Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unbound by J.B. Simmons - Review

Unbound Cover - J.B. SimmonsHe must be released for a little while.
But the one who sees doesn’t believe.

Elijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore. Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter’s Basilica? He’s never even been to Rome.

It’s bad timing, too. He’s graduating soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency. That’s where he meets Naomi. She’s the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets. Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean? There’s more to their sparks than they think.

This is 2066, the year the world ends.


My Thoughts:

From page one, J.B. Simmons draws us into the world of Elijah Goldsmith, a rich kid who could have anything he wanted, be anything he wanted, and chooses to try for the life of a spy with the International Security Agency.

But just when he thinks he’s got his life planned out to perfection, an unexpected event throws him into a tailspin. So much of what he thought he knew turns out to be false … and so much of what he was convinced had to be false appears to be unbelievably true.

You can’t help but sympathize with him.

“I never liked the easy path,” I said. “It’s too boring, too weak. By joining ISA, I get a chance to make a difference, to fight the decay, to become part of something bigger.”

Unbound, J.B. Simmons

Unbound is a fast-paced story with a fair bit of action, fascinating technology, and enough mysteries to keep your interest piqued. It covers a good deal of ground in a short amount of time—because of that you’re sure to keep turning pages to keep up with the story.

It was an easy and enjoyable book to read. I don’t mean to imply that the writing was lacking by any means, simply that it was easy to plop down on the couch, pick up the book, and get lost for a couple of chapters before I realized I had other things I had to do.

There were times, though, when I felt like the story was a bit too rushed. I wasn’t sure I completely understood the International Security Agency—perhaps by design, since they dealt with spies—but I felt like I could have used a little more explanation as to what their role actually was. It may just be me as well, but I’m not sure I really got Naomi and Elijah’s “love” for one another. It struck me as just a bit too much, too fast.

I’ll freely admit to being a bit squeamish when it comes to books that interpret end time prophecy—just not my personal cup of tea. But I do encourage you to study the book of Revelations for yourself and to remember that this is a work of fiction meant to speculate, not chart out the order of events.

There was also one major thing that happened to one of the main characters toward the end of the book that left me decidedly uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be interpreted as a bad or a good thing, and maybe that was supposed to be part of the mystery, but it still left me with an unsettled feeling.

All in all, Unbound was a great and enjoyable start to a new series! If you enjoy fast-paced YA books with a romantic subplot, you should certainly check it out on Amazon, read a sample chapter here, or and visit the author’s website!

Friday, November 14, 2014

For Your Reading Pleasure…

cyrano de bergerac

I remain busy at my desk (ahem, comfy chair) each evening working on book two in the Songkeeper Chronicles, and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several blogs for interviews or guest posts over the past month and a half since Orphan’s Song released.

But in the meantime, my ability to keep posts flowing on this blog has greatly diminished. Poor Alexander, Fate, and Destiny have been stuck with Wizard Doomsday in the Plucky Lass for far too long … never fear, I fully intend to return to their story in the near future.

(Unfortunately, I hear they’re still working on that mysterious time multiplication machine that would enable people to be in two places at once, accomplishing twice as much as normal—but I am at the top of the list once the technology is realized!)

For now however, I wanted to link to several of the interviews and guest posts I have done for your reading pleasure until I can get a real, honest-to-goodness post ready to go up here.


Turn it Beautiful (on Angie Brasheer’s blog)

A post about writing through the hard times in life to turn the pain into beauty.

“The speculative fiction genre is all about the grand “what ifs.” Using imagination and the ability to speculate to “create” in imitation of the Creator. But it’s hard to imagine what could be when what is presses in on your senses, so dark and heavy and close.”


The Stories that Shape Us and the Characters that Change Us (on J.L. Mbewe’s blog)

A post about how the books we read in childhood can shape who we become…

“My favorite characters became more than just characters, and more than just a child’s imaginary friends. They became me and I became them … And as I devoured book after book, the stories I loved and the characters I admired seeped beneath my skin and left an indelible mark on who I am today.”


Interview with Angie Brashear

Y’all know me as a writer, horse-rider, and fantasy lover from Texas, but that doesn’t completely sum it up. In this fun interview, I reveal three random facts you almost certainly didn’t know about me…


Interview with Lisa Godfrees

Lots of fun questions here about music, whether I am a Christian Author or an Author of Christian Fiction, and secret backstories.


Interview with the Scriblerians

Find out which character in Orphan’s Song is most like me and why … You might be surprised!


That’s it for now, but there will be more posts coming soon!

And if you haven’t entered yet, be sure to enter the giveaway on Goodreads and enter a photo in the Epic Photo Contest!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Orphan's Song by Gillian Bronte Adams

Orphan's Song

by Gillian Bronte Adams

Giveaway ends November 24, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win
Epic Photo Contest

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Orphan’s Song Epic Photo Contest

One simply cannot have enough contests and prizes and giveaways in my humble opinion. The last prizes for the launch contest have been shipped off, so I think it’s high time for another contest!

So, we’re launching the Orphan’s Song Epic Photo Contest … because who doesn’t love epic photos and Amazon gift cards?

Yep, you read that right. There is a $20.00 Amazon giftcard at stake here!

Epic Photo Contest 2

Guidelines:

The contest runs until December 3rd.

To enter, take a picture of your copy of Orphan’s Song and post it somewhere online – your blog, facebook, pinterest, twitter, etc.

You must either tag me in the picture, leave a comment with a workable link, or send a link to my email at thesongkeeper@gmail.com.

At the end of the contest, I will compile all of the pictures into an album where everyone will have the chance to vote on the most epic photo to select the winner of a $20.00 Amazon gift card.

(Important Note: by sending me the photo link, you acknowledge that you grant me permission to post your photo in an online album for contest purposes.)

Frequently-Asked-Questions:

  • What if I got the ebook instead of the paperback? Can I still enter?

Absolutely! Take a picture with the cover showing on your ereader! Ebooks are awesome, so we definitely won’t let something like that stop you from entering the contest.

  • Do I have to be in the picture?

Nope, you do not have to be in the picture if you would prefer not to plaster your gorgeous face online. Simply take a picture of your book in an epic setting—see my photo above.

  • What do you mean by an “epic” photo?

I’m hoping that y’all will have fun with the contest and take pictures of the book in all sorts of adventurous settings, costumes, lightings, backdrops, etc. In short, be creative! Have fun! Use your imagination and try to convey a little bit of the adventurous feel of the story in your photo.

The sky’s the limit here!

Have fun and happy photo-taking!

If you have any other questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back as quickly as I can.

Don’t have a copy of Orphan’s Song yet? You’re in luck. I’m currently running a giveaway on Goodreads and it’s super easy to enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Orphan's Song by Gillian Bronte Adams

Orphan's Song

by Gillian Bronte Adams

Giveaway ends November 24, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, November 3, 2014

Winners Announced

First off, I want to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart to everyone who entered the Launch Contest and helped spread the word about Orphan’s Song! We had a whopping 580 entries earned during the contest! Each point earned equaled another time your name was entered into the drawing, and the winners were selected at random this morning!

Drumroll please

Birdie's Prize Bundle Collage

And the winner of Birdie’s prize is Deborah O’Carroll

Ky's Prize Bundle Collage

The winner of Ky’s prize bundle is Allison Ruvidich

Amos' Prize Bundle Collage 3

And the winner of Amos’s prize bundle is Ghost Ryter

Winners please email your mailing address to thesongkeeper@gmail.com to claim your prize in the next 48 hours. Congratulations! Thanks for your help telling folks about Orphan’s Song!

Didn’t win this time? Never fear. There will be plenty of other opportunities to win giveaways and prizes in the future.

Follow my blog and like my facebook page to stay tuned for more information about the Orphan’s Song Epic Photo Contest and upcoming Goodreads giveaways if you haven’t yet received a copy of Orphan’s Song.

If you have read and enjoyed the book, consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads or telling a friend what you liked about it. Word of mouth is one of the best ways you can help an author.

Thanks all!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Backpage Pass—Amos McElhenny

Well, folks, we’re down to the wire! These are your last few days to enter the Launch Contest and Prize Giveaway for Orphan’s Song. If you haven’t entered yet, it’s super easy to earn entries, and you don’t want to miss out on a chance to win one of the three awesome prizes!

(See the original post here: Orphan’s Song Launch Contest and Prize Giveaway.)

In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to a character who quickly became one of my favorites to write…

Backpage Pass - Amos2

Amos hefted the larger of the two packs and slung it over one shoulder. He took a deep breath, puffing out his chest. “We’ve supplies aplenty, the wind at our backs, and the open road before our feet. What more could a man wish for?” – Orphan’s Song

Amos editedAmos McElhenny was a part of the story from the very beginning. Before there was a plot or a problem, the character of the traveling peddler existed somewhere in the back of my brain, complete with his brogue, penchant for imaginative insults, and his stubborn donkey Balaam.

Half Waveryder by birth, Amos hails from a little sea-side village called Bryllhyn on the west coast of Leira. A man of many talents, he considers his skill with a dirk and most long range weapons second only to his mastery of the insult. One does not with to engage him in a battle of the tongue.

As a traveling peddler, Amos and his pack-donkey Balaam have visited many an inn, eaten at many a tavern, and stopped off at many a small town. He’s a man who’s been everywhere, seen it all, and experienced just about everything there is to experience. So you can hardly blame him for having an over-developed sense of his own rightness and a high regard for his own opinion.

But with all the places he’s visited, there’s one inn outside of one small town where he always returns: the Sylvan Swan in Hardale.

T’was at the Sylvan Swan that he met his wee lass, Birdie, and t’was there all his troubles began. Again …

Amos edited (2)

ADOI - Boggswoggle

Have you read Orphan’s Song yet? If so, who is your favorite character?

Be sure to check out the other Backpage Pass Posts and be watching for more posts in the future: Ky Huntyr, Birdie.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Orphan’s Song Launch Contest and Prize Giveaway–Week 3 Incentive

Incentive #2

Something happened last week. I’m sure of it. I honestly don’t remember what. But whatever it was happened to be of such epic magnitude that I didn’t get around to putting up a Week 2 incentive for the contest.

So we’re skipping Week 2 and moving straight on to Week 3, for the simple reason that time somehow keeps marching on even when things get crazy. Go figure.

I have a fun challenge for y’all this week. (For a full list of prizes and ways to enter the contest, read the original post: Orphan’s Song Launch Contest and Prize Giveaway.)

The paperback copies of Orphan’s Song are finally here! So if you preordered a copy through Kickstarter or Amazon, or logged on the other day and ordered a copy, it should be coming soon, if it hasn’t already arrived!

As soon as my copies arrived, I stuck one on the shelf beside the books belonging to some of my favorite authors and couldn’t resist taking a picture.

photo 1 (2) - edited

So for this challenge, I’m inviting you to take a picture as well! That’s right, it’s the EPIC PHOTO CONTEST. How does it work? Simple.

Take a picture of yourself with your paperback or ebook copy of Orphan’s Song at any point in time between now and the end of the Launch Contest, November 1st, post it on facebook, pinterest, or your blog, and earn 10 entry points.

Easy, right?

But wait, there’s more.

Orphan’s Song is a fantasy adventure … and who doesn’t like epic, adventurous photos! So, as a part of the EPIC PHOTO CONTEST, you can also email a copy of your photo to thesongkeeper@gmail.com to be entered in an additional contest for a $20 Amazon gift card. When you email me the photo, you’re giving me permission to also post it online (on facebook, my blog, twitter, or pinterest) and ask readers to vote on the most epic, adventurous photo to determine the winner.

Note: This portion of the contest will continue until the middle of November, but if you want entry points for the Launch Contest, you’ll need to post your picture before November 1st.

Sound fun?

A photographer I am not, but here’s one I took to get y’all started!

 Epic Photo Contest

Friday, October 17, 2014

Backpage Pass: Ky Huntyr

Backpage Pass - Ky2

“There were three simple rules in the Underground: be invisible, look out for yourself, and no going back. Ever. They all added up to the same thing: Keep up or get left behind.” – Orphan’s Song

Ky editedKy Huntyr—thief, runner, member of the Underground—began as one of those surprise characters that pop out of nowhere and force their way onto the page. I had no more clue beforehand that he was planning on entering the story, than Bilbo had about the party he was hosting for thirteen dwarves and a wizard before the unexpected knock at the door.

But once Ky arrived, I soon realized that he had come to stay and was going to provide an integral part of the story that became Orphan’s Song.

With his aptitude for the sling and his penchant for jumping into trouble to save others, Ky occasionally reminded me of David the shepherd boy from the Bible. Not entirely sure why, but who among us can really explain the random paths our brains take?

Care to know a secret? (In a very early draft, I even included a David and Goliath-esque scene in which Ky’s slingstones felled a much larger and highly dangerous opponent. It made me happy. Sadly, said scene no longer exists…)

Ky is one of my favorite characters—right up there with Birdie and Amos—and I enjoy writing in his point of view because he tends to look at things a tad different from other folks.

Ky edited1

He’s humble. He’s not always convinced that he’s in the right—because let’s face it, that can get downright annoying—and even when he is, he struggles just like the rest of us with going against the flow of popular opinion. But when push comes to shove, he’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes or for those who are in danger.

Despite the hardness of the world he lives in, Ky still cares.

There are a lot of numb characters in fiction today. Characters who are so broken and beaten and bloodstained that they can’t feel anymore, let alone truly care for anyone else. And that’s realistic. When you go through something so challenging, you can begin to feel like every ounce of energy has been consumed and you don’t have anything to give anyone else.

But what I love about Ky is that he’s not afraid to keep caring, fighting, and doing what he thinks is right against all odds.

And that—I think—is what made Ky real and heroic to me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Backpage Pass—Birdie

Backpage Pass - Birdie2

“Soft as a whisper, the melody crept toward her, banishing the midnight fears and easing the ache of loneliness. It wrapped around her, the comforting embrace of a friend. Dangerous, Amos had said. Unnatural. But dangerous or not, it was all she had. Birdie slipped into the mysterious melody and allowed it to carry her to sleep at last.” – Orphan’s Song

Birdie edited2 When I first started writing Orphan’s Song, I had little more than a name—Birdie—and the barest smidgeon of an idea. I knew Birdie was an orphan, that she lived at an inn, and that she heard a melody that no one else could.

But beyond that I had no more idea where the story was going than the next random citizen on the street.

Out of all the characters populating the by-ways and back-roads of Leira, Birdie probably changed the most over the course of the many drafts and revisions the novel went through before the end.

But there were some things that didn’t change.

From the beginning, I knew who Birdie is—even if it took me a while to figure out how to best portray it. She’s got a heart bigger than Dunfaen Forest, and a sweet spirit matched only by her courage and the ability to keep on keeping on. She is teachable, but not a push over. When she believes something is worth the fight, her backbone grows harder and straighter than a zoar tree—something that frustrates poor Amos to no end.

Birdie is all these things and so much more.

But at the heart of it all, she is a lost little girl just searching for a place to belong.

Birdie edited4

Most of us aren’t orphans doomed to a life of drudgery at the local inn. Most of us know our own history … know our parents … have a name we can call our own.

But at the same time, I feel like most of us can relate to Birdie’s desire to know where she fits in the world. We want to know our place, to feel at home, to know where we belong, and how we can contribute.

This is what made Birdie feel real to me as I wrote her, and I hope it will help make her feel real to you as well.

Birdie with quote

 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Orphan’s Song Launch Contest and Prize Giveaway–Week 1 Incentive

Well folks, it’s been one week already since the start of the Launch Contest for Orphan’s Song, and so far, there’s been an overwhelming response!

So I want to start by extending a big thank you to everyone who’s entered in so far.

If you haven’t entered yet, or you haven’t earned all the entry points you can yet, be sure to check out the original contest post here: Orphan’s Song Launch Contest and Prize Giveaway. You can continue to earn easy entry points for a better chance at having your name drawn as the winner until the contest ends on November 1st!

In the meantime, because it’s been one week, it’s time for the first Contest Incentive!

Week 1 Contest Incentive

This week, we’re going to take Social Media by storm. Here are several super easy ways you can earn extra points! Just be sure to either comment with links or drop me an email at thesongkeeper@gmail.com so I can make sure to add your entries to the tally.

  • Like my facebook page and earn 5 entries! This is a great place to stay in touch with me, stay up to date on upcoming books and writing, and chat about fantasy, books, and characters. Comment and let me know that you liked it.
  • Post on facebook inviting a friend to my facebook page, telling others about Orphan’s Song, or sharing news about the contest! Earn 5 entries for each post. (Don’t forget to send me the link!)
  • Add Orphan’s Song on Goodreads and earn 3 entries. Add me as a friend and get an additional entry for a total of 4 entries. Leave a comment letting me know.
  • Follow me on Twitter and earn 3 entries. Leave a comment letting me know. Tweet about Orphan’s Song or the contest and earn an additional entry!
  • Mention Orphan’s Song in a blog post and earn 5 entries. Send me the link!
  • Review Orphan’s Song somewhere online and earn 10 entries—points increased for this week only! Email me a link to your review.
  • If you have an idea and you’re not sure if it counts or not, leave a comment and I’ll let you know!

    Monday, October 6, 2014

    Plenilune Cover Reveal—Jennifer Freitag

    Being an avid book collector ravenous book devourer, I’m always on the lookout for more books to add to my already overflowing shelves. (I swear the last time I moved I had more boxes of books than anything else.)

    So I’m always beyond excited to hear of the arrival of new books in a genre that fascinates me. And when word reached my ear that Jennifer Freitag, blogger at the Penslayer, was publishing one of her novels, I eagerly jumped at the chance to participate in the cover reveal.

    And isn’t it just gorgeous?

    Copy of Plenilune Frontal Art

    A BIT ABOUT THE BOOK:

    The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war. To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her. En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

    A BIT ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    JENNIFER FREITAG lives with her husband in a house they call Clickitting, with their two cats Minnow and Aquila, and their own fox kit due to be born in early December. Jennifer writes in no particular genre because she never learned how, she is make of sparks like Boys of Blur, and if she could grasp the elements, she would bend them like lightning. Until then, she sets words on fire. Living with her must be excruciating.

    ODDS AND ENDS

    Plenilune belongs to the planetary fantasy genre—if you’re not quite sure what that means, the author wrote up a description here: What is Planetary Fantasy? From the snippets I’ve seen posted on the Penslayer blog, I can say that Jennifer Freitag is a master of the written word and an artist with language, and I simply can’t wait to read this book.

    You’ll definitely want to add Plenilune on Goodreads and mark the release date in red on your calendar. In the meantime, stop by the Penslayer and get a taste of the author’s exquisite gift with words. 

    Plenilune comes October 20th!