Relationships in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

Relationships in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

So this is a guest post, but not…

Hi! You know me. I’m Keira Gillett and I own and run Love Romance Passion. Today, I’m talking about something you might have noticed if you’ve visited the site recently or been hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. My book! That’s right, I took the plunge and wrote a story. Queue *oooo* and *ahhh* sounds. :)

Oooo

Ahhh

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest is about an American girl who moves to Norway and meets a troll, who kidnaps her friend… a friend she must rescue. See the book trailer below:

My book is middle grade/young adult and does not include the typical romantic relationships we love to read and discuss on this blog, but my book does include some very special relationships. These are the familial bonds between parents and their kids.

So Zaria is adopted, an only child, has lovely parents, and is well adjusted. Queue the *horror.*

What will you write about without all that teen drama?!?!?

Wait! Adopted?

Adoptive parents can be absolutely wonderful people. They’re not all mean. Just like step-parents aren’t all nasty. Or aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other guardians… take your pick. Fictional kids can be like real kids and come from happy homes and not from neglected environments (an oft-used literary tool.) I wanted my heroine to experience the same happy home environment.

As for the relationships, I modeled Merry Fierce and Zaria Fierce’s relationship off of my relationship with my mom. Mom Gillett is a cool mom if I do say so myself. If I wanted to play hooky growing up, she’d play hooky with me. If I wanted to be checked out for a lunch date, we’d do that and head over to the fancy establishment by the school (Taco Bell.) If I wanted to desperately attend a midnight premiere for Harry Potter while on a family road trip she somehow made it work. In high school, she let my best friend stay with us while her dad was out of the country. We traveled the world together and are the best of friends. So I poured that loving relationship into Merry’s and Zaria’s relationship.

And I don’t stop there.

  • Colonel Fierce is hard-working, attentive, loving, strict, and obliging.
  • Emma Johansen (Christoffer’s mum) is kind, concerned, intelligent, and loving.
  • Mr Mickelsen (Aleks’ dad) is attentive, supportive, and kind.
  • Aleks has a good relationship with his gran.
  • Mrs Storstrand (Filip’s mom) is strict, fair, and loving.

The adults are all good people and yet the kids still get to go on adventures all over Norway to reach Gloomwood Forest. See parents don’t ruin all the fun! So how do the kids do it? Aha! Good question. Discover the answer in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest.

What other books have you read where the adults are good people and have good relationships with their kids or wards?

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Early Reviews:

“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Listen to an Audio Book sample:

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

The Myths of Working from Home by Liana Brooks

If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “It must be so nice to do nothing all day and just sit at home!” I could actually sit home all day doing nothing.

America’s office culture makes most social interactions for a writer weird.

Them: “So, where do you work?”

Me: “I work at home.”

Them: “Oh, like, massage therapy or something?”

Me: “No, I actually write books.”

Them: “Oh…” *long and unhealthy pause* “Like TWILIGHT or like dinosaur erotica? I mean, not that I’m judging or anything, but is it angsty teen vampires or dino peen? ’cause I’m tweeting this and people want to know.”

Yeah, it’s awkward.

Of course there’s the people on the other side of the fence. The ones who know I write books.

Them: “It must be so great to be a writer and do nothing all day but create!”

Me: “Yeah, it’s really fun. I love my job!”

Them: “You know, I’m going to write a book too one day.”

Me: “That’s awesome!”

Them: “I can’t right now because I have a kid, and well, you probably don’t know what it’s like having kids at home. Or friends. Or a social life. But I’m way too busy to write books!”

*awkward pause as one of my four kids comes up to demand my attention*

Me: “Oh, those gosh darn kids. I can see why no one with children has ever written a book. Ever. At all. I may be lying…”

When you become a successful writer (or even a desperately-working-to-become-a-successful-household-name writer) people like to come up to you and ask what your schedule is. If you go to Google you can search for daily habits of famous authors.

10am – morning whiskey and eggs

11am to 3pm – write

3:15pm – adulterous affair with parlor maid

3:30 pm to 6pm – read newspaper

6pm – supper with other gentlemen of means

7pm – diatribe about women getting above their place and acting like humans

8pm to 11pm – objectify women and criticize their clothing

12am – try on women’s drawers

1am – dual with Lord Soinso on Parliament lawn wearing skirts

3am – fall in bed in drunken stupor

At least I assume that’s how all the literary greats lived out their days. They certainly didn’t spend them raising children, at least not according to their diaries. I dunno… there’s this assumption that men who write have a loving (possibly wealthy) wife who handles the domestic and wordly affairs while they commune with their muse (usually in the form of alcohol), and that women who write are either spinsters (looking at you Jane), childless, or older women with no familial obligations. This is based largely on the very outdated and misogynistic idea that a man’s parental duty ends at conception and that women with children can’t think about anything but diapers.

This attitude more than anything accounts for all the “I want to write a book but I’ve never found the time…” daydreamers in the world.

If you keep telling someone they can’t do something they’ll eventually believe you.

Let’s bury those myths and mountains, shall we?

Myth #1: You need to be independently wealthy to write

… lies! Most authors are either supported by a significant other or a full-time job, but very few of them are trust fund babies rolling in money. Some of the most famous authors you know were single parents and working poor when their first book came out.

Myth #2: You’ll never find time to write if you have kids

… lies! I four kids and I still find time. More to the point I make time to write. The real difference between daydream and reality here is that the people who get things done make the time to do it. If writing is important to you, you will find time to write, even if it’s sending yourself 15 minutes worth of badly spelled writing you typed out on your phone on a bumpy bus ride into work.

Myth #3: The only way to make money publishing is to know someone

… lies! Unless you’re talking about knowing yourself. That much you need to have. Know what you love, know how much work you can reasonably put into self-promotion, know your limits, and know your strengths. Line those up the right way and you can do anything.

Myth #4: There is only One True Path to publishing and it is __________

… lies! Self-publishing, publishing with a small press, and publishing with a big press are all fabulous options. What works for you isn’t what works for anyone else. What works for one book of yours may not work for your next book. Research all avenues of publication and then decide where you belong.

Myth #4: If I don’t have my family’s support I can’t write

… lies! Mostly. Listen, in April my 8th title comes out. Since 2009 I’ve published three novellas, four short stories, and in April my first novel comes out. Guess how many of those titles my parents have bought or read? Mind you, several of those short stories are free. Go on. Guess… did you guess zero?

Guess how many books my loving and supportive spouse of thirteen years has read (he doesn’t buy them because I load them on the e-reader for free)? He’s read two.

There are different kinds of support. It’s hard to write if your spouse/roommate/lover/kids/whoever shares the house with you doesn’t give you time and space to write. It’s frustrating when they question why you’re wasting your time, or ask when you’ll get a real job. But you don’t need them cheering you on. There are amazing online writing resources for authors of all ages. There are strong writing communities on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites (check out the #amwriting hashtag sometime). You can get feedback from writing communities like Absolute Write and Critique Circle.

In a perfect world your family would fully understand what you do, buy all your books, and expertly critique your work. In a less than perfect world you have to make do with what you have. Tell your loved ones that writing makes you happy and healthy, ask for 30 minutes a day (or make that time when they aren’t around), and get the rest of your support from the community of writers that is already out there and ready to cheer on new authors.

What does my day look like? It’s getting up hours before dawn (less impressive now that I live in Alaska), getting four kids out the door for school, entertaining the 3-year-old, walking the dog, dodging moose, cleaning house, running errands, volunteering for local charities, emailing people about a million crazy things, spending far too much time on Twitter (@LianaBrooks), making a to-do list before I go to bed, and carving out time to write every day, plus edits as needed. A majority of my day is spent thinking about books, but not doing any physical writing. I plot things while I clean the kitchen. I make up dialog while I’m waiting at the school carpool line. I scribble down ideas for scenes on my to-do list so that when I wake up the next morning I can write my 1000 words for the day without hesitation.

Next time you’re facing your Wall of Nope, kick it on down and remember that when you want something, nothing can stop you.

So, what are you going to create today?

Liana

 ***

evenvillainshaveinterns_600x900Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians… Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s second city so appealing—criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game.

In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging.

When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart.

Buy: Even Villains Have Interns (Heroes and Villains Book 3)

***

Liana Brooks would like to SCUBA dive Europa (that moon around Jupiter), but with the NASA shuttle program shut down she’s resorted to writing science fiction instead.  She likes southern beaches, warm weather, sharks, and striped socks.

Her superhero romance series started with Even Villains Fall in Love and continues with Even Villains Go To The Movies and Even Villains Have Interns. For those who prefer their romance without a side order of spandex she’s written PRIME SENSATIONS (part of the Tales From the SFR Brigades anthology) and FEY LIGHTS. Her first novel, THE DAY BEFORE, is coming out April 28th and is available for pre-order anywhere e-books are sold.

You can find Liana on the web at www.lianabrooks.com, on Twitter as @LianaBrooks, or on Face Book under the same name.

Heart and Souls by Monica Corwin

Heart and Souls by Monica Corwin

Exclusive Sneak Peak

Many who have read myMonica Corwin Author Pic work consider my ideas to be a little different and I’ve grown to pride myself in my ability to take tried and true genre norms and creating something totally different. This month I am working on edits for my next dose of insanity titled On a Red Horse.

Basically the story starts with the four horsemen (who are actually women) of the apocalypse deciding they quit and don’t want to end the world. They go to Earth and try to blend in and live human lives…but of course things are never that simple.

The first book is about War –also known as Scarlet as she tries to navigate this new world while running from the old one. There will be four books in the series, one for each horseman and so far this has been a super fun project. The first book was finished for National Novel Writing month this past iteration and the novel should be out in April.

Additionally I’m drafting the first draft of the second novel in the Soul Program trilogy called Sins and Lies. This story will follow two of the secondary characters from Heart and Souls –Sera and Xander.

These Soul Program books sort of dive into parts of church and religious iconology that I find fascinating or scary like demons, angels, heaven, sin-eaters, the priesthood. All of these things that hold a veil of mystery to me which I latched onto in order to create the world in these books. They will only continue to dive deeper and deeper into our own personal fears and macabre curiosity. So I ask you, dear readers, what sorts of religious iconology do you find intriguing?

Monica x

***

heartandsouls_200x300In the late 21st century, scientists created a serum that gave every person nine lives, also known as souls. Flush with expendable life, Earth collapsed into war and anarchy, leaving the Catholic Church to step in and take control. In a world where the stealing of souls is big business, it takes people like Constance Grace, detective in the Soul Theft Division, to hunt the criminals down and strip them of their remaining souls.

When social-climbing con man, Noah Hannock, plunks himself on the church’s radar, he becomes Constance’s problem. With a brand new partner, Mikon Cross and seven of her nine given souls remaining, Connie has to enter high society under a too-familiar alias to tempt Noah into her web.

While the chemistry between Connie and Mikon is scorching hot, the reality is they don’t trust each other. Each with their own secrets to protect, the hunt for Noah Hannock threatens them both. The only way they can survive is if they learn to lay themselves—heart and souls—on the line for each other.

Find Monica Corwin on Amazon

Review: Twisted (Eternal Guardians, Book 7) by Elisabeth Naughton

Tempted.inddReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Cynna is a spectator of an interesting fight.  Nick is fighting for his survival without losing who he is.  Almost right away this author shows how ugly the beast of sexual and mental abuse is.  I found that even though this is part of a series, you could read this book by itself.  But if you want to know more about the Guardians, you’ll want to stay true to the series.

If you’re someone that likes Mythology (one of my favorites in English class) you’ll see that it’s combined with a group trying to protect us humans and half-breeds.  You might even recognize some of your favorite gods and those you loved to hate.  If you like some action in your read then this book will be perfect for you.  On top of that, Elisabeth adds a mystery into the mix that will heighten your reading experience – who doesn’t love a good mystery.

An interesting character to watch out for is Ari – you’ll understand when you meet him.  But he also makes me curious – what’s his story.  Nick gives the readers hints but I still found myself wanting to know more.  Both of the main characters are strong willed but for different reasons but that doesn’t stop them from realizing how much they need each other.  Once you get involved in the story, you will find it hard to put down – there’s just no good stopping point because something else will come up that will grab your attention.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: TWISTED (Eternal Guardians Book 7)

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

better homes and hauntingsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Nina Linden is in one of the areas of the country that I love to visit – this would be a great book to take with you when you go to visit. She’s trying to come back after having someone try to discredit her. She’s just one of those characters that you want to root for and that all will be right in the world for her.

Deacon Whitney is a law unto himself and has brought some people, Nina included, to help him restore his ancestral home. The attraction between them is muted compared to the ghostly mystery that is afoot. I found that I was more interested in what is going on with the house then any type of romance.

This author introduces you to a character named Dotty. She’s a relative of Deacon’s and she appears to be the comic relief in this story. There’s one scene in this book that just solidified my awe in Dotty. You will understand when you read the scene where she talks about how she reads a book – that used to be me before I broke that bad habit.

This is one of those books that I would read more than once. The author does a great job in building the momentum that carries the reader from beginning to end and leaves you wanting more. I can picture having this around come Halloween. What a perfect time to set the mood, add the perfect music, the perfect drink and sit back and relax. And speaking of setting the mood, I had to laugh to myself when some music is referenced in the book–I just happened to be listening to that music as I was reading.

Now I’m anxious to see what Molly has in store for her readers now that this book has come out.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Better Homes and Hauntings

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Review: Queen’s Wings (Emerging Queen, Book 1) by Jamie K. Schmidt

queen's wingsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story is told in the first person. If you’re are on that is on the fence whether you want to try this book because it is told in the first person, please give it a try. You just might surprise yourself. One thing that is different about this book is that each chapter starts with a dragon rule.

There are dragons in New England – who knew! I’ll have to take a better look at my neighbors. Carolyn Donovan hears a song in her head by one of my favorite groups. If you like to listen to music as you read, you might want to play yourself some Queen. Carolyn knows what she is but has a hard time convincing anyone else.

Reed and Jack come to where Carolyn works. Jack is an experience to savor – and I’m not going to give you any hints. But if you need a reference – I can picture him with a very sexy drawl. If you want an actor reference – I think of him as Johnny Depp. There was one scene between Carolyn and Jack that had me glad that there was a strong breeze coming through the window. Reed to seems to be a man that broods a lot. But he also knows how to protect.

This was a very addicting book. With the descriptions Jamie uses, you will have no trouble picturing everything as each scene unfolds. I was happy that there was a thundershower going on at the time. The computer stayed off and I could get lost in this book. I was also glad that my dad watches TV with headphones on – I could laugh in peace. There are a lot of references that you may recognize and there was one that I hope I didn’t misinterpret. If I’m not mistaken there’s a reference to the Brady Bunch – you’ll just have to read the book and see if you can find it. It was a truly mesmerizing tale.

The only reason I gave this a rating of 4 ½ is because I want to enjoy the rest of the series. And then once the series is complete, and if the other books are as great as this one I can give the group a rating of 5. If you are a paranormal junkie then this is a book for you. If you were planning on traveling, depending on what your destination is, I would take this book with you.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Queen’s Wings: The Emerging Queens (Entangled Edge)

Review: Demon Creed (Demon Outlaw, Book 3) by Paula Altenburg

demon creedReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

Creed is on a Demon mission and that mission takes him to the ranch where Nieve is working. This is a world that has prejudices against those that are different – they are different through no fault of their own. It reminds me of our own history where slaves were considered expendable. There’s also hate for what people don’t understand and that includes the lack of compassion.

Willow has revenge on her mind as well as something more sinister. Nieve may be a woman who doesn’t appear to have much on the outside but on the inside she is very strong. And seeing this world she lives in, she needs to be. There is a point where the light goes on for Nieve – too bad more people couldn’t be that enlightened.

There are some scenes where the descriptions are a little gross in the details. It’s not too bad but it is enough that you don’t want to be eating at the time. This is a book that comes with some lessons if you’re willing to listen and Paula makes it a great way to get those lessons across to the reader. She takes a paranormal story and makes it so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it made me realize that I need to go back and read the first two books. I wasn’t lost by not having read them, and I don’t think you had to read them in order to enjoy this one, but just for the pleasure of reading the complete series is why I want to make sure to read The Demon’s Daughter and Black Widow Demon.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Demon Creed (A Demon Outlaws Novel)

Review: The Atlantean Birthright by Toya Richardson

Toya RichardsonReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: When Dieter Yong mercilessly kills her parents, Freya Anders vows to kill him. Descended from Atlantis, she is an immortal, and the Atlanteans were after her powers the night they were killed. Hate and revenge foremost on her mind, Freya becomes trapped by Dieter, but she is kindly rescued by Armand De Silva. As she found his rescuing her insulting, she has to come to terms with her emotions for her if she wants to get her revenge on Dieter.

Review: At first it is Marcus who tries to protect Freya as she bears the genes that will mean the survival of their race. Dieter is the one who wants him to give her up, and shows how cruel, evil and destructive he really is. His taunts fall on deaf ears though as he will never divulge her name no matter what tortures he puts him through, and by the looks of things, Dieter has enough as some may even drain his power. It seems Dieter’s evil knows no bounds as he doesn’t just kill her mother, he rapes her and so do the men he has with him. It doesn’t go into great detail, but it is enough to give you the idea that Dieter is enough of a villain that when she does find him, you won’t mind her torturing then killing him. Armand De Silva works for the Seekers, the organisation Freya wants to get to for answers about her parents deaths, but what she doesn’t know is that the Seekers have been looking for Freya for years.

Freya thinks she will get to Dieter in time to kill him at his lair, the lap dancing club, Virgo’s, but she never thought she would be going right into his other trap. He realises instantly that she is innocent, naive and virginal, something which tempts and tantalises him in an instant. When Freya and Armand meet, she finds herself instantly attracted to him, but after what Dieter did to her mother, she can’t let her guard down around handsome men.

Good Bits:

  • There is a good reason why Paul Veron wants Freya brought back safely.
  • The villains are suitably bad, while even the good guys will go to great lengths to kill off the bad guys.
  • Dieter is the perfect villain.
  • Toya knows how to grip the reader and keep them reading right to the very end.

Summary: I enjoyed the thrill of Freya and Armand finally working together to bring down Dieter, but it’s a hard slog getting her to trust him, even though he already has an emotional interest in her. This is the sort of book you would read while on holiday as it has plenty of mystery and intrigue for in between you looking over at the sunny skies.

Rating: ★★★★½