Book Review: Seraphim Falling by Stephanie Bwabwa

Seraphim Falling is the first of the three Seraphim Resistance Prequels set in the world of Elledelle. I consumed this book in one sitting, and I can’t wait to read Angel in the Shadow Court!

Titaia Scarlethorn Angelfyre is getting ready for her coronation to become the Seraph of Flames, one of eight Saerels, the highest ranking angel selected to protect Elledelle and all of her angels. Escorted by her soulmate, or Soulu bonded mate, Cinder, and accompanied by her family, Titaia enters the fire palace. There is dancing and celebration, and rightfully so. But before Titaia can take her oath, the darkness of legends attacks. She is driven to make an unthinkable choice in order to save the angels of Elledelle – “Herein lies the tale of how the end began from the beginning.”

WOW! This plot-driven story is action-packed with vivid detail. I love the connection I felt to Titaia, Cinder, and her family, especially Zaza, in so few pages. I love the imagery depicted within the descriptions – I could picture everything as it was happening – I do hope the world of Elledelle becomes a Netflix series! I mean just look at the cover below!

Books 1 & 2 of the Seraphim Resistance Prequels photographed by @theunicornwriter93.

There were a few moments, not suggestive situations, per se, but implied suggestive thoughts and feelings by characters. Because of this, I would suggest this book to older YA readers.

A story of sacrifice, loss, and hope, this is one that you will want to add to your TBR (to be read list). Overall, I rate Seraphim Falling 4.5/5 stars! I really am excited to read book two of the prequels, and I expect to continue to love the story as it continues to unfold. I highly recommend this novella to mature YA readers who enjoy unique fantasy worlds.

Check out more about Stephanie Bwabwa at Elledelle.com – you can order a signed copy of Seraphim Falling from her website! You can also purchase a copy through Amazon here.

Book Review: Ruth and Naomi Whithersoever Thou Goest by Toni Sorenson

“I trust in what will be.”

My most recent audiobook was Ruth and Naomi: Whitersoever Thou Goest written by Toni Sorenson and read by Luone Ingram. This was one of my first experiences with Biblical fiction, and I have to say I absolutely loved it!

The story follows Naomi, devoted wife of Elimelech and mother to twins Malan and Killian. Living in Israel under the Moabites is a hard life for Naomi’s family – there is little food and much oppression. When Moabite soldiers kidnap a young girl, Elimelech decides to rescue her from the king’s clutches sparing her from being sacrificed to a false idol. However, his heroic decision leads to the king demanding Elimelech to serve him in Moab. Naomi and her sons follow Elimelech to Moab, leaving behind their home in Bethlehem. But Naomi vows not to leave her God behind. As Malan and Killian grow up, they find favor with the king and each marry one of the king’s daughters, Ruth and Orpah. But a series of tragedies leave Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth all widowed. Through great devotion, Ruth becomes the daughter Naomi never had and both women find happiness through God’s blessings.

This is a beautiful story of faith, family, and redemption. Sorenson provides excellent crafting of characters from scripture and creates a a vivid world of Christian history. Ingram makes the story come alive with her expressiveness and different character voices. Just shy of 10 hours, you are guaranteed to be entertained while you listen for God’s word through Sorenson’s writing. Personally, I hope I serve my own mother as justly as Ruth served Naomi – their relationship was beautifully told. Please excuse me while I go call my mom…Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction or simply good books.

Audible cover of Ruth and Naomi: Withersoever Thou Goest.

Add Ruth and Naomi to your audible library today!

Author Interview: Mallory McCartney

Last week I reviewed Heir of Lies and this week I have the honor of interviewing the wonderful author! Mallory McCartney is an author living in Ontario, Canada. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys catching up on her never-ending TBR pile, walking her three dachshunds with her husband, binging TV series on Netflix, and drawing. Some fun facts about McCartney:

  • She went to college for the Fine Arts.
  • After college she went to Australia and New Zealand to become a registered yoga teacher.
  • After returning to Canada, she worked as a dog groomer for 5 years before focusing on her WIP.
  • Her husband encouraged her to turn her attention to the Black Dawn series.
  • She is a tattoo enthusiast. She has a full Tim Burton sleeve on her left arm, the chakras on her right arm, and a Star Wars/Harry Potter/Supernatural chest piece. She also has both feet done as well as having a Donnie Darko and Sherlock Holmes piece on her right leg.

To learn more about McCartney and the Black Dawn Series, read our full interview below!

Q) How long have you been writing?

A) I have been dabbling in writing since public school but it wasn’t until 2012 that I
really poured myself into writing, and I was first published in 2017.

Q) Why do you write?

A) I write because it is my passion. I cannot see my life without writing, and I
absolutely love creating and exploring my characters and worlds.

Q) What books would you put in your top three favorites and why?

A) Oh, that is a hard question lol! I would say my top three favorite are –
1) IT- Stephen King
2) Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor
3) Throne of Glass- Sarah J Maas

Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

A) My husband continuously inspires me. He is my rock and helped me see that
writing was a path I needed to follow. He is my best friend and especially in
recent years with my diagnosis of several chronic illnesses, has been my
steadying force day to day.

Q) What inspired Heir of Lies and the Black Dawn series?

A) This is a tricky question, because Emory’s story I feel has always been with me, I
just needed to be in the right place in my life to write it. I was inspired to write
about friendship, and different forms of love and how that can grow, change or be
tested as the characters grow older. I knew I wanted to add that into a fantasy
world, where humans had different abilities and slowly the Black Dawn Series
came into vision.

Q) Were there any books or stories that influenced the Black Dawn series?    

A) There weren’t specific books that influenced the Black Dawn series, but I really
admired the writing of Tamora Pierce, Christopher Paloini growing up. As I found
my voice as a writer later in life I discovered that I craved to write a fast paced
and action saturated, character driven plot.

Q) Can you give us any preview of what to expect in the sequel to Heir of Lies?

A) Queen to Ashes was one of my favorite books to write in the series. Definitely
get ready for an action packed ride, and the characters go through some serious
growth in the sequel that sets the stage and tone for the third book.

Q) Emory’s character and struggle to remember who she is/discover herself was
something that resonated with me. What inspired Emory?

A) Thank you! Emory was inspired by me wanting to have a flawed heroine, and
what that would really look like to me in this series. Having the element of her not
remembering her full past allowed me to really dig deep into her character and how she would perceive other characters. She loves fiercely, but she tries to
follow through on the decisions she truly believes is best, even if others don’t or
it hurts people she is close to.

Q) Do you have a personal favorite character from Heir of Lies?

A) I’m a softie for Adair ( 😀 ) but some others are Marquis, and Emory.

Q) Can you share with readers a little about your publishing journey? 

A) Of course! I was first published with a small indie publishing company, which
was a great starting point and learning experience but ultimately my calling was
self publishing. I currently run my own imprint, MM Books, to publish all my
works under.

Q) What advice would you offer other authors?

A) My advice I can offer is trust your gut and what feels like the best fit for your
work. This is different for everyone, but whether this is querying an agent,
traditionally publishing or self publishing, trust your gut of what your feels like a
best fit for your creative work.

Remember to follow McCartney on social media to keep up to date with her and her writing!

Instagram: @authormalmccartney
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormalmccartney
Twitter: @MalMcCartney

Order your own copy of Heir of Lies from Amazon here!

Wednesday Writer – Kayla E. Green — WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Thank you so much to Jacob of Jake in the City for interviewing me and featuring me on your blog! Read our interview below, and be sure to follow Jacob for some awesome content!

Today, it is my privilege to welcome the awesomely talented writer and poet Kayla E. Green to the interview seat. HI KAYLA, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU? Hi Jacob, thank you so much for having me! I’m not a big drinker, so I’ll take a glass […]

Wednesday Writer – Kayla E. Green — WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Book Review: Heir of Lies by Mallory McCartney

Book Tour Banner featuring Heir of Lies by Mallory McCartney

I am so happy to be part of the Book Review Tour for Heir of Lies by Mallory McCartney! Special thanks to Fictional Friends for hosting!

Heir of Lies is a YA/NA epic fantasy centered around The Academy, a special school for individuals with unique abilities. Though created with pure intentions, dark secrets will result in betrayal, chaos, and war; and The Academy is at the center of it all. Caught between their parents’ politics, Emory Fae and Adair Stratton, with the help of Brokk and Memphis, must discover the truth – but what will happen when the truth is discovered? One dark decision sets in motion a dangerous fate for all those involved.

Before I share my review, I want to share some of my favorite quotes from the book! McCartney has an excellent way with words and I found myself mesmerized by her descriptive prose.

  • “She was born with the fury of the sea, with the resilience of the rocks the water crashed upon.”
  • “He was drowning in the stormy seas of his fears, and she was his anchor. Had always been his anchor.”
  • “…relief washed over him. It was like returning home after being caught in a storm.”
  • “You’re executing penalties leading with your heart and not your logic. That’s a dangerous dance to take part in.”
  • “But in a way, he liked the reminder of what he had gone through and survived. Each hot flash of pain, each strained movement reminded him that he was stronger. That at the start of each day he would carry on, bearing his scars like a shield and not a poison that would cripple him.”
  • “She had always been a flaming spark when things went dark.”
  • “It takes a dreamer to know a dreamer. You and I aren’t that different.”
  • “And it was her – had always been her.”
  • “That’s the beauty of life, my friend, you will never know until you try, if it’s right or not.”
  • “Fire met ice, ice met ash, and stars erupted from the clash of might that shuddered through the room.”
  • “…Greatness comes down to a person’s decisions and what they choose to stand by.”
  • “To have lost everything but have the hope to rebuild the future is the strongest weapon in the world.”
  • “For you, my dear. To remind you that you are never alone.”
  • “She might be an heir built on lies, but she was the rightful queen, nonetheless.”
  • “…the heart doesn’t forget, even if the mind does.”

I love McCartney’s writing style! Though labeled an epic fantasy, there is also a lot of dark magic and darker themes present in the story. The heartbreak and struggles of who turns out to be the main antagonist provides a clear “origin story.” However, I will say I struggled with everyone being in love with the same girl – I wanted to know why everyone fell for her, but I never got my answer. HOWEVER, McCartney does an excellent job portraying how love can evolve and change over time AND showcasing different forms of love.

I also really enjoyed the main plot. As I said, McCartney does an excellent job with her prose. In addition, I liked the element of portal fantasy present in the story line! Plus, there is a wolf-shifter (who happens to be one of my favorite characters). The ending is a cliff-hanger and has left me interested in seeing how the series continues. Overall, I rate the book 3.5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book to New Adult readers who enjoy darker epic fantasies. Note there is some mild language in the book.

Be sure to follow Mallory McCartney on social media!

Webpage | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Purchase Heir of Lies from Amazon here!

Interested in WINNING A SIGNED COPY of Heir of Lies???

Visit my Instagram and enter on my Heir of Lies post from February 18! Giveaway is open until March 5, 2021!

Bookish Shop Feature: Nerdy Book Box

The last two blog posts have had references to the amazing Nerdy Book Box, an indie book box subscription service. Today, I have the pleasure of featuring NBB, and I am so excited for y’all to learn more about this awesome small business!

Photo provided by @nerdybookbox

Q) What inspired you to create Nerdy Book Box?

A) I have always been a fan of book boxes. I have been subscribed to some of the bigger ones for years (and still am!). The more I delved into the Bookstagram world, the more I found books that were so fantastic and well-written, but nothing that would bring more attention to them. One book in particular really set it in stone for me. I read an advanced reader’s copy of The Stone of Sorrow by Brooke Carter and fell in love with it. When I tried to find more people interested in the book, or products themed on the book…there was nothing. That moment when I realized that a book may not flourish as it should because it wasn’t ‘popular’ enough made me take the dive into the world of book boxes. I wanted to do something different, something I hadn’t seen before. Indie books were very important to me, and thus the creation of Nerdy Book Box.

Q) What are your goals with NBB?

A) I want NBB to grow and spread the word of indie authors. I want smaller authors to feel like they have a chance to grow in a world that is led by popular writers. Their stories, worlds and amazing writing should be spread to wider audiences. Knowing that each box goes to someone that will love that book is worth it. Even if we stay small, just being able to see the love these books and small businesses get is what matters the most to me.

Q)
What do you enjoy about working with indie authors?

A) I absolutely love their excitement and enthusiasm. They love the idea of people reading their books and getting to see their labor of love. It’s that passion that drives me every month to work with new authors. Seeing their reaction when they get the email from us is amazing. Absolutely adore their ideas and suggestions. I wish they knew how much I love them being so pumped to work with us!

Q)
What is one of your favorite bookish items you have featured in a past box?

A) My absolutely favorite thing we have been able to offer is the enamel pins!  Our very first pin was in the December 2020 box and it is BEAUTIFUL. I’m so thankful for our designer, Sandie, from Celestial Woods Shoppe. She is so talented and amazing.

Q) Are you willing to share any hints about what subscribers can expect in the year ahead?

A) Definitely! We really want to theme our boxes every month. We started in January with Crowns and Roses. February’s theme is Dark Whispers. March will feature an amazing dark fantasy by one of our reps. April will bring on spring time, and we’ll be featuring a nature-laden book from an international author. Think of lush, green forests as the theme!

Q) What is most rewarding about running NBB?

A) I absolutely love the creative photos, love, support and excitement for and from indie authors. Their enthusiasm really makes this all an amazing experience. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding. I hope to keep bringing more to the indie community and becoming a staple in the community. Another added bonus is being able to show my kids the meaning of hard work. They have seen me bring this business from the bottom up, and they are so inspired to follow in my footsteps in the future. That makes this all worth it. 

Q) Do you have any advice for others who want to start their own small business?

A) Do. Your. Research. It’s one thing to have an idea, and it’s another thing to bring that idea into fruition. My husband helped me a lot with getting everything off the ground. It is helpful that he is an attorney, so he helped me with a lot of budgeting and technical aspects that I would not have been able to do on my own. There are so many great articles out there that will take you step by step, and a lot of amazing resources if you’re starting from the bottom up. Reading and research is the best way to start. It will give you an overview of everything. That information is invaluable.

Q) Can you tell us about you, the face behind NBB?

A) I’m pretty much a nerd, haha. My name is Tamara and I’m in my mid-thirties. I live in Southern California with my husband and two littles (who are turning out to be bigger book worms than me!). We are working on saving to buy a house in Washington state. I work full-time as a property manager (work from home), homeschool my kids, and manage my personal Instagram (@nerdybookmama) and Nerdy Book Box. I am the type of person that needs to keep busy, so my plate is always full. In my free time (when I have it, haha), I am an absolute gamer. Some of my favorite games are Skyrim, Fallout, Dragon Age, and Dead by Daylight. I haven’t found an absolutely favorite author, but I love anything and everything sci-fi and fantasy. I’m trying to read more contemporary, mysteries and thrillers. One of the series I really got into the most is The Raven Cycle. My best friend (@ccbooksleeves) actually got me into it!

Photo provided by @nerdybookbox

Be sure to follow Nerdy Book Box on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok! Check out their website here.

New subscribers can use my code UNICORN10 for a 10% percent discount for a limited time! Be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram so I can see how much you love your NBB! 🙂

Author Interview: Sydney Hawthorn

Last week I shared my review of the fantasy book Awakening Shadows (see it here), and this week I have the honor of interviewing the author Sydney Hawthorn! Residing in Cleveland, Ohio, Hawthorn works for Stitch Fix. In addition to being an awesomely talented writer, Hawthorn is an actress. She works for and helps manage a character entertainment company where she goes to children’s parties and events dressed as princesses and other characters. Hawthorn also enjoys hiking and exploring – unless it is humid (girl, same). Fun fact: Hawthorn can sing the alphabet backwards!

Read our full interview below!

Author Sydney Hawthorn

Q)  How long have you been writing? 

A) Oh gosh. This story, or in general? I started working on the very first drafts of Awakening Shadows when I was probably 8? (like story and concept wise) but I wrote the first draft when I was 12! I’ve always been a writer at heart 🙂

Q) Why do you write?

A) I write because I enjoy it. I’ve always been a creative soul, so it’s therapeutic for me! But I also write because I want to bring joy to those who might read my stories. Because I want to share my stories, which are all so near and dear to my heart with the world. I don’t expect everyone to love it as much as I do, but for those who do find value in my stories, I’m so grateful for their support and love! All in all, because I find it brings joy to others, and there is nothing more rewarding than being the reason someone else smiles. 🙂

Q) What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

A) Fantasy through and through!! I am forever a die-hard fantasy queen. I do also enjoy sci-fi, romance, and thrillers, but I will almost never turn away a fantasy book!

Q) What is your favorite book and why?

A) This might be one of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked. The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce will forever be my favorite series, but The Chronicles of Narnia holds an eternally special place in my heart. I also adore all the messages in To Kill a Mockingbird, which was one of the only books I actually enjoyed reading in school! Then as far as fantasy goes, Throne of Glass has been my biggest inspiration for The Navarre Chronicles, and I also adore Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse world!!

Q) Who is your favorite author and why?

A) As I mentioned above, Tamora Pierce is an icon to me. I even got to meet her in high school, and it was such a magical experience!! I also really love Sarah Maas and Leigh Bardugo. 🙂

Q) Who is someone that inspires you? Non author wise? My mom. She’s never stopped believing in me, and pushing me to be my best self, and I am so so grateful to have her in my life. 🙂

Q) What inspired Awakening Shadows, the first book of the Navarre Chronicles?

A) I’ve talked about this on Instagram before, but this story started as a way for my voice to be heard and to show others feeling what I was that they weren’t alone. I was bullied in school as a kid, and I created Navarre as an imaginary world I could escape to with my imaginary friend, Max (now Quinn) where we could go on adventures. Awakening Shadows was originally called The Shadow, and it told the story of Max being accused of murdering his bully, and how he coped with that and learned to be a better person (even though the murder was an accident). Clearly it has evolved since, but I still like to think Awakening Shadows is the story of those who might struggle to find their true strength, and those who will do no matter what to find courage and goodness in a cruel world.

Q) Were there any books or stories that influenced the Navarre Chronicles? 

A) Absolutely!! Throne of Glass and Alanna of Trebond’s journey to knighthood were both major influences to me!

Q) Evalyn was one of my favorite characters with her sass and determination – is she based on anyone you know in real life?

A) I try really hard not to base my characters off real people, save for a few. (Jenson is a literal incarnate of me, and it’s a bit terrifying even for me at times XD) but Evalyn is also a lot like me! Having gone through some extremely abusive relationships in my past, having a character who has been through so much trauma but still finds the strength to push on and live is something I cherish a lot, and so Evalyn is definitely a manifestation of that inner strength.

Q) Have you thought about writing a prequel featuring Dax?

A) *giggles* It is!! I actually have several prequel stories I’m planning to write. One, I’ve talked about on Instagram is currently titled #ProjectSunshineTears and is the backstory of Edan Stormwood (one of the witches introduced in Whispering Shadows) and the other three are prequel backstories for Dax, Fallon, and Aeron!! 🙂

Q) Can you give us any preview of what to expect in the sequel to Awakening Shadows?

A) Darkness, torture, and magic. Lots and lots of them. This series definitely gets progressively darker as it goes on, even though Awakening Shadows is only mildly dark for the YA genre. Book two, on the other hand, has a trigger warning for gore and violence, torture, and abuse as well as mild language. Readers can also expect to learn about some unanswered questions about certain character’s pasts and roles they play in the future (some expected, and others not so much) as well as an introduction to the witches mentioned in Awakening Shadows, whose allegiance nobody is certain of!! I’m so so excited to have Whispering Shadows in the hands of waiting readers!!

Q)  I saw on your website that you are a freelance editor. What do you enjoy most about editing?

A) I love helping other writers bring their story to life! Helping other aspiring authors have the best story they can is something that I’ve always really enjoyed.

Q) You are an indie published author – can you tell readers about your experience? Do you have any advice for fellow indie authors?

A) Oh yes!! First and foremost, it’s a major trial and error type deal. I cannot stress enough: do your RESEARCH!! Because there’s so much information out there to take in and so many different ways to do things. What works for one person might now work for you and vise versa. Make a list of everything and decide what’s most important to you. DO NOT skimp on an editor. Make an author platform (I made my Instagram 2 years before I published so I could work up a following and build excitement for my book release!!). Have a website. One of the things I would also suggest, is leaving yourself PLENTY of wiggle room! I did, and I still felt rushed in the end!! Don’t get sucked into the “I need book merch hole” and if you do, find ways you can do it at a discounted price or save up for it!! Because those are expenses that build up and deter you from focusing on things like editing costs, cover designer costs, and other more important expenses. Another thing which I personally decided to do is pay for my own LLC!! Meaning I am now officially a business owner of my own publishing company. (and on the flip side, make sure you keep track of every single expense, because they do add up and you will need to file taxes for your expenses and income as an author!!) So many things, not enough time. While I am by no means an expert, I’m always willing to answer any questions!!

Photo by @nightcourt on Instagram.

Follow Hawthorn on social media to keep up with her and her writing!

 Instagram

The Navarre Chronicles Goodreads page

Hawthorn’s website (with all information about her shop, signed copies, and more!!)

You can order a copy of Awakening Shadows directly from Hawthorn or get it on Amazon here.

Book Review: Awakening Shadows

Nerdy Book Box is a book box subscription service that supports Indie authors. In the December box, I received a copy of Awakening Shadows, Book 1 of the Navarre Chronicles by Sydney Hawthorn. Awakening Shadows is a dark(ish) fantasy that captures the reader and makes one forget they are reading entirely. 

The chapters shift between two main storylines: 

  1. Princess Joseline, on her eighteenth birthday, is attacked by followers of Aeron, the demon king. Yet the princess is rescued by members of The Order of Kynire sworn to protect her. Thrust into a world she thought merely childish fairytales, Joseline must learn to fight as well as control the power of the Goddess within her so she might save herself and her people from Aeron and his Shadow Beasts. Will Joseline be able to fulfill the prophecy of the promised princess? 
  2. Evalyn, a fae, has been enslaved mining obsidian for eighteen years. The dreaded pirate lord, Dax, who sealed her fate by bringing her to the island is her enemy – she dreams of revenge. However, Dax tells her he wants to protect her. Will Evalyn be able to withstand Dax’s charm, and does she want to? Will she escape and get her revenge? 

Woven within these storylines are:

  • Strong female characters
  • An enemies to lovers trope
  • Excellent world building 
  • A budding romance
  • Action and combat
  • White Aonani foxes 
  • Secret identities 
  • Magic

The first chapter was a bit slow for me, but after that, I devoured the book and I really am excited for the next book in the series. Hawthorn has created a beautiful fantasy world, and, as a reader, I am so grateful to have discovered it. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

“I will not let the darkness consume me.”

To get your own copy of Awakening Shadows, click here

To get awesome indie books like Awakening Shadows, be sure to check out nerdybookbox.com – for the time being, you can use my code UNICORN10 to save on your order!

Pictured is Awakening Shadows by Sydney Hawthorn, the NBB December box, and various items from the NBB box. Pastel color roses surround the items on a white background.

*Awakening Shadows does contain some language and suggestive situations. Though it is a YA dark fantasy, it may not be suitable for all young adults.

Bookish Shop Feature: Under the Sea Crochet

In addition to featuring books and authors, I have decided to share some features on some of the bookish small businesses I love! Today’s feature is dedicated to Under the Sea Crochet, a shop that makes crocheted mermaid dolls!

I had the chance to interview the magnificent woman behind Under the Sea Crochet, Laura, who crochets the delightfully detailed mermaids! Laura lives in the sunny state of Florida. During her down time she enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games. Her favorite authors include Sarah J. Maas, Jay Kristoff, Mira Grant, and Laini Taylor. Laura’s favorite video game is the Mass Effect trilogy (she says she will never stop recommending it to fellow gamers).

Read our full interview below to learn more about Laura and Under the Sea Crochet!

Q) When did you first begin to crochet?

A) I started crocheting back when I was about 11 years old, though I made blankets and scarves and they never really came out so great. It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that I really began to work on dolls.

Q) What inspired you to create your first crocheted mermaid?

A) I had just had ligament reconstruction surgery on my ankle and was stuck in bed for weeks. So I was bored and had a lot of yarn from old, unfinished projects laying around.  I picked it up and started working on some patterns I had found online (little ghosties from pac man). I guess it was because of the fact I couldn’t really walk for a while that got me thinking about mermaids and I began to experiment with making one.

Q) Why did you decide to open your own shop Under the Sea Crochet?

A) To be honest, I didn’t want to at first. I thought no one would buy them, let alone like them.  Then I had gotten a copy of To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo in a book box and made a mermaid that looked like Lira — the main character. People started asking me where I had gotten it and eventually one of my close friends convinced me to open the shop.

Q) How long has Under the Sea Crochet been open? What are some of your business goals?

A) I opened Under the Sea Crochet on my birthday in 2018 and have loved every moment of running this business. I guess one of my main goals is to just make people happy.

Q) What is your favorite thing about running your own small business?

A) My favorite thing about running my own small business would have to be the fact that I get to be creative.  I love art and enjoy finding ways to continue to make each mer unique.

Q) How many different types of mermaids have you made?

A) Oh man, I think I’ve lost track at this point. But I think the number is close to 150 at this point.

Q) What are your top three mermaids you have made (if you can narrow it down!)?

A) I don’t know if I can narrow it down that much, but I loved working on the seasonal fairy collection,  the OOAK (one of a kind) mermaids I’ve been recently releasing, and the Alice in Wonderland collection.

Q) How do you think of all the designs/themes for your mermaids?

A) I get inspired by things I like and enjoy, and sometimes its someone’s custom idea that gets me thinking about a new design. Those are the ones I can’t take full credit for. But to be honest, it’s also a lot of trial and error. Sometimes they come out great and those are the ones you see. Other times they’re not so great and those never get seen again.

Q) What is most rewarding about running Under the Sea Crochet?
People’s reactions to mermaid reveals and when their packages arrive. I have watched every single unbxing people tag me in from beginning to end and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. (So don’t forget to tag me in them!)

A) Do you have any advice for others who want to start their own small business?
It isn’t easy. Nothing worth it is ever easy. There will be times when you want to walk away, times when you make something and it doesn’t work out, and times where you won’t want to create. But if you push through them and keep trying you’ll eventually see that your hard work pays off.  It’s also frustrating sometimes, because even if your job is doing something that you love it’s still a job. But you have to remember why you wanted to open your shop and just breathe. Don’t give up! And be sure to surround yourself with good people who support you!

Q) Can you give any hints at what people can expect from Under the Crochet this year?

A) Mermaids. Lots of them. And quite possibly some new friends that have yet to make an appearance!

Laura and her gorgeous mermaids!

Check out Under the Sea Crochet’s website here and be sure to follow Laura’s account on Instagram here! Fun fact – she also does custom mermaids! For a limited time you can use my code UNICORN15 for a discount on your order! Be sure to tag me @theunicornwriter93 in your Instagram photos of your mermaids! 🙂

Author Interview: Rosalyn Briar

My first author interview of 2021 is with the wonderful indie author Rosalyn Briar! Briar weaves a beautiful world featuring fairytales in both The Crown of Bones (see my review here) and A Sea of Pearls and Leaves, and I personally cannot wait for her future works!

A former Latin and social studies teacher, Briar is a full-time stay-at-home-mother in Illinois. She wakes up early to ensure she has time to read and write. A fun fact about Briar is that in college she studied abroad in Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. To learn more about Briar and her writing, please read the full interview below!

Author Rosalyn Briar

Q) How long have you been writing?

A) For about three years now. I started when my youngest child was an infant and fell in love with writing!

Q) Why do you write?

A) I’ve always had creative hobbies, but I began writing because I needed a quiet hobby to pursue while my little ones were napping. I soon realized just how amazing writing was as a creative outlet.

Q) What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

A) I love reading dark fantasy, mystery, and thriller novels. I tend to write dark fantasy, but might branch out in the future.

Q) What is your favorite book and why?

A) (Ohhh I am so bad at choosing these haha) I would say Pride & Prejudice. It’s one of the few books I’ve read multiple times.

Q) Who is your favorite author and why?

A) Again, I’m terrible at choosing favorites, but I would go with Gillian Flynn. I love reading her books.

Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

A) My husband really inspires me. He is such a hard worker and is so amazing with our children. He encourages my writing and I am so thankful.

Q) What is your favorite fairytale?

A) From the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, I would have to say either “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” or “The Three Snake-Leaves.” From Hans Christian Anderson, I love “The Little Match Girl” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Q) What inspired The Crown of Bones?  What was your purpose for writing the story?

A) The Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the novel The Hazel Wood, and the tv show Once Upon a Time helped to inspire the book. I wanted to create a story where all of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales came together and had the same villain.

Q) Can you give us any preview of what to expect in the sequel to The Crown of Bones

A) Yes! The Bone Needle is a dual POV novel, split between Brahm and Gisela. They have been separated from one another in different realms and must fight to get back to one another all the while saving everyone from Hexegot. There are new characters and some unexpected cameos from TCoB favorites.

Q) What inspired A Sea of Pearls and Leaves? What was your purpose for writing the story?

A) It is a retelling of the Grimm’s Fairy Tale “The Three Snake-Leaves,” which is one of my favorite fairy tales. I also wanted to reverse tropes that I dislike (love triangles, damsels in distress, etc.) and put a new spin on them.

Q) Can you tell us any details about your current WIP and what readers can expect from you in the future?

A) I am currently working on two projects. The first is The Bone Needle, the sequel to The Crown of Bones. The second I’m only calling “Maleficent Origin Project,” which I am super excited about. It will feature a hero-to-villain arc and lots of brutal magic.

Q) Were there any books or stories that influenced either The Crown of Bones or ASOPAL

A) Yes! Aside from the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, I would say I was inspired by other fairy tale retellings and fairy tale-esque books, especially The Hazel Wood and House of Salt and Sorrows.

Q) You are an indie published author – can you tell readers about your experience? Do you have any advice for fellow indie authors?

A) It has been a great experience so far! I would say to research every aspect of the process and give yourself plenty of cushion time for setbacks when you schedule your release date. My biggest piece of advice is that good cover art and professional editing are extremely important!

Be sure to order ASOPAL and TCOB and support Briar by following her social media accounts!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosalynBriar

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

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