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:

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 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

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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

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Cosplay on a budget and on the fly: Part 2

So the costume is coming together. But the deadline is looming ever closer. You aren’t quite sure if you’ll get it done in time. Then of course you have to remember to pack the sucker.

Here are my top costume ideas for heading out in character on the fly.

 I was going to take pictures of each of these, but it’s 90% humidity where I’m at so I don’t feel like having a fashion show right now.

 Idea #1) World’s biggest fan.

 You have that one fandom, the one where it’s not just an obsession, it’s a way of life. You don’t just have the cosplay, you have the quote tee, the character tee, the printed leggings, the socks, the watch, the shoulder bag. Your entire wardrobe basically. Use it. Your devotion is your cosplay. You are — The World’s Biggest Fan!

 But, what if you’re a devote of multiple fandoms?

 Well put on a little bit of everything and call yourself Random Fandom.

 The beauty of this is that even if multiple people use this idea, there will never be two exactly the same.

 Idea #2) Hitchhiking through the galaxy.

 Did the airport loose your luggage? Did you forget, in your packing flurry, to pack you costume? Or did you just plain run out of time?

 Throw on a bath robe/pajamas/anything that looks like you just escaped your planet blowing up. Grab a towel and slap the words DON’T PANIC on the back of the closest available book/book like thing. You are now from Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Which character? Does it matter. It’s a big galaxy with many hitchhikers. Make up a name.

 Idea #3) It’s so Modern.

 Just think about all of the modern characters who wear Jeans and T-shirts. The Twilight characters, the Supernatural guys, a Doctor Who Companion all of these are just modern clothing with a few accessories. You could be the Storybrook version of your favorite Once upon a time character.

Twilight is super easy — just throw on a little body glitter.

Warning:  Do not use Body glitter in 90% humidity. 

 Idea #4) Guys clothing is so much easier.

 Why gender swap, when you can just go as a boy?

I am comfortable enough in my femininity that I can wear men’s clothing and pretend to be a man for a couple hours without having a crisis of identity.

 Lets face it ladies, cos-playing men is so much easier than women.

How about the Beast instead of Belle? That peasant top and black Capri, would be a great post transformation prince costume.

But if you are a guy, gender swapping is still totally an option. It would be easy for you to grab a Blue shirt and a white vest to play Bel. Bel, short for Bellemy maybe? Grab a book, place a rose in that button hole and done. Though if you want to wear the dress, I’m not judging.

Yes I am still waiting for a guy willing to play Bel to my beast. Or I can be Belle, i’m really not picky. Now taking applications for next year.

 So there you have it. My best ideas for super fast, super easy cosplay.

 Who have you always wanted to be?

Cosplaying on a budget and on the fly: Part 1.

The 2017 RealmMakers conference in Reno is at the end of this month. Some people dress up for the annual costume banquet. If you are like me you probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on extravagant costumes. Yet at the same time you really want to be clever and original.

Are you running out of time to get your costume together? Did you spend all of your money on that Plane ticket to Reno? What if I told you, you can still have an amazing costume without breaking the bank?

Are you interested?

 Good, I have three rules for you:

 1) Cosplay does not have to be screen worthy, just recognizable.

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Is the piping on the sleeves correct? No, it’s just yellow felt. Is the the badge accurate? No, I literally printed the first image from google onto card stock and taped a safety pin on the back. Blue shirt, black slacks, black men’s under shirt showing through the top.

Can anyone look at this costume and not think Star Trek? No and that is what what makes this a costume win.

 2) Regular clothes can be a costume.

 Using ready made clothing saves time on sewing. Using clothes from your closet or goodwill saves money. Altered clothing will hold up better than most costumes. Clothing is machine washable, and after your event it can go back into your closet for instant reuse as anything. Instead of taking up space between fan events.

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Black slacks, recycled graduation robe as a wizarding cloak, and a novelty shirt that I found at Walmart. But you could use a white button up shit and a grey cardigan. Add any house colored tie for extra realism.

 Rule 3 the last and greatest rule: Cosplay is meant to be fun.

In spite of  rule one’s best intentions some people will not get it. That’s okay. We do it for it the people who will get it. 

If your costume is stressing you out, then maybe you need to step back and rethink your design. Can it be simplified? Can you get away with something more abstract?

Maybe you are trying to cosplay a fandom you have no passion for because friends wanted to group cosplay.

Or maybe you were told that you could never cosplay that character you love because you are the wrong Gender, Body Type, Hair Color or Race.

Do not let anyone keep you from that fandom you love. You can be anything you love.

Refer to rule one and do the thing!

FANtastic interview with Illusionary Author, Desiree Williams.

Illusionary Blog Tour Banner

Today’s post is an extra special one, because today I am participating in a blog tour for Desiree Williams’s new book Illusionary.

 First about the book:

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 Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

 Alice fell down a hole.

 Wendy flew to Neverland.

 Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

 Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

 Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.

 No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

 Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

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 I have already read and fallen in love with Illusionary. Even before Illusionary though, I was already a fan of Desiree Williams because of an amazing book she wrote called Sun and Moon. So that’s why, to celebrate this new book release, I got in touch with Desiree for a FANtastic interview. (Because I’m a fan, get it?)

 A great big thank you to Desiree Williams for visiting the Blog and answering all my geeky questions.

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C: One of the things I loved about both Sun and Moon, and Illusionary, was the stand alone nature of the novels, was it a conscious choice to keep the story contained to one book, or was that just the natural ending place?

D: For both books, I pre-determined that they would be standalone stories. While I (along with other readers) love series, for these two stories I wanted them to have a standing ground all to themselves. However, for Sun and Moon, I do have plans for Zara and Jaedon to have a cameo appearance in a future novel—not an extension of their story, just a fun appearance.

C: I can’t wait for that. I loved the world building in Sun and Moon and can see many more interesting stories set there. I have one more question that applies to both Sun and Moon and Illusionary.

As an adult reader, I love that your protagonists are of an adult age, meanwhile the novels still have that YA feel. Is this a major consideration for you when writing romance, especially considering the main plot device used in Sun and Moon, that they actually be old enough to get married?

D: In a way, yes. I love the thought that there is an individual out there created to journey with us in life. That God designs our paths to connect with the love of our hearts and souls—our other half. And I would like the characters to be old enough to explore this depth of love.

C: Illusionary would make a great movie. Did you create a dream cast for Illusionary?

D: Ah, I so agree with this! Illusionary would be epic as a movie! My heart soars at the thought. But no, I don’t have a dream cast in mind of who would play Kam and Reese. Although, ideally, it’d be nice for them to be new faces, actors who hadn’t been sucked into the world of Hollywood darkness.

C: I love the idea of the actors being unknowns. Illusionary would an epic story to launch a career with.

Illusionary has multiple references to classic children’s books, what was your favorite book to read as a child?

D: Uh … confession time. I actually had a rather rough childhood and was deprived of books (outside of school) until my teenage years. The earliest books I remember being in love with were the Immortals Series by Tamora Pierce. Once I got my first library card, my world exploded with possibilities after that. =)

C: I too love Tamora Pierce books. Her world building is amazing. While we are talking about other authors, I must know: Is there a Baum county NC? If not why did you choose this name?

D: LOL. No there isn’t a Baum County NC. This name, along with Carroll Memorial Hospital and Barrie’s Children Hospital, where inspired by the writers of the classic stories. Those, along with other nuggets, are woven through Illusionary.

(If you visit Desiree’s facebook page you will find three behind the scenes videos with easter eggs for Illusionary.)

C: Speaking of nuggets I want to know something about the magical red gem. Reese says it was a gift from his Grandmother. He references other jewels as well. Is there anything special about the rest of the set?

D: Technically, no, there isn’t. The red tear had been a gift but the Oracle tweaked it for Kam’s purpose. Which helped in getting Reese to open his eyes and see things differently. The other jewels were just pretty trinkets that had belonged to his grandmother and passed down to Reese.

C: Pity, I really thought I was onto something there.

If you had a choice of visiting a fictional world, which would you choose?

D: I can’t pick one. I’ve tried before, and I still can’t choose where I’d want to go. Can’t I just go to them all? I mean, as a reader, I’ve visited so many amazing places and characters in my mind. Instead, I’ll say I want story dust. That way I can bring the all fictional worlds to me. 😉

C: Okay but since Ur is the only place to get story dust . . . If you could visit Ur, without falling down the stairs to get there, what would you do there for a day?

D: Oooh! So many possibilities. Hmmm … First, I’d need to eat some moon-jacks and pork spears with the Treasures Ones, and avoid getting caught in Tock’s mouth. Then I’d swing by Wonder Winds to get some fashion advice from Paloma. After that, I’d probably bask in the beauty of Native Hollow or play soccer with a few of the Indocan children. And I’d end the day with having a cup of tea with the Oracle. Oh my … can I just go do that now?

C: Not yet I have a couple more questions for you.

*Possible spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned*

Without spoiling the end for people who haven’t read it yet, can you talk about the Oracle? Was it important to you for readers to understand who he represents? Do you feel the story would have been less complete without him?

D: *headdesk* Oh, how to answer this question without spoilers! I think it is important for readers to understand or at least pick up on who the Oracle represents in the story. Because I believe it would give them a deeper impact of the ending and the reasons/ importance of why Kam was pulled from the real world and dumped into the Land of Ur. There technically isn’t a villain in the story, not in a true sense. The conflict resolution is all based on something far deeper. And yes, it does involve the Oracle and the desire to see Reese prosper beyond the chains that bind him.

C: Here’s the sad truth. I cried, so hard, during that moment when Kam and Reese say goodbye. What’s your most memorable “all the feels” moment?

D: How can I pick just ONE “all the feels” moment?!?! Illusionary was a roller-coaster for me. From grinning like a goober at all the mushy scenes to crying myself in the cave when they had to say goodbye. However the specific moment I have in mind is a spoiler, and I can’t go into too much detail. But I will give hints so that those who have read Illusionary can pick it up. My favorite “all the feels” moment is toward the end where Kam walks into her living room looking all sloppy and is on the verge of having her heart fly from her chest.

C: Oh yes that moment was the best. I would have been angry if it had ended any other way.

Thank you to Desiree Williams for answering my questions and thank you reader for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy getting to know Illusionary and its author as much as I have.

D: Thanks so much for having me on today! *big hugs* I loved all your questions and am so grateful I got to visit. Blessings!

Desiree Williams

About the Author

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at www.desireewilliamsbooks.com

You can also visit her on the following social media sites:

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / Newsletter

Illusionary

Illusionary can be purchased from these fine retailers:

Amazon: http://a.co/hj1bDtH

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/illusionary-desiree-williams/1125821432?ean=2940154019337

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/illusionary

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/illusionary/id1207467393?mt=11

Don’t forget to add Illusionary to your to-read list on Goodreads:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34363709-illusionary

 Illusionary Blog Tour Giveaway

  Giveaway Here

Desiree has graciously offered to give away the following prizes: a “Make everyday an adventure” pillow, “Don’t Grow Up! It’s a Trap!” metal sign, book cozy, signed paperback of Illusionary, notebook with pens, sketch book with colored pencils, and a “Eat Cake for Breakfast” travel cup.

The winner of the grand prize giveaway will be selected on Monday, Jun 12th at approx. 9 AM (EST). The winner will be announced on Desiree’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Feel free to visit the rest of the tour at the following stops:

Blog Tour Schedule

June 5th Launch Day – HOPE through the Pages

              Spotlight – Rachel Lopez

              Book Review – Jebraun Clifford – Dream. Write. Repeat.

              Interview – Jilligan’s Island

 June 6th Book Review – Indie Book Reviews

              Spotlight – Christian Book News

              Interview – Bookworm Mama

 June 7th Book Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

              Book Review – Prismatic Prospects

              Interview – dolphin18cb [You are here!]

 June 8th Book Review – Lands Uncharted

              Book Review – Seasons of Humility

              Interview – Liv K. Fisher

 June 9th Book Review – She Hearts Fiction

              Book Review – Chrissi Reads

              Spotlight – Dreams of Faerytales

              Guest Post – Jannette Fuller

 June 10th Wrap-Up Post – HOPE through the Pages

 

Navigating the skies of Steam Punk

Last November I announced my NaNoWriMo novel. I may have mentioned that it was a steampunk story world. Some of you are probably wondering what that means. (Apparently there are many ways to define steampunk.)

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I used to think you can just type Airship and instantly turn any story into a steampunk one. No each steampunk story is unique. Some even have intricate magic systems.

Though it isn’t really steam punk without at least one airship, and Goggles. Goggles are a must. My personal philosophy is the three Gs of steampunk: Gears, Goggles and Grit. Yes Grit, because burning coal tends to make everything dirty.

As a fiction genre steampunk comes across as the mutant offspring of: Historical fiction, Science fiction and Fantasy.

Some advocate for the strict adherence to historical technology. (Do not have your Victorian dandy fire a ray gun.) One author said that steampunk must be an alternate version of our history. ( That means no made up worlds.) Another camp seems to see steampunk as only dealing with Steam power. (Makes sense, but very limiting.) The last camp is an anything goes super-genre mash-up that only requires a pair of goggles and a jolly good time to tell a story. That’s my camp.

 

This visual aesthetic, made up of vintage Victorian designs with industrial embellishments. (Keys, coins, gears, and gauges, to name a few.) Is what I love about steampunk.

This aesthetic is part of what I want to capture in my world building.

As soon as I realized that the rules didn’t matter a new world of ideas opened up to me. I saw a world with gears sown on in place of buttons and where teenagers wore goggles on their heads. I knew that airships were the only way to travel and that keys could be used to accent a hat. The entire story world formed in my head because I figured out the only way this aesthetic could evolve naturally from a culture starting from a Victorian baseline.

See it had to feel authentic to the world otherwise I was just riffing off the current trend.

How would you incorporate such a design choice?

Marley was dead, Jesus was born

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Merry Christmas everyone!

I absolutely love, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This little book is written by a true word smith a master of story and it’s short.

I love the story, a classic tale of the changing of a human heart, but the absolutely best, most entertaining part is the first page and a half. I loved it so much that I memorized it. Dickens has this lovely moment where he wonders about the actual dead-ness of door-nails. To the point that he proposes that Coffin-nails might actually be deader. To this day my family can not let the phrase Dead as a Door-nail slid without goading me into repeating it.

“Marley was dead, to begin with.” Isn’t that a great opening line? Within that first page and a half Dickens reminds the reader exactly five times that Marley is dead.

“(1)Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.. . .  (2)Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know of my own knowledge what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. . . You will therefore allow me to repeat emphatically that (3)Marley was as dead as a door-nail. (4)Scrooge knew he was dead. Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? . . . (5)There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.”

Marley was not a figment of Scrooge’s imagination, he did not fake his death, time travel, get caught in a extra dimensional limbo, or get stuck in the teleporter for fifty years. He was dead. He was a ghost. This story is about life and death and afterlife.

Chilling.

How many other stories could benefit from persistent reminders?

Dickens own example is Hamlet. “If we were not perfectly convinced That Hamlet’s father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, . . . literally to astonish his son’s weak mind.”

I know right! The Shakespeare nerd in me smiles at this reference. How little would the play Hamlet have mattered if we hadn’t known for sure that his father the king was dead? You must admit Shakespeare really liked the whole missing person restored plot a lot. If the king had only been missing then how could Prince Hamlet have placed any stock in the words of a wandering spirit?

What about the story of the first Christmas?

Jesus was born, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.

There is no doubt that Mary was a virgin. This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

The Shepherds knew he was God. Of course they. How could it be otherwise? ( What with the angels telling them and all.)

On his first page Dickens gives us a life lesson and a lesson in writing:

Make sure your reader, and everyone you meet, understands what they are in for.

Dickens wanted to make sure that everyone knew there would be no trick ending, fantastical revelations, and most of all, no doubt that Marley was dead.

If Dickens could state five times that Marley was dead, then Christian’s shouldn’t be afraid to state that Jesus was born, at least five times. Then five times state that he died. Then Five times state that he rose again.

Again I say Merry Christmas, and to quote Tiny Tim: “God bless us everyone.”

 

New Name Blog Tour

 

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Check it out, I got my copy of A.C. Williams New Name. This is a book I’ve waited for, for almost a year. I’ve looked forward to it so much that I Pre ordered it. I never Pre-order books. But I did this one and the one before it. Namesake. That is how amazing this series is.

The Morningstar series is comprised of the three books in the Destiny Trilogy: Nameless, Namesake and New Name. They follow a girl who goes by Xander. That’s not her name, she doesn’t remember her real name. She has deep amnesia and only knows that she has nowhere to belong. Until she gets swept up with a ragtag team of bounty hunters on a fixer upper ship.

Sound familiar? While the destiny Trilogy is not Fan fiction it is certainly fiction for fans.

Having gotten to know Amy through the wonderful Realm Makers writers conference, I thought I’d take the time to ask her a few  insightful questions about her series. This interview is intended to find the geek worthy bits, the nerdy nuggets and the fan girlish fantasies that hide with in.

Warning: While we agreed to keep out spoilers for New Name, the following interview may contain minor spoilers for Namesake, the second book in the trilogy. So make sure you get caught up.

C: While reading Nameless and Namesake I was struck by how familiar it felt. In a, “OMG this is everything I love about sci-fi complied into one squeal worthy story,” kind of way. There are certainly a lot of time tested tropes within the Destiny Trilogy. What trope do you feel is a must have for any series to feel truly sci-fi?

A: I love speculative fiction of every variety, but just because it’s speculative doesn’t make it science fiction. To be real science fiction, the stories, characters, objects, and/or environment must be based on scientific fact. Events or incidents in science fiction don’t happen through magic. There’s always a logical explanation for how and why technology or biology is the way it is. Ray guns and aliens and laser swords and quirky spaceships add dimension to a story, but none of them are required for it to be science fiction. They just make it more fun.

C: Fair enough, But just between us, and everyone else reading this. Was there any one TV show or movie that was the main inspiration for this series?

A: This is a question I get asked a lot. Believe it or not, there was no real inspiration for the original idea of the stories in the Destiny Trilogy. I think I may have seen a promotional image for Cowboy Bebop that sparked my interest, but I didn’t watch the show until I’d already planned most of the storyline of the Destiny Trilogy. And I didn’t watch Firefly until after the movie, Serenity, released. I was horrified, at first, how similar those two amazing shows and the Destiny Trilogy were. I didn’t know whether to table the novels or keep working on them. But I’m glad I did! If there were any inspiration for the series, it probably came from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I grew up watching. I loved the idea of having a spaceship traveling from planet to planet. I loved having a bookworm for a captain. And I loved having an android with a ton of personality. If Cowboy Bebop inspired anything, it was the idea of having a dog on board the ship.

C: I love it, just more proof that great minds think alike. Since we just covered the topic of TV Shows. Did you create a dream cast in your head? If so, reveal the actors who would play three of your main characters

A: I am not really a visual person. When I “see” a character, I see their actions, their motivations, the why of their souls. What they look like on the outside isn’t my first glimpse of them. That being said, it does help me when I have to describe them if I can find someone who looks like the vague image in my mind, so I did put together a dream cast of sorts.

aura-morningstar_annalise-basso  Aura/Xander – Annalise Basso

kale-ravenwood_grey-damon  Kale Ravenwood – Grey Damon

talon-mcleod_gerard-butler  Talon McLeod – Gerard Butler

evy-berkley_kate-hudson  Evy Berkley – Kate Hudson

devon-chase_justin-hartley  Devon Chase – Justin Hartley

vix-valentine_megan-fox  Vix Valentine – Megan Fox

jaz-carver_katee-sackoff  Jaz Carver – Katee Sackoff

al  Al – ? a mystery like her character.

braedon-kmight_scott-paulin  Braedon Knight – Scott Paulin

darien-stone_eduardo-verastegui  Darien Stone – Eduardo Verastegui

C: Great cast, I love Butler as McLeod. If this series is ever adapted for screen You must make sure he’s in it. But back to the books now.

I think I’ve found some geeky Easter eggs in your books. What is the top Easter egg that people have said they found? Is there one that you know of that no one has told you they found?

A: The Easter egg everyone identifies straight out is the Old Man in the Red Scarf, who Xander/Aura meets in the Oasis in the first chapter of Nameless. Everyone knows he’s important, but nobody knows why. And, honestly, the Old Man is one of the most important characters in the series. So answers about him aren’t coming anytime soon. But there will be more Easter eggs. The Easter egg in Nameless that no one really catches is pretty vague, but I think it’s mentioned twice: Aura trips over a lever in the galley. I also draw attention to it again in the new short story I just released on Kindle—Burn. I won’t say why it’s important. Just know I explain it in New Name.

C: So far the series has featured a girl who goes from being Xander to Aura, and if the title of the new book is to be believed she will get a “New Name” again. Are there any names for the character that you considered but decided not to use?

A: Oh, good question. Yes, this will actually be included in a trivia page I’m working on for the series. Originally, Aura’s last name was Morningside. And honestly I can’t remember why I changed it. It may have been a typo. Those were the days when I kept all my notes on pieces of scratch paper, and I think I got some of my notes confused at one point. It’s funny, too, because originally I didn’t have a plan for what her name would mean. I named her Aura because I worked with someone named Aura Rosebury. I just thought it was a beautiful name. I had no idea how much her name would actually turn out to mean to the series.

C: In Namesake you have a ship named the Tempest and a character named Ariel, that can not be a coincidence. What does Shakespeare have to do with Aura’s destiny?

A: Speaking of Easter Eggs, good job. Not many have made that particular connection. That was mainly me throwing in names with connections for my own amusement. The Tempest was a ship that belonged to the bad guys, and when Ariel entered, I wanted to throw in a little hint that she shouldn’t be trusted. So Shakespeare doesn’t have much to do with Aura’s continuing adventures, but I will say that Ariel might.

C: I am a card carrying member of the Shakespeare fandom. To be honest I geeked out more over the Tempest reference than the Sci-fi nods.

Without giving spoilers, can you reveal any geeky surprises in the new book? If doing so would be a spoiler can you reveal a page number for us to look forward to?

A: Oh, I had some real fun with New Name. There are several little surprises for every variety of geek. There’s a new character named Marvin Meredith, and everything about him and his hobbies will make those of the nerdy persuasion chuckle. For anyone who’s a fan of the 9th Doctor, there’s a very tiny little tidbit in chapter 12 about a certain flatulent alien. We also get to briefly meet a new character named Tuan Nguyen. I won’t spill the beans about him yet, but let’s just say he’s important for future stories. And anyone who is a fan of the anime Fullmetal Alchemist may appreciate the nickname Tuan uses—Renkin.

C: Wow so much to look forward to. Almost makes me want to stop the interview and start reading.

With the up coming star wars movie, Rogue One, only a day away, it’s time for the inevitable movie anticipation tie in question. Which side of the force would Kale Ravenwood use if he had force sensitivity?

A: Oh, the dark side, unquestionably. But I recall a Star Wars video game that came out several years ago about a dark-side user who came over to the good side but retained many of the dark side’s abilities. Like the Force lightning and such. So I think Kale would fit into that category. He’ll always be a bit of a bad boy.

C: Good answer. I like to think that everyone can choose to come back from a bad choice. Okay next fandom—

The Doctor in his TARDIS lands on the deck of the Prodigal he can only choose one crew member as a companion. Who goes with him, and why?

A: Words can’t express how much I love this question. I’m a huge fan of the 12th Doctor, so I’ll use his version. He and Talon would enjoy being Scottish together, I know that for sure, but I’m not sure Talon would go with him. Talon’s awfully responsible. Honestly? The one I could see getting on with the Doctor the best is Al! She’d be just the sort to wander off into the TARDIS, probably with Newt the puppy trailing along with her. I think they would probably have some really hilarious conversations. Possibly some yo-yo competitions. And I think the Doctor would be able to read between the lines of the crazy things Al says to understand she isn’t actually as crazy as she sounds all the time. That being said? Anyone off the crew of the Prodigal would be hilarious on an adventure with the Doctor. Maybe I should write some fan fiction…

C: I would be first in line to read that fan fiction. While I have you thinking about time and space–

The book Namesake teased the potential of time travel. If it were possible, would you go back in time? Forward in Time? Or is this truly, “power no man should have?”

A: This is a tricky question, because there are several things I’d love to go back in time and experience. I’d love to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I’d love to have a cup of tea with William Shakespeare or C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien, to share a meal with Amy Carmichael, or shake the hand of Jim Elliot. To watch the Wright Brother’s fly, to hear Mission Control wish John Glenn Godspeed, or to giggle at the astonished gasps of the first audience to watch Star Wars: A New Hope? Can you imagine how awesome that would all be? But I honestly do believe that power over Time is something Humanity will never have, and even if we found a way to change history, nothing would change. I believe that God is Sovereign over Time, and even if we tried to change something, history would unfold as God designed it. But it’s fun to imagine. And the concept provides a valuable, engaging platform to start conversations about faith.

C: Very true. It is fun to think about and I don’t think there’s one person alive who wouldn’t be a little tempted to use that kind of power. But to get this wrapped up–

The book New Name is the last book in the Destiny Trilogy, will I need tissues?

A: Yes. You will. But not for the same reason you needed them for Namesake. Just saying. 😉

Bonus: And, just so everyone knows, this may be the end of the Destiny Trilogy, but I’m already planning the second trilogy in the Morningstar Series. The Covenant Trilogy. And there will be some actual time travel happening!

C: There’s more coming! That’s the most awesome news I’ve heard since the return of Star Wars.

Thank you Amy for taking the time to geek out with me over your amazing series.

new-name_small New Name and all of the books in the Destiny Trilogy are available at www.crosshairpress.com/newname

Bio

acwilliams2015  Amy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.

Follow her random adventures on her blog (www.amycwilliams.com) on Facebook (AmytheStoryteller), Twitter (@acwilliams05), and Instagram (@acwilliams05).

 

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