Dagger’s Sleep Read-Along: Week One: Discussion

How did reading go this week? Did you manage to get through all 7 chapters?

I’m going to say something short about each of the seven chapters we read this week, then open it open for discussion about these chapters in the comments along with announce the giveaway winner.

Chapter One

Awww! Daemyn and Rosanna meet! Eeep! I love the moment when she accidentally pulls him into the water. That moments wasn’t in the first draft of this book, and it adds so much to their first meeting!

Chapter Two

The whole scene with Rosanna waking Berend was something I added in revision. I love it so much, and it sets up their whole dynamic.

It is a tiny little moment, but I love when Daemyn serves Rosanna the tray of cheese. His action here hints at both his background as a servant and his generally humble and serving nature.

And, the bear puns, lol.

Chapter Three

This chapter really sets up both the plot and Rosanna’s courage.

Chapter Four

We get the first chapter with Alex! Yay! He was such a fun character to write, even if he is obnoxiously arrogant at first.

If you have ever watched the BBC show Merlin, Alex has a little resemblance to Arthur in that show, though Arthur is much more skilled with a sword. It was the running joke with that show that Arthur would make a grand announcement about going alone when what he actually meant was that he was going to drag Merlin along with him. I have a nod to that here when Alex says he’s going to go along, then mentions only his next bit of dialogue that Jadon will be with him, as if Jadon is just expected to come along.

Chapter Five

This entire chapter wasn’t in the earlier drafts, but it was too abrupt of a transition to go from Alex saying he was going to leave to having Alex and Jadon several days on the trail already. Castle Eyota, the town of Eyota, and Alex’s family needed more development and so that the thriving town of then could be contrasting with what it is like in Rosanna’s time.

Chapter Six

In the first version, this chapter was nothing more than a short scene at the end of chapter three that had Rosanna giving her parents and brothers a simple goodbye then whisking off downstream. No Berend being injured in the rear end by a Tuckawassee arrow. No cute Rosanna and Daemyn moment. I made this its own chapter to slow down and really give Rosanna a proper parting from her family along with pairing this against Alex’s parting from his family.

Chapter Seven

I was actually really, really surprised when one reviewer for Dagger’s Sleep guessed correctly that Kikataw Falls in the book are based on Cumberland Falls in Kentucky.

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I have been to Cumberland Falls twice now, and the picture above is from my most recent trip there. It is a really impressive waterfall in such a gorgeous setting. If you would like to read a historical fiction that features the falls, Laura Frantz’s A Moonbow Night is really good.

If you do visit Cumberland Falls, don’t miss the hike to Eagle Falls. It is a mile hike up and over a mountain ridge, but it has some of the best distance views of Cumberland Falls, not to mention Eagle Falls itself is a pretty waterfall. If the water is low enough, you can swim in the pool below Eagle Falls (though, as always, swim at your own risk).

Picture of Eagle Falls taken by me

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There you have it! The first 7 chapters! Do any of you have any questions? Comments? Things you’d like to discuss?

Also, I’ve decided to hold off on picking a giveaway winner so that the comments on this post can count as entries. I will announce the giveaway on Monday.

Dagger’s Sleep Read-Along: Allegory

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To start off the discussions for this read-along, I’d like to talk about allegories and stories with allegorical elements. They are a staple of Christian fantasy, and there are a lot of opinions out there on them.

What is an allegory?

 Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines allegory as “the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence” or as “a symbolic representation.” A synonym for allegory would be parable or fable, which would be stories with a moral or theme. 

In Christian fantasy when we talk about allegory, we usually mean a story that is a symbolic representation of Christianity. Or, as the parables in the Bible are usually defined, “an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning.” 

The first allegory most of us think of would be Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. This is probably one of the clearest examples of an allegory because the entire book is one big allegory with very few to no elements that are simply story elements not part of the allegory.

Often, Christian storytellers won’t tell a straight allegory, but will opt for writing a story that has some allegorical elements. This means that much of the story is there for the story while some parts of it have a deeper meaning. Another way of thinking about it is that there is the book level story going on, then there is the allegorical story going on buried beneath.

This can be done in varying degrees. Some stories will have a lot of allegorical elements. Others will have less or be very subtle with the allegorical elements.

Series like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Blood of Kings by Jill Williamson have a great many allegorical elements while the Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a lot more subtle and twisty with the allegorical parts. Or there are books like Out of Darkness Rising by Gillian Bronte Adams has so few pieces of the story that are just story elements that it could be considered a full allegory. Allegorical stories might even look like The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight that is a non-magical fantasy that sticks very close to the Christianity of the real world with fantasy names.

Stories with allegorical elements could also be called suppositions. They are basically a giant “what if” question. This is how C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia. He staunchly resisted the idea that they were allegories and instead called them suppositions. They are his answers to the question, “What if God created a world called Narnia with talking beasts and moving, talking trees? How would Jesus Christ be revealed in this world?”

Thus, stories with allegorical elements hinge on the fact that God is an unchanging God. Even if the how changes so that the setting is now a fantasy world with talking animals or singing trees, God as He is revealed in the Bible does not change.

But, should a Christian write an allegorical story? God, in His good pleasure, made this world the way it is for a reason. Should we even dabble in speculating on how God would be presented in a different world?

It’s a weighty question. A question that should be asked. But, I think, it is a question that should be asked of any Christian fiction, not just speculative fiction. Because any Christian fiction, whether it is historical fiction or Biblical fiction or romance or contemporary, steps into interesting territory. Is the writer playing God by deciding who is saved in the book and who isn’t? What about having God answer prayers in the book? Deciding which prayers are answered? It’s enough to make a Christian terrified of writing any Christian fiction ever.

But stories are important. A large chunk of the Bible is told in stories. True stories, yes. But the fact that stories were included shows that stories are an effective way God communicates with us. He could have inspired the Bible to be written as an exposition of doctrines. Yet, much of the Bible is in story format, and even many of the exposition parts of the Bible are grounded with stories. While exposition connects with the head, stories connect with the heart. That’s the power of stories.

There are fictional stories in the Bible. Nathan the prophet tells David a fictional story about sheep to open David’s eyes about his sin. Jesus spoke in many, many parables, and all of those are fiction.

When writing any Christian fiction, whether historical fiction or speculative fiction, many Christian authors will tell you that they write through prayer. They pray as they write that the words are God’s will. That the words give glory to God, whether that is by having a prayer answered or unanswered in the story world or showing a character’s redemption or ultimate destruction or even by showing horror of sin or the gruesomeness of war. That’s how Christians write stories that are God glorifying. Through an abundance of prayer.

But what about allegories? Should those be attempted? Aren’t those perhaps a little out of the bounds of this world?

As mentioned above, parable is actually listed as a synonym for allegory. It could be said that Jesus spoke in allegories when He told parables.

In a rather interesting parable, Jesus told the story of Lazarus and the rich man where the rich man in Hell can talk to Lazarus in Heaven (Luke 16:19-31). There are many differing doctrines on Hell and Heaven in Christianity, but most would agree that there probably isn’t communication between those in Heaven and those in Hell. So not only did Jesus tell a fictional story, it is a fictional story with elements that don’t happen according to how God is pleased to order this world. 

Not only that, but our God is a fantastical God not confined by the laws of nature He is pleased to work through and control in the world we see around us. The Bible is filled with miracles and wonders the likes of which we don’t see around us today. But just because we don’t see things like a world-wide Flood or people being raised from the dead or wooden staffs turning into snakes or the sun standing still in the sky doesn’t mean they didn’t happen or that God is no longer powerful enough to do wonders like that anymore. He is still a powerful God. A fantastical God who can perform wonders beyond our imagination. Historical fiction can’t capture that in the way that fantasy can.

Besides, the concept of symbolic representation shouldn’t be that foreign to Christians. That is, after all, what most of the Old Testament is. The sacrifices were symbolic representations of Christ. David was a type of Christ. The Old Testament is filled with “types and shadows” that pointed to redemption in Jesus Christ. In other words, while the Old Testament is true stories that really happened, God is so in control of history that all those true stories are also God’s allegories to be examples for us (I Cor. 10:11).

This, then, is what Christian authors are mimicking when writing allegories and stories with allegorical elements. We are using a story-telling and truth-telling pattern God has already established in the Bible. These stories function much like the Old Testament in that they use pictures, types, and symbols to point to God.

But how does this work when using a Christ-figure or God-figure in a story? For example, like Aslan in Narnia? Should this be done? Would that be making an image of God or Christ?

In allegorical stories, there are a number of different ways to use a Christ-figure or God-figure. In The Chronicles of Narnia, the whole Trinity is portrayed with the Emperor across the Sea (God), Aslan (Christ), and Aslan’s breath (the Holy Spirit). Often, allegorical stories will concentrate on just a Christ-figure, like the Thorn King in Waking Beauty by Sarah Morin or the Word in the Follower of the Word series. Sometimes, the stories will feature a human character who is Christ-like and points to an aspect of Christ, like Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings.

The Bible itself uses figures to point to God and Christ. David was a Christ-figure. Moses was a Christ-figure. Many of the characters in the Old Testament pointed to an aspect of Christ in some shape or form. And these were sinful people that were used to point to Christ.

In His parables, Jesus uses figures to point to Himself. There is the parable of the shepherd looking for his lost sheep. There is the woman looking for her lost coin where the woman in the story points to Christ. There is even a parable of the woman pleading before the unjust judge that tells us to be constant in prayer where the figure being used to point to God is an evil judge (Luke 18:1-8). Not a figure many of us would immediately think to use to point to our just and compassionate God, though this story demonstrates how even Jesus in His parables had story elements that were there just for the story and were not necessarily to be taken as part of the allegory.

Even when the Christ-figure or God-figure is very divine-like, such as Aslan, they are in the end a symbolic figure. They won’t capture the whole of God as He has revealed Himself to us (they can’t. They are, after all, just pictures and types). And thus, they are not an image to be worshiped. They point to God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, but they are not an image of them. When praying, we don’t pray using the name of Aslan or any other Christ-figure from a book. We pray using the name of Jesus Christ.

The exception might be a story like The Ilyon Chronicles that is more Christianity manifested directly in a non-magical fantasy type world (though not strictly kingdom adventure due to the fantasy names for God and the existence of dragons). This series acts more like The Blades of Acktar where God is God rather than a story with allegorical elements.

So, yes. I firmly believe Christian can write and read Christian fantasy stories and allegories. The Bible is filled with stories of all genres, everything from true accounts to fiction to, yes, even speculative fiction and stories containing “fantasy” elements that display God’s power over the Creation.

Allegories many not be for every Christian reader. In my Christian liberty, I have been uplifted by and have no problem reading and writing Christian fantasy. In your Christian liberty, you may feel convicted not to. Personally, I don’t read Biblical fiction because, to me, messing with Bible stories no matter how well-researched doesn’t sit well with me, and I would rather read a fantasy story I know is purely fiction pointing toward truth. Yet, to you, Biblical fiction might be perfectly all right. Thanks to our liberty in Christ, both are correct stances to take.

But I do believe it never hurts to take a step back and evaluate our convictions as to how we exercise our Christian liberty so that we know why we make the choices we do. We may find that as we mature some of our convictions on how we exercise our Christian liberty may change and grow as well.

Writing an Allegorical Story

While many Christian authors would probably agree with my definition and defense of allegories and allegorical stories above (though perhaps with a few quibbles here and there), there are many different ways Christian authors apply it based on their own convictions. After all, even J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had spirited debates about this topic.

When I set out to write Dagger’s Sleep, I quickly learned that writing an allegorical story is downright terrifying. When writing The Blades of Acktar, I was mostly writing ordinary Christian fiction, just set in a place that doesn’t line up with any country, place, time, culture, or era in our real world. In Christian fantasy circles, this genre is often called kingdom adventure because it is an action-adventure that doesn’t have any elements that aren’t normally found in our world, yet it is set in a made-up country.

But with Dagger’s Sleep, I was taking one step closer to fantasy. Personally, I have no problem with fantasy. I read a lot of fantasy. All of my books before The Blades of Acktar were straight-up fantasy with magic and dragons and all the normal elements of fantasy. But I know many Christian readers are leery of fantasy, and I’m a non-confrontational type person. I don’t like disappointing people.

Not to mention, merging fantasy with Christianity is a tricky business (thus this entire blog post). Things get complicated quickly. Was I effectively pointing to God in the allegorical parts? Were the allegorical parts saying what I thought they were saying and not accidentally making a different point altogether? What if the allegorical parts ended up too cliche? The point of writing an allegorical story, after all, is to be able to do things that you can’t in Christian historical fiction or other similar genres. Were the story parts and the allegorical parts meshing into one story that felt organic instead of forced?

Honestly, if I were a smarter author, I probably would have avoided writing anything even remotely allegorical. They can be stomach-ulcer-inducing worrisome to write. And even harder to market and sell. Even Anne Elisabeth Stengl, acclaimed for her allegorical Tales of Goldstone Wood series, stopped writing them for now because they struggled to be financial viable.

But I don’t regret writing Dagger’s Sleep or the upcoming Midnight’s Curse. I personally love Dagger’s Sleep and, while it is less well-loved than The Blades of Acktar, God has still used it to touch hearts, and I can’t regret that. Here’s a post I wrote back in 2014 before Dare released that gives a short explanation about why I write fantastical fiction. I pray that God continues to use the Beyond the Tales series and that it scrapes up enough sales to make it financial viable to keep writing it.

Dagger’s Sleep is an allegorical story not a straight up allegory. It has plenty of adventure, dangers, and elements to the story that aren’t part of the allegory but are there for the entertaining story.

But due to my personal convictions, I set a few ground “rules” for myself when writing it so that, if questioned, I could at least answer why I wrote it the way I did.

Below are my guidelines I put in place for myself when writing the Beyond the Tales series:

  1. God is God. Therefore, no matter what my story world looks like or how the God-figure is presented, I must not change any of God’s attributes as He has revealed them in the Bible. The world may change, but God will not.
  2. While I did use capital letters for the names given to the God-figure, Christ-figure, and Holy Spirit-figure in the story, I kept the pronouns little case “he” instead of upper case “He” that I used in The Blades of Acktar. The Blades of Acktar was directly talking about the God of the Bible and thus I prefer to use capitals on the pronouns. Dagger’s Sleep is using figures to point to God and thus the pronouns are not given capital letters. No matter how glorious or divine-like the figures, the figures are not God and thus should not be worshiped as God.
  3. I wouldn’t try to answer every question or describe every detail. Sometimes a little mystery to make things feel beyond comprehension goes a long way to make sure I’m not limiting God or reducing God in a what He should not be reduced, even if I am working with a God-figure and allegorical elements that merely point toward God and are not to be taken as God Himself.
  4. I decided to include figures for the entire Trinity instead of concentrating on just one Person of the Trinity to better point to God as fully as I humanly can.
  5. I didn’t use the words magic, witch, wizard, sorcery, necromancy, enchantment, spell, or any words like that. While there are fantastical elements in Dagger’s Sleep, using those magical type words would distract from the overall point since those words can carry connotations I didn’t want to bring into the story.
  6. The fantastical elements used in Dagger’s Sleep would always directly point to the God-figure as the source of true power and thus isn’t all that different from our real world even it it manifests differently.
  7. Since I was writing an allegorical type story, it made the most sense for me to it look more like the Old Testament, since, as I mentioned above, the Old Testament itself is something of an allegorical story. Thus, in the series, the characters are looking forward to the true Cursebreaker’s coming. In this story world, the Christ-figure hasn’t come for redemption yet and thus his appearances in the book are more like when Daniel’s 3 friends walk in the fiery furnace with one whose appearance was as the Son of God (Daniel 3). As this is an Old Testament-like world, it also makes sense for more direct communication between the God-figure and Christ-figure with the characters.
  8. I decided not to give a physical description of the Christ-figure in the book because I don’t want to cross a line into making an image of Christ. I mention things like compassionate eyes, but not the eye color, skin color, hair color, or anything like that.
  9. And, most of all, I would have a Biblical reason I could point to for every element I use. I have specific passages picked out for the more allegorical points of the story. I needed to be Biblically-based for every bit of allegorical element.

These might not be the “guidelines” you’ll see every Christian author use for their stories. They are just mine for this series, especially since I knew many of my current readers are non-magical genre type readers since The Blades of Acktar are non-magical.

Discussion Time

Do you read allegorical type stories and/or Christian fantasy? Why or why not?

If you are a Christian writer, do you write fantasy? Do you have personal guidelines that you follow?


Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for this week (a Kindle copy of Waking Beauty by Sarah Morin), make sure you comment here or on Facebook (more details on yesterday’s post).

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the blog tour for Midnight’s Curse (sign up sheet on yesterday’s post).

 

 

Dagger’s Sleep Read-Along: Week One

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Welcome to week 1 of the read-along for Dagger’s Sleep!

I meant for this post to go live yesterday, but after a busy weekend and an even busier Monday, it didn’t happen.

Also, stay tuned at the bottom of this post both for the sign up for the blog tour for Midnight’s Curse and this week’s giveaway for the read-along.

About the Read-Along

Here on the blog and in the readers group on Facebook (you can join the group here) we are going to be doing a read-along for Dagger’s Sleep. This is where we all read the book a few chapters a week, then discuss and have fun behind-the-scenes peeks at the chapters, and stuff like that. Kind of like an online book club.

If you haven’t read Dagger’s Sleep yet, there will be spoilers. So you might want to avoid my blog for the next little while or join the read-along yourself and read the book.

Each week, I’m going to be hosting a giveaway starting on Monday or Tuesday (depending when the blog post goes live) with the winner announced Friday with that week’s wrap up post. I’m hoping to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but since I’m an inconsistent blogger, we’ll see how well this goes, lol.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Introduction to Dagger’s Sleep

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About the Book

A prince cursed to sleep.
A princess destined to wake him.
A kingdom determined to stop them.

High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.

A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?

One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest King himself, their quests will demand greater sacrifice than either of them could imagine.

For readers of adventure, fairy tales, and stirring allegories comes this fresh imagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale, the first book in a new YA fantasy series from Tricia Mingerink.

Purchase on Amazon: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover

Dagger’s Sleep is the first in my new series Beyond the Tales, which is a series of fairy tale retellings set in a world based on the Appalachian Mountain area of the United States. This series is Christian fantasy and features allegorical elements that make it just as clearly Christian and inspiring as The Blades of Acktar, just in a different and unique way.

It is actually a (major) rewrite of a book I wrote back when I was in fifth or sixth grade. That book was called The Quest for the Sleeping Prince and besides the prince being called Alexander, him pricking himself on his dagger (though under much different circumstances), and having to be woken by water poured on him instead of a kiss (in that version, it was a bucket of water flung on him), there really isn’t much resemblance.

That early, early version was a rather quirky fairy tale romp that brought in just about every fairy tale, legend, and nursery rhyme character I could think of, including but not limited to Thumbelina, the frog prince, Robin Hood, the woman living in a shoe, Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, and Peter Pumpkin eater’s wife living in a pumpkin. It was a terrible mess of a plot and all those side characters sound cool, but I was an eleven-year-old with no concept of character development. Talk about a lot of random cardboard characters cluttering up the story.

In that version, the princess’s name was Cassandra and, shocker, she ended up with the Prince Alexander, who went by the nickname Sandy. Yes, I had Cassie and Sandy. What can I say. I was 11.

Probably most interesting is that the early versions of Isi, Zeke, and Daemyn were all there. Cassandra had a maid with a quirky sense of humor that goes along with her on her quest, and this maid fell in love with the Robin Hood character, who has a little bit of Zeke’s personality (though with more arrogance).

Daemyn’s original character is a bit more tricky. In the early version, I had a character named Ellis who was a twelve-year-old boy when the prince fell asleep. This boy ends up living to be a hundred and twelve (he ages in this version, so he was actually a rickety old man) and leads Cassie to the prince. In a later revision, I added that he was a page boy given the task of carrying Prince Alexander’s dagger out of the castle and kingdom before the hundred years’ of sleep. At the end of the hundred years’ sleep, 11 year old me didn’t know what to do with Ellis. It was too sad to have him die so I ended up having him just live to be really, really, really old. No romance for him. No getting stuck not aging. He still ended up the king’s adviser.

This version wasn’t based on the Appalachian Mountains. It wasn’t Christian fantasy. Actually, it didn’t have any Christian themes. There wasn’t even a clear bad guy except the nebulous difficulties of travel.

I always loved the heart of that story, and since my brand is writing Christian fantasy, I transformed the book by adding in allegorical elements on top of all the changes I made to characters, plot, and setting. It hardly resembles the same book now.


Giveaway!

Waking Beauty by [Morin, Sarah E.]

This week, I am giving away a Kindle copy of Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin. This book was published by Enclave Publishing, and it is also a Sleeping Beauty retelling with allegorical elements, like Dagger’s Sleep, though the allegorical part is much more subtle. It is a very lyrical, lovely retelling and the book that showed me how beautifully fairy tales could mix with allegorical elements.

To enter, comment on this post and/or tomorrow’s post either here or in the Facebook group. If you comment on both posts, your comments count as 2 entries. The winner will be announced on Friday. This giveaway is available internationally wherever Amazon Kindle is available (barring Amazon giving me any trouble).


Midnight’s Curse Blog Tour and Launch

It’s that time again! We are a little over a month away from the release for Midnight’s Curse! I can’t believe it is coming so quickly!

I’m going to be hosting a blog tour from August 5-10. If you would like to participate, please sign up using the form below.

If you don’t have a blog but would like to help launch Midnight’s Curse, there will be plenty of opportunities to review the book or post on social media, including an Instagram bookstagram challenge. If you would like to review Midnight’s Curse or participate by posting on social media, you can also sign up using the form below.

Thanks in advance for helping with this launch! Launching a book can be a daunting task, and your help is greatly appreciated!

Dagger’s Sleep Read-Along

Announcing the Dagger’s Sleep Read-Along!

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To get ready for the release of Midnight’s Curse, I’m going to be hosting a read-along for Dagger’s Sleep, book 1 in the series, here on my blog and in my readers Facebook group (you can join by following this link then asking the join the group along the sidebar) where we will read the book together and then discuss those chapters.

I’ll post some behind the scenes stuff on my blog and hopefully some giveaways while you’ll have the chance to ask me your burning questions about the book!

I’m a little late putting this together, so the amount of chapters per week might look daunting. But it comes out to reading roughly 1 chapter a night for the next 36 days.

I’ve been planning out some of the blog posts, and it should be a lot of fun!

The read-a-long officially starts next week, but feel free to start reading now if you need the extra time to finish the book. 

What behind-the-scenes things would you like to see? Trivia? My writing process? The Bible passages that inspired certain scenes?

Cover Reveal For Time Captives

We have another cover reveal! Morgan Huneke has new covers for her Time Captives series and they are lovely! Check them out and don’t miss the giveaway at the end!

Morgan Huneke is a friend and fellow indie author of mine (I’m actually going to be rooming with her at Realm Makers this year! Yay!). I’ll admit, I have only read the first book in this series, Creighton Hill, and haven’t read the rest yet. *wince* They are fun, middle grade fantasy books perfect for younger readers looking for something a little more adventurous!

You can find out more about Morgan and her books at her website. 

 

In a perilous quest that spans two worlds, four siblings must team up with their long-lost ancestors and a rebellious slave to deliver an enslaved people from the cruel strytes who invaded their land.

Creighton Hill

“No one can mysteriously disappear leaving no trace. It isn’t realistic.”

“You’re right, Emily,” her grandfather said thoughtfully. “It isn’t realistic. However, a good many things happen in this world that are not realistic, things supernatural.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, Joey, and Anna have grown up on their grandfather’s tales of ancestors who mysteriously disappeared from Creighton Hill, the plantation home that has been in their family for centuries. When Grampa’s death forces them to move into Creighton Hill, the truth about the supposed disappearances is the first thing on their minds. Allan, Jill, Joey, and Anna’s, that is. As for Emily, why must they keep at their supernatural hogwash?

Could it be that their family really does just have an unusual history of early deaths? Most people seem to think so. But Grampa’s research has uncovered something different.

When mysterious writing matching descriptions found in ancient accounts begins appearing to the children, they know something’s up. They must find out what really happened to their ancestors, and work together to discover the reason behind the mysterious writings.

Creighton Hill is the first book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Buy now!

The Crossways

“M’lady, it has been fairly well confirmed that the Redona was hidden away by the merfolk at the conclusion of the Great War instead of destroyed as was commanded. My brother has confirmed to me Joseph’s belief that it was concealed at the Crossways.”

Toarna pressed her fingertips together in thought. “It must be recovered and destroyed as was at first intended.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey have been reunited with their long lost ancestors. But with that reunion comes the true beginning of their quest: free the rightful king of Calhortz so that he may be restored to his throne. The Redona, the only object that can free him from his long imprisonment, is rumored to be concealed in The Crossways, a mountain across the sea which cannot be entered.

A slave since birth, Adriel’s resentment and hatred towards the strytes only grows as his family is continually ripped from him. He longs for the freedom the Time Captives are prophesied to bring, but he doubts their existence, just as he doubts God’s love. Circumstances in Calhortz are so dire. How could they ever improve?

Who can enter The Crossways? Will the king ever be freed? Or will the slaves of Calhortz lose all hope of freedom before it is even offered to them?

The Crossways is the second book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Buy now!

Crannig Castle

God, please look after Adriel. Keep him safe and keep him from acting foolish. And please help him to be able to find me.

Rae knew she could trust God to look after both of them. It was all she had now.

The Time Captives have been reunited. The rightful king has been freed. Now all that remains is to defeat the strytes who still hold a tyrannical rule over the people of Calhortz. But with their lack of soldiers, it’s a task that is easier said than done. They need allies, but are they worth it when it requires facing ghosts from their pasts?

Returning to his home country only brings the loss of Adriel’s family to the forefront of his mind. His determination to find Rae has never ceased, but now that determination could potentially destroy all that he and the Time Captives have been working towards. And his new-found faith may not be able to withstand the challenge.

Will they be able to set aside their personal struggles for the sake of the freedom of all or will they allow their pasts to consume them? Will they manage to win back Crannig Castle from the rule of the strytes? The fate of Calhortz hangs in the balance.

Crannig Castle is the final book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Buy now!

Giveaway

Morgan will be giving away a complete set of brand new Time Captives books! Be sure to enter! Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Flight of the Raven Blog Tour


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Today I have the pleasure of spotlighting Morgan Busse’s The Ravenwood Saga. I loved both of the currently released books in the series, and I can’t wait for book 3!

Make sure you read all the way until the end for a giveaway and a sale.

Flight of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #2)
By Morgan L. Busse
Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
April 30th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family’s destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill.

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady’s offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

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My Review:

I pre-ordered the audiobook and literally set aside the audiobook I was listening to so I could jump into this one right away. After the sort of cliff hanger ending of the last book, I’ve been impatiently counting down to this book.

This book was a bit different than what I was expecting, yet in some ways it was exactly what I was expecting. It had less action than the last book. Really only the ending had anything like the danger and tense scenes of the first book. I was expecting a lot of Damien and Selene falling in love and growing as people, and that’s exactly what I got and it was really well done and sweet and adorable.

Even though this book was in many ways slower than the first book, I still couldn’t stop listening. The struggle inside Selene is very compelling and Amara’s struggles were a good parallel.

There were a few doctrinal things I didn’t agree with, but overall I appreciated the Christian aspect of the book.

The ending was the best part of the whole book. Tense and heart-wrenching and totally sets up a dramatic finale in the third book. I’m already starting a countdown to the release of book 3

Other Books in the Series

Mark of the Raven
(The Ravenwood Saga #1)
By Morgan L. Busse
Christian Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
November 6th 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

My Review:

This book is amazing! Of course, I knew it would be since I’ve adored every single novel this author has ever written!

This one started off slow. But the sort of slow where the plot and worldbuilding are unfolding like a flower, one petal at a time. Just at the moment when I wasn’t sure where this was going, stuff started happening, deceptions upon deceptions and betrayals and plots and planned assassinations, and everything just got tense and crazy.

The worldbuilding is well done. Each of the Houses had their own personalities, and the author does a great job of writing clearly during the scenes where multiple houses are together and a great number of characters are introduced so that even someone like me who struggles with names didn’t get confused.

Damien was my favorite character from the moment he stepped on the page. His introduction in this book is simply epic. Gave me chills. I still think one scene with him early on is my favorite in the whole book for how spine-chillingly awesome it is.

Selene was also a really, well-done character. It would’ve been too easy for her to feel whiny or too passive, but the author does a great job of making the reader root for her.

This is a great start to this new series, and now I am even more eager for book two!

Also, I read most of this book via audiobook, and the audiobook version is well done. The narrator does a really good job!

About the Author

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. She is a Christy and INSPY Award finalist and won the Carol Award in 2018 for best in Christian speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

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Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive print copies of Mark of the Raven, Flight of the Raven, and a $20 Amazon gift card
2 winner winners will receive print copies of Mark of the Raven and Flight of the Raven
– US only
– Ends June 7, 2019

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Midnight’s Curse Cover Reveal

Eltz castle in the morning fog

I am so excited to reveal the release date and cover reveal for my upcoming book Midnight’s Curse today!

For those of you who have been asking:

  • This is a sequel to last May’s release Dagger’s Sleep
  • It continues with the same characters as Dagger’s Sleep. So if you wanted to read more about Alex, Daemyn, Rosanna, and the rest, then you’ll want to get your hands on Midnight’s Curse
  • Yes, it is my first book whose title doesn’t start with D

Midnight’s Curse releases August 6, 2019!

I have already begun some of the brainstorming for the release, and it’s going to be epic with a blog tour, Instagram challenge, and, of course, lots of giveaways of Cinderella retellings.

Scroll down to see the cover!

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Isn’t it stunning? The cover was designed by Savannah Jezowski at Dragonpen Designs. You can find more examples of her work here.

About the book

High King Alexander rules the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia—a divided nation on the brink of yet another war. When an invitation arrives from the king of Pohatomie, Alex knows it must be a trap, but could it also be his opportunity to unite the kingdoms?

Daemyn Rand has lived a hundred years, served an arrogant prince, fallen in love with a princess, and lost himself somewhere along the way. He has already died for his loyalty. Will he have to sacrifice his last chance to truly live?

Elara Ashen is a lowly, miserable servant. All she wants is to spend one night in a fancy dress, dancing with the high king. When she is offered a pair of glass slippers, it seems all her dreams have come true.

But dreams have a price, and gifts can be curses in disguise. What will it cost to stop this curse from tearing Tallahatchia apart yet again?

Fairy tales meet the Appalachian Mountains in this adventurous fantasy retelling of the classic Cinderella story.

Preorder the Kindle on Amazon.

Add to Goodreads.

Cover Story

I actually stumbled across this cover on a premade cover site when I was in the very early stages of brainstorming Midnight’s Curse. If you happen to frequent the same sites I do, you may have seen this cover before. Yep, I’m the person who snapped it up, lol.

As soon as I saw this cover, it was love at first sight. The girl on the cover was exactly as I had been picturing Elara, the Cinderella character. The castle in the background was the EXACT same castle I had decided to use as my base for my fictional castle in this book. The cover is a nighttime scene. Even the black and red dress was perfect. The designer was someone I’d had recommended to me from a fellow indie author, and I liked this designer’s work. The premade cover couldn’t have been more perfect for Midnight’s Curse if I had sat down with the cover designer and had it made specifically for the book.

Dagger's Sleep Cover - Updated 031118
Original cover

The only problem was that it didn’t fit what was then the current cover for Dagger’s Sleep, the first book in the series. If I bought this cover, then I would need to change the cover for Dagger’s Sleep as well, and it would involve a bit of re-branding for this series.

Dagger's Sleep_Internet Use
Current cover

After a few hours of agonizing over the decision, my gut was still telling me this cover was the right direction to go for Midnight’s Curse. I bought it and contacted Savannah about a cover for Dagger’s Sleep as well. She worked her magic, and created the new cover for Dagger’s Sleep that I adore!

So, yes. Not only did I have this cover for Midnight’s Curse before I’d even started writing the book, I also had it before the current cover for Dagger’s Sleep. Funny how things sometimes work like that when you’re an indie author, lol.

 

About the author:

DSC09450-2Tricia Mingerink is the author of the bestselling The Blades of Acktar series and the Beyond the Tales series. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.

You can connect with Tricia on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

 

To celebrate the cover reveal, Dagger’s Sleep, a Sleeping Beauty retelling and book one in the series, is on sale in Kindle for $.99 this weekend!  Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Dreamy green color forest

Giveaway!

To celebrate even more, I’m holding a giveaway for a paperback copy of Dagger’s Sleep and a 2oz Plot Twist candle by Novelly Yours Candles.

To enter, share the above sale graphic for Dagger’s Sleep, the cover for Midnight’s Curse, or the below Midnight’s Curse promo graphic and make sure you use hashtag #MidnightsCurse and tag @triciamingerink on any social media site to enter.

The giveaway will end May 22 at midnight. Please note this giveaway is only open in the United States. It is not sponsored by Novelly Yours Candles.

Glass Slipper

What do you think? Are you excited for Midnight’s Curse?

Sign up for Cover Reveal, News, & More

This is going to be a rather eclectic blog post. It has been far too long since I’ve posted, and things have begun to pile up.

In April, I pushed really hard to finish the first draft of Midnight’s Curse, the sequel to Dagger’s Sleep. I’m happy to say I finished it! Even if it took writing 55k words in 32 days. Social media and posting on here took a back seat to writing all the words.

CampNaNoWriMo Stats

Since I finished the first draft and have been lining up all the stuff to release the book, it is time to do a cover reveal and announce a release date. Yay!

 Fill out the form below to join the cover reveal for Midnight’s Curse!

Why help with the cover reveal?

  • It helps an author launch a book on the right foot.
  • You get to see both the shiny new cover and the release date before anyone else.
  • You get this author’s sincere gratitude for being an awesome person. If I could give you all maple sugar cookies, I would.

The cover reveal is going to take place on May 17. That’s less than 2 weeks away. I know I’m cutting the time short, but life was too crazy for me to arrange this before now.

You don’t need to have a blog to participate. Any social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc). will work.

On that weekend, the preorder for Midnight’s Curse will go live on Amazon, and the Kindle version of Dagger’s Sleep is going to be on sale for $.99. So there will be a lot to celebrate!

Here’s the form for the Cover Reveal

I’m so excited to reveal this cover to all of you! Savannah Jezowski of Dragonpress Designs did this cover, and it’s amazing. She’s the same person who designed the new cover for Dagger’s Sleep, and as amazing as that cover is, I think the one for Midnight’s Curse is even more stunning.

RealmAward_2inchSpeaking of Dagger’s Sleep, it was announced a couple of weeks ago that Dagger’s Sleep is a finalist for a Realm Award for the Fantasy category. It is such an honor to see Dagger’s Sleep alongside all the other amazing finalists. You can see a full list of the finalists here.

 


Friend Features

Several books by author friends and acquaintances have released in the past couple of weeks, and I wanted to highlight a few here.

Flight of the RavenFlight of the Raven by Morgan Busse released on April 30. It is book 2 in her Ravenwood Saga and continues the story of Selene and Damien. It is Christian fantasy published by Bethany House.

I’m not going to say tons about it now since I’ll be posting about it (well, fangirling about it) as part of the blog tour at the end of May. But you can find my review here on Goodreads and here is the link to the book on Amazon.

I’ve enjoyed all of this author’s books and I can’t wait for book 3 in this series to release!

The Lady and the Wish by J.M. Stengl released on April 25. It is book 4 in the Faraway The Lady and the WishCastle series and is a retelling of the King Thrushbeard fairy tale. All of the Faraway Castle books are adorable fairy tale retellings, and I can’t wait for the next book in this series! If you have read Dagger’s Sleep or enjoy books like K.M. Shea’s Timeless Fairy Tale series, then you will want to pick up the Faraway Castle series.

Besides, isn’t that cover simply gorgeous?

Here is the link to find the book on Amazon and here is the link to my review on Goodreads.

RomanovFinally, today is the release day for Romanov by Nadine Brandes. It is a historical fantasy/retelling of Anastasia, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it from the moment I knew she was writing this book. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m sure it is going to be as amazing as all her other books!

Here’s the link for the book on Amazon.

 

Congratulations to all of these authors on their recent releases!

Do you know of any other new releases that you would like to tell everyone about? Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the cover reveal and release date announcement for Midnight’s Curse. I’m really excited to share this book with you!

Introducing Fairy Tale Central

When I heard that several online friends were starting a website to highlight fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, I was super excited to feature their website’s launch on my blog.

Dagger's Sleep_Internet UseI LOVE fairy tale retellings. I grew up on Gail Carson Levine’s fairy tale retellings and have since discovered a whole wealth of traditionally published and indie published authors who write fairy tale retellings, including KM Shea and Melanie Cellier, who are among my favorites (both are indie authors who write funny, clean fairy tales).

Last year, I released my own fairy tale retelling Dagger’s Sleep, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a few hints of allegorical elements. I’m working on writing Midnight’s Curse, the sequel to Dagger’s Sleep and a Cinderella retelling.

So without further ado, here is Fairy Tale Central!


Once Upon a Time two girls had a dream. A dream of a fairy tale site, an internet library, if you will, for all the fairy tale lovers of the land to gather and converse. To learn, to read, to fangirl/boy, to bask in the goodness that is fairy tales.

As this dream blossomed, the two girls recruited a third. Because, after all, all good fairy tales come in themes of three.

With the third member in place, the girls got to work. The dream began to take shape, until it was no longer just a dream. But something real.

Introducing…

 

FAIRY TALE CENTRAL

This newly launched site run by Arielle Bailey, Faith White, and Christine Smith, is your source for all things fairy tales.

Every month a single fairy tale will be featured, and posts will include:

  • Reviews for retellings/shows/movies/etc.
  • Essay, origin, and discussion posts on the featured fairy tale
  • Interviews with fairy tale retelling authors
  • Galleries featuring fairy tale artists and artisans
  • And a whole lot more!

The FTC’s goal is to unlock the magic that is fairy tales and build a community of fellow fairy tale enthusiasts. Arielle, Faith, and Christine are thrilled to share this new fairy tale centric space and connect with all you epic fairy tale fans!

You can CLICK HERE to find the site and join the Fairy Ring! (Don’t worry, you won’t be enchanted or cursed.) And, if you want to connect even more, you can find the FTC on:

(If you’re inclined to share about the FTC in those places too, you may or may not be blessed by a fairy godmother. *smile, smile*)

Do tell a friend, or a dragon, or the fairy living in the hollow tree behind your house. All humans and mythological creatures alike are welcome!


Doesn’t it sound like a cool site? I know I’m excited to follow their posts!

In case you didn’t hear yet, last week the finalists for the Realm Award were announced, and Dagger’s Sleep is a finalist in the Fantasy category!

Realm Award Finalists!

I am really honored that Dagger’s Sleep made it this far, especially considering how many amazing fantasy books were released by Christian authors last year.

The winners of the Realm Awards will be announced at the Realm Makers Conference this year, and I’m going! Realm Makers is always an amazing experience, and I’m excited to be going again this year!


Are you excited for the launch of Fairy Tale Central? Do you read fairy tale retellings?

Alliance Award Nominations Open

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The nominations for the Alliance Award are now open! This is a reader voted award, which I personally think is the best kind of award. It is the readers that truly matter, right? 😉
Anyway, both Defy and Deliver were finalists for this award in 2017 and 2018. This year, both Dagger’s Sleep and Decree are eligible to be nominated.
Not that you have to nominate them. There are a lot of other good Christian spec fic published in 2018. A few others that are also eligible are Bitter Winter by Jaye L. Knight, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams, and Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse. And that just scratches the surface of all the great Christian spec fic novels published last year!
So please consider taking a few minutes out of your day to nominate your favorite spec fic novels published last year by a Christian author! Both indie and traditionally published are eligible!
Here is the link where you can nominate books. 

The nomination submission asks for the ISBN to make the nominations more accurate (not required, but highly encouraged and helpful).

The best place to find the ISBNs for the books you would like to nominate is to look up the paperback of that book on Amazon. The ISBN can be found in the product details.

Here is an example of the product details for the paperback of Dagger’s Sleep. The 13 digit ISBN is highlighted in blue:

Product Details