Isle of Apples is Available in All Formats!

“A new twist on time traveling and the power to love and forgive.” -Edward Maher, Amazon Reviewer.

Bridget’s future depends on helping the boy who wants to kill her.  

The Isle of Apples is a breathtaking, wonderful place. It’s lush and green, full of white magic and perfectly safe. Well, except for dangerous mythological beasts, enchanted streams, and the fact that there is no sun and no time. And all Bridget has to do to solve an unsolvable, four-thousand-year-old paradox involving the boy who wants to kill her is go there and fulfill a promise she made to the Goddess.

Bridget and her best friend Celena use an otherworldly portal to delve deep into the past for answers of exactly what to do. What is “The Forever Tree” and what do mysterious clay tablets reveal about their quest? How can they find the one person they need to complete the ancient magic when he has disappeared – and is he still in Wales, or has he vanished into ancient Celtic Britain for the same artifacts Bridget seeks?

Bridget learns that sometimes pieces of the puzzle are found in the most unexpected ways – and from the most unexpected people. In an uncharted realm governed by different rules, she witnesses trust, magic and faith overcome adversity as a painful history draws to a close.

Amazon US – Kindle & Paperback

Amazon UK – Kindle & Paperback

Smashwords – All eBook Formats

My Writing Process

Welcome to the Writing Process Blog Tour.

Author Charles Stubbs recently took part in this unique blog tour on writing, and invited me to take it forward. I met Charles online and discovered that he writes mystery thriller novels set in North Wales! I can highly recommend Charles’ first two novels in the Travis Web of Deceit series, as I was very impressed with the situations he presented and his ability to “trick me” as the reader. This series of mystery thrillers deals with issues about how the media can manipulate public opinion and influence events. You can visit Charles’ website at http://webofdeceit.org/blogs to find out more about his writing process and learn more about his books. You can also visit other authors on this tour by following the links on Charles’ blog post and working back in time.

To continue the tour, I’ll be answering four questions:

1. What are you working on?
I’m currently working on Isle of Apples, the third and final book of my young adult fantasy trilogy. The book is in its final stages of editing and will be released next month. I’m very excited! Here’s the synopsis:

Bridget and Celena have shared a painful connection with Paul for thousands of years due to a tragedy in the ancient world – a crime that Bridget is still paying for today. What’s done is done; she doesn’t know how to erase the injustice. She does know that with magic stemming from the Isle of Apples, she can somehow change time, create a new future and fulfill a promise she made to the Goddess. The girls use an otherworldly portal to delve deep into the past for answers of exactly what to do. What is “The Forever Tree” and what do mysterious clay tablets reveal about their quest? How can they convince Paul to journey with them to the Isle to set things right when he’s bent only on making them suffer? Bridget learns that sometimes answers are found in the most unexpected ways – and from the most unexpected people. In an uncharted realm governed by different rules, she witnesses trust, magic and faith overcome adversity as a painful history draws to a close.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
It’s rare to see a Welsh-themed trilogy (although there are a few out there), but even stranger to see one written by an American who’s never been to Wales. So I would say this is what sets my work apart from others the most. Isle of Apples is by far the “Welshest” of the three books. It was quite an adventure putting my own spin on many well-known Welsh creatures and legends.

Another main subject of the series is reincarnation and how events in the characters’ distant past have come back to haunt them in the present. Not everyone believes that we have lived before this lifetime of course, but whether readers do or not, the concept makes for a very unusual and entertaining story.

3. Why do you write what you do?
I believe that I don’t necessarily get to pick and choose what inspires me. If I am “inspired” to write about a certain thing, then I feel compelled to write about it as though I really don’t have a choice. I’ve been interested in Wales ever since I read about it in a few books when I was a teenager. Several years ago when I had the idea for my first book, I kept visualizing the characters in ancient Wales, even though I hadn’t read about that country in almost twenty years. I started researching, found Bryn Cader Faner (a Bronze Age cairn circle) that could be a “portal” to journey back in time, and I became so inspired and intrigued by this part of the world that I couldn’t have written about anything else if my life depended on it!

That said, the learning curve while writing these books was tough at times and there is definitely something to be said for the maxim “write what you know.” But now that this project is nearly completed I’m glad that I persisted. It’s been a humbling and satisfying experience that I could not have done without help from authors and readers in the United Kingdom.

4. How does your writing process work?
It starts with a concept of the tale I want to tell and the imagery and emotions I want to create in the reader’s mind. The inspiration and the story idea are of course linked in some way, which goes without saying. Muses play a big part in this. I view a muse as a sort of specialized compartment of inspiration – a person (or sometimes, people) who inspires me. And muses affect me the same way as general inspiration does. I really don’t pick my muses, they pick me. I have no control over who inspires me and who doesn’t, all I can say is that my affinity and admiration do play a big part in it.

I haven’t often been able to work out much of the story in my mind before writing it – maybe only about 25%, which is usually the beginning, ending, and the general idea of what happens. On rare occasions when I have written a chapter outline for the entire book, I usually come up with something better mid writing the novel and wind up changing it anyway. So most of the time, once I get my initial ideas, I have to start getting them down on paper and go from there. Each time I work on the book I discover a little more of the imaginary world in which the characters find themselves. It’s a journey which allows me a lot of freedom to create and surprise myself with twists and turns in the plot. This may not be the best way to write, but it’s the most enjoyable and allows me to grow as an author. One day I may do it differently.

For this series, I wrote the chapters of each book consecutively, from beginning to end. Once a book is complete, I go through it probably 5 – 10 times myself, picking up as many errors as I can, and rewriting parts I’m not satisfied with. Then I have other authors, readers and friends read the book and provide their feedback. I make any corrections needed and then I self-publish the book to Amazon for Kindle, to CreateSpace in paperback, and also on Smashwords, which converts the book into all eReader formats and PDF.

The three books of my Welsh-themed trilogy are Lake Caerwych, The Space Between Worlds and Isle of Apples.

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My post completes this leg of the blog tour, but it isn’t finished yet!

The next stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour you’ll be visiting is author Stephen Jennison-Smith on June 30th.

Stephen Jennison-Smith

Stephen had written a couple of books about 20 years ago and realised that with the advent of the Kindle he could publish them himself. So he wrote two more and self-published them three years ago. Since then he has written another 12 novellas and 20 short stories.

You’ll find Stephen’s Writing Process Tour post on his blog here:

http://stephenjennisonsmith.blogspot.co.uk

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I hope you’re enjoying the tour so far and that you’ll find new authors to add to your reading list. Thank you for visiting!

Author Interview on KCross Writing

Book Reviewer Katie Cross interviewed me on her excellent site. You can check out her blog here! http://kcrosswriting.com/

Author Interview: Jaime Conrad

What’s cooler than a self-published author? Nothing.

Let me introduce Jaime Conrad. (No, I didn’t spell it wrong. It’s the ol’ I before M rule.)

06b90d1224e30ac1d1881c.L._V143848561_SX200_1She’s the author of the incredible book Lake Caerwych. It was my first Kindle read, and a  martian life form couldn’t have pried it from my hands as soon as I started reading it.

Thanks for being here with us today, Jaime!

Before we get to your book, let’s talk about you as a writer. How long have you been writing?

I wrote a lot when I was a kid. When I was about 10 years old, it was normal behavior for me to sit on my grandma’s back porch and write out 300 pages in my notebook. I would say I first starting writing stories at about the age of 6 and continued until I was a teenager. Around that time, life started getting pretty busy and complex and I barely wrote a thing for almost twenty years. Two years ago, when I was 34, I realized that writing was actually what I wanted to do in life and it had been there all along – it just got buried under the day-to-day stresses. Shortly thereafter, I got the idea for this trilogy and started writing again.

Good for you! I’m always impressed with people who follow what they want. I have to admit, I’m curious: do you believe in muses? If so, do you have a writing muse?

Yes, I absolutely believe in them! I have several, and I switch around depending on the subject matter.

What has been the most exciting part about publishing your first book?

There have been so many things that it’s hard to pick just one! I think the most exciting part was that I finally confronted completing a book and sharing it with others publicly. I knew that if I really wanted to consider writing professionally in any capacity, I needed to come out of my shell and present my product. So I made myself do it, and it was very liberating and terrifying to see Lake Caerwych live on Amazon.

What has been the most difficult part about being a writer?

At first, the most difficult part was just letting others know that I’m a writer. I didn’t know what they would think of my chosen genre or my interest in Wales. After a while, I discovered that this uncertainty was all in my head. Friends, other authors and even the media have been very supportive. Once I got over this personal hurdle, I knew that I was the only one holding myself down and I just needed to get on with it.

Photo Credit: http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348199290l/12980572.jpg

What’s your favorite cereal? (Nosy readers like to know.)

You will love this answer: I really don’t eat cereal or any kind of sweet stuff for breakfast. I eat eggs and bacon – sometimes a burger! Yum!

(Isn’t she great, folks? A girl after my own heart who eats a healthy breakfast.)

Ok, now let’s get to the really good stuff! Can you give us a brief synopsis of Lake Caerwych?

Lake Caerwych is a story of friendship, time travel and haunting adventure in ancient Wales. Two American teenagers embark on the journey of their lives when they find a megalithic portal in Snowdonia which takes them back to 500 BC. Lake Caerwych is Book 1 of a Welsh-themed trilogy.

I noticed throughout the book that you introduce words from different Celtic languages, but I never got confused or felt overwhelmed by the unknown words. Was that difficult to balance?

No, it was relatively easy because I was able to introduce the words gradually as the girls did their research about Wales. I learned as they learned, and this allowed me to add the vocabulary bit by bit, rather than just throwing it at the reader all at once.

What made you decide to base the story in Wales?

I’ve had affinity for and interest in Wales ever since high school, but I didn’t pursue that interest back then the way I wanted to. When I started this trilogy, I decided that the characters must go to Wales. That would allow me to write in my area of interest and would also give the story a unique feel and atmosphere.

Have you ever been there?

No, I have never been there! I broke a cardinal rule of writing with this trilogy: I wrote about what I didn’t know. This took a lot of researching, correcting of errors, more researching, more correcting and lots and lots of editing. I received some great help from readers in Wales and one author in the UK in particular. Lake Caerwych is now published in its second edition and now readers say that they can’t believe I haven’t been there. So it can be done, if one has the patience to push through and keep learning and refining the work as needed.

There is a Wales Online article which goes into my “breaking the rules” as well: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2012/06/18/snowdonia-the-setting-for-fantasy-novel-by-texas-author-91466-31203101/

Was it difficult to write from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old?

No, it was incredibly easy! Even when I was a kid, I had the idea that I wanted to write in the teen or young adult genre. It feels very natural.

Of all the characters you wrote about, which of them was your favorite? (My personal favorite was Bridget, of course.)

Photo credit:http://cache.smashwire.com/bookCovers/878bf9499e6efaa0c973fd198d7df64c7d27a808-thumb

I’m really glad that you liked Bridget! She is my favorite too. Bridget is actually a composite of my daughter and me, if we were fused together into one person.

Now, you have a sequel to Lake Caerwych, is that right? Is it available to read right now?

Yes, the sequel is The Space Between Worlds. It’s available right now in all formats, including paperback. You can get it on Amazon or Smashwords. In the sequel, we learn a lot more about Paul and what’s really going on with him. Be ready for a shocker!

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There you have it, guys! I’m on my way to get the second book.

Which means you should too.

The Space Between Worlds

(Book 2 of the Copper & Cobalt Trilogy)

Not all prisons are escapable.

Thousands of miles from ancient Celtic Britain, Bridget awakens as a Sumerian girl standing outside the Great Ziggurat of Ur. She can’t understand where Celena is or what any of this has to do with her and their history in Wales. Her pendant has disappeared and she has no way back.

Feeling trapped in this arid land so far removed from Wales or the US, Bridget’s problems extend beyond locating her friend or finding an exit door. Her parents are forcing her to prepare for an arranged marriage, and if she doesn’t follow through, the consequences will be severe. She can’t see how to stop the tidal wave that’s threatening to engulf her life. There are many kinds of prisons, and not all of them are escapable. But when Bridget meets Relan, all of that changes.

In the blazing heat of Sumerian summer, a beautiful, pale stranger explores the marketplace of Ur, asking peculiar questions of the merchants and speaking in a strange accent. Wearing a woolen cloak over his animal skin tunic, this “barbarian” is from elsewhere and has unusual ideas. Bridget’s curiosity leads her down an alluring and dangerous path. She is afraid to find out the answers she longs for, until Relan shows her something unbelievable, wonderful, and frightening. Just as Bridget thinks she has a solution to her problems, she is faced with a disturbing choice that may cause a shift in her destiny which can’t be undone.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Article About Lake Caerwych Published in the Western Mail, UK

Recently I was most honored that Graham Henry, a senior reporter with one of the Welsh papers, wrote a wonderful article on me and my first novel, Lake Caerwych. A huge thanks to Mr. Henry for giving me such a great opportunity to share my work with others.

Texan writer’s novel “inspired by Snowdonia” – even though she’s never visited

Its coastline of sandy beaches, spectacular cliffs and stunning lakes is enough to inspire all who visit it.

But now an obscure corner of Snowdonia has proved to have a reach far further than anyone thought after it inspired a writer to make it the centre of her debut novel – even though she had never visited Wales.

“I was looking for lakes and I came upon Llyn Caerwych by nothing more than accident,” Conrad, 35, told the Western Mail.

“I found the word ‘Caerwych’ itself to be one of the most beautiful words ever written – and decided that not only would much of the story centre around this lake, but that it would be the title of the book as well.

“I fought with myself to keep from simply calling the novel ‘Llyn Caerwych,’ but instead used ‘lake’ so that anyone not familiar with the words would have some idea of what the title meant.”

The story itself features two friends who come across a Celtic necklace in a second-hand shop, triggering a feeling of déjà vu which leads to the pair being transported back to 500BC Wales – via a megalithic portal at the Bronze Age stone circle Bryn Cader Faner.

But Conrad – originally from St Louis, Missouri but now based in Texas after meeting her husband John Michael – said she was breaching a “taboo” by writing about a place she had never visited herself.

“I came across Snowdonia when searching for the lake I would have the characters visit,” she said.

“I found Llyn Caerwych in Snowdonia and the area had everything: moorland, numerous lakes, farmhouses, the ring cairn, hut circles, and of course, the sheep-dotted landscape.

“It was perfect – and since it’s a national park it’s quite rural, so there was plenty for the characters to explore and yet stay out of sight at times.

“I broke a taboo and wrote about a place I’ve never visited. I think that sometimes we get into the whys and wherefores of a thing so much that we forget it’s possible to just love something because we love it.

“I have such a strong affinity for Wales that it seemed wasteful to write about something else.

“I actually tried to learn Welsh at one point, years ago, but let’s just say my Welsh needs work.

“I felt that if I wrote about what interests and inspires me it would be worlds better than writing about things I know but care nothing about.

“I’ve also noticed that in the States we hear quite a bit about England, but almost nothing about Wales.

“Wales is a beautiful and intriguing country in its own right. I would like to see it get more attention.”

The self-published book, which is being sold on Amazon and via the firm’s Kindle gadget, is the first part of a Welsh-based trilogy, with the final edits on the second The Space Between Worlds currently being completed.

“So far I have received nothing but positive feedback on the book,” Conrad said.

“I’ve had a reader who lives in Snowdonia, near Llechwedd Slate caverns, say he loved it and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

“I can’t even tell you how happy this makes me.”

Copyright 2012 WalesOnline.

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Lake Caerwych

Book One of the Copper & Cobalt Trilogy

Bridget doesn’t want to die again.

Bridget thought a summer holiday in rural Wales was the answer to everything. Not only would it be the experience of a lifetime, but she may finally come to understand Snowdonia’s eerie familiarity and the creepy déjà vu she and her best friend Celena have been having. And although Wales proves to be the most beautiful and enchanting place they’ve ever seen, what they find leaves Bridget with more questions than ever.

Lured to the ‘other side’ of a Bronze Age ring of stones by an unearthly magic, sixteen-year-old Bridget opens her eyes to long ago Celtic Britain. Hurled into another life, the terrors she faces in the ancient past are too much to bear. Even with Celena’s help, what began as an adventure turns into an inescapable nightmare she can’t seem to wake up from.

But all isn’t lost. An enigmatic boy named Paul has lived in Talsarnau all his life, and he’s been to the other side of the ring cairn too. He thinks he might know a way to solve the mystery. The only catch is that Bridget might have to die… again.

Paperback

Kindle Edition

Kindle Edition UK

Lake Caerwych is the first book of a trilogy. Book Two, The Space Between Worlds, will be completed by summer, 2012.