Friday, 22 February 2013

Dissection of A Game of Thrones

“We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

I started reading this book a few weeks ago (I know: I’m a laggard) and am almost done with Book One. This fantasy novel amazes me. There isn’t a moment where you doze off or your thoughts get the better of you. Even when the author uses a whole paragraph to explain the intricate clothing of a certain lord or lady, I found myself really imagining what they looked like instead of skipping to the next page (which I often do simply because I have the attention span of a goldfish). The shifts in POV are amazing: how George Martin breathes life into his characters (male and female alike) is beyond brilliant. It really doesn’t matter how old or fancy or rich or desperate the character is, this writer portrays them as they are—weaknesses, strengths, fears and hopes all bundled up in one. You won’t need to figure out whose point of view you’re in….you just won’t forget once you’re there because he makes you feel as though you’re in their heads.

The dedication I witnessed in each line and word and thought left me slightly dizzy…I mean this guy has got to spend 28 hours a day writing because there is no other explanation!

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

And what did I learn from this book for my personal writing goals?

1. An author doesn’t need big, fancy words to make his/her point.

2. I couldn’t put the book down because the author made me CARE about the characters.

3. There is no need to paint an exact picture of a location for readers—they usually like to fill in the blanks themselves.

4. Female and male characters cannot talk in the same voice and should not always be able to understand each other immediately (as in real life!).

5. Writing about magic means believing in it but also to leave room for a little bit of skepticism.

6. Characters with pets are usually more likeable.

So cross your fingers and let us hope that the sequel to The Scarlet Omen fulfills these criteria. Sigh… an author’s path to perfection is a never-ending journey of stumbling over better books and sound advice.

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Watcha Doin' with Ann Snizek

Author Bio:

Hello Cinthia!  First, I want to thank you for having me on your blog!  Not only is that awesome, but it is also my birthday this month.  (I turn 21 again... I'm getting good at being

I grew up in Vermont mostly and now live in Virginia with my family (those still at home).  My husband and I have a blended family of seven kids.  My childhood was spent moving around a lot. (non-military)  About five years ago, we started home-schooling our youngest children.  Now there are only two remaining in home-school.  I have tried to nurture the love of books in our children and now our grandchildren -- always nurturing their imaginations.  Recently, I have become active in our community with literacy, starting a local (and online) creative writing club and volunteer tutoring at the Adult Learning Center.

Jumping straight into the fire, I published my first book on 12.12.12 and started my blogs a few days later.  I have learned that there is a lot more to being a published writer than just writing a book.  If you intend to sell that is. :-D  I struggle with Fibromyalgia and PTSD.  So, have to be careful not to overdo things... I don't always listen to my own advice.  I have a dry, sarcastic and corny sense of humor and always try to look at things optimistically.  (again not always successful)  However, I feel that if I don't give up -- for long -- then things will work out for the best eventually.

I have organized a blog tour for my second release: Secret of the Shielded (Tunuftol Book 2) to run from Feb 9th (with the cover reveal) through to March 9th (with the book release).  RELEASE BLOG EVENT:

To go along with my blog tour, I have a special New Year's New Release Sale for Tunuftol's Fortress of Light (Tunuftol Book 1)  The original price for this 85,000+ word book (with bonus features in the back) is $4.99  Until my second book is released on 3.9.13 it will be on sale for $2.99 using code: NR47L at


What inspired you to become an author?

Books have always been special and important to me.  I learned to read at four and devoured books from then on.  Writing followed as usual.  I loved my English classes.  In Elementary school I had a librarian that read aloud to us from Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time.  It really struck the growing passion in me.  My sister got me hooked on Anne McCaffrey's books (still my favorite author) and then I discovered other wonderful authors like Orson Scott Card and David Eddings.  There really are too many amazing writers to name them all.  The turning point for me to publish my work came after the loss of three family members in the same year (all in only three months).  I put all my passion and grief and hope and love into writing.  Then I made a few connections (including some family members)  with people to edit and improve my writing.  They encouraged me with feedback and told me that I should try to publish.  So, that is what I'm doing.

What was your most memorable childhood memory?

Goodness!  I have a lot of childhood memories - good and bad.  I don't know which to pick.  I think it is the combination of memories and emotions that I draw on, not just one specific memory.  One happy memory that I will share with you is making apple strudel, from scratch, with my Baba (grandmother).  She was an amazing lady.  One of my many projects is working on a book about her.

What do you think is the most annoying thing on Earth?

Negativity and not so much ignorance itself (because no one can know everything and is thus ignorant about something) but the complacency of ignorance.  I know it exists and I fall into negative times just as anyone else, but people who don't even try to get past these things annoy me.  Even at the worst times in our lives, there is always someone, somewhere, that has it worse.

Please tell us a little about your latest release. What were the best and worst parts for you personally? Are there any novels of yours that are your personal favorites?

As of this interview I only have one book released -- Tunuftol's Fortress of Light (Tunuftol Book 1).  I have three books going through editing and revisions now and several short stories in the works also.

In Tunuftol's Fortress of Light a young girl, Krissa, and her little brother are orphans tossed around and lost in the system.  When they get placed at Grandma Athey's home everything Krissa thought she knew changes.  Discovering that she isn't even from this world and not only is magic real, but she is to play a pivotal role in saving her home world.  She is joined by new friends and old friends she had forgotten in her journey to discover who she really is and what her life is meant to be.  Krissa discovers that she has many secrets to discover -- within herself, her brother, and her friends.  The questions keep mounting and the answers only create more.  Will she discover what she needs to know in time?

The best part is seeing it completed and getting feedback.  I have a thick skin when it comes to my writing.  I love constructive criticism -- always with the goal to improve myself and my writing.  I know that not everyone will like my work, but if they can tell me what it is that "doesn't work" then I can improve the next project.

The most difficult part... I think it is just getting the awareness of my work out there.  I think that my stories have appeal if only people would read it.  But to read it they have to know it

As for my personal favorites within my own books, Tunuftol's Fortress of Light (Tunuftol Book 1) has a special place because it is the first book I wrote and the first I released.  However, one of my upcoming books : To Eris - Human (Payton Chronicles Book 1) is one that I'm most excited about.  I will be releasing Secret of the Shielded (Tunuftol Book 2) on March 9th, and then To Eris - Human will be released shortly after... maybe June (fingers crossed)

In which tense do you like to write and why? Do you write in first or third person? Please elaborate.

I have written in both first and third person, depending on the story, but usually past tense.  I feel that each story has a life all its own and I am simply the instrument used to commit the story to words.  The tense is easier for me to relate if it is past tense, but I vary with my point of view because it gives a different feel.  The first person allows for more connection with the main character while third person allows you to see more going on.

How important do you think are the roles of friends and family in a character’s journey?

VERY important.  In life it is our friends and family that help shape who we are.  Why would our story characters be any different?  If we want them to be believable that is.  I think the interactions between a character and their family, friends, and even enemies help readers connect with the people in your book.  This goes for the people you want them to like and the people you want them to dislike.

Any words of wisdom for our readers:

Reading and writing is a gift to be shared.  Not everyone can be a great writer, but everyone can be a better writer.  Find a subject or media that you enjoy and have fun while you work.  Because if you don't enjoy your writing, how can you ask anyone else to?

Thanks, Ann! That was a great interview. Readers, if you haven't had enough of Ann Snizek yet, below are some sites to get your fill!

(My Blogs)

The Rambling Voices In My Head

Press release for Tunuftol's Fortress of Light:

Volunteer Tutoring @ Charlotte Adult Learning Center: