Traveling Writer

I have a very special guest on the blog today. My good friend, Alina Sayre, has just released the third book in her Middle Grade fantasy series, Voyages of the Legend. She’s being kept pretty busy bouncing around various blogs for her tour, and was kind enough to take some time to join us here and talk about some of the inspiration behind the book’s settings. So, without further ado…

“Traveling Writer”
Alina Sayre

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Photo credit Alina Sayre

Travel is something I’ve always enjoyed (though I also enjoy coming home afterwards). As a writer, though, I don’t just take in sights and sounds when I travel—I also keep notes for future story settings. And in my latest book, The Illuminator Rising, some of those notes found a home. Three major settings in this book are based on real travels I’ve taken.

When I was twelve, my family and I traveled to the big island of Hawai’i, home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world. I remember trekking across the lava fields, the black rock sharp and shiny as glass, to a spot where fresh lava was flowing. The slow, viscous stream of orange, already turning black as it was exposed to air, was mesmerizing—an unfiltered experience with nature that struck me with both its beauty and danger. I remember watching the lava eventually pour off a cliff, clouds of steam rising as it hit the ocean waves. New land was forming before my eyes. It was an arresting experience, and one that eventually became a central setting for The Illuminator Rising.

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Photo credit Alina Sayre

One thing that sets this book apart from its prequels is that the crew actually splits up and travels to different islands. One of these islands was based on a family roadtrip across the American Southwest a few years ago. Though deserts are not my favorite places (excessive heat makes me cranky), there was something alien and beautiful about the rocky landscape. One of my hobbies is photography, so I really enjoyed a stop at Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Though you can see very little sky from the bottom of the narrow slot canyon (my claustrophobia was going crazy), the light still filters in and ricochets off the sandstone walls, making these crazy, amazing patterns of light and shadow that change every minute. The vivid colors and textures of that landscape formed the basis for one of the islands in The Illuminator Rising.

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Photo credit Alina Sayre

The other island was a blend of two places I’ve been. While studying abroad in college, a friend and I did a weekend adventure to southern Spain, where we saw architectural marvels like the Alhambra in Granada and the Real Alcazar in Sevilla. I loved the Moorish artistic influence, with its keyhole-shaped doorways, intricate tilework, and roofs like spun sugar. Blend that together with a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, and you get something like my other island in The Illuminator Rising. I especially fell in love with Turkish food and had tons of fun describing the banquets here! I even saw a baby tortoise half the size of my palm at an archaeological site. It was so tiny and adorable that I knew I’d have to put it in a book.

Of course, some aspects of every island in the book are purely fantasy. That’s one of the fun things about this genre! But experiences in real life definitely added color—and flavor—to the island landscapes in this book. I hope that reading the book gives you all the pleasure of taking your own travels!

 Illuminator Rising cover
Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend:

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world?

Advance praise:
“…a thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.”
-Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Alina photoAuthor bio:
Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she gets to work with them every day as an author, educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Links:
Website: www.alinasayre.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alinasayreauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlinaSayre
Amazon: amazon.com/author/alinasayre
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7469870.Alina_Sayre

Catch up on the first two books, The Illuminator’s Gift and The Illuminator’s Test on Amazon.

COVER REVEAL: Dancing with Flames

Apocalyptic suspense mixed with dragons–both the man-eating kind and the ones that shapeshift into handsome hunks–this is a book to watch for. Also, I love this cover. Seriously, the author gave me permission to use it as my iPad screensaver. 😀

Dancing with Flames cover (medium)

Credits to cover designers:

Cover design by Jeff Brown (background) and Claudia McKinney. Photography by Teresa Yeh with model Isabella Capri.  Typography by The Font Diva.

EXPECTED RELEASE DATE- June 24th, 2016

SUMMARY:

Four months ago, fire-breathing dragons invaded Earth from an alternate dimension, wreaking havoc on modern civilization. Bailey Monzac has been training to kill them ever since discovering she was impervious to their flames, but when some of the beasts begin targeting children, she can’t hold back any longer and must hunt them down.

Her ally, Aidan, would help, except the shape-shifter has his own troubles. His clan is battling for territory against the pure dragons and his father—their leader—is dying. As the shifters fight for the pendragon position, fierce rivalry takes over. Aidan’s own brothers aren’t above blackmail and murder if it will get them to the top. He must stay one step ahead if he is to survive and keep his clan safe from the pure dragons who threaten them all.

Bailey and Aidan may be natural-born enemies, but working together might be the only thing that saves them from the danger that lies ahead.

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR list here.

There’s also a huge giveaway happening over on Susan Illene’s blog with some pretty cool prizes. Check it out and be sure to leave a comment in order to enter the giveaway!

New Release! Scorched Magic

If you didn’t get a chance to pre-order it, Elemental Magic Book Seven is now available for immediate purchase on Amazon!

Scorched MagicNatalie West thought her ability to manipulate fire was a genetic aberration straight out of a Marvel comic. Orphaned at age three, she’s spent her life hiding what she can do. But like any secret superhero, she also uses her powers for good, investigating fires for the San Jose Fire Department.

When a series of arsons marked with pentagrams brings her into Andre Romero’s sphere, however, Nat discovers she’s not as alone as she thought. Who is this man who also wields fire? An ally? Or one of the arsonists? As Nat delves into a world of elementals, witches, and magic, learning more about her heritage in the process, she’ll have to watch her back or risk getting burned.

 

I hope you enjoy this next installment of the series. Please let me know what you think!

Coming Soon: Scorched Magic

Getting this book done had its grueling moments, so I am so happy it’s finally reached this stage. Major kudos to Shelley at Spittyfish Designs for another stunning cover.

Scorched Magic

Natalie West thought her ability to manipulate fire was a genetic aberration straight out of a Marvel comic. Orphaned at age three, she’s spent her life hiding what she can do. But like any secret superhero, she also uses her powers for good, investigating fires for the San Jose Fire Department.

When a series of arsons marked with pentagrams brings her into Andre Romero’s sphere, however, Nat discovers she’s not as alone as she thought. Who is this man who also wields fire? An ally? Or one of the arsonists? As Nat delves into a world of elementals, witches, and magic, learning more about her heritage in the process, she’ll have to watch her back or risk getting burned.

Release date April 18th 2016

Pre-order on Amazon

Newsletter subscribers will be getting an exclusive sneak peek of the first chapter later this week. So sign up if you don’t want to miss it!

Need An Editor?

Happy New Year! Now’s the time people buckle down to write that book they’ve always wanted to. Maybe your resolution this year is to get your manuscript out of the closet and finally published. And if you’re looking for an editor to help with that, I offer services for three stages.

Developmental Editing:
Get feedback and suggestions on plot development, character development, pacing, and structure for your novel.
$0.02 per word

Content Editing:
I provide a thorough examination of sentence structure, syntax, flow, and clarity. I also specialize in helping make your descriptions vivid and three dimensional so the reader can fully immerse themselves in your world.
$0.01 per word (minimum–heavy editing may require a different estimate)

Copy Editing/Proofreading:
An extra set of eyes to look for typos and correct any grammatical errors.
$0.005 per word (minimum)

I provide a sample edit of your first 1,000 words so you get a sense of my style to see if it will be a good fit for you. If interested, please fill out the contact form below with the type of editing you are interested in.

I use the Track Changes feature so you can see every suggestion and decide for yourself how best to implement them. Turnaround time will depend on length, but standard novel word count will take approximately two weeks.

*Note: I accept all fiction genres except horror and erotica. Will also accept non-fiction.

Testimonials:

“Angela Wallace is great for both content editing and proofreading.  I’d definitely recommend authors add her to their editing process!”
–Susan Illene, Amazon best-selling author

“I have used Angela on several projects and have been very happy with her attention to detail, her insight, and her ability to point out/give suggestions on concepts I had overlooked.  She communicates on a very professional and personal level and always ensures I understand her comments.  I am confident in her ability to guide my projects through the development process and polish them as they become the final product.  I highly recommend her services.”
—Diana Murdock, author of Souled

“Angela has been a blessing during the writing process. Not only are her suggestions and critiques helpful for catching grammatical errors and sentence variation, but also for stimulating creativity and enhancing the story itself. Angela helped turn my ideas into words; more importantly, she helped make them come to life. I would highly recommend her to any writer looking for an editor who is friendly, encouraging, and inspired. I myself will continue to trust my work to her talents.”
–Jackie Martin

Contact:

Waiting

This morning I sat by the window and stared at a dark pewter sky, praying for a display of God’s power and glory. We don’t often get thunder and lightning in the Bay Area, which is a shame because it’s my favorite kind of adrenaline rush. Some people like roller coasters; others enjoy haunted houses. I love the brilliant lash of white-hot branches forking across the sky and the crack of thunder so mighty you can feel it resonate down through your bones. It terrifies me, and I love it.

To me, there is no greater visual representation that comes close to showing God’s might. Most often we focus on God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. All important things. But we forget that He is a God of strength and wrath. We forget to be reverent. That is why I love watching the lightning and trembling when the thunder booms; it reminds me to respect the awesome power of God.

Today, though, watching the lightning taught me something else: waiting on Him. At the first hint of the storm, I hurried into the room with the best view of open sky, and prayed God would show me His glory. “Just one streak,” I asked. There was a flash of refracted light from somewhere above, but out of sight. And I waited, knowing/hoping it would come closer.

I’d left my phone in another room, and I could hear the text messages coming through, but I dared not leave my spot to go get it, afraid I would miss even one display. It struck me then how this waiting, this faith, is how we should wait on God to act in our lives. I saw the evidence of the lightning; I knew it was out there. But I wanted to see it. And so I waited. Maybe God could have given me the one flash I wanted and then I could have gone about my day, but that would cheapen His power and might, for He is not a genie waiting around to light some fireworks for my convenience. He waits for the world to repent and come to Him; surely I can exercise even a fraction of such patience.

I prayed to see just one fork of lightning, to bask in just one flash and rumble of thunder. But of course, after I got my one, I wanted another, and another. And so I stayed where I was, raptly watching and waiting to drink in the magnificence of my God. I must have sat by that window for an hour. But when it was over, I finally left knowing that I had tasted and seen. I was satisfied, and yet yearned for more.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Psalm 34:8

Coming Clean

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about anything that wasn’t related to a book release. I haven’t looked at a Twitter, Facebook, or any social media feed in just as long. (You know it’s bad when you get a baby announcement from a friend you had no idea was even expecting.) I had my excuses: been working the day job a lot; health hasn’t been so great. But it actually comes down to one simple truth I’ve been trying to avoid–depression. There, I said it.

I’m no stranger to this. From the ages of 7-21 I struggled with severe depression and suicidal ideation. But in my senior year of college, God moved and gave me healing which miraculously changed my life. So you can imagine that, seven years later, when I started recognizing the symptoms in myself, I was both terrified and fully in denial. I never wanted to go back to that dark place again. God had healed me; end of that chapter. Besides, life was good. I had two careers I loved, close friends, and had been writing like a super ninja. There was no reason in the world I should feel “depressed.”

So I brushed off those weekends that were particularly bad as “being in a funk.” Everyone’s allowed to crash once in a while, right? I tried to ignore how that one weekend a month turned into most weekends, and then how when the weekdays came about I could no longer shake it off. Things I used to enjoy no longer held any interest for me. Even writing became like pulling teeth at times. “You’re just tired,” I’d tell myself. Weeks turned into months, and I watched helplessly as for the past year and a half, I slowly yet steadily backslid into a place I never thought to find myself again.

The depression is real.

But God wastes nothing. And so here I am, coming clean on an issue that so often hides and festers in the dark, secreted away from the light. It’s uncomfortable, admitting weakness. It feels like admitting defeat. If I am to blog about such a serious topic, it should be to encourage others, to call out from the other side of the tunnel and shout with joy, “There is light!” Instead, I’m standing here bearing a broken and battered soul saying, “There is light, but there is darkness still. It ebbs and flows like the tides.” Doesn’t sound all that encouraging to me.

But perhaps the difference this time is I know the darkness does not last forever. It has its phases, this is true, but I have seen and experienced the relief and joy in between, and I can have it again. If you’re currently in the dark, you can have those again. The first step is to shine a light on this burden, to admit the hurt is real so we can confront it, rather than running away or suffering in silence and solitude. For I know all too well that ignoring a problem does not make it disappear, nor can a person “snap out of it” on their own power. The journey is long, and hard, and often sucks.

But in the meantime, God wastes nothing.