Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Heart of Curiosity Blog Tour

Come one, come all to the show and join sisters Leo and Muse as they struggle to escape the circus and find a new life for themselves in the most esteemed theater in the land.

The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora's only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd's mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity's sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater's stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

Pre-Order links:

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent mostof her childhood around trees and farm animals and was alwaysand Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable
accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth
An addictive personality, she jumped from
one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with
various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star
Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture. Married to her high school crush who is now
a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but
believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets

Social Media Links:
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Character Interview with Paxton Genuent:

What is your character's most embarrassing moment?

Paxton: There may have been a time I decided to take my friendship with a certain young lady to  the next level, and asked her out to dinner and … let’s just say about halfway through the night, she dropped some casual comment that made me realize she had no idea we were on a date. 
My granddad said it was my own fault because, “Hey, do you want to grab something to eat tomorrow after the show?” is not how you ask out a young lady if you are taking it seriously, and maybe I did that on purpose because I was afraid she’d say no and I wanted an easy way to back out and still be friends with her if she rejected me romantically … but the evening was going so well in my head until she started figuring out how to split the check and didn’t understand why I was trying to pay. I still haven’t recovered from that to make another attempt. 

Is your character a cat person or a dog person?

Paxton: I like all animals, really,  but the theater has a cadre of cats that keep the mice down, and I’m fond of them especially. Particularly this big orange one named Brucikins. 

Does your character like their name? If not what do they wish they were named instead?

Yeah, it’s sturdy, easy to abbreviate if you’re in a hurry. It’s fine. 

Who would your character sacrifice everything to protect?

Paxton: My family. It’s a small family. My parents died when I was eight, leaving me in the care of my widowed grandfather and unmarried aunt. I do have a lot of extended family--second and third cousins, great aunts and uncles. Our family tree has a lot of limbs … but mostly when I say family, I mean The Curiosity folk, even the ones who aren’t blood like the Danior sisters. 

Who would your character most be willing to sacrifice for the greater good?

Paxton: This is a very weird question. I think I need parameters. Like can I pick ANYONE in the whole world? If so I pick a convicted murderer who is already condemned to die within the next week or so anyway. They’re going to die anyway, they probably deserve it, and since  you didn’t clarify, I feel this should be allowed. 

How does your character handle emotions?

Paxton: Well.

That’s all you’re getting. 

What is their dream future?

Paxton: Traveling with a loved one, but returning to The Curiosity often to help preserve the legacy. 

What MBTI personality type is your character? What is their Hogwarts House?

Author: I’ve always found the Hogwarts system stupidly limiting. I can’t imagine four options ever encompassing EVERYONE. It helps if I can hybridize. Paxton is probably a Slytherpuff. That’s about as exact as I’m getting. 

Your character has a free hour, what do they spend it doing?

Paxton: Depends on my mood, honestly,  but if Leo is around, I might ask her to get a pastry and then we could spend some time just breaking down life for each other. Coffee would be a bonus.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

To Write or to Rewrite- A Ramble

What do you all think of my new summer theme? Also, stay tuned till the end of the post for a super special announcement.

Today, since I didn't have any post planned, I decided to discuss A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses.

Pictures via Pinterest

More specifically my infamous reason to take my already published book and rewrite it.

That's right guys. You're finally getting the dirt on the decision to rewrite A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses.

I've explained it before, but I don't think that I've ever given the full explanation for it. And that explanation actually starts with book 3 A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and War Councils as well as book 1 A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses.

That's right. The decision to rewrite A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses never actually had anything to do with that book at all. It was always about the other books in the series.

I published A Time of Trepidation (as I am now going to refer to it because the full title is too long to endlessly type) in the fall of 2016. That was after two torturous years spent trying to write it (to be fair though, that first year was spent primarily editing Week of Werewolves). Y'all don't want to know how many times I nearly gave up on that book, but in the summer of 2016 I wrote The End. It was done. Or so I thought.

The way that I ended Time of Trepidation was... problematic at best. Oh, it's seemed like a good idea at the time. But then I tried to write the beginning of Season of Subterfuge and I realized that I was S.T.U.C.K. You do not want to even know how many hours I spent trying to work on that beginning (I'll give you an estimate though and it was about five months). I even came up with the perfect new ending, too little too late. The book was already published. Finally I got past that horrible beginning, and even though I wasn't satisfied I moved on and started working on the rest of my book, determined to fix it up later. As I did so, I realized that this beginning was completely and utterly unnecessary to the rest of the plot, but what was a girl to do except for plow on? Even though, I hated the ending/beginning of these two books, they were both written. So I kept writing, only to realize just how much of trouble I was in.

The trouble however, had nothing to do with Time of Trepidation and everything to do with A Week of Werewolves.

When I wrote the first book, I had no idea what was going on. I'll admit to you that I didn't even know what the quest Chelsea, Easton, Clint, and Bobby were supposed to accomplish was. I was just as clueless as they were. As I was writing Time of Trepidation, the pieces started falling into place, I finally figured out what the quest was, but I still only really had an idea of the overall plot. As I was working on the third book, the whole idea for the series finally came to me. And I realized that the first book did not actually fit into that grand scheme of the plot.

Now mind you, I'm talking about the first version of Week of Werewolves. Many of you might remember when I first started out on Goodreads, I was working on rewriting Week of Werewolves. This was before you had read any of my books at all. The new version is 370-something pages. The first version of Week of Werewolves was 260 pages of poorly written plot-less horror.

It had to be rewritten, because otherwise it didn't fit with the rest of the series. Plus, I had written some things that made my writing of Season of Subterfuge, extremely difficult. I spent a lot of time laboring over changes that I could make, and how different I should make my book. I eventually asked God and His reply was "don't change everything" with that in my mind I started working on piecing back together the first book converting some scenes and rewriting others. I figured for the second book, I would just tie in a few plot points and change that dratted ending and then I would be done. Back to Season of Subterfuge in no time!

Haha. Haha.

Rewriting A Week of Werewolves, was a lot harder than I'd originally thought it would be. I don't even want to get into all of the plot holes I had to fill and the dues ex machinas that I had to murder, every word basically had to be changed even if I kept to the idea behind it. Anyway, instead of reliving the pain, I'm just going to share two little snippets, one from the original version and one from the new rewritten version and let you see for yourself the difference. I was trying to pick an excerpt from the middle of the book but everything that I read embarrassed me too much so I just decided to put down the opening paragraphs of both of them and close my old documents so that I can finally be done with that torture.

"The day had started so normally.


I wouldn’t be so disappointed about the fate of my normal day except that this is an absolutely, horrible way to ruin a normal day. There should be laws made against poor, innocent fifteen year-olds getting their days ruined in such a way. In fact, if I survive this whole ordeal, I will write a letter to Congress. The letter would express the dire need of such a law, and how fifteen year-olds everywhere would be indebted to them if they did in fact write it."

"For me, normal died on Tuesday.
I'm still mourning it."

*shudders* Hopefully, you all see the improvement. Fifteen year old me certainly had a penchant to ramble (and you know that's serious coming from me, the Queen of Rambling). If you'll also notice, the first excerpt is actually in past tense. That's right, I originally wrote my books in past tense. I'm not exactly sure why I chose to change everything to present tense. I was rereading The Hunger Games at the time, and I guess that I just found that tense to be sharper and clearer?

Also, even though it isn't shown in this excerpt, fifteen year old me thought that it would be a good idea to have all of the adults in Amar speak in a barely recognizable archaic dialogue complete with every single variant of the word 'you' being replaced by 'thees' 'thous' and 'thys'. Let me tell you, it was a pain. Slightly traumatic too. I switched to an ESV Bible after that instead of the King James Version.

So anyway, as I was working on rewriting Week of Werewolves, the list of changes that I had to make to Time of Trepidation kept growing. What went from just rewriting the ending and those blasted 'thees' and 'thous', changed to converting all the past tense verbs to present tense verbs. On top of all that, originally all of my alternate POV's for anyone other than Chelsea were in third person. But since third person present doesn't sound that great (imo) I changed it all to first person, so that would have to be done to Time of Trepidation as well...

Then my characters started changing too and I realized some flaws in Time of Trepidation. Some things didn't fit in with what I changed in Week of Werewolves... Before I knew it, I had to rewrite the whole book.

Apparently since I'm a glutton for punishment, I'll share one last "before and after" pair of snippets. This time from A Time of Trepidation, so that hopefully you will see how important it was for me to rewrite this book.

"Easton-” I began again, but was cut off by Bobby letting out a little cry bellow me. “CJ,” she whimpered. “Help, I'm slipping.”
I paused and glanced back at her hanging on for dear life. Then I turned to Easton who was still completely under the spell of the mermaid's song. I was torn. How could I choose between which of my friends to save?
Then Easton made my choice for me. He simply took a step forward where there was nothing but air and pitched forward.
“Easton, no!” I screamed."

"Chelsea,” Bobby whimpers. “Help me. Please, I don’t want to die.”
The problem is, Easton does.
What if I can only save one?
I turn back to her, and clutch my head. This can’t be happening. Please. I can’t be forced to choose, because there isn’t a right choice. I can’t let either of them die. I can’t lose either of them.
But Easton doesn’t seem to care. He smiles at me. A cold, ruthless smile.
“Easton, no!” I scream, lunging toward him.
Just as he steps forward into the empty air."


In case you also didn't notice, I changed Chelsea's nickname from the original CJ to Chels. So many tiny little changes. Those tiny changes are the ones that get you, mark my words.

Oh well, all is well that ends well and I see the end in sight. Hopefully I will finally get these rewrites done and actually be able to publish this book again this summer.

Anyway, onto the exciting news I told you. And it is this: HAVOK HAS ACCEPTED ONE OF MY SHORT STORIES!!!

It's called The Losing Game and I won't say much about it, but it does have quite a bit Greek mythology. It will be live on July 12th so be sure to mark you calendars!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Language of Worlds Linkup

This month I thought I would discuss one of my main characters from my Sci-Fi story. Since that's the story I'm working on for GTW's 100-for-100 and I've hardly talked about it on this blog.

I actually have quite a few main characters in this story, since it is a team book. At least four main-main ones, but today I decided to talk about the one who is probably my favorite.

So without any further ado I give you Rane Catlea a scrappy thief, and where I left off, reluctant recruit for the Federation.

All pictures I got from Pinterest, credit goes to their original creators

1. Your character goes on a leisurely stroll. Where to?

Since Rane rarely ever stays in one place for too long, I would say that she would probably just wander aimlessly. See the sights, get used to he terrain of whatever planet she is on, explore.

2. What's their favorite food? Why? What does it taste like?

Rane enjoys a chirrut. It is kind of like a burrito only made with a combination of whatever ingredients are native to that planet so wherever she goes, chirruts taste different. One of her hobbies while traveling is to find the native chirrut stand and find out what it tastes like.

3. Describe their typical day.

I don't know, Rane's life is pretty spontaneous and sporadic. She would claim that she doesn't have a "typical" day. But I suppose it would start with her waking up aboard her ship where she basically lives, sassing her robot, repairing her ship or gun or any number of broken technology, and then maybe stealing from someone.

Probably about mid afternoon she'll run from the local law enforcement. Grab a chirrut or two from a nearby stall as she races past for lunch. Possibly spend a couple hours breaking out of a cell if she's feeling slow that day.

Come nightfall, she'll climb to the tallest building (or if there aren't any tall buildings, put her ship in hover mode) and then she'll watch the sun (or suns) set and gaze at the stars planning which planetary system she will go to next.

4. When are they most productive? Morning, evening, or sometime in-between?

Rane is most productive in the morning right after she gets up, then her energy peters out throughout the day until right before she goes to bed. Then she is productive again.

5. Who are they closest to?

Rane's closest (and sole) companion is a robot she stole from the factory before he had gotten his whole serial number. Or his personality programmed. As a result, KC (or Casey as she calls him) is severely sarcastic and has a hard time following orders, making him the perfect companion for Rane.

6. Have they ever lost someone close to them?

Rane is an orphan, but she doesn't remember her parents or how her life was like before she was a thief and nomad. Still, she hasn't allowed herself to get close to another living being since then.

7. Describe their education.

Rane was taught to read and write and her history from her parents before they died. But since then, she has ditched a classical education in favor of learning from the worlds around her. Finding out the history of a planet from the drunk patrons in a bar. Figuring out how to fix a power converter by first breaking it. Learning as she goes.

8. What is their talent?

Rane is scrappy and a quick thinker. She isn't afraid of trying unconventional methods. Whatever situation she finds herself in, she'll find a way out of it.

She's also really good at piecing together any bit of broken tech. A remarkable feat given that often the only thing she has at her disposal is junk tape.

9. When do they doubt themself? What makes them do so?

Rane hides all of her doubts behind a cocky exterior. If she can convince herself that she can do everything then she doesn't have to worry about being able to do anything. However, if she comes across something where she has already failed before, like for instance in human relations, she begins to get extremely nervous.

10. When do they feel most comfortable/cozy?

Probably aboard her ship, but not when she is in space though. Large expanses of nothingness makes her uncomfortable. So right after she lands on a planet or right before she leaves. While she plays music from her cockpit and goes about her tasks, singing along and filling the silence with her voice.  She especially enjoys dying her hair or changing her clothes and style. Rane likes change a lot and she is never satisfied with looking the same way for too long.

So there you have it. What do you all think of Rane? You excited to hear about the other characters from this story? Does her life sound ideal or lonely? Are you participating in GTW's 100-for-100? Comment below!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Farewell May

Is May already over? Seriously? Already? Oh sheesh. But anyway, I guess that means that we are now in my favorite month, June.

But first a little wrap up for last month.


This month I have been focusing on "taking care of myself". Just the little things. Drinking more water, eating healthier, exercising more, not letting myself dwell on negative thoughts. It isn't much but it has certainly helped with my state of mind.


I've suffered from a bit of reader's block lately. I only got two books read this month, but they were both really great reads!

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
5 stars!
Labyrinth// Disguise// Science
Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse
4.5 stars
Dreamwalking// Assassins// World Building

Screen Time

I've followed along the Marvel Universe since Iron Man 1 so of course I was invested in seeing Endgame. Now no spoilers. I will simply say that this movie didn't disappoint me like many of the more recent Marvel movies have. But it didn't wow me either.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Maybe my favorite thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, obviously I had to re-watch these after Endgame. No regrets.

Hacksaw Ridge
Wowza. This was such a powerful movie, I loved it. But also... it's rated R for violence and my goodness... O.o

Went to see this one in theaters too. I enjoyed it. I don't know that much of Tolkien's life outside of the basics and how he developed his writing style so I can't say how far it went with historical accuracy. But I certainly enjoyed the nods to the different mythologies that he studied and inspired his works. I would classify it as The Man Who Invented Christmas meets a war movie.

Harry Price Ghost Hunter

Pretty creepy. Pretty creepy indeed. This movie keeps you guessing and on your toes. I sort of wish they had made a full series out of it, but oh well.

Mortal Engines

I knew literally nothing about this movie going in except that it was directed by Peter Jackson and Elrond was the bad guy. But, guys, this movie was amazing. I loved it so much! My favorite movie this month, without a doubt.

Thor: Tales of Asgard
Watched the pilot episode for this since my mom had bought it at a library sale. I'd thought it would be dumb but it was actually pretty good? I was surprised, but the relationship between Thor and Loki was precious. And the warriors three were awesome. Also, I loved the nods to Norse mythology (and some others) in it.

Doctor Who Season 2
Excuse the sounds of crying, that's just me because I finished Doctor Who Season 2. Roooooosssseeee!!!!

Victoria Season 3

Finally got all caught up on this show. I loved it showing the Crystal Palace, but my goodness. YOU CAN'T END A SEASON LIKE THAT!!!

The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

Watched these two since my brother finally read the series so now he can watch the movies. Classics.


Been focusing most of my time and energy on editing A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses it's slow progress, but progress all the same. I also started working on a Sci-Fi project for the GTW 100-for-100 writing challenge.

Toward the end of the month, I finally heard back from Uncommon Universes Publishing where I sent Of Gold and Iron to. They requested that I send them the whole manuscript to be reviewed!!! I still am freaking out over that! :D

Anyway, that's all for this month. What have you been up to? Have you seen Mortal Engines yet? Are you partaking in the 100-for-100 challenge? Comment Below!