Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Book Blitz: Emerge: The Captive by Author Melissa A Craven




Sasha and Quinn have always shared a special bond, but with their lives moving in opposite directions can they ever go back to the way they were?

Or is there something much more complicated about the future of their relationship?

Immortality. Prophecy. Power. Join Quinn and Sasha in this coming of age, paranormal and urban fantasy with themes of adoption, diversity, supernatural, and historical fiction.

Add to Goodreads




Emerge: The Awakening (Emerge #1) on Goodreads
Emerge: The Edge (Emerge #1.5) on Goodreads
Emerge: The Judgement (Emerge #2) on Goodreads


Preorder Emerge: The Captive at the special publisher price of $0.99!The Captive releases on August 28th and will return to regular price on 9/4.

For a limited time, Emerge: The Awakening and Emerge: The Edge are also on sale for only $0.99!

Check out the Illustrated Character Journal,  Emerge: The Scholar, for free here: https://www.melissaacraven.com/free-offers





About the Author

Melissa A. Craven (the "A" stands for Ann—in case you were wondering) was born near Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of seventeen. She still thinks of Cleveland as home, so it was only natural for Emerge to take place there.
Today, she is back in Atlanta—for some reason she can't seem to stay away from the ungodly heat that makes her long for things like "lake effect snow" and wind that will knock you flat.
Melissa decided a long time ago that the “life checklist” everyone else was clutching so tightly in their fists, just wasn’t for her. She does everything backwards because she is weird like that, but then, she is an artist and artists are notoriously "unique" and "quirky."
She is an avid student of art and design, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of West Georgia in 2009. She worked as an interior designer for several years, but she's always thought she might like to be a writer when she grows up.
In her spare time, if she has any, she enjoys shopping for derelict furniture she refinishes to exercise the interior design part of her brain.


Author Links
WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsYA Books CentralInstagramPinterest


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Cover Reveal - Sunburner by Claire Luana

Sunburner
Claire Luana
(Moonburner #2)
Publication date: September 25th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Kai, the newly-crowned queen of Miina, finds her reign threatened by a plague of natural disasters that leave death and destruction in their wake. Are the gods truly angry at the peace between the moon and sunburners, or is something more sinister to blame? Kai’s throne and her very life may be forfeit unless she can appease the gods’ anger and her peoples’ superstitions.

Determined to find a solution, Kai and the Sunburner Prince Hiro embark on an extraordinary and dangerous journey to discover the true cause of the plagues. What they find is an ancient enemy determined to plunge their world into eternal darkness—and one desperate chance to save it.







About the Author

Claire Luana grew up reading everything she could get her hands on and writing every chance she could. Eventually, adulthood won out, and she turned her writing talents to more scholarly pursuits, going to work as a commercial litigation attorney at a mid-sized law firm. While continuing to practice law, Claire decided to return to her roots and try her hand once again at creative writing. She has written and published the Moonburner Cycle and is currently working on a new trilogy about magical food. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and two dogs. In her (little) remaining spare time, she loves to hike, travel, binge-watch CW shows, and of course, fall into a good book. 


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Monday, August 21, 2017

To Dodge a Duke by Naomi Boom - Excerpt




To Dodge a Duke
Author: Naomi Boom
Genre: Historical Romance / Regency

When a duke gets a chance to pursue a lady as someone else, he would be a fool not to take it.

Logan Eastworth, the Tenth Duke of Waking, returns to England to find a woman to marry. When Miss Eleanor Ashford assumes he holds the title of baronet, he does not correct her error. Instead, he plays on her misconception and arranges a house party where he can make her fall for him and not his title.

Miss Ashford desires a marriage of convenience to an earl or higher. Not to some low-life baronet with an estate in the far reaches of England. She has no time for love, even if the green-eyed baronet with a charming smile tries to convince her otherwise.

Miss Ashford has a choice to make. To wed a duke or the baronet setting her heart aflame. Her choice might not be as simple as she believes.



Excerpt

Logan smirked and stood to tower over her. “I think you welcomed my advances very much. I would prove it if you ask.” 

Eleanor glared at him and took a step back. “That is unnecessary. I already know I did not appreciate the first example.” Besides, even if she had enjoyed it, it would be inadvisable for her to allow another kiss to transpire. His smirk remained glued to his handsome face, and she said, “Oh, stop it. You think much too highly of yourself.” 

He chuckled in response and took a step closer. Eleanor, naturally, took another step back until he reached out and pulled her to him in a rough embrace. Incensed, Eleanor asked, “Who do you think you are? There is never an acceptable time for you to behave so impudently toward me!” 

His arm imprisoned her as he smiled down on her. “Isn’t there? Would it have been preferable to fall into the ravine?” 

She swung her head around to find they stood mere steps from the rushing waters. She gulped and turned to face him. Obviously, it was best to stay away from the ravine, but she would not concede his point. “Yes. It would have been much more desirable.” 

Author Bio

Naomi Boom is an author who never expected to love writing. Her inspiration struck when she searched for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.

She resides in her home state of South Dakota with her husband and toddler. Her dream is to someday find an acreage where she can raise chickens, and continue her writing.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Peculiar County Book Blitz by Stuart R. West - Excerpts - Giveaways




Peculiar County
by Stuart R. West
Genre: YA Paranormal/Ghost Mystery
Release Date: July 30th 2017
Books We Love

Growing up in Peculiar County, Kansas, is a mighty...well, peculiar experience. In 1965, things get even stranger for Dibby Caldwell, the mortician's fifteen year old daughter. A young boy's ghost haunts Dibby into unearthing the circumstances of his death.

Nobody—living or dead—wants her to succeed. James, the new mop-topped, bad boy at school doesn’t help. Dibby can’t get him out of her head, even though she doesn’t trust him. No, sir, there's nothing much more peculiar than life in Peculiar County…except maybe death in Peculiar County.





Excerpt

I pushed through the doors. They swat at my backside, squeaking with mischief. Eee-hee, eee-hee…
Down in the workshop, the cold really packed a wallop. I rubbed my arms, stamped my feet. I rode my hand along the wall, searching for the light switch.
Tik…tek…tik…
Fluorescent ceiling lamps sprung to life, duller, deader than usual. Instead of providing warm luminescence, they cast everything in an odd light, everything touched in artificial tints.
Immediately, the strong, familiar odor of ammonia enveloped me. But I couldn’t place the other smell, couldn’t describe it. If pressed, I suppose I’d catalog it somewhere between sweet and metallic. Sorta the way blood tastes when you prick your finger and suck on it. I’d never smelled anything like it before, not in Dad’s workshop or elsewhere.
An overriding smell rode in like fog. A strong, wrong odor that brought to mind mold and rot. A primal scent from a different time or place.
Ching! Ding! Ting-a-ling!
Impatient as a hungry baby, the bell-ringer called.
Click.
The walk-in refrigerator door handle swung up.
Chumpf!
The door released its seal and opened, just a few inches. A pale blue—hardly blue, more like moon-white—cone of light fell across the floor. A swirl of frost slivered out, twirled in the bare luminescence.
Ding! Ding! Ching! Ting-a-ling-aling—
Cut off in mid-ring, the bell silenced. Everything hushed. No sound, not a peep, a tick, a drop. Just the silent shroud of death.
Slowly, I crept toward the refrigerator. Which didn’t make a lick of sense as I knew Hettie waited for me. There didn’t seem to be any real sense in maintaining silence either. But any noise—even my own—made me want to scream.
Above me, the light flickered off, on, then sizzled like bacon before settling on dark.
My hand gripped the handle. Arctic cold, I wrenched my hand back. I flagged it ‘till the stabbing needles of cold left. With my shoulder, I nudged the door. It pushed open half-way, then stopped. I followed with a mighty mule kick.
The door opened about as far as its hinges would allow.
I took a deep breath, held it. When I exhaled, I spouted out a frozen, visible vapor.
“Hettie?” I whispered.
I entered. To the left, the metal shelves on the wall were unoccupied. On the opposite side, all but one sat empty. A rumpled plastic cloth lay across the bottom shelf.
The eerie blue light had no visible source, but it provided ample light to see by. Maybe too much, considering.
“Hettie?” I repeated a little louder.
In the back of the unit, where Dad housed his supplies, a hanging shower curtain billowed out. Plastic crinkled. Something moved, fluid behind the curtain’s rippling waves. Not exactly flesh-colored, not much of anything.
Tinggg!
My heart urged me to turn back. Traitorous feet wouldn’t comply.
White snails of fingers crawled around the plastic and gripped it. Slowly, the curtain pulled back. Rusty rings on a rustier rod squealed screeeeeee.
Hettie stood exposed, naked. Except for the black “X” stitching up her innards. Varicose veins twined her legs. Toes exploded into corns the size of thumbs. Her scrubbing pad of hair stood up on end, a static raised brush of black and white.
Clouds had moved into her eyes, milkier than when I’d found her, yet intently focused on me. She showed that awful cavernous smile again. Barnacle-like teeth jabbed out of her gums.
Her lower jaw wobbled, then dropped ajar. Not an involuntary movement caused by gas either, the way sometimes happened to corpses. She gasped, a hissing radiator.
She took a doddering step toward me.
Ding!
The bell tied to her toe tolled.
Ding-a-ling!
Each step forward took great effort. A kind of ghostly arthritis hampered her dead limbs, encased them in cement. When she moved, wood cracked. More wood splintered, her body falling apart. She raised an arm. Dark veins spiraled around it, swimming upstream with determination. They rode toward her sagging bosom, traveled north up her neck, snaked beneath her chin, and set up house on her face.
And still she kept coming.


Excerpt

Slowly, I crept toward the refrigerator. Which didn’t make a lick of sense as I knew Hettie waited for me. There didn’t seem to be any real sense in maintaining silence either. But any noise—even my own—made me want to scream.
Above me, the light flickered off, on, then sizzled like bacon before settling on dark.
My hand gripped the handle. Arctic cold, I wrenched my hand back. I flagged it ‘till the stabbing needles of cold left. With my shoulder, I nudged the door. It pushed open half-way, then stopped. I followed with a mighty mule kick.
The door opened about as far as its hinges would allow.
I took a deep breath, held it. When I exhaled, I spouted out a frozen, visible vapor.
“Hettie?” I whispered.
I entered. To the left, the metal shelves on the wall were unoccupied. On the opposite side, all but one sat empty. A rumpled plastic cloth lay across the bottom shelf.
The eerie blue light had no visible source, but it provided ample light to see by. Maybe too much, considering.
“Hettie?” I repeated a little louder.
In the back of the unit, where Dad housed his supplies, a hanging shower curtain billowed out. Plastic crinkled. Something moved, fluid behind the curtain’s rippling waves. Not exactly flesh-colored, not much of anything.
Tinggg!
My heart urged me to turn back. Traitorous feet wouldn’t comply.
White snails of fingers crawled around the plastic and gripped it. Slowly, the curtain pulled back. Rusty rings on a rustier rod squealed screeeeeee.
Hettie stood exposed, naked. Except for the black “X” stitching up her innards. Varicose veins twined her legs. Toes exploded into corns the size of thumbs. Her scrubbing pad of hair stood up on end, a static raised brush of black and white.
Clouds had moved into her eyes, milkier than when I’d found her, yet intently focused on me. She showed that awful cavernous smile again. Barnacle-like teeth jabbed out of her gums.
Her lower jaw wobbled, then dropped ajar. Not an involuntary movement caused by gas either, the way sometimes happened to corpses. She gasped, a hissing radiator.
She took a doddering step toward me.
Ding!
The bell tied to her toe tolled.
Ding-a-ling!
Each step forward took great effort. A kind of ghostly arthritis hampered her dead limbs, encased them in cement. When she moved, wood cracked. More wood splintered, her body falling apart. She raised an arm. Dark veins spiraled around it, swimming upstream with determination. They rode toward her sagging bosom, traveled north up her neck, snaked beneath her chin, and set up house on her face.
And still she kept coming.

About the Author

Stuart R. West is a lifelong resident of Kansas, which he considers both a curse and a blessing. It's a curse because...well, it's Kansas. But it's great because…well, it’s Kansas. Lots of cool, strange and creepy things happen in the Midwest, and Stuart takes advantage of them in his work. Call it “Kansas Noir.” Stuart writes thrillers and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences.
Stuart spent 25 years in the corporate sector and now writes full time. He’s married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates the fact he cooks dinner for her every night) and has a 25 year old daughter who’s dabbling in the nefarious world of banking.


Links
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazon Page

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Awakenings by KT Webb - Review




Awakening
by K.T. Webb
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: June 21st 2017

Plagued by dreams of a dark shadow, Sutton Stone is convinced she’s losing her mind.

Lucy Marks turns to her Wiccan aunt when a woman with mismatched eyes visits her with answers to questions she never thought to ask.

Being kidnapped on her birthday was a terrifying surprise, but when three girls show up and call her a witch, Grace Trudeau quickly realizes they mean it literally.

After years of helping run a museum in the City of Witches, Harper Landry discovers that magic is far closer than she ever imagined.

On the run from a trio of brothers who want to resurrect an evil past, the coven will discover their bloodline is old, powerful—and deadly. From high school to hell, follow them as they realize that nothing is harder than being a teenage witch.




Review
⭐⭐⭐⭐
4 1/2 Stars

Have you every wondered what it would be like to wake up and find you have magical powers? What if the people in your nightmares, both good and evil, were real? If you find these questions enticing, this book is for you.

The main characters are strong willed teenager girls going on sixteen. The problem is that they will receive magical power they know nothing about on their birthday. Strange dark men are chasing them, and they have to find out why. Character development is consistent as the girls learn what it means to work as a group, and be part of a coven. The responsibility of a nation falls on their shoulders, and each one rises up to the occasion with what they have to offer. They also have a fairy and sprite queen, tagging along.

Ms. Webb starts with tension and maintains it at an even keel until she reaches about the middle. She turns up the temperature, and keeps it rises from there. There is no swearing, although there is some violence, but it isn't over the top. The boy/girl thing is absent, although who knows what will happen in book two. While this story has a satisfying end, it does end with a cliff-hangar.


About the Author

KT Webb is a big city girl living in small town South Dakota with her husband and two children. She believes in the power of words and enjoys writing stories that make the impossible seem possible.

KT loves reading, listening to pop-punk music (especially when she’s writing), having adventures with her children and traveling. She believes in magic, that there’s a hero inside everyone and that characters should be just as flawed and intriguing as the people we meet every day.



Monday, August 14, 2017

New Release: The Wolf of Kisimul Castle by Author Heather McCollum two Rafflecoptor Giveaways




The Wolf of Kisimul Castle
by Heather McCollum
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

Mairi Maclean is kidnapped on her wedding day by the enemy of her dead husband. Taken north to the water-surrounded Kisimul Castle, she is held captive in the name of retribution. But The Wolf of Kisimul Castle soon learns Mairi is not a docile pawn in this game of war between neighboring
Scots. Nor will she be frightened into walking down the aisle to wed the fierce Highland chief.

Alec MacNeil is set on revenge. When he finds his enemy dead, he takes his wife to replace the one that was murdered. An eye for an eye. A bride for a bride. But Mairi is more tiger than kitten and refuses to bend to his will. Set stubbornly against one another, the passion that flares between them threatens to tear Alec’s strategy to shreds.







About the Author

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and contemporary YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology from the University of Maine, much to her English professor's dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, won the 2015 Readers' Crown, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. Ms. McCollum has twelve historical romances released in both electronic and digital formats. She also has three YA paranormal romances released in both formats.

When she is not busy writing and answering calls of "Mom", she can be found educating women about ovarian cancer. She is a teal warrior herself and slayed the ovarian cancer beast in 2012.

She currently resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

More information about Ms. McCollum and her books can be found at www.HeatherMcCollum.com.

Links
Twitter
Website
Facebook
Goodreads






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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review - Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney




About the Book

Black Dawn
by Mallory McCartney
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
Release Date: February 14th 2017
Clean Reads Publishing

The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory's arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.



Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's with a bit of sadness that I'm giving this book four stars, because this Author has great potential. There are a few error's that an edit could easily correct, but they are not enough to harm the story.

The premise is about a woman taken from earth, back to the world where she belongs to help her people. Emory is a good character. She's strong willed and has a mind of her own. As such, she is not easily manipulated, but that doesn't stop some of the people around her from trying. The supporting characters are also strong, but not always honest. They all have something to learn, and while the book has a stand alone ending, it still leaves the characters of the edge of what I expect to be much more discovery. There is a lot of room for sub-plots in the upcoming novels.

The story starts with two men retrieving Emory from Earth. It's a great start, with good tension, but the story soon slows it's pace to a lot of set-up, information and backstory. It didn't grab me until the middle where it takes off, and maintains tension. While there are a few stories that need that kind of set-up, I don't feel like this one does. It could easily have started earlier, and kept us in the moment, while endearing us deeper into the characters, and the motivations that drive them. 

I'm hoping the next book will kick-off faster, moving forward, with less backstory, which is what I expect, since the history has already been covered.


About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.







Tour by YA Bound Book Tours


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Character Madness and Musings: Cover Reveal - The West Woods by Suzy Vadori

Character Madness and Musings: Cover Reveal - The West Woods by Suzy Vadori: The West Woods by Suzy Vadori Genre: YA Release Date: September 22nd 2017 Evil Alter Ego Press Magic, sacrifice and the quest for...

Cover Reveal - The West Woods by Suzy Vadori




The West Woods
by Suzy Vadori
Genre: YA
Release Date: September 22nd 2017
Evil Alter Ego Press

Magic, sacrifice and the quest for freedom.
Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school's fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for.  If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.




The Fountain on Goodreads (The West Woods is the prequel)


About the Author

Suzy Vadori is an Operations executive by day, Writer by night. The Fountain is her debut novel for Young Adults. Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers' community, service as Program Manager for Young Adult at When Words Collide (a Calgary festival for readers and Writers) since 2013. Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three kids.

Links
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook



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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cover Reveal - The weather War by Stephanie A Cain


The Weather War Cover Reveal
By Author Stephanie A. Cain




The Weather War 
by Stephanie A. Cain 
Publication date: September 19th 2017 
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Princess Azmei died for her country three years ago–or so everyone but a trusted few believed. Having survived assassination attempts, the desert, dragons, and a treacherous plot designed to destroy her entire family, Azmei has finally managed to save her kingdom.

Now she has to save the world.

Azmei travels to Amethir, whose prince she promised three years ago to marry. With her is Hawk, the man who loves her, and Yar, the Voice of Dragons. They carry a terrifying message for the king of Amethir: the gods are waking and the world is about to shake.

Prince Vistaren of Amethir has also received a frightening warning, this one from a powerful stormwitch–weather magic is failing. Patterns of storms are beginning to build outside their prescribed season. While the Stormwitch Academy officially denies any problems, there are hints of trouble yet to come.

Azmei and Vistaren know they must act. But the king refuses to listen to them and the land is beginning to tear itself apart. Facing pirate attacks, seadragon swarms, and a strange woman who uses magic in a way no stormwitch should, Vistaren and Azmei know they must find a way to set things right.

But what price is too high to save the world?






Pre-order



About the Author

Stephanie A. Cain grew up in Indiana, where much of her urban fantasy is set, but unfortunately has been unable to visit Amethir or Tamnen, where her epic fantasy novels are set.

She graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Creative Writing, with a Medieval Studies minor. She has two-thirds of a Master of Library Science, but ran out of money and enthusiasm for grad school at about the same time. Despite this, her years of work in libraries were not wasted--besides having a lot of librarian friends (everyone should have at least one) she also spent a great deal of time hanging out in the stacks at 398.2, which gave rise to many of her urban fantasy stories.

She currently works at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum, where she spends her time doing historical research, giving tours of a Victorian man-cave, and serving as a one-woman IT department.

Stephanie's favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Elizabeth Moon, Tamora Pierce, Garth Nix, and Robin McKinley.

A proud crazy cat lady, Stephanie is happily owned by Eowyn, Strider, and Eustace Clarence Scrubb. In her free time, she enjoys hiking (except for the spiders), bird-watching, visiting wineries, and collecting anything with owls on it. She likes to unwind by playing World of Warcraft and Skyrim. She enjoys organizing things, is overly fond of notebooks, and visits office supply stores for fun. She owns way more movie scores and fountain pens than she can actually afford.

Links



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Another Old Guest Post - When Cultures Clash: Why I love Writing Historical Fiction


When Cultures Clash: Why I love Writing Historical Fiction

The last old post I found was fun, so I decided to post another. I actually don't remember writing this one, but it's still good fun. I found it while looking for a more comical article I wrote. 

The Victorian, and Regency Era's are a writer's dream. I mean, really, what's not to love? 


There are creepy postmortem pictures. The one's in the casket don't bother me, but trying to make them look alive has a bit of a twilight zone effect. Many families couldn't afford the pictures we take for granted today. Selfie anyone? This might be the only image the family had in memory of their loved ones.




Freak shows.

                                                                   


 The forever famous
 Charles Dickens.
 There is a fictional
 scene I created in
 The Carriage, from
 his last performance.
 I found the descriptions             Romance.
 difficult because the                  And the 
 theater has burned                     Language of  down some time ago.                Flowers.
                                        







Hans Christian Andersen brought us Little Matchgirl and Little Mermaid, among other great stories. Here he is with a great quote and his childhood home. 



< We all love a Victorian Christmas

    Hans Christian Andersen was >
    excited to meet the famous
    Brothers Grimm





     


     And then there were those damnable corsets
     that made everyone, including women believe they      were the weaker gender.




So, now I present you the original
When Cultures Clash: Why I love Writing Historical Fiction.


My name is Jena Baxter and my newest novel, The Carriage, is set in Victorian, London. My first novel, Reflections, began in the Regency Era. I had already written a couple of fantasy in motion stories, but while doing research on Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Matchgirl, I found some interesting things to ponder.

Burial customs were pretty out there. The dying person takes their last breath and the first thing the servant or family does is stop the clock. Then they covered the mirrors and windows so the deceased couldn’t get trapped in them on their way out, and then placed a black wreath on the door so the world would know they were mourning.

I have a vivid imagination so all I could see was some poor soul banging on the back of the mirror yelling, ‘Let me out. I took a wrong turn. This isn’t funny Uncle Grufus.’ I know its poor humor but my brain works that way. Don’t even get me started on the hired mourners following the funeral procession to the graveyard. My mind went wild with that one.

I love humor and my favorite emotion is laughter through tears. Check out the end of Steel Magnolias if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. Sally Field does an awesome job in that movie. Be sure and get out a box of tissues first, but I’m digressing. After letting my mind go wild with the spirit stuck in the mirror, Reflections was born, and while it does have its humorous moments, the setting is very different.

Fast forward to my newest novel, The Carriage. I was planning a trip we never took to New York, and thinking about taking a carriage ride through Central Park. While I don’t know much about the carriages, they have been there an incredibly long time. I saw a historical photo and that was all it took for my mind to flip to the Victorian Era. I was supposed to be working on a YA/NA contemporary romance based in New York.

Alexis came into existence, and I made her deal with the unfriendly truths of the era. You should see her face when a servant calls Ezra, the Master. Are you laughing yet? Well, she gives him a run for his money because Alexis won’t be calling any man, Master. Ezra is a paranormal creature, a shipyard owner, and a man on the cutting edge of the age. He doesn’t understand Alexis, but she brings laughter and joy to his dark, broken heart.

I’ve often said, I love cultures, whether it’s a bygone era, or something I create myself, which is something you’ll see in Veiled Memories. But using modern women, and a young man as well in Reflections, shows the contrast by allowing us to see what the culture was like a little closer.
Alexis found she couldn’t battle the era she was trapped in, she had to conform to it because it wasn’t going to conform to her. Brayden, in Reflections found the same, even though he never lived in any age but his own.

Culture is steeped in our DNA, and while we can change opinions and emotions over time, it will always be a part of who we are.