Featured Author, News

A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with Avalon Roselin

Today we are talking with Avalon Roselin about her creative process. Avalon Roselin is the author of Stellar Eclipse, Like Falling Stars, and ALiCE.

About Author

As an independent author, Avalon Roselin’s goal is to explore as many different genres as she can. Her focus right now is on an urban fantasy/thriller-mystery series, and her plans for future books include a magical school story, an animal fiction drama, and a sci-fi romance with robot characters. She hopes to have a wide range of stories under my belt eventually!

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

My most recent release is the second book in the Stellar Eclipse series, Dark Lightning! This sequel builds on the relationships founded in the first, and introduces more elements of fantasy-adventure as they journey into new environments that expand on the lore and world of the Stellar Eclipse series.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved camping! As a child, my family would take me camping at least once a year, and I’ve been in love with the outdoors ever since. In fact, the very first rough draft of Dark Lightning was completed on a camping trip! The first book in the Stellar Eclipse series, Cloudless Rain, takes place almost exclusively in an urban setting, so I wanted to explore beyond the city limits and introduce the readers to more of the natural world that the series is set in.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

All of my characters carry some of myself within them. For example, Eureka’s fear of heights–that’s all me. I can’t even climb up a ladder at a playground without freezing up, so it was cathartic to express that fear through him having to climb trees that are multiple stories tall!

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

Despite my aforementioned fear of heights, I’ve always been fascinated by giant trees and the idea of living in them. I took many trips to the redwood forests during my childhood, and I think it was here that my desire to write a story where a society of people live in such massive trees began!

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

Dark Lightning is actually an older story despite being a sequel, so it had to change a lot as its predecessor did. One of the biggest changes was shifting the setting–originally, the main characters passed through the forest on the way to the mountains, where the second and third acts took place. In the final version, they stay in the forest, which allows the story to move forward with the plot much faster and gives more time to develop characters that will return in future installments!

What is your writing process like?

I start with outlining and planning, then draft and redraft as many times as I feel is necessary, until I think I’m ready to show my work to people. After that the unfinished manuscript is shown to beta readers to get feedback on the story, and I make adjustments and general improvements as needed. Next it goes to my content editor, who goes into more depth of which specific details or plot points should be altered to tell the story I really want to tell. I revise again, then go over the semi-final draft with my line editor. Once everything’s set, I send it off to my proofreader, and then it’s ready for publication! Dark Lightning finished this process in the shortest amount of time (just under two years), but I anticipate the next book will take 2-3 years.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

I actually love the editing process. Seeing my story become its best self is a beautiful and wonderful thing, and even if it’s hard, it’s always rewarding and I learn something new about how to write better.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Committing to major changes is always difficult. There’s always a sense of doubt, and I tend to question my judgment quite a bit, but thankfully my critique partners and editors are usually available to talk it through and, usually, they’re good changes.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I always loved writing as a hobby when I was a kid, but it was a particularly spirited discussion on The Giver in middle school that inspired me to take it seriously!

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Never let the fear of writing something that’s not “good” stop you! All writing has worth as practice, and you never know what ideas you might reuse later.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in [author], check out the links below!

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Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author

Feature Friday: Avalon Roselin


Today I am excited to feature author Avalon Roselin, author of the Stellar Eclipse series as well as an array of other books. I’ve had the opportunity to read all of Avalon’s works…and I definitely recommend you check them out! You can read my reviews here.

As an independent author, Avalon Roselin’s goal is to explore as many different genres a shecan! Her focus right now is on an urban fantasy/thriller-mystery series, and herplans for future books include a magical school story, an animal fiction drama, and a sci-fi romance with robot characters. She hopes to have a wide range of stories under her belt eventually!

Why did you choose indie publishing?

After reviewing my publication options, going indie made the most sense to me. I’m a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to cover design/illustrations. My books also tend to blur genre lines, and while this certainly isn’t unheard of in the world of traditional publishing, it would make marketing my book harder for a traditional publishing house. I figured I might as well save everyone the headache and do it myself!

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

My current project is the Stellar Eclipse series. Originally we planned to have four “main series” books, but after recent discussions we’ve cut that down to three. I was going to take a break from the series after Dark Lightning comes out–so, release the first two books, take a break, then release the last two–but since we’ve rearranged some things, I’ll be finishing the main trilogy before I work on anything else. Since Dark Lightning ends on a major cliffhanger, I think this is definitely best for fans of the series too. Getting to make decisions like this for myself is another big reason why I love being an indie author!

What is your writing routine like?

Day to day, my writing routine starts in the evening, after I’ve taken care of all my chores and other work for the day. I listen to music to pump myself up before I sit down to write, then try to get at least 500 words out. I use my bullet journal to track my ideas, word counts, and any writing I’m especially proud of. That last piece is very important to my process–reflecting on my work and highlighting what I liked about it that day leaves me with positive feelings toward writing that make it easier to come back and do it again the next day!

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Give yourself permission to “write it wrong.” Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a scene and realize it’s not going to work for the story, but I’ll finish the scene anyway just to get it out there, then cut and paste it to a separate file. Even if the scene doesn’t make it into the book, I still count it toward my word count goal and consider it a win. Sometimes the only way to find out what’s going to work is to write the wrong thing first. All writing is valuable in its own way.

Any shout outs?

I would be absolutely nothing without my team! This team consists of my creative consultant/illustrator R. Hamlin, content editor J. Rudolph, and line editor J. Smith. They do so much to help each and every book I write be the best it can be, and their feedback often leads me to further realizations on how I can improve as a writer. I’m very grateful for all their hard work!

And remember, Stellar Eclipse: Dark Lightning comes out TOMORROW!


Follow Avalon Roselin

Books

Christopher Robinson didn’t deserve what happened to him.  Then again, almost no one does…

Christopher was a simple man with a simple goal: to make sure his charges at Woodrow Children’s Asylum were as healthy and happy as possible.  Not an easy task, and running out of medicine on the stormiest night of the year didn’t make it any easier.

The car accident made it impossible.

Now stranded on a nearly-deserted island with no clue as to how or why he and one of his patients were brought there, Christopher’s goal has changed: get the child and himself out of Wonderland.  Faced with the cruel inhabitants of the island and his own dwindling sanity, Christopher must find a way to escape before he becomes a victim of one of the island’s many lunatics… or joins them.

Once Upon a Time, there was an Amnesiac and a Faerie Prince…

All Ann wanted was to go home; all Nicolas wanted was to be left alone. However, when Ann woke up in the woods with no memory of her past, fate brought them together—and friendship soon bound them to each other.

Facing their uncertainties about the future side-by-side, their desires become less clear. There is no guarantee that Ann will like the person she used to be, and Nicolas may never see her again if he lets her go. Even in fairy tales, happy endings are not easy to come by. Ann and Nicolas will have to decide how much their friendship is worth if they want a true Happily Ever After.

Stellar Eclipse: Cloudless Rain

Murder is no unusual phenomenon in Marina Delta, a fact former investigators Baltan and Eureka know all too well. But when Eureka brings home a wounded child bearing the mark of an infamous serial killer they put behind bars fifteen years ago, it’s clear that this is no ordinary crime.

Baltan thought his days as a detective were done, and taking on the case will mean dealing with a demon they both would rather leave behind. However, with a bloodthirsty cult mobilizing again, a child with no past in their custody, and only days to stop the most devastating tragedy of their time, taking action is their only choice.

Caught between family, duty, life, and death, Baltan and Eureka will have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice—and who they’re willing to sacrifice for.

Stellar Eclipse: Dark Lightning

An unexpected journey into the wilderness can test even the strongest bonds…

Nearly a year has passed since the slaughterhouse raid. Eureka should be happy now that he and Baltan are Azzie and Lleuwellyn’s legal guardians, but he can’t shake the feeling that a storm waits on the horizon.

When Eureka’s brother arrives with news that Kwoltan Gera was attacked and asks for help, Eureka knows he can’t turn away–especially after the search for their missing tribe leads them to a reclusive Azure village where trust is hard to come by and war looms overhead.

Old grudges and past failures follow close, and they may have deadly consequences for Eureka’s family.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

Book Review

Stellar Eclipse: Dark Lightning – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

A year after Selkess threatened to upend their family, Eureka, Baltan, Azzie, and Llewellyn are trying to make the best of their new lives. But, trauma and fear have left the small family shaken, with an unrelenting fear that danger is on the horizon. That fear is justified when Eureka’s brother, Keida, arrives with news that the Easterners have attacked Kwoltan Gera, and now their tribe is missing.

In a leap for duty to his people, Eureka and his family set out on a journey to help Keida, his wife Shaeda, his daughter Naesa, and young warrior Beialk to find Kwoltan Gera. Along the way though, they get wrapped into the dramas of another tribe deep in the forest, that places their own life at risk.

Avalon Roselin paints a wonderful story, creating a unique world filled with inspirations from both our world and her own imagination. The reader is transported immediately back into the lives of Eureka, Baltan, Azzie, and Lleuwellyn, picking up the pieces after the slaughterhouse incident. The plot moves at just the right pace, giving the reader enough time to reconnect with these characters, as well as make new friends.

I initially said in my review for Cloudless Rain, how I was initially unsure about the story, due to its mix of human and non-human creatures. Once again, I am so glad I was wrong. The Azures are the charm of the Stellar Eclipse series; not only do we see more of them in this book, but we are introduced to the Azures of Morit Gera, who have a genetic trait that allows them to fly. These traits play into their culture, and turn the Azures not into just one type of people, but many types, just like humanity.

And like humanity, they have suffered at the hands of greedy individuals: both Azure and Easterner in kind. While the Easterners take land, once again the Azures are faced with conflict within their tribes, all of which they are forced to over come.

While these ideas of colonialism and internal societal struggles are the heart of Dark Lightning, fundamentally, this is Azzie’s story. We once again delve into Azzie’s point-of-view, where we are not just told a coming of age tale that explores Azzie’s first love and his slowly mounting powers, but also one of a teenager working his way through trauma after years of abuse. Roselin does a fantastic job exploring this, creating a character that is not just defined by his abuse, but also has attributes that define him: a hero-complex similar to his father, an innate curiosity, and a rebellious side. .

That being said, Dark Lightning is quite different from Cloudless Rain, but for all the right reasons. While Cloudless Rain introduces itself as a detective novel, Dark Lightning is much more about family and personal growth in face of adversaries. While the books each come to their own conclusion and can be read on their own, I highly recommend picking up Cloudless Rain first to get a feel for the characters. Also, if you enjoyed Cloudless Rain for its investigative side, be aware that Dark Lightning does take a twist. While I think it is for the best, some may not.

It’s not often you can say that a sequel is better than the original, but in this case, I think I can say that I love Dark Lightning more than Cloudless Rain (and I loved that book too)!

So please, go pick up a copy of Cloudless Rain. And while you’re at it, pre-order a copy of Dark Lightning. It is worth it!

Note: I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

An unexpected journey into the wilderness can test even the strongest bonds…

Nearly a year has passed since the slaughterhouse raid. Eureka should be happy now that he and Baltan are Azzie and Lleuwellyn’s legal guardians, but he can’t shake the feeling that a storm waits on the horizon.

When Eureka’s brother arrives with news that Kwoltan Gera was attacked and asks for help, Eureka knows he can’t turn away–especially after the search for their missing tribe leads them to a reclusive Azure village where trust is hard to come by and war looms overhead.

Old grudges and past failures follow close, and they may have deadly consequences for Eureka’s family.

Book Review

Like Falling Stars – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

Imagine waking up with no recollection of yourself. This is exactly what happens to Ann. She wakes up in a magic forest, which frankly isn’t the worst place for her to end up, and is sent on her way by an odd woman named Tanya to the house of Nicolas Rasmussen, Prince of the Frost Faeries, Ruler of the Season of Winter, Second Eldest Ruler of the Northern Realm. But you can just call him “Your Highness.” Nicolas would rather be left alone though, and is thrown aback by this sudden curious, loud spoken, and happy young woman arriving on his doorstep.

Like Falling Stars is a lighthearted tale about found-family and self discovery. In a quest to discover who she is, Ann builds friendships between others and herself, finding the softness in a curmudgeon of a faerie, and bringing light to winter once again. Avalon Roselin does a beautiful job creating this fairy tale world, bringing these characters to life with distinct personalities that bounce off pages. Immediately, I was drawn into their personalities, and loved watching their friendship buzz.

As with many stories this length, my biggest complaint is that there wasn’t more. I would have liked to see more of the early stages of Ann and Nicolas’s friendship while she was meandering around his palace as an annoyance rather than a welcome guest. There was also a much heavier focus on Nicolas’s development than Ann’s, and while we do get answers about Ann’s past it comes very late in the game after many other issues have been resolved.

That being said, the ending will make your heart melt. Ann chooses her destiny in the end. She decides where home is, even if it isn’t where she was supposed to end up.

So if you want a lighthearted tale with elements of your favorite fairy tales, like Little Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland, I recommend you check out Like Falling Stars. If you have a bitter heart, perhaps Ann can warm it up for you as well.

What’s it about?

Once Upon a Time, there was an Amnesiac and a Faerie Prince…

All Ann wanted was to go home; all Nicolas wanted was to be left alone. However, when Ann woke up in the woods with no memory of her past, fate brought them together–and friendship soon bound them to each other.

Facing their uncertainties about the future side-by-side, their desires become less clear. There is no guarantee that Ann will like the person she used to be, and Nicolas may never see her again if he lets her go. Even in fairy tales, happy endings are not easy to come by. Ann and Nicolas will have to decide how much their friendship is worth if they want a true Happily Ever After.

Book Review

ALiCE – Book Review

ALiCE by Avalon Roselin

Rating: ★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

This story is not for the faint of heart. Delve deep into the terror of psyche and of nightmares in the world of ALiCE.

The tale takes the common elements of Alice in Wonderland and spins them into a distorted story that questions sanity. Is it a dream? Are you a dream? Am I? Is there any escape from this madness?

ALiCE follows the protagonist, Christopher Robinson as he awakens in a hospital and finds himself on an island of no escape, full of nightmares while searching for one of the children at the Asylum – Mickey, a disturbed boy with few friends. He meets many interesting and terrifying individuals – Morgan the cop, Matthew the Deli Owner, Mary & Joseph and their creepy dolls, Able the gardener, and of course…Michael, the terrifying, manipulative man that appears at all the wrong moments at all the right times. 

To an extent, Christopher is a sleeve, which is exactly the type of protagonist needed for this type of story. The reader spirals with him and meanders in the same confusion while wanting what he wants. Avalon does an amazing job in pulling us along with Christopher and leaving an air of trepidation in his wake. 

Now I can’t finish this review without raving about the ending! Without going into spoilers, let me say that it was not something I was expecting! So if you think this will be your typical Alice in Wonderland ending, think again.

But as I said, it’s not for the faint of heart. So be wary, be careful…and as Avalon writes towards the end: sleep well

What’s it about? 

Christopher was a simple man with a simple goal: to make sure his charges at Woodrow Children’s Asylum were as healthy and happy as possible.  Not an easy task, and running out of medicine on the stormiest night of the year didn’t make it any easier.

The car accident made it impossible.


Now stranded on a nearly-deserted island with no clue as to how or why he and one of his patients were brought there, Christopher’s goal has changed: get the child and himself out of Wonderland.  Faced with the cruel inhabitants of the island and his own dwindling sanity, Christopher must find a way to escape before he becomes a victim of one of the island’s many lunatics… or joins them.

Book Review

Stellar Eclipse: Cloudless Rain – Book Review


Stellar Eclipse: Cloudless Rain by Avalon Roselin

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

Truthfully, I’ll be frank: I went into Cloudless Rain not sure if I would like it. Usually from the get-go, stories with a mix of human and non-human creatures make me wary (let’s disregard sci-fi with aliens though – that’s a different way of looking at things altogether). But elements of a murder mystery and found family certainly caught my attention, and for that, I am so glad I picked this one up!

Avalon writes a compelling, heartwarming tale with unique and diverse characters. I felt connected to all four of the main characters: Eureka, Baltan, Azzie, and Lleuwellyn all have my heart. I was even intrigued by the mysterious Selkess who pulled on the strings of the plot. 

Other than catching the bad guy, I wanted them all to reach their goals! I wanted Baltan to come to terms with himself, for Eureka to accept himself, for Azzie to find his family, and for Lleuwellyn to accept his place. The realism of their goals, and the emotions the group shares, only compliments Avalon as a writer. 

The story itself is a fast and enjoyable read! I only wish there was more!

So for that, I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel. 

What’s it about? 

Murder is no unusual phenomenon in Marina Delta, a fact former investigators Baltan and Eureka know all too well. But when Eureka brings home a wounded child bearing the mark of an infamous serial killer they put behind bars fifteen years ago, it’s clear that this is no ordinary crime.
Baltan thought his days as a detective were done, and taking on the case will mean dealing with a demon they both would rather leave behind. However, with a bloodthirsty cult mobilizing again, a child with no past in their custody, and only days to stop the most devastating tragedy of their time, taking action is their only choice.
Caught between family, duty, life, and death, Baltan and Eureka will have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice—and who they’re willing to sacrifice for.


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