Posts Tagged ‘pirates’

Blog Hop! The Next Big Thing: The Martlet

We are taking a break today from the Faminelands talk so I can be part of this Blog Hop! First I want to thank the talented author Dan Thompson for nominating me to  be part of this blog hop. His next project, The Caseworker’s Memoirs, will be released in late Spring 2013, but his feature length YA Fantasy novel, The Black Petal, has no release date as of yet. Check out his post about The Next Big Thing: The Black Petal.

What is the working title of your next book?

My very next release is a graphic novel entitled Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse which comes out in ten days at Emerald City Comic Con, but I am going to focus on The Martlet because it is my next written novel.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

First of all, I love epic fantasy and horror, especially vampires, elves, and other mystical long-lived beings. One day, I thought about what if a being with a life span of a 1000 years might decide that it is just not enough time. And I came up with a character than was supposed to be in Faminelands an elvish nobleman who turned into a vampire. But he never fit. So I had to cut him and consider I would write about him another time. This character became Lord Roark.

Character Sketch of Lord Roark

Character Sketch of Lord Roark

Then I began thinking, what if the spirit is eternal, but the Universe is random. Though most inhabitants of the Universe believe otherwise, the prior life has no bearing on Resurrection. It is chance in this Universe. Your spirit might go to any one of twelve diminsions which are referred to as The Realms. Roark decides he likes being a Fairsinge nobleman, so he does not want to Resurrect.

Then Roark’s story began to develop into Kian’s story. Kian is Roark’s consort. I did know it would be a homosexual relationship, but I felt that Kian was a good counterpart to Roark. Kian and Roark love each other, so much that they would never be parted, not by death.

Them the book began to shift as the other characters came into view…Mira and Eohan. Mira is Roark’s neice and someone he can teach and love as a parent loves a child. Eohan was a colleague and Kian’s protector first and the men became friends after Roark named Kian his consort.

Then I knew it wasn’t just this one insane guy, there was four people. Four people can make anything seem almost normal…

Lady Mira as a grown woman. 

What genre does your book fall under?

I consider this epic fantasy, but there is some horror and science fiction involved.

Who would play your characters in a film?

Hugh Jackman would play Eohan. His looks are similar to how I imagined him and how he played Wolverine and his relationship with Rouge is similar to how Eohan looks at Mira during her adolescence. He is her weapons master, yet even when tasked to be a “parent”, he is still a friend.

Now the rest of the actors would have to dye their hair in tones of auburn, but Ryan Reynolds can play someone who cracks jokes while killing vampires so I think he could play Roark who cracks wise while Kian experiments on the corpses. He too can joke around with a child in the dangerous scene as he did in Blade 3.

Kian is a hardest role to fulfill because young actors are generally pretty and who ever would play him would be losing a lot of weight. Maybe Zac Efron.

For Mira we would need at least two actresses, maybe three. (She begins the novel as an infant, five year old, a prepubescent child of eleven/twelve, and then a young woman between 18-23) Emma Rigby would be a good choice as the young woman. She definitely has the look. My mom mentioned Jennifer Lawrence.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The Martlet is an epic tale of friendship and betrayal about four assassins who play with necromancy on the side.

Will your next book be self-published or represented by an agent?

Choice C: Neither. I don’t have an agent, but I would like it to be traditionally published. I have sent it to 48Fourteen as they published Other Systems. It has not been accepted as of yet.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

1 month. All first my drafts take 1 -2 months, but they are in horrible shape. My entire process takes seven to nine months before I send it out to a publisher.

What other books would you compare this story to in the genre?

RA Salvatore’s The Sellswords Series: Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King and The Road of the Patriarch follow the wily drow mercenary Jaxele.

Andrazej Sapkowski’s Witcher Series deals with some of the same issues, but in a completely different way.

Stan Nicholls’ Orcs books and and have about the same level of violence and humor.

Though it is horror novel: Anne Rice’s  Interview with a Vampire shows the immorality of their lifestyle pretty well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Aistiu_spaceIt wasn’t a who or a what. It was a when. As I said, I had this idea for awhile. However I wrote The Martlet after I finished Other Systems and had a rough draft of Other Systems #2. Other Systems is a cerebral adventure. Abby and the crew of the Revelation is simply a survey team, not warriors. They don’t get into battles. (Readers may remember the crew runs from danger more than once.) In Other Systems #2, Ellie uses her mind to keep her from getting in trouble. Also Other Systems really deals with “good but flawed people.”

So I wanted to write a book that was a swashbuckling adventure with a quest to defeat death. The main characters kill people and steal bodies. They drink blood in order to stay young. Avarice defines them.

I wanted to see if I could write evil characters that people loved as much as they loved the characters in Other Systems. It would be challenge and I love to stretch my skills with a challenge.

So to make characters that people might want to read about, they need to be more than just cold blooded killers. The quality that they share with the readers is love: romantic, filial, and fraternal. The other attribute Roark and Mira share is a sense of duty to their family. Roark is the third born and in noble Fairsinge society the third born generally vows to live by valor to improve the reputation of their Plas (House) with deeds of service and gallantry. And since Roark’s morals are off, that is how he sees himself. He believes if he defeats death his Plas will be safe forever.

The story begins with one of Roark’s experiment gone awry. Wanting to see if it is possible, Roark, Kian and Eohan to direct a soul into the body of his elder sister’s new baby.  Orla wants to keep the baby, but her husband who has no interest in eternal life, thinks the child should be drowned in the Expanse. In a moment of sentiment, Roark suggests that he raise the child to be a Martlet to take the place of the third born son that Orla lost in battle. He does not give Orla or her husband time to argue. He takes the newborn with him and demands yearly child support payments for her upkeep.

Roark, Kian and Eohan might be evil, but they are not sadists. They are not abusive to her or anyone else–because that wouldn’t be fun to write. They dote upon her. They make it clear she must become a Martlet in order to have a place in her family. If she does not, her mother’s husband will probably kill her. This is a real threat to her well being. Mira is going through puberty before she ever steps in her Plas to take her vow as a Martlet. He believes she should join the Guild as he did and become an assassin so she can live a better life than a poor knight errant scraping by on the pitiful allowance they receive as Martlets. However Mira has seventy-five years of warrior/assassin training before her uncle allows her to do a job without himself or Eohan beside her.

The reader understands Mira’s want of love from her mother and her devotion to the uncle who raised her. And most importantly they will see why when Roark dishonored by the Guild and Eohan is turned into a zombie, Kian finds the knowledge in order for Mira can save them. They are a family unit.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Martlet has so many things that personally I think are fun: assassins, big ships crossing the Expanse, pirates, slavery, misdirection, zombies, helpful demons, elves, uncaring universe, true love and dimensional physics.

Check out The Martlet Webpage and/or LIKE The Martlet Facebook Page for updates!

Now for the next participant in the Blog Hop, I’m going to nominate Author, Candace Knoebel! Her award winning debut novel, Born in Flames, has had wonderful reviews and Book 2 in the Series in on its way. Check out her blog next!born-in-flames-final

The Martlet is finished!

I have finished my next novel, The Martlet an epic tale of friendship and betrayal about four assassins who play with necromancy on the side. Though this book does follow many of the tenants of epic fantasy, the story is full of rich characters that the reader will love to hate. I’m sending the novel to 48Fourteen first. While I do not know if they will be interested in this title since it is a different genre than Other Systems. Also it has four protagonists and they are all villains. Still I am curious to see what they say.
The novel opens with Lady Mira on a job to clean up a situation.
“Dressed in loosely woven flax rags and careful to keep my weapons covered, I stepped out of the Expanse into Vodnik Territory, and looked across the dusty port city. While I watched the on-goings of both commoners and nobility, clothed as I was, the populace ignored me. I meandered towards the Great House. I heard no rumors of the scandal I had come to set right.Good.”
She has enough to do, but runs into her uncle Roark who has been drinking blood of the living in order that he might have eternal youth. His presence effects her more than she lets on.

“Though his footfalls were inaudible, I felt his presence leave my side as he walked back towards the banquet hall. Outwardly I was serene, but inwardly confused and fuming. Lost memories inundated my mind. I wanted to laugh and keen at once.

When I was little, Roark used to tell me he read my developing mind in his sister’s womb and loved me before I was even born. Of course, like all members of the Guild, Roark is a born liar. Still I loved my daughter while she grew within my womb, so maybe he’s telling the truth. Part of me hopes he is.

Regardless, it is a mistake to trust him. It always has been.”


Lord Roark and his companions Kian and Eohan, seek life eternal. After all, a Fairsinge only has a thousand years to live and that is simply not enough time. Their latest attempt is to direct the spirit of their  fallen comrade Lady Elana into Roark’s new born niece. When it is obvious that the experiment failed and the babe was nothing more than any other child, it is suggested she should be drowned in the Expanse. However as a Martlet, Roark sees victory even in the darkest failure. In an uncommon fit of remorse, Roark takes the child whom he names Mira and trains her in both the way of the Martlet and the Guild. Mira grows into a gallant warrior, however in their quest for eternal life, Roark and his companions plays fast and loose with Guild Law. When Roark is dishonored and Eohan is turned into a zombie during an experiment, Kian rushes to save them while Mira journeys to Underworld to bring back one of their own before he resurrects.

Special Guest Interview Rayne Hall!

Halloween is coming–so this week I have a very special guest horror author and editor, Rayne Hall!

Portrait of Rayne Hall by Leah Skerry

Rayne Hall has published more than thirty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and more.

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more.

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website

Alright, on to the questions: When did you know you wanted to tell stories?

The stories we had to read in primary school were yawnishly dull, so I made up my own. When I was six, I told the teacher the stories were stupid and I could write better ones.  She took me up on it – bless her! – and gave me this assignment:  a story about a letter’s adventures from writing to delivery. When I handed it in, she was startled that a six year-old could write so well. Of course, she didn’t know I’d had the help of my older sister. From then on, when the other kids had to read the dull pieces for their homework, she often assigned me to write stories, and I soon learnt to do it without my sister’s help.

Where do you get your ideas & inspiration?

Most of my horror story ideas come from my own fears – things that frighten me, places that creep me out, nightmares that keep me awake at night. Thousands of ideas flutter around in my head at the same time. Sometimes, two or three of those ideas click together like jigsaw pieces, and that’s when a story starts to form. The location is almost always one of the first pieces to click. I like to set my stories in unusual, atmospheric places.


What do you think is scarier in a horror story: tension or gore?

Definitely tension! If the gore mounts up in a story, the shocking effect soon wears off, and the readers get bored instead of horrified.  Tension, on the other hand, keeps the reader hooked. In horror fiction, gore is optional. Some stories need gore, others don’t. Personally, I enjoy reading horror that’s low in violence and gore, but rich in tension and suspense. As a writer, I don’t shy away from gore if the plot requires it, and I have written graphic descriptions, but most of my horror stories are more psychological than gory.

How do you accomplish scaring the audience in your own writing?

I like to make the main character’s experience so vivid that the readers sees, hears, smells and feels everything as if it was happening to them.

I put the character into a dangerous situation – usually something they’ve brought about themselves – and then I take away every chance of support or rescue. The companion storms off after a quarrel, the terrible weather means no one else is around, and then the phone battery goes dead.

If possible, I dip the story into darkness: a powercut shuts off the lights, the campfire burns down, or the wind blows out the candle and clouds hide the moon. With the sense of seeing reduced, the other senses become more intense. The character hears alls sorts of disturbing noises, and she may have to grope her way out of danger.

I have written a book – Writing Scary Scenes – in which I reveal techniques for frightening readers.

What are your biggest fears? (Rational and/or Irrational.)

I have so many fears! The high-pitched whine of a dentist’s drill. Slimy garden slugs. Big spiders in my bathtub. Crowds. Fire. Heights. I’m a real coward, which is a good thing for a horror writer, because I know what it feels like to be afraid, and I never run out of ideas.

Many of my best horror stories are inspired by my own fears. Sometimes, it takes courage to confront that fear in my writing.  Once the story is finished, though, the fear is replaced by a sense of triumph: By fictionalising the fear, I’ve gained control over it. By writing about what frightens me, I can make it less frightening.

Thank you for coming, Rayne!

FYI, Rayne will be watching the comments, so if you have questions for her, please post them in the comments and she will answer them!

I’m on my next reading rampage… First up The Sail Weaver

I met Muffy Morrigan at Norwescon. Three Raven Book’s table was right next to mine and so I must have heard her pitch a hundred times. She and her brother are such nice people and gave me some great advice.

And since I will be taking a bit of time off in order to do some reading, I went ahead and bought her new novel The Sail Weaver.

This book has everything: space battles with the Vermin, tall ships, pirates, and dragons. The characters are interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed Morrigan’s writing style which is detailed without being overbearing, especially her details about the dragons and the codes of conduct/etiquette rules for the Navy as well as the Weavers.

I love CS Forrester’s Horatio Hornblower and a few scenes seemed reminiscent of those books– specifically dinner in the captain’s quarters. Of course, it is Horatio Hornblower set in space. A wonderful story!

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