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

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 

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?

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?

Story Snippets

I usually aim for two posts a week. I wrote a book review earlier (I think it was Monday?) and was hoping to finish a “What’s the Difference” post or a post about constructive criticism in reviews, but I’m too tired to put much thought into anything right now.

So I’m doing something a bit different today.

Story Snippets! I want to know what you’re writing–tell me all about your writing project by dropping a snippet or a line/sentence or two from your current WIP(s). Or, if you’re not a writer, tell me what you’re reading. If you want to do both, please feel free to.


Below are a few snippets from my three WIPs plus a quote from my most recent read. The snippets have not been thoroughly polished, so there may be a few errors.

IRON

“There’re two of us and one of him. What can go wrong?”

“Everything?”

One action-packed scene later:

Heavy breaths announced Denton’s presence. He looked as terrible as Carter felt, with multiple tears in his shirt and blood staining at least half the material. A long cut graced the right side of his jaw with another just above his left eye.

Carter glared. “This is why you never ask what can go wrong.”

“How was I to know someone wanted to use you for target practice?”

The Baker and the Bodyguard

Some explanation is required for this one. I want BatB to be a Redwyn Chronicles prequel novella. I haven’t written much on it, but it’s already promising to be hilarious.

____

Something burned in the kitchen, and it wasn’t her sister’s cooking.

____

Detectives did many things: snooped around, asked questions, wrote answers in notebooks, and used logic criminals hoped they’d forgotten.

What detectives did not do was play bodyguard. That was reserved for common law officers and soldiers and actual guards.

Kaden was not bodyguard material, nor was he interested in changing professions.

Officer Endstrom didn’t care. With his overabundance of mustache quivering and his round eyes narrowed to slits, he firmly reiterated that Kaden had just been demoted from detective to bodyguard.

Granted, he was still to investigate, but his primary job would be protecting a wilting flower who thought a slight cut merited fainting.

Shattered Reflection

Lord willing, this book will release later this year. The brave souls who beta’d this hodgepodge mess of a story will understand the significance of the first snippet. (And *cough* for you betas, I made things a smidge better for Marcus.)

____

“I forgive you.”

____

“You weren’t the only one who fought.”

“I didn’t see you on the battlefield.”

“I was on the council.”

“Which is just another way of saying you were too cowardly to pick up a sword and fight.”

____

“Our reflections are two-edged blades. We can look at ourselves and see, with humility, what God has created, or we can look and see ourselves as worthless because we do not live up to others’ standards.”

“What do you see when you look at your reflection?”

The simple question knocked the breath from him. He hadn’t thought about it through his time as a Night Guard. Afterward, he found himself unable to decide. Was he viewing his Maker’s craftsmanship or a man whose hands were stained by the blood of innocents and those he was unable to save?

____

Heaven help him. Three matchmakers were running amok through the palace.


I just finished ARC reading Forgotten Memories by Penny Zeller. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm and posted my review early on Goodreads. Forgotten Memories is on a special preorder sale: the ebook is $0.99 only for preorder.

Feathers and Roses: Cover Reveals

This is a pre-scheduled post. I am currently out of town. When I return, I will approve and respond to all comments post haste.


Hosted by Jen’s Author Assistance

I am ecstatic to announce the dual cover reveals for Feathers and Roses: All Things Fairy Tale. Jen and I have been hard at work preparing our books and dealing with stubborn characters, and it is so exciting to finally be able to release our covers into the world. Both books are, as you might assume by the title, fairy tale retellings. Mine is Cinderella and Jen’s is Sleeping Beauty.

All graphics are designed by Mountain Peak Edits & Design and the reveal is hosted by Jen’s Author Assistance.

COVER REVEAL FOR: IRON

ABOUT IRON:

Title: Iron: The Redwyn Chronicles, Book One

Genre: Christian Fantasy/Fairy Tale 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?

Pre-order link – https://www.amazon.com/IRON-Redwyn-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0B29LH7CZ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=42ZA32L6HZKW&keywords=madisyn+carlin+iron&qid=1654287685&sprefix=%2Caps%2C2295&sr=8-1

Goodreads linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61165765-iron

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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


COVER REVEAL FOR: Of Roses, Thorns, and Curses

ABOUT RTC:

Title: Roses, Thorns, & Curses: The Dreamwalker’s Saga, Book One

Genre: Christian Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling

Blurb:

A Fae bides her time, waiting to unleash her wrath on those who betrayed her. A prince seeks the answer to the dream that has plagued him for months. A princess who has lain in slumber awakens to find her world not quite right.

When Sorren finds the answer and awakens the princess, he also finds himself involved with a curse. Before Maelle can exact her revenge she is enslaved by Sorren’s brother, a beast of a man who pits Fae against Fae in his uncle’s arena. Aurana must navigate memory loss and her newfound Dreamwalking abilities that send her between her world and the realm of the Fae. After Sorren and Aurana work with an old friend of Maelle’s to rescue her from the arena, they must seek help from someone who betrayed Maelle if Aurana wishes to control her Dreamwalking before she descends into madness.

When an ancient evil from the Fae realm threatens them all, they must set aside their own agendas to stop the looming darkness and learn that righteous vengeance shall overcome what revenge has left broken asunder.

Pre-order link – https://www.amazon.com/Roses-Thorns-Curses-Dreamwalkers-Saga-ebook/dp/B0B31TVD8F/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3OJLWSLBH7RCW&keywords=roses%2C+thorns%2C+%26+curses+jenavieve+rose&qid=1654287747&sprefix=roses%2C+thorns%2C+%26+curses+jenavieve+r%2Caps%2C573&sr=8-1

Goodreads link https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61212393-roses-thorns-curses

ABOUT JENAVIEVE ROSE

Jenavieve Rose has had a love for stories and a highly-active imagination her whole life. Creating her own stories and worlds through Fantasy, or any other branch of Spec-Fic, makes her feel closest to her Creator. In doing so she mimics The One Who created all things. She’s inspired by a myriad of different books, movies, and even video games, but especially by fairy tales. She writes stories where good overcomes evil and hope shines all the brighter through the darkness, for those are the stories that mean something, the ones that really matter.

Music also inspires her and her writing, sparking a story idea or fueling her passion on a topic she wants to share. It’s rare to see her without her headphones on and either worship music or movie soundtracks flitting between her ears.

In all she does she strives to do the will of her Father and spread His hope.

Website – https://jenavieves-reveries-newsletter.ck.page/d50bd06259


The blog tour signup is coming soon, so be on the lookout!

Feathers and Roses Dual Cover Reveal Signups

I’ve been hinting at another release coming up. May I introduce Feathers and Roses: All Things Fairy Tale, a collaboration with Jenavieve Rose to bring you two fairy tale retellings in September, 2022.

The dual reveal is hosted by Jen’s Author Assistance.

Why feathers and roses?

Feathers are a big part of my Cinderella retelling, IRON, and roses are integral to Jen’s Sleeping Beauty retelling, Roses, Thorns, & Curses (which sounds so intriguing).

Dual Cover Reveal occurs on: June 24


ABOUT THE BOOKS:

IRON (Cinderella)

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?

(My Note: Think Cinderella x Detective)

Roses, Thorns, & Curses (Sleeping Beauty)

A Fae bides her time, waiting to unleash her wrath on those who betrayed her. A prince seeks the answer to the dream that has plagued him for months. A princess who has lain in slumber awakens to find her world not quite right.

When Sorren finds the answer and awakens the princess, he also finds himself involved with a curse. Before Maelle can exact her revenge she is enslaved by Sorren’s brother, a beast of a man who pits Fae against Fae in his uncle’s arena. Aurana must navigate memory loss and her newfound Dreamwalking abilities that send her between her world and the realm of the Fae. After Sorren and Aurana work with an old friend of Maelle’s to rescue her from the arena, they must seek help from someone who betrayed Maelle if Aurana wishes to control her Dreamwalking before she descends into madness.

When an ancient evil from the Fae realm threatens them all, they must set aside their own agendas to stop the looming darkness and learn that righteous vengeance shall overcome what revenge has left broken asunder.


Both books are Christian Fantasy.

You can sign up here.

DECEIVED: Q&A with Characters

Greetings, everyone. Today is another interview with the main characters of DECEIVED. There are extra snickerdoodle cookies on the log table over there, as well as some hot chocolate since springtime has not yet truly arrived in this area.

The setup is similar to the last interview’s. Holder, Therese, Ivelle, and Rogan, in that order, join me around the campfire. All wear degrees of wariness, and Rogan looks like he’s going to ignore my rules, again, and bolt. In addition to the campfire, blankets are provided to stave off the day’s chill.

I adjust my notes and greet them. Only Holder and Ivelle offer a verbal reply. Therese nods. And Mr. Grumpus selects to ignore me.

A dangerous move considering I’m in the process of writing BETRAYED.

“This is from Olivia G. Holder, she would to hear some stories from when you and Rogan were growing up. Preferably funny.”

Holder’s shoulders lose a tad of their tension. He’s not as wane and worn as he was last time, and his eyes aren’t as tired. “There aren’t really that many. The first one coming to mind was when we were crossing a stream and Rogan face-planted in the bank. He refused to wash off because he dislikes wearing wet clothing. By the time we returned to the castle, the mud was so dried on him no one recognized him and he could barely speak and move.”

Rogan crosses his arms. “You had it worse when you snuck into the kitchen. The cook was so mad to find you filching those cookies he threw raw eggs and flour at you. You looked like a ghost.”

“Juan told me they were for the taking. How was I to know they were for some celebration?” A smile hinting at Holder’s hidden orneriness crossed his face. “What about that time you fell in the manure pile?”

“I refuse to talk about that.”

Ivelle leaned forward. “I want to hear this.”

“An older soldier told us there was a chest of weapons in the stable’s loft. Rogan ignored my warnings and climbed up there to see what he could find. A pigeon scared him so badly he screamed like a scared toddler and toppled over the loft’s edge. Right into the manure pile.”

Rogan arches a brow, pointedly ignoring Ivelle’s laughter. “You’re the one who screamed when you saw a rabbit.”

“I thought it was a snake.”

“I told you it was a rabbit.”

“You also told me a squirrel would eat my fingers if I tried feeding it some bread. There’s a reason I didn’t believe you.”

I clear my throat as the debate escalates. “You were rather bratty, Rogan. Not as bad as Ivelle, but still a brat.” Paying no heed to his indignant glare, I locate the next question. “The remaining questions are from Brooklyn O’Brennen and K.R. Mattson. Brooklyn wants to know, ‘At what point of the book did you laugh so hard at anything (could be a mistake or just a funny look) that you could have snorted milk through your nose?’ I believe the answer to that is when I was writing Rogan’s interactions with Redwing.”

Rogan scowls. “Those weren’t funny.”

“They were to me, and that’s all that matters. Brooklyn next wants to know if any scenes made me cry. The answer to that is no. I came close a few times, but rarely do I cry while writing.”

Rogan, who apparently does wish for me to make things worse on him in BETRAYED, mutters, “That doesn’t surprise me.”

“Brooklyn also wishes to know which scene was the hardest to write.” I cough as all four glare at me. “I plead the fifth on that. Next question. She wishes to know which scene was easiest. That would be the final chapter.”

If looks could kill, I’d be buried in the Mariana Trench. Holder and Rogan are not pleased. Probably for good reason.

“K.R. wants to know if I regret writing any scenes. That would depend on your definition of regret, I suppose. Do I regret any scenes that are in there? No. Do I regret writing about what’s happened to you four? Yes, if regret means being the unfortunate soul who’s had to jot down your painful pasts.”

“No one forced you.”

One of these days, Rogan’s lip was going to land him in some hot water. “To the contrary, Rogan Cetrin. You four forced me. You especially.”

His brows lower. “Why? Do you really think I’d want”–he gestures to himself–“anything about me written down?”

There is a brewing storm in his eyes, but behind that is undimmed pain. One of these days, he’ll realize he’s far more than the unwanted pestilence his father has treated him as.

I flip to the next questions. Rogan’s grumpiness is more than a personality defect. It’s a means of protection. Now isn’t the time to tear those walls down. ‘These are still from Brookly. “Which character was the hardest to write? Which character required the most research’?.

“The answers would be Rogan and probably Therese.” I don’t elaborate aloud on my answers. Rogan because, well, it’s not easy to research emotional trauma and how an adult who grew up emotionally abused and neglected behaves. Therese because I had to dig in and find poisons and killing methods.

I turn to the next set. “Brooklyn would like to know if any of you ever tried eating dirt. Holder, we’ll begin with you.”

He shrugs. “Rogan and I wrestled when we were little. There was probably more dirt in us than on the forest floor. And, before they replaced the training grounds’ floors with sand, there was packed dirt. Pretty sure I consume a lot from there too.”

“And you, Therese?”

She shifts, though her expression is not so wary. “I’m sure I did when I was a toddler. I don’t remember doing so, though.”

Ivelle grins before her humor fizzles out, like a sudden stain demolished a good memory. “I know I ate dirt. One time my brother and his friends had a contest to see who could eat the most soil. They said I was too little to join. I beat them all.”

I can only imagine how many worms and grubs she consumed in the process. “That’s disgusting.”

“It was nasty. But the point is I won.”

Can’t argue there. I shake my head and turn to Rogan. “And you?”

His mulish demeanor hasn’t lessened one iota. “What Holder said.”

“Any other occurrences?”

Holder pipes up. “I think he ate some when Redwing threw him. It was in mud form, but that’s still dirt. Just…wet dirt.”

Rogan opens his mouth, likely to protest. I interrupt. “Again from Brooklyn. ‘When was a time in your childhood you felt super important’? Rogan, you go first.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m the author and I said so, that’s why.”

He huffs but complies. “When Captain Geros congratulated me during training. It happened once and I don’t remember for what, but I do remember it happening.”

“Ivelle?”

A soft smile crosses her face. “When Ma let me bake biscuits on my own for the first time. She told me she trusted me enough to let me loose in the kitchen.”

Therese almost balks when I indicate it is her turn. But, like Ivelle, a smile softens her countenance after a moment. “My name was the first word Nora said.”

“And you, Holder?”

“When Father let me ride by myself. Looking back, I realize we were in a sturdy corral and I was on the oldest horse in all of Orm, but I felt like an accomplished rider the first few minutes into the ride.”

“Next question. She would like to know if any of you know what a paper plane is.”

Blank expressions provide an answer.

I find the next page. The wind is picking up, creating disorder despite the numerous paperclips and staples. “K.R. would like to know what weapon you would pick if you could pick any weapon in the world.”

Ivelle’s smirk puts me on edge. Last time she said she wouldn’t kill anyone unless they harmed Claudine or Emmy, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t opposed to introducing noggins with blunt objects.

Holder answers before Ivelle can. “The sword is fine. A knife is the best though. I can throw one with more accuracy than I can a sword.”

I turn to Therese. “And you?”

She shifts, eyes on her hands, which are clasped and resting in her lap. “A knife, I suppose.”

Rogan eyes her like she’ll pull said weapon and begin threatening Holder with it.

Ivelle rubs her hand, expression gleeful. “Cayenne pepper.”

Something tells me she’s used this as a weapon before. “Pardon?”

“Cayenne pepper. It’s hot, spicy, and when you put an overabundance in someone’s food, unbearable. It feels like it’s searing your esophagus and burning through your tongue.”

I stare at her. She smiles, not bothering to pretend innocence.

Characters. Give them a page and they’ll take a book. I never authorized her to be this crazy.

“Alright, then. We’ll know not to eat your cooking. Rogan, what about you?”

“A sword.” He crosses his arms and stares at the fire, refusing to speak one more word.

“You sure it’s not the bow and arrow?”

Rogan harrumphs.

Well. At least Holder is laughing at my joke.

Unfortunately for Sir Grumps-A-Lot, he won’t be able to stew in his cantankerousness for long.

I snap the papers and clear my throat. “What is your favorite color? Rogan, go first.”

“Blue.”

Ivelle answers green, Therese, pale pink, and Holder agrees with Ivelle.

Raindrops have dirtied my glasses, and I take them off to clean the lenses, sparing a scowl for the gray clouds. “This next question is for me, courtesy of K.R.. ‘Why did you pick the season that you did for the book? Did you want them all to freeze to death in the second one’?”

“I chose late winter/early spring mostly because I needed BETRAYED to begin with snow. Do I want them to freeze to death? No. Will that happen? I hope not.”

Four horrified expressions are aimed my way.

“K.R. also asks, on a scale of one to ten, where does DECEIVED fall regarding being hardest or easiest to write? DECEIVED has been the easiest book to write, rough draft-wise, thus far. Reworking the issues with it places it on a six out of ten for difficulties, but it’s by far not the hardest book I’ve ever written.

“The final question is from Brooklyn. First, she’d like to know which ice cream flavor you like best.”

The four had been presented sample-sizes of a variety of flavors. Some were automatically spit in the trash. Others were embraced.

Chocolate marshmallow, coffee, rocky road, and butter pecan were automatic absolutely nots. I knew my characters had good taste.

Holder likes chocolate, Therese prefers mint chocolate chip, Ivelle could probably eat an entire tub of cookies ‘n cream (like yours truly), and Rogan favors vanilla. I knew he was my favorite for a reason.

“We’re done with these, interrogations, right?” Rogan twirls a knife as he stares at me.

Interrogation, thank you very much. And you’re done for now until Book Two releases.”

“Assuming we’re all alive,” he snarks.

“Yes, assuming you all are still breathing an in decent enough condition to hold an intelligent conversation.”

Ivelle inspects her nails, not-so-surreptitiously smirking at Rogan. “I know of someone who’s already disqualified. His mind is never in decent enough condition to converse with a rock, let alone be in an interview.”

I pass out the packets of cookies and cups of hot chocolate before ushering these minions of mayhem from the scene. “I’ve an outline to firm up, evil to scheme, and a book to write. Off with you.”

They leave with minimal encouragement, like they’re afraid I’ll nail them with more questions should they linger.

I clean up before gazing at the mountains. Snow still decorates their jagged peaks. They’re not the High Mountains, not as sharp and steep, but they’re my mountains. Hopefully, after Book Two ends, the four will feel some love for their mountains. Mountain truly are the best geological formation, and a wonder of God’s handiwork.

Silencing my musings, I grab my bag and leave. BETRAYED won’t write itself.

***

Thank you for joining me for the final group interview! Which type of ice cream is your favorite? If you could choose any weapon to be your favorite, which would it be?

Be sure to enter the giveaway, and there’s still time to sign up for the preorder goodies.


PREORDER INFORMATION

If you have preordered DECEIVED or order it during the duration of this blog tour (April 25 – May 7), and want some swag (character card and autographed bookplate), go here.



Giveaway Information:

Want a chance to win an autographed copy of DECEIVED and a character card? Be sure to go here. Or, if you don’t have social media, leave a comment at every blog post to be entered. Giveaway ends May 10th. (PDF will be sent to international entrants).


DECEIVED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview