Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kingdoms and Quests

I'm pleased to be hosting my friend Kendra Ardnek here again, this time with a cover reveal for her fourth novel My Kingdom for a Quest.  I've been looking forward to this book for months and so has my family.  

First, a short interview with Kendra:

Which was your favorite Bookania story to write?
It's a close call between Sew, It's a Quest and My Kingdom for a Quest. Sew was certainly the most painless book, but there are some absolutely adorable scenes in Kingdom that I had an absolute blast writing. (So much so that I wrote them twice ...)

Have you titled the fourth Bookania Quest book yet?
Yes I have, actually, even a mock cover drawn. (I also have titles through to book twenty, and a few other random ones beyond that point, though four is as far as mock covers have gone.). Book four doesn't have my favorite title, but it fits the book and the series. I'll reveal it when I release Kingdom. (So, a month and two weeks from now ... scary thought!) Book four will have a more serious tone than many of the other books. I might cry while writing it.

Oh dear, now you have me worried.  So long as you don't kill off Robin, Robert, Eric or Robin Hood, I think I can live with whatever else you do.  :)

Author Person:

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways.  She's been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years, "Finish your story, Kendra", is frequently heard at family gatherings.  Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog,

An introduction to My Kingdom for a Quest:
Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency.   Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle's grasp.  But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets.  New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen.   Who is the real "rightful heir" and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?

Kingdom's Goodreads page:

You can find the first two Bookania Quests books on Amazon:
Sew, It's a Quest
Do You Take This Quest?

By now you are probably saying, "Just show us the cover already!"  Very well, here you are:

Is it not fantastic??!!!!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Prince of Earth and Heaven

A Christmas Hymn

Alfred Domett

It was the calm and silent night!
  Seven hundred years and fifty-three
Had Rome been growing up to might,
  And now was Queen of land and sea.
No sound was heard of clashing wars;
  Peace brooded o’er the hush’d domain;
Apollo, Pallas, Jove and Mars,
  Held undisturb’d their ancient reign,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago.

’T was in the calm and silent night!
  The senator of haughty Rome
Impatient urged his chariot’s flight,
  From lordly revel rolling home.
Triumphal arches gleaming swell
  His breast with thoughts of boundless sway;
What reck’d the Roman what befell
  A paltry province far away,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago!

Within that province far away
  Went plodding home a weary boor:
A streak of light before him lay,
  Fall’n through a half-shut stable door
Across his path. He pass’d—for nought
  Told what was going on within;
How keen the stars! his only thought;
  The air how calm and cold and thin,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago!

O strange indifference!—low and high
  Drows’d over common joys and cares:
The earth was still—but knew not why;
  The world was listening—unawares.
How calm a moment may precede
  One that shall thrill the world for ever!
To that still moment none would heed,
  Man’s doom was link’d, no more to sever,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago.

It is the calm and solemn night!
  A thousand bells ring out, and throw
Their joyous peals abroad, and smite
  The darkness, charm’d and holy now.
The night that erst no name had worn,
  To it a happy name is given;
For in that stable lay new-born
  The peaceful Prince of Earth and Heaven,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago.

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Do You Take This Quest?

Today I'm here to review the second installment of The Bookania Quests.



TYPE/GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy/Fairy Tale
SERIES: The Bookania Quests #2
LENGTH: 211 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    5 out of 5

When Arthur's parents were lost at sea, his Uncle Mordreth became the regent for the young boy. Yet now that he's of age, Mordreth seems to have no intentions of relinquishing the throne. It looks as though Arthur will have to fight for his throne. If only he had more than just his two servants and the old man he met in the woods for friends. The old man takes things into his own hands and whisks Arthur off to the wedding of a fellow prince, with the intention of finding him some allies.

All is not right at the wedding, however. The groom is missing and the bride had called quits. Where's the groom? Well, he's found a new bride. Now if he can just get her home ....

My Review:
"We have a new tutor and he announced today that we would be keeping a journal this year.  It is my suspicion that he also means for us to write in our journals."

Thus begins the fantastic sequel to Sew, It's a QuestDo You Take This Quest? follows Prince Robert of Locksley on his quest to wake the Sleeping Beauty and win her for his bride.  It also introduces several new characters, all of them royalty from a hundred years before who were in the castle of Sleeping Beauty and fell asleep with her.  Chief among said royalty are Madeleine, great-aunt to Robin and Robert, Shira, (one of my favorites) who with her brother Samson, is another pair of mixed up twins and Solomon and Serendipity - more mixed up siblings.

It's hilarious how alike the twin sets of Samson and Shira and Robert and Robin are.  Both brothers are calmer and more level headed and often wind up restraining their hotter tempered, more violent sisters.  All of the 'new' royalty that have woken up provide a good picture of what life was like in Bookania before the Change by their reactions to the way it is now.  At the end of Chapter 13 there is a discussion about the Author (the name in Bookania for God) that I particularly liked, especially Robin's analogy.

Robin's character continues to develop.  Take shows her adjusting to the natural shift in her relationship with her brother that is the result of both of them being in love.  Eric's calming influence on Robin is clear.  Even though Robert won't always be by her side now, Robin can't get into too much trouble because Eric is there to pull her out of it.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian make an appearance again and they are just as charming as in Sew.  Also appearing again are several of the minor characters Robert and Robin met during their journey in Sew, such as Push au Kim and the Sandwitches.

In my house, this book is just as popular or more popular than its predecessor.   We've read it out loud several times and I recently began to read it aloud yet again.  I recommend this series if you are looking for clean, fun fairy tales with a new twist.

Favorite quotes:
"The poor world.  Do you think it will ever forgive us for loosing Robin on it?" ~ King Alexander of Locksley

"But, Eric, I frankly don't know why they allow gray-eyed miscreants like you and Sam on the loose.  They're the downfall of Locksley princesses."  ~ Madeleine of Locksley

"Ah, but, do not judge man by cover!  I am ruthless!  I once push Duke O'Gair into oven!"  ~ Push au Kim

"I relish not unadorned speech."  ~ Prince Theo

"Surely thou didst not have a death wish for him!" exclaimed Sol.
"Nay, I had a break off the engagement wish," said Joan with a shrug.

"It's a dress. I hate dresses."

"And why are you traveling with Prince Robert and his sister?" asked King William, Eric's father.  There was an unspoken question of, "Why is it that you and she have not killed each other yet?"

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Interview With Ashley Elliott

A few weeks ago I did a cover reveal for Becoming Nikki, a novel written by my friend Ashley Elliott.  She is currently hosting a blog party celebrating the release of the book and agreed to stop by my blog for an interview.

Welcome to the Splendor Falls, Ashley!

First, please tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Ashley, I'm a writer, and I'm weird. I have multiple personalities that come out at different times (that I can't control), and I'm frequently getting sidetracked by things on the Internet.

Please give us a synopsis of Becoming Nikki.

Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their closest friends.

But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore... and Alec wants to quit.

Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can't get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She's left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.
Whatever she decides, she knows her life will never be the same.

What inspired you to write this book?
Well, it all started when I discovered ice dancing while watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Meryl Davis and Charlie White were instantly my favorite and I started thinking about how much it would take to get to the Olympics.  I also had come up with the idea of a broken sister-sister relationship (which slowly turned into a brother-sister relationship) around the same time, and, as I started developing the plot of that novel, the ice dancing part eventually fused with it.

What were some of the songs you listened to while writing?
Hmm... Well, I listened to a lot of Jackie Evancho's 'Songs from the Silver Screen' CD, lots of movie scores (James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer ROCK), and a lot of random songs – it all just depended on my mood.  ;)

How long did it take you to write it?

WHALE. It only took me about six months to write it (June '12 – January '13), but it took me a year and a half to edit it... including I-am-so-done-with-this breaks.

What is your favorite quote from the book?
“Um, Natalie? You'll never believe who just opened the door for me.”
“Chris Pine? David Tennant? Aaron Tveit?”
(Insert Pinterest meme here: MENTION ALL THE FANDOMS!!!!)

Which character or characters were the easiest to write?

Definitely Natalie and Nikki. I'm so much like both of them! Reserved like Nikki, yet wild and silly around my friends like Natalie.

Which character or characters were the hardest to write?

Probably the guys. I started writing Nikki back when I didn't really know how to get into a guy's head, so it was weird. (I'm still working on getting into guys' heads... lol.)

Who was your favorite minor character?

BENNETT. I think he qualifies as being a minor character. His first line is "Hey" and he speaks fluently in pick-up lines. I love him muchly.

What is your opinion of 'character casting'?

I started casting the actors who played Nikki and Alec and most of the other characters when I first started writing Nikki.  I think the original actors have pretty much stayed the same.  I found Alexis Bledel after watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls and I found Jonathan Rhys Myers after watching August Rush (both of which I liked a lot but can’t really recommend because of Content).

What scene was the most fun to write?
Hmm... Basically any scene that Natalie and Nikki were in together. I just let them go at it, mentioning all of the period dramas I could. : D

How about a scene that absolutely ripped you apart while you were writing it?
Definitely the initial accident scene. I literally couldn't reread it for months after I wrote it. (But it's nothing compared to one of the first scenes in The Art of Letting Go, the novel I'm working on now. UGH. FEELS.)

Did you plot out the story before writing it or did you just sit down and write?
I plotted out the main storyline, but I basically let it go wherever it wanted to. I hate outlining. XD

What was the most unexpected part of writing Becoming Nikki?

Hmm... Probably the fact that I became a bit of a germaphobe after writing Nikki. *nods* Yes, Cosette, this is true. It was bad. I got out the first 50k words of Nikki during Camp NaNo and, after being stuck with Nikki (who is a bit of a germaphobe) for 30 days... I became a bit of a germaphobe. I keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse and one in my car. True story.

What is an interesting piece of trivia about Becoming Nikki?
The chocolate cake that Nikki gets from Ferguson's is based off the AMAZING flourless chocolate cake that I love from Alpine Bakery in Alpharetta. Totally worth it if you're ever in North Georgia. (I did an entire post on Nikki Fun Facts on my blog, so check it out if you want to know more random stuff about Nikki!)

Becoming Nikki is self-published, isn't it?  Why did you choose self publishing?
It is! I chose self-publishing because it's easier than the traditional route. Heh...heh... I think I'm going to try the traditional route with my next novel, though. Yay! We'll see how it goes. *crosses fingers*

Do you have any interesting writing quirks or behaviors?
HA. Yes. Most definitely. One of the biggest is that I'm horribly handicapped whenever I try to write in a public environment because I pull faces as I write them, in order to write them well. Yep. So since I can't do that while I'm out because that'd be WEIRD, I always have to go back through the sections I wrote while in, say, Starbucks, splay the emotions on my face, and re-write parts so it's better. That, or hide my face whenever I do it. XD

Is there one question you've always wished an interviewer would ask you?

What do you want to do with the riches you'll get from selling all of your NY-Times-Bestselling books? Because I've got PLANS. My siblings gave me a list of things they want (including a Lamborghini and a water bed), and I'm going to buy various houses, too. It'll be great.

What is one thought you hope readers will take away from Becoming Nikki?
To look at relationships differently. Imagine you're in Nikki's shoes. Ask yourself what would you do if you were given the chance to rebuild a faltering relationship? Then do it. Everyone will benefit, and you'll all be better for it.

Thanks for interviewing me!!!

Thanks for stopping by, Ashley!

For more information on Ashley and Becoming Nikki, visit Ashley's blog.

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Finished NaNo... Now What?

I finished NaNo.

Yes, that's right.  This evening at about 6:00 I finished writing today's section, validated my novel on the NaNo site and officially won NaNoWriMo.

And now I'm utterly exhausted.

The MCs of this year's NaNo really put me through a lot.  I didn't realize how much of my energy the last week and half wasn't energy but rather adrenalin.  It kept me going, kept me reaching for the goal... but now that the goal is reached, I just want to curl up with some drama, something sweet to eat and REST.  The reaction has set in - disbelief that I reached the goal, relief that I reached the goal... and exhaustion.

The last couple of days I put some thought into what I would do after I finished the 50,000 words.  Last year, after I reached 50,000 words, I kept writing until that novel was done.  But, I'm not going to do that this year.

Sub Rosa needs a break.  I'm not very happy with the section I wrote today.  There is something missing and I need to figure out what before I can move forward with the novel.  I don't know how long of a rest from it I'll need.  Hopefully it will only be a week or so, while I recover from the adrenalin high of NaNo- just long enough to take a step back and re-examine Sub Rosa under different lights.

In the meantime, there are several novels clamoring for my attention:
Ebony and Aubergine, the first novel in the Lion and Rose series, and the novel I set aside to write Sub Rosa for NaNo
To See The Stars and The Stars Come Forth, the first and second novels in the Stellumo series
Oath of Loyalty and Pearl of Loyalty, the first and second novels in the Fidelitas series
Venit Hora, the first novel in the Three Kyngdoms series

Yeah, no lack of projects to choose from until I can figure out what I need to do differently with Sub Rosa.  :D  Stellumo will probably win out.  Their characters have been hounding me for the last few days.

To all of you who supported and encouraged me during this NaNo, THANK YOU.

And to all of you who are still working on your NaNo novels, BEST WISHES.  Go for the gold!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NaNo - The Halfway Point

Today, November 15, is the halfway point of NaNoWriMo.  When the month began, I was planning to do a weekly recap of NaNo here on my blog every Saturday... but that didn't happen.  Here are my stats for the first half of NaNo and some snippets as well.

My Current Stats:
Word Count At The Beginning of This Month: 0  (except for random snippets jotted down to remind me how the story was supposed to go when I sat down to write it.)
Total Word Count As Of Now: 34,259
Final Word Count Goal:  50,000
Daily Word Count Goal:  2,000
Average Daily Word Count: 2,283
Words Remaining: 15,741

A few snippets:
    “I am not going to be nasty or fight or argue, I swear it, Yolina.  I, please, I just need to tell you something.  Please,” he threw his whole heart into his eyes.
    She was going to say no.  He could see it in those brown eyes.  Saw her open her mouth to tell him no... held his breath for the rejection he could see on her face.

    “Darn right it wouldn’t have!  The pig!  Wait until I get my hands on him!  I’ll make him sorry he ever saw you!”
    She reached out and grabbed his arm, “Doran, you can’t.  I handled it.  Let it go.  You’ll only stir up more trouble by pitching into him now.  Besides, I can fight my own battles.”
    “But you shouldn’t have to fight them on your own, even though you are capable of it,” he insisted, his whole face full of compassion.  “We’re friends, we’re supposed to fight side by side, not separately.”
    “Sometimes we have to fight separately.”

    She shook her head, “Not true, Ran.  We might not have come to this point so soon, but it would have come.  We can no more stop the growing up process than we can sprout wings.”
    “Actually, I’ve heard tell of experiments that would let us do that,” he said seriously.
    She glared at him.

    She looked at him in disbelief.  “If you say so.  I have good news,” she slid the paper the waiter had given her out of her pocket and waved it triumphantly in the air.
    He stared at her.  “A strange Frenchman asks you to call him and you say it is good news?!”
    She blinked at the vehemence in his reply, “You call your brother a strange Frenchman?”
    “My brother?!”

    Yolina took a sip of her drink... and almost spit it back out.  She set her glass down hard.  “Tiz, why the- blazes- do I have water?!” she demanded.
    “The heck!” Doran stared at his glass.  “Is that what’s in this?”  He took an exploratory sip and glared hard at his elder brother, matching the ferocity of the glare Yolina had fixed Tiziano with.
    ‘You didn’t really think I was going to give you something alcoholic, did you?” Tiziano raised his eyebrows is tolerant amusement.
    “We’re twenty years old!” Doran protested.
    “So?” Tiziano turned sideways to him.
    “The least you could have done was get us sodas!” Yolina fumed.
    “Bad for your health,” Julien smiled maddeningly.
    “It can’t be any worse for our health than whatever you two are drinking!” Yolina argued.

    “Well, you’ve known him for a long time so I thought, even though you don’t like him, maybe you would know how other girls have gone about getting his attention.”
    The opportunity was too good to pass up.  Yolina pretended to think for a moment and then said, “The fastest way to his heart is through his ribcage.  The bigger the gun, the bigger the hole,” she replied meekly, but her eyes gleamed wickedly.

    She was there but she was down.  Doran saw the blood on the snow before Liu did and he dropped down beside her, hands moving to check her over.  He saw blood trickling into the snow.  Naked fear leaped into his eyes.
    No.  This can’t be happening.

How is NaNo going for all of you?

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, November 3, 2014

Becoming Nikki Cover Reveal

I like participating in cover reveals.  It makes me feel like I'm at a theater, about to pull a curtain back to reveal the first act of a play.  Cover reveals appeal to my love of drama, which is why I usually can't resist taking part in them whenever they cross my horizon.

Today's cover is for a book written by my friend Ashley Elliot.

What would you do if you were given the opportunity to rebuild a broken relationship? 
Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their closest friends.
But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore... and Alec wants to quit.
Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can't get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She's left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.
Whatever she decides, she knows her life will never be the same.

And now... ta da!!  Behold the cover!!


For more information, visit Ashley's blog.  And coming up next month, there will be a blog tour for this book, so stay tuned for that.

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Woodcutter Qunice AND Plenilune Available Now....

Today I am here to talk about the release of not just one, but two books.

Kendra Ardnek has published her Bookania Short Story Woodcutter Quince.  For those of you who have read Sew, It's a Quest and/or Do You Take This Quest, Woodcutter Quince is about Casperl, the prince who is engaged to Doranna.  I've read it and it is a delightful story.  In celebration of it's release, three other Kendra books are free today: Sew, It's a Quest, The Prior Quest and CinderEddy.

Woodcutter Quince on Amazon

In the depths of Black forest, strange creatures are rumored to exist. Casperl isn't sure he's seen any of them, but he does know that there is a princess trapped on top of an enchanted mountain. Only a true prince can free her. He's certainly not one.

Also, Jennifer Frietag's planetary fantasy novel Plenilune is now available in paperback!

Plenilune on CreateSpace

The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert's unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war.

To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it-even if he has to kidnap her.

En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

I highly recommend checking these books out!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, October 18, 2014

King of Anavrea Blog Tour

Today, I'm taking part in Rachel Rossano's blog tour highlighting the release of her new book The King of Anavrea.  You can see the cover below, along with the links to buy the book, and at the end of the post is an interview with Rachel.

The beautiful cover for The King of Anavrea:

The cover was designed by Laura Miller of An Author's Art.

Meet the Author:

Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virture set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.

Rachel Rossano loves to interact with readers.
Blog ~
Twitter ~
Facebook ~
YouTube ~
GoodReads ~

Rachel also has her own book cover design business:
Website ~
Facebook ~

To buy The King of Anavrea:
Amazon –
Smashwords –

Book Trailer Link –
YouTube –

Welcome to The Splendor Falls, Rachel!!

First, please tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am a happily married, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. My three little ones (twin 4 year-olds and an almost 7 year old) keep my life full and spontaneous. Writing is a bit of a coping mechanism, something that is mine midst this season that is so centered on my children. I also see it as an investment toward the time when they don’t need as much of my time and attention like when they go off to college.

Please give us a synopsis of The King of Anavrea.

Ireic Theodoric didn’t expect to become king. His older half-brother was supposed to take the throne, but through an unexpected turn of events Ireic became the next king. Pressured to make a political marriage alliance by his overreaching council, he signs a treaty with Sardmara. However, before the ink is dry on the parchment, he discovers that his bride is not at hand. Instead, she is in need of rescuing before a wedding can occur.

Lirth Parnan, only daughter of the King of Sardmara, has spent the past five years in captivity. Kidnapped in an unsuccessful attempt to control her father, she remains isolated and apparently forgotten until one day a rescuer arrives. She has heard of Anavrea and her king. Apparently he knows even less about her. She has to break the bad news to him that she is blind.

Ireic is now faced with an impossible situation. If he marries her, his council will not accept her as queen. If he doesn’t marry her, her father will declare war on Anavrea. In the midst of it all he needs to figure out what he thinks of this quiet woman with nerves of steel and a strength that endures despite her weak frame.

What inspired you to write the Anavrea series?
It all started back in about 2000 in Schopfheim, Germany, which is in the black forest area. The region inspired the Grimm Brothers. Now it is best known for cuckoo clocks. My husband was on a two week business trip with me along. The two weeks turned into four. I read the books I brought with me, read all the English books available at the local bookstore that I could tolerate (horror is really not my genre), and my current writing project was not going well. So, I started a new project. The end result was The Crown of Anavrea.

The King of Anavrea grew out of a desire to give Ireic his own story. He was an unexpectedly wonderful secondary character in The Crown. I felt guilty forcing him to take the crown his brother had refused when he clearly didn’t want it either.

What were some of the songs you listened to while writing? (The book's soundtrack, if you will.)
My favorite writing music at the moment is pretty much anything by The Piano Guys. I love their work. They weren’t around when I was writing The King of Anavrea, so they were my editing music. I think at the time I was writing The King of Anavrea was when I was enjoying Mandy Patinkin and Roger Whitaker. I have a large collection of their works so it is hard to pin point exactly which songs fit where.

How long did it take you to write it?
I am not really sure how long it took me to write The King of Anavrea. At least a year, more likely more. My furor for the story started out strong and then faded to nothing. The unfinished manuscript sat for a while before I picked it up again and determined to finish it. Posting a chapter a week on my Xanga blog, I caught up to where I had stopped. Then I started writing forward at the same rate. The feedback from my readers encouraged me to keep going until I reached the end.

What is your favorite quote from the book?
“Dimly aware of the outside door opening and thumping shut again, she [Lirth] tightened her hold on the faith that had brought her through until now. She was being tested, but God had seen her through every trial so far. He would be no less faithful at the time of her death. She was ready. Soon I shall see Your face.”

Which character or characters were the easiest to write?
Lirth proved to be an easy character to write. She remained consistently sweet with this backbone that came out when I least expected it. I enjoyed spending time with her.

Which character or characters were the hardest to write?
The bad guys were hard. At the time I wrote this novel, I lacked the ability to write good bad guys. I kept things so vague it wasn’t even clear who was the bad guy, that their motivation was, or how to resolve the tension that came with them adequately. Let us just say I spent a lot of time on the bad guys when I edited for publication.

Who was your favorite minor character?
My favorite was definitely Liam Tremain. I liked him so much that I gave him his own book. Although he isn’t officially a Theodoric, his story (which sort of also follows up on Ireic and Lirth) is the next novel in the series.

What is your opinion of 'character casting'?
I think it is a great idea, but it hasn’t worked well for me. My characters live in my head as personalities. Some of them have specific characteristics that must be there. Examples would be Lirth with her blindness and Ireic with his brown eyes and the nose he shares with his brother. Other things are not as clear. I have a face type in mind, but they aren’t exactly like anyone I have met or seen, yet.

What scene was the most fun to write?
I loved writing the assassination attempt scene. Written from Lirth’s perspective made it both a challenge and a joy. Instead of using her eyes, I could only rely on her smell, taste, touch, and hearing.

How about a scene that absolutely ripped you apart while you were writing it?
The torture scene hurt. I really liked Lirth by that point and I felt for her.

Did you plot out the story before writing it or did you just sit down and write?
When I wrote The King of Anavrea I was definitely a pantser. Even I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I followed the characters.

What was the most unexpected part of writing The King of Anavrea?
The writing stalled because I decided I hated writing about politics. Now, almost a decade later, most of the books I am writing have something to do with the politics of a nation. Whether the country is Rhynan (the Novels of Rhynan series) or Pratinus (Living Sacrifice), political happenings are a major part of the plots.

What is an interesting piece of trivia about The King of Anavrea?
I seriously contemplated killing off Lirth at one point. I am thankful I never went through with it, though.

The King of Anavrea is self-published, isn't it? Why did you choose self-publishing?
Back when I first started seriously pursuing publication, I discovered that most of the publishing houses out there are not looking for the genre I was writing. If they were, they weren’t publishers with whom I was interested in being associated. So, given the choice of never publishing my stories and going out on my own, I decided to strike out on my own. I have made my share of mistakes and learned some lessons the hard way, but now I wouldn’t consider doing it any other way. The process is definitely a lot easier these days and a lot less scary than when I started out looking for a publishing platform to distribute my books.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks or behaviors?
I am a nomadic writer. It comes from not having a desk. My laptop frequently sits on my kitchen table in the center of the chaos of our life. I grab moments when I can. When the kids are in bed, I move to the soft couch and a table that was originally a mini-desk for my kids. It is the perfect height for typing while sitting on the couch. Also, once or twice a week, when the kids are in bed and my husband is home, I run away and write at a local restaurant or Dunkin Donuts. Somewhere with no wifi, no children I am responsible for, and no chores sitting there tempting me to procrastinate.

I know you have at least two young children. How do you make time to write and be a mother at the same time? Is it hard?
I have three children. Finding the time to write is a constant challenge. It is like balancing two dreams. I always wanted to be a mother. That hasn’t changed. I only started to seriously consider writing as a career when it looked like we weren’t going have children. Now I try to balance the two. I think having writing as a hobby has been good for me, though. I have a life apart from my children, something that is mine alone. It gives me perspective that I might’ve not had if I devoted all of my energy into my children and my house.

Children can be extremely inspiring at times. There have been many scenes in my own stories that were inspired by my younger siblings. Are there any scenes in The King of Anavrea that were particularly inspired by your children?
At the time I wrote the first draft of The King of Anavrea I didn’t have children. Now that I do, they have definitely inspired characters in my novels. The son of my main character in Duty: First Novel of Rhynan has many similarities to my oldest son.

What is one question you've always wished an interviewer would ask you?
Hmm... I am always terrible at these kinds of questions. How about “Can I come over and watch your kids while you write?”

What is one thought you hope readers will take away from The King of Anavrea?
I want them to finish reading The King of Anavrea with a feeling of hope that no matter what happens to them the Lord has a purpose, a plan, and reason for everything in their lives. He will never leave them or forsake them, even in the worst of circumstances. Just because we cannot “see” the reason doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Thank you for stopping by, Rachel!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, October 10, 2014

Poem of the Week: The Tiger

I've always loved tigers.  They are my second favorite big cat.  Hence this poem has been a favorite of mine for years.

This post is dedicated to my Tigress....

The Tiger
William Blake

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And, when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,

And watered heaven with their tears,

Did He smile His work to see?

Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sew It's a Quest: Book Review

This week's book is a family favorite around my house.

Sew, It's a Quest

Kendra E Ardnek

TYPE/GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy/Fairy tale
SERIES: The Bookania Quests #1
LENGTH: 156 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    5 out of 5

Robin and Robert are royal twins. They are the only two to have received a Fairy Godmother gift in nearly a century, an amazing honor. Soon it became clear that their gifts had been switched and a search began to find the Fairy Godmother to right the mistake. When she is finally sighted by a knight, the family learns that the pair must find her for themselves and they only have until their 18th birthday ... only 4 months away. Will they be able to find her in time?

My Review:
Kendra has done a delightful job of weaving together several different fairy tales, each with their own unique twist.  Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood and Diamonds and Toads are just a few of the fairy tales to be found within this story.

To pique your interest, I'm just going to list a few of the things I particularly liked about this story:
~ The bag-cats.  And my siblings loved them so much that they have become a part of our household vocabulary.
~ Eric killing the snake.  (I HATE snakes.)
~ Robert and Robin's banter about Robin always losing her lists.
~ The one list Robin never lost.
~ Robin Hood's gift to Princess Robin.
~ Robert's archery.

Chapter 26 was my favorite, especially the hilarious duel.  I had guessed how it would end, but it was highly entertaining nonetheless.

Favorite Characters:
Robin is my top favorite.  We're too much alike for her to not be my favorite character
Robert: He's the perfect foil for his sister and his level head and calm manner when Robin is flying off the handle is usually the only thing that stands between her and trouble.
Eric:  I chuckled my way through most of his and Robin's scenes.
Robin Hood: A matchmaking Robin Hood was certainly not what I expected but I enjoyed it very much.
Maid Marian: Spunky, swordfighting, tree climbing and seems younger than she actually is.

I give this book a 10 out of 10 rating and have recommended it to several people.  Everyone in my family from my mother down to the four-year-old likes this book.  I rate it a 5 out of 5 for reading aloud.  We have read it out loud to my younger siblings at least three times and all of them happily gather around to hear it.  They eagerly wait for new installments in the Bookania series and regularly ask me 'when the next book will be out'.

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, October 6, 2014

Plenilune Cover Reveal!!

Today I'm participating in the cover reveal for a book I am eagerly anticipating... Jennifer Freitag's upcoming planetary fantasy novel Plenilune.

But, as usual, I am going to make you wait until the end for the cover. :)  So, to see the cover, you have to read all the other stuff first.  Or... I suppose you can just scroll to the bottom - but, that's cheating! *gasp*  :D

The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war. 

To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her.

En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

Plenilune is planetary fantasy, and if you are asking, "What kind of genre is planetary fantasy??", well then, visit THIS POST of Jennifer's to find out.

You can find Plenilune on Goodreads HERE.

The release date is OCTOBER 20th.  Mark your calendars - this is one book you will not want to miss!

And now, about the author of this delicious looking novel:
JENNIFER FREITAG lives with her husband in a house they call Clickitting, with their two cats Minnow and Aquila, and their own fox kit due to be born in early December. Jennifer writes in no particular genre because she never learned how, she is make of sparks like Boys of Blur, and if she could grasp the elements, she would bend them like lightning. Until then, she sets words on fire.

Living with her must be excruciating.

Jennifer blogs at: The Penslayer.  Her posts are excellent reading, especially for writers.  She is also the author of The Shadow Things, which I have not yet read myself, but which has been highly recommended to me.

And now.... the cover for which you all have been waiting.....

Is it not BEAUTIFUL??!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Review: The Princess Spy

I was given a copy of this book free of charge in return for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.

I don't normally read Christian fiction, for lots of reasons, which I won't go into right now, but chiefly because, as a general rule, I find it shallow, boring, and unrealistic.  I especially don't read Christian historical fiction because most of what I have read to date has been historically inaccurate, which was enough to sour me, a self-professed history geek, on the genre.

However, I had heard much about Melanie Dickerson's books and was curious about them.  So, when she offered advanced reader copies, I volunteered.  The very title was enough to interest me, because I like princesses and I love spies.  Put the two together and you automatically interest me. :D  (And isn't the cover gorgeous?!!)


Melanie Dickerson


TYPE/GENRE: Inspirational historical fiction
LENGTH: 292 pages
RATING: 9 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    4 out of 5

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.

Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.

My thoughts:
I liked this book.  I didn't adore it, and I wouldn't put it on my list of top 50 books, but that has nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with my personal reading tastes. 

The Princess Spy mixes adventure and romance quite well.  Margaretha is a realistic heroine, complete with her tendency to talk too much, especially when nervous or unsure of herself.  Colin was a true gentleman, and his journey of revenge is well-written, as are his reactions to Margaretha and a land where he cannot speak the language.  Their romance was sweet and well-handled.

I really liked Toby, because of his childish innocence and the knack he possessed (in common with all children) of asking searching, apparently innocent questions, but embarrassing to the people being questioned.  Sir Bezilo ties with Toby for my favorite minor character, because of his unswerving loyalty to the family of the Duke.

I think the two scenes at which I laughed the most were when Colin lost his memory temporarily and was talking without inhibitions, and then again when Toby was asking some rather... uncomfortable questions of Margaretha and Colin asks that she translate the questions.  My two favorite scenes would have to be when Margaretha is knocking out guards.  :)

Melanie did her research as far as costumes, architecture, physical geography and languages are concerned.   I could feel the aura of historic Germany as I read.  I applaud her for conveying the historical atmosphere so well.

What I didn't like:
The book was set in the year 1413.  Germany and the entire Holy Roman Empire was overwhelmingly Catholic at that time, yet aside from mention of there being a priest in the castle and iron crosses on the walls, this book makes no mention of Catholicism.  The theology and Christianity in the book has a very Protestant flavor to it, which would not have been historically correct until over one hundred years later.  Also, the language used in speaking of God in this book was a bit to too modern, as was the attitude.  I found it a little jarring, but anyone who isn't a borderline-obsessive history geek probably won't notice it.  :)

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, inspirational, historical read.  And I plan on reading more of Melanie's books.

The Princess Spy will be available for sale on November 4, 2014.

Miss Melody Muffin