Friday, 26 August 2016

Interview With Author Simon Williams

Today I bring you another interview, this time with dark fantasy author, Simon Williams. Enjoy!

Interview With Simon Williams

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I am an author of what most people like to label as dark fantasy although my work also incorporates elements of horror and science fiction. I'm based in the UK.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Salvation's Door is the fifth and final book in the Aona series, and brings down the curtain on a saga which I've been writing most of my adult life (the first book took many years due to considerable re-writing). Salvation's Door is epic in plot but is a chronicle of characters as much as events, focusing on the trials and struggles of a varied cast against the background of an end to days.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I've been a writer since I was old enough to write (certainly that's when I started making up and writing down stories). Six books in total have been published so far and I have several further projects ongoing.

Who is your intended readership?

I don't focus on particular people to write for when I write- but my readers tend to appreciate gritty, character-driven fantasy and sci-fi without the cliches and tropes that infect the genres in which I write. No one can avoid such things entirely, but I do my best.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

This may sound like an odd answer but often it feels as if the inevitable loneliness of this kind of profession (not that I can really call it a profession) is a tough challenge. It also doesn't get easier with age- in fact it gets worse as the years take their toll and you realise you may in the not too distant future have to contend with diminishing physical and mental faculties.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

During my childhood to an extent, but more seriously as an adult- I never had much talent for anything else and it was really all I wanted to do. Thinking about it that way, it was inevitable.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

I have tried to have a routine, but it tends to be quite haphazard. I scribble down ideas, scenarios and conversations, often write the end of a book before completing the bulk of it, and tend to end up looking at it as a vast jigsaw whose pieces I have to slot together (or sometimes discard or replace). I certainly never write in a linear way or meticulously outline a plot before writing the story or building the characters. Often I build the characters and then thread the plot around them. It often feels like chaos but it eventually falls in to place (or if it doesn't, then the project is shelved).

Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

I have a number of favourite authors rather than just one- where to start?
Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, George R R Martin, Neil Gaiman, Ian Irvine... 

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

The sequel to my YA sci-fi / fantasy novel Summer’s Dark Waters, currently titled The Light From Far Below, will probably be next. This is a challenge of a quite different sort for me- it’s become a pre-apocalyptic tale of urban paranoia which makes uneasy reading even for me, so it needs to be shaped appropriately for its intended readership- those poor folks who will have to contend with what remains of this world in the decades ahead.
I'm also writing a standalone novel which may (or may not) be futuristic / post-industrial in tone, and which probably won't be strictly fantasy or indeed any other genre as such. I'm enjoying this as I haven't written a standalone book in a while.

You can find our more about Simon Williams and his books at these sites:

Twitter: @SWilliamsAuthor

You can find the first book in the Aona series on Amazon:

Oblivion’s Forge (Book I in the Aona series):

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Urban Shadows

Today on Drabble Wednesday I take you to the darkest corners of the city, where strange and dangerous things lurk...

When the Rain Falls

The misty patter of the rain on the fire escape splashing to the asphalt alley sang a pleasing discord rhythm into the night. Tiny ears twitched from the window sill above the fire escape. It liked the rain. The rain made it strong. It wiggled through a crack in the frame, and dropped near a puddle. A small proboscis extended, drinking the rainwater, the minuscule heartbeat pumping, pumping.
Liquid, liquid, more liquid.
It looked back inside, at the desiccated husk of a human sprawled on the floor.
No, nothing left for me there.
And it wiggled off into the world.


Under the Moon

He huddled on a backstreet in a ratty old coat encrusted with dark stains and filth. He stared at the surrounding night with bloodshot eyes, compulsively running a hand through his matted head of hair and an unkempt beard.
Above the skyline, shadowed by clouds, a full moon glittered.
Something rumbled in the man’s chest. A moan? A growl? A skittering noise, guttural and deep. His fingers dug into the sidewalk as claws formed and grew from fingernails, scraping gouges in cement. His jaw slid and shifted, his teeth elongating into canine fangs.
And with a howl, the werewolf hunted.


Echoes in the Park

Inside the shelter of a steel and glass metropolis, a small patch of greenery and woodland nestles into midnight. Brisk wind dances through the park, and far above, unseen stars glimmer in luminescent age and light.
The park is quiet, though it is not empty. From shadow and chimera, grave and mortality they appear, breathed into nocturnal half-life drifting outside the world they once knew. They journey on the translucent mist of the witching hour, fed by the music of sighs and whispered echoes. They are naught but sorrowed ghosts of the unremembered, the abandoned, ghosts that will not die.

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

#NewRelease: Charm City by Ash Krafton

Today I have for you a delightful treat, with a book spotlight for the new urban fantasy release, Charm City by Ash Krafton, Book 1 of The Demon Whisperer series. Enjoy, my minions!

Charm City banner for Wattpad photo CC banner wattpad_zpstdvjfamy.jpg

There are demons all around us, legions of the dark that break loose from Hell's restraints to prowl the mortal plane. Most people can't see them and will never suffer their torments. They are the lucky ones. Guess that makes Simon Alliant the unluckiest man alive. He's learned that the only luck a man has is the luck he makes for himself. Call him exorcist. Call him master of the dark arts. Call him dime-store magician. Most names don't matter, not when Hell knows yours. Armed with his spells and his amulets and his desperate drive toward redemption, he fights the rising darkness and sends those demons screaming back into Hell, one minion at a time. But not all demons can be exorcised. Some dwell too deep inside a man's bones to be so easily banished. Simon is smart--or, at least, cynical--enough to know which battles are worth fighting. It takes more than a fistful of charms to stay alive in his line of work. And staying alive is the only way to avoid giving the Devil his due...

Welcome to the world of The Demon Whisperer.

It kicks off today with the Kindle release of the first book in the series: CHARM CITY.

 photo Charm City new_zps5lgoxnqg.jpg
The darkness is rising and one man stands against it: the exorcist mage Simon Alliant. But in Baltimore, he finally meets his match...a part-mortal divinity with the power to whisper away demons.
Simon Alliant is an exorcist who battles demons, whether he wants to or not. Sometimes it's not so bad...he gets to play with magic, after all. But for Simon, magic represents a demon of another kind. He's addicted to magic and it takes more than a handful of charms to keep that particular demon at bay. Chiara is part Light, part Dark, and stubbornly mortal. The woman has a way with words: she literally talks demons into abandoning their human hosts. Simon thinks that's not the only trick she has up her sleeve-and that's pretty high praise coming from a mage like him.
As intriguing as that may be, Simon has too many reasons to distrust of them being his more-or-less partner, an angelic Watcher. Amidst all the celestial warnings of the rising dark comes a new prophesy that makes him wonder: is Chiara a threat to him and all of mankind?
Or will she be his salvation?

Join the legions and pick your side: Light or Dark. Just know this...decisions like this are never easy, because there's no black and white when it comes to good and evil.

Grab your lucky charm. You might need it.

Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction writer who, despite having a Time Turner under her couch and three different sonic screwdrivers in her purse, still encounters difficulty with time management. She's the author of urban fantasy (such as the trilogy The Books of the Demimonde) as well as paranormal romance (WORDS THAT BIND). She also writes for YA and NA audiences under the pen name AJ Krafton (THE HEARTBEAT THIEF, her Victorian dark fantasy inspired by Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”). Currently, she's working on a new urban fantasy series, The Demon Whisperer. The first book, CHARM CITY, is now available on Kindle.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Strange Sports

Welcome to Drabble Wednesday, the Olympic Edition! Here you find some odd events indeed... Now on to the gold!

Pointed Competition

It’s been a hard day here in the Archery Competition at the Medieval Olympics.
The favourites, Sir Pellinore and Sir Malcolm failed to make the finals, out in the third cycle.
Now, the leading competitor Sir Archibald steps up for his last round.
He takes his shot... oh my word, I think he’s done it!
What a shot! Three serfs down with one arrow! A new world record!
Wait! One of the peasants is still writhing on the ground! We will have to go the judges for a decision.
Yes, yes! It is official! Sir Archibald wins the gold medal!


Off To The Races

Welcome to the final day of equestrian dragon racing! The five competitors are ready at the start and there’s the bell! They’re off!
It’s Windworm of Berk taking an early lead, with Tharina of AlagaĆ«sia and Baroth of Pern close on her tail! The oldest participant, Fafnir of Asgard, and newcomer Lyron of Westeros are lagging well behind the pace.
They’re rounding the first turn, and it’s still—wait! Fafnir of Asgard is attacking Lyron! She’s going down! That’s immediate disqualification for Fafnir! Now he’s breathing fire on the other racers! It’s a repeat of last year! Oh, the tragedy...


Jump For Your Life

“Things have gotten very interesting at this pole vaulting competition, Sir Wendell, with the fifth consecutive contestant killed and eliminated. I thought Giles the candle maker had a chance after he cleared the deadly moat, but the hot oil chucker at the top of the wall ended his attempt.”
“Yes, Sir Percy, too bad for Giles. Let’s see how our next athlete does, shall we?”
“Oh look, it’s Bartholomew the baker. This is his first time competing.”
“Yes, he’s having a go with only twenty minutes training.”
“Oh no, it’s the water for him. Another meal for the moat monster.”

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Sages and Stories

Today on Drabble Wednesday, come read the old tales, stories told by elders to the new generations...

The River

Once, in the forest of time, our people followed the Great River. We camped on its banks, fished in its waters, hunted game on the surrounding plains, or in the shadows of its woodland. We lived in peace. We were content.
Then came the time of no rains. When the grass dried and the trees died. When the people of the Far City stole our river, and we went to war.
A war we lost.
Our surviving people scattered, migrating to the distant corners of the kingdom. All that remains of us, of the river, is dry dust and ghosts.


The Enemy

Gather round, children, as I tell of the horrors that lie beyond our home.
Once we were alone in this land. We had no restrictions, we roamed freely. We made homes where we pleased, not simply here in the mountains. We did not hide.
Until they came. Until they drove us from the land with their weapons, their war.
Once we flew in the skies unfettered. Now we are hunted, our wings torn, our bodies maimed. We are killed. Our enemies are monsters.
Remember this children. Never approach the humans. Always avoid them, their villages. Dragonkind must be ever vigilant.


Time and Tide

The wide, unfathomable sea. It calls to sailors, and buries their bones in its cold, murky embrace. Great ocean storms swallow ships whole, yet sometimes it gives back. Bits and bodies carried to the shores and beaches. But sometimes it keeps what it claims.
And sometimes who it claims doesn’t quite die.
Submerged in the depths, the spirits wait. Their whispers ride the waves. Their anger fuels the storms. They howl under moonlight and exist in perpetuity, as hours pass into days, and days into decades. And immortality breeds patience.
Our time will come.
We will rise.
Fear the day.

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

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