Spotlight: J. Lyon Layden

IntrIMG_1647oducing J. Lyon Layden who has recently signed his young adult heroic fantasy filled with ogres and ancient Chinese lore entitled The Unnamed Bears Favor with RCPIt is slated for release in September of 2018 under the imprint Legion. Rio will handle cover design. Editing, map-making, and more will soon be underway. For now, get to know J. Lyon Layden as an author.

 

 


First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

Being told I should be a writer and wanting to be an author are both among my earliest memories, so it’s foggy which came first. I used to create stories for my toys and make up skits with my siblings, and I’d tell ghost stories to scare my cousins. I remember being told I should be a writer when adults looked at my drawings as well, so I’m glad I took their feedback the right way! Later on in school, I made up stories with my spelling words instead of just writing sentences for each one, and we had to read those assignments aloud in class. The kids got a kick out of it and the teachers encouraged me, so maybe those early nudges set me on the path.

What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I dropped out of college as an English major going into his senior year because I’d found a new love—music. Also because I could barely afford to take the bus to class. I worked as a freelance music journalist and musician for years while also holding a job as a cabinet designer or installer, and gave up the construction and journalism about the time the housing bubble burst. People always need music and bars, even during a depression, so music kind of saved me financially. These days I tell ghost stories or play music for a living, depending on the night, and this gives me my daytime hours to write.

But the real reason I began writing fiction again is because I finally have the information I need to tell the story that’s been bugging me since I first learned about Neanderthals and Megafauna as a child. I was first made aware of these prehistoric creatures by the same person who’d read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to me, my dad. One night, while we watched Ripley’s Believe it or Not or something like it, my dad said “With all these different cultures describing ogres and trolls and goblins living in the woods, there had to be something to it. It was probably Neanderthal Man… or something like him.”

At the time, however, civilization was only supposed to be 5000 years old, whereas Neanderthal Man was thought to have died out 35 thousand years ago, so no one would have taken such speculation seriously. But the more I learned about ancient hominids and megafauna, the more I realized they’d eventually be found at much younger dates. So I sort of had to wait until the science caught up with my dad’s theory in order to write these novels.

In the 20th century, man tried to use science as a tool to disprove the myth. In only the first few decades of the 21st century, science has proven many aspects of myth a reality whether man likes it or not. I believe science will continue to do so in the years to come. It’s about time—like Joseph Campbell said, modern man is in dire need of myth and legend. I’m compelled to share the great news with my fellow fantasy fans that the creatures they’ve dreamed about since youth were real after all… and that magic does exist, despite what the 20th century tried to tell us.

I feel driven in this endeavor because the scientists aren’t doing a great job of explaining the implications of their recent findings to the public yet. A few of them have called our prehistoric world a “Stone-age Middle Earth” or a “Fantasy World” in news articles, but no one has really connected the dots for the public or brought the findings into the limelight. No one has really brought it home to the fantasy fans like it should be, and I believe the best way to do this is through fiction. So my stories are the result of over 20 years of research into our mythological and prehistoric past, and I’ve worked hard to make sure every creature, technology, and culture depicted therein actually existed on the same continent during a particular period in our prehistory.

“The Unnamed Bears Favor” is set sometime between 8000 B.C.and 10,000 B.C. in a Pengtoushan village on the Yangtze River, where giant megafauna and archaic hominids still roamed the forest just miles away from walled settlements with primitive moats. The people inside these settlements practiced types of spiritual technology now lost to us, and in fiction, we can call this “magic.”

What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

Not only is the world in these stories based on conservative, peer-reviewed science but there’s a small chance the stories themselves could be true. I consulted the I Ching about the character arcs and plots.

Stan Gooch lost his tenure and died in a camper because he insisted we’d mated with Neanderthals in the 20th century when it wasn’t cool to say so, and predicted many other things we’re only now discovering to be true after all. He believed the I Ching to be one of our only surviving remnants of the neanderthal’s “intuitive” technology. I thought it would be fitting to let the oracle tell it’s country’s tale if it could, so I’ve used it for the outlines of all the stories in this series. The I Ching has its roots in oracle bone fortune telling, and what the oracle bones tell the boy at the beginning of the story is similar to what the I Ching told me about him when I began to write his arc.

RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

I know you guys publish quality fiction because I had the good fortune of winning a critique from Amber Duell on Twitter, and she gave me some excellent suggestions. A few months later, you can imagine how stoked I was that RCP liked my pitch during one of the Twitter events, especially when I saw you’d only picked a few from the thousands posted that day.

Diverse fantasy to me can mean the work is outside the cliche of the European medieval setting. Neolithic China, with its walls and moats, seems on the surface to have similarities with the feudal society that’s become familiar to fantasy fans, but underneath the veneer, the cultures are vastly different. The peoples of this time period were unlike any who exist today, in both appearance and behavior.

Diversity can also be about giving a voice to the cultures and peoples who have gone extinct, who don’t have a voice to be heard anymore, mostly because our civilization silenced them. Remnants of their genes and traditions can be found scattered among many different modern populations with diverse backgrounds, but as a people, these populations are gone forever. There’s still a lot to learn from them, however, and their story is not only fascinating but may prove useful to our own society in the future.

My protagonist in “The Unnamed Bears Favor” is an altogether unexpected hero, but that’s also part of the twist I can’t reveal, and I’m thinking this may have been the reason the tale caught RCP’s eye.

What do you think makes a great historical fantasy story?

I like the fantasy aspects to be just on the edge of civilization, just on the edge of reality in a sense but it needs to be plausible fantasy. I’m with George Martin when he says dragons should have only two legs, at least if they evolved on the same planet as the two-legged amniotes, whether someone wants to insist they’re really wyverns or not. I want at least pseudo-scientific explanations for fantasy elements, whether it’s the creatures or magic systems, in order to retain my suspension of disbelief.

But a great story also needs a powerful character arc and a mind-blowing twist. The latter can be tough when you’re trying to stay true to reality, but when I have a good one I know I also have the potential for a great story.

How do you think your piece The Unnamed Bears Favor fits into or varies from that description?

I can tell you that even though this will seem like a bizarre fantasy world to most readers, such a world existed right here on Earth not too long ago. I believe my protagonist’s transformation will resonate with most readers because their ancestors likely went through something similar and a piece of our ancestor’s experiences remains inside of us if Rupert Sheldrake’s experiments and Carl Jung’s archetypes are any indications.

I don’t want to give away the twist though—that’s the whole problem with convincing people your story really has one! How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

Many people use the terms “prehistoric” and “primitive” interchangeably when talking about human culture, but those two words aren’t really synonymous. The cultures I write about existed in the Neolithic or Paleolithic Periods, both considered prehistoric because they predate recorded history or the written word. I think it’s important to remember that some of these cultures only predate written records because we haven’t been able to decipher their forms of proto-writing yet. Paleolithic man had symbols we can’t translate, cultures in Neolithic China used a type of proto-writing called Jiahu script, and other East Asian and Pacific cultures used a form of artificial memory involving the knotting of string. It may have been similar to the Celts use of leaves on a string to make sentences.

Many aspects of civilization arose during our prehistoric period, and the ancients used methods of making glue, fire, cement, and megaliths that were either unable to duplicate or only just now learning to duplicate in the 21st century.

For some of these cultures, like the Pengtoushan of China or the Natufian of West Asia, we’ve recovered as many artifacts as we have for historic cultures, who’s writing we are able to read. However, we know history is written by the victors and is often exaggerated, so it’s possible we don’t know any more about what really happened 5000 years ago on the Tigres and Euphrates than we know about what happened 10,000 years ago on the Yellow River. Yet one is historic and the other prehistoric.

Paleoanthropologist don’t speculate like historians do, and they rarely combine scientific sources to paint a vivid picture of what life might have been like for a neolithic priestess. We think we know what ancient Romans looked like. In contrast, scientists are loath to speculate on what Pengtoushan people looked like before 90% of Y DNA haplogroups died out during the spread of later agricultural societies. Likewise, at least one population of hunter-gatherers in Spain had blue eyes and brown skin before the Agricultural Revolution. Their fossils are 10,000 years old and we’ve extracted their DNA, but their Y Haplogroup is present in only a fraction of a percent of modern Europeans. They only found the marker after they extracted the DNA, and did a search for the haplogroup in modern peoples. This represents a whole genomic population that was absorbed by the spread of agricultural, and their innovations and struggles are lost to us. Europeans didn’t look anything like modern Europeans until the Iron Age and the invasion of the Beaker culture. The paternal ancestor of most modern Europeans lived in Central Asia during the Ice Age, and before that in South-East Asia, and before that in Africa. So there are whole populations of people in our prehistoric past whose cultures were wiped away by the Agricultural Revolution and later events.

I think these lost cultures are important, and I think a lot of speculative fiction writers subconsciously try to fill the gaps in our past often with clues from our mythos.
Even more amazing, Archaic hominids survived in Sri Lanka, China, Mongolia, Africa, and South East Asia, and maybe even Europe and the Americas right up until the dawn of civilization. We don’t even have names for all of these peoples yet, mainly because some are thought to be homo sapiens sapiens/archaic hominid hybrids and may or may represent separate subspecies from homo sapiens sapiens.

The public has no idea about many of these new finds, and scientists vehemently debate their various implications. So, since science has refused to give us an adequate model of these time periods, even though the evidence is available in scattered sources, I’ve been forced to use logic and reason to deduce which scenarios prove most likely. That’s the only way I could piece together a sufficient model to write novels with.

Because I’m looking at these things from a perspective of a writer and journalist rather than as a scientist, I can use the laws of probability, logic, and reason rather than just the scientific method, so I think it’s given me a unique perspective that’s allowed me to figure out some really intriguing realities about mankind’s mysterious past.

What are you most excited to share when it comes to The Unnamed Bears Favors? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

The ogres of Chinese legend existed and liked to steal women just like the legends told us. They began transporting homo sapiens sapiens women into the Tibetan plateau 10,000 years before the first male descendant of Mito Eve and Y Adam even arrived there. Because of this, modern Sherpas have a Denisovan gene that allows them to thrive at altitudes at which most of us would not be able to survive. But similar occurrences happened the world over during our prehistoric past, and from this we may derive our fear of the dark. Also, ancient rights of adulthood held more magic than the modern mind gives those rituals credit for.

Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially those who are experimenting with multimedia?

I believe we live in an exciting time for writers, not just because publishing has become easier and we have more ways to market ourselves, but because tools to enhance and draw attention to our work have become more available. We have freeware like GImp, Blender, and Audacity to produce quality videos and audio. If you can’t read your own audiobook or create art and music to supplement your work, you can find talented artists for cheap on Fiverr.

Fiverr is a good place for Beta readers if you need something critiqued in a rush. I’d also encourage everyone to embrace social media, from Twitter to Youtube. Whether you’re going the indie, traditional, or self-publishing route you’re going to need to grow a following if you want staying power. Plus, Twitter still has many opportunities for writers. Both presses publishing my works next year found me on Twitter Pitch Parties. I’d also encourage spec fiction writers to enter the Writers of the Future Contest. Concentrating on short stories can really hone your skills, and winning is probably one of the easiest ways to a publishing deal.

Spotlight: A. M. Deese

Introducing A. M. Deese who has recently signed her young adult fantasy novels Ignited, slated for release in 2018, and Submerged, slated for release in 2019, with Radiant Crown Publishing. Desiree DeOrto Designs will handle cover design. Editing, map-making, and more will soon be underway. For now, get to know A. M. Deese as an author and the world of the Dance of the Elements series.

 

 


 

 

Synopsis:

A NOBLE DAUGHTER.

A FORMER SLAVE.

SCORCHED EARTH AND DANGEROUS GAMES

“Jura imagined it sounded like rain.”

Juggling death is nothing new for seventeen-year-old Jura, daughter of the First of the Thirteen, successive rulers of the Republic of the Sand Sea. However, when a blood chain ensnares her father, she is thrust into the seat of power and forced to rule her elders.

To Tylak, water had never tasted sweeter.”

Jura must track down her father’s assassin and balance a country on the verge of collapse. To find the Prince of Shadows and uncover the truth, Jura puts her trust in Tylak, a former slave accused of stealing from the Everflame—a man she once condemned to death.

In a world where water is currency and enemies lurk around every corner, Jura will use her wits or risk igniting a world war.


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I’ve never wanted to be anything else. My aunt (who is only 8 months older than me) learned to read before I did and I remember being insanely jealous of the skill. I wrote my first story when I was around four or five years old. It was about dinosaurs. I’m pretty sure my grandmother has that yellow legal pad floating around somewhere.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

Well, when I get consumed by a scene it’s hard to think of anything else, I must write the scene down immediately! However, I don’t plot out my stories, I prefer to let the characters tell me what to say. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the characters don’t always know what’s best for the plot. Whenever I find myself stuck in a scene I go outside and pace around my deck, usually while on the phone with my (oh so patient) sister. I’m trying to get better at outlining but I fear it will always be a struggle for me.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

I think in today’s world it is increasingly important to share diversity in fiction. We’re so fortunate to live in a world that can share information faster than it takes to whisper Google. I think readers are ready to meet unique characters who are a departure from the genre stereotypes. I find it easier to connect with protagonists with realistic flaws; no character is purely good or heroic and no character is purely evil. Ignited has several different points of view and readers discover its world through the eyes of characters from varying characters each with their own unique outlook on the plot.

4. What do you think makes a great young adult title? How do you think the first two books in your four book series Ignited and Submerged fit into or vary from that description?

If there is a formula for what makes a great young adult title I’d like to know it! I suppose what makes a title great is in its ability to clearly and quickly excite the reader and hint toward the book’s plot. I hope Ignited and Submerged give the reader a sense of action and excitement as well as give hints toward its plot.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

Writing has given me a wider perspective, I tend to look at things from different points of view because I love diving into the minds of two differing characters. I also think it has affected me in the sense that everything is a story to me. I see or hear something and my natural reaction is what if

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Ignited and Submerged? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

I’m probably most excited to share my world. As a child, a favorite game of mine was “pretend.” Pretend I’m a unicorn, or pretend the ground is lava, pretend I’m a wizard… I suppose I never grew up in that way, I enjoy the process of creating a unique new world and sharing that vision with others. I hope the world of Ignited is a new experience for my readers. I want them to be intrigued by the mysteries of the world and lose themselves in its exploration. Although, I do also have a soft spot for a few of my characters, Kay already has a spin-off series dancing in my head.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women?

Don’t listen. Don’t listen when someone tells you you’re not good enough or when you receive a rotten rejection letter. Don’t listen to the inner guilt at the hours you spend writing (when you could be a better daughter, wife, mother, etc) Don’t. Listen. And never give up.

Spotlight: Ambrose Stolliker

IMG_9916

Introducing Ambrose Stolliker. He will be the first author in our eBook and audiobook imprint Legion next year. Abbie Waters has just completed the first round of proofreading and more edits are coming soon. Till then, get to know the author behind this Civil War themed horror story!


Synopsis:

Spring, 1865. The Southern armies are close to defeat. Union Cavalry Commander Philip Sheridan has loosed his scouts into the Virginia countryside in search of an opportunity to intercept and destroy Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Rebel army and bring the war to an end.

One such scout is Captain Benjamin Lawson, a man haunted by the burden of command and the scenes of senseless slaughter he has endured at places like Antietam and Gettysburg. His sole desire is to see his men survive the final days of the terrible conflict that has engulfed the country for five bloody years.

The fortunes of war, however, have another fate in store for Lawson and his men, Sergeant Jordy Lightfoot and Corporal Emil Boyd. On a dark, rainy night, Lawson’s party of scouts stumbles into a large group of Rebel cavalry. All Hell breaks loose. Two of his men are killed outright, and Lawson, Lightfoot and Boyd barely manage to escape into a thick forest.

There, Lawson discovers that the young corporal has been gravely wounded. Determined not to lose yet another man under his command, Lawson heads for a small, out-of-the-way town called Old Hollow in the hopes of finding a doctor who can help the dying boy. What he finds instead is far more terrifying than anything he has witnessed on the battlefield. Soon, he and his men are in a fight for their lives against a twisted preacher who has struck a diabolical covenant with an ancient, unspeakable evil.


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I think I’ve wanted to be a storyteller from a very early age. Like many people in their early to mid-forties, my love of storytelling was born on a warm, summer day in 1977 when my mother took me and my older sister to a movie theater to see Star Wars. The movie and the story made an indelible impression on me. The story and mythology of Star Wars were presented on such a grand scale, how could it have not made an impression on me? From then on, I loved listening to and telling stories. Not long after, I developed a deep love of reading, especially fantasy, science fiction and horror. I wrote my first book, an unfinished fantasy novel, at the age of nine, and have been pretty much writing nonstop since then, either as a newspaper and magazine journalist or as a fiction writer.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I spent twelve years banging out 12-inch to 20-inch news stories in noisy newsrooms at daily and weekly newspapers. You’d think I’d be able to work in just about any environment and still write and write well, but when it comes to fiction, I can’t. I need silence. Some writers can listen to heavy metal while they write, but not me. I’ve got to have quiet, which isn’t always possible when you’ve got a rambunctious four-year-old boy in your house. Luckily, I have a nice, quiet office where I can close the door and focus on the work.

3.RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

Hopefully, it means we’ll see more stories featuring characters and themes that are outside the normal clichés we see in so much writing today. The best stories always feature characters that do the exact opposite of what’s expected, or what society as a whole perceives as the norm. I think great writing challenges our preconceived notions about the world we live in and the lives we lead.

4. What do you think makes a great horror story? How do you think your piece Old Hollow fits into or varies from that description?

I’d characterize Old Hollow as a classic horror story set during the Civil War. I think any horror story worth reading has to do two primary things – gradually build a feeling of suspense or dread and tell a story wherein the reader becomes invested in the fate of the main characters. Almost as important, I think, is setting. It just so happens that I am a Civil War buff and have spent a great deal of time reading about and researching the conflict that defined so much of who we are as Americans today.  Being well versed in that particular time period makes it easy (and enjoyable) for me to create evocative settings for the reader. Old Hollow is not the first Civil War story I’ve written, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

Well, every time a writer puts pen to paper, asks someone to read something they’ve written or submits a story for publication, they’re taking a chance at being rejected. In one sense, I think my career as a journalist helped me develop a pretty thick skin where my writing was concerned. It just became part of my everyday life to receive and absorb criticism of the material I’d turned into my editors. For the most part, I knew their criticisms always came from a good place – either a desire to make the story better for the reader, or to make me a better writer, or, under the best of circumstances, both. So, when I started writing fiction and submitting it for publication, it never really fazed me when the rejections started rolling in. Like most writers, I had moments of self-doubt that I would ever get published, but I never really considered giving up. Now, my ambition is to be able to write horror fiction full time, and I’m not there yet. Sometimes, I worry I’ll never get there. But that doesn’t stop me from writing.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Old Hollow? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

The characters, first and foremost. Writing about Benjamin Lawson, Jordy Lightfoot, Emil Boyd, Nan Forrester and Preacher John was a lot of fun. Each one brings something different and important to the story. Lawson and Jordy are probably my two favorite characters in Old Hollow because they’re both so very different from one another. At the same time, they complement one another in critical ways, and function well together as they try to navigate and survive the war and the situation in which they find themselves in Old Hollow. I love the dialogue between the characters too, especially Jordy’s dialogue. His voice and patois were really fun to write. Finally, I love the themes that emerged as I wrote and revised the story over three separate drafts – the danger and inherent hypocrisy of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism; the sense of brotherhood and comradery that is developed between soldiers during times of war; the notion that one’s word and personal honor stand for something, even (and perhaps especially) when given to someone we might consider an enemy; and the importance of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there?

Easy. Write as often as you can, and read as much as you can. I try to write at least 1,000 words a day, five days per week. I don’t always accomplish that, but that’s my goal. I don’t think one can become adept at anything if one isn’t willing to practice and put in the time necessary to develop one’s craft. Also, I’ve learned over the years, both as a journalist and a fiction writer, that the real work begins with the second draft. First drafts are easy. First drafts are fun. You’re basically just vomiting the words, story and characters onto the page, and not thinking too much about plot, or how good the writing is – at least that’s how I approach first drafts. But revision? Revision is hard. And essential. Finally, you’re going to face a lot of rejection and criticism. I started writing seriously in my early thirties. I sold my first story when I was 36 or 37. It took about seven or eight years to make that first sale. Then I had to wait another year or so for the second. I’m 43 now, and STILL not writing full-time, so that should give aspiring writers an idea of what it takes to make it in this business. I consider myself marginally successful in having secured a dozen or so publishing credits that netted me any kind of money. It’s a long haul. It’s natural and even healthy to get discouraged once in a while, but the one thing a serious writer can absolutely not do is to stop writing. So, don’t.

Spotlight: Rebecca Lee

Introducing Rebecca Lee who will be releasing a limited print run of her novelette Object Relations: A Novelette with RCP!  Here’s your chance to get to know Rebecca before it comes out.


Synopsis:

Object Relations Theory: A form of psychoanalytic theory postulating that people relate to others in order to develop themselves.

Through long divisions of interpretation, words sectioned into sentences. Uncomfortable, they bunched together, worried their independence lost. Together, all the words decided they should be bound in unison forever. Their books stain the beliefs that we continue to hold.

Rebecca Lee’s collection of vignettes demonstrates the various imaginary relationships of personified objects. From door knobs to smartphones, everyday encounters come alive.


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I have always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I could pick up a pen, I’ve been glued to various notebooks. I love the sensation of hiding my words behind paper. It feels like I’m telling a secret to myself.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I like to believe that everything has a perspective. If two people can look at the same thing and come up with several different stories, that means it exists and is therefore writing-worthy.

3.RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

I think the word ‘ordinary’ is really fascinating. Even a word that is supposed to mean common, has a million different definitions depending on who you are talking to. With every object that is fictionalized in my book, I try to show a side that may not have been previously thought about. That way ‘normal’ can have several representations.

4. What made you start a blog? Has it influenced your writing in general? How did Object Relations come about?

I’ve been writing in a blog since I was 14. At first it influenced my writing because I wrote for friends. Descriptions I would have poured out in my journal, transformed into stories that I thought friends might find amusing. Object Relations came about early on. When I was a child I would write about object’s personified. I guess I always hung onto it because I could shape something that wasn’t real into anything I wanted.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I’ve been writing almost my whole life, so I can’t imagine what I (or my life) would be like without it. I’d like to say it’s made me take chances and risks I might not have otherwise taken, but I have no idea. It’s my brain. For better or worse, it’s always a part of me.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Object Relations? Ex). A particular vignette or object?

There are many sides to the same coin. (Bad pun I know)

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women?

Write every day. Whether you’re a woman or a man, dedication and discipline are a lasting marriage.

Spotlight: Amber R. Duell

Introducing Radiant Crown Publishing’s debut author Amber R. Duell! Her novel, Fragile Chaos, is a young adult fantasy and romance that will be released next year. It’s been edited by the lovely Leah Brown, and the cover design is currently underway. Proofreading, map-making, and much more is on the horizon. But first, here’s your chance to get to know Amber and her story a bit more.


Synopsis:

A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.

AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.

BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.

“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.

“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

Deep down I’ve always wanted to be an author but it wasn’t until after floundering through a few different majors in college that I decided to follow my heart. Having grown up listening to fairy tales and fantastical adventures, writing always called to me. Making the impossible possible. Discovering the answer to what if? Traveling to places where magic is real and anything can happen. There’s no better feeling than the spark of a new story igniting.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I tend to listen to the same handful of songs over and over when I write. Sometimes they change with the manuscript, sometimes not. Also, I write in layers. My first draft is more like a glorified 30-40k word outline, followed by separate drafts to add in character arcs, world-building, ect.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

It’s very exciting to see books coming out that explore different cultures, races, and sexuality. Whether it’s in our world or fantasy, it’s so very important that everyone is able to find characters they easily identify with. The same with unexpected protagonists. They show that a flawed character with a sketchy past and habit of doing things the unconventional way can succeed with bravery and good intentions. No one is perfect and I love that showcasing unexpected protagonists proves that’s okay.

4. What do you think makes a great young adult title? How do you think your piece Fragile Chaos fits into or varies from that description?

Relatable characters and emotional truths. I think seeing a character make mistakes, then making proactive choices to overcome them, is important. As is not stereotyping teenagers as whiny or self-absorbed when there are so many intelligent, caring teens out there. Fragile Chaos deals with heavier topics, like war, but centers on the characters and the choices they make. They aren’t always right but through their story, they make realizations that help them grow.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

It definitely makes me view things differently. To understand every character, I have to understand their motivation which means stepping into their shoes. It’s taught me to look at all sides of an argument and, while I don’t have to agree, it is important to understand and consider all viewpoints.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Fragile Chaos? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

There is one scene I’m rather partial to but can’t specify without spoilers. A lot leads up to that moment. I’m also looking forward to sharing the new pantheon of gods.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women?

Don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s okay to be a writer. If you have a story within you, let it out. Do it because you love it. There will always be naysayers but have confidence in yourself. Use every can’t and won’t to fuel your passion. Pour yourself into the work and, whether it’s your first manuscript or your tenth, you can and you will.