|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 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 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 May 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (7)|
The Safe Lands 1
By Jill Williamson
Levi is the favored son of Justin of Elias. He is to marry for love. He is a hunter. He can go on scavenging trips to Denver City. And he has earned the respect of his father, something that his younger brothers cannot do no matter how hard they try.
Mason has decided that trying to earn his father's respect and trust is an impossible tasks though he tries his best to please him. But Omar is determined to win it no matter what the cost, but does he know how much he is going to pay?
The Safe Lands were designed to protect the people from a plague, but what was to be a safety has turned into an even greater danger. The city is the plague and there is no way to stop it or to save the city without drastic measures. And Omar and the people of Glenrock may be the Safe Lands last hope.
Omar in an act of betrayal destroys Glenrock and rips Jemma and Levi apart just days before their marriage. Can Levi find a way to get within the city and free those who have been taken against their will?
The ease of life in the Safe Lands is a powerful draw, but is the loss of their freedom and the chance of becoming infected a reasonable trade? But the Safe Lands is home to people whose wild ways may have lead to the plague's spread through what was suppose to be a fortress of safety from the plague.
Mason is been put in a position within the Safe Lands where he is able to study the problem of the plague up close. Can he use the skills he developed in Glenrock and stop the plague? Can he bring hope where there is none or will it merely be false hope?
As Mason struggles to cure the plague and to save the people of Glenrock from forced surrogacy, Levi is working on a plan of escape. Meanwhile Omar is falling into all that the Safe Lands has to offer in an attempt to hide from his guilt over what went wrong with his grand plan.
If you liked the Hunger Games or The Sky Chasers series but wanted books that offered something more you will love Captives. Captives has a belief in something more than self and learning to accept the person God made you to be. Captives will tug at your heart as you experience the unhappiness that fills the Safe Lands. The only problem I have is now I have to wait until book 2 is published!
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Link to book map.
About the book:
One choice could destroy them all.
When eighteen-year-old Levi returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, he never imagined he’d find his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many—including his fiancée, Jem–taken captive. Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.
Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Land has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago … and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams.
Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only his people, but also find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone inside the Safe Lands.
Can Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Land’s façade before it’s too late?
Read the prologue and first chapter on Scribd.
A fun video of a speed painting for the cover of Captives
Here is a link to Jill's website: http://www.jillwilliamson.com
Here is the link for The Safe Lands website, as if you are online in The Safe Lands itself.
Visit Jill's Facebook Page.
Want to purchase a copy for yourself get it at any of the following:
Here is a short author bio:
Jill Williamson is an author of all things weird. She grew up in Alaska with no electricity, an outhouse, and a lot of mosquitoes. Her Blood of Kings trilogy won two Christy Awards, and she recently released Captives, a dystopian teen novel from Zonderkidz. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children and a whole lot of deer.
Be sure to visit all the tour stops: ADD Librarian • Blooming with Books • Bookworm Reading • Chris Kolmorgen • Christian Book Review Blog • Christian Bookshelf Reviews • CTF Devourer • Emily Rachelle Writes • Heavenward Reviews • Jessica Laurie • Labor Not in Vain • The Life of a Teenage Writer • The Maniacal Bookworm • Mrs. Southern Bride • Oh, Restless Bird • Pages from My Journal • The Pen and Parchment • Rachelle Rea • The Ramblings of a Young Author • Realm of Hearts • Shadow Writer World • A Simple Life, Really?! • Surrendering All of Me • Terri Harr • Verbosity Book Reviews •Who YA Reading? • Worthy2Read • The Writings of Rosie
Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Captives by Jill Williamson by clicking on the links above, and click here for more information about Team Novel Teen.
Enter the giveaway (open to US mailing addresses only) http://rafl.es/Zc4aHw
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on May 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Tomes of Taria: Kaylen's Rising
by Yves Robichard
Kaylen has dreamed about magic and casting spells, but for some reason he can't fathom his parents won't let him learn. But this isn't the only thing that makes him stand out in the Cave Elf community of Caverna - his father was abnormally tall with l-o-n-g ears and his parents were the only ones who operated a flower/plant/seed/garden supply shop in the city.
But when some children throw a fireball at Kaylen and destroy the flower bed he has been working on, he questions his parents about his isolation. To Kaylen's surprise his parents allow him to start going to school the next day but he is forbidden to use magic or bring weapons into their home nor is he to discuss what he has learned about them. For the first time in his life Kaylen will step foot off his family's property!
But Kaylen learns that there is a threat to the Cave Elves from above a race known as humans has attacked them 10 years ago after having driven the elves into the caves of Taria hundreds of years before. This race had destroyed the peace that had been Taria.
But Kaylen's parents are determined that he won't learn magic, so they requested special training for him - music! Professor Lannor agrees to train Kaylen secretly in magic instead of music. When Kaylen seems unable to form the simplest spell, Lannor makes a connection with Kaylen's green eyes that is about to change his life forever!
As battle with the humans looms Kaylen will be faced with a choice - does he embrace the violence of his new life or does he cling to the rearing of his younger years? Can an outcast become a hero? Only time will time if they have enough left for Kaylen to discover for himself who he is suppose to be!
The advice that Kaylen's father gives him Remember that respect, compassion, and peace are the key to happiness - not violence would be a piece of advice we would all do well to heed. I believe that this is a book that would be well liked by both Middle Grade and YA readers. This is a Fantasy world that won't bombard you with violence even though it deals with a war which is a plus in my opinion.
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Available for Purchase at:
Tomes of Taria: Kaylen's Rising
Kaylen Amdir has been living in the dark for fourteen years - in every sense. His people are hunted on the surface world, so they must struggle to survive within underground caves. His community hates his family but no one will say why. Unlike most teens, his parents keep him housebound, and forbid him from wielding weapons or learning magic. But when his parents finally change their mind and send him to school, Kaylen is suddenly exposed to the harsh truth. He has much to learn and understand all at once - including a mysterious magical ability.
With the threat of war with the surface-dwellers ever present, Kaylen will need to make new friends, and to stay true to himself if he is to survive what is to come...while something frightening stirs inside him.
ABOUT YVES ROBICHAUD
Yves Robichaud is originally from the small Acadian community of Grand-Barachois, New Brunswick, Canada. He has studied Business Administration and Information Technology, currently works for the federal government, and is the proud father of one son: Jeremy. Inspired by a love of fantastical, magical tales, Kaylen’s Rising is Yves’ first attempt to share this literary passion with his son and the rest of the world.
You can view his website athttp://www.yvesrobichaud.com.
His latest book is the Middle Grade Fantasy, Tomes of Taria: Kaylen’s Rising.
Enter the Rafflecopter eBook giveaway!
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on May 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (1)|
Visiting another century…not the summer vacation Abby had planned.
Those who have read Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy, the first two books in the young adult time-travel trilogy, know that Abby Thomas, is a college student on a summer service project with 11-year-old Merri. And you know that the summer is not going the way Abby had expected—but in a good way. For one thing, she meets a very nice guy named John Roberts. And for another, she discovers a strange computer program called Beautiful House that lets her fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but those of the people who lived in Merri’s old house. And the Old Dears’ old house, and…well, any old house.
And now their computer program is starting to attract attention.
Since the program worked so well for the Old Dears’ family tree project, Abby’s college roommate Kate hopes it will help her find out more about her ancestor Ned Greenfield. And Kate’s fiancé Ryan thinks the program has lucrative commercial potential.
Abby and John reluctantly agree to help Kate, but only on the condition that she and Ryan promise to keep the program a secret, because if it fell into the wrong hands…well, no one wants Big Brother invading their privacy.
The two couples take a trip to the tiny town of Equality, set in the hills of southern Illinois and the breath-taking Shawnee National Forest. According to Kate’s research, Ned Greenfield was born there at a place called Hickory Hill.
The mayor, police chief, and townspeople are hospitable and helpful—until the topic of Hickory Hill comes up. They seem determined to keep them away, telling them, “There’s nothing there for you to see.”
Eventually they find Hickory Hill on their own—both the mansion and the lonely hill it sits upon. Built in 1834, Hickory Hill stands sentinel over Half Moon Salt Mine where the original owner John Granger accumulated his blood-tainted fortune.
Abby and her friends meet Miss Granger, Hickory Hill’s current eccentric owner, and they eventually get the chance to time-surf there. Their shocking discovery on the third floor concerning Kate’s ancestor Ned Greenfield is almost too much to bear. What they learn sends them racing to the opposite end of the state to find the missing link in Kate’s family tree. And there they are reminded that God is in the business of redemption—that one day he’ll make all things new.
Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again time travel mystery series, was born not far from the setting of her book Every Hill and Mountain and grew up “just down the road” from the setting of Time and Again. Today she lives with her husband in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, three grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob).
She loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website www.deborahheal.com and her Facebook author page www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal. Her books may be purchased on Amazon.com:
Every Hill and Mountain
By Deborah Heal
Summer is winding down when Abby's best friend Kate decides to finally come visit Abby and Merri. But what Abby and Merri think is going to be an all-girls week-end turns out very different from what they imagined.
First off Kate brings Ryan her boyfriend/fiance with her. (FYI Ryan is a total jerk and he only gets worse as the book continues!) Kate isn't her normal self, deferring to Ryan's opinion even concerning what she'll eat! Abby, Merri, and John find Ryan to be opinionated and annoying.
Kate and her mother have been researching her family tree, but they can't information about Kate's many times great grandfather Ned Greenfield. After hearing about Abby and Merri's success helping Beulah and Eulah (or is it Eulah and Beulah???) find their Buchanan relatives, Kate is hoping to use the Beautiful House program to find out more about Ned Greenfield. But House Beautiful hasn't been working since finding the Old Dears Buchanan connection.
The night Kate arrives House Beautiful again shows them Charlotte Miles. Charlotte is helping runaways on their journey to freedom. What is the significance of this scene with Charlotte and is there a tie-in to Kate's search?
This is one journey through time you won't want to miss, just be sure to bring a box of tissue with you as this may well be the most emotional journey yet! A hidden brutality of slavery is brought to light one that is so horrifying that a small southern Illinois town is willing to rewrite its history to hide the truth!
But the potential to abuse Beautiful House grows as more people learn of its existence. Can Abby, John, and Merri keep control of the program and out of the hands of those who would abuse its abilities and use it for profit?
And will Kate see Ryan for who he really is before it is too late? Read Every Hill and Mountain to find out for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
I received a copy of Every Hill and Mountain from the author in conjunction with this blog tour in exchange for my honest review.
Enter the Rafflecopter contest below for a chance to win a set of signed books--the whole trilogy! Open to U.S. addresses only. Winner will be announced. May 16, 2013.
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on April 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.
With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she'll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.
"Dead Running was everything I was hoping it would be, captivating, invigorating, and a page turner that I could not, would not, put down! Cami Checketts writes books that will make you think, and make you feel. She captivated me with The Sister Pact, and doesn't lose speed with her newest 'must read', Dead Running."
Sheila DeChantal Book Reviewer - Book Journey
"Dead Running can make a claim not many mystery/thrillers can, and that is that it is also really funny. I loved everything about the book. There was murder, romance, family bonds, 5K training, humor, good guys, bad guys, and an ending that left room for a sequel."
Vicki Book Reviewer - I'd Rather Be Reading At The Beach
Cassidy Christensen wants to run.
Captured by the traffickers who killed her mother, Cassidy's only hope is Dr. Tattoo, a man she loves but nobody trusts. When she finally gets a chance to run, someone else she cares about is taken. Running might be her only chance at survival, but Cassidy won't allow another family member to be killed in her place.
In Cassidy’s battle against human trafficking there are two choices: run or be captured.
Cassidy's humanitarian mission takes an ugly turn when human traffickers attack. Cassidy doesn’t know where to run—home to America, into Jesse’s arms, or any direction she can to escape the traffickers. Innocent families are being ripped apart and Cassidy must decide if she’s brave enough to stop running and join the fight.
“Cami Checketts has done it again! Running Home is fast-paced and action packed with enough romantic moments to satisfy any romance junkie. It's a wonderful third installment of the Run series and a really fun read.”
Rachael Anderson, Author of The Reluctant Bachelorette
Download your free copy of Dead Running here.
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on February 8, 2013 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
by Rachel McClellan
Llona must learn to
control the darkness before it consumes her...
Llona and May have arrived at Lucent Academy where they have been promised safety from the Vyken who have been hunting Llona.
But something is wrong...
Llona's room smells of blood, but no one else can smell it. The other Auras won't accept her and her outside ways. There are Vyken roaming the woods outside Lucent. And the darkness that Mr Steele infected Llona with is growing. How could things get worse?
But they are about to...
Aunt Sophie doesn't believe Llona about the Vyken threat or the smell of blood. Instead Llona's aunt thinks that she is an unbalanced and mentally disturbed young woman. As Llona struggles against the darkness that is threatening to overwhelm her very soul she makes allies along the way who will help her in the coming battle. Allies not of the Auras, but of other races driven to the brink of extinction by the Vyken.
The Auras have suppressed their history to the last seventy or so years. As Llona tries to discover why such a proud race would suppress their history she finds an even more disturbing secret that could destroy the Auras.
But the danger is closer than anyone imagined. Can Llona protect those she has come to care about or will they too be lost to the darkness that is now consuming her soul? At what cost will victory come?
I was provided a copy of this title by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
As soon as the Vyken appeared in the doorway, I tossed a ball hard. He dodged it by jumping up along the side of the wall, his nails and bare toes somehow finding a hold in the thin cracks of the wall. I threw another one, but he was already moving, scrambling alongside the stones like a spider. He was grinning.
I rolled away from the wall until I was in the middle of the room. I lost sight of him for just a fraction of a second, but that was enough. The Vyken was gone, or, I should say, hiding. He was still here. I could feel him. I looked up toward the rafters of the tower roof. It was pitch black.
At the bottom of the tower, I heard Christian begin to ascend the stairs. “I’m coming, Llona!” he yelled.
Still staring up, I created Light again in the palm of my hand and willed it to rise. The closer it got to the rafters the faster my heart beat. Sweat rolled down the small of my back.
Light began to fill dark spaces, exposing that which wished to remain hidden. My Vyken was there, but he wasn’t alone. Another sat crouched on a beam. Where his left eye should’ve been there was an empty hole.
I screamed when my Vyken dropped from the ceiling, extinguishing the light. He fell onto my stomach, pushing my shoulders into the floor. I tried to create Light, but it was as if he knew what I was going to do because his hands slipped up and pinned my wrists together. He bent forward and inhaled my skin. The warmth of his breath steamed my ear when he said, “I’m going to eat every part of you.”
About Fractured Soul (sequel to Fractured Light)
Llona will do whatever it takes to protect her new found friends and home, but the dark plot threatening Lucent Academy, a school that’s supposed to be a safe place for Auras, may be too powerful for even Llona to defeat. This fast-paced tale of love, loyalty, and overcoming the darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!
Buy Fractured Light
Buy Fractured Soul
Win an e-copy of this book!
|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Tales of Goldstone Wood
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Starflower is the fourth book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, though this book can easily be read first as it takes place before the three previous titles.
While the Faerie Kingdom of Rudiobus is in the midst of celebrating the birthday of its Queen Bebo, a mortal girl crosses over into the Wood. Eanrin having left Ruaine Hall to sulk in solitude and to ponder Lady Gleamdren's refusal to dance is startled by a sound that rips through the silence of the night. The dreaded Black Dogs are hunting!
When the Black Dogs cry draws Eanrin across the boarders to investigate he is set on a path that will change his life forever. Eanrin and the Kingdom of Rudiobus are tricked into giving sanctuary toHri Sota the Dragonwitch and Lady Gleamdren is stolen away.
Eanrin and Captain Glomar determine that rescuing Gleamdren will determine who will win the heart of the queen's fair cousin. But first they must enter Etalpalli through the Cozamaloti Gate. The path Eanrin takes brings him into contact with the Golden Hound - Lumil Eliasul! In his attempt to elude the Golden Hound, Eanrin comes across the young mortal girl who has become trapped in a enchanted sleep.
Convinced that he has found a mortal princess, Eanrin helps the young woman by breaking the enchanted sleep spell. The young woman is unable to speak because of an ancient curse placed upon her people so communication between them is problematic. As Starflower tries to communicate her name to Eanrin, he misunderstands and thinks that she carries the Faerie name for starflowers and is the Princess Imraldera.
Starflower joins Eanrin as he continues his quest for Lady Gleamdren. When Starflower comes face-to-face with Hri Sota she tells her story to the Dragonwitch. The former queen makes a bargain that will return Starflower to the land of her people and her sister, for a price.
But an even greater danger awaits Starflower's return. But what is the greater danger - the Black Dogs escorting her, the Golden Hound that seems to be both before and behind her, or the Beast that rules and enslaves her people?
Starflower and Eanrin must both learn to let go of their fears and to see the truth or they will fall to the power of Death. Is Lumil Eliasul the path to death or the path to life? Which voice is speaking the truth and can they determine it before it is too late to save the ones dear to their hearts?
Starflower allows one to fully grasp and to understand why in Moonblood Imraldera was hesitant to go to Rudiobus. When reading about Eanrin's grooming habits, I could so see Monster when he was with Una and Felix in Heartless and with Leo in Moonblood. The Golden Hound/Lumil Eliasul is quite obviously Prince Aethelbard.
The over-riding theme throughout this series seems to be sacrificial love versus self-centered love.
Will you enter into the worlds that surround the Goldstone Woods? You may see life in a whole new light!
In conjunction with this CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Starflower (Open to US residents only)
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|Posted by bloomingwithbooks on December 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
First off, Anne Elisabeth, I'd like to thank you for taking time to share a little behind the book information about this delightful series you've created.
1) Tales from Goldstone Woods has such a depth to it. Where did the inspiration for this series come from?
The initial inspiration for this series was simply my love of all things Fairy Tale. I wanted to write a series of inter-connected novels that used classic and familiar fairy tale themes and took them in unexpected directions. My hope then (and now) was to create a series that could be read just one book at a time, but that the more books you read, the bigger the picture created. This is a whole world, after all! A whole world is made up of so many people with so many stories. I couldn't possibly cover everything with one small cast of characters.
But ultimately, my inspiration was and is very simple: I love fairy tales.
2) Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower--each of these books can stand alone, and yet when read together, one can see that they are interwoven. How difficult is it to do this? (For instance in Heartless, when Una gives Leo her ring, and in Veiled Rose, when Leo gives the ring away, and in Heartless, when Una meets Rosie and how the scene is continued in Moonblood and the consequences of this meeting for Rosie and Leo.) These scenes could easily have been in one book and yet you have them run throughout the series.
It is very difficult to do . . . but not as difficult as you might expect! This is simply the way my brain seems to work and process storytelling. I can usually see each scene from multiple characters' points of view. So for me, even if I am telling a particular scene from one point of view, I am very aware of its effect on and importance to the other characters as well.
We are all the heroes of our own stories, after all. Doesn't matter if we're a sidekick, a villain, or a heroine. In our own minds, we're the star. So it is always interesting for me to explore a scene written from one character's point of view and switch to another.
This is also why I like to write using the omniscient narrative. It allows me within each given scene to explore a little bit into everyone's point of view . . . or even no one's, if I so choose!
3) Far World, Near World , and the Between there is a simplicity in these names and yet such depth when one reads these books. What is the story behind these names?
Again, the point here was fairy-tale simplicity. When I read a fairy tale, I am usually struck by how simple the story seems on the surface, and yet how many layers of meaning are waiting to be explored. That's what I wanted to do with the worlds of Goldstone Wood. On the surface, everything is very simple, and very clear. But you only have to scratch the surface before you become aware of so much more going on!
To create this effect, however, I started with very simple names. Nothing too flashy, no made-up words, nothing difficult to pronounce. These worlds need to be immediately accessible to my readers. They have to be able to step through the door in order to explore the complexities beyond!
4) Prince Aethelbald seems to be the most misunderstood character throughout. Why do the very people who most need him seem to be leery of him?
I think it's because people don't want to need help. They don't want to consider themselves broken, and they certainly don't want to believe that they cannot save themselves! And the more broken a person is, the more he will reject the need to be fixed.
So it is that those who need the Prince of Farthestshore--known as the Lumil Eliasul in Starflower--the most are those who most adamantly resist him. This will become a still more important theme as the series progresses!
5) Do you have a favorite character? If so why this character?
Eanrin, the poet-cat. Easily. I really just adore him! I've been writing about him since I was in high school . . . in fact, he predates even the Prince of Farthestshore as a character featured in my story worlds. He's just so cheeky, and he always has something snarky or witty to say. And yet, he can surprise you at any moment with a heart-felt remark or a truly insightful moment.
In Starflower, it was fun to explore him at the very, very beginning of his service to Farthestshore. By the time of Moonblood, which is set a good 1600 years later, he has experienced so much and grown and changed . . . and yet, he is still a cheeky cat at heart, with at least a veneer of self-importance and arrogance. He is also a deeply wounded character with some difficult, ongoing struggles in his life that will be explored still more as the series progresses.
Eanrin is always exciting to write about. Any scene featuring him is going to be fun. I barely have to work with him anymore. I just sit back and watch him steal the show!
6) Are any of the places in your books based on someplace you have been?
Some. For instance, the Old Bridge in Heartless was loosely based off of a little bridge and nature trail at the university I attended the year before writing Heartless. I used to escape down to that trail and sit on that bridge for hours, just to get away from all the school-related stress and drama of life.
In Veiled Rose, Leo and Rose Red enjoy a childhood summer in the mountains. While I've never spent a summer in the mountains myself, their games and adventures were loosely based on my own childhood in England, playing out on the village common with my brothers. Everything was very epic at that age!
The country of Southlands itself has developed into a more interesting and exciting location with each subsequent book. It is a very exotic land, and in Starflower we get a wonderful sense of its danger. It's also a jungle-type realm, with mango groves and panthers stalking in the shadows. Not at all based on anything I've experienced! But my husband grew up in Sri Lanka, and after I married him, I began tailoring Southlands to be more Sri Lankan in influence. It definitely brings a fresh and exciting flavor to that realm!
Some of the settings you will see later on in book 5, Dragonwitch, are based on childhood memories of living in England and exploring the old castles there.
So, that's a long answer given just to say, yes! I am inspired by my own experiences. But I always try to take them to a new, imaginative extreme.
7) The idea that those the Dragon King desires must first give him their heart is intriguing. Why this a requirement to become a dragon and what does he do with these hearts?
I think that when the individuals hand their hearts over to the Dragon King, they are displaying vulnerability. But there is more that must happen before they can be truly his. For instance, Una did not give the Dragon her heart . . . it was given to him by someone else, making Una his target. It was only when Una, feeling that her lost heart already belonged to the Dragon, gave in to his kiss that she became a dragon herself.
I think the Dragon probably collects the hearts. Una's heart was represented as a lovely opal ring, a treasure. How many of the treasures collected in the Dragon's Hoard might also be hearts? We don't actually know. We saw the chest full of rubies which, as they were picked up and dropped, screamed. Maybe those were the hearts of other lost souls? But it's never clearly stated in any of the books (yet!), so we're left to fill in those imaginative blanks for ourselves.
Dreams seem to be an important part of your stories. Is it because in sleep one is more vulnerable that this is how the enemy chooses to lay the foundations of his attack?
Well, I like that reasoning! That sounds very dramatic and symbolic.
But, really, the reason dreams have become such an important part of this series is because, in dreams, everyone experiences the fantastic. Even the most prosaic and unimaginative person has probably dreamed of flying. Or of a dark, stalking presence. Or has relived events of his/her day but with unusual and even sinister twists.
Dreams are fantastic! They are pieces of our own reality that are not quite explainable and never predictable. They take us on dreadful, convoluted, wonderful journeys, all within our own heads!
So dreams have become important in this series. Also, the idea of "dreams" as "desires" has become important, as represented by the Dragon and his alternate name, the Death-of-Dreams. And, of course, his enigmatic sister, the Lady of Dreams Realized.
In a later book, I hope to really delve into the Dream World, and to explore more thoroughly the roles of dreams in these stories. For the moment, we are left mostly with hints . . .
-- Thank you for a particularly fun and challenging interview! These were great questions, and I had to sit down and really think through several of the answers. Very fun!
And I hope all of you readers will find an opportunity to pick up the Tales of Goldstone Wood and enter the magical realms of the Far World and the Near.
Thank you again for taking time for this interview and I look forward to Dragonwitch in the coming year.
A Special thank-you to author Anne Elisabeth Stengl for offering this special giveaway to the Blooming with Books readers
Signed copy of Starflower giveaway. Open to US residents only.
Rafflecopter entry or copy and paste the following:
Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Links:
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Twitter: AnneElisabeth Stengl
Never Get Involved in the Affairs of Mortals
When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps lovely Lady Gleamdren, Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission . . . and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.
But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin finds his path entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her poet rescuer?
Author Bio: Anne Elisabeth is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style. The series so far includes Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood and Starflower, with Dragonwitch due to release summer of 2013.
Anne Elisabeth is married to the handsome man she met at fencing class and lives with him, a gaggle of cats, and one long-suffering dog in NC. Her first novel, Heartless, won the 2011 Christy Award for Debut Novel and was an INSPY Award finalist. Her second novel, Veiled Rose, won the 2012 Christy Award for Visionary Novel and was a Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year finalist.
Excerpt from Starflower:
The girl did not stir when Eanrin lifted her into his arms; her sleep was profound indeed. Her head lolled over his arm, and he was obliged to part her thick hair to uncover her face. It was an uncommonly beautiful face for a mortal.
However, this girl’s beauty was different from any he had ever before seen. For one thing, her skin was rich dark brown, and her hair glossy black. For another, she was imperfect. Her teeth, visible between gently parted lips, were a little crooked. Mud stained her skin, making it darker still, and her brow, even in sleep, was puckered with anxiety or fear. Her dreams must be wicked indeed.
Eanrin grimaced at the sight and almost put her down again. After all, a princess with dreams like those probably had a tale of woe to match. She would certainly wake with expectations of a handsome hero to aid her. As far as Eanrin was concerned, a dash of heroism was one thing, but commitment to a cause? Never. Rushing off to the rescue of Lady Gleamdren was different, for he had determined that she must be his wife and the sole inspiration to his life’s work. Besides, he loved her.
This creature meant nothing to him.
But blood oozed from the abrasions on her wrists. And her body, mortal and vulnerable, lay in his arms. Eanrin rolled his eyes heavenward as though to seek some holy aid. Then he braced himself and wiped the mud off her lips with the edge of his cloak. She frowned in her sleep and stirred, but did not wake.
“Nothing for it,” he muttered. Closing his eyes and trying not to smell her any more than he must, he leaned in and kissed her . . .
But you'll have to pick up Starflower to see what happens from there!
Be sure to visit all the stops on the CSFF December Blog Tour:
Gillian Adams Beckie Burnham Nikole Hahn Bruce Hennigan Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller Anna Mittower Rachel Starr Thomson Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower Dona Watson Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler