Write 100

Now that February is Fantasy Month is over and Minstrel’s Call has released, I am in need of a good, long winter nap. However, as winter is ending soon, as well (on the calendar, anyway… we’ll still have snow here for a while) it doesn’t look like a nap is anywhere in my near future. I have DREAMS, y’all.

Big ones. All of which involve writing multiple rough drafts this year…

Which brings me to Write 100 – a challenge to write for 100 days in a row! Anne Elisabeth brought it to my attention and I thought to myself that it sounds like just the challenge I need to get back into drafting mode. I started yesterday evening and plan to write for at least 10 minutes a day every day until the challenge ends on June 19… (which I realize is actually 112 days… but as we are planning on taking a trip somewhere in there for a week to visit family, I am going to be taking that week off, hence starting early). I know 10 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, and I definitely plan to write for longer than that most days, but there are some days (like on weekends) when I know I won’t get much writing time, and 10 minutes seems manageable.

I will be using this challenge specifically for my next rough draft.

This is me giving you permission to bug me about how I’m doing on this challenge! Definitely feel free to hold me accountable, I need it!

It is also me explaining that I’m not going to be blogging as much. I’m not going on hiatus or disappearing completely or anything, but I will probably only be posting once a week at the most.

Turrim Archive Book 3… here I come!

And, just because I love you, a couple of snippets from my new project:

The figure made a strange, inhuman noise, a rumbling sound that made Marik’s skin crawl. He had the sudden urge to flee back the way they had come. It was the same sensation he had felt once before, as a child in the woods behind his home. Evening had been approaching, and he had heard the eerie barking howl of a wylfen. He would never forget the way that sound made his skin prickle with dread. The sound coming from the shadowy man gave him that same sensation: it was the feeling of a predator stalking him, of being considered as prey.

****

The man thrust out his hand. “Hrafn,” he said, his voice short, the name sounding more like a cough than anything Marik wished to attempt repeating. “If information is all you seek, then perhaps we can come to an agreement of some kind.”

****

Marik stared over the side of the Hawk pensively. Below was an endless sea of gray; above was a matching wash of silver mist. Even at high altitudes, the cloud cover was generally thick over Melar. He was thankful for it, as it helped hide his airship from those searching for them. But it also worked against him, muddling his thoughts, making it hard for him to concentrate. The air around them was thick with fog, and droplets of water covered everything, making it difficult to stay dry. Marik didn’t mind the gloom, but he didn’t like the way the clouds obstructed his vision and made it impossible to tell in which direction the horizon lay.

“Captain?” Oleck’s gruff voice brought Marik back to the present.

“Yes, Oleck?”

Oleck just stared at him. Marik could read the struggle in the big man’s face, the way his eyes were full of pleading and hope, but the set of his jaw trembled in a never-ending battle against despair. 

~ jenelle

Coming Full Circle

February Fantasy Month Banner

Today is the last day of February is Fantasy month, and what a whirlwind of a month it was! I have loved reading your posts and seeing your answers to the hashtag game prompts and seeing the What If tag popping up all over the blogosphere! Thank you so much for helping to make this the best February is Fantasy Month yet! There is still time to join the link-up if you have written any posts that have anything to do with fantasy in the past month! And if you wanted to get to the short story challenge, but February got away from you, that’s fine! If you ever do write a story using that prompt, I’d LOVE to read it, so just let me know or tag me or something when you write it!

I’m feeling a little nostalgic today. Six years ago, almost to the day (February 29, to be exact), I became a real “published” author and released King’s Warrior into the wild. The first book in the Minstrel’s Song series, my first published novel, I had no idea what the future held for that series. I’m not a “big name” or “successful” author yet, not by a long shot. But you, dear Readers, have welcomed my stories into your homes and treasured them in your hearts. The kind reviews, emails, comments, fan art, and enthusiasm you have shared with me and displayed over my books leaves me at a true loss for words. Your encouragement and support throughout this journey so far has been overwhelming. I am convinced that nobody has better readers than I do! And so, there is something satisfying and pleasant about the symmetry of releasing Minstrel’s Call to you today, giving you this final chapter, this final stanza on the same day I gave you the first one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

It’s a little sad, leaving the world of the Minstrel. And, though I don’t yet know what they are, there may be more stories in Tellurae Aquaous in the future…

But it is also exciting, because now I get to dive in to a whole new world (haha, accidental Disney reference). And I am excited to see where it takes us, what stories it holds, what new characters are there to discover and befriend.

Adventures await us, my friend. Shall we step through the door together onto a new path and see where it goes?

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~ jenelle

After

Two grand slams in one month! I’m excited to tell you about this one, dear Reader!

I’m going to start out by saying that I’ve never been a fan of zombie stories. 

Just, keep that in mind.

When I first read the complete Five Enchanted Roses collection, one of my favorite stories was Wither by Savannah Jezowski.

Now… After is a kind of prequel story to Wither. It is set in the same world, and there is even a pretty big cameo by the characters who feature in Wither, but the story itself follows a different set of characters and their story.

When I first read Wither, I really liked the chilling setting and sort of creepy flavor it had. But when people started talking about “the zombie story” in Five Enchanted Roses, I was honestly extremely confused. See, it went straight over my head that “creepers” were, actually, her version of fantasy-themed zombies. Totally missed that!

But these are not zombies like you’ve ever seen them before. They bear all the hallmarks you’d expect… they are people who have died, but have not stayed buried like they’re supposed to. In the fantasy world of Pandorum, this strange epidemic is a problem people live with, and accept as something they can’t solve. The creepers wander aimlessly, existing somewhere between life and death, and are usually fairly placid, though loud noises can get them “riled” which makes them more dangerous.

Eli, the main character in After, is a “spook” who basically guards his section of town against creepers and helps transport them outside the city gates when he finds them.

But this is not a story about creepers. They are part of the story, but they are not the focus… in many respects, they’re not even on the main stage.

After is a story about a man and his brothers. It is a story about family and forgiveness and faith. In her Author’s Note, Ms. Jezowski says that the Neverway Chronicles are a sort of picture of what the afterlife might look like in a world where the Savior has not yet come. And that is where this story takes a hard left turn away from what a classic zombie story normally looks like. It is this lens through which the story is written that allows it to be stunningly, breathtakingly beautiful. 

Seven Things I Loved About After:

- Conrad Ellis the Third. Also known as “Eli,” is the main character and he is the heart and soul of this book. Most of the story is told from his perspective. Eli is my favorite thing about this book, and I just want to hug him… though he certainly wouldn’t appreciate that at all. The main bread-winner for his family, he shoulders far more than he should, and keeps everyone at arm’s length. He rarely shows his true emotions or says the things he’s thinking. He actually cares — with a deep, extravagant, fiercely loyal love — for those he’s let into his heart… but, of course, he doesn’t tell them that! Brooding, sarcastic, and grumpy, and with no patience for anything that he feels is impractical, Eli is an eminently likable character, despite his dour moods.

- Ivan. Ivan is Eli’s younger half-brother by seven years. He is almost the complete opposite of Eli in every way. Cheerful to a fault, and with an eye for extravagant, impractical things, you can’t help but love Ivan. The interactions between him and Eli are constantly entertaining, but there is a deeper story of respect and love between them that builds throughout the story… beneath all the little digs and jibes and sarcastic comments… and it is lovely to watch it unfold.

- The world-building. Pandorum is extremely well thought out. The way that the city is structured, with each section separated by guarded gates, until you reach the center of the city where the rich and powerful are located, was easy to follow and see. It was also neat to follow with Eli as he journeyed to the heart of the city on his assignment and see him realize that the golden heart of Pandorum was just as afflicted by problems and corruption as the Quarter, his home section of the city.

- The humor. Did I mention this book is funny? I know that might seem weird to find in a story of this nature, but it really is. There is a sarcastic, witty sense of humor lacing its way through the book, and Eli himself has a rather dark sense of humor that I found highly entertaining.

- Brothers… the brotherly relationships throughout this book are fantastic. They are just so very real and deep and multi-faceted. There were multiple spots in the second half of this book that had me in tears. Not because the story was sad (though there are moments of that, as well), but because what was happening in the story was so perfectly beautiful and RIGHT for the story in that moment. There is a moment between Eli and Ivan where they’ve been sniping back and forth at one another and Eli realizes that he has wounded his brother deeply, and … I can’t tell you any more because: SPOILERS, but it is my favorite moment in the entire book and I couldn’t read for a bit because the pages were too blurry to move on.

- Mystery. I’ve noticed, as I’ve now read three different stories by Ms. Jezowski, that she has a habit of writing a good amount of mystery into her stories. She tends to set you down in the middle of her worlds and then race off, leaving the reader to pick up the clues of how the world works as the story unfolds. I love this habit of hers. I love exploring with the characters and having these little “Aha!” moments throughout the story as things click into place. The mystery is fun and exciting, but it isn’t so central to the story that you wouldn’t want to re-read it… if that makes sense. Knowing the answers to the mysteries doesn’t ruin the story.

- The allegory. I like allegories. Not all the time, and not when they’re too over-the-top, but when they are subtle and poignant, then I love them. This book is everything an allegory should be. It’s not a representation of our world, and it isn’t meant to be. But it asks an interesting question, and then strives to answer it, and does so with a fascinating story full of incredible characters that you will absolutely fall in love with.

Honestly, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It has completely stolen my heart, and I can’t wait for the author to write more books in this world so I can journey there again. It releases tomorrow, so you should definitely go grab a copy!

Five dragon eggs!

dragonEgg5star

~ jenelle

Minstrel’s Call Blog Tour + Giveaway Extravaganza!

Minstrels Call BLOG TOUR BUTTON - banner

Y’all.

It’s RELEASE WEEK!

Hehe… he. Yep, that about sums it up. Thanks, Pinkie Pie.

Welcome to the blog tour and giveaway extravaganza for my latest release, Minstrel’s Call!

Maybe not a true “extravaganza,” but it’s a fun word to put on the invitations! We have so many fun things planned over the next two weeks, it is almost ridiculous.

But before we get into all the details, I just want to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you, dear Reader, for sticking with me. For encouraging me. For rooting for me. For leaving comments on this blog, for following me on facebook and twitter and instagram…. and possibly even on my poor, neglected Pinterest. Thank you for reading my posts, for reading my books, for loving my characters. Thank you for leaving reviews, for telling your friends, for bringing others along with you. Thanks for sending me fan art. Thank you for your patience. I’m not the fastest writer, and I don’t churn out books quickly, and I appreciate how long some of you have waited for this final chapter. Some of you have been waiting since King’s Warrior’s first publication under a different title, even! To you especially, I tip my hat. Without you, dear Reader, this whole endeavor wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

But let’s get to the exciting stuff, shall we?

First of all, a SALE!

To celebrate the release of Minstrel’s Call, the first three books in the series — King’s Warrior, Second Son — are each being offered at the special, discounted price of just 99 cents, and Yorien’s Hand is on sale for just $1.99 from February 27 – March 6!

(Sorry about that, dear Reader. I thought I had scheduled Yorien’s Hand to be 99 cents as well, but I must have hit the wrong button when scheduling things. Sigh. Well, 4 books for under $5 on 2/27 & 2/28 is still a pretty good deal! And if something had to go wrong with the release, this is a pretty small thing… right?)

Here is the official teaser:

Minstrel's Call Cover

MINSTREL’S CALL

War threatens. The game board is set. But the Minstrel is missing…

Advancing his growing power, the Dread Prince breaks free of his prison and brings a faction of dragons under his control, stirring unrest and hatred in the newly united kingdoms of Tellurae Aquaous.

When the dragon wards of Kallayohm are targeted in a ruthless attack, the High King travels there to administer justice. But the trial results in a crippling blow that leaves him reeling.

On the heels of defeat, an unexpected message from the erstwhile Minstrel arrives, pleading with his friends for rescue. Together, the High King and his companions must follow the fragile trail, braving peril and darkness that will test the measure of them all…

 

Second, the BLOG TOUR!

So many fabulous bloggers have signed up to help out with the blog tour for Minstrel’s Call, I am quite honestly staggered. These folks are simply amazing. They will be posting about the book’s release, some of them are interviewing me or my characters, and a few of them had me over for guest posts. You won’t want to miss that. And make sure to pop back in here occasionally over the next two weeks, as I’ll be sharing some snippets and other things.

Blog Tour Schedule

Third, a FACEBOOK PARTY!

FB Party

I’m teaming up with a couple of other authors who are also releasing their new books this week. We have quite an awesome line-up of authors coming to chat about their books and various other writing-related topics. The FACEBOOK PARTY is on Wednesday, February 28th from 6pm – 9:15pm EST. I’ll be running the 8:15 – 8:45 time-slot (that’s Eastern Time)… there will also be GAMES, GIVEAWAYS, TRIVIA, and more! You won’t want to miss it!

Fourth, a GIVEAWAY!

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for the chance to win one of three fabulous prizes: a signed paperback copy of Minstrel’s Call, a 252-piece puzzle featuring Angelina’s watercolor cover art, and a DRAGON SWORD! Sadly, the dragon sword is not a replica of the Fang Blade. Someday, I dream of commissioning an actual Fang Blade through somebody like the Baltimore Knife and Sword Company… but that is not this day. So, instead, I found this lovely creation on Amazon, and as dragons and swords are both important fixtures throughout the entire series, I thought it would be a good stand-in until such a time as I have the financial ability to offer something more accurate.

Giveaway Graphic

The giveaway is open to all countries and territories. However, due to the restrictions that the standard postal office has for shipping weapons (even of the decorative or cos-play variety), and the lack of any reliable dragons to carry them for me… should anyone outside the Continental USA win the Dragon Sword, I will substitute that prize with a $35-Amazon gift card (the approximate cost of the sword).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

~ jenelle