Don’t get caught in the storm: Interview with Annalise Azevedo

Now that her debut book has blazed a trail through the world, it’s time for her sequel, Eye of the Storm, the second book in the Sacred Stone series, to blow everyone away. Here’s an interview with the author, Annalise Azevedo.

eye of the storm frontWhat inspired the Sacred Stone Series?     
My friendships were one of the inspirations.

How would you describe the series?
A series that keeps on guessing.

What was the first thing that drew you into the fantasy world?
I always like magic.

What has been your favourite book that you read this year?
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen.

What do you want your readers to take from reading the Sacred Stone series?
For people to have confidence. For people to write their own stories.

Who inspires you to write?
George R. R. Martin. He grew my ability to write different points of view.

What do you find hard about writing?
Editing.

If your series was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
I don’t know really.

What book are you excited for next year?
Too many to choose from.

Anything in the works you can tease?
Book 3 is complete. My current writing project is book 4.

Interview by J.J. Fryer

You can find out more about Annalise Azevedo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on her website, and the books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

Announcing Amity!

Hello, Bonjour, Hola, it’s me, Danica, the middle child of Ourorborus, the author of Battles of Azriel series, and the person known around Supanova as the Girl that wears Glitter. When people get to know me, I often get the quote, “I didn’t expect that from someone so sparkly.”

front amity.jpgToday I want to talk to you about the release of my new book, Amity. I can hear a lot of you already say “about time.” Yes, I am finally happy with it and releasing it to the world at Brisbane Supanova this year.

If you don’t know about the Supanova events; are you living under a rock? Joking, Supanova is a Comic Con and gaming convention. If you love films, comic books, anime or games that surround the fantasy genre, it is the place for you. It is not a place your bank account will love, but your inner nerd will be having a party.

The 2019 Brisbane event is being held the weekend of 8th to 10th of November, so you should come down, check out it out, and come see my new book. The cover is beyond stunning, done by the talented Dayna. Check out her Facebook: AnotherMisfit. She is a fellow author as well as one of my good friends – thank you Facebook writing group for introducing us.

Amity will be the third book I have released. The first two, Lost World and Colours Within are a part of the series Battles of Azriel, and the third in that saga will be released in 2020 for all of you that are wondering. I apologise for the delay in its release. I will explain why soon.

About two years ago, I had this really bizarre dream of being in a thunderstorm and being attacked by growing wolves and having to fight them off with magic. And this weird dream is where the idea of Amity began. This scene from my head is actually in the story. But I sat down that morning to write, and it was my day off and I didn’t stop writing until that night. In a whole day, I had a very rough first draft.

Few months later, I was critiqued about a short story I had written. The first draft had a LGBT twist, which was denied, the second draft had no romance, was denied, the third draft, my heart no longer in the story, it was of course, denied. Because of this, I lost it, the inspiration, the faith in my writing. My mind and soul had a very painful, destructive breakup. However, writing is my sanity, and not writing for a few months was painful, so I sat down, and started everything from scratch. I messaged my editor and said I wanted Lost Heirs back (the third book of Battles of Azriel), I ignored the notes from my editor in Amity, as both of these were going to have complete rewrites. This is why Battles of Azriel wasn’t released a year ago, when it should have been.

I focused on Amity first. I didn’t think it was as important because I hadn’t got people invested into it yet. It was the book that was going to help me find my voice again. Working with Amity was interesting; she is a character that has gone through a lot and was afraid of who she was, and letting people see who she was, because she was afraid of rejection. The story is a fantasy-filled novella, allowing characters to know what others are feeling. It’s a rite of passage, allowing Amity to go from who she was born as to who she was meant to be.

It was a little bit difficult for me writing Amity because it didn’t have Arya in it. For those of you who have read Battles of Azriel, you’ll know she is one of the most important characters. She is also the most important character to me, for she was the first character I ever created. She wasn’t the first character I wrote about – when I was a child I would write stories, but I never gave background, or meaning, it was just the story at hand. When I was thirteen, I created Arya, her past, who she was, her future, her powers, her emotions. Even when she isn’t the main character, she is in the story. Amity is the first story I’ve written and finished that doesn’t involve Arya. And being apart from her was extremely difficult, but the break from her was good, and now I know that even when the series ends, I’ll be able to write without her.

In Amity, I actually enjoyed editing. Like I always love editing in the sense that when Sabrina sends me back my work, there is all this red pen, and I love working with stuff to improve on. But at the same time, I dread it because I have a habit of rewriting when I edit. Which is why it takes so long. But this time in editing I also worked with another fellow author, Shayla, and instead of the normal way of editors read the whole book and send back notes at the end, Shayla and I went back and forth; she’d edit a few chapters, send back to me, I send back to her, and so forth. There was just more communication this way and I was able to bounce off the editing style in a very positive way so I enjoyed that aspect.

Amity is also a very different genre to what I usually write. Battles of Azriel is vampires and witches and elves, whereas Amity is average people who have their lives chosen by Fate. It still has the fantasy element, and the female power but writing them was very different.

I think I have rambled on enough, so November 8-10th at Supanova, come and see me. If you want to purchase a copy of Amity and can’t attend the convention just shout me a message or preorder here.

And I am going to leave you a little present of the first chapter:

~ ~ ~

There is a swing set in my back yard.

It sits behind the pine trees, overlooking the fields. Nicholas stands behind me, pushing the swing. I move my legs with the wind, willing myself to go higher. Silver hair flies across my face and butterflies do flips in my stomach with each fall.

He catches the swing, slowing it to a halt. I tilt my head towards him and note the smile he gives me. He is well practiced in the art of charm. I can’t say the same for myself. I step off the swing and turn to face him, leaning forward and resting my hands on the seat of the swing.

I notice his eyes. Grey, like mine. Blank and unclaimed by fate. I think he is beautiful, in every sense of the word. His angelic face is the reason that every girl on the island, including me, fantasises about him.

Nicholas leans forward, his face close to mine. He closes the space between us and plants a soft kiss on the corner of my lips. I close my eyes at the touch. The softness of his lips on my skin makes my skin flush. I open my eyes as he leans back and smiles at me.

“Catch you later, Winters,” he says, before turning on his heels and walking up to my house.

My fingers linger on the spot he kissed me. A smile forms. I replay the memory in my head, scrunching my nose at his use of my last name. I can’t recall him ever saying my birth name.

I skip up to the back door and Mum appears in all her grace and beauty. I am envious of her strawberry blonde curls. My hair has no volume whatsoever.

“Perhaps Nicholas will be your bond mate,” Mum says in her not-so-subtle way of saying she saw the kiss.

“I hope not,” I say as I feel myself redden, which isn’t hard as I am usually snow white.

Mum asks me why I say that.

I look into Mum’s golden eyes.

“He is a Lex,” I state blankly.

“His parents are from the Lex Tribe,” she corrects me.

I roll my eyes.

“Come inside for dinner, Amity,” Mum says with a shake of her head. “Your father just got home.”

I follow Mum into the kitchen where I find my sister with her nose in a book. We look similar. We’re both petite with Mum’s fair skin and Dad’s silver hair. Sierra hasn’t bonded yet either.

Dad sits down at the table, despite the fact he is covered in dirt and sweat from working the farms all day. It is the duty of the Terra Tribe, my parents’ tribe. The men work on the farms and the women grow herbs and make medicines and such.

It is a simple life, and the one I hope to live.

~ ~ ~

~Danica Peck

Amity will be available in print or ebook from November 8, 2019. Connect with Danica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and find her books in the Ouroborus online store.

 

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Designing a Trilogy

Every fantasy lover knows the magic of a trilogy. When designing book covers in general, many things need to be taken into consideration as it is. You need to be able to portray the feeling of the book, without giving too much away, you need to balance images and text, choose colours and fonts to enhance the story and, depending on genre and audience, much more. So designing a series of continuous, connected book covers really only makes this a harder job.

kj.jpgMy most recent series I’ve designed for is KJ Taylor’s Southern Star trilogy. It’s an especially special trilogy because it’s the third trilogy in a saga of three spanning generations of narrative, and this scope is a significant aspect of all three books’ design. Luckily this is not my first series of book covers. The extra element of design you need to hold onto when doing a series is cover continuity. What you design for the first book needs to set the tone for the rest of the series. Will it be a colour, a symbol, an art style or something else that will hold through all the books? The first one is the hardest because once it’s published, you’re stuck with the theme you chose.

For the Southern Star books there are several elements that are carried across. Firstly is the background. With the almost woodcut-style image, the background being old paper akin to a parchment map, I had laid the foundation for the covers to come. The first book was a paler parchment, a little crinkled, the second, darker and more worn, and the third will follow the same pattern leading to an increasingly darker toned series of books as they progress.

Next is art style. As the griffins on the covers are all hand-drawn by me, style and placement are much more personalised than you’d find on a cover with just stock graphics. The woodcut-style image of the griffin not only has continuity of style as I’m drawing them, but also lends itself to the map-like background. Continuity is important in cover design, just as much as it is in the writing of the books.

Lastly is the title text. I’m a sucker for books that, whenHPTR7-Angle-1200 placed next to each other on a shelf, all line up in some beautiful way. I like the styles to match, the text distribution to be even and for the eye to easily look and see a connected collection of books. So for me, title, spine and any other major text must be in the same spots on the book, especially on the spine. My best example of this is Shayla Morgansen’s Elm Stone Saga books, which have a single branch arching over the spines as one.

A trilogy or series of books is a huge outpouring of skill and effort to write, and it’s only right to dress them properly. Designing a cover for a series is more than just making a nice-looking cover; it’s starting a family of covers, whose genetics travel down the line of books, pulling just enough from inside the book for the outside to sing, and sing the same theme all the way through.

~ Sabrina
Sabrina RG Raven’s work can be seen on her web page www.sabrinargraven.com or her facebook www.facebook.com/SabrinaRGRaven

Meet the Author – Annalise Azevedo

efaefafsJust as we’ve all just realised (with our usual October shock) that the year is sneaking on and getting away on us (“How is it nearly Christmas?!”), this week we want to draw attention to someone else who might have been quietly slipping under your radar: Annalise Azevedo. One of our newer family members at Ouroborus, young adult author Annalise is best described as tenacious, committed, and just the right mix of playful and serious. She lives and breathes the supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and fictional world, knows what a deadline is, and whenever we don’t hear from her for a while, we know it’s because she’s devotedly working on her paranormal Sacred Stone series. Book 1, Reflection of Fire, is out now, with book 2 on the way. We interrupted this busy writer to ask our usual pertinent questions.

Tell us about yourself: My story is rather simple, I always had an active imagination and loved magic. I am the second youngest in a family of six, but I was the only one who decided to write for fun. I was often a bit of an oddball and sometimes I find myself thinking about different scenarios to life. My early stories were English projects, mainly about dogs and wolves. Soon enough, I was a teenager who obsessed over TV shows and I was determined to give people the same feels as TV gave me.

Favourites

Favourite book: Don’t really have a favourite book, but recently preferred book is Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Favourite films: Avengers, Hachiko, Mulan

Favourite television series: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Vampire Diaries, Lucifer, Once Upon a Time, One Day at a Time, Friends, Game of Thrones and anything David Attenborough

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite subject in school: Drama and Multimedia

Ideal holiday destination: New Zealand is my current goal, then I would like to go to Europe, Portugal in particular

The best birthday party would be: I already had it. Just a quiet moment with people I care about. But it needs cake. Always needs cake.

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Salads, mushrooms, seafoods, I’m a picky eater

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Bright clothing, or crop tops

Least favourite sport: Running related – or tennis and golf

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 22

Third favourite fictional character: Emma Swan

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Chocolate, caramel and white chocolate.

A job you definitely wouldn’t have been suited for: Marketing

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Martial Arts. I mean, it’s still pretty cool

The most attractive punctuation mark is: !

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work: My friends were the primary focus. For those readers of Reflection of Fire, you probably realised that friendship is a strong theme of the story with little to no romance. Another inspiration was myself when I was in a dark place, I won’t go into massive detail in it, but bloodlust symbolises four major reasons to kill – misery, vengeance, rage and thrill. I always wanted to write a story where a character tries to be an average person (someone who wouldn’t kill, no matter what) but in reality, feels like an outsider (because they want to kill, for any of the four reasons)

What genres do you read and write: Supernatural, paranormal

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: 2018

What do you hope people associate you with: That awkward girl who wrote a book

Current work-in-progress: Editing Eye of the Storm and writing Book 3

What can readers expect from you in future: A full series, and solo novels. Lots and lots of solo novels.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: A piece of me is in each character, but I feel the closest with Tahani Rosa. A lot of her mannerisms are like mine, but magnified. She was also one of my earlier characters, who changed constantly through the versions. But my favourite character to write is a character not revealed yet.

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Any really. I’m not fussy on books.

Chocolate or chips? Is that a trick question? Chocolate.

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Black

Indoors or outdoors? Both

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? In between, but I do prefer it spotless.

Coffee or tea? I like both as iced.

You can find out more about Annalise Azevedo at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on her website, and the books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

A Writer’s Review of Scrivener

Writers and authors use a variety of ways to plan their projects. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs I’m not much of a planner, I do however have my research and I have tried a few different programs to help me sort through all of my notes.

As far as programs go, I give it a solid 9/10.

images2This program has a lot of uses that makes it worth the $45AUD one-off cost. It updates your program and as far as I’m aware it is a lifetime subscription. Once such thing I came across while playing with the program was the name generator. You can put in a variety of different settings and it will provide you with names that fit your description, and you can even look up name meanings.

The basic layout for a fiction novel set-up is relatively easy to follow. It has a manuscript section where you can make a tab for each of your chapters then you are able to export the file and it will hopefully come out as a fully formatted novel. I haven’t tried this part of the program yet as I prefer to complete my manuscripts in Microsoft Word for easier reading and editing.

You can also create character profiles within the program which I found extremely useful, especially now that I am gaining more characters and venturing into the second book with them, it is important for me to remember who is who and how they are related to the main plot. Without this section of Scrivener I would be lost, I would be constantly reading through The Stray to make sure everything is correct. Similar to the characters section of the program you can create places. Describing a new place and need to know all the information later on, the best place to store it is in that section. For both the characters and the places Scrivener provides a basic template that you can edit to suit your project needs.

scrivener-cork-boardYou do also have the option to make extra areas, which is what I do. I make extra folders and corkboards that allow me to put my mythologies and species histories and connections into a database of some kind. You can also create extra template sheets for later use if you require them in other projects.

Scrivener is a very useful program for me and I’m not even using it to its full capacity. I think this program is fantastic for its price and would be useful to almost any writer beginning or published. I’m looking forward to giving Scrivener’s sister program, Scrapple, a try whilst I plan and write the rest of the White Wolf Trilogy. For only $15AUD it’s worth a try.
~Amanda

You can follow Amanda on Facebook, Twitter and on her website, and The Stray is available from our webstore.

Meet the Author – Shayla Morgansen

This week we’re introducing one of our older – though not necessarily wiser or more mature! – writers at Ouroborus Books. Shayla Morgansen is the author of The Elm Stone Saga, as well as a number of more serious works of non-fiction and an even larger number of decidedly less serious fanfiction. She divides her time rather erratically between writing, watching old science fiction, and studying for her PhD. A former teacher, she now works as a freelance editor and a lecturer in Editing and Publishing Studies. To give Shayla a break from work, study and Netflix, we sat down to ask the hard questions.

shayla1

Favourites

Favourite book/s: Ugh, starting with the hardest one! Harry Potter, The Book Thief, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Fangirl, Carry On, and The Book With No Pictures. I refuse to narrow down the list any further

Favourite television series: Stargate SG1, X-Files, Supernatural, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The 100… Do I have to stop listing?

Favourite film/s: The Matrix. At least that one’s easy

Favourite colour: Pink!

Favourite Sesame Street character: Ernie

Favourite subject in school: Drama. I’m a tad theatrical, a tad wordsy

Favourite special place: My grandparents’ garden

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Mushrooms

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Real fur (eww! Dead stuff!)

Fears: Spiders

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 21

Least favourite Avenger: Ironman. Sorry not sorry

Least favourite Disney princess: Cinderella

Third favourite fictional character: Dr Daniel Jackson

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Fairyfloss and raspberry – super sweet but with a surprising tang

A job you definitely wouldn’t have been suited for: Accountant

The most attractive punctuation mark is: The question mark. I like the curves when I write it

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work: Harry Potter ran out so I wrote what I wanted to read

What genres do you read and write: I write YA fantasy, a bit of non-fiction as required by my study, and fanfiction for The X-Files and Dexter. My creative work usually has a focus on intense platonic relationships fraught with questions of morality and truth. I read widely, as long as it’s fiction, and as long as the story features spaceships, magic powers or law enforcement

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: In 2014

What do you hope people associate you with: I hope I’m viewed as fun and considerate, but also professional and knowledgeable. As a writer, I hope people associate me with quality

Current work-in-progress: My thesis

What can readers expect from you in future: At least two more Elm Stone books (with magic), a paranormal crime series (with FBI), a science fiction series (with spaceships) and my X-Files fanfiction to eventually get finished

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: Aristea, and Declan

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Paperback

Chocolate or chips? I have to choose?

DC or Marvel? Marvel every single day.

Blue ink or black? Blue!

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? I think there’s a desk. Ask any past student, they may have seen it once, or else offered to clean it for me in exchange for classroom points

You can find out more about Shayla Morgansen by following her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or by visiting her website, and The Elm Stone Saga can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

Book Week 2019

Untitled-201This week is Book Week in Australia. I was blessed to grow up in a house of books, where the written word was not only respected but adored. Thanks to my mother, I was a gifted reader before I started school so I flourished amongst the library books that I could now get from two libraries (local and school) and the all-important book catalogues. Not sure if that last sentence ages me but Lucky, Arrow and Star were words that sent my heart soaring. My mum managed to get my teachers to get me all three catalogues even in Year 1 and 2 (they were for different ages) and I’d beg for books from all three. My first set in Year 1 was the Narnia box set which is long gone, water damaged when I was about 10 and replaced about five years later, reuniting me with Aslan.

68900118_10218574826057757_8662010796131221504_nAnd then I discovered Book Week. Books AND costumes? My dreams had come true. I did Bo-Peep, a space captain, a witch, a clown… so many costumes. And I was blessed with a mum who could sew and be crafty, so I had a ball.

Book Week was established in 1945 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. It was “founded at a time when Australian children’s books were few, and Australian authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. In 1946 the CBCA established annual book awards to promote books of high literary and artistic quality. These awards are now the most influential and highly respected in Australia.”1

69343321_10162126131280246_1562037218522955776_nAs an author and illustrator, I look back and realise the Book Week was such a huge part in my journey to becoming who I am today, with the encouragement of my book-loving mother, by instilling joy in reading. The yearly themes were never important (although I happily used them for costume ideas) but seeing my school come to life in a flurry of colour and excitement over books, my favourite thing in the world, kept the storyteller and artist inside me alive.

69085983_10158742077684838_3351838610042126336_nNow I see a new generation of kids (and amazing teachers) embracing Book Week, through my friends’ kids and my nephew and nieces. Watching the new generation of readers embracing books with two hands and enjoying the written word makes me so happy. I don’t have kids of my own but I try to inspire the same love of books in my nieces and nephew, who all have amazing imaginations and artistic flair. I hope that they hold on to the love of stories, the love of books, long into their futures.

69304381_10158742077734838_4217684195641655296_nTo anyone out there with kids, READ to your children. Make them excited for books. Make them want to go on adventures in Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Hundred Acre Woods, Neverland and all the magical places they can escape to, even if its on a screen, reading is reading. But if you can, this Book Week, celebrate the joy of the written words and all the places that it can take them, and yourself.

69336632_365404761057342_3072699928036769792_nAll pictures here are courtesy of, and with permission from, parents I know and love and their kids, and there’s even a few of me.

~Sabrina

You can find out more about Sabrina RG Raven at her websiteFacebook or Instagram and her books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

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 1 http://www.cbca.org.au/about