Wednesday, September 5, 2012

End of Summer Bash: Party with Anne Elisabeth Stengl!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl's books are powerful - beautifully imagined fantasy with beautiful themes! You can read my review of Veiled Rose, the second book in the "Tales of Goldstone Wood" series, HERE. And my review of Starflower - the book we're featuring today! - will be coming sometime in October or November! Can I just say I cannot WAIT to read it? =)

Today you have a chance to learn more about Starflower, as well as chance to win any one book in the series! Read on to learn more...

Amber: So glad to have you visit, Anne!

What’s one summer-themed song you would love to hear at an “end-of-summer” party?

Anne: Well, at risk of sounding terribly cliché, I suppose my favorite summer song would be the "Summertime" aria from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. It's such a gorgeous song, and I've performed it myself back in my jazz-singing days! Not an upbeat melody so much as lazy and a little melancholy, just like the end of summer should be.


Amber: I found this strictly instrumental version of "Summertime," as performed by the Vienna Symphonic Rock Orchestra. I like the sound of it - and I agree that it's a wonderful "summer-is-winding-down" song!

So, if the heroine of Starflower was planning an “end-of-summer” party, what might it look like?

Anne: As a girl, Starflower, the heroine in my upcoming novel, looks forward to the close of summer because it marks the end of the Campaigning Season when all the warriors of her village return from battle. An end-of-summer party would be an enormous, village-wide celebration to welcome the warriors home, and Starflower would be very busy preparing a great feast! She would harvest mangos from the grove near her father's house to brew up mango cider, which she must do by herself now, since her mother died . . . though her baby sister, Fairbird, might try to "help!"
One of the favorite celebration foods Starflower would make would be a very spicy dish of onions and little fish caught from the stream nearby. She would cut up the onions and mix them with spices she ground herself, cinnamon and ginger and peppers grown in her own garden. If she can get her hands on a little sugar, she'll add that as well and cook it all up on a hot stone over coals, adding chunks of fish as it cooks. All the warriors home from battle will love this flavorful concoction!

Starflower would not be allowed to participate in the games, however. Young boys of the village will have foot races, spear-throwing competitions, wrestling matches and, though I'm sorry to say it, dog fights. Starflower disapproves of the dog fights, and she won't let her little sister watch.

When evening falls, Starflower might be allowed to perform the end-of-summer dance with the other young girls of her village, while the older women beat drums and the Eldest of the village sings in his deep, warrior's voice. This song would honor both those who died in battle and the summer coming to its end, preparing for the dying time of autumn and the sleeping time of winter. Starflower always cries when she hears this song, for it makes her think of her dead mother.

Amber: I love your descriptions, Anne! Sounds like an exciting, moving time. 

Now for the hero of Starflower… What would he look forward to most about autumn?

Anne: The hero of Starflower is an immortal Faerie, and he doesn't pay a great deal of attention to passing seasons or even years. He lives in Rudiobus, a Faerie kingdom, where Autumn visits only upon occasion.When Autumn does come to Rudiobus, however, the Merry People throw a great festival! And my hero, Eanrin, who is the king's Chief Poet, will compose a song to honor the autumn, and the changing colors, and the dying that must come before life renews. His song might even look something like this:

Remnants of colored silk, each leaf must fall 
In scattered storm of gold and red and umber 
To lie beneath the trees bereft and tall, 
And clothe the ground in blankets meant for slumber. 
Lord Lumé and his Lady, in ever-turning dance 
Across the sky shine soft upon the waning year 
And pause mid-step to cast a caring glance 
On quiet sleeps of death, and drop a tear 
To fall in solemn vow of songs to come 
And life renewed. But now, dear world, sleep on! 
And wait, wait, wait to hear again the song. 

Amber: That's beautiful!! (But don't tell Sir Eanrin - he already has enough of an ego, I'm thinking! *Wink*) Sir Eanrin is a favorite of many, so I'm sure there are lots of readers (like me!) who are excited that he is the hero of Starflower

Please share a little more about your latest release. We’d love a brief snippet if you’d care to share one!

Anne: My upcoming novel, Starflower, is the fourth book in the "Tales of Goldstone Wood," an award-winning series of novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style. Starflower tells the story of immortal Eanrin whose ladylove is kidnapped by an evil dragon. He and his rival for that lady's hand set out on a race to rescue the fair maid. But while on this quest, Eanrin comes across a mortal girl caught in an enchanted sleep. Should he leave her where she lies . . . or wake her and risk getting caught up into a dark adventure far beyond anything he ever dreamed? If you're curious, here's a sneak peek...

~ Excerpt from Starflower ~

The girl did not stir when Eanrin lifted her into his arms; her sleep was profound indeed. Her head lolled over his arm, and he was obliged to part her thick hair to uncover her face. It was an uncommonly beautiful face for a mortal.

However, this girl’s beauty was different from any he had ever before seen. For one thing, her skin was rich dark brown, and her hair glossy black. For another, she was imperfect. Her teeth, visible between gently parted lips, were a little crooked. Mud stained her skin, making it darker still, and her brow, even in sleep, was puckered with anxiety or fear. Her dreams must be wicked indeed.

Eanrin grimaced at the sight and almost put her down again. After all, a princess with dreams like those probably had a tale of woe to match. She would certainly wake with expectations of a handsome hero to aid her. As far as Eanrin was concerned, a dash of heroism was one thing, but commitment to a cause? Never. Rushing off to the rescue of Lady Gleamdren was different, for he had determined that she must be his wife and the sole inspiration to his life’s work. Besides, he loved her.

This creature meant nothing to him.

But blood oozed from the abrasions on her wrists. And her body, mortal and vulnerable, lay in his arms. Eanrin rolled his eyes heavenward as though to seek some holy aid. Then he braced himself and wiped the mud off her lips with the edge of his cloak. She frowned in her sleep and stirred, but did not wake.

“Nothing for it,” he muttered. Closing his eyes and trying not to smell her any more than he must, he leaned in and kissed her . . .

~ End of Excerpt ~ 

But you'll have to pick up Starflower to see what happens from there!

Amber: Oooh, that's so cruel, Anne! What a place to stop! ;) Can't wait to pick up the book and continue reading. Thank you for sharing with us!


Readers, Anne has a special giveaway to share with you: 

"I'm game to do an international giveaway. The winner may choose any one of the four 'Tales of Goldstone Wood' - Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, or Starflower - as her prize. However, winner, if you choose Starflower, you'll have to wait a few months, since that novel does not release until November!"

For a chance to win, just leave a comment for Anne, including your name and e-mail address, as well as your book choice. All "End of Summer Bash" winners will be announced on Saturday, September 8th.

*This giveaway is open internationally.*

My 2 cents: I think this series is best appreciated in order, so if you're new to the "Tales of Goldstone Wood," I highly recommend starting with Heartless. However, my favorite of the series so far is Moonblood. Of course, the decision is up to you, and I really don't think you can go wrong with any of her books, but I'd just thought I'd throw that all in!

As for tomorrow's guest, she writes historical romances with a Western theme, suspense, and a strong emphasis on faith. So come on over to learn about her latest book - and enter for a chance to win it!

(Music video found on YouTube.)

31 comments:

Miranda said...

Anne,
Just reading the excerpt got me hooked! I'm definitely looking out for this one!
I must confess that I'm drawn by the beauty and simplicity of your descriptions. And to add poetry to it, that just nails it! Nothing makes creativity shine more when two or more kinds of art are merged together to form a work of art. Makes for a fun write and delightful read doesn't it?

Wishing you a happy end of summer bash! :):)

Amber,
Great interview! Totally enjoyed the party too. Took your two cents into consideration but this excerpt has got me good! ;) So 'Starflower" it is!

Keep the parties coming and have a great day! :):)

Rachel said...

Wow! What a great interview! You do have amazing descriptions, Anne Elizabeth. And the faerietale ambiance... I love your stories.

That is indeed a very cruel ending to an excerpt. I dearly want to find out "what happens from there," but... sigh. Best to go in order. So,

Rachel McClamroch
bigskies98(at)gmail(dot)com
Veiled Rose, please!

Clara Darling said...

Anne Elisabeth, you have me hooked! I cannot wait for Starflower!

limwenclara17@gmail.com
I would LOVE a copy of Moonblood!

cgehman2 said...

I liked the interview. The song is slow and lazy. Thankyou for doing a giveaway.

cgehman2@aol.com
I'd also love a copy of Moonblood!

-Caitlyn

Rina said...

What a great interview! Loved the questions Amber! (By the way do you know Kimberly L.? She's still at Corbin.)

Anne Elisabeth, thank you for giving us a glimpse into Starflower's personality. But most especially thank you for opening up this giveaway internationally!!! I can't wait to hold a copy of Starflower.

kentiapalm a g mail address

Liz R said...

Great interview! I loves the except and have to find out what happens now. I'd love to win a copy of Starflower!

ecriggs1990@aol.com

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Hi, everyone! I'm so glad you've enjoyed the sneak peek . . . I am so eager to share the rest of the story with all of you! It goes on some crazy twists and turns, and I just loved writing it. :)

This was probably the most fun interview I have ever done. Such creative questions! Well done, Amber, creating this End of Summer Bash. It really feels like a party!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh I can't wait for Starflower to come out!! It's going to be awesome! :D

Laura Pol
sylvesternator@yahoo.com
Starflower

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I need to catch up on the series by reading "Moonblood" so I can find out all about "Starflower"!! She sounds very intriguing...

Anna

"Moonblood"

Anonymous said...

Oops,

anna.r.thompson@att.net

Anna

Molly said...

I loved reading the interview!

roy.septima@gmail.com

umm.....I'm undecided at the moment, but IF I win, I'll tell you then (and if I don't win then it's okay or just ask Anne Elisabeth ;)

Anna C. said...

Anne,
I have decided to like Eanrin more than Felix. It was a difficult decision, but how can one not like a Cat-Man?
That being said, I can't wait for "Starflower" to come out! As soon as I heard about its release, I rushed to our library's website and placed it on order. :)
The excerpt above was very enticing, but entirely unfair. Now we shall all have to wait two months for the release of the book to find out what happens. But I suppose that just adds to the fun. :)

Thank you for the glimps of Starflower! And thank you, Amber, for the wonderful interview!

daughteroflight@netzero.net
Veiled Rose, please!

Abbi Hart said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this series! Two of my older sisters have read and loved them!
I probably choose Heartless, so I could have the first book!
gatorade635(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Anne, I've read Heartless and Veiled Rose... and I can not WAIT to read the next two when they come to my library system!! :) I love fantasy, and yours have captivated me!
I also enjoy writing fantasy (Christian allegories); and I admire your ability to weave such beautiful, heart-wrenching, and mysterious stories.
God bless you! Keep writing for His glory!! :)

Thanks so much for the giveaway! I would love to win! :D

-Shantelle (shantelle@truevine.net)

Lynnette Bonner said...

Mango cider sounds delicious and I'm going to have to try that fish and onion dish for myself! I had to grab something to eat after reading that. ;)

Looks like an interesting set of stories.

Bluerose said...

I'm unbelievably excited to read more about Eanrin! In my excitement, I keep thinking Starflower comes out in October, and then I'm disappointed again every time I realize I have to wait all the way to November(even if it is on the 1st). :) I can't wait! Very fun interview, too!

(I already have the other books, so I'd definitely pick Starflower).

bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

Amber S. said...

Lovely to see you all here - and to hear about your enthusiasm for Anne's books (I heartily agree that they're beautiful!)! :)

RINA: I'm glad you liked the questions! It's always fun to see what I can come up with in regards to the "seasons" theme. :) And yes, I do in fact know Kimberly L! She's a sweet, awesome person. :) What a small world this is!

ANNE: I'm honored that you enjoyed doing the interview - you are too kind! :) It's my pleasure to host you, and I agree with all these readers that Starflower can't get here soon enough!

~Amber

Rebekah Hart said...

Hi, Ms. Stengl,
Thank you so much for this giveaway opportunity. I'm reading 'Moonblood' right now and am LOVING it. Your description is awesome!
'Starflower' would be my book of choice. My email is bekaboobear(at)gmail(dot)com
-Rebekah Hart

Miranda said...

P.S. It's mirandarimi@yahoo.com :):)

Miranda

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Thank you for all these lovely comments! It's wonderful to hear from those who have read and loved various books from the series . . . and wonderful to hear from those of you who are just coming to the Tales of Goldstone Wood. :) I am very excited to share more about Eanrin in this upcoming novel . . . he is my favorite character in this whole series.

@Lynette: The onion dish is based off of a Sri Lankan meal that my husband (who was born in Sri Lanka) makes for me. It is a tremendously flavorful dish and so unusual . . . entirely different from anything you'll find in Western cooking!

If anyone is interested, I can post a recipe similar to what I desscribed Starflower making (only, you won't have to cook it over hot stones! LOL.)

Lacee Hogg said...

I was so thrilled to discover your series! The books definitely have a timeless quality about them--I enjoy reading them now and I can't wait to read them to my child when he is a little bit older.

My e-mail is laceelh@gmail.com and I would choose Starflower. Worth the wait.

Rina said...

Amber: It's so neat how small this world is sometimes! I don't know how well or how long you've know Kimberly, but maybe we even met. I was up there with her family in November of 2010 when Kimberly was in a play.
I think I will refer back to some of your author interviews for inspiration the next time I do something of the sort. :-)

Amber S. said...

Rina,

For sure! And that would have been so interesting if we met, LOL! :) I met Kimberly during orientation, I think - and her aunt, Mrs. Loudermilk was there (she was my middle school history teacher).

And craziness of all craziness - I was actually in that play!! Granted, I was only in the chorus, but still. ;) Kimberly played the part of Mrs. Metcalfe during some sort of fair competition, and I was "Mrs. Metcalfe's friend" who had one line during that scene. ;)

Anyway, how fun this is! :) And I'm honored you enjoy my author interviews!

~Amber

Natalie said...

Thank you Anne and Amber for sharing this! I've JUST finished reading Moonblood (last night) and could NOT put it down. Am I right in thinking Starflower is all about Eanrin and Imraldera's backstory? If so I can't wait to read it! I would love a copy to read on the plane when I go overseas in January (I might even be able to read it in one sitting -- it's a long flight). My email is nryan.design@gmail.com. Keep up the fantastic writing!

Laura Frantz said...

Hi Anne and Amber, So good to meet Anne here today! Her covers are just beautiful and I know the writing is the same. Bless you both!

Barka said...

Thanks for the little glimpse into Starflower. Just curious how an immortal Faerie would lose a mother.

Anyway, having read the last three books, my book of choice would be Starflower.

Bruce
bjakeway@gmail.com

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Barka: Oh, do you mean Starflower's mother? Starflower isn't immortal. She's very much a mortal from a primitive nation where death is a common part of a daily existence.

Nice to hear from the male readership! Glad you enjoyed the first three. :)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait! :) I adored the first three books and have been patiently (kinda, lol) awaiting the fourth! :) Now I'm even more excited! If possible I'd really appreciate Starflower!
Tessa
revglenn.tami@yahoo.com

Amber S. said...

TESSA: I totally know what you mean - the first three books are awesome, and this one promises to be amazing, too!

As for this particular giveaway, it just ended last night. :( I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to enter this one before it ended, but I do hope you get a chance to read Starflower when it releases!

~Amber

Rina said...

Amber,

That's crazy that you were in the play as well! I probably saw you then, although truth be told, I don't remember much about the play other than the main characters.

I mentioned to Kimberly on Fb about "meeting" you here and her mom commented as well, both mentioned the aunt/sister. :-)

~Rina

Amber S. said...

Rina,

That's OK - it was three years ago, and I was just in the chorus, so I can't blame you! ;) And that's so fun that Kimberly and her mom both mentioned that! Not to force you to be my go-between or anything, but if you happen to find the opportunity, please let them know I said "hi!" :)

So glad we could "meet" here in the blogosphere!

~Amber