Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Once... Book Blast!

Damsels in distress, curses, echoes of faery tales and tragic love affairs swirl together in sixteen stories found in a dragon’s lair by a curious half-fae.
Unexpected changes to reality causes more than one damsel to turn into a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life.
A collection of short stories about Faerie and the fae that live in the human realm. A few of the stories had won competitions and all of them had enchanted readers.
Learn their secrets and enter the realm of the fae…
ISBN EPUB: 978-0-6399476-2-4
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-6399476-3-1
Publication date: 23 May 2018
Universal Book Links for Afrikaans and English versions of this book:
Also available in Afrikaans as “Eens…”.
Mortals cannot perceive the veil unless they are invited to – or extremely gifted. For centuries, Man and Fae have been kept apart, for nothing good ever comes from them mixing. The collection of The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is proof of this.
Still, there are magical creatures that side neither with Man nor Fae.
Dragons are such creatures. They hold the knowledge of both worlds. Some even collect it in the written word, keeping it safe in their lairs.
An inquisitive half-fae once broke into the lair of a dragon known to hoard books. The knowledge she found was too much to keep to herself…
Here are a few tales, myths and legends from Faerie. Some may sound remarkably similar to legends held by mortals, while others are…  well… as otherworldly as the fae themselves.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.

Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon.

Connect with Ronel on:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Doctor Mom blog hop!

Prompt: Share a favorite memory you have of your mom. Or just share a picture of your mom that you cherish. Or you can do both!

Last year, my mom and I went to Japan, where my mom was born and raised. We'd been there together twice before, but last year's trip was the first time I'd been back as an adult and it had been over twenty years. I'd forgotten how long the flight was, how cramped an airplane feels after several hours, how much I hate flying. 

Granted, airplanes these days have amenities that didn't exist in the 90s. 

At any rate, my mom and I sat next to each other. We napped. We ate. We watched movies. As the plane descended towards Haneda Airport in Tokyo, my not-so-inner flying anxiety emerged because we hit really bad turbulence. The plane would sink down another few feet, then shake because of bad air. And I was starting to freak out, but luckily, I had my mom next to me so I could grab her hand. And Mom said, "It's okay--it's...yeah, it's pretty turbulent, but we'll be fine. Look, you can see the water outside. Oh, maybe that doesn't help. You're so like your dad when he flies." Then she proceeded to laugh gently as I was grimacing.

Title: Doctor Mom
Author: Elaine Kaye
Genre: Picture Story Book
Ages: 5-8 years

BLURB: It’s Saturday, and Gregory Green can’t wait to have fun with his dad on the riding lawnmower, but something is wrong. Sammy, his teddy bear and best friend, won’t get out of bed. Gregory is worried when he sees Sammy’s left leg is torn. This is a case for Doctor Mom! Can they fix Sammy? And just how did Sammy get hurt in the first place?


"Doctor Mom is an adorable story that shows how Moms can fix anything—even a torn limb on a beloved teddy bear! Children will enjoy the lovable little bear who needs a stitch or two and his boy who plays dress-up as a doctor." – Wanda Luthman, award-winning author of Little Birdie Grows Up

“A sweet and heartfelt tale kids can easily identify with, and all of that with a wonderful touch of magic.” – Tonja Drecker, reviewer at Bookworm for Kids



Elaine Kaye first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster. Doctor Mom is the second book in A Gregory Green Adventure series and highlights something all moms and children can relate to; a beloved stuffed animal in need of a repair.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.

She is a grandmother of three boys.

Website / Etsy Shop / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram / Facebook

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Ranty Review

A Queen from the North (Royal Roses #1)A Queen from the North by Erin McRae
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was in the mood for a royal romance (gee, I wonder why?) and this was on sale. A Queen from the North is a contemporary romance with alternative history and a bit of fantasy. Sort of. I forget where I came across this book, but I was sucked in by the fantasy and alternate history angles and I was disappointed by both elements in this book.

In an England where the Wars of Roses haven't totally ended, the north--York--feels marginalized from the southern, more Lancastrian parts of England. (Which was repetitively mentioned throughout the book, but this bit of basic worldbuilding for this premise could've been expanded so much more!) Arthur, the Lancastrian Prince of Wales, (also: supposedly this Lancastrian line has been unbroken ever since Henry Tudor killed Richard III at Bosworth, but it's never explained whom or how exactly the line is unbroken. Because, like, Elizabeth I is mentioned and if she had kids or something, then maybe mention that somewhere? Did the Hanovers even happen in this alternate history? What about Victoria and Albert?). Anyway. So there's Arthur, the widowed Prince of Wales, who is nudged by his niece Princess George ("the court witch") to marry again. Arthur meets Lady Amelia Brockett, his friend's sister, daughter of a northern earl, university student in the sciences, and decides "sure, why not, she seems pretty and smart--I'll marry her!"

I think. The entire novel is told from Amelia's point of view and while there are ways to deepen a third person pov so a reader gets a better sense of other characters, this didn't do that. So I never felt I got to know Arthur all that well and his behavior seemed distant and snippy most of the time. Also, there were several instances where I wanted to smack Amelia upside the head ("I don't want to read the pre-nup! Nope! We're not in love and this is only a business merger of a marriage!" If it's an arranged marriage, then read the goddamned pre-nup, Amelia!

The main conflict between Arthur and Amelia consisted of them misunderstanding each other and then not talking through their shit like adults. I. Hate. This. Kind. Of. Conflict. Beyond the complications of royal life and Amelia's privacy being taken from her and her life being stripped away from her quickly and vaguely dark fantastical forebodings about the bloody Tower of London ravens--because if those ravens leave the Tower, the myth says, England will fall--like, that was the entire interpersonal conflict between these two.

Arranged marriage tropes are a big thing in historical romances, so I've read them a-plenty and they were done so much better.

George turned out to be a fascinating character, though I wish we'd gone more in depth into her witchcraft. Also, Amelia's best friend Priya was adorable. In fact, I found myself liking these two more than the two lead characters.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 5, 2018

From Cookie to Kinky

Once upon a time before I started this blog, I fell ass over head for an American Idol winner's voice, voted for him, whooped and cheered when he won his season, and then chased him around midtown Manhattan when he came to New York City to do the Today Show and the Early Show.

I have vivid memories of a comfortable, sunny spring day and running the hell up Fifth Avenue to go from one show to the other. It's the only time I've followed one of my objects of admiration/infatuation around in a physical sense.

That day is almost exactly ten years ago. Ten. Fucking. Years. Ago. (I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling 22?)

Anyway, that American Idol winner was David Cook and my friend Jess and I followed him fairly extensively for a number of years after his win. We went to his first record launch in November of 2008, including lining up near Times Square at the crack of dawn to see him on Good Morning America (where I got a guitar pick le sigh), buying the CD at Tower Records in Times Square (RIP) and getting a bracelet to attend the record launch concert the next day!

Y'all, I was living as a 22-year-old. (Except for the part where there was a recession and I had an awful unpaid internship at the time...)

My friend Jess took a picture of her memorabilia from that November day: (yes, we got signed CDs that second night. Yes, he was in front of my face. No, I couldn't summon words to say anything to him. Yes, I still have the signed CD. Yes, I'm still peeved that "Lie" was never a single).

Photo courtesy of Jess

We attended so many of his concerts, every time he came through New York City. 

I bring up ancient history because David Cook has been in a limited run as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots on Broadway. Jess went to see him two weeks ago and reported that he was wonderful, then bombarded me with YouTube videos of him singing some of the songs (we'd seen Kinky Boots several years ago and while I have the cast album, I don't listen to it very often). 

Then she said she was going to see it again ("I have to see him in this again") and I went with her on May 4, 2018 because although I haven't followed David Cook all that much in the past couple of years, I mean, like, why not? For old time's sake, y'know? It's his Broadway debut and he may not be back and he's a forty-five minute ride away from my house and why the hell not?

Kinky Boots is the story of two men--Charlie Price, son of an English shoe factory owner, and Lola, a drag queen. They meet, Charlie can't let the factory he's inherited close and fall apart, he decides to start manufacturing kinky boots--heeled boots strong enough to hold a full-grown man's weight, and everyone learns to accept themselves and the people around them. 

The thing I always enjoyed about David's voice was his rich tone and his incredible range, both of which were on display. I always found the original singer's voice on the cast album to be kind of nasally in tone, to be honest. 

It was seriously fun to see David acting on stage, dancing, hitting the comic timing, going for broke on the songs, especially "Soul of a Man." His last show is tomorrow night. I hope he'll find himself in another Broadway production at some point because I will go to see him. He looked like he was having a blast on stage and it was so much fun to see him  and hear him in this new capacity.

Besides, on the subway home, Jess and I were still singing "Step One" under our breaths, but hearing Cook's voice singing the song. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IWSG May 2018

It's time for IWSG Day--the first Wednesday of every month! Do check out the group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, here. And thanks to our awesome co-hosts: E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

On to the IWSG question for the month:

It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

Funnily enough, spring has finally sprung here in the Northeast, after what seemed like an endless winter. I've had six-day work weeks for a while, which has cut down my available writing time, unfortunately, so my writing projects are going at a crawl at the moment. But I am nearly done with a short story, which I'll send to a friend for her opinion. I'll have to decide how I want to publish it after I get her notes.

My bigger project--my contemporary romance novel outlines--are still going, but at an even slower crawl. But nothing seems insurmountable when there's finally sunshine and decent temperatures outside and I am still thinking of those stories and developing them in my mind, so they will get written, just not as quickly as I would like.