IRON Launch Tour: Meet the Characters + Wrap-up

Welcome to the final post for IRON’s Launch Tour. A huge thank you to everyone who participated. Today, you will meet the characters and learn about what’s next for The Redwyn Chronicles…plus help decide a fairytale for an upcoming project in this series.

IRON released yesterday! Thanks to those who preordered, it made its way into the top 100 Christian fantasy books category! I wasn’t expecting that at all.

The ebook is still on sale at $0.99 for the next seven days, so if you’re an ebook person, get your copy now before the price is raised.


Meet Redwyn

Red is my feisty character. She swept in and claimed the story from day one. She’s suffered pain through the years, including losing her parents. This will really come into play in a later book.

I thought it would be fun to make her a detective, but for that, I had to learn how to think like a detective. So, to achieve that, I watched several Hallmark Mysteries and Suspense movies. (This is not a blanket recommendation for Hallmark. They have gone woke and nasty, but some of their older movies are good and do not include this wretched leftist agenda.)

A lot of readers ship her with Denton, and I dislike sinking ships, but I have bad news: that’s not who she ends up with.


Meet Carter

Carter was interesting to write. I didn’t really know his story until I returned to IRON in July 2022. He’s a horse-loving, attention-hating sweetheart with so much pain and too little trust. His character and spiritual arcs reminded me, as I wrote them, that while people will fail and hurt us, God never will.

I wanted Carter to be Red’s best friend. Their relationship is purely platonic, and even familial, which is not something I see much of in fantasy. Was it possible to change the story so they would end up together? Yes, but that wasn’t where I wanted IRON to go. Thus Carter was saddled with a crazy best friend who doesn’t know the meaning of patience and rest. It was fun watching their personalities clash.


Meet Chamonix

Pronounced Shaw-mah-nee, this quiet princess kind of just…happened. Her personality was clear from day one, and while I had to be creative about her issue (the weak lungs/asthma), she was fairly easy to write once I knew the logistics.

Chamonix’s original name was Eileen. But, after watching a Hallmark movie where the little girl’s name was Chamonix, I fell in love with the name and gave it to Veerham’s princess. It fits her much better than her former name.

I’ve always despised the heroines who, when the hero is being beaten up and injured, just scream and whimper and cower in a corner, useless and just aggravating. Chamonix is not a fighter, not like Red, but I wanted to illustrate how strength comes in many different forms. Chamonix received strength of character and faith, even if she can’t run very far without having an asthma attack. No whiny, worthless heroines in this book.

While my male characters are easiest to write, the females are the opposite. I was pleased and grateful at how Chamonix turned out, because it was difficult to really nail her character. She wasn’t sassy like Red, didn’t have Carter’s issues, and, on top of that, she was a princess. I didn’t want her to be rebellious, as is often the case where princesses are portrayed. But I also didn’t want her to be doormat and incapable of thinking for herself.


Fan Art

The incredibly-talented K.R. Mattson made my day when she surprised me with these fan art pictures (my first ever!). She really nailed Red’s and Chamonix’s personalities. (And that wolf and cardinal!)

Redwyn Deathan, drawn by K.R. Mattson

Chamonix Seyden, Drawn by K.R. Mattson

You can learn more about these crazy characters by going to the inspiration board. If you dislike strong female characters who know how to think for themselves (without the current feminist garbage), an overt faith element, and clean romance, IRON is not the book for you

Also, be sure to visit the character interviews! (Linked to in tour schedule)


What’s Next?

I am currently working on Denton’s story, which has yet to receive a definitive name. I will have it up on Goodreads late next week, Lord willing. You can see what I have of the inspiration board here. All I can tell you regarding the story is the first chapter breaks my heart.

The main female character in this little novella has sisters–and they need names! If you have suggestions, drop them in a comment.

I have another little prequel up my sleeve (here’s a hint: the characters’ names begin with C and I…and you meet them in IRON.) But I need a fairytale for them. Let me know your favorite fairytales! Those who provide the tale that I will use will be mentioned in the Acknowledgements.


Giveaway

There’s still time to sign up for the giveaway if you haven’t already.

FIRST PLACE:

An autographed paperback if the winner is a U.S. resident. Ebook if international.

SECOND Place:

An ebook in PDF or Epub format.

Enter Here.


Schedule

You can find the tour schedule here.


Once again, thank you to everyone who helped make this tour possible, and thank you to the lovely commenters. The giveaway winners will be contacted next week.

Which are you partial to: boisterous female characters or quieter ones? What elements/themes do you think are crucial to fairytale retellings? Which of these would you like to see more of?

*all graphics plus the cover designed by Mountain Peak Edits & Design

Untold Blog Tour: Author Interview with Vanessa Hall

Today I am interviewing author Vanessa Hall as part of her tour for her latest release, Untold. Saving the best for last, the interview is at the end of the post. Scroll slowly so you don’t miss a giveaway opportunity and a sale.


ABOUT THE BOOK

You can only run for so long …

Two years hasn’t erased the sting of betrayal and the shadow of the past, but Nikolai Alexandrov has finally found a way to live. Moscow, Russia, is the last place anyone would look for a rogue ex-CIA officer, and the members of Grace Baptist Church see beyond his past to the man he is now.

Molly Baird never wanted to be a missionary, but due to her father’s wishes, she lands in Moscow to aid her missionary cousin, Gabe Kelly. All is foreign in the massive city, though, rendering her unable to serve. Only the few English speakers in Grace Baptist’s congregation hold a trace of familiarity—including Nikolai, whose kindness she can’t deny.

Yet when a sniper’s bullet strikes far too close, Nikolai and Molly are thrown together in a desperate race against untold threats. When time runs out, will Nikolai and Molly be able to trust God with the past—and with the future?

Untold Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61167481-untold

Ebook and Hard Copy: https://books2read.com/u/m0vp77 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vanessa Hall is an author, musician, and homeschool graduate. Most days, she is reading, writing, or practicing the violin—or trying to find time for all three pursuits. Currently, she is working toward gaining a degree in instrumental music education. But above all, she is a sinner saved and held fast by the abounding grace of Jesus Christ.

Author Links

Website/Blog: https://vanessahallauthor.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21596469.Vanessa_Hall

Newsletter: https://vanessahall.ck.page/ 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/vanessanhall7/ 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Vanessa-Hall/e/B09D5FK28P/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/vanessa-hall-76d55a60-3f49-4ac3-8e43-d64014ae4c55 


Giveaway

One winner will receive free e-copies (epub or pdf) of Unworthy and Untold. Winner will be announced on Saturday, October 1, on Vanessa’s blog and will be contacted via email. Giveaway open to all entrants over 18. 

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b768bf280/?


Sale

Unknown (#1) is on sale for $.99!

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58357517-unknown 

Purchase link: https://books2read.com/u/49nnDk 

Blurb: 

He knew there was a cost. He just didn’t know how great it’d be.

Gabriel Kelly returned to Russia for one reason—to bury his parents. After ten years in the United States, he hadn’t expected to return to his childhood home in the face of tragedy. However, after short days in Moscow, he begins to consider if the same call that cost his parents’ lives is now upon him.

Sofia Rykova’s dreams finally came true when she became a principal soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet. One night, though, an old crush walks back into her life, making her wonder if there is more to life than ballet. Gabe Kelly is just as she remembered, just as she longed for—yet religion stands between them.

Unknown to Gabe and Sofia, danger lurks closer than either would have guessed. The deaths of Gabe’s parents grow more suspicious by the day, and Gabe and Sofia are drawn into the midst of a plot neither can escape. Will obedience to God’s call—in spite of their fears and desires—result in a price too steep to bear?


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Words of wisdom for those who are just starting out on the writing path?

Don’t be afraid. Try tons of different genres and plots and styles and characters. Writing takes a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it all in the end. And as a Christian writer, seek the Lord. Write to His glory. Surrender your stories and writings to Him, and write for Him, because He gave this gift to you in the first place!

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I really enjoy the first draft—if I can stop the editing brain from kicking on, that is—but I also really enjoy points of the editing process. I just love when I really feel as if I know and connect with the characters, and when the whole story starts coming together … yeah, that’s a good time as a writer!

What project(s) are you currently working on?

I’m currently editing the fourth book and writing the sixth book in this same series. I also have a few smaller projects waiting to get some attention!

How do you get inspiration to write?

“Inspiration” can be one of those things I struggle with. When I was a younger author, it was no problem to plop down at the computer and type out thousands of words. Now, my life is busier, and my inner editor and critic is way stronger than it used to be. The combination of those two can be a good squelch for any desire to write. So I’m working on trying not to rely too much on a feeling of inspiration, but rather just opening the document and getting into the story. Most of the time, once I start writing, I can keep going. So it’s just convincing myself to get a move on!

Who is your favorite Biblical character?

Outside of the Lord, I really admire and like reading about Jonathan, Saul’s son. He was such a faithful friend to David and such a brave warrior for the Lord. He did what had to be done in spite of the costs and against incredible odds. 

How do you incorporate your faith into your writing?

Throughout every story, I strive to both edify believers and witness to unbelievers. So I typically have a variety of themes and/or struggles that I approach from a Biblical perspective, even if all the characters themselves are not Christians. (I try to get most of ’em saved, though.) But this can all look slightly different for each story—maybe I highlight these themes by using Scripture or a hymn or through something another character says. However, all of this is incorporated through the characters’ stories, and each main character ends up with his or her own spiritual arc. I want to write stories that are real and raw yet show the Lord’s power that is made perfect in our weakness!

Also, not every story I’ve written has a scene where a character is saved or the entire Gospel is spelled out, but I like to at least present the Gospel in general throughout the entire book, even if it’s just a few verses or something that comes up in a conversation.

Every writer has a message they want to impart to their readers. What is yours?

My primary message can be summed up in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Gospel is truly the most important thing I could ever share with a reader, and I pray each of my books hold that clear message in some form or another.

Specifically in Untold, there are a few themes and messages that come through the characters’ lives. One is depending on the Lord’s strength and His empowering Spirit throughout everything we do.. We can’t do anything without Him! And secondly, the book addressed the Lord’s Presence with us through every trial and affliction, and the fact He will use those trials for our good.

What book of the Bible is your favorite? What makes this particular book your favorite?

This is such a hard question! I don’t know if I can say one book is my absolute favorite. I love reading the Psalms, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, John … they’re all so amazing. (Well, all of the Bible is!) Psalms in particular is very comforting, beautiful, and relatable—I love how raw and honest David and the other authors are, and how they almost always turn back to faith in the Lord no matter how overwhelming life was at that moment.


TOUR SCHEDULE

Friday, September 23 

Kristina Hall – Spotlight

Rachel  – Spotlight

Emma – Review

Rachel Anne English – Spotlight and Author Interview

Vanessa Hall – Tour Kickoff + Giveaway Announcement!

Saturday, September 24

 Kristina Hall – Review

 Anna – Review

Vanessa Hall – 

 Lorelei Angelo – Spotlight

Sunday, September 25

 Jolene @ Beauty in the Binding – Spotlight

Monday, September 26 

Kristina Hall – Character Questionnaire (Daniil, Evgeny, and Gregor)

Grace A. Johnson – Spotlight 

Kirby @ The Preppy Book Princess  – Review

Tuesday, September 27 

Stephanie @ Books Less Travelled – Review

Lillian Keith – Spotlight

Charity Henico – Review

Wednesday, September 28

Lillian Keith – Author Interview

Saraina Whitney – Review

Issabelle Perry – Review

Thursday, September 29

Stephanie @ Books Less Travelled – Author Interview

Madisyn Carlin @ Madi’s Musings – Spotlight and Author Interview

Vanessa Hall – Music of Untold (In Which I Gift You with A Playlist!)

Friday, September 30

Katja L. @ Old-Fashioned Book Love – Spotlight and Review

Rachel Anne English – Review and Character Questionnaire (Nikolai)

Abby Burrus – Review

Issabelle Perry – Author Interview

Saturday, October 1

Saraina Whitney – Character Questionnaire (Molly)

Kayti – Review on Facebook and Instagram

Vanessa Hall – Wrapup + Giveaway Winners (And Exciting News!)


Thank you for agreeing to the interrogation interview, Vanessa! And Jonathan is one of my favorites, too.

Readers, how many books would you need for a six-week stay? I know fifteen wouldn’t be enough for me. What faith-related themes do you like to see in books?

IRON Launch Tour: Introduction + Behind the Scenes

Welcome to “IRON’s” launch tour. I am the exhausted author/host, Madisyn Carlin.

WHAT IS IRON?

IRON isn’t:

1) A general market “clean” book.

2) A magical fairy tale retelling.

3) Light and fluffy.

4) YA (Young Adult).

IRON is:

1) A Christian Fantasy.

2) Nonmagical.

3) Deep. Different from DECEIVED and not near as intense as SR, but still deep because it deals with human trafficking.

4) NA (New Adult).

5) A story with three (3) POVs in the organized, structural I always follow.

IRON INFORMATION

Genre: Christian Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling

Blurb:

Enforcing justice comes with a price.

Detective Redwyn “Red” Deathan will stop at nothing to uncover those behind the ruthless kidnappings of multiple children. But things are not as they seem, and Red’s efforts are thwarted at every turn. With each discovery the danger grows, putting Red and the lives of those she cares about at risk. Can she reveal the mastermind’s identity before she herself becomes a target?

Paperback coming soon.

AUTHOR BIO

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin

BEHIND THE SCENES

Why “IRON” for the title?

I originally chose IRON due to the original blurb, but since that ended up not making the cut, I used it to signify an extremely pivotal moment in the book–specifically for Red. You’ll have to read the book to find out which scene. 😉

Why the cover?

I received some comments (and saw some) about how the cover did not look like a fairytale retelling. I concur with that. It doesn’t. But it does fit IRON.

The cover was originally a filler, but Mom saw it, asked if it was the actual cover, and that’s how this book received the cover it has.

Why a Cinderella Retelling?

When the first seeds of IRON were planted, I had Redwyn investigating different fairytales, but from the moment I put fingers to the keyboard, the story took a different direction. I found myself writing a Cinderella retelling, but it also went beyond a fairytale retelling. Serious themes were incorporated, new characters were introduced without my planning them (Ward being one of them), and the book took a completely different direction.

IRON went from being a novella to a word count of almost 100,000.

I wanted IRON to be short, around 40,000. Well, 40,000 came and went, and I upped the word count to 65,000. The same thing happened to 75,000 and 85,000. By the time I wrote, The End, IRON was at 97,500 words.

IRON wasn’t supposed to be self-published.

I began IRON in 2019 with the intent to submit it. That did not happen, and only when I first collaborated with a fellow writer in early 2022 did I contemplate returning to IRON. It went from being a half-baked idea to being a long, long book.

IRON was my first fairytale retelling attempt.

My second attempt is the first book in a side-series to The Redwyn Chronicles. If you read the book and thought there were only four kingdoms and one continent, think again. This side-series has a Celtic, Viking-ish feel, and I’ll give you a hint: the first book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, complete with wyrms, missing legs, and nefarious siblings.

IRON GIVEAWAY

If you like thick paperback books, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to win IRON .

Giveaway Information

First Place Prize:

An Autographed Paperback if winner is U.S. resident. If the winner is an international resident, then they win an ebook.

Second Place Prize:

An Ebook in the reader’s choice of Mobi or epub.

For an extra entry point, comment and tell me your favorite fairytale and/or fairytale retelling!

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, September 26  

Madisyn Carlin | Introduction + Behind the Scenes 

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight + Review 

Quilling in the Pines | Book Review 

Saraina | Character Interview + Book Spotlight 

Tuesday, September 27 

Kristina Hall | Book Review 

Tower in the Plains | Book Spotlight 

Wednesday, September 28 

Joy C. Woodbury | Book Review 

Allie Jo Anderson | Character Interview 

The Bookdragon’s Alcove | Book Spotlight 

Thursday, September 29 

Neath the Hackberry Reading Club | Book Review 

Quilling in the Pines | Author Interview 

Christine Smith | Book Spotlight 

Friday, September 30 

Saraina | Book Review 

Rainy Day Writer | Character Interview + Book Spotlight 

Of Blades and Thorns | Book Spotlight 

Saturday, October 1 

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters + Wrapup 

Old-fashioned Book Love | Book Review 

Penny Zeller | Saturday Spotlight 

Cover Reveal: Freedom’s Flight

Today is the cover reveal for Penny Zeller’s latest release, Freedom’s Flight.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Blurb:

Annalise Van Houten knows what it’s like to live in an oppressive situation. Sent to live with her conniving aunt and uncle in Ridge Gap, Tennessee after her parents die, she dreads the plans they have for her future. When she discovers the handsome Reverend Matthias Sorenson assisting runaway slaves, can Annalise convince him to allow her to help?

Reverend Matthias Sorenson has a heart for serving others—and freeing them. An integral part of the Faith Train, he helps free slaves. When a beautiful newcomer to his church wishes to partake in the organization, can he trust her not to endanger their lives?

Lives in jeopardy. A race against time. Will mistrust prove fatal for all involved?

Freedom’s Flight originally appeared in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection.

Cover design: Cynthia Lee

Cover Typography/Graphics: Mountain Peak Edits & Design


Freedom’s Flight is a pre-Civil War novella. What is your favorite fact about the Civil War, or the years leading up to it? Have you ever been to Tennessee, where Freedom’s Flight is located?

Shattered Reflection + Broken Mirrors Cover Reveals

I’m excited to announce Shattered Reflection is part of the Broken Mirrors retelling collection, which releases this December.

What is Broken Mirrors?

The Broken Mirrors are six retellings of The Snow Queen by six different authors. You don’t want to miss any of them!

The blog tour runs December 19-24. We’d love for you to join us in celebrating the release of these frosty retellings. To learn more about the Broken Mirrors ARC options and the blog tour, go here. (Details are being added as you read this, so if there aren’t any up when you visit the page, check back later.)

SR1 is the monster of the group, meaning it’s significantly longer than the others. What else can you expect, though? The Snow Queen is a long, long story and SR1 has five povs.

*Please consider promoting more than just the one person you came here for. The point of a multi-author release is getting as many eyes on as many books as possible.

It’s Prize Time

Yep. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs.

How to Enter (copied directly from Kendra Ardnek):

Now, the giveaway – like last year, we have two prizes for y’all to earn, two different ways, this next week only!

Method 1: Preorder all six books and email your receipt to me at Kendraeardnek@gmail.com. This week only, they are all just 99 cents each, so grab ’em now!

Method 2: Share all six covers on your blog, Instagram, tumblr, newsletter, Facebook, etc, and send me a link to the same address. (though, if you’re sharing on Instagram stories, make sure I am tagged @fairytalearista and message me telling me that it’s an entry, before emailing me.) I have a folder of graphics and metadata for you to use – and more graphics will be added soon, I just haven’t finished them yet. https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjAmS-99p507gbNiJfX5DafQNiP8ag?e=FOUUPi

Prizes:

For doing one task: A PDF with a first peek at the first chapter of all six Broken Mirrors.

For doing both tasks: A free full ebook from one of our backlogs. The list you can choose from will be compiled shortly. You will still receive the first chapters as well.

The main page, blog tour sign-up, and ARC request form, will be compiled and added shortly.

Blogger’s note: IRON is included in this!


SHATTERED REFLECTION

To be honest, I never expected this book to be fully written, let alone published. I wrote the first 18,000 words up camping, surrounded by squirrels, gray jays, lodgepole pines, allergies, and the fresh, clean mountain air. Then I tabled the story until, in January 2022, a random act of recklessness convinced me to try another go.

I ended up putting down 113,000 words in three months.

SR1 also landed me promises of death threats from beta readers (I have no idea why).

It releases December 21st.

The Official Blurb:

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be the heartless queen she is being forced to become?

War shattered not only Breac Finson’s heart, but his faith as well. Tired of fighting, Breac only wants to be left alone, but his efforts are for naught when a friend calls in a favor. He soon finds himself in an unexpected alliance with Layree Alocer, a woman determined to find her wrongfully-kidnapped brother at all costs. Can a broken soldier help right a wrong—and find his faith again in the process?

Sides must be chosen and loyalties will be tested as a new war approaches. Can broken lives be mended in time to help save the Snowlands, or is evil already too deeply embedded?

Ebook Preorder sale: (Because I’ll be upping this little monstrosity’s price after release day.)

Add on Goodreads:


If you can’t participate in the blog tour, but would still like to ARC read SR1, go here: SR1 ARC Form. There is no rush at all, but if your review comes in before November 10th, I can put it in a “What Readers are Saying” page.

Fun Facts about SR1:

This was the first concept/aesthetic board I made.

Some things have changed (singular reflection, no wolf, and the tagline are different), but the concept remains. Betas will know who the characters are. (To see the cast of characters, go here.)

First Line:

For three years he’d worked to lock away the past, to keep it hidden and out of sight, thought, and memory.

Random Line:

Tandri gasped. “I am a perfect influence, thank you.”

Random Quote:

“Look, kid. I’m just an honest swindler trying to make a living.”

Notable Typos:

“A book to to the ribs.”

And calling my character “Mucus” instead of “Marcus”. (My poor, sweet boy. He didn’t deserve that.)

Why am I calling it “SR1”?

Because I’m weird and every book title in this series has the initials of S. R. . Thus, SR1.

This books is nothing like Frozen. I despise that movie.


This post does not adequately convey my excitement. I have waited so long for this day and I love this story dearly.

Have you ever read a fairy tale retelling? Which ones? Which was your favorite? Have you ever read the original Snow Queen story? If not, you should. It’s one of my favorites. What about SR1? Are you looking forward to it? What about the other books in the tour? Which ones catch your eye?

Book Review: McKenzie

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”


Author: Penny Zeller

Series: Montana Skies, Book One

Publisher: Whitaker


“Desperate times call for desperate measures” is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband-whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart-and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie and Kaydie will soon see.

If you enjoyed reading McKenzie, you won’t want to miss the sequels in this series: Kaydie and Hailee.


Rating:

5 Stars


Review:

What lengths would you go to to save your sister?

That is the question McKenzie Worthington must ask herself when she learns of her sister’s dire predicament. The book’s tagline is, “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” and that is exactly what McKenzie does–enacts a desperate plan to save her beloved younger sister.

This is such a sweet, gentle story. Zeller does well crafting a variety of characters, from snotty siblings, loyal ranch hands and mentors, and a wonderful hero and adorable child. Of the main characters, I think Zach was my favorite, but just barely. Of the secondary, how can I choose? I want to snuggle Davey and Asa and Rosemary are gold. And Lucille. Oh, boy. Lucille is one of those supporting characters who provides oodles of humor, and her antics kept me laughing. She means well, but that doesn’t mean everything always goes according to plan.

McKenzie is chock full of good lessons, including honesty, love, the importance of true faith, and loyalty. I’ve seen some of the reviews complaining about McKenzie being selfish and spoiled, and yes, she was to certain degrees at first, but going after your sibling the way she did is the opposite of selfish. And Zeller really did craft a well-rounded character, and used McKenzie’s flaws to grow her.

I am quite looking forward to the next book and Jonah and Kaydie’s story.

In short, McKenzie is a sweet romance that I can easily envision being made into a movie similar to Love Comes Softly. Fans of Christian historical romance should add this book to their TBR.

Unfortunate Events: Authors Interview

I just realized I’m a day late (I honestly thought I was scheduled today) and I feel horrible. My deepest apologies to the authors.

Today I am spotlighting Unfortunate Events and inviting you to an interview between myself and the Sisters Three, who collaborated on this book. They must truly be ingenious, because I can’t fathom how difficult it would be writing a book with others.

We have the spotlight first, then about the authors, and finally, saving the best for last, the interview.


BOOK SPOTLIGHT

Book Info:

Genre: Young Adult Christian Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Authors: Kaytlin, Marisa, & Jaiden Phillips

Cover Art: Jaiden Phillips

Blurb:

Lies are worn as masks, darkness threatens, and fear spreads like fire.

Mazleah has lost its Crowned Prince and the kingdom stands on the edge of ruin. When Kahtan Faber is forced into the King’s army life as he knew it collapses. Thrust onto a team with a brogue-speaking street boy, a secretive lordling, and his hometown bully, Kahtan quickly learns what it means to be alone. As a Blacksmith’s son who has never wielded a blade, he’s nothing more than a failure to those around him.

But when secrets about his teammates are revealed, secrets that could shake Mazleah to its core, Kahtan must decide whether to stand with his team or with his country. Although nothing in Mazleah is ever that simple.

Book Links:

Goodreads Book Link: Unfortunate Events | Goodreads

Amazon Link: Unfortunate Events (The Dragon Prince Chronicles Book 1) – Kindle edition | Amazon.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Kaytlin, Marisa, & Jaiden Phillips are a homeschool writing trio of sisters more often known as Sisters Three. They reside in the mountains of Western North Carolina where they spend their time hiking, reading, writing, and spending time with their family.

Author Links:

You can include as many or as few of the links as you want, the main ones to include are the blog and newsletter which can be found under the Group links.

Kayti:

Linktree (Including all Kayti’s links): https://linktr.ee/kaytlinphillips

Rissy:

Pinterest: Pinterest

Goodreads Author Profile: Marisa Phillips (Author of Unfortunate Events) | Goodreads

Jaidie:

Pinterest: Pinterest

Goodreads Author Profile: Jaiden Phillips (Author of Unfortunate Events) | Goodreads

Group:

Blog: www.sisters-three.com

Group Goodreads Account: Sisters Three | Goodreads

Newsletter: https://dashboard.mailerlite.com/forms/93248/59816909004080388/share


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is your go-to space for writing?

Rissy and Jaidie’s room, Kayti’s room is too small..lol…so we write in Rissy and Jaidie’s room almost every evening between 9 and 10 PM.


What is your favorite genre to read?

We don’t have a favorite…lol…we’ll read in just about any genre, it’s more the story than the genre that’s gonna judge whether we like it or not.

Words of wisdom for those who are just starting out on the writing path?

Stay true to what God has laid on your heart. Listen to the advice of those who know more than you do. Never sacrifice your style for the rules of today (because honestly, most of the published books we’ve read don’t follow all the rules we’ve been told we should follow…lol…). Write what is laid on your heart, seek God’s heart for your story, and be brave enough to take that leap of faith!

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

When you have no ideas like it’s just blank up top for no apparent reason…and editing. Editing is just too much like work…lol…Parts of editing are fun but you can only read your own book so many times before it drives you insane.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Probably the first and second drafts, first because we just get to write and not really worry about anything, and the second because we’re not really editing we’re more of adding to the story!

Do you focus on one project at a time or do you have multiple projects going simultaneously?

One project at a time, that’s funny…lol…We work on at least three as a group and usually have two each as personal projects. We’d go crazy if we weren’t working on something, so we keep several going at once!

What project(s) are you currently working on?

As a group we’re working on a YA dystopian focusing on three teens from very different lives, it’s been pretty fun! It is titled 5055 and we’re in the first draft. We’re also rewriting an old fantasy project, it’s a little harder to work with but we’re making some progress! Then editing the second draft of The Dragon Prince Chronicles book 2!

And then we each have personal projects, mainly fantasies, though Kayti is working on a western. But we’ll spare everyone those details since most those have titles we’re not ready to reveal yet…lol…

How do you select the names of your characters?

Either pull from our ‘name book’ which is where we’ve collected a ton of cool names from varying sources like road signs, headstones, and movie credits. Or we pick a letter and then start saying names that start with that letter until we find one we like and feel fits the character. 🙂

Has there been one particular person who has been a major source of influence for one of your characters?

Not really, we have a big family so we’ve definitely pulled from all them, but not one more than the others, we don’t think.

Tea or coffee?

Niether…Hot chocolate is our hot drink of choice, we’d take tea if no hot chocolate was available. But we’d rather have cold sweat tea…lol…Southerners, sweat tea is practically in our blood. 🙂

Mountains or ocean?

Mountains hands down every time! We love our mountains and then mountains out west and just…yeah, mountains are awesome!

What inspired this series and the characters?

Well, the original idea (prologue) was born out of boredom, but we kept going with it because we wanted to know how it was going to turn out. We like dragons, okay, love dragons so writing a story where dragons played a sort of mysterious role appealed to us. There were a lot of things that played part in inspiring the story and we can’t, at this moment, pinpoint one.

The characters were in part inspired by our brothers, who are as opposite as opposite comes but somehow get along pretty well, most the time. So we based the easy bonds between the boys off our brothers. Master Finnick gets his wisdom from our dad, though Master Finnick’s harsh side probably came more from Dad’s dad. (We didn’t tell you this, but Papaw may seem harsh on the outside but he’s a big softy on the inside.)

On average, how long does it take you to write the first draft of a book?

Between 2 months and years…lol…it depends on whether we stick to the project. UF was written in 2 months but we have some books that we started over a year ago still waiting around for completion. But we’d say 2-10 months is the average.

How do you incorporate your faith into your writing?

Well, crazy as this sounds…we just write. We pray about it, know most the time that we want to incorporate it but we let God lead on how much and where. Sometimes the faith scenes sideline us and hit so hard we have a hard time keeping up, and other times they bleed in slowly. It really depends. Most, if not all, our books deal with redemption and so letting it ease it’s way naturally into the story is what works well for us.

Every writer has a message they want to impart to their readers. What is yours?

We really hope to convey an overwhelming sense of hope and purpose to our readers, that no matter what the world looks like God is here in control and He can make something beautiful from something shattered. Redemption and Forgiveness are other messages we love to deliver, and also that family is not defined by blood but rather by love. But overall we want our readers to see God in all we write.
What book of the Bible is your favorite? What makes this particular book your favorite?

There are way too many…um, we love reading the Psalms and Proverbs, Jonah and Ruth are a favorites. But there are so many good stories in the Gospels too! Honestly, we can’t pick.

Who is your favorite Biblical character?

We’ve always liked David, and Peter and Paul…just all have really empowering stories! 

How did you come to be a writer? Was this something that you always knew you were destined to be or did you arrive at this point via another path?

We think our dad knew we were destined to be writers before we ever though about it…lol…he was always encouraging us to write down stories and is why we started writing. He told us to write down a game we were playing because he said the storyline was good, so we did. And here we are 5 years later, still typing out muddled plots and praying our way through tough scenes.

We think the moment we realized this was what we wanted to do was when we finished our first book, the feeling of accomplishment was nice, but we also had more stories bouncing around our heads, more characters begging to be written and so we kept going!

Thanks for joining me, ladies. Congratulations on your latest release!


TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, Sept. 12th

Sisters Three – Blog Tour Launch Announcement 

Joy C. Woodbury – Spotlight

Abbigail Befus – Review and Spotlight

Tuesday, Sept. 13th

Madisyn Carlin – Author Interview and Spotlight

Rose Q Addams – Review and Author Interview

Wednesday, Sept. 14th

The Introspective Introvert -Author Interview, Sneak Peek, and Spotlight

Saraina Whitney – Review and Sneak Peek

Vanessa Hall – Spotlight and Sneak Peek

Thursday, Sept. 15th

Old Fashioned Book Love – Review and Spotlight

Lorelei Angelino – Review and Spotlight

Jasmine – Review, Spotlight, Author Interview, and Character Interview

Victoria Marinette – Sneak Peek

Issabelle Perry – Goodreads Review

Friday, Sept 16th

Kristina Hall – Review and Sneak Peek

Vanessa Hall – Review

Saraina Whitney – Character Interview

Grace A. Johnson – Author Interview and Spotlight

Natalie Nordby – Review and Author Interview

Hailey Marshall – Author Interview

Sisters Three – End of Tour Post

Help Me Name a Character

Calling all readers. I need assistance choosing a name for a character.

She will be featured in a Redwyn Chronicles novella as the main female character in a Little Mermaid retelling. The MMC’s name is Denton. I have narrowed this down to five possible names, all of which are water-related.

You can find her here and here.

What Should Her Name Be?

  1. Morwenna

If you’re looking for an ocean-inspired name that’s uncommon, Morwenna might be it. It means “waves of the sea” and is Welsh in origin. It’s starting to see a comeback in Wales, where it originates, and is slowly making its way stateside. (edited) 

2. Nerissa

Of Greek origin, Nerissa is a girl’s name and means “from the sea.” It’s not as common as its similarly-sounding sisters Melissa or Marisa, but it still has the same meaning.

3. Meri

(Estonian and Finnish origins) means ‘sea’.

4. Eydís

Exact meaning and origin unknown

5. Sereia

Mermaid. Origin unknown.


What are your thoughts? What should I name her? Are you excited for IRON?

Forgotten Memories Blog Tour: Book Spotlight + Giveaway Alert

All graphics—not the cover—are designed by Mountain Peak Edits and Design.

Today I am spotlighting Forgotten Memories by Penny Zeller. To read my review of this lovely, tender story, go here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics. Today, Penny is the author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a fitness instructor.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, cycling, gardening, and playing volleyball.

She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website www.pennyzeller.com and her blog, random thoughts from a day in the life of a wife, mom, and author, at www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.pennyzeller.com

Blog: www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PennyZeller

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pennyzeller/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/penny-zeller

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/zellerpenny/

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/pennyzeller

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/pennyzeller

Newsletter Sign up: https://mailchi.mp/8c1dae400a24/penny-zellerAdd Forgotten Memories to your Goodreads TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61166004-forgotten-memories?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=JxLU3k3mt3&rank=2


ABOUT THE BOOK

Some memories are best forgotten…

The Wyoming Territory is rife with lawlessness and disorder, something Annie Ledbetter and her parents discover when their wagon train is robbed. Seven years later, Annie settles into her lifelong dream as a teacher in the small town of Willow Falls. When she meets handsome rancher Caleb Eliason through a humorous misunderstanding, she is quickly drawn to his kind heart and charming smile.

Former outlaw Caleb Eliason embraces his chance at a fresh start. Gone are the days of robbing stagecoaches and wagon trains. When he falls in love with the new Willow Falls teacher, he doesn’t realize they’ve met before—under much different circumstances. When his past comes to light, will it put the growing love between them at risk?

Can forgiveness and redemption heal two broken hearts or will the past keep them from sharing a future?

Where to Purchase Forgotten Memories

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forgotten-memories-penny-zeller/1142115335?ean=9780976083689


TOUR SCHEDULE

TUESDAY, 9/6

Penny Zeller | Is Forgotten Memories the Book for You?

Penny McGinnis | Book Spotlight

Charity’s Book Escapes | Book Review (Instagram)

Madi’s Musings | Book Review

Julie Arduini | Guest Post

Lee-Ann Brodeur | Book Spotlight

WEDNESDAY, 9/7

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview

Christian Books and Coffee | Book Spotlight (Instagram)

Quilling in the Pines |Book Review

Suite T | Guest Post

Mary | Review (Facebook)

THURSDAY, 9/8

Penny Zeller | Quotes + Meet the Characters

Cover Lover | Book Spotlight

Christian Books and Coffee | Author Interview (Instagram)

Reading and Flowers | Book Spotlight (Instagram)

t.r.b.e. | Book Review

Chat with Vera | Book Review, Giveaway

Donna Schlachter | Guest Post

Lena Nelson Dooley | Author Interview, Giveaway

FRIDAY, 9/9

Saraina | Book Spotlight

Cover Lover | Book Review

Christian Books and Coffee | Book Review (Instagram)

2friendstalkbooks | Book Spotlight (Instagram)

Abbigail | Book Review (Facebook)

Penny McGinnis | Book Review

Cindy’s Book Corner | Book Review*

SATURDAY, 9/10

Penny Zeller | Tour Wrap-up (Which Character are You, etc.)

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Madi’s Musings | Book Spotlight

2friendstalkbooks | Book Review

Patti’s Porch | Guest Post, Giveaway


Forgotten Memories is an amazing beginning to what I believe will be a beautiful and touching series. In fact, Book Two is already available for preorder. (On a preorder special for $0.99–check out that cover, too.) If you’re looking for a sweet, Christian historical romance set in Wyoming (finally! There aren’t enough Wyoming books out there.), you need to read Forgotten Memories.