Unleash the Inferno: An Author Interview with Tamara Shoemaker


Find Unleash the Inferno on Amazon!

INTERVIEW WITH TAMARA SHOEMAKER

Why hello, dear Tamara. So lovely to have you back on my blog today. Our last interview was when you released the second book the Heart of a Dragon series. Tell me a little about your newest release, Unleash the Inferno.

After the Battle at ClarenVale, Kinna Andrachen unites those who spurn King Sebastian’s tyrannical reign, mustering a rag-tag army of soldiers and creatures to face Sebastian’s far larger Lismarian army. Victory is elusive and allies are scarce, but Kinna’s tenacious spirit cannot succumb to injustice. Her fiery heart must learn to lead.

At last mastering control of the four Touches of the powerful Amulet, Ayden finds himself at the center of an epic struggle to destroy the corruption that has tainted the throne of Lismaria for centuries. As time runs out, his options for survival fade, surrendering him to a dark destiny.

Tied to a fate he does not want, Cedric Andrachen resists his inheritance, fleeing the lust for power it sparks in him. As war looms, Cedric faces his choices: will he turn his back on his throne and his kingdom? Or will he enter the struggle against tyranny, bringing the freedom his people have so long sought?

Sebastian sits, at last, on the Lismarian throne, stolen from him twenty years prior. But now the Rebellion, led against him by his niece and nephew, threatens his security from across the Channel, and the Amulet’s promise of power tempts him into even darker shadows. Ghosts of the past brutalize Sebastian’s present until the lines of reality blur with nightmare.

Flames of war ignite between nations. Peril threatens the Andrachen line.
Who will survive the inferno?

Ooh, sounds exciting! Is this the last book in the series?

Yes, the trilogy starts with Kindle the Flame, increases its action and cinematic scale with the second book, Embrace the Fire, and ends in an epic battle between kingdoms with the third book, Unleash the Inferno.

Do people need to read the other books or can they jump into the series at this book?

While I think a well-written book can sort of initiate readers and introduce them to the story without too much of a jar, so much of a trilogy’s rich history is lost if someone begins with the third book. I’ve compared it before to the idea of introducing oneself to the Lord of the Rings trilogy by beginning with Return of the King. You’d get to enjoy the scope and scale of epic warfare and big-screen cinematic beauty… but you miss out on the events that brought you to that point in the story. I definitely recommend reading this trilogy in the order it was written. But if you start with Unleash the Inferno, it won’t be the end of the world.

Heh heh. Or will it? 😉

Oh my. Better read the others, then! What inspired you to write this series?

I’ve always been a fan of epic fantasies, hearkening back to when I was a pre-teen, huddling under my blankets with a flashlight and reading Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. Before I began my Heart of a Dragon trilogy, I had an urban fantasy trilogy out on the market. I knew I wanted to add a fantasy based in a medieval world with knights and horses and battles and dragons and other fantastic creatures. This was confirmed when I went to New York City a few years ago to pitch an urban fantasy to some agents. One of the agents I spoke with listened to my pitch with interest. She invited me to send her my manuscript, and when I did so, she returned this comment: “I had really hoped for a medieval setting with ladies in impractical gowns and knights on horseback.”

Of course, I didn’t scrap my book based on her advice—I went ahead and published it independently (see my Guardian of the Vale trilogy)—but it did cement my desire to write a medieval-setting fantasy. That’s how Kindle the Flame was born.

What do you hope readers will experience while reading Unleash the Inferno?

Oh, loads of stuff! On a surface level, I just want them to get wrapped up in an action-packed, intrigue-filled plot. Beyond that, I want them to appreciate the nuanced and layered characters that fill the pages. Romance fans I hope will enjoy the angsty Ayden and the green-eyed, gorgeous Kinna. Fantasy fans will love those dragons, I think. Literary fiction fans will find some depth in the introspective soul-searching carried out by heroes and villains alike. Anywhere there is a clashing battle of dragons in the skies, there will be cinematic, big-picture beauty. I hope readers get to experience all of these with clear word pictures playing out in their imaginations.

Why are you obsessed with dragons? And have you seen someone about it yet? 🙂

Ha! My psychologist kicked me out and told me never to come back (just kidding). 😉 I love the idea of “good” dragons. I grew up with Smaug and similar ilk in my literature, so the idea of dragons with sympathetic characteristics was intriguing to me. Really, these dragons I included in this trilogy could be overgrown puppy dogs, just with, you know, fangs and Dragonfire. I love the mind-connection I set up between the characters and their respective dragons. It just seemed like a really cool concept.

Your ability to multitask continues to astound me. How do you juggle being a prolific writer and an amazing editor while being the awesome mother of three?

*Shrugs and looks around for an answer to drop out of the sky. 😉

I don’t know, quite honestly. I take one day at a time. I set goals and work my rear end off to reach them. Some days I succeed, some days I fail, but I never give up. I love what I do. I love being a mother, a wife, a homemaker, an author. I love volunteering my time to things that are important to me. I love embracing life. I have no idea how I juggle it; I just go from one thing to the next, and somehow it all works out. 🙂

What’s next for you? What books/series are you working on now?

I’m finishing up another line-edit (Tamara is also my editor and just finished my line edit!!!) for a client during the month of May, and then I’m planning to lay down the first draft for a brand new YA fantasy featuring fairy-tale settings, political intrigue, and world-travel in June. We shall see if it actually happens or not. 🙂

And now time for my fun/silly question. If you were trapped on a deserted island with only three books, what books would they be?

My Bible, Anne of Green Gables (that, when you open it, somehow magically includes the entire Harry Potter series, all Jane Austen books, Jane Eyre, several Gilbert Morris books, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder series), and How to Construct a Sea-Worthy Vessel and Escape Desert Islands Using Only Pages Torn From Books, Sand, and Palm Leaves. I’ve heard it’s a best-seller…

Haha! It’s been great talking with you, Tamara! I look forward to reading your new book!

Find Unleash the Inferno on Amazon!

Tama Author Pic

Tamara Shoemaker authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, Embrace the Fire, and Unleash the Inferno, as well her Guardian of the Vale trilogy: Mark of Four, Shadows of Uprising, and Guardian of the Vale. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction, chases three children hither and yon, and tries hard to ignore the brownie mixes that inevitably show up in her cabinets.

Follow her on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker

Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks

Instagram

COVER REVEAL: Vivir el Dream


Vivir el Dream Kindle cover.png

Vivir el Dream, my Latino Christian fiction novel, is set to release on Amazon in book print and ebook on May 20th.

It’s been over five years and literally thousands of hours of work to get it ready for this moment. And it’s starting to feel real! I got the cover, I’m picking out dingbats and fonts for formatting, and I’m only six chapters away from the end of the final edit. One day soon I will hold the completed book in my hand (I’m sure there will be a post for that day as well!)

I am thankful for my husband for painting the picture for my cover. He did an awesome job! 🙂

If you want to follow what’s going on with my book more closely and find the buy links, head over to my Facebook author page.

Recipe: Italian Sausage Pasta with Gouda


Cook and Prep Time: 20 min

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian sausage

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, diced

2 cups fresh spimach, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano

1 tbsp fresh basil

1 tbsp fresh parsley

1 tsp fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper

3 cups whey (or 1 cup milk and 2 cups water)

1 package pasta (bow-tie, penne, elbow)

2 cups gouda cheese, chopped

  1. Cook sausage, onions, and garlic in olive oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot, covered, until sausage is cooked. 
  2. Add spinach and herbs until spinach is cooked.
  3. Add whey and pasta, covered, let boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add gouda and cook uncovered until creamy but thick.
  5. Enjoy!!!!

Here’s a pic of my toddler enjoying his meal!!!

A Bit Of St. Patrick’s Day Fun: A Guest Blog Post from Rose


rose_profile

A very happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all of Allison’s friends.

I am enclosing below an Irish Dream straight from the little people.

It comes from a home in the big hedge somewhere near Derryhall in County Westmeath in Ireland, where all the men have bunches of shamrocks in there cabeen* caps to keep the little people at bay.

rose painting

Fairy Lore

“You got out of bed and did not make your side of the bed,” the leprechaun woman says, as she pulls on the covers. She continues, “Leaving it all to me.” (They are speaking in thick “Irish brogues.”) She went looking for that light white blanket between the sheet and the duvet and finds it all balled up at the foot of the bed. She says, “I see that those legs of yours, with the big calf muscles, have kicked down…”

He talks over what she is saying and says, “Those same legs are years younger than yours. Yours should be in a museum.” He is standing in the half dark, half dressed, as he adjusts his green tie in the mirror, his shiny white small pants and white legs shine in the dark. He adds he is a busy leprechaun and no time for bed-making as he is doing important work.

She says, “doing nothing except making pots of gold…”

He says, “Getting no respect, I am going to down tools*.”

_______

*Cabeen caps are traditional, flat hats worn by Irish men that have a peak in the front with a fastener on it

*Down tools = Stop working (Rose states that phrase was “too Irish” for me.)

My thanks to Rose for this wee bit of Irish humor/dreamwork for St. Patrick’s Day. For more fun and insightful posts from Rose, check out her blog!

rose india

An Important Visualization


Today I would like to you in a guided visualization, one that I hope will help broaden your understanding and increase your empathy.

I would like you to remember a younger you, living in your hometown. If you lived several places, pick the place that felt most like home, where your family and friends lived. If that is where you live now, just picture that.

I want you to picture your favorite places there: your favorite restaurant, your favorite park, your home, your place of worship, your local supermarket, your school. I want you picture your family and friends. I want you to picture your time with them: the laughs you had together, the vacations you took, meals together, how you spent summers or your free time, even the fights you had and the tough times. Picture it in detail…the sound of their voices, their laughter, the way they held themselves, what they wore. Use as many senses as possible.

Once you have a vivid picture in your mind, think about how you felt back then. How much like home it feels. Perhaps you even still dream of these people and places. They are an essential part of you. You cannot remove these things from you. They feel like home, no matter if they were challenging times or not.

Now I want you to imagine that things went a bit different. I’d like you to imagine that that place that you call your hometown was going through a rough time, that there were no jobs available or the jobs there couldn’t pay the bills. Imagine that your family had to make tough choices…sell the family car(s), get rid of cable/internet/phones, live somewhere less expensive (and most likely more dangerous), never go to your favorite restaurant again, never go on vacations, never participate in your favorite hobbies due to lack of funds and transportation, leave school to work at an early age to support the family, not be able to go to your place of worship because you had to work extra overtime to put food on the table, having to decide whether to cut off water or electric or both in order to feed your family. Really think about it, what it would feel like to live, not just paycheck to paycheck, but going to bed hungry and worrying that you wouldn’t make enough to save your family. If you really want to go the extra mile, picture a huge increase in violence in the area, maybe even war, due to the extreme poverty.

Now imagine that you’ve heard of a place, where a lot of other people from your hometown were moving. A place where people lived comfortably, where they had food to eat and safe places to live, where you could send your future children to school, where you could make enough money to send back to your family so that they would have food on the table and a safe place to live. Think about how strong your desire would be to move to this place, how desperate you might feel to go there.

Imagine this place was hard to visit, not to mention move to. Imagine the system was corrupt and all the official were corrupt, that your family and friends have tried to pay the little money they had, only to be rejected a visit and not returned their “filing fees.” Think about how it would be to decide to hitch a ride with someone who knew a way to get you in. You might make that choice even if you had to scrounge all the money you could to get there, in risk of your own life, just on the offchance that you could save your family from poverty. Imagine you make it, while others around you have died in the desert that separates your hometown and that place. Imagine how scared you would still feel that you could get caught at any time but how glad you would be to be able to send money to your family. You wouldn’t be able to go home and visit your family but you could speak with them on the phone and send them money so they would be safe.

Let’s say you didn’t want to take that chance and somehow, through a modern miracle, you were able to legally get a pass to live in that better place. This way you are able to travel when you can save enough money and go back and visit your family. They are living, still poor, but safe and fed.

Either way, imagine you have been living this way for years. Imagine you have established a life in the better place. Imagine you have family and friends there, a home, a favorite restaurant/grocery store, maybe even a hobby or two. Picture it well, with all your senses. You miss your hometown but you also have a life in this new place.

Imagine that things haven’t been as easy as you expected in the new place. There is a lot of hatred towards people from your hometown and people give you looks when you walk down the street, hold their purses closer/lock their car doors as you walk past them, keep an eye on you as you shop. You’re used to it but it seems to be getting worse because a new leader has come on the scene, and he has called people from your hometown rapists, murderers, criminals, “bad people”, and has promised to build a giant wall to keep out the people from your hometown. Imagine this new leader has promised to deport people back to their hometowns, even ones that have passes, even ones that have never lived there. Imagine he has said that he will deport your son or daughter who was born in the new place. This new leader has encouraged anger and violence against your hometown and other towns outside of the region. Imagine that more than half the people you thought were friends and family and community voted for this man to be the leader of the new place. Now you don’t know who to trust anymore. It no longer feels safe here and it starts to feel less like home, but you have a family here, a life. There is nothing you can do. You are only a regular, working class person, trying to survive and keep your family safe and fed.

Imagine how this feels. Really feel it. REALLY feel it.

Because this is how immigrants are feeling right this second.

And this is how I, the wife of an immigrant and the mother of the child of an immigrant, am feeling right as I finish this blog post.

miguelsaysbyebye

Win a Free Copy of “A bit of Christmas”


Christmas is coming around the corner. It’s time to stock up. Why not buy a lovely set of Christmas short stories in the book “A bit of Christmas”? Only $10 for a signed copy. Even better, hop over to my Facebook Author page and win a chance at a free copy by commenting on my contest post.

“A bit of Christmas” was released last year, and my story, “Just Another Navidad” appears along with five other enjoyable short stories. If you’re not on Facebook, just comment below if you’d like a copy and we’ll figure something out. 🙂

I’m happy to mail the book to anyone who’d like a copy. It’s always good to start shopping early and beat the crowds!

Allison K. Garciaabitofxmas

Random Thoughts/Amazing Discoveries


ricky-ricardo

This has been a week for random realizations, thoughts, and “amazing discoveries” which if you know me or have seen me blog about my “amazing discoveries” before know that they are so amazing because it’s freakin’ amazing that I never realized them before! 🙂

  1. I am following a slightly non-specific recipe for baba ganouj. It says to bake eggplants in an oven with the skin on but doesn’t say for how long or what temperature, so I pick a neutral temp (375) and just leave them in there. Right after I check on them and think, they’re looking done. I close the oven door again and *POP* Apparently if you leave eggplant in the oven too long, they explode. Very very messily…Ever try to get baked on eggplant off an oven wall? I have! It doesn’t work great!
  2. My husband was watching “I Love Lucy” and suddenly there’s a scene with Ricky at the club where he’s talking to a bandmate or something. And, guess what…all that stuff isn’t random silly sounds as I thought as a child. He’s speaking Spanish! hahahah. I suppose this is the first time I’ve seen the show since being bilingual. As a kid it just sounded like blabber, like he was just stringing silly sounds together. But, hey, what do you know? Those silly sounds are the sounds of the foreign language known as Spanish. Amazing discovery: Ricky Ricardo speaks Spanish!
  3. I’m going for a walk with my son and on the side of the road in our neighborhood is a dead bird, just looking like it died of natural causes. I pause and think about how a baby squirrel fell out of tree in our yard and died the day before. I have a moment where I consider an epidemic whose first signs are small animals dying but then I think…there are a lot of squirrels and birds in the world…why don’t I see more of them dead? Like where do they go? What happens to all their tiny bodies? I mean, seriously, people…where are all the dead animals? There are thousands of birds and tiny rodents and other creatures in neighborhoods everywhere. What happens to them when they die? Do other animals eat them right away? Because I never seem to see dead animals. Do they hide somewhere before they die? This idea is totally freaking me out, so if someone is a scientist in this realm…please fill me in. Like, where are all the dead animals? Because right now I’m also considering a Truman Show scenario where someone didn’t do his job on the set cleaning up a dead bird…

*Mike drop*