Through the Pages {my first novel}

Once upon a time, not too long ago, in fact, a little less than a year ago…

{August 19th, 2017}

“Hey, Annie, remember how you were asking, ‘what will I write next’ the other day?”

I did ask that question, after finishing Jump: The Things I Remind Myself. But when God asks a question like that, I’ve found He tends to have ulterior motives behind it. So I very cautiously said, “yeah, I remember… what about it?”

“Well, I’ve got one for you. Write a book for your mom.”

Cue wide eyes and a heck of a lot of confusion. And a scrambled message to my girl’s group. “I think I’m supposed to write a book for my mom. Help!”

Go figure, they all thought it was a brilliant idea.

“Hey Annie,” came the somewhat amused voice from the upstairs regions of the cosmos. “It’s for her birthday next year, by the way. And it’s about books. The interior will be cream paper, with an artistic book drawing for underneath the chapter headers. The cover will be purple.”

And that is the story of why I had a meltdown from August 19th to August 21st.

This was uncharted territory for me. I was pretty sure it would be a novel, not one of my short stories or a novella or something easy. (I’ve never completed a first draft of a novel, only a lot of partial first drafts.) And I had less than a year. And I needed to keep it a secret from everyone around me. (I’m horrible at keeping exciting things secret.)

{the journey}

The rest of August, September, and October were spent in a weird sort of stasis. I didn’t write a whole lot, at least, not that I remember. I did a lot of thinking. I spent a lot of time with books, and with my mom. And by mid October I had a pretty solid idea of what this story was supposed to look like.

November came around and I used NaNoWriMo as my excuse to pound out a 50k novel in a very short period of time. For the first time, I had a whole, finished, novel. And I couldn’t tell anyone.

Well, not quite true. I told my girl’s group (after making them swear to secrecy). I told Missie. And in June of 2018, I told my pen pal/adopted grandmother/great-aunt about it, because she asked what I was working on, and I was pretty darn sure that she wouldn’t tell anyone. 
The hardest thing this whole time has been keeping it a secret from everyone. Hannah helped; I had to tell her because I was in the middle of a stress-induced panic attack of “I can’t do this!” and needed help getting myself out. I told Jeremy because I conscripted him to receive the packages so my mother wouldn’t suspect anything. I made my cover designer, my editor, my beta readers, and my girl’s group swear themselves to secrecy, and… 
…here we are. 

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from this story:

“That’s the thing, Miranda, you never get over the butterflies if it’s the right person. They just settle down a bit. If it’s the right person, you just go your whole life being all tangled up with the butterflies in your stomach and the love in your heart.” 

Through the Pages
Annie Louise Twitchell

LOOK AT THIS COVER
*all the heart eyes to That Book Gal for this amazing design*
Available at Amazon

Fun Fact: I had the hardest time finding an editor until I was actually ready to see about hiring one. At that point, Facebook hiccuped and showed me a notification for a post from an editing page I’d been following and hadn’t done much looking into. If you’re in the US, I highly recommend Lemons to Lemonade Editing. Not only did she do a wonderful job with my line edits, but she works on paper, meaning I had a marked up paper copy to make my changes from. That was perfect for how my head works and the way I prefer to do things, and made my process of fixing things so much easier.

Fun Fact #2: I’m still a bit giddy that I actually did this thing. I will probably be varying degrees of giddy for the next two months.

Fun Fact #3: I’ve actually been so overwhelmed since I gave the book to my mom on the 5th that I’ve had two or three headaches and gone swimming a lot and written almost nothing. Just this blog post. I’ll get back in my groove eventually. I think.

The Bunny approves. This is important.

~Annie

Wake the Moon {the story behind the story & giveaway}

Demons laugh, light fades, and Jesse must battle his own darkness to wake the sleeping girl.


{Behind the Story}

Wake the Moon was inspired by a friend of mine asking, ‘what would happen if Sleeping Beauty couldn’t wake up?’ I took that concept (with their permission; in fact they shared it with “here’s a story idea for you, Annie”) and mulled over it for several months before finally sitting down to weave this story. 

Sleeping Beauty can’t wake up. 

It started out unexpectedly, with a male POV that I learned was our hero. It didn’t stay true to the Sleeping Beauty story, but some of the elements are still there. It’s more of a new story, now, less of a retelling. And there’s a spiritual angle that startled me at first. 


It scared me. I’ve never been so alarmed by words that came out of my fingers before. And at the same time I loved every minute of it. It didn’t take me very long to write, and then I just sat and stared at the finished first draft for a long time before hiding it and not thinking about it for a while. 

In May, I was trying to think of a fairy tale I could share with the Fellowship of Fantasy for their fairy tale anthology. I thought over it a lot, started a few things, and finally remembered that I had a vaguely Sleeping Beauty story in my back file. So I pulled it out, asked for beta readers, and launched into editing. 

It’s not very long, this little story of mine, but I hope you enjoy it.



{Book Description}

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.
The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.
This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.









Cinders by Kendra E. Ardnek
When the fairy Jalia receives a plea for her aid, it seems a routine Cinderella rescue – until she only finds the family’s pet cats.
At The Corner of Elm & Main by H. L. Burke
A sweet-natured lamppost dreams of seeing the world. When magic grants his wish, how will he use it? 

Tears of the Seaby Savannah Jezowski
When Le Rae indulges her fascination with the forbidden sand walkers, she discovers more than danger in the shallow waters.
Steelhandby Ashley Capes
When a man with a mechanical hand hears a woman’s ethereal voice calling for help, he must brave the steel forest to rescue her from a foul Alchemist.
King or Beggar by D. G. Driver
When a king’s spoiled, conceited daughter refuses and insults every nobleman asking for her hand in marriage, he stops giving her a choice.
The Girl Who Talked by Birds by Kristen S. Walker
A young girl’s already isolated existence is worsened by the emergence of strange abilities.
The Princess and the Stone-Picker by Sarah Ashwood
“Those whose eyes are nearest to the ground are those who see its treasures.” A humble stone-picker’s mysterious remark sends a spoiled princess pursuing answers.
Wake the Moon by Annie Louise Twitchell
Demons laugh, light fades, and Jesse must battle his own darkness to wake the sleeping girl.
The Greatest Adventure by J.M. Hackman
A beautiful slave girl, hidden Fire Diamonds, and a wily dragon give Firebrand Aideen Siriol his greatest adventure yet.
Third Princess by Emily Martha Sorensen
The youngest of three always succeeds after the older two fail. But what if the older two aren’t willing to fail?
A Week after Midnight by Alex McGilvery
The prince is so shy he needed a ball to find a wife. What will he do when she moves in?
Being Seen by Gretchen E. K. Engel
Just because Ilmara is invisible, doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist.
The Quest for a Wide-Awake Princess by Lia London
Prince Jack needs to find a suitable princess, but he’d settle for one who’s not snoring.
How to Hide a Prince by E.J. Kitchens
Princess Fiona is destined to save a prince, but would kissing a talking frog free a prince, or curse them both?
Believing Fairytales by Arthur Daigle
Some fairy tales are true. The dangerous ones are partly true.
The Loathly Princess of Edimor by L. Palmer
Princess Selene always gets her desire. When she asks to escape a marriage by transforming into a swan, the witch who helps her has other plans.


{Rafflecopter Givaways}

 U.S. Only: (All books are paperbacks, and possibly signed.) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 



International: (All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Comment Giveaway: The person who comments the most across the whole blog tour will win some sneak peeks of featured author’s works-in-progress!

~Annie

A Tale of Two Apples {blog tour wrap-up}




So basically this summer has been insane and I haven’t stayed on top of things very well. I’ve been crazy busy with projects and life and general busyness and a whole lot of swimming. 


I’m finally posting my wrap-up for the Tale of Two Apples Blog Tour. Better late than never, right? 




Here are the posts, we’d love for you to check them out. 

Sunday 22nd:
Monday 23rd:
Tuesday 24th:
Wednesday 25th:
Thursday 26th:
Friday 27th:
Saturday 28th:
Wednesday, August 1st:
  • Annie Louise Twitchell {wrap-up post}


And here are the links to our short stories:

Dear Writer {an open letter}




Dear Writer,

Oh, love. I see you there behind the keyboard, hands to the ready, fingers itching to type, mind whirling with the story–or stories–you want to tell.

Three years ago I was just the same, dear writer. And today I am the same.

The distance between today and three years ago is too great to tell.

Dear writer, I need you to know that this will possibly be the hardest thing you will do, and this is coming from a girl who has done, willingly and more often unwillingly, many very hard things.

Love, this world is not kind. This world today does not see art the way we dreamers do. It is learning to, I believe, but only because it is lit with the passions of men who believed they could fly. The starry sky over my head tonight is flecked with traces of dreams that came true.

Dreamer, this world does not see with your eyes. It does not see the love, hope, passion, freedom, and grace that light up the room when you write. It does not see the pain, blood, tears, and sorrow poured out into the pages you cherish. It does not see how your heart bleeds ink, my love. It does not see the changing tides and the crescendo of the ocean in a path of moonlight.

This world is made of people like you and I, and sometimes… sometimes people are cruel. Sometimes people are angry. Sometimes people don’t understand.

I do not wish for you to expect cruelty, dear one, only to be aware that it is there. And that not only is it laid out with heavy hands and unseeing hearts, but sometimes it is laid out with sugar smiles and candy tricks.

Dreamers, too often our hearts are tender. I think it makes our task on this earth easier. We bleed stories, after all. I would not see you grow cold in your heart and mind. I would not see those hands grow still. I would not see those dreams die.

My love, this world is not kind. How can it be? It has known so much hurt, so much bitterness and strife. It too bleeds, but it doesn’t know how to use its stories to heal.

Dearest writer, that is what I would wish for you. I wish that the stories you write, the stories you dream of, would be a part of something that heals. And love, it’s okay if the thing that heals is yourself. You are a part of this world too, after all, and you too are worthy of healing and hope.

I do not mean for you to only write soft things, tender things, easy things. Setting a bone is not soft or easy, but it must be done for healing to happen well. Healing is not only soft cotton bandages and pastel flowers. Healing is gritted teeth and sharp edges and a scream that cuts through the air like a knife.

Dearest writer, this is what I wish for you.

Write.

Allow yourself to be afraid, because oh my love, you will be so very very afraid.

But do not let the fear destroy your dreams.

Do not let the cruelty of others break you. Grieve for it, always, but do not let it dictate your choices.

Be angry. Be hard.

Be soft. Be loving.

Writer, be passionate, and in your passion, you can touch this world.

And with a touch, maybe, healing can begin.

Love, Annie



Copyright June 27th, 2018

The Witch of Belle Isle {upcoming release}

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Okay, so now that’s over with…

I have some news.

Rebekah DeVall and I are doing a project.

Two separate projects, actually, but we’re doing them together.

Last winter we wrote short stories for the Rooglewood Fairy Tale Contest, themed on/inspired by Snow White.

Click here to learn about her half, a story called Death’s Mirror, and read on to hear a little about mine — I’m borrowing the same tag she used, to describe my story, The Witch of Belle Isle.

{Pitch your story with an aesthetic}

A Snow White inspired historical fantasy set towards the end of the American Civil War.


{Introduce the main character with a line} 


The door of the long barracks, the hastily constructed building in which we lived, was open and a ray of sunlight trickled pale fingers inside. The rain had stopped, finally. I dragged myself to my feet and trudged for the door, following the other ghost-like men. This was hell. Hundreds of men wasting in filthy barracks, starving for food, starving for light. Hope seemed too far away, even as I stumbled into the sunshine. 

{If The Witch of Belle Isle wasn’t mine, why would I want to read it?}

Okay, I hate answering questions like these. And right now I’m sick with a cold. Here goes:

  • Historical Fantasy. I love it. Taking something old and familiar, making something new out of it? DUDE. 
  • Fairy tale from the male’s POV. I don’t meet many of these, but I love reading the different perspectives. 
  • The main character, Henry. He’s been sucked into this war between brothers, and now he’s trapped in a Confederate prison camp, and all he wants now is to go home where it’s safe, and warm, and quiet.

{If the antagonist were the main character, how would the story open?}

I did not ask for this, you know. All I wanted was to be safe, and loved, and desired. I did not ask for this. But now that power is within my grasp, I find I am loathe to give it up. 

{What am I doing in Belle Isle that is new for me, as a writer?}

Using a real historical place that I’ve had to research myself. The Christmas Ladder is a historical piece, but it’s based on my own family history, and there wasn’t a lot of research involved for it. Spinner of Secrets is only a loose historical fantasy. But The Witch of Belle Isle is a historical fantasy set in a very real place. I’m so used to making things up as I go that sitting down, researching, fitting my story into the boundaries presented by my research–it was a fun and exciting challenge. I’m not a historian, I won’t promise that it’s 100% accurate–but if you’re looking for that in a historical fantasy, then my friend, that’s a different problem.

{What does the main character want to change in their lives/world?}

Henry is a Union soldier in a Confederate prison camp. He’s tired of the fighting, the killing, the death. He wants to go home. He also wants his country to be at peace, but he hasn’t figured out how to make that happen, and in fact he’s kind of given up on it for now.

{Share a newly written line}


“Keep hope,” Reverend Morris had told me, day after day. “You’re young and strong. You can beat them still. Wouldn’t that be the greatest triumph, to defeat them by living?”

Reverend Morris hadn’t been particularly old, but he was one of the men whom we were burying. 

{You’re stranded in The Witch of Belle Isle~! Who do you go to for help?}

Definitely Faith. She’s full of determination and love and yes, faith. Here’s one of my favorite lines from her so far: 

“We should win the war because of the strength of our convictions, not because of magicks and charms. That is no true victory.”

The Witch of Belle Isle and Death’s Mirror are coming out on July 20th, 2018, so be looking for them! You can pre-order Belle Isle on Amazon, here.

Oh, and here’s the link to Rebekah’s post again: Death’s Mirror

~Annie

Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Images from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash 

I’m Going… On A Vacation!

Well, kind of.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with summer vacation for a ridiculously long time, but one thing has been true for the last several years: I never stick to my blogging schedule during the summer.

I mean, it’s not like I stick to my schedule anyway; my schedule says I post once a week on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (but not usually Wednesday) and I still don’t manage to be super consistent with that. I’ve learned to loosen up a lot and just let it be what it is, and if I don’t post this week, so be it! I’m okay with that.

Anyway, as I sit here in my chair at 9pm trying to decide what to do this evening, I decided to go look at my blog set up, and hey look! I have no scheduled posts, no drafts, and no ideas.

And I’m okay with that.

As of right now, I’m offically giving myself the summer off. If I have something that really merits a blog post, I’ll make one up and schedule it for one of the days in my terribly ambiguous schedule. If not, I’m not going to worry about it.

In other words, see you in August!

But I’ll be on my social media accounts on my usual semi-daily basis and sending my newsletter every month, so I won’t be vanishing entirely. It’s just that I spend so much time outside during the summer and I’m trying to get out of the habit of 6am to 11pm work days, so I think removing this stresser for the summer months will be a huge benefit for my overall sanity. (People tell me it’s questionable at best.)

I plan to spend the summer reading, swimming, gardening, not dying while my family does a plethora of projects, star gazing and mosquito swatting, avoiding moose flies (ask me sometime about being used a moose fly bait when I was nine), writing, and hanging out with a popsicle. I had planned to hike a mountain in July until the weather got to a roasting 72 degrees Fahrenheit last week and I remembered why I like hiking in September: less bugs and less heat. So the hiking trip might be postponed. We’ll see.

See you in August if not before!

-Annie

White-Washed Tombs {cleanliness in writing}

I have people who tell me I shouldn’t have any swearing in my books.
Well…

*whispers* I don’t always agree with that.

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty nervous to share this post with people. I hear it so often from so many different places:

  • Christian fiction shouldn’t have language. 
  • Christian fiction shouldn’t have violence or gore. 
  • Christian fiction shouldn’t have death.
  • Christian fiction shouldn’t have kissing or anything beyond that. 


And the ever baffling ultimatum:

  • Christian fiction should be clean. 

I’m never exactly sure what they mean by “clean” because life isn’t clean. I understand about keeping things appropriate for the age level and not being slimy and trashy even when you’re writing to young adults and adults. But some of these restrictions don’t make sense to me because it’s stuff I run into in the outside world, about once a week. Thank God for messy books like Katherine Paterson and The Bible, that helped prepare me for meeting messy human beings. (And helped me figure out myself, messy human being exhibit A.)

If you’re sitting saying that the Bible isn’t a messy book, I don’t know what parts you’ve been reading, because it sure isn’t pretty.
In Matthew when Jesus is chewing out the Pharisees? (Matthew Chapter 23, go look it up.)
He calls them “white washed tombs” and “brood of vipers”. Now look in the Old Testament at what the cleanliness laws are and consider what those terms actually mean to the elite of the Jewish people. If you actually think about it, he’s cussing them out pretty bad. We just don’t realize that because those words don’t really mean anything to us today. We don’t understand the severity of those terms.


The argument people throw at me most often is “Do it all for the glory of God.” You know, this section of 1st Corinthians 10:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.


Okay, that’s great! Thanks. Throw a Bible verse at the issue, because that always fixes it.

Here’s the thing:

I write stories. I don’t write for a Christian audience, and I have never claimed to. I don’t write for a secular audience. I write for readers. I write because I believe these are stories that need to be told. Occasionally I write because God says “oh ho ho, my dear, you’re not getting out of it that easily” and leaves Howler notes in my dreams until I get my rear end in my desk chair and write. (I wish I was kidding.)

My stories are populated with people. Some of them have had really horrible things happen to them, and that shapes their character, and sometimes who they are when we meet them at the beginning of the book isn’t pleasant.

I cannot demand they are squeaky church-approved clean.

I can’t! There it is. I cannot demand that the characters in my story be different than they are.

If I demand that my teenage character Theo {The Importance of Blood} doesn’t swear in the first half of his story, I miss out on the way we learn he’s healing. He’s angry, he’s scared, he’s hurting. He acts out and yells, cusses, breaks dishes, throws things, and generally makes a mess of everything.

But then he starts to feel safe.

He starts to feel loved.

He starts to feel wanted.

And when he starts to understand he doesn’t have to fight for his life anymore, he starts to heal.

That is shown in the way his behavior changes. In the way his character develops. He starts actively trying to work on his anger issues. He stops cussing. He stops breaking dishes. And he learns to apologize when he hurts someone. And by the end of the book we’ve found he’s a sensitive kid who had to grow up too fast, who grew a thick skin to keep himself safe. He’s trying so hard to be better than who he was, because he doesn’t like who he was.




I don’t throw swear words around carelessly because that eliminates the purpose of having them in there. The reason to have them in my story is to communicate that something is wrong. Someone is hurting, something bad is happening, THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE. One well placed swear word can be exactly what is needed. I work hard to make sure it’s in the right place. Sometimes I can replace it with ‘Theo swore’ but sometimes that’s a cheap cheat and it shows.
And no, I’m not trying to tell people to put swearing in their books. If it doesn’t have a place, don’t put it in. It’s as simple as that. I’m not writing this to tell other people what to do; I’m writing this to explain why I do things the way I do.


{One of the things I love about blogging is that it’s an interactive medium of sharing my thoughts. One of my new followers sent me a lovely email in response to this post, and hearing her point of view allowed me to find the piece I knew I was missing somewhere, and wrap this up so I’m happier with it. And if any of this is confusing, I’m sorry. My head doesn’t always arrange itself in such a way that it can make sense.}


I’ve spent a lot of time praying about this, thinking about this, and talking it out with a few people. That verse that people throw around, about glorifying God in all I do? I glorify him by doing the job He’s given me, to the best of my ability. Sometimes that means reading a bible passage in church, and sometimes that means cleaning out the septic field. Sometimes that means writing a story that is glowing with His love, and sometimes that means writing a story that’s still trying to find His love. Sometimes that means praying and talking with other Christians, and sometimes that means trudging through a foot of snow to check on a family in need. Sometimes that means taking flowers to an elderly neighbor and sometimes that means putting on my war boots and gloves to jump in and get my hands dirty.

What is the intent? I try really hard to make sure the bad stuff I show in my writing is met and matched by hope and light. There is truth in the bad things. But there is also truth in the good. My intent is not to shock people with foul language. My intent is to use that as a tool to further, deepen, and strengthen the story I’m telling. My goal is that the words I lay before people have been considered, weighed, measured, and found to be needed in their place. I don’t throw these things around casually, my dears. But I know from personal experience that the right book at the right time, dealing with hard things and showing things that aren’t pretty… that can make all the difference in the world. 

Some of the time I read Christian fiction and it leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. It’s so sappy and melodramatic and overly moralistic and oh-so-clean. It completely abolishes the fact that we live in a world where bad stuff happens every day. And then I read books like The Fault in Our Stars, which has some language and some sexual content, and it’s a breath of fresh air because these, these are kids like the ones I knew at high school. These are people I know. I’m not saying that it’s okay or that I agree with everything that is said and done; I’m saying that it’s real. 

The best is when I find books that give me that “I know this character, they’re a person like I could meet on the street” that are written from a point of view that shares the good and the hope as well as the bad and the hurt. Stories that are written to strengthen, challenge, and reassure those who read it. They don’t shy away from the messy parts, but use them as necessary, as a tool to tell the story. 

One of my romance stories doesn’t have any language, any sexual content beyond the couple kissing when they get engaged. It doesn’t need it. It would be horribly inappropriate to include it, not to mention disrespectful to the characters, the story, myself, and my readers. I have a lot of stories like that, actually. But that doesn’t mean the other stories aren’t there too, and it doesn’t mean they don’t need to be written. How can we ever hope to reach the hurting if we act like they don’t exist?

See, life is messy. And I write about that. But life is also really cool, and sometimes we meet other humans and we just *click* and that’s it, we’re family now. And life has rainstorms and thunder and apple blossoms and waterfalls and autumn leaves and holding hands while you walk to the post office. And life has snow storms and crocuses and sunlight pushing through a cloudy day. And life has mud puddles and blood and death and dark, dark earth that sticks to your shoes because it’s so moist and rich. It’s a huge, tangled up, complicated mess of so many things, and I don’t know how to pick and choose which things I talk about.

So yes, sometimes my stories are messy.

-Annie

Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Spinner of Secrets {first birthday + giveaway}

This upcoming week is pretty incredibly busy for me.

On May 14th, Spinner of Secrets turns one year old.

On May 17th, I’ve been asked to present to three groups of elementary school students about writing as a career.

On May 19th, I’ll be at the Homeschoolers of Maine Used Curriculum Sale with my books, in the vendor expo hall.

To celebrate my book baby’s birthday, I’m hosting a really big giveaway!

I’m giving away one whole collection of my paperbacks!

I’m ALSO giving away one paperback copy of Spinner of Secrets!

For my international loves — how about an e-book copy of Spinner of Secrets? I can’t pay international shipping this time around, but I don’t want you left out. So I’m adding, open worldwide (so yes, this includes US residents) THREE e-book copies of Spinner of Secrets OR a lovely little prize pack that might… possibly… include an art print file…

… that might look like this.

There are five potential winners for this giveaway!!

Here’s the Rafflecopter Dude:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

-Annie

Iron Core {review and author interview}

Rebekah is a dear friend of mine in South America. We actually met over a year in a teen writer’s group on Facebook, when she asked for someone “who knows stuff about snow” to beta read a project for her. Wellll, if there’s something I know about… it’s snow. And the rest, as they say, is history. 
Her newest story, Iron Core, had me in tears. I’m here to share the misery enchant you with this wonderfully heartbreaking story. I fell in love with Lunetta’s story and I’m dying for more, whenever Miss DeVall decides to stop torturing me and let me have it. (In her defense, I do think she has to finish writing it first.)
See this pretty cover? Hehe

{Iron Core Blurb}
Everything will be okay. 
Deep in Brancaleone, a prison carved from the mountainside, eighteen-year-old Lunetta plans her escape. Raised behind iron bars, all she wants is freedom – and to take her mother with her.


{Author Bio}
Rebekah DeVall prides herself on being the girl who wrote 200,000 words in 21 days. She’s a Christian author with a penchant for killing characters and a love for writing real female protagonists described as “the example of a Christian hero that young readers need to see”.  




{Contact Rebekah}

Blog: http://www.rebekahdevall.wordpress.com

{Author Interview}


You’re a missionary kid, stationed overseas. Did that contribute to the emotions and the overall story of Iron Core?

Yep, I’m a missionary kid, way deep down in South America. While Iron Core wasn’t a “missionary story” per se, some of Lunetta’s emotions and feelings definitely came from my missionary-kid heart.
Lunetta struggles with feelings of loneliness and missing her family. She has to experience the world entirely from scratch, without any previous knowledge. That’s kind of what we missionary kids go through during furloughs (which is coming up close for my family!) I mean, what exactly are dimes and quarters? I’ve been working with South American money for all my life. How am I supposed to dress? I don’t know. I haven’t been in an American church since I was thirteen, and we all know how fashion-savvy thirteen-year-olds are.
So, long story short, there’s a whole lot more of me in Lunetta than I expected when I sat down to write this story.
You write deep, hard stories. Why? (Do you think it’s possible for you to write fluff?)

I write deep, hard stories because we live in a deep, hard world.
To be honest, I’ve never been the kind of girl who was satisfied with sweet romances and children’s fiction. I grew up on War and Peace, Shakespeare, Anne of Green Gables (wow that list looks strange), Little House on the Prairie.
I grew up in a house where one night, the living room would hold my dad and a couple there for marriage counseling. The next day, a young woman pregnant out of wedlock. The next day, we would pack up and travel three or four hours to a church, to meet with people who walked miles and waded through rivers just to hear God’s Word.
There’s so much going on in this world, and I feel like standard Christian fiction brushes no more than the surface.
Is it possible for me to write fluff? I think so. I mean, all things are possible. I’ll let you know the day that happens. 😉
What’s it like, being a writer in a missionary family? What are a couple challenges you face every day?

I don’t think I have many challenges that other writers in big families don’t. There’s always the issue of scheduling – when there’s a weekend trip, two basketball games, piano classes, Bible Institute lessons, English class, six kids in homeschool – there’s always a lot going on.
One of the challenges I’ve faced is the fact that I’m generally an antisocial person. I’m happiest when I’m at my desk with my headphones in, my music playing, and fingers tapping across the keyboard. But as a missionary family, we’re here to serve people. So it’s always a struggle – to write or socialize?
What do you do in addition to writing and making me cry a lot?

Oh, man, you have asked the million dollar question.
I have seven little siblings. Not a day goes by that I don’t:

  • Drive someone somewhere
  • Tie some little person’s shoelaces
  • Fix their hair
  • Break up a squabble
  • An infinity of other things
I’m also a part-time Bible Institute student, which is where I find a lot of inspiration for my stories.
On top of that, I have a part-time job in a cheese factory. Want gruesome details about how Gouda cheese is made? I’m your girl.
Add that to writing (and making poor Annie cry), and I’m busy enough.
How many stories do you have up your sleeves?

Good thing I’m wearing two layers of sleeves!
On the “to-be-published-this-year”, there are at least eight, if I’m not forgetting any.
Now, on my “plot-bunny-will-be-published-someday” list? Thousands.

{My review}


5 stars

She did it again. Rebekah DeVall did it again. Iron Core has more of the gripping emotion I’ve come to love in her writing, wrapped in a fresh story and bright new characters. Iron Core is intense, for all the brevity of the story. She seems to make one sentence do the work of two. Lunetta is a dear who needs to be loved and taken care of, but she doesn’t seem to allow for that. Persa… Carlotta… ZANE, who I definitely don’t have a tiny crush on. I love the characters. They’re tangible and I can feel the threads of their own histories that make them into the individuals they are, even in such a short little book. 

Recommend for teens 14+

Seventh Born {review and giveaway}


 



Having seven sons is a honor above no other. Which is why she is a disappointment. The only girl of seven children, she brought shame to her family. 

I’m here today to squeal loudly about one of the most incredible books I’ve read this year. Read on for more information about the author, the book, and even an excerpt from the book!


{about the book}

In a world where seventh born sons are valued for their strength and power, she is born a daughter.
Zezilia Ilar is the disappointment. Born after six brothers, she was supposed to be the son to restore her family’s prestige. She intends to remedy her shortcomings by being a dutiful daughter, marrying well and producing children, preferably a set of seven sons. But when someone offers her an alternative, she begins to dream of more.
In a society that worships a goddess, he follows the Almighty.
Hadrian Aleron, as a seventh son of a seventh son, stands to take up the second highest position in government, Sept Son. His main qualification for office is his birth. Despite preparing for this role from childhood, he does not desire what is to come. As a follower of the Almighty, he knows he will be the target of many, and his faith might eventually lead to death.


            Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Z2PPJL
            Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/seventh-born-2
            Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seventh-born-rachel-rossano/1128018000

{about the author} 

Rachel Rossano lives with her husband and three children in the northeastern part of the United States. Homeschooled through high school, she began writing her early teens. She didn’t become serious about pursuing a career as an author until after she had graduated from college and happily married. Then the children came.

Now she spends her days being a wife, mother, teacher, and household manager. Her evenings and free moments are devoted to her other loves, writing and book cover design. Drawing on a lifelong fascination with reading and history, she spends hours creating historical feeling fantasy worlds and populating them with characters who live and breathe on the page.





{follow Rachel}

Newsletter Sign Up – http://eepurl.com/4sbsv

{giveaway}


Rachel is giving away an eBook of her book. You can enter here. Your odds of winning increase with every person you refer so spread the word!




{my review}

Oooooooookay so now for the fun stuff.

This was stunning. BUT I ALMOST THREW MY TABLET WHEN I GOT TO THE END. I NEED THE SEQUEL, PLEASE. The ending was fantastic and I’m somewhat cross because I’m not ready to leave the characters yet and there will be a sequel but that doesn’t help at the moment.

I loved the characters. I knew them from the first few pages. They’re old friends that some part of me seemed to know from a long time ago, though that’s logically impossible. Zezilia and I would be great friends, I think, though I’m terrible at climbing trees. Hadrian… oh, he’s beautiful. And stressed. I think he needs a dog that requires daily walks. That would help him a lot.

As I was reading, I kept wanting to pull one or another of the characters aside and ask them a question. Or point out something. Or just hold their hand. Cuz life’s hard and I get it and so do they.

This is fantasy, my dears. This is perfection. And just LOOK at the cover. And the blurb. And the premise. And everything. 

I promise I don’t just love it because I’m the only girl in five boys. 

Characters: they’re incredible. I love them to pieces and it was love at first paragraph. They’re unapologetically people.

Setting: Ms. Rossano knows words. She knows how to make them do the thing where they line up and make pretty pictures. It’s like Dominoes but with less things falling over in the process. I felt as if I lived there. I belonged to the place, because the place was alive and living things belong to living places. 

Pacing: Um. I read it. I just sat and read and read and read and read and read. And I may have cried when I had to stop reading and go make supper. The pacing was engaging and active but not so fast you got lost. 

Theme: Again, Ms. Rossano knows words. She knows what she’s doing and what she wants to say, and she says it, and it’s as simple and as complicated as that. 

5/5, highly recommend for 14+.

Will be anxiously waiting for the sequel. Will probably have to get a paperback because it’s so absolutely delicious and amazing. 




{tour schedule}


April 9
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory post
Just A Glimpse – Guest Post

April 10
Rachel John Writes– Book Review
Annie Louise Twitchell – Book Review
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight       

April 11
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Character Spotlight     

April 12
Rebekah Lyn Books – Book Spotlight
Frances Hoelsema – Book Spotlight
Hunting for Truth – Book Review and Guest Post

April 13
Reading On The Edge – Book Spotlight          
Ember’s Reviews – Book Review
With a Joyful Noise – Character Spotlight

April 14
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway winner



{excerpt} 

A humid haze filled the air, smothering my ability to breathe. Stale air filled my senses as I focused on the temperature outside the windows. Sunlight, bright and hot, flooded the world, painting the grass brown and wilting the plants. Only the trees, tall and strong, seemed unaffected by its blistering gaze.
A tentative trace of plum, cool and sweet, touched my tongue. It beckoned me to linger on the taste, much pleasanter than the oven beyond the windows.  I pushed the thought away and continued to admire the trees as they stood motionless in the nonexistent wind.
“Well done,” Errol commented from his place behind his desk. Considering the topic of study, he had allowed a temporary lifting of the no talking ban. “You can release the image now.” He closed the book as I slowly withdrew my focus from the heat. “You have now mastered the ability to block Thought-leading with Image-fixation. Well done.” He scribbled something in his notebook before setting it aside.
“Now let us try shutting out completely. This will be your first line of defense. Image-fixation, Mental-blocks, and Safety-zones are all tools for when they have gotten through your defenses, which are Walling, Sealing, and Shuttering.”
“And these are all defensive forms against interrogation?” I asked to make sure I was clear of what to use when.
“Correct.” Errol readjusted himself in his seat. “Walling is a defensive measure that Talents in precarious positions use at all times. Within their thoughts, they build a wall around certain topics. For example, a Talent who is undercover among other Talents must wall off all topics, facts, and ideas that are not in keeping with his persona. By doing so, he protects them from detection by a mind brush, random thought exchange, or sending.”
“So the Sept Son must use this.”
“Constantly,” Errol agreed. “Now choose a thought that you do not want me to access.”
Choosing the image of Selwyn watching Candra hammer a nail, I carefully built a mental stone wall around it.
“Ready?” Errol asked.
I nodded. Instantly, plum filled my taste buds. I watched with interest as he skimmed my thoughts, nudging gently at some, while completely avoiding others. Then suddenly he was at the wall.





I highly recommend getting your hands on this book, my dears. Thanks so much for hanging out! 
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