Cosplay and Crushes – Olive

I mentioned in a series of tweets that one of our beta readers has really gotten into the story:


Giggling girlishly, so beyond happy and totally twitterpated, I typed up those tweets and went along my day, satisfied with a job well done. Sure, we have a lot of work to do on the story to make it shine (editor, rewrites), but I think every writer/author dreams of the day when their readers can fall in love with their characters just like they have. I see tweets about this all the time; there’s fan art, fan fiction, you name it. Our world is big enough for some badass fanfic, if I don’t say so myself.

Then the next morning, something completely hilarious happened. But let me start with a short story…

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How Beta Reading can make YOU a Better Writer – Olive

If you’re wondering what beta reading is, check out my post on editing, The Quest to find the Perfect(ish) Editorfor an explanation.

I beta read for a couple of reasons.

First, I beta read because I feel like I owe it to other aspiring authors to help them with their work. It’s a shark filled pond out there, and we’re all the little fish in it together.

Second, as someone said about OF GOLD AND FIRE while they beta read for us, “you are the doers. So many people talk about these other things they want to do, but I want to help you because you’re actually doing it.” Truth. The doers are going after their dreams. If I can be a part of all that, that’s where I want to be, not with the people who talk about doing but don’t.

Third, believe it or not, helping others helps me improve. We read about the “rules” of the road when it comes to writing, but putting them into practice is a separate issue, one of execution. It’s one thing to know how something is supposed to be done; it’s quite another to actually do it.

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Inspiration for OF GOLD AND FIRE: Setting and Slavery – Olive

As I know we will talk about in other posts, much of our inspiration comes from the places we’ve visited and the people we’ve met. I know we’re not unique in that; most writers/authors find inspiration from the world around them. There are even memes that support it…


Central Asia

There has been collectively a fair amount of complaining about inclusiveness in fantasy. Rightfully so–not all fantasy should be about a European-esque setting. The world’s cultures are filled with myth and superstition that makes wonderful inspiration for fantasy, while the world’s societies make for wonderful inspiration for a fictional society. Unfortunately, unless you’re lucky like me (and Aristen) and have traveled much of the world (or studied it from afar), you’re unlikely to come across much.

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OF GOLD AND FIRE, the first book in the Azura’s Chosen series – Olive

Here’s some information on OF GOLD AND FIRE in the form of a short elevator speech (work in progress):

From high in mountains of the southern wastelands, Astara DiRel knew nothing of civilization before slavers in flying beasts stole her away from her isolated but peaceful tribe. After surviving Indoctrination, being infused with the potent magical power of the Fayn as all slaves are, she is sold to a noble family in the former imperial city of Rykon. A captive in this brutal, alien culture,  Astara quickly learns the key to her survival is to adapt quickly to use that which rendered her a slave: her magic.

Enslaved as a child, Dahlia Vessa, an enchanting Deyrathi dancer, believes nothing is free, and balances a dangerous double life as an entertainer in chains while spying on her masters for a nameless, clandestine organization. Astara’s sale to her masters’ house causes Dahlia to question not only the horrors of her subjugation but to consider the unthinkable: what would it be like to be free?

But when Dahlia’s double lives finally meet, and she is thrown into an impenetrable imperial prison, Astara commits everything she has to save her sister in chains, and the two women discover that they are bound far deeper than simply being chained.

Alright, so the blurb, elevator speech–whatever you want to call it–is not yet final or perfect. But many of the overarching themes and plot points are here. We’ll post more information in the near future!

Also to be included on this blog/website are novellas (some which are already in the works!) and sneak peeks. Be ready; it’s going to be awesome!