Should Children Be Exposed to Fantasy and Magic?

Fireblade Publishers:

As part of the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour, here’s another fantasy post – should children be exposed to fantasy and magic? Enjoy!

Originally posted on vanessafinaughtyfantasybooks:

Today’s tour host is fellow fantasy author TC Southwell, with a guest post from me about healing magic in today’s world.

Don’t forget that today is the last day you can get Michelle Louring’s The Angel’s Voice, Books 1 & 2 for FREE! See here for coupon details.

Now, on to children, fantasy and magic…

magic_blog2Here’s a topic that’s close to my heart. It’s not something I’ve been terribly vocal about – because how can you have an opinion about what children should or shouldn’t be exposed to when you have none? Now that I have a baby daughter, however, I feel the need to contemplate this topic and, unlike before, society ‘allows’ me to share my thoughts. Like most parents, I want only the best for my daughter and do not want to hold her back in any way. Rather, I want to enable her to achieve what…

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Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1 by Vanessa Finaughty

Today we bring you an extract from Fireblade’s Vanessa Finaughty, from her latest release, Wizard of Ends, Book 1.

WoE 1_thumb

Lashlor awoke to terrified shouts outside the cabin. He shot up in bed and looked across the room as Queen Narraki sprang from her bed. Lashlor joined her at the window and scanned the darkening forest.

“Shouldn’t one of the guards be here?” he asked, frowning.

The queen glanced around the room as if to double check they were alone, her brow furrowed. “Yes.”

Lashlor grabbed his bow and quiver. “Stay here, My Queen, and latch the door.”

He stepped outside, closed the door and waited to hear the latch slide across.

More shouts came from the trees, and Lashlor made his way towards the sound, hastening his steps when the yells became more urgent, then halted when the two Guards of Ends came into view.

Nashel and Kanar stood back to back, sweeping their swords in front of them in an attempt to keep at bay the pack of hound monkeys that surrounded them.

Lashlor counted seven of the creatures. Hound monkeys usually travelled in packs of ten, for some odd reason. It was possible, but unlikely that three hound monkeys from the same pack had been killed so close together that replacements had not yet been found for any of them. Unlikely, for the ferocious beasts stood man height on all fours, and, with the torso of a hound and the neck and head of a monkey, complete with sharp curved teeth and deadly claws, if fear alone didn’t kill you, they most certainly would. The fact that Nashel and Kanar had lasted this long was either testament to their renowned skill, or the hound monkeys were playing with them, as they were sometimes known to do.

Lashlor loosed an arrow, striking one hound monkey in the side of the head. It fell, writhing. Its pack eyed him hatefully, and two slunk away from the Guards of Ends, fixated on Lashlor.

Where were the other three pack members? Lashlor looked around nervously as he backed away from the hound monkeys, raising his bow again. He killed the closest one mid-spring, then threw himself aside as a second launched itself at him. He dropped his bow and reached into his boot for his knife. He used it for cutting herbs, but it would do nicely as a weapon too.

“Wizard! What are you doing? Save yourself – and us!” Kanar shouted, jabbing his sword at a hound monkey that got too close.

Lashlor kicked the hound monkey in the head as it attacked again, then screamed when it bit through his boot and shook its head viciously, tearing off the boot’s heel. He shoved it away as it took a swipe at his face, but it grabbed him in a bear hug. They grappled, and he stabbed it in the side of the head three times before it stopped moving.

A glance at the Guards of Ends showed they were still surrounded by five hound monkeys. Lashlor wasn’t surprised they hadn’t killed even one – the creatures were expert hunters – then again, so were the two men.

“Behind you!” he yelled as a hound monkey, clearly deciding that play time was over, leapt at Kanar’s back.

Kanar had only half turned when the creature was upon him, and he went down, sword flailing. Nashel made to help him, but two hound monkeys sprang at him and he was forced away from his comrade.

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Download Wizard of Ends, Book 1 for free from Smashwords or iBooks
Pre-order Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature for only 99c from iBooks or Barnes & Noble

Release date: 23 October 2014
Note: From 24 October, Book 2’s price will go up to $2.99

Join the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour
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Magic – Fantasy or Reality?

Fireblade Publishers:

In celebration of the upcoming Wizard of Ends release, Fireblade will be sharing tour posts on our blog for the duration of this month. I hope you find the posts entertaining and fun!

Originally posted on vanessafinaughtyfantasybooks:

Today’s tour host is TC Southwell, who will be sharing an interview with me. Hop on over there to learn more about me and the Wizard of Ends fantasy novella series.

Magic – Fantasy or Reality?

magic_blogThere was once a time when I would have said that most people believe magic to be a thing of fantasy and mythology, and nothing more. However, in today’s world, the percentage who believe in magic as a real phenomenon cannot be so easily calculated, as the number of believers has grown considerably, yet magic is not generally accepted as real. Are people who believe in magic nuts, or is there something to it?

There are many who believe that magic is real, but misunderstood. It is not, they say, like it is in the movies, where sorcerers hurl fireballs at each other and turn people into toads. Rather, it is subtle and…

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Know Thyself

Know Thyself

These words of wisdom were carved in Latin above the doorframe in an epic film with which you might be familiar. Yes, I am referring to The Matrix. An awesome bit of advice for anyone who must play a multitude of roles in their day to day lives.

These roles are many and varied. We play roles ranging from author to editor, spouse, parent, employer, employee, friend, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, sister and brother; the list goes on. How much time do we really take to get to know ourselves? What and who are you when you are no longer playing your chosen roles in life? If you shed your many cloaks and masks, who would you find underneath? Continue reading

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UK Versus USA Spelling and Grammar

Originally posted on vanessafinaughtyfantasybooks:

The most common spelling mistakes are those in which the wrong version of English is used. A surprising number of people don’t realise there are often major differences between UK and USA spelling and grammar (other countries have differences too, but I’ll focus on UK and USA, as they’re the most widely used). The differences are because, while the English language keeps evolving, American English still largely follows the early 1800 rules of American lexicographer Noah Webster, as detailed in his An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

Before Webster’s dictionary, it was acceptable worldwide to spell many words in two ways, as those words were introduced into the English language from Latin and French, and the spellings differed accordingly. Webster, however, wanted American spelling to be distinct from British spelling.

Most countries today follow UK spelling and grammar rules, with Canada and Australia as examples of countries that…

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The Importance of Linking to Your Book Online

Commonly known as backlinks, inbound links or incoming links, links to your book purchase pages and author website are more important than most authors realise.

Sure, the majority of us know that the more places potential readers can find our links, the more likely it is we’ll gain new fans. However, did you know that it can increase your author website and book purchase page ranking in Google and other search engines? This means that, when web browsers search for new reading material via a search engine, they are more likely to find your books amongst the millions of others out there. Let’s face it, most of us don’t look past Page 1 or 2 in search engine results, since we usually find what we’re looking for on the first two pages, so it’s vital that you do everything in your power to ensure your books come up in the first two pages.

The more relevant websites that contain links to your author website or book purchase page, the greater importance Google will assign to your pages. It’s that simple. Note, however, that you cannot place links to your site/purchase pages on websites that have nothing to do with books, as Google then sees this as ‘link farming’ and will penalise you so that your website sinks into obscurity until the end of time.

Backlinking to your book purchase page and author website takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it.

Tip: add the link to your book titles or author name, rather than to the word ‘here’ when giving the download link. This enables Google to better index your book, thereby gaining you a better page rank.

Where can I post backlinks?

There are many places to post backlinks online. Be as creative as possible. Some ideas to start you off include: Continue reading

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Relax to Write

Have you ever tried to write when stressed? If your answer is yes, you’ll know why it’s vital to be not only in a relaxed state of mind, but also physically relaxed, in order for your creative juices to flow freely. Stress stifles creativity and can render even the best writers incapable of writing anything worth reading.

In this stress-filled world, how does one relax properly? Sure, ‘they’ tell you to exercise, eat well, take a nap or go to a spa to pamper yourself, amongst other things, but really, who has time for any of that in a busy schedule? Not many of us….

Does that mean you’re doomed to suffer from stress and will never ‘have time’ to relax? Absolutely not! As busy professionals, authors and home makers, we at Fireblade Publishers know better than most how vital it is to keep a calm state of mind without cutting into work, house cleaning and family time.

That’s why we’ve compiled a few quick ways to relax, most of which you can do at your desk while you work or write. For best results, use these fast relaxation tools just before you sit down to write, or while you’re writing.

Ways to relax before you write:

* Soak for 5 to 15 minutes in a hot bubble bath. Don’t soak for longer, or you’ll be too relaxed to write ;-) For added effect, turn off the lights and light some candles and/or play relaxing music.

* Eat a teaspoon or three of honey. It’s been proven, amongst other things, to reduce anxiety.

* Take five minutes to meditate. Simply sit in a quiet, comfortable place, and focus on your breathing. Imagine your breath filling your abdomen – your abdomen should rise and fall, rather than your chest. This allows your body to absorb more oxygen and relaxes you at the same time. Set a timer so you don’t have to keep checking to see if you’ve gone over your five minutes.

* Gently massage the base of your thumb. This relieves shoulder and neck stress.

* Clear away any clutter in your writing space. Clutter stresses most of us, even if we don’t realise it.

* Dance or run on the spot for five minutes. It’ll not only clear the stress-created cobwebs from your brain, but will give you extra energy.

* Play your favourite song and sing along. Studies have shown that singing increases the production of your ‘happy hormones’.

* Give your dog a hug. Nothing beats the high that a beloved pet’s love brings.

Ways to relax while you write:

* Drink camomile tea – it works as a mild tranquilliser and, if you’re like me, you’ll be able to literally feel the stress seeping from your pores.

* Drink coffee if you aren’t a tea fan – coffee has been known to reduce stress levels.

* Indulge in some chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, if you like the taste. Dark chocolate is proven to regulate cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

* Munch on some dried apricots, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, blueberries or a banana – these are all foods known to reduce stress levels.

* Immerse your feet in a bowl of warm (or cool, depending on the weather) water. If you have a foot spa, now is the perfect time to haul it out of the cupboard.

* Play some relaxing/mood music if this helps you to write.

* Burn some aromatherapy oils, incense or scented candles. It can be any scent you like, but, if you aren’t sure, try lavender, ylang ylang, camomile, peppermint, citrus or rosemary. If you don’t have scented candles, add a few drops of aromatherapy oil to the melting wax of a burning candle – just be sure not to use synthetic oils for this, as they’ll smell like burning rubber or something equally unpleasant.

If you have any other quick relaxation tips not mentioned in this article, please feel free to share them with us by commenting on this post.

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Why it’s Vital to Read if You Want to Write

Writers should always keep in mind that it’s blatantly obvious to most readers if you do not read, particularly if you’ve never read a book since high school. We’ve listed just a few of the common errors made by writers who don’t read. These are perfect examples of why it’s vital to read if you want to write.

If you are tired, you are worn out, not warn out.

You wonder about something. You wander to somewhere.

You can go back somewhere, but you cannot go buck somewhere (well, not without funny visuals).

When there is no noise, it’s quiet, not quit or quite. You quit when you stop doing something, or are quite (very) something.

You do something once, not ones.

Have you read a really funny error in a published book? Please share it with us (minus the book’s title and author name, please; we aren’t trying to embarrass anyone here).

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Share Your Publishing Experience

First-time authors often find the idea of publishing quite daunting, and understandably so with so much contradictory information available on the subject. We thought we’d help to make the experience less stressful by inviting any author who’s already published a book to share the experience with our readers.

Everyone’s experience is different, and there are many variables that can make for a nightmarish or heavenly publishing experience, just one of which is where you publish.

Email us your experience and we’ll share it as a blog post and give you some free exposure for your book/s as a small thank you for your willingness to help new authors have a more pleasant experience.

Please send us your story in an MS Word document and include the following information:

* Where you published (if you published with more than one publisher, please mention all of them).
* When you published your first book.
* A brief explanation of your experience. E.G: Was it easy to publish? What was the process? What are the pros and cons to publishing with your publisher/distributor? What was your favourite part of the process? Was there anything that annoyed you or made publishing difficult? What have you done to market your books?
* Any advice you’d give to other authors – was there anything you wish you had known at the time, and was there anything you would have done different in hindsight?
* Any other related information you think new authors will benefit from.
* A link to your purchase page, author website and Twitter/Facebook accounts.
* A short biography.
* Your author picture if you’re willing to share it.

We reserve the right to edit your submission for grammatical and spelling errors and to change your spelling to UK English if you don’t already use that version. We might also edit submissions to make them more concise, though we won’t alter the actual content.

We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your story!

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Creative Tools – Part 2: Creative Writing Prompts

Following the week before last’s post, Creative Tools – Part 1: Generators, here are a few creative writing prompts we felt might be useful to some authors.

Thirty-seven Dramatic Situations
According to Georges Polti, all stories can be broken down to just 36 dramatic situations (37, according to someone else). If you’re lost for ideas for your next plot, these may help, and this link can be quite an entertaining read in itself.

The Story Starter
Generate the first sentence of a story. This is a good for a laugh and could spark some interesting, fresh ideas.

For more creative writing prompts, please visit Fireblade Publisher’s Creative Writing Prompts page. If you know of any prompts that aren’t already listed on our website, please share them with us by commenting on this post. We’d love to include your favourites on our website.

For other creative writing tools, please visit Fireblade Publishers’ Creative Tools page on our website.

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