Author Name: Charlotte Ashe
Book Name: The Heart of All Words, Book One: The Sidhe
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden finds that he can no longer tolerate the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.
As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.
Pages or Words: 442 pages
Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
The sidhe was tall, supple and lithe, as all sidhe tended to be, with milk-pale skin that glowed like moonlight over lean, taut muscles. Like all the others before him, he was naked, giving potential buyers a full picture of what they were bidding on.
And he was extraordinary, head to toe.
His chin-length hair was violet-red and it gleamed in the afternoon sun. His lips were pink and delicate with a pronounced bow, his nose had a narrow, smooth slope and his eyes...
It wasn't that they were the most incredible color imaginable: a storm of deep, contrasting, impossible greens unlike any Brieden had ever seen. And it wasn't that they were large and almond- shaped beneath a fan of plum-colored lashes.
It was that they were full to the brim with life.
Never before had Brieden seen a sidhe slave with such lively and expressive eyes, even as he stood for auction. Those eyes were not dull or defeated in the slightest. Wary, yes, and utterly devoid of trust, but also blazing.
Blazing like the eyes of that sidhe Brieden had seen at the riverbank when he was twelve years old— the only free sidhe Brieden had ever had the chance to behold.
The elf stood on that platform as if he owned it. As if he were judging every human man before him, and not the other way around.
He tucked a lock of hair behind a delicately pointed elfin ear, then jutted his chin to reveal a chiseled jaw that contrasted beautifully against his tender features.
And though he knew it was insane, Brieden was quite sure that he was in love.
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About the author:
Charlotte Ashe is a social worker by day and a writer of romantic fantasy by night. A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBTQ characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her B.A. in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of online fan-based fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot.
Charlotte lives in Portland, Maine and can be found sleeping at the beach all summer and clomping along the cobblestones in her Bean boots all winter, writing fairytales in her head to distract from the cold.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: goodreads.com/user/show/32040943-charlotte-ashe#_=_
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Sarah Sanderson
Tour Dates & Stops:
Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card; also, five multi-format eBoook editions of THOAW: The Sidhe
And now for the interview!
Tell us about how you do your world-building.
It happens in layers. I pick a starting point and then I think about what layers it needs to support it. What historical events helped to mold the culture the reader is introduced to? How important is religion to the culture in question, and how does the predominant religion(s) shape the culture’s view of morality? What are the rules the characters must live by, both those that are flexible/socially constructed and those that are inflexible, such as the rules of magic? Then I look at the world I’ve build as if I were a reader, and try to tear it apart and find inconsistencies and weak spots, and then I work on those inconsistencies and weak spots until I have something that feels tight and solid. When I’m really lucky, mending inconsistencies can lead me to some of my best ideas.
What is your take on the future of Science Fiction/Fantasy in general? Do you see it expanding and vibrant, or derivative and stale?
Expanding and vibrant, for sure! The beauty of speculative fiction is that not even the sky is the limit. The sky is just the beginning. There is no law, no rule, no convention, no assumption that needs to be a given in fantasy/sci fi. There are some stale and derivative books out there, sure, but this genre really lends itself to blazing one’s own path. I think that speculative genres by their very nature will always be expanding and vibrant, because so many of the people drawn to write in them are so incredibly imaginative.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
I love writing romantic fantasy, but I definitely plan to write outside the genre in the future. Not terribly far outside the genre, mind you—I could happily write fantasy without a concentration on romance, and I definitely plan to write science fiction in the future, because I absolutely adore sci fi. I would also love to write YA fantasy featuring LGBTQ characters eventually. Some of the best speculative fiction being written right now is YA, in my opinion.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best, always and forever, was “kill your darlings.” It hurts like hell, but it’s so important. Learning to let go of content that I love that simply doesn’t work for the story has helped me develop a thicker skin, and it’s made me a better writer. The worst was “don’t write junk.” In this context “junk” meant things like romance and sci fi and fantasy. But especially romance. I majored in literature and creative writing in college, and I learned to feel ashamed and frivolous for the kinds of things I loved to read and write about. It took me a long time to really overcome the damage that this “advice” from a well-meaning but clueless professor did to my dreams of becoming a writer. What I’ve come to realize is that if you write something you love, it is not junk. And if you’re lucky enough that even one other person loves it too, it becomes treasure.
Ebook or print? And why?
It really depends on what I’m reading. I have an e-reader that I carry with me in my purse and I read most books that way. But I have learned that books with strong visual components don’t really work this way, and that I hate reading cookbooks in digital form. If the words alone are enough to carry the story, I love ebooks. They also take up a lot less space on my bookshelf.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
These days I’m never not writing! If I were a full-time writer I would probably start right after breakfast, but I have a day job that needs my full attention for most of the day. So I generally spend my evenings writing during the week, and my mornings writing on the weekend.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Writer’s block is the worst! And unfortunately, the only way to deal with it is to power through it. I have time set aside to write each day, and I force myself to write during this time. I even installed a program on my computer that blocks the internet during my writing time so that I can’t procrastinate. If there’s something I need to look up, I just highlight it and go back to it after my allotted time is up. If I do take a break, I have rules: I must do something active (like take a walk or do some dishes) so that my brain can have a break, and I must make it very strictly time-limited, like 10 minutes. Those types of breaks can actually help, as long as they’re used sparingly. Overall, I’ve found is that if I force myself to keep writing—however slowly—when it’s hard, I usually break through and hit my stride at some point during the process. I think discipline, practice and routine are the only remedies for writer’s block, which sucks, because when you’re blocked the last thing you want to do is exercise discipline.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both, but more of a pantser, definitely. If I plan too much out ahead of time, I just end up scrapping a lot of it when I’m into the nitty-gritty of writing anyway, so I usually don’t bother. I always have a general idea of what’s going to happen, but I like to give myself the freedom to veer off course if it will lead me to better material. Ideas often come to me while I’m physically writing, sometimes even ending up on the page before I’ve consciously thought them through. I write fast and messy and then I go back and edit within an inch of my life. I’ve tried other methods, but this is the one that works best for me.