book review: retrieve (+ book tour & giveaway!)

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Sarah Addison-Fox, author of the beloved Allegiance series, has recently published a new book (spoilers: it’s great).  I’m here today to review Retrieve and give you all the details about the awesome giveaway that goes with it.

And if you’d like to connect with Sarah, you can find her at any of the places below!

Author Website
Facebook & Facebook Fan Group
Instagram
Twitter
Blog

Retrieve is the first book in the Stormers Trilogy (I can’t wait to read the other two books) and here’s the cover and synopsis for y’all!

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What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you?

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him?

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MY REVIEW: This book surpassed my expectations!  I wasn’t actually sure what to expect because I have a weird aversion to reading plot synopsises and there were some things about the Allegiance series that I didn’t love.  But did I enjoy Retrieve?  The answer is a resounding “Yes!”.  I read it in pretty much one sitting; it was very easy to lose myself in the story and the characters.

Hadley was a great heroine and I felt that she was different from most of the ‘action girl’ heroines that you read about these days.  She made plenty of mistakes but that didn’t stop her from learning and growing.  She didn’t welcome pain or hardship or battles but she didn’t shy away from them either.  Basically, she was tough without losing her heart.  Kade was intriguing – I really hope Sarah explores his backstory in the next two books because I could definitely see myself falling for him if she deepened his character. (He was still a well-drawn character, though.) (Although, tbh, I don’t think any of Sarah’s characters could take Torrance’s place in my heart [he’s from the Allegiance series].)

The plot was super interesting and fast-paced.  Really dug it.  And there were a few surprises along the way which made me happy.  I feel like there’s a great, amazing world waiting to explode in the next two books.  I only got a few glimpses here and there but I’m trusting Sarah not to mess it up. (She’s really good at world-building.)

As for the overall writing, I’d say that the writing is way better than in the Allegiance series (I know I keep comparing the two, but I can’t help it!).  Tighter, more evocative, and stylistically better in pretty much every way.

Overall, I’m hugely excited to see where this series goes!  If you enjoy action/adventure/romance stories set in fantasy worlds, please give Retrieve a try. (You can buy it on Amazon and add it to your ‘to-read’ shelf on Goodreads.)

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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And now for the giveaway!

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Doesn’t it look amazing?  You can enter here.

Have you read Retrieve yet?  And if not, does it sound like something you’d be interested in?

Eva

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reveries co. blog tour launch – announcement from Kellyn Roth

Hey, guys!  It’s me, Miranda…

I’m here today with an announcement from the founder of Reveries Co., Kellyn Roth herself!  Kellyn is an indie author and entrepreneur who, while I don’t know her super well, seems like a really cool, smart person.  So read her announcement. 😉  And don’t forget to check out the amazing discounts and huuuuge giveaway down below!

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Hi there! This is Kellyn Roth (or Kell, if you prefer), and today I’m going to tell you a little about Reveries Co.

Here’s our story.

On September 8th 2018, I was designing a site for my cover design business. As I drag-and-dropped the elements around, I realized I needed a shiny, flashy tagline. So I started thinking about my goals as a service provider.

I wanted to help authors like me succeed! I wanted to make sure that every writer got the best services, personalized to their needs, at the best prices.

But how could I do that? Editing is a service every author needs, but I’m not an editor, so I can’t offer editing.

Every blogger, writer, and author needs a website, but web design isn’t my specialty. In fact, I tend to get frustrated with all that coding and other nonsense; I like to keep it simple. But a lot of people need more than “simple.”

Suffice to say, I didn’t have the expertise I needed to offer a one-stop-shop for authors, bloggers, and other businessmen and women who needed those services but couldn’t afford them, couldn’t find the right providers, and even struggled to know what they needed.

So I began planning … and in no time,

Reveries Co. Was Born!

Partnering with my dear friend, Angela R. Watts, I came up with a business plan, an application form, and a website.

Now over fifteen service providers have joined our forces, from seasoned professionals like Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, and Abigayle Claire to up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Charis Rae, Jessie Bingham, and Michaela Bush.

Now we are dedicated to providing quality, personalized services for an affordable price. Our #1 goal is seeing you succeed in your writing endeavors. We even offer services such as consulting to give you the knowledge you need to go forward.

I firmly believe that with hard work and a little elbow grease, anyone can develop a career and business in the writing field. However, I acknowledge that we all need some help from time to time. We’re here to offer that help quickly and easily.

Our team is a carefully-selected task force of experienced designers, editors, proofreaders, and other professionals, several of whom are authors themselves. Most of them have multiple years of experience and all have proven themselves to be consistent and trustworthy workers who offer quality services.

All service providers are held to consistent standards of operation and output. We keep a close tab on the quality and proceedings of each service. We’re a team, and we function as one, helping each other succeed as well as authors.

Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

Now, I know you’d like to hear a bit about what’s going on with the tour, discounts, etc., so let me share something about that.

The Giveaway

The first item of importance is the giveaway! This giant book bundle has books by myself as well as Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, Rebekah Morris, Kendra E. Ardnek, and others!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY NOW!

Facebook Party

The official Facebook launch party will be at the end of this week (Saturday the 5th) from 12 PM to 3 PM PST.

I’ll be hosting a live video and taking your questions, assuming the internet cooperates, and there will be several giveaways, service provider spotlights, and other fun features.

CLICK TO JOIN!

During this party, we’ll also be offering a bunch of exclusive discounts and giveaways, so be sure to check in then!

Discounts

Throughout the tour, we’re offering exclusive discounts. Everything from editing to book cover design to consulting has an extreme cut taken out of the price … but we only have a limited amount of spaces available.

Everything from 15% to 30% off of a bunch of different services – from editing to interior formatting to book cover design to website design! We even offer specialized coaching packages!

Book Us Now!

And that’s about it! I hope you’re able to join along with the blog tour and check out our other amazing posts!

Schedule

Tuesday, January 1st

Interview with Founder // Kendra E. Ardnek @ Knitted by God’s Plan

Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ

Announcement from Founder // Lila Diller @ Creating Romance

Wednesday, January 2nd

Announcement // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Spotlight // Mukta A @ Born Free

Interview with the Co-Manager // Jo A @ The Lens & the Hard Drive

Announcement from Founder // A. Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes

Guest Post from Founder // Emily Yager

Interview with Founder // Dawn Dagger

Announcement from Founder // Eva-Joy @ Coffee, Classics, and Craziness

Thursday, January 3rd

Interview with Co-Manager // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing

Spotlight // Jessica Greyson

Interview with Founder // Parker Hankins @ Pencils and Pianos

Guest Post by Founder // Merie Shen @ Imperial Scribis

Announcement from Founder // Jana T. @ Reviews From the Stacks

Announcement from Founder // Hanne T. @ Losing The Busyness

Friday, January 4th

Announcement from Founder // Deborah @ Reading on the Edge

Announcement from Founder // Katherine Brown Books

Guest Post from Founder // Julia Witmer

Announcement from Founder // Jessie Bingham

Spotlight // Loretta @ Just Writing

Interview with Co-Manager // Isabel Olivetti @ Chasing Fantasia

Saturday, January 5th

Spotlight // Abigayle Claire @ The Left-Handed Typist

Spotlight // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura

Announcement from Founder // Faith Blum @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections

Guest Post from Founder // R.M. Archer @ Scribes & Archers

Wrapup // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

***

Have a great day, and thanks for reading my intro!

TTFN!

~Kellyn Roth~

***

Thanks for stopping by, Kellyn!  I hope Reveries Co. does really well in the coming year – y’all deserve it.

Eva

 

tag-along: a Christmas short story

Kellyn Roth recently hit 1,000 followers on her blog (congrats, Kellyn!) and in honor of that amazing milestone, she’s hosting a short story contest.  Within minutes of reading about the contest I had an inkling of a story idea and, well, here it is!  Even if I don’t win first or second place, I’m so glad I entered.  Writing Tag-Along was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had as a writer – and I’m not just saying that.

(Oh, and according to this word counter, Tag-Along is 1,896 words long.  Just so that y’all – especially Kellyn – know that it meets the requirements for being between 1,000 and 1,999 words long.)

And now for the story!

(If I got anything wrong about the Great Depression, the 1930s in general, and/or Wyoming, I apologize.  The contest deadline doesn’t allow for tons of research.)

Tag-Along

Wyoming – 1934

When I was nine years old, I was sure that my brother, Tom, was the most ornery human being on God’s green earth. There were only three years between us but once he hit twelve, he acted like we were as many decades apart.

Most of the time he didn’t do anything…and that was the problem. We used to play in the ravine, making mud pies and wading into the water when the summer heat caught us.

But now Tom ignored me most of the time, too busy with his friends.

I stayed clear of him after he called me a tag-along. I was playing House in Pa’s shed and Tom walked past with his friends.

“Is Dorothy around?” Arthur Mitchell asked.  I’d been sweet on him for about forever and I placed my hand on the shed’s door, ready to go out and maybe walk beside him when Tom’s reply flattened me.

“Naw. Tag-along’s probably playin’ with her dolls’.”

They laughed, but I was crushed. How dare they all laugh at me? Especially Arthur…

There was a suspicious prickling behind my eyes that threatened tears but I sniffed hard and forced them away. I didn’t want to show up for dinner with red eyes and have Tom ask a bunch of stupid questions.

/

Besides Tom’s new attitude, the other thing in my thoughts was the singing contest on the 24th. It was a Christmas Eve benefit to help families in our community hit hardest by the Depression.

At that time, I didn’t care about homeless families so much as the prize for the best girl singer at the benefit. The prize was a shiny ring with five – five! – tiny red rubies set around the band.

Looking back on that ring, I know that the gold was some kind of cheap, painted metal and the ‘rubies’ were really just glass. But when I was nine, it held all the allure of the diamond mines in my favorite book – A Little Princess.

There was a special display at the general store that had a poster about the benefit and then all the prizes lined up, waiting for the winners. I’d press my nose against the glass and stare at that ring. Sometimes the sun would catch it just so and set it to shimmering and glittering until I had to look away.

And then Tom would come out.

“Hey, Tag-along, you buyin’ anythin’?”

I turned and glared at him. “You know I don’t have any money,” I snapped.

“Well, you’ve gotta go. Mr. Mitchell doesn’t like it when people loiter.”

I’d roll my eyes. But I always went.

Tom had gotten a job at Mr. Mitchell’s store only a couple months ago and if his head was swelled before, it was nothing compared to how he got now.

At first I’d been excited like Pa and Ma. Now I could go to the store and eat as much penny candy as I wanted! Now I’d get to see Arthur more because Mr. Mitchell was his pa.

But none of those shiny dreams came true. Since I could never afford to be a customer at the store, Tom always shooed me away sooner or later. Said that it didn’t look good to Mr. Mitchell and that he had to keep this job.

He was a pain.

/

In preparation for the benefit, I sang in our backyard, on the walk to school, and just about everywhere else. It was less than two weeks away.

And I was terrified.

/

“Now, Dorothy, there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about,” Ma said as she smoothed invisible wrinkles from my dress. “You have a beautiful voice.”

I wished it was true. But Tom had come out in the yard the other day to chop wood when I was singing and I’d asked him how I sounded. I’d waited for words of praise – I thought I sounded really good – but he just shrugged. His eyes looked distant as he threw another piece of kindling into the wood pile, like he was a million miles away, .

I ran into the house, hating Tom. He didn’t care about me! He didn’t care if I lost the contest and that ring went to some other girl.

Now, fifteen minutes away from singing in front of the entire population of Miller’s Crossing, the memory of Tom’s indifference rose up like a ghost to haunt me. It sucked all my courage away.

Ma and I stood backstage, waiting for me to be called. Pa was somewhere in the audience, ‘proud as anything’. I didn’t know where Tom was until he bounded up to Ma and me.

“I had to lock up,” he said to Ma. “When’s Dor’thy goin’ up?”

“After Patty sings.”

He looked over at me. “Ready?”

I nodded. I couldn’t admit that I was shaking.

The three of us stood together, listening to Patty Malone sing ‘Easter Parade’ – pretty much the worst song for a Christmas Eve benefit, I thought. She sang good, though, and I was getting more scared by the second.

I think Tom saw something of my fright because just before they called my name, he ruffled my hair – usually infuriating, but comforting right then – and said, “Here you go. Break a leg, Tag-along!”

Tag-along?

I stood there, stock still, as they said, “And now Miss Dorothy Jackson, singing ‘That’s What Life Is Made Of’.”

Mother gave me a gentle push and that was about the only thing that would’ve got me on the stage. But it wasn’t stage fright anymore, it was tears that threatened to spill out of my eyes and forever embarrass me. All because of Tom and his stupid nickname for me. He’d been so nice a minute ago and-and then he’d called me ‘Tag-along’. I hated that name and never more than that moment.

I swallowed hard as the piano tinkled out the opening notes of my song.

Good thing I’d spent every spare minute singing because I don’t remember a single word I pushed out of my aching throat that evening. But the applause was loud. I saw Pa in the crowd as he stood and led everyone else to.

I’d gotten a standing ovation but it didn’t matter. Tom hated me.

I stumbled off the stage and into Ma’s arms. She hugged me tight. “What did I tell you?” she said proudly. “You were wonderful, darling!”

Tom wasn’t around, I saw, as I peeked around her arm. Good thing, too, or I’d probably have shouted him.

“Can we go home?” I asked.

She held me away from her, surprised. “No, we have to wait and see the other acts and then find out who won the prizes.” She smiled. “Don’t you want to know who the winners are?”

The idea of seeing those prizes given out – especially the ring – made my heart sing. I wouldn’t win. If the performer couldn’t remember her own performance, could anyone else be expected to?

But I didn’t want to worry Ma. So I just said, “All right.”

/

I didn’t win. The prize went to a girl who was here visiting her aunt and uncle. Was that allowed, to enter when you didn’t live here? I didn’t think so but the judges were the ones whose opinions mattered.

On the way home, Pa and Ma and Tom tried to cheer me up by saying that I’d sung very well and, no, of course that girl didn’t qualify and what were the judges thinking? Well, it was mostly Ma talking. Pa didn’t say much anytime and all Tom offered was a smile. I pretended not to see.

I went straight to bed when we got home though Ma offered to let me stay up late and have some cake and listen to the radio. But my stomach churned too much for cake to tempt me.

As soon as I crawled into bed, I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I squinted at the clock in the light that came from the hallway. Only about an hour had passed. I could hear the radio playing from downstairs. All my anxiety had left me thirsty, so I crept down the stairs toward the kitchen.

“I only need twenty-five cents, Pa.” That was Tom, in the kitchen. I paused at the closed door.

“That’s fine, son,” Pa’s voice rumbled. “I already told you that the money’s your own.”

“Oh, Pa.” I could hear the eye roll in Tom’s voice. “This is all I’m goin’ ask for, ever. Promise.”

“And I won’t hold you to that promise. But I appreciate it. I know your ma does, too.”

Part of me wanted to push open the kitchen door and see just what they were talking about. But there was something serious about their voices that held me back.

So I returned to my room and fell asleep again. Eavesdropping had made me forget about my thirst and I slept good the whole night.

/

As soon as I woke up, I remembered that it was Christmas day.  I ran to the mantel and tore down my stocking. Tom’s was still hanging there, which puzzled me, because when it came to Christmas he was just as excited as me. He wouldn’t still be sleeping.

After I found the candy, the nickel, and the hair ribbons in my stocking, I asked Ma about Tom.

“He’s out an errand,” she said, a funny smile on her face.

I made a face. “An errand? On Christmas?”

“Eat your breakfast now,” she said, pushing a plate of pancakes in front of me. Pa smiled at me across the table.

I was halfway through the pancakes when the kitchen door opened and shut. Ma left the table and I could hear her and Tom talking in the kitchen. Then he came into the dining room. He still had his boots and coat on and was tracking snow everywhere. I expected Ma to scold him, but she didn’t.

He came and stood by me and dug into his coat pocket.

“Merry Christmas,” he said, handing me a tiny box.

I didn’t breath for a moment. I knew what came in this kind of box.

I got it open and stared. There, nestled on a tiny bed of velvet, sat a gold ring studded with five rubies. “Oh…” I whispered.

“I had to ask Mr. Mitchell to open up the store special so I could get it,” Tom said, the words spilling out of him in a kind of happy breathlessness. “At first he wasn’t too happy, but once I explained, he got the store keys real quick and sold me the ring.”

I looked from the ring on my finger to Tom.

“Thank you, Tom! Thank you so much.” And then I hugged him, even if it did embarrass him for forever.

“Well, you deserved it,” he said. “You should’ve won that prize, Tag-along.”

I was about to get mad again when he grinned and then I could see the mischief in his eyes. But seriousness, too. He really thought that I should have won and he got me this ring because of it and he didn’t mean anything bad by calling me ‘Tag-along’.

Joy welled up in me. I had the ring and, more importantly, I had my brother back.

It was the best Christmas ever.

THE END

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What did you think??? (And do you like the cover – I made it myself because Canva is awesomeness.)  Tag-Along was inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, and Flipped.  Mainly the tone of all three, y’know?  And I listened to a bunch of fun, upbeat 1930s songs while I wrote it – I hope that translated into the story!

Merry Christmas, everyone. ❤

Eva

‘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

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 that 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

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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 and you can purchase it on Amazon here.)

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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