All posts by Harini Krishna

Review: A Bit of Magic, A JL Anthology

Bit-of-magic-coverThe oldest story can be made new again, changed and altered until it is reimagined and restored.

Pride interferes with happily-ever-afters: a proud princess is tested and tests the prince in return; a young thief is caught red-handed and must make amends; and a vain queen struggles to save her stepdaughter.

Finding love is not a simple task: a hero searches for the ideal magical bride; an innocent librarian is charmed by a man with a menacing secret; a queen takes a spoiled prince as her sole deckhand, and a well-intentioned princess seeks to make things right with her father.

Change causes chaos, for better or worse: a scheming cat seeks to better the lot of his daydreaming master; a cursed pirate captain is given a second chance when he finds a young stowaway; a spoiled teenager suffers the consequences of turning her best friend into a toad, and a thief and a rebel hiding secrets meet at a ball.

Follow these characters on their journeys as eleven magical tales are turned on their heads and seen from new perspectives.

My Review:

Rating: 5 magical stars

I generally prefer to read novels rather than anthologies because it takes really talented authors to weave a tale complete with interesting plot, characters and a satisfying ending within a few thousand words. But the stories in this anthology are really well-written with interesting characters and twists to the old fairy tales. Of course, there were a couple that wasn’t to my taste mostly because of my obsession with HEAs, but even they were really well-written and would appeal to readers who don’t have my quirk 🙂

My favorites from this collection are:

1. The Thief and the Spy by Katelyn Barbee – This was a unique twist on Cinderella with really well-developed characters, intriguing plot and very interesting backstory. Add in the magical talents that certain people of the society have and I was really sucked into the world. I ended up wishing that the author develops this story into a novel so that I could read more about them.

2. Vanity by Kristy Perkins – This was a hilarious take on Snow White where the Queen actually did not plot to kill Snow but had to face the suspicion of her people because of a ‘corset incident’. She actually tries to find Snow White and bring her back, but all her plans are foiled. The ending of the story really blew me away, I never saw that coming 🙂

I also loved the other stories especially, The Scarred Shepherdess, The Veiled Queen, and Monsieur Puss. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, I highly recommend that you give this a try. I bet you’d love it as I did.

Have you read this anthology already? If so, what’s your favorite story?

A Precious Life

I raised a trembling hand to touch the frail figure on the bed. The constant beep of the heart-monitor told me Mom was alive, but I needed to feel her heart throb beneath my fingers.

Tears filled my eyes as I felt the weak pulse of her heart.

Mom was my anchor in life. She’d held my hand and cried with me after my miscarriage five years ago. She’d stood beside me, my rock in a stormy sea, when I lost my husband only a year later. Every day after Nick’s death had felt like I was rolling on a bed of burning coal. The vortex of despair would have claimed me forever if not for Mom’s unwavering love.

Listening to the wheeze of her breath through the respirator made my heart clench. Darkness closed in, threatening to suffocate me. What would I do once she was gone? How could I face life without her?

I shook off the depressing thoughts. I had to be strong now. All her life, she had sacrificed for the good of others. Now it was my turn. I had to fight for her.

The door to the private suite slammed open. My brother and sister-in-law charged in. Roger’s green eyes flashed with anger. Alice’s lips curled in disgust. The rest of the family – my cousins, aunts, uncles – shot me accusing looks from outside the door. My heart pounded. One woman against so many. How the hell could I win this battle?

“You told the doctors not to put Mom on life-support?” Roger’s harsh voice sliced through me. “Who gave you the right to make that decision?”

“She wants to kill her own mother,” Alice sneered. “Even animals take care of their own.”

I flinched at her words. My resolve faltered. What kind of a daughter wanted her mother to die?

I gazed at Mom’s still form. The laughter lines on her face were long gone. Her lips were pinched, her brows knitted in pain even when she was unconscious. My jaw clenched. That damned cancer had sucked everything good out of her. How could I let her suffer more?

“Roger,” I whispered. “You promised Mom that we’d let her go when the time comes…”

“You little liar!” Roger snapped.

Uncle Jim walked in, his face red. “If you want her money, you can have it. Don’t kill Rose for it.”

My hands curled into fists. “You can burn her money. All I want is for us to keep the promise that Roger made to her.”

Roger snorted. “What promise?”

Was he kidding me? “We promised Mom that if her organs started to fail, we’d let her go. You swore you wouldn’t put her on life-support.”

Realization dawned in Roger’s eyes and a guilty flush tinged his cheeks. He shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “Um… I don’t know what you’re blabbing about.”

“Roger would never forget a promise he made to Rose,” Alice snapped. “Unlike his ungrateful sister.”

I bristled at the dig at me and glared at my brother. “Tell them the truth.”

Roger cleared his throat, a helpless look in his eyes. “I can’t let her die, Lizzie. Mom deserves another chance to live.”

I felt like banging my head on the wall. Mom fought the cancer with everything she had. But it devoured her slowly. Last year had been nothing but anguish for her. She had screamed in pain till her voice became hoarse. She had begged for death. And all I could do was hold her hand and cry.

“Roger, please. Only her happiness matters now. Don’t make her suffer because you’re afraid of losing her. If you love her even a little, let her go in peace.”

“Love?” he sneered. “What do you know of love? You want us to hand her over to death gift-wrapped.”

His words slashed through me like a butcher’s knife. I flinched. “And you want to torture her by trapping her here, even though she begged you not to do it.”

Roger stiffened. Hurt and anger flashed through his eyes. He whipped around and strode to the door, his face tight.

Swallowing my guilt, I turned to Mom and brushed back her hair.

“I’m so sorry, Mom. I failed you.” My throat closed, salty tears cascaded down my cheeks. “I… I don’t know what to do.”

When it’s out of your hands, darling, pray. Mom’s words from long-ago echoed in my mind.

I gulped. I hadn’t prayed in a long time. Each day I watched Mom suffer, my faith in God had decreased. In the last month, every time I heard her scream, I’d wanted to curse Him instead.

But now, my heart voiced the prayer that my lips refused to utter.

Please! Please accept Mom. End her pain. I kept repeating it like a broken record even as tears coursed down my face.

Mom’s hand suddenly jerked. Her body convulsed with violent seizures. High-pitched beeps sliced through the room. In moments, doctors streamed through the door shouting instructions. Someone wrenched Mom’s hand from mine and pushed me back. I sank to the ground, arms curled around my stomach.

Roger stood outside the door hugging a sobbing Alice. Silent tears trickled down his face as he watched the doctors struggle to sustain Mom’s heartbeat. And me? I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed for her death. My mind screamed, “Traitor!” But my heart never strayed. It continued its fervent prayer for her release from such a painful life.

A small ball of pulsating light formed within me. It morphed into a whirlpool, powerful currents swirling around a brilliant center. My heart thudded in my chest as it reeled me in. What the hell was happening? Clenching my fists, I struggled and tried to swim back. But like an ant swept in a flood, the currents sucked me in. Before I knew it, I flew through the center and landed on something soft.

Brilliant light filled every particle around me. The atmosphere was silent and still like the center of a storm – the point of Absolute Potential from which all action manifested. My heart calmed down, filled with a strange feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time – happiness.

The ground shifted. I stumbled, my hands trying to hold on to something. A tentacle of soft light wrapped around my waist, holding me. It felt strangely like Mom’s loving arms. The moment I remembered Mom, the light around me pulsated. Every particle of light flowed towards me, pooling, merging and forming two giant figures of light. I looked at one of the figures and realization burned through me.


Tears pricked my eyes. How was this possible?

Her giant hand picked me up and placed me lovingly on her shoulders.

“Are we dead?” I asked her, my throat tight.

Mom’s melodious laugh sent joy spiraling through my veins. It had been so long since I’d heard it.

No, Lizzie. You’re not dead, not yet. But I belong in this beautiful world now.

“Is this heaven?”

A male voice echoed in my head. Not exactly. This is a world of souls who have dedicated their lives to love. We call it the Brighter World.

“How did we get here?”

Love is the key to this world. Your love for your mother and hers for you brought you here.

You see, Lizzie, I’ll be happy here. Death is just a new beginning to a life in another world. It’s nothing to be afraid about.

I nodded as tears spilled down my cheeks. “I know you want us to let you go. But Mom, I can’t imagine a life without you. Why can’t I stay here with you?”

Because your life is not over yet. You have much to do before we meet again. I love you so much, Lizzie. Tell Roger that I’m happy here.

A powerful force tugged my navel and yanked me back. Someone was screaming like a banshee. Irritation surged through me. I opened my eyes and blinked. I was back on the hospital floor, arms curled around my stomach. The doctors were shouting instructions to each other as they slammed the defibrillator over Mom’s body. I took in the scene through a detached and numb mind.

It’s no use. Mom’s not coming back, I wanted to say. But the words stuck to my throat.

“Lizzie!” Roger’s pain-filled whisper jolted me from my numbness. I turned to him, my heart clenching at the agony and fear on his face. Walking to him, I pulled him into a tight hug.

Words still eluded me, but I let my hug convey all my love (and Mom’s) to him. His body shook as he silently sobbed on my shoulders. High pitched beeps echoed through the room. My heart stuttered as my eyes darted to the flat line on the heart monitor and then to Mom.

She had died with a smile on her face. She was happy at last, but she’d left behind those who would mourn her till their dying day. The vortex of despair beckoned. What would I hold on to now?

The cemetery was packed with people on the day of her funeral. She had touched so many lives with her love. Vivid memories of all our years together overwhelmed me– her beautiful smile, her joy in life, her compassion for those in pain….

“Love is giving, Lizzie,” Mom used to say. And she’d lived every moment of her life by that principle. No one who had come to her had gone back empty-handed. Every life she had touched had blossomed.

I wiped the tears from my cheeks. Death may have taken her body, but it could never touch the happy, glowing memories of her presence that was branded in my very soul.

That was what I’d hold on to. Till it was my time to meet her in the Brighter World.


YA/NA Parley: Trin Carl

Dear Friends,

Welcome back! This month for the YA/NA parley, we have with us author, Trin Carl.

Trin writes YA and Literary fiction.  She enjoys contemporary dance and writing her blog 50schoolsn90days on Blogger. From Minnesota, Trin enjoys the outdoors and all the seasons, especially the fall as it reminds her of her days teaching and attending school at Metropolitan State University.  She can be contacted on twitter @theglobaldig.

So without further ado, let’s dive right in 🙂

Krisna: Do you write full-time or part-time?

Trin: I like to believe I write full time.  My very purpose comes from writing and staying engaged in the process every day. I plan my outside work around my writing agenda.

Krisna: I really admire your dedication to the craft. What would be the highest achievement you could imagine accomplishing in your writing?

Trin: I think that accomplishments and goals spin off one another like a jinga game.  You stack up your goals only to find new ones.  I would love to achieve an award in writing like a Newberry Award or something similar.  I would love to have my work posted in a newspaper or read aloud in a commencement speech.  All of these endeavors would make me proud.

Krisna: Those are great goals to have. Speaking of goals, do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Trin: I try to aim for 3,000 words per day but at the least 300.  I feel like I’ve met my goal if I’ve at least written 300.

Krisna: Every bit counts in writing, doesn’t it? Sometimes, life intrudes and we need to slow down a bit. But what’s critical is that we keep writing.  What’s your favorite quote on writing?

Trin: My favorite quote is “A classic is something everybody talks about and nobody has read.” — Mark Twain

Krisna: LOL! Never thought about it that way. Now, moving on to something general, where was the most memorable place you ever been?  

Trin: The most memorable place I’ve been to was Britain, in 2011.  I will never forget the journey and the place.  It was the most independent traveling experience I’ve ever had.  But much of that independence had to do with the unique people I encountered and the polite ways the people had guided throughout my journey.

Krisna: Yes, I totally agree! It’s the people who make a journey memorable isn’t it? We could be in the most beautiful place in the world, but hate it if the people we’re with are rude or disagreeable. 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Trin. I wish you all the very best in your writing career!

Trin: Thank you, Krisna. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Ask the Author: S M Pace

Welcome Dear Friends,

For this month’s “Ask the Author” interview, I’ve the pleasure of having with us S M. Pace.

Blog Pic

S M. Pace lives in the wilds of Central Virginia, with her husband (bear), son (bunny) and a pond full of fish (sometimes). When she’s not writing, she loves crafts, sewing and hiking.

Here are a few snippets of our conversation:

Krisna: Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

S M Pace: I usually let a novel rest, anywhere from a week to a month, depending on what my schedule looks like before I start revision. Longer is better, because it puts me in a better mindset to start making changes, however sometimes I’m really itching to dive into that revision.

Krisna: The same with me. I find that reading my drafts after a break gives me a new perspective that’s very useful to find plot holes and character inconsistencies. 

How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
S M Pace: Cry of the Hawk, book 3 in the Threads of Magic series, will be self-published. It will be the third book I’ve self-published, and hopefully the best. I’ve learned a lot since book 1, about both self-publishing and writing.

Krisna: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

S M Pace: I absolutely do. Having my cover designed by someone else is something I plan into my budget for each self-published novel, because I know that’s one thing worth spending the money on.

A good cover catches a reader’s interest, and a bad cover makes them reluctant.  Especially in this day and age, when self-publishing is still side-eyed, and readers are growing more wary, an amateur looking cover tends to make readers assume the writing is equally amateur.  A completely unfair assumption, I feel compelled to add, because I’ve read and fallen in love with plenty of novels with lackluster covers.  But as long as people continue to judge a book by its cover, I’ll continue to make sure my covers looks as good as possible.

Krisna: I totally agree! I feel the cover is also part of the “hook” that catches the attention of the reader and makes him want to read the first chapter. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

S M Pace: I don’t read reviews. Good or bad, I don’t feel reviews are helpful for me as a writer. A person reviews a novel with a very different mindset than someone giving a critique.  Reviews tend to be more personal, and focus very specifically on the novel as written.  There might be a few kernels I could pull out and apply to future novels, but probably not many.  Reviewers tend to pour a lot of emotion into reviews, a lot of complaints about wasting time and money.  That doesn’t help me improve my work at all.

Krisna: What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work?

S M Pace: I love book trailers. I would love to have one for the Threads series, but I don’t have the skill to make one myself, and I definitely can’t justify that expense. If I ever start making that much, I would totally have one made.

Krisna: Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us and answering our questions on the writing process. I wish you all the best in your writing career.


You can connect to S M. Pace through her WebsiteTwitter. Don’t forget to check out her books Shadow of the Wolf and Wings of the Butterfly.

Ask the Author: Eleanor Konik

Hi Friends,

In this month’s ‘Ask the Author’ interview, I had the pleasure of talking to one of my fellow authors in Scribophile – Eleanor Konik.


Eleanor Konik was born and raised in a close-knit neighborhood just outside of Baltimore, where she is putting the final touches on her teaching certification. She spends her free time gardening and playing cards with coworkers. She also enjoys fishing, hiking, and visiting attractions around the city. Her

Her blog showcases insights she’s gleaned while researching THE LAST COLLARED MAGE, a fantasy mashup of Rome’s greatest defeats.

Here are a few snippets of our conversation:

Krisna: Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

Eleanor: Barely. I was very young when I started writing. I remember that it was a high fantasy adventure, and I spend a lot of time worried about the architecture of the little ranch that was going to be attacked during the course of the book. I still have a bunch of architecture books that I salvaged from my father’s library and refused to let my mother ever throw away.

I took it into work once, and a coworker almost purged it, because it was from 1947.

Krisna: What’s the hardest part of worldbuilding, for you?

Eleanor: Introducing flaws into my perfect system is definitely something I struggle with. Once I finish coming up with a viable economic, political or social system for my fictional world, I realize there’s no conflict in utopia. Countries with a high happiness index and few problems rarely make the news.

I often hear people complaining that the American system of government is broken. It’s certainly a flawed system — as is every system because people are human — but I believe it’s working mostly as intended. There are lots of systems that are perfect on paper — communism, for example — but broken governments all break for the same reasons. Once you add people to the mix, things get out of control.

For an invented world to feel real, it has to be a little broken, and that’s a hard thing to make up when you’re trying to make something that’s believable in the sense that it can function and make sense to a reader.

Krisna: That’s really good advice. Flaws and conflicts are the things that make the story world and characters real. How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write? 

Eleanor: I try to write every day, or at least make some sort of forward progress on my novel. I do pretty well as long as I’m not super busy with social obligations. I don’t really have a special time of day, though. For awhile, I tried to set aside time in the mornings, but there was always something else more important to do — like eat, and shower. Now, I fit 25 minute focused blocks of time whenever I can, and scribble notes when I can’t.

Krisna: Do you read much? 

Eleanor: I read a lot, actually.  I used to get into trouble in school for reading too much. I’d get sucked into a book and not pay attention when the teacher transitioned from one assignment to another, because I usually finished things early. Back then I was averaging a book or two a day. It only takes me about three hours to read a full-length novel.

These days, I usually only manage to read once book a week. I’m busier, and there are fewer books I’m interested in — back in school, I had the whole of the library’s backlog to keep me entertained, and nowadays I rely on new books. So every Tuesday, I read whatever new thing was on my calendar. I’d read more if I could find more books that I really liked.

Krisna: Who are your favorite authors?

Eleanor: I have a couple of authors that I follow pretty religiously. Jim Butcher, L. E. Modesitt, Ilona Andrews, and Nalini Singh top my list — I don’t think any of them have ever written anything I didn’t like. Still, it’s a pretty long list. Kelley Armstrong has written a lot of books that I really like, and so have Seanan McGuire, Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop. Michelle Sagara and Gail Carriger are both a lot of fun…. I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

Krisna: Where do you see publishing going in the future? 

Eleanor: Honestly, I don’t know. There are a lot of blogs out there where people way more qualified than I am have expounded at length on publishing trends and marketing trends and commercial changes and what Amazon means for authors, but I don’t always know which ones I believe. That said, I do have one observation to make: I think that the big publishers and the self-publishers are in the midst of changing their dynamic.

I think there’s this idea that big publishers are just in it for the money and that they’re very commercial, whereas writers with a very specific, innovative artistic vision tend to self-publish because the big publishers “just don’t understand them.” But what people sometimes forget is that successful self-published books have a lot in common with other very popular genres: many are very pulpy adventures or have a strong romantic element.

For decades, the success of the romance genre has basically subsidized the mid-lists of other genres. Marketing folks aside, most of the people involved in New York publishing do it because they love books, they love storytelling and they want authors to succeed. I think that as time goes on, we’ll find that a lot of self-publishing is crassly commercial, with cliffhangers and lots of unresolved sexual tension to keep us reading, whereas some of the more artistic literary works will come out of big publishing instead.

Not that big publishing never uses cliffhangers and UST, of course. Penguin Random House is responsible for the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, which I think is a particularly egregious example of it. I know the series has a lot of fans, and I enjoyed a lot of elements of the first couple of books, but the lack of resolution started to grate on me and I felt like my emotions were being jerked around by cliffhangers so that I’d buy the next book. I don’t like feeling manipulated, so I stopped buying the books.

Krisna: Yes, I remember being very frustrated after reading Karen Moning’s Fever series too. I hate cliffhangers especially if I have to wait a year to read what happens next!

Thanks a lot Eleanor for your wonderful tips and for taking the time to answer my questions.


YA-NA Parley: Melion Traverse

Dear Friends,

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing a very special author that I’ve come to admire in the last few months.

Melion Traverse writes things 🙂 When not writing ‘things’, Melion still lives with one spouse, two dogs and an acceptable amount of chaos. She is occasionally found playing with swords, studying martial arts, and lifting weights. Other times, she hides with a book and an energy drink as she avoids the tumbleweeds of dog hair overwhelming her house.

Melion’s short stories have appeared, or are forthcoming in, Deep Magic, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Cast of Wonders, Scarlet Leaf Review, Havok, and T. Gene Davis’s Speculative Blog.

Check out her haphazard blog:

Here are a few snippets of our conversation:

Krisna: What do your fans mean to you?

Melion: Wait . . . I have fans? In all seriousness, if I’m fortunate enough to earn the respect of fans, I’d find it humbling. To have people spend their resources on my work, be it in the form of time or money, would help validate my reasons for taking the writing off my computer and setting it loose in the world. I want to give people an opportunity to experience a new world, or to see their world in a new way. If I succeed at that, I’ll be happy.

Krisna: I totally agree! It’s one of the main reasons I write stories too. Speaking of stories, could you give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Melion: I suppose the ready answer is that my character, Alessa, goes through a portal into another world, becomes a unicorn rider and finds herself fighting to save a barony. However, when I wrote Alessa, what I intended to make her special is something more personal and quiet than grand quests and rifts in the space-time continuum.

Alessa confronts her insecurities and her self-doubts. That doesn’t sound particularly special when I lay it out, but to me, that’s the point. She has to struggle against herself. In real life, many people—myself very much included—fail in that struggle. We look back on our lives and realize how often we let the insecurities and the demons rise up and control our destiny, sometimes without any resistance from ourselves.

Krisna: That’s really deep. I’m sure most readers would really connect to a character that struggles with an internal conflict that we all face in our lives. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Melion: Speaking as somebody new to the publishing world, I can really only answer based on what I’ve observed and read during the researching phase, as opposed to what I’ve experienced first hand.

I’m opting to self-publish because I like the challenge of taking a book from idea all the way to publication with my involvement at each step. Will that hurt the book in the long run? I’ll be honest and say that it might. After all, I have no marketing experience and I have no “in” with the industry. It also means that I’m relying on my own judgment to make edits and changes to the book, and I can tell you horror stories about where my own judgment has gotten me on occasion.

However, the positive of self-publishing means my book will be published and will have its chance to reach an audience. If I went with the traditional publishing route, I’m well aware that my book could never see the world outside my hard drive. After all, agents and publishers are looking for a book they can maximize profits on. Whether that is a good book or a weak book, the name of the game is profit margins. I have the leisure to take a chance on a book; agents and publishers do not have that option.

Krisna: A very practical answer. As a supporter of self-publication, I agree that it might be a lot of work and risky for those of us who’re new to the game, but it does give us a lot of freedom and satisfaction to be involved in every aspect of the publication. With self-publishing or trad publishing, PR agencies are a good way of marketing. Would you or do you use a PR agency?

Melion: At the moment, I do not. However, depending on the price and the services being offered, I cannot say that I would rule out the option.

Krisna: Now for one last question. Hm, let’s see …. something not about writing… 

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Melion: In fancy, stylized script, I would like it to read, “Semper ubi sub ubi.” Alternatively, I will accept: “In event of zombie apocalypse, do not stand here.” Really, however, I think by the time I need a headstone, the wording will be the least of my concerns.

Krisna: LOL! 🙂 Thanks for the warning, Melion, and for all your tips and ideas on the writing process. 

I wish you all the very best in your writing career!


Author of the Month – Elise Edmonds

Dear Friends,

I’d promised you a special interview with Ms. Elise Edmonds, author of the exciting new novel Where Carpets FlyAnd here it is at last 🙂

For those of you who missed my previous post, here’s a gist of Where Carpets Fly:


Mystery and adventure meet in a magical land of flying carpets, vibrant cities, and seafaring folk. Follow Elina Faramar’s journey from the village flying carpet shop to magic school in town. What’s her new magic teacher hiding? Why won’t anyone discuss the nearby, volatile country of Pallexon?

The situation turns to a nightmare when friend Kara is mistaken for a spy.

Can Elina’s wits and magic save Kara and unravel Pallexon’s secrets?

I had the pleasure of reading this amazing novel and was really impressed with the way the story was written, the characters and the fantastic story world which was a unique blend of the magical and the practical. So, naturally, I rushed to interview Elise for tips and suggestions 🙂

Without further ado, here are some snippets of our conversation:

Krisna: Welcome, Elise! It’s great to have you with us today.

Elise: It’s my pleasure, Krisna.

Krisna: As I’d mentioned before, I really loved Where Carpets Fly. What inspired you to write this story?

Elise: I’ve always been a fan of both children’s fantasy books and school stories – long before Harry Potter came into the world. I grew up on Enid Blyton and Narnia. So writing a fun, immersive fantasy story full of adventure but also including school and coming of age themes is basically me writing the book I wanted to read as a kid! It’s got a bit of everything I enjoy reading about.

Flying carpets have always held a fascination for me. There’s something exciting and exotic about them, and I wanted to capture that feeling in my world. I read a Diana Wynne Jones book about flying carpets (Castle in the Air – the sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle), and I can say she’s also influenced my writing.

Krisna: Flying carpets are one of my favorite things too! Magic and flying – a wonderful combination 🙂

One of the things I love the most about your novel is your story world. It’s a perfect blend of whimsical, magical and practical at the same time. Could you share some tips about creating a believable and gripping story world?

Elise: Thanks! I think it’s important to spend some time worldbuilding before you start to write a fantasy novel. It doesn’t have to be formal or even on paper, but traveling there in your imagination can help you picture the everyday life of your character. What do they eat? What do they wear? What occupation do they (or the adults around them) do every day?

Magic systems are often a key aspect of a fantasy story, and I like to define magic, and give it limits and practical applications so it feels like a tool your characters are using. In the same way that I use a smartphone in my everyday life, my characters use the magic at their disposal to help them through life.

I also find drawing a map very useful: it can focus you on practical things like climate and the positioning of types of terrain and where populations are situated. This can come in useful when your characters travel, to make journey times and methods of transport feel believable. It can be helpful to base fantasy countries on real life countries, and use elements of cultures that already exist to give the reader a feeling of familiarity.

Krisna: Thanks for the awesome tips on world building. I’d recently read an article about magic systems in your blog. It was really insightful and helped me a lot in my story world.

Another thing I really liked in your novel is your characters.  All of them have their own personalities and speech patterns. What is the inspiration behind these characters?

Elise: I’m afraid I’m one of these writers who just lets her characters develop as they choose. I plan the plots, but sometimes character motivation forces me to change the plot, because it doesn’t feel right for the character. It feels kind of silly to say the characters tell me how they feel, but that’s the closest I can get to it.

I knew I wanted a girl who longed to get away from her dull home life, and I wanted to give her a BFF. And that was my starting point!

Aunt Clauda has a little real-life inspiration. I have a single aunt myself, and as a child, I always enjoyed spending time with her. She’s not crazy like Aunt Clauda, but she did represent someone outside the family unit who was interested in me and happy to help out.

Krisna: LOL! That’s really interesting. Speaking of characters, who’s your favorite character in Carpets and what makes him/ her so special?

Elise: Elina is always my favourite. I know that’s kind of boring, but I chose my main character because she was someone I was interested in reading about. I wouldn’t say she’s meant to be me, but she has characteristics in common with me: being keen to leave home (although I was a little older than Elina when I finally did!), a longing to travel and see some excitement, but quite naive about the big wide world. She has goals which teen me would have identified with strongly.

Krisna: It’s not boring at all. I think the main character is the one that most readers are going to relate and connect to as the story is told from her POV. So it’s a great tip to have a main character that the author loves. It definitely shows in the writing.

Thank you so much Elise, for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you all the very best in your writing career. I’m looking forward to the sequel to Carpets.

Elise: Thank you, Krisna 🙂


elise-author-picBorn in Staffordshire in England, Elise Edmonds has always been an avid reader, especially of fantasy and young adult books. Elise moved to Bristol in her teens, to attend university, and undertook a career in the finance world.

Now living in a quiet South Gloucestershire village, she spends her free time with her husband and two cats, and enjoys attending local fitness classes, watching movies, and playing the piano. Pursuing writing in her spare time as a creative outlet is a way to bring the magic back into her everyday life.

You can connect with her via her Amazon Author PageWebsite, Facebook, Twitter,  GoodreadsInstagram and Wattpad.

Check out this amazing novel by Elise Edmonds. It’s available both in paperback and kindle formats.

Where Carpets Fly – Elise Edmonds

Do you love magic and magic carpets? Then you’re in for a fantastic treat this week! Where Carpets Fly by Elise Edmonds is now available on Amazon.


Where Carpets Fly is a YA Fantasy Adventure novel with a gripping story, loads of magic, magic lessons, and an underlying theme of enduring friendship. I fell in love with the characters, the amazing story world and the way the story is revealed to the readers.

And the cover is simply divine 🙂

Want to know more?

Here’s the story blurb:

Elina Faramar finally leaves her family’s flying carpet shop when her father reluctantly agrees she can take magic lessons in nearby Kamikan. Urban life promises adventure, and new friend Kara shows her the sights.

However, Elina soon sees a darker side of life: a foreigner arrested at the circus, forbidden schoolhouse rooms with odd comings and goings, and unsociable pupil Simeon’s shady deals at the docks. Everything seems connected to the volatile neighbouring country of Pallexon, but no one will tell her why.

When Elina and Simeon develop a magical mind link, he seems close to confiding in her. But an unexpected voyage takes Elina and Kara away from answers and towards unknown danger in Pallexon.

Alone in a strange country, with no identity papers, the situation rapidly turns into a nightmare when Kara is mistaken for a spy. With her own freedom at stake, Elina must rely on her wits and magic to save her friend and unravel the secrets of Pallexon.

Check out this amazing novel by Elise Edmonds. It’s available both in paperback and kindle formats.

Elise has also graciously accepted my invitation for an author interview where she shares tips and tricks on the writing process.

Look out for a special author interview with Elise on 18th February 2017.


elise-author-picElise Edmonds is a new writer from the South-West UK. Reading and writing have always been her doorways into another world—a way to escape and spend time walking with wizards, flying with fairies and dealing with dragons.

By day she is a finance professional, and in her spare time she pursues writing as a creative outlet, to put the magic back into everyday life. In addition to reading, Elise enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going to Zumba classes. Her greatest loves are God, her husband, her family and friends, and her two beautiful cats.

You can connect with her through her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Wattpad.


YA-NA Parley: Shannon Leigh Rivera

Dear Friends,

For this month’s YA-NA Parley, we have with us author Shannon Leigh Rivera.

Shannon is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University’s Creative Writing program and a YA/NA fantasy author. She graduated Summa Cumme Laude in June of 2016, and plans on returning to finish her MFA in Creative Writing in the near future. For now, she is working on her own publications.


Her work can be found in YA Seven Deadly Sins AnthologyEnvy and Gluttony editions available on Amazon and at

Without further ado, here are a few snippets of our conversation.

Krisna: What would be your hero’s favorite real-world book? Your villain’s?

Shannon: If Talshae lived on Earth, she would probably be a huge fan of Joseph Campbell because he was a scholar of myths and legends, which is something she considers herself in her own world. The villain, not to give away too much about my antagonist, he would probably love anything that had to do with weapons- Jane’s Military Digest or anything that had to do with tactics or war.

Krisna: Are there themes you’re trying to bring out in your YA/NA that you feel are underrepresented?

Shannon: I believe that my writing really focuses on the importance of learning to love oneself. I want my characters to learn how to rely on themselves, rather than feel that they need to have another person love them in order to see their own worth.

However, I also focus on purpose over things, finding purpose over chasing things, which also plays into that. And the theme of duty, honor, and sacrifice, which isn’t something people really like to write about these days. Most YA/NA is about rebellion and breaking from traditions, while I explore the importance of traditions and the reasons for rebelling against the right things, or standing up for the right things, even if they are unpopular.

Krisna: Loving oneself, duty, honor and sacrifice – wonderful themes that are much needed in this world. It’ll resonate with a lot of readers. Speaking of readers, what can you tell us about your imaginary reader? Do you write with a specific reader in mind?

Shannon: I suppose this would be more like my imagined fan base. I suppose when I write, I am hoping that male and female readers will be able to relate to my characters and the world they live in. I tend to write more for a female audience, probably on the mature end of YA/NA, but I certainly don’t feel like the younger end would be turned off by the themes or mood of the story. Guys might not like the lead, Talshae, but they will certainly be able to get behind the male characters, especially Kaji and Lord Yu.

Krisna: If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose? Why?

Shannon: I would live in the world of Earthsea (Ursula Le Guin’s brainchild). Why? Two reasons- first- lots of water and islands. I am a sailor at heart. I love the ocean and I love being near the ocean. The water culture in her book appeals to me. Second- dragons.

Krisna: LOL! I’m a great fan of dragons too. *glances at clock regretfully*

We have time for one last question. Who was your favorite author as a child? Do they influence your storytelling now?

Shannon: The one author that has really stuck with me since my youth has been Anne McCaffrey. I remember the first time I read Dragonriders of Pern, I was just blown away. She was the reason I started writing fantasy, but also the reason I started reading more fantasy. I still branch out and read from every genre, but she is the one that introduced magic to me in such a way that I knew “this is it, this is what I want to do.”

Krisna: Thank you so much, Shannon, for taking the time to be with us and sharing insights into your writing.

Shannon: It was my pleasure…



When Shannon isn’t teaching writing classes or homeschooling her four children, she is writing serialized short stories for her fantasy blog. In addition, she is working on her first full-length novel, Of Rebels and Ruin, due out later 2017.

You can connect with Shannon through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads and her website.

Ask the Author: Heather Hayden

Dear Friends,

Today I have the pleasure of having with us the fantastic Heather Hayden, author of Augment.

As most of you know, I’m a fairy tale happily-forever-after person. But recently, I read a short story written by Ms. Hayden in the JL Anthology “From the Stories of Old”. It hooked me and left me reeling at the tragic yet sweet end. It’s one of the few tragedies that I actually liked.

So, naturally, I had to meet her and ask her a few questions about her writing process 🙂

Here are a few snippets of our conversation:

Krisna: Thank you so much for joining us today, Heather. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you? 

Heather: Oh dear, that’s taking me way, way back… Honestly, I’m not sure I do. I have vivid memories of many children’s books, but I was able to read by the time I was five, and I don’t really have any memories from before then. I know one of my favorites was about a magic pebble—Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Since fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read and write today, I’m guessing that may have had an impact on me!

Krisna: Ooh, a story about a magic pebble! Interesting. Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing? 

Heather: From my own experience, forcing yourself to write doesn’t often result in anything you want to see again, much less edit or publish. If you’re banging your head against a story, set it aside and do something else—go for a walk, do chores, hang out with friends or family—for a few hours, or days, or weeks. If you enjoy working on multiple projects, pick up a different one or start a new one. Don’t punish yourself for not writing. That negativity will become linked to writing for you and you’ll start to dread sitting down in front of the computer.

I find that music can help inspire my writing—I often have specific soundtracks for different stories. I also work on multiple projects at a time so if I’m not making progress in one, I can work on another. It can also be good to set a goal—pages, word count, time limit—for a writing session, whatever works best.

Don’t stop to check your social media sites, or email, or do the dishes, while you’re working toward that goal. Your mind might try to convince you that a minute or two of procrastination is fine, but don’t listen. Tie your muse down and just write.

Krisna: Those are some fantastic tips, Heather. Thanks a lot! LOL! I’m one of those who gets distracted by “1 minute” in twitter or FB or Scribophile 🙂

Where is your favorite place to write? 

Heather: Any place quiet, where I can listen to my music, away from distractions, and just write. I’d love to be able to write on the beach in the summer (and late spring and early fall, before it gets too chilly…actually, any time of year!), but unfortunately I can’t sustain writing by hand for long. I have issues with my wrists at times, and handwriting aggravates it, which is why I use my computer. Maybe someday they’ll invent a computer that’s safe for beach use.

Krisna: How do you relax? 

Heather: My favorite way to relax is to curl up with a good book, and maybe a mug of tea (or a glass of iced tea in the summer.) I also love going for walks on the beach, and listening to music. All of these are great ways for me to recharge my writing battery.

Krisna: Now for some questions on the JL Anthology… Your writers’ group, the Just-Us League, recently released “From the Stories of Old: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings.” What was it like collaborating with other authors to produce the anthology?

Heather: Overall, it was a lot of fun! Coordinating everything and making sure we all met our set deadlines was sometimes stressful, and it took a lot of hard work on everyone’s part to ensure our anthology was perfect when we released it, but I learned a lot from the process and I’m looking forward to working with everyone on future anthologies.


Krisna: Could you tell me a bit about your story in this anthology? What inspired you to choose this story?

Heather: My story, “Beneath His Skin”, is a retelling of a selkie myth. I’ve always been fascinated by mythical creatures, especially those related to the sea, so when it came time to choose a fairy tale to retell, I found myself drawn to that of the selkie myth.

Selkies have always had two very distinct mythos–one involving female selkies, and one involving male selkies. In my story, I twisted the myths a bit, while staying true to the core of what it means to be selkie.

Krisna: It’s a powerful and heart-breaking story, wonderfully written.

Thank you so much, Heather, for taking the time to be with us today and sharing tips and tricks on the writing process. I wish you all the best in your writing career.


KODAK Digital Still CameraThough a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI.

Her latest release is a short story “Beneath His Skin,” which is part of an anthology her writer’s group put together called From the Stories of Old: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.