Cover Reveal!!

So, the moment has arrived! It is time for me to reveal to you the BEAUTIFUL cover for Book 2 of The Winter Queen Series.

I am excited to say I am now in my second round of edits for A Dance of Shadows! We are one step closer to publication!

And now … drumroll please …

Tada!

RGB_Dance of Shadows

A Dance of Shadows should be coming your way this October as long as all goes well! I am so very excited for you to find out what happens to our characters in this next installment of my fantasy series, as well as for you to be introduced to some new people and places!

Now, to finish up, here’s the summary for A Dance of Shadows!

The Winter Queen has brought the storm … 
and the Abyss roams the halls of the Blood Keep.

Ten days have passed since Sundragon blood was shed for a sacrifice by Raphaela Kael. Ten days since Lathan and Maxx Jandry fled the city in search of Princess Damari Kael and their niece, Noelle. Brecken Jandry, Brae’s loyal husband, remains a tortured prisoner in the Kael dungeons and no one in Sunkai is safe from Roderick and Raphaela’s wrath.

Damari Kael flees Sunkai with little Noelle Jandry, determined to deliver the child to the safety of the Shadow Lands, even as her own power emerges within her. The Eventide Sisters embark on a mission to join the Winter Queen. Across the land, Clea Jandry arrives in her birthplace of Molderëin where she is met with a savagery she thought long dead. Afra Malaki seeks the Creator’s will and the Queen of the Woodlands prepares for battle.

In the peaceful city of Quintaria, the Winter Queen grieves. But the shadows are coming for her. They carry a message for Adlae Sundragon, and they will not rest until all is revealed.

Don’t forget to add A Dance of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads, here!

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Battle of the Genres

Oh my. These past two months have been a whirlwind of imagination and inspiration! Torn between my Historical Romance and the third book of my Fantasy series, my mind has been so scrambled I completely forgot to update everyone on my progress with book 2 of The Winter Queen Series.

Since I’ve been asked a couple of times, let me start by saying there is no official release G's Vow 4date yet, but I have finished my edits and submitted the book to my publisher! I’m very excited to share all the changes that occur in book 2, the development of characters you all met in book 1 and the romance that blossoms between some of our favorite people. Not to mention all the new characters you’ll get to meet. Already having written over 20,000 words for book 3 of the series, I am so enjoying adding more and more people, magic, and romance to this continuing tale.

In the meantime, inspiration has taken hold for a mid-18th century romance and I need your help! I have my characters and my ideas, but the more I think about where I want this story to go, the more it changes! I can’t decide which version I want to write, which is more compelling and which, in the end, I like the most. So give me a hand, people! Here is a very short description of my ideas. Leave in the comments which one you’d be interested in reading the most and help this poor writer make a decision!

Idea #1: 1750s Virginia Territory. A young woman, recently moved to a secluded valley with her family to start a new life meets a strange and mysterious man of Native American descent. This is a Romeo & Juliet scenario in which the couple battle prejudice on both sides, leading not only to the possible destruction of our female lead, but a nation of people as well.

Idea #21750s Adirondack Mountains area. A British woman seeking a purpose travels across the sea to the New World, only to find herself in the middle of a war. When she meets a man who should be her enemy, she finds herself falling in love. But just when she thinks she’s claimed her future for herself, she’s torn away from him and sent home against her will. Now, they will both do whatever it takes to find each other again. (This would be an ongoing story, at least 2 books if not more.)

So, let me know what you think! Should I pursue both ideas, or focus on one? My fingers are itching to write, but I can’t seem to settle on one project. As I write book 3 of The Winter Queen, this is the story I want to turn to when I come up empty and need a short break from Adlae and her followers. So leave your comments below and let me know which of these books you’d be more interested in reading! 🙂

Now, to bring this to an end, let me introduce you to another character who you’ll meet in book 2, A Dance of Shadows!

Everyone, meet Gwylan! Draedinian and an Eventide Sister, Gwylan is one of the most powerful women north of Sunkai. Leader of a small band of Eventide Sisters, Gwylan sets out on a mission given by her Superiors to find the Winter Queen and unite their forces against Roderick and Raphaela Kael. However, along the way Gwylan encounters Maxx Jandry, who changes her life with a simple gesture.

Gwylan has been an interesting character to create and develop. Stubborn and aloof, sheGwylan 2 doesn’t welcome people into her heart very easily. But upon meeting Maxx Jandry, she begins to change. While her story begins in A Dance of Shadows, we don’t really get to know her until book 3. But I hope you’ll enjoy meeting her and finding out exactly what tradition Maxx unwittingly puts into practice upon their meeting. 😉

 

That’s all for now! I hope everyone has a great rest of their week and a fantastic weekend. 🙂

Why 13 Reasons Why is Important to Me

The first time I watched the Netflix Original series 13 Reasons Why I couldn’t get through it. I had pushed through the novel of the same name by Jay Asher, giving it 3 1/2 stars at the time, but attempting to watch Season 1 of the difficult and brutal show when it was first released was too much for me. I was not in a very good place myself at that time, so watching a teenage girl’s life be slowly destroyed until she saw no other course of action than to kill herself wasn’t the wisest thing for me to be watching at the time. I skipped to the last episode, just to see the end results, and thought I would never revisit the series.

And yet …

When Season 2 released a few weeks ago, I found myself with the curiosity itch. What sort of material did they still have to go on for a second season when they could’ve left it the way it was at the end of season one? What was their motivation in continuing for another 13 episodes? Too curious to ignore it any further, I decided to give 13 Reasons Why another shot. Who knew I would be so compelled by the story this time around, I would binge watch both seasons in a single week?

Warning: I personally recommend 13 Reasons Why not be watched by anyone who is seriously depressed, is currently being bullied or abused, or even by someone who has been severely abused in the past and is still healing. If you want to experience this show and you have gone through or are going through similar trials, be sure to watch with a friend or adult who can support you through it. The content is graphic (one of the things I really struggled with), and includes depictions of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse as well as suicide.

Now, let’s get to the story and message behind the show. 13 Reasons Why is about teenager Hannah Baker, who chose to take her own life. What she left behind was a box of cassette tapes on which she recorded her 13 reasons for committing suicide. Each reason involves different students from her High School, and the tapes are being passed to each of them by an anonymous and trusted individual who also has copies of said tapes to publicize should any of the rules Hannah stipulates at the beginning of tape 1 be broken. We begin with the tapes being discovered on the front porch of one Clay Jensen. As he starts listening, we get the distinct impression he is not the first to have heard the tapes, and we soon discover we’re right. So who is Clay Jensen in all of this? Why is he on the tapes? And which of the thirteen tapes is his?

13 Reasons Why can be one of those shows you sit down to watch and, after an episode or two, you begin wondering why you’re watching it … yet you can’t stop. Walking with Hannah through her experiences at Liberty High School is tragic and heartbreaking. A horrible lie follows Hannah through the last couple of years of her life and things only build off of one bully’s idiotic course of action. All the little things pile on into one big thing, until the final act against Hannah’s dignity and self-worth drive her to end the torture once and for all.

I heard many different opinions about this series, as well as the book. I once saw a review where someone said Hannah’s reasons for committing suicide were stupid and she was just weak not to get through them. The way this reviewer saw this show was entirely different from what I was seeing. What may seem insignificant to one person, may not be insignificant to another. And when one small thing after another continuously happens, it can drag a person down so deeply that it destroys a life. Which is precisely what happens to Hannah Baker.

So why is 13 Reasons Why important? How could I find a show about suicide so compelling? Let me tell you, it’s hard to answer those questions. It’s so very hard to explain what I was thinking and feeling as I stayed up late into the night watching this show, needing to know what happened next. Needing to understand why the bright, funny, and seemingly happy girl Hannah Baker thought she had no other option than to kill herself.

Mixed with a parade of abuse, singular moments of happiness, and the ultimate assault that leaves Hannah empty inside, 13 Reasons Why is a dynamic story that had me gasping, crying, laughing, and furious at intervals. I know what you’re thinking. Laughing? Really? Well, let me tell you that’s how realistic this show was. Because Hannah’s life reflected reality–Hannah’s reality–in a way that translated perfectly to the screen. You can find happiness and laughter, even in the worst of times, but it doesn’t mean those split-second moments are big enough to overwhelm the darkness.

Many of you may have already read a previous blog post of mine entitled What You Never Saw When You Looked At MeYou can read it again HereIn this post, I speak of my own experiences with depression and how it nearly led me to a life altering decision. A decision Hannah ultimately made in this story.

I suppose, in the end, that’s why 13 Reasons Why was so important to me personally. What Hannah went through, her struggles and fears, her feelings of worthlessness–that nobody cared enough about her to truly see what she was going through and do something to save her–it was all so familiar to me, it struck me to my very core.

Sometimes, the message behind a story like this can’t be explained. It can’t be articulated properly. Sometimes, you just need to see it for yourself and take from it what was intended. Everyone is here for a reason, and Hannah’s wasn’t to commit suicide and glorify an act that devastates the lives left behind. If you see glory in what she did, then you’re not looking at the full picture. Because while her death united kids at her school who had beforehand never been friends; while it wove strength and love between the individuals left behind who blamed themselves for what she did, it also left a hole in their hearts and lives that can never be filled by another person. And while the hurt will slowly fade as the years pass, Hannah’s choice will forever hang over them.

Suicide is not an option. This show depicted, with a subtle beauty, how this act can change and shape lives. How it devastates and destroys. How it locks people in fear. How things don’t get better with the loss, but worse. For her family, for her friends, 13 Reasons Why Seasons 1 & 2 showed how Hannah’s decision, and what she left behind, determined the actions of not only the good kids in her school, but the monsters as well.

You never know when something you say could change a life. You never know when you, a good person, could say something seemingly innocent that consequently devastates a life. Know the signs. See people. Stop the cruelty. By your example, show others how they should treat people.

Be there for the Hannah Baker in your life. You might not know you have a Hannah Baker, but if you look closely enough … you might find one.

God Bless,

Erica

I ask that no negative or hurtful comments be left. If you attempt to leave a negative comment on this post, it will be deleted. Thank you.

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!! 🙂

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