Monday, August 31, 2015

Fan Fiction Contest - Launching Tomorrow!



Dear imps, tomorrow marks the commencement of the 2015 Fan Fiction Contest, and I am very excited to share these stories with all of you! A few quick notes before it begins:

1. This year, the voting is limited to fans only. You may invite family and friends to vote on these submissions IF THEY ARE FANS of the series themselves. (Otherwise, voting becomes unfairly skewed.)

2. We have TWO separate categories this year: prose and poetry. So when you vote, please send in your TOP THREE PICKS for prose as well as your TOP THREE PICKS for poetry. List them in order of preference. Your top pick in each category will receive 10 points, your second pick 5 points, and your third pick, 2 points. So think carefully!

3. Send votes to: aestengl@gmail.com. Please use the subject header "Fan Fiction Contest Votes"

Prize Journal Front Cover
4. Comments are welcome and encouraged. Unless the author asks for a critique, please limit your remarks to encouraging notes, favorite lines, etc. This contest is all about the FUN and the IMAGINATION!

5. And, of course, this year we also have the category of MY PERSONAL FAVORITE. So I'll be going over these stories and poems carefully as I decide on that particular winner.

There are some fantastic submissions this year! I've read some of them already, and I know you'll be impressed. Be prepared . . . some of them are quite long, so be sure to make yourself a BIG mug of tea as you settle in for a read.

The winners will be announced September 13, and all three of them will receive a gorgeous, hardbound, Goldstone Wood journal with their story/poem title on the back. It's going to be a close contest, so best of luck to all of you participants! And happy reading to the readers . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

September Show and Tell

Dear Five Magic Spindles competitors, I have an invitation for you! In honor of the upcoming halfway point for this year's contest, I am going to host a little Show and Tell for anyone who wants to participate. Here are the details:

1. YOU get a chance to introduce your story and concept to our readers! Send in a working title and a 2-5 sentence "hook" for your story--an exciting teaser to whet our appetites. You may also send your opening line/opening paragraph if you feel like sharing a bit more! (If you are working on more than one story, feel free to send in the same information for every entry you are hoping to complete.)

2. Include a short author-bio for yourself and a link to your blog (if you have one). This will be a great way for folks to continue building up a supportive community around these contests.

3. If you have a cool image you feel goes well with your story--depicting a scene, setting, or character--feel free to send it along as well! Visuals are always fun.

4. Email all of this info to me (aestengl@gmail.com) with the subject line: "Magic Spindles Show and Tell." The deadline is September 14.

The post featuring all of your stories will be going live on September 16. It should be a lot of fun to get a taste of what all these talented authors are working on! I know I am personally looking forward to it.

Let me know if you have any questions at all! I will be watching for those emails.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Doings at Drakenheath

Okay, it's time to liven up this blog once more with a Doings at Drakenheath post! So here we are, folks, with this month's doings, and I hope you find them entertaining.

For starters, we've got the Fan Fiction Contest bearing down upon us . . .


The deadline for this contest is coming up VERY SOON NOW. August 28. So be certain to check out the rules once more if you are interested in participating. I know many of you have been hard at work on submissions this last month, and I've had quite a few come in for posting! So far we've received lot more poetry this year than we've seen in previous years, and fewer prose pieces . . . though the prose pieces that have come in have been fantastic. And some of them quite epic! One clocked in at 11,000 words, which I thought would be our longest . . . until another came in at 30,000 words! So those of you looking for some entertaining Goldstone Wood reading will have some short novel-length works to delve into this September.

Submissions are to be emailed to me (aestengl@gmail.com). Don't be shy! We're all very friendly around here, and your story will get lots of nice feedback from readers.

I cannot let a Doings at Drakenheath post go by without mentioning the Five Enchanted Roses launch . . .

Seriously, it still feels surreal to me that this event has come and gone. That this mountainous project is actually published and behind me! While I won't say that Five Enchanted Roses was more difficult than Five Glass Slippers, I will say that so far, each year I've been surprised by just how much work goes into these launches. Lots of little, last-minute, scrambling details. And lots of large, last-minute scrambling details as well! But the project is OUT, and readers are buying and enjoying the five stories by these five wonderful novelists, and I could not be better pleased. All five authors gave wonderful interviews here on my blog for the launch week, and four of the five undertook the craziness that is a Facebook Chat Party . . . and did absolutely awesome jobs!

Of course, the work goes on with this project as well as Five Glass Slippers as my team and I continue to study the market and research new ways to get our product out to more and more readers. Currently Five Enchanted Roses is being recorded for audiobook by brilliant narrator Becky Doughty at BraveHeart Audiobooks. I have only heard one short clip so far and . . . oh, my! It's so gorgeous! Becky really does stunning work with her audiobooks and is the perfect voice for these fairy tales. I had the fun of selecting the music to go with this particular audio production as well, and I can hardly wait to hear how it all sounds together! It'll be many months yet before we launch for all of you, but be on the look out! It's coming . . .


Oh, and can I just take a moment to mention a small landmark for Five Glass Slippers? It's not a terribly big deal, but I was pleased to see that our bestselling collection has officially reached 100 reviews on Amazon. While not enormous by any means, it is quite a satisfyingly round number to see up there on our Amazon page.

"Okay, okay," you're saying. "It's one thing to hear about the Rooglewood Press Doings--they're all well and good. But what are you actually writing these days?"

Well, as most of you know, I've had to take a step back from Poison Crown for the time being. While not my preference and not a decision I came by lightly, it's the right decision. We decided this about a month ago (within a day or two after posted my last Doings at Drakenheath post, actually), and the moment I finally come to terms with this new course of action, I immediately jumped into a new project . . . a project which I am going to refer to for the time being as:


That's right. The Ridiculously Huge Project is commenced. It's a brand new series set in a brand new world, not even remotely connected to Goldstone Wood. It's bold and different and, simultaneously, classic and familiar. And it's huge.

By huge I mean ambitious. Ambitious in the writing goals I am setting for myself, the amount of work I am trying to produce in given time restraints. After approximately a month of planning and world-building, I  dived into the first manuscript last Wednesday and have produced 20,000 words. Which is actually a little shy of what I was aiming for by this time, but I am going to scramble to catch up the rest of this week. The goal is to finish a rough draft in another two weeks then let it sit for a while as I move on to the second manuscript.

I'm not going to give away much about this project just yet, especially while it's still in such early stages. However, I've decided to give you a little glimpse into the development of these stories in each of my Doings posts . . . a little something to heighten your curiosity, hopefully . . .

So this month's glimpse of The Ridiculously Huge Project is a tidbit of research I sniffed around after a few weeks ago. I found myself looking into the history of the Christmas hymn, "Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming." Many of you probably already knew this, but I did not realize that the original hymn was a German piece called "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen," and first appeared in the 16th century. The English translation with which I am familiar didn't appear until the late 1800s and wasn't the only translation. A woman named Catherine Winkworth translated the first two verses into English in her version, "The Spotless Rose," which I had never before heard. And it is absolutely beautiful! While the original German version is closer to the time period in which I am writing, I currently plan to use "The Spotless Rose" or a variation of that hymn as an ongoing plot thread in The Ridiculously Huge Project.

Of course, this is all still early stages and subject to change! Anything I tell you about this project over the next several months could very easily alter within a few days or weeks. But one way or the other, this gives you the first hint of the direction this project is leaning . . .

 Last time someone commented that I hadn't mentioned any of my beasties in the Doings at Drakenheath post! So I wanted to make certain I gave special attention to all the beloved fluffies this time. Here is a picture of Monster and Makoose, fondly known hereabouts as the Fluffy Brothers.

While not true littermates, these two are very sweetly bonded. We sort of adopted Makoose because Rohan saw his picture and went, "He's looks like a gray version of Monster!" and felt the need for a bookend-kitty. That's not the ONLY reason we adopted him, of course! He's also quite the lunatic, which is endearing. And when not undergoing a lunatic spell, he can be sweet as pie.

Most of our kitties don't care for each other, so we were quite delighted when the Fluffy Brothers bonded. It allows for lots of photogenic moments like what you see above.

A rare moment of peace! These three usually spat something awful, so Rohan was quick to document this rare sighting of calm circular-sleeping. Don't they look adorable? Left to right, that's Magrat, Makoose, and Marmaduke.
 

I believe I have mentioned that Makoose and Milly have a bit of a Romeo and Juliet affair going on. They are completely in love with one another and won't let any star-crossed species differentiation get in the way of their passion. Here you see them curled up on the rug by our back door. Right before we took this picture, he was grooming her shoulder and face

Here's another angle on their romance.


Milly doesn't care for the other kitties at all. But she wuves her Makoosie-Moosie!

And here's a completely dignified picture of Marmaduke and the Evil One.

These two, while not exactly friends, are pretty good frenemies. They will often share a sunlit patch together. It will inevitably turn into a brawl, which both of them seem to enjoy tremendously. But for long stretches, there can be peace . . .

Yesterday, Minerva--my beloved Evil One--leaped into the water bowl. I mean, all four paws, KER-SPLASH, water flying everywhere. It's a pretty big water bowl, and she enjoys sitting by it for long periods at a time, staring at the ripples and occasionally batting it with her paw to make it move. (She also likes to dip her paw in the water then pat the wall so that she can chase the water droplets running down). I have never before seen her go four-feet-in, however. She seemed quite pleased with herself and traipsed about the house with little wet paw-prints until I caught her and wiped her down with a towel. To this she protested with loud squawkings. O! The indignity! Such a wretched Anne Elisabeth!

Sadly I have no new pictures of Mutti-Bear for you. She's actually quite frightened of the camera, so it's tough to snap a picture of her. But rest assured, she is doing well! Ever since her mouth surgery, she has been my sweetest little lap-baby, always ready for a cuddle session. She also likes to play headrest on the back of the couch for either me or Rohan. If we're sitting watching a movie, she'll pick one or the other of us to lie behind, her front paws on one shoulder, her back paws on the other. Technically her body is still on the back of the couch, but she turns herself into one of those wrap-around airline pillows. Such a sweet girlie-cat! We adore her and her fluffiness and her toothless gnawings on our fingers.

And, of course, I can't let a Doings post go by without at least mentioning the Five Magic Spindles contest.

All is still pretty quiet here as far as the contest is concerned. Submission forms keep trickling in, and I keep hearing whispers and rumors of stories in the works. I am thinking about hosting a little Show-and-Tell here on my blog in mid-September, inviting participating authors to send in 2-5 sentence summaries and working titles of their "Sleeping Beauty" stories in progress. Do you think YOU might like to participate in something like that? If I get enough interest in the comments, I'll go ahead and launch it . . .

Other than that, the Doings are pretty quiet this month. I am enjoying an opportunity to focus almost exclusively on my own writing. And while it's strange to be writing something other than Goldstone Wood, I have to say, it's been awesome to stretch my imagination in new and fascinating directions.

How about YOU? What have your Doings been this last month? I'm sure many of you are gearing up for school again or have already begun. Some of the rest of you are working hard at jobs and projects and just daily life. Do tell! Particularly if you're working on any cool creative projects . . .

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Update on Poison Crown and Writing Projects

Okay, this is a post I have been not wanting to write. But my online silence has started to get noticed, and in light of the sweet emails and messages from various Imps making certain I'm alive, I've realized I really do need to give all of you an update and offer an explanation for why all has been quiet in Goldstone Wood this last many weeks.

So here goes: Due to some business-related happenings that I am not going to go into in detail, I have come to a bit of a mini-crisis point in my career that necessitates setting aside Poison Crown for the time being.

I know I mentioned something about this in a June post, so this won't come as a complete surprise to those of you who have been following along. At the time of that post, I was still thinking I would be finishing Poison Crown in the near future and publishing it by next year. However, things have changed since then, and that 2016 projection is no longer looking remotely feasible. In fact, I don't know when Poison Crown will be releasing now. I would like to think 2017, but there are factors beyond my control at play.

Here are a couple of points for you to satisfy curiosity:

1. No, this does not have anything to do with whether or not I am allowed to publish more Goldstone Wood books. Golden Daughter, Goddess Tithe, and Draven's Light are all perfectly legal and permissible. This setback is related to a different side of this business, pertaining to income, not legality.

2. Poison Crown--volumes 1 and 2--WILL BE published eventually. They are the next books in the Goldstone Wood series. Before any more Goldstone Wood books release, Poison Crown will release.

I had mentioned quite a while back that Poison Crown would be the last book in the series for a little while as I take a break. This is still true. It's just the timing that has changed. At this point, I am anticipating (hoping!) that Poison Crown will come out right in the middle of that "break" period. So maybe it'll end up being a good thing . . . You readers won't have as big of a gap between Goldstone Wood novels this way . . .

Needless to say, none of this was my preference. After five years of at least one Goldstone Wood novel coming out each year, I cannot tell you how strange it is to look ahead and not know when the next one is releasing. The closest thing I can compare it to is a bad breakup. You know . . . after you've spent months or years dating one person, planning your life with that person in mind, spending all your time with that person . . . and then suddenly, that person is out of your life. And you're left to pick up the pieces, trying to figure out what you have left.

Not that I'm breaking up with Goldstone Wood. We'll get back together someday! (Oh, dear. Does that sound like the desperate, dumped girlfriend? "Goldstone Wood doesn't DESERVE me! Goldstone Wood was just intimidated by me! Just watch, Goldstone Wood, I'm going to find a series that APPRECIATES me!")

But in all seriousness, this has been tough. It's been a difficult adjustment period, first coming to the realization that this is how it has to be then actually following through. I absolutely hate leaving a project half-finished--both the series and the current manuscript itself. For a while I was determined to complete the writing on Poison Crown before moving on. This I cannot do, however. This isn't my hobby . . . this is my job, and I have to make smart decisions for my writing. I cannot afford to finish Poison Crown at this point and time.

So there it sits in my computer. Waiting. Along with all those characters whom I love so much: Eanrin, Rose Red, Lionheart, Imraldera, Daylily, Foxbrush, Una, Vahe, Felix, Bebo, Iubdan, Hri Sora, Lumé and Hymlumé, Mouse, Sunan, Munny, Leta, Akilun, Etanun, Alistair, the Chronicler, Draven, Itala, Sairu . . . not to mention the characters in Poison Crown, whom you've not had a chance to get to know . . . Raulf, Tacita, Rogan, Megaren, Dian, Ileria . . . All of these characters mean so much to me and have been such vivid parts of my life for so long. Many and most of them haven't finished telling their stories. Setting them aside for an indeterminate period of time is nothing short of heartbreaking.

Thus my silence over the last several weeks.

However, I am currently pouring myself into a new project. And once I get over the bizarre feelings of guilt over Goldstone Wood (how can I be unfaithful to my true love???), I find I am rather excited about working on something a little different for the time being. I won't say too much about this new project just now, but I'm pretty confident that it's going to turn into something fantastic. After the last few weeks of world-building, character exploration, and outlining, I sat down to write chapter 1 just yesterday, uncertain how it would turn out . . . and ended up writing over 7,000 words. Which is an awesome day of writing for me. My goal is to finish the rough draft of the first book in this project in maybe a little over two weeks. Which is ambitious, yes, but I need a distraction right now anyway.

Besides . . . FLEXIBILITY IS THE KEY TO STRATEGIC AIR POWER!

So I'm being flexible.
 
Wish me luck as I pursue this new venture. I definitely covet your prayers right now . . .

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Prize Bundle Giveaway Winner -- FIVE ENCHANTED ROSES

All right, dear readers, the winner of the EPIC prize bundle for Five Enchanted Roses has been selected out of all the many, many, many names submitted. This lucky winner will receive a gorgeous print copy of Five Enchanted Roses along with a beautiful pearl and rose necklace, a leather "book of omens" journal, a lovely hair clip, a pressed-rose bookmark, and a cool pair of jaguar sunglasses!

And that winner is . . . .

CHRISTINE SMITH

Congratulations on your win, Christine! I hope you will enjoy our prize bundle. Please send your mailing address to David Cross (david.cross@rooglewoodpress.com)  so that we can get your prizes in the mail right away.

Enormous thanks to all of you who participated in this giveaway and in celebrating the launch of this wonderful collection. You made our talented authors feel loved and appreciated as they take this enormous stride in their publishing careers. The kind support and sweetness offered by all of you (not to mention your enthusiasm over the stories themselves) is what makes this business worthwhile!

Now onward and upward with the Five Magic Spindles contest. After all, one of YOU might be a featured author this time next year!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Launch Week - Five Enchanted Roses


And today marks the final day of our week-long celebration of Five Enchanted Roses and the five amazing authors whose work made this collection possible. Hayden Wand, the talented young mind behind, "The Wulver's Rose," brings you a vlog version of her answers to the interview questions. I hope you will enjoy this glimpse into her mind and heart!

But first, here's a little more about her story:


INTRODUCING
HAYDEN WAND

video

________________________________________

  
HAYDEN WAND is a Christian and a homeschool graduate who has loved the classic story of Beauty and the Beast since the age of three, when she saw the Disney movie for the first time. When she’s not writing, reading, or bribing her siblings to read the classics, you can find her baking, crafting, practicing her archery skills, or watching her favorite shows on the BBC. She lives in South Carolina with her parents and four energetic younger siblings.

 GIVEAWAY!

In honor of this exciting release, the authors of Five Enchanted Roses have teamed up with Rooglewood Press to offer an exciting Giveaway Bundle for one lucky winner! Included in the bundle will be:

1 print copy of Five Enchanted Roses 
1 "Book of Omens" red leather journal from Kaycee Browning
1 Lilla Rose cameo hair clip from Savannah Jezowski
1 pressed rose bookmark from Jenelle Schmidt
1 pair of jaguar sunglasses from Dorian Tsukioka
1 gorgeous rose and pearl necklace

If you would like to enter your name for a chance to win this awesome bundle, here's what you do:

 Share any of the following images (or any of the images from the previous posts in our Launch Week Celebration) on your social media sites -- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, etc.

For every image that you share, copy a link and compile all your links into a list. Send your link list in an email to David Cross (david.cross@rooglewoodpress.com) using the subject header: "Five Enchanted Roses Giveaway." Be sure to send him your links NO LATER THAN MONDAY, AUGUST 3. The winner will be selected later that week.

You may also gain one free entry by leaving a comment for Hayden down below, congratulating her on her new story or asking her a question about "The Wulver's Rose."

 Have fun spreading the news about this awesome new collection from Rooglewood Press!




 



___________________________

Are you an aspiring author? Would you like to see your work featured in the next fairy tale collection from Rooglewood Press? Then don't miss your chance to enter the contest for Five Magic Spindles, currently in progress!


We look forward to reading YOUR stories . . .

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Launch Week - Five Enchanted Roses

 

And here we are, day four of our Launch Week celebration! Today I have the pleasure of hosting the author of "Rosara and the Jungle King," amazing talent, Dorian Tsukioka. Dorian has already published two other fairy tale retellings (including another version of "Beauty and the Beast," believe it or not!), proving her boundless imagination several times over! And her story in this collection is quite possibly her most beautiful, vivid, exciting adventure yet . . .

 

INTRODUCING
DORIAN TSUKIOKA

 How did you find out about the Five Enchanted Roses contest?
 
Dorian Tsukioka: A friend of mine (who also introduced me to Anne Elisabeth’s books) told me that Anne Elisabeth was hosting a writing contest for a retelling of Cinderella in 2013. I loved writing, but rarely finished anything. I decided to give it a try, and by golly, I finished my retelling of Cinderella and submitted it to the contest. 
 
Alas, I did not win that contest.

However, undaunted, I eagerly anticipated the next year’s contest, and in the summer of 2014, my friend informed me again of another fairy tale retelling contest, this time for Beauty and the Beast. I was so eager to try my hand that I wrote two stories!





Did your story idea spring immediately to mind or did you have to work to find it?

Dorian Tsukioka: I always have a seed of an idea in my head. But, the idea is never a complete story. For example, in "Rosara and the Jungle King," my initial idea was what if the girl was actually the beast? That kernel of an idea sprouted very quickly, but I had to work very hard on the actual plot. I asked myself all sorts of questions like What kind of beast would she be? Where would the story take place? Why is she a beast?. Answering those questions lead me to creating a loose outline and then I was able to start writing the story.

What makes this retelling of the classic tale uniquely special to you? 

Dorian's Inspiration for her heroine, Rosara.
Dorian Tsukioka: When I was brainstorming the idea for "Rosara," I knew I wanted to set the story in a very special and specific location. For some unknown reason, the Amazon rainforest came to mind. In college, I had studied about an indigenous Amazonian tribe called the Yanomami. All of this came back to me in a rush, and I knew I needed to set my story there. What if my Beauty was one of the Yanomami? What might that be like for her? This specific tribe provided a lot of inspiration for the tribe I created. The rainforest provided many different natural and supernatural beasts as well as a lovely, if dangerous, setting in which the story could unfold.

Heres a brief video that depicts some of the Yanomami peoples lives. (Note: It includes indigenous nudity.) 

If you had to pick a favorite fairy tale, which would it be and why?

Dorian Tsukioka: My favorite fairy tale from childhood was always Hansel and Gretyl.  It scared the pee out of me as a kid, and I loved it for that. I also loved the house made out of candy. If that was me out in the middle of the forest, I would have been a goner, too.

However, my favorite fairy tale retelling is the recent movie by Disney, Malificent.  I LOVED the story so much. Maleficent has always been my favorite Disney fairy tale villain, and I was so glad that she achieved some sort of redemption in the most recent retelling. 

Keeping in mind the many themes of the classic fairy tale, have you ever experienced a "Beauty and the Beast" moment in your life?

Dorian Tsukioka: One of the most obvious themes in Beauty and the Beast is dont judge a book by its cover. This is the story of my life. Not only regarding me, but also all the people that I meet. I try to keep in mind that although I can only a persons exterior, inside of them resides a divine spark you just have to look hard enough to see it.

Another theme that I love in this story is about grace and love. Just like the beast, many of can be unlovable for a myriad of reasons. However, love is a choice. If we choose to love someone in spite of their unlovable state, were just like Beauty who falls in love with the Beast. By choice, we see beyond the exterior to love whats inside, regardless of their beastly, unlovable nature. This is grace.

Sorry to get all philosophical, but these themes of grace, love, and seeing beyond the exterior to the diamond in the rough, is something I experience daily. Im the recipient of grace because Im often very unlovable and beastly.
 _________________

DORIAN TSUKIOKA writes fairy tale retellings, young adult fantasy, and science fiction wtih just a dash of romance thrown in. When she's not writing, Dorian teaches 5th graders in Kansas City, MO, or she can be found chasing after her two, pixie-esque daughters. She has a love of learning and teaching, and loves to talk about books with anyone who will listen, especially if the conversation includes cinnamon-chip scones and caramel lattes.

 GIVEAWAY!

  In honor of this exciting release, the authors of Five Enchanted Roses have teamed up with Rooglewood Press to offer an exciting Giveaway Bundle for one lucky winner! Included in the bundle will be:

1 print copy of Five Enchanted Roses
1 "Book of Omens" red leather journal from Kaycee Browning
1 Lilla Rose cameo hair clip from Savannah Jezowski
1 pressed rose bookmark from Jenelle Schmidt
1 pair of jaguar sunglasses from Dorian Tsukioka
1 gorgeous rose and pearl necklace


 Share any of the following images (or any of the images from our Launch Week Celebration) on your social media sites -- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, etc.

For every image that you share, copy a link and compile all your links into a list. Send your link list in an email to David Cross (david.cross@rooglewoodpress.com) using the subject header: "Five Enchanted Roses Giveaway." Be sure to send him your links NO LATER THAN MONDAY, AUGUST 3. The winner will be selected later that week.

You may also gain one free entry by leaving a comment for Dorian down below, congratulating her on her new story or asking her a question about "Rosara and the Jungle King."

Have fun spreading the news about this awesome new collection from Rooglewood Press!






 __________________

Don't forget to purchase your copy of Five Enchanted Roses today! Add the book to your Goodreads shelves and let your reader friends know how much you enjoy these beautiful tales.