blogging, books

Kingdom of Ash and Soot Blog Tour

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Kingdom of Ash and Soot (The Order of the Crystal Daggers #1)

Author: C.S. Johnson

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2018

Genre: YA/ Historical Fiction/ Adventure

Synopsis:

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

 

FROM KINGDOM OF ASH AND SOOT

“What is it?” I asked him, noticing that he was staring back at me. “It seems you have remembered your dancing quite well,” he said, and I shook my head at once, keeping my forced smile steady as we passed by Lady POW.

“The practice helps,” I replied neutrally. “And it did help that  Karl was a good dancer last night. Some of the others I danced with were not as good, but fortunately they blamed it on their own poor performance.”

“They were likely distracted by your beauty.”

“You don’t have to talk to me like that.” I rolled my eyes. “Be- sides, you might distract me now with your false flattery.”

“Flattery  is  always  false,  mademoiselle.  I  was  speaking truth.”

Amir smiled. “You may have that problem in the future, when other men are dancing with you.”

“I can learn to handle it later, then.”

“You can also learn it now. There is nothing efficient about wasting time, after all.”

“I’d rather not, thank you very much. There is no need for you to continue talking to me.” My tone was frosty and bitter, every part a perfect complement to the kindness in his eyes. “Unless, of course, you’d like to tell me why you stole my father’s book from me when we unfortunately met?”

“I would not say it was unfortunate.” “What would you say it was, then?”

Amir’s mustache curled around the corners of  his mouth. “God’s humor at work.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, frustrated and infuriated. “Are you insulting me?”

“Never, mademoiselle.”

Before I could accuse him of lying in addition to insulting me, or before I could “accidentally” begin stepping on his toes, Lady POW began calling out instructions, making me feel even more insulted and infuriated—and even worse, isolated, and unable to do anything to escape.

“Hands up, Eleanora,” she called. “Yes, take a step closer. Now, remember to smile. Watch your timing; men are supposed to lead. And show your interest. Pretend you are dancing with a prince!”

Between Amir’s dancing and Lady Penelope’s snappy judgements, I felt trapped in a world of soft tyranny. It was a world where the truth was too impolite to be spoken, and even if  it had to be, it had  to be dressed up in clothes as strange and as ornate as the ones I was wearing, and it was likely as unrecognizable as I was in the end.

I certainly felt nothing like my usual self.

The others did not seem to believe it was me, either.

Amir held me at a polite distance as we danced, but I was still close enough I could see the pained delight in his eyes as he watched me, and recalling Lady POW’s earlier mistake of calling me by my mother’s name, I suddenly wondered if he was thinking of her, too.

The last note of the waltz rang out, and we finally slowed to a stop.

“Why did you take my father’s book?” This time, my question was quiet but harsh against the growing silence. Amir seemed surprised, but he did not refrain from responding.

 “It was not your father’s book, mademoiselle.”

I slowly dropped my hands from his. Already, I knew what he was going to say.

“When I saw you, it was like falling into a portal to the past, twenty-six years ago. I saw the book, and I knew it could only belong to my Naděžda.”

“You knew my mother.” The words were chunky and foreign to me as they came out of my mouth. I knew I had no reason to accuse him of  something I already knew to be true.

“Yes. She was my dearest friend for many years before … ” Amir said quietly. I saw his gaze lower to the scar on his right hand. “And when she … left … I was angry.”

It plagued me, knowing that Lady POW was not the only one who seemed to prefer my mother to me.

“When she left the Order, you mean?”

“She did not leave the Order,” Amir whispered. “She left me.”

It took me a long moment to process everything. Amir and I were still standing in the middle of the room. Somewhere, a thousand moments and a million miles away, Lady POW clapped and praised us, telling us I was already much better at the waltz than before. She was calling for another song, but I barely heard any of it, as I watched while Amir’s eyes swam over with memories and emotion.

There was suddenly no denying the full truth of the matter. Amir had been in love with my mother.

 

Giveaway Details:

I have an amazing giveaway for you all today! The author is giving away a print copy of each book in her new Order of the Crystal Daggers series, including a brand new companion novella about some of the other characters, a prequel to Kingdom of Ash and Soot! Just click the link below to enter!

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f67/?

 

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Link: http://www.rrbooktours.com

The Invisible Moth

NEWS! And Lots Of It…

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Note: I borrowed all of these images from Deviant Art. These artists are truly amazing, give them recognition and love, go check out this website. 

Hello! Welcome to another edition of The Invisible Moth’s roundup of news, announcements, changes and updates! But this time, rather than just having to tell you what’s gone wrong with my plans for this quarter, I’ll be sharing some exciting changes to my author platform that shall be consistent, regardless of whether my publishing ideas get waylaid.

The other major choice I’ve made as far as my authoring goes is accepting that I cannot do it all on my own, and I’m going to have to ask for help. Thankfully, I have been embraced by a community of people who love to read, to write, and support indie efforts in what can be a daunting venture. So, here are the areas in which I am expanding and requesting a little help from my friends. (You get stuff in return, by the way!)

  • A series relaunch!
  • A newsletter!
  • A street team!
  • A big sale!

Point A: I am in the process of making some small tweaks (formatting-wise, not plot-wise, don’t worry, my faithful readers) to all of my books. Partly to prepare for the availability of digital versions! I will soon be re-releasing all my paperbacks on Barnes & Noble.com, and uploading e-versions for Nook. If you don’t have a Nook, don’t fret, as I also plan to get started on Book Funnel!

(If anyone has looked for my series on B&N lately and not found it, this is why. I have temporarily taken my titles off sale while I’m finishing this process. Don’t worry, they will be back up and available in the very near future. More on that in a minute.)

Here’s what I would need from anybody willing: My second bookiversary is in late April, and I’d reaaaaalllly appreciate some of you who have read and enjoyed my work to make mention of the event in a blog post or social media. There will be a contest and a giveaway and (God, grant me this) hopefully a new publishing declaration! So any assistance I’d stumble across in promoting my special day would entitle you to rewards such as first chance at ARCs and an automatic subscription to my newsletter!

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Point B: I’m starting a newsletter! It won’t be anything fancy, but it will be a monthly, more coherent round-up of what I’m working on, what’s currently ready to purchase, what to expect in the next few weeks, and showers of love for all of your support.

What do you need to do to sign up?: Simply send an email to daley.downing@gmail.com, with the word “subscribe” in the subject heading. Make sure to use the email you wish to receive the document links in. Easy peasy!

Point C: I’m acquiring a street team! These are my dedicated fans (*giggles, but seriously thanks you*) who are always up for reviewing ARCs, helping with promotions, and just generally being wonderful to this moth. (Anyone who becomes part of the street team gets put on the newsletter list right away, too!)

How to join this endeavor: Use the same email as above, but put “street team” as your subject, if you would, please.

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Point D: I still have a handful of first editions of Volume 1: Masters and Beginners that I’m looking to share with my lovelies. This is the Toby cover, and my true debut novel, with its formatting flaws and a handful of minor mistakes (that I quickly turned to my advantage in Volume 2). There is also a finite number of printings, so if you have yet to acquire your copy of this literal limited edition, now’s the time! It’s on sale for a very-bookworm-friendly $5 until mid-April as well!

How to complete this transaction: I have Paypal, and I will never share your shipping address with anyone except the post office. Just — as for everything else — use the email above, only putting “sale” as your subject.

(If you’re not in the USA and wish to get a Toby cover copy, drop me a line, and we’ll work something out!)

Another tidbit: If anyone is a Goodreads librarian, could you look into how to change the image on Masters and Beginners on GR? Although I’m no longer active on that site, my books remain there, and at the moment, the reviews for Volume 1 are split between the original and the new (Kyle’s beautiful) cover. If anybody knows of a way to streamline that, and have it all under the Shultz design (since that is what I’ll be exclusively using from now on), that’d be a big help, too.

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Thank you all, moths! Have a cat-tastic day!

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reading, writing

The Gilded Wolves: A Discussion on Blending Genres, Perspectives, and Expectations

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This is a novel that has been hyped all over social media and the book blogisphere. Even if you weren’t anticipating it or planning to read it, you’ve probably come across mention of it. I was thinking I may get it from the library, at some point, in the undefined future, if I didn’t have a long TBR or too many other projects going on… You get the idea. As gorgeous and alluring as the cover is, The Gilded Wolves wasn’t a title that really caught my attention.

So why did I rush through it in the last week of January? Easy — because it arrived in my Owlcrate order. The entire box was absolutely magical, and such a joy to unpack, and I knew that even if the book didn’t shower golden sparks of amazingness on me, nothing could take that experience away.

My overall thoughts on The Gilded Wolves aren’t quite straightforward. I’m wavering between enchantment at the clear charm woven into the very fabric of the style, the portrayal of the characters (the complete personification of “cinnamon rolls”), and the elegant setting of Paris in 1890; and overwhelming annoyance at the major plot holes, lack of cohesion between actions and motivations, and intense non-explanation of how the world of the Order of Babel truly works.

The premise is so engaging — a bunch of misfits, outcasts, misunderstood teenagers, from minorities or possessing abilities that the general public isn’t really on board with, banding together in the attempt to right some wrongs, and in the process they become a family. They’re either orphans or separated from their biological families, and they’re all either racially mixed or struggling to control complicated magical powers or innate traits that make life difficult. As a group, they find acceptance and caring. And there is plenty of snark and sass, as you’d expect from adolescents in any century, so there are several laugh out loud moments while reading.

Severin is the leader, the one with the biggest personal vendetta against the Big Bad Wolf, the Order of Babel. His family was part of it, and then the organization killed them off or something and disowned Severin. It’s never really made clear. In Paris, Severin runs a fancy hotel (again, huh?), and brings with him Tristan, who’s sort of his foster brother (so much more confusion), Laila (basically an exotic dancer, I think?), Zofia (a Polish girl who’s apparently autistic, but very stereotyped), and Enrique (a Filipino-Spanish flamboyant lost child). Each member of this ragtag bunch has specific roles, but I really struggled to understand just what those roles were or how they were decided upon. Zofia, being called “Severin’s engineer,” is the closest we get to clarity on this matter.

The plot (no spoilers) is about the accidental discovery of a very rare and coveted magical artifact belonging to the Order of Babel, and the group’s intention to acquire it for themselves. The idea is to have such intense bargaining power that Severin’s birthright will have to be restored, no arguing. And on the surface, this makes sense. Except…except it doesn’t.

We never get a real picture of what the Order of Babel does, what their significance is to this world, or why Severin sees them as such a threat. They don’t seem to start wars, want to take over the whole planet, or enslave large amounts of innocent people, so I really don’t know why they’re the villain. I do grasp that Severin feels incredibly wronged, and that this story is a tale of revenge. But, still…why? If Severin hates this organization so much, why is he fighting to have a place in it? Wouldn’t human nature indicate that his planned revenge would involve destroying the Order? They took everything from him, so now he’s going to make them suffer — right?

When the antagonist-non-antagonist gets introduced, things become even more complicated. Hypnos is basically an excuse to have a closeted gay man in 1890 Paris. It’s a cheap shot at the coveted diversity platform, and I don’t like it. In the Victorian era, such lifestyles/choices were still largely outlawed, and Hypnos would not have been seen as someone fit to lead a faction of a worldwide secret institution. Sorry, folks, but that’s the historical truth. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to agree with it, but you shouldn’t be so eager to include modern social justice views into a novel set in a time period where they simply didn’t look at the world how we do.

The more we attempt to gloss over history or justify certain things society has changed their mind about, the more we in fact risk going back to an overzealous way of thinking and living. Sorry-not-sorry.

One could put forth the argument, however, that since the author obviously made some changes to the historical setting, by making magic a very concrete part of her story, that it was an alternate universe and maybe the perspectives were different. But we can’t rest on those laurels, either, since there was absolutely no evidence of that in the worldbuilding.

This is probably my biggest issue with the entire book: There are just too many things not explained. It reminded me more of a 2-hour made-for-TV movie than a fantasy novel. The characters were lovely, but they couldn’t carry the lack of proper storytelling on their own. Whenever pieces of a backstory were revealed via flashback, the author would abruptly cut the scene to return to the main thread, or to insert several more paragraphs of, albeit beautiful, but wholly unneeded, flowery description of a place or clothing or some flowers in a hallway. It got tedious when I was hoping to gain more of an insight into what makes the characters tick. I’m all for slow reveals; I strongly believe that keeps a reader’s interest longer than info dumping; but we never seemed to get very deep under the surface with anybody other than Severin.

Who do I blame for this? Frankly, I blame the editors. This author is with a traditional publishing company that threw an army of editors, formatters, designers, and marketers behind this project. Why, at some point during this process, didn’t somebody bring up what bunches of readers have since the title was released? Why weren’t these plot holes addressed ages ago, so that we don’t even know about them? Isn’t it possible that someone in this company was willing to cut out 100 pages of purple prose and replace it with plot twists and concise conversations involving lines of dialogue such as, “I think we should strive to completely topple this oppressive regimen that keeps the public in dark about their true purpose, while they’re starting wars all across the globe and sacking cities and ravaging developing nations’ natural resources!” You know, to inject some reason into the characters’ entire mission.

In the end, I’m not experiencing reader’s remorse; The Gilded Wolves is cute and entertaining. It mostly falls short under intense scrunity, because I tend to think a lot about everything, and I ask a lot of questions. I’m not judging the whole book too harshly. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, I would, actually.

However, I do come away from this reading with the sense of a cautionary tale for writers, and editors, and maybe the publishing industry as a whole. If you keep producing content that makes lifelong readers roll their eyes or throw up their hands in despair, this will soon lead to a massive drop in sales, and a domino effect on literacy itself. For the last few years, the trend has been towards a decrease in quality — according to the consumers. This is something that really shouldn’t be brushed off.

blogging, self-publishing

Blog Tour: A World of Intemperance

Steampunk Watch Graphic

Good morning! Here I am again, on behalf of Shannon at Reads and Reels, promoting another indie author’s work — and before we go any further, it has to be said that this promo was hardly a tough choice for me. Ichabod Temperance, author of the Ichabod Temperance and Persephone Plumtart steampunk series, is such a devoted and tireless supporter of us bloggers and writers, returning the favor is certainly a great idea!

Icky’s 10-part series is written in first person narration, alternating between Mr Temperance and Miss Plumtartt, and its style reminds me of the old radio shows of the 1930s and 40s, which gives it a unique flair. The protagonists are downright the most adorable ship, and I will always encourage readers of steampunk and indie works to check their world out!

Today we’re particularly spotlighting Book 2: A World of Intemperance. 

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It is New Year’s Eve, 1875. In this humorously told Steampunk tale, adventure-prone Ichabod Temperance and his lovely sweetheart, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, once again find themselves swept up into a whirlwind of misadventure and international catastrophe. The entire world totters on the brink of war, as various nations develop arsenals of dreadful power. It seems as though every nation on Earth lusts for Empire. A sinister plot boils to change the course of human history. Along with a remarkable cast of characters, including sapient animals and clockwork men, our heroes find themselves plunged into unimaginable peril!

From A World of Intemperance:

“Oh, golly, Mr. Cogito, I am down to one shot in each pistol. Oh, poor little Bolt. I’m sorry I got you into this, buddy. Oh gosh, I can’t stand the thought of them monsters gobbling you up all gone.”

“arun.”

“Oh, Bolt. I’m so sorry. I don’t want you to be eaten. ~gulp~ please don’t cry little guy; I can’t stand it.”

“Be strong, Ichabod, you know what that last bullet is for.”

“Yessir. Oh, no, I don’t want to do this! Please Bolt, Look away. I know you know what I am thinking.”

“arun, arun, arun.”

“Oh, I can’t stand it.”

“Ichabod, you have to do what’s right.”

“Aruuuuuuun!”

“I’m cocking the hammer back on this last round. Aim. Good-bye, Mr. Bolt.”

“Woah, woah, woah… wait!”

“Roof!”

“Attaboy, Bolt, wag your tail, I have an idea!”

“Roof!”

“It practically fell on my head!”

“Roof!”

“I keep worrying about falling off the side of this mountain, so I keep looking to the low side. I almost forgot, there is a high side to the mountain as well.”

“Most observant of you, Ichabod.”

“Cut the horses loose, Mr. Cogito.”

“Is that prudent, Ichabod?”

“Probably not, but I don’t want them to get hurt. Besides I reckon we’ll actually pick up speed down the side of the mountain without them.”

“I understand. I too, do not wish harm to come to these animals. I am releasing them, now.”

“Woah, it feels different to just slide without the control of the horses! Wish me luck, Mr. Cogito, for this has got to be done with precision and is a very long shot.”

“Sir?”

“I mean a long distance!”

BUHWHOOOMP. POW!!!

Snagged your interest? Mr. Temperance is generously offering a print copy of ANY of the 10 installments in his series for free! If you’d like to get started or need to read a later volume, here’s the perfect chance! Use the link below to enter the giveaway (open internationally)!

The books are, in order:

  1. A Matter of Temperance
  2. A World of Intemperance
  3. For the Love of Temperance
  4. A Study in Temperance
  5. In a Latitude of Temperance
  6. The Measure of Temperance
  7. The Seventh Voyage of Temperance
  8. The Title of Temperance
  9. A Journey of Temperance
  10. The Two Faces of Temperance

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f63/

Happy reading, everybody!

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blogging, Mental Health

(Not So) Easy Ways to Earn (A Very Little) Cash From Home

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Recently I shared with you all this idea that you can actually take surveys or polls on your opinions on everything from consumer brands and marketing to politics and whether you let your kids play video games…and earn a little cash from it. Yes, that’s right, there are, it turns out, tons of websites that will pay you — yes, pay you — anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar for about 15 to 20 minutes of your life to answer these questions. Supposedly it helps major companies make big decisions on their advertising and promotional campaigns.

Before I sound too much like an ad myself, here’s the catch: this sounds quite entertaining and simple…but it isn’t necessarily so.

The types of surveys you qualify for is based on your demographics — your age, physical location, if you’re married, have kids, what ages the kids are, your occupation, and your interests. If you’re a stay-at-home parent/self-employed writer (moi)  who prefers to read over watching TV, and can’t afford to go to the cinema/traveling/most stores/shop online every week, you will not seem very exciting to the people who design the surveys. This means I got slotted into the category of: Don’t bother offering this, that, or the other thing to her, because she won’t have seen the movie/TV show, doesn’t use the service, hasn’t bought the product. And it results in…great repetition.

I have taken similar surveys on toys, television, video games, health insurance, banking, cars, pet food, and clothing purchases several times over. Each time, I spent literally up to 25 minutes pointing and clicking, again and again and again (since the answers are all multiple choice to be selected by mouse), and would eventually feel a rush of giddiness when the new window popped up: “Congratulations! You have earned 80 points!” Why did that thrill my world-weary soul? Because collecting 80, then 50, then another 75 points in an hour and a half of this venture meant that, within a week, I’d have enough points to receive about 10 bucks in actual cash.

And when you’re a stay-at-home parent, low on funds, this is HUGE. 10 bucks for sitting in front of the computer telling some random corporation you did or didn’t like their product?! Holy Easy Payday, Batman!

Except.

Except you do get bored. Taking the same kinds of surveys over and over becomes monotonous, and you do start to chuck pillows every time the only offer that afternoon is a poll on whether the car insurance ads are still annoying. (Hint: They totally are.) And you find yourself beginning to avoid even the higher points surveys that take 19 to 23 minutes, and doing that consecutively starts to feel like a drain on your spare time.

Plus, if there aren’t many surveys available offer that week (and that does happen), then you won’t hit what you see as your earning potential.

And here we reach the crux of the biscuit — if your “earning potential” is decided by massive, faceless corporations who really just want your opinion (and obviously don’t deeply care what it is, since they pay the survey site probably millions of dollars, but the actual survey takers only receive a pittance), then is it truly worth it?

Yes, I’m getting cynical. I admit it. I was already headed that way, since I’m an intellectually “disabled” adult, and therefore finding decent paying work is hard, anyway. If I had the option of taking a grueling 9-hour-a-day job (including driving there and back home), with potentially 80% of my salary going to commuting and childcare costs, and risking sensory burnout after a year of doing that, or receiving $20 an hour for part-time writing/consulting work,  guess what I choose.

But, since the current survey system does not provide such wages, I have another type of choice to make.

What started out a few months ago as a honest search for some cash quickly shifted towards an obsession. I did begin to relish beating my daily, then my weekly, average. But I couldn’t control so many factors, like not qualifying for multiple surveys a day, or the wi-fi conking out just before I hit submit for all my answers (and therefore getting jipped of the points). My carpal tunnel actually returned from that consistent pointing and clicking.

Final assessment: It’s Not Worth The Hassle.

So, in short, I can walk away from this survey taking experiment with a little more money than I had before, and a lot more information on the matter.

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Fantasy fiction

Blog Tour: The Sentinels Promotion

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SYNOPSIS

SENTINELS: BOOK 1 OF THE ONE TRUE CHILD SERIES BY L.C. CONN

The world is new, created from a great explosion caused by Chaos in a childish rage. Order is born from the intense light of the explosion, sent as a balance to the Dark One. As the world is created around It, Order realises that It cannot stand alone and creates the Sentinels. Extreme beings with amazing powers, they shape and mould the world, creating creatures and plants to inhabit it. A world of light and love.

Chaos cannot understand why these beings will not bend to his will and worship him. He tries to destroy their work and riles against them. In answer, Order forms a plan. A being; born of two of the Sentinels, with abilities stronger than their own. A child in human form, who must be raised by The People in order to understand their race. The One True Child.

Carling is that child. Raised in the sacred valley in secret, along with her four brothers. Raised by Tarl’a, the Keeper of the Stones and her husband, Mailcon. Her life is quiet and uneventful, until she turns thirteen. It is then she learns of her true identity and purpose on earth. Now she must come to terms with this great change and prospect of finally being able to leave the valley to be taught her skills by the Sentinels. She must do this before Chaos can find her and attack before she is ready.

It is a story of learning and growing, of making mistakes and building on them. It is good vs evil, light vs dark and love vs hate. Carling’s very life depends on the love of her family and he soul-mate. It is also a story about how the world will only survive if we can control hatred and learn to love.

From Chapter One

The rage knew no bounds as he held the world in his fist. He had created it to be his and his alone—for the people he had brought to life to serve only him and his ways. They did not appreciate what he had done for them—they had wanted more, demanded more. Now his rage would be the last thing they knew as he squeezed the world and brought it all to an end, creating a vast explosion that lit up the darkness surrounding him. A pinpoint of light grew and spread, for a moment blinding him, and he roared at his displeasure of it.

The light encompassed all, sending out waves, pulsating deep into the reaches of the universe. Fragments of the old world riding the shockwaves were flung into the depths. Fiery-hot chunks burning brightly spun out of control, attracting rock and minerals to circle them. As the spread of the explosion began to slow, the fragments began to cool. In the centre of the explosion, the bright light continued to shine; from its core, a Being became conscious and rose from the wreckage, glowing brightly with swirls of white light under Its skin.

The Being looked around and found a universe in chaos; order and stability were lost to the winds. It stood and looked out at the remains of a great world, gathering its memories to Itself. One large piece of rock It stood on, circling the star that warmed the ground at Its feet, and the Being began to weep for those who had been destroyed. All the history and the suffering they had endured under their cruel master brought forth great sobs from the Being. The tears It shed dripped down from Its eyes and onto the ground. So many tears for the loss of so many that a river began to run.

The river flowed away from the grief-stricken Being and filled all the low spaces on the rock, collecting into great lakes and seas. The sadness the Being had felt now turned to rage, and It struck the ground with Its fist. The land split, and the great molten core that had not yet cooled swelled up and burst out of the gap It had made. The hot magma created new land and boiled away some of the water, creating a great steam cloud that hung in the sky.

The distant star warmed the ground and condensed the water until the clouds were so sodden that they dropped from the sky. As the rain fell, the sunshine created a perfect form. An arc of light split into seven perfect shades of colour that stood out from the barren and dark landscape. The Being stood on an upthrust of rock and wondered at the amazing vision; It did not see the dark one approaching.

“You are not welcome here; this is my world, my universe. Who are you?” the dark one demanded of the Being. It turned to face the form that approached and recognised him as the being responsible for the turmoil that now reigned over the universe.

“I am from the light. The source of which is due to you, and in this place you shall never have authority. Never again will you oppress a people and use them for your own ends,” the Being said back, Its hands clasped in front of It and a sadness still in Its eye.

L.C. CONN

L.C. Conn grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Her backyard encompassed the surrounding farmland, river, hills and mountains which she wandered with her brothers and fed her imagination. After discovering a love for writing in English class at the age of eight, she continued to write in secret. It was not until much later in life that L.C. turned what she thought was a hobby and something fun to do, into her first completed novel. Now married, L.C. moved from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia, and became a stay at home mum. While caring for her family and after battling breast cancer, a story was born from the kernel of a dream. The first book of The One True Child Series was begun, and just kept blooming into seven completed stories.

Massive thanks to Shannon at Reads and Reels for all her work in coordinating this blog tour! Don’t hesitate to check out the author on Amazon if this sounds up your alley!

 

subscription boxes

First Ever Owl Crate Post!

Good afternoon, everybody! Today I have a truly momentous occasion to announce: Last week I received my FIRST EVER OWL CRATE!!! To say I was excited isn’t even covering it. I’ve been wanting to order a subscription box for years, and the cost always turned my face into a wrung out cloth of anxiety. Then this Christmas just past, I decided this would be my gift to myself — and a few weeks later, here we are!

The theme for January is “Magical Artifacts,” and this means it’s right up my alley! The first thing I noticed when the package arrived is how small it is — I was surprised at how much gets tucked into each crate! These owls sure are efficient at packing! And then, once the initial startled moment passed, I was truly awed as I carefully opened each item.

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The book for January is The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by this author!), which has been a hugely hyped YA fantasy book for 2019, and I knew it belonged on my list of “New Releases I Cannot Afford Until 2022″… So to find it in the box was, well, MAGIC.

There’s also this really cool bag that’s a nod to the A Darker Shade of Magic series by VE Schwab (one of those trilogies I haven’t gotten to yet…), and utterly fantastic Deathly Hallows socks (I’m wearing them right now!).

Along with the personal note from the author (awwww), there’s a Gilded Wolves themed luggage tag and pin (thepinisamazing), and although I haven’t traveled in a long time, I can’t wait to go somewhere soon just so I can put that tag on my suitcase.

And check out the Sting wooden letter opener! For Lord of the Rings fans, this is a super neat little item. Then there’s the bracelet that I believe is a nod to Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince (though I could be wrong, but nobody come after me with Sting). Regardless, the bracelet is lovely.

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So, all of this was adding up to quite the ultimate fangirling experience…and then I unfolded this wall tapestry. (Pay no mind to the fact I’m using it as a duster for the top of my bookcase.) It’s a reference to The Golden Compass, and although that wasn’t my favorite of fantasy series, I was still impressed by the worldbuilding and some of the characters (especially the Northern bears). All in all, an extremely successful first unboxing!

Thank you so much, Owl Crate, for bringing joy into world-weary bookdragons’ hearts!

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