Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway with Jennifer Hartz

Another favorite author of mine is here for a visit! Jennifer Hartz is the author of the Future Savior series. You can read my reviews of the first 3 books here. The fourth book is set to release on December 1st (Eeep!) I've been looking forward to it for months now and can't wait to get back to the land of Meric with Christina and Shaw and... Oh, I'll stop now before I go crazy telling you all how much I love these books :) Enjoy the interview!

Hey Jenn! Thanks for being with us today. For those who have not yet heard of you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Hey Crystal! Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Gosh, some stuff about me… but I'm boring! That's why I write fantasy stories… gotta spice up my normal life! LOL! Seriously though, I'm a wife and a mommy of a wonderful little boy. Up until recently I was working as a teacher, but I've decided to stay home with my son and work on my writing… and praying God will provide!

I love Jesus so much because He knows that I am not perfect and I mess up a whole lot! That's why He came, for all us lovely mess ups! I also love Speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal… anything a little weird) and if you can get me a really great Speculative/Christian/Romance, well I'm one happy camper!

What writing projects have you been working on since you were last here in February? 
Future Savior Book 4: Desecration!!! The continuing saga in everyone's favorite land of Meric will continue on December 1st. My editor just finished her first round of edits and is freaking out over FS4... which is always a great feeling! I must say, FS4 has been the most fun to write in the entire series. I can't wait for everyone to check it out.

I also signed a new 4 book deal for a YA Paranormal series called, Heroes of the Horde. The first book, Unleashed, will be released on May 1st.

I finished writing a Middle Grade novel called The Ghost Runner. I am currently querying this project... I hate querying!

AND... as if everything above was enough... I just started work on a new novel Paranormal Romance. The working title for this project is Hunter's Fury. This one could be classified as a New Adult story because the main character is 21 years old.

Wow there's so much to look forward to from you! Can't wait to check them out. What was your inspiration for the Future Savior series?
The obvious books that inspired The Future Savior Series are The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. As much as I loved these epic fantasies, I must say that they were lacking in the "epic romance" category. So, I took what I loved from epic fantasy tales, added some MAJOR romance, sprinkled in some sci-fi, and just a touch of "fish out of water tale" to get The Future Savior Series.

Describe the FS series in 3 words.
Adventure. Love. Faith.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I can't say I'd change anything in FS4, but if I could go back and do something different in FS3: Evacuation I would. There would be no changes to the plot, but I would make that book a little longer. I had a difficult time with FS3 because I was going through some really tough personal stuff... it killed my desire to write. If I could write FS3 now, I know it would be longer.

If you weren't an author, what would your dream job be?
Hmmm... writing has always been my dream job since I was young. If I had to pick something else, I'd have to say acting. I always enjoyed drama. I did a lot of drama in high school and college.

What's the fastest you've ever written a book?
I wrote The Ghost Runner in about one month, but that one was pretty short since it's Middle Grade. Usually, it takes me several months because I have to really envision the next scene. I picture every possibility of a scene in my head, how the characters would react, etc, before I write it out.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, but life took me into some crazy directions first. So I didn't start writing until I was thirty.

Name your favorite... 
Book: I refuse to pick just one!!! Top 5 (in no particular order) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, The Hunger Games by Susan Collins, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren, The Stand by Stephen King
Movie: Again I refuse to pick one! Top 5 (in no particular order) The Goonies, Under the Tuscan Sun, The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, The Avengers
TV Show: All right, I won't do Top 5 this time... how about Top 3! Friends, Supernatural, The Office
Song: I can't do just songs... How about Top 5 bands! U2, Pearl Jam, Muse, Manic Drive, Counting Crows
Writing spot: On my couch

Anything else you'd like to add? Where can readers find you on the web?
We're giving away an autographed copy of Future Savior Book 1: Conception, right? Why not have a little taste of Conception right now! But before you read the excerpt, be sure to find me on the web at these following locations:

Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz
The Future Savior Series on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheFutureSaviorSeries
Me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.hartz.71

Future Savior One: Conception (excerpt) 

Shaw stepped between the beasts and the men. The Vaipes must have been stunned by his utter lack of fear, or perhaps even these devilish beasts were familiar with the legendary Shaw, either way, they all took a step back. 
Shaw faced me and the frightened men. His incredible pale blue eyes narrowed, and burned with such intensity they were nearly silver. “Stay back. I can handle this.” 
A brilliant flash of lighting framed his perfect physique in an illuminating beauty. A resounding crack of thunder pounded the air, and I jumped. How did the storm happen upon us so quickly? 
The five men backpedaled until they were behind me. Then Shaw spun to face the beasts. He tossed his bow and arrows off to the side and ripped out his long sword from its sheath. Neither Shaw nor the Vaipes attempted to strike. They assessed each other, trying to ascertain a weakness, I supposed. The Vaipes on either end of the pack were trying to slowly loop around behind Shaw and surround him. This was the scene from my premonition! The lightning and thunder continued. Shaw’s muscles tensed. He prepared to attack. Looking around me quickly I realized that the five men were gone. I stood back myself, watching Shaw, not knowing what to do. I had my sword raised, but I had no clue how to help him. Apparently he didn’t need my help. 
He pounced with alarming speed. The spin move he performed was so quick, so strong, so devastating that when he completed the one-hundred and eighty degree turn that took less than a matter of seconds he had killed seven of the Vaipes. 
He faced me now and the fierce, deep concentration in his face astounded me. He attacked Vaipe after Vaipe, and the beasts continued to fall before him. I couldn’t believe how swiftly and fluidly Shaw moved. He had pulled out his smaller sword now and assailed the creatures two at a time. 
Shaw truly had to be the greatest warrior in all of Meric. None of the Vaipes even came close to him. He just spun, ducked, thrashed, lunged, turned and twisted so effortlessly that it barely appeared he exerted any energy at all. 
When the last Vaipe lay dead, he walked toward me, wiping the blood and gore off his face. I stared, amazed by what he just accomplished. 
He looked me over, drawing the back of his hand across his cheek. “Are you alright?” It was a loaded question. Was I physically injured? Was I mentally scarred for life? I replayed the last few minutes in my head. I witnessed a man being eaten and Shaw slaying more than twenty Vaipes. The stuff of nightmares. 
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Even though I wanted my statement to sound brave, I couldn’t control the shakiness of my voice.
“You should go inside one of the houses,” Shaw reiterated. 
I was about remind him of my last answer to that suggestion when a Vaipe leapt at us from on top of the fence. I dropped my sword and tried to shove Shaw out of the way, but he was just out of my arms reach. My telekinetic powers kicked in again and I brushed Shaw off to the side with my left hand as easily as sweeping dust from a shelf. With my right hand, I held the Vaipe in midair. It looked at me with such hatred and rage that I couldn’t help but scoff ever so slightly. Then I thrust my right arm as hard as I could, throwing the Vaipe into the fence knocking the wind out of it. Grabbing my sword again, I ran to the dazed monster. I hesitated for just one second, wondering if it was right to kill something that was knocked unconscious, when its eyes snapped open and it snarled at me, bracing for attack. The instinct to protect myself outweighed my moral debate, and I slashed it straight through heart. 
I turned back to Shaw, breathing hard. He stared at me with raised eyebrows and a slightly open mouth.
I smiled. “How can I go inside a house when clearly you need my help.” Shaw snorted a laugh. “Clearly.” He gathered up his bow and nodded for me to follow…


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Thanks so much for the interview, Jennifer! It was awesome having you stop by :D 

Ok guys now it's time for.... 

A Giveaway!

The first book in the Future Savior series is coming out in print sometime this month, and Jennifer has offered to give away a SIGNED copy! **doing a happy dance** 
Enter using the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open to the US only and will run until next Friday, October 19.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 8, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway with Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I'm so excited to have a new favorite author of mine here on the blog! Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. If you haven't checked it out yet, you really are missing out on a wonderful series. I'll be posting my reviews of Heartless and Moonblood soon, so keep an eye out for those! There'll be a lot more gushing about these books :D Now carry on and enjoy the interview!

Thank you for being with us today, Anne! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hello! I am Anne Elisabeth, a lover of Fairy Tales, cats, Sri Lankan teas, classical piano, fuzzy socks, and old literature.

I am the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, fantasy novels written in the Classic Fairy Tale style. My debut novel, Heartless, won the 2011 Christy Award for Debut Novel and was an INSPY Award finalist. My sophomore novel, Veiled Rose, won the 2012 Christy Award for Visionary Novel and was a Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year finalist . . . so it's been a busy couple of years!

I live with my handsome husband in a little house on a hill in North Carolina, where we enjoy gardening and music, fine tea and pastries, and lots of company.

What is Starflower about?

Starflower tells the story of self-centered immortal poet Eanrin and the mortal girl he finds trapped in an enchanted sleep deep in the magical Wood Between. Against his better judgment, Eanrin chooses to wake the girl . . . and finds himself caught up in an adventure far more dangerous than he ever imagined!

Sounds like an interesting tale! What appeals to you most about writing fiction?

Storytelling is in my blood. I come from a family of storytellers, so it is as natural to me as breathing to create a tale. Novel-writing suits me far better than short stories too, since it gives me so much room to flesh out all the various characters and threads!

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?

I'm an utter crazy cat lady. Die-hard, in fact. I rescue wild kittens out of my neighborhood, tame them, and find them homes. For a few days this last summer, we had more than twelve cats in our little house at one time! I've got traps set even now to catch two more kittens, who will then be cleaned up, loved on, and found permanent homes. That's right. Crazy. Cat. Lady.

I can't eat cilantro. It tastes like soap. And since every gourmet cook in the galaxy lives to cook with cilantro, this definitely limits my gourmet dining experience. (But I mean . . . ick! Who wants to eat soap?)

Lol! I'm not too crazy about cilantro either. I'm mexican so it's kinda hard to avoid it in my family's cooking :D What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

I am a bookworm. I love YA fantasy novels! Diana Wynne Jones, Sir Terry Pratchett, Robin McKinley, Shannon Hale, Megan Whalen Turner . . . they are my favorites!

I also love to bake pastries, play classical piano, sing jazz standards, paint with acrylics, sketch, and take long, romantic walks with my adored husband.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

Oh, I'd fly. No doubt about it.

Name 3 things you can’t live without.

My husband, Rohan. He is my encourager and support in all things, my best friend, and my best source of amusement.

My Mummy. Though she lives across the country, we talk every day and are very close. She is my number one brainstorming partner, my confidant, and my other best friend.

KITTIES!!!!! (Told you. Crazycatlady)

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Rather more often than I like to admit, yes. I usually find the best way to clear it up is to read a book. Not just any book, though! I must read a book I love, a book that reminds me why I write. Anything by Terry Pratchett or Diana Wynne Jones usually does the trick.
I also like to sketch when I'm writer's blocked. Sketching taps into the non-verbal side of my creativity, giving my writing brain a break. Piano practice helps a bit as well, but sketching is more often what I turn to.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

Every time I hear from a fan who tells me how much one of my books has touched him/her, I feel so blessed and rewarded. I have developed some real friendships with many of these fans, from all walks of life and from all over the world. I love them all, those I hear from only once, and those I hear from once a week!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

In Starflower? I suppose not . . . I mean, every time I get to the very last read-through before it goes to print, I think to myself, "Dragons blast it! This is the worst piece of idiot writing anyone ever put to paper!" and I wish I could re-do the whole thing. But that's just fear talking. It's hard to let your baby go, sending it out into the world to readers, some of whom will love it, some of whom will hate it. But that doesn't mean it isn't ready to go.

Starflower was the book I was meant to write when I wrote it. I wouldn't write it that way now . . . but then, it also wouldn't be Starflower!

What was your favorite scene to write in Starflower?

I love the scene where Starflower gets awakened from her enchanted sleep . . . by an unexpected source! I had a lot of fun writing that, but I can't say more without giving anything away. :) I also really loved writing the climactic scenes between her and the villain. I have had this story in my head since I was seventeen years old, so finally writing it out and seeing it come alive on the page was a total thrill!

Can't wait to read it! What's next for you?

Come summer 2013, my fifth novel, Dragonwitch, will hit the shelves! Dragonwitch is another Tale of Goldstone Wood, and it is the closest thing to an "epic" fantasy I have written yet (the others I would call "fairy tale novels"). It was tremendously difficult to write but tremendously satisfying to finish, and I can hardly wait to share.

I am currently drafting Book 6 in the series, which will release Spring 2014. So, plenty more to come in Goldstone Wood.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? Where can readers find you on the web?

I love to hear from my readers! So please do find me on my blog (anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com) or on Facebook under my name, Anne Elisabeth Stengl (author).  You can also follow me on Twitter (AnneElisabeth Stengl), but I'm still learning the ropes of that one, so you'll have to bear with me . . .
Thank you for the fun interview, Anne! It was so great to have you here today :) I'm looking forward to reading Starflower!

* * *
A Giveaway! 


Anne Elisabeth was so very kind to offer a signed copy of Starflower to give away! How nice is that?! The giveaway is open internationally and you have until October 16th to enter.

*Note: The winner will have to wait a couple weeks to receive the book since Starflower doesn't release until November.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Cover Reveal: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


An Ancient Evil

Long ago, Etanun buried his sword in the depths of the Netherworld then vanished from all known history. One day, it is said, his heir will find the sword, and the Dragonwitch, firstborn of the Dragon King, will be finally slain.

A Desperate Hope

These stories are no more than nursery rhymes. In a world of cold reality, what room is left for fairy tales? Lady Leta of Aiven is pledged to marry a man she does not love . . . sleepless Lord Alistair struggles to unite the stubborn earls of the North Country . . . Mouse is lost, far from home, slaving as a kitchen drudge . . .

. . . and the reclusive Chronicler, keeping the records of Gaheris Castle, bears a secret so dangerous it could cost him his life and plunge the North Country into civil war.

An Impossible Journey

But when nursery rhymes begin to come horribly true, will these unlikely heroes find the strength they need to fulfill a prophecy of fire? For the Dragonwitch lives. And she has vowed vengeance on all who have wronged her.
______

Coming Summer 2013

Tales of Goldstone Wood

Timeless Fantasy that will keep you Spellbound!

(www.anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com)

* * *
I just got into this series a couple weeks ago and cannot get enough of it! We have quite a while to wait for the release of Dragonwitch, but at least Starflower(Book 4) is coming out very soon! It should hold us over until Summer 2013 :) 

What do you think of the cover? It's so different from the rest in the series, but I like it! Thanks to the Anne Elisabeth for letting me participate in the cover reveal!
 
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