Renee Writes

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Author Spotlight: Kingdom of Darkness (Kingdom Journals Book 2 – Camille’s Story) by Tricia Copeland

 

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today Tricia Copeland is returning to tell us about her book, Kingdom of Darkness, Book 2 in her Kingdom Journals series. She’s shared an excerpt, which we’ll get to soon. First, let’s get reacquainted with Tricia.

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in Colorado with her family and multiple four-legged friends. Her books include the clean new adult Being Me series, Is This Me?, If I Could Fly, Think You Know Me, and the final installment, Being Me. Her young adult reads include Drops of Sunshine, a paranormal novella, and the Lovelock Chronicles, Lovelock Ones: Native One, a dystopian novella published in The Butterfly Box, and the Kingdom Journal series.

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About the Book

Kingdom of Darkness
Kingdom Journals 2 – Camille’s Story

… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together. –Camille
Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but and her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?

Get it Today on Amazon!

 

 

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“That must have been some dream last night. Was the guy hot?” Tyler taunted me as he sat down at the breakfast table.

“It’s not like that.” I slapped him on the shoulder.

“Camille, Tyler, seriously,” Mom scolded. “Don’t start the weekend fighting?” She squatted down so we were eye to eye. “You had a dream? Why didn’t you say something?”

“It wasn’t a big deal.”

“Well, what was it about? Who was in it?”

The dreams had started four weeks before, but I hadn’t told Mom because I knew she would freak out and double my counseling sessions. The first was a scene with a girl and her mother at a library. They studied a boy who sat at a table reading. The next day the girl and boy met at the library again. I never heard words, only saw pictures. It wasn’t like I thought the dreams were real, but it fascinated me the way the storyline continued.

I’d had imaginary friends when I was younger. My pretend scenarios got so out of control, Mother put me on medication. She moved us from Los Angeles to the Arizona desert, seeking a healthier environment. Then she relocated us to Cheyenne, Santa Fe, and Bismarck, trying to find a solution to my health problems. Bismarck had been better but still not perfect, and we packed up and relocated to Iceland, the healthiest country on the planet. Tyler had pushed for Honolulu, but in the end, cost of living won out.

Reykjavik seemed to have solved all my problems. We’d been there over a year, and I hadn’t had any episodes. Then the dreams started. Granted they were just that, fictitious stories created by the overactive limbic part of my brain. My research indicated this to be the emotional part that gets highly active during REM sleep, when our prefrontal cortex, the mastermind of the brain, rests. The limbic portion of the human brain causes emotional, vivid, irrational scenarios to play out in our sleep.

My dreams were more like a silent movie, continuing where they’d left off the previous night. The plot included a girl who didn’t eat normal food save sushi, avoided human contact, and had witch-like powers. The boy developed these powers, and he and the girl assembled an army of vampires and witches to fight another group of witches. So, of course, the scenarios playing through my head each night couldn’t be real.

The whole issue was that, even with medication, I’d had visions of my imaginary friends after we’d left Los Angeles. The girl and boy, Violet and Chase, searched for me and sat outside my door waiting for me to come play. The doctor switched my medication, and the hallucinations stopped just before my fourth birthday. I hadn’t seen Violet or Chase since, but the characters in my dreams had similarities to my imaginary friends. Maybe their features wouldn’t have stuck with me so vividly, except each time we moved I saw a new psychiatrist. He or she always reviewed my history, so I had to relive being three every other year or so. Violet’s reddish-brown hair, her milky white skin, and Chase’s dark hair and eyes, became etched into my brain.

For the past month, I’d watched the characters on mute. But the previous night’s dream, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. “Ivy,” the girl and boy had recited together. It was the pretend name my Violet and Chase used for me. As soon as the sound of the name vibrated through my head, I’d woken with chill bumps covering my body.

Sitting up, I wrapped the blankets around my shoulders, wondering how the girl and boy in the dream knew my nickname. A buzzing sound, like the type you hear just before you pass out, grew in intensity until I thought my eardrums might explode, and then it stopped suddenly and images filled my head.

Author Spotlight: The Rite of Wands by Mackenzie Flohr

 

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Mackenzie Flohr with her book The Rite of Wands, the first book in her series of the same title. Later I will share an interview I did with Mackenzie, so keep reading.

Mackenzie Flohr grew up in the heartland of America, chasing leprechauns and rainbows and dreaming of angels. Her parents nurtured a love of fantasy and make-believe by introducing her at a very young age to the artistic and cultural opportunities that the city of Cleveland had to offer.

From the time she could hold a pencil, Mackenzie was already creating pictorial interpretations of classic stories, and by the age of nine, she and a childhood friend were authors and reviewers of their own picture books.

While following her love of adventure, Mackenzie found a second home, the Beck Center for the Arts Children’s and Teen Theater School. It was there that a world of wonder was only a script and a performance away.

Yet it wasn’t until she was on a trip to Indiana, viewing a Lord of the Rings exhibit, that the innermost desire of her heart became clear to her. She wanted to write a fantasy of her own, one that could inspire imagination in others and lead them into a magical world of their own making. She hopes The Rite of Wands will do just that.

Wherever we live and wherever we come from is our individual heartland. Anything is possible and everything can happen. Pure imagination is in all of us—we only need to discover it, and sometimes story telling helps.

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About the Book

One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever.

And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.

Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.

But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Where are you from?

I’m originally from the Cleveland, OH area, but now reside in Hartland, Michigan.

Does your area have a good writing community?

I am part of a fantastic writing community called the After Hours Group. They meet once a month to share writing and critique each other’s work. They have been extremely helpful to me.

What genres do you write?

Fantasy, Scifi and Horror

What is the oddest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?

Slugs. Slugs that go to your brain!

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

If he was still alive, definitely it would be J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d want to know more about how he creates his languages.

Do you feel the support of family and friends is helpful to you as an author?

Absolutely! Being an indie author, I depend on the word of mouth from my friends and family to tell others about my book, help me gain sales, and to read and review my book. Without them, I would be destined to remain an unknown in the writing world.

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Do you prefer ebooks, print or both?

I like both, but there’s something special about being able to hold a book physically in your hands.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I wanted more control over my series rights.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I’m honestly a bit of both. I did work from an outline, but I found the character Mierta had to be written on the spur of the moment. That actually made writing the book challenging and fun because I never knew where he was going to take the story!

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

Honestly, it was figuring out how and when to specifically start the story. I’ve lost count how many re-writes I’ve done!

Author Spotlight: The Dream Walker (Land of Mystica Series) by Michelle Murray

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today Michelle Murray is here to share a little about herself as well as the first book in her Land of Mystica Series, The Dream Walker. She has also shared a short story based on the book, but first Michelle has this to say:

I am a working mother with a passion for writing. I have been published in anthologies and won awards for my short story and poetry. I was featured in Who’s Who Among American Poets. I enjoy reading going for walks and nature.

 

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About the Book

Miranda is having dreams of another world. Follow Miranda as she travels through Mystica to save the white wizards from their stone prisons. Read how the wizards were trapped in stones. Go on an adventure with castles, wizards, dreams, and adventure.

Get it Today!

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Keep reading for a short story:

The spell went through Mystica. Midnight’s carefully studied, perfectly spoken spell that was meant to turn the fellow wizards into stones. The spell was supposed to allow Midnight to take over Mystica. Only something went wrong. The magic Midnight used trapped all magic creatures, and turned all of the wizard including Midnight himself into stones. The spell went through Mystica creating earthquakes, tremors, and waves of fog and mist throughout the land.

The land shook, cracks opened up in the dry dirt, boulders and rocks tumbled down from mountains. The sky was dark with white streaks of lightning flashing. When all was still, many magical creatures and people were trapped along with the wizards. The dragons, who once had roamed freely, were now stone statues. The Ice People were also trapped.

The Ice People were small people, about two or three feet tall with pale cloud like skin, white hair like icicles and blue eyes. They were distant cousins to the Dwarves, who lived in the Dwarf Mines. Like the Dwarves, they liked to mine for jewels and stones. The stones the Ice People mined were filled with magic.

The magic of Midnight’s spell combined with the magic of the stones in the Ice Caves trapped the Ice People’s spirits. Their spirits were only allowed to be shown when there were visitors. Their once grand hall filled with a big square table and the chairs of the head of the Ice Council were now empty. The warm blue globes that lit the Ice Caves now shined on empty hallways and passageways, where once the Ice People had mined and worked. Only their voices were to be heard by the prisoners brought there by the Balingers.

The Balingers were big black birds. They were also under a spell. They would bring the Ice People prisoners to mine the Ice Caves in return for food and care of their young. When the Balingers flew, the big black wings unfurled and blocked the sun from the sky. They had sharp claws and beady black eyes. They circled, swooped, and searched the land for prisoners to bring the Ice People. The Balingers could cover great distances over the land of Mystica in little time with their great big wings.

The unlucky travelers the Balingers swooped down upon and grabbed with their big sharp claws would find themselves stranded on top of the Ice Cave Mountain with nowhere to go except inside the Ice Caves.

The Ice Caves were filled with passageways and rooms carved out of ice. Stalagmites of ice grew up from the cave floor, and stalactites hung from the ceiling. There were heaps of snow and ice along the sides where the caves were dug out. Blue globe lights were hung and lit the passageways with blue light, making the ice sparkle. Streaks of blue and white color echoed throughout the caverns. The snow made a crunching sound when walked on. The Ice People made special snow shoes for traversing the caves.

The spirits of the Ice People floated through the Ice Caves, watching the prisoners, hoping one would find the stone to release the spell that bound them. There were some spirits, especially among the Ice Council, that were strong enough to speak, threaten, and sometimes even whisper in the prisoner’s ears.

The Balingers brought all kinds of people from all over Mystica to the Ice Caves. Mostly, they were lonely travelers, bandits, or thieves. The Balingers unwittingly brought The Dream Walker, Miranda and her companion Walking Bear to the caves.

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