On Being Vulnerable

Hi. My name is Rebekah DeVall, and I’m not perfect.

*looks around classroom* *waits for the claps*

As human beings, it’s so easy to fake flawlessness. Rising in the morning, putting on that mask we call makeup, going to the same job with the same look we wear every day. Saying goodbye in the same way, driving the same route home. Going to the same church service on Sundays, smiling, always present in the ministry.

We Christians live a life that’s meant to the be the walking Bible for other people. We’re God’s messengers on Earth, per se. It feels wrong to complain. It feels wrong to admit that our walk with God isn’t a-okay. Admitting that we’re not perfect feels like we’re letting God down somehow, letting our fellow-Christians and fellow-missionaries down.

And then you come to those of us who are beginners in the ministry, at least in years. Sundays, we go to church, same as everyone else. We may teach a Sunday School class… but then on Monday we go right back to our day jobs.

I have so many identities that sometimes even I can’t keep up. I’m a Bible Institute student, preparing for a future ministry. I work in food production. I’m a hairstyling/cosmetology student. I’m an author. My classmates don’t know I write. My coworkers don’t know I study. My other bunch of classmates don’t know I work. It’s this long, endless cycle of “me” everywhere, without ever being all of me.

Every time I go to post on Facebook, I spend several minutes staring at that little blue button, wondering, “Under which personality am I posting this?” Some of the things I research as a writer will put my Christian ministry friends into an awkward position. Some of my Christian posts alienate writing friends (who need Jesus too, you know.). I’m terrified some days to post certain things, because I know both my parents and my “irl” friends will see them, and I’m afraid to be judged, to be seen as anything less than perfect.

The thing is, God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He created us as we are, just like in the kids’ song, “red, brown, yellow, black and white”. Jesus, God in the flesh, was very much a human. Even though he was (is!) perfect, He also spoke to people on a personal level, speaking with authority, and not as a scribe (Matthew 7:28). He didn’t pretend to hold Himself up on a higher level than everyone else. He ate with the publicans and sinners.

And I should do the same.

Why don’t we, naturally? Why do we Christians try to hold ourselves to a higher standard? Why do we pretend to be porcelain dolls, holier-than-thou?

We share the same fears as every other person. In this moment, I’ve decided to share mine.

1.            I’m afraid of being vulnerable.

I’m going to be honest here. Posts like this? They terrify the crap out of me. I’m opening up my heart and, guess what? Some people are going to spit on it. Some people are going to judge, because we humans simply feel the need to judge.

I’m afraid of the look in peoples’ eyes while they read my work. I’m afraid of that shadow of disappointment that crosses their eyes when I don’t meet up to their standard. I’m afraid that they’ll take something important and near to my heart and laugh.

Previous experience has taught me that most people aren’t like that, but I’m still afraid.

2.            I’m afraid of breaking down.

I can handle a lot of pressure. I mean, a LOT, lot of pressure. I can work two peoples’ shifts under a crabby supervisor whilst on a busy day and still come home sane. I can write fourteen books at once without losing too many of my marbles. I can maintain a high grade average in a Bible Institute whilst studying in night classes, working, and spending late-night hours writing books. I can babysit siblings at the same time.

But I’m afraid that one of these days, I’m going to break down. I’m afraid that one of these days, the stress will be too much for me and I’ll crack. I’ll cry in a public place (oh, *gasp!* the horror!). I’ll snap and shout at the little siblings. I’ll hit someone in a fit of rage. (Don’t worry, that has never happened before.)

But I am afraid of these things.

3.            I’m afraid of failure.

As per the last point, I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid that, in admitting my shortcomings, I will alienate others.

I’m afraid that the quiz paper will come back with a low grade. I’m afraid that I won’t finish beta-reading that book on time, or I’ll fall through my own deadlines for writing books.

There was this time, almost three years ago, when I started my first job. I was terrified of failing. The workplace is less than twenty steps away from my house. My coworkers can look out the window and see me hanging up my laundry, for Pete’s sake. My boss is a neighbor. One of the partners is our mission’s director. If I failed at this job, if I did something stupid that got me fired, the whole neighborhood was going to know about it.

The stuff I work with in one day—if I mess it up, it’s worth more than my month’s paycheck. Seriously.

I had—still have, actually—a coworker who is the epitome of perfection. When I started the job, she’d been working there for well over five years. Everything on her watch was spick and span, nothing out of place, nothing one second late or one second early. She clocked in at eight o’clock and clocked out at twelve thirty, precisely at the end of shift.

She also had a loose tongue. I could hear her, from the bathroom, criticizing every wrong move I made, groaning to the other, more veteran coworkers about being stuck with “the newbie”. No, not Rebekah. The newbie.

But I didn’t just overhear it. The comments and criticisms happened to my face, too. She would yell at me from the other side of the building, that “No, no, no, no, NO! NOT LIKE THAT!”

Not a day went by that more than one of my actions was criticized, castigated. My self-esteem plummeted. It grew to the point that I was sick, every morning, with fear of what she would do to me that day. I was miserable, my whole life, every moment of my thoughts dominated by work, by what had happened that day.

I was that terrified of failure, terrified that she would bring my newbie mistake to the boss and get me fired.

(For the record, things have much improved since. Said coworker and I still work together, daily, and it’s grown to the point that I’ve been able to witness to her several times. I’m also the best coworker she has. ;))

See. I’m human too. Just writing this blog post is terrifying, because I know the people who will read this (*waves* hi, Dad!). I’m being vulnerable. I’m sharing things I never shared before, and I’m afraid to be spit on.

God and I, we’ve been doing some talking lately. Or, rather, I’ve finally learned to listen. The verse particularly impressed on my heart is this one:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I took a long walk, just the day before yesterday. Two hours, alone, out in the field, with just a notebook and a pencil, writing down what I’m afraid of. These three were at the top of my list. And then I laid that list before God.

Because, in the end, the only One whose opinion really matters is God’s. My parents, my friends, my family—they can spit on my life, my thoughts, my writings, but as long as God’s okay with it, then so am I.

So, here we are, all you people out there to whom I’m afraid to show my true self.

My name is Rebekah DeVall. I make mistakes. I fail. But I am created in God’s image.

That’s good enough for me.

What about you? What are your biggest fears?

Post them in the comments or link me through to your blog post talking about them. Let’s be vulnerable together.

“White Wolf and the Ash Princess”

Hey, tribespeople! (Woah, that sounds weird. Anyway. Roll with me.)

 

Tammy Lash’s new release, White Wolf and the Ash Princess is free on Amazon this weekend! Keep an eye out for it and for my interview with her this Wednesday (though, don’t expect a review just yet… I’m fast, but I’m not THAT fast).

 

Here’s the info:

Eighteen year old Izzy’s limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore…”Who am I?”

Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was injured in a fire. Fifteen year old Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued her and took Izzy in as their own, but who did she belong to before Jonathan took her in?

Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne’s thirteen-year old stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall to a world that promises possible answers. A scorched castle in the woods and its mysterious cellar reveal secrets that push Izzy beyond her discomfort to embark in a journey to the New World with her young friend.

Here, she finds love and a home in the most unexpected of places.

 

Now, I haven’t read White Wolf and the Ash Princess, but I know for a fact that Tammy Lash is a pretty awesome Christian lady. Totally keep an eye out for this free promo, and help spread the word by sharing the links to her book and/or this blog post!

 

Sneak Peak: Aveza of the Ercanhelm, Death’s Mirror, and More

Yes, Aly, I’m totally stealing this idea from you. 🙂
If you’ve followed my Facebook page or are one of my writing buddies, you know that I live up to my title of Flash Flood Writer. 

This Camp NaNoWriMo, I settled myself down with multiple WIPs (Works-In-Progress), and actually managed to complete all the ones I had planned, along with starting several more.
First: Death’s Mirror

Rooglewood Press’s writing contest this year is “Five Poisoned Apples,” a Snow White retelling, and this writer *points at self* loved the introduction to the movie The Book Thief, based off the book by Marcus Zuzak.

Guess what I got? A Snow White retelling narrated by Death.

Here’s your sneak peak:

One day, I will come for all of you. I will take you into my arms and give you the same kiss I gave Snow White, carry you on my same white horse, take you to the same beautiful castle in the sky.

That, my dear, is what I do.

I am Death.

Is that freaky cool, or is that freaky cool?
Second: Never Trust a Unicorn

Once a “novel” of only 40,000 words, with 3 povs (yeah, my writing sucked, I know), Never Trust a Unicorn is now a short story retelling of the crucifixion in which God ia a unicorn called Jireh, who gives His life to save a slave girl.

This is going to sound weird to any non-writers, but these characters took over the story all of their own accord. They decided to fall in love and… *blushes* even kiss at one point. Now that is new for my works, let me tell you.

Never Trust a Unicorn will likely never see the light of day, at least not in this reincarnation of it.
Third: Roshanara and the Dragon

Yet another “once” story. This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with dragons, in Antarctica, which I am now working to revise. It’s… interesting, to say the least, and features my first married main character.
Fourth: Think Deep Thursdays

This isn’t exactly a story, but I’m working on putting together a “Think Deep Thirsday” column for this blog, in which we cover deep thoughts for writers, such as sex in fiction, the use of fantasy languages, and so much more.

One of these days, I’ll actually come to publish one. 🙂
Fifth: Aveza of the Ercanhelm

Last, but certainly not least, is Aveza of the Ercanhelm, the story of a girl in an undercover religious organization that must determine how much she is willing to give up for her cause.

This story has kept me on a wild ride, with Viking influence and a large portion taking place in catacombs under a medieval city. One portion involved a battering ram inside said catacombs. Fun, fun.
Authors: What are you working on?

Which of the above WIPs are you most intrigued by?

This Wednesday’s World: “Evensong” by Krista Walsh

Meet Krista Walsh. 🙂
The first book of your Meratis series, Evensong, is the story of author Jeff Powell who finds himself in interesting circumstances when he arrives in his own fictional world, Meratis. What inspired you to write a book like this (apart from the fact that this may just be every author’s dream?)?

The inspiration actually came during a monthly flash fiction contest I participated in. The prompt was “an author gets trapped in his own novel”, and I won the vote with the flash piece “Evensong”, which you can read here: https://theravensquill.com/samples/evensong/

So many people enjoyed it (and I loved the characters I’d introduced so much) that I decided to take the short and stretch it into a full length plot. I swore it would be a standalone novel, but as I neared the end, more stories stretched out, resulting in the trilogy, which then extended into TWO trilogies because I couldn’t let the characters go.

Maybe it even resulted in three trilogies… That remains to be seen 😉
If you could visit Meratis, where would most like to visit and why?

Ohh, great question! I think after I finished my tour of Feldall’s Keep, I’d want to go hang out in the Fountain. A little magical oasis where the weather never changes and the water is always bath-warm? They’d have a hard time convincing me to come out.

Which part of Meratis would you least like to visit?
This one is harder to answer, because it would depend on who I was with! If I had Jasmine with me, I think I’d be okay with entering the Andvell forest and risk meeting the Sisters, but I don’t think I’d have the courage to do it on my own (those women would talk me in circles). And with Jayden around, maybe I’d risk going to Treevale Fortress just so I could potentially get a glimpse of the dragon, but that place is probably right at the bottom of my list. There’s enough to see and do without the risk of immolation.
If you were given the opportunity Jeff Powell had, to enter into any of your fictional worlds, into which book would you go, why, and what do you think would happen there?

To date, because who knows what world I’ll create in the future, I think it would be Andvell. There’s so much opportunity to explore and discover secrets and details I never dreamed about.

I like to think that if I went there, I’d be embraced by the people and invited to learn what I could in a peaceful tour of the countryside where I got to experience what their lives are like in safety and good company.

Given my luck, I suspect that everything would go wrong, I’d be transported in the middle of nowhere and have to somehow learn to fight my way out of the woods armed with sticks and stones, finally stepping out from the trees weeks later looking like some woodland creature, and then be chased out of town and have to find some way to survive until I figured out how to get home.

But maybe I’m just pessimistic 😉
Finally, what are you working on currently and where can readers find you?

I’m currently working on a supernatural suspense series called The Invisible Entente. It begins with the prequel novella ($2.99USD OR you can grab it for free by signing up for my newsletter), which is a locked-room mystery. 7 supernatural strangers find themselves in a magically sealed room, tasked with finding out which one of them murdered the man who trapped them there. The rest of the series starts eight months after the prequel, and follows each of the characters in turn. While the books are technically stand alone and can be read in any order without spoilers, they are set chronologically to build up toward the big finale, which will be released Jan 2018 (with one more set to be released Oct 2017).

Readers are loving the genre mash-up of fantasy and mystery, and the variety of characters in each of the series. You have a sorceress, a Gorgon-Fae, a succubus, a vengeance demigoddess, a teenage human archer who is deafblind, and a daemelus (angel/demon hybrid). I’ve had an amazing time working with each of them and can’t wait to release the finale to bring the whole story together!

If you want to find out more about me and my work, I am all over the interwebs and love connecting with people!

Website: www.kristawalshauthor.com
Blog: www.theravensquill.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kristawalshauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/kwalshauthor
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kristawalshauthor

And as mentioned before, you can download a bunch of freebie short stories (including the IE prequel novella and 2 Andvell stories) when you sign up for my monthly (spam free) newsletter: http://eepurl.com/GIJkz

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a guest on your blog! I really had a lot of fun with these questions ^.^

 

Keep an eye out for Krista Walsh’s books, especially Evensong (I will give a content warning for any younger readers: unlike the other books I’ve covered on here, Evensong does contain some more “adult” material. Be careful.)

Thank you so much for joining us, Krista.

“Evensong” Review

Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figure out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

The Meratis Trilogy centers around author Jeff Powell, who wakes up in his sword-and-sorcery fantasy world. Initially an arrogant and close-minded character, Jeff has his eyes opened to a world of dragons, magic, and assassins. Faced with an evil he could never have imagined, Jeff is pushed to his limits and forced to rise to the most unusual challenges.

 

About the Author:

Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands. When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film—anything to get lost in a good story. She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

 

I particularly enjoyed this book because, I mean, seriously, what author doesn’t dream about falling into their fantasy world just like Alice fell down her hole, and having adventures there?

I thoroughly recommend this book for authors and lovers of fantasy, though there is one small warning—this book will contain more sexual material than other books that I have featured on this blog, though nothing extremely graphic.

Look forward to This Wednesday’s World, in which I interview Krista Walsh about the world of the Meratis trilogy.

This Wednesday’s World: “Living Sacrifice” by Rachel Rossano.

This last month, I’ve had the opportunity to beta read Rachel Rossano’s trilogy, Living Sacrifice. Even though the series is not published yet, we’ve decided to go ahead and visit that beautiful world anyway. 🙂

 

What do you consider the most unique aspect of your world compared to other fantasy worlds?

The world of Living Sacrifice is a mix of Roman influences (language, architecture, clothing), fairy tale influences (the significance of seventh sons), worship of a pagan goddess, and science fiction elements (telepathic and telekinetic biological abilities called “talents”). Specifically, the country of Pratinus’s culture and government is built around the importance of the seventh born sons and their stronger natural talent abilities. I have yet to encounter another similar mix of elements and influences.

 

If you could visit one place in your world, where would you go?

The willow farm where Zezilia completes her training would be my first stop. I love the wilderness and I miss roaming around in it on my own like I did in for small parts of my childhood. The fields, trees, and wild spaces around the farm are the product of my idealized memories.

 

Which part of your world would you LEAST like to visit?

I don’t particularly want to visit High King’s palace complex or the capital city. Despite the fact the place is beautiful architecturally, it was all build to glorify a false goddess.

 

What are you working on currently and where can readers find you?

Wow! Now that is a loaded question.

I am currently working on editing and preparing two manuscripts for beta readers and editors.

The first project is Mercy, the third novel in my Novels of Rhynan series. Set in a medieval world that never was, the story revolves around a medieval artist and widowed mother as she struggles to make a place in the world for her and her son. My hero is a hard-working man trying to distance himself from his father’s reputation. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a royal wedding. Many of characters from previous books in the series will walk through the story, but the book will be a standalone novel.

My second editing project is White Bear. A contemporary inspirational retelling of East of the Sun West of the Moon, it follows the struggles of Orson Kent as he deals with protecting his younger sister from their manipulative father. When Willow Aure drops into his life at exactly the right moment, it seems providence has provided a solution to all of Orson’s parental problems. But Willow brings her own troubles into the mix, an ailing father and selfish sisters.

My current writing project is a science fiction prequel novel to Exchange, a short story I published years ago. The novel is tentatively named Diaspora and focuses on the clash of cultures between the Earthwarders and the Diaspora.

For 400 years, the inhabitants of Earth have ignored the exiled offshoots of a genetic experiment gone wrong, but they can do so no longer. Resources are dwindling and they are losing the race to colonize the nearby solar systems. The Diaspora spent their exile busily building up their own empire. In an effort to maneuver Earth into a better position, the Earthwarders send a delegation with a proposal.

The Diaspora haven’t forgotten the past, but their emissary, Ruhan Peirero, is very motivated to avoid conflict despite the delegates from Earth and their efforts to offend. The only exception is the consultant on Diasporan culture, Myah Andersen. Despite obvious pressure to do otherwise, she continues to observe and extend every courtesy. Plus something else about her puzzles him, something strange considering she is an unmodified Earthwarder. He sets out to indulge his curiosity only to set off a chain reaction that none of them expect.

I love to talk books and writing. Feel free to nudge me either on my writing FB page (https://www.facebook.com/RachelRossanoRambles/) or my cover design FB page (https://www.facebook.com/RossanoDesigns/). I am also on Twitter (@RachelRossano) and my blog at (http://www.rachelrossano.com). If you are interested keeping up with what I am doing and knowing when my next book is coming out, you can sign up for my newsletter (http://eepurl.com/4sbsv).

Thank you, Rebekah, for having me over to chat!

Thank you, Rachel, for agreeing to do this interview with me! I enjoyed it very much.

Keep your eyes open for Living Sacrifice and any other of Rachel Rossano’s books. I thoroughly recommend them.

This Wednesday’s World: “The Wulver’s Rose” by Hayden Wand

The Wulver’s Rose is a Beauty and the Beast retelling in the Scottish Highlands. What inspired you to write a retelling in that location and time period?

The inspiration actually came when I was researching mythological beasts. When I first began planning a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I knew I wanted my beast character to be a mythological creature from a certain culture. When I discovered wulvers in Scottish folktales, my imagination was immediately hooked, especially because Scotland has always been one of the places I’ve most longed to visit.

 

If you could visit a particular place in the Scottish Highlands, where would you go?

Goodness. I have to say I was “dream house” browsing several days ago and looking up British Manor Houses (because hey, I dream big ) and in the process came across the most adorable seaside cottage for sale on The Isle of Skye. So that certainly made the list of “places I want to visit!”

 

Which part would you least like to visit (fictional or not)?

I can’t think of any place in particular right now. It is difficult when you’ve never been, because of course when you are looking up places to visit they only show you the nicest spots, haha

 

What are you working on currently and where can readers find you?

Well, I’m juggling about four different projects at the moment. The first is my first attempt at sc-fi, while the second is a historical novel set in 1830s England. In addition, I’m also working on two fairy tale novellas: one is a version of Snow White set in 1920s New York, while the other is a retelling of The Little Mermaid (though I’m not quite ready to share more about that one yet!.) I do haunt more than a few social media sites, so you can find my on twitter at Hayden_Wand, instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thebespectacledlibrarian/ and on my blog, at haydenwand.blogpost.com.

 

See Monday’s post for my review of The Wulver’s Rose.

“The Wulver’s Rose”

 

A life is a high price to pay for stealing a rose. Nevertheless, Bonnie honors her father’s agreement and travels to the remote, ruinous castle wherein dwells the legendary creature known as a wulver—half man, half wolf. Though he is monstrous to behold, this beast is oddly gentle, tenderly caring for his beautiful rosebush, which blooms out of season. Is there more to the wulver than meets the eye? Is he somehow connected to the frightened child who visits Bonnie in her dreams?

Only true love can free the beast from his captivity!

 

The Wulver’s Rose was originally published as part of Rooglewood Press’s Five Enchanted Roses Beauty and the Beast anthology.

This story was a pleasant surprise, sticking marvelously close to the original fairytale but throwing in the delicious twist of a setting in the Scottish Highlands. I loved this book so much, and am currently going on my fifth (or sixth? I’ve forgotten) rereading of the tale.

Keep an eye out for This Wednesday’s World, in which I interview Hayden Wand about her inspiration for this setting.

The A-Z Bookish Tag

 

Yes, I totally swiped this off from somebody else’s blog, and yes, I totally enjoyed it. Here we go (because this is gonna be LONG)!

 

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From:

Now this was a hard question… and I’m barely starting. Yikes. I believe I’ve read the most Mrs. G books (the kids’ Bible story books), with Lauraine Snellings’ Red River Valley series and Louis L’Amour close behind.

 

Best Sequel Ever:

Lady Dragon, Tela Du, the sequel to Kendra E. Ardnek’s Water Princess, Fire Prince. Though I personally identified with Clara, the protagonist of Book 1, more than Petra in Book 2, it was still the best sequel ever.

 

Currently Reading:

  • Evensong by Krista Walsh. Technically, this counts as re-reading (for next week’s book review), but hey, reading is reading.
  • Shieldmaiden by Richard Denning. I’ve barely started, but I’m enjoying it very much.
  • The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan. This probably shouldn’t count, since I’ve been reading this on and off for months, haha. It’s been taking me a while to get into this.

 

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Coffee, although I won’t say no to a cup of sweetened hot milk.

 

E-Reader or Physical Book?

Depends on the situation. If it’s in public, I’ll take a fictional book all the way. I love the weird glances I get, like I must have come out of a cave to still be reading physical books. 🙂

Problem is, my purse can only hold so many physical books.

So, I guess my answer is both?

 

Fictional Character You Probably Would Actually Have Dated in High School:

Considering that I’ve never dated and probably never will? Um… none.

 

Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:

The Legacy Human by Susan Kay Quinn. SciFi or anything dimly related has never been high on my list, but I really enjoyed The Legacy Human.

 

Hidden Gem Book:

Living Sacrifice by Rachel Rossano. Unpublished or not, this book was a serious gem. Like, a crown jewel. (Trust me, it needs to be published. Soon.)

 

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

The moment I finally set up my own Kindle account and started choosing my own reading material. I’ve gotten to experience so many new styles and meet so many new and amazing authors since then.

 

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Well, as already stated, SciFi books aren’t high on my list (though I like the movies, and some like The Legacy Human are a great exception).

 

Romance. Ugh. I’ve grown tired of the guy gets girl-guy loses girl- guy gets girl back formula. It’s predictable.

But hey, to each his own.

 

Longest Book You’ve Read:

This triggered a long think-time and argument in my brain, and then I finally decided to divide this in two.

Longest published book I’ve ever read? War and Peace wins with 561,304 words, with The Lord of the Rings following at 455,149 words. (We could argue that LotR is three books, one, or six, depending on who you’re deciding to listen to. I count them as one.)

Longest unpublished book: Annie Pavese’s So Sang the Dawn. Long enough to squash a Chihuahua, I always say. (*tongue* to Annie Pavese*)

 

Major Book Hangover Because of:

The same So Sang the Dawn. It took forever to get back to reading or writing anything after that ending.

 

Number of Bookcases You Own:

In this house? Um… six or seven, but not all of those are mine. Plus the 300+ books on my phone… many. That’s a good answer. Many.

 

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I’ve read so many books multiple times. Hm. Let’s see.

Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott.

The Wulver’s Rose by Hayden Wand.

Tabitha by Vikki Kestell.

Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn.

The Blood of Kings series by Jill Williamson.

The Ellie Sweet books by Stephanie Morrill.

The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.

K.M. Shea’s Beauty and the Beast.

Dan Walsh’s Jack Turner thrillers.

Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland.

Rose of Prophecy by Hope Ann.

Water Princess, Fire Prince and Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek.

Kingdom of the New Moon by Aly Clark.

Dragon Rose by Christine Pope.

 

Yeah, forget that part about “one”.

 

Preferred Place to Read:

Bed. 🙂

 

Quote that inspires you/gives you feels from a book you’ve read:

How on Earth am I supposed to choose just one quote?

 

Reading Regret:

Not looking for more fairytale retellings earlier.

 

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series)

Jill Williamson’s Kinsman Chronicles. I’m not sure they’re all out yet, but I definitely have to read them.

 

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

  1. Little Men and Jo’s Boys (yes, yes, I know there’s two of them): Louisa May Alcott
  2. From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson (tempt me to put down the entire series, seriously).
  3. The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill.

 

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Rachel Rossano’s Living Sacrifice.

 

Very Excited for This Release More than All the Others:

So Sang the Dawn. Hurry up, Annie, I want this book in my hands already.

 

Worst Bookish Habit:

Buying books and taking forever to read them. There’s so many good-looking books and it takes me far too long to get to them.

 

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pic the 27th book:

I’m going with my Kindle bookshelf. 🙂

The Dream Keepers by Linda Keen. Another book I haven’t read yet (see worst bookish habit).

 

Your Latest Book Purchase:

That would be…Relationship Advice for Men: Discover How You Can Use the Secrets Most Men Will Never Learn About Women by Ryan Pitt.

Trust me, family reading. It’s for research. Books by guys for guys give me a good insight into my guy characters’ minds.

 

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Okay, there’s nothing to be said here but shameless self-promotion. My work-in-progress, Aveza of the Ercanhelm, has already kept me up way late, and I’m only on the first week of writing it.

 

All right! That sums this up. Tag to Windy Ellis and Rachel Rossano.

 

This Wednesday’s World: “Cora and the Nurse Dragon” by H.L. Burke

1. Cora and the Nurse Dragon is, in an eggshell, the story of a Cora, a girl who finds a dragon egg containing a mysterious and supposedly extinct dragon, and her fight to keep the dragon safe. What inspired you to write a story that has dragon so prevalent in day-to-day life?

I absolutely love dragons. I have a mild obsession with them, so having one as a pet is the ultimate wish-fulfillment for me. There is just something fascinating about fire-breathing, flying reptiles. Like super-charged dinosaurs.
When I was a kid, the local pizza parlor had coin-operated machines that would dispense plastic eggs with small prizes for a quarter. Since the toys in those machines came in plastic eggs, it naturally transitioned for me to have something in them that could hatch out of eggs … like a tiny dragon.
I also wrote the story partially for my daughters who both adore dragons. We have a toy dragon named Theodore who has to sit next to my younger daughter’s bed every night to keep her safe from monsters. He’s practically a family member at this point. (you can follow his adventures on instagram #TheodoretheDragon).
2. If you could visit Cora’s world, where would most like to visit and why?

While visiting the Dragon Emporium would be fun, I think where I’d like to spend the most time would be Cora’s greenhouse hideout, where she raises her dragons in terrariums. I’d sit and pet her cat and watch the tiny mayfly dragons fly and try to learn to tell them apart by their personalities. To me it is a peaceful sanctuary, and sometimes I just need to get away.

3. Given a choice, which of your many kinds of dragons would you have for a pet, if any?

To me, Nurse Dragons (such as my titular Cricket) have the most personality. They are hyper-sensitive to the needs and feelings of others (human and dragon alike) which makes them awesome companions, plus they love to take care of dragon eggs which means there would always be more dragons. A steamer, though, would be less work while still adorable (they are little blue dragons who breathe water-vapor instead of fire). A queen dragon, while spectacular to look at, is far too dangerous to try and keep as a pet.

4. Finally, what are you working on currently and where can readers find you?
I’m writing a Steampunk/Fantasy series called Spellsmith and Carver (mybook.to/sandc) and I just finished book two (out of three). It’s written for slightly older readers than Cora and the Nurse Dragon (the characters are adults. There is some kissing.), but I love playing with the characters. It’s essentially a magician buddy cop book in that it involves two opposites who are forced to work together who become brothers in magic and an unstoppable team. I love playing with the dynamics of their friendship, as well as all the fun magical possibilities of their world. 
You can find me actively on Facebook (www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter), Instagram (www.instagram.com/burkesdragons), and my website (www.hlburkeauthor.com). I’m always working on something … or sharing dragon pictures. 

Thanks for Reading,

H.(Heidi) L. Burke
See Monday’s post for my review of Cora and the Nurse Dragon.