writing

#WriteMentor: A Mentee’s Experience

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Hey everyone 🙂 How are you all making out? Did some of you participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month? I started to, but then I got busy with a new job (I’m happy as a clam!) and settled into a new routine.

Also, can you believe it is August 1st? The countdown is on for the Agent Showcase.

Today I want to share my experience with the mentorship program, #WriteMentor. I am beyond blessed to be part of this fantastic group of writers. There is an excellent mix of published authors and aspiring authors.

Without further ado, here is my experience of being part of a mentorship 🙂

1. Writing Community Broadens

I have met so many wonderful writers during #WriteMentor. I am part of the mentees Facebook group. We share how we are doing during revisions or ask writing craft questions.

My Twitterverse has grown as well. It is so fun to login and see what everyone is up to. Sometimes we post silly GIFS about how revisions AREN’T going smoothly, haha, or we just tag each other in fun little writing questionnaires.

I love meeting new writers, and #WriteMentor has brought new writing friends into my life for which I will be forever grateful.

2. Learn More About Writing as a Craft

As a writer, working with two brilliant and funny authors has been amazing. Their level of insight is really awesome. I received my final round of edits around ten days ago. I took a deep breath and cleared my desk, then sat down to read through their notes.

My jaw dropped many times. They were so spot on! They picked up on things that I didn’t even notice. Bringing some of these things to my attention has already shifted something in my writing brain. I find I am looking out for those problematic areas in my writing or noticing passive and filter words more.

I am so grateful for Amber and MB. They are the best. Thank you both for the time you put in this manuscript ❤

3. Grow More Confident as a Writer

My confidence has grown. I think every time you learn something new, you feel more sure of yourself. The ambiguity clears up.

For example, filter words are the worst, HAHA! Also, make sure the weather doesn’t drastically change in a scene without explaining why. Good ol’ continuity 😉

We will always grow and learn more. We can only get better! That is an encouraging thought. Even if I don’t get an agent or a book published in the next year or so, I know I am learning and growing. All of this is important on the journey.

We will get there.

Final Thoughts

A big shout out to Stuart White, who is an awesome, kind, and great encourager in the writing community! He is brilliant. You can tell he has a genuinely good heart and wants to help others. He is the mastermind behind this program.

Also, a big thank you to the rest of the mentors who are giving up their precious time to work with us. You are all amazing ❤

I hope someday if I get enough experience I can give back similarly and mentor a new writer. If you are thinking about applying for a mentorship program, I highly recommend it.

How has your summer been? What are you all working on? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Loie xo

writing

The Creative Benefits of Journaling

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Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

Do you want to nourish your creativity? Perhaps you feel blocked from time to time. Did you know that journaling regularly can help artists and creators? Keep reading to find out more!

Benefits of Journaling 

Researchers have shown that the act of journaling is therapeutic. We often have a deluge of thoughts and ideas throughout the course of a day. By writing them down, we may gain insight about what we are thinking or feeling.

  • Notice trends in your creativity 

When journaling about my writing progress, I might take note of the time of day I felt most productive or creative as a writer and why.

  • Learn more about yourself 

This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but throughout the journaling process, I begin to see what upsets or energizes me. Maybe I will discover that I am at my best, creatively, in the early hours of the morning.

  • Clarifies jumbled thoughts 

I have a lot of racing thoughts, so I find it super therapeutic to write them down. When I do this, I can make sense of the tangle in my head. This is calming and I feel ready to move onto creative writing.

Free-Write 

Honestly, when I sit down to write in my journal, I just let my pen fly across the page. It may be a short entry, or it may be a longer entry. Sometimes I will sit down and end up writing a poem or short scene. Other times, I might grumble about how I feel or what I need to get done. If I journal in the morning, I write about any dreams I can still recall.

I even journal about the novel-writing process. After completing a chapter, I go back to my journal and discuss how it went. Sometimes, the practice of journaling about my novel helps unblock my mind if I’ve arrived at a deadend.

Daily Practice

It’s best if you get into the habit of journaling twenty minutes a day. By sitting down and writing, you may surprise yourself by what appears in your notebook! Perhaps you will get a new idea for your latest work-in-progress or discover a solution to a problem you have.

Morning Pages

If you want to learn more about the creative benefits of journaling, check out Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. She highly recommends writing Morning Pages. 

Happy writing, friends!

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

Book Reviews

Fury’s Kiss Audiobook Blog Tour

Author: Nicola R. White

Narrator: Elizabeth Tebb

Length: 9 hours 2 minutes

Series: New England Furies, Book 1

Publisher: Strange Roads Press

Released: Sep. 18, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tara Walker dreams of more excitement than slinging plates of seafood for Cape Cod tourists, but as she learns when she is attacked and forced to fight for her life, fate sometimes has a funny way of giving you exactly what you wish for. Faced with strange new powers and embroiled in a murder investigation, Tara must now race to uncover the secrets of the ancient Fury that has woken inside of her – and of the evil that stalks her.

As if Tara’s life hasn’t gotten complicated enough, she is forced to ally herself with Jackson Byrne, witness to her assault and uncle to a pint-sized oracle whose fate is intertwined with hers. Skeptical, stubborn, and oh-so-sexy, Jackson wrestles with demons of his own. He is determined to ignore the attraction rising between them even faster than the body count, but like it or not, he and Tara need each other if they are to unravel the mysteries that surround them.

Nicola R. White comes from a small city on the east coast of Canada where ghost stories and superstitions abound. Although she is a lawyer by profession, her passion is reading and writing fiction. In 2016, Nicola’s debut novel, Fury’s Kiss, won the $10,000 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in Romance. She is currently producing her first graphic novel.

Nicola is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. She is a frequent guest and speaker at literary events such as Word on the Street and Hal-Con, the largest sci fi/fantasy convention east of Montreal.

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Narrator Bio

I am a literacy specialist with experience performing in a number of roles. Having spent a great deal of time speaking publicly as both an educator and an administrator, I have accrued a varied skill set that I feel confident I can use to advance and advertise bodies of work. My passion for literature drives me to bring the voices within it to life.

  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • Fury’s Kiss was the first audiobook I produced. Since I self-published this book, I wanted to do the same with the audiobook. I used a marketplace service offered by Audible.com for authors and narrators to connect and produce audiobooks that will be distributed through the site. Potential narrators submitted auditions and I selected the wonderful Elizabeth Tebb!
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Absolutely! I always think about the possibility of my books being adapted into all sorts of different mediums, whether audio, film, graphic novel, or something else I haven’t thought of yet.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Elizabeth and I kept in contact by email and touched base every month or so, but I don’t like to micromanage anyone so I trusted her to let me know if she needed support from me. I provided her with a character sheet and notes about accents and pronunciation of some unusual names, but that was pretty much it! When she was done recording the book, I listened to the chapters and provided feedback for minor revisions.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • My problem tends to be the opposite of burnout – I always have more enthusiasm than time! I usually have several projects on the go at one time so that I don’t get bored with any one project in particular. Right now I am working on a comic book and a game script in addition to my usual romance writing schedule. For me, burnout is more of a problem in relation to my day job, so I have taken steps to make sure I have enough energy for my work as a writer (which is my real passion).
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Of course! I love the way a good narrator can make you feel as if the story is coming to life. I also like the convenience of being able to multitask while listening to a good book. My favorite place to listen to audiobooks is in the car.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I don’t know that I did actually celebrate at the time. I am a lawyer by profession and I finished the first draft while I was studying for the bar exam. I started writing this book as a way to de-stress while I was in law school and didn’t start seriously thinking about publishing it until I had re-written most of it several times over. The real celebration happened when I published Fury’s Kiss and it won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize a few years later.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • As a reader and an author, I prefer a series to a stand-alone. From a reader perspective, if I like a book, I want more! From an author perspective, books in a series are easier to sell and readers seem to prefer them. It’s fun to create and explore a world in detail, although the con is that it can get hard to keep track of everything (especially if the series is based on mythology, like in the New England Furies series!).
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Don’t give up! Even if it seems like things aren’t working out the way you hoped, writing is really just a numbers game. If you keep working at it long enough, you will eventually enjoy some degree of success, whatever that looks like for you. Learn as much as you can about the business side of publishing and never sign a contract you don’t fully understand. Finally, don’t compare yourself to other people. Roosevelt was right when he said that comparison is the thief of joy.

Narrator

Elizabeth was brilliant! This was my first time listening to an audio book. Elizabeth captured each unique character by using a new accent or tone of voice. So cool! I found myself lost in the story in a different way than reading a hard-copy book. Very eyeopening. I can see why audio books are so popular.

I listened to Fury’s Kiss in between editing my own manuscript. It was a nice change to sit back and listen to a story. It gave my eyes a break 🙂

Story by Nicola R. White

It was such an honor to review this audiobook! Nicola is a member of the Atlantic Canada division of Romance Writers of America which I joined earlier this year. It’s so awesome to meet local writers and authors.

I enjoyed this paranormal romance a ton! It was unique and different. Our main character, Tara, is a spunky and brave young woman. Jackson is swoonworthy and their romance sizzled. Nicola captured the voice of a young twenty two year old woman SO well. I loved how we got to see Tara going about her life with her two best friends who are also her roommates. Their conversations had me in stitches at times. Every character that showed up in this story was quirky and three dimensional. I felt truly immersed in their world.

The story was peppered with mystery that kept me intrigued. Information was slowly revealed throughout while we got to learn more about Tara and her day to day life. I also enjoyed that Tara had powerful abilities and her love interest didn’t. I found that refreshing and new. I’ve read a lot of paranormal romance where the two love interests both have some sort of power. It was neat to see how they navigated Tara’s powers.

The paranormal bit about Fury’s was new and unique to me. Here is a bit of information about them: “THE ERINYES (Furies) were three goddesses of vengeance and retribution who punished men for crimes against the natural order. They were particularly concerned with homicide, unfilial conduct, offenses against the gods, and perjury. A victim seeking justice could call down the curse of the Erinys upon the criminal. The most powerful of these was the curse of the parent upon the child–for the Erinyes were born of just such a crime, being sprung from the blood of Ouranos (Uranus), when he was castrated by his son Kronos (Cronus).”

I give this audiobook 5/5 stars 🙂

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nicola R. White. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Giveaway

Fury’s Kiss Giveaway: 3-month Audible Membership

Also available from Nicola R. White

Man’s Ruin is available for adoption on the Adopt-An-Audiobook page!

Jul. 10th:

Happily Ever BookWorm

Audiobook Romance

Loie Dunn

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Jul. 11th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

The Bookworm Lodge

Jul. 12th:

T’s Stuff

Jazzy Book Reviews

Jul. 13th:

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

Lilly’s Book World

Jul. 14th:

Book Addict

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Jul. 15th:

Smada’s Book Smack

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

Wonderlandians Books

Jul. 16th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Chapter Break

Declarations of a Fangirl

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writing

Creating characters

July 3rd, 2018

Hello, lovelies! I hope you are having a good week so far. Happy Camp NaNoWriMo for those of you who are participating, whether you’re editing, writing, or outlining. I hope to write a novella set in the world of THE LOST SAGES, and explore one of my secondary characters, Tsura. I’m excited to learn more about her 🙂

I’ve decided to start blogging about the craft of writing, with the hope of better understanding it. In my own search to understand various techniques, I’ve found some neat books and informational videos.

The wonderful thing about being part of a writing community is getting to share information and tips with one another. After you read this blog, I would love to hear your own thoughts on how to create compelling and real characters 🙂

Writing video notes 

I stumbled upon Kim Chance’s writing videos on YouTube. I really enjoyed listening to her break down some of the various craft elements. In this video, she shared how she creates well-rounded characters. Kim kindly provides a character profile questionnaire that can be found on her website.

She discussed these key points: cultural influences, mannerisms, occupation and socioeconomic status, family relationships, spirituality, and education. Life experience is a big one. What have the characters gone through or what has happened to them before we meet them on page one.

In my book, THE LOST SAGES, Evren is poor and alone at the beginning. This really influences her decision making when Captain Sa’av, infamous pirate, arrives on Ionoke Island, seeking a navigator to bring him to the sinister Sea Queen’s lair.

Personality, of course, is a huge one. How does a character view themselves and how do other characters see them? I loved these two questions!! Oftentimes, we can see ourselves in a different light than those around us 😉

Growth

To become three dimensional, the character must experience some change over the course of the novel and journey.

What is the character’s goal? What is the motivation behind the goal and what is at stake if the character fails? For example, if Evren does not find the sinister Sea Queen’s lair, then her and Captain Sa’av won’t be able to retrieve an antidote to an epidemic that is claiming the air from thousands of lungs across Tarkais.

Question Time

Do you brainstorm all the details of a character before writing them? Do you have an image of the person or perhaps a feeling or situation they are involved with?

When I received an edit letter from a manuscript critique I won, the editor kindly suggested I begin to think about how Evren moves, talks, and interacts with others.

There were some things I knew from the beginning when I drafted THE LOST SAGES. But as always in revisions and rewriting, I learn MORE about my characters. A bit of backstory sheds new light. It’s amazing, the continual unfolding and learning that goes on.

Building Character 

With the help of the questionnaire and a character profile sheet an editor sent me, I found I had plenty of questions to answer when it came time to brainstorm Evren.

I also like to listen to music and let my brain wander, imagining Evren in certain scenarios and wondering how she would react. Free-writing also helps a ton before drafting a novel. I write a random scene with Evren in it. This allows me to see how she would handle a confrontation with a character or a dangerous situation.

Finding their voice 

I find voice a bit tricky and elusive. However, each draft I write or re-write, brings me that much closer to capturing the voice of the character. I think details in the book revealing how they walk (do they slouch, stride, or saunter) and talk (do they have a lisp, accent, or use certain words repeatedly) for example, help with capturing the unique voice of the character. Everything that makes them unique and different, will stand out.

Captain Sa’av, in the first draft of this book, was ice cold and arrogant. I realized early on that wasn’t really him. In fact, he was more goofy and eccentric. Evren appears to be uptight at the beginning, but she really relaxes once she is around people whom she feels safe with. All of this I discovered as I re-wrote.

What do you do?

How do you create characters? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Reviews

Book Review: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

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Published by Parliament House Press

 June 26th, 2018

Book 1 in a Duology

Goodreads 

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance.

General Gushing and Characters I Love

Candace created three dimensional characters that I fell in love with from the get go. Our main heroine, Perrie, is a spunky and real teenager. She’s fallen in love and has had her heart broken. She is a great friend to her cousin and bestie, Maisie. I love that she is a musician and plays the cello. (Sidenote, I’ve always wanted to play the cello or harp 😉

Maisie is so fun and cool. If only I had her rocking confidence when I was a teenager ❤ I love how quirky she is. Perrie and Maisie are #friendshipgoals. There is a quote from Perrie that I scribbled down that I wanted to share.

“That’s what I love best about her is the fact she doesn’t care what anybody thinks, and just wants to see everyone happy.”

This is Perrie observing Maisie inviting everyone to dance at their prom, not caring about the different cliques. I loved that so much ❤ This really shows us how kind and caring Maisie is.

Neven and August are intriguing. (Aren’t all the character names awesome ?!?!) Both boys have interesting personalities and vie for Perrie’s attention. There is a twist at the end of the book that I absolutely did NOT SEE coming. Well done, Candace. I have a #bookhangover and I need the sequel ASAP, pretty please 🙂

Favorite Moments

When Perrie goes to the Glass Vault to rescue Maisie. Talk about fearless! She does not only seek to help Maisie but others as well.

A funny moment with Perrie and August: “Please tell me you’ve taken karate or something like that.”

(This is when August and Perrie are facing a fight, haha! I laughed out loud.)

If you love horror, mystery, and fairytales, I highly suggest you pick up this book. It is a brilliant mash up and it did not disappoint. The pacing was outstanding. Every time I came to the end of a chapter I felt propelled forwards, unable to stop reading. (I also took notes, as a writer, haha.)

Writer Thoughts

Like I said before, the pacing was brilliant. I also enjoyed how Candace seamlessly weaved backstory into various chapters. This helped me understand Perrie and her friends a lot better. I saw how much Perrie loves Maisie and cares for her best friend. We also got to see what happened between her and Neven.

Her descriptions were spot on, building a lush and horrifying world at times. Can’t wait for your next book, Candace!

Author Candace Robinson 

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My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!

Candace has an awesome book blog called Literary Dust! Go check it out 🙂 Isn’t that website name awesome?!

If you want to order this book on Amazon, just click here 🙂

You can also order it on Parliament’s website!

What are you reading at the moment? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Reviews

Friday Book Review: The Fix

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Published in 2015 by SkyPony Press

Young Adult Contemporary

Standalone

Goodreads

“One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.

Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.

On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.”

General Gushing

So, I mainly read young adult fantasy or adult fantasy so this was a change. Did I ever love it! I went to my local bookstore and was browsing through the teen fiction section and my gaze landed on that beautiful cover with the shiny gold sticker 😉 After picking it up and reading the first chapter, I decided that I wanted it. It was raw and real and tugged my heart strings. I related to it so much, about meeting someone in your youth that truly saw you, not the image you had created but rather the hurts and secret dreams that you cradled within.

I read it in one sitting. I was supposed to be working on a project but I couldn’t put this book down. I cried and laughed and cheered Macy on. Thank you Natasha, for writing such a moving and real story.

Characters I loved

I loved Macy. I loved her with all of her imperfections and could understand why she acted the way she did with guys. Sebastian was swoonworthy and so intriguing. I loved how honest and open he was with Macy, where she felt comfortable enough in his company to share her darkest secret.

Moments I loved 

There were a few scenes from the beginning that came full circle by the end of the book. The swimming pool scene at the END of the book was my favorite ❤ Powerful way to end the book and I cried again 🙂

Upcoming books by Natasha Sinel: 

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Woohoo! This book came out on Tuesday, June 12th. I will definitely be heading to the bookstore to pick up Natasha’s latest book.

Writer Thoughts 

As I writer, a goal I hope to accomplish in my writing is to create real characters that people can connect with, love, cheer for, and maybe even cry with. I loved Natasha’s book for this reason – I fell in love with the cast of characters and felt the heart in each and every one of them. They were complicated and messy and broken. But they also had hope.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Reviews

Book Review: Between the Sea and the Stars

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Forthcoming: June 19th, 2018

Parliament House Publishing

Book 1

Goodreads

A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More… 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

General Gushing

This book is magical. I devoured it in a few days because I couldn’t stop reading 🙂 Chantal is a fantastic storyteller and I felt completely immersed in Lena’s world.

As many of you know, I am revising a seafaring fantasy at the moment. I love EVERYTHING about the sea and I was so excited to get to read this ARC from Parliament House Publishing. Thank you so much, Parliament 🙂 All the lush details of the sea world were beautifully done. I loved the time we spent underwater with Lena and her family ❤

On land, I felt for Lena as she navigated the new experience of living above water. Lena is a character I happily rooted for. She’s sweet and sparky at the same time, unafraid to share her opinion.

I eagerly flipped the pages, wondering what was going to happen next.

Moments I loved

Lena helps an older blind gentleman on land, named Edwin. Together, they share stories and they develop a sweet relationship. Lena is so kind and patient with him. He sends her to retrieve new books for him that are written in Braille. This is where she meets Soren Emil, who is a bookkeeper ❤ Soren is probably my other favorite character, alongside Lena.

Lena says this to one of her new friends, Jace, in Chapter 17: “But greatness and goodness are two different things.” This is so true. I love how wise Lena is.

The Little Mermaid 

This story definitely nods to The Little Mermaid. I love all the references peppered throughout the prose. It is a unique retelling and I am eager for the sequel. Can’t wait to read more books by Chantal 🙂

Find Out About Other Books by Chantal Gadoury 

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About the Author

Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.

Purchase Links

Between the Sea and Stars

Amazon

Goodreads

Allerleirauh

Amazon

Parliament House Press

Thank you again to Parliament House Press for sending me this Advanced Readers Copy.  What are you all reading at the moment? I would love to hear below.

Until next time,

Loie xo