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Open Road Media Releases Victoria Strauss Popular Fantasy E-book Titles + Tweet to Win

E-book Release of Two Victoria Strauss Titles: The Burning Land and The Awakened City

straussburningland_132340842247The Burning Land by Victoria Strauss was released as an e-book for the first time on February 24th, 2014, along with its sequel, The Awakened City! They were first published in 2004 and 2006 to fantasy lovers rave reviews.

In honor of this e-book publication, there is a giveaway happening for a short time in which if you buy The Burning Land, you can enter to win its sequel! See more below about it, right after the excerpt!

In The Burning Land, Gyalo is a devout priest—but he is also a Shaper, a powerful mage with magic unchecked by the law or religion. Sent across the desert to recover refugees from a vicious war, he soon learns a shocking truth that may destroy him and everyone he holds dear.

Victoria Strauss, who holds a degree in Comparative Religion, builds a unique world both religious and fantastical, culminating in “a deeply felt and richly imagined tale that explores issues of faith, destiny and the fallibility of human nature” (Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Dart).

Strauss, a one-time judge for the World Fantasy Awards, is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Passion Blue series. A prolific book reviewer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, among other magazines. In 2009, she received the Service to SFWA Award for co-founding Writer Beware, a publishing industry tell-all guide for writers.

See more: www.victoriastrauss.com

Excerpt~

After four months of travel, they came to the most hostile landscape they had yet encountered: a vast plain of pebbles packed flat and hard as pavement, polished by time and the elements to the reflectiveness of glass. A wind blew off it, like the breath of a furnace. Even the most desolate of the dunes had supported some vegetation, but there was none here, nor any other sign of life. Far away at the southern horizon, a range of twilight-colored mountains poked up into the sky, some of them showing the flattened cone-shape of volcanoes.

The party made camp, while Teispas dispatched scouts to survey the terrain. They returned exhausted and sunburned, with tales of infernal temperatures and light so intense they had to bind their eyes. They had traveled for two days, and seen no sign of change.

There seemed no choice but to try and go around. To the east the plain curved north, so the party turned west. After a day and a half the plain’s margin dipped sharply south, and the mountains drew closer, revealing fold after fold of fire-colored cliffs descending from their flanks. Now, suddenly, the Dreamers’ Dreams acquired definition, producing an array of symbols that, according to Rikoyu, meant human life and work–still south, somewhere beyond the pebble plain.

They had, it seemed, found the lost Âratists.

But the plain ran on, and scouts sent ahead reported no end in sight. After a week of this, Teispas called a meeting. He and his second in command, Aspâthnes, were present, as were Gyalo, Rikoyu, and Vâsparis. Outside, the sun was slipping over the edge of the world in a glory of gold and orange cloud; its fading light filtered through the canvas of Teispas’s tent, enveloping the men in a ruddy gloom.

“We’re sure now that what we’ve been sent to find lies on the other side of that plain,” Teispas began. “Probably in those mountains. Do you agree, Brother Rikoyu?”

“Yes,” said Rikoyu hoarsely. He looked terrible, his hollow cheeks covered with an unkempt beard, his scalp patchy where skin rashes had caused his hair to fall out.

“But it’s been over a week, and still the plain goes on. And the Dreamers have begun to lose focus again.”

Rikoyu nodded.

“We have supplies for only a year. We’ve been traveling more than four months, and it’ll take us at least that long to return–longer, if the lost Âratists are with us. We have no time to waste. But that is exactly what we’re doing–wasting time. For all we know, this ash-cursed plain goes all the way to the sea.” He paused. Like all of them, he had lost flesh; he had not had much to spare to begin with, and now was gaunt as a ghost, his clothing hanging on him, his skin stretched tight over the bones of his face. With his tangled hair and overgrown beard, he looked like a castaway rather than the leader of a military expedition. “We must try and scout a crossing.”

For a moment there was silence.

“There’s bad places in the Burning Land, but no place crueler than the pebble plains.” Vâsparis sat crosslegged, his hands resting on his knees, self-contained and easy as always. Of all of them, the journey had changed him least, for he had been whip-thin and sun-black long before it began. “There’s a little one west of Thuxra City. My partner and I tried to cross it once, but we had to turn back. ‘Twasn’t for lack of supplies or water–it was the heat. The sun pounds down on those stones till you’d swear you were frying on a griddle.”

“We can travel at night, and take shelter by day.”

“That’s fine for men.” Vâsparis shrugged. “But what about the camels? Nothing for ’em to eat or drink out there. They can go maybe ten days like that–and only if there’s good forage at the end of it.”

“We can’t carry more than ten days’ supply of water in any case,” Teispas said. “So their limit and ours is the same. We’ve seen rain clouds above the mountains–it seems likely there’s good land there. The scouts can try at the most southern point, where the Dreamers’ Dreams were strongest. If they can break through in eight days, it shouldn’t take the main party more than ten.”

“And if the scouts can’t break through?” asked Aspâthnes, Teispas’ second. “Or if they don’t return?”

“Then we’ll move on and try another route. And if that one doesn’t work, another.” Teispas fixed Aspâthnes with a hard black gaze. A strained quality had come upon him over the past weeks, a kind of wire-strung tension, as if the barrier of the plain was finally more than his stoic endurance could support. “And if that one doesn’t work, I’ll concede defeat, and we can go back to slogging along the edge of this bloody plain, until our supply situation forces us to turn tail and go back to Arsace without completing the mission that right now, this moment, is finally within our reach.”

“Very well,” Aspâthnes said. “If the scouts can cross in eight days, and find good land at the exit point, I agree it should be tried.”

“And you, Brother.” Teispas turned that gaze upon Gyalo. “What do you think?”

The question was only a courtesy–Gyalo was in charge of the vowed Âratists, but he had no voice in the mission’s command, and any disagreement would be overruled. But he did not disagree. Since the Dreamers had begun to Dream, a blazing excitement had filled him. He was as impatient as Teispas to break past this final barrier and confront the truth they had sought so long.

“Crossing will be risky,” he said. “But every day we travel the Burning Land is a risk. I agree we should try to find a way.”

“Good.” Teispas’s nod was approving. He looked toward Aspâthnes. “See to it. Two men. They’ll leave this night. We’ll follow in the morning.”

The scouts departed, with four camels and ample water. The main party came on at a slower pace, until they found the red and gold marker the scouts had planted at the point at which they had decided to try a crossing. There was good camping close by, a small oasis where water bubbled up to form a pool and a grove of ghost oaks cast a whispering shade.

The party waited, using the time to patch tents and clothing and repair frayed harness, and to increase their food stores by hunting the large lizards Vâsparis called greenback dragons. On the fifteenth day the scouts emerged, exhausted but triumphant, to report that it had taken them seven nights to reach the far side of the pebble plain, and that verdant land such as they had not seen in all their months of travel waited on the other side.

They set out the night after the scouts’ return. The water barrels were full. Inessential items–spare canvas, clothing, cooking pots, the remaining marker posts–had been unloaded and left behind, and the difference made up with green fodder for the camels, to buy extra crossing time should it be needed.

They rode till dawn beneath the cold-starred sky. The waxing moon stared down, a half-closed eye; around them the plain lay flat and featureless, glistening with reflected moonlight like a plaque of beaten silver. There were no variations, no landmarks, nothing at all with which to measure motion–a monotony as difficult to bear, in its way, as any physical hardship.

At dawn they halted. Looking back, Gyalo could see no trace of their starting point, nor any sign of the land ahead other than the hazy mountains. Tent pegs could not be driven among the packed stones, so they spread the canvas of their tents across the camel-saddles, and beneath this low shelter passed the broiling day. Gyalo dozed and woke and dozed again, tangled in dreams of fire and suffocation. When evening came, the blankets he had lain on were soaked with sweat, and the stone of the plain burned his feet through the soles of his boots.

The camels bore up well for the two nights the fodder lasted, and for two foodless, waterless nights after that. On the fifth night they began to slow, raising the possibility that the journey might take longer than the nine nights Teispas had estimated. The water allowance was reduced (except for the Dreamers, for whom nothing was ever rationed); the thirsty men grumbled, but were not ready to listen to Vâsparis when he suggested, seriously, that they drink their own urine–a survival technique, he claimed, that more than once had made the difference between life and death for him.

At sunset on the seventh night, the travelers crawled from their sweaty burrows to begin the labor of saddling and loading. Gyalo was unhobbling Cirsame–not that she really needed hobbling, for she was by now too depleted to wander–when he heard a shout:

“Look! Over there!”

It was one of the camel handlers. He stood beside the water barrels, pointing south, toward a peculiar disturbance in the sky. Above the plain the air was trembling, shimmering like the heat-haze above a sunstruck rock. The margins of this area were blurred with iridescence.

“What do you think it is?” Sittibaal, who had spread his canvas nearby, came to stand beside Gyalo.

“I don’t know. It reminds me–”

“Of what?”

Gyalo shook his head. What it recalled to him, strangely, was Shaper sight: the air around a substance about to be transformed often looked just so.

Faintly came a long roll of thunder. Storm clouds, thick and gray and turbulent, began to unfold at the disturbance’s center, slowly compounding and enlarging. They pulsed and shook with sullen lightning. A swirling irregularity appeared at the storm’s eastern edge; after a moment a column of cloud slid smoothly downward, like a long black finger. It touched down, lifted, touched again.

“I’ve never seen a storm like that,” Sittibaal said. “Have you?”

“No. No, I haven’t.”

For a while they stood watching as the cloud-finger investigated the ground, sweeping east, then west, then slowly east again, almost as if some invisible hand were shepherding it. At last they returned to their preparations. Gyalo had forced Cirsame to kneel and was loading her when the thunder suddenly boomed louder. He looked up and saw the storm had grown, eating up much of the southern sky. It was still expanding, the clouds swelling, the black column engorging, like a bladder pumped with air–

No–not expanding. Approaching. The storm was coming toward them, racing along the pebble plain at unbelievable speed. In the instant Gyalo realized this, the first winds struck, pressing his clothes against his body, lifting the canvas behind him. The air darkened. Wetness struck his face–rain?

Another clap of thunder split the air. Cirsame bellowed and tried to rise; he pulled her traces, attempting to hold her down. There was a confusion of running men, of shouting–“Bring the camels down! Bring the camels down!” “Hold the canvas!” “The god save us!”–and then the storm struck, a screaming madness of wind and rain. Lightning flashed, blinding; the thunder that followed was like the earth cracking in two. The wind tried to pick Gyalo up; he wound his wrists with Cirsame’s traces and hung on for his life.

There was another flash, another crack. The wind wrenched him savagely around. Pain burst in his shoulder, like nothing he had ever known. Something struck him, crushing him to the ground. And then there was nothing in the world but agony and the storm.

GIVEAWAY~

If you go get The Burning Land, you can enter to win The Awakened City!

From now until March 1, anyone who tweets with the hashtag #BoughtBurningLand will be entered to win one of 10 free download codes for the 2ndbook,The Awakened City. Be sure to follow @OpenRoadMedia so we can contact you if you win! Full rules here: http://www.openroadmedia.com/victoriastrauss

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Award-winning Australian Author Kate Forsyth Talks About Her Life in Fairy Tales

Bitter GreensToday, I have a highly anticipated interview with Australian author Kate Forsyth, who recently published her book Bitter Greens in Australia and the United Kingdom. It’s available online to everyone as well and all readers who love fairy tale re-tellings as much as I do will want to take a look at this book.

Forsyth’s fantastical novel gives us a fictionalized view into Charlotte Rose de la Force, one of the first writers to adapt Rapunzel (before it was even called Rapunzel) in the 17th century, as well as the crafting of her own fractured version of the beloved tale. In our interview, we talk about her writing process, her most loved fairy tales, and the animals of Australia!

You can see more about the book and my five-star review by clicking HERE.

Erin:  Hi Kate, it’s so nice to have you on my site. A fellow writer and daydreamer, I am so impressed by you and happy to speak with you.

Kate:  It’s lovely to be here, Erin – thank you so much for having me.

Erin:  I am anxious to ask you some questions, so let’s get started on our walk…..

Q:  What is the first thing you’d love everyone to know about you?

A: I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember and spent my childhood daydreaming, making up stories, and playing imaginary games. My grown up life as an author seems a natural extension of that dreamy little girl’s life.

Erin comments: I know that dream well, with many days of childhood spent under a tree with a notebook. But dreams really can come true!

Q: I see you are a reader of fantasy, caught up in the daydreams of life, much as I am. What propels you to exit the real world and into the world of the unknown?

A: I’ve always loved reading books that are filled with history and suspense and romance and magic, and so it feels very natural to me to write those kind of stories now. I love writing more than anything else in the world (apart from my family, of course!), and so I am at my happiest when absorbed in the imaginary worlds of my own creating.

Q:  When did you start writing? What do you love to write about?

A: I’ve been writing stories ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and wrote my first novel when I was seven. I’ve been working on one story or another ever since then. Most of my books draw on history, myth, fairy tale and folklore for their inspiration – I also love books that have a puzzle or a mystery of some sort at their heart, and so this is also of many of my books.

Q: I am a lover of words and also write poetry, what inspires you most when writing poetry? For me, it’s nature.

A: For me, its feelings. I often write poetry when I’m feeling things intensely – grief, or love, or joy. I wrote a very heartfelt poem when I was pregnant with my third child, my daughter, and another when my grandmother died, for example.

Erin comments: Of course, feelings are the whole reason for poetry. They’re a mode of expression.

Q: I read you are obtaining a degree in Fairy Tales? What an amazing time that must be. What do you study? What is your focus?

A: I love it! I’m in the final year of a Doctorate of Creative Arts, focusing on the history and meaning of the Rapunzel fairy tale. It’s been an utterly fascinating exploration into fairy tales in general, and the Maiden in the Tower tales in particular. Rapunzel has fascinated me since I was a child and I spent a long time researching the tale’s background while I was planning my novel ‘Bitter Greens’, which retells it as a historical novel set in 16th century Venice and 17th century Paris.

Erin comments: Absolutely fascinating!

Q: Is your novel, Bitter Greens, a part of your educational process?

A: Yes, I wrote ‘Bitter Greens’ as the creative component of my doctorate, and I am now working on a critical examination of Rapunzel as the theoretical component. I have always wanted to write a retelling of Rapunzel – from at least the age of twelve – and it seemed to me a perfect project for a doctorate.

Q:  Why do you feel that there has been a resurgence of the old fairy tales? I’ve always loved them, but it seems you find everything related anymore appearing as a trend. Do they have lasting quality?

A: I think fairy tales have a universal appeal – we all remember them from our own childhood and then we pass them on to our own children to read, which means the tales survive. Fairy tales are like a manual for life, told in metaphoric code, teaching us that – if we are good and kind and brave and true enough – we can change our lives for the better. This is an important lesson for us all.

Erin comments: With all the advances made, stories still seem to be a thread that binds us.

Q:  What are your favorite fairy tales of all time?

A: My favourite fairy tales are Rapunzel, Six Swans, Sleeping Beauty, the Beauty and the Beast, and The Snow Queen. But I love nearly all of them, really.

Q: Do you have any favorite adaptations of some best-loved stories?

A: Oh yes! I love Juliet Marillier’s retelling of ‘Six Swans’, called ‘Daughter of the Forest’’, and her novel ‘Heart’s Blood’ which retells ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I also love Robin McKinley’s retellings of the same tale, ‘Beauty’ and ‘Rose Daughter’ (she retold the same tale twice), plus her novel ‘Deerskin’, a retelling of the incest tale usually known as ‘Donkeyskin’ or ‘Thousandfurs’. Edith Patou’s retelling of ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’ is brilliant too – I think it was published in the US as ‘East’ and in the UK as ‘North Child’. I also loved ‘A Curse as Dark as Gold’ by Elizabeth C. Bunce, a very clever retelling of ‘Rumplstiltskin. I’ve also enjoyed books by Margo Lanagan, Sophie Masson, Shannon Hale, Jessica Day George and Gail Carson Levine.

Q:  What are your other books about? Would you like to talk a little about the things you write?

A: Half of my books are for adults and half are for children, and I really love writing for both markets. I’ve spent the last year or so working on a novel called ‘The Wild Girl’ which tells the little-known love story between Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the famous brothers’ most compelling fairy tales, against the turbulent background of the Napoleonic Wars. One of my children’s books is ‘ The Puzzle Ring’ which tells the story of a 13-year-old girl who must go back in time to the dangerous days of Mary, Queen of Scots, to find a broken puzzle ring so she may break a curse upon her family. My children and I travelled all around Scotland researching that one, and stayed in a haunted tower and an old monastery. It was wonderful. Another book I loved writing was ‘The Gypsy Crown’ about two Romany children and their adventures in the last days of the English Civil War. They have a whole menagerie of animals – a monkey, a horse, a dog, and a dancing bear – and face all kinds of dangers, including highwaymen, smugglers, witches, and a cruel thief-taker.

Q: I imagine it’s fun writing for children. I know I love to read with my three. My youngest daughter, age 5, has a love affair with fairy tales, predominately Rapunzel. We’ve read every adaptation we can get our hands on and she loved to point out to me the differences in each one. What do you love about writing children’s books?

A: I love the joyousness of the story, and the freedom it gives me to invent and imagine and play. I love writing adult books too, but they are generally much longer and much darker. It’s a refreshing change to do something smaller and brighter, in between the larger, more research intensive novels.

Q:  What do you hope readers take away from your work?

A: Utter satisfaction, and an urgent need to read every other book I’ve ever written.

Q:  Do you have any processes for writing? For instance, do you use an outline or just free write?

A: I always plan my novels – I like to be able to ‘see’ my whole novel before I begin to write. I will usually spend a long time daydreaming about the book and imagining it to life before I begin to write. My plan is usually sketched out quite roughly in my notebook, with lots of scribbles and changes as I think about the best turning points and so on. I’m very open to changing my initial plan as the story grows and changes, and quite often the book goes in unexpected directions – and I will always go with it.

Erin comments: I’d love to see those notebooks! I jest. I also write better, for stories or poetry, starting out with pencil and paper.

Q: What are your biggest obstacles to your writing or publishing process?

A: Lack of time! I have three children too.

Q:  How do you make time for your writing? Do you feel it’s important for women to schedule time for their writing and why?

A: Yes, absolutely. I used to write when the kids were asleep, even if it meant getting up at 3.30 a.m. to write at the only time that the house was dark and quiet.  Now I write when they’re at school. I’m utterly dedicated to my writing time – I tend do to household chores and grocery shopping and so forth when the kids are around, and work when they are not. Why? Because otherwise I could not write and I would feel a part of me was slowly dying. Women have as much right to be as much as they can be as men – even if it does mean a lot of ball juggling.

Erin comments: I totally agree.

Q: Have you, or will you, publish a book of poetry?

A: Oh yes, I have had a collection of poetry published called ‘Radiance’. You can buy it here: http://www.altair-australia.com/altair/rad.html

Q: What is your most celebrated achievement yet to date?

A: I was recently voted one of Australia’s Top 25 Favourite Novelists – I came in at No 22, just after Peter Carey. I was very happy about that! I was also overjoyed when five books in the ‘The Gypsy Crown’ series won the Aurealis Award, Australia’s award for speculative fiction. That was a wonderful moment.

Erin comments: Congratulations! How incredible!

Q:  Who are some of your favorite writers and why? Who has inspired you the most?

A: So many wonderful authors to choose from! I always find this a hard question to answer. I think I was greatly inspired by the writers I most loved as a child. For ‘Bitter Greens’, it was fairy tale retellings by Eleanor Farjeon and Nicholas Stuart Grey that were of paramount importance. Other inspirational childhood authors were C.S. Lewis, Geoffrey Trease, Edith Nesbit, Elizabeth Goudge, Joan Aiken … oh I could list two dozen names! As an adult, I have loved books by writers such as Isabel Allende, Tracy Chevalier, Joanne Harris, Robin McKinley, Kate Morton, Kim Wilkins, Juliet Marillier, Philippa Gregory, Sarah Dunant … again, far too many to list!

Q: What are your future plans for your career and/or studies?

A: I plan to keep on writing till I die. I hope this does not happen for a long while as I have so many brilliant ideas for books. I just need the time to write them!

Q:  Do you have any more upcoming books? Any in process?

A: At the moment, I’m writing a five book fantasy series for children aged 9+. Then I plan a novel set in Nazi Germany that retells the beautiful fairy tale, ‘The Lilting, Leaping Lark’, a variant of Beauty and the Beast in which the heroine is far more active and heroic than the version which most people know.

Q:  Are many of your books available in the United States?

A: I’m probably best known in the U.S. for the heroic fantasy series, ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ and ‘Rhiannon’s Ride’. ‘The Gypsy Crown’, a historical adventure for children, was also published in the U.S. and was nominated for a CYBIL Award. All my books are available over the Internet, of course.

Q:  What do you love most about Australia? Can you describe it to those of us who’ve always wanted to travel there, but haven’t gotten the chance?

A: Oh you must come! Australia has some of the best beaches in the world – miles and miles of white sand and turquoise water. It’s also lovely and warm most of the time. I live in Sydney which is a very beautiful city, full of light because of all the water, and very sophisticated with a lot of art and culture (though anyone from New York would be amazed how small it is). Most Americans also love our wildlife – kangaroos and koalas and kookaburras and so forth. I had a wallaby as a pet when I was a child – she used to hop around our kitchen, and would hold a piece of apple in her tiny, delicate paws and nibble on it … then, to go to bed, she would hop up into its ‘pouch’, a lined sack that hung on our back door handle. We have a blue tongued lizard in our back garden, and possums, and kookaburras, and a water dragon, and tawny-faced frogmouths (an Australian owl). Yet we live only 20 minutes from the centre of the city.

Erin comments: Sounds absolutely amazing!

Q: What is the literary scene there like? Does it differ from the United States? How has the internet and social networking created a better world for authors?

A: The literary scene in Australia is much, much smaller than it is in the U.S. There are not many agents and not many publishers and so it can be very difficult to break into if you are a new author.  Our buying market is much smaller too, and the tyranny of distance means it can be difficult for Australian authors to make much impact on the international scene. On the plus side, most Australian writers know each other well, and we are all good friends and very supportive of each other.   The internet and social networking and new technologies have been a great boon to us – we can connect with writers and readers all over the world in a way that was utterly impossible before. I have many writing friends all over the world now, and we buy each other’s books over the internet, and review each other books on our blogs, and talk to each other via Facebook and Twitter. It’s wonderful!

Erin comments: Yes, connecting so many people with similar interests that might not have had a chance to meet before. It’s a tremendous thing.

Q: Where can readers connect with you and your books?

A: My website is www.kateforsyth.com.au and I run a book reviewing blog there that is very popular with Australian readers. I’m also very active on Facebook and Twitter and very easy to find there. I’m also on Goodreads and a few other book sites. I love to talk about books and reading and writing!

Erin:  Thank you so much for talking with me today, Kate. It was a pleasure getting to know you. I wish you great success in all your endeavors and can’t wait to continue to read your writing.

Kate:  I’ve had such a lovely time! Thank you for your fascinating and insightful questions.

Bitter Greens Synopsis~

Bitter GreensBitter Greens is an historical novel for adults which interweaves the Rapunzel fairytale with the true story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, a 17th century French writer who wrote the version of the fairytale we know best, while locked away in a convent by the Sun King, Louis XIV, for her bold and unconventional views on love and society.

Charlotte-Rose has scandalized the court by falling passionately in love with a young nobleman, then dressing up as a dancing bear to rescue him from imprisonment. Banished to a strict Benedictine convent by the king, she remembers her life and loves at the magnificent and corrupt court of Versailles. Charlotte-Rose is filled at despair at her imprisonment, but she is comforted by an old nun, the apothicairesse at the convent, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the secret history of a young girl in 16th century Venice, who is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens …

Margherita’s parents love her dearly but the penalty for stealing in Venice in the late 16th century is cruel, and so they agree to give up their child at the age of seven to Selena, a courtesan whose walled garden is famous for its herbs and flowers. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Titian, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Selena is determined to never surrender the power that her beauty gives her, and so she turns to black magic and a spell that requires the blood of a virgin. Yet in the decadent world of Renaissance Italy, where courtesans supped with kings, where convents were hotbeds of illicit love, and where a girl’s virginity was sold many times over, how was Selena to ensure her spell would work, not just once, but over and over again? The only way was to build a tower without door or stairs, deep in the forest … and this is where she locks Margherita at the age of twelve. As Margherita grows into womanhood, she sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does and climbs her rope of hair into the tower … and so begins a beautiful love story that retells one of the world’s most mysterious and enduring fairytales.

The story of Margherita’s escape from the tower is interwoven with flashbacks that recount Charlotte-Rose’s tragic childhood and her scandalous life at the Sun King’s glittering court, and also the dark and tragic story of the courtesan Selena and how she came to be Titian’s muse. Three women, three lives, three stories, all braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.

Praise for Bitter Greens~

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.” – C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

Kate Forsyth, Biography~

Kate Forsyth 2Kate Forsyth is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books for adults and children , translated into 13 languages. She was recently named in the Top 25 of Australia’s Favourite Novelists. Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Gypsy Crown series of children’s historical novels. Kate’s latest novel, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelli

ng of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force. It has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’ and ‘an imaginative weaving of magic, fairy tale and history’. A direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy tales at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she lives by the sea, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

Please visit Kate Forsyth’s WEBSITE and BLOG for more information. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and follow her on TWITTER.

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A Fresh Telling of Rapunzel, You’ll Definitely Want to Let your Hair Down for Kate Forsyth’s Novel

Bitter GreensI must say that Bitter Greens, by Kate Forsyth, could possibly be the front-runner for the best book I read this year. It’s still early in 2013, but I can’t imagine falling in love with a book as much as I’ve fallen in love with Bitter Greens. It most certainly will go on my final list of most cherished and loved books of all time.

Of course, there is the point that I am a perpetual lover of fairy tales, vintage mostly, but also various adaptations and re-tellings. So because this novel is a re-structuring of Rapunzel, one of my favorite stories, I was already bound to have a desire for this book. However, it was more than I had expected as Forsyth has an original voice that worked to create an amazing imaginative world that one could slip into and dance around in forever. (review continued after synopsis)

Intrigued? Here’s the synopsis for Bitter Greens~

Bitter Greens is a historical novel for adults which interweaves the Rapunzel fairytale with the true story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, a 17th century French writer who wrote the version of the fairytale we know best, while locked away in a convent by the Sun King, Louis XIV, for her bold and unconventional views on love and society.

Charlotte-Rose has scandalized the court by falling passionately in love with a young nobleman, then dressing up as a dancing bear to rescue him from imprisonment. Banished to a strict Benedictine convent by the king, she remembers her life and loves at the magnificent and corrupt court of Versailles. Charlotte-Rose is filled at despair at her imprisonment, but she is comforted by an old nun, the apothicairesse at the convent, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the secret history of a young girl in 16th century Venice, who is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens …

Margherita’s parents love her dearly but the penalty for stealing in Venice in the late 16th century is cruel, and so they agree to give up their child at the age of seven to Selena, a courtesan whose walled garden is famous for its herbs and flowers. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Titian, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Selena is determined to never surrender the power that her beauty gives her, and so she turns to black magic and a spell that requires the blood of a virgin. Yet in the decadent world of Renaissance Italy, where courtesans supped with kings, where convents were hotbeds of illicit love, and where a girl’s virginity was sold many times over, how was Selena to ensure her spell would work, not just once, but over and over again? The only way was to build a tower without door or stairs, deep in the forest … and this is where she locks Margherita at the age of twelve. As Margherita grows into womanhood, she sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does and climbs her rope of hair into the tower … and so begins a beautiful love story that retells one of the world’s most mysterious and enduring fairy tales.

The story of Margherita’s escape from the tower is interwoven with flashbacks that recount Charlotte-Rose’s tragic childhood and her scandalous life at the Sun King’s glittering court, and also the dark and tragic story of the courtesan Selena and how she came to be Titian’s muse. Three women, three lives, three stories, all braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.

Review continued~

Using books as a magical way of escaping the stress and dealings of life, I let them carry me away in my mind. As one of Forsyth’s main protagonists, writer Charlotte Rose de la Force, also creates her own worlds in Bitter Greens by pushing open the imagined door into fantasy realms where any lovely place can be found.  This is a tactic useful whether it’s 17th century France or modern times.

However, this book doesn’t just lead us on a frivolous walk of enchantment and fantasy. It carries a message about women living their dreams and hope, overcoming the gender role, being courageous and bold, and most of all love, but beyond that, also the darker emotions and desires that lead us to bad decisions and situations and how we can be redeemed or doomed.

And yes, it transported me away when I needed it most. It lead me to deeper parts of my own motherhood, womanhood, and mortal desires. It wasn’t a book to be put down, and in fact, I had to be reminded that I actually had a life outside of reading the book…..I was swept away.

I can barely begin to give this multi-layered and multifaceted novel the justice it deserves. It is just THAT good and beyond a normal review. The author may be pursuing a degree in fairy tales, but she needs to be the one being taught to those pursuing creative writing courses and literature.

In Bitter Greens, Forsyth introduces us to Charlotte Rose de la Force’s adaptation of Petrosinella from 1697, while also making our acquaintance with de la Force’s own life by making her a part of the story.  Yes, it’s several stories interwoven with delicacy and grace; it’s smooth, seamless, and highly evolved.  Petrosinella, with maiden Persinette, would later be adapted in German and picked up by the Grimm Brothers in the 1800s, by that time known as Rapunzel. However, the novel is not just another re-telling of Rapunzel, but an even deeper look into society and how vintage writing defines history.

Since my five-year-old is also a lover of classic fairy tales, and we’ve read as many adaptations of Rapunzel over the last few years as we can find while embracing their similarities and differences together, Bitter Greens is a novel I’ll put on the shelf to share with her when she’s old enough to read the adult content. It’s one book that will always have a place on my bookshelf and hopefully hers too. It’s timeless.

Forsyth’s subtle dissection of the culture, art, storytelling and emotions of the time within her fiction, coupled with how we retain and retell stories today, is in a class all its own. Her creation is a masterpiece of art to not get lost in a sea of ever published books. Forsyth could quite possibly be one of the best story tellers of our modern age.

Please stop by again tomorrow as I have an exclusive interview with author Kate Forsyth in which we talk about fairy tales, her writing, her poetry, and much more!!

Click on the link for Forsyth’s “behind the scenes” look at her inspiration for Bitter Greens~

http://www.kateforsyth.com.au/Inspiration_Behind_Bitter_Greens

Kate’s blog about researching Charlotte Rose de la Force~

http://www.kateforsyth.com.au/_blog/Kate’s_Blog/post/BITTER_GREENS_The_Facts_behind_the_Fiction_of_Charlotte-Rose_de_la_Force’s_life/

Bitter Greens~

UK Publication Date: February 25, 2013
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Hardcover; 350p
ISBN: 0749013621
(Also published, Random House Australia)

Praise for Bitter Greens~

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.” – C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

“History and fairytale are richly entwined in this spellbinding story. Unputdownable!” – Juliet Marillier, author of Daughter of the Forest and Heart’s Blood

“In Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth delivers a tale of beauty, strength and gravity. Her fierce respect for the art and power of storytelling shines through every page.” – Booklover Book Reviews

Kate Forsyth, Biography~

Kate Forsyth 2Kate Forsyth is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books for adults and children , translated into 13 languages. She was recently named in the Top 25 of Australia’s Favourite Novelists. Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Gypsy Crown series of children’s historical novels. Kate’s latest novel, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelli

ng of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force. It has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’ and ‘an imaginative weaving of magic, fairy tale and history’. A direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy tales at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she lives by the sea, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

Please visit Kate Forsyth’s WEBSITE and BLOG for more information. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and follow her on TWITTER.

For more reviews of Bitter Greens as well as guest posts and interviews with author Kate Forsyth, click below:

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/bittergreensvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #BitterGreensVirtualTour

Bitter Greens Tour Banner FINAL

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Readers Caught in Siren’s Spell: Feature Article with Horror Author John Everson on Relaunching a Book

Giving new breath into a novel that is a few years old can sometimes be difficult for authors.  But sometimes the novel just never really got its best lease on life. Kinda like when you are in the right place at the wrong time?  This is the case for Bram Stoker Award winning author John Everson’s novel, Siren.

If you haven’t heard of Siren before, here’s the synopsis and amazing cover:

siren-leisure-180Night after night, Evan walked along the desolate beach, grieving over the loss of his son, drowned in an accident more than a year before.

Then one night he was drawn to the luminous sound of a beautiful, naked woman singing near the shore in the moonlight. He watched mesmerized as the mysterious woman disappeared into the sea. Driven by desire and temptation, Evan returned to the spot every night until he found her again. Now he has begun a bizarre, otherworldly affair. A deadly affair. For Evan will soon realize that his seductive lover is a being far more evil…and more terrifying…than he ever imagined.

He will learn the danger of falling into the clutches of the… SIREN.

Sounds amazing, right?

Amazon has picked Everson’s fourth novel, Siren, to feature in their February 2013 “hot 100” list! They’ve put the e-book on sale for just $.99! At the time of this post, there are only two days left to purchase at the low sale price.

You can see Siren listed in the 100 Kindle Books Science Fiction/Fantasy section or visit their book page directly here:

SIREN: http://www.amazon.com/Siren-ebook/dp/B003YUCGAA/

So, what’s the story behind Siren?

Published to mass market in 2010 by Dorchester/Leisure Books, Siren is finally again on the rise on the Amazon sales charts.  But why now?  The first clue about Siren’s lull in readership is its publisher. Notice it’s Leisure Books, which closed its 40-year mass market line in September of 2010.  They were the only publisher in the U.S. to have a horror line up until the current decade.

“Two years ago…..Siren had its legs cut off, because two weeks after its release, Leisure declared an end to their mass market line,” said John Everson, author of Siren. “Siren died a quick death since books quickly disappeared from stores when they couldn’t reorder it.”

The sudden surge of e-books hurt business, but Dorchester (Leisure’s parent company) tried to recreate its trade paperback line, ultimately not succeeding very well. They had reissued Siren in trade paperback to shelves in Barnes & Noble and Borders, just in time for Borders to go bankrupt.  Since stores liquidated or returned stock, Siren lost momentum again.  In 2012, Everson said Dorchester “threw in the towel and sold the rights to its entire 40-year catalog to Amazon.” 

Everson’s first five novels, including Siren, have now been rebranded as 47North titles, one of Amazon’s labels.  They have given Everson a promotion for Siren during the month of February during its big Amazon Kindle 100 sale. As previously stated, readers can get it for .99 cents in e-book format until the end of February, but if you’ve missed the promotion, it still might be worth the regular price if you like award-winning horror authors.

Siren can cross genres enough that readers who enjoy fantasy, supernatural, and erotica, as well as horror, can enjoy it.  With the current publishing and reading trends, and it now being accessible in e-book format, the time seems ripe for Siren to make a comeback.

What do we know about sirens?  Remember those awesome evil female creatures in the Pirates of the Caribbean series?  They brought the sinister sirens to us visually as evil mermaids. Based on Greek mythology, the first sirens were supposedly the daughters of river-god Achelous. Wikipedia states that sirens “were dangerous and beautiful creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.” Many various other writings place them at various locals, but almost all generally are on ocean cliffs and rocks.

Leonardo da Vinci even wrote of the siren, “The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners.”

So what inspired Everson to write about sirens?

About four years ago, when he was trying to decide what to work on for his fourth novel, he had a couple of ideas that had been with him for awhile (one of which was NightWhere… which he ended up writing  last year and publishing with Samhain Publishing’s Horror line). Since he wanted to present his editor with a handful of ideas to choose from, and realizing he’d published three novels at that point that all dealt with occult supernatural themes (and gotten increasingly extreme in terms of their erotic horror elements), he decided to brainstorm about something new.

“I wanted to write something that dealt with a corporeal creature, but not just a hulking monster – something with a brain,” Everson said. “I didn’t want to work with a “monster” that was typical — no zombies or vampires or the like. I tried to think about more classical monsters from our past that may have been forgotten.”

Thinking succubi still had a demonic theme, he began poking around at mythology and ran across a classical painting of three Siren sisters from old legends, lying naked in the midst of a pile of half devoured carcasses. “That (painting) clicked it for me,” Everson related.  ” They were living, fleshy creatures, full of seduction, yet, cannibalistic and dangerous. Perfect!”

 He didn’t do any exhaustive research to prove it one way or the other, but he said he hadn’t noticed any horror novels in recent years that focused on a siren. “I instantly began envisioning Ligeia, and the reasons that Evan, my protagonist, would fall for her when he absolutely shouldn’t,” Everson continued. He very quickly wrote up a 10-12 page outline.

“It ended up being almost a coin toss to decide whether to go with that or an idea called The Pumpkin Man… in the end, I went with Siren, and I’m glad I did – I am really proud of the way the novel turned out… and actually I wrote The Pumpkin Man immediately after,” Everson exclaimed.

While Siren is still a horror novel, Everson said it has themes of romance and erotica, as well as a “heavy” backstory about a father who has lost his son through his own weakness (aquaphobia).

“I think it touches the fears of parents who want to do whatever they can for their children, as well as those who have strayed, but want to do whatever they can to go back to their partners,” he explained. “People seem to either love or hate the ending, but I really felt that this book was accessible to far more readers than just “horror” fans.”

The first week of the promotion Siren was #1 on Kindle Horror list, then later it hit #1 on the SF/F list. 

“This promotion is exposing the title to a lot of new people,” Everson said.  “I’m hoping as many people as possible will pick it up on this Kindle 100 sale and give it new life moving forward. This could really be the “rebirth” of Siren, which actually has been looked at as a possible movie for Chiller Network….still have my fingers crossed on that!!!!”

It seems like Siren might have a good chance at breathing above and below water. Now, it’s up to the readers to decide and propel it forward.

Everson continued, “this book was a very important novel for me and I’m really excited that it might be getting a new lease on life this month! I am  hopeful that finally Siren might reach some of those readers it missed in its last two paperback releases. I know that given this placement, there will probably be more than a thousand new readers of the book.  I hope they enjoy it, and encourage others to read Ligeia’s story!”

siren-leisure-180Siren Information and Amazon Purchasing Link~

  • File Size: 421 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0843963549
  • Publisher: 47North (July 27, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

http://www.amazon.com/Siren-ebook/dp/B003YUCGAA/#_

John Everson, Biography~

john-everson

John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of seven novels of erotic horror and the macabre, including his most recent, NIGHTWHERE, as well as COVENANT, its sequel SACRIFICE and the standalone novels THE 13TH, SIREN, and THE PUMPKIN MAN. His novel VIOLET EYES, which is well-fortified with spiders, will be released just in time for Halloween, 2013.

John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations, and a large stuffed Eeyore. There’s also a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs, and an acoustic guitar that he can’t really play but that his son likes to hear him beat on anyway.

Sometimes his wife is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it’s usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he occasionally records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of ’70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.

Learn more about John on his site, http://www.johneverson.com, where you can sign up for a direct-from-the-author monthly e-newsletter with information on new books, contests and occasionally, free fiction.

Want to connect? Follow John on Twitter @johneverson, or find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/johneverson.

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The Cross and the Dragon by Kim Rendfeld: Legend turned Novel a Superb Middle Ages Tale

I’ve been interested in the Middle Ages since I was a little girl, fueled further by a middle and high school art teacher who had us crafting  castles, headdresses, and crests. I reveled in legends and fantastical stories of maidens, soldiers, castles, and dragons and had a love affair with King Arthur, Lady of the Lake, and even Robin Hood. It was all so romantic, mystical, and endearing….and even after taking a college course on the Middle Ages and learning the horrible conditions they endured, I still immensely enjoy reading and watching anything written about this time period.  In the past several years, there seems to have been a resurgence of stories written surrounding the Middle Ages with works such as Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, but there is still room for more wonderful writers to really delve in to this rich time period.

Thoughts on The Cross and the Dragon~

9781611792270-CrossandDragon-small2I just finished reading The Cross and the Dragon, a debut historical novel by author Kim Rendfeld.  She quite amazingly takes the legend and the poem, Song of Roland, and crafts it into her own romantic tale with her own original outcome. Not only is her book phenomenally researched, it also shows a tremendous amount of thought and creativity, not to mention storytelling ability.  Though there is much historical detail, the reader is never impeded by it and her tale is smoothly weaved with a flow that dripped satisfying like honey melting on my tongue.

I read it almost in one sitting, during which I could not bear to put it down for fear I would fail Alda, her female protagonist, in her pursuits and that I’d lose the momentum of the exhilaration I was feeling of reading such a wonderful novel.  Yes, I loved it!! I was swept away into a glorious tale of a strong young woman and her man, who equally loved her as much during a time when men didn’t always love women as romantically as would be desired.

I felt happiness, romance, sadness, anger and then I was even overcome with tears toward the end.  I felt connected to Alda and her husband, Hruodland (or Roland), which means that Rendfeld wrote with superb character development.  Her supporting characters were just as endearing (and hated) and I loved how Hruodland and Alda’s family members understood Alda’s strength, will, and courage.

I also was encouraged to read between the lines with Rendfeld’s writing, mostly through her character of Ganelon–a former suitor of Alda’s who seeks revenge and has a blood feud with Hruodland–that common treatment in history that alluded to women being slaves to their husbands, without thought or independence (even beaten and raped), was abominable. I was extremely pleased that Rendfeld showed, through Hruodland, how men should love and respect a woman. I loved Rendfeld’s use of Alda as a brave, resilient, and educated woman able to make her own decisions based on her freewill.

Rendfeld shows us in her writing how politics could outweight and outmaneuver feelings during these decades, but shows us the emotional love affair between Alda and Hruodland as an example of how a relationship could properly overcome these bonds of culture and religion.  Of course as religion was a very distinct part of life in the Middle Ages (even to the point many battles were fought over it), Rendfeld was true to how their religion would facilitate their decisions and schedule their lives, emotions, and beliefs; however,  she also showed us how religious zealots could sometimes misinterpret the Scriptures to suit their own purposes or go to extreme measures for salvation. Alda was a character who fought against all norms.

 

300px-Grandes_chroniques_Roland

Eight phases of The Song of Roland in one picture from Wikipedia

The Song of Roland is known as France’s oldest surviving piece of literature and is a poem of heroism stemming from the battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778 in which Hruodland (Roland) was a commander of the rear guard of Charlemagne that was defeated by a Muslim army.  Historically, Hruodland died during this raid.  The tale of this battle was passed down as legend and propaganda over the years and was later romanticized into The Song of Roland in the 11th Century.  It’s the love story of Roland, and this poem where he is mentioned briefly, that propelled Rendfeld to turn this legend into a storytelling masterpiece of her own.

If you like strong female leads in history that are feisty, courageous, and bold in a time where women were used mostly as political pawns and child-bearing vessels, you’ll love this novel.  It’s more romantic legend than the common historical literature. Rendfeld’s smooth prose, character development, and tight detail really make this book elegant historical fantasy that could be passed down through the centuries with anyone wishing to tell a tale with a lute and harp in tow. Oh, I was lost in time…….in reality, certainly one that anyone would love to have in their collection.

Interview with Author Kim Rendfeld~

NOW, READ MY IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW with KIM RENDFELD by CLICKING HERE!

Giveaway~

Kim Rendfeld is graciously giving away one (1) SIGNED print copy The Cross and the Dragon. With a beautiful cover and superb storytelling, this is a book you’ll want for your library. Open to United States residents only. Please leave a comment with your email (to contact winner) or email me to hookofabook(at)hotmail.com.

For an extra entry into the contest, you can follow my blog and let me know. The giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m. EST on March 2, 2013.

The Cross and the Dragon Synopsis~

9781611792270-CrossandDragon-small2A tale of love in an era of war and blood feuds.

Francia, 778: Alda has never forgotten Ganelon’s vow of vengeance when she married his rival, Hruodland. Yet the jilted suitor’s malice is nothing compared to Alda’s premonition of disaster for her beloved, battle-scarred husband.

Although the army invading Hispania is the largest ever and King Charles has never lost a war, Alda cannot shake her anxiety. Determined to keep Hruodland from harm, even if it exposes her to danger, Alda gives him a charmed dragon amulet.

 Is its magic enough to keep Alda’s worst fears from coming true—and protect her from Ganelon?

Inspired by legend and painstakingly researched, The Cross and the Dragon is a story of tenderness, sacrifice, lies, and revenge in the early years of Charlemagne’s reign, told by a fresh, new voice in historical fiction.

For Purchase~

The Cross and the Dragon, published by Fireship Press, is available in e-book (via Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other readers) and in print from Amazon (U.S., Canada, U.K., and other countries) as well as Barnes & Noble.

 Kim Rendfeld, Biography~

KimBookPhotoSmallerKim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon.

She grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English, with a minor in French. If it weren’t for feminism, she would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and now fiction.

Kim was a journalist for almost twenty years at Indiana newspapers, including the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, The Muncie Star, and The News and Sun in Dunkirk, and she won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association.

 Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She gets paid to agonize over commas and hyphens, along with suggesting ways to improve writing, and thoroughly enjoys it. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition.

Kim lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats.  They have a daughter and two granddaughters, with a third due in May 2013.

See more about Kim Rendfeld and her books at www.kimrendfeld.com.

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