Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rags to Riches, Marie Justicius

       In the last post, I introduced Marie Justicius, protagonist of my latest WIP, I Slapped My Prince Charming. Today, she’s joined us for a little interview.

Q: Hello, Marie, and thank you for joining us. I know that, now that you’re here in the palace, your time is valuable, so I will not take up too much of it. Please tell us, what did you do for fun back in your home, in Aucum?
The most exciting times of my life happened after darkness fell, when the stars glistened up in the sky. During the summer, Jolie or Terrell and I would run outside, barefoot, and throw ourselves along the grass. We would try to count the stars, just like Jolie and her father always had when he yet lived. In the springtime, I would sneak alone into Lord Gaston's garden to smell the roses. I was never caught. But the best times came during the winter, when Papa and I cuddled down before the fire in our little cottage. If he was particularly talkative, he would tell me stories. Sometimes he told me stories of my mother—before I knew she was Queen Tansy. The connection I used to feel for her vanished not long after actually meeting her in person.

Q: (No spoilers, Marie!) Before coming here to the palace, had you ever traveled outside of Aucum?
No, I had never left the outskirts of the village.

Q: What is your least favorite thing about living in the palace?
The eternal shadows, night and day. Most people know them as bodyguards. I understand the need for them, in principle, yet surely they know I can take care of myself!

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in the palace?
My favorite thing about living in the palace has little to do with the palace itself. I love that our moving to the palace gave me, in a way, a close relationship with my sister, Iris, and with Constant. There was always something in me that wanted a family, and now I had it.

Q: Would you have been happier to have grown up with Constant instead of being an only child?
Who can say? I say now that I would have been happier, but if I had grown up with Constant, I would also have grown up with Tansy. Would that mean that I would be just like her? I already inherited so much from her-- her mannerisms, her stubborness (although that could come from Papa as well). Living in the same palace with her could have made me an exact replica of her, which is something I could never want to be.

Q:  If you had grown up with him, what would you two have done for fun together?
I know that if Constant grew up here in Delmar, the two of us would have taken field trips to Aucum, just as we did right before the time of Danielle's passing. The two of us probably would have sneaked out of lessons and spent much time on horseback. Though none of that is something I would admit to Lord Algernon or, God forbid, to Farran.

Q: What is your faith like?
Ever since I was a little girl, I never doubted there was a higher power, something or someone that created the universe. All those nights lying on the grass, looking up into the stars told me that. The beauty of stars is not something crafted by a human's hand. I don't even know when I began to call that higher power God. Was it something I heard in the manor, a word used in strong emotion? I know not.

Thank you Marie for joining us, and thanks to Annie Pavese for the questions!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Say Hello To… Marie Justicius

            Welcome to my latest work in progress, I Slapped My Prince Charming. Let me introduce you to the protagonist: Marie Justicius (picture courtesy of Pinterest).

Marie Justicius is the daughter of Beauregard Justicius, illegitimate son of the heir to the throne. Long accustomed to life as a kitchen maid in the small Aucum Manor, she isn’t prepared for the aftermath of the assassinations. All of the royal family killed—who will rule the country now? To her astonishment, she and her father are now heirs to the throne of Delmar. During the weeks that follow, as her knowledge of palace life grows, Marie uncovers many secrets, including the existence of her twin brother, Prince Constant of Isidoris. What else will she uncover in the palace? Can her father be the instigator of the assassinations after all?

Here’s an excerpt from the story which I feel really shows Marie as a person, her introduction to her brother, Prince Constant.

“Tell me what you enjoy." He faces me momentarily, raising his hands in a questioning manner.
I close my eyes, the better to remember the things I used to enjoy. "I enjoy adventure, doing that which is forbidden to me. I loved sneaking into the garden at Aucum Manor and smelling the roses in the springtime, and then dashing away before I could be caught by the gardener. I love the motion of running. I love the challenge of forcing my thoughts to keep ahead of another's, a race of wits as you might say."
Silence stretches on for several minutes, and yet again a blush spread across my cheeks. Why am I so awkward? This is my brother, after all.
"Marie Justicius, I believe we shall indeed get along."

Keep an eye out for an interview with Marie, coming soon!

Friday, November 25, 2016

5 Books I’m Thankful For… and Discount Books!

Picking one favorite book is absolutely impossible, but in the mood of the Thanksgiving holidays, I have made a list of five books I’m thankful I read this year.

Water Princess, Fire Prince, by Kendra E. Ardnek: This story was the perfect combination between my two favorite genres, fantasy and fairy tale retellings. The concept of different-colored water was something that had never occurred to me before, and the brilliant dynamics between our world and Rizkaland… you need to read this book. Best yet, the sequel, Lady Dragon, Tela Du is already out (but my Kindle has broken, so I can’t read it! *wails*)!

Rose of Prophecy, by Hope Ann: I’m thankful for this book because it taught me that there’s still room for a true definition of love in today’s fiction. Too often, now, love is portrayed as a feeling or emotion, a throbbing heart when the guy walks by. Not so with Rose of Prophecy!

            King’s Folly, by Jill Williamson: I loved Jill Williamson’s Blood of Kings series, and having another story in the same world—however far in the past it may be—was a dream come true! True to form, the epic scope of her world pulls you in and discovering the past of Er’rets only makes it more exciting!

            The Centurion’s Wife, by Janette Oke and David Bunn: I can’t do this story justice, so here comes the blurb from Amazon: “Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.” This book opened to me the world of Biblical fiction and the possibilities thereof!

            Beauty and the Beast, by K.M. Shea: This book is hands-down the best retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I have ever read. During a difficult assignment, Elle makes a terrible mistake—and finds herself with a broken leg, stranded in the chateau of the illegitimate prince-turned-beast, Prince Severin. The fresh feeling of this book—contrary to what usually happens with fairy tale retellings—had me wondering what would happen next!

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 25-28. There's literally something for everyone.

Every single book listed on  is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered," target="_blank">
Even if you have, a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.

Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created, a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to data-blogger-escaped-target Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hi! For my first post on this shiny new blog, I am sharing a little story of mine titled "A Fishy Business". You can also find this story at I hope you enjoy!

We’re all over the Bible.

            We’re all over the present.

            Most people don’t even notice us other than the mere mentions of our great multiplication in Jesus’ hands.

            My name is Talya, and I speak for the fish.

            We fish were created along with all those other creatures, way back in the beginning. Here’s the words to prove it—and I quote—

            And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

            That’s Genesis 1:21, people. We fish count under the whole “every living creature that moveth,” part. Trust me. I know.

            Okay, so, fast forward a little while. We fish are practically non-existent in the part between the creation and the plagues in Egypt. Oh, sure, you human-people ate us. No doubt about that. But there’s no mention of my kind until Exodus 7:21:

            And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

            See, Egyptians, it wasn’t just you and your firstborns that died in those ten plagues over Egypt. We fish died too.

            Fish don’t just show up in all the bad stories of the Bible, though. Just look at the story of Jonah. Yeah, sure, for him that big fish was kind of a bad story, but look! By obeying Yahweh, one of my people did a great service to Jonah. And he didn’t even have to drown to learn his lesson.

            Another good one (I love this story!): A fish was used to pay Christ’s taxes once. Well, not literally, but you get the idea. Jesus sent Peter down to the sea, and when he caught a fish, he opened up the fish’s mouth and found the tax money. Not so bad, eh?

            We also did a pretty good job of providing for the disciples’ families, too. You didn’t think that Jesus would just pick up twelve men and leave their wives at home to take care of themselves, did you? Peter had a wife—at least, he certainly had a mother-in-law! We helped take care of them.

            What, you say? What do I mean, fish provided for the wives of the disciples? Check it out in Luke 5 and John 21. I’ll just quote Luke 5 verses, oh, 4 to 11.

            Now when he—that’s Jesus, by the way—had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

            And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

            And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

            And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

            When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

            For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

            And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

            And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

            Now, pay special attention to that last verse. What do you suppose they did with all that fish? Two boats’ worth, people! They didn’t just throw them back into the sea! How much do you want to bet that they sold those fish, and that’s what helped take care of those families for those three years they were on the road? Huh? What do you think?

            So, see. We fish, we’re more important than you think.

            Remember that next time you throw a stick of dynamite into the river and watch our lifeless bodies float up to the surface.

            Remember that next time you order a filleted fish.

            We are important.

Note: A couple little notes about this story: First, yes, Talya’s introduction up there is an obvious rip-off of The Lorax, both the movie and the Doctor Seuss book. I own neither.

 The “fact” Talya presents about the fish from the miraculous catches being used to provide for the disciples’ families is not a fact, despite what she may say. It’s just speculation on my and my sisters’ part.
Oh, and the dynamite-fishing there at the end? It’s common here in South America. No better way to ensure your living by fishing!

So, what do you think? How did Jesus provide for the disciples’ families while they followed him? And what other creatures of the Bible are very much ignored?