Tag Archives: fantasy

Ellen Jacobson, Author Interview

Today, I’m interviewing one of my co-authors from our fantasy anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, hosted from The Insecure Writers Support Group and graciously published via Dancing Lemur Press in May of this year. The theme for this year’s anthology was a lost hero, and it’s been fascinating to discover how twelve different writers approached all the many things those two words invoked.

Welcome, Ellen Jacobson, author of The Silvering.


Hi, Ellen! What sparked your idea of a lost hero?

I woke up in the middle of the night after having a really vivid dream about a strange world where mysterious things happen to my main character, Caestu. At first, I didn’t necessarily envision Caestu as a lost hero, but as the story unfolded, it became clear that he had a tough choice to make – conform to what society expects of him or rebel against its control and oppression of others.


What was the hardest part to write?

The ending. I couldn’t find a satisfactory way to wrap things up, and I’m still not satisfied with the ending. I think I have a lot more of the story to tell and having to cap it at 5,000 words forced me to end it prematurely. Perhaps I’ll turn it into a novella or novel one day and give it a proper ending.


What is your preferred genre to write in? Why?

I started out writing a cozy mystery (which I’ve been working on for ages), but I’ve always had a ton of ideas for science fiction/fantasy stories. The Silvering was my first attempt to write in that genre and I really enjoyed it. I love the idea of not being constrained by how things are supposed to work in the real world and the freedom to imagine new worlds, cultures and peoples.


Is there a theme to your writing as a whole/What is your writing strong point? 

Because I’m a novice writer, I can’t say that there is a theme or strong point. I’ve only completed one thing so far – my story in the anthology. Ask me again in a few years. Hopefully, I’ll have typed “The End” on another manuscript and can maybe identify a theme or strong point.


What is your favorite book? Why?

I can never answer questions like this. It’s way too hard to narrow things down to just one book. What I can tell you is that there are some books that I’ve re-read, which I guess makes them favorites in a way, such as anything by Octavia Butler or Iain Banks, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers’ books are also fun to re-read.


Was there something about the prompt ‘Lost Hero’ that grabbed you?

I had actually started writing my story before the anthology theme was announced, so it didn’t really grab me in that sense. I do think it’s a great theme and I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s take on it.


If your lost hero had a theme song, what would it be?

They’re not allowed to sing in Caestu’s society, so he wouldn’t have a theme song. Actually, I don’t know if they’re allowed to sing or not, but I can see that being prohibited. This may be something I explore if I turn The Silvering into a novella or novel at some point.


Thanks, Ellen!

Connect with Ellen via Facebook, her blog, or Google+.



Want to know more about Hero Lost?

Click on over to our Hero Lost homepage to get a taste of the other stories and writers.

You can then purchase via Amazon at this link.




Curious about the Insecure Writers Support group?

Check out our website, Facebook Group, and Twitter.





Please be sure to visit Dancing Lemur Press!

Uncover Me

You know what, if there was ever a more appropriate time for a book full of heroes, it is NOW. Because, despite the darkness of our newsfeed, the strongest stories that have come out about our new reality is the fact that everyday people are doing what they can to keep things right. They are standing up for all those currently being attacked, women and Mexicans yesterday, Muslims today, undoubtedly someone new tomorrow. And for that, they are heroes.

So, introducing, the cover for Hero Lost!


My co-authors and I are currently getting our marketing together for our May 2nd release (Woohoo!), and part of that is interviewing each other for future posts, as most of us are bloggers. I finally went through the email responses I’ve received over the last week, and these people- my people- are amazing, insightful, and brilliant. So far, our stories are of many different facets within What is Fantasy, with witches, dragons, quests, strange beings, regrets, Death, and technofantasy.

Stay tuned for the upcoming blog series Writers of Lost Heroes, and meet my fellow authors.

Breath Between Seconds


My short story, Breath Between Seconds, was accepted into a fantasy anthology via IWSG and Dancing Lemur Press!

I very almost didn’t participate. The theme is Lost Heroes. The picture above almost kinda conveys my take on it. When people think of fantasy, they think of Tolkien-esque, medieval style battles. Glory and victory and sacrifice and all that (loud, manly grunt followed by chest thumping. Grrrr).

But what of those who did the sacrifice part. Are they thinking about glory and victory? How do they welcome their death? In the end, do they agree with their decision?

And seriously, people, not all soldiers are male. Shame on you.

The other authors and I are contriving a strategic plot to promote the book. Stay tuned for some meet and greets, a release date, and a cover reveal!

Author Fair, Princeton Public Library

Join myself and 30 other authors on Saturday, October 24th! We’re going to be sprinkled throughout the library. Sounds like the coolest treaure hunt ever for us book people, right? See you there!

Source: Author Fair Preview

What Is Fantasy, Part 2


I was at the Printers’ Row Lit Fest last Saturday! My first time there as an author. If you are not in Chicago this time of year, this is a very big event. At times it was overwhelming and chaotic, but on the whole, it was just great. Surreal, to be able to do something like that. Finally.

And I got stumped by the question above once again. In a different way this time. No vampires or werewolves or outright magic? My protagonist isn’t a princess?! After my time selling ended, I packed up, loaded the car, and then returned as a visitor. I am in the market for more organizations, more networks and contacts. I walked up to another tent and the author there asked me about my writing. I gave him my plot for RMOS, and again, got ‘How is that fantasy?’.

Fantasy is all in the details.

So I thought I’d start another conversation up, and posted the question in a more relevant group, and the response was not like the first time. What is fantasy? Two people got my point and gave spectacular and short answers, but others got pretty upset. I was overthinking it, it was unfair of me to ask such a thing, a more personal attack, and on. It was a huge shock and dissappointment, that such a simple post got turned around that way.

I was going to try to answer ‘What is Steampunk?’, but now maybe not!

Anyway, I was pretty upset by the tone of the responses. It reached the point of ‘Disengage! Now!’.

It’s not an easy answer. There is no way to explain it. That is what fantasy is. The unexplainable that relies on your unquestioning belief. Fiction, and especially science fiction, require proof and evidence and reasons. ‘Everything happens for a reason’. Except in fantasy, reason doesn’t exist that way. I see fantasy or steampunk and I immediately understand it. It’s a mindset: not needing a concise explanation in order to accept an unrealistic concept. Fantasy is fiction that defies yet doesn’t need logic or explanation to be believable. Magic exists because it does. Creatures and other worlds are as true as other countries and animals. It is the point and the beauty and the lure of it. Just go with the flow.

And it is broad. There are no rules, and maybe labels of ‘type’ are diluting the concept. Trends change like the weather. It’s still fantasy.

I was scrambling to find new marketing material for this event. I didn’t like those signs I’d had printed before, and I was limited to table top displays only. I was flipping through the book in my head trying to find something ‘marketable’, and then actually opened the book. There it was, the first line: For a moment, I believe.

That (you fill this one in).

We have our moments, our things, our routines or rituals that grant us that one thing. For this moment, let me believe that______. It’s super rare, but I like when I am up before the Boogers on a weekend morning, or especially when we’re camping, and can sit down and drink some hot Earl Grey. The tea, and the quiet, and the morning. In this moment, I believe that the day is going to be good. I take a bath at the end of a rough day and, for this moment, I believe that it wasn’t really as bad as it felt. Tomorrow will be better.

We read fantasy to believe in something else, just for a moment.

Have fun, enjoy, believe, escape.