Saturday, June 27, 2015

At Death's Door and Between Heaven & Hell by Astrid V. Tallaksen GUEST POST!

Title: At Death’s Door

Author: Astrid V. Tallaksen

The world is a pretty straightforward place. Even for medium Sara Stone things seem pretty simple, aside from the whole talking to spirits bit. But when the spirits get too hard to handle and Sara ends up admitted to a mental hospital, the world starts to seem a lot less straightforward. First her family disappears, including her four year old son. Then she gets the sneaking suspicion that not only are the staff at the mental hospital somehow connected, but they also have no intention of ever letting her leave the hospital.

  Everything changes when Sara has her first visitor in three months. Daniel is handsome, friendly, and a complete stranger. When he promises to spring her from the hospital and swears that everything she's experienced is completely real, Sara has no choice but to believe him.
But once she reaches a run-down Victorian house in the tiny Alabama town her rescuer calls home, the last thing she expects to discover is that every memory she has is a lie. Daniel reveals a world filled with angels, demons, and an impending war humans know nothing about. Sara wants to ignore her role in the whole mess – all that matters is solving the mystery of where her son has gone. But the forces of Heaven, Hell, and the Heart have other plans for her. Can she find her child before the world comes crashing down?

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Title: Between Heaven & Hell

Author: Astrid V. Tallaksen

Being a fallen angel used to be easy. A quiet life with the people she loves is all Sara ever asked for. Unfortunately, the apocalypse didn't get the message. After nearly losing everything, she's managed to put her life back together and start living what she hoped was happily ever after with her small family. Now she wants nothing more than to hide away and pretend the end of the world is a distant rumor. Her life has already been torn apart once. Doesn't she deserve a break?

  The apocalypse finds its way back to her doorstep when a letter arrives. Is it a friendly warning, a dire threat, or a simple reminder that she can't run away from what's to come? Sara refuses to take heed and pays dearly for her avoidance. With her family in danger and the preservation of free will hanging in the balance, she finds herself with no other choice. Sara must follow the path forged for her, a path that may take away everything she holds dear and leave her in pieces at the end. She's caught between Heaven and Hell, and the last person she'd ever have considered trusting might just be her greatest ally.

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Author Bio

Astrid V. Tallaksen grew up with a heart for stories of creatures and places outside of this world. Her love of reading quickly became a love of writing. She spent several years creating content and helping writers to improve their craft on the online world of Althanas, a creative writing workshop in the guise of a roleplaying forum. A self-avowed nerd, Astrid loves science fiction, comic books, and eighties fantasy movies in the vein of The Princess Bride and Labyrinth. Her geekiness extends to annual volunteer work at the massive sci-fi convention known as Dragon*con every year in Atlanta, Georgia. In the odd times that she's not immersed in geekdom or writing, Astrid loves to sing karaoke, crochet, and spend time with her family and pets.

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I feel like research is extremely important to a writer. Sometimes it's just something simple like information about the city your story is set in, but often the need for research stretches to something more in depth. For my Freefall Trilogy, the main thing I've researched is angels. There was a lot of Google involved, as you might imagine. First it was just basic angel information – but that led me to delve into the way different cultures and religions view angels, and then all the possible angel hierarchies, and lately it's mostly been choosing angels based on what their abilities are according to various traditions. I have no problem with picking and choosing when it comes to mythologies, because, unlike science or geography, I'm choosing from what is already fiction.

As far as science or geography go, I find myself looking up things like “what body part can someone be shot in that bleeds a lot but isn't fatal?” Sometimes my “Google-fu” isn't strong enough and I have to find an expert to ask. It can be embarrassing at first to approach someone about your book, but honestly it's so worth it—that satisfaction of knowing that you aren't just making something up off the top of your head that a reader, even if it's only one single person, might know is wrong.

Research is actually something that makes me hesitant to explore Historical Fiction. I would LOVE to write something set in another time and place, but I'm somewhat taken aback by the idea of possibly getting my facts horribly wrong. Eventually I'm sure I'll jump in headfirst. My mantra is research, research, research. In fact, I've become the person friends and colleagues come to when writing something, because they know I've got a knack for finding the facts they need for their work. It helps that I have a huge library to draw from as well, with books about mythology and all manner of fantasy creatures. 

It can be intimidating at first to look over what you WANT to write and know that it's going to take hours or days of research. But when you've got the information and you get ready to actually put your work down in writing, it's so worth the knowledge that you've done your due diligence and aren't going to have someone get turned off by your writing because you couldn't be bothered to look up historical Florence, Italy (for example). Currently, I'm researching the apocalyptic traditions and timelines in various religions. Even though what I'm writing is complete fantasy, it's still nice to have the foundation and inspiration to work with as I finish the Freefall Trilogy.

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