Monday, June 27, 2022

Calligraphy Guild | Book Review

Hello, my inky friends!

Today I have for you a book review for what is probably my favorite book of the year: Calligraphy Guild!

I am so so so SO excited to finally be reviewing this. I have had the immense pleasure of being a critique partner on this book. I have gotten to see this book from the very first draft all the way to an advanced reader copy, and just about everything in-between. 

Because of this, some may think that this review will be biased. And well, yes, it probably will be. I think very few reviews really are unbiased, whether the reviewer is a friend of the author's and has been part of the book's process or not. 

However I would like to assure you that this is still going to be an honest review. I honestly love this book so much. Trying to think of cons for this review hasn't really worked because every time I thought of one, it was really just a matter of preference.

So yes, this is going to be a gush for the most part. But an honest gush.

On with the review:


This book is an experience

Calligraphy Guild is a fantasy unlike any I have read before.

The best way I can sum up this whole book would be with the words rich and real. This book is rich with good themes, rich with relationships, rich with community, rich with atmosphere, rich with creativity, rich with humanity, rich with simplicity. 

And it's so real. It is filled with these little paragraphs, these one-liners, these thoughts and interactions between characters that bring the book alive and make every aspect of it relatable in some way. Really this book feels like life. Which is quite impressive for a book about dragons and magic ink and time-changing. 

It feels somehow wrong to give a break down of this book, but I'll try to anyways:


Pacing

While being a slow-burn novel, Calligraphy Guild is not slow-paced. I'd say that this moved at a fair pace, not sprinting but also not doddling. It's more like a pleasant stroll.

Something is always happening at any time, often something small but engaging, which helps in both keeping the book interesting and letting the reader feel productive in their reading, and grounding the story in reality. 

I would say that the pacing is exactly what is appropriate for this story.


Plot

While this book has an interesting plot with genuine stakes and weight, the characters are so close to it that they very naturally lead the story. By no means is the plot forgotten or brushed to the side, as it often seems to be in character-led books, it's just that the characters are our focal point for it. Which, I believe, works very well for this story and causes it to seem that much more believable. Come to think of it, it may be best to say that the characters are the plot.


Characters

It seems fitting for this to come up after "plot," given the characters are such a crucial part to the story.

While Duyên is, undoubtedly, the main character, the others still carry so much depth, perspective, and uniqueness - and they're all so closely tied to the plot - that the book really would not be the same without them. 

I can't say that I loved all the characters, but I can say that I believed them all, and that while there were some perspectives I didn't enjoy as much as others I wouldn't want it without them, either.


Worldbuilding

You cannot, cannot, read a novel by R.M. Archer and not say something about the world building in a review. It is impossible. I say, as if this is not Archer's first published novel. 

The worldbuilding in this book is solid. It perfectly blends in with the more normal/realistic aspects of the setting, and I think that helps make it so convincing - it manages to be both familiar, and very unique. It also kept me curious about different aspects of it without distracting from the matter at hand. 




Themes

The themes in this book are incredible. I don't say that because they're especially unique or original or even complicated, but because they are so real. They're so personal and endearing and I think that anyone who reads this will find something that speaks to them.

Here's just some of the themes:

- Community

Very strong community themes. Community with the guild as well as the village and individual families and friends. I just love how much the community came together throughout this book. Especially because, thanks to the execution, it almost felt like I already knew everyone as well-acquainted neighbors.


- Relationships

Of every kind. There's so many different dynamics, it would take forever to go over each one even in summary. But every day relationships - which aren't always perfect or good, but often can be - is very much so present in here.


- Romanticized living

Is this really a "theme?" I don't know. But the whole book puts real life through such a beautiful lens. Though this book is based off of a different time and culture than my own, and takes place in an entierly different world, it showed me so much beauty about the simple things in real life. Even in the unpleasant things, like humidity (never would have anything could make me feel even mildly positively towards humidity). 

I've highlighted so many lines and paragraphs in my copy just so I can pick it up and reread some of these beautiful moments - though honestly, I wouldn't even need that. You can seriously just open the book at a random place and you'll probably find some sweet, funny, or beautiful line or scene. 

But what I find really wonderful about this theme Is that the prose is not flowery. I'm all for poetic lines and whatnot, but this book manages to convey all of that wonderfulness just be showing life. It's really very impressive, I think. And that same thing - it just being life - stretches into every aspect of this book. I think that's what makes Calligraphy Guild so amazing.


- DRAGONS 

But not just dragons! Wyverns, too! And drakes! And other things that I don't know how to spell! Basically lots of really cool and cute and awesome little lizard fellows! They are literally all over the place and they make me so happy. Especially Emiko.

They're kind of reminiscent of the dragons in Dragons' Bane by Melody Jackson, but with a bit of a different spin. 


- Religion, handled in a unique way

The majority of characters in Calligraphy Guild, including Duyên, believe in a polytheistic religion and often refer to their gods in realistic ways due to their culture. Then there are two characters who believe in a different religion, one representing Christianity. 

(If you're not a Christian and thus aren't concerned with how Christianity is or isn't represented, feel free to pass by this section. I'm mostly writing this for Christians who may have that concern. I'm sure you'll enjoy this book regardless of what your religious beliefs are.)

I didn't really feel the need to touch on this because it wasn't one of the things that especially stood out to me. However, I saw one reviewer saying that she liked that there were Christian aspects, but she would have preferred it if all the characters who believed in other gods has an arch that resulted in them turning to that world's equivalent of Christianity. 

However, I think that the way Archer presented these religions, and the brief discussions that were had in various ways, were handled very appropriately and realistically. The book isn't about conversion and I don't see how that would be included without totally changing the focus of the plot. And if the author were to attempt balancing two main plots like that, I imagine it would quickly turn the book into one of those "all moral no story" books that really don't do any good for anyone. 

Rather, this book handles the matter of religion in a very natural, believable, and good way. This book plants seeds, it doesn't harvest crops.  And I would say that this book does an even better job as-is than if it were to have a purely religious plot, because this portrays Christianity in a far more real way. We get to see a Christian who is in a world that is opposite her beliefs - there's only one person in her whole community who is like-minded in this area - and that is a important thing to portray. For it is a far more relatable and realistic situation than converting an entire guild of people. 

But that whole matter is its own discussion.

Suffice to say, religion is a theme, and I believe it was handled well. 



Conclusion

This book is undoubtedly 5 stars. I highly recommend it to any fantasy reader who maybe needs to slow down for a bit, to have a book that helps them relax. It could also be quite good if you're in a reading slump. It's also a perfect book to read in the summer time. Or just to read in general, really. I mean, I've read it probably four times and I'm good to go for a fifth, haha. 

I would say "if you like [book] you may like this" but I honestly can't think of any books to accurately compare this to. Maybe just give it a try, and see what you think of it.



Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and if you have a few more minutes to spare, why not go order Calligraphy Guild? Or perhaps request it at your library? And if you've already read it, please do tell me what you think! I would love to discuss it with you.

Until next time!

- E.P.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Interview with R.M. Archer | Calligraphy Guild Blog Tour

 Hello my Inky friends!

(Want a fun game? Drink a shot of apple cider vinegar each time there's a plug in this post. Oh, and I'm not sponsored by any of these plugs, I just like plugging because plugging is fun. :] Plugplugplug)

Today is an indescribably exciting day! Do you know why? 

Hm? Because we have R.M. Archer - the fabulous Christ-based writer behind the blog Scribes & Archers (which is filled to the brim with fantastic posts on worldview in writing, tons of practical, useful, and engaging posts about world building, as well as publishing and writing advice in general) and author of not one but three published works including The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles which received four stars from the author Angela Watts and Lost Girl which received four stars from the author Grace Johnson - is gracing Bleeding Ink with her most unprecedented wonderfulness, as the title of this post suggests?

(HA. Ten plugs in one sentence+paragraph!)

Well yes, that is part of the reason. The other reason is that CALLIGRAPHY GUILD IS OUT TODAY.

AHHHHHHHH.

Do you have any clue how excited I am for this?

No. No you don't. Know why? Because my excitement is iMMEASURABLE. 

I have been waiting for this day for so. long. And it's HERE. 

Which means you can buy it. You can actually go and buy it. Like now. So how about you pause what you're doing and go buy it (if you want a paperback copy click here) and then to excite yourself for when it arrives you can read this interview, check out the rest of the blog tour (all of these previous posts will be listed at the bottom of the post) and also read all of the reviews!


Alright now before we get into the interview, here's the book's synopsis so you have some context!

Dragon ink gives calligraphers the power to set history in stone - or to change it.

Lai Duyên's dreams are realized when she's admitted into the ranks of the calligraphers -authors considered trustworthy enough to defend time from those who would change it. She's thrilled at the opportunity to record her country's history, and to work with the other calligraphers in her village.

But when Duyên's guild is set upon by ancient dragons demanding a time-changer be destroyed, her world is flipped upside down. Her guild mates turn on each other, suspicion coloring their every move. To make matters worse, she's begun hearing the dragons in her head and finds them impossible to block out: a condition that rendered her grandmother insane.

With the calligraphy guild in turmoil and Duyên's ever-present fear of madness clouding her vision, will the group be able to discover which of their guild mates has altered time before the dragons pass judgment on them all?


I also want to thank Archer for taking time out of her very author-y schedule to be in this interview as well as for letting me participate in the blog tour as well as for writing what is most likely my favorite book released this year.


NOW. ON WITH THE INTERVIEW.


Q: You've spoken on what inspired Calligraphy Guild, and between that and the end result it's got me - and I imagine plenty of writers - wondering what the early process of developing the story was like. Can you tell us about that?

A: As much as I can remember, lol. I started off with a dream about magic ink and a desire to write a story set amidst a physically-located community of writers. The magic ink got refined from its dream version (which I talked a bit more about with Erin), and I set the writing community in an Asian-inspired country that I developed as I went along. The characters were initially inspired by The Phoenix Fiction Writers, so I started there and built in new quirks and motivations and whatnot to shape them into their own unique characters. Part of my character-building process for this story was to write brief scenes from each character's POV, in a situation that would highlight their character, which was fun. But I actually only got through half of those, because I ended up too anxious to start writing the first draft. I ended up starting in August 2019 when I'd intended to wait until November. I just kept writing, and I ended up finishing the first draft about halfway through November.


Q: CG brings up quite a wide variety of fairly weighty topics (and delivers them in a digestible and thought-provoking way, I might add.) Did you have any motivators for including those things?

A: Some of them were inspired by specific things. Community, God's sovereignty, chronic illness, and family are all really important to me and they suited the characters and story, so they were no-brainers to include. Other things, like abuse and dementia, just came about due to the characters; they just seemed to fit, and I did my best to show what needed to be shown respectfully and hint at everything else. I don't like to shy away from weighty topics when they suit a story, so if something comes up as I'm writing I go with it and write it as best I can.


Q: Did CG bring you any big learning curves as a writer?

A: Not that I can immediately think of. But I have a poor memory and I've been amazed at how smoothly 95% of the process has gone, so the remaining 5% sometimes gets overlooked, lol. Setting up pre-orders was definitely a learning experience, though. I didn't realize just how complicated that would be.


Q: It's clear that you've got quite a love, and skill, where world building is concerned. Can you tell us a bit about the world that CG takes place in?

A: Yes! I've talked in a couple of other interviews about this, too, so there might be some repetition. But Calligraphy Guild takes place in my biggest and most complex fantasy world, Deseran. On a smaller scale, it takes place in the kingdom of Virilia, and on a smaller scale it takes place in the Lower Virilen village of Hairen. Deseran is my passion project; its cultures are all built around real-world cultures or topics that I find interesting, so it's always super fun to build. The highlights of Virilia are the emphasis on the arts, the jungle setting (lots of plants!), the community-centered culture, the dragons, and the magic ink (all of the magic arts, really, but I haven't developed all of them to the same degree yet). The education system was one of the most fun things to play with as I was reading Unschooled by Kerry MacDonald, because I realized in reading that book that the education system in Virilia was out-of-step with the rest of the culture I'd built, so I had the fun opportunity to reshape the education system to better match the themes I wanted to emphasize! Everything else was really fun, also, but the education system is the piece I'm probably most proud of.


Q: In the book's dedication, you include the phrase "Solio Deo Gloria." Can you tell us what that phrase means, and how it ties in with CG?

A: "Soli Deo Gloria" is Latin for "To God alone be the glory." As a Christian, I strive for all of my writing to reflect Christ and point to Him in some way, even if it's subtle. But I have to especially acknowledge God's influence on Calligraphy Guild because His hand has been over every step of the process. He smoothed over so much of the writing and editing process, blessing me with the insights I needed to draw out the themes and characters and make them stronger; He timed my meeting with other authors and readers perfectly when I needed help polishing the language and customs of Virilia or needed beta-readers or sensitivity readers; He has worked out every step of the process for the better, even in the difficult moments. I would be remiss not to acknowledge the Master Storyteller and His sovereign hand in bringing this book to completion.


Q: We often hear about what readers' takeaways when they finish a book, but are there any takeaways you have from your experience with CG as the author?

A: Ooh, good question. First of all, Calligraphy Guild has been a huge ongoing lesson in God's faithfulness. He's worked everything out in the perfect timing, which is extra cool when you consider the theme of sovereignty and purpose within the book. 

It's also been interesting to see which pieces of me, which things I'm passionate about, and which people I know end up represented in Calligraphy Guild. I'll catch little things I forgot I'd slipped in, or hadn't realized I'd slipped in; or traits in the characters where I can go, "Wait, that's something I would say about so-and-so." It's really fun reading it over again and seeing new things.


Q: Are there any takeaways you hope the reader will have?

A: I hope they'll be encouraged, and particularly that they'll be inspired to strengthen the communities around them. But I expect different readers will take away a lot of different things, and I'm excited to see how God uses Calligraphy Guild to affect different readers differently.


Q: The dragons in CG are portrayed uniquely from how they usually are in modern fantasy - both where personality, design, and even the context surrounding them is concerned. Were there any specific inspirations for these things?

A: The dragons are inspired by a few different portrayals I've seen, plus my own spin on things. Melody Jackson's Dragons' Bane series helped inspire the miniature dragons, for example; the Guardian dragons were inspired by more mainstream portrayals like Eragon. The thing about the mini dragons is that I wanted to somehow balance the fact that they're sentient with the fact that they're a lot like pets, so the mini dragons generally choose to spend their time around people and help them out, whether through advice or guarding a home or whatever the case may be. They're social creatures, so they enjoy hanging around people sort of like a pet would, but they do think for themselves and they would leave if they had reason to. (Some dragons would need less reason than others, lol.)

The Guardian dragons are pretty cool, too. This isn't something I initially planned, I guess, but it's cool how things work out when you have things subconsciously rattling around in your brain: Dragons are often portrayed as evil, which is actually a biblical concept. But as they're a large part of mythos, I think they can be subverted within storytelling (so long as we don't lose sight of the real Dragon and the fact that he is evil). One of my favorite ways to subvert evil creatures is to place them under subjection to the God-figure of the world they're in, and the Guardians are a peak example of this since they were instated to protect the timeline that Aomlan designed. They're in direct subjection to his will. This was all an element I realized after the whole thing was done, while I was working on promo content, and I just think it's really cool how that worked out.


Q: Can you give us some fun facts about the characters in CG?

A: Ryuu does some glass-blowing in his spare time (but shhh, don't tell him I told you). Duyên is named for a friend of mine whose middle name is Duyên. Sakura was inspired by my own younger sister (there's a paragraph in there about her fashion sense and... that was 100% based on my sister). Throughout the cast, I've included (or found) traits from at least half a dozen of my friends... and that doesn't count family members.


Q: CG is such a delightful story, rich with personality, uplifting themes, thought-provoking topics, vibrant characters, and so many other great things. So when I came to its end, I was a little sad to close the book and step back out of Hairen. 

That being said, what has it been like for you, as the author, to conclude this story?

A: Aw, thank you. The experience of finishing has been mixed, for me. On the one hand, I am sad to let go of these characters and I'm a little nervous to see what readers think of the book. On the other hand, it's been almost three years now (wow), so I'm mostly ready to set this aside for a while and I'm super excited to see the impact Calligraphy Guild has on readers!


Q: Do you have any intention of revisiting these characters and/or this world in future projects?

A: The world, absolutely. I have tons of ideas for Deseran as a whole, and a couple of ideas for Virilia specifically (including a Snow White retelling). As for the characters... we'll see. I have some ideas I could play around with. These characters' stories definitely extend beyond Calligraphy Guild. But that could be a ways down the road, so I don't want to get any hopes up.


-------


That concludes the interview! Thank you once again to R.M. Archer for stopping by and thank you, reader, for taking the time to read this! If you want to learn more about Archer and Calligraphy Guild, I strongly recommend you read these posts by other bloggers who participated in this release tour. Those will all be linked to at the bottom of this post. 

So what do you think, my friend? Has Calligraphy Guild caught your interest? Do you plan on buying it, or have you already preordered it? Do you have any thoughts or comments on it as a whole? I'd love to hear from you, so please do let me know in the comments below!  


Thank you again for reading this, and have a great day!


Other release tour participants and posts: 

Lavender Bleu – Author interview

Tasha Van Kesteren – Lai Duyên character interview

Kristina Hall Book review

Laura Morgan  Book review

Issabelle Perry – Tanh Ryuu character interview

Kayla Green – Book review

Dawn Dagger – Book review

Erin Phillips – Author interview

Kristianne Hassman Sairsha Kincaid character interview

Naomi Sowell – Book review

RaeMarie – Book review

Eden Anderson – Book spotlight

Miranda Lôi Tora character interview

Libby Powell – Author interview

Bethani Theresa Book review

Grace Johnson – Book review


R.M. Archer's own blog posts:

Underrated character relationships

Calligraphy Guild shout-outs


A Few of R.M. Archer's CG Instagram posts:

These are just some of her Making-Of post series (I would include all of them but there's quite a few. However if you read these and enjoy them, I do recommend search the others out). She also has a post series in which she gives little snippets of the book, so if you're curious about the story but you're not sold on it yet, please do go read those!

What Calligraphy Guild Is... And Is Not

To Relate & Reflect

Sovereignty & Purpose

Arranged & Ordered

Hope & Idealism

Community & Doing Life Together

The Impact of Art

Music With & In Calligraphy Guild


Note: I should have a book review for Calligraphy Guild coming out fairly soon. When I do, I'll edit this post to include the link.


P.S. That's 42 plugs total!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

[Tag] All About You and Around the Blogasphere

 


Greetings.

I was tagged in the All About You and Around the Blogasphere tag by the most Marvelous Mattie May of The Blossoming Writer, the lovely authoress who wrote and published the delightful  debut historical fiction novel Everlasting Gold

I am greatly in debt to Mattie for this, because as you can see I haven't posted in ages and really needed to get something out soon. Thanks to this tag, I can at last do that! Well I "could have" done it without the tag, but if I'm being honest, I would not have.



P.S. I would like to inform any bloggers who should happen to read this post that I am not going to be doing any blog tags that aren't themed around writing or reading, with some occasional exceptions. So if you by chance see this and stash away my blog name for future tags so you needn't go hunting later (it's okay, I do it too), please keep this in mind. Thank you!


Onto the tag!


Rules 

-Answer the following questions

-Tag at least a couple other bloggers

-Have them answer these questions


Questions

What's your favorite book/book series and why?

Wellwellwell, if it isn't the question I'm never capable of answering...
Alright I'm going to cheat and divide this up into very specific categories so as many of my favorites can fit into this as possible (if the NY Times can do it, so can I).

My favorite standalone would be The Last Dragon by Silvana De Mari. 

    I have loved this book since the very beginning of Bleeding Ink, and some time before it. I would say that it's the first book that showed me what my taste in books is.
I had read books that I loved before it (many a historical fiction novel and The Hunger Games trilogy being the ones that come to mind), but while I loved those books none of them were me. But in The Last Dragon, I really found myself in the voice of the book, in the world, in the characters. All of these things in ways which I really would not have expected. 
It also was one of the very first fantasies that I read, and so it also introduced much of my very favorite genre to me.
So many kudos and cookies are due to the translator who brought Mari's wonderful story to english-speaking readers such as myself.


My favorite MG fantasy series is The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan. 

These books are so much fun. They're just loose adventures with endearing characters and a healthy amount of emotional issues. Halt and Will's mentor-mentee relationship is one of my favorite things ever, the horses are precious, the world is easy and fun, and the action is pretty good too.
I love them so much and I am delighted that they exist (though I am only in the third book so far). 

 
My favorite YA fantasy trilogy is the Dragons' Bane trilogy by Melody Jackson.

    This trilogy catches a lot of flack and is generally disliked by many people who read it. But it will forever hold a very near and dear place in my heart. There's so much depth to it, so much intention. It's easy to miss when you read it the first time, or even if you just read it without the willingness to see things a bit differently from how you're naturally inclined to. 
But once you see it, and once you follow the breadcrumbs of all the hidden amazingness, it is so, so cool. Not to mention, the emotion and humor and characters are just wonderful.
I have so much respect for what Jackson did with this trilogy, for the careful execution of the story and for one character and their arch in particular. 


My favorite adult fantasy series is The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.

This series. It is phenomenal. 
 

My favorite YA sci-fi trilogy is The Fire Rain Chronicles by Miranda Marie.

    This trilogy was so. good. It's got a few things I really wasn't big on, but as a whole the characters, the overarching story, the prose - they were so solid. Marie did a great job on this trilogy and merged sci-fi, dystopia, and just a hint of fantasy together in such a delightful way.
This story is also very intense at times and I quite literally zoomed through all three books because of ye olden "I have to know what happens next" feelings in addition to the general fast-paced nature of it all.
Talking about this is making me feel that a re-read is due...


My favorite classic novel is  Great Expectations (I say, having not finished it even after five years)  or the Jane Eyre.

    But see this isn't even accurate because I read a lot of classics. So many. Because they're so easy to get a hold of in audiobook or physical copy, I probably read more classics than anything else. Besides that they're just so good, and have so much to offer that modern fiction doesn't.
I just really love classics.
Sherlock, Austen, Tolkien, Lewis, Twain, Montgomery, Alcott... I don't know, there's just so many books to love! Even getting into oddly specific categories won't fit everything in...

But anyways, I'll at least talk about the two I mentioned. Just know that there are many, many more and these are only two of them all.

Great Expectations - I just love this book so much. The atmosphere, the foreshadowing, the characters, the prose, the meaning, the depth, Joe Gargery. One can't not love Great Expectations. Well, unless you hate it because of the pain it gives you, but even then, that's still loving it. 

Jane Eyre - Another one of my favorites that catches much flack! Why must my reading taste be so controversial... Anyways I love this one not for the gothic appeal (I didn't even know this book was paraded as a gothic romance until after I read it, and only picked up on the occasional gothic feeling when I was reading) nor the romance (though it is there, I didn't see it as the focus at all, and also don't find it to be problematic as so many readers seem to) but for Jane. Jane is so very precious. She's so strong and endearing and beautiful, an absolute treasure of a character. 
She stands for what she believes, she- ... oh wait that's a spoiler. Basically she sacrifices things she loves, things she wants, for what she knows is good and right. She is such a good role model and definetly one of those characters I can think back on and find comfort and courage in.

(slipping in an extra here because talking about controversial opinions reminded me...) Dracula - I loved Dracula by Bram Stoker. Loved it, I tell you. And I hate vampires. So why did I love this book so much? The CHARACTERS. Oh my word did I love these characters. The bond they all had for each other, the deep love and care they had as a group, the strength and endurance they all showed in such traumatic situations- AH I just LOVE IT. 

Now liking Dracula isn't the controversial part. The controversial part is me saying that I didn't find it to be a deep conversation on the role of womanhood. Granted, I haven't studied Bram as I have other writers, so I really wouldn't know. But I read the book just as the book, and found the ladies to be lovely and strong (though they weren't my favorite characters), and the way the men treated them made lots of sense given the story and also just seemed normal and sweet? They all cared for them in different ways, as people tend to. 
But that is, perhaps, a conversation for another post in which I can talk full spoilers. 


My favorite children's novel is either Peter Pan or Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.

    I really love both of these books so much. They have two very different approaches to very similar topics. They're both about a child who goes into another world filled with magic and adventure.
But Peter Pan is a bit more dramatic when you think about it, and a bit tragic though in a good sort of way. It's full of fun and swashbuckling, little boy mischief and magic, and all sorts of wonderful things. But there's also quite a bit of deepness to it that hits every so often.
Peter Pan is definetly good just as a story, but it's also a very good conversation with young people about childhood and growing up (and even adults). 

Meanwhile, Alice In Wonderland is literal nonsense. Not in the romantic gothic way which people insist upon depicting it, but in a crazy, wacky, funny, absolutely perplexing way. Jam-in-a-watch sort of way. March-around-in-a-circle-while-water-washes-over-you-to-dry-off sort of way. Talk-to-a-stoner-caterpillar-and-take-his-advice-about-eating-mushrooms sort of way.  
Alice In Wonderland is pure fun nonsense. That is literally why Carroll came up with it - he was telling a story to a little girl named Alice, her sisters, and his friend, and Alice requested a story about complete nonsense. 
It's not a deep conversation, it's not got symbolism, it's just unhinged lunacy. It's funny and delightful, but it isn't deep (though you may say it's deep into madness). 

So I love both of these stories very much, for two very different reasons.



What is your favorite food?

Food is largely an unfortunate necessity for me and I don't really care for it as a whole (excluding chocolate. That does not count).  But I quite enjoy rice and various ways in which it is prepared, especially with bell peppers. 


Who is your favorite author?

I- I don't know.
I... don't know.
*returns to my crisis from earlier* 
I love so many authors. I have consistently enjoyed the majority of Jane Austen, Miranda Marie, Brandon Sanderson, and L.M. Montgomery. I know there's more but I'm just gonna cut it off there otherwise we really will be here forever.



What gives you inspiration for your books?

I always find this to be a bit of a silly question. What doesn't inspire me? A literal jar of soap inspired me once. Here I might actually have a picture...


Yeah that's poor quality but there it is. Literal cylinder of soap.
It inspired a mermaid story.

Anything and everything has the potential to inspire me. Once I heard a lady's name, and that sparked a whole story. Sometimes a random phrase will pop into my head and I'll turn it into something. Sometimes I'll hear a song and get a story out of it. 
There's no exact source, it's just life itself, really.

Though I suppose visuals are something that tend to generally inspire me. I have a collection of pictures of things that just sparked something in me, but those things haven't been turned into stories. 


If we want to be more specific, what inspired the stories I already have established and am working on, then that's still a wide variety of answers. The original spark for Roslyn was a prompt that said something about a character being turned into an inanimate object, the example being a chair or something. "Well that's weird," thought I, "and sounds like it'd be the makings of a comedy."
Then I paused and was like "WAIT." as the story of Roslyn was born in my mind.

The Rising was sparked into existence via the Bible. I have long stood on the perspective that the Bible is a high-fantasy story that is real. There's a magic system - it's God. There's dragons. There's battles and wars. There's kings and queens and princes and princesses. Rival kingdoms. Blessings, curses. Angels, demons. Swords.  Mountains. Sacrifice. Love. Passion. Honor. Duty. All that good stuff. 
And now I'm working on a story all about that. Using these amazing people as characters, using this amazing story as inspiration. It's not a re-telling nor is it a novelization. It isn't allegory. I don't know how to explain it. It's kind of its own thing, but it would be nowhere without the Bible.

Unnamed (yes that's its actual name) was inspired by a game called "Off," and a few personal things.

The Experiment was initially inspired by a song.

The Little People of Their Place was inspired by the true story of the girls who "invented" fairies (they didn't actually invent them, but they're credited for it. They're two sisters who basically faked photos and stuff. Long story) as well as the novel The Silver Donkey


So once again, anything and everything has the potential to inspire me.



If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Like Mattie, I will say the mountains. Mountains or tucked away in Ireland's countryside, surrounded by trees and possibly a marsh not too far away. Basically somewhere green and cool with privacy, away from roads and man-made noises, and somewhere that I can keep a garden. Preferably in a cabin or cottage.




Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I dislike these terms as people use them for their identities, which is silly. But I am indeed an introvert; I introspect and gain energy from time apart from people via reading, creating, and praying. 
As all introverts are required to say (similarly to how all extroverts are required to say they do like time to themselves), I do love people and quite enjoy spending time with them. I also often "borrow" the energy of other people (an interesting survival tactic that comes naturally to quite a few people), but have a warm up period and can grow tired fairly easily depending on the time of social interaction I am having.



If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

I do not know. I live with me 24/7,  you see, and am desensitized to my own ways. Based off of my dear sister Liana's descriptions of me, perhaps something along these lines, "Caution: Appears to be a regular human. Is in fact a goblin. Goblin side will only come out after you have gotten to know the human very well with plenty of face-to-face interaction. To avoid exposure to the goblin tendencies, refrain from becoming close with this creature. Goblin is not inherently dangerous but can behave in spontaneous and occasionally hazardous ways." 




Ye Whom I Tag:

Julia from Julia's Creative Corner

Allie from Of Rainy Days and Stardust Veins

Libby from Thoughts from a Stumbling Saint



Alright my inky friends, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the post. If you're a blogger, please feel free to tag yourself and write out your answers on your own website. If you're just a reader but have your own answers you'd like to give, please feel free to do so in the comments below.


Until next time.

- E.P.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

New indie giveaway!

 

Hello there my inky friends,

I'm just dropping you a quick note to let you know that I'm hosting another giveaway, this time on NoQu. You can see more information about it on the "Giveaways" page here, or you can click here and be brought directly to NoQu's giveaway page.

Thanks!

- Edna Pellen

Monday, January 24, 2022

Cover Reveal: Calligraphy Guild by R.M. Archer

 


Hello my inky friends,

I have been anticipating this moment. Being signed up for R.M. Archer's newsletter, I got to see the cover early (which is a good reason for why you should go sign up for her newsletter. now. NOW.) and so finally being able to plaster this everywhere is thrilling. 


BUT FIRST. Let's tell you a bit about it.


Dragon ink gives calligraphers the power to set history in stone—or to change it.

Lai Duyên’s dreams are realized when she’s admitted into the ranks of the calligraphers, authors considered trustworthy enough to defend time from those who would change it. She’s thrilled at the opportunity to record her country’s history, and to work with the other calligraphers in her village.

But when Duyên’s guild is set upon by ancient dragons demanding a time-changer be destroyed, her world is flipped upside down. Her guildmates turn on each other, suspicion coloring their every move. To make matters worse, she’s begun hearing the dragons in her head and finds them impossible to block out: a condition that rendered her grandmother insane.

With the calligraphy guild in turmoil and Duyên’s ever-present fear of madness clouding her vision, will the group be able to discover which of their guildmates has altered time before the dragons pass judgment on them all?


ALRIGHT AND NOW FOR THE COVER.
































































































THAR SHE ISSSSSSSSSS.

ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL.


And. As is the trend with these cover reveals. The book. Is coming out. THIS YEAR. This SUMMER. It's cOMING. AND SO.

To hype this up, I will indeed be running another giveaway for another one of R.M. Archer's works which is related to Calligraphy Guild. It will be hosted on NoQu starting February 1st, so if you're interested in that be sure to check in over there. Or, if you're not interested in needing to stalk another blog, just check back in on the "giveaways" page here on Bleeding Ink.

But MORE IMPORTANTLY. Go sign up for R.M. Archer's newsletter! AND follow her on Instagram! Go do the things! And share her graphics and whatnot! ANDANDANDAND. Go comment on Archer's cover reveal to hype her up!

AND SHARE THIS GRAPHIC.






GO FORTH AND DO THE THING.


Alright that's all for now. I don't want to hype everything to the extreme just yet, since we do have about five more months between now and the release.

BUT.  I am very excited. And I will be posting more on this book in the months to come. Because I am excited. And you should be too. Because this book is just so endearing and adfghkjl

*Clears throat*

Anyways.

That's all for this post. Please do go show Calligraphy some love on all the socials via sharing that graphic, commenting on all of Archer's socials, and just generally blowing this book up because my friends, Ariel has been putting so much love and work into this book and it shows.


Okay now that's really all for this time. I'll write to you some time hopefully soon!


- E.P.

Calligraphy Guild | Book Review

Hello, my inky friends! Today I have for you a book review for what is probably my favorite book of the year: Calligraphy Guild! I am so so ...