If I had a Boat

Monday, February 24, 2014

GOLDEN DAUGHTER Cover Reveal

Here is the long awaited cover reveal for the next amazing installment of The Tales of Goldstone Wood! Anne Elisabeth is kindly sharing a snippet from chapter three for all of us imps to go all fangirly over, and she's also hosting an incredible giveaway! So stick around and enjoy the amazingness!

 

BEYOND THE REALM OF DREAMS

IS A WORLD SHE NEVER IMAGINED

Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

 


Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. Her books include Christy Award-winning Heartless and Veiled Rose, and Clive Staples Award-winning Starflower. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration and English literature at Grace College and Campbell University.




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And here is a marvelous picture imp Hannah drew from the sneak peek below! I love the unicorns at the top. Very beautiful.
 
 
 



Excerpt from Chapter 3

GOLDEN DAUGHTER



Sairu made her way from Princess Safiya’s chambers out to the walkways of the encircling gardens. The Masayi, abode of the Golden Daughters, was an intricate complex of buildings linked by blossom-shrouded walkways, calm with fountains and clear, lotus-filled pools where herons strutted and spotted fish swam.

Here she had lived all the life she could remember.

The Masayi was but a small part of Manusbau Palace, which comprised the whole of Sairu’s existence. She had never stepped beyond the palace walls. To do so would be to step into a world of corruption, corruption to which a Golden Daughter would not be impervious until she was safely chartered to a master and her life’s work was affixed in her heart and mind. Meanwhile, she must live securely embalmed in this tomb, waiting for life to begin.
Sairu’s mouth curved gently at the corners, and she took small steps as she had been trained—slow, dainty steps that disguised the swiftness with which she could move at need. Even in private she must maintain the illusion, even here within the Masayi.
A cat sat on the doorstep of her own building, grooming itself in the sunlight. She stepped around it and proceeded into the red-hung halls of the Daughter’s quarters and on to her private chambers. There she must gather what few things she would take with her—fewer things even than Jen-ling would take on her journey to Aja. For Jen-ling would be the wife of a prince, and she must give every impression of a bride on her wedding journey.
I wonder who my master will be? Sairu thought as she slid back the rattan door to her chamber and entered the quiet simplicity within. She removed her elaborate costume and exchanged it for a robe of simple red without embellishments. She washed the serving girl cosmetics from her face and painted on the daily mask she and her sisters wore—white with black spots beneath each eye and a red stripe down her chin. It was elegant and simple, and to the common eye it made her indistinguishable from her sisters.
The curtain moved behind her. She did not startle but turned quietly to see the same cat slipping into her room. Cats abounded throughout Manusbau Palace, kept on purpose near the storehouses to manage the vermin. But they did not often enter private chambers.
Sairu, kneeling near her window with her paint pots around her, watched the cat as it moved silkily across the room, stepped onto her sleeping cushions, and began kneading the soft fabric, purring all the while. Its claws pulled at the delicate threads. But it was a cat. As far as it was concerned, it had every right to enjoy or destroy what it willed.
At last it seemed to notice Sairu watching it. It turned sleepy eyes to her and blinked.
Sairu smiled. In a voice as sweet as honey, she asked, “Who are you?”
The cat twitched its tail softly and went on purring.
The next moment, Sairu was across the room, her hand latched onto the cat’s scruff. She pushed it down into the cushions and held it there as it yowled and snarled, trying to catch at her with its claws.
“Who are you?” she demanded, her voice fierce this time. “What are you? Are you an evil spirit sent to haunt me?”
“No, dragons eat it! I mean, rrrraww! Mreeeow! Yeeeowrl!
The cat twisted and managed to lash out at her with its back feet, its claws catching in the fabric of her sleeve. One claw scratched her wrist, startling her just enough that she loosened her hold. The cat took advantage of the opportunity and, hissing like a fire demon, leapt free. It sprang across the room, knocking over several of her paint pots, and spun about, back-arched and snarling. Every hair stood on end, and its ears lay flat to its skull.
Sairu drew a dagger from her sleeve and crouched, prepared for anything. The smile lingered on her mouth, but her eyes flashed. “Who sent you?” she demanded. “Why have you come to me now? You know of my assignment, don’t you.”
Meeeeowrl,” the cat said stubbornly and showed its fangs in another hiss.
“I see it in your face,” Sairu said, moving carefully to shift her weight and prepare to spring. “You are no animal. Who is your master, devil?”
The cat dodged her spring easily enough, which surprised her. Sairu was quick and rarely missed a target. Her knife sank into the floor and stuck there, but she released it and whipped another from the opposite sleeve even as she whirled about.
Any self-respecting cat would have made for the window or the door. This one sprang back onto the cushions and crouched there, tail lashing. Its eyes were all too sentient, but it said only “Meeeeow,” as though trying to convince itself.
Sairu chewed the inside of her cheek. Then, in a voice as smooth as butter, she said, “We have ways of dealing with devils in this country. Do you know what they are, demon-cat?”
The cat’s ears came up. “Prreeowl?” it said.
“Allow me to enlighten you.”
And Sairu put her free hand to her mouth and uttered a long, piercing whistle. The household erupted with the voices of a dozen and more lion dogs.
The little beasts, slipping and sliding and crashing into walls, their claws clicking and clattering on the tiles, careened down the corridor and poured into Sairu’s room. Fluffy tails wagging, pushed-in noses twitching, they roared like the lions they believed themselves to be and fell upon the cat with rapacious joy.
The cat uttered one long wail and the next moment vanished out the window. Sairu, dogs milling at her feet, leapt up and hurried to look out after it, expecting to see a tawny tail slipping from sight. But she saw nothing.
The devil was gone. For the moment at least.
Sairu sank down on her cushions, and her lap was soon filled with wriggling, snuffling hunters eager for praise. She petted them absently, but her mind was awhirl. She had heard of devils taking the form of animals and speaking with the tongues of men. But she had never before seen it. She couldn’t honestly say she’d even believed it.
“What danger is my new master in?” she wondered. “From what must I protect him?”
 
 

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A truly tantalizing snippet, wasn't it? My favorite bit was when Eanrin slipped up and began speaking instead of meowing like he was supposed to. Ha ha! That cat.

 
To enter your name for a chance to win one of the Tales of Goldstone Wood novels visit anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spring-ish, Happy Songs

I love music. I love its ability to pep up my afternoon by playing something happy, or its ability to slow my day down and make me thoughtful.

There are so many different genres in the music world that it reminds me very much of the book world. Songs tell stories, but just in a different way than books. I can say that music inspires me to either go do something, or to sit down and write. I'm sure it does the same for you all!

Usually its sweeping, simple, classical piano music that gets my brain working. But on happy spring days I prefer to listen to more "bouncy" songs. These songs usually don't have anything to do with inspiring me to write, but they're light and carefree. I thought I'd share a few of my current favorites with you all today!

My favorite pianist, Brian Crain, writes incredibly simple, beautiful music that isn't complex at all, but is nonetheless stunning. His music is easy to listen to turned down while I write (if it wasn't turned down I wouldn't be able to focus on anything but the song!), and depending on the song, makes me think of different time periods that might influence a story.

Probably my favorite of his many pieces is Song for Sienna. It's so wistful!

 Tyrone Wells is another great artist. And while I don't like all of his songs, I do love a few like, Happy as the Sun and Beautiful Girl, Beautiful World.


And my current favorite is Pocketful of Poetry by Mindy Gledhill. She writes such sweet lyrics and catchy tunes!

Here are a few more of her songs.

I Do Adore

All the Pennies

Circus Girl

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What songs will you be listening to this spring/summer? Happy writing, everyone! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Is Tiger's Curse Worth Reading?

Hullo, all.

I changed my blog again.

Yes, yes, this will be the stationary look from now on. I'm finally happy with it, so don't expect any more changes for a while at least!

I know I'm a little late in posting, and I'm so sorry for that. I've been planning an interview with a fellow blogger who happens to have written a poem that I quite like...and I've convinced her to share a bit of it on my blog! But you'll have to wait to read that post at a later date. For now, why don't we talk about The Tiger's Curse series?

I don't do "popular" books. I've gotten a bit sick of them. They snooker you in with a good first read and then plummet to boringness and unoriginality in the rest of the series. And if one author manages to write a good, original story, a million other authors copy THAT author, and then they get popular too.

Divergent, anyone?

Well, it's hard to stay unaware of books that get popular, however disinterested in them I might be. And one day, as I was perusing Barnes&Noble, a "popular" book caught my eye....

It's name was Tiger's Curse. An intriguing title, and it had a very nice cover to go along with it. So I read the inside flap.


Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.


****

A few words popped out at me as I read the synopsis.

Indian.
Prince.
Curse.
Tiger.
Mystical worlds....

I knew I had to try it! After finding it at my library, I proceeded to read it...and loved it!

And was in agony when it was over.

Once again it was the first in a series, and I had snatched up the first book as soon as it was released! I was in for a very long wait to read the rest of the series.

But back to the original question: is Tiger's Curse worth reading?

To me, it absolutely was. Now, if you're wanting to read a classic, then Tiger's is not for you. While I was very much entertained by its fun adventure story and romance, descriptiveness of foods, atmospheres, and cultures, it was still merely a fun adventure read. Not something that will be remembered throughout the ages, but definitely a tale that will entertain you! I must say that throughout all four books I got quite attached to the characters and their feelings.

Something that Colleen Houck did very well was not stopping the suspense across every chapter of each installment of the Tiger's Curse series.

But to find out any more about Colleen Houck's massively creative and enjoyable books, you must check it out for yourselves!

Have any of you read or thought about reading this? What were your thoughts on the book? I'd love to hear! 





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Inspiration

Lots has happened in this last week! I found out that I'm going to be a published author, I was snowed in (ok, not really, but it did snow and there was lots of ice on the ground), and as a result of that ice my family and I all got off work and were able to spend two whole days together!  And I think that if four years ago I hadn't gone in my library, picked up a book called Heartless, loved it and gone to the author's blog I would still be typing away at one of my many story ideas...and I would never have met any of you!

It's been so much fun getting to know each of my blogging friends...when my sister Laura was over for Christmas, I was typing away at an e-mail to Hannah, and she leaned over my shoulder muttering, "You have a whole other life, don't you?"

Um...yes, I do.

Not an "other life" like Batman (although I have had an evil urge to tape a little bat symbol over the police station's spotlight on several occasions), but a life that has opened a world of good, Christian writers who are all so much fun to talk to.

Now I want to ask each of you: where do you get your inspiration?

Naturally the Lord is responsible for planting the seeds of ideas in our mind, but do you get it from the people around you, a book you just read, or a random something a friend said to you? I work in a retirement community as a receptionist, so I must say that I get quite a bit of inspiration from there. Many different people introduce themselves to me, and I think, "You could be a book character." So long as I keep my eyes open and pay attention to the small things (like the sweet little boy who hangs out at my work until his mom comes and picks him up from his school) it's easy to find all sorts of inspiration. What a nice, normal character he would make!

There's also the very old, very tiny and hairy dog who is mostly blind and nearly deaf that hobbles outside every morning (but not without stopping to get a nice rub behind the ears from me). He was most put out the other night that his owner and I had the nerve to stop and talk before giving him a treat, so he marched stiffly up to us, reared up on his hind legs, and barked. The force of that bark propelled him backwards, and his eyes widened as he toppled over. I'm laughing right now thinking about it!

So that's where I get some of my inspiration. But what about you? I'd love to hear when ideas randomly pop into your minds!