All posts tagged fantasy

Random Friday

Published 20/10/2017 by Barb

I’m afraid this month Fridays will be for bundles only… I should probably rename it Bundle Friday, at least for now! 😉

Anyhow, here’s the latest bundle curated by Russ Crossley. I’m still amazed to be in such wonderful company. Go check the Dragon Tales bundle! You may have read Talwar&Khanda, but you’d miss all the other wonderful dragon tales! 🙂

And next week… Sword Wielders! It includes my Writers of the Future Honorable Mention novella The Hooded Man and 10 other sword wielders! Again in very good company here… And don’t forget that Vampires of the World goes live as well next Friday…

And there will be a sale too, actually two, but I shall announce them next week. This is the month of bundles galore… grab them now! 🙂 What do you mean you don’t have a BundleRabbit account yet? Go sign up right now and don’t miss on the currently over 50 (fifty!) bundles in different genres for your reading pleasure!

And if you’re an indie author, join the fun and upload your books… Have a great weekend! 🙂


Random Friday

Published 03/03/2017 by Barb

And since I’m away, I’m going to introduce you to a guest! I found her through Goodreads and thought you might be interested in meeting someone else! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Claudie Arseneault!

Where do you live and write from?
I live in Quebec City, the capital of Canada’s majority French province. I’ve been here all my life, and English is a second language for me. I love my city, for all of its conservative faults. I think I see myself in a lot of its contradictions.

Why do you write?
Funnily enough, I recently wrote an entire guest post on this topic (it’s not up yet, but keep an eye on Ayah’s wonderful Why I Write series for it!). I won’t repeat all of those words here, but the short version is this: I write because it makes me feel like I belong. Writing allowed me to find my community. Writing reminds me that I am a professional, that I have found my path. Even when it is stressful and hard, writing is like coming home.

When did you start writing?
About ten years ago. At the time, it was a complement to my intense roleplaying habits. I ran games with a single player, and I wanted to write out the scenes between characters he didn’t witness. Then I heard of NaNoWriMo, got a sudden burst of inspiration, and after that first rush of creativity and fun, I could never go back.

What genre(s) do you write?
Fantasy is my main turf, although I tend to play around a lot in the genre. My latest novel, City of Strife, is a crossover between high fantasy and political fantasy, while one of my other projects is… steampunk-fantasy-ish. Without the steam. Kind of falls a lot into the kind of magic/technology mix you’d expect from the Tales of _____ series, or Final Fantasy. I do also write science-fiction, and when I do, it’s absolutely solarpunk—a community-driven, eco-conscious, hopeful subgenre. I love the subgenre enough to edit an entire anthology of solarpunk dragons, Wings of Renewal!

What does your writing routine consist of?
I don’t have one. I write whenever and wherever I can. This means I write on my cellphone in the bus to/from work, I write at a cat café in the city, I write after work on weekdays when my brain is half mush from the day’s labour… anything I can get done, I try to do it. I sit my ass in my chair and try to ignore twitter and social media until I have the strict minimum done. It is not always successful, but that’s okay. (I also do not necessarily recommend it? I have to watch myself because I will overwork myself if I’m not careful).

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
Characters. I have absolutely no qualms stating that: I’m good with characterization. A lot of it comes from all the roleplaying I did, and creating such a wide range of characters over the years. I pay a lot of attention to details when I build a character, and a lot of time thinking of silly things that are unrelated to the story, but that help me nail their personalities.
I also tend to build storylines that have a great many threads, and with practice, a lot of craft-studying, and trial and error, I’ve grown quite good at tying all of them into an epic ending. I like to think the last quarters of my books are the best part—that the payoff is worth it.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
Everywhere. This isn’t a question I have a great answer for, really. I draw inspiration from other stories, from history, from things I feel aremissing from what I read. I used not to put much of myself in my writing, but now I do.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Outline. Gosh, I would have written myself into a corner a dozen times over without outlines. The degrees of precision I put into them varies a lot from one project to the next, but I always have a general outline before I start (typically, the ending is more vague, and I outline it as I get nearer). Although, really, I frequently end up ditching or redoing my outlines as I write, so it’s a little of both. But I never start without some basics down. I’m also definitely a fast writer. Not in terms of words/minute, but it terms of time I can and do put into it, yeah! I get through drafts fairly fast.

final-coverTell us about your latest book
Okay, here is the short version of the blurb:
Isandor, City of Spires.
Bickering merchant families vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth and brutal trading wars. Unspoken rules regulate their battles, but when an idealistic elven lord provokes the powerful Myrian Empire, all bets are off. They are outsiders, unbound by local customs, and no one knows how far they’ll take their magic to dominate the city. Nobles and commoners alike must fight to preserve their home, even if the struggle shatters friendships, destroys alliances, and changes them irrevocably.
City of Strife is the first installment of the City of Spires trilogy, a multi-layered political fantasy led by an all LGBTQIAP+ cast. Fans of complex  storylines criss-crossing one another, strong friendships and found families will find everything they need within these pages.
It is indeed published, and you can find it here on Amazon. The book’s page on my website also contains a list of trigger warnings and all other buy links. This universe has been with me since the very start of my writing, and I’m happy to share it at last!

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie all the way! I can’t even imagine going a traditional route. First, too much of it is still hostile to wide LGBTQIAP+ casts, and I don’t have time to waste arguing about the validity and existence of my characters, or being pressurized to add a romance. Second, indie publishing allows me to choose my contributors and encourage marginalized freelancers with my money. Third, I like being in control. I like leading projects from beginning to end, and earning every bit of those way-better royalties. I do wish I had a larger marketing reach, but I’m working on that too! I just created The Kraken Collective with fellow indies, a cooperative of QUILTBAG science fiction and fantasy! We share platforms, advice, and skills, leading to high-quality books and great times.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
The second book, haha. The City of Spires trilogy was conceived as a unit, and I want to get the second one out as fast as I can. Spare my readers the long years of wait between cliffhangers (there are some).
I do have another project besides that one, called Baker Thief, which is sort of a fantasy-mystery-romance, except instead of actual romance, you have the slow bound between an aromantic spectrum character and a demisexual one. There’s a lot of me in it—twins, French puns and sentences, a city that draws upon Québec’s history—and it gets quite tropey at times, which I love.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
Two things: first, I want to provide a large array of stories in which the whole LGBTQIAP+ spectrum gets to play a part and be a hero. This is especially true of aromantic and asexual people, because these are also my stories, and I hope that through the body of work I can give voice to a large part of the spectrum. Second, I would love to earn a living with this? A lot? Hey, we can always dream. So I write or work on my projects almost every day, and I follow and listen to other marginalized voices, and hopefully as years go by things will get better.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Find the writing advice that applies to you. Seriously, every writer has a different process, and a lot of writing advice disregards that, especially when it comes to writers with disability. So, sure, try out the writing advice out there, but know that if it doesn’t work, it’s not you. You’re still a writer!
One that worked for me was: “open a blank document and rewrite.” This is a follow-up to the more common “your first draft is crap”, but it taught me not to be afraid to start over. My process changes between projects, but for novels, I will often scrap almost the entirety of the first draft. Because I need to reach the end to see the story as a whole. So I tend to rewrite with only a few looks at the first draft, from beginning to end. Even later in the project, I still apply that to entire scenes too. Sometimes it’s better to start from scratch. Scary and long, but better.


Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Her long studies in biochemistry and immunology often sneak back into her science-fiction, and her love for sprawling casts invariably turns her novels into multi-storylined wonders. The most recent, City of Strife, comes out on February 22, 2017! Claudie is a founding member of The Kraken Collective and is well-known for her involvement in solarpunk, her database of aro and ace characters in speculative fiction, and her unending love of squids. Find out more on her website!

Saturday Sales

Published 23/07/2016 by Barb

Skipped Random Friday and Sunday Surprise since it’s July and there are so many sales going on! 🙂 So, in no particular order…

Amrendra is now complete with part 4. If you got it on Amazon, you’ll probably receive the updated file. If you got in on Smashwords, you probably should go download the new file.

And if you haven’t bought it yet, well, there’s 50% off on Smashwords! 🙂 I enrolled a few more books on the Smashwords site-wide promo – see below.

Star Minds – the Trilogy

Star Minds Snippets

Star Minds Next Generation

Star Minds Next Generation Diaries

Star Minds Chasing Stardom

Star Minds Interregnum

Body Switches

Today People

Rajveer the Vampire

All are 50% off until the site-wide sale that ends July 31. And don’t forget the pre-order for Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness, in September I’ll upload the temporary manuscript.

And the Sci-Fi May Day bundle is now available (for a fixed price) on Amazon and Kobo. It’s temporary, so get it now! 10 sci-fi novels bundled together, don’t miss it!

Happy summer reading!

Sunday Surprise

Published 10/07/2016 by Barb

PathWaterEbookHi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

We’re still on the new Silvery Earth! That’s a batch of old and new characters in this novel…

Hello, handsome! Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m Hinrik, I’m twenty-five and I’m enrolled in the Salamar army. We marched off to protect Moriana from the Varian attack, but we failed.

Bummer. You do look like a defeated soldier… Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Well-built warrior with chestnut brown hair and turquoise eyes.

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I don’t know. My mother is dead and I don’t have anyone left. I fight out of duty and respect for my captain.

Mmm… you forgot to mention the melancholy of your eyes! Where do you live?

Salamar, capital of the Salamar Kingdom, on the shores of the great river Ondan.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what it is about them that you find appealing?

It’s unrequited love and I don’t want to talk about it.

Man, I must say you’re handsome even when you brood! So what is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Survive rape and finding self-respect. And my true calling.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

My mother was a washerwoman. I was her only child. She never married after breeding with a “demon” and was cast out by everyone. She said my father was a “magical being” who lived in the river, but I never believed her.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have these turquoise eyes and water seems to have a healing power on me.

You’re forgetting to mention you’re very shy… Let’s see if the lady here is more talkative!

Hello there, tell me a little about yourself.

Bellinda, daughter of Joyrise, also known as Joris, and a Human. I’m half-blood and for some thirty-five years tried to fit in either with the Genn or the Human communities, sort of succeeding. As you can see, I have the body shape of a female Genn with small tits, but the round ears of Humans, and my hair is dark blond.

Where do you live?

I was born in Havenstock, capital of the Varian Kingdom, and spent a lot of time in the Genn villages of the forest of Appleyard. Our warmongering king made me want to leave, though, so now I’m exploring the northern kingdoms, starting with Salamar.

A-ha! So that’s how you bump into Hinrik? What’s your role in the story?

I’m a healer, and when Belfi brought bruised Hinrik to the camp, I had to do something! I mean, he wasn’t visibly wounded or dying, but he was upset and filled with pain…

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

I was. With Keneith. Because he’s tall and handsome and a powerful half-blood. I loved his black eyes and his smile. Then we moved together to Havenstock and things started falling apart. He’s still my best friend and traveling companion. We watch each other’s back.

Well, thank you, Hinrik and Bellinda, and good luck with your quest! May you find what you’re looking for, whatever it is…

Quests Book One – The Path of Water

Sunday Surprise

Published 26/06/2016 by Barb

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

And we have a couple here! Who wants to go first? The tall barbarian or the blond elf?

Joris: I’m a Genn, not an elf.

Whatever… so you go first! Tell me a little about yourself!

K&J4DA_resizeJoris: My name is Joyrise, but this ugly, hairy barbarian calls me Joris.

Kolia *glares* You don’t have to tell everything like that!

Joris: So what’s the point? Try to think of her as our next employer.

Kolia: Really? You’d say that to our prospective employer? And then what, that we’re lovers?

Guys, we’re getting there! Can you please stop bickering? *sighs* Since you don’t seem to want to take turns, let’s make it a joint interview. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Kolia: I’m tall, a warrior with blue eyes.

Joris: Long blond hair, pointed ears, nothing any other Genn wouldn’t have.

And then you wonder why I call you elf. Maybe you were an elf in a previous incarnation! Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

Kolia: The Clan Cadwaller. They destroyed my family and threw me out of Caer Nittak.

Joris: No, they threw you in a dungeon, where I rescued you.

Kolia: Whatever, now I’m in exile. But one day… one day…

Joris: Yeah yeah… *rolls eyes*

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Kolia: Definitely! Unfortunately when I tried to fight for my town and my people, I was defeated…

Joris: Don’t look at me! I’m Genn. The Magical Races are non-violent by their very nature!

Where do you live?

Kolia: Currently in Salamar, capital of the namesake kingdom. We’re mercenaries.

You are involved in a relationship – what is it about him that you find appealing?

Kolia: He’s a wizard! And has the longest hair I ever saw! And he saved me! And…

Joris: And he kept saying “I love you” to anything I told him, how could I resist?

*chuckles* What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Kolia: Ryan Cadwaller.

Joris: You’re obsessed with him!

Kolia: No, I’m not. He is obsessed with me.

Joris: Denial, Kolia… our biggest challenge it to take this ugly hairy barbarian back to Caer Nittak.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourselves.

Kolia: I’m your average warrior of the northern tribes…

Joris: I actually have a small portion of dark blood. I descend from Belfi, the Immortal Half-blood. And please, don’t ask Kolia about his family. Nine surviving children, can you believe it? These Humans do nothing but breed!

Kolia: Because we’re short-lived, unlike you! Besides, nine survived into adulthood but I don’t know how many survived the Cadwaller take-over, so… I might be the only one left now!

Mm, okay, thank you guys… *shoos them off* I know them… yes, from the late 1990s… Yes! “Kolia and Joris”, the 15-issues comic book fanzine by the crazy author of this blog! Took some adjustments, then… the couple of lucky readers of that comic may recognize the story, though. Hasn’t changed much… *mutters to herself* I really hope this is the last recycled story we see from this darn author!

Lovers buy links

Writer Wednesday

Published 22/06/2016 by Barb

I’m going to be slightly telegraphic this week. Writing: one more tale of the southern kingdom written, one last to go. Then I’ll be back to the vampires through the centuries for the long weekend ahead. Jumping on a train Friday night and coming back next Wednesday – which might mean next Wednesday the post will be late, unless I manage to do it from the netbook! 😉

Publishing: one more title out, Lovers, revised version of an old comic book fanzine – revised only because Joris was an elf, and now he is a Genn, the elf-like beings of Silvery Earth! 😉 And I added a couple of things from Beautiful, since Kerrien is from Caer Nittak and he knew Kolia! 😉

And then, since I’m doing the Teams in Fiction workshop, a reminder of the available ones for the coming month:


Class #1… July 5th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 5th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… July 5th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… July 5th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… July 5th … Character Development
Class #6… July 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 6th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 6th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 6th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… July 6th … Teams in Fiction

I can vouch for Author Voice, Depth in Writing and Teams in Fiction! 🙂 Go book at least one and try it! 🙂 I shall try not to skip Friday’s post… Have a great week! 🙂

Random Friday

Published 30/10/2015 by Barb

heroika revised 1Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

Hello handsome. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am Rufus Redblade. I was once Captain of the Royal Guard, but times have changed. Now I am a blade for hire. I’m a Griffin Rider. We used to be the elite, for it takes a certain sort to tame and ride a Griffin. Many try, few succeed, and fewer still survive it long.

Age? No idea. I don’t keep track of such things.

That’s fine, I don’t do either. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Male, tall, dark haired, many scars

Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

A man like myself has many enemies. I have fought in the civil wars, the border wars, defended the late Arch Duke, although not well enough, I have pissed off mercenaries, priests, husbands, fathers, brothers, and politicians. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for them the name Redblade is well earned. The Griffin Riders are feared. In many ways that’s far more useful than respect, and easier to earn.

Wow, you’ve been busy! Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Yes. I loved the old Arch Duke, he was an honourable man, far more so than some of his predecessors. I fought for him, beside him and upheld his peace. My friends, my allies I would kill for and they for me. In our profession we must watch each other’s backs.

Where do you live?

Ilmar. I have a dwelling in the countryside, beyond the main city but I’m often out working.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Yes. Few people know of it. I have a woman, Silena, she is strong, intelligent and I can truthfully say she is the only woman to tame an old warrior’s heart. She has been through so much, the loss of her husband (not by my hand), her sons and much more. Still she is strong, joyful when we are together and determined to protect her family and her legacy no matter what.

She is a woman doing, what in our society, is a man’s job and doing it better than most men could.

Heroika 1 Perfect promo 6&9I like her!What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Well killing dragons isn’t something I do every day….Big armoured flying monsters with teeth the size of my head and who can spit caustic breath? Yes THOSE dragons.

Yes, not the most safe job available. Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

Not really. Only Silena, and my Griffin Riders. Oh and Bloodsnap, my griffin. I have no official family, perhaps a few bastards here and there but my parents died long ago and my siblings I haven’t seen for years.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself – besides killing dragons and mounting griffins, I mean.

I have the skull of a hydra as a keepsake. Now they are buggers to kill.

I bet they are! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

What does dragon taste like? I was in a pretty bad state after the fight so my memory is a little hazy. It tastes like old venison, coated with pepper and soaked in cheap brandy. It’s magical though, REALLY magical. Taste doesn’t have much to do with it. A man who was dying, finds he isn’t. The senses are heightened. The world is born anew.

How does one kill a dragon? With a great deal of luck, some very good weapons and more courage than sense.

How is something the size of a dragon able to fly? Don’t ask me – I’m a mercenary. However that’s not an answer, so I’ll say they are OLD, magic is strange and misunderstood. There are a lot of thermals in the mountains – the griffins use them. It’s a dragon, it can do what it damn well pleases.

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromo

Rufus Redblade appears in Of Blood and Scales featured in Heroika: Dragon Eaters

Author’s interview for the release of the anthology.

Author Bio:

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.





%d bloggers like this: