Friday, January 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: SECOND SON

Dear imps, this morning I have the privilege of participating in a cover reveal for fellow NC fantasy author Jenelle Schmidt's sophomore novel, Second Son. Her covers are always so much fun to see since her artist does them the "old fashioned" way . . . classic watercolors! Here, you really should see for yourself:



In an attempt to manipulate the future, a family and a nation are forced to decide between two brothers. Guided by a prophecy spoken hundreds of years before, the King and Queen of Llycaelon have set their course. Their goal: to fulfill the prophecy and save their nation from a dire fate.

Rhoyan has always understood and accepted his own role as second born and perpetual prince. He looks forward to the day when he will be a warrior in his older brother’s guard. When Rhoyan is sent on a quest filled with unimaginable danger, nobody anticipates the greater repercussions.

As Rhoyan journeys far across the seas on his appointed trial, he will battle creatures of legend, suffer shipwreck, endure captivity, and lay claim to a fallen star. When tragedy strikes, Rhoyan must struggle to return home believing his quest has failed. However,  the home he left no longer awaits him and the true test of his strength and character has only just begun.

Long before Aom-igh needed a champion, Llycaelon had a Second Son.

Jenelle grew up the oldest of four. Every night before bedtime her father read to her and her siblings, and it was during these times that her love for adventure and fantasy were forged. While she adored the stories of The Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Prydain, the Wheel of Time, and the Chronicles of Narnia; it wasn’t long before her imagination led her to the creation of a world and story all her own.

In 2001, Jenelle completed King’s Warrior, originally titled The Dragon’s Eye, as a project for her father who wanted something new and fun to read to the family at night. This first endeavor gave way to the completion of a four book series that is full of the same adventure that Jenelle grew to love in literature as a little girl. Jenelle graduated from Taylor University in Indiana in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in English Education.

Jenelle has written numerous short stories and many poems, as well as some full length work within the realm of science fiction. King’s Warrior is her first published work and she is currently working on bringing the rest of the series to public availability. Jenelle lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband Derek and two little girls Leiana Arwen and Nathalie Eowyn.

You can find out more about Jenelle, King's Warrior and Second Son on her website:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

FIVE GLASS SLIPPERS--Winner Selection Moved Up

Dear readers, I am excited to tell you that Rooglewood Press is officially moving up the announcement of the Five Glass Slippers winners by a full month! Rather than March 1, we will be announcing our selection a week from today on February 1.

I have now read all of the submissions and am beginning to put forward my top picks. One of the two other readers is not quite finished but hopes to put forward a list by the end of the weekend. Then we'll be discussing the stories and making the final selection.

So all that to say, the winners aren't officially picked yet. There is only one story out of all the submissions that all three readers have already agreed must be in the collection . . . but that's only because one of the readers hasn't finished reading the submissions yet. I have thirteen stories in my "Favorites" file, and I have probably narrowed down to seven top favorites. But that's still too many! Which means I will end up having to pass on several stories that I particularly love. *tears* Ultimately the other two readers and I will be selecting stories based on what we think will make the most interesting collection. Which of the stories are most unique but still complimentary, etc.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the submissions for this contest astounded me. Even narrowing down to the too-many-favorites file I have was extremely difficult. The variety of ideas and styles and genres and characterizations blew me away! I can hardly wait to share this collection . . .

Only one more week, dear readers and writers!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blog Tour: SIXTEEN by Emily Rachelle

Dear imps, today I am taking part in a fun blog tour for Emily Rachelle and her debut novella, Sixteen. I hope you will enjoy meeting Emily Rachelle and learning about her work and her writing!

Born in Panama, Emily Rachelle has traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. Currently, she lives with her parents and three brothers in middle Georgia. While Emily enjoyed reading as far back as she remembers, writing didn't come to her until she learned the forms of poetry and the basics of story in fourth grade. Since then, she's written scripts for homeschool dramas, poems for birthday presents, and stories for friends and family to enjoy. Sixteen is her debut into the professional world of words. You can find Emily at her blog, Emily Rachelle Writes,

Emily Rachelle's blog's Facebook:

Be sure to visit Emily Rachelle's blog for a list of other stops on this tour!


1. Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
I was born in Panama, but I don't really remember it. My dad's in the air force -- we moved around a lot. I lived in Europe, America, and Asia, but I only remember the US and Japan. Right now, my three brothers, two cats, and I live in middle Georgia. Other than reading and writing, I'm a bit of a Netflix junkie, and I absolutely love making things. Jewelry, party decorations, you name it. Can't say I'm great at it, but crafting's fun! :) My personality is officially an ENFP, or extroverted intuitive feeling perceptive. I'm not exactly your typical writer - most writers are introverts. Not to mention I don't write very often (at least compared to the rest of my writers' group) and there's many days I would rather see the movie than read the book. I'm not really a tea or coffee person... but I never say no to chocolate.

 2. What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?
I enjoyed writing for school assignments throughout elementary school, but I didn't start writing for fun until fourth grade. That year, I was in public school (I've mostly been homeschooled) and we studied a writing unit, learning about the types of poetry and how to write a business letter. That got me started on journaling and poetry. Later, in middle school, I wrote a short story and a children's chapter book for assignments. From there, I abandoned assignments and discovered how to write just for me. That's when Sixteen came about.


3. Tell us a little about your work! Is Sixteen your debut novel? What was the inspiration for this story?
Sixteen is my debut, but it's not a full novel - it's a Christian coming-of-age novella. I originally wrote Sixteen as a Mother's Day gift for my mom, and it focused on a pro-life message. Later, when I found the story sitting on my computer, I gave it a major overhaul. Now it's hardly the same book - I focused on the mother-daughter theme and enhanced the romance subplot, and I cut the whole pro-life bit. No book written to teach a message is going to be as good as a story from the heart.


4. What led you down the self-publishing path?
Plan A was the traditional route, but the more agents I queried, the more I realized that a novella was going to be hard to sell. I knew about self-publishing companies, but I also knew about their crazy price tags. Then I started reading self-publishing blogs, particularly and I rejected the idea at first - I didn't have the money for a cover or editor of quality. More research uncovered a premade cover on one designer's site that I loved and was on sale. Then my pen pal started freelance editing. To top it off, I found a job cleaning a lady's house, and later as a cashier at Chick-Fil-A. Once I knew I could afford self-publishing, I could see absolutely no reason not to pursue it. I've never been scared of a little hard work, and the control factor thrilled me. I could have the final say in everything! What's not to love?


5. Can you pick a favorite character from this novel?
My writer friends say choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child. Either I'm a very bad mom, or that's not true, because I have favorites, without a doubt. Nikki, in this book. While her love interest is sweet and her best friend is based off me, the main character will always have my heart.

6. What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Usually, dreams are the original spark. Sixteen can be traced back to two dreams I had of being a teen and pregnant - in fact, the climax is practically lifted straight from one of those dreams. Once I've gotten a story started, Pinterest keeps me going. Having a visual of my characters, of the setting, even of just a certain outfit, makes me long to write a story. There's a reason I have over 10,000 pins in less than a year on that site.


7. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
My favorite is the brainstorming. I love to build worlds, create characters, design the perfect plot. I log thousands of words in notes before ever writing my first sentence. My least favorite part is editing. To be honest, I hate it, through and through.


8. If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Cidney Swanson. She's not a Christian writer, but her writing is gripping, compelling. If I'm staying up late with a book, there's a 75% chance it's hers. I can't get her characters out of her head, and her worlds are more real to me than any others I've read - or even written.


9. What are you actively writing right now?
After all the editing with Sixteen, I'm struggling to get back into the writing mindset. I'm trying to pick up where I left off with a Little Mermaid retelling called The Rebel Mermaid. I prefer to call it The Rebel Manuscript -- it's the most difficult story I've faced yet.


10. Can you share a short snippet from Sixteen?
This is the second scene in the book, when Nikki meets Matt:

Excerpt from


"Arabesque, and plie, two, three, plie, two, three, plie. Very good, Marissa!" The song ended, and Nikki glanced at the clock. She looked to Ms. Renee, the senior ballet teacher, who nodded.
"Okay, girls, class is over! Line up at the door and no running, please." She skipped over to the cabinet at the far wall and pulled out a sheet of stickers, returning to the nine five-year-olds waiting impatiently for their prize after an hour of hard work. As she stuck a kitty or a puppy on each child's outstretched hand, they scurried out the door to their waiting parents and siblings. One of the girls, however, stayed behind. A new student, the shy blond with sparkling green eyes displayed amazing concentration in class for a five-year-old. Nikki knelt down to eye level, knowing her five-foot, ten-inch height would most likely seem imposing to a girl about three feet tall.
"Hey, sweetie. Your name's Abigail, right?"
The girl nodded.
"Well, Abigail, how about we go find your parents?" Nikki stood and held out her palm. The child’s tiny, trusting hand wrapped around Nikki’s front two fingers.
Once outside the dance room, Nikki glanced around the small community center. After a moment, she noticed a tall, broad-shouldered man with blond hair sitting at one of the tables in the corner. A National Geographic magazine held his attention; he wore a plain brown t-shirt and jeans. Nikki pointed at the man. “Is that your dad, Abigail?”
The girl began leading Nikki to him, so she took that for a yes and followed.
The man looked up sharply and smiled, first at Nikki, then at Abigail, who climbed into his lap and picked up the magazine.
"Dance class is over, so I thought I'd bring your daughter to find you. She's very good, you know."
The man laughed. "Oh, she's not my daughter -- she's my niece. My older brother is out of town on a business trip, and his wife teaches piano from three to six. They asked me if I could take her to her classes."
Nikki smiled. "Cool. My name's Nicole, by the way -- but everyone calls me Nikki. I'm the junior dance teacher here. And like I said, your niece is really good. You should tell your brother."
"I will. My name's Matt." He offered his hand, and Nikki shook it. She felt something -- almost a jolt, as their fingers touched. She smiled into his clear, green eyes.
"Nice to meet you, Matt."

Thank you for letting us get to know you a bit, Emily Rachelle! It was delightful to have you here today on the Tales of Goldstone Wood.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Influencers Needed

Are you a blogger/reviewer? Would you like to be added to the influencer list and receive a print copy of SHADOW HAND for review?

Well, you're in luck! If you have a blog and at least 40 followers, you may email me ( and ask to have your name added to the list. Please send your mailing address and a link to your blog as well.

Availability is limited, so this will be on a first-come-first-served basis. And I would definitely recommend having read Veiled Rose and Moonblood before diving into this particular story . . .

I have to get my list back to my publishers by February 1, so please email me right away if you're interested. (UPDATE: My publishing house only mails influencer copies to US and Canada. Sorry, internationals!)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Doings at Rooglewood: Jumping into 2014

Dear imps, every time I started trying to write up this post before, I'd feel so tremendously overwhelmed by all the doings to be done, I choked. However, now that some of those doings are did (if you'll pardon my butchering of the language), I find I have the breath to talk about them. Or type about them, as the case may be. So here you are! Rooglewood and its doings as of the beginning of 2014.

Read-Along: We finished up the Christmas read-along of Veiled Rose in high style, including a facebook chat party on the last day. How much fun was that? I know I enjoyed it and an opportunity to interact more personally wit all of you. The read-along was great, with so many participants bringing interesting points of view, questions, and answers. Not to mention the fan art! Great times were had by all, and I hope to be able to do another read along in 2014. Probably not until much later in the year, but possibly before Christmas this time (since Christmas is always such a busy time of year). Is everyone up for Moonblood?

Fan Art Contest: Speaking of fan art . . . I have made mention already that there will be a 2014 fan art contest coming up. No details posted yet, but they will be forthcoming. I will tell you that it will be fan-voting like it was last year to select the winners. And I believe voting is going to start on my birthday, April 11, which will be a fun way to celebrate. But I will be posting rules and details sometime in February. Until then, be brewing ideas!

Polishing: One of the major tasks I had to accomplish in January was the revisions on Golden Daughter, novel #7. I had determined back in October to finish the draft before the end of the month, so the last third of the book was blazed through so quickly, I scarcely remembered what I'd done! But during November/December, I thought up several changes I wanted to make. Nothing tremendously extensive, but it did require reading through the bulk of the manuscript in order to get a grounding in the story again. I was delighted to find that I really enjoyed the book . . . all the more once the revisions were in place. I think the heroine of this story may be my favorite yet. But  you'll be learning more about her during the cover reveal!

Cover reveal: I am starting to make plans for revealing Golden Daughter's cover by middle-late February. If you are a blogger and would like to participate, email me ( and let me know! It is still subject to last-minute change (a couple of details need ironing out), but at this point, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to go ahead with it as planned. I will also (ideally) be revealing Golden Daughter's book page with a variety of fun extras, including the Characters You Will Meet tab. That will definitely give you some exciting insight into what to expect!

New Manuscript: Another major project of this month is the drafting of my newest novella. I had intended to release it between Golden Daughter and Untitled Book 8, but have recently decided that I want to try to get it ready for publication much, much sooner. I am now aiming for July, 2014--a nice little in-between story for Shadow Hand and Golden Daughter. Though I will warn you, this new tale is unrelated to either of those stories. There will be more details about this book forthcoming, but in the meanwhile, I'll let you know that it is set in a time way before Starflower, making it chronologically the earliest story set in Goldstone Wood. As of today, the manuscript is approaching 10,000 words, and I hope to put in a couple thousand words more before the day's end.

New Novel: Following the completion of this novella, I hope to dive right into drafting Book 8. This book has been brewing in my head for quite a long while, and I find I'm getting a bit nervous the nearer I get to starting it. It's rather an enormous concept, and many of the more important details are still hazy in my brain. But it's got an interesting cast, and the time period is going to be quite intriguing too, I think. Drafting should commence as of March, so wish me luck!

Editing: My mother's novel, Until That Distant Day is coming up for release quite soon now! Or rather, by the end of April. But to me, that feels quite soon since there's still rather a lot that needs to be done before it'll be ready to send off into readerly hands. She has finished what I hope will be the final draft. I plan to begin line editing for her in early February, then moving on to the formatting and design stage after that. Won't be long now before we'll be looking for early reviewers, so keep your eyes open for that! Until That Distant Day is a wonderful story, and I am eager to share it with all of you.

Five Glass Slippers: But I know many of you readers are skimming all the rest of this, searching for updates on the Five Glass Slippers creative writing contest. Alas, I don't have much to tell you on this score just yet! I am reading away at the stories, and still have 16 more to go. Then I will need my fellow editors to read the top picks, and we'll be in discussion as to the finalists. I still hope to be able to up the announcement date to February 1 . . . but no promises just yet! Making the final decision is not going to be easy. Even once I've narrowed down to top picks, I think I and my fellow editors will be scratching our heads to decide. But I do have an inkling. There are definitely stories that stand out from the rest. Stories that have just grabbed my heart and charmed me silly. There are favorites emerging. Particularly wonderful favorites. And I know this is going to be a very special collection.
A Second Collection: The submissions and interest in Five Glass Slippers far exceeded my wildest expectations--both in quality and quantity. So Rooglewood Press is planning to move ahead with a second contest along a similar vein later this year. I'll be officially announcing it and the contest rules on June 1, so be on the lookout. In the meanwhile, I have contacted my wonderful cover designer, and she is in the process of putting together a cover that will, I think, be even more beautiful than the one for Five Glass Slippers. You'll be seeing that on June 1st as well!
Blogging Events: There are lots of fun features coming up on this blog in the next few weeks, blog tours, interviews, and guest posts . . . and giveaways, of course! You'll definitely want to stop in and meet the authors I am featuring, or reconnect with some familiar authorial faces.
Kitties: So you remember Mama Kitty, the feral cat I set about taming last summer? You remember how she was finally allowing me to start petting her, sometime before Christmas? Well, she has turned into quite the darling little lovebug in recent weeks. And I think Rohan and I are going to try bringing her inside. Whether or not we'll keep her remains to be seen. If she integrates really well and is safe for a new family, we might put her up for adoption. We also might keep her. It's still a bit up in the air, and I cannot predict how she'll interact with my other kitties and Milly. (Or how she'll bend under the iron-paw rule of Minerva Louise . . . you understand.) But say a prayer for Mama Kitty, and we'll see where her story goes!
Minerva: Minerva has decided that nothing tastes so good as when it has been stolen. So she refuses to eat out of her own food bowl but will only eat food stolen from the bowls of her fellow kitties. She slips a sly little paw under their noses, pulls out a nice spilling of kibble, and dines robber-queen-style. Marmaduke is her chief victim. He's a bit of a pushover. So when they have eaten all of his food together, I switch bowls, placing her food under Marmaduke's nose. Then Minerva will steal that as well.
She is a strange, wicked, evil thing.
And we love her.
Shadow Hand: And before I go, I should say something enthusiastic about Shadow Hand's upcoming release! Which is quite soon now. I seriously could get my first printing copies in another week or so. I have to admit, Shadow Hand has been sneaking up on me. I keep forgetting about it, so wrapped up as I am in all of these other projects! And when I do think about it . . . I get a little scared. Shadow Hand is a book you really should read only after having read at least Veiled Rose and Moonblood. I'm a bit nervous about how new readers to the series are going to react to it. I keep seeing nasty, negative reviews in my nightmares . . . reviews I won't read, of course! At least not intentionally. Somehow, reviews always seem to find their way to my doorstep, despite my best efforts.
But I know you imps will enjoy it. And I know that you'll be kind! And I really do love this story. I think (other than Golden Daughter) it is the best I have written. It's a bit daring, and I definitely had to expand outside my comfort zone in order to write it! But I'm very proud of it. And I'll be glad to hold the final copy. That's a feeling that never gets old, even by novel #6.
Anyway: Anyway, I think that's about all the major doings at Rooglewood as of this time. and I really should get back to work on the new novella for a few more hours. But I would love to hear of your doings as well! Is 2014 shaping up to be an interesting year for any and all of you? Any writing goals you're hoping to accomplish? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

Hello, dear readers! Here I am with the winners of the last two Veiled Rose read-along giveaways. First, the winner of the regular weekly giveaway for this final week. That copy of Veiled Rose goes to . . .


Congrats, Molly! (aka, "The Writer") Please email me ( with your mailing address, and I'll get your prize in the mail to you shortly.

And the winner of the Veiled Rose chat-party giveaway (which was hosted on facebook just last night), is . . .


Congrats, Cortney! You have won signed copies of Veiled Rose and Goddess Tithe (the new novella that takes place within the context of Veiled Rose.) Please email me ( with your mailing address to claim your prizes!

Thank you again, dear readers, for all of your participation and support. Your kind words, encouragement, and enthusiasm mean more to me than I can possibly say! I love being able to share the world of Goldstone Wood with you. I hope to be able to do another read-along, this time for Moonblood, sometime in this upcoming year. I'll keep you posted if I do.

In the meanwhile, there are lots of exciting events coming up on this blog. Including the 2014 Fan Art Contest! You can see the banner here. Rules for the contest will be coming up in the next month or two, and I'll begin accepting submissions at that time. The contest will be hosted AFTER the release of Shadow Hand, so hopefully you'll have some exciting new inspiration by then! In the meanwhile, you can start brewing up ideas . . . .

Hugs to all of you lovely imps.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 2, Part Five

Wow! I can't believe we're at the end already. That time sped by too fast.

It's been a busy time for me here at Rooglewood. I'm happy to say that, before writing up this last chapter, I completed the revisions on Golden Daughter, so it's ready for it's copy edit and polish. Huzzah! That's always a great feeling. I'll hopefully be planning the cover reveal for this book quite soon now, though there are a couple of details that need to be wrapped up first.

But before we get too caught up in Golden Daughter enthusiasm, Veiled Rose deserves its wrap-up and farewell. I hope you'll enjoy this last chapter. And I hope to see you on my facebook page tonight, from 8-9 Eastern! I'll be there to chat, answer questions, etc. Looking forward to "seeing" all of you who can make it.


Chapter 2

Full circle: So at long last, we end this story where it began—with a young man, all alone, climbing the mountainside up to Hill House. We now know the source of this man’s solitude, and we understand his purpose. What a long, sad tale is his . . . and (as readers of the next book already know), it will be longer and sadder still.

But for now, he just needs one thing: a friend. And I think we can allow him that, at least for the moment.

Bloodbiter’s Wrath: It’s nice to see Lionheart take up his childhood “weapon” once more. We can see him here, after the many, unsuccessful labors that drove him to maturity, longing to reach back into the past. To reclaim that childhood innocence and the dream of heroism. That dream which the Dragon killed. That dream which he has forgone in place of the dream the Lady gives him.

But the longing in his heart—the real longing for a heart of courage—remains. And it will not be fulfilled so long as he walks this road. He knows it. But I think he believes that, somehow, if he can just find Rose Red again, she will make him feel that he isn’t the person he knows he’s become. She will make him feel a hero again.

Reminiscing: Lionheart’s reminiscing takes us back to the early chapters of this novel, allowing us to relive along with him those childhood adventures. Again, that sense of bringing everything full circle is created.

This was an important sense for me to establish here at the end of the book. Because, as you know, Lionheart’s story doesn’t really end here. Veiled Rose ends, but the story goes on. I had already drafted Moonblood, so I knew where things were heading. My readers, however, would not get to read Moonblood for several months after that. I had to do whatever I could to bring a sense of a closure . . . a sense of closure where there could be no closure, really!

Thus I used this technique of the beginning connecting to the ending, of reminiscing, etc. Call it a “writerly trick” if you will, an attempt to make this story feel as though it’s reached its conclusion. For some readers this worked well. For others, it did not (as the painful reviews will attest!) . Following Veiled Rose’s release, I often found myself wishing I could call out to those angry reviewers and say, “No, please! Just trust me! I know where I’m going with this story, really I do, and it’s worth the wait.”

But Veiled Rose did not end on a successful moment for the hero. It did not end with a kiss for the heroine. And sometimes, readers will not forgive that. Oh well. You faithful imps stuck with me, and I appreciate that more than I can say!

“You said once . . .” Again we find Lionheart alone in the forest, calling out for his friend to find him in his trouble. “I’m lost. I need you,” he says. And he does. Not for any romantic feeling—no, no. Readers are much mistaken if they think Lionheart has any romantic interest in Rose Red here at the end of Veiled Rose. But he knows her to be the one faithful friend in his life. The only one who will trust him and believe in him, no matter his failures. At least, so he believes.

And he needs a friend like that. Desperately.

What Leo saw: Here in this chapter we finally learn what exactly Leo saw in the pool of the Mountain Monster’s cave. We learn that he did indeed see Rose Red’s face. We also learn that he saw his own face and, in a moment of clarity, recognized what he saw. Recognized that he was not the hero he wanted to believe himself to be.

And he spent the entire rest of this novel fleeing that image. But he cannot escape it forever.

The goblin: Here, in the very last chapter, we learn the truth of Rose Red’s face. She is a goblin. There is no Faerie princes of unreal beauty hiding behind those veils. There is only an ugly, hideous monster, with jagged, jutting teeth and enormous, moon-wide eyes, flattened nose, rocklike hide . . . she is a monster out of children’s stories and nightmares. Our dear, sweet, loyal Rosie.

But after spending an entire novel with this character, does her appearance really matter so very much?

Again, I faced some backlash for this revelation. People expecting a romantic moment between these two characters were bitterly disappointed. Because, of course, how can we expected Lionheart to have romantic feelings for such a creature? How can there be a kiss when she looks like that?

Well, there can’t be. And if that’s’ what readers want, they will be disappointed. But there can be something more, something much deeper and more profound. There can be real honesty. There can be true friendship. Even between the monster and the coward.

A confession and a promise: Lionheart tells Rose Red what he has not had the courage to tell anyone else: that he failed. He doesn’t tell her the whole of the story, but he tells her the most important aspect. He tells her of his failure. Because he knows that she, of all the people in his life, won’t care.

And Rose Red, wrapping her arms around him in a surprising moment of tenderness and demonstrative affection, promises him: “There ain’t nothin’ you can do that will turn me from you.”

A powerful promise. We can only hope that she’s right . . . because Lionheart has not done his worst yet.

But for this story, let it end here. Let it end with friendship and devotion. Let us hope that Lionheart may indeed prove himself worthy of a friend such as Rose Red. That he may indeed, with her at his side, recover himself and transform into the king Southlands needs.

A reminder: And yes, I used Rose Red to remind my readers that they need to read all the legends together to know how everything turns out. Not that everyone paid attention, mind! But I tried.

And there we are, dear readers all! The end of this read-along. Thank you for joining me on this exploration of Veiled Rose, my sophomore novel. Keep checking back for more fun upcoming events on the Goldstone Wood blog, including the upcoming 2014 Fan Art Contest! Dates to be announced shortly.

Questions on the Text:

1. What were your thoughts on first learning the truth of Rose Red’s secret?

2. How does this chapter strike you as an ending? Bittersweet? Sad? Hopeful? Incomplete?

3.  Having come to the end of this story, who would you pick as your favorite character?

4. And, one last time, any favorite lines?


Allison wants to know: "My final question of the read-through is, aside from Shadow Hand, will we ever come back to the Southlands again? You mention books set in other locations, but I don't know if you've elaborated on this."

You know, I'm not actually certain. Not for a little while at least. The next several books after Shadow Hand are set in Noorhitam, Parumvir, Corrilond, Arpiar . . . and then after that, things are little bit more up in the air. But the fact is, this series is constantly growing, so the likelihood is we will return to Southlands at some point and time. At least for some novellas, if not full-length novels!

Jemma wants to know: "Is Golden Daughter book 8 or 7? I have this weird feeling that it was once refered to as book 8 but that doesn't make sense."

Heh, I probably did refer to it as book 8 at some point . . . it's all too easy to get my numbers mixed! But no, Golden Daughter is definitely book 7. Book 8 has an as-yet unrevealed title . . . but I should be letting you know about that pretty soon now!

Jemma also wants to know: "When will you do a blog page for you next book? (Because I can't wait!)"

I'll be doing a blog page for Golden Daughter around the same time as the cover reveal. Right now, the cover reveal is tentatively planned for the end of February . . . just before Shadow Hand's release. I have a couple of loose ends to tie up first, but believe me, I'll be letting everyone know! And yes, I hope to do a "characters you will meet" page for Golden Daughter too, time permitting.

Caitlyn wants to know: "Those inhaling dragon smoke were in stasis and didn't age, but this chapter describes how the smoke poison aged them. Were they only in stasis when the Dragon was there?"

Well, they didn't age in years. No more than they starved or grew longer hair or anything like that. But the poison definitely took years out of their life, so they aged in that respect, particularly the Eldest. I think he suffered the most because he was king, and it was his kingdom that was being poisoned.

Caitlyn also wants to know: "Did it ever say Lionheart really loved Rose Red? We saw Rose Red loved Lionheart, and Lionheart loved Una."

Nope, I don't think I ever said anything about that. Lionheart does love Rose Red, of course, just not romantically. Romantically, he fell in love with Una. But he loves Rose Red as his most trusted, most devoted friend.

Whether or not he ever falls in love with her remains to be seen . . .

Anna wants to know: "You keep pointing out the Cinderella parallels in Veiled Rose. Were those intentional or not-intentional?"

LOL! I really don't think they were intentional. I'm pretty sure I am just so steeped in Five Glass Slippers submissions at the moment that Cinderella parallels jump out at me everywhere. However, I do suspect that I unconsciously was including those themes, since I have always been nuts for fairy tales. I consider my genre to be "allegorical fairy tales," after all.

Heather wants to know: "Within your next few books, how many of them will take place after Shadow Hand?"

Um . . . well. That's a bit hard to answer. Sort of all of them. But also, not really. Um . . . I think you'll need to read Shadow Hand before I can answer that (Since I would hate to give away spoilers!).

Allison also wants to know: "Were you aware of the events of Shadow Hand when you were writing Veiled Rose and Heartless?"

Not while writing Heartless, no. And not while writing Moonblood either, actually! But late in the drafting of Veiled Rose, I began to realize that I couldn't leave Daylily's story untold. And more of it was beginning to come compellingly to mind. I still sat on the ideas for it through the drafting of Starflower and Dragonwitch, but it was pretty much roaring to be told by the time I sat down to it! But no, the first idea for it didn't come to me until part way through drafting Veiled Rose.

Fan Art:

Here are some fun pieces of fan art to celebrate the end of the read-along! First, this photograph by Caitlyn:

By Caitlyn and Hunter
The picture is of a girl in a long skirt making her way into a mysterious, dark forest. And viewers should search for the "Easter egg" copy of Veiled Rose, hidden in the image!

And here is a beautiful poem by Allison, inspired by characters and events in Veiled Rose:

Ashes and Dreams



I wear a coat of dreams.

It glistens and it gleams.

It catches lives and begs for them

To join in its grand dance.

Though the wise refuse and wander on,

It always will give them the chance.

The stars are caught up in its weave.

The galaxies combine.

It stirs its broth of life and death

Into a mix refined.

Sometimes it weighs me down.

It pinches and it twists.

It drags my shoulders to the floor.

It strains and hurts my wrists.

Sometimes it shows me dreams

That are too grand for me,

And though I cry and though I beg,

It will not let me be.

I wore my coat of dreams.

It glistened and it gleamed

Until I tore it off.


And now that it is gone,

I wonder if I’m wrong.

But though it gave me dreams,

It never gave me life.

Although it gave me beauty,

I though it not the price.

It never gave me love,

Although it dearly tried.

For all its wild grandeur,

My coat could only lie.

So listen to my warning:

Do not scorn the idle dream.

Be wary of your coat

Although it glistens and it gleams.

If it ever asks you for your life,

Be sure to throw it out.

For I’ve had my dreams fulfilled,

And they’re ashes in my mouth.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 1, Part Five

Nearing the end now, dear imps. Tomorrow is our final chapter of this read-along! Hard to believe it's already coming to an end. But there's still time to enter your name in the giveaway for this week!

Tomorrow is the last day I'll be answering questions, so be certain you get your questions in tonight! If you come to the end of tomorrow and haven't had your questions answered, I will be on my facebook page for the chat party from 8-9 pm Eastern. So I hope to see all of you there!

And I'm sorry to you non-facebookers. I did look around for another option, but didn't find one that looked like it would work well. I will hunt again, more thoroughly, before the next read-along. And in the meanwhile, my page is open so that you can come and follow what's happening even if you aren't on facebook yourself. Hope you will! Should be fun.

Anyway, here is today's chapter:

Chapter 1

Another part: While this last part of Veiled Rose is quite short, I chose to separate it into its own section since it again requires quite a large time jump. We go from Lionheart’s betrayal of Una to his return home, skipping over whatever long travels he must have endured in between. It couldn’t have been an easy journey . . . but spending time dwelling on it would have stretched out the ending of this book too long. The climaxes for each major character have taken place, and it’s time for a resolution.

However sad that resolution may be.

Hiding: We pick up with Lady Daylily hiding away at the Eldest’s House. This section definitely provides a little more insight into her relationship with her father. We knew already that she has been controlled by him throughout her life, polished and prodded according to his great Plan. But now she has stood up to him, and she’s left terribly afraid. Brave, unbending, unmovable Daylily is too frightened to return to her father’s own house.

But what you have to ask yourself is . . . is she frightened of her father? Or is there something else going on here, something more insidious which we have not yet guessed? (Answer: Yeah, there’s something else. And you’ll find out about it in Shadow Hand.)

Notice her control: Even when Daylily sees Lionheart approaching—Lionheart, whom you can guess she’s been longing to see, however she might hide that longing—Daylily refuses to run out to greet him. She feels that running gives the sense of flight or pursuit. Again, this is a little bit of a hint of what is coming for her.

Something has changed in Daylily. Or rather, not changed. Let’s say instead that Daylily has become aware of something she has long repressed. And she has to be careful now. She doesn’t want anyone else to also become aware of what she knows . . .

He would not find the one he sought: Lionheart, upon returning, is searching the crowd for one person he knows he needs. One person who will comfort him, love him, trust him, no matter what he has done.

But she is not there. And Daylily can never fill her place. (And no, I don’t think Lionheart was searching for his mother, despite Daylily’s wonderings of whether or not anyone has informed him of Queen Starflower’s death. I’m pretty sure he was looking for Rose Red, and Daylily’s thoughts of the queen are deflection.)

A dream come true: After all the long time Daylily spent watching her dreams burn and die, you’d think she would be excited and even pleased to see them finally coming true. But I think Daylily has learned a difficult lesson : the realization of dreams is often no better—may even be worse—than a dream that is dead.

The Dragon may be gone. But his dark Sister’s influence continues to work in Southlands via Prince Lionheart. And that is a poison more insidious still.

“Tell me what you want,” Daylily says, in exact echo of the Lady’s repeated refrain. Now we certainly know who is ruling Southlands in the wake of the Dragon’s leaving.

Daylily: In many ways, Daylily is the other major protagonist of this story. Oh, it is certainly Leo and Rose Red’s story on the whole. But Daylily really developed into a dynamic presence with quite an interesting plot arch all her own. She surprised me. Thus, as I came to the end of this book, I knew I had to give her a conclusion chapter. Of a sort.

As you all know by now, this book doesn’t really have a full conclusion. The plot lines of this particular novel are wrapped up—Rose Red and Southlands are free of the Dragon, and Leo has returned from his long quest. But the stories of these characters must continue on, for they are not through growing just yet.

Come back tomorrow for the last chapter and wrap-up thoughts . . . and, of course, don’t miss the chat party tomorrow evening!

Questions on the text:

1. Daylily states that “we all saw her true face,” when Rose Red’s veil was removed. But  whose true face (or faces?) did we really see in that moment?

2. Why do you think Daylily’s dream come true is, as the text says, dust and ashes?

3. Any favorite lines?


Christa wants to know: "If everyone inside the Eldest's House was frozen in time during the Dragon's occupation, what happened to the rest of the people of Southlands during that period? Were they also in stasis? And were they as deeply affected by the dragon smoke?"

No, I don't think the whole of the nation was frozen in time, just the folks in the House itself. The House was spliced onto the Netherworld, therefore it (like the Netherworld) wouldn't experience time, or at least wouldn't experience it in the same way as the mortal world does. So all those not in the house (including Beana) weren't in stasis. And while they would be affected by the dragon smoke, they wouldn't have breathed in quite so much of it! Good question.

Allison (sorry I missed these yesterday!) wants to know: "Is the Southlands based on any real country?"

Southlands is loosely (and I do mean very loosely) based on Sri Lanka. Though only bits of it. A lot of their food, architecture, clothing, etc. is Sri Lankan in inspiration. But not the names at all, obviously! My husband is from Sri Lanka (my fiancé as he was at the time when I wrote this novel), so he was rather too good a resource to pass up!

Allison also wants to know: "Will Daylily and Rose Red ever meet again (in the series, not in this particular book)?"

In Moonblood, yes. But after that . . . you know, I'm not sure! They  won't meet again in Shadow Hand, I'm sorry to say. But I don't actually know if they'll meet in a later book after that. I don't currently have plans for Daylily to appear in the next book I intend to write about Rose Red (as Queen Varvare . . . and that won't be for a few years yet). But things could easily change in the meanwhile! (Unless, of course, Daylily dies or something in Shadow Hand, which you won't know until you read it.) ;)

Allison also wants to know: "Did the Lady or the Dragon bring the Duke of Shippening to Lionheart, or did he bring himself?"

I think the Dragon may have told the Duke to find Lionheart, since the Dragon was probably well aware that his ally, the Duke, had encountered Lionheart sometime in the last few years. And it is quite possible that the Lady guided the Duke to Lionheart. But no matter what, I'm pretty sure the Duke believes he's the one handling all of this on his own. (Though what the Duke believes and what actually is may be two different things entirely!)

Allison also-also wants to know: "Is the Duke of Shippening older, more powerful, and different than he appears, as Captain Sunan seems to be?"

Ooooh, what an intriguing idea! But no, I don't think he is. Sunan has quite an interesting backstory that winds its way through history. But I think the duke is just a mortal man who found himself a powerful "patron," as it were, in the Dragon.

Allison also-also-also wants to know: "Are those perhaps opals ringing the mirror on the cover of Veiled Rose?"

I don't think so, sadly. They look like just little gold facets to me. Would be lovely though, right? Do you know, those were added onto the cover only a few weeks before the publication date. If you compare the cover of the kindle edition (which was the original cover) to the cover of the print edition, you can see a number of subtle changes made!

Fan Art:

Here is a lovely drawing by our chief questioneer, Allison!

By Allison
It is a pencil drawing of a girl peering through the slit in her veil. Her eyes are wide, her lashes long, and her hands are very delicate. The shadow of the Dragon is behind her, his eyes peering down at her through the gloom.

I also received some photos from Caitlyn, but I am sadly having difficulty getting them to load right on my computer. Hoping to have them posted by tomorrow, though!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 13, Part Four

Oh, dear. This is the longest I've gone without posting the daily chapter! Sorry about that, dear readers, but here it is. I've been spending my day working on revisions for Golden Daughter and reading submissions for the Five Glass Slippers contest. I haven't forgotten you, however!

I haven't decided quite yet how the chat party is going to go down on Thursday evening. I know several of you don't have facebook, but I'm unfamiliar with other chat forums, so I haven't yet figured out something that would be free, accessible, safe, etc. Still looking into it . . . I'll let you know tomorrow.

Anyway, here's today's chapter!


Chapter 13

Skipped the conversation: I felt a little bad to skip the revelation conversation between Lionheart and Princess Una. After all, many of the readers picking up Veiled Rose were first time readers of Goldstone Wood, and I know they would have enjoyed seeing that conversation. However, I really didn’t think I could recount the entire thing a second time without frustrating the readers of Heartless. So, while it was a difficult decision, I decided to skip ahead to just after Lionheart’s conversation with Una and see what happened to him then.

Ultimately, I think this was still the best decision. Una is such a minor character in this story. Yes, she is a major influence on Lionheart, but she herself is quite incidental (if sweet). So it didn’t make sense to spend more time with her, particularly when the climax of Rose Red’s story had already taken place, and everything is moving toward it’s resolution for this novel.

Besides, their conversation would have really been nothing more than a thin recap of everything the reader had just read . . .so not a whole lot of point there, eh?

“I don’t know how much it is worth.” Eeeeeeeeeeeeek! None of you know this yet, but I, of course, am now fully aware of exactly what Una’s ring is worth . . . and it is a LOT MORE than a king’s ransom! But the story behind this ring has been mostly lost between the time it first came into being and the time Una was in possession of it. So I can’t really blame her. After all, opals are not one of the more valuable gemstones even in our world (though they are one of the most beautiful, in my opinion. For sheer beauty, I would pick opals over diamonds any day!).

“You said nothing of killing the Dragon.” Though Lionheart has believed all along that this was the reason he was sent to fetch Una’s ring, the reality is, he has never really sought to kill the Dragon. He has striven to find a way to drive the Dragon out of Southlands . . . and he has desired to become king. But killing the Dragon? That’s another dream entirely.

And not one Lionheart is about to possess.

The Duke: As he says to Lionheart, he’s “not the fool here.” The Duke may seem like a beastly lout, but he’s a cruel and cunning sort of beast. And he’s not forgotten Lionheart. Not for a moment.

The original version: In the original version of Veiled Rose, I didn’t involve the Duke. In fact, Lionheart and Duke Shippening didn’t cross paths until their brief encounter at Oriana. Lionheart never liberated the Faerie slave and ultimately became a jester through very different circumstances.

So that means, Lionheart’s final encounter with the Dragon in this book was also very different from how it looks now. In the original, I had him encounter the Dragon in the ruins of an old Parumvir city,  a city built by a woman known as Tacita the Protectoress. And in the middle of that city was an old palace called Amarand, thoug h this was after Tacita’s day.

Readers of Moonblood might recognize the name “Amarand” from Prince Felix’s discussion with King Fidel. I don’t believe I have mentioned the name “Tacita” yet, but I know I’ve mentioned a woman named Tavé, who is referenced several times, also in Moonblood.  Tavé, a mortal woman who succeeded in mastering an army of dragons . . .

Anyway, in the original version of Veiled Rose, there were more hints about Tavé and this particular city and the palace called Amarand . . . all of which are now long gone in favor of this version. Which makes me a little bit sad.

Want to know a secret? The name of one of the protagonists in Book 8 (which I am about to start drafting) is “Amaranda.”

“Years I have wasted!” Notice something interesting about the Dragon’s exclamation. He is upset at a matter of years . . . he, who is older by far than all of this world, and to whom time matters very little if at all! Why should he care about five years?

It’s not the years. It’s the manner in which he spent them . . . bound in an incarnate body as he kept Southlands captive.

Bear in mind, during  Southland’s captivity, the Dragon was also wooing and tormenting Rose Red. So there is a strong implication that the Dragon is not bound in one body. That he can be in Dragon form, terrorizing the nation, while simultaneously following Rose Red in spirit form through the Netherworld.

After all, readers of Moonblood will remember that Ragniprava, Lord Bright as Fire, was able to split himself in two and live two Faerie lives at once. If he could do such a thing, surely the Dragon—who is greater, older, and more terrible than any Faerie—can do as much or more.

Anyway, it’s a subtle little hint about the Dragon, but one which bears considering as the stories continue to unfold. It’s too easy with the Dragon to try to put him into an understandable box. But he is not mortal. Nor is he immortal in the same way the Faeries are. He is something else—and something rather dreadful.

“Ask the prince what he has in his hand.” Whoa. I need to get Golden Daughter out so you all can read it. I just read this part where the Lady tells the Dragon, “ask the prince what he has in his hand,” and it gave the shivers. Because, though I had not remembered it while writing Golden Daughter, there is a rather frighteningly similar moment in that book 7 that parallels this moment.

I think Veiled Rose is going to be interesting to reread after reading Golden Daughter. There are so many little things that are going to be that much more intriguing . . .

The Lady’s speech: Notice that in this place—wherever it is, beyond his world—the Lady speaks in regular quotes, not the italics that have always served as her voice in the past. Wherever he has been brought, Lionheart is very physically present before the Dragon and  the Lady. No barriers. Nothing.

Maybe gives you a tiny bit more sympathy for Prince Lionheart and his subsequent reactions?

Behind his back: I think it’s interesting that, while the Dragon has been steamrollering ahead in his pursuit of Rose Red, the Lady, meanwhile, has been finding the actual young woman he seeks. The Dragon is quite a dreadful character, but I think the Lady may be the more intelligent of the two!

Another reason I personally think she is the more frightening.

Failure: The Dragon’s threats and poison work their dangerous effect on our hero . . . and when the Dragon demands that Lionheart give him Una’s heart, Lionheart at last responds, “It’s yours. Take it.”

And so his great sin is committed. His great failure . . . the same failure that made him an object of loathing to all the readers of Heartless.

A failure committed when in this strange realm, possibly the Netherworld, face to face with both the Dragon and the Lady. A failure committed upon hearing the Dragon’s threats to return and utterly decimate Southlands if Lionheart does not comply.

But the fact is, the Dragon didn’t just take the ring. Implying that he couldn’t. Implying that he also probably couldn’t follow through with his threats. If Lionheart had held on . . . if Lionheart found a Name in his heart to call even as Rose Red did . . . might things have turned out a little differently?

But there is no knowing the answer to these questions now. The deed is done. And our hero is a hero no more.

Questions on the text:

1. How many of you noticed that the Dragon—who has always called Rose Red “princess” and “beautiful” up until now—refers to her as “the little goblin” in this scene? Has his attitude toward her changed since his failure, or is it only his words that are different?

2. Now that you know the story and circumstances behind Lionheart’s betrayal of Princess Una, what do you think of him? Particularly in contrast to what you thought of him after reading Heartless.

3. Any favorite lines?


Jemma wants to know: "Will Una have any children? Because that is what most ladies do, and I am curious to what they would be like if she did."

You know, I never actually considered this before . . . But you're right, she probably will at some point. Though, given that she's married a man who is not human, it might be a little different than a normal, human pregnancy or a human birth.

Psalms w Guitar wants to know: "May I ask if there is a main message you, Anne Elisabeth, are trying to convey through this device?"

I think you are asking about what message I'm trying to communicate with Rose Red's revealed appearance, right? Correct me if I'm wrong . . .

In this story, I am using Rose Red's shocking appearance to communicate something about truth. The truth of her character--who she is at heart--I unrelated to what she looks like on the outside. Thus I spent the better part of this book allowing readers to develop a deep attachment to her without knowing what she looks like. The revelation is shocking . . . but it shouldn't change our ultimately perspective on her.

In Dragonwitch, Sir Eanrin has a conversation along these lines with the Chronicler, bemoaning the mortals' tendency to fixate on outward appearances--size, strength, beauty, etc.--when none of these things have anything to do with the truth of a person. Outward appearances are as transient as youth and health, here today and gone tomorrow. But the truth of a person is eternal and will last forever.