Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Melinda Van Lone

Inspiration can come from anywhere and anything, if you’re eyes and heart are open. I’m often inspired by things I see around me. For the House of Xannon series, the city of Philadelphia infiltrated my story senses. I lived there for a couple of years, and explored quite a few neighborhoods on photo hunts. A lot of the next story (book 4, working title Finding Earth) takes place in a not-so-nice neighborhood of Philly, and its dilapidated park. The park is known as a “pocket park”, and was inspired by a cute one in the Italian district of Philly. It’s a small park rescued from what would have been a concrete triangle formed by the odd intersection of several diagonal streets. In a city as dense as Philly, it’s a pleasure to stumble across a little piece of nature in the middle of urban jungle. 
The House of Xannon is embedded into the rock of an island off the coast of Maui, and was inspired by the Island of Kaho’olawe. When I was visiting Hawaii on vacation, I took a tour which gave a bit of history about the island. It was once used as a military post and testing ground during World War II and after, until protests returned the control of the island to the state of Hawaii. They say that both the island and the surrounding water contains unexploded ordinances, so it’s off limits to visitors. One family and a handful of workers live there. There’s no other contact with it.
 Of course, even as they told me this, I made up my own version of the story. I say it’s not land-mines at all, but magic. Tarian and her family live there, with most of the house hiding underneath the rock. The rumor of dangerous land mines is to keep us non magical types away from her home. She’s over there, on the beach. I was sure I could just make her out across the waves!
The inspiration for the Ancients, and in particular the Water Ancients, came from another vacation. It was a dolphin adventure, one where we got to swim with the dolphins and learn all about them. I was mesmerized, entranced, enchanted and completely hooked on these amazing creatures. I’m quite sure they are vastly more intelligent than us, and full of magic. You can see it in their eyes. The fascination I felt that day in the water with such a beautiful creature inspired the entire system of Ancient elementals, and in particular Tarian’s love of water and dolphins.
Promise of Magic takes place in mostly magical realms, but the inspiration for the final scene was also a very real place I visited in Hawaii. Standing near an active volcano is definitely something I’ll never forget. I doubt Tarian will either.

Promise of Magic
House of Xannon
Book 3
Melinda VanLone

Genre: urban fantasy

ISBN: 978-0-9887455-4-4

Word Count: 65k

Cover Artist: bookcovercorner.com

Book Description:

On instinct, Tarian bowed her head in return, shocked. “Dulra. Welcome.” She breathed the words, awed by the presence of creatures she’d only known through legends. What is the Balance Court doing here?

“Tarian A’marie Maitea Xannon, of the House of Xannon, Keeper of the Water Artifact, you are summoned to the Balance Court.”

 She’d been summoned, and every particle of her being cried out to answer it.
Despite the advanced stage of her pregnancy, Tarian has some explaining to do. Fulfilling her Agreement with the Carraig was an issue of honor—but it led to complications. The Keeper of the House of Xannon is called to account, and Tarian must embark on a dangerous mission which could cost her the life of her unborn daughter, end in disaster for all planes of existence—or save the world.

Some promises are deadly to keep. Will the promise of magic be one of them?

About the Author:

Melinda VanLone writes fantasy and science fiction, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and furbabies. When she's not playing with her imaginary friends you can find her playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or nursing coffee in Starbucks.

twitter: @melindavan

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Melinda said...

Thanks so much for having me over!

Stacey Smith said...

I have only read a few urban fantasy but I love the one's I did read and yours looks like it will be great to.