Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard - my review

I was recently given a ARC for my Kindle of The Forgotten Ones by my friend Laura Howard in exchange for my honest review. On this occasion, I was happy to help because I loved the story!

 Here is the review I posted on Amazon:  
 I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

*This review contains slight spoilers*

I was so pleased that the book was a GREAT read! The story is told from Allison's point of view, and, you, as the reader, can't help but feel for her as she copes with a mother who is not mentally altogether present and for her sense of responsibility to take care of her mom.

Knowing a person who experiences schizophrenic episodes, I am able to say that Laura Howard's writing captures those episodes well in her writing, portraying them realistically. You can't help but like Allison because of her devotion to her mother.

I love the descriptive elements about the fairy land (Tír na n'Óg). I have to admit that I am a sucker for books with fairies in them, so it's not that surprising that I liked this book! Of all the fairies though, my favorite character was Aodhan. Something about him made me want to learn more about him, and I am hoping that we find out more in subsequent books or maybe even a future book based on him as the main character.

The imagery in the book is beautiful, and you are easily swept away by the emotions, the mood and the magic of the story.

I definitely recommend "The Forgotten Ones" to everyone who loves fantasy and romance. Anyone who loves paranormal romance and urban fantasy (YA) should love this book.

If you found this review helpful, please go and say so on the Amazon review itself

The Forgotten Ones

The Danaan Trilogy

Book One

is now available exclusively on Amazon!

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

About Laura Howard

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

Connect with Laura:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Chapter Book Challenge's Anthology of Fairy Tales - Submissions

As most of you already know, I run the Chapter Book Challenge (ChaBooCha) in the month of March, every year. This past March was the second year the challenge has run. Membership, which is completely free, went from 23 people in the first year of the challenge to a little under 100 people in the second year. We had published authors and agents guest posting and we had many prizes throughout the challenge. The challenge is to write a book, a complete first draft, of an early reader, chapter book, hi-lo book, middle grade book or YA book from March 1st through March 31st.

I have had some really great feedback from the members of the challenge, and I really love running this challenge. The members who also joined the Facebook group have been really helpful to each other and have helped each other immensely throughout the writing process. I am very happy to continue running this challenge.

However, all of the prizes, with the exception of a few donated by guest authors, given out during the challenge are bought and mailed by me. Granted, I can run the challenge without the prizes, but I love adding prizes into the mix. And I think the members like the prizes too.

So far, word of mouth has been great in helping the group grow, but I also would like being able to do a bit of advertising for the challenge to get more people to join in the coming years. I already pay for the domain names for the challenge, but I'd like to build a proper website for it and do all of the other things that running something like this more professionally will require.

I will also be keeping the challenge free to join.

For these reasons, the members of the Chapter Book Challenge are joining me in creating an anthology of fairy tales. The fairy tales are flash fiction pieces with a minimum of 300 words and a flexible maximum word count of 700 words. The fairy tales range from alternate versions of traditional fairy tales to completely new and original fairy tales. All stories are kid-friendly but are still interesting reading for adults. We have had many of the members turn in stories for it so far, and some have offered some black and white illustrations for the anthology. The anthology will be offered in both print and e-book formats, and all profit from the sales will go towards the Chapter Book Challenges.

Anyone who is signed up as an official member of the Chapter Book Challenge (sign-ups now would go towards next year's challenge as this year's has ended) will be allowed to submit two stories for the anthology. The sign-up for the anthology, allowed if you are signed up for the Chapter Book Challenge, is here and the Facebook event for the anthology, which can only be joined after joining the Facebook group is here.

Deadline for submissions for the anthology from Chapter Book members is May 1st, with some extensions allowed for a May 7th deadline. The title of the anthology, the cover and the inside illustrations are the next step after the stories are all in and ready. I can't wait!

I will let everyone know when the anthology is ready and available for purchase. I'm really excited about the project and have been loving the submissions for the anthology so far. I know everyone is going to love the anthology!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Anna's Wolves #DFQWBS

My lovely friend Anna Meade is getting married and, in honor of her upcoming nuptials, the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower was started. This is my contribution.

picture found on Pinterest here

Anna's Wolves
by Rebecca Fyfe
e-book: yes

Anna’s red cloak spilled like blood around her shoulders and against the white lace of her wedding dress. Who would have guessed, even just mere months ago, that she would now be married to the one she had once been so afraid of?

She brushed out her long coppery hair, taking one last look in the mirror to make sure she was ready. He would be coming for her tonight. She stepped outside, closing the front door to her grandmother’s cabin behind her.  Grandmother would have approved of the wedding.

The eerie cry of a wolf sounded in the night, and before she could discern the direction it had come from, another howl answered. Within moments, the night was filled with the sounds of wolves howling. The moonlight cast just enough light for her to see movement in the bushes and trees surrounding her. Still, she waited.

The wolves moved in, stepping into the clearing before her, surrounding her on all sides. Their gazes remained unblinkingly on her.  She looked back at them, straightening her shoulders and showing them she was not afraid. They weren’t a danger to her.

Anna held her hand out and the wolf nearest to her came over and licked her hand, then rubbed his head against it. She ran her hands through his thick, course fur and felt nothing but safe. These were her wolves now.

She felt it when he arrived. He moved silently, but some part of her that would always be attuned to him knew when he moved into the clearing. A deep, inky black, this wolf towered over the others. His muscular form maintained twice the weight and height of the other wolves. Black eyes gazed at her patiently, and, as she gazed back, his form started to twist and blur, contorting into odd angles, parts of him shrinking and other parts elongating, bones breaking and reforming at different angles, until her husband stood before her in place of the wolf.

When she’d first met him, in the forest all of those days ago, she’d been afraid.  He had been in human form, but something inside her sensed the wolf behind his eyes. She had run, and he’d shifted and chased her. She thought she had beaten him to her grandmother’s house, but he had been waiting for her, sitting in the kitchen with her grandmother, sipping tea.

Her grandmother had introduced him to her, had explained all about his shape-shifting. Her grandmother had known the pack for many years, well before Anna’s mother had been born. They brought her meat and she sometimes cooked or mended garments for them.  Her cherry pies were a particular favorite with the pack.

Anna had been startled at first, but as his warm eyes regarded her, she felt something move within her. Later, he had gone outside to chop some wood for her grandmother, and Anna had snuck glances at him while he worked, admiring the grace of his body as his muscles contracted and expanded with each swing.

That had been the beginning for them.

And now, he was hers. And his pack was her pack. And on a night like tonight, with the moon full and the stars out, they would run together for the first time. Anna felt something move inside her again, the way it had when she had first gazed into his warm brown eyes while standing in her grandmother’s kitchen.

This time, she felt other things move within her. He reached out to her and held her in his arms as her body shifted and changed reforming into a copper-colored wolf with fierceness in her eyes. Next, he shifted back into his wolf and they led the pack back into the night, running wild and reveling in their freedom.

Grandmother had known the wolves for a very long time.


Wedding Toast: May you both have many years together, full of love, blessings, magic, joy, and miracles.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Insecurity - Insecure Writer's Support Group post for April 2013 #IWSG

I almost missed the IWSG post for April. It had to be written today and it's now late evening and I only just remembered due to some terrific people who are also part of the IWSG group leaving me comments on the last post today, wondering where this month's post is. (Yes, I know that's a run-on sentence, but this is a blog post, not a book, so deal with it.)

Today, writing about insecurity seemed appropriate. I just completed the Chapter Book Challenge. I run the challenge, so I had a lot of stuff to deal with over on the ChaBooCha blog, on the ChaBooCha Facebook group and organizing prizes to send out. And I did all of this while also writing a complete first draft of a chapter book. I am not very confident about the story though.

Most of the Chapter Book Challenge members are at the stage where they are exchanging their stories for critiques, and I am not confident enough in my own story to be willing to share it yet. I'm not confident enough in any of my stories yet to share them. I know they all need revision, and I know that, through critiques from others, I will be able to get some perspective on where the revisions are most needed.

But there is that awful niggling voice in my head that tells me my friends and critique partners will lose respect for me when they see how awful those manuscripts are. Once they read what I have written, they'll think to themselves that I shouldn't even be bothering. Part of this insecure feeling comes because, well, on these first drafts, maybe those thoughts would be partly right. They need a lot of work. But my stories aren't meant to be perfect on the first write. The first draft is meant to get the story down and then revision and editing and re-revision have to take part in making the story stronger. Beta readers and critique partners and eventually an editor all will take a hand in making my stories shine. I shouldn't feel this worry about what my friends will think of me if they read my first drafts; instead I should be hoping they will come up with some great insight as to how I can make my stories stronger.

The other part of this worry comes from the fact that I have read some really wonderful books out there, books I can not even hope to write to the level of, but I have also read some really poorly written self-published books out there. Most self-published books are terrific, but a few writers are so eager to be published that they publish before their writing is ready for it. They have the basis of what could be a good story but instead it lacks the necessary element to draw the reader in to the story. They have some brilliant writing, but it's mixed in with a lot of tedious writing. They could be so much more, but they jumped the gun and published too soon, without enough revision and practice. I worry that I will do the same, or that I will never be able to make my stories shine enough to be published.

But I have to stop letting those niggling thoughts bother me and get back to the writing, to the editing and to the revising. I am a little bit in love with each of my stories and it is my job to shine them up enough so that when others read them, they will fall in love with them too.