Thursday, April 22, 2010

#Authorpalooza2010 Featuring A.P. Stephens @apstephens

How great is this,
that I got three wonderful male authors in one week, hehe!

My latest guest is A.P. Stephens!

Welcome Aaron!

Many thanks for joining in my celebration!

How long since you decided to seriously pursue becoming an author did it take to achieve your goal?
After a couple of attempts to go the traditional route of publishing with trying to find an agent, I decided to self-publish my first book under my own imprint. I have been studying the publishing industry for a long time and once I decided to do it myself, the process took about 3 to 4 months. I had to acquire an ISBN, book formatting, look at how other books looked on the inside, do some book cover study, etc. 

When writing your novels, did you have any struggles or trouble with the plot and/or characters?
I have been formulating the stories and characters in my head for about 20 years and it was easy to draw on them when the time came to create this story. I did find that the middle of my first book needed some things added to it. I seem to have beginnings and ends for the stories I have planned, but some need the filling. And then there were sometimes in the book where I lost track of where I left a character, but I managed to bring them back in.

What made you choose science fiction fantasy as a genre?
Fantasy was an easy decision for me to make due to my early love of JRR Tolkien. After reading his books, I knew that I wanted to make my own stories about sword and sorcery.

Do you have another career beside being a writer?
I do hold a full-time position for an online retailer and they rock. However, the ultimate goal is to someday be able to just write full-time and make a living off of that. Getting there one day at a time.  

What can you tell us about your novel(s) and are you working on anything now?
I write the classic style of fantasy with grand adventures and I like to infuse mine with a lot of action. Growing up with taking martial art classes, watching old kung-fu movies, etc has really impacting my writing and I like to take the reader on an action-packed adventure. Currently I am working on the second book in THE WHITE SHADOW SAGA series. It is the follow-up to THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR, where the quest continues and even more darkness and evil forces try and stop the heroes who are looking for the missing moon.

Of all the place you've been to, which has so far been the most enjoyable?
I would have to say Seattle, WA. This is my favorite town in the world and being there a couple times has only made my love for the Pacific Northwest grow. One day, I would like to live there with my wife. There’s nothing better than colder weather, clouds, and great scenery.

Is there one place you haven't been to but are hoping to visit?
I would like to visit Oxford, England one day soon. Would be great to see Oxford Univ., the pub where Tolkien and CS Lewis used to go, and take in the town full of such great literary minds.

What is one thing that might surprise readers about you?
I hand-write every book I work on and will always do so. I think writing it out this way makes for a better first draft and paper does not need a power supply.

What is one thing that always manages to relax you?
Listening to some great music usually does a good job of re-centering myself. Video games are another way I like to relax.

If you could meet one person, who would it be?
I think it would be great to meet Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings movies, and shake his hand for the great work he has done.

If given the chance to co-write with one of your authors, would you and who would it be if you did?
With books, I think maybe Jim Butcher. He does a great job of telling good stories and bringing characters to life. If it was a movie, I would like to work with David Hayter and if was a video game project, my primary choice would be Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series.  

Readers, you can find out more about A.P. Stephens at:

The Stolen Moon of Londor
(The White Shadow Saga: Book 1)
by A.P. Stephens

Available Now at Amazon

The era of peace among the elves, men, and dwarves comes to an end when one of Londor’s twin moons disappears from the heavens…..Without the moon’s balancing effect, evil forces grow bold, and warfare, sickness, and chaos threaten life itself.

Hearing the prayers of desperation that ride on the violent winds, the ancient wizard Randor Miithra, servant to the elf-gods, takes it upon himself to mend the world he has sworn to protect. The task will not be an easy one, though, for the wizard, too, has begun to feel the effects of the world’s imbalance. As Randor struggles to maintain some semblance of his powers, he meets a secretive band of colorful characters from all walks of life, drawn together by a common goal: to find the stolen moon, whatever the cost. It does not take Randor and his motley company long to see that someone or something does not want the moon returned to the heavens.

The road is perilous….the stakes have never been greater….will they find victory…or will they only find their deaths?

Check out this awesome excerpt: (A.P. Stephens Copyright)

Two miserable months had passed since the vanishing of the moon, Beldas, and with each new sunrise Londor fell ever closer to ruin. Not even the wisest could see the terrible ending of the world, nor even how much longer life would carry on. Though the races of men and dwarvenkind did not physically feel the oncoming downfall, the world around them was slipping away nonetheless. Wizards of all races lost most of their abilities, so that even the simplest of spells were all but impossible to conjure.

Both the Vinar elves, the most common elves in the world of Londor, and high elves felt the absence of mana and were forced to endure continuous pain and sadness day in and day out, and though the Council of Mudalfaen was painfully aware of the world’s troubles, not even their collective wisdom could make a whit of difference for the many allies in their care. Shortly after the disappearance of Beldas, all communication among the Mudalfaen alliances ceased as every kingdom sealed off its borders and remained in a state of high alert at all times. Those who wandered the lands found themselves subject to arrest and persecution, particularly at night when the true chaos of weather and sorrow came. Everyone was now suspect in the moon’s disappearance—the greatest tragedy in Londor’s history. Every soldier, knight, and wizard labored days and nights on end to protect the world around them, and kings, queens, princelings, and high councils throughout the land made every effort to keep their citizens at home during this time of crisis, allowing no one to leave without strict approval.

The elven valley of Dunane saw the collapse soonest. Though the days still graced them with mostly pleasant weather, come nightfall, dark clouds swept in just after sunset. The gloomy formations hung low, accompanied by frigid winds and dense fog. On many nights, great storms beat down on the valley as thunder and lightning cracked overhead.

Dunane’s capital, Norganas, was held prisoner to nature, and all hope lay out of reach. Each night was anticipated with dread.

In the city’s chief observation tower, rising above the southern wall, two elf-knights stood watch on the top level. It was from this high structure of white stone that they kept watch over the vast forest to the south, as far as elven eyes could see. The two pulled their newly acquired cloaks closer to their bodies, huddling close together to keep warm, but it was of little good. Rain poured down in great sheets, and cracks of lightning lit the landscape as if it were day, and whenever the rain let up, dark fog enveloped the entire valley. The constant winds from the south, undeterred by the forest, howled through the city and swept over the Mondranos Mountains to the north and west.

A sudden blast of wind knifed through the narrow opening of the watchtower, stinging the two elves’ pale faces.

“I swear, Captain Fenrahn, if this weather persists, it will be the end of me!” young Etrigos cried. He clenched his chattering teeth and gazed out at the bleak world around him. “I honestly cannot tell you how many nights it has been the same.”

“Fourteen,” Fenrahn replied mildly. “Fourteen straight, to be exact.” He remained at the opening as Etrigos retreated to the center of the circular room and stationed himself by the hole in the wooden floor, where a ladder led down to the many levels below.

“We need furs for this climate.”

“And where do you expect King Zelok to obtain these?” asked Fenrahn. “I can tell you we have none in storage.”

“But these cloaks are useless!” Etrigos moaned.

“We’ll all just have to make do.”

“I’d much rather be inside, sitting next to a roaring fire alongside my brothers. I wager they are feasting as usual on this evil evening.”

“Just as the rest of the valley feasts within the warmth of their homes.”

“I envy them, Captain.”

Fenrahn sighed but did not move from the observation portal. “Our duty will be done with the coming of the sun.”

“Still, I do not understand why you, sir, are made to stand watch over the city—you rank above us all.”

“I don’t wish to be locked away in the palace, dealing with parchments and politics.” Fenrahn turned and, with a tired smile, said, “I take this time to train my knights and pass along my teachings firsthand.”

“When I am made Captain of the Order,” Etrigos began with his head held high, “I will gladly stay inside the palace.” He laughed, but Fenrahn was not amused. He cleared his throat. “Sorry, sir.”

Fenrahn shook his head and returned his gaze to the forest. “You have much to learn.”

Etrigos gathered his frozen courage and approached the window. The captain stood three inches taller than he, though both were of the same build and wore precisely the same attire: the brown jacket of the knights of Dunane, with brown trousers tucked into knee-high leather boots. Both elves wore their hair tied back in ponytails, Etrigos having silvery hair while Fenrahn’s was that of gold. The cloaks were the newest addition to their wardrobe, so that nothing distinguished Fenrahn from the rest of his order save the silver tassel that hung on his chest, denoting his rank.

“I am surprised by this dangerous situation,” Etrigos said, “that King Zelok has not authorized us to arm ourselves with swords or spears.”

“I believe that our master remains of a mind with his ancestors. Our people have not known conflict for eighty years. After the Great War, that was the end of our struggles.” Fenrahn considered himself blessed not to have experienced that dark time. “But rest assured, Etrigos, we have weaponry if the occasion calls for it.”

Fenrahn closed his eyes and leaned against the stone wall. Above his head blazed one of the four torches mounted in the stones, lighting the room but dimly. The captain appreciated the warmth of the fire, and it relaxed him for the moment. “Mudalfaen has ensured our peace for the past eight decades.” He paused. “I only wish some of our allies could share in Dunane’s harmony. Many are still afflicted by petty skirmishes. Alas, those who once knew peace now share the same problems as those who knew it not. All of Mudalfaen’s allies are falling victim to the same downfall. Peace has escaped us.”

“I still hold on to faith,” said Etrigos. “We shall be saved.”

The young elf’s spirit seemed to help Fenrahn keep what little hope he had left. “I can tell you this,” Fenrahn replied. “When we received word of Randor Miithra’s death, Dunane fell into great despair. Many say that if a Randor could not endure this unbalance, what hope do elves possess?”

“That was a tragic day, Captain. Though I never saw the Great Servant, I have heard the countless stories of his deeds and shall miss him nonetheless.”

“So shall we all, my friend….His legend will carry on.” Fenrahn drew in a deep breath of cold air.

It was clear to Etrigos that the captain was not well, and naturally, Etrigos felt concerned for his beloved officer.

“Are you hungry, sir?”

“No,” replied Fenrahn softly. “I have lost my appetite, I am afraid. No longer can I enjoy the foods provided to us.”

“Can I get you some wine, perhaps? Maybe that will help.”

“No, Etrigos.” He looked over to the worried elf and gave a faint smile. “If you need food or drink, please feel free to take a short leave.”

“What of the watch?”

“What of it?”

“I fear to leave, in case something should happen…”

“I doubt anything will occur in your short absence.” Fenrahn laughed quietly. “I even doubt anything will occur this night, or the next.”

“We can never be too certain.”

“Right you are, but those who travel under nightfall are quickly seized now. Every kingdom is overprotected. I believe we are safe in this high state of alert.”

“I pray you are right.”

“You were inquiring about food, were you not?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, off you go, then.”

Etrigos saluted and said, “Right away, Captain.” He was newly invested in knighthood and not yet comfortable with rest and respite. Fenrahn shook his head and gestured for the knight to leave.

“See you shortly.”

Before Etrigos set off, some impulse turned his eyes to the ground before the forest. Slowly his view scrolled up the dirt path that connected Norganas to the forest. Up the hill his silver eyes traveled as the cold air stung him. As fate would have it, a bright blue flash of lightning banished the darkness. “Captain!” Etrigos yelped.

Fenrahn bolted upright. “What is it?”

“There are riders on the road, sir!”

“Impossible.” Fenrahn did not accept what he heard. He thought the elements present played with the young knight’s mind.

“No, sir! I saw two on horseback, just outside the forest!”

“One would have to be mad to ride in this weather.” Fenrahn moved the shaking Etrigos from the window and stared into the darkness. “I see nothing.”

“My eyes do not deceive me, Captain….At least, I hope they do not.”


“Yes. They ride for the city.”

“Only two, you say?”

“Thus far. But there could be hundreds out there—or even thousands in our forest.”

“Do not let your mind run away, Etrigos.”

“I cannot help it, sir.”

“Were the riders of elvenkind?”

“They were concealed by cloaks…I could not see their faces.” Etrigos pulled on Fenrahn’s clothing in desperation. “We must inform the palace at once!”

“Not just yet,” Fenrahn replied as he trained his eyes on the unlit path. “We could be imprisoned and stripped of rank if we give false alarm. I do not know about you, my friend, but I value my placing in Dunane.”

“As do I, Captain.”

“Then we must be patient.”

“Patience is something I have yet to learn.”

“Then let tonight be your lesson.”

Another great flash of blue revealed the road once more, and now Fenrahn could see the two riders, paused on the path, their intentions unknown. “There, you see?” Etrigos breathed.

“Yes, Etrigos. Quite right you are.” The captain turned away from the window and said softly, “Keep close watch on their actions.”

Etrigos nodded and obeyed, leaving Fenrahn to debate with himself what to do. Only he and Etrigos knew of this potential threat. “From what I saw,” Fenrahn began, “one was tall and slender and the other was shorter in stature…perhaps humans.”

“I could not tell, honestly,” Etrigos offered. All thought of nourishment was gone, and nothing could peel his eyes away from the ground below. The forest was a little more than a mile away from Norganas, up a steep hill. It put the riders too close to home for Etrigos’s liking. In a chain of brief flashes of lightning, Etrigos noticed movement from one of the riders. “Captain, one has drawn a blade!”

Do they mean to attack us? Fenrahn asked himself. What purpose do they have for Dunane?

“What shall we do, sir?”

“We await their next movement.”

End of Excerpt

Bonus Time.. Fantasy fans, If you love LoTR Trilogy, you are going to love, Aaron's The Stolen Moon of Londor.

This giveaway (thanks to Aaron) will be eligible for all; including those living outside the U.S.

To enter, [Like you don't already know what to do, lol ;-) ]

Be a blog minion and answer the question

If you found yourself in any of the LoTR Trilogy movies which character would you be and who would you love to paired up with?

For extra entries,

Tweet with #Authorpalooza2010 hashtag and include like to this post.

Tweet a hello to @apstephens and tell him V sent ya ;-)

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Robin K said...

I would want to be Arwen Evenstar and paired with Legolas :)

Tweeted here:

Melanie said...

I don't even remember the names of the characters. Woops!! lol

Tweeted :

Spav said...

I would be Eowyn and paired up with Faramir.