A Stitch in Time Slays Nine…give or take (Scarlet’s Fairytale Spin, Act 4)

W.A.I.T. Button

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘A Stitch in Time Slays Nine…give or take‘!”


[The curtain rises on Allyn-a-Dale and Will Scarlet, in their respective getups as Jack Snow, Child of Destiny, and his sworn protector, The Woodsman, as they approach a large set piece bearing a distinct resemblance to the Arch/Drum/Moon Bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Beyond it hangs a backdrop depicting a tall, dark castle looming in the foggy distance.]

Will/Woodsman: Nearly there, now. Just this bridge to cross, a hedge maze to navigate, probably a few deadly traps to maneuver, and then we can storm the Beast’s castle!

Allyn/Jack: Um, when did we decide it was a good idea to storm the Beast’s castle? Isn’t it dangerous?

Will/Woodsman: Oh, come, Jack – he’s the Antichristmas, remember? If you’re ever to fulfill your destiny as the chosen Santa Claus (as shockingly revealed in Act 3), you can’t spend the rest of your life hiding in the dwarves’ safe house. You’ve got to face your foe head-on! Besides, the closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm. It’s the last thing he’ll expect.

Allyn/Jack: You got that from a hobbit.

Will/Woodsman: Along with second breakfast, yes. Brilliant ideas all around.

[Just as the pair prepare to step foot upon the bridge, who should jump out from underneath but another pair – of trolls! Blue skin, lumpy false noses, tusks like a warthog’s, and all.]

Gawain/Troll 1: Halt! Who dares attempt to cross the great Beast’s bridge?

Allyn/Jack [glaring at The Woodsman ]: You didn’t mention the bridge was under guard.

Will/Woodsman: How was I to know the Beast can afford this kind of security? I’d have figured his troop of flying monkeys would clean out the budget.

Bedivere/Troll 2: He pays us in retired flying monkeys. They fry up real good. [mouth pulls into a suggestive leer ] Almost as good as humans.

Allyn/Jack: Mm-hmm. I don’t suppose there’s anything we have to offer that can persuade you to let us cross unmolested?

Gawain/Troll 1: Probably not.

Allyn/Jack: Then you leave me no choice.

[Reaching into his belt, Allyn removes a small handkerchief with a threaded needle run through it. One thumb and forefinger taking hold of the needle, he regards the trolls with a deadly serious expression.]

Allyn/Jack: You know Happy and Grumpy and Bashful and Doc, Sneezy and Sleepy, Dopey-as-a-Rock, but do you recall the most valiant little dwarf of all?

Bedivere/Troll 2 [shrugging ]: Rudolf?

Allyn/Jack: No. Tailor – the dwarf with the magic needle that can kill seven in one stitch!

Gawain/Troll 1 [in alarm ]: Seven what?

Allyn/Jack [with unwavering calm ]: What do you think?

[The trolls look at one another in unease.]

Allyn/Jack: One tug of this needle and thread, and you’re done for – along with five of your kin, somewhere. Now, I ask again: Might there be anything we have to offer that can persuade you to let us cross unmolested?

Bedivere/Troll 2: Erm, now that you mention it… perhaps our lives would do?

Allyn/Jack [nodding ]: An acceptable bargain. After you, Woodsman.

[The trolls vanish back under the bridge, and Will and Allyn climb toward the top of the prop bridge.]

Will/Woodsman: Very neatly handled, Jack Snow. Just maybe you’ve got the courage to storm the Beast’s castle after all, eh?

Allyn/Jack [glancing at the distant castle with misgiving ]: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and David Bunge,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘trolls’ and ‘tug’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”

“Sleepless Beauty” … or an Interview with its Author, Anyway!

The “One More Day” blog tour marches on! Have you bought yourself a copy of the anthology yet? ^^ How about copies for your friends and family? And you know, I bet your local library would love one, too. ;D

Amazon (Paperback) / Amazon (Kindle) / Barnes & Noble (epub) / Kobo (e-book)


Continuing my series of interviews with each of the authors who contributed a tale to the book, today I joyfully present to you my pal Kimberly Kay, scribe of the anthology’s fifth story, “Sleepless Beauty”.

Hello, Kimberly! Tell us: How did you hear about the “One More Day” anthology contest, and what prompted you to submit?

Kimberly: I subscribe to a weekly newsletter by Duotrope.com. They compile all sorts of information on what publishers actively seek and when the deadlines are. I try to keep an eye out for anything that I can do a fairytale spin off of, and once I realized a sleeping beauty tale fit snugly into a time themed anthology, I wrote up “Sleepless Beauty” and sent it to my critique group (shout out to Ashley, Sarah, and Miranda!) for review. With their aid, I edited it nice and neat. Deciding to actually submit it was the hard part, though. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who second guesses their skills—especially with the submission period being amongst finals when I was fully frazzled. However, on the last night of the contest, I tackled my nerves, and borrowed a computer from my coworker to submit “Sleepless Beauty” just minutes before the deadline closed. I don’t recommend that kind of procrastination.

Is this your first published story? (If not, what was?)

Kimberly: Are we ignoring the embarrassing attempts at poetry published in school anthologies? I’ll assume so. My first published story was called “Pegasus Flight.” The Yahoo group I subscribe to advertised that “Stories for Children Magazine” was hosting a “Wacky Dreams Story Contest”. I wrote up a loose, lighthearted piece about a little girl who had to help a lost Pegasus find its parents. The entry ended up winning third place, and was rewarded with publication. Aaand I got a snazzy iTunes gift card out of it. All in all, not a bad deal!

Which of the characters in your story was your favorite? Who was the easiest to write? What about the hardest?

Kimberly: I’m not sure it’s legal to pick favorite characters. I mean, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. However… *Glances slyly over shoulder* I will have to admit that I found a favorite in Prince Edwin because he is just SO over the top—which, consequently made him the easiest to imagine, and the easiest to write. As for the hardest, I’ll go with Ben. I always get tense when I have to write any sort of love interest, because, you know, the whole story sort of falls flat if you don’t get the part of the dreamy guy done right.

If you’d been in the place of your story’s main character, how do you suppose you would have handled their situation?

Kimberly: You mean what would I have done if I were the servant of Sleeping Beauty and realized she’d just pricked her finger, and we were all doomed to fall into a curse by sunset *GASP* unless Miss Beauty’s true love could be found to wake her and prevent us all becoming living statues for one hundred years? Weeell, like Aesira my first thought would have been to try Miss Beauty’s last love interest. Also like Aesira, I’d steal a horse, but instead of fearing it, I’d relish the moment—as I adore horses, unlike my heroine. Tragically, I likely wouldn’t have had a love interest of my own to keep my temper in check around (Besides being taller than Ben, I think I’d be too much for him to put up with), and would thus have ended up smacking Prince Edwin, and consequently sucking him into the curse with the rest of us, and ruining any sort of chance of a happily ever after. Dang. Good thing I wasn’t in Aesira’s place.

Besides your own, which of the anthology stories is your personal favorite, and why?

Kimberly: Ooo, that’s a tough one. It’s definitely between “A Morrow More” by Ms. Danielle E. Shipley (why does that name sound so familiar?) and “Stage Fright” by Ms. Erika Beebe. “A Morrow More” I loved because the original set up of the world is engaging, and the humor makes me smile every time I think about it! “Stage Fright” has such beautiful, thoughtful character creation that gives me chills. Both humor and deep characters are something I value when I read, so I’ll decisively be indecisive and say both!

If you could read only One More Book before some tragic turn of events prevented your ability to ever read another word, which book would you choose, and why?

Kimberly: Probably “Entwined” by Heather Dixon. For one, it’s my all time favorite fairytale retelling (ironic, because I didn’t even know “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” was a fairytale until after reading this book). This was the story that really got me engaged in other people’s retellings (something I’d neglected to do, entranced as I was with writing my own). In “Entwined” the characters are funny and engaging, with all sorts of interesting twists and turns, not to mention creative characters, engaging love interests, and the most attractive, terrifying villain I’ve ever read. I’d put him on my wall of villainy right next to Loki, of The Avengers. #nerd

If you could listen to only one piece of music for a year (though at least you’re allowed to replay it as many times as you like), which song would you pick?

Kimberly: Wow, and I thought picking a favorite character was hard! While I had only a handful of characters to choose from, I’ve got hundreds of songs in my iTunes library to sift through. *Dwells on it for a ridiculous amount of time.* In the end, I’d probably pick “Something Beautiful” by The Outsiders. It’s a lovely, upbeat song based off the Biblical story of Joshua and Moses, and it explores Joshua’s emotions after finding out he’d succeed Moses in leading a nation, and basically his plea to become part of “something beautiful” rather than fall flat on his face. While being spiritually inspiring and uplifting, this song also reminds me of the main character of one of my latest projects who, after having an unexpected mantel thrust upon him, must learn how to turn the poor situations to his advantage and become part of “something beautiful”. Because of the multiple ways to interpret this song, I never grow tired of it!

You’ve got One More Chance to say anything you like to the good folks reading this interview before its end. What’ll it be?

Kimberly: Wow, that’s a lot of pressure, huh? I think I’ll go with: Eat cookies. They are good for your soul. Especially chocolate chip.

Kimberly Kay

About Kimberly Kay:

When Kimberly was younger, she was incredibly timid. She didn’t talk much because she was afraid of what others would think of her. Instead, she expressed herself through drawing. Eventually, art alone wasn’t enough. There were some things she couldn’t express with pencils, so she began talking, and when she did, she realized she had something to say. Now no one can get her to shut up! Worse, she’s discovered she can put those words into writing to share what she has to say with even more people.

Kimberly writes short stories and novels—usually fantasy fairytale retellings. Scattered within her works are things she loves: horses, fencing, archery, and so much more. With her friends, she writes fun fan-fiction that expands her creativity, (and shows what a nerd she is).

Through writing, she has found confidence and freedom.

Also on the “One More Day” blog tour:

Emi Gayle

Mythical Books

And Over It

Lauren Scharharg

Don’t forget, we’ve got giveaways going on! This way to the Rafflecopter to enter to win a “One More Day” paperback, e-book, or some sweet swag. And to enter to win my personal raffle for a beautiful clock charm bookmark (as seen below), leave a comment down where comments go for Kimberly (and/or for me)! (And if that comment should happen to mention that you’ve just purchased a copy or two of the “One More Day” anthology, firstly, thank you!, and secondly, extra raffle point for you. ^.^)


“Present” or “Wilderhark 3 Unveiled!”

‘Tis the season of giving, which I suppose goes some way toward explaining why Christmastime and I have such a special bond: I love giving people stuff!

In years past, I got this blog in the Christmas spirit by sharing “Outlaws of Avalon” spoofs of “A Christmas Carol” and “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. That was before I had a full schedule of publication prep to tend to (not to mention Will Scarlet’s crazy Saturday skits, including spontaneous parodies of “The Nutcracker” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”). So instead of writing another Christmas special, today I proudly present to you a different gift: A first look at my next Wilderhark Tales novella’s cover and blurb.


the face of…

The Seventh Spell”!

Seventh Spell Cover, front

I swear, I fall in love with each Wilderhark cover from Yana Naumova harder than the last. (Which may or may not have to do with the fact that Edgwyn’s prominence on the covers has been steadily on the rise.) Yup, there’s everybody’s favorite tailor … climbing a beanstalk … with a harp girl… What in the world is going on in this story?? A good question, and one the book’s characters would very much like the answer to…

Back of Book Blurb:

A witch’s attempt to cast one spell too many

casts everyone touched by her previous spells into chaos.

Scattered throughout each other’s pasts, Sula and Edgwyn, Villem and Rosalba,

and the rest of the magic’s affected have a single chance to break this last enchantment

before their “happily-ever-after”-s cease to have ever been.

The Seventh Spell

Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;

A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;

Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –

All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories –

of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel;

of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball;

of frog princes, and swan princes,

and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.


There. Now you know about as much as characters do. Here – as a bonus, know a little bit more!

Full Title: “The Seventh Spell (Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales)

ISBN: 978-0-9891846-2-5

Genre: Young Adult Fairytale

Length: Novella (219 pages)

Release Date: February 5th, 2014 (so close, and yet so far!)

Future availability: Paperback (Amazon.com) and eBook (Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com)

Add “The Seventh Spell” to your Goodreads shelf today!


So, whaddaya think? ^^ The comment section is all ears! (And if one of the things you’re thinking is, “Boy, I sure do wish I could get my hands on an advance reader copy of ‘The Seventh Spell’,” you’re in luck, because there’s still time to get in an early read ‘n’ review! See here for details.) Feel free to share the gift of today’s reveal with anyone you think would like to see.  (My warm thanks to friends who have already done so.) The gorgeous cat is officially out of the bag!

“Two” or “‘Stone Kingdom’ Giveaway Tease”

Only ONE DAY left ‘til the release of my second fairytale novella, “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”! And what’s a super-exciting launch day without a mega-fantastic giveaway?!

As many of you may recall, I celebrated the launch of “The Stone Kingdom”s predecessor, “The Swan Prince”, with a weeklong extravaganza known as the Seven Swans a-Winning Giveaway. It was hecka fun, and it almost killed me. Keeping up that level of enthusiasm every day for a full week straight proved to be a bit more than I could healthfully handle. So, in the spirit of living and learning (emphasis on living), we’re going to try things just a smidge differently, this time around. But fear not! All the best parts of the giveaway will remain the same. (:

There will still be seven days to enter – Friday, September 20th (launch day!) though Thursday, September 26th. On the in-between Monday and Wednesday and the following Friday, I will announce the latest winners of the fantabulous prizes.

How to Enter

Everyone will be given oodles of chances to win those aforementioned, exclusive, custom-made (by moi!), totally-boss-sauce prizes by engaging in any or all of the following activities:

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Stone Kingdom” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf * = 1

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post ** = 3

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 7

* This is something you can do right now! Just let me know in the comments below that you’ve done it, and that’s one instance of your name in the prize pool already!

** You can get an early start with this one, too! Send me a message through my contact page, and we’ll settle on a date (which, by the way, does not have to be during the giveaway week, if that timeframe isn’t convenient for you; any time’s good). Provide the interview questions and/or topic you’d like me (or Rosalba or Edgwyn!) to guest blog about, I’ll type like a maniac, and wha-bam – you’re part of the “Wilderhark Tales” phenomenon. (: (And if an advance review and/or interview has already appeared on your blog, don’t worry, you’re covered. Automatic name in hat for you. ^-^)

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win the first prize? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the prizes to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

Winning what?” I’m very glad you asked.

The Prizes

#1 = Our first winner will receive an autographed print of word art, the words being the lyrics to “Both True”, an original song (composed by me) inspired by “The Stone Kingdom”.

#2 = The second winner will get an autographed print of dual portraits (drawn by me) of the book’s main characters, Princess Rosalba and Edgwyn Wyle.

#3 = Winner number three gets an autographed print of a picture (drawn by me) depicting one of my favorite moments in “The Stone Kingdom”. That’s all that I’ll tell you; just know that it’s awesome.

#4 = Another autographed print of another “Stone Kingdom” moment, also drawn by me, and also a surprise. (Oh, the mystery!)

They’re calling to you. “Win me… Wi-i-in me-e-e…”
They’re calling to you. “Win me… Wi-i-in me-e-e…”

#5 = These were a hit last launch, so I’m bringing them back. Our fifth prize will be seven selected chapters of the “The Stone Kingdom” … with author commentary! One lucky winner will get an exclusive look at what went into the making of the story, including inspiration for names, reflection on early plot/character concepts, references to movies you may or may not have seen, and more!

#6 = The most coveted prize of them all: Seven selected chapters of the “The Stone Kingdom”… with CHARACTER commentary! Pretty much any verbal exchange between Edgwyn and Rosalba is entertainment worth the price of admission, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to getting this hot little number into somebody’s hands.

And then, of course, there’s #7 = The Epic Win of the giveaway. For the raffle’s grand finale, I’ll draw three names from the hat (or the shoebox, if we’re going for absolute accuracy), and each of these three winners will have their pick of any one previous prize.

Actually, you know what? This is the giveaway for Book Two, y’all. Let’s crank this party up a notch: Each of these three winners will have their pick of any TWO previous prizes. Yes. I’m serious. Any two prizes they most desire. AND, one of those three will also be selected to receive the Grand Prize Bonus – an autographed paperback of “The Stone Kingdom.

If this is madness, I don’t want to be sane.

So, I’ll see you all back here tomorrow for the big release of “The Stone Kingdom”, yeah? Good deal. Tell your friends! (Or forever receive dirty looks from them, the pain in their eyes saying, “Why didn’t you let me in on this awesome book and giveaway? What the heck, man? I thought we were friends! It’s like I don’t even know you! #Betrayed!”)

Good Friends...Books This Good

“Suspense” or “Princess in Waiting”

Eleven days left until the release of my second self-published fairytale novella, “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”! Only eleven / eleven whole days, omigaaaaurgh, hurry up already!

To help us all better handle the “pleasant excitement as to a decision or outcome”, today I am pleased to share a sample chapter from the book – an excerpt which, coincidentally, has all to do with a countdown between the now and the fearfully exciting things to come.

<> ~ <> ~ <>

~ Princess in Waiting ~

It sometimes felt to Rosalba as if she must have spent those few, eventful minutes wide awake and miraculously cognizant for a baby less than a month old.

She could quote every word the uninvited witch spoke, mimic every expression on the faces of her parents and their guests. But she knew full well this was only because she had heard the story of that fateful day almost as often, over her lifetime, as she had her own name.

In her very early childhood, the tale had frightened her. Every time she heard it repeated, she would cry and cower in her nurse’s apron, declaring, “Rosa’ba no want to reach fisteen! Never, never, never!”

As she grew a little older, she began to see the bragging rights that came part and parcel with having been as good as cursed on her christening day. “Oh, yes,” she would say, nodding solemnly at her playmates. “I imagine that something quite dreadful will happen to me. Perhaps I’ll be abducted by a giant, who will force me to be his bride. Or maybe I’ll be turned into a mermaid, and will live in the lake behind the castle for the rest of my days. Don’t worry – I shall see to it that I’m given a splendidly big party on my fifteenth birthday, so you’ll all have the chance to watch whatever happens, right up close. It will give you something to talk to your grandchildren about, anyway.”

By the time she reached fourteen, some of the old fear began to spring up anew.

Only a year left, she would think.

Then, Only half-a-year left.

Only three months left.

Only three weeks!

And she would worry again about what might befall her.

“Oh, heavens…” she gasped at one point. “I hope that madwoman doesn’t make me bald!”

For while Rosalba strove not to let herself be carried away by useless vanity, the idea of her looks being spoiled by a witch out of sheer spite struck her as cruel and unnecessary.

She took pleasure in sharing her father’s willowy form and self-possessed countenance, her mother’s resolute mouth and chin, as well as her eyes, an elusive gray-green more subtle than sage. Above all, she was proud of her hair – so long, it reached nearly to her knees; a brown so fair, it was almost wheat-gold.

She thought she would rather be a mermaid wedded to a giant than lose her wonderful hair.

Mermaid plus Giant less than Bald

At last, in due time, the sun rose on Rosalba’s fifteenth birthday, and the kingdom held its breath.

Since the night before, a dozen armed guards stood outside the princess’s bedchamber, and another half-dozen stood just inside it.

She was allowed no visitors save for the king and queen themselves, who did visit, quite often, just to reassure themselves that nothing had changed in the three minutes or less since they’d last visited.

She was not permitted to eat so much as a mouthful of food which had not first been tasted by at least two servants selected at random. If she so much as felt a sneeze coming, her mother would grab hold of her so tightly that sneezes became the least of the princess’s worries, paling in comparison to the possibility of fainting for lack of breathing room.

It was, without question, the longest and most intensely miserable day of Rosalba’s life.

“If the witch’s intention was that my curse be endless hours of overprotective torture,” she said crossly, following the fifth crushing embrace of this sort, “I suppose we can surmise who is having the last laugh!”

Nor was the ordeal to end anytime soon. When anything failed to happen to Rosalba on the first day of her fifteenth year, the king ordered that similar precautions be taken on the second day; and then the third. In all, an entire month passed in this fashion, and still there was no sign of any witch or any curse.

At the end of this month, security was gradually allowed to relax. The guards outside Rosalba’s bedchamber were reduced to four, and the guards inside the room were reassigned elsewhere.

In another week, she was permitted to leave her room for an hour or so at a time, under the four remaining guards’ escort. A week more, and she was free to roam anywhere on the castle grounds for as long as she wished, with only two guards trailing nearby. And by the end of the second month of her fifteenth year, she was only assigned one guard, and then only when she left the castle walls.

It was still a bit more of a nuisance than Rosalba would have liked (especially as she could tell that the food served to her was still being picked over), but it was such a vast improvement over the previous month, she withheld her complaints.

With the panic over and the threat seeming more insubstantial with every passing day, the king and queen turned their attention to a matter which had hitherto been rather far down on their list of necessities pertaining to their daughter: A husband.

Obviously, when there had been a reasonable doubt the princess would survive her fifteenth birthday, arranging a marriage for her had hardly been a priority. But as it now appeared she did indeed have a future ahead of her, that future needed to be looked to.

Rosalba was thrilled. Many of her childhood companions, the daughters of lesser nobles and higher-ranking servants, were already being married off, and from what Rosalba observed, the process of being wooed was an enjoyable business.

The flowers, the gifts, the love songs… If one was lucky, the secret meetings in the gardens by moonlight…

The thought of a prince of her own – plucking wildflowers for her, showering her with costly trinkets, composing poetry about her eyes and sharing the honeyed words in a whisper so the night-watchmen on the opposite side of the hedge would not hear – filled her with smiles, even as she heard the lock turn on her bedchamber door every night.

And once I am married, she would think drowsily, perhaps I will cease to be treated as a privileged prisoner.

<> ~ <> ~ <>

To be continued… on September 20th!

“Artist” or “Introducing Wilderhark’s Shapes-and-Colorsmith”

Those of you who have received Seven Swans a-Winning prizes from me (which I think is all or most of those who should have, right? I’ve seen some happy photos via Facebook and Twitter ^-^) may have noticed the gorgeous set of bookmarks that came with your goodies. Certainly, you’ve all seen the beautiful cover of “The Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales”, right?

Well, the same talented “one who practices an art; especially, one who creates objects of beauty” is behind all of the above. I came across her lovely gallery on DeviantArt (feast your eyes!), messaged her a pitch about creating my “Wilderhark Tales” art, crossed my fingers and mumbled prayers. Receiving her “yes” was almost as exciting as a contract offer from a publisher (which, thanks to J. Taylor Publishing, is a feeling I’ve come to know). Gazing at the work she’s done for me never fails to put a smile in my heart. And today, I am sooooo happy to present to you… an interview with Yana Naumova!

Yana ID

Me: Introduce yourself to the readers, if you please!

Yana: Hello! My name is Yana Naumova, I’m 25, and I live in the beautiful city of Samara in Russia.

Me: When did you decide you wanted to create art professionally, and how did you get started?

Yana: I was very fond of painting since childhood, and I devoted all my free time to this occupation. I’ve always had a lot of albums and notebooks completely filled with various drawings. I imagined drawing whole books with fantastic stories that consist only of pictures. My parents always encouraged my interest in creativity; they often drew and sculpted with me in the evenings. My father told me various stories about the artists and about the time he went to art school. I think it had a great influence on who I am now.

At the age of ten, my parents sent me to a children’s art school. There I learned the basics of drawing and got an idea what I would be faced with if I chose the artist’s profession. I caught a good teacher who encouraged pupils to experiment. At 16, I entered the Pedagogical University to the fine arts. Getting an art education has become for me a solid foundation in my artistic development, and prepared me to move on to independence.

Me: What is your creative process like?

Yana: My creative process from the external point of view is quite simple – I just sit and draw something, sometimes at my working place, sometimes on my bed. From inside it resembles dreams – I’m trying to grasp suitable forms and lines, to determine the color, to convey feelings and mood, as if you create or unravel the mystery of a series of characters/symbols.

Me: What are your favorite subjects to paint/draw, and why?

Yana: I love to experiment with methods and techniques of drawing, but most of all I like to paint landscapes and fairy scenes; I like to create illustrations for the stories. This process fascinates me!

Me: How would you describe your style?

Yana: This is a hard question. I can only identify the main lines of my work, which were formed under the influence of Art Nouveau and symbolism.

Doctor Villem Deere, Sula, and Sigmund, in a triptych of bookmark glory.
Doctor Villem Deere, Sula, and Sigmund, in a triptych of bookmark glory.

Me: ( It was her work’s Art Nouveau-esque qualities that first caught my eye. It’s just what I wanted for depicting Wilderhark!) What has it been like collaborating with me on the “Wilderhark Tales” project? (*sweats bullets awaiting my performance review*)

Yana: Taking part in this project was fun and easy for me. I was really inspired by the characters and story, and we’ve got comfortable and fascinating discussion of the characters. You have created the most favorable conditions for my creative work, and your comments and remarks were very appropriate.

Me: (Hooray! I’m so pleased to hear it. ^-^) Which of the “Swan Prince” characters did you most enjoy bringing to visual life?

Yana: I can’t choose, I think that I loved to draw them all 🙂 I liked to draw Doctor Deere’s face, trying to express his thoughtfulness and calmness. It was fun to work with ‘plumpness’ of characters; at first I somewhat succumbed to the stereotype that all fantasy characters should be skinny and starving 😉 It was quite refreshing to look at corrected/finished picture of Sula.

(MeSula may or may not take that as a compliment. XD But I certainly do!)

Y: One more thing – some days after I drew Sigmund, I entered your gallery and was amused that one of his pictures resembled my work a lot (his pose and appearance). I’m sure that I didn’t see this work before.

Me: (I was tickled by the similarities, too! Click here to compare for yourselfif you like, readers. It’s such a joy to have my characters’ selves shine through in the work of another artist – especially an artist with so much more skill than I’ve got!)

Thank you so much for agreeing to let my readers meet you, Yana! (Double brownie points for answering all my nosy questions in a secondary language; her mad skillz trump mine again, folks!) And while I’ve already thanked you a hundred times for your Wilderhark drawings, prepare to be thanked a hundred times more, from me and my outstandingly-rendered characters, too! After all, we’ve still got five more novellas to go… (:

“Roundup 3” or “Between the Fine Lines”

I would like to take this time to recognize two more much-appreciated buddies who took the time to recognize me on their blogs during the launch week of “The Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)”.

Thank you, Jillian!
Thank you, Jillian!

* * * * *

Over at A Fine Line, Jillian Cottle and I chat about my relationship with the dear friends who live in my head … which just goes to show the effectiveness of carrying on like a madwoman at restaurants in San Francisco as a networking ploy. (That’s one small display of charming artistic insanity for me, one giant leap onto the blog of another member of writerkind!)

* * * * *

Thank you, Krystal!
Thank you, Krystal!

Meanwhile at Between The Lines, I had another writer-to-writer dialogue with Krystal Maestas (or @KeeKeePie, as she’s known around Twitter, where we rub each other’s elbows the most). There’s more character talk, naturally (conversations about me where I don’t mention characters are the exception, never the rule), as well as my advice for anyone who wants to be Danielle E. Shipley when they grow up by self-publishing a book. (Good news, kids: You don’t have to grow up to be me. I haven’t!)

* * * * *

I’ve said it already, and I’ll say it again: Thank you, Jillian and Krystal, for your time and attention! I thank you, my characters thank you… And speaking of characters and rounding up, I managed to wrangle the main cast of “The Swan Prince” into sharing why they think you ought to read their book. So for today’s ending note, here’s Doctor Villem Deere!

* * * * *

Doctor Deere as drawn by Yana Naumova.
Doctor Deere as drawn by Yana Naumova.

Why Villem Deere thinks you should read “The Swan Prince:

His thoughtful eyes pierce the distance as he analyzes the market. “Fans of fairytales will likely enjoy the creative reimagining of archetypical elements. Danielle’s narrative voice has already received high praise, hailed as witty, beautifully-crafted, and even reminiscent of Tolkien; this should please much of her potential readership, I think. It may excite the female demographic to know that Sigmund and I seem to be considered attractive male leads. And if you like your heroines sharp and stubborn, Sula ought to suit you just fine. My author has put a great deal of care into the production of her visually attractive, reasonably priced debut novella, and any positive attention her work garners from you will be, in my estimation, well earned. Do please consider purchasing your own copies today, and, once having read it, leaving a review of your impressions. Your time is much appreciated.”

“Roundup 2” or “The Flame Writer, The Ink Caster, and Batman”

With the dust and confetti finally settling after the wild lauch week of “The Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)”, here’s comin’ atcha with three more generous promotional features for the book, brought to you by some of the best chicks a gal could befriend on the internet.

Kendra Conine
Thank you, Kendra!

* * * * *

First, Kendra Conine of the Flame Writer blog, whose advance review of my novella would have had me blushing, if my face actually did that. As it was, I just smiled a great deal.

Thank you, Tirzah!
Thank you, Tirzah!

* * * * *

Next up, Tirzah Duncan, the mysterious character behind The Ink Caster blog / my oft-mentioned writing bestie. Not that she let our eternal bond of sisterhood color her advance review of “The Swan Prince, nay, never. She’s far too scrupulous a word-lover for that.

Thank you, Sam!
Thank you, Sam!

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And third, Samantha Chaffin of the blog Her Inklings, whose in-depth interview with me covers all the important topics – from self-publishing to theme songs, from inspiration to pants. Sam probed where few who aren’t secretly Batman would dare to go, and I withheld nothing.

* * * * *

I’ve said it already, and I’ll say it again: Thank you, Kendra, Tirzah, and Sam, for your time and attention! I thank you, my characters thank you… And speaking of characters and rounding up, I managed to wrangle the main cast of “The Swan Prince” into sharing why they think you ought to read their book. Here’s Sigmund what Sigmund had to say!

Sigmund as drawn by Yana Naumova.
Sigmund as drawn by Yana Naumova.

* * * * *

Why Sigmund thinks you should read “The Swan Prince:

He gives an elegant shrug. “Looking at it from the outside, I suppose it’s very well written. Not that I paid much attention to such things while I was living the story; I had quite enough to deal with, then – magical transformations, a harrowing quest, Sula… but I suppose I can’t go into all that without telling you the whole story. And if you wish to know the whole story, you ought to read the book. That’s most easily done if you buy it, which you can do in a few simple clicks by following this link, or several others peppered throughout the blog. Danielle’s made purchasing the story a far less difficult task than starring in it. She’s arbitrarily considerate, that way.”

* * * * *

Thank you, my swan prince. (:

On a final note … who wants to see some “One More Day” anthology-related images, all gorgeous and ready to download and share?!

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Behold, the banner!

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There’ll be a blog tour coming! When I know more, you’ll hear about it!

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Kinda makes you want a copy of the anthology for your digital reading device, doesn’t it?

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Or if your prefer paper books, like I do, good news!

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‘Cause it will totally come in paperback form!

* * * * *

And the cover comes in wallpaper form, ooh-ah!

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Makes for a good header or Facebook cover pic, dontcha think?

“Roundup” or “The Spotlight Bounces Back”

Previously on Ever On Word, the release of “The Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)” ushered in a week-long giveaway extravaganza that took up all my blogging attention (not to mention much of my Facebook and Twitter attention. Thank you, everyone who didn’t yell at me to shut-up about the stupid giveaway, already! Believe me, I came close to wanting to yell at myself).

With all that finally over with, I can take the time to properly express my gratitude to some treasured souls who have graciously joined me in promoting “The Swan Prince” on their own web spaces in the past weeks. Rather than overwhelm anybody with an onslaught of articles all at once, we’ll start with a reasonable three features for our first “summary of information” and continue on to the rest at a later date.

Emerald Barnes 2
Thank you, Emerald!

First up, Emerald Barnes (author of “Piercing Through the Darkness” and “Read Me Dead”), who was kind enough to not only interview me on her blog (read it here!), but also to provide an early-reader review of my novella so I could include it in my book like a glorious stamp of pre-approval.

Kimberly Kay
Thank you, Kimberly!

Ginormous thanks also to Kimberly Kay, whose short story “Sleepless Beauty” will appear along with my “A Morrow More” in the One More Day anthology coming out in December! Kimberly featured me on her blog twice: One happy-author-making book review, and one way-too-fun interview. (Throw two fairytale-lovers together on the internet, and let the shenanigans ensue!)

I’ve said it already, and I’ll say it again: Thank you, Emerald and Kimberly, for your time and attention! I thank you, my characters thank you…

Sula as drawn by Yana Naumova.
Sula as drawn by Yana Naumova.

And speaking of characters and rounding up, I managed to wrangle the main cast of “The Swan Prince” into sharing why they think you ought to read their book. So for today’s ending note, here’s Sula!

Why Sula thinks you should read “The Swan Prince:

She looks askance at the internet, arms folded, eyes narrowed in skepticism. “Well, speaking as a person, I’m not wholly sure I like the idea of anyone and everyone sticking their noses into this particular period of my life. It’s hardly their business. Speaking as a character, though,” she says, reconsidering the matter, “why go through everything I have if no one’s going to read about it? I certainly feel entitled to some manner of compensation! And if it won’t come in the form of Danielle rewriting the end of the book so I get to strangle a certain antagonistic force (naming no names; spoilers, and all that), then I’ll take fame for me, fortune for my author, and a few hours of reading pleasure at my expense for you. See? Something in it for everyone. So go on: Buy the thing.”

“Grand” or “Giveaway Tease, Part 3”

Only one more day until the release of my fairytale novella, “The Swan Prince (Book One of the Wilderhark Tales)”!!! And we’re going to celebrate with a week-long extravaganza!

Starting on launch day (TOMORROW, May 31st), I’m hosting a big ol’ raffle-type giveaway here on the Ever On Word blog. I call it “Seven Swans a-Winning”. (What can I say? “The 12 Days of Christmas” is one of my all-time favorite carols.)

Everyone will be given oodles of chances to win exclusive, custom-made (by moi!), totally-boss-sauce prizes – a different winner every day for seven days straight! – by engaging in any or all of the following activities:

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Swan Prince” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf * = 1

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post ** = 3

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Swan Prince” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Swan Prince” = 7

* This is something you can do right now! Just let me know in the comments below that you’ve done it, and that’s one instance of your name in the prize pool already!

** You can get an early start with this one, too! Send me a message through my contact page, and we’ll settle on a date (which, by the way, does not have to be during the giveaway week, if that timeframe isn’t convenient for you). Provide the interview questions and/or topic you’d like me to guest blog about, I’ll type like a maniac, and wha-bam – you’re part of the “Wilderhark Tales” phenomenon. (: (And if an advance review and/or interview has already appeared on your blog, don’t worry, you’re covered. Automatic name in hat for you. ^-^)

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win on Day One? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the days to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

To recap the prizes for Days One through Six of the giveaway:

Day One = A signed print of “Swan Prince”-related flash fiction word art!

Day Two = A signed print of two Danielle E. Shipley-original Sigmund drawings!

Day Three = A signed print of two Danielle E. Shipley-original Sula drawings!

Day Four = A signed print of two Danielle E. Shipley-original Villem drawnings!

Day Five = Seven selected chapters of “The Swan Prince” with author commentary!

Day Six = Seven selected chapters of “The Swan Prince” with character commentary!

How in the world could I top any of that for Day Seven? This calls for a “higher in rank or importance” prize. It’s time to go all out.

This, with my name scrawled in it.
This, with my name scrawled in it.

On Day Seven, we’ll have three winners.

Yes. I totally typed it, and I totally mean it. Three winners, one day.

And each of these three winners will have their pick of any one of the previous prizes.

AND, one of those three – selected at random, just like I’ll have been selecting winners all along – will also get (ready for more one more instance of emboldened font?) a free, autographed paperback copy of “The Swan Prince.

How’s that for a grand prize?! 😀

It all starts tomorrow, people. May 31st. Release day for “The Swan Prince”.

Let’s blow the roof off this thing, what say?

And speaking of princes and release days… there’s a blog fest going on in celebration of author Rachel Morgan’s new book, THE FAERIE PRINCE (second novel in the Creepy Hollow series), which releases today! (More details on that at the end of this post.)

Faerie Prince blog fest button

How’s the fest work? Easy breezy: Any day between today and June 2nd (although today, as “The Faerie Prince”s release day, is best), display the snazzy button, join up on the list o’ links, and tell everyone who your favorite fairy tale prince/hero is and why.

No way I’m missing out on that action!

Frog Princess Cover

There are a heck-ton of beloved princes I could name (Aladdin! Allyn-a-Dale! Jonathan, son of Saul!), but I’m going to go with one of the first literary princes I ever truly adored, Prince Eadric from E.D. Baker’s “The Frog Princess.

He’s cute, funny, a sweet and supportive friend/more-than-friend to the heroine of the series, and I’m pretty sure he played a part in inspiring my favorite prince I ever wrote (coming not-nearly-soon-enough-to-suit-me to “The Wilderhark Tales”). So here’s to you, Eadric, and to all the awesome princes out there!

Check out the info below for more on Rachel Morgan’s newly-released book. And come back here tomorrow for the grand release of “THE SWAN PRINCE”!!!

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It’s release day for The Faerie Prince, the second novel in the Creepy Hollow series! Woohoo! If you’re keen to read it, you can find it at the following places online:

Guardian trainee Violet
Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of
her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human
into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate
if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything
would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend,
ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up
their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover
with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly insane
Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many
specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of
his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated
not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and
graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.

In celebration, The Faerie Guardian is on sale for a limited time!

There will be a giveaway running from now until the end of the blog tour (Sun 9 June). A giveaway where FOUR people could win something! The prizes are a signed copy of The Faerie Prince (or The Faerie Guardian, should the winner prefer that), an Amazon gift card, a mini book pendant and necklace, and a Creepy Hollow pin badge. Check out the pic below!

Giveaway is open internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway