‘a royal masquerade’ blog tour: interview with author Allison Tebo!

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I had the privilege of reading Allison Tebo’s charming novella The Reluctant Godfather earlier this year (check out my Goodreads review here) and now with the release of the newest book in her Tales of Ambia series – A Royal Masquerade – I was fortunate enough to interview her! The blog tour is still going, by the way. Check out the previous tour post at I’m Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read) and be sure to keep an eye out for the next post over at The Road of a Writer.

So, before we hop into the interview, let me share a little more about Allison Tebo, her new book, the blog tour…and a cool giveaway! 🙂

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Allison Tebo is a Christian author in her mid-twenties. A sales associate for a major transportation company, she writes books in her spare time. A graduate of London Art College, Allison also pursues children’s illustration and cartooning. When she is not creating art with words or paint, she enjoys narration, singing, quilting, and, naturally, baking. Allison blogs at www.allisonswell.com about the love of Christ, the joys of living, occasionally, all about the wonder of gifs.

You can find her online in a bunch of places!

Website: http://allisonteboauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allisonteboauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllisonTebo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192992.Allison_Tebo

And now for the book, A Royal Masquerade

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Burndee can barely tolerate the mischievous Prince Colin, but the two of them are invariably thrown together in a way that keeps them at one another’s throats.

While attending a noblewoman’s wedding, Burndee and Colin’s private feud comes to a climax when Burndee loses his temper and does the unthinkable. With Prince Colin unable to attend to his royal duties and Burndee bound by an inconvenient spell, can the two of them work together long enough to unsnarl the mysterious goings-on around them?

A madcap and magical retelling of The Goose Girl from a unique perspective.

It sounds sooooo good. I haven’t read A Royal Masquerade yet, but I’m sure I’ll adore it. You can find the book on Goodreads and Amazon – make sure you pick up a copy ASAP to add even more fun to your holidays.

I also mentioned something about a giveaway, didn’t I? Well, it’s an awesome one!

Don’t the prizes look amazing? You can enter the giveaway here. Due to the price of shipping, Allison regrets that the first prize is not open internationally. However, the second prize is and if someone living internationally draws the first prize, they will automatically win the 2nd prize!

And nowwwwww, ladies and gentlemen…it is time for my interview with the one and only Allison Tebo!

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Welcome to the blog, Allison! To start things off, I’d love to talk about your writing routines (it is NaNoWriMo after all). What does a typical writing day look like for you? (One in which there are no interruptions or other unexpected happenstances.)

Pretty simple, actually. I try to write at least two hours a day at a specific time. From 2:30 to 5:00, my brain has been programmed to write. Cultivating this habit is really helpful in developing dedication and keeps you from being held captive to the fickleness of inspiration.

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Aside from that specific block of time—that’s about it. I try to just draft in the afternoons. I’m working on developing the habit of occasionally outlining or brainstorming in the evenings. But even when I’m not working, my stories walk around with me wherever I go, whispering new ideas to me at the most inconvenient times!

I know all about those whispers of new ideas. 🙂 We writers are never bored. So what’s your favorite part of writing the Tales of Ambia series?

I have three favorite things!

First of all, the more of a box I’m put in, the more creative I become. Ever since I was little I adored turning fairy tales on their head. It’s endlessly fascinating to see the infinite variety that can be produced out of the same story parameters. The tale of Cinderella has been retold for hundreds of years, and yet it’s always fun and always new!

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Secondly, tales are essentially allegories for rich spiritual truths and I love relating these themes. But at the same time, there is a lighthearted, magical feeling. Wisdom / whimsical is basically my writing style—and that’s what fairy tales are all about! Fairy tales were always my first love, and it feels like home to be coming back to them after so long.

Lastly, I love writing something simple that refreshes, delights, or entertains. There is no lack of gritty or heavy fiction out there, but there is a dearth of lighthearted books that make people laugh. I laughed writing Ambia and I have been overjoyed to learn that people laugh when they read them. If I can make someone laugh, then my writing days have not been wasted!

The Reluctant Godfather definitely made me laugh! Burndee is so funny and totally my favorite character – who’s your favorite character in the series so far?

I love all of my characters but if I had to choose, it would have to be Burndee. His character develops so much throughout the series. He has learned heartbreaking lessons and experienced incredible joys and I’ve walked him through every one of them. He’s such a flawed character and a relatable person to just about anyone. It’s also very therapeutic to write such a sarcastic and biting character! Get it all out on paper, as they say! *innocent smile*

Well, I can’t wait to see how Burndee grows throughout the series. Did you have to do any ‘real world’ research for A Royal Masquerade?

Not especially. I . . . *smothers smiles* . . . had to look up pictures of a certain animal to double-check the coloration of its fur. I can’t say what kind of animal! I also had to ask a beta-reader some questions about the typical procedures of wedding rehearsals. That’s about it, though. One of the other lovely things about Ambia is that, so far, I haven’t had to do a lot of research!

That’s great! Research can be time-consuming. What’s your favorite thing to eat or drink while you write?

I love to drink La Croix sparkling water or a cup of tea! Once in a while, I might have a tiny bowl of ice cream or popcorn while I write, but typically, I set a piece of my favorite kind of chocolate beside my laptop where I can look at it. I get to eat it once I hit my daily minimum and looking at it urges me to write faster! But sometimes I eat it before I start writing—for fuel. Ahem. 🙂

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I’m currently using Starbursts to bribe myself as I write. But chocolate works just as well! If you could recommend just one book on the craft of writing, what would it be and why?

In all honesty, I haven’t read a great deal of books on the craft of writing. I learned a lot through “fieldwork” as opposed to the “classroom.”

As I skim through writing books, I realize that I know a great deal of the basics they teach due to over sixteen years of writing and intensive story studying. Not to mention all of the constructive learning I have gained from my writing group—which just celebrated its 13th year anniversary! There are some outlining books on my horizon that look really good, though.

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So, long answer, I think one of the books that I would recommend is Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine, simply because it encourages budding authors to have a little fun. A lot of writing books can be excessively stuffy or stifling as it drills rules into you, whereas Ms. Levine’s approach is not only instructive, but reminds you that you should enjoy the process of writing.

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Eva! These questions were so much fun!

Thank you, Allison!

Have you read A Royal Masquerade? What do you eat while you’re writing? Let me know and say ‘hello’ to Allison in the comments!

Eva

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prince john in ‘the adventures of robin hood’ (1938)

This post is a late entry to The Claude Rains Blogathon.

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The most vivid cinematic image from my childhood is found in ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1938).  It comes from a scene near the beginning of the movie when Prince John (Claude Rains) and Sir Guy of Gisborne (Basil Rathbone) toast their bright future as masters of England and Prince John accidentally spills some wine.  It drips to the floor, looking very much like blood and Prince John turns to Gisborne with a crafty look of glee on his face.

I believe two things made this scene stick out in my mind: the blood-like wine (in all that glorious Technicolor) and Claude Rains’ complete embodiment of the dastardly Prince John.  Because he is dastardly.

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I’ve seen Claude Rains in several films over the years, but his role as Prince John in ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ is far and away my favorite role of his.  He’s so slick, conniving, and utterly fun to watch as the biggest baddie on the screen (not even Basil Rathbone can steal the show here – a rare feat).  ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ was a huge part of my childhood and, to me, Claude Rains simply is Prince John.  His ability to turn from charming to chilling is just…wow.  Love it.  Good villains are the best.

Take, for instance, another scene near the beginning of the film where Prince John is enjoying a dinner party at Gisborne’s hall.  He’s his usual princely, courteous self.  Bits of humor and wit spark off of him.  But once he announces at he’s kicked out the rightful regent of England and intends to rule in Richard’s place, the mood turns dark and Claude Rains goes from suave to defensive in a moment.  It’s great acting.  I really dig it.

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Or consider how stone cold (yet affable) he is when sentencing Maid Marian to death?

Of course, Prince John gets his comeuppance at the end and Robin Hood triumphs, but Claude Rains put in an excellent performance while the fun lasted.  He did a brilliant job of portraying Prince John – one that I hope to enjoy for years to come.

Have you ever seen ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1938)?  What’s your favorite Claude Rains’ role?

Eva

this & that

A quick review of It’s Okay Not To Be Okay: This book is beautifully written and brought me to tears more than once. I didn’t find much to be of practical help to me, but I think other people might. The author took stories from the Bible and wove them into the points she made, which was really interesting. (I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

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The Reams of Rereads challenge is over and I didn’t even notice for so long. 😦  NaNoWriMo is keeping me crazy busy and Mom was away when the challenge was ending, so yeah.  I didn’t hit everything on my list, but I did manage to read Mockingjay, Eve’s Daughters, and half of Ender’s Game along with the other books I’d already mentioned rereading.  Thanks so much to everyone that participated!

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Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I wrote 25,000 words in the first four days.  Wut.  It was crazy and my right hand started aching (it’s okay now).  I’m not entirely happy with how my writing project is going, but it’s still good.  And then I got sick today, which meant I ‘only’ wrote 1,200 words.  I’m just glad I got a huge chunk in before sickness struck.  I’m planning to get up early for the virtual write-in tomorrow and I’m also probably going to attend a late night write-in on the 11th (Edmontonwrimos are great).  This is the first time I’ve ever been super active in the NaNoWriMo community and trying to participate in ALL THE THINGS.  It’s been loads of fun.

My seven-year-old brother, Ethan, is aiming for 3,000 words this month and he’s done AMAZING so far.  And I’m not just saying that.

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So many blog events coming up!  Blog tour for Allison Tebo’s A Royal Masquerade, a Claude Rains blogathon, and a Robots in Film blogathon.  I’m going to be sooooo busy. (Well, Robots in Film isn’t until January.  So that’s something of a relief.)

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All you lovely people who commented on my ranking of the Pevensies…I WILL get back to you as soon as I have the time.  I’ve just been very, very busy and Uninspired To Answer Comments. 😛

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Movies I’ve watched recently:

-‘The Eagle’ (crush on Jamie Bell is real; seemed like they were trying to copy the fabulousness of ‘Gladiator’ and even though they didn’t, it was still an excellent film)

-‘Defiance’ (ditto about Jamie Bell and also I loooooved Daniel Craig in this one)

-‘Nicholas Nickleby’ (sensing a theme here? the naked baby at the beginning was Shocking, btw)

-‘Breathe’ (I kinda sorta watched this and was Unimpressed by the ending)

-‘Star Trek’ (2009 version and it was great; totally cried when Leonard Nimoy did the whole “Space…the final frontier…” at the end)

-‘Adventures of Robin Hood (this was for the Claude Rains blogathon and I have a lot to say

-modern ‘3:10 to Yuma’ (meh)

There’ve been some more, but those were most of the highlights.

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What’ve you all been up to?  TELL ME EVERYTHING.

Eva

the outsiders read-along: chapter 12

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AHHHHHHHHH THIS CHAPTER.  I CAN’T EVEN.

It’s my favorite chapter in the book because Hinton ties everything up so beautifully (not neatly, because it’s life and real and raw and there can’t be a pat, simple, one-size-fits-all ending).  Many tears were shed as I finished reading The Outsiders today.  It’s so powerful and achingly deep.  And the very last line of the book?  ASOIFJWOEIRSFDKS.

Love how Darry and Soda still stick up for Dally (in the courtroom) even when it could reflect badly on them, even cause them to be separated.

Ponyboy is confused and listless at the beginning of this chapter.  He’s shut out the reality of Johnny’s death and in doing so, he’s shut himself out of the real world.  He has trouble concentrating.  He’s drifting away and even though Darry tries to bring him back by telling him that just because you lose someone doesn’t mean you stop living, too, it takes Soda’s problems to jolt Ponyboy out of his own.

But he PICKS UP THE GLASS SO CARS WON’T GET A FLAT TIRE.

I love him so much.

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It’s cool to get the details of the Curtis brothers’ middle names: Darrel Shaynne, Sodapop Patrick, and Ponyboy Michael. ❤  Also, I’d like to point out that perfectly good pancakes can, in fact, turn out green. (Sometimes when I make blueberry pancakes all the juice bleeds into the batter and turns it green for some reason.)  So don’t think that Soda’s weird for making green pancakes! *grins*

This chapter is one of the times when Soda really, really shines.  He wanted to marry Sandy even though she was pregnant with someone else’s child.  He understands both Darry and Ponyboy’s side of things and tries (successfully) to reconcile them.  He brings the entire family together in a time of grief and near-crisis.  It’s amazing.

Then there’s Johnny’s letter.  Which I’m not going to quote here, but…I cried.  Duh.  Especially all the stuff he said about Dally and telling Ponyboy to show Dally a sunset.  Because it’s too late.  And that just…ugggggh.  So horrible.

But the book doesn’t end on a low note.  Ponyboy takes up the mission to bridge the gap between what people see when they look at others and who ‘the others’ actually are.  And in order to do this, he writes.

He writes.

Quotes I like:

The judge questioned everyone carefully, but nothing real emotional or exciting happened like it does on TV. (p. 168)

“We’re all we’ve got left. We ought to be able to stick together against everything.  If we don’t have each other, we don’t have anything.” (p. 176)

It was quiet except for the sound of our feet on the cement and the dry, scraping sound of leaves blowing across the street. (p. 177)

I guess I was still out of shape, because we all three tied.  No.  I guess we all just wanted to stay together. (p. 177)

And I wish I could quote the last three or four pages of the book because it’s all so good.

Discussion questions!

-Who is your favorite character in The Outsiders?

-What is your biggest takeaway from this read-along?

-On a scale of 1 to 5 stars (1=worst, 5=best), what would you rate The Outsiders?

Eva

quick Reams of Rereads update!

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So far I’ve read the Lunar Chronicles (minus Fairest and Stars Above) and To Tame a Land.  The books were all good but they weren’t as good as I remembered and it’s really disappointing.  It’s like I remembered stuff about them differently and it wasn’t as awesome when I actually read them. *sigh*  I was actually about to give up on Winter because it was so long and boring but I stuck it out and actually liked it the best, so that’s good.

I haven’t been able to stay away from new-to-me books, though.  I read Thief of Corinth and The Last Battle and really enjoyed them.  I’m currently reading a book on writing that I’ve never read before.  And I reread a book that wasn’t on my official challenge list – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. (I wanted to read it again because I recently watched the movie for the first time and the book got bumped from three to four stars on Goodreads because Lewis’ writing style is incomparable and EDMUND and yessss.)

Overall, the challenge is going pretty well.  I think I’ll read Mockingjay next.

How are your rereads going?

Eva

the outsiders read-along: chapter 11

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Another very short, sad chapter, but I have some thoughts and favorite quotes and discussion questions this time.  Yay?

Honestly, nothing much happens in this chapter besides Ponyboy ruminating about Bob and Randy showing up for a quick chat.  I think it really goes to show what a great person Ponyboy is that, even though he’s reeling from Dally and Johnny’s deaths, he’s still trying to understand Bob.  Still trying to figure out what he was really like.  Ponyboy goes beyond blind prejudice and tries to see who people are on the inside as well as the outside.  Kind of reminds me of Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Then when Randy comes over, at first Ponyboy’s cracking jokes and being all cheerful and everything…he’s trying to escape from realities.  Realities like him and Soda and Darry having to go before a judge to see if they’ll be separated.  Realities like Johnny and Dally.  And he takes that one step farther because he ends up convincing himself that he killed Bob and Johnny’s not really dead.  It’s wrenching to read, really.

But at the end of the chapter you get a lighthearted interaction between him and Darry that actually manages to make me smile.  It’s a nice moment in the middle of a bunch of sad ones.

Quotes I like:

I’m not the kind that can lie around looking at the ceiling all the time. (p. 161)

…nobody ever looks a whole lot like his picture in a yearbook anyway. (p. 161)

A Soc, even, worried because some kid greaser was on his way to a foster home or something.  That was really funny.  I don’t mean funny.  You know what I mean. (p. 165)

Discussion questions!

-On page 162, Ponyboy says, “I’d rather have anybody’s hate than their pity”.  Which would you rather have?

-Why do you think Ponyboy doesn’t care less what Randy thinks of his house?

Eva

the Reams of Rereads blog event is here!

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I don’t have time for more than a super quick post so I’ll list the details really fast…

  • If you haven’t joined yet, you can still join anytime during October.
  • Comment on THIS POST with all your blog event related links so I can gather them in a huge post at the end of the month.
  • I’ll link to this post through the blog event graphic on the sidebar so y’all can find this post really easily to add your links.

I’m reading Cinder right now and loving it.

Happy reading!

Eva