February is Fantasy Month: 2019 Schedule + Hashtag Game

February Fantasy Month Banner

Welcome to the FOURTH ANNUAL February is Fantasy Month Extravaganza!

This year’s fantasy month is going to be a little different than our regularly scheduled programming. Starting today and going through the entire month of February, over TWENTY bloggers have banded together to bring you awesome content about all things fantasy-related. From some of our favorite fantasy things to helpful tutorials and writing tips to character interviews to reviews, this event is going to be EPIC!

There is also a hashtag game you are welcome to play along with over on facebook/twitter/instagram. And next Tuesday I’ll be introducing a fun blog tag, so there are plenty of ways for you to jump on board the fantasy flagship and fly off to join the fantasy fun! (Also, alliteration continues to be king)

First off, the hashtag game:

Fantasy Month 2019 Hashtag prompts


As you can see, this year’s “theme” is “Fantasy Favorites” and I look forward to hearing all about your favorite fantasy-related things!

And now for the schedule! I will be updating this with the links to actual posts (as opposed to the generic ones that just get you to each blog) as the month progresses. There will be posts scheduled Monday through Saturday each week in February.

CLICK HERE for more details!

February 1

Jenelle Schmidt - Tour Schedule
Selina J. Eckert - Fantasy Favorites

February 4

Crystal Crawford - World Building
Katy Huth Jones - Book Review
Jenelle Schmidt – Fantasy Month Prize

February 5

Deep Magic - Fantasy Favorites
Jenelle Schmidt - A Game of Tag
Laura VanArendonk Baugh - Research and Writing Fantasy
Elizabeth Koetsier – 5 Books Containing Fantastic World Building

February 6

Nicki Chapelway - Fantasy Sub-Genres

February 7

Jenelle Schmidt - Author Spotlight: Terry Brooks

February 8

Kyle Robert Shultz - Non-Human Characters

February 9

Amelia Nichole - Fantasy Review Compilation
Lila Kims - Fantasy Sub-Genres

February 11

Katy Huth Jones – Book Review
Crystal Crawford - Swoonworthy Heroes
Savannah Jezowski - Favorite Characters

February 12

Laurie Lucking - Making “Bad” Characters More Likeable
Jenelle Schmidt - Favorite Fantasy Movies

February 13

Nicki Chapelway - Characters

February 14

Melissa Rose Gardiner - Review of “Greta and the Goblin King”
Jenelle Schmidt - Classic Fantasy

February 15

Selina J. Eckert - All About Fantasy Genres

February 16

Amelia Nichole - Worldbuilding Basics
Laura Matthias Bendoly - Scenery Behind the Tale

February 18

Katy Huth Jones - Book Review
Crystal Crawford - Advice for Villains: How to Destroy a Prophetic Hero

February 19

Jenelle Schmidt - My Favorite Tropes

February 20

Nicki Chapelway - All About Plots
Kendra E. Ardnek - Interview with Maid Marian

February 21

DJ Edwardson - A Reluctant Scholar’s Guide to Medieval Research
Jenelle Schmidt - Favorite Sub-Genre and Recommendations
Jackie Castle - Archetypes

February 22

Kyle Robert Shultz - Review of Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

February 23

T.R. Gemmell

February 25

Katy Huth Jones - Book Review
Savannah Jezowski

February 26

JL Mbewe
Jenelle Schmidt

February 27

Nicki Chapelway

February 28

Nicola Pike
Lauricia Matuska
Jenelle Schmidt

~ jenelle

Change in Plans

The best laid plans, eh?

I apologize, dear Readers, but my entire family came down with a stomach bug yesterday, and it caught up with me today. Unfortunately, this means that I won’t be posting today’s read-along post. I’m barely coherent enough to write this, but you all deserved to know what was going on.

I’m not sure when I’ll be feeling better, hopefully by tomorrow, but then I’m going to be trying to play catch-up on all the things in life, so I’ve made the decision to take the rest of the week off of posting for the read-along. I already have the February is Fantasy Month kick-off post mostly ready to go for Friday, so that will post as planned, but we won’t get back to the read-along until Monday of next week. Hopefully the extra time will be nice and not annoying for y’all. This does mean the read-along will go a couple of days into March, but hopefully that’s not a problem for anyone!

Thanks for your understanding!

~ jenelle

Second Son Read Along: Chapter 16

Good afternoon! Can I just quickly take a moment to let you know about a super awesome giveaway I’m participating in? It’s How to Train Your Dragon-themed and we’re giving away a TON of HTTYD swag! The original soundtrack on CD, the blu-ray of the first 2 movies, a plush nightfury AND a plush lightfury, a super cool t-shirt, the “Official Book of Dragons,” and the entire 10-book boxed set of How to Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell…. I… really wish I could enter this giveaway. LOL You can read more and enter the giveaway HERE.

Okay… back to our regularly scheduled programming. Getting around to posting a bit earlier this afternoon! Everyone in my house is sick today, so that’s fun – I guess if we all have to be sick, might as well be during a week when the wind-chills are supposed to hit -50 to -65 and it’s not like there’s anything else to do, right? I hope you are well and cozy wherever you are!

Second Son Read Along

Yesterday, we left Brant in the care of some good people. Today, let’s start out by meeting a new character, and a somewhat familiar one…

My time is ending…

King Jairem has ruled Aom-igh as its king for forty-three years. But he is growing old now, and feels the end of his reign and life are near at hand. And despite the peace that his country has enjoyed, he also fears for its future. He has no heir to pass the throne to, and fears for his people should he die without naming someone as his successor. It is apparent that both he and Scelwhyn have been searching for someone with a legitimate claim to the throne for some time, and Scelwhyn now informs his king that he may have found the correct person for the job.

Meanwhile, back in Llycaelon…

Seamas learns that the man he sent his people after has slipped through his grasp. Llewana and Tobias do their best to conceal the part they played in Rhoyan’s escape, and even question whether or not it really was the prince, claiming their belief that Rhoyan died on his journey with Sheyardin, as had been previously assumed.

Seamas reveals that the king died in the night, and his friends do their best to comfort him in the loss of his father, as well as his brother.

Who knows if things would have turned out differently if Seamas had been told the truth? That Rhoyan willingly abdicated all possibility of being crowned in favor of his brother and had put himself into self-appointed exile? But Tobias and Llewana, true friends of Seamas though they are, do not quite trust him or the counselors around him.

Brant grew to love this life he had stumbled into

Across the sea in Aom-igh, Brant has found a family to replace the one he lost in Llycaelon. He has found it easy to fall in love with his new home, to settle into the peaceful routine of a simple life, to leave his adventures behind.

After all the trials and heartbreak of the first half of the book, I really needed to give Brant a few moments of breathing space. I don’t torture my characters on purpose, nor do I do it gleefully, though I do acknowledge that a story without conflict is generally a boring one. I hope that these moments on the farm have given you a feeling of rest and respite, even as they have soothed Brant’s weary soul.

But Arnaud dreams of adventure. And when two strangers dine with them one evening, he voices his desire for something a little bit more exciting than what his life has held thus far.

It is a puzzle…

King Jairem is more than impressed with the young man Scelwhyn has discovered. But Scelwhyn himself is puzzled by the appearance of Brant and his obvious familiarity with this family. The wizard feels that there is something more to this young man, something he is missing, and yet he fears that his time, too, is growing short.

Jairem laughs off Scelwhyn’s concerns. “Given a few days, they probably would have adopted us, too.”

Euphie and Barr are perhaps my picture of who I would like to become. The hospitality they extend to everyone who crosses their threshold is admirable and it is a standard I strive to live up to. I hope that my home is always that welcoming to any who happen across it. It is strange, is it not, that we authors can write characters we ourselves look up to?

Discussion Questions:

 Okay… where did my discussion questions go? I had them earlier… I know I wrote them… at least, I think I did… Ahem. Well… let’s try this again, shall we?
1. There were quite a few sweet/deep moments in this chapter. Did any of them in particular jump out at you? Why did that scene or line strike a chord with you?
2. Are you more like Brant: you’ve had a life full of adventures and now you just want a peaceful life? Or Arnaud: you’ve had a pretty peaceful life and you think you’d like maybe just ONE good adventure?

~ jenelle

Second Son Read Along: Chapter 15

Second Son Read Along

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! It snowed here last night (FINALLY!!) and later this week we’re supposed to hit windchills of -40 to -50 degrees! (But hey, all the creepy-crawlies around here are all well and truly dead… so that’s a plus)!

Remember, this is the last full week of read-along posts because FEBRUARY IS FANTASY MONTH starts on Friday! I’ve got 20+ bloggers signed up to bring you all sorts of fantasy awesomeness on their blogs, and I’ll be posting the schedule and more info on Friday morning before the afternoon read-along post. Then, through February, we’ll alternate: M/W/F posts for the read-along, with T/TH posts about fantasy stuff.

(I’m already getting some of my posts written, but if you have ANY requests of things for me to write about for my FIFM posts, please let me know in the comments and I’ll try to accommodate!)

Today we begin the second part of this book. Rhoyan has a new name (Brant), he’s on a new adventure, and I’m sure exciting times are ahead of him, so let’s find out what he’s up to, shall we?

The chase is on

Poor Brant! Even slipping away under the cover of darkness is not enough to keep him safe. Scarcely has he begun to flee than he realizes that he is being chased.

As he flees, desperately racing to stay ahead of the larger vessel, Brant avoids sleep as much as possible. I was kind of shooting for the same feel I get whenever I watch “The Spirit of St. Louis” – if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it – but for a good part of the movie you’re just watching Charles Lindberg struggling to stay awake so he doesn’t crash his plane in the Atlantic Ocean! I didn’t want to drag that out, but I did want to capture that sort of feeling.

Thus, when a storm hits and he needs his wits the most… they abandon him and he curls up in his cabin and falls asleep, unable to sort out what to do to keep himself and his ship intact.

Miraculously, the ship makes it through the storm and gets tossed up on the jagged rocks of an unfamiliar shore.


A vast desert stretched in every direction

Confession time: I’ve never been to a desert. The closest I’ve ever gotten was the sand dunes on Lake Michigan. (No comparison at all, I know). But they feature heavily in Second Son and King’s Warrior for a couple of reasons. 1) I grew up watching movies like Lawrence of Arabia, The Black Stallion Returns, Sahara, and Capricorn One, in which deserts kind of featured a lot, and I think they just kind of strike me as mystical places. 2) When I was writing King’s Warrior, my family and I went to Lake Michigan and spent some time walking around on the beach. It was too cold to go swimming, but warm enough for shorts, and I was the only one wearing shorts. It was also ridiculously windy, and the sand kept blowing against my bare legs and stinging really bad… and my family just laughed at me as I walked along going, “ow! Ow! OW!!!!!!”

From that experience, the Harshlands were born. I picture them as a sort of cross between the Sahara desert (though not nearly so big) and the Arizona canyons and deserts of red rocks and shale. Somewhat barren and lifeless… and yet with a majestic beauty that cannot be denied.

“Let the prophecy take me… I have reached the end.”

After days at sea, hours in the desert, dehydrated, sore, weary, his skin ripped to shreds by the relentless wind and stinging grains of sand, and beginning to struggle against severe paranoia, Brant reaches the end of his own strength. For the first time in his life, he gives up and acknowledges that there is nothing more he can do.

And it is at this moment, that help arrives.

“Do you need help?”

The appearance of a young man, about his own age, offering help is hard for Brant to accept. Not because he doesn’t want help, but because he has learned to be distrustful. But he is at the end of his rope and so he follows the young man home, where he instantly feels more out of place than he has ever felt in his entire life!

However, these people welcome him with open arms. They care for him, tend his wounds, feed him, and Barr even offers him a job in return for room and board, an offer Brant gladly accepts. He is ready to begin a new life: a simple life on a farm with kind and caring people and perhaps a new friend, as well.

Discussion Questions:

1. What did you think of the Harshlands?
2. Were you “taken in” by Brant’s dream?
3. What do you think of Arnaud and his family?



~ jenelle