Month: January 2017

Shadows of the Hersweald – Cover Reveal!

 Yes, another cover reveal so soon. Which means another book coming!
Shadows of the Hersweald is the third novella in the Legends of Light series by Hope Ann. It’s a Hansel and Gretel retelling, something that isn’t seen so often.

After her wonderful reimgining of Rapunzel in Song of the Sword, I’m really excited for this. I’ve had the priviledge of beta reading some of hope’s other books and she’s a brilliant author. but you don’t want to hear more about Hope, you want to see the cover. But first you must know more about the book.

A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows the only end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor is chains, followed by punishment and possible execution. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.
A pardon Haydn detests.
A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.
Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.
With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment for the rebellion, and nightmares of murder and fire hovering in the back of Haydn’s every thought, can he save the only ones left he cares about before it is too late?

And now the actual cover in all its glory…

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This gorgeous cover, by the way, was created by a good friend of Hope’s who just started a blog which you can find here.

Oh, and Hope has something else that I haven’t had time to watch myself, but I’m looking forward to. The book trailer for Shadows of the Hersweald! 

Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated authoress. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, archery, knife throwing, creating writing prompts, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She has self-published fairy tale retellings on Amazon and is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about Hope and her work at authorhopeann.com.
I’ll probably have amother post up later this week, but until I’ve got the new website running and figured out what the new normal for my life is, it will be a little erratic. I am hoping to do some kind of serial story though.
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Ashen City by Sara Baysinger – Cover Reveal

 Why another post so soon after the last one? Well I’m glad you asked. This is an even more special announcement. There’s a book coming out soon and it’s going to have a cover.
Well that didn’t sound that exciting. Let’s try again. 
Ashen City, the sequel to Sara Baysinger’s fabulous book, Black Tiger, will be released on April 6th! But you don’t have to wait until then for everything. Today, you will see the cover of the book in all its glory.
But first I’m going to tell you about Black Tiger.
It’s dystopian, set in a future where disease has eliminated most of the world’s population. There is just one large city.
Ember Carter is a farmer’s daughter and wants to be a farmer herself. That seems impossible as all farming careers are given to boys and for several years everyone has been recruited to the Line of Defenders, even though there isn’t a hint of war around. 
Amazingly, she is assigned the career of farmer, but that hope quickly disappears when she tries to save her best friend from the Defenders.
She is sent off to the city, charged with murdering a defender and being a rebel. The sentence is death. A horrible death at the Rebels circle. Only petty criminals get a quick death by a Black Tiger.
But we all know she can’t die. Not in this part of the story. She gets out, she’s only an ‘guest’ now. A guest with a lot of power. But she’s also suspected by the chief and she can’t leave.

This is where things get fun. There’s two young men in the city. And they’re both rather contradictory. One is a nice person, the kind of person it’s easy to trust. Yet, he’s the chief’s best friend and thinks they can work with him to fix the problems in Ky.

The other is a thoroughly despicable person, then a somewhat nice, and almost too friendly person. He keeps Ember entertained and even talks about the religion that is long gone from the city. I start to think he’s a Christian of sorts ,but then he’s urging her to rebel. One minute he’s a hero, the next despicable again. I love having my emotions jerked around like that.
Any way I love this books. It has some amazing dilemmas, terrifying moments, great themes and an answer to why God gives us free will. Also there’s the exploration of a society where religion is gone. It’s  not entirely gone though, some traces will always remain and people will always have a heart to look for purpose and something bigger than them. Always. And there is also mind control. 
Now onto Ashen City.

Make your choice, Ember Carter. And make it count.
Ember Carter has escaped the flames of death. But will she ever be free from Chief Titus? When the orchard goes up in smoke and her family turns up missing, Ember returns to Frankfort hoping to find her brother and father, and to get Titus to drop the death wish he has against her.
But Titus is always one step ahead. When Ember faces him head-on, she’s captured, only to receive another death sentence. But on her way to her execution, plans go a little askew, and Ember finds herself traveling to the one place no one dares travel: Louisville. If the outskirts of Ky were a ghost town, the ashen city is the borderline of hell itself, but it’s the one place Ember can find refuge from the people who want her dead. 
In the ashen city, Ember must learn that being a hero is more than doing what is right because she can, but doing it for the good of the people. And when plans take a turn for the worst, she must decide if it’s worth risking her life to save her country.


It sounds good to me. More avoidance of death.
And now the cover!!!
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Isn’t that lovely. In a rather haunting way.
And Black Tiger as well.
And if I convinced you to read Black tiger it’s on Amazon.
And if you want to be part of the book launch blog tour in April, there’s a sign up form here. I heard there will be prizes.
And be sure to check out Sara’s website.
I just found out a cool fact about Sara today. She grew up in the Andes Mountains in Equador. How cool is that?

The Story of a Name and an Announcement

I expected everyone reading this blog has realized that I don’t use my real name. It’s also probably not a surprise to find out my real name is Brianna.

In fact it’s the name I’m most used to. I didn’t have a nickname as a child unless you count my little brother mispronouncing it. It was always my full name. Quite a few years back now, a friend gave me the nickname Breeze, but forgot it again. I didn’t forget and took it as an internet name. Later on, I replaced that with Bria Snow.

I didn’t think that would be a good pen name though. It might not matter, but I’d heard that it’s better to have a name in the first half of the alphabet. So I twisted my name around all backwards to come up with something that did work. Not long after that, I started my blog. That was the impulsive decision that got me semi-stuck with the name.

Yes, I do like brie cheese.

I always was reticent about sharing the existence of my blog with people I meant in real life. I was afraid they might find the pen name silly. I’m now realizing it was because I wasn’t confident it was the right name. I felt it was a little silly. The few times my mother has sent me an email with a correction I needed to make and used my pen-name it seemed strange. Maybe because she never uses my real last name.

After a while, I started to get tired of being called Anna. It’s a pretty common name, and I just didn’t feel it fit me. Even though I use Brianna in everyday life, I’ve never minded being called Bri. I rather like it in fact. But if that was now my last name I couldn’t be called by it without more awkwardness.

Even though I’ve tried my best to be honest and real in what I say on my blog, I still felt like I had split myself into two people. Both of them were me, but they had different friends. I wanted to integrate them more, but the names conflicted. I felt as if I would have to explain it too much.

So I started thinking of getting a new pen name. It was the end of September when I found one I liked. Something with Brie as my first name. Something with a rare, but easy to spell last name which felt right. I didn’t want to pick just any random last name that belonged to someone else. So here it is: Brie Donning.

You might wonder while I took so long to make a change. There are a few reasons. One is that I didn’t want to make the mistake of choosing a name hastily again. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to start hating it. Another reason was that I didn’t want to appear flaky. I’d had my blog for less than a year then, and wasn’t ready to change. Third reason is that I have something else I wasn’t ready to announce. (And there is the fact that I didn’t want to build a new website/blog then. In fact I’d still rather not do it. Web design isn’t really my thing.)

Since then I’ve started using Brie Donning in a couple of places and been connecting to more writers using Facebook (where I go by my real name). I’ve been detaching from my old pen name. It doesn’t feel like my name any more. Just the name of my writing blog. I can’t not change now.

My other announcement is that I’ll be offering my services as an editor. Doing beta reading has let me see that I  would enjoy being an editor. Helping good books be better and get published is something I love doing and I’m brilliant at noticing typos. Unless they’re my own that is.

Granted this isn’t the only idea I’ve had to help people with their books. At one point I wanted to be an audio book narrator, but I hate fixing my recordings. If there was a job that involved promoting all my favourite books I’d love that too. But authors have street teams, not paid publicists and publishers have books I wouldn’t be excited about, so it’s not happening.

I started thinking about becoming an editor before I decided to change my pen name, but I always felt that I wouldn’t do it under the name Anna S, Brie. Once again I’d subconsciously thought it sounded less professional.

The long and the short of it is that I’m going to have a new website opening up early next month under my new name and I’ll be changing the names on all my social media. I don’t know exactly how long things will take, but they’ll happen. As you can all see I’ve done most of the work on having a new look.

I am Brie Donning, signing out. God bless you all.

Beautiful Books: Goals and Interruptions

Hello readers, writer, friends and- I don’t think there are enemies reading my blog. If you are, please say hi.

I was starting to write about what writing I’d planned for this month and what was really happening when I remembered the Beautiful Books link-up was waiting for me. Since it is one on goals I’ll try to make it fit together.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I finished the first draft of my first novel, mostly re wrote it, wrote most of a second one, and started brainstorming a sequel. Not entirely in that order. It was a good year.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

Finish Lady of Courage, get Girl of the Rumours reading to critique partners or maybe even beta readers. Probably write its sequel, though that depends on whether it is ready to be written when I have time.
As for this month, I had big goals: I was going to be writing 40,000 words, mostly on Lady of Courage. Anything else including blog post would be counted too. Otherwise my blog won’t happen with a high word count goal. I thought I might do a little bit of outlining on A Brigand, No Longer, but nothing else was expected.

The Secret Story

Then two things happened. First I was given a shiny new idea that get’s better the more I think about it. It’s a secret project I can’t talk about much, but I’m doing world building. And I’m not just mashing up bits from our world though there is a bit of that. I’ve finally veered off into what couldn’t be in our world.

It’s amazing how starting with nothing allows for more consideration of ideals. I’m not making a utopia, but I can put in more of my ideals for life, work education and government. I can actually make a clearer reflection of the truths of our world I believe to be important. I knew that stories allow one to do that before now, but I hadn’t experienced it so fully.

So because of that I haven’t gotten much work done on Lady of Courage. This week I’m forcing myself to get back to work on it.

The second interruption is one that actually has an impact of my word count. I’m going away for a week.  It’s an intensive course on planning one’s life to impact the world. I’ll be writing, but it’s not the stuff I count. So my goal has shrunk.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

I think this means add more details. Girl of the Rumours is still in a fairly rough state, but the only big changes are content added to the middle and  the climax. The rest needs some continuity checking, some serious evaluation and a little polish.

I’m hoping doing that will help me sort out what happens in  A Brigand, No Longer. For it I’ve just got a bunch of ideas that  I’m not sure how they fit in. It’s likely there will be a third book, but the ideas aren’t clear enough.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017? 

I haven’t gotten much feedback on my writing so far. I’m hoping the critique process will really help me figure out my weaknesses and strengths. From there I’ll be in a much better place to write.

Describe your general editing process. 
I’ve hardly done enough editing to turn it into a process. For my first book the first edit was when I copied it from note book to computer. There were subtle changes I added as I copied. There were bigger things that happen though out it. When I actually begun that I’d just figured out the main line of the story and had to change the whole beginning to fit it. Then I go back over and tidy things up. I refine my characters.
For my other books it’ll be a little different, because it is already on the computer. But I’ll still be re writing things I’ve thought better of and making other big changes.
On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out? 

Well it’s not quite finished yet. But I’ll put it at 6 overall.
What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
The complex threads. A lot of them were dropped and the subtlety was lost. I’ll need to add them in and tie it all together. Also the political scenes could really do with smoother intrigue.

What do you like the most about your draft? 
The themes of friendship and communication that are coming though. And the sacrificial themes. That’s something I didn’t fully realize until I wrote this.There’s a lot of love and mostly not the romantic kind. I’m also loving the teenaged brother inventor. He’s fun.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever? 
More editing. Then some critiquing will have to come, then more edits. Rise and repeat several times. Then I’ll think about querying.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

    Let is sit for a month or two. Then read it over. Don’t think about it too much in between. Work on something else. But do come back. It’s worth it. Also write yourself an ridiculous. encouraging letter that will help you keep on when the editing seems hopeless.
    And that’s that. Except I haven’t shared the new name I have for the larger country Girl of the Rumours takes place in. Verlis is the main setting, but it’s just a province. The whole land is called NéaElefthéri. Ne-a el-ef-THAIR-ree. NéaElefthéri. There is a chance you can talk me into explaining it.
    So do you have any excitng new writing developments? Or just a stubborn unmoving goal to move towards? Tell me about it.

    I’m a [Insert a dozen identity labels here]

    Happy New Year everyone! I’m hoping 2017 will be an even better year than 2016, which was a pretty good year for me. I’ve got a bunch of changes happening with my writing and blog which I’ll tell you about over the next few weeks. And now on with some ramblings about my own thoughts.

    Identity is a funny thing. There’s so many ways we say who we are. Simple ones, such as our names, hometown, or ethnic background. Complications of half a dozen fandoms and obscure references.

    We want to know who we are to feel that we are known and loved. Or at least loved. Sometimes we fear being known. We put up a facade, take on a whole identity. Or even if we try to be honest, with online communications it’s so easy to accidentally hide parts of yourself, or simply behave differently.

    For myself, I find my ultimate identity in being a child of God, a follower, one of the redeemed ones.

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

    But I like to have more than that. I like to be able to introduce myself, by what I do, or what kind of person I am. But sometimes that doesn’t seem enough. If I say I’m a writer people will ask me questions, I’m not ready to answer. I hedge or I pull out the latest interesting thing I’ve been involved in, even if it only takes a few hours occasionally.

    And then there is the identity of labels. I used to think I hated labels, hated sticking people in boxes, but I’ve realized I do it still. I always have.

    I don’t like denominations, maybe because I don’t really belong to one, and I don’t like other theological differences. There’s always so much nuance, and so many problems can be caused by assuming things about peoples beliefs. Yet I cling hard to the fact I was home-schooled, and that I live on the other side of the border to the city I’m often in.

    Lately the label that I’ve noticed myself using is MBTI personality type. I’m always researching things about it, trying to figure myself out, and my friends, and the characters in my books. But I’m still not certain about myself. I’m wavering between two categories, and occasionally wonder if I’ve got it completely wrong.

    But why do I worry? I used to think personality types were bunkum. I still believes there’s a lot of variation between the types. And learning about it has helped me understand myself. I know much more about how I think, and due to other resources I’m a lot more certain about what I believe, what I’m afraid of and what I love. But still I want to know. Am I a slightly shy extrovert or actually and introvert? Do I fit into one of the boxes?

    I’m not sure I ever will know. Maybe I’ll never be able to say clearly what my occupation is. In fact I’m not sure I want that to be sure. I want to be doing lots of things. And I think I can live with this uncertainty now. I pray I’ll be able to just let it go and be a person, not a jar. I’ll just have to show who I am, instead of telling it.

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

    Now this is the identity we can be firm in. It’s not just who we are, it’s what we do. So if you don’t feel like you fit into any denomination, cultural group or personality, just remember there’s a lot more to who you are than [Australian, home-schooled, creationist, re-constructionist, sabbath-keeping-baptist, writer, Ninja, Legendaire and Resistance member] or whatever labels you use. It’ so many little things that make you a unique creation of God.

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