Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spotlight: Once, by Ronel Janse van Vuuren

Damsels in distress, curses, echoes of faery tales and tragic love affairs swirl together in sixteen stories found in a dragon’s lair by a curious half-fae.

Unexpected changes to reality causes more than one damsel to turn into a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life.

A collection of short stories about Faerie and the fae that live in the human realm. A few of the stories had won competitions and all of them had enchanted readers.
Learn their secrets and enter the realm of the fae…

Title: Once... Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie
Author: Ronel Janse van Vuuren
ISBN EPUB: 978-0-6399476-2-4
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-6399476-3-1

Out today!
Available on most online retailers.
Also available in Afrikaans as “Eens…”.

Mortals cannot perceive the veil unless they are invited to – or extremely gifted. For centuries, Man and Fae have been kept apart, for nothing good ever comes from them mixing. The collection of The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is proof of this.

Still, there are magical creatures that side neither with Man nor Fae.

Dragons are such creatures. They hold the knowledge of both worlds. Some even collect it in the written word, keeping it safe in their lairs.

An inquisitive half-fae once broke into the lair of a dragon known to hoard books. The knowledge she found was too much to keep to herself…

Here are a few tales, myths and legends from Faerie. Some may sound remarkably similar to legends held by mortals, while others are…  well… as otherworldly as the fae themselves.

About the Author: 
Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.

Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon.

Connect with Ronel on:
Ronel the Mythmaker:

And now... a special interview with the author!

NL: When did you start writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer, or did you stumble into it later in life?

Ronel: I’ve always written a couple of stories to entertain myself, but I seriously started writing ten years ago. In that time, I’ve learned how to write properly, created entire worlds, did a lot of research into several folklore creatures, realised in which genre I want to write, and found my voice.

NL: What are your books about and who is the audience?

Ronel: This book, “Once…”, is a collection of short stories about how Faerie changed and the impact on the mortal realm when magic and fae infiltrated it. There are a few original stories steeped in folklore and a couple of fairy tale retellings with a Dark Fantasy twist. My intended audience is New Adult, but I’ve had readers of all ages for the Afrikaans version “Eens…” who bought it for themselves and enjoyed it enough to pass it on to their children and parents.

NL:  Do your stories carry a message?

Ronel: Absolutely. Dark fantasy is all about examining the human condition, looking at the consequences of actions and decisions, and how the beliefs we hold can change the way we see our world. I think “Rumour Has It”, “New Divide” and “Castle of Glass” depict all of this from different points of view about the same moment in Faerie history very well.

NL: Thanks for telling us about your book! Now tell us, what is the best thing about being a writer?

Ronel: Creating worlds, playing “what if?” and talking to my fictional friends.

NL: Yeah, we all like having a good reason to listen to the voices in our heads! Do you draft your books longhand or compose at the keyboard?

Ronel: Longhand. I find that there are fewer distractions when the computer is switched off – no quickly checking emails or updates, no playing around with inspirational images, etc. I then type it and store the original manuscript in a binder…

NL: You talked about doing research for the book. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to research for one of your books?

Ronel: I research a lot of folklore, most of it weird, so let me think… Probably the protein value of worms and if they’re a good idea for breakfast. The main character in “The Ashiest Princess” has them for breakfast every morning. Not all that odd: worms are a staple food in many communities.

NL: Well, the birds have worms for breakfast... Do you use a detailed outline before you start writing, or... ?

Ronel: It depends on the story. Some stories insist on being written before I can think about it – it’s like they’re already in my head, just waiting to be written down. Afterwards I do an outline and create a proper plot. Other stories insist on meticulous outlines and research.

NL: You live in South Africa. Since most of my readers are in the US or England, tell us a bit about that!

Ronel: Well, we have sun all year round which means I have to keep the curtains closed in my study or I’ll never get any writing done!

Once everything is dry in the winter months, a few crazies believe that they should burn everything down. It usually starts with a veldfire – and last year it ended with someone setting fire to my property (I live on an agricultural holding with horses, chickens, etc.) that we were lucky enough to stop before it destroyed everything.

There are horrible things in my country – like the endless attacks on farmers – but as long as you keep your head, stay alert and don’t act foolishly, there are so many things to enjoy and savour. We have gorgeous botanical gardens that are open year-round, each season brings its own beautiful plants and temperatures. If you’re an ocean person, we have the warm Indian Ocean on one side and the cold Atlantic Ocean on the other, and that wonderful sight where the two oceans meet and clash. We have forests, deserts, nature reserves, different biomes and animals to visit in their – mostly – natural habitat. You can turn every weekend into an adventure.

There’s so much more to say, but that will take an entire post ;-) In one of my stories in “Once…” I used the desert and forest elements, so it can almost feel like you’re in South Africa while reading “The Fae of Bremen”. Or you can run over a veld (field in South African terminology) with “The Field Mouse”.

Thanks for having me, Rebecca.
 Thanks for coming by! Your description of the country does make me want to visit, especially to watch the two oceans come together. 

Once... is available today, so check it out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#Fi50 Heads Up!

Thanks to a lot going on this weekend, we seem to have forgotten to post our usual heads-up for Fi50. So here it is.

Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in!
fiction in 50   image Fiction in 50 NEW BUTTON

What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words).

The rules for participation are simple:

1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration. Bonus points for hitting 50 exactly.
That’s it! But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule:

2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy. 
And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists):

3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at or create your own Fi50 meme pic…
and 4. Link back here so others can jump on the mini-fic bandwagon.
At this time, I haven't been able to find a source for a free linky-list, so it's just comments. I recommend posting your basic blog link below, with the day you post your Fi50 story. You can also add a link in the comments on my story, posted the next-to-last Sunday of the month. Feel free to Tweet using the #Fi50, though I'll not lie: the Ninja Librarian is a lousy tweeter.

The May prompt is: 
"The End is in the Beginning."
You can use the prompt as a title, or not. Really, there aren't many rules, other than 50 words or less. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dr. Mom Blog Hop!

Today we're helping promote Elaine Kaye's new picture book by participating in the Dr. Mom blog hop!

Share a favorite memory you have of your mom. Or just share a picture of your mom that you cherish. Or you can do both!

Hey, this is harder than it looks. My mom is 89. I'm... uh, not 20 anymore (notice she's old enough to brag about her age. I'm young enough be trying to forget). That's a lot of amazing memories! I'm tempted to share the wonderful little book I wrote about my mom when I was in the 1st grade or thereabouts, but I don't want to distract from Ms. Kaye's adorable book, so I'll do that another time.

Instead, let me tell you about a favorite family photo (sadly, it seems to have been lost). This was back in the days when cameras not only used film, but if you didn't advance the film yourself, you could take two pictures on top of each other.

One of Dad's favorite possessions was our bright red, 17' canoe. When we kids were little, we could all 5 get it, and we enjoyed family outings on quiet lakes (Dad did some white-water, or at least whitish-water, stuff, but not with us). So Dad takes a photo up the canoe, where Mom is seated in the front. The next photo shot was of a buffalo (I have no idea where). You guessed it: a double-exposure, with the buffalo taking Mom's place in the front of the canoe. Lucky for Dad that Mom has a great sense of humor, and laughed as hard as the rest of us!

Since I don't have that photo, I'll share this one of all 5 of us, with the canoe and our VW bus, sometime in the late 60s.

And now for  the main feature!

Title: Doctor Mom
Author: Elaine Kaye
Genre: Picture Story Book
Ages: 5-8 years

It’s Saturday, and Gregory Green can’t wait to have fun with his dad on the riding lawnmower, but something is wrong. Sammy, his teddy bear and best friend, won’t get out of bed. Gregory is worried when he sees Sammy’s left leg is torn. This is a case for Doctor Mom! Can they fix Sammy? And just how did Sammy get hurt in the first place?


"Doctor Mom is an adorable story that shows how Moms can fix anything—even a torn limb on a beloved teddy bear! Children will enjoy the lovable little bear who needs a stitch or two and his boy who plays dress-up as a doctor." – Wanda Luthman, award-winning author of Little Birdie Grows Up

“A sweet and heartfelt tale kids can easily identify with, and all of that with a wonderful touch of magic.” – Tonja Drecker, reviewer at Bookworm for Kids



Elaine Kaye first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster. Doctor Mom is the second book in A Gregory Green Adventure series and highlights something all moms and children can relate to; a beloved stuffed animal in need of a repair.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.

She is a grandmother of three boys.

Now hop on around and see what other bloggers have to say about their moms!