Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Let’s Talk: Three New Titles from TTB

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Folks, it’s not every day I can come up with an alliterative title like the one above . . . nor would I wish to, excepting the fact that three new young adult titles by Heather McLaren, Dina von Lowencraft and Scott Eder have been released by Twilight Times Books (TTB for short).

The first, MYTHOS, is a debut urban fantasy by Illinois writer Heather McLaren (pictured at right).  David Conley goes to the Bahamas and falls in love with Faren Sands, all the while thinking she’s a normal, nonmagical woman.  However, she’s a mermaid from secretive Atlantis, which still exists. When she tells him who and what she is — and he gets over the shock — many, many consequences befall them.

MYTHOS features a great cover (as you see) and an interesting way to bring the myth of Atlantis to modern-day readers.  Further, it has the age-old conflict that two lovers must face once they truly know each other: Will they stay together despite it all, or will they end up apart?

I’ve had several e-mail discussions with Ms. McLaren, which has led me to discover that she — like me — believes in the power of persistence.  When I asked her what caused the plotline of MYTHOS to come to mind, she said this: “(I started) writing the outline for Mythos and Beyond Legend (due to) boredom in creative writing class during my tenth grade year.”  Further questioning elicited the response that MYTHOS has been in development in one fashion or another for twenty years.  (More power to her!)

I also asked what kept her going during this whole process.  She said, “It was a way to escape from stress. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to finish it.”

Isn’t that a sensible motivation?  (I think so, anyway.)

I look forward to reading more of Ms. McLaren’s work because I’m a sucker for updated tales of Atlantis, especially if they’re done well and sensitively.  And while so far all I’ve read is a sample chapter (available here), her book looks quite promising!

The next novel up is Belgian writer Dina von Lowenkraft’s debut novel, DRAGON FIRE.  (Ms. von Lowenkraft is pictured at left.)  This is a cross-cultural tale set in Norway about a dragon shapeshifter, Rakan, and the woman who loves him, Anna.  Both have been told various things about other cultures and other races that may or may not be true . . . will they be able to get past this long enough to express their feelings for one another?  And even if they do, will they be able to stay together with everything that stands against them?

An updated take on dragons that just so happens to have a clash of cultures inherent along with a romance?  And one that takes a few jabs at the whole Twilight phenomenon as well?

No wonder Publishers Weekly was intrigued.

More to the point, there’s a reason DRAGON FIRE is next on my reading list for pleasure reading (as alas, I cannot review it at SBR due to our conflict-of-interest policy).  I’m always intrigued by cross-cultural tales, especially when they deal with two young lovers who’ve been systematically lied to during most of their short lives.  (Sound familiar?  It should, considering that’s a big part of ELFY‘s premise.  Not that I’m the first person in the history of the world to have come up with that one, as it’s been around since time immemorial.)

BTW, A sample chapter of DRAGON FIRE is available here.

Finally, Florida writer Scott Eder’s debut novel KNIGHT OF FLAME is also available (he’s pictured at right).  I haven’t had a great deal of interaction with Mr. Eder (though I have had some on Facebook), which makes it a little more difficult to discuss what’s going on with his book — but I shall give it my best anyway!

KNIGHT OF FLAME stars Develor Quinteele, a normal-seeming guy from Tampa, Florida.  Unknown to most, he’s also known as the sixth Knight of Flame, and has an important task: he must keep the world safe from the Gray Lord, a horrible person who revels in the evil he does . . . and unfortunately has many descendants to help him carry out his horrific plans.

Develor’s control over his powers has never been the world’s best, and he’s turned to the easiest expedient possible — channeling his rage — in order to wield them.  But this backfires spectacularly after Develor is falsely accused after a tragedy.

Stripped of his powers, will Develor regain control of himself well enough to get the other Knights to restore his power before it’s too late?

A few sample chapters of KNIGHT OF FLAME are available here.  I read them, and was intrigued; there’s a swift writing style here and some excellent worldbuilding.  The evil characters are hissable, and the good ones conflicted . . . I can see why Library Journal enjoyed this novel (even if I can’t seem to come up with a link to back it up, Eder’s blog points out the positive review).

At any rate, here are the three newest authors in the Twilight Times Books stable . . . please check them out, and see if their work interests you.

But in case you still need more motivation to check out TTB, take a gander at Maria de Vivo‘s THE COAL ELF.  I edited this novel, and can tell you that Ms. de Vivo’s take on Santa Claus, Elves, and their comportment and demeanor is excellent.  Witty and sarcastic by turns, heroine Ember leaves the safety of home and hearth to become, of all things, a coal Elf — those who are entrusted with digging out the coal that ends up in the stockings of bad children everywhere.  And as you might expect, her job isn’t exactly coveted . . . especially when you consider that there’s never before been a female coal Elf of any sort.

Ember’s journey from rebellious teen Elf to a responsible, albeit still delightfully sarcastic, Elf fully in charge of herself is well worth the reading.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Read this sample chapter . . . then come back and tell me if you don’t think Ember’s story is just the antidote to all the sappy Christmas songs you’ve been hearing on the radio lately.

Now, let’s get to reading and enjoying some books, shall we?

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2 Responses

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  1. great post, Barb – thank you so much for featuring us! I loved your own personal take on each of the three books 🙂 and it was great to see Maria’s book with us too!

    vonlowenkraft

    December 19, 2013 at 6:14 am

    • You’re welcome, Dina. I figured if I’m going to write about it, I need to give it my own personal touch. 😉

      Hope it helps you.

      Barb Caffrey

      December 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm


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