Saturday, December 9, 2023

"Of Sea and Smoke" by Gillian Bronte Adams -- Author Interview

About the Book

Book: Of Sea and Smoke

Author: Gillian Bronte Adams

Genre: YA Epic Fantasy

Release Date: November 21, 2023

He rides a seablood, a steed of salt and spray, born to challenge the tides.

Six years ago, the wrong brother survived, and nothing will ever convince Rafi Tetrani otherwise. But he is done running from his past, and from the truth. As civil war threatens Ceridwen’s tenuous rule in Soldonia, Rafi vows to fight the usurper sitting on the imperial throne of Nadaar, even if it means shouldering his brother’s responsibilities as the empire’s lost heir.

The stolen shipload of magical warhorses offers just the edge he needs. But the steeds have been demanded in ransom by the emperor’s ruthless assassin, and if Rafi hopes to raise a band of riders, he must first outwit his brother’s murderer.

Yet when his best efforts end in disaster, and an audacious raid sparks an empire-wide manhunt, even forging an unexpected alliance might not be enough to help Rafi turn the tides, let alone outrace the wave of destruction intent on sweeping them all away.

 

Click here to get your copy!

Author Interview 

1. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
Getting started. I don’t mean starting a project, because that’s honestly one of the most
exciting times when an idea is new and shiny and the reality of the work hasn’t quite set
in yet. But getting started writing each time I sit down to write. That may sound odd,
because I am a writer and I love to write, but each time I open up my laptop, it’s an
exercise in discipline to tune out my other to-do list items and all the other distractions
and actually sink into the story. It typically takes me about thirty minutes to an hour to
fully warm up and get my brain into writing mode, especially when I’m working on a
particularly complex project. But once I can actually get going and keep going, the words
do start to flow and then I usually don’t want to stop!
2. Do you pen down revelations and ideas as you get them, right then and there?
I do! I love brainstorming by hand, so I typically have a notebook for each project along
with stacks of sticky notes that have accumulated over time. For those lightbulb
moments that catch me when I’m on the go, I use the notes app in my phone. It’s always
fun to try to decipher my fantasy character names and worldbuilding elements with
autocorrect in the mix.
As much as I love focused, intentional brainstorming time, it’s also amazing how often
just holding a story question in the back of my mind while I go about my daily tasks can
result in wonderful surprise revelations. For some reason, both showering and washing
dishes are very common places for writers to solve story problems, which can make
recording those solutions a bit of a challenge! But I’ve learned that you have to scribble
them down as soon as you have them and include as many crisp, sharp details as you
can, because the edges of those sudden revelations can wear down very quickly. Before
you know it, you go to write it down, and your perfect missing puzzle piece now appears
hazy and unformed.
3. Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the
middle of a café full of people and write?
I’ll make the occasional trip to a coffee shop to write with friends, but aside from that, I
do like a quiet space for writing. That’s typically either my desk, with my pup to keep me
company, or outside on the porch or on a blanket in the grass. I recently set up my
dream desk space with maps on the wall next to it, books and candles on the hutch, and
a cozy writing chair that’s basically an armchair on wheels, so I love working there. But
there is something about writing outside in particular that unlocks my imagination and
helps me to focus deeply on the story. So if I’m ever struggling to “get started” on any
given day, I’ll take my writing outdoors, even if it means braving a Texas summer
heatwave.
4. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
From all sorts of places! I’ve gotten ideas for books from a single “What if” question, like
my fantasy trilogy The Songkeeper Chronicles which grew out of the question “what if
there was a girl who could hear a song that nobody else could?” Sometimes, my ideas
come from something interesting I’ve observed in nature, which is why I think I love
spending so much time outside. Other times, ideas comes from watching films or
reading books and having that nagging sense that there was an interesting piece that
the writers chose not to explore. The Fireborn Epic grew out of the years that I spent
running the horsemanship program at a youth camp, in the saddle every day, clearing
trails from horseback with hatchets and machetes, and suddenly I couldn’t stop thinking
about firebreathing horses! I think that’s one of my favorite things about writing: the
fact that inspiration can come from anywhere and can be waiting for you just around
the next bend in the trail.
5. Do bits of yourself/friends show up in your characters?
I think there are tiny bits of me in every single one of my main characters, even though
each of them ends up being very different from me and from each other. In The Fireborn
Epic, Ceridwen gets her sense of rightness and determination from me, even if she tends
to push things to the nth degree. Like me, she also tends to value her head over her
heart. Rafi and I both know what it feels like to be a second-born with an older sibling
that you admire and aspire to be like. Jakim and I can overthink like champions. We all
have vastly different personalities. I’m not Ceridwen or Rafi or Jakim. They make choices
and do things that are 100% rooted in who they are as characters. And yet, putting a tiny
piece that I can relate to in each of them helps me feel connected to them as I write.


About the Author

Gillian Bronte Adams writes epic fantasy novels, including the award- winning Of Fire and Ash and The Songkeeper Chronicles. She loves strong coffee, desert hikes, and trying out new soup recipes on crisp fall nights. Her favorite books are the ones that make your heart ache and soar in turn. When she’s not creating vibrant new worlds or dreaming up stories that ring with the echoes of eternity, she can be found off chasing sunsets with her horse, or her dog, Took.

 

 

 

More from Gillian

One of my favorite things about writing epic fantasy is not actually what you might expect. It’s not the fantastical elements, although I absolutely love creating worlds filled with magical warhorses, sosswyrm tangles, and stone-eye tigers who can paralyze their prey with a glance. It’s not the intensity of the action or the world altering stakes, although there’s nothing quite so thrilling as throwing your characters into a do-or-die situation, and the pulse-pounding, breathtaking, heart-aching battle sequences that follow.

Instead, one of my favorite things about writing such wild and epic stories is the opportunity to ground them in very real, very human characters, with very real, very human emotions, and in the complexity of those characters’ relationships with others. Mentor relationships, deeply loyal friendships, and especially sibling relationships.

I am the second-born of five siblings, and I love and admire each of my siblings. Each one encourages and inspires and awes me in his or her own unique way. But growing up, if you had told me that my older sister had hung the moon, I would have believed you. She was two and a half years older than me—and yes, that half year mattered to both of us, though for opposite reasons; she because it meant she was that much older, me because it meant we were that much closer. Somehow, everything she touched seemed golden, and I wanted to be a part of it too.

She was a force of nature—a foaming ocean tide—and I was caught up in her wake.

She took up horseback riding, and so did I. She picked up books, and I had to read them too, even if it meant sitting beside her in the car with my own book open on my lap, surreptitiously reading hers over her shoulder. (Needless to say, that drove her crazy, and older siblings everywhere can probably commiserate.)

She dove into creative writing, and out of nowhere, I developed a passion for the written word. But always, within her, there was this spark of imagination and creativity that I felt I could only ever aspire to. Whatever I did, she had done first and better.

And I could only hope to one day achieve her level of greatness.

Rafi, one of the main characters in Of Sea and Smoke, also has an older sibling, a brother he has always looked up to. While Rafi and his relationship with his brother is not based on my relationship with my older sister—we’re all four of us wildly different people—there were some aspects of my experience as a second-born that I was able to draw upon. Rafi admires his brother’s strength and confidence. His assurance and rightness. His nobility and leadership. By the time we enter the story, his older brother is no longer around, but Rafi has spent his whole life setting his brother up on a pedestal and then trying to measure up to that ideal.

Is it any wonder, then, that he has always found himself wanting?

Now, Rafi finds himself having to step into the role that should have been his brother’s, and the only way he can contemplate facing that challenge is by stamping out the things he looks down upon in himself—many of them, the things that make him himself—and trying to be his brother instead.

Growing up, I can’t tell you how many times I looked at my older sister and wished that I could be more like her and less like myself. More confident. More brilliant. More vibrant. More her. But it wasn’t until my older sister’s interests began to drift into new additional avenues, while mine stayed mostly the same (horses, books, writing), that I finally began to grow into myself. To recognize my strengths, my unique skills, the things that only I bring to the table, and to acknowledge that even when they are different from hers, they are still good.

These days, my older sister and I are best friends. She was the first person I trusted to read Of Sea and Smoke before it went out into the world. I still look up to her in so many ways, and yes, I think I’ll always feel a bit like she hung the moon. But I have grown to appreciate the beauty of what I can learn from my sister’s strengths, while also recognizing the value of my own. And without revealing any spoilers, I think I can safely say that part of Rafi’s journey in Of Sea and Smoke wraps around learning that too, all while he’s raising a band of rebel fighters, trying to outwit an infamous assassin, and plotting to overthrow the empire’s oppressive rule.

Wild, epic stories, grounded in real, human experiences, and honestly, can reading get any more fun than that?

I hope you enjoy the ride!

Gillian Bronte Adams

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 2

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3 (Author Interview)

Labor Not in Vain, December 3

Texas Book-aholic, December 4

Artistic Nobody, December 5 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Guild Master, December 7 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 8

Blossoms and Blessings, December 9 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, December 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 11 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, December 12 (Guest Review from Mindy)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 13 (Author Interview)

By The Book, December 14 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, December 14

Fiction Book Lover, December 15 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Gillian is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card and hardcover copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2909e/of-sea-and-smoke-celebration-tour-giveaway


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

"Capturing Hope" by Angela K. Couch

 About the Book

Book: Capturing Hope

Author: Angela K Couch

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: November, 2023

One step ahead of the Nazi’s. . .leaves Nadia little room for hope.

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

After her father is murdered by Nazis and her mother flees to her native Germany, hope is something of which Nadia Roenne feels little—even if it is the meaning of her name. It isn’t until an American photographer sacrifices his escape from Poland to save a Jewish family, that she finds a purpose. David Reid is very familiar with failure, but when he is charged with getting Nadia safely out of Poland, he is determined to succeed—even if she works against him at every turn, putting other’s lives ahead of her own. While they race against the daily shower of bombs over Warsaw and the ever-nearing German army, Nadia grows used to risking her life. . .but dare she risk her heart?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts 

I enjoyed reading this book. I found the time period leading up to the German invasion of Poland to be interesting. I liked the characters and watching them interact. I found the book to be well written and easy to read. I look forward to reading more books by Angela K. Couch. 


About the Author

To keep from freezing in the great white north, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the 2016 International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and toasty warm) by chasing after five munchkins.

 

 

More from Angela

When I first decided to set a story during the invasion of Poland, I was woefully unprepared for the pain and horror I found there. I wasn’t new to World War II and had just finished writing A Rose for the Resistance, which is set in France during the war and deals with the resistance and the Normandy invasion. The atrocities and genocide in Poland cut so much deeper.

In the early hours of September 1, 1939, the small town of Wielun, Poland, woke to a shower of bombs on their community. They did not house an army or warehouses, only homes and civilian businesses. Wielun was not the only town or village targeted—demonstrating the Nazi goal to spread fear and death. Six months earlier, Hitler had promised that if Poland did not bow to his wishes, he would wipe them off the map. Over the next month, and more so in the following six years, he came very close to succeeding.

For the full month of September 1939, while German armies rolled across the country, the city of Warsaw endured daily bombardment. Homes, workplaces, churches on Sunday morning, the Warsaw maternity hospital— nowhere was safe. On the tenth of September, someone recorded seventeen separate air raids over the city. I was moved to tears while viewing photographs of women and children who had been shot in the streets and fields by the bombers after they had dropped their payloads over the city.

No one came to their rescue.

Poland was abandoned by its allies to the Nazis.

So how do you write about all that and more while still trying to keep hope alive in the story and in the characters who have to live through such a frightening and demoralizing history?

I invite you to read Capturing Hope to find out.

Blog Stops

An Author’s Take, November 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 1

Lily’s Corner, December 1

Texas Book-aholic, December 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 3

For him and My Family, December 3

Betti Mace, December 4

Books You Can Feel Good About, December 4

Life on Chickadee Lane, December 5

Cover Lover Book Review, December 5

Alena Mentink, December 6

lakesidelivingsite, December 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 7

Blossoms and Blessings, December 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 8 (Author Interview)

Devoted to Hope, December 8

Bizwings Book Blog, December 9

Exploring the Written Word, December 9

Holly’s Book Corner, December 10

Pause for Tales, December 10

Connie’s History Classroom, December 11

Labor Not in Vain, December 11

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 12

Lights in a Dark World, December 12

Joy Suzanne Hunt, December 13

Books I’ve Read, December 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angela is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon eGift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2909b/capturing-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway


I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

"Hearts of Gold" by Grace Hitchcock

About the Book

Book: Hearts of Gold

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: August 14, 2023

The Bridal Shop

Alice Turner, the owner of one of Charleston’s finest bridal shops, is determined never to be dependent on a man for anything after the disgrace of her father’s prison time. When her best friend requests Alice to be her maid of honor, she reluctantly sets aside her feelings on marriage and dons a stylish bridesmaid’s gown, never intending to catch the eye of the handsome groomsman. Will he be able to convince Alice to open her heart again?

Miss Beaumont’s Companion

When Italian lady’s companion Aria St. Angelo is coerced into posing as her political employer’s absent daughter for the evening at the Louisiana Governor’s masquerade ball, she wasn’t planning on falling for Byron Roderick—the most eligible bachelor in the capitol. But, when he pays call at the Beaumont’s home, Aria is quickly shuffled into the shadows once more, forced to watch him fall in love with another woman.

The Becoming of Miss Blanche

Content to remain a Harvey Girl forever, fiery Tacy Blanche has worked in nearly every Harvey House down the Santa Fe line. But, when she accepts the position of second waitress at the new Montezuma resort, Tacy isn’t expecting her former fiancé’s brother to return to her life—

Pinkerton Jasper Caffery had long abandoned hope of ever finding Tacy again, but while on holiday in New Mexico, Jasper collides with the woman who had never noticed him before. He decides to take his chances and attempt to woo her. However, when Tacy’s past catches up with her, more than Jasper’s heart is at stake.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts 

I enjoyed reading theses stories. They were sweet and fun with a some biblical faith elements through them. The romances happen fast with the stories being novellas, but they didn't feel rushed or forced. The women were strong and capable, but realized they could love and get married without sacrificing who they were. I look forward to reading more books by Grace Hitchcock. 


About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, sons, and daughter. Connect with her online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

 

More from Grace

Q: What do you love about writing historical fiction?

Grace: I absolutely love the research aspect. I love learning and discovering little known pieces of history. In that research, I love asking the great “what if” question and see where it takes me while still having to follow the guidelines set up for historical fiction.

I’m pretty certain every author started as an avid reader who dreamed of how they would change an ending or change who the heroine ended up with if they could write the book instead. (Anyone else think Theodore Laurence should have married Jo March?) It’s that ever-beautiful question of “what if” that has haunted some of my favorite stories and often drives my own stories to spark to life.

Q: Have you traveled to any places you’ve written about?

Grace: My books have been set in Chicago, many in New York, Newport, New Orleans, and Charleston, which I’ve been able to visit! My upcoming Regency Romance, To Catch a Coronet, is set in London, which I toured many years ago. After writing my Regency, I’ve added an overflowing number of places to visit in England, and even Scotland where my third book will be set.

Want to know which book is set where?

Hearts of Gold: Charleston, Baton Rouge, and New Mexico

The Finding of Miss Fairfield: Charleston and New Mexico

The Pursuit of Miss Parish: New Mexico

To Catch a Coronet: London

My Dear Miss Dupré: New York and Newport

Her Darling Mr. Day: New Orleans

His Delightful Lady Delia: New York

The Gray Chamber: New York

The White City: Chicago

Q: How do you incorporate faith into your storylines?

Grace: I always weave in a faith theme, or verse, into the story. My goal with this novella collection, Hearts of Gold, is to provide readers with clean entertainment while subtly pointing them to Christ. And as with all of my books, something that I am learning inevitably ends up in the story in some form or another. Even though it feels a bit vulnerable to put my personal lessons in a book, I think that it offers a level of genuineness that can bring life to the story and hope to the reader.

Q: What aspect of romance do you enjoy writing about?

Grace: Before I started writing for publication, I would be reading and get very aggravated if the heroine chose the wrong hero in my eyes and I would rewrite the ending in my head, or even set aside the book with only pages left so I didn’t mess up the ending I wanted. Writing a romance is so much fun because now I understand the “formula” if you will about the obstacles placed in the lover’s path and the beauty of when they finally are together.

Q: Please tell us about your most recent book.

Grace: To Catch a Coronet releases with Kregel Publications in May 2024! This Regency Romance has been so much fun to research and while it is a challenge to change eras from Gilded Age to Regency, I’ve loved finding new, unique ways to get my heroines into trouble that inevitably has them meeting their true hero!

About To Catch a Coronet:

London, 1813

Sometimes the only way to out stride scandal is to catch a crown big enough to silence it.

After breaking off two arranged engagements, country baker turned heiress Muriel Beau takes matters into her own hands and asks the visiting baron she loves to marry her in a very public proposal and is met with an emphatic rejection. With no other course but to flee Kent society, Muriel knows the only way out of this debacle is to out stride it by catching what every society matron dreams of obtaining—a coronet with a sumptuous title to match. And after a glittering reception in the courts of London, Muriel’s best laid plans might come true after all.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 18

DevotedToHope, November 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 20 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 20

Lakesidelivingsite, November 21

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 23

Alena Mentink, November 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 24

Cover Lover Book Review, November 25

Hannahbandanarama, November 25

For Him and My Family, November 26

Books You Can Feel Good About, November 26

Back Porch Reads, November 27

Exploring the Written Word, November 27

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Holly’s Book Corner, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Pause for Tales, November 30

Connie’s History Classroom, December 1

Lights in a Dark World, December 1

Giveway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed Copy of My Dear Miss Dupré, Her Darling Mr. Day, and His Delightful Lady Delia!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/28ef0/hearts-of-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway