Tag Archives: Fairytale

Missing – The Blog Tour – Character Interview with Amadeus

Missing Banner

Have you ever had to sacrifice something to bring back something or someone you love? Peggy McAloon is here today to talk about the second book in her Lessons from Fiori series, Missing. Elle’s brother has been kidnapped. Will she be able to save him?

Blogger’s Note: I have not read this book yet, but it looks fascinating and the character interview below is certainly intriguing. – Kimberly

About the Book

Kidnapping. Monsters. Magic.

Missing Cover for Kindle 12 1 15Elle’s desperate to find her kidnapped brother. She teams up with the winged warriors from the dimension of Fiori to save him, but JJ isn’t the only one in danger. What will Elle sacrifice to bring her brother home? Can she fulfill the ancient prophecy and restore the magic of the Bronze Pendant?

You will love this Coming of Age, action-packed fantasy for middle-grade readers. Elle Burton’s goal is to rescue her brother. What she discovers is pure evil. The author provides a female role model who strives to overcome her flaws and inspire kids everywhere.

“Missing” blends the magic of a fairytale with the contemporary realities of the world today’s youth inhabit. You will discover a new world order through the journey of a young girl who exhibits both compassion and jaw-dropping courage in her quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Find yourself caught in the ultimate struggle between good and evil. “Missing” is the second book in the “Lessons from Fiori” series.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E5Z668U Continue reading

Book Launch Tour – Thaw – DIY Wolf Fight

Book Launch Tour – Thaw – Part Two of Two

I am a huge fan of stories that retell classic fairy tales, especially when they incorporate elements that remain true to the source material while still being creatively original. E. Kaiser Writes has done this with her new series Thaw and today she is sharing a little more about the real life inspiration for the wolf fight in Prince of Demargen, the third installment in her series.

Thaw 3 BooksJan

What about the wolf fight? I’ve heard that is uniquely realistic, and inspired from experience?

Yes! That one makes me laugh, because of the story behind it. I wrote that scene in Prince of Demargen where the timber wolves play a pivotal role and it was one of the most intense scenes for me to write, (among many, because with this story I just didn’t include a scene unless it sucker-punched me a little some way or another.) But this wolf fight scene especially plays against the backdrop of some of childhood’s integral fears: the night, the snow flurries, nobody can see: and then there’s these wolves stalking the characters. In the back of these characters minds they fundamentally know that the pack is really after their horses, (in real life, wolves will go for horse meat above most other domestic animals) but these predators will take anybody they can get, of course. And the people aren’t going to abandon their horses in mountain forest; so the one character rushes out to bring the fight to them, and ends up in a dagger-vs-fang fight. Knock down drag out, very rough and tumble as you might expect, going hand to hand with a wild animal.  I wrote that as authentically as I could and then when I later received that piece back from my editor she commented that it felt so real. She said, and I quote: “Wow. This is so thrillingly scary. How did you imagine what a wolf fight would be like???!!”

Check out Prince of Demargen’s pinterest board for some scary wolf fight pictures!

It’d been some time since I’d written the scene, and so I had to think about it for a moment. And then I just laughed, because I could link that the memory of writing that scene directly with the memory of a certain dog I had as a teen. He was a magnificent animal, I’ve rarely seen anything more athletic than he was. He was a Karelian Bear Dog, so for anyone who knows that breed they’ll immediately understand. I raised him from a pup and worked hard to train him… he was incredibly smart but one of the most arrogant dogs I’ve ever experienced. He was just an “untamed spirit” kind of thing, and although he loved me, he didn’t want to do what he didn’t want to do. No matter how much I wanted him to do it!   And worming him was something he flat out didn’t want to participate in. I would literally have to wrestle him to the ground and fight with him physically until he finally surrendered enough to take his wormer and swallow it. After the first few times I left the wormer with a sibling, and got the wrestling fight over with first. He knew exactly what was about to happen so we’d roll all over the yard and he’d resist until he finally gave up. Then I’d get the wormer handed to me and then we’d have a few more struggles, and then I’d get him to swallow it.  All the other dogs took it fine. They didn’t like it, but it was just something you swallowed and then you were done with. But with him, it was always a point. Never ever just said “Okay, fine” from the get go. Always was a “I refuse!” tussle.   This was an extremely exhausting process for me, and I always emerged totally played out… we came to respect each other deeply, that dog and I, for he knew that I would refuse to give up longer than he would and so I always got the ‘last word in’ so to speak.  And I was really the only one he’d listen to, because I had proven to him that I wouldn’t give up, and so in most other things he’d do what I said. I never underestimated him; he wasn’t “obeying me”… he was just “siding with me”.   He was an amazing dog and an amazing experience, and I truly believe that any wolf would be fairly similar to what he presented. Possibly less ahtletic, ’cause that dog was super-powered and like a canine version of Spiderman. From what I’ve seen of wolves they are looser jointed, and so would be slightly less “quick twitch” muscle… but then dealing with a wild animal attacking would color the situation a little differently as well.   But I think the situation, while fictional of course, is feasible: wolves attack by slash and run, they don’t “close” with their prey (the way a bull dog is famous for, never letting go) So once you did close with them, they’d be pretty uncomfortable, and mostly trying to get some distance, while of course trying to slash with their fangs as they did it.  If you were able to get their head unable to reach you well, then you could conceivably defeat a wolf with only a dagger… so long as you weren’t worried about getting hurt yourself. You’d have to be all in, totally invested in the fight, or else you’d pull back and it’d surely escape you.

*guest post by E. Kaiser Writes

 

EKaiserWritesAuthorPicE. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and… authoress!

 

Use the rafflecopter code below to win prizes such as a copy of Thaw: Winter’s Child.

Thaw++WCh+promo

A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way.
Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don’t know what to do with it.Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter’s Child introduces a new series: THAW.
Live on Amazon:
Or a copy of Thaw: Winter’s Queen.
Thaw++WQu+promo

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world… and it’s only when she takes the final step that she realizes the wall she’s built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever… unless she discovers how to destroy it.

The only one who can break a neurosis… is the one who has it.

Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter Queen continues a new series: THAW.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RWUVZQO/

Or a copy of Thaw: Prince of Demargen.
Thaw+PrD+promo

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

The only person who can help him… is the one he most deeply wronged.

Prince of Demargen is third in a new series: THAW.

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c7f78455/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”1c7f78455″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_xlxwih84″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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Book Launch Tour – Thaw – Ice Maidens in Real Life

Book Launch Tour – Thaw – Part One of Two

I am a huge fan of stories that retell classic fairy tales, especially when they incorporate elements that remain true to the source material while still being creatively original. E. Kaiser Writes has done this with her new series Thaw and today she is sharing a little more about the series and how ice maidens can exist in real life.

Thaw 3 BooksJan

Ice Maidens in Real Life

Okay! Yes! This is a subject that is very close to home for me, and one of the driving reasons why I couldn’t stop writing this new series even though I had lots of WIPs I was intending for work on. I’ve been really blown away with how much this has resonated with others, too, during this tour, and it’s the top asked question. I think that stories can be such powerful ways of identifying and addressing a truth that we have in our own lives, and they can really make a difference in how we’re able to handle problems in real life.
As I’ve said before, part of maturity of every kind is separating actions from feelings. Different personalities of course process life differently, but while some just keep reacting to everything they feel, others of us try to keep from reacting by quitting feeling.
I know this somewhat from personal experience, I was the kind of middle child that clammed up. The worse things got the further I retreated inside, telling myself that things couldn’t hurt me if I could just stop feeling them.
We show our greatest power when on a peak of emotion, and as kids that’s often when we behave the very worst. So not having the emotion seems like a good solution to some of us.
Which of course can only lead to problems.
Ilise is a special gift a la the Snow Maiden; when her barren parents build a baby out of snow, Thaw Ilise Head promo 2their many years of prayers are answered and they are given the child they have so long yearned for. But with her special origins comes the ability to freeze, (opposite the Snow Maiden tales, in which the poor child always melted away) Her parents have no idea how to deal with that; and soon all three of them are freaked out about her future and what her strange-ness could possibly end up in.  Thinking that she can use her strength to shut down her emotions, she goes about doing so; but emotions are not the problem. They are with us always.
Not being able to disconnect feeling from acting is the problem; and this is a lesson that Ilise takes a while to learn.
I wish someone would have told me about this as a child, it could have saved me a lot of anguish in my youth; where I struggled with black depression that I felt guilty for even feeling. For although we can choose to refuse joy, sorrow is not negotiable. It took me many years and some very highly educational books before I realized that we needed to always welcome joy in all its forms; for it was the raft to help us through the sad parts of life.
Becoming an “ice maiden”, a “cool cucumber”, or whatever other name there is for it, is an easy choice. It feels like you’re really getting somewhere… that you are truly protecting yourself from the sharp stings of everything around you. But it doesn’t. And it can lock you away in a place where you aren’t sure how to escape, and then all you have is the sorrowful parts of the world to keep you company… all of your days.
Those of us who have slipped down this path need to take heart, because we can reverse this process. We can “learn how to melt”… and for the most part, the damage we might have done in our pursuit of this goal is generally minor. Most of it is done to ourselves… and if we can stop gnawing on the past, assess the future realistically, but with hope, and then step out with determination, we can break the icy chains and open up to the happy side of life.
In some seasons there may not be much happiness around, but if we can just take each moment mindfully, there are little things in every path. We just have to be more open to noticing them and taking them into our hearts.
Gratitude is a huge part of this, as well; and there are a ton of “happiness experts” that extoll the virtues of simply being grateful. This is true, and can help a lot.
But most importantly we have to take that first step; quit keeping our hearts on ice, and quit “freezing” the people who are close to us, because it only makes ourselves chillier than before.

I feel like Disney has dominated the fairytale area with the message of “Do whatever you feel like”, but that is a detrimental message. Often we feel like doing very unkind things, if not sometimes downright bad. The Lord’s perspective isn’t “follow your heart”, it is “guard your heart”.
In the end we all feel bad impulses, but it is our actions that determine who we really are. By separating what we do from the way we feel at that moment, we can win out over our worser impulses, and become better, stronger people.

Characters all throughout this series find themselves in various fairytale situations, but instead of being hopeless, (which our girls in the first 2 Thaw books are unwisely tempted to do,) our characters learn that by sticking it out, and refusing to give up, triumph can be achieved. That good will win over evil every time. Even when it seems impossible.
Because, that’s what fairy-tales, (when properly told,) can do best!

The Thaw books are by no means allegorical or doctrinally-charged… but they are written from a deep perspective of hope in the Eternal, and so everything in them is laced with that; instead of the sometimes rather “dark art-y” view a lot of modern day fantasy has developed into.
In this way, I hope young and old alike can enjoy a fantasy world underpinned with wholesome morals, and maybe some of them can be encouraged to keep fighting the good fight within themselves as well.

*guest post by E. Kaiser Writes

 

EKaiserWritesAuthorPicE. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and… authoress!

 

Hit the rafflecopter link below to win prizes such as a copy of Thaw: Winter’s Child.

Thaw++WCh+promo

A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way.
Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don’t know what to do with it.Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter’s Child introduces a new series: THAW.
Live on Amazon:
Or a copy of Thaw: Winter’s Queen.
Thaw++WQu+promo

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world… and it’s only when she takes the final step that she realizes the wall she’s built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever… unless she discovers how to destroy it.

The only one who can break a neurosis… is the one who has it.

Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter Queen continues a new series: THAW.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RWUVZQO/

Or a copy of Thaw: Prince of Demargen.
Thaw+PrD+promo

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

The only person who can help him… is the one he most deeply wronged.

Prince of Demargen is third in a new series: THAW.

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c7f78455/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”1c7f78455″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_xlxwih84″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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Favorite Books and Authors in 2014

Well, it’s almost 2015. I’ve enjoyed discovering new books and new authors over the last year. And while not every book was published in 2014, I would like to share my top favorites in books and authors.

Favorite Books of 2014 (in no particular order)

The Secrets of Gwenla by Laurie Penner

Secrets of Gwenla cover

I LOVED this book. I was immersed in the characters and the story, which is an allegory but it definitely doesn’t suffer from heavy-handedness or preachiness, and I’m dying to find out what happens next in this series. You can read my original review here.

Duty: a novel of Rhynan by Rachel Rossano

Duty Cover

This is one of my favorite arranged marriage stories of all time. I love how it goes beyond “Will They or Won’t They?” This is a medieval-esque fantasy and it definitely has the feel of a clean medieval romance, which is also a favorite genre of mine. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series when it comes out. You can read my original review here.

The Ryn: Book One of the Eyes of E’veria by Serena Chase

The Ryn Cover

This is an excellent offering for the New Adult category. I loved the twist on the Grimm fairytale of Snow White and Rose Red and how familiar elements from that tale were woven into this original story. I’ve read and reviewed every book in the series so far but this first book is the one that completely won me over. I eagerly await the fourth book in the series due in 2015. You can read my original review here.

The Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

Wren (The Romany Epistles) by Rachel Rossano

Wren Cover

Another offering by Rachel Rossano and it is part of a nine-author series, which I did not realize when I first read it. However, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this one because it is a story that stands on its own. I love this story because it takes the idea of the female bounty hunter and prevents the clichés from taking over and the romance is very sweet. You can read my original review here.

Illuminated: Book One of The White Road Chronicles by Jackie Castle

Illuminated Cover

I truly enjoy this series, book two is even better than the first and I can’t wait to read the third book. This is an allegory that provides a nice visual of the Christian walk and the characters are relatable even the centaurs. Of course, bonus points for going beyond dragons to include centaurs and other fantasy creatures as well as making them three-dimensional. You can read my original review here.

The Land of Flames (The Karini and Lamek Chronicles Book 1) by Cynthia P. Willow

The Land of Flames Cover

This is a very sweet, funny, and family-friendly fairy tale. I loved the characters, especially Lamek who is adorably hilarious. I think this is one of those books that deserves to be placed next to The Chronicles of Narnia for young readers. You can read my original review here.

The Up-and-Comers of 2014

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

Resistance Cover

This is another good entry for the New Adult category. I enjoyed the heavy world-building and I see a lot of potential in Knight’s work. Definitely an author to watch, especially with Book Two coming out in 2015. Read my original review here.

Dragon’s Touch by A.R. Johnson

Dragon's Touch Cover

I was literally blown away when I learned that this author is just sixteen years old because the sheer potential and talent I saw in this book was amazing. I think this young author will go far as she continues with her writing career and I look forward to reading Johnson’s next offering. You can read my original review here.

Favorite Discovered Fantasy Authors and Bonus Favorite Non-Fantasy Author/Series for the Year

I read a number of new authors this year. In fact, most of them are also Indie, which I consider great news because that is where I am finding some of the best Christian Fantasy. Limiting myself to the top four favorite authors, whom I enjoy for a number of reasons, they are:

(In alphabetical order)

Jackie Castle

Serena Chase

Laurie Penner

and Rachel Rossano

I love these authors. They all have differences in styles but they share the excellent world-building that breathes life into each story and allowing their faith to show through the story without drifting into sermonizing.

As promised, my bonus favorite author and series. Obviously I don’t read just fantasy. I also enjoy reading other genres; however, I’m limiting myself to just one author and her series.

I love a good cozy mystery, especially ones where I don’t know for sure how it will all end. I definitely got that with Julianna Deering and her Drew Farthering Mystery series. This series appeals to me so much because there’s mystery, romance, humor, and Drew goes on a journey of faith and grows as a character in each book, which also happen to be set in 1930s England. I have read all three, love them all, and I am eagerly waiting for more from this author.

Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery)

Rules of Murder Cover

Death by the Book (A Drew Farthering Mystery)

Death by the Book Cover

Murder at the Mikado (A Drew Farthering Mystery)

Murder at the Mikado Cover

And those are my picks for favorite books and authors that I have read in 2014. I’m looking forward to discovering new favorites in 2015.

*Covers taken from each book’s amazon page. All rights to their proper owners.

Book Review Wednesday – The Land of Flames

The Land of Flames (The Karini and Lamek Chronicles Book 1) by Cynthia P. Willow

Amazon Book Description:

Enter a world of fairies, dragons, dwarves, and elves in The Land of Flames, a magical world where possibilities are endless and truth makes a difference.

Ocamar, the villainous dragon king, and his dragon clan, have overtaken The Land of Serenity and everyone in the land is in jeopardy. The only hope seems to be with Rumbleflin, the oldest and wisest of the elves, who plans to lead an army rebellion.

To add to the conflict, Ocamar and Rumbleflin have been harboring secrets from one another for years, and what happens when those secrets are revealed will have a major impact on everyone.

Can an army of fairy-tale creatures defeat a clan of dragons and restore their Land of Serenity?

I was a little surprised when I finally got to read this book, but it wasn’t an unpleasant one.

Plot – Grade A-

The plot was relatively straightforward and the unexpected twists were a bit easy to predict, at least for me. However, this did not detract from the simple enjoyment of the story. The characterizations of each character were well-done and helped breathe life into the plot. And while I could guess at some things, I must admit that the cliffhanger presented by the preview of Book Two DID catch me by surprise. While this is a trilogy, the plot can stand on its own and is a complete story in and of itself while leaving a few plot threads hanging loose to carry over to the next book.

Content – Grade A

This book is meant to be family-friendly and it lives up to that label with the absence of language and sensuality. There is some violence but it is bloodless and while there are deaths, some of which are revenge-motivated, these take place off-screen and, in two cases, are related by another character. Definitely G-rated.

There is some romance, mainly rising from Lamek and his amusingly charming infatuation with Karini. It’s amusing and sweet and I rather hope that Lamek gets the girl in the end.

Now this is a fairytale complete with witches and wizards. It’s written so there IS magic and there are brooms, wands, and spells used by the witches and wizards. For myself, none of it is written in a way that causes me to hesitate. The source of their magic is not discussed even it is required for the magic-users to have a wand in order to work their spells. Spiritually, the book is a bit on the lighter end of the spectrum, I think the most straightforward acknowledgement  was a character uttering a “Thank God!”

Technical – Grade A-

This book has a rather simplistic tone to it, which suits the feel of a children’s fairytale, and half of the time it meant that I was reminded of the classic The Chronicles of Narnia. While the age range on the book’s amazon page is 6-18, the narrative’s style is definitely aimed more at the younger readers. The book is superbly edited and I didn’t see any obvious errors or typos. My only quibble, which is an extremely minor one, is that ‘beautiful’ felt a bit overused.

Final Grade – A- or 4.7 Stars

Overall, this book was a pleasant read. It didn’t quite attain the same feel of The Chronicles of Narnia, which I personally love, but it was a near miss. I would recommend this book for families looking for a family-friendly fairytale to add to their reading list. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

The Land of Flames is available through Kindle, paperback, and Audible.

Next  – Taerith by Rachel Starr Thompson