Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cover Reveal! KINDRED (THE BIRTHRITE SERIES, #2)



It is the summer of 1933 and nearly two years since that fateful Halloween night in Plains, New York.
Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, eighteen-year-old Cletus Blake spends his days working to help his family through the massive economic recession spreading throughout the United States and many other areas of the world. As society struggles to accept that the economic surge of the 1920s are long gone, Cletus also clings to the memory of his last phone conversation with his cousin Dorothy. Having formed and maintained a relationship with two of her close friends - the recently married Reginald and Gail Carr Johnson - the three find solace in regular communication with one another.

Like Dorothy, Cletus possesses supernatural abilities inherited through his bloodline. His vivid dreams and visions - including ones of a beautiful young Romani woman and twin baby boys - continue to increase in strength. Meanwhile, Reginald and Gail begin falling prey to dark adversaries that have been lying in wait.
Evil surrounds at every turn, old friends race to help, and ancient evil re-emerges. A war between worlds brews beneath the surface, threatening to rip the protective seams that keep the portals sealed.

Then in the midst of it all, Cletus happens upon a caravan traveling through his Ohio town. The very familiar Romanichal family's history ties not only to his own past, but to all the kin of the four men that experienced worlds outside of their own on that summer solstice in 1844. All are linked to a future that will reunite the Blakes and the Livingstons, two families that at one time, shared a very unlikely friendship.

Kindred is the second full-length novel in The Birthrite Series. Picking up from where Descent and Sacred Atonement: A Novelette left off, the story continues to challenge all that is known about light and dark, good and evil. Passion, intrigue, and secrets abound as history unravels. Revelations uncovered in previous installments are given new perspectives, taking the reader on a thrilling ride into a world where nothing is ever what it appears to be.


SPECIAL GIVEAWAY:
Until July 10, all three of the first installments - Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1), Sacred Atonement: A Novelette (The Birthrite Series, #2.5), and Made in Heaven: A Birthrite Series Short - are available as free downloads from the following retailers:
My books are also available at Amazon (giveaways for Amazon coming soon): http://amazon.com/author/tiffanyapan





*****

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Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Free Ebooks and Countdown to the Kindred (The Birthrite, #2) Cover Reveal :)

Hey all,

Free ebooks for everyone. :)

Until July 10, the first intallments of The Birthrite are available as free ebooks at the following retailers:

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/13750

Barnes & Noble NOOK:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?series_id=1046256

Kobo:
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/search?query=The%20Birthrite&fcsearchfield=Series&fclanguages=all

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/descent-birthrite-series-1/id950429358?mt=11






*****

For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

UPDATE: What's Going On Over Here

Hi all,

This week, I am in the process of categorizing this blog (see the INTERVIEWS and UNDERWORLD TV sections). So please excuse the lack of updates, though I will try to post a little something about my drop spindle class later in the week. :)

Also with the cover reveals for Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2) and Saturn Sun: A Novella (The Birthrite Series, #2.5), stay tuned for a few giveaways coming soon. :)

Til next time!



*****

For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Got Through My First Day in the 18th Century Without Falling On My Face, and Other Thoughts

Hey all,

Well this past Sunday was my first actual day of living in the 18th century. Meaning, it was my first day as a costumed interpreter at the Depreciation Lands Museum.
I was actually pretty nervous about "getting it right" and forgot to take the first time selfie before heading to my post at the schoolhouse. Ah well. Next time.
At the museum (which is both indoor and outdoor depending on which part of the museum you are in/at), we are required to not only be in period attire but to speak as though we are actual citizens during that time as well (if you've ever been to Williamsburg, you probably have an idea of what we do). We also have to come up with our own character/person to portray, and this can be either a person who actually lived in the area during that time or someone of our own imagining. My person is one of my own imagining, and her name is Sadie Marie Miller. She is a teacher at the schoolhouse and I was able to teach a couple classes and demonstrate and speak of how children went to school during the 18th century. And let me tell you, like everything else, education really did vary depending on the area, whether they were city or country dwellers, whether they lived in northern or southern states, whether you were upper, middle, or lower class, etc. As I delve deeper into researching (and now also reenacting) history, I learn more and more of how complex it really is and how it really isn't as cut and dry as the media and much of the mainstream seems to make it out to be. I have pondered and wondered why this is many times as I've written and did research for my own historical fiction. I have also wondered why Hollywood often ignores much historical fact when making historical films. Same thing with books. Perhaps it is because they are going more for shock and entertainment value instead of a more educational value? And if this is so, why (as the true stories are often far more intriguing than anything dreamed up in some conglomerate's office)? And even if what the mainstream typically presents to us may not be completely historically inaccurate, why do they often stick with the "same old" status quo instead of seeking out new information typically not discussed that might add more depth, make for a much more interesting story, and possibly even offer the plot and characters a little more of an arch (which was/is my main beef with The Flappers Series)?
I can't say I'm an authority on the answer to that, but what I can do is quote the excellent article by FrockFlicks.com titled The Gross 18th Century: Calling Bullshit on Hygiene Myths (and I know I've linked to this article before, but if you haven't read it yet, it is worth reading):

"By now we’re all sick and tired of the tired mantra that “people don’t want a history lesson when they go see a movie,” as though there’s something highly distasteful about being exposed to facts instead of made up bullshit about the lives of people who lived before, and that modern audiences have no hope of relating to. I don’t know about you, but I find that mentality hugely insulting."

As I have mentioned previously, in the short time that I have been involved with the Depreciation Lands Museum, I have been given access to information that I wish I had had while starting to write The Birthrite Series. However, because the series is just beginning, there is plenty of room for it to grow. And grow it shall. :)

In a previous post, I mentioned how in some areas, it was not all that unusual for a woman to be seen working in a blacksmith's shop despite it often being described as a man's profession. As told to me by the Depreciation Museum's blacksmith, women did make nails and other small objects for extra money. So yes, I do plan to learn a little blacksmithing in the future. :)
Also, in between groups of people, I had the opportunity to sit down at the teacher's desk and read through some of the McGuffey Readers, a very common series of schoolbooks used in the 19th century. The McGuffey Readers started with the most basic primers for small children who had just learned their alphabet from what was called a horn book. These primers started with a basic course in annunciation along with maintaining a learning of the alphabet. It also included basic rhymes and stories. The McGuffey Readers increase in difficulty up to a sixth level reader, which was for about junior high and into high school ages. The sixth level McGuffey readers continued the lessons in proper pronunciation and annunciation while education students in the works of Shakespeare, Homer, and the like.
One common misconception is that children were always well-behaved and received severe punishment if they acted up. Now, the latter part of that statement is pretty historically accurate, and while the utmost respectable behavior was very much encouraged in children, that doesn't mean they didn't act up if they thought they could get away with it. According to Leonard Everett Fisher's book, Nineteenth Century America: The Schools, there are documents from early to mid 1800s of when political movements were being made in attempts to improve the overall quality of the schools, that it was found that several students had in fact defaced school property, writing or carving things "that would make heathens blush."
While this might not come as a shock to some people, I have heard people in conversation state how even as recent as the 1950s, "young people didn't even know what puberty was". Um...seriously??? Even those growing up in strict, conservative households at the time usually at least heard of it from their peers, even if some might not have been permitted to talk of it at home. Not being permitted to discuss it and not knowing of it are two different things. And while there might have been a group that actually wasn't aware of "where babies come from," this is yet another example of how many do tend to regurgitate outrageous misinformation. And yes, I have talked to people who lived back then. Many, many times.

There is much more I do want to delve into in future posts, such as the nice amount of pro-Native American works published back in the day. I'm also taking a Drop Spindle class at the Depreciation Lands Museum this Friday evening, which I will blog about. And this passed Sunday, I also picked up a quill pen in the museum's mercantile shop. I just need to get an inkwell and I will be practicing writing with a quill. :)

In the meantime though, I am going to get back to writing Kindred (the Birthrite Series, #2) and prepping for the cover reveal that is to take place on June 29th.

And check out author Megan Cashman's interview with me at her website.

And for a chance to win free ebooks and a giftcard, check out my interview with April Holthaus on this blog (check out her work...you won't be sorry!).

Last but not least, I wrote an article on the Depreciation Land Museum own ghost, The Deacon at my online magazine, The Parting of Veils.

Til next time. :)






*****

For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound



Saturday, June 13, 2015

INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: Paranormal/Scottish Historical Romance Author, APRIL HOLTHAUS

I came across April Holthaus by chance as I was browsing books on the internet. When I picked up her first book, The Honor of a Highlander, I did some research on her and also found that her passion for history extends to researching her own family tree back to the 1100s (and most recently, the 900s). What I enjoy about April's stories is what close attention she pays to historical detail in the midst of everything else happening. This is evident in The Honor of a Highlander, which takes place during the time of William Wallace and the seige on Scotland by the English.
At the end of the interview, April is giving away a digital copy of her newest book, The Legends of the Fae along with her new forthcoming release. In addition, I am adding an Amazon gift card to the pot. And those on my mailing list are automatically in the drawing that will take place at the end of the week. :)






TA: First, tell a little about yourself and the sort of stories you write.

AH: I am married with a one year old son. and live in Minnesota. I work full time in the mailing/printing and marketing business as an Account Manager which I have been doing for over 12 years. 
I write Scottish Historical/Paranormal Romances. I have always loved writing but never considered pursuing it as any type of career. My passion is actually Biology.  I started my first book: The Honor of a Highlander in the winter of 2012 as a hobby. After I completed the story about a year later, I have several friends of mine read it and they convinced me to get it professionally edited and in September 2013 my first book was published. I never thought I would sell more than 10 copies or even get more than a 3-star review, but surprisingly, within the first 2 months of publication on Amazon, the book made the Top 10 Best Sellers in the Scottish Genre. Since then, I found a permanent editor and published 3 other works in which all three hit the Top 100 Best Sellers at one point.


TA: Much of what you write seems to fall into the Scottish Historical (particularly Medieval) and Romance categories. Why those as opposed to a more contemporary romance?
 

AH: That is a very good question! Ever since I was in High School, I have always read Harlequin Medieval Romances. I never got into reading anything contemporary. I think with Historicals, you can write more about fantasy and adventure and romance that just doesn't fit into today's world, plus it is such a romantic era where men were honorable and knew how to be men. That alone makes it easy to write the perfect hero. 


TA: On your websites and in other interviews, you tell of how you traced your family's own geneology as far back as the 1100s. How much work went into this and did any findings make it into one of your story plots?
 

AH: I started researching my family tree back in 2005 just before my Grandmother died. My grandmother, like me, loved history and felt very proud of her family. She had kept pictures of our family as well as had written a part of her family tree as far back as my 5th great-grandfather; White Eagle, an Iroquois Indian who lived in Canada. When she passed, I took the information she gave me and started researching the names and birthdates on various online ancestry groups and was able to find many distant cousins and connect to several other family trees.
I do, now and again, randomly pick a name where I hit a dead end to see if I can find more information so its been a long ten year process. I have now successfully found a few additional names dating back to early 900s. I haven't used any of the information I found in my stories yet, other than getting inspiration for names.


TA: What was your most interesting find in tracing your family's history?
 

AH: The most interesting find is that I am related to a few French nobles and royalty, the earliest one dating back to mid 900s such as Charles III of France to the lineage of Gilbert de Venables, the Baron of Kinderton. I guess I always found it fascinating to know how these people are and to know that they are my (X#)-great grandparent! I don't know them but I love them just the same!


TA: Your new book, Legend of the Fae, seems to have a more paranormal twist. Can you tell a little about it?
 

AH: Legend of the Fae is the first book to my first Historical Fantasy series: The Dark Fae Saga.  This story is about the Scottish mythical creatures called the Fae, which is somewhat similar to Fairies.  This story was inspired after reading the book The Renegade's Heart by Claire Delacroix which also involved the Fae.
In Legend of the Fae, it is about Galen and Ella, two young adolescents who are not only best friends but are just starting to realize that they are starting to develop romantic feelings for each other. Galen, the unwanted nephew of their clan's laird and Ella a peasant, are both faced with their own struggles and hardships. They both desperately wish they could run away from their responsibilities but before they could, a dark, mysterious woman appears and kidnaps Ella and several of the young children in the small Scottish village. The story then jumps ten years into the future. Galen is now Laird of their clan and Ella has been brainwashed and molded into the Princess of Darkness within the Fae Realm. While she eagerly takes on a dangerous mission as the Fae world is on the brink of war between good versus evil, Ella is swept away to the mortal world where she knows nothing of her past, a curse that was placed upon her when she first came to the Fae world. She believes the humans to be cruel and savage but when a kind and gentle Galen comes to her aid, she finds herself falling for the man who saved her. Now she is caught in the middle of the world she knows and the man she loves.



TA: As an author, what were/are some of the greatest challenged faced?
 
AH: In writing, there is always so much to learn that comes with time. With each book, I try to bring in more detail, more character development and emotion to the characters as I hone my craft. With experience I have learned to have more beta readers to help offer ideas where scenes may need to be improved and to have a really good team supporting you.

TA: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
 

AH: Since my first book: The Honor of a Highlander was published, I set 1 goal for myself and that was to not be discouraged by bad reviews. I told myself that if I can at least make 1 person happy who has enjoyed reading my story, that was all that mattered to me. I write because I enjoy it. Not for the money, not for the acknowledgement, but just to feel like I accomplished something. One of my books, Escape to the Highlands hasn't done as well in sales or reviews as the others but that one still today is my favorite one.


TA: When you're not writing, what do you do in your down time?
 

AH: Downtime! HA! I have a one year old. I don't know how people can handle more than one! The rare and few moments I do get to myself I am usually watching my shows from the previous week on the DVR that I am behind. Other than that, I love being outdoors hiking and walking, spending time with my family and watching my son play and grow. I have been very blessed.


TA: And finally, what's next for you? Plug away!

AH: I am very excited about my next series. Its called the Protectors of the Crown Series. It is a five book series. The first book: The Heart of the Highlands: The Beast which is available now on Amazon for pre-order and will be released on July 25th.
For hundreds of years, Scotland has battled the English for their freedom. Now, they face a new threat. In a divided world between politics and religion, the young King James V faces a threat; his own people rebelling against him. As civil war break out amongst the Highland clans, James recruits a secret group of warriors for protection. He calls them the: Protectors of the Crown. 




Here are my web links:


Thank you Tiffany for having me on your blog. I really enjoyed the interview! As a bonus to your readers, I would love to gift a copy of my latest book: Legends of the Fae as well as my upcoming release The Heart of the Highlands: The Beast.


TIFFANY'S NOTE:  For a chance to win free copies of April's newest books and an Amazon gift card, either leave a comment in the comment area below or sign up for my free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!
Those on the newsletter automatically entered in any giveaway. Or you can just comment in the comments section. Thanks, everyone. And thanks, April! :)






*****

For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement:Novelette (The Birthrite Series, # 1.5) available together for the low price of $21.00 at my Official Website


My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb

"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound
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