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Friday Fun: Author Dee Ann Palmer Visits the Elfyverse!

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Folks, it is my pleasure to welcome author Dee Ann Palmer to the Elfyverse. She has two short stories in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, one being “Snowfall,” the other being “A Night to Remember.” Both are fun and heartwarming short stories that left me with a smile on my face…and maybe if I were a better singer, I might’ve even had a song in my heart, too.

Note that Dee Ann featured my guest blog earlier this week at both her website and her blog, something I truly appreciated.

So, take it away, Dee Ann!

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THE MOUNTAINS, A BLIZZARD, AND A SKI RESORT FOR EXQUISITE CHRISTMAS

Thirteen years ago, I completed my first romance novel in a writer’s workshop in the California mountains. Later, as a Public Health Nurse, I visited pregnant and parenting teens in those same mountains, becoming aware of how eagerly young men awaited the first snowfall because it meant they would have jobs. I’ve also been an avid follower of the Winter Olympics, and, trained in emergency medicine, interested in ski patrollers.

With those experiences in mind, it’s no wonder I selected the winter settings I did for my romances— “A Night to Remember” and “Snowfall.”

Here’s the opening to “A Night to Remember:”

It was the worst Christmas Eve Marlee had ever lived through. Providing she did live through it, she thought. People who longed for a white Christmas obviously didn’t expect it to come with a power outage and a blizzard like she was creeping along in in her old Nissan.

Squinting to see, she switched the heat to the front and rear windshields. If she didn’t reach her house soon, the wipers wouldn’t be able to cut through the ice forming there. The snow had thickened and the temperature had dropped in the last thirty minutes.

“You had to have a tree. Going out in a blizzard to get that puny thing in the backseat masquerading as a Christmas tree was moronic,” she scolded herself…

From “Snowfall:”

 As a senior ski patroller, Riley’s job is to check the safety of the ski runs.

Now, from her spot on the lift, a flash of red from the corner of her vision drew her gaze upward. A man in ski clothes and helmet stood at the top of the closed double black diamond run named Satan’s Domain, poised as if waiting for a starter to yell “Go!” He mimicked breaking through a gate, pushed hard with his poles, and, knees bent, leaned in to set a blistering competitor’s pace down the fall line.

“Hey, you!” Riley screamed, waving a pole as her anger flared.

Whoever he was, he had no right to be there. He must’ve hopped on the lift while she was handling heat and coffee. He was trespassing, but the resort would be liable if he was injured. She clicked on her radio and called down to security to see if he’d arrived at the bottom in one piece. No answer.

The skier seemed to know what he was doing, but she had to be sure he wasn’t hurt. That extremely difficult piste, or run, hadn’t been groomed…

The Exquisite Christmas e-book is now available at:

Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018F4ACSC

Barnes & Noble — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exquisite-christmas-victoria-adams/1123051071

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/exquisite-christmas

and coming soon to  iBooks and other retailers.

The paperback is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Christmas-Romance-Authors-Holiday/dp/1519495358/

About the Author

In every age, the heart loves, and Dee Ann Palmer’s twenty-seven published romances over the past years have reflected those eras in contemporary, historic and fantasy tales. Palmer is a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America’s PAN group. She’s married to her college sweetheart, and they live in beautiful southern California in easy reach of mountains, desert and beaches.

http://deeannpalmer.com

http://deeannpalmer.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeeAnnPalmer

http://www.twitter.com/RunnerDeeAnn

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Thank you again, Dee Ann! Please make sure to follow her on Twitter, and keep an eye on what she’s doing…she’s a fine writer, and always tells a compelling story.

Please Welcome Author Victoria Adams to the Elfyverse!

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Folks, today is the second in what I hope will be a three-day extravaganza of blog exchanges. Author Victoria Adams is visiting the Elfyverse, while I am visiting her blog to discuss my two stories in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, those being “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter.”

Why are Victoria and I doing a blog exchange? Well, she and I got to know each other because of the Exquisite Christmas anthology. She has a great story to lead off the anthology, one featuring a belly dancer, called “Christmas Knight.” And I hoped she’d not mind telling you more about this story, plus giving an excerpt to boot — and fortunately for me, she agreed.

So, take it away, Victoria!

Hi, I’m Victoria Adams and I’m excited to be here with the newly released anthology of Christmas stories — Exquisite Christmas.

In my story, “Christmas Knight,” Tamara is a belly dancer who is performing on a cruise ship.

Why did I pick a belly dancer? Because I’m a belly dancer. I’ve taken dance since I was in grade 3, but it was ballet way back then. After university, I taught dance in a Performing Arts school for many, many, MANY years.

A friend of mine visited Egypt and fell in love with Egypt and belly dance. She trained, studied and performed and eventually began to teach. I took classes and fell in love with the dance.

belly dancer

The above picture is not me. Belly dance doesn’t care how tall, small, skinny, not-skinny, young or old you are. You don’t have to leap through the air or do full splits on the ground. Yes, you do get to shake your butt – that’s called a shimmy.

Here’s a YouTube link on how to Shimmy – https://youtu.be/cZP0wxQJIfc

Every May, I and thousands of other belly dancers around the world participate in Shimmy Mob. The reason – to raise money for women and children’s shelters. It’s a fun day.

You don’t have to be a belly dancer to join in the day – here’s is the link if you want to check it out – http://www.shimmymob.com/

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An excerpt from the short story “Christmas Knight:”

Her body trembled. Tears tumbled from her eyes. Tamara plopped on the bench, lifted the handkerchief to her face and blew. “Oh!” She turned. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to use it. I’ll…get it cleaned.”

His mouth broke into a wide grin. His eyes sparkled like the stars above her. Tamara forgot her sadness and revelled in the joy of the moment.

“Question? Your hair was long and black this evening.” He slid his hand over her short, red hair.

She shrugged. “Wig.”

He lowered his gaze. “I was mesmerized by your dancing. The sensual way you moved. I felt it here.” He lifted his head and rested his hand on his chest. “It felt like you were dancing just for me.”

Tamara chuckled. “I almost was. The ship is only about a quarter full.” She bit her bottom lip. “I saw you when I was first on stage, getting my bearings. When I dance I can’t look at the audience. I pretend it’s just dress rehearsal and there’s no one watching me.”

“I was watching you.” He brushed his hand across her cheek. “And what do you mean, getting your bearings?”

Shifting in her seat, Tam leaned against the back and stretched out her legs. “I find the edges. You know, so I don’t misstep and fall off. I don’t want the audience to know how much of a klutz I really am.”

“I would catch you.” He stood, turned to face her, and held out his arms. “Let’s practise. You fall off the bench and I will catch you.”

Tammy slapped her hand against her mouth, giggled, and shook her head.

“No is the wrong answer.” He crossed his arms. “I’m doing my best knight in shining armour impress—” He glanced down at his suit. “Change that to, I’m here in my best Hugo Boss suit doing by my Sir Lancelot impression of a brave and noble knight, willing to rescue a damsel in distress. You have to fall, so I can catch you.” He thrust his arms out.

“Do it,” a voice from somewhere in her head shouted.

Digging up a moment of courage, Tam stood, climbed onto the bench, and turned to face her gallant knight-wannabe. She bit back a tsunami of nervous giggles, raised her arms, and moved them in an undulating, snake-light movement. Swerving her hips in a slow figure eight pattern, she rippled the muscles up and down her belly. She took two steps to the right then slightly turned to the left. She raised the back of her hand to her forehead and squealed in a perfect drama-queen voice, “Ooh. Catch me.” Then shifted her balance and allowed herself to fall.

His arms were strong as they pulled her close to his body. Inhaling the sensual aroma of his aftershave, she rested her head against his shoulder and let a wave of serenity wash over her.

His gaze met hers. “I feel at a moment such as this, we should be introduced. I’m S.C.”

“Tamara.”

“Hello, Tamara. Lovely name.”

“What does S.C. stand for? And are you going to put me down?”

“If I must.”

About Exquisite Christmas: When romance writers give love stories to the world, we do more than entertain – we share our hope for something better. These imaginative moments of happy-ever-after warm the soul and ripple outward. The world needs more love, and every bit helps.

We hope you enjoy this collection of heartwarming seasonal tales and delicious recipes by twenty-one Bestselling, Award-winning, and Multi-Published Authors from the international Exquisite Quills community: Victoria Adams, Rose Anderson, E. Ayers, Beverley Bateman, Lily Bishop, Barb Caffrey, Helena Fairfax, J.D. Faver, Jennifer Garcia, Romy Gemmell, Vonnie Hughs, Susan Jaymes, Gemma Juliana, Jean Lamb, Lyndi Lamont, Zanna Mackenzie, Janis Susan May, Dee Ann Palmer, Jane Leopold Quinn, Kaye Spencer, and M. S. Spencer.

Happy Holidays!

Amazon – Kindle or Print

Barnes and Noble – Print

iBookstore – Print

 

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Bio –

Author Bio – Victoria Adams, author of NA contemporary and contemporary romances was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Victoria lives in the country where she takes long walks on her quiet country road and in the summer tends her flower gardens and vegetable patch and in the winter dreams about them, while they are buried under two feet of snow. Her large farm house now holds only her cat, herself, her husband and a ghost.

Victoria Adams is the alternate pen name to another author – secret identity. She is indie published.

Published works

Dancing In Circles (Circles Trilogy book 1)

Circles Divided (Circles Trilogy book 2)

Circles Interlocked (Circles Trilogy book 3)

A Guy and A Girl

Red Tulip

Exquisite Christmas (anthology of Christmas Stories and recipes)

Where to find me

Blog – Victoria’s Pages of Romance – http://victoriaadams.blogspot.com

FaceBook – http://www.facebook.com/victoriaadams.romancewriter

Facebook Author Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Adams/244325918978641

FaceBook page – Books by Victoria Adams – http://www.facebook.com/CirclesTrilogy?ref=hl

Twitter – http://twitter.com/_VictoriaAdams

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101309354959026073738

Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Adams/e/B007DVKQVC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1434080349&sr=1-2-ent

Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/user/VictoriaAdams

Wix – http://victoriaadamsroroman.wix.com/romance-author

…and Today’s Blog Exchange Continues at Lyndi Lamont’s Site

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Folks, I hope you will not mind traveling today, as I am guesting at Lyndi Lamont’s blog for today’s “blog exchange.” (Lyndi is also known as Linda McLaughlin, and by either name is an excellent writer. Her site is LindaLyndi.com, and she has all sorts of interesting articles over there. Do make a note of it.)

ALittleElfyinBigTrouble_medI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the differences between writing a romance for teens — or at least stories that contain romance as an important element such as in my Elfyverse — and a more mature love. And as Lyndi and I both have stories in Exquisite Christmas, I decided to use examples drawn from the second of my stories there, “To Hunt the Hunter.”

So, you have Bruno and Sarah on the one hand. They are innocent, young, involved in their first (and only) serious romance, and are feeling their way. They don’t yet know what they want, but they do know they want something.

ExquisiteChristmasAd3(1)And then you have Marja and Tomas, the protagonists of “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter” (both included in Exquisite Christmas). They are not young. Marja in particular is not beautiful and does not care to be, even though she’s a shapeshifter so she obviously could be if she wished. Tomas is a telepathic mountain Troll, so he’s used to people lying to him and values someone who’s being truthful above all others.

After I put up a couple of excerpts (you need to go to Lyndi/Linda’s blog to check them out), I said this:

First, Bruno and Sarah are obviously young. This is their first and only serious relationship, and they are both respectful of one another and innocent, to boot. (They both like to think they’re not, of course. But that comes with the territory.)

Marja and Tomas, on the other hand, are not young. They have been in a serious relationship for quite some time and work well together. But there is genuine love there, and genuine understanding, besides – note that Tomas says, “Those other fools who passed on you do not matter anymore.” No male of any species would ever say that to a woman if he didn’t truly and deeply love her. And no woman would smile just for him (as Marja does, though I ended the excerpt before she smiled for the sake of brevity) after hearing something like that unless there was genuine love on her part as well.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy my guest blog over at Lyndi/Linda’s site. I know I enjoyed writing it — and I enjoyed having Lyndi here at the Elfyverse today as well. (I’m even hoping to coax her to come back in the New Year, so she can tell us more about what’s going on with her stories.)

Happy holidays, everyone — and do check out the Exquisite Christmas anthology as it’s a true “comfort book.”

My Guest Post about Writing Romance for Teens and Adults Is Up at Author Dee Ann Palmer’s Blog

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All apologies for the very lengthy title today, folks, but I wanted to make sure you all knew it — my guest post at author Dee Ann Palmer’s blog about writing romance for teens and adults is up!

In fact, she posted it at two sites — here, and here.

Here’s a brief taste of that:

The main difference I’ve found in writing romance in my novels AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, which features a teenage couple in Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly human teenage girlfriend, and the stories “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter” in Exquisite Christmas, is that teen characters don’t exactly know what it is that they want. Everything is ahead of them. They are experiencing love for the very first time, and aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing – or when they’re supposed to be doing it. Whereas adult characters know exactly what they are doing and why they’re doing it, but don’t always know if their wishes are going to be reciprocated.

Then I discussed my characters Bruno and Sarah from the Elfy duology (book 1 is AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, book 2 is A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE) as my teen representatives (Bruno assuredly would be considered a teenager in his culture), and my characters Marja and Tomas from the two stories “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter” that are included in the Exquisite Christmas anthology.

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So, if you are interested in reading the rest of my guest blog, please hop on over to either of Dee Ann Palmer’s sites and take a look. Then be sure to check out the Exquisite Christmas anthology, as there are quite a few heartwarming stories and recipes there to keep you amused well into the New Year!

And check this space…because in the New Year, Dee Ann will be stopping by and contributing a guest post of her own here at the Elfyverse. (And I, for one, can’t wait!)

A Wednesday Roundup

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Folks, today is Marketing for Romance Writers’ Retweet Day (#MFRWAuthor for short, on Twitter). And I usually have a post up long before this, to try to take advantage of that…as I need all the help I can get in order to spread the word about my writing.

ExquisiteChristmasAd3(1)That said, I also wanted to remind everyone that the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology is out. I have two stories in this anthology, both featuring shapeshifter (and woman of size) Marja, and her lover, Tomas — a telepathic mountain Troll. The anthology actually features twenty-one authors, and we all added holiday recipes to make the anthology just a little more festive…it’s only $2.99 as an e-book, and I’m sure that if you enjoy romance, you’ll enjoy this anthology.

As I said last week, we need hope and optimism. We need those things now more than ever, because so many of the things we see in the media are awful.

Romantic stories may not seem like much, when you put them against the problems in Chicago, or Baltimore, or in San Bernadino, or in Paris. They can’t take the pain away of innocent people getting killed for no reason, no. But they can remind us of what is good and right about life: Love. Family. Optimism. Hope. Faith. And much, much more.

I know that’s an awful lot to ask of a bunch of stories from twenty-one authors. But if you give us a chance, we might divert you from the problems in this world, and maybe even put a smile on your face in the process.

Sometimes, that’s all anyone can do.

Now, back to editing! (And maybe a wee bit of writing, too.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 9, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Check Out Sally Cronin’s Blog Today…and Other Observations

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Folks, before I forget, I wanted to let you know that author Sally Cronin featured my books A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE and AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE over at her popular and very busy blog, Smorgasbord Invitation, today. She has a series going called “Christmas Grotto,” where she points out books she thinks her readers might like — I couldn’t be happier that she did this. (Thank you so much, Sally!)

Now for the other observations.

This past week was frustrating for me on a personal level, because my computer was down. I was using my mother’s computer during off-hours, so I could maintain a web presence to a degree and also get a little editing done. (I couldn’t do heavy stuff, but at least I could do a little bit to keep myself from going stir-crazy.)

Fortunately, my computer was repaired on Friday afternoon by the good folks over at Milwaukee PC in Sturtevant. (Well, it technically might be Mount Pleasant. Either way.) It came in exactly at the price they told me it would — no surprises — and it got done a little faster than we’d hoped.

But my transitory personal frustration was dwarfed to near-insignificance when I found out about the latest mass shooting in the United States, this time in Southern California. (Since it is my policy not to identify  shooters in such events unless I feel them to be mentally deranged to such a degree they might be seen as pitiable figures, I will not be identifying the two known shooters here.) I don’t understand why anyone would shoot and kill fourteen people, wounding twenty-one others, at a holiday party.

There are hints, perhaps many of them, that this mass shooting was caused by people who may have been radicalized by elements of ISIL overseas. I can’t speak to that, but I will say that a shooting at such an innocuous place is scary — which, of course, is exactly what ISIL wants. (Why else take up such a stance in the first place?)

Which brings me back to two subjects — why I write, and why I think reading something funny right now might be in order.

Look. I write because I have stories to tell. (Not just in the Elfyverse, either, though certainly many of my stories have been or will be set there.) Plus, I like to make people laugh. I like to divert people for a little while, so they won’t think so much about their problems.

The two books Sally pointed out to her readers, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, are both funny urban fantasies with romance, some mysterious goings on, and some ghosts. (Hey, when I write a book, I put my all into it.) There’s a lot going on in the Elfy duology, but at its heart it’s a simple love story between two misunderstood teens — Bruno the Elfy, and Sarah his mostly-human girlfriend. They come together because they have common interests, because their minds call to one another — and only after that do their bodies start to call to one another, too.

That is my type of comfort book, which is probably why I wrote it in the first place. (Though trying to psychoanalyze yourself after the fact is an exercise doomed to failure, isn’t it?)

I know I’m proud of my Elfy duology, and I’m glad they are both out there for people to read. I hope during this time of great stress in the world that maybe reading a funny book will help you feel a little better.

Because somehow, we need to remember that life contains good things, too. (Or as my late husband Michael used to put it — “Enjoy yourself, live your life — and spite the bastards.”)

The Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology Is Out!

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Folks, just a short and sweet blog-let today, to remind you that the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology is now available for purchase (link is here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018F4ACSC) .

Why should you care? Well, I have two stories in this anthology, both about Marja (an older woman of size, and a shapeshifter) and her lover and partner, Tomas — a telepathic mountain Troll. They are short, humorous paranormal romance fantasies (say that five times fast; I dare you), and I enjoyed writing them immensely.

The other authors in this anthology are all members of the Exquisite Quills writing community, which contains award-winning authors who’ve hit multiple bestseller lists. (I can hear the wags now — “So, Barb, why are you there, hm?” — as thus far, I’ve not hit any bestseller lists, nor have I won any awards as far as I know. Fortunately, the Exquisite Quills community welcomes all different sorts of authors, including relatively new ones like me.) So you should enjoy the anthology quite a bit, if you give it a chance…plus, we all included a holiday recipe as an added bonus.

(Mine, of course, was my late husband Michael’s famous shortbreads. I thought it appropriate.)

So, please, go check out the new anthology today — it’s available in both a dead-tree edition and as an e-book (the latter being priced at $2.99).

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 30, 2015 at 3:43 pm

New Book Review is up at SBR for Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s Worthy “Spiral Path”

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Folks, as most of you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, the past few weeks have been incredibly challenging. I had surgery two weeks ago, and while I’m slowly recovering, many things went by the wayside.

Including book reviews. Edits. Writing of any sort. And as of yet, I haven’t been medically cleared to resume performing on my musical instruments, either . . .

It’s because of this that I was sorely in need of constructive diversion. And as I’d been sent an ARC of the inestimable Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s third book in her ongoing Night Calls series several months ago, I did my best to first re-read the previous two books in this series (NIGHT CALLS and KINDRED RITES respectively), then read her newest, SPIRAL PATH, several times for good measure.

Along the way, the ARCs kept getting updated. Cover art was added. And the book was released earlier this week.

So even though I have other reviews pending at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always) that have been in the queue nearly as long as SPIRAL PATH, I didn’t hesitate to review Ms. Kimbriel’s newest book this evening. (Or, considering it’s 4:38 AM as I write this, maybe I should say “this morning” instead.)

Because it’s late (or early, depending on your mindset), I can’t recall right now if I’ve mentioned that I find Ms. Kimbriel’s books — all of them, but most particularly the Night Calls series — to be “comfort books.” That is, books that make you feel better about yourself, and about life in general; books that, no matter how terrible you feel, always help to cheer you up.

So I freely admit that I’ve read and re-read Ms. Kimbriel’s books many times since I first was introduced to her work in late 2012 with FIRES OF NUALA (reviewed in March of 2013 at SBR). Everything she writes is well-researched, has depth and purpose and feels like a real place with real and vital people doing really vital things . . . and it’s just as well that e-books don’t fray with age and use, or my advance reader copies of Ms. Kimbriel’s stories would’ve all frayed into disintegration by now.

Anyway, while I slowly take up my life again, and all of my various responsibilities, I’m very glad I was able to make some time to review SPIRAL PATH this evening/morning.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading my review as much as I enjoyed writing it, and that you’ll check out all of Ms. Kimbriel’s work without delay. (She’s having a sale right now on her first book in the Night Calls series, the not-so-coincidentally named NIGHT CALLS, if you’re interested . . . I know I picked up a spare copy, just to loan to other people later on, as I am not giving up my treasured ARCs for anything.)

———–

P.S. I wonder, sometimes, whether my late husband Michael got a chance to read any of Ms. Kimbriel’s work “the first time around” (that is, when her first five books were put out in the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s). I like to think so, because she’s exactly the type of author he’d have adored — and for much the same reasons as I do.

Book Discussion: “Schooled in Magic,” “Kindred Rites,” and More

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What makes a book interesting enough that you want to pick it up immediately and start reading? Or, for those of you who exclusively read e-books, what makes you willing to sit down and read the sample pages?

While no one’s quite sure of the answers to the above questions, one thing’s for certain: Books aren’t written in a vacuum, and it’s hard for them to gain traction if no one knows about them.

Even if you’re an author with a following, as is the case with Christopher G. “Chris” Nuttall, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, and Rosemary Edghill, it’s unclear what makes someone decide to read one of your books as opposed to another. Sure, there’s genre preference and all — some people just enjoy reading, say, fantasy-romances, and if your book falls into that category, you’re more likely to be read. But a book that’s so good that people are willing to fall all over themselves recommending it is rare . . . unless you’re a regular book reviewer, as I am.

Then, perhaps, it’s not so rare.

At any rate, Chris Nuttall’s newest novel is SCHOOLED IN MAGIC, the first in a series about Emily, a girl from our Earth who’s transported to another world and finds she can do magic . . . but only if she can get away from the necromancer who transported her there, first.

I’ve read SCHOOLED IN MAGIC and found it to be an interesting take on the old “fish out of water” tale . . . what Emily does in this brand-new world is often life-affirming, but she can’t help but make mistake after mistake due to being unfamiliar with this world and its environs. (Note that this new world is never named; it’s simply “the world.” That’s done for a reason, as the people of this world are decidedly backward by Earthly standards, being roughly at a feudal level.)

A sample chapter is available here for your perusal . . . if you like what you see, please follow the links from that page (there are many) and get yourself your own copy (’cause I’m not sharing mine).

I recently reviewed two of Rosemary Edghill’s books over at Shiny Book Review, IDEALITY: VENGEANCE OF MASKS and FAILURE OF MOONLIGHT. The former is a dark fantasy with elements of SF and horror (tough to quantify, very interesting to read, and extremely thought provoking), while the latter is a series of short stories about Ms. Edghill’s popular character Bast, a Wiccan detective who has only her wits and her faith to help her solve crimes. Bast is extremely intelligent, makes many witty asides, and can be exceedingly trenchant in her opinions . . . which is one of the reasons I enjoy reading about her so much.

FAILURE OF MOONLIGHT is one of those books that you just can’t stop thinking about once you’ve finished reading it. While the one-liners are great and well worth the price of admission, it’s Bast’s mind, thoughts and opinions that call me back again and again. Bast is moral, ethical, and principled, and while she mostly walks apart from others due to her Wiccan faith being profoundly misunderstood (even by other NeoPagans), she’s someone many people would want to befriend if they ever met someone like her outside of a story.

Best of all, if you enjoy these stories, there are three excellent novels about Bast available in BELL, BOOK AND MURDER. These, too, are well worth reading, and are books I return to again and again as I ponder various thoughts and wonder just how Bast managed to come up with the answers this time . . .

Finally, what can I say about the incomparable Katharine Eliska Kimbriel that I haven’t said before? Her work in both hard science fiction with her Chronicles of Nuala series and now in dark fantasy/frontier fantasy with her Night Calls series is outstanding; best of all, she’s currently working on the third book of the latter series even as I write this.

Her most recent release is KINDRED RITES, book two in the Night Calls series; I reviewed it over at SBR back in January. It features Alfreda “Allie” Sorensson. Allie is now thirteen, a burgeoning magician with unusually strong powers, and is studying with her Aunt Marta as she must learn self-control. Fortunately, Allie is a good-hearted young lady who has no wish to coerce others; she only wishes to live her life unmolested, and help others as need be.

In other hands, Allie could easily have turned into a Mary Sue-type of character. Instead, Ms. Kimbriel wisely shows Allie struggling with the things any young girl struggles with — boys. How other girls treat boys. Puberty (or at least the fact of it, as inexorable as the sun coming up in the morning). Learning her craft, which includes birthing babies, digging for herbs in foul weather, and many other unpleasant things . . . and dealing with the effects of magical “hangovers” when too much magic is expended, no doubt. (This is more sketched than shown, but is there nonetheless.)

And, of course, because Allie is so powerful, other people want to steal her away before she can fully come into her own, magical birthright.

In other words, there’s many practical elements to both of Allie’s stories, NIGHT CALLS and KINDRED RITES, plus many speculative elements, and both add immeasurably to the richness of these tales. Allie’s innate goodness is refreshing, while her natural curiosity and wisdom also appeal . . . in short, if you’re looking for YA fantasy done right, look no further than Katharine Eliska Kimbriel.

So there you have it — three fine works of fiction by three disparate writers, all different, each with something interesting and special to offer. I consider all of them “comfort books” for different reasons, and enjoyed them all immensely.

Your next assignment, Dear Reader, is to figure out which one you want to devour first . . . then have at.

Just Reviewed Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s “Kindred Rites” at SBR

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Folks, if you’re looking for an excellent young adult dark fantasy to read — one steeped in authenticity, that’s set in the 19th Century and is part of a subset of alternate histories now being called “frontier fiction” — you owe it to yourself to check out Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s KINDRED RITES, which I reviewed tonight over at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always).

Note that I enjoyed this book so much, I’ve reviewed it before the e-book edition is officially out.  I found it to be one of the best, life-affirming fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Alfreda “Allie” Sorensson is the best type of heroine — she depends on her wits as much as her magic, she’s caring and compassionate yet is also no-nonsense in her approach to life — and kids of all ages should love this novel.

KINDRED RITES is an excellent book to read on a cold, winter’s night . . . or any night. So go discover this impressive book for yourself just as soon as the e-book edition is available for sale, OK?

Best of all, I’ve been reliably informed by Ms. Kimbriel that book three in Allie’s series (now being called the “Night Calls” series after the first book of Allie’s tale, NIGHT CALLS) is underway.

I can’t wait.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm