It is with pleasure that I welcome Jordan Bernal as a guest blogger.
Jordan is a long-time friend and mentor. She writes fantasy with elements of mystery and romance. We are sharing two of her fantasy stories today.
The first, The Keepers of Éire (Celtic Dragonriders Book 1), is a modern-day fantasy. For centuries dragons have protected Ireland, their existence kept secret with the help of earth magic and their human riders. Now that secret is threatened as the bodies of four riders are found at sacred Irish sites. Christian Riley, a man with secrets of his own, is haunted by vivid dreams of each slaying. Devan Fraser, an American searching for her Irish heritage and the meaning of an inherited dragon ring, stumbles into the mystery of the murders. Christian’s only memento from the mother who gave him up for adoption is a dragon pendant that matches Devan’s ring. Together they discover their destinies, the truth of dragons, and the depth of honor and loyalty people will go to protect the ones they love.
Jordan’s latest work, The Keepers of Alba (Celtic Dragonriders Book 2), will be released on September 1, 2020. Devan Fraser, the only rider with the magical ability to hear and bespeaking all dragons, is thrust into the middle of a deadly conflict, decades in the making. Separated from her beloved, Christian Riley, she finds herself in a desperate race against time. Can she decipher the obscure meanings outlined in an ancient prophecy and escape a crazed madman before feuding clans destroy Scotland? Or is it already too late? Is the magic that sustains all dragonkind destined for extinction?
Jordan has allowed her protagonist, Devan Fraser, to tell us about herself and the exchanges she has with the author. To keep some control over where Devan goes with the interview, we’ve given her a few questions.
What was life like before Jordan started pulling your strings? I hate to say it, but my life was boring, with a capital B. You see, I was a researcher at a local university until budget cuts took away my position. So, no job and not many prospects. I started looking for a new job when my parents were killed in a vehicle accident. Oh, and I had just broken up with my fiancé, Rick. Rick will tell you just how much of a bore I am as he spouts all my flaws.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself? Something that I’ve recently learned about myself: I’m fiercely loyal. Once I believe in someone, I am that person’s strongest advocate. It takes a massive falling-out for me to lose faith in someone I trust.
What do you like least about yourself? That I’m a bit too needy. I tie my self-worth into how much I’m needed. I don’t do well with confrontations. I’m more likely to step back from a situation and thus not deal with it. I’m also a bit too trusting. I’m still a work-in-progress and have my doubts at times, but that’s life, right?
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you? You mean, besides leaving the U.S.A on barely a whim, travel to Ireland by myself, and then finding out dragons do exist? Well, I did learn I have a special magical talent: I can hear and speak telepathically with all dragons. That ability led to saving a bullied wingless dragonet, Grayson. It also led me to become a dragonrider with the Tuatha Dragon Clan.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about? Not really. My author, Jordan, really knows me, probably better than I know myself. And while Jordan’s constantly putting me in dangerous situations, I’m learning how strong, intelligent, and courageous I can be. Though, I do wish I didn’t have to be bruised and battered so much in the learning. Oh, and I was a bit nervous about how quickly I fell in love with sexy Irishman, Christian, but I’ll not argue too much as the loving is fantastic.
What is your greatest fear? To be alone. Truly alone. When my parents died, I had no one. I was an only child, and my grandparents and uncle on my mother’s side had all died before I was born. I don’t know anything about my father’s side of the family, as he never spoke of them.
What makes you happy? Being needed. Belonging. Especially belonging to the Tuatha Dragon Clan, being a partner to my dragon: Dochas, and being Christian Riley’s friend and lover. And by belonging, my confidence in my abilities is growing.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why? Of course, I’d want to have my parents still alive. I miss them terribly. There’s so much I want to talk to them about, or enjoy a walk on the beach, or share a cozy evening sitting by the fire. But without my losing them, I wouldn’t have gone on this wild and crazy journey to Ireland. I wouldn’t have met the love of my life, Christian. And I wouldn’t have become Dochas’ rider.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why? Kiely, Padrick’s mother. Kiely is a . . . well, let’s just say she’s a master manipulator as well as a bit of a prejudiced gobshite (I’m learning a few choice Irish slang words).
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why? I can’t think of anyone. I’m finally who I was destined to become. I get to fly adragonback, so my love of flying is set free. I’m madly, wildly in love with my sexy Irishman. Now, if Christian and I can stay a few steps ahead of the killer—at least until we can stop him—my life would be perfect.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog? When Jordan Bernal says she was born on the wrong planet, she’s referring to the third planet in the Sagittarian Sector, known as Pern. So clear and descriptive was Anne McCaffrey in her Dragonriders of Pern series, Jordan was transported into the body, mind, and soul of Anne’s characters. Jordan came away knowing she was destined to be a dragonrider; to hop from one foot to the other on the hot sands of the hatching ground awaiting a dragon of her own. She fantasized about the air currents lifting the dragon she rode, soaring over cliffs and chasms, embracing the joy and freedom as together, they broke gravity’s harsh leash. And most of all, Jordan knew she was meant to create stories with a new set of dragons and dragonriders.
Jordan’s enduring love of dragons and her pursuit of her Celtic heritage inspired her to write and publish novels in her Celtic Dragonriders series through her independent press, Dragon Wing Publishing. Jordan’s website is http://www.jordanbernal.com.
What’s next for you? Lots more adventures (i.e., dangerous situations and personal growth) in The Keepers of Alba (Celtic Dragonriders Book 2) due out September 1, 2020. As you might guess from the title, most of this story takes place in Scotland. Maybe I’ll get to learn about my father’s family after all. I do wonder if I’m related to Jaime Fraser of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Wouldn’t that be awesome! He’s so handsome, for a highlander from the 18th century. But my Christian’s all I need.
What’s on the horizon for you and your author? I’ve had a whirlwind (exhausting, yet exhilarating) seven and a half months (eleven years for Jordan) in The Keepers of Éire & The Keepers of Alba. In between these two novels, I made a guest appearance in Reluctant Paladin—a middle-grade anti-bully story that Jordan published in 2017. I know Jordan won’t keep me at loose ends for too long. After all, Dochas, Christian, and I, along with my other dragon and rider friends, must save the magic from extinction throughout the Celtic lands. That said, it takes Jordan quite a while to write my story. And she’s committed to serving as president for her writing club for at least one term.
Author-Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books? Devan covered just about everything, but I’ll expand on one thing: the length of time between novels. As a reader, this can be quite frustrating. Believe me; it is for a writer as well. Yet I just can’t write much faster. These novels, except for Reluctant Paladin, are over 120,000 words long. And I have health issues that require me to utilize voice recognition technology (DragonDictate. Yes, I speak Dragon) to tell Devan’s and Christian’s stories.
On top of that, I’m meticulous in my world-building and character development. I find I’m often researching something or some place to use in the novel. All that .takes time. I promise I’ll be as quick as I can in getting Book 3 of my Celtic Dragonriders series written and into readers’ hands.
How can readers reach you?
Thonie Hevron invited me to be a guest on her blog today. Visiting this award-winning author was fun and an honor. Thonie writes police procedurals and thrillers; please visit her at https://thoniehevron.com/.
Her latest novel, By Force or Fear, is available on Amazon.
.The shocking end to a hostage situation brings a courageous Sheriff’s Deputy to the attention of a powerful young judge. His obsession grows as she pursues a violent killer in the Sonoma wine country. After losing almost everyone close to her, she finds out the judge’s offer of security isn’t as interesting as she thought. As she closes in on the murderer, the judge’s own trap snaps shut, nearly killing her and her partner.
Berlin, Lucia. A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories. London: Picador, 2015. Print.
Berlin’s stories are interwoven, almost as a memoir. The old writers’ saw, ‘write what you know’ is visible throughout the work. She brings her story to life in a manner that enables the reader to feel the emotions that her characters’ experience. “It has been seven years since you died” (386). The emotional pull hits like a hammer.
Berlin has no fear of reflecting on life as she addresses addiction, alcoholism, sexual abuse, suicide, and depression. Throughout the stories, she weaves a web about an abusive, alcoholic, and suicidal mother.
Her work is dark, depression laden. We see this darkness when the protagonist is contemplating her sister’s death. “Every day you’ve said good-bye a little. Oh just get it over with, for God’s sake” (381). Her multifaceted characters can turn an otherwise sad scene into one of joy. While waiting for the sister to die, she moves her under the bedroom window where she sees the sky and feels the warmth of the sun. The reader shares the feeling of beauty and warmth.
Berlin uses imagery to show contradiction, despair, and lack of hope within her characters. Through it all, her work is believable and full of imagery. No more so than in this paragraph from “Electric Car, El Paso”.
Mrs. Snowden … passed me fig newtons wrapped in talcum Kleenex. The cookie expanded in my mouth like Japanese flowers, like a burst pillow. I gagged and wept. Mamie smiled and passed me a sachet-dusted handkerchief, whispered to Mrs. Snowden, who was shaking her head (157).
Not only does she bring scenes to life through imagery, she does the same with objects such as her mother’s ratty old coat. “It had a fur collar. Oh the poor matted fur, once silver, yellowed now like the peed-on backsides of polar bears in zoos” (245).
Everything she writes is realistic. Her characters are believable, imbued with human traits, blemishes, and goodness. All are flawed, allowing the reader to understand their actions and motives.
Many of the characters in this collection reappear in various stories. We have plenty of time to get to know them. But even in stories about one character, she develops them in-depth, with simple phrases and words. In “Mijito” we learn a great deal about the young Mexican girl Amelia. Berlin puts us into the girl’s life as she cares for her infant son. We experience abandonment, abuse, unintended child abuse, hopelessness, and terror. We know Amelia before she accidentally kills the infant. “’ Amelia. Do you know that Jesus is dead?’ ‘Yes, I know. Lo se.’ And then in English she said, ‘Fuck a duck. I’m sorry’” (355).
Berlin is non-judgmental. She presents the world as it is, blemishes and all.
Marilyn Meredith is my guest today and as always, it is great to have her join us. Marilyn will share her thoughts on why we might be justified in taking a break from writing.
Marilyn will also share a few thoughts about her new book, River Spirits. She is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.
Marilyn is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and is on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in a community very similar to that of her protagonist, Deputy Tempe Crabtree.
You can visit her at http://fictionforyou.com</ul or read her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/.
George asked me to address this issue. To be honest, I wish I didn’t have to take as many breaks as I do. The reasons I take breaks are:
1. I have non-writing chores to do away from the computer–I do have a regular life. You know like doing errands, grocery shopping, planning and cooking meals.
2. I have a paying writing job. These come every so often and they have nothing to do with the “fiction writing” life.
3. Promotion has taken me away from home.
4. I’m planning/working on promotion.
5. Going on a trip. While I write this, I’m away from home, visiting family. I have a big family and when I get the chance, I love spending time with time with them.
6. But once in a while I do go on a trip just for fun.
However, I think what George really wanted me to talk about is refilling the well.
What I mean is sometimes when we’ve been doing a lot of writing or finished a book, we need to take time off and do something else. Focusing on something different for a while, can renew our energy.
When it’s time to start another writing project, we will be ready.
Because I write two different series, when I’ve sent the latest book in one series off to the publisher, I step away from the place and people I’ve been spending so much time with. It’s like shutting the door on them.
Though I don’t usually take too much time, I start thinking about the next project long before I’m ready to open the door and step into the other setting and greet the characters who live there.
Breaks can refresh you as a writer–whether you take long ones or shorts ones is up to you.
While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.
Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/
Contest: The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour. He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.
Tomorrow you’ll find me visiting with Mary Welk.
My topic: The Supportive Writers’ Community
Mother Nature and Her Influence on My Writing
Though I’ve experienced several hurricanes, I’ve yet to use one in one my books and there’s a good reason. Both my mystery series are set in California and we don’t have hurricanes here.
The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a small beach community in Southern California. I lived in the area for many years, and yes, we did have some winter rain storms and flooding. Living on the coast though, fog is so frequent that it plays a big part in nearly all of my RBPD mysteries.
Though new writers are often warned not to begin a book with the weather, using it to up the tension and to add another layer to the action works well.
Murder in the Worst Degree does have its share of fog. It also has unusual surf which brings in a body—and that’s how it begins.
There is one more natural phenomenon that happens in California without warning and yes, it plays a part in Murder in the Worst Degree.
If you live in California, you can probably guess what that is, if not, you can read the book and find out what happens and how it affects the story.
Blurb for the lasts RBPD mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.
Bio: F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.
Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you are the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.
Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Evelyn Cullet at http://evelycullet.com/blog/