Review: Armored Hearts

Armored Hearts

It is the story of an orphaned boy who cannot walk, but discovers he can fly, and a whole new world is opened up before his eyes complete with a love he never thought possible and a danger he never saw coming.

Gareth Smyth is a cripple living with his grandfather in a world on the verge of steam powered automatons but many still cling to their traditions, superstitions, and prejudices, thus they look down upon someone like Gareth, so to protect himself, he despises everything but his little aunt who sees past his wheelchair and loves him for who he is. Then he discovers he can fly by saving a girl’s life.

The story world felt like it was set in an alternative history flavored with steampunk and fairies who sound a bit Scottish. The slight use of the Scottish dialect was done well enough to flavor the language, but not make it difficult to understand what is being said.

Gareth’s sour attitude could be somewhat off putting but I was so intrigued with the story that I had to find out what happens and how he would change. If you’ve read Winter Fae, a short story about his mom and him when he was two years old, it really helps to set the stage of the possibilities to come. Which, I loved Winter Fae so much and wanted to know more about his mother’s story, so I wasn’t sure how I would like his story, but I was not disappointed.

But I have two complaints. One, the story felt rushed and in that some things felt too easy to me, but that’s coming from someone who loves long, epic stories, ha! The second complaint, it was too short! I can’t wait to see how the rest of the story will unfold.

By the way, for those of you who are waiting for the paperback book, its coming soon! The ebook is on sale at Amazon for $.99 for the month of May. It’s also available for Nook for $2.99 at Barnes and Noble. Check it out and enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card at AltWit Press.

Interview: Creeden & Lee

Armored Hearts

What do you get when you cross a paranormal romance author with horror? Armored Hearts. Melissa Turner Lee, author of Difference Between Night and Day, The Earth Painter, & The Man Painter, teamed up with Pauline Creeden, whose short stories have been called creepy, mysterious, and suspenseful, labeled as horror, gothic, steampunk, just to name a few.

Well, I invited them here today to share a little bit about themselves, their writing process, and their new release, Armored Hearts.

Welcome Melissa and Pauline! Please tell us a little about yourselves. What makes you tick? Favorite hobbies, T.V. shows, foods, drinks? Do you have any pets? Kids?

Pauline: Thanks for bringing us on, Jennette. I think that our combination keeps us both in balance. She’s the yin, and I’m the yang. Together, we have a better chance of keeping things moderated. In life we’re quite opposite, too. My house is quieter as far as kids are concerned, since I have only one 12 year old son, but we also have a menagerie – 16 horses, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 2 chickens, 3 goldfish, and a lizard, so I guess the pets are my hobby. And TV wise, I don’t watch much, but I Netflix shows that I like – Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and the Walking Dead, for example.

Melissa: Yes, we are different. She’s a dog person. I would be a cat person if I wanted to have a pet. But there is no room at my house for one more living thing with 3 boys and a husband and a tiny house. I think more fairy tale and Pauline thinks more creepy horror and somehow it works. I watch a little TV. Doctor Who, Beauty and the Beast, Orphan Black. That’s about it for spare time here.

Who are your favorite authors, books, style, genre?

M: I’m a fan of Paranormal Romance. Stephenie Meyer got me started but I don’t think I write like her. She’s a lot more wordy. I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.

P: I read a lot of fantasy/suspense/thrillers – I love CS Lewis, and anyone who visits my fan page on Facebook will know my favorite modern author is Neil Gaiman.

How did the two of you get together and decide to write a steampunk fantasy?

P: I’ll let Melissa answer this one as it was her idea.

M: I had a character come to visit me in my head. He was in a wheelchair and was from Edwardian England. Then I got to know the woman in his life. She was American and gadgety. It was steampunk so I knew I needed help and Pauline happens to be a very talented steampunk writer. I asked her and she agreed.

So, who had the idea? Where did Armored Hearts come from? Tell us a bit about this story.

M: My stories always start with characters. They show up uninvited and I ask them who they are and what is going on. I’m nosy when it comes to people taking up residence in my head. There was this Englishman in a wheelchair who had abilities that could not be explained and a girl who made gadgets and an assassin.

Can you share with us a little bit about the writing process and how the two of you worked together?

P: We had a lot of brainstorming sessions, and then Melissa wrote the first draft. Then we brainstormed some more, and then I took it and added a bit. Then we discussed what needed fixing, and Melissa did the third draft. We went back and forth on this project. But Melissa did the most work, as it was her idea. I have a Contemporary Romantic/Suspense novel I’ll be taking the reins on that we’ve done some brainstorming sessions with and will be working on it later this year as well as AH2.

M: We also made a board on Pinterest so we had the same faces, places and such in mind as we wrote.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing Armored Hearts? What was the best part of writing it?

M: Opening up to new ideas is hard but Pauline came up with great stuff. Places we needed to go back and add action or a death that I would never think of doing on my own. I think it made it stronger and not too frilly nor too dark.

P: The challenge of collaboration is that there is compromise. Sometimes I had an idea that Melissa would shoot down, and I’m sure that I shot down one or two of hers as well. But I think the end result was better than either of us would have had happen on our own and with only our own ideas involved. The best part was the research. I started watching Downton Abbey in order to immerse myself in the sort of culture that surrounds Armored Hearts (at Melissa’s suggestion). And the period is beautiful and romantic.

Who is your favorite character and why?

P: Jessamine – she’s so strong, confident, and clever. I wanna be her when I grow up.

M: Tabitha—I wish I were sweet like her and liked math.

What do you hope people walk away with after they finish reading the book?

M: This may not fit the tastes of those who are already into steampunk, but I think it will answer the question, ‘”What is steampunk?” for those who read more mainstream.

P: So much of steampunk is all about the mechanizations and political atmosphere. I know that our goal in this book is to introduce the ultra cool world to the romance and fantasy crowd in a way that is much more palatable than I’ve ever seen it done.  

And just for fun, if you could go back to experience any place in history, where and when would it be, and why?

P: Much of my writing is to my former self. If I could go back in time and smack the 18 year old me and tell her to grow up and get serious, I think I would. Just like horseback riding for me is not “for fun” but I want to get something done in the process, I’d choose to visit myself and see if I could get her more serious about God…and seeing my Daddy again would just be a bonus.

M: Maybe the 90s. It’s when I grew up, fell in love, got married. It was a time of lots of firsts. Life wasn’t so foreign to me then. Maybe that’s why I’m writing a book set in the 90s called Forever Layla. It will be for those more into romance than who read for adventure. Fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife might like it. Nicholas Sparks meets Sci-Fi minus the depressing ending.

Thank you Melissa and Pauline for joining us today!  

Would you like to connect?

Melissa Turner Lee

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Pauline Creeden

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Have a great week everyone!

Realm Makers 2013

This was so big, I couldn’t list it with the rest of the newsy items on Monday. Coming August 2013. Early Bird Registration started May 1st and will go through until June 1st for a cost of $189. Check it out!RealmMakerslogo

 

Realm Makers is a writers conference geared specifically to creators of speculative fiction who consider their faith-based world view their highest priority. The event will present panels and classes appropriate for authors of all experience levels, from the beginning writer to the seasoned industry professional.

Have a great weekend y’all!

Release: Armored Hearts

Today, we’re celebrating the release of Armored Hearts by Melissa Turner Lee and Pauline Creeden. AltWit Press is celebrating with a giveaway, check it out for some cool prizes like a $100 gift card to Amazon!

Armored Hearts

When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairytales.

Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair.

Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.

Cover art by Marcy Rachel Designs

Model Photographer: WinterWolf Studios

Giveaways & More

Hey, how’s y’all’s week been? Lots of cool things to share with you today, but I’m thinking we need a cool name for our link gathering of bookish newsy things and giveaways. Any suggestions?

This week Morgan L. Busse shared with us about Bad Boy Characters, and I thought you might like to know that she is running a giveaway on Goodreads for Son of Truth, book two in Follower of The Word series. Giveaway ends on May 17, 2013.

Pauline Creeden did a cover reveal of her novel coming this fall called Sanctuary. The apocalyptic, alien story has me intrigued. Can’t wait to read it.

The other day I stumbled upon a blog that had this really cool idea, and I was like why didn’t I think of that?! Author Alex Laybourne started Story Cube Monday on his blog, where he rolls the story cubes and everyone tries to come up with a story using all those items. Check it out, write for fun, and submit your story.

Some exciting things coming up! Mark your calendars for July 1st. Three fantasy authors are teaming up to celebrate their books’ release day with a party on Facebook. Check it out and RSVP.

Heros and Kings FB party invite

And why, you ask me, am I letting you all know so early? To give y’all a chance to read the previous books in the series. 🙂

R. J. Larson: Prophet, Judge, & now King

Patrick W. Carr: A Cast of Stones & now A Hero’s Lot

Anne Elisabeth Stengl: Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, & now Dragonwitch

Now isn’t that an awesome line-up?

What about you? What must-read book are you waiting on? Post a link in the comments below!

Have a great weekend!

Release: Son of Truth

Today, I’m celebrating the release of Son of Truth by Morgan L. Busse, sequel to Daughter of Light. Our book club just finished reading Daughter of Light last month, so we are anxious to see what happens next. Isn’t the cover breathtaking? And if you’d like a chance to win it this week, check out  Character Tour over on Ralene Burke’s blog.

sot-cover-crop

Son of Truth

Arise now, guardian…

The war in the north is over, but the war for all the Lands has just begun. As the Shadonae solidify their hold on the city of Thyra, Rowen Mar, the last Eldaran and savior of the White City, awakens to find herself hunted by those she has saved.

Meanwhile, the assassin Caleb Tala finds himself in the presence of the Word. The time of reckoning has come, and he must pay the price for all the lives he has taken. But in his moment of judgment, Caleb is given a second chance to change his life.

These two hold the power to save the Lands from the Shadonae. One must escape slavery, and one must choose to forsake everything before the world is consumed in darkness.

Interviewed!

Words cannot express the awesomeness of receiving an email from your favorite author, but not just any email, an email requesting an interview. As I’ve said before, and probably said too many times, this past week has been crazy amazing, let-me-fall-down-on-my-face-amazing.

If you haven’t discovered Anne Elisabeth Stengl yet, you’re missing out! Yes, you heard–er read right, Ms. Stengl has asked to interview me. Eek! So head on over and check it out!

Tales of Goldstone Wood