Why I Love Wednesdays . . . A Children’s Book

            Today’s “Why I Love Wednesdays . . .” post is all about children’s books. Now, if you read my previous WILW post on a Childhood Book Friend, found HERE, you might recall that I can’t remember what my favorite book was as a child. Maybe I didn’t have one. The world may never know . . .
            So, I’ll be talking about a book—or rather, book series—that I remember loving as a child: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This series is probably what began my obsession with the whole Fantasy genre. If you haven’t read the books, you’re missing out. The same goes for the movies. They’re excellently done. (Ben Barnes playing Caspian in the second and third movies is just an added bonus.)
            There are two ways you can read the series: either in order written/published, or in the world’s chronological order. I’ve read it both ways, and I kind of like it in chronological order. Since I originally read it in order published when I was a child, I’ll discuss it that way.
            The series begins with four siblings in the real world—World War I Era England. They find a magical land called Narnia in an old wardrobe. (If you don’t know what a wardrobe is, it’s sort of like a freestanding closet.) There they meet a fawn, some talking beavers, and other creatures. They are told that the land is under an enchantment cast by an evil witch and that the children must help break it.
            The children also meet a talking lion named Aslan. He was there at the creation of the world, and he is the only character who is consistently present throughout all seven books. one great thing about the books is that even though most of the characters aren’t in all the books, the author did a fabulous job of connecting the characters together.
            I won’t spoil the end of the series. I will, however, say that I was extremely surprised. I think it’s a great series for both children and adults. My eleven-year-old cousin is currently reading the series—I can’t wait to ask him what he thought of them.

Review: Elemental Reality by Cesya MaRae Cuono

Today we have the Elemental Reality Blog Tour stopping by! I recently had the opportunity to read and review Elemental Reality (Elemental #1) by Cesya MaRae Cuono

When Callie Pierce was ten, her mother disappeared without a trace. On the eve of her disappearance twelve years later, the earth seemingly comes alive. The elements speak to Callie, and that’s only the beginning. Everything she has ever known was a twisted fabrication to protect her. Now the truth is set free. Callie and her sister are more powerful than any Faerie ever born. Now they have to use their powers to save their mother and family from the evil hands of fate that threaten to tear them apart. Welcome to her elemental reality.
I loved this! Faeries and hot Australian men—what’s not to like? The characters were fantastic (especially Oli!). It is a unique view of faerie mythology. I liked the magic of it all and the interaction between Callie and her sister Lola.
The ending just about killed me. Prepare for a huge cliffhanger! If it doesn’t have you scrambling for book two, I don’t know what will. Cesya, hurry up and write! We want to know what happens, and I need my Oli fix.
Fantastic debut! I can’t wait to read the rest of Callie’s story. I will definitely be picking up Battle Scars (Elemental #2) the day it’s available. Great job Cesya!

About the author:

Cesya MaRae Cuono hails from a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Alvernia University where she majored in Business Administration and also received her certificate of Multi-Media & Production makeup from Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry. You can find any updates from Cesya on her website at www.cesyacuonobooks.blogspot.com.

Six Sentence Sunday

             I had no idea where Logan had gotten his skill with swords. Maybe it was just a natural outcome of his training in self-defense. His two swords moved as if they were two halves of the same weapon and that weapon was an extension of him.
            The fight moved so quickly I could barely see what was happening. One of the devils’ swords caught one of Logan’s weapons. The flats of the blades slid across each other and Logan’s wrist twisted, his sword clattering to the floor.
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Nine

            Lorelei felt as though she was going to wither under Calliope’s scrutinizing gaze. Calliope stood several inches taller than Lorelei and stared at her down the bridge of her nose. Lorelei wondered whether she might get hit over the head with the writing tablet Calliope carried if she misbehaved. She wished that Delia had stuck around while she spoke with Calliope. Her roommate had disappeared as soon as she made a quick introduction.
            Calliope smiled. “So, I meet my newest student at last.”
            Lorelei breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe her instructor wasn’t as intimidating as she thought. For someone being nicknamed “The Wisest of the Muses”, Lorelei was expecting someone a lot scarier.
            She wasn’t sure how to greet her mentor. Shaking her hand seemed a little—inappropriate. After all, Calliope was hundreds (thousands, even) of years old. She finally settled on an extremely awkward curtsey, which ended with her stepping on the hems of her robes and nearly tearing them off. Calliope burst out laughing. “No need to curtsey to me!”
            Her balance regained, Lorelei tried to readjust her robes. “I’m sorry. I just . . .”
            “No need to apologize. I was just as scared when I came here to study. I understand completely.”
            “You studied here? But I thought . . .” Lorelei trailed off uncertainly.
            “You thought I was the original Calliope? I assumed the same thing at first. No, Calliope is just a title. I have a regular name, just as you do. Perhaps one day, you could earn the title of Calliope.”
            “That would be wonderful. I think I have a long way to go.”
            Calliope smiled. “It’s good that you realize that. A lot of students come here thinking that we have nothing to teach them. A humble heart is important for success. That is why your application stood out among them others.” She looked Lorelei straight in the eye. “If you do well over the next few months, I may consider training you to take my place one day. You seem extremely intelligent Lorelei. I think I would do well to name you my successor.”
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . A Book Assigned from School

Today’s “Why I Love Wednesdays . . .” is a Book Assigned in School. Now, I don’t know about you, but we did a ton of assigned reading over the three years I was in high school (I skipped my junior year and graduated early). Even though I love to read, I hated a lot of the books we were assigned. I wanted to read what I wanted to read. I had a Fantasy obsession and the books my school assigned just weren’t cutting it. While the books were well-written (for the most part), they just weren’t for me. In fact, I have very clear memories of an essay I wrote on a short story we assigned to read my sophomore year of high school. In my essay, I stated that I could have written a much better story. I also said that even a three year old could have come up with a much better story. Needless to say, my teacher didn’t like that very much and I got a bad grade on the essay.

But I digress. I’m going to tell you about the book that stood out to me the most in my high school assigned reading: Animal Farm by George Orwell. It seems like an odd choice, I know. For those of you who have never read Animal Farm, it’s about a group of animals who drive the humans out and take over the running of the farm they live on. Why did I like this book? Well, I thought the idea of animals running a farm was pretty funny. But more important is that it’s a satire of the Stalin era in Russia prior to World War II, which we happened to be studying at the same time in my World History class. This book helped me to understand history better and was entertaining at the same time. If you have any interest in history whatsoever (or even if you don’t), I highly recommend this book. It’s a novella, so it’s pretty short. But isn’t the idea of a pig, horse and dog revolt funny?
On a side note: I also really loved reading Hamlet in school. Maybe I’ll talk about that in another post some day.

Crow: A Mystical Creature-Guest Post from Gracen Miller, Author of "Pandora’s Box"

By: Gracen Miller 

Howdy, folks! A super big thank you to Brea for allowing me to join you to promote my newly released e-book Pandora’s Boxbook one in the Road to Hell series, available now at Decadent Publishing (www.decadentpublishing.com)! When writing Pandora’s Box I mixed things up a bit, sometimes crafting new, unheard of creatures from my imagination and at other times using mythical creatures with established lore behind them. The crow was one of the mythical creatures with a legend behind it. 
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a crow? For me, aside from the black birds that scavenge, it was the mystical belief that they are omens of death.

In Pandora’s Box, I needed something that could deliver a riddle from a higher power about the future. So, I did a little bit of research and my focus soon centered on the crow, which is similar to the raven. It appears in mythology as a soothsayer, as a creator and cleanser and as omens of death. Okay, so I wasn’t completely wrong, but neither did I know near all of it.

Among the North America tribes the crow was considered as the guardian of the sacred law that could see not only the past, but the present and the future. Ah, just what I needed, a soothsayer that could easily be used in my story to deliver a riddle about future events.

In Celtic lore, the battle goddess Morrigan would shapeshift into either a crow or a raven and they were both seen as allies and companions.

Medieval fairytales saw the crow as birds of parental devotion and it was said that the crow led the migration of storks. Medieval Christians thought the crow was a sign of the devil because of its scavenging conduct, but it was also an icon of fidelity because it was thought that crows did not seek a new mate when its mate died. Magical properties were given to the crow as well, which included the skill to foretell the future, dismantle the past and to educate humans about how to mix humor, playfulness and love.

So, what do you think? Do you believe in the magical elements of crows? I had fun using the crow as a magical creature that shapeshifts into a beautiful woman with birdlike qualities and clothing made of feathers. To read how that turned out, scroll to the excerpt below. 
Leave a comment for a chance to win a Pandora’s Box Coffee mug, but PLEASE leave your email address so I can contact you if you’re the winner!!!  

Thanks for having me with you today, Brea!! 
Where you can stalk me–not really!–but I would love to meet and interact with you:
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/gracen.miller
Road to Hell series FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Road-to-Hell-series/112564408814796?ref=ts
Website: www.gracenmiller.com
Blog: http://madisonroadtohell.blogspot.com/

Pandora’s Box Blurb:

Where does the road to Hell begin? 

What happens when your son turns homicidal overnight and your husband disappears on his way to work? Do you cower in fear or fight for your life? Madison Wescott fights against the odds. Distrustful of a God she doesn’t believe in, she finds herself face-to-face with a world she didn’t know existed and discovers her own soul is darkened with demonic connections.

With good intentions? Or by demonic design? 

Phoenix Birmingham bursts into Madison’s life in a whirlwind of sarcasm and sexual appeal. A hero for the masses–and for her jaded heart–but few will ever know the sacrifices he has made or the sacrifices to come. Discovering her entire life has been influenced by multifaceted paranormal beings, Madison is determined to defeat the apocalyptic blueprint fate has decreed, but only one man dares to challenge the supernatural forces manipulating them. Even with Phoenix’s aid, can destiny be denied? Or will demonic design prevail while they pay the crucial price with their souls?
In a small, sleepy Alabama town the battle for mankind’s liberty has begun…
Madison sat up straight and her feet plopped to the wooden floor as a crow landed on the rail. Nix set the bottle of liquor beside his foot and moved to the edge of his seat. 
The crow shifted into a woman with almond-shaped eyes and long hair, both as black as a crow’s feather. She possessed a body to die for, dressed in a black cat-like-pantsuit. Well, no, that wasn’t quite accurate. The pantsuit wasn’t made of cloth, but rather a seamlessly flowing feathery substance. A glossy, black feather floated across the porch and came to rest across Madison’s bare foot. 
“You’ve been found worthy of the crows,” the woman said, her voice as melodious as a bird’s warble. “Keep the feather secure, and if you ever need assistance, grip it in your hand and consider our help a one-time deal.” 
“Lucky me.” Pushing out of her chair, she heard Nix rise beside her. She palmed the dagger he had given her. In the paranormal world, things could turn on a dime, and she trusted no one. Not even a shape-shifting crow. She grew weary of feeling defenseless as each new supernatural entity arrived on her doorstep. Grew restless sitting and waiting on them to come after her. 
Crow shuddered like she’d seen a bird do, her feathery black hair buzzing with the movement. “I came with a message only.” 
“You’re an omen of death,” Nix snarled, glaring. 
Startled, Madison peeped at him, his posture alert, pistol gripped tight in his hand.
“Sometimes, yes,” Crow agreed, looking him up and down. “You’re cuter in person, Phoenix Birmingham.” 
“You….” He made a face of disbelief, “You know my name?” 
Crow clucked her tongue at him and swiveled her head to stare at Madison. She blinked slow, like a bird assessing its prey. “The boy has risen from the puppeteer’s hell. Evil has been dismantled from his past. His future isn’t set in stone. The choice is his. A blood-father born of Hell will test the mettle of his son again, yet the boy owns his future.”
Chills scattered across Madison’s body. “What does that mean?” She glanced at Nix, feeling more than a little paranoid. 

If you wish to read more of Pandora’s Box before purchasing it, go to my website to read the first chapter for free: www.gracenmiller.com.

Six Sentence Sunday

Here’s another six sentences from FORESHADOW, book one of the Shadow Imperium series:

            “Can anyone tell me something about Zoroastrianism?” he asked.
            Tristan, sitting on the other side of me, raised his hand. When Mr. Villar pointed at him, he answered, “They worship a Creator called Ahura Mazda.”
            “Hey, I’m down with Zoroastrianism—I could worship my car!” Logan cut in with a laugh.
            “Ahura Mazda is not the same as your car,” I shot back, rolling my eyes.
            “Who do you think the car was named after?” he asked sarcastically.
Want more of Logan’s obnoxiousness? Check back next Sunday!
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Eight

            Lorelei awoke to Delia standing over her bed, shaking her awake. She peered up at her, blinking to clear her eyes.
            “Time to get up!” Delia announced.
            She sure is chipper in the morning, Lorelei thought. “Already?” She glanced at her clock.  “It’s only six am.”
            “That’s wake up time. Get dressed so we can go down to breakfast.”
            Lorelei dragged herself out of bed and complied. She tried to remember the way Darien had shown her how to wrap her gown the night before, but she ended up with everything twisted. Delia untangled her and helped her dress properly.
            After they brushed their teeth and hair and tied on their sandals, they trooped downstairs for breakfast.
            Darien was standing outside the dining hall, leaning against a wall. “Ah, there are my two favorite ladies! How did you sleep?”
            Delia rolled her eyes at her brother. “Fine. What are you doing out here?”
            “Waiting for you two, of course.”
            Lorelei was secretly glad that he had been waiting for them. She tried her hardest not to react, though. She didn’t want her new roommate to know that she had a crush on her twin. She probably wouldn’t like it.
            They went through the line and sat down at a table. “So, what happens next?” Lorelei asked the twins.
            “We go to classes,” Delia informed her.
            “Well, I kind of expected that.”
            “I’ll show you where your classes are. We’ll be in the same classes. That’s why you were assigned as my roommate—because we’re in the same program.”
            “What about you?” Lorelei asked Darien.
            “I’m in a different program. I’m studying history with Clio.”
            After they finished eating, they cleared their plates and placed them in the designated tubs.
            “Ready?” Delia asked.
            “I guess so.”
            “Okay. Let’s go introduce you to Calliope.”
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Why I Love Wednesdays . . . Why I Love Garion & Ce’Nedra

Today’s “Why I Love Wednesdays . . .” is all about a favorite book couple. At the risk of repeating myself and posting massive spoilers, I’m going to tell you about Garion and Ce’Nedra from The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings.

If you’ve been following my “Why I Love Wednesdays . . .” posts, you’ll know how much I love David Eddings’ works, particularly The Belgariad and The Mallorean (in case I haven’t mentioned this before, they’re technically companion series, set in the same world and with many of the same characters, but several years apart). I’ve already expressed my love for Ce’Nedra (if you missed that post, you can find it here). Now it’s time to share about Ce’Nedra’s relationship with Garion.

Garion is the main character of The Belgariad and one of the main characters of The Mallorean. He and Ce’Nedra first meet when they are fifteen. They hate each other at first. Garion thinks Ce’Nedra is a spoiled brat (which she kind of is) and Ce’Nedra thinks Garion is an uneducated peasant (which he basically is). They have screaming fights and she treats him as her servant. They eventually begin to become friends when Ce’Nedra takes it upon herself to teach Garion how to read. Garion’s aunt, Polgara, cautions Ce’Nedra against playing with Garion’s emotions, although Ce’Nedra insists that she feels nothing for him.

Ce’Nedra finally realizes her feelings for Garion when he goes away for a time to retrieve a magical object that’s been stolen. She’s been left behind and she finds herself missing him. When he returns, she goes into a fit of jealousy when she sees him with another girl (who is in fact his cousin).
When they reach the end of their quest, Garion and Ce’Nedra are both surprised when Garion is revealed to be the long-lost Rivan king. Ce’Nedra catches the implication of this, although Garion doesn’t. There has been a long-standing treaty that one day an Imperial Princess of Tolnedra will marry the Rivan king. This means that they have to get married.

It isn’t until Garion has to leave on a dangerous quest to kill an evil god that Ce’Nedra finally decides that she wants to marry him. She leads an army to distract the disciples of the evil god to help insure Garion’s safety.

The two are eventually married at the end of The Belgariad series. The Mallorean series begins with the abduction of their child. Garion, Ce’Nedra and many others must go on another quest to retrieve the child. Throughout it all, Garion basically has to keep Ce’Nedra sane. After all, what mother wouldn’t go crazy if someone kidnapped their son?

Through all ten books of the two series, I enjoyed the development of Garion and Ce’Nedra’s relationship. They may fight, they may drive each other crazy, but they always manage to work it out. It’s funny what lessons we can take from books sometimes.

Guest Post: Mary Duke, Marketing Director for Solstice Publishing

Today we have a guest on the blog! Mary Duke is visiting with us to talk about Solstice Publishing, where she is the Marketing Director.


Solstice Publishing is the fastest growing mid-market publisher in the USA. With almost 80 authors covering every category of fiction and rapidly expanding into nonfiction, Solstice is quickly gaining a reputation for fast paced suspense thrillers, sizzling romance, action adventure, science fiction, and a spooky collection of horror and paranormal reads. Critically acclaimed authors have achieved top spots on best seller lists, become screenplays, and won movie deals with top Hollywood studios.

Solstice books are available in every available eBook format including ePub, MobiPocket, PDF, DjVu for every electronic reading device – Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Android tablet PC, Android phones, iPhone, Barnes & Noble Nook Reader, Sony eReader, Windows Mobile Phones, Onyx Book, iRex, WISEreader, and many more. 

Traditional print versions can be found in major bookstores throughout the United States and online at Amazon.com. Both print and ebooks are available right here on the Solstice website. Sign up for our newsletter to receive special coupons and discounts on your next great read!
Discovering talented new authors is a major focus for Solstice. Visit the submission guidelines to see how to submit your masterpiece for review. The Solstice editing team is tough, but fair, and committed to bring to the market outstanding stories that inspire, entertain, educate, and transport us to the far away reaches of our imagination. Check out our submisson rules and guidelines

As for contests and giveaways:
Enjoy this 10% off any EBOOK coupon Code: IZISQD37H
If you enjoy reviewing books and interviewing authors contact xchylerconn@gmail.com for a free reviewers copy.
Win a Kindle Ereader on Christmas
Run time: July 6th – Dec. 24th 2011
Winner will be announced December 25th, 2011
To be entered: Buy any Solstice Publishing book and the email address used to purchase the book will be entered into the drawing. If you purchase a Solstice Book from another site then email us the reciept to solsticepublishing@live.com
Name will be drawn Dec. 25th and the winner will be emailed Dec. 25th. The winner has 2 weeks to claim their prize or it expires and a new name will be drawn and that winner will have 2 weeks to claim their prize and so on until we actually give the ereader away.
Good luck!!!!!
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