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The Silence of Lir
Genre: young adult fantasy fiction
Available as a free download on Amazon June 1-5
Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornados don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis.
Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control.
Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.
Book Trailer http://youtu.be/07zpDegBrOQ
By Mary E. Twomey
Genre: young adult fantasy fiction
Available for purchase
June 1, 2012
An earthquake caused by Wren and Satchel’s ill-fated tryst brings forth a prophecy that sends the Unrest and the Delegation into a tailspin. Immortals on the earth must be abducted and hidden from the North Star’s greedy grasp.
Vespera’s fury erupts as the Unrest begins to splinter off from the Moon behind her back. Attacks that should be used on the enemy target her supposed allies. Seeds of doubt, betrayal and rebellion begin to sprout in the Realm of the Sun and the Moon, causing division, subterfuge, and deadly attacks.
An evil that was locked up centuries ago is unleashed and let loose on the earth. There are those who fight for unity, those who struggle just to stay alive, those who battle for control, but a few begin their secret plans for a revolt.
By Mary E. Twomey
Genre: young adult fantasy fiction
Available for purchase
June 1, 2012
What’s left of the Delegation fights to keep the Order with a man down, and the Unrest in hiding. Three keepers work tirelessly to safely harbor the restless immortals, maintain their elements, and counter Red Flame’s insatiable attacks. The Unrest’s light is dwindling as they remain hidden from Vespera on earth.
Close quarters and unstable power lead to tension and confusion as they try to find a way to be helpful to the Order without being taken out in the process.
Henry cares for Satchel’s son, and trains him to follow in his parents’ footsteps by being ready to defend the light at all costs. Lir’s body is located, and Vespera rages her search for more power when she cannot find the Sword of Secrets. Somehow Stella winds up in the middle – a girl without a friend suddenly thrust into the spotlight and forced to accept her lot in life, being the voice of truth when no one will listen.
Though she and the keepers try to fight for the light, it is inevitable that they all may soon lose themselves to the darkness.
By Mary E. Twomey
Genre: young adult fantasy fiction
Available for purchase
June 1, 2012
Light is being stolen, immortals are waking, wombats are untrustworthy and a dead body is rising. After a long time of wishing they could jump into the battle, the Unrest finally has their day in the Sun. Unfortunately, that day is filled with certain death.
Ash comes into his own and joins his parents to fight Vespera and Red Flame. Henry reunites with his own people, only to find that the lair will never be the same again.
Prophecies are unearthed, lives lost, and lines of loyalty blurred. Stella’s body begins to break down slowly, while Lake loses her immortality.
The sword of secrets fights to find its true owner, though none of the keepers can predict the sacrifice that will come.
About the Author:
Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.
Tips for the Novice Writer
Don’t shoot down your first idea. It may not be a perfect score, but if you start out your brainstorming process with judgment, you might as well not bother.
You are trying! Good for you! You aren’t letting the fact that you’re attempting something new stop you from going for the gold. I’m proud of you.
I keep a copy of a particularly inspiring speech around. In case I get discouraged or lose my way in the story, I pray, and if I need a little kick, I read the manifesto. Guess what, writers read.
Read. Read a lot. Writers read. Fiction, nonfiction, genres you love, ones you’ve yet to fall for. Sample every color of the rainbow twice.
Monogamy is for people, not writing. It’s perfectly acceptable to work on more than one project. Don’t abandon your first project completely, but it’s not cheating if you feel like jumping back and forth between two stories. It actually can help with writer’s block.
Get an accountability partner. Doesn’t have to be a fellow writer, but it sure helps if it is. Set a word count goal and email your friend to let them know if you made it. The cheers will help you through the rough patches.
You must write daily. Take the weekends off if you like, but during the week, you put pen to paper every day. It doesn’t all have to be Shakespeare, but ole’ Father William wasn’t written in a night. Don’t feel like eating your vegetables? Not an option. You are a writer now, and writer’s write.
Talk to a few other writers. Get their process. Take what you like, put the rest on the back burner.
Storms are gorgeous, but messy. This is the nature of brainstorming. Rule nothing out. Don’t worry about ruts just yet and write it all down. The only wrong answers are blank spaces.
Got your main idea? Great. Map it out. Chapter one – what happens? Chapter two, and so on. Remember learning how to make a proper outline in grade school? Well, your teacher was right, you will use it after high school. Here’s your big chance. It doesn’t have to be perfectly detailed, but the skeleton should be there. It’ll help you if you get writer’s block.
Who are your characters? Interview them. Eye color, hair color, favorite song, parentage, dreams, funky moles,… Everything you know about your spouse, you should know about your characters. If you don’t, your readers will smell it on you and send the angry villagers with their book-burning torches.
Start your book in the second chapter. After your perfect outline, it’s often difficult to write that initial, winning sentence. Take some of the pressure off. Write chapter two first. Eventually chapter one will come to you and pretty much write itself.
Be a finisher. Yep, it’s hard. But finish what you set out to do. Pick a realistic timeframe and stick to it. Eat all your broccoli, mow the lawn, finish your book.
Edit, edit, edit. I’ve yet to meet a person who craps gold. Your first draft is just that, a draft. One of many. There are different types of editing: a style edit and a grammar edit. Style is the flow of the story. Grammar is your basic spell check, sentence structure and whatnot. I cannot stress how important both are. Get yourself a style editor and a grammar editor. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Blog tours. Love ’em, embrace them, kiss them on the mouth and tell them your dirty, flirty secrets.
Tell everyone. Humbly, gracefully, but yeah, get out the bullhorn and let your biggest fans – your friends and family – be your cheerleaders. A proud mama will spread word of an aced spelling test faster than a cold can make its way through a preschool. Imagine how she’ll be when she can brag to others about your book!
Keep your chin up. As fun as it is, writing is not your ultimate definer. Are you a writer? Sure. You’re also a student, a teacher, a parent, a child, a neighbor, a member of society and if you’re lucky, a friend. Whether you sell a million copies or just the two your mom buys, you are still you. Money, success and career validation cannot and should not define you. The love you have for others, and those that will go to the mat for you will still be there when the thrill of the literary ride is over. You are more than words on a page.
Mary E. Twomey
Writing is a strange monster. Gorgeous, unpredictable, terrifying, and precious. One moment you love what you’re into, the next you’re swearing you should scrap it all and declare yourself an illiterate just so expectations can be lowered. Learning to spell your name would become a note-worthy feat. “Wow! You did it yourself? Amazing! Sit down and take a rest. Have a cookie, you smart bunny.” Alas, with an English degree, more is expected of you when the pen hits the paper. If it’s not Shakespeare, and if you don’t use fanciful words like “alas”, then it must simply not be worth anyone’s time, lease of all yours.
This kind of thinking led me to deleted documents, trashed notebooks, abandoned plots and a total tailspin. If it wasn’t completely hatched and grown gracefully into an adult by the end of the page, it was obviously a failure. A plot that wasn’t complete before the first word was scribbled was a waste. Being a notorious math class disappointment led me to the conclusion that if you don’t have the right answer – all the right answers – it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your head down. Mistakes are for people who will never find the solution, and wrong guesses are for people who should find a new calling.
Oh, Mary. Silly Mary.
Oh, you reader. Silly you.
Today I write to encourage you to stop judging your imperfections. It’s odd that we are often the first one to cast the stone at ourselves. We’ll be amazingly polite and kind to others, but when it comes to giving grace to the person with the funky morning hair in the mirror, we plum run out of mercy just about every time. You would never tell your husband or your best girl friend, “What a stupid idea. That’ll never work. Look how many things you still have to figure out. Best just watch TV and leave the high heels to the big girls.”
Fortunately for all of us, today is a new day. Today we will be different. We will be kind to ourselves. We will look in the mirror and believe the things our loved ones say about us. We will trust our ridiculous ideas and not shoot them down just because they are ours. Today we take ourselves seriously and give an honest effort to becoming that person who can see the possibilities.
A funny thing dawned on me in the midst of writing and editing the Saga of the Spheres. I allowed the ink to flow for fun. I did not write for other people. I did not plot for the masses. I wrote, laughed, swooned, and bit my lip as an unknown world shifted into focus on the page. I’m very excited to share the keepers, the seers, the spheres and the wombats with you. My hope is that you find your own possibility, take the first step, and then start running.
Mary E. Twomey
Mary E. Twomey – Author of the Saga of the Spheres.
* Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write in this particular genre?
I was reading the book of Genesis in the Bible and I was amazed that the whole world and everything in it was created in just a few pages. I wondered how messed up a universe would be that I would create. So God’s was perfect in one chapter and fully functional. Mine turned into four books and is purely fictional. Harumph.
* Please tell us about your latest release.
The Saga of the Spheres quadrilogy follows the Sun, the Moon and the keepers of the elements as they battle each other for the greatest amount of light. Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornados don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis. Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control. Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.
* Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
This is a modern-day mythology. The earth as we know it is relatively the same, as it appears to humans. However, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars are both spheres and beings. They have desires, dark pasts, and a duty to maintain the Order so that the earth can continue spinning with little disruption.
* With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
While jumping into a series part-way through may work for other books, it definitely will not for Saga of the Spheres. One sentence in book one could change how a new character is viewed two books later. It is a complex web of story lines that demands to be read from beginning to end.
* Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Writer’s block only plagues me occasionally. I make it a policy to always have at least two completely different writing projects going on at the same time. If I get stuck on one, I switch to the other. By the time I’m ready to go back, the issue has most likely worked itself out. The trick is to make the two projects nothing like each other. If I’m writing a mythology, the other must be a comedy, and in a different format. Right now I’m working on a social/political commentary that is a young adult fiction novel. I contrast that by working on a comedy screenplay when I need a breather.
When I’m working on a project, I write five days a week. Taking the weekends off to rest and let ideas simmer helps tremendously. I also think in story plots while I’m dreaming. If I’m lucky, my dreams will start where my writer’s block left off, and then tell me how it’s supposed to unfold by the time I wake up in the morning. True multi-tasking.
* Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
Quiet house. Loose outline written in a notebook using a fine-tipped blue Bic pen. Glasses off, contacts out (helps to keep the outside world at a distance. I focus much better when all I can see is what’s directly in front of me). Phone off.
* When did you consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first story, a mystery, before I had gone to school and learned to form letters. I still have it. It’s a page of scribbles, but I know what it says! I was three, and loved listening to my parents read to me. Though I occasionally delved into other professions, it was always understood from a very young age that I would do whatever that job I felt like (ballerina, archeologist, teacher) on top of being a writer. Writing wasn’t really a profession to me, it was just… me. While studying in class, others would take notes. I would appear the studious girl with my notebook out, but I was always working on a novel. It wasn’t a conscious choice.
Professionally I considered myself a writer when I was paid to write advertisement stories for the newspaper I worked for.
* Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I am a vegetarian and truly enjoy trying out new recipes. When I got married, I was not a good cook. I made it a goal to visit the library regularly and check out new cookbooks that had different dishes from the few I could make. Eight years later, I still make it a priority to cook a new dish every week or so at least. I love challenging myself in ways that yield such immediate gratification.
In my spare time, my mom and I founded and run a children’s charity, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Inc. We bake cakes and cupcakes for underprivileged kids and teens, and have a fun time sharing smiles and being goofy girls in the kitchen, covered in frosting, making a glorious mess.
I love going for walks, watching the animals at the zoo, going to church, and reading.
I have a childish joy for throwing asinine dinner parties. We had one party celebrating Brussels sprouts. There were seven different dishes featuring everyone’s favorite vegetable. My husband and I host a birthday party for Harry Potter every year on July 31. Suffice to say, it’s the weirdest thing our adventurous friends do all summer. Luckily, we have an eclectic collection of very tolerant friends.
* What can readers expect next from you?
Oh, if I told you that, it wouldn’t be a surprise! The social/political commentary will be either a trilogy or a quadrilogy. I’m about halfway through the series now. If I can get my act together, the series will be done next year. More realistically, 2014.
If a producer magically calls me up and just begs to know if I have anything for the big screen, then you’ll be seeing a goofy romantic comedy I wrote a few months ago. It started out as a way to give myself a break from the seriousness of the social/political commentary, but turned into the most fun I’ve ever had writing a screenplay. So really, I’m putting this on you, readers. If you want to read my screenplay, send a producer with a medium Hollywood budget my way.
* Where can readers find you on the web?
www.SagaoftheSpheres.com, you can like my Saga of the Spheres Facebook page, or find me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/shesleepssoftly).
* Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
From The Silence of Lir, book one in Saga of the Spheres:
Finn coughed up blood. If this was how he was finally going to die, he’d make sure to cause as much damage as he could before his last breath.
“Hold still, Dust.” Finn heard the impatience in Eli’s voice. Impatience, not fatigue. Finn’s fortitude sank as he realized there was no way he could defeat this… man? God? Hallucination? Whatever he was, in all of Finn’s centuries on earth, he’d thought surely that he was the only anomaly.
This morning he was proven wrong. Eli was superior to him in every way. Stature, strength, ability, and if he was telling the truth, Eli was older than him as well. Were the super man not attacking him right now, Finn would have been excited to meet such a creature.
Finn swung his fist in the direction of Eli’s temple. Like he was swatting at a fly, Eli batted Finn’s arm away. “All right,” Eli grumbled. “Could we move this along? I’m supposed to take you with me, but it’s going to look bad if you don’t go willingly. She’s waiting.”
Finn spat blood in Eli’s face. “The only way I’ll go anywhere with you is in a body bag.”
“That would be so much easier. Unfortunately, I have orders.” Eli yanked Finn up by his t-shirt and shoved him against the dank wall of the cave. He spat in Finn’s eyes and covered them with his large hand, murmuring something in a language Finn could not understand.
Finn’s vision went from dark to a swirl of colors. Faster than a roller coaster, the world spun at a sickening pace.
When the spinning ceased, Finn found his mind’s eye in another plane of existence. The cave disappeared and his brain melted into submission as it was forced to watch whatever Eli had in store for him.
Finn began to make peace with his ever-long life coming to an end.
*What is it about the paranormal, in particular demigods, that fascinates you so much?
Are you kidding? Bending rules of gravity? Inventing super powers? What’s not to love? My question is how do you write a book where you have to play by the set laws of the universe?
*Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Well, my son’s name is Kroi, and my daughter’s name is Maven Hero-Seraphim, but we call her Maybee. So, yeah. Making up names is a lot of fun for me. I didn’t even have to consult my husband for these!
There are so many characters in the series, that I had to make it a little easier on the reader. Originally three of the four names for the Delegation started with the letter E. I had to change that so it wouldn’t be confusing for the reader.
*Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
The wombats were a challenge because they speak in broken dialogue – pluralizing the wrong words, mixing up pronouns. Originally it bordered on unintelligible, but I eventually altered it to be slightly more decipherable to the reader.
*Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Shant and Maddn.
Shant was wonderful because he starts out a good guy on the bad side, then slowly turns controversial over the course of four books. I enjoyed watching his journey. I always feel for the odd man out. The most interesting characters to me are not the clear-cut bad guys or the perfect heroes. It’s the ones you have to really struggle to make peace with. I’m sure that many people will hate Shant, but there will be a few who champion him to the end, even if he spat in their face.
Maddn was a gift of a character. He does not speak much, so I had to carefully monitor his words and play more through his actions and moods. In each book, a secret is revealed about him that completely changes the way he’s viewed. His surprises beg you to reread the previous books so you can see him in the newest light.
*Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
Oh, yes. I am a list-maker, and the world of writing is no different. For each main character, I have a fact sheet. Eye color, hair color, parentage, favorite song, political affiliation, previous lovers,… It’s everything you’d need to know about the character at a glance.
Then for each major player, I draw a hill. I make points to designate what their peaks and valleys are. In the end, I have a pretty decent character arc to use as a reference. I check the multiple arcs constantly so that I know if I’m forgetting anything.
In the end, the lists and arcs are just a backup for if I get lost. My favorite is when the character becomes so real to me that he or she writes the dialogue and changes the set story.
*What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
My favorite interactions are between Shant and Stella, and then Shant and Lake. Really, I love following Lake around. Any scene that she’s in makes me smile.
*Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
I did a bit of research on different constellations, astronomers and countries. Learned a few new things, and even added several story lines based on my findings.
*What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
Part of book one takes place in Costa Rica. I took a trip with my husband there just before I started writing the series. My husband lived in Costa Rica for a time, so it was a fantastic trip going there with him to guide me. We saw the rain forest, volcanoes, unusual animals, gorgeous foliage. Every new place was worth writing about. I’m just sad that I could only work one location into the book.
One of the characters is isolated in her room from the others for days and weeks on end. To get into that mindset, I avoided all physical contact as much as I could for a couple days. Stayed inside, didn’t talk on the phone, turned off the internet.
*Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
I think if anyone, I’m a mix of Stella and Lake. I often dress as Lake does, and when I was younger, I was quite silly as she is. Now that I’m a bit older, I can conduct myself in a more adult manner, like Stella.
*Do you write in different genres?
All the time. I keep gravitating back to young adult fiction, though.
*Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
Nope. So long as I’m interested and the characters ring true, genre doesn’t matter much. No matter the genre, if I’m not passionate about the story and seeing the characters evolve, it doesn’t work for me.
*What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Really good cheese. Ice wine. Dark chocolate. Going to a movie by myself. Naps.
*What was the last amazing book you read?
Loved “Healthy at 100” by John Robbins. Read and reread “The Element” by Ken Robinson. Blown away by “4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss. I seriously need to stop reading so much. It’s becoming an addiction. I’m also in a book club, which is understood to be a monthly silly girl chat-fest.
*Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?