Identity Crises and Magical Ends: an interview with Brandie June

September 2022

In this month’s newsletter, scroll down to find:

  • Contest of Queens Giveaway
  • Author Spotlight with Brandie June
  • Travel Log: Highland Dames
  • Contest of Queens Review Corner


In celebration of the upcoming cover reveal of Queen’s Catacombs, I partnered with Brandie June in this September giveaway!

QUEEN’S CATACOMBS is the epic sequel to CONTEST OF QUEENS. This new fantasy book comes out March 14, 2023. Get ready for this release by entering for a chance to win signed copy of CONTEST OF QUEENS along with a stunning hot air balloon necklace.

When an unsettling event occurs in the Queendom of Frea, Jacs, an inventor’s apprentice from the Lower Realm, participates in the Contest of Queens to prove that a Queendom is strongest when united.

click here to enter

Author Spotlight with Brandie June

We’re going to need more than faith, trust, and pixie dust to survive the tumultuous Fae Court in Brandie June’s latest: Curse Undone.

Join me in today’s Book Nook as I chat with Brandie about the sequel to Gold Spun, characters in identity crises, love triangles, and closing a series.

Check out my interview with Brandie about GOLD SPUN here.

Pick up a copy of Gold Spun here.
Get a copy of Curse Undone here.

Pick up a copy of Gold Spun here.
Get a copy of Curse Undone here.

Curse Undone

Two crowns. Two kingdoms. One chance to rule.

Nor and King Casper are captured by the fay army and forced to face the indomitable Faerie Queen, Marasina. At her command, Casper is thrown into a mysterious prison while an even sinister fate is in store for Nor—a deadly fay poison that reveals Nor’s true nature. She’s not only half-fay. She is Queen Marasina’s heir.

Revealed to be like the very creatures she despises, Nor must not only find a way to free Casper but also navigate a court that is as deadly as it is beautiful. Her allies are few, and though Pel claims to want friendship, Nor finds she cannot forgive his betrayal. As tensions mount and war looms between the kingdoms, Nor must choose a side, before it’s too late.

In this epic conclusion to the Gold Spun duology, Nor discovers that a glamour and a curse may be two sides of the same coin.

Check our Brandie’s website:
Follow her on instagram: @thebrandiejune
TikTok: @brandiebooks

Travel Log: Highland Dames

Short story long,

I have taken a sabbatical from my day job as a Speech Language Pathologist to live in the UK and finish the Frean Chronicles Trilogy!

  1. Contest of Queens: completed!
  2. Queen’s Catacombs: comes out March 14th next year! (preorder here)
  3. Mysteriously Titled Finale: in progress!

If you’re interested in following along on my travel journey, I recommend following me on Instagram: @jordanhbartlett

I was fortunate enough to spend over a week in the Scottish Highlands in a wee cottage on Little Loch Broom with my cousin (featured looking like a mythical druid in the stone circle). I got a lot of writing done, and a lot of what I am calling research (i.e., adventures with a notebook). Here are some of my favourite pictures.

Contest of Queens Review Corner

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have left a star rating or review.

x live magically

Series Conclusions and Baring the Heart of a Character: an Interview with Aamna Qureshi

May 2022

Wait a minute, before we dive into the sequel, jump over here and watch my discussion with Aamna about The Lady or the Lion.


Welcome back! Today I had the honor of speaking with Aamna Qureshi about her sequel, and finale to The Marghazar Trials, The Man or the Monster. We talk author tips on how to conclude a series, and how to get right to the heart of a character. So pour yourself a cup of tea and join us!

The Man or the Monster comes out July 26, 2022. You can preorder your copy here.

Find out more information about Aamna and her other works here:
Instagram: @aamna_qureshi
Twitter: @aamnaqureshi_

The Man or the Monster

She made her decision. Now she has to live with it.

Durkhanai Miangul sealed her lover’s fate when she sent him through a door where either a lady or a lion awaited him. But her decision was only the beginning of her troubles. Durkhanai worries that she might not be the queen her people need or deserve when conflict threatens her kingdom.

Her presumed-dead father comes back with a vengeance and wishes she join him in his cause. But her family’s denial of his revenge forces Durkhanai to take matters into her own hands and she must decide whether to follow the traditions of her forefathers or forge a new path on her own.

My Thoughts


click here to read the full review OR to leave your own
Contest of Queens in the wild

There’s nothing like browsing the shelves of your local bookstore and seeing your name staring back at you! Since the world is opening up more and more, I’ve been able to deliver signed copies of Contest of Queens to a few local bookshops in the Bow Valley and in Calgary. You can now find signed copies at Owl’s Nest Books, Shelf Life Books, Café Books, and Flow State.

Contest of Queens Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Thank you for this beautiful review!

x live magically

Who Run the Worlds? Creating the Realms Readers Live in- Author Talk

March 2021

Welcome to my first Author Talk! I’m so honored to have been able to share airspace with these phenomenal authors. Today we chatted about worldbuilding for YA fantasy, so get into some comfy pants and pour an extra large cup of tea for this one!

If the Youtube link isn’t working, click here!

Aamna Qureshi, author of The Marghazar Trials (check out my interview with her for The Lady or the Lion here) can be found at:

Instagram: @aamna_qureshi
Twitter: @aamnaqureshi_
Buy The Lady or the Lion here
Preorder The Man or the Monster here

Brandie June, author of Gold Spun and Curse Undone (check out my interview with her for Gold Spun here) can be found at:

Instagram: @thebrandiejune
Twitter: @brandiejune
Buy Goldspun here
Preorder Curse Undone here

Dana Claire, author of The Blood-Light Trilogy, The Reclaimed Kingdom, and Hunterland can be found at:

Instagram: @authordanaclaire
Pick up Dana’s books here
And check back with CamCat Books to preorder Hunterland

feature image courtesy of: talewhisper on DeviantArt

Upcoming Book Signing Event

Owl’s Nest Bookstore

815A 49 Avenue SW
Calgary AB
Canada, T2S 1G8

I cannot wait for this event! If you have a copy of Contest of Queens or The Rose Petal Princess, bring those along with you and I’ll happily sign them. Otherwise, there will be copies to purchase in-store! If you have no interest in my signature, come out anyway, I’d love to see your faces 🙂

Signed Book Plate

If you follow me on Instagram (@jordanhbartlett), you will have seen that I am offering to send a personalized book plate and some limited stock swag to anyone who has bought themselves a copy of Contest of Queens.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Free Swag! If you leave a star rating and review, let me know here, and be sure to include your mailing address in the message because I’d love to send you some goodies to show my appreciation! (limited supply)

Thank you to this wonderful Amazon reviewer!

Local Library Love

What a treat to be mentioned in the Canmore Public Library’s Local Author section! My heart definitely did a little flutter to see that both copies are out! So if you would like to borrow it, apparently there’s a line up! Keep your eyes peeled for an interview with yours truly in their April Newsletter.

click the image to jump to the site

x live magically

Fairytales, Retellings, and YA Fantasy: an interview with Aamna Qureshi

July 2021.

Welcome to my book nook! A place where I get to indulge my nerdy side and talk books with amazingly talented authors. Today’s guest is Aamna Qureshi, author of The Lady or the Lion which is coming out July 20th, 2021, and When a Brown Girl Flees which is coming out in 2023.

It was such an honor to speak with Aamna today, so I hope you all enjoy our discussion about fairytales, retellings and their place in YA fantasy (with a little romantic intrigue thrown in for good measure!)

Live magically x

Aamna Qureshi is a Pakistani, Muslim American who adores words. She grew up on Long Island, New York, in a very loud household, surrounded by English (for school), Urdu (for conversation), and Punjabi (for emotion). Through her writing, she wishes to inspire a love for the beautiful country and rich culture that informed much of her identity.

For more information, check out Aamna Qureshi’s website:
Follow her on instagram: @aamna_qureshi or Twitter: @aamnaqureshi_

The Rose Petal Princess

This is a Fairy Tale written in a style to match (think Grimm Brothers rather than Disney). I’ve always loved fairy tales; loved the originals, loved the retellings, loved the animated versions. There’s such a beautiful magic that fairy tales evoke and the suspension of disbelief allows for wonderous things to occur (unless you’re the “um actually…” type).
This is the first of nine fairy tales nestled in my fairy tale treasury: The Rose Petal Princess and other fairy tales. Read more about this treasury here:
Cover image designed by Ashley Banbury, @ashtreehouse on Instagram

Long ago and far away, there lived a Queen. She lived in a magnificent palace and ruled over her realm with compassion and grace. Her people loved her, and she loved them in return. She was happy in every way but one: in her heart, she longed for a daughter. 

Every night before she went to bed, she would dance beneath the stars in a courtyard scattered with rose petals. As she danced, she would wish for a little girl that she could love and care for; a little girl she could dance with and hold in her arms. The Queen’s feet would fly and her skirts would twirl as she spun through the petals alone.

One evening, as she twisted and turned with her arms outstretched, her bare foot trod on a lone thorn among the rose petals. She cried out and fell to the ground. A shimmering tear slipped down her cheek and landed on the bloodied petals at her feet. 

All at once, the wind picked up and rushed through the starlit courtyard. The air filled with perfume as the petals swirled around the frightened Queen. She covered her face with her hands as the wind became a gale and the soft petals, now razor sharp, cut at her skin.  

When the wind finally stopped and she lowered her hands, the Queen gasped at what she saw. Spread across the middle of the courtyard like a mosaic, hundreds of petals had spiraled to form a rose. A young girl stood in the center.

“Hello mother,” the girl said. “I’ve waited so long to dance with you.”

The girl helped the stunned Queen to her feet and hugged her. Then mother and daughter began to dance under the stars. Their feet flew and their skirts twirled as they spun through the petals, laughing all the while.

The Queen was finally happy because her heart was full. The realm rejoiced to watch the little rose petal Princess grow to be as beautiful and graceful as her mother. Every night, the Queen and the Princess danced together under the stars. Their movements were always in perfect harmony, and word of their skill spread across the land.

On the night before the Princess’ sixteenth birthday, a comet cut across the sky and many of the stars in its path went dark. The palace was quiet; all those within held their breath. Guards lined the entrance hall, waiting. No one knew what this strange omen meant, or what future it foretold. 

As the clock struck twelve, a loud crash rattled the front door in its frame. The Queen held the Princess’ hand tightly from the top of the stairs as the sound came again. At the third crash, the door burst open. A monster made of darkness emerged from the shadowy night. Its two gleaming red eyes scanned the room, its sharp yellow teeth flashed as it grinned up at the Queen and her daughter.

The monster lifted one black finger and pointed it at the guards. At its command, an army of people, long dead and somehow impossibly alive, crawled into the hall. With black eyes and cruel smiles, they swarmed into the palace and cut down all those who stood in their path. The monster of darkness laughed in the chaos and addressed the Queen. 

“Light-footed Queen,” it said, “you and your petal will dance for us one last time.”

The Queen squeezed the Princess’ hand tighter. As the undead creatures crept closer, the two women began to dance.

Their feet flew, their arms twisted, and their bodies spun. Moonlight illuminated their limbs, leaving a bright trail following behind each movement. The creatures stopped, stunned by the spectacle. Then, with a subtle nod to her mother, the Princess began to dance faster. The Queen seamlessly increased her own tempo to match.

Delicate pointed feet became like hardened steel, bended arms became slashing blades. Their bodies becoming living weapons, they fought through the crowd of monsters. Heels crashed into decaying flesh. Fists cracked through brittle bone. They danced in perfect unison. Two edges of the same blade. 

They fought through the night. Never faltering, never missing a beat, the rhythm of battle hammered out with each landed blow. Too quick to catch, the enemy struggled to lay even a finger on them.

As the sun rose and light shone through the palace windows, the Queen lowered her arms. The Princess mirrored her posture. The monster of darkness had vanished, leaving an entrance hall filled with the bodies of fallen foes.

They had won.

While the realm celebrated the vanquishing of such evil from their borders, the Queen and the Princess began to prepare for its return. They trained their people to dance like weapons, and every night they looked up from their rose-strewn courtyard to the starlit sky.



Both poised for an encore.