Over at Writer Unboxed!

At the end of last month, Anna Elliott asked me to answer some questions about being an indie author, along with N. Gemini Sasson and Jennifer Becton.  Here’s a sample: What advice can you give to anyone just starting out on the indie path?  Sarah: I would suggest to anyone who has written only one book to write at least one other before you indie publish the first one. The process of writing that second book will tell you a lot about how to make your first book better. My first book will never see the light of day, but Footsteps in Time was my second, and although it took me 4 years to make it right, by writing other books, I was able to go back to it and finally create something of which I’m really proud. For the Read more…

Dinas Ffareon (Dinas Emrys)

Dinas Ffareon is an Iron Age hill fort near Beddgelert which overlooks Lyn Dinas in Snowdonia. It is one of the more remote castles in Wales and “it was here that King Lludd ab Beli buried the two dragons which fought each other, as told in the Welsh epic the Mabinogion.” Later tales (Nennius’ and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s among them) tell of King Vortigern retreating back into Snowdonia and choosing Dinas Ffareon as the place to build his fort. Unfortunately for him, each night the ground was shaken such that the fort fell down. The King’s advisors stated that a fartherless child had to be sacrificed in order to stop the fort tumbling. Myrddyn Emrys (Merlin) and Emrys Wledig (Ambrosius Aurelianus) come into the story as well. “Merlin prophecised that the Red Dragon represented the Britons and the White Dragon the Saxons and that the event Read more…

Anna Elliott: Georgiana Darcy’s Diary

Today’s Inspiration Award goes to Anna Elliott!  Anna is the author of the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy (book three comes out this September), and she has recently gone the indie route with the publication of her new book Georgiana Darcy’s Diary.   Welcome Anna! _______________________ I’ve read Pride and Prejudice many, many times, and seen the various movie adaptations more times than I can even begin to count.  (Colin Firth is my favorite Mr. Darcy!).  I love Elizabeth and Darcy’s love story, of course–it’s a testament to Jane Austen’s genius that it truly stands the test of time and feels as compelling now as it did 200 years ago.  And yet, strangely, it’s always been Georgiana Darcy’s character that stays with me the longest, each time I read the book or watch one of the films.              Georgiana’s character is almost Read more…

Writing Historical Fantasy: a Conversation with Jules Watson

Guest Post by Anna Elliott:  A Conversation with Jules Watson.    Jules Watson writes amazing, lyric historical fantasy set in the Dark Age Celtic world.  Her newest book, The Raven Queen, will be out next month.  And she has an absolutely fantastic historical fiction workshop on her website.  If you write historical fiction or fantasy, go check it out immediately, it’s one of the best resources for writers in the genre I’ve seen.  http://juleswatson.com/fictionworkshop.html  Where do your ideas for a book start?  With a known historical fact or myth?  A ‘scene’ that pulls you into a story? A particular character?  Or maybe none of those? The Raven Queen and my previous book The Swan Maiden were inspired by the heroines of two ancient Irish myths. For The Swan Maiden, I had always adored the Celti story of Deirdre of the Sorrows, Read more…

Dark Moon of Avalon by Anna Elliott released!

14 September 2010! from Simon & Schuster (Touchstone) She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. She has fought to preserve Britain’s throne. Now she faces her greatest challenge in turning bitter enemies into allies, saving the life of the man she loves . . . and mending her own wounded heart. Book II in the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy The young former High Queen, Isolde, and her friend and protector, Trystan, are reunited in a new and dangerous quest to keep the usurper, Lord Marche, and his Saxon allies from the throne of Britain. Using Isolde’s cunning wit and talent for healing and Trystan’s strength and bravery, they must act as diplomats, persuading the rulers of the smaller kingdoms, from Ireland to Cornwall, that their allegiance to the High King is needed to keep Britain from a despot’s hands. Their Read more…

Women in Celtic Myth

Women in Celtic societies had more freedom and autonomy than women in feudal Europe.  It is not surprising, then, that women play an important role in Celtic myth, beyond the wives, lovers, and mothers of male gods. Within Celtic myth, warrior goddesses such as Babd, Aoifa, and Scathach have a significant role; Don (Danu in Ireland) was the mother goddess, giving birth to male and female goddesses such as Gwydion and Arianrhod.   The Irish word, Tuatha de Dannan means “Children of Danu”, the equivalent of the Welsh “Sons of Don” as popularized in Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three series.  Note that their children are not referred to as “Sons of Beli” or “Bile”, who was her husband and the god of death. Also among the Welsh is Cerridwen, keeper of the cauldron of knowledge.  Within Irish mythology, the Morrigan, Read more…

Announcing the Witch Queen’s Secret

In the shadow of King Arthur’s Britain, a young mother will need all her courage to save the Queen’s castle from the hands of a traitor… A stand-alone story of Trystan and Isolde featuring a secondary character from the universe of Anna Elliott’s Twilight of Avalon.  Between Books I and II in the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy  Dera owes Britain’s former High Queen Isolde her life. But as an army harlot, the life she leads is one of degradation and often desperate danger, with small hope for the future either for Dera or for her small son. Through a Britain torn by war with Saxon invaders, Dera makes her way to Dinas Emrys, last stronghold of Britain’s army, to beg Queen Isolde’s help once more. Isolde offers Dera a new life, both for herself and for her child. But when Dera Read more…

Women in Celtic Society

It is a stereotype that women in the Dark Ages (and the Middle Ages for that matter) had two career options:  mother or holy woman, with prostitute or chattel filling in the gaps between those two.  Unfortunately, for the most part this stereotype is accurate.  The status and role of women in any era prior to the modern one revolves around these categories. This is one reason that when fiction is set in this time, it is difficult to write a self-actualized female character who has any kind of autonomy or authority over her own life.  Thus, it is common practice to make fictional characters either healers of some sort (thus opening up a whole array of narrative possibilities for travel and interaction with interesting people) or to focus on high status women, who may or may  not have had more autonomy, but their Read more…

Guest Post: Anna Elliott, author of “Twilight of Avalon”

Why I love Arthurian Stories In the Spring of 2007, I woke up from a very vivid dream of telling my mother that I was going to write a book about the daughter of Modred, son of Arthur and the great villain of the Arthurian cycle of tales.  I’d been writing historical fiction and sending books around to agents and editors, always coming close to being published but never actually getting a book sold.  I was four months pregnant with my first baby at the time, and had been starting to think that as much as I loved writing, maybe a professional career wasn’t going to happen for me–or at least not for some time.             Something about this dream, though, just wouldn’t let me go.  I had been an English major in college with a focus on Medieval literature Read more…

Twilight of Avalon Video

Anna Elliott, who posted on this blog not long ago, has just released a video for her book Twilight of Avalon, the first in a trilogy. The next book, Dark Moon of Avalon will appear in May 2010. In the meantime, enjoy her video and buy her book! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpj6WItY_Qc Twilight of Avalon:  She is a healer, a storyteller, a warrior, and a queen without a throne. In the shadow of King Arthur’s Britain, one woman knows the truth that could save a kingdom from the hands of a tyrant… Ancient grudges, old wounds, and the quest for power rule in the newly widowed Queen Isolde’s court. Hardly a generation after the downfall of Camelot, Isolde grieves for her slain husband, King Constantine, a man she secretly knows to have been murdered by the scheming Lord Marche — the man who Read more…

Writing Historical Fantasy: A Magical Balance

Today, Anna Elliott, the author of the wonderful Twilight of Avalon (Touchstone:  May 2009) is here to talk about blending history and fantasy when writing historical fiction.  Welcome, Anna! —— Ever since I wrote Twilight of Avalon, based on the Trystan and Isolde legend in the larger cycle of Arthurian tales, I’ve often been asked for thoughts on the enduring appeal of the King Arthur story. Why should that legend, perhaps more than any other in Western culture, have captured our imaginations for more than a millennium, have engendered countless retellings and reworkings of the old tale? The answers are legion, of course. But for me, the unique enchantment of the Arthurian legends lies in their blend of fantasy and history. The world of the legends is a recognizably historical one, part of our own past. Many scholars have explored the Read more…