Friday, March 6, 2020

Presenting-Tameri Etherton!

Hello all!  Today I have a special guest, good friend, and all around awesome person and writer-- 

USA Today Bestselling Author Tameri Etherton! 

First off, it's her book birthday today! Happy Birthday Dragon Mage!


 Secondly, leave a comment or question for Tameri and one person will be selected to win an e-copy of the first book in her epic fantasy series--The Stones of Resurrection! (Name will be drawn on March 12th-- check back here!)
Without further ado, here's Tameri!:

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I’m excited to share with your readers a little about me and my books.

Q: How long ago did you start writing, why, and what was your first attempt?

A: I wrote my first short story a long, long time ago. The physical paper it’s on is lost now, but I remember most of the story and, shocker, it was a fantasy tale about children living in a magical forest. We camped a lot as kids and I used to tell these fantastic tales around the campfire. I really wish I’d written those down! Some of them were epic. Who knows? Maybe they’re coming out now in my books.
I didn’t get serious about writing and finishing a book until around 2007. My life until then had revolved around my family’s schedule and I suddenly had time free to do whatever I wanted. I gotta tell you, I was bereft for about two months. For over a decade, I’d been ‘Mrs. Tameri’ at my kids’ schools and I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. It was liberating and terrifying. Then, a little voice whispered in the back of my mind, reminding me how much I loved writing, that now was my time.
I had a story in my head that wouldn’t go away—about a young woman raised on Earth, but born on another planet. She insisted I tell her tale and that’s how the Song of the Swords series began. Taryn went through many iterations before I got it right, but The Stones of Resurrection was my first attempt at a novel and I’m super proud of that book and the entire series. I want to live in their world forever.

Q: Panster or plotter? What attributes do you like of both?

A: This is where I’d label my relationship as complicated. J I’m a bit of both. I have half a dozen craft books on plotting, and I’m still looking for the perfect system for ME, but mostly I dream my scenes, then write them. The way my brain is wired, this is what works best. Of course, it’s a great excuse for a nap! But really, that’s what I do. Every night before I sleep, I imagine the scenes I want to write the next day. I’ll go over them until I have it just so, then I sit down and write. When I’m having a huge word count day and I’m in the flow, I don’t need to dream the scenes, they just spill out, but if I’m having trouble with the plot or a character, I’ll take a walk or a nap, and just mull over everything I need to sort out. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m left a frustrated puddle of goo. Hence, the complicated relationship with plotting and pantsing.

Q: Character first, or plot? How do your stories come about?

A: It depends! Sometimes, like with Taryn and the epic fantasy series, I know the character first. But with Dragon Mage, I knew the story first. I’ve become a bit of a cover hoarder and find huge inspiration from having a cover already made before I start the book. I’m the absolute worst at trying to tell a designer what to have on the cover because how do you distill a 500 page book into one image?
I also get ideas from eavesdropping. Or just sitting quietly and observing. I might be walking through the park and see an interesting crag like I did for Fatal Assassin, and imagine what it would be like to escape from the castle by having to run down that crag and into the park. Then, I ask myself a ton of ‘what if’ questions.
What if a girl was raised an orphan because the king slaughtered her parents? What if it wasn’t just her parents he killed, but all the mages, and all the dragons? Who would raise her? How would that affect her world view? Her relationships? Could she ever forgive the king? What if the king’s son was her best friend and she never knew it was his father who killed her family? Would she still be his friend when she learns the truth?
What if questions are my favorite! I let my mind run amok with different scenarios. Which, actually, kind of goes to the plotting question. All these wild ideas are actually part of my planning process. They feed into each other as the book goes along.

Q: Any genre or sub-genre that you haven’t tried yet, but want to?

A: Yes! SO many. I have two historical story ideas I want to write. One is set in the court of Queen Elizabeth I (my absolute favorite woman in history). Since I love writing magic and elves and fae so much, it won’t be historically accurate. Wouldn’t it be totally kickass for Queen Elizabeth to have a dragon? Or, what if she’s actually the faerie queen from Spencer’s epic poem. As in, a real faerie? I love that idea!
The other historical idea involves Richard III and the princes in the tower. I’ve always been fascinated with that mystery and would love to write a sort of mystery fantasy. We’ll see!
Another genre I’m keen to try is space opera. My husband is currently writing sci-fi and we’re going to write a book together either at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021. There can be dragons in space, right? I hope so!

Q: If you could have dinner with ONE of your characters in Dragon Mage, who would it be, and how would it go down?

A: Just one? Oh man. It would probably be Danteneux or Cassia. I love these characters so much and need to know more of their stories! They’ll probably both get their own series (or one together… hmmm) because I can’t stop thinking about them.
How would dinner go down?
Well, Dante would try to seduce me all night because he loves the ladies and can’t help himself. We’d probably end the evening onboard his ship—definitely not in his bed, rather, we’d be sailing somewhere foreign because, at the time, we thought it was a good idea. I’d then spend the next six months learning to be a pirate because he’d refuse to take me home.
Cassia would absolutely drink me under the table (not hard to do, I’m a lightweight), and then after regaling me with tales that I wouldn’t completely understand, she would insist on taking me through portals to show me other worlds. I guess it’s something she does often because why not?
With either of these two, I’d be hard pressed to not laugh too much, drink too much, or to know precisely what’s going on. They’re the kind of friend that is always trouble, but in the best sort of way.

Q: Can you share a snippet of Dragon Mage?

A: Of course! In this scene, Amaleigh is wearing a magical mask to disguise her identity so that she’s not recognized because there’s a death warrant out for her. Returning to the palace is a huge risk for her and discretion is key.

The very air surrounding them altered with an unseen tension.
Then her brain processed Cassia’s words. She glanced up to see Gwilym standing not more than three feet from her. Excitement whipped through her blood, but she clamped it down. It wouldn’t do to burst into tears at seeing her only childhood friend. Time froze, as if nothing had changed. He looked exactly as she remembered him—dark curls framed a ruggedly handsome face, but the mischief she recalled in his deep-blue eyes was no longer there. Neither was any sort of recognition. Of course not; she had made sure she didn’t look like herself. Still, a bitter pang throbbed in her heart. A pain she didn’t quite understand.
The whole point of a disguise was not to be recognized, and yet, she’d hoped he’d see through the mask and know it was her. She’d hoped their years of friendship meant as much to him as they did her. But he smiled genially without a hint that he knew it was his friend.
Also missing was any sign of being tortured. Not a scratch marred his perfect complexion. Unlike in the vision she saw while casting. Which could only mean the prince hadn’t sent it, so did she imagine it? Was it a trick of her magic, playing out her worst fears? Had her guilt built to such a degree that she saw things that weren’t real?
Seeing Gwilym unhurt should’ve been a relief, but instead it ratcheted her anxiety. The nagging in her mind screeched that something was off. It went beyond Cassia’s pretense and Gwilym not recognizing her. Whatever the hell was going on here, she was determined more than ever to find out.
She dropped into a curtsey that would’ve made King Heshen pleased and rose at the same time as Cassia.
“Cassia, darling, who is your friend?” Gwilym regarded them both with curiosity and for a moment, the princess faltered.
The carefree, chatty girl was gone, replaced with a meek little thing.
“Your Highness,” Amaleigh cut in before Cassia could speak. “I am delighted to find you in good health. When last we spoke, you were under a bit of duress. It’s been awhile, but you helped me at a time when I needed it most, and I have come to return the favor. How may I be of service to you, my lord?” She swept the floor in a second curtsey and hoped Gwilym understood her veiled meaning.
“Forgive my memory, kind lady. Although I don’t recall the specifics, I cannot turn away someone who has offered to repay a debt. I would be honored if you would grace our home with your presence.”
Despite his words, the way he peered at her, as if trying to see beyond the mask, robbed her of any sense of security.
“She’s called Erma, Your Highness,” Cassia offered.
“Erma Kielder.” Amaleigh hoped using the name of his most favored dog as a surname would garner some sort of reaction. None came. Even if Gwilym didn’t recognize her, surely he knew the name of his pet. Unless…unless he’d been tortured to forget his past. Was it possible? Or, more likely, he purposefully pretended not to know her and her worst fears were true—it had been a trap to lure her out of hiding. Her heart hammered in her chest loud enough to drown out Cassia’s twittering.
“Well met this day, Erma Kielder.” A sardonic grin twisted his lips, sending panicked jabs through her gut. He took her hand in his and raised it to his lips. His eyes never left hers and she repressed a squirm.
Even though he followed protocol, something about his intensity sent a warning through her mind. Not only did he not behave like the friend she remembered, his scent and touch weren’t the same. The firm grip he had on her fingertips wasn’t princely, but controlling. As if he meant it as a silent threat.
It was possible Gwilym had changed in the years she was gone, but to this extent? They knew each other, for dox sake. Had lain beneath the stars and shared their deepest secrets and fears with each other. She refused to believe the man she knew had become this stranger.
Whatever game he was playing, Amaleigh knew one thing for sure—the man standing before her who looked so much like her childhood friend, either had changed a great deal since she last saw him, or he was not her Gwilym.

Thank you for coming on my blog today! Folks, go check out Dragon Mage and the rest of her amazing books! Don't forget to comment below for a chance to win an e-copy of The Stones of Resurrection

The Stones of Resurrection link:


Tameri Etherton is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of dangerous fantasy and magical ever afters. As a born storyteller, Tameri grew up inventing fictional worlds where the impossible was possible. It's been said she leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates new adventures for her kickass heroines, and the rogues who steal their hearts.
She lives an enchanted life with her her very own prince charming and their mischievous dragon Lady Dazzleton.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

#IWSG-Believe in yourself

Back on the Insecure Writer's Support Group train!!! This is an amazing monthly blog hop for us insecure writers--which is all of us pretty much ;). Join us!

So, I'm back. I dropped off of the blog hop, and my blogging completely, for a while there. Lots of projects going on the last few months of 2019 (two already came out and two more will be out in the next few months). Now I'm trying to get some balance back and this blog is part of it :).

And I'm starting my first IWSG blog in over 6 months with believing in yourself. Which seems a bit odd since...well... we're insecure by name ;).

But even being insecure, and having tons of self doubt leap up and smack you in the head upon occasion, at some point we have to believe in our stories--in ourselves.

Every time I get the, "I suck and I can't write!" beast coming at me, I tell myself to quit. Stop writing. Inside of my head sort of looks like this:

ME: I'm a horrible writer!

My brain: Then quit.

ME: What?! No! I have too many stories to tell. *sniffles a bit*

My brain: Then just don't publish. Show them to no one.

ME: But I want to share them! Some people like them!

My brain: Exactly. So stop whining.

My brain can be very direct when calling me out on these things.

There seems to be a culture where we as writers are supposed to hate our work. Like, all the time. "Woe is me! My writing sucks! I suck!" Part of it is a wish for validation, someone to come forth and tell us we're awesome. Part of it is because if we bash our work before others do, it's not as painful. 

Neither of those reasons are healthy, nor do they help us. External validation can be taken away, and telling people they will hate your work before they read it (directly or indirectly) just pushes them that direction.

Somewhere, deep inside, you need to like your work--or why would you do it? Writing is HARD. I write to provide escapism for myself and my readers. I'm not changing the world, saving billions, I'm providing an adventure. If I don't like what I write, that will come across and readers won't like it either.

So Happy IWSG day! Go out and remind yourself why you write!