtleties that you don’t pick up right away. You can make blooper after blooper, sometimes for years. So Nora keeps bumping up against things like the feminine verb endings, which she never noticed until Aruendiel rather officiously points them out to her.

I was also inspired by how Tolkien, who was a philologist, essentially began imagining Middle-Earth by inventing various Elvish names. He wrote poems about these characters and, eventually, fiction. I thought, wow, what a powerful tool to create a believable fantasy universe, to develop some kind of logical linguistic framework that underlies your story.


Q. You’re a journalist by trade. What was it like, switching to fiction? Where do you write? Do you set hours or just put pen to paper when inspiration strikes?

A. It took me a while to feel comfortable writing fiction. It’s a different kind of narration. Suddenly, after years of having to be super-careful about collecting facts and double-checking them, I could make everything up. That felt wonderful! But what exactly do you include, what do you leave out? Beginning writers are always told, “Show, don’t tell.” Well, in fact there’s a lot you have to simply tell, or you’ll write twenty pages and your character will still be finishing breakfast.

The journalistic skill that I found most useful in writing fiction was simply the ability to sit in front of the computer and write. Even if you’re just trying to write, even if what you’re writing isn’t great at the moment or if all you have to show after three hours is three sentences. And then to do it again the next day. It doesn’t matter if you have to rewrite it all over again—because you’ll find something that’s worth keeping, or you’ll learn what not to do. The important thing is to keep going.

Usually I write at home on my laptop—sometimes on the train when I travel. I write best during the day. If I try to write at night, I’m usually too tired to get very far. Or occasionally I’ve had the opposite problem—I get really into it and then suddenly it’s way past my bedtime and I’m useless the next day. So starting out, I wrote for a couple of hours every weekend. Then it became every spare moment of every weekend. I still owe huge apologies to so many of my friends for turning down all their lovely invitations to go to museums, parties, movies, et cetera, over the past seven years.


Q. Who would be in your dream book club? Where would you meet and what would you talk about?

A. Henry James, Charlotte Brontë, Scott Fitzgerald, Mary McCarthy, Zadie Smith, and couple of my friends. We’d meet at Florian’s in the Piazza San Marco every third Tuesday in the month—this is a dream, right?—and talk about whatever I happen to be reading at the moment. I imagine it would be a lively group.


Q. Are you a fan of other fantasy novels?

A. Yes, although I certainly haven’t read everything that’s out there. I tend to like the denser, more literary kind of fantasy. Unlike Nora, I love Tolkien. Also Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, Alice Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin, and Kelly Link. Kate Atkinson is best known now for her Jackson Brodie mysteries, but I’m really glad that I didn’t read her Human Croquet until after I wrote The Thinking Woman’s Guide, because in some ways that’s the book I wanted to write.


Q. Your writing is loaded with references from history, literature, and fantasy. What sort of reader did you envision for this series?

A. I tried to write the kind of novel I would want to read, so I guess in that sense I wrote it for myself. And as the book took shape and it became clearer that I would actually finish a draft at some point, I decided I would send it first to one of my oldest friends to see if she thought it was any good. She and I grew up watching Star Trek and Monty Python, reading Sherlock Holmes and The Black Stallion and Jane Eyre, and doing the ultimate in geekdom—taking Latin—so I trusted her judgment. She liked it, so that encouraged me to keep revising.

Beyond that, I was thinking that it might appeal to some of the adults who loved Harry Potter but who wanted more of a adult perspective and a strong female character at the center of the novel.


Q. The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic ends on a cliffhanger. Can you hint at what’s next for Nora and Aruendiel?

A. I’m pretty sure that Nora will find her way back to Aruendiel’s world. The two of them really need to talk and to be straight with each other, don’t you agree? And of course she has a lot more to learn about magic—and how to use it properly.

For more information please contact:

Meredith Burks, Meredith.Burks@us.penguingroup.com, 212-366-2275

Friday, 9 August 2013

Awesome Friday

Alison Can Read Feature & FollowI am feeling like a very accomplished adult today since I paid rent for the first time! Don't know why, but I feel very responsible right about now, so lets change that by answering some memes!


Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee! I love this week's question:
Back to School: Create a reading list for the imaginary English Lit class you'll be teaching this semester.

I have actually thought about this soo much since I started University last year! I feel like I should pick a theme, because otherwise I might just pick all the books I've ever read. Maybe I'd try to do something along the line of male-female relationships through the ages, maybe? Ignore my failure at proper chronology!

  • Look at parts of The Iliad, the entire fact that they start and entire war over a woman. Is she described as property, an object of desire, or is she actually above them, placed on a pedestal
  • Maybe Euripides' Medea. Medea is an amazing character, also walking that fine line between monster and warrior, as observed by men.
  • Look at Beowulf, how Grendel's Mother is a warrior as well, but translations by men present her as a monster. I wrote an essay on this last year and got a good grade, I could totally teach this (probably not).
  • Maybe Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, compare it to his The Merry Wives of Windsor. In the first, the woman is tamed and in the second a proud man is put in his place by housewives. 
  • I couldn't teach anything without my Pride & Prejudice. Austen has an interesting view on women and the restraint between men and women would be quite interesting to look at, I think.

  • Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach is an amazing novel, relatively short as well which is perfect, and the relationship between the two main characters, especially concerning sexuality, is really interesting and different from all the other books.
I'm quite at a loss concerning more books, so I'm just gonna leave it here and probably lie awake tonight thinking of Essay questions I could set!
For Book Beginnings (Rose City Reader) and Friday 56 (Freda's Voice) I am using 'The Sun Also Rises' by Ernest Hemingway, which I want to start reading soon!

BB:
'Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Cohn. He cared nothing for boxing, in fact he disliked it, but he learned it painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he had felt on being treated as a Jew at Princeton. There was a certain inner comfort in knowing he could knock down anybody who was snooty to him, although, being very shy and a thoroughly nice boy, he never fought except in the gym.'
I know I chose a long bit, but this beginning just tells you so much about the character. In a few lines, you really get an understanding of Robert Cohn and this is more character exploration than I've seen in entire novels!


F56:
'When I woke in the morning I went to the window and looked out. It had cleared and there were no clouds on the mountains. Outside under the window were some carts and an old diligence, the wood of the roof cracked and split by the weather. It must have been left from the days before the motor-buses. A goat hopped up on one of the carts and then to the roof of the diligence. He jerked his head at the other goats below and when I waved at him he bounded down.'
Yup, Hemingway can do landscape description as well. And I do love goats, so I thought this might be a nice quote to use.

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and this week's qst is:
If you don't like a book that you said you'd review, do you graciously turn it down and explain why or do you struggle through it and hopefully come up with a half decent review?

It has only happened to me once that I reviewed a book I really didn't like, so I wrote a review that reflected how I felt about it, as politely as possible. I was consequently kicked out of the blog tour, which was taught me that I should contact authors if I don't like the book. But I am quite selective when it comes to accepting review requests so I don't end up with many books I don't like.

If there are aspects of a book I don't like, I still feel obliged to talk about it. I am reviewing the book and the authors know I am being truthful, not vindictive. But usually my reviews focus on what I liked about the book, so if there is anything negative it is usually only a couple of lines, max.

So, what course would you construct? And how do you deal with review requests you dislike?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Interview: Stacy Moran, author of 'Blood Myth'

Today I am interviewing Stacy Moran, the author of 'Blood Myth;, the first book in the 'Myth'-series. 

Zakah Sange was born into a world of dark magick, always living in the shadows of his father, the Raka King. He was dangerously sexy and enigmatic; he used power and control to shape himself into a hard and cunning man. Zakah became a warrior, a weapon and the master of his own violence lurking within. 
Sorina Ruzicka was the great granddaughter of the evil god Akhekh. She was born into a legacy of magickal gifts that she wanted no part of. After years touring as a blues singer she returned home where she only wanted the seclusion of the mountains. A chance meeting with the mysterious club owner forced Sorina into the battle of her life.
Can a willful witch, accept the controlling nature of a demon who demands submission? Trusts will be tested, lines will be crossed and a fate neither of them expected will be played out.
Something about Stacy:


Stacy (SAM) was born in West Virginia but now finds herself living in Texas. She has loved writing since the first grade when she completed her first book, The Land without Rules. Her mother will tell you it was a brilliant book.
Throughout her school years she was in journalism and has been an avid reader of all literature. She has always craved the feeling of discovering an author's world for the first time. Now she devotes her time to creating her own worlds. 

Stacy focuses mainly on paranormal romance and poetry. She loves creating dominant male characters and headstrong females for her books. 

Stacy now finds herself on a new journey and finally has taken the leap to go after her dreams. She recently finished a poetry book, Whispers in the Dark with two fellow authors and finished her first novel Blood Myth in her Myth Series.

Links: Personal website and Amazon

Interview:

What was your inspiration to become a writer?
My inspiration was my love of stories and fairy tales that was started with my mother. She would tell my brother and me stories every night before bed. This started getting my imagination going when she would either elaborate on childhood favorites, creating her own version or she would make up stories all together. So my mom was my inspiration from the beginning.

What came first, the mythological background or the characters?
The characters came first in the Myth Series. I love mythology and religion and have always been drawn to those kind of stories. Mythology took me to different lands and enhanced the history of the characters but the characters are the main focus and my first and last thought when writing.

Your book begins in Ancient Egypt. Did you have to do research for this?
Yes, I did tons of research and actually only ended using a small portion of it but it is there for future books. Egypt is such an extraordinary land with a history that is almost magical.

Most of my research was focused on mythology from several pantheons, Greek, Persian, Egyptian, Celtic, the list is endless. My characters may be have started in Egypt and have a history leaning toward mythology but they are not attached to traditional Egyptian Mythology. The Myth Series is about creating my own myths and legends in a way that is familiar but not identical to mythology.

What was your favourite experience while writing this book?
There were so many but honestly my favorite experience was finishing the book. Blood Myth had been in my head for so long that finishing it was the best experience. The second would be holding the proof print book in my hands.

If you could meet any author, past or present, whom would you chose?
Toss-up between Rumi and my all-time favorite Anne Rice. Rumi such an inspirational poet it is hard not to feel something when you read his work.
Anne Rice, wow where to begin… her ability to write her worlds with such romance and poetic flair astounds me. I could go on and on about Mrs Rice but I will not bore you with my admiration for her talent.

Are you currently writing the sequel or has it already been finished? Was/Is it harder than writing the first one?
I am currently writing the sequel and it is easier because I have done most of the research already. Betrayed by the Myth will be book two, it is due out late fall and will focus on Cheres and Afina. Originally I had planned on another couple’s story for the second book but Cheres has been very adamant about his story. Betrayed by the Myth will take the readers back to Ancient Egypt and explain more of the history of the Saka and Raka, the two races of witches and demons introduced in Blood Myth.

Thanks to Stacy for answering my questions. I love books set in Ancient Egypt, so I'll definitely be putting this one on my TBR list! So, what do you think? Sound like your kind of book?

Friday, 2 August 2013

It's August!

Alison Can Read Feature & FollowAnother Friday and it's already August! There's only four months left of 2013 and I'm freaking out because when did this year happen? Did I miss it? Anyways, it's Friday which means questions have to be answered. Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee and this week's question is:
How do you handle a book you don't like? Do you DNF or do you power through.


It really depends on how much I don't like the book. I once tried to read 'The Italian' by Ann Radcliffe and I just couldn't do it. There's only so much fainting and waxing lyrical over how the moon reflects on the water a girl can take. So usually it's DNF, because there's plenty of other books I should be reading, rather than waste time on books I don't like.

It's always worse when it's a book I got sent for review, but once it got so bad I emailed the author and said I just couldn't get into it and that if I finished it the review would be immensely negative. The author then kindly asked me to not read the book. At university I don't have  a choice, as such. I have to read the books in order to keep up, but there is some freedom in how you read. If I'm sure I don't want to use it for exams and essays I skim-read it, if I like it I read it properly. Although I gave up on 'To The Lighthouse' by Virginia Woolf. I just couldn't deal with it.

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This week's question is:
How do you turn down a review request?


It depends on why I want to turn it down. If I really don't want to read it because it just isn't my kind of book then I just tell them I don't think I'd be a suitable reviewer. It's no fair on the author either if I force myself through their book and dislike it, simply because I don't like the genre etc.

I have been really busy in the last couple of months, so if I find myself short on time (which is most of the time) I offer them a guestpost or a spotlight. I do think I should start referring to other bloggers, that would be a great way of spreading around review requests!

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice. This week I'm using 'Building Great Sentences' by Brooks Landon, which I just got from Netgalley.

BB:
'"This is what I mean when I call myself a writer," writes novelist Don DeLillo. "I construct sentences."'
This book probably won't be a very "fun" read, in the sense that a novel is. But I do genuinely enjoy these kinds of books so I hope this will be a good one as well!

F56:
'The principle is this: 'When you write, you make a point not by subtracting as though you sharpened a pencil, but by adding. When you put one word after another, your statement should be more precise the more you add.'
That sounds very true. Although sometimes I do think that less is more, especially when it comes to adjectives for example, I do think that it is detail in sentences that makes them beautiful!


So, what do you think? Which book have you used for your memes?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

'Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan' - Final Post

Although this is the last post in the Tour, I want to take a moment to say a massive thank you to all the blogs involved! It was my first ever time organising a blog tour and I'm sure I could have done better here and there. But still everyone managed to get their posts up and I'm just very grateful. Here's the list of blogs participating, I'd love for you to stop by their posts!


28th: Ashley Nemer
31st: L.K. Hill

Now, to the book at hand! 

When Thomas Sailer's book 'Chronik eines Harry Potter Fans' was published in November 2012 word quickly spread throughout the Harry Potter community. Now translated into English, 'Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan' offers an exclusive and intimate look into the Harry Potter fandom and its workings.

Sailer became active in the Harry Potter fandom in 2004 after the books and films became an inspiration for him to change his life for the better.. From contributing to different websites to being the representative for a major Emma Watson fansite, he had an increasing presence in the Harry Potter fandom, until he founded the Knight Bus, one of the biggest Harry potter directories, and the International Network of Harry Potter Websites, helping Harry Potter fans to remain in contact with each other after the final book and film appeared.

'Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan' is an autobiography from a fan for fans, filled with stories about amazing projects and unforgettable experiences.  

Guestpost by Thomas Sailer:


Hello there, this is Thomas Sailer, author of “Cronicles of a Harry Potter Fan”, speaking about my book here on A Universe in Words.
Looking back now in 2013, it has been a long while since I started becoming active in the online Harry Potter fandom: I remember clearly when, in the spring of 2005, I started looking for HP sources on the web – eager to get active in one of these communities. For me, being a fan always meant more than just enjoying the books and movies. I wanted more … and I wanted to get involved.
As I always try to find ways to change my dreams into action, I managed to work my way from a normal fan up to a recognized name within the virtual Harry Potter fandom. And, for a very long time, my activity in the fandom appeared to me like a window and maybe even a possible gateway, to something amazing.
What I really enjoyed about my work was all the creative projects which I thought up and later put into practice. I loved the various tasks which this activity gave me. For instance, to inform other webmasters about project ideas or to work in my friend’s garage and try desperately to complete a wooden keepsake box for Emma Watson’s 18th birthday from the fans.
CeHPFIn the course of my project activities, I got to meet many new people from all over the world; many of whom I am still in contact with and enjoy talking to from time to time. They were webmasters, staff members of Harry Potter sites or normal fans who did not  take part in the virtual fandom the way I did. It was a real pleasure to meet such a variety of new and interesting people.
The decision to write a book came along at a time when I felt like I was over and done with HP. In the end of 2009 I started to realise how many things I had done, moved and achieved within the HP fandom. So I considered it a great chance to gather my memories and thus share my experience.
Writing this book did not happen at once; I had to interrupt my work very soon, as it was some weeks before Christmas and I had no idea how to get all my stuff for university done. And in the beginning of the new year, I had the incentive to write a novel – what put this project on ice for the moment. Further, I was not able to put a proper ending to the book, as at that time I was not finished with my activity in the fandom.Almost two years later, in the last days of December 2011, I made the decision that it was time to finish this book. So, along with writing my second novel, I completed it during 2012. It was a great experience to confront myself with all those memories once again and to work them out a structured book.