There comes a time in every writer’s life where they become “that” writer—the one who forgets to put on shoes before going out or wears pajamas to church, who doesn’t remember to pick up Grandma from the airport and forgets that The Flash is returning. *face palm* And then the common, Did I brush my teeth today? We don’t like to admit it, because those writers should have a better grasp on things, but all these semi-disasters can and do happen because our heads sometimes get a teensy bit jumbled with all the crazy thoughts and plotting going on up there. Between author signings, my birthday, a coworker quitting and taking on extra shifts at the office, and trying to reach a deadline for my WIP Jungle Princess, I may or may not have forgotten that my beloved middle child, Chasing Shadows, turned TWO this past Tuesday. Excuse me while I hide in shame….
It was a hard-fought battle to get Chasing Shadows out there in the world because of time constraints, publishing issues, and trying to find a marketing plan that worked for a busy student/office manager. So it was a gift worth squealing over when the second book in the Rising Shadows Trilogy released on October 4th, just a day after my own birthday. Raise a glass to help me celebrate a story that made me accidentally fall in love with a character who wasn’t Will Taylor (Damien … *le sigh*) and that caused me to realize caffeine addiction isn’t “technically” an addiction if you don’t drink after 4pm.
The results are in, and according to Deb and Christine, apparently Defying Shadows is timey-wimey, which makes this little lady pretty happy. ^_^ Check out Christine’s review below and be sure to follow her great blog!
So, I know that this is technically old news, but I am extremely excited about Renée Ahdieh’s upcoming book, which is slated for May of 2017. I love Renée’s style of writing and storytelling, and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her next series, especially since it is supposed to be a retelling of one of my favorite stories and Disney movies of all time. Oh, did I not mention yet that Renée is writing a YA retelling of “Mulan”?
I heard the news from my sister and I was overjoyed that not only was Mulan going to get the time of day that she has always deserved, but also because Renée Ahdieh is the best author to retell her amazing story. This whole situation is LEGIT, and I already pre-ordered Renée Ahdieh’s amazing sounding book. Alright, time for the title and summary!
Guys, this review, just–
(Deb: THE YEW TREE!!!! Does it make me a terrible person to say I’m glad it destroyed you? The feels!!!)
I found Deb a while ago through mutual bloggers, and at first I thought she was kind of shy, so I was a little hesitant to ask her to read the Rising Shadows Trilogy because I didn’t want to overwhelm her. But when her enthusiasm and fellow fangirl-ness came out, I knew I’d found a forever friend in this kindred spirit. She has expressed such love for these characters and encouraged me every step of the way (you’ll notice her in the Defying Shadows acknowledgements), and her calm presence and advice helped me to keep going.
This review made me incredibly happy that I asked Deb to be a Shadow for Team Hood and beta read the last book. Seeing other readers connect with these characters and be moved by their circumstances and emotions makes you feel like you’re doing something right. Just *smiles*
If you haven’t yet, check out Defying Shadows through the links on her post or my Goodreads (image link at the upper right corner of my site), and be sure to follow Deb and share her posts around. She’s an amazing writer and hilarious fangirl, and let’s show her some love! Besides, anyone who uses “AWK” or “ASDFGHJKL” to express irrepressible feels is an A in my book.
Also, her reference to one of my all-time favorite quotes from Larry (Veggie Tales) totally moved me. ^_~
My review is below, but first I just wanted to mention something!
Defying Shadows HAS BEEN NOMINATED for the August edition of a thing called Clash of the Titles, which YOU can help with by popping over HERE to vote (through August 31) on one of four featured books — which one sounds most interesting to you.
GUYS! Defying Shadows has been nominated for the August Clash!!!
Some of you are familiar with Clash of the Titles and their amazing awards and clashes each month, and I have voted on many a clash for worthy new releases. But for those of you who have yet to obsessively spread the word about your favorite books (shame on you!), COTT is a fantastic site that hosts what they call a “Clash” each month for new releases. Sort of a battle to the end between books where fans vote on a favorite blurb and cover photo, and in the end, there is one book victor.
I am crazy excited and honored because out of however many submissions they received for new July releases, Defying Shadows was selected as one of FOUR to enter the arena (cast your vote here!). I mean, no biggie.
This is a total honor, and the winner of the August Clash not only gets a ton of promotion from COTT (and bragging rights–HUZZAH!), but they are also able to submit their book for the Laurel Award for free, which is a super prestigious award that I’ve only ever dreamed about getting (and have, admittedly, been too intimidated to submit to before). Lisa M. who designed the cover for Defying Shadows (add to Goodreads) and whom you might recognize from my acknowledgements in the book, was crazy excited and created all sorts of new banners for the clash and is spreading the word like crazy (I’ll post the image to grab and share at the end of this post).
This is important, because it’s your votes that will decide which book takes home the victory of the Clash. I understand if another book takes your fancy over Defying Shadows…
… but if DS strikes your interest in any way, then please stop by and vote again and again, and spread the word about the August Clash. If we win—that’s right, it’s a Team Hood effort!—then I’ll host another awesome book and gift card giveaway on my site. Don’t consider it a bribe, just “motivation.”
So what are you waiting for?! Go, vote and spread the word! And keep an eye out everywhere, because I will be promoting the heck out of this thing. Let’s share Sarah’s story and Will’s amazing journey with the world! Now, please excuse me…
If you’re willing to share and encourage people to vote, you can use the image and link below (check out the new cover photo and header pics on Twitter and Facebook, also designed by Lisa M. Man, the girl works fast!). I’ll keep tabs on who shares the most when you tag @TownsendTales, and there might be a gift card involved for the Shadow who does the most social media posting and reblogging. Just sayin’. ^_~
One beat or pulsing rhythm or lyric that catches on my heart strings, and I’m hooked on a song. My sister Katie (follow her blog Books and Wonderful Things!) brought a random song from Florence and the Machine to my attention while I was writing Chasing Shadows, and the chorus and a single line in the bridge of “Heavy in Your Arms” inspired the waterfall scene between Jade and Will (“The one who creeps in corridors and doesn’t make a sound.” Come on, people!). Sometimes when I get blocked, I take a break, close my eyes and just nap in the sunshine and listen to music. I’ve overcome many a writing stump by absorbing the tone and lyrics of random songs.
My writing playlist consists of about 150 inspiring songs in all sorts of genres so that there is something to fit any scene (romantic, intense, moody, tragic). But there is always one lyric or beat or chorus that so perfectly encompasses the entire mood of a chapter that, before I realize it, the repeat button has been pressed, and I listen to nothing but that song as it inspires the setting and the way I write, even how the characters respond to one another. Some music causes me to pound away at the keyboard as swords clash and arrows fly, while sweeter melodies make me slow down and smile as I pen a romantic interlude (ooh, interludes! ^_~). Music is, essentially, the backbone behind life and every story, if you listen close enough to the birds, the wind, and “every breaking wave” (*cough* U2 reference *cough*).
Since there is one specific song that really stuck out to me as being the lifeblood behind each chapter, I had to share with you the melodies that inspired Defying Shadows. If you’ve read the book, then you’re probably freaking out because you’re reliving every laugh and tear and emotional tidal wave that you experienced while reading the book. If you haven’t started Defying Shadows yet, then find it here so you know why this playlist is perfect.
Well, ladies, gents, and hobbits, we’re wrapping up another successful Realm Makers conference. Each year, I see the conference getting better and better: great workshops, deeper discussions, more networking . . . just bigger, better, and more. God is doing amazing things with our little niche in the world. (Which, by the way, is not as small as some may think!)
In fact, here are a few highlights from some of the wonderful people who work behind the scenes . . .
Becky Minor, Realm Makers Director and Advisory Board
Seeing so many in attendance so completely blown away by being with friends and learning together.
Scott Minor, Realm Makers Co-Director and Advisory Board
My highlight was getting to announce the details of next year’s conference. A lot of hard work and careful consideration went into the planning behind it.