Author Interview: Jennifer Ellision

Author Interview

Meet Jennifer Ellision.

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Bestselling and award-winning author Jennifer Ellision writes about daring young women in magical worlds. She survives on a steady diet of books, podcasts, and her favorite magical tropes. Jennifer frequently wakes up early to work before she has to “people” and can often be found squirreled away in her office, getting some writing done–or in her local library, agonizing over revisions.

If all else fails, look under the covers.

She’s probably hiding out with a good young adult fantasy series.

Social media links
Website: https://www.jenniferellision.com/
Newsletter: https://www.jenniferellision.com/get-started-threats-sky-sea-series-today/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jenniferellision
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jenellision

The Interview.

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I suppose I should talk about the writerly stuff first: I write YA fantasy led by strong female characters. I have a complete series about Elemental magic (Threats of Sky and Sea), a Lady Pirates series in-progress, and the first book of my Fairy Tale Lies, Spies, and Assassins series will be published in the Kingdom of Glass and Ashes multi-author collection of Cinderella retellings on December 18th.
As far as the non-writerly stuff goes, I have a vizsla puppy that I am completely obsessed with… enough to make him his own Instagram account. ^_^; And I drink way too much orange soda.

“Fierce, lady led fantasy.” What are the key characteristics to a strong heroine?
I think fierceness comes in many shapes and sizes. Some of my heroines are skilled with weapons and have sharp tongues to match. Others come into abilities they never dreamt of. But what they all have in common is that they break out of the roles society or people with more power try to slot them into. They decide for themselves who they’re going to be.
What is an average day like for a cunning, lady pirate?
Is it too cheesy to say ~anything but average?~ On a day when the main character of the Lady Pirates series, Grace, isn’t chasing magical treasures and revenge, as quartermaster, her duties included keeping inventory of the ship’s coin and assets. As first mate, she has a hand in overseeing navigation and administering punishment for those who flout the rules laid out in the ship’s articles.
Do you have any secondary characters that may have fought for control over any of your novels to become the lead character?

Hmmm, Aleta from the Threats of Sky and Sea series probably came closest to wresting control from me! I grew to really love her character and her friendship with the main character, Bree. Her journey parallels Bree’s; neither are who they believe themselves to be at the start of the series.
“She survives on a steady diet of books, podcasts, and her favorite magical tropes.” What are these favorite magical tropes your bio mentions?
Ooo probably #1 is a spin on “The Chosen One.” She’s the only person who can defeat the Big Bad! Secondly, the trope of suddenly discovering powers in the teenage years—which TVTropes.com informs me is known as the “Puberty Superpower.” You can all blame the 90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch for that one.
I’m going to ask the dreaded question… who is your favorite author? *gasps* I know it is difficult so I’ll tack on – what is your favorite book or book series? Yes, yes. I’m horrible, ha!
The most evil question in the world! But I can answer. Growing up, Tamora Pierce’s books shaped the kind of books I love to read and write. For that, she and her Song of the Lioness Quartet will always top my list of favorites. I’m forever grateful to her.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
My next release is called Striking Midnight, the first book in my new Fairy Tale Lies, Spies, and Assassins series. It’s a Cinderella retelling where the Cinderella character is an assassin and it will be released in the multi-author collection of YA Cinderella retellings, Kingdom of Glass and Ashes on December 18th. I can’t wait for you all to read it. You can find it here: https://www.books2read.com/u/49DX0d

Thanks again for having me!

 

Interview with Author Seven Jane

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Seven Jane.

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Hi Seven! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Seven Jane is an author of dark fantasy and speculative fiction. Her debut novel, The Isle of Gold, will be published by Black Spot Books in October 2018. She is largely nocturnal, has an affinity for black and white photography, and exists almost exclusively on chai tea and avocados. She lives in New England.

Seven is a member of The Author’s Guild and Women’s Fiction Writing Association.

Social Media Links:
http://www.sevenjane.com
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @sevenjanewrites

 

The Interview.

If you could pick one scene to change in The Isle of Gold, what would it be?

That is an interesting question! After giving it some thought, I don’t think I could go back and change a scene. They all came out the way they needed to. Now, the one scene in the book that always hurt me was (spoiler alert) when Merrin met her mother. I wanted her mother to be gracious and receive her daughter warmly, but unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards for Merrin or me. There are several characters from IOG that I would have liked to write more about, too, (especially Claudette and Winters) but there’s still plenty of time for that. Maybe in those stories we’ll see a different side of Melusine, too.

 

If one of your favorite dark fantasy worlds could gift you with something, be it a character or artifact, in real life, what would you want?

It would be the Dark Gift, of course, gifted by Lestat himself! I am a diehard Anne Rice fan, no pun intended. Interview with the Vampire was one of the first books I ever really sunk my teeth into, and Lestat holds a very dear place in my heart. I could very well see maintaining that position forever, which would very possibly be the case were I to be given the Dark Gift. (Apologies for the plethora of puns.)

 

You are thrown into your world in The Isle of Gold! What do you do first?

The Goodnight Mermaid, of course! There’s rum and ruckus, and it sounds like a lovely place to people watch from some dark corner. I happen to personally love dive bars, and so an 18th century quayside tavern sounds like a wonderful, lively place. (By the way, I don’t think we spent enough time at the tavern in The Isle of Gold. I plan to go back!)

 

Just reading The Isle of Gold summary drove me off the deep end into a world of fantastic pirates. What inspired you to write a sea-faring adventure?

I have always loved seafaring adventures and pirate folklore, from Treasure Island to Black Sails and everything in-between. While the story itself was quite literally based on a dream, the plot really came into place while I was sailing out in the Caribbean and traipsing around Nassau. It is impossible not to be inspired when you’re in such a wonderful place as that.

 

Share a pirate-y fact that both intrigued and maybe disgusted you.

One interesting fact of pirate life is that “walking the plank” was not as routine a punishment as we have been led to believe! In fact, there is only one recorded incident of this ever happening. In reality, if your crew (or the crew you sailed with) had a problem with you, disputes were generally settled on land—either by leaving you somewhere you didn’t want to be, or by leaving you there six feet under the sand, if you know what I mean. There were too many other things to contend with on board the ship while at sea, and superstition was rampant—death at sea was bad no matter how it came to be.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Only that I hope everyone enjoys following allowing with Merrin’s adventure as much as I did writing it!

Thank you Seven!

Readers, Seven Jane’s The Isle of Gold is available now!

Death Island Blitz

Blog Blitz

Death Island

by Kelsey Ketch

Genre: NA Historical Fantasy

Release Date: December 31st 2017

Summary from Goodreads:
Her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes of piracy, Meriden Cummings is far from the typical 18th century woman. A social outcast, she works in a carpentry shop in a small village, where the people barely tolerate unconventional behavior.
However, her life takes a turn after a gang of pirates attack her village and her blood reveals an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs leading to Death Island. An island legends say is ruled by the Mayan god of the underworld, Ah Puch. Her great-grandfather had sought after the island before he vanished without a trace. Now, Meriden is about to journey across the sea to understand her family history.
There are only a few problems: her growing feelings toward a mysterious stranger linked to her great-grandfather’s past; a greedy band of pirates after her great-grandfather’s legendary treasure; and a contract she has unwittingly signed in blood with Ah Puch himself.
***Excerpt***
I paced the deck with the few men that stayed behind on watch. It was growing late, and Captain Connell’s curfew was quickly approaching. Soon all the crew would return to the ship, stumbling drunk and fucked out of their minds, but calmer than they had been for a while. Some reason, my body twitched in excitement. I’d been anxious since Meriden left with the last group. There was a knot in my gut the moment she stepped off the dock, and the feeling hadn’t gone away since.


I causally walked to the starboard bulwark, catching sight of the harbormaster’s window. The candle still burned as it had been long before night fall. Odd, I thought. The knot in my stomach twisted
even tighter. I haven’t seen the harbormaster work his books this late into the night. I leaned against the gunwale and squinted a little, trying to focus my vision. The candle was nearly spent, and underneath the dripping wax laid what possibly could be a hand, but it was too far to tell. As I eased back, my gut
squirmed like a bunch of worm snakes. I needed to be sure all was well, for Meriden’s safety and the rest of the crew.


Neglecting to ask Swan’s permission, I slipped down the main deck, across the gangway, and headed straight for the harbormaster’s office. The street was as quiet as the grave when I reached the
door. I raised my hand to knock, only for the door to push open on the first tap to the solid oak. I swallowed the lump that crammed its way into my throat. This wasn’t good. I drew my working knife and stepped inside.


“Hello,” I called. “Anyone still here?”


It felt stupid walking into the dark hallway without knowing if I might end up dead or accused of theft, but my gut told me to keep pushing forward. I turned right into the room with the burning candle
still flickering inside. The office was clean and uncluttered except for the few stacks of paper on the desk. On top of which laid the harbormaster, as if he merely fallen asleep in his desk chair. My eyes refocused again at his outstretched arm. A trail of hot, liquid wax ran across the flesh of the harbormaster’s
hand, which didn’t even stir the man awake. My heart pounded with adrenaline,and I pushed the man up by the shoulder.


A maroon-colored pool poured onto his books from what looked like a dagger wound to the harbormaster’s shoulder. A serious wound, but not one that should have killed. It was the discoloration of the man’s skin and the vomit around the mouth that gave me a better idea what had brought on the man’s demise. I’d seen the signs many times before from men who died in blackish waters as well as a few victims that died at Baker’s hand.


Snake venom.
About the Author
Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist in the state of North Carolina. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress or organizing the New Adult Scavenger Hunt, a biannual blog hop. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.
For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

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Storm Raven Tour

Blog Tour

Storm-Raven-Just-Front-Cover.jpgStorm Raven
by K. Hanson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: December 15th 2017

Summary:

YA Fantasy with Pirates!

Captain Nereyda and her first mate, Brynja, lead a band of pirates as they seek out grand adventures and loot vulnerable merchant ships. However, when they attempt an overly ambitious raid, Nereyda and her crew are captured by Commander Erhan of the Imperial navy and separated. Nereyda is pressed into service aboard a ship to patrol the treacherous waters of the Shattered Sea. Meanwhile, Brynja and the rest of the crew are sent to a life of hellish labor deep in an Imperial mining prison camp.

While serving her sentence, Nereyda is shipwrecked on an unknown island. As she explores it, she stumbles into some ancient ruins and finds…something. Whatever it is, it wakes a part of Nereyda that she had not felt before. Something that could help her free the rest of her crew and return to life on the sea, if only she can learn to control it. Unfortunately, Commander Erhan is also on the island. Nereyda must escape him, get off of the island, and rescue her crew before the commander can stop her and before her crew withers away in the oppressive mines.

Read the first three chapters here: http://www.khansonbooks.com/storm-rav…

Add to Goodreads

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075PHRY5R/

 

Guest Post

Listening to the right music is a huge part of my writing process. I assembled quite a long playlist for writing Storm Raven, and it has since expanded as I’ve been working on the second book in the series. Since the main character, Nereyda, is a pirate captain, my playlist is naturally packed with pirate-themed music. It contains the soundtracks to the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Other random tracks and albums have been added that seem to fit a mood I want to set. Most of the time, music sets a general atmosphere to me to write, but sometimes specific songs speak to specific scenes. I can highlight a few tracks here, along with what kind of scenes they support.

Stealing a Brig from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FXgEbaNCfA
This song is fantastic for setting the mood for naval action scenes. There is a scene early in the book where Nereyda needs to pilot the Storm Raven through a storm, and I used this track to inspire me and set the energy for an exciting scene.

The Pyre by Kevin MacLeod – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOexdRkSrJ8&t=165s
I use this track to set the mood for a night in a tavern where Nereyda is surrounded by friends. It can also be good for the moments when I need to write a rousing speech. The piece has a warmth and friendliness to it that give it an uplifting feeling.

When the Devil Calls by Blues Saraceno – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoF-vUL3IpM
Since pirates are outlaws, I wanted some music that had a bit of a rebel vibe. This song, and other similar songs, help give me that badass sound I sometimes crave for various scenes.

Those are just a few of the tracks in the long playlist I’ve assembled, but I think they provide a glimpse of the kinds of music I like to use to set the mood for writing about a sassy pirate captain. If you want to check out the full playlist, you can see it here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/122228527/playlist/4ki1xAmhjuYfdlaYQ9OWgb?si=1tVuolx3TJC_iTZd15LXFw

K Hanson 667x960.jpgAbout the Author

K lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he works as a software developer. In his spare time, when he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading, working out, playing video games, and spending time with his wonderful fiancee, Bobbi. Some of his favorite authors are Tom Clancy, George R. R. Martin, and Sarah Maas.

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To Kill a Kingdom Review

Book Reviews
***Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. Just to be safe, this may contain some spoilers or spoiler-y hints.***         

 

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“Technically, I’m a murder, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.” Alexandra Christo, To Kill a Kingdom

 

To Kill a Kingdom Review

By: Yours truly – Rae

 

As always, the whisper of a YA fairy tale retelling fills me with dread and excitement. I’ve always adored fairy tales and The Little Mermaid, both Disney and Andersen versions, inspired numerous adventures as a kid and during college writing sprints. After receiving an ARC of To Kill a Kingdom, I took a deep breath and dived right in *pun possibly intended* and let me tell you… I was BEDAZZLED. Ladies and Gentlemen… I have a new favorite book and a top pick for 2018. Alexandra – thank you. Now let me tell you why.

I wasn’t being sold anything when it comes to a good character and a bad character. In fact, all the characters have bluntly obvious dark sides and that just made it oh so better. Even more so, all the characters? Bad. Deliciously bad. The prince, Elian, is a pirate who kills sirens, doesn’t want the crown, and feels most at home among a motely crew of misfits. *cue the dreamy sigh* The princess, Lira, is a siren, murderer of – wait for it – princes, and in line for the watery throne only to be constantly bullied – a nice term here and not what I really want to say – by her mother the Sea Witch. Throw in those wonderful side characters from Lira’s cousin Kahlia, best friend, crew, crew, and you got a cast that is relatable, loveable, and even redeemable if you see it fit to redeem them.

The Little Mermaid wasn’t sole focus here and I loved that. Surprising, I know. Anyway, I could pick out key parts and characters but To Kill a Kingdom became a beauty all its own – with a fairy tale twist! I loved how Christo played off the desires of fairy tales too. The characters mocked, ignored, and outright denied the stories and yet followed them because some part of them believed in the impossible. Me? I want to believe in the impossible. Hence why I’m tempted to go out to sea, fling myself in, and see what happens. Okay… maybe not but I can still dream right?

I could continue with the review and rave about the smooth plot, beautiful scenery descriptions, flow of the voice, and character growth, but honestly you just need to read To Kill a Kingdom and decide for yourself.

 

Need your copy of To Kill a Kingdom? Buy links can be found on Christo’s site.

 

My rating: 5/5

Guest Review: Daughter of the Siren Queen

Book Reviews, Guest reviewer

***Disclaimer: This ARC was received at YALLFest.  All opinions are my own.***

“The sound of my knife slitting across a throat feels much too loud in the darkness.” -Tricia Levenseller, Daughter of the Siren Queen

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Daughter of the Siren Queen Review

By: Stephanie

Daughter of the Siren Queen is the highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller and continues with the adventures of Alosa and her crew of badass pirates (now including the gorgeous Riden).  After the events of Daughter of the Pirate King, Alosa is on the hunt for the final piece of the map that leads to the sirens’ famous treasure trove.  However, the life of a pirate is never easy; loyalties are tested, lives are lost, and priorities are set straight.  With that being said, be prepared to buckle up (with a bottle of rum for the full pirate/Jack Sparrow affect) for this enthralling story.

When I found out that Daughter of the Siren Queen was going to be handed out at YallFest, I immediately made snagging that ARC my top priority.  As you can imagine, when I successfully had my hands on a copy (after standing in line for an hour), I jumped for joy while cradling the precious cargo in my arms.  I then proceeded to obsessively check that the ARC was indeed still in my bag for the remainder of the day.  As soon as I had a chance, I started devouring it instantly and eagerly.

Overall, Daughter of the Siren Queen was phenomenal.  I never knew how much fun it was to dive into a world of pirates (outside of Pirates of the Caribbean of course).  I now want to pick up sword fighting and the art of thievery, but I digress.  This sequel was a great conclusion to Daughter of the Pirate King.  It provided an intriguing look on the life of a pirate, just like the first book, that I didn’t want to end.  The casual banter between the crew was not only sarcastic but also endearing at the same time.  This pirate crew is just like a large (slightly dysfunctional at times) family.  These conversations help lighten the overall dreary atmosphere of the crew’s lives and situations.  I won’t go into details of said situations, to avoid spoiling anyone, but what I will go into are my two favorite characters.

Alosa (nicknamed the female Jack Sparrow by author Anna Banks) is the female heroine I never knew I needed in my life.  She is a character that I admire for not only her quick wit but also her strength.  She is constantly faced with tough decisions and difficult situations that would cause weaker characters to crack under pressure.  However, she always finds the strength and courage to make the tough call.  Without giving away any spoilers, there is one scene in Daughter of the Siren Queen where Alosa and her pirate crew break into an off-limits office and discover a secret that causes Alosa to question everything she knows.  As a result, Alosa struggles with the knowledge and consequences of discovering that secret but is still able to keep her and her crew moving forward despite the impossible circumstances.

Another trait of Alosa’s that I find very endearing is her compassion.   Her compassion is highly evident through her interactions with her crew.  She genuinely cares for everyone on her ship and wants for each and every one of them to succeed (even if it is in slaying and stealing).  She is not type of captain that leads her crew through fear and pain (like other pirate captains we know in this world); she leads her crew through compassion, sincerity, and passion.

However, her interactions with the littlest pirate, Roslyn (Wallov’s daughter), are the cutest scenes of the entire book (next on the list are the Alosa and Riden scenes, more on that later).  Alosa, in my opinion, is like the cool Aunt to Roslyn; she ensures that Roslyn learns how to write while also expecting her to be the best ship lookout possible.  In reality, if there was a spinoff series with just Roslyn and Alosa interacting, I would be all for it.

Another highlight of Daughter of the Siren Queen is Riden.  I could not make this review without mentioning the swoon worthy Riden.  Riden has the ability to be tough but sensitive at the same time, which makes for the perfect fictional boy.  He also has issues with his past which only adds to the allure.  However, his honesty is what makes him amazing in my opinion.  He is not afraid to speak up for what he believes in.  He is also not afraid to speak back to Alosa, which contradicts the proper etiquette when speaking to the captain.  In addition, like Alosa, he cares deeply for those he loves, which makes his scenes with Alosa quite amazing.  In all honesty, their chemistry was beautiful.  The push and pull of their relationship was so rewarding to read because that type of romance is what I enjoy reading the most.  If they keep pushing each other away but end up coming back to one another over and over, it proves that they are not only special to one another but (dare I say it) meant to be.  Essentially, that is Riden and Alosa throughout this series.  I won’t go into specifics of their (many) scenes; you need to read and enjoy it for yourself.  However, I will say this; they have multiple scenes where their tension (sexual and romantic) is through the roof.

Another romance (which needs to be mentioned) that I found myself shipping throughout the book was Sorinda and Kearan.  Their minor romance was hinted at in the first book, but in the sequel, it becomes more evident.  Both characters grow individually and as crew partners throughout the novel.  I really wish we got more from them in this sequel because those two characters alone are interesting and worthy of their own novels (hint hint pretty please….).

I will end my rambling session here before I inadvertently spoil the book through my constant ravings.  If you get anything from my blabbering, let it be that this book is an amazing sequel.  If you enjoyed the first book, you will definitely want to continue visiting this world with Daughter of the Siren Queen.

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller will be released on February 27, 2018.  To pre-order this amazing book, check out the below links.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Target

Book Depository

While you are at it, you should also check out Tricia Levenseller’s page.

My Rating: 4.5/5