And now, an interview!

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Today I’m interviewing A.F.E. Smith, author of Darkhaven and illustrious spymaster for the Alliance of Worldbuilders.  After all, no one ever suspects the robin…

Stay tuned afterward, because I’ve got all the deets on a great Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

KK: To take a page from your book, tell us a bit about yourself – any illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing. 🙂

80115-afe_smith_author_photoA.F.E: I’m a professional editor, a whenever-I-can writer and a mother of two young children. I’m also an occasional robin.

Illogical fears I have aplenty, including moths, spiders and other assorted invertebrates. Then there’s drowning … I hate the idea of drowning … and blood and heights and being buried alive. Oh, and mould. I hate mould. But other than all that, I would make a perfectly good fantasy hero.

Rather than a lightning-shaped scar on my forehead, I have a large orbicular birthmark on my knee. In other words, I have a great big freckle. Still, that’s got to mean I have a Destiny, right?

I would never wrestle a bear, or punch a shark. I am a vegetarian and therefore coexist peacefully with all living creatures, except those that have a tendency to crawl around on my walls.

KK: What about Darkhaven? What’s it all about?

Cover_image_DARKHAVEN_AFE_SmithA.F.E.: The short answer: shapeshifters and murder.

The slightly longer answer?

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Photo 365 #320

I spent a little time this morning shooting various things in my yard.  I started with the thistles near the mouth of my driveway before moving on to the daisies and clover further back.  The daisies have seen better days, it’s true, but I was messing about with my macro lens again, so it didn’t really matter.

And then I found a surprise.

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This little guy blended in so well that I didn’t even see him till I got the flower focused.  Naturally, I had a heck of a time catching him – the little guy wouldn’t sit still for longer than a second.  I’m good, but I’m not that good.

At least, not yet. 🙂

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Fantasy and murder: A guest post by A.F.E. Smith

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To kick off this fun-filled week of fantasy goodness, I’ve got a guest post for you about fantasy and murder from A.F.E. Smith.  Stay tuned afterward, because I’ve got all the deets on a great Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

Fantasy and murder: what’s the appeal?

It’s no secret that fantasy is, and always has been, my favourite genre. There are many reasons for that, but one very good one is that the sheer number of possibilities it opens up to a writer is breathtaking. Fantasy has no limitations except for your own imagination and your ability to convince your reader to suspend disbelief.

Yet for that reason, writing fantasy can feel like being handed a bottomless bucket, pointed in the direction of an infinitely wide pick’n’mix stand, and told to take as much as you want. And if you’re me, that might result in something like this.

I like birds. And unicorns. And shapeshifters. So let’s have a flying unicorn shapeshifter! Duels to the death, always good. Add them to the bloody murder and general mayhem. Airships, sure, why not? Bit of romance. Bit of mistaken identity. Swords, yes, gotta have plenty of swords … oooh, guns! Hmm, swords or guns … what? Swords AND guns? Don’t mind if I do. And a walled city. No, a double-walled city. No, a SEVEN-walled city.

Scavenger_day02 I’m not kidding…

Gearing up for a great week!

So, how am I celebrating my return from the land of the pine forests?  By gearing up for a week full of fantastic fun with my friend A.F.E. Smith!  Her debut novel, Darkhaven, hits virtual bookshelves on July 2 (the paperback is due out January 14, 2016) and I’m ecstatic to be taking part in her blog tour to celebrate the event.

80115-afe_smith_author_photoA.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you…

Photo 365 #317

The local Kum & Go is having a summer-long special: any size fountain drink for a buck.

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That’s right – 52 ounces of sweet, sweet writing fuel for $1.00.

Meanwhile, the cheapest grocery store in town is charging $1.75 (including tax and deposit) for a 20 oz.  This seems like a no-brainer to me. 🙂

What’s your writing fuel of choice?  Or, for the non-writers among you, what’s your caffeinated beverage of choice?

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #316

I love it when insects land on the flowers I’m photographing. I think it’s fascinating to see them this close-up, and I really like this shot.

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I’m a little disappointed that the fly isn’t more in focus, especially the tail end of his body, but I love the dreamy effect of the blurry flower edges and the out-of-focus background.

Of course, the only way to get the kinds of shots I’m after is to keep practicing, and I have absolutely no problem with that. 😀

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #314

Here’s one of the flower shots I mentioned yesterday:

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I spent a good half hour outside trying to get my flowers to sit still and behave for me before giving up and heading back inside. Of course the one night I have a few free minutes to play with my camera is the night the wind decides it needs to blow steadily at 20 mph (the gusts were stronger than that).  I took a bunch of pictures, but this one turned out the best.

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.