Friday, May 12, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Good Friday morning, everyone! Is Spring springing up all around your yard? What colors can you see from your window? We are lucky to see pink dogwoods, purple, white, and periwinkle lilacs, and yellow daffodils. Thank you to CTST host, Lexa Cain, along with cohosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker!

A weeping cherry in bloom


Our magnolia tree blooms white

This week I'm also celebrating small (or rather short) stories because of the recent release of the IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. I've been blogging with several of the authors included in this collection, including Sarah Foster. Today I've got a small interview with her about her short story, The Last Dragon:

1. When I started reading your story with the dragon bones and twins with silvery hair, my brain immediately went to Game Of Thrones. Even though the rest of the tale has no further parallels, are you a GOT fan and did that have any influence on your storytelling?

Was it that obvious?? I was actually worried there were too many similarities—extinct dragons, boy and girl twins (but at least that’s a healthy relationship…). But I think, or hope, at least, that the story went off into a world of its own. Actually, Mikah’s character was a bit influenced by Jaime Lannister. I had this idea that he was forced to kill someone (sort of like how Jaime killed Aerys), and that was part of the reason why he was a lost hero. I think it was a bit harder for Mikah to kill the person he had to, and the guilt of that is something that continues to haunt him, even though he knows he did the right thing.

2. This story is beautifully self-contained. While the reader could imagine what comes next, there is no feeling of an abrupt cut-off at the ending. Also, the backstory is present, but not overwhelming. With the 6K word limit, was this balance a struggle for you or did it come about naturally?

It was definitely a struggle, especially in the first draft. Creating an entire world within a short story is not easy. The only thing Raynor and Illy really know about their uncle is that he killed the last dragon. We have to find out why he left, as well as what is happening and why the twins have been in hiding their whole lives. Plus, learning about a lot of these things from a different character requires a LOT of dialogue—something I tend to overdo. I hope the reader was able to learn everything they needed to without it being too overwhelming.

I think the ending works because we’ve spent the whole story knowing about Illy’s vision and knowing that this battle is going to happen. When it finally approaches, we don’t necessarily need to see the action to know that things will turn out all right. Not to mention the (literal) fire power the bad guys are up against.

3. I know you are working on one or more novels in a totally different genre. How was writing in the fantasy genre? Was it fun? Something you'd consider writing more of?

Actually, fantasy and I go way back. I pretty much only wrote fantasy when I was younger, then switched to poetry for a while before working on my current novel—an LGBT contemporary (maybe YA, probably not—still figuring it out). I know, I make no sense. I don’t really like committing to one genre (plus the stuff I wrote when I was a teenager was just awful). I think I commit more to ideas. If I like an idea, I run with it. I liked the idea for “The Last Dragon” so I tried really hard to get it written, and I really did enjoy it. I have a few other fantasy ideas stashed away in my brain so hopefully someday they’ll actually get written. Maybe jumping genres will make it harder to find a committed audience, but who knows? I actually have to finish writing all those stories first, anyway. 

Sarah Foster is a blogger and an aspiring novelist and poet. She lives with her stand-up comedian husband and an overweight cat in a studio apartment above a movie theater just south of Boston, Massachusetts. When she’s not obsessing over Broadway musicals or baking cupcakes, she is usually working on finishing—and hopefully someday publishing—her debut novel. You can read about her writing adventures (and the love/hate relationships with her characters) on her blog, The Faux Fountain Pen.

Blog | Twitter | Instagram 

The Last Dragon

In a land free from dragons, a new evil rises to take their place. The Gifted—those with special powers—are being collected by a mysterious group with a sinister purpose. With little hope in sight, Raynor and his twin sister, Irillya, seek out their long-lost uncle—a once great warrior who disappeared without a trace or a reason.

Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!


  1. I don't mind a little Game of Thrones influence. We definitely know what was going to happen next. The guys were going to kick butt!

  2. I'm not sure spring has come to Michigan yet. We get these wonderful warm days and then a week of cold. It's not fair!

  3. Spring must be here in Upper Michigan aka Yooperland. It hasn't snowed in a week. So now I gotta mow the lawn. Unless the sheep escape.

    Nissa @

  4. I think there is a whole lot more to the story that we'd like to read someday.

  5. I still need to read the anthology. I've been staying busy with edits and beta reads. So much to do, so little time to do everything I want.

    My spring flowers have bloomed and died, but the summer flowers are starting to bloom now.

  6. I love spring too! My roses and hostas are blooming and I love the sun, the sound of the birds and definitely the warmer weather. Congrats on your story success Sarah.

  7. Thanks for interviewing me, Tamara! I loved your questions!

  8. I've got pet dragons. They are disguised as Chihuahuas. My personal dragon ....
    The story sounds great. I have not watched Game of Thrones but I know I am missing a great story. I will not miss this one. I've bought the ebook. Take care, Ann

  9. Love those flowers!
    And, Sarah - loved the kick butt ending to your story and the way that the mc is a hero and doesn't know it right away. :)

  10. A nice interview of Sarah. Dragon stories are so loved. I've never written fantasy and wouldn't know where to begin, but would love to read the anthology.

  11. Great interview - loved getting to know more about Sarah. And I loved the flower pictures. Very peaceful :-)

  12. this anthology looks SO GOOD!!! very dark unique themes, just my thing! and the cover is damn awesome :)

  13. Your backyard looks stunning! Alas, I only have a balcony garden and it's near winter here. But my potato plant is growing encouragingly!

    Wish you all the best with the anthology! Can I say it? Here in Australia, "winter is coming!"

    Just Been To See...Carmen

  14. How pretty! The flowers are gorgeous. I can't wait to dive into the anthology...just waiting for a few quiet hours.

  15. What a super interview - I learnt a lot and it's always good to find out more about the person behind the stories :) I love dragons too (my cats can look a bit dragony - especially their eyes!!) so I'm keen to read this tale.
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  16. This is one antho I am getting for my summer reading. I enjoyed the last one a lot, and also this interview.

  17. Awesome interview. Congratulations to Sarah and all the authors in the anthology!

  18. Thanks for giving us a deeper look at one of the stories. I haven't gotten to this one yet, but now am eager to get there.

  19. You're trees and flowers are beautiful. I was in Princeton over the weekend and enjoyed seeing more dogwoods blooming (they're 6 weeks behind us)

  20. You're trees and flowers are beautiful. I was in Princeton over the weekend and enjoyed seeing more dogwoods blooming (they're 6 weeks behind us)

  21. Great interview! It sounds like a wonderful story.

    Love all the flowers in your yard. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  22. Tamara, celebrating the joys of spring is a blessing! The weekend was a nice, especially Mother's Day with clear blue skies. We enjoyed the day casually driving around town looking at houses, having ice cream, and burgers for dinner. It was totally relaxing and a day worthy to celebrate with DH! Have a good week, my friend!

  23. Lovely spring pictures! Nice interview! I still haven't gotten my copy of this anthology. I'll have to do that.

  24. It was nice to see a favorite blogger of mine (Sage, "Musings") give a shout out for your blog and its A-Z series of posts. I remember that DIA in Denver was a post that I enjoyed. I want to go back and read more of your posts. I'm so behind in everything from traveling a lot lately.

    Since most of life is made up of small things, it's important to celebrate them. Have you ever read Byrd Baylor's "I'm in Charge of Celebrations?" It's a children's picture book that I read to my second and third graders pretty much every year. It's simple, but beautiful and moving.

    I enjoyed reading your interview with Sarah Foster, and I look forward to reading her story and the others. My copy is supposed to arrive via Amazon today. I had to wait to order it late since we were traveling.

    Loved your floral photos! Enjoy your week!

  25. How fun!!! I don't write short stories, but I used to. It was always fun and challenging to fit a great idea into a short space.

  26. Hey Tamara, I'm back one more time to tell're nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by little ole me. Stop by my site to check it out, HERE for details! This is meant to be fun, so if you wish to not accept then you won't hurt my feelings. Have a funtastic day!

  27. Fantasy is in my roots too. =) Yay, Sarah!

    Tamara, love those spring-y pictures. I think that's my favorite time of the year, when every dormant plant comes back to life.


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