I’ve always loved fairy tales and folktales. And as a kid I read all I could get my hands on. I loved Jack and the Giant Killer series, including Jack and The Beanstalk. But I was frustrated that there weren’t any girls killing giants. I could run and hide and play just as hard as the boys at Capture the Flag and Ollie Ollie Oxen Free. I was tough, loved wrestling, shooting, fishing, and being outdoors. Why weren’t there strong girls in those tales? I didn’t see myself in those stories. So I created Henrietta to be the kind of heroine I wished I could have read about when I was young.
I suppose you could say she’s one of my alter egos. As for Henrietta’s friends: Franc reminds me of friends I’ve known, who come off fierce but have hearts of gold. Jaxter was inspired by Joxer, Ted Raimi’s character in Xena, and enhanced by the fun humor of my husband, Ezra Barany. Paulette also just came from my subconscious. When my sister read the story, she wondered if Paulette takes after her. Maybe? I am the eldest child and my sister was kinda a pain in the ass, sometimes. Henrietta’s mentor, Master Chen, was inspired by several teachers I’ve had who were big influences, including Marcel Cote, my French teacher when I was an exchange student in Quebec, Canada when I was 16. Marcel took me under his wing when no one else did.
The setting of my Five Kingdoms series is inspired by medieval Europe, the feudal system, and the blending of cultures I’ve seen in such shows and movies as Firefly, Serenity, Fifth Element, Star Wars, and Blade Runner.
The overall themes of female empowerment are also inspired by what I’ve learned on tribal cultures and by my great-grandmother, Meridel Le Sueur, who honored the strength and power of women.
I’m inspired to create a world for Henrietta where she is challenged to be a leader and struggles with what they means. I think we women and the girls behind us need positive, strong, and complex role models. Through fiction we travel away from self into other worlds to uncover more about ourselves. Then come back home to self and the normal world. In the regular day-to-day world, we can then integrate what we learned. I hope!
About Beth Barany:
Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.
Book 1: Henrietta The Dragon Slayer was the 2012 Grand Prize winner at the California Fiction Writers Book Contest and the 2011 Finalist at the Hollywood Book Festival.
Reader reviews of the award-winning young adult fantasy, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Book 1 in the Five Kingdoms series
As far as young adult fantasies go, Henrietta, The Dragon Slayer is a good read that I think any age, teen to adult, would enjoy. I only hope a sequel is in the works!
The witty dialogue and good story line makes this book hard to put down. I really could not stop reading it and was really tired the next day. It’s also very satisfying to read about a girl heroine fighting the good fight. –Jeri
Beth, best known for strong heroines in her stories, this story is no exception. It is a tale of righteousness and overcoming adversity including magic. –Robert Mendak “RJ”
The book is a beautiful story about friendship, a heroine, and a quest to kill a dragon. Who wouldn’t be excited? The entire concept sounded interesting and I was not at all disappointed. –Brittany, from Goodreads
Beth Barany has made a world where unlikely friendships rule and being a friend means more than you can know. –Tami, from Goodreads
Special Blog Tour Giveaway: Grand Prize
I’ll be giving away 2 signed copies of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ll mail you a copy anywhere in the world.
I’ll also give away e-book copies of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone at each blog tour stop.
• Where to find Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2)
Art by Steph’s Cover Designs
Third Book the the Fallen Desire Series by NL Echeverria!
Coming July 2014!
“I can feel the evil seeping through my skin from every direction as my body consumes all of it. I can feel the hatred, pain and sorrow running through my veins as if it’s a part of me, as if I’m connected to the evil, drawn to it.” ~ Lindsay
Lindsay’s destiny continues in this ravishingly twisted third installment to the “Fallen Desire” series. When she’s tested by the powers of black magic she will find out who her true friends are. A new fallen angel, Luke, shows her a way of using the darkness to her advantage.
Will the dark magic consume her? Or will Lindsay remain in control?
Lucifer has known this day will come and is more than prepared. It is ordained that on the eighteenth birthday of the Redeemer she will embrace her true powers and stand by his side in the battle against the fallen.
Lindsay knows he’s coming and that he will be ready for her. She gathers all of the witches and fallen angels that are willing to stand and fight, but she could never have prepared for what she will be faced with. Ethan does all he can to keep the fear of the hellhounds away but it’s a new friend that helps Lindsay kill the hounds that haunt her dreams. The anticipation of the coming battle has Lindsay questioning herself more than ever and she may end up trusting those she shouldn’t. Unknown love and friendships ignite while true love is tested.
Will her love for Ethan stay strong? Will Lindsay be able to stand up to Lucifer or will she embrace the evil that lurks inside her?
You’ve all been waiting for it with bated breath, and it’s finally here: THE GHOST HEART KICKSTARTER PROJECT.
PRE-ORDER GHOST HEART NOW
KICKSTARTER is the way I have funded the publication of the PSS Chronicles Series. I funded GHOST HAND and GHOST HOLD using Kickstarter projects and they were wildly successful. Through Kickstarter, I can offer you advanced pre-order of the book. Yes, that’s right. You can run over to my Kickstarter RIGHT NOW and pre-order an e-book or signed paperback copy of GHOST HEART (or both).
ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME
This chance to pre-order the book will only last through the month of May while the Kickstarter is running. After that, the book may be available for pre-order on Kobo, but Amazon does not allow most indie authors to do pre-orders through them, so now is your chance to secure your copy. E-books pre-ordered through the Kickstarter project will be delivered directly to your e-mail inbox as soon as they are back from the formatter (sometime in July) in advance of when they will be available to the general public. And I am offering all major e-reader formats- PDF, mobi, and epub.
HELP REVEAL THE AMAZING GHOST HEART COVER
I’m doing something really fun this time around. I’m letting you help me reveal the GHOST HEART COVER. Just for showing up here , you get a small glimpse of it below. Just a corner. Just a hint. But by becoming a backer, you’ll be helping unveil the cover to the world. For every $500 increment of funding, I’ll reveal another beautiful piece. And when we’ve reached the final goal of the project, the entire cover will be visible, thanks to all of you.
HELP MAKE THE BOOK BETTER
Not only does backing the project get you a secured copy of the book in advance, and help me reveal the cover. It also helps me create the book to the highest standard of quality. Funds raised on Kickstarter for this project are used to pay for professional cover design, professional editing, professional formatting, type-setting, and printing. Many readers and reviewers have commented on the professional level of this self-published series. I owe that all to readers like you who are willing to buy a copy in advance so I can make the book even better.
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS
New to Kickstarter? Not sure what you’re committing to. I totally understand. Signing up for Kickstarter is FREE and very easy. They don’t send spam or e-mails or anything like that. You opt into only the communication you want. They will ask you to link your Amazon account to your Kickstarter because that is who they partner with to process payment. If you don’t have an Amazon account already, it is very easy to open one.
Once you’ve joined Kickstarter and linked your Amazon account, backing is as easy as the click of a button on my project page. You get to choose the amount to give ($1 or more) and the reward you want (ie- an ebook or paperback etc). And this is the great thing–You won’t be CHARGED A PENNY until and when the project is funded and done on May 31st. And if the project doesn’t make its funding, you aren’t charged a thing, ever.
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT THE PROJECT
I hope you’ll back the project today. Even for a small amount. Every little bit truly does count. I hope you’ll stop by and watch my somewhat silly video (Yes, that is one of my GOOD hair days- pity me, I know :), and maybe tell a friend or two who might be interested. Sharing the project on Facebook, Twitter, Google + or other social media is a an easy and free way to support the project. And be sure to check back as the cover is revealed. You don’t want to miss that.
Finally, thank you for reading my books and loving them.
There is honestly nothing I love more than sharing my stories with you and hearing yours.
So I’m doing this and it is going to be so cool. The event is coming up Saturday, March 29th from 1:30-3:00 at ANOTHER READ THROUGH Bookstore in North Portland.
Of course, I won’t be the only one there.
The reading features five authors from five different genres, and I’m thrilled to be in such amazing company.
If you like THRILLERS, Pam Cowan, author of Something in the Dark and Storm Justice will be there.
If URBAN FANTASY is more your taste, Tonya Macalino will be present reading from Faces in the Water, the first book of her series.
If you love PURE FANTASY, come meet Athena, author of Murder of Crows, one of my favorite reads of 2013.
If that isn’t enough, come check out Maggie Jaimeson Lynch, author of WOMEN’S CONTEMPORARY FICTION Healing Notes, a Sweetwater Canyon Novel.
And last but not least, I’ll be there reading YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL from The PSS Chronicles Series.
Along with the readings, there will also be a SIGNED BOOK RAFFLE and a Q&A SESSION with all the authors. If you live anywhere near Portland, you’re gonna to want to be there.
Also, if you are a local author, I’d love to meet you. Elisa, the owner of Another Read Through, NIWA, and I are hoping to make this a quarterly event, and I’d love to talk with you about how you and your book(s) could be featured in the future.
I LOVE the premise of this new Pacific Northwest YA Dystopian series by Lisa Nowak. So, I thought I’d share. PLUS, it is currently FREE on all venues.
The Inspiration for the series
By Lisa Nowak
Almost a year and a half ago, while my husband and I were driving to a friend’s house, he told me about a story he’d read in the Portland Mercury. According to the article, fifty years from now much of the United States will be devastated by climate change. The Pacific Northwest will remain relatively unchanged in comparison, which will result in an influx of climate refugees.
“That sounds like a great set up for a dystopian YA novel,” I said. Within minutes, I had the basic premise outlined. The Pacific Northwest, disgruntled over the population boom, secedes from the United States to form its own country with a closed border. Wealthy Americans want to buy their way in, so poor people begin disappearing off the streets. Naturally, I needed a romantic aspect, but I wanted to give it a twist. I decided my protagonist would be a girl whose family had disappeared, and the love interest would be the boy whose family had displaced hers.
Over the coming weeks, the idea grew to include an existing political movement to form a bioregion called Cascadia, Portland’s major league soccer team and its rowdy band of fans, the Timbers Army, and a rock star-turned-activist who becomes the first president of the new nation. My husband, friends, and fellow writers supplied me with myriad excellent ideas and educated me about the subjects of history, politics, computer science, medicine, and soccer.
Several writers I know have been experimenting with serialized stories, and this idea seemed perfect for that venue. I envision it much like a season of a television series. Each short episode gives you part of the story, with the entire plot-line playing out over a nine-book “season.” I currently have the first three episodes published, (you can buy them individually, or as a box set) and the fourth will be released in early March. If you aren’t sure this is for you, fear not. You can try the first episode absolutely free at any of the retailers listed below.
What if the Pacific Northwest seceded from the United States? In 2063, it has.
The climate change that’s devastated all but the Northwest corner of the U.S. has been around since before Piper Hall was born. She doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, the secession that created Cascadia, or the closed border, erected to keep out climate refugees. All she wants is to get through high school and earn a medical degree so she can pull her family out of poverty. Piper’s sure her little brother’s stories about poor people vanishing are just rumors-until she comes home to an empty house. Losing her future, her family, and her freedom and forced into hiding, Piper has to find a way to get to the bottom of the disappearances. But the only one who can help might be the very boy whose family has displaced her own.
Spoiler Warning: The following is an unedited, subject-to-change early excerpt from GHOST HEART, Book Three of the PSS Chronicles. If you have not already read GHOST HAND AND GHOST HOLD, please be warned this content may contain spoilers concerning the first two books.
The morning after the Eidolon
Wind gusts in the hemlock trees and the pre-dawn sky grows darker, not lighter, as storm clouds scud in, gathering menacingly over Indiana’s Shades State Park. The air is thick, each invisible molecule of oxygen ambushed by the embarrassing mouse-ears of hydrogen, pulling it down, down, to splat on the cold packed earth. Fat drops plop into the swirling Sweet Water River. And then the air becomes a wall of wet, all individuality lost. The sky is the air is the water is the river. It is all one.
The river swells, kissing its banks, then ravishing them. Blue water turns to churning white and brown. An hour past the dawn that never comes, the river valley that runs through the park is a raging flood, every visible surface wet and wild.
But there is always a hidden calm just beneath the surface of chaos.
Here, that calm sits on a shelf of stone three feet below the turbulent water of a deep pool. It is a black, round ball; a patient, waiting thing, unbothered by the storm raging overhead. The ledge it perches on is narrow, but it balances easily, resting on its one flattened edge. On its upward side a white circle encompasses the symbol for infinity stamped there emphatically in black, bold script.
The ball knows itself. It is The Magic Eight Ball. But that is almost all it knows. It does not know where it came from or where it had been before. It does not know why the girl tossed it aside when it gave its answer. It does not know what to do now, or even that it can do anything, other than sit on that submerged rock covering its answer-window ass.
But then the pool at the bottom of the cliff known as Devil’s Drop begins to swirl. The current grows deeper and stronger, buffeting The Magic Eight Ball and nudging it closer to the edge of its comfortable know-nothing ledge. Something cracks and crashes and groans above it, as a huge log jam plummets into the pool from the upper river, displacing everything in its path.
Water surges against The Magic Eight Ball, shoving it off its shelf, sending it end over end, roiling around in a tumultuous wave of questionless answers.
It is certain.
Don’t count on it.
It is decidedly so.
Careening off rock and buffeted by debris, The Magic Eight Ball begins to sink. Slowly, slowly, gravity and current carry it into darkness, and it descends to the calm nether regions of the deepest part of the pool.
Ask again later.
You may rely on it.
Better not tell you now.
Past gleaming grey-green walls of stone and silhouettes of sunken trees.
My sources say no.
Reply hazy try again.
The Magic Eight Ball lands on another shelf, but this one is not made of rock. It is made of a man.
The man is young, his shirt torn to ribbons that float around him like kelp, revealing a gaping hole in his chest from which a jagged branch juts. The man is resting peacefully on his back on the submerged log that sports that branch, much like The Magic Eight Ball rested peacefully on his rock shelf only moments before.
And now upon the man, The Magic Eight Ball settles, gently rolling toward the sloping cavity of his chest, its answer window flickering a sweet blue sigh of YES.
A shadow passes overhead and a log, like a giant lumbering pool cue, plunges down cracking into the end of log the man and the Eight Ball sit upon. They both bounce, the Eight Ball careening around inside the man’s gaping chest even as his body rises just above the top of the stick skewering him.
There is a flash of light, bright and cerulean.
It washes over The Magic Eight Ball, filling it with wonder, even as it slips down through the hole in the man and under him.
The man settles, returning to his stick and log, pressing the Eight Ball against its slimy surface and shooting it out into the heavy current once more.
Outlook not so good
My sources say no
I am David
The Magic Eight Ball is pulled closer to the surface of the pool and careens downriver, leaving the man on the stick far behind it.
SO that wonderful day dedicated to all things love related is fast approaching: Valentine’s Day. What do you have planned for the special day? Roses? Chocolates? Dinner with your honey bunny?
Or maybe you’re single. And happy.
Maybe you hate all the consumerism and hallmark sentimentality that comes with Valentine’s Day.
Maybe all you want to cuddle up with that weekend is a really good book.
Well, if that’s the case, I have just the thing for you.
Why not pick up some great horror and dark fantasy novels to celebrate Valentine’s day? It still involves matters of the heart, just more the possibility of one getting ripped out.
The Valentine’s Day “EAT YOUR HEART OUT” Author Extravaganza will feature a huge array of great horror and dark fantasy fiction all on a special 99 cent sale for the e-book versions. And I’m thrilled to say that GHOST HOLD will be one of the books on offer for that special love-you-darkly price.
Be sure to join the event on FACEBOOK and invite your friends too. On the day there will be authors galore, giveaways, contests, and prizes guaranteed to make your heart quiver.
I am thrilled to officially announce the title of book three of The PSS Chronicles.
And it shall be called GHOST HEART.
Interestingly, around the time I was settling on this title, friends and fans kept sending me a link to a science article about an actual ghost heart, so I felt like that was a very fortuitous sign. If you’re interested in how life follows art, or vice versa, you can check out the article HERE.
I have been getting many e-mails and website comments asking when the book will be available, and I can only give you my tentative plan, as the book is still being written, but here it is: I will be running the Kickstarter Campaign for GHOST HEART in May, which will have backer options to pre-order the book in various e-book formats and as a signed paperback. If you are on Kickstarter, you can follow me HERE. If you aren’t, it is a great crowdfunding website and I encourage you to go check it out and back a creative project or two. The publication of both GHOST HAND and GHOST HOLD was funded through Kickstarter and they would not be the quality products they are without it.
Currently, I’m shooting for a summer 2014 release of GHOST HEART. The writing is going very well, and if it continues to do so I should make that mark. In some other very special news, this book will be written from three different points of view and getting into the heads of these other characters is going to be a blast. Finally, I do believe that GHOST HEART will not be the final book of the series. It is looking like there may be a fourth book, and I’m pretty excited about that prospect.
Be sure to stay tuned to here and via the newsletter, as I will be releasing new snippets and sneak peeks each month.
Watch in February for the first sneak peak excerpt from GHOST HEART.
And thanks for all your FANtastic support.
I’m a big movie buff. I especially love the big flux of movies that come out over the winter Holidays when I can snuggle into a warm, dry theater and be taken away to other worlds. Going to movies together AND watching them at home was a big part of my Christmas tradition growing up.
And as an author, one of the most common interview questions I’m asked is “Who would you want to have play your main characters in the movie of your books?”
Of course, I love that question. Who doesn’t want to see their book on the big screen, while eating popcorn, surrounded by people oowing and ahhing over YOUR story? Plus, being a movie fan, I did write The PSS Chronicles books with movie sensibility in mind and readers often comment that the books feel like movies to them.
But I also hate that question because I am terrible at casting actors and actresses. First, I can never remember any of their names. Second, I have very specific pictures of my characters in my head, and they aren’t Hollywood-looking people. They’re just your average teenagers. But finally, it is because I don’t want any actors or actresses to play my characters. I want something very different for the movies of my books.
I want them to be produced by Hayao Miyazaki. (Never mind that he just retired this year- I’m dreaming here).
If you don’t know who Miyazaki is, let me tell you. He is simply one of the best movie makers of all times. He is a Japanese artist and film-maker famous for his anime feature films. And his movies are wonderful on so many levels.
First, he almost always has a young, strong, female protagonist in his movies. One of my favorite examples of this is his adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle, based on Diana Wynne Jones‘ 1986 fantasy novel of the same name. Because of this, I think he would be the perfect person to make Olivia Black truly come to life on screen.
His films are drawn from Eastern mysticism and spiritualism, and have less of a Western “good versus evil” element to them. They are complex and deep and often involve the environment, spirituality, and balance. Many of these same themes are what inspired The PSS Chronicles series and will play out as the series progresses. I can see Miyasaki really doing justice to the ethereal element and power of PSS and Olivia’s ghost hand.
I love how Miyazaki’s work speaks to both my inner child and the outward adult I am now. His movies are simultaneously deeply, seriously dark and laugh-out-loud funny, a feat I think I accomplished in my books as well.
And of course, fantasy and magic are woven into the tapestry of everything he does, and I can certainly relate to that.
My list of favorites by him includes:
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
These movies were specifically written, animated, and produced by him. But almost anything by his company, Studio Ghibli, would be a wonderful watch for the Holidays as his movies appeal to such a wide age-range and audience.
So, when I cast the movie for my book, I don’t imagine actors and actresses doing casting calls. Instead, I see Miyazaki bent over his sketch book scratching them to life in intricate, animated, detail.
Probably, that will never happen.
But one can always dream.
Either way, have a wonderful movie-filled Holiday.