Posts Categorized: Guest Post

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, & a Girl with a Golden Slipper by Laura Holt | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

September 28, 2017 Giveaway, Guest Post 0

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


Today I’m welcoming author Laura Holt to the blog to talk about the inspirations behind her Star Crossed series! Laura posted an excerpt of the first book in the series, Fathoms Below, at Bonnie’s blog a couple weeks ago, so check that out if her post piques your interest!

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, and a Girl with a Golden Slipper: The 11 Tragic Love Stories, Fairy Tales, and Greek Myths that Inspired the Star Crossed Series

Thisbe and Pyramus

Why tragic love stories? Because what is more heart-rending, nail-biting, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat than the possibility of not having a happy ending? Take Thisbe and Pyramus, for example. Theirs is the story of a pair of lovers who grew up next door to one another, yet, because of a feud between their families, were unable to be together. When they ran away to elope, Zeus, king of the gods, sent a lion to trick Pyramus into thinking that Thisbe was dead so that he would kill himself and then she, upon finding him dead, would do the same. Tragic? Yes, so much so that some scholars speculate that Shakespeare based the premise of his Romeo and Juliet on this story. Speaking of Shakespeare…

Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra

As soon as I realized I was writing a book about tragic love stories, I knew that I had to turn to the master for inspiration. Enter Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra, two more tales in which love doesn’t turn out so sweet for our heroes and heroines. For Romeo and Juliet, it ended with a dagger and poison. For Antony and Cleopatra, a snake bite and a sword to the gut. But wait, it gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Echo and Narcissus

This tale encompasses every quiet person’s unspoken fear: that the person they fall in love with will never notice them. In Echo’s case, Narcissus was too self-involved to notice her attention, and because she could only echo the things that other people said, she was unable to tell him how she felt. Instead, she got to watch him pine after himself until he wasted away. Definite devotion there, but also a little creepy, seeing as how he never knew she was watching him.

Hero and Leander

One of my favorite tales of tragic love because the lovers in it keep fighting to be together until the bitter end. The basic plot? Hero and Leander meet, fall in love, but their families don’t want them to be together, so they lock Hero in a tower on the other side of a large strait. Does Leander let that stop him? No way! He buys himself a boat and crosses the strait every night to visit his love, until he drowns, and unwilling to live without him, Hero throws herself out of the tower window onto the rocks below. Take that, fate.

Guinevere and Lancelot

Anyone who knows anything about Arthurian lore (or anyone who is a huge fan of the TV show Merlin, like me) is familiar with how Guinevere, though married to King Arthur, fell in love with Lancelot, one of the bravest knights of the round table, and brought about the ruin of Camelot. Poor Arthur. He should have known that not even the sword in the stone was powerful enough to stand against true love, but hey, points to him for trying. Never mind that he and Lancelot both died, and Guinevere had to spend the rest of her days in a nunnery.

Pelleas and Melisande

A lesser known French tale about a girl who marries a nobleman only to fall in love with his brother later and bring about the ruin of his entire household. Rife with wishing wells, forest trysts under the cover of darkness, sword fights, and a line that inspired one of my favorite quotes from the Star Crossed series: “Only I know that it will be the turn of the poor little child soon.”

Paris of Troy and Helen of Sparta and Tristan and Isolde

Who said that you could write a book series about tragic love stories and not include Paris and Helen and Tristan and Isolde? Not me! From the gates of Troy to the shores of Cornwall, here are two women who know what it means to give up everything for the man you love. Too bad they both lose them in the end.

Cinderella and Cupid and Psyche

Did you know that there are more than a dozen different versions of Cinderella in existence? It is arguably the most popular fairy tale ever written, and also one of the most well-known. So when I set out to write the Star Crossed series as a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella, I wanted to do it in a way that was different from all the other versions and retellings that are already out there. Step one: make it dark. Everyone thinks of Cinderella as a pretty blonde in glass slippers surrounded by helpful blue birds and singing mice. But for those who aren’t familiar with the Grimm fairy tale, the story wasn’t always so lighthearted. There were slippers filled with blood, self-inflicted dismemberment, and birds that peck your eyes out. Hence, the tragic love stories and curses. Add a few monsters to the mix (a sea monster here, a gorgon there), and voila! Step two: tie it in with Greek mythology. Why? Because the roots of most fairy tales can be found in Greek mythology, including Cinderella, who’s original version was about Rhodopis, a Greek girl who was taken to Egypt to be a slave until she caught the eye of the pharaoh and was made his wife. And who better to play fairy godmother (or in this case, godfather) to a Greek Cinderella but Cupid, god of Love? And if the godfather turned out to be the prince charming in disguise, well, that’s just one of life’s interesting little twists. This, of course, is where the myth of Cupid and Psyche comes in, with a few of my own personal touches, like stolen slippers, reincarnation, and volcanic eruptions. The rest, as they say, is history. Or, as Hermes would say: “Stories are more than just words written on paper. They are pieces of our soul.” But will there be a happy ending for our Sinderella and the other characters in the Star Crossed series? Or will they all end as tragic as the rest? That, readers, is up to you to find out.


Fathoms Below by Laura Holt
Series: Star Crossed Series #1
Published by The Book Patch on November 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings
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Cather Stevens doesn’t love.

Not now, not ever. She has spent her entire life watching love ruin her mother, her aunts, her cousins, her grandmother, and she made a vow a long time ago that she would never let that happen to her. But when she meets a winged boy named Hermes who tells her that she is the key to ending the star crossed curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries, she will have to redefine everything she knows about love, life, and herself.

With more than just her own heart on the line, she must find the location of her great-great grandmother’s diary. It was hidden long ago, fathoms below her town, and holds the answers to all of her questions, especially one: are the fairy tales and Greek myths that she grew up hearing actually fiction like she was taught to believe, or are they something more…something real?


About Laura Holt

Laura Holt is the author of Fathoms Below and Fathoms Above. She is from a small Georgia town, where she lives with her daughter. Growing up as the oldest of three sisters, Laura used her imagination to make up stories as a way to escape from the sometimes crazy-making monotony of everyday life. As she got older, her love of stories grew into a love of books, especially fantasy, and eventually, she wrote her own stories down as well. When Laura isn’t busy writing or thinking up a new way to promote the Star Crossed series, she can be found curled up on the couch reading, working out, or spending time with her daughter. A few of their favorite pastimes include watching shows like Once Upon a Time, shopping, and going treasure hunting. Laura is also active in the children’s ministry at her local church, is addicted to Pinterest, loves anything chocolate (as long as it doesn’t have soy in it), and is always looking for a new way to get her daily adrenaline fix. You can follow Laura on Instagram and Twitter at @authorlauraholt.

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Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings | Book Blogger Guest Post

September 22, 2017 Guest Post 2

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


I’m so excited to have my friend Morgan (The Bookish Beagle) on the blog today to talk about her favorite fairytale retellings! I’ve added a bunch of her recs to my TBR. Thanks so much, Morgan!

Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings

When Jana approached me about being part of the Magic, Myth, and Mischief event I jumped at the chance! I love all of those things, especially in books. And I particularly love retellings, the way they are able to take a favorite, familiar story and twist it into something original and new. I also love being able to find allusions to the original tale! Any sort of retelling is great, including Jane Austen and historical, but for this post I’m focusing on fairy tale retellings. Without further adieu:

Cinderella Retellings

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: a classic! Ella Enchanted was my very favorite book until Harry Potter came along. I loved her bravery, the fairy tale twist, the made up languages, CHAR! The ball was fabulous and the ending was so perfect I cried. Gail Carson Levine’s writing is wonderful and whimsical and never feels too young.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: one of the first YA retellings I read, and book one in The Lunar Chronicles, this futuristic sci-fi take on Cinderella is action-packed and filled with characters to root for! It also has some wonderful Cinderella references.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: the perfect mix of geeky fandom culture and A Cinderella Story with a diverse cast of characters. It made my heart squeeze.

Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison: Disenchanted does a wonderful job of capturing a diverse group of characters within its pages, everything from race to culture to class. It’s timeless but modern and I love all the allusions and details from the first book and from fairy tales. It’s also very romantic and focuses as much on Ella’s character growth and her family as it does the more traditional Cinderella plot points.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge: As much as I would love this to be a full-length novel, it works so very well as a novella. Gilded Ashes dovetails nicely with Cruel Beauty; it is dark and horrifying and sorrowful, yet romantic and full of love. I loved how the story unfurled and I loved the echos of Cinderella mixed with unconventional details.

Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas: This Cinderella/mash up retelling isn’t for everyone- it’s dark and a little confusing at first, but it also has one of the most original villains/story mechanics I’ve ever come across.

 

Other Retellings

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: the rare book that has everything I love in a fantasy and also manages to be an original retelling/sequel of sorts to Sleeping Beauty.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis: A sci-fi retelling of Snow White! Essie is self-sufficient, badass, and brave, and I loved the droids. The world building was extensive but not confusing, the villains were disturbing, and I loved all the Snow White allusions.

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schultz: A really fun Peter Pan-inspired adventure! The writing was sharp and descriptive and had that humorous winking bite, and Jocelyn is a heroine worth following.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Beauty and the Beast meets Greco-Roman mythology in this lush, strange, and darkly romantic retelling. It’s a little confusing but worth the read!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: a marvelous, enchanting, and oh so heartbreaking retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It also made me want to bake all the things!

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan: an extremely unique, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking Sleeping Beauty retelling set in a futuristic world.

 

Bonus: Retellings On My TBR

Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson: a fantasy romance inspired by Cinderella.

The Secrets of Eden by Brandon Goode: a m/m Cinderella retelling with magic!

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo: Cinderella retelling at a theme park! Be still my Disney heart.

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember: a Norse-inspired f/f Little Mermaid retelling.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: a lush, magical retelling of Indian mythology.

Hunted by Meagen Spooner: a Russian-inspired Beauty and the Beast tale.
(Note from Jana: This one is AMAZING. I loved it!)

What are some of your favorite retellings? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned? Thanks again to Jana and Bonnie for letting me take part in Magic, Myth, and Mischief!


Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle

Well-rounded nerd. Bookworm. Blogger. Fangirl. Disney enthusiast who watches too much WWE.

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Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerge Blog Tour

September 19, 2017 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 3

Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerge Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Tobie Easton’s Submerge, hosted by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours! As part of my month-long event that I’m co-hosting with Bonnie, Magic, Myth, and Mischief, I’ve asked Tobie a very important question.


If you were a mermaid, what kind would you be? Tail and hair color? Sparkles or no sparkles? Any special talents or abilities?

Sparkles! Definitely sparkles. Actually, a fun fact about the book covers for the series is that the addition of sparkles was one of the only parts of the cover design that was my idea; the original cover of Emerge that my publisher sent me (which I LOVED) was nearly identical to the finished version except that there were no sparkles. I asked if we could do something to the title to make it more magical and suggested sparkles or starbursts of some kind. The cover designer, who is extremely talented, played around with different versions of the idea and the whole team fell for the one you see now. Then, of course, we continued that theme on the Submerge cover. I’m so happy because I think it really matches the fantasy feel of the book and hints at the mermaid magic within.

In addition to sparkles, I’d wear a traditional Mer siluess, which translates to chest-covering in Mermese and refers to the garment Mermaids wear on their torsos when the bottom half of the body is in tail form. Siluesses are cut kind of like fancy crop tops. They’re made of luxurious fabrics and often embellished with seashells and precious stones. I’d definitely have some seashell and pearl hair accessories (since my tears would turn into pearls, they’d be easy to come by!).

As for the color of my tail, that’s a hard one. When I first started writing Book 1 of the series, I asked a bunch of my friends and early readers what color tail they’d have, and everyone had a different answer! I incorporated so many different tail colors into the series so that everyone can picture themselves as Mer. I love when readers message me and tell me what their tail color would be! I originally thought mine might be gold like Lia’s or a deep green like her eldest sister Em’s, but then I did a photo shoot with Project Mermaids to help raise awareness for ocean conservation, and I fell in love with the light turquoise tail we chose on the set. Since then, I can’t really picture my Mermaid alter-ego any other way ;) And as you might have guessed from my author photo, I do wear a lot of turquoise, so it really fits. The makeup artist at the shoot even added sparkles to my hair and face (to match the cover, of course!).

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics and the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot:

And the final image in all its magical, Photoshopped glory from the photographer:

 

I still can’t believe I got to be transformed into a mermaid for a day! WAS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? Six-year-old Tobie is still squealing. At home afterwards, I sat around for the rest of the day in my pajamas with all the makeup still on because I couldn’t bear to take it off!

Anyway, as for hair color and special abilities, I will give you a hint at a detail in Submerge and say that those might actually be related. I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. Submerge will definitely dive deeper into the secret workings of Mer magic. I’m so excited for you to read it when it comes out this week and to learn more about the Mer world!

I’d LOVE to hear about what kind of mermaid you’d be, so let me know in the comments or on social (@TobieEaston)!

xo Tobie


Submerge by Tobie Easton
Series: Mer Chronicles #2
Published by Month9Books on September 12, 2017
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Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear.

The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a thrilling and dangerous journey.


About Tobie Easton

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com.

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Combination Station: When Legends Collide | Guest Post by Danielle Shipley

September 15, 2017 Guest Post 3

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

I’d like to welcome Danielle Shipley to the blog today! Danielle has written multiple fairytale retellings (which she will be talking about on Bonnie’s blog) as well as reimagined British mythology, what she is talking about here today!


Combination Station: When Legends Collide

by Danielle Shipley

Once upon a time in a Renaissance Faire, my muse handed me an idea: What if that Robin Hood over there wasn’t just a modern-day actor, but the actual, ages-old outlaw himself?

An impossible notion. Or is it?

After all, the tales of England’s criminal hero aren’t completely down-to-earth. Sure, there are the archery contests, stave and sword fights, and robbing from the rich to give to the poor – all good, clean, mostly realistic fun. But some versions of the legend also feature a touch of magic or pagan mysticism – as in the “Robin of Sherwood” television series of the ‘80s, or Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy. For every taleteller suggesting that Robin Hood was a real, historical man, there’s another happy to hint that he was more than a man; a woodland spirit, a forest god, or at least someone favored of that ilk.

So, my muse and I brainstormed, suppose a 21st-century fairground of period-inspired fantasy housed a 12th-century Robin, and a handful of his Merry Men to boot. Would their legend have magic enough to get them there? Maybe, maybe not. But there was another legend that surely would.

On those same British Isles, it is said that a great king once ruled in the idyll of Camelot. It is said also that, beyond his kingdom’s catastrophic fall, he would someday in future reign again. A not unlikely theory, in a story of wizards and dragons, enchantresses and bespelled swords in stone, and not a few somewhat super-powered knights. If anyone could live immortally in a Renaissance Faire, it would be King Arthur Pendragon.

“Well then,” spake the muse. “Why not combine the tales?”

And thus was born a new legend: The Outlaws of Avalon.

I took my favorite bits from Robin Hood lore – the showboating bandits with their good-natured fellowship among the feel of an ancient forest – and threw them together with a gold-hearted king and his heroes of the Round Table, with a little help from a micromanaging Merlin and morally ambiguous Morganne le Fey. All that, plus a minstrel blown in from afar to usher in a new age of adventure.

Each legend on its own has endured for centuries, retold in any number of ways – from lighthearted comedies, to gritty tragedies, to adaptations that encompass both. Together, it’s a mythic beast that, some part of me insists, could still be somehow real, hidden somewhere in plain sight.

Impossible, yes. But what of that? As a Merry Man of mine once said, “There is a lot of overlap, I’ve found, between the truth and the impossible.”

About the author: Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

About the “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 1): Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band.

But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

(Look for the final book of the trilogy to release on October 3rd!)


The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale by Danielle Shipley
Series: Outlaws of Avalon #1
Published by Ever On Word on July 12, 2016
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Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.


About Danielle Shipley

Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Outlaws of Avalon


F.M. Boughan Guest Post | Cinderella, Necromancer Blog Tour

September 7, 2017 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 1

F.M. Boughan Guest Post | Cinderella, Necromancer Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for F.M. Boughan’s Cinderella, Necromancer, hosted by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours! I’m happy to welcome author Faith to the blog today! She’s here to answer a few questions about her book during mine and Bonnie’s special month-long event, Magic, Myth, & Mischief!


1. Tell us more about the real medieval grimoire your story was inspired by! What made you choose to put a Cinderella spin on it?

There’s been very little published regarding this 15th-century grimoire, and I owe a massive debt of gratitude to Richard Kieckhefer, a professor at Northwestern University, for publishing his book Forbidden Rites in which he translates the grimoire and discusses its historical value in detail. There are drawings and recitations and plenty of graphic descriptions about what the conjuring rites are supposed to do, and it’s both disturbing and fascinating. The “magic” is all based on Catholic liturgy, literal perversions of sacred scripture and prayers, which is why the clergymen who practiced necromantic magic during this period of history had to do it in secret. It was highly illegal, forbidden—anathema—and any tome that was discovered would have been immediately destroyed. It’s a wonder that this particular manuscript survived the centuries!

I think the “Cinderella spin” simply came from my brain mashing the two things together—dark magic and girls from fairy tales finally getting the chance to fight back—and I just ran with it. I certainly didn’t sit down with intention to write a necromancy book, it was more of a case of inspiration striking after reading a few history texts and thinking about stories in general.

2. Which elements from the traditional Cinderella fairytale did you draw inspiration from for your book? How did you make it your own?

I tried to pay special tribute to the well-known German and French versions of the story, the ones that are typically thought of as the “classic” Cinderella fairy tale. There’s a lengthy historical note in the back of the book that goes into detail on exactly which elements I pulled from, but in a broader sense, I wanted to follow the same structure of the Cinderella story so that readers could clearly identify that it’s a fairy tale retelling, not a brand new imagining.

With that framework in place, I drew on more surface-level details—two step-sisters, a cruel stepmother, Cinderella being worked to the bone once her father is out of the picture—and then mined the stories for smaller pieces like a name, a scent, bits of imagery. Anyone very familiar with the original stories will hopefully notice those things, but even someone who’s just a fan of the Disney animated classic will find touchstones. Mind you, there are no talking mice—sorry, spoilers!—but there is a mouse, for example. Hey, I love GusGus too!

3. Tell us about how magic and plays a part in your book.

The magic that Ellison uses in the book is directly inspired by the spells from Forbidden Rites, and I tried to keep it as “realistic” (so to speak, hah!) as possible in the sense that I didn’t want to take grand liberties with the material inside the grimoire. Naturally, I had to invent some things—this is fiction, after all!—but the magic is personal, specific, and has consequences.

What those consequences are, I can’t say, because… spoilers! But that said, I hope you enjoy the discovery along the way. Happy reading!


Cinderella, Necromancer by F.M. Boughan
Published by Month9Books on September 5, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
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Darkness can only be controlled by those with the darkest of hearts.

Ellison lost her mother at an early age. Now, sixteen, her father has found love again. He’s happy and doesn’t quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her vicious daughters.

When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father’s mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her eventual freedom.

Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother’s and stepsisters’ every whim and fancy.

Stumbling into a chance meeting with Prince William during a secret visit to her mother’s grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival where she might see him once more.

But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince again? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she’s ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother? And what if she actually liked watching her stepmother suffer?

As Ellison’s power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, it becomes harder to tell whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.

CINDERELLA NECROMANCER is CINDER meets ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and was inspired by a real medieval grimoire of necromancy from 15th-century Germany


About F.M. Boughan

F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.

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Heather Fawcett Guest Post | Even the Darkest Stars Blog Tour

September 6, 2017 Blog Tour, Debut Author Challenge, Giveaway, Guest Post 4

Heather Fawcett Guest Post | Even the Darkest Stars Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Heather Fawcett’s Even the Darkest Stars, hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! I’m delighted to have Heather here today to talk about her debut novel as part of September’s Magic, Myth, & Mischief event going on here and on Bonnie’s blog!

For Heather’s guest post today she’s provided short answers to three questions I asked her about Even the Darkest Stars! If her answers don’t make you want to run out and get a copy, then nothing will!


1. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS has many magical and mystical elements. Can you tell us a little about them and how they enrich your story?
The main magical system in Even the Darkest Stars involves shamans, who cast spells using incantations and talismans of different materials. In this world, anyone can do magic, but some have more natural talent than others. There are also various magical creatures—among the most important to the story are familiars, which are animals that attach themselves to certain people, particularly heroes. These are very rare. Kamzin, the main character of Even the Darkest Stars, has a fox familiar. Her sister has two ravens.

2. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS has a creature called a fiangul, which is super unique and not like anything I’ve heard of before. Can you tell us about it? What inspired its creation? How did you decide what it was going to look like?
There are lots of stories about monsters who lurk in the darkness, and I thought it would be interesting to develop a creature that lurks in storms. The fiangul are completely invented and aren’t based on any existing folklore or myths that I’m aware of, though the basic concept of them may have been at least partly inspired by the antagonists of one of my favourite TV shows, Firefly (for those who are into sci-fi!). I always find monsters more interesting (and frightening) when they have some element of humanity. The fiangul attack travellers who become lost in storms, and transform them into evil, winged creatures like them. That adds an extra layer of scariness, I think, because it means that they can do more than kill you—they can take away who you are.

3. In EVEN THE DARKEST STARS, people keep dragons as pets. What do these dragons look like? What do they add to the lives of their owners?
The dragons are small, perhaps a little larger than a house cat, with a sinuous, almost serpentine body. They have lights (commonly blue or green) in their bellies, making them bioluminescent, like fireflies—thus they’re domesticated for use as travelling light sources. Dragons are expensive and not everyone can afford them—Kamzin, as the daughter of the village Elder, grew up with several in her household. They’re viewed more as working animals than pets, sort of like farm cats.


Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
Series: Even the Darkest Stars #1
Published by Balzer+Bray on September 5, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
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Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.


About Heather Fawcett

I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, where I enjoy wandering around in the wilderness and only occasionally getting lost. I’ve also spent extended periods of time in Italy, where I learned very little Italian but ate quite a lot of pizza, and Ireland, where I searched half-successfully for puffins and selkies.

Before becoming a writer I worked, among other things, as an archaeologist, a technical writer, and a backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theatre company (which I could write several novels about). I have a Master’s degree in English Literature and briefly considered becoming a professor, before I realized it involved more than reading books, drinking excessive amounts of tea, and wearing colourful elbow patches.

I’m represented by the amazing Brianne Johnson at Writers House. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS, my first novel, was purchased by HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray at auction in a six-figure, two-book deal.

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Tour Schedule

9/5

Pink Polka Dot Books – Welcome Post

9/6

That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
The Reading Life – Promo
Will Read Anything – Review

9/7

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf – Review
Musings of a YA Reader – Review

9/8

Hardcover Haven – Review
Book Munchies – Review & Favorite Quotes
Kariny’s Book Frenzy – Review

9/9

Here’s to Happy Endings – Q&A
The Clever Reader – Review & Favorite Quotes

9/10

Library of a Book Witch – Review
Queen of Books – Review

9/11

Bibliobibuli YA – Q&A
When Curiosity Killed the Cat – Review
Maddie. TV – Review


Zoe Cruz on Flipping the Script on the Traditional Beauty and the Beast | Author Guest Post

March 20, 2017 Guest Post 2

Welcome to my stop along the Beastia blog tour, hosted by Smith Publicity! We’ve all got Beauty and the Beast on the brain right now (I’m going to see it today in theaters!). Plus my A Week of Beauty and the Beast event ended yesterday, so things are all B&B in my neck of the wood it seems.

Beastia author, Zoe Cruz, is here to talk about her Beauty and the Beast retelling. This one is a little different than many other retellings, and I’ll let Zoe tell you why!


Flipping the Script on the Traditional Beauty and the Beast
by Zoe Cruz

Beauty and the Beast has always enchanted me as a reader. I grew up watching the Disney movie, because who hasn’t? Robin McKinely’s retellings really stick out in my mind. Her Rose Daughter and Beauty were some of my favorite books as a kid. She wrote them with such magic and intrigue, changing and adding details or the outcome entirely. I always remember in one of the books, Beauty doesn’t change the Beast. She loves him just as he is.

When I watched Beastly, the movie, several years ago I wasn’t quite satisfied with the modern retelling. I thought it needed something more. The book by Alex Flinn does a much better job providing that, but I wanted something deeper, different. Later, the Lunar Chronicles gave us Scarlet. I know it’s a Red Riding Hood retelling, but what’s cooler than a French girl falling for a genetically modified wolfman from the moon? In the end though, it was the same trope hashed out again.

As a girl from a small town, I’ve watched pretty women settle for guys who weren’t that great looking, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to imagine a girl falling into a relationship with a literal beast.

What was harder for me to imagine was a handsome guy falling for an “ugly” gal in our society and not the pretty-ugly sorts we find in movies. It was a challenge coming up with a contemporary take on a girl being ugly. It seemed easy to make it magical or a temporary curse, but life isn’t always that way.

Sometimes, when we are hurt it becomes internal baggage that we carry or a permanent badge that we wear. Some things don’t just go away. They are permanent. When I think of permanent, I think of scars or burns, but something about tattoos stuck with me, because tattoos are like art. Art can be ugly and beautiful at the same time. That dichotomy tests the boundaries of my perceptions and how biased the standards truly are. When a woman has scarring or a deformity or even a tattoo that we don’t appreciate at first, the more we look at that thing we perceive as ugliness, it can become tragically beautiful, and even just beautiful. Especially as we learn to love the qualities who make them who they are. Rather, those things we once considered bad or ugly only make them more special no matter what it is. Some of the most beautiful people I know have facial markings or unusual features that make them who they are.

That’s what I wanted for Bek, my character in Beastia: a girl with a tragic past that wouldn’t let the world define who she was going to be, because of the way she looked. I wanted her to be able to learn to love herself no matter how she looked on the outside, even if it was permanent. In life, we don’t always get to choose for bad things to disappear. We are the way we were born or something happened to us and we carry that with us. Not everyone is blessed with good looks and what are “good” looks anyway? It’s an unattainable standard and subjective. Every one of us deserves to be loved for who we are and not what we look like, but that journey must start from within.


Beastia by Zoe Cruz
March 14, 2017 from Createspace
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The meanest of the mean girls, Rebekah Austin rules her Chicago school with sharp outfits and an even sharper tongue. She has a way of making even the most beautiful and brilliant girls in her class feel like dirt. But underneath the queen-bee façade is someone who feels ugly, repulsive…beastly.

When Rebekah falls prey to a madman, the bully becomes the bullied. Scarred and tormented, she abandons her previous life and adopts a new identity, but her ghastly appearance haunts her everywhere she goes. Only with the help of determined friends can she move past her horrifying experience—and maybe even let herself be loved.

And if the madman returns to finish what he started, will she be ready, or will she give up hope?


About Zoe Cruz

I love traveling, writing, reading, and binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix.

I’m a geek too. Anything from classic Tortallan and Hobbit lore to a DS9 Trekkie and a Browncoat. I love any good sci-fi and fantasy book, show or movie.

I’ve lived in Spain for almost four years, so adapting back to U.S. life for now.


Gabrielle Prendergast on “X” Meets “Y” Retellings | Author Guest Post

March 19, 2017 Guest Post 3

 

Welcome to the last day of A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me! We thought this would be the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast came out in theaters on Friday! Woohoo! We’ve really loved sharing our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice. And if you want to join in on the fun, link up your B&B themed posts so we can come see!

Today I’m pleased to welcome Gabrielle Prendergast to the blog to talk about her Beauty and the Beast retelling, Zero Repeat Forever.


X Meets Y Retellings by Gabrielle Prendergast

In the book business we have a thing called “comps”. “Comps” is short for comparables, and it refers to what other books (or sometimes movies) that a book under discussion would be compared to. So an author, say, pitching a book to an agent might explain: “It’s got the sweet romance of Stargirl but in a dystopian setting like Divergent” (I would read this!)

Sometimes comps are simply expressed like “It’s ______ meets ______” or “part ______ and part ______”. And this is where this week’s Beauty and the Beast theme comes in because my upcoming young adult sci-fi, Zero Repeat Forever, is frequently described as “Part Terminator and part Beauty and the Beast”. It’s also been described as “The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast”. It is, in many ways, a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

My favorite kinds of fairy tale or traditional story retellings are always ones that have a “X meets Y” premise. And the further X is from Y the better, in my opinion. Only imagine the possibilities! I’d love to read “Cinderella meets Clan of the Cave Bear” for example. A prehistoric prince and his enchanted mystery princess? Are you kidding me? That would be awesome. Or how about “Scheherazade meets High Fidelity” about a plucky Muslim teen who keeps her disgruntled record store boss amused with stories so he doesn’t close down his failing business. (OMG someone please write this).

I could go on and on about this, but I’m at risk of coming up with premises I want to actually write. And I have a deadline on the sequel to Zero Repeat Forever. I need to focus!

What X meets Y retellings would you like to read?


Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast
August 29, 2017 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…


About Gabrielle Pendergrast

Gabrielle Prendergast is the author of the award-winning and multi-nominated young adult novels in verse, Audacious and Capricious. She lives in Canada with her family. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleSaraP or her website www.gabrielleprendergast.com.


Growing Up with Beauty and the Beast | Blogger Guest Post

March 13, 2017 Guest Post 4

 

I’m so excited to have one of my co-bloggers from The Broke and the Bookish, Kimberly, here on the blog today to help us celebrate our love of Beauty and the Beast!


Growing Up with Beauty and the Beast
by Kimberly from The Broke and the Bookish

Hello everyone! I am so excited to do a guest post, especially when it has to do with one of my all-time favorite things… BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Story time! When I was a kid I never wanted to talk about who my favorite Disney princess was. Because any time someone found out it was Belle, they’d make fun of me. Looking back on this now I’m even more confused. Why did all of those kids hate her so much? She’s still my absolute favorite! Now I have many friends, online and off, that adore Beauty and the Beast. Getting to fangirl with others is pure joy.

Let’s talk a bit about Beauty and the Beast and a few of the adaptations, shall we? Let’s start with what my introduction to the story was (as I’m sure it was for many others).

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)

*sigh* Even the opening sequence of this movie gets me all teary eyed. The animation is gorgeous, the music is perfect. Within moments of meeting Belle we know she’s a bookworm. (This was the moment I bonded with her, even at an early age.) Pretty soon we’re deep in the story. Belle has exchanged her freedom to save her father. She is doomed to live out her life with a tyrant… Or is she? The character development is beautiful. The Beast changes, but so does Belle. They defeat Gaston, break the spell and the castle undergoes a spectacular transformation. (Still one of my favorite bits of animation.)

Beauty and the Beast (Broadway)

I was in the ensemble for this in High School! SO MUCH FUN. The story is the same, but with little extra bits here and there. The relationship between Belle and her father is expanded. They have a lovely little song together, “No Matter What”, where they acknowledge that they are both odd, but there is no one else they’d rather spend time with. The enchanted objects have their own song “Human Again” (which was later added back to the original animated classic). The story behind the curse also gets greater detail. They weren’t just changed into household objects. They are slowly becoming less and less sentient. Losing mobility bit by bit.

One of the most priceless bits of dialogue is when they are discussing some of the other objects. They become objects that resemble their personality. Michelle became the wardrobe, and then Jean Claude…
Lumiere: “And poor Jean Claude. You remember him, not too bright, dumb as a…”
Cogsworth: “Brick?”
Lumiere: “The whole wall.”

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Published April 1, 2014 from Strange Chemistry
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For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…

This was such a fun read! It starts off as a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast and then goes off in its own amazing direction! There are a few references throughout the book that ties it back to the original, which is delightful. Great characters and excellent world building. Tristan is swoon worthy and Cecile is the type of heroine I can get behind! Plus the ensemble characters are wonderful. I definitely recommend it!

And…


Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I don’t have much to say on this yet, other that I am SO FREAKING EXCITED. I have loved all of Disney’s live action remakes and I really think this one will be wonderful. I get embarrassingly teary eyed every time I watch the trailer. (I’m pregnant, that’s a good enough excuse…right?) I am counting down the days until I see this.

What are some of your favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations?


Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My! by Merrie Destefano | Author Guest Post (+ Lost Girls Giveaway)

January 4, 2017 Giveaway, Guest Post 8

Today I’m welcoming Merrie Destefano, author of Lost Girls, to the blog to talk a little about her experience writing her book! I am SUPER excited to read Merrie’s new book and plan to real soon. Read more about Merrie and her book after her post, plus enter to win a copy of Lost Girls for yourself!


Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My!
by Merrie Destefano

Sometimes the process of writing is like being knee-deep in The Wizard of Oz. Have you ever seen that movie? It’s always been one of my favorites. In fact, when I was five-years-old, I went though this period where I would only answer to the name of Glinda. (Remember her? The good witch?) I also had an imaginary friend who was a bubble—like that crazy, magic bubble Glinda traveled in.

But writing is nothing like the character of Glinda. That girl knew what she was doing. She had All The Power. If she was writing, she’d just snap her fingers and, POW, a story would appear. It would be perfect.

No, writing is more like being the character of Dorothy. Lost, confused, angry, lonely, worried, and yet somehow being on a Very Important Mission the whole time.

And like Dorothy, there might be a point that you realize the other characters surrounding you are an awful lot like people you really know. You don’t set out to do that. It just kind of happens.

Like Dylan McCarthy in Lost Girls.

At first, I was just adding a love interest for my main character. But before I knew it, Dylan started wearing a skin that look a LOT like a Real Life Boy I had crushed on in seventh grade. My real-life crush sat next to me in English. (Swoon.) He. Was. Adorable. And he wrote poetry that could stop your heart. And then start it thundering again.

I swear, even our teacher had a crush on that boy.

And yes, I did drop my pencil once and he reached down to pick it up. But I was too embarrassed to let him do that. I dove faster than I thought I could move and snatched it up from the floor before he could get it.

I may have foiled my own chance at romance.

Maybe. Maybe he might have. In another world and in another universe, maybe, just maybe he might have picked up that blasted pencil and given me a smile. Just like Dylan did with Rachel. Maybe it could have been the beginning of something wonderful.

Maybe.

Meanwhile, I keep writing stories where maybe actually becomes true. That’s the best way for any story to end.

Maybe Dorothy will get to go home again…

Change that.

Dorothy goes home and all is well. She even gets to keep her little dog.


Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano
January 3, 2017 from Entangled Teen
Genres: YA contemporary, YA psychological thriller, YA dark contemporary
Add to Goodreads | Amazon

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

The only rule is: There are no rules.


About Merrie Destefano

Born in the Midwest, magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

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