Life Lines by Sue Vincent

As we celebrate our dear story-teller, poet, blogger, and wise-woman Sue Vincent, I’d thought I would share my favorite book of her poetry.

Below is a sublimely beautiful poem from its pages, and my review. If you enjoy it, consider picking up a copy for own heart’s enjoyment. ❤

Flowers

by Sue Vincent

There were always flowers.

Orchids pinned upon a mother’s breast,

All lace and diamonds.

Long black gloves

And painted lips,

As she left, laughing.

A child who watched

As the door closed.

*

There were flowers…

Yellow tulips,

Cellophane and ribbon

A girl who blushed

As the curtain fell

Upon the stage;

She cradled them,

A first bouquet.

*

There were flowers,

Roses and lilies

White, in hands and hair,

Their fragrance mingled

With frankincense,

A ghost of awe and wonder

Finding a home

In memory.

*

There were flowers…

Rainbow hued,

Everywhere.

Greeting a life newborn,

With love and welcome,

Lighting stark severity

As a babe cried.

*

There were flowers…

Daisy chains

Around his brow,

Crowning him with sunlight,

In laughter,

In simplicity,

In love.

*

There were flowers,

Three roses,

Red as life,

Placed in a cold hand,

One for each heart

Saying farewell.

Too long,

Too soon.

*

There are flowers,

Heather and bluebells

Painting horizons

Still unexplored.

Pathways of petals

Laugh at our feet,

Inviting.

*

In joy or sorrow,

When the tears fall,

There are always flowers.

*

My Review

This collection of 52 poems by Sue Vincent is a gem. I’d give this book 6 stars if I could. It’s hard to put into words how moving I found Vincent’s poetry. The poems are free form reflections on the profound moments of life, the deep emotional wells of love, loss, and memories, the rhythms of nature reflected in our journeys, and the poignant journeys themselves.

It was almost impossible to pick out a few favorites, but I’m giving it a try: “I See You” is an exquisite poem about aging and the lasting echoes of youth that we carry inside our memories. “Flowers” (which makes me weepy just thinking about it) chronicles a woman’s life-stages in flowers from birth through death. Two touching poems are told from the point of view of someone watching a loved one sleep. They’re both gentle and heartachingly beautiful. “Just for a Moment” is a rare syllabic poem in the collection about the peace of love, and “Memory” about love lost.

Though the poems can be read in an hour or so, I would suggest savoring them. Highly recommended.

*

You can connect with Sue here:

Blog: Daily Echo – Echoes of Life

Website: France & Vincent

Twitter

Facebook

Check out today’s beautiful post from Sue: Impression of Contentment

Happy Valentine’s Day. Hugs.

Liminal

Photo prompt “Hidden” by Sue Vincent

Liminal

Her sable brush roamed the canvas. Delicate strokes of umber and ochre for the barren branches. Burnt sienna for the dying autumn leaves.

She paused. Amused.

Had she painted autumn’s abandoned twigs? Or young buds, heralds of the coming green? She savored her newfound uncertainty. Fall or Spring? Snow a foretelling of what was to come or a last gust of cold breath before the skies turned blue?

Her lover leaned over her shoulder, adding bergamot to scents of oil and turpentine. “Why the gray skies?”

She angled a smile. “Because the liminal world is rarely black and white.”

~*~

I wrote (3) 99-word stories for the Sue Vincent Rodeo over at Carrot Ranch. Then, I read the fine print and discovered I could only submit (2). Uh oh. Decisions, decisions. Well, this is the one that I didn’t submit.

Remember that submissions can’t be previously published, even on your blog. If you want to try your hand at a 99-word story in honor of Sue, you can saddle up and read the rodeo rules at Carrot Ranch.

January Book Reviews

Now that I’m writing again, my reading has dropped off. *Sigh*

January book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of paranormal fiction, a vampire anthology, Gothic anthology, and YA fantasy! I hope you enjoy the browse.

Click on the covers for Amazon global links.

*****

The Light by Marcia Meara

I could read a book about 11-year-old Rabbit navel-gazing and be entertained. I’m in love with this character and as long as he’s in the story, I’m satisfied. Once again, Rabbit is using his gift of “sight” to solve murders and heal old wounds. In this book, one of the Brown Mountain lights is different from the rest. It’s full of sadness, and Rabbit wants to find out why.

This story has less violence and minimal danger compare to the previous books in the series, and though Rabbit solves the mystery, the more dire consequences unfold on their own. In this read, the focus has shifted somewhat to Rabbit’s expanding “family” as he spreads around his good will and makes connections with other good people. There’s a sweetness to this story and to these characters, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Rabbit’s journey and happily recommend Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge series to fans of paranormal fiction, addictive characters, and expert writing. I will miss this little guy. A solid five-star read.

*****

The Vampire Connoisseur (anthology – multiple authors)

I’ve avoided vampire stories for years. I think Anne Rice spoiled me with Interview with the Vampire, which I loved. And the vixen vampires on television… ugh. But this anthology has a great cover and vetted stories. I gave it a go, and I’m glad I did.

There are sixteen stories by sixteen authors, and each story is vastly different. Some have sublime characters with unique voices. Others have incredible world-building. And still others have unusual plots. My favorites included some of each, particularly those stories that surprised me with their originality or made me empathize with vampires, or both. Be prepared for some gruesome blood and guts too.

Favorites were The Red Angel (amazing), The Sun Sets Nonetheless, Finch, and Dissidents. Recommended for readers of horror who enjoy well-written vampire stories.

*****

The Brinwade Chronicles (anthology multiple authors)

This is the third book and second anthology I’ve read from the Fosseway Writers, and so far, it’s my favorite. The collection of Gothic short stories is loosely organized around Brinwade, a fictional village near Nottingham in central England. A map is included in the Foreword, a nice touch that helped orient me as I read.

Though the 29 tales take place in the same village, the authors had leeway when it came to timeframes. Some of the stories take place in modern England, while others unfold elsewhere in a history that spans hundreds of years. This increased the variety already created by having multiple author-contributors and character voices.

As a fan of speculative fiction there was a lot for me to enjoy: ghosts, vampires, elves, very creepy scarecrows, visits from the fae, and haunted marshes, to name a few. Not all the stories are frightening. Some are tragic and others heartwarming. All are well edited. Highly recommended to readers of Gothic and speculative fiction short story anthologies.

*****

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

I enjoyed this read though I think it’s geared more toward young teens and precocious middle-grade readers. In this magical fantasy world, young people compete for a chance to bond with mythical creatures and become arcanists (wizards). If you can think of a magical creature, it’s in this story—from phoenixes and pixies to leviathans and yetis. Suspending my disbelief was a necessity from start to finish.

In this first book of the series, Volke and other new arcanists travel to a magical manor on a giant turtle’s back to begin their magical training. The arcanist guilds are struggling with a mysterious plague that’s corrupting the mystical creatures and turning their masters into pirates. The kids are trying to figure out what’s going on and who they can trust.

For the most part, the human characters are fifteen years old. They and their creatures are all different and distinct. The creatures talk and some of them have mysterious or fun personalities (a ferret-type creature called a Rizzel reminded me of some of the hilarious Disney side-kicks.) The adults are the biggest threat in the story though one of the teens is a bit of a bully. The pace moves along with a steady stream of action. Recommended to young readers of YA fantasy who are looking for a kid-driven adventure.

*****

Happy Reading!

Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

I’m so pleased to share this, and you bet I’m saddling up!

For those of you who don’t know Sue Vincent, she’s one of those special bloggers in our community who inspires people all over the world with her beautiful posts and #writephoto prompts. Sue has tirelessly supported other bloggers and it shows. She now has 19,000 followers and counting.

Recently, Sue encountered a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. To make matters worse, the Covid-19 pandemic not only poses a serious threat to someone with a severe respiratory illness but has resulted in the loss of human connection when it’s needed most.

Now it’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s supported for a decade. Let’s come together with hearts full of joy.

Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch!

One way to participate in the Classic is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden”, at the Carrot Ranch. The image and entry form is live today – Monday, February 1st, 2021.

Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family. There’s also a link on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.

Please note that Carrot Ranch will not accept entries previously published (even if published on your own blog). So use the form and keep your entry a secret until after the rodeo.

If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s also a “Parade.” Reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. You can follow her blogs. Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can.

Help us celebrate a blogging hero and very deserving person. Plus, it’s a ton of fun.

Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo like none before. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins today, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words. 

See you at the Ranch, buckaroos!

Treasuring Poetry – Meet fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach and read my review of Sunwielder: An Epic Time Travel Adventure

I’m delighted to be the guest of wonderful author and blogger Robbie Cheadle on her first Treasuring Poetry post of 2021! I share a poem, its inspiration, and a few thoughts on how poetry influences our prose. If you have a minute or two, stop by. And thank you to Kaye Lynne Booth for hosting us. Enjoy! ❤

I’m closing comments here, so please pop over if you want to say, “Hi.”

Writing to be Read

Welcome to the first Treasury Poetry post of 2021.

Today, I am delighted to welcome fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach, who is sharing one of her own poems and discussing poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

Thanks so much for the invitation to participate in your Treasuring Poetry series, Robbie. I’m honored. I think of myself as a writer of prose and a dabbler otherwise, but I love poetry and believe no creative effort is ever wasted.

This is a super hard question! I have poems that I think are well-crafted, poems that evoke personal feelings or memories, and poems that reflect a particular time in my life. Since “I don’t know” isn’t an acceptable answer, I’ll go with this one:

Flight of faith

When I was a child, I could fly

you and I hopped in dirt-road afternoons

faithful

and the dust-wind flung us over…

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When Characters Mutiny

I’ve got my plot outlined. World-building done. Research underway. Character bios are complete. Despite the distracting news on the television, I’ve written 23k words. I’ve got a cover concept, a rough draft of a blurb. Things are sailing along.

Then…

One of my minor characters, Briar, has decided to stage a mutiny. He has a cutlass pointed at my progress, and he’s walking it up the plank.

He’s called a meeting on the quarter deck of the Windwraith. All the main characters are there, wondering why the wind in our sails suddenly died. I leave the helm and join them, arms crossed as I lean on the mizzen mast.

Briar’s pacing, eager to explain his reasons for the summons. He looks right at me. “Listen, Peach, this course you’ve charted needs some revising.”

I roll my eyes. Here we go again.

“Hear me out,” he says. “I think you’re making a mistake if you let the ferryman throw me overboard in Chapter Six.”

“Hmm,” I reply.

“You might not have meant to do it, but you’ve made me interesting. I’m nuanced.” He turns to address the rest of the crew. ”Okay, I’m a little lazy and a bit of a bully, but I have a heroic side.”

The crew chuckles as he faces me. “I’m actually younger than you first envisioned me, and I have startling blue eyes. I’ve also got all my teeth, which you can’t say for Kezo.”

The first mate smiles at me, flashing his gold tooth. I groan inwardly at the clinches. Those are coming out as soon as this irksome rebellion is over.

Briar grins. “You made me the perfect choice for some romantic tension with Marissa.”

I glance at Marissa. She shrugs. “Fine by me. It’s not really a romantic story anyway.”

“Wait,” I say. “Before you all get carried away. I’m eleven chapters in. You’re asking for some significant revisions here. If I give Briar the role, what do I do with Kellin? He was supposed to fall for Marissa.”

Briar makes a pffting noise. “That kid is too young, too naïve.” He gives Kellin an apologetic wince, then puts the blame on me. “It’s just not the right story for him. He’s like a little brother. Marissa would never fall for him. The relationship will feel forced. Your readers won’t believe it.”

Kellin sighs and rakes back his flyaway blond hair. “I kind of agree with him. You wrote me about four years too young.”

I’m tempted to argue that I wrote him exactly the way he is, but it’s not the time for a chicken/egg debate with a bunch of mutineers. And to be honest, I kind of agree that Kellin isn’t strong enough for the part.

“You know, Kellin,” I say, “if I make this change, I’ll have to kill you off.”

Briar puts on a sad face as shallow as a tide pool. “Instead of rescuing him in Chapter Eight, you could have him get shot with a pistol, fall into the sea, and drown.”

Kellin frowns at the suggestion. “She doesn’t have any pistols in the story.”

“She has to revise anyway. She can add them in.” Briar leans against the gunwale, his case made.

I narrow my eyes at him, feeling a bit shanghaied, but he’s made a few good points, and the changes feel right. None of the crew looks miffed. Even Kellin seems to understand that his death would make a better story. He’s a nice kid… Readers will feel the loss.

“Fine,” I say. “I need to go back and plot the changes before we sail any farther into the Deep. Shore leave is cancelled until we’ve caught up.” I gesture to the first mate. “Brace about. We’re changing course.”

As the big man takes the wheel and bellows orders to the crew, I retreat to my cabin. I log into Word and scroll back to Chapter One. Then I open the internet and look up everything I ever wanted to know about flintlock pistols.

(Names have been changed to minimize spoilers).

Do your characters do this to you?

LIARS AND THIEVES: A BOOK REVIEW

Annika’s reviews are like a dream come true for authors. I stumbled on her review of Liars and Thieves when I logged on this morning. Had to share! And don’t worry – it’s spoiler free. Thank you, my friend.

Annika Perry

A world is held together with the most tenuous alliance. A world like no other and inhabited by three races; elves, goblins and changelings. Together they’ve kept the peace in Borderland, yet its thin veneer is threatened as the dark force of Chaos seeks to overthrow the land. However, its leader, Kalann il Drakk, must first penetrate the shimmering border wall, the Veil.

With excitement, I was propelled into ‘Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1) and into the midst of Drakk and his force’s attack on the Veil. Its electrical energy is as powerful as the writing. Although the attack ultimately fails, seeds of Chaos are planted through the wall … although the reader is left in doubt about its format.

From this dramatic beginning, the book, the first of a trilogy, becomes increasing captivating as the story unfolds through chapters centred on three misfit characters who dominate…

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Meet the Author: D. Wallace Peach

I’m over at Jonny Pongratz’s blog today, Jaunts & Haunts. We’re chatting about super powers, blogging, writing, and books. If you have a minute, stop by and say hello. While you’re visiting, be sure to check out Jonny’s wonderful blog and sci-fi books.

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Good morning world!

Today I’m stopping by with the first author interview of 2021, and I’m having it with D. Wallace Peach, fantasy author.

I got to know her through other WordPress author friends late last year as well as GoodReads. She is currently celebrating the latest release in her trilogy Unraveling the Veil.

Welcome, Diana!

D. Wallace Peach

Bio:

D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

The Interview

Hi Diana, thanks so much for stopping by. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
A spaceship comes crashing out of the sky into your backyard. As a last act of kindness, the alien is willing to bestow upon you any power you choose. What is your decision?

Diana: Hi, Jonny. Thanks for having me over at Jaunts and Haunts, and for the great questions. As I read through your options, I came to the conclusion that I’m a total scaredy cat! Lol. No chance that I’m going to time travel, walk through mysterious portals, battle zombies, or spend a lifetime fleeing demons. So, I went with the softball question above.

I’d request the power to heal through a mere touch. That would be most satisfying. I’d start with children’s hospitals and go from there. I’d be invading everyone’s personal space right and left. Strangers would be mortified at my touchy-feely friendliness, and I’d probably be told off a few times, but I wouldn’t care. And I’d keep my power a complete secret, so I wouldn’t have to run from nefarious characters and secret government agencies who’d want to capture me and control my talent.

Jonny: Thanks, and welcome! Haha, no worries about going the more peaceful route. Many of the potential situations I came up with are kinda scary. 

I love your choice of power. That’s very selfless of you, and I think this world could use the healing now more than ever, even if you’re knocking down doors saying “Hey, I’ve got a bone to pick with your medical condition. Let me in!” Good choice to lay low. Superheroes may sound great on paper, but I think people would covet that ability of yours and things may take a turn for the worse. 

Today I’m gonna go escapist and wish for multiplicity. I’d multiply myself several times over to do things like work and run errands, while the true me would just sit back and relax. Of course, I’d take turns to ensure the other me’s are content, but life would be such a breeze! 

Diana and the Writing Process

(Continue reading at Jaunts & Haunts)

I closed comments here (late – oops). 😀 See you at Jonny’s.

Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I)

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A few blog friends and authors have asked about my decision in 2015 to switch from traditional to indie publishing. I thought it might be interesting to share a trio of posts about the factors that informed my decision. These posts are five years old, but my opinion remains the same. If this post, Part I, captures your attention, you can follow the link below to the 2nd and 3rd in the series.

Part I: Pros of traditional publishing

Part II: Cons of traditional publishing (and how they compare to indie publishing).

Part III: Results

***

In 2016, I begun the process of reclaiming my traditionally published books and republishing them myself. I thought it might be useful to document my reasons, particularly for those writers dawdling at this fork in the publishing road, trying to decide which way to go.

I originally published through a small press, and I don’t want to give the impression that this was a bad deal or that the publisher did anything wrong. It was, in fact, a valuable learning experience, especially for a new author and one as clueless as I. A small press may be the perfect publishing solution for many authors, especially if the words “traditionally published” carry personal weight.

Before I dig in, it’s important to state that – with a few exceptions – this was my experience. It reflects my personality, expectations, and quirks. What worked for me might not work for you and visa-versa. In addition, each publishing house is a unique entity represented by unique individuals. It’s reasonable to assume that my comments don’t apply to every small press!

So, what was great about my small press experience?

Hands-on relationships

I wrote a book without a blog and all the valuable online information available to authors. I did zero research on publishing, knew no published authors. Basically, I knew zip. Typical for me.

I can’t speak for mega-presses, but with my publisher, I received generous personal attention. I had tons of questions, sent daily emails, and received prompt replies. The process was laid out for me, contracts thorough and easily understood, my expectations set. It was comforting to know that my endless dumb questions and new-author anxiety were treated with respect and patience.

No Upfront Cost

When working with a traditional publisher, the professional services needed to bring a book to market come at no charge. This includes all facets of editing, proofing, cover design, formatting, obtaining ISBNs, and anything else you can think of. The publisher recoups the costs when the book goes for sale and they contractually take a portion of the revenue.  For a writer with few financial resources, upfront costs may be a factor. Besides not having any idea what I was doing, I also had a pitiful bank account. This way, all I had to do was write.

Professional Editing

When I “finished” my first book, I was part of a writer’s critique group. I applied all the suggestions of my cohorts, and my writing improved to the point that a publisher was interested. Yay for writers’ groups! Little did I know how much I still didn’t know.

The editing process commenced. The editor and I went back and forth for an entire year and made hundreds and hundreds of changes – literally. Working with a professional, I received invaluable lessons on the craft of writing. The process improved my book and armed me with a battery of tips to employ on future projects.

This process was highly collaborative, and I was grateful to be able to argue my case when I felt strongly about a point. I understand from a few colleagues that some publishers are less collaborative and some will exercise a contractual right to make the final call on changes.

Covers

As a clueless person, I had no resources for cover design. The publisher worked on the concept and sent me multiple drafts for comment. My contract allowed 3 changes at no charge though we made many small tweaks. I have heard that some publishing houses don’t request input on design and don’t allow changes. I know of one author who wrote a book about “coyotes” and the publisher put “wolves” on the cover. The author was stuck with the wolves.

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Contract Length

My contracts were for one year from the published date. This is a relatively short period when compared to contracts that span 3-5 years. The shorter contract is a boon in the event the relationship isn’t working, or the author or publisher wishes to terminate. My termination required a 90-day notice and there was no cost associated with ending the agreement.

My contracts were on a per-book basis with no commitment tying up future books. This is particularly important when writing a series or serial where a contract may commit future books to that publisher for the agreement’s term. An author may end up making do with the publisher or leaving books unpublished until the contract can be terminated. Contracts are important, and they aren’t all the same.

Paper Book Quality

Publishing houses will likely use printing services of a high quality. Personally, I’m satisfied with Amazon and the quality of their paperback books. However, printing houses will often have more size, style, and color options as well as better quality paper and bindings. Many professional print houses are not “print on demand” so there will be a sizable minimum order or set-up fee that may exceed what the author wants to invest. This was a significant challenge in my case.

So, Why Go Indie?

For someone who knew squat, my experience with a small press was highly instructive. The editing process improved my writing. The service was professional and respectful, the contracts fair.

Yet, publishing through a small press has significant pitfalls. As my knowledge and experience grew, it became evident to me that the challenges outpaced the advantages. Would I accept a contract with a big publishing house with a huge marketing department and a tasty advance? Um…yeah! But in the meantime, I’m going indie.

In Part II, I’ll explain why. Check it out HERE.

“Dead of Winter” is here!

Amazon Global Link

Teagan Geneviene has a new book, well… a serial of monthly novelettes that will tell one epic story. And the first “journey” is now available on Amazon. I read it in one sitting and reviewed it below. But first, I had a few questions for Teagan. We didn’t spoil the read, I promise.

Dead of Winter Interview

Dead of Winter has been in the works for over a decade. Why did you wait so long to release it, and why are you publishing this story in monthly novelettes?

I had been researching and then writing Dead of Winter for a couple of years.  Then Game of Thrones premiered on HBO and used a tag-line that I had woven throughout my novel — Winter is coming!  (I talk about that nightmare in a blog post.)  That coincidence caused me to shelve my huge novel.  However, the characters and world stayed with me.  Over the next decade, I considered dividing it into a trilogy, or making it into a blog serial.  I even fantasized about it becoming an anime series.  Still, I couldn’t escape the fact that George R. R. Martin had used the phrase that was core to my story.

After his television show ended, I decided I had let that hold me back long enough.  If my phrase wasn’t new, then I would present the novel in a new way — by publishing a monthly series of novelettes, or journeys (the characters journey through their complex world).  The original manuscript is longer than 800 pages, so I think it will run for at least a year.

Abraham Pether, Wikipedia

The first novelette introduces the reader to Emlyn, her restrictive culture, her teacher, and her world. What aspects of the world were the most interesting for you to craft?

Emlyn’s world in Dead of Winter is not a historic fantasy.  Although it looks and sounds similar to pre-industrial Great Britain and Europe.  I also researched all the names of the many characters and places so they would be reminiscent of those places.  I’m a research geek, so I loved creating that part.  More than 200 places and characters are mentioned in the overall story.

Many of your books are fun and whimsical in nature. This one feels more serious and dangerous. Was that a deliberate decision?

There are two parts to that answer — yes and no.  The difference in style was an evolution, rather than a decision. Before I started publishing and blogging, I wrote “high fantasy” stories.  I wrote this novel back then.  During the years since, my style has progressed to the lighter things you’re used to seeing from me.  When I started writing blog serials, those brought out a strong sense of whimsy.  The whimsy was always there, but in the past, it was expressed in a more serious way.

Also, I started writing Dead of Winter in the winter of 2009 – 2010.  I had recently relocated to a place where both the climate and the culture were much colder than I had ever experienced.  A historically harsh winter, and a personal injury set the tone of Dead of Winter.

Emlyn has paranormal abilities that set her apart. Tell us a little about the magic in this world.

The “dead” are a fundamental part of Dead of Winter, but the story is more about Emlyn and her world than it is about ghosts.  How to say it?  It’s more of a story with ghosts than an actual ghost story — if that makes any sense.

As a reader who studies the work of successful mainstream authors, I learned the value of making gradual increases in magic and/or violence.  Emlyn’s ability to communicate with spirits is the main “magic” of this story, but the tale grows into other forms of magic as well.  There are also supernatural creatures and there is some “earth magic.”

Do you have a favorite character and why?

This story was in my head for years.  Many of the characters became real to me.  One favorite is Tajín, a companion for Zasha.  I definitely had a crush on Tajín.  You won’t meet him until Journey 2.  I love his personality.  His home, Bandihar, is inspired by ancient civilizations in Mexico.  I enjoyed shaping his culture and letting it help develop his personality, even his weapon.

Review of Dead of Winter, Journey One

This story will unfold in monthly installments (Journeys), and in this first novelette, the author introduces the reader to the fantasy world, to the main protagonist, Emlyn, and to a few secondary characters who impact her life. I read this Journey in about an hour.

Emlyn lives with her father and sister in a rural village where the culture is patriarchal and restrictive, with women bearing the brunt of the harsh control. This doesn’t bode well for Emlyn who has the ability to see ghosts. Osabide, Emlyn’s elderly teacher and a wise woman reminds her not to share knowledge of her gifts with anyone, because her strange skill could cost her everything, including her life.

The story is told from Emlyn’s point of view, and the reader gets glimpses of her encounters with ghosts as well as a mysterious white wolf. The novelette raises questions, and there are teasers galore, including an underlying sense of danger. An excellent start to an epic tale, recommended to readers who enjoy fantasies and want to try a different sort of reading experience. I’m looking forward to the next Journey.

Teagan’s Links

Dead of Winter Global Link

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Twitter: https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeagansBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teagangeneviene/

Happy Reading!