Monday, January 12, 2015

Gretchen Ramona, A Witch Who Keeps A Haunted Garden in Star Winds at Dusk

Who or what are you?
(Speaks in thick, Eastern European accent) Merely an elderly beldame and lover of the horticultural practices. A stranger to your Western shores. You will pardon my manner of speech, yes? Your tongue, it is difficult for me. I ‘talk like Dracula’s grandma,’ my writer has said. Why, in his heart he has compared me to the recluse of the confectionary and gingerbread house who gave Hansel and Gretel such poor hospitality.
Yes, yes, my author, he has described me quite uncharitably, but I admit to the germ of truth. I am, you see, a practitioner of the occult arts and knowledgeable of the Aklo letters spoken of so dreadfully by the likes of your Machen and Lovecraft. My author makes much of this, but he is the suspicious sort. He has also said of me: ‘she was the type to chuckle while reading Poe’s Tell Tale Heart…she would chat pleasantly over tea and scones while the gory trophy thumped below.’
Which reminds me, would you care for tea? It is a recipe of my own design.
What is your cause about?
First, would you but indulge an old woman and have a sip of this most excellent tea? Thank you. Now, my ‘cause,’ you ask? I am what is known as a ‘mercenary witch.’ A ‘sellspell’ you might say, in contrast with the ‘sellswords’ of catarans or brigands who do combat for pay. For the moment, I have been contracted to grow certain spell components in my garden. It has been a most involving process, finding forgotten, unhallowed ground where once wrongdoers were interred and that would best embrace the seeds I planted. And procuring the proper sustenance for this flora! It has all been most involving.
How did you become antagonistic?
You flatter me. I am but a very minor antagonist in my writer’s book, though I play a crucial role in the particular wherein I feature. My writer chose me as subject for this interview because to present any other antagonist would mean spoilers of his book. My story, however, it is freely available on Smashwords.
What do you hope nobody ever finds out about you?
Every gardener must have her secrets, Herr. The particular nutrients of my garden, they are precious. Most precious, and most difficult to acquire. Have you finished your cup of tea? Good. Good. Let me pour you another. And let us both venture out to my garden so you might have the closer inspection. Yes, see you how fine it grows? The plants, they have become all the more vibrant in recent days, about the time those young backpackers vanished. They were hiking in this area I do believe. Now sit, sit and take the sun.
What do you like/dislike about the other characters from your book?
It is what my garden likes that I concern myself. Me? I enjoy the vitality that runs through the veins of my fellow characters. Their tenacity, it is also appealing. How they persist in – how do you say? – ‘stupid horror movie decisions’ like napping beside the vampire’s coffin till the sun, it sinks.
In your opinion, what is your best feature?
I am too modest to say, but my author, he has spoken of the particular ambiance I invoke among those I invite into my parlor. The subtle suspense one feels. Oh look! You have pricked your finger on a bramble! See how your blood drips onto the garden. Yes, yes, the garden is rustling, as though excited, but I am sure it is but the wind.
What is the worst thing you ever did to someone?
I merely allowed them their foolishness. Should one wish to trespass in another’s domicile, or attempt to pass through another’s moonlit garden uninvited, they well deserve what they find. And what finds them.
Do you have pets?
Your question strikes a tender spot. Yes, like many of the Wise I once kept a familiar. A fine, glossy stoat. A ‘weasel’ of a kind. My writer, he has said this familiar fit my personality. But alas, my dear pet strayed into the garden one night and…met an accident. I buried his stripped bones when I found them next day.
Do you have a mentor?
I once did, yes. A ‘good’ witch who features in an earlier story in my writer’s book. She sought to use her gifts benevolently for the good of all. A thankless and futile task, I found, and we parted ways after disagreement of the philosophical nature. My own beliefs, they are more pragmatic. Your eyes drop millstones when fool’s eyes drop tears.Shakespeare, Richard III. Simple and to the point. Ebenezer Scrooge offered another valuable observation: The world’s becoming a hard and cruel place. One must steel oneself to survive it and not be crushed under with the weak and infirm. 
What do you think of the other denizens of the world of darkness? Why for each?
They are a most distrustful group, these cults and eldritch abominations, and most dangerous. But their activities, they provide many employment opportunities for a practitioner of the arcane arts who is willing to sell her skills.
If you could change anything in your book, what would it be and why?
I would have needed my own premonition at the end.
But enough of that! Your teacup, it is slipping from your fingers! No, do not get up. You are tired. Your eyes, you can barely keep them open. Sit awhile yet and doze. I will go and leave you in peaceful meditation, while you may become one with the garden. See how the flora, it seems to reach for you as if in embrace? Sleep now, and dream.
Gretchen Ramona, a witch who keeps a haunted garden that turns carnivorous with the rising of the moon. She features in one story of "Star Winds at Dusk," a mosaic novel of interconnected dark fantasy adventures.
The story where is appears, The Moonlit Garden, is also available free of Smashwords.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I am Shadow...Alexander of the House of Cronos from Shadow TEARS (Paranormal/Fantasy YA novel)

Q: Who or what are you?
I am the future of my people.  You have been blessed with my presence only by the order of my father.   My name is Alexander of the House of Cronos.  I am Shadow.
Q: What is your cause about?
My cause is not one that is uncommon.  I want to create unity among our people.  The three realms must be dominated and my enemies eliminated.
Q: What’s the most important thing in your life right now?
Acquiring power and control.  Once I find my prize, there will be no one to oppose me.  Jared and Shep thought they could hide that child but she has grown beyond their ability to hide.  Selena will be a fine tro…match.  The Zeus House will fall to their knees before long.
Q: How did you become antagonistic?  I was written that way but am truly just a humble soul who is misunderstood.  My goals are not that unusual but my views are little more traditional than some.  In our House, among my group, we believe in the caste system.  This system keeps everything at an even keel.  You don’t have to strive to be more than what you were born to be.  How fortunate for some to not have such great responsibilities as I do.  I am responsible for all who are under me.  MY hardship far outweighs most.  I must see that everything runs as it should.  No one should ever try to have more than what they are allotted.  They have food, shelter and chores that are important to the whole not just to them.  If that chore is not completed, then that person has upset the whole community and trust me no one wants that.  If such a thing should happen then all must buckle down to see it fixed.  So as you see I am looked at as a villain for making sure that happens.  I give protection.  That should be enough.
Q: Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life?
I have no idols for I am to be the idolized.  At one time I did fantasize but no more.  I know my path.
Q: What annoys you more than anything else?
That Protector dog who thinks he is of higher rank than me.  Shep…Shep Goodwin… doesn’t deserve the reference of Master.  He is of a strong line but I am stronger.  He thinks he can beat me but he doesn’t know everything like he thinks.  Lady Selena will be mine along with all who followed her grandmother Terah.
Q: What would be the perfect gift for you?
Selena enough said.  After all she is promised to me.  Why am I doing this?  (Alexander looks to his aid in disgust.)
Q: What time of day is your favorite?
You truly are a simpleton.  Oh, I forget you are Mortal.  What time of day is my favorite?  Let me see if you catch on.  I am Shadow.  Night of course…the darkness feeds me. 
Q: What kind of weather is your favorite?
Must we go through this.  I am Shadow but more importantly I am a Protector.  I love storms…dark stormy nights.  They make for good target practice.  Training can be quite interesting.  (His smirk is dark as he and his aid share a snicker.)
Q: What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.)
Hunting.  We are descended from the great gods.  They are great hunters.

Title: Shadow Tears
Author: A. J. Tupps
ISBN: 978-1-61244-310-2
Page count: 302
Genre: Young Adult – Coming of Age Novel
Price: $16.95 for paperback and $5.99 e-book

About the book:
Shadow Tears is the first book in a series. In this book you meet Selena Goodwin who discovers more about her heritage than she ever wanted. She has special abilities that are fascinating while others are frightening to her.  All her beliefs are tested when she finds out that the mortal rules don’t apply to everybody or everything.  Her knowledge of the supernatural and myths might become her only means to survive.  She must accept who she is meant to be. 

Being thrust into a world full of secrets, danger, and a family she didn’t know existed is overwhelming, not to mention a responsibility. Luckily she still has the love and support of her adoptive father who had known all along who she is meant to be.  To make things worse she discovers her very existence is threatened by an unknown enemy.  The normal obstacles of being a teenager are hard enough. Now she has to learn how to live a lie while falling in love and accepting her life as it was meant to be. High school is supposed to be the best years of your life. 

Selena must rely on strangers who she is not sure are reliable. The only person she can rely on must stand between her and the possibility of death.  Selena faces these realms with reality always reminding her she is fallible. Yet she can overcome anything with the love of her family and friends.  

Where can we go to buy your book?
Shadow Tears is now available on the Halo Publishing website,, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Bowker Books, Ingram Distributing, B. Dalton, and many more

Author Website:

Twitter URL: AjTupps@AjTupps

Facebook URL: 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spotlight Post: Three Secrets of Three-Dimensional Antagonists

saunters through the fog with a black cape flapping about his heels, shoulders back, chin tucked so he can fix you with a sinister glare. When his eyes catch yours, you can’t help but shudder at the complete lack of compassion or humanity in his gaze. His chuckle sets your skin crawling, and your brain sends panicked signals to your limbs: run, run, run.
But something holds you back. A tickle at the back of your mind won’t let you quite believe. Haven’t you met this fellow before—at least a dozen times? And aren’t black capes and maniacal laughs a little passé? Does this embodiment of senseless, delighted evil represent dimensional antagonists–or will it be nothing more than a host of clichéd villains?

Dimensional Antagonists–or Melodramatic Clowns?

Sometimes those villains we grew up with—the ones who twirled their curly mustaches, smiled “evilly” to show off a gold tooth, or wore black cowboy hats—like to worm their way out of our memories and crawl onto the page to take up residence in our stories.

 Snidely Whiplash Tying Nell to the Railroad Tracks in Dudley Do-Right
But when that happens, we run the risk of creating a robotic villain who exists solely to resist the hero–or, worse, as some sort of twisted villainous clown whose ineptitude provides nearly as much comic relief as opposition.

Read the whole post at

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Guest Blogger Scott Rhodes: What Makes Your Antagonist Interesting?

I've written about the antagonist before, but this is a
subject that can not be talked about enough. The antagonist is every bit
as important as the main character.

In some ways, the antagonist may even be more important. Your main
character cannot become sympathetic without an opposing force. The
antagonist is more than just a bad guy who tries to stop the good guy. A
good antagonist actually pushes the protagonist to action. The bad guys
gives the good guy a reason to behave like a good guy.

Because he is so important, your antagonist has to be every bit as real,
every bit as well-rounded, as the protagonist. So how do you do this?

The Antagonist is Evil

No. The good antagonist is not evil. OK, he could be, but not for the
mere sake of being evil. The antagonist truly believes he is the good
guy. Everything he does has a reason, and to him, those reasons are
Right. They are Correct. They are Good.

Few characters are as flat and dull as the arch-villain who is evil just
because being evil is evil. People aren't like that. Even people with a
warped sense of reality (and here's a little secret: we all have a warped sense of reality, shaped by our own histories and imperfect perceptions), do things for a reason.

There are truly evil actions, and your bad guy might do some of them.
But we humans have an almost unending supply of rationalizations for our
actions. If we're honest, we recognize that sometimes the way we
rationalize our actions is often, at best, flawed, and at worst, just
plain delusional.

Just like you want your good guy to have flaws, you need your antagonist
to have positive characteristics. In some stories, the reader might
even start to wonder just which character is the good guy and which is
the bad guy. The line doesn't have to be a thick one.

Read the full post at Utah Children's Writers: What Makes Your Antagonist Interesting?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dragons from the Andy Smithson MG Fantasy Adventure Series

Q: Who or what are you?
“Who are you to ask such a one as I?”
*sprays questioner with a blast of flame from one of its 7 dragon heads*
*shifts shape into huge blue serpent*
“Still here questioner?” *lunges and bites questioner with venomous fangs*

Q: What is your cause about?
Bellows “I will rule the world and live forever!”

Q: What’s the most important thing in your life right now?
Abaddon: “You’re rather nosey! Why should I tell you?”
Imogenia: “Uh, I’ll answer that. He has a problem. Since Andy Smithson struck him with that sword Methuselah, he can’t shape-shift into a younger form so he no longer has eternal life.”
Abaddon: “Silence!”

Q: Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
Abaddon: “What difference does it make? I’ll have you killed if you so much as set foot in the land of Hadession.”
Imogenia: “I’ve been there while scheming to defeat Andy Smithson, to keep the curse I requested, in place, so I’ll answer that. The land of Hadession is dry and barren with scorched landscape.”
Abaddon: “Enough!”

Q: Read any good books? What were they?
Abaddon: “I see you’re not taking the hint. Now scram!”
Interviewer: mumbles something unintelligible
Abaddon: “Fine! Catching Fire I read most recently.”

Q: How did you become antagonistic?
Abaddon: “When I was a boy in the land of Oomaldee hundreds of years ago, my father worked as an advisor for the king. He had influence and I got to go through military training that only royal kids usually get to attend. The royals made fun of me. Told me I was scum and beneath them. I bided my time and one day when I was on a mission, I stumbled upon someone who said he would make me more powerful than any of the royals. Ever. And so I have. I’ve conquered all the lands surrounding Oomaldee. The world is nearly within my grasp. And when it is, oh Oomaldee and its miserable rulers will pay!”

Q: What's the worst thing you've done to someone?
Abaddon: “Are you implying I’ve done something wrong? How dare you!” *moves to breathe fire at interviewer*
Imogenia: “I know! I know! He keeps turning citizens of Oomaldee into vulture-people. They become short with curiously long arms that nearly touch their ankles, their
nose becomes beak-like and bumpy, and they take on bulging, frog-like eyes.”
Abaddon: “Silence!”

Q: What annoys you more than anything else?
Abaddon: “Not being able to shapeshift into a younger form! It’s cramping my style, not to mention giving this medal-some Imogenia girl leverage over me.”
Imogenia: *smirks*

Q: Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?
Abaddon: “I suppose you could consider these blasted vulture-people pets. They’re not very smart but they serve their purpose to carry out my will.” *laughs*

Q: If you could change anything in your book, what would it be and why?
Abaddon: “I’d have taken over Oomaldee by now! The plot is moving much too slowly. Kill the goodie two shoes and be done with it already! The author knows I’ll triumph in the end…”

ISBN: 978-1494730161
Price: eBook: $3.99 Paper: $12.99
Publisher: Createspace

Links to websites, blogs, etc.