Author Interview, Book Love, writers life, writing

Author Interview with Amber R. Duell

DreamKeeper_cover

I’d like to welcome Amber to the blog today. Amber is a YA fantasy author of Fragile Chaos, The Last Goodbye, and the forthcoming Dream Keeper trilogy. The first book releases on January 29th from Parliament House Press. The book is called Dream Keeper, a deliciously dark and romantic tale. I had the opportunity to read an ARC and I absolutely loved it.

Loie: Thank you so much, Amber, for agreeing to be interviewed 😊 Can you please share that initial spark of inspiration behind Dream Keeper?

Amber: I was lying on the couch thinking about what to write next (I was querying Fragile Chaos at the time) when it hit me out of nowhere that I wanted to write something that included the Sandman. That was it—no plot or other characters which was obviously super helpful, haha. It took me days to come up with the rest.

Loie: Are there things you do before drafting that help open up new ideas for the plot or characters?

Amber: I wouldn’t say before drafting. My “first draft” is where things sort themselves out, but that’s really a glorified outline of 20-30k words. I know where things start and where they end, but I give the characters a good amount of leash to explore the rest. In writing book 3 of the Dark Dreamer trilogy, I realized I set up something in book 1 without knowing it so at least they know what they’re doing. 😉

Loie: How did you come up with the nightmarish world? I loved all the details and it really came to life. I felt scared and amazed at times while reading.

Amber: Thank you! It was my favorite realm to create! Everyone is afraid of different things, whether it’s a living thing or something emotional. For the emotional landscapes, I tried to embody the feeling it wanted the Dreamer to have, but the living ones were my favorite. Honestly, I just took something, like the clown, and kept twisting it until I knew it would freak people out. (Is my dark heart showing?)

Loie: Can you share who your favorite character is to write in this book?

Amber: Kail! He’s not in the first book much, but he’s so fun to write because he doesn’t give one single crap.

Loie: What’s next for you 😊? Do you have any genres you’d like to visit after this trilogy?

Amber: Don’t I wish I knew? 😛 I have a few ideas jumping up and down on the sidelines, begging me to pick them as soon as book 3 is finished. 1 involves magic, 1 science, and the 3rd, both.

Loie: Can you tell us what’s your most anticipated read (s) of 2019?

Amber: I already have it! The Wicked King! I’m rereading The Cruel Prince right now to savor the story a bit longer.

Loie: Thanks so much, Amber, for stopping by ❤ Can’t wait until the rest of the world gets to read Dream Keeper!

About Amber:

Amber

Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. Before becoming published, she had a wide range of occupations including banking, bartending (though she’s never tried alcohol), and phlebotomy (though she faints with needles). She also volunteered as a re-enactor at the local Revolutionary War fort and worked near shelter cats which led to her previous crazy cat lady status.

She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.

When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, snuggling with her cat, and staying up way too late to research genealogy. She loves to travel and has visited more countries than states. Kissing the Blarney Stone and hand-feeding monkeys in the mountains of France will be hard to beat, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the next real-life adventure.

Website  | Twitter  | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest|  Goodreads

Advertisements
Blogging, Book Love, Book Reviews, Giveaway, writers life, writing

TO DREAM IS TO DIE Rockstar Book Blog Tour

unnamed (2).jpg

Title: TO DREAM IS TO DIE

Author: Sarah Lampkin

Pub. Date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: The Parliament House

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 296

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Review

I loved this book so much! It’s a New Adult (NA) book set at Brenna’s college. I hope more NA books will be published in the future. I love reading about older protagonists figuring out life after high school.

Brenna is sarcastic and hilarious. I love her as the main character. Sarah is a lovely writer. The world came alive to me as I read.

One of my favorite parts has to do with Brenna. She walks in the spirit plane – the Fade – when she is sleeping. Also, I’m a huge fan of mystery and this book is full of it. I was always guessing what would happen next.  Intrigued?! Check it out:)

Can’t wait for book 2! 5 stars ❤

Sarah

About Sarah:

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah moved to Northern Virginia to work in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t work, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

Although she currently lives in Northern Virginia, Sarah frequently travels back home to Richmond to visit family, friends, and her godchildren. During the winter months, she is in Richmond more frequently to spend time in the woods hunting and contemplating the meaning of life. She doesn’t always succeed in both endeavors, but the music of nature is worth it for peace of mind.

In her free time, she likes to play RPG video games, and rock climbing. To make sure she can make the most out of her day, she wakes up at 4am every morning to work on her fitness, so in the evening she has time to continue writing. Her passion for writing has been around since high school where she wrote her first short story. It continued as she worked towards her bachelor’s degree, and that is where the Dead Dreamer series began. Although only self- published via online, Sarah’s dream is to write for a living and continue to create fictional worlds where her mind can reside.

Her work mainly focuses on Celtic themes, mixed with elements from the spiritual world. And her characters always have a flair of attitude and sarcasm because writing damsels in distress is something she just can’t do.

READ THE CHILD DREAMER PREQUEL HERE

https://dead-dreamer.com

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 amazon gift card to giveaway and a Dead Dreamer charm necklace, US only.

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of TO DREAM IS TO DIE (when available) and a Dead Dreamer Hoodie, US only.

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2872/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

12/31/2018- jrsbookreviews– Excerpt

12/31/2018- Jaime’s World– Spotlight

 

1/1/2019- Texan Holly Reads– Excerpt

1/1/2019- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt

 

1/2/2019- Sweet Things– Excerpt

1/2/2019- Bookbriefs– Excerpt

 

1/3/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Excerpt

 

1/4/2019- BookHounds– Excerpt

1/4/2019- Parajunkee– Excerpt

 

Week Two:

1/7/2019- Reese’s Reviews– Review

1/7/2019- Sincerely Karen Jo– Excerpt

 

1/8/2019- Book-o-Craze – Review

1/8/2019- Good Choice Reading– Excerpt

 

1/9/2019- Loie Dunn– Review

1/9/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

 

1/10/2019- Book-Keeping– Review

1/10/2019- Confessions of a YA Reader– Excerpt

 

1/11/2019- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

1/11/2019- Whatever You Can Still Betray– Excerpt

 

 

 

 

Author Interview, Book Love, writers life, writing

Author Interview: M. Dalto of TWO THOUSAND YEARS

Hi everyone!

architecture business city classic
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Please welcome the funny and lovely, M. Dalto, soon to be published author! Her debut novel releases tomorrow, December 11th, with Parliament House Press! I was lucky enough to be mentored by MB during #WriteMentor from the months of May to August. MB mentored me with Amber R. Duell (author of Dream Keeper) and it was a blast.

download (6)

Welcome MB! I’m so happy you are here, today. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey with TWO THOUSAND YEARS and what’s next for you 🙂

Let’s get started!

Loie: When did you start writing TWO THOUSAND YEARS and what inspired it?

MB: The inspiration for TWO THOUSAND YEARS actually came to me in 1993 – and now I’m probably dating myself. Billy Joel released his album entitled River of Dreams and on it was a song called Two Thousand Years. My best friend and I had very active imaginations and often wrote our own stories, roleplayed, and the like — there was something about Two Thousand Years that called to me, even then, telling me there was a story there, and it needed to be written. They melody was moving, and the lyrics were inspiring- battles to be won and love that spanned centuries. It was just begging for a story to be told.

I socked the idea away for many years later, until 2014 when something in me felt the need to write a story for NaNoWriMo. So, using the same song for inspiration so many years later, that’s exactly what I did.

Loie: Wow! Love the story behind TTY. That is so cool, MB! Now I’m going to go and listen to that song 😉 

Can you tell readers what Wattpad is? When did you decide to post TTY on it?

MB: Wattpad is a website where millions of writers and readers can come together, from all over the world, and share their stories and experiences. I had heard about it from a friend when I was looking to do more with TWO THOUSAND YEARS. What brought me there didn’t start out as happy though…

I finally decided to share my first chapter on one of the NaNoWriMo forums. And the person who read it, a total stranger, messaged me and told me that it may have been one of the worst pieces of writing he ever read.

I was devastated.

So much so that I was ready to just stop- no more writing, throw the story away, that was it.

Until a friend of mine mentioned Wattpad. I never knew it existed until she told what it was, where I could upload as much or as little onto it as I wanted, where the feedback I could get there would be far more diverse than one unknown person’s opinion.

So I finally joined in February 2016.

Loie: Super important to receive diverse feedback compared to one person. I’m so glad your friend mentioned Wattpad to you ❤

Did you have the novel finished before you started posting on Wattpad or did you write a chapter a week?

MB: TWO THOUSAND YEARS was fully drafted when I decided to post it to Wattpad, but I was still in the process of my first round of edits and revision. So once I had a chapter completed, I would post it to Wattpad. I tried to get at least one up a week at the time, sometimes there would be two. I remember when I was about 10 chapters away from the end I went on a posting spree and put up one a day, but because I wanted to mark it as ‘complete’.

Loie: Oh, that’s neat 🙂 How fun! Your readers must have been thrilled about the posting spree, hehe 🙂 ! I used to post on Fanfiction. I wrote Sailor Moon and Harry Potter fanfic (featuring Harry’s parents :D) and I remember how fun it was to receive reviews and feedback on my writing.

Can you share your journey with Two Thousand Years getting published?

MB:  confess I had not interest in publishing when I started writing it. I merely wanted to write a story, and I did. But once I posted it to Wattpad and it won the Watty, I started to consider that maybe there was something more I could do with it. So I started querying it to agents. A lot. And it was rejected. A lot. I tried on SwoonReads and it ebbed and flowed in its popularity, but nothing came of it. It got some interest a Pitmad or two from indie publishers, but at the time I was focused on traditional publishing. I even tried throwing it into 2017’s PitchWars but it got me nowhere.

I soon lost count of the rejections, but for this one I was okay because it, and the rest of its series, was still extremely popular on Wattpad. But eventually the frustration got to me and I was seriously considering myself as a writer (don’t we all?) until a friend of mine whom I met through an ACOTAR FB group started posting about her new book coming out with a Parliament House Press. After talking to her about it and her experiences, I began to realize that TWO THOUSAND YEARS as a story I wasn’t going to compromise to sell, so maybe an independent small press was something to consider. So I queried them and they enjoyed what they read enough to request my full manuscript a month later, and a week after that I was sent the contract!

Loie: Writing is a journey and I agree, I think every writer doubts themselves. I’ve been there. So cool that you met a friend through your love of ACOTAR ❤ I love Parliament House Press. I’m so glad they’re releasing your book. Also, your cover is amazing! 

What is your favourite 2018 read?

MB: This is hard because I can barely remember what I read! If you’re asking me what my favorite 2018 release was, it would definitely be A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas because her ACOTAR series is my favorite, with A Court of Mist and Fury still up there as my most favorite book ever. I know a lot of people were upset with this book, but it was a novella and it was a fun novella and I’m okay with the romantic fluff every once in a while, especially where Rhysand is involved.

Now, if you’re asking me about books that I actually, finally read in 2018, the favorites there would be Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Though I guess I can now throw Queen of Air and Darkness into the mix, as it’s a 2018 release though I haven’t finished it. Yet…  But those books redeemed her Shadowhunters franchise for me and I absolutely love them. Almost as much as must as the ACOTAR series.

Loie: Eep! I haven’t finished ACOFAS but maybe I will in the next few weeks. Also, I need to get caught up with the Shadowhunters books so I can finally read this new series. It sounds amazing!

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do In your free time :)?

MB: What’s free time? 😉

Other than writing and wrangling my 8-year-old daughter, I love to read. YA and Adult fantasy are my favorites, though I’ll drop everything for the Outlander series. I also love playing video games – RPGs are my preferred genre, and I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for what feels like forever. And sometimes, when the mood arises, I’ll practice yoga- basic Hatha is my go-to.

Loie: Hahaha 😀 ! Outlander! Love it. Also, I haven’t played video games in ages but I would love to again. I was inspired by my love of Legend of Zelda to write my own fantasy novel.

Okay… now for a super important question: why is Jamie Campbell Bower the best :D?

MB: *HAHA* I see what you did there…

Okay, so let’s start at the beginning.

Hi, my name is MaryBeth, and I adore Jamie Campbell Bower.

I don’t want to use the term ‘obsessed’ because it still remains a healthy infatuation. For the moment. The man can do no wrong – he can act, he can sing, and he’s gorgeous… I mean…a very successful model. He’s well spoken, hilarious, and did I mention gorgeous?

So, Jamie is one of those actors who you know without realizing you know. He was in Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter, played the most amazing Jace in the City of Bones, and then there are those damn movies about sparkly vampires that we don’t talk about. He was also the front runner in Camelot for the one season it was on Starz and played the most amazing Kit Marlowe in TNT’s Will. He’s incredibly talented, and not only on the screen. He actually started his career in music before acting, and his band, COUNTERFEIT., is coming out with their second album in 2019. AND I can attest that he is as genuine in person as you may see in his interviews because I was fortunate enough to have met him in 2018.

But I digress….

Loie: Hahah! Thank you for sharing! I’m sold on JCB! I have yet to listen to COUNTERFEIT but I will sometime this week. Yes, I’ve seen a few interviews with him and he does seem really genuine. So neat that you got to meet him! 

What does 2019 hold for you? Do you have any new projects on the horizon?

MB: So the beginning of 2019 will bring the release of the first two companion novellas for the Empire Saga, REYLOR’S LAMENT and TREYAN’S PROMISE. After that, there’s rumor’s Book 2 could be coming out later in 2019, but we’ll see what happens there 😉

Other than that, I have a couple of other projects I’m working on, both with myself and others. A manuscript or two I’m trying to focus on finishing and polishing, and maybe a couple others that are ready to start from scratch. We’ll just have to see how the year goes!

Loie: Wow! I’m so glad there’s more on the horizon. Can’t wait to read the novellas! Congrats, MB! One more day until TWO THOUSAND YEARS releases 🙂 It’s one of my top reads from 2018 ❤

Thank you so much, MB, for visiting the blog today! You can connect with MB on her Twitter, Instagram, and Wattpad 🙂 

Pre-order here! It releases tomorrow! 🙂

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Love, Book Reviews, national novel writing month, writers life, writing

November Reading Round-Up: Mystery, Romance, Fantasy, and Middle Grade

Hi everyone! We’re leaning towards December. Hard to believe that November flew on by so quickly. How was your month? For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo, how’d it go? I managed 30,000 words. I have half a mind to try and reach 50,000, but that would mean two 10K days and I’m not sure I have it in me 😉 We’ll see.

November Reading Round-Up

Anyways, I thought I would share what I’ve read this month.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

download (11)

I started this series in 2012. Wow. I was so excited to dive into this final book. With how Empire of Storms ended, I started reading with nervousness and dread.

I’m not going to share too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t read. I’ll just say that I thought it was a satisfying ending with a few threads left unfinished. I wonder if Sarah would ever return to this world? 🙂

Two Thousand Years by M. Dalto

download (6)

This story, guys! MB was one of my mentors during #WriteMentor from May-August 2018. She’s funny, clever, and kind. I’m grateful she shared her expertise and insight with me. I brought THE LOST SAGES to another level, with MB’s and Amber’s help.

When I received an ARC from Parliament House Press, I got so excited :). This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, and it did not disappoint one bit! MB won a Wattpad’s Watty Award in 2016 for this novel 🙂

Check out this summary from Goodreads:

“Two thousand years ago, the Prophecy of Fire and Light foretold the coming of the Queen Empress who would lead the Empire into a time of peace and tranquility. But instead of the coming of a prosperous world, a forbidden love for the Empress waged a war that ravaged the land, creating a chasm between the factions, raising the death toll of innocent lives until the final, bloody battle.

Centuries later, Alexandra, a twenty-two-year-old barista living in Boston, is taken to an unfamiliar realm of mystery and magic where her life is threatened by Reylor, its banished Lord Steward. She crosses paths with Treyan, the arrogant and seductive Crown Prince of the Empire, and together they discover how their lives, and their love, are so intricately intertwined by a Prophecy set in motion so many years ago.

Alex, now the predestined Queen Empress Alexstrayna, whose arrival was foretold by the Annals of the Empire, controls the fate of her new home as war rages between the Crown Prince and Lord Steward. Either choice could tear her world apart as she attempts to keep the Empire’s torrid history from repeating itself. In a realm where betrayal and revenge will be as crucial to her survival as love and honor, Alex must discover whether it is her choice – or her fate – that determines how she survives the Empire’s rising conflicts.”

I love Alex so much. She is someone I would want to be friends with. Treyan and Reylor, eep ❤ My loves. Alex goes through so much in this story. I’m continually impressed with her and how she faces many challenges. She’s relatable and compassionate. I love her strength so much.

Treyan is swoony and romantic. I love him. Reylor is such an interesting and complicated character. Some wild things happen in this novel but my heart still goes out to him. I’m so excited because next year, MB is releasing two novellas from Reylor and Treyan’s perspective.

If you enjoy romance, fantasy, and real relationships, you’ll devour this. It releases on December 11th, 2018. Pre-order it here!

Clouded Envy by Candace Robinson

download (10)

I’ve read two of Candace’s previous books: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault and The Glass Bride. I knew a bit about her writing style. She has a fresh and unique voice that you don’t forget 🙂 I met Candace through #WriteMentor, and am so glad we’re friends.

This book blew me away. It’s so different from anything I’ve read before. The characters are quirky and three-dimensional. I loved Bray so much. I wish I had a friend like her ❤ She is so sweet, funny, and completely herself. My heart went out to Brenik.

If you enjoy stories about fairies, magic, heartbreak, and family, you’ll love this. Pre-order it here 🙂

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)

download (2)

Okay, so I grew up on mysteries. I LOVE mysteries so much. It doesn’t hurt that one of the main character’s is a slightly broody, kind, and intelligent British detective. Strike ❤ Also, the other lead, Robin, is such a fantastic character. I love everything about her. She is clever, insecure at times, suffers from PTSD, and a darn good detective.

This novel is a biggie. I think it’s over 600 pages. The mystery was multi-layered and had me guessing throughout. When I read the dialogue and setting, I felt homesick for England. I spent five months in Nottingham and absolutely fell in love with the country. Someday I will go back 🙂

This is the fourth in the series, so start with The Cuckoo’s Calling 🙂 You won’t be disappointed.

Moonlight and Whiskey by Tricia Lynne

download (9)

I’m part of a romance writing group on Facebook called “All the Kissing“. I’ve met some wonderful fellow writers there. One of the ladies who started this group is Tricia. I remember when she first posted her Publisher’s Marketplace photo of her book deal. I was so excited to see her novel on NetGalley, so I requested it immediately.

This is a hot romance novel. I loved Declan and Avery’s story. Avery is clever, sparky, and fun-loving. She and her friend Kat go on a trip to New Orleans, and she literally bumps into Declan 😀

I enjoyed watching their relationship develop throughout the novel. Tricia captured the magic of New Orleans in her descriptions without over-describing. I loved their journey so much ❤ Thanks NetGalley and Tricia for the amazing ARC <3. Pre-order here if you’re interested.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

download (8)

I picked up this novel at a used bookstore a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to give it a read and see if this might be a story I could use in some of my tutoring sessions with my students.

Last Sunday, I sat down and started reading this novel, not sure what to expect. Well, a few hours later, I finished it 🙂

It’s such a remarkable story of light and darkness, friendship and honor, romance and loss.

We follow Despereaux Tilling, a cute mouse who loves stories, music, and a princess named Pea. We also follow a rat, Roscuro, who lives in the dank basement, in darkness. He wishes to live in a world of light. Then there is Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who grew up in horrible conditions.

It is a lovely story, and I recommend it to everyone 🙂

After by Anna Todd

download (7)

I was on Instagram earlier this week and saw a trailer for a movie called After. I vaguely remembered seeing this book a few years ago. I googled it and found out it was a romance story on Wattpad about Harry Styles and a young woman, Tessa.

It’s had a billion views online, so I decided to try it. I must say, I flew through it. Anna Todd has a way of balancing the right amount of conflict, drama, and romance. I tore through the pages, wondering what would happen to Hardin and Tessa.

The ending was quite upsetting, I must say. I’m not sure I’ll continue on, but I can see the appeal. Have you read this before? What do you think? I’d love to hear below.

Currently Reading

WinterDream is a Nutcracker retelling written by the lovely Chantal Gadoury. I posted an interview with her, and you can read it here.

Five Poisoned Apples is a magical anthology releasing from Rooglewood Press. There are five unique Snow White fairytale retellings in this book. Anne Elisabeth Stengl graciously sent me an ARC to review. It releases on December 1st. You can pre-order here, if interested 🙂

Wintersong is a magical and dark fairytale about the Goblin King and a young girl by S. Jae-Jones. I’ve just started, but I’m enjoying it so far ❤

Well, there you have it, my friends. That’s my monthly round-up of the books I read this month. It was a great reading month. I think this is because we’ve had three massive snowstorms, haha.

What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Until next time,

Loie xo

Author Interview, Book Love, national novel writing month, writers life, writing

25 Days of WinterDream: Interview with Author Chantal Gadoury

Winterdream fixed cover

About the Book

This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?

For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.

But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?

Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?

Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.

*

Author Interview

I would like to welcome the lovely author, Chantal Gadoury, to the blog today. Chantal is Senior Editor at The Parliament House Press. This is an amazing publishing house releasing some of my favorite books this year: Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell, Two Thousand Years by M. Dalto, Clouded Envy by Candace Robinson, and Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury 😊

Check them out if you love fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and more wonderful tales!

Today, we are celebrating and counting down the days until Chantal’s Nutcracker retelling, WinterDream, releases. Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!

Loie: Without further ado, welcome Chantal!

I love this time of year and am SO excited to read WinterDream. This is the perfect read for me. I know I’ll cozy up with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate ❤

Can you please share the initial inspiration behind WinterDream? What led you to write a Nutcracker retelling?

Chantal: Loie, first – thanks for having me on your blog today! I can’t help but agree with you whole-heartily about cozying up with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. That sounds so perfect.  As to answer your question, Christmas actually inspired my Nutcracker tale. I grew up going to the Nutcracker ballet with my mom, and the story has always been this magical love story that I’ve treasured for years. It was right around the beginning of the holidays last year that I had just finished writing “Between the Sea and Stars,” and I was pondering the question of “What else do I write?” And with a Christmas tree in front of me, it suddenly made sense to write my own version of the story I had grown up with – and loved so much!

Loie: Love it! That’s such a special inspiration ❤ When did you start writing this story and how long did it take to revise?

Chantal: I started writing this mid-November, early December of 2017, and I finished around February of 2018. I really pushed myself to get through the story while it was still winter, and cold (and while I still had an excuse to listen to Christmas music – and the Nutcracker score.) It sat for a while until Parliament took it, and it’s been in the revising process since August! It’s been happening fairly quickly, but I’m definitely excited to share this tale with everyone!

Loie: Awesome! Yes, perfect excuse to listen to Christmas tunes 😉 Did you come across any interesting tidbits of history about the Nutcracker story during your research?

Chantal: Not necessarily history – but cultural differences. So when I began to write the Nutcracker, I had to choose between setting this in Germany or in Russia. While the tale of the Nutcracker is a German tale, we all associate it with Russia because it originally premiered in St. Petersburg back in December 1892. As I researched the way Russia celebrates Christmas, it was vastly different to the way America and/or Germany celebrates the holiday. But for the sake of the tale, and the origins, I chose to go with Russia and tried to adapt around the cultural differences. It’s definitely worth looking up and seeing how we all celebrate the holidays differently around the world!  

Loie: Ooooo, how lovely! I’m going to go and look that up. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Are there any fairy tales you would love to retell in the future?

Chantal: Oh yes! I’d love to retell “Swan Lake” someday – and with a twist! I’m working on retelling the story of “Hansel and Gretel” with a very talented writer, Amanda Wright! I have a few other stories I’d like to tell, but we’ll see where my writing takes me! I still have to revisit Lena and Soren in the sequel to “Between the Sea and Stars,” and return to the Underworld with Darce and Summer in a sequel to “Blinding Night.”

Loie: Oooo Swan Lake 🙂 ! Can’t wait! Can you share a little bit about what 2019 holds in store for you?

Chantal: To be honest, a break! I’m not going to push myself the way I have the past two years. In two years I’ve published six novels! As I mentioned, I need to revisit two worlds that I’ve already established. I’d like to focus on Amanda and I’s retelling of “Hansel and Gretel.” But I plan to take 2019 pretty easy.

Loie: A break sounds perfect. You’ve done a lot in the past two years, wow. What is your favorite thing about the winter season?

Chantal: Christmas trees, lights, and music. Those are the three things that make the holiday the most magical for me. There’s nothing like setting up a beautiful tree, decorating it with beautiful lights (and seeing homes decorated) and blasting Christmas music! (And singing along!)

Loie: Mmmm, same ❤ Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month 😊?

Chantal: Not this year. After writing three novels just within this year, I’m focusing on “WinterDream” and allowing my creative juices to build up again. But I wish everyone luck as they write this year for NaNoWriMo!

Loie: Thank you so much, Chantal, for stopping by the blog! I love your books so much and cannot wait to read WinterDream.

Chantal: Thank you so much Loie! I really appreciate you welcoming me here today! “WinterDream” waltzes onto shelves November 27th! And you can all sorts of information about my books at www.chantalgadoury.com

Book Teaser Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMRGyNtnhZI

You can Pre-Order on Amazon and the Parliament House Publishing Website

About the Author:

download

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” and “The Songs We Remember,” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh,” “Between the Sea and Stars,” and “Blinding Night” with Parliament House Press. 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’ Taran.

winterdream4.png

 

Book Love, Country Life, national novel writing month, Nature, writers life, writing

National Novel Writing Month Check-In and Visiting Nova Scotia

download (2)

Hey everyone!

How are you all making out? I wanted to check in and see how NaNoWriMo is going. I’ve hit the 12,000 word mark. I should be a little over 17,000 words, so I have a fair bit of catching up to do today.

I’ve been writing with my friend Biljana over Skype a few times this week. We chat for a bit and then sprint for a half hour or so. It’s a great accountability trick, and I’ve managed to finish two chapters. I look forward to our writing sessions a lot 🙂

Sundays tend to be quieter for me, so I think I will have some time today to work on my story for a few hours.

IMG_4409.JPG

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

I’m in Nova Scotia visiting my family. I always feel so nostalgic when I go to Yarmouth. It’s a little maritime town at the end of Nova Scotia. A lot of people lobster fish here. I grew up in Yarmouth for seventeen years until I moved to New Brunswick.

As a teenager, I couldn’t wait to leave. There was a big world out there that I wanted to explore. I wanted to live in a city and meet new people. I have seen some of the world, but I now enjoy living in a quiet village in New Brunswick.

As a writer, I find this place a wonderful spot to live and write in. It’s quiet and relaxing. When I lived in the city, it was chaotic and busy. There’s a certain magic to cities, but there’s a calm peace with living in the country.

I have space to think and breathe and dream. I’m not so preoccupied.

If you are feeling a little discouraged with NaNoWriMo, don’t be! This month is meant to be a great inspiring time, but it can be stressful too. Life happens. Interruptions stop the flow. That’s okay. There’s still December and a whole new year ahead.

Today, I will enjoy time with my family, read from M. Dalto’s TWO THOUSAND YEARS, and hopefully pen a new chapter or two.

Enjoy the day. Go for a walk if you’re stumped. I find walking helps my ideas flow better.

Some fun blog posts are going live this week! I interviewed a lovely fantasy author and can’t wait for you to read!

How is NaNoWriMo going? I’d love to hear below ❤

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Love, Book Reviews, Giveaway, writers life, writing

Book Review: Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell

DreamKeeper_cover

Title: DREAM KEEPER

Author: Amber R. Duell

Pub. Date: January 29, 2019

Publisher: The Parliament House

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 288

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N

The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.

Loie’s Review

Wow. This book completely surprised me. I think when I saw the cover, I was expecting something romantic and dark. But wow, there were parts of this book that were scary! I had my Jack Russell Terrier nearby while I read, haha.

Amber has a fantastic way of drawing out the suspense and writing cinematically. You can see the scene unfolding in your head. For some of these scenes, they were downright frightening. Many times my mouth dropped open as I read this story. There were twists and turns I hadn’t seen coming. If you like suspense and a bit of horror, this story is for you.

Also, can we talk about the Sandman for a moment? He is everything I want in a hero – he listens to Nora and doesn’t try and tell her what to do. He is romantic and clever. I just loved his character.

I felt so much for Nora. I felt bad for her as she grew up, that her family thought she was off her rocker. I felt bad that she suffered so much. She is a plucky character and has a quiet strength about her that I loved.

I’m not going to say anything about the ending except this: THAT ENDING?! Wow. Amber wrote an amazing story filled with three-dimensional characters. I cannot wait until the sequel.

This was everything I wanted in a story. I couldn’t put it down. The pacing is so good! 5 Stars.

Enjoy ❤

 

Amber

About Amber:

Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. Before becoming published, she had a wide range of occupations including banking, bartending (though she’s never tried alcohol), and phlebotomy (though she faints with needles). She also volunteered as a re-enactor at the local Revolutionary War fort and worked near shelter cats which led to her previous crazy cat lady status.

She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.

When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, snuggling with her cat, and staying up way too late to research genealogy. She loves to travel and has visited more countries than states. Kissing the Blarney Stone and hand-feeding monkeys in the mountains of France will be hard to beat, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the next real-life adventure.

Website  | Twitter  | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest |  Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Week One:

10/22/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

10/23/2018- A Court of Coffee and Books– Review

10/24/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Excerpt

10/25/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt

10/26/2018- Loie Dunn– Review

Week Two:

10/29/2018- MetalPhantasmReads– Review

10/30/2018- Falling For YA– Excerpt

10/31/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

11/1/2018- Am Kinda Busy Reading– Review

11/2/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review