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My own experiences are fertile material for fiction. I used to perform semi-professionally as a bellydancer, so I could write with authenticity about how the heroine in Storm Dancer learns the dance and performs it in a tavern. Years ago, I went on an assignment as a development aid worker to a remote part of northern China. I had been promised a heated, furnished flat with running water. When I arrived, the flat was a ruin, the windows broken, no water, no furniture, no heating, and a blizzard was raging outside.

I survived the freezing night by piling all my clothes on top of me. In the morning, I confronted my employer and requested that he honour the contract. He shrugged. I don't have time to keep my promises.

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Merida is a weather magician, sent by her government to bring rain to a distant, drought-parched country. When she arrives, she finds the promised private apartment doesn't exist. Instead, she has to sleep in a grimy, noisy dormitory.

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Things got worse for me in China, and they get worse for Merida in Quislak. You write British English. How does it differ from American? Some words vary. For example, Brits often use which or who when Americans use that. In British English, we talk about autumn, lift and suspenders when Americans use fall, elevator and garter belt - not that those words are common in Storm Dancer. More significant are the spelling variations. British English words often have more letters than their American equivalents: honour, colour, jewellery, travelling instead of honor, color, jewellery, traveling, and s instead of z, for example in realise.

Grammar and punctuation rules also differ a little. Most readers enjoy a book regardless, and some even appreciate the variety. If anyone really can't bear British English, I suggest they avoid my books. I actually love British English so that's something I really don't understand. The cover is a collaboration between two artists, Paul Davies and Erica Syverson. Fantasy, horror and supernatural images are her speciality. She painted much of the background and some of the character.

And you made the trailer, correct? I had fun creating it myself. I think it captures the mood, intensity and excitement of this dark epic fantasy novel. How dark is Storm Dancer? Why the R-rating? Storm Dancer contains some dark elements which can be disturbing - war, violence, rape, treachery, human sacrifice, demonic possession. Most readers take these aspects in their stride, but some find them distressing. There's no graphic sex, but the erotic tension is sometimes intense, and not all of it is of the consensual kind. Some of the temptations are vivid.

The violence is not excessive, but in places it's graphic. I recommend downloading the free sample pages to see if it's your kind of book. The ebook is available here: Amazon for Kindle: viewBook. It's a big fat book for many hours of reading pleasure. Of course, I'd love to. Thanks for having me. I shouldn't be surprised since we're all descended from the ancients who adopted new customs and beliefs as the wheel of time turned.

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I've made many friends on this journey to understanding and appreciation of the Craft, and welcome fellow Beltane author Karen Heard to tell us a little about herself and her writing. With gratitude to Rayne and Deborah for all they have taught me about magic, witchcraft , and writing I wish all of you bright blessings no matter of which ilk they may be. Most of my short stories can take months to write. However when Rayne told me she needed a final story as soon as possible, I knew I e to produce something of quality in a very short space of time.

I knew it had to be something special. However, as I was walking home along the Southbank, looking at the patterns in the river-side sand, an image came into my head of a strange ethereal girl floating across the sand.

On the Eighth Day, God Created Trilby Richardson

She had long white hair and instantly I knew her name would be Alba: a girl with a secret identity. I saw her stumble across a body lying in the sand, but that only Alba, with her secret knowledge, could sense that some unnatural force had killed the girl. I knew instantly that I had to write that story. Sometimes, it helps with the creative process to have a loose brief.

Not only did the theme of witchcraft inspire me, but as I knew the story would be part of a collection, it encouraged me to come up with an idea slightly different to the other stories. I wanted to describe Alba in the language similar to that used for magical realism to evoke the mystical quality she possessed. However, as soon as I saw Alba on that beach - the only person able to see what had happened - I knew she would have to be the one to solve the mystery herself, and so wanted the story to be, at heart, a detective story. I hoped this would be an unusual twist on the witchcraft theme.

I wrote the outline of the story in half an hour, as I walked along the Thames that first day, stopping every few minutes to scribble down another scene whilst the lunchtime workers rushed around me. Rewriting then took me quite another couple of weeks, with the occasional nudge from Rayne to keep me motivated. I wanted to make the work evocative by capturing the smells and feelings that Alba experiences. However I also wanted to show Alba from an outside point of view, as, with her secret past, she is as much of a puzzle as the murder.

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In the end I introduced a detective: Sergeant Taylor, to also investigate the murders from an official point of view. The two narratives hopefully complement each other and towards the end, when the two stories combine, they help the reader make sense of what each person finds out. Part of the joy of writing for a collection is when the finished version comes out and you can read the other stories and enjoy being a part of something.

When I read Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft I felt proud to be included among so many other varied and thought provoking tales. I really enjoyed reading them all, and I hope you will give them a chance too. Today he tells us about his writing pleasures and inspirations. What do you enjoy most about writing fantasy fiction? Remaking this world into a place more to my liking, where all the rules change and fantastic things come to life.

Many people enjoy reading stories about undead creatures - ghosts, vampires, zombies.

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  6. What do you think is the appeal? I think that in the case of ghosts and vampires, it's the mystery of it all--who hasn't been intrigued by ghosts and the undead? In the case of zombies, there's a sense of adventure in combating all these people-turned-monsters that can't be parleyed with, bribed or placated; you have to use your wits and whatever you can scrounge, do or die. The story selected by editor Rayne Hall s for the anthology Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies features a human who adjusts to life in a zombie body.

    Where did this idea come from? I wanted to tell a story from the zombie's point of view, and not only that, one that has a conscience. No scheduled events. Add an event. Douglas Kolacki is now friends with Avrild. Douglas Kolacki is now following. Douglas Kolacki liked a quote. Just crazy. Douglas Kolacki wants to read.

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    They know their stories better than I do. Gore is optional. Rayne Hall author of Writing F Add a reference: Book Author. Search for a book to add a reference.

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