Dare to Read

April 2, 2012

Where Ideas Come From

Filed under: Becquer,Becquer Eternal,On Reading — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:09 am
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From Bécquer Eternal

He was gone and back so fast that, but for the mask he held now in his hands I wouldn’t have noticed he had moved at all.

I stood and examined the mask, a delicate piece of art made of ivory silk with colorful feathers.

“Don’t you like it?” Bécquer asked, as I hesitated to pick it up.

“It’s beautiful.”

Again he smiled, the smile of a child pleased with himself. “Federico bought it for me last year when he was in Venice.”

January 16, 2012

The King in the Stone – Teaser



by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



Writing the first chapter of a sequel is tricky.

You must give enough background information on your characters and their stories so that new readers can follow. Yet, you don’t want to over explain for you risk boring those who’d read the first book.

But because so many things have already happened before the sequel begins, (enough to fill a whole book, as a matter of fact) and these things define who your characters are and where they stand now, to hit the right balance is difficult, and the first chapters can drag a little.

That’s why it’s so tempting for the writer to add a teaser before Chapter One.

And by a teaser I mean an action scene from further on in the story, that will lure the reader to stay with you through those slower first chapters.

I don’t like teasers when I am the reader. Yet, I must confess I have written one for The King in the Stone. Whether I will include it or not in the final version I do not know.

In the meantime, here it is for your enjoyment.

Hope you like it.

The King in the Stone



A flash of lightning shatters the sky and, almost immediately, the deafening explosion of close thunder shakes the ground. Startled out of her trance, Andrea looks up. Dark clouds, heavy with rain, have turned the day almost to night, dressing in shadows the valley below and hiding the peaks across the ledge from where she stands.

As if waking from a dream, Andrea takes in her surroundings, surprised to find herself  by the tomb of the unknown king, for she has no recollection of climbing the mountain. The last thing she remembers is Kelsey’s voice, so eerily clear through the phone even though she was six thousand miles away, telling her about Julián.

Andrea moans at the memory and, bent in two by the sudden pain twisting her stomach, leans forward. Images of the man she has tried so hard to forget flash through her mind. Julián bleeding in her arms, an arrow through his chest. Julián by the broken arch telling her how much he loves her. Julián rejecting her, stealing the ring from her finger . . . From the slab that covers the tomb, the lying figure of the king carved in the stone stares at her with unseeing eyes.

Another lightning flash streaks the sky and the earth trembles under her feet as thunder rolls once more over the mountains. Heavy drops fall on her face, washing away her tears.

Andrea forces her mind to reason. She has no claim over Julián. He broke their engagement and made it clear he didn’t want to be with her. That was the reason she left California these three weeks past. Whether he’s with Kelsey now or with somebody else should make no difference.

But it does. She can’t lie to herself. She’s hurting too much to pretend anymore. The truth is that moving to Spain has changed nothing. She has not forgotten Julián. His memory has haunted her dreams every night, stolen itself into every one of her waking thoughts.

Her hands clenched into fists, Andrea hits the stone, swearing at Kelsey for her betrayal. How could she? Kelsey is her cousin, her confidant. Kelsey knows how much she cares for Julián. How much she wants him back.
Not anymore. Knowing he doesn’t love her is one thing. Learning he is with Kelsey quite another. Now, at last, she will forget him.

She turns her back to the tomb, and starts toward the trail. But the rain has turned the soil to mud, and, losing her footing, she falls face down.

Spitting water and dirt, Andrea scrambles to her feet. By the light of the next lightning flash, she sees the gap on the mountainside, an open mouth calling to her, and dives through the sheets of water pouring from the angry sky toward the wall. The rope she remembers from the previous evening is still hanging down into the cave. She grabs it in her slippery hands and climbs down.

She has barely reached the ground­­—welcome, dry ground, firm under her feet—when the mountain shakes again. Andrea stumbles and, falling on her knees, raises her arms over her head, a weak protection against the gravel falling around her like solid rain.

When the noise finally stops and Andrea opens her eyes, the cave is in total darkness. Has she gone blind? she wonders as she fights back her fears. I’m not blind, she reassures herself. That’s absurd. But if she isn’t, why is it so dark?

She looks up, squinting her eyes. But it’s useless: no ray of light steals through the wall of rocks. The opening is gone. Of course, the thought breaks into her mind. The earthquake has provoked a slide and closed the entrance.

A wave of panic washes over her as she realizes she’s on her own. No one will ever come looking for her. Why should they? She told no one where she was going when she left. She’s buried alive, and this cave, up in the mountains of this world that is not hers, will be her grave.

Andrea screams, a name, a broken word, a feral cry for help that, as she feared, dies unheard against the cavern’s walls.


December 10, 2011

Lucas Mangum’s Awesome Reading Fest – IV

Filed under: On Reading — carmenferreiroesteban @ 3:33 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban




For several months now, writers in the Doylestown, PA area have been gathering to read their work at the Awesome Reading Fests organized by Lucas Mangum.

I met Lucas online, on Facebook to be more precise, and attended my first meeting last June, not sure if I would gather the courage to read in front of my peers. But the friendly atmosphere soon convinced me to do so.

That positive experience encouraged me to return this past Thursday to read my work and to listen to other talented writers read theirs.

It has been a great experience for me, one I highly recommend if you’re a writer, and even if you are not, for you don’t have to participate to attend the event. Everybody is welcome.

And in the meantime, check these pictures I took on Thursday December 8.






Thank you so much to Lucas for organizing the event and to the Doylestown BookShop for generously lending us the space.

You can also watch the previous readings at


November 4, 2011

Would You Read More?

Filed under: On Reading,Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 1:45 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban


These are some of my favorite first lines.

I have included the one from my YA fantasy Two Moon Princess. A little biased there. But it wouldn’t be my first line if I didn’t like it. No agenda on the others.

“He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world was mad.” Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

“The arrow knows the way. Just let it free.” Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“When I was nine years old, I hid under a table and heard my sister kill a king.” Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry

“Call me Ishmael.” Moby-Dick (Dover Thrift Editions) by Herman Melville

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.” The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984 (Signet Classics) by George Orwell

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Go-Between (Penguin Modern Classics) by L. P. Hartley

“Jim Gallien had driven four miles out of Fairbanks when he spotted the hitchhiker standing in the snow besidde the road, thumb raised high, shivering in the gray Alaska dawn.” Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

“Marley was dead: to begin with.” A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

“I didn’t know how long I had been in the king’s prison.” The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1) by Megan Whalen Turner

“King Constantine IX of Regia had been killed three times and was bored with it. He wanted a bath.” The Beggar Queen (The Westmark Trilogy) by Lloyd Alexander

“It was just past midday, not long before the third summons to prayer, that Ammar ibn Khairan passed through the Gate of the Bells and entered the palace of Al-Fontina in Silvenes to kill the last of the khalifs of Al-Rassan.” The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

“Sometimes he whispered his real name in the dark, in the middle of the night.” Among the Impostors (Shadow Children) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

“On a winter’s day in 1413, just before Christmas, Nicholas Hook decided to commit murder.” Agincourt: A Novel by Bernard Cornwell

October 3, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Filed under: Books, Reviews,On Reading,The Enchanted Inkpot,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 8:16 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban


Come share your current reading list as several members of the Enchanted Inkpot, including me, discuss their own picks at Enchanted Inkpot today: http://tinyurl.com/3vu7xxw

August 9, 2011

Active Princesses / Passive Princes, is This a New Trend?

Filed under: Books, Reviews,On Reading,On Writing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 11:13 am
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In his Princesses Novels, Jim C. Hines has rewritten the traditional Fairy Tales (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood) transforming the passive princesses into warriors. The result is an action packed story for grownups where the prince stays at home while the princess carries the adventure.

I am all for spunky heroines and equality among genres–Andrea, the protagonist of Two Moon Princess is not your traditional beautiful, stay at home princess–but while I read the fourth book in the series, The Snow Queen’s Shadow, I found myself wishing for a more active prince.

What about you? How do you like your heroes/heroines?

You can read a full review of The Snow Queen’s Shadow at http://www.myshelf.com/scifi_fantasy/11/snowqueensshadow.htm

Thanks so much to Realm Lovejoy for the beautiful cover shown above. She blogs at (http://realmlovejoy.blogspot.com/2011/03/author-interview-carmen-ferreiro.html).

August 7, 2011

On Books, Shoes and Reviews

Filed under: Books, Reviews,On Reading — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:33 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban


Books are like shoes. You don’t know if they are the right fit until you try them on and walk with them for a mile/read the whole book.

Yet, to do so you need to purchase them first and that is, in both cases, a leap of faith.

You know you like them. You may have even fallen in love with their design/their cover. They are, basically, what you are looking for: sandals for the summer, a pair of high heels for the Christmas party, flip flops for the beach, boots for hiking, loafers for every day, sneakers to play tourist. The right genre if we talk books: a mystery for a winter day, a comedy for a summer read, a fantasy to escape to another world, a tragedy, a light romance when you are feeling blue.

But trying them on, or reading the blurb, the first page, a random sentence in the middle, does not guarantee they will fit your need or mood.

In the case of books, a review can help you make an informed decision. But not any review will do. Reviewers are people with their own likes and dislikes. So be careful to choose a reviewer that has a taste similar to yours. One that has given favorable reviews to books you have also liked and hates the ones you also hate. One that gives you information on the mood and scope of the book without revealing the plot, or even worse telling you the ending. And be open to try new genres, new authors. Who knows where your new love is waiting.

I have no similar advice regarding buying a pair of shoes. There, I’m afraid, you have to trust yourself. Or ask your feet.

June 17, 2011

Book Giveway

Filed under: Event,On Reading,Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 4:00 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Kati at the Jagged Edge (http://klearsreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/so-i-finally-made-it.html) is running a book giveaway from June 25 to July 16.

Don’t forget to visit her blog for ten chances of winning a copy of my YA fantasy Two Moon Princess.

Yes, ten chances. My publisher has donated ten copies of Two Moon Princess for the giveaway.

Good luck!

May 16, 2011

Middle Grade/Young Adult? Does it matter?

Filed under: On Publishing,On Reading,On Writing,The Enchanted Inkpot — carmenferreiroesteban @ 7:49 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today at The Enchanted Inkpot, Kate Coombs discuss the no man’s land of books for older MG or younger YA, AKA tweens.
Do you as a reader hesitate to pick a book because it is labelled MG or YA?

Follow the link below to join in the discussion:


April 26, 2011

Not Your Typical Damsel in Distress

Filed under: On Reading,On Writing,The Enchanted Inkpot — carmenferreiroesteban @ 8:55 am
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Tired of reading about hapless heroines in need of rescuing?

Then Bryony Pearce’s post “Subverting the Cliche: Maiden in Peril” at The Enchanted Inkpot at

http://enchantedinkpot.livejournal.com/88904.html is right for you.

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