|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on September 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
Back Cover Copy:
The Vengeful Goddess
Demands Her Tithe
When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.
Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.
Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?
I had the fun of designing this cover—finding reference photos, inventing the composition, applying the text, etc.—but the actual artistic work was done by talented cover artist Phatpuppy (www.phatpuppyart.com), whose work I have admired for many years. It was such a thrill for me to contact and commission this artist to create a look for Goddess Tithe that is reminiscent of the original novels but has a style and drama all its own.
The boy on the front was quite a find. I hunted high and low for an image of a boy the right age, the right look, with the right expression on his face. Phatpuppy and I worked with a different model through most of the cover development stage. But then I happened upon this image, and both she and I were delighted with his blend of youth, stubbornness, and strength of character! It wasn’t difficult to switch the original boy for this young man. He simply is Munny, and this cover is a perfect window into the world of my story.
You can’t see it here, but the wrap-around back cover for the print copy contains some of the prettiest work . . . including quite a scary sea monster! Possibly my favorite detail is the inclusion of the ghostly white flowers framing the outer edge. These are an important symbol in the story itself, and when Phatpuppy sent me the first mock-up cover with these included, I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement!
Intro to Illustration:
There are eight full-page illustrations in Goddess Tithe featuring various characters and events from the story. This is the first one in the book. I decided to share it with all of you since it depicts my young hero, Munny the cabin boy, under the watchful eye of his mentor, the old sailor Tu Pich. Munny is on his first voyage, and he is determined to learn all there is to know about a life at sea as quickly as possible. Thus we see him utterly intent upon the knot he is learning to tie. Tu Pich is old enough to know that no sailor will ever learn all there is to know about the sea. Thus he looks on, grave, caring, and perhaps a little sad. He might be looking upon his own younger self of many years ago, fumbling through the hundreds of difficult knots his fingers must learn to tie with unconscious ease.
I enjoyed creating all the illustrations for Goddess Tithe, but this one was my favorite. I love the contrasts of light and dark, the contrasts of young and old . . . youthful intensity versus the perspective of age.
Excerpt from the Story:
Here is an excerpt from the middle of the story. In this scene, Munny has been ordered to Captain Sunan’s cabin to clear away his breakfast . . . an unexpected task, for a lowly cabin boy would not ordinarily dare enter his captain’s private quarters! Munny hopes to slip in and out quietly without attracting the captain’s notice. But his hopes are dashed when Sunan addresses him, asking how their strange, foreign stowaway is faring:
“And what do you make of him yourself?”
Munny dared glance his captain’s way and was relieved when his eyes met only a stern and rigid back. “I’m not sure, Captain,” he said. “I think he’s afraid. But not of . . .”
“Not of the goddess?” the Captain finished for him. And with these words he turned upon Munny, his eyes so full of secrets it was nearly overwhelming. Munny froze, his fingers just touching but not daring to take up a small teapot of fragile work.
The Captain looked at him, studying his small frame up and down. “No,” he said, “I believe you are right. Leonard the Clown does not fear Risafeth. I believe he is unaware of his near peril at her will, suffering as he does under a peril nearer still.”
Munny made neither answer nor any move.
“We will bring him safely to Lunthea Maly, won’t we, Munny?” the Captain said. But he did not speak as though he expected an answer, so again Munny offered none. “We will bring him safely to Lunthea Maly and there let him choose his own dark future.”
“I hope—” Munny began.
But he was interrupted by a sudden commotion on deck. First a rising murmur of voices, then many shouts, inarticulate in cacophony. But a pounding at the cabin door accompanied Sur Agung’s voice bellowing, “Captain, you’d best come see this!”
The Captain’s eyes widened a moment and still did not break gaze with Munny’s. “We’ll keep him safe,” he repeated. Then he turned and was gone, leaving the door open.
Munny put down the pot he held and scurried after. The deck was alive with hands, even those who were off watch, crawling up from the hatches and crowding the rails on the port side. They parted way for the Captain to pass through, but when Munny tried to follow, they closed in again, blocking him as solidly as a brick wall.
“Look! Look!” Munny heard voices crying.
“It’s a sign!”
“She’s warning us!”
“It’s a sign, I tell you!”
Fearing he knew not what, Munny ran for the center mast and climbed partway up, using the handholds and footholds with unconscious confidence. Soon he was high enough to see over the heads of the gathered crew, out into the blue waters of the ocean. And he saw them.
They were water birds. Big white albatrosses, smaller seagulls, heavy cormorants, even deep-throated pelicans and sleek, black-faced terns. These and many more, hundreds of them, none of which should be seen this far out to sea.
They were all dead. Floating in a great mass.
Munny clung to the mast, pressing his cheek against its wood. The shouts of the frightened sailors below faded away, drowned out by the desolation of that sight. Death, reeking death, a sad flotilla upon the waves.
“I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Munny looked down to where Leonard clung to the mast just beneath him, staring wide-eyed out at the waves. “How could this have happened? Were they sick? Caught in a sudden gale? Are they tangled in fishing nets?”
There was no fear in his voice. Not like in the voices of the sailors. He did not understand. He did not realize. It wasn’t his fault, Munny told himself.
But it was.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.
I am offering two proof copies of Goddess Tithe as prizes! U.S. and Canada only, please.
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on September 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
By Krista McGee
Thalli is an anomaly. She thinks. She questions. And she feels!
In a world where emotion has been eliminated Thalli is a threat not only to herself but to Pod C. Emotions destroyed the world but for the few that managed to survive below the surface. Pod C is the third generation to be created and emotion was to have been stripped from their genetic make-up, but something is wrong with Thalli - she feels.
With minutes left before her life is ended Thalli must decide whose truth she is going to believe. Is the truth that she has been taught her whole life true? Or should she believe John, a man from before when times were primitive, a man who believes in The Designer a being who is not human? Even more intriguing John speaks of emotions and feelings as if they were a blessing and not a horrible disease. And what about Berk her childhood friend that has tried to protect her and save her life?
But The Ten are determined to save the world that they have created and if Thalli's death will help them accomplish that goal so be it!
Anomaly is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy from Thomas Nelson, who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you like books that hook you with the climax at the beginning of the book you will LOVE Anomaly, just don't let The Ten know or this may be the last book you ever read!
Though of a different genre than her previous works, Krista still hits the mark with an entertaining and enjoyable reading experience. She creates characters that one truly cares about and doesn't mind spend time getting to know them. Though the target audience is Young Adult I would say that adults and some older J Fiction readers will find much to capture their attention as well.
Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.
Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again.
Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.
The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk—a scientist being groomed by The Ten—convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance.
As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer—someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along.
Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out.
Interview with Krista McGee
1) What inspired you to write Anomaly?
I have always loved dystopian stories, from books like 1984, Brave New World and The Giver to movies like Gattica and Matrix. But I always wished a dystopian story would be told from a Christian worldview. When my publisher asked if I'd be willing to tackle just that, I jumped at the chance!
2) How was writing Anomaly different than First Date, Starring Me, and Right Where I Belong? And do you have a preference in the these two genre?
Writing Anomaly was different in so many ways. In my first books, the world in which my characters lived was real, and the time period was now. In Anomaly, the world is fictional and it is set in the future. Also, in my first books, the plots were taken from biblical stories. In Anomaly, the plot was all mine. So there was much more creative freedom in Anomaly, but it was more difficult to write. I love both genres, though. I don't think I could pick a favorite.
3) What 3 adjectives would you use to describe Anomaly?
Unflinching, Unpredictable, and Underground
4) If you had to pick one character that you most closely related to in Anomaly, who would it be and why this character?
I am probably most like Thalli - as a teen, especially, I felt different from everyone around me. I also love music, and God has used music to draw me closer to him. And I can sometimes be a little too curious and overly emotional :).
5) You open Anomaly with the line "Fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds. That's how long I have to live." This opening just pulled me right into the story and I have to admit kept me up until, because I wanted to know what happened. Did this opening come to you early in the process of writing this book, or did it come later?
That line was actually there from the beginning. When I sat down to write the proposal for this novel, it was there. I knew readers would need to be pulled in immediately - especially since the setting and characters are so different from setting and characters in contemporary novels. What better way to grab the reader than by giving them a countdown to death?
6) Will this be a multi-book series or will there just be two?
This is a trilogy - the second book, Luminary, will release in January and the third, Revolutionary, is out next July.
7) Which of your characters(any book) would you most like to spend the afternoon with? Why this character?
Great question! I'd probably go back to Right Where I Belong and hang out with Brian. He was my favorite character to write, partly because he is a projection of what I think my son, Thomas (age 10), will be like when he is 18. I'd enjoy listening to his antics and hearing his stories.
When Krista McGee isn’t living in fictional worlds of her own creation, she lives in Tampa and spends her days as a wife, mom, teacher, and coffee snob. She is also the author of “Anomaly,” “First Date,” “Starring Me,” and “Right Where I Belong.” Learn more about Krista at www.KristaMcGeebooks.com or connect on Facebook.
Anomaly is available from Amazon
Be sure to check-out all the Team Novel Teen tour stops:
Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Anomaly by Krista McGee by clicking on the links above.
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on September 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Join P.J. Jenkins, author of the parenting/bullying book, Runabouts, as she tours the blogosphere September 9 - September 20 on her first Book Blast with Pump Up Your Book! P.J. will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC/Paypal Cash to one lucky winner! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form on the participating blogs below and good luck! If you would like to host P.J., please email Tracee at tgleichner (at) gmail.com.
Runabouts is a story about friends having fun together, as well as dealing with unpleasant situations. Sunny is a very good friend and tries to make sure that his friends are not taken advantage of by bullies. He also shows us how we can make choices for our own behavior even if others don't want to change their behavior. Sunny could leave Sharky stuck in the mud or he could choose to help him. What would you do? Enjoy the fun of zooming through the water and feeling the water spray over your face. I hope it will make you anxious to enjoy the water and warm weather just like Sunny.
Purchase your copy:
ABOUT P.J. JENKINS
I’m married and have two daughters, and seven and a half grandchildren. We enjoy spending time with our grandchildren and love to take them for rides on our boat. We are lucky to live in Michigan where lakes are plentiful as well as beautiful. I taught elementary school for over 35 years. Reading books is such a joy for children. Life often brings problems dealing with different kinds of people, and children need to now that they choose how they want to behave regardless of what others do. I hope they can see other options as well as enjoy a fun story.
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ENTER TO WIN!
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|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on September 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
The Sword Study is a unique way to involve all ages in the family in the study of the Bible. The series that I was sent to review focused on II Timothy. This is a 10 week study (FYI many of the activities in the Level 5 Leader's guide include activities that lend themselves to a summer type setting. But these are merely suggestions and not you have to-do this. Some of activities are also not something to do last minute so the parent/leader might want to go through the guide ahead of time to be sure that whatever activity they decide to go with they can have the materials on hand, such as suggested DVD's, games, books, etc.)
Level 1 is a one page activity per day while the other levels 2-5 are several pages that involve reading II Timothy in depth the first week. Successive weeks focus on the individual chapters and verses and supporting Biblical references.
By the time the ten weeks have passed one will have an in depth understanding of II Timothy, Paul and the world at that time. Between each week the reader is introduced to various persons who have upheld the Christian faith through their lives including Amy Carmichael, Eric Liddell, William Tyndale, and others. There crossword puzzles, word searches, times lines and more to help get those in Levels 2-5 more involved. Readers are also introduced to the advantages of using a concordance and Greek Lexicon when studying the Bible. All in all it is a good study guide for a family setting. I can also see that this would be an excellent study for a church or homeschool group as well.
I was provided a copy of this study series by Glass Road Media and Management in exchange for my honest review of these materials.
If you have tried to study the Bible together as a family, you are painfully aware that it has been impossible to find a study that suits every age level in your family...until now. The Sword Study series from the Shelby Kennedy Foundation is now available to help you and your family become students of the Word together. The Sword Study series includes materials for everyone from ages 4 to 104.
About the Study:
Organized into different levels according to age, each study provides in-depth material from the same book of the Bible. Each study book is synchronized to cover the same truths at the same time but with graphics and learning tools appropriate for the age group.
Level 1, for ages 4-7, is an activity book with coloring, drawing, matching and other fun learning tools.
Level 2, for ages 7-10, contains light reading, fill-in-the-blank, and application sections.
Level 3, for ages 11-14, involves more investigation and questions for the student to answer.
Level 4, for teens and adults, steps up the reading and the depth of study including the definition of several Greek or Hebrew terms.
Level 5, is for the parent or study leader with guidance and background to lead a group of all ages includes a copy of Level 4.
The Sword Study series, originally created for competitors in The Shelby Kennedy Foundation's National Bible Bee, is now available to everyone for the first time. Families no longer have to compete in the Bible Bee to establish family discipleship in the home with this one-of-a-kind study. The Sword Study available for this tour is II Timothy. I John is also available to the public and I Peter is scheduled for release in the fall of 2013. A new study is scheduled to be released each year. For more information visit www.swordstudy.org.
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on August 30, 2013 at 1:35 AM||comments (3)|
Daughter of Light
Daughter of Light opens with a woman running for her life. A woman, named Mercia, who is trying to save the life of her daughter by getting to the White City. But her time has run out...
Approximately 20 years have passed since Mercia's attempt to reach the White City when we are introduced to Rowen Mar, Captain Lore, Caleb Tala, and Nierne - four very different people from the various corners of this world. Rowen has just lost her father to war. Captain Lore is Captain of the Guard for Lord Gaynor Celestis, High Lord of the White City. Caleb Tala is an assassin for his cousin Lord Corin. Nierne, a scribe at the Monastery of Thyria, was rescued by Father Roth when she as a child.
When a mark appears on Rowen's hand she is accused of being a witch and exiled upon pain of death should she ever return to Cinad. When she is offered a position as varor Rowen is provided a means to escape the village that has just thrown her out. But to become varor for Lady Astra will require training - physical training. Can Rowen keep her mark and her frightening power a secret?
Captain Lore, tasked with overseeing Rowen's training, is puzzled by Rowen's demeanor. He senses that something in her past has hurt her though he doesn't know what.
Meanwhile in Thyria something evil is moving in, an evil that most had forgotten had ever walked the land. An evil known as the Shadonae who bring with them the Mordra. Only by calling upon the Word does Nierne survive the utter destruction of city. With the only possible hope for stopping this ancient evil lying in the White City, Father Rath and Nierne are tasked with the mission. But they are being hunted by the very beings they are hoping to stop. Do any Eldaran yet live or has Nierne taken on a hopeless quest?
As the Temanins take their war to the very walls of the White City, Caleb is determined to destroy, in one night, the power of both the White City and that of Avonia. Caleb's attack forces Rowen to use the powers that she has been hiding. Will the White City now, out of fear, turn on the one person that could save it from the danger it will soon face?
To be perfectly blunt there is no way to review this book to do it justice to it without giving too much away. I just finished up the CSFF blog tour for Patrick Carr's A Cast of Stones and The Hero's Lot and other tour participants were commenting on how little Christian Speculative Fiction is written for adults, well here you go!
This book has all the elements you could want. A misunderstood outcast. A heroic figure who calls upon God. Danger. An impossible mission (several in fact). A closely guarded secret. A hero is disguise. A chance at redemption. A world in the balance. And a touch of romance. Something for almost everyone.
The characters are an intriguing and compelling group. Some you develop a fondness for, others you would run the other way if you saw them coming. Daughter of Light drew me in and held my attention to the very end. Looking forward to reading book 2 Son of Truth sometime in the near future.
I was provided a digital copy of this book for the purpose of honestly reviewing it for this blog tour.
Be sure to check-out all the TNT tour stops:
What if with one touch you could see inside the soul?
Rowen Mar finds a strange mark on her hand, and she is banished from her village as a witch. She covers the mark with a leather glove and seeks sanctuary in the White City. She lives in fear that if she touches another person, the power inside her will trigger again, a terrifying power that allows her to see the darkness inside the human heart . . . But the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand.
About the author: Morgan L. Busse writes speculative fiction for the adult market. She is the author of Daughter of Light and Son of Truth, the first two books in a series from Marcher Lord Press. Morgan lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. You can find out more about Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com.
Her Facebook Page
Enter to win an eBook of Daughter of Light runs August 30 - September 6, 2013
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on August 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Join Emma Right, author of the young adult fantasy novel, Keeper of Reign, as she tours the blogosphere August 11 - August 30, 2013 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn't get himself killed first.
Add to Goodreads:
ABOUT EMMA RIGHT
Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children. Visit Emma Right at her home site and blog for tips and ideas about books, homeschooling, bible devotions, and author helps of various sorts: www.emmaright.com and follow her on facebook emma.right.author or her fanpage on facebook.com/keeperofreign
Keeper of Reign Book Publicity Tour Schedule
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on August 2, 2013 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
Finding the Good in Grief
By John F. Baggett
Rediscovering joy after a life-changing loss...
Why did this happen to me? Have you ever experienced a loss so great that you thought you'd never recover from it? And have you asked why me?
In this book John Baggett attempts to help you deal with and overcome your grief and to find the good in it. Loss is a normal part of life and thinking that we are exempt because we are good people or because we have a relationship with God is unrealistic.
How we deal with our loss is what is important. Do we allow grief to control our life or do we use it to grow? Grief is a journey and John looks at it in the context of faith and the spiritual struggles we now face.
There are 11 chapters that each have a personal story dealing with various stages/reactions of and to grief. At the end of each there are questions to help you the reader to work through your grief. John also shares his personal experience with grief so you know he isn't just giving you textbook answers to what you are going through. He himself dealt with the these feelings of loss, he knows pain and grief.
What I liked best in The Good in Grief is what one man related in his story of loss, that in the midst of pain and loss he and his wife made a point of finding their happy moment each day. If we can find something that brings us happiness each day we can get through our grief and find healing.
Grief is our time of change, it cocoons us so that we can come through it renewed and strengthened if we will allow God to help us and accept the support others offer us.
Keep a copy of this book on hand to share with anyone you know who has experienced a loss. This would also be an excellent addition to your church library so that you can reach out to those who are grieving.
I was provided a copy of this book by Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on July 15, 2013 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Welcome to the Dragonwitch Blog Tour!
Due to all I have to offer you I've broken my Tour offering into two posts. You are on the Sneak Peek / Giveaway post.
There are two(2) giveaways: the first is for one copy of Dragonwitch and the second is for the entire blog tour and is for a copy of the entire 5 book Tales of Goldstone Wood (Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch)!
You know you want to get a glimpse of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's latest Goldstone Wood foray and thanks to her generosity you can take a sneak peek today!
Are you ready?
Here it is a Sneak Peek from:
By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
The cat padded confidently, tail high and ears perked, down a certain path in the Wood Between, which grew in the strange, predominantly timeless stretch of existence separating the Far World from the Near. It wasn’t really a Wood, or not entirely a Wood. Indeed, the more the cat trod the various highways and byways beneath the trees’ long shadows, the more he suspected the Wood was itself a living consciousness, possibly many living consciousnesses all bundled into one. Some of those consciousnesses were pleasant enough sorts. More were cheeky devils, and the rest downright wicked.
The Wood would twist a person up and turn him round and flip him inside out if given half a chance. This the cat knew for certain.
But as long as one walked a path—a known, safe path belonging to a known, safe master—there was little the Wood could do to interfere.
So the cat remained firmly upon his particular path, scarcely looking to the right or the left. The Wood was always shifting around him in any case, and he did not expect to see familiar landmarks, or at least not in familiar places. That boulder shaped like a rabbit’s head, for instance, had been a good mile or two back up the way when he’d been here last. And that tree which last time had been split right down the middle as though by a bolt of lightning was mostly mended now, the trunk knitting itself back together with threads of green ivy and pins of stout branches.
No, landmarks were of little use to the cat. He was interested only in the gates.
He approached one of these now. To any mortal eye, it would look like nothing more than a thick cluster of bamboo standing incongruously in the middle of a fir grove. The firs were newcomers; the bamboo, however, remained ever in place.
The cat sniffed at it, his pink nose twitching delicately. Then he put out a paw and touched one of the slender green stalks. It swayed under that slight pressure but sprang firmly back into place when the cat removed his paw.
“Good,” said the cat. “Still locked.”
Just as he’d expected it to be.
He continued on his way.
There were several hundred such gates to be checked on this patrol through the Wood Between; soft places, so to speak, in the fabric of reality. Places where those of the Far World could all too easily slip into the Near, wreaking havoc on delightful mortal disbelief in Faerie tales and magic. Thus they must be locked. And those locks must be carefully guarded. So the cat patrolled this stretch of the Wood, following the path of his liege lord and checking all the gates.
Sometimes it still surprised him.
For one thing, he’d never much cared for mortals and their problems. Immortal himself, he had spent countless ages of cheerful existence never once considering those who lived beyond the Between in the time-bound realm.
And yet here he was. A knight. A defender of the weak, as it were. A minister of truth, advocate of justice, and who knew what other nonsense no self-respecting cat ever wanted to be!
The cat shook his whiskers as he continued his trek. The path opened up before him with each step, and the trees and ferns and underbrush drew back to make way. He tested another gate and another after that. All locked. All safe.
The fact was, he admitted to himself, he could no longer claim to be entirely indifferent to mortals.
“Dragons blast it,” he muttered. “I warned you, didn’t I, Eanrin? Get involved, and you’ll find yourself caring. Then there’s no end to the mischief!” He flattened his ears at this thought. He could blame no one but himself for his present circumstances, however. He had chosen this lot. Or he thought he had. Often he felt a little unclear on that score.
Often he felt that knighthood had been chosen for him against all his best efforts.
A certain smell tugged at the cat’s nose. Or rather, not a smell, but an unknown sensation whispering to an unknown sense, earnest and quiet and dangerous.
At first the cat ignored it. But within a few more paces, it had strengthened until his nose twitched and his tail flicked and his whole cattish being could no longer deny what he was sensing. He could only hope he was mistaken.
“But when has that ever happened?” he asked himself, with typical feline shortness of memory.
He turned and, stepping carefully, pursued a small path opening itself to him off his regular track. Very soon he found what he’d expected.
“Light of Lumé,” he growled then sighed heavily. “Not another one.”
Before him lay a circle of white stones shining out brightly against a bed of dark moss. Even a mortal might have recognized it for a Faerie Circle.
The cat recognized a new gate beginning to open.
From this position, he could not tell exactly where it opened to. It could be anywhere in the Near World. It wasn’t completely formed yet, he knew that much for certain. And, if precautions were taken, it might never fully form.
One way or another, it would have to be added to his regular patrol. An unguarded gate was a dangerous gate.
“Where do you lead, I wonder?” the cat mused, sniffing each of the circling stones in turn. Then he hissed and drew back sharply, his nose filled with the aroma of caorann berries. They littered the ground around the Faerie circle, dozens of them, squashed and stamped flat among the stones so that the moss was stained with their juices. No caorann trees grew in this vicinity that the cat could recall. Which meant someone had carried the berries here purposefully.
Caorann trees were known for one specific quality: their ability to unravel enchantments.
The perfume of the berries was very light, but once it entered the nostrils, it didn’t easily let go. The cat sat for a while grooming his face as though he could somehow push the smell out of his nose with one white paw. As he groomed, he thought.
Someone had been working enchantments here. Someone whose smell was now hidden by the caorann, all traces of enchantment dispersed. Everyone knew that knights of Farthestshore patrolled this particular stretch of the Wood, and someone wanted to disguise nefarious doings.
The cat finished grooming and sat quite still, his paws placed delicately before him, his plume of a tail sweeping gently back and forth and collecting squashed berry hulls. His eyes were mostly closed so that one might assume he dozed, but the thin membrane of his third eyelid remained open as he studied the setting from behind long, cattish lashes.
He came to a sudden decision and stood. Trotting back to his regular path, he hurried on to the closest gate. This appeared to mortal eyes like a pair of young trees with unusually large and twisted roots twining together in vegetable affection.
With a slight shiver of his whiskers, the cat stepped between these two trees and into another world.
Aren't you just tantalized by this little glimpse into Dragonwitch?
And it only gets better!
To read my review of Dragonwitch and my interview with Anne Elisabeth Stengl click here.
Now that you have been tantalized you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Dragonwitch. Open to US residents only due to the cost of shipping. Enter daily July 15 - July 22 to gain more entries!
Be sure to visit ALL the tour stops:
July 14 - Day 1
July 15 - Day 2
July 16 - Day 3
Blog Tour Finale and Prize Awarded back at the Tales of Goldstone Wood!
Be sure to enter the 5 book Giveaway hosted by author Anne Elisabeth Stengl across the tour:
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on July 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Welcome to the Dragonwitch Blog Tour!
Due to all I have to offer you I've broken my Tour offering into two posts. You are on the Review ~ Interview / Giveaway post. There are two(2) giveaways: the first is for one copy of Dragonwitch and the second is for the entire blog tour and is for a copy of the entire 5 book Tales of Goldstone Wood (Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch)!
Tales of Goldstone Wood #5
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Dragonwitch is yet another enchanting excursion into Goldstone Wood. The opening starts with the Legend of the Brothers Ashiun
which gave me the same thrill of beauty that I felt when I read The Silmarillion by Tolkien. There is an awe that this opening legend imparts that is hard to describe with words and its touches the very heart of one's soul!
Dragonwitch is two stories in one. The first story is of the Brothers Ashuin - Etanun and Akilun and the Flame at Night. The second story belongs to Alastair, Leta, the Chronicler, and Mouse. But these two stories are essential to each other because without one you won't fully grasp the other.
Alastair of Geheris is destined to become king of the North Country and the Lady Leta is to become his wife. But Alastair is haunted and hunted in his sleep by the face of a child. What can the meaning of his recurring dream mean? While Alastair struggles through his unwanted lessons under his uncle's Chronicler, Leta secretly seeks out the knowledge that Alastair disdains. The lessons the two pursue are steeped in the legends and nursery tales surrounding the House of Light and the Brothers Ashiun. If there any truth to the prophecy regarding the rising of a heir who will claim the long lost sword of Etanun?
When Eanrin comes upon evidence that someone or something is attempting to force open a new death-house gate he becomes alarmed and warns Imraldera to keep an extra watch over the gate while he is away. But when the Murderer comes upon Imraldera in Eanrin's absence the gate is allowed to open and goblins pour into Geheris.
The goblins search and dismantle the castle in search of a prize for their Queen Vartera. The king-to-be is the key to goblins quest. But the King-to-be is who Eanrin needs to save Imraldera. But how can the future king of the North Country be in two different places at once. Torn between duty, desire, fear, and feelings he can't explain the heir of Geheris and Etanun is about to embark on a life altering journey that could cost him his very life.
Dragonwitch is a story of disappointment, sacrifice, betrayal, love lost and love found. It is a story of new beginnings and lost dreams. There are lessons for both the characters and the reader. When we rely upon our senses we are restrained in how we view the world around because we see through preconceived perceptions. We judge others on appearance, but the true measure of a person is who they are in their spirit.
Dragonwitch won't disappoint and you'll want to revisit it again (as is the case with all the Tales of Goldstone Wood books) while you await Shadow Hand.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University.
Interview with Anne Elisabeth Stengl
1) When there is mention of the Song of the Spheres do you have a song that comes to mind? If so is it something grand or is soft and simple?
In my head, the Song of the Spheres is actually many songs, depending on who is hearing it. So sometimes it might be grand, sometimes soft.
The Song of the Spheres is an important theme in Dragonwitch, especially right at the final climactic scene. A few days before writing that scene, while mulling over how I would handle it, a song came on the radio that moved me to tears, it was so perfect, I thought: Gustav Holst’s Jupiter Theme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqfTt3KN7vc)
My husband thinks of a different song, however. He says the perfect song would be a theme from the TV show Doctor Who: “The Ood Song of Freedom.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKa_oZ5NBiM) It’s a pretty neat option too! I think it’s safe to say it’s open to interpretation, though.
2) Etanun and Akilun: What was your inspiration for these two brothers?
Wow, you know, it’s been so long since I started writing about them, I don’t even remember what the original inspiration was! I was sixteen, maybe seventeen when they first began featuring in the short stories I was writing about Goldstone Wood then. I remember specifically one epic story in which they traveled into the Netherworld to face a wicked red dragon who was poisoning the river flowing beneath the Mortal World. While that story has not yet made it into the series as it stands now, it was, I believe, the first story I wrote about the two brothers, and it even inspired a large illustration . . . which, while a little amateur, proved enough to get me an art scholarship to the college of my choice!
So, I suppose I owe Etanun and Akilun a bit of a debt. LOL.
3) Death-in-Life is an ominous name, yet seems appropriate for this character. Why this character?
This character is the counterpoint to his sister, Life-in-Death. Life-in-Death was directly inspired from a character in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” In the poem, the titular ancient mariner spies the phantom Life-in-Death gambling with Death for the lives of the crew . . . and it is she who wins the mariner himself.
I was so inspired and chilled by that scene, that I began developing my own riff on that character. And her brother became Death-in-Life, the Dragon—both her opposite and her completion. The Dragon has gone on to take a more prominent role in recent stories, but his sister will return in all her dreadful glory soon enough.
4) Alistair and Leta seem so different from one another. Where Alistair scorns his lessons, Leta seeks lessons. Why do you think some seek out knowledge while others do everything to avoid it?
I think Alistair is more afraid of being made to feel stupid than Leta is. Both of them started learning when older, which is much, much more difficult than growing up learning it. But Alistair sees reading and studying as a binding that keeps him from real life . . . Leta, by contrast, sees reading as her escape into a life far bigger than anything she has ever before known.
Personally, I don’t judge or blame Alistair for his attitude. It is difficult enough to learn a new skill without enduring cynical remarks from a short-tempered teacher such as the Chronicler! And he didn’t need reading to make his life broader and more complete. Leta needed it. Desperately, desperately needed it.
(And, seriously, the Chronicler is nowhere near so short-tempered with her!)
5) The old scrubber seems to have an inkling of what Alistair is experiencing in his dreams? Why is this?
Well, the Scrubber knows a lot more about the workings of the worlds than anyone else in Gaheris Castle. And he has, I do not doubt, traveled himself into the Realm of Dreams, beyond the borders of the Wood Between. So he would have little to no trouble discerning what was going on inside Alistair’s head. Plus, it is implied that he is gifted with foresight and prophecy. He might even know directly what is coming for Alistair.
6) Where did you discover the Chronicler? He seems to have a wisdom that Leta needs, especially when he tells her that she shouldn't listen to the lies that say the inner shape of the spirit is determined by the body's outer shape.
The Chronicler is another character, like Akilun and Etanun, whom I have toyed around with in short-story form for years . . . but he didn’t become the character he is now until late into the process of drafting Dragonwitch! I tried multiple variations on the theme, usually calling him by his true name. But when I started calling him simply “The Chronicler,” I learned a truth about him. He defines himself by his role. He sees his worth as existing only in his abilities, and so he doesn’t even bother with a name. He rejects himself as much as anyone else does. That was when he began to take on life as a real character!
I think this is why the Chronicler has such insight into Leta. He knows that he has defined himself by what others see, that he has allowed himself to be shaped and molded according to other people’s expectations. And he hates this about himself. But it is much easier to see your own faults in another person. So while he has so much wisdom and insight into Leta’s own character, he also needs her to point out the same in him.
Ultimately, he is not the stronger of the two. They are equally bound and equally in need of liberation.
7) In a conversation between Leta and the Chronicler we are told in summary "Belief cannot change the truth." Why do you feel so many of your characters (and people for that matter) feel that what they believe is the truth even if it is obvious that the truth they cling to isn't truth?
People don’t like to be challenged in their worldview, in the comfortable little fortresses of belief in which they have shielded themselves. And I include myself in that statement! It is terrifying to have one’s beliefs challenged, to have to begin considering the possibility of other truths. In Dragonwitch, we see this reflected in a number of different characters as they are challenged in their faith, in their beliefs, in their understanding of truth. And yet the truth itself never does change. It forms the foundations beneath their feet, whether or not they can see it.
In the Tales of Goldstone Wood do you have a favourite book and a favourite cover? If so what are they and why?
My favourite book is always the one I just finished writing. So that means Shadow Hand is my favourite just now, though I’m sure it will be supplanted by Book 7 in just another few months.
My favourite cover . . . hmmm, that’s a little harder. I love most of them for different reasons. I love how both Heartless and Veiled Rose so perfectly fit their stories. I love the beauty of Starflower, which makes my very girly side go, “SQUEAL!” In a good way, mind you. I love the menace of Dragonwitch, which appeals to a different range of readers, particularly the male audience.
But I have to say, I think the new cover, Shadow Hand’s cover, might be my favourite. It’s so beautiful and there are many little details from the story represented. It’s just fabulous and fairy tale and wonderful! I have been blessed by the talented art team at Bethany House, who never fail to surprise and impress me.
Check-out the Sneak Peek/Excerpt of Dragonwitch along with a chance to win a copy of Dragonwitch here.
Now that you have been tantalized you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Dragonwitch. Open to US residents only due to the cost of shipping. Enter daily July 15 - July 22 to gain more entries!
Be sure to visit ALL the tour stops:
14 - Day 1
15 - Day 2
16 - Day 3
Tour Finale and Prize Awarded back at the Tales
Be sure to enter the Giveaway hosted by author Anne Elisabeth Stengl across the tour:
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on June 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales
By Randy Singer
A decision made 15 years ago is now bearing fruit...
When a politically expedient decision cost a young woman her life but saved face for both the CIA and the United States a series of events is set into motion as someone vows to make those responsible for this decision pay for it.
Landon Reed made some poor choices when he was in college, choices that earned him time in prison. But this time changed his life and the Bible study that Mason James lead brought him to Christ and a desire to become a lawyer.
But the point shaving scandal that Landon involved himself in has tainted him in the eyes of all the law firms that could hire him until Harry McNaughten gives him a chance to prove himself at McNaughtn and Clay. But what seemed like an unbelievable chance soon becomes a nightmare as the firms lawyers start being killed in what seem, at first, to random coincidence.
While Landon tries to launch his career, his wife Kerri is given the opportunity of a lifetime. She is given access to a private security firm that works unofficially for the U.S. government. Could this be the break into the big news broadcast network market that she has dreamed about? As Kerri and Landon struggle to define their roles and their marriage someone is about to put a stumbling block in their path.
As these seemingly random events start to converge, is there something that ties into the case that Landon is defending. Something that Harry discovered before his murder? And if there is a commonality can Landon discover what it is before his life is cut short too?
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales is another page turning legal suspense from Randy Singer. There are twists and turns that will keep you guessing and wondering who did it until the very end. With character who are deeply flawed and with secrets to hide you will be able to connect with these very true-to-life individuals and perhaps even see yourself in a small part of them as well.
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales will make you take a long hard look at your own life and wonder if you have misplaced the priorities of your own life. This a whodunit with meat to it!
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for honest review.
Want get glimpse at the book? Check out the Chapter One excerpt.
Author Q and A:
1. What was your inspiration for this book, Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales?
Two things worked together to inspire this book. First, the scandals that rocked college football in the last few years. Have you ever noticed that when a player gets in trouble and is kicked off a team or sent to prison, we never hear from him again? What happens to him? Are there some inspirational stories of redemption out there? Do these young men ever discover a meaningful life beyond football?
Second was a friend of mine with a real-life story of redemption. He had committed a felony as a college student but had become a believer while serving his time. Everyone who knew the man verified that his life had dramatically changed while in prison. He was not just a model prisoner, but he became a spiritual leader and a catalyst for change in others as well.
When he was released from jail, he went to law school, where he was respected by all his peers and professors. After graduation, he applied for a license to practice law. His dramatic turnaround raised societal questions about the restoration of rights for those who have served their time and demonstrated that they’ve changed.
That’s when the what-ifs started happening. What if a college quarterback got caught up in a point shaving scandal in a major football conference like the SEC? What if he went to jail and turned his life
around? What if that man became a lawyer determined to prove his integrity and loyalty to the firm that
hired him? And what if somebody had a vendetta against that firm and started killing its lawyers one by
one? That’s where this book started—on a football field, in a courtroom, in a small and dysfunctional law
firm in Virginia Beach (not mine—the one in the book!), a firm that believed in giving a changed man a
second chance, a firm fighting for its very life.
2. Tell me about your main character, Landon Reed. Was his character based upon anyone in particular?
As I explained in response to the previous question, the inspiration for Landon Reed came from a real-life
friend. That man showed me how much someone can truly change while incarcerated and how hard it can
be to rebuild a life with a felony conviction. But he also demonstrated that, by God’s grace, it can be done.
He became the inspiration for my protagonist, Landon Reed, and for that I am deeply in his debt.
3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
I once heard a well-known Hollywood scriptwriter say that the two themes shown to most resonate with
moviegoers were stories of redemption and forgiveness. It made me realize that God has planted an
attraction for the themes of the gospel deep in our hearts.
Landon Reed’s life is a quest for redemption and forgiveness. Most of his former teammates have spurned
him, but one of his offensive linemen stuck with him throughout his entire ordeal. That man plays a major
role in this story. As a former quarterback, it was fun describing the “band of brothers” relationship
between a quarterback and the members of his offensive line.
There’s also the question of how much society forgives someone who has been convicted of a serious
crime. What roles are off-limits afterward? Should somebody who has committed a felony be allowed to
It’s fascinating to see how some athletes “earn” redemption after significant scandals, provided they can
perform better than before. But what about those former athletes who never make it back into the
game? How does a man like Landon obtain forgiveness and redemption for what he has done?
For Landon, earning redemption means proving his loyalty. When Landon went to prison, his girlfriend
was pregnant with their first child. She waited for him while he served his time. She became Mrs. Landon
Reed as soon as he was released. But this young couple faces unbelievable challenges to their marriage
when Landon is willing to risk the safety of his family to prove his loyalty to the only firm that would take
a chance on him.
Lawyers at the firm start dying, and a sensible man would run as far and fast as possible. But Landon is
tired of running. And sometimes a quest for redemption makes a man anything but sensible. Driven to be
a hero, Landon has to decide whether he is willing to sacrifice his own family in his quest for redemption.
4. How do you expect Landon’s story to resonate with your readers?
All of us have mistakes in our past that haunt us. One of my favorite verses is Joel 2:25a: “I will restore to
you the years that the swarming locust has eaten . . .”
This is ultimately the story of how God can use our greatest mistakes and turn them into something
redemptive. The first step, of course, is taking responsibility for our actions, facing into them, and owning
them. I think we will all see a little bit of ourselves in Landon Reed.
5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
There is an axiom that writers should write what they know best. I’ve added a corollary: Writers should
write what they know best and what they love most. That’s what I did with Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales.
The story takes place in the legal community in Virginia Beach. In fact, the law office that Landon joins is in
the same building where my firm is actually located. How’s that for writing about things you know?
Moreover, I had some great mentors in the practice of law (I dedicated this book to them), so I gave
Landon a colorful and affable mentor as well—a crafty old lawyer named Harry McNaughten.
But ultimately this is a book about what matters most: family relationships, loyalty to our spouses, and
being changed by our faith. I loved crafting this story not just because it hit close to home but because it’s
the story of an underdog battling the giants in his life—both those of his own making and those on the
other side of his cases. And I love underdogs!
When lawyers start dying in Landon’s firm, he finds himself in way over his head with only his faith, his
family, and his best friend to help him. For me, crafting that type of David and Goliath story never grows
6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?
My hope is that I’ve raised important issues about redemption, forgiveness, and the power of the gospel
to change lives. My goal is to entertain readers with a fun and compelling story while they wrestle with
those issues. But there is also a more subtle thread throughout the story—an allegory for what Christ did
on our behalf. I hope to surprise readers when that allegory is fully revealed at the end of the book.
7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?
Something happened when drafting this story that has never happened to me before. Before I ever start
writing a book, I put together a very detailed outline of the characters and plot (usually about twenty
pages long). The plot changes and evolves as the story is written, but I always know generally where the
story is headed. This time, I got about halfway through the book and just ran into a brick wall with the
plot. No matter how hard I tried to work the angles, I couldn’t seem to pull it all together in a coherent,
believable, and compelling way.
I called my editor at Tyndale, Karen Watson, and told her that this story just wouldn’t work. But Karen
wouldn’t let me quit. Eventually, everything came together in what I hope will be one of my best plots
ever. This book is a story about persistence in the face of adversity and, providentially, writing the book
taught me the same thing.
What have I learned as a storyteller? Sometimes our best stories are the ones we almost give up on.
Nothing valuable in life comes without a struggle.
8. Your novels are typically multilayered and keep readers guessing until the end. Would you say that Dead Lawyers Tells No Tales is similarly full of surprises?
I hope it is. I love to throw in enough twists and turns to keep readers off balance. When I read other
authors, I love to be surprised so long as the author plays fair.
It’s easy to surprise somebody by bringing in some random twist from left field that has nothing to do
with the story. But that’s not playing fair. My perfect ending is one where the reader says, “Wow! I didn’t
see that coming, but I should have.” That’s the kind of ending I try to write.
9. Can you share anything about the next project you are working on?
Next Easter, I will be releasing a book that I am more excited about than any other book I have ever
written. It feels like the book I was born to write. It brings together my roles as pastor, lawyer, and
The working title of the book is The Advocate. It’s the story of Theophilus, the man to whom Luke
addressed his Gospel and the book of Acts. My premise is that Theophilus was Paul’s court-appointed
advocate to represent him in front of Nero, probably the most despised ruler in the history of Rome (and
that’s saying a lot). Theophilus was chosen because he had served in Judaea as Pilate’s assessore, or law
clerk, during the trial of Jesus.
My hope in writing the book is that it might bring to life the stories surrounding the two greatest trials in
the history of the world. One of those, the trial of Christ, has been studied, dissected, and analyzed more
than any other trial for the past two thousand years. The other, the trial of Paul in front of Nero, has been
a great mystery. We only know that Paul was somehow miraculously acquitted and left Rome to serve for
a short time as a missionary in Spain. Both of these great trials changed the lives of everyone associated
with them and the trajectory of history.
It’s a real stretch for me to write historical fiction, especially a book that is so intertwined with the story of
the gospel. But I am embracing the opportunity. I’ve had a chance to visit Rome and talk to some amazing
historians. I know for a fact that this is the most challenging and rewarding book I’ve written. My prayer is
that it might also be the most impactful.
10. In addition to being an author, you are also a pastor and a lawyer. How do you reconcile those two things, and what skills do they have in common?
Most people think that someone who is both a pastor and a lawyer is an extremely rare bird. In fact, I had
one reader e-mail me and say that she loved my books but that her son said it was impossible for
somebody to be both a pastor and a lawyer!
That mind-set assumes an artificial barrier between “ministry work” and “secular employment.” In truth,
everything we do is ministry, and we should do it with all our heart, “as to the Lord, and not unto men”
(Colossians 3:23). My law practice is a ministry just as much as my leadership at the church.
In both professions, I am meeting people at a point of need and often ministering to them in the biggest
crises of their lives. To be effective, I need to have a servant’s heart for both my clients and my church
members. And advocacy is an important skill in both trying a case and preaching the gospel.
A lot of people forget that Christ’s main method of making a point was through parables. Both pastors
and lawyers are storytellers in the best sense of that word—not that we make stuff up but that we help
our listeners enter into the story and become a part of it.
Come to think of it, I’m surprised there are not more people doing this!