Thursday, November 12, 2015

Any Animal-Loving Kids on your Christmas-gift List?

Have I got a great suggestion for you! I love good books, and when I discover good ones I want to share the fun.

If you haven't yet checked out the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency series for kids, this is your chance! Author Cindy Vincent currently has a fun interview on Amber's blog, plus a great giveaway offer. I want lots of children to have the chance to enjoy these delightful stories and love the kitty sleuths! So click the link below this picture and enter the drawing for a book for your favorite kid. :-)

I have purchased and read all four books in this series and enjoyed every one. It's the kind of series in which each book seems even more exciting and satisfying than the last!

I know that my kids would have loved these books, and I'm already thinking ahead for grandchild #1, who isn't due until April. Heh. Each story is action-packed with a clever mystery and great kitty characters. Buckley, the rookie-sleuth and narrator, a big fluffy black cat, is always growing in confidence and learning lessons about friendship and kindness. His pals, including Bogey (the lead detective of the agency) and wise old Miss Mokie and the lovely Princess (title character of book 1), interact in delightful ways to save the day for their human family and friends.

So if you have an animal-loving or mystery-loving child on your Christmas gift list, or if you (like me) enjoy well-written children's books yourself, be sure to jump over to Amber's blog and enter to win your copy of The Case of the Clever Secret Code, or buy it here.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Draven's Light Cover Reveal

I am thrilled to be part of this cover reveal! Most of you know that I get to read Anne Elisabeth's books long before anyone else does, which is SO COOL. The hard part is waiting to talk about them with anyone until the proper time . . . Therefore, I shall endeavor to keep my big mouth shut and reveal only what is appropriate at present . . . (And you should all admire my amazing self-control while it lasts!)

So without further eloquence I now present what we've all been waiting for:

In the Darkness of the Pit
The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs to face the darkness?

Coming May 25, 2015

This cover gives me the shivers, especially since I know what is actually happening in the scene. Look at the tree roots on those pillars, the brilliant candle in his hand, and the creeping mist. You definitely get a sense that this is a cold and evil place . . . 
And here is a taste of the story:

Excerpt from
By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
(coming May 25, 2015)

He heard the drums in his dreams, distant but drawing ever nearer. He had heard them before and wondered if the time of his manhood had come. But with the approach of dawn, the drums always faded away and he woke to the world still a child. Still a boy.
But this night, the distant drums were louder, stronger. Somehow he knew they were not concocted of his sleeping fancy. No, even as he slept he knew these were real drums, and he recognized the beat: The beat of death. The beat of blood.
The beat of a man’s heart.
He woke with a start, his leg throbbing where it had just been kicked. It was not the sort of awakening he had longed for these last two years and more. He glared from his bed up into the face of his sister, who stood above him, balancing her weight on a stout forked branch tucked under her left shoulder.
“Ita,” the boy growled, “what are you doing here? Go back to the women’s hut!”
His sister made a face at him, but he saw, even by the moonlight streaming through cracks in the thatch above, that her eyes were very round and solemn. Only then did he notice that the drumbeats of his dream were indeed still booming deep in the woods beyond the village fires. He sat up then, his heart thudding its own thunderous pace.
“A prisoner,” Ita said, shifting her branch so that she might turn toward the door. “The drums speak of a prisoner. They’re bringing him even now.” She flashed a smile down at him, though it was so tense with anxiety it could hardly be counted a smile at all. “Gaho, your name!”
The boy was up and out of his bed in a moment, reaching for a tunic and belt. His sister hobbled back along the wall but did not leave, though he wished she would. He wished she would allow him these few moments before the drums arrived in the village. The drums that beat of one man’s death . . . and one man’s birth.
His name was Gaho. But by the coming of dawn, if the drums’ promise was true, he would be born again in blood and bear a new name.
Hands shaking with what he desperately hoped wasn’t fear, he tightened his belt and searched the room for his sickle blade. He saw the bone handle, white in the moonlight, protruding from beneath his bed pile, and swiftly took it up. The bronze gleamed dully, like the carnivorous tooth of an ancient beast.
A shudder ran through his sister’s body. Gaho, sensing her distress, turned to her. She grasped her supporting branch hard, and the smile was gone from her face. “Gaho,” she said, “will you do it?”
“I will,” said Gaho, his voice strong with mounting excitement.
But Ita reached out to him suddenly, catching his weapon hand just above the wrist. “I will lose you,” she said. “My brother . . . I will lose you!”
“You will not. You will lose only Gaho,” said the boy, shaking her off, gently, for she was not strong. Without another word, he ducked through the door of his small hut—one he had built for himself but a year before in anticipation of his coming manhood—and stood in the darkness of Rannul Village, eyes instinctively turning to the few campfires burning. The drums were very near now, and he could see the shadows of waking villagers moving about the fires, building up the flames in preparation for what must surely follow. He felt eyes he could not see turning to his hut, turning to him. He felt the question each pair of eyes asked in silent curiosity: Will it be tonight?
Tonight or no night.
Grasping the hilt of his weapon with both hands, Gaho strode to the dusty village center, which was beaten down into hard, packed earth from years of meetings and matches of strength held in this same spot. Tall pillars of aged wood ringed this circle, and women hastened to these, bearing torches which they fit into hollowed-out slots in each pillar. Soon the village center was bright as noonday, but with harsh red light appropriate for coming events.
Gaho stood in the center of that light, his heart ramming in his throat though his face was a stoic mask. All the waking village was gathered now, men, women, and children, standing just beyond the circle, watching him.
The drums came up from the river, pounding in time to the tramp of warriors’ feet. Then the warriors themselves were illuminated by the ringing torches, their faces anointed in blood, their heads helmed with bone and bronze, their shoulders covered in hides of bear, wolf, and boar. Ten men carried tight skin drums, beating them with their fists. They entered the center first, standing each beneath one of the ringing pillars. Other warriors followed them, filling in the gaps between.
Then the chieftain, mighty Gaher, appeared. He carried his heavy crescent ax in one hand, and Gaho saw that blood stained its edge—indeed, blood spattered the blade from tip to hilt and covered the whole of the chieftain’s fist. Gaher strode into the circle, and the boy saw more blood in his beard. But he also saw the bright, wolfish smile and knew for certain that his sister had been correct. The night of naming had come.
“My son,” said the chief, saluting Gaho with upraised weapon.
“My father,” said Gaho, raising his sickle blade in return.
 “Are you ready this night to die and live again?” asked the chief. His voice carried through the shadows, and every one of the tribe heard it, and any and all listening beasts of forests and fields surrounding. “Are you ready this night for the spilling of blood that must flow before life may begin?”
Gaho drew a deep breath, putting all the strength of his spirit into his answer. “I am ready, Father.”
Gaher’s smile grew, the torchlight flashing red upon his sharpened canines. He turned then and motioned to the darkness beyond the torchlight.
The sacrifice was brought forward.


ANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood. Her novel Starflower was awarded the 2013 Clive Staples Award, and her novels Heartless, Veiled Rose, and Dragonwitch have each been honored with a Christy Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit:

And you can pre-order the book for yourself on Amazon! Please share this blog button on your blog or on FB to help spread the word:

Last but not least, you can enter a drawing for three Advance Reader copies of Draven's Light (And if you win, you and I can compare opinions before anyone else and gloat shamelessly--bwahahaha!) So click on the itty-bitty link below to enter the drawing:

Visit Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s blog to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to All!

Pausing a moment on this busy holy-day to greet my blogging buddies and say "Happy Jesus' Birthday!"

My publishers, Rooglewood Press, are currently running a 12-Days of Christmas special on all the ebooks they publish (so far)! Be sure to check out this great deal and pick up some amazing books, including (modest smile here) my Until That Distant Day, Five Glass Slippers, Goddess Tithe (illustrated novella), and--best deal of all--Golden Daughter!

Click here for .99 special

And, just so's you know, I've got ideas brewing for a series of blog posts . . . Don't hold your breath, but I think it will happen soon!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Okay, Hannah at The Writer's Window tagged me to do a "Shelfie" post. Instead of a photo of myself, I am to post a photo of my bookshelf of favorite books.

But . . . which bookshelf of favorite books? I have bookshelves of children's picture books, of classics, of animal stories, of adventure stories, of fantasy stories, of romance stories, of research books (probably too many of those). And then there are the bookshelves downstairs . . .

So, I chose a few that might be most fun for readers to see.

First, a shelf of classics, including many I have used to teach literature classes for our local co-op in the past few years:

To be honest, many of the above are not exactly "favorites," but I enjoy reading them for reasons other than pleasure, I suppose.

Next, two shelves from one of the big bookshelves downstairs. When we moved this summer, I discarded many boxes of books (sadly), but these all made the cut. Some of them were mine when I was a child, all of them are loved. The upper shelf is animal books--the kind with more "realistic" animals. I have another shelf filled with books about talking animals.

The lower shelf includes some of my fantasy books. (Do you see Jenelle's there?) Now, keep in mind that many of my fantasy favorites are in my Nook, so I can't take pictures of them--including the Attolia books, many of Diana Wynne Jones's books, and several by authors whose name you would recognize (Morgan Busse, Ashley Willis, etc). The Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkein's books are on a shelf below these. I mean, really, how many books can fit into one photo? :-D

And you knew this one was coming . . .

I don't have my original Heartsong Presents books on display, only the stories in collections. I'm thinking Anne Elisabeth and I will each have a shelf to ourselves in just a few more years! But for now I am honored to share a bit of space with the Tales of Goldstone Wood and the fairytale collections. :-)

So there you are--a glimpse of my bookshelves!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spooky Stories

After such a long hiatus from blogging, I suppose it is only fitting that I return with a post about favorite books . . . and maybe one movie. :-)

(paperback on Amazon)
I am not fond of Halloween in particular, but I confess to a lifelong fascination with ghost stories. Not the horror kind--believe me, I am not a lover of horror stories of any kind! But I grew up with cartoons like Casper the Friendly Ghost, and storybooks like Georgie (which I loved), so I suppose the interest is natural.

So, in honor of the season, here are a few of my favorite scary stories! Some of them are ghost stories, others are just creepy or spooky in a delightfully shivery sort of way.

#1. The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
      This is a ghost story for middle-grade readers, yet it is not at all scary. The ghosts teach a delightful history lesson along with helping the heroine solve a family mystery. It is not a new book, but I discovered it just a few years ago . . . and sort of fell in love with a certain character. No spoilers here!

#2. Children of the Green Knowe by L.M. Boston
      Another recent discovery of an older book with some fun ghosts. I loved the very English setting, not far from where we used to live.

#3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
      Definitely my favorite of Gaiman's books (that I've read). This retelling of The Jungle Book is so much fun!

#4. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
      Yes, this is a movie, one that I have loved since childhood. Rex Harrison is the most marvelous ghost ever, and Gene Tierney is a lovable character. It is a little sadder and darker than I realized as a child, yet I still love it.

This link is to the entire movie on Youtube, so if you've got an hour or so free for romantic scariness--go right ahead!

#5. Albert Campion Mysteries by Margery Allingham
     Campion books are mysteries, of course, yet they can be delightfully spooky. And the one I linked to above . . . well, it's possibly the spookiest of the bunch, but I won't say why! If you begin reading the Campion books with book one in the series, you might be disappointed--let's just say that the author improved her writing and grew her main character in succeeding books.

Last but not least, a recent discovery:
#6. Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
     Anne Elisabeth recommended this book to me some months ago, and I finally bought myself a copy and discovered a new way to scare myself! It is violent, I will warn you. But I won't tell why or how this book is so spooky, because that would spoil the fun of it. :-) Very well written, with an awesome heroine and a realistic teenage-boy "hero."

Any recommendations of fun-yet-spooky stories for me?

P.S. Hannah, I promise to do my Shelfie tomorrow, okay? :-)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Featuring the Drew Farthering Mystery Series by Julianna Deering

It is my pleasure to feature a wonderful British mystery series on my blog this week. If you have not yet discovered Drew Farthering, you are in for a treat!

First let me introduce my guest:

JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and four contemporary mysteries for the Annie's Attic series. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (

Visit her blogs at: and

And now a visit with Julianna (DeAnna) herself!

Jill: Welcome to Books, Cats, and Whimsy!  It is truly an honor to host you here. I've been excited about this series since I first heard of it, nearly two years ago now.

Please tell us a bit about yourself first off. Any most-thrilling life moments you’re willing to share? Hobbies? Favorite places? 

Julianna: I don’t know about thrilling life moments since I pretty much stay in my office-cave and make up stories all day, but I do enjoy quilting and cross stitch and
embroidery and am crazy about NHL hockey (Go Stars!). My favorite place is home, but I’m extremely fond of Great Britain. I’d love to go to Canada (it’s that hockey thing again), too.

Jill: How and when did you begin writing? What is your publishing story?

Julianna: I’ve always loved reading, but I never dreamed I’d be a writer.  When I was growing up, I used to write really wretched episodes of my favorite TV shows. I guess we all start somewhere. Anyway, I really started writing when I was in college. My Business Law class was so boring, I started writing scenes about a medieval prince who had been hurt in a battle and was just waking up. I didn’t have a clue who he was or what the battle was about. Over time I wrote a lot more scenes with him and his family (he had issues with the legitimacy of his father’s reign and definitely did not want an arranged marriage) and finally decided to put them all together into a real story. My first book, In Honor Bound, was the result. After that, I couldn’t stop.

Jill: I totally understand--writing is addictive! So, tell us: Why English cozy mysteries? Have you published any other genres? What was your first published work?

Julianna: I decided to write my 1930s English cozies because I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham, some of the major mystery writers of the 1920s and '30s. I love the time period, especially the social conventions and the way people talked. I couldn’t help trying my hand at mystery myself, and Drew Farthering was the result. As I mentioned above, my first published work was In Honor Bound, which was the first book of my medieval trilogy. I’ve also written four contemporary needlework-themed mysteries for Annie’s Attic.

Jill: I discovered Sayers and Christie years ago, but during an exchange of emails a few years back you first introduced me to Margery Allingham's Campion books--for which I am eternally grateful! Please tell us about your Drew Farthering Mystery series, especially Murder at the Mikado. How did this particular story idea come about? Did you discover anything remarkable while researching for it?

Julianna: Each of my Drew Farthering Mysteries has some literary or musical theme.  For Mikado, obviously, I chose Gilbert and Sullivan. The basic idea I started with was that Drew and his sweetheart Madeline were rapidly headed to the altar and I had to do something to throw a spanner into the works. So enter old flame in trouble. Poor Drew never knew what hit him.  I don’t think my research turned up anything remarkable, but I did have a lot of little details to try to get right. I think my English readers always find something I’ve missed.

Jill: Well, being an American I wouldn't notice if maybe you missed a detail here and there. But I did live in England for seven years, and IMHO your books capture the heart and essence of the country. I could wax eloquent here, but this is your time to talk so I'll bide my time.
Please tell us about your favorite character in this book/series. What makes this character so dear to your heart? Is he/she like you in some way or like someone you know?

Julianna: Oh, my favorite character is definitely Drew. For me, he’s the perfect hero, charming and stylish, well read but not stuffy, learning how to truly live his faith. He’s nothing like me or anyone I know. He’d probably do well as a matinee idol of the early talkies.

Jill: Drew is pretty much the ideal English gentleman, and quite the heart-throb. :-) How about the setting? What makes it unique or important to you?

Julianna: I love Great Britain. It’s so beautiful and there’s history everywhere you look. My medieval books are set in a fictional place, but that place is definitely based on England and Wales. Even now, since I've moved forward in time several centuries, I still want to be there. I love the little villages, the great manor houses and, for a sophisticated evening out, London itself. For me, a ‘real’ cozy is set in England.

Jill: I agree! Which authors would you say have inspired you most or had the strongest influence on your own work?

Julianna: For this series, it would definitely be Christie, Sayers and Allingham and the BBC adaptations of their work. And, since Drew’s sweetheart, Madeline, is American, I have to add Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man and the movie series it inspired. Drew and Madeline definitely owe their existence to Nick and Nora Charles as portrayed by William Powell and Myrna Loy. Who knew marriage could be so much fun?

Jill: I just recently watched The Thin Man movies through from start to finish! I've always loved them. Heh. No wonder I love your books!
What aspect of writing do you enjoy most? Least?

Julianna: I love having written. I love when I get a scene or a chapter or a book finished. I especially love when my words actually appear in book form. It’s like a reward for doing the actual hard work of writing. But my favorite part of the actual writing is when my characters do or say something that I haven’t planned. Sometimes they surprise me with what they say or do, and it’s then I know they’ve really become themselves.
What I don’t like, and I mean I really, really don’t like, is writing outlines and synopses. Yes, they’re necessary. Yes, they’re helpful. But they are not fun to write. They’re just lifeless skeletons waiting for flesh and blood.

Jill: I hear ya. Writing is a love/hate relationship, for sure.
Do you have any work currently in process? Can we hear about it?

Julianna: Actually, I just started working on a book for a new Annie’s Attic series.  The series is called Annie’s Secrets of the Quilt and it’s about a present-day woman who inherits a quilt made with fabrics from famous people throughout history. The one I’m writing has to do with a lady in waiting in the court of Marie Antoinette.
And I am happy to say that Bethany House will be presenting three more of Drew and Madeline’s adventures starting in the spring of 2016. I definitely have a lot of work to do.

Jill: Yay! I was so delighted to hear this news! Drew and Madeline have more exciting adventures ahead.

Would you share a brief excerpt from Murder at the Mikado?

Julianna: I’d love to! Here’s how the book opens:

            "Actors," the barman muttered to no one in particular as he wiped a freshly washed glass.
            The Knight and Steed was empty but for the dozen or so customers clustered around the big table in the middle of the room and two others off by themselves in the corner. From the gramophone, a quartet sang the jaunty American tune "Nobody's Sweetheart."
            The all knew one another, of course. All of them came from down the street at the Tivoli. Mostly they came in late, after performances, with the rest of the theater crowd. But Mondays, when the theater was closed or when they'd had an early rehearsal, they might come in for a little something, often with friends and hangers on.
            This was one of those early days. It wasn't even five yet, a grim, blustery day, and they'd only just started to drink. The large group was boisterous, chatting and laughing, sometimes roaring when one of them displayed a spark of wit. The two in the corner were huddled together, talking so low no one could have heard them even if the others had been utterly silent.
            The man was well known, lead actor and owner of the Tivoli. His leading lady wife was at the large table with the others. The woman with him was a reporter for one of the local scandal sheets. As he spoke to her, his eyes gleamed with a passion that had nothing to do with love or even lust, but it was vivid and urgent all the same.
            "Not much more," he was saying when the barman brought them a second round, sherry for him and pale ale for the woman. "It's exactly what they want, you'll see. And it's got plenty of–"
            He broke off, glaring until the barman hurried away. Then he and the reporter put their heads together, conspiring once more as the group at the large table called out their orders.
            "Coming," the barman singsonged. "Coming."
            Before he was again behind the bar, the door swung open with a jingle of the bell and a rush of November wind and then clattered shut again. A tall woman swathed in furs hurried over to the corner table.
            "Fleur darling." The actor smiled lazily and did not rise. "I didn't think we'd see you again so soon."
            Seeing he was not going to take her coat, the woman removed it herself, revealing an alluring body clad in the latest fashion. She brushed a few determined snowflakes off her sleek black hair and then looked pointedly at the unoccupied chair next to him.
            He shrugged. "Some other time, love. I have business to attend to."
            She sat anyway, ignoring the other woman at the table. "We have to talk, Johnnie. I mean it."
            His wife glanced at him from the middle of the room, her expression a mix of boredom and disdainful amusement, and then she turned, laughing, to her companions again. The actor lifted his glass to her and then took a sip of sherry before turning again to his uninvited guest.
            "You'd best get used to the idea, love. I'm absolutely going to–"
            He scowled at the barman who had brought the other table their drinks and was making a great show of not listening in, and then he dropped his voice. The conversation was again low and intense until the lady reporter gave a shrill, mocking laugh.
            The room fell silent and, with a dull screech of chair legs, the newcomer sprang to her feet and snatched up her furs.
            "You don't really want to do that, Johnnie." Her black eyes snapped in her pale perfect face. "I promise you don't."
            The actor merely gave her a wink and a grin. "Do pop round again, darling, when we're not so busy, eh?"
            "Come on, Fleur," cried one of the men from the other table, a character actor, bald and rotund. "Have a drink with us. Leave those two to their plotting. It's all monstrously dull. Come and hear all about when I played Hamlet in Berlin. I was all of twenty-two."
            "Don't be absurd," said the bored young man who played all the juvenile leads. "When you were twenty-two, Hamlet hadn't even been written."
            "Yes, do join us, Fleur," the leading lady drawled over the good-natured jeering that followed his remark, and she leaned back so she could pull up a chair from an empty table. "Johnnie seems to be quite done with you."
            With an icy glare, the other woman shrugged into her furs and stalked into the cold.
            "Oh, dear." The leading lady traced one slender finger over the rim of her wine glass. "What a shame."

I love this opening scene! Thank you so much for joining me at Books, Cats, and Whimsy today!

Thank you, Jill!  It was a pleasure.

And here it is, the brand-new book #3 in the series, now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CBD.

When a celebrated actor is found murdered in his dressing room, all signs point to Drew's old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes his most puzzling case yet.

Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress--but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?

My Review:

Book Three in the Drew Farthering Mystery series reads like a classic 1930’s mystery with descriptions that bring to mind gorgeous actors and actresses from that era. I so admire Julianna Deering’s use of language and setting to build her characters and plot! The theatre motif, including scenes, lyrics, and lines from several Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, adds even more flavor to this particular book. Each of the novels in this collection brings up dark themes and events—they are murder mysteries, after all. The author makes no attempts to explain the inexplicable, yet her characters turn to God for comfort and purpose amid the chaos of this world. Murder at the Mikado, in particular, handles the matter of sin, repentance, grace, and growth in a quiet yet powerful fashion.

I highly recommend this series to all anglophiles and lovers of a good cozy mystery. Each new book builds on the one before, and the characters and themes improve upon acquaintance--which is ideal for any series!

Finally, to complete the fun, DeAnna has offered a giveaway of a paperback copy of Murder at the Mikado to one lucky winner! Please share the word about this excellent "cozy mystery" series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Five Glass Slippers Blog Tour, Featuring Stephanie Ricker PLUS Review!

Welcome back to Books, Cats, and Whimsy for Day Four of the Five Glass Slippers blog tour! I hope you're enjoying all the features and reviews. I know I am! 

Our "Cinderella of the Day" is Stephanie Ricker, author of "A Cinder's Tale." 
 About Stephanie Ricker

Stephanie Ricker is a writer, editor, and tree-climber. She adores the cold and the snow but lives in North Carolina anyway, where she enjoys archery, hiking, canoeing, and exploring with friends. 

Stephanie’s fiction has been published in Bull-Spec, a magazine of speculative fiction, and in four consecutive editions of The Lyricist, Campbell University’s annual literary magazine. She was the editor of the 2009 edition of The Lyricist, which won first place in the American Scholastic Press Association Contest. Stephanie’s non-fiction has been published in an assortment of medical magazines and newsletters, and her senior thesis on Tolkien was published in the 2009 issue of Explorations: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity for the State of North Carolina.

You can find out more about Stephanie and her writing on her blog:

"A Cinder’s Tale” by Stephanie Ricker

It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen's blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

I asked Stephanie this question about her story:

"Which of the characters in "A Cinder's Tale" is most like you in personality and interests?"

Stephanie's answer:

Hi, Jill! Thanks for your question. There are little bits of me in most of my characters, but I am probably most like my protagonist, Elsa. I too am a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, and while I don't risk life and limb at my day job, I do enjoy heights and speed. Like Elsa, I'm very responsibility-driven, and I value friends and family extremely highly. I'm blessed to have a wonderful, close-knit group of friends whom I would trust with my life, much as Elsa trusts the rest of her crew. I also enjoy tales of exploration and derring-do, an interest that I suspect Elsa shares with me. Unlike Elsa, however, I'm not terribly good with the science of propulsion or mining, and at 5'8", I can't personally relate to the woes of being vertically challenged. : )

Great answer, Stephanie! Thanks so much for joining us here today. I love your story and can hardly wait to read more about these characters in your upcoming series, The Cendrillon Cycle.

My Review of Five Glass Slippers

Rather than recap the plots of these novella-length fairy tales, I will mention their outstanding qualities. I could not choose a favorite from the bunch; each one is delightful in a different way. I honestly think most guys as well as gals would enjoy these tales—they are far from mushy. Every one has a fun plot and great characters! There is something here to please everyone.

What Eyes Can See is a Cinderella story without magic yet spilling over with enchantment! Elisabeth Brown’s warm, whimsical voice tells her story with gentle humor and honesty. This could be called a drawing-room-drama fairytale, for the conflict is entirely interpersonal and remarkably realistic without losing its sense of fun.

Broken Glass is the steampunk comedy of the collection. Filled with wisecracks and riddled with characters scrambling to make sense of their tangled-together lives, including an inept yet well-meaning fairy godmother and a scheming prince, this story from Emma Clifton will keep a reader smiling if not chuckling from beginning to end.

The Windy Side of Care is a clever political comedy with a Shakespearean flavor. Author Rachel Heffington has created a dynamic character in her Alisandra, a young woman prepared to retake her throne with the help of her power-playing godfather, come what may! Can Prince Auguste withstand Alis’s willpower . . . or her charm?

A Cinder’s Tale is sure to make converts of non-sci-fi fans, for author Stephanie Ricker has woven an outer-space saga with a remarkably appealing cast of characters! Camaraderie, high-stakes danger, and comedy sparkle on the pages of this Cinderella story, which is like a glimpse into a much larger world.

The Moonmaster’s Ball has the flavor of chilly autumn nights plus an inexplicable quality of spooky fantastical mystery. Somehow author Clara Thompson found a way to put into words the hauntingly delicious world in her imagination. Read it, visit a magical circus with Tilly the maid, and share in the shivery fun!
Kindle eBook Sale!

The Five Glass Slippers collection will be on sale for only $.99 in Kindle format for the duration of the blog tour (June 23-28)! 
The Grand Giveaway!

Here’s your chance to be Cinderella of the ball! One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Five Glass Slippers, several Cinderella-themed items (including a bookmark crafted by Belle on a Budget, a journal, and a DVD copy of the Disney movie), as well as special gifts handpicked by a few of the collection’s authors (a glass slipper cookie cutter with recipe, freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, and an Apple Tree Inn cup and saucer). This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for joining me here today, and be sure to check out the tour schedule so you don't miss a single exciting feature!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 23rd | Cinderella of the Day: Elisabeth Brown
·       Blooming with Books
·       Books, Cats, and Whimsy
·       Fictionally
·       Historical Heartbeats
·       i blog 4 books
·       J.L. Mbewe
·       Not All By My Lonesome
·       Rina’s Reading
·       The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls + Review
·       To Be A Person + Review

Tuesday, June 24th | Cinderella of the Day: Emma Clifton
·       A Curious Thrill
·       A Writer’s Heart
·       Fictionally
·       Jaye L. Knight
·       Jenelle Schmidt
·       Not All By My Lonesome
·       Tales of Goldstone Wood
·       The Writer’s Window + Review

Wednesday, June 25th | Cinderella of the Day: Rachel Heffington
·       A Writer’s Heart
·       Blooming with Books
·       i blog 4 books
·       Jaye L. Knight
·       Jenelle Schmidt
·       Rina’s Reading
·       Tialla’s Tellings
·       Vonnie’s Reading Corner + Review

Thursday, June 26th | Cinderella of the Day: Stephanie Ricker
·       Books, Cats, and Whimsy + Review
·       Home of the Shabby Elf
·       Rina’s Reading
·       The Lore-Mistress
·       The Writer’s Window
·       Tialla’s Tellings
Friday, June 27th | Cinderella of the Day: Clara Diane Thompson
·       A Curious Thrill
·       Blooming with Books
·       Fictionally
·       Flowers of Quiet Happiness + Review
·       Jenelle Schmidt
·       Kathryn Elizabeth Jones
·       Tales of Goldstone Wood
Saturday, June 28th | Giveaway Winner Announced at Seasons of Humility

*Blog Tour Home:  This is where you can keep up-to-date on the blog tour happenings, view the schedule with links, grab the tour button, etc.