Welcome to the first of many Indie Showcases where I introduce you to a wonderful indie author and their amazing books! For our very first Indie Showcase, I am proud to introduce you to Ashlyn Forge!
Who is Ashlyn Forge?
Ashlyn Forge has called many places home, America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Having spent most of her childhood staying out of trouble in upstate New York, she now lives in Japan. She is currently working on her “Toys and Soldiers” series, which is set in a Sci-Fi Fantasy underground world.
So, now that we know a little about you, Ashlyn, why don’t you tell us a little about your books?
I’d have to ask “Which books” because I do have a series, and then I have some short stories.
Hmm, okay, how about your Toys and Soldiers series?
My series idea is 13 years in the making. Years ago, after I’d suffered a loss, I turned to writing. I did it religiously for 2 years until I was below my recommended weight, and had to go to the emergency room. And the writing was BAD. Bad bad bad, so bad that I think a robot should be sent back from the future to put a stop to me.
However, it helped me heal, and it was very rewarding and I kept going until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I abandoned it all (and it was A LOT) for a good 10 years. Then one day I just decided to try again and I loved it. I made my rewrites (which were equally bad), and made some more rewrites, then got serious about my craft (as well as hired editors), and now 3 years after that, it’s coming together very well.
Danger averted. We can call off that robot.
Good to know! Last thing we want is a wayward robot running around. Was it difficult coming up with the ideas for your series?
Actually, no, the ideas came VERY fast. But unpolished. That’s why I support the nano (although I don’t plan to participate in it again past the one time last year). I think it’s good to let your creative juices flow, and mine did. But honest, it’s taken 13 years to get the edits in, and I think they are more than worth it.
13 years is a long time to work on something. What made you decide to publish them out of order?
I actually did not publish them out of order…per say. I mean, I have, but I haven’t. In Liam’s Wake: The Makeshift Soldier IS the first book. The fourth book From Johann To Tannenbaum is the fourth, as in ‘the first book written, the fourth book written’. They can be read in any order, though they inhabit the same universe. But people like numbers and they are very set in their ways with them, and everything got a bit confused. Because Liam is a bit intense, I think going into the world via Erosions might be smoother for most. Erosions is fast paced, and gives a great transition into the world. They can be read out of order, however, the trilogies cannot: The Makeshift Soldier (1-3) and The Careless (1-3), Johann can be read at any time.
That all sounds very complicated! I’m impressed you’ve managed to keep track of it all.
Oh no no no, it’s very simple.
The Makeshift Soldier 1-3 (Liam, Riley, Nathaniel)
The Careless 1-3 (Erosions, Fortress, Blue)
and then Johann by itself. You can start at either end. I just think Erosions might be a smoother ride.
So the two trilogies – and Johann – make up the Toys and Soldiers series together?
Yes. And there is one last book “The Stuff of Dreams” (which has an awesome cover!) which is the origins story and can be read on its own as well. It can be read with the series or without it, it won’t matter.
Because it’s more mainstream, it can be found under Lyna Forge.
That is a beautiful cover! All of your covers are amazing.
I know, right!
All my covers are done by www.KatMellon.com
You’re a very active member of the unofficial NaNoWriMo group on Facebook. Did any of your stories come from a NaNo event?
I rewrote “The Stuff of Dreams” from the ground up (a TOTALLY new angle but same characters and plot outcome) on my first and only nano attempt. I lost the nano at 48k, but by December I had 98k so the disappointment I felt for the 48 convinced me that deadlines aren’t my thing.
Also, Caterpillar, and Substance, is nano writers edited and beta tested. Meaning that while I used professional editors for the novels, these two short stories were proofread and double checked by fellow nano writers and you can see for yourself the power of indies (and aspiring authors) coming together. I’m humbled by their generosity.
I’d say it’s the nano people that keep me going all year long. They are always quick to offer encouragement and try to help out any author who may be struggling. The essence and spirit of the nano is very moving.
That’s fantastic! It’s great to see the writing community pulling together and helping each other out.
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
Oh, I’ve got a lot of things in the works. I usually write the drafts and leave them for about a year or so, then rewrite, revise, or revamp depending on how it reads later on. I just finished the second draft for Fortress which I hope to release early 2015. I am now doing a rewrite of the 3rd book of The Careless, which is titled Blue. After I make the new draft for Blue, I will start work on the second drafts of the Caterpillar follow ups Chrysalis, and King (which I already have draft versions of).
Sounds like you’re going to have a busy year ahead.
As soon as one finishes (or I decide to let one unfinished one sit for a time), I dip into another. I think it’s very important to write often and as much as you can. That’s one of my main issues with the nano. I think it’s great to write all you can in November. But there are 11 more months that need your writing skills as well. That, and I don’t think it’s always good to force the muse. You go where it takes you sometimes.
That sounds like good advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, it’s been an absolute pleasure! Is there another piece of advice you’d like to give to end the interview?
To aspiring writers? Get your egos bruised. GET feedback that hurts. It’s all well and good to hear good things about what you do and what you write, but make sure you’re not surrounding yourself with people who pat your rump for the wrong reasons. Feedback is sandpaper that helps polish our craft, and sometimes it hurts. But that’s okay. We’ll be better for it. So if you haven’t ugly cried over your work yet, find someone who’ll pop that cherry (so to speak). And definitely do it for YOU!
Generations ago, Levelers and Summoners depended on a symbiotic bond that was decimated by the Earth man’s arrival.
On a planet beneath two harsh suns, the Leveler King is left in the wilderness, stranded. His rescue comes by way of Aton, a simple farming Summoner who wants nothing more than to live in peace.
Calamity forced Lyndel and Aton together, but necessity might be the only way they endure each other’s company.
Ashlyn Forge brings us into a new world full of Levelers and Summoners – two breeds of alien named by the Earthers after they invaded. On a world with harsh weather, two suns, and alien creatures – we are introduced slowly to their culture and customs in the short story. Ashlyn does a great job of easing a reader into the world, instead of forcing it on us, and the emotional journey that Lyndel – the King of the Levelers – takes after an assassination attempt leads him to meet Aton – a Summoner who helps the Earthers – is surprisingly well-developed given the short span of the story.
For anyone who wants to dip into Sci-Fi gradually, this is a good place to start. It’s not in your face space, and has a great relationship dynamic between the King and the Summoner that you can connect with.
Phillippe wants more in life than what the slums have to offer. His father survived war and chaos to reach sanctuary and now works hard in the mines to ensure that his only son has everything the ‘better-half’ take for granted. Each wish fulfilled has come at the expense of his father’s health, however, and now it’s Phil turn to provide. In search of work, Phil ventures from his humble home in the Lower-Levels for the wealthier upper area of the underground. What he finds is a suicidal nobleman hellbent on putting them both into an early grave. The noble reluctantly takes Phil on as a bodyguard. For the first time in Phil’s life, he sees hope, and he’s clinging to it. The more control he takes of the job, the deeper he falls into a world he’s ill-prepared for. Can he crawl back down to the Lower-Levels where he belongs with his new fortune intact, or will this new life consume him entirely?
Substance is a lot of story for such a small space. We’re immersed in the underground world of the Lower Levels where Phil lives with his father. Dreaming of something grander than the mines or the Elete soldiers that his father wishes for him, Phil instead turns to the theater in the hopes of working beside Gara, his idol.
What Phil finds instead of the idyllic life he imagined is an out of control Gara who hires him as a bodyguard and introduces him to an addictive substance.
There’s an interesting insight into the world that Phil lives in with this story and again, Forge manages to pack a lot into such a small story. Her skill in introducing the reader to a fully developed world in a short story is incredible and the character arcs are well rounded and believable.
You can find more of Ashlyn’s work by clicking on the images below.
You can find Ashlyn Forge on social media at the following links:
To follow Ashlyn’s suggestion of Erosions being the first in the series to read. I’m giving away one paperback copy of Erosions to one of you! All you have to do is comment with why you want the book and Ashlyn will pick the best answer.
There is no limit to who can enter. I will ship worldwide!
19 year old Galen has a lot on his plate. In the limited-resourced underground—as an only-child—his sole purpose in life is to take over his family’s financially burdensome estate, thus replacing his parents. The only way he has out is to have a child of his own, and wait 20 years for that child to replace him as well.
He longs to just disappear into the underground and be forgotten, but his parents have put in their 20 years, and so should he…
A golden opportunity falls into Galen’s lap, or rather, falls into his servitude—a sickly super-natural at the end of his rope—Osbourne. Osbourne seems violent, damaged and simple-minded, but his coveted power could solve all Galen’s woes. Galen must choose to either take the easy way out, or do something unheard of; set a blood-thirsty super-natural with a grudge free.
You have until January 1st to comment and enter. The winner will be picked between the 2nd and 5th of January, and announced on the 6th.
Please make sure that I am able to contact you.