#BlogTour - ✯✯ Locked ✯✯ by Anyta Sunday including an author interview
SERIES: Telluric Realm #1
AUTHOR: Anyta Sunday
COVER ARTIST: Natasha Snow
LENGTH: 98,000 words
RELEASE DATE: April 26, 2016
I'm pleased to have Anyta Sunday stopping by today while she's on tour for Locked. I had a few questions for her and she graciously answered them. Here's what she had to say.
1. If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?
Not really, at some points “Locked” could have gone into other directions, but I’m really happy with where it ended up!
2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’d love to be able to write faster, sometimes I can’t get the ideas down at the speed they arrive in my head :D
3. Are there any new authors that have grasped your attention?
Charlie N. Holmberg is new to me, and so far her book “The Paper Magician” is really good!
4. How did you come up with the title for your book?
The main POV character, Rye Cunnings, is locked on multiple levels: first in his loneliness, then in a prison in the Telluric Realm, and finally in a curse (but I won’t give anything else away here ;) So I find that “Locked” is a fitting title for his story.
5. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
First of all, I’m working on the sequel to “Locked”, which will be called “Cursed” and further explore Rye’s journey in the Telluric Realm. But in the meantime I’m also working on a gay contemporary novella that should be out middle of the year.
And for any foreign language readers, I’ve been very lucky to have my novel “Taboo For You” out in German, Italian, and French now, and there will be further German and French translation out later this year as well!
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book, and if so, what was it?
Every book I wrote has taught me something, and that’s also true for “Locked”. I’ve never constructed such a big and intricate world before, and keeping everything together has been quite the challenge. What helped me was writing up the world’s and the character’s history and backstory, and I’ve actually made all of this available on a companion website: locked.anytasunday.com
7. What do you do when you are not writing?
At the moment that would be spending time with my newborn son I also really enjoy travelling, and trying out new cafes and restaurants (of which Berlin has so many to offer!)
8. Is there a scene that is harder for you to write than others? Such as love? Action? Racy?
Action is actually pretty hard – to get the beats just right so that it flows, doesn’t become too convoluted and keeps the reader on the edge of her seat. There are some big action scenes in “Locked” involving dragons, and I hope they deliver
9. How hard is it to send your characters out into the world?
I do tend to feel quite protective of my characters, and I always wonder if the readers will like them as much as I do.
10. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the bathtub)?
Often when I’m out of the house and inspiration strikes I find myself without paper, and use any receipt, napkin or the back of my hand to jot down my thoughts.
11. If you had a free day and your mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do with your day?
This is actually lame, but I would read, write, visit a café, and write some more!
12.. When you are driving down the road, what music do you listen to?
For driving, my favorite is Lana Del Rey’s “Born to die”
— THINK FAST —
TEA OR COFFEE? Coffee
DOG OR CAT? Cat
COWBOY BOOTS OR SNEAKERS? Sneakers
SWEET OR DILL? Sweet
SUITS OR BOOTS? Boots
QUICKIE OR CANDLES? Candles
LIGHT OR DARK (AS IN SHADES PULLED)? Light
PAPERBACK OR E-BOOK? E-book
CITY OR COUNTRY? City
BIG SPOON OR LITTLE SPOON? Little Spoon
HUNKY OR CHUNKY? Chunky
Thank you for being here and for doing the interview.
A curse threatens the Winter Kingdom.
A brother is turned to ice.
A rebel uprising is on the horizon.
Marble-maker Rye Cunnings is at the center of it all—and doesn’t know it.
He doesn’t know he’s the lost summer prince. Doesn’t know his blood can unlock Winter’s curse. Doesn’t know why the marbles he makes flutter with magic. All he thinks is that he’s crazy. That he sees things others don’t, like dragons and strange markings on his skin.
But when a dark dragon snatches away Rye’s only friend Milo, he is forced to face the crazy in his life and figure out a way to bring Milo back.
Help comes in the form of Cerdic Leit, a warrior who finds Rye to take him “home” to the Telluric Realm and their kind. All Rye has to do is follow him into Gatreau, the gateway to the four Telluric kingdoms, and all his questions will be answered.
In the hopes of saving Milo, Rye steps into this new and dangerous world. A world where he learns of the Tellurics and their Hansian foes. A world that is swept up in a bitter battle of justice and hate.
And a world that won’t let Rye leave again.
Rye Cunnings shivered and hoofed it down the cobblestone road, fixed on the slice of his marble store ahead. This was just another morning. Just another morning.
A drizzly dawn fingered through the low-hanging mist creeping along Bristol’s narrow streets. Lamppost lights flickered and blinked out, sucking their murky reflections from deep puddles. Rain hit Rye’s neck and face and the palm he pressed against his chest. The drops snaked down his sleeve and mixed with the blood at his wrist. It tingled, and Rye dabbed his cuff over the cut—a circle intersected with twelve loops.
A cut that he’d gouged out with his keys, following the shimmery pattern that had marked his skin for as long as he could remember.
Mist lurked over the Marvel Marbles store sign, thickening over the tattoo parlor and barber cushioning it on either side.
Inside was safe. He just needed to get inside.
He jogged over the road for the bright blue door beckoning him home. Each step jarred through his body to his aching head. He just needed to touch one of the marbles he made.
Key in his good hand, he sank it into the lock and twisted until the bar snapped back.
A figure prowled out from the shelter of the parlor entrance.
Rye choked back a gasp, then let out a relieved laugh. Milo. Just Milo.
“Stealthy as a cat, you are.”
Milo smirked and slunk to his side, raindrops weaving through day-old stubble to the cleft in his chin. He studied Rye and lifted an eyebrow. “And where’ve you been?”
Doesn’t matter. Get inside!
Rye feigned nonchalance. “A walk.” A drug-induced, crazy person one. “Just a walk.”
He beckoned Milo inside, but he tilted his chin skyward and let the rain fall on his face. A small smile played at his lips. “And a mighty good morning for one. Fresh, today is. Invigorating. Where’d ya go?”
Where? Where he always regained consciousness: the local cemetery at the church ruin. Every week the same time, the same place, and always surrounded by a sea of daisies. “Just . . . about.”
Clouds rippled, growing darker. Rye sucked in sharply, grabbed Milo’s arm and steered him inside. He shut the door and sank back against the glass.
Milo strutted through the store, running fingers over jars of comets, cat’s eyes, peacocks and milky ways. Hundreds of jars filled the shelves on his walls. Sparklers, corkscrews, aces. Hundreds of colors glittered without light. Aquamarine, butterscotch yellow, magenta, and every shade in between.
Rye caught his breath and let the colors calm him. In a couple of hours the grandfather clock tucked between shelves would chime nine and kids would press their noses to the window and fog the glass as they took in the wonder of his store. The day would whip by with smiles and laughter. Then it’ll be sundown again, thank God.
Milo faced him, casting a look at his mud-crusted jeans. Rye tucked his bloodstained sleeve behind him. “You look like regurgitated hell, pudding.”
“And you wonder why I never let you into my bed.”
“You couldn’t handle me, love.”
Rye gripped the wooden “shut” sign as he peered through the rain-splotched glass to the sky. Milo came to his side, staring out the window with him.
“A bad sign, huh?”
Rye startled. “What?”
“The weather. Means less customers, right?”
“Customers. Right.” His head pounded, his teeth ached. A marble. He needed one now. He shifted away from the windows but Milo planted a forearm on his shoulder.
“You seem on edge, Rye. Lock up for the morning. We’ll go out.”
Out? He shook his head. “Not today.”
A dark shape darted behind the gaps in the clouds. A shiver scuttled down Rye’s spine and he stepped back. Milo moved with him, oblivious to the danger that lurked out there.
“I need to make marbles,” Rye croaked.
“What you need is a day off, friend.”
“Haven’t made a marble in two days.”
“We could go to the carnival, hop on the Ferris wheel. Might even see above these clouds today.”
“How about some green tea?”
Milo pulled away, and Rye scampered across the store to his special marbles behind the counter.
“All right,” Milo said. “I’m going to be a bloody wanker and just say it: you don’t have a social life, mate. You never party. No one visits.”
“I’ve plenty of—”
“Customers don’t count.” Milo skulked closer. “Far as I can see, I’m the only friend you have. And that makes you one hell of a poor bastard.”
A sharp pang shot up Rye’s temple and he hissed, and scanned the middle shelf. He withdrew the largest jar, uncorked it, and dunked his fingers into the mass of silver swirls. Relief fingered up his arms, soothing the pain in his head and the ache from Milo’s advice.
He pocketed a marble.
Over the counter, Milo pointed at Rye’s bloodstained sleeve. “What happened, then?”
Rye resisted the urge to stare at his wrist. The cut never stayed long, would be nothing but faintly-scarred lines by now. Opening the door to his kitchen and marble-making workshop, he threw a hurried lie over his shoulder.
“It’s nothing. Had a raspberry smoothie.”
In the kitchen nook before his workshop, Rye picked up a half-filled pot of tea. Behind him came the clacking of boots, then a hand clamped over his shoulder, urging him around. Cold tea spilled out of the nozzle to the floor between them.
“What are you—?”
Milo pushed up Rye’s sleeve and revealed the circular scar, traced with dry blood. “How exactly did you have that raspberry smoothie?”
“Y-you wouldn’t understand.”
“Don’t underestimate me, I have vast, comprehendy abilities.”
Rye’s throat was tight. “I’m crazy, Milo. Certifiable.” He lifted the pot. “Green tea?”
Milo gently drew his black-painted nails around and over the mark. “You and green bloody tea.” He pulled Rye’s sleeve down. “I’ll have a cuppa.”
With a shaky hand, Rye poured them both a cup. Milo pinched his nose, downed his tea, and set the cup in the sink. “Ugh.”
Rye sipped his, then put it down. It didn’t settle his churning stomach.
“Now make me a marble, friend,” Milo said with a wink, and took out the pendant hanging under his shirt. “One with a bit of me in it.” He snapped off a thin corner and handed Rye the tiny wedge.
Rye stared at the piece on his palm. So small, so horribly scratched, and yet it warmed his entire hand. He clamped his fingers over it.
“Got any cash?”
“Put it on my tab.”
“I love it when I do work and no one pays me.” He moved into his workshop and Milo followed behind. “Reminds me of my last foster home.”
“Said so dryly. That’s exactly why I like you.” Milo flung himself on the stained brown couch at the flank of the room and slipped his hands behind his head. “I’ll lie here and share my woeful problems while you warm your glory hole. God, I love marbling.”
Rye tossed a fiber blanket at him. “I work with a torch.”
“Go on then, light up. Make magic.”
Swallowing, Rye glanced at Milo, who stared at the ceiling with half-lidded eyes. Make magic. He’d thought the same thing himself a thousand times. The way his marbles soothed his anxiety, or seemed to open locked doors, or throbbed warmly in his grip like they held secrets of who he was—what he was.
“I don’t make magic,” Rye said carefully.
Milo turned his head, waggling his brows. “Marvel me, then. Make me a nicer set of balls than I already have. Or better yet, make a marble that solves all my problems.”
“Such as cockiness?”
“Don’t go messing with anything starting with cock. All else is fair play.”
“Your assery it is then.”
“Entertain me with these oh-so woeful problems.” Make me forget mine.
“I’m too smart for my own good,” Milo said with a smirk. “And it’s going to cost me.”
Milo looked pointedly toward Rye’s wrist.
“Point taken,” Rye said.
Milo’s phone rang and he swung off the couch. “You get to making that marble,” he said, ducking through the door. “I’ll be back.”
Rye took a sparkly gold glass rod from the jars on the shelf, bumping the small velvet pouch of marble monstrosities at the end. They’d been Milo’s attempts at marbling, pockmarked and pitiful. Yet he’d not brought himself to throw them away. They called to him with a magic of their own, the magic of a hundred shared laughs between them. Laughs that had been few-and-far-between before Milo had come into his life a year ago.
Rye set the melting glass next to the wedge of pendant. What style did Milo want? Did he wish his marble to glitter? To glow? To be dotted with silver?
He listened for Milo and was met with nothing but the creaking of his store door. Where had Milo gone to take his call? Rye shuffled to the kitchen. Empty. He checked the store.
A breeze swept through the room. The front door was partially open and rain was pooling at the floor. Had Milo taken his call outside? Or had he left, like sometimes he did, without so much as a goodbye?
At the store window, Rye looked outside. The cloud had thickened. It hung low over shop roofs and gutters, only a few feet above the three umbrella-toting pedestrians huddled at the bus stop. Milo was strutting down the middle of the street toward the store, ash blond and soaked.
The cloud burst, plumes pelting toward the ground, and a large winged body swooped down the street toward them.
Rye’s heart seized in his chest; he jerked his bloodied arm across his face and peered at the beast again, at its long snout, horns, and black scales, the arrowhead tail snaking behind it, whipping up gusts. The dragon dipped and umbrellas jerked, inverting into black poppies. Their owners laughed.
Rye ached to be one of those men, ignorant of the terror flying over them, of the dragon stretching its forelegs, clawed talons aimed at—
Rye tried to shout but his voice was lost in the tight clutch of his throat.
The dragon whipped past the window. Wind surged and the door banged against the wall shelves, smashing a jar, glass shards and red marbles raining to the floor.
Rye shrank back into the shadows, shaking as the dragon snatched his friend and lifted into the clouds. Words echoed in his head, soft, placating…
Shhh. He won’t get you.
This book and I struggled in our relationship. We had many false starts. It took a few chapters until the confusion finally metered away and I was able to enjoy the story. I will be the first to admit that I discovered that the fantasy realm may not be my cup of tea this author draws you in.
This author is new to me so I was met with a new genre an a new writing style. Since there was so much going on I was so thankful this author is a wonderfully descriptive writer without being too wordy. Her words came to life on the page. I also really enjoyed her sense of humor. (Like the nod to a classic writer.) For a person found herself liking a story she wasn't sure about in the beginning that is saying a lot! Haha! I can easily see why she has quite a following of fans.
I enjoyed the mystery/drama behind the story with the curse and if or how it could be reversed. This to me was exciting. There were some dilemmas that the characters had to face during the path toward the curse's outcome. The twists and turns I did not expect. Had I been a super fan of this type of book would I have picked them up? I don't know. The writing to me never gave anything away so I don't think so. Who knows?
I could see where there was openings for book two. I saw the covers for books two and three. I think I may want to read this again before book two comes out and maybe by then I too will be a super fan. ;)
For an awesome writing style, even though the first part was confusing. All those names and places. Ugh! For characters and a plot line that kept me entertained I have to give this book a 4.0
A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.
My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!
When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my son around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.
Since 2014, I’m also part of CritShop Literary Services, specializing in writing workshops and editorial services for LGBT fiction.
Winner’s Prize: $15 Amazon gift voucher and e-copy of Locked
Runners up Prize: E-copy of Locked and any book from my backlist
May 3: MM Good Book Reviews
May 4: Author J Scott Coatsworth
May 5: The Land of Make Believe
May 6: Bayou Book Junkie
May 9: Loving Without Limits
May 10: Cia’s Stories
May 11: Louise Lyons
May 12: The Purple Rose Tea House
May 13: Unquietly Me
May 16: Alpha Book Club
May 19: Love Bytes Reviews
May 20: MM Book Escape