Contracts, Editing, and a Character Introduction!

Hello Readers!

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. 😉 So much has been happening lately, I’ve been neglecting my monthly posts. With my mother’s recent surgery (just one week ago! She’s doing well!), work, writing and everything in-between I’ve struggled with finding the time to post updates on what’s been happening with me in my writing world. So, let’s see if I can catch you up!

First, I am SO excited to announce I recently signed a contract for the last 3 books of my fantasy series!! The Winter Queen Series has been in the making for a very long time, ELP Contract2and moving forward with the publication of all four books has been a dream come true! Having Book 1 published made me so nervous, as I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but I couldn’t be happier with the results!

Since its publication, Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1) has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Grace Awards, as well as a cover design finalist for the Realm Makers Parable Awards! Along with these honors (I think I’ve been smiling for a full week straight!) Winter Queen has received some great reviews from readers, one in particular that made me smile. There’s something so wonderful about seeing a positive review where the reader says they’re putting your book on their favorites list. Lots of warm and fuzzy feelings abound. 🙂

Now, who’s ready for Book 2? There is more magic, more dragon people, more Book 2 Editingprophecies and … more romance!! And if you liked getting to know the Jandry family in Book 1, I am excited to say you’ll be seeing A LOT more of them in Book 2! So don’t waste a second! Add Book 2 to your list on Goodreads now!

I’m a little more than halfway through my first round of edits on Book 2 and am getting more excited as I come to the end of each chapter. While editing isn’t my favorite thing, it does give me the chance to look back on the work I’ve done. One thing I love about being a writer, is how much I surprise myself with the development of each story. Sometimes, my characters do the exact opposite of what I first intended, but it only makes each moment of each story so special. Reading through the book a second time to edit and improve only inspires more and more ideas for future books of the series. I’ve already started writing Book 3 and am very much enjoying the direction the story has taken!

My writing world has been consumed with all things fantasy, yes, but I have to admit my mind can never stay on one subject for too long. 😉 So with that, let me tell you I’ve been throwing around an idea for a series about a family in Montana during the late 19th century, into the early 20th century. I love all things fantasy, but I also love all things historical fiction! Dabbling in new ideas makes writing so exciting because the possibilities for future stories truly are endless.

Now, just to pique your interest further for Book 2, I’d like to introduce a new character! She’s sweet, gentle and considered average, but since her husband’s death she has been given a great power she must now put into practice as war comes to Nfaros.

I am so very pleased to introduce you to Afra Malaki! Formerly a Jandry, she is the Afrawidow of Brax Malaki and younger sister of Brecken, Lathan and Maxx Jandry. Afra’s part to play in the war between the Sundragon and the Kael King is significant and will gradually be revealed in the next three books of the series! I absolutely love Afra, as she has grown into a character who loves unconditionally, has incredible strength in adversity, and is loyal to her family no matter the cost. I certainly hope you will love her as much as I do and I look forward to sharing more teasers for Book 2 in the months to come!

Happy reading and I hope you all have a great weekend!! 🙂

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COMMON Blog Tour: A Review

Good Morning everyone!

So, it’s been awhile since I wrote a book review. Ready for a good one? 😉 I am so excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Laurie Lucking’s debut novel, Common!

What happens when a common maidservant falls in love with the crown prince and then overhears a plot against the royal family? Can she save them in time? Or will her unjust banishment result in tragedy for all?

People, Laurie Lucking made me believe in true love! At least, even more than I did before. 😉 Oh my goodness, this book had all the feels. My emotions were whirled up in a tornado over and over as I journeyed through this beautiful tale of love and courage. We walk with Leah down castle corridors, hide with her in a closet with a handsome prince, and travel with her to distant lands. We experience Leah’s desires and fears; her hopes and dreams. And when everything seems to be falling apart? Oh my poor, poor heart!

I was completely swept away by Miss Laurie’s debut novel. With a gentle start, guiding us into the lives of her captivating characters, we become acquainted with the land called Imperia, where young Leah works as a servant in the palace. But Leah has a secret. Her friendship with the Crown Prince, Rafe, is one of the few things she holds dear. She simply didn’t realize how dear he was to her until shortly after her birthday. Now with something more than friendship blooming between them, Leah’s heart and dreams are shattered when Rafe’s betrothal to a princess from another land is announced.

The mark of an excellent author is in what she makes you feel. When Rafe’s betrothal was announced, I shared Leah’s devastation. When Leah was banished for trying to protect the royal family, my heart broke. Reading page after page where Leah and Rafe couldn’t be together was absolute torture! But their love for one another never waned, and Leah’s courage when faced with great danger was such a suspenseful, inspirational moment.

I loved every bit of this story. The sweet romance, heart-pounding adventure, and the gentle lessons weaved throughout about God’s love for us, all comes together in the best fantasy romance I’ve read in quite some time.

Common by Laurie Lucking releases on February 14th. I’ve already pre-ordered my paperback copy. 😉

I was given a free ARC of COMMON to read for my honest review.

Check out the cover and description for Common!

CommonOnly one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it— the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Christmas, Fantasy, & Cover Reveals!!

Baby it’s cold outside! Neighbors are putting up their decorations, shopping ensues, and carols are being sung. Can you believe it’s already December 1st? We are another day closer to the biggest celebration of the year. A time to remember the miraculous birth of Jesus and celebrate Him and the many blessings we’ve received by His coming.

Paperback & Kindle WQ2

Winter has always been my favorite time of year. Something so magical happens when December arrives. Among these warm and fuzzy feelings, for me, the best thing to do is curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Oh, how I love my books! 😉

But, at this time of year, part of the magic is how my inspiration soars! In case any of you were in doubt, Winter Queen was inspired in December.

I wanted to create a winter wonderland. A magical place where winter was fast approaching and the world becoming covered in a blanket of sparkly white was imminent. Where winter was not only beautiful, but important to the land. This built into a fantasy novel like no other I ever thought I’d write. I’ve always found winter to be such a lovely time, full of kindness, grace, and love.

AstraWriting Winter Queen was a magical experience. Writing Book 2 has been equally amazing. Coming back to all the characters I came to love in Book 1 is so satisfying, whenever I begin work on the second book of a series. The characters from my fantasy series in particular, however, are so special. I can take them anywhere; they can do anything. And it all happens during the fiercest winter their world has ever seen. If you’ve read the first book, then you already know when the first snow of Winter falls upon Nfaros. Anticipating book 2? I hope you are! Because I have been working very hard to see it completed. But the story won’t end there, so make sure you keep following my progress.

If you have read Winter Queen, I hope you’ll let me know! Reviews are very important to the survival of a book, and the reviews I have received for this new release of mine have been very encouraging. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know people have read and loved your story. Especially when you put it all out there in a book like a fantasy! I think thoseDamariare particularly frightening for a writer. The entire story comes from the author’s imagination. No historical facts. To create a world and the people in it entirely from my own imagination was scary! I didn’t know if it would sound ridiculous, or even make sense. Thankfully, it seems to have received the reaction I was looking for. 🙂

In case you were wondering, you still have a chance to win a free, signed copy of Winter Queen (The Winter Queen series #1) on Goodreads! Follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/260480-winter-queen and enter for your chance to win!!

Speaking of fantasy novels … there are so many authors out there who love to write in this genre! So many who enjoy it, too, even if they don’t write it. Which brings me to the cover reveal mentioned in the title. I am very happy to help promote this debut novel from Laurie Lucking.

Laurie is such a sweet person! She was the first to respond to my request for endorsements for Winter Queen and she gave me a beautiful review! I am so very thankful to have met her and very excited to be a part of her cover reveal team for her upcoming release, Common. So–drumroll please–here is the cover and description for Laurie Lucking’s soon-to-be-released novel:

One person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.Common

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Now, how GORGEOUS is that cover? I absolutely love the glow surrounding the young woman who takes front and center! I already know Miss Laurie is a beautiful writer based on her endorsement for Winter Queen and am very much looking forward to reading Common.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope you all have a blessed and merry Christmas! Don’t forget, Winter Queen is available to purchase on Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

It’s Here!

I am so happy to announce that Winter Queen has officially released! It is now available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Winter QueenIf you missed the Facebook launch party on the 17th, I wanted to let you all know it was super fun! Lots of people checked in and participated, but I think the big success of the evening was the Rafflecopter contest! We had two winners come out of that and I look forward to doing another one soon!

Here’s a little description of Book 1 of The Winter Queen Series now available to order:

She will bring a storm like none they’ve ever seen … and change the world forever.

It’s been five years since Roderick Kael murdered King Vihaan Sundragon, claiming the throne of Sunkai and all of Nfaros for himself. Five years since the Princesses Adlae, Mirae, and Brae were forced to give up everything they’ve ever known. Five years since the Creator of All allowed winter’s snow to fall. But now the wind stirs with a familiar chill. Winter is coming down from the Ice Mountains, brought by the only one who can wield the storm. The Winter Queen herself.

In a faraway wood, one who survived watches and waits for her chance to reclaim what is hers by blood and birthright. Within the walls of the city, another bears the burden of survival and the consequences that came with it. Across the sea, from the distant mountains, two strangers come in search of one who can save them from the ice of winter. 

Within the palace of Sunkai, evil stirs. Loyalties are tried; love tested. And amidst these strange events, the Winter Queen prepares her storm … and Nfaros is not ready for her rage.

The Sundragon Sisters2

I am super excited to share these characters with you! This story blossomed into something I never expected and the three Sundragon sisters are very dear to my heart now. When I wrote this book, I knew I wanted to create strong sibling bonds, as well as fierce female characters to inspire readers. I truly hope I accomplished that!

I hope you will enjoy this story and these characters as much as I enjoyed writing about them! Don’t forget, Winter Queen is now available to order!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

WINTER QUEEN Launch Party!

I am so excited about the release of my upcoming fantasy novel Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1). To celebrate, I have scheduled a special launch party for the release of the novel and I would like to invite all of you!

On October 17th, we will have our Facebook party where you will have the chance to win some prizes, learn more about the book, and just have some fun! This event is for everyone, even if you’re not super crazy about speculative fiction. 🙂

The link for the event is posted below. Hope you’ll stop by on the 17th!! 🙂

Winter Queen

Click Here for Event: Winter Queen Launch Party!

Cover Reveal!

I am so thrilled to reveal the cover for my upcoming release Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1)! When I was putting together my thoughts on how I wanted the cover for this first fantasy novel of mine, I knew it would be complicated. I worried that we wouldn’t be able to do exactly what I wanted.

Imagine how happy I was when the cover designer completely met my expectations and created a cover that is perfect! It’s what I asked for and far more beautiful than I thought it would be.

So, without further delay, here is the cover for Winter Queen!!!

Winter Queen

The Hard Part

I don’t think I could sum up in one blog post how much I’ve learned from becoming a published author. It’s impossible to do so. When my debut novel was published, I was in a daze for most of it. I was swept up in a whirlwind of agents, editors, publishers, other authors, and new readers (who terrified me! What if they didn’t like my book?!).

I wonder if a lot writers believe the hard part is writing the novel and finding someone to publish it. I know I did. All those years of writing, entering contests, getting rejected … I thought that was going to be the hard part. When I received my contract, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, ‘Yay! Hard part’s over!’

I was wrong.

The hard part had only just begun.

Because it doesn’t stop. From there, you have the editing, the formatting, choosing the cover design, the endorsements, the marketing and promotion …

There is no magical, invisible team that comes to your rescue in this. Even if you do have a team at your back to help you with all of this, you as the author are still responsible for spreading the word. For getting people interested in your work.

My point? Not to discourage, but to encourage. As a writer, prepare yourself for all of this by getting a head start. You’ll be happier, trust me! If you’re reserved like me, then it might be hard for you to get the word out there. But the more connections you make, the easier things will be.

I was so nervous last year when I had to search out endorsements from authors. I was told no by several, but yes by some. This year, it felt even harder for me to do this for my upcoming release! I’m still nervous about it. Because, as an author who also works five days out of the week at an outside job, I know how difficult it would be to put aside time to read a novel by someone I barely know and come up with a favorable endorsement for it. In the meantime, you’re working on edits with your publisher, waiting on your cover design choices to select from, and hoping beyond hope the word is getting out about your book so people will buy when it’s released!

So, when is the hard part over? When do things get easier?

I think the hard part is never over … but, in the end, it’s all worth it! Because, at the end of the day, your book is published! And people LIKE IT.

Be prepared. Set your goals. Get ready to work hard. Because while the entire process can be laced with stress, having the novel you’ve been working on for a long time published is the best feeling in the world. 🙂