#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to… More
Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Jennifer Macaire on my blog. Jennifer, the spotlight is yours.
Hi Bridie, thank you for having me as a guest blogger! I’m here to talk about my upcoming book “The Road to Alexander”, the first in a series about a time traveller who is sent back to interview Alexander the Great. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his time.
What inspired you to write your book?
It started out as a short story – I had been writing and selling short stories to magazines, and I just had an idea of a sort of alternate history short story where Alexander the Great is never bitten by the mosquito that caused his fatal malaria. I wrote it from the viewpoint of a woman time-traveler/journalist, but when I came to the part where she slaps the mosquito away…I just kept going. In fact, I kept going for seven novels which became the Time for Alexander series. In the first book, “The Road to Alexander”, I even left the part about the mosquito, and you can catch it if you’re paying attention although it’s no longer important to the plot. I ended up shifting everything around, because he dies in Babylon and I needed to introduce the time-traveling character at the beginning of his great adventure.
What type of research did you have to do for your book?
I researched extensively. I used several books on Alexander the Great, including “In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great”, by Michael Wood, which was produced by the BBC. It was extremely helpful, because the author literally took the path Alexander’s army took across Persia and Bactria, and so was indispensable for calculating how long it took to get from one place to another. More research was done on the army, how it moved, who was in it, and how Alexander fought his battles. Still more was for daily rituals, things like food, medicine, clothes, money, toothpaste, and religious ceremonies. I researched constantly – every time I had a question I’d either write to an expert or hit the library and search out books. I’m not big on Internet research, too hard to verify facts, but I did use the Internet to put myself in touch with authors and historians. Everyone was very helpful, and I learned a great deal about ancient Greece and Rome!
Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?
I am a plotter and use outlines. I’ve written a couple books just “going with the flow”, but they took forever to finish because I kept getting distracted. I much prefer a chapter by chapter outline.
Buy links for The Road to Alexander:
“Ashley.” Alexander took my hand and held it gingerly. “Everyone learns about nymphs and dryads from their parents in our world. Everyone knows about the naiads, sprites, sylphs, oreads, undines, fauns, and fates. Do you know who Lachesis is?” I shook my head. “Clotho? No? Atropos? The Muses? Do you know anything?” He sounded as if he were in real pain.
I looked at Plexis. He was staring at me, and on his face was the strangest expression. I tried to laugh but the sound stuck in my throat. “I’m sorry,” I whispered, “I didn’t learn about any of that.”
“But you said you went to school. You had teachers, you knew about Plato and Homer, you even spoke to Aristotle about the world being round. And that’s a new idea.” He shook his head. “I just don’t understand.”
“I’m sorry.” I blinked. I wasn’t used to anyone paying so much attention to me. It was unnerving. “I don’t know what to say.”
“But where were you educated?” Alexander asked me. “Even the barbarians know about dryads!”
“I can’t tell you,” I said, shaking my head.
“Why not? I just don’t understand you, Ashley.” There was such pain in his voice that I felt awful.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, “but I can’t.”
“Perhaps it’s just as well you don’t say anything,” said Plexis. “This is what the oracle meant, wasn’t it? I’ll find out on my deathbed, after we’ve reached the sacred river and after I’ve seen the twelve pillars.”
“What’s that?” Alexander said, attentive.
“An oracle’s riddle.” Plexis shrugged. “I don’t know where the sacred river is, perhaps in Indus, I heard of one that flowed there. But I know not where the twelve pillars are.”
I stared at Plexis, he looked at me and then his face softened. He smiled. “Don’t cry. Why, thanks to you I’m probably the only person in the whole world to look forward to my own death.”
“Don’t say that.” Shivering, Alexander put his hand across Plexis’s mouth.
Plexis took it and kissed it, drawing it across his cheek. He looked at it a moment, turned it over, and traced a faint scar on the thumb. Their fingers entwined. Then Plexis placed Alexander’s hand on my leg. “You’re going to have your hands full teaching your wife everything she needs to know before we get back to civilization,” he said in a light voice.
Alexander didn’t say anything, but I felt his sorrow keenly.
“Is it because of me?” I asked Plexis.
He shook his head, mute.
“I won’t stand in your way,” I said to Alexander. “If you love him I won’t stand in your way.”
“There’s nothing in our way,” said Alexander quietly, “except ourselves.” His fey eyes were filled with something like joy.
Plexis shook his head. “Ah, Iskander. There was never anything between us except friendship. Cxious tried to change all that, but you were right all along. Sometimes the difference between love and need is as thin and transparent as spring ice.”
“And the difference between love and need is like the difference between ice and water.” Alexander spoke automatically.
“I see you haven’t forgotten your lessons.” Plexis smiled. “Aristotle should be proud.”
“No, I never forget my lessons,” he said.
“May the gods hear you.” Plexis winced as he levered himself from the ground. “I think I’ll go find Usse and beg some of his sleeping draught. My shoulder pains me. Perhaps I was hasty, moving about so soon.” He turned and left, but not before I saw something shine on his cheeks.
“Oh Alex,” I said, laying my head on his chest. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be.” His heartbeat was slow and regular. “I have all I need.”
“And what about what you want?” I asked.
“You asked me that question long ago, if I remember well. It’s easy to answer. I want to find my son. I want to avenge Darius. And I want to make Alexandria the most beautiful city on earth. I want to grow old with you by my side, our children playing at our feet. I want the stars and the moon.” He paused and kissed my nose. “I want to rule the world and the heavens. So, tell me. Tell me, my oracle, my love. Will I get what I want?”
I gave him the sweetest smile I could muster, and I said, “Alex, you’re standing on thin ice.”
He sputtered, then laughed. “I would be married to the only oracle in the world with a sense of humor.”
We sat in the fragrant grass watching as the horses came down the mountainside. The breeze was redolent of freshly cut hay and summer flowers. Dust sparkled in the air and butterflies darted about. White clouds looked like fat sheep grazing on an endless blue plain above us. The campsite was set up on the flank of the mountain, amongst the trees. Men came and went, fetching wood, forage, water, and meat. All around us there was bustle and the sound of men laughing, arguing, and singing.
We sat on the mossy bank of a silvery stream in a grove of white birch trees, surrounded by a sort of quiet grace.
I looked at the man I had read about three thousand years in the future, the man who would be known as Alexander the Great, and he smiled at me.
Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating French chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on this page, and link back to their three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.
“The certainty that everything has already been written annuls us, or renders us phantasmal.”
- Jorge Luis Borges
I often feel phantasmal (in Borges’s sense) when writing. What can I write that hasn’t yet been written? Not much, it turns out. Fiction is full of tropes, it consists of tropes. Just look at any genre you like to read – aren’t the books just endless variations on a theme or several themes at best? Happily ever afters in romance, the fight of good versus evil in fantasy and sci-fi, the whodunit in mysteries, enemies to lovers in YA etc.
Every now and again there comes a book so radically different from everything I’ve read so far that it will stun me. Harry Potter, anyone? Or the Illuminae series? They blew me away. Like, waaay away! But if you analyze them, after your heartbeat gets back to normal and your initial head-over-heels feelings pass, you realize they use the same tropes as any other book in their genre. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make them any less good, in fact, it makes them even greater.
When tropes abound, what starts to really matter is the voice. The VOICE. That is why when you ask any agent or editor what they’re looking for in their future clients, they will without a doubt mention the voice, regardless of whether they’re looking for any other specific premises and stories, the voice will be on their list, and probably very high on their list. It’s the voice, the writing style, the way you make a story individual that sets it apart from the other stories even when using the same tropes.
In Illuminae we see teenage romance gone awry, rogue AI, plague, hacking, escape on improvised evacuation ships, the fight to survive and save others etc. We’ve all seen it before. Just not in the form of reports, emails, doodles, illustrations, commentary of video footage, graphics, transcripts, censored words (I found this hilarious). And not told from the perspective of the super smart, pink-haired Kady and Ezra. Illuminae is the story of an apocalypse, yet it is very personal and intimate. It makes you forget about tropes and focus on that which differs from anything else you’ve ever read.
Valentine Day is D Day for Valentine Kisses. It’s out in the world now, and the feeling is pretty great. To celebrate, we’re having a Facebook party tonight. Come join us. We’ll have fun and there will be giveaways!
Some wonderful reviews have already come in for the anthology.
An Anthological Triumph! Even if you have a partner to kiss on Valentine’s Day, this anthology of love will melt your heart! (Tracy at Sourpussreviews)
I was surprised when I turned the last page! I was hoping for more. (T.Longo)
Each author did an exquisite job at presenting, laying out, and find a wonderful conclusion to each of their novellas, with the limited space a novella allows. Definitely recommend this book of novellas. (Tthomas1028)
You still have a few hours to enter the Valentine day blog hop GIVEAWAY. My giveaway, however, has ended and the winners of ebook copies of my YA novellas are:
And just because I love it, I have to post the cover for my novella Hearts Must be Broken. Get your copy here.
I’ve written about genre recently, and about how difficult it sometimes is to fit a book into distinct genres. While knowing the genre of a book helps me decide whether it’s something I’d want to read or not, sometimes it can be a deterrent so I end up not reading a book I might have liked if I’d have given it a chance.
I don’t like to label things all that much in general, and same goes for books. I’m an eclectic reader, only avoiding Christian fiction and hard core science fiction.But when choosing my next read, I usually first check the blurb (apart from the cover, of course). Naturally, one doesn’t always have to check for the book’s genre because often it’s apparent from the cover and/or the blurb or even because the author is already familair to us.
I will more often check out books in my preferred genres, like young adult, romance, contemporary, but I’ll read in other genres when the blurb or reviews convince me that the book is worth my while. So it seems that genre labels only work together with other information about a book, like the cover, blurb, author, reviews, recommendation from someone.
And since the topic of last month was book covers, I’d just like to give an example of when book covers and genre can be a bit at odds with each other.
This cover made me think the book is a fluffy romance, an easy read with fun characters. But it’s so much more than that. Yes, it’s a romance, it’s funny, but it also deals with mental illness and all the sadness, stress and anxiety that that brings with it. The chracters are complex and well written and the story is compelling.
So it’s not just about the genre, or the cover, it’s the whole package. And essentially, it’s about what you like.
Welcome to my blog, one of the stops on the Valentine blog hop – A time for Love, organized by Casi McLean. Follow the links to different blogs for some great reads, fun posts, and awesome prizes but before you do that, take a minute and read an excerpt from my newest novella, get a delicious winter recipe and a chance to win free eBooks.
Valentine Day is near and with it the release day of Valentine Kisses, Inkspell’s anthology for all romantic souls out there. It’s a collection of diverse romance stories, from fantasy to suspsense, from sweet to steamy.
Hearts must be broken is a bit darker than my other stories, but despite the mystery and suspense, there’s a sweet love story at its core.
When a ghost from her past wants to take revenge on twenty-year-old Anais, the only one she can turn to for help is Damon. But things quickly become complicated because he has feelings for her and she doesn’t want a relationship.
He said quietly, “I’ve always thought you were perfect, Anaïs.”
“Is it because I’m stone broke?”
His bitter words scattered across the pillow between them like glass shards, shimmering with the promise of heartache.
The past few days, she’d felt closer to him than she’d been to anyone in much too long. The problem was it was too close. She couldn’t have him read the emotions off her face like sheet music. She couldn’t give him that much power over her. She’d given up too much, lost too many people in order to become free and independent, to waste it on a pair of soulful eyes and a few heartfelt words. Regardless of how good they made her feel.
“No. It’s not that,” she said, and the lie slowly turned into the truth as she dug the hole in her heart, deepening it with every fib she uttered, uprooting everything which was decent and tender in her.
He turned away and didn’t look at her even after she called his name twice. She leaned closer and wanted to kiss his cheek, but then he turned and her lips touched his.
And while the stories warm up your soul, you’ll need something warm and delicious for your body. So here’s a recipe for a red kuri soup.
Finely chop one onion and saute it in a bit of olive oil until it softens (around 5 min). Add one medium red kuri squash (works equally well with other winter squashes, such as butternut), peeled and diced, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add enough vegetable stock (or simply water) to cover the squash and a few sage leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer for about ten minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove the sage leaves and pure the squash in a food processor. Add half a cup of cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and mix well.
Serve with a few drops of cream and croutons or pumpkin seeds. Eat warm and in good company!
For a chance to win an ebook copy of either my snowboarding novella On the Slopes, road trip novel Letting Go, or roommate romance My Summer Roommate, enter the first Rafflecofter giveaway below. Plus, by commenting on my blog you can enter the blog hop wide Rafflecopter giveaway for two $50 Amazon gift certificates (enter below). So comment and enter!
Thank you for joining me on this stop of the blog hop, now on to new adventures and discoveries! Spread the love, my friends!
Whoever said college was easy? Certainly not Faye Johnson! With shadow creatures stalking and hunting her from the depths of the darkness, Faye soon realizes that being a Light Soul and destroying the evil that lurks in the shadows, won’t make her freshman year any easier.
With the help of her wisecracking best friend Jack, Faye discovers that her ordinary life is about to change drastically. She has an ancient power that the darkness desperately desires. But being untrained, she can’t protect herself for long. That’s when Gabe, a dangerously gorgeous ex-Dark Soul enters her life – seemingly out of thin air.
Jack and Faye’s friendship is put to the test when she starts training with Gabe. Jack warns her that Gabe is dangerous, but she can’t seem to resist her electrifying feelings for him. Events become deadly when the Dark Souls attack and Faye discovers Gabe’s horrifying secret.
Can she count on Jack to be there for her? Can she trust Gabe with her life? Will she be strong enough to protect herself from the darkness that is desperate to kill her?
…And you thought college was easy.
I jumped to my feet, feeling restless as my mind continued to speculate. He didn’t even know me. Why was he being such a major stalker? My rage tempted me to find him and demand he start answering my questions. But some sensible part reminded me that probably wouldn’t be a very good idea.
I took my frustration out on my pillow, slamming it against my wall and then falling face down on my bed. This helped me cool off a little bit. But thoughts of Gabe, Jack, and my weird connection with fire still danced in my head.
An idea occurred to me.
All this time, I was in my room, I had bought the candles, I had put them away. But none of them were lit! I got up from my bed, and made my way to the closest one.
“Light,” I commanded.
Nothing happened. The candle just sat there, perfectly untouched and brand new. I felt a little bit relieved. Maybe if my old one had been defective, then maybe everything else Jack and I had been worried about wasn’t true?
“Light!” I commanded again, a little bit more forcefully. Still nothing happened. Before giving up and giving into my endless pile of homework, I gazed at the candle and concentrated my focus.
I blocked out the sounds of the people in my hall, the cheers and laugher flowing in from my open window, and the smell of pizza originating from the dining hall around the corner. It was just me and the candle. We were the only two things in this world. It was just us.
It burst into flames!
I stumbled back against my bed, shocked. I had made the candle burn, without a lighter or matches. I did that: I’d lit it. How was that possible?
I felt the heat from my anger begin to boil my blood as I realized everything Jack and I were fearful of, was true. I was in trouble. I had no idea what I was, or what it meant. I had no idea why Gabe was stalking me. I had no answers and I didn’t know what to do or who could help me. All of my confusion just further fueled my anger. I felt myself begin to lose control. As my anger grew, so did the flame.
I stood up straight, a determination igniting in my veins. I might not have all the answers, but I sure as hell knew someone who did. Without thinking, I gave into temptation and ran out of my bedroom, down the hall, and burst through the front doors of the building. I ran past all of the buildings on Redstone Campus and into the surrounding woods. I felt the branches and leaves scrape against my skin, but still I kept running. I didn’t stop. Not until I was deep enough into the forest to find I was alone with the darkness.
He’ll come, I thought. Soon enough, he will find me.
About the Author:
H. C. Harris has been daydreaming, imagining stories, and composing music since before she could even write! She was born and raised in New Hampshire before moving to Burlington, Vermont for college. During her senior year at the University of Vermont, she discovered she had a passion for creating fantasy stories that transported her readers to mysterious and romantic places.
H. C. Harris shared samples of her work with her online audience. Fans have described it as, “addicting,” “a page-turner,” and “swoon-worthy.” With their encouragement, she submitted her work to publishing companies and is now contracted with Inkspell Publishing!
She currently lives in Hartford, Connecticut where she is working on her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She teaches Spin classes, loves playing the piano, drinking coffee and taking her German Shepherd and Black Lab for runs!
“I’m hungry,” Damon said, reminding her he was still splayed out on the floor beneath her.
Why was he even here and not running as fast as he could away from her after she’d hurt him so terribly and so often? Why did he bother? It didn’t make sense.
He raised his eyebrows. “Because the last thing I ate was a sandwich yesterday noon. Plus you seriously zapped my energy last night.”
She huffed. “I meant why, after I’ve treated you like shit more times than I care to remember, you still care?”
When he just stared at her for a moment, she wondered if he was trying to come up with a lie.
He pushed himself up into a sitting position. Being so close to his serious face and intense eyes was frightening. She had never before been so vulnerable, not even with Ralph. Because with Damon she cared, and he had the power to rip her apart with mere words.
“Sometimes, when I look at you, you are so utterly sad. And it’s like you’re not even aware of it. It’s like you only let yourself feel anger and disgust because they’re your crutch and if someone took that away from you, you’d fall and shatter. You deserve to be loved, Anaïs.”
Pre-order Valentine Kisses while the $0.99 offer lasts!
Are you craving a story with action, love, sex and drama? When Our Worlds Collide is a new adult military dystopian set in a fanatical world. Inspired by historical events, it’s the perfect story to curl up to in bed or read as you sit by the pool.
Amazon – http://tinyurl.com/gt2hgad
Goodreads – http://tinyurl.com/zrsflaw
As one city’s fate hangs in the balance, a woman’s destiny is about to be determined…
Amira Frost is forced to watch her home be invaded by the warmonger state, Argos. Divided into multiple class zones, the city’s once peaceful existence is threatened.
When an opportunity arises for Amira to get close to the General, she accepts with the hope that her new position as his personal food taster can help reclaim the municipality, but she is pulled deeper into his regime than she initially anticipated.
For every controlling force, a resistance is born…
The Ravens’ elusive leader, Grayson Roe, has one goal—to lead the resistance to victory against the barbaric military. Dedicated and ruthless, he sets out to use Amira to their advantage by offering her a proposal she’s unable to refuse.
Nothing will stop him from regaining control over his city and its people—not even the dark haired beauty whose loyalty seems questionable.
A city threatens to fall and a decision needs to be made…
As the battle rages, Amira is caught between two opposing forces and reevaluates her allegiance when her loyalty is tested. Her home is under attack, her friends and family are dying, and she is faced with a grueling decision that has the power to save or bring down an entire city.
When worlds collide, she must choose between saving her home or surrendering to the one man who threatens to destroy it all—including her.
Here it is — the stunning cover for Valentine Kisses, an anthology of romance novellas, and a GIVEAWAY (look for it below).
Naj has done phenomenal work yet again.
To convince you that you have to read it, here are the stories:
Lola Flannigan by Abigail Drake (sci-fi)
Hairdresser Lola Flannigan has a little electrical problem. After getting struck by lightning seven times, her hands now shock everyone she touches, except for one person; the very sexy, very wealthy Morgan Slade. But is Morgan really looking out for her, or is he just planning to use her to get what he wants?
Hearts must be broken by Bridie Hall (suspense)
When a ghost from her past wants to take revenge on twenty-year-old Anais, the only one she can turn to for help is Damon. But things quickly become complicated because he has feelings for her and she doesn’t want a relationship. Can she learn to trust him and can he forgive her past?
Lost & Found by Shilpa Mudiganti (sweet)
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and Aisha, who is still grieving for her ex boyfriend John is in for a surprise. Liam, John’s bestfriend, who has had feelings for her but had to keep his feelings in check is ready to prove his love for her. But is she ready to risk her heart again?
Avalanche by Kim Briggs (sweet with a side of steamy)
Lexi returns to her first love, Wolf Creek Ski Resort, with ambitions of becoming a ski instructor. She soon finds herself in the middle of a longtime feud between Gabe, a snow groomer who gives off the broken vibe Lexi finds irresistible, and Harrison the fourth, playboy son of Wolf Creek’s owner who always wants what Gabe has. Tensions boil at Wolf Creek, and Lexi’s heart might not be the only thing at stake.
What’s better than a book boyfriend by Sarah Vance-Tompkins (small town contemporary romance)
Shy librarian Charlie Bishop has spent every Valentine’s Day in the company of one of her beloved book boyfriends. Despite his many attempt to gain her attention, Charlie is absolutely certain she has nothing common with hunky construction worker Hank Carter. So how far will Hank have to go to prove to Charlie he’s better than any of her book boyfriends?
Not today by Lisa Hahn (contemporary)
Emily Scott is mourning the loss of a parent. Ezra Cavanuagh is ready to give up on his dreams of literary success. Will their new connection be enough to help them pull through these trying times?
We have a giveaway too! We are giving away 5 copies of the boxset and 1 $10 Amazon gift card! If you would like to participate in the draw, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cxARrv
But this is not all. Each story in the box set has an individual cover, and here’s the one for my story Hearts must be broken by Eva Talia.