5 Star review from Examiner.com: "From sword and sorcery to futuristic fantasy, there is something for everyone. Readers will cheer for Caryn and Rader from “Isolation,” become fascinated with Arthurian legend in “Entrantress,” and bask in Prince Ulric’s love in “The Watcher.” This anthology is a must read for all avid fantasy readers." Read full review here.
HK: How difficult was it to put together enough short stories to fill an anthology?
PLE: This wasn’t difficult at all. In fact, I have enough to fill a couple of more anthologies! I’ve been writing short stories since 1993. Most of the stories included in the book have been previously published in a number of small press genre magazines. Many of these magazines have long since fallen by the wayside. I thought it would be fun to collect some of the best and put them together.
HK: I see you also write children's books. What are some differences between writing for children and writing for adults?
PLE: When I write picture books, I have to focus on the story and not think about descriptions. There is no place for padding in a short story. I have to write tight and tell my story in less than 500 words.
My middle grade novels are more exciting, in that I can delve into my characters and their friends and situations in much more depth. Kids like things that are fast-paced and I try to keep that in my head when I’m writing. They also like gross, icky, and funny.
My short stories for adults can be more risqué. I can explore relationships based on sex, not just friendships. Again, since they are short stories, not novels, I have to write tight and complete the plot in under a couple of thousand words.
That said, writing for children and adults entails the same dedication to good grammar, interesting plot line, intriguing characters, and crafting a tale my readers will enjoy.
HK: When did you start writing?
PLE: Like most authors, I started when I was a kid. I wrote to entertain myself when I wasn’t reading something written by someone else. I would print my stories, illustrate them, then bind them in little cardboard covered books tied with ribbons. I started my first novel in high school in lieu of writing homework assignments. Life eventually got in the way and my writing got sidetracked until I was in my early 40s.
HK: When did you realize that you wanted to become an author?
PLE: At a very young age. My dad used to make up stories for me when I was a kid. I thought that was wonderful and knew then when I grew up I wanted to be a writer.
HK: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
PLE: Don’t give up when you’ve written something you like. Submit it. If it gets rejected, submit it again. Often what one editor doesn’t like, another one will. Of course, if you keep getting the same types of comments back, you should take another look at the story.
If an editor says, this piece might not be for them, but they’d like to see something else, be sure to send them something else.
Finally, remember, even the best authors have been rejected and continue to be rejected. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a writer.
HK: Do you plan ahead before you sit down to write, or do you let the story take you where it wants to go?
PLE: I don’t plan ahead very much, although with my middle grade novels, I do plan a little. I tend to sit down with an idea or character in my head and let the idea or character just take over. My writing tends to be very fluid. It’s like I’m watching a movie in my head and I put it down on paper.
HK: Do you write at a desk, or do you have a laptop that you drag around the house with you?
PLE: I have both a desk-top and a laptop. I tend to use the desk-top for writing and the laptop for editing. I see advantages to them both. I love the laptop because I can take it out in my garden and work there when the weather is nice.
HK: What is your favorite genre to write? Your least favorite?
PLE: My favorite genre is fantasy and my second favorite is soft science fiction. All my stories, however, explore relationships, most often between a man and a woman. Although Love in a Different Hue, explores the relationship between a woman and a robot
My least favorite is erotica. I will probably never write anything erotic.
Thank you Heather for giving me this opportunity to be your guest today and for asking such great questions.
HK: You're so very welcome, Penny. And thank you for stopping by my blog. Readers, make sure you get your copy of A Past and A Future, available now from Sam's Dot Publishing.
A PAST AND A FUTURE
BY PENNY LOCKWOOD EHRENKRANZ
PUBLISHED BY SAMS DOT PUBLISHING - http://www.genremall.com/anthologiesr.htm#pastfuture
A COLLECTION OF SIXTEEN FANTASY AND SOFT SCIENCE FICTION STORIES
FLIGHT OF THE ROC – Lona is a budding sorceress, but her tutor isn’t too impressed with her skills. When he sends her off to collect a roc’s egg, she finds herself in a heap of trouble. Part of the trouble begins when she meets handsome, young Tom. Tom agrees to help her collect the egg, but disaster strikes when the egg hatches. Will Lona chose the roc or Tom?
BLURRED VENGEANCE – Vain and aggressive, Temur ignores the warnings of his dream vision, as he seeks vengeance for his father’s death. With his friend and confidant, Jamthrak, Temur rides across the steppes toward town. On the way, unforeseen events cause him to lose focus. He regains his strength and continues on. Once in town, he meets Bota, a buxom woman unlike those of his village. He arranges to bring her back with him to be his first wife. Then, using his skills of magik, stealth, and cunning, he tracks down his father’s murderer. He completes his task, but encounters yet another young woman, Mira…this one a slave. He saves her, but in doing so, causes strife between Bota, Mira, and Jamthrak. He should not have ignored his dead father’s warnings.
WHO WILL HEAL THE HEALER – Niane, a young sorceress, is aware of her elderly mentor’s feelings for her, but she cannot return them. She trusts to the Moon Goddess to guide her and Marzan, her mentor, to train her as the next court sorceress. Yet something, deep, dark and disturbing has taken a part of Marzan. Can she save herself and her mentor when the powers of darkness threaten?
ASHLEY OF ASHLAND – Ashley is the younger son of Brandon, Duke of Ashland. His older brother, Gerand, has been betrothed to the lovely Princess Thalia since birth. Unfortunately, Ashley loves Thalia and she him. Gerand is a womanizer and a brute. When they devise a plan to run away, Ashley and Thalia encounter obstacles and terrors, not the least of which is pursuit by Gerand and the king’s troops. Will the plain, younger brother win the hand of the fair princess or be executed as a traitor?
THE WATCHER – Zerelda lives in a land of women. Her job is to watch for the young men who come to impregante her Lady. As a child, she has a vision wherein she meets and loves a young man. Knowing this not allowed to her, she believes her vision is false. Yet when the man of her vision appears, she is torn. No one has ever told her she is beautiful. No one has ever told her of life outside her community of women. Yet, Prince Ulric does all this and more. Will he cause her to become a betrayer of all she holds dear? Can she be saved?
ENCHANTRESS – When Merlin meets young Viviane, a priestess of Avalon, he knows she will be his downfall, but he cannot ignore the pull of love she holds over him. Using his own magic, he tricks her into lying with him during the festival of Beltane. Once she has lost her virginity, they approach Morgaine for permission to be together. They set out traveling and as Merlin teaches Viviane more and more magic, he realizes the love he holds for her will destroy him, yet he cannot deny it. Will Merlin come to his senses before he is lost forever?
DRAKONI – Torn from her modern day world and thrust into a world of dragons, evil magicians, and handsome elves, will Farah succeed or die trying? In her own world, she is a successful zookeeper working with lizards, but once a freak accident propels her into the land of Draknoll, she finds herself in a field, lost and alone, until Josef, an elf, aids her. With his help, they set off to his village. On the way there, the evil magician, Cor, attacks them and kidnaps Farah. Dragged before the king, she must defend herself and prove she is not who they think she is—a Dragon Woman. Of course, when Drakoni, a great bronze dragon. comes to her rescue, she, herself, begins to doubt who she is. Fortunately, Josef is there to help her embrace not only her new life but her new love, as well.
HESHE- Lyda’s stepfather sells her to the highest bidder after her mother dies, leaving her no choice but to flee her captors. To survive, she hides disguised as a young man. Unfortunately, this disguise backfires when she meets the handsome, talented Garwen, who also has a secret to hide. Will the young noble woman tell her benefactor who she is, or will her pursuers capture her and take her back into slavery?
THE BABY MAKERS – In a world where cloning is possible, Reese and his wife, Akira take the chance to have a child they could never have on their own. Unfortunately in their part of the world, the government does not recognize these children as citizens. After the baby is born, Reese and Akira go through the necessary steps to acquire their new child. One of these procedures turns Akira into a robot who will do anything to keep Reese away from the baby. Loving both his wife and child, Reese has to make a decision to keep their family safe and intact. Will he make the right one?
3-D PICTURES – Avery sees people in 3-D pictures. The government thinks he is crazy and sends him to a shrink. As he waits in the doctor’s office, the 3-D picture in front of him comes alive. Suddenly a beautiful, petite woman appears perched on his lap. She tells him of his destiny and his heritage. Elvina and her people have been waiting for him for many years. Will he go with her through the picture, or allow himself to be “cured?”
SCREEN SAVER – Clancy works for an agent, Shianna, who represents the freaks of the world. With all the nuclear fallout, the agency is thriving. Clancy, however, longs to leave his world and travel the stars. The computer program arrives as a demo, promising instant transport. When all hell breaks out at the office, will it be Clancy’s ticket to survival or a rip-off which brings him to destruction?
ISOLATION- The world as we know it is gone. The rich are isolated from the dying poor. Rader and Caryn are fed up with living in isolation, away from fresh air and real food. Rumors abound of places where people can still live. When they meet by accident, they decide to make a break for it. Unfortunately, outside their isolated living quarters, disease, for which they have no immunities, runs rampant. Their mutual attraction and determination keep them going despite the many hazards they face outside the walls. Will Caryn and Rader make the right decisions when they search for freedom?
LOVE IN A DIFFERENT HUE – Chiri and her husband are not on the best of terms. He married her for her connections. Her father is a leader in the robotics field. By marrying Chiri, Tevon was guaranteed a partnership in a very lucrative business. Shunned by her husband, Chiri becomes intrigued by her father’s latest creation, Devro. What would you do if a blue-skinned robot wanted to protect and love you? Chiri isn’t sure until he takes her in his arms.
DOWN SO LOW, THE GROUND LOOKS LIKE UP – Sylan is a telepathic empath and is hired by a mining company to help them ferret out swinders. Unfortunately, something on her new world made her talents go ballistic. She drinks herself into oblivion to compensate for her psi talents. When Deveneaux finds her, he’s attracted, but he is also on a mission to find his dead brother’s daughter. Can Deveneaux save her from her demons, or will he lock her up for propositioning an officer of the law?
REBELS WITH A CAUSE – Shayleena is tired of living her life through holovision. She wants a real life with real people. When she sees an ad for volunteers to help with juvenile offenders, she signs up. She not only finds meaning in her life, but a connection to real people, including Bradon, a visual artist with a dream. Together, they hope to find a future for themselves and for the young people who’ve been thrown away by society.
CLOCKWORKS – John lives in Structured. His ancestors came from Upheaval, a country where time means nothing. He decides to take a trip—learn about his history and see Upheaval for himself. What will he do when he tries to trace his roots and finds his structured life is now in chaos?
Excerpt for ASHLEY OF ASHLAND
Ashley, younger son of Brandon, Duke of Ashland, sat brooding in front of the
fire. Although it was late spring, the stone castle was drafty and always cold. Deep
in thought, he tried to ignore the gaiety around him, as party guests frolicked and
made merry. A spark from the fire fell on his blue silk hose, and he flicked it away
angrily. He sat up straighter on his chair and adjusted his dark blue brocade jacket.
He noticed a small smudge spot on one of the white lace cuffs protruding from the
right sleeve. He rubbed at it absently, but that only pushed the soot deeper into the
Ashley glanced back over his shoulder. A small group of musicians, gaily
dressed in green and gold brocade, played a rollicking dance tune. Dancers of all
ages bobbed, swayed, curtseyed and bowed to each other as their feet flashed
through the intricate dance steps. Serving girls wove among the dancers, tankards of
ale and goblets of wine balanced on their huge trays. Ashley sighed and turned back
to his fire; he had never managed to conquer those dance steps.
Ashley picked up a poker leaning against the stonework and shoved it into the
pile of burning logs. The flames danced higher, the sparks flying like tiny fairy
lights. Ashley sighed and looked back over his shoulder again. Princess Thalia
danced with his brother, Gerand. Her small blond head was thrown back in
laughter, her cheeks lit with a rosy glow. She was dressed in a low-cut, lime-green
brocade dress, the full skirt trimmed in the finest ermine. Around her neck flashed a
choker of emeralds and diamonds. Woven into her hair were strings of pearls.
Gerand’s tall muscular frame, topped by his head of thick, black hair, created a
stark contrast to the small plump princess as he propelled her around the dance floor
in an intricate maneuver. Ashley sighed again. Thalia was so lovely, if only he had
been born first, she’d be pledged to him, not his older brother.
Ashley stirred the logs while muttering under his breath. A rainbow of colors
flickered, and suddenly an image of Princess Thalia appeared, hovering in the huge
fireplace. Several more words created Ashley’s image standing alongside Thalia’s.
When a hand touched Ashley’s shoulder lightly, it startled him. The images
flickered and disappeared.
“Impressive, Ashley of Ashland,” Thalia’s soft voice murmured.
Ashley spun around quickly, a blush coloring his pudgy cheeks. “Good evening,
Princess. I thought I was alone.” Ashley stood and bowed, his eyes never leaving
“You were. I just came to see if my future brother-in-law would like to dance
with me?” Thalia’s cheeks dimpled slightly as she smiled, extending her hand.
A PAST AND A FUTURE Blog Tour
http://ciaragold.blogspot.com/ - Feb. 1, Jamie Bevans
http://www.seriouslyinterviewed.blogspot.com/ - Feb 1, Romance Reader
http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/ - Marva Dasef – Feb 2
http://janiefranz.wordpress.com/ - Janie Franz – Feb 3
http://heatherkuehl.blogspot.com/ - Feb 4, Heather Kuehl
http://lovesbooksandmore.blogspot.com/ - Feb 6, Dawn Roberto
http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com/ - Feb 7, Aleta Clegg
http://www.jqroseauthor.blogspot.com/ - Feb 8, Janet Glaser
http://lizzietleaf.blogspot.com/ - Feb 9, Lizzie Leaf
http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/ - Feb 10 & 11, Joyce Anthony
http://www.longandshortreviews.com/ - Feb 10 - Judy LASR 13 Stories from APAAF
http://www.kaydeeroyal.blogspot.com/ - Feb 12, Kay Dee Royal
http://mizging.blogspot.com/ - Feb 13, Ginger Simpson
http://writerschatroom.com/ - Feb 13, 7 PM EST, The Writer’s Chat room
http://kellyaharmon.com/ - Kelly Harmon Feb 14
Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, two e books, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for three small independent publishers. Visit her web site at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com/ Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/
Love Delivery and Lady-in-Waiting are coming in 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing. Her MG novel, Ghost for Rent, published by Hardshell Word Factory, is available on Amazon and Fictionwise. Her YA chapbook, Dragon Sight and her anthology A Past and A Future are available at GenreMall. Funny Dog, Boo’s Bad Day, and Many Colored Coats, all picture books, and Ghost for Lunch, a sequel, are schedule for publication with 4RV.