Wintry Tag

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Sarah @ Light and Shadows had a wintry A Few of My Favorite Things Tag, and left it open for people to snag on their blogs… so I’m doing so (nearly a year later) because it’s December, and wintry/Christmas-y things are in the air. ^_^

1. Favorite “snuggle weather” books?

Books.

(…Okay, I sound like Tare when I answer like that.)

Um. I don’t really have any specific books I think of as good wintry reads. I guess I just read what I usually read?

I do like reading a short story called Wintermoon Wish by Sharon Shinn around this time of year… maybe I’ll do that again. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas is a fun read for this time of year, as is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Lewis. But I haven’t been reading those.

I do seem to be in the mood for rereading Diana Wynne Jones books (Chrestomanci, in particular). But who am I kidding — I’m always in the mood for DWJ. 😉

OH! Do you know what would make a PERFECT wintry read?? (Or any other kind of read, TBH.) PAPER CROWNS BY MIRRIAM NEAL. It has the snow and ice, it has the awesome, it has the fantabulous characters, it has the snark… YES. I highly recommend getting yourself (or anyone else) a copy of this book for Christmas and snuggling up for a delightful read. ❤

2. Favorite winter/Christmassy snacks?

Candy canes, of course!

(Um. That was my inner Baz talking; pay no heed. >.> *COUGH*)

I don’t actually snack much, so I like any kind of snack, but around Christmas I’m partial to nuts and dried fruits (craaanberries, preciousss), chopped veggies, crackers/cheese/summer sausage, and of course cupcakes and chocolate. *nods*

3. Favorite hot drinks?

Hot chocolate and herbal teas like red raspberry leaf with honey. Yum. (I like coffee when I drink it, which is rarely. 😉 )

4. Favorite Christmas movies?

A Muppet Christmas Carol, hands down, every time. I love that movie. ❤ I even like it better than the book, and this movie is the classic version of the story for me. I tend to watch it most Christmasses.

5. Favorite holidays songs?

Carol of the Bells/Ring Christmas Bells, Silent Night, The Little Drummer Boy, Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil, O Come All Ye Faithful, A Breton Carol, Come O Come Emmanuel, 12 Days of Christmas, and the Snoopy and the Red Baron Christmas song.

6. Favorite “snow day” crafts?

By “snow day” I’m going to assume this means a cold day spent indoors. Since, you know, I don’t actually get snow here, or if I do I’m more likely to be out in it BECAUSE IT’S SO RARE, than staying inside because of it. XD Buuut… how about knitting or crocheting (if I actually have something in mind, which is rare), or more likely . . . reading. Yep. I don’t actually do much with crafts. Ahem.

7. Do you wanna build a snowman?

YES PLEASE.

How about you? Feeling in a wintry/Christmassy mood? Feel free to do the tag if you are! ^_^ Merry Christmas to everyone (and happy winter to those who aren’t into Christmas). May your hearts follow the star that led to the stable when the Light of the World was born there. 🙂 Have a blessed couple of weeks and I’ll see you again at the year’s turning! ❤

THAW: Fairytale Series Launch! (& Giveaway)

Thaw Crown promo

I’m thrilled to join in the blog hop for the launch of some exciting new books–the THAW series, which are wintry fairytale retellings!

Make sure to check out the other posts in the tour!

Today I’m privileged to interview Miss Elizabeth Kaiser about her new series, and there’s a giveaway at the end of the post (make sure to enter!) but first, the books themselves…

The first two books released this last week, and book 3 is releasing on Amazon Kindle today soon! (EDIT: Prince of Demargen is actually now releasing January 20 — which is also when the giveaway runs to!)

THAW: books 1 – 3

Thaw  WCh promo1: Winter’s Child

A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way.

Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don’t know what to do with it.

AMAZON

[Pinterest Board]

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Thaw  WQu promo2: Winter Queen

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world… and it’s only when she takes the final step that the realizes the wall she’s built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever… unless she discovers how to destroy it.

The only one who can break a neurosis… is the one who has it.

AMAZON

[Pinterest board]

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Thaw PrD promo3: Prince of Demargen

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

The only person who can help him… is the one he most deeply wronged.

AMAZON

[Pinterest board]

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Interview with E. Kaiser Writes

1. Is there a story behind how the titles came about?

Well, I’d wanted to write a piece titled Winter Queen for some time now, it just seemed like such a great title and there was a lot of heavy drama in it, to my mind. (Also I had a lovely picture for the cover, of a white dress taken by my sis that evoked a story-tale feel.) But I had another person’s story in my head (basically a maiden ends up married to Winter itself, and she becomes the Winter Queen and lives forever while everyone else dies, but that’s okay because she’s protected from the cold by her husband.) I didn’t want to go that route, but nothing was materializing. Then when Frozen came out, and I liked some of what they did, but felt there was so much missing… especially the Christian themes in Anderson’s original. While researching that the idea came to combine the Snow Maiden tale with the Snow Queen, borrow a bit from Disney’s version, (it is a universal truth that as soon as they do a version of a tale it immediately becomes the stock version for American audiences!) add in some historical aspects, toss it into a not-quite-Europe world and add a generous helping of “what it then?”

After that it just grew, and became three books. Winter’s Child just made sense as the prequel’s title, and once the full scope of the project became evident, Prince of Demargen was a natural follow up.

The other two in these “first five” will be Reindeer King, and Princess of Noran. So there’s sort of a theme through there, going Child, Queen, Prince, King, Princess… and they each have their slightly different arc focusing on another character of the original four that get introduced in Winter’s Child. That really is the origins book that sets up the rest of the series… I think a person could read any of the others as stand-alones just fine, but they’d be missing some of the subtle hints that start out in Winter’s Child.

2. If you had to describe subgeneres/categories for the books, besides fairy tale retellings, which would you pick? (action/adventure/romance/humor/historical fiction/fantasy etc.)

Definitely historical fiction and fantasy. This has a majorly hist-fic feel, readers often comment on the “realness” of the settings and the culture, and I love being able to give homage, so to speak, to real history, without actually hijacking it and making it suit my needs. This is a fantasy tale, with prayers answered in supernatural ways; it is a fairytale in the most wonderous sense of the word and anything can happen here. But there is a firm foundation from history underneath it all, and that just enhances the marvelousness, to my mind.

3. How long did it take you to write these first three THAW books?

They had percolated in my mind a long time, as I resisted writing them down. I had “better things to work on” and I was trying to “finish the WIPs” that pack my docs folders… but then, just to get the plot out of my head and encourage it to fly away, I told my sister about it. She got so excited that she insisted a write it down, even if just to make it a story or novella length. “Just write the really good parts.”

Ha!

As soon as I started writing is all came pouring out in a huge tangled mass and there were no “not good parts” I could throw away. It quickly escalated to a novel, then two, and I was really hoping to keep it there. But no… Winter’s Child splintered off as a origins prequel, and then Reindeer King and Princess of Noran insisted on happening, and we were up to a five book set up.

Then… our boy Hess, (did you know that Hess is named after a place in Germany? Also, we once had neighbors with the last name of Hess, and as soon as I cast about of a name for our beloved Prince of Demargen, Hess just stuck to him like glue. As a nod to the historical origins, his mother Queen Agatha, says it’s from her side of the family… and she is a inner kingdom princess, from the area on the map, if correlated to the Europe’s map; would be approximately Hesse. With a silent “e”.) Anyway, our boy Hess is one of 13 princes, (which we borrowed from the Disney version, it was too cute to toss, and the sequels it leads to…!!!!) So… his 12 older brothers all get spin-offs, retelling other fairytales. Princess and the Pea? Yep. Snow White? Yep. Cinderella? You got the picture!!!

ThawBut first, we’ll travel back in time to when our boy Hess was only a little tyke, too young to be out of the nursery, and the year that his 12 older brothers got into trouble of a nasty sort in Twelve Dark Knights, (a 12 Dancing Princesses twist.) (I absolutely love this one! It’s going to be so much fun!)

Anyway, to answer your question, Winter’s ChildWinter Queen, & Prince of Demargen came out in one year; I started letting them onto the page last January. Those 3 are finished, and I have 56k on Reindeer King, under 10k on Princess of Noran (a super fun book!) and 17k on Twelve Dark Knights. (Another super fun one!)

So yeah. We’ll have to see how this year goes, but I hope to have 3-to-5 of the others readied, possibly out, by 2016. I have to move fast, because they’re putting so much pressure on my poor brain! I’ve got to get them removed…

4. Do you have a favorite character in these books? Tell us a bit about them! (A character for each of the three books is allowed, if you have to. ;))

Oooooh!!!! Okay, hard one.

My favorite character is probably Princess Ilise, later Queen Ilise. She is the most like me, and I based a lot of her flaws on my own. The tendency to withdraw from conflict, and then suddenly blow up icily when she reaches a tipping point… her arguments were so easy to write because they came filtering through my own teen explosions. Her triumph is what I’d love to be like some day, and her ultimate happy ending is possibly the sweetest one ever.

A close second would be Hess… even though he goes through a bout with the Devil’s Mirror consuming his heart, he makes such a pitch perfect performance in Prince of Demargen.

5. What authors/books do you think have influenced your writing the most?

Oh, yes! Definitely J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander and the KJV. I love the rhythm of the words, and they paint such brilliant pictures.

6. Just for fun: do you have a favorite color? (Hey, I’m one for classic questions. ;))

I’ve long held my favorite color to be blue, but as an artist they are all indefensible. (Except many fluorescent pink/green/ orange… 😉 )

7. Thanks so much for joining us! Any closing thoughts?

I’m so excited to be putting these first three of the series out pretty much simultaneously, and I can’t wait to hear what more readers think of them! There will end up being a lot in this series, (I’d love to hit as many tales as I can,) so I’m very thrilled about beginning this path with so many enthusiastic people, and I hope we just continue to be joined by more and more fans as we go along it!

Thanks so much for hosting me, and I’m very glad of the chance to be here!!!

Giveaway

Be sure to click through to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of the books! There will be six winners! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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You can connect with E. Kaiser Writes at:

EKaiserWritesPhoto

Her Blog

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Perfectionism and Pictures

There almost wasn’t going to be a post today. Because as you may or may not know by now, I’m a perfectionist.

Sometimes that may be a good thing, but in the case of blogging . . . not so much. See, it means that in order for me to post something, I have to have a solid topic, and write some long semi-essay on it, and find some good pictures, and set up everything just so and make it . . . perfect.

And I was thinking that, well, if I keep doing that, I’ll never keep up with this blog. It worked early on because I planned several posts ahead when I started the blog, but I don’t always have that kind of time these days. There’s only so many perfectionist-friendly post ideas, and there’s only so much time in the world with which to write blog posts — and in the case of blog followers, read them. So I need to stop writing such long things (a bad habit of mine, I’m afraid), and stop needing everything to be perfect.

I want this blog to be fun and casual, but whenever I try that, my inner perfectionist takes over and has to be all eloquent and turn everything into a project . . . and whenever my perfectionist self decides that something is a project, it puts it off indefinitely because it knows that it will be an enormous task to do that project perfectly. It thinks that something not done perfectly is something not worth doing. *rolls eyes at perfectionist-self* Yes, it’s a problem, and one that I need to deal with sometime or another . . . as long as I can pretend that that won’t be a project. 😉

As I was thinking today about all of this and the fact that I didn’t have a topic to post about, I suddenly thought —

“Wait a minute, that’s a topic!”

My perfectionist-self raised a cynical eyebrow and went, “Really?” It wasn’t so sure.

And I said, “Emphatically yes.”

And I wrote the post that you have just read most of, but not all of because it isn’t over yet.

(And no, I do not actually have conversations with my inner-perfectionist, or at least not in so many words, but in addition to being a perfectionist I’m also a writer, and writers like to expand on things and make them dramatic, and can turn practically anything into a story. Though not necessarily a good one. This being a case in point.)

Anyways, the actual point of all this is that I’m going to try to write shorter, funner, less topic-heavy posts and be less of a perfectionist when it comes to blogging. Key word: Try. So . . . kinda. Sorta. Almost. Maybe. Ish. At least, I won’t do those all the time. I need to remember that it really doesn’t take long to write up a post, and if it’s taking too long I’m probably being too much of a perfectionist or making it too enormous.

Now that I’ve managed to write an entire post about nothing in particular (take that, pefectionist-self! Ha!) I sort of feel like I should give some slight substance to this . . .

When in doubt: pictures! It snowed this week, which is basically unheard of where I live — at least, it’s been a couple of years — so I was making the most of it. Even a light dusting is cause for cheers and a frolic and obsessive photography.

So here, have some Texas snow pictures.

snow_cactus_2014

Cactus in the Snow (good one, right?)

snow_cardinals_2014

Cardinals must be so smug… they’re adorable and they know that we know it

snow_paw_prints_2014

Someone went by here…

snow_seahorse_2014

Poor Little Seahorse: “Why didn’t I stay in the sea where it was warmer…?”

snow_cedar_2014

Christmasy pic! If only the snow had come a month earlier…