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Why did I write ‘Quarterling’?

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You may or may not know that The Comyenti Series, from which ‘Quarterling’ is a part of being a spin-off novel, is a fantasy series that as a whole is really close to my heart. It always has been, more so than all my other books. Being a huge animal lover, vegan, and empath myself writing about an alien humanoid species, who are all mind-speaking empaths, and have all these amazing animal abilities, but with their own weaknesses comes almost natural to me. That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise for those that know me. Especially since most of my life I have almost felt like an alien on this world myself! Being sensitive to noise, bright lights, strong smells, fainting in crowds, wanting different things in life than others my age, reading different books, being vegan, and lesbian! I am also quite a private person, so I guess not many people know much about me at all, hence why I started this newsletter in the first place.

But, I digress. All of the main characters certainly feel like different parts of me I wanted to explore. Especially Sula Comyenti who started it all in book 1: Call Off the Search’ which was originally called ‘Small Sacrifice’, and who has been with me from the start shaping the story and series with me, always insisted in getting heard. For a writer it is almost impossible not to listen to those voices in your head! They won’t leave you alone until you write their stories down. No, you are not insane, you are a writer. That is our excuse, at least.
Still, I just love writing every book that is either part of the series or a spin-off story such as Quarterling is, so I really don’t mind. Besides, Sula is always great company.It became clear to me though that after writing the first two books the characters had much more to say and to do before I started writing book three. I knew I just couldn’t fit it all in without losing the main thread of the book and for the readers to lose the plot. These characters, once an adult, deserved each their own story, their own novel. And that is what I am doing. That is the plan at least. Sula has five children so they all get their own book, some even more than one. There are three so far and a fourth is in the making!

There is ‘Chained Freedom’ (Free download here: https://www.amazon.com/Chained-Freedom-Comyenti-Natasja-Hellenthal-ebook/dp/B00IK4OWXE/ ) in which Fay had a brief appearance, but she was only really a side-character like in book 1 and 2, not a main one. So she kept insisting on telling her own story! Her voice grew stronger and louder. I had already told Aigle’s story in ‘City of Dreams’, or at least one of his stories, and I felt it was time for Sula’s first born Fay to really tell hers.
Beside it being a coming of age story and one of unrequited love, and just about being young leaving home for the first time, I have been toying with the idea of writing some of my own experiences down. The things I have witnessed whilst living in Norway, Wales, and the South of France especially have always stayed with me. The animal cruelty and accidents whilst I was out hiking mostly. I wanted to share these experiences with my readers and what better way than through a story? They say, write what you know, and that is what I have always done. I have changed the facts around slightly as in my case I was mostly too late, but not always. Once I did save a nearly drowned sheep from a freezing, roaring river, and one bird out of a football net, but found another sheep dead with her head stuck in a fence and other sheep washed ashore. These images never left me. The rat I saved two years ago still lives with me as I couldn’t find a surrogate mother. Fay reminds me slightly of myself when I was seventeen. Full of big ideas, hopes and dreams, and that life isn’t always how we plan it to be. Love isn’t either. It can come in various forms and may not be what we imagined it to be.
Fay started to tell me her story from the time she left home. It was easy to let her live some of my own experiences and see what she would have done, with or without her super powers. And how I would wish I had those powers often! But then again, she is restricted in some ways. How? Well, you will just have to read the story. 

Speaking of superpowers though, especially a female superhero, saving animals, not people this time, was needed, desperately I felt. I have researched but only found one or two other books with a vegan superhero, but they were all for children… Why, I wonder are animals always associated with children or children’s stories? Don’t adults love animals? Do we outgrow them and their cuteness? Don’t we want to read about their happy ending? Adults love their pets, but often can’t extend it to other animals. Most don’t want to think about the suffering, the exploited animals, at least not enough to want to save them. Vegans do. Luckily. Thus a story was born. Fay was going to be a superhero for the animals with an older audience, okay young adults more precisely as she herself is only seventeen when the story starts, but still, it’s a start. I do hope to reach a broad audience with Fay’s story. That is why there are many more subjects thrown in: coming of age, parents, adventure, romance and a touch of magic.

Well, I won’t ramble on too much as this should just be a little post about what made me want to write ‘Quarterling’. Whilst writing I did try to have an audience in mind. I can imagine other vegans want a hero they can relate to or look up to, so it is for them to have a story to feel at home in without too much violence or visual content. But is still is a story about animal activism and what we can all do, or can’t and about hoping to change people, but how? And if we can, should we and to what ends? There are many questions of a deeper nature. Of right and wrong, of grey areas, and that even if we have certain powers there are even more powerful forces at work we cannot always control, and we find ourselves powerless. It’s a story of wanting to save the world, of change both in and outside of us, of being different and finding our way in the world, of acceptance, of having responsibilities and what it means to be an adult. And I also hope to reach those hearts that haven’t quite made compassionate choices yet. For those who say they love animals. Who knows what changes they will make? One can always hope.

Read more about my inspiration and need for wanting to write this story in the Afterword in ‘Quarterling’now ready for pre-order here: 

Share the link on your social media to share the love, thanks (:

Excerpt

‘Fay, there is no need to lie to me, you know. I have observed you and seen what you can do. You are clearly not from Bhan. If you were, your kind would have surely taken over from the humans.’
‘Why would you say that and what exactly have you see me doing? Wait, it’s from around the time of the market day I have sensed your presence, isn’t it? What did you see me do?’
‘Enough to know that you act as if these animals are your responsibility, but they are not.’
Fay’s eyes widened and she was numb for a moment as if shocked to hear that. ‘Then whose? If it wasn’t for me they would all still be suffering or dead by now!’
‘It’s not for you to decide, to interfere.’
‘What? So, you’re saying that if you see an injustice done to another soul, or an injured creature, you walk away from it? What if it had been members of your own kind caged in that market?’
‘We’ve never been captured,’ Zemandu answered calmly, unaffected.
‘Perhaps you should be so you know what it’s like.’
‘And you do?’
‘Even if I didn’t I would still care. It’s called having a heart. Besides, all of us carry the painful memories of our ancestors in us. It’s enough for us to feel empathy for other species, because we were treated not too dissimilarly. My kind were trapped, not for food, but as curiosities, and when humans couldn’t get what they wanted from us, killed. We were seen as a threat and menace to humanity, not allowed to live side by side with them like you are.’
‘You can fly, you are immensely strong, you can make fires like I can, and you can communicate with all these anima—’ ‘Argh,’ Fay grunted. She had seen all that? How had she let this happen?
‘No need to be shy or worried. I won’t tell anybody. There is always one dominant species on any planet. What, you didn’t think this was the only habitable planet in the entire universe, did you?’

 

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Cover reveal and book launch ‘Quarterling’ count down!

Hey all!

I have been super busy writing my latest novel ‘Quarterling’ which is now in the final stages of editing!

The cover reveal is attached and I am thinking to release it within 2 weeks’ time, so stay tuned for the exact date!

Ready? Drumroll!!! Here comes:

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So, what do you think of the cover and oh, the blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Fay Comyenti has it all: lots of freedom, great parents, a budding romance, and super animal abilities most teenagers can only dream of. Only, those powers have to be kept a secret in order for her kind to stay safe. After being rejected by her love interest, Elodyn, Fay leaves her village to do some good with her skills in the world despite the concerns of her comyenti mother and human father. Even so, she is determined to use her powers to help animals in need, but that’s not always easy without anyone seeing you . . .

Zemandu, the last of the tracar people has been following Fay from a distance for a good reason. The demoness is dying. Attracted by the girl’s altruistic mission, her abilities and her benevolent energy she sees Fay as her last hope.

When Fay and Zemandu — two powerful women of a very different nature, yet both the last of their kind — cross paths, they’ll forever change the course of humanity, but at what cost?

Will Fay risk losing her heart and her innate empathy to the demoness — the very characteristics what makes her a comyenti in the first place —without jeopardising her vital mission?

Follow Fay and Zemandu in this animal-loving, suspenseful dramatic YA novel which is a full stand alone spin-off novel from the popular Comyenti Series.

 

 

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New Cover for Call Off The Search!

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I’ve been thinking to change the cover for ages now as it just wasn’t generating enough sales and I didn’t really like it. It was too dark, too depressing. So, I came across this picture which I bought from Shutterstock. It’s perfect as it portrays Sula, the main character much better. The feathers for her mind merging/flying abilities. The quantity of them; members of her race, vanishing like feathers on the wind. Her bronze skin, her green eyes, but also her sensuality. tThe fact that she looks in the camera with a defiant look, makes her appear stronger which she is, but her mouth depicts vulnerability as well.

What do you think? Would you want to read the book by seeing the cover and reading the blurb:

What if you’re the last of your kind? What if you’re so different you had to hide? Hide from people responsible for the annihilation of your kind? Would you be safe, ever? Could you forgive?

For Sula it’s not so easy. She possesses superpowers of which humans can only dream, but she has one fatal weakness–one which let to the downfall of her people–the comyentis. Jealous of their ability to merge their minds with animals to instill their abilities, people sought her kind out and destroyed them. After living a life in hiding, years searching for others of her kind, Sula faces a difficult choice. With not just her own life but her whole species’ held precariously within her hands, she feels the weight of her responsibility.

Will she be able to overcome her aversion to humans to save her species from total annihilation? And what else is in store for her?
Will she follow her head or her heart?

‘Call Off The Search’, Book One in the supernatural fantasy Comyenti Series, follows Sula as she fights for her new family, her female lover, her hopes, her freedom and the very existence of her species.
The dramatic sequel, ‘Children of The Sun’ is also available on e-book and in paperback.

                                                                                                                                                      
“A fantasy novel that boldly goes where most works in the genre dare not tread.” ~ John R. Dizon,
#1 in lgbt fantasy TOP RATED February-May 2015.

Get yours here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HIRTFZE

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Author Grill Weekend!!!

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I will be on the author grill this coming weekend: May 2nd and 3rd!!! Location: The Lesbian Book Readers Club (on facebook). Get your questions ready and poke me (keep it clean please)! (:

I will also be holding giveaways and contests to test your knowledge of my books. Prizes include free pdf’s of Call Off The Search and The Queen’s Curse. And for the lucky winner a signed paperback of The Queen’s Curse, 4th edition (UK only)! Go here to join:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/557114481075268?refid=17&ref=m_notif&notif_t=like&_ft_=top_level_post_id.768846779897593

See you soon!

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Symbolism and thoughts on short story ‘Chained Freedom’ by Natasja Hellenthal

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“This is not a fairytale, but a true story,” storyteller Tana Woodwolf tells the audience at the start of ‘Chained Freedom’.

This is some more information, symbolism and random thoughts about ‘Chained Freedom’, a thought-provoking fantasy. I’ve written the story some years ago whilst being stuck in a rather, suffocating relationship. I always had the choice to step out sooner than I did, but I didn’t feel ‘free’ enough, or ‘ready’ enough, or even ‘strong’ enough to do so but moreover full of guilt.
Instead, I wrote this story, as all my stories are based on my own life and experiences to some degree. I’m not Tana, mind you, but I feel like I know her really well!
But it’s not just relationships, of any kind, we can relate this story to, and apply it to our lives; it’s any kind of loss of freedom really. Freedom; everyone’s birthright, but so very fragile and easily swept away from us, whether we let it happen consciously, or more than often not. It could also be through religion, our upbringing, conditioning and social dogma’s that we get trapped without giving it a second thought.
When are we really free?

Chained Freedom’ is a short story featuring Fay Comyenti, first daughter of Sula and Felix from the first book in a Fantasy drama series, ‘Call Off The Search’ (Comyenti Series), and how she helps a woman break free from a magical entrapment.
Fay is not the main character, but an important side-character, who reminds the main character of Chained Freedom, Tana Woodwold, of her own inner strength.

Short synopsis:

Tana Woodwolf wakes to find herself trapped within a strange land. She learns quickly from the faces of the others that this is no paradise she has been transported to; it is a prison.
Unable to escape, Tana soon discovers that a dark and malignant force is dragging them, one-by-one, to unreachable higher rooms of the tower from which they never return.
If she is to ever escape from there then she will need to use all the guile and strength she has within her. Does one of the others hold the key? Or is it something else within the prison that she needs to study?
As the darkness comes nearer, a strange voice whispers, ‘Look and be free… You have to let go of what you know.’
Should she trust the voice? Should she trust the others? Does she even have a choice?
As despair and terror closes in around them all, only one person can discover the truth and save them…

Symbolism of Chained Freedom (spoiler alert!)

Tana, once free, is determined to also help free the other slaves. She won’t rest until she has found a way to do so. She cannot be completely free, until then she is still chained. Little does she know that the Wizard is the very embodiment of Evil and can never be defeated. It’s the balance of life, of light and dark, of right and wrong. It is more than that: as long as men continue to do evil, hurt other people, the Wizard will live. Only people with dark thoughts are being transported! That’s the first rule.
As for the other slaves, they are people like Tana, who cannot be broken free from the outside, but themselves will have to try to find a way from the inside.
Some people aren’t ready yet and live with a curtain (the magic wall), closed over their eyes. Others, like Tana, with a little help, can see an opening and find a way to lift the veil to let the light in again; a way to see the world in its true light and find goodness. Hope is the key that can open the heart which is the way. Compassion and love are the door(s).

Tower: Patriarchal dominance and world-leader ship. The prisoners end up there (close to the evil wizard) as a first warning and to actually been given a second choice. Not the real criminals are being put here, as they get a harder punishment, but people, like Tana, with minor crimes.
Prisoners: that’s what we all are unless we break through. Also a reference to ‘free range’ animals, or caged domesticated animals, who can’t escape at all. The prisoners know, like farmed animals, that they will end up dead and live in fear (both have been proven).
Wizard: Pure evil. But really it’s not about him, he is just a symbol. That’s why he has no face, no name, no voice and no real role in the story, because it’s about the slaves and their own inner wizard, their own evil inside of themselves. You can choose to do either good or bad. But you cannot be good to others if you’re not good to yourself first.
Disbelieve of their fate: What have they done wrong to deserve this? That’s a real life question of many people in ‘chained’ or difficult situations.
The Magic wall: the curtain or veil that is drawn over our eyes, making us forget our innocence and to be in touch with the real world around us.
Fay: the helper, someone who believes in Tana, for we all need someone to have faith in us; to do what seems the impossible.
Chains: invisible, but they’re still there. Also our responsibility to help others. We can never be truly free unless the whole world is. Until then we are still half-chained or with
one hand.

The message that Tana is trying to give to other people is: Be good, do good, be kind to one another. If you don’t, you’ll end up in the tower. Because she had found kindness and a love in her own heart, hope and a lightness in her being, maybe by doing good, helping others, she found a way out and the wizard ‘let’ her escape, because she was changed and no longer evil.
I believe that with the right mind-set and help people indeed can change.
This story to me is the ultimate story of good and evil, right and wrong and how we can all fight our own evil in ourselves and help others. Surely by helping others you reduce the evil in your heart. The opening in the wall in the end was bigger and felt easier for Tana to find.

Quotes:

“If you cannot change a situation why not improve the quality of life around you?”

“You see, you’re only chained if you allow yourself to be chained. Your soul, the real you, cannot be put in shackles and will always be free.”

“You can’t possibly make holes in the wall for everyone. I don’t think it works that way,’ Fay said. ‘You’ve seen it with your own eyes. They have to, like you did, create their own doorway.’
‘So, I’ll show them how. I can teach them how to escape, I’m sure I can.’
I had a feeling she didn’t agree with me.
‘I’m not saying you can’t, but how does the old saying go; prevention is better than a cure?”

“The other prisoners and I had one thing in common: our enslavement, chains or not, and there surely would be more people after my leaving, perhaps I had been replaced already.
Am I free?
Even though I could have easily walked away and forgotten all about the mysterious evil wizard and his slaves, I just couldn’t. Until then, my freedom was still in chains.”

End Note:

After nearly ten years of being thrown backwards and forwards, of living in doubt and insecurities, of a life half lived in freedom, half in chains, I managed to free myself from my own forged shackles. But, complete freedom is of course a big word. I will always have my responsibilities as we do, some I created, but since then I’m much stronger and aware and am no longer shackled. The chains I wear these days or made of invisible soft silver cords.
I’m even more conscious of the meaning of freedom and what we are all doing with it once we have it, or what we do to get it back when we don’t.
Every day in freedom is a gift. Many don’t have it and are still fighting that struggle, some have lost their lives.
We are all bound to each other through invisible, silver lines as I call them. They are not just those attached to our family and friends, but to everyone. I believe we owe it to others who are less fortunate and need our help, even if we don’t know them.
We cannot help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

‘Chained Freedom’ is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IK4OWXE

Listen to the book here:http://www.booktrack.com/read/d9408688c713442e8476cf3a46693f5a

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NEW FANTASY RELEASE! CITY OF DREAMS ~FREE this weekend ONLY~

‘CITY OF DREAMS’, available in all formats will be FREE this thanksgiving weekend only.
Share it with your friends and don’t forget to leave me a review, thanks (:

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“Have you ever wondered where stories come from? Where are paintings, sculptures and poetry, prose born? In the artist’s subconscious mind? Dreams? How come some writers and painters roughly have the same idea and come up with similar creations, even though they’ve never read or seen anything by the other or communicated it in any way? Is there such a thing as a ‘Well of Art’ that all artists drink from to be inspired? And if so, how is this accomplished? Whilst asleep? Dreaming? Where is art born?”

Aigle Comyenti is travelling home to be on time for his sister’s wedding. Whilst travelling he hears the last notes of an enchanting tune and makes a sudden decision. He MUST have that song.
The musician however, on her way to an art festival to perform, not only teaches Aigle the melody, but also steals his trusty pendant: the coppery piece given to him by his real father. The jewellery, worthless to the girl, is immensely valuable to the boy and his vanishing kind; the empathetic comyentis. For it is not only the last reminder of his mysterious people but could also be the very key to their unknown past and origin…

The handsome young traveller has no other choice than to follow the girl, but where she is going, Aigle is reluctant to set foot; it is a city crammed with the comyentis’ number one enemy: humans. A place where danger for discovery lies high. What Aigle finds next within the walls of the city of Traumermoure is beyond what he could ever have dreamed up. Not only is the girl he followed there, Mallory, been put into a deep sleep from which she cannot wake, but the city’s visitors may face the same fate…

Can Aigle, who has powers beyond men’s understanding, be concerned? Will he risk everything that is at stake for one human girl he hardly knows
To wake Mallory up, he has to enter her dreams…

One click here to get it now: http://hyperurl.co/gjzqlx?IQid=vevo

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LAST 3 WEEKS OF PROMO BOOK 1 UNTIL BOOK 2 IS RELEASED OCTOBER 13TH

********#Fantasy #Series ********
Book 1: http://smarturl.it/calloffthesearch?IQid=qr FREE in KindleUnlimited
Book 2: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N2U9GE6 (pre-order)

The comyentis are different; beautiful and mysterious, possessing powers of which humans can only dream. And for this, they are hated, persecuted. For millennia, humanity has murdered and enslaved the peaceful comyentis wherever they find them. Jealous of their ability to merge their minds with animals to use their powers, to empathise with other beings on a deep spiritual level and even hear their thoughts, they seek out and destroy them.
Half-breed Sula, one of the last of her kind, lives in hiding. With not just her own life but her whole species’ held precariously within her hands, she feels the weight of her responsibility. As loneliness and alienation slowly engulf her, an attractive young human enters her world and she is torn. Should Sula trust him? Can she afford not to? Will she be able to overcome her aversion to humans to save her species from extinction? A life as a wandering hermit, or risk everything for love?
Sula’s life becomes further complicated when she meets another comyenti and is forced to make a decision. Follow her head or her heart? ***

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