Meet the Author: Danica Peck

danicaNow in the middle of 2019, we’d like to take a day to celebrate the Ouroborus Books family’s middle child – not one of the first, and not one of the new kids, YA fantasy author Danica Peck is the generous, colourful and personable heart of our little press. Like her books, she brings an infectious level of fun and surprise to what can otherwise become a serious business. Her first series, Battles of Azriel, follows a cast of rebel queens and their struggles to reclaim their thrones in a dangerous parallel realm, and her upcoming works walk exciting lines between fantasy adventure and paranormal romance. Read on for our interview with Danica and follow the links to find her books and social media.

Tell us about yourself: My name is Danica and I write the stories my mind creates, because if I don’t put them on paper I may go insane. I’ve published two books and have countless stories waiting to be written. As long as I am always writing and travelling, I am satisfied on this planet.

Favourites

These are so hard to answer. Narrowing down to a favourite or even top five is near impossible.

Favourite book: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy and Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead

Favourite films: Perks of Being a Wallflower, Edge of 17, Love Actually, Breakfast Club, Set It Up

Favourite shows: Friends! Anything Joss Whedon! (Ah it’s too hard!! So many amazing shows?)

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite song: (current) False Confidence – Noah

Favourite bands: Halsey!! Queen, Michael Jackson, American Rejects

Favourite artist: Destiny Blue

Favourite sesame street character: Elmo

Favourite subject in school: Drama, English and Film

Favourite special place: The beach

Ideal holiday destination: Lapland, Russia, Egypt

Best birthday party: As long as I’m with those I love, it’s always the best

 Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Avocado, I know I’m weird. Raw fish – yuck! Brussel sprouts, like why?

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Crocs! Unfashionable mismatched clothes.

Fears: Spiders and getting old

Least favourite sport: Do burpees count?

A really annoying piece of advice: You’re still young, you’ll find someone

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 22!!

Favourite Avenger: Loki

Favourite Disney princess: Jasmine

Third favourite fictional character: Rose Hathaway

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Cookie dough, Nutella and strawberry ice-cream

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

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Scrapbooking

The most attractive punctuation mark is: Semi colon

Best Skittle and jellybean flavour: Red skittle and toasted marshmallow jelly bean

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work? The story I’m currently working on was inspired by a dream

What genres do you read and write? Mostly fantasy and other worlds

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus? Three years ago

What do you hope people associate you with? Writing, travel and hippie!

Current work-in-progress: Amity

What can readers expect from you in future? Another four books in my series and a few standalones.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write? Arya. I created her when I was sixteen. If I’m going through a hard time so is she, when I’m healing same to her.

What upcoming or recently released Ouroborus book are you most eager to read and why? Shayla’s book 3. Need to know what happens!

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Hardcover

Chocolate or chips? Chocolate

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Blue ink

Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors

Spotless workspace or is there a desk under all that? There is a desk… somewhere

Coffee or tea? Tea

Connect with Danica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and find her books in the Ouroborus online store.

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May the 4th book be with you

gahsafdsgElm Stone Saga fans, the moment has finally arrived!!!! The fourth book in The Elm Stone Saga, ‘Haunted’, is here. Here’s a little interview I did with the fabulous author, Shayla Morgansen herself.

What inspired The Elm Stone Saga?

Two things. One, the then-impending completion of the Harry Potter series, which I was finding difficult to replace. Two, a baby names book I bought to help me find names for my Sims. I found Aristea and Renatus in there, along with almost the entire cast, and started imagining them as characters. That’s why all the weird names!

What authors inspire you, and why?

So many, where do I start? JK Rowling is my hero because of her tenacity and the impact she had on reading and literacy. Laini Taylor and Catherynne M Valente make me want to write better, every time I read a single gorgeously crafted line of theirs… their story worlds are so beautiful and every word is a delight. And Jodi McAlister, because she manages to strike a balance between academic life and writing fantasy novels!

What was the first thing that drew you into the fantasy world?

sdgasgg.jpgI always watched and read fantasy and science fiction. My childhood movies were Star Wars, Independence Day, Stargate, The Labyrinth… Plus The Swan Princess and a big helping of Disney… That’s why I’m so well-adjusted. For books, especially long magical series that drew me totally in, it would have to be The Chronicles of Narnia.

What book is your most anticipated read for the rest of this year?

Other than the forty-something unread books sitting on my bookshelf already? Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell.

What was your favourite read of 2018?

Well, that’s too hard. Either Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine or Valentine by Jodi McAlister. Or Illuminae. Or Geekerella. I don’t know. I’m a picky reader – if it doesn’t have magic, spaceships or police, I’m out – so I love nearly everything that makes it onto my very exclusive list!

How did you decide on the cover of your books?

Painfully, or so my cover artists would say. I’m picky with everything. I knew I didn’t want to have people on them and I wanted a symbol. My amazing artist friends who developed the covers helped me to think about what symbol matched the content of each book.

agfagasgIf your book series was to be a movie, who would you cast? Personally I think the actor who played Victor Aldertree on Shadowhunters would be perfect for Qasim.

I remember you saying that! Maybe Theo James as Renatus? Though I think the books are better suited to a series than to film.

What do you want readers to take away from reading The Elm Stone Saga?

Enjoyment? There isn’t really any deliberate moral or message to the series – more of an exploration of my own into the different ethical perspectives. Is an action inherently right or wrong? Is its rightness determined by its outcome? Or is something more or less right if it affects people you love? These are questions my characters struggle with and I think we all can relate, so I hope readers get a moment of escape when they’re reading about fictional people dealing with these worries in fictional settings.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Take yourself seriously, or no one else will – but not so seriously that you forget that this is supposed to be fun. Language should be a delight. If you don’t love writing, your approach needs a look-over.

Finally, can you tease use about any upcoming projects you have on the horizon?

agf.jpgI always have too much going on! Aside from my non-fiction works coming out over the next year, my massive unfinished fanfiction and the research arising from my ongoing study, I do have a new fiction series I’ve started working on. Think The X-Files­ meets Grimm – supernatural police procedural. But it’s a while off, and I’m committed to completing The Elm Stone Saga for now.

~J.J. Fryer

You can find out more about Shayla Morgansen at her website, on The Elm Stone Saga’s Facebook page, or by following her on Instagram. All four books in The Elm Stone Saga are available from our store.

You can follow JJ Fryer on Twitter and Instagram. His debut novel Inner Reflection is available from our store.

Meet the Author: Amanda Geisler

Amanda Geisler has been a dedicated reader since a young age, always searching for new materials to devour. She began writing short stories at the age of 9, musing over the worlds she created before being introduced to the world of novels in her early teen years. Amanda is an enthusiastic reader and writer of young adult urban fantasy and paranormal novels.

gwrrThe White Wolf trilogy has been Amanda’s foundation project. Having started the original version when she was 13, The Stray was a work in progress for several years until she finally finished it in 2016.

Besides reading and writing, Amanda lives and works in Brisbane as an early childhood educator while she continues to study towards a Bachelor of Education at university. Amanda uses her spare time to continue with her writing projects and to attend events such as Supanova and Genre Con.

Favourites

Favourite book/s: Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Favourite film/s: Harry Potter Series

Favourite television series: Teen Wolf

Favourite colour: Purple

Favourite Sesame Street character: Big Bird

Favourite subject in school: Maths

Favourite special place: My bed

Ideal holiday destination: Europe

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Mushrooms

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Hot Pink (unless for charity event)

Fears: Claustrophobia, stairs

Least favourite sport: Cricket

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 25

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Photography

Best Skittle flavour: Purple/Grape

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work:

What genres do you read and write: I read and write a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal novels. Sometimes read horror. Rarely romance.

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: 2016

Current work-in-progress: The Lost

What can readers expect from you in future: My writing career has taken a bit of a hiatus as my university, personal and working personas take more importance. However, I am working on The Lost and will get it out as soon as it’s ready.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: I feel I connect and relate to Rya most of all. Probably because I have spent so much time in her head and some of my personality is in her. I am looking forward to writing from Dylan’s point of view as the series progresses. He is a charismatic, sarcastic and cheerful character that I believe will be interesting and fun to write.

What upcoming or recently released Ouroborus book are you most eager to read and why? I am looking forward to reading Blank. I have had it on my shelf for a few months now and I have been waiting for time to read it.

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Paperback

Chocolate or chips? Both (depends on mood)

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Both (depends on mood and what it is used for)

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? Bit of both

Coffee or tea? Neither

You can find out more about Amanda Geisler here and the books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

What does your Character Represent?

When you answer this question, you hesitate. What does this character represent? Why am I writing this character this way? I will have to confess that coming up with a theme of your character is tricky, but I believe a well-developed character grows when they have a theme.

Examples can include:

ich.jpgIchigo Kurosaki from Bleach – his theme was to protect. He wanted to protect a mountain load of people after his mother died protecting him. It is an important note of him throughout the series, his downfall, however was the ending when his character was literally trashed to the point of no return.

bell

 

Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time – as one of my favourite characters, I couldn’t not include her. Her theme is about being the saviour, the product of True Love (A.K.A the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming). She starts off as a lost girl, an orphan who believed that no one could love her. As the seasons go on, she finds her parents, reunites with her son that she sent away and the love of her life. This allows her to grow into her theme, which falls into hope. Hope that could grant the happy endings.

A theme of a character can tell us so much about them. It could range from anything – from their name, unique marks, personality traits and even their thoughts. We can see their problems and their complications through the story, especially following with the ‘show don’t tell’ rule. It brings out their relationship with other characters that we probably wouldn’t see for others.

By showing us the representation, this can also help the reader identify with the characters. I believe that many people feel inspired when the main character is played by someone who the audience can connect to. It was the reason why Wonder Woman became a massive success; it most likely helped a lot of young girls find the strength to do the right thing.

When creating a theme for your character, my advice would be for you to look at your character truly. Learn about them. Just because you created by them it doesn’t mean you know them. They have different experiences than you and me – unless, the story is about yourself then that’s a different conversation.

I would love to see all writers to create a theme of their characters, to help support someone for when they need a helping hand.

~ Annalise

Annalise is the author of the Sacred Stone books

Visit Annalise’s bio here

May the Fourth be with You…

A long time ago, in a galaxy so big we can see an arm of it across our night sky but which is in fact not that far away at all since we’re inside it, cinema was introduced to an orphan farm boy from a desert planet whose elderly neighbour coerces him into a questionable space mission to rescue a princess from their estranged villain of a father. Along the way, our plucky orphan befriends a cheeky criminal, sees his dad murder his neighbour, joins an ancient cult, discovers superpowers, kisses his sister, loses a limb and saves the galaxy a few times. Who doesn’t have problems, right?

received_355394421757931No wonder it seems to be the most relatable story told in recent western culture. At the very least, it’s one of the most viewed and loved. Somewhere between a little genre film some forty years ago that by all rights should never have gotten off the ground, two trilogy revivals, successful transitions to books and games, a multi-billion-dollar buyout and countless Lego sets, we find, arguably, the largest media thing our world has ever seen.

It’s hard to calculate the total cultural impact of a media franchise giant like Star Wars. We can count up the dollars, but even that takes a while, with $7 billion made at box office alone, with the video and DVD releases, merchandise sales and book royalties not counted in that. We can count the views, and find that according to a survey taken of US residents following the release of Rogue One, 40% of Americans have seen the original Star Wars film, with similar numbers for the rest of the franchise, but this doesn’t represent anyone else in the world where Star Wars has a similar foothold in mainstream media culture. We can look to the internet to count the number of works of fanfiction to have been archived under the Star Wars banner, but while the 50.8k count on FanFiction.Net is the largest number under their ‘Movies’ category (beating even Avengers) this doesn’t come close to encompassing the untold hundreds of thousands of drabbles, vids, meta discussions and multimedia works of fan art and fiction floating around other platforms like Tumblr or old forums. We’ll never count the impact, at least not without a really amazing algorithm that hasn’t been theorised yet.

59525141_3012177608799954_6703421575040860160_nInstead we’re better off looking at more qualitative research methods, observation being key among them. Note the consistency of Slave Leias, Darth Vaders and Jedi robes in Comic Con cosplay parades each year, never affected by the rise and fall of other major fandoms. Note the permanence of Star Wars classic lines of dialogue in the western vernacular. Luke, I am your father. Do or do not, there is no try. May the Force be with you. Note the familiarity of young children with characters from films they haven’t yet seen, toting Han Solo lunchboxes and Finn backpacks to school after having absorbed their parents’ and older family’s love for the franchise.

And of course, there’s the little aspect of the dedicated day. The Americanism of pronouncing dates in the order of month-day makes today May Fourth, which is too hard to ignore as a close-enough match to the famous phrase. Thus, May the Fourth be with you. The phrase, playing on the then-recently released space opera film, is first recorded on 4 May 1979, published in The London Evening News congratulating Margaret Thatcher on her election as Prime Minister. It took until the age of the internet for the day to really, properly take off among science fiction media fans, with early Facebook groups celebrating ‘Luke Skywalker Day’. Though this was short-lived, it provided the foundations for a fan-run Star Wars Day in 2011 in Canada, and by 2013 it had grown enough that proud new owners Disney observed the day with celebrations in their theme parks. By now, it’s known the world over. Eateries create specialty menus for the day (Brisbanites – see Netherworld’s Hoth Dogs!) and media-oriented businesses use May the Fourth Star Wars buzz in their advertising. Fans hold themed games nights and movie marathons (I imagine these are reaching a point of needing to start very early in the morning or pre-selecting a handful of films for said marathon). California even made Star Wars Day an official holiday this year. All this for a little movie that everyone thought would fail, made in the wrong time, unrelatable…

59276198_840690239637359_8072619177199796224_nPossibly the most significant indicator of the cultural impact of Star Wars is its complete lack of visible impact. Like an asteroid so big it flattens an entire landscape, the impact of a media giant isn’t in dents and craters observable to the naked eye. There’s no pocket of nerds whispering about Star Wars behind artfully constructed walls of upside-down textbooks. There are no petitions being pushed around the internet by desperate fans trying to save their fandom from cancellation. And there’s no word for being a Star Wars fan. While Trekkies reading this are already mad with me for referring to Star Wars as the world’s biggest media franchise when theirs obviously started even earlier, the fact remains that their fandom has remained securely in nerd hands throughout the decades. This has its own field of benefits, and I could write an essay about Star Trek possibly being more of a science fiction fandom while Star Wars is definitely a media one, but I have enough essays to write that I’m ignoring in favour of this blog post. Contrary to Trek, George Lucas’s more fantasy-styled sci-fi has, somewhere along the way, transitioned from nerd territory to mainstream. When someone says they’ve never seen *insert science fiction film title here* you usually cut them some slack on the account that not everyone is a genre fan. When that title is Star Wars, you usually assume they’ve been living under a rock. Like, you have to have been actively avoiding it to have missed it for long, right?

The influence of Star Wars on culture as a whole is impossible to quantify, but its influence on the one is relatively easy to get a handle on. Just ask. Most people (except those rock people, who may have other interesting stories to tell about all the near-misses of their Star Wars­-less lives) will have a specific memory of the franchise to share that brings them joy or excitement. Seeing the movie for the first time. Playing lightsabers with their cousins in the backyard. Building a Millennium Falcon Lego set with their dad. Hearing John Williams’ score and feeling your heart soaring. Wanting to write a story as epic as that one, with unlikely heroes and villains that seem insurmountable and incredible intergalactic worlds to explore and all the hope and wonder of a billion billion billion stars out the windscreen of your trusty hunk of junk spaceship, accompanied by the best and weirdest friends you could ask for. Something about Luke Skywalker’s struggles and his pure-hearted tenacity speaks to us as an audience, and brings people together, and back to themselves, in some really beautiful ways. This May the Fourth, ask someone about their favourite Star Wars memory, and exploit its massive potential for sparking human connection.

How has Star Wars influenced you?

Meet the Author: Sabrina RG Raven

meshopped.jpgWith over 10 years’ experience in the independent publishing field, artist, writer, editor and book designer Sabrina RG Raven has learned to mix her passion for art, design and the written word not only to create her own works of fiction but to help publish other authors.

Her art and writing styles vary from fantasy and sci-fi to portraiture and book covers. Her first two novels co-written with Mitchell Tierney make up two thirds of the Everdark Realms series. Her first solo novel, Blank, is now available, as is her first illustrated work, The Monsters in My Head, an adult picture book about mental illness. She is currently working on book three of Everdark Realms and the follow-up to Blank.

Favourites

Favourite book/s: (This is barely skimming the top of the list) All of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, anything by Stephen King, Seven Ancient Wonders series by Matthew Riley, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling, (this is like telling me to pick a favourite child) The Voynich Manuscript, most of Shakespeare… That’s a good start (honestly, I own over 3000 books).

Favourite film/s: The Crow, Alita Battle Angel, Dumbo, Jurassic Park, anything Ghibli, Lord of the Rings trilogy… nope this is too hard too. I inhale media.

Favourite television series: Doctor Who, Torchwood, Brooklyn 99, Castle Rock, Stranger Things, Lost, Masterchef… again too many to choose from.

Favourite colour: Red, Black, Purple and clear.

Favourite Sesame Street character: Miss Piggy and Snuffy.

Favourite subject in school: English.

Favourite special place: Tokyo.

Ideal holiday destination: Japan.

The best birthday party would be: potluck with my nearest and dearest, although my book launch/birthday last year was pretty epic.

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: artichoke, pawpaw and brussels sprouts.

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: a bikini.

Fears: Losing the people I love.

Least favourite sport: Most of them, and any I am made to participate in.

A really annoying mantra, saying or piece of advice: Chin up.

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 21.

Least favourite Disney princess: Jasmine (not sure why, she just irks me).

Third favourite fictional character: Oy.

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Chocolate fudge, peppermint, macadamia nuts and black sesame ice cream (it would probably be gross).

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

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: bought a ukulele.

The most attractive punctuation mark is: interobang.

Best Skittle/jellybean flavour: skittles are gross. Buttered popcorn jellybelly.

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work: Blank was actually a writing prompt so the sequel follows on from that.

What genres do you read and write: Read: sci-fi, fantasy, horror mainly although I’ll attempt most books. Write: sci-fi and fantasy.

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: I formed Ouroborus back in 2007.

What do you hope people associate you with: my compassion.

Current work-in-progress: Marked, Everdark 3, about 10 paintings and a crochet project.

What can readers expect from you in future: I want to delve more into sci-fi.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: Almara from Blank. It’s hard being different and she embodies the strength I hope to have to get through.

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? paperback.

Chocolate or chips? chocolate.

DC or Marvel? Marvel.

Blue ink or black? black.

Indoors or outdoors? indoors.

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? Either although the latter is most likely.

Coffee or tea? Either or.

You can find out more about Sabrina RG Raven at her website, facebook or instagram and her books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.