Writing Quirks by Stephanie M. Allen – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


I’m definitely not your typical writer. Before I get into that, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephanie M. Allen. I’m a 7th grade English teacher, a mom to two kiddos, and a wife of thirteen years. I have a grouchy old-lady cat and a drama princess of a dog. As you can see, I’m a pretty normal person. However, when it comes to my writing, I definitely have my quirks.

My brain always gravitates toward fantasy. Every story that I write, even if I don’t intend for it to have fantastical elements…well, they come into it somehow. I’ve published six books so far. I have a four-book young adult fantasy series that I self-published. That was fun to write and was definitely a hobby that I enjoyed. Then came the current series I’m working on.

One of my writing quirks – not just for this trilogy, but for all my books – is that I don’t have a written plot outline. Of course, I have my notes and my map. It is a fantasy world, after all, and it’s hard to keep track of all those names and places! But, when it comes to a story outline, I use Spotify. Every single book that I write has a Spotify playlist. I use a mixture of instrumental and vocal music. Usually, I will listen for similar musical themes, especially with the instrumental music. The Game of Thrones soundtrack has played a huge role in the Dueling Fates trilogy so far. I love the dark themes that run throughout the music.

Honestly, I don’t think I could write without music. It’s always been a part of my writing process. What’s weird, though, is that I don’t usually listen to music while I’m writing. I listen to it before, after, or when I’m in a writer’s block. And when I look back on my playlists, I can see how much I’ve evolved over the years. For my first book, Harmony, most of the songs were vocal songs – think of the Twilight soundtracks. That was my inspiration back then. As I developed the story – and as I matured in my writing – I liked to let the instrumental soundtracks play so I could watch the story play out in my head. Almost like a movie.

When I find the right music tracks, it almost allows me to see into another world. The story starts writing itself. It’s like the characters are telling me their stories and, sometimes, they take me down unexpected roads. In Divided Fates, I never expected Niri – the nashech heir – to make some of the choices she did. However, now that I look at the story as a whole, it makes so much sense. Same with Isemay. She surprised me in this book. I did not expect her to have so much chemistry with one of the characters that she takes a journey with. However, it made sense and, as I said, when I look at the story as a whole, I see how it all fits together.

So music really does make my stories. I don’t even know how I would write without it. And if I ever lose my hearing….well, it’s a good thing I’ve listened to a lot of music over years. Hopefully I’ll be able to remember it.

Ten days after the battle in the north, the world of Erez has been thrown into turmoil.

Princess Isemay awakens – injured and weak – in a strange village. Branded an outcast because of her mixed heritage but forced to stay against her will, she must choose to conform to the sha’nidow way of life or face the consequences. When a mysterious stranger arrives with a heartbreaking message, Isemay’s hope abandons her to a fate far more destructive than she was prepared for.

Princess Alena finds herself the queen of the northern kingdom – powerful, adored, alone. Fighting inner demons of darkness, she travels south to visit her brother, now the king of Neilos. But fate will not allow her to find peace, and she must decide whether she will side with those she loves or the one who holds ultimate power.

Niri Flesh-cleaver, granddaughter to the elusive Choshech and heir to the nashech throne, has everything she could want – and yet her heart yearns for more. Torn between her mother’s orders and a forbidden love, she quickly realizes she cannot have both. Driven by brokenness, she will seek to destroy the one person she blames for Choshech’s demise – and find that perhaps her heart was the better guide all along.

Three women. Three separate journeys. One path to find that fate will divide even the closest of bonds.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Your Majesty, go!” Jeremy shouted as he shoved the king toward his stallion. “We can’t fight what we can’t see.”

Jordan murmured a prayer for Jori and Noam as he gripped Ryoma’s mane and mounted bareback. “Get to a horse!” he ordered as he slammed his heels into his stallion’s ribs. Ryoma shot forward into the night, his ears flat against his skull. Refusing to allow panic to shiver its way into his body, Jordan used his legs to guide his stallion, keeping his hand fisted in the horse’s mane. Echoing hoofbeats came from behind—as well as the flapping of several wings.

“Your Majesty, above you!”

Jordan lay forward against Ryoma’s neck as a shadow passed right where his head had been. “Who are you?” he shouted at the fleeing darkness.

A shrieking roar filled the night as another shadow blew above him.

He squeezed his heels against Ryoma, urging the poor horse to gallop even faster. They were among trees now. He could feel branches whipping him in the face as his stallion fled at a blinding pace. He couldn’t be sure, but it felt as though they were climbing.

He could no longer hear hoofbeats behind him and prayed that Jeremy hadn’t befallen the same fate as the other two men. The trees seemed to be providing some cover for he could no longer hear flapping wings close by. The night was pitch black as they barreled headlong over unfamiliar ground, driving further and further up the mountain.

A roar and a crash sounded from somewhere behind him as Jordan and Ryoma broke through the tree line. He gasped as the moonlight suddenly filled his vision. They were atop a mountain peak, streaking along an open space. He risked a glance behind to see another horse break out of the forest—a riderless horse.

About the Author: Stephanie M. Allen graduated from California Baptist University in 2009 with a B.A. in English and a desire to share her imaginative stories with the world. She loves to write fantasy, particularly centered around young adults. Aside from writing, Stephanie loves to read, ride horses, and sing. She currently lives in Wyoming with her husband and two children.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Stephanie M Allen says

    Thank you so much for hosting! I really appreciate it!

  3. Rita Wray says

    Great excerpt and cover.

    • Stephanie M Allen says

      Thank you! Suzanne did such a good job with the cover. She also did the cover for “Dueling Fates”, the first book.

  4. Bea LaRocca says

    Thank you for sharing the author’s guest post, bio and book details, Divided Fates sounds like an awesome story and I am looking forward to reading it

  5. Sounds like an interesting read and like a book I will enjoy.

  6. danielle M says

    Sounds like an interesting read!

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