Monday, 10 November 2014

Golden Daughter out today!

Pretty self-explanatory, folks. :)

Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

-image and description from

You can purchase this book in:




Go and get it! You won't regret it! :D

Book Review: "Golden Daughter," by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.
--image and description from

I feel like I say this every time I review an Anne Elisabeth Stengl novel (though, to be fair, she says this almost word for word about what her favourite of her books is): Golden Daughter, the newest scroll in The Tales of Goldstone Wood series, is my absolute favourite of all her books.

Part of it is the fact that the setting is influenced by ancient Asian cultures. While I was reading, I was simply struck by the respect and love Stengl showed for both the achievements and histories of those peoples. I loved that Masayi Sairu, the heroine, was a warrior. I loved that she was smart, actually saved the day on numerous occasions, and, most of all, I loved how she--and the book--kept revealing new facets of their natures.

This book has a lovely, dreamy-dark atmosphere. Terrible things happen, but these terrible things are lightened by adorable fluffy dogs and a certain loud-mouthed cat.

The romance in this book was heartbreaking yet beautiful--subtle and true. Love, like in all of Stengl's novels, is explored in various depictions...each with a heartache of its own.

And it was amazing. This is the book that I will be toting with me to Oxford (if I can fit its near-600 page bulk into my suitcase).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROSE: The Story That Surprised Me

I read a lot of books, and I try to write a lot of them. I've heard of authors who, while working on one project, are completely smote by another. And, though I've experienced that in a minute degree, never have I so completely as now.

Once upon a time--not very long ago, actually--I was struggling to come up with ideas for my other story, A ROSE FOR A DREAM. Nothing was clicking, and my brain was snagged by another concept. I wanted a more mysterious story than the ones I was currently working on--one that matched my love of CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge and THE QUEEN'S THIEF series by Megan Whalen Turner.

What do you get when you marry those two stories, and add a sprinkling of PERSUASION by Jane Austen?

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROSE, the story that dropped into my lap.

Now, elements of this story stem from an idea for the Five Enchanted Roses contest I'd been kicking around with Hannah, but an idea I'd rejected initially. But as I started thinking about it more and more, the story suddenly struck me all at once. I'd been handling my main character all wrong--and, once I started seeing her differently, the elements I loved from Hodge's main character Nyx found new and different life in my main character Leta.

I can't say much more than that for fear of spoiling everything. So here's more about the actual story itself, as little as I can offer you:

Leta Ashworth's life has finally returned to some hint of normalcy now that her father has been released from prison. She and her family, though reduced to poverty, make the most they can out of their new, meager roles as fisher-folk.

But one day a familiar face rides through her village, and Leta finds herself facing a man with the potential to be her beloved--or a beast. Either way, his life may be in danger, and only Leta can save him.

 A retelling of Beauty and the Beast and Jane Austen's Persuasion, where neither the Beast--nor the Beauty--are truly what they 


To get a taste of the characters and setting, you may visit the story's

(from the beginning of the story)

Then, from the corner of her eye, she noticed a lone horseman riding through the village. Travellers were not uncommon, but this particular traveller was no stranger to Leta's gaze. She was the only one compelled to leave her station and watch the man as he rode along the dirt road, his cloak whipped about by the wind.

“Leta! Get yer hind over here!”

She turned back to her fish, but not before casting one last look over her shoulder. A knot of emotions twisted in her stomach, and the familiar sting of fish in her nostrils suddenly did not seem so comforting. Bile rose in her throat. To the astonishment of her fellow women, Leta, with a stomach better than any man in the village, sank to her knees and retched.

Friday, 11 July 2014

By Request: Until Midnight

By the request of a young woman named Raechel on Pinterest, I have decided to share my short story, Until Midnight, with you all here on the blog. I wrote it last year for the Five Glass Slippers Contest hosted by Rooglewood Press. It retells Cinderella from the point of view of the eldest stepsister--who may be more of a fairy godmother than anything else...

While it is a novella, I have no intention of ever publishing it now; at the time, I enjoyed writing it, but it is definitely not my best work. However, I hope you will all gain some enjoyment from it! :) 

I will be posting it chapter-by-chapter, sometimes with two chapters to a post depending on how long they are.

So, without further ado, the first two chapters of Until Midnight.

Until Midnight
by Rebeka Borshevsky

Where It All Begins
When Maman told us we would be purchasing another servant, I did not expect my late stepfather’s daughter to be the unfortunate victim. Upon returning to the mansion after my usual afternoon carriage ride through Le Parc de Roses, I found my stepsister scrubbing the floor of the main hall. Light poured through the high, narrow windows, illuminating Elle’s golden curls.
I stopped, staring. “What are you doing that for? It’s the servant girl’s job.”
Elle looked at me with her mournful blue eyes, and my jaw dropped in that unladylike manner Maman detested. “Why?” I whispered.
She swallowed. “Papa left everything to your mother,” she said, her voice choked. “I have not a penny to my name.”
I blinked. Monsieur Renard must have been very ill—and Maman at her most manipulative. Stooping beside her, I said, “I’ll give you money.”
Her shoulders sagged. “Do you have any money to give?”
I gnawed my lower lip. “No,” I conceded. Maman was the one who doled out allowances.
She nodded. “There you go.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and sucked in a deep breath. “I will make the best of it.”
I left her there crying into the soapsuds and stormed into Monsieur Renard’s study. Maman sat at his old desk, twiddling a quill between her fingers as she studied accounts. “Eloise Gertrude D’Arcale, what did I tell you about stomping your feet?”
What did you do to him?” I snarled, ignoring her reprimand.
She arched a perfectly shaped brow. “Do to whom?”
Monsieur Renard! There’s no possible way he would have left everything to you and nothing to his only daughter!”
Her eyes flashed. “Why not?” she asked. “I am his wife and the mother of his children.”
You don’t act like one to her,” I said. And we weren’t his children—just his stepchildren.
She sighed, tapping the end of her quill against the desk. “This is about that coachman again, isn’t it?”
I stiffened, a flush creeping over my neck. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She snorted—a delicate snort, as was becoming of one of her station. “He approached me to ask for your hand in marriage,” she said.
Idiot. I bit back a scowl, hiding clenched fists behind my skirts.
I refused,” she continued, watching me from the corner of her eye.
I’d expected as much. If mon père was still alive, he would have welcomed the match. Michael was an honest man, a hard worker, and most of all, he respected me. Papa would have preferred I marry a good poor man than a rich cruel one who would only parade me around to feed his own vanity.
Maman’s sights soared far higher than Papa’s modest wishes for my future.
I shrugged. Michael had refused on the grounds of honour to elope with me. So here we were, waiting. But I would not allow Maman to see how much her words affected me and let her win yet another battle.
I’m sure he will be sorely disappointed,” I said.
Her lips twitched with a frown when I did not give her the outburst she’d wanted. I almost smiled.
A Noblewoman and Her Coachman
The next afternoon, following lessons with my tutor, I ventured into the city. Unlike most noblewomen, I sat atop the box with the driver for the company. I gripped the seat as the carriage jolted over the cobbles, swerving around sharp corners and sending my hat flying into the air. I snatched it back, pulling it over my trundled curls.
We passed girls selling flowers on corners, clothed in bright-coloured rags. Shops lined the street—dressmakers and candlestick makers and the bakery. The rich aroma of fresh baked bread made my mouth water. I leaned out, inhaling deeply and closing my eyes to savour the flavour. Warmth fell across my eyelashes, the sun smiling down on us from his court in the bright blue sky.
Beside me, Michael sat as straight and stiff as a horse whip. I ignored him, focusing on the greenery of Le Parc de Roses as it appeared to my right. Birds chattered from the trees, squirrels dashing across the vibrant lawns. It was the nicest spot in the city of Avive, full of benches on which to perch and peruse a book. Many an afternoon I had done just that, lost in another world as la Seine gurgled past my feet on its path to the palace.
We turned through the gates onto a side avenue of Le Parc, the trees casting cool shadows over our heads. It was quiet and private here, so I dared remove my hat and use it to fan my face.
Michael slumped back, scuffing his toe along the rim of the box. “She said no.”
I told you not to ask her.” I pulled a book out of my satchel and flipped through it.
What was I supposed to do? Elope with you and be dragged to jail for abducting a noblewoman?”
I scowled. “It’s hardly abducting. I would go quite willingly. I am twenty-one years old, for pity’s sake. I’m surprised Maman hasn’t despaired of marrying me off and forced me into servitude.” My tone was sharper than I’d intended.
Michael’s expression softened. “I’m sorry to hear about Elle,” he said. “The poor girl.”
Penniless,” I spat. “And Maman lavishes money on dresses and makeup for Ilyse and I while refusing me the only thing I want.”
Michael shifted. I knew he wanted to wrap his arm around me to offer comfort, but it was improper when we were alone and had not even the hope of a future betrothal. I looked into his tanned, laugh-lined face. His dark brown hair was streaked with sunlight. His brown eyes regarded me with the same intelligent thoughtfulness as always, but this time there was an element of sorrow.
I fear I may have to request being moved to a new family,” he said quietly.
My throat choked up. The mere finger-length of distance between us suddenly felt far wider. “Why?”
Because if I continue in your employ, I fear I may do something we’ll both regret later.” He sighed. “I want to marry you, but to have you dangled in front of my face and told I can’t—” He looked at me, his face grave. “It’s torture for a man in love.”
I nodded. “I understand,” I said. “I—” I broke off. I would not tell him how much I’d miss our daily rambles in Le Parc de Roses, chatting about politics and literature and music while laughing at the nobility’s ridiculous sense of fashion these days. To ponder what we’d lose would only make everything more difficult.
How….how long do you think it will take you to find a new situation?” I croaked.
It depends. It could be anywhere between a day and a month. But I will start looking now.”
I turned to stare at the trees, which all blurred together as we went by. Something fell into my lap.
A copy of Love and War by Petrov Skimov, a prevalent writer from the empire of Rus to the east. When his novel had first been translated, it had been all the rage.
I’d read it in its original form, before it became a hit in Avive and the rest of Freanc.
It was the book that brought Michael and I together. When I had passed the stable and spied a lowly coach boy reading the novel in its difficult Rusian language, my interest had been piqued. We’d maintained a close friendship ever since, but it wasn’t until mon père had died and Maman married Monsieur Renard that I realized how much Michael meant to me. He had come with us to Monsieur Renard’s mansion, and I’d naively believed we would somehow be together forever.
Now I gripped the novel in my hands and clutched it to my heart.
“‘Love without war in the soul is not love at all’,” Michael quoted.
I sniffled. “‘And love that bests that war is the best one of all’,” I quoted back.

This is not the end yet,” he said, taking the reins in hand. “Unless we let it be.” And with a cluck to the horse, we sprang forward into a gallop. My hat flew off and my curls tumbled from their careful pins on top of my head. This time I let them all fall and leaned forward to kiss the wind.

Til Next Time...

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

What I'm Writing Now: Entry #1

Hey there, folks! It's contest time again, and that means, of course, I am pretty busy attempting to come up with novellas. This year, I'm forcing myself to only focus on two projects until they're completed, though I have ideas for a few more. But I'm determined to submit more than one this year--and that means discipline!

So, I'm going to share a bit about my two stories on this blog, now that the ideas for them have solidified into actual write-ableness.

Today I'm going to share about the first, and the one I'm currently writing, which is entitled...


Cover by the ever-talented HANNAH WILLIAMS

Ruta is a young woman determined to serve the Creator she loves by becoming a missionary to the World Beyond the Sea. But first, she must pass her uncle's test: she must serve a Penitent, an ex-criminal undergoing severe penance to show his remorse and desire to re-enter society. The challenge will test Ruta's faith in ways she can never imagine--especially since Favian, her Penitent, is far more than he seems... And not only could this cost her heart, it could cost her life--or her soul.


This story comes out of many places and tales--it combines the tales of Beauty and the Beast, Bearskin, and the eerie legend of Faust. Originally Ruta was going to be an innkeeper's daughter, but eventually my own interest in missions--and love of The Sound of Music--crept in. Now Ruta is something of a mix between a novice nun and a missionary. Some of my German and French heritage has also offered itself up setting-wise. And hints of The Hunchback of Notre Dame inevitably worked their way in to my ideas for the climax. This is a story with many threads woven from what I love--and I hope to share it with you all!


Since I don't want to spoil the story too much, I won't share a whole lot about my characters--just the two main ones.

Her looks were partially inspired by this beautiful piece of art.
Ruta Albrecht

Despite wishing to become a missionary, Ruta lacks some of the patience and compassion necessary for such a feat. To test her, her uncle orders her to serve a Penitent. His reasoning: "Before you can save souls, you must care about souls." Unfortunately for Ruta, her time with Favian stretches her to the breaking point...

Was inspired partially for his appearance by this picture.
Favian Rosengart

For the majority of the story, Favian looks nothing like his normally handsome self--in fact, he looks more like a Beast. At first, Ruta and others assume he is a Penitent due to his appearance: long, unshaved hair and beard, untrimmed fingernails, and the horrid bearskin he has to wear all the time. Not to mention the smell. But Favian has far more intriguing--and sinister--reasons behind his looks... And the closer he gets to Ruta, the more sinister the consequences become.


You can find the Pinterest board for this story here.


This is just the smallest of excerpts, and it's from my outline, so it may not even make it into the story. But it gives you a bit of time with dear Ruta:

“As part of your training, Ruta, you will serve a Penitant for the span of one year,” her uncle said, his finger tracing the beads of his prayer chain.

A shiver traced its course along her spine. Raising her gaze to meet her uncle's, she fought against the protest battering the back of her teeth. He watched her struggle, a smile hidden in the tweaking corners of his lips.

“Why?” she blurted out at last.

Sinking back, he clasped his hands together before him. “Because before you can start saving souls,” he said, “you must care about souls. And there are few souls more in need of your care than Penitents. And there are few souls who will test your care more than they. If you can finish your year with more love in your heart than when you began, you will be ready to go beyond the known world.”

That's all for me right now--keep watch later on for a post about my second entry! :) What are you all writing these days?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Book Review: Lost and Found, by Sarah Jakes

Like every girl, Sarah Jakes dreamed of a life full of love, laughter, and happy endings. But her dreams changed dramatically when she became pregnant at age fourteen, a reality only compounded by the fact that her father, Bishop T.D. Jakes, was one of the most influential megachurch pastors in the nation. As a teen mom and a high-profile preacher's kid, her road was lonely. She was shunned at school, gossiped about at church. And a few years later, when a fairy-tale marriage ended in a spiral of hurt and rejection, she could have let her pain dictate her future. 

Instead, she found herself surrounded by a God she'd given up on, crashing headlong with Him into a destiny she'd never dreamed of. For the first time, she shares her captivating journey. Unflinchingly honest and deeply vulnerable, Sarah's story is a vivid reminder that God can turn even the deepest pain into His perfection.

But more than a memoir, "Lost and Found" offers hope and encouragement to women of all ages who, like Sarah, find themselves wandering the detours of a life--and shows that no matter how lost they feel, they, too, can be found.


To be honest, I picked this book up out of mere curiosity. I always ponder how people in situations different than mine handle what has been given them. I gather inspiration for my faith from the testimony of others, and I love the truth and grace and strength of God that can be found in these stories.

Before this book, I'd never heard of the Jakes family. I don't know if that's because I'm Canadian or simply because I don't have as wide a church base or knowledge, but whichever it is, I was able to come from a perspective that was fairly unaffected. 

But I didn't stay unaffected. This memoir is heart-wrenching, to say the least. Sarah is very open and honest about her sins, her need for forgiveness. She doesn't try to dismiss her behaviour, she simply tries to explain events leading up to certain situations. And in one part, she actually apologizes to a woman she hurt. While some might argue that she's merely trying to make herself look better, the point of the book is that she's not better than anyone else. As I said before, she doesn't try to hide the fact that she sinned. She doesn't glorify it, but she does make it clear that she is imperfect.

And I loved her for it. This is a great book; you truly get to see someone grow in their relationship with Christ. Even when you think things are going to be all right, she makes another mistake and you're left gritting your teeth. But also wanting to be there beside her, because you see how hurt she is and how much she desires pure love and affection.

When she finally is "found", it's refreshing: it's not because she's finally with a good Christian man who's saved her from herself. It's not because she's become perfect. It's because she's finally WITH GOD. It's the real thing, not the romantic ending of a story book--at least, not with a "Prince Charming", as Sarah says in the book.

Basically, if you enjoyed the movie Juno but did not agree with its morality, here is a Christian, TRUE LIFE version of that same tale. And my, what a tale it is!

Four stars for the book, but Five stars for this girl! Sarah Jakes, you have my deepest respect.

I received a copy of this book from the Bethany House Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the opportunity!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Book Review: Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge

Image and summary from
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


Wow. This book...All right, ever since I heard about it before it came out, I wanted to read it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairy tales, in all its various incarnations, and Greek mythology? What's not to love!

It's difficult to discuss this book, because none of the characters are what they seem. So I'm going to warn you now, there may be SPOILERS in this review.

One thing I adored was Hodge's writing; it packed a lot of punches and really forced you to ponder "the nature of humanity", so to speak. I liked how she delved into something I've often thought about in relation to superhero myths. Heroes are always saving the "innocents", right? Well, Hodge points out that, in reality, there are no "innocents". The people who come to bargain with the Gentle Lord, such as Nyx's father, are just as much monsters as the Gentle Lord himself. Because it's all about motivation.

Though the book's setting is rather Greek and therefore outside the Christian sphere, I noted a lot of similarities to Christian beliefs. How we "cannot pay for our own sins" (a line almost straight from the book); loving others despite their made the book spear my heart.

I have a thing against bad boys. I don't like it when heroines end up with them. However, Ignifex isn't just a bad boy. And the book had me falling for him alongside Nyx. That's all I can reveal--the book takes his character and completely sideswipes you by the end. And Nyx herself isn't some naive young woman being taken advantage of by a more experienced bad boy. No, she is the "cruel beauty" as much as Ignifex. Their relationship reminded me *SPOILERS FOR ANOTHER BOOK SERIES* much of Gen and Attolia's from Megan Whalen Turner's "The Queen's Thief" series--a HUGE compliment considering Eugenides is a major fictional crush and Attolia is such a sad, sweet, complicated mess of a woman that I just want to hug and heal.

Suffice to say, I adored this book, mainly for the twisted, complex relationship between Nyx and her husband. However, I also want to point out that this book was written in the darker, more mature vein of fairy tales. While there is nothing of an explicit nature, there is a husband/wife relationship going on, with all the bells and whistles. There is talk of murder, affairs, and demons are the antagonists of this book. So if any of that content would put you off, this may not be the book for you. I would say this book is best suited for older teens and up. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Short Story: The Forest of Shadows and Souls

Happy Saturday, dear readers! Following the tradition of many other bloggers I very much admire, I've decided to share with you a little short story I wrote a few years back--very rough and unpolished, but there are ideas in it that I love writing about. The desperate nature of humanity, guilt...redemption. I hope you enjoy it--it's rather eerie, if I do say so myself. 

From Pinterest

Rebeka B.

The village lies on the north side of the Forest of Shadows and Souls. No one visits there, and no one leaves there. Not even the oldest villager can remember when the Forest appeared, but all remember the day the first child wandered in and never came back.

That was long ago, and her name is long forgotten, as are the names of the many children who followed her. And not just children. Young men and women, the elderly and the weak – something about the trees and their deceitful whispers draws people in.

Only one girl has ever entered its depths to return.

Her name is Salome.

At least, that is what people think.

“Mary has disappeared! What if the Shadows have gotten her?”

“Go to Salome. She can bring her back.”

“My father has wandered off.”

“Salome will find him. She’s the only one who can. She knows the Shadow Forest better than anybody.”

And she does, but at a price.

“Where does Salome live?”

“In a little hut at the edge of the village. She lives there with her sister, Rose. Be careful, though. She’s a bit odd.”

“No wonder, after what she must have gone through to survive that wretched place.”

Yet the villagers always come, not pausing to wonder how their endless demands might affect the girl whose memories never end in sleep. She stands by her door every day, waiting. Because she knows that even when she fails, she is their only hope. Even when all she can bring back is the tattered red hood of a vanished child, she still offers closure.

“Why do you do it, Salome?” her sister asks. “It kills you. You look horrible.”

Salome turns her head, a faint smile tugging her lips. Once she might have been beautiful, but now you have to squint to see what men once saw. A full mouth has tightened and thinned, deep blue eyes have been worn down by restless nights. Her white-blonde hair now lies under her bed in a box.

When Salome does not answer but for that enigmatic smile, Rose remarks, “You haven’t been the same since you returned from the forest.”

Who ever is? But then, who has returned? Salome shrugs and rubs her bald head, the roughness of returning hair scratching against her palm. It is Velnian tradition that a woman must grow her hair until she weds. Salome is wed to her duty.

She is wed to her guilt.

Rose sighs over this. She often wishes her older sister could flirt and smile like any other girl. Beyond this village, there is no existence for them. Why deny yourself the little pleasure life affords? “You need a man to lighten you up,” she says, puttering about the kitchen.

Salome does not flinch. When she first returned from the forest, Rose’s remarks upset her. Now she knows they are as empty as the cooking pot – as empty as her heart.

“Rose?” she asks.

“Yes?” The younger girl drops onto a bench, flipping out her hair and staring at Salome expectantly. If she wishes for some light-hearted banter, she will be disappointed.

“Do you know why the Shadows want the villagers?”

Rose’s face darkens. Yet there is a curious light to her eyes as well – fear masked by questioning. Salome can tell. It has been one of the effects of the forest; she sees things differently – how shadowed the world is instead of enlightened. Shadows do not exist because of sunlight, but the sun was created to counteract the shadows. Shadows are everywhere, even where sunlight cannot reach. “Why?” Rose breathes.

Salome shivers. She has not told this to anyone. It weighs on her, burdening her with a secret too vital not to share. “So the shadows may become human.” There. It is out of her. She gasps for breath, feeling like a traitor, and yet not traitorous enough.

Rose sits up. “Why would they want to do that?”

“To gain souls. Shadows might live forever – but one day the world will end, and they will with it. Human souls last beyond the end of the world – into the next life and beyond.” Her body tingles with the thrill of truth. She’s had these words memorized since before she learned to talk.

Rose stares at her hands. “They’re monsters.”

Salome winces. “Not all of them.”

Rose inhales sharply. “They took Mother and Father.”

“Yes,” Salome says carefully. “But do you not feel sorry for them, a little? One day they will be extinguished.”

“Oh really? What about the ones who stole Mother and Father’s souls? They’ll still exist! It’s Mother and Father who will perish!” Rose begins to sob.

Salome stands still, waiting for the weeping to pass. Part of her whispers to embrace the girl crying on the bench, but she pushes it away. A knock echoes through the hovel, and with a sigh of relief, she walks to the door.

“Salome?” She glances over her shoulder at Rose’s question.


“Did the Shadows hurt you very much, when they captured you?”

Salome stiffens. The truth wheedles her, pricks her with shame. Murderer. “Yes,” she says. Her voice cracks. She clears her throat and opens the door.


The forest towers over Salome’s head. She is not afraid of the trees, of the monsters lurking beneath their leaves. What frightens her are the memories wafting through the air – the screams, the pleas, the struggle of a maiden to keep her life.

Already she sees the girl’s ghost wafting through the trees, a strand of mist trapped in this world. Her soul, and body with it, has been stolen, keeping her here until the world ends and she along with it.

As always, she approaches as Salome enters the woods. Deep blue eyes watch as Salome dodges shadows and tries to pick up an old man’s trail. But she is distracted by the white-blonde hair trailing down the ghost’s back, fluttering in a breeze.

The ghost smiles that enigmatic smile and rubs her head.

Salome straightens, chills creeping up her spine. “I’m sorry,” she says. “But I can’t give it back.”

The ghost says nothing. But the leaves stir in the wind, whispering, Murderer.

Salome flinches. If she had known that the longer Shadows remain human, the more vulnerable they become, she may never have ventured to steal the ghost’s soul. To steal the true Salome’s body.


The ghost flickers, and Salome whirls around.

Rose stands there, a torch in her hand and a dagger dangling from her fingers. “You forgot your…” Her eyes widen. Salome realizes she can see the ghost, can see what was once her sister. In that moment, Rose knows the truth. Salome’s knees buckle with relief. The time of pondering death and clinging to her miserable existence is at an end. No longer must she float between salvation and life.

Now she can decide. She chooses salvation, if such a thing is possible for a monster. Her body hits the ground and she closes her eyes. The last thing she sees is the glimmer of a dagger hovering overhead. The last thing she hears is a scream. What she does not see is another shadow rising from the ground, waiting for its chance.


The village lies on the north side of the Forest of Shadows and Souls. No one visits there, and no one leaves there. Not even the oldest villager can remember when the Forest appeared, but all remember the day the first child wandered in and never came back.

That was long ago, and her name is long forgotten, as are the names of the many children who followed her. And not just children. Young men and women, the elderly and the weak – something about the trees and their deceitful whispers draws people in.

Only two girls have ever entered its depths to return.

One’s name was Salome. Now nobody knows where she is. One day she went into the forest and never came back.

The other’s name is Rose.

At least, that is what people think. But leave them with their thoughts, because often it is too painful to dig into the truth. If they did, they might know what is obvious to you and me, dear readers: Often only the shadow of a person is left to tell the tale.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Cover and Title Reveal: The Newest Fairy Tale Contest Hosted by Rooglewood Press

Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their second fairy tale novella contest—

Five Enchanted Roses
a collection of “Beauty and the Beast” stories

The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Beauty and the Beast,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours!

Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Enchanted Roses collection, which will be packaged up with the gorgeous cover you see displayed here. Perhaps your name will be one of the five displayed on this cover?

All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page.

Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 14. Do grab yourself a copy and see what these talented writers have done with the timeless “Cinderella” tale!

Now... the cover....

This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website:


Post this on your blogs, spread the word! Let's make this contest even bigger than the last one!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

When You Can't Go Home...

For many students, summer has arrived, and I am no exception. However, this summer has promised to be far different than any other I have ever experienced. 

First of all, I am not returning home to work. Instead, I am working at my university as a janitor and I live fifteen minutes down the road from the institution where I already spent eight long months learning. The shift from going home to staying where I am was grueling at first, and there were many tears. But thanks to some sound advice from Anne Elisabeth Stengl, I have a new attitude going into this adventure.

Secondly, I am still in school for another month. In addition to working full time, I have a night class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings--Philosophy and Superhero Mythology. Interesting stuff, but also very expensive textbooks.

Thirdly, I am preparing to leave Canada. In the spring of 2015, I will be attending Oxford University in England for a semester abroad. This will be my first time in an airplane, and I am so, so excited. And terrified. I plan on posting many pictures from my journey here on the blog.

Before that, however, the summer promises other adventures. A few weeks ago, a friend and I attended The Lion King musical in Toronto, then drove all the way to Ohio to see MercyMe in concert. It was an amazing few days full of highways and blasting music and jamming. 

Oh, and I dyed my hair! I used to be a rather "dirty" blond, and now I'm...

...rather red.
And this was in a GORGEOUS old church friends and I visited.
I was pretending to sing.
My hair right now is actually more of an orange-copper colour, since it's fading.

I'm slowly getting back into the writing groove after months of writer's block and general dissatisfaction. I am privy to the theme of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's newest Fairy Tale Collection Contest, and am working on brainstorming for it. The rest of you will be in the know in just a few short days. All I can say is--prepare to be EXCITED.

I hope all of you readers are doing well. May the Creator of All bless you with adventures beyond your ken!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Resistance Blog Tour!

I am very pleased to be part of the blog tour for Resistance by Jaye L. Knight, hosted by Amber Stokes of Editing Through the Seasons. It's the first book in The Ilyon Chronicles, a Christian epic fantasy series.


“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Available for purchase on Amazon May 20th!

View book extras at


JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at

Find her at:

·         Facebook Author Page
·         Facebook Series Page
·         Twitter
·         Pinterest
·         Google+ Author Page
·         Google+ Series Page
·         YouTube
·         Author Blog
·         Series Blog


      I have not yet finished reading this novel, so my review will be incomplete. However, as I did before with another book, I will list what I love about this book so far. (It may contain some VERY SLIGHT SPOILERS, so be aware). 

     1) The setting: This book combines some of my favourite time periods--medieval and Roman. There are gladiators, castles, scholars... And I even garnered a little bit of a Western feel from one of the towns. It's such a creative blend that I would never have thought to put together, but which makes the world of the Ilyon Chronicles entirely new and fresh.

     2) A wolf: Alright, so I am an unabashed fan of wolves. I adore them. I own wolf shirts, wolf pillowcases, I wear a wolf necklace almost every day, I own the entire Julie of the Wolves series, and I have a wolf stuffie that makes its home on my bed. I think they are gorgeous, noble animals. I ADORE them. I try to write them into almost all my novels somehow. So when I read one of the main characters has a close relationship with a black wolf (I wrote one such creature into my first completed novel), I WAS ECSTATIC. The relationship between the boy and his wolf is so potent and wonderful. 

    3) Knowledge! So Kyrin, the girl character, has a knack for remembering things. I can name only one other story I've ever read in my life where this was the main character's skill. I loved it; I loved reading how it affected her everyday life. That she was lauded for this and not because she kicked everybody's butt was refreshing. I have a feeling Kyrin's going to be a girl to watch--she's going to surprise me, I think.

    4) Sibling love: I love books that emphasize sibling relationships. Kyrin's sturdy bond with her twin brother made me smile. It was so sweet, and I really pray that they can remain this close during the series. They may break my heart, though, because they are just that adorable.

    5) Character names: Alright, this is really egotistical, but there's a character named Rebekah in the book. Not quite how I spell it, but I was still pretty happy.

   6) Faith: These characters face a struggle I can only ponder: if I had to choose between being honest about my faith and my life, what would I do? This novel has a lot of deep questions subtly written into it.

  7) Lots of adventure: This book is large, and the author takes you through a good expanse of time. Her writing and how much love has clearly gone into this book reminds me of Jill Williamson and her wonderful "Blood of Kings" series. I have only read the first book in that series, but I loved it. If you love Jill Williamson, give Jaye L. Knight a try!


Immerse yourself in the world of Ilyon! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win an autographed copy of Resistance (Book 1 in the “Ilyon Chronicles” series), a Resistance-inspired necklace crafted by the author (Jaye L. Knight), a Better Homes “Warm Rustic Woods” candle, and a wolf paw leather bookmark from Lodgepole Leathercraft. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only


Find the rest of the blog tour schedule here.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Blog Tour Book Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway: Until That Distant Day, by Jill Stengl!

I am honoured to be part of the blog tour for Jill Stengl's latest release, Until That Distant Day! It deals with one of my favourite periods in history--the French Revolution.

Colette and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.

Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader's Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

She blogs at Books, Cats, and Whimsy. Do stop by and follow her to keep up with all her writing and reading-related activities!

 "Jill Stengl is one of the rare authors with the ability to transport the reader to another world--a delightfully rich world of scent and sight and sound.” – Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of Echoes of Mercy

“Award-winning author Jill Stengl has created her greatest work yet in the inspiring and moving Until That Distant Day.” Jill Eileen Smith, bestselling author of the Wives of King David series.

And now you can get it for only .99 cents!


As of yet, I have not finished the book (alas!). When I do, expect a full review to be posted here. But right now, I can highlight my favourite aspects:

1. The setting: the food, the culture, the geography. Collette reads like someone living in the time she's in.

2. Collette herself. I was surprised when I read that the main character was someone in her late twenties. This is a point of view I rarely get to read, and it was so refreshing! Collette is someone who has already seen much of life, has made mistakes, and has been affected by them. To me, she is far more intriguing than someone just setting out on her adventures. She has a mysterious air to her.

3. The largeness of Collette's family. I love it when authors write about large families and make them realistic. The siblings read like true people--related through blood but divided by their individual choices. Stengl does not try to create a false unity, and I applaud her for this!

4. The historical moments. Though I learned about the French Revolution in high school, there's a difference between reading a textbook and peeking into the world through the eyes of someone who lives in it. Things I remember from class were far more interesting, and I got excited when I recognized certain people, places, or events.

If any of what I have described catches your interest, definitely give this book a look!!!


As part of this blog tour, Jill Stengl generously offered to answer blogger questions. Here is my question and her answer:

Q: Do any historical figures from the French Revolution make an appearance in your novel and/or your main characters influenced or inspired by any particular historical figures?

A: None of my main characters are based on real people, but they mention several historical figures by name, including General Lafayette, Georges Jacques Danton, Legendre the butcher, Pétion the mayor of Paris, General Dumouriez, and, of course, Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, and their children.

The one direct historical quote I used is that of the commander of the Swiss Guard at the Palais des Tuileries on August 10, a courageous man who refused to leave his post without the king’s order. (The order to return to barracks arrived too late to save them.) You might be interested in this article about the monument in honor of the Swiss Guard, located in Lucerne, Switzerland.

So very sad!

Thank you for the interesting question, Beka! And thank you for joining my blog tour. 


You can enter to win a copy of the book signed by Jill Stengl, as well as some delicious-looking tea!


Check out all the other stops on the tour!

May 5

May 6

May 7

May 8

May 9

May 10

May 11

May 12

May 13 – Giveaway Winner Announced