Five days to go!

Five days to go!

I know, I know: you guys are probably sick of hearing from me. I promise not to spam too much this week, but I’m seriously excited here.

My third novel comes out in five days!

Seriously, if you told me just three years ago that I would have written and published one book, I would have been flattered but skeptical. I mean, I’m pretty scatterbrained and generally have a pretty short attention span when it comes to hobbies. And writing a book is not only hard, but time consuming: requiring me to set time aside from my fun hobbies like reading and gaming to actually put words on paper.

I’m pretty darn proud of myself for sticking to this writing thing. Not only that, but I think my books are getting better! Well, I suppose anything would improve with practice; I can’t imagine why writing would be any different.

I cannot wait for readers to dive into Ice Blessed. The story takes a slightly darker turn in this volume as readers discover the impetus and history of the villain. But the bone-chilling scenes are balanced with sweet romance and even a little romantic comedy. Almost all your favorite characters from the previous two books make an appearance, so if you enjoyed the beginning of the series, you won’t want to miss what comes next!

Ice Teaser

Big sale number two!

Are you ready for this?!

For the first time since publication, Fire Blessed is free on kindle for a limited time!

Fire Blessed is the second novel in my Blessings of Myrillia series. I strongly recommend reading UnBlessed to familiarize yourself with my high fantasy world (and prevent spoilers) but it is possible to read Fire Blessed on its own.

Personally, I think Fire Blessed is my favorite book so far. (GASP! Bad book mommy!) Filled with an epic love story, along with plenty of action and intrigue, I frequently get lost in the world every time I pick it up. (Yes, I’ve reread this one a lot. Not sure if that’s narcissistic or not.)

Fortunately, I received a bit of validation with Fire Blessed. Back in February, it received a Reader’s Favorite 5 Star review – a pretty awesome milestone, if you ask me.

So why not pick up your own copy while it’s free? I mean, come on. Who can resist a cover like this?

FIRE

Disclaimer: Kindle covers won’t have the epic flameglow. Sorry.

 

Last day for your free copy of UnBlessed!

Today marks the final day of my sale for UnBlessed, the first book in my Blessings of Myrillia series: if you haven’t gotten your free kindle copy from Amazon, you might want to grab it before the price jumps back to $2.99.

After all, the third book is coming out in – get this – two weeks!

I’m a little excited, if you couldn’t tell. 😀

So yes, grab that first book while it doesn’t cost anything. Maybe check back next week for some deals on Fire Blessed … and definitely take a minute to read this spoiler-free excerpt from UnBlessed. This excerpt explains what, exactly, a Blessing is … and might possibly hint at the central character of book three. 😉

It was Lucien’s turn. Kisara watched as he walked to the Fire Shrine, noting how stiffly he moved. He’s still worried, she thought to herself, and sent a brief prayer that he would be Blessed by one of the first Elements.

Yet again, Fire found another candidate unworthy, and Lucien took a deep breath before continuing on to the Water Shrine. However, when he thrust his hands into the basin of water, there was a brilliant white light—even brighter than the others before it. After it cleared, Lucien stood in a white circle. His tunic turned a pale, shimmering blue, his hair a silvery white. Kisara clapped her hands in joy for her friend and gasped when he turned to grin at her. Unda had favored Lucien strongly; indeed, with his eyes turning the pale blue of snow shadows, it was obvious to see the extent of his Blessing. Lucien was an Ice Blessed! The ring of white surrounding him was frost, Kisara realized, and as she looked closer, she noticed the waterfall had frozen solid.

Sparkly UnBlessed

Free ebook, anyone?

Free ebook, anyone?

Yup, you read that right. To celebrate the upcoming release of Ice Blessed, I’m giving away free kindle copies of my first book, UnBlessed. It’s the perfect time to dive into the Blessings of Myrillia series, which readers have called, ‘a wonderfully refreshing tale’ with ‘lovely and crisp writing.’

While the series is definitely high fantasy – set on another world – there is a pretty decent amount of romance woven into the typical fantasy journey. Here’s an example:

They stared at each other, still close enough to feel the other’s breath. Lucien’s hand dropped to her shoulder, his eyes dropping to her mouth.

Kisara’s breath hitched—was he going to try and kiss her? He shouldn’t. They were just friends. Weren’t they? Emotions battled within her, and she stood rooted to the spot.

Talk about romantic tension. Wonder what happens next …? Well, hop on over to Amazon and grab your free kindle copy to find out today!

 

Book review: The Burning Sky #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Book review: The Burning Sky #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

A two-for-one review day!

Iolanthe Seaborne is an elemental mage, capable of controlling fire, water, and a little bit of earth. She’s unusual, but not incredibly rare. She certainly isn’t a great mage; she isn’t someone that should attract the attention of the Master of the Realm.

Or so she thought.

It turns out she is incredibly rare. She could possibly be the greatest mage of her generation, which explains the sudden interest of Prince Titus. But there are others who seek her power, others who don’t have her best interests at heart. Luckily, Prince Titus has spent his entire life planning on how to protect and train her.

Except all his plans hinged on the belief that she’d be a boy …

From Crystin’s Definitely-Gotta-Read-This Checklist:

Magic, check. Royalty, check. Character disguises (basically, cross-dressing), check. Humor, check. Romance, double-check.

Oh yeah, this is gonna be good.

In fact, there were only two aspects of the book I didn’t like … or well, three – but the third one is sort of a spoiler, so I’m not going to go into detail regarding that one.

One: the prologue completely and utterly confused me. Mainly because there was reference to Eton – which I know is a school in England. So I started reading the book thinking it was set in England … which it wasn’t. However, this complaint quickly turned into grudging admiration, because the story utilizes a sort of parallel-universe/alternate reality base for the events. Basically, mage realms (where the story starts) exist alongside non-mage realms (Earth), and mages can travel between the two. So the characters do go to the Eton I envisioned … eventually. I had to muddle along for a few chapters before I figured it out, though. The initial confusion was well worth it in the end, I think.

Two: the random footnotes bothered me. Maybe it was just the kindle version, but I’d be fully immersed in the story and enjoying the events, when suddenly a random little number would mark the end of a sentence. You know, like the kind that you’d find in research papers or educational manuals that cite a source or something. Now, when I got to the end and read what those little notes were for – yeah, it was kind of interesting. I like the additional backstory and explanations … but the implementation could have been done differently. It turned my wonderful romantic fantasy into a sort of textbook. No. Bad author … or formatter or whoever. Let me live the story without distraction, thank you. I’ll happily read all the little explanations at the end, no citation needed.

Did I like it? Uh, heck yeah. Would I recommend it? Duh! My only forewarning (other than the above) is that it suffers from series-syndrome. The ending isn’t too abrupt or cliff-hangerish … but the story definitely isn’t finished.

At least the next one is already published. No year-long wait here … heh heh heh. >:D

Book review: Truthwitch #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Book review: Truthwitch #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

In the Witchlands, some are born with magic skills – also known as a witchery – which set them apart from others. The skills are as varied as there are stars in the sky: a Glamourwitch can craft illusions, a Flamewitch can control fire (or sometimes heal, oddly enough), and a Truthwitch can tell truth from lies.

Safiya is a Truthwitch. Many would kill to have her skill at their disposal, especially the rulers of the three Empires that are about to end their 20 year treaty … which is why Safi keeps her ability secret. Or tries to, until a Bloodwitch catches her scent and recognizes her witchery.

Together with her Threadsister, Iseult, Safi embarks on a journey to find peace and the freedom to live her own life … only to realize that in a war-torn world, peace isn’t possible.

Have you ever wondered what a book-lover would do when her favorite author leaves a rave review for another fantasy novel?

Obviously, she reads it. Which is how I discovered Truthwitch, courtesy of Sarah J. Maas.

And while I don’t think it’s quite as good as Maas’s works, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the fantasy world and its unique take on magic. I liked the characters – even the stubborn-to-the-point-of-idiocy Safi. I adored the emphasis on friendship and the hint of romance.

Now, some might find it hard to get into the book at first. Dennard does a great job at doling out bits and pieces of world building as the story progresses … perhaps too good a job. There were a few points where the terminology confused me – like what exactly a Threadfamily was – but if you stick to it and just take the story as it goes, you get the answers in time. Most of them.

Which brings me to my only complaint – which isn’t so much a complaint as it is whining. Truthwitch suffers from series-syndrome. It’s glaringly obvious that it’s the first in a series, with unexplained hints and teasers and a not-quite-happy ending. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem, but because I jumped on the hype train just as the book released … I now have to wait a year to learn what happens next.

Dangit.

Winter is coming to Myrillia … in more ways than one.

The very astute reader might remember that the final events of Fire Blessed took place in autumn. So yes, naturally the seasons are going to change as events progress.

However, a certain Ice Blessed individual is going to have his moment in the spotlight as well. Gee, I wonder if you can guess the as-yet unannounced title of my third book?

My newsletter subscribers received an exclusive first-look at book three’s official title in my February issue. Now, I present to the rest of the world:

icetwittercard

*cue trumpets and confetti*

I have wanted to announce this title for ages, but held back until the release date crept a little closer. There’s nothing more frustrating (to me, anyway) than getting a title and then waiting forever for the book to come out. Especially when said title allows your brain to run amok with theories and characters and ideas. At least, my brain went nuts the minute I thought of the title … which, actually, was halfway through writing Fire Blessed.

I mean, I can’t give Marius a book and leave poor Lucien out in the cold … heh.

Okay, enough with the cheesy puns. Here’s the nitty gritty regarding where I’m at in the release schedule:

  • The rough draft is completed and edits are in progress.
  • Four alpha readers have already gone through the manuscript and provided feedback.
  • The cover is finished – no, you can’t see it yet. Subscribe to my newsletter if you’re impatient. 😀
  • I don’t have an exact date yet, but it will be available by the end of May. Even better? You should have an exact date by the end of April!

Stay tuned for the many, many goodies I have in store! In the meantime … let your imagination run wild. 🙂

Fan art Friday!!!

Fan art Friday!!!

I am so excited to share this information with you guys!!!

Now granted, I’m using ‘art’ in the broadest sense of the word – but the fact still remains that I (or rather, my world) inspired another person to create something.

The first piece I’ll be showing you today also happens to be the first fan art I’ve personally received. (For those keeping track, the last two images I shared were given to a coworker, who happens to be a fan of my work.)

A very dear friend made this bowl by hand for my Christmas present. A few of the Elements from my novels, as well as the covers themselves, inspired the design.

Needless to say, I was thrilled speechless when I opened it.

If you look really close at the middle image above, you can see she even personalized the bottom before firing it!

A huge thanks goes out to Natalie for this priceless gift: I have it sitting right next to my laptop, alongside my birthday coffee cup that ‘overfloweth with the tears of my readers’. Two of my most prized possessions … which, coincidentally, provide a huge boost to enthusiasm and morale when I’m writing. 😀

The second piece of fan-made love is something I can only announce, rather than share. For the moment anyway: I’m trying to wear her down until she gives in and lets me post it permanently on the site.

A new book-loving coworker started at my store in January (score says me, the avid reading enthusiast as well as author), and she devoured my first two books. As in, read each book the day she got them. Not only that – but she fell so in love with one of my characters that she wrote a song about them.

Ahem. Let me say that again:

She wrote a song about a character from one of my books.

My jaw hit the ground when she told me. Not only that, but she’s a music major in college. She knows what she’s doing. Trust me; I got to listen to it.

Which is why I’m now sending her email spam until she allows me to share it with the world.

Very friendly, very polite email spam.

I’m also not above begging in public forums and letting other fans ask to listen to the (in my humble opinion) beautiful song about Renelle.

Those of you who’ve read the books: don’t you want to hear a song about Renelle? An incredibly sweet, inspiring song … if so, beg with me in the comments.

Please, Olivia? Please, please, please can we all listen to Renelle’s song?

(Heaven help her if I ever remember to ask for her phone number … XD)

 

Book review: The Prince’s Man #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Book review: The Prince’s Man #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

the princes man

Rustam Chalice is one of the best players in the political game that permeates Tyr-en society. A simple Dance Master, he uses his good looks and charm to ferret out vital information and state secrets from the ladies of nobility, letting his pretty face hide the competent swordsman and ruthless spy underneath. When the stability of the monarchy is threatened, the kingdom’s spymaster sends Rustam undercover with Lady Risada: a beautiful yet deadly assassin who despises him. Their mission reveals a dark plot to throw the realm into civil war, and they flee over treacherous mountains in search for help: their only bargaining chip a sick elf who might not last the journey …

I enjoyed this book – particularly the gorgeous detail that painted a beautiful picture of the world without slowing down the pace of the story. There are several areas where the description simply blew me away, like the world of Shiva. Ooh, so pretty. Some of the characters were also incredibly well done: I loved Rustam and his character progression throughout the book, and I adored Elwaes. However, I did have a few minor issues with the (numerous) plot twists. Some felt a tad too convenient, while others were simply confusing. I’m still not sure who, exactly, the silver eyes belong to. I also have reservations about the ending: fans who’ve followed my book reviews in the past know that I’m a huge fan of the ‘happily ever after’ and this book didn’t end with my idea of a HEA. However, since it’s the first book in a trilogy, I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve read the sequel. And I’m definitely going to be reading the sequel.

I recommend this book to fans of epic high fantasy, or to anyone who loves political intrigue. There are even some dark grisly spots, so readers who enjoy horror and suspense could be pleasantly surprised.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

rosies-book-review-team-1

Would you keep reading?

Would you keep reading?

teaser imageAs I’ve mentioned previously, I’m currently hard at work revising and polishing the first book to my epic fantasy series, the Blessings of Myrillia. UnBlessed has a beautiful new cover, and I want to have a beautiful product to go with it! Fans who have read the first book can relax – most of the changes are cosmetic: weeding out and rewording overused phrases, fixing punctuation, showing rather than telling … you get the idea. The story line itself won’t change, although there will be a few new ‘bonus’ chapters that explain a few loose ends, and the first chapter has significant changes. Basically, I butchered it to create a more compelling introduction to the story. Which brings me to the reason for my post today …

I’m providing a sneak peek at the newly revised first chapter – the first 500 or so words, in fact. What I’d like to know is:

Would you keep reading? 

Chapter One

Thirteen-year-old Kisara Tenebris skipped and twirled around her bedroom, ending in front of the iridescent dress that had arrived just moments ago. The Blessing ceremony would be held this evening at the Great Temple.

After tonight, she would finally be considered an adult.

Kisara wondered if she might be lucky enough to be Fire Blessed—or Favored by one of the other Elements. If she were, she would  be able to live in the palaces at the city center, relied upon and envied by her entire people! She laughed and danced around her room again.

The soft silken material glimmered with woven magic; Kisara watched as it shifted colors. She still couldn’t believe that she would get to wear the traditional fabric and stand in front of the Elemental Shrines in a few short hours.

“Kisara, what in the name of the Elements are you doing?”

Whirling around, she saw her mother watching her with an amused smile. “Mother! Look, the Blessing dress came while you were out.” Kisara hurried to show her mother the gown. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes, it’s quite lovely, isn’t it?” Her mother smiled indulgently. “I assume you like it? I told the seamstress to make it a little old fashioned, with the flowing skirts and lace sleeves, rather than the short tunic styles so popular with girls these days. I thought you’d look very elegant and grown up in it.”

“Oh yes, Mother, it’s absolutely perfect! I can’t wait for this evening!” Kisara said this with yet another little dance. “Do you think it would be okay if I tried it on? Just to make sure it fits. I promise I’ll take it off right away!”

Laughing, her mother replied, “No you won’t. I know you better than that. Once you have it on, you’ll make up some excuse that will prevent you from having to take it off again.”

Ruffling Kisara’s hair, she suggested, “No, why don’t you go visit your friends instead? Take your time; have them show you their Blessing clothes. You can even bring them back to show them yours, as long as it stays on the rack.”

Kisara scrunched up her face in disappointment.

Her mother snapped her fingers suddenly, her brow furrowed with concern. “You know, maybe we should go check on Lucien. I ran into his mother at the market, and she told me he’s extremely nervous about tonight. Maera was wondering if the two of you should stay behind a year, especially since you’re both so close to the cutoff date.”

Immediately distracted, Kisara stared at her mother with horror. “Stay behind?! Both of us? But, but you already got my Blessing gown!”

“True, but it will keep a year.”

“A year?! Uh, why don’t I go talk to Lucien first? I mean, we already agreed to attend this year. Our names are on the register and everything. I’ll, uh. I’ll be right back.” Kisara rushed from the room, heedless of her mother’s suppressed amusement.

End excerpt.

Any feedback would be most appreciated. What you liked, what you didn’t. Questions, thoughts, praise … I’ll take anything. 🙂