A weekly meme about page 56 or 56% of ereading/audiobooks:
You’re meant to share a quote from the 56th page of a novel in print and/or a quotation at the 56% of an ebook or audiobook; from your current reads, recently read or a story you’ve slated to reading – whilst talking about the selection you’ve highlighted and a few thoughts about the story or the scene*. This last bit I’ve added as otherwise its a lot of random words & quotes without definition.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I LOVE finding new ways to interact with authors on blog tours – which is why I selected to feature a new meme for my tour stop this week. I’ve noticed the #Friday56 over the years but I’ve never participated in the meme until today. What I liked about the meme was from a different perspective than it was created – rather than readers selecting the extracts from the stories they are reading, I felt it would give authors a chance to disclose an extract from their story which would have a bit of depth towards becoming introduced to their characters and their world-building; hence why I asked a few interlinking questions this week for the #Friday56!
Similar to the special guest author #TopTenTuesday’s I’ve hosted recently (ie. Ghost Punch, Secrets behind “The Tobacconist’s Wife” and the Verin Empire) – this is a new way of hosting authors on Jorie Loves A Story whilst creating new content to work with the book blogosphere meme’s and giving my readers and visitors a like something different to enjoy whilst their on my blog. I’ve loved creating these features this Autumn and you can look forward to more of them throughout the next year, 2021!
When I first learnt of the premise behind “River Magic” I was quite intrigued – it isn’t everyday I come across stories which focus on Earthen Magic and Spirituality. I have a fierce appreciation for the natural world and I love stories which have either an ecological or environmental spirit within them whilst at the same time, the lead character in “River Magic” sounded like a girl in the midst of better understanding who she was and what she was meant to do with her life. In that regard, I love coming-of age stories and/or stories about characters undertaking a journey wherein they either learn more about who they are or they discover a path they are meant to be walking.
I loved how the author approached my prompt for today’s #Friday56 – how she reflected about her own beliefs as a Druid and how she inserted a bit of her own path and beliefs into the backbone of “River Magic” whilst also giving us something to chew on when it comes to numbers and numerology. I don’t study it myself but I have noticed there are certain numbers which seem to percolate themselves into my life at different intervals – you can notice numerical patterns in your life even if you are not studying the numbers themselves. I always found it interesting how that works out.
Today it is an honour to host a new blog tour with Storytellers on Tour – a blog touring company whose championing Indie Storytellers and giving us all a lovely chance to feature their collective works. I am looking forward to working with them as oft as I can and I look forward to the conversations and features which hosting will inspire to bring to my readers on Jorie Loves A Story!
Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about River Magic!
River Magic Subtitle: A Rituals of Rock Bay novel by M.A. Phillips
Budding clairvoyant Lacey Moran seeks to understand her dreams and find her life’s purpose along the St. Lawrence River. If only her visions of silver arms and Cian O’Connor’s blue eyes were easier to understand! The pieces begin coming together when she encounters a mermaid in the river, joins a group of Druids, and opens herself to romance with an old friend.
Can Lacey overcome her doubts, or is she in over her head?
This is artwork featuring “Lacey” from “River Magic”.
Topic for this week’s #Friday56 as suggested by Jorie:
Share a quote of “River Magic” from page 56 and talk about what went into creating the scene or dialogue found on that page and what inspired the choices you made in creating this particular portrait of the story. Likewise, do you find numerology has any presence in your life? Maybe reoccurring numbers pop up every so often or you find yourself drawn to certain numbers? I felt compelled to ask as this prompt focuses on the fifty-six page rather than any others in the stories being featured.
It would not surprise anyone I’ve found a heap of inspiration in naming my pets after favourite stories across the mediums I enjoy the most – especially of course from tv series and films! However, I wanted to focus on a different topic of interest today and get into the secrets #behindthebook of a Historical Fiction novelist I enjoy reading and hope to read more of in the future!
Jorie’s topic for AnneMarie Brear:
Top Ten Secrets Behind the Tobacconist’s Wife
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I have been enjoying creating special guest features for #TopTenTuesday this Autumn wherein different authors get the chance to delight us with their guest posts during the book blogosphere’s faovurite meme every Tuesday! I have been taken a bit of a backseat in composing my own entries for awhile as I haven’t quite felt as inspired as I have previously to respond to the topics at hand and have given authors I want to be reading the chance to showcase their stories instead. I am wicked thankful for the visitors and my readers alike who have been enjoying these sequences as it has inspired to me continue to seek out whys to have more guest authors become featured on Top Ten Tuesday in the future whilst I will also continue to add my own responses as I feel motivated to undertake the topics of the week.
Today’s guest author is Ms Brear – a Historical Fiction novelist I crossed paths with originally through hosting and reviewing for ChocLitUK. When I first read “Where Dragonflies Hover” I must admit, I was truly enraptured by how she wrote the story and how the story resonated with me once I had concluded it. I knew I had found a wicked brilliant new voice in Historical Fiction and I have been following her career over the years, sorting out which of her releases I want to be reading next and trying to find ways to host her again on my blog.
I hadn’t realised her second release by ChocLit I wanted to read went into a print release, so I’ve now added “Where Rainbows End” to my gathering list as it was a story I thought I would enjoy reading at the time I showcased the cover reveal. Today, however, she’s with Lume Books – another Indie Publisher in the UK I haven’t yet had the chance to discover and am delighted I get to feature a new-to-me publisher inasmuch as her latest release which is “The Tobacconist’s Wife”!!
Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about this story!
And, I hope this will give you a wonderfully keen insight into Ms Brear’s writerly process as she dives into both the story and her process to write it.
The Tobacconist's Wife Subtitle: Dark Secrets Lurk Behind the Shop Facade by Ms AnneMarie Brear
Having lost her father, Thea Goodson is alone in the world.
It is true she has a husband, but Ernie is a brutal man, more inclined to use his fists to keep Thea in line than to build on their marriage. And besides, Ernie Goodson has secrets – secrets that even his wife cannot share.
But in Victorian Yorkshire, appearances must be kept up, so Thea goes on powdering her bruises and forcing a smile as she toils in Ernie’s home and tobacco shop. There seems to be no other option.
That is, until a handsome and well-bred stranger arrives to set up shop next door…
Can Thea escape her misery and break from the conventions of society? Or will the clutches of her abusive husband confine her forever?
The Tobacconist’s Wife is the latest book from AnneMarie Brear, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling The Slum Angel. Perfect for fans of Catherine Cookson, Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.
Converse via: #TheTobacconistsWife, #AnneMarieBrear, #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic
Top Ten Secrets Behind the Tobacconist’s Wife
by AnneMarie Brear
Inspiration from Jorie for this Topic: a lovely list of things we might not have realised go on behind the book for a writer to create the setting, characters and ambiance of their Historical Fiction narrative whilst potentially giving us a few secrets about the novel before we read it!
I have decided to start participating in this book blogsphere meme with a few small changes of how it’s regularly blogged about by my fellow book bloggers. I will either be introducing my current reads of upcoming releases as I am in the process of reading them and/or I might be releasing a book review about a forthcoming title by which I had been blessed to read ahead of publication. The main purpose behind the meme is to encourage readers and your fellow book bloggers to become aware of new books being released which caught your eye and which held your interest to read. Sometimes if your still in the process of reading the books, its the titles which encouraged your bookish heart. I look forward to spending the next seasons of the year, talking about the books I have on hand to read, the books I’ve been reading and the books I might not even have a copy to read but which are of wicked sweet interest to become a #nextread of mine.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
If your a regular reader of Harlequin Romances or their other imprints, I look forward to your comments – seeing what you love to read by Harlequin and of course, if you know of any mini-series or authors I might enjoy seeking out – kindly let me know! My local library has a hearty collection of their stories and I love finding new Harlequin authors to read!
The series that started it all:
Return of the #BlackwellBrothers:
The Rancher's Twins
The Rancher's Rescue
The Rancher's Homecoming
The Rancher’s Twins by Carol Ross → my review
The Rancher’s Rescue by Cari Lynn Webb → my review
The Rancher’s Redemption by Melinda Curtis → my review
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée by Amy Vastine → my review
The Rancher’s Homecoming by Anna J. Stewart → my review
Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin
I have a lot of fond memories of reading through the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series as this is a series which is full of heart, family, community and the brilliant backdrop of a Western Romance series set in the heart of the Rockies. You immediately connect to the characters, feel caught in the dramas of their lives and quite soon after you’ve met them – become one of their cheerleaders, hoping to seek the redemption and the turning tides you feel they deserve.
Through each installment of this series, we have the added benefit of ‘switching’ voices & styles of the series vision per each author who is penning the installments – they all collectively have given us such a tome of #bookjoy to discover and through their collaborative efforts the Return of the Blackwell Brothers and now the newely released #BlackwellSisters series is a wicked good treat of loveliness for today’s Contemporary Western Romance reader!
I had the pleasure of being on the review tours for the Return of the Blackwell Brothers – dipping in and out of this series with renewed affection for the characters and the curiosity of intrigue set round ‘Big E’ and the devious nature of how he was affecting the lives of his relatives by his quirky antics and his unorthodox choices on behalf of their lives. Through each installment you only gathered a snippet of clues towards understanding his methods and of knowing where in the world he actual had set his hat throughout the series itself. In many regards, this unknown fact about ‘Big E’ is what enouraged me onwards deeper into Return of the Blackwell Brothers because point of fact, he was enabling them to either sink or swim on their own. And, there was a strong allure within me as a reader to see how those boys would handle their adversities and work through the challenges facing them in the wake of Big E’s disappearance.
Fast forward – as I was reading the series itself – I was hoping there would be a ‘sequel’ series – never realising until Ms Webb revealled the news in the comments of one of my reviews for her novels there was indeed a sequel series forthcoming in 2020 and through my conversations with Ms Stewart I was able to set-up a date where *all!* five authors will be chatting LIVE during @SatBookChat on the 14th of November!! I cannot even describe how thankful I am to the authors – for giving us this new series and for giving me the joy in hosting them in a live Twitter chat this month!
Today, I am helping to announce both the series and to shine a spotlight on Carol Ross’s installment of the Blackwell Sisters series – which is ‘Montana Match’. As you might have noticed, Ms Ross kicked off the original series with ‘The Ranger’s Twins’ and within those pages of the very first novel I read about the Blackwells – you could say I became smitten for life about the family, their community and the ways in which you find yourself rallying behind them.
It is feel-good Western Romance – the kind of stories you could see as a sequence of Hallmark movies and/or a Hallmark series – wherein similar to Chesapeake Shores or NetFlix’s Virgin River or Sweet Magnolias – you can see yourself settling into the setting, the towne and re-falling in love with the characters as they shift off the page to the screen. I am not sure if these series will make that leap but if they do it would be wicked good news for all of us who’ve taken their journey with them through the pages of the novels these lovely five women have given us to enjoy.
I wasn’t as inspired with this topic as much as I was to contribute a clever topic for an author whose series has left me dearly curious to READ. One of my bookish hobbies (as let’s face it, a lot of us have more bookish hobbies than non-bookish!) is finding new subniches of familiar genres and re-discovering why I love each particular genre by finding my route into a new hidden niche I haven’t yet explored – which is how I came to be featuring Mr William Ray!
Jorie’s topic for William Ray: Top Ten Secrets of Surviving in the Verin Empire 📖🦎
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I positively love Indie (Press and Publishers) and Self Published Speculative Fiction storycrafters who are giving me wicked good literary wanderings within Cosy Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy!!
For this week’s #TopTenTuesday, I wanted to do something special and a bit different – which is why I decided to creatively come up with a fun topic for the author whilst hosting this lovely blog tour which is celebrating a rather uniquely interesting book series as I’ve been in conversation with the author, Mr Ray whilst setting up this featured guest post! I do not oft get the chance to have this level of collaboration with an author about a guest post and I must admit, it was the highlight of the past few weeks for me as I took ill for over a week after the sudden loss of my Cedar trees which was explained in a series of tweets within this *thread. The collaboration proved to be the best diversion to offset what was affecting me in the aftermath of having those trees forcibly removed.
Here’s the exciting bit: you see, his series, the Verin Empire *switches!* genres per each installment of the series – you will find my notes relating to which genre applies to which installment of the series shortly. Even more interesting to mention I felt is how these genre descriptions and interpretations apply to the Verin Empire as well!!
Let me explain:
(portions of this top anchour were pulled from my conversations
with Mr Ray and are being reshared on this post with permission of Mr Ray.)
When I enquried about “Blackpowder Fantasy” (as in all humbled honestly I can’t stop thinking about the franchise of films for Pirates of the Carribean as they loved using the stuff!) this is what the author responded by explaining to me where his story fits within the scope of this designation:
Blackpowder covers a huge technological range from
quasi-medieval to Victorian war story. I’m at the far modern end of what fits in it.
Whereas when it comes to whether or not his stories
are considered gritty or grim – he had this to say:
A bit gritty. I don’t think it’s super dark or anything…
but it’s a grimy 19th century cityscape with rampant corruption. Grimy, not grim.
And, of course, I had to ask if by gritty or grim if this was by any chance inferring explicitly graphic violence in ANY of the installments as I’ve been burnt before on how far writers can take their crime scenes, death scenes and you know, that side of the story:
I don’t think the violence is super explicit in Great Restoration. It gets a little heavier in the final chapters, but there are only a couple of key deaths along the way, and they’re not particularly gruesome (and both are off-page!). Gedund is more brutal with that stuff… but then, it’s a war story and I don’t think it’s particularly gorey for its ilk.
As you can see, this is a series which might have been considered outside the purview of Jorie’s readerly curiosities but then again, you have to take into account when the film Rango came out she was one of the first to feel inclined to give it a whirl and see what a wild ride *that!* kind of fantastical Western could present!! Somewhere in the story and throughout its adventurous tale Rango managed to worm its way into her cinematic heart! Seriously, how can you not LOVE ‘Rango’? I digress.
Through the illustrations (which Mr Ray kindly shared with me for this post and for a special post which will arrive during @WyrdAndWonder’s Year 4, May 2021) you can start to see the vision he had for this series as much as how this series re-sets a standard in what you can expect to find in your fantastical wanderings. I was most intrigued by what provided the bones of this series foundation – the inspirational routes the author took to find his own voice and style within Fantasy but also to write a fantastical and engaging series which re-shifts the reader into the curious realms of where Fantasy can take them.
The only warning signs I had this series might have its ebb and flow of caution for me as a reader would be when he broached where this series falls in regards to Fantasy classification terms and inclusions – thereby, if you have any similar sensibilities as I do as a reader, you might want to note them as you consider this series for yourself:
I shift things around a lot stylistically, so Gedlund has some brutal bits, but I tend not to indulge in garish gorey detail because that pushes further from the period feel. But it is heavier on horror elements and violence than the others, being about war. The detective stories aren’t about that though. As a sort of western, Shadow Debt is more violent than the detective stories, but it’s dime-novel stuff, not Grimdark.
Two of his main influences of inspiration are the stories of Sherlock Holmes and the collective works of JRR Tolkien – which is something I can relate to myself, as although I own the full Histories of Middle Earth and all the connecting stories within the Trilogy – I’ve only accomplished seeing the film adaptations in recent decades. I am thankful I could attend one of the midnight premieres as those are the kind of experiences you can easily take for granted now in this current world of pandemics and the issues surrounding large crowds at movie premieres. Thankfully during those releases things were a bit more innocent and tamer – where you could enjoy the film and the collective experience of being in the theater without the kind of worries which are on your mind nowadays.
Through seeing those adaptations and learning about the director’s process for bringing them to life – both cinematically and visually through Weta’s visual special effects, you can uncover a lot of Tolkien’s vision as well. In that regard, just the sheer breadth of Tolkien’s work is impressive enough and is one to be respected. And, when it comes to Holmes, is there a greater private detective who has captured our hearts, our minds and our natural curiosity to observe how he sleuths? I can definitely respect why each of those would provide a wicked amount of inspiration!
What endeared me though through our conversations is when he described his series as the following:
I don’t think Gedlund is Grimdark. It’s a bit dark, but it has a more hopeful edge… Grimdark usually emphasizes an implacable world full of dark things. Gedlund has more of an… incompetent world of dark things? The theme in all the Verin Empire stories is about the lingering darkness of the past, but implicit in that is an idea that things are improving. Arc of history bending towards justice and so forth.
So, for example, there’s this broad notion that magic is fading from the world… but as you get into the details of it, it turns out most of the magical world was kind of awful and people are better off that it’s gone. Most of fantasy features a struggle against a returning evil once defeated by a more virtuous past… I wanted to show a lingering evil at war with a more virtuous (but still far from perfect) newer world.
And, this is what re-gave me the hope of being able to read the series! *whew!* Whenever you are on the fringes of discovering a new subniche of a genre you love reading, it is wicked wonderful when you can ask the author direct questions and put your concerns about their stories to rest. Especially if you’re a sensitive reader like I am or if you know your limitations when it comes to Dark Fantasy elements, graphic violence (or any amount of violence and how its portrayed) or whatever else might concern you ahead of seeking out the stories for your own readerly consumption.
I was wicked thankful for his explanation because this was my initial takeaway after this was revealled: it’s a world in transition and a world choosing how it wants to be in the future and if it is ready to shift away from the past or if it wants to revisit those darker days (in some regards),…
As you can see, he has written a series which encourages you to consider the layers and the ways in which the stories are told to further understand the telling of how the stories reveal themselves. And, those are my favourite stories to find to read. They offer a lovely challenge because of what they encourage you to ruminate over as you’re reading them.
And, of course, once he said this – I mean, what more can you ask for in this series?
Exactly! A big part of what inspired Gedlund was that visual of this ‘modern’ army fighting an immortal lich king, stuck forever in the past. The world is still has that 19th century sort of mud on its boots, but it’s marching forward. There’s rampant sexism, but there are also murmurings of the battles for Women’s Suffrage. There’s classic aristocratic corruption, but the stirrings of democracy and more sensible management. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re moving forward. Fantasy worlds all too often feel like fixed things, and I wanted to write a world that was clearly moving through history.
I loved how Mr Ray rooted real world issues into the backbone of his world’s back-histories whilst he kept the world on its own trajectory as well. I look forward to one day tackling this series and finding my way inside the world once I do – ooh, for those who are curious, his short story is available in PRINT which is something I already celebrated finding out myself! Whilst at the same time, I requested my local library to purchase Gedlund and I am awaiting their response.
One blessing I’ve found as a book blogger and as a Joyful Tweeter is generally most authors are willing to respond to your enquiries and they are blessedly approachable when it comes to a reader who wants to ask more pointed questions out of the concern for how those stories might affect them as a new reader to either their style, their genre or the thematic of the stories they are writing. Never feel you cannot reach out to a #newtoyouauthor and ask the questions which are important to you.
Today it is an honour to host a new blog tour with Storytellers on Tour – a blog touring company whose championing Indie Storytellers and giving us all a lovely chance to feature their collective works. I am looking forward to working with them as oft as I can and to the conversations and features which hosting will inspire to bring to my readers on Jorie Loves A Story!
Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about the Verin Empire!
And, I hope you’re as entertained as I was with this wicked response from Mr Ray!
Shadow Debt Subtitle: A Tale of the Verin Empire by William Ray
Glynn Sorley is sheriff of Keat’s Field, a tiny settlement in an otherwise lawless frontier. With the discovery of diamonds, her town is flooded with fortune-hunters looking to strike it rich. It’s also a target for competing colonial powers, savage goblin tribes, and outlaws.
A rustler on the run from the law stumbles across his father’s mysterious legacy – a weapon of immense magical power. He uses it to ravage across the territory as the notorious outlaw Gentleman Jim.
But the weapon’s power comes at a terrible cost, and Keat’s Field may just have to pay the price…
This third Tale of the Verin Empire returns us to the world of Gedlund and The Great Restoration. It explores a frontier trapped between competing nations, where goblins reign and a lone sheriff fights to keep the peace.
Drawing inspiration from L’Amour’s Comstock Lode, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and our own late 19th century, Shadow Debt continues William Ray’s bold, critically acclaimed reinvention of classic fantasy in a world of memorable characters and unique perspectives, and features sketches from acclaimed illustrator Tom Parker.
Connect with the illustrator Tom Parker via @papagaeio
Gedlund (book one) : Blackpowder Fantasy
A Case of Eager Heris (short story) :
Gaslight / Urban Fantasy | Private / Noir Detective
The Great Restoration (book two) :
Gaslight / Urban Fantasy | Private / Noir Detective
Shadow Debt (book three) : Weird West | Western Fantasy
Top Ten Secrets of Surviving in Verin Empire
by William Ray
Inspiration from Jorie for this Topic: a lovely list of things to be aware of as a new visitor to this world – cautionary things, odd quirks, small insights into the places or the people therein. A bit of a last grab list of things any new person to this world would love to have in hand before they went into the world without any knowledge of it and might get into a few pickles.
Author’s Response: As the creator of Tales of the Verin Empire, I’ve been asked to offer advice for any traveler intrepid enough to tour those storied lands. Frankly, I find this a huge relief! If I can just watch you fumbling around out there it will save me a lot of work in character and plot development. With that in mind, good luck, and thanks in advance!