Monday, August 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Anne Barwell & A Knight to Remember

Hello, everyone! Today's author spotlight is on Anne Barwell! Please be sure to let her know you stopped in by leaving a comment for her. :)


Not your stereotypical hero...
A big thanks to JR Loveless for hosting me today J

I'm not a fan of stereotypes, and prefer to write and read about characters who don't necessarily act in a way their position in the plot, or in life, might dictate.

Heroes who run in save the day, and aren't fazed by the fact the body count is piling up don't interest me. I prefer a reluctant hero who does what needs doing either because there isn't anyone else, or it's to save someone he cares about. While banter is a good thing, as it prevents the story from being bogged down from doom and gloom and too much angst, it shouldn't come at the cost of an emotional response.

My heroes, although capable, don't always know exactly what they're doing. Aric, in A Knight to Remember, is sent by a dragon on a quest to find a sword. But he has no clue what the magical properties of the sword are, or how he's going to use it to unite his kingdom. Where would be the fun in that, let alone the fodder for sequels?  He also has a tendency to get distracted by letting his thoughts wander, but that's what makes him human.  He does, however, know how to use a sword and can hold his own in battle, and will do whatever it takes to keep others safe.

I'm also not a fan of female characters who constantly need rescuing. My female characters are more likely to end up rescuing someone else, or giving their companions a good kick up the proverbial arse. Sometimes they're also needed to make sure the heroes don't get too distracted by each other and get on with the plot.

One thing that will turn me off reading a story very quickly is an amazingly capable hero or heroine who is better than anyone else. They save the day, kill bad guys before breakfast, and hardly break a sweat. *cough*Mary/Marty Sue*cough*.  I'd much prefer someone who uses his wits to think outside the box to defeat an enemy who is stronger and faster than he is.  After killing someone for the first time, the reality of what he's done hits him in the gut and he promptly throws up.

Perfect characters are perfectly boring. Give me a hero who makes mistakes and has to deal with the consequences any day. Besides being way more interesting, they're so much more fun to angst, with perhaps a good dollop of hurt/comfort thrown in for good measure.

"The last of your line will be in the embrace of a dragon."

Aric, Crown Prince of Astria, has been brought up to believe that all dragons are evil. But when he speaks with one, he finds himself questioning those beliefs. The dragon tells him to find a sword in Sherwin Forest to save not only his kingdom but also his sister, Georgia, who must otherwise wed the prince of a neighboring kingdom.

At the start of his quest, Aric dons a disguise and meets Denys, an archer and herbalist who lives alone at the edge of the forest. Denys agrees to guide Aric into the forest, but then Georgia appears, revealing Aric’s true identity.

However Aric learns he is not the only one keeping secrets. Denys has a few of his own that could change both of their lives forever.
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“You said you had something to tell me.” Aric cleared his throat, not wishing to reminiscence about such things, at least not now. He was losing his mind, he must be. This was a dream, it had to be. Yet why did it feel so real? “And my name is not Brandric. It’s Aric. Brandric is what my father calls me.”

“Aric, then.” The dragon inclined its head again, lowering its voice. “Your sister is to marry the prince of a neighboring kingdom. This must not be allowed to happen. It will not unite your kingdoms, but is merely a ploy to gain your father’s trust.”

“I already know that.” Aric had heard two of King Malachite’s men talking. Once the marriage had taken place, King Malachite planned to invade Astria and claim it in the name of Logan, his own kingdom. “He… they talked about using magic.” Aric had told his father about what he’d overheard, but he hadn’t been believed. King Malachite, King Brandr assured his son, would not attempt to betray Astria by using the evil that was magic. Nor would he use their children’s marriage to gain control over Astria. He was an honorable man who had stood by Astria and its people many times, their armies united against a common foe. Together they had triumphed over those who might use magic against them, and worked to rid both their lands of the threat of dragons.

Aric had never trusted King Malachite. There was something about the man that made his skin crawl, but if asked to explain, he couldn’t. Only two people had ever believed him: Georgia and Aunt Hannah.

“The only way to fight magic is with magic.” The dragon looked around, then cocked its head to the side as though listening to something Aric could not hear. “You must seek the Sword of Sherwin, Aric. The quest will not only save your kingdom, but also your sister.”

“I….” Aric stared at the dragon. He’d heard of the sword, of course he had. It was an old tale told to him by both his aunt and his mother. The sword was a thing of power. “It doesn’t exist. It’s just a story. Or if it did, it was lost generations ago.” He shook his head. Surely the dragon couldn’t be serious?

“Then it is time it was found again, isn’t it?”

“You make it sound simple. It’s not.” Aric looked up at the dragon. Its eyes were the same color as its scales. They seemed to bore into his own, searching his heart, and his soul. There was something ageless about it, powerful yet lonely. He shivered, and averted his gaze.

“You see what others don’t, young Aric.” The dragon opened its wings. Aric gasped. They were the length of several men, black cobwebs of fine leather and scale. “Follow your heart, and trust your instincts.”

“But I don’t know where to look.” Aric wanted to believe the dragon, he truly did. Georgia couldn’t be allowed to marry Prince Thorold, and Aric could not stand by and let his kingdom fall. Killing dragons had only been part of the oath he’d taken. He might not intend to keep that part of it, but he certainly would keep the other.

The dragon had already begun to flap its wings. It was preparing to leave, and Aric knew once it took flight he’d never be able to stop it. “Follow your heart, Aric. Do what is right.”

Aric stumbled back, his sword falling to the ground. He couldn’t kill the dragon, but more than that, he didn’t want to. “I don’t know where to look,” he yelled after it. The dragon did not reply but instead took to the air, gliding, hovering above him, its movement graceful, majestic. Something about it called to him, touched him.

He wiped at his eyes. They were wet.

When he looked up again, the dragon was gone.


Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Update on Forgiving Thayne, RainbowCon Information & Self Publication

Happy Tuesday, everyone! :)

I know it's been a while since I really posted much. It's been a rough few months. I fell and injured my leg which has led to doctors and hospital visits as it wasn't a simple bruise this time. How can you tell you're getting old? You hurt yourself more than you used to when you fall! I'm pretty sure I'm well on the way to being mended now, will have more information on that after this Friday. Another doctor's visit. :-/ Hopefully the last. *crosses fingers*

But since about Thursday last week I've had some major progress in the sequel to Chasing Seth. I have added about 10% which is the equivalent of 8k words and finally broke the 50% mark! So that's extremely exciting for me. I am hoping to push to finish this by the end of the month, if not before hand. Although I do not believe it will be released this year. Dreamspinner is booked up through Feb and most likely if they accept the sequel will be set for release sometime next year. But hopefully it is in time for the RainbowCon in Tampa in April which I will be attending! :) Hope to see you there!

I am going to begin working on my handmade promotional items within the next couple of months as I want to go for a unique twist that hopefully my readers will really love! These will only be available at the RainbowCon in Tampa, but I may make one or two extra to do giveaways on my Facebook Page or blog. So please keep an eye out on my blog and website for these! :)

Over the next couple of months I will be re-releasing Swift's Temptation and Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul as self publications and White Rain will become a free read on my website. I have already touched base with someone to design my covers and I am going to work on some cover specs for them to design for me. I will make an announcement when they are available for purchase.

Tha'ts it for now! Will post again as I have more information. ^-^ Thanks for being so patient for the sequel to Seth and for continuing to follow the barely there posts.