Tag Archives: Dragonwell Publishing

THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD reviews and giveaways

Several wonderful reviews have been recently posted for W. B. J. Williams’s THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD:

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Kelly Jensen at SFCrowsnest writes: “‘The Garden At The Roof Of The World’ is delightfully easy to read. The story has a fairy tale quality, but quickly disabuses the reader of any notion the happy ever after will be easily won. It is not a children’s book. The torments of the demons are very adult in nature. Many of the battles and trials are bloody. Not everyone survives…Recommended for fans of fairy tales and mythology and anyone who enjoys an epic quest with all the inherent twists and turns.” Follow this link for the full review.

Claire O’Beara at freshfiction.com says: “Fantasy fans will enjoy this mix of European and Sanskrit folk tales with rich invention and travel lore.” Follow this link for the full review.

Publishers Weekly writes: “This modern fantasy in the style of a medieval romance tackles themes of love and lust, faith, and the nature of the divine.” Follow this link for the full review.

Margaret McGaffey Fisk characterizes this book as “a thinking novel wrapped around a powerful story with characters you can love facing untold dangers and risking everything on their holy mission.” Follow this link for the full review.

Buy your own copy today at Dragonwell Publishing bookstore, Amazon.com, or other major retailers.

SPECIAL THIS WEEK: Post a on-line review and/or add a product link at your web site or in any social media and e-mail us the link at dragonwellpublishing(at)gmail(dot)com to receive a $5 gift certificate to the Dragonwell Publishing bookstore.

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THE GODDESS OF DANCE promotional sale

To celebrate the GODDESS OF DANCE winning a silver medal at the ForeWord Book of the Year awards, we are holding a promotional sale of this book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Dragonwell Publishing bookstore. Thanks to your support, THE GODDESS OF DANCE currently stands at the following Amazon Bestseller ranks:

It is also #184 bestseller at BarnesandNoble.com

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Hurry to download your own copy for 99 cents until the end of today at the following links:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009UF14KQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009UF14KQ&linkCode=as2&tag=dragopubliblo-20

http://publishing.dragonwell.org/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=10007

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-goddess-of-dance-anna-kashina/1111966637?ean=2940016739823&itm=1&usri=dragonwell+publishing

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W. B. J. Williams, the author of THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, on historical fiction

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There are two kinds of travelers, those who go to a foreign land and expect everyone to be like them, and are disappointed, and those who go hoping to experience different cultures and are rewarded.  The same applies to those who travel in time, and when you read historical fiction, you are traveling in time.  You may discover lands where people show their respect by sticking their tongues out at you, or people who think nothing of selling their children into slavery to save their own lives or careers.  Some of the cultural practices may disgust, others dismay, others entrance.
When writing historical fiction, the author should try to take you back in time and immerse you in the culture of the time.  The author should not flinch from depicting sexual attitudes much more restrictive than our own such as the puritans, or more free and open such as southern France during the era of the court of love.  The author should accurately show the role of religion and ritual in the lives of people.  Historically, people often were very serious about their religious practices, but far from orthodox in following them.  People ate and drank differently.  As an example, often beer and wine was given to children at meals.  There was no expectation of privacy in many historical eras, not even if you were aristocracy.  If you were a medieval aristocrat, your servants slept in the same room as you, which was often the same room in which you conducted the daily business of running the estate.  In the northlands, your warriors would sleep in your mead hall, on the same benches where they’d sat the night before feasting at your table.  To think that they slept chaste is to bring our sexual attitudes into a mead hall of 1400 years go, where they don’t belong.
To write with such detail creates an authentic story, respectful of both time and place.  Such stories hold our imagination.  When reading Hemingway’s depiction of a bull fight or Umberto Ecco’s depiction of a man sitting on the top of a column overlooking Constantinople after the 4th crusade, we feel like we’re there.
Fantasy is more real and more exciting when we have cultures that are richly depicted such those found as the lands of Majipoor, Dhagabad, or Middle Earth.  Fantasy set in a historical epoch should leverage the richness of our past, letting the reader walk with men and women who thought very differently than we do today.
The Garden at the Roof of the World is both historical fiction and a fantasy, partially because I chose to write a story in the 13th century when people would have been shocked to learn that unicorns did not live in the deep wood, and there are no monsters in the depths of the sea.   I choose to try to be authentic in my depiction of those times, and delight those who hope to find in either historical fiction or in fantasy the richness of other cultures, and their values.  Modern readers will certainly find some of the attitudes strange.
However, if I don’t have Prince Jigme of Lo Mantang give the traditional warning of “you’re not a mule, why act like one”, then I’ve missed an opportunity to show some of his culture’s values, even when their not mine.  In writing about segregating the sexes in medieval Baghdad or the tantric rituals of medieval Khajuraho I had to bring characters and readers into places foreign to both, and have the characters act the way people of 800 years ago would have acted.
I also had to write about religious beliefs and mythologies that are foreign to me and my readers.  The medieval attitudes about chastity and virginity are very different from modern beliefs, but if I was to write about traveling with a unicorn, I could not ignore the legends that insisted that you had to be chaste and virgin for a unicorn to be willing to approach you.  To do otherwise would not have been authentic, and would have denied my reader a chance to walk with people who believed in the reality of sea monsters, and the sacred nature of unicorns.
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THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD is upcoming from Dragonwell Publishing on August 30. Preorder a copy at http://publishing.dragonwell.org or from major on-line retailers.
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Dragonwell Publishing fall publication list announced

Our fall publication list has been announced:

THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD by W.B.J. Williams, a stunning fantasy debut in a rigorous 13th century setting: upcoming on August 30 2103

THE LOATHLY LADY by John Lawson, a dark epic fantasy rooted in Celtic myths and the chivalry tales of King Arthur’s court, upcoming on October 15, 2013

MISTRESS OF THE SOLSTICE by Anna Kashina, a dark romantic fantasy set in the world of Russian myth, upcoming on November 30, 2013

WISHES AND SORROWS by Cindy Lynn Speer, a collection of stories with a dark twist, upcoming on December 21, 2013

For those of you attending the Nebulas weekend: we will be giving out advance reading copies of THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD. We hope you enjoy the book, and help us spread the word.

Look out for our new releases, and sign up to follow our blog for updates.

Happy Mothers Day!

 

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Dark, Wicked, Gorgeous: excerpt from ONCE UPON A CURSE

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He was the handsomest man I’d ever seen.

Tall and slender, he wore his pale-as-snow hair to his collar, a perfect widow’s peak accentuating his aesthetic, almost lupine features. His eyes were the color of amber and sparkled strangely in the candlelight. Sometimes it was almost as if his eyes were on fire. I tried not to look him in the eyes too often. I didn’t know what he would read in mine.

He was always fashionable. Perfect clothing, tasteful and not ostentatious, perfect manners, perfect style. He followed the rules as if he walked on a knife’s edge, knowing just how long it was proper to touch, to stare, careful to never be alone with a woman longer than was proper. Managing to make one feel as if they, too, walked on the knife’s edge with him without doing anything that could be remarked upon as unseemly. He was wealthy, and while he did not have the highest of titles, he had all the things that allowed him entrance into the finest circles. Better yet, some would say, he had all these things and he was as yet unmarried.

But the ladies, from the maidens looking for good marriages to the widows desperate for a man’s protection, all avoided him. They flirted, yes, but only as far as safety allowed. No one would consent to marry him, it was said, no matter how fine the offer, no matter how beautiful the dowry gifts.

That’s not to say he hadn’t been married once already. And that was why, thanks to rumor and to superstition, it was said he would never marry again.

“What was she like, this Dona Meriania?” I asked my hostess, Dona Welicide. She was a second cousin who had graciously agreed to take me in after my guardian lost everything we had to gambling debts. He was in debtor’s prison in the capital, and there he could remain, really, for all I cared. He had tried to sell me once to avoid imprisonment and I figured better him than me.

Welicide brightened. I knew nothing of the local gossip, stories which, to her circle, were so overtold as to be threadbare. Now she could relate them to a new audience; in fact, I think it was half the reason she invited me, to have someone else to tell her stories to. “She was beautiful. As dark as he is pale, very much the lady of the moment. Everyone wanted her. She had a taste for rubies, I remember.”

I found myself smiling. “That’s all you can remember of her?”

“Oh, Tessa, I can remember much more than that, but I fear I did not care for the girl. She was my greatest rival, ever since we were little.”

“Did you fight over Don Joaquin?”

“Shhh,” she breathed. “I was already engaged at the time, so of course not.”

Don Joaquin had dipped his fair head to take a sip from the glass he was holding. He was across the room, a room filled with music and laughing people, but still he stopped when I whispered his name, and looked up at me, slowly, first from the corner of his eye, then straight on, meeting my gaze. I smiled slightly, taken aback by his intensity. I could feel the weight of his stare like a touch, over my cheeks and nose and mouth. He returned the smile just as slightly, then turned to address a man who had come off the dance floor.

“Oh, but that man frightens me,” my cousin said. I would have been inclined to agree, but the chills running down my spine felt too good to be wrong.

I lost sight of him for a time, until I went outside to get a breath of air. I chose one of the smaller balconies that stood open on the far side of the room. I saw him almost immediately; the light of the moon shone on his hair like a beacon. I paused at the threshold of the doorway, then continued onto the balcony. I leaned against the rail opposite from where he stood, but still, there was only a foot between us.

I imagined I could feel the heat of his presence radiating off of him.

“You are not afraid?” His voice was deep, like the forest at night. He seemed surprised, perhaps even amused.

“I am not afraid.” I realized it was true.

“You have not been in our fair country long enough, perhaps.”

“Perhaps. Perhaps I do not listen to rumors.”

“Or perhaps you simply do not listen.”

The coolness of his tone took me aback. What did he know? “I think that you rather like your notoriety, Don Joaquin. Maybe you enjoy being dark and mysterious and dangerous.”

He straightened up, cold dark eyes meeting mine. “No,” he said. “I do not.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, but I spoke to the air, for he had already pushed past the doors and back into the ballroom.

That was not the last time I saw him, though perhaps it should have been.

Order the book from Dragonwell.com or Amazon.com to continue reading this, and other wicked, and gorgeous stories featuring irresistible villains and dark, handsome Valentines.

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ONCE UPON A CURSE 5-star review from San Francisco Book Review

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“Step into a world of wonder, where things are rarely as they seem and the darker sides of fairy tales are brought to light. Cinderella’s fairy godmother is not as benevolent as you have been led to believe, Sleeping Beauty’s fate is much different than previous stories have dared to tell, and Death can be much more charming and courteous than can a room full of society’s best.

Full of fascinating takes on classic stories and a few whole new tales by such authors as Peter S. Beagle, Cindy Lynn Speer, and Nancy Kress, this collection is gorgeous, haunting, and a wonder to read. Though the stories are very different, each one is beautifully written and completely enchanting. If you like your fairy tales with a hint of darkness, a splash of melancholy, and a happily ever after that is up for debate, then Once Upon A Curse is the book you have been waiting for.”

Buy the book in the Dragonwell Publishing Bookstore, Amazon, or other online retailers.

Read the full review at:

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ONCE UPON A CURSE Author Imogen Howson: Frayed Tapestry

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Imogen Howson’s Frayed Tapestry is a spellbinding urban fantasy novella based on the ancient Greek myth about Hades and Persephone. Here is what Imogen says about the story and the anthology:

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When I wrote Frayed Tapestry, in 2007, I was kind of trying to find my way with writing.  I’d recently finished writing an 130,000-word epic-ish fantasy novel, I’d had no success finding an agent or publisher for it, and I was feeling really daunted about embarking on another long project with no guarantee of publication at the end of it.

So I’d taken a break and had written a few shorter stories.  A novella had been accepted by a very new, very small (and, as it turned out, very badly funded because it had to close fairly soon afterwards) epublisher, and a young adult science fiction story had been published by another very new, very small epublisher.

I was keen to build on my small success.  But having so far gone from epic-ish romantic fantasy, to not-so-epic-ish young-adult-ish romantic fantasy, to young adult science fiction romance, I wasn’t really sure what my niche was, or who my audience might be, or where to go from here.

Also, although I was happy to be epublished (seriously—five years later my daughters still remember how I jumped up and down and screamed when I was offered my first contract, and at least two subsequent contracts made me cry), I’d always wanted to see my work in print, and writing short stories and novellas wasn’t a great way to get there.  So I was hoping to write enough of the same kind of short stories to have them collected for a print edition.

As it turned out, Frayed Tapestry wasn’t really the same kind of story as any of the others at all. It’s more “new adult” than young adult, although in 2007 that categorization didn’t exist, it’s not romance, and it’s a very different sort of fantasy from the other books I’d had published.  But the idea came to me and by then it was too late to not write it.

I actually love the story—possibly more than the other two stories I had published around the same time—and I adored the cover that the publisher designed for it.  But I was pretty sure it was never going to see print.

Especially when that publisher, too, closed, and Frayed Tapestry returned to sit in a folder on my computer.

I’ve moved on since 2007.  I have seen my work in print—a full-length novel from a digital-first publisher came out early this year, and another book is releasing from a New York publisher June 2013.  The publishing industry has moved on too.  With a lot of successful digital-first publishers, digital-only imprints at many of the big publishers, and significant success for self-published books, print is no longer quite the holy grail I used to feel it to be.  After all, the first thing I do now when I hear about a book I want to read is download the sample to my Kindle!

But there’s still something about your words turning into an actual object, something that can be held and passed round the family and placed on a shelf.  And book covers look a whole lot nicer in physical form than they do on my black-and-white-only Kindle screen.

So, when Dragonwell Publishing chose to include Frayed Tapestry in an ebook and print anthology, it was the fulfillment of a dream.

My author copy arrived the other day.  Photographic proof below!

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Isn’t that a gorgeous cover?  It has a really nice feel, too, sort of velvety, as if it’s taken on the texture of the girl’s dress.  (I would like to point out that when I took the photo, my smartphone automatically focused on the girl’s face.  Quite possibly in preparation to use face recognition software on her and fit her to a contact (who?) in my address book.  Sometimes, I feel, my smartphone is a little too smart.)

So, five years after I wrote it, Frayed Tapestry appears in print. As it did the first time it was published, it sits slightly oddly between my last print release, another fantasy romance, and my next, a—yes, another—young adult science fiction.  But I still love the story, and it’s wonderful to see it not only in print but in the company of some pretty great stories.  If you buy it, I hope you enjoy them all!

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Imogen lives near Sherwood Forest in England, with her partner and their two teenage daughters. Imogen has published several novels and short stories. In the virtual world, she can be found at her website www.imogenhowson.com, blog imogenhowson.com/blog, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/imogenhowsonauthor, and Twitter twitter.com/imogenhowson. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at imogenhowson@gmail.com.

 

 

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