A New Tale Is Added to this Christy Award-Winning Fantasy Saga!
Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.
But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.
And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.
Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, STARFLOWER and DRAGONWITCH. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.
Top Five Bookish Pet Peeves
1. Always starting the book with the main character’s name in the first sentence. I know it’s important to establish your protagonist early on . . . but when every book I read begins “Jane saw this and such one day,” or “Joe was on his way to this place one day,” it begins to feel repetitive. There are other interesting ways to open a novel!
2. An insistence on introducing the love interests within the first 3-5 pages. I once read an article urging writers to not let the heroine interact with any other male characters before she interacts with the hero (unless it’s a family member), because you don’t want to confuse readers and leave them wondering who the romantic interest is.
Who wants to know from page 3 who is going to end up with whom? That’s why we read stories: To find out what’s going to happen next. Where’s the interest and suspense if you’ve made it obvious by the first chapter?
3. “Cinematic writing techniques.” I see this phrase tossed around all the time, along with advice for novel-writing with examples taken from movies. Last I checked, we were writing novels, not cinema. Cinema is limited to two senses: sight and sound. Novels enable us to tap into all of our senses, not to mention exploring untapped senses. There are so many more possibilities within the realm of fiction. So when I see novelists limiting themselves to cinematic writing techniques—and writing books that read “just like a movie”—it makes me terribly sad.
4. I really don’t like it when a book states a set of flaws for the protagonist, but then the protagonist never demonstrates those flaws in the course of the novel. I want to see characters with active flaws that actively affect the flow of plot and narrative. And then I want to see the characters actively grow.
5. This is possibly my biggest Pet Peeve: the dreaded fear of “head-hopping,” which has led to disapproval of omniscient narrative as a narrative choice. Many writers preach that it is wrong to hop from one character’s point-of-view into another’s within the same scene, often because they have failed to recognize the difference between head-hopping and omniscient narrative.
There is no “right” or “wrong” in art. There is “what works” and “what does not work.” And these vary depending on the artist in question. Not every writer knows how to handle omniscient narrative, which is arguably the most difficult narrative voice to write successfully. This does not mean that the narrative voice itself is wrong. That would be like telling a painter who likes to use watercolors that she is wrong because she doesn’t use oils. What nonsense! They are completely different types of paint, and some artists will prefer one to the other.
My favorite modern writers all use the Omniscient Narrative brilliantly: Neil Gaiman, Sir Terry Pratchett, Megan Whalen Turner, and more. Would anyone try to tell them that they are wrong to write in this voice?
So yes, this one is a major pet peeve with me, one that makes me very sad as I see fewer and fewer writers willing to try the omniscient narrative.
Top Five Things that Bring a Smile to My Face
1. My husband’s singing. He has such a sweet, soothing voice, and he loves to sing around the house, anything from classic old hymns, to Billy Joel, to Mozart cantatas. And I really love it when he pulls out his guitar and sings his own lovely version of “Till There Was You,” just for me. J
2. My kitties. I have a collection of five kitties of my own, not to mention an endless stream of foster kittens. I enjoy them all so much. Right now I’m visiting my best friend and her family, who adopted my two favorite foster kittens—Jeeves and Bertie—and it makes me smile to see them grown up and happy in their forever home.
3. My fluffy black dog, Milly. She looks like a Newfoundland, but thinks she’s a lapdog, and she is the sweetest dog in the world! Every time she tries to climb up into my lap, it makes me smile.
4. My namesake niece, Annie. She’s named after me, and she is the most beautiful little curly-haired beauty in the whole world! I like to sing “Awkward Annie” by Kate Rusby (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyFc-pbcO94) to her and watch her dance.
5. A well-timed cup of tea. My husband always seems to know when I need a cup of his wonderful Ceylon tea, brewed to the right strength and finished off with a dash of cream and just enough sugar. A moment with a cup held between my hands, inhaling the aroma of Sri Lanka, his homeland, and I always feel a smile coming on.
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