Thursday, March 27, 2014

Honor Among Orcs Giveaway

Earlier this week, I received a couple of early copies of HONOR AMONG ORCS, and I have to say, they do look mighty fine alongside my other titles! So fine, I had to take a picture.

As you can see, the paperback edition of HONOR AMONG ORCS retains the original art, while the e-edition's art got a little bit of a revamp, which you can see below. I have to admit that I LOVE the way the paperback came out, but I'm also really thrilled with the e-edition's art, too, and it's kind of fun to have distinct art for each! 

e-edition cover art

In celebration of receiving said print copies, I'm offering up one AUTOGRAPHED copy in a Goodreads Giveaway, going on now! I'll be throwing in some Fate of the Gods bookmarks and stickers for the winner, too. And in case you were in danger of forgetting -- HONOR AMONG ORCS releases April 1st! 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin

Honor Among Orcs

by Amalia Dillin

Giveaway ends March 29, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Liebster Awarded

I may have been Liebstered in the past already, but since the questions are always changing, I do not see why I should not Liebster again! (and yeah, I know, this is two questionnaire type posts in a row but they are different! so! there!)

Thanks to Michael Robinson for the awarding! You should all check out his blog, and also follow him on twitter (@mkronline), because he tweets interesting and thought provoking happenings, so get on over there post haste and hit the follow button.

His questions for me (and the fabulous Valerie Valdes, who you should also follow immediately):

1. You both have wonderful families. How do you balance being wonderful back to them and writing regularly? Asking for a friend.

I do have a wonderful family, as defined by El Husband and our cat(s). It's pretty easy to be wonderful back to my cat(s), because all they really need is for me to provide some lap to sleep on, and they even sometimes share it with my laptop without too much complaint. El Husband is also pretty low maintenance, and I do most of my work before he gets up in the morning and after he goes to work, so when he's home, he can generally capture my attention without too much trouble (assuming I am not mid-draft on something I need done yesterday, of course.)

I also live in pretty close proximity to my parents and one of my sisters (hopefully two of my sisters, soon enough), and some of my extended family -- Cousintry, I am looking at you! We're pretty tight-knit. And finding balance there is a little bit trickier, but mostly it involves me trying to clear my schedule for a block of time when people are around to do things, and beyond that saying "Look, I'm really sorry, but I have to write." Sometimes it works, sometimes I get behind.

I can't imagine figuring it out if I had more than just el husband and the cat to worry about, so I have a lot of respect for the writers out there who have kids and still manage to get words on the page. Seriously, it boggles my mind, you are all amazing.

2. How does the local climate inform your writing?

I do not always get to write things that are set in a climate which allows me to draw from my local climate experiences, but man, in Upstate New York, we get all four seasons, and they are pretty much all awesome -- with the possible except of Summer, which is a humid, energy-sapping beast, sometimes -- so it's pretty great. I have written a couple of short stories/novellas which are much more informed by my local climate and my personal experiences in that regard, because there are days that I go outside and breathe it all in, and my fingers itch to capture everything in that moment.

But I guess, it's more the natural world around me as a whole which informs my writing, more than just the climate.

3. What is your favorite Twitter hashtag and why?


do I really need to explain?

Sidenote: it was Mr. Robinson who coined my catchphrase of "Come for Thor, stay for more!" so. Credit where it is due!

4. Thoughts on traditional publishing?

Um. Traditional publishing definitely has the advantage when it comes to distribution and marketing when they choose to make use of it, but it isn't quite so nimble and while I think it is trying really hard to remake itself and change with the times, it's a lot harder for the behemoth that is trad pub to switch things up and turn on a dime than it is for individual authors or small indie presses. Right now there's a lot of change in the industry, but I think that we'll come out the other side and traditional publishing will figure out how to make it work when things start to smooth out. It's kind of like the Catholic Church -- change is really slow, and really deliberate, but change happens. Of course, that doesn't always mean it's the change we WANT, but I have hope. For traditional publishing. And the Church, I guess, now that Pope Francis is social-justicing it up. TIME WILL TELL!

Now, I must choose two people and come up with some questions to ask them...

I'm going to point the finger at the awesome MIA HAYSON because zombies and hilarity and ZAK TRINGALI because The Five Kingdoms!

1) Can you tell us about the project you are currently most excited about?
2) Facebook vs Google+ vs Twitter vs Tumblr GO! Which social media platform do you think is going to win king of the mountain for writers this year?
3) What is your favorite kind of storytelling? (interpret this as you like.)
4) Which literary character (or character of your own invention) would you MOST like to hang out with regularly, and why?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cover Reveal for Timespell: Perilous Waters!!!

So my fabulous and amazing Critique Partner/Alpha/Beta-Extraordinaire Diana Paz is publishing the second book in her TIMESPELL series May 15th, and I am absolutely THRILLED to be part of her cover reveal today -- TIMESPELL itself was a fantastic blend of timetravel, fantasy, history, and mythology for young adult readers, and I like to think Di's Timespell books are creating readers who will appreciate my FATE OF THE GODS series a few years down the line!

So let's get to business, shall we? FIRST, the cover copy:

After nearly losing their lives defeating the creatures of Mythos in Revolutionary France, Julia and Kaitlyn finally understand what Angie has known all along… being a Daughter of Fate isn’t so fun when one mistake can mean their deaths. Haunted by visions and horror-filled memories, the girls have spent the summer honing their newly discovered magical abilities, determined to grow in power and prepare for the uncertain time when the Fates summon them to their next mission.

But their protector Ethan, still embittered by Julia’s betrayal, refuses to engage in the girls’ magical research or power-enhancing spell practice. That is, until his brother’s loyalty to Julia causes him to unwittingly uncover ancient magic greater and more binding than any force the girls have encountered so far. Before the girls or Ethan grasp the full extent of what his brother has done, the girls are jettisoned through time into the madness of the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy.

Only by working together can the girls harness the full power of their magic and secure the world timeline, but with the lives of those close to Angie and Julia at risk, and Kaitlyn designing a dark agenda of her own, all three girls harbor secrets that threaten to drive their fledgling trinity apart. Small treacheries, mounting fear, and the use of dark magic have not gone unnoticed by those trapped within the Nether… those who would stop at nothing to unleash their destruction upon the world once more.
Publication date: May 15th 2014
Add it on Goodreads

And if that doesn't sell you, here is the FANTABULOUS cover art for TIMESPELL: PERILOUS WATERS!

More about Diana Paz:
Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee. Find her at her blog: or on Twitter @dianapazwrites

I can't wait for this book to come out!! And if you haven't read TIMESPELL, don't worry -- there's a giveaway for that! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 17, 2014

Writerly Blog-Hopping!

I was invited to participate by the fabulous Susan Smith-Josephy, who is a not only a writer of win, but also a faithful twitter friend -- and so a little bit more about her:
Susan Smith-Josephy is a writer, researcher and editor based in Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada. Her first book, Lillian Alling: the journey home is a true account about a woman who, in the 1920s, walked from New York to Siberia via Canada and Alaska. Susan's next non-fiction history book is about Jean Caux, the famed packer, who is known in British Columbia as Cataline. Her most recent fiction project is the short story “The Ogopogo Club” which was selected to be part of the Kindle All Stars newest book “Carnival of Cryptids.” She is currently working on a series of short stories based on her obsession with Mars.
You can learn more about Susan, her fiction, and her non-fiction work at her website, find her on twitter (@susmithjosephy), facebook, pinterest,,, and at

So! 4 Questions For Which I Must Have Answers:

1) What am I working on?

I've got a couple of balls in the air right now -- First and Foremost, the promotional/last minute details side of releasing HONOR AMONG ORCS April 1st, which is the first book in my brand new Orc Saga, where Beauty and the Beast meets Tolkien! I'm really excited to share Bolthorn with the world -- this book started as what I was convinced would only be a short story, and grew up into something way beyond my wildest dreams. I never EVER thought I'd be writing this kind of high fantasy book, but I'm totally in love with it now that I have.

I'm also working on the as yet untitled Orc Saga: Book Two, and a potential idea for a new Fate of the Gods novella revolving around Athena, which I can't really say anything more about at the moment. Plus there might be something to do with Pirithous and Hippodamia in progress with That Other Amalia.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, Fate of the Gods is a blend of history, fantasy, and myth -- which maybe doesn't seem that different, at first, but it begins with a retelling of Creation, giving Adam and Eve a new spin, and continues on to incorporate pretty much all the biggest pantheons throughout history by following Thor's adventures from the birth of Moses to the future.

HONOR AMONG ORCS is a new take on the Orc and the classic Beauty and the Beast story -- in the Orc Saga, the beauty must rescue the beast from an enchantment which has nothing to do with love (for one's own self or another), and there is a very large and looming threat of war and slavery upon the horizon if they don't succeed. And the orcs? Let's just say they're a lot more than terrifying monsters in the night, though Arianna was convinced they were only tales used to frighten children before she met Bolthorn.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it's fun. I mean. That's really what it comes down to in the end. It's fun, and something about the characters or the idea grabs me and won't let go until I'm done, and I love it. I particularly like filling in those empty spaces where we really don't know what happened -- like, if the Christian God is THE God, then why did he let these other gods have their day? I mean, the Romans were no small power, and the Olympians were a really big deal for a long time. Same with the Egyptians. Same with the Hindus, even still today! So could there be some explanation above our pay grade? Some deal made between the gods we never got a memo about? Or, if in The Silmarillion, Tolkien says the Orcs were Elves once, why didn't anyone go after them and try to rescue them before they were tortured into monsters? (I mean, my world isn't Tolkien's, but that seed of an idea definitely germinated for me.) It's those kinds of questions which generally spawn my stories, and I kind of love looking for the answers through fiction.

4) How does my writing process work?

Well, I usually start with a question and a character. For HONOR AMONG ORCS, it was the orc, Bolthorn, and a question of how a human woman and an orc might meet and what circumstances might cause them to befriend one another, rather than just the usual rape and pillage and awfulness. For FATE OF THE GODS, it was Eve, and the question of "What if all the gods are real?" And then I follow the character along to learn what happened and how it all worked out and discover the answers with them. I don't know what's going to happen, really, until it's written. Maybe I have a broad stroke here or there that becomes clear to me, but I don't plot or outline. Mostly, it's just writing. Sitting down and opening up the document and following my characters on their journeys.

Now I must tag 3 writers to follow me in this bloghoppin' madness -- they'll be posting on Monday, the 24th on their blogs.

Diana Paz!
Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee.
(NB: Tune in on March 19th for the cover reveal of her second book, TIMESPELL: PERILOUS WATERS)

Zak Tringali!
Zachary Tringali is a freelance writer living in sometimes sunny, always swampy Gainesville, Florida. When he’s not writing for work or for fun, he’s an avid runner, folk lore and myth enthusiast, and a fan of all things geek from comics to video games.


Kristina Wojtaszek!
Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. She currently resides in the high desert country of Wyoming with her husband and two small children. She is fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy and her favorite haunts are libraries and cemeteries.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Honor Among Orcs Sketch Party (II)

As long time readers of the blog might realize by now, sometimes I like to draw. I am not great at it, nor am I at all disciplined in the art of... arting... but every once in a while I come up with something I'm proud of, and this happens to be one of those times -- even if it is a little bit fanarting of my own book, because excess of enthusiasm.

ANYWAY. I'm going to share it, because this is my blog, and if I cannot have an excess of enthusiasm for my own forthcoming release here, in this space, where can I? And why should you be excited if I'm not?! So without further ado, I present to you, my hunky orc, BOLTHORN (take three, according to my sketchbook, and you can compare it to take ONE from way back in February of 2012, where I also talked about the tattoos on his face.)

cover art for the e-edition!
Created by Melissa Stevens:
The Illustrated Author
I'm not going to lie, I never expected to be writing about orcs. I never EVER expected to be inventing an entire orcish culture. But I was caught by this idea of a world wherein a human and an orc might get together in a manner that didn't involve sexual assault. What would those orcs be like? Would that particular orc be an exception or the rule? That was the seed from which HONOR AMONG ORCS sprouted into something so much larger. Because my orcs didn't exist in a vacuum, and the more I wrote, the more I realized how much they struggled against themselves, and the ideas of their selves which had been imposed upon them by Others. When everyone looks at you as the monster in the night, how does that affect your feelings of self-worth? When everyone judges you as good for only one thing, do you begin to discount all the other things you might be capable of?

And the more I wrote, and the more questions I began to ask, the more I fell in love with these characters, this world, this book.

It's my hope that on April 1st, when HONOR AMONG ORCS releases, you'll fall in love with it, too!

(In the meantime, you can totally add it on goodreads, or hit up the Orc Saga page to see my other ruminations on the topic of orcs!)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Inspiration of Mythic Proportions Part II (from Kristina Wojtaszek)

This is part two of a two part series from Kristina Wojtaszek, author of OPAL. Her novella is part of A Winter's Enchantment alongside mine, TAMING FATE. Part One is just one post ago, and discussed Hephaestus, the Tin Soldier, and Hans Christian Andersen, so be sure to check it out! --Amalia

2) Cronus wears a Big Bad Wolf suit

Charles Perrault wrote his fairy tales in defense of courtly society in France.  It was, in fact, his duty to glorify the king in his works.  A large motif in upper class French society was arranged marriage, which depended on the virginity of the young woman, who may have even been cloistered (kept as a nun) to ensure such purity.  All of Perrault's fairy tales ended with a moral, and despite the more modern retellings of Little Red, the original by Perrault was the story of a young woman of society, not that of a little girl.  She wore a red cap; red signifying the color of sin, and hers was a preordained fate believed to befall single women who were allowed to socialize with men.  Not only was her fate the destruction of her worth as a virgin, but death itself; that ultimate fate of sinners.  And that is where Perrault's story ends for Little Red and her grandmother, in death.

But the Brothers Grimm retold the tale with a much younger Little Red, and the sexual connotations pared down.  They also introduced a woodcutter into the tale, to save the grandmother and granddaughter from death.  The woodcutter was careful not to shoot the wolf, lest he injure those inside his belly.  Instead, he cut open the wolf's belly and the grandmother and Little Red leapt out, still alive.  The wolf, too, was still alive (my, what strong anesthetics you must have, Mr. Woodcutter) and in order to fool the wolf so that he wouldn't miss his meal, they filled his belly with stones.  But when the wolf woke, the stones were too heavy for him to run away with, and he fell down dead.

Tell me, why in the world would the woodcutter feel the need to put stones in the belly of the wolf, when he could simply have killed him?  Why try to trick the wolf first?  Was it out of some sinister want of revenge for the wolf's trickery?  Or, could the Brothers Grimm have had other tales in mind as they rewrote this unusual ending?

The image of the wolf's belly full of stones immediately came to mind when I read the story of Zeus's birth.  His father, the Titan Cronus, was determined to avoid the prophesy that foretold his own demise at the hands of one of his children  So he ate every one of his infants as soon as they were born; except his youngest, Zeus.  Zeus's mother hid her newborn (finally!) and fed Cronus a large stone wrapped in swaddling instead.  When Zeus grows up, he confronts his father and either gives him an herb to induce vomiting, or, in some versions, cuts his father's stomach open to free his siblings.

Sound familiar?  The Brothers Grimm weren't, in fact, out to collect tales for children, but were devoted to the study and collection of German folklore and mythology, including sagas about mythical heroes similar to the sagas of ancient Greece.  Although they later softened many of their tales, knowing how popular they were becoming with children, the Brothers Grimm had an initial goal of recording the stories of their Germanic culture before they faded from use, and using these stories to understand the history of their people.  I don't know if a myth similar to that of Cronus influenced their reshaping of the Little Red Riding Hood tale, but they must certainly have known of such a myth, and there is tremendous possibility here.  For my part, I can't help seeing the larger-than-life Cronus in a wolf suit, and the gleam of an all-knowing Zeus in the eyes of the woodcutter.

The analogies between fairy tales and their mythic ancestors are endless, even if they aren't all directly related.  It's a good lesson for any writer, as we find our own imaginings aren't entirely our own, but are often a conglomeration of our emotional lives and those stories that have influenced us more than we know.

Amazon | B&N
Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. She currently resides in the high desert country of Wyoming with her husband and two small children. She is fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy and her favorite haunts are libraries and cemeteries. 
Follow her @KristinaWojtasz  or on her blog, Twice Upon a Time.

And don't forget to grab a copy of OPAL, or our Anthology together, 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Inspiration of Mythic Proportions Part I (from Kristina Wojtaszek)

Amazon | B&N
This is part one of a two part series from Kristina Wojtaszek, author of OPAL. Her novella is part of the winter romance anthology, A Winter's Enchantment, alongside my own contribution, TAMING FATE. Part two will be posting Thursday, March 6th! --Amalia

Nothing is written that hasn't been told before, or so it's said.  And when you begin reading the oldest fairy tales you can find, those firstborns sired by folkloric fathers and mythical mothers, you realize it must be true.  There is always something older, something that came before.  Even the gods and goddesses of myth have parents; even they have some unfathomable beginning.  So it shouldn't surprise us when we find a Beauty in the Beast in the story of Persephone and Hades, or that East of the Sun, West of the Moon is so like the tale of Cupid and Psyche.  Ever wondered if Pandora was really married to Bluebeard, or if Snow White's vain stepmother had any relation to Aphrodite?

As I began to reacquaint myself with Greek mythology, I kept finding scattered seeds of fairy tales within the fruit of their stories.  Even the infamous Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault, who are celebrated as fathers of many well-known fairy tales, gained inspiration from older folklore.  But how much mythology did they know, and did it play any part in the creation of their fairy tales?  Here I explore two of their fairy tales that have quite striking mythological equivalents, which may or may not be coincidental.

1) Hephaestus pounds out a Steadfast Tin Soldier  

Biographer Jackie Wullschlager tells us that Hans Christian Andersen's Steadfast Tin Soldier “is the first tale he wrote which has neither a folk tale source nor a literary model, but comes straight out of his imagination…"  Now that I have begun reading Wullschlager's stunning biography of Andersen, I cannot help but see a bit of his own life story in this beloved tale of a little soldier who is pushed along on many a journey by fate, and who never quite fits in or finds an equal in love, but sacrifices himself wholly to his art, being ultimately steadfast in the vision of his future.  So I think the connection I've made between The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Greek god of metallurgy is really one of my own imagining.

Still, the resemblance is remarkable between the disfigured godling who is cast from his mother, Hera, at the sight of his ugly, twisted, and useless leg, and that of the tin soldier whose maker ran out of tin and left him with but a single leg to stand on.  Whether Hera exiled Hephaestus from Olympus due to his birth defect, or Zeus exiled him for coming between he and Hera (and his throwing Hephaestus down from Olympus caused his leg to become injured and lame), Hephaestus was the only exiled god to return to Olympus, where he worked (steadfastly!) hammering out the powerful weapons and armor of the gods.  He was an outcast who was literally cast out, just as the tin soldier was blown, or thrown, from his place out the window.  And Hephaestus journeyed to earth, just as the soldier journeyed through many realms, and yet both returned to serve; Hephaestus at work in his special place in Olympus, and the soldier at the side of his love, the little paper dancer, even as she fell into the fire.

Though it is doubtful that Hephaestus had any influence on the tale of the Steadfast Tin Soldier, his ability to create animistic statues, as those that guard the gates of Olympus, and his steady dedication to his work despite all that debilitated him, is very like Hans Christian Andersen himself, who was one of the first children's authors to give animation to toys and voices to everyday objects, in order to tell in some small way the greater story of his life.

Tune in Thursday for Part Two, Featuring Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cronus!