Cover Highlight: Orphan’s Song!

So here is something I’m EXTREMELY excited to share with you – a cover highlight on the upcoming book Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams!

I’ve long enjoyed Gillian’s fabulous blog, and a couple years back had the privilege of reading some of the early chapters of “Orphan’s Song” … I was blown away by even that little glimpse. Let me just say I’m positively giddy at the idea of it being published and reading the whole thing!

“Orphan’s Song”, book 1 of The Songkeeper Chronicles, is a YA Christian fantasy novel, and will be published this fall by Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press, which published one of my absolute favorite fantasy trilogies ever, The Blood of Kings Trilogy by Jill Williamson). I’m very excited!

Here is a link to the Kickstarter Campaign for Orphan’s Song and Enclave’s other titles releasing this fall. Be sure to check it out!

And now, just take a look at this GORGEOUS cover!! (I literally squealed aloud when I first saw it. ❤ It’s so pretty and totally captures the feel of the parts I read — it makes me want to read the book so much! I can’t wait till it officially comes out and I can dive into the tale, and put it on my shelf!)

Orphan's Song--Front Cover 02

Orphan’s Song

by Gillian Bronte Adams

Coming Fall 2014

Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one.

When Birdie’s song attracts the attention of a notorious Khelari soldier, she is captured and forced into a centuries old conflict plagued with ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies, determined to discover the truth behind the Song’s power.

Ky Huntyr has stolen many a thing in his time as a street-wise thief and senior member of the Underground—a gang of orphans banded together to survive—but he never thought he would be guilty of successfully stealing a priceless treasure from the Khelari and bringing their wrath on his comrades. Haunted by the tragic consequences of his raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of drawing the Khelari after him to keep the Underground safe.

But war soon threatens all of Leira, and the enemy is closing in. When Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira.

***

*shivers in delight* Doesn’t it sound fabulous? You’re going to want to keep an eye out for this one, folks! And here is a bit more about the talented Gillian! (Be sure to go follow her blog. It’s one of my very favorites. Her fantasy posts are unequaled. ❤ )

Author Bio: Gillian Bronte Adams was born with a pen in her hand, a sword at her side, and a saddle beneath her feet. As a speculative fiction writer from the great state of Texas, she delights in combining epic adventure and fantasy with themes that point to the greatest story of all—or, as she refers to it, writing to the echoes of eternity. During the day, she works as the Equine Director at a Christian youth camp, while at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs and transforms into a novelist. You can find out more at her blog: http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/ or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gillianbronteadams.

 

Plenilune

I was going to post the rest of the Tare interview today, but a couple things have popped up that I’d like to share with y’all this week!

Jennifer Freitag, also known as The Penslayer, writer and blogger extraordinaire, has announced the release date for her upcoming novel Plenilune! Which I am here to talk about today. You can learn more about Jenny on her lovely blog, The Penslayer, which I greatly enjoy reading. 🙂

Jennifer Freitag has published a historical fiction book, The Shadow Things, but Plenilune will be her first published fantasy novel. (You all know how much I love fantasy, so I’m super excited!)

Specifically, it’s planetary fantasy. What is that, you ask? Myself, when I hear those words together, I instantly think of C. S. Lewis’s marvelous space trilogy. Jenny did a good post on what planetary fantasy is. I can’t wait to see what she does with it in her book!

Plenilune

by Jennifer Freitag

Coming October 20th, 2014

The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war.

To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it — even if he has to kidnap her.

En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

At some point there will be a cover-reveal that I hope to participate in, so keep an eye out for that as well!

If you like pictures, go look at Jenny’s pinterest board for Plenilune. All the pretty! I’m very much intrigued just from looking at it…

If you’re on Goodreads, you can find Plenilune here so you can add it. (I was so excited to add it to my to-read shelf today! I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like a book isn’t officially coming out until I can put it on my to-read list on Goodreads.)

And make sure you check out Jenny’s blog! 🙂

***

I mentioned that I had two things to tell about, so yes, I’ll have something else to share with you this week — more excitement! I can wait! Also, the second half of Tare’s post will hopefully go up next Monday. So stay tuned!

Q&A with Tare, Or: “Could You Not Ask Me That?” (Part 1)

So here, as promised, is the interview with Tare! He wasn’t happy about it, but he cooperated (mostly), so I’m pleased.

(Really, Tare, you can’t blame me for the questions. I wasn’t the one who came up with them.

Tare: “You didn’t have to ask them, though.”

Author: “Oh, shush. Questions are for being asked.”)

There ended up being quite a few questions, so I’m going to post half of them today and half in my next post. If you have anything else to ask him, I’ll do those then as well!

Anyways, without further adieu, here is Part One of the interview with Tare, a main character in my Kedran’s Wood series (The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, The Secret of Kedran’s Wood, and a third currently titled The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood.) Enjoy!

AlmostTare

1. How old are you?

“19. Ish.” Tare shuts his eyes. “It’s complicated.”

2. How would you describe yourself in one word?

Tare raises one eyebrow. “’Me’.”

3. Where do you live?

“In an abandoned apartment on the abandoned side of town right next to the wood. And no, I’m not giving you my address.”

4. How does your home reflect your character/personality?

“Alone, quiet, dark and unwelcoming.”

5. If you only had three days to live, what would you do?

He glares and narrows his eyes. “I spent such a long time assuming I had less than that to live, every day, that–” He breaks off. “I don’t know. I’d just live. Could you not ask me questions like that?”

6. What’s your favorite food?

“Seriously?” He sighs. “Um. Meat.”

7. Have you ever considered getting a motorcycle? I can just picture you with one. That would totally work. You should get one.

He clears his throat and says carefully, “I . . . have . . . had one.”

Jacket8. Three things you could absolutely not live without?

“Food. Water. Air.”

(Author: “That’s too literal!”)

“Fine. Jacket, weapons, brain.”

9. Do you like cats?

“Not really. I don’t know. Does it matter?”

10. Do you like animals in general?

“It depends on the animal. And whether it wants to kill me. Or is annoying. Otherwise, I’m mostly indifferent.”

11. Do you like handwriting or typing better?

“I don’t do either much so I’m not worried about which I prefer. Typing is faster but takes more work because there has to be something to type on. So probably handwriting unless I have a lot to say. Which I usually don’t.”

12. What’s your favorite time period?

“Now is fine with me.”

13. Favorite activity?

“Living.”

14. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

He gives an accusatory look. “Probably, people asking me questions.”

15. What do you think about your author?

Tare looks at his author for a long moment. “What do I think…?” He taps a finger against his chin. “How long have you got?”

(Author: “Okay, I’m realllly not sure I want to hear this, but it’s the last question for today and technically…” *checks clock* “we still have awhile left. So answer away.”

Tare: “And you won’t interrupt or edit my answer?”

Author: “Okay, okay.”

Tare looks skeptical but partially satisfied and begins.)

Arm“Well… for one thing, she has the attention span of a squirrel. Seriously, she’s so easily distractable it would be amusing if it wasn’t so irritating. She’ll work on my story awhile, and then go dashing madly off to work on other stories without any warning, and without coming back for forever. I hear from her other characters that I’m the best of all of them at getting her to come back quickly, and that she’s always neglecting them for me, but I don’t believe a word of it.”

(Author: “It’s true, actually.” *cough*)

Tare continues. “She also procrastinates endlessly about actually writing, instead choosing to dream away about it. Which effectively means that all the stuff that happens to me happens multiple times because she’s always plotting it over and over, instead of just putting it on the paper so it happens once. A lot of things that happen to me aren’t exactly a ride on the merry-go-round, and are bad enough happening once, let alone half a dozen times in subtly different ways. In other words, I’m quite nettled at her about this.”

(Author: “My goodness. I never thought about that!”

Tare: “Well maybe you should START thinking about it.”

Author: “You didn’t tell me!”

Tare: “You should have known without me telling you. And stop interrupting; you promised.”

Author: “But this was important… Okay, never mind. Carry on.”)

Tare sighs and runs his fingers through his hair. “Let’s see. She’s also annoying, impulsive, sentimental, impractical, flighty, and too fascinated with my backstory for her own good. Overall, though . . . she’s harmless.”

(Author: “Except when I threaten.”

Tare: “Except when you threaten. But you don’t always mean it.”

Author: “Ha. Like you can tell when I’m bluffing.”

Tare: “I usually can.”

Author: “What if I said that I’m going to extend this interview even beyond next time’s post?” *laughs maniacally*

Tare: “First of all, your maniacal laugh needs work. Secondly, I know you’re bluffing because for one thing you’re out of questions, and for another it’s Camp NaNo and you can’t waste all day doing random things instead of writing.”

Author: “That’s never stopped me before…”)

A Postcard from Camp

Which should be “A Letter from Camp” because it’s not postcard length. But “Postcard” sounded better.

If I were actually at a real live Camp, here is a letter such as I might send from it.

wordtarget

Bullseye! …Almost.

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to you from the panoramic site of Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s lovely here except for the mosquitoes. And the bears. And my characters I’ve brought along, who outshine both with their formidableness . . . You see, neither of the main characters I’ve brought along are much enjoying camping. Let me tell you what’s been happening…

I brought along Tare and Bremask, planning on working on their stories (The Secret of Kedran’s Wood, and The Invisible Mask). But lo and behold, for the first week, I didn’t write them at all. Instead, a great black griffin from another story of mine happened to fly by, and I got distracted writing about him instead.

URcover3

Tare and Bremask were naturally put out that, after dragging them all the way out into this wilderness and making them camp outside, I was ignoring them.

Not that they weren’t doing their fare share of ignoring, themselves. They outright refuse to acknowledge each other’s existence. This is actually a good thing, because if they interacted, somebody would probably get hurt.

I had brought along two tents for them, intending to take the cabin myself, but ended up stranded in one of the tents anyway. Bremask, nobleman that he is, breezily commandeered the cabin for himself. His words? “It’s no mansion, but I suppose it will have to do.”

2014-Participant-Twitter-Header-1

Bremask’s view from the cabin window. Lucky dog.

Tare refused the tent I offered him, electing to sleep outside, wrapped in his leather jacket, sitting up in a tree. His words? “There’s no bears up here.” (Since I told him he’d be arrested if he shot any of the bears — which is discouraged at a retreat like this — and the only way for him to keep from killing a bear if it attacks him… is to not let it attack him in the first place.)

So throughout the week, while my two characters sulked and glared and generally were brooding and dark, I would sit in my tent, writing away, and would occasionally go out to talk to the griffin, who in his spare time — i.e.: when he wasn’t hunting — perched on the cabin roof (Bremask ignored that).

9

Bremask looking self-satisfied over something, as usual.

The first night, I tried to make s’mores. This was not a success. Neither Bremask nor Tare could see the point of putting the ingredients together, finding them far more interesting on their own. This was nonsense, of course, but they would not be persuaded otherwise.

Bremask ate all the chocolate while I wasn’t looking — apparently it was rich and fine enough for him–and seeing no point in the marshmallows or crackers, or the company of Tare and myself, left the campfire circle because he was no longer interested.

WriteTare

What Tare is doing to me right now.

Tare skewered most of the marshmallows on a long stick and roasted them at the same time. I told him part of the point was to do them one by one, but he apparently thinks his way is more efficient. This, of course, left me with nothing but the graham crackers, which were bland anyway, so I ended up feeding them to the griffin.

As for singing campfire songs… well, let’s just say that didn’t go over well. These unsociable dark-past brooding types aren’t the sort to randomly burst into song, and furthermore do not appreciate when others do.

IMcover3Finally, at the end of Week 1, I finished the griffin’s chapter, and moved on to writing The Invisible Mask. Bremask was pleased (as pleased as he’ll let on to be, anyway).

Tare, on the other hand, was annoyed at me for not writing him, but I told him I couldn’t write about him because I didn’t have the rest of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood plotted, and wasn’t going to work on such a massive plotting project during Camp. So Tare waited, biding his time, while I wrote about Bremask.

Then I finished the scene where Bremask left (in the story, that is; he’s still grandly occupying the cabin in case I need him again).

At that point, Tare, knowing I was susceptible to lack-of-awesome-character-itis, coolly stepped out of the shadows and handed me some key plot points of his second book that I’d been unaware of.

KW2coverPThe consequence was that for the next couple days I forgot it was Camp, dropped my writing, and madly plotted away, trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together. Effectively letting Tare take over my life for over 48 hours.

(Tare, stop being smug. Stop it. And don’t look over my shoulder while I’m writing a letter to my friends. It’s not polite.)

I still haven’t started writing him again, and he’s not pleased with me about that — or about the fact that the one scene I have written in his story featured the laid-back-blond-haired-golden-retriever-type-fellow Adrian, the closest thing Tare has to a rival…

This brings us to the end of the second week of Camp NaNo, and I’m at 8,000 words, just 2K short of reaching my official goal. So aside from character problems, things have been going quite well around here! I fully intend to keep writing after hitting my goal, as long as there’s scenes that still want writing. Perhaps Tare will even get written, who knows?

statsCampJuly14

Stats Graph day 14

I’ll be posting an interview with Tare himself next week. If you have any questions for him, leave them in the comments or drop me an email! 🙂 I can ask him the questions during late nights around the campfire when I’m not writing… That will teach him to act like he wants attention. Ha. (He hates being interviewed, but *I* quite enjoy it!)

Meantime, I’d better give this letter to the carrier pigeon who’s waiting impatiently for it — I think he wants to be well underway before it starts raining. So I shall pass it on and go back into my tent, to write away in my notebook to the sounds of rain pattering on the tent-roof and — if they’ll start acknowledging each other’s existence — my characters arguing…

And of course, if any random plot bunnies happen to hop on by, I’ll have to let them inside to join me, because I just couldn’t leave them out in the rain . . .

Cheers from Camp NaNo,

-Deborah O’Carroll

P.S. Please send chocolate; I’m quite out.

A Look Into My Mind: The Writing Process Blog Tour

The wonderful Elizabeth Kaiser of E. Kaiser Writes-a-Blog tagged me with the Writing Process Blog Tour. Thanks Elizabeth!

I’d seen it going around the blogosphere and it looked like fun, so I’m excited to finally get to do it! I can babble about my writing, but say that somebody ASKED me to, and therefore I can annoy everyone in the name of being useful. 😉 Hee. That being said, I hope you’ll find it interesting!

So here we go: a look at my writing.

1. What are you working on?

KW2coverPOh, lots of things. But I think I’ll go with the recentest thing I’ve actively started working on.

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood is book two in a contemporary fantasy series I’m writing. (It’s theoretically a trilogy at the moment, but I hesitate to call it that, lest out of spite it decides there’s another five books or so…) I may have mentioned it before on the blog, but if so it would have been under the title “Snowfall at Kedran’s Wood”, because I recently changed the title… Just so you know, in case you’re getting confused. 😉

It’s about a group of friends (the “Chess Club” of their little town) and how they’re trying to make sense of various mysteries that seem to tie back to the adventurous happenings in the first book, while the still-mysterious Tare has returned and thinks he’s going mad due to a succession of nightmares. There’s some winter fun as they get ready for Christmas, some suspicious villains who are up to suspicious villainous things, and a surprise or two that nobody expected, which includes something going on in the wood . . .

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

WarehouseThe Owl of Kedran’s Wood and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (books 1 and 2, the latter of which I’m writing) are contemporary fantasy, i.e. they take place in a modern but unspecified American town, and have fantasy elements (in the first, some villainous creatures from another world; in the second… well… stuff. *cough*spoilers*cough*). My answers here mainly apply to the first, but, by extension, to the second as well.

I’ve only come across a tiny handful of contemporary fantasy books that I liked at all, so I think I started writing this series to fill an empty slot in the genre. For some reason, I tend to find modern fantasy books to be “icky”. Well, most modern things I find icky, and when they add fantasy it just seems to make it worse.

I feel like most authors, presented with these ingredients: fantasy, modern small-town, group of friends, female MC, dark mysterious guy, monsters — would construct it roughly as: girl falls in love with dark guy because he’s off-limits, while having problems with her friends, amid ickness at school; monsters are a big part and very creepy, and the fantasy element is blown out of proportion with lots of special effects and probably dark magic.

ChessDoorstepThese stories of mine are about modern teens, but being set during vacations I don’t have to deal with them “at school”, which I think accounts for a large percentage of why I don’t like modern YA books. The friends are actually *gasp* nice people, and get along (for the most part). There also isn’t a large focus on romance, and although there are some “couples” it’s not a big thing and it’s more focused on the group and how they’re friends and what they’re doing together. The main girl isn’t even the “main” character–we’re just in her head the most because she’s the newcomer–and she starts liking the happy-go-lucky guy; while the cool dark guy, who is very much a loner and at first they’re not certain he’s even good, lurks on the fringe and slowly becomes a part of their group, almost. But he’s dark and dangerous at times, and this makes them wary of him (instead of the girls falling head over heels in love with him). The monsters I tried not to make too disturbing or gross, and the fantasy element is only that there are monsters who have arrived from another world, that the main characters need to deal with.

In short, it differs from others in the genre because I write contemporary fantasy that I would actually be willing to read and recommend to others, whereas most books in that genre I wouldn’t.

3. Why do you write what you write?

Well, the reason why I write contemporary fantasy is found above. But it’s not my main/favorite thing to write. And that is fantasy adventure set in other worlds, generally without too many fantastical things, and generally with a medieval-esque feel.

I write medieval fantasy-world adventure because it’s my favorite type of genre and I feel at home with it, both in reading and in writing. Since some of my earliest favorite books I read were medieval-esque fantasy in other worlds, or at least places that feel otherworldly (gadrillions of fairy tales; The Princess and the Goblin; The Gammage Cup; the Prydain Chronicles; Narnia; Middle-earth, etc.), I just naturally fall back on that genre. It is HOME to me. The forests, hills and glens, mountains, moors, castles, swords and bows and arrows and cloaks and horses, knights, princesses, kings and kings-in-exile and just everything! I like the FEEL of it, the refreshing sort of green feel, and the possibility of wonder around every corner.

BridgeRoad2In my writing, I love the freedom that comes with inventing your own kingdoms/lands and all their intricacies and relations and cultures. Especially if there can be a slight fantastical bent to the things in the story, just to spice it up . . . A clan of talking bears, or enormous bats blacker than the night; a stone that glows with moonlight; invented trees or berries; pirate captains who tame the seas with their singing; a different race of people with special abilities. Or you can go the whole way, and have a fairytale kingdom (especially with a fairytale retelling inside it!) with creatures like unicorns or dragons, selkies, birds who turn into people and back, mind reading abilities, fairies . . . The possibilities are endless! (Basically all of these find their way into one story or another of mine, in case you were wondering.)

Fantasy gives me the freedom to write whatever I want, and I am just so very at home in my medieval fantasy worlds, where I feel myself and my characters can go out into the vast green and leafy forests, wandering amidst the tall mysterious trees, and meet fascinating people, mythical creatures, and wild sweeping adventures of any and every kind imaginable.

4. How does your writing process work?

I keep a journal of all my writing ideas, which is generally where my first ideas go. When I have a particular story idea in mind, I keep making notes on it whenever I have ideas, either in my journal or in a file for it, and just let it simmer on the back burner. When it’s ready, it attacks me and makes me start writing it.

I generally have to have a title and a one-paragraph summary of what it’s about before I can officially start a story. That’s the bare minimum, but I usually prefer to have something of a plot outline. I’m a plotter and feel most comfortable when I at least have a list of the main events. I often cut those up into parts–like acts, if you will–and it depends on the story whether I have just a list of events or a full-out outline that’s like a long summary.

When I actually get to writing the story, I often plot each scene before I write, including a rough idea of some of the dialog. It depends on the story whether I feel most comfortable mapping it out so minutely, or whether I let it come as I write. And invariably, there’s always new things that pop up when I’m writing that I hadn’t plotted. That’s one of the best feelings. I also sometimes act out scenes to myself, which can help.

KWplaylistPicThen I write. Usually in my room with music on. For the most part I write in order, but occasionally a scene from later demands to be written, and I often comply. And I write some more. And make a cover for fun, and make lists of characters, and find songs to play in playlists, and procrastinate, and get stuck. And get distracted into working on something else for awhile. Then I get stuck on that one and go back to the original (or a third). Unless it’s really flowing, in which case I just type madly away and suddenly it’s finished and I don’t know what to do with myself because I’ve been living in it…

And after I finish… I let it sit. And then I edit it. And then I let people read it. And then I edit it again. And that’s… currently as far as I’ve ever gotten with a story. Don’t ask about what comes next–the dreaded Publishing with a capital P–because I’m not sure about that yet. Shhh…

***

And there you have some of my writing process and thoughts on writerly things! If you actually read it, in which case you deserve a cookie for your patience!

I think I’m supposed to tag people now but most people seem to have done the tag already… But I tag Lauriloth and Ashlee Willis because they’re both awesome people who I would like to hear talk about how they write!