Archive for the ‘Creativity and the Arts’ Category

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Rothana Is Here – Come to the Facebook Party!

December 4, 2018

Book Two of the Star-Fae Trilogy has released!! Book One, Halayda, is one of my favorite books ever…so I am very excited about this. 😀

A new queen falls. A death lord rises. An ancient foe looms in the shadows.

Sylvie Imanthiya is desperate to lead Faerie well and deepen the bond with her husband, former king Taylan Ashkalabek. But all hope of that vanishes when the winter solstice ceremony ends in disaster, stranding her and Taylan in the Deathrealm, and stripping the kingdom from her.

With Faerie in chaos, Zad and Diza are separated once again: Zad to reconcile with an old mentor to stabilize the kingdom, and Diza to confront the nefarious Casimir in the mortal realm. But Casimir claims that a greater evil seeks to destroy both realms, an evil that Diza’s unique death magic can hold at bay—if she could only remember how.

In the Deathrealm, Taylan is succumbing to the lure of specters from his past, and pushing away Sylvie’s love. Overwhelmed by decay and darkness, Sylvie must summon unexpected magic from the soul of Kyure to fight for her convictions and her husband’s heart.

Shadows divide them. Their friends are in peril. If Sylvie fails, her marriage and her world will fall.

I had the privilege of reading this book in early draft stages, and OH MY GOODNESS. As much as I loved Halayda?…this book topped it. All the stakes are raised. Every character is even deeper and more awesome. (I won’t say any spoilers, but one moment with Zad had me jumping around and squealing with excitement. And another one with Sylvie, too!! *squee*)

Yes, I work with Uncommon Universes Press (the book’s publisher), but I’ve been a Star-Fae Trilogy fan since before then, and I write here as a fan – Rothana is amaaaazing. 😀 If you haven’t read Halayda, definitely check out Book One first.

And if you loved Halayda…brace yourself, because Rothana is even more mind-blowing and incredible. ❤️

Facebook Party!

I’m also excited to announce that there is a Facebook party coming up this Saturday…and I’m going to be one of the guest authors featured! There will be giveaways from Sarah Delena White, Morgan Busse, and myself, and games, and other fun – please come join us! Click the image below to check out the event.

Join Uncommon Universes Press and Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester to celebrate the launch of Rothana by Sarah Delena White! Includes games, giveaways, exclusive behind-the-scenes, and more. Also features guest authors Bethany A. Jennings and Morgan L. Busse. Save the date to hang out with these fabulous authors!

About the Author

Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is the administrative manager for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.

Other Stops on the Blog Tour:

Monday, November 26th

Tuesday, November 27th

Wednesday, November 28th

Thursday, November 29th

Friday, November 30th

Saturday, December 1st

Monday, December 3rd

Tuesday, December 4th

Wednesday, December 5th

Thursday, December 6th

Friday, December 7th

Saturday, December 8th

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Blog Tour for Faithless: Guest Post by Author Janeen Ippolito

October 11, 2018

Today author Janeen Ippolito is here on the blog to share about her upcoming steampunk fantasy adventure – Faithless, Book 2 of her Ironfire Legacy series!

First, a bit about the book…

One wild night, Shance Windkeeper discovers he’s married to a death unicorn.

But that’s the least of his troubles.

As an agent for the Lawless, Shance is working with dragonshifters Kesia Ironfire and Zephryn Nightstalker, trying to end the dragon-human war and the organization that masterminded it. While on a mission in the Scepter of Knowledge, the Lawless is hit with a devastating death unicorn attack.

Out of the wreckage new allies emerge: Lirome Ukerys, and his twin sister Maira, the death unicorn queen – Shance’s long-lost wife.

Recently freed from captivity, Maira is fighting to regain control of her herd. Lurien Alistil, a rogue death unicorn, has bespelled the Scepter of Knowledge and taken Maira’s son. When Kesia unexpectedly challenges Lurien to a public debate over the fate of the city, the Lawless has a chance to break the usurper’s hold. To obtain vital information they must infiltrate her lair – and as the husband of the death unicorn queen, Shance Windkeeper is the perfect prize to go in.

But Lurien’s power is stronger and more insidious than they realize. And if the final pieces of her plan fall into place, not even Shance’s newfound Talents and knowledge will be enough to stop her.

A steampunk fantasy adventure with much intrigue, unexpected romance, sudden tragedy, and a snarky cat-dragon.

Now here are some of Janeen’s thoughts on the process of writing this intense book!

Faithless was one of the hardest books I’ve had to write. And I’ve written a lot of them, most of which have been cast aside in favor of better ideas, or are in my “to-be-revised” pile, which is huge, by the way.

The difference with Faithless was that it was supposed to be easy. Each book in The Ironfire Legacy series had to be outlined and planned in order for it to be accepted by Uncommon Universes Press. So I figured Faithless would be easy enough to write.

But this book asked something of me, that I didn’t fully understand. It asked me to subject a main character to her worst fear. And then to keep doing so, all throughout the rest of the series. This would seem standard for storytelling, but in the case of secondary protagonist Kesia Ironfire, taking away what she feared to lose most also drastically altered the tone of the story and upped the pain level for everyone involved.

I’ll tell you a secret: I hate making my characters suffer. I can chuckle about it with gallows humor, borne from necessary distance and also a side effect from having to go over the same manuscript ten times or more.

Yet every time I have to take my characters to those dark, hopeless places, I get frightened that maybe hope won’t be on the other side. Silly, I know, since I’m the writer. But my style of writing is a bit method, if you will. I leaped into each character’s POV and try my best to pour out their story on the page from their POV.

So what hurts my characters hurts me. And I really don’t enjoy hurting. It is the OPPOSITE of my favorite. I strongly prefer to be an upbeat, chill sort of person who lives and let lives. But there are painful shadows in my past and in my heart, hurts that insist on forcing their way out through my fingers whether I want them to or not. And sometimes, I really don’t.

It takes time. It takes several drafts with major revisions between as my beta readers and editor force me to go deeper and deeper into hard places. And, mean people that they are, they insist that I can’t always end an intense, difficult moment with a joke or a silly bit of action.

The editor and publisher in me agree with them. The author in me sticks out her tongue.

The overall process is exhausting and on occasion, annoying, as I go into those shadowy places inside myself. But the results are always worth it. The story is deeper, richer, and the humor a lot more potent for the hardship.

In the case of Kesia Ironfire, Faithless continues her trial by fire with a brutal twist. She weathers on. She endures.

She finds new hope in the darkness.

And in writing her story arc, I do as well.

About the Author

Janeen Ippolito believes words transform worlds. She creates writing resources and writes steampunk fantasy. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website: janeenippolito.com

Purchase Faithless from these online retailers!

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiBooksSigned Paperback

OR (this is my preferred way to get UUP books!) get autographed pre-orders straight from the publisher’s website!

Faithless – or – Priceless & Faithless Bundle – or – Ironfire Legacy Bundle

Also, add Faithless to your Goodreads!

Pssst, there’s also a Facebook party!

Celebrate the launch of Faithless: The Ironfire Legacy Book 2 with featured author Janeen Ippolito and guest authors Angelique Anderson and R.J. Metcalf! Get your fill of steampunk, dragons, adventures, and more (re: death unicorns and a cat-dragon) with this fun-filled evening that includes giveaways, games, and an exclusive reveal or two.

Hosted by Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester and Uncommon Universes Press!

Click on the image below to join the party!

Faithless will also be touring on these lovely blogs:

Monday, October 8th

–      Map Monday Spotlight – Becky Gaines

Tuesday, October 9th

–      Spotlight – Letters From Annie (Douglass) Lima

Wednesday, October 10th

–      Character Interview – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

–      Guest Post & Interview – TheHufflepuffNerdette

Thursday, October 11th

–      Behind-the-Scenes –The Simmering Mind

–      Author Interview – Claire M. Banschbach

Friday, October 12th   

–      Behind-the-Scenes – Author Katherine A. Massengill

Sunday, October 14th

–      Book Review – Smada’s Book Smack

Monday, October 15th

–      Spotlight –  A Hippie’s Bookshelf

–      Character Interview with Shance – Becky Gaines

Tuesday, October 16th

–      World Building Feature on the Scepter of Knowledge – K.A. Cummins

Wednesday, October 17th

–      Spotlight – The Genre Minx Book Reviews

Thursday, October 18th

–      Behind-the-Scenes – Unicorn Quester

Friday, October 19th

–      World Building Feature on Death Unicorns – C. O. Bonham

–      Spotlight – YA/NA Book Divas

Saturday, October 20th

–      World Building Feature on Dragons – Empyrean Voyager

–      Book Review – The Book Unicorn

Monday, October 22nd

–      Book Review – Jessica Rachow: Author & Blogger

Tuesday, October 23rd

–      Behind-the-Scenes – Anna Tan

Wednesday, October 24th

–     Book Review – Anna Tan

Thursday, October 25th

–     Author Interview – Laura VanArendonk Baugh

–      Book Review – Becky Gaines

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Original Poem: “Blaze”

April 28, 2017

I can’t stop the story:

The movement,

The pain,

The dancing of visuals

Carved in my brain,

The eager compulsion,

That cry of my soul,

The frenzy,

The vision that’s burning a hole

In my mind.

I can’t shake it.

It’s mine, this I know—

My quest, not another’s,

For only I’m full

Of this racket,

This chaos,

This burdening fight

Of characters, stories

That scream for the light,

This rabbit hole,

Endless,

That calls me to war

To fill barren pages

With worlds from my core—

And I fidget;

I bite

On my lip in the dark;

Am I a creator?

And is this my spark?

Or is this insanity?

Should I give in

To this spellbinding blaze

Captive under my skin?

What if I’m deluded,

My passions misled

By this thing,

This enigma

That dwells in my head?

Am I stubborn,

A fool,

To think this could be gold?

But I’m sick

At the thought of my heart left untold.

Perhaps I’m obsessed

And should let it all go…

But a prayer leaves my lips.

And my soul whispers:

“No.”

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Simmer Starters and News – December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016

Hello, friends!  My blog has been rather quiet lately. Awhile back I stopped posting the Simmer Starters because I noticed not a lot of people are interested in them…but I found that I miss sharing cool links! 😛 I’ve decided to pick up the practice again, but post only when I have a collection of links gathered, or maybe monthly.  I also hope to start blogging more again soon.

I have some Simmer Starters for today, but first, some general news…

Writing!

My newest writing project, Until She Dies, has been unfurling slowly. The story is taking its sweet time to ravel together, but that’s okay! I’m allowing it to marinate and trusting it will all fit in due time.

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Click to see my Pinterest board for Until She Dies!

Reading!

This month, though, I’m taking some time off writing to recharge – I’ve been in “writing mode” so long that my reading side has suffered and I’ve felt my creativity starving for fuel.  I would love to make reading more of a habit and read many more books in 2017.

I’m hoping, too, that giving my mind a break from fiction writing will help unlock more bloggable thoughts and I’ll have more musings to share here. 🙂

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Tentative TBR for the month, to finish or start for the first time: a beta read for a friend, Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H.L. Burke, A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, and Unblemished by Sara Ella.

Party!

Tonight, I’m being featured as one of 12 authors in the Twelve Writers of Christmas Facebook party! It’s my first time being a “special guest” at a Facebook party, and I’m pretty excited about it. 🙂 Stop by tonight at 7 p.m. EST, and you might win books or an Amazon gift card!  (Click the picture below to go to the party page.)

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#WIPjoy

Writers, don’t forget that the next #WIPjoy is coming up in January! Throw me any ideas you have for the next one in the blog comments! 🙂

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Future Giveaway!

On the subject of giveaways, too, keep your eye out for a giveaway coming here to the blog sometime this month! 😉

Pssst, there shall be pretty handpainted bookmarks!

Pssst, there shall be pretty, hand-painted bookmarks!

Simmer Starters!

And now, as promised, some inspiring writing links!

Speculation and Christmas (Rebecca Luella Miller) – “Perhaps sin has hardened us or perhaps it has given us a correct understanding—apart from intervention, we will live without hope and help. We will remain alone and lonely. We will not find fulfillment in our selfish pursuits. But our Christmas stories show intervention. The supernatural comes into the world in unexpected ways, and it changes everything.”

Storytelling Saves Lives (James Scott Bell) – “Stress relief can extend life. Entertainment can make the present life better. Sure, we can have challenging fiction of various kinds, but the real power comes from the ‘lostness’ of a reader inside a compelling narrative.”

Why Your Writing Matters – Even if You’re Not Famous (Janeen Ippolito) – “Writing is a hard field. Never let anyone tell you any differently. But while it has unique challenges, it isn’t any harder or easier than many other career choices. It takes guts and passion and drive. It takes focused creativity when you’re ready to quit and the ability to see new possibilities and opportunities–or even to create them.”

How To Identify Your Story’s Premise (K.M. Weiland) – “It’s not enough just to come up with a cool idea for your book. You also have to make it work on every single page. Otherwise, no matter how cool it is, it quickly becomes the wrong premise. The key to solving this problem before it even gets started is learning how to identify your story’s premise—and more specifically the most important aspect of that premise—right out of the gates.”

What’s up with YOU lately? What books are on your December TBR?  What books are you hoping to get for Christmas? Have you ever been a host or featured guest at a Facebook party?

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Simmer Starters – August 5, 2016

August 5, 2016

I’m currently recovering from VBS, which was back-to-back with my trip to Philly for Realm Makers!  I will blog about RM next week, Lord willing, and I have plans to shift to a new style of Simmer Starters…one where I add more of my own personal thoughts on the links I choose to share.  Please comment and let me know if that’s something that would interest you more! 🙂

For now, I’m simply sharing the links I’ve gathered recently, as always.  Do check these out, because they are all wonderful!

Storytelling with Faith and Free Will (R.J. Anderson and Stephen McCranie) – I enjoyed this dialogue about faith and storytelling. There’s a lot of good stuff to glean here.

5 Reasons Writing Is Important to the World (K.M. Weiland) – “Let’s face it, people, the world’s a mess right now. I think the vast majority of us agree on that, to one degree or another, regardless our worldview. And what are we doing about it? What can we do about it?… We’re just folks who put words on paper. We’re just people spinning little tales that make us happy or fulfill our own fantasies: romance and superheroes, dragons and femme fatales. We’re just writers. That doesn’t seem like much right now. It certainly doesn’t seem like enough.”

Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me (Andrew Peterson) – ALL OF THIS. “I couldn’t get Harry’s story out of my head. I doubled over in the back of the auditorium and sobbed with gratitude to Jesus for allowing his body to be ruined, for facing the enemy alone, for laying down his life for his friends–Jesus, my friend, brother, hero, and king–Jesus, the Lord of Life, who triumphed o’er the grave–who lives that death may die! Even now, writing those words, my heart catches in my throat. In that moment I was able, because of these books, to worship Christ in a way I never had.”

Why Christians Should Paint, Dance, Quilt, Act, Compose Music, Write Stories, Decorate Cookies, and Participate in the Arts (Mark Altrogge) – I LOVE this post so much. And the title of it reminds me of that quote from Joss Whedon: “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”