Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Wolves: I Bring the Fire Part I" by C. Gockel

FREE Kindle Edition
Wolves: I Bring the Fire Part I
by C. Gockel

Wolves, the first part of the I Bring the Fire series by C. Cockel, is currently FREE. You can read my interview with the author below. Also available: Monsters, Chaos, In the Balance, and I Bring the Fire Parts I-III.

In the middle of America, on Route 44, Amy Lewis has a plan - to get to her grandma’s house in time for dinner. Galaxies away Loki is waking up in a prison cell, strangely without a hangover, and with no idea what he’s done wrong - this time anyway. But he does know Thor is hiding something, Odin is up to something wicked, and there seems to be something he’s forgotten...
In this tale that is equal parts Another Fine Myth, American Gods, and Once Upon a Time, a very nice Midwestern girl and a jaded, still very mischievous Loki must join forces to outwit gods, elves, magic sniffing cats, nosy neighbors. If Loki can remember exactly what he’s forgotten and Amy can convince him not to be too distracted by Earthly gadgets, her boobs, or three day benders, they just might pull it off.
This first volume of I Bring the Fire is for anyone who suspects chaos and mischief makers might have their own redeeming qualities, and anyone who just wants a good fantasy romp through modern Earth, ancient Asgard, and beyond!

Staring at Amy, Loki feels the heat of Thor’s first betrayal, that first cruel laugh, itching beneath his skin. How could he have trusted Thor after that?
“So did you get Thor his hammer, Sif the golden wig, Odin Daupnir and Gungnir – and the boat for Frey?”
Beatrice’s voice startles Loki out of his dark reverie.
“Daupnir, Gungnir, boat?” says Amy.
Loki smiles a brittle smile. “Daupnir is a lovely little ring. The boat is called Skidbladnir. It has a clever way of folding into time so that all of it that remains in real-time can fit in the palm of your hand.”
Amy’s face lights up, “It sounds kind of like the TARDIS!”
“Tardis?” says Loki, somewhat amazed that she seems to have grasped the concept at all. Humans usually didn’t.
“It’s a phone booth,” says Beatrice.
“Bigger on the inside than outside,” says Amy. “And it can travel through space and time too. Can Skidbladnir do that?”
Loki blinks. “Humans have such a vessel?”
“No, no, no,” says Amy. “It’s just a story.” She frowns a little. “Just the way you described Skidbladnir, I thought it could be true.”
Slightly disappointed, Loki says, “Other than its compactibility, Skidbladnir is just a boat. We used it for camping trips. Until Odin gave it to Frey, chief of the Vanir.”
“What about Gungnir, the spear that can hit any mark?” says Beatrice.
Tilting his head, Loki says, “I did give that to Odin, but that was a different...adventure.” Another one of his under-appreciated acts of self-sacrifice. Really, Odin should have appreciated what Loki did for Thor. It’s not like sleeping with Sif was any great prize.
“Did the dwarf sew up your lips?” says Beatrice.
“Grandma!” says Amy, sounding absolutely scandalized. The gifts to Odin, Thor and Sif were made by two rival clans of dwarfs in a contest. The prize was Loki’s head. At the last minute Loki convinced the winner that since only his head had been promised, it couldn’t be detached at the neck. Said dwarf chose to sew up Loki’s mouth in lieu of decapitation.
He’s not sure exactly why Amy sounds so disapproving, but he senses an opportunity for comedy, or at least shock value.
With just the barest bit of concentration, he creates an illusion of wire stitches over his lips. Turning to Amy, and Beatrice he says, “Mmmphhhff!”
Beatrice sits back in her seat, hand over her mouth.
Amy gasps. “How can you even joke about that?!”
Loki tilts his head. The serious answer, the truthful answer, is how can he not?   Joking about pain is the only weapon he has. It is the way he thumbs his nose up at the universe. The way he proves he is unbroken, and if not the god of mischief, then at least mischief’s master.
But that isn’t the funny answer.
He creates an illusion of himself in the backseat next to Beatrice and lets that projection say, “Don’t worry, m’lady. I am not offended by my joke.”
“Ahh!” says Beatrice looking frantically back and forth between the illusion of Loki and Loki’s real self.
The car almost swerves off the road. “Don’t do that without warning me!” says Amy.
“Mmmphhhff,” says Loki’s real self, still feigning the stitches.
“Don’t you people believe in proportional punishment?” Amy shoots him a glance that looks, angry, hurt and scandalized all at once.
Loki tilts his head. In the scheme of things that physical agony was small. He had done a wrong. He paid a price. It was logical. There were other pains, other slights that were random and unjust. They hurt more. But he cannot think of them, much less speak of them. Instead, he lets his astrally projected self lean forward and whisper near her ear. “But if I hadn’t had my lips sewn shut I wouldn’t have learned the art of astral projection – out of sheer desperation to wag my tongue.”
Beatrice snorts.
Loki lets the illusion of himself and the stitches fade. “And if Thor hadn’t had the opportunity to hold me down while the stitches were put in, he might not have felt that he’d recovered his honor and we might never have become friends.”
Amy shoots him a look that communicates both revulsion and disbelief.
But Thor and Loki had been friends, hadn’t they? They’d both risked their lives for one another. And for a long time Thor’s friendship had surely helped ease Valli and Nari’s dealings with other Asgardians. They had been known more for Thor’s patronage, and less as Loki’s sons.
In the end what good had it done them, though? Even, brave, noble, supposedly honest, Thor had caved to Odin.
Loki clenches his fists. He cannot believe that Valli and Nari have met their ends. They are somewhere, alive, if not well, and wherever they are he will find them. Loki is very good at finding lost things, and the more impossible the task, the more likely it is he will succeed. Even Odin gives him that.

This is a fun read, it includes plenty of background for those not immersed in Norse mythology which will interest both those who are familiar with it, and those who are not. I enjoyed the interaction of the characters and the misinterpretation of their interactions between each other due to social differences of dark age Scandinavia and modern day America. The characters are very real and the story reads fast, a great read.

Interview With the Author
Hi Carolynn, thanks for joining me today to discuss your series, I Bring the Fire.
That's quite a variety! What age group do you recommend this series for? Most of my readers are in their 30s, however I have readers in their teens and well into their 80s.
What sparked the idea for this series? A bit of ADHD? Seriously, I just find demonizing chaos and making it "evil" is a little short sighted. Chaos, in moderation, is a wonderful thing. Just like "order" is only a good thing in moderation.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel? They are one and the same, I don’t know how to divide them.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The sheriff's scene - I rewrote it at least four times. I had to describe a lot of boring details of the U.S. legal system. Although my betas kept saying, "It has to be said, people will stick with the story even if it is dry," I found it so incredibly boring I had to keep tossing it out. In the end, Patches, the magic sniffing cat came to my rescue ... and now it’s a scene that nearly everyone loves.
How do you hope this book affects its readers? I hope it makes them laugh and keeps them entertained, but isn’t so silly they can’t feel for the characters.
How long did it take you to write this book? I can’t even remember! It’s part of a larger series. The series isn’t over, but I just wrapped up a major plot arc in Part III: Chaos. Between Part I and Part III there was perhaps 2 years?
What is your writing routine? Make tea, grab a handful of chocolate chips, write.
How did you get your book published? I self-published. My story is about the God of Mischief Lies and Chaos. I’d be betraying the spirit of Chaos if I even attempted to go through traditional means.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? Write. And find people who will critique your work so harshly you want to cry.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? Think about writing!
What does your family think of your writing? My family thinks I’m obsessed.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood. I lived all over the U.S. for short periods of time. It wasn’t healthy for long-term friendships. I had a lot of imaginary friends.
Did you enjoy school? Sometimes.
Did you like reading when you were a child? Yes.
What was your favorite book as a child? The Prydain Chronicles (I know, it’s a series, but still).
Who were your favorite authors as a child? Robert Asprin, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander - of course.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Only about a few years ago. I started writing fan fiction and got a lot of encouragement there from published writers. For a long time I ignored their encouragement - because I’m a coward. But then my husband started nagging me to stop writing for free, so I wrote a short story, Murphy’s Star, just to get him off my back. That experience gave me the courage to write my series.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing? Yes.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I hear from them all the time. Thankfully, very few people email an author to say how much they hate a story, so mostly it’s very encouraging.
What can we look forward to from you in the future? I’m working on I Bring the Fire Part IV: Fates at the moment. I hope to release it in February.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your upcoming release.

About the Author
C. Gockel got her start writing fan fiction, and she is not ashamed! Much. She received emails, messages and reviews from her fans telling her she should "do this professionally". She didn't; because she is a coward and life as a digital designer, copywriter and coder is more dependable. But in the end, her husband's nagging wore her down: "You could be the next Fifty Shades of Grey and I could retire!" Unfortunately, the author isn't much for writing smut. She is sad about this; she'd love for her husband to be able to retire and just work for her so she could nag him.
At the moment, Ms. Gockel is working on the next installment of I Bring the Fire.