Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Sorceress and The Squid BLOG TOUR

When I fell upon this lovely author's book I was instantly hooked. Not only was the idea unique and interesting but knowing the fun, humorous, writerly Emily...I KNEW this would be an amazing read and I know you will love it too.
 I am so pleased to be participating in her Blog Tour and featuring an Interview! If you strive to be an indie publisher, write books, or want to write books this is a wonderful interview because Emily answers a lot of questions about the building of this book as well as some exclusive content on characters and content! Getting a peak into a published author's life will not only give you more appreciation for their work but also give you insight for yours. Read on!


In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes pity on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?


Emily Mundell is a 19 year old author, artist, horsewoman and lover of the wonders of the wide world. She hails from the Great White North of Canada and has spent her life growing up in the heart of rural Alberta in a close-knit farming community - though she has often entertained fantasies of inhabiting the Shire.

Writing is her true passion – though horses and art take a close second. With fantasy as her primary genre, Emily has been writing stories since the tender age of eight when she finished her first “book.” She is currently working to complete her Creative Writing Certificate through the University of Calgary. An avid bookworm, true country-mouse, and unconventional tree-climber, Emily can usually be found on a horse, working on one of her half-dozen projects, chasing a loose cow, or being swept off her feet by the man she calls her own personal “hobbit.”

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EMILY: First off, thank you so much Anna for featuring me on your blog! I’m so excited to be here answering these fabulous questions. Let’s get started, shall we?

ANNA: How was the "Sorceress and the Squid" born, what inspired you to write it?
EMILY: It’s a really funny story, to be honest. A really weird one as well. The very first seed of the story was planted in my head way back in September of 2014. I was having a very very serious conversation with Jonathan (my then-not-yet-boyfriend-now-fiance) about his secret identity as a “ninja squid” who had trained a whole school of ninja squidlings to take over the world. Shortly after this transpired, he asked me to be his girlfriend (rather I kind of forced his hand into coming out and saying that he liked me and then subsequently asking me to be his girlfriend). In the weeks following the craziness of my first boyfriend/dating experience, we followed up on this conversation by titling me as a sorceress who had turned him into said squid and the story just spiralled from there. Downhill or uphill, not really sure. XD

ANNA: How long did it take you to complete this book from first draft to publishing?

EMILY: As stated the story began in late 2014 but I did not start actually writing it until late 2015, which took me through into February of 2016. From there I started editing. I worked quite slowly because I take about four months off of writing in the summer for summer camp. Edits carried over into 2017 until I found an editor, Erin Lodes, to do a copy-edit/proofread for me. She was very thorough and prompt and I had it back in April. Then I got my cover art and started working on the publishing/marketing process for the June 18th release. I had to push the date back once but once things got in motion, it was a fairly smooth process. And now, here we are! So I guess the short answer to that question would be almost two years, but of course I could have probably done it a lot faster if I didn’t have so many other things taking up my attention.

ANNA: What was the hardest thing about writing this book? What blocks did you encounter and how did you fix them…

EMILY: With this book, the growth the story experienced while I was writing was a bit difficult to handle. It was originally planned to be very short, not very serious at all. Just a fun little side-project. As you can see, that did not happen. Honestly, this is not the book I would have pictured being my first publishing venture - yet here I am. As the story got bigger it kept messing up what I was doing, so I had to go back and change/fix things a lot. Also, by the time I finally got through with all the editing I’d probably read it through a million times and was sick to death of reading it! That made proofreading a really difficult thing for me as well.

ANNA: Tell us about your main characters!

Well, I have two main characters: Estrella the Sorceress and Jalen the human warrior/squid. I suppose Estrella is the primary main character, she has the most development while Jalen remains more of a foil to her character. Estrella is over a century old and trained under the Wizard as his pupil in magic for many decades. As his student she became very well-versed in the ancient magic arts and would use her power mainly to help her people. She lived alone in an isolated cabin on a mountainside. As years passed she grew more threatened by an outlying human warrior academy at the base of her mountain and decided to do something about it (against the Wizard's express orders) and that is where the story starts for her. Jalen is a young twenty-something human who was orphaned young when his mother died after bringing him to be trained at the Academy. He has lived there ever since, learning the duties of a soldier to defend his people from the dangerous creatures of the Fae kingdom (Estrella's people). However, he is more of a pacifist at heart and does not want to obliterate them like the rest of the men do. Estrella is a bit on the grumpy side. She does not like dealing with people, especially humans. She is always very thoughtful and has some insecurities caused by a messy past that the book delves into a little. Jalen, always among the best warriors, is very optimistic, bright and cheery - exactly the opposite of Estrella - and the two can occasionally clash. Jalen has many questions about his history and his true trust and loyalty is hard to win because of past experiences with abandonment. As the two grow closer on their journey they begin to build off one another and I think that's one of my favorite parts of the story."

ANNA: What was your favorite part of writing "The Sorceress and the Squid"?

EMILY: Well, originally it was planned to be, as I said, just a silly side project. So I enjoyed the freedom I had in that to just simply enjoy the writing process. I had never really done that before and it was totally relaxing and enjoyable to write. I also really fell in love with the main characters, Estrella and Jalen. They have grown on me since beginning the book and have developed far beyond my original picture of them.

Another enjoyable part of the writing process was (loosely, very loosely) basing the characters on real people in my life and creating a fantasy caricature of them. I think they all enjoyed it and even though it goes against that cardinal rule of not writing about people you know, I enjoyed it too and I think it worked well.

ANNA: What is your advice or suggestion for aspiring authors and self publishers?

EMILY: Such a big question! I think one of the main things is to not give up. Even if it takes years and years for you to get to the publishing point. Relax and enjoy the process, fall in love with stories and characters, don’t be in too big a hurry to finish them and move on. Let yourself learn from them, it’s kinda weird how that works, but it does. As for self-publishing, I’m like, the worst person to ask cause I legit don’t know what I’m doing. XD But I think the main thing, especially for your first time, is to know you can’t really do it all yourself - despite it being called “self-publishing” - and don’t be afraid to ask for help, to get people involved, and to tap into the wonderful writing community that the internet has to offer. I have found an enormous niche of Christian young people (like me) who blog and who write, and that’s been super encouraging and helpful. Look for your “group”, your “tribe,” and stick with them!

ANNA: And last! Your favorite quote or snippet from "The Sorceress and the Squid"?

EMILY: This is tricky...there are a lot of parts of the story that I really like. Some for their humor and some for their seriousness. It’s so hard to choose one without giving away spoilers as well!

One of my favorite quotes that I can share without spoilers is “It’s hard to separate fact from fiction when you weren’t around - it’s hard enough even when you were.”

Probably my favorite scenes/snippets take place at the end of the book in the final few chapters. I really like the flashback scenes into Estrella and Jalen’s past, as well as when Estrella comes to grips with her history and makes a choice (for those of you who have read the book you will know what I’m talking about). I’m afraid I did not write this book to be very quotable at all! XD



What do you think of "The Sorceress and The Squid"? Have you read it? Share Below, your comments are always appreciated and please remember to drop by Emily's blog and follow her!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Little Things in Life

Stress. Hurt. Arguments. Pain. Rejection. Busyness.
Those things can really cloud your vision, really hurt you and stress you deep inside. So much that you begin to feel dead. Even talking to God is hard, praying becomes a burden. Are you with me reader? How many times do we wake up and feel like burying ourselves in a hole. If you struggle with depression or anxiety you are not alone, I do too. How do we get out of this vicious cycle and have an open heart. I realize those of us who live in a more stressful situation retreat like snails, we become scared to love. Scared to open our heart. But that hurts even more than bearing the insults or hurt that comes from living with an open heart. It's hard, I'll admit its hard to go talk to people you have no desire whatsoever to talk to. To listen to someone who you know will never hear you out. To love someone who gives you sorrow, but it matters. Dear reader don't keep your heart closed because your scared of getting hurt, please live free. Live in Him! He loves you more than that hurt. He knows you so much better than you do!

As Eli says in the book I'm currently writing

“God holds it all in his hands, don’t take it away from Him.”

So when you let go what's the key to living free? The Little Things. I know it sounds cliche, but trust me, it's DEAD on. Today look out for beauty around you, all the beautiful little things created by Him that we forget to see. Today whoever you interact with, whoever you pass, show love. Even if you don't say it, think in your head "I wish the best for you, I just hope you are having a great day!" and let that love radiate through your actions. Today let your family and friends know how much they mean to you. Life is short, what is here today could be gone tomorrow. Let's not take anything for granted. For that reason, I decided to do this experiment and this is what happened! :) Here's my "List of Little Things", I hope this helps you to see the beauty in the little things and encourage you to start your own list! 

1. An elderly lady standing by her mailbox reading a book, behind her lies a stretch of green grass and on the other side a dried corn field. The sun glimmers down on the scene suspended in a bright blue sky filled with long white cotton clouds.

I saw this as we were driving by in the car, it looked like a scene you would find in a pinterest storyboard :) Keep looking to find simple beauty around you, it's everywhere.

2. Falling asleep in a room, just cleaned, the sweet spicy smell of peppermint wafting in the air. My eyes blinking against the window arch that peeks into the beautiful darkening ombre-blue sky.

3. Driving into clouds and misty fog as the sky grows pink and golden with the rising sun. Chanting hilarious ship name "spells" in the car with my siblings as the sun rises higher and higher.

4. The first bite of that long awaited sandwich after the crazy workout, giggling in the car over swimmer's antics and things that happened that morning.

5. Singing four way harmony of "Amazing Grace" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain" at the top of our lungs in the car with the windows open, (I'm pretty sure a lot of people thought we were absolutely crazy XD)

6. My Daddy's warm hands on my sleepy head at night praying over me for guidance, success and peace in my life <3

7. Finishing a chapter of my book! Finally! :)

8. Hugs <3 Friend hugs, Family hugs, Baby hugs. <3

9. Listening to epic music with my little siblings as we finish up summer homework. (When annoyance becomes action XD)

10. The awesome feeling of aching muscles and sweat as I work out. (Because that means I'm actually doing something XD)

I could go on forever, but for your sake that list stops there. :) See? There is ALOT to be thankful for. Nevermind the negative side, look at the postive side! What are you waiting for dear? Be filled with His Joy and see the little gifts He leaves everywhere for you.

What do you think? What are your struggles? Share with me, I always love to see your comments! Post a list of Little Things on your blog or comment them below! I would love to see them!

 Finally, brothers and sisters, 
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Phillipians 4:8)