This book is finally out in the world and touching people’s lives! It’s been such a long journey, and I am so so thankful for all the people who have contributed along the way. There is a full list of people who have helped me in the acknowledgements section of my book, but I absolutely want to take a minute to thank my husband, family, friends, and all the professionals who have worked with me since the book’s story seed in 2011.
And thank you, readers, so much for taking this journey with me. I hope this book means as much to you as it has to me! And I promise, now we are back to our regular posting schedule (until the next release!).
Don’t forget to jump over to Facebook for the party tonight from 4-7 pm eastern, and put in your entries for the giveaways! I have hand-painted genie bottles, signed paperbacks, and signed bookmarks, all just waiting for a new home. Giveaways will be open until Monday April 29th, and then I will be choosing winners!
and Safiyya appeared in a shadowed corner of a loud, crowded city. Cars sped by
with alarming disregard for pedestrians. People rushed about, some intent on
the sidewalk ahead of them, some entirely engrossed in their phones. No one
seemed to take notice of their sudden appearance, and, oddly, Janan couldn’t
see any of the other djinn pouring through the portal with them.
the portal dropped everyone in different sections of the city?
plunged into the sunlight outside the alley, and finally people jumped back. It
wasn’t every day that humans saw an ocelot and a purple-eyed girl covered in
blood and dressed in what looked like a costume. For all they knew, she was a
struggling actress in a remake of Aladdin
in her loose violet dress, embellished with gold embroidery and gemstones.
looked around, trying to find someplace quiet, somewhere away from prying eyes.
Safiyya said, drawing a few puzzled and concerned looks. They ducked back into
the alley before she continued. “Do you still have that bottle?”
placed a hand on the wall of the building to steady herself and opened the bag
slung across her body, feeling around for the wrapped bottle. It felt whole,
somehow unbroken. “Yes, I think so.”
I have an idea! Put the bottle on the ground.”
pulled it out of her bag and placed the unwrapped crystal on the cement between
them. Icy fingers of fear clawed at her heart—fear for her family, fear for
herself. She would never be safe. Never.
sat next to it, turning serious eyes on Janan. “We have to do the Binding.”
Janan exclaimed, unable to control her reaction. Too much had happened, and she
was past her limit. Her stomach turned at even the thought of using her magic,
and she wasn’t sure she was capable of such an extensive spell. And Safiyya
certainly couldn’t do it alone. “Isn’t that too extreme?”
yes, but what choice do we have? The others will find us, and this is our best
chance to evade Ahriman.”
here?” Janan looked around the trash-filled alley.
also glanced around, glaring at a stray cat. The cat glared back at her with
dull yellow eyes. “I can add a protection spell. Move the bottle somewhere
please,” Janan said, her voice barely above a whisper.
reached a paw over the bottle, and Janan grasped it. They closed their eyes,
focusing all their energy, all their magic, on the bottle between them. Then,
they concentrated on weaving their own energy into the crystal lattice.
the attachment grew, their bodies phased out of physical being, becoming a
light vapor that swirled in the weak air currents, mixing lavender and green
smoke where they had been sitting.
the attachment complete, they became physical again and opened their eyes.
just need to hide long enough for the others to find us,” Safiyya said. “And
you can get some rest in here. As soon as we’re inside, the bottle will take us
Janan gave her a small
smile, and they vanished in a swirl of smoke, disappearing into the top of the
Today I had thought about showing you the development of the cover for This Cursed Flame, but instead, you can learn all about that on Saturday with Savannah Jezowski, the wonderful cover artist who actually did the work, over at the Facebook party (PS don’t forget to RSVP)!
So that left me to wonder: what behind-the-scenes looks would you guys want to see??? What about the research process for this book?
I started this particular story way back in 2011, so my research methods have changed a lot. Back then, I didn’t use Pinterest or have a reserved notebook, like I do now. Everything was amassed in multiple fragmented Word documents and files of inspiration pictures on my hard drive. And I knew so little about photo attribution that I don’t even want to share some of those photos now!
So how did I actually research this book?
Yup, that’s it. I researched the history and mythology of djinn from Middle Eastern culture, I found pages about Aladdin and the magic lamp, I saw pages of people selling djinn trapped in rings (yes, people do sell these items), I saw warnings about how djinn could affect your life… there was so much out there from basic mythology to djinn in current culture. It was so much I never knew and had never realized, beliefs of people I had never heard before. It was a mountain to sift through and find what could be used for inspiration of my djinn culture.
Ultimately, I decided to go with the four base types of djinn I found during my research, the four that kept reappearing over and over throughout the more scholarly sources: ghul, marid, ifrit, and sila. These types of djinn are almost all used to varying degrees throughout other media and fiction also, but it was so interesting to see how everyone had their own take and their own creation based on the same central mythology. (And if you want to know more about these classes of djinn in my world, make sure to go to the Facebook party!)
And for me, I wanted to create a world separate yet parallel to ours where these djinn still lived and had lives just like we do. This also aligned with some of my research, stating basically that djinn do have their own lives, just like we do. They’re born and live and die. And so I thought: why can’t my djinn be just like us, only magic? And so the basic magic structure of the Djinn Realm was formed!
But I still had my genie. That very first idea. And I didn’t know how to fit her into this structure. The answer wasn’t easy, but somehow it worked its way into a sort of half-being. In my books, genies are not quite the same as djinn, having less control over the elemental magic but a wider range to choose from. Unlike the djinn, who could control a single element, my genies could access all elements, only to a much smaller, less powerful, degree.
And so, from all the research I did on the mythology, the countless Google searches and hours, I developed my own magic system influenced by all my research. It started with the idea, blossomed through research, and became an actual story.
And that’s that! Do you have your own stories of book research, new or old, to share with us? Tell me in the comments, or talk to me about djinn! Let me hear from you! 😀
This Cursed Flame is available to pre-order on Amazon and any other major retailer! Also, if you prefer a paperback, those will be available through Amazon. And once again, be sure to head over to Facebook on Saturday for the Launch Party! (and your chance to win your own hand-painted genie bottle, just like in Janan’s collection!)
Today we get to talk directly to one of the main characters: our genie, Janan!
Today is day two of This Cursed Flame’s blog tour! So far we had a lovely book spotlight by H. L. Burke and a first look at the opening chapter. Today I want to dive in a little deeper and talk with one of our main characters, Janan. But don’t forget to head back to the masterpost to keep following all the posts as they come out each day. There’s plenty of material to keep you all content in this final week before release!
Now, without any more delay, here’s Janan!
Hello, Janan. Welcome to the blog tour! Why don’t we start by telling our readers just a little bit about you?
Thanks for having me! I don’t normally do these things, but Laurelin insisted it would be fun. Oh, she’s my new human friend. I’m a genie and have been for several years now. What that means is that I used to be human, but a djinn gave me magic and changed me into something kind of between djinn and human. But before that, I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and lived with my family on their farm. One day I’d love to really be able to stay with them again, to be part of the family again. But I’ve met plenty of people who have kind of become my found family, and it helps.
Sounds like it’s been a rough road! Can you tell us a little bit about your found family?
Sure! I lived in the djinn Realm with two very kind djinn, Irina and Mahtab. They’ve kind of been like surrogate parents and have made sure I was safe and continued my education. I was only eleven when I was changed, so I had plenty of school left to finish. Another djinn, Ghadir, kind of came to my rescue when Ahriman changed me, and she placed me with Irina and Mahtab. And then there’s Safiyya, a ghul type of djinn who is stuck in the form of an ocelot (ghul are shapeshifters). She’s been my best friend in the Realm, and I really feel like of all of them, she understands me and my situation best.
That’s so great! Speaking of your family, they tell my you have a rather unique collection in your Fuego home. Care to tell us about it?
I guess I can. I collect all different kinds of bottles. Glass, crystal, metal. Anything. When I was human, I used to watch I Dream of Jeannie with my father. It became sort of a running joke, a way I could make light of everything that happened to me. Instead of being controlled by a bottle, like in the show or a lot of human mythology, I collect them.
How interesting! It seems like you were able to find some way to cope with everything you went through. I’m sure it really affected you.
Yes. I was young, and I had been kidnapped. Ahriman is a horrible djinn and person. I’ve had panic attacks and such ever since I was changed. I’m still working on it, with plenty of help. Those kinds of things are long journeys.
Definitely! Is there anything else you can share with the readers about your story?
Well, besides the whole kidnapping, becoming a genie thing, I did get to meet Laurelin. It’s so good to talk to other people and see how similar we really are, despite appearances (or magic). If you read the story, you’ll definitely get to see plenty of the djinn Realm and magic. There may even be a few secrets Laurelin discovers along the way!
Exciting! Thank you for sharing your time with us today, and good luck in facing Ahriman!
That’s all the time we have, but make sure you check out your favorite retailers for the pre-order link, and come back every day this week for a new post about This Cursed Flame!
This Cursed Flame is available on Amazon and any other major retailer! Also, if you prefer a paperback, those will be available through Amazon. And be sure to head over to Facebook on Saturday for the Launch Party! (and your chance to win your own hand-painted genie bottle, just like in Janan’s collection!)
Hey all! Welcome to the first stop on the This Cursed Flame Blog Tour! I can’t wait for you to see all the bonus content leading up to the release on Saturday, and what better way to start than to share the first chapter with everyone?
But first, here’s the blurb!
Sometimes we put ourselves in the bottle…
Six years ago, Janan was transformed into a genie by an evil djinn, ripping her away from her home, her life, and her humanity. She has been on the run from him ever since. Worlds away, high school honors student Laurelin just wants to get into the chemistry program of her dreams.
When Laurelin discovers a crystal bottle that sucks her into the djinn realm, the girls find themselves working together to escape Janan’s creator and get Laurelin back home. But war is brewing in the djinn realm-a rebellion led by the same evil djinn they’ve been trying to escape. And he is determined to rule both the djinn and the human realms. As his creation, Janan is the one person standing in his way.
But to stop him, Janan must learn to overcome the fears he instilled in her and embrace her own dark magic while Laurelin must accept that some things are more important than an A+. Now, they will have to trust each other, and themselves, to stop the encroaching evil. Otherwise, both the human and djinn realms will fall to the tide of death and dark magic this war will unleash.
You can now pre-order this book on Amazon and any other major retailer! Also, if you prefer a paperback, those will be available through Amazon (insider hint: they’re gorgeous!) Also, be sure to head over to Facebook on Saturday for the Launch Party! (and your chance to win your own hand-painted genie bottle!)
And now, without further ado, the first chapter.
Chapter One: Janan
Fuego, Djinn Realm
white dots floated in her vision as her heart pumped blood faster than her
brain could use it. They obscured the beige and white masonry of the city, the
multicolored throng pushing through the cobbled streets like strutting
peacocks. All four types of djinn surrounded her: the ifrits with their fire
magic, marids with their water magic, sila with their air magic, and ghul with
their shapeshifting and electric magic.
she stood here, alone in the crowd, unprotected, probably the only genie in the
city. A half-breed of magic forever caught between worlds. Her human life still
colored her memories, her behavior, but the djinn who had turned her into this
had robbed her of her natural life.
the djinn could tell, could sense her other-ness, as they gave her a wide berth
or cast vicious looks in her direction. She thought eventually she would be
used to it, but even an errand out to fetch groceries was enough to send her
into a panic, even after six years.
hurried to the side of the road, trying to hide herself from their prying eyes.
Her breaths were shallow, and she wheezed as she tried to pull enough oxygen
into her lungs. She could almost see his gaze
everywhere she turned: the hate in that marid’s face, the same crimson tint in
that ifrit’s skin. Like he was
everywhere. Would she ever be free of this fear?
drew her hood lower on her forehead and pulled her cloak tighter around her,
trying to hide the raspberry color of her hair, a sure sign of her genie
status, and her violet dress with the gold embroidery. She had loved it when
her adopted father, Mahtab, brought it home for her birthday, but now it seemed
like too much, too flashy, like it drew the attention of too many.
A voice rang out over the roar of a thousand voices.
cringed, her head snapping toward the sound. Several nearby djinn craned their
heads, also searching for the source of the voice. Her eyes landed on a small,
beige feline with ebony spots. If she didn’t look directly at the animal, she
could almost see the form of the woman beneath the spell.
Janan, still breathless with fear, pushed her way back through the people still
separating them and knelt in front of her friend.
of the House Grimalkin studied her face. “Everything okay?”
almost laughed. No, everything was not okay. It hadn’t been for some time. Not
since before, when she was still human, when she still belonged.
he wasn’t here, at least not as far as she could tell. It was only her brain
running away faster than reason, again, her terror resurfacing after months of
terror had almost been gone when he returned only a few months ago, like an
angry ghost from her past, wishing to exact some terrible vengeance on her for
her very existence. Her Turning had been a mistake. And now it was a hurdle to
him, to his plans, to the very future of the Realm.
least that was what he had said. Right before attacking, driving her from her
home to flee to Fuego with her adopted family. She had brought him down upon
them, and now she saw him everywhere she turned.
of course,” she found herself saying, rising to her feet and refusing to meet
Safiyya’s bright emerald gaze.
couldn’t tell her what was going on. Safiyya had her own problems. She was
djinn, one of the shapeshifters, but she’d been stuck as an ocelot for as long
as Janan had known her, much like the way Janan was stuck halfway between djinn
and human. One day, maybe Safiyya would tell her what had happened, why she was
stuck, but for now Janan didn’t see a reason to draw the cat into her imaginary
nightmares. It was enough to share this unspoken bond.
continued to study her, doubtful eyes traveling across the old scars marring
Janan’s pale skin. There were no new injuries for her to see, but her friend’s
gaze burned across her skin, and Janan tugged the cloak tighter still. If she
kept pulling at it, soon she’d be a diamond from the pressure.
cat dropped her gaze, returning her attention to the writhing mass of djinn in
front of them. “Have you heard from the others yet?”
nothing.” Janan touched the shining gem that hung around her neck, a simple
piece of Torrebon technology carried by almost every djinn and genie in the
Realm. It not only allowed them access to the human and djinn internets but
also provided a simple means of communication with just a small spark of magic.
was all the magic she could bear to use. She had almost convinced herself that
if she didn’t use any genie magic at all, maybe she could be human again. Still
seventeen, still awkward and scared, but human, with a family and a life and
human problems. As it stood now, she didn’t really fit anywhere, and she felt
the weight of it every time she set foot outside.
nodded her head at the crowd, and they wove through the scores of temporary
stalls lining the sidewalk for the weekly farmers’ market. Vendors on both
sides hawked their wares: fabric bolts here, jewelry there, tiny carved statues
from the ifrit city of Prinnyn, mechanical toys from the ghul city of Torrebos.
The road had been blocked off from automobile traffic for the day, allowing the
thousands of pedestrians to browse freely without fearing oncoming cars.
tried to focus on the market and push her fear out of her mind. It was
uncontrollable, arising unbidden and unwanted, but sometimes she could stuff it
back down and ignore it for a while.
least until the next memory took her.
bag bounced against her thigh as she walked. It held only a few coins and her
single purchase of the day: a bright glass bottle to add to her collection. To
her, it had become a joke, a way of coping with what she was. A genie
collecting bottles. Some form of control over the prison of her existence. And
this bottle had felt particularly special, but she couldn’t say why. Perhaps
some subconscious ghost of memory. Heavens knew there were enough ghosts
flitting around in her skull.
sun was rising higher in the sky as the morning dragged on, but Janan still
shivered with cold. He wasn’t here, she was sure of it—sure that her mind was
just playing cruel tricks on her again—yet she couldn’t shake the way every
djinn in a cloak, every turned back, every sideways glare made her feel like
prey. What if he really was here,
somewhere in this mass of bodies?
glanced sideways at Safiyya. The ocelot was small, but she made a formidable
foe. Surely Janan would be safe at her side.
stopped walking and looked up at her expectantly.
sorry,” Janan said, blinking herself back to the present. “What did you say?”
just asked if you wanted a drink. I’m getting a bit thirsty.” They were stopped
next to a vendor selling cold fruit drinks.
rubbed her head against a picture of a lemon below the counter. “This one,
pointed to the lemon drink and a grape drink in the displayed pitchers, trading
a silver coin for the two glasses. They walked a few steps away before she
placed the lemonade on the sidewalk for Safiyya, out of the way of trampling
feet, and sat down on the curb. Her own straw halfway to her mouth, she
suddenly froze, feeling the pressure of a person standing just behind her.
heart began pounding all over again. Sweat shone on her pale skin, and she
wheezed for breath, unable to take a sip of the refreshing drink. No longer
thirsty, she set the glass down next to Safiyya and turned to face the
presence, ready to run or strike if needed.
man in a cloak stood hunched behind her, eyes bright yellow against his pale
blue skin, even shaded as they were under the hood. They seemed to glow with
their own light, like a harvest moon on an otherwise black night.
she saw the man, her heart began to slow its furious pace, and she forced a
shaky smile. “Mahtab.”
adoptive father stood with his arms full of packages from around the market,
grinning a sharp-toothed smile. She crossed her arms and pressed her hands
against her body, willing the shaking in her fingers to subside. Her adoptive
mother, Irina, reached a hand down to help Janan to her feet.
Mahtab’s wife of nearly a century, was the opposite of him in every way. Where
he was blue-skinned and stood with a permanent bend in his spine, she looked
like she was cut from the finest alabaster, her hair fine-spun gold and her
posture tall and proud.
allowed herself to be drawn up next to them. “Is it time to go home?”
you find everything on your list?” Irina asked.
blushed with guilt. In truth, she’d forgotten about the list after the vendor
with the bottles. She had been so distracted with the bottle that she had
missed half of the family’s produce, still on her list.
take that as a no,” Mahtab said. He studied her, quiet for a moment. “But
perhaps we can drop you at home and finish the errands ourselves.”
closed her eyes. He had seen her fear, had made the decision that she had done
enough for the day. She would remain a burden, unable to fulfill her duty to
their small family.
opened her mouth, intending to say no, to say that she could push through and
finish their trip, but no words left her mouth, and she nodded in defeat.
right, then,” Mahtab said, nodding back. His face was kind, but Janan couldn’t
bear to meet his eyes.
turned in the direction of home, a small apartment on the west side of the
city, and began pushing their way through the crowds. She was buoyed by the
presence of Mahtab and Irina, feeling her confidence replace her fear with
every step they took. Maybe she could make it after all.
opened her mouth to say so when a small trio of smug-looking djinn leered at
genie,” one of them spat.
worry,” another snarled. “They’ll be gone soon.”
Safiyya was at Janan’s side, baring her sharp teeth. “Keep walking,” she
growled low in her throat.
third djinn rolled her eyes before following her friends. Her sighed words were
soft, meant only for Janan’s and Safiyya’s ears. “Genie sympathizers. Just as
bad as the genies.”
Janan dropped her eyes to the sidewalk and trailed after Mahtab, already several yards ahead of her. Perhaps going home was for the best.
Want to read more? Check out the masterpost of stops on the blog tour, or go ahead an pre-order your copy today! Again, you can pre-order this book on Amazon and any other major retailer. And don’t forget about the Facebook Launch Party on Saturday!
One week to go! Here’s a list of the celebrations! 😀
Today is a very special day (also, happy Easter for those of you celebrating, and happy 1 year anniversary to my other half)!
My debut is less than a week away, and now we get to celebrate its release! Today marks the kickoff of the blog tour for This Cursed Flame. Some very kind bloggers/authors have agreed to help me celebrate with a number of posts that I hope you will all find interesting.
Be sure to tune in for all the festivities across the interwebs, and then head over to Facebook on April 27th for the launch party! We’ll have plenty of extras, behind-the-scenes, and giveaways for everyone (including hand-painted genie bottles, made by the author herself!).
Can’t wait to see you there!
Are you excited? I’m so excited! Let me know what you’re most excited about in the comments below!!! Then, head on over to the first stop on the tour!
Want to know the process This Cursed Flame went through? Keep reading!
Last week, to get us into the spirit for This Cursed Flame‘s release, we discussed some of my favorite genie books (by the way, I definitely missed The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross… so good, but not traditional genies. They’re called daevas, but they share some traits with mythological djinn.).
This week, though, I want to go over the development of This Cursed Flame, from story seed to the version that is up for pre-order on Amazon and all other major retailers now. Buckle in, folks. It’s been a long journey.
As you will likely notice in some of next week’s coming material, this book started as just an idea stemming from an old sitcom. I went through a major phase of loving classic sitcoms when I was in middle school, and honestly, I never grew out of it. Sitcoms were my own personal comic relief during school and at the end of rough days. They were light and fluffy and full of magic or imagination or simply characters and worlds (even the realistic ones) I loved.
One of those sitcoms I especially loved was I Dream of Jeannie, but you will have to come back next week for more on that. 😉 It inspired an idea in me in 2011, the summer after I graduated from undergrad. I loved the scenes where we got to see Jeannie’s world, inside her bottle, things from her perspective.
And I wanted more. I wanted a book from the perspective of a genie.
It started with an idea of a human girl stolen away from her life and transformed into one of the djinn… but as such, she could never be really djinn (or really human), and so she was thrust into a world not her own where she could never belong anywhere again.
That first version had extra characters, too. And boy did it make the book confusing! The first difference between early versions and the final version is that I had a sub-antagonist instead of the main antagonist, Ahriman. It made little sense, but to my baby writer brain (I was only just realizing what it took to finish a story, even though I’d been writing since elementary school) it felt right.
But the story felt complete to me, and I wanted to publish. I entered grad school and realized how much I loved writing and wanted to share it with the world. I initially wanted to publish this version myself, independently, but life changed during grad school in about 2014, and I suddenly couldn’t afford to hire the professionals who would help me.
So I queried it for traditional publishing. I got some interest, but no one wanted it after reading it through and through.
So I took it back to edits, and I removed that sub-antagonist, and I tried a little more querying with the same results through 2017. I shared this version on Wattpad as well, and got a few enthusiastic views, but I still wasn’t happy with it, and I decided to go back to edits again and head toward independent publishing again (in 2018), now that my financial situation had changed.
So I hired a developmental editor, who suggested a mountain of changes. I had another team member, Afya Sura, who I still love, even though I ultimately had to cut her out of the story. And then there was the human… you’ll see when you start reading that Laurelin is the main human character, and her boyfriend is Cody. Well, it became apparent during edits that Cody served no useful purpose in the story… but Laurelin had a pretty good one. And then there’s Safiyya. I bulked up her backstory and her role and it turned out so beautifully!
And, finally in January 2019, this was the story I wanted to tell, the story I needed to share. I had started 8 years ago with a theme of “Dragons can be beaten”, and eventually I realized that my theme was actually “Sometimes we put ourselves in the bottle.” It covers the story and the feelings I had for it when I started, even though I didn’t realize it yet.
And now, on April 27, 2019, it will be available as this final version as an independently published novel. And I couldn’t be happier!!!
It’s been a long journey, and I know you will adore it just as much as I do. I can’t wait for it to be in your hands in just one week!
So don’t hesitate; head over to the link and see just what I’m talking about. Again, it is on Amazon and all other major retailers now and will be sent directly to your e-reader next Saturday!
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the kick-off of the launch week festivities, and until then, let me know about your own story’s journey in the comments below!
Wait, you mean there are books with GENIES in them??? GIMME ALL THE BOOKS!!!
We are just over two weeks away from the release of This Cursed Flame (and only a week and a weekend away from the start of the blog tour, starting April 21). So for the next two Fridays, I’ll be sharing things related to the book!
Today I want to talk about some of my favorite books and series that deal with djinn and genies. Genies aren’t common creatures for authors to use, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some really great stories out there that have them!
So without further ado, let’s get right into it! Here are some of my favorite books with djinn and genies.
If you’ve been around a while, you’ve heard me mention this before (maybe back in February?). This series is one of my favorite urban fantasies, and it specifically deals with the relationships between magically gifted humans, the djinn they capture and use, and the tumultuous planet under our feet. I greatly enjoyed the elemental nature of the powers and the complexity of the interactions between each magical thing involved in the story. And having a vengeful planet underfoot, one that seems to be sentient, well, that’s terrifying.
This one just came out earlier this year. It’s urban fantasy, takes place in Pittsburgh, AND features a genie… yeah, this was an insta-buy for me. And I didn’t regret it. This book had a fresh flavor of urban fantasy with unique shifters, lesser-known and lesser seen magical creatures, and a genie with wish magic. I loved every second of the read, and I cannot wait for the next book to come out!
This book was one of those more lighthearted fantastic romps. It felt like I was listening to someone tell me a story, which always warms my reader’s heart, and it stars a genie (jinni) and a golem straight out of Jewish folklore. The story was deep and engaging, and it was such a pleasure to read!
This one is a young adult book set in a desert country full of legendary magic (that a friend of a friend has seen) and gunslingers. It was such an interesting blend of Wild West and desert culture, and then the idea of the magical creatures layered throughout, including genies, just kind of sealed the deal for me. It was a fun, magical read!
This one is about a teen who was changed into a genie a thousand years ago and has been on the run from a power-hungry man who wants to use her magic to become even more powerful. The main character has faced classic genie problems, such as horrible masters and inane wishes, and in this book, she gets a real, kind master who wants to help. This was another fun, unique story that I loved!
And, of course, how could I have a favorite genie books post without including my own??? This book, if you haven’t been paying attention to me lately, is all about a girl who was changed into a genie by an evil djinn… and now he finds that her very existence disrupts his plans. And then there’s the science nerd human. The two girls are accidentally thrown together, and it is only with each other that they can save their worlds, and themselves, from the reach of this evil djinn. This book is full of magic, worldbuilding, and strong female relationships. You can pre-order it on Amazon or any other major retailer, and keep an eye on Amazon for the paperback, coming soon!
Have you read any other books with genies? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about some more!
Not so long ago, we had author Kandi Wyatt over for the cover reveal of her new fantasy adventure, An Unexpected Escapade. Now, we have her back to celebrate that same book’s release with an author interview! (PS, it releases today!!!)
Without further ado, here is my conversation with Kandi! (responses have not been edited)
Welcome! We’re so glad to have you back again! Would you mind telling us a
little bit about yourself and your writing journey? When did you start?
When did you decide you wanted to publish?
So glad to be here. I’m a wife, mom of five, teacher, author, artist,
and photographer’s assistant. To say I’m busy is an understatement. I’m down to
only one child at home, and he’s seventeen. The rest are out on their own.
I’ve enjoyed writing ever since I was in high school, but being
a mom, I didn’t have a ton of time to sit down and write. I read when I could
and had other hobbies, but in 2006, after reading a young adult book by Timothy
Zahn, I followed through with the discussion questions at the back of the book,
and created a world of squirrel-like creatures and a little girl who was washed
ashore. I wrote it for my kids, with the main character being patterned after
my daughter. Another three years went by before I picked up another story.
On a family vacation my daughter jokingly said she’d been
misnamed. She’s not a morning person, and her name’s Dawnya. I asked if she
should be called Duskya instead. Several miles further down the road, we passed
Three Mile Canyon Rd.
I envisioned a dragon spewing fire down a box canyon. From that humble
beginning flowed Dragon’s Future and
the Dragon Courage series. Between December and July, I wrote four and a half
of the six books. Then the muse went silent. I had said I’d not force the
stories, so turned to drawing characters and scenes.
Fast-forward to 2015, my kids were now much older—one out of the
house and three in high school. The middle son won a scholarship to a writer’s
conference. I attended with him and my youngest daughter. While there, one of
the presenters stated that her publishing company was accepting submissions. I
immediately thought of Dragon’s Future.
Returning home, I debated and debated acting upon the information. Finally, I
hit submit without telling a soul. Three weeks later, I had to let people know
and make another decision—should I publish it?
Upon careful consideration and discussion with family and other
authors, I decided to publish. A year later, I had four books published and was
working on the fifth, when the publishing company went out of business. That
was another turning point in my career. I had the option of quitting or
continuing as an indie or finding another publishing house. My choice seemed
clear to me since I wanted control over my books. So, without any disruption in
my publishing schedule, I went indie in June, 2016.
there anything in particular that often inspires you?
When I first started writing, it was my kids and students, but
now more of my newer stories have been inspired by my husband. He’s asked “What
if?” and posed ideas for a whole knew world. We also work together in creating
photographs that tell a story. I’ve used several of those to write stories.
3. Do you
have any favorite topics or themes to write about? What about to read?
I write about what interests me, but also what’s important. Many
of my themes come from spiritual truths found in the Bible, even though they
may be cloaked with fantasy themes or characters.
I love reading sci-fi and fantasy. Historical fiction, if well
done, also is a favorite.
new release sounds like a blast! What gave you the idea to write a
The bigger question is why did it take me this long to write a
unicorn story. I loved unicorns from middle school and through high school, but
then my husband introduced me to dragon stories. So, those are what came out
This trilogy is based on real-life. The town of Myrtle
Beach, Oregon, isn’t based on Myrtle Beach, Virginia.
It’s actually a blend of two town names in my area—Myrtle Point and Gold Beach.
Several of my students inspired the main characters. While I was writing book
1, I had in mind book 2, but a student came up to me and said, “Señora, you
should write a book about girls, horses, and the ocean.” She didn’t realize I
already had in mind a story about girls, horses, and a unicorn with her as
inspiration for one of the main characters.
Since book 1 had a dragon, I thought a unicorn would blend in
well with horses. I wanted each book of the trilogy to have a different
mythological creature. Little did I realize that the idea for book 3 would
morph to include many beings from myth.
5. Did you
have any favorite or least favorite parts to write?
Actually, yes. Book 2 took over a year to write as I tried to
process my grief for the student who asked me to write the story. She lost both
parents over the course of one year. In some ways she appeared to handle it
better than I did! I didn’t know what I should do with the characters in the
book—should I have them go through the same thing she did in real life, or
should I change things? In the end, after a year of trying to write, I was able
to sit down and keep some of the same things as the real-life person and
adapting them to fit the story.
I loved how the character Will came about though. His character
grew from book 1 to book 2 based on my own understanding of the student who
inspired him. The quiet, steady personality of Will was what I saw in my
student. I’m glad he became Ana’s friend and confidante.
hints about upcoming projects?
Oh, wow! There are several, and if characters don’t be quiet the
stories might not come out in the order they’re supposed to. I’m doing edits
for book 3 which is to release in September.
Then the goal was to have an Ancient Egypt Biblical retelling
trilogy ready for next January. I’m writing book 2 right now, but another story
kind of took over this week. I thought it was a short story, but it’s all ready
over 6,000 words.
I also plan to return to the world of Dragon Courage with a
trilogy based in the Carr, one of the sections of that realm.
The short story very possibly will be a three story novella
either published as three separates or joined into one long book. It looks like
it’ll be the first in a new world inspired by my husband’s “what if” question.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with us? Or anything
you’d like to share with aspiring authors out there?
The best thing I can say for aspiring authors is to stay true to
you, keep writing, and gather a team who has the same vision you do. I love
working with my team. They make the journey so much better.
Thank you for reading. Tosca Lee, author of The Line Between, said that there are three people who make a book—the author, God, and the reader. This is so true. The reader brings their own experiences into the reading and the story is all the richer for it. I hope you enjoy Myth Coast Adventures. I can’t wait for readers to see the conclusion.
Thanks so much!
An Unexpected Escapade is out now! You can grab your copy here. And be sure to check out Amazon and Goodreads for more books by Kandi!
About the Author
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.
Kandi notified us of an issue with her pre-orders on 16 April 2019. If you pre-ordered, Amazon mistakenly sent out the ARC version of the manuscript, instead of the final. To fix this, please go to your Content and Devices under your Amazon account and click Update Content. She apologizes for the confusion and mixups, but this is a quick fix to make sure you have the correct, final version!
What do spring and creating a book have in common? Let’s find out!
Hi, friends! This morning I noticed my first green leaves on my commute to work! Usually, I don’t see the little development of spring growing around me; I see it all at once, as I open my eyes one morning to be surrounded by lush, green trees.
But today, I saw the tiny green leaves, the bright red buds on trees. And, of course, I’ve been noticing the flowers blooming on trees all week. That’s my favorite.
And it got me thinking about how the development of a story is like the birth of spring. How, you may ask? Well, let me tell you.
Every story starts with an idea, just like every plant that blooms in the spring started as a seed. That seed may have been deposited a long time ago, just waiting for conditions to be right to sprout, or it may have just been dropped and immediately sprinted into growth and development. And this is true for stories, as well. For example, I started a story a few years back that I got partway through and then just stopped. And then I had a new, fresh idea of what I wanted it to be, and it is developing from this old seed I thought was dead.
And while we’re on the metaphor, did you know that seeds can be dormant for thousands (maybe more, I’m a cell biologist, not a botanist!) of years and still grow when placed into the right set of conditions? Amazing, right? And so can a story. You may have had an idea twenty years ago and just now found what you wanted to really make it bloom.
Your seed is growing!
So time passes and you write your first draft. It’s a mess. But, as I recently heard it so eloquently stated, the first draft is simply to make the story exist. This is like the skeleton of the trees from winter. They’re there, but there’s not much to them. Yet.
After the story exists, then we start to make it functional. We rearrange the order of scenes or re-plot the storyline or subplots. These are like the buds and the tiny baby leaves. They are starting to become what we know will one day be a majestic forest full of majestic trees. As long as we continue to feed it sunlight and water and nutrients (feed your ideas and work on the story).
And then we can finally get to the mature story. This is where we get an effective draft, one that tells the story we want to tell and shares the message we want to share. Like the fully bloomed leaves on a tree, they’re finally doing their job of absorbing sunlight and creating food… our book can now feed readers’ imaginations and thoughts.
I’m so happy spring is finally here, and I am loving every minute of the development of my current works. This Cursed Flame is already at the final stage, heading into a summer of fun (you can pre-order it on Amazon and here for all other retailers), Sea of Broken Glass is at the second stage, growing its shoots and flowers, and the Secret New Project is a seedling still making its skeleton. I am in love with all three of these projects (and some other, smaller ones for the future), and I can’t wait to share them with everybody.
So what about you? What stage is your writing in? Or, if you don’t write, what are some books that remind you of spring? Let’s chat in the comments!