Guest Post and Giveaway: L.J. McDonald, author of Queen of the Sylphs

I’m so excited today to have L.J. McDonald on the blog as a part of her blog tour! L.J. is the author of The Sylph Series (Queen of the Sylphs, The Shattered Sylph, and The Battle Sylph.) She’s here to talk about the role of daydreams in her writing, and is also offering an ecopy of Queen of the Sylphs for giveaway, so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post!

Please welcome L.J. to the blog!

Daydreams and Ideas

-LJ McDonald

A lot of the time, people who hear I’m an author or who read my books ask me where I get my ideas from. It’s a notoriously hard question to answer and I’m sure my usual response of “uhhh…” doesn’t go over well.

With some time to sit down and think about it, a lot of it comes from daydreaming. I don’t sit down with a blank page in front of me and pull an idea out of nowhere. My brain doesn’t seem to want to work that way. Instead it’s more along the lines of my realizing that an idea floating around in my head is one that can be turned into a story. It’s after that where I do the brain storming and the plotting and eventually the writing.

That start of inspiration comes from the wild chaos of my imagination. I daydream. A lot. As in all the time. Even when I’m working or talking to someone, part of my brain is usually off sitting and watching a mental movie. There’s no plot going on, so it’s more like a bad B-movie, I suppose, and it certainly isn’t related to my writing. Not until later. But I’ve always been a daydreamer and the hero who flops around through the daydreams in my head has always reacted to whatever is going on around me.

My daydream hero isn’t a character in my books or anything like that. He has no name and changes appearance at whim. Now that I am sitting here and thinking about it, I suppose he’s my muse, reacting to the random thoughts in my brain. He’s male not due to any sort of anti-feminist stand or parochial belief, but because my daydreaming is my brain’s way of entertaining itself and I like hot men.

At any rate, he’s my nameless muse. Sometimes he’s tall, sometimes he’s short. Sometimes he’s nuts, sometimes he’s wise. He just is and what he does is influenced by what I experience in the world. I hear about a forest fire somewhere, and he’s outrunning a conflagration. I see a sword hanging on the wall and he’s a warrior battling something that doesn’t even necessarily take form in my mind. It’s just mental masturbation, to use a really crude term, and it’s something I’ve done since long before I started writing. It hearkens back to when I was in grade school, being told by the teacher that I daydreamed too much, with the unspoken assertion that daydreaming wouldn’t do me any good in the real world. It certainly didn’t help my grades.

For the most part, it is just entertainment, but sometimes, something sparks and those daydreams take form and my muse turns into a hero that I can use in a novel. My muse went leaping off a cliff in order to do battle against a stronger enemy long before Heyou did it in THE BATTLE SYLPH. I’d been holding onto that scene for years before I found a place for it. Same with a man crouched atop a pole overlooking a crowd, which is now Mace in the prologue of QUEEN OF THE SYLPHS. That picture in my head came from nowhere and it wasn’t meant at the time to go anywhere, but it stayed in my mind until it found a place I could use it in my writing. I have lots of ideas like that, all disconnected from each other and random, but fun. Some I use, many I don’t. But when I am sitting in front of a blank page going ‘I need an idea’, I can turn to my muse and see what he’s doing in my head, since it could just be that he’s giving me the idea for a story.

Keep up with L.J.: Website

**Giveaway is now closed and winner has been chosen.**

About Queen of the Sylphs:
Life in the Valley is mostly peaceful, and newcomer Gabralina is settling in happily with her Battle Sylph Wat. The only problem is, not everyone in the Valley is interested in letting things stay the way they are and the council that advises the Queen is being targeted.

Tensions mount when even the Battle Sylphs can’t find the culprit, and a creature no one was ever expecting starts to study the Gate from the other side.


  1. I love your description of how you daydream. I wish I had a muse like that.

    And I guess if I win this giveaway, I need to get the other two books quickly!

  2. First, I enjoyed reading how ideas come to this writer. That’s always interesting. Also, I had to join this site when I saw it. Beautiful header!

    I’d love to win a copy of this book, so if I’m lucky enough to be chosen, here’s my email. cleemckenziebooksATcomcastDOTnet

    Good luck to L.J and thanks so much for the wonderful giveaway.

  3. The best ideas always come from an active imagination, and daydreams are imagination. Thanks for sharing your muse, I am always surprised at how different every person/author is when it comes to their writing style/routine/and muse. I’m looking forward to reading Queen of the Sylphs, thanks so much for the contest! Book Savvy Babe
    booksavvybabe at gmail dot com

  4. Absolutely wonderful giveaway and the book sounds like a phenomenal read. Thank you so much for the invitation Kristin!

    All my best,

    Kitty /

  5. The book sound so interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

    s_walters01 at yahoo dot com

  6. Would love t be your lucky winner. Wish to read this. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway

    dianad8008 AT gmail DOT com

  7. Your book sounds terrific, and I am SO psyched to read it! I can’t imagine being a writer, especially of fantasy, without having a very vivid imagination! It has to be a big help to have a muse who changes with your needs 🙂

  8. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this series. It sounds really good.

  9. Hmm sound like a good read, haha loving the cover!! 😀
    Kait.Reader at gmail dot com

  10. Oh I love this series. The Sylphs ability to change forms and their amazing fighting ability really got me caught on the series. I cannot wait to read Queen!
    GFC Teril

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  11. These covers have all been amazing! I love these characters. The series has really blow me away with the fabulous world building and the depth of its characters. Thank you so much for coming on and reminding me about Queen of the Slyphs! I cannot wait to read it.

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  12. Okay, the name of the girl. Gabralina. Wow. I love it! Unique and pretty. Creative.
    thanks for the chance by the way. 😀

  13. Sounds like a wonderful read. L.J. you sound like one of those people I would have love to meet in life and just talk with. 😀 Keep up the daydreaming!

  14. SOOO want to read this series! Got it on my wishlist.

  15. Great interview! Thanks for tackling that question, I always like to know the process an author goes through while creating.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  16. Thank you for sharing about this very intriguing book, I would love to read it, and for the wonderful giveaway opportunity. I have often wondered why in interviews the question of where do you get your ideas almost always comes up. It seems to be incredibly hard question? Thank you for your graciousness in sharing your daydreams.


  17. Thanks for a wonderful interview! I love to read about authors, especially new to me, and their processes. I just got the first book in theis series for my kindle and I can’t wait to start! Thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC ~ erin

  18. I’ve been interested in learning more about this book – I think I have a book or two of yours already floating around here – from somewhere in the middle of a series – so I have your books on my wish list. It’d be awesome to get a copy of this one! Thanks for offering it!

  19. I read and loved the first two books and I cant wait to read Queen of the Sylphs .

  20. Oh my goodness, I am in this same boat. I have caught the writing bug and this is the way I daydream. I have been thinking of so many characters and they have no specific looks or distinctions, but certain things I see and hear effect what they do in my brain. I put them in those situations to see how they would react, what their responses would be. Is a certain character cool and calm or are they the kind of person who is always ahead and knows how to take care of sticky situations. Honestly, I thought I was just going nuts, but I am happy I am not alone LOL! I am definite daydreamer LOL! Great guest post, amazing read 🙂 Thank you so much for the post and giveaway 🙂

    GFC Follower: drharleyquinn87

    drharleyquinn87 (at) gmail (dot) com

  21. Wonderful post! 🙂 And I’m lost in my own little worlds so much anymore. hee hee. Thanks for the post and new books to look out for. 🙂

    (no need to enter me, I don’t have an ereader….yet)

  22. Raonaid Luckwell

    I have The Battle Sylph and The Shattered Sylph in my To Be Read pile. I seen them at a used book store, and I had to have them.

    I’ve always been a daydreamer myself. When I don’t like a particular ending to a movie or series, I use to play inside my mind an alternate version. Which helped me start to writing my thing.

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

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