Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blog Tour--Nicole Zoltack, Champion of Valor Released May 1st, 2011

I'm so excited to take part in Nicole's blog tour. This post will be long, but awesome! There are blurbs for her books and an interview, plus an opportunity to win the trilogy. Enjoy!

Woman of Honor:
Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.

Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.

The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.

Knight of Glory:
Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna.

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?

Champion of Valor:

The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

Publishers: http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com
Are: http://www.omnilit.com/storeSearch.html?sortBy=bestSelling&searchBy=author&qString=nicole%20zoltack

And now, for the interview!

What’s your favorite genre to write?
Now that's a tough question - I write in so many different genres! I would have to say fantasy/paranormal. I love being able to go beyond the boundaries of what is considered normal. I love the idea of magic and mythological creatures. LOL I couldn't pick just one, but in my defense, they are related!

What’s your favorite genre to read?
Oh, another tough one! I'll say YA. More a category than a genre, and that's why I picked it! I'm being such a cheater!

How do you come up with your characters?
Sometimes my characters come first. For instance, I wrote Woman of Honor because I wanted to write a story about a girl wanting to become a knight.  But sometimes the idea for the story comes first and I almost have to fit a character into it. That was the case with Selliki, the heroine in Champion of Valor. I had already created Gabrael in Knight of Glory. He's a mage so I thought it would be interesting if his love interest was a fantasy creature. I picked a selkie, and Selliki was born.

How do you “get in the zone” when writing? Do you listen to music? Look through art?
Something else? I'm always thinking about my stories, even if I'm not actively typing them. I get that faraway look in my eye, and hubby knows that I'm a million miles away. So I'm pretty much always in the zone, or close to it.

I don't listen to music. Most of my writing time comes from staying up late or getting up early, once everyone else in the household is sleeping so listening to music is impossible. It would probably be too distracting though; I love music and tend to get too caught up in it and sing along.

I do look through art. Every Monday, I post a picture for inspiration. Lately, I've been posting different fantasy creatures and writing a little bit about their history.

What is your writing environment like?
My desk is a mess, it's covered with notebooks and post its and little pieces of paper with notes scribbled on them. I have my calendar with important dates such as releases and deadlines and guest blogs on it. I also have my Mythical Creature Bible on my desk.

What’s your favorite part of being a writer?
Writing the first draft. The magic of writing, being swept up into the art of creating a world and characters. It's a rush.


What’s your least favorite part?
I used to say editing, but now it's the waiting. Waiting to hear back from critique partners. Waiting to be done editing and revising. Waiting to hear back from agents and publishers. Writing is a waiting game.

Do you ever have trouble with writers-block?
I would say no. I am always working on a few projects at the same time. If I get stuck on one, I work on another one. But I'm never completely out of ideas, so no, I've never been completely block that I couldn't write anything.


Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?
I'm a mom to two wonderful boys ( a 2 ½ year old and a 8 ½ month old) and a wife.

Are you a pantser or plotter, or a mix?
I used to be a pantser, and still am for the most part. I have started to outline stories a little. It helps to keep me on track so I don't write scenes that later need to be deleted because they're off on tangents. I just can't outline the ending. I write like a reader, if I know the ending, I get bored with the story and won't finish it.
What a brilliant insight! Wonder if this is my problem?

Best thinking activity? (e.g. washing dishes, folding clothes, driving)
While exercising on my bike. I also tend to get a lot of ideas from my dreams - some of them are really out there!

Worst/most interesting writing related injury? (e.g. falling off chair or tripping over whilst trying to do something you're sure your MC could manage)
Because we like the Middle Ages so much, hubby and I collect medieval weaponry. Most are movie replicas from LOTR. Sometimes I will hold the swords to get a feel for their grip and weight, etc. I haven't pretended to fight with them because I don't trust myself to not get hurt. I become bruised way too easily and I could just imagine get a lion-shaped bruise from one of the sword hilts that is in the shape of a lion!
That is so cool!


How do you go about choosing names, locations etc?
With the historical nature of the books, I picked Gaelic names for some of the characters. I choose Aislinn's name because of its meaning - dream - because the book was about Aislinn following her dream. I love researching names, and I do pick most because of the meaning, even if I don't specifically mention the meaning in the text of the story.

For the fantasy races, I tried to keep the names of the different races unique. Some troll names include Tara'zai, Ven'jo, and Mika'la. Dwarves: Hon, Barten, and Dlir. Drow: Rydral, Nathyl, and Marraina.

As for locations, most of the names I made up, although there is a real place called Arnhem. There's Speica, Darwal, Talhil, the NorRealm of Darkness, and in the south: Snowedge Crossing, Silverfield, Infrapolaris.

How did you fall in love with this story idea?
I love high fantasy. Anything that combines medieval life, knights, and romance with magic and mythological creatures has always a pleasure to read so any story that I can write that I would like to read is something that makes writing a joy.


How long did you work on Champion of Valor?
On and off for a year. If you removed all the breaks into between working on other projects, it probably took me 3-4 months.

Which character do you relate to the most?
Definitely Aislinn, although I'm not nearly as athletic as she is. *laughs* I am working out now, so maybe that'll change soon. But I love her determination and heart, and that she is willing to do whatever she can to help her friends and her people. My family is so important to me, and Aislinn feels the same way with everyone in Arnhem.

What is your favorite moment, scene or line from the story?
I can't say because it's a spoiler! But my favorite scene is the last one in Champion of Valor. It all comes back together, full circle. That's all I can say.

Anything else you want us to know about you, or the book?
I love to talk to readers and writers about anything. If you ever have a question or just want to talk, feel free to shoot me an email at Nicole.Zoltack@gmail.com

As for Champion of Valor, if you read it, please let me know what you think of it! I love to hear feedback (good or bad, that way I know how to make things even better for my next book).

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win some signed post cards and magnets. Each comment during the Champion of Valor Blog Tour gives you an entry for the grand prize: a copy of the entire Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy - Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, and Champion of Valor.

From Charity--I just won a copy of the first book in the series and have added it to my pile to read and review. I'll keep you posted. :)

18 comments:

  1. Wall of text crit mah face for 5600 points of damage. Tsunami of words. Oh my.

    Great interview though. I like medieval stuff. Oh and if I wins a magnet is it safe to put it on my puter?

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  2. Great interview. I love the style of your covers. Be careful with those weapons or you'll have a more graphic answer next time someone asks.

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  3. Collecting swords is cool! Looking forward to hosting Nicole tomorrow.

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  4. Great interview! Love Nicole's blog, and wish her nothing but success!

    EJ

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  5. Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about Nicole. I love the covers.

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  6. Thanks everyone for stopping by!

    Yes, Michael, the magnets are safe to put on your computer.

    LOL Doug, I am definitely careful and make sure no one else is around!

    Can't wait to be on your blog tomorrow, Alex!

    Aw, thanks, E.J.! You're so sweet.

    Glad you enjoyed the interview and love the covers, Becky!

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  7. Sword collection? Way awesome! Great interview. Love the book covers.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  8. Hi Nicole. Wonderful interview. My son collects dragon swords.
    Sue Brandes
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Your collection sounds awesome!! I don't outline for the exact same reason - I want to be surprised by what happens next :)

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  10. Dragon swords sound awesome, Sue!

    Surprise is key. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who writes this way, thanks, Jemi!

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  11. Your covers are beautiful. I also write High Fantasy and yours sounds very interesting. Good luck with sales. vigorios7 at gmail dot com

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  12. Great interview! I love the cover for Champion of Valor! Wowee. I want to be there.

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  13. Thanks, Rebecca!

    I would love to be there, too, Aubrie. Won't that be awesome?

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  14. Hmmm. . . which is worse: editing or waiting? Tough call, but I think I'd have to go for editing. While you're waiting for publishers to come back to you there's plenty of time for more writing!
    I agree with Douglas about the covers. Beautiful!

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  15. Great interview, Charity. I love the idea of a medieval collection. :-)

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  16. Thanks for the interview ladies. And for bringing these books to my attention. I have a fantasy reader in my household and now I know what I could get her for her upcoming birthday! Funny is I know the ending before I begin writing. Maybe that is a problem?? :)

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  17. Editing is rough, I agree. Thanks, A.J.!

    I love everything medieval. Thanks for stopping by, Cally!

    You're welcome, Lynn! Maybe you could try writing a story that you don't know the ending to and see if that helps. It might, it might not, but it's worth a shot!

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