Tag: Seventh Star Press

*Blog Book Tour* A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court {a faerie anthology of short stories} edited by Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Monday, 19 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

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A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court (edited by) Scott M. Sandridge

Chimerical World Vol 1 Anthology by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit by: Enggar Adirasa

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress) 12 February, 2014
Official Author WebsitesBlog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 434
Genres: Short Story | Fantasy  | Faerie Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #AChimericalWorld & #7thStar

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the dual anthology virtual blog tour for “A Chimerical World”, opting to read the ‘Seelie’ Court vs the ‘Unseelie’ Court installment of the dual anthology release from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and was happy to see more anthologies being offered for review. I received a complimentary copy of “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interest to Read a Faerie Anthology:

I should be honest, my heart is always going to be attached to #dragonfiction (I created the tag for it even!), but part of me was always equally curious and endeared to seeking out wicked quality stories of faerie fiction too! I have several authors and books slated TBR (to be read) at some junction in time, but to truly get a nice overview of what is currently been written and offered, there is not a better way to accomplish this task than by seeking out an anthology! I find myself motivated lately to keep a fingertap on those thematic explorations inside science fiction & fantasy which whet my palette of interest. Previously, it was attempting to sort out my own heart’s desire in seeing science-based Steampunk and/or inventive Steampunk which runs the gambit of traditional Steam and deviates into Clockpunk or Automation stories.

Coming out of that well of endless possibilities, and keeping myself hinged to the cosy side of everything I read, I leapt at the chance to be a part of a new anthological tour for short stories within the world of the fey! I am always most curious to learn the new approaches of revealing a particular character inside of a story as much as I am a natural bourne book cheerleader who loves to rally behind creative stories which light the mind with deeply enriching worlds of creative thought. I never quite know where I am being lead in my literary wanderings, but half the fun for me is the art of discovery! Thus, my expectations for reading this anthology is to simply soak into different perspectives of the fey and see which of the stories give me the most joy in reading them!

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Anthology Synopsis: A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Scott M. Sandridge
Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

Tales of the Seelie Court:

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.

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Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

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Stories inside: Tales of the Seelie Court:

“Extra-Ordinary” by BC Brown +
“Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker
“Taggers” by Christine Morgan
“Wormwood” by Alexandra Christian
“The Harpist’s Hand” by Steven S. Long
“Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau +
“Mark of Ruins” by SD Grimm
“Birdie’s Life at the School for Distressed Young Ladies” by JH Fleming
“Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps
“Seelie Goose” by E. Chris Garrison +  
“I Knocked Up My Fairy Girlfriend” by Brandon Black
“The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen +  
“The Last Mission” by Cindy Koepp
“The Beggar-Knight & the Lady Perilous”
by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern
“Keys” by Michael M. Jones
“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge
“Gnome Games” by Saera Corvin
“The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle

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My Review of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

{ am electing to highlight the stories within the anthology

which piqued my interest the most out of the nineteen offered inside }

| “Extra-Ordinary” by B.C. Brown |

The mark of a well-written short story is the effect after it is concluded for the reader to double-check to make sure that the next short is not going to start right at the very moment she’s inclined to read more of the one she’s consumed! And, yet, that is unfortunately what happened as I turnt the page to see what becomes of the lovely hidden world revealed inside Extra-Ordinary! I must admit, I have appreciated the fey for such a long time that I never even questioned what I knew of them or what I could be lacking in reading faerie fiction! Clearly, there is quite a heap I have not had the pleasure of knowing, and inside this little gem of a story lies such a wondrous truth to who they are and how they appreciate interacting with humans! Or rather even, how some humans have the ability to interact with the fey, people you would not realise due to outward appearance or living circumstance could in effect hold a key to a world wonderfully unique and brilliantly more magical than the one we live in. I truly wanted to spend more time snuggled into this young boy’s life, seeing what he saw, and breathing in world of the fey in which alighted inside his ordinary hours. The writer had the clever sense to build upon our knowledge of the young boy as a regular school-aged curious wanderer of thoughts and imaginative possibilities — seeing beyond where he was and knowing there was more yet to come. And, within that innocent world-view and isolated piercing glimpse his everyday hours, we find ourselves meeting a young boy who will electrify our curiosity to know the fuller truth of who he is and how a shoebox can transport us there.

I felt as though this were a Prologue teaser to a larger story which would evolve into this wicked adventure between Marcus and the fey! How lovely it would be to see this knitted into a novella or a full-length novel!

|  “Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker |

At first I wasn’t sure the direction this particular story was going to take-on, as the possibilities for it to extend into certain dimensions of believability were extensive. The cat in the story (Mephyst) gives Andrei a bit more than he bargained for when he agreed to ‘cat sit’ a client’s rather feisty and demonic charge. Demonic here refers to the fact that this particular outdoor dwelling cat had a penchant for bringing his ‘kills home’ and leaving them rather ceremoniously on his owner’s doormat, but with a bit of a twist of what he ‘kills’ verse what his end-goal is once he returns home with them. I loved how Walker gave equal measure of attention on both Mephyst & Andrei as their paths intertwined for a short period of time. This short reminded me of fabled life lessons swirled into mystical and fantastical stories of a past age. Where you can root out the symbolism of right and wrong, as much as good verse evil by the way in which the story is fused together. Andrei is the unspoken hero of the story, who by rather clever devices sorts out the insidious nature of Mephyst, rights the malicious wrongs he has created against the fey, and takes-on a sense of freedom in knowing that his limited knowledge of the Other World affairs trumps the superficial elite attitude of Mephyst’s owner. For me, what kept me tuned into the story is the determination of Andrei to be a qualified cat-sitter in charge of a cat who is not quite like other cats at all! The lengths this bloke went to ensure not only the cat’s well-being but the well-being of innocents truly warmed my heart! In the end, I nearly could see him changing his stars and lifepath to something a bit more interesting than pedaling errands and message-driven deliveries. He is the character you always hope to find inside of a story – he completely surprises you and endears you to his cause.

| “Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau|

A mystical and Eastern story illuminated out of the stories of the Seelie Court, to where my heart-strings were taut in the pull of the narrative to emote such a soul-tinged story of love. I may have not readily said this, but I have not read any of the collective works by the authors in this collection, and are therefore a bit blind to what they regularly write or offer in their individual worlds of fiction. What I found inside Sanae’s Garden is what I would consider a classical mythological story where you can barely notice the veil of the human world and of the world of the wood sprites. Harou and Sanae are unconventional soul-mates in how their love grew out of their innermost desire to protect and care for those who need it most. Their child Masaki was blessed to have such a loving embrace of joy, love, and parental bliss attached to him as he grew but it is how he came into being that was the mark of a chosen path towards embracing true love. I loved drinking in this story, a paragraph at a time and allowing the images filter into my mind’s eye as I etched out their characteristic qualities and the semblance of where the story was taking place. I wanted to explore more of this world, digging a bit deeper into its heart and seeing how this one perception of time could be walked back through in the future. Boudreau gave us such an enriched tale as to endear us to the possibilities of not only following our hearts in all areas of our lives, but in owning to a greater truth of what a well-lived life can encompass by scope of depth.

My heart-felt full enough to choke my throat with the tears of a grateful reader who was blessed to know their story. The nature lover in me celebrated the close-knitted connection of the characters to the living garden and trees, as I am a firm believer that the longer you spend outside in nature’s loving arms of grace, the more you will find yourself in balance; rooted to the living well of the cycles and seasons of Earth. Trees have a kinetic way of sensing our presence and of returning our love for them in the gentle whispers only heard by heart. I felt everything that Sanae felt and I celebrated Harou’s ability to guide her towards a life she never dared dreamt was previously plausible.

|  “Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps |

The innocence of Clarrisa is a warm spring of hope stitched into this short story where a moral choice is the defining moment of her young life. What I appreciated about this story is that it is not set-up in the regular way you are expecting it to be. You’re entering a story already in-progress where the fates of those who could be affected by the actions of the characters both seen and unseen hang in the balance. Clarrisa is a faerie of conscience who unlike her peers aligns her life choices with those of her heart, spirit, and mind. She elects to take the harder path if it means that she can live without remorse etched into every fibre of her being. She is a gardener of dreams and of the tangible joy life can unexpectedly bring as you live your life forward. She reminded me a bit of Sanae in this regard, as she put her entire focus of how she wanted to live into the cultivation of her garden. The garden knew her innermost truths and where she would find her heart leading her next. Bourne without wings, a blight for any faerie other than her, she found strength in both resilience and in owning her uniqueness. The best part of the story for me, is watching how she evolved inside the Ministry of her employ to carry forward a mission of self-sacrifice and freedom. Each of us has the ability to embrace the right path but it takes the strength in knowing by doing what is right, you have to face those who might not agree with your reasoning.

|  “Seelie Goose” by E. Chris Garrison |

About my Connection to Garrison: I had the absolute pleasure of guesting on The Star Chamber Show on the same episode Garrison was appearing as a Guest Author. I was the Guest Book Blogger that night, and I appreciated the opportunity for our airtime to cross-over on each other. From that day forward, I have enjoyed our continuing conversations about all things bookish, including how we respected each of our differences in writing as well as our individual stance on ‘Vulgarity in Literature’ but came out of it on solid ground. I respect Garrison as a new-found friend and as a writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Garrison through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

I am familiar with Garrison’s character Skye from my previous reading of Virtual Blue, however, at that particular point in time I had not realised the full scope of Skye’s character! You see, Skye was ‘lent on loan’ to Sullivan in order to create the Urban Fantasy story in which I reviewed on a previous blog tour! I remember reading about the ‘Seelie Goose’, as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story will recognise that I also hosted a Cover Reveal for Garrison and around that point in time or thereabouts I became familiar with the short story I now have happily read! For one thing, the comic brilliance of the anarchy of the fairy-tale world spun into reckless flight of an attempt to stop a wedding was most keen indeed! The way in which people react to weddings and those of whom wish to marry is always fodder for comedy. No one seems to understand nor accept that when two people fall in love, it is their right to marry of whom their heart speaks true! Whether that is goose for gander or goose to goose; matrimony should always be a freedom of both choice and of celebration of love. I was caught in the trance of the moment, seeing the absurdity of how one ruffled feathered Mum could not let her daughter be free to live her own life whilst noting how Otherworldy Skye is still attached to walking a life-like no one else could! Skye is not involved in this story but a part of Skye is central to how everything is resolved! I was most taken by how giddy I was to see the resolution and how happy I was to find a story by Garrison which I can do nothing but celebrate the joy of reading!

The descriptions of the geese were especially intriguing as I loved how their wings and feathers were worked into their quirky personalities and how their essence of being geese set the tone for how they interacted with everyone else! By far it was a clever story to be told! Especially considering how ‘rhyme’ took on a new level of meaning as it was used as a method of communication rather than of prose!

| “The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen |

Cautionary tales of how far man is willing to push the envelope on technologic advances and the window which separates reason, logic, and the pursuit of progress are ones that I have always enjoyed reading. They speak to a greater level of knowledge towards where humanity has travelled and how far humanity continues to push the barriers between right and wrong. Ethical repercussions emerging out of the fever of wanting to go further than we dare, when even we can acknowledge that a thin line is being crossed in the sand. I could feel the harbinger tone of this short story even before I settled into its rhythm. There was a back-note of ominous danger igniting into the forefront of where the central characters were acting out of duty rather than out of honour. I enjoyed watching the internal conflict grab hold of them and appreciated where Madsen choose to take them whilst they were conflicted. The choices we make can have ripple effects on people we may or may not know, yet it is within the golden moments of those choices we can ultimately choose which path we will set our feet to tread upon. And, in the end what matters most is whether or not we were willing to sell our soul in order to survive; or take the harder path and do what was right.

The technology that is expressed in this short is always the kind of tech that I hope we do not cross the line to bring into reality. Where the fusion of technology against the condition of humanity would slowly erase and decode the very essence of who we are as there would no longer be a bridge between who we are and the advances science could provide us. To study and to grow in knowledge is one thing, to help others who have lost the ability to use their limbs is another, but to take away our humanity for the sake of replacement without cause or reason? That is quite another. We would be playing God to the worst degree of illogical pursuit.

“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern |

A new appreciator of stories of the Jinn, courtesy of a book I discovered from my local library (The Golem and the Jinni, of which I reviewed last year) I was most delighted to see a short of the Jinn included in this collection! Ever since I met the Jinn in the forementioned story, I have set myself up to uncover more Magical Realism stories (hence my ever-expanding and growing tCC List!)!! The gentleness of this tale was refreshing as by time I had reached a moment to read it, I was ruminating in my mind about how reflectively open and honest the rest of the shorts are presenting the current state of time. From economic hardship to the uncertainty of how the future always hangs in the balance just out of view from where we are in the present. The shorts in of their own are knitted together with commonalities as you read through them. A pulse of forbearance as much as keen insight in where we aspire to be and how circumstances can never paint our future’s black. The Jinn in this story took a different angle of acceptance towards her new charge, and it was through her no-nonsense approach that her charge learnt the most from her. I like being unexpectedly surprised when I read, as much as I like entering new worlds to walk around.

“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge |

I was happily surprised and thankful to see a more traditional faerie story included, as for a while I felt that perhaps the collection was only going to yield more modern spins on the fey. In this particular short, what struck me the most was the breadth of the world created to explain the differences between the Courts, and as Hawkridge did such a great job of doing this, I could start to envision the differences between the Seelie & UnSeelie Courts! The very basis of the dual-anthology collection which I am reading! I think the hardest part for the world of faeries is understanding who to trust and to understand which motives are being presented once you undergo accepting an accord with someone who appears to be above-board with you. Iona is on the edge of reasoning out how to contribute more to the collective good of her kind whilst being drawn into plans that might have an outcome she would not appreciate. The entire hierarchy of the fey reminded me a bit of the honey bee. Everyone has their own duties and responsibilities, but at the very same time, there is freedom to choose how best to create the contributions which help the collective survive. In this way, I appreciated seeing the point of view given in this short as it aligns with how I felt the fey might interact and live together.

| “The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle |

This short was as stirring and gutting of emotions as “Sanae’s Garden”, as the fate of one family to save the entire towne is pushed into the forefront of reality when an over zealous ruler twists their chance to survive. I have not had the chance to read a lot about Centaurs or even of faeries who are not quite dark but are not living within the light either. I have read a few stories of the fey which were more depressingly melancholic than enlightening, but this story is more of a classical one. It takes on the drunken intoxication of power set against the welfare of the innocent. Where what is perceived as truth is not what it appears and what is feared cannot always be recognised. Although my heart was lurching with each new step the characters took towards facing their fate, I appreciated the level of sincerity Hoyle gave to the story. It is not one anyone will quickly forget once they read it. Nor should they.

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Each of the stories I have highlighted desire second and third readings in order for the mirth of their tales to be fully enjoyed, processed, and appreciated. I am grateful that I have had this opportunity to become introduced to new voices in fiction, and of being able to settle my mind a bit around where the fey live and how they choose to interact with humans. Each of them approach us in different ways, some with a smarting of bewitchment in their eyes and others with a slight tendency towards maliciousness. Yet, each of them own true to who they are and what their innermost gift is to give and/or to takeaway. The stories themselves are a delight to read and I found myself unaware of the hours ticking off the clock as I was fully absorbed into the collection itself and only gave a nodding of what I was finding through my tweets prior to publishing my finalised reflections!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comFly in the Ointment:

Being this is an anthology collection of stories, the blessing for me was skipping over the stories which either did not give me enough to sink into their narratives or wrinkled my nose due to the cursing of choice words during the telling of the story itself. Therefore, as I have read and highlighted the stories which appealed to me directly, you may or may not find the same to be true for you. Everyone has a different reading temperament and mine is not one to accept a parlay affect of strong language within the context of joyful reading explorations. I truly only skipped over a few stories that held strong language, the others I did not mention did not touch me in the same way as I read them as the ones I did mention.

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This Book Review is courtesy of:

A Chimerical World Virtual Tour via Tomorrow Comes MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Virtual Road Map for “A Chimerical World Anthology Tour”:

18 May: Editor Interview @ Jorie Loves a Story

19 May: Review @ Jorie Loves A Story

20 May: Guest Post: Four Simple Writer Mistakes by B.C. Brown @ Deal Sharing Aunt

21 May: Guest Post: Heavy Metal Faeries by Scott M. Sandridge @ Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author

21 May: Guest Post: Making of Seelie Goose by E. Chris Garrison @ Vampires, Witches, and Me, Oh My!

21 May: Guest Post: My Favourite Because It’s All About the Numbers by Scott M. Sandridge @ Beauty in Ruins

21 May: Interview Part 1 @ The Bird’s Word

22 May: Guest Post: Creating the Unseelie Court by DeeDee Davies @ Bee’s Knees Reviews

22 May: Promo / Spotlight @ Spellbindings

22 May: Guest Post: Pros / Cons of being an Anthology Editor by Scott M. Sandridge @ I Smell Sheep

23 May: Guest Post by Carmen Tudor @ The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies

June: Review: Tales of the Seelie Court @ Heroic Fantasy Writers

24 May: Guest Post: Rituals of a Seelie Writer by Alexandra Christian @ Sheila Deeth Blog

25 May: Interview: Scott M. Sandridge @ Come Selahway With Me

I am happily honoured to be:

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Host

Previously on this blog tour stop,

I featured an Editor Interview with Mr. Sandridge!

Do not forget to *VOTE* in my Reader’s Poll after reading the Interview! And, leave your response to my enquiry in the comment threads whilst your there too! I appreciate it!

Anthology Discussions on Jorie Loves A Story:

Comments are open on all blog posts!

Comment & Converse freely!

Please visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

It should be noted that I am curating the habit of tweeting my blog life on such handles as #amwriting | #amediting | #amblogging | #amreviewing | #amreading as much as there are antidote tweets being sent out prior to a blog post alighting on JLAS! Little snippets of insight into what I am going to reveal next and/or what I am anticipating will be a newly published post! Be sure to follow and/or keep an eye on my Twitter feeds! All pertinent links are also housed on my About.Me page as well for easy reference, access, and clickablity!

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What do you seek out when sorting out which anthology to read next!? Do you appreciate the journey you are taking to seek out newly emerging writers & their stories? What are your happiest discoveries in both short story, novella, and novel offerings of the fey in fiction!? Which authors are your favourites to soak inside and visit for a short spell!? Are the stories I mentioned today encouraging you to pick up “A Chimerical World”!?

{SOURCES: Book covers for “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court”, Editor Biography and Book Synopsis of the anthologies were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Collage of all three anthology book covers created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 19 May, 2014 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cats and Kittens, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Magical Realism, Seventh Star Press, Seventh Star Press Week, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, The Natural World, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature

_+ #atozchallenge _+ 26 Days | 26 Essays [epic journey] Today is Letter “A”. #Anthologies

Posted Tuesday, 1 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Day 1: Letter A of the A to Z ChallengeAn eruption of blog posts throughout the blogosphere are going *live!* in different intervals throughout April Fool’s Day, and this isn’t a prank nor a joke! This is a world-wide globally connected blogosphere challenge where each blogger who signs into the participant linky is quite literally confirming their express desire to blog straight [except on Sundays!] for *26 Days!* whilst writing *26!* most intriguing & thought-producing alphabet essays! Or, to be comically inspiring, randomly cheekily, and otherwise delightfully entertaining! The bloggers who have signed into the challenge are from all walks of blogosphere life: book bloggers united alongside lifestyle gurus; writers of all literary styles nudged up against travelogues; the gambit runs the full course of each and every theme, topic, subject, and genre you could possibly light your heart with joy to broach in a blog! And, the curious bit to the journey is where your posts lead you as much as where other blogger’s posts inspire you! It’s this fantastic community to celebrate the spirit within the blogosphere as much as the spirit of connection amongst the bloggers who might not have crossed paths with each other otherwise. After all, the road map for blogs is as wide and large as the actual world outside the nethersphere of websites, pixels, and memes! Walk with us whilst we discover a bit about ourselves, our blog, & each other!

I am blogger #552 out of 2155!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOne quick tour around Jorie Loves A Story, and the new visitor willParajunkee Designs notice that I am a bookish girl bent on literary excursions which encourage my spirit as much as they challenge my perspective of what I have learnt thus far in my life. Literature by definition is a self-guided and self-evolving process of gaining knowledge through books and ruminations of those who walked before us, imparting their words and tangible thoughts to the page. I truly do “blog books!” and I am most esteemed to say “I <3 Fiction” as the badge to the right expresses quite definitively! Yet, how does a book blogger translate the rhythmic murmurings of her wandering compass when there isn’t a fixed point of entry or landing point? How to encase within a blog challenge to relate what motivates her and what excites her beyond the girth of what is deemed plausible!?

I tend to move like a dancer through genres, as what motivates me is the inertia of magnetism that draws my eye, heart, and mind into a particular setting, time period, locale, and character sketching… that vortex of suspension in-between first finding a book that whets your fancy and drinking in the words that will either leave you blissfully entranced or ruminative about where the writer was intending to take you.

– quoted from my Introduction Post

For you see I truly am passionate about the art of discovering new authors and the legacies of their words left to the world to find them. There is an electric pulse to seeking out a bookish tome of joy, especially if your heart holds within it a heavy attachment to wordsmiths and world-builders whose narratives jump you straight out of your chair and into the heart of their stories. Where time itself is eclipsed by the overwhelmingly familiar experience your about to engrave inside you through sensory registers you were given. To soak into a character’s shoes to the brink of attaching a piece of them to your DNA and vice versa. We take bits and bobbles of light along with us for where we tread next along the labyrinth pathways of literature. Wanderlust abounds because it only takes the impetus of a notion of seeing a title, an author’s name, a book’s cover-art or the premise winking at you from off the shelf to whet your palette of interest towards reading its story.

Each book which settles itself into my mind’s eye whereupon it fixated itself and has become a part of me, will be rendering a new chapter of my collective memory. A story of which has etched itself a remnant piece of my journey as I continue to make an onwards advance towards my next literary find. The books featured here are the ones that left me with a hitching in my chest, a murmuring in my soul, and a thankfulness in my heart. Books like these are to become the cherished friends that sit upon a bookshelf ready for a second conversation and visit.

– quoted from my Introduction Post

Story-tellers of whom engage with their audience in such a clever way as to give them a sampling of a taste of their collective work OR even a breath of an introduction to enliven the imagination of their readership is one step I’ve taken towards embracing the world of “A N T H O L O G I E S“!! And, yes dear hearts, today’s Letter A which I cheekily enscribed as a reference “Day1 is 1APR (Not a Foolish Day!) A is for?” whilst announcing today’s post via Twitter is a winking nudge towards the fact I posted ‘two’ new posts today which curate the essence of the “Letter A”. The first of which is “ANDRA Watkins” on behalf of her debut novel “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and the second of which is the post your reading right now!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA N T H O L O G I E S are little dirths and dots of curiously broaching short stories! They give us a nibblement of an idea, whisk us away into this alternative realm and properly deposit us back to whence we started long before we were ready to make our exit! I had always become curious about anthologies but as to where to alight my hat within its vast vault of choice was beyond daunting! My first notion was to sink into the mystery genre before approaching the science fiction & fantasy genre anthologies! My thinking was based upon my enjoyment of the Agatha Christie omnibus editions of her stories! You could gather a heap of Christie inside of a hardback volume of joy, let me tell you! It was Christie who inspired my heart towards having murder & suspense on my brain as a youngster because I was forever engaged on bated breath to see ‘who’ was guilty and of ‘whom’ would catch the nefarious deviant criminals! You might be surprised to realise then, my first ‘A N T H O L O G I E S exposure’ came on behalf of: Regency Christmas novellas & novella collections of inspirational romances from Barbour Publishing! At least, this is where my memory alights as being the first time I realised I was reading an anthological collection of short stories! I am in love with the aspect of creating a dramatically splendid experience out of the smallness of space in which ‘shorts’ are notorious to be inhabited. My personal writings in fiction are too akin to breadth and depth of expression to suit the needs of a proper short story, but its the joy I have pulsing through me as I endeavour to read the works of others which captivates the fullness of my attention!

The Chronicles of Ave
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Whilst being a book blogger, I am finding the wide sea of anthologies mingling around the bookish sphere of choice isn’t quite as difficult to unearth as I once feared! In fact, oft-times I am finding anthologies are starting to become quite the choice of publishers to either offer as a review option or they place them on a blog tour to help introduce the timid anthology readers like me take a small step towards embracing their mirth! I say ‘timid’ here as a way of expressing that because I struggle to get the words to fit within a confine word count limit, I sometimes notice my mind ‘over-thinks’ itself to death whilst I read! Instead of simply appreciating the experience of the story, my ferret of a head is trying to augment how the writer elected to make the choices she or he did to keep the story alive yet without the girth of a novel to anchor its dimension. In this, I find anthologies extraordinary!

The first anthology which crossed my path was “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” by Stephen Zimmer, published by Indie publisher Seventh Star Press. This collection of which fronts a curious dragon in flight on the cover illustrative plate is a map of sorts for a new visitor of the Ave world to become acquainted with key characters and uncover little nuisances of where the larger tome of the book series “Fires of Eden” will take the reader. Zimmer expands fully to encase certain elements of where a previously published portion of Ave might have been edited for length or content, but within his Chronicles he can re-examine, re-define, and re-explore those moments of Ave which deserve to have their light shined on their own.

He parlays his fervent passion for research by interspersing what he uncovers into the tapestry by which Ave is threaded against! It’s a world that encompasses as many distinctively unique cultures, traditions, spirituality’s, and languages as our own living counterpart, and yet, it has something to give back to us as well!

It’s quite apparent at first reading that Ave is a world that you can gently enter into but its a world that draws a breath of dedication with each glance! The further you walk inside Ave, the more you want to know, the more you want to experience, and the more your drawn to wonder about the extensive scope of the stories that prompted this collection of shorts, which marks a transition through a lesser notation of them in the serial installments already known! Bits and bobbles of undercurrent histories stitched into the under threads, that give a larger impression of the story on a whole! OR, at least this is what I imagine to be true!

– quoted from my review of “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” by Stephen Zimmer

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Michael Knost
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Second out of the gate in my newly minted exploration of anthologies was the incomparable “Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Michael Knost. I felt as though I was sitting down with the collected writers who gathered to inspire other writers’ within their genres and outside them with the encouragement needed to boldly dare to pursue their craft! Writers sometimes forget that the one bit that is most important is the totality of belief in their imagination and their writing. Writers need to remember to ‘own their work’ and refute disbelief whilst pushing ahead when odds stack against them like ricochet hail at the tail end of a severe storm! Negative electrons are everywhere in life, but if we refuse to accept defeat we will always walk out the other end with a level of grace and knowledge of how to proceed forward on a better leaf than the prior! The anthologies which attract me to read are not limited to fiction, as I have always had a piqué curiosity of the writer’s craft.

And, it’s within this boiling and brewing of ideas where I gather my energy for the story about to transfer out of my mind’s vortex and unto the written page! To take a thread of an idea, nurture it into being and then, allowing the freedom of the idea to transition and transmorph into its full-bodied existence of what its meant to be is a writer’s realised dream. Nibblements of ruminations sprinkled throughout a lifetime of experience and adventure start to ink out into our imagination. Transcending both time and memory, as pieces of ourselves are wrangled into the lifeblood of our characters! Being a writer is akin to being a nurturer of ideas and of ideals. We take our observations from our living realities, and pour our heart into our works attempting to yield a story that others might find palatable. I say ‘might’ find as I am one writer who writes the stories which flow through her rather than write a story which is hinged to a specific audience or topic. We (writers) all hope that the momentum and passion we have for an idea will garnish itself a foothold in a reader’s queue. Perhaps even, enlighten their outlook or perception, but moreso than naught, to give them a hearty piece of narrative which leaves them pensively grateful for the idea which started the words to fill the page!

– quoted from my review of “Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Michael Knost

I was transfixed and inspired as you can see by the inertia of what was being revealed inside this anthology! What made my heart flutter the most are the topics & subjects explored by the writers who contributed to the anthology were giving advice across the literary divides! The advice was not limited strictly to science fiction and fantasy, although in some instances they were given direct instances of how to write a story in this particular world of vision; but any writer could eek out the lessons of the writer’s craft itself. Enabling all writers to feel a bit more motivated and uplifted for the time spent inside its pages!

Is editing an anthology more difficult than writing a book? If so, why? And, how did you coordinate the sections of Writers Workshop on Science Fiction and Fantasy in such a way that the previous writer melded into the next’s topic?

Knost responds: Each has its own difficulty, and each has its own strengths. As an editor, I am tasked as a conductor, seeking to keep the whole in a harmonic state, which sometimes can be nearly impossible. Where the writer is concerned about his or her solo, the editor is concerned about the entire piece. Just as each song is different, so is each anthology or collection, and because of that, each is structured by going with one’s heart. As for WWOSFF, I assigned the particular element of the craft of which I wanted each writer to focus. And I planned the layout while in the assignment stages, which evolved somewhat.

– quoted from my interview of Michael Knost whilst featuring the anthology during Seventh Star Press Week.

Moments in Millenia edited by Penny Freeman
Artwork Credit: Dale Pease (of Walking Stick Books) http://walkingstickbooks.com

On 8th April, I will be posting my first book review on behalf of Indie publisher Xchyler Publishing, which is “Moments in Millennia” a fantasy anthology of futuristic fantasy set against the continuum of time and space! I found Xchyler Press through a tweet posted by Marian Allen, which led me to the discovery of “A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk” by Scott E. Tarbet. Whilst browsing the catalogue of choices on their website this particular A N T H O L O G Y stood out to me. I was intrigued by the concept of allowing each writer the freedom to answer the thesis of thought in their own methodology of choice.

I had the honour of interviewing Ms. Penny Freeman

who is the Editor of the A N T H O L O G Y.

We had an excellent exchangement of conversation surrounding its creation:

In regards to book trailers, I was quite impressed with the motion picture quality of “Moments in Millennia” where the undercurrent score and cut-away sequences where the broadcast is nearly being cut-off draws the reader into the scene. The vortex of how ‘time’ itself draws a circle around the necessity of ‘now’. Of being in a position to react and effectively impact the state of ‘what is happening right this instant’. How as an editor did you draw a stitching of continuity inside the anthology, where stories were brought together whilst giving freedom to the writers to explore the premise in their own vision?

Freeman responds: The continuity is a product of several different factors. The first, of course, is the theme we set. When we come up with something we think might spark the imagination (in this case, back to the future), we announce it as part of our writing competition. Writers will often ask us exactly what we mean by that. Our answer is always the same: what does that mean to you?

This particular project was interesting to me in that so many of the entries (and ultimately the winners) focused on dark scenarios. Going in, I rather expected some fun fantasy romps, and I think the fact that we didn’t have anything of that nature reflects society’s outlook as a whole. We seem to be a rather cheerless bunch at the moment.

The next influence is our judging algorithm. Because each individual judge has their own likes and dislikes, the stories that suit their aesthetic will rank higher, so that tends to influence the overall outcome. Finally, the editorial process itself plays a significant role. We look at the entries as first drafts, and then we work with the authors to polish their work. Because the same content editor works with every author, that influence is felt within each story.

For instance, I like stories to get inside people’s heads and ask questions: how do situations and events affect the characters emotionally; what are the ramifications of an event? My mantra: dig deeper! Another editor may have wanted more emphasis on technical details or more “atmosphere”. The editor’s own “what does this mean to you” comes into bear and becomes that consistent thread that runs through everything.

Thank you for giving me such a beautiful insight into the production of  “Moments in Milliennia”, as the scope of the project is as multi-dimensional as I had forethought it might have been! I do agree with you on the ‘dark undertones’ throughout the anthology itself, as I was quite curious when I first picked it up to read on how each writer surprised me in turn by giving me a revelation inside their story I had not expected to find after having read their individual premises. I believe its going to the heart of what you revealed yourself: there is an undercurrent in our society for focusing more on the dark than the light; even if those of us who are reading fantasy have a penchant for seeking out the light at each possible turn! For without the Light, where then do we find the Hope!? Yet. Despite this, the anthology gave me numerous sociological implications to ponder about and for that, I give the writers credit for taking up the bold challenge of answering your submission call in a way which will stand out to the readers who pick up the anthology!

– quoted from my Interview with Interview with Penny Freeman

Likewise, I am quite eager to find A N T H O L O G Y which will help introduce me to Steampunk, as I am approaching it from a historical fiction reader’s point-of-view as I described in this Question to Mr. Tarbet:

Being that you’re a history enthusiast, I noticed that you inserted 12 historically known characters into your story. Do you feel you’re creating a new niche in steampunk which might be considered historical steam? Where those who appreciate historical fiction might find themselves crossing over to reading your stories due to the nature of how much history you’ve woven into the background?

Tarbet responds: Nice term, that: historical steam. I like it. It captures A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk very well in its “something for everyone” essence. And by ‘everyone’ I mean ME. I believe that an author worth reading will be writing something that they would want to read themselves. For me that means having way more than one element to any story. Mine always have at least two of three, sometimes more. A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk has Steampunk, Shakespeare, and alternative history. I would want to read it. It tickles me pink that other people find it a satisfying blend as well.

– quoted from my Interview with Scott E. Tarbet

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWithin the hours leading up the A to Z Challenge, I was presented with a chance to host a blog tour for an inspirational devotional from the perspective of a woman whoCats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too Virtual Blog Tour hosted by Editing Through the Seasons has rescued cats and observed lessons of life etch out of her time in their role as caregiver. I always knew the animals who become our companions hold a very special place in our hearts as much as in the corner-most spot of our spirits. They endear us to grounding ourselves into the pureness of love, acceptance, and friendship. The world is oft-times a jaded askewed place to inhabit and with the companions of those whose innocence block out the shade, we find ourselves softened and affirmed by their grace.

Parajunkee DesignsI wanted to take part in this tour because I have always enjoyed snippets of inspiring stories shared through the Chicken Soup for the Soul series such as “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times: 101 Daily Devotions to Inspire & Support You in Times of Need” by Susan M. Heim & Karen C. Talcott of which I mentioned in my review of “The Prayer Box” by Lisa Wingate. I want to wander through the pages of more non-fiction titles as time progresses forward here on Jorie Loves A Story. There is such a beautiful gift in knowing the world of A N T H O L O G I E S is not limited to a specific definition of context. They are merely a representation of a collection of stories and writers uniting together for a common purpose. Sometimes they are not even stories in the traditional sense. They can transmorph into life lessons, antidotes of memory, and affirmations of how to strive towards a well-balanced life within the light of tomorrow’s dawn.

Anthologies are lightning inside the ether,
one spark of imaginary bliss,
can ignite a fever pitch for quantitative consumption!
– Jorie, of Jorie Loves A Story

I am happy to share with you the book covers of three Seventh Star Press A N T H O L O G I E S I am most anxious to see hit the book blogosphere by storm! Their press releases on the Seventh Star Press blog are directed on their titles. I am hopeful to take part in their virtual tours and I look forward to your return visit on the 8th of April for “Moments in Millennia” as well as watching my Bookish Events page or my Twitter feeds to see when the forthcoming A N T H O L O G I E S on tour will alight here! When you click over to read about the stories contained inside them you will realise why I am as excited about them as I am!

Fantasy Anthologies by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit by: Enggar Adirasa
{: Hero’s Best Friend :}
{: Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court,
and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court
:}

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA bit of an extra surprise for those A to Z Challengers

who patiently awaited my “Letter A”:

Moments in Millennia : A Fantasy Anthology Book Trailer by Xchyler Publishing

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThank you for joining me on DAY 1 | A to Z Challenge!

I am a girl named Jorie who loves a story!
I am a bookish library girl on a quest for literary enlightenment!
I am predominately self-taught and library educated!
I am Mademoiselle Jorie!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!

This marks my first post for the:

A to Z Challenge

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, might I add as an observation on Day 1? 

Bless A to Z Challenge for giving me a way to explore my writerly muse! I want to take a moment to *wave!* a bit to my new visitors from the following countries:

United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Greece, India, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, France, & Switzerland! I thank you for dropping by either yesterday on my 1st Blogoversary OR today my first A to Z Challenge!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Would you lament the same as I do?! The brilliance of the revolution of anthologies is to give us a bit of a teaser of a taste of a writer’s style? What do you appreciate the most from reading anthologies!? And, like me, do you ever notice your being pulled towards one author moreso than another!? Do you follow-up your readings of the ‘shorts’ by expanding your knowledge in seeking out full-length novels by the writer who you were hungrily consuming in the collection!? Which writers are most beloved to you right now were originally discovered in an anthology? And, which anthologies do you gravitate to purchase, borrow from the library, or simply sit in a coffeehouse attached to a wicked sweet Indie bookshoppe and peruse!?

{SOURCES: A to Z Challenge Participant & Letter A Badge provided by the A to Z Challenge site for bloggers to use on their individual posts & blogs to help promote the challenge to others.”I Blog Books” badges by Parajunkee Designs is a free resource provided for book bloggers. Cats Are Part of His Kingdom Too devotional tour provided by Editing Through the Seasons and used with permission. Book covers provided by Tomorrow Comes Media & Xchyler Publishing for promotion and review on Jorie Loves A Story; used with permission. The book trailer by Xchyler Publishing had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Comments via Twitter:

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Posted Tuesday, 1 April, 2014 by jorielov in A to Z Challenge, An Editor Point of View, Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Classical Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Mystery, Editing Through The Seasons, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, MidSummer's Night Dream, Multi-Author Serial Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Romance Fiction, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Silver Hair Sleuths, Steampunk, the Regency era, The Writers Life, William Shakespeare, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Advice & Tips, Writing Style & Voice, Xchyler Publishing

+Blog Book Tour+ Reclamation by Jackie Gamber {Book No. 3 of the Leland Dragons series} Dragon Fiction at its best!

Posted Saturday, 8 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Reclaimation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Published By: Seventh Star Press, 19 December 2013
Official Author Websites: Twitter Site
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Leland Dragons Official Website
Artist Page: Matthew Perry @ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio

Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 270

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was simply overjoyed with happiness when I first learnt “Reclamation” was going to release and have its own blog tour! I wasn’t a book blogger when “Redheart” and “Sela” made their rounds through the bookish blogosphere, but I was thankful I could become introduced to “Redheart” and this lovely dragon series all the same in Autumn 2013! I was selected to be a tour stop through Tomorrow Comes Media.  I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Anxious to Read the Exciting Conclusion:

After emerging from the ending of Sela, where all of Dragonkind was on the verge of war, my heart was warm from the realisation that Sela had the ability to transcend the harbinations of ill-thoughts towards both dragons and humans simply by being true to herself. She was of both species and she could live in harmony inside her skin knowing of her heritage. The journey she took was just as important as the revelation revealed inside of Jastin Artmitage, and its their combined path towards freedom from primal fear and desolation that endeavoured to believe the concluding arm of this trilogy of dragon fiction would leave me ruminative and pensive for quite a long while yet to come! My mind is always flickering with afterthoughts from reading the Leland Dragon series, mostly as the characters who are entrenched in the drama encourage your mind to ponder the greater picture of what is happening to them. The whole of the arc rather than merely seeing the individual struggles.

My heart still flutters back to the very beginning, when I first became invested into the lives of Kallon and Riza, as it was the singular moment I had realised that there is truly a niche inside dragon fiction which has captured my heart! I was struck by the breadth of the world-building as much as the genuine dialogue of how dragons live, work, and interact with not only their kind but with the humans who live on the fringes of their societies. Not everything was always roses, mind you, but it was a bit like gathering an insider’s glimpse into a world you never expected to have such an intimate portrait of! As I walked further into their realm, I started to see the similarities and the differences between their culture and the humans they were always afeared to become close too.

And, even though I had resolved this is a trilogy without the hope of a story to be revealed down the road inside this world I’ve hinged my heart too, its with trepidation that I picked up Reclamation! Worried I was not yet ready to let go!

Life gives us trials that we do not even realise we can overcome, much less face until they are presented. Is this why you entitled it “Reclamation”? You reclaimed your gift as your characters reclaimed their home? observation from Jackie Gamber’s Reclamation tour interview by Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story

About the Author | Jackie Gamber

Jackie Gamber

As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!

Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.

The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.

 

On the footsteps of war:

Reclamation by Jackie Gamber | Illustration
Leesa & Jastin attempting escape into Murk Forest
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

As I mentioned in my review of Sela, Gamber has this keen sensibility of bringing the reader full circle through her Leland Dragon series, to where each ending of one installment of the trilogy is a transition into the next! I was not disappointed whilst picking up Reclamation in finding only a few days had passed since the exit of the characters fleeing Riddess Castle! War is bursting onto the page, lit aflame by the re-surging presence of Fordan Blackclaw the villainous dragon of Redheart whose strength to overturn order in exchange for pure chaos is in part due to his comrade in arms Fane Whitetail! Of whom I have rarely mentioned because his motivations are even more vile than his leader; of whom he’d prefer to overtake if given the chance! A mutiny within an insurrection to ensure his own desires for Esra Province and Dragonkind is playing out through the war which has been brought on by ill choices of those who were too blind to see what was encroaching into their lives by those who only acted to deceive!

Keenly written into the opening chapters is the apathy of disinterest amongst the Dragon Counsel to even consider taking action at the first murmurings of war. I appreciated this angle because I think for a lot of wars which erupt out of the shadows of peace, there are those who will always feel indifferent towards change. Towards standing up for what is right no matter the cost of the discourse to follow verse turning the other cheek and hoping for their problems to dematerialise as easily as they were formed.

The theory of time’s fragile fabric knitted together with the internal clockwork of their known world’s pulsebeat was refreshing as it insinuates that all action has its consequences on a higher plane. A bit how in our own realm of living within the sphere of Earth is jolted and disintegrated by industrialism and shifting powers. There is an internal balance to how a living sphere of a world can function and thrive. The more outside influences which disrupt the habitat and makeup of that sphere’s natural origins, the more precarious the situation can grow! We are meant to be caretakers and caregivers of the land bestowed to us, rather than the bullied force of brutality and harshness the land and environs flinch and shirk away from once our presence is known.

My Review of Reclamation:

Reclamation by Jackie Gamber | Ilustration
Jastin Armitage & Kallon Redheart
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Reclamation by definition is the act of reclaiming what was once considered lost yet in its origins of Latin, it’s an exclamation of force against what has been done against you. The two main provinces in the Leland Dragons series are Esra & Leland, yet there is another lesser known area called Murk Forest, which is as elusive to the reader as the Rage Desert; as previously revealed in Sela. As I started to entrench myself into the action of the heated scenes of flight for both Jastin & Leesa, my mind wondered how far the Redheart clan and those who stood with them would have to go to find resolution and peace?!

Fane Whitetail meets his match in Ela Greenscale, who is a defector from Leland Province to aide Blackclaw’s pursuit of ill-willed control over the provinces. In Ela, Whitetail’s equal on levels he never considered, he starts to see that he is not alone in wanting to pursue a path few would understand and the majority would balk against. Whitetail’s true nature and how he identifies his perception of self is explored whilst giving the reader more pause about his principles. Sela is caught in-between the past and the present whilst resolving the future she hopes everyone will be courageous enough to embrace. Her key role is truly the unlocking of the New Age of a new Kind of existence. I tip-toed around this revelation in my review of Sela, as I wanted the element of surprise to be a kiss of joy to the reader. However, without disclosing how Sela is uniquely different from her Kind, I can say, the strength she has within her I believe truly surprises herself at times. She’s a quiet girl with extraordinary gifts who doesn’t always believe in herself the way in which she should. Her heart guides her but at times, it’s the mistrust of her instincts which lead her on a path towards embracing self-confidence.

Drell on the other hand is starting to pull the pieces of his ancestry together whilst embracing the fact his future truly lies in where he finds himself the most at home. He was raised in the Rage Desert yet bourne of Leland ancestry, where he has only just become familiar of. His only connection to Blackclaw is by appearance and blood relation, as where his father’s heart is blackened, Drell’s is empathic.

The morale fiber of dragon culture and the dignity of the humans who live near them is underscored by the inability to see each other as equals rather than as nemesis’s. Each species has always attempted to live without the other interfering into their lives but the true measure of their growth is if they can transcend their fears and walk into an era of contractual peace. Working together rather than against each other, with full acceptance and support.

I loved the exploration of Murkens within Murk Forest, because Gamber has such a gentle hand in giving you reason to draw a breath of pause whilst drinking in the more fantastical elements of her narrative! The Murkens by definition are shapeshifters, but it’s how they are presented that delighted me the most! They are as akin to the natural world as the dragons, living in a quandary of a balance that even they do not fully understand. There is always a hidden depth to the story, which I appreciate more than I may even let on! My mind is always rampant to explore the wholeness of the trilogy whilst caught up in one of the installments!

Gamber forces you to look internally and introspectively as you read her stories, especially in regards to prejudicial inclinations which can do the most harm if they are not seen for what they are. Jastin Armitage’s character goes through the most catalytic changes over the score of the saga. He is the classic hero whose soul was entrapped by rage and prejudice without the foundation of understanding what prompted his innermost hatred. She explores the depth of his character’s ability to emerge out of the darkness and back into a path towards the Light. For me, this is one of the quintessential elements she stitched into the fabric of the Leland Dragons series. To not only present war but to take the harder road as a writer to endeavour to uncover what provoked it from all sides, angles, and hearts. War doesn’t begin on the battlefield afterall, nor does war end in battle.

Peace is always obtainable through forgiveness and love, but it’s how we get to the bridge of acceptance that truly tests the measure of what we can evolve to embrace.

An appreciator of ‘dragon fiction’:

Ever since I was a young child who couldn’t rent a copy of “Pete’s Dragon” enough times to satisfy her need to visit the world in which a kind-hearted dragon resided, I am a girl who always appreciated the connection between humans and dragons. There is a unique bond that sparks inside us when we are innocent and young, towards the animals and creatures who are just out of focus from our view such as dragons, unicorns, fairies, and wood nymphs. The enchanted realms which are coaxed out of our imaginative hearts and the spirit of the unknown being just outside grasp of our reach is what endears us the most to fantasy and the literature which alights their stories into our memories. I always wanted to seek out dragon fiction stories, but part of me was always on the fence knowing if I would find the kind of dragon I could warm up too, like I had whilst watching “Pete’s Dragon”. Redheart & the Leland Dragons series proved that this was not only plausible but possible!

I started an open discussion on my review of “Redheart”, seeking to inspire an on-going conversation about dragons and the literary worlds in which writers have left them behind for us to seek out and find. One day I hope the discussion can get started, but until then, I am seeking dragons as a solo project. I’m looking specifically for writers like Gamber who infuse their narratives with more than mere warfare and darkness, but the transitional arc of true growth, understanding, and enlightenment to where whether you are dragon bourne or humantiscially tethered, you can find a story which ignites the magic and the passion for dragons!

I am an appreciator of dragon fiction who cannot wait to get her hands on the next novel and author who betwitches her fever for devouring more stories! Join with me on Twitter using the hashtag I accidentally created which is featured below! Let us converse, discuss, and discover together!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Join the celebration as you amble through the tour!

{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

Virtual Road Map for “Reclamation” Blog Tour:

Reclamation Tour by Tomorrow Comes Media

Be sure to visit of Jackie Gamber’s posts showcased on JLAS:

Previously, Jorie reviewed “Redheart” (Book 1 of Leland Dragons)
interviewed Ms. Gamber soon thereafter. Before featuring a Character Post from Reclamation’s tour, and a second interview with Ms. Gamber specifically geared towards the Leland Dragons series. She also reviewed “Sela” (Book 2 of Leland Dragons) ahead of posting “Reclamation”.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events page!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Reclamation” by Matthew Perry, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Gamber, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Saturday, 8 March, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Dragon Fiction, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Tomorrow Comes Media, Warfare & Power Realignment, YA Fantasy

+Book Review+ Sela by Jackie Gamber {Book No. 2 of the Leland Dragon series} A dragon series etched on my heart.

Posted Friday, 7 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Sela | Book 2 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Published By: Seventh Star Press, 27 March, 2012
Official Author Websites: Twitter Site
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Leland Dragons Official Website
Artist Page: Matthew Perry
@ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio

Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 308

Genre(s): Fiction | Young Adult Fantasy |

| Dragon Fiction | High Fantasy |

{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

 Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: Whilst signing up to participate in the much-anticipated blog tour for “Reclamation” the third book in the Leland Dragon series, through Tomorrow Comes Media;  I requested receiving “Sela” in order to read the series in sequence.  I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press, without obligation to post a review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read: Ever since I left the world of Redheart, I have ached to return to the Leland Province and resume the story where I had left off at the conclusion of the first installment of a trilogy still in the making. It’s the type of story whose world-building scope pulls you into its heart and allows time to dissolve behind you and away from you. You long to know more about the characters, both good and bad you’ve become acquainted with due to the journey you’ve taken with them throughout Redheart‘s debut! I knew it would be possible to read Reclamation without Sela, but a part of me felt it was crucial not to break the continuity of this particular dragon fiction series as it might in effect change my perception and interaction with the characters within the bookend conclusion! I am thankful that I was given a chance to resume through Sela before arriving at the series finale and conclusion!

I had hoped to re-read Redheart, prior to reading both Sela & Reclamation, however, a severe cold and pollen allergy compounded my misery to where I could not pick up any books nor read even one chapter of these dear books until the very week I had re-scheduled my review for the Reclamation Tour! Therefore, in order to help my mind and heart re-adjust back into the rhythm Gamber created, I backtracked to Chapter Forty-Nine in Redheart before proceeding!

About the Author | Jackie Gamber

Jackie Gamber

As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award-winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

Book Synopsis:

Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland’s mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that’s not all.

Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.

In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland’s Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back.

Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected.

In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?

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Sela: Dragon or Human?
Reclamation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Sela being lifted by her father Kallon Redheart; whilst Drell hides below in the forest hidden from view
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

I must confess the cover-art for Sela did originally have me questioning the merits of Riza and Kallon’s daughter being either dragon OR human as the image eludes to a possible paradox between the two versions. As I entered this chapter of the Leland Dragons series, I was happily confronted with a character that had me twitching with excitement, as Sela is as much as a spitfire as her mother as she is a determined spirit like her father! She is the perfect blend of her parents passions and abilities. Seeing Orman Thistleby step in as her guardian Uncle was a pure delight as well! Sela’s struggle for understanding her identity and the manner in which her body changed brought me back to her mother’s journey, where nothing was quite as it seemed but everything was aligning in the way it was meant to be. The hardest struggles in anyone’s life is the acceptance of the circumstances that we cannot readily understand or see how those moments can help define who we are meant to become.

Each time I read a passage where Sela was attempting to sort out her ‘humanness’ reminded me fondly of other fantastical stories where a character wanted either to be more human or less, depending on their point of view of human behaviour and action. Seeing her sketched out as an artist felt fitting because it would make sense that the daughter Redheart would see the world through artistic eyes. She would be given the gift of seeing the beauty in everything rather than being caught in the fear of living in the moment of uncertainty.

My Review of Sela:
Reclamation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Sela flees the raging storm of the Rage Desert; having been brought there to perish for a crime she didn’t commit
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Time has passed a bit quicker than I had hoped in the Leland Province, as Sela the daughter of Kallon & Riza Redheart is already well on her way to being an independent and spirited young lady. Her struggles with understanding the human side of her ancestry is fitting, as part of what endeared me to Redheart was the ability of seeing Gamber’s empathy for exploring the inner crisis of who we are verse our perception of who we are. The undercurrents of which I enjoyed in the first part of this trilogy because it gave a layer of depth to both Kallon and Riza. In the opening chapters, we are not only entranced with young Sela’s plight as a human, but are on the fringes of understanding the full scope of young Brownwing’s daughter’s son (Drell), who in this installment has been cast to the Desert Dragons rather than having taken residence amongst his peers in the Leland mountains.

I appreciate the slow etching of the story to fill in the density of hours as I drink in the gaps between my last visit and now. So much has changed for the dragons and the humans, but a lot has remained the same. There is still a definitive disconnect between the two species, as much as there is an insurrection for containment and control of power. The words which are infused to bring us back into the natural raw beauty of the Leland mountains made me hungry for walking amongst my own natural environs. The longer one takes away from the bond they share with the natural world, the more one’s spirit needs rejuvenation! In this way, I could understand fully the aching Sela felt each time she was pulled quite forcibly to exit the mountains of her home.

Gladdis is first introduced whilst Sela is escorted to the castle for the sorting for the Venur’s marriage ceremony. I like her spunky personality as she rolls with the punches life hands her. Gladdis is the type of instantaneous friend you hope to find whilst caught up in a sea of intrigue! She is the perfect companion for Sela, due to the fact she too has a rebel streak inside her and doesn’t yet know of her true destiny. The fact she hails from the same village as Sela’s mother is kismet. Her inability to understand the plight of dragons and their fight for freedom from being hunted tests the merits of how strong their friendship can truly bond.

Jastin Armitage makes his appearance in this story as a begruffled and aging dragon hunter, jaded beyond repair with a chip on his shoulder whilst caught up in his brother-in-law’s schemes. The fact his heart can still be stirred by memories of Riza is quite encouraging because by all other accounts it would appear he has preferred to be a hermit and recluse, keeping away from society and icing over his heart. His character was the most intriguing to me because he was always torn between conventional standards and the will of his own soul.

Sela | Book 2 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Orman Thistleby seeking an advantage of truth within the crystal as he makes his way to Riddess Castle
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Destiny isn’t always an easy thing to reconcile. Following your heart and listening to both reason and instinctive murmurings inside your own soul is tempered by the lives of others who are drawn onto your path. What once would appear quite clear to pursue as far as yielding to your own desires, might grow complicated once others are entreated alongside you. Such is the case with Sela, finding her world wrapped around the delicacies of insurrection by proxy default of a man bent on revenge intermixed with greed. The Venur’s only motivation towards marrying a Leland woman is to reclaim the territory of both Esra and Leland Province to fill his own selfish desire for ultimate power and wealth. Yet she is drawn into his sinister plan by the misguided magical interference of a wizard who loses her confidence as soon as Orman Thistleby is within a whisper of a breath from her. Layce is the kind of wizard you feel pity for rather than spite.

Adversaries of the past have a funny way of coming back into your life when you’d rather continue to move forward and away from past transgressions. Blackclaw was one of the most vile and villainous characters I have come across in recent years, and aptly plays the part of a coal-hearted dragon whose scales of pitch black match his inside conscience. Blackclaw is a stealthy calculating adversary of whom Kallon Redheart had every right to fear.  The joy of reading the Leland Dragons series is being a step ahead and behind where the center heart of the story is leading you. Just as you’ve thought you’ve sorted out how everything will start to unfold and ebb back into its natural rhythm you’re thrown for an unexpected revelation you didn’t quite see coming, yet felt somehow could be plausible. When Sela first met Bannon, I felt a hitching inside of me. I could not quite put my finger on what made myself twitch with anticipation but as the chapters shifted forward a beautiful surprise was awaiting me! Drell’s own history and place in Dragonkind kept me glued to the page, as I wanted to see exactly how he differed from his father by the influence of his mother.

In order to examine the heart of your adversary you  have to first question the motives of your own. For Jastin Armitage his inner demons overshadowed the truth he was unwilling to see until it was nearly too late to forgive. Blindness through ignorance is one of the greatest strife’s of all, because it is only through willingness to see what we have blocked out of view of our inner spirit that can give us the freedom from what binds us. True redemption can only be achieved through the purity of one’s remorse.

The best stories are the ones in which the writer endeavours us to draw pensive at the conclusion of the story, and allow the embers of the text re-ignite inside our minds. Turnt over and over until the light of their hidden truths and etchings of character frailties wash over us with a renewed sense of understanding. I love the depth of the Leland Dragon series for it gives such a hearty rendering of the choices we make, not only as citizens of a country or province, but the choices our leaders make which have a direct effect on those who live in their kingdoms. This is a universal story which is not tethered nor limited to dragons. The only limitations are those of the reader who might not want to see what is left behind in the annuls of the dragon’s histories presented in the trilogy.

A compliment on continuity:

Gamber does a wonderful job at fusing together the continuity of the story from the ending chapters of Redheart to the beginnings of Sela! Whilst reading about how the library of the dragon scrolls came into being through the graceful design of Riza, gave me the impression that everything that had been left unresolved in the first book, would re-emerge and transform before my eyes in the second! I love when writers give such a hearty second installment as though we had never actually left the world in which the story resides! We simply pick up where we left off, re-attach ourselves into the fabric of the timescape, and slowly hope for the best resolutions for the characters who are already beloved, as much as the newer characters we are just forming an acquaintance!

I love the architecture of the settings as well, as Gamber uses old techniques of aged wood and carvings to paint the setting in which everything takes place with an ancient feeling of familiarity. Even in Esra Province whilst trapped inside the Venur’s castle compound, there is a rich history lit aflame inside the cavernous walls and passageways. I loved the insertion of both hidden from view entryways and the sunken from sight secret passages. It was always a dream of mine to have a bevy of secret passages inside of a home, so this always plays into the dream of my own yearnings!

And, the way in whichGamber chooses to have the forest and smells of the woods resonate on the tips of your nose, makes you want to abandon the book for a short spell whilst digging your toes into the earth right outside your own window!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Previously, Jorie reviewed “Redheart” (Book 1 of Leland Dragons) and
interviewed Ms. Gamber soon thereafter. Before featuring a Character Post from Reclamation’s tour, and a second interview with Ms. Gamber specifically geared towards the Leland Dragons series.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting:
Seventh Star Presson my Bookish Events page!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Sela” and illustrations by Matthew Perry, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Gamber, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission.  Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 7 March, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Dragon Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, High Fantasy, Seventh Star Press, Supernatural Fiction, YA Fantasy