Author Interview, Blog Tours and Giveaways, Book Reviews

The Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt: Clue 13

Who can’t resist a good mystery? My mystery reading has been limited to Encyclopedia Brown when I was young, and now Agatha Christie, so when I signed up for an ARC of The Lost Girl of Astor Street, I was super excited.

This wasn’t an ordinary mystery. The story was set in 1920’s Chicago, a culture I was studying at the time (for the American History 2 CLEP test). I recognized things that I had learned, and at the same time, what was happening in the rest of the world was flying through my brain.

For the release, I am participating in a Clue Hunt. For details, visit Stephanie’s blog.

 

“It should concern you that Al Capone is our measuring stick.”

-Detective Cassano, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, by Stephanie Morrill

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From the back of the book:

When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood.

As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Anna Godbersen, Stephanie Morrill’s atmospheric jazz-age mystery will take readers from the glitzy homes of the elite to the dark underbelly of 1920s Chicago.

I received a free copy of The Lost Girl of Astor Street via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 ~ Review ~

Characters: Good strong characters that I related to and enjoyed. I seriously loved Piper, who remained me of myself sometimes.

Plot: Fast paced and gripping, I read this book in two days, I just couldn’t put it down. I didn’t cry, but I came close to it once or twice.

Writing: The writing was beautiful. I loved it. I don’t know if melt is a good word, but it melted me. Stephanie has an amazing talent, and I hope we see more of Piper.

Bad Language: None

Inappropriate Content: A married man has a girlfriend; Piper goes to a speakeasy.

Over-all-rating: 5/5  I loved this book. Really, really loved it. Go buy yourself a copy of it here:

~ Interview ~

When did you first realize that you loved writing? I’ve wanted to be a writer since first grade. My elementary school encouraged writing time and we had freedom to write whatever kind of stories we desired. Then a parent volunteer would type our stories up for us, and we could pick the color for our cover and the binding. At the end we were supposed to illustrate it (I was awful) and then read it to the class. I loved it so much, and after that I always wanted to tell stories for a living.

When were you first published? My first book was Me, Just Different, which was the first in a contemporary YA series called The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt. It released in 2009, and then two more followed it. I have two other contemporary YA titles, the Ellie Sweet books, that came out in 2013. The Lost Girl of Astor Street is my first historical mystery.

Do you write by hand or on the computer? I write on the computer, unless I’m brainstorming. Then I find that nothing works as well as a notepad and pen.

Is your writing inspired by other authors? I’m sure every story I’ve ever enjoyed (or not enjoyed!) has found its way into my writing style in some sense, but there’s no one specific who I try to sound like.

Where did you first come up with the idea of The Lost Girl of Astor Street and what motivated and inspired you?  My initial idea for The Lost Girl of Astor Street came while I was putting away laundry, of all things. My mind was wandering (as it often does during chores), and I started thinking about different stories I like. I thought about Veronica Mars for a while, and then something triggered a thought about Downton Abbey, and I thought, “I wish there was something out there that was like Veronica Mars but in a Downton Abbey kind of setting. Oh, maybe I could do that!”

How long did it take you to write The Lost Girl of Astor Street?   After I spent about a month doing research, my first draft took me about three months. And then my edits seemed to take forever. I spent about a year trying to turn my lousy first draft into a book that I wanted to read. I had never written a historical or a mystery, so I had a lot to learn!

Do you have a favorite character? What is it that you like most about him/her?   It’s probably a bit silly to pick Piper as my favorite character, but I loved writing her. The way she saw the world was really interesting and enjoyable for me to write.

I just love author’s inspiration boards on Pinterest. Check out Stephanie’s here and here.

You can also find out more about Stephanie Morrill at her website, http://www.stephaniemorrill.com/

And if any on my lucky readers are near Gardner or Overland Park, Kansas, Stephanie will be there for book signings! 

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Clue 13: own

Links to the rest of the clues:

Clue 1: Stephanie’s Morrill’s Blog
Clue 2: Some Books Are
Clue 3: Gabriella Slade
Clue 4: Page by Page, Book by Book
Clue 5: Pens and Scrolls
Clue 6: Singing Librarian Books
Clue 7: Heather Manning
Clue 8: Annie Louise Twitchell
Clue 9: Noveling Novelties
Clue 10: Kaitee Hart
Clue 11: Classics and Craziness
Clue 12: Zerina Blossom
Clue 13: Rebecca Morgan
Clue 14: Keturah’s Korner
Clue 15: That Book Gal
Clue 16: Anna Schaeffer
Clue 17: Hadley Grace
Clue 18: Lydia Howe
Clue 19: Ramblings by Bethany
Clue 20: Matilda Sjöholm
Clue 21: Lydia Carns
Clue 22: Broken Birdsong
Clue 23 & Clue 24: The Ink Loft
Clue 25: Roseanna M. White

Blog Tours and Giveaways

Song of the Sword Blog Tour

 

 

Welcome to the launch of Song of the Sword, the second novella in the Legends of Light series. Today, I have an interview with author Hope Ann plus a spotlight for her soon to be released novella (soon as in tomorrow) retelling the fairy tale Rapunzel. There is also a giveaway! Enter for a chance to win a coffee mug (you can never have too many coffee mugs) and a Song of the Sword bookmark.

I have also added a list of the blog tour stops, so you can read more interviews, spotlights, and reviews.

And now, lets get this tour started. 🙂

 

 

A glittering sword.

An ancient oath.

A blackened rose.

And a melody which ties it all together.

Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are caught in a battle beyond their own limited powers. With their ability to walk in the melody realm, catching glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria, comes even more danger.

Deadly mistbenders. Writhing walls of blankness. Hateful drumbeats. As a warrior in the Melody, Evrard has seen it all. But his own ability in the melody realm pales in comparison to the Prince’s melody, the legendary prowess of past Wingmasters, and even the depth of his sister’s song.

To rescue Roinette and evade the trap almost certainly set for him by those who want his power, Evrard knows he’ll have to be careful. Even if he can find the Wingmaster’s sword, there’s no assurance he’ll be able to defeat a mistbender on his own. In the end, will his and Roinette’s efforts matter if the Prince brings an ancient oath to fulfillment, shaking the very foundation of Aslaria?

Available on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Interview

  Where did you first come up with the idea of the Song of the Sword and what motivated and inspired you?

I was introduced to the idea of retelling fairy tales during the second Rooglewood contest. I’d never considered trying my hand at retellings before, but I quickly discovered it was pretty fun. Then I got the idea of coupling fairy tales with the fruit of the Spirit.

When it came time to write Song of the Sword, I knew I wanted it based off Rapunzel. I also thought having an alternate dimension where battles are fought with song would be cool, especially since song does play a part in the original fairy tale and couples well with the theme of joy. And I wanted the characters to be siblings, rather than have a romantic attachment. From those fragments of ideas, the story grew into what it is now.

How long did it take you to write the Song of the Sword?

One week. It was a bit insane, but I wanted to write the whole novella in one week, so I set aside everything else and wrote about 5000 words a day. The rough draft even turned out fairly well (something which doesn’t always happen). Of course, I spent several months after that, deepening the theme and characters, editing, and polishing. But the rough draft I finished in six days.

Are any of the characters based on you and/or your family?

Not in Song of the Sword. I do have a character based off me in another book, however. She’s great fun to write. *smirks*

Will there be any more books in the Legends of Light series?

Yes! There will be nine novellas in all, one for each aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. I’m already working on the third novella, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel.

Do you have a favorite character? What is it that you like most about him/her?

Officially, I probably shouldn’t answer that. But I suppose in confidence, if you promise not to tell anyone else (especially my characters)… Evrard is a favorite. Though I don’t share his struggles, I connected with him at a deeper level than many of the other characters I’ve written. Also, I enjoyed writing Grivina with her sarcasm and bluntness and practicality.

Is your writing inspired by other authors?

I don’t consciously base my writing off any particular style, but I do like reading a number of other fantasy books for inspirations. Some of my favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Wayne Thomas Batson, Gillian Adams, and Serena Chase.

Is there anything else you would like to say about this series?

Ummm *flounders for something to say* Oh, one fun milestone in this series that I’m looking forward to is that, once I’ve the first three novellas published on Kindle, I’m going to put them together in a hard copy. Since there will be nine novellas, I plan to have three hard copies in the Legends of light series, with three novellas in each one. The hard copy of the first three Legends of Light novellas will (hopefully) be release the summer of 2017.

 

Spotlight:

Punzel: (Pinterest photo)

Roinette was already at the window, stroking something that looked like a brown and white winged cat.

“Is that…?” Evrard narrowed his eyes. “You’ve a pet fen-hopper?”

The creature hissed, pinning him with a glare Evrard could feel from the bottom of the tower. “I’d have you know that Shadow-wing is our proper name, not the vulgar title of fen-hopper. And I’m not a pet. Also, we fly, we don’t hop around in the fens and we don’t get muddy. We’re cousins of the great ice griffins of the north and –”

“Hush now.” Roinette ran her fingers down the creature’s back. “He’s been duly notified, I believe. This is Punzel, by the way.”

 The size of a large housecat, Punzel has been Roinette’s companion in the Shadowfen for over two years. Roinette found her, bedraggled and wounded, only days after moving to the fen island herself. After being healed with the Melody, Punzel has unreservedly made her home with Roinette, though she often comes and goes as she pleases.

Alone as she is, Roinette welcomes the company and even enjoys the fen-hopper’s sarcastic and bantering ways. But, despite being able to speak to Punzel, a gift coupled to her connection in the Melody, Roinette doesn’t know much about her friend’s past. And Punzel doesn’t speak of it. But the time is

 

  About the Author

 

Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings.

She has been writing for over five years, and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories, but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults.

Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase.

Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration.

You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

 

   Please only enter one of the giveaways.

 USA Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a4472201/

International Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a4472202/

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

August 2

Jennifer Kibble – Review and interview

Faith Blum – Spotlight on Andrinian

August 3

Keturah – Review and interview

Heidi Burke – Interview and sneak peek

August 4

Rebecca Morgan – Interview and spotlight on Punzel

Claire Banschbach – Sneak peek

August 5

Jaye L. Knight – Spotlight and sneak peek on Evrard

August 6

Ivy Rose – Review and interview

Kendra E. Ardnek – Review and interview

August 7

Bethany Smith – Review and spotlight on Roinette

August 8

Anna S. Brie – Review and interview

Olivia – Sneak peek

Amanda Tero – Review

 

 

Blog Tours and Giveaways

Names of E’veria- The Remedy

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Today, I am happy to be participating in a blog tour for Serena Chase’s Eyes of E’veria. Serena will be telling us how she came up with her names for her delightful series. It’s really fun to read the “behind the name” story of an author’s fantasy world.  Be sure to check back here tomorrow for an interview of her. 

If you have never read the Eyes of E’veria, enter the giveaway below for a chance to win all four books. These books are so good and Serena is my favorite author. Don’t believe me? I bought the first book, The Ryn, for a friend in college. She has since told me that people are fighting over who reads her copy of The Ryn next.  So, if people are fighting over a book, you have to believe it’s that good!

Make sure you have hours to sit down and read, because you will be swept away in the fairy tale.

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11x17 centered series poster

 

 

Names of E’veria series – The Remedy

 

Across genres, there are often interesting stories about how authors choose names for the characters in their books, but in speculative fiction (fantasy, sci fi, dystopian, steam punk, etc.) those behind-the-scenes naming stories extend to places, objects, processes, abilities, and terminology—sometimes entire languages are even created! In this series of posts, which will be spread over time, as well as several blogs, my Facebook page, my newsletter—and eventually videos in which I will share pronunciations, as well—I will attempt to unveil the stories behind the names populating the epic fantasy novels The Ryn, The Remedy, The Seahorse Legacy, and The Sunken Realm, a few at a time.

 

For this post, I am focusing on names from Eyes of E’veria, book 2: The Remedy. Shall we dive in?

 

Vayle: This is possibly the most literal name a character has in any of my books. Vayle  literally serves as a veil, an imposter, used to hide the identity and whereabouts of Princess Rynnaia.

 

Taef: I heard the word “thief” pronounced with a lispy accent in a movie, and it sounded like “taef”—since this character nearly steals Kinley’s horse in The Remedy, I thought it fit.

 

Bryge: I had a whole storyline planned (and started) for this character and his family, but I don’t know if anything from it will ever see the light of day. His name was symbolic to that storyline, and also for the role he plays in his home province’s reconciliation with E’veria—a “bridge” of peace, as it were.

 

Regent: I needed a word that represented the fact that each of E’veria’s nine provinces is its own little “kingdom of sorts” within the larger Kingdom of E’veria. Governor wasn’t strong enough. Prince just seemed… wrong. Regent worked for me for that position within the structure of royalty and nobility I created for that world.

 

Eyes of E’veria: I have to credit my longtime mentor and friend, author Sandra Byrd, for helping come up with this series title almost a decade ago, because it was her suggestion—and it’s perfect, because eyes (and eye color) play a huge role in the series as a whole.

 

What names and words of E’veria are you curious about? Tell me in the comments, and make sure to watch my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter for news of when and where the next “Names of E’veria” post will appear!

 

SERENA CHASE lives in Iowa with her husband Dave, teen daughters Delaney and Ellerie, and a big white dog named Albus (yes, he was named after that Albus.) A frequent contributor to USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found watching action movies and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea. Connect with Serena Chase on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (@Serena_Chase) and visit www.serenachase.com to subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to       exclusive, subscriber-only content.

 

 

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Blog Tours and Giveaways

Rose of Prophecy by Hope Ann

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Don’t you just love a good fairy tale? I know I do, my favorite being Beauty and the Beast. So I was really excited when my friend Hope Ann wrote and published her Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose of Prophecy. I was happy to read it prepublication and now I am so happy to announce its publication!!! Throw confetti and celebrate with me for this beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. 

Writing in the Light Publishing proudly presents the first of nine novellas in

The Legends of Light series!
Rose of Prophecy,

a fantasy seeped retelling of Beauty and the Beast
containing an ancient promise, an invisible spy, and the legendary Stieg der,
is more than a mere retelling of a favorite fairy tale.

Each novella focuses on one of the
nine Fruits of the Spirit
while also following the conflict between the Prince and Tauscher
and expertly retelling and twisting some popular, as well as several lesser known, fairy tales.

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She is afraid. Not because she is alone. Not because thick roiling clouds obscure the moon. Not because the wind rushes through the forest like a wild dragon. She is afraid because she is late. And to be late means death.
Her life had been happy once.
Despite the destruction wreaked by Tauscher, traitor to the King. Despite the distant war led by the Prince and fought with the help of her three brothers. Despite her own poorly-chosen nickname of Beauty, she’d enjoyed life.
Of course, that was also before her father left home on a hopeful errand but returned weary and ill, bearing a velvety scarlet rose which he claimed would never wither. But even life in the ancient hall, tucked away in the center of Mosswood, surrounded by roses of every description, overshadowed with mystery and home to a scarred figure who is more beast than man, wasn’t too bad after a time.
But now…now, in a flash of light, Beauty finally glimpses the truth. And the cost. The price which must be paid, or the sacrifice which must be made.
It is a curse which even love alone may not be able to break.

About the Author

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Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who loves reading and writing fantasy, retelling fairy tales, and futuristic fiction. She has been writing for over five years and is currently working on several fantasy books as well as a futuristic trilogy.
Some of her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Serena Chase, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.
You can visit Hope’s blog at Writinginthelight.org. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

Note:  As of now, Rose of Prophecy is only up for free on Smashwords. It should be free on Amazon in the coming weeks.

Collage source: Made by me

Blog Tours and Giveaways

The Seahorse Legacy Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Today is the day of Serena Chase’s The Seahorse Legacy redesigned cover reveal! I’m dancing an Irish gig and throwing confetti around my  room.
 
Not really. I may have Irish in me, but I can’t dance and I don’t have any confetti.
 
But even if I had confetti and even if I could dance I would probably be doing both because I’m really thrilled about this cover because I adore these books. I have read them through twice this year already.  And the day is finally here to reveal the new cover.
 
 
 
So without further ado
 
HERE
 
IT
 
IS
 
 
 When I first heard that the cover of The Seahorse Legacy was being changed I was maybe just a tad bit disappointed because I liked the old one. But this, this new one, was better than I imagined.  My favorite part is the ship in the red light of sunset.
 
And Cazien’s icy blue stare? Oh, yeah. You couldn’t ask for a better cover.
 
 
 
 Here’s the blurb about the book
 
  The Seahorse Legacy (Eyes of E’veria, book 3) by Serena Chase published by Candent Gate
 
 a Pirate, bound by a centuries-old oath 


As Keeper of the Seahorse Legacy, Cazien de Pollis is a King among pirates, divinely appointed to dispense justice on the seas. Bound by the sacred oath of a long-dead ancestor, he must fulfill a contract to wed the green-eyed Oracle’s Daughter named therein—or risk losing everything he and his people hold dear. But at nineteen, with the identity of his betrothed only recently revealed, Cazien resents the contract—and the urgency within him to see it satisfied.

a Knight, determined to prove her calling

Erielle de Gladiel returned from the quest for the Remedy, changed. Not only are her formerly-blue eyes now a brilliant shade of green, but she must don gloves to hide inky evidence that her prophetically-bestowed title, the Oracle’s Daughter, demands more from her than the task already completed. Erielle’s dearest-held dream is realized when she is knighted by her King, but unbeknownst to her, that very honor jeopardizes the prophesied purpose to which she and Cazien have been called.

a Legacy, demanding surrender

Just as Cazien summons the courage to collect his bride, dark rumors and darker deeds crawl up the coasts, calling its guardians, the Seahorse Pirates, into action—and Cazien away from Erielle. But even though the Oracle’s Daughter knows nothing of the contract to which she has been consigned, Cazien’s enemies have somehow learned of his interest in Erielle. And if they reach her before his ancestor’s weighty oath is executed, the Seahorse Legacy will be forfeited…. and darkness will be given reign.

The third book in this series-within-a series, The Seahorse Legacy begins an epic re-imagining of several fairy tales, combined–including an unexpected twist on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This romantic adventure will conclude in Eyes of E’veria, Book 4: The Sunken Realm, coming late Summer 2015.

 
About the Author:
 
SERENA CHASE lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and a big white dog named Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found coaching her local high school’s Color Guard, watching action movies, and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea. Connect with Serena Chase on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (@Serena_Chase) and visit www.serenachase.com to subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content.
 
ENTER THE GIVE AWAY BELOW
 
Prize pack includes:
1. Custom skin for reading device (or phone) featuring the new book cover
2. Temporary tattoos “Official Pirate Crew — The Seahorse Legacy”
3. $10 Amazon giftcard