Spotlight & Author Interview: Avalon, by Ceril Domace

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(The Fae Queen’s Court)
by Ceril N Domace
264 pages
May 18, 2022

The fae are on the brink of war.

It’s been nearly a year since the Battle of Tearmann. With their last legitimate trade routes cut off, the fae increasingly rely on the Corps away teams to get essential supplies. Owen Williams, now a Corps member, has spent the last ten months running the border to get the haven what it needs to survive. But his last mission nearly killed him and his decision to join the corps threatened his fragile relationship with his family—a relationship that was already stressed to the breaking point by his son’s death.

But after Percill, a battleborn vampire, reveals the location of a group of the fae captives, the corps leadership makes it clear that there isn’t much they won’t do to rescue them. When Percill refuses to say more without a guarantee that Owen will be on the team that rescues them, Owen agrees even though going on this mission could shatter what’s left of his family.

Success means he gets to retire a hero and go home to his family. However, failure wouldn’t just risk the captives, but could end with him held alongside them and separated from his family forever.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. 

The Fae Queen’s Court series is the lovechild of one too many late night wikipedia binges about de-extinction and old Scottish legends about fairies marrying humans and having kids with them.

The idea seized me to write a story where fairies were the extinct species brought back to life via their descendants. From there, my fondness for realism took place and before I know it I’d designed 12 unique species and a culture to go alongside them. Owen and his family came from the desire to have a MC who was a stranger to this world but really doesn’t have a choice about getting involved in it. The kids make excellent tools to get world-building across in a natural sounding way because OF COURSE they want to know how dragons fly and why the fae hide in their havens despite winning the fae war. Avalon, being the second book in the series, was the result of Owen getting connected into that world. The whole ploy hinged on the rescue attempt from the very beginning and earlier, when I was finishing the first book in this series. Owen’s committed to the fae now and he’s going to do what he can to create a safer world for his family.


2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
Writing Avalon taught me how to walk the fine line between trusting my readers to remember things from book one and making sure to explain things well enough that someone walking into the series without reading the first book wouldn’t be completely lost. With a year between publications, people are going to forget some of the finer details and I needed to remind them subtly about things that happened.


3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
I thought I had my character arcs down when I first started drafting, but as I went I discovered that my expectations were a little bit off. Tiffany was originally supposed to be a lot more aggressive, but it always felt like forced conflict. Calming her down let me show how she’s grieving too and how Owen being away on missions all the time is hurting her and the kids. Percill was another surprise. He was always a massive slimebag, but it shocked me how much fun he was to write. He’s creepy and unsettling, but he’s also committed and walks the edge of heroism and villainy.


4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
I can’t say too much about the title without giving away spoilers, but Avalon follows the series theme of the titles being a place and a concept throughout the story. Haven referred to the fae havens and Owen’s search for a safe place for his family just as the series title, the Fae Queen’s Court, refers to both the center of power in Tearmann and Owen getting caught up in the power struggles there. As for Avalon… well, what is Avalon? A refuge but also a prison for someone who can’t be released until the time is right.


5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
I’ve based a number of my characters on real people. Owen is 100% based on my Dad and he knows but he’s less than enthused about it, especially when the extended family points it out right away. Ashwind is based on the father of one of my close friends and one of my favorite people. Believe it or not, I actually had to tone him down or else he wouldn’t sound believable. The real Ashwind could absolutely rebuild society by himself if it came down to it. He also knows and thinks it’s funny, but is glad I agreed to change the name. Beyond that, I’ve based many minor characters on people I know, which helps make them feel more real. Of course, I also tell them not to read too deeply into their cameos because for me it’s more important for each character to fulfill my purpose for them than to get my friends and family down exactly.


6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
The major lesson I feel Owen and subsequently the reader learns is that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do because they’re the right thing to do.


7. What is your favorite part of the book?
The last six chapters of Avalon are some of the best things I’ve ever written, if I say so myself. Whenever I had to edit them I always had to remind myself to stop instead of reading all the way through to the end again.


8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Of the new characters, Percill was the hardest balance to strike. I needed him to be absolutely creepy, but I didn’t want to lean into any negative stereotypes so I had to do a lot of research. I love what came out though, he’s so viscerally slimy. Beyond him, portraying how each of the Williams had been changed by grief and the events of Haven were very important to me. For a while my open tabs read like a childhood psych major working on their final paper, lol.


9. What are your immediate future plans?

For now I’m editing the third book in the Fae Queen’s Court series, which picks up not long after the events of Avalon and should launch about a year from now. I’m also drafting a gaslamp fantasy about flying islands and pirates hired to recover a dragon’s stolen property from an unscrupulous merchant. I’m having a fantastic time with both!

Author Bio:

Ceril N Domace is an accountant, the owner of a cat with more zooms than brain cells, and a dedicated dungeon master.

As a lover of fiction works great and small, Ceril has been reading age-inappropriate stories since her father failed to pull The Silmarillion from her grubby little fingers at age five. As a grown-up accountant, her spreadsheet compiling gives her plenty of time to make plans for a fantastic world that isn’t plagued by balance sheets . . . and also has dragons.

On the rare occasions she manages to free herself from an ever-growing and complex web of TTRPG, Ceril enjoys taking walks and griping that all her hobbies are work in disguise.

B & N

Avalon Blog Tour

Spotlight: Into the Violet Gardens, by Isaac Nasri

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Into the Violet Gardens
(Cyber Drift Saga)
by Isaac Nasri
August 16, 2021
262 pages
Amazon / Goodread

The year is 2024. A ruthless cartel dominates Latin America, and the FBI’s Troy Levi gets commissioned to intervene. A cyborg for the bureau’s Virtual Division, Levi delivers a devastating blow to the cartel’s power but encounters a wave of social resentment in the aftermath.

As the people’s feelings for cyborgs grow bitter, former black-op cyborg ally and CIA operative Soriana Salazar finds herself caught between sides. Eliminating the cartel destabilized the region, fueling anti-cyborg sentiments in neighboring countries and afar. But tough decisions await Salazar after civil unrest forces the agency to sever all cyborgs ties. And that’s only the beginning…

Betrayed by the government, hated by the people, a vengeful league of cyborgs spawns a sinister scheme of liberation. And While Levi searches for Solace amid the turmoil and Salazar seeks balance, both will have to take a grave stand if they hope to stall the impending chaos.

Author Bio:
Isaac Nasri is a self-published author. He grew up in Washington DC and graduated in May of 2017 from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. His stories focus on offering allusion to recent events happening in contemporary society and how they affect his characters.

Heart of the Scrapdog is his self-published work that was released in 2020.

Website / Goodreads

Spotlight & Author Interview: The Rise of Riverstone + Giveaway

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The Rise of Riverstone
by Mandy Schimelpfenig
November 21, 2021

Book Summary
Praed is a country of vast prairies and looming mountains where the elite make their homes along a mighty river. For hundreds of years, to wear the crown is to tempt fate, for in Praed, any man may become king if he’s strong enough.

Laria Audrey lives in privilege as the daughter of a famous knight, until one night she’s ripped from her bed to find that her entire life has gone up in flames. Forced to serve those responsible, Laria pretends to be deaf and mute to survive. But when days turn to weeks, Laria loses hope of awakening from the nightmare and must admit she’s truly alone.

When her sworn enemy approaches her with a shocking proposition, Laria must decide if she’ll resign herself to misery or become the hero she never believed she could be.

Amazon / Goodreads

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.
This story precipitated out of boredom. I used to clean a barn. By myself. For hours. To pass the time, I’d make up stories. Sometimes I’d write out outlines for them and that’d be all. The Rise of Riverstone persisted, and I eventually sketched out an entire story.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
Always delete your Google searches.
I did a lot of research because the book has a 16th century setting. From word choice to fashion to how long it takes to travel in a carriage during a snowstorm, I spent hours making sure the story remained true to the timeline. I gained a lot of respect for historical fiction authors.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
How often I wrote the word “that.”
I hired a professional editor and was blown away by all the extraneous words I used. It was surprising how much of a better writer I became after someone ripped my book apart.

4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
Riverstone is the birthplace of the heroine, Laria, and her family. Referring to Riverstone rising is akin to saying, “The Rise of Laria.” How she rises would be spoiling 🙂

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
Absolutely. Inspiration generally comes from real life. Laria and I share quite a few traits: our love of horses and reading, stubbornness, humor, lack of social graces, and fiery temper. Her red hair is inspired by my ginger husband. His name also inspired the name of the black knight, Risteard, which is the Gaelic form of Richard. There’s a young knight in the book that shares features of two of my sons. They’re all aware of the parts they play in the book.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
I didn’t write the book to teach a lesson. If I did it would be “everybody has something to hide.”

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
If I told you, it’d be a spoiler 🙂
My favorite parts to write were the flashbacks of Laria’s childhood memories and the teasing between her and Risteard.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
The nice ones. Writing villains comes easily, but writing a character whose sweet without making them annoying was challenging. The one character fitting this bill is Mwiryn. She’s the best friend of the princess, whom Laria is forced to serve. While the princess is harsh and cruel, Mwiryn is soft and kind. I wanted her to be likable but also relatable. I didn’t want her to be too perfect, too boring. I hope I accomplished my goal.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
The Rise of Riverstone is book one in the Daughters of Riverstone series. All of the books are centered around a woman whose family line traces to the estate. I’m currently in the editing stages of book two, The Pride of Riverstone. It’s set 5 years after The Rise and is from the POV of Laria’s little sister, Ula.

Author Bio
Mandy received her B.S. in Zoology from Washington State University and an A.S. in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College. Clearly her life goals were not geared toward a career as an author. She is a Certified Veterinary Technician specializing in small animals. When she’s not saving lives, she’s weaving tales of strong women using their intelligence to pursue incandescent happy endings. The Rise of Riverstone is the debut novel in her Daughters of Riverstone Series. She lives on the Washington Coast with her husband and their four children. Besides leaning uncomfortably over a computer screen, Mandy enjoys camping and hiking with her family, reading, and wearing out her dogs on the beach.

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Book Lovers Gift Box, containing: signed copy of The Rise of Riverstone, sticker, bookmark, signed bookplate, postcard map of Praed

Rise of Riverstone

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