Hello everyone! Please give a huge welcome to author, Marsha A. Moore. She is a wonderful Fantasy Romance author. She has a wonderful new book out, Seeking a Scribe a part of her new Enchanted Bookstore Legend series. Moore is here with us today answering some questions and also to give away an ebook copy of her amazing book, Seeking a Scribe. Check it out.
OBVB: Hello Marsha Moore! Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond. To start things off, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
MM: I’m so happy to be here! Thank you for inviting me.I’m basically a creative sort who can entertain myself for weeks with projects—writing, painting, drawing. I’ve lived most of my life in the Midwest, Ohio and Indiana, but three years ago my husband and I moved to Tampa. The change has been a wonderful adventure. I love being outdoors any day I choose, whether I’m kayaking, hiking, or cycling. I love the water and aspire to be a beach bum. I write chapters for my book on our dock or at the beach. Inspiration from nature fuels my writing.
OBVB: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And why Fantasy?
MM: As early as I can remember I’ve always been driven by creativity. In college, I wanted to pursue Literature and Fine Art, but my parents encouraged me to study Biology, so I might eventually find a reliable job. That was fine, since I liked that subject also. My compromise—a Biology major and an English minor. I wrote essays as a fun break from my full load of Science. Yes, weird that I thought writing essays was fun…still do!I’ve always loved fantasy and fairytale books. My father taught elementary education as a college professor and was in charge of previewing new children’s literature books. He brought home armloads of what I liked and indulged my fantasy reading passion.
OBVB: Who are your favorite authors? Anyone you are reading right now that you are loving?
MM: The last few books that really pulled me in were Natasha Mostert’s Season of the Witch and Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus. In both of those, magic caused mental effects for the giver and receiver. I enjoy the complexity of that theme and employ it myself in a very different way. My heroine, Lyra, must learn to mentally control her vast inherited powers as the new Scribe. That is something she struggles to master through the series.
OBVB: Your book, Seeking A Scribe, just released on the 15th. For those that don’t know, can you tell us what it is about?
MM: It is a fantasy lover’s dream, being able to step into a favorite book as a character.Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love.His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love?Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.
OBVB: Where did the idea come from for Seeking A Scribe?
MM: I know my initial inspiration came after watching the recent Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. From that, I wanted to work with parallel worlds and have a heroine who must save the fantasy world from danger. But, I wanted it to be more adult in order to deal with more complex feelings. Beyond that, I just see fantasy stories all around me. It comes naturally. Members of my critique group worry about how I drive safely with all the odd ideas floating in my mind. Haha! My editor is more polite, claiming I’m a gifted storyteller.
OBVB: Lyra is a wonderful heroine. Do you see any of yourself in her? Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
MM: Oh yes, Lyra is very much connected to me. Even in the first chapter, the childhood memories brought to her mind by Cullen’s magical tea are actually mine. Some scenes intentionally connect to my own experiences, like that one, and others surprise me much later when I’m polishing my draft to send to my editor. How Lyra interacts with her Aunt Jean has been a way for me to work through my own issues with my mother’s failing health.
OBVB: If Seeking A Scribe were to become a TV show, who do you see playing Lyra and Cullen (YUM!)?
MM: Easily Johnny Depp should play Cullen. Initially, I imagined him as I began to form Cullen, before the character developed his own personality. Lyra is more difficult. Many actresses are capable of showing her strong spirit, but few have her great capacity to care for others. Maybe Emma Watson who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. She shows a natural balance of independence and compassion, which I admire.
OBVB: I love all the animals in Dragonspeir especially the idea of a unicorn being a badass and you know how much I love Noba. Who was the most fun to create?
MM: That is another tough question since I really love each and every one of my secondary animal characters. I had a wonderful time breathing life into them! They are incredibly fun, but also each has a remarkable character trait that brings out similar strengths in my hero and heroine. The interplay resulted with more magic than I imagined!
In Seeking a Scribe, Noba would have to be my choice as a favorite. He’s a tiny pseudodragon, a wizard’s familiar to Cullen. Noba has such a big heart, always eager to help. The baby dragon, Yasqu, comes close, since he’s just a ball of growing dragon fun! I also love Cranewort, the ancient Gatekeeper tree who acts like a father to Lyra, but he’s not an animal. Kenzo, Cullen’s tiger owl assistant, plays an important role in the second book, Heritage Avenged, where he really shines.
OBVB: If you can have any animal companion that could talk, what would it be and why?
MM: Definitely a bird. I love birds. I live in Tampa on a saltwater lagoon and regularly talk to the brown pelicans. They wiggle their tail feathers in response. Today, I found two perched on a dock next to a plastic owl designed to scare birds away. The pelicans and I had a good laugh together! In my book Tortuga Treasure, I created a magical cock-a-too, who originated from a real life friend I made in Key West. Pearl and I bonded instantly. Her owner had to offer her a chance to fly through Home Depot to coax her back from me.
OBVB: The next book in the Enchanted Bookstore Legends series is Heritage Avenged. What obstacles will Cullen and Lyra have to face? Will they figure out the dynamics of their relationship?
MM: In Heritage Avenged, Lyra quickly forms two goals—determine the truth about how her aunt died and accomplish sorcery training so she may better access her inherited scribal powers. Lyra recognizes becoming accomplished at Alliance magic is the only way she and Cullen can bridge the gap between their two worlds. Cullen is determined to help her, but dark forces relentlessly block their efforts. The hardships are so great, Lyra must summon her inner abilities or the she and Cullen will perish.
OBVB: Last but not least, what other projects do you have coming up? Anything to keep our eyes peeled for?
MM: Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two will release in the second half of May. Currently, I’m writing the third book, The Lost Volumes, which I intend to have available in September. I also have a short story, Ruler of the Night, part of the Lacey’s Lamp anthology with MuseItUp Publishing, releasing in July.
OBVB: Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond. It was a blast having you.
MM: Thank you! You asked such great questions. It’s been wonderful to answer them and be with your readers today.
About Marsha A. Moore
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!
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Excerpt and Giveaway Time!!!
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Want a taste? Here is the first chapter!
Chapter One: Licorice Memories
The smell of anise greeted Lyra as she opened the door to Drake’s bookstore. It took her back to happy childhood memories. Licorice-shoe-string-rewards for following her parents’ requests to stay on the dock while they secured the family’s pleasure boat to its trailer. The aroma brought a fleeting remembrance of times long gone, a treasure now that her folks had recently passed. At ease with the familiar scent, she settled into browsing through rows of antique bookcases.
The shop owner stuck his head around a set of shelves. “Do you like tea?”
“Yes, I do.” Before she could finish speaking, he disappeared. “Is that the wonderful smell?” she called out.
Kitchenware clinked in the back room. Receiving no answer, Lyra followed the noises, scanning collections as she walked. This bookshop appeared established, but surely she would have remembered it from her last visit to the Lake Huron village five years ago. Books were her passion, especially fantasy. She paused in front of that section and studied its titles.
The owner appeared, holding a pewter tray with a teapot, two cups, sugar jar, spoons, and napkins, which he laid on the corner of an old library table. She watched him carefully pour the tea and hand her a cup. He was about her age, mid thirties or a bit older, and handsome. His medium brown hair, peppered with gray at the temples, grazed his shoulders in wavy layers, and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He wore long shorts, a knit golf shirt, and sandals—typical casual attire for this island resort community.
She set down her bag from the drugstore and accepted his offer with a smile. “Thanks. My name’s Lyra.” She blew across the hot surface of the tea to cool it and then inhaled the anise-scented steam. She closed her eyes to fully enjoy the memory. “Ah!”
“Afternoons of boating and licorice with your parents? Right?” he asked.
Her mouth dropped open. How did he know that?
He slurped from his cup. “Go ahead, take a sip. My folks gave me the same reward for taking my kid sister along on bicycle rides.”
Forgetting all about the tea, she asked, “How do you know my childhood memory?”
“Taste it.” His lips curled into a sly grin as he took another gulp.
She cautiously took a tiny sip, just enough to wet her lips and the tip of her tongue. The flavor flooded her mouth, and her mind swam with wonderful memories. The taste transformed into that of gigantic popcorn balls the sheriff’s wife down the street made for Halloween trick-or-treaters, accompanied by images of Lyra’s costume—a red, fringed gypsy skirt borrowed from Mom. Next came a pumpkin flavor and vision of holding a cold piece of “punky-pie” in her five-year-old hand. Another swallow returned her experience back to anise. “What is this? How did you know?”
“Let me introduce myself.” His grin spread into a smile as his eyes met hers. He took a step closer. “I’m Cullen, Cullen Drake, and I know many things. What I don’t know is what sort of books you like to read.”
His keen interest caused heat to rise in her cheeks. “Well, actually I have several favorites, all fantasy and magical realism. You have a number of authors I like in this section.” She turned to refer to the shelves behind her, but found non-fiction hunting guides instead. “This case held classic fantasy a moment ago!”
Cullen put down his cup. “It moved. It’s over here, and I have just what you want.” He slid an old-fashioned library ladder along its track, set the locking device, and climbed straight up to the top shelf.
Lyra followed, walking between four comfortable leather club chairs grouped on a Persian rug. A portrait of a young girl and a man wearing a cloak caught her attention. Something seemed familiar in the child’s smile.
The noise of books sliding on shelves distracted her. She moved to the base of his ladder and glanced up. The ceiling of embossed tin panels decorated with Victorian teardrop chandeliers and paper Chinese dragons made a unique combination, to be sure.
But Lyra was more curious about the strange happenings in the store and its owner. He was certainly odd, although not the bookish, geeky sort who usually ran bookshops she frequented. He had an athletic frame and strong legs.
“Can’t find it!” he exclaimed and quickly descended. His brow furrowed, he dusted off his hands on his shorts. “I’ve got to find that volume for you. If you don’t mind me saying, there’s a sadness about you. The book will make you happier than you’ve been since those days of licorice shoe strings.”
“After magical tea and shifting bookcases, I almost believe you.” She laughed to cover her concerns. Even four months after it was final, she worried that the loneliness she felt after her divorce blazed like a beacon on her forehead. But, Cullen knew so much—it startled her…actually, intrigued her. Her ex didn’t ever see inside her, didn’t want to. This man read her as though he knew her. Did he? He seemed so familiar.
“Once I find that book, I promise, you’ll be pleased.” He stroked his goatee. “Hmm. Where did I last see it?” The twinkle in his gray-blue eyes captivated Lyra. “Will you be here for the week? I can look for it and call you later.”
“I’m staying the rest of the summer with my elderly Aunt Jean. She owns a lovely cottage at the end of Walnut overlooking Lake Huron. I thought I’d keep her company and give her time away from her nurse during my teaching break. While I’m here, I plan to write my novel.”
“Great! You’re a writer? What do you teach?”
“Yes, and I teach American Literature at Southern University in Florida. Seems like you already would’ve known that since you jumped into my childhood memories,” she stammered, attempting some humor. Taking a long draught of the tea, her mind filled with memories of her pet dachshund wiggling next to her, displacing a row of dolls. Another part of her past he knew—impossible! Her forehead beaded with sweat.
“No, only thoughts associated with a lot of emotion, like the happiness of snuggling with your dog.”
“How?” she exclaimed, shaking her head. “I don’t understand.” Her mind swam, trying to grasp what happened. She desperately needed some fresh air. With trembling hands she set the cup down.
“I realize it must seem odd, but the book I’m looking for will help explain.” He leaned closer with a smile that somehow reassured her. “This is Saturday. If you can come by next Wednesday morning, I think I should have it for you by then…if you’d like.” He paused and looked into her eyes, waiting for a reply.
“Yes…I’m curious.” In spite of the confusion, she found herself agreeing. “Wednesday will work.”
“Fine. Let me take down your number in case I can’t find it.” He walked to the counter and located a notepad and pen. She dictated her number and full name, which he repeated, “Lyra McCauley, a lovely Celtic name for a pretty lady.”
“I think I need to go now. Thanks for the tea.” With shaking fingers, she collected her shopping bag and headed toward the door.
He escorted her out and offered his hand to shake, the corners of his goatee lifting into an inviting grin. “Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”
Lyra smiled and looked into his eyes, trying to discern his unusual clairvoyant gift. “You too.” The initial touch, of his palm against hers, sent electrical shivers along her arm. She jerked, yet didn’t let go, fascinated by the strong emotions flashing through her mind—attraction, excitement, and acceptance. After an awkwardly long pause, she dropped his hand, half-stumbled over the threshold into the sunshine, and took a long, deep breath.
She ambled to an outdoor café a couple blocks farther down Tenth Street, while her mind buzzed with questions. How did he know those things about her? She dropped onto a seat at an empty table, shaded by an umbrella. He was fascinating and frightening at the same time…and familiar. Her divorce and loss of her parents left her lonely. He intrigued her.
“May I get you something to drink while you look over the menu?” The waitress interrupted with a bright young voice, a college student working a summer job.
Startled back to reality, Lyra murmured, “Just water, please.” Alone in a crowd of lunch goers, her thoughts returned to the bookstore and many unanswered questions.
The waitress placed a glass of water in front of her.
She almost hated to drink and remove the sweet aftertaste of anise from her tongue.
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