A Little Self-Promotion Never Hurt Anyone

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

via Pinterest
Ever since I was little, summer was about fun trips and long days in the sunshine and freckles and reading in the air conditioning during flash thunderstorms. I also start planning far in advanced. I like to think this is unique to me, but I've a feeling I'm not the only one with this glorified perception of the season...

This summer in particular (and like I say, the preparation comes early) I'm hoping to embark, in the company of my sister Elizabeth, on a trip to New England with a college we are both interested in. It happens in July, but it's quite pricey - not for what's offered, but a large sum nontheless. Here's where you come in.

One of the ways I am saving up for this is by selling some of my unecessary clothes, shoes and accessories on eBay. You can check out my shop here. If you're interested, I'd love for you to take a look around and maybe purchase something.

Also, if you're feeling your blog needs a little freshening, don't forget to check out Bree Holloway Designs - because those proceeds are going towards the trip too, and who doesn't want a new blog design?

Third: I'm putting very meekly a little donate button on the sidebar if anyone feels a particular wish to help me earn the money, but is not interested in any of my products - but please only give as you feel lead.

Finally, I'd most appreciate prayers as I go through this process. I trust God will make it possible if that is His plan for me - and if not, c'est la vie! I know something good will come of my staying home if that is how it all pans out.

Thanks for letting me self-promote, ma cheries amies. ;) If you're interested in anything else concerning the matter, I'd love to chat with you about it - and otherwise, have a smashing day.

Golden Daughter Cover Reveal

Monday, February 24, 2014

I have a particular treat to share today, something I think you'll all enjoy. Anne Elisabeth Stengl is (you guessed it) preparing to publish another book! Don't know who she is?

Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. Her books include Christy Award-winning Heartless and Veiled Rose, and Clive Staples Award-winning Starflower. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration and English literature at Grace College and Campbell University.

Golden Daughter does not premier until November, but today I have the pleasure of revealing the [lovely] cover!
(Can we take a moment to talk about those galaxies? Beautiful.)

The cover illustration was done by Julia Popova. Visit her website, http://www.forestgirl.ru/, to learn more about her and her work.
What's Golden Daughter all about?

Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.
But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?
For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

And in celebration of this cover reveal, Anne is giving away the winner's choice of two of her previously-published Goldstone Wood novels - enter below or head to her blog to join in the fun. :)


A Bang Fine Read: Interview with Rachel Heffington

Thursday, February 20, 2014

As a follow-up to the revealing of her splendid cover, Miss Rachel Heffington agreed to do an interview with yours truly on the topic of Fly Away Home, along with several other fun stuffs around the web. (Check your dashboard. Posts are jumping up like popcorn!) The book itself is now available on Amazon, ready to be read and reviewed on Goodreads--and loved, of course. For those of you who follow me on Goodreads (and for those of you who don't: join the ranks!), a review is coming soon. But in the meantime, I present authoress Rachel Heffington...

1. What song best describes/most inspired Fly Away Home for you?
Without a doubt “Beyond the Sea”. Especially Matt Belsante’s version which is quite quite perfect. (Note from Bree: for those of you who haven't heard the song, you can listen to it here.)

2. Are any of Fly Away Home's characters pulled directly from your life (and people you know)? If so, who?
I am much like Callie Harper in my thought process. Really. I can’t decide if every man on earth will now be petrified of me or not, but it’s true. Callie’s different than I am in many ways but I gifted (cursed?) her with my random, free spirit. No one else is really directly from life any more than my characters usually are. Everybody oozes in somewhere or other. :)

3. What audience do you hope to reach with this book?
16-30 year olds. I am sure other ages would enjoy the story but it will probably most affect young people who are figuring out life, love, careers, etc.

4. As your debut novel, was there anything in particular that was difficult about publishing Fly Away Home?
There is a whole lot of work involved in the publicity side that I hadn’t really thought of. If you hope to have a successful book release, you need to spend quite some time preparing for it. Guest posts and interviews take time as well as contacting people to ask for guest-posts and interviews. Also, formatting was its own particular outer circle of Hell.

5. Who is your favorite character from Fly Away Home? Who is most like you?
Ahemahemahemahem. Wade Barnett. But also Jerry Atwood. He is my particular darling. And like I said, Callie is quite a lot like me in places.

6. What is your favorite snack while you write?
Hmmm...I don’t usually eat while I write because it impedes me getting along at a very fast rate when I can’t type. But chocolate. Always chocolate. Only...that’s not a snack. That being said, probably popcorn popped in olive oil and sea-salt with a few slices of the sharpest cheddar cheese.

7. What is your writing process, and which stage is most exciting to you?
My writing process begins (always) with characters. Then I decide a plot for them if they haven’t already come to me with one, and then I begin to hammer it out. I try for one thousand words a day and generally make it past that. About the twenty-thousand word mark I begin to freak out and so I very quietly tap out my one thousand words at a time and creep past the panic until the story loves me again. When I’ve finished, I subject the work to at least one round of editing (usually two) before I send it to my beta-readers. I assemble their criticism and make more changes, then read through the story on the computer and make others. I then print out a hard copy and read it aloud to myself to catch other mistakes before applying those edits and doing one more look-over and calling it good. When I got my proof copy of Fly Away Home, I read through it once more and got the last mistakes I could find. Let us hope it is (relatively) free of errors, though I’m certain you could find a couple in any book.

8. So you're self-publishing, I hear! What ultimately decided this for you?
Stubbornness. Love of independence. A realization that I write what I want and don’t like be dictated to by what the establishments consider “popular”.

9. If you could choose one quote (not from the book itself) to describe Fly Away Home, what would it be?
“Sit by and let the world slip; we shall ne’er be younger.” -William Shakespeare
This quote perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Wade Barnett and Calida Harper. She’s frantic, fleeing, wild, he’s gentle, sober, steady. She craves violent excitement and he wants to hold her hand and show her hidden things.

10. I know you've got several books in your head and on paper; could you give us a sneak peek into your next project?
Right! Well, currently I’m working on a 1930’s-era mystery (Anon, Sir, Anon) and working with Rooglewood Press to revise/edit The Windy Side of Care for Five Glass Slippers. (The latter is a collection of five Cinderella stories chosen to be published by Rooglewood Press in June of this year.) Afterward, who knows? I have several stories in my head, as you say. I am thinking of rewriting The Scarlet Gypsy Song; been craving a return to children’s literature!

Note from Rachel: Thanks a million for having me here, Bree! And to the readers: thanks for reading. You are welcome at The Inkpen Authoress at any time. :)

Note from Bree: Go read Fly Away Home. It is, in Rachel's own words, a bang fine read, and perfect to curl up with to combat post-Valentine's dulldroms and February lulls. (You've surely got leftover chocolate to accompany you, right?)

Chatterbox: Critticism

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

via Pinterest
This month for Chatterbox (Haven't heard of chatterbox? Read about it here.) Rachel cleverly chose the topic of Criticism, instead of the Love everyone suspected. (Good, thank you, I'm really horrible at making love a chatty thing, and I was worried that's what you would choose.)

That much being said, criticism is something I usually attribute to the writing itself, not as a topic - my characters are no stranger to harsh words, but I don't naturally throw in bouts of degradation. I suppose it's something I must learn one way or the other - a certain balance is to be attained there, see. So for you, Rachel, I'm making a concious effort. You're welcome.


There was a green firefly-light at the bottom of the chipped tea mug, and Kaitlyn heckled it with her spoon, listening. All around, the dim light of a late February evening was dancing a solemn, operose dance; it sounded of home and the winter that was soon to close, and of the first sparrow-songs of March. She determined it in her favor.
"What are you so enamoured with?" And Kaitlyn looked up.
"The sky." Evening had come upon them quietly, and now examining the brown curves of Rune's face she noticed how dark it was - how dark both were. "You're brooding tonight."
His stare released her reluctantly, as if he'd eschewed a theory that had been troubling him lately.
"It's dark, we ought to go in."
"The stars haven't come out yet - I'm staying out here." Kaitlyn set her hips firmly with balled fists.
"It's dark and you're coming in, if I've anything to do with it."
"You don't have anything to do with it, you'd do well to recall. I refuse to be bottled up for your personal convictions."
Rune looked sick. "Well I won't leave you alone." He sat stiffly by her side, arms crossed and elbows set on his knees, and they waited, not speaking.
The stars came, slowly at first and then all at once, till the sky was freckled as thickly as the pale skin beneath Kaitlyn's lashes had grown since she boarded the ship. Something not far in the distance was making a light, bright and yellow against the deep indigo sky.
"It is well worth your patience, is it not?" She glanced furtively in his way, and Rune bit a lip.
"I never said it wouldn't be."
"Always ready to be snide, aren't you, Rune?"
"I wouldn't say as much...though it is in my way to be selective with compliments, and I don't hide it."
"But you don't like to think well of people?"
"Do you?" It put her to thinking; perhaps he was right.
"I wonder that you should care."
It was too prim a sentence for Rune. He looked at her queerly, and Kaitlyn twitched her lip guiltily.
"That is, it seems unlike you."
"To care?"
They glared each other down depths like ages, eye to eye for several long seconds unwavering until he sighed and turned his head.
"I'm curious."
Kaitlyn thought this too simple, but kept her lips sealed.
"Take that tea, if you like, for an example," he carried on. "Why do you drink it? It has few benefits to your health - not that you have a knack for that sort of thing anyway - and tastes awful. What's in it for you?"
She, in fierce defence of the injured drink held it close to her heart. "I like the taste of it. It reminds me of home."
"And there's another thing: you talk about 'home', but refuse to tell any of us your origins. It makes me wonder..."
"Well don't, because I've not changed my tune - and I won't, either."
"Blast it, I didn't mean to ge you started there. But you see, I like to know things. I feel a cripple without knowledge."
Her tongue lashed quickly. "That's your fault?" It wasn't precisely meant to hurt him, though; it was more a question of interest.
"Don't criticize me, you've got faults aplenty if you'd let me name 'em."
"But I don't." She was aloof now, combing and cleaning her proverbial Coat. It was a favorite practice, when time could be spared to indulge the activity.
"Any final words before I drag you off to your kennel, Miss?"
A half-snort. "Goodnight, Rune."
"Goodnight, Kaitlyn."
They turned each his seperate way, and the white-spotted blanket of midnight overhead seemed, by some accounts, to be winking at them. Of course, none could say for sure...

Human Nature In All Its Glory

Thursday, February 06, 2014

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I was writing an essay on Pride and Prejudice for school (I hardly consider that schoolwork, but anyway) that got my brain reeling. As people generally and as writers particularly, the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover' is a well-used adage at best.

THE WHY: I suppose this phrase was coined originally to teach children (or adults?) the errors or prejudice. And for that function, you could say it's doing its job just as well as any other of its sort out there - which, I might add, is not a terribly good job in the first place. But for that sphere, it is no better or worse than any other adage. It's when it comes to literature that this saying becomes sticky.

Frankly: do you ever not judge a book by its cover? I know I don't. The cover of a book is the first thing we see; unless we are to make no sort of judgement (debatably impossible), this is our first impression of the book. If it looks shabby and homemade, I will instinctively expect the book to read shabby and homemade. The book could be fantastic; that won't change my first impression and I probably won't even give the book a chance because the cover turned me away from the start.

THE HOW: What am I saying? That book covers ought to be impeccable? Well, yes, that is rather important, but also no. I'm mean that no matter how we try to change it, that is human nature: we will always be prejudging.
So instead of fighting it, we learn from it. 

January Snippets

Saturday, February 01, 2014

via pinterest

There comes a point when, as a writer, you need to vary your projects up a bit to refresh your resources. For most, this means a switch of genre, or an art project or even research. For me, poetry is a prefered method of escape. I've said before, and it's worth repeating: I am not a poet. My little arrangements are hardly worth mentioning, but rhyme scheme is something I've always enjoyed, and when an emotion or reaction is particularly strong, I find it usually falls more delicately into verse than lines.
I haven't had time to do much story-writing this month, but poetry has been more regular than usual. The Result: a few of these January Snippets are poems. Enjoy. :)

(I have no idea if this one is a real verse pattern or if I've broken all the rules of poetry. The pattern is a back-and-forth of three syllables per line. The last line is one syllable for contrast.)

Like the dawn
Of wet morn,
And closed sky.
All at once:
Your blue eyes.
The contrast
Against steel
Charmed them all.
Smiling like
That crazy fool.
And I saw
Her smile back.

"In the morning came the fire and the dawn
Ashes spewn on all the seed he'd sewn
A curse was on his bittered aching lip
And blackness reached his heart, the thing to rip
And down the crumbling rocks of sulfured land
Oceanic fire on burning sand.
A thatch of red hair, coloured like the sky
A ribboned-robe in royal purple dye
Clutched tight like a lifeline to her side
Words acerbic like the drifting smoke
Came tumbling from her red lips as she spoke
But all save one were lost to those above
The rescued being simple: 'you, my love.'"

"'I can break you, you know.'
'I've been broken before. I think I could handle it.'" -Gumusservi

"'Don't forget that I've waited seven years.' Knives would have hurt more, but at least the pain would be imminent. Words never left her ears, constantly clattering like a thousand dishes, always resurfacing at the worst moments. Some days it seemed she had gotten past it, busying herself with other activities, but the pain always crept back in the evening, cradling her as she slept. It never seemed to lessen, either. At least he's never absent from my thoughts, she confided with the moon." -Gumusservi

"Light is big enough that darkness may be lost in it's garments; but darkness is the cheated, for no draping of night can hide a spark." -Untitled

"'Begone, villain! You've thrown light on my past and you've broken any hope I had of a future. You insult me and my beloved. You disrespect me, though I cared for you in your plight. To suppose I'd offer any assistance to you now I know your colours is insupportable: everything about your being is utterly repulsive to me. Begone, ere I smash your bones to bits, Amor help me!' The other's complexion grew pale." -Gumusservi
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