ETJ Writes

Archive for the tag “Indie Author”

Tedenbarr of Have Lath: Hardcover Edition!

Hello Friends!

I alluded to this exciting piece of news about a month ago, but here it is, the official announcement that my medieval adventure novel for young adult and middle grade readers – Tedenbarr of Have Lath – is now available in hardcover!


.

The size of the book, how it feels in my hands, the stunning quality of the cover art – even the little creak that issues upon opening the novel – it’s everything I originally envisioned when I first dreamed about publishing.

This new edition features beautiful glossy case laminate with larger print for easier reading, and I was so happy to be able to get copies printed in time for the annual CHAP convention where the very first one found a home in the hands of an avid young reader!

In the evenings they all supped together, and Tedenbarr regaled them with stories from the Agon cycle, tales that [SPOILER] eagerly soaked up, having been deprived of such entertainment during his long imprisonment.

I’m so thrilled to be able to share this milestone with you all, and I hope that everyone who purchases a copy will love the hardcover version just as much as I do.

https://www.amazon.com/Tedenbarr-Have-Lath-Esther-Jones/dp/153730741XThis edition is available for order wherever books are sold and Paperback and Kindle versions of Tedenbarr of Have Lath are also available via Amazon.com.

Happy Reading!

ETJ

2019 CHAP Convention!

Hello Friends!

books on con tableThis past weekend I went to my second CHAP convention (check out last year’s blog post to see what the 2018 convention was like!) with my wonderful mother – again featuring her memoir, Four Jewels in My Crown, a lovely tribute to biblical focused home education and an encouragement for other homeschooling familes.

Last year was tons of fun, and this year was even better! Naturally I was there with my medieval themed novel Tedenbarr of Have Lath, discussing the uplifting themes presented within, and connecting with other homeschool families at all different stages in their homeschool journeys.

I had so many more goodies to offer this year – crossword & word search puzzles (available for download right here) and two different colouring pages that were perfect for the little kids to attack with crayons while the parents and older siblings chatted.

Jones with reader Jones with Fan

Additionally, this year I debuted the hardcover editions of novel – beautiful glossy case laminate with larger print for easier reading – and sold my very first one to an avid young reader and an overall fan of books. I also got to meet a fan of Tedenbarr of Have Lath who told me told me she loves it so much it’s going on her extra-special bookshelf. Every author’s dream, and I couldn’t be happier!

Moments like these make every single minute of work worth it as I’m always so excited to meet young readers, and it’s my sincerest desire that each person who reads my novel comes away even more enthused about literature.

Of course this being
a homeschool convention,
I would be remiss if I
didn’t include a picture
of my mother again this
year, as her hard work
and dedication helped
mold myself and my
siblings into the people
we are today.
marann Jones with book chick fil a mascot

(It was also pretty fun meeting the Chick-Fil-A mascot on the first day of the convention. Eat more chicken!
New this year to CHAP were the Interactive Corners.

The one I hosted was called “acting out the story,” featuring short, one act plays based on scenes adapted from my novel wherein we read through the plays, discussed their meaning, and then, scripts in hand, acted them out using assorted props to really bring the story to life!

Doing so was such a fun experience, and one I hope to repeat over and over again, bringing the art of storytelling to young readers through play(s).

Don’t forget to check out my mother’s article on “Gardening with Children” in the CHAP 2019 Spring Magazine, and for those of you who weren’t able to make the convention this year, the kindle edition of Tedenbarr of Have Lath is on a countdown deal until the end of the week!

Many Blessings, & Happy Reading!

ETJ

Project Starfighter Review

Hello Friends!

Thought I’d share my review of the book I most recently finished, since I was so excited about it.

Dreamer Project Starfighter
by Stephen J. Sweeney
Category: NA/Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
4.5 stars out of 5.


 

“The story was
a whole new world
that never forgot
where it came from.”

 

 

 


I’ve been wanting to read “Project Starfighter” for a long time.

As a kid I played the game released by Parallel Realities over and over again. Even then I adored stories set in space and the idea of one man fighting against an entire corporation to save the universe. The game wasn’t easy either, as timed missions, heavy artillery from the WEAPCO ships, and literal minefields made completing it difficult at the best of times. But I loved the challenge, playing over and over and over, memorising the dialogue from the cut scenes, and falling in love with the characters – Chris, Phoebe, and Ursula.

I even had a soft spot for the villainous Kline Kethlan, despite the fact that I spent months trying to beat the final mission the first time I played through it. (I played the game so much that eventually I was able to complete the entire story in one day, sans any kinds of cheat codes).

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that the creator of the game had decided to write a novel based on it. I read the sample chapters years ago, enjoyed them and knew I had to buy the book someday.

I was not disappointed. Yes, the writing and dialogue could have been stronger in parts, and there were some disturbing events that happened to the characters that I could have done without – though not described in explicit detail, which I am thankful for, but overall, the story was told well, every plot point being set up and executed nicely. The novel greatly expanded on the world I’d been introduced to in the “Project Starfighter” game, taking us down onto the planets and interacting with the characters at a personal level. I also loved the fact that Ursula got her own viewpoint chapters – even though we spend a lot of the story with Chris, the novel would not work half so well without Ursula, and I almost felt that she carried the main story at times. The second-to-last scene with her was extremely satisfying, and I had a big grin on my face throughout it.

Another aspect of the story that went in a completely different direction than I was expecting was the introduction of Athena. She was such a soft and lovely character, contrasting nicely with her…military profession, shall we say (to avoid spoilers), and I really started to get really attached to her, and was genuinely upset when one of the other characters didn’t accept her as readily. The imagery around her was gorgeous as well, and the moment when she was talking about her namesake and her shield, spear, and helmet stunned me with how meaningful it was.

The direct references to the “Project Starfighter” game delighted me. The story was a whole new world that never forgot where it came from, and I found myself saying the lines out loud – lines that, as I mentioned above – I’d long ago memorised. Lines that came from confrontations with WEAPCO, the mercenaries, or Kline Kethlan, and I had to laugh at the “Humans do it better,” phrase, which was a cheat code for the original game.

The ending was fantastic and didn’t let me down in the slightest, topped off with a short, well crafted epilogue that brought me to tears. I’m not quite ready to let go of this world just yet – and since I still have the game, I don’t have to. Now when I play through it, I’ll have a new version of the story to accompany all the scenes and battles, making it richer and more immersive.

This book took me back to my childhood, my teen years, and I got to relive some of my fondest memories while experiencing something new. I definitely recommend “Project Starfighter” to anyone who loves sci-fi, gaming, or both. 4.5 stars for this truly fantastic escape into a different world.

See all my reviews


Happy reading!
ETJ

ETJ Writes Wolf Interview. (At alkaplan.wordpress.com)

HELLO FRIENDS!

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by a wolf! Or at least that’s the persona author A. L. Kaplan assumes when presenting her fun, quirky author interviews to the world.

Jones half seated reclining in front of a piano. her right hand rests atop her knee screenshot of linked text from interview

In case you didn’t know, I’m a full time musician as well as an author! I started with recorder, added piano and flute along the way, and sometimes I dabble in percussion as well.

Fun fact, I share music in common with the titular character of my debut novel, Tedenbarr of Have Lath.” See for yourself:

A small stringed instrument was brought and handed to him, along with a low stool. Tedenbarr clutched the lyre tightly [then] began to pluck the strings of the lyre, his fingers falling into a simple but steady rhythm, the soft music pulling words from his mouth as surely as a river pulled down cliffs into a waterfall.

 
For more about my non-writing whimsies, including weird foods I’ve eaten and why I took up archery, be sure to check out the full interview at alkaplan.wordpress.com.

Happy reading!
ETJ

Tedenbarr of Have Lath

College Park Book Fest 2019

Hello Friends!

On Saturday, Four Jewels in My Crown author Marann H. Jones and I attended the 7th Annual Book Festival co-hosted by the College Park Lions and the College Park Community Library.Marann and Esther Jones with their books

It was a bit farther afield than we’d ventured before, so we didn’t quite know what to expect, although the beautiful spring flowers blooming outside the event venue gave us a good feeling before we even went inside.

Straight away we met some amazing authors who had engaging, thoughtful, and interesting books, and every author we spoke to had a friendly smile to give and a kind word to say.


Here’s a few neat authors with poetry and prose of all kinds:

 

Esther Smiling with bookThe attendees were also great, and it was so much fun to watch the kids with their balloons animals and painted faces while munching on some free popcorn. Laughter and excitement filled the air, and we got to listen to some fascinating stories from people who have seen and experienced everything life can throw someone’s way.

Special thanks to all who bought copies Tedenbarr of Have Lath for themselves or friends and family; you’re in for a grand adventure!

I look forward to returning to the College Park Area for future events, and wish the Community Library much success in continuing to connect and grow with the College Park community.

And if you didn’t get the chance to attend the book festival and get a personally signed copy, I still have some online bonuses available. On the Games & Quizzes page Tedenbarr of Have Lath themed crossword and word search puzzles can be freely downloaded, and the kindle countdown deal is still running for a few more days, so be sure to snag a copy before the novel returns to full price!

Happy Reading!

ETJ

Tedenbarr of Have Lath

Dreamer Review

Hello Friends!

I’m so excited to see everyone here, and to present you with my review of Dreamer! (It’s also posted on Goodreads, so be sure to head over there and add the book to your “want-to-read” shelves.)

I first came across Ja-Mel Vinson because of his ARC unboxing video that popped up in my twitter feed, and his genuine excitement and enthusiasm about his story caught my interest.

I also thought the cover was really neat and conveyed an air of mystery and wonder, so when an opportunity came along to review Vinson’s novel, I jumped at the chance. I feel that reading this book has given me a better understanding of Vinson’s brand as an author, and re-introduced me to a genre I’d almost forgotten about.

You may have noticed the picture that accompanies this review – in one of my livetweets from my reading sessions, I said that I hoped people would be eager to cosplay Vinson’s characters, and since I dabble a bit in the art myself, I thought I might as well lead the charge on that one. I had a lot of fun putting this together, so without further ado, let’s get to my thoughts about Dreamer.

Dreamer Dreamer by Ja-Mel Vinson | Category: NA/YA
Genre: Urban Fantasy
(Age range 14–25)
3.5 stars out of 5.

ja-mel-vinson

**Note: I received an ARC for this blog tour that in no way influenced my honest review**

“Dreamer” tells the story of Maya, a young adult whose troubling dreams begin to unfold in reality just as she embarks on her college adventures. Soon she discovers long buried secrets and a host of dangers that affect the lives of everyone she cares about, and in the middle of it all is the mysterious Lucent, whom Maya feels strongly compelled toward, for reasons she doesn’t understand.

I did like this novel. The opening of the story definitely grabbed my attention, and though I’m not a huge fan of first person POV, in this case that actually helped me to sink into Maya’s perspective and really believe the story was being told by a young lady and not the male author.

For the first six or so chapters, I had a hard time connecting with the story, particularly because of the rather high stakes presented with very little build up, but when the corset dresses were introduced, things began to click into place for me, and I realised that with its large cast of strong female characters, sparkly transformative powers, and animal companions that are more than they seem that “Dreamer” falls into the same category as “Cardcaptor Sakura,” “Tokyo Mew Mew,” or “Sailor Moon.” I felt like I was reading an anime in novel form, and that was only reinforced more and more as the book went along. Once I was able to visualise the novel in that way, the rest of the book made a lot more sense, as the storytelling tropes and plot devices of the genre sometimes referred to as “magical girl anime” rely on a set of very different rules that are not typical to your average western YA novel.

I very much enjoyed all the strong friendships the characters have, and the underlying mystery surrounding Lucent helps drive the story and keep it interesting. There are a few big plot twists and key events that Vinson pulled off nicely, and the way “Dreamer” ended was quite well done. For a story that foreshadowed rather a lot, and explained even more, I still found myself pleasantly surprised that I hadn’t quite predicted how everything would turn out.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the writing. “Dreamer” has good, clear prose interspersed with more poetic lines that demand attention without tipping into purple prose. It’s very easy to imagine what the characters look like, and my favourite bit of description comes from Chapter 10:

“The moon moved with its star-servants but remained higher and closer and larger to the eye. Atop its stellar seat, it commanded attention while clouds grew and shrank like animals bound by a leash. The moon was the ringleader, wielding power over everything, presumably even the bestial and elongated vapors that drifted ahead of it.”

(As an aside, having read the story, the cover is very symbolic of quite a few different events that happen, and I can see why Vinson is so thrilled with it.)

The one thing I was curious about was how the Tri-Curve looked, and upon reaching out to the author, he kindly provided me with a graphic which greatly helped to visualise it properly, and I’ve included my stylised version of it in this review:

Now, the world of Dreamer is similar to ours, but also quite different, with a large set of internal rules and in-depth history, and because of this, there is a lot of exposition to explain how everything works. At times this really slowed the pace of the story, and dragged out scenes longer than they needed to be. At some points, explanations are included very organically in the story, through training sessions, or information presented in class through learning games, but at other times, the story would be progressing, a new element would be introduced, the plot would pause as Maya reflected on it, and then the story would resume. For me, this resulted in uneven pacing that lacked urgency, especially when new expositional information continued to be introduced near the end of the story.

Overall pacing was also a little stilted, and I felt like the story really began once we reached chapter 12, which made the preceding chapters feel like backstory, or at least story arcs that could have been told at a later point to preserve the forward motion of the narrative. (Not that the novel ever came to a standstill, but sometimes I felt as if it were in slow motion.) I often felt that I was waiting for the plot to really kick in. Because of this, my actual rating for “Dreamer” comes to a 3.5, although I am giving it 4 stars since I don’t believe the quality of the novel merits only a 3, and there’s no option for including half star ratings.

All in all, I think this book is something 14-16 year me would have loved, given my (somewhat concerning) obsession with anything anime at the time, and I don’t doubt that other teens and young adults will enjoy it and relate to the characters and their friendships and conflicts. I’m looking forward to what Vinson produces next, and believe that his storycrafting can only continue to advance.

See all my reviews


(So there you have it, my review of Dreamer by Ja-Mel Vinson. I wish him much success with the launch of his debut novel, and many thanks to Shealea for making this whole blog tour experience very smooth and easy to navigate. (Launch post and other bloggers on the tour here.)

Don’t forget to join in on twitter March 2nd, 2019 for a live chat regarding Dreamer, and a chance to win a signed ARC of the novel!

 

 

Happy reading!
ETJ

Brand New ETJ Writes Author Feature. (At addisoncarmichael.com)

HELLO FRIENDS!!!

I’m super excited to be sharing my first ever online author feature with you all! The lovely Addison Carmichael has graciously taken the time to feature me this month on her website:

I absolutely adore this pretty header Addison chose that goes so well with the content of the feature.

All the details are here, so go check it out!

And while you’re at it, add her newest upcoming book “Knight” from the “Sons of the Alpha” series to your to-be-read pile. I had a chance to read it in advance, and you can check out my goodreads review here.

Happy reading!
ETJ

Tedenbarr of Have Lath

Indian Echo Caverns November 2018

Hello Friends!

indian echo with books

Many thanks to the lovely ladies at Indian Echo Caverns for inviting my wonderful mother and I to their homeschool day at the caverns alongside CHAP: Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania. (Find Marann Jones’ book on the joys of Christian home education here: Four Jewels in My Crown).

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the caverns were a delight to explore. I could just see all the scenes from “Tedenbarr of Have Lath” coming to life:

The convoy rounded a corner and Tedenbarr caught his breath. Unlike the dim, sombre chamber the Alliance had first passed through, torches flung their light from every corner of the enormous cavern the longboats had just entered.
_

An ancient stone city was carved into the rock of the cavern, its grandeur like something out of the old tales. Free standing houses sat along the canal’s walkways, and some of the windows had curtains hung from them that glowed from the presence of light within. Lar Jahaal let go of his oar to gesture to the broken yet magnificent city that stretched out before Tedenbarr.
_

“Welcome to old A’an.”


Meeting all the homeschool families was really fantastic, and thanks to all who bought books – your support is much appreciated.

Looking forward to seeing everybody at the next book signing – until then, happy reading!

ETJ

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