Month: March 2017

Shadows of the Hersweald Release and Review!

My friend Hope Ann is releasing her book Shadow of the Hersweald tomorrow. It’s the third book in her fantasy retelling novella series and my favorite so far.

The fact that I enjoyed this one so much shows that I rather like anti-heroes. Because our main character Haydn is certainly an anti-hero. He’s got good intentions and he’s got boundaries, he’s not exactly a bad person, but as he says, “There are some who don’t deserve a pardon.” He’s determined to make sure they don’t get it.

The other characters are equally fascinating and very well developed for the length of the book. In fact the whole story felt much longer than a novella. The plot was very rounded and I got a great sense of this new part of the world.

The Hansel and Gretal aspect of the story became apparent pretty quickly, but it went places I didn’t expect it. I probably should have, but I don’t tend to doubt perfectly nice characters. Anyway siblings are one of my favourite character pairings and this didn’t disappoint.

If you like fairytale re-tellings or Christian fantasy, I highly recommend this. I’m looking forward to see what aspect of this diverse world Hope will bring out next.

About the Book

They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Hersweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Tregaron in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked.

A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. 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 threatening 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, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?
Although the history of Aslaria and the conflict between the Prince and the rebel, Tauscher, flow chronologically through the series, each novella in the Legends of Light series is a stand-alone story. Each novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while twisting fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.

Buy now on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords
Add on Goodreads
Sneak Peek

“Open the gates, Dyfed,” Haydn called down. His voice jolted the men to their feet.
They sprang into action under the terse orders of a short figure with muscular arms. The heavy planked gates swung open with protesting groans. The great doors quivered against the earthen walls as the horsemen approached.
Mathias was in the lead. The man’s hair was grayer than last time. Thinner too, perhaps, but his grizzled face, set jaw, and sharp nose belied any change in either strength or personality. His blue eyes never glanced upward as Haydn saluted. But another pair did.
Haydn stared, his arm frozen in mid-motion. Traveon… Where had he come from? Of course, it was expected the governor would bring his son. Some said they’d reconciled during the war. Or maybe it had more to do with the death of Mathias’s wife.
Traveon’s lean face flashed a quick smile and his hand brushed his brown hair in a sharp salute. Haydn’s throat tightened, his breath hissing between compressed lips. He’d braced himself against arrest or judgment before his mother and Gorawen. But Traveon… He bit back an oath. Now they’d be one happy circle of family and old friends.
Haydn blinked and swallowed hard as the last horseman passed through the gates. He gave a quick nod to the men below and the doors squealed shut. Haydn pivoted. His boots clomped down the steps, each thud echoing like a heavy drumbeat.
“Keep watch until Eurof returns,” Haydn ordered over the heavy crash of the bar falling back into place.


About the Author
Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings.
She has been writing for over five years and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults.
Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase.
Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration.

You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

Indie e-Con 2017

This is just a quick post to let you know about a free online writers convention my frrend Kendra is running this week. Just click on the picture or go to https://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.au and check out all the articles and videos she will be posting each day. I actually have something up sometime on Monday. I’m on holiday though, so I probably won’t be around to interact with you.

Promise’s Prayer by Erika Mathews

It’s another new book. One I could have gotten to read if I hadn’t bailed out on beta-reading it in 2015. I’ve seen enough to be excited for it though. I get to tell you about an interesting character. So read down to the character spotlight and don’t miss the giveaway at the end.

I love this cover.

About the Book 

Kaelan is restless for adventure and relentless in his efforts to bring the land of Taerna back to the blessings of Adon Olam and the prosperity of the days of his ancestors. Fueled by a solemn promise and his mother’s secret, he finds himself in the forefront of a desperate scheme that is crucial to Taerna’s future. Can he keep his promise? Can he save the people of Taerna from the corruption and rampant lawlessness that threaten them with extinction? Shy and quiet Carita knows she possesses what Taerna’s people so desperately need. But how can she help them when her own soul is simultaneously tormented by witnessing unmet needs and handicapped by her own paralyzing fears? When Kaelan and Carita come face to face with the true nature of Adon Olam’s call, will they each choose to embrace Adon Olam’s plan for Taerna—and for their own lives?

Available on Amazon!
Click here for purchase information!

Character Spotlight: Ellrick

Trustworthy and experienced, Ellrick is a lifetime friend of Kaelan’s family and a well-established citizen of Frydael. He’s kind and steady, and very little fazes him. Ellrick has a way of listening that engages anyone who is talking with him and encourages them to confide in him. He enjoys freely sharing the many nuggets of wisdom he has gathered in his seventy years. He’s lived through the reign of several pairs of lawless kings and seen many changes come upon the country of Taerna. One of the few who can remember better days, he’s devoted to Adon Olam and the specific call that Adon Olam has placed upon his life. Through Kaelan and Carita’s adventures, Ellrick proves an invaluable source of wisdom as well as a loyal, devoted friend.

Author’s Note
Even though Ellrick wasn’t mentioned in the very first rough outline I wrote for Promise’s Prayer, he quickly became one of my favorite characters. I love his gentle kindness, his compassionate wisdom, his grandfatherly manner, and his dedication to Adon Olam—as well as his subtle sense of humor. The inspiration for his character came from a Pinterest photo. As soon as I found the picture, I knew he needed to be a major character in the series, and he quickly and smoothly slid into his role. While much of the country is lawless and focused on pleasure or else confused about Adon Olam’s will, Ellrick stands as a strong contrast in his steadiness. While writing his character, he would sometimes surprise me with the bits of his past that he would reveal. With the intriguing taste of his past that he’s given so far, I hope to someday write a novella devoted to his backstory.

Snippet:

“I’m a failure. And I can’t serve Adon Olam. And I’m nobody.” She spoke bitterly. “No one will listen to me. No one will serve Him because I say so. I have no position of influence. And…” Her voice faltered. “I can’t be rejected.” The last words were a mere whisper, and the tears leaked.

Ellrick nodded compassionately, his eyes sober, yet twinkling with reassurance. When she was a measure calmer, he spoke gently. “What you are most afraid of is what will set you free.”

She considered that. “How can it? My fear is the prison. The prison can’t help me escape from itself.”

“True,” Ellrick agreed. “But Adon Olam can. He sent His Son to set the prisoners free, to break the chains that bind them, to loose them from who they are in themselves. He set us free to live in His perfect love, which casts out fear, because fear has torment.”

She looked at him, her eyes vacant and hopeless. “I know that. But it’s not real to me. I don’t feel it. All I feel is fear.”

“Trust Him, Carita,” Ellrick spoke again. “He has set you free. Receive it. Choose to live in it no matter what you feel. The fear is from the enemy, who desires you to be bound.”

Suddenly he sat up and spoke as though he were inspired. His steel-colored hair stood erect on his head. “Adon Olam is up to something, Carita! Adon Olam is at work. He has to be! Or why would the enemy be fighting so hard to bring you down? The enemy wants you to be afraid. He doesn’t want this key that you possess—your knowing of Him—to reach the Taernans. He knows his day is over. You know what that means? You’re going to win, Carita; you have won!”

She shook her head slowly, as if to try to clear it. Her mind seemed foggy. “I cannot escape. So I fight back?”

“You can choose how to respond to your fear,” Ellrick went on. “You can fight it, you can succumb to it, or you can choose to live outside of it no matter what claims it makes upon you. If you choose to succumb to it, you are imprisoned within it. If you try to fight it, you will find that it is stronger than you are. You will exhaust yourself, and you will lose. But if you choose to live apart from the fear, refusing to allow it to run your life, you will find yourself free from it.”

Carita listened carefully. It was difficult to wrap her mind around what Ellrick was saying; she had to deliberately concentrate to follow him. He continued.

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Carita thought. “I—I don’t know. Change the world? Talk to people? Tell them of Adon Olam? Pray more? And—and go help the woman with the baby,” she added softly.

Ellrick smiled. “That’s excellent, to start with,” he approved. “As you do it, Adon Olam will help you. You will find yourself working past your feelings and receiving more and more of the love of Adon Olam. So why don’t you step out with that as He has called you to do? Talk to people. Help the woman. Share His love with them. Be bold in living Him through your life, and don’t worry about what people think or say.”

“But—that’s not who I am.”

“Then receive His change in you.”

Carita cast her eyes downwards. “I’m afraid—that I’m afraid of change.”

“Change often causes much pain. Growth also brings pain. However, what brings the most pain is remaining immobilized somewhere that you do not belong—in something to which Adon Olam has not called you.”                

About the Author

Erika is an internet friend of mine. We’re both in Kendra E. Ardnek’s inner circle of fan girls, so we interact fairly often. She’s a lovely, encouraging person.
She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma. You can connect with Erika at restinglife.com, on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Giveaway

Celebrate the exciting release by entering to win Promise’s Prayer! One winner will receive a paperback and a second winner will receive an ebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Party Special Stops!

Check out each of these stops today for special highlights, snippets, features on Promise’s Prayer characters, interviews, and more! Also, keep an eye on social media for Promise’s Prayer posts by special guests!

Author Interview at Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings (Alea Harper)

Carita Character Spotlight at God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae (Raechel)

Author Interview at Seek Him First (Katherine Sophia)

Kaelan Character Interview and Spotlight at Random Reflections (Gabriella)

Release Party Central at Resting Life (Erika Mathews)

Beautiful People: Izavee

I started writing a new story this month. It’s the secret project I started planning in January. I hadn’t done much, but a sudden challenge to write a book this month came up. I know I won’t write all of it yet, but it’ll be good to get something done. I have gotten out of the habit of writing large volumes of words.

I’m writing by hand again and I’m up to 17 pages for the month. In my defense, I only started on the 2nd and that was making my scene list. Also I’m preparing to go on holiday. I should be able to get lots done while I’m away from the internet.

It’s also time for the Beautiful People link up by Cait and Skye. I consider using my main character Cassia for the questions, but for various reasons that won’t work well. Instead I’ll tell you about a friend Cassia makes early on in the story. I haven’t got to her introduction yet in writing, so this will be fun. Her name is Izavee Echo eHerian and she’ll be answering the questions for herself.

What’s your favourite book/movie/play/etc.?
I love the stories of Quinrilian the Virtuous, a hero at the end of the Desolation of Darkness. My brother Quinric is named for him which makes the stories even more exciting. We would act them out together.
Is there anything you regret doing?
Of course. Lots of things. One thing I’d be better off without was the memory of meeting some Reika at a dance. I was only twenty-two at the time and shouldn’t have been there, but I’d pleaded to go and Father gave in. One of them pulled out one of their tricks and almost lured me away.

If you were sick or wounded, who would take care of you and how?
Quinric would do what he could, then call for our sister or a lady friend to do what he couldn’t. After that, he’d probably ask Rylen to come over and cheer me up.

Is there an object you can’t bear to part with and why?

I doubt bicycles exist in this world,
but Izavee looks a little like this.

I will never part with my mother’s necklace of service. I’ll get my own soon, but hers is forever more precious. She might have died thirteen years ago, but her influence has helped me as I’ve grown up.
What are 5 ways to win your heart (or friendship)?
Be loyal to the sanctuary. Listen. Don’t tempt me to corruption. Bring me flowers. Don’t sleep in.

What do you usually wear? Describe it top to bottom.
Top to bottom. That would be starting with the hat. I have rather a lot of hats but my favourite is a soft scarlet ekinett with an extra wide brim. I’ll wear a plain dress in any pale colour with a navy or teal jacket over it. And brown ankle shoes with buckles.
What’s you favorite type of weather?

I love warm, dry days. That’s why Zafeíri is my favourite month. It’s usually like that.

What’s the worst fight you’ve ever been in?

Me? In a fight. I never fight. What, it doesn’t have to be physical. Alright then, it was when I turned 25 and Father wanted a big party. I was just starting to realize I wasn’t all that grown up and didn’t want one. He won.

What names or nicknames have you been called throughout your life?

Iza and Vee were pretty common. Rylen calls me Echo. He says I echo the scrolls.

What makes your heart feel alive?

Visiting the sanctuary. And talking with Rylen. Or riding home on a windy day.
And that was Izavee. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her as well as I did. You can ask any questions about her and I’ll answer them if they’re not infringing on secrets.
Don’t forget to check out other Beautiful People at Paper Fury.

I decided to study this year…

This is a post that’s been a long time in the coming. I’ve re-written it, lost the rewrites and then changed it even more.It’s a personal post, not much about books, but I felt I needed to write it.

One of the things that has been on my mind a lot since the leadership course I did is my education. You should know that I was home educated and always have been. In the last two years my studies slowly stopped. I didn’t graduate as I believe we should always be learning. And I certainly have learned since then. I’ve been informally studying writing and I’ve been reading books. But I’ve been a little lazy with it.

That is going to change. During this course I was encouraged to go study at university by both lecturers and fellow attendees. I was a little surprised and somewhat resistant. I had never seriously considered the university path. I plan to be a mother, not a career woman and my parents have taught me how to learn all I want to know. Besides, I don’t know what to study. I’m interested in so many things.
But I promised I would give it serious thought. There were some good reasons given, counters to some of my objections. After much thought, research and prayer, I came to a decision. I should study. Since God has gifted me with a mind with the power of understanding some difficult and abstract concepts and well as the ability to remember random details that seem important (read: sound interesting to me at the time), I really ought to do something more with it. I shouldn’t let it stagnate or get too caught up in the imaginary world of my own fancies. So I am going to study. But not at university.

Yes, not at university. I have reasons for this. I did write out a long list of arguments, but it seemed to strong and I  wondering whether I really believed all of them myself. So I’ve made it shorter.

Firstly, studying at university isn’t going to get me closer to having a publishable book. It would sideline my writing for a few years. Also I’ve heard that an English degree can be one of the worst things for a writer and especially an editor. If there was some kind of in depth Christian fiction writing course I might think differently.

Another factor is that I don’t really like the university system and the way it’s becoming the default for most young people. Also I don’t want to be immersed in an ungodly environment in the way I would in a mainstream university. I want to reach out and help people, but asking the world to fill my mind with their ideas doesn’t seem like a good idea. I’d either have to stay silent on some of my convictions, or get into trouble for speaking my mind.

Degrees aren’t really worth as much as they used to be anyway. I was taught to teach myself and I’m
not worried too much about my lack of credentials. If I really had to go get myself a job I think there’s smarter ways of getting one.

I’m not this crazy though.

I have a streak of non-conformity and wanderlust. Maybe I look normal, but I do write fantasy books and daydream a lot.v Anyway if I could afford university up front, I’d probably do missions work or travel or just help out at a lot of camps and conferences instead.

Lastly, I’m not so desperate to get married that I’d go to university just to meet people. This might not appear to be worth mentioning, but I was given that as one reason to do it so… we’ll I’m not so it doesn’t matter. Going other places for that purpose however…

Now you’re probably all wondering how studying on my own works. Firstly, accountability. I’m sharing my goals here so that I can’t be lazy about them. I’ll be sharing parts of my work as well. The plan is to have it slightly separated from the rest of the website. I don’t want to subject anyone to watching my education if they’re not interested.

So here is what I’m going to be studying:

  1. Biblical Greek. This is a vague idea I’ve had for just over a year. It’s a couple of months since it became serious and a few weeks since I made a start. I bought the Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, Workbook, and Flashcards by William D. Mounce. I’ll be going through the course on  billmounce.com along with some material from NTGreek in Session. (The basic letters are fascinating, by the way)
  2. I will be doing cultural studies. Basically I’ll pick a country or people group, study them for a couple of months and write up something about my findings. I’m not sure what the time frame for that will be, but because I have several interruptions coming up in the next few months and this is going to take a little settling into, I’ll give myself until the end of May to do my first study which will be on Myanmar/Burma.
  3. Music appreciation. I’m not sure that I’ll do this much, but I do like listening to most of the great composers and some modern compositions. That won’t be stopping.
  4. Theology, Philosophy, Apologetics and History. This will be through reading and occasionally writing up my thoughts. It will be wide branching, going into politics and biographies well as the aforementioned subjects.. Basically a lot of nonfiction of various sorts. I’ve been given a long list of books and some instruction on reading. Also my dad has a large collection of books. I’ll be reading some of them. Current books are The Institutes of Biblical Law and The Insanity of God. (In the time I’ve been writing this, I listened to all of Mere Christianity.)
  5. Conferences and Seminars. If there’s an opportunity to listen to great speakers and interact with people of like minds, I’ll take it.
  6. Online Courses. I’m taking the Theme Mastery course by Kingdom Pen and something called User Experience for the Web on Open2Study. The Theme Mastery course has been amazing for the first ten lessons. The other not so much, but it can’t hurt.
  7. Other reading. I’ll be reading a variety of fiction, both modern and classic, as literature and cultural study. It’s not going be as big an intake as I’ve had in the past, but I hope to get more out of it.
And that’s about it. Congratulations for making it to the bottom. It might look like a lot and I admit to feeling a little overwhelmed. But if I get my time under better control, it shouldn’t take away from my writing and editing much. Especially since I’ve been a bit lazy about it lately.
I just want to add a special thank you to my fellow CHQ students. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you. It might not be the effect you expected, but you have been a great help to me. I may have learned a little Greek anyway, but I doubt I would have bought the books that I did. Thank you.

© 2017 Reality Reflected

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑