Reviews

Cinder Ellie by JM Stengl

Cinder EllieI just read this charming little short story by Ms. J.M. Stengl introducing her new Faraway Castle series…and I was positively delighted. It was short and sweet, a perfect hook to intrigue new readers such as myself. Ellie is the perfect heroine, kind and brave in her own way, and terribly clever. The Prince is tall, dark, and handsome…what’s not to love about that? And my favorite part of all…there are a ton of adorable little fantasy animals running around. The sprites were my favorite. I don’t want to tell you anything else, because of spoilers, but trust me: the cinder sprites are the most original fantasy creature I’ve ever stumbled upon.

The setting for this new series is also quite original. It takes place…at a resort. Yes, you heard me, a fantasy resort. Ellie is a worker at the resort where Prince Omar is staying with his family…and the story takes off from there. I never would have imagined a fairy tale about a resort would be so positively endearing, but it WORKS.

I rate this little novel PG for most audiences. (There are some mild thematic elements that might not be okay for little kids, but otherwise this is clean and easy to read!)

Get your copy of Cinder Ellie for only $.99

Blog

Author Interview with Katy Huth Jones

Today we kick-off the blog tour for Mythical Doorways, the anthology from Fellowship of Fantasy where you can find my short story, “Well of Fate.” I am quite honored to host one of the other authors on my blog today. She graciously offered to come over today and tell us a little bit about herself and her short story in the anthology. Please welcome Ms. Katy Huth Jones.

Katy Huth JonesKATY HUTH JONES grew up in a family where creative juices overflowed and made puddles to splash in. In addition to writing fantasy and historical fiction, Katy loves to make music and take photos of birds and other interesting creatures. She lives with her husband Keith in the great state of Texas. Their two sons, whom she homeschooled, have flown the nest and live creative lives of their own. Best of all, she is a 2x cancer survivor.

Find her on Facebook 

Visit her blog

or contact her on twitter @KatyHuthJones
Purchase her books here!!

Hello, Katy! Tell us a bit about your story in the Mythical Doorways Anthology. Does it relate to another book you have written?

Dragon’s Oath is set in Levathia, the fictional world of Mercy’s Prince, but takes place about twenty years earlier. The main character, Ethaniel, has grown up a pacifist in the Brethren village, where Mercy was later born. I wrote this story to find out about a new character in my WIP and realized she was related to Mercy through her grandfather Ethaniel, who was banished from the pacifists over forbidden love. The story took on a life of its own, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover an important dragon character, too.

Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us, why or why not.

I would not want to live in Levathia during Ethaniel’s time, when the land was a much more dangerous place than it becomes in later years. There were dangers from dragons and monsters as well as men.

If your writing style could be compared to the weather, what would it be?

A gentle autumn breeze twirls fallen leaves into a giggling dance, but unexpected gusts scatter the leaves and drive a chill into your heart as you see the billowing storm headed your way.

Can you share an inspirational image with us of a doorway that inspired your story in the Mythical Doorways Anthology?

Gate wooden fort

This is the closest I can find to what I see in my head. The Brethren live inside a tall wooden palisade with one heavy gate that shuts out the world and locks in its people, who do not mingle with outsiders unless forced, and whose members only leave if they run away or are banished, like Ethaniel.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Katy!

Blog

Mythical Doorways Blog Tour

I am very excited to be participating in the Mythical Doorways Blog Tour celebrating the release of the anthology TOMORROW. The big day is already here. I hope you are as excited about the release of this collection as I am. My little story “Well of Fate” is only one of ELEVEN magical, mysterious and mythical tales. I am most humbled to be counted among these amazing authors.

Below you will find all the details about the Blog Tour, the whats and whens and whos. There will be a Facebook party, Author Interviews, a Giveaway and more. I will be back tomorrow to interview the utterly amazing Katy Huth Jones (truly, she is an incredible lady).

About the Anthology

Eleven Tales of Magical, Mysterious, Mythical Doorways! Step through portals and into adventure as the authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy take you on another journey into fantastic worlds. Travel through time, space, and realities to encounter monsters, mechanical foxes, and the Fates themselves. You’ll fly with dragons, save implausible beasts, and perhaps find your true home. Choose your path wisely, for dangers lurk in the lands beyond. In the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy, eleven authors promise you journeys into fairy lands hidden within the modern world, futuristic universities, and lands of ancient myth. So what are you waiting for? Cross through our Doorways for the adventure of a lifetime! Download the ebook (free to download starting March 27th) at your favorite digital store: https://www.books2read.com/u/bxq70e

 

Mythical Doorways Authors

Katy Huth JonesD. G. DriverLauren LynchH.L. BurkeSavannah JezowskiA. J. BakkeLaurie LuckingJenelle SchmidtArthur DaigleBokerah BromleyJ.M. Hackman (Click the author to learn more about them and their books!)

Let’s Party!

Fellowship of Fantasy is celebrating their third short story anthology release, Mythical Doorways! Whether they open onto new worlds or just new opportunities, doorways allow us to step through and uncover great adventures, discoveries, and risks. Where will these Mythical Doorways take you? Grab your favorite drink and snack on March 29th at 8 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST) and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with multiple authors, games, and giveaways!

RSVP Today

 

Giveaway Time!

The Fellowship of Fantasy and Deep Magic E-Zine have joined together to offer you an awesome paperback giveaway! Dive into eleven new worlds by entering to win a paperback of Mythical Doorways! (US only.) About Deep Magic E-Zine: The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read. Click here for more information: http://deepmagic.co/giveaway-fun/

>>> Entry-Form <<<

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, March 27th

Wednesday, March 28th

Thursday, March 29th

“>

Blog

A Special Giveaway

MDGiveawayThe Fellowship of Fantasy and Deep Magic E-Zine have joined together to offer you an awesome paperback giveaway!

About Mythical Doorways:
Welcome to Mythical Doorways, the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy. We present to you our tales of gateways to marvelous places. These doorways open into adventure, wonder, and even danger.

Within, you will accompany heroes on their way to fairy worlds. Brave the dangers of the past through a portal in time. Eavesdrop at the door of a forbidden workshop. Follow a girl on a search for a better life in her choice between three tempting magical doors. Help a sorcerer close a gateway before an unspeakable horror escapes, and slip through a portal on a quest for delicious chocolate!

There are many perilous journeys ahead of you, but no graphic content. All the stories here fall below a PG-13 rating.

The Fellowship of Fantasy is an online group of writers dedicated to presenting the best in clean fantasy stories of any stripe. Some tackle epic quests to save the world, while others prefer more urban settings. Whether you enjoy contemporary tales, romantic re-tellings, or something else entirely, you’re sure to find stories that speak to you.

Thank you for joining us on our trip through these doorways, and may you find adventure and entertainment on the other side!

Click HERE for your ebook (free to download starting March 27th)

 Copy of Copy of fellowshipbanner

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

Spring 2018 cover
About Deep Magic E-zine
The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read.
Blog

Interview with Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Today our guest author is Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, author of the well-know Minstrel’s Song Series. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her books yet, you really must. There are four  books in all: King’s Warrior, Second SonYorien’s Hand, and my personal favorite Minstrel’s Call. Ms. Schmidt has an incredible gift for writing epic fantasy. There are dragons in her books…did you hear me say DRAGONS?

JS Author Photo Color SMALLAuthor Bio: Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their four adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

Now to the Interview!

Why do you like to write stories?

I love writing stories for many different reasons. I love using my imagination and creating fantastical realms and stories of daring and adventure, because I’ve always loved reading, and that’s the sort of story I enjoy reading best. I like to inspire the people around me with questions of “what if?” and make people consider things from angles and perspectives they haven’t thought of before. But most of all, I write because I want to emulate my Father in Heaven who is the Greatest Author of all time. As the Creator of all things, I believe that ultimately, He is the one who has given me this passion for stories and story-telling, and the desire to reflect His creativity in what poor measures that I am able. To be able to create a story, to reflect some of the creativity of my Creator, to inspire someone else, is one of the greatest privileges I can think of.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be? What would you do and why?

I would hang out with Kamarie in a heartbeat. She is, in many ways, the person I would like to be when I “grow up.” She is more extraverted, and more impetuous than I, and though life has given her a lot of responsibility, she rises to it with quiet grace while never losing her sense of adventure… a sense of adventure that I sometimes fear I have lost somewhere in the passing of time and growing up and having to be an adult.

I would love to just let her pull me along on a wild adventure. We’d go horseback riding, maybe go visit the Mountains of Dusk and visit with the dragons who live there. I’d love to discuss some literature or battle strategies with a gryphon, catch a glimpse of the Harshlands (though I don’t have a lot of desire to actually wander through that difficult sand-swept desert), spend some time swimming at the Pearl Cove (perhaps chat with a mermaid), and I’d love to try to find the Ionell—the secret haven of the unicorns. After that, maybe we could beg a ride to Llycaelon from a couple of dragons… because flying on dragonback is something I’ve always wanted to do! Whatever we did, though, I know we’d have a blast!

Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us why or why not.

In a heartbeat. Though I would miss indoor plumbing and the conveniences of modern civilization, I would love to live in Tellurae Aquaous. There is enough danger to make the world a good place to have adventures, but it isn’t so dangerous that I fear I would die in the first few chapters. Also, the world is so big and beautiful and full of interesting places to visit and explore. I would never get tired of finding all the nooks and crannies and surprises.

Can you suggest any books/authors that have inspired you and your writing?

Can I recommend…! Well, you asked for it.

George MacDonald’s The Light Princess and The Princess and the Goblin. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows. Gwen Walker’s He Whistles for the Cricket. Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Stephen R. Lawhead’s Song of Albion and Pendragon Cycle. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Death Gate Cycle. Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci Chronicles. Anything by Timothy Zahn… and so very many more. The list of authors who have inspired my imagination and contributed to my style of writing is long, indeed.

Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with us today?

I’ve learned that the story doesn’t always turn out the way I thought it would… and that’s okay. Sometimes the story I intend isn’t the story that’s needed, and it is important to listen to my characters, my intuition, or perhaps it is the whisper of God into my heart that causes the words to change direction on me. But when I loosen my hold on the reins a little, that’s when the story always turns into something more beautiful than I expected.

If your writing style could be compared to the weather, what would it be?

I’d love to say a tornado or a snowstorm… something exciting and unexpected that whirls you off into delicious adventures where you completely lose yourself and all sense of time until the last page… but perhaps I’m not quite there yet. Maybe someday.

I’d be perfectly content, however, for my writing to be like a beautiful summer’s day. The kind where you just want to go on a picnic, or spend the day on a boat… that beckons you to forget all your responsibilities and troubles for a little while and linger as long as you can….

Bonus: You come face to face with a dragon: What do you do?

I bow politely and greet the dragon with the respect due his enormous size and strength. Then I quickly ask if he might enjoy some riddles, or perhaps is in need of someone to regale him with stories. I might even offer to sing a little… I have an okay voice, though it’s not anywhere as beautiful as my sister’s… but perhaps he would be interested in hearing some of her songs.

Minstrels Call Cover.jpgThank you for joining us today, Jenelle!

If you’d like to connect with her, you can find Jenelle on FacebookTwitterAmazonGoodreads, and on her personal website Jenelleschmidt.com.

 

Blog

Interview with AnnMarie Pavese

Today our guest author is the talented Ms. AnnMarie Pavese, author of the enormous debut novel, So Sang the Dawn. If you want to read my review of this amazing book, you may do so here. It’s hard to summarize a 700-800 page novel…but I loved it. So gripping, so intense, so full of emotion…and the redemption message in the ending brought me to tears. You can learn more about AnnMarie and her debut novel on her spiffy website.

You can also connect with AnnMarie on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

PrintAbout the Author: AnnMarie Pavese lives in the mountains of Arizona, which were a huge inspiration in the creation of So Sang The Dawn. A former waitress and web designer, she unashamedly skipped college in order to pursue writing full-time. She spends her days writing, dog-momming, and mentoring other girls as they pursue their own writing dreams. She is obsessed with the woods and the cold and always writes best when it’s raining or snowing.

Now for some questions!

Why do you like to write stories?

I love writing stories for so many reasons. Partially because there’s so much freedom with it; you just get to create anything you want, and it’s your world, so anything goes. On the deeper side of things, I also love doing it because I love getting to breathe a little bit of hope and light into people’s lives and to just really use my characters to show them that they’re not alone.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why? What would you do together?
I would kill to spend time with any and all of my characters, even the antagonists, but I think if I had to narrow it down, I would definitely want to spend the day with Aurora and Raine. I would want to go riding with them in the herders’ valley and just experience the full thrill of doing it in person instead of just writing about it.

Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us why or why not.
coverfinal4 copyI would ABSOLUTELY want to live in my story world. Maybe not in Rathmar, where the girls are held captive, but the rest of the world is so vast and amazing and has the most beautiful places. Frostholm as a whole is based on my favorite kind of landscapes, mountains and forests and snow and unique kinds of wildlife. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could.

Can you recommend any authors/books that have inspired you and your style of writing?
C.S. Lewis was probably my main inspiration, simply because I fell in love with the world of Narnia, and I love how allegorical Lewis was in his writing. I love that everything had a deeper meaning and hidden truths, and his work was really just so universal and applied to anyone from any walk of life. I don’t know that I could ever measure up to him, but I aspire to come close!

Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with your readers? 
I’ve learned so many life changing things from writing, one of them being that there’s always hope, and there’s always something better coming, even when we can’t see it. As a writer, I get to be involved in my characters’ lives in a really intimate way, and I actually get to see their whole story at once, from beginning to end. There are times when the characters get discouraged and want to give up because they can’t see a way out, but as the author, I know the amazing things I have planned for them, and I know that the dark parts of their stories aren’t the end. It really helped to give me hope for my own life, and to help me to keep going even when I wanted to give up.

If your writing style could be compared to weather, what would it be?
I think anyone who knows me well knows how obsessed I am with rain and snow. I think I would definitely say my writing is similar to that. It might be dark sometimes, but it’s so needed. It has its gentle moments, where it’s just warm and refreshing, and it has other moments where it’s cold and unforgiving and even bitter to accept at times. Each person takes it to heart in a different way, but no matter how it’s perceived, it always brings hope and the promise of new life.

BONUS: You come face to face with a dragon…what do you do?
I think I would hope and pray that it’s one of the dragons from How To Train Your Dragon so I could befriend it and become a dragonrider. Because who doesn’t want to do that?!

Thank you for joining us today, Annie!

authorphotoMake sure you dash over to Amazon and purchase a copy of her amazing debut novel today. You won’t regret it–I promise! It took me about a week to read this incredible story…I dare you to do it in less!

To learn more about Annie, don’t forget to join us on February 28th from 6pm-9:15pm for our Multi-Author Facebook Event!

Blog

Interview with DJ Edwardson

Today I have the honor of inviting a new acquaintance of mine over for a chat. Please welcome Mister DJ Edwardson, author of The Last Motley, a fantasy MG novel which I am beyond eager to read, which can be purchased here and The Chronotrace Sequence, a science fiction series for YA, which can be purchased at this site. It’s been a while since I read any new science fiction, so I’m hoping to get a copy of his first book to check it out. I’ve always been a huge fan of clean science fiction and fantasy, and it sounds like that is exactly what DJ produces.

DJ Profile PictureBio: DJ Edwardson has a degree in English from Cornell College where his emphasis was on the works of Shakespeare. He’s tried his hand at both acting and directing in the theater, but these days is happiest with a pen in his hand. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three children and a rather large collection of board games. His family usually gangs up on him so that he doesn’t win, but he has fun anyway.

What first drew you to write? How did you get started?

Well, like many authors I suppose, I was an English major in college. And though I loved reading, which was where the focus of my studies was, I really loved the writing courses especially. For a while I thought about journalism though. I didn’t really have any aspirations of writing novels.

Then after college I was in Honduras working at an orphanage and I had a lot of time to think. No TV, foreign country, not a terrible lot of friends, you get the picture. And I came up with this idea for a story: what if there was only one Christian left in the world?

So, I scribbled down fifty pages or so in a notebook and then…I got married, moved back to the states, and though at some point I transferred that story to a computer document, I never really thought a whole lot about it after that.

Fast forward many years later and I was part of a book club and really getting excited about stories again, for the first time in a long time. And another guy in the club was working on a short story and he said, “Hey, would you take a look at this?” I said, “Sure,” and that got me thinking about my unfinished novel. I asked him if he’d take a look at it and he was very encouraging. We started exchanging our work and that is when I started writing in earnest. That would have been around 2009, I think.

And the rest, as they say, is history-or actually science fiction, to be more accurate!

chronotrace sequence

So that first book turned into a science fiction series of three books and now you’ve just released your first fantasy novel. What’s it like writing in two genres?

Very, very different. They’re both alternate realities with invented worlds, but the similarities pretty much end there.

The Chronotrace Sequence, my sci-fi series, takes place on this totally, inhospitable planet. There’s technology everywhere, but nothing green, no plant life, no animal life. It’s all metal and sand.

last-motley-on-shelfThe Last Motley, my fantasy book, is sort of an idealized medieval world with towns and rivers and forests and all the rest. It’s so much more full of life, full of color. And of course the magic is particularly colorful in this book. You might get an inkling of that just looking at the cover. The way magic is portrayed is one of the things I think that makes the book stand out.

And the changes spill over to the characters as well. There’s a lot of doubt, ambiguity, and uncertainty in the mind of the main character of the Chronotrace. He’s not jaded or skeptical, but he’s had his memory erased so he’s constantly playing catch up, off balance, unsure of what is going on.

The main character in The Last Motley is out of his element as well. He’s just a tailor and he’s stumbled onto this wild, magical curse that’s threatening the world, but he has strong relationships with his family to fall back on so he’s more grounded. It’s also a much more intimate story with a strong family element woven in right from the beginning.

So, yeah, lots of differences. Writing in one world is a bit like wearing jet boots: total novelty, but unstable, and always a bit off-kilter, and the other is more like an old pair of slippers: comfy, familiar, and they just sort of mold to your toes in the most natural way possible.

So you’re independently published. Did you try to go the traditional route first? Talk about how you landed on this path?

Yeah, well at first I really didn’t even know self-publishing was an option. So, I tried finding an agent. I probably wrote the worst query letters in the history of writing because I didn’t even get form letters back for rejection, just silence. Maybe I did get one or two rejections, but that was it.

Then I stumbled across this author commenting on some post on the internet and claiming to have made $25,000 on her latest release and it had only been out for like 6 months or something. And she said she only paid around $800 for editing and her cover and everything. That’s when I started researching that angle.

Then I went to a writing workshop with a local author who was published by Harper Collins. He was a first-time author, but he said that his publisher was basically just editing his book and giving him a cover. They really weren’t doing anything in terms of marketing.

I started looking at the horrific amount of time it took to go from finished manuscript to print, the awful pay for traditional authors, the fact that they can pull your books for whatever reason, and I took all that in and it just seemed like I would be foolish not to at least give the independent route a go.

If your writing style could be compared to any other writer, who would it be?

Ooo, that’s a tough one. I think I’m probably the least objective person on the planet when it comes to my own writing. My writing might sound like Kermit the Frog for all I know.

But a few reviewers have compared my writing to Lewis and Tolkien, and even George MacDonald. And I know they’re being wildly generous when they say that, but I suppose to some degree we write what we love, don’t we? I mean, actually, Lewis’ Space Trilogy was a conscious inspiration for The Chronotrace Sequence. So, yes, I suppose the kinds of things I write maybe just maybe could be considered in the same wheelhouse.

I’m trying to write very wholesome, good, beautiful stories, with a magical, otherworldy and yet eternal air to them, which are the sort of things that they wrote. Stories that will stand the test of time. I’m not really out to entertain or to try and write what’s popular, what’s in vogue at the moment. I want my stories to have that mythopoeic, timeless feel, which of course Lewis and Tolkien were masters of.

I’m still learning, but if I ever write anything half as good as they did I’ll be thrilled.

The Last MotleyThanks for joining us today, DJ!

Don’t forget that you can purchase copies of his books here at his website, which is quite spiffy, if I do say so myself. So please hop on over and sign up for his newsletter to keep on top of upcoming releases and make sure to snag a copy of his newest book, The Last Motley. The cover is simply stunning, don’t you agree?