Dec 7, 2018

Guest Spotlight - Brenda Vicars - Tangled Lights and Silent Nights


Can you tell when it’s love and not just a passing crush?

Polarity, the main character in my novel Polarity in Motion, is only 16, and she’s in love with Ethan. He’s the character who helps her figure out how her nude picture showed up on the Internet—a photo that she has no memory of posing for.

Sometimes when teenagers say they’re in love, we think it’s just a crush or hormones.  But Polarity says, nope, it’s not a passing teen thing. She’s in love. 

When I want to get a deeper understanding of a character, I use a writers’ technique of interviewing the character. “Dear Polarity,” I wrote. “Why do you think you’re in love with Ethan?  Possibly you’re just grateful to him. After all, he helped you put your life back together after the nude picture fiasco. Or maybe you just have a crush on him—he is so hot!”

Polarity’s answer surprised me and warmed my heart. She not only explained why she loves him, but she went beyond the question I had posed, and described “the moment I knew I would love Ethan forever.” Her answer became the short story by the same title in Tangled Lights and Silent Nights. And the segment is also in the next Polarity book, Polarity in Love, which will be released in 2019.

What was the moment she knew she’d love him forever?  It happens during Christmas season in south Texas and involves a rattlesnake and a ten-year-old girl’s tears. In an incident that both horrifies and amazes Polarity, she sees deeper dimensions of Ethan.

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Dec 4, 2018

Guest Spotlight - Ciara Ballintyne - Tangled Lights and Silent Nights



Meet Alloran – the fantasy equivalent of a mad scientist, whose stock in trade is magic, not science.

I conceived of Alloran after reading The Accidental Sorcerer by K.E. Mills. The main character in that book has a friend, Monk Markham, who is a brilliant wizard constantly dabbling in things he shouldn’t—and getting away with it.

And I thought—but what if he didn’t? What if his hubris had consequences?

Poor Alloran has been plagued with mishaps, and in The Seven Circles of Hell he stumbles from disaster to disaster, in each book trying to put right what he made wrong in the last. Maybe he should just stop. Maybe it’s time to call it quits.

But he has itchy fingers, and he can’t put a puzzle down once he’s picked it up—and what’s a poor wizard to do when his best friend is on the loose, trying to destroy him, and, incidentally, the world?
Events all started a long time ago in a galaxy… I mean, just a long time ago. Alloran is more than a hundred years old, and when we meet him in Confronting the Demon, he’s abandoned his research and has committed himself to a life of carousing. Because if you don’t behave seriously, people can’t expect you to solve serious problems, right?

It seems like a sensible decision—if you are addicted to something bad, the general wisdom is to give it up. But Alloran gets sucked back in when he’s framed for summoning demons and winds up on the run while someone is murdering his friends.

So that’s how he got back into magic. But why did he quit in the first place?

Alloran was the man who discovered how to open gates into hell—which is why everyone thinks he summoned the one in Confronting the Demon. His research was burned and demon summoning banned, so who else could it be?

That first ill-fated foray into the hells, what was to be Alloran’s crowning glory, turned into a disaster that made him the man we meet in Confronting the Demon.

When I was asked to write a Christmas story for Tangled Lights and Silent Nights, my first thought was ‘how do you write a Christmas story in the epic fantasy genre?’ Then when I gave it some more thought, I realised I had a story that needed telling, that some readers had been asking for—the story of that first imp he summoned from hell, that started events in motion.


"Another Bloody Festival" is that story—how it all went terribly wrong for Alloran—set against the backdrop of the winter solstice—because is there a better time of year for a demon to be loose in the halls?



Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic.

She began her first attempts at the craft of writing in 1992, culminating in the publication of her debut work, Confronting the Demon, in 2013. Her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing is In the Company of the Dead.

She holds degrees in law and accounting, and is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world – how hard can it really be? If she could be anything, she’d choose a dragon, but if she is honest she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House M.D. – both the good and the bad. She is a browncoat, a saltgunner, a Whedonite, a Sherlockian, a Ringer and a Whovian… OK, most major geek fandoms. Her alignment is chaotic good. She is an INTJ.

Ciara lives in Sydney, Australia, with her two daughters and a growing menagerie of animals that unfortunately includes no dragons.

Links:
Twitter: @CiaraBallintyne

OTHER BOOKS BY CIARA BALLINTYNE

The Seven Circles of Hell
Confronting the Demon
Stalking the Demon
Becoming the Demon
Being the Demon (coming soon)

The Sundered Oath
In the Company of the Dead
On the Edge of Death
To Make the Dead Weep