Amy Sterling Casil: About Like Fire


like-fire-betaLike Fire is not yet published and I am offering a beta read version to the Magical Words community, in love and trust. I’ve done a number of collaborative projects over the years, and these were always the best, most rewarding things I’ve done. I will be publishing this book later this year – with all the improvements and changes suggested by beta readers taken into full consideration, with full acknowledgement. So it is your care, love and consideration as those who love fantasy literature, to help make this the best venture possible.

Here’s the story of the book. The basic concept is, what if a leader at a critical juncture – overseeing the survival of all, with capacity to stop killing and violence, or to continue it – was a woman, not a man? What if King Arthur had been a woman? Abraham Lincoln?


Well, the answer I’ve gotten from some is, “That cannot be.”


Well, so it is. In this story. That’s the “high concept.” A female leader and heroine fighting for her life, and her family, and her loves, and all that surround her.


The story is set in the Wide World, a fantasy world I created, in which I have set three prior young adult novels. This is a post-apocalyptic fantasy world in the sense that once, there was much greater magic and technology, but after generations of devastation, all has greatly been reduced. The cities have become towns, the towns, villages. The villages are for the most part, no more.  


Here’s the blurb-o-matic:


Astá D’Avia is the sole woman to lead any land in the Wide World, the mountain stronghold of Kestrel Point, where the finest weapons are made. After losing her father, husband and son in the wars of Dark Magic, she fights to save the lives of her people with the aid of a mysterious, dark killer in a bearskin cloak – Broos Zuri. Astá’s most powerful weapons are her courage, honor, and Shula the Salamander, a tiny immortal magical creature whose power can unleash the fires of Hel. Treated brutally by Broos’ people, the Salamander’s rage can set the whole world on fire, and kill those who use its power, including Astá.


To keep the peace, Astá’s fiery daughter Meria, called Redbird, is betrothed to Kamron Ancaster, golden prince of the wealthy Seven Ridings. But Kamron dies in the arms of his brother Lorne, a heavy northern arrow through his heart. The impossible shot that killed Kamron was not made by the northern enemies, the Helmanders. Acting on the orders of Broos, Meria’s best friend Keile the Sparrow shot the bolt that killed him. Instead of protecting Kestrel Point, Kamron’s death launches a full-out war for possession of its foundries, steel, the lives of its people, and above all, possession of Shula the Salamander and her magic fire.


That said, I can imagine few greater pleasures than writing this book. All I have to look forward to is the next. People may actively audition for roles, because that’s the type of writer I am. If I can picture and know the person, they are easily able to take part in the book and story.


And that, Magical Words community, is how I found my writer’s voice.

amy february 2014Inspired by a lifelong love of nature, endless curiosity, and a belief in wonderful things, Amy Sterling Casil is a 2002 Nebula Award nominee and recipient of other awards and recognition for her short science fiction and fantasy, which has appeared in publications ranging from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to Zoetrope. She is the author of 26 nonfiction books, over a hundred short stories, primarily science fiction and fantasy, two fiction and poetry collections, and three novels. She lives in Aliso Viejo, California with her daughter Meredith and a Jack Russell Terrier named Gambit. Amy is the founder of Pacific Human Capital, a founding member and treasurer of Book View Café author cooperative and former treasurer of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and teaches writing and composition at Saddleback College, after receiving her MFA from Chapman University in 1999. She is currently engaged in founding a new publishing company for the 21st century, Chameleon Publishing.


8 comments to Amy Sterling Casil: About Like Fire

  • Count me in, Amy! 🙂 What do you need from me to make this happen?

  • sagablessed

    Anything to help an author. I’m down. Let me know what you need from me as well.

  • About a month has passed since I wrote these posts, and things have evolved. All you need do is e-mail me at and let me know how you prefer a reading copy of the book – Word, PDF or .epub.

    I also put some information on Goodreads and have had some people agree to beta read there. My first beta read was from Ron Collins. Collins needs more lines, and will doubtless pop up in Book 2, Like Light (that’s an inside joke – when I wrote “Mad for the Mints” at Writers of the Future in 1999, I had Mad King George’s false identity be an Irishman named “Collins.” When Ron responded to the story, the first thing he said was, “Collins needs more lines.”) That, oddly enough, was probably the first time I put someone I knew in a story – but it was just his name.

    Here’s an adaptation of what I said on Goodreads:
    Chameleon will launch at the World Science Fiction convention in London in August. Chameleon will be publishing this book and 10-15 other launch authors in 2015. We are publishing across all platforms … and in a nutshell, we will be marketing and selling books like 5 Hour Energy Drink and Oreo cookies. This is not to say all products will be “corporate books,” simply that techniques known to many different manufacturing business in product development and launch will be used.

    As a beta reader for this book, you won’t just be helping the book become the best it can be, you’ll have the opportunity to guide and direct a new way of developing creative work and bringing it to readers.

    All beta readers will receive full recognition in the published book, will receive a free copy once published, and some type of Chameleon swag such as a beta reader t-shirt, mug or other commemorative item.

    So, especially from sophisticated, engaged readers here at Magical Words – if you could let me know what types of books/authors this book reminds you of (can include a “feeling” as you read) – ideas about who might enjoy reading it and so-on, that would be very much appreciated. As well as the traditional beta read responses – continuity errors, confusing parts, parts where more development is needed, etc. I already know I need to do more work on the back end … thanks to Collins. I have some feedback from military professionals as well. They are doubting Broos’ extensive capabilities – and also some of his more negative tendencies.

  • inkfire

    Do you have any sort of deadline for when you need responses back by? I’d love to help in any way that I can, but I’ve still got a couple classes to get under my belt, so reading is a little slower than I wish it were. If you happened to want responses by, say, two weeks from now, that could potentially be a problem. Lots of deadlines for me this week and the next, and grades gotta stay on up there. Anything longer I can do.

  • I don’t have a big time limit. This will be published in early 2015, and I am starting the next book in late April or early May …

  • Oh, Amy, I am DEFINITELY in. Email coming your way!

  • Yay Lyn! Wow, this is just tremendous!!

  • Also – I came to some key realizations this morning. The stagnation in legacy publishing is connected to things people are complaining about, such as gender bias and racial/ethnic bias. These are “customer complaints.” Bookselling is stagnant because they select product in the absence of metrics and real engagement with customers (readers). This is true across the struggling brick and mortar industry, as well as legacy publishing. Self-publishing arose and has achieved some successes — but heretofore, all in established niche market segments. A great example of this is 50 Shades of Gray (Twilight fandom). Nearly all self-publishing successes I have looked at are within established, existing niche markets.

    So if you are interested in publishing and creative endeavor, please help me by reading and boosting.