Interview with Erika Sampaio

As a thank you to Erika, who did such a beautiful job of illustrating Caph and Aden from Children of Artifice, some questions about her art, what inspires her to draw, and the things that she has drawn in the past!


Q) What inspired you to start drawing?

– As a child, when watching cartoons – I started to feel like i want to participate in that fictional world in some way. I didn’t just want to reproduce or copy what I saw, I wanted to create a version of me (kind of) in that universe. When i started to watch Pokemon, for exemple, i wanted to create my own pokemon trainer, even my own pokemons and their evolutions. Every book, comic, film that i liked was the same thing, so i decided to start drawing to give life to that characters of mine.

Q) Which artists do you admire?
– Oh, there are so many i follow and love!  But here are some who influenced me in creating my artstyle: Rebecca Guay, Erica Williams, Lorena Lammer, Djamila Knopf, and some old masters like Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha.

Q) What do you like drawing most?
– Fantasy stuff for sure! Knights (specially women knights!), elves, magic creatures and weapons, all that kind of stuff with tons of details, patterns and arabesques.

Q) How do you find that Social Media feedback has affected your drawing?
– Goes in both ways. It affected me positively because it enabled me to show what I do to more people and thus have the chance to get more jobs and befriend other artists as well. But it affected me in a negative way too because i created a constant demand on me for always to be posting something. I have this sensation that if i’m not posting, the people will forget about me, about my drawings. I’m working on it and I demand myself a lot less now.

Q) Is there something – or someone – you’ve always wanted to draw and haven’t (yet)?– Yes, there is! I always wanted to do a fantasy book cover! i would love (and probably freak out) if I went to a bookstore and saw a book with an illustration of mine on the cover.

Q) If you could go anywhere in the world and draw the place/people, where would it be?– Oh, my…just one place? Taj Mahal, for sure. I only know the place through photos and documentaries, it would be a dream to visit it some day.

Q) Share with us a piece of art that you’re particularly proud of!
– This piece with my OCs (original characters) Lunnadan and Ranah. With this illustration I finally started to feel that i’m finally reaching a artstyle of mine and because of it too i started to receive commissions to make pieces with this style and theme i love so much.

Find Erika on Artstation – here!

When is a Review not a Review?

Over on Twitter for the last week or so, there’s been a lot of talk about reviews. Good ones, bad ones, funny ones, ones that may or may not be justified.

Now, the general consensus goes that an author must never respond to a bad review. They’re a fact of life (whatever kind of creative you are, if you put your stuff out there, someone is going to hate it), and you’ve just got to deal with them. We don’t all like the same stuff, get over it, etc.

You so know there’s a ‘but’ coming.

These days, fan entitlement has become a Thing – we’ve all seen it. And it’s aimed at everything, from the biggest blockbuster movies all the way down to us humble mortals. If the offered creative doesn’t match exactly the individual’s politics, or headcanon, or expectations, then the kickback can be scathing and horrifically vindictive.

And there’s a fine line between a review and an attack.

You may not like an author’s book, or politics, or style, or swearwords, or their use of a pronoun with which you don’t agree. You may think their work is so godawful that it had no right to be published at all. You may read scenes that are not to your liking, or that create an adverse emotional reaction. These things are your right and prerogative. You’re perfectly entitled to hate a book, to give it a bad review and one star – that’s all fine.

But you DON’T verbally assault, judge and bully someone because of it. You don’t call their personality, their professionalism, their integrity, their sexuality, or anything else, into question because of it. Please, remember, whether you liked the book or not, a great deal of effort went into its creation – author, agent, editors, cover artists, publicists. Please, remember that an author is not necessarily what they write – we’re actors, we present characters on paper, facets of humanity (and otherwise) that may not be ourselves. Please, remember that we are people too…

A personal attack is a personal attack.

It is not a review.

Award Post – You Know How This Works!

Children of Artifice is about falling in love with someone you shouldn’t.


It’s about identity, and finding out who you are, and knowing who you want to be.

It’s about harsh parents, and their expectations. It’s about facing your family’s judgements, and winning.

It’s about being man, and facing an abusive relationship. It’s about being devoid of emotion, yet falling in love anyway.


It’s raw, and molten, and sensual. It’s an urban fantasy, a fairy tale, a metallurgical, magical love story.

It’s also between two young men – but that kind of wasn’t the point.

And it’s eligible for a Hugo.

Go on, you know you want to… — 

2018: A Year of Unexpected Changes

In many ways, 2018 has been a fantastic year.

Seeing Artifice published has been truly magical, plus having the opportunity to write for both the Black Library and for Rebellion/Judge Anderson has been a huge amount of fun. After a very long, fallow stretch, it’s been SO GOOD to be creative again.

I’ve gone away twice, caught up with long-unseen family, and taken my Mother back home. 2018 was the year I finally reached the Top of the Mountain, the End of the Quest, and was able to put the very last steps of the journey behind me….

For the first time in many years, I’m happy. I have no worries. I have a secure roof over my head. I have growing teen of whom I’m very proud. I have a good job, and we’ve had some fantastic events at the store. My writing is gathering pace, and going really well. And I’ve made a point, this year, of overcoming the inevitable (and slightly foolish) social reluctance and of going out – getting to the events, and the Cons. I’ve even started playing D&D again, after fifteen years.

But the year ended on a sour note, and one I’m still trying to understand.

I came down with a significant anxiety relapse in May, and it took me while to pick myself back up again – it was just so unexpected. (And seemed so utterly unfair). And as a part of trying to understand what had caused it, I took all sorts of tests – an MOT, more than anything else.

As we reach 50, we’re all getting to the point where we have to pay the piper, when those youthful excesses come back and catch us up. And I guess I was trying to brace myself for the worst. 

But the results were not what I expected – at the last, the year has thrown me a curveball. I don’t know where it’s come from – it may even be genetic – but I have an underactive (yes, underactive, that surprised me too) thyroid. I guess it explains why I’m so fucking TIRED all the time, why I get days of brain-fog so think that I can barely remember my name, and why – just sometimes – I find it almost impossible to get everything done. And it’s come with a couple of other complications, too, but I’m still working the kinks out of those.

It’s been a good year, and there will be many more. But the necessary sacrifices have been – and will be – very tough. ‘Fight Like A Girl’ is all very well on a battlefield.

This, though, may be a battle of a slightly different nature.

Children of Artifice – now on Audiobook!

Completing a book is a magical thing.

You’ve fought your way through the Labyrinth of Doubt, across the Waters of Panic, and up the Mountain of No Time, but you’ve really made something – you’ve crafted a portal to Another Place.

And then comes the tough part, the opening of that portal – and this is where you need your intrepid adventuring party…

Editor/s – there to ensure that your book is the best book is can possibly be.

Artist/s – there to see through your portal, and to bring its first images of it to life.

And actor/s – to hear your characters for real, and to conjure them into a new dimension.

So huge thanks goes to Joe Jameson for hearing all those voices in his head, and to Neil Gardner at Spoken World Audio for his phenomenal production and editing skills.

Seriously – listen to this…

The audiobook is now available from Spoken World Audio. It will be coming to Audible – but Bezos really doesn’t need the money that badly, and Neil has cats (and Muppets) to support…

Artifice Fun’n’Frolics…!

Lots of Children of Artifice goodness and events coming up…

If you’re at Edge-Lit on Saturday 14th, I will signing at the Fox Spirit Books table at 4pm, plus there will be loads of goodies to be had – including some truly fabulous biscuitage by (the one and only) MotherFudger.

I will also be in the bar, which is something of a rarity, these days, so I hope I can still hold my booze.

On Saturday 21st, I will be signing at Forbidden Planet Bristol at 1pm, so please brave the lofty (and possibly rather warm) heights of Clifton, and come and say hello. If you do want to throw things, buckets of ice water may be best.

From americanfag.tumblr.comAnd I’ll be reading. alongside Rebecca Ley and Micah Yongo, at this month’s Super Relaxed Fantasy Club, held at Titan Towers on the evening of Tuesday 31st. There will be vino and nibbles, and more goodies, and it would be lovely to see you there! ?

 

 

Book Birthday!


The new book, Children of Artifice is now available to order on Amazon 

Yes, it’s a love story between two young men.
No, there are no hot bare-chested werewolves.
No, it isn’t fan shipping, or eruri kitten-porn.
And no, it’s doesn’t involve being pounded in the butt by a dinosaur.

It’s just two people, who fall in love, even though they shouldn’t. They have their barriers to cross, but I wanted to stay out of closets and guilt, and make those barriers into something more modern and appropriate.

So, Artifice is a story of identity, and family, and politics, and science, and fantasy. But above all else, it’s an urban fairy tale – because, in this day and age, we need these things more than ever.

Synopsis: –

An ancient city, sealed in a vast crater. A history of metallurgical magic, and of Builders that could craft the living, breathing stone.

Caphen Talmar is the high-born son of an elite family, descended from the Builders themselves, his artistic career ruined when his ex-lover broke his fingers.

One night, gambling down at the wharfside – somewhere he shouldn’t have been in the first place – he meets Aden. An uncomplicated, rough-edged dockworker, Aden is everything Caph needs to forget the pressures of his father’s constant criticism.

But this isn’t just another one-night stand. Aden is trying to find his sister, and he needs Caph’s help. Soon, they find themselves tangled in a deadly game of trust, lies and political rebellion.

And, as Caph begins to understand the real depth of the horrors they’ve uncovered, he learns that Aden is not what he seems. And Aden knows more about the coming destruction than Caph could ever have guessed.

Cover by Sarah Anne Langton!

Cover quotes: –

“Danie does it again: a delicious tale that I didn’t want to put down. All the people, all the detail, all the story
– and none of the drag. A one-sitting read of pure joy.” – David Devereux

“Slippery, smart and sexy: an heady alchemical brew of high politics and low magic that’s strong enough to lay anyone low.” – Simon Morden

“A skilful alchemy of raw emotion, renegade sensuality and emboldened fantasy. Ware tears out her readers’ hearts and dips them in molten gold, making every one of us a willing child of Artifice.” – Kim Lakin-Smith

Children of Artifice has a fantastic story, one I would recommend to readers of any genre and age. It conjures beautiful imagery and puts you in a state of living dream, taking you on an emotional journey which stays with you. I am looking forward to the sequel. – Tej Turner

Thanks to Fox Spirit Books, you can also get your mucky mitts on the title at Edge-Lit, and watch out for the Forbidden Planet event, announcing soon!