Indie E-Con Is Here!

indie econ 2018

Indie e-Con begins TODAY, and there are so many exciting things going on! This year’s focus is on genres and instructional posts, which hopefully you will find helpful.

Here is a quick schedule of events:

Monday, 5/21 – Romance

Tuesday, 5/22 – Mystery

Wednesday, 5/23 – Historical Fiction

Thursday, 5/24 – Contemporary

Friday, 5/25 – Science Fiction

Saturday, 5/26 – Fantasy

What is Indie e-Con?

Indie e-Con is for readers and writers who love the idea of attending a comic-con, but lack the funds or time to attend one! Now you can get all the benefits of attending a writing conference from the comfort of your living room! Maybe you want to learn some tips to improve your own writing craft. Perhaps you just want to find some new authors and books to read. Do you simply love indie fiction and want to celebrate the hidden gems that can be found there? Then Indie e-Con is for YOU!

Where can I find Indie e-Con?

I’m so glad you asked! First of all, you should sign up for the FACEBOOK EVENT, which will have all sorts of exciting information, word wars, and a meet and greet of the participating authors starting at 10am CST TODAY and lasting pretty much all day long.

For general information and to see a list of this year’s participating authors, check out THIS PAGE.

Hope to see you all there!

 

~ jenelle

Interview with a Spook

After Blog Tour Banner

I walk down Sweeps Alley, a small slip of paper in my hand until I find the right place. I am excited to be here, but also a little nervous. Based on what I’ve read, the Black Quarter isn’t the safest place, even in the daylight. The door is weathered and nondescript, the handle scratched from many years of use. I knock, and a young man opens the door. With his pale hair artfully mussed and a stylish bowler hat placed on his head at a cocky angle, I recognize him immediately.

“Ivan,” I smile and hold out a hand. “I am so very pleased to meet you. Do you have a minute to answer a few questions?”

door-2364338_640“I always have time for a pretty lady,” Ivan says as he takes my hand and kisses it. He then drops my hand and steps aside to invite me in. The room is sparsely furnished, and smoke leaks from the wrought iron stove in the corner. An older gentleman snores softly from a cot near the stove. “Don’t mind Pop. He’ll sleep through anything,” Ivan says as I settle myself onto the bench by the table and gratefully accept the biscuit he offers me. After reading his stepbrother raving about them, I am excited to try one. “So. I was told you had some questions for me.”

I bite into the biscuit and close my eyes, savoring it. Eli was right, they truly are “pure, fluffy heavenliness.” I take a moment to enjoy the bite and then pull out my pen and notebook. “First of all, my readers are very interested to hear about you and your world. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your family?”

Ivan settles across from me, his eyebrows pulling together. “My family? Well, that’s rather complicated,” he begins with a careless shrug. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather talk about something else? I see you wear a ring: are you married? He’s a lucky fellow.” Ivan winks and seems amused at my reaction… I’m guessing my face is an interesting shade of red. “Oh, fine. I live here in Sweep’s Alley with my father, my little brother Victor, and my stepbrother, Eli. Er, Conrad Ellis the Third. You can’t forget the Third: he gets his knickers in a twist when people do. Victor stays home with Pop most days, or goes to Josef’s smithy to see his friend, Puck. Conrad and I work for the spook yard and that keeps us pretty busy. I do the cooking, and Conrad makes all the rules. He’s always making rules,” he mutters as he removes his hat and frowns at it. “That’s about it, I guess. My mother and stepmother have both passed on. Ever bless them.” His voice trails off into an awkward silence.

I grin at him. He is debonaire and easy to chat with, just like I imagined he’d be. Even his teasing is obviously just in good fun. “Can you please explain what it is you do as a spook? We don’t have those in our world.”

 “We spend our evenings searching the streets for creepers. You know about those, don’t you? Oh, well, let’s just say the dead don’t stay dead in my world. And when they come back…well, they don’t remember who they are and can be riled quite easily. We do our best to round them up and release them outside the city, into the Neverway. Conrad is the best spook we’ve ever had. Everyone says so. Somehow he just seems to know where to find the creepers.” It sounds like he admires his stepbrother, even if he doesn’t appreciate all the rules.

I shudder a little at the idea. “So, are the creepers dangerous? You talk about them getting riled… what does that mean?”

Ivan hesitates. “Creepers are like any wild animal. They’re harmless if left alone, but if you frighten or hurt one…they can be brutally violent. I don’t think they mean to be. They just react on instinct. If you ever come across one, especially one that’s riled–” He pauses abruptly, holding my gaze. “Just get out of there as quick as you can. Your life might depend on it.”

I nod, my expression serious to let him know that I’m not going to do anything stupid. I don’t plan on spending much time in this world, but my itinerary isn’t always my own… especially when I’m chasing Mr. Fairchild through the FictionVerse. I take another bite of biscuit and change the subject. “What is the one thing you most want in life?”

Ivan stands up to get himself a cup of coffee and returns with a tin mug for me as well. He takes a slow sip before answering. “Well, now, that’s a hard one. Conrad would say life is hard and it’s not worth wanting things you can never have, but me? I kind of like to think that things can be better. You just have to work to change your circumstances. I think, if I had a choice, I’d like to somehow get a marker and join my other stepbrother Roman in the Citadel. He works for the royal guard. But it’s hard, you know? Markers are really hard to come by. Folks like us don’t leave the Black Quarter often. It’s just the way it is.” He grows quiet again, but then he tosses his bowler into the air with an artful spin and catches it on the way back down. “But that won’t stop me from trying.”

I hold the cup of coffee, warming my hands. Then I take a small sip. Fictional coffee tastes like any hot beverage you want it to… I learned that the first day on the job! “Along similar lines…” I narrow my eyes, pinning him with a thoughtful gaze. “If you could change one thing about your world, what would it be and why?”

Ivan snorts loudly. “Conrad. I mean it. He’s such a crank, so grim and disapproving and always ordering me about like I don’t have a mind of my own. He open-air-museum-3381871_640won’t listen to a thing I have to say. He thinks Victor is too young to work and needs to stay home, but all the other boys his age have been apprenticed for years. He’s doing the boy no favors by holding him back. And he seems to think he’s the head of this house and is always talking over my father like he doesn’t have a say in any important decisions. Yeah, I know Pop isn’t perfect. He’s made some bad decisions, and he used to drink a lot after Mama passed away, but he’s still my father, you know? I just wish Conrad would make peace with him. That we could try to be a normal family for once.” Ivan shrugs again and returns his bowler to his head, carefully setting it into place without messing up his hair. “But I suppose that’s too much to ask for, eh? Conrad is stuck in his ways. I doubt he’ll ever change.”

I grin knowingly. He’s right, Conrad is a grump, but that’s what I love about him, though I probably shouldn’t mention that to Ivan. I’m not sure how he will take this next question, so I ask it tentatively, “Can you tell me about…. Spinning?”

He leans back in his seat and studies me as if appraising me with fresh eyes. “You came prepared, didn’t you?” he asks with a quirk of a smile. He glances toward the door and then leans toward me, hands cupped around his mug of coffee. When he speaks, his voice has dropped to a whisper. “Spinning is illegal in this world so this conversation shouldn’t be taken lightly. Spinners are people with magical gifts. They can do things normal people can’t. Most of these spinners are harmless, just normal people trying to make a living, but every once and a while you find a dark spinner, someone who is trying to use the power of the Underworld to do terrible things.” He stops speaking and stares at me, hard. “These spinners have made life miserable for the others.” Ivan begins to say something else but then gives his head a slight shake. “I’m afraid that’s all I can say on the subject.”

I smile slightly to myself, then push myself away from the table. I am loath to go, as this has been a pleasant interview. “Thank you so much for chatting with me, Ivan, my readers and I really appreciate it. One final question before I go… if you could say something to your author, what would it be?”

Ivan stands slowly and stares down at the coffee cup he left on the battered wooden table. He traces one finger around the rim. “That’s a question I’ve asked myself many times,” he begins quietly. “I know the author often has as little control over the story as I do, but there are times…there are times I wish she could have written my story differently. I mean, why couldn’t she write fluffy unicorn and fairy stories?” He stops with a rueful laugh. “But I suppose there wouldn’t be a place for me in such a story, would there? This is my world, my home, and whatever happens to me and mine, I believe it happens for a reason. To serve a purpose.” He looks up from his cup at last, his eyes intense and filled with hidden shadows. “I suppose I would tell her that I understand. And can she please give Conrad a more bearable personality in the next book?”

Caught between a laugh and a sob, I hold out my hand to him. He cannot know the difficulties that lie ahead, and I cannot tell him. But as he shakes my hand, I try to pass some strength to him, some measure of comfort to help him keep his mask in place as he fulfills his self-appointed role of levity and cheer in this dark place. He shakes my hand, then kisses it once more, sighing regretfully over my ring, which makes a laugh well up within me, chasing away any tears I may have shed for his future.

I exit the cottage and find a small nook where I can use my badge to return home without causing any ruckus, I can’t wait to type up this interview and share it with my readers!

Savannah-JezowskiSavannah Jezowski lives in a drafty farmhouse in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor, a wee warrior princess, and two English Springer Spaniels. She is the author of When Ravens Fall and The Neverway Chronicles. Her work has been published in Ray Gun Revival, Mindflights and in the student publication of Fountains at Pensacola Christian College. She is also a featured author in Five Enchanted Roses from Rooglewood Press and Mythical Doorways from Fellowship of Fantasy. She likes books, faeries, writing hats and having tea with her imaginary friends.

Connect with Savannah online:

Website— Facebook — Instagram— Goodreads 

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. You can explore the world of After by entering to win a signed paperback from the author! (US only.)

GIVEAWAY

~ jenelle

After Blog Tour: Guest Post

After Blog Tour Banner

Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to my friend, Savannah Jezowski! Today, I am helping her celebrate the recent release of her novel: After. You might remember that I read and reviewed the book earlier this year, and that Savannah is one of my fellow Five Enchanted Roses sister-authors. If you have not yet become acquainted with this author, I would like to take this moment to tell you that you are missing out. You definitely need to pick up one of her books post-haste!

At the very least, you’ll want to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!! You could win a signed copy of After!

But today is not about what I have to say. I invited Savannah over to talk a little bit about After and how it relates to her Five Enchanted Roses novella: Wither, so let me step aside and give her the floor….

Savannah Jezowski Book Banner

Thank you, Jenelle, for inviting me to share this post today. When you asked if I’d like to share which story idea/set of characters came first, After or Wither (in the Five Enchanted Roses collection), I was immediately intrigued by the question. It’s actually a complicated question.

The original concept of the Neverway came with After. I wrote a novella called After for the Five Glass Slippers contest by Rooglewood Press like five or six years ago. I can’t even remember now. But the story I wrote for the contest (and the characters in it) only vaguely resemble to story I published as a full-length novel. As I said it, it was a Cinderella story with a gender swap. Conrad Ellis the Third was my masculine Ella and there was a feisty Asian princess instead of a Prince Charming. But the plot was forced, and the characters just didn’t want to work with me or the story I was trying to tell. Conrad did NOT want a glass slipper, and Fen didn’t want to be a princess. So I put it away.

Then I wrote Wither for the next Rooglewood contest instead. I was so in love with the world of After, I was determined to give it a second try. This time I went far away from the ancient city of Pandorum and deep into the mountains of the Neverway. And this time…the characters and the world just blossomed. The Neverway and the overall plot thread began to take shape in my mind as I realized how I could take my original concepts and turn the world of the Neverway into a series. Corwin of Briarstone Abbey and Bet Haverly and her family became as familiar to me as family.

I had intended to simply pick up where Wither ended (with Specter, which will be coming later this summer), but I couldn’t get Conrad and his family out of my head. There was so much backstory that needed to be told before I could move on with the plotline I began in Wither. So I went back to After. It took me two editors, more betas than I can count, and more revisions and tears than I care to admit…but the characters in After finally became real to me. They had their own story to tell, and it wasn’t until I gave up trying to tell a Cinderella story and a Rapunzel story that the true heart of After revealed itself. This novel isn’t a fairy tale retelling, but there are elements and hints from several tales sprinkled throughout which will be revisited and developed in later stories. After finally became a story of its own. And it was in the last round of revisions that Ivan emerged from the background as a static, minor character into a living, breathing major character. The story is Conrad’s (or Eli’s, as his friends call him), but this story is almost equally Ivan’s. He had his own story that needed to be told and I’m so glad I finally listened and let him tell it.

And that’s it, folks. The Neverway’s journey is kind of a mess of dates and facts and stories all running together…but isn’t that what all stories are in the beginning?

So perhaps you’re now wondering…what order should you read these stories in? Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you begin with Wither or After. They are each stand alone stories that hint at more to come. I consider After to be Book One and Wither is a sort of stand alone novella. My advice, read which ever one interests you most. You see familiar faces in both stories, no matter which order you read them in. I hope you enjoy your adventures in the Neverway, and the characters you find trying to survive in this dark, but magical world. 

Thanks for having me today, Jenelle! I’ve enjoyed sharing the journey of The Neverway Chronicles with you. 


So happy to have you over, Savannah! And thanks for explaining how these stories came to be… I would never have guessed After was originally supposed to be a Cinderella-type story!

after-final-kindle-cover“Some people might say that there are worse fates than death. In some worlds, perhaps that may well be the case. But in mine, it would be a lie. There is no greater horror than that which comes after death.”

On the streets of an ancient city, with creepers wandering at will and a mysterious assassin leaving corpses all over Pandorum, a young Spook with a dark secret will do anything to keep his brothers safe, even from forces that threaten to tear them apart from within. While others are searching for impossible cures from outlawed Spinners, Conrad Ellis III does not believe in fairy tales and miracles. But when he discovers a strange girl with shrouded ties to the Assassin, Eli is forced to leave the streets he loves and travel into the very heart of Pandorum in order to save a member of his family. With his health failing and the danger escalating, there is no escaping the inevitable truth. Today, he may hunt creepers.

Tomorrow, he just might be one.

PURCHASE YOUR COPY TODAY (Also available in KU)

About the Author

Savannah Jezowski lives in a drafty farmhouse in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor, a wee warrior princess, and two English Springer Spaniels. She is the author of When Ravens Fall and The Neverway Chronicles. Her work has been published in Ray Gun Revival, Mindflights and in the student publication of Fountains at Pensacola Christian College. She is also a featured author in Five Enchanted Roses from Rooglewood Press and Mythical Doorways from Fellowship of Fantasy. She likes books, faeries, writing hats and having tea with her imaginary friends.

Follow Savannah online:

Website— Facebook — Instagram— Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!

Explore the world of After by entering to win a signed paperback from the author! (US only.)

GIVEAWAY

What do you think, dear Reader? Does this story sound amazing? (Spoiler: It is!!!) It is high on my list of “recommended reads”! Also, Savannah mentioned Ivan a little bit in her post… well, as an extra-special treat, I will be interviewing him later this week, so make sure you swing by, because you won’t want to miss that!

~ jenelle

10 Things I Loved About Common

CommonThis book tore my heart out numerous times. I can’t even express to you how many times I felt like the book could have ended so happily only to turn the page and experience the exact emotions of Luke Skywalker upon discovering that Darth Vader is his father!

I just finished this book last night and I am still processing. There were a lot of emotions throughout this story, and trying to sift through them is complicated. I think I’m just going to have to give you a list of the 10 things I loved about this book.

1. I’m not sure how to “title” this first point… so I’m just going to explain it, instead. This is the sort of book that has time-traveling capabilities. It’s the kind of book that pulls you in and refuses to let you go. It’s the sort of book where you lose all track of time and think, “I can’t have been reading for very long… I’ll just read one more chapter.” Only to look up and discover that your afternoon has disappeared. I love that kind of book, the kind that is so immersive that you don’t even notice you’ve spent several blissful hours reading.

2. Leah Wellstone. The main character was absolutely delightful. I tend to prefer male MCs and it can often be difficult for me to connect with female protagonists… particularly female protagonists who are telling the story from a first-person POV… so this is VERY high praise, indeed, because Leah has taken a place in my heart on the “favorite characters” list, and that is no easy feat! Unlike so many typical first-person female protagonists these days, Leah was not at all a whiny, self-absorbed, angry teenager with low self-esteem. She wasn’t a perfect Mary Sue, either. (A “Mary Sue” for those unfamiliar with the term are “perfect or idealized fictional characters who are able to perform tasks better than they should be able given their experience”) Leah was definitely not that. She had her share of flaws – she is shy, she’s a little naive and a bit too trusting at times, and she struggles with doubts about herself and whether or not she believes in the Luminate (this world’s name for God).

3. Rafe. Prince Raphael, to be exact. While there were times I wanted to step into the book and absolutely wring his neck for being terribly stupid, I just couldn’t help but love him, as well. Though he is impetuous, a bit reckless, and entirely too oblivious to how he takes his position for granted, he means well, and you just have to love him for trying so hard. Despite his flaws and youth, the author does a fantastic job showing that he truly does have the makings of a great leader and king…

4. Unexpected twists and turns. Another thing I loved about this book was how it kept me on the edge of my seat. I had no idea where it was going to go next. Leah runs into several obstacles throughout the story and with each one I was left wondering, “How in the world is she going to overcome that?” She always had a plan of some kind, but I could never predict what it would be.

5. This is another point I don’t have a name for… Emotional Investment, maybe? The story ripped my heart out multiple times… not just once, like normal stories… but it also did a good job stitching the pieces back together.

6. Friendship/Romance. I loved how Rafe and Leah were friends, and how it was obvious that they had been friends their whole lives, before they fell in love. I’m not always a huge fan of romance, but the kind I tend to like best is the kind that just sort of happens naturally and feels believable as the story unfolds. This was exactly the sort and amount of romance I enjoy in a story. There were emotions and a couple of kisses, but even though their romance was central to the story, it wasn’t overpowering and the plot and character development came first. I also loved that part of the building blocks of their friendship came through Rafe teaching Leah to read when they were children!

7. The gentle fairy-tale elements to this fantasy novel. There was a lovely fairy-tale feel to this story, though I didn’t notice it at first. For the first three-quarters of the book, it honestly doesn’t even seem to have very many overtly “Fantasy” elements to it, either. The “not our world” medieval castle/royalty setting was the only clue to the genre for much of the story. I’m not going to give any spoilers, but there are some more fantasy elements that come through later in the story that took me pleasantly by surprise!

8. Leah’s Mother. It would have been so easy for the author to make Leah an orphan. SO EASY. But I’m just thrilled that she didn’t. Leah’s Ma is an incredible character and a wonderful mom (which was a neat side-benefit to reading this in May right before Mother’s Day) and there just aren’t enough of her kind of character in fantasy. I appreciated the tension that having her mother around added to Leah’s life and the decisions she had to make… as her mother is both strong of faith and capable as a seamstress, but also not in the best of health.

9. Gretchen. Leah’s best friend did not get a lot of page-time, but she was a fun little bundle of energetic addition to the story. I loved that Leah had a fairly normal existence. She has a good position as a chamber-maid, and even has potential to move up in the world. She has a loving mother, good friends, and even her “boss” is stern, but kind, and thinks highly of Leah.

10. The end. I can’t say ANYTHING about this because SPOILERS but I will say that it is beautiful and perfect and I did NOT think it was going to be because the story seemed determined to prevent the ending from being anything like what I was hoping for… I think the thing I appreciate most is that the author let certain characters be far more than caricatures. People can change. Circumstances and events of magnitude can change minds and stances. Even those set in their ways can learn humility and wisdom. And that is illustrated beautifully at the end of this book.

11. Honorable mention: the nuns were another favorite aspect of this story, but I really can’t say anything about them without giving away spoilers…. so…. just go read the book yourself and then we can discuss!

Five Dragon Eggs – and I can’t wait for the sequel… and I’m not even upset or bummed that the sequel is about different characters, that’s how satisfying the end was!

dragonEgg5star

~ jenelle