Friday, February 10, 2012

TBR welcomes Marva Dasef

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Marva. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Marva: I’m one of those dabblers in fiction who didn’t get serious about it until I quit my day job. Seems like I mixed up the order there. Supposed to first get rich-n-famous, then quit the day job. However, 35+ years of the day job was plenty for me. I spent that time writing, but not fiction except for a couple of stories. When I retired in 2005, the first thing I did is dig out those stories and see if they had any value. Surprisingly, a few did, at least as the germ of an idea in need of a serious re-write. Some of those seeds eventually turned into sales, and some went on to become books.

As for my personal life, I have none to speak of. My husband and I live across the street from my mom in my hometown, Eugene, Oregon. We provide mom’s meals and transportation, which means we don’t get out much on our own. Our fat white cat, Dusty, makes sure we get equal warm-lap attention. We also feed a feral cat, who comes indoors occasionally, but only if we leave the door open so she can split when she wants to. Poor thing looks very old, weighs maybe seven pounds, and has the voice of an air raid siren. She’s also stone deaf making her skittish since she can only rely on scent and sight to protect her.

TBR: Tell us about MIDNIGHT OIL and where it's available.
Marva: Midnight Oil is the second book in the Witches of Galdorheim series. The three completed books and a short story prequel are all published by MuseItUp Publishing, a Canadian small press.

The series follows the adventures of Kat and Rune, half-siblings who are also half witch/warlock. Kat’s father was a Sami hunter. The Samis are spread across the Arctic areas of Scandinavia and Siberia. In the first book, Bad Spelling, Kat is pondering running away from home, the witches’ island Galdorheim, to find her father’s family. Why? Because she’s a failure as a witch. She can’t cast a spell without it blowing up in her face. On the other hand, Rune, a half-vampire, is a great spellcaster. When he learns Kat’s plan, he decides to go along to help out, both for the adventure and to protect his spell-challenged sister.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Marva: Yay, the fun part! How about the blurb since most of my excerpts are attached to a related topic or character and were all posted on my blog tour just last month. If you check the schedule on myblog, most of the posts are still viewable

MIDNIGHT OIL Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brushoff.

When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

Buy at my publisher:

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Marva: I have written several genres, but I feel most comfortable writing humorous fantasy for mid-grade to low YA.

For the Witches of Galdorheim, I vaguely recall the first book’s title appearing in my mind. I have no idea why. Must have been something I saw or heard that brought it up. Bad Spelling was, to me, obviously a book about a witch who couldn’t spell right. Everything else developed from that. That’s the ‛what’ of the series. The theme, however, is all about finding your strengths, never giving up, family, kindness, and lots of animals. All universal themes, especially in YA books.

If I think about it, every book I’ve written have those themes in one way or another, even my adult SF, Ultimate Duty and the YA version, First Duty. They don’t have any animals, but they’re the only books I’ve written that don’t.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Marva: I outline with brief summaries for each segment. Chapters may combine or cross over a given segment. This will run about three pages. Then I start to write going by the summary. At some point, the whole thing goes out the window and it’s pantser all the way to the end. As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of research. Often I find something that will give me a whole new direction or, at least, something to include in the story.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Marva: I’d love to have both troll kings, Ole and Olaf, come to dinner. For one thing, they always come bearing a barrel of mead or ale to a party. And, being royalty, I’d expect them to bring along a few of their troll subjects. At this point, we’d be having a pretty raucus party. Of course, if King Ole were to come, he’d ask Kat’s Aunt Thordis to be his +One (they had a ‛thing’ in the past).

Naturally, I’d have Kat and Rune, Andy the changeling, Salmon the Orca (if I could find a big enough bathtub for him), Mordita the Sorceress, and Kat’s Sami family as well.

Definitely not on the invite list: The Sambana, evil shaman that he is. However, no problem since he had a series of unfortunate encounters in Bad Spelling leading to his demise. And about time too!

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Marva: I did a lot of research once I had the original idea of the Witches series. I had decided to use runes for magic, and I learned that they were a language called Elder Futhark (no, really), not just simple symbols. When I discovered that, I managed to find some real runic words I could use in the text.  Kat’s biggest problem at the beginning of the series is her inability to remember and pronounce the Old Runic words. It wasn’t that she didn’t study hard enough or that she was not too bright, but that she was surrounded by a curse that made her a bad speller (which also produced the title of the first book).

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Marva: My fictional world encompasses both the real world and the magical places hidden from we mundanes (dang it!). You can follow Kat and Rune’s journey using an Atlas, but most of the places they visit aren’t marked on the map. However, this isn’t urban fantasy, which proposes magic as a natural part of the real world. My magical folk keep a low profile.

TBR: What's next for you?
Marva: The third book in Witches of Galdorheim, Scotch Broom, is scheduled for publication in April 2012. After that, a middle-eastern 1001 Arabian Nights style book, Setara’s Genie, is due out in the fall of 2012.

I’m trying to work on a 4th book in the Witches series, but marketing tasks scatter my focus. I do have the outline and a couple of chapters done. It may take awhile to get back into it. It’s all about Rune and his long-lost vampire father, Drakos.

TBR: Any other published works?
Marva: I have ten or so books in print and ebook now. My website lists all my books and where they can be found in both print and ebook format. Some of my ebooks will be offered free on Amazon. Coming up in February:

February 13: Quest for the Simurgh

February 19: Mixed Bag (short stories, some adult)

Check on my blog in the right sidebar where I’ll give dates and links for free ebook promos.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Marva: I’m a big fan of Neal Stephenson’s books. They’re not MG/YA by any means, but he’s so creative, I’d recommend him to anyone who likes speculative fiction.

What I’m reading NOW will be old news by the time this post appears. I do make an effort to read books by authors I’ve met through the internet. I find that a great way to read a variety of genres. I don’t read erotica, but R-rated is okay. I do tend toward YA fantasy. I also try to write reviews for every book I read. I’m nice, but honest in my reviews. Check my reviews on Goodreads if you’re interested. Friend me on Goodreads so I can follow your reviews as well.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Marva: Lots of places. Here are a few:

My web site:
MuseItUp Author Page:
Twitter Handle: @Gurina

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Marva: Yes. I was asked this question for another interview and it set me to wondering what other people think: ebook or print? And why?

TBR: Readers, everybody who stops by to read the interview gets a free copy of “Spellslinger” in PDF. It’s a prequel short story about Rune before he became the super spellcaster. They can download the PDF from this link:
Thanks for visiting TBR, Marva. Best of luck to you.


  1. Welcome to TBR, Marva! Those covers are so cool. Congrats on your release!

  2. Marva, I wish you the best with your witches and genies! To answer your question, I tend to reach for a "real" book before I turn on my Kindle, which I do use almost exclusively when traveling and for reading books that are only available in e-format.

  3. Thanks for having me on.

    Pat: We read occasional paper books these days, but mostly if they are unavailable in ebook format and I can check them out from library. My husband has ordered more paperbacks from on-line stores, some of which are not available anywhere else. No, not porn. He has an interest in WWII and gets some of the older non-fics that are out of print.

    Note: The free copies for Quest for the Simurgh will be available both the 12th and the 13th.

  4. Very interesting. I have read both books of the series and am eagerly awaiting the third. I find them both fascinating and a fun read for all ages. Your characters are so alive and leap off the pages, even the monsters. lol.
    And I have enjoyed meeting Kat's family and following her adventures.
    Keep it up. I hope many more are to follow.

  5. Nice to find you here, Marva! Enjoyed getting to know you better. For me, ebooks all the way! I've been digital reading since 1998!

  6. Hi Marva,

    Guess what, I'm reading Bad Spelling right now and loving it. I'm 66%. Yes, I like ebooks. My shelves are about to collapse with paperbacks. But there is always a time for either. A paper book is still special, like a good friend to take along. But ebooks give me instant gratification and I'm starting to regard my e-reader as a very loyal constant friend taking me away to great places. :-)

    Since I bought Bad Spelling today, I already have the free pdf version of Spellslinger. I'm sure I'll read it soon, but I have the feeling, I might need to get Midnight Oil first.

    Hehe, I loved the "guest appearance" of Rumpelstiltskin in Bad Spelling. :-)

  7. Hi Marva,
    Nice getting to know more about you. I'm reading ebooks now, since I got the Kindle for Christmas. I have to catch up on all the Muse books I bought or won. Sometimes I open the new hard cover book I just couldn't resist on a sale stall but I feel like I'm cheating when I read it because the others are the necessary ones to read. Silly eh, but I need to do just one thing at a time and when it all boils down, all this reading takes me away from writing.
    I see you are a prolific writer so you wouldn't feel guilty whenever you read in any format.
    I have your Mixed Bag waiting on my Kindle. Short stories are great. No guilt attached. :)

    TBR you ask good questions.

  8. Thank you all for dropping by. I'm very happy you're enjoying Bad Spelling, Edith. I recognize your name from last month's giveaways.

    I know what you mean, Wendy. I do feel guilty reading books from authors I don't know personally. I have a duty to support my fellows, as I hope they will support me. The old Golden Rule applies for me.

    Lorrie, you're such a good friend for following me around. Wait until everybody sees your Heap of Trouble and the Winnie books. I'll be blog-hopping around following you!

  9. Hey, Marva! I just finished Bad Spelling and absolutely loved it. Harry Potter meets Terry Pratchett. You had me laughing out loud a few times, while story was touching. Quite often I thought I knew what was coming. Boy was I naive. :-) Thanks for such a wonderful read!

  10. Hi Marva, You have hooked me on this magical world. Who knew anything about a runic language till now? Googling as soon as I leave this comment. Thanks for the PDF. Great questions, TBR.
    As for your question, there's plenty of room in my life to read both e-books and p-books.


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