Masquerade: Oddly Suited
1- Chelsea, what's your favorite Disney trivia question to stump others with?
Chelsea - My Disney trivia superpower lay in song guessing. Give me the first five seconds of any Disney song, and I’m already singing the chorus. But for this question, I’ll go with: What are the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty?
Don't worry, the answer is at the end! Think instead of seach, dear readers.
2- Anstice, you're an INFJ. I'm an ESTP. We're Myers-Briggs opposites. Do you ever use the personality test when writing fictional characters?
Anstice - I do, all the time! I think it’s a great tool for figuring out a character’s potential reactions to different situations. I have a huge chart I like to fill in to get to know my characters better, and it includes their MBTI type, Hogwarts house and Divergent faction.
3- Would you each please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Chelsea - A crappy first draft is better than a non-existent one.
Anstice - Read as much as you can, including genres and forms you don’t write in.
4- What was your inspiration for the story in Masquerade: Oddly Suited?
Chelsea - I have this whole anecdote about Bing images but I’ll simplify it for you. A few days before the end of the contest, I read about a lake you can windsurf on in Italy. It spawned an epic google hole and I thought it would be a really lush, exotic place for two love birds on the run. I sprinkled in some dystopian vibes, added a villain, and voila! Remedy.
Anstice - I was pondering the different meanings of the word ‘masquerade’ for weeks and I had a vague idea about a shapeshifter who was never seen in her true form, and how she felt alone and misunderstood. The feeling of loneliness led me to imagine a remote Scottish island. Then I began thinking of creatures from Scottish mythology like selkies and kelpies, and my main character shaped herself into a siren.
5- What are your Twitter handles, and do you have two friends each on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
Chelsea - My twitter handle is cecerumba. It’s a nickname my mom gave me when I was a wee babe. As for #WriterWednesday, I just did #febfrenzy with @LacieWaldon and she’s amazing. Also @jendwrites! She’s a local author I met at an expo, and she’s been a huge help with every step of the process. Definitely good follows.
Anstice - My twitter is @AnsticeBrown. Shout-out to @miladyronel who writes imaginative fantasy and folklore and @JazzFeathers, who writes unique historical fantasy set in the 1920s. Both are amazing writers who always leave thoughtful and supportive blog comments.
Anstice, I know Ronel and Sarah too! They're awesome. Small world.
6- Chelsea, my fellow Pennsylvanian, would you share a picture with us of your favorite local food or place?
Chelsea - Fellow Pennsylvanian! Woot woot! You mean besides my local library, right? My favorite local place is my alma mater, Arcadia University. Specifically, Grey Tower's Castle. It’s beautiful and near Halloween, they give ghost tours about the tunnels under the campus and the general creepiness of the castle. There is also some delish vegetarian General Tso’s at Queen’s Sushi in Keswick if you’re ever in the area.
7- What's the best part of being in the Harry Potter fandom?
Chelsea - Oh man, I love the way the Harry Potter fandom transcends boundaries. You could be the sportiest jock or the smartest computer whiz but ask them what house they are from and suddenly everyone is debating Draco’s character arc. Plus, Hogwarts is always my home. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of rereading the series and experiencing the magic over and over again.
Anstice - I second what Chelsea said. It’s such an inclusive community where anyone is welcome. The mystery, magic and adventure in the books are something all ages can enjoy. Plus, there are spin-offs like Fantastic Beasts and a wealth of fan-fiction to keep us going forever.
8- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Chelsea - This is going to be the worst thing I’ve ever said, but the cover. I know, I know! I shouldn’t judge, but I am a sucker for a pretty cover! Recommendations too. But if I pick it up and read the back I’m usually sold.
Anstice - A recommendation from one of my favourite book bloggers usually ignites my interest. But I get drawn in by beautiful covers too, especially if they have a mythical creature on the front.
9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Chelsea - Author name: @Marianne_Curley
Title: Old Magic
Love because: it’s a time travel young adult novel centered around realistic witchy-ness and out of control powers and angst. Realistically, it has everything anyone into paranormal young adult fiction could ask for. It’s also one of my all-time favorite books. I’m pretty sure I’ve read it a million times.
10- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Anstice - Author name: @lainitaylor
Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Love because: it’s filled with interesting and funny characters, unique mythology and epic romance. I fell in love with Taylor’s beautiful, lyrical prose by the end of chapter one. All her books have the same dreamlike quality.
11- Anstice, congratulations on ten years of blogging. What's the best tip you have for a blogger who is just starting out?
Anstice - Thank you! My advice is not to put too much pressure on yourself to be “successful”. Most blogs don’t gain hundreds of followers overnight, it’s something that happens gradually when you build a relationship with your readers. You don’t have to post every day or say ‘yes’ to every review opportunity-go at your own pace and enjoy it!
12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
Chelsea - Allmyfriendsarefiction is amazing. She legit made a book throne. Twice. Also, I’m a sucker for a good shelfie. I mostly just alphabetize because I’m neurotic so seeing beautiful bookshelf displays warms my heart.
Anstice - I love mo_the_bookish for her light and pretty pics filled with flowers. Foldedpagesdistillery always includes such interesting props and oliviascatastrophe is so creative with her editing.
Small world getting smaller! I follow Olivia on Pinterest!
13- Anstice -Would you share a picture with us of something with a "Pride of Britain" style?
Anstice - Here is a picture of the quintessentially British Bondville Model Village in Yorkshire which I visited a few years ago.
14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters from Masquerade: Oddly Suited?
Chelsea - I’d have to say my characters masks. We’ll go with Remy. He’s got this pigeon mask and the way I imagined it, it was made of drab, gray feathers but when he turns his head, the feathers had a rainbow sheen. Kind of like him: full of hidden beauty.
Anstice - Probably the way the sirens in Sea of Sorrows communicate telepathically with each other. They have a very close bond and can sense each other’s emotions.
15- In what ways are the characters in your story in Masquerade: Oddly Suited diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Chelsea - Diversity, in my option, is more than race or skin color. It bridges mental and neurodiversity as well. In Remedy, one of my characters suffers from an anxiety attack of sorts, despite looking “normal” on the outside. Despite being strong and sassy moments earlier. I think it’s important to be aware of #ownvoices and anxiety is something I’ve always struggled with, so it felt the most organic to incorporate that kind of diversity into Remedy.
Anstice - Sea of Sorrows is centred around the female experience and could raise questions about how young girls are expected to appear and behave, and how they can be used by those who seek power. But Mairg’s feelings of being isolated and treated as ‘other’ by those who don’t understand her could relate to many diverse experiences. The story was also partly inspired by my own past struggle with depression.
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?
Chelsea - I’m a big fan of my friend from college, Meghan Wright at #ohwrightreads. Her reviews are short enough that I can read them while browsing Instagram or Facebook but through enough to convey plot and feel of the book. I’ve picked up many a book because of her and crossed some off my TBR list too.
Anstice - There are so many book bloggers I adore, but my must follow blogger is Amber of The Literary Phoenix (https://theliteraryphoenix.com/ ). Her tastes are so similar to mine and her reviews are always detailed and well considered. I’ve read several books on her recommendation.
17- What's your favorite part of the IWSG?
Chelsea - The support. After I finished my first draft of my first novel, and I went …uh now what? I found the IWSG. I read about imposter syndrome and how I wasn’t alone in feeling like I wasn’t a “real” author. I wasn’t alone in feeling like my work wasn’t good enough or being cripplingly insecure. So, I stalked the posts and gathered up every bread crumb of advice I could. Now, I’m a little bit more involved and busier, but I still like to check in for the first Wednesday of the month posts and read the articles posted on Twitter.
Anstice - I agree with Chelsea; the IWSG is so supportive and always there to provide helpful advice and constructive feedback. Taking part in the various challenges has encouraged me to ‘come out of my shell’ as a writer and have the confidence to share more of my work. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in feeling insecure about my writing sometimes.
18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?
Chelsea - I didn’t understand the importance of reviews until I wrote a book. Yes, reviews help sell. Yes, reviews boost ratings and turn other people on to a novel. But as an author, I just want to know what people thought of my book! If they had a favorite character or if they especially hated the car in scene three. It boggles my mind that we can reach out to authors and let them know what we thought of the musings from their head. The world is a magnificent place.
Anstice - Reviews are a great way to help your favourite authors gain more visibility, and also to introduce others to wonderful books they may not have heard of. I always read reviews on Goodreads before I buy a book to get an idea of whether I will like it or not. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to read reviews of my own work, though!
19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
And hey, Chelsea, what was the answer to the trivia from question one?
Chelsea - Get at me with your Harry Potter comments! I ship Dramione and I am ready to defend its honor with my life! But seriously, what do you guys like to see from your authors? Pretty bookstagrams? Blog posts? Funny tweets? What makes you feel connected with not just their book but them?
The answer is Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite princess because napping is what I wish I could do every day and Maleficent is the legit best Disney villain. If I didn’t get invited to a party, I would totally curse an entire kingdom too.
Anstice - Who are your favourite authors? I’d also like to know what topics you enjoy reading on author blogs. Do you like to read articles about the writing process, discussions of other books or do you prefer excerpts and flash fiction?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Short Blurb for Remedy by Chelsea Marie Ballard:
Born with privilege in the Protected Lands means money, power, and ease. For Remy, it means forever being apart from Rudy. On the night of the Masquerade Ball, Remy must choose between duty and heart. Which will prove stronger?
Excerpt from Remedy by Chelsea Marie Ballard:“Are you sure you want to do this?”
Rudy always asked rhetorical questions. Are you sure? Did you mean that? Can I kiss you? He meant well. He was sweeter than the chocolates we stole from the kitchens. Sweeter than the apple pies the cooks made, their fingers calloused and dried from the years of servitude. Sometimes, that sweetness grated on me.
Though I would never have said that to his beautiful face. His face remained pristine and unmarked despite the time he’d spent as a pigeon.
Most of the time, masters marked their pigeons; often on their faces. The brands showed ownership and status. The more important the master, the more pigeons he owned, scattered throughout the city, as they delivered messages.
But Rudy’s face was gracefully unmarred. Smooth, olive skin. Playful, green eyes. Dark, tousled hair. A sloping nose carved his face in half trailing down to his full lips.
Lips he bit now as he waited eagerly for my answer.
“What?” I asked with my eyes as I raised my brows. I gave him a look with raised brows I hoped said, “What?”
With those eyes on me, I forgot where I was; who I was.
The hued light from the ball filtered through the stained windows, casting colors over his soft skin. His eyes sparkled in the light as he dissolved into soft laughter. Everything about him was soft, his hands, his eyes, his laughter. The product of an eternity of blending into the background.
He leaned in close, the laughter still sparkling in his eyes. “I asked if you were sure about this, my beautiful wanderer?”
Bio- Chelsea Marie Ballard:
A student of all things, Chelsea has turned her passion for flowery prose, angsty television, and biology toward her writing. She enjoys rare vines, quirky people, and a good love/hate story. This gold-ranking gamer lives in Bucks County, PA with her family, anxious dog, and fat cat.
Short Blurb for Sea of Sorrows by Anstice Brown:
A shape-shifting siren named Mairg sets out to reunite a handsome young man named Erik with his missing fiancée, but she soon finds herself falling for him. Will Mairg fight against her own kin to save the girl Erik loves? Or will she embrace her monstrous nature and keep him for herself?
Excerpt from Sea of Sorrows by Anstice Brown:
I ease myself from the sea floor with a flick of my tail, and a flurry of dark sand turns the water murky. As I swim toward shore, my tail sears and splits into limbs and my gills heal over. I push towards the surface, desperate for breath, and propel myself forwards until I collapse onto the dark sand.
I stagger towards the cliffs on my webbed feet, the icy wind clawing at my bare body. I retrieve my lantern from a crevice in the rock and light it with a match. The soft glow of the candle comforts me, though a creature such as me has nothing to fear from the darkness.
Settling myself onto a rock, I sing. I wish I didn’t need to do this. But the promise of release is irresistible and soon my pain pours out of me and into the melody of the song, rising high into the night like the crest of a wave. This is no love song, no elegant ballad. It is the song of the abandoned, the hopeless, and the forgotten. The notes rush out of me like a restless tide, plummeting lower and lower until they reach the depth of my loneliness and fade away into silence.
Bio- Anstice Brown:
Anstice Brown has had her nose in a book and her head in the clouds for as long as she can remember. A geek/hippie hybrid with a love of all things retro, Anstice enjoys doodling, gaming and raving about books on her blog, Dusting the Soul. She adores speculative fiction and is currently working on a science fantasy novel.
Anstice has a BA in Literature and Philosophy and currently works as a school administrator. She lives on the East coast of England with her wonderful husband, daughter and their mischievous cat, Magical Mr. Mistoffelees.
About the Anthology
Title: Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Release date: April 30th, 2019
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Genres: Young Adult Fiction: Romance – General / Paranormal / Contemporary
Print ISBN: 9781939844644
EBook ISBN: 9781939844651
Find love at the ball...
Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?
Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…
Oddly Suited, LG Keltner
The silliest situations may be oddly suited for romance.
Behind the Catcher’s Mask, Jennifer Lane
Who can help her through a meltdown on the pitcher’s mound?
The Dark Charade, CD Gallant-King
The new girl in town falls in love for a mysterious boy who is maybe, probably, most definitely, a vampire.
The Cog Prince, Elizabeth Mueller
Falling in love, saving the day, and a masque—oh my! Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince?
A Diver’s Ball, Angela Brown
You can be anything you want in the online world of Cumulus. A human. An elf. A powerful beast mutation from your wildest imagination. But can you be in love?
Flower of Ronda, Myles Christensen
What if life's price of servanthood could be changed?
Fearless Heart, Deborah Solice
Is he a figment of her imagination conjured to keep her sane, or is he something else…something more?
Charleston Masquerade, Carrie-Anne Brownian
Can two worlds come together and find love?
Sea of Sorrows, Anstice Brown
What could a shapeshifting siren know about love?
Remedy, Chelsea Marie Ballard
Everything is against Remy and Rudy, but on the night of the Masquerade Ball, they must choose: each other or their lives?
You can find out more about the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited here.
The authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally from 12:00 am GMT 17th March to 12:00am GMT 6th May.
Visit the other blog tour hosts below to find out more about the stories and authors featured in Masquerade: Oddly Suited.
- Mon 18th March: Spotlight @ The Story of a Writer
- Fri 22nd March: Guest post by Anstice Brown @ Nicki Elson’s Not-So-Deep Thoughts
- Sun 24th March: Interview with Jennifer Lane @ Nancee Cain, Romance with a Serrated Edge
- Tues 26th March: Guest post by Angela Brown @ Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner
- Wed 27th March: Debut author spotlight with Chelsea Marie Ballard & Anstice Brown @ Operation Awesome
- Fri 29th March: Spotlight @ April Blogging from A-Z Challenge
- Mon 1st April: Interview with Deborah Solice @ Dusting the Soul
- Thurs 4th April: Spotlight @ Elements of Emaginette
- Fri 5th April: Guest post by C.D Gallant-King @ Writer’s Gambit
- Mon 8th April: Interview with Elizabeth Mueller @ Just Jemi
- Fri 12th April: Guest post by Carrie-Anne Brownian @ Jennifer Lane Books
- Mon 15th April: Guest post by Chelsea Marie Ballard @ My Pet Blog
- Tues 16th April: Guest post by Myles Christensen @ Quiet Fury Books
- Mon 22nd April: Interview with all the authors @ Alex J. Cavanaugh
- Sat 4th May: Interview with L.G Keltner @ The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick
Masquerade: Oddly Suited