Bewitching Fairy Tales

I love these books. Both of them fuse two different fairytales together. Stalks of Gold is a cross between Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin, and Mirrors of Ice combines Snow White with The Snow Queen. I loved reading both of them and I’m sure you will too.

Each story can be read as a standalone, but I saw so much potential for future story connections. I look forward to seeing more in this series and from this author.

The Eldentimber Series

This is a series I’ve been following for a couple years now. The stories are interconnected, but they can stand on their own. The 6th book came out recently and I finished reading it a couple days ago. I’d highly recommend these books.

They are all available to buy on Amazon or read for free in KU. Here’s the series link and another link for a connected novella. If you’re interested in buying, there are also 2 boxed sets available that could save you money. Here’s the link for box set 1 and box set 2. The most recent book isn’t in the boxed sets, but everything else is.

Heres’ the description from the series page:

From Book 1: Thirty Knights. Five Events. One Determined Princess.

In order to avoid a loveless arranged marriage to a man she cannot stand, eighteen-year-old Princess Pippa of Lauramore makes a bold move: she begs her father to hold a marriage tournament. 

Knights travel from far and wide for a chance to win the princess’s hand, but she immediately sets her sights on one—Galinor of Glendon. He’s strong. He’s handsome. He’s a girl’s dream come true. 

But as the events progress, Pippa learns her valiant knight is prettier than he is capable. Left with no other choice, the princess enlists the help of the one man with the power to shatter the fragile balance of the tournament—a man she should keep at arm’s length. 

A man who calls her like a moth to a flame. 

Pippa knows she plays a dangerous game, but when the stakes are this high, she’s not sure if she can afford to walk away… 

Set in a rich fantasy world, Pippa of Lauramore is a take-your-breath-away fairy tale romance with unforgettable characters, humor, and heart.

Stolen Brides of the Fae

This series currently has four of eight books available, but so far, I’ve loved each one. I’m not familiar with all of the authors, but the ones I am familiar with are all YA authors. These books are being released a week apart, so they should all be out before the end of the month.

You can buy them or read them for free in KU on Amazon.

Here’s the description found on the series page:

From Book 1: When a mortal girl steals a necklace from a Goblin, there will be a price to pay…

Esther knows the rules. Don’t talk to the goblins. Don’t look at the goblins. Above all else, don’t buy or trade with the goblins. 

Then, one day before market, she sees a young rat faced boy selling a necklace that looks eerily like her mother’s, what’s a young girl to do? Of course she tries to buy it, but he won’t sell it to her. So she steals it because it’s her mother’s necklace. 

Lux knows the rules. He’s a jeweler and he can sell his wares to those who want to faithfully buy them. Something doesn’t feel right about selling this particular piece to the beautiful young woman who immediately steals his heart. So he doesn’t. 

But when he realizes the mortal girl stole from him, he’s forced to enact magic that can’t be unwritten. Stealing from a goblin always has a price. 

Stolen Goblin Bride is the first book in Stolen Brides of the Fae, a collection of short novels by eight of your favorite fantasy romance authors. Start reading today for swoon-worthy romance, heart-stopping adventure, and guaranteed happily-ever-afters!

Once upon a Shoe

Once upon a Shoe is my first published book, and it’s also the book that I took the longest to work on. Part of that was figuring out the world, which my other published books share, but a lot of it was fear of showing it to anyone and worrying that nobody would like it. Before Utopiacon 2016, I had no intention of ever publishing this or any other books, despite the ideas floating in my head. But my husband has a big mouth and before I know it, what was supposed to simply be a chance to meet some of my favorite authors became a huge wave of encouragement from them and other authors who were at the convention. Due to their influence, I started to consider the idea that I could be an author myself. I wasn’t entirely certain if I wanted to publish yet, but I left more open to the idea and determined to at least write this story.

I think it was maybe late 2017 when I asked for feedback from a few other authors. But it wasn’t until early to mid 2018 before I reached out to my editor and scheduled her services. It was especially challenging to not allow myself to continue to tweak my story while I waited for my scheduled time to get it edited because that wouldn’t happen until late 2018. By the time both rounds of editing was done, it was early 2019. Once I finished editing, I hit publish and listed it on Booksprout for reviews all one the same day. I waited to enroll it in KU until after the due date I had set for the Booksprout reviews.

Anyway, I should get to the details of the book itself. I’ll try to keep the spoilers minimal, but I make no guarantees. If you don’t want any spoilers for my book, stop reading this now, because I can’t not give at least some spoilers and talk about my version.

It’s interesting how far an idea can change when you’re writing a book. For Once upon a Shoe, my idea started with the stepmother, Iris. I started off wondering what if the stepmother isn’t the stereotypical bad guy that she is usually is? Although I’ve since read a different version that answers this same question, I hadn’t seen anything even remotely similar to the concept before I started working on this in 2016. Most of my first draft based on this idea was cut in later drafts because I realized that I was writing more than one story. About half of my very rough first draft was written from Iris’ point of view and took place before Ella was even born. Iris will still get her own story later because for many reasons it is near and dear to my heart, but I realized that for a Cinderella story, I was starting it way too early.

Aside from knowing that I wanted a nice stepmother, I went in with a few strong ideas of what I did and didn’t want to bring in from the originals. I wanted my prince to have a personality, closer to the Pharaoh of Rhodopis than the boring prince of most versions. But unlike Rhodopis’ pharaoh, I made Aeden a bit jaded. I mean, I couldn’t see why a prince would be happy to just go along with the idea that he needs to pick a bride at the ball from a bunch of random strangers. The fact that Ella and Aeden were friends was another early decision.

Of course, the fact that they were best friends early on gave me the problem of deciding exactly how and why they weren’t close anymore by the time the necessary ball came around. Although I didn’t save most of the earliest drafts, this problem was one that I approached from several different directions before I made my final decision on having the split happen during the funeral. And even that scene went through numerous revisions before I felt like I had it right.

I mentioned in my post about my favorite Cinderella’s that Ever After is my absolute favorite version, and I certainly drew inspiration from that version in the idea that I had one nice stepsister and a mean one. But I certainly needed to know exactly why Anna (the mean stepsister in my book) was acting the way she did. In many versions I’ve read, I have always felt like there was a lack of motivation being shown for the evil stepfamily, so it was important to me to make sure that I did let that shine through, even though the task wasn’t an easy one without letting Anna be a point of view character. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, I have an early prologue (among other scenes) on my subscriber page that was from her point of view. If you aren’t on my mailing list and you want to check out my subscriber page, you can sign up here. Whether you subscribe or not, I do have plans to give Anna her own story in the future.

If you didn’t just stumble on this post without any knowledge about me, you probably know that my Once upon a Story series is made up of standalone stories that include little Easter eggs for other books in the series. The biggest reason I chose to write them as standalone is because as a reader, I have a love/hate relationship with series. It can be really difficult to get to the end of a book only to find out that the story isn’t over and the next book won’t be out for some unknown amount of time. Since I had several ideas for this world, and no idea how long it would take for me to finish all of them, I wanted to make sure not to leave readers hanging with a cliffhanger ending. Some of the Easter eggs were pretty big and others are more subtle. The one for my second book, Once upon a Silent Song, was certainly much smaller than what I wrote in for my third book, Once upon a Rose. Then there are the threads to stories yet to come, though not everything is connected to this story. I wonder how many you’ve found?

Since I’ve mentioned all of the major decisions I made for the book, I should probably stop before I spoil the whole thing, LOL. But if you have any specific questions, let me know in the comments and I’d love to answer it for you.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can find Once upon a Shoe on Amazon. It’s free to read in KU. And here’s the official description:

Magic shoes, family problems, and a midnight deadline… How much do you really know about Cinderella’s fairytale?

Ella always knew she’d marry for love or not at all. She wanted nothing less in a marriage than the obvious affection she witnessed between her father and her stepmother, Iris. But when her father disappears and Iris sinks into depression, Ella cuts herself off from the rest of the world as she struggles with her own emotions, a disgruntled stepsister, and an overwhelming workload. Armed with a fragile hope, she must go to the royal ball to find her father. But a reunion with her childhood best friend threatens to shatter the walls she’s built around her heart.

Crown Prince Aeden always hated his status. He felt like social engagements and propriety were a waste of his time and energy, especially with girls who were just interested in a crown. One such confrontation with Ella led to the start of an unlikely friendship. Over time, Aeden realizes that his feelings for Ella have evolved into something more. But before he can tell her, tragedy strikes and Ella pushes him away. When he finally sees her, Aeden is determined to do whatever it takes to not lose her again. He must convince Ella that they are meant to be together before his time runs out.

Stepmothers aren’t always villains and princes aren’t always charming. With so much uncertainty, do they have what it takes to create a happy ending?

The Once upon a Story series consists of interconnected standalones that can be read in any order.

Cinderella

Illustration 176120170 © Danilo Sanino | Dreamstime.com

Since my version of Cinderella, Once upon a Shoe, is currently on a Kindle Countdown sale, I thought I’d finally start a series of posts that I’ve been thinking about writing for a while now. Today, I intend to talk about my favorite versions of Cinderella.

The word favorite, has always been an interesting one for me because I have trouble sticking with any one favorite most of the time. However, for Cinderella, I do have a clear favorite that has stuck with me. The movie, Ever After, has been my favorite version of Cinderella ever since I first saw it back in high school. I loved the blending of the real world with the fairy tale and the fact that there was more depth to it than the animated versions I’d seen before. I still don’t quite understand why they were all using British accents when it took place in France, but that was the only thing about the movie that I could possibly complain about.

Although Ever After is still my absolute favorite Cinderella, there are several other versions that I love. This post would be way too long if I described them all in detail, so I’ll just list everything else for now. I may possibly decide to write a separate post about some of these later. With my memory, I know that will inevitably forget about something, and I may have something new to share in the future, so I’ll update this post when I either remember something new or find a new version I love. These aren’t in any particular order.

What’s your favorite Cinderella retelling. Let me know in the comments below.

Next time, I’ll be talking about the original versions of Cinderella. But without further ado, here’s my list of favorite Cinderella Retellings. I’ll put a * next to anything that is more mature than YA.

Movies

Ever After

Disney’s Cinderella, both the original animated version and the newer live action version

Happily Never After

A Cinderella Story

Ella Enchanted

Books

Cinderella and the Colonel by K. M. Shea

#TheRealCinderella by Yesenia Vargas

Chasing Midnight by Kaitlyn Davis

* Dance by Demelza Carleton

Shard of Glass by Emily Deady

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Princess of Midnight by Lucy Tempest

Ellie and the Prince by J.M. Stengl

Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

The Coronation Ball by Melanie Cellier

Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slippers by Brittany Fichter

Kingdom of Fairytales Cinderella (4 book series) by J.A. Armitage and Margo Ryerkerk

* Captivated by the Fae by Jessica Greyson and Aria Winters

Fated by Kaylin Lee

Children of Chaos Series

I know I’ve mentioned it in my newsletters before, but I don’t think I’ve announce it anywhere else that I’ve joined a multi-author series. The Children of Chaos series consists of multiple genres with the major connecting factor being that they are all about supernatural children. Mine isn’t scheduled until December 2022, but I’m excited to be a part of something bigger than myself.

You can check out the whole series, including links as they become available, at this website. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the available books yet, but I’ve really enjoyed the ones I have read. I’ll probably feature my favorites separately at some point, but I wanted to share my excitement for this series.

The Moonfire Bride

*Post contains affiliate links.

I recently finished reading this book and I loved it, though I kind of wish I would have waited to start it since the second book won’t be out for another month. According to the description, this is inspired by the myths Eros and Psyche, and Hades and Persephone. Eros and Psyche was an especially strong element in here, and knowing the myth made it all that much worse for me when I knew the main character would make the wrong choices.

I especially loved how Sylvia Mercedes wrote her characters. The nonverbal communication was a rare treat. I’m anxious to read the next book when it comes out on April 20th because the ending was far from resolved.

You can buy or read it for free in KU by following this link.

Air Awakens

If you’ve been one of my newsletter subscribers for a while, you’ve probably seen me mention Elise Kova and her books and/or writing advice before. So I figured it was time to finally say something about her here.

I first discovered Elise Kova when she only had the first two books of the Air Awakens series available. I bought the first two books at a book conference on a whim and they sat in my library unread for a few months, which ended up being a good thing. By the time I started reading, Earth’s End just came out. Once I started reading, I needed to continue because they are just that good.

The Air Awakens series can be bought or borrowed through KU here.

Now, she has 3 complete series within this world and 1 new series that is still in progress. Each series should not be read out of order, but you can start reading any of the series without having read the others. I’ll list them all in the order I read them.

Unless my memory is way off, the Golden Guard Trilogy consisted of books that were significantly shorter than the other series books within this world. But they were just as fun to read. These books follow side characters that I grew to love from the Air Awakens books. You can buy or borrow them in KU here.

Vortex Chronicles takes what I learned in the Air Awakens series and flips things upside down as the world opens up to something much bigger. This set of books follows Vhalla’s daughter and I think they may have been even more addictive than the Air Awakens books. Without giving away some significant spoilers, I don’t know what else to say about it other than it is certainly binge-worthy. You can buy or borrow these books in Kindle Unlimited here.

A Trial of Sorcerers is the most recent release and it’s currently the only book available in this new series. It takes place after the conclusion of Vortex Chronicles and it’s just as immersive to read. I’m anxious for the rest of the books to be released. If you want to buy or read it for free in KU, you can find it here.

Dragon School

This is another book series that I’ve read and loved. It’s a completed series of quick, fast-paced stories, available for purchase or to read in KU. There are three different series within the world and they really should be read in order if you don’t want to be lost. Dragon school follows Amel through a series of world-changing challenges. You can check the series out here.

Dragon Chameleon takes place right after the final book in Dragon School ends. This one follows Tor who is more of an anti hero type as he faces his own challenges and the world opens up to reveal new areas and new dangers. You can check out his story here.

This final series in the world follows Seleska after Tor’s series ends. Unlike the other two main characters who get to ride the dragon they bond with, Seleska has a baby dragon to protect as they face their challenges in another part of the world. You can find these books here.

If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, you can try it free and binge these series. Here’s the link for a free trial.

Harry Potter

*This post contains affiliate links.

I wanted to post something today, but since I’m still in the middle of reading a book series, I figured I’d post something I’ve read before. I’m sure most people have at least heard of Harry Potter, even if they haven’t read it. At this point, I’m not even sure how many times I’ve read this series.

Although the books are best read in order, a reader can at least understand what is happening if they start somewhere else. The first book I read was actually the second book in the series and it was something I was reluctant to read at the time. I remember my little brother asking me to read it to him and I rolled my eyes and made a big fuss about how lame I thought the title sounded. But I read it anyways and I got hooked on the series. I quickly ended up buying the only other two books available at the time and I anxiously waited for the rest to come out.

Anyway, I found this set for sale on Amazon and it’s cheaper than buying each book individually. I was also surprised to find Harry Potter available in Kindle Unlimited. If you’re interested in buying the entire series, I would suggest going to this link. But if you’re interested in reading it in KU, I would go to the series page here.

If you want to get a free trial of Kindle Unlimited, follow this link.