I’m Not Doing NaNo This Year

Hello, gentle readers! And hello to those more rambunctious readers as well.

Yes, you read that title correctly. I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year. At least, not in the traditional sense. Honestly, this wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I know I’m making the right decision for me at this time.

So, let me get into it.

(Note for anyone here who doesn’t know what I’m talking about when I say NaNo: National Novel Writing Month is a month-long challenge during the month of November, during which writers endeavor to write a complete novel or 50,000 words of a novel.)

Why No NaNo?

A lot of it has to do with how heavily political and liberal the NaNoWriMo community has become.

NaNo began as a great little corner of the world for writers who wanted to write. And it was lovely and perfect. I first discovered NaNo in 2012 and I ended up doing two different NaNo challenges that year, one in April with my story Children of a Legend, and then an official one in November with the same book. I participated again in 2013 with my Cinderella retelling, Secret of the Hazel Tree. Unfortunately, NaNo and college don’t mix all that well so I took a break from 2014-2017 to use November for school. In 2018, after graduation, I was back at it with a three-year run working on a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, The Twelfth Kingdom, which (even though it boasts far more than 150K words) is not yet completed. Last year, I veered from tradition and wrote two books, some of the next installments of my Twist Tale series.

So, apparently I have a history with NaNo. It’s become very special to me, as not only as I’ve used the challenge to get a lot of writing done, but I’ve made some really good friends through the NaNo community.

But now NaNo, like many other groups and parties in our country today, is using their platform to push their own agendas. It’s not just about writing anymore. The community has grown steadily more liberal, and the NaNo brand has become tainted by things that aren’t even connected to writing. It’s both sad and disgusting that people are using everything they can to force their opinions on other people. I’m no longer comfortable aligning myself with the NaNoWriMo brand if they’re going to promote things that I believe are sinful.

Now, I’m not sure yet if I’m going to quit the official NaNo completely for every year to come, but for this year, this is the right decision for me.

I also have an extremely personal reason for not wanting to do NaNo this year. Because for the first time in nine years, I am getting to spend Thanksgiving with my family. As much as I love writing, I don’t want to be tucked away at my computer when I could be catching up and enjoying the holiday with my family.

Which segways into another point: NaNo comes at the worst of times, doesn’t it? I mean, we’re always busy, but November always seems like it is busier than it ought to be with Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas season. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I feel that I barely take the time to enjoy Thanksgiving during NaNo because I’m so paranoid about my writing and hitting that elusive 50K. And then after November 30th, I fall into December absolutely exhausted and find myself neck deep in Christmas and I’m not ready for it. I’d like to enjoy my holidays this year, if I can. Especially since this year they promise to be quite busy and packed with family.

So No Writing?

Au contraire, my good friends. I am still writing. I haven’t done so many 50K word months that I’m ready to just sign it off completely. Besides, I’ve always been enough of a NaNo rebel that it’s not unthinkable for me to do something somewhat out of the ordinary.

Banner stolen from Christine’s site here.

One of my very beloved friends, Christine, is hosting a new kind of writing challenge, basically NaNo without the sting of the brand. It’s essentially the same rules as the original NaNo (or a Camp NaNo, if you will) in which writers endeavor to write. And the dates are changed. It’s amazing. Instead of writing all November long and suffocating the holidays with words, Christine’s challenge — now lovingly called the Fall Fic Frenzy — begins on October 15th and runs until November 15th. SO YOU GET YOUR HOLIDAYS FREE. *cue Yzma’s voice* It’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I tell you! You can read all about in her post here.

What’s the Plan?

I am returning to Operation Muttonchops, or my Twist Tale series. It’s my hope to complete the challenge in 30 days (so if you do the math, that ends on November 13th) with the typical 50K words, but split between the next two books of the Once Upon a Twist Tales. Last year, I penned books five and seven, and this year my plan is to write books six and eight. I’ve put some extra prep into planning a bit more of my stories this year, so hopefully we won’t run into too many issues with characters not wanting to cooperate like last year.

But that’s the fun of writing, isn’t it?

I’m excited about this new challenge, and I’m looking forward to diving headfirst into my story on October 15th as part of the Fall Fic Frenzy. And, if all goes according to plan, that may leave me with some free time for other THINGS. You may want to stay tuned…

Anyone else out there participating in the Fall Fic Frenzy? Anyone doing the official NaNo? Let me know!

God bless!


The Truth About A Bit of Gold

Hello, all!

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted — I realize that and I’m very sorry. Still working on balancing all the online and writing stuff with three kids.

Anywho, it was my very fond intention that A Bit of Gold would be released by the end of May. *crickets* And it’s now (basically) the end of May. And the book isn’t anywhere near ready to come out. One, because I’ve not had a lot of time to work on it like I would want. And two… well, because I hit a snag while editing.

You see, A Bit of Gold was the very first book that I wrote from the Twist Tales series while doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I love pantsing my NaNo stories, and it always ends up super complicated and wordy and delicious. ABoG isn’t supposed to be super wordy, and that’s where my first problem lies. I am desperately trying to keep these books somewhat in the category of similar length, so I have to be very careful about how much I’m stuffing into this book word-count-wise.

When I finished writing the first draft during NaNo, I liked the book well enough. I was also busy jumping straight into writing book seven of the series, so I didn’t take the time to properly chew over the completed draft. And I kinda regret that. Because as I’ve been editing, the one thing that keeps popping into my head is: “It’s just good enough.”


I don’t want my book to just be good enough. I settled for good enough with The Rose and the Balloon, and I regret that. I would love to go back and re-edit that first book — make it really shine like it’s supposed to. Someday, I might even do that. But I have that chance to shine up A Bit of Gold, and make it really sparkle. I’m going to take that chance. Seth Stendahl deserves a lot better than this first draft I’ve got.

This is something that I’ve been slowly learning with self-publishing. Since I have the ability to make my own deadlines, I’m not tied down by having things be just good enough. I can take that extra time to polish my work and make sure it’s the best it can be. I rushed with The Rose and the Balloon, and although that story holds a very dear place in my heart, I think you can tell that I rushed it. I don’t have to publish a book just to publish a book. If I’m going to share my writing with people, and share these characters that I love so much, I want it to be better than good enough.

I’m not going to settle. I don’t want to make my readers settle.

It’ll be quite a bit of rewriting on my part, as I’ve realized I need to ditch one subplot in favor of another, but it’ll be worth it. To be honest, I’m cutting out a character altogether so that can focus on a minor character who truly needs that extra spotlight. Not because he or she deserves it in any particular way, but because that subplot will make the book. And — if I play it properly — segue perfectly into book six. Warning: I may be working on another epilogue. *dramatic music*

So, A Bit of Gold won’t be available as soon as I was hoping. I am sorry for that, but I’m excited about taking the time to polish this tale properly. I will try to keep you all updated on my rewriting/editing process and when you can mark your calendars for the book’s eventual release.

God bless!

A Bit of Gold Snippets

Ever since I announced Operation Muttonchops as my 2021 NaNo project, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when I could actually share snippets of it. Operation Muttonchops, of course, being working on the Twist Tales, specifically finishing the first draft of A Bit of Gold: A Rumpelstiltskin Story.

Well, folks, the first draft is finished. But before I jump into all the editing, I wanted to share a few snippets to give everyone a better idea of what to expect from the finished product. Honestly, I feel more pressure editing and finalizing this book more than any other book in the Twist Tales thus far. Seth Stendahl is finally getting his own story, and he really has become the fan favorite. I want to make sure I do him justice.

But all of that aside, I know you want snippets. So, here you go. All out of context.



When Seth Stendahl directed his horse down the familiar path to his childhood home, a swarm of unexpected emotions settled upon him. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go home; his mother, of course, would be thrilled to see him and consequently spoil him. His sisters were the wild card – if any of them were actually home now. Some might be happy to see him, while others might be temperamental or put thistles in his bed. One never could tell with sisters, and poor Seth was blessed with six of them.


“Well, well, well, my beauties, what did you wrangle up today?”

Seth loosed a growl of his own. I should have known. “Bianka, what in the name of the blessed tongue do you mean by this?”

His second eldest sister stepped out of the brush by the side of the road with a grin on her face. “Welcome home, little brother. Mother wasn’t expecting you for another two weeks.”

“So, you set your horrible dogs on me?”

She frowned at him. “Don’t say that about my beauties.”

Dearie flicked her tail at a fly, and one of the beasts on the road snarled. Dearie skipped backwards in a sudden panic, and Seth fought to still her once more.

Bianka smiled at the dog. “Good job, Muttonchops.”

Seth wrinkled his nose. “Muttonchops? What kind of name is that?”

Her eyebrows rose. “You’re hardly in a position to judge names, when Dalvira told us all that you called a girl Rapunzel.”


“So, how’s your leg doing? No longer broken? Everything mending well?”

Seth’s hand automatically fell to his thigh. “It still pains me once in a while, but it’s fully mended.” At his mother’s raised eyebrow, he added, “I stopped a few months ago and let a doctor examine it. He gave me a written report of health if you wanted to see it.”

“A Trothen doctor?” Michaela asked. At his nod, she beamed. “Good. No, I won’t need to see it.”

Dalv coughed. “Rohesian doctors are just as good as ours, Mother.”

“Oh, I know that. I’d trust a Rohesian doctor. I just don’t trust their twisted tongue; one of their doctors might say all manner of things and we’d never understand a bit of it.”

Dalv licked her lips and switched to the Rohesian language. “I would understand him perfectly.”

Michaela glared at her. “Just because you’re the one Trothen to master it doesn’t mean you have to show it off.”


“I’ll get you settled in our guest room, Balzer, and Seth, why don’t you come back in an hour or so to get better acquainted?” Michaela neatly steered Balzer towards the door, not even looking to see if Seth acknowledged her orders. “Rellstun, it’s always a pleasure to see you. Come stop by and take dinner with us sometime. I always have too much, and don’t I know it? That’s what comes of having busy daughters, I suppose. You still like the honeyed ham, yes?”

The words followed her out the door, and Seth was certain she was still talking just as fast as she moved down the street with Balzer.

Rellstun chuckled in the sudden silence. “I always wonder if your mother’s overly trusting nature will get her into trouble one day, what with adopting every lost soul she finds in this town. But then I remember who her daughters are. If the dogs don’t eat him alive, he’ll get his daylights knocked out of him by one of the girls.”


Bianka flashed her hands, and the dogs growled. “I have a plan. Let Muttonchops rip him to shreds.”

But Michaela shook her head. “Of course not. Try again.”

“I can let Lacedleg destroy him,” Bianka retorted. “I’m not particular to which dog rips his throat out.”


God bless!

Operation Muttonchops Reveal

Happy New Year, folks!

Yes, I realize it is already February, but this is the first official blog post of 2022 for me. I’ve really missed a lot. My main computer decided to crash on me in the middle of National Novel Writing Month, and though my amazing husband was able to save my writing, I haven’t had internet access on that device since then. That has made writing blog posts difficult, and I am just now getting around to figuring out how to access my blog from my phone. And basically do all the things from my phone. Yay for tech. *blows raspberry* Lord willing, we will have my computer repaired and internet savvy soon.

Anyway, now that it is way past November and the infamous NaNoWriMo, I am at long last coming on to tell you all about what it was that I wrote. I didn’t officially announce my project since I was trying to keep it a secret from family members so I could surprise them with it for Christmas. (And it worked. I was so happy.)

Behold. Operation Muttonchops.

How many of you guessed my secret project? Did you figure I would go back to the Twist Tales for NaNo? Pat yourselves on the back.

Muttonchops was the code name for working on and finishing not only A Bit of Gold, but also another one of the Twist Tales. The name “Muttonchops” I actually pulled straight from the original Rumpelstiltskin tale, as one of the names the queen guesses for ‘ole Rumpel is Muttonchops. Along with Lacedleg and Ribsofbeef. I really have no idea where she came up with those names, but Muttonchops worked well for me as a secret project name. And it is just a lot of fun to say. Try it. Muttonchops. *grins*

My original plan for NaNo 2021 was to finish the first draft of ABoG, and then with the remaining 25,000 (or so) words write book #6. As usual, things did not go according to plan. I completed the first draft of ABoG, but I only got about a chapter into book #6 before I abandoned it. NaNo is the time to go fast and pants the story and live life on the edge, and I couldn’t do that with book #6. For the simple fact that I didn’t know the story yet. Although I love pantsing when I write, I still need to chew on a story for a bit before I can write it — especially if that story has a word limit. I couldn’t chew on the story and win NaNo at the same time. So, book #6 hit the back burner.

And instead, I worked on book #7. Or #8. I’m not entirely certin where it’ll fall. But this is one that I’ve been excited to write for almost two years now, so I’ve done a lot of chewing. And it is a retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, so that was super exciting.

No, you’re not allowed to know about that one yet. Besides, the 20K+ words I put onto it didn’t complete the story. Still have a chapter or two to write.

But the very exciting part of this post is to say that A Bit of Gold has been drafted and I am looking forward to editing very soon! I am excited about this Rumpelstiltskin retelling, and I am hopeful for a release in the next few (or more) months!

Stay tuned for updates and snippets!

God bless!

The Silmaril Awards ~ Come Vote for Us!

There. That’s enough. Let’s go.

Nicolas, my inspid brother, that is NOT enough. You need to write a full post after you do a title for one.

But the title has all the information the readers need.

Not really.

Fine. Hello, world! I’m Prince Nicolas!

And I’m the better twin, Princess Nicoline.

Better at being ugly, maybe. Ow!

You deserved that. Anyway, dear readers, some of you may know –

And some of you may NOT know –

That the Silmaril Awards are upon us once again. These Tolkien-inspired awards are given out every year to celebrate everyone’s favorite fantasy characters, whether they be heroes or villains, dragons or henchmen…

Or imps like me.

I cannot disagree with that.

And Nicoline and I have been nominated for Most Mischievous Imp for the second time in these awards! I think we deserve that medal, so you should really go check out THIS LINK and vote for us!

You could say “please,” Nicolas.


But if you don’t want to vote for the mischievous and idiotic Prince Nicolas, I understand completely.


But since Kiri’s books are all fantasy, all of the characters in Once Upon a Twist Tales are eligible to be nominated for these awards.

Really? I forgot about those other categories. I’m gonna vote for Samson.

Felix’s horse? Why?

Because if anyone is a more mischievous imp than I am, it’s Samson.

I still think you should have been nominated for Strangest Character. Anyway, please, readers, consider voting for us and possibly nominating others from our books. There are only a few days left to nominate and second your favorite characters.

And may the best imp win. All right, that’s enough. Now, let’s go.

Giveaway Winners & Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Happy Friday, readers! And we’re officially at the last day of this blog tour. My stars, this week went by quickly!

I did want to take a moment to thank everyone who was a part of the blog tour, volunteered to be on the advance reader team, shared in the cover reveal, and generally promoted my book in so many ways. There’s only so much I can do by myself as an author (writing the book is the big part), but the promotion of so many friends and fans really means a lot. And it’s by your reviews and words that I’m able to reach readers I may not have reached before.

So, thank you. Thank you. Thank YOU. Your support means the world.

Well, folks, we have a giveaway to wrap up. I promised two lucky winners their choice of an ebook from my series, and now it’s time to reveal the names.

Congratulations, Ribbon Ash and Elizabeth D. Marie!

Please email me as soon as possible at liannetaimenlore(at)gmail(dot)com with the ebook title you’d like to receive! And yes, you can choose any of the four books published in Once Upon a Twist Tales. Click HERE to learn more about the books.

Don’t forget that the blog tour is still going on today — so there are still some fun posts to read before we end this party!

Here’s the full schedule of posts from this week, including today’s.

April 5th

April 6th

April 7th

April 8th

April 9th 

(I will update with direct links once the posts are live.)

Don’t forget to snag your copy of The Bear of Rosethorn Ring! It’ll be the perfect read for this weekend. *winks*

Did anyone catch the information I hid in a certain guest post and a page on this blog? I’ve released the title and fairytale I’ll be retelling for book five of this series… along with the hero it’s going to feature. *grins* Comment below when you find it!

God bless!

The Bear of Rosethorn Ring: The First Chapter

How is it Thursday already? This week has flown by! I can’t believe this blog tour and party is just about over. The Bear of Rosethorn Ring has already been out for two days.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s still today AND tomorrow to celebrate, and there’s still time to enter my GIVEAWAY for a chance to win one of my books. Additionally, The Rose and the Balloon will be FREE through tomorrow, so if you’ve not yet snagged your ebook yet you have until midnight tomorrow!

After two packed games (the SWRR Fairytale Tag and the SWRR Mad Libs — which I hope you played!), I think it’s time to slow things down a bit and do a little reading. After all, this is a book party, and where would we be if we didn’t have a bit of book to read? Therefore, I’m sharing the first chapter of The Bear of Rosethorn Ring here. If you’ve not read it yet, I do hope this will pique your interest.



Chapter One

“Did you hear that?”

Marita tugged her horse to a stop. Nutbrown, as boring and complacent as her name, obeyed.

“Hear what?”

Diamond shifted behind her. “I thought I heard someone yelling.”

Marita pushed up on her heels to get a better view over the horse’s head. Beautiful, green forest stretched out before them, with nothing out of the ordinary that she could see. “I think we’re the only ones out here.”

Diamond sighed. “I’m blind, not deaf, but I think my ears are playing tricks on me.”

Marita reached back to squeeze her sister’s hand and found it up by her face. She must be adjusting the bandage again. Marita was still getting used to the thick, white bandage wrapped around Diamond’s eyes. Not that she’d ever actually seen Diamond before the accident, but she should know what her face looked like since the two girls were identical twins.

“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Your eyesight will be back soon. Seth said it just may take a while.” 

“He still can’t forgive himself that it was his chemical that burned my eyes.” 

Marita huffed. “It wasn’t his fault our aunt was a witch. She’s the one to blame.”

Diamond’s voice softened. “She wasn’t a witch.” 

“Well, she tried to kill me and lied to you your whole life. What else defines a witch?” 

“Marita, please. I don’t want to talk about it.” 

Marita couldn’t agree more. It still boiled her blood to think of all the hurt Nellea Kwan had caused their family. Of course, our father is as much to blame. If he hadn’t gambled Diamond away, if he hadn’t lied, if he hadn’t gone behind my back… There were too many ifs to think about. “Well, we should…” She stopped. “That was definitely a cry for help.”

“Yes.” Diamond’s fingers fearfully tightened around Marita’s waist. “A man?” 

Marita grinned. “Don’t worry. He might be another traveler like Seth in need of your care.” 

She kicked her heels into Nutbrown’s flanks and urged the placid horse forward. It wasn’t fair to keep teasing Diamond about Seth Stendahl, but her twin definitely had feelings for the Trothen alchemist, and it was too much fun to remind her of them. Marita knew how to read love on a person ever since she’d found it with Felix Barath, who was – in her mind – the perfect nobleman.

The call became clearer the further they traveled. We’re going in the right direction. 

Diamond pressed herself closer to Marita. “Can you see anyone?”

“Not yet. It sounds like the call’s coming from the stream.” 

All too soon, they were coming out of the thick forest, and any concern Marita may have initially felt dissolved into giggles when she saw who’d been crying for help.

A lone gentleman, obviously wealthy by the state of his clothing, was leaning over into the berry bushes by the stream. His thick, white beard was very fine and would have hung to his knees except that it was hopelessly tangled in the thorny bushes. The man was tugging and pulling at the beard, wrenching it this way and that. To Marita’s eye, however, his vehement efforts only made the tangled mess worse. 

“Help me!” he shrieked when he saw the sisters. “Don’t just sit there gawking! I’m stuck!” 

Diamond’s hold on Marita tightened. “What’s wrong?”

“Stay with Nutbrown,” Marita told Diamond. “He’s just an old man who got his beard tangled in the thorns.” She swung herself off the horse’s back and approached the yelling stranger. “How did you get stuck in the first place?”

The man stopped tugging at his beard long enough to glare at her. “Odious girl! What does it matter, except that you must get me free?” He emphasized his words with a few more hard yanks. 

Marita raised an eyebrow at him. Clearly, this gentleman doesn’t have the same noble manners that Felix has. “I must?” 

“Well, you’re here, aren’t you?” the man returned hotly. “You have the gall to laugh at my misery. Your parents should have raised you to respect members of nobility. Especially when they’re older than you and clearly in need of desperate assistance.” 

Marita’s jaw firmed at his attitude, and she deliberately drove her teeth into her tongue to keep from saying anything. She prided herself on not having a quick temper, but she’d never met anyone like this bearded annoyance. 

“Do you need help?” Diamond called behind her. 

“No,” Marita said quickly. “I can do it.” She reached for the beard. How can I get this all off?

“Hurry up, you goose!” the man shrieked. “With all the time you’ve already wasted, I could have had someone else rescue me.” 

She couldn’t hold the retort back. “Would you prefer someone else?” 

“Just get me free! Whatever you have to do, do it now!” 

So, Marita did it now. She snatched off the knife she kept belted to her waist and, grabbing the entangled beard, cut it from the offending bushes. 

The man fell back with the loudest screech yet. “No! No, no, no!” 

Marita thrust her knife back into her belt. “What’s wrong?” 

“You cut my beard, you vile thing! How dare you?” 

“Sir, your beard was not going to be untangled quickly. The only way to free you was to cut it!”

“Do you know how long it took me to grow my beard to this glorious length?” he fumed, his face reddening beneath the white hairs of his beard. “Years! How can I return to my people without everyone laughing at me? Bad luck to you, wretched female! Bad luck to you both!” And with one last fiery glare, he turned and stomped away. 

Marita didn’t notice her mouth was hanging open until he was out of sight. “Well!” The word came out in a gust of unbelief. “Have you ever met someone so miserable in all your life? He didn’t even say thank you.” 

“Was it a bad cut?” Diamond asked, cocking her head. 

Marita tried not to look at the ragged edge of her sister’s hair. Diamond would know about haircuts, considering until just recently she’d had beautiful hair that hung down to her ankles.

“I barely cut anything off,” she grumbled, stomping back to Nutbrown’s side. “The old oaf was just over-reacting. No one will ever notice that he’s missing a few inches off the end.” She mounted the horse with a huff, trying to put the old man out of her head. “Let’s go home.”

The journey out of the forest seemed longer than the journey into it. When they’d ridden under the trees that morning en route to fetch Diamond’s medical books from her former cavern home, the day had been bright and fresh. Now, Marita just wanted to get back and forget whoever that man was.

Diamond was quiet, as usual, and Marita knew without looking that she was deep in thought. What her twin was thinking, she didn’t know, as she’d yet to learn to fully read Diamond. Plus, we’ve only known each other for less than a week, and it wasn’t her fault we were separated at birth. Maybe one day she’ll open up and talk to me more.

A rather handsome nobleman was waiting for them at the palace gates. Even if Marita hadn’t recognized his face, the lack of shoes gracing his stockinged feet was enough to identify him. A frisky, white stallion stood at his side, eyeing the riding cap on his master’s head mischievously.

Marita leaped off Nutbrown’s back with a grin. “Felix! You’re here!”

Felix returned her hug warmly. “Marita, darling, I missed you so much.”

The white stallion nuzzled her cheek, as if to admonish her for not acknowledging him.

“Yes, yes, Samson. I missed you, too.”

Marita stepped back and saw the grim look on her fiancé’s face. “What’s wrong? We weren’t expecting you back for another few weeks. You know you forgot your shoes again, right?”

Felix avoided a friendly headbutt from Samson. “I came early. And no, I didn’t forget my shoes. The new riding boots Father ordered for me were too tight so I ditched them. Much better this way. But we’ve got a problem.”

Marita frowned. “What problem? Is your mother calling off the wedding?”

“What? No.” Felix shook his head. “Here, Diamond, allow me.” He reached up and carefully helped the girl out of the saddle.

Once her feet were on solid ground, Diamond gave him a small smile. “Thank you.”

Felix turned back to Marita. “Mother’s going crazy with all the planning. She can’t wait to have you join the family. You know how much she’s always wanted a daughter.”

“Then what is it?” Marita folded her arms over her chest.

He looked reluctant to tell her the news. “Your father flew off in one of my aunt’s balloons. He’s been gone for nearly two hours.”


“We’re wasting time,” Felix argued. “Every minute he gets further away, and it’ll be only harder to find him.”

“Let him go,” Marita said. “I don’t see any point in going after him.”

“But he’s your father!” Felix protested. “If we don’t go after him, who will?”

Even though she couldn’t see her twin, Diamond could hear the huff of exasperation Marita released.

She didn’t understand it. How can she not want to go after him? Why does she have to be so stubborn? The discussion had only lasted a few minutes thus far, but already she felt it was pointless. Her sister’s mind was made up.

Merryweather, Marita’s dog, whimpered, his nails clicking against the stone floor as he approached. He hated whenever things got tense. Diamond had the sudden urge to call him over, as the dog had adopted her almost as quickly as she’d fallen in love with him. Burying her face into his soft fur sounded like a wonderful idea, but she didn’t want him to pull away from Marita. If that’s actually where he is right now. She was still adjusting to placing things in her mind by the sound of them alone.

Silence fell over the room. Diamond shifted in her chair, and her fingers tightened on the wooden arms. She forced herself not to adjust the bandage over her eyes for the fiftieth time that day. I wish I could see. Maybe having her eyesight back would grant her a portion of understanding her sister.  

Felix finally broke the quiet. “I love you, dear, but I believe you’re not thinking clearly.”

“Why?” Marita almost yelped. “You and I both know he’s not worth going after. He left on his own, and, if he wants to come back, let him come back on his own.”

“He’s had a rough past, yes, but I don’t think this is the time to give up on him.” 

“I’m through watching over him,” she replied. “I won’t do it anymore, Felix.”

He sighed. “I didn’t bail him out of trouble that one time just so you could give up on him now, Marita. I thought you forgave him?”

“That was before I knew what he’d done to Diamond.”

“Why now?” Diamond ventured aloud. She couldn’t bear to let the room fall silent once again. “Why would he leave us?” She swallowed a flash of fear. “Is it because of me?”

“Yes,” her sister responded, a touch of anger in her voice, “but not in the way that you think.”

“Marita? Did you speak with him?”

Diamond could hear the agitation in Felix’s voice. Did my sister speak to Father? It was still odd to call Lucas Kadlec that. After all, she’d only heard him called that blasted man for so many years by their aunt; she’d gone all those years thinking she’d never had a father that really loved her. Now, here was the chance to have that father, and he was gone. And in the few days I knew him, I couldn’t even see him. That hurt almost more than anything else.

“Marita?” Felix’s tone was accusatory.

“Yes, I spoke to him,” she finally said. “Does that make you happy?”

“What did you say?”

“He was babbling on about how he ruined our lives, how he didn’t deserve to have daughters like us, how his gambling made him an outcast. How Diamond and I would be happier if we’d never known him.”

Felix prompted her on. “And?”

“I just agreed with him.” Marita sounded guilty. There was a long stretch of uncomfortable silence, and then she hiccupped.

Is she crying? Diamond wanted to hug her sister, but she didn’t dare move from her chair when no one could help her maneuver around the furniture in the room.

Felix didn’t say anything, and Diamond tensed in the silence once again. Should I say something? She wished the two of them would come to a decision. For the last nineteen years of her life, she’d gotten used to Mother – no, Aunt Nellea – making the decisions for her and then telling her what to do. Taking care of Seth was perhaps the first independent decision Diamond had ever made. I just feel stuck waiting for someone to tell me what to do next.

Realization sunk in. I don’t need to have someone else make the decision for me, anymore. After all, she’d killed a bear, hadn’t she? I know what I want to do. What I need to do.

She pushed herself to her feet, keeping a hand on her chair. “I’m going after him.”

“Diamond?” Marita hiccupped again.

“I’m going after him,” she repeated. “Even though he may love his dice and coin more than his flesh and blood, he still deserves another chance.”

“I’ve given him several chances,” her sister muttered.

Diamond shook her head. “But this time it’s me giving him that chance. I’ve never been able to do that before, and I want to at least try.” She took a deep breath. “Family is important. I’m not ready to give up on him.”

Marita hiccupped several more times before she spoke again. “I still don’t think he’s worth going after.”

“But you’ll go with me?” Diamond persisted.

There was another long and agonizing silence. “For you, Diamond, I’ll go. But only for you.”

“And a fat chance of a golden rose if I’ll let you two go without me,” Felix broke in. “I’m sure my mother can survive wedding planning by herself for a bit. Besides, if Diamond kills another bear, I want to be there to see that. Or maybe this time I’ll kill the bear.”

Diamond shivered. “You can do it this time.”

Once had been quite enough.


What did you think of the first chapter? Intrigued to read more? Well, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is available as both Kindle ebook AND paperback! YES, the paperback is now here — so don’t waste any more time ordering your copy!

Other fun links to note today:

April 8th Blog Tour Stops

(I will update with direct links once the posts go live.)

God bless!

Snow White and Rose Red Mad Libs

“Ah, look,” you say, “another game.”

And you’re absolutely right. Yesterday, I had fun putting together a little Snow White and Rose Red Fairytale Tag for you all (because who doesn’t LOVE a good tag promoting a little-known fairytale???), and TODAY we’re going to be diving into one of my all-time favorite games: the Mad Lib.

I had originally thought that I would be posting a bunch of dry, informative posts here all week to talk about my newest book, The Bear of Rosethorn Ring. However, I was overwhelmed by the number of sweet bloggers who responded to my pleas for a blog tour, and so many of them asked for a guest post. I feared I wouldn’t have enough topics and posts to cover them all, but many of them had great ideas of their own, and (though it took a while to type everything up) it was a cinch to put together so many guest posts on topics I KNEW people wanted to read about.

And then, since all those amazing bloggers had taken care of all those posts, I decided: “Let’s have fun here at A Synesthete Writer this week. We’re just going to party.” We started the party off with a GIVEAWAY, and now we’re into party game #2.


  1. Below is a snippet from Snow White and Rose Red with a good number of words taken out. YOUR job is to supply those missing words.
  2. Each missing word is in its own labeled category (Noun, Verb, Adjective, etc.), and you may write in any category-appropriate word you wish. (i.e. Noun = laundry basket; Animal = armadillo; Person = Samuel Jackson; Adverb = eagerly)
  3. Once your list of missing words is filled out, pop those words into the numbered blanks provided in the story.
  4. Paste the whole story in a comment for everyone to enjoy!

The Word List

  1. Noun
  2. Adjective
  3. Verb Ending in -ING
  4. Adjective
  5. Color
  6. Number
  7. Animal
  8. Adjective
  9. Verb
  10. Adjective
  11. Term of Endearment
  12. Noun
  13. Adjective
  14. Adverb
  15. Plural Noun
  16. Adjective
  17. Liquid
  18. Exclamation
  19. Adjective
  20. Adverb
  21. Famous Person
  22. Term of Endearment
  23. Adverb
  24. Emotion
  25. Sharp Object
  26. Plural Noun
  27. Noun
  28. Adjective
  29. Body Part
  30. Common Phrase
Image is not mine; this gorgeousness was painted by Richard Doyle.

The Mad Lib Story

One afternoon, Mother sent Snow White and Rose Red into the forest to fetch some (1. NOUN). There they found a/an (2. ADJECTIVE) tree which lay felled on the ground, and close by the trunk something was (3. VERB ENDING IN -ING) backwards and forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was.

When they came nearer, they saw a/an (4. ADJECTIVE) dwarf with an old, withered face. He had a/an (5. COLOR) beard that was nearly (6. NUMBER) yards long. The end of the beard was caught in a crevice of the tree, and the dwarf was jumping about like a/an (7. ANIMAL) tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.

He glared at the girls with his (8. ADJECTIVE) eyes and cried: “Why do you stand there? Can you not come here and (9. VERB) me?”

“What are you up to, (10. ADJECTIVE) man?” asked Rose Red.

“You stupid, prying (11. TERM OF ENDERMENT)!” answered the dwarf. “I was going to split the tree to get a little (12. NOUN) for cooking. We dwarves need but (13. ADJECTIVE) food; however, it gets burned (14. ADVERB) when we use those thick logs. We don’t devour such large portions as you greedy (15. PLURAL NOUN). I had just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going well; but the cursed wedge was too (16. ADJECTIVE) and suddenly sprang out, and the tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful beard; so now it is stuck and I cannot get away, and the silly, (17. LIQUID)-faced things laugh! 18. EXCLAMATION)! how (19. ADJECTIVE) you are!”

The girls tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it was caught too (20. ADVERB).

“I will run and fetch (21. FAMOUS PERSON),” said Rose Red.

“You senseless (22. TERM OF ENDEARMENT)!” snarled the dwarf. “Why should you fetch him/her? You are already two too many for me; can you not think of something (23. ADVERB)?”

“Don’t be (24. EMOTION),” said Snow White. “I will help you.” And she pulled her (25. SHARP OBJECT) out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free, he grabbed a sack filled with (26. PLURAL NOUN) that was lying between the roots of the tree. He lifted it up, grumbling to himself: “Uncouth slobs, to cut off a (27. NOUN) of my (28. ADJECTIVE) beard. Bad luck to you!’ and then he swung the bag upon his (29. BODY PART), and went off without even once looking at the girls or saying, “(30. COMMON PHRASE).”


How did your adventure go? I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s versions of the story!

Snag your own copy of The Bear of Rosethorn Ring today to read *my* version of Snow White and Rose Red rescuing the dwarf. It wasn’t exactly mad lib style, but I still had a lot of fun writing it!

Don’t forget to check out the other fun posts today!

April 7th Blog Tour Stops

(I will update the links to direct posts once things start going live.)

God bless!

Snow White and Rose Red Tag & Release Day!

HAPPY RELEASE DAY! The Bear of Rosethorn Ring is HERE!

I’m still waiting for the paperback version to waddle through Amazon’s complex review system, but I will share the link to the physical book once I get notified of its going live on Amazon.

HOWEVER, if you can’t wait for the paperback, and need to read it NOW, you can click HERE to purchase your Kindle ebook and begin reading in mere seconds. Internet and technology are great like that.

In case you missed it the first time — LINK TO THE BEAR OF ROSETHORN RING ON KINDLE.

And don’t forget — books one and two of the series are currently FREE so you can snag half of the series without paying a cent. But you won’t want to wait on that since Spindle Dreams is only free through midnight TONIGHT. The Rose and the Balloon, however, will be free through Friday.

AND I’m hosting a giveaway for two lucky winners to receive an ebook of their choice. *nods* Yeah, we’re partying hard this week.

Tag Time!

Official Tag Graphic®

Anyway, it’s time to get down to the purpose of this post, and that is a tag. And not just any tag — it’s a SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED TAG. Because let’s face it — SWRR definitely needs more love. Just *how* many retellings do we have of this fantastic sister story? Not many. If you say “Snow White” in most company, the response you’ll get is, “Oh, with the seven dwarves?”

*facepalm* Yes, we like that Snow White, too, but that’s NOT what we’re talking about. Snow White and Rose Red were the awesome sister-duo before Disney tried to steal that stage with Frozen.

So what do you need to know before we jump into the tag?


  1. Copy the tag questions and answer them for yourself in your own blog post.
  2. Link back to this post, pleaseandthankyou.
  3. Include the tag graphic somewhere in your post.
  4. Share the link to your answers in a comment on this post so I can read your answers!

If you don’t have a blog, or don’t feel like putting together a whole post for the tag, feel free to copy the questions and answer them below in a comment!

The Questions

  1. What’s your favorite fairytale? If you can’t whittle it down to one, give us a list!
  2. What’s your favorite fairytale retelling? Or retellings, since most of us have more than one?
  3. When were you first introduced to the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red?
  4. If you awoke one day, cursed and lumbering around as a bear, what would be the first thing you’d do? Do you know why you’re cursed?
  5. Snow White and Rose Red kept a pet lamb. What would your ideal fairytale pet be?
  6. If you were to have a color-based name like Snow White or Rose Red, what would your name be — and why?
  7. Snow White and Rose Red’s mother planted two rosebushes in front of their cottage, one with white roses and one with red roses. Would you plant roses in front of your house, or perhaps another plant? Why?
  8. A stranger knocks on your door during a blizzard, begging for shelter. Do you let him in?
  9. Would you rather have your hair (or beard) caught in a tree, in a fishing line, or in an eagle’s talons?
  10. The dwarf offers his treasures to keep himself from being eaten by a bear. What would you offer the bear to discourage him from eating you?

And that’s it; I hope this tag was a lot of fun! I can’t wait to read everyone’s answers!

Don’t forget to grab your Kindle ebook so you can start reading The Bear of Rosethorn Ring today! Will this be the very first SWRR retelling you’ve ever read? Let me know below!

Just one last thing to note before I sign off… other posts today you won’t want to miss!

April 6th Blog Tour Stops

(I will update with direct links once the posts are live.)

God bless!

Welcome & Giveaway!

GUYS. It’s happening! The Bear of Rosethorn Ring comes out TOMORROW.

Are you ready for it? I AM.

Well, today is Monday, April 5th, and we’re officially kicking off the blog tour here with a giveaway. This is actually the VERY FIRST giveaway I’ve ever hosted in conjunction with a book release — and really also the first giveaway I’ve personally hosted to give away one of my books. I’ve sent books to advance readers and participated in giveaways where I offered a copy of a book, but this is the first time hosting.

Pretty weird that it’s taken me four books to get to this point. *shrugs*

Anyway, BEFORE I get into all the details of the giveaway, I want to let you know of all the fun stops we’ll be making on the blog tour today. We’ve got a jam-packed schedule, and I CAN’T WAIT. For simplicity’s sake, I’m only going to be posting today’s stops here in this post. But if you’d like to see the full schedule, I’ll be sharing a full list on this blog/site’s home page, so be sure to check it out there.

April 5th Blog Tour Stops

Like I said, this blog tour is going to be PACKED with interviews, book reviews, and guest posts! You’re not going to want to miss a single post!

See the full schedule HERE.

Free Kindle Books!

As part of the celebration, I’m also running some of the Kindle books for FREE. Be sure to jump on over to Amazon to snag your ebooks if you don’t already have them!


The Rose and the Balloon: A Beauty and the Beast Story is FREE on Amazon April 5th through the 9th!



Spindle Dreams: A Sleeping Beauty Story isn’t available for free quite as long, but it’s still FREE on April 5th and 6th — don’t wait to grab your ebook today!



Now, for the giveaway I promised.


I’m offering TWO (2) lucky readers the chance to win their choice of an ebook of one of the Once Upon a Twist Tales. Yes, if you so desire, you could win yourself a copy of the brand-new book that hits Amazon tomorrow. Or catch up on the Rapunzel story you may have missed last year, and have been dying to read. I mean, I naturally assume the winners will want one of those two books, especially since the other two books in the series will be up for FREE this week (see above).

How to enter? It’s easy.

Simply comment below (on this blog post) your answer to the following question:

If you were siblings with Snow White and Rose Red, what would be your color-based fairytale name, and why?

You may make up more than one color-based name, if you wish, but I’m limiting the giveaway to only one entry per person. One fairytale name/comment per entry. Be as creative as you’d like, and maybe add in how the fairytale might read differently with you as the third sibling there.

I will accept all entries until Thursday (April 8th) at noon (12pm EST). I will announce the two winners Friday morning (April 9th) in the blog tour’s closing post.

Get commenting! I’m excited to see everyone’s answers!