Stars and Soul [endorsements & cover reveal wrap]

Today’s post is basically just a giant celebration. Because on Saturday, the cover for Stars and Soul started exploding across the internet. And when I say exploding, I mean e.x.p.lo.d.i.n.g. My phone would not stop buzzing.

Alea Harper designed a stunning cover, but I was honestly afraid it would be just me and like my dad (who has no social media) sharing the cover and inviting people to preorder.

Alea totally deserves to have this piece of art blasted across all the social medias, but I was worried people would be too uninterested/scared away because this I’m young, small potatoes, and self-publishing this little collection.

*cue my socks getting blown off and then blown up*


// What Is Stars and Soul? //

In case you’re new here, Stars and Soul is a collection of four flash fictions (stories under 1000 words) set in a sci-fi world with aliens and alliances. It is set to release November 20, 2018. Right now, the Kindle copy is available for pre-order, but there will also be a tiny paperback available on the release day.

Here is the official blurb: A scheming imperial family. A bedraggled starship captain. A runaway artificial intelligence. A dying general. Four small stories of stars and soul.


// The Social Media Turnout //

There were way too many Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Instagram stories, and blog posts to keep track of over the course of the cover reveal day. Some of you never signed up for the reveal but joined on the day of, and you blessed me so much.

Thank you so much to Mom, Arielle, Katie Grace, Moya Tobey, Abigayle Claire, Amanda Hookham, Liv K. Fisher, Carrie-Anne Thomas, Kira Thomas, Bethany Jennings, Jaye L. Knight, Savannah Grace, Mary Weber (freaking. Mary. Weber), Katherine Massengill, Julian Daventry, Pam Halter, Ashley Townsend, Lydia B., Jenni Wojtowicz, Julia Anne, Kenzie, Elizabeth Koetsier, Elizabeth Hafferty, Brittany Valentine, Dominique Sprouse, Nadine Brandes (um, what?), Emileigh Latham and Stephanie Warner for leading the charge on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (I know there were more, but I literally couldn’t keep track of all the IG stories and Facebook shares.)

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some #bookstagram posts


// The Blog Posts //

S&S cover reveal graphic.jpgThis hilarious, gif-ful reveal from Savannah at Inspiring Writes (also, Savvy just got on Instagram and Youtube, so go give her some love!!).

This lovely blog post from Serethiel over at The Book Sprite.

Jaye L. Knight also shared the cover with a blog post!

Katherine Massengill (a fellow flash fiction enthusiast who has participated in the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash) also featured the cover on her blog!

Julian Daventry (another #flashficdash alum!) also put together a blog post for the reveal!


// A Few Endorsements //

I’ve received some very glowing endorsements, and so I’m going to share them here first and then let them trickle out over my Facebook and Instagram as November 20th approaches. :)

STARS AND SOUL COVERWhen I made my list of people to contact about endorsements, I comprised it of people who a) know sci-fi, b) know flash fiction, or c) have experience with both. The people who agreed to read took my breath away with their words of encouragement and endorsements.

>> “Rosalie Valentine’s Stars and Soul opens a window into a galaxy rife with intrigue and danger, a place home to disparate peoples striving to survive. A scheming empress-in-waiting — a weary captain of a malfunctioning starship — androids seeking refuge — a general facing laments — all bring the ‘soul’ promised by the title in memorable ways. A fun, thoughtful, quick read.” — Steve Rzasa, author of The Face of the Deep series

>> “Rosalie Valentine needs no more than 1,000 words to send your emotions stirring. Her flash fiction is an art of storytelling blended with the human senses—leaving you both wanting more and yet extremely satisfied when you finish. I could lose myself in her writing all day.” – Nadine Brandes, author of the Out of Time series, Fawkes, and Romanov

>> “Rosalie Valentine has crafted an intriguing universe of flesh and machine that expands with each story told. Stars and Soul is sci-fi with heart and endings that leave you wanting more!” – Just B. Jordan, author of Never to Live and To Ashes We Run

I have no words. Please excuse me while I go bury my face in a pillow and shed some many tears.


// The Necessary Details //

You can pre-order Stars and Soul on Amazon, and you can add it on Goodreads, if you like. It will release on November 20, 2018.

#starsandsoul #starsandsoulcollection

Thank you all for blessing me. <3 My heart is so happy.

With love,

Rosalie <3

p.s. – that binary code on the cover, tho. Alea read the stories and scrolled through my Pinterest board, and I was so happy when she put code on the cover. You’ll know why later if you read the third Stars and Soul story.

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A Love Letter to the Tales of Goldstone Wood [yeah, it’s a fangirl post]

I first heard about the Tales of Goldstone Wood while with my cousins eight years ago. Brittany, my eldest cousin, showed me a beautiful book she had picked up for just a few dollars at a little bookstore. It had one of the loveliest covers I had ever seen. It was titled Heartless, and it was written by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

It is the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, and it is my childhood. (Warning: this is a major nostalgic fangirl post with so many references that many won’t understand…. but I really don’t care. #sorrynotsoryy)

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I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, living off of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia for as long as I can remember, but The Tales of Goldstone Wood took that love to a new level.

I read Heartless three times before Veiled Rose was released (Heartless was published in 2010, and Veiled Rose came out in 2011…). I devoured Veiled Rose and then Moonblood, but whatever expectations I had for the series could not prepare me for what came next. Starflower and Dragonwitch completely outdid everything that had come before them.

The books just. kept. getting. better.

goldstone 1.jpgGoddess Tithe, the first novella, was released on the heels of Dragonwitch, taking breath away yet again. When the opportunity arose, I signed up for the cover reveal for Shadow Hand, completely delighted that I could participate.

Bits and pieces about Golden Daughter were dropped, then came the cover and the buzz about how long it was (584 packed pages). Then Draven’s Light, a huge “novella” fitting the hugeness of the series, was released. I cried while reading it. Repeatedly.

The depth and richness of everything in the Tales of Goldstone Wood is incomparable. There are many excellent modern fantasy novels, but the Tales of Goldstone Wood series towers over all of them. There are so many good fantasy stories out there, but The Tales of Goldstone Wood dominates on every level.

So much can be said about the world(s) captured in the series–the cultures and kingdoms and histories. The lordly sun and the lady moon. The glory and purity of the starry sky. The Faerie kings and queens with their three lives. The halls of the Merry People and the throne room of the goblin queen. Rivers and all their craftiness. The Dragon and his kiss. The Knights of Farthest Shore and the Lumil Eliasul. Much can also be said about the stories with all their complexity and twists and the threads that trace through them—the wild fun and the wild danger.

But the world would be only interesting and the stories would be only adventures if it weren’t for the characters. The characters are what make these books more than just stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the people that leaped off the page and commanded attention and affection, each one unique and so so so so real.

stengl 1I never much cared for the Chronicler or Leta—probably because I’m very partial to Alistair and didn’t like that they didn’t see or appreciate his greatness—but the Brothers Ashiun stole my heart, their story devastating me every time I read it. Somehow, I came to adore even the Flame at Night with all her fire, hatreds, lies, and brokenness.

Not many people loved Una, but she was dear to me even with all her selfish whining. Felix, that dastardly little fiend of brother, has never stopped making me laugh, and watching Leo grow from the boy-prince into manhood with much trial and error is still one of my favorite things.

I wasn’t a fan of Daylily and Foxbrush, but that’s probably because I’m very, very partial to Leo, Rose Red, and Una (it’s like a love pentagon).

Draven’s courage and Ita’s resolve will never not give me tears and chills. I haven’t met Sairu yet, but from what I’ve heard, I think I’ll like her. The Panther Master broke my heart, and I sorely miss Sun Eagle.

Imraldera, the sweet, brave Starflower; oh, how she taught me compassion. And words cannot express the place Eanrin has in my heart, the most cat-ish poet to ever grace the page, so fierce and noble and unexpected in every way.

For whatever reason, I stopped reading the Tales of Goldstone Wood a few years ago, but then Anne Elisabeth Stengl announced that she won’t be writing any more of them.

So I went back to my shelf and stared at the books, feeling strangely, deeply sad. Heartless, Starflower, and Dragonwitch are on my special Favorites of All Time shelf. Golden Daughter sits on my To Be Read shelves. The others are gathered together on their own shelf, and I decided it’s time to revisit all the beloved places and reacquaint myself with all the beloved people.

This time, I’m reading them in chronological order—the order they take place, not the order they were published. Starflower has already reclaimed its place in my heart, and I’m nearly finished with Dragonwitch, dying over Eanrin, Imraldera, Hri Sora, Etanun, Mouse, and Alistair all over again.

I know not everyone who reads Penprints will “get” this post, but it’s been a long time coming. The Tales of Goldstone Wood are a prime example of the power and beauty of stories. They are pure, beautiful, and everything stories should be.

It’s strange how they only get better the more I read them, how sad and happy they make me at the same time, how much I’ve learned from them about people and life and myself and God, how deeply they delight and compel at the same time.

What stories made up your childhood? Have you read any Tales of Goldstone Wood? Do you have a favorite?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – I may not post next week. We’ll see. If I do, should I post about hope when hope is gone or the importance of growing up.

P.P.S. – I realize that as a love letter, this should probably have been addressed to the series instead of just talking about the series, but I thought talking to a stack of books might be a little odd. So I figured I had better just talk about them as if they were real since that’s less weird. ;)

A Bookworm’s Guide to Removing Sticker Stickiness from Books [you’ve waited all your bookworm life for this post]

First of all, you’re welcome for this post.

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You know that awful sticker stickiness that is left on book covers when booksellers ignorantly slap a price sticker on the cover of a book?

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Yeah, that abomination stickiness.

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It can be safely removed very safely without causing any further harm (it’s quite safe) to your beloved book (it’s an incredibly safe process).

I learned this technique from my friend Amanda (yes, the same Amanda who showed me The Way of the Bullet Journal; as you have probably gathered, she’s pretty incredible). I will now teach you this magic.

You should probably take notes (actually, that would be silly because this post is going to be on the internet until the internet dies).

Let’s begin.

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Supplies.

  • A book with evil sticker stickiness in need of removing.
  • 2-3 paper towels.
  • Lemon essential oil (grapefruit or orange essential oil would probably work as substitutes for lemon, but I don’t know for sure)

The Process.

Step 1: Remove as much of the sticker as possible.

The more sticker you can remove by hand the less you’ll have to scrub, so really try to get it down to just the stickiness. Otherwise, the rubbing could be awhile.

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Step 2: Put 2-3 drops lemon essential oil on the paper towel.

You don’t want to put the essential oil directly onto the book; if you do, there will be unnecessary oil/greasiness on the book that you will have to buff out later.

Step 3: Rub remaining sticker/stickiness with the paper towel vigorously.

Depending on the toughness of the stickiness, you may need to take this operation to a table. Also, don’t scrub; be gentle with your book and firmly rub.

Step 4: Add 1-2 more drops of lemon oil to your towel as needed.

Step 5: Buff out the remaining oil on the cover with a fresh paper towel.

Step 6: Revel in the smoothness of your book.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6.

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Again, you’re welcome for this post.

Have you encountered the evil sticker stickiness? What have you used to rid your books of it?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – 1/20 time spent on this post actually writing it; 19/20 finding gifs. So love the gifs.

Children of the Forgotten Cover Reveal

*cue theme song*

It’s not a Monday *theme song playing* and I just posted yesterday *theme song continues* but I’ve got book news to share with all you lovely people.

*theme song ends*

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SO, my faithful followers (and all the rest of you who haven’t figured out how to unsubscribe yet), I’m here in your inbox on a Tuesday.

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Oops, er, uh, wrong gif.

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(though I think we all wish I had gotten us all popcorn)

Charles Franklin, a friend of mine, will be releasing his debut novel–Children of the Forgotten: Anistemi Book I–in August! And today, I have the pleasure of sharing the fantastic cover and blurb with you!


The Blurb:

In a post-apocalyptic world, most people by age thirty have succumbed to The Sickness, a mysterious deadly illness. But the Sickness is not the only enemy for Collin Mann’s city. Hordes of deranged killers live in the hills around it. With few trained protectors, the future of the little city looks bleak.

Collin, fifteen years old, buries those the Sickness consumes. Slight and awkward, he shuns warrior training, avoiding the example of his big brother and guardian.

When killers attack at the watering hole, he’s called to step forward and defend. Instead, he freezes.

He’s ashamed. His people need him to fight. Can he do it? Or would a clumsy person like himself make any difference in the battle for existence?


The Cover:

cotf cover.jpg


The Author:

charles-franklin headshot.jpgCharles was born and raised in Texas. From there, he joined the United States Army and has traveled the world. Along the way, he saw the most beautiful set of eyes he had ever seen. They belonged to a girl … and he married her right away. Twenty years later, they have three children and are finally headed back home to Texas for good.

Upon retiring from the Army after 23 years, Charles will continue to serve others as a teacher in the town he grew up in. When he’s not in the classroom, or spending time with his family, Charles writes stories about faith, love, hope, and adventure.

His debut novel, Children of the Forgotten: The Anistemi Book I, will release in August and he has already begun work on the second book in the trilogy. Charles is also writing an action thriller, and has begun outlining another series set in the Anistemi world.

You can find him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


AND, I have it on good authority that if you sign up for Charles’ newsletter, you’ll get a prequel story for Children of the Forgotten for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! So go check that out on his website.

Well, that’s all I got for today, kids!

What do you think of that swanky cover?? Do you read post-apocalyptic fiction? If not, do you think you might start?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – I also kind of will be receiving AN ARC FOR CHILDREN OF THE FORGOTTEN, so that means I’ll get to read it very, very, very soon. My little gremlin eyes are trained on my inbox, angsting for the ARC’s arrival.

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [the giant wrap-up post]

The time has come to wrap up the very first ever Penprints Flash Fiction Dash (refer back to this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about)!

There were 44 initial sign ups, 44 prompts went out, and 26 stories came back! My mind = so blown by how excited people got about this challenge and by the uniqueness of each story submitted.

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How this wrap-up works:

All the stories are linked to the prompts below, either via a PDF file or a blot post on the author’s blog.

The stories are divided into very broad genre generalizations (and if I didn’t know what genre to stick it in, it went in “other”), and the last two stories are separate from their genres because they were inspired by song prompts rather than picture prompts (I didn’t want them to get lost in all the pictures, so that’s why I put them at the end in their own little category).

Scroll through this post and click on the picture prompt(s) of the stories you want to read!

NOTE: I do not own any of the following pictures that were used as prompts, and I also don’t own either of the songs used as prompts.

Fantasy.

The Reeducation of Kylee Flintlock by Kat Vinson of Sparks of Ember.

"The Reeducation of Kylee Flintlock" by Kat Vinson

Impossible Love by Adaline Griffiths.

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Till the Wind Changes by A.K.R. Scott.

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Empty Image by Amanda Cox of Hope Perch.

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Painted with Light by Kathryn McConaughy of The Language of Writing.

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Under the Surface by Moya Tobey of An Existence Transcribed.

moya-tobey-prompt

White Winds by Emily Jayne.

emily-jayne-prompt

The Confession by Rachel Leroy.

rachel-leroy-prompt

Paper Boat by Melinda Wagner.

melinda-wagner-prompt

Ellusa by Katherine Massengill.

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The Dragon in the Mini by Chelsea Hindle.

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Science Fiction.

Strange by Evan Hildreth of Plot Hole Fragments.

evan-hildreth-prompt

Poisoned Time by Kyle Shultz.

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So Close by Leah E.

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Contemporary.

The Backup by Heather Tabata.

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Clouds by Alina Kanaski of Ordinary Adventures.

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Bird-watching and Other Human Pursuits by Jebraun Clifford.

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Ali Green by Lindsey Tessa of Story Haven.

Other.

Away by Michael Blaylock of Fencing With Ink.

"Away" by Michael Blaylock

Underwater Dance by Nicole Fritz.

nicole-fritz-prompt

Hoofbeats in My Heart by Sarah Rodecker.

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A Delusional Path by Annalia Fiore.

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Historical.

Anika Rojkkers’ Experience of 1953 by Laura Danner of Flowers in My Basket.

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Stories from a song prompt.

Collapse of the General Eternal by Just B. Jordan written from “Ghost of a King” by The Grey Havens.

Birdie by Emily Kazmierski written from “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdie.

The giveaway winner!

All the writers who sent a story back to me (even if they didn’t want it included in this post) were entered to win The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction as well as a one year subscription to the Splickety Publishing Group magazine of their choice!

So I picked a name out of a hat (okay, I just typed all the names into a random name picker, but that’s just boring sounding), and I need a drumroll people.

*whispers* Are you giving me a drumroll?

The giveaway winner is Laura Danner, author of Anika Rojkker’s Experience of 1953! Woohoo!! Congrats, Laura! I’ll be shooting you an email in a day or two!

And congratulations and thank you to each of you lovely people who signed up and wrote stories!

So, which story was your favorite? Have you fallen in love with flash fiction yet??

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – yes, yes, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I encountered major technical difficulties. Thus, this amazing wrap-up post was delayed a day. :( Trust me, there was much growling and groaning and gnashing of teeth as I tried to trouble shoot the technical hiccups. Updates on delays and post sneak peaks and such can be found on my Facebook page, just so ya know.
P.P.S. – writers who participated in this challenge, keep a weather eye on your inboxes as a debrief email should be arriving within the next couple of days.