Why did I write my fantasy novels? – Valerie Douglas

Dear reader,

As I posted before about why Christine Ardigo wrote her first book, I also asked this of Valerie Douglas, the person responsible for starting the Alexandria Publishing Group. This is what she said:

Why did I write my fantasy novels? Because I missed high/heroic fantasy and I missed heroes and heroines – the kind of people you want to get to know, or aspire to be. The kind of people who run into burning buildings or who shield people many would say are getting their just deserts. Are they perfect people? Probably not, but in that one moment, they rose to the occasion and said “I will not let this happen”.

When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, he envisioned the hobbits as the common people of England – not the wealthy or titled, but the ones who just wanted a good life for themselves and their children. Frodo, Samwise and their friends don’t intend to be heroes, they just want a little adventure. It’s the peaceful Shire, though, their home, and those friendships, that turn them into heroes.
That is what makes epic fantasy truly epic – ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

In The Coming Storm, I wanted to write about a people who had a belief system that emphasized being the best person you could be, to try to do the best you could for your people, and had an inviolable code of honor – yet they would be people you would still like, admire and want to get to know.


When I wrote The Servant of the Gods series it was at least partly because Anubis always got such a bad rap. He wasn’t a bad guy, his job was to help those who had died move on to the next world. I also wanted to write about someone who was willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. No matter the cost. Even though the ending of the first novel is clear from the beginning, I still have readers who wish it were different. (Just FYI, it was always meant to end that way, the first and second books were written one after the other.)

Song of the Fairy Queen was inspired first by a work of art, then by the title (and a scene where Kyriay gets exasperated by this song inspired by her actions), but I also didn’t want to write a traditional ‘Fairy’ tale. In many fairy tales, the fairy are either twittering little things like birds, or cold and distant Fae. I also wanted to write about the price of leadership – the kinds of decisions and sacrifices that a ruler has to make for the sake of their people.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against anti-heroes, I just see more of them in fiction than in life. One piece of writing advice I’d always followed was “if the kind of book you want to read isn’t out there, then write it”. So I did.
It’s clear from the reviews that those themes resonate with some people. In the world we live in, that’s reassuring.

Donna – My first book: Second Death

Dear Reader,

Here is the second part in the short series in which my fellow members of the APG tell what made them write their first book. This time: Donna K. Fitch.

Second Death CoverOut loud: “Yes, may I help you?” In my head: “Where is the librarian who’s supposed to be watching the reference desk?”

“I just have a quick question,” the man said, sticking his head in my office doorway.

It was summer, and the university library where I worked was nearly deserted. I was deep in—something or other—when he interrupted me. I don’t even remember what his question was, because of what happened next.

I stood up quickly to show him where whatever he needed was—stepped on the hem of my wide-legged trousers, and fell, slamming into the air handling unit under the window on the way down. My left shoulder was a flame of agony, and I realized my arm had popped out of the socket. I groaned something in response to the patron’s anxious question. When I moved my arm, the joint slipped back into place. My ankle grabbed my attention next. It was throbbing in time to my heartbeat.

Things happened quickly after that. The patron returned with the library director, who had already called an ambulance. As the paramedics strapped me to a board and cushioned my neck with a brace, despite my insistence that I hadn’t hit my head, the librarian who was supposed to be on duty walked up and said the universal line, “But I was only gone a few minutes.”

Two months of physical therapy on my shoulder followed, and not nearly as much on my sprained ankle. The therapy consisted of manipulation of the joint by the therapist, and exercises at home. But at the end of each session, came the part I actually enjoyed. I would lie on the table and have either an ice pack or electric therapy applied to my shoulder. (I’m not sure what the therapy is really called; it was tiny, tingly electric shocks.) In that awkward position, I couldn’t read comfortably. Kindles hadn’t been invented yet. All I could do was lie there and let my mind roam.

And roam it did. I’ve always loved to write, since I was about twelve, and I took creative writing in high school, but I’d never written anything substantial. For some reason, though, bits of a novel started creeping into my head.

What if an ordinary person suddenly felt like he was a soldier in the American Civil War, being pursued by someone who wanted to kill him?

That seed started what is now Second Death. (At various times it was called Already Dead and A Debt Past Due.) As the head of reference in an academic library, I had plenty of opportunity for research. Although I read lots of books on how to write, I didn’t really know how. Second Death went through about twelve drafts before I figured out the story’s direction, and another seven or so drafts to come to the conclusion.

I spent what seemed to me to be a great deal of money to have it professionally edited, but I was proud of it and wanted it to be the best it could be. People who read it, whose opinion I trusted, as well as my editor, thought it was excellent. I shopped it around with high hopes.

Nope. Nobody wanted it. Not what they wanted.

I wrote another novel, The Source of Lightning, in the meantime, and some short stories and novellas.

I joined the Indie Publishing Revolution and published both novels myself in a circumstance that’s a whole ‘nother story in itself. The traditional route may be fine for some people, but it’s not for me. I’ve learned so much on the journey, about writing and editing and marketing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Except maybe the shoulder dislocation part.

My first book. Christine Ardigo.

Dear reader,

Christine is one of the precious romance writers who live at the Alexandria Publishing Group. I asked how what drove her to writing her first book, and the answer was quite a surprise! Her first romance novel is called “Cheating to Survive“. It’s not your typical contemporary romance novel. There are no billionaires, no heaving bosoms and also no women wanting to end it all because their husbands dumped them for their twenty-year-old secretary.

cheatingtosurviveCheating to Survive puts the women in power:

What happens when three co-workers decide to cheat on their husbands? Will they find happiness, or will they be destroyed by the consequences?

Christine said:

I came up with the idea one summer, after driving my two daughters to camp every morning. The 30-minute commute at 7:30am, with two exhausted, cranky girls in tow left us with a lot of radio listening. Unfortunately, my then fourteen and nine year old took an interest in shows like “To Catch a Cheater” or “War of the Roses,” where listeners called in to catch their significant other in the act of cheating.

As much as I hated listening to it, I took it as an opportunity to teach them both a lesson in love and relationships. What I noticed about the majority of these calls, was that most of the callers were women. Pathetic women who’s boyfriends/husbands were not only cheating on them, but the men were arrogant about it. Some laughing when they got caught.

What was worse, once they caught the men red-handed, some of them went as low as to insult the women, tell them it was their fault, said “too bad deal with it” and a host of other derogatory statements. The worst part, after the women were humiliated on public radio, some of them begged their men to take them back or cried because they still loved them! And the men laughed harder.

I discussed each show with my daughters daily, but the images stuck with me. Hence, the creation of Cheating to Survive. Let’s turn the tables. Let’s have the women cheat on the men this time. Let them enjoy it. Fully. Let them skip down the halls, dance in the middle of the cafeteria, laugh behind their husbands’ backs.

But of course, in life, nothing is that seamless.

Meet Victoria…Heather…and Catherine, three dietitians working in the same hospital for a horrendous boss, and married to husbands anyone would want to strangle, dump in the trash, and watch the garbage truck pulverize along with the maggots.

Will the three of them be triumphant with their scheming, or are they headed down a wrong way path?

The outcomes could be worse than they imagined.

Well, there you have it. Are you curious about the book already? If so, you can head over to Amazon.com and have a closer look at the book. Who knows, you might love it.

How dead are you?

Dear reader,
Til Death Us Do Join“Til Death Us Do Join” is now live!

If you feel alive too and up for a good laugh, head over to one of the online bookstores listed and go for it!

You can find “Til Death Us Do Join” at Smashwords, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, and Kobo books as e-book.

A paperback version (with a stunning backside) is available through Lulu.com.

As a special addition to this release I have prepared a little video to whet your appetite for this book, I hope you enjoy it.

Oh… in case you seem to recognise the person on the left… yes… that’s your’s truly. And the lady is a dear friend of mine. The photo was shot and the cover made by a mutual friend who runs a very nice website for her photo-work. If you care to have a look, run over to wauwfoto.nl!

July is Fantasy-month!

Dear reader,

Heart of the GodsYou may not know it but on Facebook, at this very moment, there’s an event taking place called Fantasy in July. You are cordially invited to join the event where many fantasy writers are talking about their work, offering their work even at discounts and the occasional announcement for new works coming out soon pass by as well.

You might find a mention of “The Source of Lightning“, an epic steampunk adventure by Donna K. Fitch, for instance. Or there’s Katherine Lee Pierret Perkins’ “Dawn of Steam” (indeed, more steampunk). But there is also proper fantasy, like “Servant of the Gods” by Valerie Douglas (a gorgeous book if I say so myself).

If you like fantasy and Egypt, then “Heart of the Gods” would be a good choice. So if you feel like indulging in something special then don’t hesitate and come have a look!

Now you can find out “Who killed the clown”!

Dear reader,

Who Killed the Clow 320You can now find out who did it. “Who killed the clown?” is live in the e-stores already. Where can you go to find it?

It is on Smashwords, The Amazon family of course, Barnes and Nobles already know (both of them), it is on kobobooks, and our friends at the Apple iTunes store can help you further too.

If you prefer a paper copy you can find that at lulu.com.

In case you are not certain any more what this book is about, here is the back cover text:

Lester Jones isn’t your usual detective. He’s a Pagan and sometimes resorts to less common ways to solve his assignments. Lester also isn’t a famous, well-known detective, which is reflected by his lack of clientèle and his financial state. Until one day a client asks him to locate a missing person.
This is the beginning of a hunt for a lady and for the answer to the question “Who killed the clown?” The road to this answer leads Lester past many people and places, along which he also had to admit his love for someone special.

Cover reveal: “Who killed the clown?”

Dear reader,

In two weeks I shall publish yet another book. Last month there was the fourteenth Hilda the Wicked Witch book. This month there’s something entirely different. It’s a murder mystery, and it has to be solved by a detective whose ways aren’t the usual ones. Because he’s a Pagan.

Allow me to introduce to you the cover of the new book!

Lester Jones isn’t your usual detective. He’s a Pagan and sometimes resorts to less common ways to solve his assignments. Lester also isn’t a famous, well-known detective, which is reflected by his lack of clientèle and his financial state. Until one day a client asks him to locate a missing person.
This is the beginning of a hunt for a lady and for the answer to the question “Who killed the clown?” The road to this answer leads Lester past many people and places, along which he also had to admit his love for someone special.

“Night watch” by Linda Hall

Dear reader,

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a book to you, written by Linda Hall who’s also a member of the Alexandria Publishing Group. It’s a mystery. No, it’s not a mystery that I introduce a book, it’s the genre of the book. I’ve read it. It’s really a good book, but don’t take my word for it. Let me show you what Linda has to say about it:

I am pleased to announce that NIGHT WATCH, the first in my new mystery series (#emridgemysteries) is finally available. This book has been a part of my life and planning for a long, long time. Before I wrote six books for Harlequin, I wanted to write a series of mysteries which featured a female boat captain. She was in my thoughts during the first Bouchercon mystery conference I ever attended. I had the idea for Em Ridge (and her name and her backstory have gone through various permutations through the years.) The character was there in my mind, begging to come out, asking me over and over to tell her story, get it down, and out there for the readers.
But other things got in the way and it’s only now – now that I’m an author/publisher, that I am getting her story out.
Em Ridge is a boat captain. She’s not a huge container ship captain taking goods all over the world, nor does she helm ferries or tugboats (although she could – and maybe in a future book she will.). She’s not in the military or Coast Guard. She’s not a police force boat captain. What she does is deliver boats. She’s someone who gets hired by people to take their boats (usually luxury yachts) from Point A to Point B.
Normally, a fun job. You get to spend time on other people’s fancy boats! But in Em’s life, mystery always ensues.
In Night Watch, having the billionaire’s daughter go overboard on her first captain­ing job is not a good beginning. The sailboat is new, state of the art, her crew on this trip include two close sail­ing friends. But an unknown fourth, who can’t even tie a bow­line, and the unruly owner’s daughter turn the idyllic trip into an adventure not wanted.
Two years ago Em buried her husband, her soul­mate, her sail­ing buddy, and with him she buried a secret. As hours on the open seas slide by, secrets are res­ur­rected tying Em’s past to a present, awash with mur­der and deception.
Amazon link for Night Watch: http://bit.ly/1vUmrVk
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