Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Time to Say Goodbye

     All good (earthly) things come to an end. And now, this extends to my blog.

     A month or so ago, I was cleaning out my blog roll. Several of the blogs were abandoned, and I felt a little sad. The blogging world now is so, so different than it was when I started. Many things have stayed the same, of course, but almost all of the blogs that got me into starting one of my own are either rarely updated, or deleted altogether- even some of my own. (Y'all remember The Day Dream, the Scarlet Pimpernel fan blog I ran with several friends? Goodness, none of us have updated that thing in years.) Sometimes I wonder what happened to these bloggers that I felt like I knew so well. In fact, I did a little sleuthing and found several of them on instagram--or, in fact, on other blogs that they started after years of absence. Many friends have been made over the years through the internet, many of them I'm still in touch with through Facebook, and I've seen a new "squad" of bloggers develop and become what those in the tumblr-verse would call my "mutuals."

     But now, I'm afraid I'll be making some changes of my own. At that leaves meaning Blogger.

     Well, sort of. I'll still be updating my book review blog, A Tree, A Book, and a Breeze, and my account will still be up, so I can continue to comment on all of your blogs. I'll still be around! But my main blog will be moving on to Wordpress.

     Once upon a time, I never thought I'd move there, to all places. But as I continue in my writing, I've struggled with making my blogs/sites more professional, and juggling the social media that comes with marketing. By moving to Wordpress, I'll be deleting my weebly website and be able to combine my "official site" with my blog, which will make things easier.

     This decision hasn't been easy, but I think the fact that Blogger's been buggy lately might have hastened the decision. (A spam blog popped up in my feed, and I can't get rid of it. The blog isn't listed in my followed blogs; it just shows up. I've asked for help on forums and such, but those are so confusing and frustrating, and I've finally given up. Which means that I've been inundated with Polish advertisements that even in translation make little to no sense. Additionally, my profile picture has suddenly in the last month or so become warped in size, and to be honest, I've been struggling with Blogger ever since their last update, which I hate.)

     So what does this mean? Well, it means that you can now find me here, at my new blog, Leatherbound. Though I've moved many of my most popular posts on to my new blog, I will be keeping this one up for the time being, and my weebly site will be up for a little while, though I do eventually plan to delete that one. I've also revamped my book review blog in a way that I hope is more convenient and easy to navigate.

If you've been with me this long, I just want to say: thank you! It means so much. I know that I was always a little bummed when a blogger buddy moved to Wordpress, because I had to get an account in order to comment. However, while I can't help you with that, you can follow my new blog through email, which is how I've followed Wordpress blogs for years. I hope you'll stay with me, and all bitter-sweetness aside, I am excited about the move, and I very much love my new blog's look. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cloaked Cover Reveal

Hello friends! Today I'm posting about the cover reveal for Rachel Kovaciny's upcoming book, Cloaked. It's a western retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and I know that I can't wait to read it! I've been following Rachel's blog for years now, and I read her previous story, "The Man on the Buckskin Horse" in the Five Magic Spindles collection (and it was so good. You should go read it.).

Without further ado, here's the cover:






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On the way to Wyoming Territory to visit her grandmother for the first time, sixteen-year-old Mary Rose meets a charming accountant with a sinister interest in her grandmother's ranch.

Isn't it great? You can find Rachel's author website here, and her main blog here. Plus, don't forget to add the book on Goodreads!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Facebook Party + Free Book!

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     Hey guys! I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but life has gotten in the way! Tonight I'm going to be participating in a Facebook event (find it here) celebrating the re-release of Tammy Lash's book, White Wolf and The Ash Princess. Around 7:30 I'll be on there for a question and answer session along with a few other indie authors, and it's going to be a lot of fun!

     Additionally, to celebrate the party, some of us are giving away free copies of books--and in that vein, the kindle version of With Blossoms Gold is available for FREE this weekend on Amazon!



     So, hopefully some fun stiff for you guys to check out. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Story Weaknesses

     We all have our story weaknesses. It could be a word or a theme or a time period, and as soon as we see those in a synopsis or description, we're immediately bamboozled into buying whatever movie, book, or video game promises these fixes. Me? Well, I've got a few...

Adventure fiction

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     I mean your good old-fashioned, classic, slightly cheesy, maybe a little melodramatic but always swashbuckling fare. Think Indiana Jones or The Mummy in paperback form. (which, by the way, are fantastically entertaining because they are so clearly inspired by the very books I'm talking about.)

Novels like:

The Lost World

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

King Solomon's Mines

The Scarlet Pimpernel

John Carter of Mars

The Mark of Zorro

Captain Blood

etc.

     They are just so fun. Anything with archaeology + danger is my favorite thing, unless it's extinct-creatures-that-surprise!-aren't-quite-as-extinct-as-we-thought, which is also my favorite thing. And don't get me started on vigilante heroes in disguise, which is really a big weakness. Also, twist reveals and vintage-but-futuristic technology are some of my favorite aspects of such novels as well. They don't make 'em like these anymore. (also why I have zilch interest in the new Mummy movie, because what is the point if it's not set in the 1920s and full of delightful cheesiness? Why mess with perfection?)

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Crazy-Thick Victorian Novels

     Oh, the long sentences and the gloriously improbable coincidences and the heavy doses of morality. Also, there is a heavier dosage of snark than most people give them credit for. I love it. (also, the below gif is from Cranford, which is possibly my favorite period drama, but also possibly one of my least favorite Victorian novels, so go figure.)

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Anything Art Deco + British

     I prefer my 1920s and 30s glam with a dash of murder. Or a silver cow creamer. I'm not picky.

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     But adding a British accent or two, well, that just makes it better.

Fairy Tales

     Probably pretty obvious from my published writing. Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite above all favorites, but there are so many other good ones: Rapunzel, King Thrushbeard, The Wild Swans, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella...the list goes on and on and I will probably keep reading them forever.

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What are your story weaknesses?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What I've Been Up To

-Writing-


     I've finally gotten back into the habit. It took me much longer than I was expecting, since I've done zilch since December. I had to come to terms with the fact that I just wasn't getting anywhere with the stories I had it in my head to work on this summer. Once I opened myself up to possibly working on something else, everything has been going a lot more smoothly. It is bad news for those of you who've been curious about my next fairy tale retellings, though! Sorry. :/ But, if you like just straight-up historical novels, I'm working on something just for you.

-Embroidering-


     I knew I wanted to work on this over the summer, and I have- plus, I've just opened an etsy shop to sell some of it! If you are interested, you can check out my shop here. This is really my only job this summer, so I'm hoping I can actually make some decent money off of it, but I've never intently pursued this before, so we'll see how it goes.

-Watching-

Image result for the flash

     I enjoy watching TV while working on aforesaid embroidery, and since I've gotten Netflix, a whole new world of options has opened up. Mainly I've been keeping up with DC's superhero lineup, Agents of Shield, and I kind of binged watched Terra Nova (Which sadly only had one season. I'm very bitter about it). I also recently started White Collar, which I'm loving. SO MUCH FRIENDSHIP. (and, ya know, thieves.)

-Reading-


     I recently finished my first Anthony Trollope novel, which I liked much more than I expected (judging from The Warden's synopsis, I didn't think it'd be half so interesting as it was) and I'm about to start Rudyard Kipling's Kim. I also just checked out a load of YA novels from the library, which I'm looking forward to, and finished my first comic collection. I like the idea of comics, but I've just never gotten in to them, but I'm really going to try this summer.


-Graduating-



     No, not me! But the month of May was pretty much taken up with preparations for my brother Harrison's graduation from high school. I stole the above picture from his instagram, but then I think he stole this picture from my phone in the first place, so I guess we're even.

-Unpacking-


     My family and I moved about two months ago, but a lot of our stuff has still been in storage, and now that the smoke has cleared from finals and graduation, we've been bringing stuff in little by little. I've gotten most of my books out (though I'm still waiting on a box or two) and so I've had a lot of fun--and frustration!--shelving and re-shelving my books. I've also purged a good box of them from said shelf, and am trying to figure out a way to get rid of them. I've traded books in at my local used bookstore before, but they don't really give you cash (only credits to get their books) and I just don't have room for more books right now! I was selling a few of them through Amazon, but they charge so much in fees I think I literally earned about a cent after selling my last two. So if anybody knows of a good retailer that you can sell used books to, I'd be happy to listen. If all else fails, I guess I could go the ebay route.

-Instagramming-




     I got an instagram! I mostly just post pictures of books, because books are pretty and I love them. All of this post's pictures (except for the Flash) is from my account.

And that's pretty much what my last month has looked like. How about you? Was your May as busy as mine was?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Announcing...Five Poisoned Apples!

     Rooglewood's fairy tale contests are very dear to my heart. This is not only because The Wulver's Rose was included in Five Enchanted Roses (although that's a large part!) but also because I love the chance it gives to writers, especially self-published ones, to spread their wings. And of course, I love fairy tales. This year's collection is centered around what many of us assumed would be the next fairy tale: Snow White. Yet, I have to say that the cover for this one is even lovelier than I imagined! It might be my favorite of the covers they've done.


As this is going to be Rooglewood's last (*sniff sniff*) Fairy Tale Contest collection, I have high hopes that the winners will blow me away with their takes on this fairy tale! You can find the contest rules here. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let Not the Crown Fall

     Sunshine and pearls

     As a girl, I was obsessed with princesses. Or rather, I suppose, I was obsessed with adventure, and being a princess seemed a perfect way to find a good one. Disney was my main supplier for princess-consumption, although I also rented The Swan Princess every time we went to Blockbuster. Some of my earliest memories are watching Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty under a fort in the living room, while inspired by a Pocahontas nightgown I owned, I would spread pillows on the floor and jump from one to the other, re-enacting the moment John Smith first lays eyes on the chief's daughter. I loved the gorgeous dresses and beautiful music, but even more than that I loved the stories that surrounded these princesses. Princess stories had all that I wanted: Adventure! Romance! Death! Excitement! Villains! Happy Endings! Dramatic Musical Numbers! BIG GLORIOUS BALLGOWNS!

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To me, princesses symbolize femininity, elegance, wisdom, strength, and responsibility.
     But as I grew older, I noticed that not everyone had this same love that I did. Today books with titles like "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" or commercials for popular cartoons disdaining the "princess mentality" show a growing number of people who find the idea of women being princesses weak or demeaning, and claim that all this mindset does is sexualize young girls. (Personally, I wonder how being royal sexualizes someone, but maybe that's just me) Is there sexualization and "diva-fication" of girls going on? Of course. But that's not necessarily connected to princesses. To be a princess in the truest sense of the word is to be another thing entirely. In fact, I think to be a princess is to be gracious, strong, wise, and kind but firm.To people who say that the "princess-obsession" most little girls go through is harmful, sexist, and problematic, I have one thing to say:

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Actually, I would probably word my opinion on the subject a little more strongly, but, you know, have courage and be kind.

     Perhaps this comes from being a history major. Surrounded by stories of princesses (many who became queens) there is a slew of role models to found among the ranks of real-life princesses. These were women who oftentimes were sorts of ambassadors after marriage, representing a link to their home country while living in the land of their husband. These were women who served as intercessors for the people, who could sway the opinions of their king, and beg for mercy on behalf of their subjects. These were women who became queens and co-ruled with their husbands, or in some cases ruled without one. A queen could make or break her country. So, perhaps that's why it offends me so much when I hear people lumping all princesses together in disdain, as if they all represent some materialistic, "let-them-eat-cake" attitude. Not all princesses are like that, I assure you. And having just written a final research paper on medieval Scandinavian queens, I think I'll tell you about a couple of them....

     ...like Margaret I of Denmark. Daughter of one king and wife of another, after her husband's death she united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden (and by extension Iceland, Greenland, and Finland) into the Kalmar Union. And ruled, uncontestedly, until her death.

     Then there was Philippa of England, daughter of Henry IV and sister of Henry V (yes, those Shakespearean Henrys) who married a Kalmar King. In her husband's absence she defended Copenhagen from the Hanseatic League. Hans Christian Andersen even wrote about her in his Godfather's Picture Book:

"The Hanseatic merchants came," continued Godfather, "from warehouse and counter, the rich traders of Rostock, Lübeck, and Bremen. They wanted to seize more than the golden goose from Valdemar's Tower; they had more power in the town of the Danish King than the Danish King himself. They came in armed ships, and no one was prepared. And King Eric had no desire to fight with his German kinsfolk; they were too many and too strong. So King Eric and all his courtiers escaped through the west port to the town of Sorö, to the quiet lake and green forests, to the song of love and the clang of goblets.
"But there was one left behind in Copenhagen, a kingly heart and a kingly mind. Do you see this picture here, this young woman, so fine and tender, with sea-blue eyes and yellow hair? It is the Queen of Denmark, Philippa, the English princess. She stayed in the distracted city, where the townspeople swarmed in panic in the narrow lanes and streets with steep stairs, sheds, and shops of lath and plaster. With the courage of a man, she summoned townspeople and peasants, to inspire and encourage them. They fitted out the ships and garrisoned the blockhouses; they fired with their carbines; there were fire and smoke and lightness of spirit - our Lord will never forsake Denmark! The sun shone into all hearts, and in all eyes was the bright gladness of victory. Blessed be Philippa! Blessed she was in hut and in house; and blessed she was in the King's castle, where she nursed the wounded and the sick. I have clipped a wreath and laid it around this picture," said Godfather. "Blessed be Queen Philippa!"

     I don't know, if my future daughter wanted Queen Philippa as a role model, I wouldn't complain. And that's not to mention other princesses, too: Elizabeth I, Nefertiti, Kaiulani, Victoria. One of the most fascinating facts I learned in my Modern Britain class this semester was that during World War Two, Queen Elizabeth II (then princess, of course) served as a driver and mechanic! It's not that these princesses are perfect role models. They could be difficult and make bad choices. But there is such variety in their lives and responsibilities. These were women with the world on their shoulders, not women who sat around doing nothing but looking pretty.

An Armenian crown used during wedding ceremonies when the bride and groom are traditionally crowned as a "king and queen.":

     But what about Disney? Aren't those what girls think of when they want princesses things? Probably. But I never found most Disney princesses problematic. Cinderella gets a terribly bad and unfair reputation, but I don't think you'll find kinder, more Christian-like character in animation. Despite a few hiccups in the Disney canon (*ahem* Ariel's rebelliousness) most Disney princesses do show kindness, work ethic, self-sacrifice, and intelligence. And there is nothing wrong with dressing up in ballgowns and tiaras, so long as we also, like Snow White, know how to whistle while we work with our aprons and dishrags.There is nothing wrong, I'll also say, in being saved by a prince--for isn't that an allegory for the Greatest story of all, the Story of our own Prince saving us from certain death?

     I can't help but think that like the princesses of old, we are also ambassadors, sent by our Father, the King, to this earth to share the message of our True Home. So when we think of princesses, let us be reminded of that. We, too, have a duty. Let us fulfill it!

(also, apparently I was suddenly impassioned to write this post during #princessweek. I didn't even know that was a thing until today.)
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