Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A GOTHIC FANTASY SERIES PRAISED FOR ORIGINALITY....THE FERGUS SHE



I’m delighted to introduce my blog guest, Cheryl R. Cowtan, an educator and fantasy author, whose book 2 in The Fergus She series, “Master of Madhouse”, is available for pre-order on Amazon. 

WHEN DID YOUR PASSION FOR STORY TELLING SEIZE YOU?
I was known as the Queen of Campfire Storytelling in public school. Not the coolest cat on the block, but I was certainly entertaining. I got my stories from old guys who got their kicks telling scary stories to kids, from the many horror and gothic novels I was consuming at a young age, and from the creepy imaginings of my own brain as it processed all this thrilling stimulation. Being able to transfer these ideas and stories onto paper is the big payoff for me. I’m keeping the urban legends alive and kicking, expanding on ancient story forms, and hopefully affecting my readers. That makes me happy.

YOUR SERIES IS NAMED, “THE FERGUS SHE”, WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE?
As a Canadian fan of Stephen King, I grew up knowing more about Maine than Montreal. I was a voracious reader, but rarely, did I ever read about Canadian cities or towns in novels during the 70s and 80s, and so I decided I would someday make sure my geography would factor in my own writing. I’d love to say I cleverly chose “The Fergus She” for historical or other significance, but the thinking behind the series conception went something like this: 

After reading a number of vampire texts, I noticed the vampire experience almost always occurs from an outside catalyst (getting fanged by a vamp). Then I thought, imagine if the protagonist was dragging a vampire around on the inside, only didn't know it. And imagine if that vampire was a petulant, but deadly Scarlett O’Hara character. And image if the protagonist thought this inner demon was mental illness. And imagine if I added a sexy highlander like Jamie from the "Outlander" series, and then of course, I'd have to have him betray my protagonist, because love hurts. Sucks, really. So, the highlander would resurrect the inner "she-V" and my protagonist would lose control over her life. How horrible for my protagonist, Rachel, UNLESS that resurrection occurred through the best sex ever, and it was worth being possessed by the she, to be with the highlander. And … highlanders… Oh yeah, the Fergus Highland Games – that’s a good place I could sell my book… I used to live in Fergus. I like the sound of “The Fergus She”… it has a ring. Yes, that’s the name of my new series—The Fergus She.

However, since that caffeine-jacked thinking process, I’ve learned Fergus is a popular Scottish male name with origins of “man” and “vigor” and “force” and “choice”—a perfect origin combination for a story about a Scottish clan chosen by a demon to serve her resurrection.
It was only later, upon visiting a distant Irish relative of mine, that I learned of the tale of leanhaun shee, a beautiful woman or fairy mistress who takes a mortal lover and inspires him creatively while enslaving his will, which leads to madness and early death. This woman or fairy legend hails from Celtic tales as leannán sí, Scottish Gaelic stories as leannan sith, and is also known as leannán sídhe.
So, in the end, the title, “The Fergus She” matched up to the storyline, even if I didn’t purposefully or consciously plan it all out that way. 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR SERIES PROTAGONIST.
The main protagonist in “Girl Desecrated” book 1 of The Fergus She series, Rachel is a whoring, boozing, eighteen-year-old who has been damaged by a religiously fanatical mother and a loveless childhood. Even worse, she is possessed. When Rachel learns there is a demon slumbering inside, and it’s wed to an old school vampire, she must find a way to reverse her own possession, or be bound to the demon’s vampire husband, Gräfen, forever.

Gräfen is an evil "Mr. Darcy"-- a land-holding, old school vampire. When Rachel appears at his Gothic mansion, her human frailty lights his candle.Victim to Gräfen's sadistic desires and surrounded by a bedlam of servants, Rachel tries to befriend the count's enemies to escape. But the lines of good and evil are not always clear, and Rachel soon finds herself suffocating in a deadly tangle.Will she be able to escape the madhouse before the master goes too far?

WILL RACHEL BE SHARING THE ROLE OF PROTAGONIST IN BOOK 2, “MASTER OF MADHOUSE”? IF SO, WITH WHAT CHARACTER.
The story of Scarlett’s past will continue in the second book. Scarlett’s story of her time as William Cane’s wife at the colony of Jamestown, Virginia runs alongside Rachel’s own adventure. It’s a measured unravelling of one stop in the multitude of timelines Scarlett has lived in. Her story at the colony begins in, “Girl Desecrated” and will deepen in book 2 as we find out how the Puritans and the Powhatans deal with a demon in their midst.

JUDGING FROM BOOK REVIEWS ON GIRL DESECRATED, 1984 (BOOK 1), FANS EAGERLY AWAIT PUBLICATION OF THE SEQUEL.  A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S BOOKLIFE REPORT GIVES “GIRL DESECRATED” A 9/10 FOR BOOK CONCEPT “ORIGINALITY”, AND PRAISES YOUR WRITING AS “COMPELLING” AND “EVOCATIVE”, A WRITING STYLE THAT “KEEPS THE PAGES TURNING”! THIS IS INDEED HIGH PRAISE FOR A DEBUT NOVEL.

LET’S TALK ABOUT “MASTER OF MADHOUSE, 1894”.
In Master of Madhouse, a classic bedlam gothic of entrapment, macabre misadventure, and male dominance, Rachel experiences full possession under Scarlett’s reign. As Scarlett trashes what is left of Rachel’s life, she releases control to Rachel and then sets up situations in which Rachel will have to choose to once again be locked in her body. These manipulations eventually backfire, and Rachel finds a way to stay topside. But, in her fight for freedom, she taps into Scarlett’s skills and ends up running right into the arms of Scarlett’s husband, vampire lord and master of his estate, which seems frozen sometime in the late 1800s. Rachel has a history of making unwise decisions, and this novel will continue that tradition as Rachel attempts to unravel the mysteries of Gräfen’s home and history in an attempt to escape his brutal courtship. 

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DIFFERENT TIME PERIODS IN YOUR DARK FANTASY SERIES?
My series uses a lot of mirroring symbolism, dual lives, two sides of the same, dichotomy and juxtaposition in order for me to present my themes of identity and choices. The periods 1984 and 1894 are mirrored periods, the first I chose just for the fun of a 1980s hard rock setting, and the second was my flip, but also a favourite time period for my own reading pleasure in which novels like American Gothic are set, and novels like The Picture of Dorian Gray and some of my favourite Sherlock mysteries were written.

WHEN WILL BOOK 2 BE AVAILABLE?
I’m planning to release Master of Madhouse before April of this year. Readers may pre-order through Amazon. 
Author, Cheryl R. Cowtan

 SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CHERYL R. COWTAN
Goodreads Page+

Monday, 29 January 2018

CRIME THRILLER AUTHOR INTERVIEWED ON ERIN RADIO 91.7 FM


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 A shout out to Erin Radio 91.7 FM for inviting me to be a guest on their show on Jan. 17. I did readings from "Targeted" and "Death's Footprint" and was interviewed on my two novella crime thrillers co-authored by Gloria Ferris. This 30-minute radio interview will air on the radio station's Spring Open Book series and be available as a podcast on their web site.

 Details on books in her series Amazon.ca http://tinyurl.com/yb7reslb

 

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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

AUTHOR, GLORIA FERRIS HAS DONE IT AGAIN



 I'm delighted to start the new year off by interviewing Gloria and showcasing this novel.

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE IMAGES IN THE COVER DESIGN FOR SKULL GARDEN?
Skull Garden is the third in the Cornwall & Redfern Mystery series which is set in a small town with a greenhouse enterprise to which many of the characters have a strong connection. This glass cathedral in the forest has been the scene of attempted murder, illicit plots, and romantic interludes. In Skull Garden, my protagonist, Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall, takes on the task of combing the back roads of the county to locate abandoned cemeteries and document the tombstone data. However, she finds more than overgrown graves in these gardens of the dead. Or, should I say, she finds LESS.

YOU’VE WON AWARDS FOR YOUR WRITING OF LIGHT MYSTERIES. IS IT A CHALLENGE TO INJECT HUMOUR INTO MURDER PLOTS? 
The crimes in my mystery novels are treated with deadly seriousness. I don’t purposefully add humour to the characters or the situations they find themselves in. It just happens. Apparently, it’s my style of writing, so I’ve decided to embrace what comes naturally and roll with it.

MYSTERY AND WICCANS ARE MENTIONED IN YOUR BACK COVER BLURB. WOULD YOU DESCRIBE SKULL GARDEN AS A BLEND OF GENRES?
No, I don’t think it is. The Cornwall & Redfern mysteries are grounded in the real world. The Wiccan secondary storyline that pervades Skull Garden reflects today’s growing interest in earth magic. No one is levitating or casting love spells, but there is a Midsummer ritual which celebrates the return of darkness to the natural world. Bliss reluctantly attends, and this transitions into the pivotal scene near the end.

THE NOVELS IN THIS SERIES HAVE A BOTANY THEME COMMONALITY. WHICH TITLES ARE AFFILIATED WITH WHAT PLANTS?
In her first appearance in CORPSE FLOWER, Bliss can barely afford gas for her motorcycle. Her cousin offers her a generous fee to help him pollinate two Titan Arum (corpse flower) specimens, and she accepts. Only to become entangled in grow-ops, blackmail, and murder.
SHROUD OF ROSES takes place in winter. The greenhouse is filled with exotic flowers, but it’s a withered bouquet of roses found in an abandoned school that sends Bliss and her posse on a hunt for a killer who has re-appeared to strike again, and again …
As mentioned above, SKULL GARDEN refers to the decaying cemeteries hidden within the forested areas of our rural counties – sacred places of disappearing history. 

FANS HAVE COMMENTED ON THEIR ENJOYMENT OF YOUR QUIRKY STABLE OF CHARACTERS. WOULD YOU SAY THIS SERIES IS CHARACTER OR PLOT DRIVEN?
Hmm. Character or plot driven? I would hope both. Authors are often asked this question, but I enjoy reading novels that contain both strong characters and strong story lines. I admit I will occasionally read a thriller by a well-known author where the plot is so exciting and death-defying, I forget that the characters (while heroic and good-looking) don’t jump off the page – they jump into volcanoes, or off mountains, but not into my heart. After one of these action-packed adventures, I’m good for a while, and want characters I can see, hear, feel and, yes, taste. So, I strive to ensure my books contain both plot and characters the reader will love, or love to hate.

IN ADDITION TO YOUR CORNWALL & REDFERN MYSTERY SERIES, YOU CO-AUTHORED A CRIME THRILLER NOVELLA SERIES WITH ME. WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR WRITING HORIZON?
I’m currently working on a genre-crushing fantasy. I planned it as a serious venture with much battling and blood, but I already know the blood and battles will be accompanied by a sarcastic female protagonist who takes no crap from her enemies, whether human gang members or the supernatural horde at the gates. Her male ally will be strong, handsome, and have muscles up to here.
Now, what else? I have another Cornwall & Redfern adventure in mind. Tentative title: Botanicus Mortus, but that will probably change. Will you and I write a third Blair & Piermont suspense novella? Only time can tell.

Looks like first order of business is to find an assistant. If only. 



 CONTACT INFO

Amazon Author Central Page

SKULL GARDEN LINKS


Universal eBook Link
Link to read 6 free chapters from Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/ybumd7j9








Saturday, 16 December 2017

STEAL TIME FOR READING


 Pamper yourself when the hectic pace of Xmas shopping and meal planning is put to bed. I'm half-way through a mystery novel by B.V. Lawson, Played to Death, that is masterfully written. This author's polished writing voice and unique and entertaining metaphors has been like a breath of Spring air to this Canadian author.

Wishing you a festive & safe holiday season with
Time for Reading

Donna J. Warner, a Canadian crime thriller author's Charlie Brown Xmas Tree

Sunday, 10 December 2017

THIS THRILLER HAS IT ALL...A CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY GONE WRONG

This book has attracted readers who enjoy a story that can be read in a couple of hours, has many plot twists, suspenseful moments, lots of action, humour, and romantic antics.



Excerpts of a few 5-star reviews on Amazon:
"Great read!"
"Terror in the Caribbean. This thriller has it all."
"A tightly paced thriller."
"A read with elements everyone enjoys."
"You'll enjoy this novella.  I guarantee it."
Link Amazon.com

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

*DON'T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF OVERWRITING*


As an author/editor, I’m always looking for fiction writing and editing tips to share with visitors to my blog (www.djwarnerconsulting.blogspot.ca) and with participants at my writing workshops.  Below is an excerpt from Joanna Penn’s web site that I hope you will find helpful.  She suggests most genre fiction should tell the story in simple terms without ornamentation. A recommendation I support.  To read the full article and many more articles by Joanna Penn, go to:  http://www.Thecreativepenn.com


1.      Go ahead and overwrite to your hearts content in your first manuscript draft;
2.      Take a breather and step away from your work. It takes time to transition from your creative thinking to editing.
3.      Read your manuscript twice before starting to edit. Then convert to a PDF and click on the drop down menu, “Read aloud”.  Listening to someone else read your work will pick up problems you may have missed. I also find it helpful to print a copy and do one edit with a pen in hand.
4.      Look for markers of overwriting:
a.       Language usage that shouts, “I have a dictionary and a thesaurus”. Use these valuable tools sparingly;
b.      Make sure the dialogue is natural for your characters;
c.       Check for overly long sentence structure, paragraphs, and chapters;
d.      Don’t overuse adjectives and adverbs;
e.       Ensure you don’t repeat details, e.g. the eye colour of a character.
5.      Get honest and constructive feedback from beta readers (not only family members and close friends).  Be sure that your beta readers are familiar with your genre.
6.      Edit your manuscript many times. You’ll find things to improve every go through. Seek input from a professional fiction editor on the final draft.

7.      Read your manuscript from the perspective of a reader in case an error has slipped through the many edits. Then, let it go and see if it soars.