The Last Motley Blog Tour

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Welcome to the virtual book tour for The Last Motley by Grace Award nominated author DJ Edwardson.

To celebrate the book’s release the digital version is being offered at the special discounted price of 99 cents, now through February 17th. In addition, you’re invited to come along on a virtual treasure hunt visiting some of the places featured in the novel. And to help you along your journey, we’re giving away a few prizes, too. So how ’bout them apples?
last motley fantasy book tour

Today’s stop is:

Farrinhill

Located half-way between Davinsmoor and Evenspire, this seaside town is one of the lesser known gems in the Emperor’s crown. Though it is the capital of Garring Province, for years this city has had been little more than a seaside retreat for the Emperor to escape the demands of court. Recently it has grown into a thriving port in its own right.

Farrinhill’s many graystone buildings are mostly of recent construction. Colorful orange flags with a black horse stitched into them line most major streets, giving the city a festive air. Being a seaside settlement, the winter weather is milder here than most of the rest of the Halicon Empire.

There are surprisingly few open markets in the city, most merchants preferring individual shops. The leather-working and glassware shops here are likely the finest in the empire, though one must pay appropriately for such quality.

The docks here are only half the size of those in Evenspire. however, wide open beaches stretch for several miles to either side and residents celebrate special occasions in brightly pained gazebos scattered up and down the beach. Truly, Farrinhill is a wonderful city to relax and recover from at the end of a long, tiring journey.

last motley map world of arinn farrinhill

We hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the world of Arinn. If this taste has you curious, be sure to check out the full length novel set in this world.

This unique tale is not your typical fantasy novel, Yes, you’ll find monsters, dungeons, harrowing escapes, magic portals, humor, an ancient artifact, and much more — but above all, this is the story about the importance of family, faith, and the courage to do the right thing.

Here’s the official teaser:

The Last Motley

The Last Motley Fantasy Book CoverMotleys. Candy-colored creatures with dark powers to drain the souls of men. That’s what Roderick always thought. Until he met one. Now he’s not so sure. But with seemingly everyone in the province hunting the motley down, he must quickly decide which side he’s on.

Is the motley the living nightmare the legends say? Or just a child cursed by magic? Should Roderick save him from an awful fate, or turn him in? Either way, it seems like everyone wants to make sure that this will indeed be the last motley.

Be one of the first to read this unique and original fantasy novel, available now for the first time in digital format at the following online locations:

Treasures along the way

As you follow along on this virtual tour of Arinn, be sure to enter the giveaway to make your journey a little easier. Maybe you’ll be one of the ones to find treasure at journey’s end.

Here’s what we’re giving away:

last motley giveaway treasure hunt

A lovely leather journal, an autographed copy of The Last Motley, and a coloring book from the Chronicles of Narnia

You can use the journal to record your travels, the novel as your guide, and the coloring book to, well…for those rainy days when you’re stuck in the inn!

PLEASE NOTE: By entering the giveaway you agree to receive occasional email updates about DJ Edwardson’s releases, sales and book reviews. He will not share your email for any reason and you can unsubscribe at any time. Entries accepted until February 23rd.

Enter the Giveaway


Now if you’re feeling especially adventurous, there is a separate giveaway for the truly dedicated treasure hunters among you. All you have to do is collect ALL TWELVE location names on the tour (e.g. if this were for Middle-earth the answers might be Rivendell, The Shire, Mordor, Gondor, etc – basically we’re looking for the names of the places featured on each of the maps at every stop).

Once you’ve got them all, send them to:

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS

and you will be entered in a drawing to win this one-of-a-kind poster of the World of Arinn. Measuring 36″X24″ it is nearly movie poster size, printed on thick, glossy paper, and suitable for framing. In addition, the map will be signed by the author. This is a prize you won’t find anywhere else!

motley fantasy map poster world of arinn

(actual photo) It’s even more impressive in person. It’s huge!

You will not be added to the email list for this drawing. Entries accepted until February 23rd as well.

Winners for both contests will be contacted within three days of the closing of the contests.

The journey continues

There are many stops along this virtual tour. Be sure to check them all out.

Feb 6 E.E. Rawls
Feb 7 Angel Leya
Feb 8 Elise Edmonds
Feb 9 Jennette L. Mbewe
Feb 10 Jess Elliot
Feb 11 Rachael Ritchey
Feb 12 Deborah O’Carroll
Feb 13 Karlie Lucas
Feb 14 Abbey Stellingwerff
Feb 15 Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
Feb 16 Jessica Groom
Feb 17 Steven Moore

 

Thanks for joining us on this journey!

~ jenelle

Love Is In The Air + 2 Giveaways

February Fantasy Month BannerHappy Valentine’s Day!Love is in the Air

First of all, at the end of this post, I have TWO GIVEAWAYS to tell you about! First, make sure you check out the giveaway that some of the Fellowship of Fantasy authors and I have teamed up to bring you! And second, my amazing sister is having seven weeks of giveaways, and we are currently in the midst of the first one.

Today, I was planning to do a post on my top ten favorite fantasy couples… but then I could only think of six that weren’t too spoilery, and with the last one, I couldn’t remember one of the characters’ names – which was making me reevaluate whether or not they really deserved to be listed among my top favorites… and THAT made me think that maybe there was a post in there somewhere about how I’m not a huge fan of romance stories in general (I mean, I do love a well-told love story now and again, but it’s not my go-to by any stretch of the imagination). Well, then I started writing about my FAVORITE fantasy couple, and I realized that I couldn’t just talk about them in a sound bite. So, I may still do a top ten favorite fantasy “ships” at some point in the future…

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But it is appropriate in more ways than one.

While Aragorn and Arwen are often featured as the “spotlight” relationship in The Lord of the Rings, with their tragic romance that spans culture and is full of self-sacrifice and has the whole star-crossed lovers thing going for it… Eowyn and Faramir’s relationship is by far the love story I prefer. If I had just one major disappointment in Peter Jackson’s retelling of LOTR, it would be the lack of development or time he put into showing us the beautiful love story between these two characters.

Take Faramir: the second-son of Lord Denethor. I mean, that right there could tell you all you need to know about the guy. He knows he’s not the favored son. He knows he’s not going to inherit anything of worth. But he doesn’t allow that to make him bitter. Instead, he quietly and faithfully does his duty. He is so devoid of arrogance, conceit, or self-serving ambitions that even the One Ring holds little temptation for him. Faramir is the picture of a character who always, always chooses to do what is right over what is easy. When the Ring is within his grasp, and he even guesses correctly what it is, he chooses to let Frodo continue on his journey.

“But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.”

I remember my dad reading us the Lord of the Rings for the first time, and when we got to the end, I have this vivid memory of him explaining that part of the reason Boromir died was because he would not have been able to hand over Gondor to Aragorn the way that Faramir did. That there was a humility to Faramir that Boromir did not possess. Boromir was noble, and heroic (and if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know that I love him dearly), but he was also extremely proud, and it was part of his downfall.

But, lest you think Faramir’s lack of selfish ambition makes him weak, think again! No, Faramir is a warrior, and has enough pride for it to be stung by his father’s harsh words. He rides out at Denethor’s behest into a suicide mission, and his men rally to his courage, though it is not enough to turn the tide against a foe that outnumbers his band by far too many.

Then there is Eowyn. Beautiful, sorrowful Eowyn. She has lived through too much. Caring for her ailing uncle throughout his time being poisoned by Wormtongue, and her proximity to that situation causing her to swallow much of those poisonous words, herself, Eowyn feels trapped in a life she did not choose. She dreams of glory, of escaping the life of sorrow and drudgery she has lived and rising above it. This drives her to almost throw herself at Aragorn – seeing him as a possible means of escape and glory, as she knows who he is and what he is destined for – but he gently tells her his heart belongs to another. Then she seeks glory or death on the battlefield, and very nearly finds both.

If that were the end of these stories, both Faramir and Eowyn would be interesting, well-developed characters.

But the redemptive healing that they bring to each other is what makes them shine like stars in the heavens. It is this beautiful, poignant romance that springs up between these two wounded souls and heals them both that make them my favorite couple in all of fantasy fiction. The patience and gentleness that Faramir displays in his courtship of Eowyn is simply beautiful, as beautiful as the sun shining down into Eowyn’s heart at long last, when she realizes that being queen and having all the glory and honor in the world means little when compared with the honest love and tender care of the man offering her his heart.

“Eowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?”

“I wished to be loved by another,” she answered. “But I desire no man’s pity.”

“That I know,” he said. “You desired to have the love of the Lord Aragorn. Because he was high and puissant, and you wished to have the renown and glory and to be lifted far above the mean things that crawl on the earth. And as a great captain may to a young soldier he seemed to you admirable. For so he is, a lord among men, the greatest that now is. But when he gave you only understanding and pity, then you desired to have nothing, unless a brave death in battle. Look at me, Eowyn!”

And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: “Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you…. Eowyn, do you not love me?”

Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.

Even now, reading these scenes in the Two Towers and Return of the King that focus on Eowyn and Faramir get me a little choked up. Their love story is sweet and beautiful and epic and everything a love story should be.

What about you, dear Reader? Do you enjoy romance elements in your fantasy reads? Who are YOUR favorite “ships”?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!

Love is in the Air prize graphic
a Rafflecopter giveaway

But that is not all! Because Brittany Jean is also having a giveaway right now… actually, she is planning seven of them. Each week she will have a new prize or set of prizes that correspond in some way with the songs on her new album, Wander With Me.

Here is her latest music video to her title track!

Up for grabs currently she has:
1 “Be Brave” necklace
1 Bracelet with “You are Gold” written on the outside, and on the inside it says, “Save that, and throw the rest away”
1 Journal with “Don’t Lose Heart” on the cover

These prizes are so cool… I wish I were eligible to win them… but alas… this is the only problem with your favorite singer also being your sister. *grin*

HOW TO ENTER:

Like her FACEBOOK PAGE and participate in her game of Song Tag!
She’s started with “Rise and Fall”. (hint, you can purchase these songs on iTunes or listen to them on youtube if you are unfamiliar with the lyrics – you can also find the lyrics on Brittany Jean’s Website)
She has posted the first phrase of the song, and then you fill in the next!
Simple as pie.

WHEN AND HOW THE WINNER IS CHOSEN:

Once you contribute to the Song Tag, your name will be entered, and she will draw one winner at random on Saturday morning! The winner will be announced on her facebook page at 10 AM on Saturday!

Go have some fun!

Brittany Jean Giveaway

~ jenelle

Elements of Fantasy: Part 2

February Fantasy Month Banner

As promised, today I will be answering the second half of the question I started answering yesterday: What elements do you see in other genres that you wish you saw more in fantasy books/movies?

Everyday Conflicts

Most fantasy-fiction (and most spec-fiction, for that matter) tend to deal with WORLD ENDING EPICAL BATTLES GALORE AGAINST THE ULTIMATE EVIL VILLAIN OF VILLAINOUS VILLAINS! Which is awesome. I love a well-written Good vs Evil story. I have to, because I wrote that kind of story myself in both Yorien’s Hand and the upcoming Minstrel’s Call.

Gandalf: What did you hear?
Samwise: N-nothing important… that is, I heard a good deal about a ring, and a Dark Lord, and something about the end of the world…

But sometimes it would be nice to see these fantasy heroes on a more everyday scale. It doesn’t always have to be an ordinary hero going up against a Dark Lord bent on ruling the world. Sometimes, it can be an ordinary hero going up against an ordinary conflict, and that can be fantastical, too. Second Son and King’s Warrior lean more towards that scale.

This is one of the reasons I love H.L. Burke’s books so much, because her conflicts tend to be on a more everyday scale. They are serious, but not always world-threatening.

Mystery

One of the reasons I love the Dresden Files or the show Grimm, is because we get more of this everyday sort of conflict. (Not to mention that Grimm combines two of my favorite kinds of stories: Fantasy + Crime Show). I’d love to see some detective work and sleuthing skills used more in the fantasy-verse. This is one of the reasons I loved The Beast of Talesend, as well, because at its core, it was a story about a private detective in a somewhat ordinary/modern day world — that had the capacity for magic and other fantastical elements.

Speaking of world-building…

Deeper Worlds

I know that this may seem a bit contradictory to what I said yesterday when I mentioned world-building. However, because fantasy stories take place in worlds that are completely new, sometimes we only get to scratch the very surface of them. Also, because they tend to draw from the medieval era of our own history, they tend to have political systems we are familiar with but don’t really understand, and the politics of how the kingdoms work is often glossed over. We don’t really get to delve deeply into these worlds.

This is one of the reasons I love the Chronicles of Narnia — it is one of the few fantasy worlds that we get to see from Creation to Armageddon.

Also, though I did not enjoy the story very much, showing this minutiae of the inner workings of the world is something Brandon Sanderson does fairly well in the Mistborn trilogy.

Normal People

Have you ever noticed that fantasy is replete with only two classes? There are the peasants, and the royalty. There aren’t a lot of “middle class” folk who show up in fantasy. You are either following a Prince or Princess, or you’re following a peasant (usually an orphaned peasant) who has some sort of prophecy laid upon him or her and is destined to save the world! I would love to see more ordinary people ending up on adventures… which is one of the reasons I love The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson, because Roderick is as ordinary as they come… and his quest ensues because of his character, and not because of any kind of destiny. He actually CHOOSES to go on the quest, because he feels it’s the right thing to do… because he really doesn’t have to, and I love that about it (full review coming soon, I promise! I have to finish the book first, though!)

Speaking of normal people…

A Variety of Jobs

I know blacksmiths are cool. But there were so many other professions and trades in the medieval era. I’d love to see more fantasy stories about weavers or tailors or school teachers or candle-makers or shepherds or famers or really anything other than blacksmiths!

Speaking of school teachers… I’d love to see more fantasy stories include schools… but not schools for magic (those are easy enough to find). But ordinary schools like the ones in Anne of Green Gables, or boarding schools like the one in Ella Enchanted or A Little Princess are great settings for good stories… and could incorporate a lot of the elements I mentioned above.

Interestingly enough, now that I look over this list, the things I’d like to see most incorporated into Fantasy stories kind of all share a similar theme: ordinary-ness. I love the fantastical, the magical, and the imagination that resides in the fantasy genre. But, as one of my commenters said yesterday, it can’t just be window-dressing. It has to be part of the story, it has to invoke a sense of wonder and enhance the story in some way. Which is probably why stories like the ones I mentioned above all appeal to me so much. They do an excellent job of blending the fantastical with the everyday, and they do more than simply entertain — they teach me something about life, or people, or myself.

What about you, dear Reader? What are some things you’d like to see incorporated more often into the fantasy genre?

~ jenelle

Elements of Fantasy: Part 1

February Fantasy Month Banner

Today’s post is in answer to a question someone asked me a while back. They wanted to know what are some elements I see in the fantasy genre that I wish were more common in other genres, as well. And they also wanted to know if there was anything I wish I saw more in the fantasy genre.

I’ll answer the first half of that question today, and the rest of it tomorrow!

Elements I see in the Fantasy Genre that I wish were more prevalent in other genres:

Before I get started, I feel the need to add in a disclaimer: I read a LOT of fantasy. It’s the genre I prefer. However, I do and have read a lot of books in other genres, as well. Many of the books I love – regardless of genre – include these elements. Also, when I say “fantasy” I generally mean to include all of speculative fiction as well… so sci-fi, urban fantasy, superheroes, etc.

fantasy-2750995_640Imagination

Possibly the thing I love the most about fantasy is the sheer amount of expanded imagination that is both present in the writing and opened up within my own mind as I read. In fantasy, you have the potential to encounter almost anything. Talking animals, mythical beasts, enchanted weapons, realms in which the laws of science just don’t work the same way as they do in our world, time travel, magic… anything is possible in the realm of imagination, and rarely is it used anywhere as expansively as it is in the fantasy genre.

Well-Developed Characters

The characters in fantasy are by far the number one reason I read and prize this genre so highly. Set against the backdrop of impossible worlds and thrust into ridiculous scenarios, fantasy characters more often than not step boldly off the page and into my heart. Unlikely heroes, normal, everyday folk who get caught up in events so much bigger than them, fantasy characters inspire me to face my own trials with such bravery, to endure my own difficulties with quiet resolve. It’s not just the heroes, though, fantasy villains are nothing to be sneezed at – they are insidious, crafty, clever, and powerful, forces to be reckoned with. My heroes are often forced to rise far above and beyond what they thought themselves capable of in order to face down and defeat these villains.

World-Building

Fantasy books tear open portals that let us peek through windows of possibility and snatch glimpses of other worlds. Now, I suppose I can understand why things like historical fiction or biographies and non-fiction genres can’t really make use of this element to its fullest extent… and that’s their loss, really. *grin* But I’d love to see it utilized more often in other genres. The time and effort that spec fiction authors put into their worlds is simply astounding. Even if the story is set in our world… surely there are things about our world that inspire the imagination and could be expounded upon and given more attention.

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Magic

I might lose some of you here. But hang in there for a moment, because I don’t mean what you might think I mean. Yes, I do love fantasy books where the author gives his or her characters magical abilities and lets that affect the plot in various ways. However, that’s not what I’m talking about. There’s a feeling of magic, of possibility, in fantasy. In our own world, we have that same possibility – but it often gets overlooked or taken for granted. Impossible things happen daily… and so often, we miss them, or we don’t notice them. But God is at work… every second of every day… if we’d just take the moment to notice. The magical nature of fantasy – whether it be through the use of special abilities, a portal to another world, or just the fantastical setting and story – can help us notice. It often points me to deeper truths of everyday things I take for granted. Take The Chronicles of Narnia, for example. The portal that opens between our world and Narnia take the Pevensie children straight into a realm where they get to experience the weight of the ultimate redemption story and even play a role in it – and I get to travel along with them and realize the depth and meaning of my own treachery, my own powerlessness to save myself, the awful, glorious price of my own redemption, in a whole new, powerful way.

Friendship

Friendship and loyalty are often major themes in fantasy books. At least, they seem to be present in most of the fantasy books I have read. I love reading about true friendship and seeing it modeled by my favorite characters. I also appreciate that there exists a genre in which not every single relationship has to turn into one of romance.

Happily Ever After

fantasy-2998779_640Fantasy stories – as a general rule – tend to end more happily than other genres. Books based in the “real” world seem to feel the need to remind us that things don’t always end happily, that the good and virtuous don’t always win, and that the villains aren’t always defeated. Which is true… this side of heaven. But, as I wrote about last year, I am already well-aware of that fact. The happily ever afters and good triumphing over evil endings of fantasy books serve to remind me that “this is not the end, there is so much more.” It reminds me that one day, God “will wipe away every tear.” And that the true ending of this story God is writing, is, for Christians, ultimately the most beautiful and happy one of all.

 

Your turn! What are your favorite elements of the fantasy genre? Any that you would like to see migrate into other genres? I’d love to hear from you!

Also, make sure you join me tomorrow, where I answer the second half of that question and talk about things I’ve seen in other genres that I’d like to see more frequently in fantasy!

~ jenelle