Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Authoor’s Power, and Mine: A Guest Post by Gant-o’-the-Lute

How magnificent it must feel to be an author!

Ah, my hostess Kimberly, and all of your kin – brethren in arms mightier than the sword – do you even realize the magic you wield? With your words, you command a cosmos. With yours, Danielle, author o’ mine, you can even influence me – or at the least, the surroundings to which I must react. Power over Gant-o’-the-Lute? Power indeed! And you know my pride demands I give you none of it for free.

I daresay there are some characters out in the ether, somewhere, who do what they can to make matters easy on their storytellers. (Ahem, Edgwyn Wyle.) Not I. Of all the many fine words one might find to describe me, “submissive” and “tame” are not among them, whereas “obstinate” may well be. Though I’ve little desire to attain royalty, I will have sovereignty over my own self, and over my place in my story. For all her power, Danielle cannot make me do anything I refuse.

A pity for her she can’t write for herself a magical flute of the like she wrote me.With that flute, the power of an author is mine. Power to control the world into which I was written, to reshape or escape it however I wish. Had I so desired, Danielle’s little plot for mylatest adventure could have all been blown to pieces. Had I grown bored with the plans she had for me— Oh, come to think of it…I did.

She was content to use me and my magic as little more than a plot device to further my co-characters’ story. “Here you are, Lute,” said she, in essence. “Unlimited power. Off you go to use it for the good of mankind!”

Clearly, she missed the part where I stated I’m not Edgwyn Wyle. Not submissive, not tame, and not pure and selfless by half. If I benefit mankind, that’s all very well and good…and completely incidental. My story. My adventure. My power to serve my own ends.

So I stopped her where she was, turned her around, and decreed she insert a new chapter.

We’ve been working together for several years, my author and I. The courting stage was easy, back in the first-draft days of “The Seventh Spell”. She expected little of me, I delivered over and above (naturally), and while she was still staring in awe, I put in an order for a book of my own. She agreed…and she dawdled, drafting what would be Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales before doubling back to give me what she promised. This would prove to be an aggravating pattern. Seems the only way I can manipulate her into writing for me on the instant is to put a song in her head while she’s trying to fall asleep, for well she knows the lyrics won’t be there if she puts them off until the morning. Our relationship is a tug-o’-war battle of wills, each of us throwing our weight around any way we can, fighting to reestablish who’s on top.

For the record, it’s me.

She knows this; has learned and relearned that, when it comes to Gant-o’-the-Lute, Gant-o’-the-Lute knows far better than she. Therefore, when I insisted “The Song Caster” needed the chapter I gave her, she wrote it in without protest. And my book is all the more magical for it. All the more true. All the more me at my freest, with no power weighty enough to hold me down.

No power, save for one.

I’ll not tell you what it is. (Though the Edgwyn Wyles among you could guess.) Read and see for yourselves, good people. My author and I have done all in our power to make it well worth your time.

And that it is! For your very own chance to become part of the magic, read The Song Caster (complete with link to said book!)

Thank you, Lute, for appearing on my blog! *blushes sheepishly* If not a tad belatedly.

And thank you, Danielle, for allowing Lute the chance to speak his mind!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Way of the Muse By Lucianíel

Today as a stop of the INSPIRED blog tour by the fantastic Danielle E. Shipley, I shall be hosting an interview with Luc, the muse, and arguably, master source of inspiration for the story INSPIRED (no offense Danielle).

Take it away, Luc!

I should like to begin by thanking you, Kimberly. A muse is not often called upon to come to the fore, like this. Ours is a background role – one which has been anything from scarcely acknowledged to exalted to the point where our mates refuse to lift a finger without us there to stroke and coddle them.

You might think it a strange, suggestive choice of word, “mates”. Yet it is only true. Not a mating of bodies, but of the minds, and even the spirits, of the artist and their source of inspiration.

The word “inspire” encapsulates the muse’s responsibility well. We influence our artist’s thoughts and guide their actions. We animate their desire to create, and enliven their enthusiasm. We impel and incite them when they’re feeling slothful, and draw out the inner them-ness needed to make the work their own. We breathe life.

Just as anyone can become an artist, so can anyone become a muse. And just as with artists, not all muses will be any good. It requires finesse, patience, and dedication for a muse to be all that the artist needs. For artists are unstable creatures, full of contradictions. Hardworking and lazy. Bursting with pride and crushed with insecurity. Brilliant, beautiful fools. Not to mention cheap. A muse need not expect to see a penny for their trouble, no matter the wealth their work may bring their artist.

What, then, does a muse get out of the job?

I cannot speak for all of us, for we are many, and I daresay our motivations are as varied as we are. For myself, I am a muse because I love it. I am in love with creation, with watching things become, with transforming nothing into something, somethings into great things, great things into glory! My artist’s glory is my own, and the world may never know it, but they do not need to. It is enough for me to know. Me and my author. My partner. My precious other half. Together, we are all I need. And the worlds – all worlds – are ours for the making.

Thank you, Luc, for this brilliant insight into the inspiration behind INSPIRED.

To see more of Luc, his authors, and the characters he protects, follow these links:

To otherwise stay connected to Miss Shipley, check out:
Twitter: @DEShipley

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Danielle E. Shipley's latest book, a stand alone novel called INSPIRED!!

Here's the premise:

For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.


To celebrate the release of this exquist new novel (through the aforementioned J. Taylor Publishing) Miss Danielle is taking a virtual tour! She'll be dropping by my blog on the 25th, where one of her characters (Luc) will give us some behind the scenes information about what life is like as a Muse.

Until then, if you want to keep up with Danielle's tour, you can find the other stops below!

J.A. Belfield's Blog - Monday, 3/17 - Tens List
Scribbler's Sojourn - Wednesday, 3/19 - Guest Post
OriginiquEquanimity - Friday, 3/21 - Guest Post
The Flight Reflex - Tuesday, 3/25 - Character Guest Post
The Book Diva's Reads - Wednesday, 3/26 - Guest Post
The Jessica Doll Blog - Thursday, 3/27 - Guest Post
The Ink Caster - Friday, 3/28 - Character Interview
Aimee Laine - Monday, 3/31 - Author Interview
Alex Nader Writes - Wednesday, 4/2 - Author Interview
JeanzBookReadNReview - Friday, 4/4 - Author Interview
Julia Antonovich Reece - Monday, 4/7 - Guest Post
The Parasite Guy - Wednesday, 4/9 - Guest Post
Cloud Nine Girl - Monday, 4/14 - Tens List
Emi Gayle - Thursday, 4/17 - Author Interview
To otherwise stay connected to Miss Shipley, check out:
Twitter: @DEShipley

Until then!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Behind the Scenes of "The Seventh Spell" with Danielle E. Shipley

The third book of the Wilderhark Tales is out, and you know what that means!!


Thank you for joining me once again, Danielle! How does it feel to have the third volume of The Wilderhark Tales out?

D: A little bit insane, when I pause to think about it. I mean, wow, it was less than a year ago that we kicked things off with “The Swan Prince”, and now here we are, at the halfway point of the six-book series! Real life doesn’t usually go this fast, but I’m just so eager to share all the magic I found in this world, slowing down probably won’t happen anytime soon!

K: No kidding! What was your favorite scene to write in "The Seventh Spell"?

D: Ooh, such a tough call. I had the biggest blast writing this story, and there’s so much Edgwyn in it! XD It might be the scene where he’s locked in a dungeon; I love how that chapter ends. Or perhaps the introduction of the extraordinary minstrel; Lute made quite the first impression on me. Then again, Rosalba’s meeting with that enchanted prince in Anuranda always tickles me… Gah, who am I kidding? There’s no way I can decide.

K: Well, the more Edgwyn the better! Though, I'm sensing some favoritism with Edgwyn. Care to explain?

D: Haha, yeah, I’m none too subtle, am I? XD Somewhere halfway through “The Stone Kingdom”, I ended up falling in love with my tailor’s valiant spirit and indomitable heart. The green eyes and ready humor didn’t hurt anything, either. I’d hardly hit “The End” on Book Two before I knew I needed a Book Three to hook me up with my Edgwyn fix. So basically, the world has Edgwyn to thank for the Wilderhark Tales turning into a full-blown series. (He says we’re welcome.)

K: Lol. Speaking of the extent of the books, this story involves a lot of characters. Was it challenging to have so many people to work with?

D: The size of the cast wasn’t as big a challenge as was keeping track of their positions along the storyline. The catastrophic Seventh Spell for which the book is named sent everyone off in all directions, so the narrative had to do a lot of zipping back and forth between the scattered groups, weaving everyone’s progress and predicaments together the best I could from a distance.

K: How did you keep track of all those story lines?

D: Do you know, I honestly don’t even remember anymore? I raced through the book’s first draft in under a week; I was way too into the story to go any slower! It was so exciting, getting to watch the dynamics between old characters and new characters, and old characters and other old characters who we didn’t get much opportunity to see interact with one another, ‘til now. I think my evil subconscious may have deliberately forced people together with their opposites, just to see how they’d cope with it!

K: I'll admit, I loved seeing the old and new characters intermingle—especially with the hindsight some of the characters had available to them as they were shuffled through time.

D: Crazy stuff, going back to some of the most stressful parts of your past. It would be like if I suddenly found myself thrust in the middle of a childhood piano recital. …Okay, yikes, I’m terrifying myself. Moving on quickly, please!

K: Too late! You've brought up music, so now I must know, do you like to listen to music as you write? If so, what kinds?

D: It varies. Sometimes I need silence; other times reality gets so noisy, I need better noise to muffle it, and that’s when I’ll usually turn to music. I prefer instrumentals or movie scores, since voices and lyrics disrupt my focus. I don’t recall listening to much music during the writing of “Seventh Spell”, apart from all the songs we got from the minstrel and the singing harp. X) Even without such melodic characters, though, there’s something musical to me about losing my head in a story world – music I can’t so much hear as just feel.

K: I've found sort of the same thing. Personally, I can't listen to music as I write, because it screws up the music I'm trying to write!

D: Precisely.

K: When designing the covers for your books, how much do you and the artist interact?

D: After receiving a description of my vision for the cover (its general color scheme, the characters and scene I want to portray…), Yana will send me a sketch to test whether we’re on the right track. I’ll point out the parts I love and any aspects I’d like to change, then she goes back to work to produce a color revision of the piece. By that stage, the cover is usually about 95% right, and I’ll be giddy over what a fantastic job she’s done. I’ll make any final tweak requests nagging at me, and the next thing you know, I’ve got cover art waiting for me to stamp my name and title upon. It’s essentially the same process for the beautiful bookmarks she creates for me, too.

K: Did you give her any guidelines for the cover of The Seventh Spell?

D: Just a bare-bones description of the final result: Edgwyn coming down a giant beanstalk, carrying a golden harp-lady. Yana had already completed individual portraits of those characters for bookmarks, so that part was straightforward enough. And I never have to tell her to make the work gorgeous; she always throws that in on her own.

K: Brilliant! Does she interact much with the Tales outside of design? What I mean is, has she read your books?

D: Not to my knowledge. Maybe I’d have a better shot if I translated the books from English into her native Russian. As it is, I believe she’s mostly just familiar with the characters, and that’s cool with me. The characters are the soul of the stories; the plot’s just a device for showing them off.

K: Lol! I've never thought of it that way before, but it's so true! As for the characters themselves, will there be any more interaction in future Wilderhark Tales from characters of the past?

D: Oh, yes. Most of the characters featured in “Seventh Spell” still have roles to play in the books to come – rather important ones all around, really. I sort of see the series like a big spotlight, moving book to book across the stage, shining brightest on different protagonists along the way. Most characters will follow the light for a little while before surrendering it to the next key players in line. For some cast members, Book Three may be the last you see of them; for others, their time is on the wane, but they’re not quite out of the picture yet; and you never know when another blast from the past may take the stage by surprise.

K: I'd ask who, but I'm already quite certain you won't tell me. Spoilers and all that. XD

D: *does the “You’ll just have to wait and see!” squirmy dance*

K: Any hints or sneak peeks of what to expect in the next Tale?

D: Well, it’s one of Wilderhark’s, so that’s pretty much a guarantee of a search for true love. Who’s doing the searching this time? Why, hello, blast from the past! Meanwhile, the minstrel of strong first impressions convinced me without much difficulty that he needed a book of his own, so readers who got a kick out of Gant-o’-the-Lute’s debut in “Seventh Spell”, rejoice! He’s back and as spectacular as ever in Book Four. (Highest Good help us all.) Magic, mystery, and music. Stay tuned!

K: Yes! Can't wait! I was hoping to see more from Lute!

D: He had a feeling you would be. X) The fellow is nothing if not utterly self-confident; Book Four will definitely attest to that.

K: Marvelous! And this has been another lovely chat, Danielle! Thanks again for taking the time to drop by my blog!

D: Always delighted to! The Kimberly Kay blog stop is becoming one of my favorite Wilderhark release traditions. ^.^ Many thanks for inviting me over once again!