Once upon a Princess blog tour and a FANtastic interview.

Once Upon A Princess Blog Tour

Hello dear readers,

Today I am adding even more books to your reading pile, by introducing you to an entire series at once.

The good news: all of the books are available now, so you can binge read it all without waiting for the next one to release.

The better news: The first book, Beauty’s Curse, is a free ebook on all reading platforms. Get it here: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28781837-beauty-s-curse

If free is not enough to tempt you, read this blurb:

About Once Upon A Princess Saga

“I have better things to do.” 
“Like what?” Rose asked. “Waste your life on a fool’s journey, under a silly girl’s orders?” 
“I have never considered saving your life to be the same as wasting mine, Rosary.” He came and stood in front of her, the ease of his presence replaced by an unusual heat rather than familiar warmth. Rose had never before been bothered by the six inches he stood taller than her, but all of a sudden the shadow of his strength imposed itself on her. 
The cursed beauty of the moonlight revealed the clarity and sharpness of his eyes as she gazed up at him. “What if you did waste your life though? What if?” 
“If I have wasted my life, I have wasted it on you. Willingly.” 

 For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

 On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

 Enjoy this novella series retelling of the Sleeping Beauty, with new characters, new plot twists, and plenty of action and adventure. Perfect for teen and young adult historical fantasy readers.

 Once Upon A Princess Saga

The series is four books: Beauty’s Curse, Beauty’s quest, Beauty’s Gift, and Beauty’s Kiss.

Want to participate in a treasure hunt?

 At the end of each book in this series is a special collectible clue. Collect all four books, and get all four special prizes, FREE!

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To help celebrate the completion of her series, I asked C.S. Johnson some FANtastic questions:

Me: The Once Upon a Princess series is called a Historical Fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Can you define Historical Fantasy for us? What makes this version Historical?

 C.S: I tell people that this fairytale is set in between the historical European historical world with a few imaginary kingdoms thrown in. I have Greece and the Romani nations, and I have plenty of other references to history (Aragon, Gaul, etc.) but Rhone, Rose’s kingdom, is made up, and so are a few of the others. So you still have the socio-economic barriers of the Middle Ages, but you also have a mishmash of magical creatures, different species, and supernatural creatures. There are also issues with religion, politics, and social concerns just like there would be in real life. 

 If I had to put it on a map, I like to think it’s the part of land between Ireland and England the rest of Europe that’s now underwater. I think it’s a great way for all the fairy kingdoms and the pixies to hide their homes.

 Me: Good definition. Beauty’s Curse did have a very historical feel to it. And I like that idea of the faerie realm being underwater.

 How many versions of Sleeping Beauty did you research before deciding on how you wanted to tell your own story? Was there one you feel inspired you more than the others?

 C.S: I feel bad about this one, because I really only researched the Grimm fairy tale and the Disney version, and of course, the slap-dash post-modern nightmare that Disney made with Maleficent a few years ago. I hate things from all of them, to be honest. I especially hated how the princess is more or less at the mercy of other people’s choices from the very beginning. I don’t think any teenager princess would be willing to take that, no matter how charming and graceful and beautiful she is. 

 Me: Never feel bad for watching Disney movies. While we are on the subject of movies . . .

  If your series were made into a movie tomorrow, do you have a dream cast ready to give the director?

 C.S: I don’t really have a dream cast. I’m in love with my imagination, and I tend to live there for my entertainment needs more than I do here. 

 Me: Okay, I will let the director know, you prefer to use unknown actors. ;-D

 Your series features Fairies and magic, but it also has priests and Christians and scripture. How did you reconcile using these two seemingly different forces (God and magic) in the same story?

 C.S: This is a fairly consistent stance I have when it comes to faith. It says in the Bible that man is different from the Stars and Angels, and Jesus was unique in that he made himself like humans rather than the others. Angels have supernatural abilities and jobs, so I don’t see anything wrong with including angels, like Amalia, in my stories. I actually used the premise about the Stars for my fallen star superheroes in The Starlight Chronicles. It says in the Bible that humans are not meant to play with sorcery or consult with witches, and I really take this to mean that we, as humans, are not meant to play with or try to use magic. But for other creatures, especially magic and (so far as I know) imaginary ones?  I would see their magic as an innate trait, as Mary says, and like any ability, it would have limitations and rules placed on them by God and reinforced by their consciences. Of course, they would be fallen creatures, as we are, and they live in a fallen world, as we do, so they would have mostly-good and mostly-bad characters, same as humans do, because we are capable of both. I don’t see the two forces as competing forces, in the end; for me, God would have had to have designed them and granted them that free will and ability.  

 Me: I love that answer. And I have always been fascinated with the idea of stars as beings, more than just superheated balls of burning gas.

 Beauty’s Curse makes reference to at least one other classic fairy tale. If you could live the life of a Fairy Tale Princess, which one would you pick?

 C.S: If I could pick one, it would probably be “Beauty & the Beast.” I love love-hate stories. They’re really so good because they have a better understanding that people are at odds with other people, and when people come together, they become better people. I’m a very strong believer that love makes you a better person, even if it’s painful. Especially if it’s painful.

  Me: The perfect answer. I also adore all things Beauty and the Beast. Which begs a question. . .

 Now that Rose’s story is finished, are you planning on tackling any other fairy tales?

 C.S: I like fairy tales, I really do. I like the simple truth of their stories. I like that good and evil are brought out into more obvious terms, and I like that there is a lot of hope and redemption through courage and honor. But I don’t think I’d like to rewrite any other specific ones. Writing this one started out on a half-dare, from my students in my English class, when I explained how much I didn’t like Sleeping Beauty that much as a story. 

 I will say I’m still going to write them, but I like to borrow different elements from them and try to come up with my own scenarios. For example, Eydis: The Island of the Dragon Bride, is my latest novella, and it borrows things from the Atlantis myth, dragon myths, the traditional ‘damsel-princess-in-distress’ trope, and parts of Icelandic and Bermuda folklore. Ultimately, I like to ask my audience difficult questions—about faith, about life, about reality and how we can really know things—and I find fantasy and fairy tales are very lulling ways to do this without getting people angry (or angrier, in some cases.)

 Me: I love that you want to write original stories. Rose’s story was definitely the most original retelling of sleeping beauty I have ever read. Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about your series.

 ***

CS Johnson             About the Author

C. S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

 Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Google Plus 

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 25th

Book Spotlight – The Twirling Book Princess

 Tuesday, September 26th

– Book Spotlight – Michaela Mills

 Wednesday, September 27th

– FANtastic Interview –You are here

 Thursday, September 28th

– Book Review – Amanda’s Books and More

 Friday, September 29th

– Author Interview – Aconite Cafe

 Saturday, September 30th

– Book Review – Rachel Poli – I read. I write. I create.

Author Interview – Official Blog of Shannon A. Hiner

 Monday, October 2nd

– Author Interview – Liv K. Fisher

– Review – Mom with a Reading Problem

 Tuesday, October 3rd

– Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

 Wednesday, October 4th

Book Review – A Book A Day

– Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

– Author Interview – So Few Books

 Thursday, October 5th

Book Review – True YA Book Blogger

 Friday, October 6th

– Author Interview – Lands Uncharted

Book Spotlight – Rachel Lopez

Once Upon A Princess FB Party Banner – FACEBOOK PARTY – 8:30PM EST

 Saturday, October 7th

– Book Review – Rachel Poli – I read. I write. I create.

– Book Review – Official Blog of Shannon A. Hiner

 Monday, October 9th

– Wrap-Up Post – Unicorn Quester

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FANtastic Interview with Kristen Stieffel

Many of you reading this, may have heard me mention a writers conference called Realm Makers. At this conference I have met many author and have had the opportunity to learn from them. One of these authors is Kristen Stieffel and she is getting ready to release her first novel, Alara’s Call:

Alaras-Call-Kindle

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Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies. Alara’s Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.

Alara sees visions of other’s futures, but never her own.

A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.

But it’s a ruse.

The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara’s faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.

But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king’s palace…by any means necessary.

****

To help Kristen celebrate I am participating in a blog tour for Alara’s Call. And to help you understand why you need to read this book, I have invited Kristen over for one of my FANtastic interviews:

C: Naturally, Alara’s Call takes place in a fictional world, but the fictional religion, Telshanism, is very similar to Christianity. They have many theological elements in common and the dramatized worship services are familiar. So my question is, What was the story benefit of creating Telshanism rather than just using Christianity? Was it to avoid Historical comparisons?

 K: Actually, I’m all for historical comparisons!

I definitely modeled Telshanism closely on Christianity, quite deliberately. At one point I even considered writing the story as an alternate history rather than as a secondary world fantasy, but too many things had to change in order to set up all the culture clashes I wanted, to it was easier to just go the fantasy route. Since my story isn’t set in the real world, I thought it would be inappropriate to use a real religion.

C: It is easy to see the similarities between Telshan and Christianity, but with one big exception. What prompted you to make the Trinity female? Was it to help highlight the misogyny of the Makutian culture?

 K: It’s more like the misogyny of the Makutian culture was put there to contrast the equality of the Glynrellan culture.

One of my main goals was to explore what a truly equal society would look like. But here’s the problem: In our own actual Christianity we have a verse that says “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NRSV). Yet we don’t actually behave as if that were true.

From the second century onward, women were marginalized and excluded from church leadership. One of the main arguments used against female church leadership has been that Jesus and all his disciples were men. Never mind that the first person to share the good news “He is risen” was a woman.

What would need to be in place for women to not be marginalized? Well, what if the deity were female? But an all-female trinity could possibly lead to the marginalization of men, which isn’t what I wanted.

Many people even now like to refer to the Holy Spirit as “she,” because doing so helps us to acknowledge the feminine nature of God — who must have a feminine nature because both male and female are created in God’s image.

So I took that interpretation of the Trinity and flipped it, so that instead of Father, Son, and a Spirit some people address as feminine, I have a feminine creator, a feminine Redeemer, and a masculine Counselor. This allows me to explore ideas in the fantasy realm that I couldn’t do if I had exported literal Christianity to the fantasy storyworld.

C: Alara is a Curate in her religion, basically a priest or a pastor, but she is also a prophet. Do you believe that God still uses Prophets today? Do we just not notice them?

 K: I don’t see anything in Scripture that says any of the spiritual gifts have stopped operating in the church, so yes, I believe there are still those who have the gift of prophecy. In many mainline traditions, we tend to look the other way or write people with this gift off as cranks. I think we do so at our own peril. Scripture says we will know a prophet by whether what they say comes to pass. So we need to pay attention, if only to determine whether the speaker is speaking for the Lord or is being presumptuous.

 You may say to yourself, “How can we recognize a word that the Lord has not spoken?” If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 NRSV)

 Frederick Buechner, in his book Wishful Thinking, says, “Prophet means spokesman, not fortune-teller.” I think this is important to remember, because even in Scripture we often see that the prophets are not only predicting the future, they are also teaching the people of God what they need to hear. Whether they want to hear it or not.

At a meeting of the Central Florida Presbytery, we once had a guest speaker who gave a stirring talk on the church’s role in combating violence in our culture. I was only mildly surprised afterward to hear my pastor refer to the talk as “prophetic.” The speaker hadn’t made any predictions, but he had called the church to action. That’s the kind of thing I think of in our current day when I think of prophets.

C: I love this definition of Prophet, and after reading Alara’s Call I can see how you used it to shape her character.

Speaking of characters, the character descriptions are so clear I can easily picture them in my mind. Did you compile a dream cast for Alara’s Call to base the descriptions on? If yes can you share pictures?

 K: Oh, my. I have such vivid pictures in my head, I could never entirely choose actors to play the roles. No one ever had precisely the right look. Except for General Rariden. He has always been Harrison Ford

.Harrison Ford

I’ve lately decided that Jenna Coleman could probably pull off the role of Alara,

Jenna Coleman

and Diego Luna would pass for Dorrel.

Diego Lune

But — and I realize I show my age — my favorite actor to play Dorrel would have been the late, great Roger Rees.

roger-rees-nypl-promo

I have a Pinterest board for Alara’s Call if you want to see more.

https://www.pinterest.com/kristenstieffel/alaras-call/

C: Yes, I love these choices. When you get that big movie deal, push really hard for this casting.

In Alara’s world, they use medieval technology. But I also got a Renaissance almost Regency feel, no doubt inspired by the beautiful cover art. Was there any one historical period that inspired the world of Alara’s Call?

 K: The main inspiration is nineteenth-century Europe, with all the small countries close together and interrelated royal families and court intrigues. The main departure from nineteenth-century technology is that my storyworld doesn’t have black powder, so there are no firearms or explosives. So the armaments are at more of a medieval level. But in all other ways, the world is meant to have more of a Regency/early Victorian feel.

C: If you could take one element from your world building to bring into the real world what would it be?

K: That’s an interesting question, because everything in the storyworld—other than the Telshan trinity—does exist in the real world, or (in the case of some of the manifestations of characters’ specific gifts) is described in Scripture. I guess if I were going to pick one thing from the storyworld that I wish we did as well in the real world, it would be the Glynrellan culture of equality. America has a fairly egalitarian culture, but we still have lots of room for improvement.

 Thank you for coming Kristen and sharing about your novel.

 Kristen-Stieffel-Headshot Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction. Although she edits projects in varied genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash-fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy. Visit http://www.kristenstieffel.com to learn more about this many-faceted author.

Follow Kristen on Social media:

Kristen’s WebsiteHer BlogAmazon Author pageFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Don’t forget to add Alara’s call to your to read list:

Alara’s Call releases September 19th. Pre-order it here.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour:

M, 11th: Review, Gretchen Engel,  www.scriblerians.com/www.newauthors.wordpress.com

            Interview, Catherine Bonham, You are Here

T, 12th: Visual Post, Jebraun Clifford, www.jebraunclifford.com

W, 13th: Review, Kate Jameson, www.kategjameson.wordpress.com

            Review, Anna Tan, www.blog.annatsp.com

R, 14th: Guest Post, Laura A. Grace, www.unicornquester.com

            Interview, J.M. Hackman, www.jmhackman.com

F, 15th: Story World Feature, Travis Perry, www.travisbigidea.blogspot.com

            Visual Post, Liv Fisher, www.livkfisher.blogspot.com

Sa, 16th: Top 3 Post, Laurie Lucking, www.landsuncharted.com

Su, 17th: Behind the Scenes, Steve Rzasa, www.steverzasa.com

M, 18th: Review, Laurin Boyle, www.laurinboyle.wordpress.com

T, 19th: Behind the Scenes, Kristen Stieffel, www.newauthors.wordpress.com

W, 20th: Guest Post, Gillian Bronte Adams, www.gillianbronteadams.com

R, 21st: Review, Michele Israel Harper, www.micheleisraelharper.com

F, 22nd: Guest Post, Rebecca LuElla Miller, www.rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com

Lawless cover reveal

Today on the blog I am participating in a cover reveal for a very exciting new novel.

 Lawless By: Janeen Ippolito hit my rader for two very important reasons. It is a steampunk fantasy WITH DRAGONS!!!

Read the awesome blurb below:

 The salvation of humans and dragons lies within a convicted murderer.

 Dragonshifter Kesia Ironfire has one goal—to redeem her past by serving the cruel dragon Pinnacle as a soldier in the dragon-human war.

 Then a rogue mission to spy on a new airship explodes into sickening green smoke. The same mysterious green smoke that was present the night of Kesia’s crime. When her dragon overlords deny any involvement, she and her tactical partner Zephryn Nightstalker try to investigate–and are sentenced to death.

 Still searching for answers, Kesia and Zephryn flee to the human military capital, where Captain Shance Windkeeper has been furloughed after the destruction of his airship. Eager to discover what–and who–blew up his vessel, he agrees to help Kesia and Zephryn infiltrate High Command. In exchange, Kesia must pretend to be his betrothed so Shance can escape an arranged marriage. If only she knew what ‘betrothed’ and ‘arranged marriage’ meant.

 But human social customs are the least of her worries. Dark secrets surface as Kesia delves deeper–secrets that challenge the facts of her crime and undermine the war itself.

 A steampunk fantasy adventure with a side of quirky romance and snark.

 So when Janeen was looking for help revealing her gorgious cover I raised my hand and shouted, “I volunteer.”

 So without further ado:

LawlessCover

AHH, IT’S SO AMAZING!!

 Now having seen that amazing cover art, naturally you want to read it right now. Good news, it comes out the 29th of September. That’s this month! But until then you can pre-order it from these fine retailers:

Amazon  Apple  Kobo  Barnes & Noble

 Signed copies here: Uncommon universe press.  I highly recommend this option.

 Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

About the Author:

IMG_20170726_062222322 (2)

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She writes quirky nonfiction world-building and writing resources, plus she’s an author of speculative fiction with monsters, misfits, and mushy stuff. She’s also an experienced author coach, teacher, and the Fearless Leader (president) of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. A lifelong misfit, she believes different is beautiful and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her two websites: janeenippolito.com and writeinsideout.com

 UUP Facebook Page  

Janeen Ippolito Facebook Author Page

Website: http://www.janeenippolito.com

Twitter: @TheQuietPen

Instagram: janeen_ippolito

 LawlessAvailableSept29