Monday, July 6, 2020
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
What is your favorite memory?
Ah, me! I have so many happy memories of my childhood and youth, it's difficult to choose just one. What comes immediately to mind, however, is the day my mother announced that she was expecting my youngest sister, Solána. We we had recently lost my two youngest siblings to the Red Dragon and were still grieving their deaths at the time. It was as if Elyon had sent us another to ease our loss. I shall never forget the smile on my father's face, nor the joy I felt from him, despite his pain.
What is one thing you wish you could go back and change?
*Grimmace* I'd have bitten my tongue when Lady Müriel spoke with me ere I left Ýdära. I said some rather nasty things and hurled serious accusations at her--based on erronious assumptions and fueled by my own pain and hatred. Had I been willing to hear her side of the story ... it would have spared us both, and our people, a great deal of suffering.
Are there things you prefer about the World of Men?
I must confess to a kind of casual fascination with automobiles and other modes of transportation there. I wouldn't say I prefer them to Winged Horses, however, for one can't form a bond of trust with a heap of metal powered by a loud, smoke-billowing motor. *Smirk* I've also become quite fond of Mrs. Whitaker's biscuits and sausage gravy, for there's nothing like them in Ýdära, to my knowledge.
Who is your best friend, and what do you love most about them?
Oddly enough, I never felt the need to seek out companionship beyond my own family circle growing up--although I was well-loved among our people and had several familiar acquaintances. Prior to the Revolution, I'd say I felt closest to my parents (especially my father), my brothers Phælon and Nathániel, and my sister Solána. It wasn't until I met Mrs. Whitaker and her family that I understood what friendship was. Of those dear folk, I'm most fond of little Jane Foster, Mrs. Whitaker's granddaughter. She reminds me so of Solána, although Jane isn't so merry. There's something about her that warms and cheers the hearts of all who know her. And then I met Müriel ... but that's an entire topic in itself.
What is your favorite time of day?
Do you know, it never occurred to me to have a favorite time of day? I enjoy the early morning hours, when the world is hushed and still but for a few bird-songs (and in my homeland, the tinkling chatter of the wee Forrest Faeries), and all Creation feels fresh and new. I enjoy midday, when I can pause in my labors and enjoy a good meal (which wasn't always the case during my exile). Afternoon and eventide are exciting times for me, filled with the activity of finishing the day's work and the promise of the evening meal to reward one's labor. I love the twilight hours, when the last ray of sunset is faded, and the sky shimmers with half-veiled stars, until one by one they appear. And I love the night, when the heavens inspire a sense of awe that the God Who calls all those stars by name ... is pleased to allow His creations to call Him Father.
What is your favorite part of your story?
I really enjoy all the action-y bits of the story, and any time Ritioghra is on the page everything is really fun. But my favorite part would have to be the conversations between Echo and Branna, when Echo is being all socially awkward and trying to come up with things to say and failing miserably at presenting herself as a “whole human,” as my family is fond of saying. These moments were pulled directly from my own experiences as a fairly shy individual who often finds talking to people to be extremely difficult.
What was the most challenging part to write?
The ending! It took a long time and many drafts to get that right. I think I rewrote the ending at least twelve times before I hit the one that made my editor say, “I think you’ve got it!”
But like all challenging things, I have to say, I’m glad I didn’t just go with my first draft. The story is far stronger with the ending it has, and I’m grateful to my beta readers and my editors for not letting me settle for anything less than my very best. Echo needed an ending worthy of her story, and I love where this ended up.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Every character in this book has a special place in my heart. I don’t know if I can choose between them.
Echo and her neurotic social awkwardness and huge heart is of course the main character and I loved going on this adventure with her.
But Jana’s irrepressible, jump-first-ask-questions-later nature is so fun and I love her to pieces.
Runa and Gareth, though not as major characters are extremely dear to me as I identify with parts of their story and ache with them through their loss.
I love the tragedy of Malilia and her grit and determination to atone for the wrongs she has done.
Eirloch kind of stole my heart unexpectedly. I intended for him to be a minor villain, but he surprised me by refusing to be a villain. He’s a bit of a trickster, but it doesn’t come naturally to him... he tries to play the cunning game, but he does it because he feels it’s expected, not because he enjoys it (and he’s not very good at it, either). In truth, he’s a dear, sweet boy with a heart of pure gold.
And Ritioghra, the Winter King. Well, if he isn’t my favorite character, then he was definitely the most fun character to write! (He probably is my favorite character).
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
When I began writing An Echo of the Fae, I had a very clear picture of Echo’s home in my head. I knew this story would be a little bit smaller in scope than most of the other books I’ve written, and so the world-building was much smaller in scale as well. Because the book deals strongly in selkie mythology, I knew that I wanted to weave a lot of threads through the story that would look and feel like Scotland, where many of the selkie legends originate.
The entire story takes place on a single tiny island that I modeled after the Outer Hebrides (small islands off the west coast of mainland Scotland). Both the island and the main village share the same name: Ennis Rosliath.
Because the story revolves around the two important settings of the ocean and the forest, I wanted the name of the island to reflect this, so I went searching for Gaelic words to see what I could come up with. I found that “inis” means “island” in Gaelic, so I took that and changed it a bit, and then, I took the word “foraoise,” which means “forest” and played with it until I had turned it into “Rosliath” so that “Ennis Rosliath” basically means “forested island.”
Even though this is a fictional island, I wanted it to feel grounded in the reality of Scotland, so I did a lot of research on what plants and birds are indigenous to Scotland, as well as a lot of research into their traditional foods and seasons so that I could give the mortal side of the world in the story a more realistic and somewhat familiar feel to it. It helped a lot that I have actually visited Scotland, and was able to pull some of the images from my own memories, even though this story is set in a much earlier time period than our own.
Another thing I did to help me with the world-building of Ennis Rosliath was that I I did draw a map of the island fairly early during the rough draft, which I am not going to share here because... well... I drew it. And I can’t draw. But I do find that having even the most basic of maps helps me keep my story consistent so that I always know where my character is in relation to other locations in the story. I don’t want to say that Echo left her house and traveled west to the forest and then later have her head home from the forest by heading south. That sort of inconsistency gives my dear editors headaches!
I hope that this has given you a glimpse of the world you can visit in An Echo of the Fae. If you’d like to hear more about the world building for the fae realm in this story, please visit THIS POST in the tour to learn about the fae-realm where Echo must venture in order to save her sister.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
About An Echo of the Fae:
Echo enjoys the peace and solitude of the Faeorn forest, regardless of how strange spending time in the “haunted” wood seems to others.
But on the cusp of her thirteenth birthday, the discovery of a family secret reveals why Echo has never been drawn to the sea like her mother. This discovery shakes the foundations of her world and sends Echo on a quest, not merely into the forest, but into the heart of the fae-lands themselves, to rescue the sister she didn’t know existed.
Elves, dragons, and fairy courts will put Echo’s wit and resolve to the test. But with time running out for her sister, will Echo even be able to save herself?
A fairytale adventure perfect for fans of The Secret of Roan Innish and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
“Enthralled by the terror, charm, riddles, and beauty of a richly depicted fae world, I devoured this marvelous book in two sittings! Readers of all ages will love Echo, a heroine strong in her weakness, clever and resolute amid her doubt and fear. An Echo of the Fae is sure to satisfy lovers of adventure and faery!” -- J.M. Stengl, author of The Faraway Castle Series
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Cara, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I'm so excited for today!
What do you love most about your newest release?
Flight Risk allowed me to explore a slightly older heroine (she’s turning 40), which allowed her to have a series of competencies while still being a growing and evolving character. The hero also had a slightly Gibbs (from NCIS) feel even though he’s a reporter rather than a crime investigator. I was also able to marry my love of journalism with the law, which made for a strong clash of independent characters. Add in my favorite city (Washington, DC), and it was just plain fun.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Savannah Daniel was originally modeled off my mentor in law school. Victoria was about five years older than me, but because she’d gone straight to law school was further along in that career. So in earlier books Savannah is the woman with the sage, steady advice. Then as I started fleshing her out for her book, she got traces of me. Since I’m in my mid forties, I added some of the questions my friends and I wrestle with. Yes we know who we are, but sometimes there are disappointments and regrets that we can allow to trap us. I wanted to give Savannah a choice on whether to move forward or stay trapped. You’ll have to read the book to see which she does ;-)
What do you hope readers take away from the story?
The theme in a nutshell is how do we find truth in a fake news world? Truth matters. Even more today. But why does it matter? The Bible couldn't be clearer that the truth sets us free, so it is worth the hard work of confronting it and mining for it.
What is your next book going to be, and what can you tell us about it?
I’m in the second round of edits for Lethal Intent right now. In Lethal Intent, the heroine Caroline Bragg has started a new job with a start-up that works in pharmaceutical/oncology research. There’s suspense, romance, and a bit of tension, plus a passel of cute kids because her boyfriend runs a foster group home. I LOVE the interactions he has with the kids. As a former NFL football player, the kids show his teddy bear side.
What is the absolute best thing about being an author?
Getting to partner with God in creativity. I don’t mean for that to sound all woo-woo. But we are created in God’s image. The first part of his image that’s displayed in the Bible is Creation. I think we get the idea you have to have a special call to be creative: be an Einstein or Van Gogh or Dickens. But we all have pieces of that in us. When I’m writing, I get to actively partner with God in that part of my personality.
Do you have any pets who are your muses while writing?
As I’m answering this, our new puppy is running around the patio next to me. Our cat Simba is the inspiration for Jaime’s cat in Delayed Justice. The pets actually become active representations of their owners in that one. As the pets move closer to each other (a dog and cat), you see the owners take steps toward each other. Brandon has a cat, Frodo, in Lethal Intent, but I need to give him a bit more screen time. Note to self as I work through the edits :-)
Thursday, May 21, 2020
About the Author
More from Vicky
Sunday, May 17, 2020
But is she really cursed?
This is the first time I've read one of Kendra's books and I can tell you, it's not gonna be the last. In a very short amount of time (Really, it won't take you long to read, and you might be a tiny bit put out that it isn't longer since you'll get to love the characters) Kendra brings you into a world that puts a little bit of the fantasy into reality. There are some very specific similarities to the book of Daniel, too. The characters didn't have long to catch my heart, but do it, they did! From the sweet prince to the dear Daughter of Blood and Misfortune, there was so much personality. My favorite by far was Misha, though. You'll probably find at least one or two parts that really stick it to you (I may have sent a picture of one of the paragraphs to a friend with the caption "Called out") I loved how well Kendra made me run the gamut of emotions- from outrage to teary eyes to laughter. This is a definite recommend from me!
Check out the rest of today's blog tour:
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Seth Stendahl is an alchemist with a middling proficiency in the Rohesian tongue. After growing up with and surviving six sisters, there shouldn’t be anything too difficult for him to master – except maybe breaking his leg and being locked in the top of a ruined watchtower.
This is Rapunzel with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.
Guys, you have no clue how much I love these Once Upon a Twist Tales. Details from the original fairy tale, a few Disney nods, and so much Kirsten magic combine to make stories that capture the heart and imagination. In Diamond, there was so much to wonder at... I've only been dying to read it since I read Spindle Dreams (BTW Awesome book! You should read that one too, and it'll help a little with this one since they sorta got intertwined...) I love how Kirsten gave actual plausible explanations for everything that happens to Diamond/Rapunzel and Seth, her tower-bound friend. Kirsten has a way of taking the magic out and replacing it with her own wordy brilliance. The plot was great, of course, and even had a nice little subplot bunny hopping around, but what really gets me are the characters. Every one of them had me asking for more. Motives and desires and just a real-life-person-ness brought Diamond, Seth, Dalv, and even Mother drew me in and trapped me. It was one of those one-sitting reads, and I can't wait to read it with my sisters. (We're currently reading The Rose and the Balloon out loud together, but we hope to read Spindle Dreams and Diamond too before the end of the summer. Julie especially is very invested... who knew 7-year-olds were so ensnarable?) I do hope that I don't speak French like poor Seth speaks Rohesian... Oi! (Although, he didn't do poorly for learning such a difficult language!)
Bottom line: If you're looking for a magically non-magical twist on one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time... Stop looking and start reading! With a cute cover, a great plot, and so many characters to love (or love hating), Diamond has it all!