Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interview with Shantelle Harnu

You guys know me. If anyone so much as breathes a hint of "Fairy tale retelling" I rush to the front and demand my copy. So, when a new friend of mine announced that she's holding a blog tour for her new Christian, non-magical retelling of Cinderella (but, alas, I said new friend. Not Kiri Liz ... so it's not Secret of the Hazel Tree, which, when it releases, I will rave about for months, tell everyone to get a copy and rave about it for at least a week, and buy a (physical!) copy for myself to put on my shelf next to my Elsie Dinsmore books and sigh dreamily because it's that awesome. Anyways.)

This friend's name is Shanelle Harnu, and I haven't read the book yet - but still, I'm going to help promote, because she's also a first-time author, and I've been there, and I'm going to help her. Book, by the way, is titled Dream Not Imagined, which is pretty (And a break from all of the "of" titles I've been seeing on Cinderella retellings this year: Secret of the Hazel Tree, Wish Made of Glass, Merchant of Menace ... wait, that one's not this year ...)

About the Book

A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret...

     Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

     But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream...of the same prince.

     In the end, are dreams even all they're made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

About the Author

     Shantelle Mary Hannu was born in the mountainous west, spending her golden childhood years there. Since then, she has relocated time and again with her parents and seven siblings, making cherished memories in both the South and Central United States.
     A Christian homeschool graduate, Shantelle has a passion for writing and all things books. From a young age she’s been penning tales with a hope of sharing with the world adventurous and soul-stirring stories that bring glory to God.
     A Dream Not Imagined, a fairytale novella, is her first published book. She’s currently preparing a full-length fantasy novel for publication as well, and working on its sequel.
     Shantelle blogs at A Writer’s Heart: about her stories, favorite books and movies (with reviews), healthy wheat-free recipes, and hosts fellow authors, among other things. One of her joys is connecting with fellow writers and readers! You can also find her on:

Twitter: @shantellemary

Google+: Shantelle H. 

Pinterest: Shantelle H. 

1. Welcome to Knitted By God's Plan! Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Thank you for having me!! I’m a Christian homeschool graduate, eighteen years old, who has a great love for all things books! :D I currently live with my parents and seven siblings. And I’ve just begun my journey into indie-publishing!

2. Your book A Dream Not Imagined, is a retelling of Cinderella. Can you tell me what inspired you undertake a retelling?

There’s just something intriguing, deep, and mystical about fairy tales . . . I absolutely love them. And I love reading retellings and seeing how each one is different and unique. So yes. I’d just love to write a retelling for each fairy tale! :D (Or at least the most popular ones!) Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl launched a Cinderella-retelling writing contest like two years ago, and that’s what started me writing retellings!

3. Heh, heh, my own CinderEddy was written for that contest, though I didn't finish it in time to enter. What would you say are the essential elements of a Cinderella retelling?

Hmm, well I think there needs to be a mistreated maid as well as the stepmother and stepsisters. I’d say there should be a ball as well, or at least some type of dance! For my own retelling, I kept many of the little themes of Cinderella, but changed a bit here and there—especially since it’s a non-magical retelling!

4. Introduce us to a character from your book!

Dezmarie Abbington is a snooty, auburn-haired young woman. She puts great stock in beauty; and that’s one of the biggest reasons she can’t stand her maid stepsister, Ellie—who’s quite lovely with sunny-blonde hair and blue eyes. Read an interview of Dezmarie and her sister Adelaide here:

5. What is your favorite Fairy Tale?

Ah, so hard to choose!! But I’d have to say either The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rapunzel, or The Little Mermaid. Dancing, mermaids, and long golden hair . . . it’s all such fun! ;D

6. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:4

“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

7. What are three books that you would recommend to anyone?

·         Ilyon Chronicles (Half-Blood, Resistance, The King’s Scrolls, Samara’s Peril) by Jaye L. Knight

·         Books of the Infinite (Prophet, Judge, King) by R.J. Larson

·         Hebbros by Nicole Sager

Sorry, that was kind of more than three books . . . I just couldn’t help it! It’s almost the same thing, hehe. Anyway, those are some books that I found clean, deeply touching, and not too violent or gruesome. They’re all fantasy (what can I say? I love fantasy!! *grins*) but these are actually all non-magical . . . for people who aren’t comfortable with magical worlds. So yeah, I think I’d recommend those three to pretty much anyone! :)

Series totally count as one book - don't worry, I stretch this rule all the time myself.

So, what do you guys think of this book? Of fairy tale retellings in general, non-magical or otherwise? Personally, I find certain fairy tales annoying when you take out the magic (say, "Beauty and the Beast" or "Sleeping Beauty") but with Cinderella, I like it. In fact, most of my favorite Cinderella retellings are without magic (The exception being Ella Enchanted, but its core message is less magic is better, so maybe that counts?). In Fact, both my own CinderEddy, and the appearance of Cinderella that I have planned for Bookania are non-magical. (Actually, it's a joint effort of Robin and Meg that is the "Fairy Godmother" in that book, it's adorable, can't wait to write it.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Thingishness, Water, and Fire

Greetings, peoples of the internet. Sorry I've been a bit absent this month. I've been busy with work and all things editing related.

First of all - if you look at my sidebar, you'll see two new features - a countdown timer until the release of Water Princess, Fire Prince (as much for me as for anyone else, because I'm notorious for loosing track of time) and a wordcount bar for book 2. As you can see, I'm not far in ... mostly because I randomly decided to start the story over (again) a few weeks ago. It's been brilliant, but word chipping isn't always the greatest bit of fun (especially when my mind is in editing mode.)

Second of all - I drew a map last night!

Not the most glorious thing in the world, certainly not on the level of Middle Earth ... but it's the general layout of Klarand, so far as I'm aware, and I like it. Now to just figure out how to get it IN the book!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

How I discovered Ilyon Also: Cover reveal!

This month, one of my favorite books, Resistance by Jaye L. Knight, has had its it's first anniversary of publication - and so Jaye is having a party. (And three wants to come. So three takes five and ... Okay ... blast from my childhood right there. Points to anyone who has ANY idea where that comes from.)

Anyways, part of the celebration is that we can write up posts about how we discovered Ilyon and became die-hard fans. I'll admit that I originally wasn't going to participate in this part of it ... not because I didn't want to, but because I thought I'd already posted it on one of the cover reveals.

But then when I went to hunt it down so I could give it to Jaye ... it turned out that I hadn't put a discovery explanation on either cover reveal - but on my review of the Makilien Trilogy before Ilyon was published, before she was officially Jaye instead of Molly.

My bad. I'll correct that now.

My story begins with the fact that I, myself, am an author. Have been for three and a half years now (Gasp! Has it really been that long?)

Well, about Christmastime directly following the publication of my first book, Amazon released a new promotion gimmick - KDP select. Basically, I told Amazon that I'd only distribute ebooks through them, and in exchange, they'd allow me to have my books for free five days out of every three months. (There's more to it than that, but that's the gist of it.)

So I regularly took advantage of it, since I was eager to get Sew, It's a Quest into the hands of all it's potential adoring fans. Directly following a free spin I would (1) check Goodreads to see who had added it and how eagerly they were reading it and (2) check the list of "Customers who bought books by this author also bought books by these people" in hopes that there were awesome books there that were free and I could read. (And review on my O.Scarlett blog)

Well, one day following one such free spin, I checked said list and saw a "Molly Evangeline." Not the most eye-catching name, I'll admit, but you see, I'd been following a photography blog called "Evangeline" and it'd recently dropped off the internet - so I clicked through in some vain hope that it was the same Evangeline. (My logic is weird, what can I say.)

Not the same Evangeline, but I was confronted but a collection of GORGEOUS COVERS, and a selection of books in CHRISTIAN FANTASY and CHRISTIAN HISTORICAL FICTION, two of my favorite genres.

Alas, the books were not free, and this was before my days of a disposable income. So I added her blog to my google reader and kinda forgot about them.

Several months later, she posted a plea for reviewers. I was a reviewer - I had a blog dedicated to self-published books, after all, so faster than you can say "Free books" I shot her an email asking to read Truth.

I loved it. Perhaps I didn't quite connect with the main character, but the world had captured me, and I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened next.

So naturally, I shot her another email asking for the next book. (She'd said I could do this. I wasn't being presumptuous ...) I devoured Courage, though I was a bit disappointed with the plot that seemed to be just a repetition of the previous book. But THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING!!!!! Alas, the last book was still being edited, so I read The Pirate Daughter's Promise to tide me over in my wait.

Thanks to Swagbucks, I had a tiny bit of amazon money when the publication of said third book rolled around - and she had it on a initial 99 cent sale. I snatched it up IMMEDIATELY and had it consumed within twenty-four hours - a first for me.

And then I was sad because no more Makilien books.

I had a dance of apprehension when she announced the Ilyon Chronicles. On one hand, NEW BOOKS BY MOLLY, but on the other NOT DOLLENAR! I loved the world of Dollenar, and wanted to spend more time there. (Yes, I was very happy when she published "Captivated," such a sweet little story that I'd considered writing fanfiction about)

So I watched her steadily work on this new series, meanwhile I read Makilien a second time (a first for me. I never reread) and had a personal fangirl party over at my blog (which is when I wrote my "how I discovered Makilien stuff"), and managed to squeeze a sneak peak out of her during an interview.

And then, as I was sitting on the edge of my seat, scanning down her pinterest page drooling over all the gorgeous pins on her Ilyon boards (and perhaps stealing some of them for my own boards...) she shot me an email asking me if I wanted to take part in the cover reveal/blog tour/READ A PRERELEASE ARC.

Did I turn her down? Ha ha - NO!!!

Did I have any need to be apprehensive? Ha ha - NO!!!!

(And for the record, her Crete culture is on my list of "societies I would gladly go join if I could.")

Also, this month, she's doing a cover reveal for a prequel novella about the hero, Jace, and the terrible life he's lead. I was supposed to post this two days ago ... but my creativity has been drained by work and fully absorbed by Water Princess, Fire Prince, and I've falling off the blogging ball. So .... since she gave me a readymade HTML thingie, I'm going to let her take over from here.

Check out the cover of Jaye L. Knight’s upcoming novella, Half-Blood, and learn about this prequel story to Ilyon Chronicles! Make sure you also enter the giveaway at the bottom!
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]
About the Book 
The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place. 
For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed. 
Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery? 
See where Jace’s story all began . . . 
Coming This Summer 

About the Author 
JayeAuthorPhotoJaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. 
You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter
As part of a month long celebration for the one year publication anniversary of Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles - Book 1), Jaye is giving away several fun prizes! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Character Encounters - May 2015

And you guys just thought I'd changed my mind and decided not to do this after all ...

Actually, I just was having sticky internet issues, and couldn't get inlinkz to pull up so I could put together the link-up, and I also had to find the brain power and energy to do it, because works been sapping all of mine, and what little I have left has been given to the editing of Water Princess, Fire Prince. Speaking of which, I just posted the sign-up for the cover reveal, which will occur June 19th, just hop over here and fill it out.

My cousin Benjamin's doing the cover art - he's the son of the cousin who did the Bookanias, and helped with Kingdom's. He went to college for this sort of thing, and he's already sent me a mock. Let me tell you this: This is going to be my best cover yet.

But that's not what you came here to hear about (though we can all agree that it's great news), you came to learn where you'll be encountering your characters.

Sooooo ... I guess I'll tell you. This month, you get to meet your character at the ...


as suggested by Jenelle Schmidt. This is a location that'd been rolling around in the back of my head, but I'd never thought about it when the time came to actually posting. And, yes, I'm deviating from the theme I set before us at the beginning of the year. It was just too difficult to write fanfiction and a Character at the same time. I chose it because it works well with the character I'm planning to encounter (yes, yes, I know, technically cheating, but I'm the one who designs these, not you - start your own link-up.)

So meet your character at a playground, be it a large, complicated one that takes up a full acre, or a the small swing-set and slide thing in your church's backyard. (Or your backyard, if you're scraping for ideas, though I'd prefer it if you're at a more public place.)

Also, for bonus points (though what the points are for, I can't pretend to say), I was kinda leaning towards the train suggestion, so if there's a train involved in your encounter, I'll be very amused. Just sayin'

Oh, and it came to my attention last month that (a) most of the participants are new to the whole encountering business and (b) I haven't been as on the ball as I was originally, when I would post my encounter the day of, or at least within a few days of posting the link-up, and therefore (c) you don't know that there is a certain way that I like to see the links entered. (Not that this is a set in stone rule, but I'm slightly OCD about this sort of thing.) Basically, the format for the "Name" blank on the link up is as follows: Your name - Your character's name. That's because I want to see what character you encountered. So, go forth and encounter!

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