Monday, July 27, 2015

Five Enchanted Roses Released

Today is a delightful day. A glorious day. A day soaring with thrills and celebration!

“Well, good grief, Christine, are you going to actually tell us why today is so special?” you’re probably asking.
The answer is yes, yes I am!

Today Rooglewood Press has officially launched the Five Enchanted Roses Collection!

Five Enchanted Roses Banner

Now you understand my excitement, correct? Just look at that cover and promise if enthralling stories inside!

I have been highly anticipating this collection of Beauty and the Beast novellas. As I’m sure you all know by now, fairytales are a huge part of my life, and Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite one. How can one not love the touching story of a cold soul being redeemed by love? Such a beautiful tale! And, oh my, does this collection promise some deliciously eerie and stirringly captivating retellings. I get goose bumps just thinking about it! I hope to snatch up a copy SOON. I’ve been waiting for this for, well, nearly a year now. I can’t believe it’s finally released!

And guess what? Not only can you snag yourself a copy of this collection today, there’s also a simply scrumptious giveaway!

Five Enchanted Roses Giveaway

Drool worthy, am I right? To enter (because, come on, you know you want in on this deliciousness) you can find all the information and rules at Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s blog HERE. And I believe Mrs. Stengl is also interviewing each of the five authors on her blog this week, so do be sure to check it out for some fun inside scoops.

And though I won’t be attending, there will be a Facebook Launch Party tonight, and it sounds like it’s going to be a blast.

Also, don’t forget Rooglewood Press’s contest for the next fairytale collection is in full swing.

Five Magic Spindles Banner

If you want to write a Sleeping Beauty novella of your own, click the image above to see all the rules. Your story may be one of the chosen to go inside that gorgeous cover! Exciting thought, am I right?

See? I told you today was a delightful one.

So what do you think?? Are you planning on grabbing yourself a copy of this beautiful collection? (Pst. Yes, yes you should.) How do you feel about the Beauty and Beast tale? Annnd are you working on a Sleeping Beauty novella for the next contest?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I’ll Take That Dessert Now

I am currently in a vigorous escapade of writing the big ol’ climatic ending of Burning Thorns. I’ve been writing, well, a lot lately with my 30k word goal in June and now pushing forward to make it to the end of the story.

Thorin FunnyThis is how we all feel when getting to the ending, right?

Due to all the writing, I was recently feeling some burnout and really just wanted to close my laptop and go take a long nap. (And by long I mean like a week.) Writing is my life passion, but sometimes you can have a little too much of something, no matter what it is. (I mean, Ice Cream Mountain sounds like a glorious idea but once the tummy aches start settling in we may rethink it. . .maybe.) I still really, really love Burning Thorns. I had no real problem with the story, it was just the writing all the time that was getting to me.

Sleepy kitten gif

Then this last week I finished all the parts leading up to the climax and delved right into the actual thing. And you know what? Writing suddenly felt like magic again. I wanted to write, I still want to write. I’m excited about writing all over again and am encouraged that I can make it to the end, and soon.

I mean, all the characters are together and each have their own agendas and some are threatening others and dark fae are attacking and it’s a big, horrible mess and. . .

Wait what?

Why am I so excited about writing this rather traumatic stuff? I asked myself this and I realized: I love endings. Writing endings anyway. Finishing reading a book I love or a TV series not so much, but writing those endings? Exhilarating!

So this got me thinking about different sections of writing.

I always think I love to start new stories. Having a blank canvas with endless possibilities is such a thrilling thought, right? But then I sit down and stare at that blank canvas and suddenly all those endless possibilities are not so thrilling but overwhelming. I’ve got to find the perfect sentence to start out with, figure out an entire world, discover numerous characters, and then there’s that plot thing that is apparently important. Overwhelming, much?

The first time I actually realized that beginnings really aren’t my thing (despite thinking they were for like my whole writing life >.>) was during NaNoWriMo 2013. I had outlined, made thorough character bios, the whole balooga (we’re pretending that’s a word, okay?), not to mention this was the fourth book in a series so I knew the world quite well. But no amount of outlining and character bios can make you discover your characters and story like actually writing. This was my first time in these characters’ heads and it took some time to really grasp their voices, their emotions, their way of life. It took a while to establish myself in the story world.

For me, beginnings are awkward and slow and take a lot of work.

Spongebob Writing gifLiterally me trying to write beginnings. Hours of work, no progress.

But not just with the beginning of stories. I also do this with the beginning of a chapter, or even just a new scene. Basically, I don’t like establishing scenes. Having to come up with clever ways to open the scene and set it up and show who’s all there and what’s going on hurts my wee brainSnoopy Writing ComicStarting out something new is so hard to me, but once I’ve got everything setup and the momentum going, it’s smooth sailing. Even if I take a long break from writing and come back to the middle of a scene, I can jump in so much easier than when I have to begin with an entirely new one. I need everything established already before I can really begin moving. Because of this, the first few chapters are hard, but once I’ve gotten past the first two or three, I do start really enjoying the writing. Beginnings may not be my thing, but I guess almost beginnings can be a lot of fun.

So what about that ever intimidating middle? I have mixed feelings in that area. On the one hand, by the time we’re at the middle, things are definitely established, my characters and I are quite familiar with each other. So honestly, I rather like middles. They’re the meat of the story after all. While beginnings are appetizers and endings are the long sought after dessert, beginnings are the main course. And, well, I really like meals. What can I say?

BUT middles can be daunting. Sometimes you start eyeing that dessert and realize with dread you still have half your meal left that must be finished before you can even have a lick of that cake. I can absolutely get burned out in the midst of all the middleness. But I (try) to keep trucking along because. . .


That’s the main reason we eat meals, right? For the dessert afterwards? (Don’t tell me you disagree.) The appetizer and main course were good, but gimme dat cake!

Stitch Cake gif

I love endings. But again, not just story endings. I love chapter endings as well. Like I said, once everything is established and that momentum has kicked in, everything starts flowing so much easier. I write the second half of a chapter probably two or three times faster than the first half.

And then we get to the actual ending and ah, I love it! I don’t know if I’ve ever written an ending where I wasn’t having fun. There are many, many moments in writing where it feels like such a chore and I question my life choices. But then I get to that climax and remember all over again how delicious writing can be (see what I did there?). Basically every word has led up to the climax, all that work now comes together for this moment.

While before I wrote at a snail’s pace, endings is where my inner ninja kicks in and the words just explode from my fingers. If only that would happen the rest of the time. . .

In conclusion, I love writing endings. (You know, in case you haven’t grasped that yet.) I love seeing everything come together, experiencing the excitement (and drama) of the climax, and then the (usually) happy finale where everything has been fixed and my characters can get on with their lives without their author torturing them.

And, you have to admit, finishing a book is probably the best feeling any writer can have. Too bad it takes so painfully long to reach those endings. But it’s worth it. So very, very worth it!

Now watch the ending of Burning Thorns be painful and fall like molasses since I’ve written all this. Because my life is like that.

Eating Dessert gif

Okay, I’ve babbled waaaay too much and am dying to hear your thoughts on all this. What is YOUR favorite part to write? Am I the only one who has the hardest time starting things out? Or maybe you love beginnings and endings daunt you more? TELL ME. Seriously, I’m insanely curious how everyone feels about this.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Who Am I?

Little Girl in MirrorDo you ever have those days where you feel like nothing? Just. . .here, and that’s about it. I sure do. More often than not I examine myself and think, “What’s the point in me? In Christine?” I’m just here, not really making the world worse (hopefully), but not really making it better either. Just here using up empty space for no reason.

It’s a hard thing wondering why you’re here, what your purpose is, what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

These are our years that we supposed to be figuring these things out, right? While we’re in our teens and twenties. These are the years that we make decisions to setup our life to the end of our days. No pressure or anything. But it’s hard. It’s hard looking in the mirror and asking the question, “Who am I?” And sometimes that face staring back at you will answer. “Nobody. You’re worthless.”

But there’s Someone else Who has the voice of truth.

“Who am I?” you ask.

“You’re mine,” He answers.

Not a single person on this entire Earth, not you, not me, not anyone, is worthless. Maybe things aren’t going right, maybe you’re in a waiting period, maybe all these life decisions are crowding around you and confusing and suffocating, but you do have a purpose. And you know what that is?

Being loved.

That’s it. That’s why you’re here. Not only being loved, but being loved by a perfect, sovereign Creator Who wants the very best for you. Wow. That doesn’t sound like a worthless nobody to me.

Life is hard, no one can deny that, and sometimes it’s even harder to find your place in this chaotic place called life. But you know what? You already have a place, because Jesus died for you and calls you His. And not only has He created each of us with a purpose in this world, He’s also made a place for all His children in Heaven.

“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so,
I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14:2

So who are we? God’s children. And what is our purpose in this life? He tells us exactly—

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”
Matthew 6:33-34

We’re here to love Him, total abandon. As long as we keep our eyes on Him, He’ll take care of tomorrow’s problems and show us exactly who we are.

We are loved.
We are His.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Beautiful People - Ethryl {July 2015}

This is the second Beautiful People post in a row that I’m getting to just a couple days after the new version was put up and not at the very end of the month. Yes, you may applaud me.

Or not.

Ahem, yes. So! This month, in honor of the lazy summer days (although thus far my summer has been anything but lazy), our resourceful hosts Sky and Cait have come up with questions centered around such days. Also ice cream. Because apparently July is National Ice Cream Month. Like what? How have I never head of this?? And the third Sunday of July is the official National Ice Cream Day (which lands on the 19th this year). Um, YES PLEASE. I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life and never known this. All the wasted years! *makes note to consume unhealthy amounts of ice cream this month* So obviously you want to join in on the summery questions. Ice cream is involved, people. So yeah. Go here and/or here to snag the questions and thrust your characters into this summer, ice cream goodness.

Beautiful People Button

I’ve been doing characters from Burning Thorns for obvious reasons, but due to the questions this month being fit more for a modern setting I realized not really one character from BT would be well suited. Since I mostly write medieval-type stuff, this was quite a conundrum. But about a million years ago (AKA 2013) I wrote a book called The Avriot, which is the first book in what I hope will be a trilogy called The Traveling Library trilogy. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it, but that was a long time ago so I don’t know who all knows about it. Basically it’s this silly, steampunk, time travel story full of bizarre characters and, you guessed it, a library that can move and travel through time. Fun stuff. It’s horrendously written (in fact the other night I read through some of it and just laughed at how bad the writing was), but I adore that story and plan on someday turning it into something tangible. But ANYWAY, this story is basically always on my mind, it’s kind of my happy place. Definitely the most fun, lighthearted story I’ve ever written. So I thought why not do a character from it?

The book is full of characters (it basically has 8 main characters. . .yeeeah) but the core of the story is centered around Ethryl—a happy-go-lucky, always willing to help even though she’s extremely mistake prone, somewhat peculiar gal. She’s spent her whole life time traveling with an elderly man called Mortimer (or Timer as she more commonly refers to him as) and as a result isn’t easily shocked or fazed by, well, anything. When you’re raised by a crazy old guy and spend your life going on even crazier adventures you learn to accept the weird.

So now that I’ve probably already bored you to tears and typed your eyeballs out, let’s get to the actual post. (One of these days I’m going to jump into a BP post without a novel-length intro.)


"Oh, Timer and I run into ourselves all the time," Ethryl remarked casually.

The pirate's jaw dropped. "You do?"

"Sure. When you're time traveling your whole life you're bound to run into yourself from time to time."

"What's it like?" the girl asked in awe.

"Loud," Mortimer answered. "As if Ethryl talks enough, but when there's two of her..." He shook his head.

Faerwen laughed. "I think it would be nice. Do you like meeting yourself, Mr. Mortimer?"

"Sometimes," he muttered.

Ethryl gave him a mischievous grin. "Now, Timer, you know you relish the chances you get to talk to yourself."

He cleared his throat. "Well, it's nice to have someone to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation with."

Ethryl just chuckled.

~ Ethryl ~

1. What’s their favorite ice cream flavor?
Basically if it’s colorful, she wants it. Any sort of rainbow ice cream combination is her favorite. Although she will settle with something plain as long as there are sprinkles on top. The sprinkles are the key. Having traveled the world (it’s a made up world, but ya know) and been to basically ever century, she’s had it all and is not picky when it comes to food, especially sweets.

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
Where are they— *sputters* Where are they GOING? I did mention she spends her whole life time traveling, right? Mortimer has the gift to basically seal holes in time and travels around looking for them and putting them back together so time doesn’t collapse. So yeah, they’re EVERYWHERE, and never stay in a place long at all. The only person Ethryl really knows is Mortimer. Not exactly many opportune times to make lasting friends. So who will she be with? Timer. What is she wearing? Probably something practical. They never really know where they’ll land. It could be on top of an airship or in the middle of a lake full of alligators. Ya know, wherever. So she likes to wear practical boots, usually brown pants, and a comfortable shirt with a vest or something over it most likely. She also always has a wide belt on where she carries necessities such as the Avriot (which is an hourglass they use to travel through time with), a pistol, a dagger, etc. And where are they going? That’s anyone’s guess. Wherever Mortimer senses a crack in time.

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
Ethryl will pretty much always be found in leather, slip on boots. Practical, quick to put on, easy for running, and comfortable. At one time in her life she preferred the laced kind but those took way to long too lace up (one never knows when one will end up in a band of cannibals or the middle of a war and needs a quick getaway), and occasionally all the time traveling jumbles her memory and she can’t quite remember how to actually lace them. So slip on boots it is. She likes to wear warm, thick socks under them. Heels are not her thing. She will fall and break her nose in heels.

4. Do they have any birthmarks or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?
One of my few characters that isn’t  scarred that I know of, but with all of her adventures she’s bound to have something. You should just ask her. She’d love to regale you with some wacky adventure story or another.

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)
Oh, Ethryl is open to most types of music! She enjoys upbeat things, and really loves old folksongs (usually because she can tell you where they originated from and why). She adores stringed instruments of nearly any kind. Also the accordion fascinates her (even if Timer thinks it’s an absurd instrument).

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?
Hahahaha! Timer tried her with so many instruments, from all different centuries, but absolutely nothing stuck. He was hoping she’d be able to play an instrument because music playing eases the process of repairing holes in time. But no such luck. Although, she did almost click with the trombone but Timer quickly said no to that. Definitely not the type of music he was hoping for.
As far as singing, that’s not her strong suit either. Timer often wonders why he keeps her around since her talents seem extremely lacking, but of course he secretly loves her as his assistant (or apprentice as Ethryl claims she is, but he’s firm on referring to her as an assistant).

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
An atlas maybe? Lol. Reading isn’t Ethryl’s favorite activity. She doesn’t exactly hate it, but she’d much rather be traveling and adventuring for real instead of just reading about it in a book. But maps, that’s something she gets in to.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?
Well, they can travel to any season at any time, so she may have half a day in summer and the other half in some freezing wasteland. One never knows. But if she had a choice in the manner, she’d probably spend most of it at the beach chatting with strangers and making sandcastles. Or perhaps out on an airship or hot air balloon over the ocean. The beach and ocean absolutely fascinates her. But she actually likes colder weather more than the heat. (Of course Timer complains that the cold weather stiffens his old bones. They make such good partners, obviously. XD)

9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?
It would be a miracle if Ethryl knew what the day of the week actually was. In a 24 hour period she could land in multiple different days, and time gets jumbled as well. The Avriot can travel to any day at any time, but it can’t be set for a specific time of the day. So it may throw them on the day they set it at 3 in the afternoon or 1 in the morning or any time at all. Gets pretty confuzzling. Basically Ethryl and Timer eat and sleep when they feel hungry and tired. They do not exactly have perfectly scheduled internal clocks.
But if they’re staying in a certain place for a few days and it’s noon, they’ll most likely be off looking for a nice cafĂ© to have lunch in. Timer isn’t much for the large, busier restaurants. He likes quiet, intimate places, so that’s where they usually end up getting food. And what’s on the menu? Depends on what century they’re in. XD Ethryl isn’t big on vegetables, but she likes spicy and/or exotic types of foods. Trying different kinds of fruits is also a hobby she’s picked up.

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?
Lol. Ethryl can travel to any place and time. She doesn’t exactly feel imprisoned in any way. BUT she would like to be free of always having questions with no answers. Timer is pretty stingy on providing information about his past and how he can heal the cracks in time, and other such things. She’s an extremely inquisitive person and the constant vague answers from him gets frustrating. (Of course her never-ending questions frustrates him as well, but you know.)

That’s meh Ethryl girl! She holds a very special place in my heart. I can’t think of any other character I have that’s quite like her. She’s so very joyful and flighty and mistake prone but doesn’t even seem to be bothered about it. It’s a lot of fun working with her. Although I’m thinking these questions still didn’t quite fit with her lifestyle and are just all over the place and probably make no sense. . . I don’t write contemporaries, guys! I can’t help it. Also I’m sleepy and probably shouldn’t even be writing a blog post right now. *cough, cough* But now I’m making myself want to rewrite this story soon. . . Whoops. No, Christine, you have a hundred million other projects that need your attention right now.

Ahem. Ignore me.

So how has YOUR summer been thus far? And what’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I think we need to eat it profusely this month, don’t you? You know, in honor of National Ice Cream Month. Yes.

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