apple pie · The Universe

Giving Thanks and Announcing Sales

Hail and hello, my friends! I know, I know, I said I wouldn’t be back until next month, but today happens to be a very important day. Do you know what today is? It’s Wednesday! Huzzah!

Now, most of you are thinking, “why is Wednesday so exciting? We have it every week, after all.” And you’d be right. But the reason this Wednesday is exciting is because tomorrow is the fourth Thursday in the month of November, which means Thanksgiving.

Ah, Thanksgiving. That most holy and precious of holidays. Where we gather together and give thanks to the Father for all that we have been given this year. Then we promptly stuff ourselves with turkey and pie and mashed potatoes and pie and corn and goose and pie and cookies and, most importantly, pie, like pigs that have been on a week-long diet.

It is truly glorious.

I have many things to be thankful for this year. My author, my brother and sister, my friends, this blog, not being dead, pie… and you guys! You are the very best readers any imaginary blogger could have. So thank you for taking the time to read this! Now before you go, I have two very special guests and an ANNOUNCEMENT. You see, my author volunteered me to help out in a very awesome event: the Indie Christian Books Black Friday Book Sale!

Book Sale

(Isn’t that cool looking?)

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Books has a perfect event for you.

From Nov 24th through Nov 30th, a huge selection of independently published Christian books are on sale. You can find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, we have some freebies for you! Need even more of a reason to support indie authors and fill your shelf with good stories? When you purchase a paperback book through indiechristianbooks.com you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card! Blog posts have been going up since the 17th and will continue until the 24th, complete with book reviews and cool author interviews, so check out indiechristianbooks.com

You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as “Sold Out.” This is because we aren’t selling those directly through our site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.

From November 24th-30th a huge selection of discounted books is available at indiechristianbooks.com. You can also join the Indie Christian Authors for a week long Facebook party during the same dates.”

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

~

And for our guests, allow me to welcome back my Author to the blog! And today, she’s bringing in Suzannah Rowantree, author and Black Friday Sale participator, in as a guest for an interview. For those of you who don’t know Suzannah, she’s graciously provided this introduction:

When Suzannah Rowntree isn’t travelling the world to help out friends in need, she lives in a big house in rural Australia with her awesome parents and siblings, writing historical fantasy fiction informed by a covenantal Christian perspective on history.

If you like the fiction of CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, Stephen Lawhead, or ND Wilson, you’ll probably enjoy her stories too.

Website: suzannahrowntree.site

And now, without further ado…

*Nikken bows out*

Author: When did you decide you wanted to become an author, Suzannah? How long have you been writing?

Suzannah: I started my first story when I was 12, as a birthday present for a friend. It was the latest birthday present ever, because I didn’t finish it until I was 16! It was hard work, and I still remember finishing that story and thinking, “That’s it, I’m never doing this again.” About fifteen minutes later, I’d started another story. After that, I gave up pretending I could give it up.

A: Do you have a favorite genre to read or to write? Who’s your all-time favorite author?

S: I read just about everything, although I most enjoy speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy) as well as historical. As a writer, I have ended up working in the wide field of historical fantasy, which provides me with plenty of inspiration! My all-time favourite author is JRR Tolkien, naturally. I re-read The Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time last year, and realised that without meaning to, I’ve ended up being greatly influenced by him.

A: According to the description, your book Pendragon’s Heir is about a Victorian girl that gets drawn into the Arthurian myths. What was your reason for inventing a story surrounding those tales?

S: So, when I was about 17, a lady at church loaned me a detective novel called The Daughter of Time. In that story, a bedridden detective starts studying the history of Richard III, trying to determine whether he really was a serial murderer and usurper, or whether the truth is something different. I finished the whole book that Sunday afternoon and was just so excited, I had to write a story of my own about exonerating some famous figure of history or legend. My excited teen self very quickly chose Queen Guinevere of Arthurian legend. I’d always been annoyed about her affair with Sir Lancelot. So, I started writing the story that very afternoon, and just like The Daughter of Time, it was about a girl living centuries later who suddenly has to figure out whether Guinevere was honest or not–in my story, because she suddenly finds out that she is Guinevere’s daughter, but there’s doubt about her father.

That was probably the most productive afternoon of my life!

A: What kind of research did you need to conduct when writing Pendragon’s Heir, and how did you acquire that information? What sources were the most interesting or helpful?

S: You know, this is an excellent question. I’m very passionate about the need to conduct proper research when writing historical fiction. However, I actually didn’t do a lot of research for Pendragon’s Heir, except for all the medieval literature I was reading anyway. I’ve always loved medieval literature…from Beowulf to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to the Mabinogion. The most helpful resource I read for Pendragon’s Heir was Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, which was actually incredibly challenging to me. I’d grown up believing the King Arthur legends were about these idealistic, good knights, but in Malory, they are very violent and lustful. It took years of struggling with this book, and a wonderful essay by CS Lewis in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, before I really began to understand what Le Morte D’Arthur was trying to say about the difficulty of sinful men trying to build the kingdom of God on earth. So that also became the main theme of Pendragon’s Heir.

A: What is the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve ever done in the name of story research?

S: For me it often goes the other way around–I’ll do something interesting and then decide I have to write a story about it! One good example is during a trip I took to the South Island of New Zealand a couple of years ago. We were travelling through the mountains in May, which is late autumn here in the southern hemisphere, so there was snow on the mountains each morning. At Lake Wanaka, I was fascinated by the clear glacial waters and declared that I’d like to go for a swim. My hostess got worried about hypothermia, so I just snuck out one day and had a swim without telling anyone. The water was clear as glass and cold. When I got home, I wrote the whole experience into Death Be Not Proud, which is a fairytale retelling set in New Zealand during Prohibition in the 1930s.

A: Do you write by hand, by keyboard, or by some mix between the two? What are your reasons for your writing mode?

S: I pretty much just use keyboard. The only time I’ll write by hand is when I’m doing basic plotting or characterisation planning work. For some reason I find it helps to have pieces of paper spread out around me when I’m trying to do the most basic planning. Something about thinking spatially gets the plot kickstarted.

Using the keyboard, on the other hand, lets me get my thoughts onto the ‘page’ much quicker. I usually am trying to hold four or five thoughts in my head at once when I’m writing, so speed is important–I want to get everything down before I forget it.

A: Do you like to listen to music or snack while you write? If so, what do you enjoy listening to or snacking on the most?

S: I am very strange: I do not listen to music at all while I write. I find it distracts me from the work and takes up parts of my brain that I need for listening to the flow and cadence of the words. I suspect this might be because I’m a musician as well as a writer – music isn’t something I can just have on in the background.

I’m not a great snacker, but I almost always have a cup of tea on my desk. As a confirmed tea snob, it’s usually something pretty fancy–I love oolong, lapsang souchong, and this one particular chai I’ve found that tastes good without milk or honey. (Go Go Goa from T2 Tea, if anyone’s interested!)

A: Do you have a favorite character to write about? Why do you like writing about him/her the most?

S: It’s been years since I wrote him, but honestly, my favourite character of all my characters ever has to be Perceval from Pendragon’s Heir. I love how completely uninhibited he is. He’s the unsocialised homeschooler par excellence and the best part is, that’s pretty much how he was in the original legends. Perceval starts out slightly arrogant and winds up learning a lot about life, but he never, ever loses his zest for life, his curiosity, or his optimism. He was an unending source of fun to write.

A: What’s the hardest part of a story for you to write? Contrariwise, what’s your easiest or favorite part to write?

S: Beginnings are the hardest part for me. Whether it’s the opening scene or the opening chapter, I usually come back to them again and again and alter them significantly throughout the whole writing process. The second hardest part is definitely the ending scene, which is usually difficult for the same reason–you just have to sum up so much in a short space of time, so elegantly.

I’m not sure I would call anything the easiest part. But I’ll tell you what’s my favourite part. My favourite part is when the thing is finished and my beta or review readers are telling me how much they love the story. I write to make people think and to make them feel they can serve the kingdom of God, so hearing from readers who feel inspired, transported, thrilled and encouraged is an incredible sign that I’ve done my job properly.

A: What’s your favorite piece of writing advice that you’ve ever been given?

S: There is no such thing as Christian art or nonChristian art. There is only good art and bad art.

I know, I know, that’s kind of provocative. But hear me out. The fact is that God is the ultimate storyteller, and that all stories are based on God’s True Myth, as CS Lewis called the Gospel. Every story is a salvation story or a fall story, so every story retells redemptive history. After years of reading and watching different stories, I’ve come to the conclusion that every truly great story is great because it retells the gospel in some way. This has really given me the freedom to prioritise telling good stories over trying to tell Christian stories, not because Christian truth isn’t of paramount importance, but because I can have faith that the better my story is, the better it will communicate Christian truth.

A: Thank you for your time. Your answers are very interesting and I enjoyed interviewing you a lot. And thanks, Nikken, for allowing me to borrow your blog for a bit!

Nikken: No problem. My blog es su blog, or however that saying goes. Anyway, thanks to Suzannah for agreeing to be interviewed, and now why don’t you go check out her book, Pendragon’s Heir? I have to go now though–my Author needs her brain back! Until December, everyone!

~Nikken

(P.S. Also, before you go, here’s a quick giveaway. Have fun!)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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life

A Brief Break

Heiliel, everybody! Today I’m popping in with some news–November is not very conducive to blogging. Why? The answer is very simple:

A dreadful thing by the name of NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is a cruel taskmaster created by a bunch of writers that decided they had nothing better to do than give other writers a Trojan Horse (by which I something horrible disguised as something awesome. Though I’m still uncertain why a giant wooden horse is considered awesome. I mean, what are you supposed to do with one?). NaNoWriMo sings it siren call to writers everywhere, convincing them to try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. And thousands of them fall beneath the crushing weight. And yet they say they enjoy it!

Two of these poor dupes are Jese’s and my authors. And with 90% of their cognitive function directed toward NaNoWriMo, they have neither the time, energy, nor ability to lend us any to post on this blog. So for now, we must bid you farewell until November ends and my author is released from its sugarcoated chains.

So, heiliel! Till we meet again when December comes around~

 

Nikkenel Tale

 

Note: Nikken’s opinions are somewhat biased and do NOT match his author’s opinion and perhaps the truth. However, it is very difficult to shut him up. 

 

 

life

To Myself When I am Scared

Dear Me,

You’re hiding under your bedsheets, scared that if even a finger shows, the monster will come to get you and drag you away to a place where it will devour you. Already you can feel the fear clawing at your throat and pounding away at your chest. 

No. I’m not here to yell at you for watching too many scary movies before bed. I’m here to tell you something else.

You know what I’m going to say? You should be scared.

No. It’s not your just desserts (well, maybe it is), but think about it. What would happen if you didn’t have fear?

If you weren’t afraid of monsters, you wouldn’t know when to hide from them. If you weren’t afraid of people, you’d say whatever came into your head without regards for their opinions. If you weren’t afraid of the law, you’d laugh and go kill that person that annoyed you last week.

A lack of fear is what makes you a monster. It’s fear that makes you human, and therefore better than that monster that’s lurking at the end of your bed.

You have the moral high ground.

🙂

Jese

The Universe

Burning Rose Blog Tour (Huzzah!)

Hello, my friends! As you might have guessed from the header, it is my pleasure to assist the wonderful Hope Ann with her newest book’s introduction to the world. Today’s post comes with a special Behind the Scenes glimpse of Hope Ann’s writing process (excitement! I do love behind the scenes. Behind the scenes is where me and my fellow characters drive my Author to near distraction >:D). Enjoy!

Behind the scenes of Burning Rose: Shadows of the Hersweald song
I enjoy music. I find it hard to write without listening to soft soundtracks, though loud
siblings might have something to do with that. But not only do I enjoy listening to music as I
write, I also love finding songs for my characters. Sometimes I can find them, sometimes I can’t.
Sometimes they are perfect and sometimes they are only close. The song for Hayden, from
Shadows of the Hersweald, is pretty close. It is Set Me Free by Casting Crowns:

Read Haydn’s full story in my new paperback collection, Burning Rose!

The Burning Rose
A war, founded in ancient legends, changes the lives of those it touches forever.
Elissa, a villager from the northern mountains, attempts to save her brother and ends up trapped
in a hidden valley with a strange host and a treacherous enemy.
Evrard, the Wingmaster of the Prince’s army, races against his own weakening powers to
discover the location of his twin and save her from deadly mistbenders.
Haydn, a pardoned rebel from Tauscher’s army, confronts shadows of myth and former
comrades in his struggle to keep his sister safe and find the stolen Stormestone.
BONUS
Before the war, before the legends, before the Separation, there was a man who started it all.
There was a curse, a promise, and a sacrifice. There was the Oathkeeper.
Fairy tales retold as you have never heard them before.
ROSE OF THE OATH: Beauty and the Beast
SONG OF THE SWORD: Rapunzel
SHADOWS OF THE HERSWEALD: Hansel and Gretel
and
ROSE OF THE NIGHT: a Rose of the Oath prequel
Order Burning Rose now!

~~~~

Nikken here again! And I feel obliged to say, that these are some of the most unique fairy-tale retellings either my Author or I have come across. Sadly, my author’s life has been too busy to help me formulate a review at this moment, but hopefully she will manage to get that done and present it to you soon. Or you could just go and get the book, and decide what you think of it for yourself!

Farewell, my friends, until we meet again!

~Love, Nikken

 

(And now for our guest…)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated author. Her time is taken up with
writing, reading, playing with inspirational photos, blogging, helping care for the house and eight
younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads
of America. She is the author of Legends of Light is currently working on several projects
including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about her at
authorhopeann.com

life

Fall

If there’s one thing that I love that I can’t eat, it would be trees.

They’re tall and majestic. They’re fun to climb. They give shade on hot summer days.

Recently I was driving along with my non-imaginary friend and I noticed that in a gust of wind, leaves fell from a maple on the side of the road and fell on the pavement and on our car where they promptly flew off.

I realized that this could only mean one thing. Fall is finally here.

Already I can feel myself raking up the leaves in the yard, see myself cosplaying one of my favorite characters for Halloween, smelling freshly baked apple pie coming from the kitchen, tasting the pumpkin spice lattes (Yes. Starbucks is for teenage boys too), and hearing the sounds of the leaves crunching under my feet as I go on long walks.

Here’s to pumpkin picking, hay rides, fair rides, fair food, coffee, trick or treating, orange and yellow leaves, and jumping in leaf piles.

Here’s also to trees.

Without them, it wouldn’t really be fall.


Have a wonderful day! I’m off to go enjoy this wonderful weather.

Jese

 

The Universe

A Cover Reveal

Greetings and well met!
Do you remember a few months back, when my author was our honored guest and talked about Hope Ann’s new book, Rose of the Oath. Well, today it is my honor to finally reveal to you the cover her newest release, Burning Rose, a paperback collection of the first three Legends of Light novellas!

Burning Rose header

A war, founded in ancient legends, changes the lives of those it touches forever.

Elissa, a villager from the northern mountains, attempts to save her brother and ends up trapped in a hidden valley with a strange host and a treacherous enemy.

Evrard, the Wingmaster of the Prince’s army, races against his own weakening powers to discover the location of his twin and save her from deadly mistbenders.

Haydn, a pardoned rebel from Tauscher’s army, confronts shadows of myth and former comrades in his struggle to keep his sister safe and find the stolen Stormestone.

BONUS

Before the war, before the legends, before the Separation, there was a man who started it all. There was a curse, a promise, and a sacrifice. There was the Oathkeeper.

Fairy tales retold as you have never heard them before.

ROSE OF THE OATH: Beauty and the Beast

SONG OF THE SWORD: Rapunzel

SHADOWS OF THE HERSWEALD: Hansel and Gretel

and

ROSE OF THE NIGHT: a Rose of the Oath prequel

You can check out each ebook individually here or the Burning Rose page here. The Kindle version is available for preorder, but the paperback won’t be up to buy until the launch on October 3rd. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it then. In the meantime, you can add Burning Rose to your lists on Goodreads.

I suppose you’d like to actually see the cover now? Very well. It is glorious.

The Burning Rose.jpg

Designed by Kate Flournoy

Worth the wait? Because I love it. And it’s less than a month before you can hold a copy of Burning Rose in your own hands! Also, if you want blow by blow updates as well as cool tidbits and a behind-the-scenes look of the launch, you can hop over here to Facebook and join the Readers of Aslaria launch group!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated author. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, playing with inspirational photos, blogging, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She is the author of Legends of Light is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about her at https://authorhopeann.com/

~~~
Isn’t that cover awesome? I especially approve of the image of the flower on fire. I do love me a good fire. Anyway, keep an eye out for more about this collection, but for now I must say farewell. Until we meet again, my friends!

~Nikken

apple pie · life

A Toast to Potatoes

If there’s one thing in life that’s more wonderful than ice cream, Netflix, and true love, it would be Potatoes. (However, Apple Pie is the most wonderful thing, so Potatoes come as the second)

Now. Why do I award Potatoes second place on the scale of wonderfulness?

Well, first off, they are similar to apples. The French word for Potato is “Pomme de Terre”, which means “Apple of the earth”. Apples grow on trees, and potatoes grow in the ground.

Second off, they actually have more uses than apples do. (shhhh….I did not just say something that makes potatoes seem better than apples).

With a bushel full of potatoes, you can make french fries, home fries, waffle fries, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, potato rolls, potato donuts, baked potatoes….the list goes on and on. while, with a bushel full of apples, you can only make pie, apple crisp, dried apples (yuck), apple dumplings, and a few other apple desserts, and with a bushel full of Netflix or True Love (the next best wonderful things), you can’t really get anywhere.

images (1).jpegdownload.jpeg

Also, Samwise Gamgee loves them, and that’s really all the reason you need.

See ya soon! Maybe I’ll make a tribute to apple pie next (which will be at least five times longer 😛 ).

Jese