Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Witches’ Covenant by Michael Dalton Book Tour

About The Book
Title: The Witches’ Covenant
Author: Michael Dalton
Genre: Alternate History / Fantasy / Romance
Erich, Ariel and Astrid have begun their life together, but all is not well.
Ariel and Astrid have discovered that sharing a husband is a greater challenge than they anticipated, a challenge that is exacerbated by a difCicult winter trip to Wittenberg, where Erich hopes to enter the service of Frederick III, Elector of Sachsen. But their trip is soon interrupted by unexpected complications.
In the town of Marburg, a century-old agreement that has kept the peace between the Landgraviate of Hessen and a band of witches in the forest is beginning to unravel. The young Landgrave, Philip, needs to consolidate his authority, and the witches want something from him that he does not dare surrender.
Erich and his wives are drawn into this conClict, and in the process discover a mystery that seems tied to their unique magical bond—a mystery that may threaten its very existence if they cannot resolve it.
In this second installment in the bestselling Twin Magic series, Michael Dalton spins together magic, steampunk, and traditional German fairy tales into another entertaining alternate history adventure.

Author Bio
Michael Dalton is a professional journalist and editor. He lives with his family and multiple pets in Southern California.


Book Excerpt
The creatures that attacked them were entirely silent. One moment Hans was walking behind Heinrich, and the next there was a thin-legged thing—almost like a fleshy spider with a child’s head—on the man’s back, cutting his throat with a slender knife.
     As Heinrich fell, blood spurting from the gaping wound in his neck, Hans stood there frozen as if he were watching the scene on a stage. Up ahead of him, Giancarlo had drawn his sword and was slashing at two of the creatures that had dropped from the trees above.
     As the horses scattered in alarm, Hans watched as the thing that had killed Heinrich rose from the body and turned in his direction. Still he could not seem to move.
     Hans realized he was about to die.
     At the last possible moment, his arm became unfrozen, and he drew his rapier just in time to impale the creature as it leapt at him. Snarling and clawing at him despite the blade through its chest, the thing tore a long gash on Hans’ arm. But then Hans thrust forward, pushing it away, and it was dead.
He spun around just in time to see three of the things finishing off Tomas, stabbing him repeatedly with their knives.
     Hans froze again. He might have killed one, but he could not see how he could possibly take on three of them. Then one of the things rose and sprang at him, and he somehow caught this one as well, running his rapier through its neck.

With that, Hans could take no more. He turned and ran toward Giancarlo, who had killed the two small creatures before him but now faced something much larger. Hans was at first taken aback, thinking it was a tall, almost skeletal man, dressed in fine clothes more suited for court. Then he realized the thing’s skin was rough bark, and its fine breeches and waistcoat were leaves and moss woven to resemble human clothes. It was nearly seven feet tall, towering over Giancarlo, whose rapier was doing it no appreciable damage. It was all the mercenary captain could do to keep the thing at bay and avoid its slashing claws.
That was when a dark form appeared behind the wood-thing, and Giancarlo cried out in alarm.

Author Interview: 
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and I’ve spent the last two decades or so as a professional editor and journalist in a variety of fields, mostly technical and scientific. My first serious foray into fiction writing came in the late 1990s, when I wrote and published a fairly large body of work on the Usenet. Family and professional pressures pulled me away from writing for about 15 years—I simply didn’t have time for it—but I always told myself I would one day go back. “One day” came last fall when I got to talking about my fiction with another couple we had over for dinner. That night, I thought to myself, “I need to start writing again,” and started
The Wizard’s Daughters.

Where and when do you like to write?
I have a home office and do 99% of my actual writing there. But I very often write things in my head before sitting down, and that can take place anywhere. It’s not unusual for me to have an entire scene written in my head before getting started, and I’ll just sit down and transcribe it from memory.
I do most of my writing at night when I’m done with my day job, but I often write on the weekends too. Sometimes I’ll get something really compelling in my head, and I’ll have to take a break from whatever else I’m doing and write, no matter what time it is.

What is your process for creating fantasy worlds? Do you use aides, such as an outline, in the developing process?
I never outline beyond the most basic list of ideas. I might have a single sentence per chapter. Most books I don’t outline at all. When it comes to creating worlds, since I do mostly historical fantasy, I have to start with a lot of research. I’ll read and read until things start to gel in my head and the ideas start to flow. But I continue the research as I’m writing. Any time I’m not sure where I’m going, I’ll switch over to Google and look for ideas. Sometimes I’ll spend an hour or more researching a single minor detail or word, just to be sure I’ve got it right.

Of all the characters in this book who is your favorite and why?
The seed of the Twin Magic series began as a dream, and in the dream, I was the male main character (who I would only later name Erich). There’s a lot of my personality in him, particularly his serious, no-nonsense attitude about life. He’s gone through a lot, but he hasn’t let it change him too much. He’s been a loner by necessity because he’s an itinerant mercenary, and his accidental connection with Ariel and Astrid forces him to start caring about things he hasn’t let himself think about up to now.

Please tell us what other projects do you have going on right now?
I’m working on a sequel to my alternative history/science fiction novel Vector. Since I wrote that book 15 years ago, I decided to bring it forward to the present day, taking the three main characters from where I left them to where they might have ended up in the intervening years. I’m not quite sure where it’s going, but it took off pretty quickly once I started it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
No one ever became a writer because it was an easy way to make a living. We do it because, as hard as it is and as painful as it can be at times, we’ve got stories we need to tell. Just keep plugging away. Successful writers are the ones who never give up.

Guest Post: 
Avoiding the Advice Trap
The dirty little secret of being a writer is that none of really feels like we know what we’re doing.
We’re insecure. We worry about our work. No matter how much praise we get, how well our books sell, and how much we may like them, we can always find another author (usually droves of them) who are selling far better than we are, who garner far more glowing accolades, and whose writing we like better than our own.
This makes us susceptible to what I’ve come to think of as the Advice Trap.

What is the Advice Trap?
It’s thinking that how other writers do things is how you should do them. That’s the problem because, besides writing, a favorite activity of most writers is talking about writing. It’s fulfilling and makes us feel like writers. Plus, it’s an excellent work avoidance technique. Writing blog posts about writing is a very easy way to avoid thinking about that unfinished book.

The result of this is that there is a crap-ton of writing advice out there if you’re inclined to look for it. (Go on, Google “how to write a novel”; I dare you.) You can easily waste days reading posts and random bloviating from other writers on how they write and how wonderfully their methods work for them. If you’re just getting started and haven’t done much of anything yet, doing this kind of research probably can’t hurt. But if you’ve already got some work under your belt and you’re looking to improve, it can be very dangerous to your productivity.

After 20-plus years in this business, I am continually amazed at how many different approaches to writing I’ve come across. And the one common denominator is that none of these writers do things exactly like I do. I still occasionally read these “how I do it” posts, but I can’t remember the last time I really came away with anything useful. They’re an interesting look into other writers’ heads, but I find them of little value in improving my craft. (One important aside here: I’m talking about the act of creation, not the task of polishing your first draft into something publishable. That’s an entirely different process that does in fact have some best practices that are worth following.)

If you’ve got good habits down, by which I mean you’ve been able to complete works you feel are ready for other people to read, worrying about how other writers do it is more likely to tie you up in knots than improve your writing.
Here, the opening to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is applicable. He was talking about families, but he could have just as easily been talking about writers:
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

You’re going to spend a lot of time being unhappy with your writing. For the most part, you’ll be going it alone.

Thank you for stopping by! 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun series. Thanks for the great writing advice.


The Battle (Book 3) - FREE for a limited time!

Connor has trained and shed blood to protect Earth. Her enemies want war. The only descendant of the powerful ruler of Ether, her...