Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Magic Wakes right now with Talia Zaryn

My Insecure Writer's Support Group post is below Charity's book tour stop.Banner 3
Charity's publisher sure knows how to make a beautiful book. Even this tour thing is stunning.
Please welcome Charity Bradford, a new author whose voice is probably going to revolutionize the science-fiction field. Her talent and ability is humbling, and I absolutely love her debut novel, which you should go and buy RIGHT NOW. Anyway, Talia Zaryn, the star of The Magic Wakes has consented to stop by here and answer a few questions. Let's see what she has to say. But first, a little housekeeping.
I love the view of the city in this, but the font they
chose is another work of art. Lovely.

Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.

Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.


Welcome to the interview hour, where we dig into the minds of some of the newest characters in the world of books. Today our reluctant guest is a reclusive scientist from the Space Exploration Foundation (SEF), Talia Zaryn.

Miss Zaryn, let’s start off with something simple. What is it that you want out of life?

Talia: That’s your simple question?

Now, you promised to be honest with us today.

Talia: *sigh* I guess there are two things that I want more than anything. First to live through my nightmares when the time comes, and second…


Talia: I’d like for people to accept me for who I am. I’d like to feel love like I did when my family was alive.

Speaking of love, what kind of person are you attracted to?

Talia: *chuckles* I’ve stopped looking for a relationship, but I can tell you what I notice first about people. Since everyone freaks out about my eyes, I’m drawn to theirs. Every set of eyes are different, the way the light plays with the flecks of color is fascinating to me.

Your eyes are definitely unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen violet eyes before. Other than eyes, what do you look for in a man?

Talia: It doesn’t really matter because they avoid me, but strong personalities—alpha males, the ones who know what they want and don’t take no for an answer. I think deep down I hope they can save me.

Save you? You seem pretty independent and capable to me. Tell me what your good at.

Talia: Electronics. I can wire almost anything, it’s almost instinctual.

What are you bad at?

Talia: *laughs* can’t you tell? All things social terrify me. It’s hard for me to trust people and it just goes downhill from there. 

Surely you’ve had friends, crushes, things that make every life complete? Tell me about your first crush and those friends.

Talia: Hm, Ardro Gunik, tall, built, and popular from school. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out well. As for friends, there weren’t many. Just my family and some unconventional friends.

Oh? Such as?

Talia: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. 

Give us a try.

Talia: The trees around my home and a small treeb I named Keeta.

*Laughing* You’re right, I don’t believe you. Trees can’t talk to you and treebs are endangered. Even if you were lucky enough to find one, you’d never be able to catch it. Maybe you’ll be able to make some friends now that you’ve come to Joharadin. Let’s move on. Tell us about your greatest regret.

Talia: I never told my family all of my secrets.

Good heavens! It’s not healthy to tell your family everything. There must be something better than that. Have you ever hurt anyone intentionally or not?
This is the trailer for The Magic Wakes. Watch it and love it.

Talia: I hope not! I abhor violence of any kind. 

Come now. Not even a catty fight with another woman over the attentions of a man?

Talia: Why bother when I know…

Know what?

Talia: Nothing.

Don’t clam up on us now! Here, we’ll change the subject. What are you the most afraid of?

Talia: That’s easy. The death from my dreams. Dying alone. I use to be afraid I’d have to watch my family die the same death I see in my nightmares. At least that’s no longer possible.

Okay! I’m feeling a bit down after all this talk of death and no lovers. Let’s end on a positive note. What do you find beautiful about life?

Talia: There is so much beauty in nature. The colors, textures, the sounds. For instance, have you ever just listened to the sigh of the wind through the leaves and the play of sunslight as it filters through the tree canopy? 

I can’t say that I have, but the next time I get out of the city I’ll give it a try. Talia, thank you for submitting yourself to our questions. I hope you enjoy our city, and that you find some of the happiness you obviously need in your life.
What actresses could play Talia in a film adaptation of Charity's Book? I'm glad
you asked that question, because here's a short list of women that could possibly
fill the role. Let's take a look shall we?
Amber Heard. A high school dropout born in 1986 who went to New York to work as a model. Big surprise eh? With a body like that you don't need school.

Alexandra Daddario is another young actress born in 1986. I know her from Percy Jackson and from this January's Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D.


Ashley Greene. She's Alice in Twilight!

There's a pic of her online where she's in nude body paint, but I thought I'd better not use that one.

And Alex, she's way hotter than Kate Beckinsale.

Jessica Lowndes. She's best known for her role as Adrianna Tate-Duncan in the CW's mega smash hit 90210, the reboot of the ultra successful Beverly Hills 90210 (all of the alumni are now Hollywood washouts and Aaron Spelling is dead).

Anyway, she's seen here with a designer purse by Coco Chanel on her arm.

Oh do I know that?

She gets two snaps up in a circle.

Last but not least is Katharine McPhee. You saw her on American Idol.

And the movie she's most famous for is


Author photo
Charity Bradford

Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. The Magic Wakes is her first novel.

Amazon Pre-order
Chapter 1

Author Website
Author Blog

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a once a month blogfest managed by science-fiction author, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

My February insecurity has a lot to do with an almost obsessive compulsive need to get all the details exactly right in my stories. For example, Oculus takes place at Cornell University which as you may know, is an ivy-league school in Ithaca, New York. In order to get all the details right, I must have read fifty student blogs for months. I sat through hours of homemade YouTube videos of anyone that went to the school (because I didn't). I took virtual tours of the rink the Big Red played on, I read sports blogs to make sure I even knew what the bus looked like that the Men's Hockey team rode. I researched scholarships and discovered that the Ivy League doesn't give NCAA athletic scholarships. They only do "need-based." That's it, interesting eh?

I also wanted to make sure I understood exactly how a boy with hockey dreams (who doesn't live in Minnesota) gets to play in an NCAA division 1 school, and it isn't what most people think. They are rarely "plucked" from some high school dream team. If they want to make it there, they have to leave home and join a famous Junior League for the majority of their high school career (and stay with a host family) and get lucky enough to attend the NHL draft at 18. Yes, if you are picked by a team at the NHL entry draft you can still go to college. It just means that they've marked you like a dog, but as long as you stay in school, you are not obligated to join up with that professional team.

That's how you get noticed and make it to that level of play. It's quite a credit to have been chosen by, I dunno, the Chicago Blackhawks, and it's what NCAA Division 1 schools want on their starting lineup. Sound like an incredibly difficult path to follow? Well it should because IT IS.

I've read other books where authors wanted to have a player that made it to a college team, and they didn't do this (went the traditional route of being plucked from high school) and that just doesn't happen in men's hockey (and it made me not really like the book all that much because I thought the author was lazy and uninformed). That's why Jordan spent so much time away from his sister...he chose this life and had to live with a host family at the age of 15. Parents of serious hockey teens don't get to see their sons much, and I wanted to point that out because I don't think people know about this.
This is one of the best videos I encountered regarding Lynah Rink
for my book Oculus. College hockey is pretty awesome back east.

I know the campus of Cornell University so well from staring at maps, roads, building schematics, and google earth, that I literally can tell you where to find the Hot Truck (a famous mobile sandwich bus that students hit up late at night). I can tell you what the menu looks like at Collegetown Bagels. And I can tell you what the Men's locker room looks like in Lynah Rink without having been there (including the updated remodeling). I also became a huge fan of Ben Scrivens (who now plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs) and Colin Greening (who I kinda/sorta used as a template for Jordan). And my sports research somehow spilled over to football last year (which I'd pretty much ignored all my life). Two years later, I can quote statistics to you of players like Ray Rice or Andrew Luck, who's playing on what team in the NFL, and I correctly predicted the outcome of the Superbowl a week before the AFC/NFC championships down to Ray Lewis winning the coin toss by saying heads and then having the other team start with the football. My co-workers think I should do fantasy football (which I'm probably going to do) and start betting in Vegas. Now to be fair, I bet my boss that the superbowl would be played between San Francisco and Baltimore and that the game wouldn't even be close. I said Baltimore would smoke SF by at least 20 points because I was banking a lot on the emotions from Baltimore from what I saw last year when their kicker, Billy Cundiff, failed to make an easy field goal. I said, "there is no way those brothers will EVER let something like that slip from their fingers again. They will play their guts out and crush anyone in their way."

Now I maintain that if that freakish blackout had not occurred, that I would HAVE BEEN RIGHT. I think SF would have been crushed by more than 20 points. But you are free to argue with me of course since we shall never know. But I think the blackout made the game "close." Otherwise it would have been a blowout.

But with all this research, I'm insecure. It would really irritate me if someone said, "Hey this thing you described doesn't match up with the real thing, or you got this detail wrong." I'm kind of a perfectionist. I know that I would outwardly smile and say, "Oh's fiction, ya know?" But inside, I'd be like "ARRRGGGHHH. I spent hours researching this crap!" And I'd find some excuse to drive an invisible dagger through their shoulderblades.

I'm beginning to think that this insecurity of mine isn't so much "an insecurity" as it may be a neurosis centered around obsessive compulsive attention to detail. However, I think the devil is often in the details and that in the end, Oculus is all the more stronger for it.


  1. I can totally relate to this *insecurity* I (don't think) I'm not a perfectionist, but I have a bad habit of never ending tweaking.

  2. The Magic Wakes looks awesome. This is going on my list right away! Congrats Charity!

    As for your insecurity Michael, I feel the same way about my wip. Half of my book is set in Paris, and even though I've lived there for several years and have visited the city many times, I'm still afraid people are not going to be convinced. That makes me feel like I have to put in as much detail as possible to prove to people that yes, I know what I'm talking about. But you know what? This book is not about proving to asshats whether or not I've actually been to the city. It's about a girl that meets a boy, they fall in love and save the world. People who are only interested in pointing out the negative will always find a way to do just that. In the end I think what's important is that you are satisfied and happy with your work. To hell everyone else. (:

  3. First, Charity. OMG. I am now a fan and leaving your blog to visit her sites, stalk her (friendly-like), and put that book on my Goodreads list. I loved the cover, premise, everything.

    Now, your post. I love the way you research. I do some of the same, but not to the extent you do. I think you are my research idol. Don't worry about getting something wrong. You are crazy good at details and someone would have to be LOOKING for a mistake to find anything, if they could.

  4. Had to add that I am SO forgetful that I went to Goodreads to add the book and it's already on my list. That is exactly why a person like me needs a "Want to Read" list. lol

  5. That is a scary amount of research. You could write twenty books after all of that.
    Just remember some things won't matter. You'll encounter a lot of information that won't ever wind up in the book. Besides, someone somewhere will find a mistake.
    Why do you think I write space opera?
    And Ashley Greene? Nice, but no, she's not.

  6. Thanks Michael for hosting me on such a busy day! I sort of forgot about IWSG being so new to it.

    Thanks Brinda and Elise!

    Michael, I love that you're a perfectionist. Alex is right though, there will be someone who either finds a mistake or makes one up because they feel it's their job to point out the world isn't perfect. The good news is YOU know you've put everything you have into putting an excellent story out there. You've made it as accurate as possible, and better than that, you made it interesting.

  7. The blackout was an NFL conspiracy to make the game interesting again, because SF was getting stomped. LOL.

    Anyway, I don't think you should be insecure about being so detail oriented. It's what makes writing fun, at least for me.

  8. I love google earth. It's great for getting the feel of places when you can't actually go there.

  9. You know, that's not the first time I've heard of violet eyes. It seems to be a popular trait in fantasy to indicate some kind of rare status like magical ability. Apparently it can happen IRL, too -- very rarely, of course. Something to do with albanism, I gather. Anyway, good luck to Charity!

    I have to admit, I did wonder if you had visited Cornell or if the descriptions were the result of dedicated research. (Or both.) I haven't been there, but I was curious about that.

  10. The reason I write stories in made up towns is for this very fear. What if I research for forever and still mess it up? But it sounds like you know a ton, that your story should be solid. My advise, find a person who went to school there (and likes hockey) to beta read it, and then you'll know before it hits the shelves. I enjoyed learning all the details you've discovered and I'm sure your book feels authentic because of it.
    Best of luck! And the cover of Charity's book looks incredible.

  11. I think I've found a new book I want to read. Great trailer, too. I can totally relate to your insecurity, Michael. Of course, you already know that. :)

  12. @scribbles: I feel validated now. Thank you for visiting :)

    @Elise: I really liked "The Magic Wakes." It's like Charity nailed the perfect balance between pacing, romance, and story. It never bogs down anywhere. And Elise, I definitely think you have the experience to bring Paris to life. I also wonder if you'll inject some interesting point-of-view in that story since you aren't a native of France. That will only improve the novel in my opinion, because you've no doubt noticed things that would otherwise go overlooked by people who take them for granted! I'm so excited to read your book when it becomes available.

    @Brinda: In many ways, I think Charity and you have a lot in common.

    @Alex: LOL I knew you'd catch that little nugget buried in my ENORMOUS Wednesday post. I blame Charity for the hugeness of it.

    @Charity: I think I did an awesome job in the presentation of your post. I spent some time on it. :)

    @Matthew: I agree. Research kind of makes you live your story.

    @Andrew: Mmhmm

    @Callie: Elizabeth Taylor had violet eyes. Exactly as you've pointed out, it happens with a partial albinism trait that causes pronounced blood vessels in otherwise blue eyes, turning them essentially purple. I wanted to visit Cornell, but I don't have the money for that. I make 50K a year which is enough to pay my bills and put a little in savings. I can't be jet-setting around and paying hotel bills in strange places (and eating out for every meal).

    @Robin: I think it's worked out thus far. No one has written me a nasty letter saying I got something wrong. Then again, I'm not well-known (like at all).

    @Ciara: LOL, ayep.

  13. @Michael you outdid yourself with making it look amazing! Thanks again.

    @Callie I gave Talia violet eyes almost 10 years ago and have cringed at how popular they became since then. Secretly I want to buy some violet contacts, but hubby says that would be too weird.

    @Robin thank you! I love my cover so much its probably next door to idol worship.

    @Ciara Woot! Mission accomplished. ;)

  14. Talia and Charity, can't establish which name is prettier :)

  15. Michael: Yeah I know how limiting income can be. I have to spend more than the advised 30% on housing and groceries just because of cost of living. I'm sure you'll get to Cornell someday.

    Charity: I wasn't criticizing at all! I've been reading up on eye colors recently for a short story I've been working on. I was interested that your purple-eyed character was a scientist, though! I've noticed it in mages in fantasy, but a scientist is new.

  16. @Dezmond Thanks!

    @Callie, I didn't think you were criticizing. :) I noticed the growing trend though and wondered if I should change it at one point. Talia does have mage blood which makes her a one of a kind scientist. I love the idea of science and magic working in harmony and that's the end goal with the series. We'll see if I can convince these two sects to play nice.

  17. Definitely, Michael! I applaud you for doing such intensive research for your novel. And yet, your obsessive compulsive attention to detail may drive you bonkers, you're right, your story will reap the benefits. :)

  18. That was a great interview, and congrats to Charity. Love the premise and the character and the romance angle. :)

    And, Michael, I get like that, too, with the research sometimes. Hell, I even flew to Wales so I could get the details right. :))

  19. I'm totally OCD so I can relate to this insecurity very well. Sometimes it's a good thing because you want to get details right, but then it can also cause you to just end up frozen.

    Congratulations to Charity!!

  20. I admire how hard you worked, it make me nervous too, I'm writing a book based in the British countryside and I purposely have left out the name of the town so that no one would berate me for my mistakes. I give enough information that most people can guess the location if they want, but hopefully, it shouldn't be too distracting...

  21. Nice to meet you, Charity, and your book looks awesome! That was a great interview.
    Michael - During that blackout, aliens replaced both teams. I swear it. O.o
    I think it's very important to get the small details right...but you can push it to the point of driving yourself crazy. :)

  22. @L.G. Smith and @Julie Thanks!

    @Laura nice to meet you too. I love your blackout theory too.

  23. I'm holding out for the 'bad' Taylor Swift as Talia.

    Great idea to research Cornell using student blogs!

  24. I'm working my way through Oculus now, and I'd wondered about the details. It's impressive, the amount of work you put into getting it right, and it shows.

    But now you've made me want to go find out if you got any of them wrong... A QUEST.

    Also: I am trying to remember from Slipstream; was that Jordan's host family? I read that a while ago.

    Still, your book is good. Very good. So the obsessive work is paying off.

    AND IF YOU LIKE FOOTBALL WHY DON'T YOU SOMETIMES COMMENT ON MY FOOTBALL RELATED POSTS? After all, I feel free to write them and I don't know anything about football.

    Plus, when SF lost that Super Bowl, I had to buy The Boy and Mr Bunches a Baltimore T-shirt. SURE, TECHNICALLY MR F IS SUPPOSED TO PITCH IN, but he never does. He never does.

  25. Research is a lot of work. It makes sense that when you put that much time and effort into your work, and be so diligent about trying to get it just right, that you would have a few raw nerves if you get negative feedback. You've lived this work. It's almost like someone criticizing your best friend, or a family member or something. Makes perfect sense to me, anyway.

  26. @Briane: No, it wasn't Jordan's host family. I shall try and make it over to your sports blog!

    @M.J.: Thank you for the great comment :)))

  27. My dad went to Cornell. Half of it's state. I almost went, but the size of it scared my 17 year old self senseless. It's a beautiful campus. And enormous.

  28. Great interview, Charity! And I applaud you, Mike. I wish other authors were as concerned about detail. I have a friend who was publicly crucified for the tiniest of research errors (a safety on a particular gun). I know I use Google maps & Google Earth to do prelim research but then I always go visit the actual places so I know I got it right, 'cause my raging OCD will NOT permit otherwise.

  29. I never, ever feel as if my own work is completely finished. I always want to change words, fix a passage, explain a character. *Sigh* It never ends. So no doubt your obsessions over details make your stories all the stronger, Michael.

    Congratulations, Charity, on your book! It sounds exciting and I already love the strong leading lady.

  30. I commented this morning, but it never showed up. Anyway, I enjoyed the interview, and I also have a copy of Charity's book.

  31. My son from Penn State, just drove to Cornell last weekend to visit his friend who attends there. It was sooo cold and it was the first time they didn't get lost driving to the school after five visits. I know my son's friend, who took the high school hockey route your describe, leaving his family, didn't make the Cornell team. They're pretty good.

  32. Wow. I've been to Cornell a couple of times, but you seem to know tons more about it than I ever considered.

    Loved the character interview!

  33. That's why I make up worlds. I'd hate not getting the details right, and I'm way too lazy to do the research necessary.

    And I'm so excited to read Charity's finished work. So, so excited (when it finally comes out on Nook...).

  34. Wow that is certainly commitment! I can understand the obsession though, your book sounds like it would be alot stronger with those details about host families and such :)

  35. @Huntress *groans* For some reason I just don't like her. Weird coming from me isn't it?

    @Nancy Thanks!

    @Helena she's taken up so much of my life she's like a sister to me now. ;)

    @Cindy Sorry your post got eaten. Yay on getting the book! Hope you enjoy it.

    @Golden Eagle thank you!

    @Liz that's why I make up worlds too. I wish the nook version was out. I'll let you know as soon as it is.

  36. Now I see why you stopped by for chocolate.

    I'm a perfectionist too, but only after I've posted / submitted, do I really see the mistakes. I'm hopeless!

    Great interview, good luck to Charity with her book release!

  37. I love a book that mixes magic with science fiction. I'm sure I'll like Charity's novel. Congrats Charity; and that was an awesome interview Talia.

    Yes Mike, research is very important; and I think the success of your book shows how thorough you were in that respect. I actually thought you'd lived that life to be able to write it so believably. Well done.


  38. Charity's book looks great! Beautiful cover too!

    Michael - your insecurity sounds like a strength to me. Keep on being obsessive. I destroyed in my fantasy football league this year... until our playoffs began, which, due to a quirk in how my league is organized, having a great regular season can be an indicator in a poor playoff performance... No reason to explain I suppose, it's just that you have to draft and trade to try to get a team that will make your own playoff, but still be able to produce points when the real life NFL stars are sitting out games because their teams were so dominant during the regular season that they don't need to win in order to make their playoffs.... I'll shut up.

  39. That blackout was very very strange. Makes one wonder, that's for sure. As for hockey, the Canuck vs Minnesota game was different. Yes, I'm a Canuck fan... even when they're losing.

    Detail is part of a winning book. I don't think it's your insecurities, Michael, that make you want to have it right. I think it's the love of storytelling.