Month: April 2017

April Highlights: A Wedding, Spring, and Kingdom Pen

My Life

Lots of fun things this month. Spring is here. I’m wearing short sleeves. And I’ve climbed to the top of my tree for the first time this year – with bare feet. Why do people climb with bare feet in books? It hurts! Well, not that bad, but still… And yes, I do have a tree. At least I call it my tree because I was the only one who could climb to the top when we first moved to this house and the name stuck.

Secondly, remember that wedding I mentioned in my last update? Well, I drove down without a problem. The bypass around Indy was interesting, but nothing too crazy. The wedding itself was great fun. I got to meet friends I’ve worked with on Kingdom Pen. Several of the staff members the left, but the rest of us chatted into the evening as we tore down decorations (or sat on stacked chairs, watching others work). We ended up in my car, driving around hairpin bends, in the dark, around 10:00, singing Hamilton at the top of our lungs on the way to McDonald’s to get some ‘real food’. It was great fun.

Several Kingdom Pen Staffers

Because who doesn’t see a trashcan and decide to climb inside…

Also, some of you might remember me mentioning a brother who was enlisting in the Marines and had to get a waiver for his feet. Well, he got it and he is now sworn in. He’ll be heading off to bootcamp this summer or fall. Yes, I know it doesn’t have much to do with me or writing but #proudsistermoment

Writing

WIPs:

  • Scarlet Rose – correcting/rewriting: 8,387 words/seven chapters
  • Fidelyon: 22,251 words/8 chapters rewritten
  • Rose of the Night: send to an editor
  • Rose of the Oath: final corrections

Goals:

  • Send Rose of the Oath to an editor
  • Publish Rose of the Night
  • Redesign my website (toward the end of this month… if you see weird things happening around the 20th, that is what is going on)
  • Write part 3 of Scarlet Rose
  • Fidelyon… as much as I can get done; another 10-15 chapters

Google Searches:

  • Viney herbal plants Yes, Google, I’m being very specific. Lend a hand, would you?
  • Words that mean black Stygian works
  • Symptoms of a punctured lung Hmmmm, pain? Dizziness, painful breathing…
  • How to tend a punctured lung I’m sure Silvara will figure something out…

Other Writing:

My Life

I discovered Everfound this last month and have fallen in love with their songs. This is one of my favorites:

How have you all been? Have you ever climbed a tree in bare feet? What is your favorite Everfound song, if you listen to them? What sort of goals do you have for this month?

Posted by Hope Ann in A Writer's Life, 12 comments

April Vlog

And it’s time for another vlog!

Have any questions for me? Ask in the comments and I’ll answer them in next month’s vlog. 😀

Posted by Hope Ann in A Writer's Life, Vlog, 1 comment

16 Things Every Author Wants

Every writer has dreams, and not just the ‘get my book made into the next big movie’ dream but the more down to earth dreams. The ones where we want a turret room in a castle with surround sound music or a telepathic device to record our dreams. So, just for fun, I decided to compile a list of the things (with variations) that every writer would love:

  • A castle, built into a mountainside with a lake and green valley spreading below. And excellent wifi. Of course.
  • A tower room, the walls coated with weapons, flags, and maps from my world and books.
  • Then, of course, I’d want a writing room. A long room, where I could pace. The walls would be covered with pictures of characters, character profiles, great plotlines, interconnected with silk string, and small computer screens interspersed between them for quick research.
  • On the topic of research, I’d want a research room too, with a wall of screens where I could open a hundred different tabs and scroll through a dozen pages at once.
  • All of these grand rooms branch off my main writing room. A simple desk and computer in the middle of a cozy room. Candles on the walls, as well as scribbled notes. Oh, and the aforementioned surround sound music.
  • There would be a library too, of course, with several great chairs, a fireplace, a window seat, and books covering the walls. This would also be my bedroom.
  • Moving from the topic of lodging to technology, a dream recorder would be great for ideas.
  • As well as a thought recorder.
  • And a telepathic keyboard that writes out a scene just as we imagine it instead of making us labor word through word.
  • A visual storyboard would be nice too. One that would play our story in color, with dramatic music in the background.
  • Food. A stash of chocolate would be grand, as well as ice cream and cheesecake. Yogurt too, since one ought to eat something healthy. And fruit. Like strawberries and blueberries.
  • Some writers would also include coffee. Or tea. I’d prefer hot chocolate and pink lemonade.
  • Then there are the baths. Hot tubs and showers and whirlpools for brainstorming.
  • Also an endless supply of pens and paper. Notebooks and notecards. Envelopes and bookmarks.
  • And… costumes. Ranger costumes. Futuristic dress. Swords and bows and guns and daggers. Because sharp and shiny things should be acquired at every chance one gets.
  • Finally, one needs other writers. Just a few. Good friends, all with their own chambers and a central meeting room for when they want to interact with others.

If you could choose one thing from this list, what would it be? What sorts of things would you add to this list?

Posted by Hope Ann in Self-publishing, Writer's Corner, writing articles, Writing Humor, 28 comments

Winter Reading: Mini-Reviews

Well… it’s been a long time since I’ve done this, but here we go. Book reviews on some of my reading over this past winter.

Cress and Winter

Overview: The final two books of the Lunar Chronicles… I enjoyed the series but, all told, Cinder was my favorite. I loved her story and her character and I found myself looking forward to getting back to the parts with her and with Kai.

Technical aspects: Writing: 4.3 of 5 – Characters: 4.5 of 5 – Dialogue: 5 of 5

My thoughts: Winter did get a little long. I thought it could have been better if the climax happened a few hundred pages earlier. I enjoyed the series as a whole, though not enough to reread them (not as if I’m rereading much of all these days). And, like I said, Cinder was my definite favorite – both the book and character.

Recommendation:  4 of 5. They are interesting. Keep in mind that romance is also a big part of each book. It never gets terrible, but by book four you do have four couples and all the attendant brooding and misunderstandings that goes along with it. 😉

The Lays of Beleriand

Overview: Containing various lays by Tolkien, this book also goes through some of his changes to both the stories and the wording. I did read that part, but focused mainly on the lays. I’ve never read much poetry, though these are too epic to just be called poems. I loved them so much, even if some of them just… ended. *sniffs*

Technical aspects: Writing: 5 of 5 – Characters: 5 of 5

My thoughts: The lays were beautiful. I absolutely loved them. These are one of the few things I’ll have to reread one of these days.

Recommendation:  5 of 5. I want nothing more than to find someone who hasn’t read them, sit them down by a crackling fire, and read these out loud. Even better… if someone who could pronounce all the names wanted to read them to me, I could listen for hours.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Ball and the Cross

Overview: The Napoleon of Notting Hill deals with nationalism, in which England is plunged back into a medieval type of formality, while The Ball and the Cross follows two men trying to find a quiet place to duel to the death due to their argument on the view of God’s existence.

Technical aspects: Writing: 5 of 5 – Characters: 5 of 5 – Dialogue: 5 of 5

My thoughts: Love these books! Chesterton’s works are fascinating and thought-provoking. I love his sarcasm and the theme and philosophy woven into both of these works.

Recommendation:  5 of 5. Granted, The Napoleon of Notting Hill does start rather slow, but both books are fascinating, both in their themes and in philosophy. I highly recommend them.

 

And there you have it. Yes, I’ve read more than these books over the winter. But either they were nonfiction or I didn’t feel like reviewing them for various reasons… 😉 I did reach my 100 book goal last year, and am 20 books into another 100 book goal for this year. We’ll see how that goes…

How about you? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What was your favorite read this winter?

Posted by Hope Ann in Book Reivews, 10 comments

Fidelyon: ‘O’ and ‘P’ with Ethaniel

‘O’ with Ethaniel:

Ethaniel, the main character in my novel, Fidelyon, has taken it upon himself to introduce you to his world by going through an alphabet of terms and names.

The letter ‘O’ stand for… for… One! Yes, the number one will work. Don’t look at me like that. I have to think of something. There are a number of things I could use ‘one’ for, but I’ll stick with the first thing to spring to mind.

Two nations, becoming one. Unity. That is the prophecy of the end of the third age, after all. Elentisa, split since Shaquille’s rebellion during the first age, will be united with Voland once more. It was one of those things everyone knows vaguely from stories told by crackling firesides. It was not something anyone would picture happening in their lifetime. Or any lifetime, by the looks of the relations between our lands.

Emphasis on the ‘was’.

Just one little problem for our piece of mind. The prophecy doesn’t tell how such a union will come about. Or rather, it gives two choices. We will unite in glory and peace, or in flames and destruction. Frankly, flames look like they have a better chance right now. Not that I’d tell anyone else that, and don’t you go passing the word around either. Because there is still hope. There is always hope. And prayer.

Such is the prophecy, and such will be the union. Two countries, made one. But will they burn or will they stand? Only time will tell.

‘P’ with Ethaniel:

Instead of a subject, Hope is telling me to post a song for this letter. She says it is ‘my’ song. I’m sure it could fit many others, not just myself, but I… No. I can’t talk about it. Just… you can listen to the song, and maybe you’ll understand.

Posted by Hope Ann in A-Z with Ethaniel, fairy tales, fantasy, Fidelyon, WIP, 2 comments

Beyond the Parchment: Part 8

Welcome to the next installment of my serial story, Beyond the Parchment

So far we learned that a dysfunctional portal, invented by a weary writer, May Ann, actually begins to work, bringing characters to our world. And herself into their world.

Anyway, you can read the first parts of the story here. You could just read the short blurbs about them, of course, but you’ll probably miss some important details. The blurbs are there for those of you who have read the story and are trying to keep track of all the names, more than anything else. You’re welcome. *bows*

Part 1: It Just had to be Lord Jerinthreo Kraven Balstin the Second: in which a writer, May Ann, wakes up to find a portal she’d designed in her book has become operational and two brothers, Jerinthreo and Daraton have come through and engaged in a bitter fight.

Part 2: All brothers fight sometimes, right?: May Ann tries to keep the brothers from killing each other. Grabs Jerin and pulls him into a secret passage, only to discover she has Daraton instead (they are identical twins). Break out of the passage into May Ann’s kitchen only to discover Varizan, a villain May Ann created, waiting for them.

Part 3: My kitchen will never be the same: Another fight between Daraton and Varizan breaks out in May Ann’s kitchen and May Ann saves Daraton’s life by shoving them both through the portal (which so happens to be the fridge).

Part 4: I am never doing that again: May Ann and Daraton arrive in Braceaon, Daraton is wounded and Varizan’s soldiers have taken over Daraton’s former home. May Ann helps Daraton away and they find Ethred, a lady both Jerin and Daraton seem to respect, and her daughter, Adella, who happens to be Lord Daraton’s wife.

Part 5: Well, that complicates things:: May Ann confers with Ethred and Adella and discovers they are both wordsmiths, chosen from their generations to record what happens in other realms (with some creative license). With Daraton resting, May Ann finally tries to get some sleep. But her eyes have barely closed when she finds herself wide awake. And captive in her own world.

Part 6: Why can’t this just be a dream: May Ann is a Varizan’s prisoner in this world. She (and he) realize that she is now in both worlds, though only awake in one. Varizan cryptically questions her, wanting to use her power as a wordsmith, then knocks her out.

Part 7: Not my prefered mode of travel: May Ann meets Thrayton, Varizan’s second-in-command and discovers that, to get a cure for Daraton, she must fall asleep and confront Varizan. But when she wakes up in our world, she discovers Jerin has escaped.

Terrors of the Modern World

Jerinthreo… succeeded in rescuing himself. The words replay themselves through my mind twice before I make sense of them, then I jolt upright. “Jerin escaped!”

Varizan leans one elbow against the doorframe. “It would appear so.”

I blink at him. “And you expect me to find him?”

He shrugs. “Your world is a big enough place. It has its advantages, but I’m not sending my men out when you’ll go and be more successful bring him back.”

I choke out a laugh as I scramble to my feet. Why haven’t they tied— Oh. I catch the cut rope as it slips from my wrist, then glance toward the corner where Jerin had been held. “I’m not about—”

“You want us to stay here?” Varizan peers at me.

I snap my mouth shut.

He shakes his head. “An argument will waste more time than we have. Think, now. You’ve walking in my world for a few hours. I suppose you’ve learned things there, including the fact that no one really has any clue how to open the portal from that end.”

I scowl. “Let me guess, Jerin is the only one on this end who can do it?”

“I’d not say that.” He crosses his arms. “I’ve a feeling Jerin’s success was more accident than otherwise. But he may have a few clues.”

“Hmmm.” I brushed a strand of hair from my face. “I’ve learned other things there. Such as the fact that Daraton is dying from poison and you’re the only one who knows the cure.”

“Ah, you’ve spoken with Trayton, then? Though I don’t think…” Varizan traces the daggers at his belt, then pauses. “Never mind, that one was poisoned. More’s the pity. Although the cure is quite close by for any over there who know how to use it.”

I narrow my eyes. “I suppose you want a price before you tell me what it is?”

“I suppose you know what my price will be.”

I press my lips tight, then exhale forcefully. “Fine.” I can’t very well let Jerin wander into town, whatever the situation here. Freedom for myself and an ally… Who knows what good we can do before we end up back in Varizan’s clutches? “Which way did he go?”

Varizan retreats a step, then and pivots on his heel in my room. I try not to look at the strewn books or tattered maps. A number of them are spread over a desk, black markings across their surfaces.

“That way, if the tracks lead right.” Varizan points out the wind. “Toward the lights.”

“Wonderful.” I press back against the desk, staring out into the faint glow reflected off low hanging clouds. He would head toward the one place I’d have him avoid. Not that there’d be much chance of finding him if he took to the woods, I supposed.

My fingers brush the edges of the maps and I roll those I can feel into a tight scroll. “I’ve one condition. You’re not to follow me.”

Varizan’s eyebrows rise. “You think I have any intention of following you? That’s why we’re sending you out in the first place. If Daraton dies in Braceaon, you’ll have enough trouble there that you’ll be begging for my help.”

I suppress a smirk. That is doubtful. I shove myself upright and tuck the maps up my sleeve. Where… there it is. I sweep up a black cloak, folded on my bookshelf. My fingers close around a dagger hidden in its thick layers and I tuck the bundle against my chest. “Later then.” I spin away.

“You’ve until two hours after dawn.” Varizan calls after me. “Make sure you’re back.”

“Like I plan on you leave you in my house any longer than necessary,” I mutter.

Several of Varizan’s men glance up as I pass through the kitchen. One of them is carving a loaf of bread. Another has an apple at the end of his dagger while a third is preparing to shovel a spoonful of ground coffee into his mouth.

I pause. “You are going to clean this all up, are you not?”

Three pairs of dark eyes turn in my direction.

I cross my arms. “Portals and poison I understand, but you really don’t have to leave my house a disaster. You understand that, right? I’m tracking down your prisoner. The least you could it is clean up some of this mess.”

The soldiers glance uncertainly over their shoulders and I spin away before they can reply.

In the direction of the light… I sweep up a long stick lying in the yard—one of my brother’s swords or staffs, no doubt. Right. They’re coming home tomorrow. No, tonight. It’s today by now, probably. Dawn is only a few hours off. Less, maybe. Why hadn’t I thought to check a clock before leaving?

I draw a deep breath and hurry past the empty driveway. I’ll be fine without a vehicle, I’d said. It will be wonderful and relaxing home alone, I said. I shook my head at myself. Though if the portal opened and no one was here to take charge of things…

Like you are really taking charge, my dear?

Oh, shut up.

As soon as the shadows of a small wood cloak me from the house, I pause and pull the rolled papers from my sleeve. Folding them, I stuff them into a pocket, then fasten the dagger at my waist and the cloak about my shoulders. Shifting my grip on my staff, I take a deep breath and plunge forward.

Perhaps it is just as well I don’t have a car. The headlines would probably send Jerin deeper into shadows. That, or he’d attack. How long has he been gone? Why hadn’t I thought to ask Varizan a sensible question or two while I was back at the house? I rub one hand over my eyes, pausing once to lean against a tree. Tired… I’m so tired. How much has this body slept? Or is it just my mind that is worn to frayed wires? Why did I ever write up that portal anyway?

You think not writing it would have done any good? It was Jerin who got them here, not you.

Right. Jerin. I straighten and stride through the shadows. Branches crack loudly at each step and I wince. How many characters have I blessed with silent moving and this is what I get in return. Of course Jerin is one of the best. Can almost see in the dark too. I scowl. Then again, maybe not. I’m not everything Ethred made me out to be. Or any of it, probably.

I trip over a log. Muffling a grunt, I shove myself back up. Night. In the forest. It’s so dark I can’t see my hand. Even Jerin couldn’t have made it far in here. Not as if anyone in books ever has a problem with the night, unless they use its shadows like a convenient cloak to hide in, then fling off the moment they need to silently pick their way through some patch of forest or see more than a few inches from their face.

I’m… no. This is enough. I crash through the underbrush, forcing my way back out into the open. Anyone listening will already know I’m coming. Anyone not listening will know too.

I stumble into the open and brush tangled leaves off my dress. Well now…

If Jerin left any tracks, I’ve probably ruined them. No… I need to figure out where he’d go. Think like him. Think like… A small smile quirks my lip.

People… he’d try to find other people. Which means finding lights. Which means… I start off at a quick pace toward town. A very little town, hardly deserving the name. People. Clothes, probably. Maybe food. Or a weapon. Yes, he might want a weapon. I bite my lip. Jerin in a small country town. This is not going to be good.

The first few houses are quiet enough. He’s no fool. He knows he’s in a new land and he probably knows that they know nothing about other worlds. A public place then…

A yellow sign gleams in the darkness. Dollar General. I pause, my fingers closing over the edge of my cloak. Well, there’s nothing for it…

I sprint across the parking lot, gray in the haze of a rising dawn. There’s only two other cars parked. I ignore them, almost slamming into the automatic doors as they hesitate before sliding open. One of them moves jerkily, half off its runner… whatever those things are called. It’s a good sign. Or a sign, at least.

A lady peers up from emptying egg cartons into a refrigerated section as I hurry through the inner doors. Her eyebrows raise. Right. My cloak. Though if Jerin is here, it’s not like I’ll be that conspicuous. I grin and give the lady a small wave as I hurry by. Nothing down the cereal aisle. Nothing down the home decorating aisle. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe… I freeze. There is my quarry.

He stands in the center of the aisle, his tattered cloak almost sweeping the tiled floor, a tiny furrow wrinkling his brow as he holds a butcher’s knife to the light.

I cross my arms under my own cloak. “Find what you were looking for?”

He jolts, his empty scabbard knocking a row of tins to the floor with a raucous clatter. “Doesn’t your world have any better weapons than this?” He traces one finger along the blade. “It’s not sharp, is inconveniently shaped—”

“It’s for the kitchen,” I interrupt.

He scowls. “Yes, I guessed that. No one else would make use of such things. But they don’t have a weapon section here.” He tosses the blade to the shelf with a clatter. “Or maybe there’s an underground level? A cavern of some kind?”

I swallow back a smile. “I’m afraid those are the best you’ll find here.”

“In which case I’ll spend my coins on items that will do some good. They didn’t find all my daggers.” Jerin’s frown deepens as his gaze skims me again. “They sent you after me, didn’t they?” His hand drifts behind his back.

I incline my head. “That doesn’t mean I intend to work for them, though.”

“Humppp.” Jerin taps his fingers on his belt, then turns and sweeps up a small pile of… what has he collected? A loaf of bread. Several washcloths. Spoons. A bag of fish rocks and… is that a batman hoodie? “And… Daraton?”

My amusement fades. “Not good. Varizan says he’s a cure but…” I motion towards him.

“My freedom for the brother he tried to get me to kill.” Jerin snorts. “He doesn’t waste any time, does he? Not that I’m about—”

“May Ann!”

I stiffen at the jolly voice behind me. Please… not now.

A hand claps my shoulder. “I know you like the whole costume thing, but isn’t it a bit early for you to be up?”

“Isn’t it a bit early for you to be back?” I spin and scowl at my older brother. Heat clenches my stomach. “Everyone isn’t back yet, are they?”

Leinad shakes his head. “Relax, you’ll still get a day of quiet. I’ve classes and… things.” He gestures vaguely. “Just stopped for some breakfast. How did you get him to dress up for you?” He nods toward Jerin. “It looks great by the way,” he smiles at the second son of the Earl of Braceaon. “Even has the beat up and worn look that May likes—”

“Leinad!” I hiss.

“What?”

I press my lips tight and shake my head. “It’s not what you think. I just… You need to… stop.”

“Stop what? I’m not doing anything. May, are you all right?” He catches my shoulder as I suddenly sway.

“Yes… I…” I blink. No, I can’t go back. Not yet. Not… A wave of sleepiness washes over me.

Jerin springs forward. “They’re waking her up! Over on the other side.”

Leinad’s hand tightens about my shoulder. “Are you—”

“Listen to him.” I grit out. “It’s… something happened.” I met Jerin’s eyes. “Tell him. And you…” I drag my gaze back to Leinad as my head begins to droop forward. “Listen to him, if you can. And… and don’t go back to the house.”

My knees buckle. Dimly I can hear exclaiming voices and feel strong hands catching me. Then darkness, wrapped in blue strands, twists me away.

 

Well, what do you think will happen next? And… do you think I should follow May Ann in the next section or should I begin by switching to Jerin’s POV? 😀

Posted by Hope Ann in Beyond the Parchment, fantasy, Reader's Corner, 21 comments

EXPLORE LERIA BLOG TOUR: U is for the Underground

I am so excited to be able host the letter ‘U’ in Gillian Bronte Adams Leria Blog Tour! I LOVE the Songkeeper Chronicles. If you haven’t read them GO READ THEM. They are so good and I can’t wait until the last book comes out. Stick around until the end of the post for a chance to win copies for yourself!

Thanks, Hope, for hosting me here and helping me celebrate the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world. If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles (follow the tour at gillianbronteadams.com and find a list of all the stops at #exploreleira tour). And we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below!

Today, we’re looking at the letter …

U is for the Underground

Five years before Orphan’s Song began, the Khelari occupied the city of Kerby as a part of the Takhran’s mission to conquer the Nordlands. Not long after the Khelari arrived, people started disappearing. Taken by the dark soldiers. Those left behind assumed them dead. Far too often, only the children were left abandoned, forced to the streets to fend for themselves.

When the Khelari came for his father, Cade Peregrine fought his way through a burning building to get his sister Aliyah to safety through a secret passageway into the caverns where the outlaws (and his father) had once lived. There Cade planned his revenge on the dark soldiers.

Grieved over the suffering of his city, he gathered children off the streets and welcomed them into the cavern where like Hawkness and the outlaws of old they would make their home, band together into a cohesive unit, vow vengeance, and as their first act of defiance, survive.

They became the Underground.

A dim light appeared ahead, casting flickering figures dancing on the walls. The chatter of voices filled Ky’s ears and brought a smile to his face. Silence might be a good rule of thumb in the tunnels—so shallow and close to the city streets—but in the heart of the Underground, secreted far below the earth in caverns where brave men once fought, laughter and loud conversations reigned.

Here, they were free from fear.

Orphan’s Song

A host of thieves, pickpockets, and street rats, and not a beggar among them, for they must keep their pride. They spent their days apple-bobbing in the market, nicking bread from bakers, swiping wallets from the pockets of shoppers, and helping themselves to whatever various tools and accessories they could find. All “harvested” items were stored together and used for the good of all. Food and weapons distributed under Cade’s watchful eye, other valuable items bartered with select merchants for more useful goods. In the central cavern, the Underground runners lived and ate and slept and fought together around a large fire ring. A network of tunnels provided them with trapdoor entrances and exits throughout the city—perfect for making a quick getaway.

With Dizzier as his right hand man, Cade established the order of the Underground. The young were assigned older “brothers” and “sisters” who taught them the way of the streets. Those old and skilled enough became runners in their own right and eventually were assigned younger siblings. The oldest Cade made “raid leaders” and set them to carry off the more challenging tasks and rob the more difficult marks.

He gave them discipline. The rules of the Underground were learned by each new recruit until he or she could recite them by heart. The rules were the key to survival, and hence the key to everything else.

There were three simple rules in the Underground: be invisible, look out for yourself, and no going back. Ever. They all added up to the same thing: Keep up or get left behind.

Orphan’s Song

Survival, survival, survival. It was Cade’s mantra all through the first years of the Underground. Then nothing else mattered, because they had to survive before they could fight. What began as three kids—Cade, Dizzier, and Aliyah—soon swelled to ten, then twenty, and finally over forty at the time of Orphan’s Song.

Not an army, not yet. But an outlaw band that even Hawkness might be proud of. As a matter of training, Cade established the Ring. Because his father had been a swordsmith, he had been raised around weapons, so he formed a daily practice to train his runners and a system of challenges to keep them in line.

No one wanted to face Cade in the Ring.

In all this, Cade kept his true purpose hidden. None save Dizzier knew that he hoped to make of the Underground a fighting unit of warriors tempered by a life tuned to survival through the hard knocks of the streets, who might one day rise against the Khelari and drive them out of Kerby forever.

“That’s insane. We can’t fight the dark solders—there’s too many of them.”

“It is insane. For now.” Cade’s eyes glittered in the firelight. “Now it’s just a dream, but one day it will be a reality. Even now, every dagger we steal, every purse, every coin is a step toward breaking the soldiers’ hold on Kerby. And when we’re ready, we’ll fall upon them and drive them from the city. Then we’ll be free again.”

Orphan’s Song

And yet the Underground is more than the cavern, more than the army Cade thinks he has built. At its heart, the Underground is the boys and girls that gathered together to be the family that they all lost. That’s something that Ky Huntyr—one of the main characters in the Songkeeper Chronicles—understands, even as Cade struggles to comprehend.

“Now Cade says we shouldn’t even think about leaving, that this—the Underground—is our home.” With a sweep of his arm, he directed their gaze to the cavern with its walls of scored stone, floor worn smooth by the passage of their feet, and a roof that crouched to shelter them like the protective arms of the mothers they had lost. “But I say that this isn’t the Underground. We are the Underground. You … me … all of your brothers, sisters, friends. This cavern is nothing more than a hole in the ground. We make it something more. No matter where we are, so long as we survive and stick together, the Underground is not lost.”

Songkeeper

When you sweep away the grime and get down to the bare-knuckled bones of it, the Underground is a bit like Oliver Twist, Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, and Robin Hood’s Merry Men all rolled into one. *grins* Now how can you not love that?

War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.

Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.

Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?

Amazon: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

Barnes and Nobles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

 

And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit www.gillianbronteadams.com to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Posted by Hope Ann in Authors, 12 comments

March Highlights: Shadows and Launches

My Life

Not much has been going on this month. By which I mean, nothing much to write under a general ‘life’ entry. I have been busy, but that is under my writing entry below – writing pretty much is my life…

But it is getting warmer and the sun shines more often, so that is something.

Oh, and I went bowling for the first time this month. I enjoyed it very much, even if I’ve hardly any clue what I’m doing. I did win the last game, despite my ignorance, so I was starting to get something right.

This month has been mainly swallowed up in publishing Shadows of the Hersweald and trying to ignore things that will be happening over the next few months (like driving to a destination three hours away on my own this coming Saturday. But I’ll have maps and detailed instructions and a phone, so it should be fine.)

Writing

Shadows of the Hersweald

  • Check out my free short story, Mercy of Fate, a prequel to Shadows of the Hersweald. Click HERE to claim your copy!
  • I’m sure you’ve heard about it plenty by now, but Shadows of the Hersweald is published. You can check out my Hansel and Gretel retelling by clicking HERE.

Collage by Corissa

WIPs:

  • Scarlet Rose – correcting/rewriting: 18,741 words/part 2 finished
  • Fidelyon: 30,188 words/12 chapters rewritten
  • Shadows of the Hersweald: Finished
  • Rose of the Night: working on beta reader corrections
  • Rose of the Oath: sent off to beta readers

Goals:

  • Finish Rose of the Night and send it to an editor
  • Get Rose of the Oath to the final polishing stage
  • Write part 3 of Scarlet Rose
  • Fidelyon… as much as I can get done; another 10-15 chapters

Google Searches:

  • What does death smell like? Why do I even need to know this?
  • Wolf claw scars No, I don’t want makeup stuff to pretend I’ve scars of my own
  • Fooling a polygraph Can I take one and see the results?
  • How quickly does a bruise form? Depends… but it won’t look black and purple five minutes after the blow
  • How far can a wolf hear? Five to ten miles, depending on where they are

Other Writing:

Me:

Finally, as some of you know, I’ve been helping with Kingdom Pen for a year or two now. Well, this month I became director of the Kingdom Pen writing team! Or, to be more specific, I am the Kingdom Pen Writing Team Captian… with possession of all the puns related to the term of Captian – from ship talk to Steve Roger.

What are some of your most recent Google searches? How have you been doing? Also… would you all be terribly sorry if I stopped Caption Challenges in a month or two? Feel free to chat below or ask me questions. 🙂

Posted by Hope Ann in A Writer's Life, 7 comments

April Prompt Challenge

At the beginning of March, I posted a prompt challenge for a complete scene instead of just a caption. Behold the prompt:

And the winner is Katherine H!

I carried the flag that day.

There were riots in the street, as there had always been. There were police everywhere, as there had always been. There were people hurt that day, as there had always been.

But this day was different, because today, I carried the flag.

I carried it proudly, my head held high, my chest puffed out, while my feet steadily beat the staccato notes I had dreamed about for years.

They followed behind, the true, the loyal the brave.

And we marched on.

The days would go on as they always had, but throughout the years to come I could look back on that day.

I carried the flag that day.

I carried the flag for freedom.

You have 100-250 words to write a short story/scene that goes with this picture. You have until April 30th to submit your scene in the comments below. I’ll announce the winner in March.  Anyone can enter, but keep your entries clean. No swearing, no gore or sensuality. Have fun!

Posted by Hope Ann in Monthly Prompts, prompt collages, 28 comments

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour and Wrap-up

Welcome to the final day of the Shadows of the Hersweald blog tour!!!

Defeated was bad enough.
Now Haydn is pardoned.
But with Tauscher’s rebels free, can Haydn save those he cares for before it is too late?

Find out today in Shadows of the Hersweald: a Hansel and Gretel novella.

Click the picture above to buy the novella or check out the posts below for cool things like interviews and quotes!

Rebeca Morgan – Interview, quote

Wysteria Campion – Review, interview, quotes

Sarah – Review, interview, sneak peek

Blog Tour Wrap Up:

Monday

Cela Day – Review

Brie Donning – Review, sneak peek

Erudessa Aranduriel – Interview, quote

Raechel – Quotes

Tuesday

S. F. – Review, interview, quote

Audrey Caylin – sneak peek

Ivy Rose – Quotes

Wednesday

Marrok Macintyre – Interview

Rebekah – sneak peek

Thursday

Hannah Whatley – Review, interview, quote

Daleen Cowgar – Review

Posted by Hope Ann in Legends of Light, Shadows of the Hersweald, 1 comment