The 12 Days of Holly Chase

Tis the season for reading Christmas books!

This year my Christmas novel, THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, is out in paperback for the first time, and I am doing my best to promote it like crazy this holiday season. It is a young adult retelling of the classic story, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, in which the Scrooge is a spoiled California socialite named Holly Chase.

What the book’s about: 

Holly starts out by being visited by the three ghosts and taking a good hard look at how she’s been living her life, (as a horrible human being) but instead of repenting and promising to do better, Holly refuses to change. In other words, she’s a Scrooge without the normal happy ending and the “God Bless Us, Every One” moment. The company who works to rescue and rehabilitate a Scrooge-like person every year fails to fix Holly, and not too long afterwards, she’s killed in a freak accident. She wakes up (or as nearly as one can “wake up” after being killed) in Project Scrooge’s company headquarters, where she is informed that her eternal punishment is going to be to serve as the Ghost of Christmas Past for the rest of eternity. Which is totally going to put a damper on her social life . . .

And all that is just what happens in CHAPTER ONE.

I had so much fun writing this book, and I’m so thrilled to be sharing it with readers this holiday season. On that note, we’re doing a promotion called TWELVE DAYS OF HOLLY CHASE, which will include a blog tour, a bookstagram tour, a live video chat, and a bunch of amazing giveaways. It starts today! Check out the sites below on the appropriate day to get in on all the fun!

Blog Tour: 

12/14 Mary Had A Little Book Blog

Bookstagram Tour:

12/3 – @erinsummerill
12/5 – @shutupnread  
12/6 – @_magicbookdom_  
12/7 – @latestreads
12/11 – @oh.hey.books
12/13 – @unicornbiblio

12/14 – @novel.novice

I am super excited to see all this new Holly Chase content and thrilled to be able to give away so much stuff. I had custom ornaments made for me to sign and give away, I am throwing in a few of my favorite Christmas movies, and I have knitted handmade hats and mitts to bestow upon the lucky winners.

Even if you don’t win the giveaway, there’s some great things I have to give to you.


A trailer in a pear tree:

The talented Sarah Kershaw at made this trailer, and I am in love with it. I love it even more because it features an original song that was written and recorded by my bestie and grad school roommate Lindsey Hunt for her new album.

And the second treat, to anyone who wants it, is

a custom-made Christmas card from ME, 

signed by me, of course, and stuffed with as much swag as I can fit in the envelope. This would also be a good opportunity to get your book’s “signed” by me, too. Just let me know how many you need, and I will send along some signed bookplates.

Just click this link and fill out the form, and the card (and stuff) will be coming your way!

find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.