Friday, November 30, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Before Happily Ever After by Ann T. Bugg

Book 1: Through the Mirror and into Snow (Snow White)

When best friends Valerie and Samantha discover a magic mirror in Val’s 100-year-old barn in southern Minnesota, they eagerly go through it. Immediately they run into the young Snow White, who has just escaped the huntsman. The girls vow to help her find her father, knowing the dangers that await. On their journey, the fun-loving double-trouble duo quickly discover they are caught up in the middle of their favorite fairy tales.

Having the knowledge of the stories as their only weapon, Val and Sam help two other princesses, make a surprising friend and discover they have a fairy godmother of their very own.

Book 2: Into the Forest and Down the Tower (Rapunzel)

It’s time for Samantha’s summer visit again. Both she and Val are anxious to see if they will take another magical journey through the mirror. After learning of a problem with one of the horses, Odette makes her appearance and tells the girls it’s up to them to help him.

What Charlie needs is something that can only be found in their magical land. It can’t be given to them; they have to solves riddles and discover the answers themselves. A family of elves guides them, but even elf powers are limited when it comes to what stands between the girls and what they seek.

Trolls and unicorns were everything they imagined and more, but rescuing Rapunzel from her tower was an added bonus they never saw coming.

Book 3: Off to Camp and Discovering Art (King Arthur)

Valerie and Samantha are disappointed that their schedules were not allowing them to spend a week together this summer like they have done every year since they were young. Their parents are able to plan a weekend camping trip towards the end of summer. The girls are happy for the visit, but sad to think they can’t go through the mirror this year on another adventure. They discover the magic is not only within the mirror, but within themselves when they are together. Merlin the magician shows up to take them on their quest to help Arthur find his true identity and his place in Camelot.


My Review: I LOVED each of these books.  They are so cute and fun to read.  Sam and Val have so many fun adventures.  It also helps that Val knows every fairy tale, which plays to their strengths when they have each journey.  Its also fun as I read along, I remember some things too.  Perfect stories for those pre-teens!

Author Ann T. Bugg

Ann T. Bugg is the Queen of her castle in southern Minnesota where she lives with her Knight in shining armor (who has come to her rescue more than once) and her own little Princess Valerie. The pets in her magical kingdom come in all shapes and sizes, as do all the critters that make their way out of the enchanted forest. Horseback riding, long walks with her dogs (Otter & Dottie pictured above) and embroidering are on her list of hobbies, but writing will always be her first love.

Ann also writes Women's Fiction under the name June Kramin.

Tour Giveaway

All 3 Books
Print available to US only, Ebooks available Internationally
Ends 12/12/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Blast: Keegan's Chronicles by Julia Crane

Keegan's Chronicles Trilogy Set
Books 1-3


Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends--she's an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans.

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan's brother Thaddeus told her Rourk's name because his visions warned him she'd need Rourk's protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.
Keegan, is only alive now due to Black Magic, and her bond with her Chosen is broken. She cannot remember Rourk at all.

For the first time, she feels like a normal teenager. She is dating Donald, her long-time crush, and everything seems perfect. But Rourk still feels their bond, and despairs for the woman he was always meant to love.

Keegan's best friend Anna is determined to find a way to use her powers to return Keegan's bond, no matter what it takes. The question is does Keegan even want it?

Keegan has dealt with a lot over the last two years: Death, black magic and the loss of her bond to her chosen mate. But on her eighteenth birthday, the bond with Rourk returns.

Now, Keegan faces her hardest decision. Tradition requires elves marry at eighteen. If she accepts the path laid out for her, she will be spared a lifetime of physical and emotional pain. But will that life ever really be her own?


Really enjoyed this book. The story draws you in, and the characters are engaging, especially Rourk. I've never read a book about elves, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This was really good. Would recommend to anyone interested in a quick, fun, paranormal read.
-- Amazon Reviewer

I am not one for Elves or Fairies but yeah these Elves RULE! What is not to love? You have an age old prophecy, destined loves, a great family and amazing friends. Not to mention .... Rourk *yummy* All that is left is the amazing way it all is put together into this fantastic story.
-- Amazon Reviewer

If you pick up this book, I'm sure it will not disappoint, it had everything, it was cute, yet dark..and well that combo just makes for a perfect book on my shelf, Julia has truly written an amazing read. (:
-- Haley @

Author Julia Crane

Julia Crane is the author of the YA paranormal fiction novels: Keegan's Chronicles, Mesmerized, Dark Promise and Eternal Youth. Julia was encouraged by her mother to read and use her imagination, and she's believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Julia has traveled far and wide to all the places her grandmother told her about, gaining inspiration from her journeys to places like Nepal, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Italy, France and many more. And who knows? Maybe the magical creatures she writes about are people she met along the way.

Julia Crane has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Although she's spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.

Book Blast Giveaway Deatils (Starts November 29th)
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/9/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: PASSION BLUE by Victoria Strauss

PASSION BLUE by Victoria Strauss
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing (Marshall Cavendish)

Find Victoria and PASSION BLUE online:

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Website / Twitter

About (from Goodreads): "Be sure you know your true heart’s desire, or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive."

This is the warning the Astrologer-Sorcerer gives Giulia when she pays him to create a magical talisman for her. The scorned illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, Giulia is determined to defy the dire fate predicted by her horoscope, and use the talisman to claim what she believes is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs–not likely prospects for a girl about to be packed off to the cloistered world of a convent.

But the convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises. There are strict rules, long hours of work, and spiteful rivalries…but there’s also friendship, and the biggest surprise of all: a workshop of female artists who produce paintings of astonishing beauty, using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion blue. Yet even as Giulia begins to learn the mysteries of the painter’s craft, the magic of the talisman is at work, and a forbidden romance beckons her down a path of uncertainty and danger. She is haunted by the sorcerer’s warning, and by a question: does she really know the true compass of her heart?

Set in Renaissance Italy, this richly imagined novel about a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into a fascinating, exotic world where love, faith, and art inspire passion–of many different hues.

My Review: PASSION BLUE tells the story of Giulia, an orphan in Renaissance Italy. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and am finding more and more that there are some fantastic young adult gems out there as well. PASSION BLUE is one of those gems I'm so glad I was lucky enough to come across. 

We learn early on that Giulia will be sent to a convent to live out the rest of her life as a nun. This is difficult for her because all Giulia has ever really wanted is to be loved and to have a place to call her own. Her story was heartwarming and irresistible. The more I got to know her as a character, the more I adored her and how extremely passionate she was about finding happiness. 

It was easy to cheer her on and hope that she found exactly what she was looking for, but at some point during the novel I found my own thoughts shifting as to what I wanted for her. Strauss has a flawless writing style that made me feel like I was living the story, rather than reading it. When Giulia begins to explore her artistic side more and more, I found it entirely believable that art could make her happy, and that sometimes love isn't all someone needs in order to achieve peace. Passion Blue is more than just the title of the book, it's also a paint color that the nuns in the convent used in paintings. 

As Giulia becomes more involved in the artistic workshop at the convent, her hesitations about escaping also increase. I found Giulia's struggles to not only ring authentic, but also those of the struggles of other women not born into nobility. PASSION BLUE was captivating through and through and I'd recommend it to readers of all ages. It's splendidly written and a book that will keep you up reading into all hours of the night. 

This is the first book I've read by Victoria Strauss, but I am already a huge fan just from this book alone. I can't wait to read more from her.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Devada by Author Tich Brewer BOOK RELEASE

Devada by Tich Brewster
Release date: Nov 26 2012
Genre: YA

Devada ~ Book one in the Angels & Demons series:


Angels and demons, God and Satan, heaven and hell ~ What do you do when you find out that these things are not some made-up fantasy but they are real? And not only are they real but you were created to fight in warfare against the demons?

Hannah’s life is turned upside down when she discovers that everything she thought was fictional is actually real. Everyone she loves is in danger and to top it off, she learns that she is a Devada. She was created to kill demons.

Will she be able to learn and master her Devada abilities before the demons find her?




About the Author:


Tich is an Oklahoma resident and the mother of five. Her passion for reading started at an early age when her Aunt Vicky gave her the novel Heidi for Christmas. She didn’t start writing until middle school, after being inspired by her best friend’s short stories. “Genny’s stories weren’t just great but they inspired me to put my pen and paper to good use.” Tich never thought of publishing her works until working with Teresa on the Royal Blood series.




Fun Facts about Tich:


Her favorite color is purple and she adores butterflies, dragonflies, and fairies.

Her taste in music includes: rap, hip hop, alternative, rock, and country. Some of her favorite artists are Enation, Toby Mac, Third Day, Skillet, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jake Owen, and Luke Bryan.

Favorite TV shows are Supernatural, WWE RAW, and WWE Smackdown.




Buy Links:


Print book:

 Pennedit    Amazon




Where you can find Tich:ristian fiction to paranormal. Favorites books are: Left Behind series, Twilight saga, and House of Night series.

In my teen years I had a friend who was into writing, she always had a short story in the works. Reading her work inspired me to create stories of my own. It wasn't until recently that I actually got serious about my writing.


Facebook page: Tich Brewster




Blog Tour Links:


Can you believe this AMAZING book is YA? Release date is TODAY November 26th. Get your copy today and ENJOY!!



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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all our followers, we want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! 

One thing we are thankful for is: Authors!  Another is our love of reading. 

We're also thankful for ALL of our followers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Operative by Kate Kaynak

Operative by Kate Kaynak
Published Date: March 2012

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: YA

The Story: Maddie and the rest of the team must catch the person selling classified information to terrorists – before they become targets.

My  Review: There’s something about special powers.  Maybe it’s that I’ve always wanted one.  Well, maybe not Maddie’s.  I don’t think I could handle hearing everybody’s thought…  Anyways, Kate has continued to push the limits on Maddie and her team.  Ohh, and Trevor, can’t forget about him!  At Ganzfield, they are learning what happens when two G positives decided to have sex, and make a cute little baby.  This is a book that you’ll laugh, cry and want more.  Patiently waiting for the next book to come!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Falling: Girl with Broken Wings by J Bennett

Falling: Girl with Broken Wings by J Bennett
Published Date: January 2012
Publisher: Self
Genre: YA paranormal

The Story: The intellectual challenge of college and the warm embrace of a serious boyfriend have given Maya the wings she needs to break away from her bookish and shy reserve. Her ideal life comes crashing down when she and her boyfriend are accosted by a stranger. A stranger with glowing hands.

Maya's boyfriend is killed. She is kidnapped. Changed.

A rescue comes, but not soon enough.

Maya’s senses sharpen, her body becomes strong and agile, and she develops the ability to visually see the emotions of those around her as colorful auras…beautiful auras…tempting auras.

And then there’s the song…

Now, Maya must struggle to control the murderous appetite that fuels her new abilities, accept her altered condition and learn to trust two vigilante half-brothers she never knew she had. As she joins the battle against a secret network of powerful and destructive beings that call themselves "Angels", Maya vows to find and destroy the one who changed her.

On the bright side, at least Maya's oldest half-brother has stopped trying to kill her.
My Review:  I enjoyed this book.  Angels are bad, almost vampire like, where they suck auras dry.  When Maya finds out that the two guys who rescued her are her brothers, she tries hard to be the person she needs to be.  Well, person isn’t the right word since she’s an “Angel” too.  We’re given a different world where you don’t know if the bad or good will win.  This was a pretty easy read.  It’s a nice change of pace from other paranormal books.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Unwind Review

by Neal Shusterman
Released November 7, 2007
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Goodreads /Author Website /Amazon /Barnes & Noble

About (from Goodreads)

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

My Review

Are you wondering why I chose to review a book that was published in 2007?  This book is the first of a series; the second was just released last September.  If you have never read a Neal Shusterman book then you are truly missing something special.  This author has an incredible way of crafting characters that are interesting, complex and full of all the good and bad that make up each of us.  His "bad" characters are never cardboard villains, but intricate characters with experiences and choices that have come to set them on their path.  Sometimes they will redeem themselves in surprising ways.  You might even find bits of yourself in them as they are really just people who might not have always made the best choices.  The same goes for his "hero/heroine" characters.  These characters are far from perfect and you never know when one of them will change roads and turn your opinions of them on its head.

This particular book is a dystopian, written before dystopians became all the rage.  In any dystopian I have to suspend my disbelief that our world might really get to this extreme place.  In this book, the author grounds his eerie version of the future through snippets in-between the chapters of things that are real and current.  This accomplishes a chilling connection to how he developed this scary potential outcome.

The story is an interesting and sometimes disturbing read that follows primarily three teens- Connor, Risa and Lev.  All three are scheduled to be Unwound, a process whereby each part of a human is taken and donated to another in need.  Each of them have arrived at this point through very different means.  As per typical Neal Shusterman fashion, each character we meet is fascinating and complex.  We follow the characters as they attempt to outrun their fate, taking chances and learning a lot in the process.  The story is gripping and tense.  No one knows who to trust and when to run.  People surprise you and others evolve- occasionally to places you never expected them to go.

I was a little apprehensive when I started this book, wondering if any particular political view was going to be preached.  The author stays away from this, simply asking questions that beg the mind to think and question without giving answers.  No matter where you fall on the political spectrum you should find this book acceptable and thought provoking.  There are a lot of ethical issues, such as how laws dictate and affect our morality.  Unthinkable things become acceptable if people can put a good spin on it and the population is kept in the dark about the reality of it.  This becomes even easier if the act in question is a legal one and society as a whole is encouraged to accept it.

This book is a really well done and I loved it, even the parts that were hard to read.  I encourage you to pick this up and begin this series.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review: Blaze by Kaitlyn Davis

Blaze by Kaitlyn Davis
Published Date: September 2012
Publisher: Self
Genre: YA

The Story: Kira gulped, unable to stop the growing sense that everything in her world was about to change.

With Aldrich’s note burning a hole in her pocket, Kira is off to England to finally reunite with her birth mother. But what begins as a dream quickly turns to a nightmare and Kira is left questioning everything she has ever known. Can she be the conduit Luke wants her to be? Can she be the rebel Tristan needs her to be? Or is she something else? Something no one, not even Aldrich, ever saw coming…

Blaze is the third book in the thrilling Midnight Fire Series. It is approximately 65,000 words.

My Review: I LOVED Blaze.  It was much better than Simmer, and up there with Ignite.  I was on the edge of my seat while reading.  There were twists that I couldn’t predict, which made it that much more enjoyable to me.  When it ended, ooo, I was wishing I had book four already. 
Kaitlyn’s writing style is different than other “vampire” themed writers.  Which makes the feel of the book different.  Yes there are some similarities, but that seems to happen with reading a lot of vampire books.  I loved how Kaitlyn pulled you in, and then just seemed to have left you wanting more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw by Suzy Turner

author Suzy Turner
genre: ya
release date: NOW

Author Suzy Turner (one of my all time favorite YA authors on this planet) has a new series The Morgan Sisters. The series is NOW available. Book 1, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, can be purchased from Amazon  and all other formats from Smashwords. This book will be available soon at all other retailers.

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw Virtual Tour

 What's in a name? 
 Naming your characters can be time consuming but more importantly, it can be fun! When I first started writing The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, I had a name in mind for the main character (at that time, there was only going to be one female lead). It was an awesome name, I loved it and it just fit perfectly with the character I'd created. Until I did a last minute google check and found out it also happened to be the name of a porn star. Duh! So, I had to go right back to the beginning and start again. I guess that took the wind out of my wings because I was stuck, I hadn't got a clue what to call her. I put a brief mention on facebook about my conundrum and my oldest friend came to the rescue. 'Use mine, use mine!' she said. The more I thought about it, the more perfect it seemed. And so, Emma Jane Morgan was born. As I began the book, it became apparent that Emma Jane wanted a sister and so Lana Beth was born too. Her name was decidedly easier, it just came to me and stuck.

 The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw has rather a lot of characters and I must say that I'm rather proud of all their names. It's almost like naming a child, you certainly don't want to make a mistake! Here are some examples: Eleanor Hayden-Jones (if you've been following my virtual book tour, you'll have read an interview with her yesterday), Declan Alexander (I talked about him on Day One of the tour), Diarmuid O'Connor, Liam Hawkes, Moira Lynn, Ava Burton, Penny Vega, Rupert Henson, Cassie Stanton, Nisha Singh, Imran Chaudri and Elliott Drake. 

To learn more about these wonderful characters, check out the first book in the Morgan Sisters series: The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw Adopted sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane are polar opposites, but when the same strange 'tattoo' suddenly appears and winds its way up their bodies within days of each other, they soon realise there's more to their relationship than they could ever have imagined. Sent off to London for two weeks of 'work experience', the Morgan Sisters soon find themselves being initiated into the ancient Praxos Foundation, one that protects the innocent while fighting evil, both human and supernatural. At the same time, Lana Beth and Emma Jane must also investigate why the sweet but sometimes pesky ghost of Josiah Grimshaw just won't leave them alone.  
 Suzy's website:

and last but not least I have to send a HUGE shout out to our amazing author's husband:



Stay tuned for my full review of this book! It is so amazing!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: Simmer by Kaitlyn Davis

Simmer by Kaitlyn Davis
Published Date: April 2012
Publisher: Self
Genre: YA

The Story: Slowly, like a whisper almost blown away in the wind, two words streaked across her mind: 'Kiss me.'

Kira may have survived the eclipse, but her troubles are far from over. She's headed to Sonnyville with one goal in mind: to learn more about her parents. But with Luke and Tristan competing for her heart and Diana gunning for her head, time is running out on the search for her mother. And the closer Kira gets to answers, the more terrified she becomes. The conduits fear her, the vampires fear her, and Kira is starting to wonder if maybe they're right...

Simmer is the second book in the thrilling Midnight Fire Series. It is approximately 65,000 words.

Show MoreMy Review: I enjoyed Simmer, not quite as much as Ignite.  But, it is a good “filler” to keep you up to speed with what’s going on with Kira.  She believes that her last hope is finding her mom, who she thinks is still alive but a slave to a vampire.  Kaitlyn ends book two with a choice that Kira will have to make.  Go back to Sonnyville and train, or go find her mom.
Kaityln’s writing is really good, and you can tell that she had someone proof read it, and edit it.  The story does move semi quickly, lots of action and suspense. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PASSION BLUE Blog Tour: Guest Post with Victoria Strauss

Please join me in welcoming the immensely talented Victoria Strauss to BCM today! Her latest novel, PASSION BLUE was released just last week (November 6th). I've read PASSION BLUE and it's amazing! Stay tuned for my review later this week. For now, please enjoy our guest post with Victoria and don't forget to leave a comment below to tell us what you think!

By Victoria Strauss

Growing up, my favorite reading was historical fiction. I adored losing myself in stories of other times and places—stories that transported me, through the author’s imagination and my own,  out of my mundane everyday context and into new worlds of excitement, danger, mystery, and beauty—so strange and exotic, sometimes, that it was hard to believe they’d once been real. 

Then, when I was in my teens, I fell in love with fantasy. It, too, swept me up in epic tales and fascinating new worlds. Unlike the real worlds of historical fiction, these fantasy worlds were completely imaginary. But the best writers were able to make them so vivid that, while I was reading, I felt as if they’d actually existed—in an alternate universe, perhaps, very close to our own.

It wasn’t until I started getting serious about writing that I realized how similar fantasy and historical novels truly are—from a writer’s perspective, at least. Fantasy writers create worlds that never were. Historical writers re-create worlds that no longer exist. Both are acts of imagination, fueled by research. 

I write history, fantasy, and combinations of the two (my latest novel, Passion Blue, is a historical with fantasy elements). My fantasy settings are always based on real-world templates and incorporate real-world details, and I do as much research for them as I do for my historical settings. If you want your fantasy society to be reminiscent of ancient Japan, for instance, researching that complex culture will give your made-up world far more depth. If you’re going to write about a blacksmith, it doesn’t matter whether he’s smithing in medieval Europe or in your own fantasy version of a pre-industrial society—you’d better know how a forge works. If you’re writing about steam engines, your steampunk epic should make them as plausible as they’d need to be in a historical novel about the industrial revolution. 

Research can’t tell you everything, however, and the past is a place you can never visit. In re-creating historical settings, you’ll nearly always encounter information gaps--dark areas where what people really did, or what life was really like, is just not known. Writing historical fiction is a constant process of extrapolating from what you know so that you can convincingly—and authentically—portray what you can’t know. As with fantasy, in other words, you must make things up.

Much of Passion Blue takes place in a painter’s workshop inside a Renaissance-era convent. This is not exactly a common setting. I did have a real-world model to work with—a studio of nun-artists in 16th century Florence that was quite famous in its time—but the information I could find on this studio was extremely limited. 

So, to create the workshop where Giulia, Passion Blue’s heroine, discovers her passion to paint, I combined what I’d learned about the Florence studio with details gleaned from research on other Renaissance painters’ workshops, as well as my readings on 15th century Italian convents. The look, feel, smells, and routines of Giulia’s workshop are firmly sourced in historical fact--yet the workshop itself is a product of my imagination, not just because it never existed, but because so much of how a convent painters’ workshop would actually have functioned is simply impossible to know.

Historical novels do pose a challenge that fantasy novels don’t. Yes, there is invention, but historical writing is based on established facts that can’t be pushed around, and which authors must be careful not to get wrong. Sloppy research drives me crazy, as do books where the writer hasn’t bothered to internalize an authentic period mindset. Characters in a historical novel have to be accessible to a contemporary audience, but that doesn’t mean they should just be modern teens in fancy dress. Nor does using a historical setting to frame your fantasy premise give you a pass on the details. Teenagers in Victorian England did not say “Whatever.”
On the other hand, even though fantasy lets you make up the rules, once you do, you’re stuck with them. Good world building creates a structure that the fantasy author has to adhere to as rigorously as a historical novelist must adhere to real-world places and events. 

Despite the differences, writing fantasy and writing history call on very similar skillsets. I think that’s why I’ve always felt so comfortable moving back and forth between the two. 


Victoria Strauss is the author of eight novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone fantasy duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) and Passion Blue, a YA historical. In addition, she has written a handful of short stories, hundreds of book reviews, and a number of articles on writing and publishing that have appeared in Writer’s Digest, among others. She’s co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that provides information and warnings about the many scams and schemes that threaten writers. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.


When seventeen-year-old Giulia, the orphaned, illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, learns she’s to be packed off to a life behind convent walls, she begs an astrologer-sorcerer for a talisman that will secure what she’s certain is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs. But does she really know the compass of her heart? The convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises, including a workshop of nuns who are creating paintings of astonishing beauty using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion Blue. As Giulia’s own artistic self is awakened she’s torn: should she follow the young man who promises to help her escape? Or stay and satisfy her growing desire to paint?

This richly imagined novel of a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into the fascinating world of Renaissance Italy where love and faith and art inspire passion – of many different hues.

A rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion. - Kirkus (starred review, editor’s pick for Fall 2012) 

Vividly set during the 15th-century Italian Renaissance…a strong and thoroughly likable heroine. - School Library Journal 

I don’t just like Passion Blue, I love it…I simply galloped through it. - Jane Yolen, author of The Devil’s Arithmetic

An elegant retelling of that old, crucial story of finding one’s place in the world, set against a vivid evocation of the Italian Renaissance. - Robin McKinley, author of The Hero and the Crown



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