CREATIVES VIRTUAL CON: ALWAYS GREENER by J.R.H. Lawless!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Hey everyone!  Today's the first day of the Creatives Virtual Con, and the signups didn't go quite as planned so I don't have additional bloggers, BUT  I do have a spotlight for an author, J.R.H. Lawless, and his book Always Greener!  It sounds really interesting, especially for fans of science fiction, dystopian, or comedy, so let's get into it!



BLURB

In the year 2072, new technology allows the television to be broadcast straight into and out of the human eye.  When a reality show offers a lifetime of lazy luxury to the one person living the world's worst life, everyone is out to prove just how bad they've got it.  Eight contestants vie for the prize, allowing the whole world to see life through their eyes, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Only the show's ever-smiling host, an equally hopeful and hapless former weatherman, seems to have any faith left in humanity.  Each week, he struggles behind the scenes as he attempts to elevate the show and wring meaning out of his own unhappy existence.  

Clever, hilarious, poignant, and relevant, this sci-fi satire mixes the whimsical wordplay and humor of Douglas Adams with the bleak social commentary of Black Mirror at its best.  


BARNES & NOBLE | INDIE BOUND | AMAZON | GOOGLE BOOKS | KOBO BOOKS

For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, Always Greener will be on sale for 0.99 cents on Kindle, so make sure to snag a copy!  Click HERE for more information from the publisher, including  testimonies, reviews, and purchase links!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J.R.H. Lawless is a bestselling SF author from Atlantic Canada who blends comedy with political themes - drawing heavily, in both cases, on his experience as a lawyer and as Secretary General of a Parliamentary group at the French National Assembly.  A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, his short fiction has been published in many professional venues, including foreign sales.  He is also a craft article contributor to the SFWA blog, the SFWA Bulletin, and Tor.com.  His debut novel, Always Greener, is out now from Uproar Books, and the sequel, The Rude Eye of Rebellion, comes out in Fall 2020.  He is represented by Marisa Corvisiero at the Corvisiero Literary Agency, and would love to hear from you on Twitter, over at @SpaceLawyerSF!  



Are you planning to pick up a copy of Always Greener?  The synopsis definitely piqued my attention--and since it's a comedy, why not?  Everyone needs a laugh right now.  Do you enjoy reading sci-fi?  Sound off in the comments below!  

Also, if you have a social media page and want to help out, (and if you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance that you do), please feel free to share this post to spread the word about the sale for Always Greener!  


Announcing my newest project!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Hi everybody!  Before I get to the main content of the post, I wanted to make another quick announcement first.  On a whim, I entered a flash fiction prompt contest on Cassandra Hamm's Instagram account last week, and I actually won! (???!)  I'm still a little baffled by that because there were so many wonderful entries!  It's a short little thing, barely a scene, but you can check it out as well as the winners' entries for the other prompts HERE.  I used this prompt to try out a dystopian character that has been bugging my brain lately, so this might even be a little snippet for something coming down the line.  Thank you so much to Cassandra Hamm as well as her co-judge, Marit Edwards-Ronning.  This contest was a blast, so make sure to check them out on Instagram for more contests later on!  


Okay, I said that one was going to be quick...but there's a reason my nickname is Wordy.  Back to the schedule of events: 


Today, I'm sharing my newest project - aka my Camp NaNo project from April - with you all, including a blurb!  I'm hoping to have it published in fall, but with everything going on right now, who knows.  June could bring a resurgence of dinosaurs and we'll have to evade velociraptors to get the mail or something, causing proof copies to be late.  September could bring a meteorite that destroys all life on the planet, leaving only indestructible cockroaches and bits of glitter that you never could get off of your counter from that 3rd grade art project.  Horror of horrors, I could slip back into procrastination tomorrow.  Ya never know, it's 2020.  


Anyway, I am working on a book called The Lady of Lanaria.  For a little bit of context, this is a fairytale retelling that combines the Brothers Grimm fairytale Rapunzel with Lord Alfred Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" together into one novel.  I'm already working on the second draft now, and just recruited a friend for some help with the pesky introduction (by the way, said friend is having a sale for her editing services, so check that out HERE), and writing it has been surprisingly smooth sailing!  



I knew I had to write this book ever since last July, but I just got around to it in April.  In July, another friend and I were talking about the publishing industry and he mentioned that he didn't want to hear about me giving up on ideas because someone said they were stupid.  Of course, we have countless instances of that in publishing, oftentimes the greats -- J.K. Rowling and George Lucas were two he referred to.  And he's absolutely correct.  We shouldn't give up on our stuff because one or two (or even a hundred) people say it's stupid, because there might be one person in the world who needs what's in that book.  And if we have the ability, if we have the God-given inspiration and talent to do so, why not?  

I know I needed to hear that, because I'd been on a major streak of writer's block mostly thanks to the little jerk in my head that says "really?  Well that's stupid," every time I had an idea.  And since The Lady of Lanaria was the first book idea (of many, actually) to pop into my mind as soon as my friend said that, I figured it could be first. 

So if you needed a reminder to keep going on your own projects....keep going.  I don't want to hear about you giving up on an idea because someone thought it was stupid, either.  



Okay, well, I think I dragged this out long enough.  Are you aggravated or waiting with bated breath?  I probably know that answer, never mind.




You can also check out my Pinterest board for it HERE.  


BLURB

A kingdom cursed with mysterious plagues, a promise, and a kidnapped princess.  
"Mark my words, Evangeline; if you set foot outside, you will surely die."  

Evangeline has spent her entire life hidden in an ancient watchtower, gazing through a window as the world passes her by.  She heeds her mother's warning closely, the truth hidden from her - that she is the kidnapped princess of Lanaria, and her kidnapper is the most feared Witch in the land.  

When a young guard stumbles upon the old tower, Evangeline's life is flipped sideways, and she realizes that there's more to life than hiding in a tower.  As she strikes up a secret friendship with the guard, she learns more about the kingdom of Lanaria and the mysterious plagues that haunt it and all who live there.  She has spent years studying apothecary books, and her skills come in handy for helping the young guard when he needs it the most -- until she learns just what's causing the plagues.  

Nothing is as it seems, but will they figure out the Witch's plan before it's too late?

The Lady of Lanaria, arriving 2020. 
 


Soooo....what do you think?  Now, I know that magic is a really weird thing that brings up a lot of, ah, discussion  -- some people love reading about it, others hate it, so on.  I do want to add that I've thought long and hard about how I wanted to incorporate it (especially the evil side of things) and the messages I wanted to represent.  So before you automatically discard it, I want to invite you to give it a shot.  For those who dislike mentions of magic, you might be surprised by how I've written it.  Think about the witches in Chronicles of Narnia, so on.  Just a smidgen goes a long way.  

And if you liked this tentative blurb (subject to change before publication), you might just want to check out my newsletter, which I'm reviving.  I'm going to send out the next one out June 2nd, and I do think I'll be sharing a snippet of The Lady of Lanaria with all my subscribers then!  So make sure you're signed up HERE.  Also, I'll be adding another freebie to the list -- a self-editing checklist -- so if you're into that, make sure you catch the newsletter!  

Any thoughts?  Have you signed up for my newsletter yet?  Have you read "The Lady of Shalott" before?  

REVIEW: DIAMOND by Kirsten Fichter!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Hey everyone!  Today's post is a review for Kirsten Fichter's Diamond, a Rapunzel retelling that was just released last week.  You probably know this by now, but I'm a huge Rapunzel fan - and equally, I can be a bit picky about retellings because I love the story so much.  While Diamond is a pretty short book (my guess is novelette length?) I sincerely enjoyed it, and the plot progressed smoothly.  

I also loved the character of Seth Stendahl, who was recently interviewed on a blog post HERE in case you missed it ;) -- and of course, the leading lady was lovely.  The story did pull from the original Rapunzel fairytale for some elements, but in the same breath it introduced its own twists in a fresh and fantastic way.  I also noticed some Easter eggs from other Rapunzel stories (one of which I'm a rabid fan of, I bet you can't guess which....[hint for those who haven't been afflicted by my endless discussion on said movie...check the first word in my blog name]).  So those were fun to stumble upon!  

The characters were easy to relate to, and the book's pacing was nice.  Fichter also does a really nice job of dropping hints about Diamond's true identity along the way without giving anything away too easily.  Again, there were a lot of unique features in this retelling, so it's almost in and of itself an original story with a bit of flavoring from the Brothers Grimm fairytale.  The ending, to me, felt a smidgen abrupt, but that's probably because I wanted to keep reading.  Oops.  

So this one definitely gets 5 stars from me.  It's a fun and sweet take on Rapunzel, and if you enjoy fairytale retellings or the story of Rapunzel, I think you'll have a good time reading this book.

You can check out the link above for a synopsis and purchase links!

Have you read Diamond yet - or plan to?  What are your thoughts on fairytale retellings?  

Current Projects & Editing Deals

Saturday, May 16, 2020


Hey everyone!  I meant to make this post in April, but I never did, and then I planned to do it in the beginning of May, but that got blown out of the water completely, and, well, I'm a terrible blogger.  

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know this, but I'm offering my editing services at a reduced rate.  Said deal was originally just for the month of April, but I've extended it through the end of May -- so you have a couple more weeks to get your reservations in place!  

ANY summer editing spot that is reserved through the month of May will receive a discounted rate of $2.00/1000 words.  Now is a great time to reserve a spot for your Camp NaNo project, or to achieve your summer publishing goals at a discounted rate!  I'm free for the month of June and have a couple of spots left for July and August, so make sure to contact me soon if you'd like to have your book edited soon. 

Prices will go back to normal ($3.00/1000 words) as of June 1st, so make sure to email me or send in THIS form if you'd like to reserve your spot or ask some questions about my services.  Click HERE to learn more about the services I offer.  


CAMP NANOWRIMO

I finished my Camp NaNo goal in April, which was to write 50k words, and ended up with about 52k by the end of the month.  Pretty great, if you ask me!  I'll be making an official post to talk about said project soon (and if you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen it...I suppose I should keep my blog updated as well as I do Insta...), so keep your eyes peeled!  I'm in the second draft of it already, and although there's a lot of work yet to go on it, I'm hoping to get it out in the world sometime this year.  In the meantime, here's a sneak peek aesthetic collage for it.  



OTHER PROJECTS

I'm also working on the second draft of Keeping Cassie, which is the third installment of the Mount Sterling series...yes, it's still a thing, even though I haven't mentioned it at all.  Oops.  But it's going along quite nicely, considering that at the beginning of the year, I thought I'd have to totally redo it.  Yay for not having to rewrite an entire book, amiright?  I have several ideas that I'm working on right now, too -- some Scotland historical fiction, a dystopian, and of course, plenty of romance to go around.  There might even be another short book of poetry and short stories this year, if I can cobble together enough works that I actually like, so keep your eyes peeled!  

Finally, I'm trying to revive my newsletter, so if you aren't signed up for that yet, make sure you're on the list!  I've decided that my newsletter-sending-out day will be on Tuesdays, so...my next newsletter will be going out on a Tuesday soon.  Just have to finalize a few details.  

Sign up HERE!



What are you working on?  Any reading or writing plans for the summer?  I can't wait to hear about it!

MEDIA TOUR: NEVER SAY GOODBYE by Sarah Grace Grzy!

Friday, May 15, 2020



A single father and a bookstore owner find hope and second chances in this heartwarming novel.


Have you read Never Say Goodbye by Sarah Grace Grzy yet? It was just released a couple of weeks ago, but I'm still thinking about it! It's such a sweet, heartfelt novel that I'll probably be in my 80s shouting about it from the rooftops, so...here ya go: a spotlight and a giveaway for this very lovely novel!


ICYMI, click HERE to read my review of Never Say Goodbye.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sarah Grace Grzy is a voracious reader, and if it weren’t for this crazy thing called 'Life,' she’d be tempted to spend all her days in front of a wood stove, book in one hand, coffee mug in the other. A lover of learning, she finds enjoyment in many things and has more hobbies than she knows what to do with. Sarah Grace is a freelance web and graphic designer, and when not working, spending time with her ever-growing family, or reading, she can be found painting, playing the piano, or fangirling with her sisters and friends. Sarah Grace inhabits the State of Great Lakes, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else—unless it meant she could have a baby penguin, in which case, she’d gladly move to the South Pole.


INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER









SYNOPSIS


They say time heals all wounds. But he was finding it a poor painkiller.


Tyler Collens has seen grief and loss in his years of experience as a paramedic—but he never expected it to touch his life in such a personal way. The death of his wife eighteen months ago shook his steady world and changed him in more ways than he can count. Time and routine have steadied his feet, and he looks toward the future as he raises his infant daughter—but the past has a tighter grip on him than he knows.


Alyvia Emmerson has never been certain of who she is or where she belongs. Her dad’s abandonment as a teen broke a fragile piece of her heart, but ten years later, she has moved on. Living on her own, she at last has a project to devote herself to: revitalizing a shabby bookstore. But she didn’t count on her dream job revealing the shattered pieces of herself she thought mended long ago.


In this sophomore novel featuring beloved characters from Live Without You, Sarah Grace Grzy explores themes of grief, hope, and second chances in a story that touches both the heart and spirit. 




BOOK TRAILER | AMAZON | B&N | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIE BOUND | SIGNED COPIES | GOODREADS


Now -- I mentioned a giveaway in the beginning of this post, but there are actually two giveaways going on!  Sweet, right?!  






You can check out Victoria Lynn's official post HERE for all of the details for the first giveaway, which includes a signed copy of Never Say Goodbye and all of the fun goodies mentioned above!   



Onto the second giveaway, which is super easy to enter!  

Both of Sarah Grace Grzy's books, Never Say Goodbye and Live Without You are included in The Great Review Race, a Multi Author Monthly Giveaway.  Submit your reviews to the form below to be entered into the giveaway!  April/May Winner will receive a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card!  Click HERE to enter!  


Have you read Never Say Goodbye yet?  What about Live Without You?  And have you entered the giveaways yet?




BLOG TOUR - REVIEW of MISFORTUNE by Kendra E. Ardnek!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hey everyone!  Today I've got a review for Kendra E. Ardnek's latest release, a Rapunzel retelling titled Misfortune.  

This book is a unique retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale, blended into biblical times with several undertones that seem to be straight from the Bible itself, which I thought was a really cool idea.  The story reads like an actual fairytale -- think of the Brothers Grimm stories, not the versions that have come out since -- and as such, the pacing worked, but it did feel a little bit rushed.  But maybe that's because I just wanted to keep reading more, though!  There are a lot of great messages in the story; the way that the Princess is treated by her family is rather sad, and she has to learn that her life is worth more than she's been told.  It blends historical superstition and culture with just a touch of the fairytale supernatural, enough that readers reminisce on the original story but not too much to make it seem unoriginal.  I don't want to get into a ton of details and spoil it all for you guys, but I really enjoyed seeing how the story was woven together and, of course, the ending was a superb callback to the original story of Rapunzel.  As a huge fan (and a picky critic...) of Rapunzel retellings, I have to give this one a solid 4/5 star rating.  If you're a fan of Biblical fiction or fairytale retellings with great originality, this is definitely one you'll want to check out!  

It's a great short story with lots of heartfelt themes about value and love; a perfect read for spring!  


If you want to learn a bit more about this great story or order it (highly recommend that option), make sure to check out the info below!







SYNOPSIS
Is the safety of a country worth the sacrifice of one girl - even if she is the daughter of blood and misfortune?  
The day she was born, her kingdom fell, and so she was branded the daughter of blood and misfortune and locked away.  Now a dragon plagues the land and her curse may be the only thing that stops it.  

But is she really cursed?

A Twist of Adventure #4
Available on AMAZON | GOODREADS
Explore the rest of the series  HERE 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kendra E. Ardnek is the self-proclaimed Arista of Fairy Tales.  She lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her dragon babies and massive herd of mini-giraffes, and she is still waiting for one of her fifty nutcrackers to come to life and marry her.  When not writing, you can usually find her sitting in a random box, and she's frequently known to act before she thinks. 


Do you plan on reading Misfortune?  What are some of your favorite fairytale retellings? 

BLOG TOUR - Interview with Seth from Kirsten Fichter's DIAMOND!


Hey everyone!  Today, I'm sharing the awesome interview opportunity I just had -- to chat with Kirsten Fichter's own Seth Stendahl, a character in her newly released Rapunzel retelling, Diamond.  It's a super fun interview, so let's get to it!


Hello Seth!  Thanks for stopping by the blog today to chat with us.  

Hello, Michaela and her blog! It is of much happy that I am your guest this day, but I think of it a great shame that you speak not of the blessed Trothen tongue. I will do of my best to speak of the clear in your tongue… I mean, to clear of the tongue… I wish that you understand of me and my words. Your tongue is hard.



So, I hear you enjoy a bit of alchemy.  What's your favorite aspect of being an alchemist?


I love of the creation. I love to see of the chemicals making something new. It is much of a mystery at the times what chemicals can create, and I love to find of the mysteries. It is the hope of mine that I will create of the chemicals something good to help people. My sisters understand not how my alchemy works, and I do as well love to know something they do not.


Can you explain a little bit about when you were locked up in an old watchtower?  Sounds scary!


It was, as you say, scary! I do not know of how I came there. I woke of myself there without another person, and my leg was much broke. The pain was of greatness, but I can not leave. I am thankful of the rescue since there are bad men trying of to find me and my head.


What was it like growing up with so many sisters?


Yes, I have of six sisters. They are much in the follow of me, so I must be in careful of my words because they will read of this all and jump of me in my sleep. I enjoy of my sisters, even though they enjoy of wrestling me and trying to be of smarter in everything. They can all defeat of me by the sword and that is why I look to be of smarter than they in alchemy. It is of great fun.


Can you tell us a bit about what it was like to meet Diamond for the first time?


 She is much of the quiet. Not like my sisters. And she was much scared of me, though I do not understand of why. I guess she is of a mystery like my alchemy.


What's your favorite -- or least favorite! -- part of learning the Rohesian language?  


 It is least favorite to speak. I mean, I enjoy not speaking of the tongue. It is much hard. But you guess of that by my words here. I am of sorry that I stumble much. You need of to learn the blessed Trothen tongue. It is much of easy. 



Thanks so much for stopping by, Seth!  

What a fun interview this was!  I can't wait to read more about him in Kirsten Fichter's Diamond, a Rapunzel retelling that just happens to be releasing May 13th...which is TODAY! 



SYNOPSIS
This time, Rapunzel's not the one stuck in the tower, but the secrets he brings with him may cost her own life. 
Diamond leads a quiet life with the woman she calls Mother. There isn't much to pass the time save for excursions in the forest and one-sided conversations with her pet rabbit, Hobie. Men are cruel beings who care only for themselves and must be avoided at any cost. After all, Diamond's own father gambled her away once. What other terrible fates might await her if people knew she existed?

Seth Stendahl is an alchemist with a middling proficiency in the Rohesian tongue. After growing up with and surviving six sisters, there shouldn't be anything too difficult for him to master - except maybe breaking his leg and being locked in the top of a ruined watchtower.  

This is Rapunzel with a twist like you've never seen it before.  

Once Upon a Twist #3 


Order on AMAZON GOODREADS

Explore the rest of the series HERE 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who loves being the wife to her favorite person ever, mommy to two precious beings, a piano enthusiast, a dragon buff, a serious bookworm, and an INFP synesthete.  Fairytales have always fascinated her, and she has made it her goal to rewrite as many as possible and become known as the "Grimm Dickens" (i.e. mixing Grimm fairytales with a Dickens style).  Diamond: A Rapunzel Story is her third published fairytale retelling. You can find out more about her on her blog, A Synesthete Writer. 
BLOG | GOODREADSFACEBOOK INSTAGRAM AMAZON

Will you be picking up a copy of Diamond?  Did you enjoy the interview with Seth? 
Stay tuned tomorrow for my second post in this tour -- a review of Kendra E. Ardnek's Rapunzel retelling, Misfortune! See you then!