Tag Archives: Realm Makers

Interview with Carrie Anne Noble

You guys, I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this new book, The Gold-Son by Carrie Anne Noble.

I listened to The Mermaid’s Sister on Audible on the way home from PENCON, and Oh. My. Freaking. Goodness.

So good.

Then Carrie Anne Noble asked if anyone would be willing to host her for The Gold-Son’s release. Can I help it if I knocked everyone else over to get my hands on an ARC of this book?

(Okay, I wasn’t that brutal, but still…)

I’ve read it, I love it, and I’m beyond excited to have the author on my blog today.

(You guys should totally be freaking out with me. Eep!)

Hi Carrie! Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today! I’ve got so many questions for you about your brilliant books, I hope you don’t mind my fangirling just the teeniest-tiniest bit. I love your stories!

  • What fairy tales did you borrow from, or did you make The Gold-Son entirely your own tale?

For The Gold-Son, I researched Irish leprechaun folklore, and then I took some of the traditional beliefs and wove them together with my own ideas. For example, according to legend, leprechauns live underground, so I went with that—and then added that leprechauns have a network of towns below ground, with shops and roads and pubs just like humans have. I also decided that leprechauns eat mostly mushrooms (because what else can you grow in the dark for food?).

Well, of course! And I loved learning more about them.

  • Why did you choose first person for The Mermaid’s Sister and third person for The Gold-Son?

The Mermaid’s Sister was written in first person because it was a very personal story for me, a fictionalized journey through my real-life grief at the loss of my sister. The Gold-Son was written more as a return to the joy and fun of writing. To me, third person seemed like the best way to convey both Tommin’s and Eve’s experiences.

Oh, how achingly beautiful! I am so sorry, Carrie. I loved the way you conveyed each story.

  • Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It really depends on the day.

When the words are flowing, it can be quite exhilarating. When I’m stuck revising a pesky scene for hours, it can suck the life right out of me. Thank heaven for the rejuvenating qualities of chocolate!

Amen! Chocolate wins everything.

  • I recently listened to the audiobook of The Mermaid’s Sister, and it was stunning. Will we see any of the same characters in your new book, The Gold-Son?

The Gold-Son contains a whole new cast of characters: a kindhearted shoemaker’s apprentice addicted to stealing, a mute young woman held hostage by magic, a wicked leprechaun bent on dominating fairy-kind, a shape shifting bat-boy, and more! By the way, I’m completely thrilled to report that Irish actor Gerard Doyle narrated the audiobook for The Gold-Son. It’s just enchanting!

Excuse me while I pause everything and go preorder that too. Swoon!

  • Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

So far I’ve only written stand-alone books with characters unique to each one. The thought of writing a series is rather daunting to me, but I might try someday! What my books have in common (my “brand”) is the blending of historical fiction and fairy tale elements, with a little dash of whimsy. It’s what I like to read, and what I most enjoy creating.

And that whimsy is enchanting! Each story is truly a unique blend of history and fairy tale woven together.

  • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do some online and library research before I start writing the first draft, and then as I write I stop to check the odd historical fact now and then. Readers are pretty savvy and will call you out for giving a character a pocket watch before they were invented, or for having characters eat foods unavailable in their region. I enjoy the trivia of history, so fact checking is a fun distraction sometimes.

Ahem. This may be the reason I love writing fantasy… Pocket watch wasn’t invented yet? Bam! Alternate history. Lol! But in all seriousness, your attention to detail amazes me. Well done!

  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best money I’ve spent as a writer has been the money spent attending writers’ conferences such as St. Davids and Realm Makers. I heartily believe that taking classes to improve your craft and networking with others in the business are essential stepping stones to becoming a successful writer—especially for introverts like me. Writing is such a solitary art; it’s refreshing to come out of your lair and meet people who understand the weirdness of a writer’s brain! To anyone who thinks they can’t afford to attend conferences: check conference websites for scholarship opportunities and take the plunge!

Woohoo! Realm Makers is the best! (Only my favorite writers’ conference ever…)

  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I don’t know what I’d do without the feedback and encouragement I receive from writers in my local NaNoWriMo group (including my prized beta-reader, the talented, multi-published short story writer Amanda C. Davis) and the members of my local critique group! Also, Rysa Walker, who won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, gave me loads of helpful advice and support throughout the publishing process for The Mermaid’s Sister when it won the ABNA for the YA category in 2014. I’ve made quite a few writer friends at conferences—too many to name here, for sure! Having peers to cheer you on and steer you toward growth is priceless, especially on days you’re struggling with doubt or nasty reviews.

Absolutely! Oh, I’m so glad you have such a wonderful group of supportive writers!

  • What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

For English class in fifth grade, I had to write a story based on an interview with an older family member. I wrote about my great grandmother’s childhood summers at a farm. It taught me how powerfully words work to preserve memories and sensory experiences that would otherwise be forgotten. Maybe that’s why I’m still drawn to historical fiction; it keeps parts of the past alive, allowing us to experience in our imaginations the world as it was for our predecessors.

That is lovely.

  • What does literary success look like to you?

To me, literary success means having readers enjoy my stories, and also being able to help pay the bills—while honoring God who gave me the gift of words.

I do believe I need to frame this for my office. So well said!

  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t stop writing just because some people fail to appreciate your passion. Do it for yourself, and for the joy of it, and eventually all your practice will pay off!

Thank you, Carrie! I have loved getting to know you better, and I adore your new book!

What do you think, dearest readers? Are you ready to immerse yourself in The Gold-Son’s world?

Get thyself to the nearest bookstore (or, you know, Amazon) forthwith!

In Him,

Michele

*Photo Credit: Tonya Wilhelm Photography

About the Author:

In the wake of her checkered past as a theatre student, restaurant hostess, certified nurse aide, and newspaper writer, Carrie Anne now writes novels and short stories–mostly for a Young Adult audience. She lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with her tolerant husband, four charming children, two naughty cats, a not-so-bright dog, and some really-not-so-bright chickens. The chickens do not live in the house.

Her favorite authors include Mervyn Peake, Neil Gaiman, Maggie Stiefvater, Ardyth Kennelly, Catherine Cookson, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

When not reading or writing, Carrie Anne enjoys sewing, attempting to garden, and having tea parties with friends (preferably Mad Hatter style!).

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The Mermaid’s Sister:

2014 Winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner for Young Adult Fiction

2016 Winner of the Realm Award for Speculative Novel of the Year

Stunning Headshots by EA Creative Photography!

Oh. My. Word. Look at that, will you?

I just have to brag on Emilie Hendryx of E.A. Creative Photography a little bit here.

I’d been wanting professional headshots for forever and ever, and I’d been following Emilie on Facebook and other various social media for a while. (She takes professional headshots for authors at Realm Makers and ACFW). Oh man, did I want a session too!

Well my time came at Realm Makers 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

It was raining. I was sweating–ahem, “glowing”–from running around to get to my session in time and, you know, cause it’s hot in Philly in July. Hot.

And I was totally freaking out to step in front of that camera. But I did anyway.

And she did it. Emilie took my damp hair, “glowing” skin, and extra baby weight (That sucker’s a year and a half. This is supposed to go away sometime about now, right? Right?) ;-) and somehow made me look beautiful.

 

I have no idea how she did it. But I have my guess.

One word: magic.

Thank you, Emilie Hendryx, for taking such stunning professional headshots! I am in awe!!!

In Him,

Michele

A Day in the Life of Ralene Burke

I am so excited to have Ralene Burke with me today! Author of Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior, Ralene is a powerhouse, helping organize Realm Makers, volunteering at ACFW’s national conference, and leading her state chapter of ACFW.

How does she manage it all? I’m so glad you asked!

Here is a peek into a day in the life of Ralene Burke:

I’m an author. I’m also an editor and a social media manager. I also homeschool my three kids. And volunteer. And on rare occasions when there’s a blood moon, I enjoy reading or cooking or cuddling with my husband.

People often ask me how I do it all. I have a confession to make. I don’t. Ever.

Now, that’s not to say things don’t ever get done. Obviously, since I managed to self-publish an entire fantasy serial and then turn it into a whole book. And my kids can read. And do math. Most of the time.

I am one of those people who totally believes there’s no such thing as balance, something always falls to the wayside. But there is such thing as good time management when you make use of priorities.

I typically get up about 6:00 in the morning. I’ve tried to get up earlier than that in the past, but my body just refuses to believe that life can be sustained before 6:00. I try to kick off each day with some Bible study and quiet time. This often gives my mind time to wake up and focus, plus lets me fill my cup, so to speak. The days always seem to be easier if I start by giving it to God.

Then the family starts waking up, and we all get around to breakfast and morning chores.

School starts around 8:30. From then until about 3:00 p.m., it’s a mix of cleaning and school. We do a lot of reading and projects together. My kids have individualized programs for reading, spelling, and math; but the rest we do together. On different days, we also have homeschool co-op, therapy, gymnastics, and Tae Kwon Do.

If all goes well and we’re done by 3:00, then I have time to do some writing before dinner. I feel so much better when I get to write during this time, instead of feeling crunched later.

Dinner is often a family affair, including the making of and the cleaning up afterward. We can be so hurried throughout the day, whether to our various activities or just in homeschooling, it’s nice to sit down and catch up.

After dinner, I’m off to work. Granted “going to work” means my little office two feet from the kitchen, a room without a door. But still, it’s all mine. On good nights, I hide out in there until 10:00 at night. But sometimes I’m tired and it only lasts till 8:30 or 9:00. Here, I often jump between freelance editing and social media work. Then if there’s time, I add some words to my own WIP.

Then it’s reading time! I put on my PJs (assuming I changed out of them in the first place), snuggle up under the covers, and pull out a good book (okay, sometimes it’s a TV show instead). I try to keep my reading time to about 30 minutes with lights out around 11:00. Or 12:00. 1:00? Which is why 5:30 a.m. does not exist in my world.

Now, this is an ideal day. On any given day, I can wake up to any number of things that throws wrenches into my best laid plans. And I have to be okay with that. I have to be flexible and go with the flow, rearrange my expectations, adapt. In the end, I can only do my best and give the rest to God. He is the only one who is ever really in control.

On a side note, I am really excited about the release of Bellanok. This is the culmination of many years of work. You can find out more about Bellanok on my website, including the fabulous video Amy Brock McNew at Amaeris Designs Productions created, as well as the many amazing posts on the rest of this blog tour and my Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much, Ralene!

Now, a little more about her delicious book, Bellanok.

A haven for myths and legends…until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

Isn’t that cover beautiful? And I absolutely love the range of mythical creatures Ralene includes in her story world.

Check out the book trailer by Amaeris Designs Productions!

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited about this new book!

In Him,

Michele

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for several freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time…

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

Realm Makers, Gen Con, and ACFW, Oh My!

Let’s just say I’ve been busy. Extremely busy.

So busy, in fact, I’ve been sick for about three months straight.

I know! Not cool, right?

But the conferences, book signings, conventions, editing jobs, book releases, etc. etc. etc. have all been so wonderful, I couldn’t resist!

(And now I’m being forced by my body to slow it down and take care of me…then I’ll be off and running again!) :)

So now a little about my time at Realm Makers:

And Gen Con:

And ACFW:

Isn’t that incredible? Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, and being able to dress up in a Star Trek uniform! (Though I would say meeting both authors was a tad more exciting than dressing up…) ;)

There’s more–so much more–and I will do my best to share a plethora of my favorite pictures I took from all three of these events at a later time.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you read any incredible books lately?

I haven’t had time for personal reading lately, and I find I’m desperate for a few good recommendations.

What have you read and loved?

In Him,

Michele

“The First 500” Scholarship Contest

Hey, you guys! Check out this contest from Realm Makers, a writing conference I am simply dying to attend!

“The First 500″ Scholarship Contest

Posted by Rebecca Minor on January 9, 2015

Thanks to the generous contribution of Tosca Lee, the keynote speaker for the 2014 Realm makers conference, we are excited to announce the first of several scholarship opportunities available to prospective Realm Makers:2015 attendees. Are you dying to come to the conference in August, but sure financial circumstances in your life will prevent you from affording registration and housing? Then this scholarship opportunity might just be your chance.

Here are the details:

Prize: One registration fee and the cost of quad-occupancy housing at Realm Makers: 2015

How to Apply:

  • Select the first 500 words of your best speculative fiction to show us you know how to start a story off with a bang that hooks your reader. The submission can be from a published or unpublished novel-length work. All submissions must be double spaced in a clean, readable font.
  • In 250 words or less, draft a letter containing the following information:
  1. Why you have financial need of a scholarship
  2. Where you are in your writing journey
  3. Why you believe attending Realm Makers would benefit you
  • Compile the 500 word opening sample and the 250 word letter of need into a single document (Microsoft word or .rtf only)
  • Make sure your name and email address are in the header of your submission document
  • Attach the submission document to an email to info@faithandfantasyalliance.com
  • Write “First 500 Scholarship Submission” in the subject line of your email
  • Send your submission between the 12:00 AM January 12th and 11:59 PM February 1st

One winner will be selected by committee and notified via the Realm Makers Facebook page at noon on March 2nd, 2015. The winner will be given a single-use coupon code to enter when he or she registers for the 2015 conference. Registration is projected to open in May of 2015.

A few business items:

Realm Makers reserves the right to disqualify any entry that does not adhere to the above guidelines.

By entering the contest, you grant Realm Makers the right to mention you, by name, on all its social media and promotional outlets as the winner.

In the event the winner of the scholarship cannot attend the conference, the scholarship will be re-awarded to the runner up, who will not be named unless such a transfer needs to occur. PLEASE, as a courtesy to those who are seriously intending to attend the conference, do not apply for this scholarship if you are in doubt about your ability to travel to St. Louis in August.

Good luck! Polish up those opening pages and send us your fantastical stories.

I know this is extremely short notice, but, if Realm Makers is truly a conference you wish to attend, perhaps you can polish and submit your entry within the next three days. I plan on it, but heaven knows I haven’t accomplished much this pregnancy!

I hope to see you there! :)

In Him,

Michele

Original Post at faithandfantasyalliance.wordpress.com.

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