Book Tour and Giveaway! Conviction by Lauren H Salisbury

So this week I have something special for you guys! I’m hosting a BOOK TOUR! This is my very first one and I’m super excited to present to you Conviction by Lauren H Salisbury! It was just released on Sept. 7th!


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Can two people with opposing principles overcome their differences to be together?

Than has spent his life ostensibly having fun while secretly fighting for his people’s freedom. A member of the underground resistance, he is only ever serious around his comrades and his family. When an injury forces him to step down from active duty and his reluctant nurse sparks his interest, Than finds himself in uncharted territory. The fascinating woman will have nothing to do with him.

Menali’s past has taught her to keep her head down and trust that God has a reason for allowing the human race to suffer on U’du. When Than explodes into her life, he refuses to take no for an answer and challenges all of her preconceptions. He soon has her re-evaluating her priorities and wondering what life with someone like him would be like.


About the Author

Lauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. Courage is her debut novel.

Giveaway!

Lauren is also hosting a giveaway with Rafflecopter! So click the link below for a chance to win! The giveaway includes some awesome swag based on the book: character pictures, a bookmark, an U’du themed greeting card, and a pebble necklace based on the one in the book.

Link to Super Awesome Rafflecopter Giveaway

Important Links

To get YOUR copy of the newly released Conviction go HERE!

To get a copy of Courage, the previous book in the Legacy Chronicles, go HERE!

To sign up for Lauren’s Email list and stay up to date on all her latest and greatest, go HERE!

Lauren’s Website!

Lauren’s Facebook! 

 

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Book Review: King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

 

13518388“When Dark Warriors invade her country, it is up to Princess Kamarie to seek out the legendary king’s warrior and request his aid. The feisty princess has spent her life dreaming of adventure and is thrilled to be tasked with such a quest. There’s only one thing that can dampen the princess’s excitement: Oraeyn. The squire views his task of protecting the princess on her journey as an inglorious assignment and makes no attempt to hide his disappointment. Despite a rocky start to their journey – in which Oraeyn throws the obnoxious princess in a river just to get her to call him by name – the travelers soon learn that they must depend upon one another if they are to locate the man they have been sent to find. The adventure merely begins when they meet Brant: a warrior with a mysterious past. 

He joins their cause readily, his heart smoldering with a vendetta Kamarie cannot completely understand. But whether she trusts him or not, the hope of their world rests on the steel he wears at his side.”

3 stars

This book was published in 2012, however the Author had some left over ARC copies. Essentially, I was given a free copy of the book in an exchange for an honest review.

King’s Warrior had a classic fantasy quest feel. It’s got a lot of things going for it. There are princesses, and knights, and dragons, wizards, spunky minstrels, you name it. In a way it reminded me very much of the Chronicles of Prydain, which I’d say is a good thing.

Getting into this story I was a little hesitant. The main adversaries were called “Dark Warriors.” As far as I know, they are only ever defeated with the help of supernatural beings. I was afraid it was going to be a overtly Christian themed fantasy story, basically a sermon with magic. (I’m not against Christian themes in stories. I’m a big fan of Lord of the Rings and Narnia. I just really dislike it when it’s heavy handed and one dimensional.) But I’m happy to say it did not end out so black and white as the story went on.

As you may know, characters are an important element for me when examining the story, and this one has some pretty good characters. Hands down, Brant would be my favorite. I’m just a sucker for a good, mysterious, capable, mentor figure. Kamarie, the princess, behaved much like I expected her too, she was predictable, but not unlikable.  And I was glad to see Oraeyn grew as a character. I was rooting for him and wanted to see him do well, but I was glad to see him struggle a bit too. I think Darby took a bit to get interesting, but once I learned more about her she made more sense as a character. There were other characters, but if I go into it too much more I’ll spoil something by accident.

My main contention with this story is that the writing style is not really to my tastes. It felt rather rambly in some places and emotionally detached in others. A little bit too much “tell” and not enough “show” if I had to put a label on it. I don’t know, this particular writing style just made it difficult for me to get into the story. Others may not have the same problem.

The other issue I have is with the ending. To be as vague as possible so as to not spoil anything, I didn’t like who was left in charge of various kingdoms in question at the end. I lost a little bit of respect for the previous rulers because of it. It seemed irresponsible and a little bit selfish.

Oh well, there are three more books in this series, so maybe it gets addressed later.

Over all, I’m rather neutral about recommending this book or not. I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from reading it if they were interested before, but I can’t say it was my favorite.

Have you read King’s Warrior? If so what were your thoughts? I’d love to talk about the ending with someone who was familiar with the story.

Quarterly Writing Goals – Fall 2018

Quarterly Writing GoalsWow! Where did the summer go? I don’t think I’m ready for it to be over. One reason is because I’m not ready for the weather to get cooler and the days to get shorter. Another is because I wanted more time to work away at my Summer Writing Goals.

But the end of Summer is here, whether I’m ready for it or not. So lets see how I did.

Summer Writing Goals:

-Finish my blog calendar for the year and stay on track. (New post every Friday!)

I did this! I’ve got something planned for every Friday from now till the end of 2018. This has been really helpful in staying on track and actually posting  consistently. I don’t have to wonder what I’m going to write about or waste time brainstorming when I sit down to write.
The discipline has been good for my writing habit as well. I am apparently someone who works best with deadlines. Otherwise I fall prey to the “I’ll do it tomorrow” syndrome. Having both the blog calendar and the Quarterly Writing Goals has been super helpful in the area of productivity. 

-Find and read a new book series, preferably in the genre I write in. 

I almost didn’t get to this one! I know one thing I really need to work on as a writer is actually reading more. I plan to write more reviews too, especially for Indie authors. (I’m not published yet, but I’ve been leaning towards Indie publishing myself and it’s something I want to support.)
The book I ended up reading was King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, which is the first book in the Minstral’s Song series. If you want to know my thoughts on the book you’ll have to come back next week. First week of the month is review week!

-Read through my entire manuscript and make notes. 

I did this too! Woot! I didn’t make a ton of notes, but considering how long it took me to get that first draft out, I needed an overall refresher of what was in this story before I dove into editing. I am happy to say that I didn’t completely hate everything about it, so there is some actual hope for this book.

-Write a short story for Mage’s world.

What do ya know, I DID THIS TOO! YAY! If you don’t remember, I published the short story The Empath on this blog last month. I had a lot of fun writing it. Go check it out if you haven’t already. It’s only just over 3,ooo words, so not too terribly long. I’d love to know what you think of it.

-Get through at least 8 chapters for the first edit of Mage. 

I… did not get this one done. I’m kinda bummed about it, but I can’t get too upset with myself because overall I did pretty well with my goals. I did get about 3 chapters edited, so not nothing, but not nearly where I wanted to be.

-Finish character profiles for all major characters. 

I more or less did this one. I figured out the Myers-Briggs type for all of my major characters. I also figured out background and quirks and other important traits for my most prominent characters. I could go into more depth with all of my characters, and maybe I will later, it’s just not as important for me right now to know the backstory of a person who’s not as prominent in the plot.

-Participate in a Flash-Fiction contest. 

I did this one too! Back in June I participated in a Flash Fiction “contest” which was super fun. I wrote a contemporary piece called Different Storms. I’d love for you to check that one out too and let me know what you think. Flash Fiction pieces are normally 1,000 words or less.

-Create one new Skillshare Class.

I didn’t get to this one either. I really wanted to, especially since I’m seen a little bit of an increase in my student numbers recently. But, alas, I didn’t have enough time.

So looking at everything, it seems as though I got 6 out of 8 goals completed. I told myself I’d be happy if I got 6 out of 8. Yay! I get to give myself a virtual high five!

Now, onward to new goals! With fall comes November, which means NaNoWriMo, so my fall goals are going to revolve around that a little.

Fall Writing Goals:

– Edit 3 more chapters of Mage.
-Read 1 book per month. (3 books.)
-Write reviews for those books
-Complete the outline for Rouge to prep for NaNo.
-Prep Nov. blog posts. (Most writing energy is going to be diverted to that sweet sweet 50k.)
-Make a solid plan of action with husband for NaNo. I’m going to have to coordinate with him so much more this year because we have a baby now. I need to communicate with him and be mindful of his own limits as well.
-Start writing warm ups! Basically, I’m going to start doing some sprints before NaNo starts. That way, my sprinting muscles aren’t all rusty when the real work starts.
-Write 50k new words for Rogue in the month of November for NaNoWriMo!

Again that’s 8 goals. Again I’m going to tell myself to be happy if I get 6 of them. I sadly have never won NaNo and I really really want to. This year is going to be harder than ever because of baby, but – BUT this year I have a more developed writing habit and discipline. So I’m not going to write this year off yet.

Anyone else jazzed for NaNoWriMo and making plans? Share your master plan below!

Using Pinterest to Write a Novel

Using Pinterest to Write a NovelIt’s no secret that I have wasted a ridiculous amount of time in the endless void of Pinterest. Browsing everything from recipes, to DIY projects, to just perusing through fan art. It’s my go-to website for inspiration. That’s why I have found it to be an excellent tool to use when planning and writing a novel.

Characters

One of my favorite things to do when on Pinterest is just look at character designs. The internet is full of amazing artists who draw lots of awesome people. It’s not uncommon for me to see one such drawing and think, for example, “Oh! That looks like Sketch.” Almost immediately I can envision them behaving the way my character does and it helps me solidify their appearance and character in my mind all the more. On days when I’m struggling, I can come back to the pinned character pages and recapture some of that inspiration from before.

Setting Aesthetic

So the setting of the Youngtalon Chronicles was actually one of the first things I dreamt up for this story. This is odd for me because I don’t like working on setting, I’d much rather play with my characters. But I knew I wanted a medieval-like setting, but I also couldn’t leave out my space ships and aliens. So what happened was a weird conglomeration of the two. It might count as steam-punk or cyber-punk or some-kind-of-punk, but I’m not following any set rules for any of these sub genres. (Lately I’ve been calling it Science Fantasy.)
Pinterest has been super helpful when it comes to creating this setting. I’ve created a Pinterest Board specifically for inspiration for the Youngtalon Chronicles. I know that the images of settings don’t all exactly fit together, but I can get the general feel of what I’m trying to create by looking at the different elements. Sometimes when I’m writing, I’ll pull up this board in the background. It’s as close as I can get to actually being in this fictional world I made up.

Writing Prompts

I love me some writing prompts. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a writer who doesn’t. Pinterest is especially fun for this. Often it’s just a colored square with a line or two or dialogue. Sometimes it’s a crazy Speculative Fiction premise. Jump down those rabbit holes if you dare. They are super fun, especially when I find one that fits with something a character of mine would say. For example: I find these helpful for getting the creative juices flowing or even just trying to capture the voice of one of my characters.

Hint: It was being said to Mage.

I don’t know who said it, but I know who it was being said to!

I find these helpful for getting the creative juices flowing or even just trying to capture the voice of one of my characters.

Links to Other Blogs and Sites About Writing

Finally there are tons of other writing blogs out there and I first discovered blogs and writing blogs through Pinterest. From advice on character creation, to how to build your own government regime, to marketing your book when it’s done, there are a lot of different resources that are linked on Pinterest. I have a massive board just for a lot of the writing advice I find and it’s still growing!

 

How about you? Do you use Pinterest for inspiration or do you turn to other media outlets? Or do you draw your inspiration mostly from real life? Share your thoughts below!

10 Fictional Characters I Friend-Ship

Aug 17

Have you ever known two people who are in different friend circles and you just HAVE to find a way to introduce them because they are going to love each other and be BFFs forever? Have you ever had that happen with fictional characters? To be clear, this isn’t romantic shipping. This is friend-shipping. Good ol’ platonic, pals-for-life, friend-shipping.

For the sake of all things nerdy and fun, I have decided to compile a non-exhaustive list of characters that belong to different stories that I friend-ship.

(So I wanted to put up pictures of all of these characters for you, but I don’t want to use images that I don’t have permission to use. Therefore, if you want to know what these characters look like, feel free to follow the links on their names.) 

Lance from Voltron and Sokka from Avatar the Last Airbender

The first ones I thought of were Lance and Sokka. These two are very similar. They both struggle with self esteem and it comes out as cockiness. They are both always striving to be strong, and contribute to their group’s efforts of saving the world/universe, and they both pull through when it counts. These two would recognize their similarities and happily offer each other some heart-felt and sincere encouragement (which they both need.)
On top of that, these two would get into some crazy antics together, trying to make each other and their friends laugh.
(On a related note, Allura from Voltron and Katara from Avatar would likely get along great too… and Aang and Coran… and wait. No. I’m going to stop there.)

Batman from DC and Wolverine from Marvel

Now with these two, since they are both “I work alone” types, I think they would both have a grudging respect for each other and work together if the situation called for it. I also think that they would know who the other really was. Wolverine would be able to sniff out Bruce Wayne’s identity and Batman could sniff out Logan and Dr. Xaviar’s school for the gifted, albeit less literally. But they both have a soft spot for kids, strive to do the right thing no matter what, and are top notch detectives. I’d hate to see a situation so bad that they would need to work together, but I’d pity the fool who has to go up against them both.

Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and Tony Stark from Marvel

This just makes me giggle because I think I found the ONE character who could out-sass Tony Snark. I just want to see Tony try recruiting Percy for the Avengers and also trying to protect him the way he tries to protect Peter Parker and then realizing that there really is no point. Especially depending on where Percy is in his own story. Point is, Tony would try to mentor him, and Percy would be a typical teen and drive Tony nuts and I basically just want to watch them sass at each other.
I also want to see what would happen if Percy were to interact with the rest of the Avengers. I think he’d be wary of Thor at first (then realize he’s not like Zeus at all and be super chill with him.) He’d probably have an interesting interaction with Dr. Strange and figure out that Black Widow is probably demi-god too. Probably daughter of Hades or Hermes.

Jake Long from American Dragon: Jake Long and Danny Fenton from Danny Phantom

Both of these are shows I grew up watching in the early 2000’s. Jake Long is a high school kid who can turn into a dragon and protect his hometown from magical threats. Danny Fenton is a high school kid who can turn into a ghost and protect his hometown from ghostly threats. Suffice it to say, they have a few things in common.
There are some bigger character difference though. Where Danny suffers socially, Jake does not. Jake’s family knows about his secret identity, his grandfather even mentors him. With Danny on the other hand, the one person who could have been a mentor for him turned into his arch nemesis, and he’s afraid to tell his ghost-hunting parents about his abilities.
All that said, I’d still love to see a classic team up, in an awesome urban-fantasy battle with these two.

Qrow Branwen from RWBY and Halt O’Carrick from the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

These guys are basically my two favorite mentor characters. Where Qrow is reckless and brash, Halt is quite and careful, but both have a hard edge that only comes from a lot of fighting experience. They also both have a massive soft spot for the kids that they mentor and love them like fathers. (This is where I glare at Qrow. I’m personally convinced he actually IS Ruby’s father.)
I could easily see these two getting along. Their respective jobs aren’t too dissimilar and I think Halt would be quite impressed with Qrow’s ability to gather information inconspicuously.

So what two fictional characters would you like to see be friends and team up?

Somebody Might Have Died and Other Writing Updates

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So for some reason it’s August already, and when I look at my summer writing goals and how much summer I have left, I get antsy. On one hand, I’ve made a bit of progress and I’m happy about that. On the other…

I still have a lot to do.

One of the things I planned to do was do some serious editing and re-writing of the first 8 chapters of Mage. I am not as far as I hoped to be at this point, but I’ve done some work on it. I’m actually fairly happy with Chapter 3 of my manuscript right now.

Here is one of my favorite snippits from the Chapter:

The inside of the palace was mildly underwhelming. Instead of the grand sweeping rooms Mage had been expecting, with portraits and statues of formal patriarchs lining the walls, there was a bustling of servants and guards down hallways that were harshly lit. More for practicality than ambiance.
Sketch had noticed it too. “In a place like this we shouldn’t be able to see the servants out in the open. It’s considered unprofessional,” she observed.
“I believe we just came in the back door, so to speak,” Dr. Talon informed them in a whisper. “We are being directed this way on purpose.”
That made sense. “This is a message. We’re hired hands, not guests,” Mage guessed.
“He owns us,” Sketch added darkly. “An attempt to impress and intimidate us in one move.”
“Yes, now shush,” Dr. Talon warned. He shot a nervous glance at the guards who were a few feet ahead of them to make sure they hadn’t heard the conversation.

As the title suggests, I also worked on a chapter with a character death. I also liked how that scene went. It must be a writer thing, but writing character death can be really satisfying sometimes. Why do you think that is?

How are your summer goals and plans going? Are you ahead or behind? Do you think you’ll finish before Fall comes? I hope I do!

JMJ

Book Review: The Sorcerer Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Sorcerer Heir is the fifth book in the series.

Wow it’s August already! I’m not quite ready to be in the last month of summer, it goes way too quickly and I wish it would last longer. I am ready, however, for this month’s book review. Last month I reviewed The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, and it left on a rather unsatisfying cliffhanger for me. The Sorcerer Heir finally answered the millions of questions created in the previous book.

This series is very urban-fantasy with wizards, enchanters, and also ghosts and zombies. I wasn’t quite expecting a zombie book when I started the Enchanter Heir because they didn’t exist in the first three books of the series. These last two books felt very different to me. I enjoyed them, it just didn’t feel like they fit exactly with the first three books.

I struggled to like the main character Jonah throughout the series. I could tell that as a reader I was supposed to feel sorry for him, because he was a victim of some really unfortunate circumstances. But I felt like his bigger problems he created for himself. It’s one thing to have a difficult situation. It’s another thing to make it worse by deliberately hiding it from others.

I did like Emma, the other main character. She was spunky and had a moral backbone most of the time. She yelled at the other characters for me when they were being stupid. I feel like if you’re going to have characters being stupid in your story, you need to have another character to yell at them. It’s good catharsis for your readers.

Like my last review, I did a crossover review with urban-fantasy.com, the other blog I’m writing for right now. It you’d like my more in-depth view of the synopsis and the themes in this story, check out my review at Urban-Fantasy.com!

Have you read any good urban-fantasy stories lately? Share in the comments below!

JMJ