NIGHT OF THE DRAGON by Julie Kagawa – Blog Tour

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All is lost.

To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

Excerpted from Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa. © 2020 by Julie Kagawa, used with permission by Inkyard Press.

 

One thousand years ago

 

In the long years of his existence, the number of times he had been summoned from Jigoku could be counted on one claw.

 

Other demon lords had been summoned before. Yaburama. Akumu. The oni lords were too powerful not to have some en-terprising blood mage attempt a contract with them, though such rituals often ended badly for the arrogant human who thought they could enslave an oni lord. The four of them were, admit-tedly, a proud bunch, and did not take kindly to an insignificant mortal attempting to bend them to their will. They humored the blood mage long enough to hear what the human was offering, and if it did not interest them, or if the mage foolishly tried to assert dominance, they would rip him apart and do what they pleased in the mortal realm until they were sent back to Jigoku.

It had always amused Hakaimono when a mortal tried to summon him. Especially that moment when they gazed upon him for the first time and fully realized what they had done.

 

Narrowing his eyes, he gazed around, peering through smoke and ignoring the brief feeling of vertigo that always accompanied being dragged from Jigoku into the mortal realm. A growl of murderous annoyance rumbled in his throat. Already, he was not in the best of moods. Akumu had been scheming again, trying to weaken Hakaimono’s forces behind his back, and he had been on his way to deal with the devious Third General when black fire had erupted over his skin, words of blood magic echoing in his head as he abruptly found himself in the mortal realm. Now he stood in the center of a ruin, broken walls and shattered pillars surrounding him, the scent of death thick on the air, and contemplated squeezing the head of the mage responsible until it popped like an egg in his claws.

 

The stones under his feet were sticky and had a sweet, coppery smell he recognized instantly. Lines of blood had been painted over the ground in a familiar circle, with words and sigils of power woven in a complex pattern. A summoning circle, and a powerful one at that. Whomever the blood mage was, they had done their research. Though it wouldn’t save them in the end.

 

“Hakaimono.”

 

The First Oni looked down. A woman stood at the edge of the blood circle, black robes and long hair seeming to blend into the shadows. She clutched a knife in slender fingers, her pale arm covered in red to the elbow.

 

A chuckle escaped him. “Well, don’t I feel important,” he said, crouching down to better see the woman. She gazed coolly back. “Summoned by the immortal shadow herself. I am curious, however.” He raised a talon, watching the human over curved black claws the length of her arm. “If you rip off an immortal’s head, do you think it will die?”

 

“You will not kill me, First Oni.” The woman’s voice was neither amused nor afraid, though the certainty in it made him smirk. “I am not so foolish as to attempt a binding, nor will I ask much of you. I have but a single request, and after that, you are free to do what you like.”

 

“Oh?” Hakaimono chuckled, but admittedly, he was curi-ous. Only the very desperate, foolish or powerful called on one of the four oni generals, and only for the most ambitious of re-quests. Like destroying a castle, or wiping out an entire gen-eration. The risk was too great for anything less. “Let’s hear it then, human,” he prompted. “What is this one task you would have me undertake?”

 

“I need you to bring me the Dragon scroll.”

 

Hakaimono sighed. Of course. He had forgotten it was that time again in the mortal world. When the great scaly one him-self would rise to grant a wish to an insignificant, short-lived human. “You disappoint me, mortal,” he growled. “I am not a hound that fetches upon command. You could have gotten the amanjaku to retrieve the scroll for you, or one of your own human warrior pets. I have been called on to slaughter armies and tear strongholds to dust. Fetching the Dragon’s Prayer is not worth my time.”

 

“This is different.” The woman’s voice was as unruffled as ever. If she knew she was in danger of being ripped apart and devoured by an annoyed First Oni, she did not show it. “I have already sent my strongest champion to retrieve the scroll, but I fear he has betrayed me. He wants the power of the Dragon scroll for himself, and I cannot let the Wish slip away now. You must find him and take back the scroll.”

 

“One human?” Hakaimono curled a lip. “Not much of a challenge.”

 

“You do not know Kage Hirotaka,” the woman said quietly. “He is the greatest warrior the Empire of Iwagoto has seen in a thousand years. He is kami-touched, but also trained in the way of the samurai. His talents with both blade and magic are so great, the emperor himself praised his achievements. He has killed men, yokai and demons in waves, and will be perhaps the single greatest opponent you have ever faced, Hakaimono.” “I very seriously doubt that.” The First Oni felt a smirk cross his face as he breathed in the blood-scented air. “But now, I’m intrigued. Let’s see if this champion of shadow is as good as you say. Where can I find this demonslaying human?” “Hirotaka’s estate lies outside a village called Koyama, ten miles from the eastern border of Kage territory,” the woman re-plied. “It’s not hard to find, but it is rather isolated. Aside from Hirotaka’s men and servants, you won’t be opposed. Find Hi-rotaka, kill him and bring the scroll to me. Oh, and one more thing.” She raised the knife, observing the bloody, glittering edge. “I cannot have anyone suspecting me of blood magic. Not now, when the night of the Wish is so close.” Her black eyes rose to his, narrowing sharply. “There can be no witnesses, Hakaimono. No survivors. Kill everyone there.”

 

“I can do that.” A slow grin spread across the oni’s face, and his eyes gleamed red with bloodlust. “This will be fun.”

 

He would come to regret those words more than any other in his existence.

Q&A with Julie Kagawa

Q: What were your biggest influences when creating this world in story, whether they be legends, folklore, anime, manga or other novels?

A:  Anime, Manga and video games have been my biggest influences when writing the world of Shadow of the Fox, but also the works of Akira Kurosawa like The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Rashomon.   

 

Q: Would you ever consider using this world and/or some of the characters in future stories that you write?

A:  I love Japanese legends and folklore, so I might very well return to this world someday.  Maybe not through the eyes of a kitsune, but there is always the possibility of future books set in the land of Iwagoto.  

 

Q: Did Night of the Dragon have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: I listen to a lot of movie and anime soundtracks while writing, but nothing specific.  

 

Q: What was the hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?

A:  The hardest scene was the last battle with the Final Boss at the end.  Without giving away spoilers, there was a lot of kitsune magic, illusion and misdirection, and trying to show everything that was going on without making it too confusing was a challenge.  I don’t remember an easy scene to write, but I did enjoy writing one of the final chapters (where I hope everyone cries).  

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)

A: There are a few references that only those very familiar with Japanese folklore would get.  For example, the names of the Reika’s two dogs, Chu and Ko, come from a Japanese novel called The Eight Dog Chronicles, which has been adapted into manga, anime, and even video games.  In Soul of the Sword, Yumeko and her friends are on their way to the home of the tengu, when they encounter a pair of magical stone guardians called Yoshitsune and Benkei, two real life historical figures that inspired countless legends and stories.  In folklore, Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a near mythical swordsman who had been trained by the king of the tengu, and Benki was a warrior monk who was his stalwart companion. 

 

Q: What do you hope people remember about Night of the Dragon?

A: I hope people come away with a new appreciation of Japanese myth and folklore, particularly all the wonderfully bizarre yokai, yurei and bakemono that populate these stories.  From kitsune and tanuki to oni and kirin, I hope it inspires readers to learn more about the world of Japanese myth and legend. And I hope people remember how much they cried at the end of the story. 

 

Q: What is your dream cast for Night of the Dragon?

A:  I am so bad at this question.  I really can’t answer it because one: I am terrible at keeping up with current actors/actresses.  And two: I see everyone in Shadow of the Fox as anime characters.

 

Q: Is there a character that you found challenging to write? Why?

 

A:  Taiyo Daisuke was probably the most challenging, because it was a balancing act of making him a noble and making him likable.  Nobles in fantasy stories tend to be arrogant, snooty, mocking, and manipulatieve. More often than not they are the villains, or at least an unpleasant obstacle the heroes must get around.  Daisuke was very clearly an aristocrat, so I made very certain to give him qualities atypical of a noble. Kindness, humility, and viewing everyone, even the ronin, as an equal was certainly not the mindset of a typical samurai, but it was necessary to make Daisuke a well loved member of the team and not a person the reader, and the other characters, hated.   

 

Q: How does a typical writing day look like for you?

 

A: I work from home, so times vary, but I try to head into my office and start writing around 9am everyday.  I have a quota of 1,000 words a day, except when I’m close to deadline, then the word count jumps by a few hundred words.  Sometimes I reach my quota in a few hours, sometimes it takes me all day, but I try not to stop writing until my word quota is reached.

Q: What is your current read?

 

A: At the moment, the words on my computer screen, lol.  Its deadline crunch time, so my current WIP is the only thing I have time for now. Hopefully I can get back to pleasure reading when I’m finished.

 

Q: What part of the Shadow of the Fox series was the most fun to write?

 

A: I really enjoyed writing the parts with Yumeko’s kitsune illusion magic.  One of my favorite scenes was when Yumeko and the others attended a formal tea ceremony with a snooty noble of the Shadow Clan.  I won’t give away spoilers, but what Yumeko does at the tea ceremony still makes me smile, and remains one of my favorite parts of the series.

 

Q: Was there a scene or backstory about a favorite character that didn’t make it into the final version of NIGHT OF THE DRAGON that you can share with us?

 

A: There was an earlier draft where Taka, Lord Seigetsu’s servant, was a human boy instead of a small, one-eyed yokai who could see the future.  But it seemed more interesting to have him be a yokai instead. Also in an earlier draft, Yumeko was not a half kitsune but a full fox who lived in a den with her grandmother fox and two brothers.  That also, got cut, as a half-human Yumeko was more sympathetic and relatable than one who was full kitsune.

 

Q: The Iron Fey series was your first large published success. How did you feel as a writer when you reflect upon those books? How did/do you feel as a reader when you read or re-read those books?

 

A: The Iron Fey series holds a very special place in my heart as my first published series. I know I’ve grown since then, and when I re-read the Iron Fey I know I’ve come a long way as an author. But I also know that I wrote the best books I could at the time, so even though I wouldn’t write them the same way now, I’m happy with them.

 

Q: What is it about fantasy that draws you to it?

 

A: Is everything a good answer? I love myths and legends, other worlds, magic, swords, wizards, dragons, evil gods, epic quests, and the battle between good and evil.  I read to escape, but also to travel to far away places and encounter creatures and beings I would never meet in real life. Who hasn’t daydreamed about flying on the back of a dragon?  I read fantasy for the same reason.  

 

Q: How much research goes into your books and at what point do you stop using research and build off it?

 

A: It depends on how much I already know about certain aspects of the book.  For example, from the amount of anime and manga I’d consumed over the years, I knew a lot about kitsune, oni, tanuki, and various other Japanese monsters.  I still did a fair amount of research, though it was more about the samurai and the Sengoku Jidai, the era I was basing the book off of. I never really stop researching, though most of it goes into book one, which is where much of the world building takes place.

 

Q: Would you ever write adult fantasy? If so, what would it look like?

 

A: I certainly have considered it, though it would look a lot like my YA books, just with older protagonists.   When I write, I don’t think “This is for teens,” I just write how I would always write. Really, the only thing that differentiates YA from adult is the age of the heroes and the lack of graphic sex in YA.  And even that is changing.

 

Q: Finally, out of all the books you have written, which has your favorite world and why?

 

A:  Probably the Iron Fey series, though Shadow of the Fox is a close second.  I love fantasy and all the fantastic creatures that populate it, so the Nevernever is my favorite world for that alone.  Even though I wouldn’t last a day there without getting eaten by an ogre, a redcap or a kelpie. Maybe if I could find a big gray cat…    

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Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, Talon, and Shadow of the Fox series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.

Julie now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two obnoxious cats, and a pair of Australian Shepherds that have more Instagram followers than she does.

Visit Julie’s website , Goodreads, or Facebook page.

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Pick up your copy here:

Amazon

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IndieBound

Books-A-Million

AppleBooks

Google Play

 

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – Blog Tour and Q&A

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The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

Author Q&A

I would like to welcome amazing YA fantasy debut, Kelly Coon to my blog. I’m on her street team, the Skeleton Crew ❤ She answered some of my questions about her inspiration behind Gravemaidens, her writing process, and more. Let’s get started 🙂

Loie: Did Gravemaidens change a lot from the first to final draft? 

 

Kelly: What a good question! As a matter of fact, it DID. I’d say the finished hardcover is close to the 35th draft of this story. I dropped a POV character—the Boatman—and rewrote nearly every single scene from the book. It was a massive undertaking! 

 

Loie: When you’re brainstorming a new project, what do you start working on first? Do you like to research, think about the plot, or work on your characters? 

 

Kelly: I tend to start with my characters, because until I know who they are, I can’t know the plot. The decisions they make in their character arc will change the course of the plot, so I have to nail down what they want, what they need, the ghosts in their past, and the truth that they need to hear. I also need to know things like how they solve problems, how they view the world (because that impacts their voice), who they have conflicts with, and their values.   

 

Loie: Can you give us a hint at what you’re working on right now 🙂 ? 

 

Kelly: Yes! I just finished the last round of developmental edits on the GRAVEMAIDENS sequel (I cannot wait until I get to introduce you to some of the new characters) and am working on a contemporary stand-alone with speculative elements. It’s a daunting book, because one POV is written in verse and another POV is written in prose. =)

 

Loie: When were you first inspired to write Kammani’s story? 

Kelly: I wrote two completely different novels set in versions of Kammani’s world from 2013-2015, but the characters and plots did not work at all. I hadn’t yet gotten to the heart of the story she should be in. So, I scrapped those two novels completely and started over from scratch in 2016 with new characters, a new premise, and a whole new world. I queried it in early 2017 and got my agent, Kari Sutherland, who is amazing, in April of 2017, just a couple of weeks after she read it. =)

 

Loie: When you’re writing, do you need complete silence or do you listen to music?

 

Kelly: I actually listen to white noise for the most part. I’ve written six novels (and much of a seventh) with white noise, but the poetry I’m writing for my WIP has been written to loud, screaming, pulsing music. Haha

 

Loie: What was your favorite part about writing Gravemaidens? 

 

Kelly: There’s one scene near the end of the story where I felt myself let loose. Like I untied all my strings and allowed my imagination to take me wherever it wanted to go, plot outline be damned. This scene is still one of my favorite scenes in the whole book because it’s imaginative and weird and exactly the right fit for that part of the story. 

 

Sometimes writing this book was an absolute struggle, but other times—like that night—it was magic. 

 

Thank you a million times, Loie! These questions were amazing! =)

Loie: Thank you so much for answering all of my questions 🙂 If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of Gravemaidens, you can find it here. It releases next Tuesday, October 29th. I’m anxiously awaiting for my own copy to arrive in the mail! 

Until next time,

Loie xo

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POWER OF FIVE Rockstar Blog Tour

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About the Series:

Title: LERA OF LUNOS (Power of Five #4)

Author: Alex Lidell

Pub. Date: January 4, 2019

Publisher: Danger Bearing Press

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 192

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

Read For FREE With Kindle Unlimited!

Two immortal realms on brink of war. One mortal standing in their way.

With the quint squaring off against the king of Slait, Lera is running out of time to tame her feral magic. Worse still, just when the quint must weave together to survive, demons from Tye’s past surface to tear them apart. Demons he fears facing, let alone sharing with Lera.

But when Griorgi makes a move that no one expects, throwing River, Shade, and Coal’s lives into question, the clock runs out. Lera and Tye have no choice but to fight their battles within—or risk losing Lunos and their quint forever.

LERA OF LUNOS is a full-length reverse-harem fantasy novel, the stunning finale to the Amazon-bestselling, KU-All Star POWER OF FIVE series.

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Title: TRIAL OF THREE (Power of Five #3)

Author: Alex Lidell

Pub. Date: September 26, 2018

Publisher: Danger Bearing Press

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 192

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

Read For FREE With Kindle Unlimited!

Four cords of power. Three trials. Two soul-crushing secrets. 
For Lera, training has never been so hard. With the males’ power roaring in her veins and River’s cold demand that she master the magic before the third trial, something has to give. Worse still, River is keeping something from her. Something about his past and Lunos’s future.
For River and Coal, the past must stay buried. Though one male’s nightmare sits on a throne and the other’s hides in his soul, they are equally unprepared for Lera’s startling determination to undress the truth.
But when Mors’s Emperor Jawrar makes a play for Lunos, neither Lera’s fledgling magic nor the males’ old wounds can remain untouched—not if their world is to survive.
TRIAL OF THREE is a full-length reverse-harem fantasy novel, third in the Amazon bestselling, KU-All Star POWER OF FIVE series. 

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Title: MISTAKE OF MAGIC (Power Of Five #2)

Author: Alex Lidell

Pub. Date: June 29, 2018

Publisher: Danger Bearing Press

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 193

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, TBD

 

FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!!!

 

Three trials stand between Lera and exile. Unless the training kills her first.
Quint magic has never chosen a human before, and the Elders Council is convinced Lera is a mistake.
When the quint refuses to be cleaved apart, the enraged elders give them a choice: exile from Lunos or demotion to the lowest of trainees. Subject again to the humiliations and deadly trials they endured centuries ago, the males now face a new challenge—training Lera to survive.
River, Shade, Coal, and Tye will do whatever it takes to keep Lera safe. But Lera will do whatever she must to keep them together—even if it means putting herself in mortal danger.

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READ POWER OF FIVE FOR FREE JANUARY 4TH-8TH!

Title: POWER OF FIVE

Author: Alex Lidell

Pub. Date: May 4, 2018

Publisher: Danger Bearing Press

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 312

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, TBD

 

FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!!!

 

Four elite fae warriors. One mortal female. A magical bond they can’t allow—or resist. 
Orphaned and sold to a harsh master, Lera’s life is about mucking stalls, avoiding her master’s advances, and steering clear of the mystical forest separating the mortal and fae worlds. Only fools venture into the immortal realms, and only dark rumors come out… Until four powerful fae warriors appear at Lera’s barn.
River, Coal, Tye, and Shade have waited a decade for their new fifth to be chosen, the wounds from their quint brother’s loss still raw. But the magic has played a cruel trick, bonding the four immortal warriors to… a female. A mortal female.
Distractingly beautiful and dangerously frail, Lera can only be one thing—a mistake. Yet as the males bring Lera back to the fae lands to sever the bond, they discover that she holds more power over their souls than is safe for anyone… especially for Lera herself.

REVIEW

Hi there! This is the first novel I’ve read by Alex Lidell. I found the story enjoyable, and definitely had me turning the pages. Lera is a likeable character who you feel for at the beginning of the story. She’s had a difficult life from the get go, having been a slave to a cruel owner.

The group of four fae have been looking for their fifth member. Another warrior fae. Yet, the magic tricks them and chooses Lera, a mortal young woman.

The story follows their journey back to the elder council. They want to sever the bond, or so they think.

It’s entertaining, romantic, and fun. I give it a 4/5 ✨

 
Power of Five is a full-length reverse-harem fantasy novel. 

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About Alex:

Alex Lidell is the Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books. Alex is represented by Leigh Feldman of Leigh Feldman Literary. She lives in Washington, DC.

Join Alex’s newsletter for news, bonus content and sneak peeks: www.subscribepage.com/TIDES

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Book Bub | Instagram

 

Giveaway Details:

 

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon GC International.

1 winner will receive a POWER OF FIVE Journal, US Only.

1 winner will receive the complete POWER OF FIVE series in eBooks, International.


Rafflecopter link:

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2875/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/4/2019- Under the Book Cover– Review-Power of Five

1/4/2019- Writer of Wrongs– Excerpt- Power of Five

 

Week Two:

1/7/2019- Loie Dunn– Review-Power of Five

1/7/2019- Texan Holly Reads– Excerpt- Power of Five

 

1/8/2019- BookHounds– Excerpt- Power of Five 

1/8/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt- Power of Five  

 

1/9/2019- Good Choice Reading– Excerpt-Power of Five

1/9/2019- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Excerpt- Lera of Lunos

 

1/10/2019- A Gingerly Review– Review-Power of Five

 

1/11/2019- Burgandy Ice– Excerpt- Lera of Lunos

 

Week Three:

1/14/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Review- Complete Series

1/14/2019- Books a Plenty Book Reviews– Review- Complete Series

 

1/15/2019- Reese’s Reviews– Review- Complete Series

1/15/2019- Parajunkee– Excerpt- Lera of Lunos

 

1/16/2019- Book-Keeping– Review- Complete Series

1/16/2019- Jaime’s World– Excerpt- Lera of Lunos

 

1/17/2019- Bookbriefs– Review- Complete Series

1/17/2019- Abooktropolis– Review- Power of Five or Complete Series

 

1/18/2019- Love in a time of Feminism– Review- Complete Series

1/18/2019- Eli to the nth– Review- Power of Five or Complete Series

 

On the 3rd Day of Writing: Enchanted Conversation Magazine

December 3rd

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re having a good week so far ✨❄️

Here is a fun place to submit: Enchanted Conversation Magazine.

Are you able to tell a myth, fairy tale, folktale in 100-500 words? Check out some examples:

Beerwood Stew – 364 Words – READ HERE 
Stepsister – 214 Words – READ HERE 
Beloved – 178 Words – READ HERE
Email submissions to EnchantedCSubmissions@gmail.com
The subject line of the email should be: FAIRY TALE FLASH – your last name – title of your work. Example: FAIRY TALE FLASH – Dunn – “Your Title”
Write a short cover letter with the approximate word count of the story. Pen a brief author’s bio written in third person and up to three links to your personal website or social media accounts. Don’t summarize your story in the cover letter. 
Include a Paypal address.
Paste your submission in the body of your email.
Single spacing. No indents on paragraphs. Double space between paragraphs. Use Arial as the font. Try to use American English word forms and punctuation.
Have fun with this submission! One of my stories was accepted through Enchanted Conversation. Check it out here!
What story will you write for this submission? I would love to hear below 🙂
Until next time,
Loie xo

On the 2nd Day of Writing: Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

December 2nd

Here is a fun place to submit! ❄️✨

Submission Tips

MC that is age 8-12.

-A diverse cast of characters.

-Fun to read and encourages love of science fiction.

-Adventures in space with robots, rockets, or alien encounters.

-Steampunk, weird west, and time travel are fine.

-Word Count should be between 3,000-6,000 words.

-Science fiction, not fantasy.

Particularly Looking For:

-Adventures!

-A MC from an underrepresented population.

-MC has agency and isn’t just along for the adventure.

Don’t Write:

-Stories about female characters who need rescuing or are a prize.

-Stories where the subplot or main plot is romantic in nature.

-Graphic violence or swearing.

Submission Deadline

-December 15, 2018, with a reading period of January and February 2019.

-Don’t put identifying information on your manuscript.

Have Fun

I hope you guys enjoy this submission opportunity 🙂

I think I’m going to write about a robotic dog named Mag, of course inspired by my 16-year-old Jack Russell Terrier 😉🐕

What will you write about? Find out more, here!

Until next time,

Loie xo

All That We See or Seem by Kristina Mahr Blog Tour

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All That We See or Seem by Kristina Mahr

YA Fantasy

Releases May 15th, 2018 by Uncommon Universes Press

Every night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.

By day she is a lady of Acarsaid’s royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars. 

Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.

Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what’s real. Until night and day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.

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Hi everyone!
 I would like to welcome author Kristina Mahr to the blog. Her YA fantasy, All That We See or Seem releases tomorrow. I had the privilege of getting to read an ARC of her wonderful and fantastical book that I highly recommend. Isn’t that cover beautiful?! She has graciously answered a few questions I asked her 🙂
Interview Q&A 
1) If you had a recurring dream for years, what would you hope to dream about?
 *
That’s so tricky! I love the randomness and unpredictability of dreams. If I was stuck with just one… well, it’d better be a happy one. With puppies. And love. And summertime. Oh, and flying! All of the best dreams involve flying.
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2) What was the inspiration behind the world and characters of All That We See or Seem?
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The biggest inspiration was a dream my sister had four years ago, about a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in her dreams. That’s definitely the nucleus of the story. The first scene that popped into my mind was of a girl, running through dark streets in her nightgown. Everything was kind of built around that. I started asking all of the obvious questions: why a nightgown? (Set in the 1800s.) Why is she running? (Monsters.) What does this boy think the first time he sees her? (Insane asylum escapee.) All of the pieces piled into place until it became this story.
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3) Do you have an tips for aspiring writers who hope to be published?
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It’s probably the most common advice, but it’s the most true: keep writing. It doesn’t have to be every day. It doesn’t have to be in novel form. But play with words, in some way, as often as you can. Turn off the radio sometimes while you’re driving and turn your story over in your mind. Write short stories. Write poetry. Read. Read some more. Surround yourself with fellow writers to bounce ideas off of and lift you up when your story is fighting you tooth and nail. Don’t give up. Even if the middle gets messy. It’s what middles do. Power through. Writers are lucky to have this dream, because so much of it is within our own hands. We can write the best story we know how to write. Getting published is a lot of luck and timing, but if you write the best book you can… at least you can feel content in having done everything you could do.
 *
4) What has been your favorite part of your writing journey thus far?
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I think the best moment so far has been the cover reveal. It’s so beautiful and so representative of the story. I feel very lucky to have it as the face of my words. And then the fact that that’s my name on it, and the title I always wanted for this book… it really drove home the fact that this is a real thing that’s happening.
*
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Kristina Mahr devotes her days to numbers and her nights to words. She works full-time as an accountant in the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her two dogs and two cats, but her true passion is writing. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and waking up at the crack of dawn every weekend to watch the Premier League.

Here are the links if you are interested in buying her book! Thank you for your time Kristina and thank you Uncommon Universes Press for the advanced reader copy.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

Goodreads

I would love to hear what you think in the comments below 🙂

Until next time,

Loie xo

Writing is re-writing

May 2nd, 2018

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Good afternoon all!

Some of you may have heard this phrase before: writing is re-writing. A lot of the time, we look at the finished book in our hands and don’t realize the amount of drafts it took to get to the final copy. As a reader, I certainly didn’t know much about the process of writing a book.

When I first began writing more seriously in 2012, I was a newbie and didn’t know much about drafting and revising. I finished my first complete novel during NanoWrimo that fall and then in January took a look at the manuscript. It was awful. There were plot holes and two dimensional characters and hardly any description. The bits I did like I saved and then decided a re-write was in order. That was when I began researching how to re-write and revise.

Marissa Meyer has a great series about how she brings her story idea to a complete novel. She outlines what she does in each stage from brainstorming, research, first, second, third drafts, etc. I found that to be quite helpful when tackling my own first re-write.

Presently: the continual learning curve 

I received feedback on my current fantasy WIP, THE LOST SAGES (formally titled EVREN) and am working on it now. There was so much helpful feedback that I’ve created a TO DO list and am tackling each one separately. Even though it feels like I have to climb a mountain, I know in my heart of hearts that I will be so proud of this book when I’m done.

The thing I am realizing too is, this book is one of the first projects I’ve taken on and I am learning SO much. I am receiving insight into myself as a writer and where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I am learning a lot about grammar and proper punctuation and the age old, show don’t tell rule as well as the infamous info dumping in fantasy novels 🙂 It is all good and encouraging. I know this is the path I need to take to grow as a writer. I want to feel confident in my ability to pen a story and have the proper tools in my toolbox, as Stephen King explains craft.

I am at the point in my writing career where I can sense a few things coming down the road. I want to write stories I am proud of and that have heart in them. I want people to to resonate with them and perhaps see themselves in the characters. I also want to write the best story possible. I don’t want to settle.

This week I have been thinking a lot about creativity and projects we take on. Sometimes if we take on too much, our writing suffers because of it. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been able to focus as much and find it hard to return and work on THE LOST SAGES. I sat down and wrote in my journal, trying to discern what was keeping me distracted. Too many projects on the go. I needed to narrow my focus and so I have. Now, I set myself a reachable goal for each week and hope to have this latest draft done by June.

What are you all working on? How many drafts do you write? I would love to hear below.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Trust the process

April 7th, 2018 7:09 pm

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Hey guys!

I decided to participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month. If you can tell from the title, yes, you attempt to write a novel in ONE month 🙂 I decided to take a break from EVREN and KING BLUEBEARD, while they are with beta readers and editors, and instead write a new story about dragons and a young woman who has been imprisoned in a tower for the majority of her life. So far, I have about 10,000 words, and am enjoying this process. I am completely pantsing the project, meaning, I have no outline or previous brainstorming for it. I am literally opening the document and writing what comes in my head at the time.

I thought today I would talk a little bit about trusting the process. Trusting the process of drafting a new novel, brainstorming a new novel, or editing said novel, whatever spot you are at in this journey.

Trust 

Before I began pantsing this project, I’ll be honest, I was nervous. What if I couldn’t come up with characters that readers would follow for a novel? What if I just stared and nothing came together? What if the plot did a face plant?

I am happy to report that as I’ve begun drafting, the characters and world have revealed themselves to me. There have been parts where they have surprised me and made me laugh. This for me, is part of the joy of writing, when you are surprised by your own characters. It feels so magical.

However, if there is a part where you get stuck, there are some things you can do to unstick yourself 😉

-With a notepad and pen just scribble scene ideas down and circle some of your favorites to pen later

-Go for a walk or hike in nature and try to give your brain a chance to float and be quiet. Sometimes my best ideas pop up during these times.

-Research! Research often sparks plenty of ideas for me that gets me rolling again

Writing freely

Many better writers before me have spoken about this but they really recommend that the first draft of anything, to try and write freely without having that inner editor speaking too loudly in the background. The first draft tends to help you get a feel for your characters, world, and plot, but it does not have to be perfect! Try and silence that inner editor and write this draft for fun. That’s what I have been doing and its a liberating experience. I know oftentimes in rewriting and revising, that the magic occurs. That is where I can fix sentences and deepen character motivations, fix the plot and subplots if there are any gaping holes.

So, enjoy writing! Trust yourself that you can finish this draft. Give yourself permission to write a messy first draft, but have fun while doing so! Another note, everyone’s process is different. This is what works for me. 🙂 What may work for me, might not for you. I just hope you feel encouraged and excited with whatever you are working on.

What are you working on at the moment?

Until next time,

Loie xo

Oh February, where did you go?

February 26th, 2018 10:44 am

Hey all!

How are you making out? I’m in the country in northern New Brunswick and it is sooo beautiful. Last night we had a bit of a snow fall. From where I am writing, I can look out and see a beautiful old church against a backdrop of a frozen muddy river. Lovely place.

Debut YA Fantasy novels I read this month:

 

 

 

 

Everless’s premise by Sara Holland was intriguing. The story is set in a world where time is currency. They extract it from a person’s blood, bind it to iron, and consume it by dropping the coin in their tea to add time to their life.

I loved the characters and it was quite fast-paced. This was the first novel in a long time that I couldn’t put down. I stayed up quite late one night to finish it. Can’t wait for the sequel.

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross is so beautifully written. It is slower paced than some YA novels but I am enjoying it so much. I have about twenty pages to go. I could finish it in one sitting but I don’t want it to be over! It’s an epic fantasy and it involves overthrowing a plot of an evil King. The MC, Brienna, is lovely.

February progress

This month was fairly good for writing. I entered a competition called #KissPitch and had a few likes on my fantasy, EVREN and fairy-tale retelling, KING BLUEBEARD.  Competitions are always exciting because they give you the push to  create and polish the pitch of your story (About two-three sentences long).

I began walking daily for thirty minutes to help with my achy back I had from sitting for hours on end while writing. That has definitely helped. Still haven’t completed my healthy meal-prep. But there is March for that 😉

I created a revision plan for KING BLUEBEARD and hope to have the completed second draft complete by mid-March for when my critique partner and I swap our works-in-progress ❤ #cpsoulmates

EVREN is pretty well there. Now it is fine tuning the language and working out some of the scene pacing. I do want to overhaul the ending, there’s that 🙂 I am going to brainstorm how to later on this afternoon.

Music

I have discovered an amazing soundtrack to write to :

So epic. So beautiful. I love this soundtrack and listen to it on repeat while daydreaming and brainstorming.

My friend Rebecca has also sent me some good tunes. This is one in particular I love :

March goals

1) Re-write ending of EVREN

2) Complete second draft of KING BLUEBEARD

-Re-write at least four scenes a day 

-Examine character arcs, setting details, and plot 

3) Continue to walk everyday for thirty minutes

4) Submit manuscript to SCBWI WIP competition

5) Partake in #PitMad on March 8th, 2018. More details here:

#PitMad

6) Submit #1st5Pages to the First Five Pages Writing Workshop on March 3rd, 2018 :

http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com/

7) Create sea glass art 🙂

8) Finish sewing a bag – pictures to come 😉

9) Meal prep for at least one week

10) Brainstorm new projects

11) Send in my first 250 words to the Secret Agent Contest on March 5th, 2018. Enter here:

https://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.ca/2018/02/march-secret-agent-early-info.html

Happy end of the month, everyone!

What did you accomplish this past month? Did you do anything new and fun? My boyfriend and I went to a board game cafe which was amaaaazing. We got to meet new people from the city and compete in a tournament. Us newbies got second place that night!

Is there anything you want to accomplish in March? Let me know in the comments ❤

Until next time,

Loie xo

Revisions and networking

December 27th, 2017 – 3:06 pm

Good afternoon everyone!

I hope you had a nice Christmas season. It’s hard to believe it has already passed. Christmas always seems to pass by in a flurry of presents, food, family, and lack of sleep, haha.

Update on Jaden – he is still hanging in there. Please keep praying for the restoration of his health and for his family.

Revisions

I completed my second draft of Evren about a week ago now. I have been letting it sit and have turned my attention to watching movies (Arrival, Silence, The Pianist, Christmas Vacation – to name a few) and reading books (Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, On Writing by Stephen King, and The Young Elites by Marie Lu). I have spent time with my family and my boyfriend and went for walks. It has been a time of recharging my creative batteries and letting my mind rest.

Now, back at it 😉

My plan for revisions are as follows:

  1. Re-read Evren in one sitting

-Make an updated scene list (a two-three sentence summary of every scene in the book).

-Make a list of big and small changes that I will need to make in draft three.

-Make notes on characterization additions and plot holes that need to be fixed.

  2. Create a daily to-do list for revisions

-Decide what scenes need to be scrapped, re-written, or revised.

-Begin to implement big and small changes in scenes and make notes in scene list of where the changes happen.

-Do the same with characterization and plot holes in the scene list.

As you can tell, a scene list is a powerful tool. It allows – at a glance –  you to see where your story is going. I can usually fit all my scenes on two pages. I then cut the page up so I can spread the individual scenes out on the floor and move them around if I need to.

Networking

For Christmas, my Mum bought me a membership to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

This is a society where I can meet other writers, post up chapters or query letters to get critiqued, learn about future conferences to attend, and more. I think it will be quite helpful in my journey as a writer. I’ve already posted on some of the forums 🙂

Writing is a solitary occupation. It is fun to reach out to other young adult writers and make connections with them. You can also grow as a writer if you join a critique group or look for a beta reader.

I have finally sent out the first chapter of Evren to two critique partners of mine. Eep! It’s the only way to improve.

That’s it for now, friends.

Until next time,

Loie xo