Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour: Day 1

And so it begins… 😀

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour Graphic

Welcome to the Shadows of the Hersweald blog tour! I already posted about it Friday… which was an accident because that post was supposed to come out today but it works out this way too.

Tomorrow is the big day when Shadows of the Hersweald finally launches! *grins* And today, I’m sharing the trailer I put together for this Hansel and Gretel retelling!

Click here to buy the novella!

Make sure to check back the rest of this week for special posts about Shadows of the Hersweald. Here is a schedule of what you can expect.

Monday, March 27

Brie Donning – Review, sneak peak

Erudessa Aranduriel – Interview, quotes

Tuesday, March 28

Catherine Regitz – Book review

Raechel – Quotes

S. F. – Review, interview, quotes

Wednesday, March 29

Audrey Caylin – sneak peek

Ivy Rose – Quotes

Thursday, March 30

Marrok Macintyre – Interview

Rebekah – sneak peek

Friday, March 31

Elle – Review, interview

Hannah Whatley – Review, interview, quotes

Saturday, April 1

Sarah – Review, interview, sneak peek

Wysteria Campion – Review, interview, quotes

Rebeca Morgan – Interview, quotes

Shadows of the Hersweald Fan Art

Shadows of the Hersweald fan art by my friend, Tasha

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour: Day 1

Caption Challenge: March #3

First the winners from the last challenge:

23ea503d81a3eda013245fd1982e618b

Caption Challenge winner is: Kate Flournoy

‘Loyalty is not something to be bought at the price of death. A man may die a thousand times for something else… sir.’

Six-Word-Story: Annie Twitchell

“Darkness shattered, but so did he.”

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage:

shadowstorm

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). I’ll post the winner in two weeks, as well as the next caption challenge!

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour Graphic

Welcome to the launch of Shadows of the Hersweald, the third novella in the Legends of Light series! If you enjoy Christian fantasy and fairy tale retellings, you’ll want to check out this Hansel and Gretel novella.

forestofdarknesslowres

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 Harsweald. 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 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?

Buy Now

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.

Add on Goodreads

Buy now on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords

Keep an eye open, because I’ll be posting links to others taking part in the blog tour, where you can find quotes, sneak peeks, and interviews!

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour

Indy e-Con: The Value of Beta Readers

This article is part of a really cool Indy e-Confrence going on right now, based from Kendra E. Ardnek’s blog. You can click the picture below to check it out. 🙂

the value of beta readers

The Value of Beta Readers

There is no one secret to producing a good book. Hard work, patience, more hard work, dogged determination, and did I mention hard work? Yet it is so worth it. And, the more I write, the more I value one particular asset every writer should have.

Beta readers!

Beta readers are wonderful. Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are other writers. Sometimes they are people you’ve never met before but who have signed up to help you. Whatever the case, they provide an excellent new look at your own work, commenting on points you’ve missed because of your closeness to your story. If there are problems you are trying to ignore, they will be quick to point those out too. Grammar, plot, characters, awkward wording… everyone is different, and each beta reader tends to focus on different aspects of your story and will find different things. Together, they help smooth and polish your story to a great degree.

I first started writing, I didn’t even know of the term ‘beta reader’. I had help, but to me, they were friends who were helping with my story as I helped with theirs. Together we improved each other’s work. While I still beta read for friends, and they for me, I now reach out to other readers and get as much aid and new eyes on my story as I can. Without beta readers to provide feedback, I would be lost.

A writer can find beta readers in a number of ways.

The first place to look is among friends. You may have some friends (or fans) who enjoy your work and who are willing to correct your book for the mere chance of reading it. There are other friends who may be writers, and you can arrange a swap of manuscripts, each correcting the other’s work. And you can simply ask. If you are in a writing group, tell people what you are looking for and have them contact you if they are interested in helping. Create a form people can fill out (Google Forms is great for this) and post it on your blog and Facebook with a blurb about your book. You might be surprised at the number of people who want to read your novel.

There isn’t a set number of beta readers one ought to have: anywhere from five to twenty, as a general range. If you can’t interest anyone, there are writers who hire themselves out as beta readers, as well as professional beta readers you can hire on places like Fiverr. But generally, it’s not hard to find a handful of readers among your circle of friends and acquaintances.

Once you get your beta readers, you must loosen your grip about your manuscript and let people actually read it. Depending on the length, you may send the whole story at once, or in pieces. I prefer sending a novel in parts both because I can correct it easier in smaller chunks, and because it forces the reader to correct a section before finding out what happens next in the story.

At this point, I’ll create an Excel sheet, or a chart of some kind, with the names of all the beta readers, their emails, when I sent them a particular part, when I got it back, and when I corrected that part myself. It helps keep everything in one place, especially when you have a large number of beta readers.

Now remember, unless you are hiring these beta readers, they have a life of their own. I have had numbers of stories beta read and there are two main things I account for when beta readers sign up to help me.

Firstly, I consider how long it would take to beta read a story, then add a few weeks. Then I expect some beta readers to be late. Because life happens. Some readers might whip through your story and have it back in a week. Others might take two or three months. If you do need your novel back in a particular timeframe, encourage everyone to send what they’ve corrected to you by that date, even if they aren’t finished.

Secondly, there will normally be a small percentage of beta readers who end up not getting back to you. This is nothing against beta readers because I understand that things get busy. Just expect it. If everyone sends you your manuscript by the deadline you set, that is great. If not, it’s nothing to worry about. It happens.

Eventually, you start receiving feedback. I like to correct my novel as I get comments back. The cool thing about beta reading is that everyone picks out different things. Five beta readers can go over the same page and pick out different spelling, grammar, or plot mistakes. Together, they are a powerful force.

And there is something you might start to notice. Beta readers can disagree among themselves (unintentionally, of course, since they don’t know what the others have said). Some love a particular part. Others think it could be changed. Some love a theme. Others don’t quite get it.

It is important to approach beta reader feedback correctly. Remember, one book isn’t for everyone. There will always be some people who don’t quite care for a style or idea. There is nothing wrong with this. Take each beta reader’s comment into careful consideration, but they are not Gospel truth. You can keep the thoughts, or decide they aren’t right for the book, or pick and choose what you like. Now, if everyone is agreeing that something is a problem, then it likely needs some help, but otherwise use what comments you can and don’t feel bad if you don’t agree with all of them.

Finally, and this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, treat your beta readers with respect. They deserve it. They have gone over your story, helping you improve it, just for the sake of reading it themselves. Make sure to thank them and maybe even mention them in your acknowledgements.

If you haven’t had beta readers before, don’t hesitate to find some. Once your novel is finished, but before you plunge into detailed polishing, send your book to beta readers for feedback. You won’t regret it.

Caption Challenge: March #2

First the winners from the last challenge:

fantasy prompt

Caption Challenge winner is: Anne of Lothlorien

“Are you afraid of the truth, my dear?”
“No more than you’re afraid of me.”

Six-Word-Story: Quinton of Boron

“Truth was found; and hope, destroyed.”

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage:

23ea503d81a3eda013245fd1982e618b

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). I’ll post the winner next week, as well as the next caption challenge!

Shadows of the Hersweald: Table of Contents Reveal and a Gift

Two weeks ago I asked you all to vote on what sort of Shadow of the Hersweald post you would like to see. Pinterest pictures of all the characters won by a wide margin last week. A reveal of the Table of Contents came in second, so guess what I have today. 🙂 Oh, and make sure you stick to the end because I have a treat for you all!

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Collage made from Pinterest pictures

Without more ado, here is the Table of Contents.

Chapter 1: The Prince’s Governor

Chapter 2: Unwanted Pardon

Chapter 3: Like Old Times

Chapter 4: Shadows and Flames

Chapter 5: Rebels

Chapter 6: The Firecarn

Chapter 7: Whispers of the Hersweald

Chapter 8: Traveon

Chapter 9: The Stormestone

Chapter 10: Unmasked

Next week the blog tour starts, so I wanted to add in the item that came in third place… as much because I love it as for any other reason. This is Haydn’s song. I like finding songs to match my characters. Haydn was very difficult. I’d given up before I found it by accident. They lyrics aren’t perfectly him, but the spirit of the song very much is his own struggle.

And now for the treat I promised… A free short story that prequels Shadows of the Hersweald!

Thanksgiving sale(2)

If you are signed up to my newsletter, you’ll have gotten a copy of this free story on Wednesday. If not, you can claim your free story by clicking HERE or clicking the picture above. 😀

Oh, and one final bit of unrelated info… Song of the Sword is ON SALE for $0.99 for all of this next week in celebration both of the upcoming Indy e-Con (which you can check out HERE) and because Shadows of the Hersweald is coming out. So if you want to check it out, but haven’t had the money to do so, now is your chance. You can go pick it up HERE!

Shadows of the Hersweald: Table of Contents Reveal and a Gift!

Rose of the Night & Rose of the Oath

As many of you know, I’ve written a second Beauty and the Beast retelling to replace Rose of Prophecy. Because of some tight scheduling, I’m actually sending out my new novella to beta readers before Shadows of the Hersweald is launched. *sighs* It’s not ideal, but if I didn’t, anyone who wanted to read the novella and/or it’s prequel would only have around three weeks. So, without more ado, here are a few quick blurbs.

Rose of the Night (a Beauty and the Beast prequel novelette)

Behind every beast, there is a curse.

Behind every curse, there is a promise.

Behind every promise, there is a sacrifice.

Two hundred years before Beauty was born, blood and tears wove a legend of hope and sorrow. A timeless tale of a forbidden rose and the smooth voice of a masked stranger. A story of rebellion and despair and love. A story of a promise given and of a hope received.

Rose of the Oath (a Beauty and the Beast novella)

War clouds the horizon, and wolves howl into the night. With rebels on the move, Elissa is desperate for her brother’s return. When she receives a mysterious message concerning his capture, she knows she must save him.

There is no one else who can.

But the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. According to her mysterious scarred host, even that safety is tentative at best as wolves and dark figures stalk the night.

Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Her host might hold to ancient promises of the Prince’s return, but Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. And she is willing to do almost anything to keep her family safe.

Like last time, I’m not actually posting a sign-up form on my blog. I do, however, have a small email list of anyone who is interested in getting notifications about beta reading. I’ll be sending out the official form for Rose of the Oath later this week, so if you want to sign up for beta reading alerts you can do so HERE.

Caption Challenge: March #1

First the winners from the last challenge:

writing-prompt

Caption Challenge winner is: Rubix Cube

He was sent away in the beginning, when his powers were unexplainable. Men with helmets came and took him away. I remember mother crying. But there was one thing he could do that only I knew. He could read minds. When we met again as adults, we were strangers. I had never seen his face, and I was foreign to him. I was but crawling when he left. But when I heard his voice, I knew.

This was the voice that calmed my nightmares as a child.

Six-Word-Story: Corissa, Maiden of Praise

“Separated at birth, joined by enemies.”

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage:

fantasy prompt

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). I’ll post the winner next week, as well as the next caption challenge!

Shadows of the Hersweald: Character Pictures

Last week I asked you all to vote on what sort of Shadow of the Hersweald post you would like to see. Pinterest pictures of all the characters won by a wide margin, so here we go! Some pictures are closer to the character than others, but they were the best I could fine.

Haydn

Clothes aren’t right, but this Haydn, my main character

Gorawen

This is very much Gorawen, Haydn’s cousin/half-sister

Traveon1

Traveon, a friend of Haydn and son of the province governor

Mathias

Mathias, the province governor

Artaith

Artaith, Haydn’s mother

 

Eurof

Eurof, Haydn’s stepfather

 

 

Kynlas

Kynlas

 

I do not own any of these pictures; they are all found on Pinterest.

Well, what do you think? If you’ve already read Shadows of the Hersweald as a beta reader, do the pictures look like you imagined the characters or not?