The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove

So you may have noticed that I’ve been posting a lot of book releases on this blog. Well I hope you aren’t sick of them because I have another one for you. This time it’s a comedy/horror anthology.  Perfect for the Halloween season.

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Graves Grove isn’t your ordinary town…

Nestled within the folds of the Canadian Rockies, Graves Grove probably isn’t the picturesque place you’d like to stay for long. Peculiar things happen here. The citizens seem normal superficially–they function well enough. But each one is deeply disturbed, wrapped in secrets and neuroses which drive them to strange behaviors.

And then there are all the missing children. And why is everyone afraid of that sycamore tree?

The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove is an anthology of stories taking place throughout the history of this mysterious town, from its founding to its future. Read them…if you dare.

Here are the Graves Grove Amazon links: KindlePaperback, and even Hardcover.

Proceeds will benefit Reading is Fundamental. A non-profit that helps improve literacy skills and brings a love of reading to kids across America.

And wait until I tell you the best part.

Inside the Whispered Tales of Graves Grove you can find the short stories:

“The Canadian Cottingly” and “Fairy Troubled”

(I’ll give you one guess what those are about.)

Why are these two stories so special? Well, because they were both written by me.

Hooray for being published.

But don’t just read it for my stories. Graves Grove also contains stories from lots of other authors too.

If you are looking for a spooky collection of stories to entertain you and make you laugh, then purchase the Whispered Tales of Graves Grove and support a for a good cause.

 

 

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FANtastic interview for Lawless blog tour

Hey remember when I hosted a cover reveal for an amazing, steampunk fantasy novel about Dragonshifters? Oh, you don’t, Click here.

Well anyway, it’s out now!

 

You can buy it from these fine retailers:

Amazon  Apple  Kobo  Barnes & Noble  Signed copies here: Uncommon universe press.  

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.

This blog tour is super special because the author is hosting a scavenger hunt, and I am one of the stops.

ScavengerHunt

I’m actually the last stop. To find the rest of the clues you need to visit the other blog tour stops marked with *.

Sept. 21* – Laura A. Grace – Unicorn Quester – Author Interview 

Sept. 22* – Josh Hardt – Character Interview

Sept. 25 – Annie Douglass Lima – Realm Explorers

Sept. 26* – Anna Tan – Steampunk, Fantasy, and Cultures

Sept. 27* – Fanni Suto – Author Interview

Sept. 28 – Leanna Shields – Character Chat

Sept. 29 – Kessie Carroll – Book Spotlight

Sept. 30* – Bethany Jennings – Character MBTI

Oct. 1 – Melissa Sasina – Book Spotlight

Oct. 2 – Alexander Preston – Book Review

Oct. 3* – Kyle Shultz – Character Interview

Oct. 4* – Cathrine Bonham – FANtastic Interview

Oct. 5 – C. S. Johnson – Book Spotlight

Oct. 6 – Kara Swanson – Character Interview

And now to get the seventh and final clue you must first read this FANtastic interview with author Janeen Ippolito:

C: Hello Janeen and thank you for taking the time for this FANtastic interview.

Let’s start with Steampunk. What does Steampunk mean to you?

J: Oh man, steampunk means possibilities. I was already a history nerd in addition to a science fiction and fantasy nerd, so when I discovered there was this whole subculture of alternate Victorian history with anachronisms? Be still my beating heart! And then when I learned it had expanded to other fun anachronistic time periods with alternate history, it just made my life better.

 C: Do you have anything to say to those who would disqualify your novel from the steampunk genre, simply for having dragons in it?

 J: *shrugs* Nah. Everyone’s entitled to their preferences. Live and let live. And I choose to live with dragons.

 C: Who wouldn’t choose to live with dragons? Especially, superpowered shapeshifting Dragons.

 Your characters have unique Talents. Kesia can shapeshift. Zephryn can cloak, and Shance has windpowers. If you could possess a talent from your story world which one would you pick?

 J: Oh man, I had so much fun with the Talents! Oh dear. Probably wind powers. I’ve always wanted to control wind currents. I blame my favorite comic being X-Men. Go Storm!

 C: If you find yourself suddenly sucked into your own story world, which character would you most want to be your companion and protector while there?

 J: Kesia Ironfire all the way. Sorry Zephryn and Shance. Y’all are great, but Kesia has the most resources and abilities because of SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.

 C: Yes Kesia would be my choice too, because of all the, [SPOILERS]!

 OK, while we are on Characters, I know you can answer this.

  Dream cast and . . . GO!

 J: Woohoo!

Kesia

 

 Kesia Ironfire – Rachel Bilson. I love the sweet face with that mischief. Kesia is so often underestimated because she looks so *nice*.

 

 

Shance

 

 

Shance Windkeeper – Alex Pettyfer. As soon as I saw his face, I knew he was Shance. Equal parts capable, strong-willed and romantic, with that edge of pretty-boy.

 

Zephryn

 

 

 

Zephryn Nightstalker – young Masood Ali Khan. I found him on Pinterest and immediately knew he belonged in the story. It was one of the few times where a ref came to me at the same time as the actual character.

 

C: Yes to Alex Pettyfer. I can totally see him as Shance.

 Lawless features a pretty unconventional love triangle. What are your feelings on love Triangles in speculative fiction? Are the themes in Lawless meant to reflect a more realistic approach to love?

 J: I’m a huge fan of messy relationships in fiction and that includes romantic relationships. In my mind, nothing makes a character’s day worse like romantic difficulties—and I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, so I can’t leave the feels out of any story! As a student of culture and anthropology, I’m also fascinated with how one approaches love and affection reflects in individual personalities, whether or not they’re even involved with anyone.

 Okay, now you’re getting some flag-waving.

 Love triangles don’t have to be some weird, sappy thing where two guys inexplicably fall for the same girl. In many works of classic literature they are used in ways that create real stress and tension in the plot, and unsatisfied love can lead to great character growth! One of my favorite love triangles is in A Tale of Two Cities—which also takes place during a time of great upheaval and conflict (aka, The French Revolution). The love triangle only adds to the stress and character journeys, rather than being a fantasy pipe dream.

 AND I’m also a pragmatist who constantly observes others. I’ve seen love triangles play out in Real Life. Astonishingly? There is often far less drama. People can be like adults and get over themselves. They can even be friends with the “winners” and go on to have healthy lives, with or without Significant Others. So yes, I wanted to show more of that side of love triangles. And that doesn’t mean it’s easy. What does it look like to have to make your brain stop seeing this person as a potential lover and instead see them as a friend? Pretty awkward sometimes. But all of that is part of character growth, which adds a different kind of fun tension.

 Unless I’m body-snatched, I’ll always have some romance in my fiction, but I’ll always take unique angles that offer new perspectives on tropes, further individual character development, and increase the intensity and friction in the overall plot. Again, more of A Tale of Two Cities instead of Twilight.

 C: Not only are the characters and the plot of Lawless amazing, it also takes place in a pretty unique world. I have to say, I love your story world, and I want to live there.

 From conception to final draft, how long did it take you to refine?

 J: Oh man, I started brainstorming it in around February 2015. It first started with about 10,000 words in what will now be Book 3. Then I kept building the world and thought I’d write this other story to explore it—that story ended up being Book 2. And I already had ideas for Book 4. And when I fully realized what the dragon-human war was, I knew I had to write Lawless as Book 1, and that I needed a final book to round up the series. So then I outlined all five books in one afternoon, and shortly after I started drafting Lawless.

 C: Okay let’s just get this out in the open, Lawless is the first book in the Ironfire Legacy, how long will this series be and, most importantly, how long am I going to have to wait for the next book?

 J: The Ironfire Legacy will be five full-length novels, with at least two novellas. The novella, Priceless (Book 1.5) which follows the journeys of two compelling side characters, should be out in late winter 2018. The next novel, Faithless (Book 2), should be out in late summer 2018!

 C: Wow I can’t believe I have to wait so long, next summer feels like an eternity away. Anyway that you for stopping by and for having such FANtastic answers to my questions.

Janeen

 

 

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She creates writing resources and writes speculative fiction with monsters, misfits, and mushy stuff. She’s also an experienced author coach, editor, teacher, and the Fearless Leader (president) of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, geeky TV, and 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: @TheQuietPen, Facebook, Instagram: janeen_ippolito, and at her two websites: janeenippolito.com and writeinsideout.com

 

 And now for your final clue:

 

You have until the end of the Facebook release party to enter.

And it’s Tonight! October 4th, 9PM til midnight.

So get your thinking caps on and get those answers in. The winner will be announced on Thursday with the rest of the giveaway winners from the party.

Don’t forget to RSVP to the event.

 

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!

***

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

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

****

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

White Wolf and the Ash Princess Blog tour.

Hi, guess what? I’m participating in another blog tour. This time it’s for the book: The White Wolf and the Ash Princess by Tammy Lash.

 White Wolf and the Ash Princess

About White Wolf and the Ash Princess

Eighteen year old Izzy’s limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore…”Who am I?”

Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was injured in a fire. Fifteen year old Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued her and took Izzy in as their own, but who did she belong to before Jonathan took her in?

Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne’s thirteen-year old stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall to a world that promises possible answers. A scorched castle in the woods and its mysterious cellar reveal secrets that push Izzy beyond her discomfort to embark in a journey to the New World with her young friend.

Here, she finds love and a home in the most unexpected of places.

 Purchase Link

– Amazon (available on KindleUnlimited): http://a.co/0XX0PDf

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34103987-white-wolf-and-the-ash-princess

I am excited for this book, though I haven’t read it yet, how can you resist a book that involves a book dare?

 Today I invited Tammy over to my blog and gave her the floor to talk about anything she wanted.

 She kindly agreed, and wrote this great post below:

*****

 How to Write with Anxiety Disorders

 Oooo! I’m having a mini panic attack. I was asked to write two blog posts. Two blog posts—and one of them is to be on whatever I want to write about.

Yikes! That’s double pressure. A) I need to write two blog posts. B) One of them is to be on whatever I want to write about.

My first instinct is to run for my bed covers and snuggle there until the “noise” goes away—but, I have a promise to keep (that’s a story for my other panic-inducing blog post)—and I won’t run and hide because I know I can do this. To help drown out the negative chatter in my head, I’ll just crank up my King Arthur soundtrack a little louder today. Together we’ll talk about what I know best—battling anxiety—and we’ll learn how to use it to our advantage in our writing.

 Accepting the Distracting Tri-head of Anxiety

I had no idea what was happening inside my stomach at age five. It felt like something angry was living there. I finally found out at age thirty that my “angry something” had a name. Three names, in fact. Over the years, the angry something grew and it morphed into the noisy tri-head of OCD, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety.

Living with the trio is like wearing a headset playing the uncomfortably loud “Assassins Breathe” from the King Arthur soundtrack. You try to do your daily tasks but the noise that storms through your ears and into your brain makes it difficult. It confuses you. It makes simple tasks seem scary and it makes the days ahead feel like a maze you’ll never find your way out of.

With Christian counseling, the help of my husband, family and close friends, my tri-head has gotten a little less angry. I can still hear the noise from the headset—but the volume is a little less loud.

This isn’t a post meant to spark a debate on whether Christians should have these types of disorders. I am a Christian and—I have these disorders. The debate never gets off the ground for me. I know what the Bible says about them. The Lord desires us to “be anxious for nothing” and He asks that we “do not fear”. I’ve camped out in the Psalms, begged for relief and prayed the words in different ways hoping I’d finally say the right combination. I listened to pastors who said I was doing something wrong and I let them make me feel like a weak imposter.

 On my last day of therapy, a thought woke me up and it completely changed how I see myself and my anxiety. What if my angry trio was meant to be a part of me? Isn’t God the Master of everything? Time, weather, circumstance—mental health? He could cure me if He chose to, but He hasn’t. I may never be free—BUT is that so bad? I smiled at my therapist when I told him my new discovery. He smiled back and nodded an agreement. The kind of smile that said I passed my years of therapy with an A+. I have come to believe that OCD, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety disorder are no different than the diabetes of your uncle or the high blood pressure of your aunt. These are life’s annoyances that are no different than the wart on your knuckle that won’t go away no matter how much you pick at it. It’s there—possibly forever—and why does that have to be bad? It’s an inconvenience— not the result of sin or a lack of faith.

I have come to believe that the Maker and Creator of all things gave me my trio to serve a purpose. This makes me special and unique. How could a gift like this be bad? So, with this new realization, I poured my experience with my trio into my writing. From it, White Wolf and The Ash Princess was born and this is how I did it…

 OCD Can Be a Good Thing

If you have it too, you’re probably shaking your head. I know, I know—sometimes it can be a complete pain. My OCD is mild for the most part. It’s cute and funny with a sprinkling of irritating. My family and I call my weird OCD hang-ups “ticks”. For example, before I can go to bed, I must first: take a sip of water. Second: smear chapstick on my lips until I reach the “you-can’t-possibly-be-putting-any-more-on-you’re-just-smearing-it-around” phase (hubby quote). Third: one last careful sip of water to keep my lip layers intact. Heaven forbid, I forget to go to the bathroom. Miss this step, and the three steps NEED to be done all over again. My husband finds this funny. He’ll sit at the edge of the bed with an amused smirk to try to catch the number of times the stick passes over my lips. We have yet to see how many times I do it. Apparently, I’m super-fast at it.

OCD in writing can be an amazing thing. It can keep you from moving on from a ho-hum scene. In Letters from the Dragon’s Son (the coming sequel to White Wolf and the Ash Princess), I could NOT leave one of my chapters. I literally read it or thought about it all day for days on end. Each time I thought about it, I looked harder into the scene. Every time I read it, I made the adjustments that my daydreams told me to. When I finally felt ready to let the chapter go, I was stunned at what my OCD tendencies left behind. Jonathan was the “rawest” and most pure in emotion that I had ever seen him in. Shaping and combing it until I felt it was right helped me bring him and his circumstance to a richer level. The extra flourishes were made by my OCD brush and I wouldn’t have reached that color of emotion if it weren’t for my “tick”.

 Panic Disorder Can Be a Good Thing

Out of the three, I despise this one the most. Panic disorder is uncomfortable—it’s scary—and it’s debilitating. This disorder feeds you heaping portions of terror until you are helplessly full. Overstuffed, you can’t catch your breath and your heart pounds so fast you fear it will short-circuit and stop. Our brain tries to convince us we’re dying and our body angrily fights back to keep it from happening. Feeling this type of panic is like getting to see what dying could be like in sample size for free (without actually dying)—like the tiny, clear cups of granola that they pass out at Wal-Mart in the grocery area to see if you really like it or not. Who wants to die? Nothing good can come from a disorder that gives you free test samples of death? Can it?

White Wolf absorbed the heaping helpings for me and it housed most of my anxious energy. It gave me the will to keep going, to share, and to help someone else struggling with panic. Writing helped me focus on something other than terror. Yep. Good things can come from panic disorder. You just have to look and find them.

 Generalized Anxiety Can be a Good Thing

This is the disorder that I’ve had the longest and it’s the one that has the strongest grip. I’m afraid of so many things, it’d take up pages for me to list them all. Some are crazy and insane and if I tell you, you’ll laugh. Ok. Maybe at this point we all need a laugh. Mascots (the cuter the scarier), clowns, policemen, TASERS (My terror is getting caught jay-walking. That’s when I’ll get tased, I just know it!), flying sticks, firemen, people in costume, talking on the phone, flying sticks—did you catch that one?

My anxious spirit seems quieter now that I’m writing about the things that I’m afraid of. I feel like a mean ogre piling it high on my characters, but I promise them a happy ending and that seems to suffice them. The things that had once seemed threatening before in the outside world, seem to lose their power when they’re shoved in a book. I find myself thinking more about storylines, scenes and characters than the looming doctor appointment that I have coming up or the broken garage door. I’m not losing touch with reality, I’m leveling it out. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Isn’t thinking on a book for His glory most, if not all, of those things?

White Wolf and the Ash Princess and Letters from the Dragon’s Son are more than steps towards healing and wellness. They’re a way for me to reach out and help others who feel the same as I do. If that doesn’t make my angry trio a blessing, I don’t know what does. As uncomfortable as they sometimes are, I’m so thankful and blessed to have my disorders.

 A Challenge for Those Struggling with Disorders

How about you? Do you struggle with the same three “thorns of the flesh” as I do? If you do, don’t listen to their voices of limitation. Don’t be afraid of them. Use them to your advantage and put them in your work. Use your strengths and weakness for Him. Lean on Him and trust Him. Don’t give up and let the trio engulf you. Use them while you’re battling them and do it for His glory. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with His help. You—and your writing—will grow in ways you never dreamed possible.

Tammy Lash             About the Author

Tammy lives in Lower Michigan with her husband and her three children. Izzy’s home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Munising) is where she and her family enjoy exploring. Tammy enjoys hiking, kayaking, beach wandering, “hunting” for birch bark and hopes to someday find a porcupine quill. White Wolf and the Ash Princess is her first novel. She is published in Keys for Kids and has been in children’s ministry for over twenty years.

Social Media Links: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest

*****

I want to thank Tammy for her insightful post and I apologize for any extra anxiety I caused. 🙂

 White Wolf Giveaway Banner

Tammy has generously offered to give away a signed paperback of White Wolf and the Ash Princess, birch bark bookmark, and necklace (three winners). US only. 

Good Luck: Click Here

I almost forgot, check out the rest of the tour here:

 Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 7th

– Launch Day – Unicorn Quester

– Guest Post –dolphin18cb– You are here

 Tuesday, August 8th

Book Review – Ashley Bogner

 Wednesday, August 9th

– Book Review – Indie Book Reviews

 Thursday, August 10th

– Guest Post – Dream. Write. Repeat.

 Friday, August 11th

– Interview – Lands Uncharted

 Saturday, August 12th

– Wrap-Up Post – Unicorn Quester