Cover Reveal for Alara’s Call!

Oh my goodness, I don’t think I’ve ever posted two days in a row!

But this cover is so worth it.

Let me tell you a little about this awesome book!

It releases September 19, 2017.

It’s the first of a four-book series.

The author does so many things, I have no idea when she possibly finds the time to write. (You’ll see in her bio! She’s incredible!)

The back cover sounds amazing.

Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies. Alara’s Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.

Alara sees visions of other’s futures, but never her own.

A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.

But it’s a ruse.

The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara’s faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.

But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king’s palace…by any means necessary.

See? What did I tell you? Amazing!

Would you like to know a little about Kristen Stieffel before I show you this fabulous cover?

Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction. Although she edits projects in varied genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash-fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy. Visit www.KristenStieffel.com to learn more about this many-faceted author.

Holy Moses! When does this girl ever find time to sleep?

By the way, I have seen her editing in action, and I. Am. Impressed. If you ever need an editor for your spec fic novel, this is one of the editors I highly recommend!

Are you ready for the cover now?

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Of course you are.

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You’re probably dying to see it just like I was.

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You’re probably feeling a smidgeon of the anticipation I felt while waiting for this beauty!

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I’m so excited!

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Okay, I’ll stop torturing you and show you already.

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Maybe. ;)

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Ta-da! Pure perfection in its truest form!

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Thank you so much for stopping by! My favorite thing about books may possibly be its cover, and I absolutely love being able to share new covers I love.

Talk to you soon! :)

In Him,

Michele

Find Author Kristen Stieffel:

Website: www.kristenstieffel.com

Blog: www.newauthors.wordpress.com

Amazon Author: www.amazon.com/Kristen-Stieffel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kristen.stieffel

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KristenStieffel

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8088587.Kristen_Stieffel

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kristenstieffel

Why I Love Ending Fear’s Coloring Book

Today’s book review is a tad on the unconventional side. I’m reviewing a coloring book! :)

Hurray!

And this coloring book in particular is a companion to the debut novel by Deanna Fugett, Ending Fear.

Now, you must understand that most coloring books drive me crazy. I cannot stand the eclectic patterns, the teeny-tiny spaces I have to try to figure out how to fit my colored pencil without getting out of the lines, or the pages and pages of weird designs only to be rewarded with a setting, character, castle, or mythical beast every 12 pages.

Like I said, not a fan.

Until one time I was at a convention and ran across a YA coloring book. This one in particular was character-driven, had a scene from the book every other page, and the designs that made no sense whatsoever were far and few between. Everything had a purpose and directly related to the book. (And made me want to read the book. Right away.) Not to mention it was beautifully drawn.

I loved it.

And promptly colored it. (After buying it, of course!)

And ordered the novel.

It was awesome!

Fast forward many years later, when companion coloring books to YA books, movies, and tv shows have become the norm.

Deanna Fugett sent me this email. “Hey, Michele! Check out these character sketches Keighley Kendig drew for me. Aren’t they awesome?” (Okay, that is very loosely paraphrased. I don’t remember her exact words, but she was excited and loved them. Fair enough? Lol!)

Here’s what I saw:

Oh my word, I LOVED them!!!

Each was a perfect representation of the characters I’d seen in my mind while reading her book!

(Not sure who the characters are? Find out by reading Ending Fear! Or, you know, snatching up your very own copy of the coloring book…) ;)

I immediately contacted Keighley and begged her to create a companion coloring book for Deanna’s new release.

And she did! Squeal! Happy dance! (throws confetti)

Deanna wrote up a summary of each character to go with the sketches, and the coloring book was formatted and rushed to production in order to release the same time as the novel.

And I am so pleased with the result!

Get your very own copy here and see what all the fuss is about!

Oh, I hope you love it as much as I do!

In Him,

Michele

Ready for your scavenger hunt clue? Here it is:

Missing the rest of the clues? (Hint: There are 14 in all…) Check out the rest of the blog tour here!

If you have gathered all of the clues, then here is the link to enter them into the drawing.

The prize? One paperback of Ending Fear and one copy of the Coloring Book. Isn’t that great?

Oh, yes! TODAY IS THE FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY! Join us to win tons–and I do mean tons–of prizes and get to know this incredible author. She’s a rockstar!

Now, about the author and illustrator:

Deanna Fugett:

Deanna Fugett’s heart belongs to writing. Author of edgy YA Dystopian fiction with an underlying message of hope, this stay-at-home mom of four focuses on writing as much as humanly possible. She was published at the young age of six in a local newspaper and is excited to be published again. It only took twenty-six years. She enjoys the thrill of writing fiction that deals with intense topics and prays it will impact people for the better. Visit www.DeannaFugett.com to learn more about her.

Keighley Kendig:

Artist Keighley Kendig began drawing when she could barely walk and hasn’t stopped since. She landed her dream job at Disney World, where she sees dreams come true every day. She adores bringing book characters to life with her many artistic endeavors.
You can contact her at keighleychristina [at] yahoo [dot] com to book her for your own coloring book or project, or you can follow her on Instagram at @keighleyk to learn more about her.

About the Coloring Book:

A companion coloring book to the YA dystopian novel Ending Fear by Deanna Fugett.

Fourteen-year-old Fear learns she was a parachute baby, dumped over the edge of the Gliding Lands as an infant. Running from her abusive Downer family, Fear discovers a new family—one who knows how to love. But then her new little sister is kidnapped and sold to a harem. Fear must go against her namesake and journey to the dreaded Gliding Lands before the little girl’s innocence is ripped from her forever. Can she save Happy in time?

Bring the characters of Deanna Fugett’s debut novel to life with lovely illustrations by the talented artist Keighley Kendig!

Buy now and tell me if you love it as much as I do!

Cover Reveal for One of My Favorite Series Ever

So, if you follow me, you most likely know I rave about the Creepy Hollow Series by Rachel Morgan.

Rave. About. Them.

Constantly.

They have won a place in my most treasured and favorite collection of books of all time, and I simply cannot wait to devour more of them.

I’ve even given away the entire series (that was out at that time) at my launch party for Zombie Takeover.

See? I love them!

The world of Creepy Hollow, home to the Fae and the school for Faerie Guardians, is one of the most magical and breathtaking places I have ever escaped to. You should join me!

Now there is another book out (Glass Faerie), two more planned (one of which is the cover I get to show you today), and two short stories available (Scarlett and Raven). Excuse me while I fangirl over these awesome books!

Shadow Faerie, book eight of the Creepy Hollow series, continues Emerson’s story, while the first three told Violet’s story, and the next three Calla’s story.

And. You. Guys.

The first book, The Faerie Guardian, is free for Kindle right now on Amazon! What are you waiting for? Go download this delicious awesomeness right now and join me in drooling over these characters and stalking–er, I mean–following Rachel Morgan to snatch up the very next book she writes as fast as humanly possible! Go! Right now! They’re so goooood!

I’ll make it easy on you. Here is the link! ;)

And now that you know what one of my top series in the entire world is (And I’ve gushed far too much. But I mean every word.), here is the cover for book eight.

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Are you ready for it?

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Is the waiting driving you crazy?

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It’s driving me crazy. I want to read this book right now.

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This very second.

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And here it is! The cover for Shadow Faerie!

Isn’t that wonderful?

I can’t stop staring.

I love Rachel Morgan’s covers, and I am dying for this book.

Thank you for joining me for today’s cover reveal, and I hope you love this series as much as I do! It is one of the best ever!

In Him,

Michele

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About the Author:

Rachel Morgan spent a good deal of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making, crafting endless stories of make-believe and occasionally writing some of them down. After completing a degree in genetics and discovering she still wasn’t grown-up enough for a ‘real’ job, she decided to return to those story worlds still spinning around her imagination. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart.

Rachel lives in Cape Town with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and also writes sweet contemporary romance under the name Rochelle Morgan.

Get a free ebook and access to exclusive bonus content if you’re on Rachel’s email newsletter list. Sign up by copying and pasting the link into your browser: www.subscribepage.com/RMnewsletterFreeBook

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Interview with Carrie Anne Noble

You guys, I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this new book, The Gold-Son by Carrie Anne Noble.

I listened to The Mermaid’s Sister on Audible on the way home from PENCON, and Oh. My. Freaking. Goodness.

So good.

Then Carrie Anne Noble asked if anyone would be willing to host her for The Gold-Son’s release. Can I help it if I knocked everyone else over to get my hands on an ARC of this book?

(Okay, I wasn’t that brutal, but still…)

I’ve read it, I love it, and I’m beyond excited to have the author on my blog today.

(You guys should totally be freaking out with me. Eep!)

Hi Carrie! Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today! I’ve got so many questions for you about your brilliant books, I hope you don’t mind my fangirling just the teeniest-tiniest bit. I love your stories!

  • What fairy tales did you borrow from, or did you make The Gold-Son entirely your own tale?

For The Gold-Son, I researched Irish leprechaun folklore, and then I took some of the traditional beliefs and wove them together with my own ideas. For example, according to legend, leprechauns live underground, so I went with that—and then added that leprechauns have a network of towns below ground, with shops and roads and pubs just like humans have. I also decided that leprechauns eat mostly mushrooms (because what else can you grow in the dark for food?).

Well, of course! And I loved learning more about them.

  • Why did you choose first person for The Mermaid’s Sister and third person for The Gold-Son?

The Mermaid’s Sister was written in first person because it was a very personal story for me, a fictionalized journey through my real-life grief at the loss of my sister. The Gold-Son was written more as a return to the joy and fun of writing. To me, third person seemed like the best way to convey both Tommin’s and Eve’s experiences.

Oh, how achingly beautiful! I am so sorry, Carrie. I loved the way you conveyed each story.

  • Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It really depends on the day.

When the words are flowing, it can be quite exhilarating. When I’m stuck revising a pesky scene for hours, it can suck the life right out of me. Thank heaven for the rejuvenating qualities of chocolate!

Amen! Chocolate wins everything.

  • I recently listened to the audiobook of The Mermaid’s Sister, and it was stunning. Will we see any of the same characters in your new book, The Gold-Son?

The Gold-Son contains a whole new cast of characters: a kindhearted shoemaker’s apprentice addicted to stealing, a mute young woman held hostage by magic, a wicked leprechaun bent on dominating fairy-kind, a shape shifting bat-boy, and more! By the way, I’m completely thrilled to report that Irish actor Gerard Doyle narrated the audiobook for The Gold-Son. It’s just enchanting!

Excuse me while I pause everything and go preorder that too. Swoon!

  • Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

So far I’ve only written stand-alone books with characters unique to each one. The thought of writing a series is rather daunting to me, but I might try someday! What my books have in common (my “brand”) is the blending of historical fiction and fairy tale elements, with a little dash of whimsy. It’s what I like to read, and what I most enjoy creating.

And that whimsy is enchanting! Each story is truly a unique blend of history and fairy tale woven together.

  • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do some online and library research before I start writing the first draft, and then as I write I stop to check the odd historical fact now and then. Readers are pretty savvy and will call you out for giving a character a pocket watch before they were invented, or for having characters eat foods unavailable in their region. I enjoy the trivia of history, so fact checking is a fun distraction sometimes.

Ahem. This may be the reason I love writing fantasy… Pocket watch wasn’t invented yet? Bam! Alternate history. Lol! But in all seriousness, your attention to detail amazes me. Well done!

  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best money I’ve spent as a writer has been the money spent attending writers’ conferences such as St. Davids and Realm Makers. I heartily believe that taking classes to improve your craft and networking with others in the business are essential stepping stones to becoming a successful writer—especially for introverts like me. Writing is such a solitary art; it’s refreshing to come out of your lair and meet people who understand the weirdness of a writer’s brain! To anyone who thinks they can’t afford to attend conferences: check conference websites for scholarship opportunities and take the plunge!

Woohoo! Realm Makers is the best! (Only my favorite writers’ conference ever…)

  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I don’t know what I’d do without the feedback and encouragement I receive from writers in my local NaNoWriMo group (including my prized beta-reader, the talented, multi-published short story writer Amanda C. Davis) and the members of my local critique group! Also, Rysa Walker, who won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, gave me loads of helpful advice and support throughout the publishing process for The Mermaid’s Sister when it won the ABNA for the YA category in 2014. I’ve made quite a few writer friends at conferences—too many to name here, for sure! Having peers to cheer you on and steer you toward growth is priceless, especially on days you’re struggling with doubt or nasty reviews.

Absolutely! Oh, I’m so glad you have such a wonderful group of supportive writers!

  • What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

For English class in fifth grade, I had to write a story based on an interview with an older family member. I wrote about my great grandmother’s childhood summers at a farm. It taught me how powerfully words work to preserve memories and sensory experiences that would otherwise be forgotten. Maybe that’s why I’m still drawn to historical fiction; it keeps parts of the past alive, allowing us to experience in our imaginations the world as it was for our predecessors.

That is lovely.

  • What does literary success look like to you?

To me, literary success means having readers enjoy my stories, and also being able to help pay the bills—while honoring God who gave me the gift of words.

I do believe I need to frame this for my office. So well said!

  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t stop writing just because some people fail to appreciate your passion. Do it for yourself, and for the joy of it, and eventually all your practice will pay off!

Thank you, Carrie! I have loved getting to know you better, and I adore your new book!

What do you think, dearest readers? Are you ready to immerse yourself in The Gold-Son’s world?

Get thyself to the nearest bookstore (or, you know, Amazon) forthwith!

In Him,

Michele

*Photo Credit: Tonya Wilhelm Photography

About the Author:

In the wake of her checkered past as a theatre student, restaurant hostess, certified nurse aide, and newspaper writer, Carrie Anne now writes novels and short stories–mostly for a Young Adult audience. She lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with her tolerant husband, four charming children, two naughty cats, a not-so-bright dog, and some really-not-so-bright chickens. The chickens do not live in the house.

Her favorite authors include Mervyn Peake, Neil Gaiman, Maggie Stiefvater, Ardyth Kennelly, Catherine Cookson, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

When not reading or writing, Carrie Anne enjoys sewing, attempting to garden, and having tea parties with friends (preferably Mad Hatter style!).

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The Mermaid’s Sister:

2014 Winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner for Young Adult Fiction

2016 Winner of the Realm Award for Speculative Novel of the Year

Whispers in the Dark Blog Tour: Author Interview

Oh my goodness, I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour!

This book snatched my interest right away, and I immediately bought it.

I cannot wait to share it with you.

But first! An interview with the lovely author herself:

Hello, Pam! I’m so excited to have you on my blog today. Let’s dive right in!

  1. Where did you get your idea for your story?

I’ve always loved Beauty and the Beast-type stories. I like the diamond-in-the-rough heart-of-gold underneath a scary exterior. Just that little extra thrill of danger, the lure of the forbidden, the realization that you can see through to someone most other people can’t reach.

Being the “Beauty” is exciting and powerful, because she’s basically his only hope. In many ways the “Beast” is powerless–he can hold her there, but he can’t force her to love him, which is what he really needs. So then I thought, what if he didn’t even have that much control? What if she could walk away? And if she can, why wouldn’t she?

I like a challenge, and wanted to make people believe that a girl could fall for a monster. My readers do–I think half of them are in love with him, too–the word ‘adorable’ keeps coming up!

On a more serious note, it’s about judging someone for their actions, not their appearance or their social skills. That’s personal for me, because my son has autism. He’s incredibly sweet but it’s going to be challenging for him to find love, so I want to encourage people to see past the surface.

That sounds wonderful! Thank you for encouraging others to look beneath the surface.

  1. Do you like zombie lore or do you watch any zombie shows? (Such as Walking Dead, I am Legend, World War Z, Resident Evil…okay, I think those are the only ones I’ve heard of!)

Honestly I’m not a zombie fan at all–I don’t like violence or horror or gore. I mean, I was familiar with the lore just in a general way. But then someone recommended the movie Warm Bodies, and the trailer completely hooked me. Awkward, introverted, funny guy…who also happens to be a corpse. He falls in love with a girl, rescues/kidnaps her, confuses the heck out of her, and learns to be human again. Because of the aforementioned Beauty & the Beast thing, this was something I had to see. I found the movie during a really stressful time in my life, and it was my happy place for a while. Great humor, great music. It’s based on a book which is also amazing, but the book is darker so I prefer the movie. Gradually I started wondering what if…? A little later on, I was also reconnecting with God, so I wanted to make this Christian-friendly, which obviously required changes!

One of my early readers was also a huge fan of the movie, but she said she actually preferred my book, which was awesome.

So glad to know I’m not the only one who finds zombies horrid! (Yet still wrote a zombie book. Hmm…)

  1. Zombies scare the living daylights out of me, but I find the story wrapped around them fascinating. What scares you yet oddly intrigues you?

Scary yet intriguing? Hmm… good question! I’d have to go with the ocean. Seriously, I love being on the beach and watching the waves, for hours, but there’s so much power in the water. I live in the Carolinas, so hurricanes are a thing. A very destructive thing. Maybe I’ve seen one too many tsunami videos, but water can destroy whole towns. Not to mention the possibility of sharks. I’ll watch from a safe distance, thanks very much.

Also, I pay attention to politics, which is way scarier than fiction sometimes.

Lol! Yes, they are!

  1. Who did your fabulous cover art? He’s a genius!

I know, right? I am so blessed with that cover. Found a guy on a Facebook group–I asked about recommendations for cover artists, and told a little bit about the book. Venkatesh volunteered and said he’d be excited to work on what he called an epic project. His website is called killerbookcovers.com and man, did he deliver. He asked what I was thinking, and I told him the basics. He blew me away with the result. I still sometimes just look at it and sigh happily. He’s got very reasonable rates and was always responsive to my concerns, so I cannot recommend him highly enough.

Hmm…I shall keep him in mind… ;)

  1. Is this a series? If so, how many more do you have planned?

Nope, not a series–a guaranteed happily ever after. I might do more in that universe, but I probably won’t. I have a sci-fi/romance/adventure series I’m working on next–four books and counting in that one, but they need a lot of revisions.

Oh, good! I love happily ever afters more than anything! And more books in the works? Yes, please!

Thanks for having me! I appreciate it!

Thank you so much for coming on my blog today! I absolutely loved having you!

And now you, dear reader, need to go check out this book ASAP. Just sayin’.

I hope you love it!

In Him,

Michele

She’s a preschool teacher. He’s kind of a zombie. It would never work.

Karen teaches post-apocalypse preschool, safe inside city walls. She never intended to get caught outside.

Leo is technically alive, but perpetually zoned out: Mindless. He can see emotions as colors now, though, so at least there’s that. Like the other Mindless, he feeds on the emotional energy of humans. Then he meets Karen–her unique energy jolts him partly awake, and he’s hooked. He protects her but when she’s rescued, he lands in a cage.

Karen wants to go home, but until then, she also wants to spy on her sketchy host, which brings her into contact with Leo.  He’s recovering, and surprisingly sweet, and he’ll protect her in any way he can.  She returns the favor, but this alliance can’t last; she’s leaving, and he’ll be killed for science.

Leo doesn’t expect her to even talk to him, much less help him. But she does–and that emotion she has when she looks at him?  He doesn’t know what to call it, but it’s not fear.

Karen can go back to her life–if she abandons Leo. She can’t stay with him, she can’t take him home…but without her, he’s dead.

He saved her. Can she save him?

 Winner: Fool for Love contest, VA Romance Writers, Dark Paranormal category (2015)

Finalist: First Impressions contest, American Christian Fiction Writers, Speculative category (2015)

Purchase Links:

About the Author:

Pam Jernigan started writing in elementary school and never quite got over it. Invisible friends are some of her favorite people. She was born a Yankee but realized the error of her ways in her early twenties and moved to North Carolina, where she now lives with one husband, two almost-grown children, and two almost-grown kittens. The cats may move out before the children do; time will tell.

She’s always been a sucker for variations of Beauty & the Beast and is partial to romance stories that feature a hero who falls for the heroine on sight and has to hustle to get her attention and prove himself worthy. Snappy dialog is always a plus. She’s a firm believer that people have enough angst and drama in their real lives, so she writes to entertain and let readers escape to fun worlds which are not entirely constrained by reality.

Pam has written and shared weird stories for thirty years, and in 2017 she finally got up the courage to self-publish. Whispers in the Dark is not the first novel she’s written, but it was the first to get up to publishable quality. Self-publishing has been an adventure. She looks forward to doing it again, as soon as those other novels are whipped into shape.

She religiously avoids talking politics in public (which is to say, she tries to avoid it but sometimes fails) but will cheerfully confess to being a Christian. She loves to sing anything from Handel’s Messiah to modern country to Christian rock.

Social Media Links:

Website / Facebook / Twitter

And a Giveaway!

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