Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Tracy Falbe Interview

I have known of Tracy for well over a year now and judging from her covers and descriptions, I am going to have to pick them up and give them a read! She writes epic fantasy, which is exactly the kind of stuff I read. So, I want to thank her for stopping by and Tracy was kind enough to let me interview her. This is what she had to say...

First off, tell us a little bit about you.

 I’m a native Midwesterner but I lived out West in Nevada and California for many years. I’m currently living in Michigan again and appear to be a nondescript soccer mom. I take care of my kids, attempt to train my juvenile German Shepherd dog, and volunteer at my kids’ schools. But when no one is looking I write novels. In my head I’m plotting daring escapes, the conquest of civilizations, love triangles, and mortal duels. My imagination has always saved me from an existence punctuated by boredom and stress. Surprisingly people have often described me as “down to Earth.” This must stem from my intuitive connection to the natural world. I’m an advocate for the local food movement. I source as much food as I can from local farmers and grow food in my yard. Yes, I process my kitchen scraps with a worm composter in case you were wondering.

What genre do you consider your books?
 So far I have written 8 epic fantasy novels. They have magic, high stakes, many characters of all ages, and span years of time. There are two magical races: the rys and the tabre. Plus there are humans and a few monsters.

When did you start writing?
 To be entirely honest I started writing when I was taught to write in grade school. By second and third grade I was writing my own stories, illustrating them, and stapling the pages together into books. I’m a born self publisher! As an adult I began to seriously pursue a career as a novelist in 1997 when I started writing Union of Renegades. More or less, I’ve been writing daily ever since.

Why do you write?
 I need a creative outlet. I feel physically, mentally, and spiritually good after each writing session. My stress increases if I go days without writing. It’s therapy basically.

What would be your choice for a superpower?
 I’m rather fond of Magneto’s ability to precisely control magnetic metals.

Who is your favorite author?
 Many authors over the years have touched my heart and intellect. Picking one is difficult, but J.R.R. Tolkien is an author whose work I not only contemplate but continually lean on as a source of comfort in difficult times. His epic taught me courage, and I identify with his deep environmental themes. I’ve talked to trees since I was a child. Don’t call me weird. They’re good listeners.

Other favorites include Jean Auel, John Steinbeck, Frank Herbert, and Stephen King.

What are you reading now?
 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Devil’s Doctor by Philip Ball
Furies: War in Europe 1450 - 1700 by Lauro Marines

Who is your favorite character to write?
 I’ve written so many characters over the years. I don’t know if I could choose one. Honestly I adore writing them all. It was great to write Amar because he’s so bad ass and troubled by his conscience very little. I loved writing Cruce because he has a good heart and always stands in the defense of his people no matter his fear or dread. Although it really is not apparent, Dreibrand from The Rys Chronicles is very close to my heart. Writing the character of Demeda was an indulgent trip into pure teenage female rebellion. I also find special challenges in writing the rys and tabre characters because I have to imagine having great magical powers and a non-human perspective.

Do you have a writing process?
 Lots of daydreaming plus a disciplined approach to daily writing unless something absolutely prevents me from doing it. To begin I read what I wrote the day before to warm up my brain and then I start writing. At the end of the writing session I’ll write a little note about the next scenes. Later I’ll go over what I wrote and fix it up a bit.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?
 My main advice is having a concept of how you want your story to end. I believe you need a goal to write towards. Knowing the ending will help you create the whole story. It’s best to write as often as possible because I believe the skill is like a muscle. You need to use it to make it stronger and better.

What inspired you to pursue writing?
 My need is innate. I imagined myself as a novelist as a young girl. I always wanted to build a business around what I love to do. My hope has always been to express myself and create stories that entertain others. Truly connecting with a reader is an amazing achievement for me as an artist.

What are your favorite TV shows and movies to watch in between writing?
 TV - current favorites
Mad Men
Sons of Anarchy
Trailer Park Boys

Movies - old favorites that I watch over and over
 Wall Street
Conan the Barbarian
Chronicles of Riddick
Doctor Strangelove
The Godfather
Thank You for Smoking

I’m also a massive documentary junkie.

What are your current projects?
 I recently announced my newest work in progress with the working title of Werelord Thal. It’s a werewolf novel set in Renaissance Bohemia. Although I’m keeping magic in my fiction and adding paranormal elements, I’ve chosen a real historical setting instead of a purely imagined fantasy world. It’s been a good challenge and I love studying Early Modern Europe.

Do you have anything specific to say to readers?
 To those who have read my novels I say thank you for giving me a chance. I’m glad I entertained you. To readers in general, I will advise them to keep an open mind about indie authors. Publishers are businesses and they only have limited and tightly defined production slots. They can’t take on or even look at everyone. There are tens of thousands more talented people than there are publishers to produce them. Self publishing is how these creative people seek an audience.

Quick Fire
 Cats or Dogs?

Coffee or tea?

Favorite food?
Fried chicken

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Chocolate but I like vanilla too.

What are 3 things you never leave home without?
Water, a lighter, and money.

Laptop or desktop?
Desktop, but I use a portable word processor called a Neo for most of my writing. It’s way better to type on than a laptop. I find laptops tremendously uncomfortable.

Who are 3 famous people you’d like to hang out with?
Jimi Hendrix (if he was alive)
Woody Harrelson
Roseanne Barr

TV or movies?

Published novels

Rys Rising, Savage Storm, New Religion, Love Lost, Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power.

Find them all at:

Brave Luck Books

Thank you for the great interview!

Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!


See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Also, please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Robert Lawrence Interview

My latest author run in was with Mr. Robert Lawrence. Robert is a an author, husband and father and describes his work as "Young Adult with a sci-fi/fantasy element, but also a bit dystopian as well." So, read on to find out more about Robert...

First off, tell us a little bit about you~
I am 37 (nearly 38 which is scarily close to 40!), and I live with my wife and two children. When I am not writing, I typically watch TV/Movies, Airsoft (think of it as a grown-up version of paintball if you haven't heard of it) and play a lot of video games.

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?
The book that has just been released (knightfall) and its sequel that I am working on now (Darkest Before Dawn) and a little hard to classify! I think of them as Young Adult with a sci-fi/fantasy element, but also a bit dystopian as well. Reviewers seem to agree with me, they can't classify them either. The current story is a definite trilogy, with a fixed beginning-middle-end, but there are plenty more stories to tell in the universe afterwards if people want to read them.

When did you start writing? I have always written in one form or another. At school I would often write little stories about friends and family doing different and exciting things. As time went on, the stories got longer and more complex as the characters developed their own voices and were no longer based on people I knew. I went through stages of science fiction and horror (mirroring what I was reading at the time) before Ben started telling me his story.

Why do you write? The simplest answer is that the stories really want to be told! Really, I think about them all the time. They wake me up at night, in the shower, they distract me when I'm driving! The other answer is that I really enjoy it. Every day that I get to sit at the computer, making stuff up essentially, is a good day. Once this trilogy is done, I have several other stories in my brain, competing to be the next one that gets written.

What would be your choice for a superpower?Today, I would really like to be able to control the weather so my daughter's sports day won't be cancelled next week if it rains. I mean, really, I'm sure we did sports in the rain and snow when I was younger, why do they need to cancel it if it rains?

Who is your favorite author? Of all time, is probably Stephen King, he has written so many books that I have enjoyed, but there have been individual books by other authors that I have enjoyed more (if that makes sense). The Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman are an excellent example.

What are you reading now?I have just finished Light by Michael Grant (the last in the Gone series) and I have started Guardian Dragons by Catherine L Vickers, enjoying it so far.

Who is your favorite character to write? Catrina daughter-of-Ellabelle. She is, quite literally, capable of anything, and is somehow still functioning after enduring so much loss and hardship. I can't wait to see what she does when she finally gets her chance at revenge.

Do you have a writing process? 
Sort of. I have a general plan in my head of the story, each characters journey or story arc, and important plot points and roughly when they happen. Everything around that is fluid, and elements I realize as I write the story can dramatically change an overarching arc or important scene (like I didn't realize exactly who Alexander was until I wrote it at the end of book 1!). I try to do a more detailed plan of each chapter or the next couple of chapters before I sit down to write them, but even then the process is fluid and I will go back and change scenes or rewrite them completely.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? I don't know, I still consider myself to be aspiring! Keep writing, no matter what. If you have a story you want to tell, get it down on paper and ask people to read it. Listen to their feedback and keep going. If you enjoy the story, others will as well. Write for you and no one else.

What inspired you to pursue writing?As I've said before, it's really that the stories want to be told. I like it when people enjoy what I have written, my best friend's son really liked Knightfall and so did my nephew so that always helps. If I could make it pay the bills, I would love to do it full time.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?Current TV shows that I can't miss are Game of Thrones (just like everyone else I guess!), Castle, Dr Who (but this series really has been a bit poor, I hope they pull it all together Saturday for the last one), Community (but it really isn't the same without Dan Harmon), The League, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Walking Dead. There are others that I watch, but those would be the ones I would be upset about if I missed them. I just want to point out that I do have a life and I don't spend all of my time in front of the television!

What are your current projects?I am hard at work on book 2 of The Chronicle of Benjamin Knight (Darkest Before Dawn), I am about 60,000 words in, possibly a little over half way but it's hard to say exactly. After that is book 3 and then I will write either the Succession War or the first X-Calibre story, or maybe something else, who knows!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?Buy my book! No, really, buy it, it's awesome! Other than that, I really want feedback, honest feedback, otherwise how can I get better. If anyone would like a review copy or be involved in the beta reading process of book 2, or if I can help in some way anyone who is in a similar situation to me, get in touch via my website ( or my blog ( If anyone wants to chat about the story, their theories about where Ben really is, what might happen next or really anything at all, just drop me a line.

Quick Fire:

Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? Coffee (that one was easy!)
Favorite food? Propper food – chilli
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Chocolate
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Phone, wallet and keys 
(but predictable I know, but that's assuming that I am already wearing clothes!)
Laptop or desktop? Desktop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? Simon Pegg (he would make me laugh as we geeked out), Stephen Hawkins (just to get an insight into how he sees the universe, he is incredible) and Joss Whedon (loved everything he has done, and have you seen the trailer for S.H.I.E.L.D. It looks amazing? I might even get some spoilers for Avengers 2)
TV or Movies? Currently, TV, but I really enjoyed Iron Man 3

Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!


See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Also, please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Romance in Fantasy

Do you want to see romance in fantasy? More so than action? A fair bit of both? More one than the other? All solid questions that need to be answered, eh? At least for me.

Most folks that I speak with about fantasy novels don’t seem to place an import on romance (at least openly) and want to see good action scenes. Admittedly, these people happen to be male.

I certainly believe in romance in novels as long as it happens organically. When I mean is that the romance happens over time, naturally. As characters get to know one another, perhaps they begin to develop feelings for one another and keep them hidden, or suppress them, explore them or nature them along. I have read some posts, reviews, and some novels recently that reminded me that romance is an essential part of maturing your characters emotionally.

Specifically I bring up one review I received where the reader did not appreciate the lack of romance. I say: I am working on it! I believe that characters need to develop feelings over time and that ‘love at first sight’ is not something I can write about without making it appear fake. It seems contrived and a bit forced when I've read it and when I try to write something along those lines. Not that it is unheard of, mind you, but I believe it would seem out of place to a more sophisticated reader that has been around the block. Just my opinion on the subject.

Powerful emotions such as strife, grief, shock and especially Romance, are the ultimate feelings that convey a genuine realism. I received one review early on where the reader wanted to see more romance and could have done less with the combat/action scenes.

This got me to thinking and plotting a little more with that in mind. And so, in Secrets of the Ebonite Mines, I started to develop a relationship and may have planted the seed in Covenant of the Faceless Knights. My latest novel—rough draft finished BTW!—takes the romance of a certain pair of characters to a satisfying level. As a matter of fact, this book has some surprising twists and turns. It takes the reader on a non-stop emotional ride with serious ramifications and deadly consequences, some genuine emotion, and major loss that sets it apart from anything I have written to date. I am quite surprised and pleased by it if truth be told. I am excited to get it released (hopefully before summer begins) and see what you guys think. But I digress...

As always, I’d love to hear from you folks as to what exactly you look for from your fantasy tales! Is there room for romance? Fire away…

Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!


See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Also, please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Photo from Stock.xchng

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Legend of Ashenclaw Sale!

This weekend, I am reducing the price of my ԼЄGЄƝƊ ƠƑ ƛSĦЄƝƇԼƛƜ 
novella to a measly 99 cents for Amazon's kindle only! Don't have a kindle? Download the App for your PC or tablet right HERE.

❝His heart sank as a great shadow loomed over him, enveloping the land around him...Darkness descended❞

It is the epic journey of a group of legendary heroes in the history of Wothlondia that set forth in an attempt to quell the invasion of Ashenclaw and her Dragon minions. If you like fantasy, RPG's, Dungeons & Dragons, Game of Thrones and the like, you may find yourself enjoying this page-turner too! Oh, and enjoy the rather large sample below...

US ミ★

UK ミ★

It was a day’s journey to Summerbank and as they neared, Figit realized that the town had indeed grown some since last he visited some years back. They had an inn! At least that’s what it looked like from his perspective.
As the group came rolling up and over the hill, Figit leaped onto Twarda’s back, causing her to stumble forward before her sturdy legs were able to right herself again.
“Watch yerself!” Twarda yelped, regaining her balance quickly. “”I coulda’ fell…and with ye' atop me, too!”
“I’da been fine,” Figit quipped, getting comfortable on her broad shoulders.
“An’ I’da ne’er fell. Yer missin’ me point.”
“It looks like the town has literally doubled in size since the last time we seen it. I’m seein’ maybe two dozen structures now!”
Azbiel laughed heartily while Triniach and Jon strode along quietly. As they made it to the bottom of the hill, Figit noted that something in the town did not seem right.
“Hey, guys,” he announced, leaping from Twarda’s shoulders to land on all fours like a cat. “Somethin’ ain’t right about this. Where are all the people?”
They all looked about and noted that none of the fishermen were on their boats or fishing in the bank and not a soul was outside. It was almost mid-day again and the lack of activity was both telling and disturbing.
“I don’t like it one bit,” Figit declared as he withdrew both of his daggers. The sound of leather on steel sounded again as Jon withdrew his hand and a half sword and Twarda removed her axe from her belt.
“I don’t like this at all,” Figit stated as he slipped down the remainder of the hill and proceeded ahead of the others.
He got up to where he could see things more clearly, his eyesight allowing him to see great distances, another gift of his fey blood. What he saw was distressing. He waved the others to within a few feet of him and told them to wait there at the base of the hill.
“What is it, half-man?” asked Jon.
“Shush,” Figit called back in a whisper. He wanted to whisper back to him that he was no man at all. Instead he was a creature born of fey blood, distant cousin to the elves and that he could tap into the regenerative plane much as a druid would and use the gift to heal; albeit sparingly.
He stole through the village and made it to the far western side of the town. Confirming what he saw, he made his way quickly and quietly back to the group, who awaited him on the shaded side of a storefront.
“What is it!?” asked Azbiel, his arms held out wide before returning to cross over his chest. He yawned and Figit could smell the wine on his breath from where he stood.
Typical Azbiel, he thought.
“Kobolds. And lots of ‘em! And…they ain’t alone either. There are some crazy robed figures with marks of the dragons on their garments.
“Dragon cultists,” Triniach stated as if everyone should know. “They are amassing here as they sense something, a shift in the weather or some such. I cannot quite put my finger on it just yet.”
“So, they are worshipers of which dragons?” Jon asked. “All of them?”
“I would say. It is a dragon cult. Their symbol is something of a dragon claw. Is that correct, Figit?” Triniach asked.
“A claw of red, one of blue, another of white and a black one, too. All in a circle, or a cross or some proportioned pattern. Can’t really see it too well.”
Triniach waved his hands about and stood silently, the white of his eyes shifted in hue to  yellow, like that of an eagle’s.
“That is it exactly,” the mage announced with confidence.
“If you can do that, then why do ya’ make me—never mind,” Figit said with a sigh and a shake of his head.
“It is to keep your skills intact. You never know when you will need them. Magic does not solve everything,” he stated in a lecturing manner with a sideways glance toward him and then added, “almost. But not quite.”
 “Well, whatever. The four-clawed dragon cultists have taken over the town for whatever reason,” Figit exclaimed, willing his body into the shadows.
 “Then we be needin’ ta’ take ‘er back!” proclaimed the dwarven warrior, tapping her axehead upon her shield three times.
“Let’s gut ‘em and save the day. Like usual,” stated the halfling.
“Nothing like rescuing damsels in distress!” Azbiel proclaimed, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
“We are ready then?” inquired Triniach, adjusting his robe.
All of them nodded and Figit stayed to the shadows, moving ever closer to the commotion. After a moment or two, he could hear the words of the cultists.
“We shall make sacrifice for the scorching drakes and so that Ashenclaw will spare us,” he heard one man say.
“The queen of the scorching drakes will let us live if we show her gift,” said one of the dozen kobolds lurking about. A pair of women were both tied to stakes that were planted firmly inside a large amount of tinder. Their clothes were torn and they were bleeding from several wounds already, though none of them looked fatal to the halfling. But, it certainly seemed as though they were going to roast these two ladies alive.
“We need them all to burn,” stated another kobold, confirming Figit's obvious fears.
Figit looked from where they'd come from and, held captive inside the inn that he could see through the window pane, were several more of the villagers bound and gagged. And there were even more of the kobolds in there. 
He hated the little lizard things. Whenever they gathered, there were always too many of them around, he thought with a grimace. 

Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!

All of my work can be found on AMAZON -- Kindle versions here

See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.