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A KIND OF DEATH Blog Tour: Theme Post

A Kind of Death

 

Themes of Love, Loss, and Transformation in A KIND OF DEATH

 A Kind of Death is all about the themes of Love. Loss. Transformation.

It sounds heavy, of course it does. Death is never a subject to take lightly, and neither are the themes of love, loss, and transformation. But those themes can help to ease the ache of death, to help you see death in a different light. These themes are heavily prevalent in both my story in the anthology, “Nothing More Than Death,” how that story came to be, and in my own life this past year.

The first draft of “Nothing More Than Death” was written about eight years ago, when I was a moon-eyed teenager who thought writing a dark story about a prince who fell in love with Death would be edgy and sweet. I posted the first draft to a now-defunct website, and after the website broke up, it lived, forgotten on my computer for years as I went away to university, graduated, and moved back home.

Then this past November, I lost my mother to cancer. I can’t describe how it feels to watch someone you knew and loved so dearly wither away before your very eyes. So much of my life that I’d planned out—moving overseas to teach ESL, travelling, adventuring—all fell by the wayside under a blur of arrangements, grief, and trying to keep it all together as the seasonal holidays of Christmas and New Year’s, and then what would have been my mother’s 61st birthday in January, flew past me in a haze.

Life went on, and I slogged after it. I got a new job to pay bills and help reduce my stress levels, kept dreaming of the future, clung to life and its promises even when my mind was clouded by death.

Months later, the call for the anthology went out. I knew I had a story that fit the theme. It was still mostly a romance story at that time, fitting the theme mostly because it was about Death falling in love. I sent it to some fellow writer friends for feedback. Zimri A. Z. Zoran boosted my confidence with lovely encouragement that was a balm to my soul, and Savannah Jezowski so kindly encouraged me and suggested  that perhaps my own experiences with grief could help in my approach to the story.

I’d read blog posts from fellow writer friends documenting the struggle of writing yourself and your experiences into a story. Now, I experienced it for myself. My love and loss seeped into the story through the rounds and rounds of edits, and the character that best reflects me and my journey isn’t who you might expect (no, I didn’t write myself into the story as the main character).

Thanks to the feedback and encouragement of these dear friends, this story now tells the tale of a prince who is still in love with Death—but it’s also about the “background characters”, the people who watch and weep and pray that Life will win over Death. It’s about the push-and-pull of life and death and love. It’s about what it’s like to watch someone you love pull away from you, their eyes on a horizon you cannot reach. It has romantic elements, but I no longer would describe it as a romance.

It’s about Loving, and Losing, and being transformed in how you view Life.

In the end, I hope “Nothing More Than Death,” and all the other stories and poems in this lovely anthology, help to transform your attitudes towards life, death, and suffering. I hope they make you think. I hope they encourage and comfort you as you live through your own times of love, loss, and transformation.

 

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Click here to enter the giveaway.

About the Book

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A princess who makes dangerous bargains with the afterlife. A man desperate to save his wife, no matter the cost. An uber driver for the undead.

Death, whether real or metaphorical, comes for us all. Yet it is not always the end. And in the depths of grieving can be the promise of hope and redemption.

The tales and poems in this anthology explore the depths of love, loss, and transformation. Whether in a reimagined folktale or a modern urban fantasy, A Kind of Death features a fine balance of tragedy and comedy, but always with a hint of wonder and hope.

As this anthology concerns matters of loss (all handled tastefully and without graphic depiction), certain stories might prove challenging for sensitive readers. Recommend reading with a hot beverage and/or a packet of tissues.

 

About the Publisher

Uncommon Universes Press is a traditional publishing company featuring fresh science fiction and fantasy stories with wonder, adventure, and sacrifice. Check out the links below to learn more!

Website: https://uncommonuniverses.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncommonuniverses/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uncommonuniversespress/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/uncommonunivers

 

Blog Tour Schedule

October 16 – Soleil Bourdon – Book Spotlight/Photo

October 17 – Janeen Ippolito – Book Spotlight/Theme Post

October 18 – Anna Tan – Story Spotlights

October 19 – Rosalie Valentine – Book Spotlight/Theme

October 20 – Jenelle Schmidt – Story Spotlight

October 21 – Terri Rand – Book Review

October 22 – Savannah Jezowski – Book Spotlight

October 23 – Liv K. Fisher – Book Spotlight/Theme Post

October 24 – Beka Gremikova – Theme/Other

October 25 – Savannah Grace

October 26 – Nicki Chapelway – Theme Post

October 27 – Zimri A.Z. Zoran – Story Spotlight

October 28 – Katherine Massengill – Book Spotlight/Theme Post

October 29 – Rebekah Gyger – Book Spotlight/Theme Post

October 30 – Cherise Taylor – Book Spotlight

October 31 – Heather Titus – Photos

November 1 – R.F. Gammon – Review/Theme Post

A KIND OF DEATH: Preorder Links and Release Date!

Today I get to share the exciting news! A Kind of Death, Uncommon Universes Press’s debut anthology collection, is now available for preorder! Huzzah! As well, if you preorder either the paperback or the hardcover (YES, there IS GOING TO BE A HARDCOVER!!!), there will be PREORDER SWAG!

(I never posted on here about this, but I have a short story being published in this anthology! :D)

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

The Release Date is OCTOBER 22, 2019!

 

A BIT ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY…

Preorder Graphic1

 

A princess who makes dangerous bargains with the afterlife. A man desperate to save his wife, no matter the cost. An uber driver for the undead.

 Death, whether real or metaphorical, comes for us all. Yet it is not always the end. And in the depths of grieving can be the promise of hope and redemption.

 The tales and poems in this anthology explore the depths of love, loss, and transformation. Whether in a reimagined folktale or a modern urban fantasy, A Kind of Death features a fine balance of tragedy and comedy, but always with a hint of wonder and hope.

 As this anthology concerns matters of loss (all handled tastefully and without graphic depiction), certain stories might prove challenging for sensitive readers. Recommend reading with a hot beverage and/or a packet of tissues.

 

PREORDER LINKS!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X8P6636

Other Major Online Retailers: https://books2read.com/u/meB9Yg

Paperback Preorder:  https://uncommonuniverses.com/product/a-kind-of-death-a-short-story-and-poetry-anthology-paperback/

Hardback Preorder:  https://uncommonuniverses.com/product/a-kind-of-death-a-short-story-and-poetry-anthology-hardcover/

  

 about UNCOMMON UNIVERSES PRESS…

Uncommon Universes Press is a traditional publishing company featuring fresh science fiction and fantasy stories with wonder, adventure, and sacrifice. Check out the links below to learn more!

Website: https://uncommonuniverses.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uncommonuniverses/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uncommonuniversespress/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/uncommonunivers

A BIT MORE…

I’m ecstatic to be a part of this collection alongside many other authors that I admire. My short story, “Nothing More Than Death,” is about Life, Death, Fate, and the dying prince caught in their web—and in his own feelings for Death.

I’ll be sharing more about this deeply personal, emotional journey as we get closer to the release date. Thank you for joining me and the other authors on this journey, and we hope you enjoy the anthology once it’s released to you!

If you wish to join me on my other social media sites, where I post more regularly, you can find me on Twitter @DreamofWriting, Instagram, or Facebook.

Also, I have an Amazon Author Page now, where you can follow me to be updated about any new releases!

When the book is on Goodreads, I’ll be creating an Author Profile there too if you wish to add me. 🙂

Thanks again, friends! May God bless you on your own creative journeys! ❤ I am so thankful to Jesus for the incredible gift this anthology experience has been to me during one of the most painful times of my life.

Curse and Consequence Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt and Book Review!

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It is my pleasure to be part of the blog tour hosted by the lovely Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester for Curse and Consequence, a regency novella with magic from the fabulous Savannah Jezowski! It is a lovely story and one of my absolute favourites of her works.

To get started, here is a bit about the book itself:

About Curse and Consequence

When Love visits Ravenhead Hall, sparks fly…quite literally.

Miss Rea Abernathy only wants to honor the family who has taken her under their wing, rescuing her from a life of poverty. But thanks to two determined suitors, she finds herself in a state far worse than the one from which her benefactress saved her.

When Mr. Sedgwick Whitby sets his sights on his mother’s sweet-tempered pig keeper, his orderly life is thrown into chaos: Rea’s station is less–than-desirable, and another gentleman may be pursuing her. Hoping to get his annoyingly charming twin brother out of the way, Sedgwick purchases a simple curse from a disreputable faery which consequently plunges them all into a misfortune far more serious than troubles of the heart.

With time running out to break the curse and tempers flying high, can Sedgwick and Rea set things right and find love after all? Jane Austen meets dragons in this frolicking fantasy romance about a comely pig keeper, two wealthy gentlemen, and the curse binding them all together. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine.

 

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Links!

Amazon (Available on Kindle Limited!)

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43610428-curse-and-consequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

8518377C-E668-4240-8AAD-6E7129D6A580About the Author

Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical DoorwaysTales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

Social Media Links

Website— Newsletter— Facebook  — Facebook Group— Twitter— Amazon Author Page

 

Exclusive Book Excerpt:

Sedgwick frowned at the faery’s cutting remark and let his attention drift to Miss Abernathy again. His heart skipped erratically as he admired the graceful way she tried to keep step with Hugh’s theatrical movements. She wore a shockingly simple day dress that gathered just below her bust, yet she looked stunning with her pale hair pulled loosely back, allowing wayward curls to dance about her flushed cheeks. Even though she lacked all the jewels, elegance, and fuss of the other ladies, he thought her the most beautiful woman at the party.

Miss Abernathy had become his mother’s ward about eight months ago. The daughter of a disgraced baronet who’d gambled himself into debtor’s prison, she would have been out on the streets had it not been for Mother’s tender heart—although Mother’s finicky prize pig may have been a deciding factor as well. Miss Abernathy seemed to have an affinity for the four-legged and feathered varieties.

“Are you sure she’s the one you want?” his companion asked critically. “She’s barely passable, even for a human.”

Sedgwick stifled a sharp reply. He didn’t care about her humble looks or the lack of frills. There was something about her. It wasn’t just her way with animals, which was why his mother had taken her in: to pamper her prized falcons and pigs—dirty, noisy things Sedgwick would be only too happy to see the end of. No, there was something else about the poor girl that always seemed to eat away at him.

She was a genuinely nice person, and that was rare in the world.

He couldn’t help but love her.

The dance ended to demure applause, and the couples began to drift back toward their seats and the refreshments. Miss Abernathy resisted the pull of Hugh’s hand and glanced about the lawn until her eyes met Sedgwick’s. Her mouth curved into a shy smile.

Sedgwick stared at her across the lawn, her features as familiar to him as breathing. Hugh stepped between them and laughed again as he leaned close to Miss Abernathy and pretended to sweep a coin from behind her ear. She pushed his hand away, too clever to fall for his silly tricks. She eased to the right a smidgeon, peeking at Sedgwick around Hugh’s broad shoulder.

“People say twins should be soul mates,” he told the faery, feeling as if he needed to explain the purpose behind what he was about to do. “I suppose it stands to reason we’d both want the same girl.”

The faery twisted his disgusting lips into something that only vaguely resembled a smile. “Fated from birth to be friends and rivals, is it?”

He was beginning to feel very glum. “We couldn’t be more opposite if we tried.” In fact, he wouldn’t be surprised if Hugh was only interested in Miss Abernathy because Sedgwick wanted her. Hugh was incredibly adept at complicating things.

Creating problems.

The faery studied him, fingers twitching impatiently. “So do we have a deal, then?” he asked. He sounded bored, ready to move onto some other mischief if Sedgwick changed his mind.

Sedgwick took a stabilizing breath and hoped he wouldn’t regret this for the rest of his life. But if he wanted Miss Abernathy to be a part of that life, Hugh simply couldn’t be in the picture. “Yes, we have a deal. Do as we discussed—don’t hurt him. Just make it so no one would ever want to marry him.”

The faery grinned that terrible, crooked smile. “She’ll be asking for your hand by supper time.”

Book Review:

So, I was a beta-reader for this novella, and while I have yet to finish the completed version of the novella, the beta version was fabulous. So it can only be even more fabulous and that means you all must get yourselves a copy!

Sedgwick and Hugh are both so believable and endearing, even while you want to smack them both upside the head sometimes. I can very much feel for Sedgwick’s dilemma and Hugh, as annoying as he could be, definitely doesn’t deserve what the curse does to him. Or does he… 😉

The way the mysteries of Faerie are just a part of every day life makes the magic of this novella even more heightened. The fact that danger can lie around every choice is something that is very real for us in our world as well. I absolutely love that Jezowski includes dragons in this regency story–and what a sweet dragon it is. Hugh and Sedgwick’s mother also makes an appearance as an integral character, and she easily became one of my favourites. I loved her relationship with each of her sons.

The humour is so sweet and clean, based on situational comedy and wit which is far more to my taste than much of the raunch that modern-day comedy consists of. Hugh especially is such a hilarious character. Even when you want to yell at him for some of the things he says, you’re also fighting back a grin.

Lastly, Rea, sweet Rea. She is fabulous. That is all I can say–read and see for yourself! 😉

Basically, if you love humour, dragons, regency England-type settings, brothers at odds, mothers in arms (so to speak), and girls who know when and how to speak for themselves… pick up Curse and Consequence!

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 1st

 

Tuesday, July 2nd

 

Wednesday, July 3rd

 

Thursday, July 4th

 

Friday, July 5th

 

Saturday, July 6th

 

Sunday, July 7th 

 

 

 

Author Interview: H.S.J. Williams, Author of “Fairest Son”

Today I have the pleasure of celebrating the book release of a dear friend and fellow writer, H.S.J. Williams! She has agreed to a delightful interview, which you will find further on in the post. Before we get to that, here’s a bit about her lovely Snow White retelling, FAIREST SON!

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About the Book

The Fair and Foul courts of the fey folk have long yearned for one to bring them together in peace, but hopes are dashed when the fairest prince and the prophecy concerning him are laid to ruin. Burdened with shame and sorrow, the prince flees to the cold mountains far above the forests and lochs with nothing but animals and goblins for company.

When a human huntress stumbles upon him in her search for a legendary predator, their fates are intertwined. But she hides deadly secrets, and if he dares to trust her, he may risk the doom of both courts to an ancient evil…

A novella retelling of Snow White

Add it on Goodreads today!

Buy the paperback on Amazon or the paperback from H.S.J. Williams’ website.

Also, today is the last day to get it for $1.99!!!

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About the Author

Author photo

From the beginning, H. S. J. Williams has loved stories and all the forms they take. Whether with word, art, or costume, she has always been fascinated with the magic of imagination. She lives in a real fantastical kingdom, the beautiful Pacific Northwest, with her very own array of animal friends and royally loving family. Williams taught Fantasy Illustration at MSOA. She may also be a part-time elf.

Author Site: https://www.hsjwilliams.com/

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsjwilliams/

About the Artist

Irina Plachkova is an acclaimed artist, freelance illustrator, and fashion designer, better known as PhantomRin. You can find more of her work at phantomrin.tumblr.com.

Fairest Son quote 1

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW!!!

1.) How did the idea for Fairest Son come to you?

Oh, tough one….I cannot remember a specific inspiration…only that while brainstorming for the Rooglewood fairytale contests, I realized I wanted to try a Snow White gender-swap with fey folk. I have a terrible tendency towards plots surrounding princes in peril, so it just sort of took off from there.

2.) What was your favourite part of the writing process? Your least favourite?

Hmmm, I love sharing with my group of writer buddies and hearing their thoughts back. It waters the soul to know someone else is enjoying your work. Honestly, it was because of the feedback and encouragement I was given for this story which made me decide to pursue it to the finish and release it to the rest of the world. However, FINISHING it, proved hard. This is a short story and yet it took me three years to write it. I had my beginning and I knew where I wanted to go for the ending, yet the middle was just blank. Not to mention the writing style was a touch different than my usual, so keeping the same voice throughout long periods of time was especially challenging. But at least the hidden secrets of the universe revealed themselves to me.

3.) Which character do you connect with most?

Probably Keeva. She’s the only human character in the story, and as such is very…human. Full of fear and guilt, but trying to maintain a tough exterior. She also has a lot of sass and thinks fast and possesses more courage than she realizes. Also there is a random faerie lady who is suspicious of Keeva and is like (loosely translated) “HEY, whatcha’ want with our prince?” and I’m like, “Yeah, that would be me.”

4.) Can you share a favourite non-spoiler line or passage? (Please? 😉 )

“She picked up the bread and sniffed it as if in deep appreciation. In truth, she sniffed for any foul odor, for she was not yet entirely convinced that her host was harmless. But her stomach growled and her mouth salivated and her mind reasoned. There was no help for it. Fey folk had no patience for mortal’s lack of perception and while you might avoid enchantment by refusing their food, you could just as easily forever offend one who would have been your friend otherwise.”

5.) Marvel fan question…which Marvel superhero do you think your characters are most like?

Idris is something of a cross between Vision and T’Challa. He has a very quiet and meek personality overlying deep strength and conviction. Keeva on the other hand could only be Black Widow….lots of dangerous and guilt-ridden secrets and that sort of trouble.

6.) Lastly, please share a favourite writing or inspirational quote! 😀

“For real love brings pain. Real love means sacrifice and hurts and all the thousand shocks of life. But it also means beauty, true beauty.”

Thanks for being here, H.S.J.! Now, friends, if you don’t have a copy of FAIREST SON already, you should definitely pick yourself up a copy! 😀

 

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My fanart of Keeva and Idris

OTHER BLOG TOUR STOPS

If you want to check out the other stops on the tour, here’s the schedule from the past week:

August 4th:

Book Spotlight with Bryn at

https://todaybybryn.wordpress.com

 

August 5th:

Book Spotlight with Skye at

https://skyehoffert.blogspot.com/ 

 

August 6th: 

Book spotlight with Jemma at

http://thesherwoodstoryteller.blogspot.com.au/

Author interview with Sarah at

http://dreams-dragons.blogspot.com

 

August 7th: 

Author Interview with Olivia at

https://the-book-sprite.blogspot.com/

 

August 8th:

Book Spotlight with Amber at

https://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/

Book Spotlight with Rebekah Gyger at

http://backingbooks.blogspot.com/

 

August 9th:

Book Spotlight with Shantelle at

http://shantellemary.blogspot.com/

Book Spotlight with Laura at

https://unicornquester.com

Book Spotlight with Emmarayn at

http://writinginrivendell.blogspot.com/

 

August 10th:

Book Spotlight with Betsy at

https://metaphoricalcello.wordpress.com/

Character Spotlight with Jenelle at

http://jenelleschmidt.com

 

August 11th

Author Interview with Beka at

http://www.bekagremikova.wordpress.com

Character Spotlight with Kendra at

http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com 

 

Fairest Son quote 2

“What’s in a name?” Well, A Lot.

Welcome to my shiny new blog, friends! Many of you who know me in “real life”, so they say, may be a bit confused about why I’m now blogging and writing under a pen name. Well, this blog post will give you the answer to that question.

Just over two years ago, I lost my grandmother on my dad’s side. For all my life, we had called her “Babi”, our variation of Babushka, the Russian/Ukrainian word for “grandmother.” She was literally the only link we had to a whole other life in Ukraine, where we have cousins and family we can never communicate with because of the language barrier. In the past couple of years I’ve become curious about my family history, and specifically, my Babi’s history. But I never quite got the courage to ask her the questions I wanted to–you see, she lived through WWII in Ukraine, leaving after the war to come to Canada. I wasn’t sure if I would dredge up unwanted memories by asking her what I wished to know.

She died on July 4th, 2016, after wasting away from dementia. (My grieving process is a whole other story that I intend to share, but I’ll just say that a Disney movie was what helped me. I’ll let you guess which one.)

I’ve had other friends honour family members through their pen names and write blog posts about family history, so I wanted to do the same. I’m now using my babi’s maiden name as my pen name. I’ve become more “wary” of how my author and personal lives intertwine. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll go back to using my ‘real’ name as my author name. But honestly, her maiden name is my ‘real’ name. It’s part of me. Her history, however unknowable to me now, is still a source of dreaming for me.

Not to mention, she never went a visit without telling my sister and I she loved us. That is something that I have really come to value as I’ve gotten older and friends move away, move on, life changes and the struggles intensify. Telling people you love them is vital.

I pray that I will see her again. But for now, I’ll honour her by carrying on the name she carried as a young woman.

Dasvidaniya, Babi. I love you.

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My Beautiful Babi, probably when she was around my age (taken from her obituary online)

One of my friends from university wrote a gorgeous poem in honour of her grandmother, and I have written one of my own I’d like to share.

 

Tatiana

In the beloved memory of Tatiana (nee Gremikova) Barsoski, who passed away July 4, 2016

 

She smiles softly at me, this grandmother

I have never known

A black and white photograph

Her lips dark, perhaps from

 

thick red lipstick

 

I like to think we have—had—

 

HAVE

 

that in common.

 

She is maybe twenty-five years old

(I am almost twenty-four)

 

If you misread her name, you would see a fairy queen

If you read her name correctly, you couldn’t possibly see

everything.

 

When did she last smile at me, this grandmother

I knew for twenty-three years

Soft thin lips trembling as they grinned

Her voice high, thick with the accent

of a war-torn motherland who pushed

her out of a womb and across a sea

into the arms of a husband

into the toil of farm life and children

into a Canada that didn’t know Russia

from Ukraine, didn’t know Ukraine from Polish

didn’t care, as long as taxes were paid.

 

I knew nothing about her for twenty-three years

Didn’t know she had sneaked food into her labour camp

Didn’t know she had worked in a circus

Didn’t know she had given my father her adventurous spirit

Didn’t know that what I had thought his had first been hers

Didn’t know that my ability to adapt through heartbreak

Perhaps started with her,

in her soft sweet smile.

 

When she last smiled at me, this grandmother

I knew and never knew

was slumped in a hospital bed, her mind

gone back to that motherland, clawing to get back in.

Asking for friends, sisters, I had never heard of.

 

I wonder if, before she died, she saw Ukraine

as she might have remembered it. I wonder if

I will ever be able to visit that place, and see it

as she would have wanted me to.

 

I wonder if, one day, I will see her in heaven

and see her as the woman in the photo

(or the woman in the hospital bed)

 

or as someone completely new—

 

the woman I loved and never knew.