Real Books

book 1
Jody Harvey

While reading will never go out of style, ebooks are fast replacing tried and true real books. I have mixed feelings about this since I love the weight of a real book, the sound of the pages turning, the smell of the paper. I love seeing the cover on my bedside table, and I love a wall covered with bookcases. I especially enjoy seeing my four novels there. Holding your own book in your hand gives new meaning to the concept of delight. My Flying Horse Trilogy (On a Wing and a Dare, In the Winds of Danger, Under a Wild and Darkening Sky) and my historical fiction novel (Under the Almond Trees) are accomplishments I am proud of.

Thomas Wightman
Thomas Wightman

On the other hand, I love that my Kindle will carry hundreds of books everywhere I go. Never will I be without reading material! Ebooks save paper, so they are better for the environment. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that thousands of books have already been printed. After they’ve been loved and read, what should be done with them?

Artists have a way of repurposing old things, and I’m thrilled to share several artists who are repurposing real books, you know, the kind with pages. These beautiful works of art ease a used book’s pain of abandonment a bit. They inspire in me the same sort of wonder that a new book does. An ebook may be more convenient, but I’ve never felt wonder looking at a

Justin Rowe
Justin Rowe

title in a list of titles. These book sculptures are filled with creativity and whimsy. They inspire awe. Someday maybe I’ll see one of these sculptors create a winged horse out of one of my books. I would be thrilled, as long as they had the ebook version on their Kindles.

Since I appreciate when people give me credit for my creations, I’ve listed the artist’s name below each picture. Search them for more examples of breathtaking book sculpture. And if you still enjoy curling up with a real book, grab one of mine! The Flying Horse books are set in Medieval Wales, in a remote town hidden in the mountains. The town is home to people who care for a herd of flying horses—the only flying horses in the world. Every year the Aerial

book 4
Sue BlackwellAnd the next time you read an ebook, don’t feel bad. Somewhere one of these artists is creating a masterpiece from the paperback version.

Games is held, pitting one barn of horses against another in aerial feats of racing and dancing. ON A WING AND A DARE center around characters like Davyd, who dreads following his family tradition and becoming a rider of the winged horses. And Emma, torn between her love two brothers, one the bad boy and one the dependable kind. IN THE WINDS OF DANGER begins with a Barn Leader trying something new—aerial jousting. Nia is disgusted with the idea and looks for something else to try. UNDER A WILD AND DARKENING SKY follows siblings Ralf and Alyna as they move into the town. Alyna tries to fit into barn life while her brother is more interested in the beautiful and dangerous Branwen.


Eolyn Character Interview

High Maga 2Today I’m posting a special interview. This is fictional journalist Ian McFae interviewing the characters from High Maga by Karin Rita Gastreich. Enjoy!

Love and Magic in the Highlands of Moehn

An exclusive interview with Maga Eolyn and Adiana of Selkynsen

By Medieval Times correspondent Ian McFae

 Moehn seems an unlikely setting for one of the kingdom’s most ambitious projects. A rough-hewn province, its villages are clusters of earthen homes; its people humble in dress and aspect. Cultivated fields grow haphazardly across rolling hills. Wheat and lentils struggle amongst scattered saplings in a constant battle against the ever-encroaching forest.

Today I’m visiting an Aekelahr, the first community of its kind in over a generation. A half-finished wall marks the perimeter. Inside, small stone buildings house living quarters as well as a herbarium and library. At the center, a young fir tree has begun its reach toward the sky. On the southern side of the complex, insects buzz through a large garden of fruits, vegetables, and fragrant herbs.

My hostess, Maga Eolyn, survived the purges against magas and is often hailed as the last Daughter of Aithne. Her companion, Mistress Adiana, is a talented musician from the province of Selkynsen. You may, perhaps, remember her performances from the days of Mage Corey’s Circle. Though similar in age, Eolyn and Adiana seem very different in disposition. Maga Eolyn comes across as formal and soft spoken, reminiscent of a lynx that prefers the forest deep. Adiana, on the other hand, is restless as a songbird in spring.

MT: Thank you both for hosting me today. I’m going to start with a question that may seem obvious, but that many of our readers could probably use a refresher on: What is a maga?

Eolyn: Thank you for visiting us, Ian. A maga is a woman trained in a tradition of magic unique to Moisehén, first discovered in ancient times by Aithne and Caradoc. We seek to understand the natural world, the spirits of plants, animals, and rocks, and to use that understanding for the betterment of our people.

MT: Sounds noble. Yet not too long ago, the kingdom made a concerted effort to rid itself of everyone who had learned this tradition.

Adiana: Fools will be fools. And kings more so, when given the chance.

Eolyn: When the magas rose up against King Akmael’s father, Kedehen, the consequences were many and brutal. Here we are trying to put that past behind us and create a new future in magic, not only for the young women who have joined our Aekelahr, but for all of Moisehén.

MT: Tell me a little about the women who live here. How do you choose your students?

Eolyn: We accept anyone who comes willingly and demonstrates an aptitude for magic, as well as respect for the traditions and teachings of Aithne and Caradoc. Right now we are a small community: five young girls, Maga Renate, Adiana, and myself. But we hope to grow.

MT: So, Maga Eolyn, you teach magic, but what role does Adiana have? Why bring a musician to the Aekelahr?

Adiana: Aithne and Caradoc, who discovered magic, recognized music as a form of Primitive Magic, the most ancient and complex magic given to our people. It’s true that I was never trained as a maga, but I know music, and I love teaching the girls. This is the one gift that I can offer in support of Eolyn’s effort.

MT: So you left the cosmopolitan city of Selkynsen to settle in this remote and rather backward province. Do you ever miss your home?

Adiana: I miss the wine. There is no better wine than the wine of Selkynsen.

MT: But you don’t regret your choice?

Adiana: Not at all. This is the most wonderful community I’ve ever been a part of, which is saying a lot since I was a musician for Mage Corey’s Circle. And let me tell you, that was amazing! But Eolyn has built a strong family her out of a most unlikely collection of orphans and misfits. We love each other and care for each other. The girls who study with us will one day be some of the most powerful women in the kingdom.

MT: It’s common knowledge that this Aekelahr would not exist without the very generous support of King Akmael. How did you convince the son of Kedehen to finance this endeavor, to even make it legal again for women to practice magic?

Eolyn: My Lord King and I were brought together by very unusual circumstances when we were children. It was on the basis of that friendship that he eventually decided to reverse some of the rulings made by his father.

MT: Friendship. A carefully chosen word. Some would call it love.

Adiana: Well he is in love with her. Madly. No doubt about it.

Eolyn: I cannot speak for the King’s heart, but I can assure you there is no romance between us.

MT: Yet there was romance at one time. Would you deny this?

Eolyn: Of course not. Akmael – I mean, the King – and I were involved for a brief period some years ago, but that ended before he married Queen Taesara. We have not seen each other since.

MT: King Akmael and Queen Taesara are expected to arrive in Moehn in the next few weeks, as part of their summer progress. Any chance of old flames reigniting?

Eolyn: No. Absolutely not.

Adiana: I would say so. Definitely. Yes.

Eolyn: Adiana, please.

Adiana: I’m just saying! Look at her, Ian. What king wouldn’t be in love with this woman? She’s beautiful! And I know she still has feelings for him. You should see how nervous she’s been with all the preparations. It’s driving the rest of us mad.

Eolyn: Perhaps this would be an appropriate moment to bring the interview to a close.

MT: As much as I’d like to delve deeper into this question, we are, I’m afraid, at the end of our time today. I’m certain our readers will be anxious to learn what happens in the coming weeks, Maga Eolyn, when you and King Akmael are reunited.

Readers of Medieval Times, I will be back soon with full coverage of the King’s long-anticipated visit to the province of Moehn. Until then, this is Ian McFae signing off from the highlands and wishing you a most magical day.

Find out more about High Maga here!




Authors, Reviews

Back to School Blog Hop

Microsoft Word - Document4Happy September! If your local school district is like mine, you’ve already been in school for two weeks. Nonetheless, I’ve always thought of September as Back to School month. This September, my books will be featured all month on a blog hop. Listed below are the bloggers who will be participating. Links to their blogs will be live once their Blog Hop post goes live. So put away those math books and click over to some interviews, book excerpts, guest posts, and other goodies.

Welcome to my Back to School Blog Hop!


September 2: Charles Ray  **  Charlie Ray’s Ramblings         
September 3: Apryl Baker  **  My Crazy Corner
September 4: Victoriya Aliferchyk  **  Vik Tory Arch           
September 5: Connie Peck  **  Connie Peck       
September 6: Angela Fristoe  **  Turning the Pages
September 7: Karin Rita Gastreich  ** Eolyn Chronicles
September 8: Courtney Vail  ** Gotta Have YA                     
September 9: Keeley  ** Keeley Reads                               
September 10: Evelyn Ralph  **  Evelyn’s Blog    
September 11: Cheryl  ** Gwyneira’s Book Blog    
September 12: Vanessa Aere  **  Book Butterfly Reviews          
September 13: Tiana Lemons  **  Ethereal Book Reviews    
September 14: Linda Ulleseit ** Chicks Writing Rockin’ YA          
September 15: DelSheree Gladden  **  The Edible Bookshelf          
September 16: Judy Goodwin  **  My Writerly World       
September 17: Emily Thompson  **  Clockwork Twist            
September 18: Charles Ray  **  Charlie Ray’s Ramblings   
September 19: Mary Collins ** Good Books Never Die     
September 20: Lauralee  **  History From a Woman’s Perspective
September 21: Kira Tregoning  **  Fantastical Reads     
September 22: Susan Stec  **  The Grateful Undead
September 23: Cathy Dougherty  **  Catherine Dougherty                          
September 25:  Dianne Bylo  **  Tome Tender
September 26: Jeanne Bannon Repole ** Beyond Words  
September 27: J.L. Campbell ** Reader’s Suite
September 28: Audra Middleton  **  Audra Writes
September 29: Jonel  **  Pure Jonel Confessions of a Bibliophile                    
September 30: Linda Ulleseit  **  Books, Books, Books

Under a Wild and Darkening Sky

coverA review of my book by Megan, one of my students!

Under a Wild and Darkening Sky, by Linda Ulleseit, portrays Alyna and Ralf adapting to their new home in, High Meadow while working in their father’s bakery. Their parents plan out their future, but Ralf and Alyna chose not to follow in that particular path. They must also make careful decisions, and one wrong step comes the fall of High Meadow. Whew! That’s intense.

Alyna easily adapts to life in the barn, with a little help from a friend. I found this quite nice, as Alyna was never able to make friends in Merioneth. Alyna’s change adds a nice touch to the story. Ralf, on the other hand, is very adventurous. I really don’t know what to say. I can’t describe what he’s like. If I could, the word would be mixed-up-torn-loyal-maker of decisions-helper all mashed up into one word. Other than that description, he is hopeful and courageous when he helps restore- oh! I can’t give too much away, now can I? I was doubtful he would be any good when he helped his new troublesome friend, but as the story progressed, my opinions changed. I was hooked on like a fish, I suppose.

Evan, one of my least favorite characters from the beginning of the series, becomes crazed with power. People lose themselves to power, which I think is what happened to Evan. An important lesson in this part of the story is not to lose yourself to power otherwise you will get hit by- Oh no! I can’t give the book away!  And it was an exciting part about Evan! Oh well. You’ll have to read the book yourself! Anyway, as I just said, it teaches you an important lesson.

This is an excellent ending to the trilogy, and you don’t have to start from the first book, it’s easy to understand the idea of the story. I never thought I would enjoy Historical Fantasy/ Young Adult Books, but this, THIS! is truly fantastic. On my best book list!  The tension and the grabbing plot caused me to keep reading to find out what happened when Ralf and Alyna- No! I can’t reveal it! Okay, never mind. I would DEFINITELY recommend this to everyone in the whole wide world! Only if they would listen…


Return to Sandahl

Return to Sandahl

A couple of years ago, some of you may remember, I had a story published in a fantasy anthology titled Visitor to Sandahl. The second volume, Return to Sandahl, is now available–and it also has a story of mine in it. Please note, these are NOT young adult stories.

The stories in both anthologies are set in Methanasia, a world created by C. Lee Brown for his novels about Cable Hornman, a traveling minstrel. The challenge to the writers of these stories was to create a plausible story in another writer’s world. It was hard!

In the first volume, my story “Road to Sandahl” featured a young girl, daughter of an innkeeper, whose family inn is burned by raiders. Her parents die and she must make her way to her uncle in Sandahl.

This new volume contains my story “Roark’s Raiders” which features the girl’s brother and his adventures as he infiltrates the raiders. It tells the story of the inn burning as the brother sees it.

Both books are available on Amazon (links above), as well as Brown’s novel, Cable Hornman, the Bard Begins.


Soul Stealer

soul stealerSoul Stealer, by Sam Richardson, is a new middle grade fantasy available as an ebook on Amazon for $.99.

The characters of Eve and Barney are extremely relatable for middle grade readers. In Eve and Barney they will see bits of their friends and siblings that will make them laugh and nod their heads. The adventures that the siblings in the book embark on are full of wonderful descriptions and excitement.

I like that they had to solve puzzles to get into the worlds they visited. Readers will enjoy trying to figure them out, but the book doesn’t dwell too long on the mystery, which might be frustrating. The image of a hallway of doors, and a key keeper with a robe full of pockets of keys, will stay with me for a long time, as will images from Zoltari.

Eve and Barney set off to save the world, and it’s particularly realistic that they don’t completely succeed at first. By the end of the book, they have grown a bit even though they still have a ways to go before they are fully grown up. I can see a terrific series developing around Eve and Barney as middle grade readers discover them.

My students had the opportunity to read this book in an early draft, and will be quite excited to see that the author incorporated some of their suggestions into the final draft.


Interview: Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson is the author of the Clockwork Twist series. Book 1: Waking is available now, and Book 2: Twist comes out January 14, 2014.


What do you do when you are not writing?

I probably spend about half of my free time writing, or at least thinking about my stories.  I forgot how to flip that switch off a while ago.  But when I’m not actually working on my books, I love to read a good book, go out to see a movie, or sit at home and marathon sci-fi TV on Netflix.  I find that in-taking copious amounts of stories and media helps to keep my muse in fighting form.  Plus, I’m a serious sci-fi/fantasy TV junky.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

As a Steampunk writer, my first instinct is to say Jules Verne.  But I must admit that although I adore Verne and have read nearly all of his books that I can find (in English), he isn’t actually the writer who I most look up to.  His characters are lovely, his stories fantastic, and his style is charming.  But I can’t read French, so I can’t really appreciate his voice without a translator.

When I really think about the artistry of the English language, I go right for Oscar Wilde.  There are many great writers in our language who can inspire and challenge us to grow as artists, but I’ve read sentences by Wilde that make me just stop and stare in awe.  There’s a grace and depth to Wilde’s writing that really speaks to me, and it represents a level of care that I often feel is lacking in more modern English writing.  If I could hone my craft through diligent work and study for the rest of my life, then someday I might just be able to write half as well as Wilde.  And that is the goal I strive for in my writing.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

There are two new authors I simply adore.  One is Tana French, who writes some of the best psychological mystery novels I’ve ever seen.  Her stories feel real and honest, even when things start to turn toward insanity.  Like Mary Shelley, Tana French can turn her characters slowly mad with such finesse that you start to taste what it would feel like to lose your mind, yourself.  Her books are wonderfully creepy, without a moment of gore.

The other author I love right now is Félix J. Palma.  He bends literary rules to their breaking points, smashes the forth wall to bits, and his books are unrelentingly long.  And yet, I adore his work.  Even the very first few pages of The Map of Time glimmered and crackled with powerful writing magic.  I was swept instantly into his story, and forever delighted and surprised throughout.  I swear he is the reincarnation of Verne, upgraded for modern Steampunk.

I find it interesting to know what environment people write in. Do you use a pen and paper, laptop? Quiet room, music or what?

I love to write in a café.  I’ve got a simple, slow, but light and reliable little laptop that I take with me to various coffee shops around where I live.  Some trip-hop or chillstep playing on my headphones, a decent cappuccino, and a handful of undisturbed hours is all I really need to get the pages done.  Sometime I try to write in other places, but it’s never as easy for me.  I think I’ve trained myself by now that café time = writing time.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There’s a tendency in Steampunk, and a lot of other modern fiction, to go the gritty dystopian route.  I love a good goggles and zombies story as much as the next person, but I don’t like to see a predominance of one type of book in the genre.  For me, Steampunk is also brilliant for escapism.  What other genre has airship pirates?  So, when I first set out to follow Twist around the world, I made a conscious decision to keep delight and wonder at the forefront of the story.  Things don’t always go smoothly for Twist, and he’s going to face quite a few difficulties and dark moments in the future books, but every trial he encounters is put in place to help him to grow and I make sure he enjoys the results.  The only thing that I want people to take away from my books is a sense of adventure, and a truly good time.

What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order?

What a lovely question!  I would imagine that Twist would order something simple, non-sweet, and bold: a double, dry, cappuccino perhaps.  The clockwork princess doesn’t have a stomach or taste buds, but if she did I’m sure she’d get something like a strawberries and cream Frappuccino, with extra caramel sauce and whipped cream.  Jonas Davis, on the other hand, wouldn’t be happy with something easy.  He’d probably get a no-water chai, with an ad-shot or two, and a pump of mocha just for fun.



Clockwork Twist Synopsis

Clock face md 1BOOK ONE: WAKING

Twist has never left London, until today. Now he’s traveling on an airship—with a crew that insists they’re not pirates—on his way to find the clockwork princess because he’s the only one who can fix her…

In true Neo-Victorian style, Clockwork Twist is set in a lush and vibrant world where things are as you might expect in 1878. That is, of course, if fantastic creatures like djinn, faeries, kitsunes and vampires were commonplace. An increasing number of people are being born with supernatural senses, called Sights. While airship tourism is sweeping the globe, air-piracy is also on the rise.

Twist is among the Sighted, but his Sight is unusual. While others might be able to see and hear over great distances, find anything they can imagine anywhere in the world, or even recognize every type of flower by scent alone, Twist’s Sight shows him only damage. Whenever he touches a broken clock or machine, he can instantly understand the damage and can fix it easily. If he touches a person, even for a moment, his mind fills with a terrible vision of whatever trauma or pain once broke them. Naturally, he’s chosen a solitary existence and shuns all human contact.

Unfortunately, thanks to his seclusion, Twist is also unfamiliar with everything beyond his own clock shop, hidden away on a quiet and ever-drizzly London street. When a treasure hunter arrives at his door with proof that they have found the fabled clockwork princess—Twist’s favorite old fairy tale—it’s up to Twist alone to bring her back to life.

Set out with Twist on a harrowing journey across the world, stopping at the flying sector of Venice, the bottom of the Caspian Sea, a mountaintop palace in Nepal, an airship pirate-filled Hong Kong, and the crystal caves of Indonesia in this first installment of a long running series.  Find out first hand if Twist can actually handle any of this, or if he’ll loose his grip on sanity in the first few days.

Twist wasn’t the only one who wanted to find the clockwork princess.  Having finally rescued Myra from obscurity and ruin, Twist and Jonas must now flee Bombay and return to Europe in a desperate attempt to secure her freedom.


Continuing the story of Clockwork Twist, Book Two: Trick, follows the unassuming clockmaker and his companions as they are pursued across the globe by a mysterious and shadowy society of technology thieves. The Rooks would stop at nothing to posses Myra and all of her clockwork secrets.

Join Twist once again as he encounters wonders and absurdity beyond anything he could imagine, in this exciting steampunkadventure.  Travel with him across the Arabian Sea, through Egypt, and back into Europe by airship, steam train, and sailing ship.  Meet a whole new cast of characters, and re-encounter old friends and enemies, as Twist struggles to retain some semblance of sanity in his bizarre new lifestyle.

The intrepid three are joined along the way by magical beings of both human and mythical natures, underground kidnappers, notable inventors, and a safari enthusiast. But friends can only do so much to aid them.  In the end it’s up to Twist and Jonas to protect their princess and all of their hopes of having a future together.


About Reading

Free on Kindle!

WOT CoverHappy release day! My flying horse novella, a prequel to my trilogy, is now available for Kindle! This weekend, Thursday through Monday, it will be a free download. Get it then!

Wings Over Tremeirchson on Amazon


A New Review For My Book!

cover2In the Winds of Danger has been ignored a bit while I spend the summer writing something new. Here is a review from J.A. Campbell, a horse lover and author of books about horses who time travel. She hasn’t read On a Wing and a Dare yet, so it’s interesting to see what she thinks of book two. Meanwhile, I’m working on Wings Over Tremeirchson, which is a novella (short novel) telling the story of Hoel and Neste, Emma’s parents. Click on the link below and read Campbell’s review. It will help pass the time until my new one is released!

J. A. Campbell’s review