Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour: Day 1

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

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: Table of Contents Reveal and a Gift!

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!

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.

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?

 

 

Caption Challenge: February #3

First the winners from the last challenge:

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Caption Challenge winner is: Rebecca

She laughed, a broken sound that was full of hidden sorrows. “And what would I tell them? They cannot know, cannot understand, what it means to gamble an entire kingdom-and lose. I will never reveal to them our betrayal, nor burden them with a legacy of shadows.”

Six-Word-Story: Corissa Maiden of Praise

“A child’s ears aren’t easily deceived.”

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

 

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All pictures from Pinterest

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). On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge!

 

New Fantasy Times: Advancing Fantasy Technology

Advancing Fantasy Technology

Fantasy equals a sword, a bow, and a golden prophecy, right? Wrong. Do you honestly think that the realm in which you live contains the smartest, most advanced people? Of course, ‘advanced’ can have plenty of definitions. That aside, you might be surprised to find the realms which people in this land deem as ‘fantasy’ have a few tricks of their own.

new-fantasy-times-pinsWhat is technology after all? A thin device which carries words and pictures. An invisible thread in the air which connects the aforementioned devices. A globe of glass which glows. A chest which keeps things cold. A metal box which hurtles across the country at high speeds… It’s not quite so grand as some like to think.

Plenty of worlds have their own forms of useful (and not so useful) tools. There are the Silver Shells, which one can speak into and their voice will travel outwards to all other shells which are properly tuned. The Ruby Crystals hold pictures, even if they do tint them all red. Fire globes can carry heat and light for up to a week. One ice globe can keep a whole room cool. Swooping, kite-like contraptions carry individuals from one place to another.

The abilities of other realms are not limited to comfort and information. To be sure, swords and bows are quite popular. They were used for over three thousand years in our own realm, you will remember. But I have seen many other weapons. Powders that burrow into the foundations and, once fire catches on them, nothing can put it out. Catapults hurl explosions at iron-clad walls. Tubes send such explosions half way across the world. Hologramic soldiers march in rank and scatter confusion among the enemy. Mixtures seeped in water to weary the limbs and terrify the hearts. Other realms are not lacking in imagination or resources, let me assure you.

It is not just about what great men can think up either. The very air of some lands is different from those of others. There is one realm where currents layer the breeze. Two people in the same current can speak to each other though they are miles away. In other places, pools capture images and stones leave impressions of who was last there, while wind caves catch voices and echo them through deep caverns of the earth.

How people communicate and what they wield is just the beginning. The realms themselves are hardly what so many histories nowadays show them as…all green and swords and golden light or else dark and stony and hard. The past is not always pleasant, nor the future always hard.

Fantasy worlds are destroyed as well and must rise from the ashes. Realms and creatures from other realms interconnect – be they coming from the moon or from the sea. Wagons roll north over great deserts inhabited by wolves. Sleek silver ships combat dragons in the sky over glittering cities.

Quite frankly, no matter how many different ideas you can twist or merge, you will be able to find an existing world within the details. There is no limit except your imagination…and your realm leaper abilities.

 

Have any questions, legends, or trending cliches you’d like Kirin Quillblade (or Elena) to address? Please comment below; he promises to at least read what you have to say between his realm leaper’s missions, even if he holds the rights to choose what to write about and what to ignore.

 

Join the Legend Seekers for monthly stories about the realm leapers and fantasy time-travelers, Kirin and Elena. Click here to sign up

February Prompt Challenge

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

prompt

And the winner is Corissa Maiden of Praise!

You forgot your gloves.
I glanced at my hands as frustration swept through my body. Of all the things to forget… it wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t started to rain.
I sighed as the torrent increased. It seemed even the heavens were mourning for me today.
They’re not mourning for you, idiot. They’re mourning for him.
I wanted to scowl at the voice inside my head, to argue with him, but all that came out was a sigh. He was right, and I was too overwhelmed to fight a losing battle just now.
I reached inside my coat to insure that the gun was staying dry. My stomach churned as my fingers grasped the cold metal barrel.
My whole body tensed, and I glared fiercely at the street below. It wasn’t as if this was my first assassination; why was it so hard?
Because this time he’s your friend.
I swallowed the catch in my throat and tried to ignore the voice.
Because this time…
I tried to tune out, but I knew what was coming next and couldn’t stop the thought.
He’s your brother.

Congratulations, Corissa! Seriously, I want the rest of this story now.

And now for the next prompt.

 

fantasy-prompt

Picture source

You have 100-250 words to write a short story/scene that goes with this picture. You have until February 28th 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!

 

Beyond the Parchment: Part 6

It’s this time of the month again. 🙂 Welcome to 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.

beyond-the-parchment4

Why can’t this just be a dream?

“Varizan?” I blink, staring into his sharp blue eyes. How… I was in Braceaon. Resting. Relaxing! Why am I having a dream like this!

“Rested?” Varizan raises an eyebrow, rocking back on his heels as he releases me. “You slept long enough.”

I open my mouth, then shut it soundlessly. Varizan was in my home, but I’d gone through the portal, hadn’t I? Yet I am… here? In my closet. My arms tied behind one of the bare supports of my closet. With Jerinthreo, of all people, even more trussed up than I and glaring at me from the side.

Varizan shakes his head. “What realmly good did you think it would do to get Daraton out of my way when I didn’t care a wit about him in the first place? Well,” he corrects himself, “with his brother in my hands, I’m sure I can pull some good out of the situation. Assuming the young lord survives.”

Jerin’s breath hisses between his teeth. “Just you wait, Varizan. Just you wait.”

“I have been waiting, several hours,” Varizan says. “Nothing’s happened yet.” His gaze flicks back to me and hardens. “You, however, my dear…”

I am still staring at him, my mind spinning. Characters have come to life and I’ve visited their world. Why should being back here, interrogated by my own villain, be so startling? Interrogated… My stomach churns. That is one part of his character I have developed. For once, I don’t like knowing what to expect.

Varizan flips a dagger absently between his fingers, still rocking on his heels, then finally sheaths it. “Are you ready?”

I glare at Varizan. “It might help if you gave me a clue about what you wanted.”

“The wordsmith doesn’t know?” Varizan raises his gaze to the ceiling, then snaps his eyes back to my face. “I daresay you’d help if you did?”

“It’s doubtful.”

His hand smashes against the side of my face. I gasp, my head snapping to the side.

“That was a warning.” He lifts one finger as I blink. His face blurs in and out of focus. “I’ll be back. With details.” He rises. “In the meantime, think over what you do know about me and consider how long you can defy me.”

He strides from the narrow closet. I stare after him, his last words echoing my mind. How long… Time. Time. I close my eyes, my shoulders slumping. What my family would have done if Jerin and the others came through when they were all here is beyond me. As it is, they’ll be back tomorrow night. Back from the visit to our grandparents. A visit I skipped because I was supposed to be writing. If they return while Varizan was here…

That is an interrogation weapon he knows how to use too well.

I muffle a groan.

“You’re going to be dealing with more than a mere slap if you intend to defy Varizan.” Jerin growls.

I twist my head, glaring at the twin as best I could. “You think that is bothering me?”

“It should.”

I bite my lip before snapping a retort. “And you? I thought you were with Varizan?”

Jerin snorts. “Just because he gave me information doesn’t mean I trust the son of a snake. But he was right. And Daraton–”

“Daraton did not kill your father.”

“Or so he claimed in those brief moments before you threw him back in the portal and then collapsed in that strange pantry?”

Strange pant– Oh, the fridge.

“Ethred told me,” I say.

Silence.

“That name is not one to be bandied about just because you have a token from her.” Jerin’s voice is low. Deadly.

I close my eyes, my fingers twisting at the knots about my wrist. They don’t give. “And yet she did tell me. I went through, Jerin–”

“Jerinthreo.”

I ignore him. “I went through and got your brother to Ethred and Adella–”

I cut myself short. Was Jerin for the marriage, or against it? Ethred’s hasty explanations still wound confused webs between my eyes.

“He’s safe then?”

“Yes, well…” I hesitate. “Besides slowly slipping away from poison on Varizan’s dagger and hiding from soldiers who seem to have taken over the manor house.”

“Flaming Salendrians!” Jerin spat the exclamation. He jerks against his ropes, then lets his head fall against the wall with a sigh. “When I get my hands on Varizan–”

I blink, shaking my head. “Varizan now? I thought you were mortal enemies with your brother. Not that I’m complaining.”

“I’m not a fool,” Jerin says. “My brother has much to answer for, but it is not Varizan’s place to interfere or implement execution for a crime he seems very well able to have committed himself!”

Well then. That was one uneasy truce brokered.

“So…” I venture. “Varizan?”

“What about him?”

“Do you happen to know his backstory?”

“Backstory!” Jerin jerks upright. “Is that all we are to you? Characters in some book?”

“Not anymore,” I protest. “And it’s not just me. You should see what Ethred–”

“Ethred has issues when it comes to her wordsmithing.” Jerin rolls his eyes. “Everyone is orphaned, had a troubled childhood, or was beaten at a young age. I had hoped you weren’t all like that.”

I press my lips tight.

Jerin snorts.

“Varizan then?” I ask again.

“Ambassador from Salendria. Still not sure why he came, but Father–” His voice wavers, but he takes a deep breath. “Father accepted him. Didn’t talk much to him though, that I could see.”

“Family?” I ask.

“None that I know of.”

“And that is probably where the backstory comes in,” I mutter under my breath. I search back through my various shreds of history. A wife and two kids, at least Varizan had them at one point. What happened? A raider attack? Fire? I shook my head. Something involving the former lord Balstin, probably. Their ages matched. There had been a war twenty years ago when Balstin was a captain and Varizan a mere villager.

“What are you smirking about?” Jerin demands.

I clear my expression, blinking as I snap my gaze back to my fellow prisoner. “Just thinking. I had a… idea.”

“If it is about Varizan, you’d better keep it to yourself. I know what you types are like.”

“My type!”

“Ethred, remember? What did she do to your past? Kill your family and have a sibling die in your arms?”

I choke out a small cry of indignation.

“Whatever family Varizan had is dead,” Jerin says. “That much I know. If you try to share the elaborate ways they might have died, then it will go the worse for you.”

“That I don’t doubt.” I bite my lip, then draw a soft breath as footsteps approach.

The door swings open and I turn my head away, blinking in the bright light.

“General wants to see you.” A dusky figure blocks the sun, striding around me. Cold steel presses against my wrist. The ropes jerk tight, then loosen abruptly.

I swing my arms around, massaging my wrists. “What does he–?”

“I’m sure he’ll tell you.” The man yanks me up by the arm, shoving me before him. “Come along.”

I stumble a step as he pushes me out into my room. My poor room. What had these men done!? I bit my lip as I stare at the maps torn from the walls, the trampled flag, the scribbled parchments, my leather journal of customs and superstations lying open, with some passages underlined and others scribbled off….

The corridors and rest of the house isn’t much better. I’ll not get any sleep at all if I want this clean before my family gets back.

Varizan is sitting in state at the dining room table, rolling magnetized balls around the palm of his hand. He pinches two apart as the man who fetched me loosens his grip and pulls out the chair at the other end of the table.

I watch him warily as I sit down, then let my gaze skim the paper and assortment of pens and pencils before me. I bite the inside of my cheek.

Varizan lets the magnet balls reconnect with a snap, then drops them to the table and looks at me. “I suppose you’ve a guess at what I want?”

“Perhaps.”

Varizan waves one hand in a circular motion. “Pray, elaborate.”

I trace the inside of my teeth with my tongue. Family is probably a sensitive point. Power? Revenge? Most likely, but we can go with power. “You want to take over this world and you want me to write up some story or such where that that happens.”

Varizan throws back his head, his laughter billowing upward. “This world? This world?” He shakes his head. “Why in all the realms would I want this world? I have great confidence in my own abilities, but taking over a whole realm which is already fragmented into dozens of warring factions? I must say, I am flattered.”

So much for the power angle.

“Braceaon then?”

“Closer, but not by much.” Varizan sobers. Folding his hands, he watches me steadily. “I want you to write.”

“Hence the paper and pens.”

“Someone died once.” Varizan continues. “Someone dear to me. You are going to write them back.”

My breath caught in the back of my throat. So it was family then.

“But…”

“But what?” Varizan rose, circling his chair and leaning on the back. “You can’t? Think carefully about what you say.”

“I…” Best have it out with. “That’s not what I do. I write, yes. But what has happened has happened. I can’t change events. I can’t bring people back from the dead.”

“No?” Varizan’s brows draw closer as he rounds the table. He presses both hands on the surface beside me. “A wordsmith can do what she pleases, how she pleases.”

“You must believe me, we can’t.”

“And I am supposed to take the word of one captive on that?” Varizan leans close.

I force myself not to recoil. “I’m not the only one! Even Ethred said–” I cut myself off. Idiot! I could write my own death scene at the moment.

A slow smile spreads over Varizan’s face. “Ah, so you did go through the portal? A portion of you, anyway. I suspected as much.” He rounds the back of my chair, his hands resting lightly on my shoulders. I jerk, but their grip hardens, holding me in place.

“No need for any writing yet, my dear. The past is, as you said, past. The future, however…” his hands slowly slide toward my neck. I suppress a shudder.

“Wordsmiths have more power on the future than Ethred likes to let on. Ask her about it, why don’t you? And,” he leans over my shoulder, “when you see Daraton, tell him the Black Shadows has finally come.”

Varizan’s hand close over my mouth and nose, cutting off all air. I twist, struggling to breathe, but his hold tightens. Blackness edges my sight. Choking, suffocating blackness. And then I know no more.

Shadows of Hersweald Cover Reveal

Shadows of the Hersweald Cover Reveal

Yes, it is time! Already!

*squeals*

Shadows of the Hersweald is the third novella in my Legends of Light series and retells the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. And I am very excited to be sharing the cover with you today.

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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?

Find out in Shadows of the Hersweald!

And…I suppose I should actually show you the cover now. So, without more ado, here it is!

forestofdarknesslowres

This gorgeous cover, by the way, was created by a good friend of mine who just started a blog and who you can find here.

Oh, and one more thing. There is something else I’ve been looking forward to sharing. The book trailer for Shadows of the Hersweald. It is the first book trailer I have made and I had fun with it.

Well, what do you all think, of both the cover and the trailer? Looking forward to the end of March yet? 🙂