Something ‘Broken But Not Lost’ in my handbag

Broken

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivy Logan is presenting the cover reveal of her gripping young adult romance, ‘Broken’.  It is a coming of age romance of sacrifice and love. As I am unfamiliar with this genre, I asked Ivy why I should place her supernatural fantasy adventure in my handbag.

Here is Ivy’s explanation:

Talia, my heroine, belongs to a time when there were no handbags. But for the modern reader, a handbag is all about a woman on the go with so much to do, places to go, things to achieve.

Broken is so apt for the modern reader, who is on the move, as you can pick up the at any time and find sanctuary in another world.  The novel will draw you into a magical world where women are not perfect, but love gives them the power and the courage to fight dragons. We all face dragons, in real life, for the love of our families.

Talia is fragile, has been hunted and has lost her entire family to an ancient curse. As an independent woman, she doesn’t need a prince to protect her, only to love her.  She has learned the best lesson in life- take a stand and face your nemesis head on.

This book offers young girls a female hero who believes in, her family, love and friendships. Although a fantasy, this book has a significant message.  Broken is the portrayal of a strong woman who deals with violence, bullying, grief and sacrifice.

Talia may live in a fantasy world, but like any girl in modern society, she has her own problems and insecurities to overcome before she is strong once again.

It is intriguing the way Ivy has presented an inspirational message in the story. Ivy weaved her magic and had me hooked on her clever tale, and I read the blurb to discover more…

The dark shadow cast by an ancient prophecy shatters an innocent family, but all that is broken is not lost.

Unaware of her supernatural legacy, half blood sorceress Talia has a unique childhood. Although protected by the love of her parents, Talia is instructed in the art of combat by her mother, Caitlin, a powerful sorceress of the Heichi clan.

When Talia’s family’s worst nightmare comes to pass, her protected life spins out of control. Everything she believes in and everyone she loves is cruelly snatched away and Talia is forced to flee the attentions of a mad king.

Choosing a path of retribution devoid of love and friendship, Talia comes to learn that love can be received even if it is not sought.

Broken’ is a tale of Talia’s coming of age, reuniting with her family, and seeking vengeance. Most of all, it chronicles, Talia’s rise from the ashes and how she finds herself again.

Set against a background of time travel and supernatural forces, read Talia’s epic saga of love, sacrifice, and discovering the hero within.

Once the magic spell of the blurb had been cast, I asked Ivy to present some magic words from the story…

Caitlin finally saw a way out of her torment. She had been born a guardian and it was now time to don the mantle again. She had to protect her little family.  She and the cursed child must be separated from each other. If they were not together, the prophecy could not come to pass.

But how does a mother choose? Choosing between her children seemed implausible and unthinkable, but for the sake of her family, she had to do it. She had to know which child lived under the shadow of the curse.

In little Joshua, who was so innocent and without guile, Caitlin saw Michael and the peace and calm he brought to her life. In Talia, she saw an image of herself, the strength, the promise of power, and unfortunately, the pain it could bring. Talia was the half blood; the prophecy predicting Caitlin would betray the Heichi on account of her child had to be related to Talia.

Broken Not Lost‘ is yet to receive reviews.  However, the prequel, Origins – Legends of Ava, has received wonderful reviews and this bodes well for the release of the novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do the reviewers say about the prequel to Broken, titled, Origins –The Legend of Ava?

‘What an introduction! It just leaves you hungry for more. Ivy Logan knows how to build a beautiful scenario even if it is a tragic one. The taste of her mythology is a fresh one. I can’t wait to read more.’ Selene Kallan

‘I have just had the pleasure of reading this short story and prequel to Broken; book one of The Breach Chronicles. The author has introduced the reader to a world where supernaturals live on earth and the complications that this can bring. In this story we meet Ava and the Heichi sorceresses and what a gripping start to the story it is when tragedy and subsequent decisions surrounding this, creates unease among the supernatural. This is a story you must read and it has left me wanting more. I hope it isn’t too long before Broken is released so that I can find out what happens next.’ Ann Walker

‘Picture the opening scene… The beautiful yet unassuming girl, the bad boy rebel… A budding romance. Without giving too much away, they don’t feature all that long in plot. This novel starts as it means to go on, it take all those YA tropes and lets you know that isn’t going to happen here.
I’m genuinely excited to read more of this story. The world being built is rich and new. I’m an artist and I’m already itching to bring to life on paper. The characters are, for lack of a better word, human. Flawed in a real sense that allows you to emphasize with them. The multi perspective way the story is presented allows for a 360 view of events. A very important factor to this introductory piece. I can’t wait for the next installment!’ Faith Summers

‘Ms. Logan has done a great job of setting up the premise for Broken, Book 1 of the Breach Chronicles. The characters are well described, their emotions jumping off the page, and all beautifully worded. I’m looking forward to reading the first installment of the series as this prequel peeks my interest to the epic saga that is to follow.’ Jacky Dahlhaus

 

 

Broken is Book 1 of The Breach Chronicles.   The cover evokes intrigue and Ivy’s writing has the magical quality required for this genre. I believe the readers will not leave this fantasy world until they are reassured that all is ‘Broken But Not Lost’.  This is Ivy’s debut novel and I wish her all the best with her magical adventures!

 

Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com.

 

Alchemy in my Handbag

As if by magic, I am presenting ‘Stone Circle’ by Kate Murdoch.  The novel is a rich historical fantasy about a young man’s coming of age, as he learns about magic rituals and alchemy. I have asked Kate to present and extract of her debut novel.  She has written to her readers about the book and her chosen extract.

Dear Readers,

I would like to present you with an extract from my debut novel, ‘Stone Circle’.  

It’s a story of magic rituals and rivalry in a 16th century Italian town.

The extract, selected from the middle of the book, is a scene where my protagonist, Antonius, is being initiated as a seer. It describes the ritual he must go through. 

It is a key scene in my book, because Antonius’s life is undergoing enormous change, and the ritual is a symbol of that. 

Romance, thrilling escapes and alchemy – what’s not to love?

Best Wishes,

Kate x

 

Extract

Antonius watched the blue and amber flames as they crackled upwards, repeating the same patterns into infinity. He felt his body move to the rhythms, and realised they all moved in tandem around the fire. The music, the flames, and the night were as much a part of them as the blood coursing through their veins. The pace quickened and they followed, twisting and turning with fluidity.

Antonius’s mind was clear and untroubled. At the same time, he watched Giulia’s russet hair swing across her back and the long line of her slender white arm as she moved with perfect grace. He felt the eyes of many upon him, but he was not afraid. It was a sense of being held in the embrace of the observation, as if he were returning to the home of a friend that was as familiar as it was strange. Glancing at Giulia, he saw she scattered herbs into the flames. His nose twitched as their combined scent wafted towards him—sage, elderflower, cloves, and others. Three crystals were then released into the fire—purple, white, and gold. Several loud cracks erupted into the air and multi-coloured sparks flew, with a hiss and a whine. In a low voice Savinus chanted. It was a mellifluous language he had heard during the rituals at the blue cave. He spread his arms in an outward motion, as if clearing away smoke.

More About the Novel

Stone Circle explores themes of class, rivalry and spiritual growth. It is a historical fantasy novel.

Is the ability to read minds a blessing or a curse?

Kate Murdoch

When Antonius’s father dies, he must work to support his family. He finds employment as a servant in the Palazzo Ducal, home of Conte Valperga. Sixteenth-century Pesaro is a society governed by status, and Antonius has limited opportunities. When a competition is announced, Antonius seizes his chance. The winner will be apprenticed to the town seer. Antonius shares first place with his employer’s son. The two men compete for their mentor’s approval. As their knowledge of magic and alchemy grows, so does the rivalry and animosity between them. When the love of a beautiful woman is at stake, Antonius must find a way to follow his heart and navigate his future.

Reviewers’ Opinions

‘Murdoch presents a delightful romance, feathered with light touches of fantasy. The development of her love triangle is gratifying, and even secondary characters offer stark dramatic moments…’ Kirkus Reviews ‘

‘Her characters’ interactions with each other and their individualities helped shape the book into something wonderful; at the same time she excels at pacing the story with her characters, all within a framework designed to help readers understand the world of seers and alchemy she has created.’ Readers’ Favorite

‘Kate Murdoch’s fabulous writing is full of vivid sounds, sights and scents that pull us into the scene, expressed in inspired word combinations that are a joy to read. A wonderful, entertaining book.’ Gail Cleare, USA Today bestselling author

Words about Kate:

Kate is a painter turned author who enjoys writing flash fiction and short stories when she’s not writing historical fiction. Her debut novel is a romance with an element of fantasy.  Kate became completely immersed in her Renaissance town and characters when writing the novel.  Kate found it difficult to depart from the world in her novel and this bodes well for a reader intent on escape. The best of luck to Kate with her debut novel.

 

Please see all my extracts at Book Extracts and my blog at jessiecahalin.com.

 

A Christmas gift from a bright young star

Today, I am handing over this blog to talented, nine-year-old author, Ella Lopez.

Ella has co-written a book with her mother, Jennifer. C. Lopez, about their experience of home-schooling.  Entitled: ‘Thanks, But I’ll Teach My Own Kid’, the book explores fearless thinking and learning without borders. Their book has been honoured by their local library association, and featured in publications across the USA. Ella has also written her debut novel: ‘Legend of Beams’.

I challenged Ella to take me, and my handbag, on a Christmas adventure.  The young, innovative adventurer imagined a placed for the three of us to meet. Ella created a multicultural, celebratory setting and she is delighted to share it with you.

 

Ella’s Christmas Gift of Creativity

Jennifer, Ella and Jessie were having a good ole chat online about our writings, great books we’ve read and even cultural travels, when suddenly the internet line began to crackle. Their laptop screens went dark, but they could still hear each other faintly…they also heard some sort of bells ringing subtly from inside the screen and a jolly deep laughter- on both ends of the line. Jennifer, stared at the screen in disbelief as a faint image of Jessie grew larger out of the blackness. Suddenly, Jessie popped right out of the computer- and joined us. They were all together now, staring at each other in disbelief. Completely befuddled, they looked around. They heard bells and the sound of jolly laughter. They had all been transported through cyberspace when Ella pressed ‘escape’ on the laptop.

Thistle bushes, vibrant green shamrock plants and Noche Buenas of red adorned the landscape. The land appeared to be the most complex and unique combination of two distinct cultures: Mexico and Wales. It was an exuberant pallet of color, music and culture they witnessed unfold in front of us and beyond. Silvery snowflakes fell continuously, leaving a glistening canopy over the entire landscape.

They heard a faint voice echo beyond the grand red and green plants.

Voice of Christmas: Welcome, Bienvenidos, Croeso! You three have arrived in the land of Nadolexmas. This is the land of celebration where we merge experiences and cultures- a blending so unique and filled with pure beauty. You were transported here because the three of you have an immense appreciation of culture that encourages others to feel it too.  We want you to spread good cheer, and Nadolexmas beautifully blends both your loved cultures :Wales and Mexico. Please, sit down for your first meal.

The voice continued…as if closer now- but still there was no one visible within their sight.

A table and three chairs magically emerged on the landscape. Lights enveloped enormous trees that now surrounded our beautiful table. The table was adorned with a ‘Tapete’, hand woven in every color imaginable. Jennifer and Ella recognized it as from their favorite region of Mexico: Oaxaca. The table was set with gold placemats.  Each place setting had a Christmas cracker and some chocolate dragons dressed in festive costumes.  Tangerines and chocolate coins were also spread generously on the table and many plates of scrumptious plates began to appear.  Feeling grateful for this feast before us, Jessie reached for the plate of laverbread with cockles and bacon. She must have been thinking of  a Welsh breakfast.

Ella and Jennifer looked a little dubious at the green laverbread, but always willing to try new things- they placed some on their plates.  Jessie tried to think of something served by her Spanish sister-in-law then presented some additional prawns, with the shells on, cooked in garlic and chorizo. She was thrilled with the scrumptious holiday dishes she’d dreamt into reality, but was still looking for the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Ella BEAMED with joy and closed her eyes then, thinking of her favorite dishes during Navidad (Christmas) in Mexico. A simple few of her favorites came dancing through the air to the tune of ‘Feliz Navidad’. First was Ponche, filled with bubbly sweet fruits. Then, came Chiles Rellenos filled with rice, meat and cilantro. As the dishes gently settled themselves onto the table, Ella reached immediately across the table for a chocolate dragon.

Ella: Mama look! It’s Beams! It is the dragon in my story.

Jennifer: Ella it sure does look like Beams, but you are forgetting your table manners and also- you know we save the dessert for after the main dishes.

Ella: But Mama, it’s the holiday and a special time with Jess. I’m only going to eat just this one now- in honor of Beams. And I’d like to try some Welsh cakes.

Mama: Well, since there definitely doesn’t appear to be a land where rules apply… I suppose just the one Beams Chocolate can’t hurt.

Ella: Jessie, I think the prawns are my favorite. I didn’t know the Welsh loved Chorizo too. We have that in common! Please…you need to try Los Tamales de maíz, fresa y canela now (corn tamales with strawberries and cinnamon).

Jessie: You bet, Ella! I can’t wait. I love how they’ve been prepared inside of the corn husks and wrapped as if they are a gift. Just beautiful.

Jennifer and Ella: ¡Feliz Navidad Jessie!

Jennifer and Jessie raised their glasses to toast this most magical celebration with Sparkling Pear Juice. Jessie smiled.

Jessie: Nadolig Llawin. Now, we have all wished each other a Merry Christmas.

Ella: We have some gifts to share Jessie and it seems there is no better time than now in this special place. It just feels so Christmas-like here.

Jessie: I agree sweet Ella. Might I ask you to open mine to you- first? You know the gifts we share are never material in nature, and I’m awfully excited to see what you think of yours.

Ella: That is really sweet of you to want me to open mine first Jess. I’m just as excited as you are, to find out what is inside!

Jessie: Great, let me grab it out of my Handbag sweetie. I can’t believe my HANDBAG somehow traveled here with us through Cyberspace- but who am I to question the beauty of this mysterious experience!

Ella examined her gift from Jess. Inside was a red velvet bag. She opened it up and bright light immediately illumined the space around Ella and spreads across her face as she smiled. They were the most vibrant sparkles in all shapes and colors.  Ella stared, speechless.

Jessie: I give you the gift of imagination, sweet Ella.

Ella hugged Jessie tightly.

Ella: ¡Gracias! Actually, I’d like to say, Diolch (thank you in Welsh)! I know this gift will help me tremendously.

Jennifer and Ella: We have something here for you now, Jess.

Jennifer and Ella handed Jess a bag of multi-hued golden silk. She looked at us smiling and then down at the bag in her hands.

Jessie: Oh, my goodness- this will go beautifully with my holiday handbag. It almost looks like pieces of iridescent Abalone! How in the world did you make these Ella and Jen?

Ella: Well, Jessie it’s the gift of continued growth in creativity. I think we had similar thoughts on sharing something with each other that we’d always be able to keep with us. You probably won’t be able to guess what these are- that give you the continued growth in your amazing creativity so let me tell you. . .

They are the scales from a most magical dragon. There’s only one of her kind and they can only be found in the Realm of Castelina, where this growing dragon, Beams lives. As she grows, so does her magic and her iridescent wings shed scales during the growth spurts. They will give you much happiness and encourage your creative side to continue to fly. Here, you can read my new novel: ‘Legend of Beams’.

As Ella spoke, the beautiful shiny scales started to rise up out of Jessie’s handbag.

 

Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com.

 

A book from another world in my handbag

It is great to challenge ourselves with new genres, and ‘We Other’ is a dark fairy thriller. According to reviewers, ‘We Other’ is a magical novel to inspire the imagination. ‘In the book you will meet faeries you would never want to meet on a dark night,’ explained, the author, Sue Bentley. Intrigued, I asked Sue to address her readers, and tell us more about her novel.

 

 

Dear Readers – I am delighted to present We Other.

In this extract we meet Jess Morgan, a loner who doesn’t fit in and has few friends. Her life is about to change in ways she could never have imagined.

I chose this extract to introduce Jess, whose story this is. She’s feisty, difficult and street-wise – with good reason – but she’s vulnerable too, with a good heart.

The reader should be tempted to place my book in their handbag because it’s a complex and rewarding read, with many twists and turns which will keep them guessing.  I’m rooting for Jess and I hope you will too, once you get to know her.

Best wishes and I hope you enjoy the extract. Happy reading!

Sue Bentley

 

Words from the book…

And then looking through the opening into the final gallery, Jess caught sight of a large painting hanging by itself. Her breath quickening with excitement, she walked rapidly towards it.

There was a small crowd of people in front of the painting. She could only glimpse details through the shifting bodies, but she knew it was the one. She hung back, wanting to prolong the moment when she stood face to face with that figure wrought from shadows. Leave me alone with it, she thought. Go away. All of you.

Oblivious to the air around her tingling and shimmering, in a way that was beginning to feel familiar, she stared at the painting. As she moved forward, time seemed to shift into slow motion. A slew of sound echoed hollow and discordant in her ears as every person standing in front of the painting turned in a single movement. They looked at Jess with glazed eyes, before drifting sideways in a single body, moving as if in the steps of some tightly choreographed dance, and melting from the gallery.

Everyone else had somehow left too, she realised. She could see people strolling around the other galleries through the archways. But here, she was alone. In the sudden stillness Jess caught her breath. The painting was revealed to her in its entirety. Or as she thought oddly, it revealed itself to her.

She was not disappointed by what she saw.

More about the book…

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic. When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of her worries. Drawn into a new world of rich darkness, she finds herself torn between love, family and a growing sense of a new, powerful identity.

Strapline for the book – Fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

What the reviewers say…

‘Darkly delicious. Lights the blue touch paper and runs away.’ Peter J Goodchild

‘Absolutely magical. Compelling story and gorgeous writing.’  Freda Warrington – award winning author of 21 fantasy novels

‘Give yourself time. You won’t want to put this down.’ Ruth Webster

More about Sue…

Sue Bentley is fascinated by English Folklore, the extraordinary in the everyday and the darkness that hovers at the edges of the light.

Sue says…

Louis Armstrong says it best – ‘the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night’ You can’t have one without the other.

I always enjoyed ‘real’ fairy tales – not the sanitised Disney versions. For example, in some versions of Cinderella – the ugly sisters snip off their toes to be able to cram their feet into the glass slipper.

I was that kid in a class of pink tutus who was dressed as a vampire bat. I never wanted high-heeled dancing shoes, I wanted sturdy boots to go tramping around forests looking for the shapes of goblins in the trees.

As for characters – Goody, Goody is all very well, but it can get boring. We all love the ‘bad’ characters who do doubtful things – they’re much more fun to write about.

I am intrigued by Sue’s exploration of the ‘darkness that hovers on the edge of light’ and wonder what she presents to the reader in ‘We Other’.  The extract evoked my imagination, and I wanted to know why Jess ‘wasn’t disappointed’.  This novel sounds as if it will challenge the boundaries of the imagination, as it has done for the reviewers.

 

Please see all my extracts at Book Extracts and my blog at jessiecahalin.com.