Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: Celebrate!

July 3, 2015

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So, people must be wondering a lot about all this talk about starting college when it’s July-and tomorrow is the 4th!

I figured I’d go out with a figurative bang and talk about vacations, since summer vacation—and vacations from work—are a grand part of life, whether it be school life or work life. At the end of the day, no matter one’s worries about work and school, what really matters is one’s family and loved ones. What with the landmark victory last week for gay marriage and the coming celebration of America’s birthday, I figured it would be good to talk about partying!

In Freshman Blues, people party before vacations with enormous frat parties and celebrations, complete with showing off superpowers. In college, I can’t count the number of random parties, Thirsty Thursday celebrations, and Friday night celebrations that happened for very little reason other than to have fun. I worked a lot of my own fun or funny college experiences into the book. After all, a huge part of college life is goofing off!

But how do you guys celebrate? Will your fourth be spent by the pool, at a barbecue, or out on a lawn, watching fireworks? For those outside the U.S., what sort of vacations do you take when you have the chance—or what would your dream vacation be?

Let’s talk about partying as I leave my last post for the day! Thank you all so much for participating!

Just as a last reminder, you can grab Freshman Blues here at Dreamspinner!   You can also check out my other work, or visit me to continue the conversation past the release party, at my blog!

I’m going to leave you all with one last cover shot, blurb, and an excerpt! Thanks again everyone, and I’ll be around to chat in the comments until midnight!

Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.

Excerpt:

Chapter one

Chris took a deep breath. Then another. The Isaac Newton dormitory loomed over his head.

The engine of his parents’ car gunned, and he gave a weak wave to his mother. The last thing he saw was her proud smile as the car began to pull away, leaving him on the sidewalk with his two enormous suitcases by his feet. The car rushed past the faded sign proclaiming “Creekville University, 1891,” and then was gone.

Chris turned back to the double doors and took another deep breath, the butterflies in his stomach threatening to spill out of his mouth. He took a crumpled paper out of his pocket.

“Are you lost?” He jumped at the voice. A girl with long blonde hair smiled at him, her teeth bright white. “Need help with your bags?”

“Uh….” He cleared his throat and started again. “I’m Chris Taklo. I’m, uh, a freshman.”

She smiled wider. “I figured as much. What floor are you on?”

“Fourth floor. Reed Hall.”

“Great!” She stuck out a hand, and he stared at it for a moment before shaking. “I’m Krystal, and I’ll be your RA this year. Welcome to the Newton dorm.”

Chris took a breath, his stomach calming. “Thanks.”

“Parents aren’t helping you move in?” When Chris shook his head, she nodded. “That’s fine. What room number are you? No, wait. Let’s get your bags first. You’re sure it’s Reed Hall, right?”

“Right. Room number….” He glanced at the paper in his hand. “Four-oh-nine.”

“Okay. Here we go!”

She began to recite something, and tension fizzed on Chris’s skin. He tried to pick out the words and numbers, and figured it out just as his bags began to levitate off the ground.

It was a physics equation, and it rattled off her tongue so fast he could barely make out the pronunciation of big G and little G, mass and velocity. The bags soon floated over his head, and then up toward the window of the fourth floor. Krystal changed the recitation, rattling off variables related to momentum, and the bags floated through the window.

“There.” She took a breath, then broke into another large smile. “That should lighten your load.”

Chris kept staring at the open window where his bags had disappeared. This was college. He hoped he could make it through even one semester. “Thanks.”

“Don’t look so down. You might be able to do that one day, if you decide to major in physics.” She patted him on the shoulder, then hopped up the cement stairs. “C’mon, let’s get you to your room. Do you know what you want to major in yet?”

Chris’s mouth twisted. “Not yet.”

“That’s okay.” The interior was plain, the walls a smoky yellow. Fire doors marked exits down long hallways, but Chris didn’t get the chance to explore before Krystal hit the elevator button with a well-manicured fingernail. “A lot of freshmen come in not knowing what they want to do. I’m sure some of the older students will give you suggestions, though.”

“Right.” The elevator dinged, and Chris stepped inside. A blue tarp stretched across the interior, and he peeked over. There was nothing on the other side.

“That’s for researchers transporting animals,” Krystal said. Chris blinked. “And here we are—Reed Hall.”

The doors swung open to the Reed Hall of the Isaac Newton dormitory, fourth floor. Chris’s new college home.

Green carpeted hallways led to two lounges on either side of the elevator lobby. His bags lay on the floor of the lounge to the left. A guy with a buzz cut was currently using them as a footrest. A football game blared on the television.

“Derric!” Krystal shouted. The buzz cut guy raised an arm in a lazy wave. “Get off the new student’s bags!”

Derric lifted his legs, Chris’s suitcase falling on its side. “Sorry,” he said with a shrug.

Chris sighed, then walked over and pulled the bags away from the chair Derric sat in. “You a freshman?” Derric asked, his gaze swiveling from the TV mounted on the wall. “That’s all you have?”

“Yep.” Chris grunted as he lifted the bags.

Derric shrugged again, then went back to watching the game. Well, fine, then. He wasn’t someone Chris would bother with much.

Reed Hall stretched down past the two lounges, a row of closed doors on either side. The first one he passed was decorated with colorful letters spelling Krystal R.A.

“This is my room.” Krystal had followed him. “There are sixteen people in Reed Hall, though I haven’t met all the new arrivals yet. Can you manage from here?”

Chris nodded. He certainly hoped so.

“Great! We have a hall meeting tonight at eight where you’ll meet all your hallmates. Let me know if you need anything at all. The two guys in the room next to mine are also seniors, and I wouldn’t ask Frederick, but you can ask Kiefer anything if you can’t tell me.” She winked, and Chris’s face heated. “Also, your roommate is a sophomore, so you can ask him whatever you want too. Welcome again!” She waved, and Chris waved back before heading on down the hall. He wondered who Frederick was, and why he shouldn’t speak to him.

Most of the doors he passed were closed, including the one next to Krystal’s, where she’d said the seniors lived. There were two bathrooms—one for males and one for females—and finally he passed another open door.

Paintings covered the entire room. Some were modern—splotches of bright color on white canvas—and others depicted stick figures. A few were more detailed, showing women in colorful dresses dancing in a brightly lit ballroom. A girl with long dark hair sat behind a desk, sketching something. She lifted her hand from the pencil for a moment, the utensil staying aloft and continuing to sketch. Almost certainly an art major, Chris thought.

Chris kept moving, staying aware of the numbers on the doors. His room was last.

He passed another open door, but the room had no occupant. A giant football jersey was spread across the doorway. Must be Derric’s room.

Finally, he stopped outside room 409, a bright red exit door down the hall to his left. He set down his bags and fumbled for his keys a moment before swinging open the door.

“Don’t move!” someone shrieked. Chris froze.

Two enormous computer towers met his gaze, and parts littered the floor. A guy with slicked black hair and glasses stood, a pair of tweezers in his hand.

“You’re my roommate, right?” he said. “Okay, give me a few seconds to get this stuff off the floor.”

“Uh… what are you doing?” Chris asked. His new roommate turned one of the computer towers, the interior gutted.

“Making some adjustments.” He began picking up electronic bits from the floor near the door, waving a hand. “Sorry. I wasn’t expecting you. My roommate from last year never showed up, so I guess I kind of… forgot.” He grabbed wiring that lay near the empty bed on what Chris guessed would be his side of the room. “Come in, come in. I’m Gene. Short for Eugene, but… just call me Gene. You?”

“Chris.” He stepped carefully into the room, arms straining as he lifted his suitcases onto the bed. He wished he knew a few physics equations at the level Krystal did.

“Nice to meet you.” Gene shoved one of the computer towers back under his desk with a foot. “I guess, um, tell me about yourself. Where you’re from, all that stuff. We’re roommates now!”

“Uh… I’m from California. I’m nineteen.” He gave a weak smile. “Not really interesting.”

“Nineteen? Same age as me. Old for a freshman.” When Chris didn’t elaborate, Gene shrugged. “Then again, I was young in my year, so whatever. What are you going to major in?”

“Uh… no idea.” Chris set his suitcases on the now-clean floor and sat on the bed.

“Figures. Not many people know. And even the ones who do know as freshmen don’t always know exactly what their abilities will be, even in their field. I don’t know yet, either. I’m majoring in computer engineering, though. Isn’t it obvious?” He gestured to the gutted computer tower.

Some of the tension went out of Chris’s shoulders. “You don’t know your abilities?”

“Nope. Maybe by the end of this year, after a few more classes. Or maybe I’m in the wrong field, and I’ll find out I have amazing skills in basket weaving.” He chuckled, sitting down in a plush computer chair. “Is that all you have, by the way? Where’s your computer?”

“I thought I’d rent one…?”

Gene’s eyes widened. “Wow. Okay, though. I’ll come with. We can go over to ITS, and I’ll help you get something good. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some piece of crap, trust me.” His chair creaked as he stood. “Put your things away. The sooner we go the better, or the good stuff will be gone.”

“Okay.” Chris unzipped one of the bags, thinking for a second. “Let’s just go now, then. All that’s in here are clothes and bedsheets.”

Gene raised a dark eyebrow. “Wow. Light packer, aren’t you?”

“I… don’t have much.”

“Well, let’s go, then. Don’t forget your keys. Unless you’re majoring in locksmithing, of course.” He grinned, and more of the anxiety left Chris’s muscles as he smiled back.

So far, college didn’t seem so bad.

Chris just wished he actually belonged here.

Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: New Adult

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Hello everyone! As the evening goes on, I want to chat a bit more about Frederick, and about why I wanted to write a new adult story in particular.

Frederick is a very private individual, and one who struggles a lot with the thought of his future. I don’t want to spoil anything about the book, but he’s very worried about his job prospects, and that underlies a lot of his uncertainty and character conflict.

I remember my senior year in college well, and I faced a lot of the same worries Frederick did. The last year of college is the last step before independence for a lot of people. For others, it’s the last year of high school, or the last year of graduate school. But at some point, everyone faces the reality of having to find a first job that will, with any luck, lead to a stable career.

As much as I’d like to be a full time writer, I went the PHD path and I am now a researcher. Other people I know decided to get very stable jobs as programmers or work in finance. Others are still finding their footing in a very difficult job market. A large part of the reason I wanted to write New Adult, and ended up writing Freshman Blues, was to explore the thoughts and feelings behind that first step in finding a new job.

So what about all of you? What was your first job? Did you enjoy it, or was it rough? Were you able to find work straight out of high school, college or grad school, or did you struggle for a while? Or are you still looking? Let me know your thoughts! What was, or is, your time as a “New Adult” like?

Also, I noticed that the print version of Freshman Blues is sold out on Amazon. The DSP website should still have some copies, though!

Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: Tough stuff

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Every story needs a conflict, and in Freshman Blues, its Frederick’s unwillingness–or inability– to talk about his feelings and his battle with depression. So, let’s talk a bit about Frederick, the love interest and secondary character in Freshman Blues.

In Freshman Blues, Chris worries a lot about Frederick, who he thinks might be depressed. I wanted to take the time here to talk a little about depression, since I researched it a lot for the book.

Depression is hard to talk about and harder to define. The traditional diagnosis is a period of sadness and lack of ability to enjoy oneself for over two weeks, that’s out of proportion to a tragedy in someone’s life. But how do you define out of proportion? And why wait two weeks if someone is suffering?

I’ve heard plenty of descriptions of depression, both from people who’ve had it and from all over the internet. It’s like operating out a void, or just going through the motions of living. It’s terrifying to hear someone talk about, and quite difficult to know how to help. Chris, too, wants to help Frederick but doesn’t have the expertise or knowledge to do so. All he can do is keep trying to get close to Frederick.

Its well known that due to discrimination, GLBT individuals have slightly higher rates of depression. Thankfully, this is changing as people become more accepting and there is less homophobia in society. Freshman Blues deals with a bit of that as you learn about Frederick, and I did a lot of research on depression to do justice to his character. I’ve never been depressed myself, but given how common it is all over the world, it’s a worthwhile thing to learn about and write about. There’s hope out there!

What about you guys? Have you, or anyone you’ve known, ever been depressed?

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius: Superpowers!

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

So, let’s talk about the fantasy aspect of the contemporary fantasy that is Freshman Blues. The special powers!

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In writing the book, I wanted to have a setting where super powers are present, but I also wanted to avoid the typical “superhero” tropes. People aren’t born with their abilities, they earn them through study of their chosen field. There’s no Superman or X-Men in the Freshman Blues universe. There are, however, people who can use small-time abilities, like levitation or control of robots. But these abilities certainly don’t mean that you’re going to put on a cape and go crime-fighting—what it really means is that you’re employable.

In a way, the abilities are an allegory for mastery—in college in the real world, people always worry about what they can do, and whether they can get a job after graduation. That’s a huge part of the anxiety for senior students in Freshman Blues, including Frederick, who I will talk about more later. If you get out of college with a useless major, or a useless ability, things won’t go well for you. It’s the same worry people face in the real world, minus the superpowers.

While there aren’t any Supermen or Wonder Women in Freshman Blues, who have every power someone could think of, there are a lot of hard-working individuals with a chosen mastery. So my question to readers—if you were in the Freshman Blues world, what power would you aim for? What is your passion, and what superpower would be associated with it? If you like animals, would you want animal communication or control? If you like reading, would you then want speed-reading or instant understanding of a piece of work? What power would you want if you were, say, a cooking major? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back this evening to talk more about Freshman Blues, and I’ll be popping up in the comments of the release party posts in the meantime! :)

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius: New Experiences

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Starting a new job….starting a new class…starting a new hobby. A large part of life is doing things for the first time, trying out new experiences, and getting over that initial hurdle of anxiety to break out of your safe zone.

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In Freshman Blues, Chris, the main character, is starting his first year of college. Of course, considering his grades, he never expected to be there at all. It’s totally overwhelming for him, especially to see people use super powers they’ve already learned during their time in college.

He’s anxious, of course, but he gets through it by following through and making friends, and of course, developing a crush on another student. Once the initial experience is handled, getting into routine is easy. I think everyone has, to some extent, a tendency to develop routine just to keep themselves calm, even if it’s a simple coffee break at the same time every day.

What small things do you guys use to relax? Is there a routine you like? Or do you prefer to keep things exciting and never do the same thing twice? Tell us all about your first time trying something, and how it went!

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius!

July 3, 2015

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here!

I’ve been a writer of M/M for a while (you can find me at my website, Ravonsilvius.blogspot.com), and I’m here today to take over the blog and discuss my new release with Dreamspinner Press, Freshman Blues!

Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.

 

It’s available today at the DSP store! I’ll be around a lot this morning and evening to discuss my book and chat with everyone.

First, a bit about the book. Freshman Blues is a new adult contemporary fantasy, and takes place in a college setting where people can get superpowers based on the major they pick. Everyone comes into college with a goal in mind, a subject they’re passionate about or something they want to learn more about.

Of course, a few characters run into an issue–you want to be able to support yourself after college. And sometimes, the thing you’re passionate about isn’t going to make you money. It’s something a lot of younger people struggle with.

Passion is a tricky thing by itself, too. Its easy to be interesting in something, only to realize that doing it professionally is a whole other kettle of fish. It’s also easy to get discouraged when you try and try at something you love, but don’t compare to your own inner standards.

Of course, when you’re truly passionate about something, things just come together—work doesn’t seem like work, and time flies by as you do what you’re passionate about.

So what are you passionate about, DSP readers? (Aside from reading, of course!) What is the major thing in life you enjoy, the hobby you love, or the thing you’d love to be doing all the time?

Tower of the Ice Lord excerpt and giveaway with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

Thanks for joining me today for the Tower of the Ice Lord release party! I’ll leave you with an excerpt from the story. I’m also doing a giveaway of a free copy of the ebook – details at the end of this post!

***

Chapter One

The tower stood at the edge of the northern wastes, casting its long shadow upon the frozen landscape. Ancient beyond the memory of man and forged from the ashes of a fallen star, it thrust spikes of iron into the sky. Whispered legends told how sorceries guarded the gates and warded the walls. Winds howled through the turrets like the voices of the damned. They called it the Tower of Lost Souls, and Arius was its master.

He lived alone. All sorcerers did. He had taken and tamed this wilderness, and consequences befell those who dared trespass in his domain. For he had been sworn to the service of Gaia: set to war against the lords of Evernesse, all his purpose bent toward their doom. He had long ago buried the desire for human comfort and human company.

But that solitude was fractured on the night the ice wolves brought the stranger. Arius heard their baying across the distant miles and knew their patrols had found an enemy. From the battlements, he watched them herd their prey into the shadow of the tower.

The ghost owl watched with him, drifting on silent wings to settle on his shoulder. Its warm weight allayed his stirrings of unease.

“Well, Ghost,” he said, “shall we see what our friends have fetched us today?”

The ghost owl slanted its pale gaze on him, but made no answer.

Arius stroked its head and descended the hundred steps of the spiral stair. Before exiting the tower, he donned his ice wolf mask: cool ivory calming his blood, narrow slits sharpening his gaze. Armor against the distractions and delusions of the world.

He waited before the gates as the ice wolves drew to a halt, white flanks heaving, tongues lolling between teeth. Their kind had brought down mammoths in ages past, but Arius commanded them now. When he advanced, they yielded way, revealing the man they escorted between them.

He had slipped to his knees in the wet snow, soaking his trousers and boots. But he pushed himself doggedly back to his feet. His eyes were green as new leaves, hair gold like summer sun. Startlingly young for an aspiring champion, he stared at Arius in open curiosity when seasoned warriors quailed to face him.

“No invader has ever breached these walls,” Arius said. “Did you think you would be the first?”

“I’m not here to fight, Ice Lord,” the man said steadily. “I’ve come to offer myself to you.”

Arius suffered several moments of thunderstruck silence before he found words. “You’re hardly pretty enough to tempt me.”

The man flushed, staining his cheeks a becoming shade of rose. “Not like that. I know your god demands royal blood to end this war. Take me as your sacrifice.”

No words seemed adequate. “What mockery is this? Who do you think you are?”

“I’m the son of the king of Evernesse,” said the young man in the threadbare cloak. “And I mean what I say. If I trade myself to your god, will you call off your vendetta?”

His earnest tone roused only ire in Arius. This could be nothing save madness or trickery, and he would not be so easily deceived. “You are mistaken if you think to play games with me. Only a fool would believe your tale.”

The man regarded Arius with serious eyes. “Don’t you believe someone can love enough to die for another?”

Arius was thankful his mask concealed any reaction. Suppressing his disquiet, he answered, “You’ll die indeed. The only question is swiftly or slowly.” With a snap of his fingers, he summoned the ice wolves to attention. He felt savage satisfaction at the panic that flashed across the man’s face. “Take this prisoner to the dungeons.”

Arius stalked into the tower without a second glance, trusting his servants to carry out his wishes. He needed to commune with his brethren. He ascended the spiral stair, to the highest level of the tower, the Moon Chamber.

Eight arched windows cut into the walls, at cardinal and intercardinal points. Prisms of glass hung suspended in long chains, catching and refracting every sparkle of light, so that Arius walked through a frozen waterfall.

He angled them with care and precision, and though the waning moon was a mere sliver in the sky, its beams focused and refocused as they bounced between the prisms, until they shone bright silver in the round mirror at the center of the chamber.

Arius bowed over the Moon Mirror, calming his mind. “Ixia. I would speak with you.”

The mirror shivered, like wind rippling water. The shape of a face emerged from the brightness: a mask of carnelian, sculpted in the form of a hawk. She was guardian of the south, as he was guardian of the north. To the east and west, there were others, standing their shared vigil over the centuries.

“To what do I owe this rare occasion?” said the blood hawk to the ice wolf.

“Sister of mine,” Arius said, “I have had an unexpected visitor.” He relayed the encounter to her. “Never have I seen the like. Armies they have sent against us, and archmages, and assassins. All have failed. And now this, an ordinary man alone.”

The mask gave nothing away, but her amber eyes flickered with interest. “Perhaps he comes because they have failed.” She shook her head. “All these centuries hurling ourselves against the might of Evernesse, and here comes this gift fallen into your palm.”

“Gift or curse? Surely you do not trust it.”

“Then kill him and be done with it. But I trust in the wisdom of Gaia, against whom even the Eternal Mountain must crumble. Perhaps the king remembers the pact he betrayed. Perhaps he is ready to fulfill the bargain his ancestors made.”

“Not the king,” Arius said. “A prince.”

“Lord or heir, it is all the same. They pledged themselves in exchange for power, and now they owe the blood price. Or the land will suffer.”

“I know how the land suffers.” They both did. The blood hawks flew over deserts, and the ice wolves roamed through desolation, while the lords of Evernesse lived in their mountain paradise.

“Then you know your path already. You have no need of my counsel.”

Perhaps. And yet, “It has been too long since we spoke face-to-face.” It was a small jest; he had never seen her face.

“Indeed. Fare you well, brother of mine.” The blood hawk mask faded from the mirror, leaving Arius to contemplate his own reflection.

His path lay clear before him: the god called for a sacrifice, and the prince came to offer it. But there remained the question he had not asked Ixia, the question that troubled his thoughts.

Don’t you believe someone can love enough to die for another?

***

For your chance to win a free copy of the ebook, comment with what you like seeing in fantasy romance. After 12pm EST on Friday, one commenter will be randomly drawn to win.

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Tower of the Ice Lord and tea for two with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

There is a saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That may be a cliche, but just about everywhere in the world, sharing food together is a way for people to celebrate and to connect.

In Tower of the Ice Lord, there are several occasions when Arius and Loren share a meal together, and it becomes a small act of caring that shows their growing bond.

On a slight tangent, I was amused to find that one of my favourite tea shops, Adore Tea, had flavours of tea that seemed to match the characters:

Arius would be Arctic Fire (“the strong minty flavour will invigorate your mind and the sweet undertones will soothe your senses”).

Loren would be Enchanted Garden (“bursting with blossoms and exotic fruits this brew is sure to enchant your mind and spellbind your senses”).

Have there been any memorable meals in your favourite books? Or are there any characters you would love to invite to a dinner party?

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Tower of the Ice Lord and theme songs with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

Many years ago, I read a book called Far Harbor by Melisa C Michaels. On the last page, the author listed the songs that had inspired her while writing the story, and said, “If you liked the book, this is the soundtrack.”

Those words blew me away. A soundtrack for a book? How cool was that idea?

Ever since then, I’ve been alive to the possibility of songs that would fit the stories I’m writing. It’s a lot of fun to hear a song come onto the radio and think, “Wait, that would be the perfect theme song for this character!” Sometimes I also imagine what song would be playing in the climactic scene, or over the end credits. It’s like getting to compile a mixtape for a friend.

For Tower of the Ice Lord, that perfect theme song is “Force of Nature”, from the musical The Fourth Messenger by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng. I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it. Although the song is about enlightenment, I think it also works as a song about love being a force of nature, as well as about the battle between the human world and the natural world. And I adore the chorus, with its beautiful images of the moon turning tides and the sun melting ice – just like how meeting the right person can change your world forever.

You can listen to the song here:
http://thefourthmessenger.com/music/

Do you have songs you associate with your favourite books and characters?

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Tower of the Ice Lord release party with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

Hello! I’m Anne, posting from Sydney, Australia. My first novella, Tower of the Ice Lord, was released by Dreamspinner on 1 July. Looking forward to chatting with you all today!

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

I’m an avid reader, and some of genres I love are fantasy, science fiction, romance, historical, and mystery. Tower of the Ice Lord is a fantasy romance, and it was exciting to take what I enjoy most about these two genres and blend them together: the sense of wonder of fantasy, and the slow burn fire of romance.

Here’s the blurb:

Don’t you believe someone can love enough to die for another?

Arius the sorcerer has lived in solitude for centuries, watching over his frozen tundra and sending his ice wolves against the kingdom of Evernesse. Only a sacrifice of royal blood can end the war, and it comes when Loren, son of the king of Evernesse, arrives at the Ice Lord’s tower, willing to die to procure peace. Though stunned and mistrustful, Arius agrees. But as the fateful day draws nearer, Arius learns Loren’s bravery and commitment run deeper than he suspected, and Loren begins to see the lonely man beneath the Ice Lord’s mask. Arius’s god demands a sacrifice, Loren might be his people’s only hope, and both men must choose between the conflicting demands of duty and love.

Fantasy is often about saving the world with heroic acts of courage. Romance takes a different kind of courage: the courage to trust, to believe, and to open your heart to someone else.

What are your favourite things about the genres you love? Are there genres you like seeing combined together?

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com