06 October 2014

Cover Reveal: Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag

She did not know what the fires said—their language was suddenly starkly different from her own—but she knew it was awful and real and Plenilune.
Yes, it was Plenilune.
plenilune by jennifer freitag

jennifer freitag
coming autumn 2014!

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

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

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

Find Plenilune: Goodreads (add Plenilune to your to-read shelf and catch a glimpse of what advance reviewers are saying!)

about the author: jennifer freitag

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

Find Jennifer: The Penslayer // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

baffled by the planetary fantasy genre?

This should clear things up: What is Planetary Fantasy?

We've been waiting a while for this one, folks. On October 20th, readers everywhere will witness the explosion of one metric ton of rich, red-blooded literature coming to an Amazon near you in paperback form. It may not be able to fit in your pocket, but it will easily impress itself on your heart and mind. Mark your calendars and stalk The Penslayer until the big day: this release is only the first in a string of Plenilunar novels by Freitag. You're in for a treat.

Interested in more of Freitag's work? Click here to read my review of her debut novel, The Shadow Things.

03 October 2014

The Year's Last Smile

Beauty, beauty, there is beauty all around me.
If it were tangible, I'd bottle it up; if it were visible, I'd paint the skies with it.
Had I a brush, creation would bend at my touch.
I'd make the heavens into colors and patterns that you could smell, taste, touch.
You'd feel the scarlet in your soul burn against the copper and the amber-gold.
I'd dress myself in welkin-blue on the first day of the season when the wind adopts a singularly witching quality.
Smell the smoke, the sparks as they tangle in the locks you can never restrain, those same curls that tumble around your forehead and tremble on the base of your neck.
Send me the season's scent, the thick warmth, the wafting spice, the exotic air that runs through the day until each moment is an hourly gem on the year's necklace.
I'll tie it 'round my neck and wear it all my days.
Give me the chill that ices over my red heart, the cold that makes the cider steam in the stillness, the frosty silence that draws me closer to you.

Lend me autumn, and I'll bury it in my heart. Give me autumn, and I'll love you all my days.

[a bit of dusted-off heart-writing from last november]

22 September 2014

September Chatterbox: Willa-My-Willa

'cause honey your soul could never grow old, it's evergreen
and, baby, your smile's forever in my mind and memory
i'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
maybe it's all part of a plan.
"thinking out loud" / / ed sheeran

"That's enough, Willa."
She stopped herself before the cream had a chance to run over the lip of her brimming cup. A monotonous lethargy in her eyes creaked and settled back into place. As she raised the china to her lips, her teeth chattered and her hand shook so that the hot liquid splashed down the front of her blouse.
"Here, allow me."
She flinched as he gently dabbed at the stains.
"They won't come out without hard scrubbing."
"It's been five years, Michael."
A pause. "I know."
"Then there's no need to treat me like a child."
When he sighed, it was progressive, layered, as if it had been building up over many years. Five years. More than that, actually, if you counted the heavy days that came before, the days when the troubles began, but she was never one for particulars. All she knew was that he had sat in the same chair each evening for five years, read the same chapter of the same book for five years, and never had an edge of bitterness crept into his tone.
"You must eat something with your coffee," he reminded her. He'd been doing that for five years, too. Always making sure she ate and drank. Perhaps it was a helpful thing; her mind was so far beyond the physical and well into the depths of the ethereal that she often forgot mealtimes. Willa wondered what would have happened to her if Michael were not as sensitive to the particulars as she was ignorant of them.
"I'm not hungry."
"I don't care. You're going to eat something."
"Oh, mind Dickens and leave me be."
"Here." Michael reached over and snatched a pear from the fruit bowl on the wobbly-legged coffee table. "Have a bit of fruit."
"I can't stand pears and you know that."
"I thought perhaps you'd changed your mind?" The corner of his mouth tilted upwards in the ghost of a smile.
"I'm too set in my ways for change now." She was amazed how refreshing it was to admit it, and smiled faintly.
"Ah. That I do know." He winked briefly, but as her smile strained, snapped, and caved in on itself once more, the merriment left his expression.
"Come, Willa. We must go one night without bringing this up. It's been—"
"You think I don't know how long it's been since his death?" Her eyes may be dry now, but the tears would come soon, as they always did. Like clockwork, her life came in the same row of dull stitches that she forced herself to yank out and redo, yank out and redo, day in and day out, through each blinding sunrise and each wearying sunset. "Won't someone give me relief?" Time had lost its medicinal power.
"Come here."
She crawled close under his arm, sniffling against his shirt and feeling all of six years old. He held her as she wept through the familiar storm that seemed to lighten with each passing day. It was getting better. Willa no longer shook like a sapling when he brought up the incident. Still, she was only human, and a fragile one at that. He remembered his father's warning when he'd asked the pale girl to be his wife. He could still hear those words echoing through his head: Don't marry her, son. She's the kind that'll require too much of you.
She required great things of him, to be sure. Her tears at odd hours. Her periods of spontaneous melancholy followed by periods of spontaneous joy. The aches only she understood that made her cry out at night and the shaking that only slowed when she eventually slept again. She was the beam of light that slanted across his life, but she brought shadows with her.
She'd never required too much of him.
Bits of splintered wood crackled in the dying fire. Michael drew his wife closer and felt her cold frame grow warmer. Her lashes fluttered like damp-winged butterflies against the violet-hued skin ringing below her eyes. She sniffed one last time and then looked up into his face.
"I think—" her voice shook. "I think—I'll have a pear now."
It was no longer just a ghost of a smile that danced across his features.
Five years and one day. Willa reached out and clenched his hand.

we found love right where we are.

like what you read? click here to read past chatterbox posts.
curious about chatterbox? click here to join rachel's monthly meme. [this month's theme is pears]

15 September 2014

Cover Reveal: Anon, Sir, Anon by Rachel Heffington

Coming November 2014

The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger.

In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets.

When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door.

Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.

about the author

Rachel Heffington is a Christian, a novelist, and a people-lover. Outside of the realm of words, Rachel enjoys the Arts, traveling, mucking about in the kitchen, listening for accents, and making people laugh. She dwells in rural Virginia with her boisterous family and her black cat, Cricket.

Find Rachel: Blog / / Twitter / / Facebook / / Pinterest

Interested in more of Rachel's work? Read my review for her debut novel, Fly Away Home.

09 September 2014

Snapshots of Summer

Some wise sage whom Pinterest did not bother to credit said, "We only have what we remember." And I would add that we only remember what we repeat and retell. So that's what I'm doing in this blank white posting box that scares me too often with its blankness and its whiteness. This summer was one of the busiest and most memorable seasons of my life, and I want to record it for posterity's sake.

Maybe one day I'll look back on these youthful days and see the frivolity in them. For now, I feel like I'm hanging on to the tilt-a-whirl for dear life as it spins faster and faster. Be quick, now! Catch the pieces before they blow away!

And so I shall.

snapshots of summer

 / / Opening the cafe at six in the morning isn't so bad when the gym plays Ed Sheeran. / /

/ / Cleaning up, cleaning out, repurposing, and doing without are all very healthful and refreshing practices. / /

 / / Walking the streets of D.C. with a pastry in one hand and a cup of chai tea in the other. For all their talk about wood smoke, flannel, and rain, the hipsters may have hit on something: the thrill of visiting a new place and staying until you know it cannot be overemphasized. / /

/ / Families of seven and eight blend splendidly together. Few things sound happier than ten little feet bounding over the floorboards all at once. / /

 / / College dorms bear an unfortunate resemblance to prison cells. / /

/ / Spending a solid five days with this wonderful human being and all the giggling and hilarity that occurred as a result. / /

/ / Tuesday night Bible study and going through the Book of Exodus with some of the most God-fearing women I know. / /

/ / Four too-short hours in the historical district of Philadelphia. It had been too long. / /

/ / It's amazing how brief a time can birth such close bonds. / /

/ / David Copperfield and the Britishness of Dickens. Oliver Twist and maybe even A Tale of Two Cities will have to step aside; Copperfield has claimed my heart. A summertime prelude of the literature I'm now studying this year. / /

/ / Arlington Cemetery will never not be reverently stirring. / /

/ / When one is under a particularly cavernous dome, there's clearly nothing else to be done but mimic Rue's mockingjay whistle. / /

/ / Racing around a college campus on a rainy evening for the sake of pictures can make for some pretty interesting stories. Bree, for instance, is the only person still living who can claim an injury inflicted by George Washington. / /

/ / A Monticello visit that seemed to last the space of a second with the one and only Liza. / /

/ / "You know, I still don't know how to dance." | "I'll show you how. Just be there." / /

/ / Long summer afternoons by the pool eating good food and engaging in enriching conversation (there's something quite magical in tomato slices, basil, and mozarella on Italian bread). / /

/ / Good books come in all shapes and sizes. Besides David Copperfield, this summer's haul included Starflower, Flannery O'Conner's Prayer Journal, and Plenilune (coming October 20!) / /

/ / Roasting marshmallows, taking ridiculous pictures, laughing, eating, and celebrating on the Fourth. / /

/ / Notes, notes, and more notes. A whole book of them. Scribbling so fast that your hand starts hurting (and being mocked for not using the backs of the pages). / /

/ / Good cries may be necessary at night, but never—oh, never forget the joy that comes in the morning. / /

Here's to September and the mugs of hot cider, bonfire-air, apple-red cheeks, and autumnal memories to come!

28 July 2014

Release Date Reveal: Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag

a planetary fantasy
by jennifer freitag

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

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

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

Coming 20 October 2014!

The official cover for Plenilune will be revealed in the upcoming months between now and October. If you have a blog and you'd like to be a part of the event, email Jennifer at sprigofbroom293[at]gmail[dot]com so she can put your name on the list!

interested in learning more about Jennifer?

author website: Jennifer Freitag

23 July 2014

This Mortal Veil of Fear

breathe life into this feeble heart
lift this mortal veil of fear
take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
we'll rise above these earthly cares
"dante's prayer," loreena mckennit

And thus we come to one of the best and most challenging aspects of blogging: accountability. A community waiting for an answer. My silence may have been some indication, but if it was not, you will know by the end of this post. I have not finished Anath's Song, and I will not be able to pick it up again until early August.

You can't know how tired I am of writing words like that. "It's going pretty well; I'm a little behind my goal"—and then, "I didn't finish," or worse, "I quit." Failure — because it feels so much like giving up — tastes bitter on my tongue. First Rifles, for which I have haphazardly researched, plotted, outlined, and written the better part of two years with little to show for it. Now this short project which should have been completed in two weeks still hangs on me unfinished. But good words come much more slowly than poor ones, and sometimes they have to be eked out with cups of tea and long bouts of still fingers and silent keys. And then sometimes other tasks simply must take priority, though I ignore that fact for as long as possible. An application for a college class that had to be sent in by a certain time. The business of shopping and packing for a two week trip also drains the hourglass. I'd like to say that life gets in the way of my writing goals, but life is the delays and the downtime and the dry months as well as the harvest.

Since I'll be out of town for the rest of July and unable to write, there's not much point in continuing to answer the questions for Actually Finishing Something [in] July after this week. Even though my word count is meager, I am so grateful for this opportunity to get a whole new project off the ground. And don't think for a minute that the story ends here. I had a mini breakthrough plot-wise just last week and the storybuilding will always continue. Reader, you have yet to hear the last of Anath's Song.

week three questions
actually finishing something [in] july

1. Were you able to meet your goal this week?

No, but I am satisfied with the current state of the novella and excited to get back to work when I return home again.

2. Where did you get the bulk of your writing accomplished? In the quiet of your room, outside on the patio, on the bus?

One evening when two of my siblings were out with friends and the rest were at the pool, I sat in our great room and carried on the wings of Pandora, typed away for two hours. It was blissful. As you can imagine, though, that doesn't happen often. The rest of the time I completed my writing in my room.

3. Share a couple of your favorite snippets!

Ha!” One eyebrow, visible in the slit between forehead and cheek, cocked in amusement. “You are nothing.”
“And yet, I am all I have to give.”
[anath's song]

Cassandra clenched her father’s hand until he cried out for her to release him. His hand burned, he said. Confused, she turned his palm upwards in her own. Long red burns, thin as spider webs, traced manic patterns over the surface of his skin. They singed her fingers and she flinched away in disgust. It was the last time she would touch her father.
[anath's song]

Young and naive, she had never guessed how her close, familiar life hung on a straining thread. One false step, and the fibers would snap altogether.
[anath's song]

4. Have you introduced a new character into your story? Tell us about his or her personality. 

Cassandra's father Titus has just recently entered the story and I've had an interesting time with his complexities. He was once a man of few words, strong, quiet, steady as the tide. One rash act later, and he is now entirely flat, washed of all identity save his own sins, which shine in brighter contrast. His daughter loved him once, but certain circumstances have changed that quickly enough.

5. List the favorite foods of your main characters.

Cassandra loves a rich roasted lamb, heavy with spices, the sort that she rarely tastes. Of her usual fare, she would not turn up her nose at plain bread and oil. Anath enjoys any sort of fruit he can find at the market that reminds him of his home city, specifically grapes and pomegranates.

6. Introduce us to the antagonist in your story and tell us about one of his or her quirks.

You've met Titus already, who plays a slightly antagonistic role in Anath's Song, so I'll give you Damon instead. Tall and swarthy, he's about as handsome and as proud as they come. He can't abide fish, women less than six inches shorter than him, and admitting defeat.

to all who are attempting to actually finish something this july, how are your projects coming along?
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