Monday, March 31, 2014

Voting Reminder

Hi, readers! I feel like I'm doing nothing but reminders on the blog these days, and I do apologize for that. We have some awesomely fun things coming up quite soon, though, including the ENORMOUS Scavenger Hunt and the equally ENORMOUS Fan Art Contest.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to let you guys know that today is the last day to cast your vote for the Clive Staples Award. For those of you who don't know, this is an award for excellence in Christian Fantasy specifically. I was totally surprised and delighted last year when you guys voted Starflower as the 2013 winner. This year, Dragonwitch is nominated, and there are also a number of other titles you will recognize! Jennette Mbewe's Secrets Kept, Morgan Busse's Son of Truth, RJ Larson's, King . . . and that's just to name a few!

You can look at the rules for voting here. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, but the finalists are decided by you.

Thank you, imps! And keep your eyes open for the Scavenger Hunt starting on Friday . . .

Monday, March 24, 2014

One Reminder, One Alert

Just wanted to post a quick reminder to all of you about the Fan Art Contest! The deadline is April 1, so be sure to get your submissions in on time. Click here to get the details!

Over the weekend a whole bunch of wonderful submissions came in from a variety of artists. I am so excited to share these with all of you! But believe me, we want your work too. Whatever form of art you prefer. The more the merrier. And after the contest, your pieces will be featured on Dame Imraldera's Library for Goldstone Wood Imps to enjoy for years to come.

Also . . . Due to requests and expressed interest, I am planning on hosting a Goldstone Wood Music Contest sometime in May/June. Details shall be forthcoming! But all the musical imps among you can certainly start brainstorming projects . . . and those of you who aren't personally musical can look forward to an opportunity to hear and vote on fun pieces!

Anyway, that's that, and I need to get back to writing now . . . .

Friday, March 21, 2014

SHADOW HAND Chat Party Giveaway Winners!

Hi there, dear imps and blog readers! Last night's chat party was some fun, wasn't it? That's the longest party I've ever done, but it went by sooooo fast, I could hardly believe it! I think in the future, I might have to keep doing 2 hr parties, just to give us the time we need. Who'll be up for another one when Golden Daughter releases?

In the meanwhile, Amy (my publicist at Bethany House) has sent me a list of giveaway winners! Check and see if your name is here:

Joanna Rundquist-Chiasson
Megan Wilson
Mary Bramhall
Paige Beckwith
Jennifer Dyer
Karen Demers
Cheryl Hartsell
Karen Johnson

 Congratulations, winners! Be sure to email your mailing address to Amy at Bethany House ( order to claim your free copy of Shadow Hand. And if you have not yet read any of the series, Amy has generously offered to switch out Shadow Hand for a copy of Heartless, book 1 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. That way, you can start reading at the beginning of the series (rather than at book 6).

Thanks again for a fun party last night, everyone. We'll do it again soon! In the meanwhile, don't miss out on other fun events coming up on this blog, including the Spring Scavenger Hunt, and the Tales of Goldstone Wood Fan Art Contest. Fun times for everyone!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Scavenger Hunt - Mark Your Calendars!

 Dear readers, you are absolutely going to want to take part in the Spring Scavenger Hunt, April 4-6. You'll have a chance to win a Kindle Fire HDX plus $100 in Kindle credit. And if you don't win that, you could win one of two prize packs including ALL OF THESE BOOKS!

I know many of the authors are also hosting individual giveaways on their own stops. I will be offering a copy of Shadow Hand. So there will dozens of winners for this hunt.

To enter, you’ll start at Robin Lee Hatcher’s site that first weekend of April and follow the links to each of the other sites, gathering the clue on each one, and submitting the answer at the end. Easy as pie.  (Don’t fret about the how to’s now–it will be obvious when the time comes. There’s no reason to race through; you have all weekend.

Open internationally. If a reader outside the USA wins the Kindle and $100 credit, she or he will receive the equivalent in USD$.

So mark your calendars. This is one you won’t want to miss!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Ramble about Glass Slippers . . .

I've been meaning to sit down and write up a post about the Five Glass Slippers contest winners for several weeks now. Amazing how time gets away from me! But now that I am working on the last round of edits on these five stories, and my head is full of all things Cinderella, well . . . it seems like a good time to enthuse a little!

One of the most exciting (and intimidating) things about this contest was the surprise that each story was for me. The contest required no short synopsis or premise-idea submitted in advance, so all I had to go on before diving into reading each story was the title itself. Which, as you know, doesn't tell me a whole lot.

Who would have guessed from the title A Cinder's Tale that this would be a deep-space adventure about miners on a space station orbiting a roasting planet? Imagine! But when I opened that document and read the first line, I was immediately drawn into this thrilling premise. Stephanie (the author) cleverly wove in all the most important aspects of the fairy tale--including my favorite interpretation of the stepsister characters ever.  Oh, my! Are they ever unexpectedly wonderful! She effortlessly drops references to various classic versions of Cinderella so that the story is quite brimming with inside jokes . . . and yet the plot itself is unique and unpredictable. A sci-fi adventure that leaves the reader intrigued about this world and interested for more.

The title Broken Glass gave me even less to go when it came to predicting the story. But that story . . . well, that story totally surprised me! I had been reading submissions all day long, late into the night. I was reading them backwards alphabetically (Hey! It's a system). I was still a good fifteen stories away from the "B" section. But as I came to the end of a long reading day, I casually opened up various documents at random, glancing at the opening lines to give myself an idea of what's coming. Broken Glass was the last document I opened . . .

And I read the opening line.

Then I read the next line.

The next thing I knew, I had read half the book, and it was midnight all ready. (My coach was well on the way to turning into a pumpkin.) But that story, which I wasn't supposed to have read for many days completely captured my attention. Broken Glass is the laugh-out-loud comedy of this collection, a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek romp with a cast of characters so delightful (some of them delightfully awful) that they are impossible not to enjoy. I got up early the next morning to finish reading it, then sent it right on to the other contest readers. I wasn't at all surprised to hear back within days from both of them, both casting their votes solidly in favor of this story. Thus Broken Glass became the first story picked as a winner for this collection.

The Windy Side of Care . . . now there's a title that stands out, but really doesn't give much of a clue. I recognized the Shakespearean element, however, and wondered if perhaps the writer might have done a Shakespearean retelling. ("The windy side of care" is part of a quote from Much Ado About Nothing, delivered by Beatrice.) But I was wrong. Rachel wrote an original story all her own . . . though I will say that it has a decidedly Shakespearean-comedy flavor to it! 

Windy Side is another funny story, but in a completely different style and tone from Broken Glass. For one thing, it has a decidedly historical feel to it--no magic. I could have believed the kingdom of Ashby in which the tale is set was a real place, not an invention of the authoress. The shining light of this tale, however, is its heroine. Intrepid Alisandra stands out from all other Cinderellas I have ever read. She is smart as a whip, strong-willed, lightning-tongued, and . . . romantic. Oh, yes. Much to her own surprise, Alis discovers that she has quite a tender heart beneath all of her Shakespearean-esque cunning!

This story is told primarily in the first-person narrative, the only one in the collection to use that narrative voice. A perfect choice to go along with this stand-out heroine.

What Eyes Can See, by contrast, is a much gentler tale. I'm so glad that this one is going to be the first in the collection. I had hoped all along to be able to arrange the stories alphabetically by author, but wasn't sure if that would prove the right order for the stories themselves. But Elisabeth Brown's sweet romance really is the perfect opening tale. Her style is elegant and her story is simple . . . but then not simple at all. She allows her characters to carry the day, and such lovely characters they are. There isn't a villain to be seen in this story, but don't let that fool you! Though all the characters are kind, good, and well-meaning, their desires and goals are at such cross-purposes, there is plenty of intrigue to go around. If anything, I thought the intrigue all the more fun and interesting since there was no one I could label the "villain." The clashes of will felt so believable to me. It may not have been a space-adventure or a laugh-out-loud comedy--but this story caught my attention so completely, I read it all in one quick gulp.

Elisabeth's style reminded me of a Georgette Heyer novel--a character-driven novel of manners. I hate to say too much about it, because this story took me so much by surprise, and I hate to spoil that surprise for anyone! You'll see what I mean when you read it, so I'll say no more for now.

The Moon Master's Ball . . . Of all the titles I received for this contest, I think this one intrigued me the most! (Though, on a side note, there were so many wonderful titles submitted, I almost hosted a favorite-title contest and let you all vote! Seriously, some of these titles were just so clever.) The very sound of it promised mystery and magic. And does this story ever deliver on both! Within a single chapter, I was pretty much convinced that this tale would be a winner. I was so curious to know how the unfolding mystery would play out! I couldn't put the story down until I learned the secrets of the Moon Master and how they connected to the little heroine, Tilly. I was also very curious to see how this complex story would tie in with Cinderella. But in the end, how beautifully it did! It was all very Cinderella while simultaneously being very much itself.

One of the contest readers likened it to a Diana Wynn Jones novel . . . and as soon as she said it, I had to agree! There's that same magic to be found. Clara's style style is delightful, a perfect match for the story she tells. The Moon Master's Ball is a Halloween-feeling story. It's autumnal and eerie, like a wind at dusk shivering through dry-leaves.

 So there you have it, dear readers: A little, spoiler-free taste of the Five Glass Slippers winners. Not long now until you'll be able to read them for yourselves! In the meanwhile, be sure to add the book on your Goodreads shelves and tell your friends.

What do you think of these stories and titles? Any one you're particularly interested to read?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cry of Hope Scavenger Hunt: For Emily Chapman

Hello, dear imps! I was contacted about a week ago by a busy young novelist who just self-published her debut book. It is called Cry of Hope, and to celebrate it's release, Emily Chapman has put together a fun scavenger hunt. This is one of the stops along the way, so be sure to gather your clue and continue the fun.

First, here's a little about the authoress herself.

Emily Chapman is in the midst of her teen years, very recently becoming a self-published author.  She blogs at her personal website, and you can also like her on Facebook.

Her debut novel, Cry of Hope, is an emotional historical novel targeted toward young adults.  You can purchase it on Amazon or on her website.
And here's a little about the book: 
When a voyage to the New World is thrust upon young, unwilling Hope Ellison, her carefully built ideals begin to slip from her grasp. Clinging to the tattered shards of her once contented life, she embarks on the perilous journey with her family, caring not for the reason they are taking such risks in the first place and fearing the fate for her future. Yet, even her fears are unprepared for the trials ahead, and soon she comes face to face with choices that will define her view of life entirely.
 Emily is here for an interview today. I hope you'll enjoy learning a little more about this young novelist. And good luck on your hunt!


Hi, Emily! Welcome to the Goldstone Wood blog. First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Emily: Well, I am a short, hobbit-y homeschooler.  I have a Frodo chin, and I live with a crazy, large family in the dear South.  I love history—particularly U.S. history—and I have an obsession with Narnia.  I'm a dreamer, to be certain, and a dancer as well.  I like to dabble in photography, and . . . well, I definitely prefer coffee over tea, no matter how strongly that clashes with my writerly nature. 

What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? 

Emily: A love of reading, I believe.  I wasn't always a storyteller, though I have always loved stories.  I began to enjoy writing around the age of ten, but it wasn't until I was fourteen that I began to truly write with passion.  You see, I met this girl named Abigail Hartman at a homeschool tutorial that we both happened to attend, and she inspired me.  I think God plopped her in my path for a reason . . . and I thank Him so much for doing so.  It was then that my writing journey really began. 

Tell us a little about your debut novel, Cry of Hope. How long did you work on this story? How did the idea come to you? 

Emily: Cry of Hope follows the story of an unwilling young girl, upon whom a voyage to the New World is thrust.  She must then overcome the trials and tragedies that threaten to steal the hope standing just outside her grasp.

The trouble with these common questions is that . . . well, it takes a rather long explanation.  I've been working with these characters for nigh four years, but the story itself has changed considerably.  The first drafts were written when I was twelve, and they were originally inspired by American Girl.  They announced that they were retiring their colonial doll, and I thought it brilliant to write them a series for a replacement doll that was inevitably going to come about—for I thought they ought to create a Pilgrim girl.

Needless to say, American Girl never published my works.  I never sent it to them, due to unforeseen circumstances (if I had, they wouldn't have published it anyway, mark my words).  You see, that was all before I met Abigail.  Once I did meet her, and once my eyes opened up to the world of gripping emotion and real plots, I decided to take that immature piece and turn it into something beautiful.  Thus Cry of Hope eventually came into existence.  It took me about a year to write the full draft, then another six months to edit it. 

Can you pick a favorite character from this story? 

Emily: I can. Some people struggle with choosing a favorite character, and I have had my doubts, but when it comes down to it, John Ellison—the main character's elder brother—is my favorite.  I love him to pieces, really.  I wish I could hug his neck. 

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration? 

Emily: Music.  I think, when it comes down to it, music inspires my work the most—and is also what I turn to when I need renewed inspiration.  It doesn't always work (listening to the same inspiration over and over often dissipates to dullness), but for the most part, music can contain the most inspiring inspiration of all.  Or such is my experience. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? 

Emily: My favorite would be planning and writing-when-not-plagued-with-Writer's-Block. Least favorite would be Writer's Block.  (smiles)  Although I don't particularly enjoy research (Cry of Hope's research was desperately dull), so that could be considered a least favorite part.  I'll have to research again for my next novel, however, so it may prove more enjoyable.  You never know . . . 

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be? 

Emily: You mean thing, you. Though, to be quite honest, this isn't so hard as it would seem. I can say quite clearly that it is Louisa May Alcott. I love Little Women so incredibly much, and Alcott's style is beautiful. In fact, I like to think I bleed a hint of it into my own writing. And besides, anyone who creates a character as charming as Laurie Laurence gains high respect in my mind. ;) 

So what is next on your writerly horizons? Can we look forward to a sequel to Cry of Hope? 

Emily: A sequel?  (laughs)  No, no, indeed.  I'm downright sick of that book.  Oh, I love it to bits, of course.  But if you recall, I've been working with these characters and the same era for almost four years.  I'm simply ravenous for something fresh and new.  Which is why my next Lord-willing-to-be novel shall be set during the War of 1812, following the story of a young man of nineteen.  Or such are my thoughts at the moment.  A writer's life tends to be full of uncertainty when it comes to plot ideas. 

Can you share a short snippet from Cry of Hope? 

Emily: Certainly!  I'd be thrilled.

Excerpt from

Cry of Hope

“’Twas the best we could get for a small price,” John said.  “A small price will buy you but a small ship.”
“Yes,” Joshua said grimly.  “But much freedom costs much regarding price, and that is my chief concern.”
Hope glanced at him sharply.
“Cheer up, old chap!” John exclaimed, slapping his friend on the back.  “My heart is in the venture, and I have faith we will succeed.”
Joshua rubbed his chin.  “Yes,” he said slowly.  “My faith is alongside yours as well.  My only concern is how high the price will be.”
A chill tingled down Hope’s spine, and she instinctively edged closer to her brother . . .

Thanks for sharing with us today, Emily!

Code: I'm going to stand by the play-world.

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