Fantasy Favorites Tag!

G’day, my Roadlings!

It’s the LAST day of February (say what? How did this happen?) so I’m squeezing in at the last second of February Fantasy Month to do this lovely tag that the hostess of this awesome event, Jenelle Schmidt, put together.

No, I’m not late—what gave you that idea?

Ahem. On with the tag, shall we? All of these questions are so hard! O_O

What is your favorite fantasy book?

(I lied. This question is super easy.)

The Lord of the Rings/The Silmarillion and Howl’s Moving Castle. I KNOW. SUCH A SHOCK. XD

(Okay, I know that’s not one. But. You know.)

Also, I’m looking forward to reading Howl’s Moving Castle for the sixth time (I think?) next month for March Magics since there’s going to be a readalong for it! 😀

What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?

At first I couldn’t think of any fantasy TV shows, which shows a definite problem somewhere . . . But I’m going to go with Ren: The Girl with the Mark, which I mentioned before, and if you haven’t checked it out, I totally recommend doing so!

I’m going to be posting about that soon, regarding a possible season 2 (!!) so stay tuned!

For movies:

(I need to see the new How to Train Your Dragon movie! Aaahh!)

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Prince of Persia

And if you haven’t seen Prince of Persia yet — what are you even doing with your life?

Prince Dastan can’t believe you haven’t watched it, either

Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?

I have SO MANY FAVORITE HEROES, I’m not even going to try listing anybody. My mind overwhelmed itself and short-circuited with the sheer amount and left me suddenly unable to recall anybody. I’ll regret it later but I’m going to skip that.

Instead, I’ll just do heroines, since that’s a much shorter list. 😉 Here are some:

  • Mina Klug (The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead)
  • Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings) and Luthien Tinuviel (The Silmarillion), both by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Eilonwy (The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander)
  • Ginny (Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal)
  • Cordelia Beaumont (The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz)
  • Echo (Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer)

It takes a LOT to write a heroine I really love and admire. I’m not sure exactly what quality these heroines share but they’re all fabulous! (You can read a post I wrote which in part concerned those first few heroines, if you like.)

Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?

Uuuurgh. Do you realize how difficult this question is? Do you realize how many amazing fantasy side-kicks there are? This is threatening to short-circuit my brain again.

*panics* *scrambles around* *grabs one name from the swirling mass and tosses it out*

CRISPIN BEASLEY HE’S JUST THE BEST OKAY BYE

*panting*

*thrusts The Beast of Talesend haphazardly in your face*

*hurries on*

Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)

For some reason all I can think of right now is the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. He’s just . . . really creepy. O_O

(I was tempted to list Carhartan from Orphan’s Song or Rupert de la Mare from Plenilune or the Keeper from Entwined but “most love to hate” might not apply; it’s more like I HAVE FEELINGS WHICH MAY BE HATE I DUNNO. I talk about villains here.)

I . . . don’t want to linger on this question; there’s a sort of chill in the air over here. I’ll just . . . Yeah, I’ll move on.

*sprints hastily to next question and locks door behind self*

What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?

*breathes sigh of relief* Much safer, cozier, warmer question. 🙂

Fairytale retellings, and steampunk-fantasy or Regency-fantasy! Those are ones I’ve been really into lately, anyway.

I love a good classic epic fantasy, too!

What is your favorite thing about fantasy?

The limitless possibilities and imagination and wonder. There’s just so MUCH that can happen! It also has great potential for my favorite sorts of character types, and of course fantastical creatures and settings! And . . . well . . . everything.

Fantasy is my home, and while I enjoy other genres from time to time (non-speculative fiction, and non-fiction occaaasionally), they just often seem . . . dry. They don’t have the wonder. I enjoy visiting them sometimes but Fantasy is where I live.

It has so much potential. I find I learn truths about life more deeply when I encounter them in fantasy.

Lloyd Alexander said it best.

What is your favorite fantasy realm?

Tolkien’s world, absolutely. I have recently been re-immersing myself in Middle-earth and particularly Beleriand and the other lands of The Silmarillion, reading Tolkien’s Book of Lost Tales and The Fall of Gondolin.

I “grew up” there, living and breathing the richness of his world and the far-reaching wonder of the ages of Middle-earth. I had no idea how much I missed it until I went back again and realized it was so natural to slip back into this world. I do need to give The Lord of the Rings a good re-read one of these days soon, but at the moment I’m enjoying going through the older drafts of what later became The Silmarillion and having a blast.

If you need me, I’ll be walking the shores of Valinor or visiting the hidden valley of the city of Gondolin between the mountains; treading under the trees of Doriath with Luthien and Beren or staring at the wide sea from the cliffs of Beleriand; visiting the Shire or the Lonely Mountain or Lothlorien or Minas Tirith; spending a couple of weeks by the fire in Rivendell with the music and the books, the food and the Elves; galloping the vast plains with the Rohirrim; or walking the woods of Ithilien with Faramir. Watch out; I may never come back. 😉

What is your favorite fantasy magic system?

I’m not sure! I don’t always pay that much attention to how the fantasticalness works in the fantasy I read? But I will say that I know I liked Spellsmith and Carver (where it was half like computer coding) and Beggar Magic (the “strains” sort of like music), both by H.L. Burke. And the Song from the Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams, and the aether gifts in the Sentinel Trilogy by Jamie Foley, are all coming to mind. So I guess I’ll go with some of those. XD In Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, I ADORED the book-mirrors where you can step into a story, so if that counts . . .

Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

Wellll. I have written a fantasy book, or several. But they’re not exactly available yet. XD *cough*

My latest is basically a Steampunk-Fantasy Little Mermaid. Except that the Little Mermaid is neither little nor Mer nor a maid — being a cloud-siren prince on a quest to find his father’s killer — and he gets mixed up with Princess Tasmania who is the captain of a skyship. Cloud cities, assassins, tea, love, and clockwork dragons ensue.

So yeah, that’s The Siren and the Skyship, currently in needs-to-be-edited limbo. I’m working on trying to figure out the plot for the sequel right now and it’s giving me headaches.

Maybe I’ll do an update post about how my writing is coming, since I haven’t talked about that or anything on here in awhile . . .

Actual book

In the meantime, how about a book that is actually finished! and published! and awesome!

I wanted to screech about Echo North or The Electrical Menagerie, but since y’all prooobably know by now how much I love those (given all the shrieking I’ve done. XD) and things like Howl’s Moving Castle, I think I’ll give a quick shout-out for a book I haven’t talked as much about for a little while! (But seriously, go check those out if you haven’t!! They make me happy!)

Blood Ties! By Hazel West!

Alternate modern Ireland! Warriors with swords and fast cars! Brothers by blood and by bond with great messy relationships I love! SNARK. Fighting. Epic characters! (I love them ALL! AWK!) Loyalty and goblins and castles and cell phones! (Those are good because they’re all together in one book, not because goblins or cell phones are necessarily inherently good in themselves.)

Did I mention Ireland? Because it’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day so you OBVIOUSLY need something to read for that.

I love it so much and I’ve been missing this series (the sequels are just as good if not better) and wanting book four BADLY. So go read this one if you haven’t. 😀

And look, I’m part of Ciran’s Company! And I have a real BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk) shamrock necklace I won from the author, so if any of you reading this are actually malevolent fae or goblins trying to convince people not to read this book, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Ciran and I are comin’ for you. And the rock band Swords and Shamrocks are going to write a ballad about it. So watch out.

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this fantasy tag and my answers — do feel free to steal the tag to use on your own blog, even if Fantasy Month is over. Because the time for fantasy is always!

What are some of YOUR fantasy favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse (Review)

Time for a book review, since I haven’t done one in awhile, and I have a fabulous new book to tell you about!

Title: Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1)

Author: Morgan L. Busse

  • Date read: November 25, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: Technically listed under Adult but teens would love it too!
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 341 (paperback)
  • Series: The Ravenwood Saga, #1
  • Fave character: Damien
  • Source: The publisher
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes and NobleAuthor’s Website

Published November 6, 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

My thanks to Bethany House for the complimentary copy of MARK OF THE RAVEN. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.


Aaah, that was so cool! Now where’s the next book?

I love a good epic fantasy and this one was awesome! The world was so rich and the characters were fantastic. The plot was a slow-burn kind of one, full of mystery and politics but enough spice of danger and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat—the rest of it did that actually as well!

I love anything involving dreams in fiction so I was really excited to try this one. Like Inception in a fantasy world. 😛 The Dreamwalking was a cool aspect to the book. I particularly liked the soul aspect of it. I think I thought there would be more time spent in the actual dreamscapes, but at the same time I don’t really mind because the rest of the book was so cool too!

I was so intrigued by this setting and loved the world-building. The idea of the seven nations and the Great Houses and their secrets and gifts was so intriguing. The political intrigue aspect of it was interesting instead of boring. It made me think a little of Jill Williamson’s fantasy, which is high praise from me. 😉 I was pulled into this story and loved visiting these mountains, castles, secret passages, and seaside—and the different Houses were really neat. Everything had a distinct feeling and vibrant color to it and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can’t wait to return to this world and find out what happens next, as well as learn more about the gifts—and spend more time with these characters.

The characters were all well-drawn and I loved them. ^_^ Selene was an interesting heroine and I felt bad for her and was always curious what she’d do next. I can’t wait to see where her story goes from here. No spoilers but… it should be interesting! 😉 Damien was my absolute favorite! I loved how the story alternated between his point of view and Selene’s. It was so neat getting to see each of them from the other’s perspective. But yes, Damien was a high point of the book—I loved his passion for helping people and how he had such a good heart and tried so hard and… he was just awesome. 😀

I loved many of the side characters, too! Selene’s father was so great. Taegis, Damien’s mentor, who I also loved. Lady Bryren! Man, I LOVED her and the other wyvern riders and hope we’ll see more of them! (And I don’t love them, but the villains stood out too. Lady Ragna was sooo chilling.)

The atmosphere of the book was just really neat—with the rich colors, the harsh beauty of the mountains, the shadows and mysteries of Rook Castle, the autumnal feel, the meetings and gala and dances, the passages and secrets, and all shot through with so many questions and interesting thoughts, a thread of faith in a unique way, and the many varied people and cultures inhabiting this world.

It took me a little while to get invested in the story (maybe until meeting Damien?) but once I got into it, I lived and breathed it, and now I’m sad it’s over. There were some pretty neat twists at the end which make me super curious to read the next book! I NEED IT.

MARK OF THE RAVEN was gorgeous and a little ominous and I was so intrigued the whole time, and I’m attached to these characters. It’s a touch scary a few times but is a basically clean read which I think older teens and adults alike would enjoy, and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans! 🙂


About the Book

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy — a legacy that supports her people — or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?


Also, the next book is releasing April 2019 and I neeeed it already! Isn’t it gorgeous? ❤


Talk to me! Does or does it not sound SO cool? Have you ever read a dream-related book? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Silmaril Awards 2018 Wisest Counselor: Voting!

The time has come! *cue Gandalf fireworks*

It’s time to vote on the second round of the Silmaril Awards!

Silmaril Awards: Top 5 Wisest Counselor Nominees

There were so many amazing wise counselor characters from fantasy nominated this year (you can see them all in the comments-section), but in the end, only five could progress to the voting stage.

The top five mentor characters nominated for the Wisest Counselor Silmaril are…

Halt (Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan)

Halt is a Ranger, a master of stealth and secrets, always slipping about almost unseen in his great grey Ranger cloak. Normal people are a little afraid of him, and he seems grim and mysterious at times, but also has a dry sense of humor and an unexpected snarkiness mixed in with his seeming grouchy unapproachableness. He always seems to have some sort of private joke, disguised enough that you sometimes don’t even realize he’s having fun. Despite his powerful presence and quiet strength, he’s unexpectedly short (a slight sore spot, since it means people don’t always believe he’s the famous Ranger Halt). Well respected among the Rangers, he makes the perfect mentor to young Will, and I doubt if there are many readers of this series who wouldn’t want to be Halt’s apprentice. 😉

Rayad (The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight)

Rayad is an older Arcacian man wanted by the emperor for being a rebel. He is the father figure and mentor to a young ex-gladiator-slave. At this youngster’s darkest moments, Rayad is there to offer advice, hope, and words of comfort and wisdom. He can be a bit gruff at times, but is kind, thoughtful, and knows where the Light comes from. He is also a member of the main council of the Resistance.

Prince Aethalbald (Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)

Aethelbald at first glance seems to be an entirely ordinary, uninteresting young man with brown hair and earnest dark eyes. He’s far more than he seems, of course, being in fact the ageless Prince of Farthestshore. There is none kinder or wiser, or more full of quiet, knowing power, in all the lands Near, Far, or the Wood Between. But he can also be simply a good friend with a sense of humor and a simple word you need to hear — or perhaps a Wood Thrush’s song…

Professor Digory Kirke (Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis)

Professor Kirke is a delightful old gentleman with shaggy white hair and a beard, who lives in a very old, strange house in the country — with a certain magical wardrobe. Having experienced going to Narnia in his youth, he’s the perfect wise counselor for the Pevensie children — he understands them and believes their story. He’s very knowledgeable about many things, including other worlds, time, and logic, and always has a wise thing to say, even though he won’t say more than he needs to. He’s someone who you can seek counsel from, confide your secrets and adventures to; he won’t laugh at you, but will give you advice about how to recognize those who have had similar adventures, and deal with those who haven’t. Professor Kirke is the adult who can be trusted because he listens and understands, and is just the right person to tell you what you need to know if you don’t know it yet — because “Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?”

Puddleglum (The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis)

I shouldn’t wonder if everyone already knows this most famous of Marshwiggles (especially since he won the Silmaril for Strangest Character in 2016) so the bright side of it is, perhaps he needs no introduction. You may find him making eel stew or predicting rain or the worst possible things to happen, but despite his apparent pessimism, he can sometimes be a wise counselor. He’s famous for “making the best of it,” and he’ll often have a wise word when you least expect it. He’s good at sticking to things and reminding you about what’s important.


To read all about the top five characters in the other categories, you can visit the rest of the host blogs:


Silmaril Awards Voting Form (voting is open Sept. 10 – 14)

Go forth and vote on your favorite mentor (which you’ll find at the end of the ballot) and your favorite character from each of the other 9 categories!

*********CLICK HERE to vote!**********

We’ll be posting the winners later on our various blogs, from September 17 to 28.

You can also visit the Silmaril Awards website at www.silmarilawards.com.

And may the best characters win!


Giveaway

ALSO! Check back here tomorrow (Tuesday), because (spoiler alert) it’s going to be my 5-year blogiversary and I’m going to have a giveaway of bookses (Preciousss…) aaand, speaking of Silmarils, one of the items will be a Tolkien-related book, so you don’t want to miss this. 😉


Which of these mentors are you most excited about? Is it going to be so hard to pick? (AAHH!) Are you excited to find out who wins? 😀 Drop all your Silmaril Awards thoughts below!

And thanks so much, everyone, for all your great nominations and seconds! We couldn’t do this without you. ❤

Silmaril Awards 2018: Nominations! (Wisest Counselor)

It’s that time again! Welcome to the third annual Silmaril Awards! They have returned, and this week is the time to get in your nominations!

This year, I’m hosting the Wisest Counselor award, for our favorite mentors and wise characters from works of fantasy fiction! I’m excited. 😀 (I mean, I do seem to have been talking about mentors a lot this year… like hereand here…)

Not sure what these awards are? They’re a just-for-fun fan-voted award for the best characters from fantasy books! Sort of an Oscars-type event for fantasy characters.

Since characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings are the gold-standard, they will be the ones “presenting” the awards (called “Silmarils” in honor of the jewels from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion) to the winners, who YOU get to nominate and vote for!

You can find out more about the awards and visit the hall of fame to see previous winners at www.silmarilawards.com, with links to the awards ceremonies, details about the hosts, etc. 🙂

How it Works

Round 1: Nominations (Sept 3 – 7)

You nominate a character by going to the category’s blog post (there are ten of us hosting these) and leaving a comment there. (Nominees for Wisest Counselor are to be left in a comment on this post; other character categories can be found in a list below.)

You can also SECOND (or third/fourth/etc.) someone else’s nomination by replying to the comment and saying that you second that nomination.

You may nominate as many characters as you like, and you may second as many characters as you like.

Round 2: Voting (Sept 10 – 14)

For the voting round, the top FIVE characters in each category (the ones with the most seconds) will be moved to the second round and you may vote for one favorite character in each category on a voting form which we will link to.

Round 3: Awards Presentations

The final part of the awards runs from September 17 – 28, and will be the announcements of the winner of each category, on each of the 10 Silmaril Awards host blogs. There will be one post per day, with award presentation ceremonies, featuring Lord of the Rings characters presenting the awards to the winners, chosen by your votes in the second round.

A few rules

  1. Authors may not nominate their own characters (but, of course, are more than welcome to tell their fans about the awards).
  2. You may also second as many characters nominated by others as you choose. The more “seconds” a character receives, the more likely that character will move on to the VOTING round, which will be the top five most nominated characters from any given category.
  3. Nominations are allowed for FANTASY BOOK characters only! (Movie characters are not allowed, unless the BOOK came FIRST). If you aren’t sure if a book qualifies as “fantasy” you can leave a comment and ask, and we’ll get back to you on that.
  4. Characters who have already won a Silmaril in previous years are part of the “lifetime” Hall of Fame for that award and may not be nominated for an award they have already won (though they may win other awards).
  5. Tolkien’s characters may also not be nominated, since, as mentioned, they are already the standard for fantasy characters, and we want to give other character a chance to earn their due. 🙂

So what are you waiting for? Nominate away!

Awards list and participating blogs (visit each of them to nominate more characters!)

You can also visit this page on the official site.

Nominate your favorite Wisest Counselor characters by leaving a comment below!

(Not eligible for this award: Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis [2016 winner], Professor Charles Hamilton from the Dragons in Our Midst series by Bryan Davis [2017 winner], and Gandalf, etc. from The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s works.)

Also, feel free to spread the word about these awards with any of these graphics, the official www.silmarilawards.com link, and/or #SilmAwards2018 on social media!

Who is your favorite mentor-type character or “Wisest Counselor” from fantasy fiction? Share in the comments!

EDIT: Nominations are now closed. Voting on the next level will open on September 10!

We Otter Do It: I Won a Flash Fiction Writing Contest!

Guys! I won a contest! *squeaks*

I’m really excited to announce that I won the fan-voted Fellowship of Fantasy Mythical Doorways flash fiction Writing Contest! I can’t believe it, and little Gavin the otter and I are so grateful for y’all’s votes!

The contest was to write a 500 word or less story, opening with “The door creaked open …” I won the adult section, and the winner of the 15 and under category wrote an amazing story too!

FYI, flash fiction = a short story of one thousand words or less. Or, in this case, 499 words, which is how long “We Otter Do It” is — and you can read the whole thing on the Fellowship of Fantasy blog where it’s being featured today! 🙂 Along with the other winning story, which is fantastic. 😀

So drop by to meet a little otter secretary named Gavin. 😉 And leave a comment here or there to let me know what you think! ^_^

We Otter Do It

by Deborah O’Carroll

The door creaked open. A tall, wobbling stack of parchment pattered into the room on little furry paws. At least, that’s what it looks like when your otter secretary comes into your office carrying the mail.

I’m a respectable young man and a magician, and nobody would believe me if I told them my life is tyrannized by an adorable otter.

Read the rest at fellowshipoffantasy.com


P.S. Oh, and the writing contest was a publicity thing to celebrate the release of a Fellowship of Fantasy short story anthology which released last week, Mythical Doorways, featuring stories by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, H.L. Burke, and nine other fantastic authors. You can get the ebook free online in some places (I think Amazon is currently being difficult but it’s 99 cents there at the moment and might be free again). Anyway, I’m reading it now and enjoying it. And it’s unrelated to the contest, except in both having doorways. XD

P.P.S. This is the first time I’ve won a writing contest and I’m SO EXCITED. It’s got me floating in the clouds! AWK.

Thank you for reading! ❤