Tag Archives: Books

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? ***

COTSSERIESPROMO

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Books that inspired me as a writer and as a person Part 2, Tanith Lee

 

Tanith Lee

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Tanith Lee (born 19 September 1947) is a British writer of science fictionhorror and fantasy. She is the author of over 90 novels and 300 short stories, a children’s picture book (Animal Castle) and many poems. She also wrote two episodes of BBC science fiction series Blake’s 7.

She was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel award (also known as the August Derleth Award), for her book Death’s Master (1980).

She also writes under the pseudonym Esther Garber.

Her books are to be compared with those of C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, or Andre Norton. Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jack Vance.

Tanith Lee for me was an important early influence.

When I was about sixteen or so and desperately looking for good intelligent novels to read I was more than pleased I came across The Winterplayers in the local library.

This is a Young Adult Fantasy so it is safe to say this is the first real Fantasy I’ve ever read, even before I heard of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. I’ve always loved fairytales, especially by the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, but felt they lacked something. Adult content? That’s where Miss Lee comes in. Even though this is suppose to be a young adult story it has the feeling and ‘complexity’ (which I think is a good thing) of an adult story.

The heroine in The Winterplayers is a priestess who protects three precious Relics. No one knows of them until one day a grey- haired young man comes, a steely- eyed stranger clad in a great wolf’s skin. He wants one of the Relics and stops at nothing to get it. When they are stolen, she has to follow the thief to try to retrieve them.

This story is breathtaking and the ending so cleverly done it leaves you in awe. I remember it’s the style I just loved in this book, the descriptions, the realistic characters but most of all the plot and ending as it involves time travel!

I was hooked from then on and started reading more of her books, but struggled to find them in my native language, Dutch. I’ve moved on to Cyrion, which is an anthology of short stories around one character which I enjoyed.

Another book which for me stands out and I enjoy re-reading every so often for it’s beauty and symbolism is The Birthgrave. This is a book of self discovery and inner strength and beauty of one person against the rest of the world.

I just love the opening line: “To wake, and not to know where, or who you are, not even to know what you are-whether a thing with legs and arms, or a beast, or a brain in the hull of a great fish-that is a strange awakening.”

The place: the heart of a rumbling volcano.
The person: a woman awakening from a deathlike sleep.
The time: unknown, far from today.
The problem: her identity. Who is she? What are her powers? Who or what is he? What is to be her relation to the world in which she finds herself … slave girl, goddess, nomad, or warrior?
Author Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote a special introduction, says, “It’s filled with adventure and beauty, rich alien names, half-sketched barbarian societies, ruined cities, decadence and wonder”; As I read this I thought most often of “The Dying Earth” stories of Jack Vance. THE BIRTHGRAVE has something of the same color and wonder… You can get involved, learn to know the people, get fully submerged in the colorful and fascinating world Tanith Lee presents. And I predict that when you, satisfied but regretful, turn over the last page, you too will wish there were more.”

By no means have I read all of her work and I personally am not too keen on her horror stories and stir away from those. For me her ‘Birthgrave Trilogy’ and ‘Tales Of Flat Earth’ series still stands out, but I’m still trying to catch up!

Bio

Tanith Lee was born on September 19, 1947 in London, England to professional dancers Bernard and Hylda Lee. Despite a persistent rumor, she is not the daughter of Bernard Lee (the actor who played “M” in the James Bond series films between 1962 and 1979). According to Lee, although her childhood was happy, she was the “traditional kid that got bullied,” and had to move around frequently due to her parents’ work. Although her family was poor, they maintained a large paperback collection, and Lee actively read weird fiction, including “Silken Swift” by Theodore Sturgeon and “Gabriel Ernest” by Saki, and discussed such literature as Hamlet and Dracula with her parents. Lee attended many different schools in childhood. She was incapable of reading due to a mild form of dyslexia which was diagnosed later in life, but when she was aged 8, her father taught her to read in about a month, and she began to write at the age of 9.

Education

Because Lee’s parents had to move for jobs, Lee attended numerous primary schools including CatfordGrammar School. Three subjects inspired Lee: English, history, and religion. After high school, Lee attended Croydon Art College for a year. Realizing that was not what she wanted to do, she dropped out and held a number of occupations: she has been a file clerk, waitress, shop assistant, and a librarian.

Career

Her first professional sale came from Eustace, a ninety-word vignette at the age of 21 in 1968. She worked various jobs such as file clerk and assistant librarian due to rejection of her works for almost a decade. 

Her first novel (for children) was The Dragon Hoard, published in 1971 by the publisher Macmillan. Many British publishers rejected The Birthgrave thus she wrote to DAW Books. Her career really took off with the acceptance in 1975 by Daw Books USA of her adult fantasy epic The Birthgrave – a mass-market paperback. Lee has since maintained a prolific output in popular genre writing. The Birthgrave allowed Lee to be a full-time writer and stop doing “stupid and soul-killing jobs.”

Major publishing companies are less accepting of Lee’s works today. The companies which Lee has worked with for numerous years are even refusing to look at her proposals. Smaller publishing companies are just doing a few of Lee’s works. The refusals do not stop her from writing and she has numerous novels and short stories which are just sitting in her cupboard. Mail from fans even asked if she was dead because no new Lee works had been released. Lee even tried changing her genre, but to no success.

Works

Lee’s prolific output spans a host of different genres, including adult fantasy, children’s fantasy, science fiction, horrorGothic horror, Gothic romance, and the historical novel. Her series of interconnected tales called The Flat-Earth Cycle, beginning with Night’s Master and Death’s Master, is similar in scope and breadth to Jack Vance‘s The Dying Earth. Night’s Master contains allegorical tales involving Azhrarn, a demonic prince who kidnaps and raises a beautiful boy and separates him from the sorrow of the real world. Eventually, the boy wants to know more about the earth, and asks to be returned, setting off a series of encounters between Azhrarn and the Earth’s people, some horrific, some positive. Later tales are loosely based on Babylonian mythology.

In the science fiction Four-BEE series, Lee explores youth culture and identity in a society which grants eternally young teenagers complete freedom. They are even killed and receive new bodies, gender and/or identity over and over again.

Lee has also dabbled in the historical novel with The Gods are Thirsty, set during the French Revolution.

A large part of her output is children’s fantasy, which has spanned her entire career from The Dragon Hoard in 1971 to the more recent The Claidi Journals containing Wolf TowerWolf StarWolf Queen and Wolf Wing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Lee has been published in various imprints, particularly depending on whether she is offering adult fiction or children’s fantasy. Her earlier children’s fantasy novels were published in hardcover by MacMillan UK and subsequently printed as paperbacks in the US often by DAW, with occasional hardcovers by St. Martin’s Press. Some of her work was only printed in paperback, mainly in the US by DAW in the 1970s to the early 1980s. She has received some small press treatment, such as the Arkham House edition of short stories Dreams of Dark and Light: The Great Short Fiction of Tanith Lee in 1986, and in the first “Night Visions” instalment published by Dark Harvest. Some of her work has been released exclusively in the UK with US publications often pending.

Writing style

Lee’s style is frequently remarked upon for its use of rich poetic prose and striking imagery. Critics describe her style as weird, lush, vibrant, exotic, erotic, rich, elegant, perverse, and darkly beautiful. The technique she uses is very descriptive and poetic which works well with the themes she uses in her mythical stories. She has been praised for her ability to balance her weird style with the challenges of writing a faraway world, but some critics counter that her style is not always easy on the reader; she sometimes leaves the reader with unanswered questions that could have easily been answered if she had gone into greater detail.

Themes

Lee’s writing frequently feature nonconformist interpretations of fairy talesvampire storiesmyths, and the fantasy genre; as well as themes of feminism and sexuality. She also writes lesbian fiction under the pseudonym Esther Garber. Other than feminism and sexuality, Lee uses a wide range of other themes in her stories.

From 1975-80, she began writing gothic science fiction; her first gothic novel Sabella or The Bloodstone features themes of loneliness and fear. Lee’s most celebrated story Elle Est Trois, which examines the relationship between self-destruction and creativity “has themes of psychosis and sexuality, the subjugation of women, and the persuasive power of myth interwoven through it”. You will see myth again (along with race) in her stories The Storm Lord, Anackire, and The White Serpent

Three unique Horror series were produced by Lee in the 90’s; the first story, The Book of the Damned, features themes of body thievery and shape-shifting. Themes of Homophobiaracism, and sexism are seen in Lee’s sequence The Blood Opera, and The Venus Cycle features themes of love, loss, and revenge. Her collection “Disturbed By Her Song”, features themes of eroticism, despair, isolation, and the pressure of an unforgiving and unwelcoming society. These themes reoccur in her 1976 novel Don’t Bite the Sun where the characters are involved in a very erotic lifestyle and the protagonist experiences despair. 

Eroticism shows up again in her novel “Death’s Master” which examines the childhood origins of eroticism and the “later conflicts that arise from it”. The sequel to Don’t Bite the SunDrinking Sapphire Wine, is thematically similar to her other works, whereas it features themes of Death and renewal, sexuality, and love. The theme of recognition also appears in Drinking Sapphire Wine, where the characters are forced to recognize others and themselves in a world where physical form is so readily alterable.

 

Tanith Lee Quotes

 

“Are not all loves secretly the same? A hundred flowers sprung from a single root.”

TANITH LEE, Delirium’s Mistress

“People are always the start for me…animals. When I can get into their heads, gods, supernatural beings,immortals, the dead…these are all people to me.”

“For me, everyone I write of is real. I have little true say in what they want, what they do or end up as (or in). Their acts appal, enchant, disgust or astound me. Their ends fill me with retributive glee, or break my heart. I can only take credit (if I can even take credit for that) in reporting the scenario. This is not a disclaimer. Just a fact.”

TANITH LEE, Innsmouth Free Press interview, Nov. 17, 2009

“If you run away from trouble, it always follows.”

TANITH LEE, Wolf Tower

“The bitterness of joy lies in the knowledge that it cannot last. Nor should joy last beyond a certain season, for, after that season, even joy would become merely habit.”

TANITH LEE, Delusion’s Master

“How massively the mountains stand, while low to the ground the sand blows. The sand blows on and on. And then there are no mountains, none at all, the sand has kissed and whispered them away. And still, the sand blows on.”

TANITH LEE, Delirium’s Mistres

 

Bibliography

Works of Tanith Lee arranged by date of publication:

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Cover and blurb for new novel Call Off The Search

It’s finally here; the cover for my new Fantasy novel!

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The cover design is by Kirsty Fossengen. She did a great job!

Call Off The Search, which is the first book of the Last Of The Comyenti Series, will be released in August/early September at the latest. 

I’ll be doing a blog tour for COTS around the book’s release date, watch this space! And I’ll also be doing some pre-release promotions here on my blog in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for more information.

For now, enjoy the cover and get exited by reading the blurb for Call Off The Search.

Blurb:

Set against the backdrop of Bhan, a barbaric uncivilised world, this is the story of

the Comyenti’s; an ancient species of Mindlinkers, beautiful, sentient and empathetic beings that possess abilities of animals. They are nearly at their end due to hunting.

During the search for more like her, Sula, part Comyenti and part Human, meets an attractive farmer and faces the first of many heart wrenching decisions she must make.

Will Sula be able to keep her promise to Felix and forsake her own heart? Or will she forsake the part of her that makes her so unique?

 

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