Tales from Feyron Blog Tour - The Shadow Portal


The Shadow Portal

Feature: Diana L. Wicker, author of Tales from Feyron

Titles: The Dreamweaver's Journey / The Guardian Child's Return / Legacy of Mist and Shadow

Series: Tales from Feyron (1–3)

Author: Diana L. Wicker

Publication Dates: November 2, 2012 / May 10, 2013 / December 20, 2014 

Genre: YA Fantasy/Coming of Age


The Dreamweaver's Journey

The Realm of Feyron has always been. It is the origin of all things magical, the axis point where all the worlds meet. Once, in days gone by, there were many gateways within the Temple of Pyli connecting the Worlds Beyond seeded with magic to their home. Now many gateways have flickered out, and Feyron weakens as the magic fades and the Guardians are lost.

For the first time in over three hundred years a Dreamweaver has come of age and is tasked with contacting the Guardians. When she awakens in the night after a vision of her best friend lost and alone, injured in the snows at the top of the Crystal Mountains, she seeks out the Sacred Fire in the Temple in an attempt to call forth more information. A voice calls out from the fire, "Dreamweaver, you are summoned." An image appears of an ancient path through the Mist Shrouded Forest leading to a hidden gate into the Crystal Caverns below the mountains. The Guardians have summoned her on a quest that will take her to the four realms of light within Feyron in search of answers and aid.

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The Guardian Child's Return

The Guardians have awakened after the Time of Sleep and returned to renew the magic with the clans of Faie. At the request of the Guardian, Lord Grypos, Keeper of Knowledge, the Master Scholar travels through the Outer Gateway with craftsmen and apprentices to coordinate the repairs of the once great oasis that houses the ancient archives of knowledge known as the Island in the Sands.

As the summer wanes and the oasis begins to return to its former glory, the Guardian calls the Master Scholar to the meditation room in the wee hours of the night to discuss a journey. In the fire an image flickers of the red desert sands speeding past, a land of grey beyond the desert, and a cavern of twilight behind an obsidian wall. “Arwyn and Shyamal are to go there for me to seek out that which was once mine.”

What starts as a seemingly simple journey becomes an adventure with life threatening consequences as the two are unexpectedly joined by their friends on a journey far from home beyond the Realms of Light in a realm that few within the clans of Faie knew could even be reached.

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Legacy of Mist and Shadow

Old relics and have stories of their own. Sometimes they contain adventures waiting to be sparked and journeys bursting to begin.

The Box of Melodies was left with Clan Caris by Lady Oyisha, daughter of the mists, for care and keeping. A series of visions revealing the last desperate moments of a forgotten clan - the loss of their gateway to Feyron and the escape of a lone traveler holding the box - spurs a handful of adventuresome youth on a trek through the Lesser Forest where they inadvertently cause a ripple through the mists with unintended consequences.

A few of the youth find themselves on an unexpected journey to a World Beyond, lost in mist and shadow, where misunderstanding and suspicion lead to danger and darkness. Forgotten histories are discovered, clan secrets are revealed, and old alliances are remembered as the families of the lost seek to discover where the youth have been drawn by the memories within the Mists of Time.

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Legacy of Mist and Shadow: The Age of Awakenings - Book 3

What inspired you to write this book?
This book actually started as a scene that would not leave me alone, a recurring vision of a young man in black near a gateway to Feyron named the Summoner.  The vision kept poking at me until I started writing.

Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb?
I have a short story that is the origin tale for the World Beyond that is not published in the current book.

How did you choose your title?
Generally I write the entire book.  Then, as I am reading it all the way through, start to finish, a theme usually appears.  The titles of my stories usually relate to the theme that calls to me as I read them.  I guess the books sort of name themselves.

Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.
The cover is the brainchild of my dear editor, Mia Darien.  I tend to picture my book covers as specific scenes from the story.  She is able to take my vision and create the most outstanding cover to illustrate it.

Did you self­publish or publish traditionally and why?
I indie-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and Create Space.
 as opposed to the submitting to a traditional publishing house.  Through these independent resources I can list my ebooks at most major venues as well as have a paperback available for those who still like to hold a book in their hands.  (I happen to be one of those people myself.  I love the feel of a book.)

The reason I chose to publish through independent resources as opposed to sending manuscripts to a publishing house has a lot to do with spending a year researching the industry prior to publishing my first story.  I did not read good things about the big publishing houses, and I did not see any reason to spend time pursuing them when other avenues were available. 

I did not self-publish through a smaller service mainly because it was so easy to set up my own independent accounts with the online ebook retailers that I did not feel a need to pay a service to do so.  Print on Demand services through Create Space allow for books to be generated as needed when ordered from an online store.  This saves me from having to invest in stock to store and sell myself to recoup a financial investment.

What do you consider the most important part of a good story?
“The Feels”, as my daughter would say.  Make me feel, for your characters and for their situation.  Pull me in and make me believe I am there with them.

What is your writing process?
First I need to be inspired by something.  Then I start having visions of scenes; a good story always starts out as an anime playing through my dreams.  Then I start sketching out scenes and outlining a timeline between them.  Then the writing begins.

How long have you been writing?
I cannot actually remember an age in my life when I was not making up stories and telling tales.  I know I was telling tales to other kids by first grade and writing them down by second grade.

How did you get started writing?
I started writing about Feyron in 2011.  I had been writing with a small group in an online play by post story based RPG (role playing game).  As often happens with game groups, eventually it petered out, but I was not ready to give up the story generation I had enjoyed as the GM (game master).

My daughter had been a participant in the NaNoWriMo YWP (National Novel Writers’ Month Young Writers Program) for several years and had a very active story group.  Feyron started as an idea, a place for them to play and write stories.  A map developed, and then lore.  I even tried my hand at drafting up an RPG manual for Feyron before moving into the longer tales.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter all the way - lists, outlines, note sheets, even calendars and timelines for tracking action.  (I have purchased Scrivener, Aeon Timeline, and Scapple to try out their planning tools for my next book.)  If I come to a gap between planned scenes and need a transition, I sometimes freeform those and see where the muse flows, but generally I make a plan and work the plan and try not to deviate from the plan.

What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?
Initiation - waiting for the inspiration to strike that says, “Yes, I am the plot line.”  I often have scenes that haunt me for quite some time before the main plot chooses to reveal itself to me.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?
Try to relax.  Fretting and hyper focusing on a project can just drive it further away.  Seek inspiration using all of your senses.  Stop, look, listen - movies, television, story based video games - savor food and drink, take a hot bubble bath and enjoy the warmth and comfort, take your rest and dream.

And, if all that fails, sometimes you must be patient and wait for the muse to return.  Pick up a different project, activity, or hobby and distract yourself while you wait.  :)

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?
Sometimes as I’m writing certain songs will connect with a character or story line and become their theme song.  I tend to listen to those songs as I’m preparing to write to help me connect with the story.  I tend to snatch writing time when and where I can, so more often than not, I’m writing to the sounds of the world around me.

Who is your favorite author?
I don’t know that I have one particular favorite author, but I do have a short list of people I return to time and again: Agatha Christie, Anne Rice, Janet Morris, and Michael Jecks.  My favorite new writers are Alexandra Butcher and Mia Darien.

Who is your favorite character from a book?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard one.  I don’t know that I have any one character that I could point to and say, “That’s the one.”  I tend to be drawn to the flawed character in pain, someone that is trying to grow past something in their lives, someone seeking to find out who they are, or who they might become.

What is your favorite book?
I’m terribly bad at the word “favorite”.  I don’t tend to be much of a favorite things person.  I do have favorite story worlds that I return to time and again; Thieves’ World, Adleheid (Mia Darien), Erana (Alexandra Butcher), Thedas (David Gaider/BioWare team).

Read anything good lately?
Disposable People - Mia Darien  The book just captivated me and I could not put it down.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love being a mom and helping with my children’s activities.  I help at the dance school and am grateful they allow me to coordinate backstage during shows.  I enjoy dressing up and attending CosPlay events, often as the Storyteller of Feyron, the narrator of my tales.  I have just invested in my first ball jointed dolls and am learning how to properly paint them.  And, if that wasn’t enough, I love to sew and enjoy making costumes, both for CosPlay activities and for the dolls.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Write what makes you happy.  Write what you feel and what you know.  And after you feel your story is well said, find three friends to read it and tell you what they think.  Join an online group like Authonomy that peer reads stories and listen to what other writers have to say about your story.  The hardest thing I had to learn was, “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.”  Taking critiques and suggestions is very difficult, but in the long run a better story is made.

Have you had anything else published?
Thus far I have three Feyron books published and have participated in one story anthology.
The Dreamweaver’s Journey
The Guardian Child’s Return
Legacy of Mist and Shadow
Bellator: An Anthology of Warriors of Space and Magic

What's your next project?
I have a few projects open currently.  Tales of Lore includes the sorts of short stories that children in Feyron would have heard growing up.  I have a background history outlined for the World Beyond visited during Legacy of Mist and Shadow.  And, I have a list of reader requests and open ended questions from the current books that I’m hoping will inspire me for starting on a fourth tale during the Age of Awakenings


Author Bio

Diana lives in the balmy climate of the US south with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and a cantakerous rabbit.  She enjoys reading, sewing (clothing, costuming, and experimental toy making), and RPG games. (She grew up with the old school paper/pencil style of gaming, but has transitioned happily to the highly interactive world of video games.)

The idea for Feyron started with a map, a place for her daughter to tell stories and live out storytelling role playing adventures with her friends.  The lore grew around the map, for every world needs lore if you are going to “live” there.  The idea for a series, Tales from Feyron, grew out of the lore, for if you’re going to invent a world, you may as well play there too.  The stories are continuing to grow through the various historical ages of Feyron and may yet “ripple” outwards to the Worlds Beyond touched by magic.

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